Editor: David Christopher Lane
Publisher: MSAC Philosophy Group
Publication date: 1990

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at dlane@weber.ucsd.edu

I want to go back to the home base now.

                   Confessions of a Carnivore
                       by Michael Lemmons

     I am a meat eater. There are few things that can make my mouth
water more than the thought of a big, red, juicy steak. I am an
avid fisherman as well, though I do not particularly enjoy eating
the fish I catch. None of this is too much out of the ordinary; the
majority of Americans --and probably the majority of human beings--
enjoy eating some kind of flesh product.
     But now a growing number of people are giving up the joys of
meat eating and are asking others to do the same. Some are doing
this for health reasons, and, given our proclivity for keeping in
shape, these kinds of vegetarians are not only accepted within
society but are even somewhat avant-garde. In addition, there are
another group of people who are condemning meat eating in the
belief that we are cruelly and unnecessarily causing pain and
suffering to millions of animals. They argue that these animals
have just as much right to live as we do. This kind of vegetarian
is also known under different names, such as "weirdos," "freaks,"
and "hippies."
     Turning to our own American history some two hundred years
ago, I cannot help but imagine the various names that were given to
those people who first decided that the institution of slavery was
morally wrong because it caused pain and suffering to blacks. They
were taunted and teased and called horrid names by the majority of
society, who felt that there was nothing morally reprehensible with
this practice. But now we look back and see how wrong White America
had been, and how barbaric slave owners and their supporters really
     Only one hundred years ago, at the turn of this century,
American women started complaining that they were not being given
the same opportunities that men had. They were trapped by
longstanding customs that kept them in the house and did not allow
them freedom to do what they wanted. At first only a few
individuals stood up for women's liberation. Women who did fight
for it were labelled as radicals and scornfully ridiculed. Today,
however, we look back on these women (and some men) as heroes who
were brave enough to stand up to injustice. Though the movement is
not over, women's liberation has at least made some headway,
however small.
     Now in the 1990's, turning to animal activists, we see yet
another episode in history where minority thinkers are seen as
kooks or worse because they believe in extending liberation to
those who have none. These activists are taunted, teased, and
laughed at. They are marginalized with the great, end-all buzz term
"extremists." Yet, someday, perhaps in the next decade, perhaps in
the next century, we will look back and praise those few courageous
souls who stood up for the rights of animals in the midst of scorn
and ridicule. Then maybe the rest of us will realize how foolish we
were to have ever thought we could not do without meat,
biologically or economically. Maybe in the future those who still
eat meat will be considered primitive and barbaric and extremist.
Although I eat meat, I am happy that there are vegetarians, those
whose visions are not dimmed by the politics of popularity or
tradition or ignorance. Let us hope that they will keep the faith
and soon animals will be liberated from their human bondage.

                   Compassionate Vegetarianism
                          by Peni Long

     Enough is enough. Those were words that went through my head
when I decided to remove myself from a "normal American lifestyle"
and change to a lifestyle that would no longer include killing,
cruelty, violence, and destruction. They were the words that went
through my head when I decided to become a vegetarian.
     I didn't become a vegetarian because I oppose the slaughter of
cows for a Big Mac. My opposition to such slaughter just helps me
continue the lifestyle I have chosen. For me, becoming a vegetarian
was a way of dealing with the violence and destruction that was
becoming humankind's second nature. The more I gave up meat the
freer I felt from the mentality that has begun the almost
irreversible destruction of the Earth and its atmosphere.
     I feel humans are at the top of the evolutionary ladder, the
ultimate creatures in Mother Nature's cast of living organisms. We
have the strength to move mountains --or at least to build freeways
through them. We have the intelligence to be able to walk on the
moon, cure diseases that to other species are fatal, and a brain
that enables us to develop synthetic materials that will match or
surpass most of those found on Earth. With all these qualities we
have become the keepers of the planet. We are the species all other
species depend on to continue, and if they aren't dependent on us
now they soon will be. They will survive only as long as we deem it
     We are the only species that has forgotten how to co-exist
with the other creatures that share this planet. We believe that
other creatures were put here for our use, whether it be to eat,
look at, or use as a fashion statement when we wear the outer coats
stripped from their dead bodies. We use our natural resources at a
rate that will deplete most of the endangered animals before the
next century ends. Our huge, self-serving egos have grown to the
point that nothing is sacred. We are Mother Nature's nightmare gone
     I am not a vegetarian because I think that if I pass up meat
humans will realize the wrong it is doing and stop hurting and
destroying other living creatures. I am a vegetarian because it is
my way of showing the animals with whom I share this planet the
mutual respect that they deserve. I do not eat nor wear animals and
they do not eat nor wear me.

