Religion in the abattoir
#13
sorry i forgot to quote it entirely , that was copied from facebook.
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#14
Since I last posted on this thread, I have turned vegetarian (3+ months now), for the ethical reason of not contributing to suffering (or at least minimizing my contribution - I still eat eggs, which are bound to be factory-farmed). I hesitate to become an activist though, even in casual discussions. The furthest I've gone in discussions with friends is to say what Peter Singer said to Richard Dawkins - i.e. don't you think you ought to find out where the meat you eat is coming from and in what condition the animals are kept. I'm not sure why I hesitate. It just seems that we as a society are not "there" yet where one can say something like this in "polite company". I'll continue to do my bit with gentle consciousness-raising.
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#15
We have been exploiting nature,maybe if we didn't we couldn't have survive, obviously that is not a reason to carry it on, but there are a lot of acts that do not feel as immoral as they should and acts that feel much more immoral than they should
I know sunil , i do feel the moral guilt for eating meat too,but i suppress it, also if i do give in to the guilt, i would be leaving milk too ,maybe someday when i am morally strong enough...
WARNING! graphic video


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#16
Can somebody help me here to understand how one can be responsible for a cruelty somebody else is committing? Ofcourse giving up meat would be easy way to not feel responsible for cruelty to animals in slaughterhouse, but thats just "na rahega baas na bajegi basuri" kind of philosophy. If the slaughterhouses use ethical practices, meat consumption would be equally ethical. Then whose fault it is? The person who consumes meat or the person who is running the slaughterhouse?
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#17
(12-Dec-2011, 11:55 AM)Kanad Kanhere Wrote: Then whose fault it is? The person who consumes meat or the person who is running the slaughterhouse?

This is an aside into philosophical treatments of the problem of apportioning legal/moral responsibility, with 'criminal culpability' as an example. A classic example is Plutarch's reported dialogue between Pericles and Protagoras (read from Para 2 here) where they discuss the following question:

Quote:In an athletic contest a man had been accidentally hit and killed with a javelin. Was his death to be attributed to the javelin itself, to the man who threw it, or to the authorities responsible for the conduct of the games? - From wikipedia

From the standpoint of contemporary criminal jurisprudence, the javelin-thrower would be considered culpable by the principle of mens rea to the extent that he was reckless in carelessly casting the javelin even though no intent to murder can be established, and the authorities would be considered culpable by the principle of actus reus especially if they were under contractual obligation to guarantee the safety of the players.

Criminal jurisprudence is informed by the contemporary understanding of intention, agency and causality. With the current understanding of the physical world, the question of attributing volition to and considering culpability of a javelin seems out of the question, though it did not to the Greeks in Protagoras' time. In a naturalistic worldview which rejects 'contra-causal free will' , culpability or for that matter any credit or blame cannot be assigned to a single individual and therefore criminal justice must address collective responsibility for a crime, rather than punish a single culprit.

In the context of ethical treatment of animals, a Cultural Naturalist prescription would be to create conditions that cause us to behave more ethically towards animals by dis-incentivizing animal cruelty via regulations (and possibly by social stigmatization), and incentivizing consumption patterns with a smaller 'cruelty footprint' by promoting lifestyles and cuisines that are compatible with it. Establishing 'culpability' of individual players does not feature prominently in this scheme of things, except as a way to identify points of intervention in the system (of production, distribution and consumption of animal products).

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#18
Quote:In the context of ethical treatment of animals, a Cultural Naturalist prescription would be to create conditions that cause us to behave more ethically towards animals by dis-incentivizing animal cruelty via regulations (and possibly by social stigmatization), and incentivizing consumption patterns with a smaller 'cruelty footprint' by promoting lifestyles and cuisines that are compatible with it
Thought provoking.
But the point that is missed by most is that "meat consumption" in no ways is direct causal factor for "cruelty towards animals". The cruelty observed in slaughterhouse has little to do with there being a demand for meat, but more to do with people's treatment of animals. In this sense consumption pattern and social stigmatization of meat consumption are really not required, neither should be required.
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#19
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Quote:Ramkumar Ramesh: Very sad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE9DlnqZx...ture=share

Quote:Nimi Hirani: Holy cow indeed! Viva veganism.....

Quote:Gayathri Iyer: So much for "Gay hamari mata hai" line. Honestly, I laugh when Indians (especially Hindus) proclaim superiority over west by highlighting their vegetarianism. It is such bullshit. I've never seen any other nation treat their animals as badly out in the open in front of everyone as I have in India (especially dogs and cats). I'd rather these animals be put in horrible cattle farming here in the west or be sent to animal shelters for euthanasia, than suffer the constant abuse and indignity heaped on them in the streets of India. Animal cruelty seems not only tolerated, but almost encouraged against certain animals. Sickening.

Quote:Ramkumar Ramesh: // I laugh when Indians (especially Hindus) proclaim superiority over west by highlighting their vegetarianism// Jains could claim that superiority. India has a lot to learn (like the rest of the world). But can the dairy industry ever be cruelty-free, and profitable at the same time?

Quote:Gayathri Iyer: I dunno, I am from Gujarat and plenty of Jains here aren't exactly kind to animals either.
As for dairy industry, it is possible to be cruelty free as long as it is a small mom and pop ethical farm. I live in Houston now and there are small family run organic farms that take exceptionally good care of their cattle, don't give them any unnecessary antibiotics or growth hormones and they get to graze on grass (rather than corn fed). Is it completely economically feasible to run it? I don't know. But we can make industrialized cattle rearing as humane as possible. The best way though, environmentally and ethically, is to minimize dairy consumption and be vegan.

Quote:Manu Maheshwari: modern dairy agriculture, as practiced in western countries - for example , milking by machine rather than by hands should be introduced. Indian farming as a whole is very primitive.

Quote:Manu Maheshwari: Being vegan can lead to nutrient deficiencies - Esp. of Vitamin B12. Though artificial supplements can be taken, its always better to consume from the natural source.

Quote:Ramkumar Ramesh: Manu Maheshwari I highly doubt western countries are any more humane in their treatment of cattle than India. Milking by machine, and any attempt at factory farming is just an exercise to maximize gains, which equates to cruelty.

// Being vegan can lead to nutrient deficiencies - Esp. of Vitamin B12. Though artificial supplements can be taken, its always better to consume from the natural source.//
Why give up before the journey starts? Moreover, it's not remotely impossible to live nutritionally healthy, dairy-free.

Quote:Manu Maheshwari: Ramkumar Ramesh dairy and meat products have been part of the human diet since the beginning of our species. We are essentially an omnivore species. There is nothing " cruel " in humans killing animals for food , just like there is nothing cruel in cats killing mice for food.

In their natural habitat, animals like chickens, goats etc. are anyways exposed to threat of predators. Infact, because of humans rearing them for food, their population is much more than it would have been otherwise. So , in a way, the rearing of these species has actually been beneficial to them.

Humans initially hunted animals for food, but eventually started rearing them when agriculture was started - along with , of course, cereal grains.

Quote:Ramkumar Ramesh: // dairy and meat products have been part of the human diet since the beginning of our species//
So was slavery.

//We are essentially an omnivore species. There is nothing " cruel " in humans killing animals for food , just like there is nothing cruel in cats killing mice for food.//
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalistic_fallacy

//So , in a way, the rearing of these species has actually been beneficial to them.//
Beneficial to whom, exactly? Torturing animals of the species is benefiting them?

It's not impossible to live without meat or dairy, as the testimonials of thousands can tell. The problem seems to be inertia against change. Veganism is a solution to end unnecessary suffering, and with today's technology it is possible to end our dependence on animals.

Quote:SB Kumar: Talking of treatment of animals in Western farms, here's a video that came up on my news feed. I couldn't go past 3 min. It's forced me to seriously rethink my position on diary consumption. As for meat, I stick to fish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dflFzUrW2g0&sns=fb

Quote:Manu Maheshwari: I have nothing against vegetarianism or veganism - people are free to choose these lifestyles, of course, along with taking necessary nutritional supplements.

But often these people have a " holier than thou " attitude and try to impose their views over the society . Moreover , there are many crazy hindus in india, which impose their idiotic superstitions of " ritually impure food " over their kids and the rest of the society.

We should remember that ultimately human beings are animals, no matter how advanced we might become. So if meat is a natural part of a animal's diet, killing animals for food cannot be considered cruel.

Quote:Ramkumar Ramesh: //We should remember that ultimately human beings are animals, no matter how advanced we might become. So if meat is a natural part of a animal's diet, killing animals for food cannot be considered cruel.//
Again, the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature cannot decide morality. Human beings may be animals, but we go to extensive lengths to restrain our "animal"ness.

//But often these people have a " holier than thou " attitude and try to impose their views over the society //
They are on the moral higher ground. If veganism is a concept that is hard to adopt after getting accustomed to a life of meat and dairy consumption, the next generation kids can be raised vegan till they reach a mature age to decide fairly.

Quote:Manu Maheshwari: well , you also have the " holier than thou " attitude which leads to vegetarians imposing their views on the society.

Quote:SB Kumar: //They are on the moral higher ground. If veganism is a concept that is hard to adopt after getting accustomed to a life of meat and dairy consumption, the next generation kids can be raised vegan till they reach a mature age to decide fairly.//

Vegetarianism/veganism that is based on awareness and is a result of a well thought out moral framework can be said to be deserving of respect. However, for the most part today, vegetarianism is a random choice or has religious roots and therefore must be treated purely as a personal choice which does not give one any sort of moral high ground.

Quote:Aamil Syed Naeem: I don't condone the cruelty with which the animals are treated. However, it is imperative that we notice that these animals exist only because we want their milk/meat/skin. Had that not been the case, we would have never reared them in the first place. I am only talking of the domestically raised cattle and not the wild counterpart.

These animals have been carefully bred to be what they are so that we humans can get the most out of them. They have enlarged udders to aid milk extraction, more meat and thicker skin. It is difficult to accept, but these animals are just "resources" meant for our consumption. If we don't consume them, they will be wasted.

Now that we have such a large population of domesticated cattle, it will be unwise to stop altogether and suddenly, the consumption of cattle products. It will lead to a serious unbalance and loss of livelihood for almost half a billion people around the world.

This may sound like a useless suggestion, but instead of asking people to stop consuming these products, we should ask the government to enforce animal rights protection laws with greater zeal.

Finally, for those who claim a moral high ground just because they are vegan/vegetarian; it is a wrong claim. The non vegetarians don't demand cruelty, it is just that it has come to be like that. Also, when non-vegetarians kill, they kill so that they may sustain themselves, which is justified. Only difference is that they kill animals and you plants. Had we the capacity to detect the pain that plants go through when they are broken/killed, the vegans would have been the target. J.C. Bose has demonstrated this brilliantly.

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#20
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Quote:Arvind Iyer: In the US, some commercially available milk cartons come with the notification that the milk was derived from cows not treated with rBST [1]. Perhaps it ought to be part of the agenda of animal rights activism in India to require dairy manufacturers to state on their labels that their cows were not subject to practices like cow blowing. Cow blowing is a practice decried by earlier thinkers like Gandhi [2] , whose approaches however are limited by a sort of bovine exceptionalism [3] rather than a naturalistic acknowledgment of animal sentience.

