32 votes

Stop Mocking Vegans

124 comments

  1. [35]
    Rocket_Man
    (edited )
    Link
    I went into the article fairly positive but by the end of it felt my own distaste for vegans cropping up. The issue being the language they use, things like being on the right side of history. The...

    I went into the article fairly positive but by the end of it felt my own distaste for vegans cropping up. The issue being the language they use, things like being on the right side of history. The underlying message doesn't feel like "Hey we should eat less meet because of x and y". Instead it feels like "You are personally committing genocide and evil and need to eat less meat.".

    It's the exact self-righteousness that was associated with prius owners in the beginning. But people driving electric cars and bicycling haven't necessarily gone around espousing that everyone else is personally committing horrible atrocities, why is that? I think it's because people understand the utility and reasoning behind the continued use of combustion engines.

    If vegans don't want to have such a bad reputation they need to not focus on the individuals. People have a strange relationship with food and going vegan is difficult for many. If vegan advocates focused on making that transition easier I think more people would be receptive to it or just ignore it instead of mocking it.

    34 votes
    1. [6]
      emdash
      Link Parent
      I'd say a bit of this "distate" is your fault too, though. Because you have to remember that any reasonable group1 is going to statistically have a vocal minority that espouse these opinions you...

      I'd say a bit of this "distate" is your fault too, though. Because you have to remember that any reasonable group1 is going to statistically have a vocal minority that espouse these opinions you find less than pleasant. Is that the fault of the group they're in, or the cause they're advocating for? Or is it just because they're being assholes? How wide of a brush do we want to paint with?

      Same with Prius owners. Sure, some are preachy, but the vast majority or not. It falls back on you to recognize how to separate individuals and their causes from the stereotype.

      1. I say "reasonable" here because some groups, say Proud Boys, don't have a convincingly good faith base in the first place.

      26 votes
      1. [5]
        Rocket_Man
        Link Parent
        Sure that is definitely a part of it, unfortunately I don't know of a way to quantify how large that vocal minority is in vegans compared to other groups but that would be interesting. I'd also...

        Sure that is definitely a part of it, unfortunately I don't know of a way to quantify how large that vocal minority is in vegans compared to other groups but that would be interesting. I'd also like to not advocate that any specific vegan is bad, when I refer to vegans I mean the general ethereal idea of them, similar to a brand.

        Personally I don't see myself as the problem, I would gladly welcome a vegan even if they are annoying because I agree with them and agree I'm doing harm by eating animals. But for example my brother will reflexively dislike vegans because of him seeing them as obnoxious and would not respond well to this article at all. But if his interactions with vegans were more focused on nutritional information, and his decision to eat meat was respected despite it possibly being rooted in ignorance they'd have better luck achieving their goals.

        10 votes
        1. [4]
          acdw
          Link Parent
          I think that's the problem @emdash is talking about though -- vegans aren't a brand, or even really organized. There are some organizations, but I know I really don't agree with what, say, PETA is...

          similar to a brand.

          I think that's the problem @emdash is talking about though -- vegans aren't a brand, or even really organized. There are some organizations, but I know I really don't agree with what, say, PETA is doing, even though I am a vegan. We don't even agree on the reasons behind our common action -- some people are vegan because of the environment, some for their health, some for animal welfare, etc. So thinking of vegans as a "brand," or having a "general ethereal idea" of them, is just as useful as having a "general ethereal idea" of people from a large nation, like Canada. Which isn't to say we don't have those ideas (I see where you're coming from, I think, now), but maybe we should try to deconstruct them when we do.

          7 votes
          1. mike10010100
            Link Parent
            On the contrary, the idea that vegans are a "brand" comes mostly from right-wing media. They're the same ones talking about how there's a secret worldwide organization controlling everything, or...

            On the contrary, the idea that vegans are a "brand" comes mostly from right-wing media. They're the same ones talking about how there's a secret worldwide organization controlling everything, or the "deep state" that's evidently messing up everything right-leaning administrations do.

            It benefits them to convince others that vegans are a unified brand, because they can then lump the extremists in with the "normal" vegans, claim they're all part of the same conspiracy, and reject their ideas wholesale.

            9 votes
          2. [2]
            Rocket_Man
            Link Parent
            I think you get it, and yes we should deconstruct these images of vegans or any other group. But very few people actually do, meaning it can still be very productive for a cause or group to try...

            I think you get it, and yes we should deconstruct these images of vegans or any other group. But very few people actually do, meaning it can still be very productive for a cause or group to try and change their "brand" image. One example of this being done during the civil rights movement by black people wearing their nice clothes during demonstrations. It didn't change who black people were, but it improved the ethereal idea of black people.

            5 votes
            1. acdw
              Link Parent
              You know, I hadn't thought of that. I guess I'm frustrated sometimes, though, because of that stereotype -- I feel like it shouldn't be on me to change people's perceptions, but sometimes it is.

              You know, I hadn't thought of that. I guess I'm frustrated sometimes, though, because of that stereotype -- I feel like it shouldn't be on me to change people's perceptions, but sometimes it is.

              1 vote
    2. [27]
      mike10010100
      Link Parent
      The thing is....are they wrong? If we assume that anthropogenic global warming is real, and that the UN/IPCC reports are valid, then wouldn't refusing to reduce your carbon footprint by...

      The thing is....are they wrong? If we assume that anthropogenic global warming is real, and that the UN/IPCC reports are valid, then wouldn't refusing to reduce your carbon footprint by contributing to the shift in demand away from meat, which has the potential to shift global supply chains, be immoral?

      8 votes
      1. [20]
        Adys
        Link Parent
        It's great to reduce your meat consumption. I've certainly reduced mine. No, it's not immoral to continue eating meat. The thing with morality: It fluctuates over time. I mean, most heinous stuff...

        It's great to reduce your meat consumption. I've certainly reduced mine. No, it's not immoral to continue eating meat.

        The thing with morality: It fluctuates over time. I mean, most heinous stuff is always immoral, but some "is it immoral to X" can start off with a "no" and be "yes" 50 years later.

        In our society, it's not immoral to eat meat. But our supply chain is immensely fucked up. The supply chain is immoral, not the consumers, in this case.
        This detachment between consumption and fabrication is exactly what allows companies to get away with eg. making clothes in sweatshops. Still, it doesn't make the consumer immoral, unless they:

        1. Know exactly how fucked up the supply chain is
        2. Have a reasonable equivalent alternative available
        3. Despite 1 & 2, still choose to financially support the product

        So "eating meat" could be immoral for only some people. Thus it's completely valid for some vegans to say "it's immoral [for me] to eat meat", and still be wrong when they say "it's immoral [for you] to eat meat". The morality aspect doesn't come from the action, it comes from informed action. That's why it's immoral for you to eat baby humans, but not for a tiger.

        10 votes
        1. [5]
          gpl
          Link Parent
          I agree with your point regarding informed action, but I think the claim that morality fluctuates may be a bit to strong. You say that the most heinous stuff is always immoral, but that's not...

          I agree with your point regarding informed action, but I think the claim that morality fluctuates may be a bit to strong. You say that the most heinous stuff is always immoral, but that's not really the case is it - in Ancient Sparta infanticide was generally accepted for various reasons, and even here in the US slavery was seen not only as not immoral but rather as a moral good by a decent percentage of the population as recently as 150 years ago. I think that either:

          1. Morality is truly subjective and you can't claim that even the most heinous things are immoral in an objective sense if either a) there has been a time it has not been seen as immoral or b) there could be such a time in the future. This includes pretty much everything, and we are stuck with the relatively weaker claim that we don't see action X as immoral.
          2. Things are immoral in some objective sense, but societal sensibilities may not be developed to the point where it is recognized as such. This I think is akin to claiming there exist moral truths even if we cannot or do not have perfect knowledge of them.

          Obviously both of these have their problems, but I tend to fall in favor of option 2. Your point regarding informed action is well taken; knowledge (or lack thereof) of an action's moral value could reasonable mitigate someone's culpability in perpetuating an immoral practice. With the case of meat, however: Is it enough to simply be informed that eating meat is bad for xyz reasons, or must you believe that too? If the former, and there are viable alternatives, then I find it hard to believe it is moral for most people in Western countries to eat meat as most people are at least familiar with the moral questions surrounding meat production. At the very least, they are aware that there are people (i.e. vegans) who morally object to meat consumption. If the latter, and they must not only be aware of the issues with meat production but also must believe those are issues, meat is not immoral almost tautologically - presumably, you do not believe the things you do are morally wrong. This leads to a scenario where it is not immoral to eat meat regardless of environmental effects, health effects, supply chain fuckery, and more.

          It's a tricky subject. I still eat meat, but I have drastically cut down over the past 2 years. I don't have any health or economic reasons to continue eating it - the meat I do eat is because I want it. I am find it harder and harder to use that as a justification.

          5 votes
          1. [4]
            Adys
            Link Parent
            I tried to make as much of a distinction as I could between "moral" and "socially acceptable". I don't think slavery was ever moral, for example, even though it was socially acceptable for some...

            I tried to make as much of a distinction as I could between "moral" and "socially acceptable".

            I don't think slavery was ever moral, for example, even though it was socially acceptable for some time / in some cultures.

            For more current topics, I also don't think the death penalty is moral, even though it's socially acceptable in the US to be in favour of it. And IMO, some people who are in favour of the death penalty are immoral… some are not, but it's a lot more rare.

            presumably, you do not believe the things you do are morally wrong

            Well, most people are morally good. That's the thing with my philosophy, I genuinely believe most people are good, and given the proper education, will tend towards being moral rather than not.

            That's why I have such a problem when vegans start claiming people are immoral for eating meat, or whatever social issue du jour pushes people to say "It's immoral to buy X because one of its shareholders might have raped someone".

            What's immoral is to consciously financially support an immoral industry. But you can't be blamed for being a consumer in a such a consumer-centric society. Not everyone has the means to break out of that, and IMO, if anything is immoral, it's the holier-than-thou attitude that more often than not is accompanied by heavy discrimination towards those who, for example, might not have the financial means to change their diet, lifestyle, etc.

            Moral good usually comes from selflessness. Few things are more selfish than blatantly saying "I'm better than everyone else".

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              gpl
              Link Parent
              I largely agree with your points here, i.e. that people given the opportunity will largely tend to take a moral action. And I absolutely agree that it is hard to blame someone for being a consumer...

              I largely agree with your points here, i.e. that people given the opportunity will largely tend to take a moral action. And I absolutely agree that it is hard to blame someone for being a consumer in our current society. Your original two criteria I thought were pretty good:

              Know exactly how fucked up the supply chain is
              Have a reasonable equivalent alternative available
              Despite 1 & 2, still choose to financially support the product

              The issue I think comes in with the first one. I think many people (again, in the US) have at least heard the argument that meat production is immoral. And of those, many have the means to seek out alternatives as much as possible. I don't, however, think that many of those people are convinced by the arguments they have heard, whether it is because they were not convincingly made or because they carried implications of superiority from the person making the argument. Does this change the morality of eating meat for these people? I don't think so. I certainly think they might not think they are doing something morally suspect, but their beliefs regarding things shouldn't change the moral fact of the matters, insofar as there is one.

              So I agree with your first point that knowledge of how messed up something is factors into how culpable someone is for doing something that is immoral. I think many people have not been convinced that consuming meat is immoral, which is likely somewhat the faults of people like "smug vegans" not being effective in convincing people. I don't think this makes eating meat for these people somehow not immoral, but I do think it reduces their "moral culpability" as it were since it is not fair to personally blame someone for not adhering to a belief they don't believe. Again, this is all assuming there are economically viable alternatives - it is again not fair to hold someone responsible for something that they simply don't have the means to avoid. But again I think this applies to far fewer people in the US than they might think.

