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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 11:00 pm 
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mindyourmind wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
If you don't realize your own true mind, it doesn't matter what goes into your belly or where it came from. You may save a herd of cattle in this lifetime, and that will be a very good thing, but that will be all you save.

What if you can do both - realize your own true mind and save a herd of cattle? Why the false dichotomy?


Ohhh..that's even better!!

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 11:13 pm 
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mindyourmind wrote:
Withdrawing from that process, whether it helps the big picture in an infinitesimal degree or whether it actually makes a difference to that big picture, makes a difference to that practitioner, or at least it should.


I guess I am not communicating well enough -- refusing to eat meat is withdrawing from the process. If you eat meat with the proper method, you can help that creature whose meat you are eating meet the causes for liberation.

If you tie a protection cord on it, or sing the six syllables of Samantabhadra to it while it is alive, there is benefit. We cannot always be there in time to help the living, but we can help the deceased with the method of eating meat with compassion, awareness and presence.

So from my point of view, refusing to eat meat in such a way is withdrawing, because the consequence of not eating meat is that that animal will never make a good connection for their eventual liberation.

So our intention is the same, our method is different, my method includes yours; yours lacks a skillful means for "food" animals that have already been salughtered.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 12:41 am 
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The mistake people often make, and really, this is quite natural, is in thinking that somehow (let's name it) "Mr. Steer" lives in the steer that is grazing, or has been rounded up, or has been butchered, or has been cut up for sale. So, they say "I won't eat that meat because the animal ("Mr. Steer") suffered. But we have to really examine the nature of what is going on, and 'who" actually felt the pain.

"Mr. Steer" is really no different from you or me or any other creature insofar as associating the experience of its seemingly continuous existence with the component parts of what we call its body, or its carcass, depending on where it is, either chewing cud on the meadow or dangling from a meat hook.

He suffers from the pains of the body as we all do, not because the body itself experiences pain, or because the brain experiences the severing of the nerves as pain, even though this is what occurs. The primary reason for experiencing pain, and this is the same reason why I also experienced pain today when I sliced open my finger, is because of the association of the experience of 'self' or of 'me' with the events of the body.

But we know from studying the dharma, that no self or 'me' ( "Mr. Steer" )can be found to reside anywhere inside (or outside) of the body, despite the fact that this is precisely the experience we have. We put the two (body and "me") together and experience them as inseparable. They are like two traveling companions, riding side by side through life.

But what happens when that "life" ends? It is the belief of at least some schools of Buddhism that what we could call the mind of the animal (or human) is still attached to the components of the body. Not in a conscious way as we know it, but in a very subtle way, due to a lifetime of clinging (habits are very hard to break!) You can think of it much the same way a survivor of a leg amputation experiences a 'phantom limb' although this has physiological causes.

In some instances, it is said that after death there is even attachment to objects, especially sentimental objects or items of great value that one has become "very attached to" during one's life. I have a friend who had a very elaborate, Tibetan style shrine with expensive offering bowls and such. Her teacher told her to get rid of all that stuff, and just to get cheap bowls, so that she wouldn't be attached to it when the time came to die.

So, even though "Mr. Steer" doesn't consciously think "oh, how sad, part of me is now a hamburger" there are still traces of attachment, the same very subtle attachment that we all experience as "my body". This is why you can do practices that benefit the deceased, whether it is a person in a coffin or a chicken in the fryer. Not because the "being" is there, but because from the habitual point of view, that illusory sense of "being" is still experiencing attachment to the body, in a very subtle way. Beings suffer from attachment to the body, both in life and in death.

It is very interesting, because we do not feel the same attachment to the body of someone else. And we do not feel that attachment to animals, even though we can become very attached emotionally to animals. We can feel empathy for their suffering, but every person (except perhaps for conjoined twins) only feels their own bodily suffering.

