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Ive had friends that collected and ate road kill, Ive got no ethical issues with it really, best to get it off the road anyways as it only creates more roadkill. I wouldnt personally eat it unless I was a matter of survival though, still kinda gross.
 

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Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I think eating meat even from (non-human) animals that died of 'natural causes' reinforces the idea that (non-human) animals are sources of food.
They can be sources of food like in this case. Is that a bad thing?

I mean it is not hard to distinguish between actions that cause harm and ones that don't, at least in similar cases.
 

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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

They can be sources of food like in this case.
Many things can be sources of food, but that is really irrelevant to the ethical implications of consuming specific foods.
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Is that a bad thing?
I'll refrain from claiming 'bad' or 'good' actions. However, what I will state (again) is that it reinforces that (non-human) animals are (or can be) food. In a society that already views (non-human) animals as sources of food,
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

I mean it is not hard to distinguish between actions that cause harm and ones that don't, at least in similar cases.
It's not is it? If it is not hard, why do so many people take actions that cause harm?

If I do an action that reinforces an idea making it seem acceptable to treat animals as some kind of commodity or object to be used for our personal purposes, you don't see any harm in that action?
 

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Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

Many things can be sources of food, but that is really irrelevant to the ethical implications of consuming specific foods.
I'll refrain from claiming 'bad' or 'good' actions. However, what I will state (again) is that it reinforces that (non-human) animals are (or can be) food. In a society that already views (non-human) animals as sources of food,
It's not is it? If it is not hard, why do so many people take actions that cause harm?
If I do an action that reinforces an idea making it seem acceptable to treat animals as some kind of commodity or object to be used for our personal purposes, you don't see any harm in that action?
Often people cause harm to others because they don't care about others not because they don't know it is harmful to them. I have given the cruelty lesson to many non-vegans and almost none cared or didn't care enough.

But that is my entire point, there is a very big difference between a dead animal and a live animal. Once an animal is dead we need not have any more moral consideration for it, it is just an inanimate object. But killing an animal for the sole purpose of eating it (when unnecessary) is immoral (so is supporting the industry) and vastly different from eating the corpses of animals that died of natural causes.

Where is the harm in eating a corpse while not supposing cruelty in any form?

How can any person confuse the two?
 

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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Often people cause harm to others because they don't care about others not because they don't know it is harmful to them.
That may be true. Given how many discussions I've had with people where after a healthy "heart-to-heart", a reprimand, discussion, conversation, etc it seems that at least some claim "I didn't know..." You claim it's easy to tell the difference (and not only that, but that people don't care). I'm not omniscient and do not know all the unintended consequences of my actions. I can't anticipate all the potential harm I may cause, but what I do try is to minimize, to the best of my knowledge, my harm.

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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

I have given the cruelty lesson to many non-vegans and almost none cared or didn't care enough.
So, I took from your last statement that you were talking about harm in general from actions. Are you specifically referring to harm done by humans to non-humans? And that it is easy to tell harm done to non-humans?

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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

But that is my entire point, there is a very big difference between a dead animal and a live animal.
We do not live in a void. Yes there is a difference, but that's not the point. Maybe it's not important to you, whether or not animals are used as food. To me it is important. As such, I see consuming animals that died of natural causes as reinforcing the idea that animals can be used as food.

Most people consume dead animals, not live ones. Further, I'd argue that most people don't even kill the animal, but instead purchase, are given, or perhaps find it. So consuming a dead animal (or even animal parts) reinforces the idea that animals can be used as food. It commodifies them. Making them important only in as much as what they can provide us.

Do you have any objection to using a dead human as you see fit? Do you think that someone using a dead human body for personal pleasure (whatever that may be, including consumption) as an issue?
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Once an animal is dead we need not have any more moral consideration for it, it is just an inanimate object.
We do not live in a void, our actions do not exist within a void. You're attempting to equate moral consideration of one animal (dead), with potential harm that our actions may cause.

Here's an example. I would argue that, in general, whether or not you personally purchase and consume animal products from large scale companies has no impact on the amount of animals that die. Looking at the volume of animals being turned into food or being used as a food production machine, then considering the losses in such a system, your contributions (or lack thereof) are miniscule so much so it's lost in the noise. We could go through that exercise if you want.

