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The moral case for veganism.

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The moral case for veganism.
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WarKChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1221Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:59 am Gender: Tree

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Hello,

first of all, I admit that I haven't read the entire topic thoroughly. My apologies if I misrepresent anyone.

In general I think Vego makes some good points (welcome to the forums btw) and at the same time acknowledges some problems for switching to vegan/vegetarian diet.

To me the argument that by not eating meat and other animal products one tries to decrease animal suffering is a good one. I disagree with Laurens' argument that animals in wild also suffer, possibly(?) more than farm animals. It doesn't seem to be relevant to Vego's argument about decreasing animal suffering that humans are causing. To me it's a bit like saying stealing isn't that bad because your neighbour also does it. We as humans could decrease the amount of suffering by decreasing the number of animals we keep for food.

Dragan Glas made another argument that I don't find convincing. Namely that because of our evolutionary history we should stick to being omnivores. Knowledge of evolutionary history can explains our dietary habits and can inform our diets but we can choose to do things differently, with more compassion.

There are two more good arguments against keeping animals at scale we do. One has to do with the use of antibiotics in farming which is a recipe for a disaster. It creates evolutionary pressure on bacteria to become antibiotic resistant.
Second is the damage farming does to environment.

I noticed someone in the thread using the word sentient to describe animals. I don't think that's the case in most cases and it's besides the point. Animals don't have to be sentient to feel pain and suffering.

Also, what's the issue with bees? :) It's the first time I heard this argument. Bee keeping seems like a pretty benign form of using animals' work. I mean, we build them nice houses, only we nick their honey and swap it with sugar for winter. What's the harm?

I think that once we get a cheap way of producing synthetic meat the problem will mostly go away. As Vego noted, the meat itself isn't a problem necessarily, it's the amount of animal suffering that went into producing it.
Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:50 pm
VegoUser avatarPosts: 94Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

welcome to the forums

Thank you. I am trying to do my part for the good cause.

Animals don't have to be sentient to feel pain and suffering.

Maybe. I believe that there are levels of sentience, that it varies with individuals ("high" sentience individual in "low" sentience species), and that if you think that your dog might possibly be somewhat sentient, and that crows can seem quite smart despite their bird brains, then you should be open to the possibility that cows, pigs and chickens might have more going on in their minds than you give them credit for, not to mention that they are part of our extended family (common ancestry).

But you are correct, it is enough that they suffer because of us to make the moral case for veganism.

what's the issue with bees?

Generally, the same as with every other animal-sourced "product": animals possess features that are to their own advantage in a natural environment, but we abuse them by hijacking and enhancing the subset of features that are of use to us. In addition, mass production is a cornerstone of our modern civilization. We design factories to mass produce cars and smartphones. However, animals were never designed to be industrial-grade mass-producing food factories. We just exploit them for all they are worth to us.

Specifically regarding bees: some beekeeping practices include mutilating queen bees and shipping them to wherever beekeepers need them, crushing male bees to extract their fluids to artificially inseminate the queens, manipulating the colonies to mass produce more queens, taking too much honey (which bees need for their survival). As usual, beekeepers are not monsters and ethical practices exist. Some people object to eating honey for other reasons (yucky bee vomit, or potential health hazards).

I think that once we get a cheap way of producing synthetic meat the problem will mostly go away.

There are already plant-based substitutes available for sale in vegan stores and even general supermarkets (YMMV). Don't taste like actual meat, but some are not bad and you can reproduce the look of a "traditional" meal if you wish to. More expensive vegan fake meat already exists that is supposed to taste exactly like the real thing, but I think it's not yet generally available.

Changing the culture is going to be difficult, and there may or may not be some form of chemical addiction at play (casomorphin from casein in milk and cheese).
Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:10 pm
ldmitrukUser avatarPosts: 241Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:47 pmLocation: Edmonton, Alberta Gender: Cake

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Of course without bees many crops could potentially fai. So I think vegans might want to think about that.

In general if you want to be a vegetarian or vegan fine, just don't push it too hard on those of us who aren't interested in that lifestyle like religious zealot.
Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:59 am
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2995Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

I am formulating a lengthy reply but I have to go to work so I will just ask a quick question for the vegans out there:

Do you check the products that you consume for Palm Oil?

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Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:56 am
VegoUser avatarPosts: 94Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

ldmitruk wrote:Of course without bees many crops could potentially fai. So I think vegans might want to think about that.

Of course vegans are aware of that. We are also aware that when you increase market incentives, competition gets into high gear, corners are cut, and animals are abused.

I don't claim to have all the answers to all the problems of the world, there is a balance to be found somewhere. Maybe plant farmers could pick up the tab and slightly increase the price of vegetables. Maybe that would just create more problems, I don't know, sometimes we have to choose between a bad option and a shitty one.

ldmitruk wrote:In general if you want to be a vegetarian or vegan fine, just don't push it too hard on those of us who aren't interested in that lifestyle like religious zealot.

I have a long-winded kind of thinking that can make it difficult to get my point across. If you want a less bullshitty version, I highly recommend watching the kind of speeches that Gary Yourofsky was giving for free to universities while he was still an activist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UROxRLbVils (notice the "quote me on that" toward the end)
Also interesting is the Q&A where he answers some criticism from (presumably) meat-eaters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIkC4OJEx3c
(disclaimer: Gary Yourofsky made some highly questionable comments over the years, and I and others object strongly to his calls for violence)

Regarding religious zealotry: bacon and cheese. You have it backward.

Matt Dillahunty once recounted an experience he had at a shop (bakery maybe, I don't remember the details). People there were talking about the current religious event (Easter I think) but when they discovered that Matt was an atheist, they scolded him for trying to shove his atheism in their lives. Try to imagine how vegans feel when we look at the world around us and receive comments like yours.
Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:45 am
VegoUser avatarPosts: 94Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Laurens wrote:Do you check the products that you consume for Palm Oil?

Personally, yes. But I was already doing that for environmental reasons before going vegan (I heard about CSPO, but I don't really know how to deal with it). That said, I don't buy much processed food so it is less visible for me nowadays.

Some vegans consider palm oil or even sugar cane non-vegan. If you want to be a perfectionist, maybe. I advocate for realistic veganism: you don't have to develop food OCD to become vegan. Animal farming is not the only form of animal cruelty, but it is a big one, with many large-scale and long-term health and environmental implications. Luckily, it can be relatively cheap to address from a personal cost perspective (money, lifestyle).
Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:57 am
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2995Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Vego wrote:
Laurens wrote:Do you check the products that you consume for Palm Oil?

Personally, yes. But I was already doing that for environmental reasons before going vegan (I heard about CSPO, but I don't really know how to deal with it). That said, I don't buy much processed food so it is less visible for me nowadays.

Some vegans consider palm oil or even sugar cane non-vegan. If you want to be a perfectionist, maybe. I advocate for realistic veganism: you don't have to develop food OCD to become vegan. Animal farming is not the only form of animal cruelty, but it is a big one, with many large-scale and long-term health and environmental implications. Luckily, it can be relatively cheap to address from a personal cost perspective (money, lifestyle).
What is your goal in being an advocate of veganism? What would your ideal be? Do you think it's attainable?

In my view, with the best possible intentions, it would be extremely unlikely that the world will adopt veganism. Even if 70 percent of the population adopted it there would still be a substantial amount of demand for meat. So it's unlikely that a world without the animal produce industry is going to come about. Perhaps I'm cynical, but I don't see a vegan world as attainable. People like meat eggs and milk too much. Would you agree with this assessment? If so what would a worthwhile realistic goal look like?

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Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:33 pm
VegoUser avatarPosts: 94Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Laurens wrote:What is your goal in being an advocate of veganism? What would your ideal be? Do you think it's attainable?

As with any non-violent civilization-spanning culture-shifting goal, realistic veganism has to be a long-term community effort, and information is key. I don't expect to live long enough to see a fully vegan world (for illustration, try reading that paragraph thinking about atheism instead of veganism).

What I would like to happen ultimately (after I am gone probably) is a world where animals are only "used" if we don't have a reasonable alternative. And if we have to use them, that use has to be restricted in scope, transparent, and as humane as we can reasonably make it. Transparency is sorely lacking today, and highly competitive markets pretty much guarantee that animals are not given adequate care somewhere.

Is it attainable? From a nutritional/health perspective, I believe the answer is yes (with medical caveats already mentioned). From an economic perspective, to me it makes sense on paper: more, cheaper and healthier food available for everyone with less strain on the environment, win/win. From a cultural perspective, I don't know, is global atheism attainable?

Laurens wrote:Even if 70 percent of the population adopted it there would still be a substantial amount of demand for meat.

So if we can't get to 100% we should give up and go to 0%? Even 1% veganism is better than nothing from a moral standpoint, if only because it indicates that somebody cares.

Laurens wrote:People like meat eggs and milk too much. Would you agree with this assessment?

Some people maybe. This is in part what Gary Yourofsky addressed in his speech: he loves meat and dairy. But is it morally acceptable to choose culinary taste as the highest human value?

Besides, humans are a creative bunch. Some cooking professionals are skilled enough to make anything taste like anything else. If taste is the only issue, that should not be a problem in principle for veganism, only for cooks and food engineers.

Laurens wrote:If so what would a worthwhile realistic goal look like?

Veganism as I see it cannot save the current animals. A few of them might find shelter in sanctuaries, but most of them are doomed.

The most urgent issue to address in the short term is the image of veganism: veganism is not a religion, and vegans are not schizophrenic hippies trying to control people and destroy the planet. I believe it is possible to change that image to avoid the constant "you're vegan? what's wrong with you?" reaction.

Regarding the farming industry itself and the economy in general: things are going to have to wind down at their own pace. You can't just destroy farming, its logistics, and all the derivatives (processed foods, restaurants, advertising) without causing chaos. What we can do is slowly replace animal-sourced products with equivalent vegan ones. The majority of a healthy omnivorous diet is already technically vegan. Normal restaurants can start offering proper vegan options (not just the carrot salad). Even if you are not a vegan, you can still ask for a vegan meal, maybe buy the vegan equivalent of what you normally buy once in a while. When enough people are demanding vegan options, those options can become more available, making it easier for those who wish to go all in.

An individual consumer of animal products is a drop in the bucket for the farming industry. But every individual vegan has proportionately more influence on the vegan community simply because there aren't many of us. I feel like things are slowly moving in the right direction, so I am cautiously optimistic.
Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:41 pm
leroyPosts: 2030Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:30 pm

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Most important challenges for veganism>


1 Vegan substitutes for meat are hard to find in most cities

2 Vegan substitutes for meat are usually expensive

3 Vegan substitutes for meat are usually not as tasty as meat

In my opinion none of these challenges are not insuperable,
"events with a zero probability happen all the time"
Last edited by leroy on Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:30 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3184Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Greetings,

I'll quickly deal with one point, which you unintentionally attribute to me.

The "more suffering = more profit for farmers" comment was Leroy's, I believe, so I won't be addressing that. Perhaps you could cut/paste it in a separate post addressed to him!?

Vego wrote:@Dragan Glass: I address your last 2 posts in this one, the second one at the end.

Dragan Glass wrote:Yet you avoid the biological fitness for an omnivorous diet

I am not sure what you mean by that. Omnivores get their diets from the environment, and they might specialize for various combinations of nutrient sources (for example 80% plants, 20% meat). But the nutrients are what is important, not where they came from, which is why we can have foodstuff like Soylent which was not part of our evolutionary history (I have never tried Soylent, I am not promoting it, I am just saying that this kind of stuff exists).

Our ability to consume meat is only an obligation if meat is the only available source for whatever nutrient we get from it.

Dragan Glass wrote:Or those for whom access to alternatives are limited or non-existent

You keep doing that and I don't know what you are trying to achieve. Go back to my earlier posts, and you will see (discover?) that I explicitely stated, multiple times, that veganism is a privilege, that it requires access to proper food sources (with eventual fortification, maybe supplementation), and that not everyone could do it.

I already acknowledge all that. Yes veganism has drawbacks, I never tried to hide it, on the contrary. If you are trying to make a point, it is lost on me.

Most of the world will not be able to do so, whether due to a lack of access to alternatives, (pre-)existing health problems, etc.

Those who can may well do so but, as you acknowledge later, there aren't that many - it's the proverbial drop-in-the-bucket.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glass wrote:There's also the point regarding the fact that most are not going to be able to do so without professional medical assistance to ensure they don't suffer health problems due to dietary deficiencies.

Point for which you provide no evidence.

From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ( https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition ... -and-facts ):
A well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can meet the nutrient needs of people from all stages of life, including pregnant and lactating women, children and athletes. It's just about making sure you get the nutrients you need.
...
And while most competitive athletes require increased energy, protein and nutrient needs for optimal performance, there's no reason they can't get everything they need nutritionally from plant sources. All it takes is a little diligence in menu planning.

They don't say anything about professional medical assistance.

You cite from an organization that's faced criticism regarding its independence from the food industry.

As I said earlier, it's easy for a diabetic to monitor blood-glucose from moment-to-moment using a simple device - it's not possible to do so for B12, CoQ10, zinc, etc, without a full blood test, for which you need medical assistance.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glass wrote:You're back to your "sadly necessary" argument, which undermines your argument.

Do you actually read what I write? I was talking about a hypothetical, your hypothetical, of an alternate reality in which we are carnivores and we lack the technology to avoid eating animals. In such a fictitious world, yes, this specific suffering would be sad and necessary. Nothing there undermines my argument.

Within the context of the hypothetical, it is significant - as you acknowledge - hence, it would undermine your argument in that scenario, and - by association - in the real world.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glass wrote:And our "purchase decisions" in food don't have as much power as you seem to believe, as Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand-Driven? shows.

You need to help me here: this is a large document, and I don't see how human trafficking connects to veganism or the meat industry.

And yes, "purchase decision" has as much power as I say. I may not be a vegan today if vegan options (fortified foods and animal-free products) weren't available to me. And those options are available because the market responds to vegan demand, as feeble as it is compared to the demand for animal products.

My point in citing this paper is that one's purchasing decisions can have little effect on suffering - humans, in this case.

A supply-chain can have many "nodes" - points along the way between the producer and the store.

