PETA ad plays off bus tragedy - Page 11 - VeggieBoards
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#301 Old 09-18-2008, 05:47 AM
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There is always the middle ground between PeTA style in-your-face yelling and keeping mouse quiet. I tend to agree with you that for every convert PeTA makes it pushes away 10 more but that's no reason to keep your mouth closed. Respectful conversation and living by example surely can't be seen as extremist.



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Is it more productive to offend a large segment of the population whose minds will likely be forever closed to veg*nism, than to explain to people that the animals that end at their dinner tables have been tortured their whole lives? I know very well how this ad campaign has gone down. People were fuming. $%&^$! PETA again, as I heard over and over. What good did that do? What good is it for people to start equating veg*ns with 'extrimist' cultists? How many people does the 'if you eat meat, you're a murderer' convert? How many does it put off, often forever?



And yes, I'd argue it's an extremely complicated area of ethics. I'm not sure how one could not reach that conclusion, since the field of ethics to begin with is not exactly something that's easy to pin down. I can't say, for example, that I have much in agreement with the ethics of PETA-revered Peter Singer, whose views I find highly distasteful.


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#302 Old 09-18-2008, 08:45 AM
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Is it more productive to offend a large segment of the population whose minds will likely be forever closed to veg*nism, than to explain to people that the animals that end at their dinner tables have been tortured their whole lives?

I was not comparing an intentional avoidance of any moral opinion about meat-eating with PETA's ad. I was saying that avoiding the whole subject of the exploitation of animals and only focusing on their treatment is counterproductive, as opposed to an approach that questions the idea of animals as food in a calm and intelligent and honest way.



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And yes, I'd argue it's an extremely complicated area of ethics. I'm not sure how one could not reach that conclusion, since the field of ethics to begin with is not exactly something that's easy to pin down. I can't say, for example, that I have much in agreement with the ethics of PETA-revered Peter Singer, whose views I find highly distasteful.

Whether it's okay to put some people in a gas chamber may strike someone as an extremely complicated area of ethics too, but for some other people, it's relatively simple, and the complexities involve other ethical issues, like abortion or euthanasia.



And I disagree with Peter Singer.

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#303 Old 09-18-2008, 02:19 PM
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Whether it's okay to put some people in a gas chamber may strike someone as an extremely complicated area of ethics too, but for some other people, it's relatively simple, and the complexities involve other ethical issues, like abortion or euthanasia.



And I disagree with Peter Singer.



Well, you are correct, it's not so simple for humans either. Why is it wrong to kill another human being? Obviously, any religion is going to have it as a part of the code (and some, like Hinduism and Buddhism, will have edicts against killing animals, as well).



But what if we reject morality and ethics coming from the 'divine?' What if we don't believe in the divine? Well, then, it becomes a lot harder. We're back to liberal state of nature arguments. I don't kill you because it's actually in my self-interest, lest I be killed to. I don't cheat, steal, etc. for the same reasons.



We can ratchet this further up to a utilitarian ethic, in that the vast majority of humanity benefits from such a moral code (I do note that there are severe problems with this view, as espoused by Dostoevsky, for example). Indeed, Hitler precisely argued this point that:



a) the vast majority of humanity would be better with Jews being dead

b) that the opinion of the Jews did not matter since they weren't human species



Neither was even closely tenable, which is why Hitler's utilitarian ethic here wasn't at all, and thus could not be considered anything else but breaking that code.



So human rights are just convenience rights - there is nothing intrinsic about them. The problem is that either self-interest or the utilitarian ethic don't necessarily work for animal rights. Animals don't cheat or steal from me, and they're extremely unlikely to kill me. So from a purely self-interested point, I may not owe them anything. One could make an argument that humanity as a whole hurts from production of meat and makes some people starve, but while this may be viewed as the utilitarian ethic, it still does not speak of animal rights, or even of cutting out meat completely.



