Sunday, October 4, 2009

PeTa, Animal Rights, Animal Welfare: The Discussion Continues

© 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Albert's note: I have bumped this up as Ms Bea Elliot of Provoked has kindly responded to me in a very thorough and thought provoking way. I'm going to have to take some time to formulate a proper response to her comments. As always I expect that all of us will maintain our usual respectful and constructive dialogues.


I don't look at my archives that often, usually I'm looking ahead. So imagine my surprise when I found that my post, PeTa: Why I Despise Them had taken on a life of its own!

There's the usual drivel from simpletons masquerading as saviors of humanity... You know something, and sorry to veer off here, but maybe they should all volunteer to go to Afghanistan and serve as advisers to the locals so that the Afghan people could feed themselves and feel good about it and not kill each others. Just a thought.

Anyway, the usual "animals are the same as us, but humans are evil, but we are the same, but animals aren't evil because they're not the same as people, I mean, we are but not exactly. All I know is I'm right and you're not!" type of commenter with their usual shenanigans of name calling and cowardice.

But occasionally I get someone with a lick of sense and something between the ears that will make a civil argument and go toe to toe with me. Brenden over at Screaming Chicken Activism is one, and now Miss Bea Elliot of Provoked is another.

The fact remains that Brendan and Miss Bea are unlikely to ever become hunters, (Though Brendan has honestly admitted that under certain circumstances he would. But for survival only.), but as it is true that knife sharpens on steel, man must sharpen on man. So I appreciate their passion and enthusiasm, that and I just like anyone that will walk into the this lion's den with nothing more than their wit and intellect. That takes chutzpah!

It might behoove everyone to go back to the original post, PeTa: Why I Despise Them, and read through the comments. I am going to answer section by section, and try to keep my answers within the intent of the comment.

Miss Bea responded to other comments with:

"Very interesting topic... indoctrinating kids. Hummmm.... Lets see, "indoctrinating" would be denying information to promote one's own agenda. "Brainwashing" would be an effort to prevent questioning or thought. I can't think of anything that brainwashes and indoctrinates kids more than the way society (and parents) bring up children to "pet the kitty, because it's good to be kind to animals - BUT eat the chicken because it's "normal".

I have little argument with that perspective. I might say that we as a species constantly indoctrinate our young with survival strategies that have been passed down over millions of years. I would also argue that as tool makers and users, we have evolved (albeit in a short time) to make and use living tools such as dogs, cattle, elephants, etc. That is one of the things that makes us different from animals, the ability to leverage our mental capabilities far beyond our physical ones. Kitty cats are a decorative item, useful in keeping bubonic plague carrying fleas on mice in check. Chickens lay eggs, and when they are older taste good in a soup. Different tools, different uses.

"Have none of you ever met adults with deep regrets of how the(y) were raised "indoctrinated" to deny that animals (food animals) matter or feel pain? Science has stood it's ground that there's absolutely no difference in the sentience between a dog, pig, cow or deer... or us. We all "feel pain". We are all aware of the world and wish to live."

Uhhhmm, no not really. Never hung around with that crowd. That's not to say I don't imagine there are those that might feel that way. But hey, that's their guilt trip, not mine. I have a couple regrets, not about hunting or fishing though. And I think we hunters that frequently take the life of another animal are more than amply aware of our capacity to inflict pain. That is why we are so careful of what and when we shoot. None of us want to cause any undo suffering if we can help it. So we practice, we self limit, we ascertain that we are taking our limits in the proper fashion.

Stealing an animals life is just that. Just because you can point a rifle or a captive bolt gun and pull the trigger does not mean you have a moral "right" to that life. We each only get ONE of these... and it is ours to live. Unless of course some brute who has more "might" takes it from you.

I think that at this point we take leave of what can be argued simply. A "moral right..." well you would have to pinpoint the immorality of taking an animals life, before we could even argue the moral issue as you put it. Morals are a slippery thing and subject to interpretation; even Socrates couldn't get to the root of what morals are. We tend to say things like, "Well this is moral because: I said so, I think so, or I feel it."

I find no moral objection to taking an animal, whether trophy or for food. As for food, I don't think that anyone can argue against it; I like meat, it is food, most primates will consume meat or animal protein given the opportunity. Trophy hunting has an other set of imperatives that are followed. Can we argue that it is immoral to waste an animal's flesh? I would agree it is, but you would have to take me to the rotted carcasses that presumably litter the landscape before I would agree that this is a problem. But yet, I see no argument that hunting in and of itself is immoral.

If you think this moral dissonance of being kind to some animals while eating others doesn't eventually catch up as an adult - you're sadly in denial. It's one of the most difficult conflicts to resolve as adults. This contradiction permeates our culture and it's time we grew up and faced it square in the eye - like "real men".

But there is no moral dissonance! I'm an adult, and your moral code is not mine. Your idea of what is moral and what is not is predicated on my accepting your system, a system that devalues the human mind, and places it squarely in the realm of an animal's. By extension, it requires that we accept that the least sophisticated have the right to my ability only because they exist. I refuse to be a subject to anyone or thing, except of my own volition. . The contradiction you speak of or dissonance as you put it, is a construct in your own "reality," not mine.

I find that the "Moral" argument promoted by most animal rights proponents revolves around the idea that killing is wrong. But no one ever defines why killing is wrong. Does killing a deer diminish me or harm me in any way, shape, or form? Let's see, I'm a successful hunter therefore,

1: I provide sustenance for my family.
2: Others see that I am a good provider.
3: Other men see my ability as proof of my capabilities.
4: I outsmarted a wily creature, I therefore am more capable than the next guy who didn't.
5: Breeding opportunities are increased exponentially by my prowess.
6: Due to the above, testosterone levels increase, thereby guaranteeing I won't lose my hair prematurely.
7: Now, because my testosterone levels are higher(Stronger), I still have hair (Big Mane), and I am more aggressive (Get more food.), I get the better job (Pride-Master), and live in the better neighborhood (Game rich territory.) I won't mention the pride...

Hey, you're the ones that say I'm equal to any animal, so now I'm playing by those rules too! And don't think I'm BSing there. All of the above is true if a little tongue in cheek.

Point #2 - Videos. They are all over! Thousands on youtube, and millions on the web. If anyone thinks they are going to gag this information and these truths from kids - You're dreaming!

That's all well and good for you, and after reading some of your blog, I think you don't actually mean it the way it came out. But you see, as long as I'm the Dad, things are done my way. That means no reality TV, no inappropriate clothes, yes sir and yes ma'am, the classics of literature, and a thorough grounding in all those dead white guys that everyone seem to want to discredit and forget. So when someone brings in a cruel and abhorrent video into her life without my permission, they're the ones that brought the consequences upon their own heads. PeTA used a psychological artifice to coerce agreement with their cause. Doom on them.

Now I would tread very carefully on this subject, those of you that would challenge me on this. I take child raising as a very serious responsibility, and though I make dozens of mistakes daily, I keep at it and I never quit. I would gladly give my life in defense of my family, and take as many lives as I need to, to protect my family.

You see, kids are a lot smarter than what we think. Nothing about "loving this animal" while "killing/eating this animal" makes sense to them. As it shouldn't. Thousands of kids wanted to become vegetarian/vegan after Charlottes Web and Babe... Are you saying those movies were made by "animal rights extremists" too? Should they be banned because they might get young people thinking things the culture wishes to keep hidden... like the dirty secret that it is?

Really... Kids today smarter... yeah... right. Spoiled, self-centered, products of the greatest period of prosperity in all known history, unable to write, read, or do simple arithmetic, rude, and undisciplined, yes. But they are no smarter than we were at their age. They just know more "things" than we did, and they don't have the maturity or wisdom to comprehend it.

All those movies are made to make money. They sold the sizzle and reaped the benefits. I don't know about you, but I've never heard an animal speak. It is easy to ascribe emotions and behavior to any object and create a sense of familiarity with the viewer. Just watch Beauty and the Beast; inanimate objects given "life" and all of a sudden we think they are real. But it is all a bunch of baloney. Substitute little children for the animals, and you would get the same reaction! You can dress a pig in a suit and it is still a pig.

And who's hiding what? We all know chickens are raised in little cages, and have half their beaks cut off. That's why the market demanded free range chickens. That's why cities are allowing folks to raise chickens within city limits. The Market self-corrects. Whereas animal rights activists think humans are intrinsically evil, the truth is most people will do the right thing, as long as they aren't hungry, coerced, or in fear.

And I'll give you this much... It would be totally understandable if it were a matter of "survival". If there was no other choice in the matter... If for some reason our bodies could not live without flesh and blood foods. But such is not the case... Clearly as the fastest growing dietary choice is towards a plant based diet. It's better for you... Better for the planet... Better for sustainability - and just plain better for us on a spiritual level. But, I'm not here to convert anyone - just laying down the reasons why it's not "necessary" to kill animals. Therefore killing animals is done for "pleasure"... Kids (and adults) aren't buying this line anymore. Find your "pleasure" without harm to others... that seems to be the compassionate choice.

