You should read about the very complex and extensive communication systems that trees have. They recognize their kin, other trees that sprang from their own seeds, and will preferentially send them nutrients, although every tree is intimately and extensively tied to every other tree in its vicinity. Their communication system is compared to our own neural networks. Does that mean we should never use wood products?
All plants communicate, respond, and have more to them that we generally acknowledge. They are different from us but no less alive for all that. We eat them without thinking about it.
It can get very complicated quickly when you think about it.
The first thing that popped into my head when I read this:
But seriously, I do believe we should respect all living things, and try to make sustainable choices. For me, fruitarianism is a bit extreme, but I can respect the choice.
Studies suggest the earliest humans were actually fruitarians, eating seeds, nuts and fruits that didn't harm the plant. Our jaws, teeth and digestive tracts are designed to primarily eat plant matter with animal proteins being an occasional treat.
What about those that don't have access to more humanely grown meat or eggs, or cannot afford the higher prices of such to feed themselves or their families?
I think that's one of the main problems with the current system, and it will take enough people caring about the humane treatment of food-producing animals to change the way they are handled and housed in mass-production plants.
In some cases, people just don't know where to look for humane options. I can buy a dozen eggs from healthy, happy, humanely-raised, pasture-roaming chickens on craigslist for less than I'd pay at the grocery store. The "Farm and Garden" section is full of people that raise their own food and have excess to share - milk, eggs, meat, you name it. Another option is to raise your own milk/eggs/meat, which is generally less expensive. That's why I got chickens in the first place - I wanted humane eggs and didn't know where to get them. Chickens weren't allowed in the neighborhood I lived in at the time, so I got three miniature chickens and they were indoor/outdoor pets. Minis are considered "exotic pets" in many places. Reducing meat intake to a couple times a week or cutting out other items like soda or chips saves enough money to allow more expensive humane meat to be purchased when you do eat it, so that's another option, and a healthier choice.
I don't need you to tell me how great vegetarianism is and how it's going to save me from cancer. I don't need PETA to tell me why eating meat or wearing fur is murder. What I need is for someone to stand up and say wasting food is flat out wrong and start feeding the people of this nation that don't have the food they need. Share the love. Share the food. Share the wealth. No one in America should go to bed hungry. And no one in America should be sleeping on the streets or in cars. Yet they do. EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am sure people at food banks and homeless shelters do not care if their food is "humanely raised" or organic. I'm sure they're only thinking, "Thank God I get to eat today."
I really didn't want to respond to this- I'm happy to have a polite conversation about this issue, and this comment is not polite. But this attitude is part of the problem, so I'll do my best to respond politely because a response is needed.
Most people are glad when information is shared that shows something causes cancer. Not sure why I need to be yelled at about that. And I didn't say vegetarianism is great, and said nothing about fur. I offered information about the inhumane treatment of animals in typical factory farms, and suggested there are other ways to eat, including humanely raised meat, that don't cause animals to suffer.
There are two separate issues here. I agree, no one should be going hungry. No one should be sleeping on the streets. I do my part to help solve those problems. Abusing animals in factory farms doesn't solve this problem. I wish I had a magical solution, but I don't, other than more people need to care about the issue. I've tried donating extra milk to shelters and they can't accept it because of ridiculous raw milk laws. The laws should change.
But laws regarding the humane treatment of food-producing animals should also change. Just because I care about the treatment of animals doesn't mean I don't care about people, too. But less people actually do care about animals, so someone needs to stand up and speak for them.
Did you bother googling "factory farms" or look into how chickens, pigs and cows are treated in mass-production facilities and slaughtering plants? It's nauseating. Again, I won't go into details here, but I guarantee if your neighbor did to a dog or cat what's done to these animals, you'd be outraged and they'd be in jail. All I'm saying is that animals have feelings and emotions- they feel pain, they suffer, they're abused and treated inhumanely in the food-production industry, and it's not right. Choosing to ignore the problem because there are other problems in the world is not an excuse.
At what level do we take it? We often class fear as an emotion but it is in many cases just an instinct. A deer will react to a breaking twig in an instinctual way, not an emotional one.
If everything every animal does is just instinct, what makes you any different? I don't say this in a rude manner, but you can take it to an extreme level either way. Of course some of their behaviors are instinctual, but that doesn't mean they all are. When an animal can clearly experience pain and suffering, I believe it's wrong to cause that. If you want to eat the deer, which probably lived a generally happy life, kill it as quickly and painlessly as possible. That's not what happens in factory farms.
Do fish have emotions? I don't think so. They might instinctively recognize the shape that comes to the tank just before the food comes, but that is all.
I don't know of any studies specifically on fish (though I think they probably do have emotions) but plenty have been done with dogs, including recent studies using MRIs to map their brains. They can process, think, rationalize, problem solve, determine fairness, and feel emotion, including activity in the "love" area of their brains when they hear their person's voice. It's not just about communication - they are capable of thinking on the same level as an average 3 year old human. I don't know of specific studies on livestock, but after living with them I can safely say my goats are more intelligent than my dog, and have just as much personality and emotion.