So the same claim could be made (based on what you've given me) that what you find in the store is just inanimate objects and therefor you have no moral consideration for it, you consuming the 'food' has no direct impact on the number of animal killed. As such, there is no ethical dilemma with consuming it.

Fortunately our actions do not exist in a void.
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Where is the harm in eating a corpse while not supposing cruelty in any form?
How can any person confuse the two?
You seem to be indicating that people do not eat corpses. Is that correct?

Confuse what two? Eating a corpse and not supporting cruelty? You're strawmanning if that's what you claim is my position.
 

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Why is it important to you whether or not animals are used as food even in such cases (death from natural causes)?

There is a fundamental difference here. When you buy meat, although it is dead you are supporting the meat industry and encouraging further harm to sentient beings. That is a practical effect of one's willingness to buy meat. If all meat was banned then I would certainly not buy whatever is left over because I would not want to reward those involved in (or supporting) cruelty and would rather their meat was left unsold (as punishment). Anyhow, if the remaining meat was given away I would not think there is anything morally wrong with taking it. Though it is unlikely I would be willing to eat it, due to dogma. I would not want to eat the flesh of an animal that was killed intentionally, due to dogma. However I do not claim it is wrong in this scenario.

I don't mind if my body is used for pleasure after I die. In fact it will be used for research or transplantation. It is not in itself wrong to use the bodies of the dead for any purpose. There may be cultural sensitivities which we may wish to respect. Why should I respect those sensitivities and not yours? Well, should I respect the sensitivity of someone who says they are offended by the eating of chestnuts? There certainly needs to be a cut-off point. I am not sure where to place the cut-off point but I would certainly not want to include not eating the corpses of animals that died of natural causes and were not known by any person who wishes to observe sensitivities.

I am impressed but not entirely convinced by your argument claiming that me not using animal products has no effect overall. I have not thought this through entirely but here it is: if I had not become vegan I would have eaten maybe a couple hundred more animals. Those animals would have to come from somewhere. Given that my choice to become vegan did not affect the consumption of others I claim a couple hundred less animals were 'processed' as a direct result of me becoming vegan. I think when demand decreases at my market (due to veganism) they will order less meat and the industry will similarly meet a smaller demand and process less animals.

Still I am impressed and will think on it further.

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Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

That may be true. Given how many discussions I've had with people where after a healthy "heart-to-heart", a reprimand, discussion, conversation, etc it seems that at least some claim "I didn't know..." You claim it's easy to tell the difference (and not only that, but that people don't care). I'm not omniscient and do not know all the unintended consequences of my actions. I can't anticipate all the potential harm I may cause, but what I do try is to minimize, to the best of my knowledge, my harm.
So, I took from your last statement that you were talking about harm in general from actions. Are you specifically referring to harm done by humans to non-humans? And that it is easy to tell harm done to non-humans?
We do not live in a void. Yes there is a difference, but that's not the point. Maybe it's not important to you, whether or not animals are used as food. To me it is important. As such, I see consuming animals that died of natural causes as reinforcing the idea that animals can be used as food.
Most people consume dead animals, not live ones. Further, I'd argue that most people don't even kill the animal, but instead purchase, are given, or perhaps find it. So consuming a dead animal (or even animal parts) reinforces the idea that animals can be used as food. It commodifies them. Making them important only in as much as what they can provide us.
Do you have any objection to using a dead human as you see fit? Do you think that someone using a dead human body for personal pleasure (whatever that may be, including consumption) as an issue?
We do not live in a void, our actions do not exist within a void. You're attempting to equate moral consideration of one animal (dead), with potential harm that our actions may cause.
Here's an example. I would argue that, in general, whether or not you personally purchase and consume animal products from large scale companies has no impact on the amount of animals that die. Looking at the volume of animals being turned into food or being used as a food production machine, then considering the losses in such a system, your contributions (or lack thereof) are miniscule so much so it's lost in the noise. We could go through that exercise if you want.
So the same claim could be made (based on what you've given me) that what you find in the store is just inanimate objects and therefor you have no moral consideration for it, you consuming the 'food' has no direct impact on the number of animal killed. As such, there is no ethical dilemma with consuming it.
Fortunately our actions do not exist in a void.
You seem to be indicating that people do not eat corpses. Is that correct?
Confuse what two? Eating a corpse and not supporting cruelty? You're strawmanning if that's what you claim is my position.
 