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                Adys
                Link Parent
                I just elaborated here regarding education. IMO there's far, far less people actually properly educated on the topic than you and the other commenter think. As for swaying people once you educate...

                I just elaborated here regarding education. IMO there's far, far less people actually properly educated on the topic than you and the other commenter think.

                As for swaying people once you educate them, that doesn't necessarily happen overnight, especially if you're asking them to give up something so core to what they are, something they've spent their entire life with, something that's ingrained in their instincts, etc. Remember it can also happen when you're not watching.

                2 votes
                1. mike10010100
                  Link Parent
                  Based on what evidence, though... that's the trick here. No, but the fact that they aren't swayed by the education itself seems to indicate you believe these people aren't moral.

                  IMO there's far, far less people actually properly educated on the topic than you and the other commenter think.

                  Based on what evidence, though... that's the trick here.

                  As for swaying people once you educate them, that doesn't necessarily happen overnight

                  No, but the fact that they aren't swayed by the education itself seems to indicate you believe these people aren't moral.

        2. [7]
          acdw
          Link Parent
          I want to push back on points one and two of your argument here. I agree with you that people aren't immoral if (1) and (2) don't apply to them, but I also think that in much of the developed...

          I want to push back on points one and two of your argument here. I agree with you that people aren't immoral if (1) and (2) don't apply to them, but I also think that in much of the developed world (1) and (2) do apply.

          To (1): it's no secret any more that the supply chain of industrialized meat production is, as you put it, "fucked up." Animals live in extremely tight quarters where they harm themselves and each other, they're killed inhumanely, etc. I don't want to get into it because I don't remember all of the details, but the information is extremely available, and it's all credible -- there's photo evidence, worker testimonies, etc. The industry has been trying for years (and succeeded in a lot of places) to make it illegal to inspect their properties, which suggests that they also know they're doing something wrong (or at least perceived to be wrong by a majority of their consumers) and want to cover it up. So for (1), it's hard to deny that the supply chain is fucked up.

          To (2): When I first went vegetarian, with a girlfriend in college, her roommate was talking about how it didn't make sense because vegetables were so expensive -- she claimed she could get a chicken and feed "a family of four" with it. Not that she had a family of four, so I'm not sure what she was going on about, but that's a common argument -- vegetables are too expensive. Except they're not. Yes, there's expensive ones, like your quinoa or your fancy mushrooms, but corn is regularly 5/$1 where I am, and beans and rice are staples all over the world because they're cheap, and because they're quite healthful. Peanuts, too, and green vegetables -- you can get the fancy organic stuff, sure, but pound-for-pound I think even the fancy stuff is cheaper than bargain meat. So I guess what I'm saying is that there are reasonable alternatives, but they're not seen that way, because people are (a) too busy to cook at home, so they get fast food or restaurant food -- and there is a real dearth of vegan fast food, let me tell you, (b) not sure how to cook vegetables other than boiling the shit out of them, which is another huge problem.

          So for a lot of people, (2) still doesn't apply -- I don't want to presume that I know what a majority of people deal with every day, and I absolutely agree that veganism can be a privileged lifestyle. But it doesn't have to be -- there are so many dishes that are easily made and easily preserved and cheap too. And if those were being sold in fast food restaurants and convenience stores, people'd buy them. I don't know how to wrap up this comment, so I'll end it here.

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            Adys
            Link Parent
            No secret to you or me. How many people do you think actually know this? :) The information being available doesn't help if it doesn't reach people. Remember that even those who seek out to learn...

            it's no secret any more that the supply chain of industrialized meat production is, as you put it, "fucked up."

            No secret to you or me. How many people do you think actually know this? :)

            The information being available doesn't help if it doesn't reach people. Remember that even those who seek out to learn by themselves won't necessarily come across this information. And if they do, they won't necessarily trust it. Not being informed is, by my very definition, not an amoral thing.

            You'd be shocked to learn how many people are completely uninformed about things you thought were "no secret". Personally, I'd be shocked if even as much as 1/10th of the global population knows how we treat our livestock; and even more shocked if 1/1000th of the global population knows its environmental impact.

            To (2) …

            My girlfriend is a huge fan of organic food. I have my reservations about it, but putting those aside, let's assume buying organic is automatically morally better: It's up to 5x more expensive where I live, and it's much harder to find. The closest organic shop is 20 minutes walk from where I live; whereas the closest grocery store is a mere 2 minutes walk.

            While I have the financial means to buy organic, I don't have the logistical means. Spending 40 minutes more on a food run that costs me 100 EUR instead of 20 is not a thing I can afford, and I'm pretty well off overall. My girlfriend absolutely cannot afford it financially, and I've pointed out to her that the extra money she is spending on buying organic is money she needs for other basic things; thus she ends up having trouble making ends meet.

            So, in that world, is it amoral for either of us to choose the option we can afford?

            5 votes
            1. mike10010100
              Link Parent
              No, but, thanks to identity politics, once a topic becomes political, and once that political topic is taken up by political parties, you instantly have an entire cultural apparatus capable of...

              The information being available doesn't help if it doesn't reach people.

              No, but, thanks to identity politics, once a topic becomes political, and once that political topic is taken up by political parties, you instantly have an entire cultural apparatus capable of informing nearly every last person what their stance on a particular topic is. It's what allows major political parties in the US to continue to deliver their talking points to even the most politically disengaged among us.

              3 votes
            2. acdw
              Link Parent
              Fair point on (1). I also need to remember that not everyone cares (which maybe doesn't have anything to do about morality, but). You're right about organic food -- but you don't have to get...

              Fair point on (1). I also need to remember that not everyone cares (which maybe doesn't have anything to do about morality, but).

              You're right about organic food -- but you don't have to get organic vegetables instead of meat. You can get the bog-standard carrots and cabbage and rice and whatever from the corner store, or Walmart or wherever's closest. And while organic vegetables are way more expensive than conventional ones, I think they're still, on balance, cheaper than meat -- or if not, it's probably because of meat subsidies. So if the choice is between a pound of beef and a pound of beans, the beans are way cheaper, every time.

              2 votes
          2. [3]
            gpl
            Link Parent
            I just want to add too that it's not an all or nothing position - even if you cut meat out when and where you can that is still a good thing. So even if people feel they can't completely cut meat...

            I just want to add too that it's not an all or nothing position - even if you cut meat out when and where you can that is still a good thing. So even if people feel they can't completely cut meat out, they probably could be convinced that they can at least reduce consumption.

            3 votes
            1. acdw
              Link Parent
              Yes! That is so true. I get caught up sometimes, and it's easier for me to just cut it all out, because honestly I need those hard boundaries. But that's not everyone.

              Yes! That is so true. I get caught up sometimes, and it's easier for me to just cut it all out, because honestly I need those hard boundaries. But that's not everyone.

              2 votes
            2. mike10010100
              Link Parent
              This! Only ridiculously extremist vegans will ridicule you if you don't cut out all meat. Most vegans just want people to reduce consumption to something that is sustainable.

              This! Only ridiculously extremist vegans will ridicule you if you don't cut out all meat. Most vegans just want people to reduce consumption to something that is sustainable.

              2 votes
        3. [7]
          mike10010100
          Link Parent
          The options are quite binary. You either reduce your carbon footprint, or you do not. You either help contribute to the meat industry's demand or reduce it. Philosophically, that's not true....

          No, it's not immoral to continue eating meat.

          The options are quite binary. You either reduce your carbon footprint, or you do not. You either help contribute to the meat industry's demand or reduce it.

          The thing with morality: It fluctuates over time.

          Philosophically, that's not true. Scientists didn't "invent" electricity, they merely uncovered its existence and learned its properties. Mathematics may have "invented" numbers and mathematical expressions, but that does not make the things they've uncovered about the way those numbers interact with our universe "fluctuating". In the same way, we didn't "invent" morality, we're merely uncovered ways to be "more moral" over time.

          I mean, most heinous stuff is always immoral, but some "is it immoral to X" can start off with a "no" and be "yes" 50 years later.

          And vice versa, yes. But rarely do we flip-flop from yes to no to yes, or no-yes-no, unless there is some new information that allows us to, again, make the assertion of whether or not a thing is moral.

          In our society, it's not immoral to eat meat. But our supply chain is immensely fucked up. The supply chain is immoral, not the consumers, in this case.

          It's arguable that we don't yet fully understand the nature of intelligence and that more research must be done on the relative sentience of animals, but to your point, if the supply chain were better and meat were hyper-local, it might be less immoral.

          But the fact is that at the rate that we consume meat, there is no way for the supply chain to become shorter. We must reduce our intake of meat to even hope to strive for a future where mean is exclusively available from local farms.

          Know exactly how fucked up the supply chain is
          Have a reasonable equivalent alternative available
          Despite 1 & 2, still choose to financially support the product

          So that's a philosophically interesting question: can one be immoral if one doesn't know there's a better way? At this point, however, we are culturally saturated with this knowledge. I cannot imagine finding a person who doesn't have an opinion on the morality of eating meat.

          In addition, the reasonable equivalent alternatives are available throughout the US. Even Walmart stocks all its stores with a surprisingly varied selection of vegan products. We are even at a point where vegan alternatives taste as good as the products they're mimicking, IMO.

          The morality aspect doesn't come from the action, it comes from informed action. That's why it's immoral for you to eat baby humans, but not for a tiger.

          I mean doesn't that have more to do with sentience than it does from being informed? But I understand your point. I just disagree with the level to which we as a culture are aware of how bad meat is.

          2 votes
          1. [4]
            Greg
            Link Parent
            There are some quite absolute assertions here, and I don't think it's reasonable to make them without qualification. What about meat that would otherwise be discarded for any number of reasons?...

            There are some quite absolute assertions here, and I don't think it's reasonable to make them without qualification.

            The options are quite binary. You either reduce your carbon footprint, or you do not. You either help contribute to the meat industry's demand or reduce it.

            What about meat that would otherwise be discarded for any number of reasons? What about hunting, especially of invasive species or those that need to be culled to maintain the ecosystem? What about chickens that graze on land that isn't otherwise plausible to farm? What if you make significant reductions elsewhere in your energy usage but treat yourself to the occasional burger?

            All edge cases, to be sure, but that's enough to demonstrate that it isn't a binary.

            In the same way, we didn't "invent" morality, we're merely uncovered ways to be "more moral" over time.

            That's a huge assertion to make. Whether or not I agree with you is immaterial, it's more the fact that you're claiming an absolute answer to a topic that's been debated, revised, and even considered potentially unknowable, for literal centuries.

            6 votes
            1. [3]
              mike10010100
              Link Parent
              The edge cases surrounding discarded meat and hunting are nearly irrelevant in the discussion around meat consumption when the overwhelming majority is farm-based livestock raised with the...

              What about meat that would otherwise be discarded for any number of reasons? What about hunting, especially of invasive species or those that need to be culled to maintain the ecosystem? What about chickens that graze on land that isn't otherwise plausible to farm? What if you make significant reductions elsewhere in your energy usage but treat yourself to the occasional burger?

              All edge cases, to be sure, but that's enough to demonstrate that it isn't a binary.

              The edge cases surrounding discarded meat and hunting are nearly irrelevant in the discussion around meat consumption when the overwhelming majority is farm-based livestock raised with the specific purpose of being slaughtered for consumption.

