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Monday, January 17, 2011

Andrew Wakefield - Autism/MMR Doctor, found guilty of misconduct

Posted today on another forum:

I am very sad that this has happened.
I read about Dr. Wakefield's research when it first came out and it was accepted then. That was back when Autism was considered quite rare. My son had been diagnosed about two years previously with Autism and there was hardly any information about it anywhere that I could find. I had to travel to another city to find anyone who knew anything about it, and I ended up enrolling my son in a research study to pay for his treatment because our insurance refused to cover Autism at all. At that time Autism was considered completely incurable and the only options offered to us were to keep him comfortable and try to last as long as we could before putting him into an institution.

Things have come a long way since then, and mostly because of parents, not Doctors. I got involved with parent groups who were trying to find some answers and these parents raised the money themselves to pay to have their Doctor flown to where research was being done and to bring back information that would possibly help their children.

I think that when Autism was thought of as some kind of orphan disease nobody seemed to care whether vaccinations had anything to do with it or not. Now that Autism is more prevalent, there are huge interests and lots more at stake and so the dialogue has become quite heated. Its scary to think that now Doctors are going to be afraid to question anything with regard to vaccination for fear that everything they do will be scoured for problems and their livelihoods will be at stake.

I am concerned that one of the largest groups that is raising money for Autism research is primarily focusing on the genetics. I am all for finding the genetic markers -- if it leads to successful treatments. However, this area is scary to me because I am thinking that then people will get their child tested before birth for Autism and use this evidence to abort the child, and if that is the main way of dealing with Autism, there will be little incentive to look for post-birth solutions. And this will mean that the true cause of Autism will remain hidden from us.

I am concerned that people will think that Autism is a type of genetic birth defect. Because even if there is a genetic predisposition to Autism, that doesn't mean that all children with the genetic markers will be certain to develop Autism. The reason I say this is that pre-1990, there were far fewer children with Autism. The genetic make-up of our children didn't suddenly become weaker in the 1990's. These children, born even one decade sooner, might have been normal, or maybe even a bit nerdy or shy or something, but not Autistic. They might have been the Steve Job's of their generation. But somehow this potential was stolen from them and I think that however this happened, we will never know unless brave people continue to look for causes outside of our genes as well as inside them.

For the complete discussion of this topic from the original forum, go to:

POF Forums, Science/philosophy Forum

Opinions on the topic of Vegetarianism - Part 8

Continuation of a topic. See part 1 for an introduction.

Note: Items in italics are quotes of other people.

Ideoform Msg. 1029

"Is a bowel full of bacteria considered meat or veggie ?"

Interesting you should ask.

Are you considering switching over to bacterism?

Whatever yogurt, aged cheeses, miso, saurkraut, pickles, beer, wine, tempeh, and any other fermented product is, is the answer.

It's called pro-biotics. As opposed to anti-biotics. With pro-biotics, such as acidolphus bifidus, and bifo-bacteria, you eat the bacteria right in the food product. The bacteria then populate your intestines and actually help you to pre-digest your food for you, saving your digestive system from having to do it all. This allows you to eat things that humans can't really digest well, or particular people can't digest well, like beans. The bacteria also produce waste products that can be beneficial, like vitamin B12. This happens in animal digestive systems, also, which is why animal flesh is a source of vitamin B12.

With anti-biotics, you aren't getting the living agent (a fungus found in dirt) you are benefiting from its toxic secretions that help the particular life-form to compete in the cruel world of bacteria, mold and fungus war for dominance in a particular ecosystem.

(Note: When you take anti-biotics, you are ingesting the toxic secretions of fungi and bacteria that they use to kill each other with or slow each other's development. This can also kill off the beneficial "good" bacteria that your normal digestive system relies on to stay healthy, and so you should take a pro-biotic supplement along with the anti-biotic, or eat lots of live yogurt cultures. Otherwise, the yeasts in your system can "take over" and overpopulate your digestive tract. )

We have manufactured yeasts for breads and beer that are so strong and so virulent, that unchecked, they can take over your system and cause lots of damage because the yeast has a stage of development where it grows a mycelium, which is like tree roots, that grows into your intestines and can cause permeability, thus allowing undigested food to get directly into your bloodstream, and this can cause your immune system to react to your favorite foods as if they were a virus or forgein object. So sometimes a round of antibiotics can be the precursor to developing a food allergy or food sensitivity.)

So, I guess, the food you are eating, then, the dead part, like the milk the yogurt is made out of is a "meat" product, because it is produced by animals, but the bacteria that is in the yogurt (eating the milk as you are eating them) is not "meat" in the classic sense, but it is a living thing. If the fermented product is a vegetable or fruit, then it might still be classified as a vegan product, but with the interesting added component of living entities who are also eating the same food at the same time you are, but often end up passing right through you in the end. So I guess you could say that the various vegetarian life forms are sharing a living space for a while....

Wine and beer are made with yeast. Yeast is alive but can be stored for very long times because it can go into a sort of hibernation mode when there is no nutrient or water present. Usually, the yeast is dead when you eat it, from too much alcohol, or too much heat (as when it is used to raise dough in making breads.) But sometimes the cooking/fermenting process doesn't kill all the yeast off, and you get living yeast into your system, which then takes up residence and further digests some of the sugars and starches in your food as it passes through.

Mushrooms eat vegetables, but do not produce their own energy through photosynthesis, like plants do. Mushrooms are vegetarians, then. And people who eat mushrooms are really eating a fungi.

So what do you classify a fungi? It's alive, it eats dead and decaying vegetables. I guess you could call vegetarians fungi, then. If you want to.

If you do, however, I will then compare you with flies, and mosquitos. Who live off of animals -- the flies eat dead animals and the mosquitos eat off of the live ones, like vampire bats.

Here is a study on the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. (Not supplements.)

"This latest study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease confirms previous studies on vegetable intake and dementia. Here, healthy subjects between the ages of 45 and 102 underwent cognitive testing while their blood was checked for antioxidant micronutrients and biomarkers of oxidative stress. Their daily fruit and vegetable intake was also assessed.

The subjects in the high fruit and veggie intake group scored significantly higher on the cognitive tests, and they also had higher antioxidant levels and lower biomarkers for oxidative stress than those in the low intake group.

Cognitive test scores were positively correlated with blood levels of a-tocopherol and lycopene, and negatively correlated with F2a isoprostanes (potent vasoconstrictors) and protein carbonyls – a byproduct of oxidation that causes cell damage.

The results were independent of age, gender, body mass index, education, total cholesterol, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and albumin.

The researchers concluded that “modification of nutritional habits aimed at increasing intake of fruits and vegetables should be encouraged to lower prevalence of cognitive impairment in later life.”

They focused their recommendation on fruits and vegetables as opposed to the antioxidants themselves, as previous studies have shown that while antioxidants from food have a beneficial impact on your brain and can prevent cognitive decline, supplements do not appear to offer the same benefits.

It seems your brain is too smart to settle for second best, and the key for brain health is FOOD based, and can likely not be duplicated by supplements alone."

~Source: Eurekalert September 8, 2009, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease August 2009: 17(4); 921-927

Ideoform Msg. 1032

"I really, really like well aged steak -- let it sit around for about 20 days before eating ..."

Ahh, so that answers what has happened to you....

eating pre-digested meat, partially consumed by bacteria during the decay process.

Must be nice to not only have your vegetables digested for you by animals, now you also have the benefit of having the meat from those animals partially digested for you by decay. You big baby.....


This thread spans the dates
1/13/2009 -- 12/5/2009


I think that anyone actually reading my opinions here should look at the original thread for some very good postings by other people.

To see the entire thread, you can go to:

Subject: Science/philosophy
Thread Title: Hypothetical dilemma for Vegans/PETA...

This thread spans the dates 1/13/2009 -- 12/5/2009, has 1025 postings, and spans 42 pages.

Someday I might have some time and go through them and put up another entry of these ideas, resources, links and some of the funny, and interesting parts. However, what I would edit out would include some of the extreme stuff, and the repetitive stuff, and the stuff that is just lame. Some of it has some "shock" value and could be very entertaining to some readers, so if you have an interest in this topic and want to see it all, I think the original thread speaks for itself.