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ummmm..........
spew.gif

eating a corpse, murdered or natural causes, is creepy. end of story.
however, i guess that's less terrible than keeping it in slavery it's whole life then brutally killing the poor creature. so yeah ethically "better" i guess....
but still...... erggg....
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Why is it important to you whether or not animals are used as food even in such cases (death from natural causes)?
So in principle, I have no real ethical problem with consuming inanimate objects. This would include animals (human or non-human) that have died due to natural causes.

In practice, since our actions do not exist in a void, the idea of consuming an animal reinforces the idea that non-human animals are food sources. To put it another way, we don't exist in any kind of social or cultural vacuum. Other people see and interpret what we do and decide. Our actions have very real consequences in how they're viewed and interpreted by others.

While in the general sense, there probably "shouldn't" be an ethical issue with consuming something that is dead (in and of itself). Unfortunately as a society (regardless of your personal views), society does view some kind of relation between dead and living animals (human or otherwise). So the act of consuming a dead animal, regardless of how it died, reinforces the idea that even a living non-human animal is a product, object, or commodity. That action reinforces the commodification of animals.

If you neglect society and culture from your harm analysis you're neglecting very real impacts of all your actions.
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

There is a fundamental difference here. When you buy meat, although it is dead you are supporting the meat industry and encouraging further harm to sentient beings.
Let's use a hypothetical. That being one persons impact on the meat industry (as a whole or even just a large company). Let's look at the financial income of the meat industry (or a large company). A similar argument I made earlier is that your monetary impact is negligible when compared to the loss due to spoilage, theft, contributions, gifts, charity, waste, etc. So negligible that it's impossible to account for. So negligible that you, as one person have no impact, whats-so-ever in supporting or not supporting the meat industry. So much so that you yourself have saved not one sentient being due to being vegan.

Luckily, since our actions do not exist in a culture vacuum. With more people becoming vegan or vegetarian, a large number, when added together does become a meaningful amount that does have an impact on the meat industry.

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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

I don't mind if my body is used for pleasure after I die. In fact it will be used for research or transplantation.
What you personally want was not what I was asking about. I was asking specifically about other people's bodies. Do you really think that there are no social or cultural consequences or negative effects that our actions may cause? Do you really think we exist in some kind of social or cultural vacuum where by our actions are not viewed and processed by other people?
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

There may be cultural sensitivities which we may wish to respect. Why should I respect those sensitivities and not yours? Well, should I respect the sensitivity of someone who says they are offended by the eating of chestnuts? There certainly needs to be a cut-off point. I am not sure where to place the cut-off point but I would certainly not want to include not eating the corpses of animals that died of natural causes and were not known by any person who wishes to observe sensitivities.
I'm not talking about cultural sensitivities. I'm talking about how our actions are seen by our culture or society.
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

I am impressed but not entirely convinced by your argument claiming that me not using animal products has no effect overall.
I did not state that it has no effect overall. I attempt to restate, for any one person (in actuality, it's some small number, what that is depends on monetary exchanges and quantities of animals being killed vs consumption), the direct impact on the number of animals killed, when viewing the meat industry as a whole, your actions are negligible to the point where you make no impact, positive or negative, on animal deaths via the meat industry.

However, luckily we do not live in a vacuum or void. Our actions are interpreted by others, by society. Our actions are cumulative. Our actions do end up giving a meaningful result, just not exactly how we expect.
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

I have not thought this through entirely but here it is: if I had not become vegan I would have eaten maybe a couple hundred more animals. Those animals would have to come from somewhere. Given that my choice to become vegan did not affect the consumption of others I claim a couple hundred less animals were 'processed' as a direct result of me becoming vegan. I think when demand decreases at my market (due to veganism) they will order less meat and the industry will similarly meet a smaller demand and process less animals.
Unfortunately there is not a direct one to one relation in what you consume and animals slaughtered. It's not like someone goes down to the local grocery store and asks Sam, the butcher, for a sirloin and they take Bessy the cow out back and slaughter it.

