Aug 22, 2009


Steve Best: "I define terrorism as any intentional act to injure or kill a living, sentient, innocent being for scientific, political or economic purposes." Vegans, animal rights activists and abolitionists... honestly, how many times have you been accused of "forcing your views" by simply questioning the murder of billions of innocent beings? I wish to defend the victims by any (nonviolent) means available. And if I am "forcing" my view by speaking against animal terrorists, what force through "law" has been instituted against my freedoms? Restore liberty - abolish the AETA


Anonymous said...

Er, Steve Best is an ARA, and his definitions is different from one in a dictionary.

Appeal to Wrong Authority, much?

Dictionary definition:
  /ˈtɛrəˌrɪzəm/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ter-uh-riz-uhm] Show IPA
Use terrorism in a Sentence
See web results for terrorism
See images of terrorism
1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.


Bea Elliott said...

Yes... and I hold that nonhuman animals which are captured, enslaved, tortured and slaughtered are being "terrorized".

Your problem sir or madam is that you don't see animals as worthy enough to share your concepts... But indeed animals are sentient - when they scream in labs, when they suffer in rodeos and when they stand before the butcher... they are all in terror of our brutal power over them.

If these things bother you... you may want to investigate such sites as

Anonymous said...

Sure, animals have sentience, but are they sapient? Can they think abstractly? Can they rise up against their human masters?

The problem here is that you're arguing from your feelings. Let's say I have a child who has diabetes, and has to have his blood sugar checked by pricking his finger every day. The fact that he has to suffer does not make it wrong to prick his finger.

You're using an Appeal to Emotion. If you want to prove to me that eating meat is wrong, prove it using valid logic. (Tip: You need to show how there is some sort of law over the universe that makes it wrong.)

Of course it doesn't bother me to let animals be killed for food and other uses, but then again, it's what nature does. Species don't often care about other species. Some species are carnivores that feast on other species.

And thus, I ask a question: If it is wrong for me to use animals for such ends, is it wrong for carnivores to catch prey? How would it be wrong?

Bea Elliott said...

sapient - You are arguing "degree" not "kind".

Because if I had a brain-dead child would it be okay to use her for experimentation? Or to harvest her organs? She after all wouldn't have "insight" that you are basing your justification for using nonhumans.

I don't have to "prove" to you that eating meat is wrong - You are the one doing harm. It is you who must "justify" yourself. I can't do that for you.

Of course it's not "wrong" for wild animals to procure their food in the ways that is NECESSARY for their survival. Humans on the other hand can live quite well without being predators. We have a digestive system that actually benefits from a plant based diet AND unless we are Inuits, or bushmen, we all have a florescent lit, air conditioned grocery store with thousands of options to the ones that required killing. Wild animals don't have this alternative...

It is the way to evolve. Just because our primative ancestors pooped in the woods doesn't mean we should do so now... :)

Anonymous said...

1. I don't get how arguing degree over kind and whatnot has to do with this. Explain.

2. As for the "brain-dead child" argument...

Under normal circumstances, humans are rationally thinking creatures. Also, under normal circumstances, animals are not. If this is valid, then rights should be afforded to the brain-dead child but not the bird ITN says can solve puzzles in five seconds (although ITN is a wacky tabloid like Weekly World News...).

That, and medical research kind of helps some marginal humans become something not marginal. The only problem is knowing the limits of medical research.

I suggest you read this:

3. Yes, you do have to prove that it's wrong. Humankind has been eating meat for a long time. The modern Animal Rights movement has been around here for what, a couple of decades?

I could say similar things about you. I could say that Animal Rights threatens to destroy the planet's ecosystems. I could say this: Don't try to shift the burden of proof with that trick.

I don't really see how I should be vegan if ARAs have to force a burden of proof on me. It's almost as if they can't prove their own views...

However, if you would be so kind, I would like to see proof regardless of any burden.

4. And no, humans do not necessarily benefit from a vegan diet. There are just too many factors to take into consideration to judge whether a meat eater (assuming said person isn't eating the "Standard American Diet") or vegetarian or vegan or... whatever is healthiest.

That, and some people just can't thrive on a vegan diet. Proof:

5. "It is the way to evolve."

So veganism is better because it's new and improved? That's an appeal to novelty.



