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Friday, January 19, 2007
We are too Different to Have Similar Reactions

People react differently when confronted with similar situations. This is true of us all. So stating we’d all turn vegetarian after having a conversation with, say, a pigeon is a flagrant denial of the above stated universal truth.

First of all, most of us live in urban areas. You know, those crowded places with tons of asphalt and animals in zoos only. What could we ran into for a conversation? A fly, a bird, some mice? How would that make us empathize with cows, chickens or fish? Plus, a visit to the zoo would mean hearing elaborate speeches from world class predators.

Secondly, it depends on the animals you own and those you eat. One might find oneself unable to eat chicken soup after being too much around hens, but might continue with pork. They stink anyway!

From a different perspective, as long as you don’t actually see the animals slaughtered, you tend to imagine meat is just meat. It hasn’t much to do with the live animal. If we spent 10 minutes a day thinking about what it is that we feed to ourselves, a lot of restaurant chains will go out of business. We humans have this bad habit of never thinking about what we do to ourselves or to others for that matter.

Besides, I am convinced feeling sorry for and generous towards a different being has nothing to do with its actual thoughts. It’s with the love you surround that poor creature with. I remember once taking care of one little chick, the only survivor from a whole lot of eggs gone bad. I used to feed it, walk it, yes it was actually following me around, much like a dog. I could have never eaten that chick or let anyone harm her. But others were totally indifferent to me.

If we were able to love all animals in the same way, yeah, maybe we would suddenly decide to quit meat. But let’s face it, we’ve been killing each other for so long, we lost count of numbers. We would never do better when it comes to animals, that we generally look down on and take for granted.

Anyway, if anyone ever wants to try out the effect, take my word for it, never take a lion as a chit-chat companion and hope to eat greenies all your life! I have this feeling the result will be slightly different.

Reply to Love to Lead's question, " If we could hold conversations with animals, would we all be vegetarians?"

Vote for me on Love To Lead
posted by Alina @ 2:36 PM  
  • At 1/19/2007 3:26 PM, Blogger bart said…

    someone once wrote that if one gave an animal a name, one would be unable to eat it because it had become special for you...

    i think your argument opens a whole minefield of ethical discussion which needs addressing because if you respect the sanctity of animal life, what would your views be on human issues such as abortion, euthanasia, waging wars and the stupid power plays of oppression played by humans amongst themselves...

  • At 1/19/2007 3:32 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    Bart, I don't know which is the right way. If you start from the idea of respecting any for of life, there should be no meat eating, no abortions, no euthanasia, no crimes against humanity ever. But we live in a world of grays, where all issues are still open to discussion.

    Given that we have hard times respecting human life in all its shapes and forms, I still doubt we are capable of becoming vegetarians over night when animals start speaking. Some would, some wouldn't. Most wouldn't. We are able to look the other way when a woman is beaten on the streets, so we are able to ignore a whole lot of voices and cries for help.

  • At 1/19/2007 5:09 PM, Anonymous Ryan said…

    I for one couldn't agree more with you even if I tried. When I first
    heard of the new topic, I immediately thought of all the Disney, Warner
    Brothers, DreamWorks etc movies that had all sorts of talking animals
    (Cows, fish, chicken, pigs, turkeys, crabs/lobsters - you know, the
    main course). But still, this didn't make any of us stop eating meat. Also,
    another thing that came to mind was: If talking to animals would make us
    all vegetarians, wouldn't that meant that talking to plants would make
    us all carnivores? Because, as far as I know, people growing all sorts of
    plants usually have the habit of caring and talking to their plants,
    and later cooking the eatable ones. :)

  • At 1/19/2007 5:10 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    You are so right! Did not think about it like that.

  • At 1/20/2007 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It would seem there is a limit on how big a comment can be on L2L, so here's the complete reply I was trying to post there:

    I think this topic is about human nature and about survival of the fittest. What if everything was able to speak with everything? What if fish stopped eating plankton and other fish, birds stopped eating other birds and mice and worms, which in turn stopped eating plants because they talk to each other? Would there be any worms left then for the chicken to not eat? Would there be any humans left to not eat those birds and fish? Or would all species starve to death and life on this planet cease to exist, except for the plants?
    I seriously doubt that. Even men will eat other men, and we call our selves the most evolved species of them all. Leave a village of people suddenly without food, and they'll start eating each other, I'm sure of that. At first those who die of starvation, later they'll just start butchering each other.