Clearly, humans evolved as a result of switching from a vegetarian diet to an omnivorous one. I will grant you that we eat too much fat and chemicals, but it seems to me that we live a hell of a lot longer than our "healthy" ancestors, even with this crappy diet of pop-tarts and soda pop.

You can't use spirituality as a marker for ethics. It just doesn't work. Again it is too subjective. My perception of a spirituality is subject to my experiences. For instance I feel the connection to the animals I hunt deeply and keenly. From the cottontail to the wildboar, their existence is part of mine, and becomes part of me. I have an intimate relationship with the wild creatures that few will experience. Each animal gives me more than meat in the larder, it gives me an education.

And I have never hidden the fact that I enjoy hunting. But don't mistake my intense pleasure for the hunt with pleasure over the death of an animal. And I assiduously avoid harming others. Unless they start it first of course. Then I am an implacable foe.

And compassion is a luxury I can ill afford. It is the surest way to get taken to the cleaners by those that are lazy, shiftless, and unwilling to sweat for every morsel of food they get. I work for my keep, so can everyone else. And what I earn is mine by right; by the right of my superior mind, abilities, and the moral certainty that my hands, mind, and will worked together to gain me an advantage over others.

There again is part of the problem, I work hard, both in the market and on the field. I have yet to find an animal rights activist that didn't believe that they had a right to my efforts. If hunting was abolished, the costs borne by hunters would still be have to be paid. And that means there would be a demand placed on my hard earned income. And as it turns out, I get paid well to do what I do. As much as I respect Brenden, he doesn't make squat; why should I be coerced to subsidize his vision.

Finally, peta. PETA is associated with such a small, tiny little segment of the animal "welfare" issue... peta is NOT an animal "rights" organization.
I would think that everyone here... great warriors, soldiers, hunters would know the first effective rule of battle: Know your enemy.

PeTA does not hide the fact that they are trying to abolish all forms of hunting, animal use, animal ownership, lab use of animals, and everything else that relates to animal/human interaction.

HSUS is the same.

The ALF are just domestic terrorists that should be treated the same as the Weathermen, Red Faction, Taliban, and Al Queda.

I know my enemy Miss Bea, and I know the honest and compassionate also. I doubt that you would agree that force and coercion would be justified in fulfilling your agenda. There are others that believe that they can, through law, bear the armed might of the government against those that do not believe as they do. Members of animal rights groups forget that in this country we are free men, free to do as we please as long as it does not interfere with the rights of other free men. You have the right to say what you want, eat what you want, and pretty much do what you want. Coercing me at the muzzle of a gun is not in keeping with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights.

And I suppose that in the end, I sometimes resent that I am willing to risk my life so that you can speak your mind, even though I know, with a soldier's certainty, that you would never do the same for me. It is in my blood, my psyche, and my being, to uphold the the values of the Founding Fathers. I took an oath to defend the Constitution, and I continue do so.

Miss Bea, thank you for stopping by and sharing your perspective with us. As you will undoubtedly ascertain, you will be vigorously challenged by my friends and readers, but in a respectful and intellectual manner.

I look forward to your response.

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Kandahar Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles




Though he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.



Related Posts:

Giving Conservation a Bad Name
Game Reserves, High Fence Hunting What are the Facts?
Sometimes it is Hard to See the Forest...
High Fence Hunting




46 comments:

native said...

Excellent Albert !
I somehow doubt that a well thought out response and rebuttal will be undertaken by any A.R.G. supporter at this point.

This would be (judging from past experience) about the time for them to stoop to foul language and absurdly wild accusations.

I will most certainly be referring to this post for a very long time as it articulates, quite well, the feelings which I believe most all hunters possess, but can't quite put into words as you have here.

Though unlike mr. Osterholt and his ilk, I will be giving credit where credit is due ;-)

AKA Angrywhiteman said...

..."Really... Kids today smarter... yeah..."...

That entire paragraph pretty much sums up in part why this nation is rolling on a rocky road today, a decided lack of maturity and wisdom amongst an overwhelming explosion of knowledge.

Just my humble opinion.

SimplyOutdoors said...

Very well put and very articulate as well Mr. Rasch.

I think you said what all of us hunters feel, yet have a hard time putting into words.

An excellent, excellent post.

Josh said...

Well done. I'd like to add that the rub is really about A) death; B) unnecessary pain; and C) religion.

These are all valid and human concerns, but there is no avoiding A (not even for vegetarians), B is a lot lower from human hunters than from other hunters, disease, habitat loss, etc., and there's no arguing C, but just a need for tolerance.

By trying to avoid nature, these folks wind up creating mass ignorance, and destroying that which they would hope to protect.

steveo_uk said...

I had some spare time at work and did a bit of searching , it didnt take long to find some interesting articals and infomraiton on Peta that Peta would rather people didnt know.

http://www.kookycongos.ca/peta.htm

the most interesting artical is http://www.petakillsanimals.com/

which details a recent court case where peta under oath admited to killing more than 21 thousand domestic cat and dogs purly for finacial reasons. Peta is jsut a money making organization for a few individuals who support terroism and killing of helpless animals. You dont kill a pet jsut because its no longer wanted

Doug said...

Albert, well done and well written. It is nice to see a discussion where all parties can be civil while still disagreeing.

We are not so far removed from many animal rights people as they might think, and logical discourse is the only way to find our common ground.
- Habitat conservation
- respect of all things

I agree that hunters, people who spend their time in the actual wilderness, feel the connections with the wild much more keenly then your average man. It would be worth while for more of them to stop demonizing all that they do not understand.

Nice work,
Doug

Bea Elliott said...

Sorry Mr. Rasch that I'm delayed in a response - I remember you notified me that you had finally come around to a reply on my comment. But the message got shifted beneath the daily deluge in my email box... The onslaught of yet more exploitations to the tigers, bears, mice, dogs, cats, woves, cows, chickens, seals, pigs, whales, dolphins... Well, you get the idea - the critters we humans do such a good job of "utilizing" as "resources".

So, in your defense you say: Animals are "tools". I suppose that falls in line with a belief once held that "blacks were made for whites" and "women were made for men". (?) Whatever suits your desires seems to be what "purpose" that "object" or being has. Who can argue with "logic" that sees himself as master? But I'll try.

So, you never hung around a crowd that had regrets of it's mistreatment to animals based on their "otherness"? I suppose you also didn't realize that Darwin's revelations of our "common ancestors" were vehemently challenged partly because it devastated the comfortable notion that animals were just "things". After his theories were revealed it was no longer as simple, to utilize those who were seen as more the same as us than not. --- Once his discoveries were published, it caused a great rift between the populace... Not to mention that his evolution theories challenged the ancient bibles... I hang around with this
"progressive crowd" that analyzes this "new" knowledge; that we are all kindred and fellow earthlings. (continued)

Bea Elliott said...

"...we hunters that frequently take the life of another animal are more than amply aware of our capacity to inflict pain. That is why we are so careful of what and when we shoot. None of us want to cause any undo suffering if we can help it." Oh... but you can "help it"... You can by not doing the act. Easy enough.

"A "moral right..." well you would have to pinpoint the immorality of taking an animals life, before we could even argue the moral issue as you put it. " The immorality is - is that it does not belong to you. As I said before, it is a theft. Not your "life" to take, have or negotiate. But no... I do not have to take the defensive to "prove" theft (harm) is wrong. It is the advocate of the supported act that is responsible for validating his view. I am the passive oppugn. My responsibility is to advocate why my position is rational, just, kind, etc. The initiator, the one who "acts" - (that would be you), is the one obligated to defend those acts.

And as far as "morality being a slippery slope" --- "We tend to say things like, "Well this is moral because: I said so, I think so, or I feel it." I don't tend to say those things at all. I don't base my moral beliefs on what I "feel"... That's just subject to whim and mood.

I base what I think on this: We do know that the most common "rule" throughout the world - in every culture is the edict of "no killing" --- Or at least the golden words: To do on to others as you would have done on to you. Abiding by this understood, basic, elementary mandate... And without the exclusions, footnotes and exceptions that we use to suit our needs; If "morality" means anything, it must first be built on the general agreement of the good in: Thy shalt not kill. From there on, I understand it looses it's purity. We waiver, compromise, negotiate away from and exceptionalize, till the "rule" is no longer. Still, if it is a matter of "degrees", the more one strays from the original intent of that doctrin the "less moral" he/she becomes. And the closer they adhere to it - the "more moral" he/she is. Killing is the first capital "sin" is it not?