This forum post [4] has links within it to various previous threads on the topics of dietary preferences, animal cruelty and ethical treatment of animals from a secular, naturalistic perspective challenging religious injunctions and myths.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bovine_somatotropin

[2] http://wikilivres.info/wiki/The_Story_of...my_Dilemma

[3] http://nirmukta.net/Thread-Why-the-cow-w...91#pid4191

[4] http://nirmukta.net/Thread-Religion-gone...09#pid5509

Quote:Nimi Hirani: Lots said about vegans......supplements... no need as the food we eat is so heavily fortified, back of any cereal packet! Self righteousness... Oh please, most of us vegans have the sense to know that one can do far worse than eat meat!( so meat eaters carry on carcass crunching and leave me to my grass chewing with a supposed b12 deficiency)......Comparing standards of cruelty between one place and the other is irrelevant.... It horrid everywhere and we define what is worse by our cultural exposures....seen it on four different continent and it sucks just the same everywhere!....

Quote:Rachana Ramchand: Vegetarians on a higher moral ground?
Wait. This isn't a humanitarian. This isn't a rational thinker. This is a fundamentalist, religious attitude where the "religion" is nature, no different from let's say.. Islam.
And why do I say that? Not only does this person openly announce why veganism/vegetarianism is better, but he tries to prove and justify it as well. Even that is acceptable. But then, that person claims he's on a higher moral ground? Isn't that what every religious fanatic does and believe?
Now agreed he has shown some liberalism by saying that, the kids should be made vegan until they are old enough to make a choice. I respect that. But, the moment they switch to non-veg they become morally.. Lower?
Dude, seriously, you're not on a higher moral ground if you don't eat meat. Rather, if you believe that, there's something messed up with your moral standards. Cos you're condoning a person based on a habit that has been acquired over the years. A method of survival. A personal choice.


Quote:Vivek Soley: I repeat the link to the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYYNY2oKVWU This answers almost all questions.

Quote:Kanad Kanhere: Then I repeat Vivek Soley that it doesn't at all state that eating non-veg is immoral. Just to avoid repating last conversation which totally diverged to what "morality" means, Lets quickly check stands against eating meat.

1. Cruelty to animals: Killing animals cruelly might be termed unethical by most. But eating meat doesn't necessitate cruelty to animals.
2. Meat eating habits of developed nations cost the poor nations: This is actually a far fetched argument in the sense that every thing that a person does in developed nation can be made immoral. If you enjoy sports or use internet you are in some way responsible to not helping a poor in some country. But nobody expects people to give up sports on not use internet. We are here to live not to survive. Human morality always dictates this. We do not blame artists for wasting time and not help poor. We do NOT have such moral standards.

Quote:Avicenna Last: And I must point out that the issue in India for production of milk is the ludicrously lack of resources and education in farmers. Unlike the farmers of the west, the farmers of India often cannot get medical care for their animals and often are in a catch 22 where the only choices for the government are support unfeasible agriculture (And there is a lot of it) or lose voters (by letting unfeasible agriculture cease or forcing it to become feasible).

Just look at the fuel subsidies and the milk costs? An increase to match the world's rising cost caused protests because people simply cannot understand that India's subsidy industry really is not feasible anymore.

Oh and Indians have massive problems with calcium. Milk is as VITAL as clean drinking water or food. In the calculus of suffering cows come up as second place to human beings. It's sad but quite frankly?

PETA live in a magic world where medicine falls out of the sky and incredible supplementation is cheap. We literally live in a world where vegetarians claim to be superior to omnivores and then proceed to be incapable of donating blood (The average Haemoglobin level in India would be considered anaemic in the UK. It is believed that roughly 70% of women in India are anaemic and osteoporotic.)

The simple solution? Eat the damn cow... The simple problem? Cows are magic...

Quote:Vivek Soley: I observe from the video that
1. Meat is eaten( which means animals are bred and killed for it) for very trivial reasons when alternatives are available.
2. Eating meat is widespread. We have no idea what social and economic implication it will have if all of us suddenly turn to being vegetarian.
3. If anyone sees the videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE9DlnqZx...ture=share and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dflFzUrW2g0&sns=fb he will certainly think twice before his next dish of meat. (and now also milk)

Quote:Kanad Kanhere: Trivial reason? Elaborate on that please? I eat meat because I like the taste. What alternatives do I have? And why should I bother to chose them? And point 1 of my post addresses cruelty towards animals.

Quote:Kanad Kanhere: Youtube has tonnes of videos on malnutritioned children in africa. Did that stop you from wasting any penny on luxuries and help the children of Africa?

Quote:Vivek Soley: Taste is trivial special if it comes at a cost a painful life and death for the animal.
Alternatives are vegetarian foods. Whether someone should bother to choose them is purely a personal choice.
Killing an animal (by a human) for food is cruel.
These are my points of view.


Quote:Manu Maheshwari: Somehow nobody has pointed out this fact :

Most biomedical research would be IMPOSSIBLE without animal experimentation.
All new cures and treatments involve a great deal of animal experimentation.- Both in basic research which involves understanding physiological and biochemical processes [ Most physiological and biochemical processes - be it neurological, or immunological etc. -- all were first discovered in lab animals ] , and applied research which tests the particular therapy on animals. Indeed, animals are often killed [ 'sacrificed ' ] for performing autopsy to examine the effect of a particular substance on internal organs .

all new drugs are first tested on animals before being tested on humans in clinical trials.

So now should we stop seeking medical treatment because it involves animal experimentation, which inevitably involves what can be described as " cruelty " ?

Quote:Kanad Kanhere: The fact that you think "taste is trivial" shows how much you don't know about morality. Often we choose road-side food, even when we know the dangers of it being unhealthy, because of the taste factor. We are ok to risk our health for "taste", thats how much it matters. It is most certainly NOT trivial.

Killing animal for food is in no way cruelty. If the animal is bred for food and then killed painlessly, I don't see how it is cruel.

