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vegetarian's you also eat another life form?

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Nara

Well-known member
......explaining how we vegetarian's also eat another life form and cannot have the moral high ground when people eat meat.it's a relative comparison,like kettle calling the pt black.
Well, when you frame it in moral terms things get very tricky, the last thing I want to do is to tell somebody else what is moral.

Having said that, I feel there is a clear difference between being NV and being V. The presence of nervous system makes all the difference to me. A living entity with even a rudimentary nervous system will feel pain. Given there are perfectly good alternatives to sustain life without causing pain, I feel it is a better option for me to avoid causing of pain for the pleasure of my taste buds.

Further, the advent of corporate farming has given rise to unspeakable cruelty towards animals. Chickens live their lives in cages that are no larger than their own body size, with their beaks cut off to prevent them, driven to madness due to such conditions, from harming themselves or other chickens too soon. Pigs and cows are turned into meat making automatons, wallowing in their own filth, drugged up with antibiotics to keep decease away. They are fed products that contain animal proteins from left-over waste from the slaughtering process -- essentially turning them into cannibals -- which is supposed to be a cause of what is known as "mad-cow decease".

From an environmental POV, meat production uses up 3 to 10 times the resources compared to milk products and vegetables.

It is not my place to tell meat-eaters what is moral and what is not. But, to say vegetarians kill plants and so no different from meat-eaters is too simplistic and misses a whole lot of complex issues.

Cheers!
 

sravna

Well-known member
Well, when you frame it in moral terms things get very tricky, the last thing I want to do is to tell somebody else what is moral.

Having said that, I feel there is a clear difference between being NV and being V. The presence of nervous system makes all the difference to me. A living entity with even a rudimentary nervous system will feel pain. Given there are perfectly good alternatives to sustain life without causing pain, I feel it is a better option for me to avoid causing of pain for the pleasure of my taste buds.

Further, the advent of corporate farming has given rise to unspeakable cruelty towards animals. Chickens live their lives in cages that are no larger than their own body size, with their beaks cut off to prevent them, driven to madness due to such conditions, from harming themselves or other chickens too soon. Pigs and cows are turned into meat making automatons, wallowing in their own filth, drugged up with antibiotics to keep decease away. They are fed products that contain animal proteins from left-over waste from the slaughtering process -- essentially turning them into cannibals -- which is supposed to be a cause of what is known as "mad-cow decease".

From an environmental POV, meat production uses up 3 to 10 times the resources compared to milk products and vegetables.

It is not my place to tell meat-eaters what is moral and what is not. But, to say vegetarians kill plants and so no different from meat-eaters is too simplistic and misses a whole lot of complex issues.

Cheers!

Dear Shri Nara,

You can impress only people who listen to their conscience with a moral talk and not the ones who listen to their ego. To the latter, morality is something which is not in sync with the times and practiced only by old fashioned people. These modern and sophisticated people can be both rational and egotistic, selfish and egalitarian and all other set of such qualities you can think of. They expect you to listen to their rational and egalitarian talk but you would not want to talk on what is moral to them because you can be sure you wouldn't be heard.
 
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saidevo

Well-known member
namaste.

I have a thought. Man eats cow, cow eats grass and other foliage, vegitables and fruits. If cow gives protein, it should have come from its vegetiarian feed, of course by its internal processes of assimilation and synthesis. So, if man can eat what the cow does, the problem is solved, and the cow is saved.

Why can't Science initiate a project aiming to synthesize foliage, the most abundantant food of the cow, in a way that man can take it and get what the cow gets? This could be very helpful for the army soldiers on the fields when they track through jungles.

But then another thought pairs up: man is greedy, cow is not. So he would use Science to commercialize the cow food synthesized for human consumption, and that would either leave no leaves on the trees and plants, or have them secured for use only by the multinationals!
 

sangom

Well-known member
As far as I have read and understood, the plant kingdom also has life but of a different form. Instead of what we know as the nervous system in animals, plants have a system and it has been proved by experiments in large forests where, if one tree is felled, the special chemicals which are invariably found in a cut tree (Even cutting a branch induces formation of these chemicals throughout the tree.) are found being formed in all nearby trees.

