What would YOU say to this? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-04-2014, 05:24 AM
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What would YOU say to this?

Since becoming a vegan (and also when I used to be vegetarian) I have heard family members say things like: "But if it wasn't for the meat and dairy industry, then there would be NO cows left in the field. Life is better than no life at all."


Of course I do not agree with this statement at all, and I've pretty much responded by saying that NO life WOULD be better, because animals reared to produce dairy products are treated absolutely awful, and I am sure they would rather not live a life of suffering. It's not like they are free, roaming about in the fields and being treated naturally.


I wondered what you would say though - what would your response be to this, as I hear it a lot from family? And, have you been told similar things?


I'm a new vegan, and although I am secure in my own reasons for wanting to live this lifestyle, I am not practised in having to "defend" or debate it. Any advice would be great.
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“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so, is immoral.”
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#2 Old 12-04-2014, 06:59 AM
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I've heard this one before too. Its nonsense. My reply would depend on who was asking me because this can often just be an attempt from a closed-minded person to defend meat eating or to prove that vegans are wrong or something. But if it is coming from someone who is genuinely curious, there are several responses. One Is that we have no need for meat. That is proven. If the person believes that animals have any moral value at all, whether equal to or less than humans, than we have no right to raise them just to kill them for meat that we do not need. If the person is concerned about their health, there is more than enough evidence and reference material available to prove that a plant-based diet is no less healthy and arguably more healthy than an animal based diet. If the person is concerned about the environment, you can point out the fact that animal agriculture is responsible for an estimated 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions and is the largest contributor to deforestation and water pollution and fresh water shortages. If the individual cares about other humans, then you can point out the fact that we are feeding millions of tons of grain to cows and other livestock in order to produce meat that is lower in calories and nutritional value than the grain that we feed them. We have enough grain on this plane right now to feed the entire world, but instead there are literally starving people living next door to fields of grain that are being shipped from their countries to more affluent nations to feed animals.
If the person your talking to doesn't care about the animals, environment, their health or other people, well it's not a conversation worth having at that point.
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#3 Old 12-04-2014, 07:33 AM
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Veghead - Thank you for your reply, I will try and incorporate some of those facts you listed if I feel someone genuinely wants to discuss the issue. Half the time, I get the impression people just want to trip you up and make you look silly. I don't have time for those kinds of people.

The truth is, I think it's disgusting to say "That's why animals are there" and "Animals wouldn't be here anymore, they'd be extinct if we didn't farm them, so we need to keep the meat and dairy industry up." It offends me. There is no excuse to eat an animal. No excuse.
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#4 Old 12-04-2014, 09:45 AM
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I think cows are fully capable of caring for themselves.
Humans don't need prisons to care for them so why would animals need factory farms?
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#5 Old 12-04-2014, 02:00 PM
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Does she realize that the livestock animals are not natural? That they have been inseminated for selectively bred traits that don't happen naturally? Chickens and turkeys can't hardley stand due to enlarged breasts often breaking legs. Cows have been engineered to overproduce milk causing them infections.
Nature is really good at balancing itself. Humans are horrible at it and have been out of the "circle of life' for a long time!

That really is a silly thing to say- it makes me think every living thing should have more and more sex just so that more lives can be created. if you've never lived you can't miss it
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#6 Old 12-04-2014, 02:56 PM
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If I hear this one more time.....

I would say that the cows would be a lot happier if you didn't eat them. Read the book NO HAPPY COWS.

People use stupid excuses to attempt to justify eating meat. I know a vegan who was given crap becuz he didn't eat turkey at a Thanksgiving dinner.

He asks the hostess... "Do you eat gluten?"

She replied... "No". (Even tho she isn't gluten intolerant, or anything....it's a dietary choice.....just like his).

He tells her that he's not gonna eat any turkey, in a somewhat raised and determined voice.

I'm done trying to justify my vegan choice to people who don't hear anything I say when I respond anyway.

I'll eat what I want, they can eat what they want, and let it go. No,really.....it's none of their business.
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All animals should be respected & should have the ability to lead a natural & enjoyable life. This means not eating them, or abusing them in any way.
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#7 Old 12-04-2014, 03:14 PM
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"Life is better than no life" is not a fact. It's an opinion. People are entitled to think so, but that is an opinion that means nothing if they don't know what they're talking about. I think the best comeback might be along the lines of, "if you knew how livestock and birds are treated throughout the animal food industry, I believe you'd change your mind about that." If you ask them if they want to know about life inside a chicken house, or life on the feedlot or dairy farm, they'll probably decline. Which will prove they don't want the very facts that would inform that opinion. Once someone says, in essence, "I don't know and I don't want to know," they've lost and they know it.

