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Of all the comments that really make my blood pressure rise are the ones where omnis insist that caring about the rights and welfare of animals is stupid and something to be ashamed of, and those of us who do care about animals must naturally hate people because we insist on elevating the status of animals to that of humans. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/huh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":confused:"> Every so often I hear or see these comments and they really make my gorge rise. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/mad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":mad:"><br><br>
There was the woman who wrote to the newspaper complaining about animal lovers and suggesting that people who have dogs and cats and make a fuss over them are pathetic and lonely and should get out and meet other people and "have a real life". I can spot a mile off somebody who never grew up with pets and just doesn't get why people have pets in the first place.<br><br>
There are the pro-animal testing people who will poke you in the chest and loudly proclaim that if killing monkeys and pigs means that their kid might someday be cured of some dreaded disease, then so be it and they're happy to have animal testing.<br><br>
There is the person whose letter appeared in the Smithsonian magazine in response to an article about a couple saving hippos in Zimbabwe, who protested the entire article, stating that Robert Mugabe was a terrible dictator who did terrible things to the people of Zimbabwe and that helping the people of that country should come before helping "a bunch of hippos."<br><br>
There are those who are infuriated about the awful working conditions of those who work in slaughterhouses and factory farms but don't seem to give a crap about the welfare of the animals themselves, stating that "we must protect the people first."<br><br>
And of course all the people who say "Why are you so upset? it's JUST an animal."<br><br>
And so on and on and on...<br><br>
What the hell do we say to these people?<br><br>
What kind of counter arguments make the most sense and shut these people up?
 

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You can list your humanitarian efforts, or those of other animal-people. For example, the <a href="http://foodispower.org/" target="_blank">Food Empowerment Project</a> or <a href="http://foodnotbombs.net/" target="_blank">Food Not Bombs</a>. Or you can say, "We don't choose our causes, our causes choose us" followed with your history of how you got involved in animal advocacy - personal stories tend to make people more sympathetic.<br><br>
Or you just ask them what <i>they</i> do to help people. Most of the time they're not involved in any kind of volunteering or activism.<br><br>
But every now and then they aren't hypocrites. If what they're doing sounds good to you, ask how you can get involved. And then if you want, make a deal with them. Say something like, "I'll volunteer at the homeless shelter with you on Thursdays for a month if you'll go vegan on Thursdays for a month."<br><br>
The vegan bake sales that raise money for human charities are a great thingto get involved in. Save animals, show people how great vegan treats are, and raise money for a good cause. You can learn more at <a href="http://veganbakesale.org/veganbakesale/index.html" target="_blank">Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale</a>.
 

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UGH! I absolutely hate it when people do that! Most of the time it's from my sister or other Christians, the Bible said that humans rule over animals. However, I am also a Christian and I don't believe that. We should take care of them, but not hurt them. Also, I think another member posted this on another thread, but Genesis 1:29 says exactly what to eat. "Then God said, 'I give you every seed-bearing on the face of the whole Earth and every tree that has fruit with seed on it. They will be yours for food.'"
 

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Point out that animal liberation and total human liberation are interconnected, and that respect for all forms of sentience will lead to better treatment of both humans and animals through development of a more empathetic thought process. When they try and say Hitler was a vegetarian, point out that he was not and regularly ate sausage, stuffed pigeon, etc.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Amy SF</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2853549"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
There are the pro-animal testing people who will poke you in the chest and loudly proclaim that if killing monkeys and pigs means that their kid might someday be cured of some dreaded disease, then so be it and they're happy to have animal testing.</div>
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I can't stand people like that!
 

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People suck.<br><br>
That being said, I think attitudes are changing over time. One hundred years ago no one became veg*n for compassionate reasons.
 

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Hear, hear. It's like they can't have two thoughts in their head at the same time - as long as one thought involves the welfare / interests of animals.<br><br>
What has baffled me in this context in the past is that I often heard these arguments coming from politically left-leaning people who I thought, naively, would somehow be much more supportive of the "underdog".<br><br>
One big flaw in their argument seems to be that something doesn't have to be <i>the most</i> important or valuable in order to be worthy of consideration. It's like saying we shouldn't waste time and effort on e.g. helping school-children from difficult backgrounds as long as there are homeless people out there. But then we shouldn't be wasting time & effort on helping the homeless while there are people dying because of war and starvation. But really we shouldn't be wasting time & effort on them either as long as there are unstable regimes with weapons of mass destruction that could wipe out millions of people. But then really that's just a waste of time & effort as well as long as there are asteroids out there that could potentially smash our entire planet to tiny bits!!!<br><br>
How much value we put on animals vs humans is of course an individual evaluation, but it seems so obvious that many animals are creatures just like us that can both feel joy and suffer, and that they all have interests that are at least worthy of consideration, regardless of whether there are homeless people or people dying from war and disease.
 