Bea Elliott said...

Anonymous: All animals desire the same thing: food, water, shelter, freedom and the avoidance of pain. To what degree humans and nonhumans desire this is what I'm referring to. Being sapient has nothing to do with these desires.

"Rationality" is not what is necessary to be considered in the ethical community - Our commonality - and the only thing that should matter is the understanding that all beings can suffer. Braindead child, scholar, pig.

It is not a "trick" trying to shift anything. I can give dozens of reasons to sustain myself on a plant based diet... It is you who must counter with an opposing view - Beyond that we should eat meat because "Humankind has been eating meat for a long time".

When a practice necessitates the violation of another's body/life - It does require some kind of valid justification. That is why you must "prove" why eating meat is a valid choice. A vegan diet harms few, and without deliberate intent... I don't have anything to "justify" in my choice. What would I be defending??? Carrot pain?

But "proof" of a vegan diet being physically healthier than a meat-based diet? Would a 30 year study help?
The China Study:

And that link from the Independent...
Here are examples of over 30 healthy, happy vegan kids:

I'm surprised you didn't cite that old story about the vegan couple who starved their baby! Of course the baby was never on a "vegan" diet...

Your petasucks essay:
"Because livestock consume plants that humans normally do not eat" - 70% of all crops grown are fed to livestock...
"if every citizen of the U.S.A went vegan tomorrow, what would happen to the economy?"
New industries would flourish - taking the place of the old. Do you not think that vegans eat, drink, wear clothing and consume products too???
"we should use as little land as possible to limit our effect."
A meat based diet uses 3+ acres of land - a vegan diet requires a little more than a half acre.
"Veganism causes the monoculture of farming".
Wrong biodiversity is destroyed with animal agriculture - everything is corn and soy - which is used mainly (70%) to fatten livestock.
"allow animals to graze on the land" -
Where are you? The UK? Austrailia? Europe (maybe)? 95% of all "food" animals raised in the US come from confined feeding operations - or "factory farms".
"today's global economy"
Depends on using resources wisely - Do you believe that the next war over resources will be for water? It takes 200 times more water to process meat than it does vegetable protein. It's a huge waste!

Your essay is a good effort - but still - "fail".

Finally, "it's the way to evolve"... no, not because it's "new and improved" - but because
it's rational:
and ethical:

Snowbrush said...

This does raise a couple of questions. One, why didn't he include food purposes? Two, where does sentience begin?

Bea Elliott said...

Hi Snowbrush... I don't know what your question is regarding "food purposes"?

And my understanding of where sentience begins is when a being is aware of the world. And aware of their existence in it... To be alive. To have the ability to interact in the world, feel anticipation, fear, happiness, pleasure and pain. I believe sentience is that bundle of experiences your capable of having once you are born.

Does this answer?

Snowbrush said...

Bea: "I don't know what your question is regarding "food purposes"?"

Food purposes--as in eating them. He doesn't mention THAT as a reason to not kill animals. He just mentions "scientific, political or economic purposes."

Bea: "sentience begins is when a being is aware of the world. And aware of their existence in it..."

I know what the word means. My question regarded how we can determine that sentience exists, and whether sentience is a quality that a being either (a) has or (b) doesn't have. I would guess that frogs are less sentient than dogs, and that "sensitive plants" that shrink from my touch are less aware than frogs, but how might I KNOW I am correct. All I can do is to use myself as the measure. In other words, the very determination of sentience is a human activity that might or might not have anything to do with the organisms we are judging.

In strict terms, who are we to pronounce such judgment on other organisms based upon how much like us we perceive them to be. This is, to me, a real ethical dilemma. I eat carrots because they are less like me than are pigs, but I don't feel that I can adequately justify eating either. Yet, I'm not going to starve; I'm going to do what it takes to stay alive, but not because I feel justified in pronouncing the life of a carrot of lesser importance than my own life. Even vegans must kill SOMETHING, so how do you justify their choice of which organisms are okay to kill) and which organisms are not okay to kill? If you use sentience as the distinction, what you are basically doing is saying that the more an organism possesses those attributes that we value in ourselves, the more wrong it becomes to kill it.

Snowbrush said...

Bea, after I posted just now, I remember panpsychism, a philosophy which holds that everything (rocks, trees, stars, etc.) is conscious. I felt that way as a child, although I doubt it now.

