Seal Clubbing 2005 kicked off in Canada
March 30, 2005 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Canada's seal hunt started yesterday and though I wondered if the numbers on the Protect Seals site were accurate, this somewhat gory and disturbing slideshow at Yahoo/AP news seems to support the high numbers of slaughter. There doesn't seem to be much you can do to stop seal clubbing in 2005, just boycotting Canadian seafood and calling congressfolks. Shame to see up to 300k seals killed for some fur coats -- seems so last century.
posted by mathowie (210 comments total)

 
I was under the impression that the concept of clubbing baby seals was more of a metaphor, a throwback to days gone by, than an ongoing, annual activity. Seriously, what kind of a person would actually club a baby seal? I'm no PETA activist and I have no problem with fur, from animals raised for that purpose, and/or used for food, but what did these baby seals ever do to anyone? It just seems senseless.

Someone should form a seal-clubber-clubbing-club. They'd go out and club anyone they caught clubbing a baby seal.
posted by salad spork at 9:55 AM on March 30, 2005


Ah, "Let's Save The Cute Animals."

Funny how we never see a "Save The Cockroach," campaign. I agree that the seal hunt is barbaric, but it's a bit hilarious how people get choked up over a cute animal as opposed to say, a sewer rat.
posted by jonmc at 9:56 AM on March 30, 2005


Waah waah waah.

Canadian Government webpage

"# Canada’s seal population is healthy and abundant. The harp seal herd — the most important seal herd for this industry — is estimated at around five million animals, nearly the highest level ever recorded, and almost triple what it was in the 1970s."

I think Americans worried about the seal hunt should instead focus their efforts on stopping drilling in ANWR.
posted by anthill at 9:56 AM on March 30, 2005


but it's a bit hilarious how people get choked up over a cute animal as opposed to say, a sewer rat.

Guilty as charged. Kill all the sewer rats, and all the mink, you want, but if it's kittens or baby seals, I'm gonna be outraged.
posted by salad spork at 9:58 AM on March 30, 2005


Someone should form a seal-clubber-clubbing-club. They'd go out and club anyone they caught clubbing a baby seal.
posted by salad spork

I'd sign up. You got a ready market for the Seal Clubbers' pelts?

So this baby seal clubber walked into a club....
posted by Floydd at 10:00 AM on March 30, 2005


This is pretty nasty and harsh to think about, much less look through the slideshow and see. I saw a news piece yesterday that showed just the head of a baby seal.

It seems pretty fucking barbaric to beat them to death.
posted by fenriq at 10:00 AM on March 30, 2005


Some pretty emotional photos. I am sure there will be some outrage over this. But in a real sense this is no worse then what happens on a daily basis, from mink farms to drift-line nets for fishing and many other instances. We should not be outraged over this because the seals are cute, but perhaps outrage-in-general over petty use of animals. I would have much less concern for this if it was for primarily for meat (and I am a pseudo-vegitarian), or at least the meat got used. As it is, it is wasteful, and to my line of thinking if you are going to hunt being wasteful of the life you take is criminal.
posted by edgeways at 10:00 AM on March 30, 2005


Well, the baby seals go easier. With the adults you gotta keep hitting him on the damned head over and freaking over, and they fight back, sort of. Granted they break down and die eventually, but it's just an awful lot of work.

Whereas you could kill like 5 or 6 babies in about 2 minutes, it would take double that to wack one adult seal. You gotta consider your ROI in these sorts of endeavors.
posted by xmutex at 10:02 AM on March 30, 2005


Q: What kind of person would club a baby seal?

A: The kind that relies on the income from the pelts to provide food, shelter and clothing for themselves and their family.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:02 AM on March 30, 2005 [1 favorite]


It's not so much the "don't kill the cute animals" for me as like salad spork, I thought "clubbing seals" was an outdated technique used as a metaphor today.

I'm surprised they don't just round up truckloads of seals and take them to a proper slaughterhouse, at the very least to prevent photos of actual clubbing from being in the news.
posted by mathowie at 10:03 AM on March 30, 2005


can someone club terri schiavo please?
posted by quonsar at 10:04 AM on March 30, 2005


correct me if I'm wrong but don't they sell the pelts of the young seals to be used as jacket liners or something? Maybe shooting or other methods of killing ruin the pelts.
posted by jonmc at 10:06 AM on March 30, 2005


Scandinavian seal clubbing tourism
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:08 AM on March 30, 2005


The book Greenpeace is an account of the history of the organization it's named after and includes a chapter or two about Canada's seal hunt and their efforts to stop it. It's a good read.

On preview: jonmc, you're on the money about the slaughtering technique. Greenpeace put environmentally-friendly, non-toxic green dye on some of the living seals' pelts so they wouldn't be killed. Of course, the Canadian government stepped in and said, basically, "No, we can club the seals to death, but you can't put green dye on them."
posted by thebabelfish at 10:09 AM on March 30, 2005


Jonmc : You stop to think that maybe the reason there isn't a protest about sewer rat clubbing because it's not done? Poisoned yes, clubbed no. Killing a plentiful species for food is fine, for food and the skin is even better, but for just the skin is bullshit, especially in such a savage manner. If they had a seal farm for skins and handled it like a cattle slaughterhouse that'd be moderately acceptable.

Anthill : Um, how about some of us Americans spend our time protesting ANWR and the seal clubbing and other unpleasant environmental and animal rights issues? I didn't think we could only pick one thing to be concerned about.
posted by Vaska at 10:11 AM on March 30, 2005


Americans club seals too: in Alaska. Admittedly they're not quite a cute as these ones. From what I understand they club them becasue they have a soft spot on top of their heads at that age and it kills them pretty much instantly. If you round them up they get heatstroke and have a tendecy to trample each other to death so that's not good.

While I don't quite trust the Canadian govt.s numbers (these ARE the same people who managed the cod stocks into oblivion) I think the outrage on moral grounds is laughable. The biggest problem in the Arctic? Global warming and pollutants from urban areas to the south.

I agree that no-one would care if they were cockroaches. Or fish
posted by fshgrl at 10:12 AM on March 30, 2005


Greenpeace put environmentally-friendly, non-toxic green dye on some of the living seals' pelts so they wouldn't be killed.

And if I recall correctly that dye fucked up the natural camoflauge that their white coats gave them and they were eaten by predators. Life is a cabaret!
posted by jonmc at 10:12 AM on March 30, 2005


mathowie, I'm with you. I don't understand why they have to kill them in such a barbaric and disgusting fashion.

I understand the thought process behind culling numbers to keep populations in something resembling check but the manner by which they keep the numbers down is really unnecessarily grotesque and last century.

I would feel the same if they were doing this to sewer rats even though sewer rats wouldn't just lay there with those big eyes looking up at some asshole with his murder stick about to bash their friggin' brains in. Man, what a shitty job.

jonmc, nope, the use the pelts to make mirkins for Senators and Vice Presidents.
posted by fenriq at 10:12 AM on March 30, 2005


FYI - the seals are not a quick 5 minute drive from the local slaughterhouse. They are on ice floes in the middle of the Gulf of St Lawrence, at least 20 km from the nearest land. The bulk of the seal hunters sailed there in fishing boats - it's only the activists and media who have helicopters and large well-equipped icebreakers (along with the Coast Guard and Fisheries inspectors, one for every 7 vessels...). The slaughter is not pretty or pleasant, but for the economy is this part of the world right now it supports a lot of families. A good overview of the history of the hunt can be found here on the CBC site.
posted by hannahkitty at 10:13 AM on March 30, 2005


Looks like one tried to get away.
Aaaaw
posted by Constant Reader at 10:17 AM on March 30, 2005


I can't believe this blatant display of front-page editorializing.
posted by rafter at 10:17 AM on March 30, 2005


What jonmc said. This is all about the cuteness factor.
There are thousands of species on the verge of extinction right now and nobody cares, because they're mostly reptiles and insects.
posted by rocket88 at 10:19 AM on March 30, 2005


o, the barbarity! the disgustingness of it all!
posted by yedgar at 10:21 AM on March 30, 2005


Myths and Realities about the Seal Hunt:

Myth #6: The club – or hakapik – is a barbaric tool that has no place in today’s world.

Reality: Clubs have been used by sealers since the onset of the hunt hundreds of years ago. Hakapiks originated with Norwegian sealers who found it very effective. Over the years, studies conducted by the various veterinary experts, and American studies carried out between 1969 and 1972 on the Pribilof Islands hunt (Alaska) have consistently proven that the club or hakapik is an efficient tool designed to kill the animal quickly and humanely. A recent report in September, 2002, by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, had results that parallel these findings.

Myth #7: The methods used to kill seals are far less humane than those used to hunt or slaughter any other domestic or wild animal.

Reality: Hunting methods were studied by the Royal Commission on Sealing in Canada and they found that the clubbing of seals, when properly performed, is at least as humane as, and often more humane than, the killing methods used in commercial slaughterhouses, which are accepted by the majority of the public.


In other words: tell it to your cheeseburger.
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:23 AM on March 30, 2005


From the FAQ at the Canadian government web site:

Myth #1: The Canadian government allows sealers to kill adorable little white seals. Reality: The image of the whitecoat harp seal is used prominently by seal hunt opponents. This image gives the false impression that vulnerable seal pups are targeted by sealers during the commercial hunt. The hunting of harp seal pups (whitecoats) and hooded seal pups (bluebacks) is illegal – and has been since 1987. Marine Mammal Regulations prohibit the trade, sale or barter of the fur of these pups. Furthermore, seals cannot be harvested when they are in breeding or birthing grounds.

AND Myth #3: Seals are not independent animals when they are killed – they still rely on their mothers and can’t even swim or fend for themselves. Reality: Only weaned, self-reliant seals are hunted after they have been left by their mothers to fend for themselves. The vast majority of harp seals are taken after more than 25 days of age, after their white coat has moulted. Harp seals have the ability to swim at this stage of development. They are also opportunistic feeders and prey on whatever food source in readily available to them.

AND Myth #12: The seal hunt is not worth it - seals are only taken for their fur and the rest of the animal is wasted. Reality: Seals have been harvested for food, fuel and shelter and other products for hundreds of years. The subsistence hunt is a valuable link to Canadian cultural heritage. Canada exports seal products in three forms: pelts, oil and meat. Traditionally, the pelts have been the main commodity, but production of seal oil for human consumption has grown substantially in recent years. Seal oil markets remain positive, and a large percentage of seal oil is finding its way into areas other than traditional marine and industrial oils. DFO encourages the fullest use of seals, with the emphasis on leather, oil, handicrafts, and in recent years, meat for human and animal consumption as well as seal oil capsules rich in Omega-3. Any seal parts that are left on the ice provide sustenance to a wide variety of marine scavengers such as crustaceans, seabirds and fish.

There's some weasel wording here -- the "vast majority" of clubbed seals have shed their white fur, and hunters are "encouraged" to make use of the whole seal. (And I think humans are much more "opportunistic feeders" than any seal.) But as much as any of us may be bothered by hunting young animals, this ain't your father's seal hunt.
posted by maudlin at 10:23 AM on March 30, 2005


Grimgrin (And to a much lesser extent Hannahkitty ) : For lack of a more polite phrasing, that's a lame rationalization. Lots of people were thrown out of jobs when they stopped whale hunting, should we have kept that career around just for them? Going by that logic we should not de-legislate or restrict a career area for any reason because people might be disadvantaged. My uncle got laid off when the chemical factory in his town was closed because they were poisoning the water system, should it have stayed open so he could work?
posted by Vaska at 10:24 AM on March 30, 2005


Damn -- Robot Johnny slipped through right after I previewed! Well, at least we harvested different myths. I think that counts as a sustainable harvest of the page.
posted by maudlin at 10:24 AM on March 30, 2005


A: The kind that relies on the income from the pelts to provide food, shelter and clothing for themselves and their family.

Just because it's traditional doesn't make it right. We live in an industrialized world; surely these people can find a new profession. Move to New York and open a cafe or something. Or... a club. Call it the Seal Club.
posted by salad spork at 10:25 AM on March 30, 2005


rafter, are you saying its not gory and disturbing to look at images of baby animals being beaten to death?

rocket88, I'm not concerned about the extinction factor, I'm bothered by the inherent and unnecessary brutality of it all.

What products are made from seal pelts? Anything surprising or that I might actually buy so I can boycott it?
posted by fenriq at 10:25 AM on March 30, 2005


Norway's fisheries minister Svein Ludvigsen has said the decision to let tourists join in the slaughter 'could be a big hit'.



That's truly one cold hearted man.

What is truly shocking, the veterinarians on the ice floes found that in 42% of the cases they studied, the seals had likely been skinned alive while conscious.

As far as the "supporting the family" thing goes: In Newfoundland, where 90% of sealers live, revenues from the hunt account for less than 1% of the province's economy and only 2% of the landed value of the fishery. According to the Newfoundland government, out of a population of half a million people, only 4,000 fishermen participate in the seal hunt each year.
posted by Guerilla at 10:26 AM on March 30, 2005


I think that counts as a sustainable harvest of the page.

