Freegans

Armchair politics, ethical soapbox and current affairs. Place to discuss vegan ethics and general ethics and politics. Be nice.

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Postby punkrockclimber » Sat Feb 05, 2005 7:57 am

Hey, just curious, what do you all think of freeganism? The word has different definitions depending on who you ask- but for me it means that im completely vegan unless its going to be thrown out. This basically means whatever I can find in a dumpster [dumpster diving..a whole culture unto itself].

For me, the only objection to eating animal products, or indeed meat, is the killing, exploitation, and abuse of the animal. I have no problem with [on occasion- long term becomes a health issue] simply eating animal products [although dumpstered meat is kinda a bad idea, and I'm still full on vegitarian under any circumstances]. The only problem comes with the means of getting animal products- absolutely unacceptable.

So, as a result of this thinking, I am completely willing to eat dairy/eggs PROVIDED that I am in no way supporting or participating in the systemic abuse of animals. The cake in a dumpster behind the supermarket is already out of the system. It no longer factors into the supply/demand which fuels the industry. The store or the factory will NEVER KNOW that that cake was eaten- there is absolutely no difference made by letting it rot. Or at least thats what i think- I would love to hear differing opinions.

This is also why I continue to wear leather from before I started down the path of veganism. Its kinda a "the damage has been done, it'd be an even bigger shame to let it go to waste" mentality. This has always been my approach to veganism, so im kind of curious to hear what the rest of you think of the practice.

Most of my freegan[I won't call them vegan for the sake of clarity] friends are of the same mindset, so thats my reasons for posting here- a diversity of response!
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Postby Mary » Sat Feb 05, 2005 8:20 am

Welll, I understand the theory behind freeganism, but I disagree with the notion that it does no harm. If you wear leather you are not just "using it up", you are advertising it while you walk down the street. You cannot argue that others should go vegan and stop abusing animals if you consume their products themselves. Imagine how a meat eater would use your continued consumption of egg products etc to justify their own habits. "That veggie is so desperate for eggs that he goes into dumpsters for it!" It undermines the acceptance of veganism itself as a healthy diet.

My opinion anyway. Besides which, I think it is disrespectful to the animal. I would not have chosen to wear my mother or granny's skins after they died, though I have no problem with worms eating them. Particularly freegans who eat meat should consider whether they would eat human meat if it were available. If the answer is no, then they need to consider why non human animals are in a different class from the human ones. Though I am glad you don't eat meat... Not just for your health, but for the damage it would do the vegan movement.

You may be able to be counter culture and outside the system, but you couldn't continue without the existence of the system. Which is why freeganism is never going to end animal abuse, and can be said to contribute to it, though not as much as other forms of animal consumption.
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Mooch

Postby Daniel » Sun Feb 06, 2005 12:24 am

punkrockclimber wrote:Hey, just curious, what do you all think of freeganism?


Okay, just remember you asked. Freeganism is one of the most absurd concepts to come about at the turn of this century. Freegans are not vegans simply for the fact that if you use animal products, or products that necessitate animal cruelty/exploitation, you are not vegan.

Now, I understand that freegans say, "The damage is already done," but, quite frankly, that's garbage. The "It's wrong to let it go to waste" thing is one of the biggest lie out there. Freegans claim to be counter-culture, but, like Mary said, they do nothing to change the system. Capitalism operates under that assumption that "resources" should be used and not allowed to "waste." Freegans are just capitalizing off of the system. To use something is to exploit it. Hunters justify their killing by saying nothing is wasted. Those who want to mine the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge claim that the oil will just go to waste. Excuse me, but how does "free" make exploitation moral.

To eat or wear other animals is to treat then as a resource. When you say that "it will just go to waste" you are objectifying those animals, treating them as exploitable commodities. Freegans do not show respect for the animals being exploited for the products they consume. I don't care if you get their remains from the trash or buy them; animals are not to be treated as food or fabric.

If freegans were really motivated by anti-capitalism -- not just in it for free donuts and whatnot -- they would be working to get free vegan food in their communities. Why not create community gardens, urban greenhouses, or edible landscaping that could provide free vegan food to the community? There is already a name for "freegans" -- mooch.
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Re: Mooch

Postby J » Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:37 am

Daniel wrote:Now, I understand that freegans say, "The damage is already done," but, quite frankly, that's garbage. The "It's wrong to let it go to waste" thing is one of the biggest lie out there. Freegans claim to be counter-culture, but, like Mary said, they do nothing to change the system.

