Author Topic: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?  (Read 16100 times)

Tobin

  • Member
  • Seeking Truth
    • Samatha & Vipassana
    • Curious
What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« on: November 14, 2015, 08:27:49 AM »
I can say that I'm a changed person in a lot of ways since I started on this path. I'm not always perfect at sitting or being kind, but I know it has made me a better person.

It's also made me look at things I never looked at before, one thing in particular being animal rights/species-ism. It was like I never even noticed I had a choice in eating meat or animal by-products, it's EVERYWHERE. I watched a video on youtube by Gary Yourofsky called 'The Best Speech Ever' and if you have an hour to kill, I suggest you check it out. I will warn you, there are 2 or 3 minutes of graphic material, but he gives you warning.

I am so happy I made the decision to go vegan. It's been about 4 months and I feel great. The food I eat now has so much variety and gets me trying things I've never tried before. I do miss things from time to time (like chicken wings with hot sauce and fast food burgers lol) but I feel good about myself for not participating in a system that's built on enslavement and pain for profit. It's sick and we need to get with the times.

I apologize if I've offended any meat eaters. I understand we are all where we are at. I just want to educate people and let them take it from there.

So I guess Buddhism, compassion training and mindfulness have made me more in tune with reality, opening new areas of my life that make me feel great and give me purpose.

I want to hear your vegan stories! If you are vegan, what brought you there? And if you're not vegan, what beliefs do you have that would keep you from a vegan diet? All replies are appreciated!

Health Side of Things:
Dr. Neil Barnard - Foods for Protecting the Body & Mind
« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 08:58:14 AM by Tobin »
Regards,
Tobin

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2015, 06:42:38 PM »
I'm not a vegan and probably never will be. However I do make attempts to eat more ethically. I have my own chickens, who eat my waste food, in return they provide me eggs and fertiliser. I use the fertiliser to feed 100 or so fruit trees, and my vegetable garden. I also brew seaweed emulsion as a plant feed.

Then on the convenience front I do eat store bought meat, although Im thinking of working out a barter with my neighbour who raises livestock. I've eaten my own animals before and struggled a little with it.

Tobin

  • Member
  • Seeking Truth
    • Samatha & Vipassana
    • Curious
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2015, 05:47:33 AM »
Hey, I can respect any effort to live in a more ethical way.

It feels like no one around here cares about anything they do. Just this week, one of my co-workers was admitted to the psyche ward because my other co-workers were continually calling him insanely rude things like pedophile, child molester, creep. Why can't they see their actions have consequences? And the worst part? They are laughing about it.

But I digress lol. I don't think I could ever be ok with any form of animal slavery or exploitation. Even the idea of owning pets seems arrogant and selfish. Unfortunately, with the way things work in reality, owning a pet is less cruel than leaving a shelter animal to die.

D.T.: If you've had trouble slaughtering your own livestock, doesn't that say something? Why do you feel better about someone else doing the hard part for you? And if you care about a dog or a cat like family, why is another species any less important? On what grounds?

edit - I hope you don't take this as a personal attack. I'm just picking your brain.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 05:51:23 AM by Tobin »
Regards,
Tobin

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2015, 07:10:40 AM »
I guess the difference is I knew the animals. If I had a hundred of them, they'd be less familiar to me so it'd have less remorse for their deaths.

I don't think it's possible for a human to live without inflicting suffering in some form, so I guess it's a trade-off where we all draw our own arbitrary lines. I don't view my animals as being trapped anymore than I'd view my human family trapped. Sure they're conditioned to be here in return for food, but my animals have a relatively better life than any of their forebears by a considerable margin.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 07:12:59 AM by Dharmic Tui »

dhammagirl

  • Guest
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2015, 06:35:44 PM »
Hi Tobin.

Glad to hear you've gone vegan!
 I've been vegan, mostly, for about 25 years. 
It started when I read "Animal Liberation" by Peter Singer.  It gave a rational, logical, non-emotional base for what I'd always felt in my heart to be true. 
Many people call those of us with a lot of empathy and compassion for animals "over-emotional", among other things. 
When I learned about what goes on to produce meat and dairy, especially in factory farms, I quit consuming it immediately.  Because my decision was about ethics and compassion, there was no temptation, unlike if I had done it strictly for personal health reasons.

