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Can leather be ethical?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by ben39, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. Tck13

    Tck13 Senior member

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    "Can leather be ethical?" It's pointless navel-gazing, in my opinion. It is, however, highly unethical to either use leather or eat meat if you have never participated in the killing and butchering of an animal. And best on a regular basis.
    While I disagree, or at least find a lot of what you say about this topic nonsensical, I'll focus on this... How is it unethical to eat meat or use leather from an animal that one hasn't killed unethical?
     
  2. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    While I disagree, or at least find a lot of what you say about this topic nonsensical, I'll focus on this... How is it unethical to eat meat or use leather from an animal that one hasn't killed unethical?
    Reading 101: What I said was that it was unethical to eat meat or use leather if you have "never participated in the killing and butchering of an animal." The difference between what I said and what you read is significant and critical. If you have never killed and yet eat meat or use leather, all you are doing is shifting the ethical onus to someone else...along with the blood, dirt and noisome odours. The price a responsible individual pays for his meat or leather is to be more than a passive witness to the sacrifice that the animal has made. Washing your hands of distasteful chores, distasteful realities or shifting the burden to someone else, is never ethical. In the end, if you don't get the difference or cannot read well enough to comprehend ...and accurately speak to...what I've said, I am not surprised that you would find it nonsensical.
     
  3. ysc

    ysc Senior member

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    Just a few thoughts from reading people's posts -

    Factory farms are pretty damn cruel to animals. I don't know exactly what the regulations are in the US for livestock living standards, but I understand that they are lower than in the UK and factory farms are more common. Farms that stick to only the lowest legal standards in the UK are fairly unpleasant. DWFII is correct though in asserting that slaughterhouses generally go a long way to avoid stressing the animals or prolonging their death as it ruins the meat.

    It is perfectly possible to live a healthy, and active, lifestyle without eating meat and without a lot of supplements. For much of our history meat was only eaten occasionally by most people, or as a flavouring/part of a larger dish. However it is a bit more work finding the right food and eating a balanced diet and it probably requires quite a shift away from a typical modern diet. I wouldn't do it.

    Just because we have evolved eating meat and animals 'naturally' kill each other doesn't mean it is right for us to kill animals. Just because we don't need to kill animals for meat or hide any more doesn't make it wrong.

    Also I think it is silly to say it is unethical to eat meat or wear animal products if you haven't been involved in killing animals. Although I do think to be ethically consistent people who do those things should be prepared, at least hypothetically, to kill animals.
    For what it is worth I grew up in the country and I have killed animals both with guns and up close, both wild ones and domestic.
     
  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    You know I think people should be able to make their own choices about meat and leather. I would prefer that those choices, and the logic behind them, were internally consistent...especially before they start "preaching the gospel." But I think that the fact that we have a choice at all is a good sign for our civilization.

    If you don't want to eat meat...don't eat meat. But don't kid yourself that leather...any kind of leather...is somehow exempt or a different product.

    If you want to eat meat...eat it and enjoy. But do it with the certain knowledge that a life has been ended so that you can. And the only way to fully grasp the implications and fully understand what eating meat and wearing leather entails is to participate in the process, at least once in your life.

    As for whether it is unethical or not to eat meat or wear leather without having killed for your supper, how ethical is it to willfully go through life not even knowing or caring to find out where meat comes from? There was a scientific study done sometime ago that asserted that a large percentage of people who live in urban environments have no knowledge whatsoever of the provenance of the meat they are eating...except that it comes in a little white styrofoam tray and is covered with clear plastic.

    Again, in my opinion, it is unethical to blithely partake of the by-products of an animal's life and/or death and the sacrifice that it made...without having been there. If that seems silly to some, so be it. Regardless of your stance on this issue, it is a result of the cycle of life. To ignore it or to do everything in your power to skim the gravy and never pay the tab is as far from harmony, or ethics, as I can imagine.
     
  5. ysc

    ysc Senior member

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    ^ I think it is desirable that people who use animal products see where it has come from, not going to disagree with you there. I would like teenagers to have to visit farms and slaughterhouses at school. The big problem with farming today is the distance between the consumer and the original source of their food. This means both farming and the food preparation that comes after have become too industrialised and things are done in making our food many would find shocking, but due to that distance people remain ignorant.