First off as usual that's some unproductive name calling that makes vegans look bad. ("Garbage", "Biggest lie.")

Capitalism operates under that assumption that "resources" should be used and not allowed to "waste." Freegans are just capitalizing off of the system.

This seems like you just made up some definition of capitalism and then attempted to tie freegans into it however you could.

To use something is to exploit it.

ex·ploit
Pronunciation: ik-'sploit, 'ek-"
Function: transitive verb
1 : to make productive use of


So what?

Hunters justify their killing by saying nothing is wasted. Those who want to mine the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge claim that the oil will just go to waste. Excuse me, but how does "free" make exploitation moral.

This makes no sense.

To eat or wear other animals is to treat then as a resource. When you say that "it will just go to waste" you are objectifying those animals, treating them as exploitable commodities.

Notice I've put commodities in bold. Did you miss the part where he mentioned it was free?

Freegans do not show respect for the animals being exploited for the products they consume.

It does seem hard to see how a freegan could really be taking into account that that meat was a thinking living animal that was murdered. It seems like it should turn your stomach if you really think about what it is.

I don't care if you get their remains from the trash or buy them; animals are not to be treated as food or fabric.

Unsupported assertion.

If freegans were really motivated by anti-capitalism -- not just in it for free donuts and whatnot -- they would be working to get free vegan food in their communities. Why not create community gardens, urban greenhouses, or edible landscaping that could provide free vegan food to the community?

Who says they are all motivated by anti-capitalism?

There is already a name for "freegans" -- mooch.

Unproductive name calling which makes vegans look bad.

Personally I try to look at meat as murder (because that's what it is) and as such meat doesn't do much for my appetite. By eating free meat, you are helping perpetuate the idea to others that meat is yummy and in that way contributing to future murder. Unless of course you eat it in private I guess.
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Postby Frostfire » Sun Feb 06, 2005 5:01 am

Not to get off topic, but here I am:

J wrote:First off as usual that's some unproductive name calling that makes vegans look bad. ("Garbage", "Biggest lie.")


:?: Who's he calling names? Not the person who posted definetly. He's without a doubt saying that about the philosophy behind "Freegons" and is using those words to express his opinion about it, which is what was asked for.

J wrote:
Daniel wrote:Capitalism operates under that assumption that "resources" should be used and not allowed to "waste." Freegans are just capitalizing off of the system.

This seems like you just made up some definition of capitalism and then attempted to tie freegans into it however you could.


You ever watch The Simpsons? There is this one episode where Mr. Burns is trying to become a “good guy” so he’s using plastic soda can rings as nets to “wipe the ocean floor clean” and “nothing goes to waste.” This is Mr. Burn’s idea of being a good person. Not wasting is part of “ethical” capitalism vs. Ayn Rand type capitalism. Freeguns also place value on letting nothing go to waste.

J wrote:
Daniel wrote:To use something is to exploit it.

ex·ploit
Pronunciation: ik-'sploit, 'ek-"
Function: transitive verb
1 : to make productive use of


So what?


Okay, you just seem to prove Daniel's point here and you ask “So what?” Well, it’s important because by definition, to use something is to exploit it and then how is using non-vegan stuff not exploitation? Vegans aim to end animal exploitation.

J wrote:
Daniel wrote:Hunters justify their killing by saying nothing is wasted. Those who want to mine the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge claim that the oil will just go to waste. Excuse me, but how does "free" make exploitation moral.

This makes no sense.


What doesn’t make sense? It's like saying "So what?" You need to elaborate more when you say something like that, makes it hard to respond to :P . He’s just pointing out how Freeguns say “nothing goes to waste”, but that is no excuse. It’s a justification.

J wrote:
Daniel wrote:To eat or wear other animals is to treat then as a resource. When you say that "it will just go to waste" you are objectifying those animals, treating them as exploitable commodities.

Notice I've put commodities in bold. Did you miss the part where he mentioned it was free?


Com-mod-i-ty (n)
1. An item that is bought and sold, especially an unprocessed material. (you were right about this part)
2. Something that people value or find useful (appears to be what Daniel is talking about)

Freeguns find the animal products useful, do they not?