Shoppers wishing to be "ethical consumers" by choosing to buy FairTrade goods at a supermarket may think they're doing their bit for farmers, however, in one case, an investigation into a fruit-packing facility in the supply-chain to a supermarket found that undocumented migrants - aka, "victims of trafficking" - were being used to pack fruit.

And this was just at one node - how many other nodes in that specific supply-chain involved the exploitation of migrant workers? How many other supply-chains involve such exploitation?

In a more recent case, Waitrose pulled corned beef from the shelves due to slave labour concerns in Brazil.

My point is that suffering is universal - we may wish to mitigate against it by our actions but should we do so at the cost of our own health?

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glass wrote:Which tacitly acknowledges my point that one can't do so without professional medical advice and assistance.

No need for tacitness, you can ask me to be explicit.

You certainly need reliable advice (something based on scientific/medical research) to get a vegan diet going. How you get that is up to you (registered dietician, official website, ...). Like I said earlier, it is not good enough to think that you can just eat carrots and be fine. Do you need "assistance"? I don't know, it depends on you. I have my own pre-existing conditions to deal with, and erring on the side of caution is the only kind of advice that I feel safe giving.

Hence my point about needing medical assistance to ensure that your not putting your health at risk.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glass wrote:You argue against unnecessary suffering yet are quite alright with, what one might well term, "mass murder", as your reply to Laurens indicates, when you suggest that all the unwanted farm animals be slaughtered.

You must think I am some kind of replicant or something.

Here is how things would play out in my utopia:
* thanks to major worldwide adoption of vegan lifestyle, production of animal products would decline substantially (will not get to zero but that's okay, some people need animal products for medical reasons).
* we would try to peacefully retire as many animals as possible in specialized facilities.

The main issue is the second point: there are at least tens of billions of farm animals. Taking care of them is difficult and expensive. Realistically, I only expect a tiny fraction of the whole to be manageable this way. What to do with the rest? Look the other way and pretend we don't see them while they starve in their boxes? Releasing them and hoping for the best, which could cause ecological disasters? (what happens if you release 50 billion chickens in the wild?) The only responsible thing to do, it seems to me, is to kill them.

I am not "quite alright" with it, and if there is a better way, I would be glad to be proven wrong.

Rather than a sudden switch, involving a massive cull of unwanted animals, would it not be more humane to gradually phase out farm animals? Not to mention the huge impact of such a sudden switch over a gradual one?

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glass wrote:An unsupervised vegan diet is likely to cause health problems, including mental ones - the correlation with the latter is enough of a warning not to pursue an unsupervised vegan diet.

No it is not enough. If you want to establish causation between a vegan diet and mental health troubles, your cause at the very least has to appear before the effect. From this paper ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466124/ ):
The analysis of the respective ages at adoption of a vegetarian diet and onset of a mental disorder showed that the adoption of the vegetarian diet tends to follow the onset of mental disorders.

Why is this happening?

Importantly, we found no evidence for a causal role of vegetarian diet in the etiology of mental disorders. Rather, our results are more consistent with the view that the experience of a mental disorder increases the probability of choosing a vegetarian diet, or that psychological factors influence both the probability of choosing a vegetarian diet and the probability of developing a mental disorder.

There is also the ostracization that we get from people wondering what is wrong with our heads. You think being an atheist is bad? Try being an atheist and a vegan. Said more professionally, in the case of religious vegetarians (including some vegans):
Although not all Seventh Day Adventists are vegetarians, vegetarianism is highly valued and commonly practiced among Seventh Day Adventists, giving followers of this diet strong coherence and high status in their peer group. In contrast, most vegetarians in Western societies consciously have to reject the opinions of the majority (i.e., eating meat), an act possibly more isolating from than joining with others.

Correlation is not causation. There are many ways to explain a correlation. Your claim is still unjustified.

So, we've gone from a possibility of vegetarianism being [a cause of mental health issues to the probability of vegetarianism being due to mental health issues!?

I don't see how this helps your argument.

The paper gives enough indications that there are problems with a vegetarian - never mind a vegan - diet.

Although it acknowledges that vegetarian diets are on a par with non-vegetarian diets with regard to physical health, this is not necessarily the case with regard to mental health.

Let me cite some of their points - from the "Background" section:

Studies have reported that vegetarians show lower tissue concentrations of long-chain n-3 fatty acids [13,14] and vitamin B12[15,16] which may elevate risk for major depressive disorder.

...

We expected that, consistent with previous studies on vegetarian diet and mental health, vegetarians would exhibit more mental disorders. We further predicted that people with mental disorders would have lower frequencies of meat intake.

In the "Rates of mental disorders" section, we have:

The 12-month and lifetime prevalence rates of depressive disorders were elevated in the completely vegetarian group. Prevalence rates of the complete vegetarians are nearly 15% higher than of the non-vegetarians. Prevalence rates of individuals with a predominantly vegetarian diet were between the rates of the completely vegetarian and the non-vegetarian group.

Moreover, vegetarians consistently showed higher rates of anxiety disorders. This pattern was evident for 1-month, 12-month, and lifetime prevalence rates. Only the comparison of 1-month prevalence rates between the completely/predominantly vegetarian groups versus the non-vegetarian group showed a marginal trend. All other comparisons were statistically significant (at p < .05). Prevalence rates for anxiety disorder were especially high (more than twice as high) in the completely vegetarian group than in the non-vegetarian matched group.

For somatoform disorders and syndromes, 1-month, 12-month and lifetime prevalence rates were statistically significantly elevated in the completely/predominantly vegetarians compared to the non-vegetarians. However, when only the complete vegetarians were compared to the non-vegetarians, we did not find statistically significant differences in prevalence rates of somatoform problems. Prevalence rates of somatoform disorders and syndromes in completely and predominantly vegetarians were quite similar, and were 5%-10% higher than in the non-vegetarians.

In the "Kinds of food eaten by participants with and without mental disorders", we have:

A very consistent pattern emerged for meat consumption: individuals suffering from a depressive, anxiety, or eating disorder as well as from a somatoform disorder and syndrome consumed less meat. This pattern emerged for 1-month, 12-month as well as lifetime prevalence rates. Analysis in the subsample of non-vegetarians also consistently showed that people suffering from a mental disorder ate less meat than people without a mental disorder. For vegetables and fruits, fast food, and fish a less consistent pattern emerged, although there are view findings showing those without mental disorders to eat more of all of these kinds of food, as shown in Table  3.

In the "Adoption of a vegetarian diet and age of onset of mental disorders"

For depressive and anxiety disorders, as well as somatoform disorders and syndromes, the results of the t-tests indicate that on average the start of a vegetarian diet follows the onset of mental disorder. The normal distribution of the difference scores and visual inspection of the data indicate that this result is not attributable to outliers.

In the "Discussion" section, we have:

We found evidence for elevated prevalence rates in vegetarians for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, somatoform disorders and syndromes as well as for eating disorders. It is important that such higher rates cannot be explained by different socio-demographic characteristics (e.g., 70% vegetarians were females, and females show higher base rates than men for these disorders). For this reason we designed a non-vegetarian control group that was matched with variables known to be associated with mental disorders (sex, age, educational level, marital status, urban residency). When compared to the non-vegetarian matched comparison sample, the vegetarian group showed even greater differences in the prevalence of mental disorders than when compared to the entire non-vegetarian sample.