    However I think the problems most people today would have with actually killing an animal would have far more to do with squeamishness than any reasoned ethical position which is why I said beyond being hypothetically prepared to kill animals it is not an ethical problem.
    Squeamishness and disgust are not ethical values, just a response to something people are not used to.
    I do understand where you are coming from on this though.
     
  6. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    ^ Sure and I agree...up to a point.

    I'll tell you a story that informed my thinking some 40 years ago...

    I lived on a small piece of property when my wife and I were first married. We raised chickens and geese and hogs and goats and rabbits--small "homestead" as it was called back then. We "husbanded" them, we slaughtered and butchered them.

    Next place over lived a young man and his wife and children. They were what was known back then as "hippies." And held views not too dissimilar to what we hear in this discussion.

    One day the husband accidentally backed over one of his childrens kittens, crushing the lower spine and hind quarters. His children were crying, my children were crying, the kitten was crying...piteously. It was clearly in pain. But the neighbor could not bring himself to put the little thing out of its misery. Not only was he too "squeamish," he couldn't dirty his hands.

    So he came next door to ask me to do it. It was a sad task. I am sensible and sympathetic to the suffering of other creatures and I love little kittens as much as the next person. It was one time in my life when I came closest to going ballistic on another person and smashing their face in.

    If you're too squeamish to kill you should be too squeamish to eat. Because in the end it is the same thing. Placing the responsibility for killing another living creature on someone else is not ethical. It is, in fact, the antithesis of ethics.

    "Do your own dirty work" is the essence of ethical behaviour.
     
  7. lasbar

    lasbar Senior member

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    Reading 101:

    What I said was that it was unethical to eat meat or use leather if you have "never participated in the killing and butchering of an animal."

    The difference between what I said and what you read is significant and critical.

    If you have never killed and yet eat meat or use leather, all you are doing is shifting the ethical onus to someone else...along with the blood, dirt and noisome odours. The price a responsible individual pays for his meat or leather is to be more than a passive witness to the sacrifice that the animal has made. Washing your hands of distasteful chores, distasteful realities or shifting the burden to someone else, is never ethical.

    In the end, if you don't get the difference or cannot read well enough to comprehend ...and accurately speak to...what I've said, I am not surprised that you would find it nonsensical.



    Very good point...

    I don't judge people even if I hate seeing animals being killed...

    I'm not a hypocrit and I love eating meat ,lobster ,wearing leather shoes and so on...

    The fact I'm asking somebody else to do it for me is taking away my right to deliver a moral judgement on this particular subject...

    I'm not keen on war but I have been a year in the military and I know why I hate it..
     
  8. ginlimetonic

    ginlimetonic Senior member

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    Reading 101:

    What I said was that it was unethical to eat meat or use leather if you have "never participated in the killing and butchering of an animal."

    The difference between what I said and what you read is significant and critical.

    If you have never killed and yet eat meat or use leather, all you are doing is shifting the ethical onus to someone else...along with the blood, dirt and noisome odours. The price a responsible individual pays for his meat or leather is to be more than a passive witness to the sacrifice that the animal has made. Washing your hands of distasteful chores, distasteful realities or shifting the burden to someone else, is never ethical.

    In the end, if you don't get the difference or cannot read well enough to comprehend ...and accurately speak to...what I've said, I am not surprised that you would find it nonsensical.


    Counterexample: a psychopathical serial killer (e.g. Buffalo Bill) who hunts, kills and then eats his victims is ETHICAL, because he participates in the hunting process, and thus retains the ethical portion.

    In a developed world, everyone shifts responsibilities onto someone else because it is not efficient to do everything alone. THe reason for the industrial revolution and people were crammed into specialized factories is becuase of economy of scale and centralizing skills. Barely anyone would be able to kill, tan and then process leather. This now constitutes to job and income for at least 3 people in different industries (hunting, tanning and leathermaking).
     