But of course you will say this is limited to mean only "human animals" and I say it means: all who live... All that breath, walk, swim, crawl and fly. All who are beings that could be "killed". Your view (of compassion and virtue) is exclusive - to only your own kind. Mine is inclusive to all "others".

Yours is the slippery slope that can call men names of beasts. And if the beast is scorned, so too will be the man... History has shown us this time and again, has it not? (continued)

Bea Elliott said...

"As for food, I don't think that anyone can argue against it." Really? It's one of the most controversial subjects of our time. It's riding a close second and is closely related to the health-care debate, and global warming issues. Perhaps you're not aware that 18% of methane gasses are attributed to livestock... There are sustainability issues regarding poor use of land, fuel and water that are also linked to animal agriculture. Because our love of meat we feed 16 times as much grain to animals as could be fed to humans. One child dies of starvation every 10 seconds. A meat based diet uses 3.5 acres of land while a plant based diet uses a half an acre. There are also hundreds of lawsuits throughout the US which involve private citizens and entire communities whose water has become contaminated by CAFO waste... And there's also the unpleasantness of zootonic diseases and other pathenogens which are linked to viruses such as swine flu and mrsa. And because of our appetite for meat, 70% of pharmacuticals made in the US go to livestock, compromising the effectiveness of antibiotics. No one is arguing the merits or disadvantage of "meat"? Surely you jest!?

I am not advocating "...a system that devalues the human mind, and places it squarely in the realm of an animal's", in that I'm not saying animals have a right to our social systems that require "a mind" to participate in: ie - driving, voting, entering contracts, etc. That a being is given "the right" to live his/her life without harm does not take anything away from the rights humans have which necessitate "a mind".

"By extension, it requires that we accept that the least sophisticated have the right to my ability only because they exist." Because we don't harvest organs from an infirm or brain dead person, does this mean we are "relinquishing" our ability to do such?

..."equal to any animal" - We are "equal" in that we are subjects of a life which is ours alone. No one else can rightfully make a "claim" to this life. We are not equal to animals in how fast they can run, or how high they can fly. Nor are they "equal" to us in how we can write poetry or design buildings. None of these comparisons matter in the concept of "life rights".

Videos: "I'm the Dad, things are done my way." - Yes... but this will necessitate 24/7 monitoring... which will also discount any room for her (your daughter) to experience her autonomous life... "So when someone brings in a cruel and abhorrent video into her life without my permission, they're the ones that brought the consequences upon their own heads." Uhhhh... You might want to take this up with youtube --- Or better yet, bring Al Gore to the "I created the internet" chopping block. I honestly feel for you though... I have a friend who is trying to bring up 3 teen, boys - and well, the internet has been quite an impossible challenge for her to monitor too. So - Good luck. (continued)

Bea Elliott said...

"All those movies are made to make money." Well, yes. But it doesn't mean their message is any less valuable. I don't know that it's so bad to teach children kindness and compassion for those who are unable to defend themselves. Isn't empathy the way we hope to attain world peace? Isn't it what we say we want when we send out the Christmas cards? Whats so wrong in actually living what one professes? But here we go again, your view excludes mine includes. But I wonder though, whose values could possibly get us closer to that world peace? The one that never wishes to cause harm... Or the one that makes exceptions as to who to harm, how, when and for what purpose?...

"And who's hiding what? We all know chickens are raised in little cages, and have half their beaks cut off. That's why the market demanded free range chickens." No. "We all" don't know. Believe it, I do an awful lot of advocacy... Of hundreds of people I speak to monthly - a very small percent of people (maybe 5%) know anything about animal agriculture. They have a vision of Old McDonald's place and are horrified to learn otherwise. As a good example there was the recent Mercy for Animals undercover video which caused quite a fuss. The video went viral within hours. The story was picked up by Reuters and American Press Association... It seems hardly anyone was aware that day old male chicks are macerated as "common practice" in the egg industry... So you're wrong - there's lots being hidden from children and consumers alike. And it's also being hidden by institutionalized indifference. BTW "free range" birds fair no better. The industry can make any exception to "policy" according to their needs. Hence a "free range" bird might live it's whole life and never see the sun till her ride to the slaughterhouse. "Humane meat"? Now that's a tall story being told to "make money".

"....animal rights activists think humans are intrinsically evil" - Oh, I don't! I think we are born a blank slate... And are only influenced to "good" or "bad" according to our nurturing. Teaching kindness and respect for others is critical in creating a nice person or someone selfish and "evil", who only thinks of themselves and not (all) Others.

"Clearly, humans evolved as a result of switching from a vegetarian diet to an omnivorous one." There is no conclusive evidence if we were a hunter/gather or gather/hunter in our primordial state. At best we can agree that man has been an opportunistic omnivore. However none of this ancient history is relevant to what we should/could physically thrive on now.

"From the cottontail to the wildboar, their existence is part of mine, and becomes part of me." So literally, when you kill them - the cottontail or wildboar - you kill part of yourself. (?) Yes, that's what they say about some who hunt. That it is a self loathing... That they wish to experience their own death through experiencing it via an animal. How sad - to dislike ones own life so much that the only relief is to take another's from them...

"Each animal gives me more than meat in the larder, it gives me an education." Is this "education" something that only comes by causing the death of the animal? Could not another - (not you, of course) - get just the same "education" by observing an animal and not killing it? Say like a photographer or naturalist -are they missing any "lesson" by not witnessing/causing death?

"I assiduously avoid harming others." But really you mean "others" of your own species... I hate to be a stickler on this point - but I believe clarity is the way to better communication.

"And compassion is a luxury I can ill afford. It is the surest way to get taken to the cleaners by those that are lazy, shiftless, and unwilling to sweat for every morsel of food they get." Ouch! Sounds like you might believe that "humans are ***intrinsically evil***". (continued)

Bea Elliott said...

"I have yet to find an animal rights activist that didn't believe that they had a right to my efforts. If hunting was abolished, the costs borne by hunters would still be have to be paid." I don't believe I have a right to your effort. BTW - I have no children... yet I pay taxes for (others) kids to go to school. But that said... are you talking about "conservation" money - To "restore" and "preserve" animals - so there will be enough of them to be killed(?). Keep your money - The animals will do fine without your support to them in the way of bullets and licenses. Besides, if this is all "wilderness" land that is being "restored" --- what are we "restoring" it back to?

"The ALF are just domestic terrorists that should be treated the same as the Weathermen, Red Faction, Taliban, and Al Queda." The problem with that is that you are attempting to lot a group which has harmed no human being for over 30 years to others who have initiated threats with WMD. Placing the two as "equal" bad guys makes the FBI and justice systems appear not only foolish but reduces their efficacy as well. We would do well to have a system that lets the crime fit the punishment. Breaking in labs and rescuing chimps is hardly compared to flying jets into occupied buildings... Believe it, when the FBI tries to infiltrate vegan potlucks they are a laughing stock and loose all credibility!

Finally in closing - I find your attempt to justify killing innocent animals as being on par with protecting my freedom of speech totally incongruant. Statistically, more than 95% of the soldiers who have gone off to wars (*for me*, in my life time) didn't and don't hunt. About the only way I see you "protecting" me is if a deer, wild boar, bobcat, or bunny should ravenously attack me. If that happens - I'll be sure to look you up.

In the meantime if you can rationally defend your "right" to take a life that is not yours, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks for including my thoughts in this discussion.

Albert A Rasch said...

Wow Miss Bea,

Thank you for responding so thoughtfully and completely. I'm going to have to take a whole evening to respond! You will forgive please if it takes me a few days to find the time to do so.

Thank you,
Albert

Anonymous said...

Animal rights activists are self-hating hypocrites motivated by the same instincts that drove the worst of the Puritans. They pick a behavior that is relatively common and confound it with SIN, thereby justifying themselves as the moral superiors.
Think I exaggerate?
If animals are truly no different from humans, then why oh why do they spend all of their time trying to influence us? Why do they NEVER attempt to persuade the bear, shark or rattlesnake to value other lifeforms? They ARE just like us! Aren't they?
Also, it's pretty easy for children to understand why it's ok to pet some animals and kill others. It's as easy as swatting a fly.

Phillip said...

Sorry. I read as much of Madame Elliot's drivel as I could stand... it is NOT a thoughtful reply. It's a rehash of the same ridiculous rhetoric that's been shoved down people's throats for years now... and unfortunately, too many ignorant folks are swallowing it.

We've touched on most of these points in past discussions, at some level or other, but the bottom line is that the anti-hunters like Ms Elliot here, want to create an impossible paradigm... some sort of equality between different species of animals.

No such thing does, or can, exist in nature.

Equality is a two-way street, not something we can simply apply to an unwilling, or unknowing recipient. The deer will see us as predators or as competition... but never as equals. They're going to eat our crops without concern for what they leave for us. They'll live in our neighborhoods, not because they want to share the habitat with us, but because we provide great plants to eat.

