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 Post subject: Freeganism: Could it be more ethical than veganism?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:09 pm 
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Though I am highly wary of discussions of this kind and believe that what we eat should - at least in part - rely on gut feeling (literally and figuratively speaking) I've been turning this question over and over for quite some time now and would really appreciate your opinion:

Given the fact that any type of food production - vegan or not - has some kind of negative impact on the environment and hence its human and non-human animal inhabitants (the raising of crops destroying habitats, the transportation of goods contributing to global warming etc. etc.), is a diet that reduces demand for foodstuffs of any kind (i.e. freeganism) preferable to veganism regardless of whether the food actually consumed is in itself vegan or not? That is, is it, from an animal-welfare POV, better to eat food that was dumpstered (and hence not bought, thus not contributing to the demand which invariably endangers the environment) rather than buy vegan products, even if a purely vegan diet cannot be upheld in this manner? Or, to return to the title, if, for instance, eggs are readily available from dumpsters while tofu isn't, would you personally think it ethically more responsible to eat scrambled tofu or scrambled eggs ("scrambled nofu"? ;)?

I realise that there will be some of you for whom eating non-vegan, dumpstered food isn't an option since you find the thought physically off-putting because it came from a dumpster and/or because it came from an animal. I am, however, purely interested in your ethical take on this issue.

Thanks for your thoughts in advance!


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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:15 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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I can predict the general consensus on this question already: Vegan, no. Ethically more responsible, perhaps. There are things that are vegan but not ethical; and things that are ethical, but not vegan. But most non-hypothetical situations fall somewhere in the overlap.

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:30 pm 
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how much does the amount of food bought really contribute to the amount produced when the government subsidizes farmers to produce a ton of food? Obviously this doesn't apply to everything, but in terms of a large factory farm producing eggs and another producing soy beans i'm not sure how much consumer demand really plays into it.

but as for your thread title - no eggs can't be more vegan than tofu

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:34 pm 
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H-dog said it.

Its not that it is more vegan but it can be ethical. Of course if you are looking at hypothetical instances, then what about meat and other things that you'd get free/in dumpster/etc? I mean you can be someone who eats whatever you can get that would otherwise be thrown away.

A good instance are catered events at my husbands work. They will throw away tons of food. We usually grab the vegan food but most of it is nonvegan. It hasn't happened in a while but if it was something like refried beans/rice with animal products, my husband would bring some home and he'd eat it. He wouldn't take the meat they threw away though. My husband would otherwise be vegan but I wouldn't claim those things to be vegan, you know?

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:59 pm 
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The massive problem I have with consumption of animal products is that it perpetuates the idea that non-human animals are there for us humans to do whatever we want with. Whether you pay for eggs or get them from a dumpster makes no difference to this fact.


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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:01 pm 
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I guess I don't get it. The food that ends up in dumpsters was already produced, with whatever environmental or ethical consequences. Unless you were going to go out and buy "new" eggs, how does salvaging them from the trash affect anything?

And then, if it's just a matter of buying animal food vs. getting it from the trash, then sure, the trash route sounds more environmentally and ethically sound. I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:10 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
I guess I don't get it. The food that ends up in dumpsters was already produced, with whatever environmental or ethical consequences. Unless you were going to go out and buy "new" eggs, how does salvaging them from the trash affect anything?


Because dumpstering eggs means one less meal you'd have to purchase, and even plant-based foods entail some animal suffering. I think that's the argument, in any case.

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:24 pm 
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JimXVX wrote:
The massive problem I have with consumption of animal products is that it perpetuates the idea that non-human animals are there for us humans to do whatever we want with. Whether you pay for eggs or get them from a dumpster makes no difference to this fact.

Agreed.


