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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a vegan and I do not consume animal products
My friend is an environmentalist and he does not drive a car

I asked him to stop eating animals and he asked me to stop driving my car.

He believes he saves more individual lives based on the sacrifices he makes by not having a car.

I believe I cannot do without a car. He believes he cannot do without eating animals. I am sure we can both reduce the amount we do it, but I don't want him to eat any animal products, and he doesn't want me to use any petrol powered vehicle.

Is it wrong for him to eat animals?

Is it wrong for me to drive my car?

At the end of the day we are both saving animal lives. Should I keep attempting try to persuade him to stop consuming animal products?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

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I'm not really sure I see the point in getting too hung up on which is worse. Certainly, oil spills cause a lot of harm. There are also the effects of global warming to consider if you believe that it is caused at least in part by human activity (hint: the answer is yes). Car-free friend aside, if your sense of ethics tells you to stop driving but you don't think it's possible, why not look into ways of reducing the amount of driving you do (insofar as is possible and practical)?

As far as your friend... how about asking him for advice about going car free (or car light) and, in turn, offer him some vegan meals. You mentioned that he doesn't believe he can possibly go vegetarian which means that he is unlikely to be swayed by any moral arguments until you first convince him that it is possible. So, I'd suggest trying to figure out some meals that he'll enjoy.

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I am sure we can both reduce the amount we do it, but I don't want him to eat any animal products, and he doesn't want me to use any petrol powered vehicle.
It would be lovely if you both got what you want, but I think you both might need to moderate your expectations. An all or nothing approach can sometimes be intimidating and result in no change at all. But if you try to make some changes you might find that you can accomplish a lot more than you thought you could. Also, pissing contests can be counterproductive and it sounds like your conversations may be tending in that direction. If I were in your situation I'd try to shift the mood to one of friendly collaboration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@Nessus Thanks for the response. All very sound advice. I guess the answer isn't about who is wrong or right, its about what we can do to help ourselves and others improve, and how we can get fantastic ideas from others about new ways to improve our world. If we take the offensive then it decreases our chance of civil communication, thus preventing an outcome other than the status-quo.
 

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Try doing a global footprint calculator (google). It takes into account your lifestyle. It's not working on this computer, so I can't answer your question. But if you answer it once as a meat eater that doesn't drive and once as a veg that does drive, compare the results.
 

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If he feels that he can't go vegan or vegetarian, that doesn't mean he can't do anything at all. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.... even cutting back on meat/dairy can make a difference. Maybe suggest he tries eating veggie or vegan a couple of days a week?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornernote View Post

At the end of the day we are both saving animal lives.
I don't think either of you are saving animal lives, based on your description. You may choose not to do some things that kill/harm animals that other people choose to do, but that doesn't mean you're saving anything. Same for him.

As for car versus meat, the footprint calculator is a good idea:
All other things being equal, a person who eats meat daily, never drives a car or motorbike, never takes public transportation, uses 21.1 global acres and would need 4.8 planet earths to support their lifestyle.

A vegan who drives 150-200 miles per week in a car that gets 30-40 mpg (US) and takes occasional public transportation, uses 19.3 global acres and would need 4.3 planet earths.

(used the same amount for size of house, electricity, running water, distance for food to travel/local food.)

using footprintnetwork.org
 

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my footprint.org, meateater who eats meat daily - 5.33 earths
vegan who uses a vehicle and some public transport (150 miles per week x 52 weeks, plus 100 miles in public per year, whereas omni had zero) - 3.56 earths
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by penny79 View Post

my footprint.org, meateater who eats meat daily - 5.33 earths
vegan who uses a vehicle and some public transport (150 miles per week x 52 weeks, plus 100 miles in public per year, whereas omni had zero) - 3.56 earths
Thanks for doing that. I was going to, but my computer doesn't have the needed plug-ins and I don't have admin rights!
 

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This is a shame to read. I live in a place which is on the outskirts of town, and we have one of the most crappy public transport systems in the world. It is really that bad. So I need to use my car. I cant afford to move either : (
 

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it depends on the type of car and the kinds of meats being consumed.

if you drive a hybrid or electric car your doing much less damage than if you drive an SUV or lifted mega truck. in comparison a person that consumes animal products from local, organic, "humane" farms etc is doing much less damage than the person that consumes animal products from McDonald's, Tyson, and Dean Foods.

its best not drive as well as not eat meat from an environmental standpoint.

if you think its impossible to do one and not the other maybe its time to re-evaluate your life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
I don't think either of you are saving animal lives, based on your description. You may choose not to do some things that kill/harm animals that other people choose to do, but that doesn't mean you're saving anything. Same for him.
If neither of us are saving lives, I start to lose motivation to continue being vegan. I know I am saving lives by not eating animals. Can you explain how I am not? And explain how he is not? Eg, a year ago he owned a car and I ate meat. Compared to now surely we are both sparing harm and exploitation to animals. Right?