Now, I'm not swayed by this, myself. I do think that there are intrinsic rights for humans and that many of them extend to animals, too. But I don't see a way I can extend this argument without making certain assumptions and leaps that others may very well find questionable. Certainly, nothing close to these classic liberal tenets (which, as I acknowledge, sometimes have deeply troubling conclusions). I'm a bit of a neo-Platonist on this question and do hold that there are buried universal truths about these questions, but I concede I don't know where these universal truths could come from.



There is a definite emotional element here for me, as well, and my opinion is that a person's viscera reacts far more violently upon seeing the 'spectacle' of factory farming, than it does by trying to convince that person that eating meat is intrinsically wrong.



Just my $0.02.
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#304 Old 09-18-2008, 02:39 PM
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But what if we reject morality and ethics coming from the 'divine?' What if we don't believe in the divine? Well, then, it becomes a lot harder. We're back to liberal state of nature arguments. I don't kill you because it's actually in my self-interest, lest I be killed to. I don't cheat, steal, etc. for the same reasons.



We can ratchet this further up to a utilitarian ethic, in that the vast majority of humanity benefits from such a moral code (I do note that there are severe problems with this view, as espoused by Dostoevsky, for example). Indeed, Hitler precisely argued this point that:



a) the vast majority of humanity would be better with Jews being dead

b) that the opinion of the Jews did not matter since they weren't human species



Neither was even closely tenable, which is why Hitler's utilitarian ethic here wasn't at all, and thus could not be considered anything else but breaking that code.



So human rights are just convenience rights - there is nothing intrinsic about them. The problem is that either self-interest or the utilitarian ethic don't necessarily work for animal rights. Animals don't cheat or steal from me, and they're extremely unlikely to kill me. So from a purely self-interested point, I may not owe them anything. One could make an argument that humanity as a whole hurts from production of meat and makes some people starve, but while this may be viewed as the utilitarian ethic, it still does not speak of animal rights, or even of cutting out meat completely.



Now, I'm not swayed by this, myself. I do think that there are intrinsic rights for humans and that many of them extend to animals, too. But I don't see a way I can extend this argument without making certain assumptions and leaps that others may very well find questionable. Certainly, nothing close to these classic liberal tenets (which, as I acknowledge, sometimes have deeply troubling conclusions). I'm a bit of a neo-Platonist on this question and do hold that there are buried universal truths about these questions, but I concede I don't know where these universal truths could come from.

I'm well aware of the fact that moral norms may need to rest on other norms which in the end cannot be justified but only have to be taken as given. (Kinda like we also have to take something as given when we're doing math or empirical science.) I certainly concede the complexity of meat-eating in that particular sense, but it's not what I was referring to; what I mean is that meat-eating is not that complicated an ethical issue, because the animals' interests in not being caused horrible suffering and then killed are pretty easy to weigh with something that in most cases, at least in the Western context, amounts to nothing but convenience, taste and tradition.



To me, the real complicated issues about animal rights concern such things as e.g. the welfare of a species vs. the welfare of its individual members, and the way in which the AR ethic should be framed (as "animals are not property" or as a kind of "least harm" principle, etc.).



The starting point for most animal rights discussions -- and also the starting point for animal advocacy -- is not a moral vacuum where we have no idea what makes Holocaust wrong. The starting point is rather certain ideas of the moral status of human beings (they are not to be used in experiments or kept as slaves, etc.) and non-human beings (it's wrong to cause them "unnecessary suffering") -- ideas shared by most people (at least those potentially receptive to an AW/AR message)



Hitler's reasoning didn't have much to do with Utilitarianism (although I disagree with both), which is centrally about equal interests having equal moral value, something which he obviously didn't care about. Arguing from a "greater good" doesn't suffice to make something an utilitarian ethic. I think Singer's Utilitarian arguments are better than what meat-eaters are offering, but I disagree with the semi-AW ethic they lead to.

