Avoiding Vegans Who Suggest Eliminating Suffering in the Wild

Status
Not open for further replies.

Forest Nymph

Senior
Joined
Nov 18, 2017
Reaction score
2,186
Age
38
Location
Northern California
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
To start, if you are pro-extinction/pro-annhilation of all sentient beings I am not talking to you. Youre already so far in the irrational crazy camp I will not bother responding to your posts.

However, for all normal vegans who value life on Earth, I have run into a surprising ignorant trend recently: people who suggest "benevolently" getting rid of large predatory carnivores and other wildlife via sterilization and removal.

1) Removing predators just creates more suffering. It leads to starvation and disease in groups of herbivorous prey animals. This alone should be reason enough to reject this bizarre childish suggestion because it's obviously impossible to eliminate suffering in nature.

2) Cute little prey animals are also harmful in large numbers. They decimate the surrounding vegetation if left unchecked, which can eventually lead to soil erosion and therefore barrenness or landslides which just causes more suffering. See #1.

3) Many carnivores are small or cute. This wouldn't be a matter of just getting rid of bears and lions. It would be mass genocide which is absolutely not vegan.

4) Dangerous large animals like bears and lions have a right to exist. Driving them to extinction is also not vegan.

5) Everything in nature is connected. The hypothesis that we could only get rid of "mean" animals without entire ecosystems collapsing is so illogical as to be insane, unless you're one of those aforementioned people who want complete annihilation, in which case I will still ignore your psychotic rantings.

This is what happens when children don't learn science. This is the vegan version of denying climate change. Thwart the spread of this dangerous ignorance at every turn. Thank you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Emma JC and Sax
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Reaction score
5
Age
24
Location
Shanghai
Lifestyle
  1. Vegetarian
The problem with invoking nature is we are also apart of "nature", how do we fit into this? As vegans/vegetarians we've made a conscious decision not to kill animals thereby removing ourselves from the system that eliminates starvation and disease in herbivours.

Would it perhaps be ok to interfere by providing artificial meat for carnivores? (although this suffers from paternalism and doesn't solve how to deal with herbivour overpopulation)

My concern is that we have as animals have chosen to remove ourselves from the killing process and are encouraging other members of our species to do the same. If we can resolve some of the problems regarding starvation and disease then the consequentialist concern is solved. Although I think there is good merit in the paternalist critique, about whether we as humans really have the right to determine how non-human animals live. I think the problem of paternalist critique is stronger than the utilitarian or negative utilitarian critique.

Edit: there is also the problem that if we interfere we become responsible for our interference, even if the evidence and technology of the time suggests that our interference would have yielded a net positive in the utilitarian sense
 

Forest Nymph

Senior
Joined
Nov 18, 2017
Reaction score
2,186
Age
38
Location
Northern California
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
The problem with invoking nature is we are also apart of "nature", how do we fit into this? As vegans/vegetarians we've made a conscious decision not to kill animals thereby removing ourselves from the system that eliminates starvation and disease in herbivours.

Would it perhaps be ok to interfere by providing artificial meat for carnivores? (although this suffers from paternalism and doesn't solve how to deal with herbivour overpopulation)

My concern is that we have as animals have chosen to remove ourselves from the killing process and are encouraging other members of our species to do the same. If we can resolve some of the problems regarding starvation and disease then the consequentialist concern is solved. Although I think there is good merit in the paternalist critique, about whether we as humans really have the right to determine how non-human animals live. I think the problem of paternalist critique is stronger than the utilitarian or negative utilitarian critique.

Edit: there is also the problem that if we interfere we become responsible for our interference, even if the evidence and technology of the time suggests that our interference would have yielded a net positive in the utilitarian sense

You are incorrect. We are not a part of nature in the way you imply. Humans do not even live by the same rules of Darwin's natural selection, and our agriculture many centuries ago broke any real ties we had to the food web (other than to destroy habitat with our farms). Any biology or ecology professor can tell you that. The problem with people with your view is that you understand philosophy but not science. Science does not bend to your will like ethical debates. It has real and true limits and structure.

No, providing food to wildlife is absurd. It is beyond impractical in any event or time period but especially now when we have human overpopulation, the sixth mass extinction and climate change to deal with, which is far more important to life on Earth and eliminating suffering than feeding tigers vegan cat food.

Furthermore, humans have done terrible things to the Earth through interference that is causing more death, extinction and suffering to wildlife than ever before, ironically. So to suggest further meddling (other than habitat restoration or rewilding to try to balance ecosystems we have destroyed) is almost certain to be catastrophic in its magnitude.

Finally, animals and nature do not have moral agency. Only humans do. We only have a duty to fix ourselves morally through veganism not to "fix" all other species by imposing our morality on them. Doing so turns veganism into a religion rather than an ethical philosophy.

