i was an ethical vegan for around 6 months too! so welcome ps bacon is teh awesome.
another website sort of on similar grounds to this one is www.mercola.com
a natural foods doctor on there, with much research about all different foods. theres some good reads on there, particularly about grains sugars and cancer connections.
hmm - sort of ethical vegan / sort of b/c i thought it was healthy (LOL) ... Barbara Kingsolver's book "Animal Vegetable Miracle" is good on that too - as far as avoiding CAFO food etc ...
I switched from vegan to vegetarian when I was trying to get preg with child #1 and kept having issues - I think adding fat and animal with dairy and eggs made a bit of a difference there .. and then from vegetarian to carnivore -- switched like a light -- when I found out I had hypothyroid and how related it was to the veggie thing .. i know there are plenty of veggies out there who are getting the right fats but I was NOT and it definitely was hurting me - still is today, I think ...
Still hard for me to go from vegan to vegetarian to considering eating mammals so I guess I'm still fighting the ethics part. I think a reformed VEG site would be good, though. I know that weight loss is illusive to me on a vegetarian diet. I tried very hard to adhere to the McDougall way only to lose 7 pounds in a year. I need to lose 75.....
This site is a must read for understanding how vegetarianism and veganism is often pretty much a disaster for most folks: http://www.beyondveg.com/
You can spend hours there reading very substantiated work and also anecdotal stories. It focuses on the "Natural Hygiene" and raw foods diets.
Interestingly, the site host is still NH! But, and this is the important part, he says exactly what many of us say: "Everyone is different. What works for me may not for you, and vice versa."
Oddly, he makes the best cases I've ever seen for going paleo/primal/omnivore. It's hard to believe he hasn't convinced himself.
There's an extensive interview here, http://www.beyondveg.com/cat/psych/index.shtml about how so many vegs/vegans/NH/diet people have their eating become a religion with attendant suspensions of facts.
Oh no, nothing like I've read here from some folks...........
BTW, nature has no ethics (or more accurately, morality.) Only survival. In fact, a moral case can be made that since a paleo diet is best for most of us, that is they one we should eat, animals be damned. That shark about to rip off your arm isn't thinking how you have some right to live.
OTB: "That shark about to rip off your arm isn't thinking how you have some right to live"
But those sharks also aren't rounding us up in massive warehouses and forcing the majority of us to live is squalor, disease, flith and the like.
I understand the whole "animals eat animals" idea, but in the end we don't all hunt our food and eat nose to tail, we don't only kill off the weakvery old or very young of any prey animal (to help keep things in check) and we don't force ourselves to adapt to an enviroment as much as we force the enviroments to adapt to us. The way we (well, most of us anyway) eat meat isn't the same as our wild relatives. Wolves, sharks and tigers don't have middle-men that they pruchase a fresh kill from (thus not having to dirty their own hands) and they also don't hunt with max-range rifles (thus keeping them at a fairly safe distance). They get down and dirty with their prey.
BTW, you are right, nature has no ethics. but because they aren't really needed because natural order keeps things in balance (humans don't really let natural order take over. Think about what happens when there is too many of one kind of animal. Nature takes its course and many die off, but the strongest and more adapted survive thus creating a stronger gene pool. That doesn't really happen with people so we really can't compare ourselves to animals in the end).
Just my $0.02
... nature has no ethics. but because they aren't really needed because natural order keeps things in balance (humans don't really let natural order take over.
"Nature has no ethics" is a dogmatic statement. It really depends on how one defines "nature". If nature is to mean "everything there is", then it would appear that it does contain ethics - since you refer to them. Of course, others might believe they were only an illusion.
It has been suggested that the world as seen by the cold eye of science is devoid of such things and that they are merely part of the way we perceive it, of the Lebenswelt. Philosophers have struggled with that one. George Santayana said that people with what he called a "realist" viewpoint "seem to feel that unless moral and aesthetic judgments are expressions of objective truth, and not merely expressions of human nature, they stand convicted of hopeless triviality," adding, "a judgment is not trivial, however, because it rests on human feeling; on the contrary, triviality consists in abstraction from human interests, of which the knowledge of truth is one, but one only".
Others argue that morality is objective truth and that we are "... rational spirit obliged for ever to obey the absolute values of the [moral law]"
I don't honestly believe that a notion of "balance" helps us. Either our moral intuitions are valid (or at least necessary to us) or they're not. I don't think ecosystems, which is what I suppose you're thinking of, are static anyway. They may move into a kind of stasis from time-to-time, but change also seems to be a law of life, so that sooner or later a new factor enters and if and when a kind of stasis emerges again, it's a different one.
I'm not sure philosophical discussions about whether there is a moral law or "categorical imperative" or whatnot and whether we're bound to obey it have much bearing on vegetarianism.
The important thing for some people would seem to be to decide whether or not we are obliged not to eat animals. Most moralists don't seem to have thought so, and the only completely vegetarian religion is Jainism. Our bodies from the dentition downwards are suited to an omnivorous diet, so anyone who takes a theistic viewpoint (for example, Christians and Jews) can hardly suppose we should not eat animals.
The concerns about animal welfare seem valid to me. However, those can be addressed without anyone's ceasing to eat animals, so that's not really an argument for vegetarianism. There is a good philosophical discussion here:
There is probably a certain squeamishness about death involved. That's not really a moral reason and tends to be undermined by the reflection that no being, ourselves included, lives for ever on this Earth and perhaps we should take death more lightly, eating meat with gratitude and going ourselves with good humour when the end comes. Moreover, animals, lacking self-consciousness, do not think obsessively about death - the end of consciousness - as we do. This is about us, not them. I'd submit that much of the emotion behind vegetarianism probably is "about us" but that so is much in all our attitudes. I think vegetarians might perhaps like, as it were, to stand a little aloof from nature. But if nature is "everything there is", you can't do that. I think perhaps vegetarianism is only the most extreme form of a kind of alienation from nature that is visible in other forms around us.
A meat eater who doesn't like the sight of blood, who won't eat rare meat, who's revolted by the thought of eating insects, who dislikes mud, who worries too much about hygiene and dirt, who has disgust reactions to dung has nothing to feel superior about. His hunting forebears, and indeed most of the farming ones, would think him a very odd fish indeed.
A very, very good post Mick! Thank you.
When life was short and brutal, no one worried about an animal's demise to become breakfast. People understood that death was part of life, and it might be the pig's death today, and my life tomorrow. People are now so detached from death that it has become something separate from life. I'm 63 and I didn't go to my first funeral service until I was about 34!
As has been pointed out, the culture of growing crops kills many animals, ruins their burrows and homes, changes their ecoscape when deforested, kills the aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico, for instance. But somehow those lifeforms aren't as sacred as that of a pig.
As one who has thought of plants every bit equal to us for many decades, I find no moral superiority in eating dormant plant fetuses (seeds) or their limbs (leaves.) Whatever happened to that "Secret Life of Plants" movement from the 70's?