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Joined: July 5th, 2007, 5:53 pm
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Nick says , 'Leather is always only a by-product'

This is, of course, not strictly true.


July 26th, 2009, 6:15 am
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Hundovir wrote:
Nick wrote:
The Green Party suffers from this to a large extent. Bearded, sandal wearing, long-haired, with no style or colour,


Well... um, green surely?

I was thinking of their hair.....

Hmmm.

Green hair......

:sick:


July 26th, 2009, 10:38 am
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jaywhat wrote:
Nick says , 'Leather is always only a by-product'

This is, of course, not strictly true.


I struggling to think of an example where leather is the primary reason for rearing cattle...... :shrug:

Care to share?


July 26th, 2009, 10:42 am
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Chris, who started this thread, appears not to have ever responded.

I'd be interested to hear his comments.....

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July 26th, 2009, 11:29 am
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Nick wrote:
jaywhat wrote:
Nick says , 'Leather is always only a by-product'

This is, of course, not strictly true.


I struggling to think of an example where leather is the primary reason for rearing cattle...... :shrug:

Care to share?



Who said it has to be cattle?


July 26th, 2009, 4:21 pm
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I thought this Forum had been a bit quiet for a while and hoped my post might liven it up. Success!

While not wanting to be rude, a few of the responses seem to be plain silly. The main ethical objection to eating meat (and possibly milk --- see another thread) is concerned with inflicting unnecessary pain (fear and other suffering) on sentient animals. Some believe that to do so is morally wrong, and that vegetarianism / veganism is is a rational response to that belief. This includes various distinguished Humanists, now and in the past, who are not only vegetarian but are vegetarian because of their humanism. Parsnips and all other vegetables are, to the very best of human knowledge, not equipped with nervous systems, brains or consciousness. They do not experience pain, they have no awareness of suffering. It really should not be necessary to point this out (again!) but inability to distinguish between plants and animals in this debate seems to me to render some contributions unworthy of any attention.

For ethical vegetarians it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering on animals by eating them, they in most cases apply this logically to other abuse of animals such as the use of leather products. Most serious veggies (in particular vegans) do not wear leather shoes, belts, coats and so on; and the idea of turning a sentient animal into furniture is repulsive, and not just the chopping off of the feet of elephants to make umbrella stands.

How far one should go in trying to be logically consistent in an unhelpful none-veggie world is a matter of personal choice and continual debate among veggies, usually but not always, with vegans taking a stricter line. Milk and eggs (and medicines) are especially problematic and have been discussed at length before, but I am starting another thread on (for me at least) a new aspect of this, following correspondence with Compassion In World Farming.

Chris

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July 26th, 2009, 4:25 pm
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Nick wrote:
I really don't mind if people want to avoid leather. That's their choice. But to hold out against using leather as a moral position while still drinking milk is inconsistent. As you say:
Quote:
Milk is an exception, which requires animals to be killed regularly
but it is untrue to say that any cattle are killed purely to keep your trousers up or to provide a soft repose for your backside. Leather is always only a by-product.
I really don't know which way round it is: is leather a by-product of meat production or meat a by-product of leather production? Do you have evidence one way or the other?

I'm not convinced by your inconsistency argument: don't we all have a line that we are not prepared to cross. I have no compunction in killing an annoying fly or hundreds of midges or bacteria. You may have no compunction in killing (or having killed) bacteria, midges, flies or cows. But I assume you stop at generally not killing or having killed other human animals? What about cats and dogs? Where are they on your line? Bear in mind that I am not talking about extreme situations; in everyday life, I try to live without animals being killed where it is reasonably practicable to do so. I am not saying that I would never want any animals killed under any circumstances. I draw the line in a different position on the continuum, but no more and no less inconsistent that yours.

Quote:
Alan wrote:
And who is the arbiter of what 'mainstream' is anyway? I — and many others — see it as a valid ethical issue and therefore open to discussion with those who want to discuss it.