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#305 Old 09-18-2008, 03:25 PM
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The starting point for most animal rights discussions -- and also the starting point for animal advocacy -- is not a moral vacuum where we have no idea what makes Holocaust wrong. The starting point is rather certain ideas of the moral status of human beings (they are not to be used in experiments or kept as slaves, etc.) and non-human beings (it's wrong to cause them "unnecessary suffering") -- ideas shared by most people (at least those potentially receptive to an AW/AR message)



Yes, but I'm interested as to where those ideas come from. Saying that it is wrong to cause animals unnecessary suffering doesn't explain why it's wrong, so we hit that question sooner or later. You and I may feel it's wrong - but we have a far harder time of constructing an argument 'out of nothing' than we would for human beings.





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Hitler's reasoning didn't have much to do with Utilitarianism (although I disagree with both), which is centrally about equal interests having equal moral value, something which he obviously didn't care about. Arguing from a "greater good" doesn't suffice to make something an utilitarian ethic. I think Singer's Utilitarian arguments are better than what meat-eaters are offering, but I disagree with the semi-AW ethic they lead to.



True, I was oversimplifying utilitarianism, but it's no accident that Hitler attempted to classify Jews as a separate or at least highly inferior species. One of the problem with Singers view (without getting into his distasteful conclusions when dealing with humans) - and many other utilitarians - is that they've removed themselves from the original 'genesis' of utilitarianism. At its core it still has to based on liberal self-interest, and not on this 'pleasure' kick that utilitarians have got themselves into. Otherwise, they're just building a house without foundations once again.
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#306 Old 09-18-2008, 03:50 PM
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Yes, but I'm interested as to where those ideas come from. Saying that it is wrong to cause animals unnecessary suffering doesn't explain why it's wrong, so we hit that question sooner or later. You and I may feel it's wrong - but we have a far harder time of constructing an argument 'out of nothing' than we would for human beings.



It's actually interesting to me that this does seem to be a part of humanity - our compassion for [other] animals. We actually don't really need to go into the question of why since it's a given that the vast majority of people already understand that the compassion for animals is already there. It may be interesting to ask why but it's not necessary.



I usually frame my vegan/ahimsa position by trying to understand where the other person is and then going from there. So, here in the west, it's pretty easy because most of us have been taught that we cannot (morally or legally) kill dogs and cats for pleasure. Most everyone has a sense of why without having to examine the idea. So if it's wrong to kill a dog for pleasure why is it wrong to kill a pig for pleasure? It just falls into place.



I'm not sure what it's like in other cultures but I think the same idea is there - they do show compassion for animals in at least some way. So to be consistent they could go in one direction or another - they could shut down all their compassion for all animals or they could include all animals. This would mean, then, avoiding harming/killing animals where possible - and thinking of new ways to make that possible.
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#307 Old 09-18-2008, 07:00 PM
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Yes, but I'm interested as to where those ideas come from.

I think ultimately, there are two choices:



1) they come from the linguistic rules of moral language

2) they ultimately cannot be based on anything non-moral



Let's say we favor the second alternative. Why does that make the issue of meat-eating complicated?

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You and I may feel it's wrong - but we have a far harder time of constructing an argument 'out of nothing' than we would for human beings.

How so? I think the questions about the "origin" of moral norms apply just as well to human rights as they do to animal rights.



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One of the problem with Singers view (without getting into his distasteful conclusions when dealing with humans) - and many other utilitarians - is that they've removed themselves from the original 'genesis' of utilitarianism. At its core it still has to based on liberal self-interest, and not on this 'pleasure' kick that utilitarians have got themselves into. Otherwise, they're just building a house without foundations once again.

I fail to see why someone who only cares about their self-interest wants to participate in ethical discussion at all. To me, ethics is centrally about concern for the other, for the sake of that other. I see prudence and morality as quite separate.



And I think all appeals to self-interest to ground anything more than a very counterintuitive form of rational egoism will fail. Even if you can show some moral rule to be beneficial for humanity as a whole (when observed as a general practice), that does absolutely nothing to explain why a particular person at a particular opportunity should give a **** about anyone else. It is their own individual interest, in the context where that general moral rule is already being observed by other people, that that person cares about.



I don't know what you mean by the genesis of utilitarianism and the "pleasure kick", because as far as I can tell, pleasure was the central element when Utilitarianism as a distinct theory came to be. And anyway, people like Singer are not interested in pleasure as such, they are interested in preferences/interests.

