What does the word vegan mean to you? - Page 2 - VeggieBoards
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#31 Old 01-17-2017, 10:30 AM
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What puzzles me @Dilettante , is that you're aware enough of this definition to avoid calling yourself vegan, even with as small as your infractions, but will argue that other should be patronized. Is thrashing an entire philosophy, that has no other descriptors necessary? Do you feel using the term as a fad or fashion statement really helps?

I'm not sure I follow the question and am no longer sure what the main point of disagreement is. All I've been saying is that, according to what I've read, in Wikipedia, on Dictionary.com, and on the Merriam Webster dictionary website, there are two definitions of "vegan" in common use today, which are ethical veganism and dietary veganism, aka "plant-based" aka "strict vegetarian." This seems uncontroversial, at least to me. This discussion, which is, at least to me, a discussion mainly of terminology, seems to have morphed into a broader discussion, with moral implications, over who is entitled to self-describe as "vegan."

I suspect that everyone here understands what ethical veganism and dietary veganism (aka "plant-based") mean. The question is mainly one of definitions, essentially semantics, but it also goes beyond that, to strategy within the vegan and animal rights community: in particular, should people make an effort, through public outreach and communication, to reserve the word "vegan" for ethical vegans, which is how it seemingly originated in the 1940s?
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#32 Old 01-17-2017, 12:10 PM
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Assigning the word vegan to plant based diets not bases in ethics also creates confusion in places like vegan-friendly restaurants, at least here in California. This is not a serious issue, but it's pretty odd that I have been offered or told in multiple locations when I say that I want the vegan xyz meal, that gluten free costs a dollar more or people cheerfully tack on gluten free thinking they're being helpful. Not disturbing, just weird.

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#33 Old 01-17-2017, 12:13 PM
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The definition of vegan seems non-controversial to a non-vegan who likely doesn't participate in vegan communities outside of this message board.

Well.

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#34 Old 01-17-2017, 01:27 PM
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The definition of vegan seems non-controversial to a non-vegan who likely doesn't participate in vegan communities outside of this message board.

Well.


Again, Thalassa, the obsessive focus on whether I am vegan, when that status is irrelevant to this thread, is a litmus test that (if it were legitimate) would preclude several commenters on this thread, and is irrelevant to an understanding of the definition. With all due respect, I see it as essentially an ad hominem attack on me, not typically a sign of a strong rhetorical position. Moreover, you have no idea what "vegan communities" I've communicated with.
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#35 Old 01-17-2017, 02:23 PM
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If it's ad hominem to point out the true facts that someone isn't vegan, then maybe they should become vegan, since they feel insulted not to be included.

Some things can only be understood by being it. This is common in social justice circles where for example non-black allies or non-female allies are asked to give BLM or women who are feminists their own space during meetings or rallies. It could also be compared to embodiment of a religious doctrine, but if it pisses you off that you can't tell others who they are, you've got some entitlement problems, not the other way around.
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#36 Old 01-17-2017, 02:26 PM
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: in particular, should people make an effort, through public outreach and communication, to reserve the word "vegan" for ethical vegans, which is how it seemingly originated in the 1940s?
This is a LINK to a talk that Donald Watson gave in 2002. Donald Watson was of course the person who founded and named the Vegan Society, at a meeting with 5 other members in November 1944 although he had already become a vegan 2 or 3 years previously. Seems to be an "ethical vegan" to me.

I have a photo showing Donald's family home in Mexborough, Yorkshire, just 14 miles from where I was born and lived, in Sheffield and I'll add it to this post when I can work out how to do it!

Lv

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#37 Old 01-17-2017, 02:50 PM
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In fact it's ironic that vegans partially protect their meaning exactly because of people like @Dilettante who may call the ethical vegans cult members or religious fanatics, because they find it more aesthetically pleasing to water down what vegan means, because by doing so the word doesn't become "inclusive"...it actually draws attention away from the very real plight of farmed animals and the environmental impact of animal agriculture, including on wildlife. It soothes you to try to downplay a tragedy in process, so you can feel less guilty about not being vegan, or live in denial, so you can stay in the Matrix, as it were.

ALSO, it protects vegans from scam artists or sociopaths, like Vegan Cheetah, who isn't a vegan (among other unsavory criminal characteristics). If Muslims didn't protect the meaning of Islam, people could erroneously believe ISIS embodies the entirety of their religion. If Christians don't protect the message of Christ, people who obviously aren't Christian like Donald Trump can claim to be, to mislead others and even harm sincere Christians.

You don't get it. You're arrogant.

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#38 Old 01-17-2017, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Dilettante View Post
What puzzles me @Dilettante , is that you're aware enough of this definition to avoid calling yourself vegan, even with as small as your infractions, but will argue that other should be patronized. Is thrashing an entire philosophy, that has no other descriptors necessary? Do you feel using the term as a fad or fashion statement really helps?

I'm not sure I follow the question and am no longer sure what the main point of disagreement is. All I've been saying is that, according to what I've read, in Wikipedia, on Dictionary.com, and on the Merriam Webster dictionary website, there are two definitions of "vegan" in common use today, which are ethical veganism and dietary veganism, aka "plant-based" aka "strict vegetarian." This seems uncontroversial, at least to me. This discussion, which is, at least to me, a discussion mainly of terminology, seems to have morphed into a broader discussion, with moral implications, over who is entitled to self-describe as "vegan."

What don't you understand? I'm asking why a word that has meaning needs to be changed to cater to those who don't adhere to it's definition-and where other words more aptly apply. It's like when Beyonce when 'vegan', wearing shoes of exotic animals. Was it more trendy to be vegan rather than plant based?
Do you really expect those sites to be the authority on what a small minority defines themselves?

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Originally Posted by Dilettante View Post
I suspect that everyone here understands what ethical veganism and dietary veganism (aka "plant-based") mean. The question is mainly one of definitions, essentially semantics, but it also goes beyond that, to strategy within the vegan and animal rights community: in particular, should people make an effort, through public outreach and communication, to reserve the word "vegan" for ethical vegans, which is how it seemingly originated in the 1940s?
Yes. that includes correcting those who dismiss animal exploitation in other ways, and those that Thalassa refers to

BTW, I don't identify as vegan out of an anxiety that I suffer from from time to time. I still take vitamin D3, and have gotten products with ingredients at times when I felt myself breaking down, and becoming compulsive.

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#39 Old 01-17-2017, 03:51 PM
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BTW, I don't identify as vegan out of an anxiety that I suffer from from time to time. I still take vitamin D3, and have gotten products with ingredients at times when I felt myself breaking down, and becoming compulsive.
Hi silva.

Not sure where you are in the US but I use vegan vitamin D3 tablets/D3 spray because we don't get a load of sunshine in the North of England, even in summer. I also take a daily vegan multivitamin tablet which contains vit B12.

Sorry to go off-topic again (it's my age).

Lv
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#40 Old 01-17-2017, 03:55 PM
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The intentional smear campaign of Jeff Nelson of Vegsource also has a lot to do with this. He's intentionally stated that veganism is only a diet, that people only do things for selfish reasons, and I have seen information, which I do not have the actual validation of, that claims he attacks, doxes, and trolls ethical vegans. I do know he aligned himself with the repulsive Vegan Cheetah on camera, and Vegan Cheetah has been caught on camera soliciting trolls to post rape and death threats for him in people's comments sections.

That any person would have the audacity to come on this forum and apparently disingenuously claim that they have some sort of right to define veganism differently, and act like they're the victim of ad hominem, after calling people religious fanatics or cult members, carries a whiff of the stench of these YouTube smear campaigns. I'm just saying, maybe check people's IP numbers.

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#41 Old 01-17-2017, 04:00 PM
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I think, Silva, that--leaving aside the issue with Thalassa and me--there is a miscommunication on this thread, because I don't fundamentally disagree with your position. In particular, I am not advocating for changing the meaning of the word "vegan" to include what some are calling "plant-based." What I am saying is that the meaning of the word "vegan" is not up to us. The meaning is up to speakers of English in general, and as far as I can tell, the general dictionary and encyclopedia websites seem to already include both definitions, which suggests to me that the meaning has already changed (or, at least, is in the process of changing). Again, I'm not saying that's a good thing. I'm just saying that it's my best reading of current usage of the word "vegan." That's been my main point for several posts now, and I think it's accurate.

I've also said that I agree with the consensus on this thread that those in the vegan/animal rights community should try to do outreach to preserve the original, ethical meaning of the word "vegan." Whether that will make a difference in how the usage evolves is an open question.

A secondary point I have made is that I have find it odd how passionate and, it seems, angry some (not you) on this thread have gotten about the meaning of the word and who identifies as vegan. I really make no distinction between someone who is extremely near to being vegan, as classically defined, like you (vitamin pills), and an actual "vegan" as classically defined. There is virtually no difference when it comes to the effect on farmed animals. I make a slight distinction between myself (occasional cheese at social events) and a vegan, as classically defined, when it comes to the effect on farmed animals, and for that reason, among others, I never identify as vegan, nor would it matter to all of the omnis around me in real life how I identify. In any event, my secondary point is the seeming undue (in my opinion) passionate focus on who identifies as vegan.

I stand by both of my two main points.
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#42 Old 01-17-2017, 04:19 PM
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Thalassa, you continue to engage in angry, unhinged attacks. What you have not been doing is focusing on the issue of this thread, which is the definition of "vegan." What you have been doing is attacking me ad hominen, first because pointing out in an accusatory way that I'm not vegan, though I'm very close and there is very little difference when it comes to the effect on farmed animals (the fact that you DO see a huge difference is because you view veganism like a religion or a cult). The second ad hominem attack you've made on me is to suggest that I'm involved in some type of YouTube smear campaign.

You also keep bringing up the Matrix, a movie from the 1990s. You seem, frankly, unhinged. I've run across one or two unhinged uber-vegans like you on other forums, especially the MFA Facebook postings. You did the same thing in the borscht thread on this forum: got extremely angry and upset because I asked how a borchst recipe could be altered to have more protein.

You're the only person on this forum whom I've run across who has the issue that you have, whatever it is. I'm done interacting with you.
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#43 Old 01-17-2017, 05:47 PM
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Hi silva.

Not sure where you are in the US but I use vegan vitamin D3 tablets/D3 spray because we don't get a load of sunshine in the North of England, even in summer. I also take a daily vegan multivitamin tablet which contains vit B12.

Sorry to go off-topic again (it's my age).

Lv
I do plan on trying that. I just couldn't believe how long I suffered, with doctors calling it arthritis, and doing xrays and wanting mri's. I just needed to be sure I could be okay once my levels got back up,which they barely did after a year of really high doses. I still take 5000 every night and tested only at 30. With the D2 I was at 12

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#44 Old 01-17-2017, 09:12 PM
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There is unkindness in this thread.

To the question, "What does vegan mean?" we have two answers: A linguistic one and a philosophical one.

Language does evolve. Rightly or wrongly, it does, and we don't have control over the English language.

The philosophical question is more, "What should vegan mean," and "mean" here is more what should a claim to veganism demand of those who claim it.

I will answer neither, but I will say simply that the unkindness I see in this thread is one of the reasons I avoided learning about veganism for most of my life. I'm not alone. And those said to be enabling people or whatever by their kindness and accessibility were the ones who gave me the courage to make my way down this path. But I'm questioning whether these forums are an environment that will encourage me on this hard journey or discourage me, given this thread. I will not abandon my principles, but this may well not be a place where I should spend time.

Food for thought.
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#45 Old 01-18-2017, 08:44 AM
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There is virtually no difference when it comes to the effect on farmed animals. I make a slight distinction between myself (occasional cheese at social events) and a vegan, as classically defined, when it comes to the effect on farmed animals, and for that reason, among others, I never identify as vegan, nor would it matter to all of the omnis around me in real life how I identify.
Hi D.

Can I ask why you focus, at least in this post, on farm animals?

Also what do you mean by There is virtually no difference when it comes to the effect on farmed animals.?

Lv

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#46 Old 01-18-2017, 09:14 AM
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Hi D.

Can I ask why you focus, at least in this post, on farm animals?

Lv


The main issue is farmed animals. That's what veganism, or anything going in the vegan direction, reduces the harm to. Other animals, not so much. (With the exception, I guess, of wild caught animals, which I hadn't thought of because they're a small part of the problem, but still, veganism reduces the harm to them, and I certainly don't eat them.)

Also what do you mean by There is virtually no difference when it comes to the effect on farmed animals.?

What I'm saying is the following. The only reason I'm not strictly vegan is for social reasons. I'm married to an omni woman, and almost everyone I know is omni. It's socially useful to be able to occasionally go out to a restaurant and share a cheese pizza with my omni friends or wife, or go out to a Mexican restaurant with omnis, even one without vegan options, and order a dish that may have some cheese. Doing this occasionally, like once every week or two, makes my life much easier and smoother, reduces social and workplace hassle, and has very little effect on farmed animals. I suspect that if I did this for a 100 years, I'd affect at most one cow. Hardcore vegans might not like it (some will say "an animal murderer is still and animal murderer" or whatever), but that's the reality. It's a compromise I make with the world that I live in.

I find the hardcore vegan/animal rights movement interesting, because it's the only movement that, among some (though not all) of its adherents, there is an absolutist mentality so that you're either with us a 100%, with no deviations, or you're an enemy, who doesn't "get it" and doesn't even deserve the right to opine on vegan and animal rights issues (as with the other commenter on this thread). No other movement I'm aware of is like that. The environmental movement doesn't say that if someone drives or rides in a car fuled by fossil fuels, ever, then they don't care about climate change and the environment. The economic justice movement doesn't say that if someone buys a shirt without checking to see if it's manufactured by exploited workers in the developing world, then the person doesn't care about economic justice.

This is online veganism, though it's thankfully not a mindset that's very common on this forum. It's extremely common in other online vegan settings, like the MFA Facebook posts, which is why I never go there anymore. In any case, I'm not sure that this absolutist mentality is common among real world self-described vegans. I've met a few in the Chicago area, including through friends and at one meetup, and in my experience, many people in the real world who self-identity as vegan aren't strictly vegan (occasional cheese at parties or on holidays, etc.). It certainly doesn't bother me, because the "infractions" are small, and the problem of farmed animal exploitation is a massive, long term problem, and working toward a long-term solution will actually be hindered, not helped, by driving away people who are on the edge of being "vegan."

