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What is the reason for being vegan?


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Initial post: Apr 3, 2009, 10:51:27 AM PDT
willdog says:
I am strongly against veganism but I would like to know what the opposition has to say. What is the reason it? If it is 'immoral', how? Please answer, I am curious to know what you have to say.

Posted on Apr 3, 2009, 6:58:16 PM PDT
A Person says:
I suspect each vegan has a slightly different reason for being vegan, ranging from health to animal rights. Here is a website where people have submitted their "why vegan" stories:
http://www.vegfamily.com/why-vegan/index.htm
And here is a brochure with information (mostly animal rights centered):
http://www.veganoutreach.org/whyvegan/WhyVegan.pdf

While it's completely within your rights to be anti-veganism, please don't haphazardly be against vegans in general! Not all of us are judgmental and preachy. We're just people who've made different choices than you.
:)
Vegan Girl

Posted on Apr 4, 2009, 1:31:35 AM PDT
Why would you be against veganism? Did veganism kill your family? Open your mind a little bit.

Posted on Apr 4, 2009, 1:44:17 AM PDT
LMW says:
I don't see why anyone would be against veganism ... I understand not being vegan, but why would anyone actively have a problem with it?

I am vegan because I don't want to be involved in anyway with the painful subjugation of other live creatures. Also, I realize that eating meat is horribly unsustainable for the long-term health of our environment (there are lots of facts to back this up if you do even a teeny bit of research), which only solidifies my confidence in my choice to be vegan.

Why are you "anti"-veganism (I'm actually very curious)?? I don't see how others choosing to not eat meat, wear leather, or otherwise boycott the meat/dairy/egg industries could possibly affect you adversely?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2009, 3:06:52 PM PDT
willdog says:
I suppose that saying I am "against veganism" might have been the wrong choice of words. I guess I should have just said that I'm not.

>Also, I realize that eating meat is horribly unsustainable for the long-term health of our environment (there are lots of facts to back this up if you do even a teeny bit of research), which only solidifies my confidence in my choice to be vegan. <
I would like to hear these facts because my father has been a large animal veteranarian for over twenty years and has said that after reading vegan books that, while they can be very convincing to uninformed, many of the statements made are exaggerations, generalizations, or are simply not true.

>Why are you "anti"-veganism (I'm actually very curious)?? I don't see how others choosing to not eat meat, wear leather, or otherwise boycott the meat/dairy/egg industries could possibly affect you adversely?<
I feel that this could be used the other way too. I don't see how my choosing to eat meat, wear leather, or buy from the meat/dairy/egg industries could affect you. Unless you're not like that, because some are.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2009, 3:06:57 PM PDT
willdog says:
I suppose that saying I am "against veganism" might have been the wrong choice of words. I guess I should have just said that I'm not.

>Also, I realize that eating meat is horribly unsustainable for the long-term health of our environment (there are lots of facts to back this up if you do even a teeny bit of research), which only solidifies my confidence in my choice to be vegan. <
I would like to hear these facts because my father has been a large animal veteranarian for over twenty years and has said that after reading vegan books that, while they can be very convincing to uninformed, many of the statements made are exaggerations, generalizations, or are simply not true.

>Why are you "anti"-veganism (I'm actually very curious)?? I don't see how others choosing to not eat meat, wear leather, or otherwise boycott the meat/dairy/egg industries could possibly affect you adversely?<
I feel that this could be used the other way too. I don't see how my choosing to eat meat, wear leather, or buy from the meat/dairy/egg industries could affect you. Unless you're not like that, because some are.

Posted on Apr 4, 2009, 3:45:38 PM PDT
LMW says:
(Please excuse the thrown-togetherness of the following) Well for environmental issues, consider the ratio of input:output of resources that go into "livestock." According to John Robbins, it is about 16:1 (so 16lbs of grains, etc., to get one pound of marketable meet in return) and some say it's closer to 20:1. (I think a quick google search would suffice to verify) Anyway, the point here is that to eat grains, or whatever is being fed to cows directly would be much more sustainable, because we are essentially wasting 15/16 of food that we could eat directly. 80% of the corn grown in the US is fed to livestock, as is 95% of oats. About 165lb of beef can be "produced" on one acre, as opposed to 20,000lbs of potatoes. Land (i.e. tropical forest in Brazil, and other sensitive landscapes) is constantly being cleared to make more room for cattle to graze. These are all problems that could be offset by eliminating/reducing meat intake.