J wrote:
Daniel wrote:I don't care if you get their remains from the trash or buy them; animals are not to be treated as food or fabric.

Unsupported assertion.


Unsupported assertion?! That is the whole vegan philosophy. Am I wrong? Isn’t that one of PeTA’s main sayings too?

J wrote:Who says they are all motivated by anti-capitalism?


Uh, go to http://www.freegan.info. And I’m sure Daniel didn’t say “all”, but every one I’ve ever met was very anti-capitalism and I’ve met quite a few.

J wrote:
Daniel wrote:There is already a name for "freegans" -- mooch.

Unproductive name calling which makes vegans look bad.


Okay, okay, maybe that is a little on the harsh side, but I thought it was a little bit funny :lol: . Makes vegans look bad? That is just the opinion of one person. And if you are so concerned about image, how does eating out of a dumpster seem?

J wrote:Personally I try to look at meat as murder (because that's what it is) and as such meat doesn't do much for my appetite. By eating free meat, you are helping perpetuate the idea to others that meat is yummy and in that way contributing to future murder. Unless of course you eat it in private I guess.


I totally agree. This group of Freegans I knew kept trying to get me to eat these horrible Reeses candy bars (with milk chocolate, eewww!) because they were free. But thinking back, I think they stole them, not got them from a dumpster :? . I’d always eat their vegan bagels they’d get though (yum :D ).

Anyway, I don’t usually post in this forum, but I felt that you really had a bone to pick with Daniel in particular. I've said it before, he's very impersonal in his writting style and you can't see or hear the emotion that is there as well. He's not posting his opinion just to be a jerk or stir up controversy. It's how he feels and he is expressing it.

And personally, I don’t mind Freeguns at all, but I don’t put nearly this much thought into it. This is just my opinion. I’m not very learneded on the subject :P .
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Postby Frostfire » Sun Feb 06, 2005 5:05 am

Oh, and BTW, I split this into its own thread :D .
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Postby Dave Noisy » Sun Feb 06, 2005 7:13 am

Bleh - i'm not crazy about the freegan philosophy either.. Besides many of the points made above (thanks Mary and Daniel!), at what point is something 'free'?

Like, if a buddy has you over, and says 'do you want this hamburger', and you say 'no', but then he says 'i'm about to throw it out' - does that make it cool?

Seems to me like a total cop-out for people to eat pretty much whatever they want, knowing full well there's something wrong with it, but this rationalization seems to make it 'okay'.
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Postby J » Sun Feb 06, 2005 7:54 am

Crystal wrote:Not to get off topic, but here I am:

J wrote:First off as usual that's some unproductive name calling that makes vegans look bad. ("Garbage", "Biggest lie.")


:?: Who's he calling names? Not the person who posted definetly. He's without a doubt saying that about the philosophy behind "Freegons" and is using those words to express his opinion about it, which is what was asked for.

The person could very well be a freegan. And simply referring to anything other than veganism as "garbage" doesn't do anyone any good.

J wrote:
Daniel wrote:Capitalism operates under that assumption that "resources" should be used and not allowed to "waste." Freegans are just capitalizing off of the system.

This seems like you just made up some definition of capitalism and then attempted to tie freegans into it however you could.


You ever watch The Simpsons? There is this one episode where Mr. Burns is trying to become a “good guy” so he’s using plastic soda can rings as nets to “wipe the ocean floor clean” and “nothing goes to waste.” This is Mr. Burn’s idea of being a good person. Not wasting is part of “ethical” capitalism vs. Ayn Rand type capitalism. Freeguns also place value on letting nothing go to waste.

OK.

J wrote:
Daniel wrote:To use something is to exploit it.

ex·ploit
Pronunciation: ik-'sploit, 'ek-"
Function: transitive verb
1 : to make productive use of


So what?


Okay, you just seem to prove Daniel's point here and you ask “So what?” Well, it’s important because by definition, to use something is to exploit it and then how is using non-vegan stuff not exploitation? Vegans aim to end animal exploitation.

Because he isn't even addressing that it was already dead whether or not the freegan exploited it. The freegun isn't exploiting an animal. They are exploiting a dead carcass that used to be an animal where they had nothing to do with the death of the animal. So, "so what" is about all you can really say to his "argument."