If you donate a kidney or something, or maybe donate your long hair to a charity that makes wigs for cancer survivors, you do not feel any confusion about where that part of your body is. You don't sense, "hmmmm, it feels like part of me is being combed right now, someplace far away" because consciously you still identify your sense of, your experience of "me" as being in this body. But at death, when the elements begin to separate, that is a different situation.

:pig:
OINK! OINK!
What happened to the rest of my body??
.
.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 1:00 am 
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PadmaVonSamba wrote:
So, even though "Mr. Steer" doesn't consciously think "oh, how sad, part of me is now a hamburger" there are still traces of attachment, the same very subtle attachment that we all experience as "my body". This is why you can do practices that benefit the deceased, whether it is a person in a coffin or a chicken in the fryer. Not because the "being" is there, but because from the habitual point of view, that illusory sense of "being" is still experiencing attachment to the body, in a very subtle way. Beings suffer from attachment to the body, both in life and in death.


Well in the case of one hamburger there are bits of ~100+ different Mr. Steer's suffering from attachment ....

Kirt

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 2:51 am 
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kirtu wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
So, even though "Mr. Steer" doesn't consciously think "oh, how sad, part of me is now a hamburger" there are still traces of attachment, the same very subtle attachment that we all experience as "my body". This is why you can do practices that benefit the deceased, whether it is a person in a coffin or a chicken in the fryer. Not because the "being" is there, but because from the habitual point of view, that illusory sense of "being" is still experiencing attachment to the body, in a very subtle way. Beings suffer from attachment to the body, both in life and in death.


Well in the case of one hamburger there are bits of ~100+ different Mr. Steer's suffering from attachment ....

Kirt


That's why so many sutra begin, "Thus I have herd..."
:tongue:

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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 5:19 am 
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Namdrol wrote:
mindyourmind wrote:
Withdrawing from that process, whether it helps the big picture in an infinitesimal degree or whether it actually makes a difference to that big picture, makes a difference to that practitioner, or at least it should.


I guess I am not communicating well enough -- refusing to eat meat is withdrawing from the process. If you eat meat with the proper method, you can help that creature whose meat you are eating meet the causes for liberation.

If you tie a protection cord on it, or sing the six syllables of Samantabhadra to it while it is alive, there is benefit. We cannot always be there in time to help the living, but we can help the deceased with the method of eating meat with compassion, awareness and presence.

So from my point of view, refusing to eat meat in such a way is withdrawing, because the consequence of not eating meat is that that animal will never make a good connection for their eventual liberation.

So our intention is the same, our method is different, my method includes yours; yours lacks a skillful means for "food" animals that have already been salughtered.


That "skillful means, if such it is, contributes to the demand side of the problem, that "skillful means" creates another cause for an animal to be slaughtered. It remains participation in the process.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 5:42 am 
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mindyourmind wrote:

That "skillful means, if such it is, contributes to the demand side of the problem, that "skillful means" creates another cause for an animal to be slaughtered. It remains participation in the process.


We should work with circumstances. As for myself, I will choose to create positive causes for the liberation of sentient beings by any means possible. You are free to refuse to do so, if that is your choice.

N

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 6:08 am 
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Yes, we do have that choice.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 6:15 am 
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mindyourmind wrote:

That "skillful means, if such it is, contributes to the demand side of the problem, that "skillful means" creates another cause for an animal to be slaughtered. It remains participation in the process.

I would like to meet a Buddhist who isn't participating in the process, who doesn't have photos printed on gelatin-coated paper, doesn't wear shoes (even sneakers)...

The supply and demand argument is valid ...as a supply and demand argument.

It doesn't really figure into a dharma argument,
unless you are defining the BuddhaDharma as only limited to being some kind of moral code,
rules to live by, that sort of thing,
or, as Thrasymachus posted: "To me thinking you can actually become enlightened is hubris, it is just an ideal."
meaning that you don't really believe it to begin with.
.
.
.

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Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 6:18 am 
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PadmaVonSamba wrote:
mindyourmind wrote:

That "skillful means, if such it is, contributes to the demand side of the problem, that "skillful means" creates another cause for an animal to be slaughtered. It remains participation in the process.

