Defending killing and eating animals is morally wrong

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Reply Fri 1 May, 2009 10:38 pm
I'd like to the defend the following two positions:

1. Killing animals is prima facie morally wrong (can be overidden in certain cases)
2. Eating animals is ultima facie morally wrong (cannot be overriden)

My argument makes no appeal to utility, rights, pain or suffering, but to interests:

1. Causing harm is prima facie morally wrong (assumed).

Note: premise (1) is an assumed moral principle: harming is wrong, not because it violates some right, or because it fails to maximize utility, or because it breaks some social contract, or because it is absolute, but simply because it is wrong; the moral basis for premise (1) is grounded in compassion and the recognition of the interests of all sentient beings, period. Secondly, by "prima facie" is meant that the principle can be overriden in certain cases (e.g., self-defense). This argument is aimed at persuading people who already accept premise (1), since the argument itself hinges on its acceptability. Of course, those who deny premise (1) but wish to accept it for the sake of argument are encouraged to do so. At any rate, I am not interested in defending premise (1) apart from further clarifying its meaning and inferential relationship with other premises. Thank you.

2. Killing animals causes them harm.
3. Therefore, killing animals is prima facie morally wrong.
4. Animal-eating requires the killing of animals.
5. Therefore, animal-eating is prima facie morally wrong.
6. The wrongness of animal-eating is not overriden.
7. Therefore, animal-eating is ultima facie morally wrong.
-----
8. Vegetarianism is morally obligatory (see note).

Note: premise (4) allows for eating animals who died due to accidents, natural causes, or other sources which do not involve the deliberate actions of moral agents.

Some quick definitions:

Harm: to harm a being is to do something which adversely affects its interests; in particular, harming amounts to the thwarting, setting back, or defeating of another beings' interests.

Interests: Interests in this context refer to basic welfare interests shared by all sentient beings: physical health and vigor, normal bodily integrity and functioning, absence of pain and suffering, emotional stability and well-being, tolerable social and physical environment, a certain amount of freedom from interference and coercion.

Animal: sentient vertebrate species.

Sentience: requisite mental capacities to form desires that reflect basic welfare interests; e.g., the desire for physical health and well-being, etc.

There is much I have not clarified, but I'd rather wait to see whether the OP generates substantial interest before I provide further details. I've therefore intentionally kept it concise. I'll reply to your responses as promptly as possible.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Fri 1 May, 2009 11:31 pm
@New Mysterianism,
Before I respond in greater depth, I wanted to post a quick inquiry:

Are you asking us to merely detail whether your argument is logically valid, or are you asking us to critique and potentially reject premises based on our own arguments/insights (in the case your argument is valid, that is)?

If all you're asking for is the former, this thread won't go far and should actually be in the logic section; it's a simple "Yes" "No" answer to logical coherency. If you're asking for the latter (again, assuming your argument is valid), I'll respond further.
 
New Mysterianism
 
Reply Sat 2 May, 2009 09:17 am
@Zetherin,
The argument is valid. I'm interested in defending it against objections.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Sat 2 May, 2009 12:04 pm
@New Mysterianism,
From what argument do you presuppose animals are sentient? Though, I can understand if you don't want to respond to this as you note you're not interested in defending premise (1).

Of course, the brunt of your argument is contained in premise (1) and (2), so if you're really seeking objections, it's important this is clarified. The "Harm" in premise (2) rests on premise (1) (this presupposition). Personally, I've seen arguments both ways for the sentience of animals.
 
ACWaller
 
Reply Sat 2 May, 2009 12:32 pm
@New Mysterianism,
I think the argument hinges on exactly what ways the 'no-harm' principle could be over-ridden.
And also on what you consider is 'doing' harm to an animal. Killing obviously harms the animal, but you could say it was gonna die sometime anywayz, you just brought the day forward. And what if were a more quick and humane death than if it were to die of natural causes?
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Sat 2 May, 2009 12:57 pm
@ACWaller,
So we aren't questioning the over riding qualifications for section 1? In the qualifications are where we get into the standard biology/rational action debate. Human biology and behavior is naturally omnivorous, which includes killing animals for food, as well as the scavenging caveat added in notes on section 4, which seems like it was thrown in there as a coverup, as in, if an animal has the capacity to kill and eat fresh meat it normally prefers it to carrion, unless its biology is carrion specific. This leaves us with another conversation. That just because we have the capacity to willfully transcend our biology, does that mean we have a mandate to do so, per your argument above.
 
