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Penguin travels every year to visit man who rescued him (2016) (cbc.ca)
862 points by colinprince on Jan 9, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 289 comments

When I was a child, a school teacher showed me this hoax video of flying penguins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dfWzp7rYR4.

Unfortunately, for a brief period of my childhood, I was under the assumption that penguins could indeed fly. By the time I had uncovered my teacher's subterfuge, I had already made a fool of myself by publicly positing that such penguins existed.

Admittedly, my teacher was only playing a prank on me -- but ever since that incident I have been distrustful of penguins. I genuinely hope that one day I can overcome this irrational view and appreciate the flightless birds.

Yeah, it turns out that those birds were not flying but were actually launched from catapults. One of them even landed in a pig sty and was the inspiration behind the game "angry birds."

You should definitely update your friends on social media now that you know.

You're talking about a different hoax. This was most likely CGI (more info in the wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_penguin_hoax)

I think that was the joke. projectramo was spreading misinformation while encouraging the op to share it, thus reliving the previous experience of repeating hoaxes as facts

In French, "pingouin" is the name for a flying bird[0] though very few people know it and most mix up pingouins (auks) with manchots (penguins, literally "armless"). Saying that penguins can fly is technically correct but people will laugh at you unless you are prepared to spend a long time explaining it.

I think it's a shame that a teacher would mislead a child the way yours did.

Having worked with penguins (the flightless ones) though, I have to say that while they are funny they didn't strike me as the most interesting or intelligent birds ever. I was quite disappointed, they regularly die by getting stuck in seaweed lying on the beach, and just keeping trying to walk straight until they get exhausted and fall. You get more meaningful interaction with a crow or even a common blackbird.


I wouldn't say that "very few people know it", it's just that people don't think about it. Just tell them "pingouin, not manchot. Pingouin flies but not manchot. Manchot is called penguin in english".

Also, the confusion is greater from the fact that the Grand Pingouin (extinct in the XIX century) did not fly

> I think it's a shame that a teacher would mislead a child the way yours did.

I had a really good teacher who would sometimes tell us particularly absurd things to see if we would figure it out and contradict her. When we did she would remind us that we should think for ourselves and not accept at face value claims just because they were presented by an authority figure.

I do this with my son all the time to see if he’s listening / get him to think critically. I always let him know if he doesn’t catch on though so he’s not misinformed.

Crows seem in a relative sense very intelligent, I'm impressed with them. I think penguins main appeal is there cuteness.

> but ever since that incident I have been distrustful of penguins

Shouldn't you be distrustful of school teachers?

I think that might have been the punchline

That's not rational either. Perhaps to be distrustful only of that particular one. That might be sensible.

This just made me think of this:



Based on this I would definitely distrust penguins, because this and this is definitely a reason for this.

Reminds me of an incident in my early education when I happened to catch a documentary spoof about Stonehenge on TV that depicted whales building the ancient wonder. (I think Steve Martin was involved.)

Coincidentally, a few days later the topic of Stonehenge came up in class and my teacher asked if anyone knew anything about it. I immediately raised my hand and, when my teacher called on me, smugly announced, with full sincerity, that whales had built it.

She simply said, "No." Then turned to the next raised hand.

Edit: I can now confirm that my teacher was simply not informed by the latest research at the time:


There is evidence to suggest that the stone came from Wales, so perhaps you weren't too far from the truth. ;)

"When I was a child" [posts video from 2008]

Ouch. Now I feel really old...

Back in the 80's Penguins were used to illustrate a classic reasoning challenge associated with belief systems - non-monotonic reasoning [0]. The story went like this: you are an AI building a cage for a bird called Tweety. You reason that the cage will need a roof and perhaps a tree or two for Tweety to perch in. After having built the cage, Tweety arrives and you discover that he is a Penguin.

So I have also been somewhat distrustful of Penguins, especially those appearing in AI teaching examples. Tweety actually appeared in a load of other AI examples, although I can't recall his specific escapades now.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-monotonic_logic

I know we're talking about penguins here, but watching the BBC video made me remember a flat mate at uni who told me about the BCC covering the Spaghetti-Harvest in Ticino. (Yes that's right. Spagehtti-Harvest.) He was really disappointed to learn later in life that 'Spaghetti don't grow on trees'. https://youtu.be/tVo_wkxH9dU

One of the top comments on the penguin video is

"The bastards destroyed the entire spaghetti crop last year. I don't see why anyone still fawns over them."

British humour at its finest!

Released 31 March 2008 :)

Did he happen to show it to you on April 1st? xD

To that end, the dollop did a podcast that talked about the harrowing experience of penguins on an island off Australia: https://thedollop.libsyn.com/207-the-animal-horror-of-macqua...

I've listened to it 4 times so far, it's amazing.

For some reason I thought they could sort of fly. Not high or great distances. Less then a turkey, but still in the range of a few feet.

Their wings evolved into flippers more or less. Optimizing for that meant that flight was no longer possible.

I think they posted on March 31st for April 1st? (April fool's day?). Just the fact that it's an advertisement for BBC.

Correct, the BBC has a long tradition of presenting a fake documentary clip on April Fool's day. Not sure if it was the first one, but you can find a very old BBC April 1st clip on the "traditional yearly harvesting of spaghetti", where you see villagers pick fresh and ripe spaghetti from the spaghetti trees, carefully laying them in the baskets they carry...

Not sure if this is the best clip:


And context:

"At the time (1957) spaghetti was relatively little-known in the UK, so that many Britons were unaware that spaghetti is made from wheat flour and water; a number of viewers afterwards contacted the BBC for advice on growing their own spaghetti trees."

> so that many Britons were unaware that spaghetti is made from wheat flour and water

I doubt many Britons know that now to be fair. I could easily imagine this jape catching people out today.

Really? I suspect many people wouldn't know the exact ingredients or manufacturing process, but I think almost everyone knows that it doesn't grow on trees!

Your teacher should not have told you something she knew was patently false. Teachers should not play pranks on students.

At least they didn't drop a bunch of them out of a helicopter.


... as God is my witness, I thought penguins could fly.

> It's technically illegal to have a wild animal as a pet in Brazil, as officials want to ensure vulnerable creatures don't get separated from their families and that they can be reintroduced into the wild after injury.

Same where I am. I've wondered, though. What constitutes a pet?

For example, I give peanuts to the wild squirrels around my house. This is not illegal where I live. It is illegal, however, to keep a wild squirrel as a pet.

Several of the squirrels seem to recognize me, and run up to me when I go out, get up on their hind legs, and wave their front paws around in a gesture that looks like they are asking for peanuts.

I'm pretty sure some of them would come inside to get their peanuts if I opened the front door but did not go outside. From there I could probably train them to essentially be pets [1].

But would they legally be pets, and therefore illegal, if they were free to come and go at will? Or would they simply be wild animals coming into human space, which happens to be controlled by a human who isn't going to make them leave?

A co-worker had a similar situation with a raccoon. He was giving her food, and she got more and more comfortable with him, to the point she would come right up, and peacefully accept food and petting. She even brought her babies by apparently to show them to him.

Was he legally keeping a pet raccoon?

[1] I don't actually want squirrels in my house. In fact, I've done some looking into squirrel traps in case one does come in and I need to get it out. That almost happened a couple of times when I was tossing peanuts from the door, and one squirrel startled another from behind, causing the first squirrel to dash forward right toward my door.

I'm going to say something that people probably won't want to hear, but I hope to justify it and convince others of it as well.

Don't feed wild animals.

The difference between a pet, and a wild animal is that a pet owner takes responsibility for the wellbeing and actions of a pet.

Feeding wild animals is detrimental to their wellbeing. They become accustomed to people, and not all people are nice to animals. You won't always live there, and they may come to depend on your good will. Also, you very likely don't know what their necessary macronutrients are, and they may very well remove a large portion of their natural nutrients to just eat peanuts, or bread, or what ever you're feeding them. This is also probably not healthy for them.

They also suppress their natural instinct, which can get them killed in a number of ways, whether it's by doing riskier things, like crossing a street more often to get to the source of free food, or by behaving in a way that makes it easier for predators to prey on them.

If you've been to a national park in the US, you might have noticed how accustomed squirrels and some other animals are to people. This isn't because one person feeds them, but because a few people of the many feed them, and it's enough to change their behavior. Nobody takes responsibility for the consequences of this, so I think people should blanket avoid doing it.

To be clear, feeding animals doesn't make you a bad person, I'm not trying to condemn anyone, if anything it shows a lot of empathy, but I also think it is short sighted.

If an animal is in distress, there are tons of resources, at least in the US to help. I've saved a crow and a seagull, and taken them to wild animal rescue centers, and I encourage others to do the same.

If you're in the Bay Area, I highly recommend both visiting Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital, and considering it if you find an animal in distress: https://lindsaywildlife.org/

You can also usually contact the Human Society, or search, there are a lot of independent operators, I took the seagull I found to Native Animal Rescue in Santa Cruz: https://www.nativeanimalrescue.org

> I've saved a crow and a seagull, and taken them to wild animal rescue centers

This is emphatic behavior, but do know that in almost all circumstances the result is that the animal rescue centers will euthanized animals that is not endangered, has protected status, or has local biological diversity benefits. Seagulls and feral pigeons in particular are very unlikely to leave the center alive.

This also happens for larger animals like seals pups that end up separated from their mothers. From the mouth of a animal rescue centers here in Sweden, if one is lucky a eagle will see it and nature will take care of it. Only if sufficient numbers of day has passed and the pup is in clear agony will they pick it up to then have it euthanized at the center.

That said, animals should not suffer unnecessary so "rescue" in that context is still a good thing.