Also, methane released in burps/gas of cows is a leading cause of global warming (methane is more potent as a "green house gas" than carbon dioxide), and livestock manure is a leading cause of water pollution/land erosion as well. Additionally, it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of meat, vs. 25 gallons to produce a gallon of wheat, etc, etc. (There are many books here that can give you a much firmer bibliography than I can off the top of my head)

Lastly, you're right, you're non-veganism is as relevant to me as my veganism is to you - as in, it's not. However, the reason that some vegans might take offense to your non-veganism and feel more justified in doing so than the converse is that many animals (and the planet) are being affected by it, and very adversely at that. (Except, vegans could perhaps make the argument that your non-veganism does affect them because we all share only one planet and generally speaking, meat-eater's footprints are going to be much deeper than that of non-meat-eaters, and that no one has a right to trash something that we all need & share. Also, from a healthcare prospective, vegans (and vegetarians) have much lower incidence of "lifestyle" diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some even say cancer, so their healthcare costs would naturally be lower, making subsidized healthcare seem to penalize financially those people who are making choices less apt to make them susceptible to disease)

For many vegans, the ideal is "non-harming," so it's sad as long as people continue to kill and slaughter sentient beings, and their stance is to stick up for the animals who don't have a voice or the ability to stick up for themselves. I trust you can understand this sentiment, and see why vegans might be vocal about their ideals? It's not THEIR rights that are being infringed but that of the animals that are being killed by the BILLIONS. (Sorry, bold is not meant to be construed as anger, but I can't seem to italicize test)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2009, 4:09:11 PM PDT
willdog says:
I would like to compliment that post, it really gave some good points. I most of all liked the first paragraph, that is a very good reason to be vegan. I don't have a problem with that.

In the second paragraph, you talked about the cow/methane problem. I would like to know what you would have us do with the cows? Slaughter them? Send them out into the wild? Cows are incapable of living in the wild, anyone who has ever lived in a rural community where cows are raised can tell you that.

Could you tell me why it is wrong to kill animals for food? Should we stop other animals from eating each other too?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2009, 5:24:42 AM PDT
LMW says:
Hi again, I'm glad that you were receptive to those environmental facts.

Well, of course, being a proponent of animal rights, I would certainly not be in favor of killing the cows that are around now! I of course fully agree that cows certainly aren't fit for the wild, as they are completely domesticated animals!! (There are no such things as wild cows!) My solution would be to stop breeding them, stat! (Also, they do not even breed naturally - they are essentially kept pregnant by means of artificial insemination year-round) If we don't produce any more cows to feed the demand for meat, I think we could stop the progression of the environmental ills that livestock cause in time to prevent irreparable harm, while also allowing the ones that are alive now to live out their lives in peace.

People's opinions on why it's wrong to kill animal likely vary, but my idea is simply this: I had no control over being born, and didn't get to choose to be human, nor does the animal that was born into the life of a "food" animal have the ability to choose a less miserable life. I simply respect my own little, insignificant life enough that I extend my circle of compassion to that of other beings who had no choice but to be born into their life, one that happens to be one full of misfortune and cruelty. I am merely "doing unto others" as I would live done unto me. I think we have an obligation to prevent causing others' harm to any extent that we can - especially if peaceful alternatives exist. Since vegetarians/vegans can live healthily (with life expectancies surpassing that of their meat-eating counterparts), I don't see why we should continue to condone the meat-eating lifestyle.

And no - I don't think that we should (or can!) stop other animals from eating one another. I believe that animals are "non-moral," in that we simply cannot apply our sense of right/wrong to animals' actions. Do I get mad at my dog for eating a tidbit of meat she finds somewhere? Most certainly not. She doesn't have the capacity to rationalize! However, that doesn't excuse me (who can) from ignoring the direct affect I am having on the welfare of another being. Additionally, another BIG difference is that true carnivores NEED meat to be healthy - we do not! (Although dogs are not among this rank) Please consider, too, that animals that kill to survive also do so much more selectively than we humans do. They kill what they MUST in order to just barely survive - we make handbags and shoes out of animals we would never think of consuming (at least in most parts of the world) out of pure vanity, and hang decapitated animals on our walls. Although I think each and every life is worth protecting, I think the sheer scale of our meat-habit is alarming. (Also, if you have pets, please ask yourself what distinguishes these wonderful animals from the ones that happen to be born at a cattle ranch, or the cats/dogs in other countries who are eaten as food)

Willdog - I'm glad you're asking the questions and I'm glad that you're actually listening to the answers. I think if you keep asking, you'll eventually come to a place where you see what a positive impact you can have on so many animals and the planet by making a small commitment with regard to the way that you eat. I certainly don't expect the world to go vegan overnight, but I do think that y introducing meat-free days of the week, and simply exposing others to the idea that meat is simply not a necessity in modern-day life, and that vegetarian food can be tasty, etc., you can do a WHOLE lot of good with very little (to no) sacrifice!