...

Our analysis revealed that individuals suffering from mental disorders consistently showed lower frequencies of meat consumption during the past 12 months. These results again indicate that a current vegetarian or low meat consumption diet pattern is associated with elevated prevalence rates of mental disorders.

...

Fish consumption was most clearly (negatively) associated with anxiety disorders.

...

On the whole, our analysis of food items indicates that avoidance of meat consumption is (positively) associated with mental disorders.

...

For depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and somatoform disorders and syndromes we found that on average the adoption of the vegetarian diet follows the onset of mental disorders.

...

Two possible causal mechanisms seem possible. First, because the start of a vegetarian diet, on average, follows the onset of disorder, the experience of a mental disorder may increase the probability of choosing a vegetarian diet (i.e., the mental disorder causes the vegetarian diet). Individuals with a history of a mental disorder may exhibit more perceived health-oriented behavior in order to positively influence the course of their disease. Moreover, the experience of a mental disorder may sensitize individuals to the suffering of other living beings, including animals. In addition, elevated levels of health-related anxiety may lead individuals with mental disorders to choose a vegetarian diet as a form of safety or self-protective behavior, because a meat free diet is perceived as more healthy.
[My emphasis.]

One may wonder why I've quoted liberally from the paper, although I've left out other parts of it, otherwise I'd have ended up quoting the whole paper!

You quoted the latter part of the "Conclusions" section - let me add the first part:

On the whole, our results strongly corroborate the past findings in smaller samples of adolescents and young adults, which have demonstrated that in contrast to physical health, a vegetarian diet is not associated with better mental health. Whether compared with a control group of non-vegetarians matched for important socio-demographic characteristics, or with non-vegetarians in general, vegetarians show elevated prevalence rates of diverse mental disorders.

The above sections support my contention that one cannot separate the moral argument from the health argument.

Should one sacrifice one's health for the sake of perceived suffering of animals? In other words, is it moral to sacrifice one's health for the sake of others - animal or human? [In the latter case, I'm talking about dietary - sacrificing one's life to save someone who's drowning is a different matter.]

At what point do we draw the line?

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glass wrote:Which goes back to the earlier point originally raised by Laurens.

No it doesn't. I try to be realistic. I wish to save all the animals. That wish is not realistic.

Veganism is realistic.

Dragan Glass wrote:your acceptance of the killing of animals for human use, which is itself a form of exploitation.

I am confused here, what are you talking about? Are you blaming me for accepting a compromise (not everyone vegan instead of everyone vegan)?

As I noted earlier, does a mass cull of farm animals fit with a concern for the perceived suffering of said animals? Would it not be more consistent to phase out farming of livestock on a gradual basis?

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glass wrote:As noted earlier, the manner of the killing makes it all about you - not the animals.

And I addressed that point: I believe that sentient beings have an intrinsic value. And the animals can't defend themselves, so if people like me don't speak up, who will? So no, it is not just about me, and it is not just about the manner of killing either. If you think that, then you haven't been paying attention to what I have written (which seems to be the case when I look at your responses).

I realize that this might be a slight nit-pick on terminology but sentience and sapience are often used interchangeably incorrectly.

All life-forms are sentient - aware of their environment - to a greater or lesser degree.

Only some are sapient - self-aware: most notably, by self-appointment, humans, as our classification of ourselves indicates - H. Homo Sapiens.

The argument rages back-and-forth as to whether various other species, notably other apes, are sapient or not. The jury is still out on the matter. Domesticated animals are not considered sapient.

If one is going to use sentience, including the ability to feel pain (indicating damage), as an argument not to eat a given life-form, then one's left with the fact that plants feel "pain" (damage).

Again, where do we go from here? We have to draw the line somewhere lest we have "plant-huggers" demanding that we can't eat fruit and/or vegetables because of "feelings", whether the plants, and/or theirs.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glass wrote:I wonder if you've ever read Singer's Animal Liberation or Herzog's Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat?

No, I already have quite the backlog, but I will take your recommendations into consideration, thanks.

I could probably add some of his other books but there's no point in doing so - I'm sure you have enough things on you plate already (pun intended :) ).

I'm a utilitarian, myself.

Would I wish to eradicate starvation in the world? Of course.
Should I give away all my food? Of course not.
Should I eat as little as possible - "starve" myself - to free up as much food to give away? I would argue, no, on the grounds that I may well damage my health over a period of time.

That is my moral argument - my health is more important than anything else, notwithstanding my concern for others, including animals.

@WarK, I trust that this point answers your criticism of my argument. I contend that the moral argument is not separate from the health argument.

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:27 pm
VegoUser avatarPosts: 94Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

leroy wrote:why is torturing animals cheaper than having mercy? Can’t farmers simply grab the eggs without torturing the chicken?

I mistakenly answered your question at the end of another post earlier: link
Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:10 am
VegoUser avatarPosts: 94Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Dragan Glas wrote:The "more suffering = more profit for farmers" comment was Leroy's

You are correct, thank you.

Dragan Glas wrote:Most of the world will not be able to do so, whether due to a lack of access to alternatives, (pre-)existing health problems, etc.

Those who can may well do so but, as you acknowledge later, there aren't that many - it's the proverbial drop-in-the-bucket.

Neither you nor I know for sure how many people today would be unable to go vegan for health issues (I suspect very few, you seem to think more). And the world is constantly changing, and more people have access to more resources.

None of that changes my point: it is possible for humans to be vegan, and how many are actually able to do it today is irrelevant (as long as it is significantly more than zero, which it is).

Dragan Glas wrote:You cite from an organization that's faced criticism regarding its independence from the food industry.

Fair enough, a lot of that going on these days. Back to the topic, the problem is that you are giving me a claim with no justification and I am trying to find something credible related to it, but it doesn't seem to be an important enough issue. So here are a few more attempts anyway:
* The British Dietetics Association ( https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/plant-based_diet ) recommends to seek professional medical advice if in doubt about a few nutrients (B12 which you can easily get from fortified food or supplements, iodine where the risk is an excess from supplements)
* The Dietitians of Canada ( https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/N ... egans.aspx ) don't say anything about the need for medical assistance
* According to this article "A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said [in 2010]." I wasn't able to find the actual report, and I don't know if there is a new version, but it feels a bit odd to aim for such a global shift if a vegan diet can't be healthy in the first place.

We haven't moved one bit: it is a fact that people all around the world are practicing veganism. Experts don't seem to think that there is a need for such heavy-handed procedure as you describe. Maybe some people need that, but it still doesn't change anything.

Dragan Glas wrote:As I said earlier, it's easy for a diabetic to monitor blood-glucose from moment-to-moment using a simple device - it's not possible to do so for B12, CoQ10, zinc, etc, without a full blood test, for which you need medical assistance.

I guess I misunderstood your claim, I thought you meant that diabetic vegans couldn't monitor their blood-glucose using that device.

Anyway, vegans don't necessarily need such moment-to-moment monitoring (some people might, most vegans that I am aware of don't). In fact, that observation extends to anybody on a healthy diet (your claim doesn't contain anything suggesting that vegans should be more worried than anyone else).