New Mysterianism
 
Reply Sun 3 May, 2009 02:27 am
@GoshisDead,
Quote:

From what argument do you presuppose animals are sentient?


Nonhuman veterbrate species are sentient for the same reason that humans are considered sentient. They can experience pain and suffering, and they can have their basic welfare interests violated. Plants wouldn't be considered sentient, for example, because they lack brains, central nervous systems, or conscious states, and so they cannot form desires that reflect basic welfare interests. Besides, if I ate your tomato and your dog, you would not recognize these as morally equivalent acts.

Quote:
I think the argument hinges on exactly what ways the 'no-harm' principle could be over-ridden.


From the OP: "Secondly, by "prima facie" is meant that the principle can be overriden in certain cases (e.g., self-defense)."

Quote:
And also on what you consider is 'doing' harm to an animal.


I defined harm in the OP as the thwarting, setting back, or defeating of basic welfare interests. Killing animals violates their interests.

Quote:
Killing obviously harms the animal, but you could say it was gonna die sometime anywayz, you just brought the day forward. And what if were a more quick and humane death than if it were to die of natural causes?


Well, by your logic we could justify the indiscriminate killing of human beings too, since they were "going to die sometime anywayz" or "die quicker and more humanely" than they would have from natural causes.

Quote:
So we aren't questioning the over riding qualifications for section 1?


You can object to self-defense as an overriding case for premise (1) if you would like.

Quote:
That just because we have the capacity to willfully transcend our biology, does that mean we have a mandate to do so, per your argument above.


No, you're free to take the behaviors of wild animals as your ethical guide if you so choose. My argument appeals to compassion for other sentient species, not mandates. By the way, our biology doesn't force us to be omnivores. With the exception of a very few people on planet Earth, humans can live extraordinarliy healthy lives as vegetarians, and nutritional supplements are readily available for those who cannot. This doesn't mean that we should or shouldn't be vegetarians, but the claim that vegetarianism isn't "natural," whatever that means, is not an argument, and has no bearing on the moral permissiveness of meat-eating.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Sun 3 May, 2009 10:26 am
@New Mysterianism,
If killing animals is wrong, then eating them is wrong. Why does it take eight steps and half a thousand words to make that point? Of course, even with eight steps we've left out the possibility of eating dead animals or more importantly, financially supporting those who kill animals. Or even more importantly, just supporting "someone" who kills like a pet. Example, is it wrong to maintain a pet which kills. Cats kill mice. Can we reward them with treats or would this be indirectly contributing to the harm of animals? If we can, why not financially support someone who kills to provide food? After all, animals don't care for whom they die. And if it is okay for pets to kill, why not family? All this is beside the point. I don't think any more premises should be added to the eight. If killing animals is wrong, then eating them is wrong. It is simple and it makes sense to me. I just don't accept that killing animals is wrong.
 
YumClock
 
Reply Sun 3 May, 2009 11:54 am
@New Mysterianism,
That's why some people thought this was for the Logic section, but I guess he just wanted to be really, really clear.
The wrong and right stems from the fact that they're not us. We think killing humans is bad because it's detrimental to our species. We don't mind killing animals of a different species/race (remember, not all humans are humans) because it's pretty neutral.
One argument states that it's okay to kill animals for food because that's what animals do. However, choosing not to eat animals is an evolution, just like our intelligence. This choice is a step forwards, which is without doubt. The argument is over we need to go forwards in that direction.
 
New Mysterianism
 
Reply Sun 3 May, 2009 12:14 pm
@YumClock,
Quote:
If killing animals is wrong, then eating them is wrong. Why does it take eight steps and half a thousand words to make that point?