What is mainstream is not an arbitrary decision, but a matter of statistics. Mainstream does not of course mean 'right', either. Mainstream opinion may favour the death penalty; mainstream sexuality is not gay. There are times to be mainstream, there are times when that is impossible.
And what are the statistics for vegetarianism or veganism within those who call themselves humanist? I certainly suspect that it is higher than in the rest of society, but even if we were a small majority, what of it? Does that mean we should not be allowed to discuss it? What of hard pacifists? Probably a minority, but certainly something worth discussing without people getting on their high horses demanding they renounce their position as inconsistent or asking them to keep quiet lest we discourage new members. If we were a predominantly Indian forum, would we be having this discussion, since about one-third of the population is vegetarian?

Quote:
But as a campaigning humanist (even if not a particularly effective one), I want to concentrate on the major thrust of humanism, that there is probably no god, and that we should seek to find answers by reason. IMO, there is a very large proportion of the population who are there or thereabouts. I want them to feel at home and comfortable supporting humanism. I want to make it as easy as possible.
Isn't that what the CofE has done in the past: take some kind of 'all things to all men' position? :D One of the central tenets (if I can call it that) of humanism is that we are a wide, diverse population with differing views on many subjects.

Quote:
What I do not want to see is the central tenets of humanism continually being de-railed by questions like "Humanists are veggies, aren't they?" "Do they wear funny underpants, or is that Mormons..." Simplistic I know, but you get the picture.
No I don't. Who is suggesting that "[all] Humanists are veggies"? Not me. But I suspect that there is a higher proportion of humanists who are veggies and vegan than in the general population, because they see it as an ethical position that their reason has led them to. If you're not convinced by the arguments in favour of vegetarianism, then fine. I have no problem with that. Perhaps I don't understand why everyone isn't a vegetarian, but that does not mean I'd want to jump on anyone who espoused their views on meat eating.

Quote:
The Green Party suffers from this to a large extent. Bearded, sandal wearing, long-haired, with no style or colour, earnest geeks with ghastly hand-knitted pullovers do not attract the numbers or support required to change things. They also have some weird ideas, like not having a leader (they've now changed it).
To stereotype Greens like that is worthy only of the Daily Mail or the Telegraph.

Quote:
I am all for open discussion. Anyone can choose any topic as far as I'm concerned. I would prefer it not to be segregated into a separate vegetarian group, but included under ethics and morality, say. And, in the spirit of open discussion, I've responded. :D
Your preference is noted. We have separate areas of this forum for the discussion of all sorts of things including religion, science and ethics. I know this is a favourite bugbear of yours, but continually harping on about one section given over to discussion of vegetarianism is not helping the cause of humanism as a respectful, tolerant worldview that is prepared to embrace different views. I doubt you will persuade us to merge this section with the ethics section (although I'm glad you agree it is an ethical topic).

Quote:
Alan H wrote:
Who do you think is a fruitcake?
It's not a question of whether I think veggies are fruitcakes, but whether humanism carries that impression, no matter how unfairly.
But you clearly do consider people like me to be fruitcakes and you just will not let it rest. Your views are clear to everyone who reads this forum. Now let the rest of us get on with discussing this amongst ourselves without it being derailed.

Quote:
Alan H wrote:
I don't want visitors thinking all humanists are intolerant of legitimately held ethical stances.
Nor do I.
Hmmm.

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July 26th, 2009, 4:43 pm
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Quotes

"Would you sit on a live cow?" Maybe, the issue is, is the cow being subjected to unnecessary suffering? If not I would have no ethical objection. A seat made from a dead cow has been produced as a result of the suffering inflicted on the cow by its slaughter.


"if shaving was prohibited by the Prophet, but shearing of hair with scissors was permitted, then would an electric razor (whose rotating or reciprocating blades are really tiny scissors) would be okay?" This contribution has nothing to do with this debate, which is not about such 'rules' but about individuals trying to be consistent in the application of their own ethical standards in various circumstances.

"Who do you think is a fruitcake?" etc. There is nothing wrong with fruitcakes or nutty products as long as they don't contain ingredients resulting from unnecessary animal suffering.