Quote:Manu Maheshwari: and mind you , lab animals are not only mice and rats, but also hamsters, cats and monkeys. Even psychiatric medications are first tested on animals. Not only the effect on the new medication on animal behaviour is seen, the animal is killed [ ' sacrificed ' ] for observing the biochemical and cellular changes that have taken place in the brain after consumption of the medication.

Quote:Vivek Soley: The cruelty in the meat industry is thousands of times may be hundreds of thousands of times larger than the cruelty iin the labs for medical research.

Quote:Manu Maheshwari: Vivek Soley would you call a cat eating a mouse as " cruel " ?

Vegetarians are in great risk for various nutrient deficiencies -- the only source of Vitamin B12 , an essential nutrient, acceptable to vegetarians would be milk and other dairy products. But if someone is lactose intolerant , then the only source of B12 would be yogurt [ dahi ] -- fermentation changes lactose to lactic acid. [ I speak from experience - my psychiatric disorders and fucked up career owe their existence to lack of B12 in my diet ]

Quote:Vivek Soley: cat killing a mouse is not cruel. Because the cats consciousnesses probably doesn't stop it from killing the mouse.
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#21
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Quote:Priyabrata Mahapatro: Most proponents of 'veganism' and 'vegetarianism' repeat the same mistake over and over. They construct their 'ethical' principles based on the premise 'cruelty of animals' and , apply this to all circumstances . Just as they there are naturalistic ethical reasons for vegetarian food , they should also note that there are perfectly naturalistic reasons for meat consumption. Absolute morality is non-existent in a naturalistic world view. So, judging people's moral conduct based on ethics constructed out of few select premises is improper and incorrect.


Quote:Manu Maheshwari: our ancestors were all hunter gatherers. Men used to hunt animals , while women used to gather fruits , besides tending to children. -- That makes humans consuming animals for food almost as natural as cat eating mice.

Nobody can stay alive only on fruits ! there are many nutrients simply not present in them. So if ancient human beings were like members of PETA, our race would have been extinct long back .

Quote:Vivek Gharpure: Vivek Soley; a cat killing mouse is not cruel for the cat, because it has no alternative. it is cruel for the mouse because it is being killed slowly.

carnivores don't have a choice, they are not committing any wrong when they kill for food.

Quote:Kanad Kanhere: Priyabrata Mahapatro - very well put. I will go one step further and say that most vegetarians who are hell bent on proving that they are more ethical do not do justice even to their own moral premises. I have never seen such a vegetarian trying to cut his expenditure on luxuries or live in an austere fashion to be "more ethical"

Quote:Priyabrata Mahapatro: Also, let me elaborate. Our food consumption and production is not homogeneous universally. Various factors starting from geographical constraints, extreme weather and fluctuations in weather, economic capabilities severely affect our food sources. People living in such extremities don't have choice for food. They'll eat whatever they get.

Also, there is the taste factor , which is not trivial at all. Taste is acquired over long periods , often years . A kind of sensory adaptation.
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#23
I have not turned vegetarian yet, but have cut down meat consumption drastically. I eat egg and fish but then again, in much lower quantities. The target is to reduce as much as possible and not to deviate from that behaviour. It has been working for a month or so..




(11-Dec-2011, 04:07 PM)unsorted Wrote: Since I last posted on this thread, I have turned vegetarian (3+ months now), for the ethical reason of not contributing to suffering (or at least minimizing my contribution - I still eat eggs, which are bound to be factory-farmed). I hesitate to become an activist though, even in casual discussions. The furthest I've gone in discussions with friends is to say what Peter Singer said to Richard Dawkins - i.e. don't you think you ought to find out where the meat you eat is coming from and in what condition the animals are kept. I'm not sure why I hesitate. It just seems that we as a society are not "there" yet where one can say something like this in "polite company". I'll continue to do my bit with gentle consciousness-raising.

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#24
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SB Wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odgldsDVDis

The way we treat animals is so cruel. Please become vegetarians. Spread the message. Lets stop this cruelty

If slaughterhouses had GLASS WALLS everyone would be VEGETARIAN
http://www.youtube.com
"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian." -- Sir Paul McCartney Narrated by and starring Sir Paul McCartney, PETA's shocking new vi...

Kanad Kanhere Wrote:I have had ugly spats here on this topic. To avoid another one I want to define the territory of my arguments before I present them.

First and foremost I want to argue against the line of reasoning "Slaughterhouses treat animals cruelly, hence stop eating meat". While doing so I want to stay clear of the following points because they are either not related to cruelty against animals or they are deeply connected to issues about morality and the discussion then totally digresses to what is moral
1. Environmental degradation and associated costs: Not related to cruelty.
2. Killing of sentient beings: A complicated question deeply related to morality and ethics.
3. Animal rights: related to morality and ethics.

I am assuming there exists a way of killing in a non-cruel fashion e.g. making the animal unconscious before killing.

The reasoning "Slaughterhouse treat animals cruelly, hence stop eating meat" sounds very much like the line of reasoning people employ when uttering "victim blaming" statements. I am not saying that the reason is SAME as victim blaming, because ofcourse person who eats meat is not a victim. What I mean is that the line of reasoning follows a similiar rationale. Victim blamers tend to say sentences like "Dressing provocatively increases the chances of incident, hence dress properly". I do understand that there is no correlation found between dress and chance of an incidence, but supposing there exists some correlation, the argument is still totally invalid. A Dress is not any sort of consent, and hence the whole argument is fallacious. Similarly wanting to eat meat doesn't necessitate cruelty. Thats not the cause at all. The cause is the apathy of the people working in slaughterhouse and probably meat pricing. But in that case the constructive actions would be to educate the employees and enforcing laws for proper treatment of animals, the cost of which will be bore by people wanting to eat meat. This is exactly similiar to the rape analogy where the constructive action is to enforce laws for protection of men/women, and educating people about how individual rights, and not demanding that the person dress in a certain fashion.