I guess logic is tedious like that?

Quote:
Of course, even with eight steps we've left out the possibility of eating dead animals...


Or we could read carefully? From the OP:

Quote:
Note: premise (4) allows for eating animals who died due to accidents, natural causes, or other sources which do not involve the deliberate actions of moral agents.



Quote:
...or more importantly, financially supporting those who kill animals.


There we go. Animal-eating is wrong for much the same reason that buying stolen property or accepting any of the ill-gotten gains of another is wrong: a person who eats animals, or buys and uses stolen products, is in both cases benefiting from a morally nefarious practice. It strikes me as quite uncontroversial to say that one who concurs and cooperates with wrongdoing, or who garners benefits through the defeat of another's basic welfare interests, is himself doing something which is seriously morally wrong. So, even though a person does not directly kill the animal-meat he eats from the slaughterhouse, he is complicit in moral wrongdoing by creating a market demand for an industry which engages in the systematic killing of animals. In other words, the animal-eater *is* at fault because the killing and purchasing/consumption of animal-meat are two parts of the same moral wrong.

Quote:
Or even more importantly, just supporting "someone" who kills like a pet. Example, is it wrong to maintain a pet which kills. Cats kill mice. Can we reward them with treats or would this be indirectly contributing to the harm of animals? If we can, why not financially support someone who kills to provide food?


Animals are not moral agents. Moral agency requires the requisite intellectual capacities to recognize interests. Animals cannot recognize interests or engage in moral reasoning, so they cannot be held morally responsible for their actions. You could insist that they do, but behavioral ethologists who specialize in animal cognition would beg to differ. Besides, if animals really are moral agents, which they aren't, we would have to recognize their interest not to be eaten, unless we want to take the speciesist route, which needs to be argued. Furthermore, I think the ownership of pets needs to end, but that is a different argument with different premises.

Quote:
All this is beside the point. I don't think any more premises should be added to the eight. If killing animals is wrong, then eating them is wrong. It is simple and it makes sense to me. I just don't accept that killing animals is wrong.


Okay, care to argue why? Or were you just reporting your view?
 
hue-man
 
Reply Sun 3 May, 2009 01:26 pm
@New Mysterianism,
Humans eating animals is no more immoral than when one of them eats us. Humans eat animals for the same reason that animals eat humans - nutrition.

Secondly, humans are persons. A person is any being or organism that exhibits significant intelligence and volition. Persons, for example, are more shaped by their environment than they are by their genes and primal instincts, while non-personal organisms are almost completely subject to their genes and primal instincts. For this reason, non-personal organisms cannot be expected to uphold the moral standards that we expect from other persons. Therefore, non-personal organisms are not granted the same rights as persons.
 
New Mysterianism
 
Reply Sun 3 May, 2009 02:09 pm
@hue-man,
You contradict this:

Quote:

Humans eating animals is no more immoral than when one of them eats us.


With this:

Quote:
For this reason, non-personal organisms cannot be expected to uphold the moral standards that we expect from other persons.


Either animals can recognize interests and therefore are moral agents, or they cannot recognize interests and therefore cannot be moral agents. Only moral agents can recognize interests.

From earlier:

Quote:

Animals are not moral agents. Moral agency requires the requisite intellectual capacities to recognize interests. Animals cannot recognize interests or engage in moral reasoning, so they cannot be held morally responsible for their actions. You could insist that they do, but behavioral ethologists who specialize in animal cognition would beg to differ. Besides, if animals really are moral agents, which they aren't, we would have to recognize their interest not to be eaten, unless we want to take the speciesist route, which needs to be argued.


Quote:
Humans eat animals for the same reason that animals eat humans - nutrition.


Let's consider the "moral relevance" of nutrition: most recent debates about vegetarianism have focused on the question of the adequacy of a meatless diet for human nutrition. Let us assume as a fundamental principle that no moral agent can be required to destroy his or her health and basic welfare for the sake of others; therefore, a diet having this consequence is not morally justified. Does vegetarianism seriously endanger an individual's health and well-being?