"Churches do not attract adherents by suggesting that being a Trappist monk is the only way to be a proper Christian." Irrelevant. No one here is suggesting that 'vegetarianism is the only way to be a proper humanist.'

"If it's a matter of sentience and suffering, would insects be ok?" At last, a point worthy of consideration! In the treatment of animals generally, not just in eating or other use of animal products, the extent of 'sentience and suffering' is a key consideration. It is not a black and white consideration because there are very great variation not only between animals but among individual species, humans included. If particular animals can be reliably shown to have little or no sentience / awareness of suffering the ethical objection to causing them unnecessary suffering disappears (though many veggies, and non-veggies equally, have other objections to eating insects, grubs, snails, etc. (the 'yuck factor'). My own stance is that I am uncertain of the extent to which many animals experience suffering (though for mammals, fish, crustacean it is often fairly clear and current science is adding to our understanding) so I generally take the line that anything which might inflict suffering unnecessarily is better avoided if it is realistic to do so. The utilitarian principle also applies, that if more suffering can be avoided by an action than not taking it, then it can be justified, hence action to destroy insects (or other 'pests') which cause suffering to human and non-human animals is often justified. The objection is always to inflicting suffering 'for no good reason' and eating meat and many other uses of animals which have to be killed is only justified in circumstance where it prevents other suffering (as in the case of avoiding starvation when only meat is available).

The point about humanist vegetarianism is that we try to base our life style on evidence and reason, and for us that points us to trying to be as consistently veggie as we reasonably can. Others may come to different conclusions.

Chris

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July 26th, 2009, 5:45 pm
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clayto wrote:
"if shaving was prohibited by the Prophet, but shearing of hair with scissors was permitted, then would an electric razor (whose rotating or reciprocating blades are really tiny scissors) would be okay?" This contribution has nothing to do with this debate, which is not about such 'rules' but about individuals trying to be consistent in the application of their own ethical standards in various circumstances.

My point (which I may not have expressed well) was simply to illustrate that ethical principles must not be extended beyond the point where their underlying intention is still applicable. What possible good can it do to anybody or anything if you refuse to sit on your friend's leather couch? You can criticise his choice of furniture if you want, but such "fundamentalist" posturing (no pun intended) will only diminish your credibility. This is not how to win friends or influence people.


July 26th, 2009, 6:29 pm
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clayto wrote:
"If it's a matter of sentience and suffering, would insects be ok?" At last, a point worthy of consideration! In the treatment of animals generally, not just in eating or other use of animal products, the extent of 'sentience and suffering' is a key consideration. It is not a black and white consideration because there are very great variation not only between animals but among individual species, humans included. If particular animals can be reliably shown to have little or no sentience / awareness of suffering the ethical objection to causing them unnecessary suffering disappears


So, would a cow that had been raised naturally and considerately on Happy Cow Farm and then painlessly anaesthetised before being killed be ok to eat?


July 26th, 2009, 8:30 pm
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Quote "What possible good can it do to anybody or anything if you refuse to sit on your friend's leather couch?" It may or not do any good, which is why I ask for other people's views
(especially fellow vegetarians, on a vegetarian forum).

However, among the considerations I have are

(a) principles --- it demonstrates how one is trying to be consistent in not using the products of animals unnecessary killed (anti-veggies often try to attack veggies on grounds of consistency, such as 'well, what about those leather shoes you are wearing' --- I have not bought leather shoes since becoming a vegetarian, 15 plus years); if the numbers of veggies continued to grow significantly their refusal to be part of the leather market could affect production options (as with factory farmed eggs and with fur for example, and the much greater availability of non-leather shoes, belts, etc. now)

(b) the yuck factor --- if people who find something repulsive do not say so (in many circumstances) they can only expect to be confronted with yucky situations, so for example I might also (hopefully politely and with humour) tell friends / fellow drinkers and diners, etc. that having cigarette smoke blown in my face is unacceptable (things have changed in this respect, as illustrated by the surgeon who smokes his pipe while carrying out operations in 'The Royal')

'Always explain, complain and campaign --- otherwise things always stay the same.'

Quote "So, would a cow that had been raised naturally and considerately on Happy Cow Farm and then painlessly anaesthetised before being killed be ok to eat?"