Personally, I can say that I go through a lot of hassle and inconvenience living like I do. I'm constantly cooking my own stuff, restaurants have to be chosen with me in mind, and I sometimes end up discussing farmed animals and their plight with omnis. It's inconvenient, but about 50% less inconvenient than if I were a strict vegan. Given what I'm doing and what I go through, I find it odd when I come across online uber-vegans who are all in my face and act like I "don' get it" and all of that stuff.
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#47 Old 01-18-2017, 09:23 AM
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I will answer neither, but I will say simply that the unkindness I see in this thread is one of the reasons I avoided learning about veganism for most of my life. I'm not alone. And those said to be enabling people or whatever by their kindness and accessibility were the ones who gave me the courage to make my way down this path. But I'm questioning whether these forums are an environment that will encourage me on this hard journey or discourage me, given this thread. I will not abandon my principles, but this may well not be a place where I should spend time.
Hi Avril

If you want to go vegan, then by all means do it, but only in the way, and for the reasons, that seem right for you. Just ignore distractions on this forum and elsewhere. At the end of the day, going vegan is travelling in what may be seen as the right direction, rather than having reached a destination.

Whatever you decide, my good wishes to you.

Lv
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#48 Old 01-18-2017, 10:59 AM
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To the question, "What does vegan mean?" we have two answers: A linguistic one and a philosophical one.

Language does evolve. Rightly or wrongly, it does, and we don't have control over the English language.

The philosophical question is more, "What should vegan mean," and "mean" here is more what should a claim to veganism demand of those who claim it.
Yes, good points of distinction.

It's not uncommon in areas where people have a very particular interest that the understanding of a word among that group, will vastly differ from that of common usage.
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#49 Old 01-18-2017, 12:27 PM
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I'm a bit behind on this, so hope you don't mind digging up some points from a while back in the thread.

I'm not sure I agree with "total vegetarianism" because most people accept that vegetarians can eat eggs and dairy, so that is confusing. I still think ""Dietary vegan" is OK, or at least "vegan diet". It is just saying that someone eats as a vegan does, not that they are actually vegan perhaps.

Although thinking about it a bit more, who are these dietary vegans and what is driving them? Can there really be many people out there scrupulously checking if their vitamins were sourced from animals, and making sure they don't eat processed plant foods with traces of gelatine, and then going out and deliberately buying leather shoes, going to the zoo, and buying cosmetics they know are tested on animals? It's difficult to find a justification for that. If people are dietary vegans (or total vegetarians, or total plant food eaters) with no veganism in lifestyle other than diet, it would be perhaps illogical to do that for a strict ethical reason due to animal liberation/rights/welfare, and so in practice they are probably health dietary vegans or environmental dietary vegans, and, so, I'd guess that many of them are not very strict about their dietary veganism anyway and probably eat food with dairy in (e.g. chocolate) even if they don't eat dairy. So, in practice they are probably not dietary vegans anyway.

I think most non-omnivores could identify as either vegetarian, mostly vegan, or vegan. A proliferation of terms such as flexitarian, cheegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian and pescatarian might, I wonder, be reaching the point of over complicating and confusing, to an omnivore trying to understand new choice. I think these terms should perhaps be minimized or kept to discussion in groups like this where some people are already veggie and can actually understand them. That's part of the reason that I'd advocate for some flexibility in, say, letting the vegetarians call themselves a vegetarian with occassional seafood, or vegans with occassional milk chocolate. At the end of the day there is always going to be a trade off between simplicity of definition and complexity. I'm not sure I'd advocate that people do call themselves vegan if they eat milk chocolate, but at least I suggest not to criticise them for it or correct them.

Of course there is a difference between a vegan talking about their milk chocolate eating in a non-vegan environment vs doing it on a vegan forum or vegan sub section of a vegetarian forum. Doing it here might annoy some people although strictly speaking I don't see anything wrong with it.

I've noticed the people on all the vegan forums tend to adopt a fairly strict definition of vegan (for example occassional honey use disqualifying the use of the term vegan) and yet there are many stories of people in real life calling themselves vegan and making more blatant exceptions like eating fish or dairy from time to time. I wonder if the online interpratation of how strictly to define what counts as a vegan tends to be stricter than people's real life discussons.

If so, I wonder why that would be. Perhaps people are being honest online, and quite happy to say you can't call yourself vegan because you ate honey whereas in person you might let it go even though they thought the same. Or perhaps it's because the types of vegans to post online in vegan forums are more serious about it, whereas those types of people that might call themselves a vegan in real life and eat eggs in social situations or whatever may not be serious enough about their veganism to get on online forums.

EDIT: When I say real life I mean in person rather than online. Perhaps I need a better term for that.

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#50 Old 01-18-2017, 12:34 PM
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Avril, unfortunately, if you want to avoid the odd heated discussion, you pretty much have to avoid the internet. These more passionate debates do, however, seem to be in my experience relatively rarer on these civilised vegan and vegetarian forums.