              If we were to rely on the mechanisms you listed for our meat consumption, we would still have to be about 99% vegan, on average. They simply do not scale.

              As for the argument about energy usage, the decision making surrounding using less energy doesn't really have anything to do with the decision making surrounding food choices.

              That's a huge assertion to make. Whether or not I agree with you is immaterial, it's more the fact that you're claiming an absolute answer to a topic that's been debated, revised, and even considered potentially unknowable, for literal centuries.

              I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Yes, it's a huge assertion, but it's no more of an outlandish assertion than the claim that science only uncovers properties about the universe that were heretofore unknown.

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                Greg
                Link Parent
                The first thing I want to say is that if I'm taking your previous post too literally then I apologise - the language was very categorical and that's what spurred me to discuss rather than just...

                The first thing I want to say is that if I'm taking your previous post too literally then I apologise - the language was very categorical and that's what spurred me to discuss rather than just moving on.

                The edge cases surrounding discarded meat and hunting are nearly irrelevant in the discussion around meat consumption when the overwhelming majority is farm-based livestock raised with the specific purpose of being slaughtered for consumption.

                Totally agreed, but I wanted to demonstrate that it's neither totally binary nor totally straightforward. There's nuance and space for alternative options.

                If we were to rely on the mechanisms you listed for our meat consumption, we would still have to be about 99% vegan, on average. They simply do not scale.

                Yup, broadly that makes sense and I have the same understanding. We can quibble over the exact percentage, but it's always going to come down as vast majority plant based and I don't disagree with that for a second - but it can accommodate some meat, which again goes against the idea that it's a total binary choice. Depending on local land quality and usage, it may even be more efficient overall to incorporate a small amount.

                As for the argument about energy usage, the decision making surrounding using less energy doesn't really have anything to do with the decision making surrounding food choices.

                It matters in the context of overall carbon budgets. Sure, you could say that if you're making one sacrifice you can still make another, and another, but I'd rather target an overall sustainable equilibrium.

                I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Yes, it's a huge assertion, but it's no more of an outlandish assertion than the claim that science only uncovers properties about the universe that were heretofore unknown.

                Science builds and tests heuristics based on evidence and repetition - conceptually speaking, it very much does not make any claims of absolute or underlying truth, only of demonstrable effectiveness. To say that anything is absolute and true requires knowledge of where that assertion stems from, and that in turn is as far as I can see fundamentally impossible for us to do.

                2 votes
                1. mike10010100
                  Link Parent
                  Absolutely, but we're talking about the general population interacting with the food industry in a manner that is typical to 99% of the population. If you can guarantee sustainably sourced, local...

                  Totally agreed, but I wanted to demonstrate that it's neither totally binary nor totally straightforward. There's nuance and space for alternative options.

                  Absolutely, but we're talking about the general population interacting with the food industry in a manner that is typical to 99% of the population.

                  but it can accommodate some meat, which again goes against the idea that it's a total binary choice.

                  If you can guarantee sustainably sourced, local meat, then yes, you're correct. I apologize if my statements earlier sounded overly general. I was speaking in generalities about the vast majority of consumer products.

                  Even then, however, there are arguments to be made about the carbon/methane production of local farms. There are efforts to try and change that, but compared with wholly plant-based diets, the carbon footprint isn't even in the same ballpark.

                  It matters in the context of overall carbon budgets. Sure, you could say that if you're making one sacrifice you can still make another, and another, but I'd rather target an overall sustainable equilibrium.

                  Right, which is why I am not personally vegan, not vegetarian, but I'm significantly cutting down on my meat intake as much as possible. But I'll acknowledge I'm not living as "ethically" as vegans, who are sacrificing the most to make the most change.

                  Science builds and tests heuristics based on evidence and repetition - conceptually speaking, it very much does not make any claims of absolute or underlying truth

                  No, but the principles, laws, and mechanisms it discovers is the truth of the universe, or at least as close to it as we will ever understand while existing within it.

                  1 vote
          2. [2]
            Adys
            Link Parent
            You're quite right, and I wanted to correct myself: What I meant is that, given that morality requires information, and the availability of information and education changes over time, the...

            The thing with morality: It fluctuates over time.

            Philosophically, that's not true.

            You're quite right, and I wanted to correct myself: What I meant is that, given that morality requires information, and the availability of information and education changes over time, the globally-perceived morality of an action can change over time. But that's essentially "social acceptability", which I had tried to keep separate from my comments on morality, so I shouldn't have said anything there.

            I cannot imagine finding a person who doesn't have an opinion on the morality of eating meat.

            I absolutely can ;)

            3 votes
            1. mike10010100
              Link Parent
              You're right, social acceptability does change over time. But that's reflective of discovering new information about morality. And no society is so disconnected from themselves or the rest of the...

              You're right, social acceptability does change over time. But that's reflective of discovering new information about morality. And no society is so disconnected from themselves or the rest of the world that they can claim to be ignorant about these topics. Entire wars were fought because a portion of the population, when presented with new information to show that moral guidelines have changed, decided to dig in their heels and deny it.

              In the information age, even if you are brainwashed into believing that climate change is a liberal conspiracy, even conservatives generally know why liberals are making these claims. Even if they're misinformed on the conclusion, they generally are aware of the body of evidence.

              I absolutely can ;)

              I mean you made a claim without any data? You said we'd be "shocked", but that isn't really something you've proven with any study.

              2 votes
      2. [4]
        0lpbm
        Link Parent
        I think that there are better options for reducing one's carbon footprint than going vegan. One of them would be to stop having children. But as long as one is not comfortable telling others in...

        If we assume that anthropogenic global warming is real, and that the UN/IPCC reports are valid, then wouldn't refusing to reduce your carbon footprint by contributing to the shift in demand away from meat, which has the potential to shift global supply chains, be immoral?

        I think that there are better options for reducing one's carbon footprint than going vegan. One of them would be to stop having children.

        But as long as one is not comfortable telling others in seriousness that is immoral to have children, one should not be comfortable telling them so for not being vegan.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          Nmg
          Link Parent
          Why does it have to be one or the other? Some us don't have children, are vegan, and ride our bikes to work too.

          Why does it have to be one or the other?

          Some us don't have children, are vegan, and ride our bikes to work too.

          4 votes
          1. 0lpbm
            Link Parent
            Of course. The only point I was trying to make is that it's in bad taste to try to impose your lifestyle choices on others by using a slightly more extreme example than diet.

            Of course.

            The only point I was trying to make is that it's in bad taste to try to impose your lifestyle choices on others by using a slightly more extreme example than diet.

        2. mike10010100
          Link Parent
          Absolutely. But one's choice regarding having children doesn't really affect one's choices regarding what to eat, does it? I'm comfortable with that.

          I think that there are better options for reducing one's carbon footprint than going vegan. One of them would be to stop having children.

          Absolutely. But one's choice regarding having children doesn't really affect one's choices regarding what to eat, does it?

          But as long as one is not comfortable telling others in seriousness that is immoral to have children, one should not be comfortable telling them so for not being vegan.

          I'm comfortable with that.

      3. [2]
        cadadr
        Link Parent
        Do I need to reduce my carbon footprint to an extreme? Then the best most moral thing I can do just now is to commit suicide. The device you are using to tell us this stuff has a huge carbon...

        Do I need to reduce my carbon footprint to an extreme? Then the best most moral thing I can do just now is to commit suicide. The device you are using to tell us this stuff has a huge carbon footprint. There are a million other things that have a carbon footprint. Like living in a place that requires heating/cooling.

        The connection that you make with "reducing" carbon footprint and "giving something up entirely" is illogical and mistaken. I can reduce my meat intake (in fact, it's little anyways, I don't constantly consume meat). There are also many other places I can reduce it. But if I won't give up a heated home, electricity, digital devices or some low-carb-footprint method of communite in their entirety; why do I have to give up animal products completely?

        5 votes
        1. mike10010100
          Link Parent
          The discussion at hand is the fact that the people who refuse to change their habits are inherently less moral than those who do choose to change their habits. The only connection comes from the...

          The connection that you make with "reducing" carbon footprint and "giving something up entirely" is illogical

          The discussion at hand is the fact that the people who refuse to change their habits are inherently less moral than those who do choose to change their habits. The only connection comes from the people who are vegan being "more moral" than the people who only vegetarian, for example.

          But none of that is a reason not to reduce consumption of meat.

          why do I have to give up animal products completely?

          You don't, for the exact same reason you don't have to commit suicide. But be comfortable that some out there are objectively more moral than you are, and may judge you for not doing more. That remains true of any topic/subject, and should in no way result in you doubling down and claiming you'll eat 5 steaks for every steak a vegan doesn't eat, which is the typical conservative reaction.

          1 vote
    3. acdw
      Link Parent
      I 100% agree with this. Maybe support groups, or "adopt an omni" or something? Haha!

      If vegan advocates focused on making that transition easier I think more people would be receptive to it or just ignore it instead of mocking it.

      I 100% agree with this. Maybe support groups, or "adopt an omni" or something? Haha!

      1 vote
  2. [19]
    mat
    Link
    It's probably a good idea to not mock anyone's beliefs, especially when those beliefs are mostly pretty good, ethically speaking (although by all means we should continue mocking those of shitty...

    It's probably a good idea to not mock anyone's beliefs, especially when those beliefs are mostly pretty good, ethically speaking (although by all means we should continue mocking those of shitty beliefs, such as nazis).

    I eat a mostly plant-based diet myself these days but nothing so extreme as being vegan. Eating mostly planty stuff is fine but you just can't make a decent cup of tea without cow's milk.

    That said, I have a friend who, when I invited him over for dinner, felt he had to say "I'm a vegan, but I'm not a cunt about it", and he says that because despite what this article says, there are still plenty of preachy veganists out there.

    16 votes
    1. [3]
      Nmg
      Link Parent
      That's funny, I wouldn't be caught dead adding milk (non-diary or otherwise) to a brew of authentic white, green, or oolong tea. You must be a brit adding milk to black assam tea ;-) I think...

      That's funny, I wouldn't be caught dead adding milk (non-diary or otherwise) to a brew of authentic white, green, or oolong tea. You must be a brit adding milk to black assam tea ;-)

      I think preachy vegans have the perspective that it's better that other people view them as cunty, so long as fewer animals get tortured and murdered. It is hard to argue with that perspective.

      Personally as a vegan, when these sorts of topics are brought up, I find it more productive to ask questions than proclaim my thoughts.

      11 votes
      1. mat
        Link Parent
        English Breakfast, aka "builder's tea", mostly. Traditionally an Assam/Ceylon/Kenyan blend. I don't add milk to Chinese and Japanese teas, I'm not a savage :) (matcha latte notwithstanding, but...

        English Breakfast, aka "builder's tea", mostly. Traditionally an Assam/Ceylon/Kenyan blend. I don't add milk to Chinese and Japanese teas, I'm not a savage :) (matcha latte notwithstanding, but that's more a tea-flavoured milkshake..)

        The problem with the preachy types is that if people think someone is a cunt, they're not going to listen to them. Them saying things like "everyone should be vegan so fewer animals get tortured and murdered" is implying that if I'm not vegan I must be pro-torture and murder and at that point fuck those people I'm not listening any more. Preaching an -ism (veganism or any other) is fundamentally just masturbation, it's sole purpose is the self-pleasure of the preacher - because as you suggest, there are far more productive approaches if you care about results rather than smugness.

        fwiw, when I say to my friends that eating a largely plant based diet is actually pretty good if you have a few tricks up your sleeve while cooking, and damn it saves you a lot of money, but you don't have to go to extremes and stop having nice tea or fish sauce or even the occasional steak as a treat - they've been surprisingly responsive, I suspect in part because they're not already on the defensive because "vegans are cunts".

