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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:58 pm 
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I recently listened to AR Zone podcast #22 which dealt with this subject and ever since then it's been on my mind.

http://www.arzonepodcasts.com/2011/11/a ... e-and.html

During the discussion, Lynn Yates essentially argues those who care about animals SHOULDN'T keep cats because, as she says, the "sums don't add up." After all, how many factory farmed animals must live tortured lives and be killed to keep this one companion animal alive? I have a hard time refuting her logic. This is heartbreaking to me because I am much more of a cat person than a dog person (I currently have no companion animals).

I recognize that this thread is based on trying to make the best of a bad situation. But I was wondering whether it might be expanded to whether we should place ourselves in the situation at all.

P.S. Strawberry Rock, you're a good writer!


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:25 pm 
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I do think about this...whether it makes sense to value my cats more than animals I don't know. I don't really have a very well-thought out answer. I love my cats and I don't love the animals who are slaughtered to feed them. Does that mean that the lives of my cats are more valuable, though? I don't know.

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:27 pm 
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JonnyWoop wrote:
I recently listened to AR Zone podcast #22 which dealt with this subject and ever since then it's been on my mind.

http://www.arzonepodcasts.com/2011/11/a ... e-and.html

During the discussion, Lynn Yates essentially argues those who care about animals SHOULDN'T keep cats because, as she says, the "sums don't add up." After all, how many factory farmed animals must live tortured lives and be killed to keep this one companion animal alive? I have a hard time refuting her logic. This is heartbreaking to me because I am much more of a cat person than a dog person (I currently have no companion animals).

I recognize that this thread is based on trying to make the best of a bad situation. But I was wondering whether it might be expanded to whether we should place ourselves in the situation at all.

P.S. Strawberry Rock, you're a good writer!


What is your solution as to what to do with all of the domesticated cats? Also, are there so many factory farmed animals raised solely to feed cats?

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:38 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
We buy the cheap crepe for the cats because I have deluded myself that that stuff is most likely to be made of by products of human consumption, rather than human grade food that would otherwise be feed to people. I am likely completely wrong.

I don't think it's delusional at all. We used to feed our cats the organic, free range chicken foods, but when I really started thinking about it, I decided I would rather feed them the byproducts of human foods than have chickens killed just for them. I mean, I know that "humane" is just a marketing label, so why was I suddenly buying it when it came to my cats? For a while I felt weird about feeding them "byproducts", but then my vet reasoned that if they were in the wild that's exactly what they would be eating. I believe that this way we are sparing fewer animals.

That being said, I think what you feed your pets is highly personal and I don't begrudge anyone for wanting to feed their cats the top shelf foods.

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:43 pm 
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Vantine wrote:
JonnyWoop wrote:
I recently listened to AR Zone podcast #22 which dealt with this subject and ever since then it's been on my mind.

http://www.arzonepodcasts.com/2011/11/a ... e-and.html

During the discussion, Lynn Yates essentially argues those who care about animals SHOULDN'T keep cats because, as she says, the "sums don't add up." After all, how many factory farmed animals must live tortured lives and be killed to keep this one companion animal alive? I have a hard time refuting her logic. This is heartbreaking to me because I am much more of a cat person than a dog person (I currently have no companion animals).

I recognize that this thread is based on trying to make the best of a bad situation. But I was wondering whether it might be expanded to whether we should place ourselves in the situation at all.

P.S. Strawberry Rock, you're a good writer!


What is your solution as to what to do with all of the domesticated cats? Also, are there so many factory farmed animals raised solely to feed cats?


I don't have a solution to anything. I'm just trying to figure out what I think. Obviously the long term, "abolitionist" position is that domesticated animals should no longer exist. That could be accomplished over time via neutering and stopping forced impregnation. But in the here and now, it seemed as if Lynn Yates was essentially arguing that it would be better to simply let cats die. Pretty utilitarian.


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:46 pm 
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so, what is your opinion on that position?

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:52 pm 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
so, what is your opinion on that position?


On what?

That we should phase out animal domestication? I agree with that.

Yates' arguments leave me really torn. The idea that we'd value a single cat over all the animals it would consume over its lifetime doesn't really make sense to me. I love cats though. So is it fair for me to place my selfish interest in the companionship of cats over what's best for the most animals? Like I said, I don't know. I was hoping to hear other people's thoughts on the matter.


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:52 pm 
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Personally, I look at it this way. I'm vegan because I want to minimize the suffering I cause. I have pets because I want to give a rescue animal a home. Some of my pets have to eat meat to thrive, so I feed it to them. Their health comes before my morals. I am the one who made the decision to be vegan, not them. I try to feed them only from companies that don't do captive feeding trials (and use free range meat when I can), but I have to do what's best for them, so when one of my cats was diagnosed with diabetes and needed to get off dry and the only wet food she was willing to eat was something made by Purina, I bought it for her. I hated it and worked really hard to get her off it, but I did what I needed to at the time to keep her healthy.