Given the consensus of numerous nutritional studies, the answer is a resounding "no." (I'll provide the studies upon request). With the exception of a very few people on planet Earth, humans can live extraordinarliy healthy lives as vegetarians, and nutritional supplements are readily available for those who cannot. Also, the correlation between consuming animal products and meeting certain health requirements is a dubious one. In fact, meat-consumption has been linked to several diseases, including heart disease, and industrial animal farming releases harmful antibiotics and nitrates into our drinking water.

Quote:

Therefore, non-personal organisms are not granted the same rights as persons.


My argument appeals to interests, not rights.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 3 May, 2009 02:58 pm
@New Mysterianism,
Not a bad argument on the whole.

Actually, its one of the better I've seen and applaud your efforst. We've had quite a few people come in and jump right into vegetarianism and it generally gets messy; mainly, because most parties involved haven't thought the issue through to the logical permutation of their particular stance.

But I get your point and think its worth examining. Here are some thoughts, notes and suggestions. Just so you know: On this and other vitriolic issues I (like many others here) are sick to death of arguments. I'm happy to listen, then speak, but I won't quibble the issue. These suggestions, ideas and criticisms are for you to take and use - or discard as you see fit:[INDENT]1. The basic premise on which the entire argument is founded on, "... because its wrong" (in speaking about harming sentient beings), without any more support for this, is what is called "dogma". I'd suggest qualify why harming sentient beings is wrong; this shouldn't be difficult but you'll need to be careful to be not too inclusive.

2. You might wanna look up what Prima Facie and Sentient mean. Drawing contextual clues, you seem to have hit close.

3. You draw a distinction between eating meat and eating animals yet base it all on "doing harm" in general. Can one not harm a plant? (please note you didn't say "feel" - you said "harm").

4. If you base your morality on sentience alone, you'll need a carefully qualified set of conditions to differentiate or it'll remain ambiguous. The diversity in sensing and reactions within the animal world is vast. No matter what set of conditions you use, you're likely to come across animals that might not meet your conditions as well as the possibility you'll find plants that might. Find one exception to either, across the vastness of all life on this planet, and your reasoning comes down pel mel.

5. Many humans have a natural compassion for animals; this is good, productive and right. But we also tend to over-anthropomorphize them; the more human characteristics we imbue them with, the more distorted our view of the natural world becomes. We see an expression on an animal that looks like a smile or feels like 'love' and our protective instincts kick in. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing - I simply think it prudent we understand the compassion mechanisms at play and evaluate them for what they are when they do get triggered.

6. If we admit/accept we're part of this natural world then we necessarily admit the similarities of our bodies to other mammals. A large portion of mammals on this planet eat meat as well as vegetation. I'm curious how your philosophy deals with this apparent disparity. Are they too morally deficient or do we not truly have animal bodies?

7. You make a distinction, in your definition, to specifically exclude invertabrates. Granted, there aren't many (worms, some crustaceans, crabs, octopus, etc.) but it still begs the question: How are these different? They're certainly likely to meet your definition of sentient (or, as likely as many others in the animal kingdom)

8. Finally, a question for you: In my experience, most vegetarians come from a compassionate standpoint - they feel repulsed by eating meat when there doesn't seem to be a need. Well, I don't need to drink coke but that doesn't make it immoral... what I'm getting at is this: If you have a feeling that this is wrong, that it just *bothers* you (and you feel strongly that carniverous human behavior is wrong) then I'd be curious to hear it - your emotional basis (if, of course, this be the case). Yes, this is a neat exercise (trying to put it to logic), but it feels juxtaposed. It might well fit (remains to be seen), but sometimes the most honest, truest and heartfelt convictions can't be placed into a logical structure.
[/INDENT]Excellent effort. I look forward to watching this thread as it progresses.

