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 Post subject: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 7:27 am 
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You know, every so often I end up talking to someone about being vegan, I'm not even sure how it comes about but it does.

Now I know people have many different attitudes towards things and I do NOT want to start any sort of flame war or anything like that at all, everyone is entitled to their opinions, peaceful or destructive.

I have this little issue that is quite hard to explain to people. I don't have a problem with meat. Now to explain this, I don't have a problem with OTHER people eating meat, even if everything that made me vegan changes I really doubt that I would change. No it's not meat I have a problem with, humans are animals and can eat other animals. What I HATE is the way we get meat these days, how we've managed to mentally distance ourselves from other animals we share the world with and treating them like a commodity than living things.

I worked and now semi work in the animal welfare industry, mostly with wild animals and exotic animals such as bats, snakes and so on which are my specialty and when you see things happen to animals we consider as pets then look at animals we (humans) consider food you can see how we just treat animals as throw away "things" rather than living creatures.

Sorry if that was awkward, I kinda needed to write my thoughts down. /discuss maybe?

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 2:34 pm 
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I wanted to pretend to be pissed off and reply dramatically haha. I think a lot of people probably feel the same way that you do. Not sure why you seem like your view is so blasphemous? When I use that word I'm not talking religion at all. I just mean shunned by the community I guess.
The only thing I would say in response to your statement is that many people would probably agree if you want to change the way people looks at food/ treats animals including those that are eaten as food then acceptance of everyone else eating meat doesn't send the message that you want to. Rather maybe a more change provoking view may be I am only okay with other people eating meat if they are eating animals that are being treated well while they are alive. Like those that grow up on small, local, organic farms that grow up with land to run around on, and clean safe food to eat, and aren't being injected by all sorts of chemicals.
I don't know. I think everyone is entitled to their own opinions. You sound intelligent to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 9:25 pm 
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I think my views are similar to yours.

If I think way back to when I still had the 'happy farm animal' view, I thought it was a bit sad, but okay that animals had to die. I watched nature shows so.. yeah it was sad, but it is part of life. And I imagine if I still believed the happy farm animal was a possibility, maybe I'd still be okay with meat-eating - well maybe not, but I'd be okay with milk and cheese. We all die and some of the deaths I've seen on National Geographic have been quite brutal and drawn out. Death is inevitable.

But like you it is not their death that disturbs me - It is their life. Living conditions in the factory are beyond appalling; most do not ever see the light of day, they never breath fresh air or feel the sun against their skin. They are forced to wallow in their own excrement and endure lesions, infections, abscesses etc without treatment. But even that is tame compared to the torture and brutalization that is inflicted on them by humans throughout their short existence.

One of my hobbies/pastimes is studying social psychology..it is interesting to me generally, but it also helps me to make sense and gain some peace with the evil things that happen in this world.

Dehumanization is not the right word - animals are already not human - but what is happening on these farms is a form of degradation. If you look at the holocaust or at how the Japanese did inhumane gruesome and horrendous experiments on the Chinese and Koreans, (I can share link if you want) - the same psychology is at play on the farms.

By degrading the animals (and how could they not, when they are doing the jobs they are doing day in and day out) the workers slowly morph into demons (psychology coins this the Lucifer effect). Eventually they are able to derive sadistic enjoyment (a feeling of power) from inflicting pain and torture on their ‘slaves’. The workers feed off each others' enjoyment and are thereby able to commit more and more heinous crimes and atrocities against these animals. Sadly the animals have no voice and absolutely no protection from our governments or society at large - it is legal to torture farm animals. Agg-gag is a most terrible idea - Anonymity always increases the likelihood of committing immoral acts.

Knowing what I do about psychology, I’m not so naive as to believe (as most seem to) that the scenes in factory and dairy farm footage are isolated incidents. I don’t need to break-in to farms to see it with my own eyes as I have no doubt whatsoever that this cruel and evil behavior is the norm in all factory farms. Psychologically speaking, there can be no other way.

So what can I do but become vegan? I look at meat and dairy now and all I can see is fear and suffering.

I know there are some farms where there are happy cows and happy chickens... I live down the block from one, but knowing that 'everyone' can't go that route kinda makes it an unrealistic option for me. How do you replace 60 billion factory farmed land animals a year with happy farm animals?.. I just can't see that future.

Our population is 7 billion now... it will be 9 billion in a very short time. I know that me foregoing animal products is such a tiny drop in the bucket, but I have to have hope for the animals and for humanity. No hope = despair, so I'm opting for hope.

