OK, so PETA have offered money to help the archdiocese of Minnesota if they'll erect an image of Jesus stating "go vegan".
Now, I am fully in favour of veganism, and would be very happy if everybody became vegans. However, there's no evidence that jesus ever suggested that we should be vegans, in fact there's good evidence that he did not do so at all. Also, animal rights proponents often accuse christianity as being at least partly responsible for unacceptable treatment of animals. Therefore, I find it annoying that PETA would propose such a thing.
However, as a utilitarian (primarliy), I can't see why I should oppose such a thing, even though I find it bothersome. It comes down to me as "the ends justify the means".
So, my question is not whether you agree we should be vegans, nor whether jesus thought so. My question is whether you think I'm right to be in favour of the move, despite the fact that it annoys me very much, since it's not likely out of kindness, but purely as to push their own agenda.
No. I wouldn't. Not until every other possibility had been exhausted. I still got five minutes. And Jack Bauer's phone number.
Surely, there must be a better use for the money in stopping CAFOs that does not involve lining a church's coffers. How effective is a pro-vegan Jesus statue really going to be? If it convinces even one Christian family to go vegan, I'll be shocked.
I don't think the ends justify the means because I see the ends as unattainable with the proposed means. I fail to see how this will make any significant impact in eliminating the cruel and inhumane practices of mass animal agriculture.
Well, yes, I think you're right, it probably wouldn't have any positive effect in the end, as I think Adriana was suggesting too.
I'm curious though, if we disregard that fact - assuming that we had good reason to believe it would create converts to veganism (again, I agree, it wouldn't, but for the sake of argument) then should my principles direct me toward favouring the proposal by PETA?
I guess what I'm really trying to ask is whether they're undermining their own credibility by doing this. It seems to me that they are putting their own integrity in question. That's what I'm really wondering. And if they are, should I then oppose, or approve (going under the assumption that the end would be a significant increase in vegans, and assuming for the sake of argument that this would be good).
Ah, I see the question more clearly now. I do think that they are undermining their own credibility, even if we subtract the efficacy of the act from our analysis. Because this particular campaign relies upon an irrational argument (that of theism) to combat animal cruelty, I think that it actually actively contradicts and undermines any rational arguments to reduce animal cruelty. Rational arguments are the only means that I see to convince the whole of humanity that inhumane animal agriculture is unacceptable. (Although some of us disagree over the finer points of animal ethics, we all at least agree that CAFOs are completely unacceptable and hugely detrimental to our entire society.)
Also, I'd be really interested to hear the theological basis of the pro-vegan Christianity, if one exists. If I recall correctly, Seventh Day Adventists are vegetarian but I am unfamiliar with their doctrine. Is this campaign rooted in a similar theological argument?
There's a Seventh-Day Adventist run business here in Maine, actually, called Little Lad's Bakery. They're based in Corinth and have a restaurant in Portland (at which I've eaten) which included a vegan buffet. Damn good food, I'll add.
Nothing to do with anything, really; just wanted to toss that in.
How can you be in favor of animal rights and eat them at the same time? Isn't that kind of like being an anti-slavery slave owner?
P.S. PETA doesn't hate meat eaters. They just want them to stop paying people to needlessly hurt and kill animals for no good reason.
I am in favor of sustainable farms that do not torture their animals before slaughtering them. I buy as responsibly as I can, but I disagree that I cannot be in favor of animal rights while eating meat. PETA does appear to me to disdain meat eaters, they put up an ad picturing Rudy Guliani with a milk mustache and wrote "Got Cancer?" You have to admit that's a pretty jerky personal attack. They may say it's because milk causes cancer but I can't take it seriously. I also think it's laughable to dress in a bikini and go in a cage to make a point. I support anyone who decides to go vegetarian, I was for several years but like the pro-lifers they're just way out there.
Perhaps it is a disagreement over semantics, but the term animal rights is generally used to mean that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings. Animals have an interest in living and that interest outweighs our interest in eating their flesh when we have healthy alternatives.
Some farms may treat animals better than others, but they all end up being violently, painfully and needlessly killed for something as trivial as satisfying our taste buds. As far as jerky personal attacks go, I'd prefer being verbally mocked to having my throat slit open and being allowed to bleed to death - especially when the person who slit my throat will later sell my flesh at a higher price because it is labeled "sustainable" or "humane".
Don't be fooled by the marketing gimmicks of people who profit at the expense of animals. Even free-range, grass fed organic dairy cows have their babies taken from them when they are 1-2 days old and sold for veal production. The cows themselves are usually considered "spent" at about 5 years of age (they could live to be 25) and sent to slaughter. At even the "best" slaughterhouses between 5-45% of the animals are improperly stunned and end up being skinned and dismembered while fully conscious and able to feel pain.
Here is a short video about some of the victims of free range egg farming: