Tiger & Piglet, we have so much to learn from you
June 12, 2006 12:14 AM   Subscribe

For those of you that love photos of animals getting along with other animals that they would normally be eating, the photos section of the Animal Liberation Front website is for you.
posted by jonson (134 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Note: not ALL the photos on the page are of interspecial harmony, some are just cute animal photos.
posted by jonson at 12:15 AM on June 12, 2006


heh. my former father-in-law (a vet med scientist) once debated PETA's founder on this exact point. She contended that there is no natural carnivorous inclination anywhere in the animal kingdom; the only reason animals eat each other now is that they've learned to do it from humans. Yeah, those pesky lions and sharks! Big, toothy copycats!
posted by scody at 12:23 AM on June 12, 2006


Cat feeding pups (shamelessly stolen from this thread, and probably unnecessarily, since all the usual suspects will be reading this one, too)
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 12:33 AM on June 12, 2006


OMG, scody. And here I thought only the creationists clung to the original sin trope.
The Trials of Life isn't as cute as the ALF site, but it's a lot more interesting. Less nurture, way more nature.
posted by maryh at 12:35 AM on June 12, 2006


Now, Owen is just a perv.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 12:37 AM on June 12, 2006


"She contended that there is no natural carnivorous inclination anywhere in the animal kingdom"
so she's not just fucking stupid, ingrid is also bat shit insane. How does one actually believe this?? Is she unfamiliar with phenotypes associated with predation? Does she believe that these only evolved after humans arrived on the scene? What does she say about predators that lack the mental complexity for social learning? Is she honestly that stupid or are you pulling our leg?

fun side note! Peta kills 2/3 of the pets it receives! (thank you penn and teller).

adorable pictures! Too bad the ALF are a rotten bunch of terrorists. I can agree that we shouldn't be injecting bunnies with lipstick and other insane cosmetic testing should stop, but if you want a cure for aids/small pox/anthrax/cancer/blindness or revolutionary treatments for joint replacement, transplant rejection, heart failure etc - some animals are going to have to get fucked up. If you don't agree, i hope that you abstain from all technologies gleaned from animal testing. I am looking at you, Mary Beth Sweetland - you hypocritical piece of trash.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:44 AM on June 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


We taught the lion to eat tofu.
posted by Jimbob at 12:45 AM on June 12, 2006


Dangit, maryh, now I have to go add all of Attenborough's work to my netflix queue. His Life of Birds was incredible.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 12:46 AM on June 12, 2006


Is she honestly that stupid or are you pulling our leg?

Not unless my ex's dad was pulling my leg. But I don't think so -- my ex said he saw the interview. (He also vividly remembers the death and bomb threats his family used to get from PETA/ALF around that same time.)
posted by scody at 12:46 AM on June 12, 2006


We taught the lion to eat tofu.
posted by Jimbob at 12:45 AM PST on June 12

No, the lion tried to teach us... we just wouldn't listen.
(close up on single lion tear)
posted by maryh at 12:47 AM on June 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


Omigosh so cuuuuuuute!!

Not to mention: tasty.
posted by loquacious at 12:48 AM on June 12, 2006


"He also vividly remembers the death and bomb threats his family used to get from PETA/ALF around that same time."
you stay classy PETA/ALF!

you know, its really a shame, because there is a lot peta stands for that reasonable people could get behind. Not torturing animals? Absolutely! Too bad they have to shit all over their own message.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:00 AM on June 12, 2006


Tryptophan-5ht: What does she say about predators that lack the mental complexity for social learning?

That's the first thing I thought of. Is she telling us that freaking SPIDERS learned to eat insects from us? That we taught jellyfish to eat fish and zooplankton?
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:04 AM on June 12, 2006


Rather than turn this into a thread about the politics of said organization/PETA (who I didn't think were mentioned in the FPP?), I will instead appreciate the adorableness of the animals pictured. I think my favorite is the terrier and the abandoned squirrel, because COME ON, how cute is that shit? I also really enjoyed the cat riding the pig, but who doesn't love animals living in harmony no matter how rare/staged/improbable.

Let's just appreciate the beauty people!
posted by nonmerci at 1:08 AM on June 12, 2006


You haters. Once the jellyfish lay down with the zooplankton, but then humans covered thier weewees and the party ended. It's so obvious.
posted by maryh at 1:09 AM on June 12, 2006


That's the first thing I thought of. Is she telling us that freaking SPIDERS learned to eat insects from us?

Well, you will note from the pictures linked here, that PETA follows the highly moral "let's save the cute animals" philosophy.
posted by Jimbob at 1:10 AM on June 12, 2006


Sorry nonmerci, I wasn't directing that at you, but ALF is mentioned in the FPP.
posted by maryh at 1:12 AM on June 12, 2006


Oh, I know, maryh, I just wish that for once we MeFites could take a thread like this at face value! Cute animals loving other cute animals!

Also, Jimbob, since when have we humans cared about ugly creatures? Moral or not, we're all shallow and we like pretty things. Fact of life I guess?

Sometimes it's good to appreciate the warm fuzzies and ignore the other nagging moral questions that come along with said joy. It's late and I'm talking nonsense but hopefully some of you get where I'm coming from.
posted by nonmerci at 1:20 AM on June 12, 2006


This just in: Pope had dream about cats.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 1:23 AM on June 12, 2006


As anyone who knows me well will be aware, I am a member of the ALF. Any action which is directly harmful to human or non-human animals is unacceptable, and anyone who engages in such activity is by definition not part of the ALF.

The organisations who have exhumed corpses and assaulted executives are usually the Justice Department or the Animal Rights Militia.

It is therefore inaccurate to say that anyone has received a death threat from the ALF.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 1:27 AM on June 12, 2006


Nice post jonson, lots of awws. It's nice when critters of different species get along well.

If anyone wants to see the original Tigger and Piglet, they are sitting in a glass case on the 3rd floor in the Donnell Library, on West 53rd Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue, NYC, opposite the Museum Of Modern Art.
posted by nickyskye at 1:30 AM on June 12, 2006


nonmerci - if someone posted "omg, look at the cute pictures hosted on stormfront!" you can bet someone is going to raise the racism issue.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:30 AM on June 12, 2006


"It is therefore inaccurate to say that anyone has received a death threat from the ALF."

like how christians believe killing is wrong there for its inaccurate to say that anyone has recieved a death threat from a christian? I believe you're operating under the assumption that all ALF memebers act in accordance with their dogma.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 1:33 AM on June 12, 2006


The organisations who have exhumed corpses and assaulted executives are usually the Justice Department


Hahahahaha


/me falls out of chair laughing
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:34 AM on June 12, 2006


The organisations who have exhumed corpses and assaulted executives are usually the Justice Department

The US Department of Justice usually leaves corporate executives alone. Perks of the job ;)
posted by Mr. Six at 1:41 AM on June 12, 2006


Too bad the ALF are a rotten bunch of terrorists.

Are you refering to the 28 Days Later debacle? That was just a movie.

I can't stand them either, but you should be careful about throwing around the word "terrorist".
posted by recurve at 1:43 AM on June 12, 2006


Kids today — they just wanna hang together.
posted by rob511 at 1:48 AM on June 12, 2006


It's not that there is a central leadership. The actual state of being an ALF member is being vegetarian/vegan and non-violent by definition. In the same way that a ship ceases to be the same ship with the replacement of its final part, anyone who engages in an act of violence is effectively disowned by the ALF. Check out the Press Office.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 1:49 AM on June 12, 2006


malusmoriendumest: It is therefore inaccurate to say that anyone has received a death threat from the ALF.

By that standard, I doubt the organization possesses any members. Or a founder.

ALF stands for Animal Liberation Front. I would NEVER expect any group with the words 'Liberation Front' to be peaceful. That's a name clearly chose to convey 'violent revolutionary group'. Which it is. I've never heard of any member doing anything besides making threats, assaulting people, attacking labs, committing arson, and doing other kinds of minor terrorism (I don't think they've killed anyone yet, but it's only a matter of time.) PETA at least has the occasional lunatic publicity stunt.

The only animal rights organization I know of that actually helps animals is the ASPCA.
posted by Mitrovarr at 1:50 AM on June 12, 2006


malusmoriendumest: As anyone who knows me well will be aware, I am a member of the ALF.

A real ALF "member" wouldn't claim membership.
posted by beerbajay at 1:55 AM on June 12, 2006


Animal Liberation Front? Fuck off! We're the Liberation Front of Animals!
posted by slimepuppy at 2:01 AM on June 12, 2006


Attacking labs, certainly. Commiting arson where there are no animals or humans inside the structure, of course. Making threats against people's business, but by definition never assaulting a person or deliberately harming any animal or human.