J wrote:
Daniel wrote:Hunters justify their killing by saying nothing is wasted. Those who want to mine the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge claim that the oil will just go to waste. Excuse me, but how does "free" make exploitation moral.

This makes no sense.


What doesn’t make sense? It's like saying "So what?" You need to elaborate more when you say something like that, makes it hard to respond to :P . He’s just pointing out how Freeguns say “nothing goes to waste”, but that is no excuse. It’s a justification.

Oh, then it seems to be a very bad analogy. (I was hoping there was some other meaning I just was missing.) If the dead meat isn't eaten, it just rots. If the oil isn't drilled, then nature isn't destroyed. There's an obvious positive reason to not drill the oil. The positive of not eating an already dead carcass is not so apparent. Big difference.
J wrote:
Daniel wrote:To eat or wear other animals is to treat then as a resource. When you say that "it will just go to waste" you are objectifying those animals, treating them as exploitable commodities.

Notice I've put commodities in bold. Did you miss the part where he mentioned it was free?


Com-mod-i-ty (n)
1. An item that is bought and sold, especially an unprocessed material. (you were right about this part)
2. Something that people value or find useful (appears to be what Daniel is talking about)

Freeguns find the animal products useful, do they not?

Money! They aren't buying the item!
J wrote:
Daniel wrote:I don't care if you get their remains from the trash or buy them; animals are not to be treated as food or fabric.

Unsupported assertion.


Unsupported assertion?! That is the whole vegan philosophy. Am I wrong? Isn’t that one of PeTA’s main sayings too?

Oh, so he's saying freeganism isn't veganism? No kidding! :P What kind of argument is this?

J wrote:Who says they are all motivated by anti-capitalism?


Uh, go to http://www.freegan.info. And I’m sure Daniel didn’t say “all”, but every one I’ve ever met was very anti-capitalism and I’ve met quite a few.

OK, I didn't know that.
J wrote:
Daniel wrote:There is already a name for "freegans" -- mooch.

Unproductive name calling which makes vegans look bad.


Okay, okay, maybe that is a little on the harsh side, but I thought it was a little bit funny :lol: . Makes vegans look bad? That is just the opinion of one person.

You disagree? Or just wish to not express an opinion?

And if you are so concerned about image, how does eating out of a dumpster seem?

Very bad also.

J wrote:Personally I try to look at meat as murder (because that's what it is) and as such meat doesn't do much for my appetite. By eating free meat, you are helping perpetuate the idea to others that meat is yummy and in that way contributing to future murder. Unless of course you eat it in private I guess.


I totally agree. This group of Freegans I knew kept trying to get me to eat these horrible Reeses candy bars (with milk chocolate, eewww!) because they were free. But thinking back, I think they stole them, not got them from a dumpster :? . I’d always eat their vegan bagels they’d get though (yum :D ).

Anyway, I don’t usually post in this forum, but I felt that you really had a bone to pick with Daniel in particular. I've said it before, he's very impersonal in his writting style and you can't see or hear the emotion that is there as well. He's not posting his opinion just to be a jerk or stir up controversy. It's how he feels and he is expressing it.

Me too.
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Postby JP » Sun Feb 06, 2005 10:38 am

my opinion on freeganism is twofold:

firstly, i don't mind them, because in the end of the day the only way they are supporting animal abuse industry is by second hand ways: not being part of the dietary culture change which would prove, and educate, that veganism is a viable way to go, not being part of the movement that tries to change the social status of animals so that they are not food or clothes.

But in the end of the day, i would rather focus on the vast majority of people who are not even vegetarian than to spend time arguing with freegans. I think often it would be better if we would always focus on the people outside our little ghettoised counter cultures etc which have their own set of moral codes. There's a world to change out there after all.