A decision to be a vegan should in my view, be about the strength of the ethical and environmental arguments rather than how vegans behave and I hope you do stick around and stick with an ethical diet.
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#51 Old 01-18-2017, 12:48 PM
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Doing this occasionally, like once every week or two, makes my life much easier and smoother, reduces social and workplace hassle, and has very little effect on farmed animals. I suspect that if I did this for a 100 years, I'd affect at most one cow.
Hi Dilettante.

To get a bit further, what would a vegan understand by your comment and has very little effect on farmed animals?

Also what are the mathematics you've used in the comment I suspect that if I did this for 100 years, I'd affect at most one cow?

Lv

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#52 Old 01-18-2017, 12:58 PM
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Although thinking about it a bit more, who are these dietary vegans and what is driving them? Can there really be many people out there scrupulously checking if their vitamins were sourced from animals, and making sure they don't eat processed plant foods with traces of gelatine, and then going out and deliberately buying leather shoes, going to the zoo, and buying cosmetics they know are tested on animals? It's difficult to find a justification for that. If people are dietary vegans (or total vegetarians, or total plant food eaters) with no veganism in lifestyle other than diet, it would be perhaps illogical to do that for a strict ethical reason due to animal liberation/rights/welfare, and so in practice they are probably health dietary vegans or environmental dietary vegans, and, so, I'd guess that many of them are not very strict about their dietary veganism anyway and probably eat food with dairy in (e.g. chocolate) even if they don't eat dairy. So, in practice they are probably not dietary vegans anyway.
Hi JiC.

Good comments. I think you've just about talked yourself round to agreeing what some of us have been saying in this thread ie no such creature, in effect, as a dietary vegan!

Lv
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#53 Old 01-18-2017, 03:14 PM
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Hi Dilettante.

To get a bit further, what would a vegan understand by your comment and has very little effect on farmed animals?
Lv


I think the comment is clear and am not sure what you find confusing about it. What you're calling a "vegan" harms animals, farmed and otherwise, as minimally as is reasonably possible (but, of course, still harms animals by driving and doing ordinarily daily activities). Someone who is only taking non-vegan vitamin D3 and is otherwise "vegan" harms animals very, very slightly more. (Could probably go thousands of years and only affect or kill one farmed animal above the baseline animal death rate caused by a vegan.) Someone like me, who is vegetarian, mostly vegan, harms animals very slightly more than that and could still go many years while only affecting or killing one farmed animal over and above the baseline animal death rate caused by a vegan). Full-blown O-L vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs on a regular basis harm farmed animals even more and probably could only go a matter of months or maybe a year or two before killing one animal above the baseline vegan death rate. The average omni, of course, does farm more harm. I hope that clarifies it.

Moreover, your question "what would a vegan understand by your comment...?" assumes that all vegans think alike and puts them in a special category when it comes to their understanding of my statement, which I don't necessarily believe is the case.

Also what are the mathematics you've used in the comment I suspect that if I did this for 100 years, I'd affect at most one cow?

It was an approximation. I didn't do the math, but I'll try to do it now. I'd very roughly estimate that my cheese consumption averages three times a month, so 36 times a year. If it's 5 ounces per serving, then it's 180 ounces, or 11.25 pounds per year. I just googled it, and the average dairy cow in the U.S. averages 21,000 pounds of milk per year. Vegan websites say the average dairy cow produces for 4-5 years before slaughter. Let's take the low end of the range, 4 years. That means 4 x 21,000 ==> 84,000 pounds of milk per cow per lifetime.

I just googled it, and it appears there is a 10:1 milk to cheese ratio, so 84,000 pounds of milk produces 8,400 pounds of cheese. Since I'm consuming approximately 11.25 pounds of cheese per year, this means I could go 8,400/11.25 ==> 747 years on my diet before being personally responsible for the suffering and death of a cow. To be conservative, I think I should throw in a fudge factor to account for me possibly underestimating my cheese consumption and the cow's production possibly tapering off in the fourth year. A fudge factor of 3, which I think is extremely (probably overly) conservative, would reduce it from 747 down to 249 years. Just for the sake of rounding, I'll say 250 years on my diet per cow as an extremely conservative estimate, but possibly longer.

(For a point of comparison, the average omnivore kills between 50 and and 100 animals per year on his/her plate.)

I don't think this is the type of issue that, in the grand scheme of things, should divide "pure" vegans from people who are aware of animal rights issues and very near to being vegan. In no other movement, as I've mentioned, does this all-or-nothing mentality prevail. Moreover, I think it's counterproductive to the cause of helping farmed animals, because being vegetarian, mostly vegan, is a much easier sell, because it's much less social hassle than being an actual vegan, with nearly the same gains for farmed animals. (In the long run, of course, it is to be hoped that dairy will be phased out, but that will likely be on a scale of centuries, if human civilization even lasts that long, and, given human nature, will likely depend on the development of synthetic alternatives.) Furthermore, someone on this thread suggested that unless I'm "vegan," there are some things that I don't understand or can't relate to. I disagree. I fully understand the plight a farmed animals, and to me, this type of thinking is magical thinking, that "vegans" are somehow special and able to understand things that others aren't.
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Last edited by Dilettante; 01-18-2017 at 04:43 PM.
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#54 Old 01-18-2017, 05:15 PM
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I think the comment is clear and am not sure what you find confusing about it.
Quote:
Moreover, your question "what would a vegan understand by your comment...?" assumes that all vegans think alike and puts them in a special category when it comes to their understanding of my statement, which I don't necessarily believe is the case
Hi D.

