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Im a very new vegetarian already working on going vegan, and last weekend I went to stay with my boyfriend in another city. He was cooking chilli con carne for us, plus his housemate, and I asked him to make the chilli with the soya mince that I brought with me, for MY portion, and he was whining and whinging as he brought out the beef mince, because he has to cook on seperate pots and it's SO inconvenient for him. well I told him I can cook for myself but NOOo he wants to cook for us, and in the end he gave in, but not without a lot of whining and saying: <b>"Cows are not sentient, they're not aware of what's going on around them'.</b><br><br><br><br>
I was so annoyed, what a thing to say! I told him that <b>cows can feel pain and they feeel hurt when their calves are seperated from them and struggle to get away when they get their throat cuts</b>(at the slaughterhouses). to this he replied: <b>'they're just that: instincts'.</b><br><br><br><br>
I'm really livid at how callous his attitude is, I mean I know cows are not just dumb animals, but I've always been an urban-city girl and can count with one hand the number of times I've seen cows in real life(not counting meat on supermarket shelves). Basically I don't know much at all about farm animals and most of the information I have about them are either from tv shows, books and internet. As opposed to my boyfriend, who supposedly lived in a countryside/farm as a boy!<br><br><br><br>
So could anyone please show me a link/book where I can read up on the sentience of farm animals and tell him that he is wrong? I'm sure there must be somewhere<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/inquisitive.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":stinkeye:"> or <b>could you offer any strong argument that cows(and other farm animals for that matter) are not just meat machines without a higher brain?</b><br><br><br><br>
I told him that I have a friend who has a lacto-ovo gf, and doesn't eat meat when he visits her. My bf said he's not about to give up meat and he likes meat too much and has to eat it with every meal. Even when I ate meat I didn't feel like I have to eat it with every meal!<br><br><br><br>
Here are some of his other arguments:<br><br><b>(points to his incisors)we're born with this so we might as well use it.</b><br><br>
to this I replied: we can use this to cut up breads and vegetables to smaller pieces!<br><br>
he said: <b>yeah, but bread is not naturally occurring food, meat is</b><br><br>
I told him that yeah, but we would have to skin, debone and gut and cook the meat and everything, and he said, still, it's a naturally occurring food and bread ISN'T<br><br>
ARGH. what do I say to this?! I'm new so I'm not really prepared for this 'omni-speak' or have stocks of witty replies
 

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I really recommend you check out "The Pig Who Sang to the Moon" by Jeffery Masson, that's got what you're looking for, it explores the thoughts and feelings of all farm animals and is a very good book.
 

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You could challenge him to eat a whole fish with only his hands and teeth. But then you might have to watch, and that would be really gross.<br><br><br><br>
Honestly, it sounds like your bf is being purposefully thick about it. He doesn't want you to be right and him to be wrong. You might have to settle for "Look, I don't eat meat, and that's that. Even if you're right and cows just go on instinct, I don't want to eat them. My incisors are for fruits, vegetables and crusty bread."
 

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Heh, I always find it amusing when people use their stubby little canine teeth to imply that we should eat meat. Gorillas <a href="http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/LPIPOD/BN233_601~Gorilla-Gorillagorilla-Baring-Its-Teeth-Africa-Posters.jpg" target="_blank">http://imagecache2.allposters.com/im...ca-Posters.jpg</a> have much more impressive canines and, with the exception of grubs and insects, they are vegetarian.<br><br><br><br>
Another book that might be helpful is Living Among Meateaters by Carol Adams. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FLiving-Among-Meat-Eaters-Vegetarians%2Fdp%2Fcustomer-reviews%2F0609807439" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Living-Among-M...ews/0609807439</a>
 

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No offence, but your boyfriend's an idiot coming out with crap like that. He's trying to justify the slaughter of animals by claiming they are incapable of truly suffering, which is a load of tosh.<br><br><br><br><b>sentient:</b>(adj) - capable of perceiving and feeling things.<br><br><br><br>
A creature that possesses a mind and a survival strategy of deliberately avoiding suffering, is obviously therefore sentient.
 