Posted on Apr 5, 2009, 5:50:48 AM PDT
LMW says:
oops ... "by" not "y" in the last paragraph ...

And just realized how wordy I am, haha :)

Posted on Apr 5, 2009, 12:23:30 PM PDT
Renna W. Pye says:
http://www.adaptt.org/veganism.html

enough said.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2009, 1:46:21 PM PDT
Jane Easton says:
Hi Willdog, I appreciate your open-mindedness to find out, even though you say you are 'strongly against' veganism. I am a vegan of almost 8 years, a vegetarian for 15 beforehand; but like most vegans and veggies, I grew up eating animals. If you want to find out more about why people are vegan, there are some great sites. I presume you are in the US? check out s a great site Vegan Outreach - it has a whole section called 'Why Vegan?' which you might find useful. http://www.veganoutreach.org/whyvegan/
Personally, I've found veganism a total liberation for all sorts of reasons from health to spiritual. My take on it is this: I can't personally end all suffering, but I try to the least harm to animals and the environment. However, like many other vegans, I do realise that it's a big step for meat-eaters. If you do get interested, check out vegetarianism first! Within both the veggie and vegan movement there is some really exciting food, peaceful yet effective activism and a great community across the globe - which is also connected to the environmental movement. Good luck and I hope you find some answers. Kind regards
Jane

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2009, 4:23:05 PM PDT
willdog says:
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Posted on Apr 5, 2009, 4:35:29 PM PDT
LMW says:
I think you misinterpreted my remarks, as they are not mutually exclusive. I didn't choose to be human - but that doesn't mean that I think all species have the same capacities, which we obviously don't. And also, not having the same capacities doesn't imply that animals are "below" us, which is completely the antithesis of what I believe. I don't think they are below us despite their lesser intelligence; I think intelligence is an arbitrary characteristic by which to measure "value," and that humans have chosen so because it is conducive to their place as top dog. If we deemed value based on physical strength or sense of smell, hearing, almost anything but intelligence, we would certainly not be the most valuable or important in the animal kingdom. (I would also say that babies & young children are "non-moral" to a great extent, and I don't think they are "lesser" or shouldn't be protected from slaughter because of that or their lesser intelligence) Also, it may be important to you to remember that people are more important than animals, but to me it's important to remember that we are all alive and have but one life, and that we are all important and worth protecting. I'm not sure what good it does (but to perhaps ease the discomfort of contributing to the ills of a species-est world) to reiterate that humans are the most important species. Humans may be most important species to humans, but in the larger picture, I don't think there's any one species who deserves to be on Earth more than another.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2009, 9:25:01 AM PDT
willdog says:
I want to quick clear up something to anyone reading this post. I am not here to bash veganism, though I admit it does appear to be the case in my first post. I just like debating things, and I think this is an interesting topic. I guess that I am more concerned with the topic of animal rights, so I might be in the wrong forum.

LMW, I have one quick question. Do you believe that while we aren't 'equal' in intelligence, capacities, etc., that humans are just part of nature meaning, morally, we have no right to 'enslave'/eat other creatures of nature? I assume you aren't a Christian. It is where I get most of my views.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2009, 8:25:33 PM PDT
LMW says:
Sorry, I'm not totally clear ... Christianity is where you get most of your views vis-a-vis animal rights?

You are right in assuming I am not religious, but I don't think that my views are at all at odds with Christian doctrine. I guess it depends on your interpretation, but a lot of hardcore Christians are vegetarian BECAUSE of their religious doctrine, not in spite of it. And if you care to see it that way, it is a mystery that we can treat animals which God himself (herself?) bestowed life upon in the ways that we do. Others also feel that God's having given humans "dominion" over animals means that we ought to be their protectors, not that we can do with them what we please. But yes, I think in an objective sense, humans are just as much a part of the natural system as is everything else, and I don't see this as conflicting with Christianity, either. From that view, aren't we all God's creations? And aren't all of God's creations important?