Yeah we clubbed those myths good!
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:26 AM on March 30, 2005


Vaska: Because you can't always get what you want. But if you try real hard, and focus hard on an important issue, you might get what you - ooh! kittens!
posted by anthill at 10:29 AM on March 30, 2005


maudlin, Reality: Only weaned, self-reliant seals are hunted after they have been left by their mothers to fend for themselves. The vast majority of harp seals are taken after more than 25 days of age, after their white coat has moulted.

Nice, they've been weaned and left to fend for themselves and some dude with a big old efficient killing stick smacks them in the head and 42% of the time skins the little bugger while he's still alive. Totally humane, yep.
posted by fenriq at 10:29 AM on March 30, 2005


.
posted by tpl1212 at 10:32 AM on March 30, 2005


Or... a club. Call it the Seal Club.

Would people wearing fur coats be allowed to enter?
posted by Vidiot at 10:32 AM on March 30, 2005


Robot Johnny : Are you really taking the word of the 'Royal Commission on Sealing in Canada' and their 'veterinary experts' at face value? That's like asking Malboro if cigarettes are bad for you. I've been on a killing floor and it's dangerous, nasty and will keep you off burgers for a month, but there's a massive difference between docile cows getting a compression hammer in the head as opposed to running after wild animals and smacking them over the head.

Anthill : Hey, I have more then a thirty second attention span. I've gotten all the way to forty-five in fact. Take that!
posted by Vaska at 10:34 AM on March 30, 2005


Metafilter: tell it to your cheeseburger.
posted by anthill at 10:34 AM on March 30, 2005


Myth #2: Seals are being skinned alive. Reality: The most recent Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) Report and numerous reports mentioned by the Malouf Commission (1987) indicate that this is not true. Sometimes a seal may appear to be moving after it has been killed; however seals have a swimming reflex that is active – even after death. This reflex falsely appears as though the animal is still alive when it is clearly dead – similar to the reflex in chickens.

Of course, this is the government and they could be lying through their teeth. But where does that 42% number come from anyway? What veterinarians? Whose self interest do they serve? When was this research done? Where was this published?

(And damn those skanky seal moms for leaving their weanlings to fend for themselves. Where's Jerry Springer when you need him?)
posted by maudlin at 10:35 AM on March 30, 2005


I have to agree with the voices in this thread that have pointed out that this issue is more ambiguous than it might first seem.

My first reaction to baby seal clubbing is just as negative as anyone else's. But there are issues of local and indigenous populations supporting themselves through the hunt, where very little alternative employment exists.

I'm not saying it is right, I honestly don't know whether it is or not. It just isn't that simple an issue.
posted by pasd at 10:36 AM on March 30, 2005


Robot Johnny : Are you really taking the word of the 'Royal Commission on Sealing in Canada' and their 'veterinary experts' at face value?

In any argument of this sort you can't take either side's word at face value. But you tell me -- what is the massive difference between slaughtering "docile" cows and slaughtering "wild" seals?
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:36 AM on March 30, 2005


rafter-well, it's his web page, and I think he can do pretty much all the editorializing he wants.

If you don't like it, you know where the door is.
posted by Sharktattoo at 10:37 AM on March 30, 2005


We live in an industrialized world; surely these people can find a new profession. Move to New York and open a cafe or something.

I doubt "these people" are that interested in finding a new profession in New York. I'm not so sure the world is "industrialized" or that we're all marching in lockstep toward that nice, shiny American future.
posted by 327.ca at 10:37 AM on March 30, 2005



posted by anthill at 10:40 AM on March 30, 2005


I thought the reason this is allowed is because of the overpopulation of seals. Does anyone have a link to population trends and what the largest self-sufficient seal population size would be that doesn't threaten other parts of that ecosystem? I agree that a spike through the head is nasty and that no animal should be skinned alive, but I was under the impression that there are just too many seals for that area.
posted by mikeh at 10:42 AM on March 30, 2005


Would people wearing fur coats be allowed to enter?

As long as it's humanely harvested, farm-bred mink or rabbit fur, sure. No seal fur.

anthill, that baby cow is disturbing.
posted by salad spork at 10:44 AM on March 30, 2005


What does this have to do with Canadian seafood?

And where is your outrage about veal? There's a barbaric practice - an animal that lives its entire life in a box being stuffed with food.

How about chickens? They lead horrible lives, unless perhaps they're free range.

Have you ever seen horses being slaughtered commercially?

This is a far more ambiguous issue than this post makes it out to be.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 10:49 AM on March 30, 2005


Robot Johnny : Not all places are identical of course but in your typical slaughterhouse the cows are brought up a ramp and onto a slow moving belt. They go in front of a guy (or gal) with a compression hammer who places it against their forehead and presses the trigger. You feel a massive thud and your entire arm and shoulders vibrate as the metal bit is driven into through the skull with a sickening crunch in less then 1/10th of a second, killing the animal instantly. The cow falls over and the ramp continues, taking them further into the facility.

Seal clubbing? Well if the hunters are still using hakapiks it hasn't changed much since the 1930's. Back then the hunters didn't have reliable icebreakers so they could only get as close as their ships allowed, they'd then disembark and go to shore. Early anecdotes from hunters say that the seals were disturbed by their presence and would move somewhat but not go far. Later stories impart that the seals now run at the sight of people, which requires the hunter to chase them down and strike them, often repeatedly.
posted by Vaska at 10:49 AM on March 30, 2005


Are you really taking the word of the 'Royal Commission on Sealing in Canada' and their 'veterinary experts' at face value?

I'd be a hell of a lot more likely to take their word for it than anyone working for PETA, the Sea Shepards or the HSUS. I work in (mostly marine) ecology and I am very well acquainted with those organisations and 99% of the time they're full of shit. They'll say whatever they want to get support, villify honest researchers without a second thought, debase good science and flat out make shit up.

OTOH the "overpopulation" of seals eating all the fish and putting the fishermen out of business is crap too. The fishermen caught all the fish in nets, is what happened to the fish. They didn't eat them all though, I wonder how many people protesting this happily ate some underpriced cod in the past decade or two? The govt. subsidises the fishermen to buy new boats and gear so they'll be more efficent, they get paid diddly by the processing plants that sell the fish for 10-50 times what they bought it for so they have to catch more to keep up. It all escalates till there are no fish left. The owners of the plants are happy, the fishermen and the cod stocks get screwed. Then the very people who were happy to get cheap food turn around and say "oh but you can't kill seals! They're cute!"
posted by fshgrl at 10:50 AM on March 30, 2005


maudlin, the 42% came from Guerilla's comment, I thought it had a link to follow through on but am unable to find it now. Call me extremist but skinning one animal alive is too many. Forty two percent is about 120,000 being skinned alive if the 300,000 number is to be believed.

That's incomprehensible to me. Sorry, I wasn't able to kill you with my club but I'm too busy skinning your dead litter mates to stand up and bash your skull in again so you'll just have to suffer while I skin you alive and let you die slowly and painfully.

fshgrl, true, I don't believe PETA for one second, they have already proven time and again that they will lie and obfuscate the truth in order to make their point. If the 42% came from PETA then I wholly retract any weight given to it.
posted by fenriq at 10:53 AM on March 30, 2005


Seals don't have litters.
posted by fshgrl at 10:59 AM on March 30, 2005


Dammit, didn't mean to post that yet.

... and you guys should see what polar bears do to them when they catch them. Those ones that got painted green probably ended up inside out on the ice in short order.
posted by fshgrl at 11:03 AM on March 30, 2005


They go in front of a guy (or gal) with a compression hammer who places it against their forehead and presses the trigger. You feel a massive thud and your entire arm and shoulders vibrate as the metal bit is driven into through the skull with a sickening crunch in less then 1/10th of a second, killing the animal instantly. The cow falls over and the ramp continues, taking them further into the facility.

Yeah, that's the way it's supposed to work, just like you're supposed to be able to instantly and humanely kill a seal with one stroke of your mighty hakapik.

The truth, though, it that frequently a cow is still alive when they stick a huge metal hook through their hind leg and hoist them into the air.

Also, the cattle/seal analogy doesn't really work for me, since at least the poor seals are "free-range" until they are bludgeoned. Have you seen what feed lots look like? Oy.

Tell it to your cheeseburger indeed.
posted by Specklet at 11:10 AM on March 30, 2005


Q: What kind of person would club a baby seal?

A: The kind that relies on the income from the pelts to provide food, shelter and clothing for themselves and their family.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:02 AM PST on March 30 [!]


This would be a good argument for slave traders, no?
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 11:11 AM on March 30, 2005


Reminds me of a story.
My friend went to Vancouver, far away from our home in Newfoundland. He was asked by an activist to sign a petition to stop the seal hunt.

"Uh, no," he replied.
"Why not? Don't you love seals?" asked the protester.
"Sure I do. They're delicious."

Think about how a texan would react if you told them killing cows is wrong because they're cute. That pretty much summarizes the attitude many Newfoundlanders have towards the rest of the western world protesting the seal hunt.

It's not that we're cold hearted, it's just that you're retarded.
posted by dum2007 at 11:11 AM on March 30, 2005


In other words: tell it to your cheeseburger.
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:23 AM PST on March 30 [!]

I'm a vegetarian, RJ, and just because one animal's suffering outweighs another is no reason to dismiss the suffering of either animal. It's idiot's logic, or more likely the rationalization of someone who can't be bothered to give a damn.

I'm no PETA activist and I have no problem with fur, from animals raised for that purpose, and/or used for food...

Let's anally electrocute you and see how you feel about "fur, from animals raised for that purpose." Can you really be that ignorant about how fur animals are killed?

Anyone who can truly dismiss this as an insignificant issue needs to do something truly environmental and, as T C Boyle once put it, bury yourself in a compost heap and shoot yourself in the head. Don't bother signing up as an organ donor, you have no goddam heart.

Ignorant, uncaring fucks...
posted by Shane at 11:12 AM on March 30, 2005


Any pressure on the fish stocks by the seals is due to over-harvesting of said fish by the completely unsustainable fishing practices of Newfoundland, Canadian, American and European industries. And this is because

Having said that, I have first hand knowledge of what these seals eat. My lab has a speciality in identifying fish bones, and from time to time we do marine-mammal stomach contents on contract to governmental regulators interested in the marine food web, so to speak. Not many things are as accurate indicators of diet as what is in a stomach (yes we also do fecal samples but these are harder to come by). Punchline: harp seals eat relatively little cod or other commercial species. (The same is true of harbour seals and salmon, west coasters).

The problem here, as I see it, is the hubristic notion that we can "manage" these resources. I have no problem with clubbing these seals (Whats their favorite drink? Canadian Club on the Rocks), but the idea - on the east coast of all places - that there is such a thing as (oxymoron alert) "wildlife management" shows a reality disconnect. Until say thirty years ago when we were just creaming some surplus off the oceans it might have looked sustainable, now, worldwide, we are fishing down the food chain and pretty soon all that will be left are jellyfish. Seriously (PDF), the goal of fisheries management should be ecosystem rebuilding & renewal, not just maintenance. The east coast fisheries were managed right down the toilet.
posted by Rumple at 11:15 AM on March 30, 2005


It's not that we're cold hearted, it's just that you're retarded.

That needs a phat beat behind it.
posted by jonmc at 11:16 AM on March 30, 2005


Wow, I was gonna say what Shane said, only not so pithy and not with the part about shooting yourself. Odd to have Shane doing an end-run on me in harsh verbiage - I've gotta try harder!

Still, the point bears repeating: "How can you care about this when that is also happening?" is completely specious, and always comes up like clockwork in these arguments.
posted by soyjoy at 11:20 AM on March 30, 2005


I have no problem with fur, from animals raised for that purpose, and/or used for food, but what did these baby seals ever do to anyone?

And what have those animals "raised" for clothing or food ever done to anyone?

If these were sewer rats, you bet I'd be outraged. And there's no ambiguity here at all. Animals are not for our entertainment, financial gain, bellies or backs. Period.

The argument that people's economies depend on it is bullshit. It's no justification, no more than slavery was justified by our need for cotton or cheap labor.
posted by tr33hggr at 11:20 AM on March 30, 2005


boycotting Canadian seafood and calling congressfolks.

For the record:

1) The people who fish and/or farm Canadian seafood are by no means the same people as the seal hunters, so this strikes me as a pretty ineffective form of protest. It'd be like boycotting lamb to protest the veal industry.

2) Good luck calling "congressfolks." Canada doesn't have a Congress, it has a Parliament. A bit of a hairsplit, but if we're gonna drum up moral outrage for what is, to the best of my knowledge, a sustainable commercial hunt, maybe we should know what kind of government we're petitioning, eh?

On preview: Shane, I think you undermine your argument in favour of a more compassionate view of animals by accusing everyone who disagrees with you of being an ignorant, uncaring fuck with no heart who should commit suicide. Maybe consider for a moment the possibility that melting glaciers, while nowhere near as graphically disturbing as bleeding seal carcasses, might be a bigger threat to all life on this planet than the culling of a robust herd of one particular kind of animal?
posted by gompa at 11:20 AM on March 30, 2005


Oh, and what Shane said. Spot on. Fuck the lot of them.
posted by tr33hggr at 11:21 AM on March 30, 2005


Nobody ever talks about the broad array of fish and invertebrate species that harp seals murder ever single day.

