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Everything posted by brendan

  1. Hey, welcome to the board! I dig the beard, too. I tried to grow one once, but after about three weeks, all I got was some stubble and the comment, "You don't look any older than 2."
  2. Hey, how did you figure 28? I got that, too, by calibrating my vegan lifespan by adding a year (to 5) so I could plug my own age in by comparison to get his. Man, this is a geeky post, but I was racking my brains trying to figure it out. Was there a clearer formula to use? Heh.
  3. Hey, I just shaved my eyebrows off, and you're right, it's a totally different look. Thanks for the suggestion, buddy. I look pretty extraterrestrial. It's awesome! I'm not sure how you're just getting the 'quote' with no label, but just make sure when you hit quote that the html tag has their name in quotes. For example (without the spacing): [ quote = " sirdle " ]. Oh, and I actually just yanked that picture from the unofficial Ashton Kutcher fan site and tried to pass it off as myself. Heh heh, just kidding - I uploaded it from my hard drive. Is that how you did yours?
  4. Hey, Ed. Welcome! I think it's funny that you refer people to this site to prove vegetarians aren't scrawny wimps - I've done the same. But I'm working on becoming a living example of that myself. As far as veganism, I just did it 'cold turkey' - for lack of better phrase, heh - and that seemed to work pretty well. I'm sure you've read a lot about it, but if you haven't getting a book or watching a video like Meet Your Meat might help you stay the course. Glad to have you here! It's a fantastic community.
  5. Hahaha. Dammit, CG, someone snuck in a post before we made our other 800 points. I agree with the grassroots approach, Jonathan. And I think PETA can play a more instrumental role in fueling that.
  6. Right on! We both recognized that. More commercial air time would be nice, but a lot of networks won't accept ads that are too "controversial" or that might upset other, larger companies to which they are more loyal. I think PETA tries to buy a Superbowl ad ever year and gets rejected. That certainly sucks. Advertisement is much like the rest of the media in some ways - it's very much just a reflection of our culture. It is hard to place the blame solely on them when society already has its values (or lackthereof) in place. That kind of segways into what I was talking about with reaching out to the media. Seems kind of moot at this point because the news media is also just a reflection of what society values. PETA = animal rights crazies to most people, therefore PETA = animal rights crazies to the media. That's why I speculate that working on a more grassroots, self-sustained platform would be more effective. PETA should use itself to an even larger degree as an alternative media that already values animal rights, irrespective of social values. Theoretically, that would generate more vegans, and, in time, a more vegan-friendly society that can be taken seriously by the mainstrea media. Eh?
  7. Hey, Natalie, I think you made a pretty good justification for pursuing animal welfare strategies. I can really see this all - and this is separate now from the outreach strategies to promote veganism that we were just discussing - from both perspectives, as far as welfare reform goes. As an aside, welfare advocacy can also be seen as utilitarian because it seeks to reduce suffering. Anyhoo, here's a (rather lengthy) excerpt from an interview with Gary Francione, a professor of law at Rutgers University, conducted in 2002 by Friends of Animals. It's pretty interesting, and I figure you'll like since you're a law student. As another aside, I don't support fast-food restaurants for reasons that extend beyond animal rights, but I especially would discourage anyone from supporting Yum! at this point in time. FoA: What is your view of the current animal rights movement in the United States? Gary Francione: There is no animal rights movement in the United States. There is only an animal welfare movement that seeks to promote the "humane" exploitation of animals. To bring about animal rights, it is essential to understand the basic legal and philosophical arguments for abolition. Logically, it is not possible to reform the system that exploits animals; we must abolish the exploitation. The abolitionist position is that the institution of animal property is morally unjustifiable, just as was the institution of human property that we called slavery. Some who promote welfare reform maintain that it is acceptable for humans to use animals if they do so "humanely." Others seek welfare reforms because they believe reforms will eventually lead to abolition. I argue against these notions for two reasons. First, as a theoretical matter, reform misses the primary moral point. It is, of course, always better to cause less