Instead, your consumption is filtered through a rather large 'processing machine', from ranging/CAFOs to slaughterhouses, to distributors, to retail chains and local stores (probably neglecting some along the way). The losses (and simply the sheer numbers) make your impact negligible.

For instance:
http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/animal-products/cattle-beef/statistics-information.aspx
In 2011, at the beginning there were about 92.7 million 'head' of cattle, 34.1 million slaughtered (who knows how many were lost due do predation, disease, etc), giving a 'carcass' weight of 26.29 billion pounds, giving a 'consumption' (I would assume this doesn't actually mean what was eaten since there is no telling how to find that data, instead, maybe how much was purchased by companies, but not individuals?) of 25.6 billion pounds (that right there is about 700,000,000 pounds difference though). This all yields a value of around $45.2 billion dollars.

So how much could you purchase and consume if you were not a vegetarian/vegan? What percentage of the total would your contributions add or subtract. I'd still say whether you yourself (or just any one individual) purchased or did not, those numbers would remain exactly the same.

That's just with the cattle industry. This doesn't include all the other animals slaughtered for our tastes.
 

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Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

So in principle, I have no real ethical problem with consuming inanimate objects. This would include animals (human or non-human) that have died due to natural causes.
In practice, since our actions do not exist in a void, the idea of consuming an animal reinforces the idea that non-human animals are food sources. To put it another way, we don't exist in any kind of social or cultural vacuum. Other people see and interpret what we do and decide. Our actions have very real consequences in how they're viewed and interpreted by others.
While in the general sense, there probably "shouldn't" be an ethical issue with consuming something that is dead (in and of itself). Unfortunately as a society (regardless of your personal views), society does view some kind of relation between dead and living animals (human or otherwise). So the act of consuming a dead animal, regardless of how it died, reinforces the idea that even a living non-human animal is a product, object, or commodity. That action reinforces the commodification of animals.
If you neglect society and culture from your harm analysis you're neglecting very real impacts of all your actions.
I see! That sounds quite rational.

So let's say hypothetically that a person is isolated with no one else around to get the impression that animals are commodities. I assume you would have no problem with her eating an animal that died of natural causes.

If eating animals that died of natural causes reinforces such views then I might personally recommend that it not be done but I would not be willing to call it immoral.

Lets consider a similar scenario. I take it you also believe that questioning religious dogma is acceptable. But suppose that a person does so online and some nutcase in another country is offended and blows up an embassy for those comments. That risk is small but I would not say impossible. My point is that sometimes we judge actions for their own worth regardless of the misconceptions of others which could lead to negative consequences in conjunction with our actions.

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Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

Let's use a hypothetical. That being one persons impact on the meat industry (as a whole or even just a large company). Let's look at the financial income of the meat industry (or a large company). A similar argument I made earlier is that your monetary impact is negligible when compared to the loss due to spoilage, theft, contributions, gifts, charity, waste, etc. So negligible that it's impossible to account for. So negligible that you, as one person have no impact, whats-so-ever in supporting or not supporting the meat industry. So much so that you yourself have saved not one sentient being due to being vegan.
Luckily, since our actions do not exist in a culture vacuum. With more people becoming vegan or vegetarian, a large number, when added together does become a meaningful amount that does have an impact on the meat industry.
So hypothetically, if a person lives alone with no one to influence he should not refrain from eating meat? Let's assume that he shops at a huge supermarket and uses an automatic service to pay (no human contact) and never shows the meat to anyone. Do you think there is anything wrong with him eating meat?

What about eating meat in secret? If I go grab a piece of meat right now and eat it I think it is virtually impossible for anyone at home to notice. So everyone would still believe I am vegan. Do you think there is anything (your analogue of) wrong with me doing that, perhaps many times?