Absolutely. The crow I rescued was euthanized. They give you a number to check on the animals you bring in. That said, they provide great care and release thousands of rescues each year, and if they are too injured they at least get a humane end. It tears me up watching an animal die slowly.

  Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital
Interesting that they have a recurring event like "Nightlife" at the Academy of Sciences:


I thought it was quite common to see signs up telling people not to feed wild animals, particularly in very populated areas like city parks?

I'm guessing it is fairly common knowledge already and not that unpopular of a statement for you to say.

With that said, it is fun to feed animals, so I can understand the appeal. We used to take loaves of stale bread and feed the ducks down by the lake growing up.

There are those signs.

There's also plenty of advice from wildlife experts not to feed wild animals. The exception being that it's ok to have a garden which contains food providing trees/shrubs/etc.

But people get offended when you tell them to stop doing it - "Oh, it's no harm, it's just a bit of fun".

You get a similar response when you tell people they're assholes for letting their cats roam - despite cats being massive killers of wildlife.

The sign doesn’t communicate why it’s bad. As is clear from my comment I think a lot of context matters. Also, some people don’t give a shit.

I was a bit defensive because I replied directly to a comment about someone who feeds wild animals and I wanted to avoid being accusatory and confrontational while still getting a point across.

Yes. Don’t ignore signs and guidance from local wildlife authorities.

Some animals can really fuck you up. Or you might be messing with a protected species.


If you're in the Bay Area you should also visit the Marine Mammal Center in Marin. Make sure you time it so you can take the backstage tour!

* late edit: Humane Society

I know you already know, but just posting in case it helps someone else. Be really careful about letting a squirrel get into a closed area with you, or even too close to your body. If they feel threatened (which they will once they realize they are trapped) they will f--k you up. This happened to an acquaintance of mine and he has permanent eye damage from it. They may not seem like it when they are gracefully and happily climbing trees and branches, but they are fast as hell with reflexes like lightning, and claws like knives.

Or they might just scratch you and run off, then you get to have rabies treatments. Either way, no fun.

Squirrels (and others rodents) virtually never get or transmit rabies, so that’s not really a concern.

Source: am DVM.

Rodents "virtually never" transmit a disease that virtually always kills you, and consequently doctors virtually always send you to rabies treatment when bitten by rodents (but it's not as bad nowdays, just standard shots).

Source: was bitten by rodents.

That’s surprising, given the CDC’s view on the matter:

“[Small rodents] are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to transmit rabies to humans.

In all cases involving rodents, the state or local health department should be consulted before a decision is made to initiate postexposure prophylaxis.”



Scratch is a normal type move, and can't be super effective ;)

Of course, Scratch would never be super effective!

My dad did the same thing and knew he had to stop when he turned around in his kitchen and his friendly squirrel was standing there asking for a peanut.

Be careful because squirrels can really do damage if they get into your attic or house.

Here in Sweden someone had pigeons flying to their balcony all the time and they got reported for keeping them as a pet. The city dropped them off in another town but they flew back and were ordered to be put down because native species are not allowed to be kept as pets and they were unwilling to adapt to not living on the balcony.

> Here in Sweden someone had pigeons flying to their balcony all the time and they got reported for keeping them as a pet. The city dropped them off in another town but they flew back and were ordered to be put down because native species are not allowed to be kept as pets and they were unwilling to adapt to not living on the balcony.

If the motivation of these laws is to protect the animals, I can't think of a more backwards response.

Unless the intention is to preserve wild behavior and prevent domestication, i.e. removing some individuals from the population to (in a way) preserve the species.


Some cockatiels that proved very hard to catch this summer after they escaped were ordered to be put down by some hunters as well. They can survive our winters in urban areas and pose a risk to the native birds.

It's really weird around London to see flocks of parakeets.


But they're pigeons. Balconies are their natural habitat. I don't think there's any species of bird that's more at home with humans.

Pigeons hardly need protecting. They are nuisance animals in most areas.

They become a nuisance when people try to domesticate that. Which is why there are laws against doing so.

Pigeons are a nuisance without any assistance from people trying to domesticate them.

This is probably the real motivation, not concern for the wildness of the birds. Neighbors thinking you harbor disease and so on.

It's not just about "neighbours harboring disease". Pigeons are the B-17 of animal kingdom, they carpet bomb everything with their excrement as they fly. You start feeding them, and suddenly the entire block has to clean their balconies and cars every day.

Then you are being ignorant. The idea is not to protect a few animals, it is to protect all animals, and all pigeons in this case.

It may not protect the individuals in this case but it does help protect the "wildness" of the animals as a group.

Likely the neighbors were complaining about the side effects.

Wait until you hear about all the ways government applies that same authority to "protecting" people

In Brazil, if you cage the animal you have clearly crossed the line. I don't think anybody was ever successfully persecuted by having a pet they didn't cage, but I do know there is no lack of attempts.

> I've wondered, though. What constitutes a pet?

We don't need categories to be so rigid.

I have some squirrels in the yard who recognise me and follow me around until I feed them.

I call them 'yard pets'.

Sometimes they come into the house when they are too excited, but I've never had trouble escorting them out.

I don't particularly like the idea of laws getting in the way of my relationship with animals, even if they are wild.

To get a bit pedantic you're on the path to domesticating those squirrels, most wildlife professionals wouldn't consider them wild any more.

My father worked for WI DNR for many years and it always irked him that people feeding the wildlife didn't think they were doing any harm when they were making the animals co-dependent on that food source.

> To get a bit pedantic you're on the path to domesticating those squirrels...

To be even more pedantic: No, they're not.

> Domestication should not be confused with taming. Taming is the conditioned behavioral modification of an animal to reduce its natural avoidance of humans, and to accept the presence of humans. Domestication is the permanent genetic modification of a bred lineage that leads to an inherited predisposition towards humans.

It shouldn't be difficult to imagine how taming could lead to domestication.

That said, I personally don't believe there to be anything wrong with having a fully domesticated line of squirrels and other animals. My personal favourite would be a domesticated line of Tasmanian Devils.

I'll even go as far as to say that if habitat loss continues unabated then domestication of more and more species may become necessary.

Domesticated echidnas would be great. They could help keep ant populations in check.

I had a 3 month battle trying to keep meat (protein eating) ants out of my house last year. I eventually caved and had a professional pest controller spray a barrier around the perimeter of my house.

6 months later and the first signs of ant repopulation are starting to appear. I dislike having to use strong poisons as they are indiscriminate and we need to have healthy insect populations as part of the ecology (plant pollination, breakdown of dead organic matter etc).

One or two echidnas might have been able to deal with my ant problem in a few days. Maybe an echidna hire service (Uber for echnidnas?) could work.

Plus they are just plain cool animals to see walking around.

The variety of life on Earth is so cool.

Echidnas and the platypus are the only egg-laying mammals, known as monotremes. The average lifespan of an echidna in the wild is estimated around 14–16 years. When fully grown, a female can weigh up to 4.5 kilograms (9.9 lb) and a male can weigh up to 6 kilograms (13 lb).[8] The echidnas' sex can be inferred from their size, as males are 25% larger than females on average. The reproductive organs also differ, but both sexes have a single opening called a cloaca, which they use to urinate, release their faeces and to mate.[1]


Reposting from below.

Eastern grey squirrels were deliberately introduced into city parks for the enjoyment of people.[1]

Also wild animals are flexible enough in their behaviour to accommodate interactions with humans.

If you observe them carefully, you can see them switch from 'normal' behaviour to the behaviour they use when interacting with people.

It's kind of like when you speak two languages and can switch from one to the other in an instant.

[1] The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States Etienne Benson J Am Hist (2013) 100 (3): 691-710.

Sure, but that's not really relevant here. The parent still considers them 'wild' despite providing alternate food source which changes their behavioral patterns.

Somewhat similar to photographers baiting animals for more dramatic photos: https://www.audubon.org/news/why-you-shouldnt-feed-or-bait-o...

If you want to keep wildlife truly wild you should do your part to minimize the impact you have on their habitats and behaviors.

> The parent still considers them 'wild' despite providing alternate food source which changes their behavioral patterns.

Who says this is changing their behavioural patterns? Maybe native people in north america have been randomly feeding grey squirrels for thens of thousands of years.

Maybe for longer in Eurasia?

In fact if it weren't in the animals behavioural repertoire to recognise the opportunity of taking food from people, then we wouldn't even be able to get them to understand.

> Who says this is changing their behavioural patterns?

Can you guarantee 100% that is isn't? No, of course not. Then just leave them alone. What is it with people feeling they can just constantly interfere with animals lives. These are not your pets, not your playthings to do as you wish.

You must be a vegan to hold such strong opinions on this. I wonder how widely your view is shared by other vegans... I certainly see no problem with offering an animal food, though I wouldn't cage or otherwise forcibly tame an animal.

>Eastern grey squirrels were deliberately introduced into city parks for the enjoyment of people.[1]

Did not know — thanks for this.

Also, this has to be the dumbest move in the history of urban planning (considering squirrels track record as an invasive species). It'd appear someone didn't think this through 100%.

Where is the zoologist on the city board when you need one, right?

> We don't need categories to be so rigid.

For the purposes of law we do.

> I don't particularly like the idea of laws getting in the way of my relationship with animals, even if they are wild.

And yet there is a case to be made for these laws to prevent animals from abuse, etc. These kinds of laws are usually well-served by having an attached definition of what constitutes a pet as it is used in the law. The more defined a law is, the less likely it is to get in the way where it isn't supposed to.

For the purposes of law we do.

Law is a good servant and a bad master. Ultimately decisions are imposed by humans and unthinking obedience to the law is just as totalitarian as unthinking obedience to a leader. It's the unthinking obedience bit that's the problem.