And at the same time, as our friend Mr Treadwell found out in Alaska, a grizzly bear is NOT going to feel a bit of moral challenge about eating us. The lion doesn't spend a lot of time moralizing about taking a deer. Why is it that humans are supposed to set ourselves aside from the natural order?

We are not gods. We are only animals.

Honestly, I don't feel the need to make some of the same justifications for hunting that Albert makes in this thread, but that doesn't mean I don't think he means and feels each one. But it's moot anyway, because I don't think we should try to justify why we hunt... particularly not to people who obviously live in such a fantasy-land of moral superiority (not to mention the total lack of connection between the cost of keeping wild places and the animals in them wild).

Either ALL life is sacred, or NO life is sacred. If it is wrong for the human to hunt, it is wrong for the eagle to do the same.

For our species to survive, other creatures must die... whether at the hands of the hunter, in the abbatoir, or to the rakes, plows, traps, and poisons of the agricultural industry.

But all that esoteric crap aside, here's the question...

What does it hurt?

I've asked this question before, and have yet to hear a factual argument against modern, regulated, sport hunting. Don't tell me about the market hunters, or the buffalo slaughter. That's no more relevant to modern hunting than the ridiculous comparison to slavery or to the holocaust (another hackneyed cliche trotted out so often by the Animal Rights/Anti-Hunting folks). And I've heard all the arguments about how hunting upsets the natural balance... but honestly, it's not hunting, it's human encroachment in every single habitat, and our manipulation of those habitats to suit our needs.

I'm all for civil discourse, but I don't like having my intelligence insulted by the foolish, naive, and intentionally deceptive rhetoric from folks like Ms Elliott. If you dig into the things she's written here, you'll see there's no substance to it. There are no facts, only moral judgements based on some unnatural constructs.

Albert A Rasch said...

Thank you Phillip for the straight shooting and "cut through the crap" commentary.

I, perhaps naively, (I am after all a big proponent of civil discourse!) was attempting to maintain a cordial level of commentary. I did take offense at a couple of statements by Ms Elliot, but I have already begun to formulate a response to the comments.

I don't know, perhaps I shouldn't be so accommodating, but on the other hand I would be hard pressed to learn anything from the AR groups if I didn't engage them. They certainly do not allow me to dance with them on their own turf!

Once again Professor Loughlin, thanks for the kick in the ass!

Best regards, your friend,
Albert "I was really just trying to be polite." Rasch

Albert A Rasch said...

Oh, and one more thing.

I never thought of trying a more simplistic approach to explaining hunting. I tend, as you mentioned, to dig into the esoterica of the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of hunting.

Perhaps a more simplified line of reasoning and logical constructs will yield better results.

I've been groping in that direction it seems. In the back of my mind I have been pondering the means to parry the pseudo-moral arguments that the ARs tend to toss out. You cut through them very neatly with three comments:

1. What does it hurt?
2. Either ALL life is sacred, or NO life is sacred.
3. Why is it that humans are supposed to set ourselves aside from the natural order?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I've been flailing away in those directions for some time now, occasionally touching upon them but never grasping them long enough to saddle and ride them.

Much to contemplate and masticate.

Best regards as always,
Albert "I should have paid more attention in school." Rasch

Phillip said...

Albert,

I did not intend to come into your "house" and be rude to your guests. Caught me in a fairly grouchy mood. Apologies for that, I guess, but that doesn't mean that I don't stand by what I said, because I do.

The problem with tackling this (or any) debate on the emotional level is that how you feel about something doesn't prove anything. Sure, you can demonstrate that hunters DO FEEL, which certainly counters the myth that we're heartless killers, but you can't demonstrate that we're RIGHT to feel as we do... anymore than it demonstrates that the anti-hunters are WRONG.

We all slip into this quagmire, of course, from time to time, especially when we're defending something about which we care so strongly. It's a rhetorical trap, and one I don't doubt is at least partly intentionally set by the ARGs because their arguments hold no water in the light of fact and logic.

There ARE right and wrong answers to the hunting question, but they are answers based on fact. Those factual, right answers tend to stack up in favor of hunting, not against it. Therein is the defense of our sport.

With the utmost in respect to you, my friend.

P

Albert A Rasch said...

Phillip,

Please! Mi casa es su casa, my home is your home.

With your learned, well researched, and straight forward comments, I learn and deepen my thought process.

It is always my pleasure when you drop by and leave a note for all of us to mull over and learn from.

Muchas gracias mi amigo,
Albert "At least I'm fluent in Spanish!" Rasch

mel said...

Bea wrote: So, in your defense you say: Animals are "tools". I suppose that falls in line with a belief once held that "blacks were made for whites" and "women were made for men". (?) Whatever suits your desires seems to be what "purpose" that "object" or being has. Who can argue with "logic" that sees himself as master? But I'll try.

*******************

Ms Elliott, it doesn't surprise me that you'd resort to sexist and racist remarks to justify your argument as far as your stance on animals as tools.

Frankly, I've never seen anyone use the "Blacks" statement (Which BTW is racist since slavery also included some whites in the form of "indentured servitude" which was bastardized in order to keep those under it from paying their debt - instant slavery), and save the Bible, I've never head the women argument (and point of fact, the argument has been said both ways)

Long before you and I were born, humans discovered that animals were useful for many things: food, shelter, tools.

One reason the United States even has horses is because the Spaniards found out that they were good for traveling long distances.

Even you vegetarians and ARs benefit from animals as tools - earthworms help with the soil by digging through it, insects fertilize some plants and others are used to defend pests from eating the crop.

I'm sorry - you're just as guilty of using animals as tools, so please don't try to say you're more moral than we are for not eating animals.

mel said...

Also, Bea, in regards to your arguments over meat, consider this:

1. If animals are not slaughtered, they must still eat as much grain as they do. The problem would still be just as bad.

Animals simply eat more, and yes, we'd have some similar issues. Going totally vegan will NOT solve the problem of human consumption, and it might actually increase the problem.

If you have statistics - valid ones (not PCRM or Wiki) regarding the exact percentage of grain eaten by a large sized animal (preferably a cow) that doesn't get slaughtered for food then we could more seriously test your claim.

2. Diseases such as e-coli can also be caused by humans touching something after using the bathroom and not washing their hands. Or more simply - they're not all animal diseases.

Others, such as Trich (worms in pork) can be rendered harmless by careful and thorough cooking of the item. The skew that PETA people such as yourself is that you fail to let people know that these are culprits, and instead go for the jugular of sensory overload (the feces filled pens, etc.).

3. Regarding No. 2 I will be blunt - I take comments from PETA regarding illnesses from animals to humans with ZERO credit when they actively attempted to get a permit to have PIG URINE out in public and use fans to waft the smell around town. This is a health issue, yet you decried the permit refusal as a denial of your first amendment rights.

4. Swine flu is a combination of pig, chicken and human flu strains. It is not animal specific - in fact, that's why it is now called H1N1 - because they know it's not just porcine involved.

5. Fecal matter in water - for starters, you sound like the Waco people who claim a dairy cow town that's over 90 miles away and no where near their water supply was affecting the water quality. The matter in the water a. came from other sources besides cattle and b. could come from other places. They just kept trying to sue the 90 mile away city just because of the cattle.

And, frankly, there's a hell of a lot more to worry about in water than fecal matter - something anyone can consume with any food material.

6. Let's also be blunt - a recent article regarding the most dangerous foods? Out of 10 items...

Five are animal

BUT

FIVE are vegetables.

So, let's stop it with the my diet is better than yours for disease issues: Vegetables and fruits have just as much dangers.

Thank you.

mel said...

Also, Bea, in regards to your arguments over meat, consider this:

1. If animals are not slaughtered, they must still eat as much grain as they do. The problem would still be just as bad.

Animals simply eat more, and yes, we'd have some similar issues. Going totally vegan will NOT solve the problem of human consumption, and it might actually increase the problem.

If you have statistics - valid ones (not PCRM or Wiki) regarding the exact percentage of grain eaten by a large sized animal (preferably a cow) that doesn't get slaughtered for food then we could more seriously test your claim.

2. Diseases such as e-coli can also be caused by humans touching something after using the bathroom and not washing their hands. Or more simply - they're not all animal diseases.

Others, such as Trich (worms in pork) can be rendered harmless by careful and thorough cooking of the item. The skew that PETA people such as yourself is that you fail to let people know that these are culprits, and instead go for the jugular of sensory overload (the feces filled pens, etc.).

3. Regarding No. 2 I will be blunt - I take comments from PETA regarding illnesses from animals to humans with ZERO credit when they actively attempted to get a permit to have PIG URINE out in public and use fans to waft the smell around town. This is a health issue, yet you decried the permit refusal as a denial of your first amendment rights.

4. Swine flu is a combination of pig, chicken and human flu strains. It is not animal specific - in fact, that's why it is now called H1N1 - because they know it's not just porcine involved.