        10 votes
      2. acdw
        Link Parent
        Yes! And I think part of that is the "preachy vegan" stereotype. I don't want to come across as judgmental or preachy, so I hold my tongue (present thread notwithstanding).

        Personally as a vegan, when these sorts of topics are brought up, I find it more productive to ask questions than proclaim my thoughts.

        Yes! And I think part of that is the "preachy vegan" stereotype. I don't want to come across as judgmental or preachy, so I hold my tongue (present thread notwithstanding).

        3 votes
    2. [10]
      JakeTheDog
      Link Parent
      Why is it a good idea not to? No ideology is 100% sound. Religious beliefs are ripe territory to be mocked. Mockery is one mode of refining ideas via society. Most often initiated or pointed out...

      It's probably a good idea to not mock anyone's beliefs, especially when those beliefs are mostly pretty good, ethically speaking

      Why is it a good idea not to? No ideology is 100% sound. Religious beliefs are ripe territory to be mocked. Mockery is one mode of refining ideas via society. Most often initiated or pointed out by comedians or journalists and commentators (the late and great Christopher Hitchens comes to mind).

      And, more importantly, being mocked and good-humored about it is important for developing a sense of humility and keeping authorities in check (there's a reason why you can confidently, without fear of imprisonment or death, mock the president of the US but not of China or Russia). Otherwise the Emperor wears no clothes - except with much worse outcomes.

      Though mockery should not be confused with bullying, where the objective is purely suffering of others.

      8 votes
      1. [9]
        mat
        Link Parent
        I find mockery is not a productive way to discuss things. Sure, among friends it's fun and when safely within the context of humour of course people should be able to both make and take a joke,...

        I find mockery is not a productive way to discuss things. Sure, among friends it's fun and when safely within the context of humour of course people should be able to both make and take a joke, and yes, those in power should be the targets of satire as much as of serious analysis - but as a general approach to refining ideas? Not entirely convinced about that.

        Just remind me again how well mocking Trump (and the rest of the Republicans) is "keeping him in check" right now?

        9 votes
        1. [8]
          mike10010100
          Link Parent
          It worked well for atheists, no? Atheism went from an unacceptable idea to a relatively mainstream one over a period of less than a decade. And a lot of that happened through mockery.

          but as a general approach to refining ideas?

          It worked well for atheists, no? Atheism went from an unacceptable idea to a relatively mainstream one over a period of less than a decade. And a lot of that happened through mockery.

          1. [5]
            mat
            Link Parent
            Did it? Atheism isn't an idea, it's a non-idea. You can't refine something which is the absence of a thing. I'm not sure anyone ever got mocked out of having religious beliefs. They might have...

            Did it? Atheism isn't an idea, it's a non-idea. You can't refine something which is the absence of a thing.

            I'm not sure anyone ever got mocked out of having religious beliefs. They might have been reasoned out of them. But then I don't really know what the situation in the US is/was.

            5 votes
            1. [2]
              JakeTheDog
              Link Parent
              The majority of people in the world are not the scholarly type, as opposed to the audience here on Tildes where discussions are more "serious" (and formal to an extent). Humor is a legitimate mode...

              Sure, among friends it's fun and when safely within the context of humour of course people should be able to both make and take a joke, and yes, those in power should be the targets of satire as much as of serious analysis - but as a general approach to refining ideas?

              The majority of people in the world are not the scholarly type, as opposed to the audience here on Tildes where discussions are more "serious" (and formal to an extent). Humor is a legitimate mode of communication. Even more so because difficult subjects can be broached in a safe, emotionally-positive environment. It can be a testing grounds to step outside of typical boundaries (e.g. taboos) yet the idea still gets planted and can lead to more serious thinking and development.

              Just remind me again how well mocking Trump (and the rest of the Republicans) is "keeping him in check" right now?

              This is less so for the person being mocked and more for the rest of society.

              Atheism isn't an idea, it's a non-idea. You can't refine something which is the absence of a thing.

              Okay this is just serious confusion or misrepresentation. Atheism is the idea that there is no omnipotent/omniscient/omnipresent being. I don't understand how just because the idea is based on something not existing, it doesn't make it an idea/ideology.

              5 votes
              1. mat
                Link Parent
                Well, whether you can do humour without mocking is a question indeed. I'm think you probably can, but there's degrees of stuff and I tend to think that by the time you've left 'teasing' and moved...

                Well, whether you can do humour without mocking is a question indeed. I'm think you probably can, but there's degrees of stuff and I tend to think that by the time you've left 'teasing' and moved into 'mocking' then you're probably being mean rather than helpful. But semantics.

                We're getting a bit off topic here but.. atheism, by definition, is the absence of theism. That's literally the meaning of the word. It's not an idea in and of itself any more than not believing in unicorns is. You can't refine the idea of not believing in unicorns (or gods), either you do believe or you don't. It's a simple binary. You can mock the religious if you like but that doesn't do anything to change what atheism is or what it means.

                1 vote
            2. [2]
              mike10010100
              Link Parent
              There is an argument to be made that "god" as a concept is an attempt by the human brain to pattern match and find justification for things that they cannot readily grasp. It's the addition of...

              Atheism isn't an idea, it's a non-idea.

              There is an argument to be made that "god" as a concept is an attempt by the human brain to pattern match and find justification for things that they cannot readily grasp. It's the addition of knowledge, education, and logic that results in one having the ability to reject such superstitions.

              I'm not sure anyone ever got mocked out of having religious beliefs.

              No, but the mocking at least presented their "fire and brimstone" style of convincing others to be religious as ridiculous, and thus less effective.

              1. cadadr
                Link Parent
                The Short History of Myths by Karen Armstrong is an interesting resource on the topic, the main argument being it is something that developped of fear and idolisation of natural forces and evolved...

                There is an argument to be made that "god" as a concept is an attempt by the human brain to pattern match and find justification for things that they cannot readily grasp.

                The Short History of Myths by Karen Armstrong is an interesting resource on the topic, the main argument being it is something that developped of fear and idolisation of natural forces and evolved into today's institutional belief systems. IIRC, it says that gods, and God with a capital G is a rather recent invention within that framework.

                2 votes
          2. gpl
            Link Parent
            I think the much bigger reason that atheism has become more acceptable over the past 20ish years is simply the Internet allowing atheists that otherwise would have been relatively isolated in...

            I think the much bigger reason that atheism has become more acceptable over the past 20ish years is simply the Internet allowing atheists that otherwise would have been relatively isolated in religious communities to connect and form their own online communities that were also out in the open. I don't think mockery contributed all that much to mainstream acceptance, especially when the 'mainstream' is the same demographic being mocked.

            3 votes
          3. TheJorro
            Link Parent
            Which decade? What mockery? Atheism seems to have been deemed more and more acceptable over the slow passing of many decades, and I can't think of much mockery involved so much as outright...

            Which decade? What mockery? Atheism seems to have been deemed more and more acceptable over the slow passing of many decades, and I can't think of much mockery involved so much as outright rejection. Sure, there was some satire here and there but, religiously speaking, the only real mockery I can think of is actually not an atheistic one—the Satanic Church.

            2 votes
    3. [5]
      acdw
      Link Parent
      Can I ask what your diet usually consists of? And why do you view veganism as an "extreme"? I'm genuinely curious.

      I eat a mostly plant-based diet myself these days but nothing so extreme as being vegan.

      Can I ask what your diet usually consists of? And why do you view veganism as an "extreme"? I'm genuinely curious.

      3 votes
      1. [4]
        mat
        Link Parent
        Veganism is an extreme position on the meat/plant diet axis. There are more extreme diets but people generally die from following them (fruitarians spring to mind). I don't mean it's extreme in...

        Veganism is an extreme position on the meat/plant diet axis. There are more extreme diets but people generally die from following them (fruitarians spring to mind). I don't mean it's extreme in the sense of being "too much" or being bad or anything - just that if you plot various diets on a chart veganism is definitely towards the edges. There's a few very meaty or even meat-only diets which are just as extreme the other way. You have to be a bit careful when following a vegan diet to make sure you get the nutrients you need (vegans are more commonly iodine deficient than vegetarians or carnivores, for example), which tends not to happen with less extreme diets. But hey, however people want to live is none of my business. No judgement from me here.

        I eat mostly vegetables, nuts, eggs, cheese, etc. As well as rice and grains and pulses and so on. It's a largely vegetarian diet but I still use meat stock in sauces and dahls and such, as well as condiments like Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce and so on. Because while I'm in favour of doing my bit to save the planet, I don't think it's worth saving if there isn't nước chấm to eat, especially in the summer. I will often eat meat or fish when going out - my parents and in-laws both like to treat me and my wife to restaurant meals every few months - or when ordering pizza or whatever. I haven't bought meat as a cooking ingredient for well over a year now, and probably 95% of my meals are cooked from stuff I've bought.

        8 votes
        1. [3]
          acdw
          Link Parent
          Thanks for the clarification -- I hadn't thought of a meat/plant axis before (though it sounds like a cool band name or something). And I wish more vegans were cool with the "do what you can to...

          Thanks for the clarification -- I hadn't thought of a meat/plant axis before (though it sounds like a cool band name or something). And I wish more vegans were cool with the "do what you can to save the planet" thing -- like, it's a process. Any individual can't do a whole lot.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            Greg
            Link Parent
            I've been thinking as I read through the thread how much I (an omnivore) find the term "plant based" more appealing - it's a target to work towards, a goal to make the primary basis of my diet for...

            And I wish more vegans were cool with the "do what you can to save the planet" thing -- like, it's a process.

            I've been thinking as I read through the thread how much I (an omnivore) find the term "plant based" more appealing - it's a target to work towards, a goal to make the primary basis of my diet for a multitude of positive reasons, but it doesn't have an endgame that forever shuts me out of some of my simplest and purest sources of enjoyment. Plant based, even without being plant only, is something that could still be sustainable and ethical at a whole-population level.

            An interesting corollary that just clicked in the context of all this is that even linguistically we use vegan as an identity as much as a simple descriptor "they are a vegan" vs. "they eat a plant based diet". I wonder if that adds to the sense of (and fear of) commitment and all-or-nothing status?

            7 votes
            1. acdw
              Link Parent
              I think you're right, here. It's the same rhetorical underpinnings of the push to call people with disabilities "people with disabilities" instead of "disabled people" -- it separates the human...

              An interesting corollary that just clicked in the context of all this is that even linguistically we use vegan as an identity as much as a simple descriptor "they are a vegan" vs. "they eat a plant based diet". I wonder if that adds to the sense of (and fear of) commitment and all-or-nothing status?

              I think you're right, here. It's the same rhetorical underpinnings of the push to call people with disabilities "people with disabilities" instead of "disabled people" -- it separates the human being (who has their own worth and meaning separate from anything else) with their qualities/lifestyle.

              2 votes
  3. [4]
    moocow1452
    Link
    There's a really good video from Innuendo Studios that posits that for your average person, someone bettering themselves in a way that the first person is capable of but chooses not to, (veganism,...

    There's a really good video from Innuendo Studios that posits that for your average person, someone bettering themselves in a way that the first person is capable of but chooses not to, (veganism, exercise routine, abstaining from alcohol) puts them in a self reflective position that a lot of people are not comfortable in, or even aware they are in. That's why someone could say, "I chose not to do that" for any number of reasons, and a lot of the time the first lizard brained impulse is, "Oh, this is involving me, isn't it?"

