Would you use animal products if...

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Would you use animal products if...

Postby bastardo » Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:28 pm

So... there have been some news items about eggs, how some eggs that are sold as "free range eggs" are sometimes very very far from the idea of what people consider "free range". I'm not sure is the term "free range milk" correct (I'm not a native English speaker but I hope you understand what I mean with that if it isn't a correct term), but there's that kind of milk sold here aswell, though I don't know can they be considered what people would generally imagine "free range" to be. At least they're selling that impression But, the point is, there are products that are at least giving the impression that they're ethically sound (at least in the sense when you compare it to mass agriculture/farming).

Basically, what I want to ask is this:

1)If there was a chance that you could use milk and/or eggs that were without a doubt made what you consider a somewhat "natural" way, would you eat/drink said products?

2) Why/Why not?
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby Konstantin » Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:20 pm

I wouldn't. I originally cut out animal products because of the cruelty, and at that stage, would have done so. In the early years I stayed with a friend who had some rescued ex battery chickens. The eggs were still getting laid so I ate a couple.

Now I feel strongly that eating completey vegan is better for me and I want to be a good example of the reality that pure vegan is possible and healthy. I also have so much variety that eating eggs/animal milk would mean missing something that I prefer.
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby Johnstuff » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:24 pm

I just don't fancy animal products.

IMO using animal products is un-natural. The cow's milk is naturally for the calf not humans. There is no part of taking it that is natural.

Do you mean ethical?

I'm not so sure animal products can be produced ethically either. There is always the subjugation of another species involved, selective breeding etc.
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby skoptic » Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:30 pm

Free range is a nice concept for marketing, and even better for helping some convince themselves that they are being ethical. Sadly I think that reality will not often live up to the sound-byte description (although I'm a welfarist and have no problem with the idea of free range). So I suppose my answers are

1) No - I no longer want any animal products in my life
2) I don't believe there is any situation where animal products can be gathered / farmed ethically and in a non human-centric way.
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby xrodolfox » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:54 am

1) No. Never.

2) What is "natural" to me doesn't apply to ethics. It might be natural for me to want to punch someone who pisses me off in the throat, but that doesn't make it any more (or less) ethical. If there was "natural" milk, or "natural" human flesh, those would not be part of my analysis of whether to eat those items.
Thus, I would NOT eat any milk/eggs even of the source was "natural" or "unnatural" (ie. made in a petrie dish, and disconnected from a nervous system which could sense suffering).

If I do *not* need to consume something that could really harm living animals, then I'm not going to consume it.
If, on the other hand, I needed to kill to survive, I'd do it. But that isn't something that applies in RL.
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby bronco » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:59 am

xrodolfox wrote:2) What is "natural" to me doesn't apply to ethics. It might be natural for me to want to punch someone who pisses me off in the throat, but that doesn't make it any more (or less) ethical.

I have to agree, nicely put (as allways) :) .
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby bastardo » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:53 pm

Thanks for the replies, these are kind of what I was getting at. That's why I excluded "free range meat" though it's said to be free range regardless of what it really is, because one can easily think of very simple ethical reasons why it's something a vegan wouldn't do even if factory farming wasn't the case).

I'm not sure do I agree with the above distinction of "natural" though? Similarly you could say the wild banana means to pollinate other wild bananas, and the bananas known as bananas these days are unnatural because they seem to not serve the biological purpose of pollinating (the thing people generally call a banana is a sterile fruit). Most things produced are unnatural in this strict sense of the word, no more or less than milk (besides of course, the obvious ethical violations). Rarely though, you'd find a vegan or a nonvegan arguing that eating bananas is unnatural. Of course it's a simple argument worth pointing out that to human knowledge banana doesn't suffer and doesn't find being exploited for sterile fruit to be a violation of it's rights. In the same sense though, it's a simple argument pointing out that animals eat animals all the time thus it can't really be considered "unnatural". The current mass farming system is above all unethical and unnatural, but I'm not sure can you say eating other animals or animal products is "unnatural". I excluded meat with that in regard, simply because for meat you have to actively kill/cause suffering towards something. There is of course the underlying thought of exploitation when it comes to eggs and dairy products, but human interaction towards anything causes similar consequences.


Also it should be stated "natural" isn't some automatic word of benevolency. It's "natural" for dolphins to rape other dolphins. Certainly that isn't something I should be concerned about, but I can certainly say it's not ethically delightful.

I understand most of the talk about free range, even in this thread, is strictly utopian.

PS. Sorry if I ramble/make little sense, I'm having a real hard time expressing myself.
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby xrodolfox » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:13 pm

I think that mixing in "natural" with ethics will always steer a person wrong. They are not the same things.

Doing things because of wanting to do things "naturally" is a fine thing to do. I sympathize, and my default is to go for "natural" over "unnatural" in my personal consumption. I rather eat non GM foods, or wild grains, or less hybridized fruit... rather than the less "natural" versions.

