Sunday, November 11, 2007

Daily Blessings Organic Foods

Here is a fine example of suicide food's ability to blend in, to recede into the background, to pass under the threshold of our awareness. When you first behold Daily Blessings Organic Farm's logo—the idyllic, bovine mother-and-child scene—does anything seem amiss? Does it strike you as odd in any way?

Whose daily blessings are celebrated here? The people living in the shadowed house way in the background, or the cows front and center? Who are the protagonists in this little drama?

The cows, of course. This is about them. We are meant to identify with them. Their lives, their blessings, their hopes and dreams. This is just plain strange.

Of all the images to represent the idea of food's blessings, this one is most neatly—if needlessly, ludicrously—in accordance with suicidefoodist principles. The suggestion is that the cows have something to be thankful for, that every day is another opportunity to offer themselves up to the killing blow, to sacrifice themselves for the family in the little shadowed house. Even while she nuzzles her child, the cow thinks gratefully of the moment when—again—they will both be dead.

One might ask, "Yes, but what other image could Daily Blessings Organic Foods have used?" One hardly need dig deep to come up with a more suitable motif. Such as? Such as that hoariest of tropes: the family, seated at the table, heads bowed in humble prayer, offering up their thanks for the bounty of which they are about to partake. In other words: Why even show the (living) cow and calf when a more comprehensible image was closer at hand?

We will not infer an agenda, but will say only this: the Movement's goals are furthered.

79 comments:

Francois Tremblay said...

Given how disease-spreading organic foods have been lately, I'd say that calling themselves "Daily Blessing" is a slap in the face of the general population. But they are probably not even smart enough to realize that...

Francois Tremblay said...

BTW, here is a cartoon that you'd like:
http://www.partiallyclips.com/index.php?id=1515

Lisa J. (aka Oboe-Wan) said...

Clearly the blessing is that she got to see her atrophied calf one last time before he was dragged away. She's just counting her blessings that she was born female & has the distinct honor of being kept alive for a few extra years.

This was a good one!

Anonymous said...

i have a much better comic.

http://www.pti-comic.dk/index.php?page=last&strip_id=9

Francois Tremblay said...

Okay, seriously. You are an imbecile of the highest order. Just like PETA who says that meat-eating is the same as the Holocaust.

It happens that young girls get kidnapped and tortured. That you'd take seriously a comparison of their suffering to those of lower animals who are slaughtered in an industrial setting shows that you have zero morality and that you have no decency.

The idea that the morality is equal in both cases is perhaps the most disgusting belief of eco-fascists, and it should be rejected by everyone, including the people who like this blog.

Ben said...

You believe that people who equate the suffering of the "lower" animals with the suffering of humans are imbeciles.

What is the name for someone who refuses even to acknowledge that animals can suffer? Or, worse, who acknowledges, but takes pride in not caring?

My word for it is Tremblish.

Francois Tremblay said...

Actually, I never said that animals do not suffer, or that I don't care about it. I do.

The fact that you find the need to lie about me like this- what does it show exactly?

You tell me!

Ben said...

Francois' Greatest Hits

(On foie gras) Foie gras is a staple of good food, and it's a shame that you Americans are not familiar enough with the whole range of cretonnades, pates and foie gras to which I am accustomed.

(On an advertisement for ostrich meat) It certainly doesn't make me want ostrich meat. A high-kicking regimen doesn't sound very good for tender meat.

(On turducken) Turducken kicks ass, you pussies. Maybe if you ate meat once in a while, you wouldn't be so weak and scrawny, or get so mad that you feel the need to take it out on the rest of us.

(On the incidental death of rodents as a result of factory farming) I personally don't care how many rodents die due to my personal diet.

(On our objections to bull-fighting) Oh get off it, vegan bastard.

Where, again, is the part where you care about animal suffering? You strike me as a typical, meat-eating "rebel," a would-be iconoclast with a "You can have my hamburger when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers" bumpersticker.

Perhaps you are a caring, sensitive person who cares about the needless suffering of animals, but I'm not seeing it.

Instead, you are a gleeful, proud (?) meat-eater who seems personally affronted by the suggestion that raising and slaughtering animals has a moral dimension.

Francois Tremblay said...

Yes, I am gleeful about it, mainly because I am talking to people such as yourself who refuse to appreciate meat in any form. You can't blame me for having some fun with it.

That being said, being gleeful about my dietary habits does not prove that I don't care about animal suffering. I do, but I don't consider it as going against my meat-eating.

Insofar as chickens, cows and pigs go, I support efforts to make the animals' life easier, but I don't agree with the morally retarded argument that their killing is equivalent to the Holocaust. Anyone who says this is a moral retard. I'm sorry to offend anyone here but it's the truth.

You are attacking my personality in order to make an argument. I am attacking your beliefs. Attack my beliefs, not my personality.

Ben said...

All I know of your beliefs comes from the (often abrasive, often nasty) comments you leave here.

The fact is that you eat meat even though you are aware (as you say) that animals suffer for it. And even though you are certainly aware that eating meat is unnecessary. Yes, yes, you support efforts to make the animals' lives easier. What form does that support take?

AV said...

I have a problem with this whole "lower animals" idea? What exactly is it that makes them *lower*? The fact that their brain capacity is less than humans?
The only way that that differs is that they lack the capacity to think up and commit the atrocities that mankind routinely thinks up, and carries out against animals and yes even other humans. When faced with the prospect of their own death or the infliction of pain, mankind or animals will react in the same ways. With fear and attempts to avoid it.

Francois Tremblay said...

"All I know of your beliefs comes from the (often abrasive, often nasty) comments you leave here."

Yes I know, I'm just a big Meanie McMean. *rolls eyes


"The fact is that you eat meat even though you are aware (as you say) that animals suffer for it."

That's right.

And you probably buy things from second or third-world countries without making sure that children may or may not have suffered from that work. How would you know?

You may benefit from medical advances that were tested on animals, including humans. Do you know which ones?

I'm not saying that profiting from suffering is a great, noble thing, but we all do it to some extent, directly or indirectly. No exception. I am not indifferent to the plight of any life.


"And even though you are certainly aware that eating meat is unnecessary."

For what? Bare subsistence? That's a very bad argument.


"Yes, yes, you support efforts to make the animals' lives easier. What form does that support take?"

What, is this an "who's the best activist" contest?

Francois Tremblay said...

Well av, I'm not disagreeing with you on that point. I did mean mental capacities, by the way.

Ben said...

""And even though you are certainly aware that eating meat is unnecessary."

For what? Bare subsistence? That's a very bad argument."

Maybe you're just tired. Bare subsistence? So the millions of vegetarians and vegans out there are just barely surviving, is that it? I know you see this as a live of denial and deprivation, but that's just silly.

You're better than that, Francois.

Francois Tremblay said...

I do see it that way, although I admit I exaggerated my position somewhat. I do believe however that you are missing a lot in life if you follow what I call the "ethical vegetarian" ideology.

As for this whole discussion, I wanted to tell you something. I love your blog. I read it every day. Truth is, I even think you're funny most of the time. Because this discussion is somewhat negative, I don't want you to think that I want to be mean to you or that I want to attack your blog in some way, because I don't. I just have strong disagreements with your driving ideology. Vegetarianism is one of my "pet peeves."

Francois Tremblay said...

What did get me mad was the use of the "kidnapping and torture=meat-eating" argument. I find it horribly immoral that you are agreeing with it. Do you seriously want to equate the immorality of kidnapping a young girl and torturing her, to the treatment of cows and pigs?

Ben said...

I never agreed with that cartoon. In fact, when that comment was posted, I tried to see the cartoon and it wouldn't load. I just now saw it for the first time.

Francois Tremblay said...

Do you agree with it, by which I mean: its implicit analogy?

Ben said...

Tell you what, Francois. You take this issue and create a blog around it. (It's free!)

Francois Tremblay said...

Why? Unlike your blog, it wouldn't be funny or interesting.

Ben said...

Oh, Francois, you do go to my head! You're the champagne of cranky meat-eaters!

Francois Tremblay said...

You are a silly man. ;)

Besides, I already have a blog on political issues, and if I wanted to pronounce myself on the topic I would do it there. But to be honest with you I don't find the topic conceptually interesting enough for me to write about it.

Fatchan said...

Francois, does it ever occur to you that some vegetarians used to act and feel the same way you did? I used to absolutely loathe vegetarians. It pissed me off that 'moral' and 'self righteous' people were judging my eating choices. I'd justify eating meat, hell it tastes good. They must be wrong and I must be right because meat tastes good? It's a weird logic.

And then one day it sort of all clicked. Just that moment where I associated what I was eating with animals I'd loved in the past or my pets.

It was an odd moment going from being the proud meat eater to being the vegetarian.

Just bear in mind that not all vegans or vegetarians are nuts. Some/most of us have been on the other side. So I can say with confidence, the only way you'll understand and not get so bent out of shape about vegetarianism is if you try it yourself. I'm not saying you have to, I'm just saying I don't expect you to understand.

Fair enough?

Miles said...

Francois, I like fatchan remember feeling the same way as you, twelve years ago. I frequently argued with vegetarians (using slightly more nuanced arguments I must admit). But then I realized I was deluding myself. I know changing one's diet must seem big and scary to you, but to seek out a vegan blog and harass people in the comments? It's just sad.

Anonymous said...

i just saw the comic and dont see how a parallel cant be drawn. why do you assume the girl was kidnapped? like cows, i think the reader can assume she was raised from birth for the purpose of being kept pregnant and producing milk for another species' consumption.

as a mother, i empathize.

Fran - it's odd to me that vegetarianism is a 'pet peeve' of yours. it actually annoys you that people care about beings other than themselves?

there are so many things in the world to take issue with. things that are actually detrimental. the war, teen pregnancy, AIDS, hell even abortion. but no, you choose vegetarianism. i think it speaks volumes. i think you hate it because you feel guilty.

Anonymous said...

actually the Holocaust comparison was adapted from a parallel from Holocaust survivor and 1978 Nobel Prize winner, Isaac Bashevis Singer who said, "Auschwitz begins when we look at a slaughterhouse and say, "They're only animals."

he also said, "In their behavior toward animals, all men are Nazis."

my point is that it wasnt the 'crazy peta people' who made up the comparison.