I must admit that cheese has been the hardest.  But if I think about the enslavement of the cows, and what happens to their babies so that we may take the milk intended for those babies, that pretty much kills the craving for cheese. 
I recently signed up for a local CSA (community supported agriculture), and get local, organic veggies.  They also offer eggs, chickens and turkeys (dead and cleaned, of course)  The way they describe how they raise and feed the birds sounds like the most humane and natural way to do it. But I'm still not going to support it.
When I first became vegan, I was rather militant.  I felt that if only other people were made aware of how the animals are treated, they too would have empathy and compassion and change their diets from being centered around animals products.  Ha!! I was sooo naive. 
Now, I just try to live my little life as harmlessly as possible, walk gently upon the Earth, set an example. 
I recently did, however, respond to a local newspaper article where the young fellow said he had seen videos of the suffering, but decided that it's just too tasty, and searched until he found articles to support the heavy consumption of animal products.  He made a conscious decision to NOT be mindful and aware of what went into what he consumes, because it might take away from his enjoyment and desire to consume it. 
Frankly, it reminded me of when I was a heavy smoker of cigarettes, weed, and drank heavily.  I liked the sensations, so I was able to find ways to defend my choices so I could continue.  I was addicted.   I recently read that cheese is addictive.  I believe it!

When I learned more about the treatment of animals enslaved for food purposes, entertainment, and medical research, it caused me such pain.  I felt, and still feel sometimes, rather ashamed to be human. 
Some people might not give a crap about other beings or the environment, but might consider going vegan for personal health reasons.  Hey, every action counts!  Even if someone is unwilling to completely forgo all animal products, just reducing consumption helps. 

We do have three cats and a large dog, all were adopted from shelters or rescued.  We do not consider ourselves to be their "owners".  We are their guardians.  You cannot "own" a sentient being. 

It is not possible to exist as a corporeal being and cause absolutely zero suffering and death.  But why not try to keep it to a minimum?  To as little as possible?  Folks who say that vegans/vegetarians hurt plants don't want to admit that there's a spectrum of suffering, of kharma.
Avoiding animal products is one less act of violence committed in the world. 

It is not right livelihood to be a butcher or dealer of flesh or animals.  If one does not do it themselves, but pays someone else to do it, then they are encouraging them to break sila and accumulate negative kharma.

Thanks for going vegan!

With Metta,
Dhammagirl  :)[/u]

Tobin

  • Member
  • Seeking Truth
    • Samatha & Vipassana
    • Curious
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2015, 11:48:07 PM »
Wow, thank you DhammaGirl,

I'm so happy you replied. I can relate with everything you are saying and sometimes I feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle where no one really understands, or even cares to. So it's a relief to know I'm not totally alone.

I found out very quickly how people will rationalize their decisions or come up with insane (almost similar) questions to avoid the real topic. It still angers me, but mindfulness has minimized the suffering. That won't stop me from trying though! ;)

Like you mentioned, once I weighed my personal wants against another beings pain, it just wasn't worth it. I also went vegan overnight, and while I still crave some things from time to time, just imagining where that food came from is enough to turn me right off of it.

Gary Yourofsky mentioned something in his video. It really struck me when he said we were participating in the worlds largest holocaust in history. It really put things into perspective for me. It is insanely tragic what happened during world war two, but the numbers are nothing compared to the 8 billion land animals we murder yearly to sustain a HABIT. Did you know we eat 1,000,000 chickens an HOUR?!?!?!?! /end rant

Thanks for the book and CSA recommendation. I've come across stats saying that meat consumption is down by a lot and is continuing to drop. That is enough hope for me.

Thank you again for your well thought out reply! Bless you!
Regards,
Tobin

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2015, 06:42:26 AM »
Like you mentioned, once I weighed my personal wants against another beings pain, it just wasn't worth it.
Here's the kicker with this for me, in that you've drawn an arbitrary line with this. If you followed a causative chain from your experience back to the source, so much of the rest of your life is going to be at the cost of another person's pain. You're using some sort of electronic device, what do you know about the factory it came from? Were the staff treated as you'd like to be treated, or are they employed for wages difficult to survive off, without any form of sick or holiday pay, etc etc. And your vegan food, where'd the energy come from to produce or transport it? Etc etc.

I think if your intentions are in the right place that is big part of it, but I think we have to be careful not to incorrectly place ourselves on some sort of upper end of some moral compass and think that's a final resting spot. I could go Vegan, but that may not make me any more or less harmful than someone not vegan.

Tobin

  • Member
  • Seeking Truth
    • Samatha & Vipassana
    • Curious
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2015, 07:00:40 AM »
What I'm hearing from you D.T. is that if we can't solve all the problems at once, we shouldn't even try. I don't think I'm better for going vegan. But I DO feel good about the choice I've made to cause the least amount of harm possible.