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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:29 pm 
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i respect freeganism. i think it's all about supply and demand. though i don't consider eggs to be food, i think that it's better to have someone who does consider them to be food to get them from a dumpster than buy "new" eggs in a grocery store. because if it's all going to waste, and you're just picking it out of a dumpster, you aren't creating any higher a demand for eggs, you're just eating something that is free and available to you.

however, animals were involved in the production of the eggs, and eggs are not vegan, whether they're free or not. but some people don't care about this aspect, and i definitely understand where you're coming from with your question. i think dumpster diving is legit. not to give a pro-omni argument, because i hate when people say "but the animals are already dead!" in defense of eating their by-products, but in this case, because youre getting your stuff from a dumpster, it's better to at least use that stuff, if it's going to feed you and you can't find anything else, and you're okay with eating eggs, so that at least, somehow, all of that suffering wasn't for nothing.

as for myself, i wouldn't eat the eggs, even if they were free, because i don't believe my life to be that important that i have to feed on someone else to keep myself sustained, but that's just me. i think it's all about personal choice and if you're okay with it, then eat the eggs. they aren't vegan, but it's totally up to you.

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:30 pm 
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holy run-on sentences, batman.

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 4:32 pm 
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hoveringdog wrote:
FootFace wrote:
I guess I don't get it. The food that ends up in dumpsters was already produced, with whatever environmental or ethical consequences. Unless you were going to go out and buy "new" eggs, how does salvaging them from the trash affect anything?


Because dumpstering eggs means one less meal you'd have to purchase, and even plant-based foods entail some animal suffering. I think that's the argument, in any case.


Eh. Okay.

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:09 pm 
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hoveringdog wrote:
I can predict the general consensus on this question already: Vegan, no. Ethically more responsible, perhaps. There are things that are vegan but not ethical; and things that are ethical, but not vegan. But most non-hypothetical situations fall somewhere in the overlap.


This. (Can we talk about tots now?)

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:10 pm 
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Freegganism!


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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:12 pm 
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i think it says a lot about these new boards that this thread isn't already 1000 pages long. we are evolved.

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:16 pm 
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Its not vegan based on definition....but vegan is just a label in this regard. Id say go with what you feel is the right thing to do.

I get offers for free eggs from friends who have pet chickens. Personally I dont feel like eating them would counter my individual views that shape how I live...but I look at it for myself as a possible slippery slope, and Im doing fine w/o eggs

my 38 cents

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:19 pm 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
i think it says a lot about these new boards that this thread isn't already 1000 pages long. we would rather stab ourselves in the face than have this discussion again.


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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:47 pm 
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I guess I put "free" eggs from a dumpster in the same category as getting them from a friend or accidently hitting an animal with my car then eating it. To eat either seems... gross. And neither is vegan.

However, I don't like wasting so if a person had no other means for food than eggs from a dumpster or roadkill, I wouldn't fault them for eating them. Still not vegan, but if you have no food to eat, I don't think veganism is the first thing on your mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:51 pm 
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fezza wrote:
ijustdiedinside wrote:
i think it says a lot about these new boards that this thread isn't already 1000 pages long. we would rather stab ourselves in the face than have this discussion again.


Hah!

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:52 pm 
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I think it's ethical but not vegan and also a bit sketchy. I've dumpstered before (for vegan food) but eggs go bad pretty fast. Too gross for me.

Also, Jim and Bun are right too but my strong aversion to wasting food would override that concern personally.

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:44 pm 
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vegimator wrote:
I've dumpstered before (for vegan food) but eggs go bad pretty fast.

Um, yes, GROSS.

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 3:57 am 
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I fear I may have slightly misphrased my question since it has been taken by some of you to be of a merely denominative character. I do realise that there's a huge concern in the vegan community, or at least on the PPK boards, that the vegan label ist not to be put on diets/practices clearly non-vegan. (Obviously, my subject title was too populist in this regard.)

Clearly, whether one regards a dumpstered egg as "more vegan" than store-bought tofu depends on one's definition. If we delineate veganism as a diet and a set of practices that seeks to minimise the use animal products wherever possible - and I think this is the mainstream definition on the PPK as well as on Wikipedia - then clearly no egg whatsoever could be regarded as vegan (well, perhaps a semisweet-chocolate Easter egg). If, on the other hand, veganism is instead defined as a diet / a set of practices that seeks to minimise animal suffering, then the case could - at least in theory - be made for the vegan egg. I must admit that to me, who considers/ed himself a vegan for ethical and environmental reasons, this latter definition always seemed more to the point. On the other hand, it could serve to exclude those who follow a vegan diet for other reasons, such as health, religion etc. It irritates me that the two definitions should not be synonymous.