Ben said...

Actually, I believe the author of your first quote was Theodore Adorno (not a Holocaust survivor).

And the second quote was, to be fair, written by Singer, but represents the thoughts of one of his characters.

Francois Tremblay said...

"And then one day it sort of all clicked. Just that moment where I associated what I was eating with animals I'd loved in the past or my pets."

And the lesson of this story is: don't eat your pets or you'll turn into a whacko veg*n.


"Just bear in mind that not all vegans or vegetarians are nuts. Some/most of us have been on the other side."

I don't deny that. We are all born meat-eaters from a biological standpoint. I don't think all veg*ns are nuts, just those who try to justify themselves with an absurd and twisted sense of morality.


"i just saw the comic and dont see how a parallel cant be drawn. why do you assume the girl was kidnapped? like cows, i think the reader can assume she was raised from birth for the purpose of being kept pregnant and producing milk for another species' consumption."

If that's your interpretation, then I agree with you, but it's not really relevant to the whole veg*n issue.


"And the second quote was, to be fair, written by Singer"

Thank you for at least recognizing that one of your founding figures is not exactly kosher (I would say a raving lunatic, but that's a matter of opinion).

Ben said...

"Thank you for at least recognizing that one of your founding figures is not exactly kosher (I would say a raving lunatic, but that's a matter of opinion)."

I... have no idea what this means.

But that's okay!

No, really. It's okay.

Lisa J. (aka Oboe-Wan) said...

And the lesson of this story is: don't eat your pets or you'll turn into a whacko veg*n.

I don't get it. I'm vegan & I certainly don't eat my pets.

If that's your interpretation, then I agree with you, but it's not really relevant to the whole veg*n issue.

Actually it is. She's a dairy cow. It just "looks" more graphic because it's a woman instead of a cow, but it's no less frightening to keep a woman pregnant, steal here baby & steal her milk than what we do to cows. Just because they're not "human" doesn't mean cows don't anguish in the dairy industry.

Francois Tremblay said...

Thanks for the condescending remark, Ben. That was really necessary.


"I don't get it. I'm vegan & I certainly don't eat my pets."

I was commenting on your silly reason for becoming a vegan (that you might be eating your pet or could imagine that you are) in a sarcastic way. To be honest, I don't relate to what you said in any way whatsoever.


"Actually it is. She's a dairy cow."

Yes, I "get" your analogy. It's still not relevant to the issue.

Ben said...

Pardon me, Francois. Let me try again:

"Thank you for at least recognizing that one of your founding figures is not exactly kosher (I would say a raving lunatic, but that's a matter of opinion)."

I don't understand this statement.

Francois Tremblay said...

I was, of course, referring to Peter Singer, patron saint of animal-rights-nuts everywhere.

Ben said...

Ah!

The Singer in question, however, was Isaac Beshevis Singer.

Francois Tremblay said...

Oh dear, my mistake. I'm sorry about that. I still find that quote to be rather conceptually dubious at best.

Lisa J. (aka Oboe-Wan) said...

I was commenting on your silly reason for becoming a vegan (that you might be eating your pet or could imagine that you are) in a sarcastic way. To be honest, I don't relate to what you said in any way whatsoever.
I don't believe i've ever stated on this blog why *I* am a vegan. So I think it's weird that you call it a "silly reason" even though I haven't said anything yet.

Yes, I "get" your analogy. It's still not relevant to the issue.
it is. Vegans don't consume dairy because we this is what happens to diary cows: they get pregnant, they give birth, their calves are taken for veal, they get hooked up to machines that suck their milk. It's very relevant to the vegan issue. I'm not sure why you don't understand that?

Francois Tremblay said...

"it is. Vegans don't consume dairy because we this is what happens to diary cows: they get pregnant, they give birth, their calves are taken for veal, they get hooked up to machines that suck their milk. It's very relevant to the vegan issue. I'm not sure why you don't understand that?"

As I said before, I understand the analogy. My point was that it has nothing to do with the issue at hand. A young girl is not a cow.

Lisa J. said...

A young girl is not a cow.
No, thank god, but black slave women were forced to be "wet nurses" for their owners' babies. Why should cows be ours?

The whole point of this post was the "Daily Blessing" picture with the cows. It's not all sweet kisses & gentle moments under the willows for the cows at those organic farms. Chances are pretty good they've never even tasted grass.

Francois Tremblay said...

Great, not only do you people not mind associating the Holocaust with your pet cause, but now black slavery as well?

You people have no end of depravity, do you?

Lisa J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa J. said...

Guess not.

Francois Tremblay said...

Ben is a reasonable guy, but apparently there is no end to the depth of depravity his readers are ready to deploy at the drop of a hat.

So far we have:

* comparing meat-eating to the Holocaust
* comparing meat-eating to black slavery
* comparing the raising of cows for slaughter with the rape and torture of young girls

And on the D'Artagnan Foie Gras thread:

* comparing the eating of foie gras to Nazism.

You may think I am offensive, but compared to you guys I'm an amateur!

Lisa J. said...