JJW Wrote:For me, the issue is less the slaughter house and more about cruelty during the animals' lives. The "food factories" here in the United States are horrific. (Then we can go on to talk about the terrible toll they takes on the environment, not to mention that the meat is really not fit to eat. The only winners are at the top of the corporations. Consumers may believe that they win with low-priced meat. However, cheap meat is not a bargain--in the end it is very expensive.) I am vegetarian for all these reasons and more.

Bobby Krishna Wrote:JJW, india is a country where organized farming of animals for meat has not yet started. Millions of cows and bulls have a hard life in the farm as well as on the streets. Life sucks for bulls that work as cart pullers.
Brutal methods are used for slaughter, mostly on street sides. Meat which was more of a 'special' meal is now becoming a daily affair in indian homes. There is going to be an obvious shortage of meat in the future.
We have several perspectives for meat eating-
A 'wanna be' vegetarian

SB Wrote:Kanad Kanhere: I accept the point that there are methods to kill the animals in a non cruel way.There are some points which i have to mention here
1. Why are animals being treated as objects. They have a right to live their life. Producing animals by Genetic engineering methods for meat is unacceptable.
2.I have seen animals being killed and no stunners or any sort of drugs which make them unconscious are used. The animals are also not killed at a shot. Their throats are slit and they are left to die.
how can we stop this? This is going on and on.
The market exists for product only if it can be sold is a fact.So no consumers -> no killing of animals.
Today meat is not used as a substitute to vegetarian. It has become the main food.It's like "That's my favorite. I will kill and eat it".
These kind of actions are cruel. I don't how other people think, but that is unacceptable for me.

Kanad Kanhere Wrote://The market exists for product only if it can be sold is a fact.So no consumers -> no killing of animals.//
My objection was against exactly this line of thinking. Problems should be solved by the real cause, not by indirect causes. This again can be easily explained by the victim blaming analogy that I used before. Is it ok to ask everybody to wear burqa so that a rapist doesn't get provoked easily (if at all there is any such correlation) and reduces the chances of incidences? Such reasoning are fallacious. The "na rahega baas na bajegi basuri" kind of logic is invalid although they might work.

Priyabrata Mahapatro Wrote:We have discussed this topic many times in the past and everytime it gets derailed. So, in order to prevent that, let me make an attempt to set the scope,context,moral premise etc .

1) The ethics involving killing of animals

2) The prevalent practice in rearing of animals

3) Indirect effects of meat industry i.e , imbalance in ecosystem , burdening the poor etc

4) Geographic and economic extremities to be excluded (that has a potential to invoke Reductio ad absurdum )

5) Factors constraining the moral agent ( in this case the meat consumer) , if any.

6 ) Can those factors be eliminated substantially ? What steps are proposed to eliminate those factors constraining a moral agent ? (This follows from 5)

The list is not exhaustive , but these are the ones that I can think of currently.

I hope we can have a healthy discussion if we keep these points in our mind throughout the discussion .

Kanad Kanhere Wrote:@Priyabrata - A suggestion, this discussion would be easier on the forums.

1) Ethics involving killing of animals
I would rather discuss ethics involving killing. And to start with only the point of view of the victim is being discussed, effect of killing on the relatives etc. is being ignored.
We typically hold the notion that inanimate objects can't be killed. But lets try to extend this to living things. Is killing a single cellular creature like amoeba indeed "killing" it? I think not. Then where do we draw the line? Dwelling on this question I had an interesting revelation. I have absolutely no memories of me starting to walk. I don't even have memories of me having a memory of starting to walk. Assuming I started to walk when I was a year old, what would have happened if I was killed then (This sounds kind of idiotic, but is not that nonsense if you think). It would be have been like never been born. It would have been like terminating a foetus. In that sense I do not buy the argument of "right to life because of the ability to suffer". So then what's the criteria? "Self-awareness" maybe.

3) Indirect effects of meat industry
a) Imbalance in ecosystem.
My argument on this topic is slightly different. I do not like environment frequently being used as a trump card. I am most certainly not trying to undermine its importance. But I do think that in discussions of right/wrong actions, the enviroment topic is pressed too much. For me environment is another resource, and its usage should be another cost-benefit analysis. Environment is interesting resource because it more or less directly affects "longevity" of humankind. Now I want to argue that at individual level we do not long for "longevity" in an absolute sense. Given a choice between 40 years of life with music and 80 years of life without it, I would choose the first option.
The above argument assumes that the right to make decisions affecting environment lies with "currently alive rational agents". This will totally change if its believed that "We do not inherit the earth from our parents, but borrow it from our children" (quote borrowed from the paintings on Marathalli bridge - courtesy BBMP).

b) Burdening the poor
This is a very complicated topic in morality and ethics (atleast for me for the time-being). It is basically the topic of equalization of opportunities being discussed at http://nirmukta.net/Thread-Morality-of-f...eethinkers

Priyabrata Mahapatro Wrote:Kanad Yes, I too would love to have a discussion on that. But , you know , I too am divided on this. We need more volunteers with a opposing view to meat consumption . I'm in a hurry now to reach office . I'll post my view on the points raised by you as soon as I get time to log back.

Bobby Krishna Wrote:We should take this topic to SENHS some day..will join this discussion later today

Kanad Kanhere Wrote:Priyabrata Mahapatro - just for clarification, I meant nirmukta.net forums. Writing long posts is unfriendly in facebook, hence the suggestion.

About the discussion, I think its straightforward. Meat eating does result in damage to environment. Meat eating does also result in skewed resource usage in the end affecting the poor.