Even though I tried to be sincere, honest, accurate and factual and to quote other sources accurately, occasionally I have made some mistakes and I might have made some and not caught them. I hope that if you quote me in another context, that you will double-check my sources and make sure everything is accurate and spelled correctly. I didn't always stick to the topic, I rambled quite a bit, and I hope that anyone taking the time to read this will forgive me for that.

However, I created this series mainly for myself, because for some reason the thread intrigued me enough to get me to think very carefully about the topic, and to spend a lot of time and energy researching and composing my posts. So I guess this was a nice hobby for me that year, and it distracted me from some other issues for a while.
Thank you to Blogger for storing this for me and for allowing me to share my views with anyone who happens to be interested and stops by here.

I welcome and look forward to reading any comments, corrections and additional discussion on this topic.


I currently follow the Blood Type Diet. I am a type O negative, and following the blood type suggestions and eating meat sometimes is the way I feel best. I am still very sensitive and react to gluten and strictly avoid all gluten in my diet. I can eat some dairy now, but I have to limit it to certain kinds like Kefir.

I often go long periods without eating meat at all, and I eat very little red meat. If I do eat red meat it is grass-fed meat, or free range animals, like buffalo, or occasionally, deer, I eat some organically raised free-range and locally grown chicken less than once a week. I know this sounds "picky" but it really just reflects my long history of eating very little meat, and so I can afford to be picky about the little I do eat.

I don't think I would have ever learned so much about food and nutrition and tried so many different diets if I hadn't had health problems for over 20 years from being an un-diagnosed Celiac. At one time it was so bad I thought I wouldn't make it another year. I had so many symptoms I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I don't wish this on anyone else, but it took me on this journey that taught me so much and made me so aware of food, nutrition and made me think about where my food came from and how it was produced, and the meaning of nourishment in all its forms, physical, social, and emotional.

Opinions on the topic of Vegetarianism - Part 7

This is a continuation of a topic. See part 1 for an introduction.

Note: Italics refer to quotes posted by other people.

Ideoform Msg. 647

Other poster quoting Ideoform: "...what we think, dream and conceptualize is the formation of the very future we are heading toward. The future we are becoming is the one we are formualting right here with our thoughts, intentions, desires, choices and actions. "

>>>>>Very well said, Is this one of your quotes? I don't see a name behind it. It should be framed and hung on a wall."

It's metaphysics. You can quote me as the author, but I learned it from studying truth in various forms over the years. The physical world is constructed this way.

Caution-- Boring explanation part follows:
The universe at a sub-atomic level is constructed of vibrating strings, by a current theory in physics. The vibrations come into existence at a quantum level from which many possibilities exist. This is the point at which consciousness interacts with form (through movement), and ultimately the universe you see is the result of the collective intersection of all consciousness, particularly your own. By the very nature of being the observer--you select outcomes. The present moment is the pivot point.

We all create the future whether you believe this or not... or study metaphysics. On a very mundane level, what you put out into the world comes back to you. If you are a very aggressive person, the whole world seems wary and possibly aggressive. Psychologists call it "projection" but it is also a way of seeing the creation process.

It's been called new age mumbo jumbo, until quantum physics, the formulation of the holographic paradigm, the study of dark matter and string theory began seeing these relationships in the study of atomic structure, and astronomy. Yet it's been a part of human knowledge for dozens of centuries.

There now is no question at all in quantum physics--proven by replicated experiments--that the act of observation changes what is observed at an atomic level. Not only that, but the interactions between various paired sub-atomic particles happens simultaneously at a distance, with nothing, not even a wave form, in-between them.

Ecclesiastes 11:1 "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth." “Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later.”
Galatians 6:7, “... A man reaps what he sows.”

Luke 6:38,“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

If we were Gods to animals (or plants, or whatever), would we consider their pleas as assiduously as we hope God will consider ours? If the universe is a mirror of our hearts, and inner longings, and the level of compassion we have learned to show, then perhaps the world we see is only the result of our own limitations of compassion, not God's. Perhaps we kill and are killed because they are two sides of the same coin.

Our true limitations, then are the scope of our own ideals, expectancies, conscience, and dreams, not the physical laws we then operate with as a result of our scientific understanding.

What use is a tool if it is used against its purpose? Is the physical understanding more important than how it comes to be?


Ideoform Msg. 771

I know, its quotes. I just had to post this one because when I read it, it appears to directly answer the original OP's question of this thread:

"My situation is a solemn one. Life is offered to me on condition of eating beefsteaks. But death is better than cannibalism. My will contains directions for my funeral, which will be followed not by mourning coaches, but by oxen, sheep, flocks of poultry, and a small traveling aquarium of live fish, all wearing white scarfs in honor of the man who perished rather than eat his fellow creatures."

~George Bernard Shaw

OK. So I am going to personalize this quote with more comments about my experiences with vegetarianism just so you have more to digest (so to speak.) :)

I was discussing vegetarianism with my sister yesterday. My sister became vegetarian "for her health" in high school, (mainly to loose weight, and to train for competitive swimming) but a few years later went back to eating meat because she heard it wasn't that much healthier to avoid meat altogether. She said she ended up eating too many refined carbohydrates, and too much cheese...and wasn't really staying as thin as she would like. She's been a size 4 to size 6 her whole life.

"I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens." ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

I, on the other hand, ate meat in high school, (and tons of dairy products) and was very thin, also. I thought my sister was just doing a fad diet at the time. But later, in college, while taking a philosophy class, and studying world religions, I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons, like Mr. Singer above.

In some ways I felt really strong for a while, I was a crew on a racing sailboat, lifted weights, did running, took a bicycle everywhere, learned fencing, ballroom dancing and yoga. But after some very stressful events, I got sick and didn't heal well from it. I think the stress caused me to react to some foods I was eating, and in particular, wheat and dairy products, but I didn't know this then. At the time, I was eating a lot of cheese sandwiches, and I think just because I was busy with college and three jobs, I really didn't want to cook that much from scratch.

So I felt gradually worse over time. When I got married ten years later, I went to eating meat again so the whole family could eat the same things. I got distressing symptoms for about a year after starting to eat meat again because my body wasn't used to digesting meat--meat requires a very different type of digestion; more stomach acid, mainly to kill bacteria, and the chemical urea is produced (which isn't the case with vegan foods) which can build up in your system, crystalize and cause gout, which is very painful.

I didn't get gout, because I think gout is mainly from eating more than 3 oz. of meat a day, combined (usually) with drinking alcohol (particularly red wine.) I hadn't drunk alcohol for 35 years. But as we age, our kidneys and liver have a harder time flushing out the urea quickly enough before it starts to build up and crystalize in the body, so many people I know who are my age group are getting gout.

Anyway, after more stressful events related to my child being in the hospital (hospital food is not that sitting around in waiting rooms worrying is probably the worst form of non-exercise there is.) I gained weight, even though I was eating pretty much a normal American diet, and a normal amount of calories. I got high cholesterol, and always felt fatigued, even though I was less active than before.

I have finally lost weight, after completely eliminating two specific proteins in my diet...gluten and casein. I am now the healthiest I have been since high school. I think going on a vegetarian diet for your health is not going to automatically make you more healthy.

From my experience, there is a lot more to eating healthy than just giving up meat, because what's left after you eliminate meat from the typical American diet is really pretty un-healthy food unless you are very careful about what you eat.

Plus there is the side-effect of annoying your friends and family if you are not diplomatic about it, and active relationships with friends and family are essential to good health:

"Vegetarianism is harmless enough though it is apt to fill a man with wind and self-righteousness."

~Robert Hutchison, address to the British Medical Association, 1930

To complicate things even more I met someone I really like who happens to be a vegetarian. He does eat some fish. (This is not why we met, or what we have in common.) Even though I was a vegetarian for 17 years, he's the first vegetarian I have ever dated. (So now I get to see what it is like from the other side of the dining table.)

He had a major heart attack (he ate meat before the aattack.) He actually died at one point while in surgery. He avoided getting a pacemaker and further surgery by changing his diet and exercising, learning to meditate, and taking certain supplements designed to remediate deficiencies shown in his labwork, among other things.

He was given less than 5 years to live and has outlived that by several years. He can't stand even the smell of meat cooking now. He also remembers how poorly the animals were treated when he was growing up in a farming community, and says that nobody would eat meat if they were to visit the places animals are raised and slaughtered now.

"Heart attacks... God's revenge for eating his little animal friends."