An experiment was conducted in France. One extreme of a very large plantation running into several hectares was sprayed with chemicals which induce some response reactions in the plant cells (which had been verified by experiments previously). It was found that after certain time-gap the same response reaction set in in trees which were located very far away and there was no chance of the sprayed chemical reaching them. The trees in between, showed the presence of the response reaction and the chemical so produced, in gradually reducing intensities.

Thus there is evidence to show that trees respond to harm for them and also that there is some empathetic communication too between trees. Hence it may not be much off the mark if we conclude that trees also feel pain but are unable to show the pain in a way recognizable to humans. So, it is only a matter of degree of cruelty between v and nv people, but in nature such cruelty is unavoidable, if we observe closely. What man can afford to do is not to overeat - whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Gluttony is cruelty.
 

CLN

Active member
nara: It is not my place to tell meat-eaters what is moral and what is not. But, to say vegetarians kill plants and so no different from meat-eaters is too simplistic and misses a whole lot of complex issues.

Once a professor specialist in poultry science told me that 'sterile' eggs (which some claim that even Gandhiji declared as an acceptable food for vegetarians) is closer to vegetarianism than milk and milk products which are plainly non-vegetarian food, though all vegetarians take milk et al for granted as vegetarian, but not the egg!

One argument put forth in support of vegetarianism is that as long as we do not kill a plant or animal but take some part or product of it for consumption it is no sin. For example, as long as we pluck a few brinjals or bindis or tomatoes or mangoes or leaves from the plants without actually destroying them, or take some milk (ensuring the calf is fed first) from animals it is okay. But this argument is very weak because we do kill paddy/wheat/raagi/greengram/blackgram etc. plants and take away all their seeds! We uproot plants and take away the tubers! Humans are natural carnivores (we do have canine teeth, unlike herbivores like cows and deers and elephants) and vegetarianism has been only an acquired habit for us. Nowadays, it has become a fashion in the West for people (of course only a miniscule minority yet) to adopt vegetarianism, on principle, very often in protest against the corporate atrocities pointed out by Shri Nara ji in his post.

I think, no fool-proof argument can be put forth either for vegetarianism or for non-vegetarianism (which itself is a misnomer, as no average human is a pure non-vegetarian, in the sense he consumes vegetables too!). What Shri Sangom ji says makes sense - that Gluttony is cruelty - whether it is meat food or vegetable food!
 
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pviyer

Guest
It is true no argument based on logic can be made for or against vegetarianism. Why that cannibals have their own system where they eat enemies killed in a war. How do we say that is wrong? Can anybody prove that it is a sin?

The majority of people is against it, thats all, whether it is a sin or it is not a sin cannot be logically proven. At best you can come with some vague theory based on evolution, and the need for survival of a species. People may still argue for exceptions within that rule.

That is why there has never been an agreement between the devas and asuras on morality or righteousness. Only if we can see sin, can we speak about it. Each person must follow his conscience which is nothing but one's maturity gained by the collection of vague memories of karma and their results over the present janma and the past. Two people with similar background , both exposed to the same culture and religion, have different takes on food and morality. It is just their conscience gained from multiple janmas that make them inclined and convinced towards one thing or the other.

If one however believes in buddha and mahavira's laws of karma or in the karma kanda of our religion , it is a different matter. Here we respond to logic specific to the belief system of individuals.

I have seen western countries like UK, heavily import vegetarian food into UK from other countries(mostly third world). I am not sure if this is right. When thousands are starving in these countries and the food prices go up , is it really right for these countries to export food? These have other damaging results remember , cutting down forests, deforestation and its consequences etc.