If you ask me, they've got it coming.
posted by thisisdrew at 11:24 AM on March 30, 2005


Fshgrl : So what's your reasoning for taking the word of the government over the activists? Governments lie all the time, so do idealistic fools. However, the CBC noted that in the last five years the DFO has received almost 700 videotapes of alleged violations of Canada's criminal code and the Marine Mammal Regulations that govern the hunt but have not charged a single person.

Specklet : Yeah, feed lots are awful places. Yeah, I've heard the cow is sometimes still alive. I didn't say it was perfectly humane but it seems better then smacking a terrified animal over the head repeatedly.
posted by Vaska at 11:25 AM on March 30, 2005


calling congressfolks

Or did I misunderstand that? Was the idea to call US congressfolks to get them to protest Canadian resource management? Which also seems unlikely to be effective.

posted by gompa at 11:26 AM on March 30, 2005


It's idiot's logic, or more likely the rationalization of someone who can't be bothered to give a damn.

Hey, there's a difference between "can't be bothered to give a damn," and "just plain not giving a damn"!

Look, I don't like the idea of clubbing seals OR zapping cows in the head. But don't label me apathetic for pointing out other people's hypocricies...


posted by Robot Johnny at 11:33 AM on March 30, 2005


It's not that we're cold hearted, it's just that you're retarded.

Also proof that a little bit of Johnny Cochrane can be found in all of us.
posted by stet at 11:38 AM on March 30, 2005


Think about how a texan would react if you told them killing cows is wrong because they're cute.
Errr, might be why a Texan would kill it.

Any pressure on the fish stocks by the seals is due to over-harvesting of said fish
I also heard the new seal population in the North Pole is forcing fish to find a new feeding source from the ones they naturally fed on while there. Which then is having a trickle down effect in the sea's fish population.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:40 AM on March 30, 2005


Interesting thing to consider - for those who would feel better about seal 'farming/harvesting' if the seals were picked up in big boats, transported inland to abbatoirs, and humanely zapped in the head painlessly: ‘‘Ludwig’s ratchet,’’ economic in nature, is a positive feedback loop between increased catching power and serial depletion, driven by the need to repay borrowed money. (from the excellent Pitcher2001 document). You gotta kill a lot of seals to pay for a fancy slaugherhouse.
posted by anthill at 11:42 AM on March 30, 2005


think Americans worried about the seal hunt should instead focus their efforts on stopping drilling in ANWR.
posted by anthill at 11:56 AM CST on March 30 [!]


America takes a beating on these boards. Something that could be negative regarding canada and your argument is "we're not as bad as you!".

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but defending the action by pointing back at someone else is a childish response.
posted by justgary at 11:42 AM on March 30, 2005


I read (somewhere, I'll try to find it) that even if the Canadian government did make the seal hunt illegal, it would be pretty much impossible to enforce it, due to the thousands of kilometres of shoreline.
posted by krunk at 11:42 AM on March 30, 2005


Q: What kind of person would club a baby seal?

A: The kind that relies on the income from the pelts to provide food, shelter and clothing for themselves and their family.


Funny, that's the same justification I use for clubbing people!

Q: What kind of person would club a human being?

A: The kind that relies on the income from their wallets to provide food, shelter and clothing for themselves and their family.
posted by xmod2 at 11:43 AM on March 30, 2005


gompa: Or did I misunderstand that? Was the idea to call US congressfolks to get them to protest Canadian resource management? Which also seems unlikely to be effective.

I think that's probably what Matt meant. Unfortunately, it is quite effective. Think about what those congressfolks are doing to protect US lumber and beef interests...
posted by 327.ca at 11:44 AM on March 30, 2005


God, I love Whacking Day.
posted by graventy at 11:45 AM on March 30, 2005


Fshgrl : So what's your reasoning for taking the word of the government over the activists?
I know a lot of activists and also a lot of government scientists. I wouldn't believe an animal rights activist if they told me the sky was blue. Govt scientists tend to have data you can actually check, activists don't.

Anyone who can truly dismiss this as an insignificant issue needs to do something truly environmental

This isn't an environmental issue (yet- lets see how good that 5% estimate was), it's an animal rights issue. Personally I don't feel morally obligated to make sure that no animal on the planet ever suffers fear or pain again any more than I feel obligated to bear and raise any embryo I should conceive or to go to Church on Sundays. If you do that's fine but it doesn't give me the right to call me a sick fuck just because I don't agree with you.

I also heard the new seal population in the North Pole is forcing fish to find a new feeding source from the ones they naturally fed on while there. Which then is having a trickle down effect in the sea's fish population.

Natural fluctuation can be interpreted a lot of ways, most of them wrong.
posted by fshgrl at 11:46 AM on March 30, 2005


gompa, especially with our Congress rushing to the aid of Terri Schiavo. Hmm, will invoking her name result in a new Godwin?

Vaska, PETA has a long history of unabashedly warping the truth to fit their needs. Governments do lie and the truth is probably somewhere between the two sets of points.

See I bashes the seal on the head
It don't matter if he live or dead
I take his skin all off with my knife
And leave him laying without his life.

posted by fenriq at 11:48 AM on March 30, 2005


It all seems so uncivilized, clubbing slow-moving animals into a bloody pulp. You'd think that by now there'd be more humane and evolved ways of killing the seals. Heathens, all of them!
posted by Tlahtolli at 11:51 AM on March 30, 2005


Yeah, I've heard the cow is sometimes still alive. I didn't say it was perfectly humane but it seems better then smacking a terrified animal over the head repeatedly.

You say toh-may-toh, I say tah-mah-toh. Cows are scared shitless when in a slaughterhouse. Some of them are in agony before they die. Same with the seals.

I guess all I was sayin' is that if you are complaining about the seal slaughter, you better be vegetarian...
posted by Specklet at 11:52 AM on March 30, 2005


It's very easy to call for an end to someone else's livelihood, especially from several hundred kilometres away.

Call me an ignorant fuck all you want, but I have no problem with the killing of animals. That's what omnivores do.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:53 AM on March 30, 2005


I just wanted to make a pointless comment late in the thread that adds nothing and will get ignored anyway. So...there.
posted by fungible at 11:55 AM on March 30, 2005


Think about what those congressfolks are doing to protect US lumber and beef interests...

True, but there's no economic argument for interfering in the seal hunt. Now if there was a handful of red states with massively subsidized seal hunts of their own that needed protecting, you might actually see action from Washington on this.
posted by gompa at 11:55 AM on March 30, 2005


So Ghost, you kill your own food? Or does yours come wrapped in cellophane?

/troll
posted by tr33hggr at 11:56 AM on March 30, 2005


You want to see cruel, check out the chicken industry. Move along, there's nothing to see here.

Most of this protest is indeed due to the cuteness of the animal. I'd confess to that myself - after working with cows, and seeing how utterly stupid and filthy they are, I have no desire to let one live anymore. Best as steak, IMHO.
posted by mek at 11:56 AM on March 30, 2005


seeing how utterly stupid and filthy they are

Jeebus freaking christ, have you ever had a roomate? Been to a convenience store? What some people will do to justify their greed and apathy is beyond me. Yeah, humans are so much better.
posted by tr33hggr at 12:01 PM on March 30, 2005


Wow, we've finally found Free Waterfall Jr.
posted by jonmc at 12:07 PM on March 30, 2005


Boy, he had to know this was going to turn into a shitstorm.

I don't want to club seals, or eat seal meat, or wear fur coats. I don't like thinking about slaughterhouses and the pain and suffering animals may or may not go through for our benefit. I had to say that now, because otherwise that will be at issue later, if anyone cares to answer this post.

But what gets me every time is the anthropomorphization of animals. The kind of people who dress their dog up in sweaters and tutus, endow all animals with human abilities and feelings. I honestly want to open this up for discussion - do people here believe that animals think, act and feel the same way we do? Are worthy of the same respect and consideration we show (or should show) our fellow humans? Seriously, I'm asking, not posing a rhetorical question. I'm not sure I believe that, but I'm open for a real discussion on it, with the merits of both sides being weighed.

When animals eat each other (as polar bears do seals, etc., etc., etc.) is it really to be expected that we humans shouldn't eat animals? I don't think animals are for my entertainment, or my financial gain; but I eat meat and wear leather. Humans have always, as far back as our history can be known, eaten meat when we can get it, and we're far from the only species that does. The argument can certainly be made that in this day and age, we don't need meat and can get an equal if not better diet without it, but many choose not to. Are we to be excoriated, called cruel, spat on by PETAsts and tree-huggers?

I know it seems rather off-topic, but I don't think it really is. We've kind of been dancing around the issue, with the cries of "yes, clubbing the baby seals is cruel, but what about X, Y and Z?"

Well, what about X, Y and Z? If we are going to cry out against the clubbing of seals in Canada, can we still eat meat and wear leather or fur with a clean conscience? If so, why? It seems to me that if we are going to afford animals the rights and privileges of people, that's going to open up a whole slew of interesting problems. Witness: this link (PDF) about dog rights in San Fransisco. Social integration? Fair share of resources? Not brutally murdering animals for fun is one thing, but treatment of animals as equal to humans is a bit of another, and that seems to be the direction some are headed. I'm interested on people's opinions on it.
posted by jennaratrix at 12:08 PM on March 30, 2005


Flipper Pie

SHOPPING LIST: baking soda, baking powder, carrots, flippers, flour, margarine, onion, pepper, salt, salt pork, turnip

INGREDIENTS
2 flippers, 1 tbsp. baking soda, 2 tbsp flour, salt, pepper, 1/4 lb. salt pork cut into small cubes, 1 chopped onion, 2 diced carrots, 1 diced turnip.
Pastry: 1/3 cup margarine, 2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 or 3 tbsp. cold water.
INSTRUCTIONS
Cooking
Soak the seal flippers for 1/2 hour in cold water to which 1 tbsp. of baking soda has been added.
The fat will turn white. Remove all the fat.
Mix 2 tbsp. of flour with salt and pepper
Dredge the flippers with the flour mixture.
CooK the salt pork in a fry pan.
Fry the flippers until brown in the rendered salt pork fat.
Add a little water and simmer until partly tender.
Put the flippers in a roaster with the onion and the cubed carrot and turnip, and add 1 cup of water.
Cover and bake at 350F degrees for 2 to 3 hours.
Remove from oven and take flippers from roaster.
Adding 1 1/2 cups of water to the roaster and stir well
Add flour thickening (See recipe at the bottom,) and stir well until thicken to make gravy.
Place the flippers back in the roaster and cover with pastry (See recipe at the bottom.) Bake at 400F for about 25 minutes until pastry is brown.

Flour Thickening
Take a small jar with a cover.
Place 1/4 cup of cold water in the jar.
On top of the water place 2 tbsp. of flour.
Place the cover on the jar and shake until the mixture is smooth
Add to liquid from meat to make it thicker.

Pastry
Cut margarine into flour, baking powder, and salt until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
Sprinkle in water, 1 tbsp. at a time and mix.
Gather the pastry into a ball and place on lightly floured board.
Roll out the pastry to a thickness of about 1/2" to 3/4" and to the correct size to cover the flippers.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:08 PM on March 30, 2005


I know a lot of activists and also a lot of government scientists. I wouldn't believe an animal rights activist if they told me the sky was blue. Govt scientists tend to have data you can actually check, activists don't.

Natural fluctuation can be interpreted a lot of ways, most of them wrong.

fshgrl, your second quote was replying back to my comment. Your first quote doesn't support the second.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:11 PM on March 30, 2005


The kind of people who dress their dog up in sweaters and tutus, endow all animals with human abilities and feelings.

Yes, that is silly.

I honestly want to open this up for discussion - do people here believe that animals think, act and feel the same way we do?

I don't know that for sure. But I do know they think, act, and feel.

Are worthy of the same respect and consideration we show (or should show) our fellow humans?
Without a doubt, IMHO.
posted by tr33hggr at 12:11 PM on March 30, 2005


Specklet : I'm complaining about the method, not saying it should be illegal. Saying that someone can't complain about the slaughter if they're not vegetarians is to require sainthood of everyone before they can complain. It's like saying I can't complain about an oil tanker spill if my trashcan fell over and got crap everywhere.

Fenriq : I never claimed that PETA spoke only the truth, I just find Fshgrl's desire to believe the government first unnerving. Government scientists have told us radiation is safe, some extra mercury in the water is fine, and that tomato is a vegetable.
posted by Vaska at 12:15 PM on March 30, 2005


When animals eat each other (as polar bears do seals, etc., etc., etc.) is it really to be expected that we humans shouldn't eat animals?

I think that's your choice. Circumstances are widely different, as they need to do that to survive, and eat what they kill instead of factory farming. But I've never said folks shouldn't be able to choose their diet. I'd like them to be responsible about it, yes, and if they're not prepared to eat their dog or cat as quickly as they are a cow or chicken, then yup, I'm going to call that hypocrisy.
posted by tr33hggr at 12:15 PM on March 30, 2005


Sigh, ketchup is a vegetable.
posted by Vaska at 12:15 PM on March 30, 2005


Off topic, but we could all use a laugh. This is a quite funny 404 page, in my opinion. And no, I'm not a PETA supporter.
posted by tr33hggr at 12:19 PM on March 30, 2005


Anybody here ever spent time in the Arctic Circle. Yeah. It's fucking cold. The idiotic obviousness of that can not be over stated. It is REALLY fucking cold.