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#308 Old 09-18-2008, 11:00 PM
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I think ultimately, there are two choices:



1) they come from the linguistic rules of moral language

2) they ultimately cannot be based on anything non-moral



Let's say we favor the second alternative. Why does that make the issue of meat-eating complicated?



Why is eating meat non-moral? Indeed, books have been written about the idea that there is nothing non-moral about eating meat.





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How so? I think the questions about the "origin" of moral norms apply just as well to human rights as they do to animal rights.



I fail to see why someone who only cares about their self-interest wants to participate in ethical discussion at all. To me, ethics is centrally about concern for the other, for the sake of that other. I see prudence and morality as quite separate.



And I think all appeals to self-interest to ground anything more than a very counterintuitive form of rational egoism will fail. Even if you can show some moral rule to be beneficial for humanity as a whole (when observed as a general practice), that does absolutely nothing to explain why a particular person at a particular opportunity should give a **** about anyone else. It is their own individual interest, in the context where that general moral rule is already being observed by other people, that that person cares about.



See, it's not that I disagree with absolutely anything you wrote, because I actually don't.



But, where does this concern for other come from? The self-interest argument is, I find, powerful in some ways, but you are completely right that it does not necessarily explain "why a particular person at a particular opportunity should give a **** about anyone else." The theory here is that they will, because that's better to do than risking all hell and having someone do the same to you (I steal from you, someone else from me - better not open that can of worms). Problem, of course, is that there are indeed particular circumstances where all this breaks apart, and rather fatally. But this sort of thinking does have an allure, and definitely doesn't speak up for animals very much. And, while I could disagree with the person making this argument, pointing to absurd conclusions to which it may lead, I could not offer a theory myself that included animal rights, without including at least a few more assumptions.





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I don't know what you mean by the genesis of utilitarianism and the "pleasure kick", because as far as I can tell, pleasure was the central element when Utilitarianism as a distinct theory came to be. And anyway, people like Singer are not interested in pleasure as such, they are interested in preferences/interests.



'Pleasure' kick may be wrong, since it is true that early utilitarians based their theory on happiness. However, this was ultimately rooted in notions of individual self-interest and basically expanded to include society as a whole. It's no accident that utilitarinism comes from earlier liberal ethics. (I do note that I'm greatly oversimplifying here, but I will not be writing essays about the topic).
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#309 Old 09-18-2008, 11:15 PM
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It's actually interesting to me that this does seem to be a part of humanity - our compassion for [other] animals. We actually don't really need to go into the question of why since it's a given that the vast majority of people already understand that the compassion for animals is already there. It may be interesting to ask why but it's not necessary.



I think this compassion is a bit more prevalent among veg*n folk than otherwise. I've met people before who have had no particular feelings about animals at all. Weird, but true. I don't choose to associate myself with such people, because I actually think there's something deeply disturbing and not normal about it. Maybe I'm overly 'academic' about this in general, but see that's the thing: deep down, I see this as a 'gut' type of an issue, and I find that what gets people to sit up is the absolute sheer cruelty of factory farming practices more than anything else. Obviously, others have had different experiences.





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I usually frame my vegan/ahimsa position by trying to understand where the other person is and then going from there. So, here in the west, it's pretty easy because most of us have been taught that we cannot (morally or legally) kill dogs and cats for pleasure. Most everyone has a sense of why without having to examine the idea. So if it's wrong to kill a dog for pleasure why is it wrong to kill a pig for pleasure? It just falls into place.



Here it seems I have a Sevenseas moment, because I've found this not to work. It's fascinating how even - what I assume are - slight micro cultural differences change things (because I think you are from Canada, as well), because I would also assume the dog angle would work very well, but I haven't found this to be so. I've actually gotten 'there's nothing wrong about eating dogs, it is just a cultural taboo' many times. I don't know if people saying this are just keeping a straight face or not, because I can't imagine the same person not reacting if someone was about to kill a dog! Other times I've gotten 'dogs have been domesticated to bond with humans and our DNA has changed so we like them, while pigs don't do that.' I'd say that's missing the point, but here we are.