5. Fecal matter in water - for starters, you sound like the Waco people who claim a dairy cow town that's over 90 miles away and no where near their water supply was affecting the water quality. The matter in the water a. came from other sources besides cattle and b. could come from other places. They just kept trying to sue the 90 mile away city just because of the cattle.

And, frankly, there's a hell of a lot more to worry about in water than fecal matter - something anyone can consume with any food material.

6. Let's also be blunt - a recent article regarding the most dangerous foods? Out of 10 items...

Five are animal

BUT

FIVE are vegetables.

So, let's stop it with the my diet is better than yours for disease issues: Vegetables and fruits have just as much dangers.

Thank you.

mel said...

And one more thing I thought of regarding the environmental impact - rainforests are being mowed into farms for soy products.

Thing about rainforests though is that the land only is fertile for a few years at best due to the fact the ground doesn't get sun and other nutrients due to dense covering and survival of the fittest.

Therefore, when the land becomes infertile, they have to mow down MORE land, therefore reducing the amount of rainforest we have.

C'mon Bea - no matter what diet you're on, you cause harm to nature, to animals and to the wildlife. What we can do is reduce the impact, but no one diet is better than the other for this sheer fact alone.

Albert A Rasch said...

Slam dunk!
Point scored! Mel!

Nicely played Sir.

Albert

an animal life said...

Phillip, you hit the nail square on the head.

Bea Elliott said...

Anonymous said...
"Animal rights activists are self-hating hypocrites motivated by the same instincts that drove the worst of the Puritans. They pick a behavior that is relatively common and confound it with SIN, thereby justifying themselves as the moral superiors."

Hi Anonymous... I'm certainly not "self-hating" - nor am I a hypocrite. I do live my life as closely to the values I advocate, as possible. And the "Puritans"? Their issues mainly focused on an ideology that rendered "God" as the devine and ultimate "good"... And that all practices should reflect what "he" ascribed or "commanded". I think you'll find the majority of ARA seek a "justice and fairness" beyond what is found in most religious teachings. Furthermore, most who advocate the killing of animals do such with this preface: "God gave man permission". So who really is the "religious ideologue"?

"If animals are truly no different from humans" AND "They ARE just like us! Aren't they?"

NO. No one is saying "just like us in everyway"... And no two humans are "just like each other" either... But they are the same as us in the only way that really matters: sentience. They "own" a life. That fact is the common denominator which we all share equally. We all are the same in that each of us, like the other, wishes to live. Animals and humans - this is how we are "same".

Phillip said... "some sort of equality between different species of animals. No such thing does, or can, exist in nature."

When we abandoned our caves in favor of concrete, steel buildings, Hummers, ipods and the like - We made a deliberate choice to remove ourselves from nature. Furthermore, when a person hunts - Have they not come equipped with store bought cammo? Factory made gear? Machined weapons? GPS systems, etc? Don't hunters drive to their chosen spot... to the "nature" that is away from their lives. They wish to live those hours/days away from the civilization they actually do exist in. Most bring city/bottled water, cell phones, and all sorts of modern conveniences that exist outside of "nature". All the while claiming to "go back" to their primitive "survival" skills.

I have the greatest respect for sustaining hunters... Those who must utilize that which raw nature provides, fashioned only by their hands - for the sake of their very lives.

And they hunt what they "need" to, in order to live. In this case the contest seems fair and the killing in harmony with "nature". What "modern" man does with sophisticated gear is an antithesis of all that is "nature".

"Equality is a two-way street, not something we can simply apply to an unwilling, or unknowing recipient."

Really? Then I suppose a foreigner who didn't speak our language would be disqualified from protection under our laws? Or an infant - they also aren't "willing" or aware recipients of our consideration. Nor would someone who has alzhiemers, or any number of
incapacitating brain injuries.

"The deer will see us as predators or as competition... but never as equals. They're going to eat our crops without concern for what they leave for us. They'll live in our neighborhoods, not because they want to share the habitat with us, but because we provide great plants to eat."

Yes indeed the deer probably do see us as competitors - being that we live in THEIR neighborhoods and we don't want to SHARE our habitat with them.

Bea Elliott said...

"I don't think we should try to justify why we hunt... particularly not to people who obviously live in such a fantasy-land of moral superiority
(not to mention the total lack of connection between the cost of keeping wild places and the animals in them wild). "

First, unless you are hunting for survival - I don't know that you can justify why you hunt.
Re: "moral superiority" - You mean the kind of "superiority" that decides who shall live and when/how they shall die? You mean like "nature" or "God" does? No... I don't claim to be "morally superior" enough for those decisions.

"the cost of keeping wild places and the animals in them wild"... I used to live on almost 7 acres, one of which was cleared, homesteaded, manicured and cultivated. That was the "expensive", maintenance & upkeep part of the land. Excluding nominal taxes the rest, the "wilderness" was "free". So with "wild places"... if they are being "kept" that disqualifies them from being "wild". Or do you mean roads and facilities that go to "wild places"? Honestly, your statement baffles me. Could you clarify? Expensive, controlled "wilderness" is that
what you're saying? I'm stumped.

1. What does it hurt?
Do you mean "who" does it hurt? I think I indicated quite well throughout that both human and nonhuman animals can "suffer". Is this what you mean by "hurt"?

2. Either ALL life is sacred, or NO life is sacred.
This is not the case for me, and here is my rationale: Although I would not wish any deliberate harm to anyone... But if there was no choice and I had to make a decision of whose life was of value or "sacred"... In the instance of my dog and the likes of a Jeffrey Dahmer - Then
(for me) that choice would be simple. I don't even know of two human lives that are of equal "value". Even Sophie had a "choice". But this is neither here, nor there. We are not talking about "choices" that must be made or validated. It's not like your life is "less sacred" if you don't hunt/kill an animal.

3. Why is it that humans are supposed to set ourselves aside from the natural order?
If it is wrong for the human to hunt, it is wrong for the eagle to do the same.

No. The eagle (nonhuman) cannot quantify (recognize) "value" in any life (other than his own). It can't be "wrong" for the eagle to not do something it *cannot do*. It is not "wrong" for humans not to have wings... Or for humans to not be able to live under water. Just like it's not "wrong" for a nonhuman to not be able to stand upright, or operate a remote. However humans CAN distinguish "value" in life. And
not to do such is one of our greatest shortcomings of our species. ie: We don't use all our faculties.

"For our species to survive, other creatures must die... whether at the hands of the hunter, in the abbatoir, or to the rakes, plows, traps, and poisons of the agricultural industry."

Actually our species could survive and thrive quite well with less killing --- Because we cannot eliminate all suffering, does that support the idea that we should eliminate none? Sometimes I have a difficult time remembering to put gas in the car... should I try not remembering at all? Get it? ***That there will always be grief, there should always be much grief.*** That's really a poor argument.

Bea Elliott said...

"There ARE right and wrong answers to the hunting question, but they are answers based on fact."
Please cite any "fact" which supports that (recreational) hunting is "right". You cannot. Nor can I produce any "fact" that it's wrong. Both are based on unprovable, abstract ethics. Ethics rest on what is most consistent with the values one holds and recognizes as worthy.

The closest you can get to "recreational hunting is *right*", is to (rationally) state why it is correct to deliberately harm/kill any/all "other"
species. You would have to base it on a concept that no other species (besides humans) matter at all, in the rhelm of "rights" or "pain and suffering". In which case, you should also not be in favor of any legislation or cultural mores that "protect" animals... You should be in favor
of rooster, dog and bullfighting, live skinning of cats and dogs and any/all other creatures. You should also have no need for the beguiling "humane slaughter act", and should want the repeal of any animal "cruelty" statutes. Of course this would set you as quite a peculiar and deviant character... Being that the vast majority of people see "some" kind of moral and ethical obligation to treat other species with (some
kind) of consideration. But your contention is "All or nothing".... right?

mel said... "Long before you and I were born, humans discovered that animals were useful for many things: food, shelter, tools.
Even you vegetarians and ARs benefit from animals as tools - earthworms help with the soil by digging through it, insects fertilize some plants and others are used to defend pests from eating the crop."

Yes, long before you and I were born there was no "urbanization" or indoor plumbing - However modern civilization has rectified all that!

Simply because we did something "once upon a time" hardly justifies continuing the practice.

Earthworms: They exist with or without me... That vegetation (which sustains life) grows in the earth and is shared by earthworms, and that insects eat each other is hardly a justification either ... that man is correct in "recreational hunting"... or in breeding animals to consume.

One has nothing to do with the other. Your argument is not supported by any cohesive reference. Sorry.

1. If animals are not slaughtered, they must still eat as much grain as they do. The problem would still be just as bad.
Mel... The idea is that we would not create more animals. The ones that exist now would eventually die (or more likely be slaughtered)
while transitions occur. As time advances less and less animals will be bred - eventually, this means 10 billion less "livestock" animals in the US. The "problem" with feeding animals (instead of humans) would not exist.