    7 votes
    1. mike10010100
      Link Parent
      Yes, and this tendency reflects perfectly an individual's ability to self-improve and change when presented with new information. It also highly correlates to a left vs. right mentality, in that...

      Yes, and this tendency reflects perfectly an individual's ability to self-improve and change when presented with new information. It also highly correlates to a left vs. right mentality, in that right-leaning people tend to be conservative and want to maintain the status quo.

      1 vote
    2. [2]
      acdw
      Link Parent
      This makes a lot of sense to me -- I wonder if the kind of (at least in America) culture that is very judgmental about what people wear and do and think has to do with this, as well?

      This makes a lot of sense to me -- I wonder if the kind of (at least in America) culture that is very judgmental about what people wear and do and think has to do with this, as well?

      1 vote
      1. moocow1452
        Link Parent
        The video is part of a bigger series on Gamergate and internet mobs, so... probs.

        The video is part of a bigger series on Gamergate and internet mobs, so... probs.

        2 votes
  4. [26]
    ubergeek
    Link
    I don't generally make fun of vegans. I do make fun of the preachy vegans, much how I make fun of preachy crossfitters, or preachy ketoers. No. Your diet isn't going to solve the world's problems....

    I don't generally make fun of vegans. I do make fun of the preachy vegans, much how I make fun of preachy crossfitters, or preachy ketoers.

    No. Your diet isn't going to solve the world's problems. Veganism wont, either, no matter how ethical it is, it still destroys the planet trucking your 3500 lbs of veg across the country, in addition to the cultivation methods that require removing old forests land in favor of your food.

    What really irritates me is when they try to imply humans are supposed to be only eating plants. Um? Biologically, it says different. We are omnivores, by biology.

    What really gets my goat is when vegans try to put their obligate carnivore pets on a vegan diet. You're literally killing your pet, slowly.

    The being said, a lot of good DOES come from eating less meat, on several fronts.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      Whom
      Link Parent
      I hear this a lot (and trust me, I get it), but I feel like it contributes to the generally hostile environment for vegans and vegetarians just the same. Any joke about vegans is going to use the...

      I hear this a lot (and trust me, I get it), but I feel like it contributes to the generally hostile environment for vegans and vegetarians just the same. Any joke about vegans is going to use the most ridiculous members of the group, of course, and attaching "oh I don't mean you" doesn't make it less of a pain.

      To me, making fun of the most ridiculous vegans when you're dealing with a specific ridiculous vegan is fine. But if you're just making a joke about those crazy vegans, it's a bit of a dick move. It kinda wears you down...if your veganism is going to be a whole thing like that anyway, why not be preachy? It'll turn out the same.

      It creates a situation where you've gotta disavow the sins of The Bad Ones to speak about your diet at all.

      8 votes
      1. ubergeek
        Link Parent
        Yep, and that's pretty much where I end it, too. Totally agree.

        To me, making fun of the most ridiculous vegans when you're dealing with a specific ridiculous vegan is fine.

        Yep, and that's pretty much where I end it, too.

        But if you're just making a joke about those crazy vegans, it's a bit of a dick move.

        Totally agree.

        2 votes
    2. [9]
      acdw
      Link Parent
      I agree with you on all points, especially the obligate carnivore pet thing -- my thought is, if you're going to be hardcore enough to not feed meat to your pets, then owning pets should be...

      I agree with you on all points, especially the obligate carnivore pet thing -- my thought is, if you're going to be hardcore enough to not feed meat to your pets, then owning pets should be ethically fraught as well. The one thing I'd push back a little on is the "we are omnivores, biologically." We are, of course -- we can eat anything. But for most of human history, and indeed in many cultures now, humans have thrived on diets consisting of a large majority (90%+) of plants. In fact, many health problems, like diabetes, gout, obesity, etc., were commonly known as "rich-people diseases" because only the rich, who could afford to eat meat every day, would get them.

      6 votes
      1. [6]
        ubergeek
        Link Parent
        Exactly. They shouldn't own a pet that is an obligate carnivore, like a cat. Or a ferret. Um, no, not really. We've thrived on a diverse diet. There's a reason we need B12, which you don't get...

        I agree with you on all points, especially the obligate carnivore pet thing -- my thought is, if you're going to be hardcore enough to not feed meat to your pets, then owning pets should be ethically fraught as well.

        Exactly. They shouldn't own a pet that is an obligate carnivore, like a cat. Or a ferret.

        We are, of course -- we can eat anything. But for most of human history, and indeed in many cultures now, humans have thrived on diets consisting of a large majority (90%+) of plants.

        Um, no, not really. We've thrived on a diverse diet. There's a reason we need B12, which you don't get from plants. In fact, there's an entire epoch of human history called "hunter-gather". It's likely the reason we became substantially smarter than other primates, really.

        And, meat was something that was eaten, regularly, be even the poorest. Sure, the rich were gluttons, but the poor stretched their meat stocks via drying/curing/etc. And even peasants had a supply of eggs, and chickens, as they were nearly ubiquitous in households of the era.

        4 votes
        1. acdw
          Link Parent
          Fair enough on the eggs and the curing -- but B12 is also in a lot of soil bacteria, which would've been eaten a lot by people before germ theory (or our modern, hyper-sterile environment) was...

          Fair enough on the eggs and the curing -- but B12 is also in a lot of soil bacteria, which would've been eaten a lot by people before germ theory (or our modern, hyper-sterile environment) was prevalent.

          2 votes
        2. [4]
          Nmg
          Link Parent
          The animals are getting B12 from soil bacteria, just as we are capable of doing so... You see this with omega-3s too. You could eat fish to get EPA and DHA... Or you could just get it from where...

          The animals are getting B12 from soil bacteria, just as we are capable of doing so...

          You see this with omega-3s too. You could eat fish to get EPA and DHA... Or you could just get it from where the fish get it, from algae.

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            ubergeek
            Link Parent
            True, we could eat algae (I think I remarked as much in another comment here). Not many people are even willing to consider algae as a food source. Another idea is meal worms, or insects in general.

            True, we could eat algae (I think I remarked as much in another comment here). Not many people are even willing to consider algae as a food source.

            Another idea is meal worms, or insects in general.

            1. [2]
              Nmg
              Link Parent
              I eat algae right now. Half spoonful of algal oil in my smoothie each morning. I need to get DHA and EPA somehow. Lots of people eat spirulina already. I personally haven't tried it.

              I eat algae right now. Half spoonful of algal oil in my smoothie each morning. I need to get DHA and EPA somehow.

              Lots of people eat spirulina already. I personally haven't tried it.

              1 vote
              1. Akir
                Link Parent
                I've had it as part of a juice mix before. It's in Bolthouse Farm's Green Goodness. I want to say it adds texture, but it's really more of a weight; it's not like it's chewy or anything. But heck,...

                I've had it as part of a juice mix before. It's in Bolthouse Farm's Green Goodness. I want to say it adds texture, but it's really more of a weight; it's not like it's chewy or anything.

                But heck, lots of Asian people have algae as a part of their diet right now. That would be laver, AKA nori. If I recall correctly, it's a dried version of either chlorella or spirulina. It's common to eat other kinds of seaweed as well, but I'm not sure if they would be classified as algae.

                1 vote
      2. [2]
        cadadr
        Link Parent
        Well, after a certain point, things become extreme enough that the adherents to such views are basically mentally ill. Decisions about own diet, fine; ideas about world's diet, uhm, ok; decisions...

        Well, after a certain point, things become extreme enough that the adherents to such views are basically mentally ill. Decisions about own diet, fine; ideas about world's diet, uhm, ok; decisions about world's diet, too much; decisions about animals' diets, abuse of domestic animals; decision to not breastfeed nor give anything else to replace it to your child because you're a vegan couple, (almost) killing it; child abuse and even homicide. And that happened indeed.

        In that list, the last two items are where it wanders into "insane" terriory, and becomes rather destructive.

        2 votes
        1. acdw
          Link Parent
          Oh yeah, I agree about the breastfeeding thing -- I didn't realize that's what those stories were about. That's losing the plot. I've actually joked about whether cannibalism is morally compatible...

          Oh yeah, I agree about the breastfeeding thing -- I didn't realize that's what those stories were about. That's losing the plot.

          I've actually joked about whether cannibalism is morally compatible with veganism, provided the "victim" were of sound mind and consented -- which is where my ideas about eating animals come from. So of course providing your own child with milk from your body is fine, even great! Uff, I can't believe how crazy people can be sometimes.

          2 votes
    3. [10]
      mike10010100
      Link Parent
      Veganism ensures shorter supply lines. Lettuce can be grown almost anywhere, even hydroponically. Cattle require a large amount of grazing land and pump out a massive amount of CO2 in addition to...

      Your diet isn't going to solve the world's problems. Veganism wont, either, no matter how ethical it is, it still destroys the planet trucking your 3500 lbs of veg across the country

      Veganism ensures shorter supply lines. Lettuce can be grown almost anywhere, even hydroponically. Cattle require a large amount of grazing land and pump out a massive amount of CO2 in addition to the exact same transportation costs you're saying that veganism produces.

      3 votes
      1. [9]
        ubergeek
        Link Parent
        Veganism itself doesn't ensure shorter supply lines. Lettuce is not suitable for all climates. Neither are tomatoes, advocados, or cukes. Most certainly not year-round. Half of the year, the...

        Veganism itself doesn't ensure shorter supply lines. Lettuce is not suitable for all climates. Neither are tomatoes, advocados, or cukes. Most certainly not year-round. Half of the year, the largest consumer of food cannot year-round cultivate enough veg to support the population.

        4 votes
        1. [8]
          mike10010100
          Link Parent
          Right, but that's where hydroponic urban farming comes in. It's currently experiencing a boom both because it has the potential to change how we produce plant-based foods, but because it requires...

          Right, but that's where hydroponic urban farming comes in. It's currently experiencing a boom both because it has the potential to change how we produce plant-based foods, but because it requires no harmful fertilizers or insecticide/herbicide.

          Again, just because the supply lines aren't very short now doesn't mean they aren't rapidly shrinking. Something that isn't at all possible for livestock, which requires a specific amount and type of land, and must necessarily result in high methane/CO2 production by the nature of the product they are cultivating, in addition to the need to transport via long supply chains.

          1. [7]
            ubergeek
            Link Parent
            Those closed loop systems you're talking about require fish to grow that food. Presumably, the fish would be eaten. Not very vegan, honestly.

            Those closed loop systems you're talking about require fish to grow that food. Presumably, the fish would be eaten. Not very vegan, honestly.

            1. [3]
              mike10010100
              Link Parent
              Why? I mean, yes, they can, but there are entire species of fish that aren't really suitable for human consumption that would be perfect for this type of environment. It's weird to say "haha! I...

              Presumably, the fish would be eaten.

              Why? I mean, yes, they can, but there are entire species of fish that aren't really suitable for human consumption that would be perfect for this type of environment. It's weird to say "haha! I could possibly conceive of a situation where vegan-producing hydroponics farms might also produce hyper-local, sustainable meat sources that would still require people cut back on their consumption of meat, take that vegans!"

              The point remains the same: livestock require the same set of conditions no matter what, produce the same waste no matter what (to a point), and necessitate long supply chains no matter what. Plant-based diets are at least rapidly working to shorten said supply lines and can in fact be sustainable in quite a few environments that they were not before. Therefore, veganism all but ensures shorter supply lines.

              4 votes
              1. [2]
                ubergeek
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I'm sorry, I just don't see this happening. Right now, my meat comes from within 200 miles of my home, same with my veg. And, I just cannot see this getting much shorter, especially if vegetable...