Some might say so (see the other thread on eggs and milk) but some would argue that painless and fear-free (also significant) killing is not a reality now, especially in commercial circumstances, and may 'never' be. In my case the yuck factor would still apply (as Bernard Shaw said, 'why do people want to eat corpses') but the ethical argument about suffering could change, though not the vegan argument about misuse / abuse of animals. If we apply the 'treat others as they wish to be treated' principle to non-human as well as human animals (as some humanists do) I don't think many animals want to be killed and eaten, apart from that 'pig' in the Restaurant At The End Of The Universe.'

Chris

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July 27th, 2009, 10:20 am
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jaywhat wrote:
Nick wrote:
jaywhat wrote:
Nick says , 'Leather is always only a by-product'

This is, of course, not strictly true.


I struggling to think of an example where leather is the primary reason for rearing cattle...... :shrug:

Care to share?



Who said it has to be cattle?


OK, jaywhat, let's extend it beyond cattle. The same question applies. Which animals are raised primarily for their leather?


July 27th, 2009, 1:48 pm
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They might not be raised; they might be trapped, shot etc.

..and here is rather strong chunk from a leather website :-

Leather may be made from cows, pigs, goats, and sheep; exotic animals like alligators, ostriches, and kangaroos; and even dogs and cats, who are slaughtered for their meat and skins in China, which exports their skins around the world. Since leather is normally not labeled, you never really know where (or whom) it came from.
Most leather comes from developing countries like India and China, where animal welfare laws are either non-existent or not enforced. Many of the millions of cows and other animals who are killed for their skin endure the horrors of factory farming—extreme crowding and deprivation as well as castration, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning, all without any painkillers. In India, a PETA investigation found that cows have their tails broken and chili peppers and tobacco rubbed into their eyes in order to force them to get up and walk after they collapse from exhaustion on the way to the slaughterhouse. At slaughterhouses, animals routinely have their throats slit and are skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious after improper stunning.

Most of the millions of animals slaughtered for their skin endure the horrors of factory farming before being shipped to slaughter, where many are skinned alive. Buying leather directly contributes to factory farms and slaughterhouses since skin is the most economically important byproduct of the meat-packing industry. Leather is also no friend of the environment since it shares all the environmental destruction of the meat industry, in addition to the toxins used in tanning.


July 27th, 2009, 2:23 pm
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Yup! I get that. But that's primarily for fur, surely?

I can't think of any animal raised primarily for leather (or even shot/trapped primarliy for leather)

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July 27th, 2009, 2:32 pm
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Is the difference between fur and leather that important in this discussion?

I should add that I am a bit mixed up about all this anyway and am, if anything, being devil's advocatish.


July 27th, 2009, 2:40 pm
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getreal wrote:
I can't think of any animal raised primarily for leather (or even shot/trapped primarliy for leather)
I don't think I know enough about the farming industry to be able to say whether animals are raised primarily for leather or meat. What is the quality of leather of animals raised for meat and what is the quality of meat raised for leather? Could they be separate breeds for different qualities of each?

Just found this from the Vegetarian Society:
Quote:
********************************************************************************
The Vegetarian Society - Clothing Information Sheet
http://www.vegsoc.org/Info/clothing.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Should vegetarians wear leather? That's a question we hear all the time. Some people think it is OK because leather is just a by-product of the meat industry and the animals weren't killed just for their skins. Others seem to believe that there's a strong chance the animal died naturally. But neither excuse really holds water. Very few farm animals in this country ever reach the natural end of their lifespan, most are killed when they are little more than adolescents. The remaining ones go for slaughter because they are worn out by a lifetime of continuous breeding and/or lactation and artificially heightened fertility. The leather we like best, soft leather, doesn't come from old cows at all, it comes from calves and the softest leather of all comes from unborn calves whose mothers have been slaughtered. And leather might be just a byproduct, but it's a very important one for the meat trade. About 10% of the value of the animal at the abattoir is in its skin, worth about 650 million pounds a year in the UK, so by buying leather, we are helping to support the meat industry.