So anybody who is an environmentalist or humanist will find this unacceptable. I don't think there is any further scope for discussion in that sense. Meat consumption just for the heck of it is thus undesirable.

The reason what I am not comfortable with is when people start making moral judgments based on this. Value premises are "intersubjective" truths. But that just means majority of humans agree with that. I do not like the fact of calling somebody immoral (in the absolute sense) because he doesn't fall into this "intersubjective" criteria.
[I am scared! I see another spat about to begin smile]

Kanad Kanhere Wrote:[a total aside hence apologies]
Does SENHS happen regularly?

Kanad Kanhere Wrote:Tagging Arvind Iyer to get his quick opinion on my previous to previous post - the one about intersubjectivity). Thanks

Arvind Iyer Wrote://Value premises are "intersubjective" truths. But that just means majority of humans agree with that. //

Intersubjective premises are not simply a matter of brute majority votes later ossified into fiat, but the provisional results of a process of public reasoning subject to peer review. Peer review is emphasized here over any notions of expert review, because as humans we aren't exactly more or less expertly sentient than others and it is sentience that in some way underpins most contemporary notions of human rights.

//I do not like the fact of calling somebody immoral (in the absolute sense) because he doesn't fall into this "intersubjective" criteria.//

There is no absolutist stance in the intersubjective framework where the epistemic limits of the reasoning process are well-acknowledged. Declaring someone immoral without allowing a chance to participate in the process of public reasoning does indeed amount to the worst form of disenfranchisement, but this is precluded almost by definition as the intersubjective approach is itself meant to universalize inclusiveness into the process of deciding what is moral.

SC Wrote://the intersubjective approach is itself meant to universalize inclusiveness into the process of deciding what is moral.// Loved it.

Kanad Kanhere Wrote:Arvind Iyer - not all issues can have empathy based agreement. Consider hedonism, if I understand correctly, hedonist hold that one is responsible only to onself and should not care about others. Now I don't see any common ground they can find with say deontologists. In that case how do we decide morality? Intersubjectivity will lead to winner with majority votes.

Kanad Kanhere Wrote:[By the way Priyabrata Mahapatro and other moderators, this thread might be digressing from its original intent because of me. Hence kindly let me know if I can continue or should start a new thread]

Priyabrata Mahapatro Wrote:Kanad Kanhere If you want to specifically discuss about ethics concerning meat consumption , then you can continue in this thread. But, if you want to discuss about morality and ethics in general , then it would be good if you start a new thread. It's difficult not to discuss and digress ethics in general when discussing meat consumption , but let's give it a try. Two simultaneous threads , one on ethics and morality in general , and the other, this one , limiting to ethics concerning meat consumption , would be a good idea.

Arvind Iyer Wrote:Let's get to the 'meat of the matter' then. Consider a meat-eater in a society that accords value judgments to vegetarianism. If the value judgments are however considered provisional rather than sacrosanct and are subject to the continued approval of all members of society, then our meat-eater is never deprived of the option to defend their lifestyle choice. However there is no similar guarantee in a 'take-the-law-into-your-hands' and 'be-a-law-unto-yourself' moral system, where there is a threat of morality being enforced by might rather than via consent.

Deferring to the intersubjective consensus during sometimes where we may individually object to it, is the price we pay for preserving our say in the process of public reasoning. The case of how a hedonist and a deontologist can at all reach a consensus, is a caricature, albeit an instructive one. The process of public reasoning as envisioned by Amartya Sen does not presuppose a partisan setting and is in fact described for a setting where individuals have plural layered identities not lending themselves into defined camps. As a historical aside, the original Epicureans, cited as the archetypal hedonists, were hardly the dissolute pleasure-seekers they were made out to be, but greatly prized contentment and community! Also public reasoning is viewed as a dialectic process in which the competing stances modify, moderate or alter altogether during the course of the process, rather than being defined in a static way throughout and differing only in the number of adherents.

So how does all this help make a case for discussing the issue of vegetarianism in an intersubjective setting(or in more standard terminology, a 'contractarian' setting)? First off, there is no defined vegetarian/meat-eater dichotomy given the broad and shifting spectrum of lacto-ovo-vegetarians, pescetarians and so forth. 'Vegetarian' is hardly the sole defining identity for anyone and among those adopting this label, an orthodox Jain rooted in a hereditary profession may have little in common with an eco-feminist first-generation vegetarian.

If society at large does bear a cost for the lifestyle choices of a meat-consumer, then does it seem altogether unfair that a critique of this lifestyle is conveyed to the meat-consumers? How to respond to this critique remains the individual consumer's prerogative and the right to respond must be upheld by democratic institutions and civil society. A justification in terms of due process necessarily must be provided whenever society to which every member is implicitly bound by contract, makes a decision involving citizen lifestyles citing their larger interest (this assessment of interest is another matter to be resolved intersubjectively). Society may choose to assume, subject to review of course, that every citizen has a stake in the long-term survival of the species and our moral judgments as well as legislation must reflect that, based on arguments on the ecological footprint of meat-eating, like Rifkin presents here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9Ts9nGGjho#t=17m8s (Note that there are also empirical facts besides intersubjective premises influencing these moral judgments)

Without the right to appeal available to all members of society, the purpose of the contractarian framework is defeated. Be it any state government in India banning cow-slaughter or the central government mandating a one-meal menu in weddings, each of these decisions can be challenged in court.

Priyabrata Mahapatro Wrote://Deferring to the intersubjective consensus during sometimes where we may individually object to it, is the price we pay for preserving our say in the process of public reasoning.//

I couldn't resist the urge to praise these words. Simply brilliant.

Coming back to the topic - assuming that vegetarianism on ethical grounds has not yet achieved intersubjective consesus among the larger audience , say society - I have few questions for which I would like to know answers.

