Vegans should just starve to death.

This article from the NY Times:

Plants aren’t as indistinguishable from animals as many may think.

I believe in the food chain. As harsh as that might sound, it is part of our condition as residents of the planet Earth.

Eh, not a good argument. Plants are still mindless things; a sophisticated set of biochemical responses doesn’t change that. Not that I think the vegans have good arguments either.

Carnivores should just go ahead and eat their children.

Hey, don’t impatient. Fatten 'em up first.

I read that article this AM. It seemed to be a tongue-in-cheek approach that really was arguing only that plants have defenses against being eaten willy-nilly. The idea that this is a reason for the gentle-minded not to eat them at all seems a stretch. In defense of vegans, the author did not have a particularly well-thought-out philosophy why anyone should be a vegan.

I might point out that Jains have tried to take the vegan notion up a notch by trying to avoid killing the plant they are eating.

As a member of PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals) I note simply that we are animals and I’ll stop eating other animals when other animals stop eating other animals. Maybe not even then. They are so dad-gum delicious…

Not when there is a perfectly good rib-eye steak on the barbecue.

I liked the Joseph Conrad quote in the comments section: Vegetarians only kill things that can’t run away."

This is (heh heh) a strawman. I’ve never heard anybody dismiss plants this way. The author writes about some phenomena I knew about and some I didn’t, and the point is interesting, but he only makes half an argument: vegans don’t have the unimpeachable moral highground. The problems is that he doesn’t argue that any other course of action is equal or better. And I never thought veganism was morally pure to begin with.

I believe the food web model is preferred these days.

So? The question is, what’s the best way to deal with that condition? What’s the best way for us to continue to exist while causing a minimal, or sustainable, amount of change and suffering for the rest of the planet?

I’m a vegetarian myself, so I have no problem compromising on this issue: I could go vegan, but I don’t want to. I love honey, I love cheese, and the inconvenience and the cost of going vegan are more than I want to put up with. And I think some of the arguments for veganism are silly. But I think the author here is wrong about the issue: it’s not “veganism is better because it does not harm any living things.” It’s “which diet might cause the least damage, or the most acceptable level of damage?”

Our impact is a guarantee and some level of impact has to be assumed. The question is what can we do to minimize our impact and cause the least harm. That’s assuming you believe the issue is important, and on widely varying levels, I think most people do.

So: when I eat eggplant I’m eating a living thing. No question there. Does that put veganism on par with eating meat? Is there now no difference between eating five eggplants and eating five pigs? The article sure does not convince me of that. If his point is that we shouldn’t take plant life for granted, that’s fine - but there are other counter-vegetarian arguments. It doesn’t obviate the entire issue, though.

There is nothing new about plants being able to communicate via chemical substances or their ability to produce deterrents to predators, let alone response to light and touch.

If one was to apply an ethical rule to decide what to eat it would consider both 1) resource intensity and 2) level of sentience.

  1. Doesn’t worry me - give me resource hungry steak - go about reducing ecological footprint by reducing population

  2. Plants process perception at a very basic level, but then again, so do cows.

Cows do so in a far more sophisticated way, and are far more aware than any plant. Cows are a lot closer to people than plants, in terms of awareness ( note; I eat beef anyway ).

Right. Don’t want me to take plants for granted? Okay. But the dividing line for me, essentially, is the central nervous system. Show me a plant has that level of awareness and sensitivity and we have a real issue.

Well, but the dilemma with establishing cognition of any kind is that a given pithed or anencephalic animal (or perhaps naturally dead) becomes fair game (pun intended), does it not? Or is there something about the CNS itself you find sacred? Plants “react” after all…and why (philosophically) shouldn’t we eat roadkill?

/minor troll on
Could we have ethically eaten Terry Schiavo?
/minor troll off.

Sorry, had to throw that one out there. I don’t mind an honest vegan. But I think the ethics of eating are more or less unsolvable. Fact is, for me to live, something else has to die. Harsh, but that’s the world we live in.

/not that there aren’t some legitimate ethical concerns in how we currently treat livestock

//not also that a vegan is also likely indirectly tied to animal death in eating plants (you think the harvester brakes for field mice?)

I recently read Eating Animals and came away unconvinced (TLDR: Author investigates meat, decides he cannot be a carnivore). Not a bad book, but I wasn’t sold.

No, because you’ve killed it, or are endorsing the process of farming and killing it with your dollars. People might differ on the ethics of eating roadkill, it’s the killing or the animals (and for some, the conditions in which they are raised) that is the issue.

With my cholesterol level?
I’d rather get them while still lean.

Carrot juice is murder

There are other models of intelligence, as per jellyfish and octopi. Is there any larger reason you favor chordates beyond an instinctive “they look more like me”?

So are you, come here I want to see how you taste.

Not efficient, I could just eat the food I had to feed them instead of having to feed them. Fattening them up is not cost-effective.

It was intended to be shorthand, since I don’t eat those animals either. I figured sentient wouldn’t fly here. But thanks for the correction.