~Author Unknown

"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

He's now the healthiest, most active person I have dated so far, since dating again.

Recently we went out with a friend of his who wanted to go to a Polish buffet that had a lot of meat dishes, and he couldn't go there because he can't stomach the strong smell of the meat cooking. He had a very viceral reaction to it.

"Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own."

~Robert Louis Stevenson

I didn't go looking for a vegetarian to date. It wasn't on my profile. I just found that a compatible person for me happened to be a vegetarian even though I wasn't anymore. I think that vegetarians show a certain compassion toward the human condition that my situation requires.

I had thought when I eliminated gluten and casein that I would not be able to go back to being a vegetarian, but I now only eat fish and eggs and no other meat products. I like this way of eating. I feel good, I like the foods I cook and buy, I'm not hungry, I don't miss the way I used to eat at all.

I can manage both limitations now since I have been on the gluten free/casein free diet for over a year and I have it memorized and really know it. I can cook everything and find lots to eat wherever I go now. Restaraunts are pretty good with special diets, allergies and all kinds of special requests. There are many more products on the shelves that are healthy choices for prepared foods too...that aren't just junk laced with preservatives, artificial flavorings and pesticides.

The latest on my health, is I have gone back to doing all the things I used to do in high school and college again, with no fatigue, no medications anymore, no problems, no dieting to loose weight, but I am loosing a small amount each week (1/2 a pound or so) with no cravings or hunger for anything. I run 3 miles every day, learned swing dancing and go dancing weekly, I lift weights, go sailing again, and now am going touring bicycling again. I take a chewable calcium, some vitamin B12, once in a while, and I cook with cast iron pots for iron (which works--my Doctor is surprised at my iron levels being very good.)

"In the strict scientific sense we all feed on death - even vegetarians."

~Mr. Spock, Star Trek, "Wolf in the Fold"

I think that vegetarianism is an attempt to create a life that does not further any kind of suffering....not to save animals from death, for we all die, animals included, but to create a world where suffering of any kind, of any living being is considered with compassion and not ignorance. We are a big part of forming the world we live in--and how we learn to treat each other and learn compassion is a big part of how we experience it. How can we learn compassion better? This is one way.

I think the universe is perfect, but in Gnosticism, the world is a bad place created by a nasty God (demiurge) who was created by the Universe and the material world is a nasty place that we must learn to escape. Evidence for this is the fact that simply to exist we must end something else's life.

Sadly, to create fuel for our bodies that doesn't kill something has changed our health. Processed, food-like substances (fake food) are usually produced from living plants, anyway. To eat only non-living substances might remove all connection we have to the living world, the world of nature, God's world, divorcing us from our source even further.

"If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat? "

Ideoform Msg. 813

"One-quarter of what you eat keeps you alive.
The other three-quarters keeps your doctor alive."

~Hieroglyph found in an ancient Egyptian tomb.

Ideoform Msg. 925

Morals vs. moralizing.

It's almost impossible to state a moral or value without making someone else feel guilty or wrong. Any social pressure that is not law, is a choice people make. If I set my personal standard to only obeying the law, I might still do some harmful (or stupid) things, but the government leaves that up to me. That doesn't make it better to do--my behavior just won't put me in jail or have me paying a fine. Using seatbelts and child car seats used to be voluntary...but they were always a good idea. I know, I used to be in the Children's Hospital a lot, and saw the end results.

So if I set myself a standard--any standard--that is more work, more sacrifice, more costly, than that required by law, I set myself up for the social consequence of making other people uncomfortable around me sometimes...and sometimes uncomfortable enough that they ridicule me to feel better about what they aren't doing, that I am doing.

It is so interesting to see such a bland topic as this: "What some people aren't eating."
getting so much attention. Its not enough to make the news, generally, what people aren't doing. People are smoking less. Not that great a news story compared to so many others. That doesn't make it any less of an accomplishment for human health. Some people lost their jobs in the tobacco industry because of less consumption. Perhaps that will make the news someday....

If you have a value, and follow it, that isn't news either. Until you start to tell other people your value-- that is considered preaching. (Unless you are a parent, then it is considered acceptable to tell a person a value as long as they are underage.) So no matter what the value is; protecting the environment, minimising the suffering of food animals, treating minorities as equals, going to war, loosing weight, running a marathon for a charity, hunting game, dying your hair, sending thank you notes.... if you have to explain what you are doing to others--instead of just doing it--it can be preachy sounding.

For example. Your friend has lost 30 pounds and looks great, you start to talk, and he/she says to you:
"I went on a 'cleanse' because my Doctor recommended it for my heart."
"I am loosing weight because I am on a fast for peace."
"I decided to become a vegetarian because I don't digest meat very well."
"I joined Peta and they are all vegetarians, so I became a vegan."
"I have cancer, and the chemo drugs make me nauseous."
"I have aids."
"I became a Buddist and am following a 10 day fast."
"I qualified for America's Biggest Looser and just got back from three weeks at the studio."
"My husband died six months ago, and I can't seem to cook anything just for myself without missing him so much."

The answer makes all the difference. Some of the answers might make you wish you hadn't asked. But the end result is the same...your friend lost some weight. The significance of it can be so varied...and this is the difference between morals and moralizing. The person who chose to become a Buddist, or a Peta activist, or a hunger-striker is going to make a very different impression on you with their answer even if they do nothing else but to answer your question--no preaching, no moralizing, no other explanation.

The only way to get this issue this much attention on this dating forum was to set it to an extreme--where what is not being eaten is a matter of life or death. (However, in almost no real-life circumstance is not eating something going to be life or death unless you are giving up all food entirely, and permanently, and that would be suicide or mental illness on the level of anorexia. Hmmm, well, I guess diabetes and sugar would fit this, as well as Celiac and gluten, and peanut allergies and peanuts.) The question would have to be on the order of: "What political issue would make you go on a hunger strike?" or something like that.

But the alternative question might sound wacky, like; "Would you eat meat if you were deathly allergic to it, if you were in a banquet honoring a famous cattle rancher?" No meat eater is going to be risking their lives immediately by eating normal meat, so you can't reverse the question. Can anyone come up with the logical opposite question from the one being asked? For one thing, people don't usually eat meat primarily for moral/ethical/religious reasons.

But this is a developed country, and most people who are truly starving are on the desert island of public opinion...they are invisible to us.

We can focus on the extreme case of a well-nourished vegetarian person falling onto a desert island in a plane wreck, or we can focus on how to talk about real starvation, and how food choices in developed countries affect the rest of the world and what actions might be able to solve the problems created by the vagaries of the food industy and distribution issues.

If being vegetarian helps anyone or anything, then isn't that a good thing? And then, if it is, does it have to be moralized about? Or can it just be something good, like wearing seat-belts?

I think people reject having to explain wanting to live....

There is nothing wrong with wanting to live in a survival situation...and also nothing wrong with being required to bend one's values in order to survive if necessary. And also nothing wrong with not bending at all...and not surviving. (As long as that isn't against the law, its their choice, right?)

Some people seem to think they can't live comfortably without meat, and others see meat eating as a luxury they can easily give up for a variety of reasons.

But asking for an explanation means you have to accept the answer being written here, and not reject that the explanation is even being given. After all, this is a free website forum, nobody is loosing any money, and nobody has to read all the postings, or any postings at all. As long as people follow the forum posting rules, you can give your opinion. Moralizing has its own forum, in the form of the hidden Religion forum.

I say, lets find a real problem...not a plane wreck, or some other statistically insignificant problem that is mainly by chance or accident. And lets find some real solutions. And maybe a part of the solution will include changing the way we eat in this country. And that might be something almost all of us are already trying to do anyway.

I say, lets talk about some of the ideas people have come up with about food production, distribution and consumption that seem to be designed to solve some issue that concerns people. Like:

* Fair Trade,
* Buying food locally grown,
* Organic food production,
* Non-genetically modified food,
* Buying heirloom varieties to protect biodiversity,
* Supporting local farmers by going to farmer's markets.

I have one. I like what the Kosher designation tries to do. It's a bit out of date, and specific to mainly one culture/religion, but a good idea nonetheless. It is like an independent evaluation of food, like when an inspector comes to a restaraunt and looks for cleanliness back in the kitchen where you as a customer don't get to see.

