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A question for righteous vegan anti-speciests

Why are you vegans? Is it because you believe that animals have souls? What, then, counts as an "animal"?
So I have been a vegetarian on and off for a number of years, and this question keeps bothering me: what counts as something that is "okay" to eat, and what doesn't?
First, let me explain why I am a vegetarian. One reason is that I feel that the environmental impact of eating meat is way to high to justify the practice. But another reason is that I feel that animals have souls, and killing an animal is as bad as killing a fellow human being. Now before you atheists all jump on me, let me say that I am not a follower of any institutionlized religion, I simply have my own set of spiritual beliefs. I believe that all people have souls, as do animals. I mean, who could look into a dog's eyes and say that whatever we have that makes us who we are, dogs don't also have?
But where does it stop? Do cows have souls? Rabbits? How about lizards? How about frogs? How about fish?
Most vegans would say that all of the above types of critters have souls, or whatever you want to call it. But where does it stop? If fish can have them, do lobsters have them? How about cockroaches? How about fleas? Lice? Dust mites?
Take the sea anemone. It is, technically, an animal. Does it have a soul? If it does, then it isn't much of a stretch to say that a plant does, since both are immobile, with no sensory perception and no nervous center or identifiable brian. When I eat a salad, am I consuming what was once a living, feeling head of cabbage?
How about bacteria? They are living beings. Am I commiting a holocaust every time I get over a cold? Hell, if bacteria have souls, I'm a murderer every time I inhale.
Where do you draw the line? Every time I have tried, it ends up sounding stupid. "Well, maybe only things with verterbae (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish) have souls". Doesn't it seem superficial to base spirituality on anatomy? Plus, there's always some exception to a defintion. For example, in the verterbrae definition, the exception would be the octopus, which has proven to be extremely intelligent, even more so than many dogs. Other people base it on if the critter's brain has pain receptors. I think this sounds kind of dumb too.
Can anyone really define what, spiritually speaking, counts as another living being? Because I can't.
Soul 27.Oct.2004 08:53

Schmole

You're overthinking this. Strive to cause the least harm and suffering to other beings and you'll do just fine. A good start is avoiding anything coming from factory farms. Also, check out Jainism for a spiritual perspective.

No personal offense meant, but... 27.Oct.2004 20:20

sit up spot

I'm not into the human navel gazing line of, "who has a soul?" "what is a soul?" "do dust mites have souls?" This questioning frankly seems kind of ridiculous and self-indulgent. The answers are far more manifest in this world, and you hardly need to sweat the small, esoteric stuff, when there's so much egregious abuse going on so humans can get their fill of other animals' bodies.

Here's why I'm vegan:

 http://www.veganoutreach.com/whyvegan/animals.html
 http://www.veganoutreach.com/whyvegan/transport.html
 http://www.veganoutreach.com/whyvegan/slaughterhouses.html
 http://www.veganoutreach.com/whyvegan/behindthewalls.html

Good point 28.Oct.2004 00:21

What if

What is death? If everything has a soul then what difference does it make if their bodies perish?

When you breathe in a microbe enters you, who says that microbe dies? When the caterpillar turns into a butterfly is the caterpillar dead? W/O its death we don't have the butterfly. Who's to say the trade off was worth it?

It is all a process. In my humble opinion what you want is to live a dignified life providing everything surrounding you with as much dignity as it is your power to give. Don't stomp on the earth in hatred. Treat each breath that you take with all of the hope and love that you can muster and feel at that moment and remember that the forces that be apprecite you for who you are and what you are, not for who you are not or what you are not. In my own humble understanding of life and spirituality.

My Take On It 29.Oct.2004 09:46

Another Person

Forget the soul and just ask yourself does it feel and can it suffer. That is what I base it on. The End.

Every living thing has a soul 05.Jul.2005 12:36

karmashines

I believe that every creature has a soul. This would include plants, bacteria, and insects. Just because something lives in a different way than we do doesn't mean that there isn't some 'essence' inside it to keep it going, though some 'essences' may not be as complex as others.

Now, how would this fit into your lifestyle? Well, you have to realize that you cannot nor should not salvage the life of every creature simply because it has a life. Even in the animal kingdom nature has given creatures an instinct to kill for food or protection. And many insects unfortunately have germs that could threaten your health and well-being. So you have a right to kill them, even if it does have a soul. The same goes for bacteria and viruses.

As far as taking the life of a plant... yes, you are taking a life every time you eat, but that's just the way God/nature made it. At least plants don't have the same type of awareness that an animal would have.