Thanks
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Sun 3 May, 2009 03:46 pm
@New Mysterianism,
You guess logic is tedious like that. Yes, I understand. That was my point. Your "argument" is very tedious and even as it is so tedious it fails to cover a few important points.

That vegetarianism is not an obligation if it is okay to eat that which you didn't kill. That you acknowledge this is a problem in premise (4) is good. Now, perhaps you should fix it?

I agree with you that supporting immoral behavior is immoral and that is uncontroversial. Uncontroversial is the word I would use to. Why should you include another step in your argument to cover this. It would be tedious.

But you miss my point about cats. Cats are not moral agents, I know, and we are not concerned with whether cats should adopt vegetarianism. My point was to bring up our close association with other animals who would not share our vegetarianism. I think there are some interesting questions about how a vegetarian convinced of your "argument" would handle this association. To point out one thing, if we supported other animals' killings and then ate the leftovers, we wouldn't be supporting immoral behavior and yet we would be encouraging killing (?) and not actually killing.

But like I said, I don't really offer this as a refutation to your "argument" I agree with your "argument". If killing animals is wrong, then eating them is wrong (except when you didn't kill them as mentioned in the note to premise #4). Uncontroversial, but tediously worded eight different ways and offered as an "argument". What might actually be worth considering is why you think killing animals is wrong.

No, I take it back. What is really interesting is why you think your argument is not tedious i.e. basically goes from one important assertion to no where. In other words, why isn't the proper and logical response to your argument something like, "Well, of course, but so what?"

---------- Post added at 04:53 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:46 PM ----------

It has already been mentioned, but self-defense is a plausible exception to the first couple of steps. I know you've acknowledged this already, but it is not in the "argument", is it? Just another tedious step (although a more important point than anything you did make room) I don't think you should have to include.

---------- Post added at 05:34 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:46 PM ----------

New Mysterianism wrote:
Furthermore, I think the ownership of pets needs to end, but that is a different argument with different premises.


I don't mind you reporting your views. Take note though that whether or not I accept your first premise is decidedly more relevant than your view that pet ownership "needs to end".

In response to your request for objections and criticism, I've made abundantly clear that I take your "argument" to boil down to this one premise, this one assertion that killing animals is wrong.
 
YumClock
 
Reply Sun 3 May, 2009 09:36 pm
@New Mysterianism,
For someone who doesn't like five hundred word monologues...

Eating animals is wrong. We think it's not wrong because it's natural, and natural things are not automatically good. It's natural to kill humans of a higher rank than you, in the same way lions challenge the leader of their pack/whatever the word for group of lions is.

Challenge what I say, sure, but nobody say that eating animals is okay because it's nutrition.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 08:45 am
@New Mysterianism,
New Mysterianism wrote:
You contradict this:



With this:



Either animals can recognize interests and therefore are moral agents, or they cannot recognize interests and therefore cannot be moral agents. Only moral agents can recognize interests.


How is that a contradiction? My point was that there is nothing inherently immoral about animals eating other animals, nor is there anything inherently immoral about animals killing other animals. We persons are the ones who assign value to things. I'm saying that non-personal organisms don't have the intelligence, volition, or social skills to recognize ethical standards and so they shouldn't be granted the same rights that we have. You may be talking about "interests" as you say, but rights derive from personal interests. I believe that animals should be granted rights against torture, sports killing and extinction.

Quote:
Let's consider the "moral relevance" of nutrition: most recent debates about vegetarianism have focused on the question of the adequacy of a meatless diet for human nutrition. Let us assume as a fundamental principle that no moral agent can be required to destroy his or her health and basic welfare for the sake of others; therefore, a diet having this consequence is not morally justified. Does vegetarianism seriously endanger an individual's health and well-being?