2. Diseases such as e-coli can also be caused by humans touching something after using the bathroom and not washing their hands. Or
more simply - they're not all animal diseases.

Uhhhh... Yes... they are. E-coli is an "animal disease"... Remember... we are animals too. :) The bacteria which remains on our unwashed
hands is the same as that which is found in the stomach (intenstines) of all animals. It is found in the poop. Hence irradiation of meat to render the feces harmless. It doesn't mean the feces is gone... just means it's been made "safe".

This Times article published on the 3rd ought to be a real eye opener for you:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/health/04meat.html?_r=2&hpw

3. Regarding the credibility of comments from PETA (etc.)... I don't blame you one bit. I'm not affiliated with peta - nor do I ever cite their data, as you will note.

Bea Elliott said...

4. Swine flu - - - There are lots of theories and debates about swine flu. Yes, it is a mutation of avian, porcine and human influenza genes.
And the problem exacerbates with human population and animal agriculture which confines thousands of animals in unhealthy conditions.

If you have millions of birds in a facility located near a hog barn with tens of thousands of pigs - It only takes one fly (or human) to carry the virus from one to another. These pathogens are 20th century ills. This triple reassortant did not exist prior to "modern" animal agriculture
techniques:

Smithfield and swine flu
http://www.grist.org/article/2009-04-25-swine-flu-smithfield/
CDC Confirms Ties to Virus First Discovered in U.S. Pig Factories:
http://www.hsus.org/farm/news/ournews/swine_flu_virus_origin_1998_042909.html
Dr. Michael Greger - Flu Factories: Tracing the Origins of the Swine Flu Pandemic
http://www.hsus.org/farm/resources/pubs/swine_flu.html
Dr. Michael Greger - Flu a Virus of Our Own Hatching
http://birdflubook.com/g.php?id=5

Oh... and the reason we're supposed to refer to "swine flu" as H1N1? The pork industry has pleaded that the government and media do such so their profits don't continue to plunder. --- Funny though... no one seems to be listening!

5. Fecal matter in water - - - I could cite hundreds of documented cases where people have had their well water tested with results pointing to contamination from hog farms, feed lots & poultry barns miles away... This is what happens with the aquifer, it collects all the run off. You are welcome to google any combination of: "cafo", "e-coli", "epa" with:
Idaho, Illinois, Mich., Minn., Penn., Texas, Wisconsin, Iowa, NY, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio. I'm certain you'll find more evidence than I could possibly list here, that mega farms are a disaster to residents.

But just as a brief example:
http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=89749
IDOA weighs request for 10,000-cow dairy, amid worries over water contamination

AND:

See what hog farms can do to property values?
http://www.ncifap.org/_images/factsheetRuralPropertyValues.pdf

It's not only fecal contamination... it's the nitrates that lead to fish kills as in the Chesapeake Bay:

"For years, poultry waste has been spread as fertilizer for crops. But as Delmarva's once-backyard chicken shacks have morphed into
factory farms, the sheer volume of waste has overwhelmed the ability of crops to absorb it. More than 600 million chickens are raised on
less ground than produced 380 million two decades ago, concentrating more pollutants than ever on shrinking farmland.

Estimates from the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program office identify poultry manure as the largest source of excess nitrogen and phosphorus reaching the Chesapeake from the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia. Those two nutrients are basic parts of the food chain,but they overstimulate algae growth when too much reaches water. When algae dies, its decomposition consumes oxygen, choking fish and other water life.

Throughout chicken country, as many as one-third of all wells exceed EPA safe drinking water standards for nitrate, a form of nitrogen concentrated in chicken waste that seeps into groundwater, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS has also found trace amounts of arsenic in the Pocomoke, the likely residue of the arsenic added to chicken feed to kill harmful parasites and promote growth.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/daily/aug99/chicken1.htm

Bea Elliott said...

And the Lake Waco incident?

"The North Bosque River Watershed is located in Erath County. The Bosque River also drains into Lake Waco, a drinking water supply for
the City of Waco. Water quality in the Bosque River Watershed is being degraded due to the enormous quantity of animal waste that is
produced by dairies in the region which is not properly managed by the dairy CAFOs. A 1992 report published by the US Department of
Agriculture Soil Conservation Service determined that 190 miles of the North Bosque Watershed and 25 flood prevention structures were adversely affected by contaminated water from dairy run-off.

The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) have also
documented water quality problems."

http://www.txpeer.org/toxictour/erath.html

Really your empathy with fellow citizens over their contaminated water sources is disturbing. Water is a resource that belongs to everyone.

Yes, I think it's very appropriate that they care about high levels of fecal matter, coliforms and antibiotic residue in their water... Sooner or later, their water becomes my water - and yours too.

6. Vegetables and fruits have just as much dangers. - - - Yes! The spinach, tomatos and cantaloupe - But what do you think they were
sprayed with? Veggies & fruits do not "grow" ecoli. It is found only in the intestines (and waste) of animals. Literally, we have so much manure from animal agriculture that it is contaminating *my* "food". It is poisoning our *real* "food".

"when the land becomes infertile, they have to mow down MORE land, therefore reducing the amount of rainforest we have." You mean
the rainforests which have existed for thousands of years are now becoming infertile? Huh? I really don't understand your point - and could you please cite your source?

And in the meantime you might be interested in this: Slaughtering the Amazon

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/slaughtering-the-amazon
which documents how 25% of the rainforests did get "mowed down" for hamburgers & cattle grazing...

Finally "no one diet is better than the other" Livestock's Long Shadow reports that the current method of fattening animals to feed humans is not sustainable. The whole system is based on fossil fuels which we will run out of... It is not a wise use of land or water:
http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM

Bea Elliott said...

"If you have statistics - valid ones (not PCRM or Wiki) regarding the exact percentage of grain eaten by a large sized animal"

Of course large animals - cows and pigs eat more grain than humans... Proportionately it's 4 - 6 times as much. I realize this is dated, but the information is even more relevant now:

Cornell University Science News from 1997: U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat, Cornell ecologist advises animal scientists Future water and energy shortages predicted to change face of American agriculture.

"WHERE'S THE GRAIN? The 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by
the entire American population."

"Animal protein production requires more than eight times as much fossil-fuel energy than production of plant protein while yielding animal protein that is only 1.4 times more nutritious for humans than the comparable amount of plant protein, according to the Cornell ecologist's analysis.

Animal agriculture is a leading consumer of water resources in the US, Pimentel noted. Grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of food. Raising broiler chickens takes 3,500 liters of water to make a kilogram of meat. In comparison, soybean production uses 2,000 liters for kilogram of food produced; rice, 1,912; wheat, 900; and potatoes, 500 liters. "Water shortages already are severe in the Western and Southern US and the situation is quickly becoming worse because of a rapidly growing
population that requires more water for all of its needs, especially agriculture."

"More than half the U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of world grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by
humans," Pimentel said. "Although grain production is increasing in total, the per capita supply has been decreasing for more than a
decade. Clearly, there is reason for concern in the future."

Abstract from: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 78, No. 3, 660S-663S, September 2003
From the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment The meat-based food system requires more energy, land, and water resources than the lactoovovegetarian diet. In this limited sense, the lactoovovegetarian diet is more sustainable than the average American meat-based diet.
http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/78/3/660S

"I'm sorry - you're just as guilty of using animals as tools, so please don't try to say you're more moral than we are for not eating animals."

No... I'm sorry - I DON'T "use" animals as "tools". I don't breed them specifically for my purpose... especially not specifically to kill them. If
animals are harmed during the harvest of my vegetables it is by "no other choice". I am not deliberately growing rodents & rabbits to place them before the combine blade. It is without my instigation that they are harmed. Furthermore, since I've already established that pigs, cows & chickens eat a considerable amount more grain and vegetation than humans - One actually does "less harm" by consuming the vegetation directly.

And I have never said I was "more moral for not eating animals" this is your conclusion... But I will submit: "more responsible"; Or at least "more thoughtful".

I would love to engage further on this topic - but unless someone can provide cited material to refute that which I have noted; Or if one can present a "new idea" on ethical matters, I believe I will refrain from these lengthy and time consuming responses, and just read comments for the enjoyment of the entries.

And sorry to be so verbose, but it was necessary as I was responding to several people on many topics. Oh, and Mr. Rasch of course I'm anxious to hear your response as well.

Bea Elliott said...

Correction:
"Really your empathy with fellow citizens over their contaminated water sources is disturbing."

Should read: "lack of emapthy".
(sorry)

an animal life said...

Bea, the "animals eat more grain" argument is continually spouted by the anti animal lobby yet it is flawed.

I don't care what your source is, what you fail to understand is that nor all grain is equal.