    And if we could really communicate with animals, why become vegetarians and not vegans? We'd start to negotiating with animals? Someone will go to a cow and say "Since you don't have any siblings yet, we'll take all your milk for us, and when you do have them, we'll only take 40%"? And then go to a chicken and say "We'll be taking all your eggs until you decide to start brooding them, when we'll leave you a batch"? Or maybe go to a fish and tell him "Seeing as you've got thousands of eggs in there, we'll take 60% of them. And as you've got about twenty thousand kids, we'll take about a third of them." "Or what? What are you going to do if I decide to keep all my offspring out of your kitchens and plates?" Some will say "Ok, then. I'll just become a vegan and we'll live in peace and harmony for the rest of our lives." But the vast majority I'm sure will say "Hey, we're the most intelligent and advanced species on the planet, but mosquito have been feeding on us and spreading deadly diseases for eons. Either you cooperate and live, or you die. You and your brothers all taste the same anyway."

    And how about plants, as I've included them too in my argument, not just animals? I really think this subject is a proof of the disturbed way the human mind works - if you think a living thing is not of superior intelligence, then it's ok to kill it. No it's not! But it's just who we are.

    I know of a cult that thought of this issue a long way back. And when they decided to stop killing living things, they all became vegans. But the fruits they eat are the ones that drop from the trees, and considered a gift from God, and the vegetables that they plant and gather are jsut enough to keep them fed, and they thank God and them for the sacrifice being made. And of course, everyone considers them freaks. But if you'd ask me, they chose the right way to do things if you answer 'yes' to the question given here.

    (Pardon the long reply, please, I just needed to say this)

  • At 1/21/2007 8:08 AM, Blogger LouLou said…


    I wouldn't compare eating animals to killing each other.

    Eating animals is natural. We're all part of the food chain. Animals eat plants & we eat animals & plants & some animals would eat us if they got the chance. That's just survival & Nature's way of maintaining balance & population control.

    But killing your own kind is unnatural & perverted. Making weapons that kill millions of your own kind is unnatural.

  • At 1/21/2007 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I also think is about how much affection we give to animals, and i think at the similarity of situation in case of humans. Not eating humans, just accepting their needs, rights, accepting them arround us. It is very simple to heart something wich we do not know.
    It depends of how much you can share, give and you want to. I guess is some egoism arround: we love each other, we fight each other, but not in the same time and is not the same "other".
    And about the question: i would not became vegetarian. i would not eat THAT chiken i'm speaking...but i will. maybe because a selfish feeling of physiologic need.("Mananc si plang. Mananc")

  • At 1/21/2007 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with Loulou here. We are part of the food chain. I know we'd like to think that we're not, but we are. It's just that our top predator also happens to be us.

    But I have to say, I had several chicks when I was a kid. But when they grew up and stopped being cute, I had no problem eating them. It's like they were chicken bought off the shelf in the supermarket.

    I once got into some trouble when I opposed the killing of stray dogs, but when it comes to food, I'm a meat-lover.

    So basically, if you're going to eat it, then you can kill it. (or have someone else kill it for you if you can't witness that part).

    Some people argue that we are at the top of the food chain.

  • At 1/21/2007 8:26 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    Ryan, don't worry about your comment being too long! Thank you for putting so much heart into this debate.

    Lou, it was not a comparison per se. I just said that if we could kill each other so easily, hearing animals speak won't make us stop eating them.

    As for what is natural or unnatural, well that is always defined by the perceptions of the majority. If the majority decides killing animals is bad, it will be imposed as a right way.

    Sim, you are right, we would only be eating animals that are not connected in any way with us.

    Mak, we are at the top of the food chain because of our weapons. Otherwise, we would still be some animal's first or second plate of the day :)

  • At 1/21/2007 9:02 PM, Anonymous NetBoy said…

    "I personally think there is a reason for us to have canine teeth… it’s natures way of telling us we should chew meat, not necessarily raw, but meat nonetheless… It is true we have even driven species into extinction in order to feed ourselves with their flesh and there is no excuse for that, we didn’t run out of pigs though… I don’t want to be cynical about this but for us, humans, eating meat is not an option, it is an obligation, for as a species, we are shaped by evolution (designed by god, if that better suites you) to consume it and we depend on the nourishment it brings, it is also thought eating meat (cooked and tendered, if you can call slamming it against a rock tenderizing) has been an advantage that brought us to the very top of the food chain, rendering other humanoid species extinct in the beginnings of the human race…"

    and more in my reply inspired by your post...

  • At 1/22/2007 9:04 AM, Blogger Alina said…

    NetBoy, our physical details to justify our meat eating habits is a very interesting approach.

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Name: Alina
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