Here is one way it could work. I buy 5kg of meat every time I buy meat. The store where I shop orders a new shipment of meat once their stock gets down to 200kg. I became vegan and stopped consuming meat. As a result it is taking the store somewhat more time to sell the same amount of meat (assuming no other changes are made). The store is taking more time to order the same amount from the producer. The producer starts raising new animals only after enough meat is sold say 100 tons. To be able to sell the same amount it will take them slightly more time now that I became vegan. That means it will take them slightly longer periods of time to grow the same number of animals. Say instead of raising say 10 000 animals per year they will raise 10 000 animals per 1.005 years. That is 50 animals less per year. Over a lifetime that is more that is a couple of thousand animals less that suffer. I don't see why that wouldn't work.

Suppose I ate 50 animals a year before I became vegan. If my becoming vegan had no effect on the number of animals killed, where did these 50 animals I would have eaten go? How can you account for them?

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Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

What you personally want was not what I was asking about. I was asking specifically about other people's bodies. Do you really think that there are no social or cultural consequences or negative effects that our actions may cause? Do you really think we exist in some kind of social or cultural vacuum where by our actions are not viewed and processed by other people?
I'm not talking about cultural sensitivities. I'm talking about how our actions are seen by our culture or society.
Yes others may misunderstand our actions but how much freedom are we willing to give up in order to avoid such misunderstandings and the consequent negative effects?

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Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I did not state that it has no effect overall. I attempt to restate, for any one person (in actuality, it's some small number, what that is depends on monetary exchanges and quantities of animals being killed vs consumption), the direct impact on the number of animals killed, when viewing the meat industry as a whole, your actions are negligible to the point where you make no impact, positive or negative, on animal deaths via the meat industry.
However, luckily we do not live in a vacuum or void. Our actions are interpreted by others, by society. Our actions are cumulative. Our actions do end up giving a meaningful result, just not exactly how we expect.
Unfortunately there is not a direct one to one relation in what you consume and animals slaughtered. It's not like someone goes down to the local grocery store and asks Sam, the butcher, for a sirloin and they take Bessy the cow out back and slaughter it.
Instead, your consumption is filtered through a rather large 'processing machine', from ranging/CAFOs to slaughterhouses, to distributors, to retail chains and local stores (probably neglecting some along the way). The losses (and simply the sheer numbers) make your impact negligible.
For instance:
http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/animal-products/cattle-beef/statistics-information.aspx
In 2011, at the beginning there were about 92.7 million 'head' of cattle, 34.1 million slaughtered (who knows how many were lost due do predation, disease, etc), giving a 'carcass' weight of 26.29 billion pounds, giving a 'consumption' (I would assume this doesn't actually mean what was eaten since there is no telling how to find that data, instead, maybe how much was purchased by companies, but not individuals?) of 25.6 billion pounds (that right there is about 700,000,000 pounds difference though). This all yields a value of around $45.2 billion dollars.
So how much could you purchase and consume if you were not a vegetarian/vegan? What percentage of the total would your contributions add or subtract. I'd still say whether you yourself (or just any one individual) purchased or did not, those numbers would remain exactly the same.
That's just with the cattle industry. This doesn't include all the other animals slaughtered for our tastes.
This is national consumption but that does not mean that the producers my store buys from deal with similar numbers. That is, the people they contact do not deal with such numbers.

I am not convinced by your argument. It seems plausible but mine seems no less plausible to me. You need to elaborate and refute my objections.

I am curious that you decided to present this argument though. If you think it is correct I praise you for presenting it but you must know that some people may as a result of it be misled to eat meat. They might think: if I have virtually no effect personally why would I do it? They may ignore the reason you gave. Does that not bother you? We do not after all live in a social or cultural void
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

So let's say hypothetically that a person is isolated with no one else around to get the impression that animals are commodities. I assume you would have no problem with her eating an animal that died of natural causes.
rolleyes.gif
Classic. This is a common response to my earlier statement.

