Why the veg*ns are wrong…

I have recently been involved in an argument with veg*ns (vegetarians and vegans) over at a blog [which will remain unnamed, see my update]. This blog, which is ironically one of my favourites, mocks quisling imagery oriented towards meat-eating and meat production (such as BBQ teams, butcher shops, that sort of thing).

I think it’s great, but unfortunately the owner and readers are rather vicious extremists who believe that I must be an unfeeling, uncaring monster because I eat meat despite knowing the suffering the meat industry causes on animals. Having had previous experience with veg*n rhetoric, I was not surprised by the personal nature of their attacks, nor on their illogic, but I believe that some points I made there need to be understood by my readers so that they may address veg*n and “animal rights” rhetoric in its proper context…

1. The fact that all life is equal does not mean that we should value cow lives intrinsically. There is a vast difference between basic biological facts about life/pain/suffering and the values we hold, something which veg*ns do not seem to understand this at all. Despite the fact that all human beings have the same basic biology, we still hold wildly differing values. If that strong similarity does not logically oblige us to hold other human life as intrinsically valuable, then how can the weaker similarity of “feeling pain” oblige us to hold the life of cows as an intrinsic value? The only intrinsic value that any organism can possess logically is the value of its own life, because it is a prerequisite to all other values.

This may seem needlessly complicated, so let me state it as clearly as possible: the fact that cows and humans both feel pain doesn’t mean that you, the individual valuer, should value cows on an equal standpoint as humans. Which leads us to the next point…

2. An individual can value the reduction of suffering and also value meat-eating. I value the reduction of suffering in all animals, including humans. I value the reduction of suffering of farm animals. But I also value eating meat, and to me the value of eating meat is more important than the value of reducing suffering for cows or chickens.

Is this callous of me? Unlike veg*ns, I am not emotionalist enough to change my life habits because I feel bad for cows or chickens. That doesn’t make me an emotionless automaton: I still feel bad for cows or chickens, but I am merely more of a realist about it. And that’s not a bad thing. If a person’s life habits were solely dictated by what makes him feel bad or guilty, no one would have any pleasure in life. If our lives were geared towards eliminating suffering, then we would have no more values of our own. Which leads me to the last point..

3. The exploitation of suffering is universal: veg*ns do not have any higher ground on that issue. Everyone, without exception, benefits from the exploitation or delegation of suffering, not just meat-eaters. We all benefit from the exploitation of children in third-world “countries” in lower prices- and yes, even those who do not buy products made in third-world countries benefit from the competitive aspect, so “I just don’t buy those” is not an answer. We all benefit from the exploitation of the suffering of animals in medical experiments for the drugs and treatments that we rely on today (how would you like to live in a world where insulin, polio vaccines, modern anesthetics and antibiotics were never invented? Everyone benefits from this exploitation.

The fact is that society itself is based on the delegation of suffering, and I’m not just talking about government. Any organized function of protection or defense necessarily implies that we, the population as a whole, are delegating people to put themselves into situations that entail bodily harm, instead of doing everything ourselves as we used to. While it is true that this situation is not the same as killing cows because cows obviously do not choose to be slaughtered, this fact is mitigated by the fact that getting a job as a policeman is far from slaughter. Many people are ready to take a deadly risk to fulfill their own values, and if cows were sentient, they might take the same sort of gamble. Whatever hypothesis we concoct here, the point is that we make other people suffer for us, just like we make cows and chickens suffer for us. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Unfortunately, despite their natural association with the compassionate side, Anarchists must be aware of the issues surrounding veg*n and “animal rights” rhetoric, because it plays right in the hands of the State’s desire to always legislate more and more areas of society. There is nothing that veg*n fanatics would like more than to ban slaughtering practices, and therefore commercial meat-eating. And when meat-eating will be outlawed, only outlaws will eat meat. ;)

UPDATE: for you veg*n whackjobs who want to talk about what an attention whore I am and how hypocrite I am, go over there. I was doing this entry as a way to publicize one of my favourite blogs and write about veg*n rhetoric, but the owner was apparently talking shit about me behind my back all this time, so he can go fuck himself.

26 thoughts on “Why the veg*ns are wrong…

  1. fsk2006 November 28, 2007 at 21:13

    I’m looking forward to the day when a steak can be manufactured in a lab.

    It actually would be more energy-efficient and more humane than raising livestock.