I was looking at an ex vegan site (letthemeatmeat), and was deeply saddened to see someone do such a 180 on their moral views. I find it unfortunate that while this blogs intent is to offend vegans, the overall effect is to hurt the animals... he does this indirectly, but still it is a very purposeful attack. Actually I've seen this type of response from a few 'former' vegans. It seems to me that they are acting out against some of the dogmatic views presented by some of the vegans they came across. Vegans can learn from this - ie. to be a bit more forgiving and less judgmental. I'm sure judgement is off-putting when nobody can be perfect and really we all have an impact just by existing.

I love the quote by Sydney Smith:
Quote:
It is the greatest mistake to do nothing because you can only do little. Do what you can.


We are all at different places in our lives and ready to do so much for different causes... I'll be happy if someone cuts down on meat, or goes vegetarian, or tries vegan. They are at least making an effort and to me that means on some level they care and maybe someday they will care a bit more. Baby steps. Probably not fast enough.. but it could start a movement right.

(sorry so long-winded - guess I've thought about this a lot - yikes!)

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 11:20 pm 
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I'm glad you started this thread, mythil. This has been on my mind, too. I'm with you, I understand and accept the ways of nature, as long as they occur naturally and, subsequently, humanely. That's an ironic statement, to say that nature is humane, but you know what I mean. Stuff happens out there, all as integral part of an intricate, elegant web that ties everything together beautifully. Cycle of life stuff. It doesn't happen on a moral or conscious level--lions don't debate whether or not it's "nice" to munch on their prey, they just munch because they are hungry--only humans possess the ability to manipulate their environment to the high degree that they do.

I grew up on a "happy farm," as you say, stcalico. We only had chickens but they were an extension of the family and we spoiled them rotten. They gave us the best tasting eggs on the freakin' planet in return and we only killed the ones who had gotten too old to hold their own in the pecking order and were getting pushed around. As a result, the chicken meat we ate was pretty stringy and dry but our choices made sense to us. The only younger chickens we ever did in over the years were one or two nasty roosters who attacked us little kids and drew blood whenever we were outside playing. Feathered sociopaths.

We got our beef from a friend of the family who organically raised a very small herd of cows and did their own butchering only for their own needs and for a few friends like us. Since we ate very little meat, a side of beef lasted our family of four a year in a deep freeze. We occasionally accepted venison and other wild game from friends who hunted for meat, not for trophies.

When I became vegetarian, I learned that my parents had since discovered a professional buffalo rancher who used to be in charge of the very large herd at Yellowstone National Park. He left that job because the government demanded that he control the size of the herd by killing off the oldest bulls and cows and selling the meat. He had been studying these amazing animals for years and had noticed that they kept very close family groups, the eldest of the herd being like grandmothers and grandfathers, watching over the younger ones, calming them down with their presence, and passing on their wisdom. Removing these valuable members of each nuclear buffalo family left the rest of the members edgy, anxious, stressed, and often depressed and a little lost. The government thought he was full of it and wouldn't listen to him, so he left.

He started his own buffalo ranch, which has become very successful, where he not only does not inject them with anything, just lets their own immune system strengthen on their own, but lets them roam and behave as they want--no controlled herding. He keeps the families together. You have never seen happier, more energetic buffalo in your life: they all act like little kids, bouncing around and playing all day. They are confident, and healthy--not like the drugged-looking herd at Yellowstone that just stand around all day or walk slowly from place to place as if their spirits had been broken. When he butchers, he waits until he has orders from enough people (different ages of buffalo provide different vitamins in the meat and appeal to different people's needs) and then he butchers an entire nuclear family in a humane fashion so that no family members are left alone without anybody in the main herd. They all go together, peacefully. His methods are getting attention from ranchers (finally) who want to know his secret to raising such healthy animals and fantastic, high quality meat. His secret: he respects buffalo and works with them, not against them.

I still vacillate between vegan and vegetarian today but hearing about others eating meat in such humane ways helps me keep the faith that the trend will spread. Meat is not right for me at the moment but it is an important part of the ecosystem of this planet. Humans acting gently and sensitively can be beneficial carnivores in that ecosystem. That is what I believe.

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 11:06 am 
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I think my biggest problem with the idea side of things, not the animal part, we'll set that aside for now. Is that so many people are so preachy on both sides. You get the typical militant vegan who will decry anything you say no matter what and will try and make you feel like scum (yes it's happened on some boards).