As I mentioned in another comment, I am not addressing whether or not the law is appropriate. Any law is better served by being more specific, thus reducing the chance that it is inappropriately applied. Of course, there is always the recourse to change the law.

(I am going to assume for the purposes of this discussion that we are not discussing what might be termed immoral laws, where the argument can be made (quite strongly) that they should be disobeyed even if it is the law.)

I will much, much rather have a clear cut law than uncertainty. It is not hard to make clear laws but it's impossible to make "interpretation" clear and always the same.

I hate the Finnish judicial system.

Meh, I'm just talking about everyday interactions with squirrels in the yard. You're not telling me I'm going to need a lawyer to negotiate that, are you? :-)

It's consensual, the squirrels enjoy the interaction and so do I. Either is free to defect anytime.

Fun fact. Squirrels in most north american cities are not wild creatures, they were deliberately introduced into parks to create what was called 'communal pets'.

The thinking was that the need to care for them would be a positive influence on people.

There is a paper on it:

The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States Etienne Benson J Am Hist (2013) 100 (3): 691-710.

Of course. I am not addressing whether or not the law is appropriate. But if the law is there, it should be codified properly, so that you shouldn't need a lawyer to deal with something the law was never intended to address.

> For the purposes of law we do

No we don't. That's why we have judges

And judges never give out different sentences based race or affluence....

Is squirrel a race now?

No but the person going in front of the judge is where the less clear the law is, the more of a chance for bias.

sure if you mean it by the old sense of a species (cf. the human race)

Judges are not lawmakers. They serve to interpret the laws accurately. Of course, often the laws are not codified very specifically, so it is left to judges to interpret it as straightforwardly as possible.

gave a cookie to a squirrel outside my dorm room at university (3rd story, he came in off the roof) and the little dude showed up for a few days. It was really cute. Then one day I come home and find the room trashed and a hole in the screen. He couldn't find his cookie! I learned my lesson.

i gradually tamed the ducks that graced our pond with bits of wonder bread when i was a kid. they let me pet them and hug them and squeeze them in exchange. =)

i didn’t quite consider them my pets but they certainly weren’t wild any more.

> Same where I am. I've wondered, though. What constitutes a pet?

I think placing medium/long term restrictions on their movement is probably the most useful demarcation line. Your squirrels are free to leave any time but a dog is typically kept in by a fence, a caged bird is a pet but one free to fly away is a wild animal. Naturally cats a somewhere in between.

I was walking down the sidewalk at a University once, and a squirrel stopped in front of me. I stopped and stared down at it. It moved a foot closer and stared back up at me. Before I knew what was happening it started scampering up my leg! I jumped and it went back down, but I still don't know why it did that.

He was probably looking for the food that other students feed him. Squirrels at my university were quite used to people feeding them by hand.

Seems there's a Quora question with some answers on this: https://www.quora.com/In-the-US-is-there-a-legal-definition-...

For some reason I read the "she" as your coworker and the "he" as the raccoon

Just regulate against purposefully feeding wild animals. Problem solved.

Legal or no, your coworker should probably be careful. Raccoons are one of the main rabies carriers in the US. Of course, if it was actually a pet, presumably your coworker could have gotten the raccoon vaccinated.

From there I could probably train them to essentially be pets

There is a comic book character with this power https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squirrel_Girl

This is the most heartwarming thing I've read in a long time! It's like a real-life Pixar short. I know I will come back to this article many times in the future. Thank you very much for sharing.

"Dindim" is a slang for money in Brazil, but in a very cute way. "Money" is "dinheiro" in Portuguese so Dindim is like saying the first part of the word twice.

Dindim is also how people call those ice-cream-like things inside a plastic bag. At least that's the first thing that came to my mind when I read the article. Really don't know if it exists or has a name in other parts of the world, but in Brazil I've also heard "geladinho", "cremosinho", "sacolé" and probably many other names. But to me, it's always gonna be "dindim".

Really? That makes a whole lot more sense!

Geladinho -> geladim -> dindim

I never heard of that! I always called it sacolé, but then again slangs are very much regional in Brazil

"It's like a real-life Pixar short."

A bit off-topic, but there's actually something very similar: A 2008 animated short called 'Lost and Found' about a lost penguin and his friendship with a young boy. It's based on a children's book of the same name. The book and film are both charming and feature lovely visuals. The film was made by London-based Studio AKA:


Edit: Just saw the comment from timthorn mentioning the same book.

> It's like a real-life Pixar short.

You mean Lost & Found, by Oliver Jeffers?


It predates this real life story, but has very strong echoes...

> "Dindim" is a slang for money in Brazil, but in a very cute way.

Just curious, the way it is pronounced in the video it sounds similar to "Ching ching", which is also slang for money in English (sounds like a cash register opening). Is that the same idea in Portuguese?

I don't think it's purposefully so... "Di" sounds more like "Ji" (with a short i) in most accents

It's only a Ji in Brazilian Portuguese accents. In other accents (most notably continental Portuguese), Di is pronounced like Dee.

reduplication[1], in case you find that sort of thing interesting. Almost exact reduplication, bar the ending - is ending in -in or -din allowed in Brazilian Portuguese?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduplication

Words can't end in "n" in Portuguese (Brazilian or otherwise), so the "n" is replaced with an "m" with very few exceptions like pólen (polen). It's worth noting that in Portuguese we don't pronounce the ending "m" or "n" for that matter. In other words, your lips don't touch at the end of "dindim". Both the "n" and the "m" in that word only serve to turn the short i into a nasal i. Try pronouncing the word "inn" without letting your tongue move at all and you'll get the idea, if you're not familiar with the sound.

"N"s also can't come before "P" or "B", in which case they also get replaced by "m". This is true in Spanish as well, though the first rule isn't.

makes sense, so it's really exact reduplication, but represented with the orthographic constraints you describe. thanks :)

I may be wrong but I guess that we don't have any words in portuguese that ends with in or din.

In Brazillian portuguese, the only words ended with "n" are scientific names (neologisms?) with a latin radical, e.g. elétron, próton, nêutron, pólen, plâncton, necton, etc.

In European portuguese, while the above forms are also common, the alternatives "electrão, protão, neutrão" are often found.

When I was a kid my family raised three young kestrels (small birds of prey that look like a hawk) who had lost their mother. They had an outdoor enclosure and we did not handle them much, but they understandably got attached.

Once we released them, they stayed in the area and would often swoop out of the sky and land on my head. It gave visiting neighbors and friends quite a surprise! We gradually saw less of the birds as they ventured farther out and eventually they moved on completely.

what'd it feel like to have the bird land on your head?

were you wearing a hat?

I didn't wear a hat and could feel their talons gripping/pulling my hair. It was only slightly uncomfortable, they seemed pretty concious of not causing any harm. I did have the sense that it would really suck if they did clamp down hard.

The time a small bird landed on my shoulder, I thought someone had tapped my shoulder until I started turning around and it flapped off.

We have wild chickadees and nuthatches which eat out of our hands in our backyard.

To forgive the tautology, intelligent creatures are intelligent. Which also means that love is possible. I mean... every person who's ever had a pet (of any sort) understands this (as I stare at the photo of my recently-deceased and very-charismatic cat). It may not fit into any naturalistic model that clearly separates humans from these other intelligent creatures (and ascribes all perception of humanlike feeling to "anthropomorphism"), but nevertheless, that is how I believe it is. They play, they feel pain, they get bored, they get hungry, they get (ahem) horny, they get excited/happy, they love (perhaps dimmer versions than the ones we're familiar with, but anyway). Sometimes my cat would make sounds in the dark of night that sounded like... ennui.

If anything actually separates us from the animals, it's not these things- it's things like music appreciation or creativity. All the other experiential things we're familiar with seem to be shared with them.

(And yet... I continue to eat bacon. sigh. I've met pigs that were clearly happy to see a friendly face of any species... haunts me, actually.)

Think of it this way. If you suddenly lost the ability to speak and didn't have fingers or arms and all you could do was swim, bump around, and bite things, you'd probably act a lot like a fish, but you'd still love and feel emotions like a human, we'd just have no way of knowing. We are extremely arrogant (and oddly so, in my opinion) in our assumption that "lesser" species don't have consciousness or that they have a dramatically lesser or reduced phenomenological experience of the world. I think animals think and have many of the same emotions we have, and we're just huge assholes. In the very least it makes sense for that to be the default assumption, rather than to assume by default that animals are unfeeling automatons and to literally disembowel dogs like Descartes did to be like "see, here it isn't experiencing pain -- it's just a meat machine that reacts in a preset way!"

wait... Descartes disemboweled live dogs?!?!

It appears so. What a filthy guy. Don't read if you don't have the stomach for it


Gary Francione (Introduction to Animal Rights): “Descartes and his followers performed experiments in which they nailed animals by their paws onto boards and cut them open to reveal their beating hearts. They burned, scalded, and mutilated animals in every conceivable manner. When the animals reacted as though they were suffering pain, Descartes dismissed the reaction as no different from the sound of a machine that was functioning improperly. A crying dog, Descartes maintained, is no different from a whining gear that needs oil.”

Curses omitted from this comment.

If you would believe some materialists, we're ALL just biological machines with illusory feelings, though...

We are all just biological machines, whatever that means.

However, it would be a mistake to presume that our feelings are an illusion, or that pain is meaningless without some ephemeral abstraction beyond the material to grant it a Platonic "reality" that mere nerves and synapses can't aspire to.

Funny thing is, Descartes was approaching it from literally the exact opposite angle. To him, the soul was all the difference between real pain and "mechanical reaction".

For such a smart guy, to act on such an assumption without any evidence for either a soul in us or no soul in animals seems grossly out of character... although he probably predates the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution of thought

illusory? In that real feelings exist in a more real form?

The world is what our bodies make of it - its as real for me as it is for my cats. IQ doesnt imply worth.

See, I'm ok with that. That doesn't mean your feelings and the feelings of others don't matter.

Horrific. That wouldn't pass any ethics review board today.

I worked for a short time in an animal facility nearly two decades back as part of an immunology undergraduate research project. I did all the ethical and vetinary training and exams. Some scientists do take Descartes' line, that animals don't feel like human beings do. I don't. I think it's a convenient philosophical position to take to avoid agonising over inflicting pain and suffering upon other organisms. It's a line of work I got out of at the earliest opportunity; I found it stressful and nauseating, even while working under strict ethical guidelines and practices which minimised pain and suffering to the highest possible extent, and had strict regulation of animal welfare.

While it's possible to debate the relative intelligence and sentience of different species, I strongly suspect that all higher mammals experience emotions similarly to ourselves, and I suspect that this may well extend to lower mammals and possibly other species such as amphibians and fish. Though this is obviously difficult to investigate and prove. It's dangerous to anthropomorphise human behaviour, feelings and emotions in other animals. However, I think it's equally, if not more, dangerous to assume that animals are incapable of none of the feelings and emotions that we do.

Dogs can clearly experience pain. The anguished yelp if I accidentally tread on my dogs paws wearing heavy boots is sufficient to tell me that! And arthritic pain in old age was less obvious, but they took clear steps to avoid actions which would hurt. They clearly experience fear. I've seen my dog's legs turn to jelly when faced with a herd of cattle, and I couldn't drag him past them because he dug all his paws into the ground and refused to take a step further. Another cried when they were too scared to walk across wobbly and loose rocks on a mountain, and I had to carry them over. The same applies to other animals as well, though the means they use to communicate pain or fear may differ.

I liked the direction taken by Emory university e.g. this recent research: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037663571... which gets past interpreting behaviour and instead uses fMRI to see how dogs respond directly. Hopefully this will show the similarities in our reactions as well as some of the differences.

Research like that summarised in https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/24/smart-d... is also important. This shows that dogs can have sophisticated linguistic and reasoning capabilities. How many other species have such untapped potential, which we simply haven't noticed?

Ya I'm troubled by this too. I'm really into bodybuilding but the human body simply can't recover unless it eats beef/salmon/eggs/chicken/etc at least one or more times per week, especially after the minor injuries that inevitably come with lifting weights.

As a general rule, I never eat mammals that are omnivores or carnivores, so pigs and anything higher in the food chain are out. Veganism is a little unrealistic IMHO, but you can certainly eat these in the following order from most to least and try to stay vegetarian as much as possible:

* diary products - eggs, milk, cheese

* shellfish - clams, shrimp

* fish - tuna, salmon

* foul - chicken, turkey

* beef

If you look at beef as sacred (as many cultures do), then the death of one cow can feed countless people. In terms of deaths vs nutrition, it's probably the best meat source. Unfortunately it has environmental consequences, for example the desertification in the west is due to cow and sheep ranching. Usually my only serving of meat each day is a turkey sandwich. Then a cheeseburger once a week for recovery. And I weigh 260 pounds, coming up on a 300/400/500 bench/squat/deadlift so if I can eat meat sparingly, anyone can.

>I'm really into bodybuilding but the human body simply can't recover unless it eats beef/salmon/eggs/chicken/etc at least one or more times per week, especially after the minor injuries that inevitably come with lifting weights.

Is that so? How would you explain bodybuilders like these?


I don't know about these guys specifically but a lot of "vegan bodybuilders" are recent converts jumping on the bandwagon. That said I know longstanding / lifetime vegans and vegetarians who are into weightlifting and they get on just fine.

I'm not even close to a vegan or vegetarian, but your claims are just not true. There are a plethora of other sources of food sources for "recovery". There are quite a few vegan bodybuilders. There are even Vegan NFL players and MMA fighters, both of whom require far more in the way of "recovery" than a bodybuilder.

I lift HIT for BB. You might give Elmhurst's nut milks and protein shakes a try. Peanut protein is extremely comparable to meat protein. Veganism isnt unrealistic - it is just not a walk in the park unless you can afford to buy nice products like these peanut protein shakes and drink 8 of them a day.

Proper veganism for lazy hackers like us, that BB, is expensive. You and me both know we arent going to eat a plate of chewy mushy beans. Find the products that work for you. Elmhurst is basically my go-to for most of my protein.


Ya the funny thing is that I've tried to be a vegetarian as much as possible over 15 years with a 5 year break in the middle. The very best post-workout meal I ever found is a large burrito made of something like:

* 1 can of pinquitos or pinto beans

* 1 can of garbanzo beans (optional)

* 2-3 flour tortillas

* 1/2 onion

* 1/2 green pepper

* cheddar cheese

* 1/2 avocado or about a dozen black olives

* salsa

* lettuce (optional)

Then eat it in a giant bowl with 8-16 oz of milk.

This all worked great until the last year or so as I've developed some leaky gut issues due to a sensitivity to peanuts after living on PB&J sandwiches for a year after the housing crash. I think the sensitivity may have transferred to beans recently, causing a legume/nightshade sensitivity to my gut flora or intestinal lining. Could just be due to middle age though.

Anyway, I switched to almond butter, laid off the beans for a couple of months, ate L-glutamine and licorice root capsules, and am 85% back to normal. No acne but some digestive issues still.

A vegetarian diet helps you pack on pounds like a gorilla, but can make it tricky to get the "dry" look of classic bodybuilders from the 70s that ate 1-2 pounds of beef per day and did steroids. Also I know very few vegetarians that made it longer than about 3 years. It's doable but takes discipline to eat enough variety and get enough micro nutrients. Inflammation is a big problem with legumes, but it's also a problem with high animal protein diets. Like anything, balance is best, but for ethical reasons I prefer to eat as little meat as possible. Hope this helps someone.

I guess we aren't much alike. I've always been a skinny guy, its hard for me to eat a lot. Without cheeses, I have a tough time packing on weight. Thats why I like shakes, its much easier to down a shake than eat a meal. But I'll concede that solid foods are probably better for gut health.

Rice and pea protein tends to be extremely gritty due to the husks, so I am not a big fan of it. These peanut shakes are lifesavers for me, although its probably a tenuous plan to rely on a single product to maintain veganism? :-/

Micro nutrients aren't a huge deal if you take quality supps like Life Extensions Mix. Greens+ Wild Berries is also a great complete nutrient supp.

Id also recommend eating a few tablespoons of bee pollen granules. They actually have a surprisingly high amount of protein and micronutrients.

I have logos for a startup I was working on called Roylent, which would basically be a protein shake made purely from bee products, bee pollen, honey, propolis, and royal jelly.

Unfortunately I never completed it but I do think it could be a good product for vegans that are ok with non-lethal products that work with animals rather than against them. Bees are awesome. :-)

>for example the desertification in the west is due to cow and sheep ranching

No, the west was a desert long before ranching. I'm not sure what you meant here but I think you'll need to be a bit more specific or provide a reference to what you're talking about.

In fairness, it's not well known - but - you are actually the one that's wrong in this case. The loss of biodiversity is pretty staggering in the west, especially in the high desert country of the northwest in states like Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

It's not so much about precipitation but loss of biodiversity. For example where I was born, there was a 10 foot tall sagebrush forest covering most of southern Idaho a century ago. There were streams every few miles with more than enough fish and wildlife to support thousands of Native Americans. That's all been replaced with cheatgrass as far as the eye can see and a 5-10 foot drop in the water table so all high desert streams are essentially gone and the area can no longer support life. Rodents, cats and even people have contracted the plague:


This was mostly due to widespread cattle and sheep grazing on public lands. Livestock ate all of the native vegetation so the topsoil ran off:


Many groups like the Snake River Alliance and Idaho Conservation League work to reduce overgrazing but in conservative states like Idaho it's a constant battle with state and local governments. The BLM tends to cater more to ranchers and big agribusiness companies like Simplot than to conservationists.

I could write for pages about this but will just leave this link as a starting point:


> And yet... I continue to eat bacon. sigh. I've met pigs that were clearly happy to see a friendly face of any species... haunts me, actually.

I've raised pigs, and eaten those pigs. They're a lot like dogs - very loyal and intelligent. I suppose that makes me a monster in this thread full of vegans.

I had a pet pig, Habeas Corpus we called him. Smart as could be. Loved to hang around us, play tug with a knotted t-shirt, run around the yard chasing/being chased. Gentle as could be.

We had a wire fence ring with a tree in it, that's where he stayed on summer nights. Hated going back into his pen at night when he was a piglet, became really hard to get close to around dusk, would just keep his distance casually without being offensive about it. One evening I sat on the grass by the fence, just chilling, and he came over to root around, just being companionable. When he was busy with something in the grass I picked up the wire, gently moved it over him and set it down again - now he was inside the ring.

A moment later he looks up, does a double-take, figures out he's in the pen again, and starts to scream bloody murder. Pigs can really scream! Took him a while to forgive me.

I think pigs are the next animal I will give up eating.

The last thing to be given up will be bacon, of course. I could switch to turkey bacon of course.

Funny name, btw!

it took me like 6-7 months to go vegan, it was hard for me to give up omelettes and cheese. but one day, I woke up and just didn't want to eat it anymore.

Start to have vegan meals once a day. then 3x a week. slowly your taste buds change and then you don't want it anymore

I could forgo meat although not easily, but cheese -as a French, that's a really tall order.

Cheese and eggs can be produced far more ethically than meat. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t have my morning poached eggs:

I only buy from ethical egg producers though

> perhaps dimmer versions than the ones we're familiar with

No, I think that's our subconscious desire to believe we are separate from the world around us speaking. They may experience and express feelings differently than we do, but that doesn't mean that experience is less meaningful.

I use the video game analogy for this. animals may be 8 bits, we're 32 bits. Still whatever bits games are running on, they use the same basic formulas (in the metaphor, these are our senses, emotions and abstractions). It's indeed evident that we share a lot with animals. Even if they may not think as much, and can't communicate like us. I also believe that most important times in our human lives, are quite animal... holding a baby, holding your SO hand, eating, pissing, sleeping well. Doesn't need to know about curved topologies.. and I'm sure most of us would be content with the list I just wrote. And to go back to the analogy, we spend time thinking about problems and whatever, but going back to 8 bits often leads to interesting use of our existences. Like helping someone simply can brighten your life much more than financial success.

I like this analogy.

To take it further I'm equally as fine with me eating an 8-bit animal as I am with a 64-bit being coming into my house and eating 32-bit me :)

Easy to say when you don't know any 64-bit beings. Which is to say that it is easy to see the food chain as moral justification when you're at the top of it.

No im pretty sure in any case i dont want to be eaten :)

256-bit cyborgs are coming

I would argue it's actually the opposite.

It seems to me that the more intelligent a being is, the more difficult they find it to allow themselves to fully experience their own emotion - be it love, anger, or whatever.

In my experience, cattle take that to an extreme. A cow can absolutely experience love and pain - but even the most intelligent of cattle that I've known were pretty dim compared to even other animals.

It seems to me as if the only thing they can experience are their emotions, and therefore emotions are much more meaningful from their frame of reference than from ours.

Hogs, on the other hand, are scary smart. When I was young I had a hog that incidentally bit my shorts while I was feeding them and pulled them down. He saw that I was embarrassed by that, and from that point forward any time I came to feed them and had another person with me, he'd make a beeline for me and try to "pants" me. He thought it was funny.

Evolutionary speaking, all the animals that care for their young or form bonds with other animals (same species) for cooperation have a higher likelihood of feeling emotions that you mentioned in your comments. Pain might be universal but things like "love", "play", "excitement", "boredom" etc. are highly unlikely in crustaceans or even fish.

So it's very clear that eating mammals and birds is ethically not okay but apart from the environmental reasons, eating sea food is probably not as bad as eating mammals/birds.

I think many humans are guilty of over-anthropomorphizing themselves.

How can you continue to eat other animals if you feel the way you do about other animals?

Because at the end of the day I have to eat and meat is a fantastic source of nutrients, many of which aren't found in a vegan diet like heme-iron.

FWIW I tried their Impossible Burger and it was amazingly spot-on, flavor and looks and texturewise.

But you are correct about the other criticisms/concerns about vegan diets in your child comment (I responded to this one because HN apparently limits you to 4 or so levels' deep commenting)

EDIT: Now the ability to reply to that one has returned. Not sure why that happened, but whatever... leaving this here

Wait till you try Impossible Burger 2.0...OMG

holy shit, this is literally hot off the presses as of 2 days ago. Thanks for the heads-up!!


Regarding the heme thing...

https://impossiblefoods.com/ is onto that

Thanks for linking that. An amazing goal and I wish them the best of luck, but we'll still have numerous other nutrients to engineer after we're done fixing this one issue.

Not to mention all the ingredients we'll have to engineer out of a vegan diet like the excess phytic acid (again just naming one example)

Humans don't need heme-iron, just iron. And I can get all the iron I need from whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

Thank you for calling me out on this (admitted) bit of bullshit in me. ;)

I guess I am comfortable with my cognitive dissonance in this area. FOR NOW.

(But seemingly no other areas. I memorized just about all the informal fallacies mostly so I can Correct People's Bad Thinking On The Internet, sigh...)

I'm also waiting for companies like https://impossiblefoods.com/ to do their thing. I tried their impossible burger, and it was amazingly indistinguishable from the real thing. If they come up with impossible bacon and impossible chicken, I'd definitely be able to pull off vegetarianism or pescatarianism. In the meantime, I unfortunately love my chicken and eggs, milk, cheese, ice cream (all in moderation). Also, although I do eat eggs, I check this site to make sure they're ethically obtained: https://www.cornucopia.org/scorecard/eggs/ And I ONLY buy eggs from the highly-ranked producers. I pay extra for this, of course.

Also I think fish/clams/oysters/shellfish are sort of the exception for most people, all signs point to them being only dimly conscious with extremely tiny brains. Given their nutritional value, it's arguably ethical to kill them for food (but not unsustainably to the point of drastic population decrease, which I think we're currently doing with bluefin tuna...) This doesn't include octopi and whales/dolphins and other obviously-intelligent creatures, of course.

What is your position on humane painless animal death after living a full life? (given that every being has to die, anyway)? What about lab-grown muscle fiber?

Again, I honestly appreciate the fact that you have a low tolerance for hypocrisy/cognitive-dissonance (at least in this area), and I fully admit this is a dissonance I am actively maintaining. I'm... trying to get out of it.

Self-honesty turns out to be the most difficult honesty...

Unfortunately there is a part of our brain that just wants to eat the stuff we're used to eating. It's really hard to change your diet, whether that's to lose weight, to mitigate a disease like diabetes, or to eat with your ethics. From my experience, the most successful way to cut out animal products from your diet is to have a passion for cooking. Trying out a new vegan recipe every week or so will start to build up your repertoire to the point where you're hankering for a dish that just happens to be vegan instead of consciously fighting against your desires.

Humane painless animal death after living a full life? How can you humanely kill something which does not want to die? No matter how painless, if you killed me and I had not asked you to, it would not be humane.

Actually, if you asked me to kill you and I did, I'd still get arrested due to anti-euthanasia laws (depending on jurisdiction!)

Using your reasoning, we should happily eat any animal (possibly including human, but animals also commit suicide sometimes) that suicided...

I think death is an inherently ugly thing no matter how you approach it, and given the existence of carnivores and omnivores who are not vultures waiting for food to die before consuming it, I don't think killing in nature for food is avoidable. Pain avoidance is much easier to reason about, however.

Like it or not, we are part of the natural world and its strange rules of engagement. Having just watched a hyena eat a wildebeest alive (someone in the comments here posted it), I have to wonder if humans are not the most "humane" killers-for-sustenance on the planet. The most ethical thing we can do (other than creating meat in a lab such as what Impossible Foods is doing... I'm a fan), IMHO, other than go vegan, is to be as humane as possible about the killing bit, give animals as full a life as we can, even if we intend to eat them towards the end of their lives.

I believe that one day (possibly in the far future), every human will be vegan. I can't say that it's reasonable to expect everyone to be vegan now, though. The French love their cheese, the Germans love their liverwurst and bratwurst, the Italians love their pizza, and the Japanese love their sushi. I am a huge fan of grilled chicken, eggs and sushi (and the VERY occasional burger or bratwurst... I'm ethnically German, btw) and the wide variety of cheeses out there... these things would be extremely hard for me to give up, so my fallback position, for now, is to obtain these things in as humane a way as is possible for me right now.

I commend your veganism, regardless. It is admirable and it is an ideal you have attained in this time and it should be emulated.

But a hyena is a carnivore. Humans are not. A hyena cannot contemplate the finality of death and probably doesn't understand much about the pain it's causing, it's just eating a meal. Humans do understand all those things and on top of that humans do not need to eat meat and are very possibly healthier without it, yet we continue to do so. Also, nearly all meat consumed by humans comes from factory farms which deprive the victims of even at least a natural life up to the point of death. It's a life of emotional and physical torture from birth. What makes you think any animals raised for meat get to live a long life before being killed? Most won't make it to 1 year... After all, who would eat old tough meat? Given that most people in the west can easily get to a fully stocked grocery store with more variety of legumes, grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds not to mention tofu, tempeh, seitan, cashew cheese, ready made vegan goods like beyond burgers, pizzas, vegan egg, vegan sausage... To me it seems incredibly cruel to continue to eat animals and their eggs and milk. We don't need to do it anymore and to continue to do so is willfully supporting cruelty against animals.


The highest rated egg producers have "truly pastured" chickens... which is probably as close as you can get to giving them a "natural life" while confining them. Note that there is a mutually-beneficial trade going on here- They do give up their eggs (and eventually themselves), and are (broadly) confined, but while alive they can eat as much as they want and they are secure from predation.

I am extremely impressed by Impossible burgers (Beyond is OK, but Impossible... wow.) I haven't tried vegan eggs but if they don't get the yolk almost exactly right I might not be able to switch, can you provide a link?

Also, what's your opinion on lab-grown muscle meat? Is it all about ethics for you?

> To me it seems incredibly cruel to continue to eat animals and their eggs and milk.

I believe at least the "eggs and milk" can be done in humane ways. Again, we provide an environment for them with unlimited food and minimized risk of predation. In the wild, food would be scarce and predation risk would be ever-present.

As far as eating animals... I consider it a near-necessary evil for now that will eventually go away. (I know you're arguing that it isn't necessary, and you're probably right... I'm talking about convincing EVERYONE of this RIGHT NOW tho)

> We don't need to do it anymore and to continue to do so is willfully supporting cruelty against animals.

I have an idea you might like. What if you took a few friends to do a field trip to the source of the meats/eggs/cheese they eat (after doing the homework to investigate where these are, of course)? Judgment-free. And also to observe treatment and (if you can stomach it, and if they permit it, which they may not) the slaughtering part. I'd go on that trip. Observed truth is the best argument...

so what happens to the male chicks that are born in the egg industry? They get killed, by gassing, suffocation or being thrown into a grinder. Why does a dairy cow produce milk? because she has a baby. Where does that baby go after birth? I mean, the milk is for the humans, not the baby cow, right? Baby cow gets taken from mother causing intense emotional pain for both, and if male, sold into incredibly cruel veal industry or beef industry or just killed. If female she goes through the same lifelong torture of repeated rape, then having her baby stolen, then being milked raw by machines, in lonely terror, as her mother, for around 4 years, before her poor body is spent and she is shot as humans have no use for her. Dairy cows have possibly an even crueler fate than beef cows. How is any of this humane? Why would I ever go to see any of this happening? There is so much written and video evidence available online, I don't need to go and see it happening myself. Think about how much meat, cheese and eggs people in America alone throw down their throats every day. There is no way this demand could ever be met by anything other than the most cruel and heartless industrial scale production methods where animals are no more than a commodity to be exploited.

I’m listening. Couple of comments.

The fact that cows must produce babies in order to produce milk was somehow lost on me. That’s unfortunate. I had assumed it was injected hormones that faked a pregnancy. But you did send me on a cow rabbit-hole.

> intense emotional pain for both

I did not find objective evidence that this is common, nor do I think it is easy to evaluate whether a cow is experiencing “intense emotional pain.”

> lonely terror

Yes, the worst milk producers do that. I buy organic and that means the cow absolutely must be pastured.

> video evidence available online

Yes, of the worst possible conditions, taken at the most offensive and least ethical milk producers, and posted to blogs with a clear vegan bias to rationalize. Surely. :P

> no way this demand could ever be met (unless ethics is sacrificed)

I would like to see evidence for this assertion

I'm not going to spend my day finding evidence to convince you. You seem to be the sort of person that demands unreasonable amounts of evidence (clearly no one has studied every dairy cow to see if the suffer when their baby is taken away, or monitored every factory farm to see how the animals are treated. In fact with USA ag gag laws this is very hard anyway - big agriculture money buys the law makers) knowing that you won't then need to consider that your food choices support cruelty. If you are OK with the knowledge that sentient intelligent beings (where's the evidence that cows are intelligent, right?!) are treated as nothing more than a commodity, or slave, and if you can't understand (without evidence!) that taking a baby from an animal would cause it to suffer, then good luck to you, and enjoy your milk. I find it sad when common sense and compassion lose to statistics and numbers. (for the record, a simple google search seemed to return quite a few reports on psychological studies done on farm animals - if you are genuinely interested/concerned, and I doubt you are, then give a whirl). Ciao.

Our species manage to get away from running after food. Animals do, every life form takes from the environment. The issue is how easy it is to us to breed, slaughter, bag and cook living forms nowaday. But if you were 100000 years ago, you'd have no second thoughts about eating animals.

100000 years ago humans had significantly less empathy than we do now. And they didn't have a grocery store with more varieties of vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits, seeds, nuts, tofu, tempeh, seitan, cashew cheese, veggie burgers, vegan sausages, vegan pizza, vegan chikn, plant based milks... than one could possibly imagine, a short drive or walk from their home.

Are you sure it's empathy ? 10000 years ago someone killing an animal knew it was taking a life. I've read once that jewish religion did create kosher rituals because of that (maybe other religions too I didn't dig further).

Today it feels more like depression based morality caused by the chaos of the last decades and the glooming collapse than empathy. At least that's how I feel when I see people talking about the subject (but tbh I don't see a lot of that group, mostly some known figure in mainstream medias.. probably not the best speakers).

Again, long ago, you had to survive, it was fair game. My cat doesn't refrain from stabbing a mice at night, a cat is highly skilled and potent compared to a mouse.. yet nature balances things out, mice hide, they live their existence. You know if you make it too comfy, a species will diverge and probably harm itself. Stress is part of life. And as humans, even when violently hunting.. I think we knew (pulling that out of my own theorizing arse) that it was a sad but needed act.

Now we're in an era where technology, knowledge will remove all these requirements from our lives (say we get synthetic food, etc etc) so we're shifting toward a purer existence. Something where you don't impact nature as much. But it's still early days in a way.

Interesting that you chose cats as your example, as they are a predator animal that kills for sport. My cats have killed many mice, but I've never seen them consume one - they much prefer their food bowls.

Cats are instinctively driven to hunt and kill, even when they have no need or desire for sustenance. They enjoy it.

Interesting, I thought they did it some of the prey .. I'm super super surprised about this 'sport' side. Even real wild animals eat their prey most of the time.

I love animals. I also love to eat animals. I don’t have any trouble reconciling these two things.

Then you don't love animals. Or, you are happy for living creatures you love to be killed and to eat them, which is scary.

I love plants. The fact that I eat them too does not change that at all.

It's a bit silly to compare killing a plant to killing something with a central nervous system. Plants don't think or feel. Birds and mammals certainly do.

"However, there is evidence that plants react to damage by emitting chemicals or gases that communicate discomfort or stress and that they somehow adapt to minimize this discomfort."

Plants don't have a central nervous system that can experience discomfort or stress. The terms are used as an analogy. My laptops emits heat when it is "stressed" as well.

I'm a backyard beekeeper and I just love bees. They're very intelligent. But you should see how commercial beekeepers treat them in the production of all this "vegan" food.

In the production of what vegan food? Vegans don't eat honey. Maybe you mean what California does in order to grow almonds? So just American almonds? that's not really "all this vegan food" is it. it's one thing that isn't exclusively eaten by vegans.

It sounds like you're trying to imply that the vegan food industry is particularly harsh on bees. This is not the case. Livestock consume far more of our crop yield than we humans do, at least in the US. We would need fewer commercial beekeepers if we ate plants directly. You're always losing caloric efficiency when you take extra steps through the food chain. There is no environmental damage caused by eating vegan food that isn't magnified when consuming animal products.

Because they're delicious :(

So a brief moment of taste pleasure is worth the suffering and killing of another creature that feels physical and emotional pain?

Obviously yes for most people, since vegans are a tiny minority. Bit of a high horse you're on there.

I think most people who are in this predicament consciously choose not to think about it in order to avoid the cognitive dissonance. Destroying your philosophical model of reality and remaking it is not exactly a pleasant process. Something you find out when you go vegetarian or vegan is that if that gets brought up, which usually happens in the context of rejecting an offer of food or being questioned about why your plate only has crackers at a potluck, many meat eaters will suddenly feel the need to explain why they think it is ok to eat meat. Perhaps that's just preemptive and a result of encountering more militant vegetarians in the past, but I think it is more likely to be a result of being reminded of their cognitive dissonance. Who are they trying to convince? I didn't ask for an explanation of their dietary choices and don't feel any particular need to explain mine.

They're being jerks, but why is an interesting question.

I don't think it's a cognitive dissonance thing, at least where I've seen that picture. I think it's an us/them thing. Specifically, the kind where one group gets the idea that another is out to get them. (That "militant vegetarian" you mention is someone I have heard about my whole life yet never met.) If they don't have a lot of vegetarian friends, you may be their first chance to have a conversation about it, and that's probably the only one they rehearsed.

It may not be as crystallized as other areas, yet, but I think this is also one more field for cultural proxy wars, as we all get drafted into us/them camps. Again, at the individual level, you might notice the person doing the attacking always thinks they're defending. Complicated big picture stuff at play.

> encountering more militant vegetarians in the past, but I think it is more likely to be a result of being reminded of their cognitive dissonance.

Don't project onto people you clearly don't understand. Creating mental models of people you disagree with that involves making them stupid or living in dissonance does a disservice to yourself (by making you ignorant), to them (by you spreading your ignorance), and to wider political debates in general (it's very difficult to come to an understanding when people are incapable of understanding the other side).

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Stating a rational fact about someone's cognitive dissonance "makes them stupid" or "spreads your ignorance"?

I carry that cognitive dissonance (I know animals feel; I believe they have souls; and yet I continue to eat meat); the difference is that I (through tons of introspection) have made peace with my (very few) dissonances and therefore, calling me out on it (as someone did further up the comment chain here) will result simply in me acknowledging their observation (without any emotional/anger element).

I bet the number of vegetarians would go up quite a bit if people had to slaughter animals themselves if they wanted meat. Our society is pretty good at hiding the dirty work from people.

Looking at my grandparents' generation, who had to do just that, I wouldn't count on it.

My parents both grew up on farms where they slaughtered their own animals. They ate meat maybe once a week or less. So at a minimum meat consumption would go down.

I suspect the reason why they ate meat rarely was because it was expensive (even when it's your animal, it still has a cost), not because they were squeamish about it.

Not to detract from your point but Nature itself is brutal. There's no mercy kill when a predator catch a prey.

Case in point : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpQmJ7UUNFQ >> Warning, this is not for the faint of heart. <<

I've worked in a slaughterhouse, doing the night shift cleaning up the mess before a new day begins, I know what's it's like. Overcrowded boxes full of chicken shitting themselves, getting hanged by their legs on a factory line before getting their throat sliced by a fast spinning blade. Not a pretty sight for sure and a sad way to go.

It's very unfortunate how the mass consumption of meat creates terrible living conditions for the various animals we breed for that purpose. But if we measure the scale of suffering, I think we're doing a bit better than nature.

And yes, by going vegan you do not contribute to that, I get it. I have huge amount of respect for people that live by their moral standards and stick to it. Yet this doesn't mean that the wilderness is some Disney fantasy and yes, for all intent and purpose, most animals out there in the wild are bound to have a gruesome end.

