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to kill or not to kill

Posted by vacuumfreak (My Page) on
Wed, May 2, 07 at 19:07

Just wondering at what point do you determine value in a life? People think nothing of smacking a mesquito, hoeing the head of a snake (venemous or otherwise), or holding a magnifying glass over an ant on a sunny day so it burns to a crisp. What do you use to determine if a life is "good" enough to share this planet with you? What should be used? Is there an unspoken rule that if it annoys me I can kill it because I am human and a god compared to that inferior creature? I do kill spiders because I am scared of them. I think, if I don't get them, they MIGHT get me. Is it okay to kill something that YOU deem doesn't have an intelligence level? Kill mice, but leave cats and dolphins alone? How does one decide? How do YOU decide what is okay and what isn't? When I kill a spider, I feel a little guilty. It didn't even touch me and I ended its life. The ones I usually get are the non-venemous (to humans) ones, but I kill them anyway. Is that okay? Is the "better them than me" theory acceptable? I know, something could bite us or carry bacteria and we are doing it to prevent disaster or in self defense (like a bear chasing someone in the woods). When did we develop this rating scale humans are at the top, followed closely by animals that they think are "cute" and everthing else is inferior? Just wondering :o)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: to kill or not to kill

wow, there's a truly loaded set of questions!

For me, it is not the species that makes killing OK, it is the circumstances.

Trophy killing is wrong. Period.

Killing for food is OK as long as the life and death of the animal is humane and that as much of the animal is used for some benefit as possible. However, the killing of animals for food must also take into consideration the level of population necessary to maintain that species in the environment. For me, overfishing is morally reprehensible. Shark finning is morally wrong because you are 1) killing too many of the species 2) allowing the animal to slowly suffer and die and 3) not using the entire animal for any benefit. Same goes with killing elephants for ivory, etc.

Killing for medical research is OK as long as it is neccesary, will truly benefit human or animal HEALTH, not appearance (cosmetic research on animals is wrong), and the animals live and die humanely. It is wrong to conduct research in any other way than by the most beneficial most humane methods using as few animals as possible.

Killing for defense is OK as long as there are plenty of the species to maintain a healthy population. For example, there are plenty of ticks and fleas in the world, and I have no problem applying TopSpot on my dogs to kill fleas and ticks, thus protecting my dogs from a myriad of diseases. I don't have a problem with human self defense either. But it must be a real danger. Killing a non-venomous spider is wrong IMHO because there is no rationale for it. Killing a black widow in your baby's crib- completely fine. I myself don't have children, but I have upon occasion picked up black widows from my house and moved them to outside to prevent my dogs from eating them. I personally prefer doing that to killing them, but I understand that others may not be comfortable moving venomous critters. As far as individual animals, I believe that for critical populations, you'd need a pretty darn good reason to kill any one individual to justify its death.

I believe that we are responsible for the unintended consequences of our actions AND that we are morally obligated to understand all such consequences. I for one will not eat meat from South America because the industry is responsible for slashing and burning the rainforests, which in turn cause the extinction of many species. The benefit of me eating meat from South America cannot justify that in my belief system.

It is OK to kill an animal to end its suffering. In fact, I think that it is OK to kill a human to end suffering as well, but I realize I am in a very small minority on that issue.

I do not believe that humans are somehow more valued than other animals. There is no such thing as an inferior species to me. I perosnally live by a rule of universal application- if it is not acceptable to treat yourself or another human a certain way, then it is not acceptable to treat any animal of any species that way. If you believe that low percieved intelligence allows you to kill an animal, does it also allow you to kill a stupid person? Should ugly people die?

Frankly, when it comes down to it, the world would be a lot better off without people than without any other species.

Obviously, all of the above is my own opinion and not in any way meant to judge another person's moral compass.

Very intersting questions. I hope what follows are very thoughtful responses.


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I hunt. I find it enjoyable and I eat what I kill. I don't go out during small game becasue I don't like to eat small game.

I fish. I catch and relase or eat what I catch if it's good eatin'

I relocate spiders to the barn or our creepy 125 year old basement, so that they can help me kill flies and other pesky insects. Poisonous spiders would be squashed.

I catch and release bats because I'd rather not deal with skeeters.

I shoot groundhogs and 'possum because they create havoc in my garden and dangerous holes in my fields. The dogs take care of most of them, but I'd rather kill a groundhog than need to put down a horse or steer.

