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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been told that I can't call myself vegan unless I not only eliminate animal products from not only my diet but my life and that I need not harm animals in anyways. I have some questions and these have bothered me for along time. Until I can reconcile somethings I don't think I will ever then be considered vegan.

Bees: I understand that harm can come to the bees collecting honey- but then if you are truly vegan should you not avoid cellphone use. As it has been proven that cellphones are killing the bee population.

over-population of animals causing diseases: I grew up in areas were over population of deer leads to disease that are passed to humans. Even to humans who do not eat them, how are we to keep this from happening.
-over population of coyotes are pushing them into the subs of Chicago and pets and children are being attacked.
How do we deal with that?

Zoos: People say that it's not right to visit zoo's or even have them, however now most of the animals that are in zoo's were born in captivity, or were found injured and were treated back to health. These animals can not safely be returned to their natural environment so what are we suppose to do with them. (I have a teenage son who wants to be a zoologist so he can take care of these animals. He feels that through this he can help others learn more about animals)

And if it's not good to take animals out of their natural environments for our pleasure- then why do we keep pets in our homes. We domesticated them, my cats were rescues- if I put them out on the streets now, they wouldn't stand a chance. 2 don't have front claws, (i wasn't there for that) but my baby still has claws and he is not fixed. I will not do that, as I find it is cruel, but others say if we don't fix our pets we are going to have over-population. so it goes in this evil circle. I mean seriously we could do that to humans saying it's to prevent over-population right? yet that is not right.

I know this seems so random, but it's what goes on in my mind... and till I can justify some of this... I just guess I will be called a strict veggie instead of vegan.

Hope I can get some answers.
thanks
 

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There's not a single person on this planet who does not kill animals every day simply by existing. Heck I probably kill some animals everytime I walk across the grass... I just can't see them as I'm crushing them under my feet. But that doesn't make it cruel. Cruelty is a choice. Veganism can only hope to minimize the number of animals that are killed for us to live, but it can never eliminate it, and as far as I know that is the definition of veganism. You can live without honey, and dairy, and eggs, and leather, and zoos, and pets. You cannot however live without food and that inherently involves the death of some animals whether we like it or not. I don't have a cellphone right now because I don't have a job that requires it, but if my livelihood did depend on having one I would consider that to be a condition of my survival. Also, I do not have a 'pet' of any kind but if I were to have one in the future it would be a rescue.
 

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Here's my take.

Your initial premise is flawed. There is no way to guarantee that you do not harm animals in any way.

About the bee issue, it all comes down to where do you draw the line. Let's assume that you decide not to use a cellphone for the bees. But then there's oil, electricity, tires, and a long list of etc's that also harm or exploit animals. Even the vegetables we eat may be harvested in ways that animals die. So unless we are prepared to go into the wild, be totally off the grid and grow our own food there's no end to this debate. Now veganism strives to minimize suffering as much as possible (emphasizing the words minimize and possible), so just because you can't avoid all suffering does not mean you should not try to avoid any.

The deer overpopulation and the zoos, in my opinion, have to do with the same issues. Why is there deer overpopulation? Where did their natural predators go? Why are we living so close to wild animals? The answer is that our sprawl has taken us to the limit, the deer didn't come to us, we came to them, we annihilated their habitat and their natural predators, created an imbalance and then have the nerve to get mad at them because their diseases make us sick. The way I see it we probably deserve it.

The same goes for zoos. We destroyed the ecosystems were these animals lived for millions of years and now we want to solve the problem not by letting those ecosystems recover and protecting what is left of them but by unnaturally breeding them in captivity with the added bonus of charging money to have people stare at them. Yes those animals can't go back but we should not perpetuate the cycle, we should move towards a real solution, like securing the resources to protect wild environments so species can thrive and we can stop breeding animals in captivity.

Pets are a complex issue in my opinion. We have a long history of relationships with these animals, like dogs used to be wolves that became friendly with humans thousands of years ago. I think feral populations should be left alone and unbothered, they way it is supposed to be. However, the problem, again, is us, we breed dogs and cats so they can be sold and then we have the problems we have, declawed cats, overpopulation and so on. The solution then is not to have pets, because they are already here, they are already domesticated and need a home, the solution is to stop breeding them for sale.