My journey also doesn't begin or end with veganism. It's a positive life change that will hopefully open up many other avenues where I can create more positive change. I want to be the best version of myself, and although I know I often fall short, I have a genuine interest in becoming a better human being. So no, this isn't the final resting point for me.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 07:31:42 AM by Tobin »
Regards,
Tobin

Tobin

  • Member
  • Seeking Truth
    • Samatha & Vipassana
    • Curious
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2015, 07:33:43 AM »
I also don't think the line is arbitrary at all. It's a very firm line, dividing kindness and cruelty.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 10:22:47 AM by Tobin »
Regards,
Tobin

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2015, 08:11:53 AM »
What I'm hearing from you D.T. is that if we can't solve all the problems at once, we shouldn't even try.
You may choose to hear that, but it's not what I'm saying at all.
But I DO feel good about the choice I've made to cause the least amount of harm possible.
Relative to how far or where you've chosen to look for harm, that's what I'm trying to say.
I also don't think the line is arbitrary at all. It's a very firm line, diving kindness and cruelty.
To you they are firm, but it's very much arbitrary. Arbitrary = based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.

Tobin

  • Member
  • Seeking Truth
    • Samatha & Vipassana
    • Curious
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2015, 08:59:59 AM »
I never looked for harm, I came across it. I chose to make a change once I had the proper information in front of me. The next time I see an injustice that I can also take a stand for, I will.

Also, if there is no reason between choosing kindness or cruelty, then I'm not sure what kind of measurable system you're looking for.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 09:02:03 AM by Tobin »
Regards,
Tobin

p340

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2015, 09:32:39 AM »
Like you mentioned, once I weighed my personal wants against another beings pain, it just wasn't worth it.
Here's the kicker with this for me, in that you've drawn an arbitrary line with this. If you followed a causative chain from your experience back to the source, so much of the rest of your life is going to be at the cost of another person's pain. You're using some sort of electronic device, what do you know about the factory it came from? Were the staff treated as you'd like to be treated, or are they employed for wages difficult to survive off, without any form of sick or holiday pay, etc etc. And your vegan food, where'd the energy come from to produce or transport it? Etc etc.

I think if your intentions are in the right place that is big part of it, but I think we have to be careful not to incorrectly place ourselves on some sort of upper end of some moral compass and think that's a final resting spot. I could go Vegan, but that may not make me any more or less harmful than someone not vegan.

Phew. Normally i'm a real fan of your posts. But with this... Reminds me of the argument people were making when i was getting an vegetarian some 8-9 years ago. Just the way i lived was a moral pointing finger for them - they felt - . Thats why they attacked it with the same logic. "If you care for the animals truly, you should be a vegan!"- whilst eating a meatball sub.

It's the same logic like if you can't safe all the children from a burning building better safe none. But this is were you get fast when you discuss eating meat or animal products. I guess many people feel a guilt deep down and cannot stand someone in their surroundings highlighting this tension. Honestly, i think it's cognitive dissonance in many cases. / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance)

By the way. As i know many vegans, and am vegan for periods of time too. What you say about electronic devices, chain of transports etc. IS a very big deal for most of them too. They really try hard not to cause harm for whole world. Many of them search in containers for food that supermarkets would throw away to oppose the throwaway society, they practice own urban gardening, they search or develop "green phones" like the fairphone, they wear second hand clothes. Most of them are activists etc etc

My point is, what you demand for someone to do in order that his line of morality isn't arbitrary anymore is done by many many people. And it's very very very hard work. But just because somebody can't do all of it, it shouldn't be discarded in total. Just choose the easiest part, with the most tangible pain and suffering it causes in the world for you, and start with that.

For many people this is eating meat. It is very easy not to eat meat. Therefore no killing. It becomes more difficult when you stop eating more and more products like milk, cheese, palm oil etc The more degenerated the world becomes, the more work you have to do by yourself to correct this.

You may watch earthlings, if you haven't. It's a very interesting documentary, an old animal rights pillar. But i must warn you. It is very painful to watch.

