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28 November, 2004

Not really...

Browsing at BlogExplosion, my attention was caught by comments by Caitlin at Cat Out Loud, about two groups that, on reflection, do seem to be contradicting themselves:

Vegetarians who eat Tofurkey at Thankgiving. And anti-fur people who wear fake fur.

If killing and eating animals disgusts you and is morally wrong, how creepy is it to mold vegetable protein into the memory of a tiny turkey, in order to imitate the taste of the dead turkey on a few million other tables?

And if you think wearing dead animal skin is morally wrong, why would you want to look like you were wearing dead animal skin?

This is the second draft of this entry. In the first, I agreed with Caitlin, with the caveat that we might be missing something. Since writing that, I've considered it in the shower, and concluded that we're failing to distinguish between cause and effect.

It's quite conceivable that someone might like the appearence and sensation of fur without approving of practices in the fur industry. If it's possible to reproduce the favourable result whilst eliminating the negative source, why not? Solidarity with a fuzzy bunny? (Wrong fuzzy bunny. Ahem). If the manufacture of fake fur can eliminate the (alleged) need for genuine fur, great; buy fake fur. To reject fake fur because it reproduces the real thing seems needlessly ascetic.

Likewise, it might be asked why one would buy veggie bacon, which is supposed to look, smell and taste like the real thing, if the real thing is supposed to be distasteful or offensive. However, if the odour and flavour can be generated independently of the more usual source, I don't really see a problem. If you think fake bacon adequately reproduces the essential characteristics, go for it.

Disclaimers:
I don't especially like the look and texture of fur clothing - shiny & black do more for me. ;) That's taste, not morality, though - I have no qualms about buying and wearing leather.
I eat meat. If I had to kill for food, my only concerns would be practical, not moral.

Comments

A link via Blogexplosion? I may have to start surfing again. I had given up. Thanks for the link and the discussion.

Posted by Caitlin at November 28, 2004 11:54 PM

It's a good question. I'm veggie, but the only 'fake' veggie thing I'd eat is veggie sausages, because you can do a lot more with them.

The fake turkey/chicken malarkey seems all wrong to me. There's so many interesting things to eat, why fake it?

As for fur, well, I don't think I've ever worn it :)

Posted by quin at November 29, 2004 07:28 PM

I'm an anti-fur veggie who wears fake fur and eats some fake meat products - yes, veggie sausages, also sometimes vegemince for recipes - although not often because Top Bloke doesn't like it because it's like fake meat (but he will happily eat veggie sausages...eh?). Don't like fake turkey, chicken, bacon etc though; can't see the point. And I can't stand those veggieburgers that pretend to be meat and do so well that they even have gristly bits, why oh why when you can get perfectly delicious veggieburgers made of veggies? However, I do love fake fur because it's so camp and OTT; even my hot water bottle has a fake leopardfur cover. Like many veggies I have some shoes, bags etc made of fake leather, and I really can't see the difference between fake leather and fake fur. You know what... I wouldn't mind a cannibal eating fake humans... (If anyone from the fake skin police is reading this, do feel free to raise my awareness.)

Posted by Zinnia Cyclamen at November 30, 2004 03:55 PM

I think the issue here can be resolved by the meaning of the definition 'vegetarian'. It is simply a term which defines dietry pattern only. The reasons for not consuming various animal products can be plenty. An oppostion to intensive farming (which includes vegetables), dislike of the taste, religious or the over-assumed-rites-of-passage-i-love-cute-animals reason, especially popular with early teens.
Therefore, if someone dislikes the traste of meat, such vegetarian meat substitutes are pointless. For people who like the taste of meat, but object to the circumstances surrounding the processes involved in meat production, treatment of animals etc, it's a good option.

Posted by kent waterhouse at December 5, 2004 06:49 AM

i agree there! i've been a vegetarian (not eating products that have directly contributed to the slaughter of animals) for 10 years now and i enjoy almost all vege-meat goods. why? because it's a change! variety is good for life. there are a lot of criticisms and harsh responses to vegetarians, a lot of those are directed to people who claim to be vegetarian, but infact, are not. fish eaters are not vegetarian! i don't eat meat, fish, gelatine..etc because i disagree with intensive farming on the whole. that includes the use of hormonal, bacterial, pesticidal and other sprays. this point of view also includes vegetables. organic food is the way. well, it was always the way, but unfortunately, the get-rich-quick ideas of the last century took a grip and don't appear to be easing up!
i also have no objections to the rearing of animals and consumption of meat, that's everyone's choice. also, due to the previously mentioned issue of global markets, it's impossible to participate in society without any contact with unethical produce. we can try and strive to, which is fine, if not a challenge. a minority do live a relatively fully ethical lifestyle but at the expense of living outside of the mainstream (having said that, someone will have achieved everything and more to critices me, the lucky character!!)
the issue of vegetariansim therefore includes issues beyond an issue of 'to eat or not to eat'. isn't this the same with any issue? can crime be stopped by locking up the perpetrators? (if you think the answer to this is yes, please stop reading now!)
another issue here is the venom in criticism directed towards vegetarianism. i don't criticise your life, so don't criticise mine! ofcourse, there are the self-rightous out there from both camps, but neither achieve any positive results. so, nice reply ministry, good answer from a non-vegetarian! respect!

Posted by travis church at December 11, 2004 08:54 AM
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