At the end, it doesn't matter what you call yourself, the animals don't even care why you do it, they just want to be left alone to do what they have done for thousands of generations.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight Butterfly View Post

I have been told that I can't call myself vegan
Veganism is about recognizing the sentience and autonomy of other animals, and doing your best to live without benefiting from their exploitation. Most people don't seem to understand this, which is where all these arguments about killing and harming come from.
 

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Hi,

I'm new to this whole thing in practice but have been thinking about it for quite some time. I can't give you solutions--I can only share with you the answers I've come up with.

I've learned to take anyone who judges my practices as "not vegan enough" with a grain of salt. As the wise posters above me have mentioned, no one could ever live up to a lifestyle that never, ever harms another living creature; it's impossible. Life requires death and death requires life. However, that fact of existence is not an excuse to kill other creatures at our pleasure or convenience. Simply because some deaths are unpreventable does not mean we should not bother to prevent others.

If anyone tells you that you aren't doing enough, just shrug it off. It's all relative unless they're living in the middle of nowhere in a cabin made from reclaimed wood, living off of nothing but their own vegetable garden that is watered from their personal well, and living completely off the grid. No one has any real moral high-ground to judge you as 'not vegan enough' if you're making a concerted effort, especially if this person is judging you through an online message board while (s)he uses up electricity, which probably contributes more to animal suffering than that one wool sweater you own.

I, too, think the issue of having pets is a complex one, especially with regard to dogs. Humans would never have progressed as far as we have were it not for our relationship with dogs as protectors and hunting companions. We've also, through our own interactions and breeding of them, have created a new species and many of its variations have no viability in the wild. Cats, on the other hand, present their own problems. First among them is that while they might do well in the wild, they're not native to the Americas and might do more damage to an ecosystem than harm.

I'm always skeptical about the 'over-population' argument. Over-populated in what sense? As in too many animals in a specific area? It usually means that there are more animals in the area than the humans, who relatively just moved in, would prefer. 'Animal over-population' would not be an issue if we humans practiced sustainable living and weren't greedy land-hoarders. What it really boils down to is convenience. If the unhealthy living conditions of animals, or humans proximity thereto, presents a danger, the sensible and compassionate solution would be to move--not kill a living creature who is simply living in its native habitat.

I, personally, wouldn't have a problem with a zoo that was comprised entirely of rescued or rehabilitated animals. But I doubt that's the case for most of the animals there.

Also, I'm not sure that I would count pet-ownership as exploitation or enslavement in most cases. If anything, I think a healthy pet-human relationship is the closest thing humans can come to symbiosis: they get a home free of predators, a life perhaps twice as long than otherwise expected, and a constant supply of nourishment and entertainment and all (most) humans ask for is some love.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger View Post

Veganism can only hope to minimize the number of animals that are killed for us to live, but it can never eliminate it, and as far as I know that is the definition of veganism.
I'm not sure what you're saying here. What is the definition of veganism, as far as you know?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

I'm not sure what you're saying here. What is the definition of veganism, as far as you know?
Heck I'm never really sure what I'm saying either.
But in the context of this post I'm saying that the killing of animals for us to survive can never be completely eliminated, merely reduced to the lowest possible level through the choices that we make.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger View Post

Heck I'm never really sure what I'm saying either.
But in the context of this post I'm saying that the killing of animals for us to survive can never be completely eliminated, merely reduced to the lowest possible level through the choices that we make.
Yeah, but veganism is mainly defined through animal products and not animals killed, and even then, the "as far as possible and practical" qualification is added, which is a standard agreed on by the community of people identifying as vegans.
 

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Also, I think a lot of the killing of animals in agriculture, transportation, etc. is due to the indifference towards non-humans that vegans, even though supporting those violent systems, are trying to politically address and object to. If animals can be treated as pieces of meat, they surely can be driven over or poisoned too.
 

