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.
You should definitely update your friends on social media now that you know.
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.
Also, the confusion is greater from the fact that the Grand Pingouin (extinct in the XIX century) did not fly
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.
Shouldn't you be distrustful of school teachers?
Based on this I would definitely distrust penguins, because this and this is definitely a reason for this.
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:
Ouch. Now I feel really old...
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.
"The bastards destroyed the entire spaghetti crop last year. I don't see why anyone still fawns over them."
Did he happen to show it to you on April 1st? xD
I've listened to it 4 times so far, it's amazing.
Not sure if this is the best clip:
"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."
I doubt many Britons know that now to be fair. I could easily imagine this jape catching people out today.
... as God is my witness, I thought penguins could fly.
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 .
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?
 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.
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
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.
Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital
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'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.
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.
Some animals can really fuck you up. Or you might be messing with a protected species.
Source: am DVM.
Source: was bitten by rodents.
“[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.”
Be careful because squirrels can really do damage if they get into your attic or house.
If the motivation of these laws is to protect the animals, I can't think of a more backwards response.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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). 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.
Eastern grey squirrels were deliberately introduced into city parks for the enjoyment of people.
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.
 The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States Etienne Benson J Am Hist (2013) 100 (3): 691-710.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
(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 hate the Finnish judicial system.
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
J Am Hist (2013) 100 (3): 691-710.
No we don't. That's why we have judges
i didn’t quite consider them my pets but they certainly weren’t wild any more.
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.
There is a comic book character with this power https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squirrel_Girl
"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.
Geladinho -> geladim -> dindim
I never heard of that! I always called it sacolé, but then again slangs are very much regional in Brazil
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.
You mean Lost & Found, by Oliver Jeffers?
It predates this real life story, but has very strong echoes...
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?
"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.
In European portuguese, while the above forms are also common, the alternatives "electrão, protão, neutrão" are often found.
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.
were you wearing a hat?
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.)
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.”
If you would believe some materialists, we're ALL just biological machines with illusory feelings, though...
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.
The world is what our bodies make of it - its as real for me as it is for my cats. IQ doesnt imply worth.
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?
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
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.
Is that so? How would you explain bodybuilders like these?
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.
* 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
* 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.
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. :-)
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.
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:
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.
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.
The last thing to be given up will be bacon, of course. I could switch to turkey bacon of course.
Funny name, btw!
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 only buy from ethical egg producers though
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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
https://impossiblefoods.com/ is onto that
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)
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...
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.
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...
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
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.
Cats are instinctively driven to hunt and kill, even when they have no need or desire for sustenance. They enjoy it.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
swimming thousands of miles,
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,
I got a little teary thinking about this.
You either live your values, or come to terms with being part of what you don't like about the world.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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?
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%.
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!
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.
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.
Torture and Death should not be chosen over Incidental Death if one wants to be honest about acting with pragmatic good will.