People have to learn to live in balance with their local ecology and be self sufficient. Only this can handle all pertinent issues - ecology,morality, economic sustainability,basic satisfaction for all humans and the best deal for all living creatures for those below humans. This idea is neither new nor some new form of communism. This is vedic living, which we have all left behind over the thousands of years. Only if we truly understand this principle we can ever appreciate the society of the vedic times. But then who is convinced of this logic anyway? I think it is good that a lot of modernism is happening too fast including ecological destruction.

Just as it is happening too fast, for those who hold back a bit and pause and think, they will start seeing reality in a much better way.That is why probably they say Kali Yuga is a golden opportunity for people, all they have to do is stare away from bad habits, and do rama nama(even if they dont believe in it, as tyagaraja says rama nama is greater than rama himself) , they will have opportunity to see things in a light which was difficult to experience in the past yugas.

These decades have been a great awakening for me, I am able to see that all this big talk on ecology and vegetarianism, there is something more basic behind all this and more basic that is required from us for our society.
 

Raghy

Well-known member
Every life form would like to protect itself from harm. It is natural. The 'eye stinging chemical' spread by oninon may be it's protection mechanism. (I was 'crying' and thinking about it last night, when I was cooking!).

Yes, some of the plants gets destroyed completely. This may not be called 'vegetarian' per se. But in the case of grains, sugars (from sugarcane), vegetables, fruits etc, it is not the case.

In the case of grains, the paddy becomes brown; it is not going to grow anymore; it's life is finished; harvesting it at that stage may not be called 'killing it'. The grains are not awake. We store some for replanting; the rest are dried and milled to get rice while they are in deep sleep. (or when they are 'knocked out' ). It would be very hard to convince me, we are 'hurting the grains'.

In the case ofvegetables, the plant is not killed. Yes, there would be 'pain' involved while we pluck the vegetables. Same deal with leafy vegetables and herbal leaves.

In my village, in those days there was a custom to apologise to plants (while plucking vegetables, fruits or leaves etc. (I follow that even today. This morning when we were going for a walk, my wife was making fun of me...."you are nut case who talks to plants!"..).

Yes, we do cause pain to our sorroundings in the course of our 'living'. The question is, to what degree we do such a thing; how much damage we cause when we do it. It may be only a degree.....but there is vast difference.

The action involved in love making and raping involves lot of similar physical actions. But, love making and raping are never the same. Love making also involves certain amount of pain.......

Vegetarians make love to the environment. (I think we should make love to the environment as long as possible. We need not force it when we don't need to.....).

Cheers!
 

CLN

Active member
Raghy: In the case of grains, the paddy becomes brown; it is not going to grow anymore; it's life is finished; harvesting it at that stage may not be called 'killing it'. The grains are not awake. We store some for replanting; the rest are dried and milled to get rice while they are in deep sleep. (or when they are 'knocked out' ). It would be very hard to convince me, we are 'hurting the grains'.

It is true, Sir, that harvesting is generally done when the plant is in the verge of death, if not already dead. We may not be guilty of cold-blooded murder here, but we still do destroy most of the younger generation, even before it has a chance to start out a new life! How do we justify our action? Again, you argue that eating grains (or even other seeds, for that matter) is not wrong because they are in a 'knocked out' condition and will not be feeling pain. Using the same logic shall we recommend a vegetarian to eat meat, provided it is got by first rendering an animal unconscious by anesthesia and then killing it! This is exactly the practice supposed (but NOT always believed) to be done in most abattoirs all over the civilized world (but certainly not in our local butcheries!)

The action involved in love making and raping involves lot of similar physical actions. But, love making and raping are never the same. Love making also involves certain amount of pain.......

THe only technical difference between 'love-making' and 'raping' is that between consexual sex and non-consexual sex. Your likening the 'pain factor' associated with causing pain to plants to 'love-making pains' is faulty because we take no consent from the plants before killing them or depriving them of their fruits, leaves etc. So, what we really do is nothing but raping here, not any gentle (or not so gentle) love!