suffering than more, but the real question is whether humans are justified in imposing any suffering at all on animals incidental to our use of animals as property. The 19th century reformers argued that it was better for a slave's owner to beat his slave four times a week rather than five. The abolitionists argued that all human beings had at least the right not to be the property of another; that to be property meant that a human had no value except that accorded the slave by the owner. The abolitionist position was that it was wrong to beat the slaves at all because the institution of slavery itself was morally unjustifiable and it did not matter how "humane" we made slavery. Putting a string quartet on the way to the gas chambers -- as the Nazis did during the Holocaust -- may make things more "humane" in some sense, but that misses the point, doesn't it? If animals are morally significant at all, then we must abolish the institution of animal property. We must stop creating and owning domestic animals or using wild animals as means to our ends. My view is that we should abolish animal slavery and not seek to reform an inherently immoral institution. The second reason for my rejection of welfarism is that, as a practical matter, it does not work. We have had animal welfare laws in most western countries for well over a hundred years now, and they have done little to reduce animal suffering and they certainly have not resulted in the gradual abolition of any practices. Peter Singer was recently quoted as saying that the agreement by McDonald's to give battery hens a few more inches of cage space was the most significant development for farm animals since he wrote Animal Liberation. Twenty-five years of welfarist reform and the best we can show is a larger battery cage. Maybe Peter finds that thrilling; I do not. It is a clear indication of what I have been saying for a decade now: welfarist reform is useless. As to why welfarism fails, this was the subject of my 1996 book, Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement. In a nutshell, the reason has to do with the property status of animals. If animals are property, then they have no value beyond that which is accorded to them by their owners. Reform does not work because it seeks to force owners to value their property differently and to incur costs in order to respect animals interests. Our legal and political systems are based on strong concepts of property rights. Thus, there is reluctance to impose the costs of reforms on owners when such costs will significantly decrease the value of animal property as far as the owner is concerned. FoA: This theory is logical indeed. But what about putting your ideas into practice at the grass roots level? Gary Francione: Before undertaking any practical effort, there must be a theory that informs the action. A social movement must have a theory if it is to have any action at all. Unfortunately for the present time, the welfarist position of Peter Singer is informing the movement. This position claims that advocates should support any measure that "reduces suffering." This theory has had disastrous practical results. Nearly any proposed change, such as giving an extra inch of space to a battery hen, or eating only non-crate veal, can be portrayed as reducing suffering. Singer's theory allows large, multi-million-dollar animal welfare organizations to come up with moderate campaigns and then to demand that we all jump on the bandwagon because this will "reduce suffering." Under Singer’s theory, it would make sense for animal exploiters to make things as horrible as they can for animals in order to be able to "reduce suffering" and thereby make small concessions to activists. That is precisely what the exploiters are doing, with McDonalds’ so-called "improvements" being a perfect example of the problem. And the "movement" is buying into this because Singer has declared that these insignificant changes will "reduce suffering." I suggest that we need a new theory to replace the one that we have. I am not unrealistic. I recognize that even if we adopt an abolitionist theory, abolition will not occur immediately. Change will necessarily be incremental. But it is my view that the explicit goal must be abolition and that abolition must shape incremental change. On the other hand, I can tell you what really is not realistic, and that is to expect that the industries who use animals to obtain profits will be able to police themselves. As I have often noted, "humane slaughter" laws are difficult to enforce, and the economic realities of the meat-packing business militate against conscientious self-enforcement of such standards. Moreover, such laws arguably increase overall suffering, because they make the general public feel better about eating meat or about any other regulated use of animals. This is the Catch-22 of animal welfare. There