                I'm sorry, I just don't see this happening. Right now, my meat comes from within 200 miles of my home, same with my veg. And, I just cannot see this getting much shorter, especially if vegetable consumption increases.

                So, for your claim of "vegetable supply lines are getting shorter", I'll need some sort of evidence for it, as I'm not finding that anywhere. Farms will always be X miles from cities, and urban farming, while hip and chic, will never be able to support an urban center, seeing as you need ~1 acre to feed a person if 100% utilized.

                Not mentioning the energy inputs you now have, in order to do "extreme farming" (Yes, that's a word for it), or even closed loop farming. You have to heat greenhouses in -10 deg F. You have to ensure water temperatures are perfect. Those all require energy inputs.

                So, now, you're eating less meat, but burning more fossil fuels, or tearing up more land for silicon/steel/copper/etc to power your extreme farming.

                As for using non-edible fish for the closed loop, then you're just wasting resources in your loop. The point of the loop is to extract the most amount of food from it. You'd be better off finding an algae you can eat, that takes care of the plant wastes, and excretes nutrients for the plants.

                2 votes
                1. mike10010100
                  Link Parent
                  I mean you are a unique case, certainly. Supply lines for the overwhelming majority of Americans are far, far longer. In fact, vertical farming, aquaponics, and hydroponics are changing the way in...

                  I'm sorry, I just don't see this happening. Right now, my meat comes from within 200 miles of my home, same with my veg. And, I just cannot see this getting much shorter, especially if vegetable consumption increases.

                  I mean you are a unique case, certainly. Supply lines for the overwhelming majority of Americans are far, far longer.

                  So, for your claim of "vegetable supply lines are getting shorter", I'll need some sort of evidence for it, as I'm not finding that anywhere. Farms will always be X miles from cities, and urban farming, while hip and chic, will never be able to support an urban center, seeing as you need ~1 acre to feed a person if 100% utilized.

                  In fact, vertical farming, aquaponics, and hydroponics are changing the way in which we think about sustainable urban farming!

                  https://www.greenbiz.com/article/10-companies-feeding-urban-farming-boom

                  Not mentioning the energy inputs you now have, in order to do "extreme farming" (Yes, that's a word for it), or even closed loop farming. You have to heat greenhouses in -10 deg F. You have to ensure water temperatures are perfect. Those all require energy inputs.

                  Energy can be made cleanly. Cattle cannot be raised as cleanly. Even if it comes from next door, the act of raising cattle produces far more CO2 and methane than growing plants.

                  but burning more fossil fuels, or tearing up more land for silicon/steel/copper/etc to power your extreme farming.

                  Yes, but, again, alternative energy is a thing we will need as a civilization going forward. By your logic, we might as well not even bother developing new technology at all, despite the fact that new technology allows us to be more efficient with energy resourced than we were before.

                  As for using non-edible fish for the closed loop, then you're just wasting resources in your loop. The point of the loop is to extract the most amount of food from it. You'd be better off finding an algae you can eat, that takes care of the plant wastes, and excretes nutrients for the plants.

                  And that is also an option some aquaponic startups are taking.

                  1 vote
            2. [3]
              Nmg
              Link Parent
              I think you are thinking of aquaponics rather than hydroponics.

              I think you are thinking of aquaponics rather than hydroponics.

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                ubergeek
                Link Parent
                Well, it would be the only logical thing to think. Otherwise, you need all sorts of new inputs, such as nutrient solutions, which get trucked in from far away? In which case, you're still not...

                Well, it would be the only logical thing to think. Otherwise, you need all sorts of new inputs, such as nutrient solutions, which get trucked in from far away? In which case, you're still not helping the planet.

                1. Nmg
                  Link Parent
                  They are pretty concentrated, I think. I don't know how efficient hydroponics is compared to traditional agriculture. I think that should be the mode of comparison, even if you are trucking in 55...

                  They are pretty concentrated, I think.

                  I don't know how efficient hydroponics is compared to traditional agriculture. I think that should be the mode of comparison, even if you are trucking in 55 gallon drums of N-P-K.

                  1 vote
    4. [4]
      Nmg
      Link Parent
      Most land is used for cattle grazing or growing animal feed. We could feed the 2050 world population today if we took animals out of the picture. I am not sure where you are getting this idea that...

      Most land is used for cattle grazing or growing animal feed. We could feed the 2050 world population today if we took animals out of the picture. I am not sure where you are getting this idea that old forest lands would need to be cut down. Literally just eat the soybeans that were going to be fed to the cow.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        ubergeek
        Link Parent
        https://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/september/farmland-cutting-forests-090210.html https://www.wvxu.org/post/if-we-all-ate-enough-fruits-and-vegetables-thered-be-big-shortages We really just need...

        https://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/september/farmland-cutting-forests-090210.html

        https://www.wvxu.org/post/if-we-all-ate-enough-fruits-and-vegetables-thered-be-big-shortages

        We really just need to admit that the real solution to these problems aren't changing our diets, but changing the size of our population by about 50%.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          Nmg
          Link Parent
          The Amazon rainforest is being cut or burned down for cattle grazing though... We can't grow the recommended amount of fruit and veg because as I wrote earlier, the land is being used for animal...

          The Amazon rainforest is being cut or burned down for cattle grazing though...

          We can't grow the recommended amount of fruit and veg because as I wrote earlier, the land is being used for animal agriculture. Even the second article you linked reccommends a shift to plant based diets.

          There are two solutions: Fewer people (as you put it), or more efficient lifestyles.

          Birth control and education of women is effective at the former, plant based diets and large scale energy efficient transit systems will help with the latter.

          4 votes
          1. ubergeek
            Link Parent
            We actually need both, if we want to maintain modern conveniences is my point, though.

            There are two solutions: Fewer people (as you put it), or more efficient lifestyles

            We actually need both, if we want to maintain modern conveniences is my point, though.

  5. [22]
    acdw
    Link
    I came across this op-ed on NYT from Hacker News, only to find, after I'd read the article, that it'd been flagged. The only comments were dismissive. I'm hoping that Tildes will be more fair, and...

    I came across this op-ed on NYT from Hacker News, only to find, after I'd read the article, that it'd been flagged. The only comments were dismissive. I'm hoping that Tildes will be more fair, and I'm interested in yall's take on the author's argument that "preachy vegan" is a mostly-bunk/out-of-date stereotype.

    6 votes
    1. [5]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [3]
        acdw
        Link Parent
        If it's alright, I'd love to ask: if you think that vegans are on the "right side of history," why don't you join them? It's really not that hard to do. That was actually my main criticism of the...

        If it's alright, I'd love to ask: if you think that vegans are on the "right side of history," why don't you join them? It's really not that hard to do. That was actually my main criticism of the article (and actually I've seen a decent number of arguments like this), where the author has nothing but good things to say about the movement but just shrugs when it comes to why they aren't a part of it. Maybe part of the problem is messaging: veganism is commonly understood to be all or nothing. But it's also good for people to stop eating as much meat -- any progress is a win. Maybe vegans -- I suppose I mean vegan groups -- should try encouraging that.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [2]
            acdw
            Link Parent
            Thanks for that -- I had no idea hypersensitive taste could be that intense. Sounds like you've experienced a lot of the negative eating-habit reactions I've really only heard about -- I'm lucky...

            Thanks for that -- I had no idea hypersensitive taste could be that intense. Sounds like you've experienced a lot of the negative eating-habit reactions I've really only heard about -- I'm lucky that the people I run around with are generally cool with veganism. You've also given me better insight into my picky sisters' tastes, too -- so thanks very much!

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. mike10010100
                Link Parent
                And that's totally okay. As long as you're not striving to make the world worse to "pwn the libs", for example, just trying your best is better than keeping the status quo. I'm not vegan, I'm not...

                I accept that it's immoral to knowingly engage in this diet

                And that's totally okay. As long as you're not striving to make the world worse to "pwn the libs", for example, just trying your best is better than keeping the status quo.

                I'm not vegan, I'm not even vegetarian, but I sure do try to reduce my meat intake as much as possible and encourage as many people as possible to do so.

                1 vote
      2. mike10010100
        Link Parent
        This. They're only preachy because they're right. It's like the "insufferable atheist" meme of the early 2000s. They're right. They may come off as annoying, but they're right.

        They're like religious proselytizers except they are demonstrably, scientifically correct and if everyone acted as they do the world would be much better off

        This. They're only preachy because they're right. It's like the "insufferable atheist" meme of the early 2000s. They're right. They may come off as annoying, but they're right.

        1 vote
    2. [14]
      annadane
      Link Parent
      I don't understand Hacker News. They're so abrasive for no reason.

      I don't understand Hacker News. They're so abrasive for no reason.

      3 votes
      1. [12]
        wfrced
        Link Parent
        The article is neither hacker nor news, there's no mystery here.

        The article is neither hacker nor news, there's no mystery here.

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          annadane
          Link Parent
          I understand that but there are a lot of diverse articles that get posted there so it's not an excuse

          I understand that but there are a lot of diverse articles that get posted there so it's not an excuse

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            wfrced
            Link Parent
            It's not an excuse, it's the reason for flagging. This is facebook tier post.

            It's not an excuse, it's the reason for flagging. This is facebook tier post.

            2 votes
            1. TheJorro
              Link Parent
              Define "Facebook tier post" because I don't see how this is one.

              Define "Facebook tier post" because I don't see how this is one.

              1 vote
        2. [3]
          JakeTheDog
          Link Parent
          Are the accepted/mainstream articles there all strictly hacker or news-related?

          Are the accepted/mainstream articles there all strictly hacker or news-related?

          2 votes
          1. cadadr
            Link Parent
            Either that or interests an Anglophone Western White Techie Male. I loved HN but it has turned into hell over the years. I've stopped frequenting it.

            Either that or interests an Anglophone Western White Techie Male.

            I loved HN but it has turned into hell over the years. I've stopped frequenting it.

            5 votes
          2. wfrced
            Link Parent
            Well, they kinda should be, although not necessarily. HN is definitely not the place for columnist opinions that start with statements like 'They’re right about ethics and the environment'.

            Well, they kinda should be, although not necessarily. HN is definitely not the place for columnist opinions that start with statements like 'They’re right about ethics and the environment'.

            2 votes
        3. [5]
          mike10010100
          Link Parent
          That hasn't stopped some of the conservative-leaning political shit they post on there.

          That hasn't stopped some of the conservative-leaning political shit they post on there.

          1 vote
          1. [4]
            Adys
            Link Parent
            Such as? (And why is it different whether it's conservative-leaning or liberal-leaning?)

            Such as? (And why is it different whether it's conservative-leaning or liberal-leaning?)

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              mike10010100
              Link Parent
              I mean let's just look at their /best page right now. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20816470 First up we have a study that shows new evidence that fracking might be contributing to spiking...

              I mean let's just look at their /best page right now.

              https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20816470

              First up we have a study that shows new evidence that fracking might be contributing to spiking methane levels. And what's the first comment?

              "[link] is a somewhat older but a much more informative and balanced article. The td;lr version is that there is a minority that blames fracking, but most have concluded that it doesn't fit the data."

              So they link an older study, with less timely data, as a refutation to a new study that presents more concrete information. They then go on to muddy the waters with "well there are a lot of theories and a lot of people saying different things."

              Conveniently, this is exactly the line that conservatives toe.