  9. Tck13

    Tck13 Senior member

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    Reading 101: What I said was that it was unethical to eat meat or use leather if you have "never participated in the killing and butchering of an animal." The difference between what I said and what you read is significant and critical. If you have never killed and yet eat meat or use leather, all you are doing is shifting the ethical onus to someone else...along with the blood, dirt and noisome odours. The price a responsible individual pays for his meat or leather is to be more than a passive witness to the sacrifice that the animal has made. Washing your hands of distasteful chores, distasteful realities or shifting the burden to someone else, is never ethical. In the end, if you don't get the difference or cannot read well enough to comprehend ...and accurately speak to...what I've said, I am not surprised that you would find it nonsensical.
    [​IMG] :101 Stick your snark right up your ass. I understand completely what you're saying and the difference between what I said and what you said is almost nil. Basically, if a person has never participated in the killing of (what you said) - or killed (what I said) an animal yet they wear leather or eat meat they're being unethical? Lol! You have quite an imagination.
    Very good point... I don't judge people even if I hate seeing animals being killed... I'm not a hypocrit and I love eating meat ,lobster ,wearing leather shoes and so on... The fact I'm asking somebody else to do it for me is taking away my right to deliver a moral judgement on this particular subject... I'm not keen on war but I have been a year in the military and I know why I hate it..
    Good luck applying this philosophy to the killing of animals or anything else for that matter.
     
  10. Tck13

    Tck13 Senior member

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    Counterexample: a psychopathical serial killer (e.g. Buffalo Bill) who hunts, kills and then eats his victims is ETHICAL, because he participates in the hunting process, and thus retains the ethical portion.

    In a developed world, everyone shifts responsibilities onto someone else because it is not efficient to do everything alone. THe reason for the industrial revolution and people were crammed into specialized factories is becuase of economy of scale and centralizing skills. Barely anyone would be able to kill, tan and then process leather. This now constitutes to job and income for at least 3 people in different industries (hunting, tanning and leathermaking).


    I don't think that you even have to say the bolded. Even when man / our ancestors hunted animals (if they did), not everyone "participated" in the process.

    While I disagree with our society's objectification, ignorance of, and mistreatment of animals , DDTFU's whole idea is silly and preposterous and misses any point completely.
     