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As for car versus meat, the footprint calculator is a good idea:
The problem is I don't want to calculate global footprint. There is nothing in a description of a vegan that mentions care for the environment, only the indirect outcome of closing factory farms and similar. I want to calculate number of lives saved and animal suffering prevented. Unfortunately these things are impossible to numerate so a fair comparison is not possible.

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Why do I get the feeling that this friend doesn't really exist?
Ok, you caught me out. I like to invent scenarios and then see how they play out using my own morals and that of others. I'm not trying to waste anyones time, I am simply discussing morals and philosophy. There does not seem to be a better thread on this board for such discussion.

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This is a shame to read. I live in a place which is on the outskirts of town, and we have one of the most crappy public transport systems in the world. It is really that bad. So I need to use my car. I cant afford to move either : (
1st, I am not putting you down. I own a car too.
2nd, sounds like the same reasons that my friend uses to justify eating meat (some reason about medical hoo-ha, and being almost impossible to find a plant-based alternative that he is not allergic to for whatever hoo-ha he has).

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its best not drive as well as not eat meat from an environmental standpoint.
Also from a vegan standpoint. Using oil that came from an oil well indirectly exploits and harms animals, just like eating meat that came from a factory farm.

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if you drive a hybrid or electric car your doing much less damage than if you drive an SUV or lifted mega truck
True for both environmental damage and animal suffering caused. The same can be said about they types of non-vegan products you use. If you only use cosmetics tested on rats and not whales then that's better right?

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if you think its impossible to do one and not the other maybe its time to re-evaluate your life.
/agree
Thank you, this hits the nail on the head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nessus View Post

Perhaps we can get a philosophy forum so I can discuss such ideas with people who are interested, without wasting the time of those who are trying to help people with real-life issues?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornernote View Post

Using oil that came from an oil well indirectly exploits and harms animals, just like eating meat that came from a factory farm.
Um no. As I explained in the other thread where you posted about this, driving is not "just like eating meat."

If you're against the torture and murder of humans then obviously you won't eat the flesh of humans who have been tortured and killed. You'd refrain from doing so even if you hadn't been the person who did the torturing and killing. Even if you didn't pay someone to do it, you'd refrain from eating humans, I hope.

But then consider that one of the leading causes of human death is auto accidents. Everytime you drive, you're increasing the odds that you or someone else might die as a result of driving. Yet, the choice to drive does not rise to the level of eating the flesh of humans who have been tortured and killed. It's not even close.

Someone who has a significant interest in sparing animals' lives will at least refrain from eating their flesh. They may also reduce or eliminate their use of cars, but they'd start with the eating flesh part. It's so simple that even children understand it. Kids go vegetarian or vegan all the time. How many kids say, "mom, let's get rid of the car so we can save more animals' lives"? The reason is because kids understand the increased levels of indirection between the act of driving and the consequence of animal death. They are less related than the act of eating animal flesh is related to the consequence of animal death. See how that works?

So... here's my story. I went carless and then I went vegan. I was lacto-ovo vegetarian at the time. And we just moved to New York City. I sold my hybrid car and my husband sold his car and we were very happy about it. Going carless in NYC is really very easy. It's so easy that 80% of people who live there do not have cars. That's because there's very good public transportation and also parking is very expensive in NYC. So it just makes sense to go without a car. We did use a ZipCar every now and then and busses too, so we weren't "petrol-free" but we were car-free. While in NYC I noticed there were a lot of vegan restaurants. I'd always wanted to try to go vegan again so this seemed like a great time to do it. We went vegan!

Well, then we moved back to Vegas because I missed my family too much and flying back and forth was really bad for the environment, our wallets, and my sanity. Well then, it became obvious that in Vegas where there's really terrible public transportation and tons of free parking everywhere that having a car is so much more convenient than not. And we bought a car. And soon, after a kiddo, we needed two cars so we didn't have to rely on one another for work and kid transportation reasons. Of course, we got fuel-efficient cars and we keep the tires inflated and so forth, but yeah we have two cars again. But here's the thing, we're still vegan. Why? Because being vegan is... well, it's just different than driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
@ElaineV -- thanks for your story, it helps to put in in perspective.

I guess the answer is that being vegan is good to do if you can do it. Being car-free is good to do if you can do it. But they are different things and because they are difficult to numerate, and because you can't compare apples with oranges, we should leave them as different things.

We should all make efforts where we can, including animal rights and environmental concerns because these things effect everyone, not just ourselves.
 

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What's your deal cornernote? What are you trying to justify to yourself with all this? Or do you really think we are all just riding our high horses and you have arrived to knock us down a few pegs by telling us things we've already heard one thousand and one times from every meat eater and hunter we've had the misfortune to encounter? I don't get it.
 
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