              Then, we have this article:

              https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20800832

              where the top replies are all about "actually fast food meat is supermarket quality and it's only because yuppies want to make themselves feel better than the plebs who eat at fast food places", "ackshually, because of long supply chains <no sources cited> there's no environmental benefit", and "well because BK is charging more for beyond burgers, that clearly means they're more expensive to work with/buy".

              All of this is meant to undercut the point and promote conservative talking points that are simply not reflective of reality. For a site that prides itself on "logic and reason STEM", there isn't much of it in that comment chain.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                Adys
                Link Parent
                I don't see the problem with the comments you're linking. They're not particularly political. If the comments themselves have flaws, such as logic flaws, sourcing flaws etc then best point it out....

                I don't see the problem with the comments you're linking. They're not particularly political.

                If the comments themselves have flaws, such as logic flaws, sourcing flaws etc then best point it out. But that has nothing to do with political leaning.

                "ackshually, because of long supply chains <no sources cited> there's no environmental benefit"

                Okay, so the only comment that even approaches this, is this one:

                Watch when it has zero impact on climate change because the extensive ingredient list on the beyond meat burger which requires a huge supply chain shipping products all around the country along with a complicated manufacturing process requiring energy ends up having a similar environmental impact to simple animal farming.

                This is not a sourced comment because it's not presenting a fact, it's quite clearly presenting a what-if scenario ("watch when …"). I'm not going to go over your other pointed issues because you're rewording them; it wasted me enough time to track down one of them and I'm not impressed with the results, tbh.

                HN comment quality isn't always stellar, and the SNR has been worsening the past few years that's for sure. But in your earlier comment, you're taking "one opinion article being flagged" to "but there's some conservative-leaning comments here and there so it's inconsistent". I shouldn't have to explain how those things are different, and it's not my job to defend HN anyway, but your comment chain here is IMO of much worse quality than anything you linked me.

                2 votes
                1. mike10010100
                  Link Parent
                  They absolutely are though, and I've demonstrated how they tie into political lines being told by conservatives. It's quite a bit more callous than a what-if scenario. It's clearly a "haha silly...

                  I don't see the problem with the comments you're linking. They're not particularly political.

                  They absolutely are though, and I've demonstrated how they tie into political lines being told by conservatives.

                  This is not a sourced comment because it's not presenting a fact, it's quite clearly presenting a what-if scenario ("watch when …").

                  It's quite a bit more callous than a what-if scenario. It's clearly a "haha silly people watch when this all fails".

                  And while I did paraphrase for the sake of humor, the point of my paraphrasing was not inherently wrong, as I've shown with the example you chose to refute.

                  Which is exactly my point. It's muddying fact-based discussion with political-view-based speculation, almost banking on its failure despite the relevant facts.

                  1 vote
      2. acdw
        Link Parent
        I usually like reading their comments, because they're thoughtful about the stuff they're interested in (tech, etc). But when it's outside that bubble of shared interest, the community can get...

        I usually like reading their comments, because they're thoughtful about the stuff they're interested in (tech, etc). But when it's outside that bubble of shared interest, the community can get really judgy and almost toxic, and it kind of reminds me that I don't live in the same world as most of the people on there.

        3 votes
    3. [3]
      mike10010100
      Link Parent
      I'm not surprised, HackerNews has recently been taken over by "hyper-rational" folks who all oddly defend conservative values/ideologies.

      I came across this op-ed on NYT from Hacker News, only to find, after I'd read the article, that it'd been flagged. The only comments were dismissive.

      I'm not surprised, HackerNews has recently been taken over by "hyper-rational" folks who all oddly defend conservative values/ideologies.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        acdw
        Link Parent
        Ooh, was that on Tildes that I read that "rationality" article? I'll have to try and find it -- it was really good. Found it: The Magical Thinking of Guys Who Love Logic, by Aisling McCrea. It...

        Ooh, was that on Tildes that I read that "rationality" article? I'll have to try and find it -- it was really good.

        Found it: The Magical Thinking of Guys Who Love Logic, by Aisling McCrea. It wasn't on here -- if it seems interesting enough, maybe I'll start a topic.

        2 votes
        1. mike10010100
          Link Parent
          Please do. That seems like a very interesting topic of conversation.

          Please do. That seems like a very interesting topic of conversation.

          1 vote
  6. [12]
    cadadr
    Link
    What if I just don't agree with none of these statements? I.e., I'd rather have sustainable meat production and ethical animal care and immolation rather than a response as extreme as quitting and...

    They’re right about ethics and the environment. If you won’t join them, at least respect their effort to build a sustainable future.

    What if I just don't agree with none of these statements? I.e., I'd rather have sustainable meat production and ethical animal care and immolation rather than a response as extreme as quitting and forcing others quit eating meat? Farming causes deforestation, there are lots of problems with GMOs and chemicals used for fertilisation and as insect repellants or killers, there are fair pay and worker's rights issues. What do we do, stop eating?

    I think veganism as a solution to environmental issues livestock causes is as derisible and invalid a solution as abstaining from sex is a solution for STVs. I totally respect it as a personal dietary choice, but it is not a valid way to deal with environmental issues, and it is in no way morally or ethically superior to an omnivorous diet (except bad life conditions of livestock which is solved by ameliorating these conditions not by imposing personal choices on people).

    5 votes
    1. [7]
      acdw
      Link Parent
      I get you there. It seems like all the time I'm reading something new about how there's something else I shouldn't eat, because farming it leads to deforestation (palm oil) or it undermines...

      What do we do, stop eating?

      I get you there. It seems like all the time I'm reading something new about how there's something else I shouldn't eat, because farming it leads to deforestation (palm oil) or it undermines people's ability to eat themselves (quinoa). It's really frustrating to live in a machine that just chews things up and causes so much suffering, and it's impossible to get out of. I keep going back to the phrase, no ethical consumption under capitalism, which I agree with, but it's so bleak.

      The way I deal with it is to try and minimize my involvement with those systems where I can. I'm not going to drop out of society and subsistence-farm. But for me, I don't participate in animal agriculture, because it's too hard to get ethical meat, at least in America. I didn't realize that until I read Eating Animals -- I forget the specific percentages, but a vast majority of cows, pigs, and chickens in the US are factory farmed, meaning short lives of utter suffering. I don't trust myself, retailers, or restaurants enough to be able to filter out that vast majority, so I don't participate in it. But that's just me. I see it as a boycott -- and I hope that by boycotting those industries, I can push their demand curves so that they start treating their animals better, at least.

      As far as I can tell, boycotts are the only form of protest that's really possible in a deeply consumerist economy. So that's what I do.

      6 votes
      1. [6]
        cadadr
        Link Parent
        I don't think there's any way out of this except policy and activism---not vegan necessarily, but more like "fix our food", "quit wasting food" and "don't abuse livestock" style activism. W.r.t....

        I don't think there's any way out of this except policy and activism---not vegan necessarily, but more like "fix our food", "quit wasting food" and "don't abuse livestock" style activism.

        W.r.t. factory farmed meat, there was this AmA in r/italy a few years ago that planted some question marks in my head about free range stuff: the AmA was by a factory farmer, who was asked what he thought on cages vs. free range, and he says, paraphrasingly of course: "It is not day and night, most of those free range stuff is in fact chicks crammed into a muddy cesspool that's not really cleaned, it's not like they roam freely in the wilderness or huge farms like you imagine". Now I haven't done the research to verify his words, it's anecdotal, and there obviously are potential biases and even malice, but when you think about it if the policy and supervision is not good enough, it's not hard to see how that's not the optimal option for farmers who only care about margins.

        Ethical food is not black and white, you can't be sure your food is ethical even if you're vegan, and most people can't afford that anyways.

        3 votes
        1. [5]
          acdw
          Link Parent
          Re: cages vs. free-range: I've heard multiple confirming accounts about free-range livestock. In America, the regulations are something like, "The animals must have access to the outside," which...

          Re: cages vs. free-range: I've heard multiple confirming accounts about free-range livestock. In America, the regulations are something like, "The animals must have access to the outside," which means there's a tiny door to a tiny yard where, like, a dozen chickens can be at any one time. It's really not better than non-free-range.

          And re: affording: you are absolutely right. I get so disparaged sometimes because the system I'm in is utterly broken. The most I can do is so little in the scheme of things -- like I'm on a sinking ship, and the best I can do is walk away from the water.

          2 votes
          1. [4]
            cadadr
            Link Parent
            Well, we're only ephemeral, we shouldn't forget that. I make a strong distinction between my real life and my philosophical/political/... ideals. The ideal is a world where we share all resources...

            And re: affording: you are absolutely right. I get so disparaged sometimes because the system I'm in is utterly broken. The most I can do is so little in the scheme of things -- like I'm on a sinking ship, and the best I can do is walk away from the water.

            Well, we're only ephemeral, we shouldn't forget that. I make a strong distinction between my real life and my philosophical/political/... ideals. The ideal is a world where we share all resources carefully, eco-friendly and respectfully; where wealth, power and influence is not hoarded; where borders, races, ethnicites don't burden our daily lives; where science, craft and labour are not made a toy to the desires of capital. But there is this world we live in, and we have to somehow survive and be happy here. For there's just no other viable option.

            I'm quite partial to The Anarchist Banker by Pessoa: essentially, it says you can't fight against the "system" without it for such a place does not exist. In order to exist and then influence it you need to participate in it and display the superiority of your ways.

            In practice that means I go to the best local buther I know and buy meat from there; I'm picky about which milk, butter, cheese, fish and eggs I buy; and similarly for other products, so long as it does not impede me being a functional individual. Apart from that, I have only so much time here and given I don't believe in an afterlife I can spend my limited allowance after ideals I can't achieve or which if I even did would not even begin to make a change.

            P.S.: if you have any links about that free-range stuff, I'd love to receive them and add them to my bookmarks. FWIW, I just found the AmA I was talking about. This one particular comment sums it all up, here is some machine translation that looks good enough:

            Long translation from DeepL I own about 150,000 hens. I say about why at the time of the beginning of the cycle are 150,000, then there is the natural death and the number drops.

            A breeding is exactly like the henhouse of your grandparents, let's say that on average out of 3 hens you have 2 eggs a day. Contrary to some rumors there is no way to exploit the hens, the egg is the menstrual cycle of the hen and can not be altered.

            I don't understand what you mean by proof

            breeding on the ground: this speech is very long, let's start from the basics is a ca**ata made just to induce consumers.

            Now I'll prepare you a nice complete answer for this topic (I'll take a while)

            EDIT:

            I see how many people are interested in my position on land farms, this is a (long) explanation to show you my point of view

            Let's start from the prince, my parents raise hens from the 80s, true the 90s, because of new legislation we had to change the structure.

            5 years ago the structure was old and we decided us children (me and my brother) to continue with the business and do everything again, the eggs on the ground began to go out of fashion so we inquired about that type of farming and we were shocked.

            There are different types of farms, we by our nature can have a number of hens proportional to the land we own. With cage breeding we could put 150,000 of them on the ground, we could have put about a third. (this is obviously only a problem for the farmer).

            Our cages are NOT as small as you think, a cage is a bit larger than 1.5 cubic meters, in which there are 9 hens. The cage has trestles (so they can stand at different levels of randomness) and all can open their wings whenever they want. The bottom of the cage is slightly inclined and is formed by a metal grating. There is a conveyor belt under the grating where the manure (the poop) ends and another belt at the end of the cage where the egg rolls. We empty the manure 3 times a week, in ground farms it is done only once a year.

            Don't think that the ground farm is a beautiful meadow where the hens roam happily, it is a shed equal to mine and the hens walk in their accumulated manure.