Thank you for clarifying your comment in some depth.

I used the phrase "what would a vegan understand by your comment..?" to elicit a response from the vegan perspective, the thread is about vegans and veganism after all. When it comes to the death and suffering of animals, all vegans will think alike (you'll notice that I'm using the word vegans not "vegans"). You've explained that very few cows die because of your cheese consumption and I do appreciate the time you have taken to give me the stats.

But although you've given me the vegetarian statistics, of how many cows (or part of a cow!) will have died for you over the years, you've not given me the vegan statistics of how many thousands of individual cows will have suffered on dairy farms over those same years.

This is why I, as a vegan, wanted to be sure I understood what exactly you meant in an earlier post by "reduces the harm to" [farm animals] and "very little effect" [on farm animals]. I now understand.

You have acknowledged your concern [over animal suffering?] with :
Quote:
In the long run, of course, it is to be hoped that dairy will be phased out, but that will likely be on a scale of centuries, if human civilization even lasts that long, and, given human nature, will likely depend on the development of synthetic alternatives.
I think that vegans will continue to promote veganism, so that dairy, and it's attached suffering will, within a shorter period than "centuries", go the same way as slavery. Alternatives to cows' milk are already becoming exponentially popular by the way.

Anyway nothing I can really add except my good wishes and thanks for your time.

Leedsveg.
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#55 Old 01-18-2017, 05:43 PM
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But although you've given me the vegetarian statistics, of how many cows (or part of a cow!) will have died for you over the years, you've not given me the vegan statistics of how many thousands of individual cows will have suffered on dairy farms over those same years.

I'm not sure what you mean by "vegetarian statistics." They are simply statistics. Moreover, the thousands of cows suffering on dairy farms (actually probably millions) are not the result of anything that you or I has done. They are a fact of the world, an unfortunate fact in my opinion. I didn't create the situation, nor can I eliminate the situation. They are just one, among many, problems and injustices in the world.

I think that vegans will continue to promote veganism, so that dairy, and it's attached suffering will, within a shorter period than "centuries", go the same way as slavery. Alternatives to cows' milk are already becoming exponentially popular by the way.

I wish that dairy would disappear tomorrow, not in centuries. One's intellectual desires are not dependent on whether one has the status "vegan." In any event, while I wish that dairy would disappear tomorrow, I believe that, unfortunately, it will be around for a very long time. Even human slavery is still around on Vietnamese shrimp farms, in Thai brothels, and in the remaining portion of the ISIS caliphate, among other places.

But as to animal agriculture, including dairy, it's much harder to convince the mass of the population of its cruelty than in the case of human slavery because the animals are unable to speak for themselves and describe their plight. That, along with people's magical thinking in believing in religion and god-given "rights" to eat animals, is ultimately the distinction which makes this a tougher sell than ending slavery, which as noted still exists but in much-reduced form from two centuries ago. I still believe that animal agriculture will, in the long run, shrink to almost non-existence in the developed world because of the animal rights movement, to some degree, but to a greater degree because of the cost and efficiency of synthetics, akin to what's already happened with horse and buggy transportation and human slavery.

Last edited by Dilettante; 01-18-2017 at 06:23 PM.
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#56 Old 01-19-2017, 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Dilettante View Post
I'm not sure what you mean by "vegetarian statistics." They are simply statistics. Moreover, the thousands of cows suffering on dairy farms (actually probably millions) are not the result of anything that you or I has done. They are a fact of the world, an unfortunate fact in my opinion. I didn't create the situation, nor can I eliminate the situation. They are just one, among many, problems and injustices in the world.
I thought my comment was clear but I'll explain. As we can agree, there are animal deaths in dairy agriculture which can be related to vegetarians who consume milk and you've worked out the statistics pertaining to yourself. For vegans, there are no such animal deaths to quantify. However apart from the deaths, there is also the terrible suffering of millions of individual animals and this is why vegans take into account more than just the death of an animal. Now I obviously realise that pain and suffering is more difficult to measure than simple death however it is a fact that has to be considered. The statistics that only look at the number of animals killed relating to vegetarianism, I would term "vegetarian statistics". Statistics that measure the number of years that numbers of animals have suffered, I would term "vegan statistics".

Sorry if I'm going on a bit but all I'm really trying to say is that when it comes to statistics on dairy, I don't think that the deaths of those animals are the only thing that matters.