In plain and brutal terms, all activities of all living things (which includes humans, wild animals, mild animals, plants, microorganisms - the whole lot!) in the matter of getting food is based on the primitive and instinctive "might is right" principle! You succeed or fail because you can get away with it or get licked! This happens in the jungles all the time. It happens even within our bodies. If a swarm of germs or viruses attack my body, I die because my protective cells are overpowered by the attackers, or, I survive because the antibiotics I take render the attackers powerless.

Might is Right is a truly great Universal Principle for Survival!
 

Raghy

Well-known member
Sri.CLN Sir,

Greetings. I could not help, but smile when I read your arguments. You are right in most of the points.

As per consent, I must say, we seek consent....or at least we inform the plant of our intentions and ask them to 'understand' may be? But we do that though. Before every harvest, we conduct an eloberate prayer that involves informing of our intentions and thanking for the yield. Thank goes to the land too.

We don't eat the seed. Not the whole yield can be used as seed. Nature requires only a portion of the yield as seed; nature also rewards for spreading the seed. The 'seed grains' are duly prepared for such purposes. (We gather it very gently after each drying. No one is allowed to walk on the seeds....

I am not trying to split the hair here. Our culture knew about the feelings and life of the plants. We even conduct prayers to pieces of rocks before sculpting...bhoomi pooja before constructions...prayer to the trees before cutting them down.... granted, they have not any consent verbally or in writing, but we do pay respect to the 'sensitivities of plants'.

This reminds me the movie 'Perumthachan'.

Might may be right in the universal principle of survival..but, how the might is used also counts, in my opinion.

Cheers!
 

sravna

Well-known member
Whether the plant suffers in the same way as an animal because of pain is an important point. I think that is not the case because plants presumably have less evolved consciousness than an animal and hence the suffering would not be the same. Now let us extend the logic. Would a brick suffer if we broke it into two? Probably not as it cannot be said to possess consciousness. At the other end, humans have the highest evolved consciousness and pain felt by one is the most as the physical pain may also be accompanied by mental pain.

Killing for food is acceptable because anything physical needs energy to sustain and if it doesn't kill, it has to die. But to protect the life of more evolved entity is more logical than to let a less evolved one survive. Therefore killing for food is ok. But for humans who can use their intelligence to reduce the suffering involved in killing, by chosing the right food, I think vegetarianism should be the choice.
 
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pviyer

Guest
Whether the plant suffers in the same way as an animal because of pain is an important point. I think that is not the case because plants presumably have less evolved consciousness than an animal and hence the suffering would not be the same. Now let us extend the logic. Would a brick suffer if we broke it into two? Probably not as it cannot be said to possess consciousness. At the other end, humans have the highest evolved consciousness and pain felt by one is the most as the physical pain may also be accompanied by mental pain.
One doubt here sravna sir, what are the medical facts regarding the link between nervous system and pain. Is there a proof that we have that animals with more complex nervous system have more pain? If so, how do we define complexity in this specific context. I think this becomes pertinent to our entire discussion on plants being able to or unable to feel pain.
 

CLN

Active member
Dear Shri Raghy ji,

I do agree that because of our Samskrithi we have developed care and concern for even plants, land, rocks etc. It is highly consoling to think that our ancestors were actually conscious of what they were doing, or, rather had to do and developed some prayaschittas for their actions. It is some what analogous to a strict parent giving some mild punishment to the erring child, though full of love and affection at heart! It is good they did develop some methods of asking the plants and land and rocks for their consent, but, what is poignant here is that they were not going to change their minds if consent were to be refused. Taking the 'rape' analogy, the rapist may even ask the victim to agree to his desire first (and might be pleasantly surprised and feel happier if he did get it!) but certainly he would be in no mood to stop because no consent comes forth. In the same way, we will not leave the plants, land and the rocks untouched because they don't give us the consent we seek through our prayers! Will we?
 
