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I've been vegetarian for about a year and a half, maybe a little more, and have little difficulty resisting temptation (I loved the taste of meat). It doesn't appeal to me at all anymore, but I do realize it did taste good - and probably could again.<br><br><br><br>
There are two main problems I am having. One is that I like to debate. As an atheist and an anarchist, I am not one to stray from controversy, but, when it comes to defending my vegetarianism (I am not vegan) I have difficulty.<br><br><br><br>
Basically I have difficulty arguing against people who say "I get more enjoyment out of life by eating meat than I would if I did not." Theoretically, let's say they were vegetarian or vegan and came to that conclusion. Then where am I left? Many animals (such as fish) to little to contribute to the life of a rational being. To me, this argument seems the most common amongst materialist and non-vegetarian individuals. Any non-emotional counterarguments?<br><br><br><br>
Furthermore, I am going into Arts next year in Vancouver (UBC). I used to work at McDonald's (as a vegetarian) and it made me miserable. Is it difficult to find alternative places to work when one is not going into sciences - even if it is a book store or something? Keep in mind that I have a medical condition that makes it difficult to be in the heat. Heavy labour is probably not a likely possibility.<br><br><br><br>
Thanks
 

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Dooga,<br><br><br><br>
First of all, welcome. You will find a plethora of "non emotional" reasons why people are vegetarian. I personally am vegetarian for environmental reasons. One of my favorite lists is "101 reasons why I'm a vegetarian", to which I'll post a link for you:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.vivavegie.org/vv101/101.2005.htm" target="_blank">http://www.vivavegie.org/vv101/101.2005.htm</a><br><br><br><br>
Its a LOT of reading, but if you finish the list, I think you will not find it difficult to stay away from meat.<br><br><br><br>
As far as deriving "pleasure" from eating meat - I think that for most people, the desire to eat it does fade with time. I sincerely have no desire to eat meat at all - and the fake "replacement" meats fill in nicely when I feel like a veggie burger, or want to dip some "chik" nuggets in ketchup!<br><br><br><br>
Here are some of my biggest arguements for being vegetarian, which I mention to meat eaters who push me into debate (all taken from the link I posted you):<br><br><br><br><b>About 25 million pounds of antibiotics are fed to livestock every year primarily for growth promotion—almost eight times the amount administered to humans. Though perfectly legal, the practice is leading to the selection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and adding to the general worldwide crisis of drug-resistant disease. The consumption of meat contaminated with these superbugs raises the risk for a rise in human illnesses that physicians are unable to treat.</b><br><br><br><br><b>An English study that compared the diets of 6,115 vegetarians and 5,015 meat eaters for 12 years found that the meatless diet yielded a 40 percent lower risk of cancer and a 20 percent lower risk of dying from any cause. After monitoring 2,000 vegetarians and near-vegetarians for 22 years, German researchers found that, compared with the general population, groups of people who eat little or no meat can expect to cut their death rates from diseases by 25 to 50 percent.</b><br><br><br><br><b>Several of the world's mightiest rivers no longer reach the sea, and aquifer levels everywhere are dropping precipitously. For these we can in large part blame the fivefold increase in worldwide meat production that took place over the past half-century, and the trend is far from over. Meat production is a water guzzler. Producing a pound of animal protein requires about 100 times as much water as producing a pound of vegetable protein. As Newsweek once put it, "the water that goes into a 1,000-pound steer would float a destroyer." Seventy percent of the water that is pulled from the world's rivers, lakes, and underground wells goes to agriculture, and 40 percent of the world's grain goes to feed animals for slaughter.</b><br><br><br><br><b>A symposium of scientists in the mid-1990s predicted that energy shortages, exhausted land, scarce water, and a doubling population will impose more of a plant-based diet onto America's dinner tables by 2050. They acknowledged that this diet, born of scarcity, would "actually be a healthier one." Surely, the sooner we all learn to enjoy it the better!</b>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Dooga</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
Basically I have difficulty arguing against people who say "I get more enjoyment out of life by eating meat than I would if I did not." Theoretically, let's say they were vegetarian or vegan and came to that conclusion. Then where am I left? Many animals (such as fish) to little to contribute to the life of a rational being. To me, this argument seems the most common amongst materialist and non-vegetarian individuals. Any non-emotional counterarguments?</div>
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It doesn't seem like an argument to me. "I get more enjoyment out of x" could be used to defend anything, from gladiator fights to sadism to replacing forests with golf courses.
 

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You can't really debate people on their personal esthetic choices. The trick I suppose is to find out if they have any empathy for other creatures at all, such as pet animals, and then try to find out how they differentiate between their own pet animals and how they treat them, and how factory food animals are treated, and how they feel about the difference. That is, if you want to debate on animal welfare issues. But as mentioned there are many reasons to avoid factory farmed meat from a health standpoint, or from an environmental standpoint. You just need to find out if the person is interested in health issues or environmental issues. If they aren't, if they are just interested in a hedonistic lifestyle, there's really no way to debate or persuade them, probably, and best spend your time elsewhere. YOU certainly have no reason to "defend" your own choices, certainly no need to defend them against someone who says they want to eat meat because they want to eat meat. There's just no argument there.<br><br><br><br>
I'm not sure what you mean by "alternative places to work." Do you mean as a part time job, or do you mean as a career?
 