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You're right, but sometimes being right is cold comfort. I honestly don't think that bringing out reasoned arguments is going to help you, because his position is not based on logic. I recommend that you just do your thing, and let him do his thing, and if he whines about it, let him know that this is the way it is, and whining incessantly isn't going to change it-- it's only going to make you more annoyed with him. Maybe you can make a deal with him that the two of you will leave each other alone about your respective food choices and make reasonable accommodations of each other's preferences. If either of you is unwilling or unable to make that kind of deal, I hate to say it, but maybe it's time to think carefully about whether you really belong together.<br><br><br><br>
BTW, Jeffrey Masson also wrote <span style="text-decoration:underline;">When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals</span>, which I haven't read, but is supposed to be quite good.<br><br><br><br>
If you must have counter-arguments, you could try the gorilla one. The great apes are our nearest relatives, and they eat primarily vegetables. I love the gorilla pic!, too-- it really brings it home that big sharp teeth aren't necessarily for ripping the flesh of other animals. And as far as canines go, ours aren't exactly impressive. It seems to me that nearly every member of the primate families has more dangerous teeth than we do.<br><br><br><br>
A couple others I've read are:<br><br><br><br>
(1) our bodies' reaction to diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol proves that we're not designed to eat meat-centric diets. We develop a whole host of chronic illnesses when we eat a lot of that stuff, whereas animals who are adapted to meat diets, like the cat family, don't. I can't remember which book I read this in, but allegedly, feeding studies on a variety of animals put us squarely in the vegetarian camp. (I think I read about it in either You Don't Need Meat, The China Study, or Diet for a New America.)<br><br><br><br>
(2) Then you could compare our anatomy to that of animals who are designed to eat mostly meat, like cats. Cats don't have molars, and their jaws aren't hinged for side-to-side grinding motions-- their mouths are designed strictly for tearing and gulping flesh, and they have a certain amount of trouble just eating kibble food or crunchy cat treats. We have molars with flat chewing surfaces, and our jaws are hinged loosely, which allows us to get a side-to-side chewing motion going to grind food. Cats have a very short, straight digestive system that's designed to digest meat and is not good and digesting tougher plant matter. We have a relatively long, convoluted digestive system that's better at getting nutrients out of plants.<br><br><br><br>
What vegetarians hear a lot is kind of the opposite of #2-- comparisons of our anatomy to ruminants like cows as "proof" that we're designed to eat meat. That's not true. It's true that cows and other ruminants are far better at living on <span style="text-decoration:underline;">grass</span> than we are, but that doesn't mean we're not designed to eat plants-- it just means that we're not designed to eat <span style="text-decoration:underline;">grass</span>, which is one of the toughest types of food to live on. Only a diet of wood requires more specialization.<br><br><br><br>
The total evidence that I've learned about suggests to me that our ancestral, or "natural" diet if you want to put it that way (although the whole "natural" thing is a pitfall in itself) is largely plants, with relatively small amounts of animal protein from sources such as insects, bird eggs, rodents and fish. Which technically makes us omnivores. And which technically makes him right about bread. But eating the amount of meat the average westerner eats in a day is just as "unnatural."
 

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A picture of a tiger with it's mouth open so you can get a really good look at it's teeth is a good way to understand that our teeth really can't compare. Someone here posted one a while back.<br><br><br><br>
Overall, I agree with what Tess said - it might just be easier on the relationship to say "Well, we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. You're welcome to eat meat if you wish, but I choose not to." This will also take away the fight he seems to be working himself up toward.
 

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dump him imo<br><br><br><br>
tell him that your relationship is just "instincts", and your instincts are telling you to go cook some bread.
 

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the argument i use that tends to get people to be quiet is that not too long ago they didn't sedate babies when they had operations because they didn't think they could feel pain. how much longer do they think it will be before "science" (or thick headed people) changes their minds about animals not feeling pain?<br><br>
..just the thought of that makes me shudder everytime i look at my babies...how could i then eat a cow..or pig..or anything?? even my dog cries when she steps on one of those pointy plants outside. is she faking it? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/no.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":no:">
 
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">(points to his incisors)we're born with this so we might as well use it.</div>
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if he's going to follow this line, you could suggest he thinks of something to do with his pretty much pointless man- nipples... after all, he was born with them, he might as well use them.
 

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Cows are sentient, but I'm not sure if your bf is.
 