Quote:
I wish that dairy would disappear tomorrow, not in centuries. One's intellectual desires are not dependent on whether one has the status "vegan." In any event, while I wish that dairy would disappear tomorrow, I believe that, unfortunately, it will be around for a very long time.

When it comes to who is responsible for the conditions on dairy farms, all I can say is that the less dairy consumers there are, the less animals there will be living awful lives. I have to be blunt and say that vegetarians (and omnis) just wishing that things were better with dairy will in my opinion accomplish little.

If you want to get respond, please do but I think we're at the stage where we're probably going round in circles if we carry on.

Lv
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#57 Old 01-19-2017, 07:05 AM
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I'm going to be careful here. I want to respect the fact that many vegans are using this forum, and I have the utmost respect for vegans. However, I will note that this thread is in the "compost heap," which is not specifically a vegan part of the board. The overall board is for vegetarians and vegans. With that in mind, I'll say the following:

As we can agree, there are animal deaths in dairy agriculture which can be related to vegetarians who consume milk and you've worked out the statistics pertaining to yourself. For vegans, there are no such animal deaths to quantify.

This is incorrect for multiple reasons. First, the deaths in the dairy industry are not solely related to vegetarians, which is why they're not "vegetarian statistics." The deaths are, in fact, related to vegetarians and omnis. Second, there are animals deaths related to vegans, even avoidable deaths, that vegans cause by performing their daily activities, like driving (insects and other animals smashed and crushed). This could be avoided by living in city centers where cars are unnecessary, or riding bicycles. Please note that I'm not criticizing vegans. I'm just being intellectually honest. Vegans cause fewer animal deaths than just about anyone else (a good thing!), but not zero animal deaths.

When it comes to who is responsible for the conditions on dairy farms, all I can say is that the less dairy consumers there are, the less animals there will be living awful lives.

It's technically correct that fewer dairy consumers translates to fewer dairy animals, but it misses the main point. The main point, and the logical heart of the matter, is that it's not the absolute number of dairy consumers that matters; rather it's the amount of dairy that's consumed. The less dairy consumed by humans, the fewer dairy cows that suffer and die. That's the most relevant analysis. Trying to make it into a false choice between zero consumption and heavy consumption, as you seem to be doing, blurs the picture. The goal really ought to be boycotting the dairy industry, to whatever extent practical for each person. All of us, including me, who are concerned about the dairy industry do our part, to whatever degree we're wiling/able. My dairy consumption is extremely low as to be virtually a rounding error in the grand scheme of things. Some people (admittedly not me) might be vegetarians who restrict their dairy consumption to situations, like parties or workplace meetings, where it would be thrown away anyway. Those individuals would be non-vegans who do no more harm to animals than vegans do.

In any event, I strongly suspect that if the animal rights movement were less absolutist about things, far more people would be willing to severely restrict their use of animal products, a win for animals. This would be much more effective, imo, then trying to make it a binary issue between vegan and non-vegan.

As I've mentioned before, no other movement (environmental, etc.) tries to make it an all-or-nothing choice between supporters and non-supporters. Moreover, every self-identified "vegan" that I've met in the real world occasionally "lapses." I strongly suspect that, truth be told, the number of pure "vegans" is far less than the statistics commonly show. And that's okay, imo, because the goal should be a reduction in the overall amount of meat and dairy consumed, not attaining an absolute, quaisi-religious status of "vegan."

I have to be blunt and say that vegetarians (and omnis) just wishing that things were better with dairy will in my opinion accomplish little.

You seem to be suggesting that, unless someone absolutely avoids dairy, with zero exceptions, their wishes are either disingenuous or hypocritical. (Forgive me if this is an inaccurate interpretation, but that's my sense from the tone.) This is, certainly, incorrect. It's like saying that, unless someone never drives or rides in a car, they don't care about the problem of carbon emissions and global warming. It's simply false. We all make compromises with the world we live in. I eat an extremely tiny amount of dairy primarily for social reasons, and if I were living and working around vegans, instead of omnis, I'd be vegan. I just am not going to make a big deal about the last tiny amount of dairy that I consume, and the fact that (some, not all) vegans do make a big deal about it--and try to suggest that it implies that my wishes regarding the dairy industry are hypocritical and meaningless--is something that I find interesting.

One final point:

As I have noted previously in this thread, there are a lot of people, like me, who are near-vegans and out there in the real world taking a lot of flack and going through a lot of hassle for farmed animals. I actually cook a separate dinner from my wife, who is omni, most days. That's a lot of hassle on my part. I also cook separate lunches and bring them to work because the cafeteria has one only veggie option, and it's not very good. At workplace functions, often the question is: does the restaurant have something that I'll eat?