Dragan Glas wrote:Within the context of the hypothetical, it is significant - as you acknowledge - hence, it would undermine your argument in that scenario, and - by association - in the real world.

I don't really understand what you are saying here, so let me restate things more clearly, and complement with a contrasting hypothetical:
* in a hypothetical world where humans are carnivores and lack the technology to get nutrition from anything other than animal products, animals raised for food would be a sad but necessary sacrifice.
* in a different hypothetical world where humans are carnivores and possess the technology to get nutrition from non-animal products, animals raised for food would be unnecessary.
The outcome of the second hypothetical is the same as our current reality. None of these hypotheticals are in conflict with my claims.

Dragan Glas wrote:And this was just at one node - how many other nodes in that specific supply-chain involved the exploitation of migrant workers? How many other supply-chains involve such exploitation?

It seems that you are trying to say that there are hidden uses of animal products in many unexpected places. I agree, but that is a very difficult problem to address directly.

Moreover, in order to be a problem for veganism, it would have to be the case that the disappearance of the demand for animal-sourced foods would not affect the farming industry. In other words, you would have to convince me that farmers would still be mass-producing more and more pig meat, cow meat, milk, chicken meat and eggs without selling any of these items. That seems highly implausible.

The main goal of farming cows, pigs and chickens is food. That is massive, clearly visible, and straightforward to address for a dietary vegan. If that demand disappears, we should expect a substantial decrease in animal exploitation (less animals). If somehow farming is still used for something else, then we will have to find a way to also address that when we get there.

Dragan Glas wrote:Hence my point about needing medical assistance to ensure that your not putting your health at risk.

Hence nothing at all. There is no evidence for your claim. All I said is that you need reliable information to get started, which is true. What you do after that depends on you and your personal circumstances.

Dragan Glas wrote:Rather than a sudden switch, involving a massive cull of unwanted animals, would it not be more humane to gradually phase out farm animals? Not to mention the huge impact of such a sudden switch over a gradual one?

Veganism as I understand and practice it should lead to such a gradual phase out (I give more details about my personal view in my answer to Laurens in a post above). The sudden switch here was a hypothetical to make a counterpoint in my conversation with Laurens, but it doesn't really change much to the bottom line: from a vegan perspective animals killed for food are just as problematic as "unwanted" animals that can't be retired peacefully in some kind of sanctuary. Because of the time component, the gradual switch ends up abusing and killing more animals than the sudden switch (which is unrealistic).

Dragan Glas wrote:I don't see how this helps your argument.

My argument is that my diet is not causing my hypothetical mental troubles. Even if you have a proof that mentally unhealthy people are more likely to go vegan, it doesn't mean that a vegan diet is unhealthy. And at best what you quote from the paper could suggest that somebody who is already mentally unhealthy might get worse on a vegan diet, which shouldn't be a surprise intuitively, and moreso in light of the explanation that I quoted from the authors (negative peer-pressure).

And by the way, in the paper "Analysis in the subsample of non-vegetarians also consistently showed that people suffering from a mental disorder ate less meat than people without a mental disorder" refers to omnis, which to me is even more evidence that the diet isn't causing the issue in this study.

Dragan Glas wrote:One may wonder why I've quoted liberally from the paper

I wonder about that too, given that it doesn't help make your case.

From the paper: "in contrast to physical health, a vegetarian diet is not associated with better mental health"
That means that in people who already have a mental disorder (in the study), a vegan diet might make their body healthier but their mind worse. The diet does not cause the problem here.

Dragan Glas wrote:The above sections support my contention that one cannot separate the moral argument from the health argument.

Nonsense. At the beginning of our conversation, I accepted for convenience the claim that a good health is a moral imperative. The "above sections" say nothing for or against that. And what you quoted does not support your claim that a vegan diet causes mental disorders.

Dragan Glas wrote:Should one sacrifice one's health for the sake of perceived suffering of animals?

I never advocated for the sacrifice of one's health. And the suffering of animals is real, whether humans perceive it or not.

Dragan Glas wrote:In other words, is it moral to sacrifice one's health for the sake of others - animal or human?

I don't know, but until you can show that vegan diets are unhealthy, it doesn't matter for veganism.

Dragan Glas wrote:At what point do we draw the line?

What is it with with meat-eaters and drawing lines? Dietary veganism is just a change in diet. If done properly it doesn't have to negatively impact one's life.

Dragan Glas wrote:All life-forms are sentient

WarK earlier told me that animals are not necessarily sentient. I don't think spending to much time on semantics is going to help here.

Dragan Glas wrote:one's left with the fact that plants feel "pain"

I know that plants can react to various conditions, but I don't know if plants "feel" anything in a way that justifies the use of this word.

EDIT Even if it could be shown that plants are highly sentient, it would not change the moral case for veganism since farm animals eat even more plants than humans.

Dragan Glas wrote:sentient - aware of their environment - to a greater or lesser degree.

How do you know that plants have any kind of awareness, low or high? Is that awareness in any way comparable to that of an animal?

EDIT This point will just go off-topic, so feel free to ignore it.

Dragan Glas wrote:We have to draw the line somewhere

No, veganism has no need for such line.

Dragan Glas wrote:Should I eat as little as possible - "starve" myself - to free up as much food to give away? I would argue, no

Veganism doesn't require you to starve yourself, or sell your house, or damage your life or health in any way. So your comment is irrelevant to the moral case for veganism.

Dragan Glas wrote:That is my moral argument - my health is more important than anything else, notwithstanding my concern for others, including animals.

I value my health too, and your "moral argument" doesn't impact the moral case for veganism.
Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:44 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3184Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Greetings,

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:The "more suffering = more profit for farmers" comment was Leroy's

You are correct, thank you.

You're welcome.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:Most of the world will not be able to do so, whether due to a lack of access to alternatives, (pre-)existing health problems, etc.

Those who can may well do so but, as you acknowledge later, there aren't that many - it's the proverbial drop-in-the-bucket.

Neither you nor I know for sure how many people today would be unable to go vegan for health issues (I suspect very few, you seem to think more). And the world is constantly changing, and more people have access to more resources.

This is contradicted by the UN report you reference later: there's an ever-growing pressure on resources.

Vego wrote:None of that changes my point: it is possible for humans to be vegan, and how many are actually able to do it today is irrelevant (as long as it is significantly more than zero, which it is).

Granted - as long as they're ensuring that they get medical assistance whilst on a vegan diet to ensure they don't suffer from nutritional deficiencies, not to mention any mental health problems for which they switched to a vegan diet.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:You cite from an organization that's faced criticism regarding its independence from the food industry.

Fair enough, a lot of that going on these days. Back to the topic, the problem is that you are giving me a claim with no justification and I am trying to find something credible related to it, but it doesn't seem to be an important enough issue. So here are a few more attempts anyway:
* The British Dietetics Association ( https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/plant-based_diet ) recommends to seek professional medical advice if in doubt about a few nutrients (B12 which you can easily get from fortified food or supplements, iodine where the risk is an excess from supplements)
* The Dietitians of Canada ( https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/N ... egans.aspx ) don't say anything about the need for medical assistance
* According to this article "A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said [in 2010]." I wasn't able to find the actual report, and I don't know if there is a new version, but it feels a bit odd to aim for such a global shift if a vegan diet can't be healthy in the first place.