                      Animals Don't Suffer
                      Carnivorous Reasoning

 So far as animals are concerned, we have no direct duties. Animals
are not self-conscious, and are there merely as a means to an end.
The end is man.
                              --Immanuel Kant

 In the order of nature, the imperfect is for the sake of the
perfect, the irrational is to serve the rational. Man, as a
rational animal, is permitted to use things below him in this order
of nature for his proper needs. He needs to eat plants and animals
to maintain his life and strength. To eat plants and animals, they
must be killed. So killing is not, of itself, an immoral or unjust
                              --V.J. Bourke

 My opinion [that animals don't suffer] is not so much cruel to
animals as indulgent to men --at least to those who are not given
to the superstitions of Pythagoras-- since it absolves them from
the suspicion of crime when they eat or kill animals.
                              --Rene Descartes

               George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Laureate

 We are living graves of murdered beasts,
 Slaughtered to satisfy our appetites;
 We never pause to wonder at our feasts
 If animals, like men, can possibly have rights.
 We pray on Sundays that we may have light
 To guide our footsteps on the path we tread.
 We are sick of war, we do not want to fight--
 The thought of it now fills our hearts with dread;
 And yet --we gorge ourselves upon the dead;
 Like carrion crows, we live and feed on meat,
 Regardless of the suffering and pain
 We cause by doing so; if thus we treat
 Defenseless animals for sport of gain
 How can we hope in this world to attain
 The PEACE we say we are so anxious for?
 We pray for it, o'er hecatombs of slain,
 To God, while outraging the moral law;
 Thus cruelty begets its offspring --WAR.

                        SUGGESTED READING

Axon, William E.A., F.R.S.L. Shelley's Vegetarianism. New York:
Haskell House Publishers Ltd., 1971.

Barkas, Janet. The Vegetable Passion. New York: Charles Scribner's
Sons, 1975.

Berman, Louis A. Vegetarianism and the Jewish Tradition. New York:
Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1982.

Cesaresco, Countess Evelyn Martinengo. The Place of Animals in
Human Thought. London; T. Fisher Unwin Ltd., 1909.

Dewar, James. The Rape of Noah's Ark. London: William Kimber & Co.
Limited, 1969.

Frey, R.G. Rights, Killing, and Suffering. Oxford: Basil Blackwell
Publisher Limited, 1983.

Godlovitch, Stanley & Roslind; John Harris, editors. Animals, Men
and Morals: An Enquiry into the Maltreatment of Nonhumans. New
York: Taplinger Publishing Co., 1972.

Hutchings, Monica and Mavis Carter. Man's Dominion. London: Rupert 
Hart-Davis, 1970.

Porphyry. Porphyry on Abstinence from Animal Food. Translated from
the Greek by Thomas Taylor; edited by Esme Wynne-Tyson. Great
Britain: Barnes & Noble, 1965.

Regan, Tom. All That Dwell Therein: Animal Rights and Environmental
Ethics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982.

Singer, Peter. In Defence of Animals. Oxford: Basil Blackwell,

Vyvyan, John. The Dark Face of Science. London: Michael Joseph
Ltd., 1971

E-mail The Neural Surfer directly at dlane@weber.ucsd.edu

I want to go back to the home base now.