The combined wastefulness and megalomania of such an endeavor is just as concerning as the fundamental ignorance of it all.

This can only harm veganism. Vegans should be doing their utmost to address immediate threats to wildlife like climate change, loss of habitat, and sport hunting. Suggesting that vegans should instead domesticate, sterilize or eliminate certain species just makes veganism in general look like an insane fringe movement for spacey kooks.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Emma JC and janezl

Sax

Practitioner
Supporter
Joined
Mar 21, 2018
Reaction score
1,292
Age
35
Location
Missouri
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
I've encountered the argument that because we've mostly killed off wolves and mountain lions deer are overpopulated and therefore hunting them to cull their numbers is actually the humane thing to do.

I mean, maybe that's true. But I'm not trying to reduce suffering in nature. It's sad but that's part of life. I just don't want to contribute to that suffering and its rich that people who get pleasure from killing and dismembering wild animals want to wrap it in a facade of concern for their wellbeing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: The dead Man
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Reaction score
5
Age
24
Location
Shanghai
Lifestyle
  1. Vegetarian
I think my first response was flawed, sorry. My question was meant as a genuine question for your response. I'm concerned with consequentialism and nature as arguments for veganism.

I'm not advocating for the interference, as I said I don't like the paternalism more than I don't like the consequences. Regarding the science I spoke hypothetically with an "if" and posed a question about consequences.

My main issue was with nature and paternalism (you mention it in your response). Nature is problematic for many reasons, one more pertinant to the vegan movement is we like to see ourselves and our actions as seperate to nature, so that we are special and some go further to use it to justify all sorts of things like hierarchy. I think there is a real problem with otherising non-human animals, its partly why people trying to be less anthropocentric want to use the term. We're different for sure, our agriculture is unique, I accept we're not precisely the same as other animals, like mentioned I just find the use of nature problematic.

You used disease and starvation, a consequentialist point, against the interference people who are advocating for what they percieve to be net happiness or negative utilitarianism (reduced suffering) a consequence. I just think the deontological argument (non-Kantian deontology or virtue ethics) is slightly better, that being paternalism as you mention in your response. I think I should have been a bit clearer in my response by mentioning this.

Of course I'm talking from a philisophical point of view, thats because I think philosophy deals with ethics better. I make the effort to use "if" when I don't know (in regard to future technology and the consequentialist argument), and Popper and Kuhn would agree when it comes to future scientific discoveries there is always some degree of ignorance or surprise etc.

Agree with your last point, but not because it makes veganism look like a fringe movement, I think domistication or eliminating species is wrong from a philisophical point of view. I'm not so much disagreeing with your concern with these people, (I too disagree with them) I'm critiquing the argument. (more specific arguments about the science can be made, and I'd accept them, though I'm talking about the broader ethics)

I would also like to point out I'm not trying to make science bend to my will. I'm searching for the best ethical arguments.

My concerns:
The consequentialist argument (its strengths/weaknesses)
Our seperateness from nature (or even the usefulness of the term)

Cheers and apologies for my being unclear in the first response
Kris
 
  • Like
Reactions: Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

Senior
Joined
Nov 18, 2017
Reaction score
2,186
Age
38
Location
Northern California
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
@KristopherCussans

Regarding our separateness from nature:

We started practicing something unique to ourselves (and the animals we domesticated) called "artificial selection" at least thousands of years ago. At least. That's just written history so who can know before that.

Originally artificial selection meant marrying daughters off to men they were not attracted to for money. These men were sometimes elderly, ugly, deformed, diseased or something so no natural selection took place for female choice. Furthermore the daughters could be slow, mildly retarded, or physically feeble because not much was expected from women then, at least not in powerful or wealthy families. Bad news for genetics.

Religion made it worse with its arranged marriages, sometimes to first cousins. Also bad news for genes.

More recently modern medicine not only keeps us alive but increases our chances of reproduction through simple items like glasses, vitamin supplements or cosmetics, and plays God with abortion and euthanasia.

Also attractiveness becomes a fetishized cultural construct at some point. While people ideally seek health and youth like other animals, we can warp this with racist attractions to only our ethnic group, ideas about weight which can actually lead to health problems and so on.

We have nearly ruined ecosystems (and fully ruined others) with overfishing and sport hunting. Our technology keeps us from dying off like we should be from this phenomenon.

Agriculture like I also mentioned took us out of any sort of legitimate "top of the food chain" nonsense very long ago. We are in truth terrible hunters who can farm our food outside of natural local ecosystems, so we are not doing anything problematic to "prey animals" by becoming vegan. Most animal products are farmed and most of the small remaining fished or hunted amount does such massive damage we are doing the world a favor by going vegan, not putting any species in peril of starvation.

I don't want to argue with you about "consequentialism" because I'm not interested in philosophy in a way that allows me to speak with any authority, and also because I don't care about anything here except the real world impact. Thanks for your response.
 