Only I think we could get or create a group (probably not Peta--they obviously are good at rabble-rousing, not inspection) that could go in and inspect various aspects of food production/distribution/consumption with regard to ethical issues like the food blog The Ethicurian points out. The group could be non-sectarian, or multi-sectarian, or have a collaborative approach with scientific methodologies, and health specialists.

There is a guy on Oprah who specializes in health coaching, who developed some standards for food and has been allowed to put a symbol on packaged foods saying that they meet his health standards for weight loss reasons, such as low-sodium and low-fat.

The advantage of his label is like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Quality used to be. Another pair of eyes on the industry, so you can find foods you trust to be of a certain quality based on certain pre-set standards. Now we have a similar symbol for "Fair Trade," and for "Organic," although these standards sometimes are variable. We also have the "No Animal Testing" label for cosmetics.

The problem is agreeing on a standard, any standard that might make sense. But if the health coach on Oprah can do it, anybody can. You don't need a federal law to do this. You can just start one. Say, the standard is the least suffering for a food animal during its slaughter. Someone trained to do this could visit slaughterhouses, and rate them on a scale of one to ten, and simply publish the results somewhere. This makes the invisible, visible. We can't see how an animal died on the package when we buy the meat. Not that anyone needs a photo...but having someone else you trust, visit the place and give it a rating makes the unknown variable now something you can base your purchase on.

Its the stuff that hides in the shadows that can rot...the things nobody sees because they don't care to look...the places nobody wants to in the sewers. The sewers are necessary to all of us, but why should any of us have to go down there just to make sure things are running smoothly and up to code? That's what inspectors are for. And independent inspectors might be nice, if there was something going on that corrupted the original inspectors. I'm not saying slaughterhouses have corruption. But they do have a bias...toward the efficient slaughter at the least cost of our food. There is no incentive for them to consider suffering when they are already causing the animals to die anyway.

But if we can have such nuances about our food as to: how many trans-fats, how many calories, how many omega 3 fats, how much sugar, what types of allergens it contains, how it looks, cartoon characters on the box, etc., etc., and these matter to somebody then if this matters to people, it could be done and marketed to benefit the business. Just like Starkist markets its tuna as dolphin-safe.

Ideoform Msg. 939

...."More properly then, a pescatarian "...

I'm a pescatarian, too. I eat seafood, but I am concerned about the heavy metals and factory farming of seafood, so I don't eat seafood every day.

I just listened to a radio show today on NPR where the columnist "Miss Conduct" (similar to Miss Manners) was interviewed, and the discussion came up about how to have a dinner party when your friends all have very different eating styles and issues...Kosher, vegetarian, gluten-free, low-calorie, peanut allergic, etc., etc.,.... and she said that in today's world, we are becoming more and more aware of the diversity of values and lifestyles.

It used to be we all thought of one generic ideal for a person--marriage, family, lifestyle--and to be polite meant only needing to be aware of that set of values. Like writing thank you notes. She said it's ok to have varied lifestyle choices and values and still get along...well, we seem to be working on that. But it isn't ok to wear your lifestyle "in someone's face" in; someone is eating a hamburger at a party and you say to them, "Oh, I'm a vegetarian now." It's going to seem judgemental.

Food is so important to our lives; and this makes it even more of an issue when in social situations. We celebrate with food, we socialize with food, we use food as a topic of discussion, we have rituals involving food in almost every religion, we associate food with security, with nurturing, with comfort, and every lifestyle and every generation has its "in" foods. (Hot food, what a concept.) We use certain foods and their availablility or scarcity as status symbols, or symbols of rebellion, during a boycott. Right now, one of the 'in' foods is pomegranates.

Certain foods are almost ritualised in certain sports and recreation. I went to a baseball game last week (our team won!) and I was amazed to find a vegetable wrap at the hot dog stand, and hard lemonade as a choice instead of beer....but the beer and hot dogs were such a part of the ambiance of the experience, I wouldn't change it. At least in my generation...perhaps the next generation will prefer other foods to remind them of their childhoods. (I didn't "cheat," I had the maple roasted nuts, and a pickle, my date had the vegetable wrap, and I brought gluten-free pretzels that are addicting.)

So we have more choices now but the rules of etiquette aren't keeping up. For instance, how do you react when the same thing is done on the internet, in a public forum or on Face book? Does it seem judgemental when answering a question about vegetarianism?

I have thought of a new label for myself, which I am going to wear proudly: "Pesky-tarian." I have decided that I am going to have to get used to being seen as slightly judgemental whenever the subject of what I eat/don't eat comes up. Maybe I will put this label on a bumper sticker on my van so I can warn people right up front and not suprise anyone.

Why do I need a label? I guess so I can find other Peskytarians so I have a group around which I can relax and feel comfortable about my value choices concerning what I eat. And, no, Peta doesn't count, because they don't eat seafood. Even if they cheat, Sorry. There is such a thing as too pesky for a pesky-tarian. Plus, I don't want to have to do a security search on them when they come to my buffet, which might actually have some chicken on it.

(Oh, and Miss Conduct said she has a menu plan on her blog for a buffet that takes into account all the usual dietary restrictions so many of us seem to have now. She says a helpful rule is to have at least two things each person can eat, one has to be a protein item.)


Ideoform Msg. 1027

Post # 365:

"We just have no respect for the other species on the Planet. Even if I were on that island with a dog, I'm sure I couldn't eat it just to survive. (I might be tempted, though, if it were a small, yappy dog.)

This is such a burden for me. Many nights I lie awake, my mind tormented by thoughts of how evil humans are. Do you know about the smallpox genocide? It was speciesism at its most brutal. Humans set out deliberately to eradicate smallpox as a species, destroying its habitat and using toxic chemicals with no mercy. And after slaughtering billions upon billions of individual viruses, they succeeded.

And to flaunt our dominion over other life forms, we kept a few viruses alive as trophies. We locked them away in a couple labs, like tiny, lonely animals in zoos. If one day we become bored with even these few survivors, we can kill them, too. Yes, I know some will trot out the tired old fact that smallpox killed more humans than all the wars and diseases in history. My answer is this: So what? It is (or was) a species, just like humans. Who made us the judge of its right to live? That was for Gaia to decide!

p.s.: Do not buy honey, or any product (like some breads) that contains it! Working together, enlightened humans can one day put an end to the cruel and shameful enslavement of bees."

Post # 374:

"All the way down to the weakest of creatures , those wonderful bacteria & viruses kill each other.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a mixture of viruses as a food additive to protect people.
The additive can be used in processing plants for spraying onto ready-to-eat meat
and poultry products to protect consumers from the potentially
life-threatening bacterium Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes).

The viruses used in the additive are known as bacteriophages.
Bacteriophage means "bacteria eater."
A bacteriophage, also called a phage (pronounced fayj), is any virus that infects bacteria.

No one seems to wonder the sentience, suffering and pain of these creatures."

I hate to go so far back in this thread, but I recently came across this article about the life experience of bacteria. It sounds like an anthropology article.

I believe that all life forms have all aspects similar to our own. Many things about us that we think are exclusively human, like social behavior and altruism are present, and make the arguments of our specialness as a reason that we can eat meat without regard to how it was produced less compelling. As above, so below. I think the pattern of life is the same for all life, and this pattern reflects itself, like a hologram, in all living things.

Since we consider ourselves to be a social species, and one that can uniquely comprehend abstract concepts such as the meaning, purpose, and value of social behavior, then we humans *should* be more likely to consider the value and importance of social behavior than the lifeforms we are referring to, not less. Unfortunately, the reality is that most Americans are using our sophisticated abstract reasoning ability to discount and minimize the similarities and abilities of other species, and to rationalize their use and exposure to abuse for our convenience and taste preferences.

Is it possible that many of our uniquely human abilities are present at all levels of life, from amoeba on "upward?" I think that the only reason we are seeing such uniqueness in humans is by selective forgetting. Our society has become less agrarian, and we are forgetting the source of our food -- forgetting the intimate connection we have with other life forms that give us life. And so we can selectively choose to forget our immense control and influence on the quality of the lives that take other forms than our own.