  2. roma38 November 28, 2007 at 23:45

    Vegetarianism is a by-product of ‘capitalist’ urban societies, when many people live in artificial and un-natural environments. Food is produced elsewhere by others, using industrial profit making intensive methods. These methods are inhumane and un-natural…people brought up in cities feel repulsed by these methods.

    I like your anarchism, but have a problem with your notions about human behaviour/morality.

    You do not seem to want to see man as being made up of a composite nature…he is a animal with material needs, like all animals.

    Man is supposed to regulate his needs and how he fulfills them in society, he has to control his anger, his greed and his desires…or else society will breakdown. Man needs to voluntarily recognize himself and regulate himself…however other men delude men and cheat them, so they have to be well informed and not accept everything on face value.

  3. Francois Tremblay November 28, 2007 at 23:53

    roma38, you seem to be full of good intentions but short on arguments. I see nothing in your comments that cannot be compressed into “I think killing cows is horrid.” That’s fine, but a feeling does not make an argument.

  4. lsj521 November 28, 2007 at 23:53

    I happily accept the label “emotionalist” – and why should anyone else care if I have a lifestyle based on emotion?

    Choosing not to eat animals is not “immoral”, but some would say it’s Un-American – and in this day & age I’m happy to disassociate myself from the current political climate. And if this is the way for me to do it, then so be it.

  5. Francois Tremblay November 28, 2007 at 23:57

    “I happily accept the label “emotionalist” – and why should anyone else care if I have a lifestyle based on emotion?”

    Because, as I’ve just said, emotions do not make an argument. You can argue for ANY position based on emotion, including the exact opposite of yours. Emotions do not make morality, and anyone who lives solely on feelings is a very immoral person indeed.

    “Choosing not to eat animals is not “immoral””

    Unless you have a medical reason not to, it is immoral. Anything that reduces one’s choices for no rational reason is immoral.

  6. dormerbound November 29, 2007 at 03:29

    I clicked over to Suicide Food and read your arguments on the blog. Actually, you are the one who comes across as vicious. Also, it looks really bad when you dish out insults, but then take other people to task for their rudeness. You’re extremely hypocritical as well. For example, you call people “retarded” but later claim that you are attacking people’s beliefs, not the people themselves, and could they please do likewise? I am sorry to inform you, my dear sir, that you are an idiot.

  7. Francois Tremblay November 29, 2007 at 03:33

    Fine, I’m an idiot: so what are you doing here? No one is forcing you to read my blog.

    And FYI, I did not call people retarded. This is what I said:
    “Insofar as chickens, cows and pigs go, I support efforts to make the animals’ life easier, but I don’t agree with the morally retarded argument that their killing is equivalent to the Holocaust.”

    Since apparently you cannot read what people write black on white, I’m glad you won’t read my blog any more. Good riddance!

  8. lsj521 November 29, 2007 at 10:31

    “emotions do not make an argument.”

    So what? So what if I choose to eat one thing and not another? Why do you care so much?

    The more that I think about it, I wonder why you call yourself an anarchist and then condemn other people who rebel against a particular part of government? You tout the idea of removing yourself from the religious right and yet frown upon those of us who refuse to be fed “nutritional education” from the cattlemen’s lobby.

    “It is generally agreed that we have the freedom to believe whatever we want.”

    Ok. So what’s the problem here?

    “Most atheists are leftists, who simply want to replace the god of Christianity with the god of the State, and religious control with government planning.”
    just replace a few words here & you have just described veg*ns:
    “Most vegans are leftists, who simply want to replace the god of industry & exploitation with the god of personal choice, and government control with small agriculture.”

    Like I said on the other entry, we’re not so different. I would think, as a self proclaimed anarchist, you would be pleased to see anyone bucking the system no matter the form it takes.

  9. kentmcmanigal November 29, 2007 at 11:14

    lsj521 Says: “Ok. So what’s the problem here?”

    I will tell you what the problem is: While you are free to live your life based upon whatever notions you may hold (the basis of anarchism), it becomes coercion when you seek to pass laws and use the brute force of government to force me and everyone else to also abide by your “lifestyle”. That is evil.

  10. Matt November 29, 2007 at 11:21

    “Like I said on the other entry, we’re not so different. I would think, as a self proclaimed anarchist, you would be pleased to see anyone bucking the system no matter the form it takes.”

    There are two points I think you are missing here from Franc:

    1.) He’s defending a position of eating meat, which Vegans call immoral. This has very little to do with the State per se (at least this part of the argument), and is more saying “you say I’m immoral for eating meat; here’s why I think YOU are immoral for artificially limiting yourself”.