Then you get the militant meat eaters who will ridicule you and keep telling you you're wrong with no real logical input. For example, I spent a lot of time finding Kendo armour and our bamboo swords that weren't using real leather parts. I eventually found a supplier that will custom make me some stuff for a little extra cost. However, I found that some people on the martial arts forums, instead of offering advice, questions or shutting up would just say things like "Huh, non leather armour? Wouldn't be the first irrational thing a vegan did". How is it irrational? Also, did I ask you to step in with an insult? I asked a question, I didn't start a fight.

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 12:40 pm 
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mythil wrote:
I think my biggest problem with the idea side of things, not the animal part, we'll set that aside for now. Is that so many people are so preachy on both sides. You get the typical militant vegan who will decry anything you say no matter what and will try and make you feel like scum (yes it's happened on some boards).

Then you get the militant meat eaters who will ridicule you and keep telling you you're wrong with no real logical input. For example, I spent a lot of time finding Kendo armour and our bamboo swords that weren't using real leather parts. I eventually found a supplier that will custom make me some stuff for a little extra cost. However, I found that some people on the martial arts forums, instead of offering advice, questions or shutting up would just say things like "Huh, non leather armour? Wouldn't be the first irrational thing a vegan did". How is it irrational? Also, did I ask you to step in with an insult? I asked a question, I didn't start a fight.


Like I said, if you don't respect the judge, don't worry about the verdict. Why do you care what these people think? Their ignorance, prejudice, fear, and misinformation has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you...unless you keep talking to them. Never argue with someone who does not hold your beliefs, it'll just make them dig their heels in deeper and push back harder. They don't get it. They're not in a position to get it. It's rather like arguing that a glass is half full or half empty: to either party, the truth is right there. Neither one can understand why the other one doesn't get it.

I feel you, I have the same issues with people regarding other stuff. It's exasperating to listen to people complain about how much pain and suffering they are enduring when I know exactly what they can do to fix it. I've learned that many people are where they are for a reason. It's working for them on some level or they wouldn't be there. People do what they do until they reach their individual pain threshold and then they finally change their ways. It's different for everybody.

Lower your pain threshold for insensitive idiots and walk away. Then, live well and look good doing it. You'll either educate them by example or get delicious revenge on them. Either way: :twisted:

Baby Herc

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 1:20 pm 
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I can understand (although can't relate to) being more horrified by the treatment of animals than the killing of them, but I would say that the statement "humans are animals and can eat other animals" is unethical. Either you're saying that because we can do it, that it means it's okay (and thus any action we can do is also fair game, such as robbery, rape etc). Or you're saying that it's natural for humans to eat animals - but that's untrue, as you can see when you compare a human to other predators, and compare a human to herbivores. We have so much in common with herbivores, and pretty much nothing in common with a predator. What animals are we supposed to be able to kill naturally, and eat raw? It is true that we are now able to eat animals, but our environment is far from "natural".

And even in the event that something is "natural" it does not mean that it is ethical anyway. To decide what you should and shouldn't do by looking at how other animals behave is a sure way to live like a savage and commit all kinds of crimes.

So basically there is no reason to defend meat-eating, apart from in a survival situation where somehow there are animals surviving from plants, yet a human has to eat the animal, not the plant. A pretty rare situation indeed, but it does happen.

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 6:09 pm 
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A young girl posed this question to me at one time:
But if a chicken is stuck in a cage, its beak is broken, and it has horrible living conditions, wouldn't that be the chicken who would welcome the end of its suffering, and want to die? While a chicken who is out frolicking in the grass, eating bugs, and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine be horrified at having its nice life snuffed out?

The excuse of why people think eating organic chicken is so much better than conventional chicken ended right there. My answer was to not take away a life at all. All life is precious and should be cherished.


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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 1:40 pm 
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Richard wrote:
I can understand (although can't relate to) being more horrified by the treatment of animals than the killing of them, but I would say that the statement "humans are animals and can eat other animals" is unethical. Either you're saying that because we can do it, that it means it's okay (and thus any action we can do is also fair game, such as robbery, rape etc). Or you're saying that it's natural for humans to eat animals - but that's untrue, as you can see when you compare a human to other predators, and compare a human to herbivores. We have so much in common with herbivores, and pretty much nothing in common with a predator. What animals are we supposed to be able to kill naturally, and eat raw? It is true that we are now able to eat animals, but our environment is far from "natural".

And even in the event that something is "natural" it does not mean that it is ethical anyway. To decide what you should and shouldn't do by looking at how other animals behave is a sure way to live like a savage and commit all kinds of crimes.