And beerbajay, members don't work alone. We usually meet at animal rights meetings, but unless we occasionally make an offhand comment, we'd be doing nothing but breaking butcher-shop windows and spraying slogans. And don't even try the smartass comment.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 2:02 AM on June 12, 2006


Anecdotal: I knew some ALF members in High School. They were annoyingly nonviolent. They mostly held small protests. Some of them probably went to a few research labs, broke in after hours and rescued or released a few animals without ever seeing any other humans.

And they were pretty explicit and outspoken about their plans to submit peacefully to avoid violence and confrontation in general if confronted, detained or arrested by authority figures.

One data point is only that, sure.

But if you're going to accuse a loose non-organization of socially aware street punks and tree humping dirt hippies of being violent, you might want to question where you're getting these assumptions of violence from - IE, the mainstream media.

Most of these kids tremble at the thought of being yelled at sternly, much less the concept of violent confrontation.
posted by loquacious at 2:02 AM on June 12, 2006


The only animal rights organization I know of that actually helps animals is the ASPCA.

Just a note - there are some specific words used to describe these organizations.

ASPCA is an anti-cruelty or humane organization. They oppose cruelty to animals, but don't oppose keeping them, farming them, eating them. It just has to be done humanely.

Beyond this, there are animal liberation and animal rights groups.

Animal liberation is a philosophy that animals should not be used / kept by humans. It goes beyond simply opposing cruelty, and emphasizes that animals should be free. The oppose keeping zoo and circus animals, for instance, as well as farm animals and sometimes even pets.

Animal rights is the most extreme, and PETA / ALF tend towards this philosophy - a belief that animals have equivalent rights to humans. Indeed, more rights, because (as we can see from this post) they are viewed as innocents - with rights, but no means of excercising them on their own, and needing humans to fight for them.

The ASPCA would probably be offended being described as an "animal rights" group.
posted by Jimbob at 2:03 AM on June 12, 2006


(Animal rights is the belief, for instance, that milking a cow is "rape" and harvesting honey is "theft".)
posted by Jimbob at 2:09 AM on June 12, 2006


nonmerci, you mean my fav, Finnegan the Squirrel?
posted by nickyskye at 2:09 AM on June 12, 2006


malusmoriendumest: Attacking labs, certainly. Committing arson where there are no animals or humans inside the structure, of course. Making threats against people's business, but by definition never assaulting a person or deliberately harming any animal or human.

And you think that is acceptable? You have no idea of ethics! Everything you list there is completely wrong! Not to mention, that hundreds of millions of people have been saved through medical science, which is permanently interwoven with animal research. If you stop that, you WILL kill people, even if you don't engage in any direct combat. And your arsonists are going to kill people directly. Ever heard of 'fire fighters'? They can die even in empty building fires.

Any one of you who EVER accepts medical treatment is a worthless hypocrite. All of our medical research... all of our knowledge of anatomy... every single drug we use... all of it was either derived from medical science that either used animals directly or was based on discoveries that did (insert iterations here.) Unless you're going to clean-room redevelop the entire science of biology, you can't touch any of it. Perhaps your use of medical technology would be acceptable if you took a more reasonable stance and argued that we should stop research now, without the violent fundamentalism... But not with your current stance. If you think animal testing is that wrong, go without the fruits of it. I expect you'll last until about one week after your first cavity.
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:15 AM on June 12, 2006


Over the last 2 years, I have not received any medical treatment. Partly because products such as antibiotics are often coated in gelatine, partly because the hands of the medical industry are stained with innocent blood.

Ethics are ethics- yours are not mine, and mine are equally valid to yours. It is possibly true that if no progress was being made in my view, and I had nothing to lose from the action, I could kill a person, but that is irrelevant to the discussion.

It seems to me that most meat-eaters and experimenters are eager to prove that anyone opposed to their views are "hypocrites", instead of discussing the matter factually and honestly. Perhaps this is because of subconscious guilt about their direct or indirect slaughtering, or perhaps not.

But at least I can occasionally disconnect myself from the issue, and avoid hysterical "Everything you list there is wrong!" and emotional outbursts. Good luck to you.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 2:21 AM on June 12, 2006


It seems to me that most meat-eaters and experimenters are eager to prove that anyone opposed to their views are "hypocrites", instead of discussing the matter factually and honestly.

Sure. Facts. I'm an ecologist. Here's a lesson. Humans are primates. Primates are omnivores. Omnivores eat meat.
posted by Jimbob at 2:29 AM on June 12, 2006


By which I mean to say Humans are primates.
posted by Jimbob at 2:30 AM on June 12, 2006


Malusmoriendumest, I'd be curious to learn your views on Jainism and whether you practice their method to prevent killing bacteria and multicellular animals by breathing through a mask?
posted by Mr. Six at 2:31 AM on June 12, 2006


Bacteria and multicellular animals, by all studies shown, cannot possibly be defined as having a conscious mind. A conscious mind is a prerequisite for rights, under AR philosophy. "Rights for Bacteria" makes our extremism seem tame.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 2:33 AM on June 12, 2006


Also, Malusmoriendumest, I wonder if you eat grains and legumes. You do realize how many animals, including small mammals, harvesters kill?

No to mention that the intensive agriculture needed to produce these products steals habitat from animals that would otherwise live on that land. You are eating the results of the theft of animal homes.

Of course you could go live in the forest and pick berries. But you would be depriving birds of those berries, inevitably leading to many, many deaths. It's a bum deal.
posted by Jimbob at 2:33 AM on June 12, 2006


instead of discussing the matter factually and honestly.

It's difficult to have a rational discussion with a group of drama queens. If you enjoy surviving on tofu and wheat, you go right ahead (HA HA, look at all the dead animals from the harvest!). If you don't want to benefit from future biotech advances, go right ahead. The list goes on and on and on.... Do what you like, but when you commit breaking and entering or arson to foist your worldviews on those around you I'll enjoy seeing you rot in a cell. I'm sure you'll be a prisoner rights activist next.
posted by IronLizard at 2:37 AM on June 12, 2006


Bacteria and multicellular animals, by all studies shown, cannot possibly be defined as having a conscious mind

I don't know what you mean by conscious mind. What studies are you referencing? Some believe organisms operate consciousness through group behavior, like a school of fish communicating with each other through lateral lines. What is consciousness and how much of it is sufficient to delineate cruel murder from collateral damage?
posted by Mr. Six at 2:37 AM on June 12, 2006


Anybody who likes this picture, will like this book.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 2:39 AM on June 12, 2006


malusmoriendumest: Over the last 2 years, I have not received any medical treatment. Partly because products such as antibiotics are often coated in gelatine, partly because the hands of the medical industry are stained with innocent blood.

I'm willing to bet the vast majority of the reason is that in the last 2 years you haven't seriously needed medical treatment. If you've got some serious untended health problem or have your teeth falling out, by all means, bring it up now.

malusmoriendumest: Ethics are ethics- yours are not mine, and mine are equally valid to yours.

How did you ever become an activist when you believe in ethical relativity? If all ethical systems are equivalent (and by extension people's actions, since their ethics actively determines them), why put effort into changing people's minds? You can't possibly improve anything, since all you can hope to change is their ethical system.

It seems to me that most meat-eaters and experimenters are eager to prove that anyone opposed to their views are "hypocrites", instead of discussing the matter factually and honestly.

That's because many animal rights activists have extremely inconsistent views. When you support an end to animal testing, but use a life-saving medication that was created through animal research, it shows that you are unable to accept the consequences of the actions you suggest. It suggests that you either haven't thought them through (witness the 'fur is murder' people who wear leather) or think you're better than everyone else (I'm talking about YOU, Mary Beth Sweetland.) If you aren't willing to live within your beliefs (or die because of them, if that is what you advocate), why should anyone else?

I know, epistemologically, the actions of the speaker don't reflect upon their words, but these people are walking proof that no one is willing to do what they suggest.
posted by Mitrovarr at 2:43 AM on June 12, 2006


I support voluntary human medical research. If we're going to really study and cure humans of disease, why not test/study humans?

Outside of that, eating other forms of life to survive is (still) a fundamental qualification to remaining alive.

And animals that don't suffer taste better. Mmmm. Free range grass fed New Zealand beef! Thanks, New Zealand!
posted by loquacious at 2:54 AM on June 12, 2006


No Koza and Cairo? Willy and Nicole? Chino and Falstaff??? Come on ALF, get on that shit.
posted by fucker at 2:58 AM on June 12, 2006


"Ethics are ethics- yours are not mine, and mine are equally valid to yours"
OBL, Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kazynski, George W Bush - all had/have their own set of ethics. Do you really want to say that all sets are equally valid? Im going to go ahead and say that no, yours arent as valid as say... someone who opposes firebombing research labs. In fact, yours suck.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 3:00 AM on June 12, 2006


Over the last 2 years, I have not received any medical treatment. Partly because products such as antibiotics are often coated in gelatine, partly because the hands of the medical industry are stained with innocent blood.