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nachi naga

Guest
actually,survivor of the fittest is the moral compass to live life,be it food or any actions,is my understanding.in vedic times lord rama lord krishna ate meat.its written in scriptures as well.but the onslaught of jainism in particular made the sanathana dharma practioners adopt such a vegetarian lifestyle,which has now become a norm for south indian brahmins but not for west bengal brahmins,who eat fish,chicken,mutton ..etc.

the video shows how a body has a soul or an aura encapsulating a body.the athma is never created nor destroyed is what lord krishna tells to lord arjuna.in modern science parlance,energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

regarding nervous system and et al - i say it's baloney.you kill or harvest to eat other life forms to fill your own belly.there is a relative difference,when a soldier kills for his country and a thief for his own self gratification,both kill - period.human laws are just human laws.one needs to transcend and believe one is divine and so are others. :)
 
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nachi naga

Guest
Would a brick suffer if we broke it into two?

this is what muhammed ghazni said and pillaged,raped,killed indian temples and people in similiar fashion and many generations gone,we are still pondering it as history in books.
 
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nachi naga

Guest
the last thing I want to do is to tell somebody else what is moral.

literally understanding your writings,at least it's the 'last' thing you would tell......have a good one prof.
 

CLN

Active member
Further to post #15 I wish to share two more thoughts.

1. There seems to be a popular belief that level of evolution and degree of consciousness have a high positive correlation. It sure appears very logical but I am not aware whether any real research findings are available in support of this belief. Keeping that aside and coming to the purely moral and ethical aspects, how right are we to assume that the pain (physical and/or mental) experienced by a higher evolved creature, say, a human being, is more important to be avoided, than that experienced by a lower evolved creature, say, a mosquito? (Incidentally, as mosquitoes are in great swarms in my locality, every day I destroy them in scores using my 'superior' evolutionary knowledge-based invention of a mosquito killer before going to bed, but they, the 'lowly' mosquitoes win a clear march over me within the next three or four hours by their sheer numbers that in the early hours I must start another round of 'machine-gunning' them using my electrical mosquito killer! How morally and ethically correct am I, I honestly do not know. It looks to me to be nothing but a perennial game of 'tug-of-war' between an isolated superior intelligence vs. creatures of inferior intelligence in large numbers, the victory always swinging back and forth, without any ultimate result! :))

2. As a firm believer in the equality of MAN and WOMAN, I must recompense by clarifying here that wherever I have used 'he' or 'his' or 'him' earlier in this thread, it is only for convenience of expression (because despite its versatility, English language is yet to acquire a
convenient gender-independent pronoun to refer to a single human being. People are forced to use the conventional masculine pronouns or, as most feminists have started doing so, the feminine ones, to refer really to both sexes. So, I must clarify that my "he"s, "his"s and "him"s mean "she"s and "her"s also!
 

sangom

Well-known member
The major cause for many of the mistakes that have crept in, in Man's foraging habits can be attributed to overpopulation and consequent over-exploitation of food sources. Perhaps this can be limited to a certain degree by self control by people of the higher income brackets in the world. History, however, has shown us very wrong examples of royalty and nobility being identified with very lavish eating habits.

When the vedic priests indulged in large scale animal sacrifices accompanied by drinking of soma juice (Though it is now argued by mathams and orthodoxy that the flesh of the sacrificed animals was eaten only to a very small amount, that soma juice is not intoxicating and the priests just taste it like tīrth only, etc., the picture one gets from rigveda as also the vehement opposition of Buddha to the sacrificial cult of the vedists, reveal a different picture.), there was a natural opposition and the Brahmans were forced to adopt the jain custom of vegetarianism, if they wanted to be respected by the rest of the population.

Today, there is neither any natural opposition to the five-star culture of lavish dinners nor is there any self-control by people who are at the top echelons of society so that they set the example for the rest to follow. (yadyadācarati śreṣṭho tattadevetaro janāḥ). That is the tragedy.

I remember one occasion when a high level IMF team of about 6 or 7 people had visited the Reserve Bank of India in the wake of economic liberalizations during the nineties. A high class lunch had been arranged with the choicest nv items but all the team members said they were veggies and took only the vegetarian dishes. They were particular about "organic" manure, etc., but most probably Mumbai did not have such products available in the market in those days. I feel if our Indians at the top set an example it will go a long way in educating the middle class which is now the rising class and wants to climb up socially at any cost. (The vast majority which is poor, may treat themselves to some luxury once in a blue moon, but their daily fare is always humble and inadequate.)
 

Iyyarooraan

Well-known member
A section of Africans were cannibals, Chinese are reportedly eating every thing which has life. A Lion pounces on its prey only when it is hungry but a tiger does not follow that principle. In UP there was a girl who was living only on water. In the days of our Rishis, their disciples only shook the fruit bearing trees and collect the ripe ones fallen to the ground. Similarly even flowers were not plucked to let bees enjoy their right. When you commercialize all these, it is definitely sin of varied nature. If you are a ahimsavadi and you are infected, will you accept anti-biotics are not? Killing yourself is also against nature. But the great Parsis feed the vultures with their dead bodies. Life has this inherent problem and that is why people seek moksha. Everyone should take care to commit least possible sins.
 
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pviyer

Guest
The major cause for many of the mistakes that have crept in, in Man's foraging habits can be attributed to overpopulation and consequent over-exploitation of food sources. Perhaps this can be limited to a certain degree by self control by people of the higher income brackets in the world. History, however, has shown us very wrong examples of royalty and nobility being identified with very lavish eating habits.


Today, there is neither any natural opposition to the five-star culture of lavish dinners nor is there any self-control by people who are at the top echelons of society so that they set the example for the rest to follow. (yadyadācarati śreṣṭho tattadevetaro janāḥ). That is the tragedy.

I remember one occasion when a high level IMF team of about 6 or 7 people had visited the Reserve Bank of India in the wake of economic liberalizations during the nineties. A high class lunch had been arranged with the choicest nv items but all the team members said they were veggies and took only the vegetarian dishes. They were particular about "organic" manure, etc., but most probably Mumbai did not have such products available in the market in those days. I feel if our Indians at the top set an example it will go a long way in educating the middle class which is now the rising class and wants to climb up socially at any cost. (The vast majority which is poor, may treat themselves to some luxury once in a blue moon, but their daily fare is always humble and inadequate.)

I Agree with these statements except the paragraph deleted in my quote .
 

sravna

Well-known member
One doubt here sravna sir, what are the medical facts regarding the link between nervous system and pain. Is there a proof that we have that animals with more complex nervous system have more pain? If so, how do we define complexity in this specific context. I think this becomes pertinent to our entire discussion on plants being able to or unable to feel pain.

Dear Shri P.V.Iyer,

I did not base my claim on any research findings. My logic is you need consciousness to be self aware. A non-living being can be assumed to not have that self awareness or at least not to the extent a plant has and so on. Increased self awareness is likely to make your experiences more acute. Thus as a human you feel the pain or pleasure the most.
 
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nachi naga

Guest
chara and achara.moving or non-moving.animate or inanimate.when one realises that we live within god and god lives within us,we shud start practicing fasting.fasting removes toxins latent in our system.that is why our sanathana dharma enforced so many restrictions on food.ippadi thaan vazhanoom oru paychhu ,yeahpaadi wennoomal vazhalam,innoru paychuu,allavo?
 

sravna

Well-known member
Dear Shri CLN,

When the question is applied with respect to preying for food, it is more of a rational question devoid of any ethical underpinnings. A more intelligent creature is a greater asset to nature than a lesser one and nature having put more effort into it. That is the reason you have the more intelligent one as the predator and the lesser one as the prey. Similarly when it comes to one's life being endangered by a lesser creature I think the same logic can be applied.

But the ethical dimension surfaces in cases when humans are involved, such as whether one eats plant food or animal food. I would say it is also not ethical to make the lesser creature suffer when it is of no threat to you.
 
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