May 03, 13
The Dalai Lama eats meat. Why this bothers me can best be summed up by my favorite quote from Norm Phelps in his book, “The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights“:
Thinking like a lawyer or an academic logician and claiming that it is acceptable to harm another sentient being for our own selfish benefit based on hair-splitting distinctions and nimble logic is contrary to the teaching of the Buddha.
I ate meat for 32 years. It wasn’t until then that I read enough to realize that animal flesh simple is not necessary for humans. What a relief! To know that eating meat (and obviously dairy) wasn’t necessary. I can’t tell you how good it felt to find that out.
Since we don’t need it, and there are alternatives everywhere, eating it is really only an act of preference. Okay, some people prefer it, that’s fine. They’ll come around.
The Dalai Lama eats animals. Having people kill animals for him to eat is the opposite of compassion.
Aug 19, 12
We do not allow animal abuse in our house.
This question only comes up from people in meat-eating households, because only in those households is veganism seen as trivial and flippant a “lifestyle” choice as what hobby to pursue or what color of shirt to wear.
Everyone is welcome to their opinions. The question we must each ask ourselves is: Does my opinion result in actions that harm others?
Many people will not see eating flesh as animal abuse. Somehow, killing an animal does not count as abuse, in that mind frame. In my household, the children will not want to harm cows or chickens any more than they want to harm cats and dogs.
Children have amazingly good bullshit detectors. They “get” fairness. They understand justice. The cognitive dissonance parents cause when they tell children to love one animal and eat the flesh of another is confusing and inconsistent for completely arbitrary reasons. A vegan diet provides a consistent, clear and truly compassionate framework built on honesty, healthy eating, love and, yes, even on justice.
May 23, 12
In an MSN article today – a headline article – a Pit Bull mourned his friend for fourteen hours after she was killed by a car. Here’s the link, if you want to depress yourself for a while. This is front-page news because people still want to believe that only humans have “higher” emotions such as grief and love, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
When people write, discuss and link articles like this, it is usually because they are saying, “Well of course the dog feels that way,” and “How sad!” It is not until they think about what they eat that people will cite some outlandish fallacy to describe why this dog is different, and eating a pig or drinking cow milk is perfectly fine.
I disagree strongly with the idea that dogs mourn while chickens do not, and science backs up my belief.
When news articles and discussions like this come up, it’s a good time to interject some observations. Before people get to the point of citing inherited cultural stupidity as if it were their own (“Jesus ate fish 2,000 years ago therefore yay bacon and foie gras“), this is an excellent time to bring up a few discussion points:
- All animals mourn the losses of their loved ones. (See also: my “bear machines” article). These dogs are no different than pigs. What makes us so certain that we can inflict this kind of mourning on innocent animals?
- Killing the dog painlessly still inflicts a harm upon her friend, the survivor, even if you do not accept that removing all future experiences from killed animal is a harm. (Try telling a grieving family member that their grief is not suffering).
- Pigs are allegedly smarter than dogs. (Not that it matters). When we eat pork chops, bacon, pig lard, we create scenes like this for them.
- The location could change but the grief would be the same. Standing in line waiting to be slaughtered does not magically render the animals happy to smell blood and hear the screams of their friends and loved ones ahead of them in line.
- Going vegan= eliminates, among other things, the mourning a mother cow does when her child is ripped away so humans can steal her milk.
Many of us accept that animals love, play, fear and fight. We need not eat them to survive, therefore we cannot justify eating them for pleasure.
Mar 20, 12
Dear Ariel Kaminer,
I am writing in response to your contest, “Calling All Carnivores.”
Why must the NY Times encourage readers to eat meat? Why was the contest not called, ”Ethical Reasons to Stop Eating Meat?”
Those two are rhetorical questions. The answers are because the NY Times does not want to award people for insisting eating meat is unethical. On the contrary, this contest is strong evidence the NY Times wants to reward people for insisting eating meat is ethical.
In your article, you assert that “those who love meat have had surprisingly little to say.” How can you make this assertion and live in the United States, where every meal is pig, chicken, fish or cow, and where bookshelves are crammed with titles encouraging popular but illogical “compassionate carnivorism?”
My complaint is not that you believe meat fans are silent, or under-represented. As a meat eater, you are likely as unshaken by Turduckens and bacon as the rest of America, so your belief that meat-eaters have “had surprisingly little to say” is understandable.
My complaint is about the end goal. The result of this contest, intentional or not, is an article which causes readers to think, “Ah-hah. So that why eating meat is ethical. I knew I was right for doing it.”
The world does not need more reasons to eat meat, much less a contest recruiting the most convincing and popular logical fallacy. The world is not better for increased demand of dead or dying animals.
The world needs people who, as you said in another article, feel crummy when unnecessarily ending the life of another, and it needs articles from those people saying why they refuse to repeat the act.
Feb 28, 12
I overheard a friend of mine explaining to a meat-eater, “Yes, but vegans believe meat equals evil.”
This is another subtle but pervasive opinion of vegans which I take issue with.
A phrase like “vegans believe meat = evil” trivializes the belief that killing innocent beings is immoral.
“Evil,” these days, is a hard notion to take seriously. “Meat” is a faceless, tasty product that most of us in the United States grew up eating. Most importantly, I think, a phrase like this keeps the animal out of the picture and the emotionless product, meat, as the focus.
A non-vegan listening to my friend would likely construct in his head an image of a wobbly, little, pink cut of meat and a red-eyed fringe lunatic vegan screaming “evil” at it.
Many vegans think killing innocent beings is immoral. Meat is a product of killing those beings, just like a black eye might be the byproduct of getting punched in the face. No one would scream that black eyes are evil, yet nearly everyone would object to an old lady receiving one (unless she works at the DMV).
In all dealings with those who think like us and with those who disagree, we absolutely cannot forget about those who, for food and entertainment, are stabbed, bludgeoned, slit open, drown alive, electrified, gassed to death, prodded with hooks, chucked with their brothers and sisters into grinders, chainsawed and even thrown into pits of despair (for “science”). At this very moment, by the thousands, all of that and worse is occurring.
If we think anything is evil, that is it. Not “meat.”
Jan 27, 12
Inspired by the currently-trending Twitter topic, #30WaysToMakeAGirlSmile. This is slightly tongue-in-cheek for those of you with your Serious Hats on all the time.
- Make her feel safe by not exploiting other females for their milk. Girls get nervous when they think you’re going to steal their breastmilk.
- Acknowledge that enslaving female animals and forcing them to reproduce is a human feminist issue.
- Cook her a truly happy meal.
- Don’t claw her to death with the big, scary apex predator claws which you do not have.
- Smile at, don’t bite her with, your stubby little “canine” teeth that are cavity-prone and need braces to keep straight.
- Don’t force your beliefs down her throat! Learn to kiss properly!
- Adopt, do not breed!
- Learn to count to 30.
30. Go vegan!