If you did need medical treatment for something life-threatening, would you refuse it? Or if your mother was dying of cancer, would you prefer that she died than accept medical treatments developed thanks to to animal testing? (Genuine question. I have heard people say yes to both in the past, which I find, well, disgusting to be honest.)
posted by jack_mo at 3:20 AM on June 12, 2006


Being a hypocrite is an almost unavoidable consequence of free agency. Being exceedingly stupid or simply begin evil are two paths to living an hypocrsiy free life. Jesus told me this in a dream, I have it on good authority that the buddha agrees, so my case is unassailable. Take care when throwing the word around, chances are good that you are one too.

Lovely photos not sure why I find them so damn cute. Still pro vivisection tho. It the scientists were really clever they would breed/engineer a spectacularly ugly human/pig chimera. It would give better results, and surely no reasonable person could generate the empathy needed to care if it were ugly enough.
posted by econous at 3:31 AM on June 12, 2006


Is that a gay dog? If so a nsfw might have been appropriate fucker.
posted by econous at 3:34 AM on June 12, 2006


malusmoriendumest wrote: a ship ceases to be the same ship with the replacement of its final part

So, it's the final part that is important for identity?
posted by Tullius at 3:39 AM on June 12, 2006


It seems to me that most meat-eaters and experimenters are eager to prove that anyone opposed to their views are "hypocrites", instead of discussing the matter factually and honestly.

Well. The majority of people I know who don't eat meat, because they can't help but imagine the animal it comes from, happily wear leather. Go figure.
posted by Atreides at 5:15 AM on June 12, 2006


Jimbob sez: Sure. Facts. I'm an ecologist. Here's a lesson. Humans are primates. Primates are omnivores. Omnivores eat meat.

In order to believe that this reasoning justifies eating meat (rather than simply explaining it), then you need to endorse a principle like the following: if we have adaptations that predispose us to doing something, then it's morally acceptable to do that something. As I'm sure you're aware, some sociobiologists believe that rape in men is an adaptation. Suppose they're right. Does that mean rape is acceptable?

The response, "but rape isn't an adaptation," is not a strong one, because it makes your moral claim (rape is wrong) contingent on an (unproved, if perhaps plausible) scientific claim, that human males haven't evolved to rape. So if someone came up with really good evidence that rape was adaptive, you'd have to adjust your moral view that rape is wrong.

The right position is that rape is wrong, whether or not it's an evolved, advantageous behavior. Similarly, it's coherent to say that eating meat -- killing animals for pleasure, that is -- is wrong, even if we're omnivores in the sense you've outlined.
posted by grobstein at 5:27 AM on June 12, 2006


The right position is that rape is wrong, whether or not it's an evolved, advantageous behavior. Similarly, it's coherent to say that eating meat -- killing animals for pleasure, that is -- is wrong, even if we're omnivores in the sense you've outlined.

You are suggesting there is some kind of equivalence between rape and meat eating. That's fine if you believe that. However, your theory relies on the idea that because we as human beings possess intellect and consciousness, we can decide (against evolutionary history and biological necessity) that rape is wrong or eating meat is wrong.

But:

(a) Such moral decisions rely on some kind of consensus in the population. As humans, the vast majority of living souls have decided rape is wrong. They've decided child abuse is wrong. They haven't decided eating meat is wrong. So it's not comparable.
(b) We are humans making these decisions. What about animals? Either they are conscious, in which case they too should make the moral decision not to eat meat, or they aren't conscious, in which case why are we so worried about eating them?

I'm assuming you are a vegan here. You may simply be arguing your point on logic, in which case probably only my first argument stands.
posted by Jimbob at 5:36 AM on June 12, 2006


Fundamentally, I oppose the vegan attitude because (once again as an ecologist, heh) it shows a misunderstanding of biology and nature on the same level as creationism. It supposes some kind of innocent mystical forest, filled with cute cuddly furry creatures running around just generally being lovely and nice to look at UNTIL EVIL MURDEROUS HUMAN BEINGS COME AND SLAUGHTER THEM FOR NO GOOD REASON. This is clear from the links provided in this post. Animals are cute, cuddly, innocent things that make great photos and generally nice and lovely.

It ain't like that, folks. The life of a wild animal is a short, shitty struggle. And humans can't do anything to change that. Even moving beyond Jainism, as someone mentioned above, it's impossible to live without harming animals. We take over natural ecosystems to grow our monoculture food crops, and slaughter countless animals more directly in the agricultural process. Organic / permaculture farms take up even more space than industrial agriculture, and despite the hippy hype, still rely on exotic species that provide no habitat for the native species of an area. Even collecting nuts and berries in the forest is starving birds.
posted by Jimbob at 5:51 AM on June 12, 2006


Ethics are ethics- yours are not mine, and mine are equally valid to yours.

The hell they are. Anyone who would state that arson is okay, right off puts their ethics as not as valid as any decent human being.

Even if the buildings are empty, firefighters have to come out to put those fires out. That puts their lives and wellbeings at risk. Police officers have to be out to control a chaotic scene, which puts their lives at risk.

The structures and businesses you burn, are someone's livelyhood. You burn their buildings, they have financial issues which effects them and their families.

Making threats against people's business, but by definition never assaulting a person or deliberately harming any animal or human.

Right because, threatening someone's paycheck is a good thing. Businesses are not just their owners but their employees as well. But, you know saving that rabbit's life is worth more than a human child having decent housing, clothing and food.

Ethics are not always equally valid.

Over the last 2 years, I have not received any medical treatment. Partly because products such as antibiotics are often coated in gelatine, partly because the hands of the medical industry are stained with innocent blood.

And that will hold up until you become truly ill and need medical treatment to live. What if you developed diabetes tomorrow? Are you going to turn down insulin (other animal rights people have not?)

You're college age, I'm willing to bet. When the real world hits come back and let us know how you turned out.
posted by SuzySmith at 5:59 AM on June 12, 2006


I don't need to believe that meat-eating is as bad as rape to agree that they both have the same moral "direction," that is, that they're both wrong instead of right.

There's something a little bit weird about point (a) here, in that it seems to deny the possibility of moral "early adopters." Consider: slavery was once both widely practiced and widely accepted. Does that mean it wasn't wrong? Does that mean that abolitionists, who opposed slavery before the social consensus turned against it, were actually in the wrong? I don't think so. Maybe today's vegans, or, hell, ALF guerillas (I'm not one, in case you're listening, FBI), are early adopters in that sense, who'll be vindicated by tomorrow's social consensus.

But isn't it arbitrary to say that moral decisions rely on consensus for their correctness? I'm not claiming that I can produce a better foundation for morality, but I find it intuitively plausible that social consensus views of morality can actually be incorrect. Slavery is one example, but any area in which there appears to have been moral progress is a good example. x used to be considered morally acceptable by consensus, but we now know x is wrong. However, if right and wrong are determined by consensus, x used to be right. We lose the ability to evaluate societies beyond their own standards, too. We can't say, for example, that today's America is more moral on the question of slavery than the slave-holding South; we can only say that by our social consensus we're better, but by their social consensus, they were better. I think it makes sense here to say that their social consensus was just wrong, which means that "consensus of the population" can't be the right ground for morality.

I think argument (b) is wrong, too (obvious counterexample: we don't hold children to the same moral standards as adults, but we do afford them the same basic protections against harm), but since you're not too keen on defending it, I won't hog the thread any more.
posted by grobstein at 6:02 AM on June 12, 2006


I suspect vegans may make good eating. Most of the critters that taste good are herbivores.

The photos are very cute, and I'm quite fond of such things. Bunch of windows will be left open, to share them with the other half when he comes home.

(no animals were harmed in the writing of this post. Chicken for dinner tonight!)
posted by Goofyy at 6:08 AM on June 12, 2006


Animal liberation is a philosophy that animals should not be used / kept by humans. It goes beyond simply opposing cruelty, and emphasizes that animals should be free. The oppose keeping zoo and circus animals, for instance, as well as farm animals and sometimes even pets.

Animal rights is the most extreme, and PETA / ALF tend towards this philosophy - a belief that animals have equivalent rights to humans. Indeed, more rights, because (as we can see from this post) they are viewed as innocents - with rights, but no means of excercising them on their own, and needing humans to fight for them.


I reject your hierarchy. I myself believe that certain animals ought to have recognized rights based on reasoning capacity and the necessity of the cruelty we inflict on them, but this does not mean that I think that animal liberation is therefore called for, nor does it mean that animals have equivalent or more rights than human.

