vegan muse

Posts Tagged ‘responsibility

Mapping Society along Ecological Lines

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Cairns Birdwing
What can the butterfly teach us?

Social ecology is an appeal not only for moral regeneration but also, and above all, for social reconstruction along ecological lines.” – Murray Bookchin

Social ecology seeks to philosophically fuse the natural world (first nature) with that of human society (second nature), saturating the latter in the roots of the former. By appealing for moral regeneration, social ecology strives to socially reconstruct present-day society along ecological lines.

Society is in need of identifying and replacing forms of social domination associated with our economic system. Social ecology presents such a case. It claims that the environmental crisis is a result of the hierarchical organization of power and the authoritarian mentality rooted in the structures of our society. The Western ideology of dominating the natural world arises from these social relationships. As Bookchin argues, if we are to change human society, our relationship with the rest of nature will inevitably become transformed.

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Thoughts on Fishing

Fishing is not in keeping with the subject-of-a-life philosophy (Regan) you, the reader, are most likely familiar with. Fish, like other sentient beings, are an end in themselves and thus not a means to be exploited. They, like humans, possess inherent value. The abolitionist would argue that one (a human being) is never justified in performing an act such as this (among other things, the usually violent removal of a sentient being from its catered oxygenated environment and the subsequent allowance of maximum pain via suffocation upon removal, what we call fishing), no matter the circumstance. Since I indeed subscribe to this philosophy, I therefore think that fishing and ethical discussion have a qualitative difference and not a quantitative one (differs in kind, not degree). Ethicality is thus nonexistent when one engages in the act of fishing. We have seen this avenue of thinking applied to free-range (nonbattery-cage) chickens, pastured cows and the like. These attempts to bring ethics into the discussion are simply welfarist-based; concern is rooted in treatment, not in the reason as to why this sort of thing exists in the first place. Slavery was/is a perfect example: By philosophical standards, was slavery ever justifiable? Of course not.

As Gary Francione, Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark, contends, “Many heinous practices and traditions, including slavery and sexism, have been justified by appeals to arguments that assume that certain people are naturally superior and others are naturally inferior.” It seems as though ethics is abandoned, or severely wounded (enter the welfarist), when the subject of our thought/action is nonhuman. Fishing is exploitative and immoral at its very root and thus is deemed unacceptable.

Fish Is Not a Health Food 1; 2

Fish protein clogs the arteries and is damaging to both kidneys and bone. 15 to 30 % of fish fat is saturated fat, which is particularly problematic for our species. Also, Omega-3 fatty acids can be collected from plants (where fish obtain it from). Humans require 0.5 to 2 g per day, which can easily be obtained from plant foods. In our toxic food environment, fish is labelled as a healthy item but in reality, it is just healthier than a cheeseburger. Some fish have more cholesterol per calorie than beef. Our waters have become our sewer systems and fish are now loaded with environmental contaminants. Even wild Alaskan salmon have detectable levels of mercury. People who eat the most fish (Greenlanders and Eskimos) have a low life expectancy and high rates of osteoporosis (highest levels on the planet). Does this sound like a food intended for human beings to subsist on? I think not.

Written by Ethan Handur

May 30, 2009 at 9:36

Buddhist Prayer for Animal Liberation

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An emotionally charged video that carries the message of truth and love.

Be Well.

Written by Ethan Handur

November 3, 2007 at 6:03


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The following briefly touches upon Michael Allen Fox’s arguments for vegetarianism (veganism) and focuses upon his 1999 book entitled ‘Deep Vegetarianism‘.

“Detailed, thorough, and wide-ranging, this is the most comprehensive, original work on philosophical vegetarianism to date. Deep Vegetarianism addresses the cultural, historical and philosophical backgrounds for vegetarianism, details the impact to vegetarianism on one’s thinking and living, relates vegetarianism to recent defenses of the moral status of animals, and very ably considers all the significant arguments for and against vegetarianism.”Evelyn B. Pluhar, author of Beyond Prejudice: The Moral Significance of Human and Nonhuman Animals

Fox’s Purpose

1. To convince you to adopt vegetarianism (veganism);
2. Fox thinks you should not consume any sentient being.

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Organic Foods and Fair Trading

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“Your health, happiness, and the future of life on earth are rarely so much in your hands as when you sit down to eat.” – John Robbins, Diet for a New America

Organics: The Philosophy

Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of food. It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain – soil, plants, air, water, animals, and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem. Since the food sources of herbivores originate from the land, the focus must therefore be on the replenishment of our land, just as we replenish ourselves. As fertile land grows, healthier plants translate to healthier humans and healthier animals. – Adapted from Steve Meyerowitz, The Organic Food Guide: How to Shop Smarter and Eat Healthier

Are organically grown foods superior to their conventionally grown counterparts? This seems to be a valid question, especially with the increasing demand for organically grown produce. Before I continue, I would like to mention that this article will solely focus on organic fruits and vegetables. The immoral exploitation of animals will be discussed in a future article that will also delve into the world of animal organics.

It’s no secret that public concern has been mounting over whether ingestible plant products are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) or not. I’m sure many of you have noticed the ‘organic’ options currently available in the larger grocery stores that were once non-existent. Where exactly do these products come from and, more importantly, how does a product gain its ‘organic’ classification? With a link to the fair trade mentality, can we hope to see more businesses such as Bridgehead, an Ottawa-based coffee company that offers 100% fair traded and organic coffees and teas? Just as organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy of universal connectedness, so too does fair trading for all.

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