I think that recognizing animal rights is very much in keeping with a religious value system. To me, I think "thou shalt not kill" is pretty straightforward ... as far as I know, there is no fine print defining who it is acceptable to kill versus who is not!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009, 6:40:47 AM PDT
willdog says:
Hi again. While I do know some hardcore Christians who are vegetarian, it is not for the reason of animal rights. I don't see any evidence in the Bible for God wanting to treat animals how we treat each other. In the beginning, when God kicks Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, he kills an animal to provide clothes for them. There is even evidence that Jesus himself ate fish on numerous occasions. Yes, all of us are God's creations and we are all important, but that doesn't mean we're all equal.

I would to know where you get the moral sense, since you're not Christian, that tells you that eating other animals is wrong. Most vegans believe in evolution of the species, which would mean that we are in fact equal. However, this would mean that, being just a part of nature, we should follows nature's laws. The basic of which would be, "Survival of the fittest". I don't see how we could be "above" this rule when we all "evolved" from the same source.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009, 2:02:36 PM PDT
Truthgirl says:
Wildog, pick up a copy of the great DVD called EATING2 from www.ravediet.com and it'll explain everything in glorious detail. A vegan diet also keeps your body healthy and happy. Most diseases today are strongly associated with a meat/dairy centered diet. Pick up a copy of THE CHINA STUDY by T. Colin Campbell and you'll see how a 30 year projects proves that a vegan diet is the best diet for humans.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009, 10:52:07 AM PDT
Y. Zemmel says:
willdog--people outside the christian faith have morals: christianity, by far, is not the best or the only moral compass.
Also, I think you're working from a misunderstanding of evolution, and hold that in "survival of the fittest" implies that meat-eaters are that "fittest," which is a faulty premise. Again, thousands of people are living proof that we do not NEED meat or animal by-products to survive at all, and we most certainly have the means to live without that (more healthfully, as echoed by the post above).
It's difficult to get outside the ideology that animals are property and that humans have the right to use them as they please. And the argument here is not necessarily one of absolute equality (between humans and animals--for example, animals would clearly not benefit from the right to vote, which is common among humans, etc)--however, it is a case of treating like cases alike: the same anti-cruelty statutes that apply to pets should apply to all other animals. Also, an acknowledgment of the fact that animals have their own interests, coupled with the refusal to treat sentient beings as property would benefit more causes than just veganism. Veganism could be seen as a logical extension of questioning hierarchy--the very same questioning that exists in the battle against racism and sexism.

Posted on Apr 17, 2009, 1:55:13 PM PDT
C. Sinha says:
i woke up one morning in high school and just never ate animals again, i was vegetarian for a week and then went whole hog (no pun intended) into veganism. i've been to a slaughterhouse, i've adopted abused animals and i honestly don't know why i decided to be a vegan but i can tell you why i've stayed vegan over the years.
in my pre vegan days i was always feeling sick, i was tired and out of breath when i worked out. i've never felt healthier than i do now, i might get sick a time or two every year but nothing like before, i have way more energy, and my workouts have never been better (i do Olympic and power lifting if that give you and idea of what is required of my body), within 3 or 4 days of being vegan my whole body just felt lighter like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
one of the best things about being vegan is cupcakes, you can pretty much eat all the cupcakes you want (no foolin') also you can pet cows, hold chickens and feed fish without feeling guilty (take a meat eater to a farm sanctuary and you'll see what i mean).
what it really goes down to for me is personal choice i choose not to eat or wear animals, if you do choose to eat animals we can still be friends.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 17, 2009, 5:48:31 PM PDT
willdog says:
Hey guys, sorry I haven't been responding recently. Been busy lately.
@ Zemmel,
I think you misinterpreted what I meant by that. I know that everyone has morals. I'm not saying that only christians have morals. However, what I meant in my post was that in evolutionism (which I'm guessing you believe in), it doesn't make sense that we have morals. If we evolved from mere pond sludge, where did they come from? In christianity, we believe that God instilled morals in humans.
>>"Also, I think you're working from a misunderstanding of evolution, and hold that in "survival of the fittest" implies that meat-eaters are that "fittest," which is a faulty premise." Darwin himself believed in natural selection.