Ethical principles devised using critical reasoning, careful observation and empirical data presented by Science , needs to be promoted first to gain intersubjective consensus. For the case in hand , vegetarianism , we can all agree that such a promotion is already gaining ground and is being done by many enivironmentalists , animal rights activists , humanists and even many organizations like PETA,MCL,TARVE etc. Another essential requirement in gaining intersubjective consensus is to identify "constraints" affecting a moral agent (a meat-eater) and taking necessary steps to eliminate those constrainsts substantially . It is important to identify such constraining factors , because often times a moral agent executes tasks and act ,guided by societal , environmental factors and also upon own subjective perception . Ethical training targets, to shape and improve those factors, so that a moral agent can be properly guided and the objective of ethical principle is achieved efficiently.

My question is , what are the steps proposed by proponents of vegetarianism to achieve intersubjective consensus and consequently their stated goals ? I also want to know , are they proposing any alternative diet to meat , say lab grown meat , to meat-eaters ? or Are they advocating for "complete" abolition of meat in all forms ?

It would be great and helpful, if members here can throw some light on this and can provide answers to the questions raised.

GI Wrote:To put it in terms of simple economics, meat eaters (especially those who are wealthy enough to afford meat in most societies rather than poor who hunt or forage their own) are passing on externalities to non-meaters and this cannot be mitigated. That in itself is something wholly unfair and by any measure of the term "unethical" is just that.

If one wants to get into ethics of killing a sentient creature, that's another issue as well and is pretty well documented. It exhibits the inherent inconsistency and contradictions of meat eaters in their societal values towards what constitutes as personhood.

Kanad Kanhere Wrote://If one wants to get into ethics of killing a sentient creature, that's another issue as well and is pretty well documented. It exhibits the inherent inconsistency and contradictions of meat eaters in their societal values towards what constitutes as personhood.//

Will be good if you can give more pointers on this
The typical argument that I have heard is that "Then why don't we eat babies". This argument is invalid. We do not treat kids as non-rational agents although they are. We treat them as POTENTIAL free rational agents. That makes a lot of difference. In any case that is not my basic objection to such arguments. Such arguments try to underplay humans as emotional beings and over emphasize rationality. I do not think essence of being a human is just being rational, its also being emotional. Most humans never ever think of giving birth to a baby as to have some purpose. It has strong emotional value and that is sufficient.

GI Wrote:Why is emotional value re: human fetuses somehow sufficient, but insufficient for non-humans?

//This argument is invalid.//

Why and how? Simple declarations like these aren't logical. "It is so because it is so and I say so" doesn't reallly hold up. The criteria for personhood is sentience in practically every and all society. Infants are comparable in their sentience to various mammals and some mammals are way above infants and toddlers.

//Such arguments try to underplay humans as emotional beings and over emphasize rationality.//

The same argument can be used against atheism as well. If one can't and won't use such an argument for other subjects, then they really don't have any grounds to make special exceptions just to exempt one's own biased choices and privileges.

Arvind Iyer Wrote://My question is , what are the steps proposed by proponents of vegetarianism to achieve intersubjective consensus and consequently their stated goals ? //

Sustainability is too important a matter to be left just to vegans. Not all proponents of responsible consumption are vegetarian (Enter the one-day-a-week vegetarians); and not all vegetarian dietary options are particularly gentle in terms of their ecological footprint (Enter the advocates of local food with slashed transportation overheads). The site of the consensus is usefully visualized as the marketplace, where regulatory mechanisms can be formulated to incentivize responsible consumption, under electoral review of course.

A tl;dr version of my earlier comment along this one could be as follows: Nobody is owed immunity from society's critique on lifestyle choices impacting others. Preferably the issuing and responses to such critiques must be participative and voluntary, eschewing coercion by the majority or the privileged. However if the critique is acted upon by the majority to enforce a denial of certain consumption choices via legislation, such legislation must be subject to a provision to appeal.

Kanad Kanhere Wrote://Why and how? Simple declarations like these aren't logical. "It is so because it is so and I say so" doesn't reallly hold up. The criteria for personhood is sentience in practically every and all society. Infants are comparable in their sentience to various mammals and some mammals are way above infants and toddlers.//
GI - I was pointing out that the reason we don't eat babies is not a rational thing, but emotional thing. That was the logic I was trying to put across. The video of Peter Singer being interviewed by Richard Dawkins, depicts such things in a very interesting fashion. When Dawkins asks Singer if its ok to eat dead people, he replies yes IF its ok with that person's relatives. IMO, he is emphasizing that just plain rationality doesn't help, we have to account for emotions. Kindly note I am not saying that its irrational to eat babies. Infact, atleast for now, I do not know of any rational way to justify not eating them, but for the fact that they are POTENTIAL free rational agents.
The point is there is nothing wrong in being emotional on the personal front, just like theism is ok as long as you keep it to yourself.

Kanad Kanhere Wrote:Arvind Iyer - Your summary pretty much sums up my take. The friction in previous arguments was perhaps i took the word "unethical", "immoral" to be something far more than critique, and thats why I used to insist on a softer stand on "immoral from society's perspective".
If possible, kindly let me know if my interpretation is correct, or I am misreading and misunderstanding your comment.

Arvind Iyer Wrote:^ Yes. In a mature society, a contrary moral stance will not immediately be construed as a statement of hostility. It is in states where draconian blasphemy laws prevail, that the two are deemed indistinguishable. Even in the most free society however, morals do have consequences on policy. To have a say in policy, it suffices to be enfranchised; but to have a say on the principles driving those policies, demands a more intangible inclusion and empowerment that is not reducible to enfranchisement. Genuine democracy entails both; hence Amartya Sen's definition of democracy as 'public reasoning', a process that covers not only policy but also principles.