            The eggs are collected every day everywhere, my eggs end up on the belt and through conveyor belts are collected, the hens on the ground have nests where to make eggs that are then collected (by hand or with belts).

            As you can imagine a hen is educated but will not always make the egg in the nest, so if the farmer collects an egg scattered in the manure 5 days after it was produced and puts today's date you will eat an old egg.

            There are open or semi-open farms and these are the worst for spreading (avian) diseases among wild birds and hens.

            Hens eat everything, even their own manure. In the cage this cannot happen because it ends up on a tape too low. In land farms they are much more prone to disease for this reason too.

            Hens can show cannibalism (they catch each other), in a large cage with a few heads the problem is almost absent, all together it is much more so.

            Summary: A farm on the ground is more dirty, the animals are treated worse, the eggs are of lower quality. From my point of view it only works because it's in fashion and people don't know how it really is.

            If you want to prepare something, please ask

            And what I've seen up until now, free range eggs that I buy are not of a higher quality than usual cheap stuff, which slightly confirm the statements in that comment. I'm kinda torn on the issue every time I'm contemplating eggs in the market, TBH.

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              acdw
              Link Parent
              I think I disagree with you here, but I agree with the Pessoa idea you champion. This is getting a little into the weeds, but this argument sounds to me like drawing a distinction between the...

              I make a strong distinction between my real life and my philosophical/political/... ideals.

              I think I disagree with you here, but I agree with the Pessoa idea you champion. This is getting a little into the weeds, but this argument sounds to me like drawing a distinction between the physical and mental/spiritual aspects of life, which I disagree with, and I think the distinction has caused a lot of societal ills in the West since they were introduced. It allows people to rank art, pleasure, hobbies, lifestyles, etc. arbitrarily based on whether they define those things as "of the mind," or "noble," or "of the body," or "profane," which means that those classed as "profane" are ignored or actively quashed, which isn't great. I'm not sure if that's what you meant, but that's where I go when this kind of stuff is mentioned. That's probably on me.

              For what it's worth, I respect your food choices, too -- even more than just the "you're a human being and entitled to your own choices about food" angle -- if I ate animal products, I'd do it the way you do.

              I don't have any links about free-range on me, if I see any anytime soon I'll forward them along. That farmer's testimony sounds about like what I've heard too, though. I think the best place to get eggs is from someone you know with chickens -- back when I was eating them I'd get them from someone at church. It's tricky though! Which is a reason I'm vegan, too -- I just don't want to bother worrying about all the complications surrounding finding the humane meat.

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                cadadr
                Link Parent
                Nope... there are at least two households that have or had chickens whose eggs they sell or sold in bulk; both used fiddly stuff including bad feed and antibiotics. The tricky world we live in......

                I think the best place to get eggs is from someone you know with chickens

                Nope... there are at least two households that have or had chickens whose eggs they sell or sold in bulk; both used fiddly stuff including bad feed and antibiotics. The tricky world we live in...

                The "distinction" I was talking about was more about how there is a gap between an ideal world and the reality, and how sometimes practicalities can override principles. I am not spiritual or religious. But I can see how my statement can suggest otherwise, sorry.

                1 vote
                1. acdw
                  Link Parent
                  Ah, the gap between where we want to be and where we are. Yes, that makes much more sense. I didn't mean spirituality, per se, but rather the idea that our minds are separate from, and somehow...

                  Ah, the gap between where we want to be and where we are. Yes, that makes much more sense. I didn't mean spirituality, per se, but rather the idea that our minds are separate from, and somehow above, our bodies.

                  That sucks about those chickens! The guy at my church just has, like, a dozen or so, in his back yard. Though it's possible they're not treated well either, you're right.

                  1 vote
    2. [4]
      mike10010100
      Link Parent
      As long as the production of meat is a profit-driven market, sustainability will never be a primary goal. There may be the odd company capable of sustainable farming and turning a profit, but it...

      I'd rather have sustainable meat production and ethical animal care and immolation rather than a response as extreme as quitting and forcing others quit eating meat?

      As long as the production of meat is a profit-driven market, sustainability will never be a primary goal. There may be the odd company capable of sustainable farming and turning a profit, but it seems like we might need to switch our entire system of economics in order to support this shift in sustainability over profit.

      but it is not a valid way to deal with environmental issues

      It absolutely is. If enough people demand it, the market will shift. For example, we have tons of gluten free options because of celiac disease, tons of nondairy options because of veganism and lactose intolerance, and now the market is responding to the shift of vegetarianism/veganism by providing more and more options from ordinary restaurants/fast foods.

      If we demand it, the market will shift.

      and it is in no way morally or ethically superior to an omnivorous diet (except bad life conditions of livestock which is solved by ameliorating these conditions not by imposing personal choices on people).

      By the logic of harm reduction, choosing an all-plant lifestyle minimizes your carbon footprint. By the logic you're espousing, it's not morally or ethically superior to drive an efficient car or to take mass transit over, say, purchasing a Hummer and then modifying it to "roll coal".

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        cadadr
        Link Parent
        Then how do you explain that I only use public transport, and if I'd have to buy a personal vehicle, would go with a moped or a small clean city car? You're reducing the concrete argument you have...

        By the logic of harm reduction, choosing an all-plant lifestyle minimizes your carbon footprint. By the logic you're espousing, it's not morally or ethically superior to drive an efficient car or to take mass transit over, say, purchasing a Hummer and then modifying it to "roll coal".

        Then how do you explain that I only use public transport, and if I'd have to buy a personal vehicle, would go with a moped or a small clean city car? You're reducing the concrete argument you have in front of you to some dated stereotypical straw-man and arguing it.

        It absolutely is. If enough people demand it, the market will shift.

        I tell you that I don't demand it, that I want to consume animal products.

        As long as the production of meat is a profit-driven market, sustainability will never be a primary goal.

        Then why would I have to condemn myself to a diet I don't want rather than work towards changing the market?

        I tell you I don't want to be a vegan/vegetarian, you tell me how the market can accomodate such a person if enough person become so. You've found an "easy" solution to a complex thing and refusing the reality that the world simply does not want to become vegan en masse, and that you don't have a right to demand that I eat this and don't eat that. If I'll respect you, you'll have to respect me. It doesn't work unless we establish and adhere to that basic principle.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          mike10010100
          Link Parent
          Then you're taking steps to be as moral as possible in your transportation choices, which has nothing to do with being as moral as possible in your food consumption choices. Then you are telling...

          Then how do you explain that I only use public transport, and if I'd have to buy a personal vehicle, would go with a moped or a small clean city car?

          Then you're taking steps to be as moral as possible in your transportation choices, which has nothing to do with being as moral as possible in your food consumption choices.

          I tell you that I don't demand it, that I want to consume animal products.

          Then you are telling me that despite the information presented to you, your personal biases outweigh the moral imperative. That is inherently immoral, no?

          Then why would I have to condemn myself to a diet I don't want rather than work towards changing the market?

          Because even if the market changes to "sustainable" livestock, the fact remains that livestock produces a huge amount of greenhouse gasses, lots of waste byproducts that have the potential to contaminate, for example, water supplies, and due to the fact that they require specific areas and land types to exist in, necessitate long supply chains.

          I tell you I don't want to be a vegan/vegetarian

          But you haven't told me why that doesn't paint you as someone who rejects morality.

          refusing the reality that the world simply does not want to become vegan en masse

          The world doesn't want to have rising seas, record heat waves, or billions of deaths due to climate change, yet the reality is that these will happen regardless of their desires.

          you don't have a right to demand that I eat this and don't eat that. If I'll respect you, you'll have to respect me.

          The question here is: do you respect the world?

          2 votes
          1. cadadr
            Link Parent
            The world doesn't want or not want anything. It is not something you respect or disrespect. Let's not get mythical here. Apart from that, accept it or not, but I JUST DON'T BUY YOUR MORALS, I...

            The world doesn't want or not want anything. It is not something you respect or disrespect. Let's not get mythical here.

            Apart from that, accept it or not, but I JUST DON'T BUY YOUR MORALS, I think that's as clear as it gets. I simply don't believe that there is a moral imperative or whatnot to stop consuming animal products, or that it's immoral to consume these products.

            Means and parties to production are mostly immoral; in that light the action I take is to support policy and action that puts an end to that situation. Consuming animal products is entirely irrelevant to that, that some profit-driven industry is mostly immoral does not render my personal choices immoral.

            In most of your sentences you decide what is moral and what is not. You don't get to do that, at least for anyone except yourself.

            If you want, you can try and convince me why consuming animal products is immoral without basing your argument on how the majority of such products are produced. Because otherwise it is exactly equivalent to saying clothing is immoral because sweatshops and unjust payments and the impact the textile industry and industries it in turn sources material from have on nature.

            3 votes
  7. [4]
    Deimos
    (edited )
    Link
    This thread's mostly fine, but some of the arguments are drifting a little too far into condescension and getting personal. I removed some of the ones where I think it was going too far and had...

    This thread's mostly fine, but some of the arguments are drifting a little too far into condescension and getting personal. I removed some of the ones where I think it was going too far and had little chance of turning back into anything productive.

    This is one of the (many) subjects where different people will have completely opposed core values. Both "sides" will be able to make reasonable, logical arguments based on their values, but they're not going to end up agreeing, and convincing someone to reverse their core values is unlikely. Please try to recognize those situations where an argument's not going to make any progress and just let it end, instead of escalating it into attacks.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      mike10010100
      Link Parent
      I don't understand how asking someone what they believe it means to be a moral person is escalating anything. Sorry if this should be in a PM, but I think it's a question others might have as well.

      I don't understand how asking someone what they believe it means to be a moral person is escalating anything.

      Sorry if this should be in a PM, but I think it's a question others might have as well.

      1. [2]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        You did it in a patronizing way that caused the person you were asking to make a pissed-off reply back to it. That conversation's clearly over, and leaving either of your last comments there won't...

        You did it in a patronizing way that caused the person you were asking to make a pissed-off reply back to it. That conversation's clearly over, and leaving either of your last comments there won't accomplish anything useful.

        1 vote
        1. mike10010100
          Link Parent
          I think "patronizing" is a bit strong, but okay. I was trying to understand what his standard of what makes one moral was.

          I think "patronizing" is a bit strong, but okay. I was trying to understand what his standard of what makes one moral was.

          1 vote
  8. [2]
    HoolaBoola
    Link
    Where I live (and I guess other bigger cities), vegan diet has become quite normal. Most aren't vegans, but are used to people being vegans. Most vegans here are just people who have chosen not to...

    Where I live (and I guess other bigger cities), vegan diet has become quite normal. Most aren't vegans, but are used to people being vegans. Most vegans here are just people who have chosen not to eat anything that's come from an animal. That's it. Personally (anecdotally) I've never seen one of those preacher type vegans, though I'm sure they exist.

    On the other hand, I, as a person who's been vegetarian for almost two decades, have personally experienced how the society has shifted towards accepting and including vegetarians and vegans. First, people would question me constantly, wonder why I would do such a thing. Then, people would wonder how I'd get my important nutrients, which is a fair concern.

    Sometimes, I'd witness people complaining about those preachy vegans without ever seeing one themselves — they'd only heard about them, and thought that's what all the vegans were like.

    3 votes
    1. acdw
      Link Parent
      I agree that society is getting more and more accepting of veg*ns. It's really refreshing, actually. I wonder if it's part of a larger trend among many to just be kinder in general.

      I agree that society is getting more and more accepting of veg*ns. It's really refreshing, actually. I wonder if it's part of a larger trend among many to just be kinder in general.

      1 vote