Given this, to some people who are making this effort, it's demoralizing to be told by certain vegans that they are allegedly hypocrites, or that they allegedly don't care about farmed animals, because of some minor exceptions they make here and there as a compromise with the world that they live in. Fortunately, in my case, I have an intellectual suit of armor, and I don't let it get to me. However, the animal rights movement should think twice, imo, about whether it is essentially alienating people who are allies, and whose diet saves 100 animals a year over the typical omni diet. This is especially the case because only 0.5% of the population, at least in the U.S., self-identifies as "vegan," and I strongly suspect that many of those individuals are actually near-vegans, if one really looked at it closely. Given this, and the massive scope of farmed animal exploitation, and the long-term effort that it will take to attack this problem, the best thing for the animals is to encourage as many people as possible to do whatever they are willing and able to do to reduce animal intake. I think that being vegetarian, mostly vegan, is a pretty good compromise.
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Last edited by Dilettante; 01-19-2017 at 09:20 AM.
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#58 Old 01-19-2017, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Dilettante View Post
This is incorrect for multiple reasons. First, the deaths in the dairy industry are not solely related to vegetarians, which is why they're not "vegetarian statistics." The deaths are, in fact, related to vegetarians and omnis. Second, there are animals deaths related to vegans, even avoidable deaths, that vegans cause by performing their daily activities, like driving (insects and other animals smashed and crushed).
Hi D.

Firstly, I've not said that deaths in the dairy industry are solely related to vegetarians. You did however kindly extrapolate the number of deaths in the dairy industry relating to yourself as a vegetarian and this is why I felt able to use the term "vegetarian statistics" in connection with yourself and other vegetarians.

Secondly as we were talking solely about the dairy industry, I felt no need to talk about animal deaths caused by vegans, outside that industry.

Quote:
Again, this is incorrect. It's not the number of dairy consumers that matters. It's the amount of dairy consumed. The less dairy consumed by humans, the fewer dairy cows that suffer and die. That's the only relevant analysis.
I think we're getting a little bit nit-picking now but if this way of thinking can help lacto-vegetarians rationalise and cope with the inherent cruelties of the dairy industry, then maybe it's no big deal? Vegans also make rationalisations to cope with stuff but that is a topic for another thread.


Quote:
You seem to be suggesting that, unless someone absolutely avoids dairy, with no exceptions, their wishes are either disingenuous, or hypocritical. (Forgive me if that's an inaccurate interpretation, but that's my sense of the tone.)
Yes, that's an inaccurate interpretation. All I've tried to do with our recent conversation is to bring to the table, the fact that as well as animal deaths in the dairy industry, there is also a terrible amount of animal suffering that occurs. I'm sure that vegans reading, and perhaps participating, in this thread would not want that fact to be left unremarked.

We really don't seem able to see eye-to-eye on the thread topic and how it's developed so I'm all for leaving the thread and debating other topics perhaps more fruitfully.

Leedsveg.

On making this post, I now find that you've revised your post #57, the one I was responding to. Some of what I'm saying may now not make sense, or seem incomplete to readers. Having spent quite a time composing my post, I really don't feel motivated enough to re-post. Sorry but I'm off to my treadmill - literally!

Last edited by leedsveg; 01-19-2017 at 09:37 AM.
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#59 Old 01-19-2017, 09:33 AM
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My Quote:
Again, this is incorrect. It's not the number of dairy consumers that matters. It's the amount of dairy consumed. The less dairy consumed by humans, the fewer dairy cows that suffer and die. That's the only relevant analysis.

Leedveg's quote:

I think we're getting a little bit nit-picking now but if this way of thinking can help lacto-vegetarians rationalise and cope with the inherent cruelties of the dairy industry, then maybe it's no big deal?


I've noticed that it's common among vegans, particularly online, to allege that someone who is not strictly vegan and who discusses anything related to veganism is "rationalizing" his/her "cruel" behavior, presumably because he/she feels guilty and needs to rationalize. It's often, with all due respect, a mild form of psychological warfare designed to create cognitive dissonance. I don't buy into it, at least not regarding my statements in that comment. I am 100% correct that it's reducing overall dairy consumption that's relevant, not the number of vegans. If each omni (and vegetarian) reduced dairy consumption by 10%, that would have a vastly greater effect on the dairy industry than doubling, tripling, or quadrupling the number of vegans.

Moreover, I downplay the significance of the distinction between a vegan and a near-vegan diet, as I've said. The effects on the animal agriculture industry are nearly identical.
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Last edited by Dilettante; 01-19-2017 at 09:58 AM.
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#60 Old 01-19-2017, 09:56 AM
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Hi D.

Just a quick post. I'm sorry to say it but you're putting words in my mouth that I did not say. I was talking about the cruelties inherent in the dairy system not lacto-consumers "rationalising" "their cruel behaviour". You are implying that I was referring to lacto-consumers with "their cruel behaviour" label and you know, and everybody else can see, that this is not true.

I am now putting you on "ignore" as I do not wish to converse with you any more.

Lv

Last edited by leedsveg; 01-19-2017 at 09:59 AM.
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