Mostly it just means that I think we ought not to inflict unnecessary pain on animals, and that there ought to be a damned good reason to do experiments on, say, a monkey.
posted by norm at 6:09 AM on June 12, 2006


Well its all good as long as someone remembers to tourch some SUVs for some reason or other. But, yes, sadly, many such people are bat shit insane.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:09 AM on June 12, 2006


Unfortunately, SuzySmith, for some of these domestic terrorists, PETA and other organizations will foot the bill with tax-free "grants" to ensure that they are rewarded for their violent actions. The real world won't hit, because they are given excuses and cash for acting like idiots. Happened on my campus, when a firebom set off by Rodney Coronado caused the destruction of twenty years of research for zero gain. The animals that were "rescued" were not prepared to live in the wild and most likely starved to death. Nice touch, that. PETA gave the guy over $70k to help him escape justice. He's still involved in animal activism, even if he pretends not to be and even if the ALF pretends to have disowned him. That's just an act of legal protection for the organization. If they officially disown the people who carry out their goals, they can't be directly prosecuted. Same goes for no central leadership - exact same philosophy as any other terrorist cell.

Anyone who donates money to PETA or the ALF is funding terrorism in a very real way, much more directly than if you go buy a bag of weed from the kid on the corner (even if the government would like you to think otherwise). There is a right way and a wrong way to go about changing the way we use animals in this society. Those of you who haven't tried voting - with your dollars as much as with your ballots - might consider giving it a shot.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:12 AM on June 12, 2006


Oh, and just as an aside - ants take slaves, ducks commit rape. I believe that dolphins rape as well (and there's no denying that they are intelligent, conscious beings - they even have individual names). We didn't invent any of this, we have just come to the conclusion that our society is better off without some of these actions.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:17 AM on June 12, 2006


I'm not even vegan, so maybe I'm getting in a little bit deep here, but I don't think you have to be a crazy mystic who thinks of animals as noble savages to think veganism is right. It's true that even eating just vegetables results in the deaths of animals -- fields displace them from their habitats, anything you eat is something they could've eaten instead, etc. Nonetheless, by your choices of food and lifestyle, you have a lot of control over the amount of animal death and suffering you cause. For example, if you eat grains and tofu instead of beef, not only do you save the life of a cow, but the amount of damage you cause by the cultivation of fields is diminished. Why? Because organisms higher up the food chain are less energy efficient, meaning that to get 100 calories of cow meat, you need to feed the cow well in excess of 100 calories of grains, whose production leads to the death of more animals. If you just eat the grain, sure, some animals die, but you're minimizing animal death and suffering.

So if you're an absolutist who believes that it's unacceptable to harm even one animal, then, well, that's impossible, and you'll have difficulty even surviving. But it's perfectly coherent to believe you should strive to minimize your ecological footprint and / or the amount of animal death and pain you cause, and both of those demand vegetarianism.

On preview, I agree with Norm.
posted by grobstein at 6:18 AM on June 12, 2006


The tragedy of PETA and the ALF is how with their extremism and loopy reasoning they give a bad name to what should be a universal cause, the humane treatment of animals. Modern factory farming, especially in the U.S., often practices horrendous cruelty on a massive scale. This is worth paying attention to, and fighting against.
posted by LarryC at 6:22 AM on June 12, 2006


Mitrovarr : "How did you ever become an activist when you believe in ethical relativity? If all ethical systems are equivalent (and by extension people's actions, since their ethics actively determines them), why put effort into changing people's minds? You can't possibly improve anything, since all you can hope to change is their ethical system."

Mitrovarr, I'm not defending PETA/ALF/malusmoriendumest, but I can think of one possible answer to your question:

I'm a moral relativist. I'm not an activist. However, I oppose things like murdering children, torture, rape, etc. The reason is that, while I don't think there's any real good or bad, part of my personality is such that I don't like that children get murdered, people get tortured, or people get raped. It's not so much that it IS wrong, in any absolute sense, but I illogically FEEL that it's wrong. If you've read Dune, remember the whole "pain box" thing (if you haven't, quick overview: in order to test out if the main character is a "human" or an "animal", his elder puts his hand in a box, and a poison needle at his neck. The box causes intense, agonizing pain, but will not damage his hand. If he leaves his hand in the box for a minute, the test will end, the pain will stop, and his hand will be unharmed. If he withdraws his hand, his elder will stick him with the poison needle. If he keeps his hand in the extreme pain box for a minute, it will show that his reason is more powerful than his animal instincts, and as such he is a human. If the animal instinct to remove the hand is more powerful than the understanding that doing so will result in poisoning, then he is an animal and deserves to die). In my case, the instinctual, emotional part (infanticide, torture, rape are bad) is much stronger than the logical side (we're just reproducing gene blobs, there's no reality to the "good" and "bad" except what society has imagined), so I'm a moral relativist who gets angry about things that oppose my morals.

If it helps to look at it from another angle: I'm a moral relativist, and I value being happy. Ignoring things that I feel are evil, despite the fact that I believe there's no real right or wrong, would fill me with self-loathing, so I don't ignore those things, and I get angry when people support or commit infanticide, torture, rape, etc. As a result, I am happier than I would be if I acted in accordance with my intellectual beliefs.

So, I can see how a person could be a moral/ethical relativist and yet an activist. I dunno if this applies at all to malusmoriendumest, but it is one possiblity.
posted by Bugbread at 6:25 AM on June 12, 2006


All theses animal pictures are making me hungry. Now if you'll excuse I have a steak to eat.
posted by Logboy at 6:40 AM on June 12, 2006


Animal Tolerance
posted by sebas at 6:44 AM on June 12, 2006


1) this is so exactly the discussion I was hoping for when I posted a thread full of adorable photos

2) if I ever find a bunch of cute photos at stormfront, you know I'm going to have to post them now.
posted by jonson at 6:57 AM on June 12, 2006


jonson: this is so exactly the discussion I was hoping for when I posted a thread full of adorable photos

Yes, but putting up any link to any animal rights group is just asking for a certain type of meat-eater to get his back up and start defending himself by becoming offensive.
posted by pracowity at 7:03 AM on June 12, 2006


this is so exactly the discussion I was hoping for when I posted a thread full of adorable photos

Well, I liked the pics--they made me laugh--but when you link to a terrorism site, what do you expect?

And spare me the discussion of what "terrorism" is or whether the word is "justified." Arson is terrorism. If crazies were setting fire to abortion clinics across the country, I doubt too too many Mefi members would hem and haw about whether the T-word was justified.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang at 7:05 AM on June 12, 2006


Jimbob : "Fundamentally, I oppose the vegan attitude because (once again as an ecologist, heh) it shows a misunderstanding of biology and nature on the same level as creationism. It supposes some kind of innocent mystical forest, filled with cute cuddly furry creatures running around just generally being lovely and nice to look at UNTIL EVIL MURDEROUS HUMAN BEINGS COME AND SLAUGHTER THEM FOR NO GOOD REASON. This is clear from the links provided in this post. "

I think you're working from a bad sample set (especially when you use links from an ALF site, of all places, as evidence). The people who are obviously vegetarian or vegan because they go out of their way to let everyone know are generally the insane druid types. If that's the only experience you have with vegans or vegetarians, then you're going to think they're all crazy druids. I remember hearing a similar comment regarding about how all gays were into S&M or cross-dressing from someone whose only experience with gays was seeing gay pride parades (this was about 10 or 15 years ago, so there was far fewer media depictions of normal gays). However, if you happen to stumble across people who are vegan or vegetarian and don't wear it on their sleeve, you'll find that many, many, many (I'd say 90%, but maybe my sample set is bad as well, so perhaps numbers should be avoided) understand biology and nature well, and understand food chains, and the like.

I guess it's like the rape issue being discussed above: while one can understand that rape is natural among certain animals, and that they aren't all cute lil fuzzy-wuzzies, that doesn't de facto mean that you have to support rape in humans. In the same way, almost all the vegetarians/vegans I've known understand that animals eat animals, and maul animals, and fight other animals, and occassionally rape other animals, but feel that they should avoid killing animals as much as possible. And most of the ones I've met also grok that being vegan doesn't mean no animals are killed (witness crop harvesting deaths, etc), but that the number of animals killed is minimized.

Then again, I've never met a vegetarian who wore leather, so it's quite possible that I'm the one working with a skewed sample set. Regardless, your opposition to veganism should probably not be "fundamental", as the reasons you provide for opposition are not actually foundations or universal aspects of veganism.
posted by Bugbread at 7:06 AM on June 12, 2006


Jimbob: Fundamentally, I oppose the vegan attitude because (once again as an ecologist, heh)...

There is no single vegan (or vegetarian) attitude.

You could, on purely ecological grounds, even if you hated animals and enjoyed killing them, be a vegetarian. You can eat cows and chickens that eat vegetation and create lots of waste, or you can eat vegetation directly and eliminate the middleman (and all the middlecows and middlechickens).

