the great vegetarian debate

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:43 pm

Acchantika wrote:
He encouraged actions which reduced suffering. So, if we have to choose between killing an aphid and killing a steer, we should choose whichever creates less suffering.



Since a steer can feed many beings, and an aphid, very few, one to one, it seems the benefit of killing steer outweighs that of killing an aphid since the suffering of hunger is reduced for many by killing a steer and the killing of an aphid reduces the suffering of hunger for no one, apart perhaps from that of an aphid wasp's progeny*, oh and the humans that eat the produce form farms where aphid wasps and other creatures are employed to eradicate pests.

Your argument just does not work.

The subfamilly Pemphredoninae also known as the aphid wasps...As with all other sphecoid wasps, the larvae are carnivorous; females hunt for prey on which to lay their eggs, mass provisioning the nest cells with paralyzed, living prey that the larvae feed upon after hatching from the egg.

In short, you cannot compare the suffering of one sentient being with another and state as an absolute fact, this being suffers more than that when it comes to ending the life of one given being vs another given being.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Nemo » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:48 pm

For every cell you have there are roughly ten microbes living on you. A good shower kills multitudes. Washing your hands is mass murder. Your gut is a war zone filled with billions and billions of constantly competing little beasts. If your body decided to be a pacifist you would be dead and stinking up the place in a few hours.

:cheers:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:06 pm

That's hardly a justification to eat something that is dead "and stinking up the place" if left for a few hours. Is it now?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby wisdom » Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:09 pm

Acchantika wrote:Because unlike higher-order mammals, insects lack pain receptors, a thalamus and all the other necessary structures to enable them to experience pain and, thus, suffer.


As a child, I killed many bugs for fun. I recall that in every case a number of things happened

1) Upon being captured, the bug wanted to escape. Why? It must be capable of feeling fear, because without fear there is no motivation to run, to take flight. Fear is generated because we are getting something we don't want, and thats suffering.
2) Upon being torn apart, such as removing the leg of a grasshopper, the bug would freak out. It wouldn't just stand there indifferent to the fact that it was being dismembered, it would struggle so violently that sometimes it would actually tear off its own limbs to escape at that point. Clearly, it did not want to be dismembered. Now it was experiencing suffering on top of suffering. Not only is it captured, but now its being dismembered. Why would it react like this? It has no brain, no pain receptors, can't think, feel...
3) When I would burn ants with a magnifying glass, they would writhe around in a way that is strikingly similar to the way a human might writhe around if suddenly set ablaze and unable to escape. If they weren't suffering, should I believe that it was just a display, just a show?

Its terrible that I did these things and severely regret it, yet there it is. In my direct experience bugs do indeed suffer, are worthy of our respect and are worthy of not being killed senselessly believing that they are free from suffering if such killing can be avoided.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mr. G » Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:14 pm

wisdom wrote:In my direct experience bugs do indeed suffer, are worthy of our respect and are worthy of not being killed senselessly believing that they are free from suffering if such killing can be avoided.


If insects go through rebirth, they suffer:

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now on that occasion the Blessed One was sitting out in the open in the pitch black of the night, while oil lamps were burning. Many flying insects were meeting their downfall and misfortune in those oil lamps. The Blessed One saw those flying insects meeting their downfall and misfortune in those oil lamps.

Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

    Rushing headlong, missing what's essential,
    bringing on one new bond
    after another,
    like insects falling into the flame,
    some are intent only on what's seen & heard.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Acchantika » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:37 pm

Namdrol wrote:
In short, you cannot compare the suffering of one sentient being with another and state as an absolute fact, this being suffers more than that when it comes to ending the life of one given being vs another given being.


Maybe you are right. And I am not in a position to judge what lives and what doesn't.

I can't fully justify why I think that a steer suffers more than an aphid. But, generally, mammals go out kicking and screaming, with all the signs of being in extreme pain, discomfort and suffering. The scream, cry and moan. The whole event is utterly desperate. It also is very upsetting, it seems to affects a very primal empathy in people. I have never seen an insect react this way, nor garner a similar response from people. Although I am not a vegetarian, for conveniences sake, I suspect it would be different if I had kill my own food. So as good or bad as the arguments for each side may be, it would be disingenuous for me to pose within rational debate as though what sways me is not ultimately emotional.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Norwegian » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:47 pm

If you lack vocal cords, are you incapable of feeling pain (discomfort, suffering, etc.) then?
Last edited by Norwegian on Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Nemo » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:51 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:That's hardly a justification to eat something that is dead "and stinking up the place" if left for a few hours. Is it now?
:namaste:


It is not a justification. You can only mitigate the harm you do. To stop killing you need to die. There is no other way. You can only control your intention. Buddhists and Jains understand this. They take different views on what to do about it. BTW I only know one vegetarian. The rest are merely former meat eaters. You don't stop being a cannibal just because you don't eat people anymore.

I ate a vegetarian diet for years, but it destroyed my health. Some people are not suited for a vegetarian diet.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:04 am

Nemo wrote:
I ate a vegetarian diet for years, but it destroyed my health. Some people are not suited for a vegetarian diet.


Is there a way to determine this beforehand? Or do you just have to try it and see what happens?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Acchantika » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:12 am

wisdom wrote:
Acchantika wrote:Because unlike higher-order mammals, insects lack pain receptors, a thalamus and all the other necessary structures to enable them to experience pain and, thus, suffer.


As a child, I killed many bugs for fun. I recall that in every case a number of things happened

1) Upon being captured, the bug wanted to escape. Why? It must be capable of feeling fear, because without fear there is no motivation to run, to take flight. Fear is generated because we are getting something we don't want, and thats suffering.
2) Upon being torn apart, such as removing the leg of a grasshopper, the bug would freak out. It wouldn't just stand there indifferent to the fact that it was being dismembered, it would struggle so violently that sometimes it would actually tear off its own limbs to escape at that point. Clearly, it did not want to be dismembered. Now it was experiencing suffering on top of suffering. Not only is it captured, but now its being dismembered. Why would it react like this? It has no brain, no pain receptors, can't think, feel...
3) When I would burn ants with a magnifying glass, they would writhe around in a way that is strikingly similar to the way a human might writhe around if suddenly set ablaze and unable to escape. If they weren't suffering, should I believe that it was just a display, just a show?


A button will move from a finger when pushed. We don't conclude that the button feels fear from seeing this, because we understand the reactions that are involved and they leave no gaps. In the same way, we can explain why an insect will move away from heat, or why they spasm when appendages are removed without ever needing to infer reflexive consciousness.

Even in humans, we don't need experience in order to react to stimuli, including pain. If I burn your hand with a flame, and you close your fist reactively and experience pain, while it seems as though these things happen simultaneously there is actually a small delay between the clenching and the processing of stimuli that is expressed as pain that we can measure very accurately. So, the reaction is completely automatic; the nervous system retracts the muscles in the arm independently of the parts of the brain that has the pain experience, and the perception of these things being necessarily causally related is a kind of illusion.

Its terrible that I did these things and severely regret it, yet there it is. In my direct experience bugs do indeed suffer, are worthy of our respect and are worthy of not being killed senselessly believing that they are free from suffering if such killing can be avoided.


I think you can still respect beings without conceding that they feel pain. For example, congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis (CIPA) is a kind of disorder that makes sufferers incapable of experiencing pain. Likely we would not consider them any less worthy of respect because of this. Note also that the fact that the disease, its cause and mechanism of action can be traced quite specifically, and effects all those areas associated with pain production which are absent in insects. Also, I don't advocate killing bugs senselessly, or ever, if possible.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dave The Seeker » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:40 am

Mr. G, I have been told there is a book that explains a study that people with certain blood types can not be vegetarian. I'll see if I can find the source.

Kindest wishes, Dave
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:41 am

Can Insects Feel Pain?