So basically there is no reason to defend meat-eating, apart from in a survival situation where somehow there are animals surviving from plants, yet a human has to eat the animal, not the plant. A pretty rare situation indeed, but it does happen.


That's a bit of a hard one. There are debates weather us (humans in general) ate and should eat meat from our physiology. There is a lot of evidence that we were tool using hunters to gather meat for "our" diets. However our bodies were never and are not designed to eat so much meat as we do today. What I'm trying to say, in my hap hazard way is that hunting for food and death to continue life is part of nature and we should never try and remove ourselves from natural ethically (even if we choose to not eat meat). Does this mean I think killing is right? No.. I don't think believing in any sort of god is right but I'm not going to stop someone doing so. Am I going to stop someone hunting for their food? Maybe not, it's far more natural than farming anyway.

It's a moral grey area.

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 2:51 pm 
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Richard wrote:
Or you're saying that it's natural for humans to eat animals - but that's untrue, as you can see when you compare a human to other predators, and compare a human to herbivores. We have so much in common with herbivores, and pretty much nothing in common with a predator. What animals are we supposed to be able to kill naturally, and eat raw? It is true that we are now able to eat animals, but our environment is far from "natural".

A couple of things. First, we have plenty common with carnivores. Almost as much as we do herbivores. For example, our teeth are equipped for both, with sharp canines for tearing into meat and flat molars for grinding plants. Some of our intestinal fauna is much more effective on animal proteins than on vegetable matter, and vice versa. Our intestinal length is longer than most carnivores, but shorter than most herbivores. We're unable to digest cellulose. We have a relatively streamlined digestive tract compared to herbivores, but not quite as much as true carnivores. We are biologically equipped to be omnivores.

Second, not all carnivores or omnivores are predators. Some are opportunistic feeders. Others are technically predators, but use natural lures or crude tools. We also have evidence that humans have been eating animals for at least 2 million years, so it's not like this is a terribly recent development.

Richard wrote:
And even in the event that something is "natural" it does not mean that it is ethical anyway. To decide what you should and shouldn't do by looking at how other animals behave is a sure way to live like a savage and commit all kinds of crimes.

Yes, this. This is key to me. Arguing that we're not "supposed to" eat animals based on biology or history is futile. That's simply not what the science supports, it doesn't convince anyone, and I wish vegetarians and vegans would drop it. We can and have eaten meat for millions of years.

However, we don't _need_ to. It's certainly possible, but not necessary, just like theft or murder. This is an ethical decision, not biological.

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 3:39 am 
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mythil wrote:
That's a bit of a hard one. There are debates weather us (humans in general) ate and should eat meat from our physiology. There is a lot of evidence that we were tool using hunters to gather meat for "our" diets. However our bodies were never and are not designed to eat so much meat as we do today. What I'm trying to say, in my hap hazard way is that hunting for food and death to continue life is part of nature and we should never try and remove ourselves from natural ethically (even if we choose to not eat meat). Does this mean I think killing is right? No.. I don't think believing in any sort of god is right but I'm not going to stop someone doing so. Am I going to stop someone hunting for their food? Maybe not, it's far more natural than farming anyway.

It's a moral grey area.


It comes down to - do you need to eat meat? In most developed societies, no you don't. In a survival situation, yes you do. If you don't have a need to do it, then it's unjustified. I would stop people killing animals where it's unnecessary, but I don't have the power, but I'd say it was wrong for them to do so.

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 4:15 am 
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blabbate wrote:
A couple of things. First, we have plenty common with carnivores. Almost as much as we do herbivores. For example, our teeth are equipped for both, with sharp canines for tearing into meat and flat molars for grinding plants. Some of our intestinal fauna is much more effective on animal proteins than on vegetable matter, and vice versa. Our intestinal length is longer than most carnivores, but shorter than most herbivores. We're unable to digest cellulose. We have a relatively streamlined digestive tract compared to herbivores, but not quite as much as true carnivores. We are biologically equipped to be omnivores.


There are tonnes of those charts available which show the similarities between us and herbivores, and the differences we have with carnivores. Is the information in those tables incorrect?

http://i402.photobucket.com/albums/pp10 ... -Not-C.jpg

There are all kinds of those tables, that's just the first one I came across.

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Second, not all carnivores or omnivores are predators. Some are opportunistic feeders. Others are technically predators, but use natural lures or crude tools. We also have evidence that humans have been eating animals for at least 2 million years, so it's not like this is a terribly recent development.