I do feel bad that another animal had to die for my cats to live (and dogs, personally I don't agree with dogs being fed veg*n, but that's a whole other subject), but I love them, so I deal.

If you don't feel you can have a pet that eats meat, adopt a rabbit, or some other animal that is a herbivore. From my experience, they're just as snooty as cats :P

But seriously, it's a super complex subject that a lot of people disagree on, so you'll just have to figure out what you feel comfortable with.


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:59 pm 
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Simply_Love wrote:
Their health comes before my morals.


I see people say this a lot, and I have to say I don't quite get it, even though I feed my cats meat. I guess it's kind of similar to when people refer to veganism as a personal decision, and it's hard for me to see the decision whether to eat animals as personal at all, considering that it has a drastic effect on the environment and lives of animals. We don't call the decision to torture and kill humans a personal moral issue, you know? It's pretty much the opposite of personal. Honestly to justify feeding my cats meat I have to not think about it very much, which is not a satisfactory answer at all when discussing the issue but it's all I've got.

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:59 pm 
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JonnyWoop wrote:
The idea that we'd value a single cat over all the animals it would consume over its lifetime doesn't really make sense to me.


I generally try to avoid referring to an animal as an "it." Slipped up.


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:10 pm 
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strawberryrock wrote:
Simply_Love wrote:
Their health comes before my morals.


I see people say this a lot, and I have to say I don't quite get it, even though I feed my cats meat. I guess it's kind of similar to when people refer to veganism as a personal decision, and it's hard for me to see the decision whether to eat animals as personal at all, considering that it has a drastic effect on the environment and lives of animals. We don't call the decision to torture and kill humans a personal moral issue, you know? It's pretty much the opposite of personal. Honestly to justify feeding my cats meat I have to not think about it very much, which is not a satisfactory answer at all when discussing the issue but it's all I've got.


I totally get what you're saying. I do see eating meat/animal testing/human rights as a moral/ethical issue though, some people just have different scopes of what animals/inidividuals deserve respect. I wish everyone could just think everyone (non-human animals too!) deserves the same level of compassion and respect, but it's just not going to happen :(

I don't eat meat for moral reasons, but my cats can't make that decision for themselves. So I feed them meat, and like you try not to think about the fact some chicken (I love chickens, I tried to convince my mom we should have pet chickens when I was like 4, it did not go well) had to die so they could have dinner.

(Also, totally off topic, but one of my friends took a philosophy class where for their midterm they had to write a paper on how something should be judged to be immoral or moral. The person who was given the highest grade wrote a paper on how something is moral if the person doing the action believes in it, and argued that therefore a serial killer would be more moral than someone who thinks they should help the environment but doesn't compost. They didn't use the composting example, but it was something equally as unconnected to killing someone as that. The teacher made a copy for everyone, and when my friend gave it to me to read I was just like whaaa??? the whole time.)


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:05 pm 
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We feed chicken based dry food to our dogs. I agree with some people that I avoid mammal based food, which really doesn't make my reasoning better than any omni's reasoning. I would love to try a vegan diet for them but at the cost of feeding two 50lb dogs vegan food... well... that would be a lot. I really hope that some day vegan pet food will be more common and therefore more affordable, and then maybe it will be a more viable option. For now I think I have done some good by rescuing 2 dogs who needed homes and that will have to be enough for now. I do my best... without driving myself insane or putting myself in the poorhouse, and that's ok.


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:29 pm 
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JonnyWoop wrote:
ijustdiedinside wrote:
so, what is your opinion on that position?


On what?

That we should phase out animal domestication? I agree with that.

Yates' arguments leave me really torn. The idea that we'd value a single cat over all the animals it would consume over its lifetime doesn't really make sense to me. I love cats though. So is it fair for me to place my selfish interest in the companionship of cats over what's best for the most animals? Like I said, I don't know. I was hoping to hear other people's thoughts on the matter.


So, the compassionate decision is to let cats die because we don't want to feed obligate carnivores meat? Do I understand that position correctly? Given that there are millions of domesticated cats alive now and that there will be for the foreseeable future, what people who care about animals should do is advocate for euthanasia for these cats because they eat meat? Is there data regarding the number of animals raised solely for pet food?

Sometimes I think abolitionist means the abolition of reason.

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:34 pm 
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Vantine wrote:
Sometimes I think abolitionist means the abolition of reason.


What I described wasn't the "abolitionist" position, however you might define that. It was my interpretation of the opinion of an activist named Lynn Yates.