will always be welfarists who promote longer chains for the slaves and call that incremental change. In Rain Without Thunder, I argued that the most important form of incremental change is educating the public about the need for abolition. We have not yet had that, for the U.S. movement has always been embarrassed about being "radical." We do not want to alienate the "mainstream." The problem is that the "mainstream" is polluted and we ought to stay far away from the "mainstream." To those who claim that the abolitionist has no practical campaign to pursue right now, I have long argued that the contrary is true. Consider what would happen if the international animal movement had a sustained and unified campaign promoting a purely vegetarian diet. Imagine what could be done if a significant portion of our resources were channeled into making people aware of why they shouldn't eat animal products at all. At the end of five years, we would certainly not have achieved world veganism, but we'd probably have reduced the consumption of animal products considerably more than we have done with these "eat red veal" campaigns. And what would we have given up if we were to pursue this route? Peter Singer claims that two inches of cage space is the best thing to happen to farmed animals in 25 years; arguably, making as few as 100 new vegans in five years would "reduce suffering" much more than that. When will we begin? I understand, of course, that many people in leadership positions aren't vegan. Therefore they find it difficult to embrace animal rights as a movement in which a vegetable-based diet is an axiom. Veganism, however, is the single most important issue in the movement. Veganism is the abolitionist principle implemented in one's own life. Anyone who maintains that she or he is an "animal rights" advocate but is not vegan cannot be taken seriously. http://www.antispe.de/txt/interviewgaryfrancione.html
  8. PETA is an extremely well-funded organization. One could argue they're not just using the media - they are the media. If PETA invested all the money it allocates to public stunts instead toward something similar to "Why Vegan" pamphlets, I wonder if it would have a greater impact. I think those are extremely effective: People are presented the facts in a compelling way and, at their own leisure, get to choose whether to go vegan. Without the hype, excess and silliness. We have to acknowledge that a majority of people see the PETA stunts and immediately write them off. I think it's an incredible waste to invest all that time, energy and money into something so grand and ridiculous, hoping maybe one person will see it and have a change of heart. Sure, that makes for a touching parable, but we have to get serious, be more practical and turn to more sophisticated, efficacious strategies when others fail. I'm pretty sure PETA would agree with that last part and indeed that seems to be their approach to outreach - a valiant one for certain, but seemingly uneffective.
  9. Oh, I just wanted to add one more thing - I do appreciate the undercover investigations PETA does. Excellent work, to their defense.
  10. I have met and talked with a few PETA employees, and they are actually quite reasonable people. Their outreach philosophy, from what I understand, is that the media have gotten bored with animal rights/welfare coverage, so to continue getting their attention, PETA feels it must resort to circus-like stunts. PETA believes this will draw people in initially so that a more rational argument can be made later. That's why they have the Lettuce Ladies parade around Capitol Hill with veggie weiners for U.S. Congressmen. That's also why PETA relies so heavily on celebrity endorsement and gossip. Wiggle your finger at the public, draw them in and then make your point. I, however, really can't see how that will make a lasting impression, and I believe it trivializes the animal rights movement. An otherwise legimitate, reasoned argument is turned into a spectacle, giving people who are already hostile to our views much more fuel to use against us - not to mention how it might alienate more middle-of-the-road folks who might be sympathetic to our cause, if only presented in a measured, reasonable fashion. I also question how long a person will stay vegetarian if their reason for becoming one is founded in ephemeral celebrity culture. I respect PETA for their overarching ethics, but I respectfully disagree with their strategies. That's why I prefer Vegan Outreach as a more viable alternative. Dissent within the movement only helps strengthen it.
  11. Hahaha. The resemblance is uncanny. Even the same gesture. http://www.internetweekly.org/images/steven_reefer2.jpg
  12. Hahaha. Rob, you're totally the Dell dude! I can see Owen Wilson, too, but, c'mon, you gotta go with the Dell dude. Such an obscure, cool pseudo-celeb to resemble.
