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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 171)...

    You answer the questions about vegetarianism in strictly economic or agricultural terms. But vegetarianism can be a political stance as well--a desire on the part of people to NOT take from other species, to not use them, but in your words to "let all life forms continue to live and evolve." A broad way of defining vegetarianism is that it not only involves not eating animal products but not wearing animals, not using them for research, not exhibiting them unnaturally, etc. In other words, if one looks at your 3-part definition of the Taker mentality, vegetarianism seems to fly in the face of all three. Why then, if looked at from this perspective, can we not say that vegetarianism, in its respect for the equality of all life on the planet, isn't an example of the Leaver mentality? (I realize it isn't the ONLY re-visioning necessary because we can still treat the earth as though it belongs to us even if we are only eating plant life. I also realize that Leavers ate meat albeit in a different spirit.)

    ...and the response:

    My objection to vegetarianism as a moral or political principle is that it finds eating a carrot to be morally superior to eating a cow. To me, this makes utterly no sense. The carrot is just as much alive as the cow. You've read my words ("The world is a sacred place and we belong in sacred place as any other creature") but haven't yet understood them. Is the lion that eats a deer engaging in a wicked act? Do you think that lions should "give up" eating meat? Do you think that evolution committed a moral error in allowing tens of thousands of species of carnivores and omnivores to come into existence? Are foxes a mistake? Are sharks a mistake? If these species aren't mistakes, why do you settle on humans as a mistake? Why should eating patterns allowed to other species be forbidden to us? Are we less sacred than they?


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