I would like to meet a Buddhist who isn't participating in the process, who doesn't have photos printed on gelatin-coated paper, doesn't wear shoes (even sneakers)...

The supply and demand argument is valid ...as a supply and demand argument.

It doesn't really figure into a dharma argument,
unless you are defining the BuddhaDharma as only limited to being some kind of moral code,
rules to live by, that sort of thing,
or, as Thrasymachus posted: "To me thinking you can actually become enlightened is hubris, it is just an ideal."
meaning that you don't really believe it to begin with.
.
.
.


Of course we all participate, inevitably so. The degree to which we participate, that is where we can make some meaningful decisions.

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 Post subject: I don't eat my friends.
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 7:46 am 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW_lIQSpVAY 1-5

Paramita Generosity. By Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo.

Release any grasping to object of generosity,
Release grasping to oneself and so expected gratitude,
Release grasping to the act.

Paramitas or Transcent Perfections = Free from the three concepts: subject who acts, object of the action, action itself = beyond samsaric extistence.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 8:34 am 
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PadmaVonSamba wrote:
The mistake being made here is assuming that either plants or animals 'possess' sentience. Animals & humans, or rather, the accumulation of parts that we call animals and humans, constitute an 'environment' where mind can become 'attached' so to speak. Plants simply do not share that aspect. It is believed by many cultures , including in Thailand, that beings can be deluded, thinking that a tree is their body, just as you or I think of our bodies are "me".
And, ultimately, this is what it all boils down to: utilising Buddhist theories of emptiness, ultimate reality and Dzogchen in order to justify attachment to sensory gratification. Using Dharma as yet another tool for serving the sense of self.

I think I'm about finished with this thread (again), but being a sucker for punishment you never know when I may come back for more! :smile:
:namaste:

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Namdrol wrote:
I no longer believe that plants are insentient because I beleive the distinction between sentient and insentient is a false distinction. At least, it is a false distinction from a Dzogchen perspective. From the Dzogchen point of view, everything is made of five elements, all sentient beings, even consciousness, even the buddhas. Plants are every bit alive as animals. As Garab Dorje says "The color of rtsal is green". But because it is convenient and because they are ignorant of the principles of the basis, ideological vegetarians make a false distinction between sentient and non-sentient. There is, according to Dzogchen teachings, no true distinction to be made between the sentient and the non-sentient.


Wow, that is another little shock for me here - I'd been convinced for quite a few years that according to Dzogchen plants are very much insentient, and loads of old time practitioners would confirm what now turns out to be my misconception. Thanks for bringing up Garab Dorje and correcting it at last :)

Would you be so kind as to elaborate a bit more, though? What's the position of plants in samsara? Are there any available texts that deal with the matter?

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 3:34 pm 
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mindyourmind wrote:


Of course we all participate, inevitably so. The degree to which we participate, that is where we can make some meaningful decisions.


There are a million ways to be a good person, to be a better person, to be kinder to others and to the planet and so on.
If Buddhism encourages this, that's fine.
The point is not to hold onto any idea that you are being a good person, or that you are accomplishing anything whatsoever by being a good person (even if you are), or to put yourself in a position where you end up disparaging the actions of others in comparison with your own actions (of body, speech and mind).

So, if something, say....um...ohhh... not eating meat leads one to do this, and leads you to thinking "What I am doing is good, what they are doing is bad, they should be good like me" then you really need to examine that, examine "who is the person that holds this attitude" and so on. Otherwise, while thinking you are being a good buddhist by not eating meat, and not hurting animals, in fact you are simply abandoning the path of dharma in favor of vegetarianism.
It is not the fault of meat eaters if this happens. If you can be a vegetarian without clinging to it, then that is best.

It's great to be a vegetarian, but don't think you are doing anybody any favors.