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Actually, Sevenseas I know for a fact that you and I both agree on this, so I think maybe I just worded my post badly.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger View Post

Actually, Sevenseas I know for a fact that you and I both agree on this, so I think maybe I just worded my post badly.
Well I don't know if you worded anything badly, but when you've said that Tom Cruise looks good in Risky Business, I've just assumed you have worded it really badly and don't really mean it
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

Well I don't know if you worded anything badly, but when you've said that Tom Cruise looks good in Risky Business, I've just assumed you have worded it really badly and don't really mean it
Yeah... ummm... Tom Cruise in Risky Business? Tighty whities and all? We ARE going to disagree on that. Oh yeah.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you all- you have made me feel much better about this.

JoBravo, you said
Quote:
Also, I'm not sure that I would count pet-ownership as exploitation or enslavement in most cases.
I had to laugh cause in my case I am the one enslaved to at least one of my cats... LOL! Our vet told us he hasn't any health problems just attitude problems. My hubby said so what your saying is I just paid you $150 to tell me he is perfectly healthy he is just an "a-hole" and the doctor said yes. So he is officially diagnoised that per the doctor.

I do try to do everything to make sure I am not harming any living thing, not just because of my thoughts on food but because of my religious beliefs. Most of my friends think I am a goof, but love me because of it. I feed the geese daily (I live on the river) and have begun naming them. I will catch a spider and put him back outside, and would stop to help anyone human or not. But to be told I can't say I am a vegan, because I wear a sweater that was given to me by someone I totally love and respect just because it is wool, hurts.
 

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Who is telling you you can't call yourself vegan? More often than not I find meat eaters will do this, in a sort of "well since I can't do this and call myself vegan, you can't do something else and call yourself vegan either" argument, as if being able to call yourself vegan is the most important aspect of the whole deal. Makes them feel better about choosing not to bother at all, when they can make it look like your own efforts to do your best are a waste of time.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight Butterfly View Post

I have been told that I can't call myself vegan unless I not only eliminate animal products from not only my diet but my life and that I need not harm animals in anyways.
That's certainly one interpretation of what "vegan" means. I suppose it might even be logical, but it becomes ridiculously hard to adhere to. I doubt any human could make it even a single day without accidentally stepping on a bug or something.

Quote:
I have some questions and these have bothered me for along time. Until I can reconcile somethings I don't think I will ever then be considered vegan.
If we must, we can play your game, but I insist your princess is in another castle.

Quote:
Bees: I understand that harm can come to the bees collecting honey- but then if you are truly vegan should you not avoid cellphone use. As it has been proven that cellphones are killing the bee population.
If I were "truly vegan" I wouldn't have driven my car to work this morning. I think I took out a few bees on the way. My approach to veganism is an attempt to reduce horrible suffering in the world by avoiding giving my money to cruel industries which directly enslave and exploit animals.

Quote:
over-population of animals causing diseases: I grew up in areas were over population of deer leads to disease that are passed to humans. Even to humans who do not eat them, how are we to keep this from happening.
-over population of coyotes are pushing them into the subs of Chicago and pets and children are being attacked.
How do we deal with that?
There's another way to look at this, you know...it might occur that we're the species that's grossly overpopulated. Besides, as above, this has nothing to do with an organized boycott of animal agribusiness. Even if it became necessary to reduce populations of wild animals this does not excuse the fate of over ten billion land animals every year on factory farms. You're far more likely to die of some mutated strain of E.Coli or Avian Flu than any diseases the deer have, by the way.

Quote:
Zoos: People say that it's not right to visit zoo's or even have them, however now most of the animals that are in zoo's were born in captivity, or were found injured and were treated back to health. These animals can not safely be returned to their natural environment so what are we suppose to do with them. (I have a teenage son who wants to be a zoologist so he can take care of these animals. He feels that through this he can help others learn more about animals)
This is not one of my personal immediate goals as a vegan or activist, but I am opposed to the systematic enslavement of any wild animal, and I feel zoos must eventually make way for a more civilized form of entertainment.

Quote:
And if it's not good to take animals out of their natural environments for our pleasure- then why do we keep pets in our homes. We domesticated them, my cats were rescues- if I put them out on the streets now, they wouldn't stand a chance. 2 don't have front claws, (i wasn't there for that) but my baby still has claws and he is not fixed. I will not do that, as I find it is cruel, but others say if we don't fix our pets we are going to have over-population. so it goes in this evil circle. I mean seriously we could do that to humans saying it's to prevent over-population right? yet that is not right.
This has absolutely nothing to do with zoos. There's no accurate comparison. Cats and dogs have been domesticated for literally thousands of years.