I think "holding a magnifying glass over an ant on a sunny day so it burns to a crisp" is a bit sickening (I've never pulled the wings off a fly either), but i have no problem using Terro in the house or burning out a nest of yellow jackets. I won't kill good snakes, as I'd rather they kill the mice and rats than have to empty traps. Poisonous snakes definitely get a hoe to the head, as I'd rather kill a snake than have a snake kill one of my dogs

In short, vermin, "varmits", disease-spreaders and anything with the potential to harm me, my family, my animals or my livelihood gets whacked. I'm a farmer and a pragmatist.

I trap and kill mice and rats, as they eat my grain and spread disease

I'll kill anything that threatens my livestock - if the dogs don't do it for me.


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RE: to kill or not to kill

Thought provoking topics as usual, bob.

For survival/food (e.g. killing something to eat it) and for health reasons (e.g. killing flies and mosquitoes that may spread disease pests like raccoons and rabbits if they are out of control) and safety reasons (e.g. Gators in residential canals, Bears that B&E) and sustainabilty (e.g. killing invasive species like Japanese Beetle, various borers and even Burmese pythons).


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What an interesting topic! I grew up in a family of hunters, although I have never shot a gun in my life. I get that not all hunters hunt for the thrill of the kill. So, although I wouldn't or couldn't do it, I don't fault those who do.

As for the killing of insects or spiders - yeah, I kill bugs. Yes, I'm playing god, but geez! I can't stand the crawling things! Snakes? Am not a fan, but don't want them eliminated. We accidently killed one last summer and I actually grieved for it and felt guilty for quite a while.

I think, and this is just my opinion, that people who kill animals/creatures first and think later are people who are fearful. Human animals fear the unknown, especially death. So, we live by the "it might kill me so I'm going to kill it first" mentality. I put myself in that category when it comes to bugs - admittedly not rational.

Look forward to other comments on this issue.


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James~ AMEN!!!


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RE: to kill or not to kill

"For survival/food (e.g. killing something to eat it) and for health reasons (e.g. killing flies and mosquitoes that may spread disease pests like raccoons and rabbits if they are out of control) and safety reasons (e.g. Gators in residential canals, Bears that B&E) and sustainabilty (e.g. killing invasive species like Japanese Beetle, various borers and even Burmese pythons)."

Totally agree with quirky. Very good reasons.

I personally have no problems killing bugs.Maybe it's because they always "get me" too!
I dont think I could kill to eat if I had to,but I dont blame people who do.
I also agree any kind of "TROPHY" killing is wrong.


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I hate hunting, but I don't disagree if it's for food. I'd never do it, of course I've never had to, though.

Bugs I dont mind, except spiders and moths. I kill them, or make them get out. But I kind of have a "Don't come near me and I wont kill you" type set up. If they come at me, they die. Other bugs are fine.

Anything else, as long as it benefits someone, I agree with it. But if it's purely for fun or isn't neccesary, then I don't agree.


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I'll never understand the enjoyment of hunting an animal and killing it, but I don't have an issue with responsible hunters who eat what they kill. Generally, that's far more humane than the horrible ways in which livestock are raised and slaughtered commercially. I'm not against eating animals, but am trying to seek out farms that do humanely raise them.

I try not to kills insects, except for ticks, flies, mosquitos, which I'm very sensitive too, or wasps/yellowjackets if they're a danger to us or our dogs. I wouldn't kill a bat, after recently learning about them through an expert I interviewed. In fact, I adopted one through bat rescue LOL.

If I were able, I'd kill anything that threatened my dogs.

I wouldn't kill rabbits, groundhounds, chipmunks, etc. So far, we've been able to move snacks elsewhere.


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RE: to kill or not to kill

make that snakes LOL.


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Goldgirl, when I read snacks I laughed. I am sure that there are those who would snack on rabbits, groundhogs and chipmunks! I would like to say I'm "against" hunting. While I could never personally kill something for food, I will not turn down a steak or cheeseburger! Do those of you who believe people and cats and dogs have souls or spirits also think that everything has a spirit? There are people who try to contact the soul or spirit of their dead cat, but would kill a spider or fly... how do you decide which animals have a spirit/soul and and which don't...