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I'm not sure what it's like in other cultures but I think the same idea is there - they do show compassion for animals in at least some way. So to be consistent they could go in one direction or another - they could shut down all their compassion for all animals or they could include all animals. This would mean, then, avoiding harming/killing animals where possible - and thinking of new ways to make that possible.



I think you are right that there is somehow some intrinsic compassion towards other animals, because even (or especially) hunter-gatherers did not generally take the killing of animals just for 'show'.
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#310 Old 09-19-2008, 12:12 AM
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I think this compassion is a bit more prevalent among veg*n folk than otherwise. I've met people before who have had no particular feelings about animals at all. Weird, but true. I don't choose to associate myself with such people, because I actually think there's something deeply disturbing and not normal about it. Maybe I'm overly 'academic' about this in general, but see that's the thing: deep down, I see this as a 'gut' type of an issue, and I find that what gets people to sit up is the absolute sheer cruelty of factory farming practices more than anything else. Obviously, others have had different experiences.



I'm surprised that factory farming and conveyor system slaughter houses get people to become veg*n. I think the shock of it does hit them but it would seem to me that people would just ask "aren't there farms and slaughterhouses that don't operate like that?". But there are a lot of veg*ns here who became veg*n because of those intensely cruel practices.



But I don't think it would be only factory farms and such that would get people to realize their own compassion for animals. I think people would sit up and take notice if they're own companinion animal had her/his throat slit because someone derived some kind of pleasure from that. But of course that shouldn't be done - however, if we can show video footage of an animal being slaughtered (there are some on youtube where the animal was never in a factory farm) and get people to consider how they would feel if that happened to their companion animal, then they would have to examine what the difference is.





Quote:

Here it seems I have a Sevenseas moment, because I've found this not to work. It's fascinating how even - what I assume are - slight micro cultural differences change things (because I think you are from Canada, as well), because I would also assume the dog angle would work very well, but I haven't found this to be so. I've actually gotten 'there's nothing wrong about eating dogs, it is just a cultural taboo' many times. I don't know if people saying this are just keeping a straight face or not, because I can't imagine the same person not reacting if someone was about to kill a dog! Other times I've gotten 'dogs have been domesticated to bond with humans and our DNA has changed so we like them, while pigs don't do that.' I'd say that's missing the point, but here we are.



It's interesting how the vast majority of omnis are outraged a the death of a dog that occurs in a similar fashion to the death of pigs. I think people can talk in a kind of coldness when there is an intellectual discussion about the issue. Yet again and again the reaction is so similar when these stories come up and 95% of the population is omnivorous:



STRATHCONA COUNTY - The death of a friendly neighbourhood dog named Sammy whose throat was slit has horrified people living in an acreage subdivision south of Sherwood Park.



"I was just shocked to hear somebody could do this to a dog," a tearful homeowner said Wednesday. "He was such a beautiful friendly dog."



She said residents of the Camelot Square neighbourhood have been talking about the medium-sized white dog's death since it happened on the weekend.




http://www.canada.com/edmontonjourna...50dee5&k=17274
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#311 Old 09-19-2008, 01:13 AM
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It's interesting how the vast majority of omnis are outraged a the death of a dog that occurs in a similar fashion to the death of pigs. I think people can talk in a kind of coldness when there is an intellectual discussion about the issue.



I agree. I think it's easy to 'talk crap' when one is sitting down in a room and when everything is just a set of hypotheticals. Because people are screaming for 'blood' in actual real cases. I'm sure you're also familiar with this recent one:



http://canadianpress.google.com/arti...L_L8arxzZ2Skzg



Grandmother pleads for calm as anger mounts over B.C. puppy shooting



VICTORIA — A B.C. grandmother pleaded for calm Wednesday amid concerns the shotgun shooting of her grandson's puppy could provoke vigilante action against the man facing chargesin
(sic! - Internet news have really eroded the standard of editing) the incident.



