What ever happened to "reasonable discussion"?
I don't think you're the one who should be complaining about the lack of reason in this discussion. You're clearly refusing to respond to some of the main arguments of your interlocutors. For instance, some twenty pages ago Adamantine pointed out the fallacy of using the demand and supply model to accurately describe the global food market (Malcolm and others had talked about it in detail much earlier, of course). You have entirely ignored the weight of his posts on the issue, saying something that amounted to 'it obviously isn't so'. If you investigate the issue further in a responsible way, or even give the thread a more careful reading, you'll discover plenty of solid evidence for Adamantine's claim.
If you want to persuade anybody that you're indeed interested in a 'reasonable discussion' and not just desperately trying to force us to accept your take on the issue, please respond to the following posts:
Anyway, if we confine our discussion to the U.S., where I live, there is currently a population of about 317 million people. There's only around 3 million Buddhists living in the U.S. You can do the math, and see if you think Buddhists will make much of a difference, even if they all banded together with their pocketbooks to never spend money on meat products and went full force lobbying against the meat industry. . . I understand and can sympathize with your principles in being so vehement in this thread, but I think your time may be better spent in other ways. Especially considering that among those 3 million or so Buddhists in the U.S., most of them are not on Dharmawheel. We have 4421 members. Many of them are international.. which is irrelevant but just for our purposes in looking at the U.S., let's consider that at least half of our members here were from the U.S. That'd be approx. 2210 U.S. members. Now, let's guess that possibly half of those were already vegetarian, or ate very little meat. --I, for instance, still identify myself as vegetarian because I hardly eat meat.. maybe once a month or every other week I may eat a little, usually a half portion I share with my wife. So let's say there's about 1105 harcore meat eaters from the U.S. here on DW. That's 1105 out of 317,000,000 people. If they all stopped eating meat, because they were convinced by you, do you think that would change much the supply-demand chain of the 317,000,000? I don't mean to inspire defeatism, I just am thinking about choosing your battles.
If I could stop the insanity of this industry, I would. I would never eat meat again if the force of this terrible industry didn't exist. But I try to be realistic about relative conditions. We live in a country that is often dominated by what I consider insanity. I don't think Buddhists are the cause of the problem, and I don't think they will be a solution to it. It is one of those things happening in our time and place that illustrates the horrible suffering of samsara. There's plenty of other horrors, and suffering, but we need to try to cultivate compassion and patience for every aspect of the suffering equation, especially those committing the atrocities. When there is a powerful skillful method that can be implemented to reduce suffering in a given circumstance, we should take it, definitely. I think considering the history of this thread though, that some people's ideas of skillful are not so skillful. . . And I probably fall into that equation too!
Ethically in a very relative-reality sense it is certainly important to consider the preservation of naturally occurring ecosystems that are mutually symbiotic and beneficial to the larger biosphere. Unfortunately, much of the domestication of animals for food sources and the trends this has induced (including factory farming) is simply terrible for the larger biosphere. Preserving certain types of domesticated farm animals may seem important as from simply a POV of attachment, but please explain why you think it is beneficial to the biosphere at large, and from a Dharma perspective in particular. Ultimately from a dharma POV preserving this does not matter.. the goal is to empty samsara entirely , not preserve any part of it. Intentionally preserving any way-of-life that involves intentional killing is adharma, =it is against the dharma as Buddha taught. This is because by creating more suffering and generating more negative karma and confusion, it spins the wheel of samsara even faster, rather than unraveling it to the illumination of awakening. It is only OK to eat meat for a Buddhist if it is not directly killed for one, ordered to be killed for one, or killed by oneself for oneself, or for another, etc. In other words, killing for food is simply not acceptable.
The only arguments that make any sense in this thread actually are in regards to the larger industrial complex of modern agriculture being out-of-control, whereas it functions beyond the laws of supply-and-demand that many of us simply take for granted. Supply-and-demand doesn't hold up when literally tons of food, including meat, are simply discarded regularly. Note: roughly half the world's produced food is thrown away: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jan/10/half-world-food-waste
It may feel emotionally cathartic to avoid supporting industrial agriculture because you disagree with it in principle, but if you look at the facts you will realize that you are making literally zero difference by abstaining from buying it. By using meat that otherwise would be thrown away, and using whatever capacity we have to make a karmic link with the animal and pray for it, say mantras, etc.. masters like Namkai Norbu and others explain that this can actually be beneficial for the unfortunate mindstream that met a violent death.
I think the point is the basic math of industrial agriculture, meat production, and how much is wasted daily , i.e. thrown away outright. This is all discussed ad infinitum earlier in this thread. A few Vajrayana Buddhists in the USA are not going to shift the supply and demand networks of this industry. I do believe it is important for large monasteries in India for example to be vigilant about this, because 1000's of monks ordering meat on a daily basis is going to certainly affect supply and demand on a local level.. clearly this was a hypocritical reality of Tibetan monastic institutions. And it is significant that the Dalai Lama and the 17th Karmapa have eliminated meat in most of their monasteries.
Anyway, I see both sides, to the point that I could argue both. But I won't argue both.. I don't think it should be an argument at all but a personal choice based on what you feel is correct.. not trying to convince another practitioner that their choice is wrong. That's the bottom line. I think it's great if some people here choose to be vegetarian and can stay healthy that way. That's been my path.
I also think it's great if some people here feel they need to eat meat for their health, and have been given tools to try and create a compassionate and beneficial relationship with that animal they might eat a part of-- through mantra practice, interdependent inevitability, and whatever else.
I don't have much respect for those who thoughtlessly eat meat however, without compassion and respect, and without remorse for the savagery of the industry.
I must also say that I find your, and Dharmagoat's, rather clear suggestions that your opponents in this debate (Simon, for example) somehow lack compassion or empathy hair-rising. It sure takes some special chutzpah to declare that someone who says that what they do they do out of compassion is simply dead wrong about their intention -- and you know their motivation better than they do.