Summary. Do insects suffer? Does it feel like anything to be an injured or distressed insect? This piece aims to shed some light on that question by presenting quotations and references from a variety of sources. My personal conclusion is that we should give some weight to the possibility of insect suffering, especially until more evidence is available. Thus, considering the 10^18 insects that exist at any given time, there is a huge amount of (potential) suffering in nature due to insects alone. We may also want to consider the ways in which humans impact insects, such as through insecticide use, although if insect lives are generally not worth living, insecticides may prevent more suffering than they cause. (Of course, reducing insect habitat permanently would be more humane than simply spraying pesticides.)

Feeling Pain

From Ask An Entomologist: Can an insect percieve its surrounding or feel pain?:
Do insects experience pain? Yes. Well actually, this concept has been disputed, but I think recent evidence suggests that they do experience what is defined as pain.
References on this page note that substance P, a neurotransmitter causing pain in humans, has been found in fruit flies. This post (link now broken) states that some insects share some mammalian-type neurotransmitters, like serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine. And earthworms have endorphins.
From Joan Dunayer's Speciesism (p. 128):
In any case, abundant evidence indicates that all invertebrates with a brain can experience pain. Like vertebrates, numerous invertebrates produce natural opiates and substance P. These animals include crustaceans (e.g., crabs, lobsters, and shrimps), insects (e.g., fruit flies locusts, and cockroaches), and mollusks (e.g., octopuses, squids, and snails).

Also, crustaceans, insects, and mollusks show less reaction to a noxious stimulus when they receive morphine. For example, morphine reduces the reaction of mantis shrimps to electric shock, praying mantises to electric shock, and land snails to a hot surface.

Thomas Eisner and Scott Camazine, Spider leg autotomy induced by prey venom injection: An adaptive response to 'pain'?:
Field observations showed orb-weaving spiders (Argiope spp.) to undergo leg autotomy if they are stung in a leg by venomous insect prey (Phymata fasciata). The response occurs within seconds, before the venom can take lethal action by spread to the body of the spiders. Autotomy is induced also by honeybee venom and wasp venom, as well as by several venom components (serotonin, histamine, phospholipase A2, melittin) known to be responsible for the pain characteristically elicited by venom injection in humans. The sensing mechanism by which spiders detect injected harmful chemicals such as venoms therefore may be fundamentally similar to the one in humans that is coupled with the perception of pain.
Learning, Memory, and Motivation

A 1986 paper, Invertebrate Learning and Memory: From Behavior to Molecules, reviewed studies on a number of invertebrates, including bees, slugs, molluscs, snails, leeches, locusts, and fruit flies. The conclusion included the following remarks (pp. 473-76):

The progress achieved over the last 10-15 years in studying a wide variety of forms of learning in simple invertebrate animals is quite striking. There is now no question, for example, that associative learning is a common capacity in several invertebrate species. In fact, the higher-order features of learning seen in some invertebrates (notably bees and Limax) rivals that commonly observed in such star performers in the vertebrate laboratory as pigeons, rats, and rabbits.

[... W]e have reason to hope that the distinction between vertebrate and invertebrate learning and memory is one that will diminish as our understanding of underlying mechanisms increases.

Georgia J. Mason, Invertebrate welfare: where is the real evidence for conscious affective states?:
[...] jumping spiders (Portia spp.) plan routes towards their prey [10]; and hermit crabs (Pagurus berhnardus) show evidence of motivational trade-offs during shell choice [11]. Furthermore, if their brains are implanted with electrodes, garden snails (Helix aspersa) will learn to displace a lever, an action new to their behavioural repertoire, to stimulate those neural regions involved in sexual behaviour [12]. None of these represent concrete evidence of conscious emotion, but they at least suggest that if cephalopods are to now be protected across Europe, then arachnids, decapod crustaceans and gastropods should be too.
"Consciousness"

In response to Edge's World Question Center 2005 topic, What Do You Believe Is True Even Though You Cannot Prove It?, Alun Anderson, Editor-in-Chief at New Scientist, made the following remarks:

Strangely, I believe that cockroaches are conscious. [Moreover, ...] I believe that many quite simple animals are conscious, including more attractive beasts like bees and butterflies.

