Social Question

rebbel's avatar

Linguistically, and more importantly, morally, should someone who eats meat no longer call themselves "animal lover" (if they did so to begin with)?

Asked by rebbel (32208points) 3 weeks ago

It’s a bit hard, isn’t it, if I call myself an animal lover (pets (cat, dog, rabbit), fishes, big five, big ‘pet-factor’ guys, such as panda’s), yet eat steaks and chicken wings.
They usually, predominantly, are slaughtered in a not so friendly manner, not to speak about their quality of live in general.
How do you view that?
Do you have a strong opinion on that?

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43 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Why not?
I mean, people call someone a zoophile, even though they only have sex with dogs, for example.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I do it for spiritual reasons and don’t begrudge others their choices about what they eat or call themselves.

I see your point, but I choose not to worry about it.

cookieman's avatar

I am totally an animal lover. Fun to pet, better to eat.

janbb's avatar

@cookieman And I am a cookie lover and still happy to eat them!

YARNLADY's avatar

There too many different definitions of “love”. I consider myself an animal lover, and I also love meat. I am against mistreatment in slaughter houses, but I am not against meat. When I was little, we played with farm animals, named them, and later ate them.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Same as @Yarnlady. We would never harm an animal intentionally or for our pleasure, but to kill them quickly and mercifully for food, is not much of an issue for me.

@ragingloli That would be a dead zoophile here. Sick.

janbb's avatar

To answer the question, I’m with the others just above. I try to keep my meat consumption down and I also look, sometimes unsuccessfully, for humanely raised meat bu I am not a vegan. However, I am probably an animal “liker” more than an animal lover.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Alternate meaning for PETA:





ragingloli's avatar

That reminds me of this joke that Chris Pratt once told:

“Dieter and his grandpa Peter are sitting on top of a hill. Peter turns to Dieter and says, “You see all those houses down there? I built them with my bare hands, but do they call me Peter the House Builder? No.”

Then Peter points to a church by the houses. “I built that church with my bare hands, but do they call me Peter the Church Builder? No.”

Peter points to a huge wall below them and says, “You see that big wall? I built that wall stone by stone, but do they call me Peter the Wall Builder? No.”

Peter pauses and looks Dieter dead in the eyes and says, “But you fuck ONE pig…””

janbb's avatar

@ragingloli I’ve heard that before, a long time ago, but it is a great joke!!

zenvelo's avatar

This question has given me a lot to chew on.

sorry's avatar

Oh, man.. even more reason to be called an Animal Lover.

Kropotkin's avatar

As a vegetarian, I agree that one can’t be an “animal lover” and eat animals. The idea that you can love something that you’d kill and eat is patently absurd.

I appreciate the cognitive dissonance involved. No one wants to think badly of themselves, and it’s a socially desirable trait to be an “animal lover”, but there is a glaring logical and moral inconsistency among a lot of people who think this and yet eat animals.

Eating animals is also environmentally damaging and energy intensive, so even if one performs some mental gymnastics to maintain the label of an “animal lover”, you’re unequivocally a hater of ecology and sustainability.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I compartmentalize. I love animals. More than once people have teasingly called me Dr. Doolittle. And yet I eat them. I know it is cognitive dissonance.

I could easily be tipped to the vegetarian or vegan side. It wouldn’t be a hardship. I’ve done it for a week or two at a time while traveling, and it was no big deal.

zenvelo's avatar

@Kropotkin Do you hate plants?

One can “love” animals but not all of them. That’s why North Americans don’t eat dogs, cats or horses. And most people don’t “love” sheep, steers, or hogs.

I don’t see a dissonance here.

Kropotkin's avatar

@zenvelo Yes. Kill all plants with fire. Kill them all.

product's avatar

@zenvelo: “I don’t see a dissonance here.”

Are you sure? Read what you typed again.

zenvelo's avatar

@product I am very clear on what I wrote,

People don’t eat the animals they love, but most people don’t love all animals. Most “animal lovers” don’t love cockroaches or mosquitoes. If one is going to apply “animal lover” universally to all living things, then be vegan. But don’t tell me there is a moral contradiction in my saying I am an animal lover while I eat my steak or my escargot or my veal scallopini.

product's avatar

^ That anger/defensiveness you are experiencing is a result of the dissonance.

@Kropotkin explained it pretty clearly, and you have since provided supporting reasoning, but somehow feel that you are arguing something else.

We all live with cognitive dissonance. We feel or believe that we are decent, but many of our actions (or inaction) results in terrible suffering. Think of someone who announces that they are a human rights advocate, but supports Israel’s actions against the Palestinians. This person may very well be an advocate of certain humans’ rights. Just not Palestinian humans.

Additionally, the term “animal lover” doesn’t necessarily evoke a love of pets (in my opinion). I generally associate this with many animals that we do consume.

Anyway, your explanation of how humans deal with cognitive dissonance by simply “loving” certain animals but not others isn’t serving whatever it is you believe you are arguing here.

kritiper's avatar

I once saw a Golden Mantle squirrel, a herbivore, eating the dead carcass of another. If eating meat doesn’t bother it (especially another animal of the same kind) why should I shirk eating meat??

YARNLADY's avatar

Eating plants involves killing them as well. All we ever do is convert one type of matter to another..

cookieman's avatar

@janbb: See, it all works out.

zenvelo's avatar

@product since you are an absolutist, and I am not, I guess I am wrong..

Mimishu1995's avatar

To be honest, in my experience, those who are the most vocal about the title of “animal lover” only care for their pets keyword: their. They could care less for others’ pet or a random dog or car in the street. They are so bond to their pet they conflate the love for their pet with the love for animal in general. Some even do that out of their own hatred for other people, for some reason.

Some of them might be offended by slaughter footages, but that’s because they hate to see killing in process, not because they have any underlying sympathy for animals.

Another type of people are the entitled vegans. I have a feeling a lot of them are just in for the superiority of being different from the rest of humanity and not for the genuine care for the cause.

product's avatar

@zenvelo: ”@product since you are an absolutist, and I am not, I guess I am wrong..”

You are wrong, but this has nothing to do with “absolutism”.

canidmajor's avatar

Wow, blast from the past! This whole topic was oft discussed, ad nauseum, over bottles of Boones Farm in college dorms, in the 70s. The subject was never resolved until someone brought out the Maui Wowie and we all agreed that pizza was an animal we all loved and revered and promised to honor every time we devoured one.

Thanks for the trip back in time, @rebbel!

product's avatar

@Mimishu1995: “Another type of people are the entitled vegans. I have a feeling a lot of them are just in for the superiority of being different from the rest of humanity and not for the genuine care for the cause.”

You’re not alone in your confusion. This type of defensive response is very common among non-vegans. The existence of vegans – just the fact that they exist – will cause non-vegans to lash out in anger because it causes them to face some conflicts they have between the ideas they hold about themselves and the reality.

dabbler's avatar

The brilliant Pet or Meat by Tim Hunkin.

sorry's avatar

Can a veterinarian be a meat eater? Imagine a person who loves animals so much they spent 7 years of extra study to care for animals, only to eat them? I guess they don’t love animals. *muwaaah muwaaaah

canidmajor's avatar

But, more in keeping with the Q as written, how we choose to eat, for whatever reason, is much more complex than the simplistic asking-someone-to-justify-their-choices thing.

If you are vegan for moral reasons, and you don’t grow and tend all your own food yourself, recognize that you are responsible for the death of all sorts of animals so you can eat. The high horse is really inappropriate.

If you have ever lived in rural farm areas, you know how many birds, mammals, bugs, etc. live in crops and are collaterally slaughtered during harvest.

I don’t believe that there is a disconnect. We can love our dogs and cats, and recognize that they are carnivores that we feed.

product's avatar

@canidmajor: “I don’t believe that there is a disconnect.”

You and @zenvelo are both asserting that there is a disconnect, but that this disconnect is ok. I agree with you that there is a disconnect and that it is part of being human.

My pushback with @zenvelo was really just that he felt that he was engaged in opposing the concept of cognitive dissonance, but he was actually arguing in support of the concept. So are you.

I think we’re all on the same page here.

Kropotkin's avatar

@canidmajor The article you linked seemed to ignore the fact that most land clearing in Australia, and destruction of “native vegetation”, was done for cattle pasture.

The author of the article also seemed unaware of the concept of “importing food”, and was writing as if Australia has to be a food producing autarky, with any increase in production necessarily involving “more intensive farming”.

There’s also a link to another article refuting that one at the top.

Regardless, the whole thing was a strawman, given that industrially farmed monoculture isn’t the only way of growing crops or of increasing current production levels. It’s just one that suits farming corporations, the manufacturers of the herbicides, pesticides, and GMOs.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@product keyword: entitled. I’m not talking about all vegans. I’m talking about those who wear their vegan lifestyle as a badge of honor and berate everyone who isn’t a vegan for being a devil. I have met some people like that in real life, and to be honest they were insufferable in other areas of life, while acting like walking saints just because they eat vegetables.

It’s not the veganism that I’m against, but their holier-than-thou attitude.

product's avatar

@Mimishu1995 – Fair enough. I just don’t believe those people exist – or they don’t to the degree that non-vegans believe they do. I have way too much experience with defensiveness of fellow omnivores to understand that just being vegan implies “holier-than-though” attitude where there is none.

canidmajor's avatar

@product, how is it that my exact words ”I don’t believe that there is a disconnect” translate in your mind to me _”asserting that there is a disconnect”. Really, that’s a helluva reach.