  11. Avocat

    Avocat Senior member

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    ^ Sure and I agree...up to a point. I'll tell you a story that informed my thinking some 40 years ago... I lived on a small piece of property when my wife and I were first married. We raised chickens and geese and hogs and goats and rabbits--small "homestead" as it was called back then. We "husbanded" them, we slaughtered and butchered them. Next place over lived a young man and his wife and children. They were what was known back then as "hippies." And held views not too dissimilar to what we hear in this discussion. One day the husband accidentally backed over one of his childrens kittens, crushing the lower spine and hind quarters. His children were crying, my children were crying, the kitten was crying...piteously. It was clearly in pain. But the neighbor could not bring himself to put the little thing out of its misery. Not only was he too "squeamish," he couldn't dirty his hands. So he came next door to ask me to do it. It was a sad task. I am sensible and sympathetic to the suffering of other creatures and I love little kittens as much as the next person. It was one time in my life when I came closest to going ballistic on another person and smashing their face in. If you're too squeamish to kill you should be too squeamish to eat. Because in the end it is the same thing. Placing the responsibility for killing another living creature on someone else is not ethical. It is, in fact, the antithesis of ethics. "Do your own dirty work" is the essence of ethical behaviour.
    DWFII ... back to psycho killers/murderers and strangling kittens again? [​IMG] Meat and animal products are necessary for the human diet. Plants are not sufficient, their "proteins" not the same as meat protein, not to mention the lack of vitamins and minerals in a vegan diet--like B vitamins, calcium, etc. Not everyone factory farms, imo, and my food comes from ranchers who treat their animals properly. Basic economics 101 for you: you treat the animals well while alive (in Alberta, they free range in the mountains, with goats and sheep also acting as natural lawn mowers for which ranchers are paid, thus free range). They grow up lean, with more muscle mass. They taste better, and are better for you. Ranchers who do this fetch a premium for their product also; people are motivated to do that which is in their best interest, being rational actors, so if you believe in what you yourself are saying, support hard-working ranchers and farmers who don't factory farm, as I do. Quite simple, really. Problem: lack of land and price of food. Meat is a necessary food item, not a luxury, and should not be priced out of the hands of most people. If you mean to say that factory farms should be inspected and regulated, I couldn't possibly agree with you more. Fact: vegan diets actually aren't the best for you (this is a medical fact), though we in North America eat too much red meat (could we do with less red meat and more fiber on our plate? doctors say this, but this doesn't in any way detract from the fact that it's ethical to use animals for food and clothing, etc). As to the "gospel", it tells us so and always has, and on this point it is actually backed by science. If you are Jewish, it also tells us to treat animals with respect, not to run over them with our cars or do bull-fighting/dog-fighting/cock-fighting (which are cruel blood sports), or otherwise prolong their suffering. They are here for us to use for legitimate needs, like food and clothing, and if you want to give up your right to use them, that's fine, but nobody has a right to tell anyone else what to do. This is true for ethical hunting, too. Support things with your wallet, people. Base your opinion on science, not fantasy or conjecture. Natives have more respect for the planet and all living things on it than most, and always have, as do ethical hunters (who follow Native practices, with Natives having constitutional rights, too). Ranchers and farmers are hard-working and properly treat what ends up on our plate. They are finding it tough to make a living--competition for land, and cheap factory-farmed product, turning to other animals such as ostrich, venison to make a living, because they refuse to factory farm. Support them, the Natives and ethical hunters. Simple really. Kittens and serial killers have nothing to do with it. That's just well silly talk, having no bearing whatsoever on your own arguments, and even less on the subject which is can leather be ethical. Of course it is, which I've said before and reiterate: using the whole animal not only makes good economic sense, but treats it with respect. As an aside, when my father moved to the country estate from the city home during the Depression, he adopted one of the baby animals. He gave it a name and raised it. He had no problem eating all the other animals when cooked for dinner---nor did he have any issue as a child when my grandfather gave people in the county food and materials off the land in exchange (i.e., jobs to people who otherwise were starving). He had a huge problem, however, when it came time to eat the animal he had himself raised and cared for. I won't tell you what it was, but I will tell you it wasn't a kitten, nor was it a human being either. (There is a reason why ranchers don't name their charges, and might say my father who grew up on an estate during the depression when people had to grow their own food, etc. learned this the hard way). There are no farms or country estates in NYC or Toronto or London or Paris or Tokyo or .... people go to the supermarket. That the estates of old are gone doesn't change a thing, and sounds to me like you're "preaching" that everyone become a farmer, DWFII ... which is, well, insane. There are laws against cruelty to animals--they're based on the Judaic-Christian bible actually (as most laws are), and tells us to be responsible and to respect our food. What more do you want? That said, no kittens or humans were injured in the making of this post, nor do I support: veal, blood-sports (bull-fights/dog-fights/cock-fights) or other "cruelty" to animals. Food and clothing are legitimate uses of animals, whether farmed/ranched or ethically hunted. This is all. tl/DR: get the real facts, based on real science not conjecture (or false "preachings") and vote with your wallet in accordance with your own conscious. And remember: you are what you eat (so choose lean meats over fatty meats, and you'll stay lean, thus continuing to fit into your suits [​IMG]
     
  12. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    This is all conjecture on my part, but I would guess that all leather (excluding exotics like reptiles) is a byproduct of the meat industry. I've never heard of anyone cultivating cattle specifically for their leather. I would guess that the best leather is simply selected from the massive amount of hides that are produced by the beef industry.

    It is even possible that non-factory-farmed hides are simply discarded if it's too much trouble to send them to a hide processor.

    I have no qualms with eating or wearing any kind of animal product, but I find it interesting to know about.

    I remember when Rolls Royce advertised the fact that their leather was from cows kept inside electrified fences ... so as to ensure a more perfect hide. This is not to say that the meat wasn't eaten. I suppose it was not in RR's interest to tell us.
     