I also remembered the Jains, some of whom (advanced monks, mostly) lie on their sides and starve themselves rather than kill in order to support their own lives. To them, this is the highest possible virtue.

Other people go less far and only eat the fruits of plants so that the plants themselves don't need to be killed. I actually don't know if it is possible to maintain an adequate diet this way. My own diet at the moment consists entirely of uncooked foods, although more for health reasons than ethical ones.

Bea Elliott said...

Hi Snowbrush - Speaking only for myself how I view sentience is an awareness that the living entity has consciousness. I realize plants can "suffer" in some ways that I can even be sympathetic about - Lack of water, lack of light, lack of space etc. But I identify closest to the "rights" of animal to have these essentials - Perhaps this would be a less "pure" life to some - but I'll take my chances on plants not being consciously aware.

Yes, some animals are harmed without intent in the harvesting of crops... or even in building roads or driving a car. In my own rationalization - these harms are not done deliberately. Meaning, I didn't specifically breed moles or rabbits to put in a field before the combine comes in. And I do think their harm is horrible - I get around that by trying to buy from small farmers instead - they handpick everything... And I'm finding the cost is just about the same as in a large chain grocery store... And the fruits/veggies taste better too! :)

And I am familiar with Jains - following the laws of Ahimsa... That of causing as least harm as possible. And I don't have a problem in this belief at all - to walk on the earth as lightly as one can... After all, we're all just passing through. It would be good to leave something for the ones that follow behind me - Like the trees, pastures; rivers and oceans...

Of course this philosphy doesn't do much for the economic lung of the world - But I do try to consume what I need... and avoid what I "want".

Nice exchange - Thank you!

Snowbrush said...

Bea: "Nice exchange - Thank you!"

And thank you, Bea. In reading the responses to you post, some more thoughts came to mind, which I hope you will not mind me sharing.

Anonymous: "You need to show how there is some sort of law over the universe that makes it wrong."

I would submit to Anonymous that there are NO moral laws of the universe. He or she mistakes the physical for the moral in making such a challenge. I would also agree with you that the burden of proof logically rests on the person who affirms something rather than on the one who denies it.

Morality invariably comes back to us. It is our invention. I very much doubt that other species have the capacity to recognize moral distinctions. In making moral laws, we can but recognize that we are fallible. That said, I would suggest that, if we hold compassion in high value, we will not inflict unnecessary suffering, and I would further offer that, since there is no physical necessity for eating animals, we do so unnecessarily. The environmental damage we do in the process is another consideration, since it takes many times more energy and land to produce a pound of beef or pork, for example, than a pound of grains or vegetables.

It comes down to whether the taste of meat in one's mouth is worth the misery one must inflict to enjoy that taste.

Snowbrush said...

My letter to Steven Best:

Dear Steven,

I just engaged in a blog discussion that was prompted by your ideas.

I admire you for taking a controversial stand that will alienate many. Since you are in an area known for its beef production, I especially admire you. My only question would be whether ALF's tactics are effective in the long-run. I suspect that they are not, yet I recognize the compassion and the courage that prompts them. Few of us have the guts to risk so much for creatures that can't even say thank you.

My best to you, sir.


Bea Elliott said...

Snowbrush: "the burden of proof logically rests on the person who affirms something rather than on the one who denies it." Well said!

I'm sure Steve Best would appreciate your comment - Seems sad that so many "sides" get so much flack for what they are choosing as a good strategy. I wish I had the one-size-fits-all answer... But if anyone did, these poor creatures wouldn't be in the sorry state they're in.

Thank you so much for your input! Welcome back - anytime :)


Snowbrush said...

Bea, I got a thank you from Steve, and he put a nice link to your post on his site, one that included the photo at the top as well as the first few lines.

Bea Elliott said...

Snowbrush - Well thank you so much! Now that I understand where your blog is I won't have any trouble finding it again. BTW you've got some great content there! Lots of free thinkers and open minds... Congratulations on creating such a great forum. To be sure, I will check in from time to time for some words of wisdom. :)

Amit said...

It's useless to argue with so-called objectivists who are stuck in the past and simply regurgitate what Ayn Rand said.

Bea Elliott said...

Amit - Thank you for your input.

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