Secondly, and now the criticism part, i don't think freeganism or voluntary dumpster diving etc have anything positive to offer for a wider movement for change, and certainly in anti-capitalist terms they are more of an asset to the capitalist order than a threat. This for the simple reason is that any drop out, marginalised, lifestylist and individualistic approach can never challenge the capital. Only organised working class can do that - if that sounds old fashioned, yeah perhaps it is, but that is still the only think capital takes seriously.

in vegan terms freeganism is best ignorred as well because it, like with the anti-capitalist example, makes us look marginal individualistic drop outs. With the term individualistic i mean simply that the whole responsibility of the state of the world is skipped on the shoulders of the indivudual and one has to go to enourmous, almost religious extremest to do ethical and political "handwashing" to repent and free one self from the sins.

ok, harsh words, but being involved in both vegan and workers revolutionary movements this kind of things sometimes irritate me slightly, but being true to my first point, there is whole world out there to educate, convince and organise, so i would leave freegans alone.
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Postby punkrockclimber » Mon Feb 07, 2005 4:13 am

Hey again everyone, sorry for posting and running, I was at the National Confrence on Organized Resistance all weekend. First off, thank everyone so far for posting thoughtfully instead of just being disrespectful- I appreciate the dialouge.

Secondly, I wholehartedly agree that it is much more worthwile to focus on changing the industry and omnis out there than arguing semantics among ourselves, but it's still worth the time i think to discuss the issue as long as it doesn't overshadow the big picture.

Firstly, I'm going to respond to the points about the inability of freeganism to directly force change in the world. I absolutely agree that simply avoiding the capitalist manifestations of animal exploitation is not enough. But the same argument can be applied to veganism. From a consumer standpoint [NOT OUTREACH- PURE CAPITALISM] there is NO DIFFERENCE between freeganism and veganism, except perhaps in quantity of veggies purchased. Neither buys from or supports the industry in any way. Neither is active in trying to end animal explotation. Many vegans and freegans add "Activist" to their resume, but veganism and freeganism alone are both simply tatics of avoidance.

Secondly, to the question of "where does it become free". Im sure this varies among people who label themselves freegan, so i can only speak for myself and my immediate community.
I ONLY eat dairy[no meat] if it is going to waste, and will not create more demand. If i were to go to an omni friends house, and eat his/her cheese, they will go buy more. This is no different in my view from buying it myself. I only eat it if its going to rot in a landfill where it is no help to anything. I tend to err on the side of caution here- the last thing i want to do is to justify wasting animal products [and increasing production]. It's not okay to throw stuff out just because a freegan will eat it- i won't eat food wasted on this notion and will AGGRESSIVLY correct the 'waster'.

Thirdly, going back to the activism aspect, I and my freegan friends DO attempt to replace the capitalism of animal exploitation with vegan alternatives. We fill our town with community guerilla gardens in the grass in the park and in planter boxes infront of office buildings. We have giant communal vegan dinners on a regular basis. We do whatever possible to provide sustainable resources. Dumpsters are not sustainable at all- I eagerly await and fight for the day that all dumpsters are vegan- then when there isn't any waste. But they're also a tool- free food [vegan or not] from dumpsters allows us to spend more time directly fighting the systems we oppose instead of working to DIRECTLY buy into the capitalist system. Animal exploitation is one sympton of capitalism, but it can't be isolated.

Sorry if that last point got kinda off topic and preachy. I've been at an anti-capitalist confrence all weekend- all vegan food btw.

Ok a few more responses- remember that this is all my opinion, and i am in no way advocating that vegans should start eating dumpstered doughnuts, I'm just presenting the thoughts that formed my own stance. More power to you guys seriously!

"The damage is done." I don't think this is bullshit at all. Eating a doughnut is exploitative because it directly creates more oppression. It sends a message [and $$$$$] back to the corporations that it is good to kill and oppress animals for food. Eating a doughnut out of the dumpster sends NO MESSAGE back to the industry- they will never know. Thats also why stolen goods don't qualify as freegan for me[moral stances on stealing aside for the sake of argument, please]. The store knows that the product has been consumed, and needs to step up production to compensate. The dollars are secondary to the essential command to produce more.

And to the "turn your stomach" and issues of respect. I would venture a guess that this is going to be VERY SUBJECTIVE. But here I go. I do feel that it is a crime to go to waste. Despite the fact that I violently oppose the act, an animal was exploited to make something. The animal was sacred to me, and its sacrafice makes the food sacred. I actually just had a long discussion with a few friends, and we decided [intellectually- reality is a long way off] that we would earnestly prefer to be recycled after death. I view the body[animal or human] as a precious- it is unique both in life and in death. And in both life and death, should be treated with respect. I view eating or other productive use as much more respectful that being tossed around with a bunch of trash in a metal box, thrown into a dump truck, and then buried under a pile of used condoms and waste paper. At least this way the animal can still be part of the cycle of life. I would point to the countless indigenous cultures that eat their dead to support that as a legitimate argument for freeganism as respectful.

