mythil wrote:Oh yes I agree with you in principle. We have managed to break evolution via our intelligence AND our compassion. It's argued that the biggest reason that the human race is so plentiful is that we can very easily empathize with other humans.
My only issue is that.. I can't really think of a reason why people can't eat meat.. Okay, I don't want to because of suffering/death and so on inflicted on even the most humanely treated animal (Does anyone else think that humane sounds a bit odd?) but do I look down on people that do? I can't, not really and I've never been able to bring myself to.
My biggest gripe is not so much with food but with items. For example, you wouldn't believe (well you may) how many animal products are in the things you buy and don't even realize it. This gives me FAR more moral questions and agonizing than food because that's easy to do.. For example, I do kendo, love kendo and keep doing Kendo. I found out that kendo armour is made out of leather in places, okay so now I need to find Kendo armour that isn't. I eventually tracked some down in Japan and ordered it. Later I found out that all kendo armour uses at least one bit of leather so even though mine didn't use it in the majority there was a tiny bit that did (to be fair to the company they didn't say it was vegan friendly or anything just that they used clarino and I-leather).
Next is my sword, the grip is made out of leather (this really passed me by in the early stages as I didn't even consider it). I have searched for a long, long time to try and find a sword that hasn't got leather parts OR to find someone that will make me a custom item.. with no luck..
Now what do I do? Quit kendo?... I really, really don't want to but.. do I make that sacrifice or don't I? Do I stop going to the gym because some of the machines have leather parts? Same with other places, bars and so on, leather seats there.
You can't think of a reason why they can't eat meat? All you need is compassion for an animal, and you can put yourself in the animal's position, just like you would if you were to talk about why it's wrong to kill a human. From the victim's perspective, it's a bad thing, and as it's totally unnecessary, it is wrong.
When you talk about looking down on people, that's a completely different subject, as I said before. You can think that an action is wrong, without actually doing anything, or forming an opinion of those who do it - if you want to. There's a difference between saying something is wrong, and saying that those who do it are "evil" etc.
Regarding 100% veganism being nearly impossible to attain - I agree, and we all face a dilemma regarding where we draw a line. We live in a society which relies upon animal products in all kinds of places. You actually can't escape it realistically. But, it isn't futile. Though we all have different "comfort zones" and what we're willing to go without, the more people who are vegetarian and vegan to any extent are joining a mass-boycott against the exploitation of animals. The problem is so vast and far-reaching that you can't target it specifically. But, all efforts have a result, and the industry is becoming less profitable. So from a practical point of view, you don't need to think "it's wrong for me to do this, so I'm not going to do it" and feel restricted - rather, you should realise we live in a shit-hole universe, and you can try to make some positive decisions that will help the future, such as buying alternatives where possible.
But fundamentally, I do believe that living in comfort at the expense of other animals is wrong, and I know that just by living in the society that I do, that I must be having negative impact. I'm aware of some of it, but most likely there are things that I don't even realise. I go without what I don't need to live a productive life in this society, but I still drive a car and even the basic necessitities obviously have an impact. I know what it would take for me to have 0% impact, but I lack the strength to do it, at a fundamental level, I am too selfish. I can give you excuses as above, about how I was born into this society and didn't choose etc, but I could remove myself and try to live in the wilderness technically - but it doesn't appeal to me, so I actively choose this society now. Pretty much everybody is guilty of that. I don't have a high opinion of humans in general, including myself. I see veganism as striving towards better and more positive actions, an aspect of myself which is actually good. Perfect veganism isn't necessary in order to change the world though.
Regarding the Kendo armour... you could buy it 2nd hand, that way you are not funding a production company. Those situations are irritating. I can't tell you how to feel about the situation. From my perspective, the less leather somebody buys, the better. But, as I said above, we are all guilty pretty much, we are all doing things that I'd personally say are wrong. We attempt to balance our activies in life with the damage we cause, and I can't personally justify it, but there you go! I feel guilt for how I live too.
At a very fundamental level... even more fundamental... it's a numbers game. Buying that Kendo armour with a tiny piece of leather on it, isn't as bad as buying a leather coat, because more leather is being used, in the long run, more animals have to die. If there is only a tiny strip of leather on a kendo suit, then 1 animal dies to make presumably hundreds of those. So it takes hundreds of customers for 1 animal to die. But, with a leather coat, maybe you will only get 3 or 4 coats off 1 animal, so if hundreds of people did the same, you end up with thousands of dead animals. So while I can't justify any use of leather, I'm aware that the more a person uses, the worse it is.