I'm not implying that we're doing animals a favour by sending them to a slaughterhouse, simply that this is the natural order of things. If you feel strongly about that and choose to not consume meat and such, great. As for me, despite what I've seen, there's nothing wrong with eating meat. The only thing I wish is a more humane breeding, and I'm happy to pay more for that.

I'm aware that it's slightly hypocritical because would there be an alien specie doing the same to us, I'd probably would have a different perspective on that. As it stands, I enjoy being an apex predator. May it last forever.

There's nothing natural about factory farms, you can pretend that they are no different to a lion eating a gazelle, but they are. We eat way more meat than we naturally should. Ever seen a fat lion dying from heart disease? And what about responsibility that comes with the power humans have over other animals. Lions are just being Lions, they don't understand what death really means, it's just a meal. They also are carnivores, humans are not. They also don't have grocery stores.

What if someone else is doing the killing and I'm doing the eating? Not being facetious, I struggle with this and I don't fully buy into the "guilt by association" angle. If I stopped eating meat today, animals would still be killed at exactly the same scale as before. So what would have I accomplished besides depriving myself of nutrients? If we could all do it together I'd be on board. Maybe we can start with "meat credits" or some other kind of demand reduction? That really helped curb climate change....

I think portion control would be a more effective approach. A little meat goes a long way. I think you'll get further convincing the public with a moderation message than a black and while moral argument.

If you stopped eating meat and replaced it with a balanced vegan diet you wouldn't be depriving yourself of anything other than heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes etc. You'd be the winner. Also, you'd be doing your part in reducing the demand for all those animals to be raised and slaughtered. If everyone had the opinion of "well what's the point unless everyone does it" no good change would ever happen.

But it is pointless unless everyone does it, at least until a large percentage of the population does it. You're ignoring opportunity cost, this isn't like recycling where I have nothing to lose by doing it. Until we reach critical mass, the early adopters would have essentially "subsidized" everyone else.

A few ounces of meat/fish a day aren't going to cause any of those diseases and are packed with nutrients that a vegan diet has a very hard time providing at a similar cost, especially in poor countries. The Gates foundation isn't betting on chicken on a whim. I still think moderation is the way to go. If everyone cut their intake by 50% we'd have a healthier population, animal slaughter would be cut in half, and we wouldn't have to reinvent meat.

Apart from B12, what nutrients are in meat that I cannot get from a vegan diet? Why is it acceptable to be slaughtering hundreds of millions instead of billions of animals a year, if we don't need to? And we don't have to reinvent meat; most vegans don't eat fake meat products. We could move away from the concept of eating meat all together.

Creatine, Carnosine, D3, DHA, Heme-iron, Taurine. But it's not just about the nutrients, it's about the supply and the cost. Most people don't have access to the balanced assortment of grains, vegetables, and legumes you seem to enjoy. Without meat and dairy they would risk malnourishment.

We probably could move away from meat, if everyone was well off (and took supplements). But that's not the case. And I never said 100s of millions were acceptable, merely that a 50% portion reduction is a LOT better than nothing, and probably a lot more than a morality strategy will achieve.

Creatine is not an essential nutrient and is produced naturally in the human body from amino acids glycine and arginine which i can get from legumes amongst many sources. Carnosine comes from amino acids, which i can get all 9 of from legumes and whole grains. D3 from mushrooms. DHA my body converts from ALA, which i get from nuts amongst many other sources. Heme-iron I don't specifically need, I just need Iron, which i get from whole grains, legumes, nuts etc. Taurine comes from amino acids, see Carnosine.

I do agree that there are a lot of people eating too much meat, but the diseases you mention are all caused by overeating in general, and are just as easy to get on a vegan diet.

No. I said a balanced vegan diet. Even over eating whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes whilst not eating foods that have cholesterol (meat, eggs, dairy - literally any animal products) plus the evidence of red meat and processed meat causing cancer, means I do have much less chance of having any of those diseases I mentioned.

I oscillate between reason and impulse. We are creatures of habit and the environment in which we act is full of nudges toward omnivorous decisions.

Dindim goes off for months at a time,

swimming thousands of miles,

avoiding predators,

encountering other penguins,

better looking and more interesting penguins,

but in his mind there's a picture of a man,

and a location,

from many years ago,

that he feels compelled to return to,

every year.

I got a little teary thinking about this.

Given he was found in 2011 and Magellanic penguins live to about 20 years of age[1] he's at least half-way through his lifespan, maybe longer. Couple that with de Souza's age and soon enough there'll be a time when they go to meet and one or the other won't be there.

[1] http://www.penguins.cl/magellanic-penguins.htm

Why did you do this to me?

We have to eat.. but if we hadn't I'd be happy never have to harm another living form. It's how nature is built .. but still.

I've been vegan 20 years. Big, socially-censured changes can seem daunting, but anyone who says you can't eat well, and easily, is fooling themselves.

You either live your values, or come to terms with being part of what you don't like about the world.

Not what I was saying. Eating meat is natural, it's been for cosmic ages, and to an extent I have no issue with that. The mass globalized consumption does bother me. I reduce my consumption. I might try vegan but I'll surely miss all the meat based products. Maybe I'll find a middle point by breeding, killing producing it myself so at least I did it on my own, think what you want, there's a form of respect in that. I don't think I will enjoy 100% vegan. Another option is synthetic meat, we'll see.

>Eating meat is natural

Relieving yourself outdoors is natural, and we've been doing it for ages. Killing intraspecies rivals/competitors is natural, and we've been doing it for ages. Dying of a preventable disease is natural, and we've been doing it for ages. I don't think we should base our behavior off naturalistic fallacies.

Is eating meat better for your health than abstaining? Usually not. Is eating meat better for the environment? Usually not. It's very easy to just eat meat and dismiss veganism as impractical because that's the socially dominant position to have.

It's easier than ever to transition to a more vegan diet. There are hundreds of replacement products to ease your transition if it's something you care about. There are ethical, environmental, and health-conscious reasons to reduce or eliminate meat consumption. Conversely, many arguments for eating meat are just appeals to tradition or appeals to nature. The industrial production of meat, which is universally detested, actually supplies the vast majority of meat consumed in the US.

That’s the most careful vegan pitch I‘ve ever seen, cudos.

I‘m all for reducing meat consumption. We don’t need meat every day, and maybe not even every week. Everybody except meat processing companies would be better off.

My personal view is that complete meat avoidance will lead to long term health challenges, 5-10y down the road. There‘s too much valid-sounding criticism of the china study to just believe its conclusions. Some low-mercury seafood every now and then does loads for your health.

I have thought about going vegan too. Do you think it would work in all geographical areas? What about people living in very cold regions of earth. They can’t grow crops throughout the year. They have to subsist by hunting fish and other animals. What do you think?

Our political and cultural system is largely based on the naturalistic fallicy, one can't blame people too much for following it.

Your comment is an appeal to tradition meant to justify a different appeal to tradition. How interesting.

What is a naturalistic fallacy?

Apparently the concept I was referring to is called appeal to nature, not a naturalistic fallacy.

Agreed. I'm vegan but I would definitely not turn down eating animals caught in the wild, especially if I was part of the hunt. But I would also never hunt just for the sport. It's the mass production of intelligent beings* in horrible conditions that bothers me the most.

Fishing is another dilemma. Technically as per above definition eating fish (unless bred) would be fine, but then again we've destroyed so much of the fish population already. If I were out at sea then sure, but just for pleasure right now while being land based? No thanks.

*) this first part of the sentence alone is enough for me to not want to have any part of it

Personally, I'm on completely opposite side.

Nothing detests me more than killing a free creature. I absolutely loathe hunting and fishing, and I wish it was either made completely illegal, or the hunting of the hunters legalized (I heard comments that they do it for the thrill, so having another hunter on your back should be even more exciting!).

I do eat pieces of farmed meat from time to time, though.

Can't argue against how you feel and yeah I agree it's sad to see a poor animal being hunted down and killed by another animal, or a human, but wild and free animals are constantly getting preyed upon and generally don't die of old age so you're not really adding to their suffering in any way by hunting/killing them.

That said I wouldn't have anything against making hunting hunters legal. :D At least if they're above a certain income level and thus don't have a practical need to hunt.

> That said I wouldn't have anything against making hunting hunters legal. :D At least if they're above a certain income level and thus don't have a practical need to hunt.

I know it's in jest, but I hunt (very occasionally) mostly to remind myself of the reality that the meat I eat comes from the taking of a life. It has nothing to do with physical need.

I think it's much more wrong to eat meat and hide how it is obtained from one's self than it is to stay at least tentatively connected to the reality.

I think that's very good reasoning.

Even gun hunting feels too sadistic to me. I'd use a bow or a rope and that's it. When I'll be too old to jump .. I'll hope I made enough kids to fulfill that role :)

Even gun hunting feels too sadistic to me.

If you think it's sadistic to hunt with the stopping power (and typically quicker death) of a rifle, you're not going to like bow hunting much.

No it's the overwhelming ease of killing a gun offers.

Right. I think the point is, it's much better than the alternative. Which is realizing you missed your shot and the deer you were trying to kill humanely (ya know, to show respect and commune with nature) will now take eight hours to die in slow agony with an arrow sticking out of her cause you can't find where she ran off to.

I got it, but if you're hunting to feed, you don't harm and let it there.

A well aimed, correctly placed shot of the right type can be exceedingly fatal but it doesn't follow that waving any gun in the general direction of something and carelessly pulling the trigger will achieve that.