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"I get more enjoyment out of life by eating meat than I would if I did not."<br><br><br><br>
Well, suppose someone gets enjoyment out of torturing you, killing you and eating your flesh? If one accepts that one being's pleasure justifies another being's suffering, one has to accept the idea that next time it might be YOUR suffering that justifies someone else's pleasure.<br><br><br><br>
And I feel fairly certain that on the cosmic scale, this person's momentary pleasure in a meal is not nearly enough to even come close to outweighing all the suffering involved. There's the suffering of the animals that died to make that meal possible most of all, but also the suffering of that very person-- they may begin to suffer mere minutes after finishing their dinner, with indigestion and heartburn, and they've just increased their chance of more suffering from chronic illness down the road. Killing animals and eating them brings far more suffering into the world than pleasure.
 

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I am in a similar situation to you, in that I will argue about absolutely anything, but find my vegetarianism difficult to debate with most people. Partly this is because it is (perhaps the only) ethical issue that is very important to me, but mainly its because my personal arguments for being vegetarian are all based on the premise that animals have the same right to life and decent living conditions as people. If the person I'm arguing with refuses to accept my initial premise then the argument can never go anywhere.<br><br>
Its like arguing: All cats have four legs. Donald duck has two legs. Therefore Donald Duck is not a cat. If the person you are talking to insists that Donald Duck has 4 legs rather than 2 then you can not use that logic to persuade them that he is not a cat.<br><br>
This means that if you want to pursue the argument you have to first persuade them to accept that animals have certain rights, which is fairly close to impossible. Its a base personal belief that cannot normally be changed through logic. Ask yourself why you dont believe plants have the same rights, or why you believe that people do have them. Its not logical, its just something that you accept as a fact based on the social conditioning that has acted on you throughout your life.<br><br>
If people refuse to accept that animals "count" then the hedonistic argument of "I enjoy meat" or the utilitarian one of "the majority of people enjoy meat" can never be beaten by arguments about the amount of pain and suffering caused to the animals which provide the meat.<br><br>
Its easy to debate the point (much more successfully) on issues other than animal rights, but personally I was not persuaded that vegetarianism was a good idea because of these arguments and so see no reason why anyone I was arguing with would be either.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>queenarmadillo</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Its a base personal belief that cannot normally be changed through logic. Ask yourself why you dont believe plants have the same rights, or why you believe that people do have them. Its not logical, its just something that you accept as a fact based on the social conditioning that has acted on you throughout your life.</div>
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I disagree. You can ask for the criteria for moral rights and see why many of them (like intelligence or moral agency or species) fail.
 

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Have you ever heard of the butterfly effect? According to this, even the motions of a butterfly's wings affect the rest of the world. As "a rational being" you are definately affected by the absence or presence of every living (and non-living) being.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sevenseas</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I disagree. You can ask for the criteria for moral rights and see why many of them (like intelligence or moral agency or species) fail.</div>
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Or you can ask, if pain/pleasure is the basis for our moral structure, how does the pain or pleasure of one sentient being differ from that of another? If we can establish that all animals, or even all vertebrates, or even all mammals, to start with a baby step, feel pain similar to what humans feel, we've got a foot in the door. Anyone who has had both pets and children ought to be able to see the similarities in the pain or fear response of a cat or dog and a preverbal human child. We can also talk about the senses of animals and how, in many cases, the senses of animals are more acute than human senses. That's a start in recognizing that non-humans can suffer in a way that we can understand and recognize as being bad.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Dooga</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
"I get more enjoyment out of life by eating meat than I would if I did not."</div>
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One animals right to life should be more important than a humans desire to end that life. Murderer McFee gets more enjoyment out of life by killing and raping children then not, but that does not somehow preempt the right of the children to not be raped. In the same light, a persons desire to taste blood on their lips should not preempt the right of animals to live.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>troub</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
One animals right to life should be more important than a humans desire to end that life.</div>
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No animal lives are saved by not eating farmed meat. Animal lives (and subsequent deaths) may be prevented (they won't be born/hatched) but no lives will actually be saved.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>troub</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
One animals right to life should be more important than a humans desire to end that life. Murderer McFee gets more enjoyment out of life by killing and raping children then not, but that does not somehow preempt the right of the children to not be raped. In the same light, a persons desire to taste blood on their lips should not preempt the right of animals to live.</div>
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<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":up:"> I agree completely. A life isnt worth a silly desire for a taste
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Ludi</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
No animal lives are saved by not eating farmed meat. Animal lives (and subsequent deaths) may be prevented (they won't be born/hatched) but no lives will actually be saved.</div>
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Troub's post was about the right to life, the expression "saving lives" is Ludi's invention. And as for the right to life, that "Animal lives (and subsequent deaths) may be prevented", implies that eating farmed meat does violate the right to life: it causes acts of killing.
 
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