Ben is a reasonable guy, but apparently there is no end to the depth of depravity his readers are ready to deploy at the drop of a hat.

I'm not sure why, but this feels like a compliment. Thank you.

Lisa J. said...

* comparing meat-eating to black slavery
Actually, I believe I was comparing the graphic of the woman enslaved for her milk to black wet nurses & cows.

Don't you think it's gross to drink anything that comes out of someone other than your own mother if you're older than 2 years old? I do.

Francois Tremblay said...

Yea, that's great. I'm glad you're flattered. Sadly, I don't seem to be making any headway, but I guess that's to be expected.

Lisa J. said...

Yeah, it's next to impossible to convince me that being vegan is a bad thing, and I already know I'm crazy.

Not for nothing, the banter has been stimulating.

Anonymous said...

I think the idea is that to us vegans often life is life. Human cow it is all an self aware important life worthy of treating with respect. Saying they are different is saying a human is somehow more important then another creature. I just don't see any reason for this.

Why? What makes us more important? Is it some form of "go team go" team spirit? Is it because you've never been a cow so how could we sympathies? Is it because god said we own the animals?

I'm a vegan. To me life is life. To do something terrible to one type of my fellow earthling is just as awful as to do it to another type.

If you don't see it as that then that is the largest part of why we could never agree.

Fatchan said...

"I was commenting on your silly reason for becoming a vegan (that you might be eating your pet or could imagine that you are) in a sarcastic way. To be honest, I don't relate to what you said in any way whatsoever."

See, you don't get it. That's okay. You haven't clicked yet, and you may never do. That's okay too. Nobody here or in the veganosphere is going to ever force you to do something you don't believe in.

Let me explain. I don't treat my cat any differently to any other animal. Just getting somebody else to do my dirty work in the past (slaughterhouse workers) doesn't mean I'd go up to a lamb in the field and kick it around or slit its throat. Do you see where I'm coming from? Pain is pain, suffering is suffering in my book. I'm at the point in my life where I refuse to be speciesist or racist or anything 'ist' (except maybe beetrootist, I hate that stuff). Once you start differentiating one animal from another then you're treading murky ethical waters that can lead to all kinds of justifiable atrocities as has been demonstrated in the past.

If you don't get this, then any further argument with you will be pointless because you're missing the fundamental philosophy behind ethical vegetarianism.

Francois Tremblay said...

Thanks for the condescending reply, but I am not "missing the fundamental point." I understand it completely. I just realize that it's moral depravity cloaked as propagandic nonsense. I know you think it's a clinching argument because you feel so very hard in your heart for the pain of all the animals, but there's a gulf of difference between wanting to relieve suffering and equating the suffering of a cow with that of a human being. The former is reasonable, the latter is raving-lunatic-level insanity.

Anonymous said...

"there's a gulf of difference between wanting to relieve suffering and equating the suffering of a cow with that of a human being."

And why? What makes humans so special and superior?

If the suffering of one is of a different level of importance then obviously there is something that makes one more important. What is it?

Francois Tremblay said...

Society. We depend on each other's well-being in order to fulfill our values. We also depends, to a certain extent, on our pets (if we have any). But cows, chickens and pigs are not in society with us: we have no mode of relation towards them, except to use them for our food.

jjr said...

it's so easy to deflate that last argument. Because according to that line of reasoning, most people on the planet are not part of your specific social circle. Your profile says you live in Canada--so let's say the fate of a person living in a village in New Zealand, someone you don't know, has no impact on your life whatsoever. So why should you care if that person were tortured and brutally murdered? would it make any concrete difference in your life? no, none at all. The reason you probably *do* care has something to do with compassion and moral values. Those same things apply to non-human animals who aren't part of "society".

Lisa J. said...

I think the thing that is important to note is that vegans don't care about animals at the expense of people. I describe it as a trickle-down effect: as you care for one being, your compassion expands to include others. I take real offense at the idea that because I don't eat meat i don't care about people!!

Suffering happens every second in this world - whether it be human, animal or environmental, this planet is full of suffering. We are all intertwined. The choices we make determine how involved in that suffering we are. I choose not to be involved.

And God gave Adam "dominion" over animals, not the right to torture, exploit & abuse. We were supposed to watch over them, protect them, live with them, not skin them alive & fill their stomachs until they explode. I don't believe for a second that God is watching & saying, "Great, this is exactly what I meant." If a person is willing to harm a non-human, then he may be just as willing to turn a blind eye to human suffering. I've seen enough people shout rude things or throw things at the homeless people here on the street. If you can't feel compassion toward the less fortunate humans, then how can you possibly feel toward non-humans?

Trickle-down.

Francois Tremblay said...

You seem to have confused "society" with "social circle" (not sure how that happened, but whatever). You also seem to believe that according to my own stance I should not be compassionate with anyone or anything that is not part of my society. That is a fallacy of yours, or a blatant attempt to paint me as an uncaring sort who can only muster some inkling of compassion if something affects me directly.

I'd say something again about you guys being insensitive clods, but I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record. It's not my fault that you demonstrate it on each and every post.

But if you're ready to stop tilting at straw men and addressing the point, please do try again.