[... What I mean by consciousness is] the feeling of seeing the world and its associations. For the bee, it is the feeling of being a bee. I don't mean that a bee is self-conscious or spends time thinking about itself. But of course the problem of why the bee has its own feeling is the same incomprehensible hard problem of why the activity of our nervous system gives rise to our own feelings.

But at least the bee's world is very visual and capable of being imagined. Some creatures live in sensory worlds that are much harder to access. Spiders that hunt at night live in a world dominated by the detection of faint vibration and of the tiniest flows of air that allow them to see fly passing by in pitch darkness. Sensory hairs that cover their body give them a sensitivity to touch far more finely grained than we can possibly feel through our own skin.

[...] And as for the cockroaches, they are a little more human than the spiders. Like the owners of the New York apartments who detest them, they suffer from stress and can die from it, even without injury. They are also hierarchical and know their little territories well. When they are running for it, think twice before crushing out another world.

A 2007 Discover Magazine article quotes Bruno van Swinderen:
Many people would pooh-pooh the notion of insects having brains that are in any way comparable to those of primates. But one has to think of the principles underlying how you put a brain together, and those principles are likely to be universal. [...] Attention is a whole-brain phenomenon. A thing is not purely visual, not purely olfactory. It's a binding together of different parts that for us signify one thing. Why couldn't the fly's mechanism [of attention] be directed to a succession of its memories? That, to me, is just a short hop, skip, and a jump away from what might be consciousness.
And Christof Koch:
We have literally no idea at what level of brain complexity consciousness stops. Most people say, 'For heaven's sake, a bug isn't conscious.' But how do we know? We're not sure anymore. I don't kill bugs needlessly anymore. [...] Probably what consciousness requires is a sufficiently complicated system with massive feedback. Insects have that. If you look at the mushroom bodies, they're massively parallel and have feedback.
Non-Programmed Behavior

In his 1984 Animal Thinking, Donald Griffin presents complex behaviors on the part of various species of insects that he feels suggest consciousness. He concludes chapter 5 with the remark (p. 116):

Explaining instinctive behavior in terms of conscious efforts to match neural templates may be more parsimonious than postulating a complete set of specifications for motor actions that will produce the characteristic structure under all probable conditions. Conscious efforts to match a template may be more economical and efficient. [... Of course] it is not necessary to suppose that animals [including insects] are consciously aware of all their neural templates; perhaps only a few are important enough that the animal thinks consciously about them and considers alternative ways of realizing them.
On p. 105, Griffin elaborates an example:

The workers of leaf-cutter ants are tiny creatures, and their entire central nervous system is less than a millimeter in diameter. Even such a miniature brain contains many thousands of neurons, but ants must do many other things besides gathering leaves and tending fungus gardens. Can the genetic instructions stored in such a diminutive central nervous system prescribe all of the detailed motor actions carried out by one of these ants? Or is it more plausible to suppose that their DNA programs the development of simple generalizations such as Search for juicy green leaves or Nibble away bits of fungus that do not smell right, rather than specifying every flexion and extension of all six appendages?
Page 111 gives an example with spiders:
W. S. Bristowe (1976) describes how orb-weaving spiders sometimes vary their stereotyped behavior in dealing with small insects caught in their webs. If an experimenter holds a struggling fly with forceps close to such a spider, she omits the earlier stages of normal behavior (running along the web to reach the fly) and bites it immediately. If the fly is already dead, she wraps it in silk without biting it first. In constructing their elaborate webs, spiders are often said to follow a rigid series of behavior patterns which are presumably instinctive since a female spinning her first web does so almost perfectly. But she will make some alterations in structure when the surrounding vegetation or the space to be spanned is irregular. Bristowe describes how a spider whose web is ordinarily symmetrical builds a highly asymmetrical web when the opening between leaves makes such a shape appropriate. At the web's hub from which strands of silk radiate out to the surrounding vegetation, the spider ordinarily leaves a hole so she can quickly move from one side of the web to the other when an insect strikes it. In one web this hole, instead of being at the center, was close to one edge of the opening between the leaves of a lilac bush, and the strands formed a semicircle instead of a circle.