But that is different than ethics. That is a liking, or a desire, and very important, but it is not ethics.

I have no qualms, ethically, against GM foods. My qualms against GM foods are based on health, and about the fact that is unethical for gov'ts and corporations to control what I eat without labeling or consent or information. But on it's face, GM food is not unethical, but it can still be something I fight against for the myriad other reasons.

Mass killing of animals for pleasure or custom, as it done in all cases but the handful of self-defense cases, is plainly unethical regardless of whether the killing is natural or not. This is because humans do not need to kill animals to thrive. We just don't. Even if eating were animals "natural", the fact that we don't need to eat them to thrive, and because we have a choice, makes this an ethical decision outside of the realm of "natural".
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby bastardo » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:54 pm

Yeah, I think there are obvious ethical questions when regarding killing something, natural or not.

Shortly put, I guess I'm just curious on milk and eggs, and specifically that if the means of production were as ideal as one would want them to be, would vegans on these boards use them, or rather ...find it "ethically indifferent" to use dairy/eggs or not.

I also like your point on GM foods, rodolfo. In some sense, the only really natural and ethical thing you can do is die (preferrably in the woods so something can eat you, heh). But hey, I'm just learning this veganism thing, and I find that in general, people think of veganism as something "extreme". That kind of baffles me. Then again, people don't like to be challenged over anything, be it something as insignificant to one's self as someone elses food habits.
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby Richard » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:06 am

If you are going to get eggs or milk from somewhere, regardless of what kind of life those animals lead, you're going to have to deal with breeding of those animals. That's a good enough reason alone to not buy anything that comes from an animal. But beyond that, what would these farmers do with any male offspring? It isn't financially viable to have hundreds / thousands of useless male animals walking around, getting fed and kept, it's money down the drain. So most likely they'd dispose of them anyway, which is the final nail in the coffin really.

On the other hand, if you've got your own rescued hens, no breeding involved, and they are going to lay eggs anyway, I think that's a totally different question. I still wouldn't eat the eggs personally because it disgusts me, and I don't need to eat them. But I don't think it would be unethical in that instance.

You can't really do the same with milk, since a cow needs to be repeatedly made pregnant go keep making milk, so I really don't see an ethical / "natural" way of doing that
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby NeoEvaX » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:16 pm

I don't think there is a way to have dairy without it being unethical or unsustainable.

Eggs though... My girlfriend's parents have chickens on the property. We all take great care of them. I bring them all of our food scraps and we go hang out with them from time to time. When they lay eggs I would have some. Her parents get first dibs, because the majority of the chicken food comes from them, but if there any extras I would have some. I figure, the eggs are already there, they would go to waste otherwise. Plus its party a symbiotic relationship, since we give them our left overs.

Now, I am not sure where they got the chickens to begin with. And I would not own chickens unless they were rescues, but me eating the extra eggs are not going to change my girlfriend's parent's minds on getting more chickens later.

The chickens are pretty old now, so they dont lay eggs too often anymore. But they are still awesome. I go down there pretty often and let them roam the property and take photos. Our Cats don't know what to think of them.
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby fredrikw » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:52 am

As long as we see eggs as food, humans will exploit hens to get them. From a normative point of view it doesn't matter if you happen to stumble across abandoned eggs in the forest or buy battery farmed eggs, you are still part of what makes eating eggs normal, and this is what the egg industry is based on.

As vegans, the change we want to see is to abolish animal exploitation, this will never happen if we keep using short cuts to continue eating and using animal products.
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby Richard » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:15 am

fredrikw wrote:As long as we see eggs as food, humans will exploit hens to get them. From a normative point of view it doesn't matter if you happen to stumble across abandoned eggs in the forest or buy battery farmed eggs, you are still part of what makes eating eggs normal, and this is what the egg industry is based on.

As vegans, the change we want to see is to abolish animal exploitation, this will never happen if we keep using short cuts to continue eating and using animal products.

Yeah that is true. Part of the reason I don't eat any eggs is because I've not eaten any for years, so now I don't see them as food. I guess I have accepted that and I don't even think about to possibility of eating an egg now. Maybe to other people who haven't been vegan so long, eggs aren't quite off the menu yet, and still appear to be food, so they see a non-exploitative way to get them and see no problem with it. I think it does affect others perception of veganism, but I don't know quite in what way precisely, or what impact it has, since this kind of thing is so small-scale, and the reaction that each individual non-vegan has to it is going to be varied.
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby fredrikw » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:37 am

I think my main objection is that as vegans we really should lead by example, a bit similar to the ethos of this board, by showing that it is indeed possible to live a life without animal products. The general impact is of course hard to say anything about, but I think there's a credibility issue here when we say it's perfectly possible to live without animal products and at the same time don't do this ourselves. If not even vegans can make it, then who would?
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Re: Would you use animal products if...

Postby Richard » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:55 am

Yeah. exactly right
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