Earthlings  /   https://youtu.be/ydgxje2sC9o

P.S.: As for veganism, there isn't only all the suffering that comes with producing milk in questionable conditions, there is always a whole industry about producing rennet, which is used "in the production of most cheeses (...) Natural calf rennet is extracted from the inner mucosa of the fourth stomach chamber (the abomasum) of harvested young, unweaned calves." (Wikipedia)
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 09:37:07 AM by p340 »

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2015, 05:20:36 PM »
I never looked for harm, I came across it. I chose to make a change once I had the proper information in front of me. The next time I see an injustice that I can also take a stand for, I will.
So you're only going to reduce your harmful actions if you happen across the information? As opposed to actively seeking out the negative impacts of your existence?
Also, if there is no reason between choosing kindness or cruelty, then I'm not sure what kind of measurable system you're looking for.
With morality, it's very difficult to have a measurable system, there's a whole host of subjectivity normally deployed. Your Veganism sounds more a response to improper farming conditions, than eating animal products altogether. You say your diet is better now you've gone Vegan, but it sounds like your previous diet involved a lot of junk or processed food. Your view of a chicken farmed for eggs sounds like one in a battery cage, which is clearly not how all farmed chickens exist.  You've started this thread saying "I'm a vegan, why aren't you", because in your mind Veganism holds a valuable place in your approach to reducing suffering.

Say for instance we had two people:

Person 1: Is a Vegan who works in a bookstore, rides the bike to work, only washes once every 3 days to conserve water.

Person 2: Has a "standard" diet but eats organic, free range meat, works a part time job, spends 30hrs a week volunteering to help out elderly people at a hospice and disabled people integrating back into society.

Who has made the better choice?

Note: I'm playing devil's advocate here a little, but I think it's interesting to highlight just how subjective many of our moral choices are.

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2015, 05:26:41 PM »
It's the same logic like if you can't safe all the children from a burning building better safe none. But this is were you get fast when you discuss eating meat or animal products. I guess many people feel a guilt deep down and cannot stand someone in their surroundings highlighting this tension. Honestly, i think it's cognitive dissonance in many cases. / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance)
Look it probably is in a lot of cases. Anytime someone chooses some sort of lifestyle choice outside of the normal, it is actually a challenge to the norm, even if inadvertently.

I guess what I'm trying to say that as a position, this can lend itself to looking down the wrong end of the telescope.

dhammagirl

  • Guest
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2015, 06:17:45 PM »
This post has taken an interesting turn. 

As p340 points out, folks can feel threatened and judged when someone says they are vegan/vegetarian.  Of course our moral choices are subjective.  Our reality is subjective.
 
I've had folks ask, why help animals when there are so many people who need help? Fact is, there is sooo much suffering in this world, and you can't stop, or even address, it all.  But if we each respond in a kind way to those issues which move us the most, almost everything gets addressed.

Another interesting thing I've learned is that the more one tries to eliminate all hypocrisy in their life, the more extreme they appear to others.  Extremism is a side effect of trying eliminate all hypocrisy in one's life. 

Actively seeking out all the negative impacts of one's existence is overwhelming, to say the least.  The resulting depression could lead one to decide to not even bother to try even just a little bit.

When one first decides to change their lifestyle to reduce their harm footprint, one sees just how pervasive and ubiquitous animal products are.  Whey, rennet, casein, gelatin, charred bones used for processing sugar, etc.  Then there's trying to buy stuff that's fairly traded, not environmentally destructive, not exploitative, etc.   Whew!
 To find animal products that are verify-ably humanely produced, where the animals get to feel sunshine, breathe fresh air, eat grass and bugs, have their social interactions, etc. is difficult and rather expensive.  Frankly, it's just easier to avoid animal products. 

I'm not a big fan of hunting, but if a hunter will consume the meat and try to humanely kill the animal, usually deer, well, that seems less....harmful or bad...than what happens to all the cows, pigs, and chickens, and now fish, too,  mass produced.  At least the deer gets to live a natural life.

I think Tobin is just needing to feel some support, and wondering how it is possible that other people could be aware of the suffering inherent in animal factory farming and yet not withdraw their monetary support and consumption of the results of these farms. 

Tobin, I know how unfathomable it can feel. It seems indefensible.  :'(  You will just have to accept, as I have, that not everyone is capable or willing to make the decisions or lifestyle changes that you and I and many others have made.  (I once had a guy offer me a shrimp, on the grounds that it's barely a sentient being.  Oooh, I wanted to smack him!  ;)  )

I very highly recommend you read the book I previously mentioned by the philosopher/ethicist Peter Singer, "Animal Liberation", because it can give you some...armor, intellectual armor, in understanding and defending your choices.  He also has a book titled "Practical Ethics" that you might consider, too.