"And God gave Adam "dominion" over animals, not the right to torture, exploit & abuse"

Let's not get religion into this. There's enough nonsense going around in this discussion already.

Renton Citizen said...

Francois, what's your deal? I'm a full-fledged meat eater, but I completely understand the arguments made by vegans, and I agree with them. I'm just too set in my ways right now to make such a dramatic change in my lifestyle and diet, much like it took me 15 years to finally quit smoking. I'm certainly not proud of my taste for animal flesh. I think the only way I'd be able to justify eating meat is if I had to in order to survive... you know, roasting a squirrel on a spit after a natural or man-made disaster wipes out all other food sources. However, I certainly don't eat meat for subsistence reasons now. In fact, *not* eating meat and dairy would almost certainly help me live longer.

Can you please just give up the whole defense of meat eating thing? It's kind of like trying to defend torture, isn't it? I'm fine with people extolling the deliciousness of meat (if that's their thing), but trying to rationalize unnecessary animal suffering and slaughter is... irrational.

jjr said...

Umm... exactly the opposite is true--I postulated that you *do* care about human beings not immediately associated with you, if you'll reread the comment (but maybe I spoke too soon, since you seem bent on insulting and alienating everyone here).

You might try doing a better job of explaining the meaning of "society" as pertaining to your argument, then. Is even a human being who has no desire to be part of "society" still automatically part of it? as a consequence of their societal affiliation, do all humans owe automatic allegiance to all other humans, no matter what? what about borderline "pets", e.g., a sheep living in someone's backyard that their neighbor would consider a food animal? is it part of "society" or not?

Francois Tremblay said...

Here we go with the "unnecessary" again. Un/necessary for WHAT? We've already been through this.

If you support their moral arguments, then you are in sympathy with Ethical Vegetarianism, even if you still eat meat. So can YOU defend their absurd arguments that meat-slaughter is the moral equivalent of black slavery or the Holocaust?

If you can, then go ahead and make the best case you can, because so far they haven't been able to mount any case at all except "I feel bad about cows" (a point which, apart from being trite, does not justify their position at all). If you can't, then explain to me why you are in sympathy with these people.

Renton Citizen said...

What is so threatening to you about veganism, Francois? Why are you so focused on the superiority of humans over other animals? Why is it so difficult for you to see *any* sort of parallels between things like the Holocaust and meat eating?

I just don't understand how someone could get so wrapped up in defending the consumption of meat, unless a religious or cultural identity were at stake (not that I consider those valid arguments, though).

Lisa J. said...

Francois, I don't think anyone here has insulted you at all. But you take very deep offense at the things we say about our own beliefs. You're making me wonder if you feel guilty for your own love of flesh therefore you're lashing out at us? Like Renton said, what is so threatening to you about veganism? Why does peacefulness bring out such aggression in you?

Francois Tremblay said...

Nice, two people who use the "why are you so offended, do you have something to hide" card at the same time. They say great minds think alike, but petty minds think alike as well.

Somehow in your mind, objecting to these disgusting, immoral arguments is "feeling threatened"? I do not feel threatened by veg*ns, if only because you do not have (yet) the political power to enforce your doctrines. Objecting to outrageous logic is not the same as feeling threatened. But maybe that's a bit too complicated to understand for people who base their lifestyle on emotions instead of evidence and values?

The people who are the real threats are not people like you. The real threats are people who argue for, believe in, and use legitimized force in order to cajole and enforce compliance. And I do not argue with such people: I fight against them. You do not argue with thugs, if only because they won't answer you with anything but more force. That is what they live for.

Until such time as your ilk acquires enough power to be able to enforce compliance with whatever principles you believe in, I will not feel threatened by you. But I will speak up when you try to spread immorality and disguise it as noble emotions. If people like me, who are the minority on such forums, don't speak up, then no one will hear the other side. Someone has to step up and say: "this is a corrupt ideology, this is immoral."

Ben said...

I am already kicking myself for jumping back into the mud—I just got cleaned off!—but I feel I must say something:

Francois, your claim that there is no connection, no similarity, no valid analogy to be drawn between examples of obscene human cruelty and what happens routinely on factory farms is untrue.

Do you seriously deny that there are parallels?

In both cases I see innocent beings subjected to horrific, vicious, abominable mistreatment. In both cases I see these innocent beings labeled inferior and placed under the complete control of self-appointed superiors, who feel justified (obliged?) in committing any sick deed they can dream up. In both cases I see madness.

How does this acknowledgement of a simple fact trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust? Or slavery? Or war? Or anything? How does it impugn the humanity or innocence of victims and survivors?

Does it mean that humans are pigs are cows are humans? I understand that this is a line of thinking you find especially abhorrent (and also magnetic—you seem drawn to it). But I don't see how it's relevant. People have suffered (and continue to suffer) within corrupt and cruel insitutions. And so do animals.

Are there really no similarities? I doubt even you believe that.

And I do believe that the gleeful willingness to ignore animal suffering as long as it contributes to the satisfaction of your culinary whims is immoral. What other word can there be for this attitude?

Francois Tremblay said...

"I am already kicking myself for jumping back into the mud"

Well, you know what they say about arguing on the Internet, right? ;)


"Do you seriously deny that there are parallels?"

