A Pro-Freegan Story Analogy (1 Viewer)

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MetalBryan

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This isn't a comment about the content or maker of the video but just something funny I wanted to share about Food Not Bombs... there are two types of volunteers.

A while back I posted an image on our FNB page of enough prepacked food to feed 500 people that I had spent the morning rescuing. I was clear that it was not all vegan, but the nature of the rescue was that I had to take everything to get the produce. Not fifteen minutes went by when I got a message asking me to call the individual to have them explain why it was important to keep FNB vegan.

Type 1 makes up about 75% of FNB volunteers - talkers. Type 2 feeds the people.
 
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I've cooked with multiple FNB groups that had different policies about handing out animal products. I've never actually met a vegan that was ideologically opposed to the eating of salvaged meat, even if they themselves wouldn't want to do it. And I think the sky burial was a much better analogy for opportunistic freeganism than comparing the shaving of one's legs to genital mutilation.
 

WildVirtue

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I've cooked with multiple FNB groups that had different policies about handing out animal products. I've never actually met a vegan that was ideologically opposed to the eating of salvaged meat, even if they themselves wouldn't want to do it. And I think the sky burial was a much better analogy for opportunistic freeganism than comparing the shaving of one's legs to genital mutilation.
Agreed, but if you watch the video I'm responding to you'll see in the first half of my story analogy I was copying his story analogy almost word for word, just replacing pedophile cannibal ring, for genital mutilation ring.

I wanted to show you can have intense disgust reactions to an evil action done without people's consent like killing children to eat them, and similarly with genital mutilation, but that the comparison to eating rescued human meat doesn't follow for all rescued animal products because you can have healthy human cultures rescuing animal products in which no one is suffering a worse quality of life worrying about their interests being disrespected after their death. In the same way as you can have people choosing to shave their legs without harming anyone regardless of if there exists a harmful patriarchal culture which pressures some people to do it, like with forced genital mutilation.

I have debated this with a lot of vegans in real life and online sadly, but anyways the order of arguments I find it most useful to use, as well so as to scaffold my premises is this:

Firstly it can be great animal rights advocacy in rare circumstances like so; by setting up a Food not Bombs stall in the town centre and putting up a vegan sign in front of a big pan of vegan stew and a freegan sign infront of rescued bread. The vegan sign can provoke lots of interesting conversations about the ethics of breeding and killing animals. While the freegan sign can get people talking about a further layer of if it is true that harming animals for their meat, milk and eggs was necessary to feed the population, how come so very much meat, milk and eggs ended up rotting in supermarket skips instead? Which can provoke further conversation about the evils of producing such an energy intensive product like meat to just become food waste, while people are starving around the world.

Secondly non-human animals we farm don’t experience a worse quality of life worrying about whether they’re going to be eaten by other humans after they’re dead, humans do as a species norm.

Thirdly there exists healthy human cultures in which humans being eaten by non-human animals after they’re dead is seen as a positive, for example in Tibet, having your energy transferred into that of a bird is seen as a beautiful thing or green burials where your body can more easily become nutrients for both animals and plants. So then, healthy human cultures in which non-human animals are eaten by humans is also likely possible.

And finally, even if it’ll be a better world when everyone is vegan and we’re all disgusted by animals products (in the same way as if no one ever felt pressured by sexist beauty standards to shave their legs again), that doesn’t mean that it’s not morally permissible to consume some of those animal products at the moment i.e. it’s not comparable to cannibalism where you’re causing worse quality of life in other humans by normalizing it or normalizing the standard that women should have their genitals mutilated as neither the choice to shave your legs or eat thrown out animal products necessitates violating anyone’s rights or causing harm to anyone.
 
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I guess it just seemed like the direction the conversation was going in was painting a picture of vegans as crazy extremists, when the reality is that most are moderates who think it's perfectly acceptable to eat animals under a lot of circumstances, and are just opposed to doing it given current circumstances. For example, the Inuit, who live in the arctic, where edible plants don't grow, live entirely off of meat, they have no choice. The animals they hunt got to live their whole lives free, they do stand a good chance of escaping the hunter, unlike ranched livestock, and the hunters actually stand a good chance of dying. I have a hard time imagining any vegan seriously arguing that the Inuit should quit eating meat. By contrast, farming, does kill animals at much greater rates than hunting, make no mistake. It necessitates the destruction of habitat and the extermination of competitors (pests.) Before industrialization, most farming cultures also relied on the domestication of packing animals. Ranching is definitely more destructive, requires more farming to feed livestock, and forces more inhumane conditions on the animals being kept. Given the fact that our population has gotten too dense for us to survive as hunter gatherers, it is totally understandable why someone would argue that industrialized cultures should stop eating meat and dairy. But given the fact that our culture does produce those things, in excess, a person is harming fewer animals by eating meat out of a dumpster than they are by buying vegetables from a store, and I think that almost all vegans recognize that. The decision not to has more to do with personal levels of disgust than ethics. There are many examples of extreme starvation situations where people have resorted to eating their own dead. While we're all probably disgusted by the idea of cannibalism, the reality is that in that circumstance, we'd all probably do the same thing. If my dead body was capable of saving the lives of my loved ones, I'd hope they would make use of it. That doesn't mean that I think we should be eating all our dead instead of wasting all that perfectly good human meat by burying or cremating it. It's just situational.
 

WildVirtue

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I guess it just seemed like the direction the conversation was going in was painting a picture of vegans as crazy extremists.

Yeah no for sure not. I'm vegan and just wanted to provide some arguments for if anyone who finds themself talking to a dogmatic type of vegan.

I have a hard time imagining any vegan seriously arguing that the Inuit should quit eating meat.

There are weird ideologies that latch onto every movement, from anti-natalists, to anti-abortion-rights folk, to fascists. As far as campaigns go, animal rights campaigns are usually close to far-left and intersectional. So yeah, it's a remarkadly positive state of affairs, unlike for example some single issue 'protect our river' campaign which could be filled with conservatives just arguing that an oil pipleine go through a first nations reserve instead.

The reason the outliers interest me is they can be tips of the iceberg of a harmful culture that's worth addressing. Like I witnessed a vegan discord keep this literal nazi around as he got further down the far-right rabbit hole and spread his ideas because they viewed it as no worse than being friends with or working with meat eaters. So I worked on this page to help people with arguments to thoroughly refute that here:
Racism in Veganism - Philosophical Vegan Wiki - https://philosophicalvegan.com/wiki/index.php/Racism_in_Veganism#Vegans_Racist_Apologetics

With someone arguing against freeganism or subsistence hunting, it could be the tip of a small culture of people who obsessively watch factory farming and slaughterhouse cruelty videos, feeling guilty about their past life as meat eaters that they go to the extreme of believing all carniverous animals should be made extinct or yeah that inuits should be expelled from the area they live to somewhere plant foods can be given to them cheaply.

The decision not to has more to do with personal levels of disgust than ethics. . . It's just situational.

I agree, I don't think there's any universally good end goal or principle which can't be defeated by hyper-specific circumstances. That's why I think of myself as a virtue-existentialist, just concerned with building up instutions which enable people to act with charachter virtue and follow general principles.
 

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