May All Beings Be Happy!   :)





Tobin

  • Member
  • Seeking Truth
    • Samatha & Vipassana
    • Curious
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2015, 09:43:03 PM »
I never looked for harm, I came across it. I chose to make a change once I had the proper information in front of me. The next time I see an injustice that I can also take a stand for, I will.
So you're only going to reduce your harmful actions if you happen across the information? As opposed to actively seeking out the negative impacts of your existence?
Also, if there is no reason between choosing kindness or cruelty, then I'm not sure what kind of measurable system you're looking for.
With morality, it's very difficult to have a measurable system, there's a whole host of subjectivity normally deployed. Your Veganism sounds more a response to improper farming conditions, than eating animal products altogether. You say your diet is better now you've gone Vegan, but it sounds like your previous diet involved a lot of junk or processed food. Your view of a chicken farmed for eggs sounds like one in a battery cage, which is clearly not how all farmed chickens exist.  You've started this thread saying "I'm a vegan, why aren't you", because in your mind Veganism holds a valuable place in your approach to reducing suffering.

Say for instance we had two people:

Person 1: Is a Vegan who works in a bookstore, rides the bike to work, only washes once every 3 days to conserve water.

Person 2: Has a "standard" diet but eats organic, free range meat, works a part time job, spends 30hrs a week volunteering to help out elderly people at a hospice and disabled people integrating back into society.

Who has made the better choice?

Note: I'm playing devil's advocate here a little, but I think it's interesting to highlight just how subjective many of our moral choices are.

That's not at all what I said. There's many facets of my life that I've changed, including doing charity work, helping others that I pass on the street, being more supportive in my home life and work. I'm always moving forward. This isn't a zero sum game. I can't possibly do everything, but changing my diet was both easy and morally satisfying. (Also, don't equate vegan with healthy. It is just as possible to be an unhealthy vegan as it is to be a healthy one. I love doritos!)

I'm still unsure how you think there isn't a firm line between murdering animals and not murdering animals. That really blows my mind. In fact, the Buddhist system of wholesome/unwholesome actions is the only one that makes sense. If you find murder to be a grey area, this sounds more like trying to prop up your ego to me.

Why are you comparing good deeds? Again this has nothing to do with subjectivity. I don't think my choice to be vegan is better than an others choice to ride a bike. There is always room for improvement. Every good action in life holds value for me, including veganism. Is this a surprise? Do you condemn one good action and praise another? I sure don't.

That fact is, you eat meat out of habit, NOT survival. Vegans can survive well, if not better than their meat-eating counterpart.

Anyways, this topic has caused me more stress than I cared for so I'll leave well enough alone. I don't expect you to be vegan, I'm just tired of the excuses for the way we treat other living beings. They are not our property.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 10:18:19 PM by Tobin »
Regards,
Tobin

Tobin

  • Member
  • Seeking Truth
    • Samatha & Vipassana
    • Curious
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2015, 09:48:06 PM »
Dhammagirl,

I see the futility and I know I'm only causing myself unnecessary stress, but damn I just can't wrap my head around the excuses.

I just figured Buddhism would go hand in hand with topics like this. I'll read the books you mentioned, thank you.
Regards,
Tobin

Marc

  • Member
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2015, 10:44:27 PM »
Hello all,

I'm happy to hear that you went vegan Tobin! I'm like Dhamma Girl, I was convimced by Animal Liberation from Peter Singer. I love the fact that its arguments are only based on reason and disregard our emotioms/intuitions as a solid/reliable source of our morality.

Some vegans rely on empathy to convince others to stop the cruelty, but the fact is that carnism is so entrenched in our culture that people have lost the natural feeling of compassion for these creatures.

For example, pointing to one of Dharmic Tui's comments, where he says that eating his own animals brings more feelings of remorse than eating animals from other sources, Peter Singer would argue that this feeling of remorse is irrelevant, "from the point of view of the universe" there's no distinction between your chickens and other chickens. Their pain is identical. Therefore feelings of remorse should not guide moral reasoning.

The argument that you posted DT is fallacious. You are considering the morality of individuals A and B as wholes. A is vegan, B is meat eater but she gives 30 hours a week to help old people. You argue that B may be morally superior to A, but thats not the point. The point is: would B increase her morality if she turned vegan?

We were discussing veganism, but you diverted the attention towards other topics such as the use of electronic devices or helping others. This is not serious.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 10:53:55 PM by Marc »

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2015, 11:08:02 PM »