Quote:
I know this seems so random, but it's what goes on in my mind... and till I can justify some of this... I just guess I will be called a strict veggie instead of vegan.
Call yourself what you want. It's not the label that matters. There is intense, brutal and inexcusable suffering going on in factory farms every day. By choosing not to give your money to people who commit these atrocities you are living your life with more ethical consistency than before. "Vegan" be damned. It's just a word.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

Who is telling you you can't call yourself vegan? More often than not I find meat eaters will do this, in a sort of "well since I can't do this and call myself vegan, you can't do something else and call yourself vegan either" argument, as if being able to call yourself vegan is the most important aspect of the whole deal. Makes them feel better about choosing not to bother at all, when they can make it look like your own efforts to do your best are a waste of time.
I have been on other "veggie" or "vegan" boards in the past. And had my feelings hurt pretty bad and I usually have tough skin. It's made it very difficult for me in this transition.

I do consider myself very much against things like factory-farms and such. I try to do what I can to help. I just sometimes find people are so over the top that they completely disrespect others in the fight to save a flea on the back of a dog.

I hate labels but when I say I am a vegetarian I have gotten lectures about not being vegan and when I say I don't eat any animal products, they tell me I am not vegan because I may have accidentally used a product that had something I didn't know in it. It's crazy and fustrating all at one time.
 

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I think the short answer to your question would be that veganism is just about doing your best to reduce the amount of harm we cause animals. I think it'd be a bit hard to avoid cellphones completely in this day and age, but if there was a bee-friendly alternative I'd go with that one.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight Butterfly View Post

I have been told that I can't call myself vegan unless I not only eliminate animal products from not only my diet but my life and that I need not harm animals in anyways. I have some questions and these have bothered me for along time. Until I can reconcile somethings I don't think I will ever then be considered vegan.
Well, I think there have been a lot of intelligent responses to this and I agree with several of them.


I did want to touch upon a few of your other points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight Butterfly View Post

Bees: I understand that harm can come to the bees collecting honey- but then if you are truly vegan should you not avoid cellphone use. As it has been proven that cellphones are killing the bee population.
Proven? Can you link a/the study proving that?

My understanding is that there have been studies showing that there is some correlation with cel phones placed near bee hives causing some 'agitation' or at least some kind of reaction within the hive while cel phones are sending or receiving a call (and maybe when they're in a call), but I'm currently not aware of anything proving that celphones in and of themselves kill bees.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight Butterfly View Post

over-population of animals causing diseases: I grew up in areas were over population of deer leads to disease that are passed to humans. Even to humans who do not eat them, how are we to keep this from happening.
-over population of coyotes are pushing them into the subs of Chicago and pets and children are being attacked.
How do we deal with that?
As another poster commented, is this an over deer/coyote (or whatever animal is being criticized) or a human overpopulation? How much land do humans really need and is it necessary for humans to exclusively use all the land? (How many other animals need a big house and fence their yard and spray herbicides, pesticides, etc all over, pave all sorts of land to drive around etc?).

Is this a by-product of our lifestyles or a by-product of these animals 'overpopulating'?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starlight Butterfly View Post

Zoos: People say that it's not right to visit zoo's or even have them, however now most of the animals that are in zoo's were born in captivity, or were found injured and were treated back to health. These animals can not safely be returned to their natural environment so what are we suppose to do with them. (I have a teenage son who wants to be a zoologist so he can take care of these animals. He feels that through this he can help others learn more about animals)
I think there have been a number of threads about zoos here, and there are so other critiques online. The search function on VB can help find those and I'll see if I can find some of the links I have on zoos.
 

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The fact of the matter is that adopting a plant-based diet is the best possible thing you can do for the environment. The meat/egg/dairy industries are destroying our planet and are responsible for world hunger, the destruction of the tropical rainforests, antibiotic-resistant "superbugs", global warming, and the depletion of our natural resources to name a few. As long as you refuse to consume animal products, you are doing yourself and the world a great service and should not worry about accidentally stepping on an ant.
 
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