  13. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    DWFII ... back to psycho killers/murderers and strangling kittens again? [​IMG] sounds to me like you're "preaching" that everyone become a farmer, DWFII ... which is, well, insane.
    With all due respect, what part off "at least once in your life" (my words) equates to preaching "that everyone become a farmer?" You may as well claim that reading every third or fourth word in a posting (and even then not getting it right) equates to literacy. But then, if someone is only hearing or reading every third word it's not entirely surprising that "psycho killers/murderers" would emerge whole cloth out of thin air...when "psycho killers/murderers" were never mentioned or alluded to. I'm a shoemaker. I wouldn't want to be a farmer...it's hard work and unappreciated especially by those who court ignorance like a lover. As for "psycho killers/murderers"...I try not to hang around with those kind of people and resent being written into that fantasy.
     
  14. Avocat

    Avocat Senior member

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    ^^ You're right. Save an animal, eat an animal rights activist .... [​IMG] (just kidding). S'sly, your argument isn't logical, though; as to discussions about microwaving pets? Running over kittens? Some people know some very scary people, I agree. (I don't like murderers or those who torture animals for (sadistic) pleasure either, DWFII: electric fences sound about right for those types, but there's no connection b/w them and the OP's question). Anywho, ... myself, NOT a Buddhist. (Is that what you mean--i.e. Buddhist world-view? Depending on the sect most don't kill insects so don't eat meat either; if that's what you mean, then that would make sense). Me, different world-view: I love steak medium-rare, and I had roast caribou tonight--as hunted by Natives and sold to market--which I washed down with red wine. As it was cold, I wore a fur-lined, shearling coat. My car has leather seats, and my shoes are also leather. Stylishly warm and timeless, not to mention well fed. But I've never dug a ditch nor built a car, nor have I picked produce. I haven't sheared sheep, skinned/tanned hides nor traveled by dog sled in the Arctic to catch my own seal or caribou (though a trip I look forward to one day). Then, we don't all grow our own apples, build our own houses, perform brain surgery, etc., whilst killing our own dinner and making our own clothes and shoes (see: Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations). For the record, DWFII, I've hunted. Most game meat's in restos and/or supermarkets today, and a good thing, since you won't find cow farms much less wild animals in the cities to hunt, not to mention it's a crime today to walk your cow on a city street, so ... tl/DR: S'sly, to each their own world-view (including the Buddhists, though I think it depends on the sect, doesn't it? ... All good. [​IMG]
     
  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    ^The more I read your postings, the more I suspect that you don't read anyone elses remarks except as a springboard for argument.... I was not the one who mentioned microwaving chickens. I referred to it in response to the person who did. But while I recognize the degree to which common sense and civilized behaviour has slipped in recent generations, I've never known anyone who would do something so cruel or ignorant. I read and re-read your remarks and I come away feeling like you're confused...not only about what I have said but about what you yourself believe. I am not an "animal rights activist"...if you actually read my posts, you would know that. I use leather every day and eat meat...bought from a meat market...several times a week. The last time I slaughtered an animal was 30 years ago. But I recognize and hold to convictions that are internally consistent: If you take, you pay. If you receive, you owe. Do your own dirty work and don't impose your problems/weaknesses on others. If you don't know, ask; if you aren't sure, don't pretend. Old fashioned, "ethical" stuff like that. Being ethical is being responsible. And vice versa. If you take a life or are responsible for taking a life, you owe something in return. Even if it is only to witness. Even if it is only once. To do less than you can is to denigrate the value of all life...even if you're a vegetarian. I have never said that everyone who eats meat or wears leather must experience the death of an animal...not every time (as several sleepy heads suggested); not even just once in their life. What I said was it is, in my opinion, unethical for anyone who eats meat or uses leather to not have experienced the whole process at least once. To shrink from a first hand knowledge of what is involved and what is sacrificed...on your behalf...is weakness of character if nothing else. There is a big difference in what I said and what you and several others have read...the the core of which is that if you haven't done, you don't have any credibility about whether it is ethical or not. You haven't earned it. Why? Because opinions based on supposition and pretense are vapourings, at best.. As for the kitten story...it wasn't about scary people it was about people who have no sense of honour.
     
  16. Tck13

    Tck13 Senior member

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    ^The more I read your postings, the more I suspect that you don't read anyone elses remarks except as a springboard for argument....