In this vein, I offer the latest bacteria research, of which this is only one of many examples:

One-Celled Socialites
Bacteria mix and mingle with microscopic fervor
~Bruce Bower

Welcome to a vibrant social scene that has operated largely in secret until the past few years. Its participants don't seem to mind going unnoticed. They congregate in immense numbers to fend off enemies and the brute forces of nature, to obtain food, to reproduce, and to move to greener pastures. They're adept at forming bands to hunt prey, which are consumed on the spot. Vital messages repeatedly course through these assembled throngs. Under some circumstances, certain community members sacrifice their lives for the good of the rest. At other times, entire congregations cozy up to unsuspecting hosts before coalescing into stone-cold killers.

(Photo showing intricate patterns of bacterial growth.)
OUT ON A LIMB. Starvation conditions elicit a series of branching offshoots from a colony of Paenibacillus dendritiformis bacteria grown in a laboratory.

A. Shoob, Ben Jacob
All this high drama occurs in the microscopic world of bacteria. As the first form of life on Earth, one-celled organisms have lots of experience in getting together by the billions or even trillions to procure and process energy sources. Yet only in the past several years have scientists with a variety of academic backgrounds launched an intensive effort to explore the social lives of bacteria and other microorganisms.

Research on bacterial gatherings got a boost in 2001 from behavioral ecologist Bernard J. Crespi of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. Crespi reviewed findings from the past few decades on social behavior among microorganisms that "would be strangely familiar" to researchers who study the social ways of insects and vertebrates, he concluded.

Cooperation among individuals lies at the heart of social behavior in both microbes and animals visible to the naked eye, according to Crespi. For instance, just as bees build hives, many bacterial species create and inhabit sticky substances known as biofilms. Bacteria encased in biofilms thrive in moist settings, such as on ships' hulls, in sewage-treatment plants, on our teeth, and sometimes, with ill effects, in our lungs.

As in coalitions of creatures such as ants and naked mole rats, Crespi adds, bacterial colonies often feature a division of labor in which some members rarely or never reproduce but nonetheless provide other critical services to the community. Rhizobium bacteria, for example, form nodules that transfer nitrogen to plant roots and shuttle essential carbon to bacteria in and just outside the nodule. Bacteria in the nodule often refrain from reproducing, while their neighbors on the outside multiply fervently.

"The study of social behavior in bacteria has taken off in the last 3 or 4 years," says behavioral ecologist Ashleigh S. Griffin of the University of Edinburgh. "It's much easier to do experimental work on such behavior in microorganisms than in traditionally studied animals."

Scientists predict that understanding of bacterial cooperation and communication will yield medical breakthroughs. In particular, with such knowledge, researchers may devise new ways to undermine bacterial social bonds and thus neutralize virulent strains before they can kill a person."

Science News, Volume 166, No. 21, November 20, 2004, p. 330.


Opinions on the topic of Vegetarianism - Part 6

A continuation of the topic. See part one for an introduction.

Note: From this point on, all the parts in italics indicate me (Ideoform) quoting part of a previous posting by someone else.

Ideoform Msg. 630

"- that you don't care if these people actually support the particular cause you are fighting for, so long as you can hang on the coat-tails of their respect to push an agenda- you want to take the respect of people like Mohammed, Voltaire, and Dr. Sagan, and use it for your own agenda, of which these people may or may not share the beliefs as you are interpreting them."

I can research each person's vegetarian status, but I thought you would want to do that, since you were the one to bring up that point. Then you can claim the credit and gleefully call them out as hypocrites.

If I only quote vegetarians, then I myself would not be in this list, since as I have already said before, I eat meat.

So are you saying that the content of the quotes don't matter if they are the opinions of someone who isn't a vegetarian?

"- you don't care what Voltaire believes- "

Actually, I've read Voltaire's books. I don't agree with his philosophy entirely. But he makes some very good points that aren't relevant to this topic. He was a good philosopher. I've also read many of the other's writings, except for the Catholic ones. (I have read parts of Vatican II, though.)

"The context of the quote doesn't matter?"

The context matters. That's why I said what I said about the quotes being pulled out of their original context. However, I really feel that from the content of the quotes, that they stand on their own because they are very strong opinions on the subject. It's hard to imagine any of these quotes being considered ambiguous.

"I'm saying you're warping Voltaires beliefs to suit your needs."

How is my quoting Voltaire here warping his beliefs? If you were to read more Voltaire, you might not have said that.

"You ...wanted to use the person's image-"Status Counts"- but now that it seems this character has a greater motivation, connections to the worlds largest Vegan Association- suddenly Status doesn't count for squat."

Status does count for squat, in that the Newkirk quote is from someone who works for the world's largest animal rights organization. That is a status. She's just not dead yet like most of the others. But time will remedy that.

I said that status counts with people. I used the quotes of various famous people for that reason. I consider a quote from a Peta member also to be a status quote.

But I also think that quotes have value apart from who said them, in that they might be articulate, and well-said. I said both of those things. Not one over the other. Both. You can have two values for the same thing.

I consider the quotes by themselves with no author mentioned to have value. I also consider who said them to have value in that many, many people look to others to help them make value judgements in their lives------including Ms. Newkirk.

"Jiperly quoting Ideoform: If you want to imagine conspiracies and hidden agendas and lots of intrigue, go ahead..."

Jiperly-----"Awesome, cause thats what I'm, like, doing. I think you honestly and legitmately decided to exclude Ingrid Newkirk's profession from the list as a means for misinformation."

Quoting someone is not misinformation.

Nor is it a conspiracy. I have no hidden agenda because my agenda has already been stated many pages ago, in various forms. Your agenda isn't hidden, either.

I could have included quotes by other vegans here and that wouldn't be misinforming people, either.

"Jiperly quoting Ideoform: It takes no true courage to defend the powerful."

"Jiperly---Then doesn't it stand to reason that its cowardly to support the police, and brave to defend murders and rapists? Why aren't you following your ideals to their obvious conclusion?"

It isn't cowardly to support police. Policemen are generally not considered the powerful in this country. They are working men and women who happen to defend others already. It isn't cowardly to defend them. It isn't brave to defend them. They can defend themselves, as well as others.

I think murderers and rapists are not weak people requiring bravery to defend. However, the lawyers that defend them might disagree.

It takes courage to defend anything from attack. But it takes less courage to defend the status quo, the already powerful, the majority, the ones who have no need for other's to defend them from anything except a change in their status.


Ideoform Msg. 631

There is a lot of advertising promoting eating meat.

There used to be, in particular, lots of advertising that featured the animal themselves promoting the meat product made from it.

There were pigs, chickens, ducks, cows, and others who were given caricatures and jingles. They all acted very excited to be chosen for promotion, even to singing and dancing.

In this way, they had the best status of all--they represented themselves.

Cartoon animals promoting themselves for consumption aren't done as much anymore, perhaps because more people are pointing out the same thing you are doing with quotes.

Animals have no voice of their own except for their behavior and sounds that they make. To assume that given a voice which had words, they would not object to being confined, killed and eaten, is quite easy when it's pretty certain you can't ever actually ask them for a true, honest quote on their own behalf.

(I would think, that given the circumstances, even if you did have a way of getting a verbal quote from a food animal somehow, that it is doubtful they would give an honest answer unless you could for certain provide protection for them afterward.)

Msg. 632

H2O: "^^If you translate for us, perhaps I might reconsider.
Do you speak pig ?"


Ideoform Msg. 633





People's general opinion about what this actually means:

Eat me.

(OK, don't get all weird on me.)

P.S. You started it......


Ideoform Msg. 638

The following is a quote. Quotes have been known to be used out of context for the quoter's purposes, stated or hidden. Please note any discrepencies and report them. Please consider carefully who is being quoted before deciding on the meaning of the quote.

Read at your own discretion.

***Those of you who are wary of quotes, please look away.***

I love this quote. I posted this quote, relating it to disability, on my blog a while back, but I think it also applies to those existences who have no human status.

“Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life,
few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive
or even to hope,
by a limit imposed from without,
but falsely identified as lying within.”

~Stephen Jay Gould

End of Quote.
Those who are quote-averse may now resume reading the rest of the thread.

Ideoform Msg. 639

"As you said, its takes less bravery to support the status quo- again, if we take that standard of judgement and apply it to society, clearly it means you'd like to see more murderers, more rape, and frankly more anarchy all around, since the status quo is less murder, rape, and anarchy."

"Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it,
nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it."

--- Maimonides

And yes, this is another quote.