"Don't let what goes into your stomach go to your head!"
.
.
.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 3:52 pm 
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treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
I no longer believe that plants are insentient because I beleive the distinction between sentient and insentient is a false distinction. At least, it is a false distinction from a Dzogchen perspective. From the Dzogchen point of view, everything is made of five elements, all sentient beings, even consciousness, even the buddhas. Plants are every bit alive as animals. As Garab Dorje says "The color of rtsal is green". But because it is convenient and because they are ignorant of the principles of the basis, ideological vegetarians make a false distinction between sentient and non-sentient. There is, according to Dzogchen teachings, no true distinction to be made between the sentient and the non-sentient.


Wow, that is another little shock for me here - I'd been convinced for quite a few years that according to Dzogchen plants are very much insentient, and loads of old time practitioners would confirm what now turns out to be my misconception. Thanks for bringing up Garab Dorje and correcting it at last :)

Would you be so kind as to elaborate a bit more, though? What's the position of plants in samsara? Are there any available texts that deal with the matter?


According to our karmic vision plants are non-sentient. But according to Padmasambhava in the Khandro Nyinthig:

After first being created by the energy (rtsal) of wisdom, in the middle, as it was not recognized that the body of the refined part of the assembled elements actually is the five wisdoms, since this was not realized through intellectual views, the non-sentient and sentient both appear, but don’t believe it... As such, the sign of non-duality is [the body] disappearing into wisdom without any effluents because the critical point of the non-duality or sameness of the non-sentient and the sentient was understood according to the Guru’s intimate instructions.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Namdrol wrote:
According to our karmic vision plants are non-sentient. But according to Padmasambhava in the Khandro Nyinthig:

After first being created by the energy (rtsal) of wisdom, in the middle, as it was not recognized that the body of the refined part of the assembled elements actually is the five wisdoms, since this was not realized through intellectual views, the non-sentient and sentient both appear, but don’t believe it... As such, the sign of non-duality is [the body] disappearing into wisdom without any effluents because the critical point of the non-duality or sameness of the non-sentient and the sentient was understood according to the Guru’s intimate instructions.


Thanks a lot.

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 7:16 am 
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PadmaVonSamba wrote:
or, as Thrasymachus posted: "To me thinking you can actually become enlightened is hubris, it is just an ideal."
meaning that you don't really believe it to begin with.


There are several very public examples of teachers/lamas in recent times performing sexual abuse, smuggling antiquities and endangered animals, declaring celebrities as Tulkus in exchange for money. I am sure they had lots of great justifications and performed many mental hand stands to justify such unsavory behavior. Probably alot of the offenders cited their realization, their striving for enlightenment, probably they mediated far more than me. But that does not make them ethical or compassionate. Making excuses that the ends negates the means is a great excuse to get away with bad karma.

There are reasons to eat meat like: taste, convenience, tradition, living in a sub-optimal environment for human agriculture. However you cannot really build a case based on ethics and compassion, and a good evidence of this is the extreme mental contortions that practitioners have developed to justify their meat eating to combat such ideals which are even contained in dharma. Two of the most popular:

1.) You cannot do the impossible, so don't do the possible.
Basically this argument maintains that since even eating plant foods involves killing insects and micro-organisms, that the meat abstainers are no different or better. But trying to do the impossible always results in failure. Does this mean we should not do what is possible in terms of saving lives? Does that sound a very compassionate or enlightened argument? It sounds like a very bad excuse to bring down the bar of ethics and compassion to satisfy the attachment of those with certain taste preferences.

2.) I create opportunities to liberate the dead animal by giving it the chance to come into the august mouth of a practitioner.
This sounds very woo woo and out there to me, and I am amazed it can even be accepted by anyone. Wouldn't it be more merciful to just cut hair from a still live animal and for the practitioner to meditate on the hair's taste? Or if the flesh is necessary why not notch out a piece of the ear of a livestock that thus needn't be killed and chew on that? Perhaps you could get a voodoo practitioner from Haiti in on this as well with their black magic. I guess though all that does not satisfy the attachment to taste patterns for carnistic dharma practitioners who feel the need for ethical apologia. This time instead of merely trying to create fake guilt against vegetarians for not doing what is impossible, this argument tries to create guilt for not seeing the impossible to see chances for liberation of bardo animals corresponding to dead flesh chunks in someone's mouth. Obviously vegetarians are not enlightened enough to see the afterlife.