We haven't moved one bit: it is a fact that people all around the world are practicing veganism. Experts don't seem to think that there is a need for such heavy-handed procedure as you describe. Maybe some people need that, but it still doesn't change anything.

The UN report can be found here - both the full, and summary, ones (click on the English language tab).

The real problem - which isn't really mentioned, and/or addressed - is an ever-increasing population, mainly due to population growth in the developing world. There are simply too many people for the Earth to sustain, and the situation is just getting worse. The conservative religious' opposition to birth control is one of the key factors in this.

As the report notes, however, a switch to such a diet runs into the need for a switch away from geo-carbon to bio-fuels.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:As I said earlier, it's easy for a diabetic to monitor blood-glucose from moment-to-moment using a simple device - it's not possible to do so for B12, CoQ10, zinc, etc, without a full blood test, for which you need medical assistance.

I guess I misunderstood your claim, I thought you meant that diabetic vegans couldn't monitor their blood-glucose using that device.

Anyway, vegans don't necessarily need such moment-to-moment monitoring (some people might, most vegans that I am aware of don't). In fact, that observation extends to anybody on a healthy diet (your claim doesn't contain anything suggesting that vegans should be more worried than anyone else).

I'd disagree.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:Within the context of the hypothetical, it is significant - as you acknowledge - hence, it would undermine your argument in that scenario, and - by association - in the real world.

I don't really understand what you are saying here, so let me restate things more clearly, and complement with a contrasting hypothetical:
* in a hypothetical world where humans are carnivores and lack the technology to get nutrition from anything other than animal products, animals raised for food would be a sad but necessary sacrifice.
* in a different hypothetical world where humans are carnivores and possess the technology to get nutrition from non-animal products, animals raised for food would be unnecessary.
The outcome of the second hypothetical is the same as our current reality. None of these hypotheticals are in conflict with my claims.

I'd agree with the scenario where, if we could grow animal-protein artificially, then there would be no need for farm animals. At present, that's not the case.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:And this was just at one node - how many other nodes in that specific supply-chain involved the exploitation of migrant workers? How many other supply-chains involve such exploitation?

It seems that you are trying to say that there are hidden uses of animal products in many unexpected places. I agree, but that is a very difficult problem to address directly.

No - I'm pointing out that our purchasing decisions have little-to-no effect on suffering - in this case, human.

Given that a vegan diet relies mainly on fruits, and vegetables, there's likely to be an increase in such exploitation of migrant workers. And, given that you place human health above the moral argument to reduce animal suffering, this goes against your wish to reduce suffering. [I assume here that human suffering takes precedence over the suffering of animals? - based on your statements in your reply.]

Vego wrote:Moreover, in order to be a problem for veganism, it would have to be the case that the disappearance of the demand for animal-sourced foods would not affect the farming industry. In other words, you would have to convince me that farmers would still be mass-producing more and more pig meat, cow meat, milk, chicken meat and eggs without selling any of these items. That seems highly implausible.

The main goal of farming cows, pigs and chickens is food. That is massive, clearly visible, and straightforward to address for a dietary vegan. If that demand disappears, we should expect a substantial decrease in animal exploitation (less animals). If somehow farming is still used for something else, then we will have to find a way to also address that when we get there.

Since animal farmers' families - along with their employees - all over the world rely on income from meat production, packing, etc, what are they to do in it's stead? As the UN report notes, an increase in non-meat produce runs up against the need to move towards bio-fuels.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:Hence my point about needing medical assistance to ensure that your not putting your health at risk.

Hence nothing at all. There is no evidence for your claim. All I said is that you need reliable information to get started, which is true. What you do after that depends on you and your personal circumstances.

Dragan Glas wrote:Rather than a sudden switch, involving a massive cull of unwanted animals, would it not be more humane to gradually phase out farm animals? Not to mention the huge impact of such a sudden switch over a gradual one?

Veganism as I understand and practice it should lead to such a gradual phase out (I give more details about my personal view in my answer to Laurens in a post above). The sudden switch here was a hypothetical to make a counterpoint in my conversation with Laurens, but it doesn't really change much to the bottom line: from a vegan perspective animals killed for food are just as problematic as "unwanted" animals that can't be retired peacefully in some kind of sanctuary. Because of the time component, the gradual switch ends up abusing and killing more animals than the sudden switch (which is unrealistic).

Dragan Glas wrote:I don't see how this helps your argument.

My argument is that my diet is not causing my hypothetical mental troubles. Even if you have a proof that mentally unhealthy people are more likely to go vegan, it doesn't mean that a vegan diet is unhealthy. And at best what you quote from the paper could suggest that somebody who is already mentally unhealthy might get worse on a vegan diet, which shouldn't be a surprise intuitively, and moreso in light of the explanation that I quoted from the authors (negative peer-pressure).

And by the way, in the paper "Analysis in the subsample of non-vegetarians also consistently showed that people suffering from a mental disorder ate less meat than people without a mental disorder" refers to omnis, which to me is even more evidence that the diet isn't causing the issue in this study.

You appear to be labouring under the misapprehension that I'm arguing that veganism causes mental health problems.

I'm not - as you'd realize if you hadn't left out part of my reply:

"So, we've gone from a possibility of vegetarianism being a cause of mental health issues to the probability of vegetarianism being due to mental health issues!?"

The study you cite shows that people tend to switch to a vegan diet for spurious reasons (an attempt to self-medicate) following the onset of a mental health issue: their thinking being, "It must be due to all those antibiotics they're injecting into farm animals - I'm going to cut out meat altogether!".

Far from helping themselves, they exacerbate their mental health issue due to nutritional deficiencies.

Look at it this way:

If I switched to a vegan diet, does this indicate that I'm suffering from a mental health problem? If so, won't the vegan diet just make things worse?

The answer to both - according to the study - is "Yes", and "Yes".

Of the seven studies they mention in reviewing the literature, six of them indicate people switch to a vegan diet following the onset of a mental health issue as an attempt to avoid foods they believe caused their mental health problem. And, having done so, their mental health problem is exacerbated.

All the statements I quoted from the study support my point: that a vegan diet exacerbates mental health problems.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:One may wonder why I've quoted liberally from the paper

I wonder about that too, given that it doesn't help make your case.

From the paper: "in contrast to physical health, a vegetarian diet is not associated with better mental health"
That means that in people who already have a mental disorder (in the study), a vegan diet might make their body healthier but their mind worse. The diet does not cause the problem here.

Agreed - it just exacerbates it. As I explained above.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:The above sections support my contention that one cannot separate the moral argument from the health argument.

Nonsense. At the beginning of our conversation, I accepted for convenience the claim that a good health is a moral imperative. The "above sections" say nothing for or against that. And what you quoted does not support your claim that a vegan diet causes mental disorders.

As I explained, I'm not claiming that.

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:Should one sacrifice one's health for the sake of perceived suffering of animals?

I never advocated for the sacrifice of one's health. And the suffering of animals is real, whether humans perceive it or not.

Dragan Glas wrote:In other words, is it moral to sacrifice one's health for the sake of others - animal or human?

I don't know, but until you can show that vegan diets are unhealthy, it doesn't matter for veganism.