Many ethologists dismiss variability in structures such as spider webs as meaningless noise in a basically invariant system and deny that a spider could consciously adjust the structure of her web according to the shape of the available opening. But the end results are so efficiently adapted to their function of catching small flying insects that it seems possible that spiders anticipate the likely results of their web spinning.

Social Behavior

In his 1987 piece, The moral standing of insects and the ethics of extinction, Professor Jeffrey Lockwood, an entomologist and philosopher, summarizes arguments for self-awareness based on social interaction:
Another theoretical consideration of insect consciousness, is an extension of the work by Humphrey (1978) (who derived his work from that of Jolly (1966)) on the evolution of societies (Griffin 1984). The basic concept states that a critical step in the evolution of animal societies is the establishment of efficient interactions, and these interactions depend on group members' abilities to understand each others' thoughts, intentions, and feelings. Therefore, social insects must correctly judge the frame of mind, as it were, of one another. [...]

Social insects behave so as to meet the communicated needs of the colony. One can construct a system which awkwardly explains social interaction such as food begging and tropholaxis or behaviors such as grooming, without including self-awareness. However, few would argue that social insects, and probably all insects, demonstrate an awareness of outside events; they behave according to environmental conditions and, as discussed earlier, they demonstrate the ability to communicate information about these conditions. Allowing that an insect has awareness of external events but does not have self-awareness is somewhat ridiculous--it is rather implausible to contend that through sensory mechanisms an insect is aware of the environment, other insects, and the needs of conspecifics but through some neural blockage, the same insect is selectively unconscious of sensory input about itself.

The Evolution of Social Behavior in Insects and Arachnids, edited by Jae C. Choe, Bernard J. Crespi:
'Social' insects and arachnids exhibit forms of complex behaviour that involve cooperation in building a nest, defending against attackers or rearing offspring. [... Some chapters from this book] are as follows:
[...]

Post-ovulation parental investment and parental care in cockroaches

The spectrum of eusociality in termites

Maternal care in the Hemiptera: ancestry, alternatives and current adaptive value

Evolution of parental care in the giant water bugs (Heteroptera: Bolostomatidae)

The evolution of sociality in aphids: a clone's eye view

Ecology and evolution of social behaviour among Australian gall thrips

Interactions among males, females and offspring in bark and ambrosia beetles: the significance of living in holes for the evolution of social behaviour

[...]

Morphologically 'primitive' ants: comparative review of social characters, and the importance of queen-worker dimorphism

Social conflict and cooperation among founding queens in ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Social evolution in the lepidoptera: ecological context and communication in larval societies

Sociality and kin selection in Acari

Colonial web-building spiders: balancing the costs and benefits of group living

From the abstract of Lihoreau M, Brepson L, Rivault C, The weight of the clan: even in insects, social isolation can induce a behavioural syndrome:
Here we report that gregarious cockroaches (Blattella germanica) reared in isolation showed (i) stronger exploration-avoidance, (ii) reduced foraging activity, (iii) reduced willingness to interact socially, and (iv) reduced ability to assess mating partner quality than conspecifics reared in groups. We demonstrate the occurrence of a behavioural syndrome induced by social isolation, similar to syndromes described in vertebrates, revealing the importance of social interactions and group-living in this non-eusocial insect species.
Mixed views

In her 2001 Animal Suffering: An Invertebrate Perspective Jennifer A. Mather notes:
the physiological systems that control responses to what we call pain mostly are universal across the animal kingdom, and snails often are used as models for such responses. Can we treat them as having sensations that resemble ours without being concerned for their welfare when they do?

Still, it is less easy to take that leap of faith and presume parallels with how you feel when the animal concerned is completely unlike you. Insects, for instance, can walk normally with a couple broken-off legs and survive with apparent unconcern as a parasite is eating them up inside, when presumably we would be in excruciating pain. Does that mean they cannot feel pain? I asked a friend who works with ants what she thought about this apparent inability to feel the pain we do. She said that she spilled a drop of acetone on an ant by accident one day and that it had recoiled and tried to wipe the substance off its abdomen. Maybe it is still pain, just responding to different stimuli. Alternately, maybe it is just an automatic grooming reaction. Because nuclear radiation can kill us without our feeling a thing, humans too do not always respond with pain to possible tissue destruction.