And the Q, as worded, assumes a disconnect, and, sorry to repeat myself but it seems to be necessary, I don’t believe that there is a disconnect.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@product that’s because you haven’t seen them yet. I have experience with those annoying vegans while I tried my best to understand them in a non-judgemental way. I was also forced to be a vegan and shamed for my choice. Clearly no one wants to be judged for their choice in life.

product's avatar

@Mimishu1995 – Wow, that’s crazy. I can’t wait until the Vegan Mafia comes to the US. Here’s an example of what I have experienced 1000s of times (I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for almost 10 years)....

[while out to eat with people]

person1: [ordering food] I’ll have a cheeseburger.
person2: I’ll have a cheeseburger.
me: I’ll have a black bean burger.
person1: What are you, a vegetarian?
me: yep [trying avoid talking about this]
person2: Why? Are you one of those people who thinks it’s wrong to eat animals.
person1: Yeah, I fucking hate how holier-than-though vegetarians are. You’re not like that, right?
me: no. I am vegetarian for ethical reasons, but I don’t care…
person1: Give me a break. Tigers eat other animals in the wild.

This was the absolute norm while I was a vegetarian. The real bullies here were the omnivores, and it makes sense why they were, and it has to do with how humans process these contradictions. We hold certain beliefs about ourselves and decide that we are not going to challenge them. Knowing that there are people who do challenge these disconnects is perceived as a threat.

@Mimishu1995: “Clearly no one wants to be judged for their choice in life.”


Anyway, it’s far better these days. My daughter is vegan, and things are far better than in the early 1990s, that’s for sure. There are so many flavors of diets, I don’t think people are as quick to get defensive when they hear that someone is a vegan or vegetarian (ovo or lacto-ovo) or a pescatarian or only eats meats they kill or only eats locally-sourced food, etc.

zenvelo's avatar

@product You would do much better by not putting words in my mouth. I never used the term cognitive dissonance, state of having inconsistent thoughts.

I said I saw no dissonance, meaning no tension or clash. While I will not opine on whether the thoughts of a meat eating animal lover are inconsistent, I do believe I have laid out why there is no clash or tension.

product's avatar

@Kropotkin: “I appreciate the cognitive dissonance involved.”

@zenvelo [in your direct response to @Kropotkin]: “I don’t see a dissonance here.”

My bad…I guess? Didn’t think I was putting words in your mouth.

Zaku's avatar

It’s not a complete contradiction.

Predators love their family members and can love humans and other animals, but still hunt and kill others.

I can and do love animals and wish them well and the happiest lives they can have. I’d also prefer humans prioritize the survival and abundance of other species and their habitats. And I think cruel industrial farming practices and animal testing should be outlawed and punished severely.

I value the lives of endangered species above the lives of humans. But I’m not in denial about the place of death, violence and farming. I am entirely against animal cruelty, but I don’t include humane farming and slaughter for food in that category.

I can love and care about both animals and humans while not ruling out violence nor eating of others. Carnivores and omnivores (including humans, probably even most of them who love animals) eat other animals. Animals die at some point. The quality of their lives, and the danger of their extinction and loss of habitat – that’s what I mainly care about.

tinyfaery's avatar

This thread is hilarious, for many reasons.

I don’t think anyone is an all animal lover. I prefer to say I don’t like to contribute to the death and/or suffering of most animals. I’ll kill mosquitos, or flies and spiders if they are in my house. I’m sure there are other exceptions. The only animals I really love are my 2 cats.

Patty_Melt's avatar

During my childhood I lived on a farm, where plants and animals were grown mostly for the purpose of being eaten.

I loved the corn fields. From dark brown soil, we would see a fluttering curtain of tiny, green shoots. When they were about a foot tall, they would begin maturing. Large, broad leaves would slowly darken. Taller the stalks would grow. Sometimes I would walk between toes, completely sequestered by those solid stalks, with their fattening, green pods. Respect, those long broad leaves could slice a person to bits
And then comes time to harvest. The offspring are brutally robbed, and the proud stalks lay on the ground to dry.

I loved corn, wheat, and soy beans.

Cattle, pigs, chickens and such, were the same. They were beautiful. I loved them. I hand fed them. I watched them grow. At some point, they would be harvested. That does not mean that I don’t love them as babies. I loved watching them grow.

I loved .the plants I loved the animals. I loved the beautiful, endless summer blue sky. It nearly never saw aircraft.

It is entirely possible to love something, and yet face the harvest time with acceptance, and enjoy what was reaped.
That is how I view it.

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