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A Humane Issue
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Doosharm
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Joined: 12 Apr 2003
Location: Raymond, NH

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)1:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is one discussion that I have had a long internal debate over. I'm still not sure what exactly my feelings on the matter are but I'll try to express them anyway.

As far as food animals go I think there are two ways to look at the situation. On the one hand these are living creatures worthy of the same respect and admiration as all living creatures. On the other hand, their sole purpose in life is to be killed and put on a dinner plate. I mean, yes they are living creatures but if we weren't going to kill them anyway they would never have been born in the first place. Their sole purpose in life is to die. If that is the case does it really matter how their lives are lived?

And if you're against animals being killed for food (or clothing) where can you safely draw the line? OK, keeping cows locked up in small pens for extended periods of time is cruel and should be avoided. But how different is that from keeping an oscar in a 55gallon tank? Sure an oscar can live happily in a 55g tank but wouldn't he be happier in the wild where he belongs? If it is wrong to keep a cow penned up why is it not wrong to keep a fish (or a snake, rat, or bird) penned up. Sure 55g is adequate but compared to their natural habitat its nothing. But then again the fish is safe from predators and may have a better life in captivity than it ever could have in the wild right?

Really I see this as an all or nothing situation. Either you care and respect all living things and choose to leave them to their own devices in nature or you just don't care about the true wellbeing of any animal and can eat and capture any animal that you wish without guilt. Of course I would have to lump myself in with the "not caring" group because I do keep fish and I do eat meat. However, I care very deeply for my fish and I do my best to see that I provide them with the best possible environment that I can. I also love and pet my cows at home which I will some day enjoy eating.

The bottom line is this: animals are better left untouched by humans. Whenever an animal is taken from its natural environment and placed into a smaller artificial environment it suffers. Maybe not the few fish that are in your tank but what about the 100 other ones that died in the shipping process, and what about the 15 that died in the LFS, and the one that died in your tank. That is a lot of suffering just so you can enjoy their company. Is it really worth all the death? Is having a pet the same as killing other creatures? I don't really know. I do know that I will continure to keep fish and to eat meat but I'm also going to look at it from a realistic perspective. In order to have and enjoy the pets and food that I have a lot of living things need to die.
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Marcos Avila
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Hiroshima (JP)

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)2:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doosharm wrote:
Their sole purpose in life is to die. If that is the case does it really matter how their lives are lived?


Technically, since there are no known immortal beings on this planet, the ultimate purpose in life of all creatures is to die. As such, all that really matters is how their lives are lived before that moment comes.

Doosharm wrote:
But how different is that from keeping an oscar in a 55gallon tank? Sure an oscar can live happily in a 55g tank but wouldn't he be happier in the wild where he belongs?


First of all you're assuming the Oscar automatically belongs in nature, when we know that a great number of Oscars sold nowadays in the hobby have been captive bred for generations (just like the cow) and therefore no longer part of nature. Second, your argument above is moot unless you clearly define what you understand as fish "happiness". If you don't define it carefully you'll most likely fall into the trap of anthropomorphism. For my own interpretation on these issues see this article:

http://www.aquahobby.com/articles/e_moral.php

Doosharm wrote:
Really I see this as an all or nothing situation. Either you care and respect all living things and choose to leave them to their own devices in nature or you just don't care about the true wellbeing of any animal and can eat and capture any animal that you wish without guilt.


Those are just the two radical end points on both sides of the long, continuous line of moral positionings that are accessible to each of us, as mentioned in the article above. Each person can draw the line anywhere in between those extremes, wherever they're comfortable with it.

Doosharm wrote:
The bottom line is this: animals are better left untouched by humans. Whenever an animal is taken from its natural environment and placed into a smaller artificial environment it suffers.


Your bottom line is flawed for the same reasons above...first you're automatically assuming that the fish are being taken from nature, when at least in freshwater fishkeeping the majority are not. Second, you have nothing to base the claim that any animal taken from nature automatically suffers, except from an anthropomorphic point of view...

My point? I don't have one...just felt like nitpicking today Wink
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Doosharm
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Joined: 12 Apr 2003
Location: Raymond, NH

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)11:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Those are just the two radical end points on both sides of the long, continuous line of moral positionings that are accessible to each of us, as mentioned in the article above. Each person can draw the line anywhere in between those extremes, wherever they're comfortable with it.


OK, let me clarify. For one, these are the things that I argue with myself over. I'm not saying that these opinions are correct and applied to everyone. I would have to agree that my two views ARE extremes and that there is a lot of place in the middle. Basically I myself fall into the middle ground but I have to associate with one extreme in order to not feel guilty about the other. Never once did I claim that my argument would be logical and that is why it is still an internal struggle for me. Laughing

Quote:
Technically, since there are no known immortal beings on this planet, the ultimate purpose in life of all creatures is to die. As such, all that really matters is how their lives are lived before that moment comes.


But isn't this also a form of anthropomorphizing(sp?)? You're right, nothing is immortal so the point of everything is to just die. However, we as humans are the only beings that we know of who can actually ask what the meaning of life is and because of that we seem to have some problem with believeing that the purpose of life is to die. We need a deeper meaning but there may not be one.