Given the consensus of numerous nutritional studies, the answer is a resounding "no." (I'll provide the studies upon request). With the exception of a very few people on planet Earth, humans can live extraordinarliy healthy lives as vegetarians, and nutritional supplements are readily available for those who cannot. Also, the correlation between consuming animal products and meeting certain health requirements is a dubious one. In fact, meat-consumption has been linked to several diseases, including heart disease, and industrial animal farming releases harmful antibiotics and nitrates into our drinking water.
My point was that animals eat other animals for nutritional reasons. If you consider it immoral for humans to eat animals wouldn't it also be immoral for animals to eat other animals and humans? If so, then try telling that to a lion and see what happens. Animals are best for protein, B-12, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, and omega 3 fatty acids. A poorly planned vegan diet will be deficient in these vitamins and minerals, and it could lead to dangerous health consequences. Where do the vitamins and minerals in supplements come from?
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 09:06 am
@YumClock,
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to monologue. For the record, my problem with the original post is not that is monologue.

People do think eating animal is fine and natural, but I don't think they would agree because that because female black widows eat their mates, it is natural for us to do so. "Natural" isn't mimicking other species' behavior.

Why doesn't eating animals for nutrition make sense? Meat is nourishing, is it not?
 
New Mysterianism
 
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 10:21 am
@hue-man,
Khethil:

Lovely post. Critical yet comprehensible. Thank you. I'd like to reply to some of your points, but you're under no obligation to quibble, of course.

[quote]1. The basic premise on which the entire argument is founded on, "... because its wrong" (in speaking about harming sentient beings), without any more support for this, is what is called "dogma". I'd suggest qualify why harming sentient beings is wrong; this shouldn't be difficult but you'll need to be careful to be not too inclusive.[/quote]

As you stated in point (8), it's really about compassion when it comes to moral arguments for vegetarianism. In particular, my felt kinship with other sentient beings is what compels me to extend the scope of my moral concerns to the interests of other species. So, beyond the assumptive character of premise (1), that "causing harm is prima facie morally wrong," all I can offer in support is that we harm sentient species when we violate their basic welfare interests (not taking into account overriding examples). There seems to be a common understanding on this point in the case of human beings. But if you deny that sentient beings have interests, the argument isn't going to persuade you, of course.

(What follows isn't directed at you) While I am sensitive to the meta-ethical tension that persists between objective/relative morality, it is a mundane fact that we still need to formulate ethical judgments. I've noticed that while many forum-posters have the tendency to appeal to this meta-ethical tension in their rebuttals, they fail to couple those rebuttals with any real insights. The tired-old mantra that morality is relative, whether true or not, is usually wielded as a defensive sneer, a disingenuous way in which to create disagreement over moral principles where there really is none. I suppose a person could refute any ethical argument by appealing to its normative dimension or by calling into question its moral "inherentness." But why? This strikes me as a frivolous exercise unless you want to confine the subject of moral relativity to its own thread, where it should stay.

At any rate, moral principles like premise (1) are normative assumptions you either accept or deny on the basis of whether you share in the unargued conviction that causing harm is prima facie morally wrong, period.

[quote]2. You might wanna look up what Prima Facie and Sentient mean. Drawing contextual clues, you seem to have hit close. [/quote]

Prima facie has a very specific definition in a philosophical context, so I wouldn't consult Webster on these terms. Broadly speaking, prima facie means that premise (1) can be overidden in certain cases. The same applies in the case of sentience. Sentience I define as having the requisite mental capacity to form desires that reflect basic welfare interests. Definitions for sentience differ on specific points, of course, but its basic characteristics include the capacity for mental life. I draw my definition of sentience from behavioral ethologists who specialize in animal cognition, and would be happy to link you to the relevant studies.

[quote]3. You draw a distinction between eating meat and eating animals yet base it all on "doing harm" in general. Can one not harm a plant? (please note you didn't say "feel" - you said "harm"). [/quote]

As far as we know, plants are not sentient. They are not conscious and able to experience pain ( I don't appeal to pain, though), they do not have brains, central nervous systems, endorphins, receptors or benzodiazepines, or any other indications of sentience. They lack mental states and so cannot recognize interests, let alone formulate mental concepts. Besides, if I ate your tomato and your dog, you would not recognize these as morally equivalent acts, because no one really believes that tomatoes are the same thing as a sentient being.