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I agree with Tess that this is sort of a visceral argument, not one where objective facts will help you much.<br><br><br><br>
Truth is, the only creature I *know* to be sentient is myself - in all other cases, it is something we infer from the creature's behavior. (I sob when I'm sad, so if I see you sobbing I assume you are having similar feelings.) Someone can always argue that another creature is just going through the behaviors, like a machine, without having the feelings. How plausible that is depends on a variety of things, many of which are personal (such as one's natural degree of empathy).<br><br><br><br>
If you can get him in a nonconfrontational moment, you might approach the subject by asking him how a cow that feels pain would behave differently from a cow that doesn't - that at least gets it out of the realm of arbitrary assertions and into something that involves evidence.<br><br><br><br>
But I think the bottom line here is not about the surface argument, but about the underlying emotional reaction he is having to your vegetarianism. He's resisting it, perhaps because of defensiveness or unfamiliarity or discomfort about being with someone who is "different" and could attract attention.<br><br><br><br>
I'd recommend finding some time when you can both talk about it. But rather than debating whether it's "correct" or not, talk about whether or not he wants to support you in your choice. People with different beliefs can still have healthy, mutually supportive relationships. (Support goes both ways, too - for example, if you were putting him down for being an omni, that's not helpful.) If he persists in being unsupportive, that would suggest to me that he lacks the maturity for a serious relationship, and that you are likely to have problems in other areas too.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><br>
Quote:<br><br>
(points to his incisors)we're born with this so we might as well use it.<br><br><br><br>
if he's going to follow this line, you could suggest he thinks of something to do with his pretty much pointless man- nipples... after all, he was born with them, he might as well use them.<br></div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
LMAO <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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I grew up on a small family owned dairy farm. In the seventeen years that I lived there I never once observed anything that would support your bf,s theory that cows are not sentient. I have observed many things that lead me to believe that animals <b>are</b> sentient, can feel pain and are even empathetic towards the plight of individuals of their own and even other species.<br><br><br><br>
Your bf would probably argue that the things I observed are instincts. IMHO instinct and sentience are not mutually exclusive. A human child touching a to stove can be compared to a cow touching an electric fence. When a human or cow experiences pain they both instinctively recoil. They will both become aware of what caused the pain. They will both avoid encountering the pain causing object in the future. The learning experience is similar in both species. Whether one chooses to call that learning experience sentience or instinct is irrelevant.<br><br><br><br>
One could argue that humans are creatures of instinct. It is human instinct for a mother to lover her child. It is human instinct to seek out food and shelter for ourselves and our family. It is human instinct to seek out a mate, to reproduce, to seek out things that feel good and to avoid pain. Possessing instincts does not negate the possibility of sentience.<br><br><br><br>
You can explain these things to your bf, but it may not do any good. If he is in denial he may just come up with more arguments to rationalize his behavior. I agree with the other posters who say that if you can not learn to accept each other's differences then perhaps the two of you are not compatible.<br><br><br><br>
It's rare that two people will agree on everything. They may disagree on many different things like philosophy, politics, ethics, career paths and, yes even food. The key to a successful relationship is to find someone who supports and respects your beliefs and ethics in all areas of your life, even when don't see eye to eye. If you can achieve this with your bf, great. If not, maybe it's time to examine the relationship more closely.
 