    2.) Vegans (at least the one’s I know) aren’t about “personal choice” at all — they are about the LIMITING of personal choice, i.e. they would happily accept a situation where the production and consumption of meat was severely limited.

    Look at it this way: as an Atheist, I think religion is abhorrent. However, if religion was simply confined to people in their own personal lives, wasn’t forced or pushed on anyone else, and was simply a matter of “personal choice” then I’d have less of a problem with it… I’d still think it was organized idiocy, but as long as the idiocy wasn’t forced upon me, or coercive of anyone else, then people could happily be idiots for all I care. But as soon as religion becomes as intertwined with society as it is, as soon as it becomes a coercive element (in politics, in society, in issues of “public morality”, and public decency) it then moves from being abhorrent to being immoral.

    Veganism as a personal choice, in my opinion, is not immoral in the sense that it is non-coercive. My mom happens to be a vegetarian — but she never talks about it, and indeed would never object to me serving steak at my house… she simply chooses it for herself. However, Veganism as activism, i.e. working to lobby and change the laws to limit OTHER people’s consumption is immoral, plain and simple.

    Coersion = Immorality, Personal Choice does not.

    -olly

  11. Francois Tremblay November 29, 2007 at 16:39

    Not to mention that veg*ns are as arrogant and fond of projection as any statist I’ve ever met.

  12. lsj521 November 29, 2007 at 18:48

    One thing I’m amazed at is that none of you know me personally and yet you think I’m am lobbying for limits on your own freedoms. My choices are my own, and I certainly do not “coerce” anyone, thank you very much. I invite you to see *my* actual life – which does not even remotely resemble images you see in the PeTA ads.

    There are plenty of legislation that is being passed that limits my freedoms as a woman. Those upset me much more. Much of the legislation that is trying to be passed by the HSUS or even PeTA have more to do with the treatment of the animals leading up to and during slaughter and nothing to do with shutting down the meat industry! When that happens, then you can talk about “limiting” your choices as a consumer. Believe me, I am not stupid enough to think for a second that the beef, pork, poultry industries will be shut down. But there can be a change to the way the industry works.

    I do not sit at the dinner table & condemn my family & friends for their food choices, in fact other than the circle of vegans I know online, there are few in my actual “real” life. Everyone has their own choices, and not only do I choose to eat outside the “box” but I also choose not to live as an extremist.

    Once people stop slinging insults at each other, then we can have a sensible conversation & see that everyone wants the same thing: a safe, economically sound food system.

  13. Francois Tremblay November 29, 2007 at 19:35

    You’re right, we don’t know you personally. That’s why we’re talking about veg*ns in general, not you. Most of them manifest the same habit of projection and desire for control than any statist or fundie I know. If you’re different, then great!

    As for sensible conversation, I’m always up to that, but talking to most activist veg*ns is like talking to a brick wall.

  14. lsj521 November 29, 2007 at 23:24

    “but talking to most activist veg*ns is like talking to a brick wall.”

    Well, here we do agree – I actually avoid talking to extremists on any issue they are extremist about. I only get a bit ruffled because I am so not an extremist & sometimes feel that that gets projected onto everyone. Most of us just make choices that make *us* feel good, and like I’ve said before in other places, whatever lets me sleep at night.

    And it didn’t go unnoticed that you said you are all for the reduction of suffering. I think again this is a point we agree on.

  15. Francois Tremblay November 29, 2007 at 23:29

    Yes, I am all for the reduction of suffering and value initiatives to do so. I just also happen to value eating meat. I don’t know why, but it seems that veg*ns just cannot imagine valuing both, and so accuse me of being disingenuous or lying. They seem to think I actually agree with them but am simply too lazy to change and so making excuses, or something of the sort.

    If you check the thread I linked at the end of my entry (in the update), you’ll see more reactions to my entry from more veg*ns, extremists from my perspective…

  16. lsj521 November 30, 2007 at 18:07

    I did read that link & I’m embarrassed for everyone.

    “Yes, I am all for the reduction of suffering and value initiatives to do so. I just also happen to value eating meat. I don’t know why, but it seems that veg*ns just cannot imagine valuing both, and so accuse me of being disingenuous or lying. They seem to think I actually agree with them but am simply too lazy to change and so making excuses, or something of the sort.”