@truthgirl,
I am not questioning a vegetarian diet, but a vegan lifestyle.

@C. Sinha,
I have been around farms my whole life. I grew up in a town of 800 people in the middle of rural Minnesota. My dad was a large animal vet. I have pet many more cows than you probably ever have. I don't feel guilty because I believe that the very reason that they are here is to feed us. I want to know, what is different between eating a cow and eating a carrot? They're both living, right?
I do like cupcakes, though. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 17, 2009, 5:48:38 PM PDT
willdog says:
Hey guys, sorry I haven't been responding recently. Been busy lately.
@ Zemmel,
I think you misinterpreted what I meant by that. I know that everyone has morals. I'm not saying that only christians have morals. However, what I meant in my post was that in evolutionism (which I'm guessing you believe in), it doesn't make sense that we have morals. If we evolved from mere pond sludge, where did they come from? In christianity, we believe that God instilled morals in humans.
>>"Also, I think you're working from a misunderstanding of evolution, and hold that in "survival of the fittest" implies that meat-eaters are that "fittest," which is a faulty premise." Darwin himself believed in natural selection.

@truthgirl,
I am not questioning a vegetarian diet, but a vegan lifestyle.

@C. Sinha,
I have been around farms my whole life. I grew up in a town of 800 people in the middle of rural Minnesota. My dad was a large animal vet. I have pet many more cows than you probably ever have. I don't feel guilty because I believe that the very reason that they are here is to feed us. I want to know, what is different between eating a cow and eating a carrot? They're both living, right?
I do like cupcakes, though. :)

Posted on Apr 17, 2009, 5:50:06 PM PDT
willdog says:
Somehow, I keep posting things twice. I have no idea why this keeps happening. Sorry, about that. :(

Posted on Apr 17, 2009, 7:28:13 PM PDT
LMW says:
Hi again, I have been absent for some time as well! But to get back into the swing of things ...

I think I'm beginning to be redundant, but in response to where I get my "moral sense," I think it simply comes from an aversion to pain and suffering when it comes to my own life/body. I don't like pain, so I don't want to go inflicting it, and it's that simple. I also care about my life and those around me, so I don't want to take any lives that certainly have value to their respective owners. And that, for me, is the essence of the difference between a living cow and a living carrot ... one feels pain and the other does not. One has feelings, a personality, its own will, memories, attachments, etc., and the other does not. I strongly disagree with the idea that anything, be it cow OR carrot, was put on the Earth FOR humans. Luckily, we've been blessed with millions of things that nourish and protect us, but that doesn't mean that they are here FOR us.

While I do believe that humans exist today because we have been extraordinarily adaptive and resourceful throughout history, I do not believe that we have evolved "above" anything else that exists today, or that has existed in the past. We are a reflection of what resources the Earth can provide at this point in time, and are luckily still capable of surviving within the boundaries of the variety/amount it can provide. The point is, I don't think that evolution is a progression, in that I don't think the thing that comes after its predecessor is inherently superior. Therefore, my belief is still fundamentally that we are all equal (and that this is not at odds with an evolutionary belief) and that for that reason, we ought to not cause harm to our fellow creatures when it's not necessary and when it's preventable.

Willdog - does that give you a better sense of where I'm coming from? (Because I really want you to understand! haha) I'm not some crazy hippie (not that there's anything wrong with that!) just FYI. I'm a very normal, well-adjusted person who simply believes to the core that one has no right to cause pain and/or death when one doesn't wish those things for oneself or for loved one. I also believe that species-ism is an extension of our entitlement (the entitlement that relatively well-to-do humans have displayed throughout history) that has in the past manifested itself in racism, sexism, etc.; but I think that history will move (and is already moving) in the direction of compassion to all.

I agree that vegan cupcakes are marvelous :)

Posted on Apr 17, 2009, 7:34:49 PM PDT
LMW says:
Oh, I now get the feeling I wasn't totally clear on your question about moral sense. It's likely a by-product of the intelligence that humans developed as well as of necessary group-functioning. Evolutionarily, humans had much greater success when working together and collaborating, so possessing the sense to cooperate and not cheat each other,etc., was a huge asset to the human race, which certainly increased our chances for long-term survival. If you are interested in this, there is a lot of information about "evolutionary psychology" out there, although some is pure-pop psychology (read: avoid) while others are much more thoughtful.
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