[Retrieved: Mon Jul 27 2009 14:41:16 GMT+0100 (GMT Daylight Time)]

###################

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July 27th, 2009, 2:42 pm
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Thanks for that Alan.
It does make depressing (and pretty disgusting) reading.

On a lighter note, I bought soya milk today and I am going to try it in coffee (now that I'm better informed about the production of soya products!)

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July 27th, 2009, 2:56 pm
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Alan H wrote:
Nick wrote:
I really don't mind if people want to avoid leather. That's their choice. But to hold out against using leather as a moral position while still drinking milk is inconsistent. As you say:
Quote:
Milk is an exception, which requires animals to be killed regularly
but it is untrue to say that any cattle are killed purely to keep your trousers up or to provide a soft repose for your backside. Leather is always only a by-product.
I really don't know which way round it is: is leather a by-product of meat production or meat a by-product of leather production? Do you have evidence one way or the other?

PETA refer to leather production as a by-product of meat production. "Perspectives on Leather" refer to it as a waste product of the food chain. These are just the first 2 results I found by googling 'leather production'. Also, though I am aware of dairy breeds of cattle, eg Fresians, Jerseys etc, and beef breeds, eg Aberdeen Angus, I am not aware of any 'leather' breeds, nor have I ever seen cattle so described at any agricultural show I have ever been to. Do you have any evidence the other way?

Taking this point separately:
Quote:
Bear in mind that I am not talking about extreme situations; in everyday life, I try to live without animals being killed where it is reasonably practicable to do so. I am not saying that I would never want any animals killed under any circumstances.
I have no problem with this. That is your choice. Its a perfectly reasonable position to hold.

Quote:
I'm not convinced by your inconsistency argument: don't we all have a line that we are not prepared to cross. I have no compunction in killing an annoying fly or hundreds of midges or bacteria. You may have no compunction in killing (or having killed) bacteria, midges, flies or cows. But I assume you stop at generally not killing or having killed other human animals? What about cats and dogs? Where are they on your line? [....] I draw the line in a different position on the continuum, but no more and no less inconsistent that yours.

I have never said that anyone should draw the line on the continuum of animal species in any particular place. I am perfectly aware that different people draw the line in different places. The orientals may like to eat dog. I would not eat dog. I acknowledge that that is an arbitrary judgment, and you and I are free to draw the line at any point we choose.

My challenge of inconsistency (which may be better described by another word) depends on the fact that cattle are bred, raised and slaughtered to produce milk and dairy products. Given that, I think it is inconsistent not to use a by-product of that process. I do not see the rationale for not using leather, for ethical reasons, in such circumstances.


Quote:
Quote:
Alan wrote:
And who is the arbiter of what 'mainstream' is anyway? I — and many others — see it as a valid ethical issue and therefore open to discussion with those who want to discuss it.

What is mainstream is not an arbitrary decision, but a matter of statistics. Mainstream does not of course mean 'right', either. Mainstream opinion may favour the death penalty; mainstream sexuality is not gay. There are times to be mainstream, there are times when that is impossible.

And what are the statistics for vegetarianism or veganism within those who call themselves humanist? I certainly suspect that it is higher than in the rest of society, but even if we were a small majority, what of it?
I think I'd agree with that. Any departure from the mainstream is likely to throw up other challenges to it. I'd say that the same applies to gays. If you are unable to 'fit in' with the mainstream in such an important matter, then the threshold for challenging other stances is likely to be much lower too. As I've said before, I have no problem with anyone, humanist or not, being veggie or vegan. I would not serve them meat if they were my guest, nor would I expect to be served meat if I were theirs.

Quote:
Does that mean we should not be allowed to discuss it? What of hard pacifists? Probably a minority, but certainly something worth discussing without people getting on their high horses demanding they renounce their position as inconsistent or asking them to keep quiet lest we discourage new members.
Of course discussion should be allowed. In an open society, freedom of expression, debate and discussion is essential. However, I would object to pacifism being labelled the predominant humanist stance. I would object, and have objected to the BHA Peace Group, which, thank goodness, seems to have died a death. I do not, however, have any issue with someone decaring for themselves that they would not fight whatever the circumstances, and yes, that would be grounds for much debate. Nor does that make me a war-monger.