Margaret Rose's grandson's 14-week-old puppy was shot last weekend after playfully chasing after some hunters on Quadra Island, off the east coast of Vancouver Island.
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#312 Old 09-19-2008, 02:19 AM
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Yes, I saw the followup on the news tonight. Yup, people, in general, get very upset when a dog is killed and yet how many of them ate a burger tonight...



I hadn't heard of any suggestion of vigilante action. It just goes to show, though, that even those who didn't know the dog can become very upset.



And I think this compassion for animals crosses all cultural lines. It manifests in different ways, perphaps, but if we can find it in whatever culture, I think we have something to build upon when we talk about compassion for all animals.



I come at this from a spiritual perspective so I would have my own view on why we have this compassion but for those who don't have a spiritual perspective or have a different spiritual perspective the why doesn't matter - it only matters that it's there. After that it's "only" a matter of convincing people to apply that compassion consistently.
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#313 Old 09-19-2008, 08:11 AM
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Why is eating meat non-moral? Indeed, books have been written about the idea that there is nothing non-moral about eating meat.

Whaaa? I was talking about the fact that ethical norms derive from other ethical norms, until we reach the point where some norms simply have to be taken as given, or then derived from something non-moral (like linguistic rules).



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But, where does this concern for other come from?

Where does appreciation of music come from?

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The theory here is that they will, because that's better to do than risking all hell and having someone do the same to you (I steal from you, someone else from me - better not open that can of worms).

I don't think circumstances are very likely to occur where a particular individual stealing from someone else will result in being a victim of theft him/herself. Stealing, if the person gets caught, will result in punishment, not more stealing.



For someone who only cares about their self-interest, stealing will always be worth it when the risk of getting caught is small and the reward great.



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But this sort of thinking does have an allure, and definitely doesn't speak up for animals very much.

If it has an allure, it is based on ignorance about the ease with which individuals can get away with a lot of things without suffering negative consequences.



Quote:
And, while I could disagree with the person making this argument, pointing to absurd conclusions to which it may lead, I could not offer a theory myself that included animal rights, without including at least a few more assumptions.

We start from certain norms about humans' moral status. We then ask for the reasoning behind those norms. A reasoning from self-interest can be shown to be faulty, so we may have to be honest about it and admit that we think humans simply have some qualities that entitle them to membership in the moral community. Then the discussion shifts to what those qualities are. Such qualities as species, intelligence and appearance can be shown to be problematic, and this opens the door to including non-humans in the moral community.



I don't think this process needs to engage in some extra assumptions beyond those that most people share about humans' moral status. The complexity here is only the complexity in the conceited rationalizations of people who desperately want to maintain an arbitrary division between species.

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#314 Old 09-20-2008, 06:13 PM
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i dont know if thats really "going too far", i mean they do this a lot, and damn well you know we all thought the same thing one time or another, theyre just vocal about it in the media.



Remeber when the taliban had those videos of beheding the guys they captured? People watched that, and although as bad as it was, its the same thing that happens every day here and there in the meat industry. Yeah it was sickening but well as the meat crowd states, "thats life" .



I think if anything, it gets people to think about what happens to what they eat, maybe theyll think twice instead of pass off the "media" as over hype and dramatization
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#315 Old 09-21-2008, 10:21 PM
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i dont know if thats really "going too far", i mean they do this a lot, and damn well you know we all thought the same thing one time or another, theyre just vocal about it in the media.



Remeber when the taliban had those videos of beheding the guys they captured? People watched that, and although as bad as it was, its the same thing that happens every day here and there in the meat industry. Yeah it was sickening but well as the meat crowd states, "thats life" .



I think if anything, it gets people to think about what happens to what they eat, maybe theyll think twice instead of pass off the "media" as over hype and dramatization





I could not have said it better myself. I had thought the same thing.

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#316 Old 09-25-2008, 11:14 AM
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Murders occur everyday, his is no different...probably a bit more gruesome but that's it.



I see nothing wrong with this advert. It's making a connection people seriously need to make. Humans, animals. One in the same when it comes to murder.
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