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1. People who argue, for example, that protecting people from Mugabe should come before protecting hippos usually are doing neither; in fact they usually are the type of person sitting in their armchair, feeling secure about their own morality (which usually includes giving money to causes, but never doing anything) who presume some kind of moral superiority because of their generosity while, when it comes down to it, buying activism is much less effective than being an activist, actually getting off your butt and doing something about the problems.<br><br>
2. Animal testing is methodologically and procedurely fallacious since there are any numbers of variables (differing metabolisms, differing ways animals break down chemicals, different tolerances for certain substances, etc) that cannot be controlled in the experiments, and therefore such experiments do not meet the criteria of being a good experiment. Animal testing, to me, just seems to be a hold out of animal sacrifice, in which animals were murdered for the salvation of humans. Animal testing proposes to be for the physical salvation of humans, but in reality it is a savage hold out from our human past, since it has no scientific credibility.<br><br>
3. I've actually found that people who love and care for animals and treat them with respect are much kinder, much more considerate and generous than your average human. Many people I know who take good care of their animals and treat them well also treat other humans well, whether strangers or not. Loving animals makes us better humans. If we have compassion for the least of these in other species, we will also have compassion for the least of these in our own species. PETA aside (who seems to not give a crap about human suffering and human social, political and economic justice) most people I know in the AR/ AW camps are fervently concerned for justice for the poor, suffering disenfranchised humans as well as the enslaved, commodified animals. Human and animal justice are interconnected. If we can't learn how to treat other humans with respect and with relationships characterized by justice, we will never be able to extend that to animals as well. And if we cannot learn to stop using animals as a means towards our own selfish ends, instead of animals being ends in themselves, we will never be able to learn to treat all humans as ends in themselves as well.<br><br>
4. As for the "Why do you care, its JUST an animal" argument; this, unfortunately is the result of the Enlightenment, especially the thought of Rene Descartes, who thought of animals as biomechanical machines, and not much more. You might be surprised to learn that this reductionism is pretty recent. During the middle ages and before, animals were put on trial and prosecuted regularly: <a href="http://www.suite101.com/content/medieval-animal-trials-a166864" target="_blank">http://www.suite101.com/content/medi...trials-a166864</a>. There people in the Middle Ages at least ascribed moral agency to animals. That is how we can answer that argument. Animals have personality, moral agency, creativity, spirituality. The can analyze a situation and come to a decision and act upon it. They can express themselves artistically. They can love. The can appreciated a sunset, they can be terrified of boogie monsters. There is plenty of evidence to show someone that animals are artistic, altruistic, care for one another and put themselves at risk to save others, etc. Animals have souls.Just check out Sri the elephant artist <img alt="" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_amtU1POy0iU/SS3lDbXQaCI/AAAAAAAAGXo/akEUu-AiQvU/s400/elephant_artist_05.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
or Michael the gorilla who painted this picture after his pet dog Apple died:<br><img alt="" src="http://www.koko.org/friends/images/kokomart/art/LARGE/art_apple.jpg" style="border:0px solid;">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Indian Summer</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2853628"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
One big flaw in their argument seems to be that something doesn't have to be <i>the most</i> important or valuable in order to be worthy of consideration. It's like saying we shouldn't waste time and effort on e.g. helping school-children from difficult backgrounds as long as there are homeless people out there. But then we shouldn't be wasting time & effort on helping the homeless while there are people dying because of war and starvation. But really we shouldn't be wasting time & effort on them either as long as there are unstable regimes with weapons of mass destruction that could wipe out millions of people. But then really that's just a waste of time & effort as well as long as there are asteroids out there that could potentially smash our entire planet to tiny bits!!!</div>
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<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":up:">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ElaineV</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2853572"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Or you just ask them what <i>they</i> do to help people. Most of the time they're not involved in any kind of volunteering or activism.</div>
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this (though the rest of the post was good too <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">). and along with that i think that there are far too many wrongs out there to be involved with all of them. but yes, most of the time the people so say things like that are involved in nothing, not even human related causes.
 

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I just ask them why can't we help both? And then I point out that I donate to a charity that helps people who need medical aid in other countries. It doesn't need to be one or the other.
 

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I wish I had the answer. The only thing we can hope for is changing attitudes, and I have seen evidence that this can happen in people. Also one thing that does help is having a lot of actual contact and time spent with animals. I think most people just dont realise how smart they are, and how much is going on in their minds.
 