Lauritz S. Sømme concludes a report to Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety on Sentience and Pain in Invertebrates with this statement about insect sentience:
The nervous system and senses of insects appear to be better developed than in crustaceans since an active life on land may be more demanding. With the great diversity of insects, there are great differences in the organization of the central nervous system and senses. In general, insects are equipped with numerous sense organs. The brain is particularly well developed in social insects, and the size of certain neural centers can be correlated with learning capacity. Learning is also known from many solitary species of insects. Insects do not react to damage of their bodies, but may show strong reflexes to constraint. With our present knowledge, it is usually concluded that insects cannot feel pain. Still, doubts have been raised. Among invertebrates, social insects represent a high level of cognition, and their welfare should be considered during handling.
Further Reading

I highly recommend Section 2.1 - 2.4, pages 15-36 (PDF pages 62-84), of Aspects of the biology and welfare of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes, a lengthy document summarized here. In particular, section 2.3 is organized in a similar fashion to the current document. The information presented is too much to summarize, so I encourage readers to take a look at the original source.
Another excellent review article is Jane A. Smith's A Question of Pain in Invertebrates.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:53 am

The Seeker wrote:Mr. G, I have been told there is a book that explains a study that people with certain blood types can not be vegetarian. I'll see if I can find the source.

Kindest wishes, Dave


Interesting. Thanks.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby deff » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:58 am

i've read that the blood-type vs diet idea isn't supported by evidence - such as here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_type_diet

as an example, i have type-O blood, which supposedly corresponds to requiring a diet high in meat - yet i've been a vegetarian for years and a vegan for close to two years now and feel quite a lot better than when i ate meat, and haven't had any ill-effects :shrug:

so i wouldn't put too much stock into the blood-type/diet idea myself
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Nemo » Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:18 am

The Seeker wrote:Mr. G, I have been told there is a book that explains a study that people with certain blood types can not be vegetarian. I'll see if I can find the source.

Kindest wishes, Dave


It was called Eat Right For Your Type. It was debunked and had such gems in it such as, "This condition, called hypothyroidism, occurs because Type O's tend not to produce enough iodine." The only way is to try it. Knowing the geographic location of your ancestors is somewhat helpful IMO. If they lived above the Arctic Circle your chances are very slim. If they are from one of the worlds older agricultural regions your chances are better. Some thrive on a veggie diet. For people with systemic primary carnitine deficiency, a genetic disorder, it could prove fatal. This is relatively rare though, and being genetic it can be traced geographically.

I tried being veggie again about 18 months ago. After 3 weeks I was craving sugar and feeling exhausted all the time even with tons of soy and milk protein supplements. When my muscles started getting weaker I stopped. When the warmer weather comes I will try again and supplement with carnitine. It would be nice to not having to trade health for dead animals. I'll still eat one hot dog a month though just so I don't get stuck up though. I don't see a problem with gelatin either. It is scavenged protein that would be fed to livestock or thrown out otherwise. Technically that might be more virtuous than eating your average veggie. Eating meat off plates of unfinished food in a restaurant would be better as well. Many veggies like to think of how pure they are for eating veggies, but mitigating harm is not their main goal.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mr. G » Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:22 am

Great information...thank you all.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:10 pm

As for claims of moral superiority....I find about as many non vegetarians claim moral superiority as do vegetarians claim moral superiority.

This presents in non vegetarians as stating vegetarians are always invariably by vast majority claiming they are more spiritually pure and thusly faulted.
This presents in vegetarians as stating nonvegetarians are spiritually less pure.
So we have both sides stating the same thing, claiming moral superiority.
Truth is....as buddhist teachings exemplify all largly is a experiment of one.....it all depends upon individual circumstance.