You see people up there in furs and at first you think what the hell? It seems rather barbaric. Then after about two weeks freezing your fucking ass off in your $800 Gortex polar gear you try a bear or arctic rabbit fur. OMFG. It's soooooo warm.

Now, I don't think all these seal furs are going to like pipeline workers or Eskimos and shit. Certainly a significant portion is headed for the vanity market that can do without it. But if you NEED to be warm. Fur is the way to go.

And let's not forget that synthetics are environmentally damaging. Hell. So is wool for that matter.

So if people are to live and work in places where by nature they have no business being, like the Arctic, something is getting exploited to help them live and work there.

The idea that we should not eat or use animals at all is simply not realistic. Most people on the planet would starve to death.

I think a better argument would be to ask if there a way to do this in a more humane and sustainable manner?
posted by tkchrist at 12:20 PM on March 30, 2005



posted by stokast at 12:24 PM on March 30, 2005


To respond to your statement, tr33hggr - ugh, can't believe I'm going to say this, but if it's a question of me dying vs. eating Fido, sorry buddy - puppy stew it is. But only under those circumstances, so I guess I'm a semi-hypocrite.

And funny it may be, but even PETA's 404 page is heavy on the self-righteousness.
posted by jennaratrix at 12:30 PM on March 30, 2005


and if they're not prepared to eat their dog or cat as quickly as they are a cow or chicken, then yup, I'm going to call that hypocrisy.

No. I'd call that SMART.

First off predator mammal species, being higher on the food chain, tend to have higher concentrations of toxins.

Second of all dogs and cats don't reproduce as reliably or as fast as chickens or fish nor do they produce the quantity of meat a single cow does.

And third as predators they require MEAT to grow which is not as smart sustainable economics as is growing protein food from grazing herbivores.

Plus domesticated dogs and cats - while eaten in some areas of the word are NOT the main protein foodstuff of those cultures. They are a cultural delicacy or supplemental protein at best. FI in Asian countries eating a predator has Taoist significance... you know taking on the "aspect" of the animal etc.
posted by tkchrist at 12:30 PM on March 30, 2005


But if you NEED to be warm. Fur is the way to go.

And on preview: jennaratrix puts it more starkly.

It's this same argument that gives Gary Francione's Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? its title.

If for some reason your house is on fire and your child and your dog are in it, and you can only save one, which do you choose? Any sane person will pick their child. But the fact that there exists a situation in which putting human interests above animal interests makes sense does not logically mean that human interests should be put above animal interests by default. In other words, the fact that some people exist who need to wear fur (an arguable point itself, but let's grant it) does not rationalize the existence of a seal-clubbing industry. Likewise, the fact that some people on earth need to eat meat in order to make it to tomorrow does not rationalize anyone in the "First World" eating meat on a daily basis simply because they enjoy the taste.

Obligatory: I personally eschew the term "Animal Rights" - it's a misnomer.
posted by soyjoy at 12:32 PM on March 30, 2005


That's fine tkchrist, though I think you'll find plenty of concentrated toxins, antibiotics, growth hormones and lordy knows what else swimming around in your cheeseburger, not to mention unadulterated feces.

But I was speaking of those who see no philosophical contradiction in eating a cow (or a piece of its muscle) but shudder at the idea of eating something closer to home.

But since I eat none of them, carry on.
posted by tr33hggr at 12:38 PM on March 30, 2005


I think a better argument would be to ask if there a way to do this in a more humane and sustainable manner?

tkchrist: I know, that's what I said. You make a very good point with the practicality of animal furs. Personally, I would like to see the end of vanity furs, but is how that could come about, if at all is beyond me.

At this point in time, though, with our resources being depleted, I think we should all be practical about our diets.
posted by Tlahtolli at 12:40 PM on March 30, 2005


soyjoy, you are so much calmer and level-headed than I. I covet that.
posted by tr33hggr at 12:41 PM on March 30, 2005


Oh, and I feel the need to put this in before I am accused of heartlessness - I spent a long time volunteering at a local animal shelter, and not the fun play-with-puppies volunteering, the clean-up-dogshit volunteering. Hard work, and dog bless those who do it for a living, because I don't think I could.

I love dogs. Love love love them, always have, have the scars to prove it (I thought as a 3 year old that Dobermans liked having their paws petted. I was wrong.) I eat less and less meat as I get older, because I know how it gets to my table and it sickens me. But I don't think they're little four-legged people, and I'm not (yet?) at the point where I think that an animal's "rights" come before my own, or even on a par with my own, and I wonder about that, and wonder if I'm wrong, or thick-headed, or somehow not seeing something I should. I guess that's what I was trying to get to in my questions above.
posted by jennaratrix at 12:42 PM on March 30, 2005


...is it really to be expected that we humans shouldn't eat animals?

Nope, not at all, and that wasn't what I was getting at. For me, the issue is in how the animals are raised and killed. If I had a farm, you betcha I'd eat chickens! I love fried chicken! (I don't think I'd eat beef, though, because I'd balk at killing a mammal that large.) But a happy, healthy, well-fed chicken I took care of myself? Sure. But, until I can raise my own animals, I'm not going to support the industry. No fried chicken for me.

Specklet : I'm complaining about the method, not saying it should be illegal.

I think we're basically in agreement. I never said it should be illegal; I just think they should find a more humane way of killing them. I was trying to say that anyone who complains about they way they are killed should be aware that the way cattle and chicken are raised and killed is, in my opinion, just as bad.

...and if they're not prepared to eat their dog or cat as quickly as they are a cow or chicken, then yup, I'm going to call that hypocrisy.

Yeah. Most people (in America, anyway) who eat meat buy it in a little wrapped package from the nice clean supermarket. No hair and shit and blood, no seeing the animal die... I just don't think you should eat anything you couldn't raise and kill and cook yourself.
posted by Specklet at 12:44 PM on March 30, 2005


"Canada’s seal population is healthy and abundant. The harp seal herd — the most important seal herd for this industry — is estimated at around five million animals, nearly the highest level ever recorded, and almost triple what it was in the 1970s."

Not any more.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:08 PM on March 30, 2005


In Canada, this controversy is very tired and outdated (those are 30 years old crocodile tears peeps) and pretty much all the usual arguments have been layed out here, except maybe the pivotal role played by Brigitte Bardot and her "Amis des animaux" to spin this retarded anthropomorphic knee jerk reaction out of control. Incidentally, the huge anthropomorphic differences between calfs and baby seals for those still wondering is the full frontal wide watery eyes of the later and its whimpering, all of witch are much closer to human baby and bring your biological parenting protective reaction to full throttle. Do not be fooled though, those "cries" are warnings, any attempt to pet the cute baby will result in you being separated of your fingers.

For a better way to feel outraged, may I recommend you try to care about those 120k human babies that die of hunger every day, in Africa and South America mainly. I know they have dark skin tones, but give it a try at least. This is just me with my funny altruistic ideas, I know, I know, socialism and redistribution of wealth are the devil seeds, but if I actually cared, I don't, but if I did I'd try to save the human babies first. Funny eh? Priorities folks. Oh well, back to not giving a shit.
posted by kush at 2:09 PM on March 30, 2005


stokast the dolphin may not be playing with its food but its "friend” per this;
We are called resident Orcas and we are not the type that eat other marine mammals like seals and porpoises
.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:10 PM on March 30, 2005


Harry Morgan: It all seems so uncivilized, clubbing slow-moving animals into a bloody pulp. You'd think that by now there'd be more humane and evolved ways of killing the seals.

While we're at it, can't we find more humane and evolved ways to kill human beings?
posted by 327.ca at 2:11 PM on March 30, 2005


But what gets me every time is the anthropomorphization of animals.

For fuck's sake, will you people quit harping on "anthropomorphization"? That was one of the first argument stodgy scientists tried to use to discredit Jane Goodall, it didn't work, and it's ridiculously outdated. Animals share all the same basic emotions human do.

Those ones that got painted green probably ended up inside out on the ice in short order.

When animals eat each other (as polar bears do seals, etc., etc., etc.) is it really to be expected that we humans shouldn't eat animals?

Yes, bears sometimes skin their prey very very effectively. Sometimes they just eat the brains of a fish or other animal. Many animals like brains. This is part of nature. Survival instincts, which animals need. To survive. I've studied pictures of animal corpses and the signs and manners of death and consumption that give clues as to what animal did the killing, and it does nothing to affect my emotions the way the unneeded and heinous slaughter of seals does.

Humans have a choice to rise above their instincts, and we are not engaged in the world of survival. You're perfectly able to live in such a way that no animals have to die for you to eat or keep warm.

Again, can't you be bothered to care or exercise the human ability to make choices and act humanely?
posted by Shane at 2:12 PM on March 30, 2005


jennaratrix, i tend to stay away from these kinds of discussions because i'm not particularly interested in changing anyone's mind (how folks choose to live is how they choose to live, and that's fine), but your questions sound like good-faith, so here goes:

i try (and often fail) to do what i can to avoid eating foods and using products that directly harm animals. i'm very uncertain about how many and what kinds of qualities animals share with humans. As a rule, when uncertain about something, i'd rather err on the side of caution. This may seem deeply naive and overly simple, but-- i suffer very little when i choose not to eat meet; a cow or fish or pig probably suffers more than that when i choose to do so.

Now, i strongly agree that it is silly to anthropomorphize animals, but for a slightly different reason. True, it makes it easier to care about something when one (falsely) ascribes it familiar traits. But i believe that the most interesting and potentially powerful kind of compassion is for an unfamiliar thing. I think it's important to let animals be Other and to still find respect and a kind of empathy for that Other-ness.

On preview: Shane, i don't know if i'm splitting hairs but i think there is a grey area between saying animals have viable emotions (which i agree with) and anthropomorphizing them (which i think is questionable).
posted by verysleeping at 2:24 PM on March 30, 2005


He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."

Apparently, God remained silent as to clubbing and skinning seals.
posted by quonsar at 2:29 PM on March 30, 2005


Humans have a choice to rise above their instincts, and we are not engaged in the world of survival.

That's a load of hooey! (the survival part, not the instinct part)
posted by Robot Johnny at 2:33 PM on March 30, 2005


I think people are confusing "inhumane treatment" with "freaks me out". The seal hunt is out in the open; abbatoirs aren't. And what looks horrific may not necessarily be the most cruel: it often seems to me that humane means of dispatching animals (or people!) are more concerned with assuaging people's nerves rather than mitigating actual suffering.

And I think that people who simultaneously argue that we're no better than animals but yet we have the choice to rise above our instincts are logically inconsistent, because what they're really doing is putting non-human creatures on a pedestal. Nature doesn't give a shit how proteins are recirculated; only human beings get agitated about this.
posted by mcwetboy at 2:33 PM on March 30, 2005


This would be a good argument for slave traders, no?

Well, no, not really seeing as slaves are people and seals are animals.

I stopped talking to a person this week who said that their cat has a lower IQ than Terry Schiavo, and she wouldn't put her cat to death, so why should the do it to Schiavo.

This comparing people to animals has to stop.
posted by jon_kill at 2:34 PM on March 30, 2005


Okay, let's see:

Animal activists lie, because they are trying to support an ideology they fervently believe in, because they want to persuade more donations, whatever. Governments also lie, because they want to appeal to certain parts of their constituency, because they receive money that encourages them to show favor to some organizations, whatever. Like many people have said, neither are probably telling the WHOLE truth in this situation, so to say "I believe A and I will never believe B" is kind of ignorant.

The fact that the government regulates the Seal Hunt does not make me feel better. From the pictures, it looks like a pretty chaotic ordeal--I doubt every violation gets caught, I doubt everything runs perfectly. The idea that cruelties are ignored because they are too much trouble to monitor/prosecute does not seem that far-fetched.

Finally--guess what, SOME THINGS ARE MORE CRUEL THAN OTHERS. It is EASY for me to kill a rat or roach that are not endangered, damage my home, and spread disease, and still say killing animals for their fur is wrong. It is easy to eat a hamburger and say skinning seals and leaving their carcasses to rot (predators will not eat them--they do not scavenge unless they are starving) is wrong. Because there is an inherent difference in doing something to survive and doing something excessive for profit (like clubbing a number of seals that far overwhelms the number that would die from natural predators, etc.). Nature does "care" about how animals die--they become endangered/extinct when natural means of replenishment can't support excessive killing of a species.

As for the "it's their job" argument--slave traders had a job (and while we don't currently equate people with animals--back when the slave trade in the US was active, we definitely did). The people who cut down the rainforest have a job. The people who run and work in factories that violate the Clean Air Act have a job. Robbing people instead of getting legitimate employment is a job. Doesn't make it right.
posted by scarymonsterrrr at 2:42 PM on March 30, 2005


no one needs to eat animals to survive.
posted by exlotuseater at 2:46 PM on March 30, 2005


Wow, this is weird, I never thought I'd be playing good cop to Shane's bad cop. Here goes: Shane, calm down, dude, it's only a web site simple, ongoing, unnecessary barbarity to make rich people a little more comfortable.