Also, just as you can drive a more environmentally friendly car rather than completely abandoning cars, it is quite possible and logical to be a semi-vegetarian. If you determine that intensive factory-style animal farming is bad for the earth and that it is not an all-or-nothing decision, you might eat meat for once or two meals a week and know that you are doing better for the earth than someone who eats meat for every meal, every day.
posted by pracowity at 7:07 AM on June 12, 2006


jonson : "1) this is so exactly the discussion I was hoping for when I posted a thread full of adorable photos"

Me, I'm gonna try to find a bunch of cute pictures of babies on a circumcision site ^_^
posted by Bugbread at 7:08 AM on June 12, 2006


Jimbob: Primates are omnivores.


I'd just like to point out that while most are, there are big examples of those that aren't - Mountain gorillas being one. Bonobos, while still considered omnivores, tend to have a diet more geared towards fruits and vegies.

Also consider what omnivore means. Many omnivore primates eat grubs and insects, and scavenge dead carrion. Humans don't do that, save pre-killing most of our foods. If you really want to make the argument of being an omnivore like our closest cousins, then get out the grubs!

But that being said, people have the choice not to be omnivores anymore. I personally am a vegetarian because I know I don't have to eat meat. However, all of my carnivore pets still get meat foods. They can't make a choice and there bodies are wired for meat. I even sometimes cook for them. Is it hypocritcal? Or just understanding that the issue isn't as black and white as some would have us believe?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:16 AM on June 12, 2006


bugbread:. In my case, the instinctual, emotional part (infanticide, torture, rape are bad) is much stronger than the logical side (we're just reproducing gene blobs, there's no reality to the "good" and "bad" except what society has imagined), so I'm a moral relativist who gets angry about things that oppose my morals.

buggy usually I get what you're going for but you've lost me with this. Where in your post do you make any statement of being OK with someone else's moral belief? You state a belief -- rape is bad, and then you use some of Frank Herbert's work to draw a parable about overcoming animal instincts (Rape, I guess?), and then you say you could try just ignoring using your morals to judge against other people, i.e. rapists, but then that fills you with self loathing... so you get angry with people who commit rape. I mean, in that quote above, your last line contradicts itself.

Now color me dense, but if I sum up that whole paragraph I seem to get -- not a quote -- I'm a moral relativist, but I have morals, and I could choose just to be a relativist, but in fact I think my moral system is better than a rapist's moral system so in fact I actually am not a moral relativist.

So, huh?
posted by cavalier at 7:19 AM on June 12, 2006


But not with your current stance. If you think animal testing is that wrong, go without the fruits of it. I expect you'll last until about one week after your first cavity.

I agree, but what's the ethics of accepting treatment for syphilis, you know, just in case?

Wait, does that mean that Tuskegee was all ok, since we got some good medical research out of it? I'll need a clarification here.
posted by illovich at 7:27 AM on June 12, 2006


if I ever find a bunch of cute photos at stormfront, you know I'm going to have to post them now.

Awww, ain't the lil' nat-zees adowable.
posted by fucker at 7:34 AM on June 12, 2006


It ain't like that, folks. The life of a wild animal is a short, shitty struggle.

Oh, please. There's plenty of cooperation and live-and-let-live "tolerance" in nature, too - including from natural predators. Folks who claim to know what wild animal life is like routinely overstate their case for nature being completely red in tooth and claw, not to mention the obvious fact that documentary channels overplay the cruelty and killing because it sells better. I swear, if I see another night of "Killer Squid!" "Killer Ants!" shows listed on my TV, I'm going to rip someone's jugular out with my teeth.

Anyway, thanks for the cute pix, jonson.
posted by mediareport at 7:38 AM on June 12, 2006


Cute pictures. I'm going to go get a hamburger and a milkshake now.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 7:39 AM on June 12, 2006


cavalier:

What I meant is that I don't think there's any fundamental validity of one ethical position over another. If it helps, think of it in terms of taste in music: I don't think smooooth jazz is actually "worse" or "better" than death metal. I don't think that me liking death metal makes me any better or more correct than someone who likes Kenny G. However, when it comes down to gut feeling, I enjoy death metal and not Kenny G. In that sense, I don't think someone who condones murder or rape is "wrong", and that I am "right", or that they are in any absolute sense "bad" and I am "good". Thier beliefs are just as correct or valid as mine. However, that's an intellectual understanding of moral relativism. When it comes down to actual gut feeling, I was raised to believe that murder is bad, and that has shaped my personality.

Or, in your summation of my position, the part I think you got wrong (bolded) was "I'm a moral relativist, but I have morals, and I could choose just to be a relativist, but in fact I think my moral system is better than a rapist's moral system so in fact I actually am not a moral relativist."

Wait a minute: more succinctly: I don't think rape or murder are "wrong", but I really really dislike them, enough for me to foist my feelings on others, even though I don't think they're "wrong" for condoning them.

And Jimbob, I think what I wrote came off differently than I intended: I didn't mean to imply any connection with you and homophobia, it was just an example that came to mind of people making conclusions from a vocal and non-representative sample. I wish a less abrasive example had popped to mind.
posted by Bugbread at 7:39 AM on June 12, 2006


Oh, and in relation to the Kenny G:Death Metal::Murder:Nonmurder example, we're obviously talking about multiple magnitudes of separation, which is why I don't go protesting Kenny G concerts.
posted by Bugbread at 7:41 AM on June 12, 2006


Oh, and in relation to the Kenny G:Death Metal::Murder:Nonmurder example, we're obviously talking about multiple magnitudes of separation, which is why I don't go protesting Kenny G concerts.
posted by bugbread at 9:41 AM CST on June 12 [+fave] [!]


Oh I dunno, I think Kenny G is the musical equivalent of manslaughter,
posted by ozomatli at 7:47 AM on June 12, 2006


bug: Thanks for expanding, that sounds more relative now! I'd wager that your upbringing has raised you with a set of moral compasses and you'd like to follow those -- at least intellectually -- in a relative way. That way you can say "Personally, I find $foo to be not so good", while at the same time you can say "I cannot definitively say if that makes me better or worse than $bob even though $bob likes $foo." All relative, natch.

I'd argue then, that, while theoretically you could be an activist for something in so much as you may be inclined to take action for a specific cause -- you're not exactly one of the 'die hards' that would go all the way when the going got rough. Marching with a group protesting the treatment of animals, not so rough. In this sense I think you're seperated from a person driven enough to say bomb a clinic. You'd think the clinic was distasteful, but I don't think a belief in moral relativity would give you the fodder you needed to push yourself to go and bomb them. It takes that next level of 'We are right! They are wrong! We good! They bad!'

I'll grant that a relativist could be an activist, but I'd preface that to say a .. er.. relaxed activist? ;)
posted by cavalier at 7:51 AM on June 12, 2006


Any one of you who EVER accepts medical treatment is a worthless hypocrite. All of our medical research... all of our knowledge of anatomy... every single drug we use... all of it was either derived from medical science that either used animals directly or was based on discoveries that did

You are, perhaps, aware that some of the horrific experiments performed by Nazis on Jews in concentration camps yielded scientific data useful to the worldwide medical community at large?

"Despite the arguments that the Nazi experiments were unscientific, the data does exist. Although the data is morally tainted and soaked with the blood of its victims, one cannot escape confronting the dreaded possibility that perhaps the doctors at Dachau actually learned something that today could help save lives or "benefit" society."

Would taking advantage of any scientific breakthroughs that may have been based on that science make you a hypocrite?

I am personally disgusted by animal experimentation and strongly desire for it to stop, but I'm not going to pretend that any knowledge acquired though such experimentation doesn't exist. That would be pointless. However, I ultimately do not think that the ends justify the means. Torture is torture. Certainly I would rather some monkeys die than me or a loved one from some terrible disease, but that doesn't make it right.

I am sympathetic to the cause of groups like the ALF and PETA. I just don't think guerilla tactics make converts to civilization. If I did, I'd be out there fire-bombing testing labs.

PS. Cute animal pics :)
posted by apis mellifera at 8:07 AM on June 12, 2006


cavalier:

Judging from your followup, you've understood me perfectly. And, you're right, a person like me is really, really unlikely to become a really hardcore activist. I just figure that, if I can be a relativist and yet get so pissed off at some of the news and political decisions, someone else could have an even further divide between their intellectual view of morality and their visceral feeling of morality, so someone could be a moral relativist activist. It's just very unlikely.