Let us continue though, in principle, no, unless it reinforces to themselves the notion that a sentient creature is a commodity or object.
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

If eating animals that died of natural causes reinforces such views then I might personally recommend that it not be done but I would not be willing to call it immoral.
I don't know about immoral, however, consuming an animal, regardless of how it died, may very well reinforce the idea to yourself.
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Lets consider a similar scenario. I take it you also believe that questioning religious dogma is acceptable. But suppose that a person does so online and some nutcase in another country is offended and blows up an embassy for those comments. That risk is small but I would not say impossible. My point is that sometimes we judge actions for their own worth regardless of the misconceptions of others which could lead to negative consequences in conjunction with our actions.
How is that similar? So in one case, I object to the commodification of animals. As such I reject the notion that we should use them for our personal gain. Consuming the body, regardless of how it was obtained does reinforce the notion that an animal is an object to be used, it commodifies them. Or reinforces the original idea I object to.

I don't see that your case is really that similar. It seems that you're trying to make a tenuous comparison based on the misguided idea that we should be concerned with all possible misconceptions. I did not claim that and I reject the cost/benefit analysis that so often comes up (I've said as much many times on VB and elsewhere).

Given your example, the result is someone being violent, perhaps based on their religious dogma. To me, that would indicate all the more that questioning such actions is required. However, if you'd like, please frame the question similarly, if not, I think there's some confusion, either in my delivery of my point or on your part.
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

So hypothetically, if a person lives alone with no one to influence he should not refrain from eating meat?
How does that logically follow? Or what lead you to ask this?

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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Let's assume that he shops at a huge supermarket and uses an automatic service to pay (no human contact) and never shows the meat to anyone. Do you think there is anything wrong with him eating meat?
What about eating meat in secret? If I go grab a piece of meat right now and eat it I think it is virtually impossible for anyone at home to notice. So everyone would still believe I am vegan. Do you think there is anything (your analogue of) wrong with me doing that, perhaps many times?
Didn't I already object to the commodification of animals? I thought I did, and it would seem to have already answered these questions.
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Here is one way it could work. I buy 5kg of meat every time I buy meat. The store where I shop orders a new shipment of meat once their stock gets down to 200kg. I became vegan and stopped consuming meat. As a result it is taking the store somewhat more time to sell the same amount of meat (assuming no other changes are made). The store is taking more time to order the same amount from the producer. The producer starts raising new animals only after enough meat is sold say 100 tons. To be able to sell the same amount it will take them slightly more time now that I became vegan. That means it will take them slightly longer periods of time to grow the same number of animals. Say instead of raising say 10 000 animals per year they will raise 10 000 animals per 1.005 years. That is 50 animals less per year. Over a lifetime that is more that is a couple of thousand animals less that suffer. I don't see why that wouldn't work.
Do you enjoy changing definitions or terms? Your original claim was "the meat industry" not contrived examples. I explicitly objected to this notion before you even made the claim (yes I've heard it before). In the broad picture of "the meat industry" or even large scale animal operations, stores do not order directly from the people raising and slaughtering animals. In fact, the raising, transportation and slaughter could be done by three separate companies. Then there's processors (which may be the same as those slaughtering or not) then you have layers of distributors (it could go from national to regional distributors), then on to specific chains and eventually to the local store you're picking it up.

So on large scales, your contribution or lack thereof is less than spoilage or waste (as I tried to point out in me referring specifically to cattle in my last post). The difference between what was produced and 'consumed' (I'd assume this means purchased which may be by distributors or companies, not necessarily from stores or the end consumer), was 700,000,000 lbs. Your 5 kg (about 11 lbs) contribution or lack thereof is about 0.000000016 fraction of that or 0.0000016 %. You're saying that's significant as compared to the loss already between what was produced and 'consumed'? That it will be more than spoilage, waste, loss, theft, etc (or whatever reason why there was that much difference in production vs consumed).
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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Suppose I ate 50 animals a year before I became vegan. If my becoming vegan had no effect on the number of animals killed, where did these 50 animals I would have eaten go? How can you account for them?
Let me ask you this, what's your familiarity with large scale food production and distribution? Do you know what the term 'shrink' refers to in that context?