Quote:
Your bottom line is flawed for the same reasons above...first you're automatically assuming that the fish are being taken from nature, when at least in freshwater fishkeeping the majority are not. Second, you have nothing to base the claim that any animal taken from nature automatically suffers, except from an anthropomorphic point of view...


I don't meant hat the animal suffers. If you have a pet oscar Marcos I'm sure it will live well and be healthy. It may even live beyond its expected lifespan in such good conditions. However, for you to get that one oscar, and to keep in him in good conditions, how many other oscars die in the transporting of such fish. In order for you to get that fish and give him a good life (meaning good water conditions etc.) many fish need to be shipped to your area and many will die along the way. You're essentially letting fish die so that you can keep one in good conditions. Now I think it would then be safe to assume that dying is at least some form of suffering right?

I hope this helps to clarify what I'm saying. Once again, I DO NOT belive that my views are correct. They certainly have their flaws. Whenever I think about this subject I tend to talk myslef in circles. Its hard for me to draw a line on what is OK and what isn't. Is keeping cows in a mall pen OK? No. Is keeping fih in a fish tank OK? Yes. Well, what really is the fundamental difference between the two? Why is it OK for one and not the other? I really don't know and that is why I have such a struggle answering this question.

Finally, I am really not trying to offend anybody. I am open to other peoples views. Thank you Marcos for replying to my argument because I think in the end it will help me solidify where exactly I stand in the grand sheme of things. But for now, I'm off to take an exam! Later.

Doosharm
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number6
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Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)14:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doosharm wrote:
However, we as humans are the only beings that we know of who can actually ask what the meaning of life is and because of that we seem to have some problem with believeing that the purpose of life is to die. We need a deeper meaning but there may not be one.
It's 42.

or you could sing with me,
"Always look on the bright side of life, *whistle*"

Seriously though, why one earth would the point of life be the end result?
I eat a gorgeous dinner... we all know what the end result is a day or two later... FLUSH... was that the point of eating? LOL

I hope you begin to come to terms with not having all the answers Smile. Just because you don't know them doesn't mean they aren't there.

What I know will fill a tea cup. What I don't know fills the rest of the universe back to the beginning of time and forward to the end of time.
Twisted Evil
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@-McP
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Joined: 24 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)14:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

42? I always thought the rite answer was 7 Laughing
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number6
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Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)14:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

No the answer to the ultimate question, you know, "why are we here?" is 42.

The question is "What do you get when you multiply six by nine"

I fyou realize that there is something fundamentally wrong withthe universe, it'll make you feel much better and you'll be able to stop questioning why things happen or not.

If you are really bad, then I will punish you severly by placing in a box that will show you how utterly insignificant you are in this universe.
Only Zaphod survived this...

Really, if I keep going withthe Hitch Hiker's guide to the Galazy references, we could bio-engineer the pig that wants to be eaten like they did at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe... that'd solve this moral dilema...

Embarassed OK, I'll stop now...
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benedictj
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Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Location: new york, ny

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)14:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Discus Man wrote:

Just because you don't know them doesn't mean they aren't there.


Nor does it mean that they are there either. This is something that perplexed me for ages. It can be both the "mother of invention' or thing that drives one over the edge. Sometimes the budweiser commerical is right, "why ask why?", other times not looking is just being lazy. What a qaugmire, a breeder of self-doubt.

Also, IMO (and though I'm curious about how "...Guide to the Galaxy" will be on screen), the answer to everything is pi.

(And so endeth my contribution to the "Coffee table philospher's club").
*lulls self to sleep with own deepness*

(also, completely joking around. no offense intended towards anyone.)
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@-McP
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Joined: 24 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)14:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

Discus Man wrote:
Really, if I keep going withthe Hitch Hiker's guide to the Galazy references, we could bio-engineer the pig that wants to be eaten like they did at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe... that'd solve this moral dilema...

Embarassed OK, I'll stop now...


Laughing good times Cool
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Glitch
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Joined: 20 Mar 2005
Location: Steamboat Springs,CO

PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)18:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

All you need to Know is in the Hitchhikers Guide. Just ask the Mice Wink
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Marcos Avila
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: 2005.04.19(Tue)18:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doosharm wrote:
I don't meant hat the animal suffers. If you have a pet oscar Marcos I'm sure it will live well and be healthy. It may even live beyond its expected lifespan in such good conditions. However, for you to get that one oscar, and to keep in him in good conditions, how many other oscars die in the transporting of such fish. In order for you to get that fish and give him a good life (meaning good water conditions etc.) many fish need to be shipped to your area and many will die along the way. You're essentially letting fish die so that you can keep one in good conditions. Now I think it would then be safe to assume that dying is at least some form of suffering right?


Food for thought: in nature, how many Oscars are born in a typical spawn? How many make it to adulthood and how many get killed/eaten by other animals? Every time a fish gets killed, isn't it ensuring that the others have a better chance of making it into adulthood? So what is fundamentally different between nature's way and a breeder->distributor->fish shop->hobbyist way?

In fact, I'm willing to bet that with professional breeders the ratio of fish that make it to selling size vs. total born fish is greatly improved with respect to nature's performance...
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