Other folks:

Regarding the "using medical knowledge derived from animal experimentation" thing, the Nazi and syphillis examples are good, but another analogous moral situation that doesn't relate to medicine would be being opposed to stealing from Native Americans but living in America. You can say "We shouldn't steal from Native Americans" and yet live in America (on land stolen from Native Americans). True, a truly nonhypocritical person might pack their bags up and move to Europe, and that's great, but I don't think that the people tnat stay behind should be reviled for not supporting stealing from Native Americans because they are hypocritically living on former Native American land.
posted by Bugbread at 8:36 AM on June 12, 2006


"And you think that is acceptable? You have no idea of ethics! "

OR HISTRIONICS! LET ME SHOW YOU!

"Also, Malusmoriendumest, I wonder if you eat grains and legumes. You do realize how many animals, including small mammals, harvesters kill?"

Bullshit canard. Ancillary effects and requires absolutist stance.

"How did you ever become an activist when you believe in ethical relativity? If all ethical systems are equivalent (and by extension people's actions, since their ethics actively determines them), why put effort into changing people's minds? You can't possibly improve anything, since all you can hope to change is their ethical system."

So, you only believe in absolute standards? How about this, Cap'n False Dichotomy, some ethical stances (while all are subjective) lead to actions that some people see as better on the whole. Then, even acknowledging the right of everyone to their own system of ethics, there can still be a disagreement.

"When you support an end to animal testing, but use a life-saving medication that was created through animal research, it shows that you are unable to accept the consequences of the actions you suggest."

Bullshit. Again, an absolutist stance that has no bearing on reality. It is consistent to advocate a move away from testing on animals towards testing on humans while still taking advantage of advances due to animal testing.

"But:

(a) Such moral decisions rely on some kind of consensus in the population."

No, they don't. And to suggest that they do is bullshit. Moral choices can be entirely private and individual.

(b) We are humans making these decisions. What about animals? Either they are conscious, in which case they too should make the moral decision not to eat meat, or they aren't conscious, in which case why are we so worried about eating them?"

Again, a gradiated view of consciousness is important here, and consistent with our general legal system.

"Even moving beyond Jainism, as someone mentioned above, it's impossible to live without harming animals."

As an ecologist, you're a bit of a moron if you argue that collecting nuts and berries starves birds. It is possible that the demand for fruit is lower than the supply, isn't it? New trees never spring from nuts, and the teleos of the acorn is to feed the squirrel.
Further, your absolutist stance on this is retarded. I can't get through life without causing some people some emotional pain, so I should feel fine about shooting them on street corners. Sociopathy applied to animals is just as dumb.

I do enjoy it, perhaps perversely, that so many meat eaters are so threatened by vegetarians.
And I do apologize on behalf of Bugbread's silent 90% of vegetarians for the oft-stupid views of the 10%. I have one of them on the paper that I work on, and he's insufferable. But I have a feeling he'd be insufferable even if he weren't a vegetarian.
posted by klangklangston at 8:38 AM on June 12, 2006


Doesn't anybody care: You spell it "T- I- double G- ER." According to Tigger.
posted by cdavidc at 8:44 AM on June 12, 2006


"Indeed, more rights, because (as we can see from this post) they are viewed as innocents"

The hell! My mom had a maltese poodle that was evil incarnate.
posted by PenDevil at 8:46 AM on June 12, 2006


i would just like to point out, that any one of these so called animal lovers, if they were trapped in a situation where the only course of action to survive would be to eat meat, they most likely would. what they fail to realize is that this is part of the natural way of things. pain is life. we are born in pain, we will most likely die in pain, and we experience a myriad of pains throughout life. its not necessarily as depresisng as it sounds, its just life.

what IS a travesty is the mass production of meat. i mean, come on... friggin Upton Sinclair's "the Jungle". that shit is just nasty... though i still enjoy the steak :).

and Jains do realize the near impossibility of not harming animals. they just strive to do as little harm as possible.
posted by Doorstop at 8:57 AM on June 12, 2006




/thread's dead
posted by LarryC at 9:03 AM on June 12, 2006


ok, first off: why the hell are the pigs dressed as tigers? i mean, i've got a few guesses, but the lack of explanation makes the pictures fascinating.

second, whether you find killing animals morally justifiable or not, eating meat wastes so much energy. it takes something in the range of 6-8 lbs of feed protein to make one pound of beef or pork protein. that's before we even get to the energy it takes to make the fertilizer and pesticides we put on the crops that we grow just for animals.

that's wrong in the same way that turning on your heater in the middle of winter so that you can open your windows is wrong.

did humans evolve eating meat? sure. but the fact that there are now 6 billion of us means we need to adapt to a more responsible life style. that means less animal products just like it means less SUVs.

can we live on this planet without injuring a single bacterium or mosquito? no way. but that's no justification for the level of waste that our meatcentric diet creates.
posted by 1-2punch at 9:04 AM on June 12, 2006


apis mellifera: it's not clear that current animal experimentations done under the sorts of strict rules in place in the UK, and I imagine the US, could be considered torture. You may choose to believe that despite this it still isn't right however.
posted by edd at 9:06 AM on June 12, 2006


Doorstop : "what they fail to realize is that this is part of the natural way of things."

I haven't seen the evidence that they fail to realize this. Ok, true, some of them (the whole founder of PETA thinking spiders learned to eat spiders from watching me eat steak thing) are absolutely batshit insane, but I don't think it's remotely fair to think that this lack of even basic knowledge is true of the majority of vegans/vegetarians.

(Note: One of my veggie friends from high school is now getting a doctorate related to genetics and microbiology. I'm assuming that he understands that animals naturally eat other animals. Another got a degree in biology (masters, I think, but we're not in touch), and I'm pretty darn positive that she knows that animals naturally eat other animals. I was a veggie, and I knew that animals ate other animals. The other veggie I can recall offhand whose knowledge I am aware of enough to evaluate also knew that animals ate other animals. So maybe I just have a really fucked up sample set, but I have never met a vegetarian or vegan who failed to realize that animals naturally eat animals, or that animals didn't live in a Disneyesque sylvan wonderland before Evil Man came.)

And, again, from my limited sphere of personal experience, all the veggies I've ever known were veggies because they could be and stay alive, fit, and healthy. If any of them were put in an "eat animal or die" position, I have no doubt that, to a one, they'd eat the animal, and have no moral compunctions. The whole point is that they didn't eat animals because they didn't have to.

So, now I'm getting genuinely curious: Were all the vegetarians and vegans around me really unusual, or are the idiots that believe in Sylvan Wonderland the exception?
posted by Bugbread at 9:14 AM on June 12, 2006


I have no idea why people keep mentioning the Tuskegee tests as justification for using humans for clinical studies. We knew penicillin was a reliable treatment for syphillis in the early 1940s, yet the control-free Tuskegee study on African-Americans (only) was continued into the early 1970s! It was a racially-motivated atrocity that carries a significant social cost to this day, in that some African-Americans do not trust the healthcare system and suffer poorer health for it.
posted by Mr. Six at 9:15 AM on June 12, 2006


Is she honestly that stupid or are you pulling our leg?

Not unless my ex's dad was pulling my leg. But I don't think so -- my ex said he saw the interview. (He also vividly remembers the death and bomb threats his family used to get from PETA/ALF around that same time.)


Here we have three assertions:

1. Ingrid Newkirk claimed that no animals are naturally carnivorous;
2. ALF makes death/bomb threats against individuals;
3. PETA makes death/bomb threats against individuals.

All of these are highly inflammatory and contrary to documented fact. The source for all seems to be "my ex," not one that most of us can check up on.

I don't consider any of these to be impossible - Newkirk indeed says some wacky and regrettable things - but I would like to see some documentation before discussing these as though they were factual. (Apparently many others on the thread have not felt any such documentation was necessary. Interesting.)
posted by soyjoy at 9:19 AM on June 12, 2006


I am overcome with the cute.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 9:21 AM on June 12, 2006


Of course now that I've read some of the later comments I see that everyone has long since moved away from the cute factor.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 9:23 AM on June 12, 2006


Over the last 2 years, I have not received any medical treatment. Partly because products such as antibiotics are often coated in gelatine, partly because the hands of the medical industry are stained with innocent blood.

Gelatin is an interesting case here. I can see not using it from the "no animal products of any kind" stance, but it's not as simple as that. Gelatin manufacturers aren't involved in slaughter any more than stem-cell researchers are (though gelatin is nowhere near as valuable as stem-cell research, obviously.) The meat co-ops and the like slaughter the cows, yes, for the meat industry, and then give the hooves to Knox, or in many cases pay knox to take them off their hands. In fact, if Knox had to pay to slaughter the cows themselves, the price of gelatin would increase ten-fold.

So yes, you can say that Knox et al profit from the deaths of animals, and you'd be right, but you aren't saving any animals by boycotting gelatin, and aren't harming any by using it. Those cows will be slaughtered anyway, whether or not their hooves are used afterwards. At least this way the deaths are a little bit less in vain.