    Here’s what i’ve noticed from my omnivorous family & friends about this statement: that once you start talking to them about any food choices (be it organic veggies or free-range meat, the downed animal prevention act or humane slaughter) they are not cold callous people who are “for” suffering. In fact, I found that a few of my friends actually (and proudly) started buying free-range eggs & local meats. 99.99% of the time EVERYONE is for the reduction of suffering – who wants to know exactly what happened to the animals they ate? Ignorance is bliss for a reason, but I don’t think there’s anyone (happily you too, Francois) who relish the suffering of other creatures.

    Personally, I just like knowing that people are aware of certain food “issues” and I love knowing that the food my loved ones are eating is healthy.

    As soon as a conversation turns in this direction, the one item they all seem the most concerned about is downed animals. I just don’t want people I love eating this stuff. There’s better meat out there.
    Downed Animals & Food Safety Protection Act:
    http://www.hsus.org/legislation_laws/federal_legislation/farm_animals/2007_downed_animals.html

    Article about the DAFSPA:
    http://www.hsus.org/press_and_publications/press_releases/hsus_urges_congress_ban_downer_slaughter.html

  17. Francois Tremblay November 30, 2007 at 23:34

    Personally I don’t know much about the issue, but I’d have to say that it probably doesn’t matter much to the sick or injured cow? It seems to be more of a health concern for humans.

  18. lsj521 December 1, 2007 at 11:26

    Yes, actually the problem is that the downed cattle are allowed to enter the food chain as long as it’s still alive when it reaches the slaughterhouse, it can be dragged to the killing floor. Cattle can not be euthanized and then eaten (obviously because of the drugs used).

    Some issues, obviously, are that cows are supposed to be on 4 feet – if they are lying down and unable to get up, there’s something wrong with them. But, cows are not “tested” for mad cow disease until after their heads are cut off, then the brains are tested. By that point, who knows where the rest of the meat has gone!

    At this point, I don’t believe American beef can be exported across the border into Canada or I think anywhere else around the world.

    Anyway, that’s a bit gross for 7:30am, so I’ll stop. But, yes, the downed animal act is more for the safety of humans who consume the meat.

  19. lsj521 December 1, 2007 at 11:29

    “At this point, I don’t believe American beef can be exported across the border into Canada or I think anywhere else around the world.”

    I forgot to clarify that point: it cannot be exported because downed cows are allowed for consumption here. Canada, UK, and others, have strict rules keeping downed cows out of slaughter and out of the food supply.

  20. Francois Tremblay December 1, 2007 at 14:24

    So far that all makes sense to me. Of course, I’d rather it be a rule decided upon by free individuals rather than a law made by government, but I support the idea.

  21. roma38 December 1, 2007 at 15:19

    I did not say killing cows is horrid. I was contextualizing and giving a reason for the popularity of vegeterianism. It is a reaction against the excessive and intensive agricultural economy.

    Nothing wrong with killing a cow to eat it as far as I am concerned. In your piece you did not go into the reasons for the vegetarianism, the agricultural economy, intensive farming etc.

    Making farming less intensive, less gigantic farms, more family farms, smaller cities, with farms close by where people observe the food they will eat and see how it is treated and vegetarianism will decline naturally.

    http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/wooda/149/149syllabus9howard.html

    From the link above regarding the views of Ebenezer Howard with regard to cities, he was of course an anarchist and did not want a ‘Planning Department’ to do any planning.

  22. Francois Tremblay December 1, 2007 at 15:36

    I didn’t talk about the reasons for vegetarianism because the TITLE of my entry is “Why the veg*ns are wrong…” The purpose was to arm my readers with the knowledge to defeat basic veg*n rhetoric.

  23. lsj521 December 1, 2007 at 16:41

    “So far that all makes sense to me. Of course, I’d rather it be a rule decided upon by free individuals rather than a law made by government, but I support the idea.”

    I think the general concensus is that people would rather eat healthy animals than sick ones, so although the fate of the bill will be decided by a few politicians, it’s something that does make sense just from a food safety point of view.

  24. Francois Tremblay December 1, 2007 at 17:45

    Unfortunately, when it comes down to politics the issues becomes one of “how many of the politicians voting are beholden to corporate interests.”

  25. lsj521 December 2, 2007 at 00:41

    Yeah, which is why it’s a bit worrisome that the farm bill vote was stalled this month. It’s not so shocking that big agribusiness would be opposed to measures cutting down on their profits (cows not slaughtered for consumption is money lost), but hopefully the politicians will see through that & do what’s right for the people.

    (I have all my fingers & toes crossed on that one…)

  26. Francois Tremblay December 2, 2007 at 00:51

    “hopefully the politicians will see through that & do what’s right for the people”

    I hope that was a joke ;P

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