I'm still unsure how you think there isn't a firm line between murdering animals and not murdering animals.
The sheer fact you've chosen the word "murder" highlights the grey area, and how much your opinions influence your decisions. For you it is black and white, owning animals is slavery, eating meat is murder, anyone eating an animal product is condoning the mistreatment of animals, etc etc.
That really blows my mind. In fact, the Buddhist system of wholesome/unwholesome actions is the only one that makes sense. If you find murder to be a grey area, this sounds more like trying to prop up your ego to me.
Again, this is a pretty disingenuous line of reasoning. I'm against the mistreatment and abuse of animals, but I'm fine with utilizing animals as food product. You equate the former with the latter, so for you, it's black and white, clearly not the case for other people.
Why are you comparing good deeds?
It was an attempt to illustrate how we view moral compasses. There's a lot of people who will give themselves a label, and promote themselves as moral agents, when in the scheme of things others exert far more effort for far more gain, whilst not subscribing to the same beliefs.
That fact is, you eat meat out of habit, NOT survival.
Habit, convenience and taste.
Vegans can survive well, if not better than their meat-eating counterpart.
Sure, Vegans live longer than non Vegans I'm pretty sure. That's more to do with their approach to eating in general though than the diet itself (the average non-vegan is more likely to overeat, and consume more fatty, energy dense foods).
Anyways, this topic has caused me more stress than I cared for so I'll leave well enough alone.
This is kind of unfair of you, you create a thread with a provocative title, "pick my brain", pooh-pooh the owning of pets and consumption of a food category, then declare stress when the conversation goes somewhere you don't like.

I mean you no discomfort, I just like fleshing things out, some of what you said came across a little narrow minded.

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2015, 11:35:38 PM »
For example, pointing to one of Dharmic Tui's comments, where he says that eating his own animals brings more feelings of remorse than eating animals from other sources, Peter Singer would argue that this feeling of remorse is irrelevant, "from the point of view of the universe" there's no distinction between your chickens and other chickens. Their pain is identical. Therefore feelings of remorse should not guide moral reasoning.
That becomes quite paradoxical, from the point of view of the universe, morality doesn't exist. Any reasoning we apply is going to be independent of the universe.
The argument that you posted DT is fallacious.
I think you've misinterpreted what I was trying to get at.
We were discussing veganism, but you diverted the attention towards other topics such as the use of electronic devices or helping others. This is not serious.
"We" threw veganism out there, with a bit of rhetoric and assumption. I tend to view that as looking down the wrong end of a telescope, and hard to take too seriously.

Maybe I'll put it in simpler terms, I believe every person alive could be more "moral". Sometimes we're ignorant to what that morality is (i.e. some people may not realize what life is like for a battery hen), sometimes we know better, but due to habits or whatever, change is not easy. In this instance, I'd argue that Veganism may not really fall into a moral question for some people.

Here's how a battery hen lives



Here's one of mine, 5 mins ago. It's never been enclosed, is free to go wherever it likes (although obviously it sticks around because I feed it), and gets supplied water and food and healthcare religiously.


Unfortunately I can't interpose the two scenarios as easily.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 12:00:11 AM by Dharmic Tui »

Marc

  • Member
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2015, 12:38:24 AM »
The scenario of your chicken is ofc much better indeed, but I still can't avoid thinking that it's indefensible to cut her throat because you prefer the taste/texture of her meat over a quinoa burger or whatever. At the end of the day not many people can afford these commodities, so veganism stands strong as the only real solution to the animal suffering issue.

That's why I quoted "from the point of view of the universe", it is a metaphor from Singer himself. But the point was clear I think.

I don't think I've misrepresented your argument: you say to Tobin
Quote
You've started this thread saying "I'm a vegan, why aren't you", because in your mind Veganism holds a valuable place in your approach to reducing suffering.
You argument about individuals A and B doesn't prove what you intend: that it's debatable whether veganism is a valuable approach to reduce suffering. But it only shows that there are other things to consider besides veganism. Veganism for itself IS a valuable approach to reduce suffering, and this is evident.



« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 12:52:14 AM by Marc »

Tobin

  • Member
  • Seeking Truth
    • Samatha & Vipassana
    • Curious
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2015, 01:50:22 AM »
I'm not trying to be unfair. My equanimity for this topic is poor. Your children aren't taken captive, used as property, sent off to a slaughter house and shot in the head with a bolt. Then there's the whole silly skinning, dismemberment and grinding up part, but oh well, their just cows, right?! I have no sympathy for your habit.

Quote from: Dharmic Tui date=1447801682
The sheer fact you've chosen the word "murder" highlights the grey area, and how much your opinions influence your decisions. For you it is black and white, owning animals is slavery, eating meat is murder, anyone eating an animal product is condoning the mistreatment of animals, etc etc.

What word would work better for you D.T.? Slaughter? Rape? I'm trying to find a word that minimizes murder but I'm having trouble. If you have one, I would feel better to hear it.

By the way, everything you listed above is not opinion, it is fact. Eating meat IS murder. Owning animals as property IS slavery. Supporting the agriculture industry is just that, support. Where is your grey area? I would need specifics to understand.