[quote]4. No matter what set of conditions you use, you're likely to come across animals that might not meet your conditions as well as the possibility you'll find plants that might. Find one exception to either, across the vastness of all life on this planet, and your reasoning comes down pel mel.[/quote]

I draw the line at sentience because, as I have argued, sentient beings have interests and the possession of those interests is the necessary and sufficient condition for membership into the moral community. Are insects or plants sentient? Are they conscious beings with minds that can formulate desires that reflect basic welfare interests? I do not know. None of us do. But the fact that we do not know exactly where to draw the line, or perhaps find drawing the line difficult (morality is never easy), does not preclude us from the obligation to draw the line somewhere or allow us to use all animals as we please. Althought I may not know whether insects or plants are sentient, I do know that other species are. So the fact that I do not know on what side of the line to place insects or plants does not preclude me from my moral obligation to the animals whom I do know are sentient. Therefore, while there may be exceptional cases where we aren't sure if a particular species is sentient, this doesn't destroy the argument pel mel.

[quote]6. If we admit/accept we're part of this natural world then we necessarily admit the similarities of our bodies to other mammals. A large portion of mammals on this planet eat meat as well as vegetation. I'm curious how your philosophy deals with this apparent disparity. Are they too morally deficient or do we not truly have animal bodies?[/quote]

We're animals through and through, but we're also moral agents. It doesn't follow from the fact that most species are omnivores that we are obligated to maintain a particular dietary habit, especially if that dietary habit harms the interests of others. The way nature "is" doesn't necessitate the way things "ought" to be when we reason morally. It is also worth noting that objectors to vegetarianism face a dilemma when they insist that nonhuman sentient species can be held morally responsible for their actions. If animal X is a moral agent, then it becomes part of the moral community, and its interest not to be killed and eaten must be acknowledged.

hue-man:

[quote]We persons are the ones who assign value to things. I'm saying that non-personal organisms don't have the intelligence, volition, or social skills to recognize personal ethical standards and so they shouldn't be granted the same rights that we have.[/quote]

So? It is actually quite irrelevant whether nonhuman animals can themselves devise the rights or interests or values we understand. A severely retarded human being might not have the ability to understand value, or interest, or right, but that does not mean that we should not accord him or her the protection of at least the basic right not to be treated as a resource manufactured for our use. We don't abuse seriously mentally impaired humans, so why abuse other species?

Quote:

I believe that animals should be granted rights against torture, sports killing and extinction


Well, that's a promising start.

[quote]My point was that animals eat other animals for nutritional reasons. If you consider it immoral for humans to eat animals wouldn't it also be immoral for animals to eat other animals and humans? [/quote]

See where I talk about how animals lack moral agency, and see also where I talk about the dilemma for those who insist that they do have moral agency.

[quote]A poorly planned vegan diet will be deficient in these vitamins and minerals, and it could lead to dangerous health consequences.Where do the vitamins and minerals in supplements come from?[/quote]

Typically your local GNC outlet store. By the way, I'm arguing for vegetarianism, not veganism. That said, vegetarianism generally fulfills all human nutritional requirements, as I stated earlier.

Ultracrepidarian:

[quote]Why doesn't eating animals for nutrition make sense? Meat is nourishing, is it not?[/quote]

It certainly makes sense from that of a meat-eaters perspective, but in case you missed it the first few times around, the argument is that killing animals for their meat harms them by violating their basic welfare interests.
 
thysin
 
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 10:36 am
@New Mysterianism,
I agree. I would like to ask though if you've thought about what would happen if everyone did adhere to these positions? Would you just chalk it up to being the lesser of two evils?

Oh on a side note I'd find it extremely interesting to know which people on this thread have actually killed animals and why, if y'all don't mind sharing?

I have, I was an avid hunter and have killed many hundreds of animals and eaten them.
 
Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Mon 4 May, 2009 10:38 am
@New Mysterianism,
Killing animal harms them? You don't say? You know, I must have missed that.

Wait, I remember. My response is, "Yes, killing causes harm. So what?"
 
 

 
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