Quote:
If we were a predominantly Indian forum, would we be having this discussion, since about one-third of the population is vegetarian?
Possibly, if they were being inconsistent too. :D

Quote:
Quote:
But as a campaigning humanist (even if not a particularly effective one), I want to concentrate on the major thrust of humanism, that there is probably no god, and that we should seek to find answers by reason. IMO, there is a very large proportion of the population who are there or thereabouts. I want them to feel at home and comfortable supporting humanism. I want to make it as easy as possible.
Isn't that what the CofE has done in the past: take some kind of 'all things to all men' position? :D One of the central tenets (if I can call it that) of humanism is that we are a wide, diverse population with differing views on many subjects.

Yes indeed, that is precisely what the Cof E has done in the past. Presented itself in an acceptable form. Eg Cranmer's Prayer Book talks about "Let it be to us His Body and Blood". It does not seek to distinguish between Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation or mere representation. Each divergent belief is accommodated. That is how the CofE attained its foothold and later dominance. A large proportion of UK citizens would describe themselves as CofE if asked on a form, even if they do not actually believe in god. What I want to see is for the default description to change. Doctrinal purity is not the way to achieve that in any mass movement, religious, political or philosophical. For me anyway, the 'broad church' is essential to my personal view of what is means to be a humanist.

Quote:
Quote:
What I do not want to see is the central tenets of humanism continually being de-railed by questions like "Humanists are veggies, aren't they?" "Do they wear funny underpants, or is that Mormons..." Simplistic I know, but you get the picture.
No I don't. Who is suggesting that "[all] Humanists are veggies"? Not me.
The more we have separate groups for separate ethical positions, the less inclusive we are likely to appear. So far, this has not been the case. The religious hordes are still calling us shrill, aggressive, fundamentalist, maniacal, etc. I just don't want it to occur.

Quote:
But I suspect that there is a higher proportion of humanists who are veggies and vegan than in the general population, because they see it as an ethical position that their reason has led them to. If you're not convinced by the arguments in favour of vegetarianism, then fine. I have no problem with that. Perhaps I don't understand why everyone isn't a vegetarian, but that does not mean I'd want to jump on anyone who espoused their views on meat eating.
I think I'd agree with all that.

Quote:
Quote:
The Green Party suffers from this to a large extent. Bearded, sandal wearing, long-haired, with no style or colour, earnest geeks with ghastly hand-knitted pullovers do not attract the numbers or support required to change things. They also have some weird ideas, like not having a leader (they've now changed it).
To stereotype Greens like that is worthy only of the Daily Mail or the Telegraph.
Ahem! The Greens themselves are concerned about this issue! At their conferences, they try hard to portray themselves as 'normal' by encouraging their front-benchers to smarten up. It is no accident that Jonathan Porritt has been knighted, whereas Swampy has not...

Quote:
Quote:
I am all for open discussion. Anyone can choose any topic as far as I'm concerned. I would prefer it not to be segregated into a separate vegetarian group, but included under ethics and morality, say. And, in the spirit of open discussion, I've responded. :D
Your preference is noted. We have separate areas of this forum for the discussion of all sorts of things including religion, science and ethics. I know this is a favourite bugbear of yours, but continually harping on about one section given over to discussion of vegetarianism is not helping the cause of humanism as a respectful, tolerant worldview that is prepared to embrace different views. I doubt you will persuade us to merge this section with the ethics section (although I'm glad you agree it is an ethical topic).


The first point is that it is not my forum, so I can't make the rules. That's the way it is, and I take my hat off to you and Maria for having achieved what you have achieved (which is more than I have.) I am also much more exercised by BHA policy than that of this forum. However, I do care that a very few people (not yourself) continue to state that they are veggie because they are humanist. So long as they do so, I will continue to point out that that is not so for all humanists.