Imagine how a meat eater would use your continued consumption of egg products etc to justify their own habits. "That veggie is so desperate for eggs that he goes into dumpsters for it!"

I think that that is a minor consideration- especially since I don't go dumpstering for egg products- i go dumpstering for food, and more often than not that entails no animal products whatsoever. I just don't view what animal products i do find as instruments of oppression any longer.

Capitalism operates under that assumption that "resources" should be used and not allowed to "waste." Freegans are just capitalizing off of the system. To use something is to exploit it. Hunters justify their killing by saying nothing is wasted. Those who want to mine the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge claim that the oil will just go to waste. Excuse me, but how does "free" make exploitation moral.

two points to that. First, capitalism is ENTIRELY BASED ON WASTE. You waste stuff to create a false supply shortage, and then you jack up prices. Or you buy in bulk to save money, sell some, and toss the rest. There's no consideration to efficency, thats why dumpsters are a relevant food source in the first place.
Secondly, that analogy is weak. Mining oil is a destructive procedure- I don't need to explain how. Getting food from a dumpster is in not. It doesn't even factor in to the harmful industry at all.

One last thought: My friends and I often do something called Food Not Bombs, where we dumpster food, cook it, and serve it to people in a park. A lot of these folks are homeless or hungry- and eat meat. Most of these meals are vegan, but occasionally we'll throw some dumpstered dairy in there. This is a great way in my view to expose omnis to vegetarianism over a communal meal without compromising my freegan values. Dunno how this totally applies, but could be a relavant thought. im spouting at this point.

Ok im getting off the soapbox. Hope i didn't offend anyone too much, thanks so much for responding seriously and honestly. Oh, and I learned to make biodesil[veggie oil] cars this weekend!! Anyone interested in avoiding the fossil fuel industry feel free to PM me!


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edited for glaring typos
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Postby mooovert » Mon Feb 07, 2005 9:47 am

J wrote: Because he isn't even addressing that it was already dead whether or not the freegan exploited it. The freegun isn't exploiting an animal. They are exploiting a dead carcass that used to be an animal where they had nothing to do with the death of the animal. So, "so what" is about all you can really say to his "argument."


so how does a freegan differ from a carnivore? whole thing seems a joke and cop-out to me. wouldnt be surprised if the whole thing was dreamt up by some meat industry bod to attack veganism.

if freegans didn't eat this 'free' meat it could be donated to a homeless shelter which would then not need to buy meat - a far more positive and anti meat trade solution to using meat 'found lying around'. even if the shelter gets free (outof date) meat directly from supermarkets rejecting it makes a statement to the manufacturers that they need to cut production.

punkrockclimber wrote: From a consumer standpoint [NOT OUTREACH- PURE CAPITALISM] there is NO DIFFERENCE between freeganism and veganism, except perhaps in quantity of veggies purchased. Neither buys from or supports the industry in any way. Neither is active in trying to end animal explotation. Many vegans and freegans add "Activist" to their resume, but veganism and freeganism alone are both simply tatics of avoidance.


er? i dont get this sorry. see above
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Postby JP » Mon Feb 07, 2005 10:05 am

thanks PRC for thr reply, very informative, very educating.

punkrockclimber wrote:I absolutely agree that simply avoiding the capitalist manifestations of animal exploitation is not enough. But the same argument can be applied to veganism. From a consumer standpoint [NOT OUTREACH- PURE CAPITALISM] there is NO DIFFERENCE between freeganism and veganism, except perhaps in quantity of veggies purchased. Neither buys from or supports the industry in any way. Neither is active in trying to end animal explotation. Many vegans and freegans add "Activist" to their resume, but veganism and freeganism alone are both simply tatics of avoidance.


I don't agree with this one. Veganism is about cultural and political change. Much like in oppression based on race or sex it was not only the attitudes of an individual which needed to change, but you also needed a movement of people pressing these changes politically and socially. Same works other way around, it was not only the movements, but also the individuals.

What i mean by this is that veganism has to do both: it has to be an organised political push through society, but also it has to work on the individual level in changing attitudes.