There are a large number of factors that affect feed quality and as a general rule it the lower quality grains that are fed to animals.

The grain for flour and bread making is a far cry from the grain fed to our livestock.

Different seed, different soil type, different weather conditions, different nutrient inputs, different farming practices, harvest timing, storage and transport all have an effect on the end product, the grain that is destined for either human or animal consumption.

I can assure you, you would not want to eat weather damaged, or poor quality grain, but a cow or pig can convert that damaged grain into high quality protein.

Furthermore, livestock can eat the whole plant, the stalk and the husk as well as the actual grain kernals.

Have you ever stopped to consider what would happen to the food supply if these crops were NOT fed to animals?

Bea Elliott said...

Yes, I understand that the quality of the grain determines its value. High-quality grain must be clean and free of weed seed, undamaged, uncontaminated, and identifiable. Controlling weeds, pests, and volunteer crops in the field can help keep quality high. Also, proper combine settings will help keep grain dirt free and undamaged.

But part of the reason why nothing else can grow in certain soils/conditions is because the land has been cultivated for nothing else but feed grains for animals. We have pour billions of dollars and untold research into growing "cheap" inferior plants for animals to eat. It was expedient to grow "only this crop" so no technology was invested to grow another. In short: we've been lazy and created a bad farming "habit".

UN Food Security Project: "Investments in agricultural research and development are much lower than what is recommended by experts and are not directed towards the most important crops: those for human consumption".

Furthermore, even the "inferior" grains can be utilized for human consumption if grown and harvested under the proper conditions:
For example we benefited when the internal combustion engine freed up large quantities of grain for human consumption that previously were allocated to feed draft animals.

But even this is a moot point - we will run out of the fossil fuels sooner than animals to feed - and will run out of water shortly thereafter. The expected population growth is just unsustainable for a "meat based diet".

BTW - Have you ever heard of Living Walls or Urban Farms?
http://www.verticalfarm.com/
http://tinyurl.com/5m49km

mel said...

1. If animals are not slaughtered, they must still eat as much grain as they do. The problem would still be just as bad.

Mel... The idea is that we would not create more animals. The ones that exist now would eventually die (or more likely be slaughtered)
while transitions occur. As time advances less and less animals will be bred - eventually, this means 10 billion less "livestock" animals in the US. The "problem" with feeding animals (instead of humans) would not exist.

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Bea - you don't really live in a rural area, or you'd know this wouldn't occur easily. Additionally, as others have said, not all grain is edible to humans that is to animals. There is a fallacy in ARAs comments when they think we can eat everything that animals eat - a lot are poisonous.

Your idea is just that - an idea. I highly doubt it's realistic in the grand scheme of things. But what do I know? - I live in the country and see livestock all the time.


Bea: 2. Diseases such as e-coli can also be caused by humans touching something after using the bathroom and not washing their hands. Or
more simply - they're not all animal diseases.

Uhhhh... Yes... they are. E-coli is an "animal disease"... Remember... we are animals too. :) The bacteria which remains on our unwashed
hands is the same as that which is found in the stomach (intenstines) of all animals. It is found in the poop. Hence irradiation of meat to render the feces harmless. It doesn't mean the feces is gone... just means it's been made "safe".

This Times article published on the 3rd ought to be a real eye opener for you:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/health/04meat.html?_r=2&hpw

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Bea - you're missing the point: ARAs such as you are accusing that the cow's e-coli meat is the cause of the woman's illness and paralysis. However, we simply do not know that. I was giving a clear example of this with human e-coli.

Or more simply - you are trying to say that it's something that may not be the case: that it may have been HUMAN e-coli and not bovine that cause the illness.

Please do not be condescending toward me because you think you're superior to me. All you did was prove to me that you do not fully read my post with this response.

Bea: 3. Regarding the credibility of comments from PETA (etc.)... I don't blame you one bit. I'm not affiliated with peta - nor do I ever cite their data, as you will note.
October 9, 2009 3:05 AM

**************'

I don't care about that - you are showing similar ideas with your response to me.

mel said...

mel said... "Long before you and I were born, humans discovered that animals were useful for many things: food, shelter, tools.
Even you vegetarians and ARs benefit from animals as tools - earthworms help with the soil by digging through it, insects fertilize some plants and others are used to defend pests from eating the crop."

Yes, long before you and I were born there was no "urbanization" or indoor plumbing - However modern civilization has rectified all that!

Simply because we did something "once upon a time" hardly justifies continuing the practice.

**************

Again, I highly doubt you live in a rural area. You do not look at the picture from all sides - I can and do.

I really don't appreciate you being condescending toward myself or others because you disagree with us. All it does is make it where others feel that your arguments hold no water.

<<<<<<<<<<

Bea: Earthworms: They exist with or without me... That vegetation (which sustains life) grows in the earth and is shared by earthworms, and that insects eat each other is hardly a justification either ... that man is correct in "recreational hunting"... or in breeding animals to consume.

*************

Boy, you're arrogant and naive aren't you?

You're again missing the point: You and others say that you *do not* benefit from the use of animals in your diet but that's simply a FALSEHOOD. The earthworms help with the ground and the animals eating the pests are protecting your grain.

Hell, animals are even being killed in the harvest of your grain diet.

What you are trying to do with this comment is gloss over that simple fact. Sorry gal - YOU BENEFIT FROM ANIMALS. The ONLY difference is you do not eat the meat.

mel said...

mel said... "Long before you and I were born, humans discovered that animals were useful for many things: food, shelter, tools.
Even you vegetarians and ARs benefit from animals as tools - earthworms help with the soil by digging through it, insects fertilize some plants and others are used to defend pests from eating the crop."

Yes, long before you and I were born there was no "urbanization" or indoor plumbing - However modern civilization has rectified all that!

Simply because we did something "once upon a time" hardly justifies continuing the practice.

**************

Again, I highly doubt you live in a rural area. You do not look at the picture from all sides - I can and do.

I really don't appreciate you being condescending toward myself or others because you disagree with us. All it does is make it where others feel that your arguments hold no water.

<<<<<<<<<<

Bea: Earthworms: They exist with or without me... That vegetation (which sustains life) grows in the earth and is shared by earthworms, and that insects eat each other is hardly a justification either ... that man is correct in "recreational hunting"... or in breeding animals to consume.

*************

Boy, you're arrogant and naive aren't you?

You're again missing the point: You and others say that you *do not* benefit from the use of animals in your diet but that's simply a FALSEHOOD. The earthworms help with the ground and the animals eating the pests are protecting your grain.

Hell, animals are even being killed in the harvest of your grain diet.

What you are trying to do with this comment is gloss over that simple fact. Sorry gal - YOU BENEFIT FROM ANIMALS. The ONLY difference is you do not eat the meat.

mel said...

4. Swine flu - - - There are lots of theories and debates about swine flu. Yes, it is a mutation of avian, porcine and human influenza genes.
And the problem exacerbates with human population and animal agriculture which confines thousands of animals in unhealthy conditions.

*********

Again, you don't live in a rural area. You can't prove or disprove this - we have had diseases come from monkeys that are fatal - and they were in the wild. Last time I checked, those wild animals don't live in confined quarters.

*********

Bea: If you have millions of birds in a facility located near a hog barn with tens of thousands of pigs - It only takes one fly (or human) to carry the virus from one to another. These pathogens are 20th century ills. This triple reassortant did not exist prior to "modern" animal agriculture
techniques:

Smithfield and swine flu
http://www.grist.org/article/2009-04-25-swine-flu-smithfield/
CDC Confirms Ties to Virus First Discovered in U.S. Pig Factories:
http://www.hsus.org/farm/news/ournews/swine_flu_virus_origin_1998_042909.html
Dr. Michael Greger - Flu Factories: Tracing the Origins of the Swine Flu Pandemic
http://www.hsus.org/farm/resources/pubs/swine_flu.html
Dr. Michael Greger - Flu a Virus of Our Own Hatching
http://birdflubook.com/g.php?id=5

*********

1. It may take ONE, but it takes a weak animal to actually create it. That weak animal doesn't have to be in a factory farm. It's just easier for ARs and others to claim this.

2. We have also been known to create antibiotic resistant medicines and increase health issues by becoming TOO sterile.

My point is that it's easy to blame something on a factory farm when we simply do NOT know it's the truth. And I love how people such as you assume (ass of you and me) that all factory farms are filthy. While I will even say that not all are pristine, there are many many more that are better than what you guys love to piecemeal as evidence.

*********

Bea: Oh... and the reason we're supposed to refer to "swine flu" as H1N1? The pork industry has pleaded that the government and media do such so their profits don't continue to plunder. --- Funny though... no one seems to be listening!

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No - it's because they figured out it wasn't directly swine flu. As I've said, it's a combination of viruses - not just swine like back in the 1970s. (in fact, given the two strains are different, this is also a good reason why they would rename the flu to the H1N1 - to avoid confusion.)