Part of Msg. 640

I would just like to point out, that whilst these quotes are intresting and some of them are very moving, they remain useless to this discusion. These quotes do not provide any evidence or arguments for thier positions. As they are, they remain meaningless.............
For example:

“If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies... It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.”
Albert Einstein

“If we're not supposed to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat?”
Tom Snyder...

“Better a mouse in the pot than no meat at all.” --Romanian

(---Many other quotes of this type omitted here.----)

...Now tell, me, other than being pretty words, what use were these quotes?"
Ideoform Msg. 641

Hmmmm, pretty quotes.....

Well, what good is arguing?

Nobody has changed their position from the one they began with.

New posters come here to present their opinion. They might read a lot here and take some of it into consideration. That might be good for them to have more to think about.

I presented my opinion, my agenda, if you will, way back at the beginning. I feel that sometimes the arguments go in circles. Each side presents "evidence." But in the end, what to eat or not eat and why is a very personal decision, beyond eating what is available simply for survival.

Whenever "evidence" or "proof" is presented, it becomes target practice.

Whenever a person's opinion is presented, its validity is questioned, the person's character is analyzed; are they Christian? Are they Agnostic? Are they fanatical? Are they "wimpy" bleeding hearts? If I push them hard do they just give in to any opinion that is presented forcefully? Can they spell? Do they belong to a group of some kind? What does that all mean?

"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything."

~Malcolm X

"I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it's for or against."

~Malcolm X

Now Malcom X said a lot of things I don't agree with, like:

"Nonviolence is fine as long as it works."

~Malcolm X

But you can appreciate the thoughts themselves without lumping me into the category with Malcolm X as a black revolutionary because I quoted him.
For instance, I don't automatically assume that you follow this practice because you quoted it:

“Better a mouse in the pot than no meat at all.” --Romanian

I liked this quote a lot:

“An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons - marriage, or meat, or beer, or cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.”
--C.S. Lewis

And this quote:

“If we're not supposed to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat?”--Tom Snyder just funny. Whoever doesn't have a sense of humor is too invested in the outcome of his arguments to really see either side clearly at all.

Ideoform Msg. 642

What's left is inspiration.

What is wrong with doing/believing what inspires us? With becoming enchanted with an idea or concept or ideal because it is beautiful, elegant, articulate or compelling?

Arguments only convince others if they have some force of consequence. Is there a consequence to eating or not eating meat? These arguments can be picked apart endlessly. There is proof on both sides.

Some types of reasons are better for some people than others.

For instance, I switched to eating fish and eggs and small amounts of chicken and lamb when I began a very strict diet for Celiac disease. Yet, I am proud that I lived for 17 years without eating these things because I think it made a difference in the world. Being a vegetarian didn't cause my disease, but ironically, the year I spent on a macrobiotic diet after my daughter died of cancer probably accelerated the disease.

I am dating a vegetarian right now. I had no idea he was a vegetarian until after we met and had spoken about other interests for a while. It was not a requirement for me...but I am comfortable with it. His health improved dramatically years ago when he gave up eating red meat. These are real consequences. His diet is essential to his health. He's probably the healthiest person in my age group that I know right now.

And for other people, one of the reasons for eating meat is that they live in a farming community, and are helping the local economy to eat what is produced there. If they were to become vegetarian, they might be misunderstood as "not being supportive" of their community--a rebel.

Ironically, the last book I bought, to help my own health and my son's, was called "Gluten-Free 101." The author, who is very allergic to wheat (but not a Celiac) was raised on a wheat farm. Her entire extended family is involved in some kind of wheat production. Imagine the explaining that had to go on when she had to confront her family with her allergy results...

I can't eat anything with gluten or casein in it. Neither can my son. We aren't boycotting these certain proteins. Its not a rebellion. If I give up lamb and chicken, though, to eat the way my boyfriend eats, (which I have done) it is to support his decision because he has done it for spiritual reasons, even though his health improved so much it extended his life by decades, according to him.

I am then doing something I did for ethical reasons in the past,
now, for the same reason other people on farms eat meat--to support the local economy. I am supporting a person I care about.

He was raised on a pig farm. He says it was atrocious how the pigs were treated in the area he grew up in, he says they were cruel to them, but he ate meat during his entire childhood. The pigs fed his family--literally, and also through the income they provided from their sale. So I owe this man's existence in part to those pigs.

Life is not ever very simple, cut and dried. Life will surprise you every time with unexpected twists and turns and relationships between things.

But that doesn't mean we can abdicate all responsibility for thought, and reasoning, compassion and ethics. On the contrary, what we think, dream and conceptualize is the formation of the very future we are heading toward. The future we are becoming is the one we are formualting right here with our thoughts, intentions, desires, choices and actions.


Opinions on Vegetarianism -- Part 5

Continuation of Topic, see part 1 for introduction

Ideoform Msg. 387
(addressing post by mfreemo)

In my opinion the original question was not about cannibalism.

Re-quoting original question:
"If you were stranded on a desert island, that had nothing but water supply, inedible trees and nothing to to eat but fish and seals, would you eat the animals or
strave to death. "

The part about eating another human was added for clarification:

Quoting previous post:
"From what I can understand it is based on the assertion that animals have the same inherent rights as humans, and therefore it is immoral to eat or exploit them just as it would be to do the same to a human. If I were in a situation where the only option for survival was to eat another human, I wouldnt do it. "

The question of morality came up in this part. ^^^ But not religion per say.

The controversial concept of "animals having rights" is the OP's conjecture about how the vegetarians and PETAns decide how to answer such questions.

As for thread deletion, I have seen many good (or at least very interesting) threads deleted when the posters started getting into personal attacks on each other more than addressing the original question. The moderators don't usually have the time to go through an entire thread to delete individual posts and so often simply delete the entire thread.

There are several things that we got close to here, such as one poster "baiting" another to kind of push their buttons. Others got a bit rude with some comments insulting Christianity, and we have some where the posts seem to go in circles over and over the same thing, repeating what has already been said more than once before. Repeating is fine for clarification.

Taking the thread way off-topic is another no-no. Sometimes dragging a thread to some other topic in order to gain attention or for other reasons, will get a thread deleted. If threads wander a bit to explore a side topic more thoroughly that is ok.

The tendency is for threads like this to go wholesale into religious or political arguments that end up going nowhere and just causing hard feelings rather than an exploration of a topic. Preaching, selling something, promoting an extreme or hostile agenda are all discouraged.

If this thread leads to interesting side-topics, starting new threads to discuss them is a good option.

Ideoform Msg. 394

Animals and their ability to have empathy, morality, emotions, fairness and how that promotes species survival:

"Recent overviews of research by Stephanie Preston and Frans de Waal from the Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta and Stanley Kuczaj's group at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg show that empathy is more widespread among animals than science has so far been willing to recognise. They point to research that suggests non-human primates, dolphins, whales, elephants and hippopotamuses, and even some rodents, behave in ways that support the claim that empathy has deep evolutionary roots."

"Decades spent watching wild and captive animals have persuaded me that species living in groups often have a sense of fair play built on moral codes of conduct that help cement their social relationships. Nature isn't always ruthlessly and selfishly competitive."

..."watching animals in action has convinced many researchers, myself included, that they possess the emotions upon which a moral sense is built. "

"...a sense of fairness is common to many animals, because there could be no social play without it, and without social play individual animals and entire groups would be at a disadvantage. ... morality evolved because it is adaptive. It helps many animals, including humans, to survive and flourish in their particular social environment. "

"...a moral sense may benefit groups as a whole. That's because group members learn rules of engagement during social play that influence their decisions about what is acceptable behaviour when dealing with each other. Recent research by Kyoko Okamoto and Shuichi Matsumura at Kyoto University suggests that we are not the only primates to use punishment and apology to help reinforce the rules of social engagement. And sticking to the rules is essential if individuals are to work in harmony to create a successful group that can outcompete other groups."

"What does all this tell us about human morality? First, we didn't invent virtue- its origins are much more ancient than our own. Secondly, we should stop seeing ourselves as morally superior to other animals. True, our big brains endow us with a highly sophisticated sense of what's right and wrong, but they also give us much greater scope for manipulating others-to cheat and deceive and try to benefit from immoral behaviour. In that sense, animal morality might be "purer" than our own.