Quote:
Quote:
Alan H wrote:
Who do you think is a fruitcake?
It's not a question of whether I think veggies are fruitcakes, but whether humanism carries that impression, no matter how unfairly.
But you clearly do consider people like me to be fruitcakes...
No I don't!! Absolutely not!!

Quote:
...and you just will not let it rest. Your views are clear to everyone who reads this forum. Now let the rest of us get on with discussing this amongst ourselves without it being derailed.
Hmmm. I find that disappointing. Not least your evident frustration. There's some mutuality there....


July 27th, 2009, 3:14 pm
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jaywhat wrote:
Is the difference between fur and leather that important in this discussion?

I should add that I am a bit mixed up about all this anyway and am, if anything, being devil's advocatish.


:laughter: As fast as I try to prise the separate threads apart, you knit them back together!


July 27th, 2009, 3:39 pm
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I am not going to (yet again) get into the same endless argument with Nick which has gone on since before HVG was established, to no one's benefit as far as I can see. But there are two key points I will comment on as I see them as fundamental errors, or at least the reverse of my perception:

Quote: "The more we have separate groups for separate ethical positions, the less inclusive we are likely to appear."

No, not so. The more inclusive we are seen to be.

For example, the Humanist Gay and Lesbian Group shows we welcome people of (and supporters of people of) different sexual orientations, and it does not demonstrate the 'Nick nonsense' of suggesting its members claim everyone has to be homosexual to be a Humanist! The four (at present) Party Groups show Humanism is for Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Green supporters and none of these Groups claim you have to be a supporter of their Party to be a Humanist (and if in the unlikely event a BNP Group were to be proposed and then as is likely rejected, it would show our inclusiveness has limits, for very good reasons.) If the Peace or Pacifist Group were to be recreated no one with any sense would conclude that it meant you have to be a pacifist to be a Humanist. The existing Armed Forces Group does not claim, suggest, imply that all humanists / Humanists have to be supporters of armed conflict nor should any sensible person conclude from its existence that Humanism is militaristic. Special Interest Groups attract different groups in society to the BHA. I know of a number (probably more than a score) of vegetarians attracted to actual BHA membership by HVG and probably many more who have become Humanist supporters. I know of no one who has left the BHA because it has a vegetarian Group. Does anyone?

I believe the BHA will grow the more it has Special Interest Groups, speaking meaningfully to groups of people with a wide variety of concerns (market segmentation). The only type of Group we should not welcome are those who advocate a way of life or an ideology in direct contradiction to the broad consensus on Humanist principles (such as those advocating racism or the supremacy of one religion). I was a founder member of one of the Party Groups, having worked for that Party both professionally and as a volunteer most of my adult life. I welcome the other Party Groups even though we compete in the political arena (and have made suggestions to them about eventually working together on some issues of common Humanist agreement, such as education).

Quote "However, I do care that a very few people ....... continue to state that they are veggie because they are humanist. So long as they do so, I will continue to point out that that is not so for all humanists."

Nobody to my knowledge claims that all humanists / Humanists should be veggies because they are humanists; or that all veggies who are humanists are so because of their humanism. Such a view would be contrary to the repeatedly stated 'policy' of HVG since its foundation, although Nick endlessly demonstrates that he does not understand this. In my own case Humanism is the basis of my ethical beliefs and these beliefs are the reason why I am a vegetarian, but they are also why I support the Party I do, why I am an active member of Dignity in Dying, why I support campaigns for various causes and contribute to a number of charities. The fact that all this flows from my own Humanist ethical stance on these things, does not in any way mean that I think others must or should share my positions in order to be a humanist / Humanist. I know humanists who do not support Dignity's aims with regard to assisted suicide / euthanasia and do not expect them to do so just because they are humanists. Likewise I know of religionists, including many Christians, who do support Dignity. The stand they take is based on their ethical beliefs. They come to different conclusions.

I have said all this before and like others am 'frustrated' at having to say it all over again.

Note: when I use upper case for 'Humanists etc' I am referring to those who identify themselves as such by involvement in organisation like the BHA, Local Groups and so on.

Chris

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clayto


July 27th, 2009, 4:46 pm
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