How's that?
posted by soyjoy at 2:48 PM on March 30, 2005


For a better way to feel outraged, may I recommend you try to care about those 120k human babies that die of hunger every day, in Africa and South America mainly.

I had no idea that these concerns were mutually exclusive.

Whenever an animal rights or animal welfare issue comes up here, the arc of the thread is entirely predictable. First, the issue itself is mentioned. Then, the hypocrisy of caring about this when humans eat animals comes up. Next, someone mentions how PETA isn't trustworthy. Right about then, someone else mentions how there are other issues which are much more pressing. And so it goes. Meanwhile, we have no problem generating a fistful of Schiavo threads, all about one person who's already essentially brain-dead and therefore couldn't give a damn what happens!

And I think that people who simultaneously argue that we're no better than animals but yet we have the choice to rise above our instincts are logically inconsistent, because what they're really doing is putting non-human creatures on a pedestal. Nature doesn't give a shit how proteins are recirculated; only human beings get agitated about this.

I think a better way to interpret these arguments is that we think that people have no more inherent right to life than animals do - in that sense we are no better - but we are moral agents, unlike animals. Morality is, to me, what separates us from other animals. When we decide to sacrifice the use of animal products because we think it's wrong to increase the suffering of these animals, we are better because of it.

As for an appeal to "Nature," I don't think that Nature cares whether I'm a cannibal, either, but that wouldn't be much of a defense.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:48 PM on March 30, 2005


Shane makes a good point, if you believe in free will, which I don't, so I am forced to conclude that beating young amphibious mammals over the head is merely part of the universe unfolding as it should, or will anyway, regardless of the number of card-carrying vegetarians getting righteous on the subject. Also- that being uptight about animals getting anally electrocuted is not a good way to win people over to your argument. You need to be more constructive - where would you prefer to have them electrocuted, and why is that better?
posted by Sparx at 3:00 PM on March 30, 2005


you'll find plenty of concentrated toxins, antibiotics, growth hormones and lordy knows what else swimming around in your cheeseburger

And there's nothing more sustainable than industrial-scale soy production, right, tr33hggr? Or is all the tofu you eat made from organic, pesticide-free soybeans that are processed by hand?

I'm not trying to snark here, I just find the argument that a vegetarian diet is inherently better for the environment to be a terrible starting point for a discussion of any ecological issue. You want to argue that it's wrong to slaughter animals for fur (or meat, or sport)? Fair enough. But if the animals in question are not endangered, then you're making a moral argument, not an ecological one.

And frankly the greatest threat to the harp seal - and to us - is that their habitat will no longer be able to sustain their numbers due to climate change, and a vegetarian eating exotic grains shipped and trucked from the four corners of the earth is definitely not doing any better by Mother Earth in this regard than I am when I buy locally raised lamb down at the farmers' market.
posted by gompa at 3:01 PM on March 30, 2005


Invalid arguments for eating meat and against eating meat.

waste: Starving people do not have to starve.

Sums it up for me:Thoreau.

ok, I'm off the soapbox.
posted by exlotuseater at 3:06 PM on March 30, 2005


no one needs to eat animals to survive.

Tell that to someone who has a legume allergy.
posted by shawnj at 3:06 PM on March 30, 2005


Floydd : "Someone should form a seal-clubber-clubbing-club"

A member of which would be a seal-clubber-clubbing-club-clubber.
A dance club for them would then be a seal-clubber-clubbing-club-clubber-club.
And a regular patron of that dance club would be a seal-clubber-clubbing-club-clubber-club-clubber.

Vaska : "Yeah, I've heard the cow is sometimes still alive. I didn't say it was perfectly humane but it seems better then smacking a terrified animal over the head repeatedly."

I dunno. "Whacking an animal on the head and then ripping it apart regardless of whether it's dead or not" seems to be equally applicable to both seals and cows.

xmod2 : " Q: What kind of person would club a baby seal?

"A: The kind that relies on the income from the pelts to provide food, shelter and clothing for themselves and their family.

"Funny, that's the same justification I use for clubbing people!"


Man, what is up with people thinking Grimgrin's answer has anything to do with justification (you're not the only one, xmod2).

Boss: "Bugbread, you were supposed to be at work at 9:30. What time is it now?"
Bugbread: "9:49"
Boss: "That's your justification or being late?!"

Someone asked "Who would do it?". Grimgrin answered. What's with all the "justification", "justification"?
posted by Bugbread at 3:17 PM on March 30, 2005


legume allergy? wtf, this thread has jumped the shark.
posted by anthill at 3:20 PM on March 30, 2005


Well, right about that time people
A fur-trapper (who was strictly from commercial)
Had the unmitigated audacity to jump up from behind my igloo (peekaboo) )
And he started into whippin' on my favorite baby seal
With a lead-filled snowshoe...
posted by fixedgear at 3:25 PM on March 30, 2005


i wish i had a baby seal smock. because i just like to say smock.
posted by quonsar at 3:27 PM on March 30, 2005


This thread needs some Frank Zappa lyrics.
posted by letitrain at 3:28 PM on March 30, 2005


Jinx, fixedgear.
posted by letitrain at 3:29 PM on March 30, 2005


and a sears and roebuck poncho or two.
posted by quonsar at 3:30 PM on March 30, 2005


And there's nothing more sustainable than industrial-scale soy production, right, tr33hggr? Or is all the tofu you eat made from organic, pesticide-free soybeans that are processed by hand?

Bad is not the same as worse, apparently:
"After cattle ranching, soybeans are the main driver of Amazon destruction," said Roberto Smeraldi of Friends of the Earth Brazil.
In addition, I suspect that a certain amount of that soy goes to, guess what, feeding livestock.

I'm not trying to snark here, I just find the argument that a vegetarian diet is inherently better for the environment to be a terrible starting point for a discussion of any ecological issue.

I think the key words here are "all other things being equal." For the amount of grain fed to livestock, you could feed more people than you can with the livestock itself.

You want to argue that it's wrong to slaughter animals for fur (or meat, or sport)? Fair enough. But if the animals in question are not endangered, then you're making a moral argument, not an ecological one.

While I disagree with your dismissal of environmental arguments in favor of a vegetarian diet, I'm perfectly content to rely on a moral argument here. I think it's wrong to cause unnecessary suffering, which is why I don't eat animals. I do wear leather shoes, and I do eat dairy products, but I'm not going to try to rationalize this - I think that's wrong too, and I'm willing to acknowledge that I'm a worse person for doing so.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:32 PM on March 30, 2005



Won't someone think of the shellfish.
posted by seanyboy at 3:39 PM on March 30, 2005


hakapik is an efficient tool designed to kill the animal quickly and humanely.
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:23 AM PST on March 30 [!]


Quickly and humanely, eh? Um, did you even watch the video?
posted by jikel_morten at 3:43 PM on March 30, 2005


Pounds of grain and soybeans needed to produce 1 pound of feedlot beef: 16

Number of pure vegetarians who can be fed on the amount of land needed to feed 1 person consuming meat-based diet: 20

Starts to make ecological sense to go veggie, doesn't it?

On preview: what me & my monkey said. Most of those rain-forest encroaching soybean fields are used to feed animals for human consumption.

And yeah, FYI, I do eat organic, locally made tofu.


Um, that came out more snarky than I'm feeling. Sorry.
posted by Specklet at 3:44 PM on March 30, 2005


So... How many vegetarians are needed to produce 1 pound of feedlot beef?
posted by 327.ca at 3:48 PM on March 30, 2005


Stop comparing animals to humans? Humans are better than animals? Humans = animals. That shit about humans having dominion over animals is religious clap-trap.

I know I can live without hamburgers. However, I've chosen to eat meat and it's a moral choice I have to live with. And yeah, I'd starve to death before I'd eat one of my pets.

On topic:

The seal clubbing is, apparently, to correct an imbalance of animal populations. Animal populations are self-correcting. Or, it would be, if humans would quit being so selfish (myself included).
posted by deborah at 3:49 PM on March 30, 2005


See also.
posted by mervin_shnegwood at 3:55 PM on March 30, 2005


I don't need to eat animals to survive but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop just because it bothers some people. I don't like it when people chew with their mouths open but I don't expect them to change for me.

The seal hunts are unnecessarily barbaric, bloody and throwbacks to a time when not everyone had a camera to record the carnage. Times have changed, these bloody seal club hunts should change with them.
posted by fenriq at 4:07 PM on March 30, 2005


Wow, this is weird, I never thought I'd be playing good cop to Shane's bad cop.

Next time I get to be good cop.

On second thought, this bad cop shit is great catharsis!
posted by Shane at 4:17 PM on March 30, 2005


Seals aren't cute, they're pretty ferocious actually.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:17 PM on March 30, 2005


I just find the argument that a vegetarian diet is inherently better for the environment to be a terrible starting point for a discussion of any ecological issue.

And for me it's one of the least compelling reasons.

George Bernard Shaw was asked why he was a vegetarian.

I think it's wrong to cause unnecessary suffering, which is why I don't eat animals. I do wear leather shoes, and I do eat dairy products, but I'm not going to try to rationalize this

M&M - I do too, though would rather not. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite (bring it on!), but I'm also willing to acknowledge that the industrial harvesting cotton kills animals on a mass scale - snakes, rabbits that get caught in the harvester. "Fake leather" products are made of ugly petrochemicals., There's blood on everything we buy, in short, and that's one of the largest crimes of all.
posted by tr33hggr at 4:20 PM on March 30, 2005


the industrial harvesting of cotton
posted by tr33hggr at 4:22 PM on March 30, 2005


Space Coyote : " Seals aren't cute, they're pretty ferocious actually."

I haven't looked at the footage, but the picture of the baby seal that escaped looks to me like a giant, furry maggot.
posted by Bugbread at 4:51 PM on March 30, 2005


Shocking, the number of self-righteous vegetarians on mefi...
posted by nightchrome at 4:52 PM on March 30, 2005


Astrakhan, also known as “broadtail” or “Persian wool”, is another bloody "fashion" item. It's lamb hide. The mother’s throat is slit and her stomach slashed open to remove the developing lamb. A mother typically gives birth to three lambs before being slaughtered along with her fourth fetus, about 15 to 30 days before it is due to be born. As many as 4 million karakul lambs are slaughtered for their fur every year. If you'd like to know more about "Persian wool" check out Furisdead.com
posted by chance at 4:55 PM on March 30, 2005


Shocking, the number of self-righteous vegetarians on mefi...

Is it really so shocking that so many people desire an end to unnecessary suffering? Anyway, who here is being self-righteous exactly? I don't see anyone on either side of the debate acting in a way I'd characterize as self-righteous. I certainly wouldn't characterize myself as a moral exemplar - I'm sure I do ten immoral things before breakfast, typically. But I think it's funny that with this issue more than others (in my opinion), people tend to characterize their opponents as self-righteous. People here argue about politics, religion, and so on without such sensitivity.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:04 PM on March 30, 2005


It is very unlikely the Canadian Government would take the political hit it does without some good reason. I suspect they have concluded that the harm to the seals is less than the harm to the Inuit who hunt them.

I'm siding with the natives in this, not the seals.

If the practice is unacceptable to society, the practice will eventually cease through attrition. There is no need to punish the Inuit for doing what they have done for generations. Hell, they've been fucked-over enough by the government, give them this at least.

I am assuming most of the hunters are Inuit.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:16 PM on March 30, 2005


I am assuming most of the hunters are Inuit.

No. They're Newfoundlanders. The Inuit do hunt seal, but in vastly smaller numbers.
posted by 327.ca at 5:19 PM on March 30, 2005


Shocking, the number of self-righteous vegetarians on mefi...
posted by nightchrome at 4:52 PM PST on March 30 [!]


Ahh, the self-righteous card. I was wondering when someone would spring it.
posted by jikel_morten at 5:30 PM on March 30, 2005


Jeebus freaking christ, have you ever had a roomate?

with Chianti.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:32 PM on March 30, 2005


Hmmmm... if killing seals is wrong, surely killing horses is wrong. Should I quit buying horsemeat sandwiches at the German deli? It's awful good, hate to give it up.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:34 PM on March 30, 2005


But I've never said folks shouldn't be able to choose their diet. I'd like them to be responsible about it, yes, and if they're not prepared to eat their dog or cat as quickly as they are a cow or chicken, then yup, I'm going to call that hypocrisy.

I don't own a dog or a cat. I can't see as to why I should be forced to possess one in order to eat it. For that matter, I don't think I should be forced to eat cat meat. I prefer cow.

I utterly fail to see any hypocrisy in that. I'm not forced to eat any particular food, nor (with exceedingly few exceptions) am I forced to avoid any particular food. I can eat apples, I can avoid brussel sprouts, I can eat chicken but pass on duck, I can eat cow and pass on seal.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:38 PM on March 30, 2005


Astrakhan, also known as “broadtail” or “Persian wool”, is another bloody "fashion" item. It's lamb hide. The mother’s throat is slit and her stomach slashed open to remove the developing lamb. A mother typically gives birth to three lambs before being slaughtered along with her fourth fetus, about 15 to 30 days before it is due to be born. As many as 4 million karakul lambs are slaughtered for their fur every year. If you'd like to know more about "Persian wool" check out Furisdead.com
posted by chance at 4:55 PM PST on March 30 [!]