By the way, film is made with hooves as well, but none of the vegans I've known had moral qualms with going to the movies. Maybe some do - I don't know - but it makes those pics on the ALF site a bit ominous. Do you think they were all shot on digital?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:27 AM on June 12, 2006


So, you only believe in absolute standards? How about this, Cap'n False Dichotomy, some ethical stances (while all are subjective) lead to actions that some people see as better on the whole. Then, even acknowledging the right of everyone to their own system of ethics, there can still be a disagreement.

Woah, Klangklangston. This was in the context of firebombing research labs, for one thing. malusmoriendumest was saying, in essence, because it is vitally important for me to convert others to my moral standards, I am willing to do thing such as arson, threats, etc. But it's okay for me to do those things, because one moral system is as good as another.

In other words. My ethics are as valid as yours, so lets agree to disagree, except that my ethics condone me burning down your place of business for not agreeing with me, so I guess I got the lucky end of the stick on that one.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:35 AM on June 12, 2006



posted by matthewr at 9:54 AM on June 12, 2006


If God didn't want us to eat animals, He wouldn't have made them taste of meat.
posted by essexjan at 9:56 AM on June 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


apis mellifera: it's not clear that current animal experimentation done under the sorts of strict rules in place in the UK, and I imagine the US, could be considered torture. You may choose to believe that despite this it still isn't right however. --edd

I cannot comment on the testing standards in the UK, but I personally know 2 biologists here in the US (one a friend-of-a-friend and the other a former boyfriend) who have both witnessed some pretty terrible animal suffering in the labs where they have worked. There are scientists with no regard for the life of the animals they use and there are others that try very hard to make sure they suffer as little as possible--often right in the same lab, apparently--so I don't know how stringent such rules could be. Also, the lab where one my friends was working on California was doing a lot of necessary experimentation simply to make it look like they were doing something in order to get more money for "research". Is that the norm? I have no idea, but you know, it wouldn't surprise me.
posted by apis mellifera at 10:02 AM on June 12, 2006


no, it's not the norm, apis mellifera.
posted by gaspode at 10:13 AM on June 12, 2006


So, who wants to go to a cockfight?
posted by jonmc at 10:15 AM on June 12, 2006


jonmc : "So, who wants to go to a cockfight?"

Boyz0ne.
posted by Bugbread at 10:24 AM on June 12, 2006


apis mellifera, I've done work which involved animal experimentation [doing epilepsy research in mice.] It has never been my experience that scientists who do animal research have "no regard for the life of animals." The scientists I've worked with were compassionate people, who tried to do their best to treat the mice well, and to minimize pain whenever possible. Scientists are like other people - while there may be some exceptions, most people don't enjoy seeing things suffer. [I'd suspect that many scientists care more about animal suffering than the average man-on-the-street, because they actually see it and have some understanding of it.] There are pretty tight controls on animal research. I wish animal rights activists would acquaint themselves with the rules [and with the scientists doing the research] before claiming that scientists simply and senselessly "torture animals."

Animal research is often complicated, difficult, and expensive, and it's certainly not at all the norm for people to do it "just to get more money." [That barely even makes sense - the amount of money they'd be _spending_ on animal research would probably cover whatever it was they were trying to get money for.] Most labs will opt for tissue culture or studies in yeast and so on whenever it's possible, but sometimes it just isn't possible [this is particularly the case when we're talking about complex diseases and their cures.] Our technology can't mimic those systems yet, and so scientists end up doing animal research, because they consider it a bit better than exposing humans [often ill humans] to risks.
posted by ubersturm at 11:26 AM on June 12, 2006


i would just like to point out, that any one of these so called animal lovers, if they were trapped in a situation where the only course of action to survive would be to eat meat, they most likely would.

Yup. I've faced this queston many times as meat eaters think they're being clever by asking that question. So these animal lovers you speak of are probably quite aware of the question and have their own answers.

Me personally, I know I would. I don't eat animals because I don't have to. But I also like being alive, so I would eat another animal (probably human too) if that was what was needed for survival. Same reason as if someone attacted me and intended to kill me, I would try and kill them first. And knowing that I like to be, you know, alive, I try to extend the same courtesy to all those around me (non-humans included) when possible.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:52 AM on June 12, 2006


[While the website for the Committee on Animal Care where I work currently has restricted access, here's an article about them. Furthermore, here're some resources on animal research guidelines in the US:

The Public Health Services Policy regarding research on warm-blooded animals
The Animal Welfare Guide
The Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care]
posted by ubersturm at 11:55 AM on June 12, 2006


Monkey loves brew
posted by hortense at 12:03 PM on June 12, 2006


Thanks, ubersturm, you wrote everything that I was just too weary to write.

FWIW, I'm a scientist who does experimentation on animals. Ethics aside, it would be completely counterproductive to inflict pain on them when you are working with whole organ systems, or in my case, behavior. You'd fuck up your own data by introducing unnecessary stress.
posted by gaspode at 12:34 PM on June 12, 2006


I'm a little confused about what's going on in the last photo on this page. The woman is lifting the dog's leg so the cat can..?
posted by ktoad at 12:59 PM on June 12, 2006


I assume it was nursing, and she lifted the leg to try and get the picture, but it disturbed the kitten.
posted by dgaicun at 1:07 PM on June 12, 2006





posted by nickyskye at 1:28 PM on June 12, 2006


I wish animal rights activists would acquaint themselves with the rules [and with the scientists doing the research] before claiming that scientists simply and senselessly "torture animals."

I have no doubt that many scientists who use animals for research try to minimize suffering and follow the rules, but also have no doubt that there are some that do not. My ex is definitely someone who made the welfare of the mice he worked on a priority. He actually hated the job, but he feels that animal experimentation is a necessary evil--whereas I think it's just plain evil. I'm sure that much of the work that goes on is not "senseless" torture. I'm sure there's a purpose. But to me, it's harm, and it's cruel, just the same. What else can I call injuring or infecting or performing unnecessary surgery on an otherwise healthy animal and then, ultimately, killing it?
posted by apis mellifera at 2:04 PM on June 12, 2006


malusmoriendumest:

...non-violent by definition...

Attacking labs, certainly. Commiting arson where there are no animals or humans inside the structure, of course. Making threats against people's business...

...we'd be doing nothing but breaking butcher-shop windows and spraying slogans


You do realise that there is such a thing a psychological violence, don't you? You're violating places of work and trade, engaging in repetetive threatening behaviour, and as for arson? Someone already pointed out the risk to firefighters, but there's collateral damage to surroundings, non-animal related research, chemical leakage etc that you sure as hell don't risk your arse staying around to try and minimise or control.

You're worse than the usual psycho-ex who torments from a distance because you have the audacity to say, up-front, that you're "non-violent". Have you no fucking shame?
posted by Sparx at 2:44 PM on June 12, 2006


Yes, but putting up any link to any animal rights group is just asking for a certain type of meat-eater to get his back up and start defending himself by becoming offensive.

Actually, I got mad at an ALF activist stating that arson was acceptable. I have no problems with anyone not eating meat. I eat a limited amount of meat and do not wear leather. I try to stay away from products that contain animal products, if there is an acceptable substitute.

I have an issue with someone standing up for a group that causes human suffering and death. I do not believe animals have more rights than human beings.

If the nuts who are behind most of the animal rights movement would go away, maybe more people would help work toward more humane treatment of animals. But, when a group puts animals ahead of human lives, the majority of people do not accept that.
posted by SuzySmith at 3:47 PM on June 12, 2006


On preview, soyjoy just covered it.
posted by glycolized at 4:41 PM on June 12, 2006


With all due respect, apis mellifera, the fact that a few scientists may disobey the ethical guidelines that institutions have for animal experimentation has nothing to do with whether animal experimentation as a whole is acceptable. In any field, one can point to people who behave unethically, people who behave cruelly - but they are the exception. When an institutional board on animal care finds out that a scientist is disobeying guidelines, their experiment is halted, and various sorts of disciplinary actions may be considered. Research institutions and other scientists don't approve of so-called researchers who inflict needless pain any more than you do. Appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia procedures are required for any procedure that may cause distress, and euthanasia, when carried out, is supposed to be painless. One might almost consider these guidelines an attempt to treat the animals like the human patients who will someday benefit from the research. While you may not agree that any suffering is acceptable, scientific institutions and the overwhelming majority of the researchers therein take the same attitude as your ex - currently, we still need animals to do some research [because, all things considered, it's better to try risky new drugs and such in animals rather than people,] but we need to treat them as compassionately as possible.

Again, many animal-rights people have this idea that many scientists are monsters - like you, they're all too ready to believe that it's a common practice to do unethical things like run unnecessary animal experiments just to get money, to not bother with sedatives or pain-killers when doing something that might hurt an animal, etc. I guess it's easier to demonize people that way, and certainly it's less complicated and nuanced than the actual prevailing scientific view.