Dragan Glas wrote:At what point do we draw the line?

What is it with with meat-eaters and drawing lines? Dietary veganism is just a change in diet. If done properly it doesn't have to negatively impact one's life.

Dragan Glas wrote:All life-forms are sentient

WarK earlier told me that animals are not necessarily sentient. I don't think spending to much time on semantics is going to help here.

Dragan Glas wrote:one's left with the fact that plants feel "pain"

I know that plants can react to various conditions, but I don't know if plants "feel" anything in a way that justifies the use of this word.

EDIT Even if it could be shown that plants are highly sentient, it would not change the moral case for veganism since farm animals eat even more plants than humans.

Dragan Glas wrote:sentient - aware of their environment - to a greater or lesser degree.

How do you know that plants have any kind of awareness, low or high? Is that awareness in any way comparable to that of an animal?

EDIT This point will just go off-topic, so feel free to ignore it.

Dragan Glas wrote:We have to draw the line somewhere

No, veganism has no need for such line.

Dragan Glas wrote:Should I eat as little as possible - "starve" myself - to free up as much food to give away? I would argue, no

Veganism doesn't require you to starve yourself, or sell your house, or damage your life or health in any way. So your comment is irrelevant to the moral case for veganism.

Dragan Glas wrote:That is my moral argument - my health is more important than anything else, notwithstanding my concern for others, including animals.

I value my health too, and your "moral argument" doesn't impact the moral case for veganism.

It may not impact a purely "ivory tower" moral argument - but in the real world where human health comes first, you cannot separate the two.

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:59 pm
VegoUser avatarPosts: 94Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Dragan Glas wrote:there's an ever-growing pressure on resources.

I am not trying to make a blanket statement that the world has unlimited resources. All I am saying is that in today's world, with global trade and increase in quality of life, it is easier for individuals to get access to what is needed to sustain a healthy vegan diet (like information, supplements and plant-based foods).

The UN report summary (thanks for the link) indicates that "The academic literature disagrees on whether resource scarcity, or competition for scarce resources, presents a fundamental problem or is easily solved by the market." An ever-growing pressure on resources is not my point, and does not contradict what I said either. If anything, veganism would lower such pressure (main report: "A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products"). That would help for an environmental case for veganism, but it is not my point here. Even if it could be shown that a vegan diet is an environmental catastrophe (which it isn't) it still wouldn't change the primary health aspect: a vegan diet can provide all the nutrition needed for a healthy human life.

Dragan Glas wrote:There are simply too many people for the Earth to sustain

Somebody also mentioned human population in an earlier post, but I think that this topic, while interesting on its own, is tangential to the moral case for veganism: even if we had unlimited resources, veganism would still be healthy, and animal exploitation would still be morally objectionable.

Dragan Glas wrote:As the report notes, however, a switch to such a diet runs into the need for a switch away from geo-carbon to bio-fuels.

You seem to be referring to p. 82 of the main report "Even a limited percentage of biofuels runs into land and water constraints quite quickly." If that is the case, that paragraph does not say what you think it does, and it has no impact on the feasability of a vegan diet.

Dragan Glas wrote:I'd agree with the scenario where, if we could grow animal-protein artificially, then there would be no need for farm animals.

Why "animal-protein"? We don't need that to be healthy (plenty of proteins in plants).

Dragan Glas wrote:Given that a vegan diet relies mainly on fruits, and vegetables, there's likely to be an increase in such exploitation of migrant workers

And somehow you think that no such exploitation occurs in slaughterhouses? That slaughterhouse workers don't suffer from PTSD? That farmers and non-farmers don't die from zoonoses (diseases from animals)?

Even if what you are saying is true, I see no reason to expect that a vegan production stack would be worse for human rights and health than the global animal farming industry already is.

Dragan Glas wrote:this goes against your wish to reduce suffering

No, you are just grasping at straws, trying to find something that would paint vegans as unfeeling monsters. I care about all sentient beings, human or not. If some potentially vegan resource can be shown to be detrimental to humans (like non-certified palm oil) then I can adjust my purchasing habits accordingly.

And to be clear once more: I advocate for realistic veganism, not some kind of perfectionist purism.

Dragan Glas wrote:Since animal farmers' families - along with their employees - all over the world rely on income from meat production, packing, etc, what are they to do in it's stead?

I don't know, maybe they could produce vegan food. But by the time veganism starts to make a significant dent in global animal farming, I suspect that only robots will be losing jobs. Globalization and automation are far more powerful forces to worry about when it comes to jobs.

Dragan Glas wrote:the misapprehension that I'm arguing that veganism causes mental health problems.

If that is not your argument, then you have no case.

Dragan Glas wrote:If I switched to a vegan diet, does this indicate that I'm suffering from a mental health problem?

I don't know, despite what you seem to think, that is not what the paper is saying. And even if it could be shown that only mentally unhealthy people switch to vegan diets (which is a ridiculous claim), that wouldn't say anything about a mentally healthy person switching to a vegan diet.

Dragan Glas wrote:The answer to both - according to the study - is "Yes", and "Yes".

No, once again you are grasping at straws here, this time trying to claim that vegans are mentally unhealthy, which is both untrue and offensive.

Dragan Glas wrote:my point: that a vegan diet exacerbates mental health problems.

Your point is a moving goalpost. You started by saying that you were concerned about health. But since veganism is currently thought to benefit physical health, you moved to mental health, as if that was somehow more important. But since there is no causation, now you are reduced to argue for "exacerbation". And even that sounds weak because social environment can play an important role in mental illnesses, and there are ways to manage health issues, mental or not.

Dragan Glas wrote:human health comes first

Considering that animal products can be shown to cause health issues, and vegetarian diets in general can be shown to improve health and help prevent disease (maybe even reverse some like atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes), I would say that is a point in favor of veganism, and moreso when considering the indirect health benefits resulting from better environmental care. But as I said earlier, to me the health advantages are a bonus that don't impact the moral case for veganism: not being intrinsically unhealthy is good enough.
Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:02 am
VisakiUser avatarPosts: 812Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:26 pmLocation: Helsinki, Finland Gender: Male

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Vego wrote:
ldmitruk wrote:Of course without bees many crops could potentially fai. So I think vegans might want to think about that.

Of course vegans are aware of that. We are also aware that when you increase market incentives, competition gets into high gear, corners are cut, and animals are abused.

That brings into mind another but connecting question: Do you think that people should keep pets? Of the total number of vegans I know, which is a small number, I know at least one who has a pet and one that thinks that pets are akin to slavery. Though I would think that the slavery argument would be even stronger when we are talking about making animals actually work for human, like in the case of bees (or draught animals, or rescue dogs).
Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:09 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3184Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Greetings,

I see little point in continuing this discussion, Vego, given you're ignoring what your own cited paper is saying.

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:36 pm
VegoUser avatarPosts: 94Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Visaki wrote:That brings into mind another but connecting question: Do you think that people should keep pets? Of the total number of vegans I know, which is a small number, I know at least one who has a pet and one that thinks that pets are akin to slavery. Though I would think that the slavery argument would be even stronger when we are talking about making animals actually work for human, like in the case of bees (or draught animals, or rescue dogs).