Thanks Chance, I wasn't familiar with this disgusting practice.

Neiman Marcus Astrakhan/Crocodile Bag

Fuck I hate people.
posted by jikel_morten at 5:40 PM on March 30, 2005


Newfies, eh? If there's an alternative income for them, it'd be preferable they took advantage of it.

Also, "hunt" is not quite the right term for what they do. Deer hunters hunt: they stalk their prey and eat it. "Farm" is not the right term, obviously.

I think "harvest" might be the best term.

On the whole, I eat local, organic, free-range meats, and not in large quantity. Quality and moderation are good practice in almost all things.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:54 PM on March 30, 2005


bugbread dealt with the fact that I wasn't attempting to offer a justification, but I'd like to respond to some of the upthread comments, since my initial response was pretty glib.

Vaska: Lots of people were thrown out of jobs when they stopped whale hunting, should we have kept that career around just for them? ... My uncle got laid off when the chemical factory in his town was closed because they were poisoning the water system, should it have stayed open so he could work?

Mean Mr. Bucket: This would be a good argument for slave traders, no?

xmod2 : Funny, that's the same justification I use for clubbing people!

All three of those examples involve killing, or at least potentially killing people. Now if you want to assert that killing a person and killing a seal are morally equivalent acts that's fine. I don't agree with you and don't want to debate it beyond that.

Beyond that you all seem to be making the point that the fact that people derive advantage from something isn't by itself cause to allow that activity to continue. And I happen to agree with you on that. However I'm not convinced that the seal hunt causes enough harm to make it an immoral activity. Now you might think that the suffering it inflicts on the animals is, by itself, enough to make it immoral. Again, I disagree and don't want to but heads over who has the superior system of morals.

That said, there are cases where a hunt or harvest of animals is immoral. Simply put, I'd say that our responsibility when harvesting wildlife is to ensure that that harvest is indefinitely sustainable and that human activities are immoral when they are derelict in that responsibility.

Since I've seen nothing that suggests the harvest of the seals is unsustainable or will do long term harm to the population, I can't see why the hunt should be stopped.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:56 PM on March 30, 2005


On the whole, I eat local, organic, free-range meats, and not in large quantity. Quality and moderation are good practice in almost all things.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:54 PM PST on March 30 [!]


I'm vegan and I can dig that. I'm not exactly for it mind you, but it's better than factory farming. I know many vegetarians don't agree with me here, but I view suffering as worse, personally/morally, than death for these creatures.

/my take
posted by jikel_morten at 5:59 PM on March 30, 2005


Likewise, the fact that some people on earth need to eat meat in order to make it to tomorrow does not rationalize anyone in the "First World" eating meat on a daily basis simply because they enjoy the taste.

We are programmed to like the taste of meat. Besides I am free to eat what ever I want when ever I want to as long as it does not harm other Humans. Who are you to tell me otherwise? Stalin? Fuck you.

And I know we CAN sustainably eat meat. I eat only organic meats raised locally in as humane a way as economically viable to the producer. I pay top fucking dollar to do so. I am a responsible adult.

And I bet MY protein intake is impacts the environment than a pure grain or soy protein diet would be. In fact I KNOW it is.

I was a vegetarian for four years. I lived with this woman who was an absolute food Nazi animal rights activist. We were extremely observant of proper nutrition and PC behavior (according to her).

During that time I developed severe allergies. Was sick constantly. I also missed the taste of meat insanely. As my illnesses increased so did my taste for meat. I finally went totally werewolf at a wedding reception and had som frigg'n prime rib. I never felt so good. Like an elite athlete on roids.

You think that is accidental? No. It's not. And two doctors said as much. At a doctors recommendation I began eating meat regularly again.

And when I began eating meat again all the problems went away. With in months. Except the Nazi girl friend unfortunately, but eventually she began eating meat too.

Some people can exist fine as pure vegans. Many cannot. And it is irrelevant. We are animals. If it's ok for my dog to eat meat then it's ok for me - technically a dog CAN survive on vegetable protein. But not well.

Most of you go apeshit at the slightest perceived impairment of YOUR liberties, but some of vegetarians got no problem condemning other people for liking the taste of meat... jeebus! That is fucked up.

But I was speaking of those who see no philosophical contradiction in eating a cow (or a piece of its muscle) but shudder at the idea of eating something closer to home.

There is no "contradiction" given the facts I gave you.
posted by tkchrist at 6:09 PM on March 30, 2005


no one needs to eat animals to survive.
You do what you want. But I like to do a wee bit more than just "survive".
posted by tkchrist at 6:11 PM on March 30, 2005


Humans are better than animals? Humans = animals. That shit about humans having dominion over animals is religious clap-trap.

Ex-fucking-xactly. These self righteous jerks can't seem to get the argument straight.

So it is no more immoral for ME to eat a chicken than it is that drooling weasel on Fog-Horn Leg-Horn cartoons.

And if humans are special and I DO have higher moral authority than "dumb" animals than I can do what ever the hell I want.
posted by tkchrist at 6:16 PM on March 30, 2005


Humans have a choice to rise above their instincts, and we are not engaged in the world of survival. You're perfectly able to live in such a way that no animals have to die for you to eat or keep warm.

Absurdly false. What happens when 6 billion people all decide to eat soy, or corn or what ever the fuck? That is LAND that is no longer available to animals - and animals die. It happens NOW.

Habitat loss accounts for the permanent species loss of more animals than anything else. We BREED chickens for Christ sake. Do you know how many animals are exploited, suffer and die to grow rice and soy in Asia? And the manufacture of textiles to cloth 6 billion people? Forget about it. The imapct is HUGE!

We absolutely CAN eat meat, be humane, and have it all be sustainable. But first 4 billion of you stupid humans have to die first.
posted by tkchrist at 6:24 PM on March 30, 2005


Fuck me, tkchrist, you just posted four comments in a row.

Rant and rave much, get to the point ever? Had a rough time with that veggie GF and you're a little bitter? Gonna take this bait and post four more comments?

The seal clubbing is, apparently, to correct an imbalance of animal populations. Animal populations are self-correcting. Or, it would be, if humans would quit being so selfish (myself included).

There is much evidence to support this. Irruptive behavior in animal populations is usually followed by a natural population crash when the food supply is consumed by the larger population and any positive influencing factors (such as weather and abundant vegetation due to weather or other causes) sway back to the negative. This doesn't necessarilly imply that starvation occurs, rather that, for example in the case of white tail deer, does have one instead of two or three fawns and give birth to that fawn at a later age.

Conversely, "culling" can cause a population to "rebound." Massive hunting in N. America has no effect on white tail population, as hunting or "culling" results in less deer but the same amount of abundant food, resulting in the opposite of the birth effects I describe above.

"Culling" as a means of population control simply results in a quick rebound to close to the same or even more of the animals, like pruning a tree so it grows back more bountifully.


Hunting and "culling," as population control, are most often ineffective, but are a cash industry for the groups involved.
posted by Shane at 6:44 PM on March 30, 2005


Shocking, the number of people who appear not to know what self-righteous means...
posted by nightchrome at 6:57 PM on March 30, 2005


There has been some great twisted humor on this thread lately. The notion that the Canadian government would weigh the interests of the seals vs. those of the so-called natives and make a political decision on that basis was good, and nightchrome's belief that calling people "self-righteous" constitutes some sort of argument is extremely chuckle-worthy, but this... this is priceless:

What happens when 6 billion people all decide to eat soy, or corn or what ever the fuck? That is LAND that is no longer available to animals - and animals die.

There are so many wonderfully absurd contrafactual notions packed into that passage it's breathtaking.

Anyway, yeah, sorry about the girlfriend thing. You might want to try meditation or something.

Now if you want to assert that killing a person and killing a seal are morally equivalent acts that's fine.

I don't hear anyone asserting that. However, needlessly killing an animal does not have to be morally equivalent to killing a human in order for it to be immoral.
posted by soyjoy at 7:03 PM on March 30, 2005


Heh, I'm not making any kind of argument. I'm just mocking the vegetarians. Nobody likes a vegetarian.
posted by nightchrome at 7:05 PM on March 30, 2005


Also, I like soy products. They're tasty. Mmmmm soy milk. Tofu is good too, especially Japanese soft-block tofu.
But too much of it is bad for you, and Western vegetarians eat far more than is really healthy.
posted by nightchrome at 7:07 PM on March 30, 2005


I eat only organic meats raised locally in as humane a way as economically viable to the producer. I pay top fucking dollar to do so. I am a responsible adult.

Ehh, kudos for doing that much. Even we crazy veggies appreciate that.
posted by Shane at 7:10 PM on March 30, 2005


What happens when 6 billion people all decide to eat soy, or corn or what ever the fuck? That is LAND that is no longer available to animals - and animals die.

There are so many wonderfully absurd contrafactual notions packed into that passage it's breathtaking.


Well. Golly. Break it down for us.
posted by tkchrist at 7:12 PM on March 30, 2005


That shit about humans having dominion over animals is religious clap-trap.

Could you have found a broader brush to paint me with? I never mentioned religion.

Comparing a seal hunt to a slave trade is absurdio ad reductum, and you know it.

I never said anything about us having dominion over animals. I pointed out the fallacy of comparing the two. Now that I think of it, however, yes I do value human life over animal life. And if we're animals, then how are you holding us to a higher moral standard than any other carnivore?

Any comments on that?
posted by jon_kill at 7:15 PM on March 30, 2005


I've personally found in my experience that many of the animal rights activists I have known did not love animals quite so much as they simply hated humans.
I believe that may have something to do with the "we're animals, but somehow held to a higher standard" thing.
posted by nightchrome at 7:18 PM on March 30, 2005


Feeding, Housing and Clothing Humans, oh, Jobs too for all, 2005 and Onwards...

This seal hunt issue made me think of a few things. Aside from well known Canadian delicacies and Men's Health Magazine suggesting it.....

"The quality of life in southern Ontario is declining because of ill-planned urban development and its devastating results: disappearing forests and farmland, growing air pollution, worsening gridlock, loss of wildlife and critical habitats and water source destruction."
The case for cities encroaching on great farmland


To the Topic at hand:
Against: Animal Rights To Life [homepage images at bottom of this site are brutal: Korean Dogs and Cats]


Those calling clubbing barbaric forget how cattle are put to their death for human consumption. The electric prod doesn't always kill them either.

Islamic Method of Slaughtering Animals is Better + Cattle Stun Gun May Heighten "Madcow" Risk...

Captive Bolt Stunning 101

Tests to show the venous embolism of brain tissue


While you're eating your scrambled eggs, what of chickens and how "humanely" they are caged, kept up all night with lights in order to produce food for human consumption.

"Nienstedt: There's a lot of money spent on encouraging us not to think about where the meat was before it showed up on that little Styrofoam tray. We've even been given a language that keeps us from thinking about how we're eating flesh: We call it "beef" when it's really a cow. It's "pork," not a pig." "Chicken warehouses often have 25,000 chickens in them, so it's impossible to ensure humane treatment for that many animals."


Question: What age should I debeak my chicks?
Answer: Chicks should be debeaked at about 2-2.5 weeks.
Debeaking

Freerange Not What It's Cracked Up to Be

How 'Free' is Freerange Anything?


"The emotion-laden word 'mutilation' is sometimes used in describing husbandry practices...
More Debeaking [image may be NSBD][Before Dinner]



"A royal commission report also says clubbing seals – when done properly – is often more humane than the killing methods used in commercial slaughterhouses."
the CBC story


The Atlantic Seal Hunt: TV and Radio Information from CBC

Although wearing fur for protection doesn't apply to those in warmer climes, fur is the best protection against cold, even when wet. Period. Sure it doesn't apply to most of the population, but it is luxurious and feels great. Anyone own an acrylic suit? Woolen pants? It's about personal choice I guess. If the market is there, the product can be gotten.


I won't go into fishing and fish rights, but farmed salmon are guilty of spreading Sea Lice to wild salmon. Also known as Seabathers Eruption. That's a nasty rash there. Vancouver too. Salmon Farms banned in Alaska, but not in British Columbia!


If I was sittin' on a river bank fishing and someone came up behind me and clubbed me, I'd be dead. I may twitch a bit, probably kindalike a chicken squirming when its head is cut off, but I'd be gonners. Seal pups too. Inhumane? Now change the channel to the Terry Schiavo case.... and let's talk about humane and inhumane treatment. Hmmmm? Hey! I didn't start the ah, topic.
posted by alicesshoe at 7:38 PM on March 30, 2005


Well. I'm not telling anyone what they should or should not eat, I just pointed out one or two things. It's funny how defensive meateaters get, although I suspect that conscience has a way of quietly nagging. I agree that eating local, free-range meat is a healthier, lower-impact diet. tr33hggr had it right when they said that there is blood on everything we buy... I just choose to minimize the amount of blood. I'm not perfect. I don't say that everyone has to do as I do. I'm trying to lower my impact on the world.

I just find it curious when some people bitch about killing one type of animal, but are complicit in killing many others.

Arguments about the barbarity of seal-hunting fall flat if you know anything at all about modern slaughterhouses. fenriq mentions above about how the seal-clubbing is a throwback to earlier times when "no one had a camera to record the carnage". Modern slaughterhouses really aren't much different, except for the power-tools.