I draw the comparison with predators specifically, because these days humans do the killing. We don't have farmers waiting in the wilderness waiting for an animal to be dropped by a predator, then quickly running in and dragging it away to be processed... Humans kill the animals themselves - as a predator does. A scavenger does not kill. So to say that killing is natural, means that we should be natural killers, which we are not.

I wouldn't disagree that it's something humans have been doing for a long time. But I would question why we ever did it. As far as I'm concerned, it was a last resort in extreme circumstances. You can get someone to drink their own urine or turn to cannibalism with enough pressure to survive, but I wouldn't call that natural as such, just grim survival. It must have been a real stretch to get humans to turn to killing animals, just using sheer logic. If there are trees and bushes around with fruit waiting to be eaten, you're going to eat that, why would you bother chasing down a chicken or a rabbit, wasting energy, and normally failing, if you can eat food that just sits there? The only reason you'd do it is if the other food sources dried up, and suddenly, you are forced to do something you are not at all suited to do. Those who turned to tool-usage had an easier time of it, because our bodies are not equipped to be hunters. And as we developed and became more intelligent and used more elaborate tools, things became even easier - basically the further we moved away from how all other animals function in the wild, the easier it became to herd, control and kill animals.

Looking at how other animals in the wild deal with prey, it's clear to me that we are nothing like them. We don't chase them down on foot and kill them with our teeth and claws, we have to use advanced techniques, tools, and structures. And to most people, the sight of an animal in pain, bleeding or being killed is repulsive. If it were natural, then it would make our mouths water. Meat has to be processed for people to visually deal with it, and killing of the animals has to be done out of view - nobody wants to see it. Play a video to someone of crops being harvesed, and they will react with bored disinterest. But if you play a video of an animal being slaughtered, you will get a very different reaction.

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 9:47 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 12:40 pm 
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Richard wrote:
blabbate wrote:
A couple of things. First, we have plenty common with carnivores. Almost as much as we do herbivores. For example, our teeth are equipped for both, with sharp canines for tearing into meat and flat molars for grinding plants. Some of our intestinal fauna is much more effective on animal proteins than on vegetable matter, and vice versa. Our intestinal length is longer than most carnivores, but shorter than most herbivores. We're unable to digest cellulose. We have a relatively streamlined digestive tract compared to herbivores, but not quite as much as true carnivores. We are biologically equipped to be omnivores.


There are tonnes of those charts available which show the similarities between us and herbivores, and the differences we have with carnivores. Is the information in those tables incorrect?

http://i402.photobucket.com/albums/pp10 ... -Not-C.jpg

There are all kinds of those tables, that's just the first one I came across.

Incorrect, simplified, or dishonest, yes. The information is overly generalized, and some of it is simply wrong. None of it is sourced. How can you trust a table that says the human small intestine is 10 to 11 times body length? The small intestine averages 23 feet long. You can do the math yourself.

They also cherry-pick their comparisons. You could easily add the ability to digest cellulose as a criterion, but you'd never see that in one of these charts.

Richard wrote:
I wouldn't disagree that it's something humans have been doing for a long time. But I would question why we ever did it. As far as I'm concerned, it was a last resort in extreme circumstances. {snip} Looking at how other animals in the wild deal with prey, it's clear to me that we are nothing like them. We don't chase them down on foot and kill them with our teeth and claws, we have to use advanced techniques, tools, and structures.

I expect it was a last resort, yes. A change like that comes out of necessity. And we began to adapt. Jump ahead 100,000 generations and you find a species that has evolved to be omnivorous. This also explains why we don't share more characteristics with pure carnivores. We only adapted as much as necessary. We don't need massive stomachs because we aren't solitary hunters. We don't have wide mouths or sharp nails because we don't need them to kill. We evolved the characteristics we needed to survive on an omnivorous diet based on the advantages we already had.

Richard wrote:
And to most people, the sight of an animal in pain, bleeding or being killed is repulsive. If it were natural, then it would make our mouths water. Meat has to be processed for people to visually deal with it, and killing of the animals has to be done out of view - nobody wants to see it. Play a video to someone of crops being harvesed, and they will react with bored disinterest. But if you play a video of an animal being slaughtered, you will get a very different reaction.

I'm not talking about whether people find animal suffering repulsive or whether they're being shielded from the slaughter or even whether it's ethical. I'm saying that we are biologically equipped for an omnivorous diet.

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 Post subject: Re: Many forms of vegan mentality?
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 2:02 pm 
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blabbate wrote:
I'm not talking about whether...it's ethical. I'm saying that we are biologically equipped for an omnivorous diet.


Good point, thanks for bringing that up.

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