EDIT: If anyone wants to listen to the podcast where she discusses the issue, you can find it here. The link didn't work the first time. http://ia600803.us.archive.org/22/items ... cast22.mp3

Anyway, I need to hit the sack. Work early tomorrow. Have a great night.


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:22 pm 
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I was so glad to find this thread, and everyone's comments. And thank you to strawberryrock for her blog post and the thought-provoking comments there.

I have struggled with this myself, everything from what to feed our dogs (we chose Aunt Jeni's Homemade chicken based largely on the HSUS and PETA approval of the farm where the chickens are raised and killed) to whether it makes sense at all to keep companion animals (are they entertainment for me? is it a symbiotic relationship? are companion _dogs_ a special case or is that a story I tell myself to make my choices line up?). Why would a vet tell me that people should not impose their dietary values on their pets, when in fact virtually every other aspect of our pets' lives is governed by value choices we make for them (training method, indoor/outdoor, etc.)?

So, it's nice to be among people who reflect on these things and think they are important. I think there is a place for outrage and anguish around these issues (I have felt both). I also am learning to say, "I am not perfect. I am doing my best with what I know now." Not as a cop-out, but as a recognition that figuring these things out is a process and part of being a person who evolves and makes an impact in the world. It helps me sort out my own thinking to hear what others have to say. (Currently on my reading list is a book by a vegan who became a deer hunter. I'll be interested to look around the Forum & see if others have read it.)

So, that's all I wanted to say. Just thank you for caring about these things and I appreciate the tone of the posts.

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:18 pm 
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Thanks for starting this thread, strawberry rock.

My comment is a question that I've pondered for awhile, but never acted on. I now live in Idaho, land of many hunters.
Would it be more humane of me to try and source my cat food through a hunter here, (many co-workers are hunters), knowing that the animal killed first lived an uncaged, normal life until their death? If I have to choose between two undesirables, is this the lesser of two evils?

The animal in question would most likely be deer, which clearly domestic cats could never take down on their own. But, is
is a better, kinder alternative than normal pet food? And there is then the every day considerations about thawing frozen meat, etc, having storage for it, as opposed to simply opening a can.

Has anyone here ever done this?

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:21 am 
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Tenacious LD wrote:
Thanks for starting this thread, strawberry rock.

My comment is a question that I've pondered for awhile, but never acted on. I now live in Idaho, land of many hunters.
Would it be more humane of me to try and source my cat food through a hunter here, (many co-workers are hunters), knowing that the animal killed first lived an uncaged, normal life until their death? If I have to choose between two undesirables, is this the lesser of two evils?

The animal in question would most likely be deer, which clearly domestic cats could never take down on their own. But, is
is a better, kinder alternative than normal pet food? And there is then the every day considerations about thawing frozen meat, etc, having storage for it, as opposed to simply opening a can.

Has anyone here ever done this?


It might be 'kinder' in a way but I also think it isn't a good option. When carnivores in the wild take down animals, they eat everything including stomach contents. From what I understand, that is an important aspect of their nutrition. When you get meat from the store or what not, it is generally from a specific part of the animal. Therefore I don't think it is a good idea.

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:51 pm 
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I agree with linanil. Also, I don't think wild game meat is recommended for feeding raw. And you're suppose to rotate meats when you feed raw (in addition to feeding certain percentages of bone, organs and meat), so you couldn't just feed deer, even of wild game was okay for raw feeding.


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:16 pm 
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Does anyone here keep snakes?

I've always loved snakes and thought I might someday like to have one (from a rescue - there's a local reptile rescue that always has a bunch of snakes people decided they didn't want) but I'm not totally sure how I feel about feeding snakes, since they definitely need meat, and can be pretty picky about live vs dead/frozen prey.

I think the general consensus that I've heard is that it's probably the least-harm option to feed pre-killed mice, because they're supposedly killed pretty quickly and painlessly, and a dead mouse can't injure a snake the way a live one could by biting/scratching/general flailing. I think that makes sense, but obviously I know some snakes won't ever take to dead prey.

(I wonder if anyone feeds cats mice meant for snakes? There'd be bones and organ meats? What is the environmental impact of mouse-farming?)


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:09 pm 
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xGreenling wrote:
I think the general consensus that I've heard is that it's probably the least-harm option to feed pre-killed mice, because they're supposedly killed pretty quickly and painlessly

There were snakes and other reptiles at my highschool, and they bred and raised mice to feed them. The pinkies (babies) were put into the freezer and frozen to death, and I was told the adults were thrown against the wall to kill them.


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:22 pm 
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When I was young, my mom worked at a school that had a snake. She fed the snake mice and sometimes I'd help but we'd just throw a live mouse in. I never knew that people would kill them prior.

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:32 pm 
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Thanks for the responses to my question, linanil and Simply_Love.