I don't know if there is a consensus among vegans on this topic, given how personal things can get here. If you object to slavery on the basis of the idea of ownership alone, then animal ownership, including pet ownership, is morally wrong. But I think the vocabulary of ownership is unfortunate here, because some people view their pets as family members. There can be a strong emotional bond benefitting both the "owner" and the pet. And taking proper care of a rescued animal has moral advantages over animals bought from breeders.

As you note, things become blurry when the pet takes on a more utilitarian role. Service animals and rescue dogs fit in some kind of gray area. Owners could easily overestimate the quality of their care. Guard dogs and pets used for competitions are also questionable. And at the extreme you find people who neglect, abuse or even kill and eat their pets. In other words, ownership and utility are not the whole story (some people abuse their kids).

There is also some fuzziness regarding what we want to call "pet". A pet tiger sounds like a bad idea, but what about turtles? In what sense is an ant colony a pet?

And for vegans there is the additional issue of vegan pet food. I said earlier that the moral case for veganism requires the ability to make informed decisions; to my knowledge, pets don't generally have such a high-level ability.

Personally, I am not against pet ownership in principle, but I believe that legally and morally a pet should be viewed less like a property and more like an adopted child.
Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:26 pm
leroyPosts: 2030Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:30 pm

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Visaki wrote:
That brings into mind another but connecting question: Do you think that people should keep pets? Of the total number of vegans I know, which is a small number, I know at least one who has a pet and one that thinks that pets are akin to slavery. Though I would think that the slavery argument would be even stronger when we are talking about making animals actually work for human, like in the case of bees (or draught animals, or rescue dogs).




As far as I am concern, the problem is the “pet industry” that tortures, and kill innocent animals for various reasons, but owning a pet is not wrong. For example adopting a pet is not wrong, it seems that a dog is much more happier with nice and loving masters than in the streets.
"events with a zero probability happen all the time"
Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:00 pm
VegoUser avatarPosts: 94Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Dragan Glas wrote:you're ignoring what your own cited paper is saying.

I am not ignoring anything.

The authors explicitly say "established biological mechanisms do not explain" the association they observe between meat avoidance and mental disorders, which does not support the idea of a nutritional problem. They go on "Although differences in nutrition status before the actual start of the vegetarian diet affecting vulnerability to mental disorders cannot be ruled out completely, our temporal finding is more consistent with the view that psychological mechanisms cause the associations between vegetarian diet and mental disorders."

In addition, your claim that "they exacerbate their mental health issue due to nutritional deficiencies" is unjustified: there is nothing in the paper that allows to conclude a nutritional deficiency (lack of meat is not a nutritional deficiency).

Nothing so far supports the idea that a vegan diet is inherently unhealthy.
Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:44 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3184Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: The moral case for veganism.

Greetings,

Vego wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:you're ignoring what your own cited paper is saying.

I am not ignoring anything.

The authors explicitly say "established biological mechanisms do not explain" the association they observe between meat avoidance and mental disorders, which does not support the idea of a nutritional problem. They go on "Although differences in nutrition status before the actual start of the vegetarian diet affecting vulnerability to mental disorders cannot be ruled out completely, our temporal finding is more consistent with the view that psychological mechanisms cause the associations between vegetarian diet and mental disorders."

Again, you are selective in what you emphasize in promoting veganism.

From your own post earlier:

The analysis of the respective ages at adoption of a vegetarian diet and onset of a mental disorder showed that the adoption of the vegetarian diet tends to follow the onset of mental disorders.

Why is this happening?

Importantly, we found no evidence for a causal role of vegetarian diet in the etiology of mental disorders. Rather, our results are more consistent with the view that the experience of a mental disorder increases the probability of choosing a vegetarian diet, or that psychological factors influence both the probability of choosing a vegetarian diet and the probability of developing a mental disorder.

There are two possibilities - either a mental health problem results in the switch to a vegetarian diet (due to a spurious association between antibiotics in meat, and their mental health issue, as I explained earlier) or a third factor common to both ("psychological factors") results in an increased probability of both the switch to a vegetarian diet and developing a mental health problem.

And "psychological factors" are still very much to do with the mind.

In this regard, it's worth including the first part of the paragraph which precedes "The analysis..." sentence:

Vegetarians displayed elevated prevalence rates for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders. Due to the matching procedure, the findings cannot be explained by socio-demographic characteristics of vegetarians (e.g. higher rates of females, predominant residency in urban areas, high proportion of singles).

And, in regard to the last, the study states:

Alternatively, a third variable (e.g., neuroticism, perfectionism) may cause both low consumption of fast food and increased vulnerability to mental disorders.

These psychological factors are hardly a good reason to change one's diet - particularly if they also result in/exacerbate mental health problems.

And such factors hold less weight, as the quotes I include later show.

Vego wrote:In addition, your claim that "they exacerbate their mental health issue due to nutritional deficiencies" is unjustified: there is nothing in the paper that allows to conclude a nutritional deficiency (lack of meat is not a nutritional deficiency).

Nothing so far supports the idea that a vegan diet is inherently unhealthy.

It's worth re-reading the extensive quotes in my earlier post, which you found puzzling. But, in case you don't, here's the main one:

Two possible causal mechanisms seem possible. First, because the start of a vegetarian diet, on average, follows the onset of disorder, the experience of a mental disorder may increase the probability of choosing a vegetarian diet (i.e., the mental disorder causes [sic] the vegetarian diet). Individuals with a history of a mental disorder may exhibit more perceived health-oriented behavior in order to positively influence the course of their disease. Moreover, the experience of a mental disorder may sensitize individuals to the suffering of other living beings, including animals. In addition, elevated levels of health-related anxiety may lead individuals with mental disorders to choose a vegetarian diet as a form of safety or self-protective behavior, because a meat free diet is perceived as more healthy

In other words, it's not necessarily more healthy.

Second, a relatively stable psychological mechanism (a third variable) may increase the probability of mental disorders and independently increase the likelihood of choosing a vegetarian diet. The possibility is appealing that psychological mechanisms like the tendency to experience and regulate negative emotions [45,46], high levels of responsibility and perfectionism [47], or contrasting social values of vegetarians [48] might be responsible the pattern of results. [u]However, such possible psychological mechanisms cannot easily explain the temporal sequencing of disorders developing before vegetarian diet.

So, the "psychological factors" are given less importance than the probability that the onset of a mental health problem precedes a switch to a vegetarian diet.

The study also reports that a change in diet most closely precedes the onset of a eating disorder.

This is likely to result in a nutritional deficiency exacerbating the individual's mental health.

And I again repeat my point that, without medical assistance, one is going to find it more difficult to ensure that one's not suffering a nutritional deficiency of some sort, exacerbating an existing mental health disorder.

++++++++

I should add, lest you think I'm finding fault with you on the assumption that you're suffering/have suffered from a mental health problem, that I've suffered from depression myself.

I came home from the UK to look after my mother (Alzheimer's): the first year was so stressful I developed Type II diabetes. My brother, when he took over for a week, told me later that he and his wife were shocked at how depressed I was looking .Our mother is now in a home, and those I know have said I'm looking a lot better than when I was looking after her.

If you've gotten the impression that I'm finding fault with you in that regard, I apologize for my contribution to that.

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:11 pm
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