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hell all, fellow veg here
I'm coming up on 2 years since not having meat, and I have never missed it. in fact, at this point, the very idea of eating meat is honestly stomach turning to me. I could not do it if I tried.

Anyway I have gotten in quite a few arguments with certain people who have a problem with my dietary choices. They have challenged me to summarize what exactly is my moral stance on the issue. One person even told me "you're a hypocrite because you still eat plants, and plants were alive!" So I have tried to pinpoint what exactly is my moral stance. For me, I find it ethically wrong to kill something that had some sentience, some awareness of its environment. that's why I never even though twice about eating plants because its not life itself i have a problem with ending, its the awareness of a living thing. The other thing is on top of that, it causes the animal pain.

All of this got me wondering, what about animals that have no sentience and no ability to feel pain? Would I still feel wrong for consuming them. I suppose not. I'm not aware of any such animals.

What do you all think? What is your exact stance on the issue?
 

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Originally Posted by IloveyouRed View Post

hell all, fellow veg here
I'm coming up on 2 years since not having meat, and I have never missed it. in fact, at this point, the very idea of eating meat is honestly stomach turning to me. I could not do it if I tried.

Anyway I have gotten in quite a few arguments with certain people who have a problem with my dietary choices. They have challenged me to summarize what exactly is my moral stance on the issue. One person even told me "you're a hypocrite because you still eat plants, and plants were alive!" So I have tried to pinpoint what exactly is my moral stance. For me, I find it ethically wrong to kill something that had some sentience, some awareness of its environment. that's why I never even though twice about eating plants because its not life itself i have a problem with ending, its the awareness of a living thing. The other thing is on top of that, it causes the animal pain.

All of this got me wondering, what about animals that have no sentience and no ability to feel pain? Would I still feel wrong for consuming them. I suppose not. I'm not aware of any such animals.

What do you all think? What is your exact stance on the issue?
That's pretty much it. I don't want to harm sentient beings, and I don't know of any animal who couldn't be argued to have some level of awareness and ability to feel pain.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by IloveyouRed View Post

One person even told me "you're a hypocrite because you still eat plants, and plants were alive!"
There is a beautifull little 'wind up' for the cymbal banging monkeys who come up with that one Red.

Simple play with how the food chain works:

Just get agreement that vegetarian animals have to be fed many many pounds/calories/acreage/whatever to produce a smaller amount of meat.

Follow on to get agreement that because of that a vegetarian diet, in sum total, requires less plant consumption than an omni diet does.

(None of that is difficult if you have one of those little human>cows>plants diagram that 5 year olds understand peerfectly to hand)

Finish off with something to the effect of "So your argument is basicaly that it is more 'moral' to kill many many more plants than we need in order to survive AND kill animals as well?"

Welcome to the forum btw
 

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Originally Posted by IloveyouRed View Post

All of this got me wondering, what about animals that have no sentience and no ability to feel pain? Would I still feel wrong for consuming them. I suppose not. I'm not aware of any such animals.
Clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, starfish and jellyfish come to mind. I draw the line at "has a brain" when it comes to what I assume to have sentience. I don't eat them, because farming them causes environmental damage and they aren't appetizing to me, but I don't have an ethical problem with their being killed per se.
 

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Burden of proof should fall to the eater, not to the non-eater. Why should I care if hypocrites call me a hypocrite?
They will always argue with any veg*n every chance they get -- actual good reason for that diet still does not exist.
 

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Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

That's pretty much it. I don't want to harm sentient beings, and I don't know of any animal who couldn't be argued to have some level of awareness and ability to feel pain.
Sea sponges are likely not sentient (they are animals however)
also there is controversy regarding the ability to suffer of some insects and crustaceans
 

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Originally Posted by cornsail View Post

Clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, starfish and jellyfish come to mind. I draw the line at "has a brain" when it comes to what I assume to have sentience. I don't eat them, because farming them causes environmental damage and they aren't appetizing to me, but I don't have an ethical problem with their being killed per se.
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Originally Posted by SkepticalVegan View Post

Sea sponges are likely not sentient (they are animals however)
also there is controversy regarding the ability to suffer of some insects and crustaceans
Oh yeah, blah blah blah. Ever hear of benefit of the doubt?
 

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Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

Oh yeah, blah blah blah. Ever hear of benefit of the doubt?
I have, and in the linked post i applied it to crustaceans because there is credible evidence even if its not conclusive. But the precautionary principle can only go so far and should utilize Bayesian probability as a guide. We could give plants the benefit of the doubt as well but the evidence leans much the other way, the situation for seas sponges is quite similar the evidence and prior probability is weighted heavily on the non-sentient side.
Now for other reasons I am opposed to harvesting sea sponges, but its not really out of cruelty to them in particular.
The fact remains that drawing the line at the animal kingdom may be a convenient spot but doesn't actually line up 100% with anti-speciesist or animal rights ethics, its a generally useful line but somewhat off that mark.
I also think vegans need to get away from drawing the line at the animal kingdom & classical taxonomy because cladistics is replacing that older system of taxonomy.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornsail View Post

Clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, starfish and jellyfish come to mind. I draw the line at "has a brain" when it comes to what I assume to have sentience. I don't eat them, because farming them causes environmental damage and they aren't appetizing to me, but I don't have an ethical problem with their being killed per se.
Starfish!