Again, I'm not telling anyone what they should or should not do... I don't have the ability to change anyone's mind, I'm just pointing out that if one supports the system, then they really can't say much about a bunch of people killing a few seals.

or maybe they can, but it doesn't really mean anything.

Logical cosistency is overrated, I guess.
posted by exlotuseater at 7:57 PM on March 30, 2005


Well. Golly. Break it down for us.

There's so much there, I can only hit the high points:

If 6 billion people are eating plant-based food, the amount land necessary to grow food is much smaller than that needed to grow food for animals, so there would be habitat gained rather than lost. Even if the supposition were true, animals dying from habitat loss, which is a byproduct of many other human activities anyway, is a problem of an entirely different practical and moral order from humans actively and needlessly killing animals.

And the "what happens when 6 billion" concept draws us back to your saying "I know we CAN sustainably eat meat." Sure, a few of us can, but 6 billion of us sure as hell can't. For one thing, 6 billion of us are never gonna be able to "pay top fucking dollar to do so" (even taking into account economies of scale, humane treatment will always cost a premium compared to the current standard of skinning while alive) and for another, allocating the land necessary to do that would mean not just the wiping out of animal species, but our own as well, unless we're all gonna live in skyscrapers. In fact, you're obviously aware of all this, since you followed that top-dollar comment with "We absolutely CAN eat meat, be humane, and have it all be sustainable. But first 4 billion of you stupid humans have to die first." Well, yeah, that's about the size of it all right, but is it really your point?
posted by soyjoy at 7:59 PM on March 30, 2005


I think meat-eaters get defensive not out of guilt but because militant vegetarians have a habit of calling them evil insensitive murderers directly, or in the very least clearly implying it.
It's not really about whether or not that's true in their eyes or in ours, but that they're rude enough to say it. People in general get defensive when others are rude to them, regardless of the veracity of the allegations.
posted by nightchrome at 8:03 PM on March 30, 2005


Bah...Bambi lovers!

You would get over all that nonsense about what is the "right" food to eat and the "right" way to obtain it, IF you got hungry enough.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 8:37 PM on March 30, 2005


Wow, this has been a great read and reread.

The seal numbers are so crazy out of control and that's our (humans) fault and we're using clubs to fix that mistake, that comes across as neanderthallic.

And I keep being reminded of the cartoon of the vegetarians with their vegetarian lion, who was scrawny and begging to be put out of its misery. We are where we are as a species on this planet because of our ability to eat meat. Dentition alone is proof to that.

That some choose to not eat meat is fine. I went a couple of summers not eating shrimp because I felt bad for them. Then I had one again and realize that they taste really good and its good to sit on top of the food chain. Shrimp are good. Pork chops are good. Bacon is astonishingly good. Marinated teriyaki skirt steak on a barbecue with freshly sliced pineapple on top of it is damned near nirvana.

Don't eat meat? Fine, more for me. But don't get me wrong, I eat everything else too. 'Cept melons, nasty slimy buggers.
posted by fenriq at 8:59 PM on March 30, 2005


nightchrome : " I think meat-eaters get defensive not out of guilt but because militant vegetarians have a habit of calling them evil insensitive murderers directly"

Exactly. In the same way that men get defensive if someone says "All sex is rape and all men are rapists", the defensiveness isn't from guilt, but a natural reaction to being reviled for something you think is neither true nor right.
posted by Bugbread at 9:05 PM on March 30, 2005


The notion that the Canadian government would weigh the interests of the seals vs. those of the so-called natives and make a political decision on that basis was [humorous].

Please expand on this. My understanding is that Nunavut gained status because of concern for Inuit lifestyle. A local tribe got forestry rights to the land it claims as traditional territory. I don't see why a seal hunt might not be allowed for the same sorts of reasons.

But it isn't for those reasons, not because the government is particularly cruel, but because natives simply aren't much involved with the event. I was wrong in that assumption.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:06 PM on March 30, 2005


The clubbing is being called "primitive" and "cruel" and so on.

Other than the highly suspect claims of PETA, is this really at all true?

I've had near-death head-injury experience and I can accurately claim that having one's head so strongly clobbered is not a painful experience at all.

I can well imagine that a well-placed club would relive the seal of life instantly and painlessly.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 PM on March 30, 2005


well-placed club

I'm not arguing with that. But after clubbing hundreds of seals, they get tired and they get sloppy.
posted by fenriq at 9:54 PM on March 30, 2005


Killing is killing. Do it, or don't. I'm of limited patience with those who would argue about how the killing is done, as if it's somehow different to kill with a smile. It seems to me to be going to great and untenable lengths to make oneself feel better.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:56 PM on March 30, 2005


Replace 'kill' with 'torture', by the way, to simulate my opinion on Abu Ghraib.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:57 PM on March 30, 2005


Man, who ever posted that Neiman Marcus bag- thank you! Great gift idea!
posted by mrblondemang at 10:57 PM on March 30, 2005


When does the human cull begin?
posted by NinjaPirate at 1:48 AM on March 31, 2005


em>If 6 billion people are eating plant-based food, the amount land necessary to grow food is much smaller than that needed to grow food for animals, so there would be habitat gained rather than lost.

The idea that people can easily grow enough food for themselves sustainably on a small amount of land if they are vegetarian is a fallacy. I don't know where you live but I'm guessing it's someplace in Europe where most land is arable and there is plenty of water. Throughout much of the rest of the world a lot of land is unsuitable for sustainable cultivation due to climate or substrate but can be used to support grazing.

If you look at the areas where irrigation has been used in the past century to enable people to grow more crops and live on smaller plots of land in the short term you see long term problems problems developing ranging from land subsidence to pollution, salt poisoning to outright starvation. In order to have everyone live a vegan lifestlye you would also have to significantly expand industrilization to deal with the problems of transport and storage of the correct foodstuffs for regions that cannot produce a year round plant based diet. Some places are good for living by farming and others are good for living by hunting and gathering.

Personally, and I'm an ecologist, I don't think that vegetarians or vegans leave any less of a "footprint" than anyone else. Typically they just come from places that are very fertile or wealthy and able to support extremely high densities of humans and think that their situation should apply worldwide.

No-one ever thinks of the plants either. Did they ask to be eaten?

To correct a few misapprehensions I've seen in this thread: the idea that livestock are fed primarily grain is incorrect. Mostly they eat farm waste or forage, which humans couldn't eat anyway. Stuff like post-harvest tomato plants or grass. And to whomever said that predators wouldn't eat any abandoned carcasses? Not so. Everything in the Arctic is on the verge of starving all the time. Those carcasses will be scavanged right away.
posted by fshgrl at 3:34 AM on March 31, 2005


The idea that people can easily grow enough food for themselves sustainably on a small amount of land if they are vegetarian is a fallacy. I don't know where you live but I'm guessing it's someplace in Europe where most land is arable and there is plenty of water. Throughout much of the rest of the world a lot of land is unsuitable for sustainable cultivation due to climate or substrate but can be used to support grazing.

Where I live is an irrelevant ad hominem. "Sustainable grazing" is the fallacy. Grazing inevitably harms ecosystems and ultimately causes habitat loss. Even ignoring secondary concerns such as increased water consumption and contamination by food animals, grazing is not a sustainable worldwide solution. Meanwhile, at a land ratio of about 18:1 for meat-eating vs. plant-eating, it's absurd to say that plant-eaters would use more land, or even anywhere near the amount of land.

Of course there would need to be improvements in distribution, but that's the case anyway. We currently produce enought food worldwide to feed everybody plenty if it were distributed properly; but that's a separate issue.

In short, a vegan (and to a lesser extent vegetarian) diet clearly leaves a smaller footprint than a meat-centered one, and this is accepted and documented by the world's most credible scientific bodies. If you have documentation to the contrary I'd be very interested to see it.

Bear in mind, of course, that the effect on the environment is only one of many arguments for vegetarianism. It's not the most important one to me; I've only addressed it because of contrafactual statements that needed corrected.

As for "what about plants?" - as I and others have said numerous times, as soon as a given plant expresses a will and a way to escape being killed, I will swear off it as well.
posted by soyjoy at 7:59 AM on March 31, 2005


Dentition alone is proof to that.

This is another fallacy in the "people were meant to eat meat" vein. Human canines are not long and curved as are the canines of carnivorous animals. And we DO have the long digestive tracts of vegetarian animals, thus meat rots in your gut before passing through you...

What you eat is a matter of your choice.
posted by Shane at 8:11 AM on March 31, 2005


Against: Animal Rights To Life [homepage images at bottom of this site are brutal: Korean Dogs and Cats]
the brutal part from my perspective is letting children play with the food alive then slaughtering it in front of them. Adding, to begin with the children I knew who had this happen where unaware why the puppy was there to play with.
Recall when the Summer Olympics was in Korea? They had visible butcher shops store the meat out of view.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:37 AM on March 31, 2005


Bah...Bambi lovers!

You would get over all that nonsense about what is the "right" food to eat and the "right" way to obtain it, IF you got hungry enough.


Absolutely! That's not much of an argument, though.

the idea that livestock are fed primarily grain is incorrect. Mostly they eat farm waste or forage, which humans couldn't eat anyway. Stuff like post-harvest tomato plants or grass.

I don't think anyone here said that livestock are fed primarily grain. A lot of that "farm waste" you mention is actually animal product, from my understanding. But honestly, I don't care that much about the ecological argument in favor of a vegetarian diet. I think that the moral argument is much more compelling.

That said, I don't expect to convince anyone to change their minds as a result of my arguments, nor would I force people to change if I could.

I think meat-eaters get defensive not out of guilt but because militant vegetarians have a habit of calling them evil insensitive murderers directly.

That's funny. No one here has called anyone else an evil insensitive murderer, as far as I can tell. A few people have expressed their belief that eating meat is bad, but that's about it. As a comparison, if this were an argument about abortion, would the pro-choice people (or those who'd had abortions themselves) be as sensitive to criticism from pro-life people? I don't think so. So, to me, it seems that there's more to this defensiveness than you let on.

Now that I think of it, however, yes I do value human life over animal life. And if we're animals, then how are you holding us to a higher moral standard than any other carnivore?

To me, the ability to make moral decisions is exactly why I value human life over animal life. If we behave just like any other animals, what is there to value?

We are programmed to like the taste of meat. Besides I am free to eat what ever I want when ever I want to as long as it does not harm other Humans. Who are you to tell me otherwise? Stalin? Fuck you.

We are programmed to do a lot of unpleasant things, if you look at human history as evidence of our programming. Why does it even matter to you if you harm other "Humans?" And I don't see why you'd bring Stalin into this - no one is going to forcibly change your behavior. That's up to you.

That some choose to not eat meat is fine. I went a couple of summers not eating shrimp because I felt bad for them. Then I had one again and realize that they taste really good and its good to sit on top of the food chain. Shrimp are good. Pork chops are good. Bacon is astonishingly good. Marinated teriyaki skirt steak on a barbecue with freshly sliced pineapple on top of it is damned near nirvana.

Baby is delicious! You're right, it is good to sit on top of the food chain!
posted by me & my monkey at 8:51 AM on March 31, 2005


"Sustainable grazing" is the fallacy. Grazing inevitably harms ecosystems and ultimately causes habitat loss. Even ignoring secondary concerns such as increased water consumption and contamination by food animals, grazing is not a sustainable worldwide solution.

So you think that plowing up the prairies to grow corn was an improvement, environmentally speaking? Or cutting down the Amazonian rainforest and replacing hunter gatherer peoples with soy farmers?
posted by fshgrl at 9:07 AM on March 31, 2005


Or cutting down the Amazonian rainforest and replacing hunter gatherer peoples with soy farmers?

Again, you need to check your facts. Most rainforest was, and continues to be, cut down to provide either livestock grazing land or to cultivate grain to feed to livestock. Any change to the landscape will affect the ecosystem; the point remains that producing meat affects it more, and more negatively than simply producing plants.
posted by soyjoy at 9:13 AM on March 31, 2005


No one here has called anyone else an evil insensitive murderer, as far as I can tell.

Well, Shane came pretty close, but that was when he was playing bad cop and I was good cop. (I think we're switching back to our more usual roles now.)

Regardless, the whole "meat eaters get defensive because of all the abuse they have to take" is a silly concept given what vegans and vegetarians have to put up with every day from that constituency.
posted by soyjoy at 9:17 AM on March 31, 2005


Or cutting down the Amazonian rainforest
fshgrl; Are you sure it always was a rainforest? You do believe in evolution? Bare land turns into a prairie then a forest and man cuts it all down. The process is done over and over which we may only see one of the ending cycles today.
Also from this thread, can't tell your side here. Scientific facts true, nature has no facts or few to analyze. For further understanding please check my comment way above that was a reply to you. Sorry it is so high up in the thread which seemingly is like your ideology skiing over my head. In your defense you may be posting your comments too quickly that is leading me to think this.