Quote from: Dharmic Tui date=1447801682
Again, this is a pretty disingenuous line of reasoning. I'm against the mistreatment and abuse of animals, but I'm fine with utilizing animals as food product. You equate the former with the latter, so for you, it's black and white, clearly not the case for other people.

Your line of reasoning is pretty shoddy too. "Against the mistreatment and abuse of animals" and "I'm fine with utilizing animals as food product" are opposites. What part of the food process doesn't mistreat or abuse animals? Define mistreatment? Does this include being stolen from their mothers at birth who cry out for them days after? How about cutting off the beaks of birds so that they don't peck at each other while being cramped into pens like the picture you posted? I believe that you think you care.

Quote from: Dharmic Tui date=1447801682
It was an attempt to illustrate how we view moral compasses. There's a lot of people who will give themselves a label, and promote themselves as moral agents, when in the scheme of things others exert far more effort for far more gain, whilst not subscribing to the same beliefs.

And that's great! Add another belief to your system if you believe it to be true! There's no limit to our compassion. The only belief I care about is if you know what's wholesome and what's unwholesome. I really don't think you need someone to tell you that killing a living being is wrong. But then again, apparently I'm missing the grey area.

Quote from: Dharmic Tui date=1447801682
Habit, convenience and taste.

Oh, this must be the grey area.

Quote from: Dharmic Tui date=1447801682
Sure, Vegans live longer than non Vegans I'm pretty sure. That's more to do with their approach to eating in general though than the diet itself (the average non-vegan is more likely to overeat, and consume more fatty, energy dense foods).

Isn't that the approach to eating? Watching what you put in your body? Making smart decisions that prolong life, health and energy?

Quote from: Dharmic Tui date=1447801682
This is kind of unfair of you, you create a thread with a provocative title, "pick my brain", pooh-pooh the owning of pets and consumption of a food category, then declare stress when the conversation goes somewhere you don't like.

I mean you no discomfort, I just like fleshing things out, some of what you said came across a little narrow minded.

I'm not condemning your actions. But stop acting like it's no big deal. It's a HUGE deal. It's unfortunate that we as a species move so slow. Black rights, Womans rights, Gay rights, Animal rights. It's a terrible, horrible pattern of laziness and selfishness.

In most areas of my life I am extremely open minded. My friend is a freak in the bed and enjoys golden showers and scat play. I say rock on! I have friends that do heavy amounts of cocaine, I still love them to pieces. The difference between these things and this issue is that their choices don't affect anyone but themselves. They aren't causing harm. The meat industry and your support ARE.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 02:22:29 AM by Tobin »
Regards,
Tobin

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2015, 02:21:26 AM »
The scenario of your chicken is ofc much better indeed, but I still can't avoid thinking that it's indefensible to cut her throat because you prefer the taste/texture of her meat over a quinoa burger or whatever.
My chickens die from natural causes, they're here for eggs and fertilizer (and I happen to enjoy the company of chickens). A vegan won't eat eggs, which I'd accept as a reasonably sound position, if the only way to get eggs was by keeping them inhumanely. But it's not, so I don't find the position very complete.

That's why I quoted "from the point of view of the universe", it is a metaphor from Singer himself. But the point was clear I think.
On face value, perhaps. If we look a little closer at the human animal, we find like other species that humans tend to apportion their morals relative to their sphere of influence. Sometimes this can be hypocritical, and sometimes it can be exacerbated, but it's also very difficult to avoid. Bringing the universe into the equation doesn't make sense to me at least.
Veganism for itself IS a valuable approach to reduce suffering, and this is evident.
I think avoiding products produced through more harmful methods is a decent approach to reducing suffering, but veganism itself has diminishing value outside of that. I'd possibly compromise on vegetarianism.

Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2015, 02:46:43 AM »
Quote from: Tobin
What word would work better for you D.T.? Slaughter? Rape? I'm trying to find a word that minimizes murder but I'm having trouble. If you have one, I would feel better to hear it.
If someone was having sex with my food before I consumed it then that would indeed be something for closer scrutiny.