LL
 

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Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

Oh yeah, blah blah blah. Ever hear of benefit of the doubt?
Anything could be sentient. I draw the benefit of the doubt line at "does it have a brain?" In terms of my own life, I try to stick to veganism for simplicity's sake.
 

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I try to sum it up in something short and sweet, but that's not too narrow of a definition. So I say "I eat a plant based diet for the benefit of animals, the planet, and my health." Then if they have specific questions, I answer that.

For me, if something is classified as an animal rather than a plant or bacteria, etc., then the chances that it feels pain are greater than if it were something nonanimal. So I'm not going to presume that I know exactly which animals feel pain and which don't - I mean, oysters have a nervous system so I think it's a bit of a leap to assume they can't feel anything. Do oysters feel as much as a chicken? Probably not, but I'm not going to eat them just because that delineation makes more sense to some people than the delineation between plant and animal. The line between plant and animal is more common-sense to me and easier to apply. Seems more logical to assume that things without nervous systems are incapable (or less likely to be capable) of feeling pain - better to err on the side where you're depriving yourself of minor luxury rather than the side where you're causing unnecessary suffering, especially when it comes to something so easy to avoid (many many many people avoid shellfish due to allergies, food poisoning, environmental issues, etc.)

All that said, if someone told me "I could never be vegetarian if it meant I had to stop eating oysters" then I would say, "OK, eat oysters but stop eating chickens, pigs, cows, and fish. Please, don't let your love of the taste of oysters be your rationalization to cause tremendous unneccesary suffering to so many other kinds of animals. Please cut back on your meat consumption."
 

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Originally Posted by Mike4891 View Post

Burden of proof should fall to the eater, not to the non-eater. Why should I care if hypocrites call me a hypocrite?
They will always argue with any veg*n every chance they get -- actual good reason for that diet still does not exist.
Yeah, the burden of proof shouldn't fall on those who choose to do less harm. It's like someone saying, "What, why are you not hurting these animals? Explain yourself." It's just in the nature of doing something aberrational that you have to defend yourself to people.

My moral stance lies in the inability to draw a sensible moral line around humans which makes us the only animals deserving of moral protections. That, to me, is where the argument lies. Why, if we accept that humans have rights and that treating humans in certain ways is right and other ways is wrong, should other animals be excluded from this system of moral consideration? There are a lot of justifications for why humans alone should have this privilege of being deserving of moral consideration, but they can each be dissecting and found to be inadequate.

I don't like to talk about these issues with people because it's a serious discussion just in terms of the tone you need to take and how deeply it can affect us emotionally to have that discussion. People ask innocently enough in conversation, but I don't think they realize how "big" of a question it is. You can spend hours explaining it. You can give it a short response, but I don't think those are the honest ones.
 

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Yeah, you could turn the argument the other way: if it's okay to eat animals because you gotta eat plants anyway, then let's eat people, too! That's what I meant saying they're hypocrites: just look how we react to some person getting eaten by a bear or shark or something. Why not eat meat? Uh, cause I'm meat.
 

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I've also never seen a carrot bleed or heard kale cry out in pain. They may be alive but they're far separated from the type of life we are. Our last common ancestor with them was in the Cambrian, billions of years ago. Comparatively speaking chickens are cousins.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by IloveyouRed View Post

All of this got me wondering, what about animals that have no sentience and no ability to feel pain? Would I still feel wrong for consuming them. I suppose not. I'm not aware of any such animals.
I'm not well-versed in the sentience of some forms of animal life, but if I was, and if I felt certain that a given form of animal life isn't sentient, I wouldn't see any direct ethical problem with killing and eating them, any more than with plants. The ethical considerations would be indirect ones, such as any harm to the environment from the practice, or maybe giving the impression to other people that eating sealife in general is ok, which could inspire those other people to eat forms of sealife that are sentient.
 

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That "Plants are living things" bit annoys me to no end. Here, in summary, is usually how I respond to that sort of thing and condense my ideals:

- Plants do not feel pain, animals do.

- Even if the above were not true, I don't need to eat animals to live a healthy life and the same is not true for plants.

- Even if the previous two points were flawed, meat eaters are still killing more plants because of all the plants it requires to raise an animal to slaughter.

Drawing the line at "I don't eat anything from the animal kingdom" is the easiest way for me to do it. Is it possible that certain animals like crustaceans and whatnot might not feel pain? Yes it is. But we don't know that for sure. Humans are always learning, we used to think the world was flat and lightning happened because gods were angry. Besides, I don't feel like I'm losing out by not eating shellfish.
 
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