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:54 pm 
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linanil wrote:
When I was young, my mom worked at a school that had a snake. She fed the snake mice and sometimes I'd help but we'd just throw a live mouse in. I never knew that people would kill them prior.

It's actually recommended that you only feed dead rodents, because live ones will sometimes fight back and can injure the snake.

(I really wish I could block most of my animal science class memories out of my head.)


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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:34 am 
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raspberrycomplaint wrote:
linanil wrote:
When I was young, my mom worked at a school that had a snake. She fed the snake mice and sometimes I'd help but we'd just throw a live mouse in. I never knew that people would kill them prior.

It's actually recommended that you only feed dead rodents, because live ones will sometimes fight back and can injure the snake.

(I really wish I could block most of my animal science class memories out of my head.)


And I don't know if the reason was that the snake we had used to be a wild one. I don't remember the circumstances but it had been found by wildlife rangers and it couldn't be put back in the wild but the school offered to take care of it. I'm not sure if a formerly wild snake would be ok with dead mice.

(That school used to have a lot of snakes at it, although my mom didn't mind them. They'd wander into classrooms, she'd get them and put them out in the field or call a rangers if it was a rattlesnake. It was the mountain lions that she minded)

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 Post subject: Re: feeding pets meat + animal welfare
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:46 pm 
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Being a part of the rat rescue community, let me tell you that the conversation around feeder rodents gets brought up a lot.

Feeder rodents that are raised my people who "prepare" them commercially pretty much have the worst lives ever. Take every single thing you've seen posted on FB or online talking about animals living in their own excrement, not being able to see the sun, breating air that is full of ammonia, having no mental stimulation whatsoever, and literally piled on top of eachother. They are regularly injured and obviously receive no medical care, and females are bred back to back to back since they can produce offspring about once a month.

They are regularly frozen to death, bludgeoned, or killed with CO2, which means they have horrible, painful suffocation.

Rats are easily more social, intelligent and emotionally complex than chickens and many of the other food animals available to us - and they are regularly dealt pretty much the worst possible hand in terms of animal rights. Then it gets into the whole argument of, should snakes even be kept as pets? I don't believe that they're able to be domesticated making the short answer to that "no". But as long as other people are purchasing them and they are ending up in rescue, they need homes as their being held in captivity is no fault of theirs.

As to feeding cats rodents because it's more "natural", I don't know that I'd go that far. Cats are carnivores, period, and wouldn't be above eating the remains that a larger predator might have left behind. They can be scavengers just as well as they can be hunters. I liked the mention on the blog post about it making more sense to sacrifice one chicken's life vs 50 mice or other rodents. There are lots of raw feeders who feed their cats whole animals, largely chicks that are frozen. Because they are really just little chickens, does that make them a better or worse option to feed? And if so many people out there are eating eggs (and we keep reading in vegan literature that male chicks have horrible deaths and are wasted because of the egg industry) doesn't that actually make feeding chicks a better option then rearing rodents for the sole purpose of feeding our pets?

The whole animal rights things is a pretty slippery slope. Where do we cut it off? Where do we decide that it's just enough abuse? And how do you decide how "vegan" you really are?

My cats and dogs (and rats) all receive commercially available foods, that are "middle of the road" in terms of price. Not Alpo, not Orijen. I feed them brands that have minimal ingredients, minimal preservatives and should be nutritionally complete without just barely scraping by. The cats do get the cheaper cans to supplement their dry food since I know wet is better for them but I can't afford to feed the pricey stuff. One of my dogs is on a veterinary diet because of kidney failure. I used to feed my first dog raw but no longer have a big enough freezer to facilitate that. Having gone vegan, I don't know how I would approach it if I wanted to do it again. He really thrived on that diet, he hardly shed and had beautiful muscle tone and was the picture of health. But I don't know if I could go back to buying the amount of meat necessary to feed him that way.

I don't believe that I will ever live a truly vegan life as long as there are animals out there to rescue. So many people argue that eating vegan isn't enough, you have to live vegan to make an impact. You can't exploit animals in any way. And pet ownership (animal companionship? Whatever) really is a self centered thing. Yes, we all love animals and yes, we want to save the ones that need saving and help the ones that need helping but if there were no pets to adopt, if everyone did actually spay and neuter and dogs and cats stopped showing up in shelters or rescues, breeding them purely for companionship would be a wholley unvegan thing. Riding horses or using them to pull carts isn't vegan. Shearing sheep isn't vegan. Do we push it to Fido and rubbing his belly?

Do we push for an "ideal" world with no domestic animals? Or do we let ourselves got caught up in the whole argument of one animal being more worthy of living over another? Is any singular animal "stupid" enough that we can justify killing it for other animals? And then, do I kick myself in the butt next time I covet something made of silk? Is the condition of silk worms really something I can extend my vegan mindset to cover?

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