I do not deny that ontologically there are obvious parallels- otherwise it wouldn't be an analogy, now wouldn't it? I'm talking about the moral standpoint, though.


"In both cases I see these innocent beings labeled inferior and placed under the complete control of self-appointed superiors, who feel justified (obliged?) in committing any sick deed they can dream up."

Who is labeling who as an inferior? I don't think that labels of inferior or superior are really relevant here (if you mean by expression "lower animals," I did not intend any superiority by it, I was just using the only expression I know). I also don't agree with the desire for complete control or committing sick deeds. I don't condone the infliction of gratuitous pain in any circumstance.


"How does this acknowledgement of a simple fact trivialize the horrors of the Holocaust? Or slavery? Or war? Or anything? How does it impugn the humanity or innocence of victims and survivors?"

By implying that killing cows and chickens is the moral equivalent of the cruelty that led to the sufferings of the people involved in these events. By trivializing these genocides and murders by reducing them to the rote butchery of the meat industry.


"Does it mean that humans are pigs are cows are humans? I understand that this is a line of thinking you find especially abhorrent (and also magnetic—you seem drawn to it). But I don't see how it's relevant. People have suffered (and continue to suffer) within corrupt and cruel insitutions. And so do animals."

Well sure, suffering has been a constant with or without humans. We lose track of that fact because we live in a privileged time and place.


"And I do believe that the gleeful willingness to ignore animal suffering as long as it contributes to the satisfaction of your culinary whims is immoral. What other word can there be for this attitude?"

It's your position that I *ignore* animal suffering. I don't *ignore* it.

I have thought about this thread, and it seems to me that the implicit premise in what you guys are saying, is that I have two choices and two choices only:

1. I am compassionate, and therefore I eat no meat.
2. I am not compassionate at all, and therefore I eat meat.

This seems to me to be an attempt to equate any compassion on my part with hypocrisy- as if a person can't both value the lowering of suffering and eating meat.

Note that I am not saying this is an explicit argument being used, but rather that I think it's a premise that underlies your reasoning. I may be wrong on this point, but after thinking about the way you guys talk, I think I'm not too far off the mark. Am I right, Ben?

Let's talk about exploitation of suffering. As I have already pointed out, you exploit the suffering of humans and other animals on a daily basis. How does that make you feel? If you want to argue that I must stop eating meat right now because I am against the exploitation of suffering, then you should stop taking medications that were tested on animals. You must stop using products that may have been made by children in sweatshops. No? If not, why not?

What about society? Society itself relies on the delegation of suffering. After all, we don't try to stop criminals ourselves, as we used to do in the past. Now we delegate this to "the police." One's opinions about the legitimacy of the police aside, you have to agree that this delegation also implies a certain delegation of suffering. Policemen get hurt, shot, and die all the time. What about firemen? Same basic thing.

Society is not only a way to trade with each other, but also by extension an insurance policy. We ensure that some of us risk their lives so we don't all have to do it. Isn't that an exploitation of potential suffering?

Granted, it's a bit more abstract than killing a cow to eat it, but the end result is the same: we delegate the use of violence, someone suffers, the rest of us benefit. Now Ben, if you're going to make ontological comparisons without even involving morality into the picture, then you have to let me do the same, otherwise you're not being fair. So don't retort that, say, "the police is doing justifiably moral work stopping criminals" (if you do believe this). You didn't let morality enter into your analogy, so I did the same.

Ben said...

Francois, do you realize that all of your arguments boil down to one thing?

"I want to eat meat, and I am not persuaded by arguments that animals suffer for it."

Francois Tremblay said...

What arguments? I am not arguing for meat-eating, I am arguing against the argument that meat-eating is the equivalent of the Holocaust or slavery. That is why I started this argument again the anonymous person who posted the link.

Please read the last post I made, because I asked you many questions that I'd like to see answered.

Renton Citizen said...

Whoa! Who exactly is physically forcing their ideologies on you? Are you referring to the handful of animal rights activists who resort to illegal tactics to get their message across? Or perhaps the anti-foie gras police, who are working to give that staple of everyday living a bad name?

You seem to have directed your comments at me (in addition to others), but I'm not vegan. And yes, certain self-righteous vegans I know sometimes bug the sh*t out of me, especially when it comes to choosing a restaurant for a dinner party, and the fact that they smell up the kitchens with their curried brown rice and black bean burritos (although I know they have to deal with the smell of roasting flesh when I cook). But none of my vegan friends or acquaintances have ever pulled a steak-laden fork out of my hand, smashed all the eggs in my refrigerator, or burned my leather shoes. In fact, none of them have really ever tried to prosthletize me, and I've had quite a few vegan roommates over the years (how else would I have learned how to make hummus from scratch?).

You must know some really nasty or militant vegans. I don't. Well, maybe one, but he's just grumpy.

Francois Tremblay said...

If you had read my post properly, I said clearly that veg*ns are not a threat. If you were a threat, I would not be talking to you here. I don't talk to thugs.

Renton Citizen said...

Sorry, that should have been "proselytize." I'm not missing any limbs.

Ben said...

Very well, Francois.

“Am I right” (that we here are arguing that one can’t eat and also value the “lowering of suffering”)?