We should accept our moral responsibility towards other animals, and that means developing and enforcing more restrictive regulations governing animal use. There is growing evidence that while animal minds vary from one species to another, they are not so different from our own, and only when we accept this can we be truly moral in our relations with other creatures and with nature as a whole."

~13 July 2002 New Scientist Magazine issue 2351, by Marc Bekoff
Marc Bekoff teaches biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He and Jane Goodall recently founded Ethologistsfor the Ethical Treatment of Animals

You can read the entire article here with the research references and examples:

Ideoform Msg. 453

"One farmer says to me, "You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;"

and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle."

~Henry David Thoreau

Ideoform Msg. 521


Quoting previous post:
"I have to have meat in my diet otherwise my iron levels will drop really low and I will start having muscle spasms. Is it still immoral to eat meat if your health is on the line?"

Iron can be obtained easily from switching to using cast iron pots and pans for cooking. These are economical to purchase, easy to clean and maintain, and will last longer than you do. I also recommend drinking well water that has been tested first for contaminants.

Well water has many dissolved minerals in it that our current diet can be lacking in, particularly as farmed soils get depleted over years of farming and the use of chemicals to grow the food rather than the natural earth nutrients. For instance, some foodies recommend apples that have not had the "ideal" growing conditions, because too much irrigation and nutrients changes and dilutes the flavor of the apples.

As for the morality; when you know better, you do better. We all do the best we can given our upbringing, the nature of the culture we are immersed in, our current knowledge and awareness, and the availability of options.

I eat meat myself, but I find that eating organic, free-range meats and wild game and fish to be more to my liking, and I don't eat the large amounts most people eat. The recommended amount of meat per day is the size of a deck of cards. You can use small amounts of meats to flavor other foods, not as the main course.

My feeling about it is that we all die. Plants, animals, humans. I can choose to fund the kind of lifestyle I think an animal would prefer (certainly this is anthropomorphic--whoever said THAT was a sin?) I decide by imagining if I were an animal what kind of lifestyle would I want. I would most of all want freedom, sunshine, the ability to reproduce, the ability to eat what my digestive system was designed to eat, and to have some choices about what to eat. I would want to live long enough to experience life beyond childhood. I wouldn't want to be exposed to pesticides and toxins. I would want to have a humane death, quick, simple and without undue suffering or torture.

I can pay slightly more for this type of animal food. Sure, its a luxury. But morality is often seen to be a luxury...

But what price is peace of mind? What price is emotional and intellectual integrity? When I was innocent of the differences among various foods, I was just as peaceful as I am now. I just know more now...and when you know better, you do better...but nobody is forcing me to. Its always my choice.

And freedom to choose a luxury--even if it is based on a non-human's well-being, is true freedom.

Do I have to always and only choose to do what society thinks is the best thing for me? Many people smoke even though it is expensive and unhealthy. Why would it be worse for me to make choices that went beyond my own utility?

If people can dress their dogs in human clothes, then why is it bad to choose my dinner based on how it was treated before I bought it?

I also prefer to buy vegetables a certain way. I prefer vegetables that are often "heirloom" varieties, to ensure the biodiversity of our vegetable population in case we have changes in our environment where our existing monocultures won't survive as well.

I think buying things that are locally grown and in season are also a good choice, since you don't transport them as far and they are less likely to need preservatives or a long period of refrigeration. This saves energy, but limits my choices...making me have to be more creative in my cooking, just like my ancestors did.

I prefer purchasing coffee from fair trade organizations. Coffee doesn't grow where I live, so it has to be transported. So I might as well support the local farmers better with my choices.

I read this blog the other day called The Ethicurian. Its all about applying ethics to food production, preparation and enjoyment. We apply ethics to almost everything else, why not food? We spend almost 30% of our budgets on food and kitchen appliances, and 30% of our time eating it, sharing it and using it to connect with each other in gatherings and celebrations. Almost every human interaction involves food in some way.

What is curious to me, is that Americans have these HUGE kitchens, and yet so few of us cook in them more than to heat things up, order take-out, and eat pre-prepared foods. Most of us are on diets...trying NOT to eat. But perhaps we are just not satisfied with the way we eat??

Perhaps we are not satisfied with the way we define food's meaning in our lives anymore.

Remember giving thanks? I still do that. Thank you for the abundance, for the over-abundance of food.

And thank you for my re-discovery of the meaning of nourishment.

Ideoform Msg. 539

"If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth -- beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals -- would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?"

~George Bernard Shaw, playwright, Nobel Prize 1925


Ideoform Msg. 540

"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights.
That is the way of a whole human being."

~Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President


"A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food;
therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.
And to act so is immoral."

~Leo Tolstoy


"Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places."

~Leonardo Da Vinci


"In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis.
Human beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims.
Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought."

~Isaac Bashevis Singer, author, Nobel Prize 1978


"Reality cannot be found except in One single source,
because of the interconnection of all things with one another."

~Leibniz, 1670

"We are a part of Nature as a whole whose order we follow."

~Spinoza, Ethics, 1673


"Our task must be to free ourselves . . . by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

~Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel Prize 1921


"Whenever people say 'We mustn't be sentimental,' you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add 'We must be realistic,' they mean they are going to make money out of it."

~Brigid Brophy


"At the moment our human world is based on the suffering and destruction of millions of non-humans.

To perceive this and to do something to change it in personal and public ways is to undergo a change of perception akin to a religious conversion.

Nothing can ever be seen in quite the same way again because once you have admitted the terror and pain of other species you will, unless you resist conversion, be always aware of the endless permutations of suffering that support our society."

~Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, English physician, author, Sherlock Holmes


"Christians whose eyes are fixed on the awfulness of crucifixion are in a special position to understand the awfulness of innocent suffering. The Cross of Christ is God's absolute identification with the weak, the powerless, and the vulnerable, but most of all with unprotected, undefended, innocent suffering."

~Rev. Dr. Andrew Linzey, Anglican Priest & Senior Research Fellow in Theology, Oxford

"...there is something so very dreadful, so satanic in tormenting those who have never harmed us, and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power, who have weapons neither of offence nor defense, that none but very hardened persons can endure the thought of it."

~Cardinal John Henry Newman, leader of the Anglican Oxford Movement, "Father of Vatican II"

"...[I]t is a terrible thing that religious people today can be so indifferent to the cruelty of the farms, shrugging it off as so much secular, animal rights foolishness. They above all should hear the call to mercy. They above all should have some kindness to spare. They above all should be mindful of the little things, seeing, in the suffering of these creatures, the same hand that has chosen all the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things to confound the things which are strong. 'Who so poor,' asked Anna Kingsford more than a century ago, 'so oppressed, so helpless, so mute and uncared for, as the dumb creatures who serve us -- they who, but for us, must starve, and who have no friend on earth if man be their enemy?
"Man must never hurt animals, must never ill-treat them nor torture them physically because they are sensitive creatures."

~ Matthew Scully, speechwriter for US Pres. G.W. Bush, from Dominion

"It is forbidden, according to the law of the Torah, to inflict pain upon any living creature. On the contrary, it is our duty to relieve the pain of any creature, even if it is ownerless or belongs to a non-Jew."

~The Code of Jewish Law, Sephardic compilation 1560

"Here you are faced with G-d's teaching, which obliges you not only to refrain from inflicting unnecessary pain on any animal, but to help and, when you can, to lessen the pain whenever you see an animal suffering, even through no fault of yours. … As G-d is merciful, so you also be merciful. As he loves and cares for all His creatures and His children and are related to Him, because He is their Father, so you also love all His creatures as your brethren. Let their joys be your joys, and their sorrows yours. Love them and with every power which G-d gives you, work for their welfare and benefit, because they are the children of your G-d, because they are your brothers and sisters."

~Hirsch, Rabbi Samson Rafael, father of German Jewish orthodoxy, Chief Rabbi of Austria, 1808

"A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being."

~Mohammed, The Prophet

"I know, in my soul, that to eat a creature who is raised to be eaten, and who never has a chance to be a real being, is unhealthy. It's're just eating misery. You're eating a bitter life."

"As we talked of freedom and justice one day for all, we sat down to steaks. 'I am eating misery,' I thought, as I took the first bite. And spit it out."

~Alice Walker, author, The Color Purple

"We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of fear and pain."

~Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish author, Treasure Island, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

"We manage to swallow flesh only because we do not think of the cruel and sinful thing that we do. Cruelty... is a fundamental sin, and admits of no arguments or nice distinctions.

If only we do not allow our heart to grow callous, it protests against cruelty, is always clearly heard; and yet we go on perpetrating cruelties easily, merrily, all of us - in fact, anyone who does not join in is dubbed a crank."

~Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali educator, poet, Nobel Prize winner 1913

"The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature; to do so is to renounce our manhood and shoulder a guilt which nothing justifies."

~Rev. Dr. Albert Schweitzer, German physician, author, Nobel Peace Prize 1952

"Some folks insist that believing in animal rights is like a religion. But religion asks followers to believe in things nobody can see, while animal rights advocates ask followers to see things nobody can believe."

~Craig Burton, US novelist, "A Hatful of Pain"

"Recognize meat for what it really is: the antibiotic- and pesticide-laden corpse of a tortured animal."

~Newkirk, Ingrid

"To be a vegetarian is to disagree -- to disagree with the course of things today. Starvation, world hunger, cruelty, waste, wars -- we must make a statement against these things. Vegetarianism is my statement. And I think it's a strong one."

~ Isaac Bashevis Singer, Polish author, Nobel prize, 1978

"How pitiful, and what poverty of mind, to have said that the animals are machines deprived of understanding and feeling . . . has Nature arranged all the springs of feeling in this animal to the end that he might not feel? Has he nerves that he may he incapable of suffering?

People must have renounced, it seems to me, all natural intelligence to dare to advance that animals are but animated machines . . . It appears to me, besides, that [such people] can never have observed with attention the character of animals, not to have distinguished among them the different Voices of need, of suffering, of joy, of pain, of love, of anger, and of all their affections.

It would be very strange that they should express so well what they could not feel. . . . They are endowed with life as we are, because they have the same principles of life, the same feelings, the same ideas, memory, industry—as we."

~Voltaire, French author, quote from Trate sur la tolerance

"Humans - who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals - have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain. A sharp distinction between humans and "animals" is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them - without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious. They are just too much like us."

~Dr. Carl Sagan


Ideoform Msg. 609

Quoting previous post:
" any original thoughts in that head of yours ---or only those of others ?"

I have posted my original thoughts on this thread first. My thoughts have been influenced by this thread. I don't repeat the original ones because they were formulated after much thought and personal experience to begin with.

Many of my original posts refer to the discussion that is currently happening and I like to only put things/ideas that haven't been already posted.

I think some of the quotes are more elegantly put than I could ever do. That's why I like quotes. I collect quotes. It's an interest of mine.

Here is a personal opinion; I think that there is not much in this world that is totally new in terms of thoughts and ideas. What we each add to the zeitgeist is our personal experience, our unique identities, and we sometimes try new things in new combinations...and even this opinion is not entirely new...and neither are many of those other's have posted here.

We are all using either science, religion, ethics or personal preferences to refer to in our postings. We use the leverage of the sources to leverage our arguments. If the source is trusted and respected that is "good" but if the source is a reformer that is making waves then that is "bad." Yet you are asking me for my own opinion, and who am I? I am a nobody. I am a housewife. I have no leverage. My opinion counts as one person's opinion. I get one vote. I am not as eloquent as these others, or have as many credentials. Why is it you want my opinion at all? It is only my own personal experience and thoughts...I throw my hat in with vegetarians...yet I am not a vegetarian at this time...

Original opinions are just that...opinions. Every one of us has a right to our opinion. Creating a proof about an opinion doesn't make it any less of an opinion. And I have learned that you can't create any proof that is strong enough to change someone's strongly held opinion. Particuarly if they formulated that opinion very young in life and stayed with it for many years.

What you have when you have a list of evidence is a guide map to someone's agenda. The agenda can be completely emotional, irrational and illogical. But you can use logic to layer it with to package your agenda.

I have presented my agenda already. You don't need any more layers of things to cover it up, pretty it up, make it seem more logical, more factual, more realistic, more practical, healthier, more commanding, convincing, more ethical, or more proof-like.

I think that all that is left is inspiration.

Everyone has to come to their own conclusions based on their own experience. That is freedom. If you make a mistake the others will not save you from it by creating laws about it...yet.

Quoting previous post:
"...who IS Ingrid Newkirk? ... she is the co-founder and president of PeTA.
... whom you placed on equal footing as novelists, prophets, and noble peace prize winners"

Well, at least she is doing something about what she believes in. I admire that. Plus, the particular quote of hers is something I have come to believe myself. I consider this quote quite succinct. I am not concise at all, myself.

Carl Sagan is pretty recognizable. So is Ingrid Newkirk to most people on this thread. I think that there isn't a single member of PeTA on this thread. Yet we are discussing them. I really don't think that it is a fair discussion for that reason, since the original poster was asking for members of vegetarian groups to respond.

All the quotes are ones that strike me as true, and that I believe. There are hundreds more quotes by these same people and by others that I found...but these I selected because I like them and thought they were appropriate.

Quoting previous post:
"My, that sounds like a well balanced person whose opinion I should trust and cherish their thoughts."

Sometimes reformers are considered crazy. Jesus was such a reformer of the Jewish faith. The religion I was raised in, Lutheran, had a reformer, Martin Luther, who was considered crazy and unbalanced. Martin Luther King was named after him and he was killed. I think that any new idea, is first seen with fear because it causes change and might disrupt the way things are. Anybody who defends the weak and powerless, the children, the elderly, the disabled, is sometimes seen as weak themselves. Yet this requires great courage.

Ideoform Msg. 611

Quoting previous post:

"...Yea, they're brave- spending their money to keep arsonists on the streets, rather than spending it for the welfare and survival of abused and mistreated animals. What a bold stance."

I quote people not to strong-arm the debate but to provide inspiration for one side of it. I don't think my quotes are any more strong-arm in nature than those of the other's on here.

I don't have evidence of the people I quoted having been vegetarians.
I chose the particular quotes because of what they say, primarily. Secondarily is the person who was being quoted.

Status counts with most people. Some people will read the quotes and listen to the content of what is said, regardless of who is saying it. Some people will skip right to the name of the author to see "who it is" before reading the quote so they can decide whether or not to listen to what it says. That is why I tried to provide quotes by widely differing authors, from religious people to scientific people to politicians. Some people will only listen to the scientists. Some will only listen to religious. Some will take a political/power side only.

If you put the particular authors in a room together they would probably not-- as a group-- agree about much else, except that particular opinion I quoted. But that does not take away from the power of their stated opinions, (in my opinion.) :) Why would they all have to agree on everything in order for their opinion on this matter to be valid?

Perhaps they were taken out of some sort of context that would have changed somewhat the direction of their meaning. You could research that, and it might be a good topic for another thread--people not living up to their stated beliefs--making them hypocrites in the name of animal suffering.

As for Ingrid Newkirk, she is now "outed" on this thread, not by me, but by you. I didn't want the quote to be about Peta as much as about what the quote itself said. If it was a quote to defend Peta's actions, I would have put her job title on there. But I think the quote stands on its own.

I think it is nice that you put some of her other quotes on here. This provides the part of the discussion I thought was missing, but I wasn't going to promote Peta myself, since I don't approve of some of their actions. But I do approve of taking action about what you believe in and that is something I do myself and have done many times in the past.

Including her quote in with the others was not intended in any way to equate her with the other author's quoted.

You have done that comparison. I think you are reading into my posting more than what was intended. If you want to imagine conspiracies and hidden agendas and lots of intrigue, go ahead, but I prefer to keep pretty academic about things. Drama creates unnecessary exaggeration when the truth is usually not that dramatic.

I am not here to create guilt in anyone. I think that is what many people object to. It is not about making people wrong. It is about looking for light. What is good?

Good for me is not always going to be good for you. I can show you my way, and you can join me on my path, or not.
Ideoform Msg. 613

Quoting previous post:
"Ideoform: I think that any new idea, is first seen with fear because it causes change and might disrupt the way things are. Anybody who defends the weak and powerless, the children, the elderly, the disabled, is sometimes seen as weak themselves. Yet this requires great courage."
Jiperly: Yea, they're brave- spending their money to keep arsonists on the streets, rather than spending it for the welfare and survival of abused and mistreated animals. What a bold stance."

Put it another way, then,

It takes no true courage to defend the powerful.