    It's pretty obvious that you can't understand what people are posting in response to your philosophies. Your "philosophies" have so many holes in them they're not even worth considering.

    I am not an "animal rights activist"...if you actually read my posts, you would know that.

    Actually, you are as your posts have shown and indicated but your fantasy about what an animal rights activist is/means is disconnected from your posts and philosophies.

    If you take, you pay. If you receive, you owe.

    This has nothing to do with what you're saying about "participating" in the "killing or butchering of animals".

    Do your own dirty work and don't impose your problems/weaknesses on others.

    Once again, this has nothing to do with what you're saying about "participating" in the "killing or butchering of animals".

    Plus, "do your own dirty work" and "don't impose your problems/weaknesses on others" are mutually exclusive. Or, maybe you knew that. I don't know.

    If you don't know, ask; if you aren't sure, don't pretend.

    Once again, this has nothing to do with what you're saying about "participating" in the "killing or butchering of animals".

    I have never said that everyone who eats meat or wears leather must experience the death of an animal...not every time (as several sleepy heads suggested); not even just once in their life.

    Actually, you did:

    it was unethical to eat meat or use leather if you have "never participated in the killing and butchering of an animal."


    What I said was it is, in my opinion, unethical for anyone who eats meat or uses leather to not have experienced the whole process at least once. To shrink from a first hand knowledge of what is involved and what is sacrificed...on your behalf...is weakness of character if nothing else.

    There is a big difference in what I said and what you and several others have read...the the core of which is that if you haven't done, you don't have any credibility about whether it is ethical or not. You haven't earned it. Why? Because opinions based on supposition and pretense are vapourings, at best..


    No, you just can't understand what others have said in response to your posts.

    Just because someone has never participated in, or killed, or whatever the your ever changing point is about consuming animals, is simply a matter of education and not ethics or morality.

    As for the kitten story...it wasn't about scary people it was about people who have no sense of honour.

    No, the person didn't have an education or experience to know what to do. It had nothing to do with ethics.

    Just because someone else doesn't have experience in an area that you do doesn't mean that they're unethical or immoral. It probably just means that they don't know or are uneducated in that particular area.

    "Give a Man a Fish, Feed Him For a Day. Teach a Man to Fish, Feed Him For a Lifetime" -Lau Tzu
     
  17. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    ^ If English isn't your second language, it ought to be...you make a convincing case that you cannot read for content, you see words that are not there, and have a hard time putting what few coherent thoughts you might have into sentence structure. It's a discredit to your education and an abuse of the language.

    And you don't.

    "Mind Bomb" indeed...nothing but wasteland and destruction as far as the eye can see.
     
  18. Tck13

    Tck13 Senior member

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    ^ If English isn't your second language, it ought to be...you make a convincing case that you cannot read for content, you see words that are not there, and have a hard time putting what few coherent thoughts you might have into sentence structure. It's a discredit to your education and an abuse of the language. And you don't. "Mind Bomb" indeed...nothing but wasteland and destruction as far as the eye can see.
    Hypocritical Ad Hom (and avatar, lol!) attacks really don't amount to much. You're welcome to show how what I've stated is incorrect.
     
  19. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Hypocritical Ad Hom (and avatar, lol!) attacks really don't amount to much. You're welcome to show how what I've stated is incorrect.
    Why do you think my avatar is hypocritical? Or is it another example of not really understanding the English language? As for showing that what you've stated is incorrect...the last three pages, at least, could have done that if you'd been open enough and studious enough to actually read my posts the way they were written and not with words and assumptions that you projected. No matter...I know a troll when I see/read one... 'Nuff said.
     
  20. George

    George Senior member

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    Lasciate ogne speranze voi qu'intrate
    What I said was it is, in my opinion, unethical for anyone who eats meat or uses leather to not have experienced the whole process at least once. To shrink from a first hand knowledge of what is involved and what is sacrificed...on your behalf...is weakness of character if nothing else.
    Well I don't necessarily think it demonstrates weakness of character. But, I do wonder how many people would carry on eating meat if they experienced animals being slaughter. My lasting memory of it is that I could still smell the abattoir when I got home. A very unpleasant experience. People are sometimes [too] far removed from the realities of things.
     

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