Forest Nymph

Senior
Joined
Nov 18, 2017
Reaction score
2,186
Age
38
Location
Northern California
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
I've encountered the argument that because we've mostly killed off wolves and mountain lions deer are overpopulated and therefore hunting them to cull their numbers is actually the humane thing to do.

I mean, maybe that's true. But I'm not trying to reduce suffering in nature. It's sad but that's part of life. I just don't want to contribute to that suffering and its rich that people who get pleasure from killing and dismembering wild animals want to wrap it in a facade of concern for their wellbeing.

The hunting argument is easily ripped apart. I had to learn about it in my land management classes. We do not "need" to hunt deer. They will die off without our help and balance themselves if we leave them alone in proportion to the number of predators left in some cases. In other cases, it's better to rewild an ecosystem by reintroducing wolves or bears because it ends up being more beneficial to the ecosystem than us hunting or letting prey animals languish. Rewilding and eco restoration are the only forms of interference that mimic natural circumstances in a helpful way to the entire ecosystem. There are success stories and usually the only people who get mad are farmers who do animal agriculture, because the mountain lions and wolves eat the livestock sometimes. Animal agriculture is terrible for wildlife too.

Also hunting bucks causes a surplus of females - and many females can get pregnant from one buck - which perpetuates the problem of overpopulation of deer. Hunters choose bucks while wolves and mountain lions don't discriminate other than to attack the weakest and slowest.

Bite Size Vegan did an awesome video on this topic several years ago.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Emma JC and Sax

LuxFer

Novice
Joined
Feb 29, 2020
Reaction score
1
Age
37
Location
Glasgow
Lifestyle
  1. Vegetarian
You are incorrect. We are not a part of nature in the way you imply. Humans do not even live by the same rules of Darwin's natural selection, and our agriculture many centuries ago broke any real ties we had to the food web (other than to destroy habitat with our farms). Any biology or ecology professor can tell you that. The problem with people with your view is that you understand philosophy but not science. Science does not bend to your will like ethical debates. It has real and true limits and structure.

No, providing food to wildlife is absurd. It is beyond impractical in any event or time period but especially now when we have human overpopulation, the sixth mass extinction and climate change to deal with, which is far more important to life on Earth and eliminating suffering than feeding tigers vegan cat food.

Furthermore, humans have done terrible things to the Earth through interference that is causing more death, extinction and suffering to wildlife than ever before, ironically. So to suggest further meddling (other than habitat restoration or rewilding to try to balance ecosystems we have destroyed) is almost certain to be catastrophic in its magnitude.

Finally, animals and nature do not have moral agency. Only humans do. We only have a duty to fix ourselves morally through veganism not to "fix" all other species by imposing our morality on them. Doing so turns veganism into a religion rather than an ethical philosophy.

The combined wastefulness and megalomania of such an endeavor is just as concerning as the fundamental ignorance of it all.

This can only harm veganism. Vegans should be doing their utmost to address immediate threats to wildlife like climate change, loss of habitat, and sport hunting. Suggesting that vegans should instead domesticate, sterilize or eliminate certain species just makes veganism in general look like an insane fringe movement for spacey kooks.
I love to see people impart their wisdom upon others. Sharing our wealth of knowledge is a noble endeavour. Solutions to our our problems though are where we need intellect. Economic theory is our problem as a species.
 

Tom L.

Senior
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Reaction score
2,768
Age
68
Location
New York State capital district
Lifestyle
  1. Strict vegetarian
To start, if you are pro-extinction/pro-annhilation of all sentient beings I am not talking to you. Youre already so far in the irrational crazy camp I will not bother responding to your posts.
I haven't encountered anyone with that view, although maybe you have.

However, for all normal vegans who value life on Earth, I have run into a surprising ignorant trend recently: people who suggest "benevolently" getting rid of large predatory carnivores and other wildlife via sterilization and removal.

1) Removing predators just creates more suffering. It leads to starvation and disease in groups of herbivorous prey animals. This alone should be reason enough to reject this bizarre childish suggestion because it's obviously impossible to eliminate suffering in nature.
Well... yes, and no. Herbivorous prey animals do tend to reproduce rapidly- but perhaps this is because if they didn't, they would be killed off by predators. Consider: elephants and rhinoceroses do not appear to have any significant predators, yet they do not generally have more problems with starvation and disease than other herbivores- and reproduce far more slowly. Apex predators such as eagles, orcas, wolves, lions, and grizzly bears seem to do just fine without having anything preying on them. In theory, it should be possible for herbivores to exist in a stable system without predators- although for this to happen naturally would take a long time, and probably would not happen on its own.

3) Many carnivores are small or cute. This wouldn't be a matter of just getting rid of bears and lions. It would be mass genocide which is absolutely not vegan.