These days, by the way, a large amount of animal research consists not of "cutting up perfectly healthy animals" but, rather, studying animals that have diseases analogous to those in humans. [Epileptic mice, for example.] Studies done on healthy animals are more frequently behavioural studies, although studies of infectious diseases also start with healthy animals.
posted by ubersturm at 4:47 PM on June 12, 2006


I just want to throw it out there that the da vinci quote that ALF uses is misattributed (the one about murder).
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:33 PM on June 12, 2006


"I do not believe animals have more rights than human beings. "

Apparently including property rights of humans above the right to life in animals with a rudimentary consciousness. And the ancillary suffering of humans when butcher shop windows are busted is laughable when compared to the actual suffering of livestock when it is, you know, killed.
posted by klangklangston at 4:58 AM on June 13, 2006


I've got no idea how to respond to the many posts and blatant flames, but I'll make a short statement:

My views are absolute, not relative.

If my mother, child, family or indeed the entire human race depended on a single animal experiment, I would not endorse it, or indeed stand by to allow it to occur.

Indirect suffering caused by the production of the food I do eat is unavoidable, unless one becomes a hermit and hides in a cave. It is objection to eating carrion, or the remains of an animal's corpse, as meat-eaters do.

I believe animals should have equal rights to humans, but in the mode of guardianship. Believing in animal rights does not mean assumption of equal intelligence, but that all beings should have the right to life.

If anyone reads any other post I have made, (excluding the subject of AR), I think you would have judged me to be a well-balanced and humourous person. Do not assume that all people who hold a certain view are insane.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 6:56 AM on June 13, 2006


malusmoriendumest : "It is objection to eating carrion, or the remains of an animal's corpse, as meat-eaters do."

Out of curiosity, what is your objection to eating carrion (which, as I understand it, is the flesh of an animal that you didn't kill (or, by human extension, get someone to kill for you))? That is, if a cow got hit by a falling boulder due to an earthquake, would you have a moral objection to eating it, and if so, why?
posted by Bugbread at 7:39 AM on June 13, 2006


Would you so easily devour the corpse of a human? That is, if your own, apparently-so-valuable life were not endangered. I see no base difference between humans and animals- the same carbon-based life form, the same flesh, the same blood. It is merely social taboos that constrain you in this way; the same taboos that enforce normality and conformity that contribute to eating meat.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 7:45 AM on June 13, 2006


I understand I have not answered your question sufficiently. My apologies. The reason I would not eat the corpse is that there is no purpose in doing so. With readily available sources of nutrients, eating meat is simply an easier way to obtain those same nutrients, as the animal required them to survive. The objection is not only moral- it is scientific also, as alternative sources of these nutrients would be much lower in pollutants (gravel +dust, in this case), and containing much less fat.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 7:47 AM on June 13, 2006


Thanks for your answer, it made sense, but I think your clarification has ended up in me getting confused again. Is it that you feel uncomfortable with the thought of eating animals (the same way I do now about eating human), or is it the nutrient and health issues? Or both?

malusmoriendumest : "Would you so easily devour the corpse of a human?"

Well, when I was a vegetarian, I wanted my funeral to be a barbeque (purely optional participation, of course) so that anyone who wanted to see what human tasted like could do so with full knowledge that no-one was actually harmed in order to get it. I also had no problem with the concept of eating predead animal (but would probably avoid it if the chance presented itself, out of fear of whatever disease killed the animal. But in the "boulder hits cow" situation, I'd be grilling up hamburgers in no time). So, when I was a veg, I wasn't so much opposed to Eating Meat, but to Killing Animals (or Having Animals Killed) in order to eat the meat. I was a veg for purely animal-pain and animal-death related reasons, not for ecological impact or health related issues, which may explain it.

But time has passed, and now I don't think I could eat another human unless I really needed to, because I guess the taboos have built up.

This is one of the things that makes discussions like this so difficult. People can be vegetarians for all kinds of reasons, and sometimes there is no word to describe one's personal behaviour, but vegetarian comes closest. If a vegetarian means "someone who doesn't eat meat", well, I was a vegetarian, because I didn't. If it means "someone who is morally opposed to eating meat", well, I wasn't, because naturally dead meat was fine by me. If it means "someone who is opposed to killing animals to eat them", well, then, I was, because that's what I was opposed to. If it means "someone who is opposed to killing animals to eat or wear them", well, I was that too. If it means "someone who is opposed to killing animals for any reason", well, then, I wasn't, because I had no problem with reasonable medical testing.

I suppose there were some folks who would say "hey, look at the hypocrite, he calls himself a vegetarian, but he has no problem with eating naturally dead cow!" But, frankly, I'd rather say "I'm a vegetarian" and put up with "hypocrite" from time to time than to have to say "I'm sorry, I'm a don't-eat-the-meat-of-animals-with-central-nervous-systems-unless-they-died-of-natural-causes-arian" every time.
posted by Bugbread at 8:24 AM on June 13, 2006


If my mother, child, family or indeed the entire human race depended on a single animal experiment, I would not endorse it, or indeed stand by to allow it to occur.

I hope you are advertising your humorous side. If you are being serious you must be in deep psychic pain. I killed a fruit fly recently, quite deliberately because it was repeatedly bombing my monitor which annoyed me, so it died at my hand. I've come to regret the casual taking of it's life. For you though, to consider the annihilation of an entire species so lightly must be difficult.

Would you endorse a single medical experiment on a mouse if the result would save both cats and elephants? Would that not be worth the suffering of the poor unknowing and wholly innocent little mouse?

How hard it must be to be you, when the world is so cruel, how hard to remain so distracted by the small, how hard to be absolute and without pity. Thankfully you are not my farther, and I am not your mother.
posted by econous at 10:58 AM on June 13, 2006


If my mother, child, family or indeed the entire human race depended on a single animal experiment, I would not endorse it, or indeed stand by to allow it to occur.

Jeepers! I don't see how you can claim to be well-balanced if you prefer the end of the human race to a bit of unpleasantness for a hamster.

I see no base difference between humans and animals- the same carbon-based life form, the same flesh, the same blood.

Well, by those criteria, you're right, of course. I tend to hold things like intelligence, self-awareness, moral agency, autonomy, etc. in higher regard than the gubbins we happen to be made of, and by those criteria, animals are pretty much worthless things compared to people. We probably shouldn't be needlessly cruel to the ones that feel pain (testing cosmetics, battery farming etc.), but otherwise, I don't really see how killing them can ever be wrong, let alone using them to save human lives.

There's a good conversation about these issues in the Guardian today, btw.
posted by jack_mo at 1:16 PM on June 13, 2006


I see no base difference between humans and animals- the same carbon-based life form, the same flesh, the same blood.

You know, this is the same argument that the fundies put out against abortion, stem cell research, the morning-after pill, and contraception. I don't think it makes much sense then either.

(Alternatives? I'll go ahead and say it before anyone else: Meat Vats.)
posted by norm at 2:37 PM on June 13, 2006


I'm not sure if I'd eat grown meat, since it would have to be produced by cell extraction. Also, norm, how can that statement possibly be considered erroneous? The same carbon-based life form (indisputable), the same flesh (proteins, lipids, DNA and RNA), the same blood (almost exactly). How can that argument be disputed?

The fundamentalist idea about abortion is based on consciousness and the Christian idea of life, which begins at conception for these people. Those are conjecture and faith,where what I am a proponent of (mainly), is scientific evidence.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 1:10 AM on June 14, 2006


How can that argument be disputed?

Don't misunderstand me-- the basis is rock solid. I just don't agree with the conclusions at all. Why stop at blood and flesh? At their base, animal cells and plant cells, for example, share many characteristics. And they're all just carbon and water and some trace nutrients.

The fundamentalist idea about abortion is based on consciousness ...

Yeah, see, embryos, for example, aren't conscious. The second part of your statement:

... the Christian idea of life, which begins at conception ...

is more arguable. They say *that* clump of tissues is the same as a human; you say *that other* clump of tissue is the same as a human, which is the (rather obvious) parallel I was drawing (and now, officially, belaboring).
posted by norm at 6:27 AM on June 14, 2006


I tend to hold things like intelligence, self-awareness, moral agency, autonomy, etc. in higher regard than the gubbins we happen to be made of, and by those criteria, animals are pretty much worthless things compared to people.

Most people who make statements like this are unaware of the wealth of science done over the past decade showing that humans' previous notions of animals' intelligence, self-awareness, moral agency, autonomy, etc. were, to one degree or another, utterly wrong - based more in human chauvinism than fact.

Just something to keep in mind when throwing around the phrase "worthless things."
posted by soyjoy at 10:27 AM on June 14, 2006


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