No, you aren't. The problem is that I don't believe you care about reducing animal suffering. I believe you eat meat even though you know animals suffer for your habit. I asked you before what form your support for improving conditions for farm animals took. You answered only with sarcasm.

“You exploit the suffering of humans and other animals on a daily basis. How does that make you feel? “

Not good. How does it make you feel? Have you moved to purchasing only “sweat-free” clothing, or goods produced only under conditions that afforded the workers their right to decent wages and a safe environment? I have changed some of my habits, at least. I no longer support the meat industry.

“What about society? Society itself relies on the delegation of suffering. After all, we don't try to stop criminals ourselves, as we used to do in the past. Now we delegate this to "the police." One's opinions about the legitimacy of the police aside, you have to agree that this delegation also implies a certain delegation of suffering. Policemen get hurt, shot, and die all the time. What about firemen? Same basic thing.”

Oh, please. When we start conscripting people into the ranks of the police—or snatching them away at birth—then we’ll get into this.

There was also this, from you:

“Who is labeling who as an inferior? I don't think that labels of inferior or superior are really relevant here (if you mean by expression "lower animals," I did not intend any superiority by it, I was just using the only expression I know). I also don't agree with the desire for complete control or committing sick deeds. I don't condone the infliction of gratuitous pain in any circumstance.”

Who is labeling who as an inferior? Are you being serious? You mean, you allow animals to suffer for your pantry, but you consider them your equals? And of course you condone the infliction of gratuitous pain! It’s all gratuitous pain! Animals suffer and die for you, and it is all unnecessary. You want to keep eating meat. That doesn’t make it necessary.

I repeat: All of this mental effort, this indignation, just so you can keep on eating meat.

Francois Tremblay said...

"No, you aren't. The problem is that I don't believe you care about reducing animal suffering."

1. You have not answered my question.
2. What is the purpose of treating me like a liar? I've never said anything about you being a liar or dishonest in any way. I see no reason for you to do this, except for rhetorical reasons. You want to make yourself feel better by assuming that, being a meat-eater, I must therefore be a non-compassionate liar. Sorry, but that's fucked up!


"I asked you before what form your support for improving conditions for farm animals took. You answered only with sarcasm."

What exactly do you think I SHOULD be doing, in your high and mighty opinion?


"Have you moved to purchasing only “sweat-free” clothing, or goods produced only under conditions that afforded the workers their right to decent wages and a safe environment?"

Have YOU? How would one even know that, anyway?

And what about hospital treatments or medications? Do you refrain from taking any medication that was the result of animal or human testing?


"Oh, please. When we start conscripting people into the ranks of the police—or snatching them away at birth—then we’ll get into this."

What does snatching at birth have to do with the issue? We are delegating suffering and benefiting from it, yes or no? And that is the issue, isn't it? That's what you're against. Besides, your objection is irrelevant, as even in the hypothetical scenario that cows or chickens somehow had enough free will to want to get slaughtered (as the images you talk about on your blog often fantasize), you'd obviously still be against it.



"Who is labeling who as an inferior? Are you being serious? You mean, you allow animals to suffer for your pantry, but you consider them your equals?"

I consider them equal to me on an evolutionary standpoint, of course. From a social standpoint, I don't consider them to be part of society, and therefore they cannot be equal, inferior or superior in that regard.


"And of course you condone the infliction of gratuitous pain! It’s all gratuitous pain! Animals suffer and die for you, and it is all unnecessary."

Here we go with the "unnecessary" ploy again. UNNECESSARY FOR WHAT?

That fallacy has already failed twice, Ben. Just repeating it again is not gonna make it work.


"I repeat: All of this mental effort, this indignation, just so you can keep on eating meat."

No, Ben. You still don't get it, just like everyone else who has commented so far, even after more than 60 comments!

For the last time:
My indignation is addressed at THE IMMORAL ARGUMENTS THAT YOU SUPPORT!
I am not defending meat-eating. I see NO reason to defend meat-eating. It is YOUR RHETORIC that needs defending. Your silence is that regard is deafening.

You cannot defend it and you will not defend it. And you know it. Be as condescending as you like, accuse me of being a liar, of having no compassion, but all of these are just rationalizations for the fact that you cannot defend your own horrid rhetoric.

This whole thread, but especially your latest post, eloquently proves my point in that regard! Your life is partially based on exploiting suffering, you agreed on that. You feel bad about it, as you should. And yet all you do is stop eating meat, so that the comfort of your life is not any more affected than you want it to, and now you think you're a noble activist fighting against the suffering of all life. Ben, get off your fucking high horse! Instead of berating me for my positions, how about you start looking at yourself?

Ben said...

Francois, I surrender. I don't concede the point, but I surrender the argument.

I think you have a giant chip on your shoulder and I do not have the power—how I hate admitting this!—to move you.

I believe this argument could go on for days, weeks, years! I was a meat-eater for 27 years. I once made all the same points you make now. I was wrong.

Francois Tremblay said...