So you think that plowing up the prairies to grow corn was an improvement, environmentally speaking?
Sure, I'll be completely wrong here but will give it a go anyway. The prairie grass was replaced by corn which if kept that way would have been a great beneficial for all. All being man and animals as it would provide a food source for both causing both to grow. Oh no bad: growth.
The ground would be the loser as its nutritional resources would be used up and could be polluted by poisons. Then again the ground is where we extract our chemicals.
I hope corn was not a troll for the corn industry making the USA people fat.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:29 AM on March 31, 2005


Regardless, the whole "meat eaters get defensive because of all the abuse they have to take" is a silly concept given what vegans and vegetarians have to put up with every day from that constituency.

Amen soyjoy.
posted by tr33hggr at 10:11 AM on March 31, 2005


I never said anything about us having dominion over animals. I pointed out the fallacy of comparing the two. Now that I think of it, however, yes I do value human life over animal life. And if we're animals, then how are you holding us to a higher moral standard than any other carnivore?

Any comments on that?


You inferred that humans are better than animals (Well, no, not really seeing as slaves are people and seals are animals.). I don't believe that. I believe that thinking that humans are better than animals is a hold-over from biblical teachings. If your belief that animals aren't as good as humans comes from somewhere else, you have my apologies for thinking it was religion based.

Humans have morals (or not) because we have choices. Non-human animals do not (and that doesn't make them lesser beings).

I said I eat meat. I said it's a decision I have to live with. Nowhere do I condemn anyone for making their own choices as to what to eat. How can I do that when I've chosen to eat meat myself? I have to live by my moral compass (or not). I can't, don't and won't insist everyone abide by my morals.

Actually, a lot of what vegetarians eat causes the death of animals. You don't think there are rabbits, birds, mice, etc. in fields of wheat, oats, corn, vegetables, etc.? You're wearing blinders.
posted by deborah at 10:37 AM on March 31, 2005


If your belief that animals aren't as good as humans comes from somewhere else, you have my apologies for thinking it was religion based.

I can't speak for anyone else, but my belief that humans are better than other animals is based on my observation that humans can make moral choices. I don't believe that religion is a requirement for morality, either.

Actually, a lot of what vegetarians eat causes the death of animals. You don't think there are rabbits, birds, mice, etc. in fields of wheat, oats, corn, vegetables, etc.? You're wearing blinders.

Well, yes, and countless microorganisms are harmed daily when I wash my hands. However, there is a big difference between actions that are inherently harmful and those that are not. I don't expect that all suffering can be eliminated from the world, I just try to minimize it when I can.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:29 PM on March 31, 2005


God Damn It.
The thread dies, and *then* I find out that ...

Matthew J. Hogan, Exotic Trophy Hunter is appointed by Dubya as the acting director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (This is an organisation that should really have a more ecological view on the world.

/wondering if I should post it on the front page.
posted by seanyboy at 12:42 PM on March 31, 2005


I can't speak for anyone else, but my belief that humans are better than other animals is based on my observation that humans can make moral choices. I don't believe that religion is a requirement for morality, either.

Of course religion isn't a requirement for morality. A lot of immoral actions have been taken in the name of religion. However, and not dismissing it, morality is a human construct. Just because we can come up with something like morality makes non-human animals lesser beings? I don't buy it.

Well, yes, and countless microorganisms are harmed daily when I wash my hands. However, there is a big difference between actions that are inherently harmful and those that are not. I don't expect that all suffering can be eliminated from the world, I just try to minimize it when I can.

Minimizing harm and suffering is a noble goal. It's one I aspire to as well.

I've realized that, quite possibly, I'm coming across as a "holier than thou" nutcase. Really, I'm not. I think I need to click the wee red 'x' and go kill some goblins.
posted by deborah at 2:05 PM on March 31, 2005


Actually Shane, you're right, our teeth are more for a variety of foods, not just meat eating. But they are also not primarily arranged for a diet of purely plant material either.

We're omnivores. We also happen to have a cultural aspect that allows some omnivores to choose to not partake in meat eating.

Again, that's fine as it leaves more for me.

My point about the unecessarily brutal means of culling the seal herds remains though. There's no reason it has be so violent and inhumane. And there's no excuse whatsoever for skinning a living creature.
posted by fenriq at 3:17 PM on March 31, 2005


soyjoy : " Regardless, the whole 'meat eaters get defensive because of all the abuse they have to take' is a silly concept given what vegans and vegetarians have to put up with every day from that constituency."

I find that kind of surprising. It's like saying "I find the fact that you are upset at your landlord for doubling the rent to be a silly concept considering that in areas struck by the typhoon, people don't even have a place to live".

Someone argued that "meat eaters must be defensive because they feel guilt". I just put forth that it's because of the verbal battering. Whether it's silly or not is irrelevant, considering that the issue isn't whether or not defensiveness is justified, but why the defensiveness is occurring.

Phrased from another angle: If this type of argument is going to be seriously put forth, I may as well bust out the "Vegetarians are angry and excited in order to hide other moral deficiencies" card. No, I don't actually believe that, but it's just about as silly.
posted by Bugbread at 3:26 PM on March 31, 2005


Vegans and vegetarians put up with abuse? From whom? Why?

I can't imagine a situation in which a vegetarian would attract any abuse at all, except in those situations in which the vegetarian shot his mouth off about how horrible meat-eaters are.

Mind your own business, and I'll bet you pass through your life without anyone really giving a damn what you eat.
Bears (black and grizzly) mostly subsist on roots, shoots, and berries. They are not, in fact, big meat eaters. Meat takes work to obtain, whereas a ripe blueberry bush doesn't tend to run away as you approach. But given half a chance, a bear will eat a deer, a hiker, or even a box of twinkies. They're not at all picky about what they eat: they just want it easy.

People are opportunivores just like bears.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:32 PM on March 31, 2005


I can't imagine a situation in which a vegetarian would attract any abuse at all, except in those situations in which the vegetarian shot his mouth off about how horrible meat-eaters are.

Mind your own business, and I'll bet you pass through your life without anyone really giving a damn what you eat.


It seems to me that you have a limited imagination, then. I travel for business a decent amount, and I eat with a lot of people as a result. In a lot of places I go, there isn't that much on the menu, and a lot of what is on the menu may or may not be vegetarian. So, quite a bit, I have to ask whether something is vegetarian. Almost always, when this happens, the people I'm with start asking me questions about my diet, simply because this is an unusual question for them to hear. Generally, I say as little as possible about it, since I'm not interested in discussing these sorts of things with people I don't know. If I can, I order something that's clearly vegetarian, but again that's not always possible. The range of responses I get has been all over the map.

People are opportunivores just like bears.

Well, I guess if bears do it, that's good enough for me!

Honestly, I just don't get this argument from nature. By nature, people are just as red in tooth and claw as any other animal. Life in the state of nature is nasty, brutish and short, right? Is that what we're aiming for? I don't understand why everyone here is so against the war in Iraq then, because people killing other people is just natural!
posted by me & my monkey at 4:32 PM on March 31, 2005


Almost always, when this happens, the people I'm with start asking me questions about my diet, simply because this is an unusual question for them to hear.

They ask questions about it? My god, that is abusive!

Why, it's akin to telling someone who eats meat that he's an "ignorant, uncaring fuck with no heart who should commit suicide."

And as you obviously have a comprehension disability, allow me to clarify my previous post: it wasn't any sort of argument from nature and has S.F.A. to do with bear cannibalism.

It was, however, a descriptive adjustment to the the English language, that extends and clarifies the prescriptive term used by scientists to identify an animal which eats both vegetable and animal foods.

IOW, "opportunivore" is an invented word that describes the actual eating habits of humans (and some other animals) far better than "omnivore."

Try to not be so bloody thick next time, okay? (Just fulfilling your abuse needs there, mmmkay?)
posted by five fresh fish at 6:25 PM on March 31, 2005


five fresh fish : " Vegans and vegetarians put up with abuse? From whom? Why?

"I can't imagine a situation in which a vegetarian would attract any abuse at all, except in those situations in which the vegetarian shot his mouth off about how horrible meat-eaters are."


You haven't lived in Texas, then. As a former vegetarian, I can say that, while there isn't a torrent of abuse, there can be a steady undercurrent, especially when talking to older folks, even if you haven't shot your mouth off.
posted by Bugbread at 6:26 PM on March 31, 2005


They ask questions about it? My god, that is abusive!

You might have read the rest of the paragraph, which mentioned responses being all over the map. Reading is Fundamental!

Why, it's akin to telling someone who eats meat that he's an "ignorant, uncaring fuck with no heart who should commit suicide."

You shouldn't confuse a website with real life, you know. It's just not healthy.

And as you obviously have a comprehension disability, allow me to clarify my previous post: it wasn't any sort of argument from nature and has S.F.A. to do with bear cannibalism.

Why bring it up then? Your response is analogous to saying "people eat meat" in response to the question "what should people eat?"

Try to not be so bloody thick next time, okay? (Just fulfilling your abuse needs there, mmmkay?)

Motes & beams, if you know what I mean.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:16 PM on March 31, 2005


bugbread - I get your point, but your analogy is off: dragging in a typhoon vis-a-vis a landlord is patently irrelevant. Pointing out the social dynamics between two groups that have already been identified, and reversing the vectors, is quite relevant - and completely valid, in my opinion.

FFF: thanks for answering your own question.
posted by soyjoy at 9:50 AM on April 1, 2005


What question was that, soyjoy?

What I see in this thread is that some vegetarians try to ensure they reap abuse, by making asinine statements describing meat eaters as "ignorant, uncaring fucks with no heart who should commit suicide."

Or make asinine statements comparing eating chicken to eating one's own baby.

Little wonder there's some amount of abuse hurled back at them.

I don't recall ever seeing a vegetarian being abused prior to that vegetarian being a self-righteous prick about his dietary choices and downright rude about others' dietary choices.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:14 AM on April 1, 2005


Well if you don't recall seeing it, that changes everything, because the testimony of many people who live through it every day is insignificant next to your all-seeing eye. So you win on that one.
posted by soyjoy at 12:14 PM on April 1, 2005


What I see in this thread is that some vegetarians try to ensure they reap abuse, by making asinine statements describing meat eaters as "ignorant, uncaring fucks with no heart who should commit suicide."

Or make asinine statements comparing eating chicken to eating one's own baby.


Personally, I think people are generally pretty ignorant and uncaring, anyway. You almost have to be, to survive all the horror there is to be found in the world. I know there are all sorts of horrible things for which I can't summon the will to care. So don't commit suicide on my account, ok?

As for the baby thing, I said that in response to fenriq, who said something along the lines of "it's good to be at the top of the food chain." Well, if you're at the top of the food chain, why not eat babies? What's stopping you? It's your prerogative, being king of the jungle and all that, isn't it? I don't see why it would have to be your own baby, just a baby in general. Or a retarded person. Or Terri Schiavo, last week sometime. Or the Pope next week. If you think all these comparisons are asinine, that's fine, but I've yet to see a rational explanation that makes this absolutely clear. If you'd like to offer one that doesn't rely solely upon the word "asinine,' I look forward to reading it.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:06 PM on April 1, 2005


me & my monkey : " As for the baby thing, I said that in response to fenriq, who said something along the lines of 'it's good to be at the top of the food chain.' Well, if you're at the top of the food chain, why not eat babies? What's stopping you? It's your prerogative, being king of the jungle and all that, isn't it?"

Because you're morally opposed to it?

That's pretty much akin to saying, "If you think we shouldn't eat animals, why not stop eating plants or fungi as well?"

There's no rule that says one can't draw a line somewhere. Some people draw the line at animals (i.e. they'll eat plants, but not animals). They seem, from experience and this thread, to be mighty happy with where they've drawn the line. Some people draw the line at humans (they'll eat animals, but not humans). They seem, from experience and this thread, to be mighty happy with where they've drawn the line.

However, I digress. To return the post to the original question, "Why not eat babies?", the answer is "because I find it morally repugnant". I'm surprised you had to ask.
posted by Bugbread at 8:39 PM on April 1, 2005


the testimony of many people who live through it every day

As a vegetarian, you reap abuse every day? Astounding.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:01 AM on April 2, 2005


I'd say 2 or 3 times a month was more like it when I was a veggie, but A) I was no longer in high school, and B) I didn't work with rednecks, even though I lived in Texas. I do remember veggie kids in high school getting some sort of abuse (not torrential, by any means, but frequent) every few days.

Of course, they didn't have it as bad as the straight edge kids. They got daily abuse.
posted by Bugbread at 5:29 PM on April 2, 2005


me & my monkey writes "Well, if you're at the top of the food chain, why not eat babies? What's stopping you? It's your prerogative, being king of the jungle and all that, isn't it? I don't see why it would have to be your own baby, just a baby in general. Or a retarded person. Or Terri Schiavo, last week sometime. Or the Pope next week."

I think we all know that Irish babies are the tastiest -- and by buying them for our dinner tables, we prevent the children of poor people in Ireland
from being a burden to their parents or country, and make them beneficial to the public.

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.

And speaking of the Pope, eating Irish babies would greatly lessen the number of papists, with whom we are yearly overrun, being the principal breeders of the nation as well as our most dangerous enemies.
posted by orthogonality at 7:53 PM on April 2, 2005


As a vegetarian, you reap abuse every day?

Not just every day. Every hour. On the hour.
posted by soyjoy at 10:56 AM on April 4, 2005


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