If you want to eat meat, do it, but trying to do mental gymnastics to justify it ethically is very unenlightened. Just let it be what it is.

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
It's great to be a vegetarian, but don't think you are doing anybody any favors.


Personally as a vegan I know I am doing a very small favor to livestock animals by being on the vanguard of the animal liberation movement with my dietary choice, not to mention the health and environmental benefits. Every year over 10 billion totally enslaved animals are slaughtered so Americans can be one of the fattest populations around the globe. Since you seem to love a reductionist dharma approach, I am sure in the past many countless dharma practitioners justified human slavery, serfdom also, and their justifications did not stop their practice either. I know animals deserve more than to be considered as property, as mere industrial inputs whose end purpose is a shrink wrapped flesh display in some supermarket so a few can enrich themselves and many can engorge themselves. When you fight for the most voiceless in the social hierarchy -- livestock -- you also fight for everyone else by pushing the bottom of the pyramid upwards. That really benefits all sentient beings, especially humans. If humanity had that type of compassion, the human created social order would cease being dominated by warlike and greedy impulses instead of altruism.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 9:04 am 
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treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
According to our karmic vision plants are non-sentient. But according to Padmasambhava in the Khandro Nyinthig:

After first being created by the energy (rtsal) of wisdom, in the middle, as it was not recognized that the body of the refined part of the assembled elements actually is the five wisdoms, since this was not realized through intellectual views, the non-sentient and sentient both appear, but don’t believe it... As such, the sign of non-duality is [the body] disappearing into wisdom without any effluents because the critical point of the non-duality or sameness of the non-sentient and the sentient was understood according to the Guru’s intimate instructions.


Thanks a lot.

This is part of the all inclusive view of Dzogchen where there really isn't 'reality' - just wisdom. So it's not saying plants are sentient and it's not saying that they are not. It's not making claims about sentience as such or that there is a reality that can be established as anything other than wisdom.

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"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.


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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 11:54 am 
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Thrasymachus wrote:
"To me thinking you can actually become enlightened is hubris, it is just an ideal."
meaning that you don't really believe it to begin with.


This says to me that you do not actually believe in the possibility of liberation from samsara,
and that is the purpose of The Buddha's teaching of the dharma.
That's why I said that you are abandoning Dharma in favor of vegetarianism.
Maybe it would be more accurate to say that you are pitting one against the other.

It's great that you are a vegan. But who cares?
I didn't out and kill a million people today. That's more than a thousand cows.

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
It's great to be a vegetarian, but don't think you are doing anybody any favors.


Thrasymachus wrote:
Personally as a vegan I know I am doing a very small favor to livestock animals


I am sure you are. the point is, don't think you are.
Don't set yourself up as some kind of a big hero.

Buddhism isn't concerned with what is on the menu.
Buddhism isn't concerned with what is in the stomach,
but what is in the mind.

I am a vegan too.
It's my body that eats meat.
:rolling:
.
.
.

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 12:32 pm 
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Thrasymachus wrote:

Personally as a vegan I know I am doing a very small favor to livestock animals by being on the vanguard of the animal liberation movement with my dietary choice, not to mention the health and environmental benefits. Every year over 10 billion totally enslaved animals are slaughtered so Americans can be one of the fattest populations around the globe.


How about this argument Thrasymachus: If no one ate meat, those 10 billion animals would not ever be born. If you care for their sentience, isn't it better that they exist rather than they never exist?

Five years in a paddock, as a sentient creature, is surely more valuable than non-existence.

The cause of those 5 years of sentient life? People eating meat!

You want an argument about causality, here it is. Advocating global veganism is not simply advocating the cessation of killing: it is also advocating the cessation of breeding, birth, life and the existence of however many animals are desired by humans for food.

:anjali:


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