And - eating the meat doesn't make you sick, so of course they don't want people to be confused. Simple enough for anyone to grasp...

... but no, it's easier to say that it's all for profit and this bullshit that they changed it to H1N1

mel said...

And the Lake Waco incident?

*A 1992 report published by the US Department of
Agriculture Soil Conservation Service determined that 190 miles of the North Bosque Watershed and 25 flood prevention structures were adversely affected by contaminated water from dairy run-off.*

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Bea - 1992 isn't recent. Find a more recent source. Otherwise, this is manipulation.

********

The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) have also
documented water quality problems."

http://www.txpeer.org/toxictour/erath.html

************

Out of date evidence (read the bottom sources) and a slanted blog. Please try again.

************

Bea: Really your empathy with fellow citizens over their contaminated water sources is disturbing. Water is a resource that belongs to everyone.

Yes, I think it's very appropriate that they care about high levels of fecal matter, coliforms and antibiotic residue in their water... Sooner or later, their water becomes my water - and yours too.

<<<<<<<<<<<<

Honey, I LIVED in Stephenville, the town that is accused of this (yes, it's a TOWN, not a county that is accused of this), and I know damn well that there was a huge exaggeration on the part of Waco here.

Waco has hated Erath for years because the dairy industry there is successful. Waco doesn't have much to toot about themselves as far as stuff like this is concerned. All Waco has to its name is the infamous Koresh incident.

mel said...

<<<<<<<<<

Vegetables and fruits have just as much dangers. - - - Yes! The spinach, tomatos and cantaloupe - But what do you think they were
sprayed with? Veggies & fruits do not "grow" ecoli. It is found only in the intestines (and waste) of animals. Literally, we have so much manure from animal agriculture that it is contaminating *my* "food". It is poisoning our *real* "food".

*******

You guys bitch about pesticides and going organic, but when they go organic (fertilizer) you bitch about the e-coli and make accusations about factory farms and the like.

And - "REAL" food - meat, eggs, dairy, fruit and vegetables are all REAL food.

FAKE food is stuff that is nothing but chemicals - aka styrofoam.

Please, learn the difference.

************

"when the land becomes infertile, they have to mow down MORE land, therefore reducing the amount of rainforest we have." You mean
the rainforests which have existed for thousands of years are now becoming infertile? Huh? I really don't understand your point - and could you please cite your source?

***********

My source - a basic elementary education. We were taught this in school.

They are NOT infertile as far as growing things - however, as I CLEARLY SAID, the fertile areas are only a few inches deep. The forest is so dense that the only true nutrition the ground gets is the rotting leaves and the growing plants eat as much of this as possible. It is unlike farmland, which constantly gets more nutrition and deeper nutrition than a rainforest.

Therefore - when the land is bulldozed for land, that fertile land is only fertile for so many years because there's NOT enough nutrients in the ground. They have been sapped up by the original vegetation. That's why they can stay fertile for a few years before more land is bulldozed for growing crops.

It's EASY Bea - just read closely.

*********

And in the meantime you might be interested in this: Slaughtering the Amazon

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/slaughtering-the-amazon
which documents how 25% of the rainforests did get "mowed down" for hamburgers & cattle grazing...

**********

Greenpeace is a slanted source - Give me a non-slanted source to verify this.

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Finally "no one diet is better than the other" Livestock's Long Shadow reports that the current method of fattening animals to feed humans is not sustainable. The whole system is based on fossil fuels which we will run out of... It is not a wise use of land or water:
http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM

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Bea - c'mon honey give it a rest. ANY agricultural diet uses fossil fuels to harvest the grain.

C'mon, you have more sense that that - this one is a stupid argument simply because we use fossil fuels to move machines - which include the harvesters for your grain.

You show here you've never been in the rural area - at least close up.

Mel said...

"If you have statistics - valid ones (not PCRM or Wiki) regarding the exact percentage of grain eaten by a large sized animal"

Of course large animals - cows and pigs eat more grain than humans... Proportionately it's 4 - 6 times as much. I realize this is dated, but the information is even more relevant now:

Cornell University Science News from 1997: U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat, Cornell ecologist advises animal scientists Future water and energy shortages predicted to change face of American agriculture.

"WHERE'S THE GRAIN? The 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by
the entire American population."

*******

1997 - MORE RECENT INFORMATION IS NEEDED!

Look, I'm not even going to debate you anymore until you give me information that is no more than 5 years old. Like with outlooks, things change in the span of 12 years or more.

You have too much OLD information, and I know damn well there is more recent information supporting my case.

mel said...

No... I'm sorry - I DON'T "use" animals as "tools". I don't breed them specifically for my purpose... especially not specifically to kill them. If
animals are harmed during the harvest of my vegetables it is by "no other choice"

**********

Bea - animals are used in the production of fruits and vegetables. Cross-pollination, aeriating the soil, etc.

You are trying to make your lifestyle more valid by putting the animals as essentially "collaterial damage."

Animals die so you can eat - period. You use them as tools - directly or indirectly (pending if you grown your own food or not), to get what you want - your vegetables.

I'm sorry - you are still wrong here: Animals are used by all those who eat food - period. You just don't eat the flesh that's the difference.

************

I am not deliberately growing rodents & rabbits to place them before the combine blade. It is without my instigation that they are harmed. Furthermore, since I've already established that pigs, cows & chickens eat a considerable amount more grain and vegetation than humans - One actually does "less harm" by consuming the vegetation directly.

************

Bea - you and others have said to me that even though I don't forcibly kill an animal to eat it, that I'm guilty by association.

You are doing the exact same thing eating food that is harvested on a farm. Animals die in the process of that harvesting, therefore you are guilty by association same as you love to decry me.

Frankly my dear, you have shown to me that you are naive of the real world, are condescending toward those who actually have seen both sides of the argument, and are totally ignorant - willingly so - of the fact that all of us use animals to our benefit, directly or indirectly, and that some animals die for any diet.

Thank you and goodnight.

mel said...

And, BTW - you are attempting to classify tools as being raised to eat. This is an absolute - pardon me Albert - BULLSHIT excuse to justify your means.

We don't raise hammers to build houses. We didn't raise rocks to create knives or to use with flint to create a fire. We saw them, thought "Hmm, how can we use them to our advantage," and manipulated their use to help us.

The same holds true with animals - even in a vegan diet:

1. The soil issue - quite frankly, besides earthworms digging holes and their feces acting as fertilizer, when an animal dies, it rots and becomes said fertilizer in the ground (ashes to ashes - decomposition).

So, THIS ALONE - decomposition - is a tool for your food. Animals are a tool in that they become fertilizer for said food. Simply put too - all animals all sizes help out here.

2. cross-pollination - bees and other insects transfer pollen from one plant to another when they feed. It sticks onto their legs - and the animal itself becomes the tool when it touches the pistil of the other plant. This can be done scientifically, but you can't certify that your food is done the scientific way).

************

We don't need to raise animals to create these tools - animals die like us all the time and as we simply cannot pick up all of them, they decay and create the fertilizer.

We can also artificially cross pollinate fruits and vegetables, but we simply don't have the means to do it all the time (let alone possible mutation risks).

So you see Bea, try as much as you want to, you can't escape the fact that you use animals as tools for even your own food. Trying to use the claim that "well, I didn't raise them/don't eat the meat" is a bunch of feel-good bull crap. It might feel good, but it's still crap.

Mel said...

And, finally (sorry for so many posts Albert), Bea, I take offense to the claim that I lack empathy in regard to "Really your (lack of) empathy with fellow citizens over their contaminated water sources is disturbing."

Bea, for starters, as I said they were found out to skew the information because Waco hates the cattle industry in general. This was around long before I even came aboard the town. It's not uncommon knowledge to someone who actually has been there and lived in the town accused of causing the problem

Something else interesting - and not posted in these articles - is Stephenville is no where NEAR the top of or near the river that the source of these claims was found - in fact, it's BELOW the source. So, the claims are highly suspect, and have been questioned to come from Waco itself.

And, where I live now, the water has issues with sediment at times. I do understand where they're trying to come from, but when it was found out there was misinformation being touted by Waco, I will call it like I see it - a bunch of misinformation being distorted by a town attempting to make a fast buck.

Bea Elliott said...

Mel - This to acknowledge that I've read your comments.
Thank you for your time to explain your POV.
Good day.

Mel said...

Albert, I wanted to say thank you for letting me share my POV on this issue - I'm sorry that it is slightly out of the way as far as hunting is concerned.

I know I can be lengthy and slightly repetitive, but at least you keep all comments on this board - pro and con to your views. Wish more people were like that.

Albert A Rasch said...

Mel,
Never a worry nor a problem! It is all associated and intertwined.

Regards,
Albert