Firstly one has to get in the right position to get a good shot. Of course bad hunters could take carefree pot shots, but they would be widely condemned by their peers. The right position means you have to be:

- close enough. Many forms of hunting will take all day to carefully track an animal and if you're lucky at the end of the day take one careful shot

- from the right direction. You wouldn't take a shot from behind the animal

- able to fire safely. You wouldn't fire at an deer on top of a hill as you have to think about where the bullet will go afterwards

Some forms of hunting, like a driven bird shoot can involve just standing and waiting for birds to come in your direction then take careful shots at them. With this type of shooting I can see more resonance with your objection but hitting a moving target is easier said than done and etiquette on these considers a well execute hard shot much better than going for easy ones.

For many other forms of hunting the actual shot is a very small part of the whole activity and whatever weapon is being used makes much less difference.

Then one also has to remember that there are many different types of gun. Take for example using a large caliber rifle and distances over 1km vs hunting with a handgun. Both require huge amounts of skill in handling the weapon on top of the other general hunting skills.

Some countries require a permit to go hunting, which follows a lot of study and then an exam. This material goes into a lot of depth, and actually discharging the weapon is a surprisingly small amount of this material.

Technology-wise a gun is an improvement on exhaustion hunting, or using more primitive projectile weapons, but is far from making the whole process overwhelmingly easy.

What of it? If hunting is actually utilitarian (i.e. for food), there's no ethical issue here. How difficult it is only matters if hunting is a sport, but that's exactly the ethically dubious part of it.

So even in that sense, using a bow is more "sadistic", since it amounts to causing suffering to a living being for the sake of more challenging entertainment for oneself.

(And, of course, a bow would be a lot more painful to the animal, even in the best case of a non-botched shot.)

it's not entertainment, it's about not overpowering, I used bow as an example, maybe it's still too strong (you can kill from afar) but compared to a gun, at least it requires skills to actually kill. Anybody can pull a trigger.

Again, why does it matter that "at least it requires skill", if it's not for entertainment? And why is "overpowering" a problem? An overly powerful weapon just means that there's more chance of a one-shot kill on the animal, that minimizes suffering (especially from when wounded animals escape, and then slowly die).

If you mean the ability to take more game with a gun than with a bow, that is controlled by hunting licensing and game tags. Without tags and quotas, bow hunters would decimate animal populations just as well, through sheer numbers.

Suffering is not a problem to me, every creature suffers, I don't pursue it, and it's not for sport; it's for fairness. I can remove a life to feed me if I didn't abuse an unfair position. Everything has to avoid death, it's how nature balances itself, it's almost thermodynamical.. I need the others, I was built for taking and avoiding being taken. ~class struggle in a way.

The skill side is a way to deserve it.

Fishing with a rod in a river versus a large boat with a big net. It's just too easy to wipe fishes without them standing a chance. A gun is similar to me.

I understand that you don't want to inflict pain and I don't want either, but as long as it's ~balanced, it's fair game.

Also, note that these animals have acute senses, hearing, smell.. it's not there for no reason. They also run fast to chase or run away. It's just how it is. I find balance in having to work for it, so I know deeply and appreciate few.

Like I said, the proper way to ensure we don't wipe anything out is licensing and tag system, which is implemented in pretty much every country, and is enforced meticulously in any developed one.

And that all is completely orthogonal to tools used. I guarantee you that if you only allowed hunting with e.g. a wooden spear, but removed any other restrictions, deer would be wiped out very quickly in US. There's just too many people, and in such a large population a subset that is both skilled and interested is "large enough".

But in any case, your original comment accused people who hunt with guns of sadism. Which very different than fairness.

I spoke to an older hunter in New Zealand once who said he initially started with a view like yours. He was into rifle marksmanship, and didn't see the point in shooting at a live target.

He had a friend who said it was harder than he thought, and invited him to come along sometime and see if he found it easy. Of course he went out, and even when lead in the direction of the deer couldn't manage to get one.

After that he was hooked. He had a similar story about eating the offal from the deer, and now thinks it's among the best bits.

I've seen it surprisingly easy. I went on a deer hunt in Texas and the ranch owner had all these automatic feeders that ring a bell when they drop the feed. So the deer just show up on cue and they had blinds all over the property.

More like target practice than hunting in my opinion. They did get a ton of game management tags and they were really targeting the non-typical deer (ones with messed up racks).

So it was a sad kind of "hunting" but did seem to serve a purpose.

It might not be trivial but it's infinitely easier. The speed and energy, the range ..

> Eating meat is natural, it's been for cosmic ages, and to an extent I have no issue with that.

That's true, but I think a similar argument can be made that any situation where the more powerful control the less powerful is natural, e.g. slavery, patriarchy, etc.

That said, I think the first step for everyone is to realize the cognitive dissonance that modern society tries to keep in place when it comes to eating meat (i.e. meat is just a nice, tasty hunk of protein that comes wrapped in plastic and styrofoam from the grocery storeand is in no way related to that adorable cow video I saw on Instagram). If that were more common I think many people would try to at least consume animal products more humanely as you have suggested.

I was thinking about pre settlers hunting, where humans were only slightly above other animals (and in some land, probably on par or below).

I agree that last 50 years made us completely oblivious to reality. Which is probably the first reason for waste and over consumption.

our grandparents still lived in an era where they were a lot close to nature (vegies or animal) they used to do that with their own hands. To me that's the least you can do. And it has a lot of individual and social benefits too. You know more what is around, you enjoy more what you have, it creates group rituals.

>meat is just a nice, tasty hunk of protein that comes wrapped in plastic and styrofoam from the grocery storeand is in no way related to that adorable cow video I saw on Instagram

Honest question. Are people this ignorant? I grew up around ranches so the source of meat is blindingly obvious to me. Are people really seeing beef in the grocery store as magic that comes from nowhere?

I don't think people are necessarily that ignorant. But the dirty business of slaughtering animals has been hidden away from public eye extremely well. There's a certain "out of sight out of mind" aspect to it.

If, to eat meat, people had to kill the animal themselves, what proportion of meat eaters do you think would continue the practice? I obviously don't know the answer, but I suspect it would be far less than 100%.

If the urban dwellers like me suddenly had to kill their own prey, I agree we'd see a surge of vegans. But on the other hand, I think that's also because that disconnect allows people to think about cows as "cute". The people I know who grew up raising and killing their own animals have a much more utilitarian view of the matter.

It could be that the alienation brought by modern slaughter is the keystone in bringing about a substantial reduction in the number of eaters of animals; now that would be ironic!

Fascinating thought. Echoes Seamus Heaney's poem The Early Purges about farm life, especially the line "living displaces false sentiments" and "'Prevention of cruelty' talk cuts ice in town/Where they consider death unnatural" https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-early-purges/

I haven't eaten meat in nearly 30 years, and literally haven't missed it once, ever. Have never craved it at all. I guess I wouldn't have expected that!

It feels strange writing 'have never craved it'...ghoulish or something. Vegetarianism/veganism just becomes a habit, and once you're outside the, er, 'meat world', you can see the brainwashing, it's not pretty. All those heart-warming tv ads for eating lamb etc. (Kill and eat cute little sheep!??) The word 'meat' sounds...well, something akin to how 'long pig' sounds - somewhat disturbing. (I did a cartoon once of a cow saying "Hi! I'm a meat animal.") I hate how the fish in the oceans are referred to as 'fish stock', as if they only exist as food for humans. It bugs me more that humans are eating them all, and polluting the oceans with nets in doing it!

Personally, I'm a lazy vegan - I do vegan shopping, but don't refuse everything offered with some dairy in it. That would be a pain. Cheesy dishes just don't taste good to me now, they seem...smelly (e.g. it's getting harder to find pesto without cheese added..blech) But I infrequently think about what I eat or don't. Apart from these few times on HN, I haven't thought about it in years. I was more of a vegan activist when young...but I don't think I changed anyone's mind. It seems almost impossible for someone to see that something nearly everyone does is totally unethical. I can't remember what flipped the switch in my head. I think it just dawned on me one day.

If an act is selfless, and the opposite is socially accepted, you won't find many takers.. The ethics matter and I'm sure huge swathes of people are in denial and subscribed to the fallacies listed above in this thread - but ultimately it comes down to doing what is right when no one is checking you except for a few high level thinkers and the universe itself.

It also takes commitment. I've been vegan before and I'm trying it again - usually stomach problems force me to at least retain cheese. I think with Elmhurst's new peanut protein shakes, Ill be able to stick to it. Give the vanilla one a try - they are amazing and so much better than soy.


Why not set yourself the challenge of only eating ethically farmed animal products? I think you’d find this ends up leading to a mostly vegan lifestyle unless you’re willing to devote considerable time and money.

I almost considered moving to start a farming thing with a relative.

Even in the growing and harvesting of plants, large amounts of animals get killed in the process. The moles underground, the rabbits and hares that eat the plants, the rats and snakes that shelter in the piles of harvest etc, they all have to be killed en masse to ensure a good harvest. Given this fact, veganism appears to me like a refusal to accept the reality that this world is a harsh one full of chaos. I prefer to focus on sustainable consumption as the reasonable balance between the two extremes of veganism and American fast food.

The largest consumer of crops grown in the United States are our farmed animals. Eating soybeans directly instead of sending them to factory farms reduces the amount of animals killed, both in the factories and on the fields. There is no trade-off in terms of animal death when switching to a plant-based diet. You are always killing fewer animals.

Torture is the main ethical reason to not eat meat. You are right about death - we all die, nothing new there. But doing the right thing is never about purity - its about choosing the actions that cause the least bad will.

Torture and Death should not be chosen over Incidental Death if one wants to be honest about acting with pragmatic good will.

This is a common logical fallacy used to justify your current lifestyle. Veganism is not about moral purity, its about the tangible impact of your actions.

We don't have to eat animals though. Vegans and vegetarians manage to live very healthy lives.

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