I have a giant chip on my shoulder, yes- against people who use atrocities to bolster their own petty positions. That was my only beef (pun not intended) at the beginning of this thread. You and your readers manipulated this discussion into an attack against meat-eating and my own personal feelings. From my perspective, you guys are the ones with a chip on your shoulders, and it's a big one: you hate meat-eaters beyond rationality.

You guys have been nothing but condescending and disrespectful towards me personally, while I have only been condescending and disrespectful towards the horrid arguments that you failed to defend. So guys, stop trying to pain yourselves as the poor innocents who have been rushed by myself. It's not working. I didn't rush you, I rushed your arguments, and you failed to justify them. Anyone unbiased reading this thread will probably come to the same conclusion.

You failed. It's as simple as that.

Lisa J. said...

Francois, I have to drop out of this argument - mostly because you wrongly think that *I* am defending my choice to not contribute to animal suffering or human suffering. I am not "defending" my choice at all, I don't feel it needs defending.

In fact, what needs defending is the notion that "compassion" and "peace" are immoral. I just don't get that idea.

I'm done feeling attacked on this issue. Apparently I can go to sleep tonight knowing I'm an immoral vegan, but I'll sleep well knowing that I did my best to be the kind of person I aspire to be.

Thanks Ben, you're more articulate than I am.

Katie said...

Christ, don't you people have jobs?

jjr said...

Francois, anyone unbiased reading this thread will come to the conclusion that you are an angry person who thinks he is wielding razor-sharp logic but is in fact irrationally reiterating the same points over and over without ever truly responding to (or even understanding) the other party's arguments. You are the one ruled by emotion instead of logic.

Anonymous said...

i feel that Ben did indeed address the issue Francois is so offended by.

i'm not vegan, but even i can see that the holocaust imagery compares the suffering, not the beings. Everyone knows that chickens or cows are neither socially nor mentally equal to humans. but sentient beings crowded in sheds awaiting their own systematic slaughter is the similar thread that runs through both concentration camps and slaughterhouses.

"implying that killing cows and chickens is the moral equivalent of the cruelty that led to the sufferings of the people involved in these events. By trivializing these genocides and murders by reducing them to the rote butchery of the meat industry."

--the point is that jews were considered-for lack of better terms-trash and expendable. this infuriates us not because they feel pain more than pigs but because they are humans like us. we afford them more 'worth' simply because they are in the same club we are.

instead of focusing on the differences between us and nonhumans, vegetarians acknowledge the similarities: the need for food, water, shelter, and to be free from suffering.

i mean, i would feel equally bad kicking a dog as i would a child. crude analogy i know, but here, im not saying dogs are equal to children. im saying that both are sentient and feel pain. the holocaust analogy seems pretty elementary to me.

amber said...

Hey frankie, why don't you go away and stop trying to antagonize people who are never going to agree with you?
Maybe everyone here is condescending and disrespectful to you because you're arguing against things they believe in very strongly, and calling them moral retards? I'm sure there are some anti-vegetarian blogsites where you can talk about us scrawny, weed-eating pussies all you want. (not to mention that my vegetarian mama is practically a black belt and could kick you across the room, which I just mentioned.) And don't fool yourself, calling someone morally retarded IS a personal attack.
Isn't it nice how you can be such a creep over the internet where nobody knows who you really are? Bet it makes you feel like a big man, and your **** grows another inch every time you post.

Francois Tremblay said...

I have posted my own epilogue to this argument on my blog:
http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2007/11/28/why-the-vegns-are-wrong/

(and I plugged your blog, Ben ;)

Anonymous said...

There is so much antagonism in these comments going both ways. I find it sad. I found this page only because I was actually looking for the farm in the photo that started all of this. I have no hard feelings or judgements for anyone on here, but I would like to explain to those of you that actually care, that there are actually some people who are ill enough to actually require animal products to survive. A grass fed animal with no hormones or antibiotics is healthier, and therefore provides healthier sustenance for those in need of lessening their toxic load.
I was raised most of my life, vegetarian, and part of the time vegan. Because of my inability to digest those foods properly, I became so ill that my immune system actually attacks me, I gave birth to 3 children who have similar inability to digest vegan foods, and they have multiple disabilities including autism, OCD and schizophrenia. I raised them so far as vegetarian with no dairy. I feel truly blessed to have found a book called Gut and Psychology Syndrome, that not only explained what happened to us, but why, and how to fix it! I am very excited, I understand that many people thrive on vegetarian and vegan diets...if they research proper nutrition and eat healthy I wish that people could understand that with all of the damage done to our systems by environment, some of us are less fortunate. Please don't criticize the book unless you have read it and understand what you are disagreeing with. Because unless you have an autistic or schizophrenic child, you may not be willing to acknowledge that the humane sacrifice of healthy animals to cure your child, may just be worth it to you. Even God required sacrifice of animals. I will not feel guilt over trying to heal my children. I think people who sit in judgement of others sometimes forget how blessed they are to be healthy and thriving in a way that allows them to do so. Constructive criticism is often accepted much more willingly than judgement. I don't expect people to agree with my choices, only to have compassion for where I am that led me to them, and respect that as I don't judge others, I prefer not to be judged.

Francois Tremblay said...

Stop necroeing old thread, especially to support these morons. Did veganism erase understanding of Internet etiquette in your brain or what?