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As a general rule, I think human life is more important than the lives of other animals. I think we should try to minimize the suffering we cause, but I'm one of those absolutely terrible people who thinks that animal testing for medicines is a necessary evil. I don't know much about the possible alternatives, and I sincerely hope that there are some, but if the testing is necessary to develop new safe medicines, I don't have any trouble sleeping at night.<br><br>
As far as counter-arguments for this, I'm not sure there's much hope for you all. I've been on VB listening to arguments against this for more than two years, and seriously considering them at that, but my opinion has still not changed.<br><br>
I do agree that a lot of the time the dichotomy that omnivores draw between helping animals and helping people is false. There really are only a few instances (such as medical testing) where there is really an opposition between the well-being of animals and the well-being of humans. We could invent hypothetical situations, but all vegetarians know how infuriating and useless those are.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>dormouse</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2853855"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
As a general rule, I think human life is more important than the lives of other animals.</div>
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I think mainly two reasons/justifications are common for a position like that:<br><br>
1. taxonomic names have inherent moral significance: we call one type of being 'homo sapiens' and another type of being by a different name, and our usage of names is a distinguishing moral criterion.<br><br>
2. you value certain human capabilities -- such as moral reciprocity, or ability to discuss with you in human language, etc. -- and consider them the basis for moral worth, and then you judge all humans as the same in this respect (even though in reality not all humans display such capabilities). In other words, your moral position is based on generalizing.<br><br>
Is your reason one of those, or is it something else?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>julz</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2853618"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
People suck.<br><br>
That being said, I think attitudes are changing over time. One hundred years ago no one became veg*n for compassionate reasons.</div>
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They sure did, some of my favorite A.R. quotes came from Pythagoras:<br>
"As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other."<br><a href="http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/203707.Pythagoras" target="_blank"><span style="color:#666600;">Pythagoras</span></a><br>
Says a lot about the inconnectivity of human rights and animal rights.<br>
You should point out that humans are animals.
 

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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/2853867"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think mainly two reasons/justifications are common for a position like that:<br><br>
1. taxonomic names have inherent moral significance: we call one type of being 'homo sapiens' and another type of being by a different name, and our usage of names is a distinguishing moral criterion.<br><br>
2. you value certain human capabilities -- such as moral reciprocity, or ability to discuss with you in human language, etc. -- and consider them the basis for moral worth, and then you judge all humans as the same in this respect (even though in reality not all humans display such capabilities). In other words, your moral position is based on generalizing.<br><br>
Is your reason one of those, or is it something else?</div>
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You actually got way too fancy in your attempts to illustrate how stupid you think my position is. I am a human, and I value my own life quite highly. I also empathize with suffering humans more than with suffering non-humans. I am just being honest. If given the choice between saving an average human being or almost any animal, I would save the human. This impulse in me leads me to believe that I value human life generally more than animal life. It's not even worth debating. This is just a gut feeling I have, and as I said, it has been unswayed by any of the countless times this issue has come up on VB. Attempts to think critically about this impulse in me have yielded no answers or explanations.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>dormouse</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2853855"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
As a general rule, I think human life is more important than the lives of other animals. I think we should try to minimize the suffering we cause, but I'm one of those absolutely terrible people who thinks that animal testing for medicines is a necessary evil. I don't know much about the possible alternatives, and I sincerely hope that there are some, but if the testing is necessary to develop new safe medicines, I don't have any trouble sleeping at night.</div>
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You are entitled to your opinion of course but have you ever really researched what happens to the lab animals? It is pretty sickening, even omni people I know disagree with their treatment.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Chrysalis</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2853834"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I just ask them why can't we help both? And then I point out that I donate to a charity that helps people who need medical aid in other countries. It doesn't need to be one or the other.</div>
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That's pretty much what I say, substitute food bank for medical aid. It IS possible to care about more than one thing at a time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"><br><br>
Also, generally I'll point out that you don't have to see animals as equals to acknowledge they can suffer and therefore not treat them horribly. The fact that we have power over them is more of a reason to be kind and not act like tyrants.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>dormouse</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2853878"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I am a human, and I value my own life quite highly. I also empathize with suffering humans more than with suffering non-humans. I am just being honest. If given the choice between saving an average human being or almost any animal, I would save the human.</div>
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Oh okay, you answered my question already while I was typing. If you are okay with the torture of animals then why are you a vegetarian at all, isn't it a bit pointless?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Werewolf Girl</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2853884"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Well, to be fair choosing to save a human life over an animal life doesn't necessarily mean a person is okay with the torture of animals...</div>
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Yes, sorry I thought I was being a bit harsh to Dormouse honestly.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:"> I apologise to her. But from what I have read about animal research it seems on a par with the worst aspects of factory farming.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":(">
 
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