But I'm not really interested in the terminology. What I want to know is your 50c about what is ethically preferable. I remember reading on one of the vegan blogs I followed (and still follow) about how that particular blogger had made some baked goods and found out afterwards that one of the ingredients wasn't vegan and had chucked it all in the bin. At the time, this seemed sacrilegious to me since that person was wasting good food they had prepared with love and effort (and precious resources). Now, with a freegan background, I'm not entirely sure anymore. Yes, I do think that animals aren't for food. (It's not a thought that comes entirely natural to me since I was a vegetarian for most of my life.) But let's be a little honest here: those recipes we're slavering over on these boards and the respective blogs don't always exactly consist of 100% home-grown veggies (the 'fu doesn't exactly grow on trees neither and, let me give you one other word: chocolate!). And I for one certainly can't afford to exclusively buy organic. So to me the question remains whether it is the freegan taking the liberty to eat anything s/he finds, animal or not, or the vegan, who thinks that as long the packaging shows only plant-based ingredients it's all fine and dandy, that is being opportunistic.

The thing ijustdieinside mentioned, namely that what we buy doesn't necessarily directly influence what is produced, has already occurred to me and bothers me greatly since it would mean that freeganism is, in part, pointless. On the other it puts paid to the idea that by consuming vegan food and stuff we're hailing in the revolution.


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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:29 am 
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weltengreif wrote:
So to me the question remains whether it is the freegan taking the liberty to eat anything s/he finds, animal or not, or the vegan, who thinks that as long the packaging shows only plant-based ingredients it's all fine and dandy, that is being opportunistic.

Not that I necessarily disagree with your conclusion (I don't really know yet - I think that there is lots of morally relevant variation within both vegan and freegan diets that arguments like this tend to force aside), but this is a false dichotomy - you quite clearly can be vegan but care about more than just that the packaging shows only plant-based ingredients.


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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Can eggs be more vegan than tofu?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:38 am 
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Desdemona wrote:
hoveringdog wrote:
I can predict the general consensus on this question already: Vegan, no. Ethically more responsible, perhaps. There are things that are vegan but not ethical; and things that are ethical, but not vegan. But most non-hypothetical situations fall somewhere in the overlap.


This. (Can we talk about tots now?)


I'm always trying to make the choice that I can live with, that doesn't make me feel I caused someone harm.
No, I wouldn't eat eggs, but that doesn't mean I condemn people who do.
And I guess that at some point I might have made a choice that not everybody would have said was the wisest one or the best one, and maybe even not a vegan one? I'm very critical of myself, and if something sticks in my mind for a very long time, it must be a big deal, so I'm trying to find out what it is about my opinions or behaviour that bothers me and then change that. Also if I find out that something wasn't vegan by accident (like some company changed something I wasn't aware of, or doesn't give further information on the sources of their products). I'm only human, I make mistakes. But I'm doing the best that I can.

Now go ahead and dissect my statement and call me not vegan or something. (And I will still maintain that today I cannot be held accountable for some bungle from years and years ago. I'm a different person now than that baby vegan I used to be back then.)
And then maybe we can talk about tots?


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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Could it be more ethical than veganism?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:51 am 
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Weltengreif,

I have changed your subject title to better reflect the question you are asking (even you yourself admit that the topic title was not ideal).

On the whole though, I think we try to avoid discussions of ethical competition and really leave it up to the individual to decide which feels right for them.

I think (and did even pre-vegan) that eggs are pretty gross and am glad to leave them behind.

Mat.

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 Post subject: Re: Freeganism: Could it be more ethical than veganism?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:07 am 
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I think you're confusing economy with ethics weltengriff, with your talk of wasting precious resources. The two are not the same thing.

If its just about economy we should eat human corpses. There are a ton of them around, and instead of stuffing them full of embalming fluid and sticking them in the ground or burning them, a more efficent use of the existing calories and protein is to eat them. That way we don't need to kill animals or torture chickens into producing eggs.

I don't think it is all about what is best for the planet uber alles. We have to decide what we are ethically comfortable with, and I am not comfortable in any way supporting the torture of chickens for eggs. For me it would be akin to eating corpses.

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