I contend that 'shrink' is so much greater (due to things I've already pointed out, like spoilage, waste, loss, theft, etc) it's impossible to account for your contribution or lack thereof as well as impossible to even claim that 50 animals were 'saved' or 'not eaten.' Again, on a large scale when considering the 'meat industry.'

Let's make a quick example, suppose someone produces water (who cares how). They put it in various buckets and arrive at a value of how much water they have. Now these buckets are processed and moved around and sold, and at the time of selling they're reweighed. Now someone comes along and takes away some water. Then another comes along and doesn't take any and claims that luckily the water they would have taken no longer needs to be produced and therefor they saved everyone valuable production time.

Let's use ratios similar to just the cattle industry. Let's look at the person forgoing they 'claim' on the water. 11 units. Now 700,000,000 units were lost, just between production and consumption (not necessarily consumer consumption).

So just in terms of how much was lost, if we take the units to be drops of water, let's assume a drop of water weighs 0.1 grams. So the person's lack of consumption is about 1 gram. 700,000,000 units would then be 70,000,000 grams. Since 1 mL is the same as 1 g of water (at 4 C) that's the same as 70,000,000 mL or 70,000 L of water. So 11 drops is statistically significant to the already known loss and you think producers would take that into account and not produce those 11 drops?

Or you could run the numbers in any volume that seems reasonable to you, just keep the ratios the same. The example however, illustrates the degree of difference between the already existing 'noise' (in terms of loss, spoilage, etc) and your contribution or lack thereof.

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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

Yes others may misunderstand our actions but how much freedom are we willing to give up in order to avoid such misunderstandings and the consequent negative effects?
There seems to be some confusion here.

If I object to doing X, yet I do X, what misunderstanding is there? When I tell people that they should object to doing X, yet I continue to do X, what does that do to my original claim?

This isn't about giving up freedom, it's being aware of our message and actions and the ramifications to how those are viewed and interpreted and consequently, what's reinforced.

I tried to illustrate examples of humans, without being explicit. I'd be surprised that people would say or be okay with anything happening (think of things outside of science or research) to other dead bodies (I'm not talking about your own, since whenever anyone is dead, they don't really care, instead take examples that if the body were alive, you'd have some strong feelings against).

You might ask, what's the meaning of such an exercise. It illustrates the idea that we do not exist in a social or cultural vacuum, not the idea you're trying to make it out to be.

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Originally Posted by Cato View Post

This is national consumption but that does not mean that the producers my store buys from deal with similar numbers. That is, the people they contact do not deal with such numbers.
I was explicit with my example. It's not my fault that you're trying to change the context.

Now the closer one gets to the actual slaughter the more of an impact becoming vegan or vegetarian becomes. I guess the closest is all the way to someone raising animals, slaughtering them, and then consuming them.

Since the majority of animals slaughtered and consumed go to stores (dealing with regional distributors (or other companies who in turn deal with regional distributors) who deal with larger volumes, who in turn deal with national (or international) distributors dealing with even larger volumes, and so on) in general one person being vegan or not doesn't directly change the number of animals being killed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

I am not convinced by your argument. It seems plausible but mine seems no less plausible to me. You need to elaborate and refute my objections.
Sure it seems plausible, because you missed the original point and are good at changing definitions or contexts.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

I am curious that you decided to present this argument though. If you think it is correct I praise you for presenting it but you must know that some people may as a result of it be misled to eat meat. They might think: if I have virtually no effect personally why would I do it? They may ignore the reason you gave. Does that not bother you? We do not after all live in a social or cultural void
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I would say you've missed something very vital.

It was also to illustrate how our actions do have an impact in other ways even though in terms of the 'meat industry' and how most people acquire their dead animals, one person doesn't directly change much. It illustrates that we do not live in a social or cultural vacuum, it illustrates that our actions have a cumulative impact since fortunately we live in a society, a culture.

So once again, I return to the position "the consumption of dead animals, reinforce the objectification of animals."

Your position is that there is a big difference between a dead animal and a live one and that once dead, there is no moral consideration for it.

I tried to give counter examples and reasons why I think this is false or at the least not expressing the entire picture. However, instead of me falsifying your claims (I thought it was a discussion), I'm tired of the context shifts or changing to your personal definitions. Instead how about you elaborate and prove your claims, or at the very least refute my objections (not your contextually changed ideas of my objections nor the shifting of definitions to strawman my objections).
 

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nogardsram,

You said you have written on this before. Can you please point me to it?

There seems to be an interesting consequence of your argument. Suppose that the average vegan (besides those involved actively in animal rights organizations) inspires two other people to become vegan in her lifetime. I don't think that is an unrealistic number. I would think that often it may be a conjunction of factors which may lead to new 'converts'. For example a convert may decide to go vegan because he knows 3 vegans and has read some online articles and watched some videos and so on. Overall, I don't think my number is unrealistic. Let's assume that our vegan had one 'disciple' by the middle of her life and another towards the last quarter of her life. But her first disciple may also have a disciple of his own before the original vegan dies. So then all in all a vegan may be responsible for the equivalent of two persons not using animal products in their life. That is: her own life of not using any animal products, during half of her life her first disciple did not use animal products, during a quarter of her life her second disciple did not use animal products and lets say during a quarter of her life her first disciple's disciple did not use animal products to get a nice round number of 2. So practically speaking (in essence) she is responsible for two persons not using animal products instead of one (as would be the case with someone existing in a social and cultural void). By your argument one person has not even saved even one animal. Similarly two persons would not have saved any animals. So even if we account for the fact that we do not live in a social vacuum it does not seem to have any effect on the number of animals being slaughtered within their lifetime.

Why do you insist they gathered all this meat in one place? When I said the meat industry I meant the people who made the meat I used to eat. I know very little about the logistics of the meat industry but I would have guessed that there are many smaller centres where the meat is processed and my lack of buying would delay the production causing fewer animals to suffer.

Nonetheless, let me even consider you argument. Let's suppose that I am the only vegan in the world. Let us also suppose that it is all gathered in one big place and distributed to all the stores from there somehow. Again I do not know the logistics but it seems to me that this is the worst possible case. Do not focus on pointless technicalities, judge the idea for its own merit. Anyway, certainly even this big business must have some sort of planning in how it orders more animals. An example might be: if we sell 1 million tons of meat this month we will order 10 million animals for next month. If we sell 0.9 million tons of meat we will order 9 million animals. All values have to be rounded to the million for number of animals, and the hundred thousand for the mass. Suppose that I consumed 10kg (0.01 tons) of meat a month. If the industry has sold between 949,999.99 tons and 949,999.999999... tons of meat that month then they will order 9 million animals. If I had not been vegan and purchased my regular 10kg of meat a month that number would have been rounded to 1.0 million tons and 10 million animals would have been ordered instead of 9 million. That would mean I saved 1 million animals in a single month.

But what are the chances of this happening? The chance is one in ten million (per month). But note that my expected utility remains completely unchanged regardless of how big the distribution centre is! That is, if I was consuming 50 animals a year prior to becoming vegan then my expected utility for not eating meat is saving 50 animals per year regardless of how big the production/distribution centre is. It can serve a small village or the United Federation of Planets. The expected utility remains identical, 50 animals per year. The only difference is that with an increase in size of distribution you are playing a lottery will smaller odds of winning but a greater effect if you do win. But those two values remain inversely proportional at all times. All in all the expected utility is identical!

One might say that when dealing with such big numbers the counting is not so accurate but that would be totally irrelevant. For practical purposes there must be cut-off points. Even when the counting is inaccurate the chance of my lack of consumption having an effect remains unchanged.

If the processing/distributing centre is smaller then the lottery is also smaller but in the end the expected utility is identical (i.e. saving 50 animals per year). I used different numbers, but cows and chickens have different weights so lets go with the original 50 animals per year.

This applies to any example you wish to come up with. The practical necessity for a cut-off pint (with huge intervals) in dealing with extreme numbers implies that if it is the extremely unlikely case that your lack of contribution makes a difference the effect will be similarly extreme. All in all the expected utility remains unchanged.

Based on this reasoning I reject your argument that one vegan alone cannot save any animals as false.
 
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