GI Wrote:And that is where the problem comes Kanad Kanhere, the selective application of logic and emotion wherein it may suit our interests. In the opposition to vegetarianism and promotion of meat eating, one is doing nothing but engaging in this selectivity and contradiction to serve one's own interests. Not too unlike those who do that when it comes to preserving their class, caste, gender and race privileges.

GI Wrote:Arvind Iyer, re: majoritarianism--what if a society legislates carbon tax to take into account the actual cost of meat consumption (particularly consumption of carbon print heavy red meat)?

Arvind Iyer Wrote://what if a society legislates carbon tax to take into account the actual cost of meat consumption (particularly consumption of carbon print heavy red meat)?//

No objections at all, so long as the legislation is grounded in a solid electoral mandate and was made following due parliamentary procedure (assuming a sufficiently inclusive and open society of course)

SaBh Wrote:but in Oz when this legislation was brought into force, people are concerned that it is a disincentive to industries in oz and thus making them uncompetitive and some went so far as to say as in infringment on their of way of life! public opinion is good but not always as majority opinion may not always lead to good things in life...as Ms Gillard said: the right question is not whther we may win elections next time, but are we on right side of history...

Bala Bhaskar Wrote:^Australia just passed last year one such Carbon Tax legislation to tax big emitters. Agriculture (which includes meat production) was left out even though it was a big contributor to Australia's emissions. Still, the legislation nearly toppled the Labor government.

Kanad Kanhere Wrote:GI - Some personal clarifications
1. I am not opposing vegetarianism
2. I don't even want to promote meat eating. Infact I support promoting vegeterianism. Meat eating just out of habit, without consideration to its results is undesirable.

Now coming back to selective application of logic, I don't think thats what I was supporting. Logic is applied to prioris and what I was defending was defining this prioris for oneself based on rational thinking as well as emotions. [Basic clarification, deriving prioris from emotions doesn't mean succumbing to every emotion that you feel and justifying actions based on that. It means deciding that some emotion e.g. compassion is of very importance and then deriving your actions using LOGIC post that].

Bala Bhaskar Wrote:This is a good resource for comparing emissions across sectors. Its for Australia but should fit other developed countries as well

http://www.ageis.greenhouse.gov.au/#

Bobby Krishna Wrote:Economics decide a lot of legilations - whether it be environmental protection or health care. The role of moral and ethical reasoning is limited. Religion plays a major role in legilature in ME countries - here the legilators assume that religion covers ethics.

Bobby Krishna Wrote:Belching, gas producing cows are a part of Indian economics as well. Milk more than meat I think.

Bobby Krishna Wrote:Taxing read meat in Australia may not help much unless the producer pays it. Most of the meat is exported ( new zealand exports 95% of what it produces). The end user in a gulf country ( that imports 95% of the food) is cut off from the environtmental stoy in the place where meat is produced and will not pay the tax. If Australia cannot export, they need to look at a different industry to support their economy and probably they can. But, what about the people in the Gulf countries? They need meat or else they switch their diet. People like myself should think of moving back to India where food can be produced, reducing the burden of food being transported to this place ( and perhaps save a lot of power spend on creating a comfortable atmosphere to live).

Priyabrata Mahapatro Wrote:Bobby Krishna What are your views on sustainability and commercial viability of In Vitro meat ? Is this a good alternative ? And , also , what are the food safety concerns regarding in vitro meat ?

Bobby Krishna Wrote:@priya- Organic farming, in it's true sense, is sustainable. But, the cost, unless subsidized by the State, will be very high in the initial stages. In vitriol meat could have the same problem. Having said that, if majority of consider the meat to be tasteless( no more chicken wings!), scientists will have to get back and work on the taste. The demand will not exist in that case.
There isn't much funding available for such research and we will have to take the 'let us wait and see' approach until we see a semi large scale production is in place.
Food safety issues are likely to be very low. There won't be any 'fecal' contamination on the growing tissue and so no microbial contamination. That would be 'bye bye E Coli' in meat. Antibiotics, feed related problems etc would be gone.

Kanad Kanhere Wrote://To put it in terms of simple economics, meat eaters (especially those who are wealthy enough to afford meat in most societies rather than poor who hunt or forage their own) are passing on externalities to non-meaters and this cannot be mitigated. That in itself is something wholly unfair and by any measure of the term "unethical" is just that.//
GI - Trying to understand what you define/mean by ethics and unethical. Tell me would you consider the following aliens unethical
These aliens, by intersubjectively reaching a consensus, do not believe in equalization of opportunities. The intersubjective consensus is post deliberation, not under any coercion and with participation of everybody. (just so that this makes more sense, assume that they treat social inequalities as chance injustice similiar to what nature imposes on people with disabilities). Now in this society consumption of resource, that leads to penalty to others, might be considered ok. Would you still consider them unethical?
Its an honest question, trying to establish a common language.

UN Wrote:///////////These aliens, by intersubjectively reaching a consensus, do not believe in equalization of opportunities.////////

The problem is with this. When intersubjectively a group decides to inequalize in the society....then they are directly in conflict with those who are being denied opportunities.

By the incredible power of empathy, we can see where there is a problem and come to a decision that their inter-subjective decision is affecting another group....

In fact, you don't have to go as far as aliens...we have such aliens in our very midst smile

Kanad Kanhere Wrote://The problem is with this. When intersubjectively a group decides to inequalize in the society....then they are directly in conflict with those who are being denied opportunities.

By the incredible power of empathy, we can see where there is a problem and come to a decision that their inter-subjective decision is affecting another group....//
Want to clarify that this is a theoretical discussion from my side. We as humans cannot let go of the idea of empathy etc. But things might be different for aliens. And hence I mentioned that the consensus is without coercion and participation from everybody. The idea was to understand if the approach is like deontologists or not, because then I am at fundamental odds and the discussion can't go much further.

(Archiving continued to next post)
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