AS to bugs..... :smile: seven pounds of grain is necessary to produce the one pound of meat in cattle per example.
In the west the cattle are by vast percentage and proportion not range fed but fed things agriculturally harvested, such as hay.
The hay is grown and harvested by ordinary western means which is with the killing of bugs to protect the harvest.
And the cows themselves are always routinely debugged several times a year by insecticide washes.

EVen range fed is often not actually. Kept on the range for instance are many thousands of cattle on the Navajo reservation(as example).
But these thousands are kept in a pen and fed hay daily. Though they are technically on the range...they are not but kept as if in a building.

So really the issue of bug is mote....more are killed if one consumes meat in the western style of agriculture and harvest of meat.
Predators of agricultural products such as rodents are killed by human in all situations of agricultural. Whether the agricultural products are fed to humans of animals.
SEven times the amount goes to provide a pound of meat than grain....Try eating seven pounds of grain as opposed to a pound of meat and I think you will find that not possible.

As to necessity by dietary requirement meat as opposed by special property other food....no, that is not true presently.
If you have the ability to have a computer and internet in the west or most other places.... supplements or food products which exactly duplicate meat may be found. Other places people..yes you may have to eat meat to survive healthfully.

To conclude.....there is no inherently moral superior position of vegetarianism, it is a individual moral choice depending upon circumstance.
There is also no mysterious inherently existent quality to meat that makes it indispensible for human to consume.
There is also no inherently existent totally pure moral thing we as human can ever do, we can not base our decisions on that as basis.


all is partially contaminated as long as me exists. It is that way. We cause less harm, or become spiritual, faster or slower, but really there is not absolute status in these things.

As a aside really this is a personal decision. It may be a decision based upon causing less harm. So it may be a spiritual decision. It may be based upon having a big head but many things of all sorts may have that characteristic spiritual as well as mundane.
YOu want to eat meat....go ahead....whose to say...not me. You may certainly be buddhist and do so.
YOu want to not eat meat unless you absolutely need to....go ahead enjoy....you are as I am.....
I welcome you as I welcome myself.
I welcome you as well if you eat meat...as you are as I am as well.

For those that think they may not be big and strong and healthy and be vegan(as much as they could as meat eater). I suggest you may care to start a topic on this subject.
I or others that have done this thing and studied this thing a bit may care to participate and offer suggestions to diet that may be helpful if that is your aim.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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3 Weeks Vegan

Postby edearl » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:49 pm

:D Finally quit animal products, and completed 3 weeks of 1500 calories or less.
Just started 500 calories / day and don't need one of my Type 2 diabetes meds.
Plan 2 weeks of 500, just to prove to myself I can do it, and next start my 1000 cal/day
lifestyle.

I have been in the hospital for a week...I had a bone spur in my right heel, uncontrolled lymphedema in my upper legs, pain everywhere from being too fat...it was a rock bottom time. :emb:

Time to fight my way back to better health. :D
HHDL: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby kirtu » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:55 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:As for claims of moral superiority....I find about as many non vegetarians claim moral superiority as do vegetarians claim moral superiority.


I've had a handful of vegans and vegetarians bark at me for not being a vegetarian. I could probably count them. One person (1) got angry with me after a retreat for this.

I've had numerous non-vegetarians bark at me and draw attention to my reluctance to eat meat. They can be relentless (at least the crunchy, granola eaters shut up after a while). I cannot count the number of people who have waved hamburgers at me.

People in general like to force their perceptions and norms on others.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: 3 Weeks Vegan

Postby catmoon » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:08 am

edearl wrote::D Finally quit animal products, and completed 3 weeks of 1500 calories or less.
Just started 500 calories / day and don't need one of my Type 2 diabetes meds.
Plan 2 weeks of 500, just to prove to myself I can do it, and next start my 1000 cal/day
lifestyle.

I have been in the hospital for a week...I had a bone spur in my right heel, uncontrolled lymphedema in my upper legs, pain everywhere from being too fat...it was a rock bottom time. :emb:

Time to fight my way back to better health. :D



Go man go. I wants you to keep your feets.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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