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sentience is self awareness. If an animal shows interest (which all higher animals do) or are protective of themselves or their babies, they are sentient. There is no big math test or anything. I personally think that humans are biologically "omnivores," and it is a personal choice to be a vegetarian.<br><br><br><br>
Having insisors does not make you a meat eater. Gorillas, chimps, monkeys, baboons etc., have some of the largest fangs around and yet they are vegetarian (for the most part-- chimps do rarely eat meat during "wars). The fangs are for display purposes-- like the tail of a peacock.<br><br><br><br>
One thing I have learned about relationships is that if early on, your beliefs and ideas are treated with disrespect, then this will be a trend in the future. Men like to show off their cooking skills, but he could have chosen a vegetarian dish like bean soup, or veggi lasagnia, as easily as chili con carne, which would include you in the activities. I have never been anywhere where a guest would be so outraged at the food choice that he would leave in disgust-- Most will politely eat, and if they feel like meat they can get some take out later. (I personally would not allow meat in my house-- but many vegetarians are more tolerent).<br><br><br><br>
So, what I get here is that he deliberately omits family members (gf) from social events-- why? Is he embarassed to sit at a table where vegetarian food is served? Or to share it with friends? Perhaps you might get an apointment with a couples counsellor, but I feel that he will constantly try to undermine you or embarasss you in public. I feel you need to talk about it and put an end to the behavior, or leave him and find someone who respects your food choices.<br><br><br><br>
I believe that couples should be fairly similar in things like food, politics, religion, and ideas about health and work. Thats just me, but the goal is to work towards harmony in the home rather than constant conflict. And although relationships are filled with compromise, I feel you shouldnt compromise your deeply held values.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Gita</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
sentience is self awareness.</div>
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I disagree. From Wikipedia:<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Sentience refers to possession of sensory organs, the ability to feel or perceive, not necessarily including the faculty of self-awareness.</div>
</div>
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What a dick. Sorry, but I'm with jojob, I've spent a lot of time with cows and I can tell you that they feel pain, happiness, lonliness, love (or some kind of attachment), joy etc.<br><br><br><br>
I knew a cow who remembered her calves who came back into the herd two years after they were born and she had only had them as babies for a few days. They used to line up in the bails one after the other quite regularly and she'd spend time with them in the paddock.<br><br>
In her second to last year alive she had one last calf and since she was living at my parents we let her keep her. When we tried to get her into the old cowshed to relieve the pressure in her udder she was extremely reluctant and afterwards she just stood by the gate looking forlorn. After a while I realised that she probably thought we'd taken her calf since my Uncle always took the cows to the shed for the first time each year to take their calves. So I went in and pick little Emily up (out of the long grass) and called to Ashley that she was still there. Ashley was 13 years old and walked really slowly but she ran over to Emily with the most beautiful loud moo I've heard and starting sniffing and licking her.<br><br>
Cows are smart.
 

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In fact, when I think about it, the cattle on my parent's farm do stuff that shows their intelligence every day. For example, when my Dad's break feeding, they go and wait by the next break, but know when there are no breaks left in the paddock and wait by the gate when he comes.<br><br>
When he goes to move them they usually follow him, and if they haven't seen him he'll call them and they'll come to him because they know he's going to feed them.<br><br>
They all have different personalities: some are curious and are always at the front checking stuff out, then come the followers, who are more scared and would rather just follow the leaders, and last come the ones at the bottom of the packing order, or who are more scared of the others than of people.<br><br><br><br>
My retired dairy cow Nazarith is a real *****. If you start patting any of the others she'll charge them, I think you could call that jealously, plus she always bosses all the others to get the best grass. Claudia (another retired cow) is the leader, she always knows exactly where the grass is and is always the first to run to it (probably trying to beat Nazarith). EPJ is timid and slow, she's a lot more relaxed than the other two, she'll let you feed her grass but not pat her anywhere other than her head, and she doesn't run anywhere.<br><br>
Ask him how instinct explains how all cows react slightly differently to the same stimulus.
 

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I'm currently reading <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Animal Liberation</span> by Peter Singer. If you want an in-depth discussion on why we can reasonably conclude that animals are sentient, it's in there.<br><br><br><br>
Basically - he admits that we cannot KNOW that other animals feel pain, in fact, we cannot KNOW that other human beings feel pain. But we can observe that other human beings and other animals, when hurt in a way that would cause US to feel pain, express themselves in ways similar to how we would express ourselves.<br><br><br><br>
For example, if someone steps on my foot, I might yell out, flinch, bring my foot close to me protectively, grimace, etc. If I accidentally step on my cat's tail (which I have done) - he will cry out, growl, hiss, pull back away from me, pull his tail in close to him protectively. It would be just as ridiculous to assume this behavior was "instinct" and not an expression of pain as it would be to assume that your boyfriend's reaction is just "instinct" when you slap him upside the head! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/whack.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":whack:"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"><br><br><br><br>
Anyway, it's a big headache to try to go through the logical argument, especially when common sense dictates that it is OBVIOUS that other animals, besides humans, feel pain. But if you want some fodder for the argument, I'd recommend reading <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Animal Liberation</span>.
 
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