The other thing I might bring up, is to ask how they feel about spaying and neutering pets. Because to truly believe that "life is better than no life," is to say that unchecked reproduction is an overall benefit to the animals involved, even if it does result in even more strays attacking people, dogs hit by cars, feral cats, songbirds getting eaten, and even more animals getting gassed at the shelters.
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Last edited by Joan Kennedy; 12-04-2014 at 03:36 PM.
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#8 Old 12-05-2014, 06:22 AM
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The cows would end up in national parks or shelters and live happy and free! No more cow rapes, their population would be smaller and they would with time be seen as wild herd animals like bison or something I dunno. That's my utopic vision anyway. Why would anyone believe cows would cease to exist?

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#9 Old 12-05-2014, 09:57 AM
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There are vast tracts of land- unsuitable for raising crops- that are used primarily for grazing cattle for slaughter. Without the industry, the cows could still occupy that land. We already have herds of wild buffalo that roam freely; why not cows too? There are places where horses run free; why not cows too? Moose and elk wander free; why not cows too?

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#10 Old 12-05-2014, 10:02 AM
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Well I know I'd prefer to not be born than live a life of complete misery and suffering and a short life too. All for the expense of human taste buds It angers me that people think they have the right to do what they want to animals and they should be grateful for any sort of life. Who are we to think that?
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#11 Old 12-05-2014, 10:52 AM
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And Fiona, if they pull the canine teeth to eat meat, please show them this we're not even meant biologically to be omnivores!
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"To the world you may be just one person, but to one life you may be the world."

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#12 Old 12-05-2014, 11:38 AM
 
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For the obstinate and obviously argumentative you could show them some footage of a slaughterhouse or the abuse that occurs in a dairy farm. I have two videos that I loaded up on my phone. That usually lasts about 30 seconds. I am sure they will never forget what they saw.

For the truly interested I give them answers similar to what "veghead721" said above.

I believe all people are born with compassion and for some it gets buried, just needs to be let out either with a little shove or with friendly conversation.
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#13 Old 12-05-2014, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capstan View Post
There are vast tracts of land- unsuitable for raising crops- that are used primarily for grazing cattle for slaughter. Without the industry, the cows could still occupy that land. We already have herds of wild buffalo that roam freely; why not cows too? There are places where horses run free; why not cows too? Moose and elk wander free; why not cows too?
Cows don't run as fast as horses, moose, or elk. They don't run as fast as the now-extinct auroch from which they descended. Other survival traits have also been bred out of them. They are a pretty much designed to provide meat and milk for people, not so conducive to survival in the wild. You never know, and there is more than one way it could play out. But cows as they are would pretty much be sitting ducks for predators. There have only been cows for as long as there have been people and cattle dogs to look after them. Of course it is possible that the few that survived would regain some of the strengths of their auroch ancestors, and be able to hold their own and build up their wild numbers. Or interbreed with bison, and persist as little strands of DNA in bison, which would probably not benefit from the DNA contribution. There's no way of telling by way of a computer model, I think. The only way to find out would be to let it play out. Personally, I don't like the cows' chances. But seriously, what is the question here? Who would be the deciding authority that would be putting cows out into the wild to fend for themselves? To stop breeding them, to stop making cows for milk and meat, would naturally lead to their extinction I think. To be vegetarian or vegan because you oppose animal exploitation is one thing, and extinction would be in line with that train of thought. But to be vegetarian or vegan because you love cows, that would take some serious rethinking, I believe. By the way, I like cows very much. The idea of a world without cattle does bother me, but not as much as the world as it is.
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#14 Old 12-05-2014, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capstan View Post
There are vast tracts of land- unsuitable for raising crops- that are used primarily for grazing cattle for slaughter. Without the industry, the cows could still occupy that land. We already have herds of wild buffalo that roam freely; why not cows too? There are places where horses run free; why not cows too? Moose and elk wander free; why not cows too?
I wish that it was that easy.

Depending on where you are in the world, sometimes those 'vast tracts of land' that can't sustain crops, can't sustain them because they've been used for grazing cattle. The effect of hooves on the ground can be quite detrimental. The environmental impact of letting the cows wander would be something that would have to be seriously investigated, should the world stop using cows for meat and milk.

As for my answer to the "A life is better than no life at all" is that the whole sentiment is based on a false logic.

I usually respond with something like-So, you're saying the reason we should keep eating cows and killing them, is because cows value their lives? If you can acknowledge that a cow values her life, then what justification do you have for eating her?

Then when they say "Yeah, but if we don't eat cows then cows die out!"

I respond with- Chances are they will, or at least they won't exist in the way we have them now. But, what's your point? That a being that doesn't exist and therefore is incapable of having a will to live, should be brought into existence....So we can kill it?
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#15 Old 12-06-2014, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marjoram View Post
And Fiona, if they pull the canine teeth to eat meat, please show them this we're not even meant biologically to be omnivores!
That's fantastic!!!!

All animals should be respected & should have the ability to lead a natural & enjoyable life. This means not eating them, or abusing them in any way.
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