You butcher animals for the purposes of consumption (you could also say "kill" or "slaughter" I guess). "Murder" is applied to the act of one human killing another, generally for no good reason. 
Quote from: Tobin
By the way, everything you listed above is not opinion, it is fact. Eating meat IS murder. Owning animals as property IS slavery. Supporting the agriculture industry is just that, support. Where is your grey area? I would need specifics to understand.
Quite clearly there is a grey area - these are your subjective perspectives, where you are using analogous words to reinforce your belief. There is a whole nother discourse around the lack of distinction between a human and another animal, but seeing as this subject is so contentious already, I don't think there would be any use going there.
Quote from: Tobin
Your line of reasoning is pretty shoddy too. "Against the mistreatment and abuse of animals" and "I'm fine with utilizing animals as food product" are opposites. What part of the food process doesn't mistreat or abuse animals?
Explain to me how my chicken suffers as part of their relationship with me, compared to the average chicken? Just to be clear, mine:
- Lives longer
- Lives in more comfortable conditions
- Doesn't starve
- Doesn't die of thirst
- Isn't hunted by predators
- Has freedom of movement

And not that I've researched it thoroughly, but in order to grow my fruits and vegetables, chicken shit is probably the least harmful way I could go about that. Where does the fertiliser come from that's used to grow your vegan produce? Someone is generally going to have to "enslave" an animal, or use petrochemicals (hello war in the Middle East) or some other finite resource. Maybe both.
Quote from: Tobin
I really don't think you need someone to tell you that killing a living being is wrong. But then again, apparently I'm missing the grey area.
Clearly there are some circumstances where killing is undesirable, yet permissible (for instance, in the defense of others). Every moral rule we try to write has grey areas, they're unavoidable. You've made a position which has been largely influenced by an extremity of an industry, and applied that in a blanket way. You also haven't substantiated it being black and white, outside of bandying around words like slavery and murder.
Quote from: Tobin
I'm not condemning your actions. But stop acting like it's no big deal. It's a HUGE deal.
It's a huge deal to you and other vegans. Maybe I live in a quaint little corner of the world that doesn't have the same level of animal rights abuses as you do (that's not to say they don't exist here, but to the best of my knowledge I avoid them), maybe in the scheme of things I don't see the peripheral arguments you're making having that much relevance in the scheme of things. I have a fair idea of how I could make an improved imprint on the universe, and veganism doesn't feature very highly.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 03:21:30 AM by Dharmic Tui »

Middleway

  • Staff
  • Just be a witness.
    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
Re: What made you go vegan? Why haven't you gone vegan yet?
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2015, 03:47:18 AM »
Ah yes! The righteous ego! In all its splendor and radiance…. Shining the bright light on the evils of the world and taking them head-on, and confronting them in order to change the world. Why can’t the world see what I see? The righteous ego is frustrated, stressed, distressed, angered….and so it suffers.

Why does this righteous ego suffer? Because it establishes a moral compass which it thinks is ideal. It wants everyone to follow this arbitrary moral compass. It tries to achieve this idealistic morality and criticizes itself for not being that. I want to be a better person meaning presently I am not a better person. I never explore why I am not a better person. Because the truth hurts. How can I afford to have this computer and internet and spend money on cars, house, retirement, my kid’s education when there are so many kids and people in poor parts of the world are dying lacking basic human needs? I am greedy, that is why I cannot see myself in the mirror. I look hideous to my righteous ego with all my short comings. So, what do I do? I grasp onto some idealistic stuff like animal rights, women’s rights, gay rights, climate change, spread the democracy in the Middle East, make the Indians in the Americas more civilized and give them god and save them and so on. Then I go on a bully pulpit and spread the gospel and feel good and forget about my own cesspool of misery. It feels good to bash the so called chicken murderers! But oh no, the feel good state does not last long. Alas, I have to find another cause and another cause…..and thus I distract myself. But invariably I come to face myself in the mirror and I cannot face the truth and I suffer….

So what am I to do?

I cannot change the world. I have to accept that. Why? Buddha himself could not change the world. Several Buddhas have come and gone before and after him and still world is what it is. Buddha could not shame people into enlightenment, he could not force people into enlightenment…

I cannot change myself. I have to accept that also. I have to look at what I am (with all the violence in me, the greed in me, the lust in me and so on). I have to dive into it and find out the root cause of the hatred, violence, greed, lust that is in me. When I find out that the root cause is the ego (both righteous and non-righteous) and fully become aware of it, then maybe there will be transformation from that understanding…transform myself through that wisdom.

Buddha gently pointed to the people on how to dissolve their ego. When ego is dissolved, only then I can have compassion, only then I can love, only then I can have humility. I cannot acquire these traits or train myself to get them. I cannot shame people into acquiring these traits. I cannot force people into getting them. It is impossible.

All I can do is to sit on the cushion and practice. I can practice off the cushion as well. I can practice to gain insights, gain wisdom, and this wisdom alone will set me free. Free from suffering. And maybe someday, I can point to people on how to dissolve their egos….and help transform themselves.

« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 03:49:39 AM by Middleway »
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.