Freeganism fails in both in my opinion. It fails on the level of an individual because for him animals and their excrements are still food.

It fails on the political level because it is based on a ghettoised drop out lifestyle culture which cannot be adopted by the wider working class.

Now there's nothing wrong with that, after all as an anarchist i believe you have a freedom to do as you wish as long as you don't oppress anyone else (and i don't think eating dumpster dived animal products oppresses the animal in any other way than abstract, and i'm not too fussed about that).

But if one tries to make it as some kind of anti-capitalist, or vegan statement then i think we are on thin ice. In fact i would go as far as to say that this kind of drop out lifestyle ideologies are beneficial to the capital because they can never organise the wider population - more likely they will make anarchists, greenies, vegans and other weirdoes look so marginal and out of touch that this is the place where capital would like these ideologies to stay. In their own little perfect sin free ghetto.

To be dumpster diving, the voluntary kind of people who don't really have to do it, is often a product of capitalist ideology taken to the extreme, the whole burden of the world is put on the individual, they have to repent and wash their hands off the sins and find some extreme lifestyle which adheres to strick moral codes. Die hard catholics should be proud of this kind of mentality.

Its important to keep the focus on the problem (in vegan terms): industrialised widespread animal abuse coupled with a culture which sees animals as food, clothes and commodities. It is the abuse of the animals which should motivate us, not ethical handwashing. What i mean is that if we care about what is happening to the animals, we work among people to organise and change culture. To do this we have to resist tendencies to ghettoise and isolate ourselves as some kind of ethically pure counter culture.

By the way: PRC, good work with the food not bombs, great stuff.
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Postby xJimx » Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:25 am

I wouldn't call someone who eats eggs/dairy a freegan, I'd call them a vegetarian! To my mind people who claim to be vegan but eat free eggs are the same as 'vegetarians' who eat fish.

Like Mary said, by consuming animal products of any type, people are perpetuating the view that such behaviour is acceptable, normal and healthy.

Can't say that I know too much about the anti-capitalist movement and how it relates to veganism, so perhaps my thinking on this issue is overly simplistic, but surely using politics to justify eating animals is a bit illogical?
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Postby Mary » Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:27 pm

The animal was sacred to me, and its sacrafice makes the food sacred.


The animal did not make a sacrifice. The animal was murdered. Products that were stolen from a baby animal, or that were part of that creature's flesh are not food, and are not sacred.

The whole concept of "sacrifice" is a human justification for a human abuse. If a mass murderer of humans ate the corpses, and lived in a society where others cannibalised humans as well as animals, would you eat the flesh of a murdered human friend or relative. If I had been factory farmed, and had my baby taken off me at birth, would you have drank milk that was designed for him? Would you have worn shoes made of our leather?

If you apply different standards of respect to human corpses, you have to ask yourself why. Why would you not eat your dead granny, or milk stolen from a neighbours child, if you would eat "waste products" from other species?

Not meaning to be nasty, just a bit bewildered really. The fact that you eat cakes that have been dumpstered means that you are consuming animal products, and that you give the impression therefore that you need them. And when I was busily tied to a tree in Liverpool to stop a wood being chopped down a lot of meat eaters took the opportunity presented by my not being able to run away to come up and talk nonsense. As there were freegans present at the site consuming animal products I heard a lot of meat eaters saying things like, "you might be doing okay on a vegan diet, but you're an exception. That lot over there eat stuff out of skips because their bodies need animal protien. I'm not eating out of a skip, and I am not going veggie."

You say this is only a minor problem, and I actually agree with you - because as others have said Freegans are so counter culture few people actually hear of them. But the freegans I do know can actually cause more harm than good.

I think it would be better to extend your activities in feeding the homeless, not by skip diving but also by agitating to get food donated from supermarkets when they hit their sell by, rather than dumped.
There are supermarkets around Manchester and Liverpool that do that, and give food to Mencap etc, rather than bin the lot. By diving for it you are making it easier for the companies to avoid any responsibility.

And your language still implies that you think of animals as resources not to be wasted.
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Postby J » Mon Feb 07, 2005 2:48 pm

So you are a freegan? Your views are garbage! The biggest lie! You're nothing but a mooch! Freegans aren't vegans! :?

But seriously the only problem I see is the same as stated above. You are going to be constantly misunderstood and I don't think it's worth it.
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