4) Dangerous large animals like bears and lions have a right to exist. Driving them to extinction is also not vegan.
What does being "small and cute" have to do with anything? What I have in mind would be parks where herbivore reproduction would be controlled and predators would be excluded. We don't have the resources to do this worldwide, even if we wanted to. What of it?

5) Everything in nature is connected. The hypothesis that we could only get rid of "mean" animals without entire ecosystems collapsing is so illogical as to be insane, unless you're one of those aforementioned people who want complete annihilation, in which case I will still ignore your psychotic rantings.

This is what happens when children don't learn science. This is the vegan version of denying climate change. Thwart the spread of this dangerous ignorance at every turn. Thank you.
My B.A. is in Biology. I'm aware of what generally happens when predators are removed from an area, and how hard it is to do just one thing in an ecosystem and not wind up having to handle other problems than the one you were trying to fix- unless maybe one has gone slowly and carefully, learning as they proceed.

I think this website has a function where you can put someone on "ignore". Go ahead and use it.
 

LuxFer

Novice
Joined
Feb 29, 2020
Reaction score
1
Age
37
Location
Glasgow
Lifestyle
  1. Vegetarian
I haven't encountered anyone with that view, although maybe you have.

Well... yes, and no. Herbivorous prey animals do tend to reproduce rapidly- but perhaps this is because if they didn't, they would be killed off by predators. Consider: elephants and rhinoceroses do not appear to have any significant predators, yet they do not generally have more problems with starvation and disease than other herbivores- and reproduce far more slowly. Apex predators such as eagles, orcas, wolves, lions, and grizzly bears seem to do just fine without having anything preying on them. In theory, it should be possible for herbivores to exist in a stable system without predators- although for this to happen naturally would take a long time, and probably would not happen on its own.

What does being "small and cute" have to do with anything? What I have in mind would be parks where herbivore reproduction would be controlled and predators would be excluded. We don't have the resources to do this worldwide, even if we wanted to. What of it?

My B.A. is in Biology. I'm aware of what generally happens when predators are removed from an area, and how hard it is to do just one thing in an ecosystem and not wind up having to handle other problems than the one you were trying to fix- unless maybe one has gone slowly and carefully, learning as they proceed.

I think this website has a function where you can put someone on "ignore". Go ahead and use it.

Dude you need to lighten up a bit
 

LuxFer

Novice
Joined
Feb 29, 2020
Reaction score
1
Age
37
Location
Glasgow
Lifestyle
  1. Vegetarian
Yes, but that's a separate issue.
Haha i think ill call you deadpan tom 😂 economics is the issue here. Human existence is governed by economics, in order to live on harmony with the earth we need to change the dichotomy
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tom L.

LuxFer

Novice
Joined
Feb 29, 2020
Reaction score
1
Age
37
Location
Glasgow
Lifestyle
  1. Vegetarian
Haha i think ill call you deadpan tom 😂 economics is the issue here. Human existence is governed by economics, in order to live on harmony with the earth we need to change the dichotomy

I should also turn off my spell checker 😂
 

Forest Nymph

Senior
Joined
Nov 18, 2017
Reaction score
2,186
Age
38
Location
Northern California
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
Not all. Just getting rid of humans would be good enough for me :p

Yeah and I talk to those people in my classes, it's a valid point of view. Humans are legitimately horrible. There's no denying it. Ironically the people standing the most in the way of continued human survival, are people who like humans too much. People who see humans as one of many species are likely to have more realistic and workable views that would lead to long-term survival of our species.

I have a couple different views on this. First of all, evolution can happen suddenly. Not all the time, but this old Darwinian idea that evolution can only happen slowly is actually incorrect, and has been proven so because of climate change. There are species like butterflies changing now in a few generations due to climate change. It's also suggested we domesticated wolves into dogs in very few generations, driven by their own behavior that joined them to humans, in combination with our human choices, not some complicated wolf-puppy theft.

This suggests a blip could potentially happen in primate evolution too, and I have my doubts about some humans.

Having a doubt about humans in general is okay, too. I get it. Humans are literally awful. They've practically destroyed the entire beautiful planet and are still making excuses why they don't have to change!

But not all humans are equally responsible for climate change. Always remember that.

Also without our intervention, some species we've begun to destroy won't survive. So it's very callous towards some other species as well.

Humans are ridiculous though. If I hear "people in food deserts can't be vegan" one more time in unasked-for response to expressions of views about conservation efforts, or what middle class people can do, or what the average college student at my college can do, I may hit someone. I am really tired of Americans using race and/or class as an excuse why they personally can't do things as people who aren't that race and/or class.

My best friend from high school once told me she was very proud of me for not being a serial killer. I can see it. I don't even like monkeys unless they're really cute and small. They remind me too much of people.

On the other hand, I once cared too much about people too. I have been driven by people to this hatred of people, by the way!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.