  13. I can see how kicking back a few beers with your friends in a pub could be fun. I have no problem with moderation. And if someone wants to get plastered, well, that's their prerogative. I just don't do it myself because I don't like the taste all that much, know of more interesting ways to have fun and think it's unnecessary. I do find it a little pathetic, as Ronnie mentioned, that so many people feel like it's the thing to do without question. It also really annoys me when people define themselves as drinkers. I know of a few people, who I consider friends, who make it a point to talk about drinking before they drink, then while they drinking and then again after they've sobered up. Seems kind of lame to me. Like I said, though, I like to cook with wine for flavor. And I have had a sip of Guiness before - that's pretty good. Some microbrewed beers can taste good, too. As for Budweiser, seems pretty nastastic to me - and that's coming from a St. Louis dude, where the scheist is brewed. I really have no desire to taste beer anymore and I've never drunk a whole can or anything in my life. I also kind of justify putting more money toward good, vegan food by not dropping a ton of cash on beer or hard liquor at bars.
  14. That's exactly where I am, too. Welcome aboard! Yes yes! Hey Brendan, I had my scientists at the lab look into it with over-complicated equipment, and they say that you have a 68% likeness to Ashton Kutcher. Has this analysis been carried out before? Hahaha. It's the hair. Damn hair. If I got it cut off, I project the calculation would yield something more around 2 percent. By the way, I, too, had my scientists at the lab look into it with over-complicated equipment, and they say that you have a 99 percent likeness to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Although there were signs of a hero, 1 percent had to be deducted for lack of a half-shell. Turtle power!
  15. Holy crap, dude. That's YOUR dad?! I don't have the book to refresh my memory, but I have read it before ... From what I remember, your dad provides insight into the animal-rights mentality for the 'other side,' no? Heh. He's also quoted in the Vegan Outreach "Why Vegans": "In my opinion, if most urban meat eaters were to visit an industrial broiler house, to see how the birds are raised, and could see the birds being “harvested” and then being “processed” in a poultry processing plant, they would not be impressed and some, perhaps many of them would swear off eating chicken and perhaps all meat." - Peter Cheeke, PhD, Contemporary Issues in Animal Agriculture, 1999 textbook I do like your dad's quotes, though, of what I can remeber. I found this one, too: "Do we, as humans, having an ability to reason and to communicate abstract ideas verbally and in writing, and to form ethical and moral judgments using the accumulated knowledge of the ages, have the right to take the lives of other sentient organisms, particularly when we are not forced to do so by hunger or dietary need, but rather do so for the somewhat frivolous reason that we like the taste of meat? In essence, should we know better?" - Peter Cheeke, Professor of Animal Agriculture, Contemporary Issues in Animal Agriculture, 1999 That's so weird/cool.
  16. That's because they know you can beat them up. Haha.
  17. Woot! Thanks for the clarification. Hey, free speech not only lives, it rocks, right? Heh. Maybe not so much ... Check this out for your research, CollegeB (from the site Natalie provided): "But the battle isn't over. Thirteen states, including Texas, have passed laws designed to silence and intimidate those who expose unsafe and unhealthy factory farm and slaughterhouse practices. These so-called "food disparagement" laws make it a crime to criticize food and how it is produced."
  18. Hey, didn't Oprah and Lyman end up losing in appeals court? And the pain of excessive litigation later forced her to rescind her comments and basically silenced any similar media criticism of the cattle industry because of so-called 'veggie libel' laws? Eh? Can't remember. I've met Howard Lyman. Cool dude.
  19. Anyone know of any vegan, gelatin-free omega-3 capsules or tablets? I'm actually one of those freaks who can drink flax oil straight, but a lot of my vegan friends can't stomach it.
  20. I really don't get the thrill in drinking, especially to the point of intoxication. I go to a Big 12 university where it's pretty rare not to booze it up on the weekends. I'm around people who drink all the time ... I live in an apartment where there are huge drinking parties ... but I just don't get into it. I really, for the life of me, can't see how alcohol-induced puking and being rushed to the emergency room for alcohol poisoning is cool either. There are so much more interesting ways to have fun, even at parties where people are drinking.
  21. Actually, I'm a troll. I think vegans are a bunch of wimps. Welcome to the board! It's good fun here. P.S. I've thought the same thing about the lack of trolls - Rob, do you ever have to delete messages or anything? It's an unusually clean forum. Hope it always stays that way.
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