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LOL, if you move the snacks elsewhere, you'll also get rid of some unwanted critters like bears, raccoons, rats, mice, cockroaches, ants, etc. , without killing them. So your idea of removing snacks, is a good one. :-)


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RE: to kill or not to kill

For those who are against hunting but still eat meat, I have to wonder. What is it that makes eating beef that may or may not be raised humanely more paletable than the idea of eating an overpopulated renewable resouce like deer that lives it's life naturally until a hunter outsmarts it?
Personally, I couldn't kill either one. But I eat both.'

Dead deer on the road yesterday. My first thought was "Oh that poor beautiful animal" 2nd thought was, "What a waste of good meat" On down the road, My final thought was, "Geeze I hope no people got hurt when they hit it"
Something wrong with this picture? Would any of you had the same train of thought?


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RE: to kill or not to kill

I agree with meghane in everything she said except using animals in human research. i think humans should be used,

My train of thought would have been the same as beeannes.

i could'nt kill a deer or most anything. except to save my kids,i killed a ground rattler when they were small. I have killed copperheads here to save my dogs. One got bit by one. I kill flies.mosquitos poisonous spiders. Others i take outside. i don't kill wasps tho i have them around my house but they have never bothered me.
My DH and his family were big hunters and fishermen but they ate all they killed. and i love venison but still would'nt ever kill one.

Has anyone ever looked into the big beautiful eyes of a calf or cow? Goodness i even love chickens. I stop to get a turtle out of the road if i can pull over.

As meghane said: Who am i to decide what species of animal should be killed and not killed.
Just who do humans think they are? A species with an overgrown brain that has not developed enough to be really considered civilized.

I definately would'nt kill a bat and we have a lot as there is a cave where they roost near here.

By the way what is a burmese python? It's not in USA is it? I thought i knew most snakes here.
I'm a big John Denver fan and will be the rest of my life and like him "The children and the animals are my sisters and my brothers."
vickie


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RE: to kill or not to kill

Vickie, Burmese Pythons are very beautiful large snakes in the constrictor family, same as Boas. Generally they are very docile and easy to handle. With any large snake tho one they reach a certain size, to me it's about eight feet plus, then for safty it's always better to have two people handle them. they can reach 20+ feet in length.

Lisa


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Humans are used in research. Clinical studies on humans are done before drugs are put on the market. Even if everyone against animal research volunteered to be used before animals, the FDA? wouldn't allow it.They must be tested on animals first.
Research on animals also improves the lives of animals. Would you use a flea product or dog shampoo on your dog if the lable said " no animals were used in the testing of this product"? Or would you give your dog a drug that had never been tested on a dog? Would you give your child a drug that had never been tested on so much as a single mouse?

Other than that I agree with Oaklief. I've also killed a copperhead. I only feel a little guilty. I will also kill any ticks, fleas, flies with no guilt. I'll kill scorpions on my property or in house and will kill crickets because they are a favorite food of scorpions.
I'm terrified of spiders, but will seldom kill one just because they creep me out.
Most things considered pests, I prefer to just try not to attract them.
In Goldgirl's words. I move snacks elsewhere. :-)


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RE: to kill or not to kill

I've killed deer (overpopulated in this area, eating the livestock's feed, and killed humanely - I'm a damned good shot... also, we do eat the meat - us and the dogs, anyway.)

I've gone on a boar hunt, but did not kill one. (VERMIN, dangerous [at least the ones on my FIL's ranch - they WILL charge you, and weigh in excess of 200-300lb.], and again - overpopulated in this area.)

I've killed NUMEROUS water moccasins - we think there must have been a nest pretty darn close to our house... there was a drainage ditch just on the other side of our fence in the backyard, and we saw too many to be comfortable.

Being fairly new to Texas and adjusting to the insane size of the mosquitos around here, I relish seeing spiders and rush them immediately to the backyard where they can hide from Capone. He is not a fan of spiders, and will quickly squash them with his mighty paw.

My thing is this: Kill only what you must, have a damned good reason, and don't kill the last of anything. Never know-one day it might be you.


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RE: to kill or not to kill

People think nothing of smacking a mosquito, hoeing the head of a snake (venemous or otherwise), or holding a magnifying glass over an ant on a sunny day so it burns to a crisp.

I wonder who these people are? Future serial killers or deranged robots?

Taking of life should never be casual, be it insect, mammal, reptile, flora or fauna.

Sometimes I feel bad for the weeds that I have pulled in my garden.


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RE: to kill or not to kill

I agree with everything Meghane said and will add:

I don't hunt but have no problem at all with law abiding hunters who eat what they kill.

I do kill aphids and spider mites on my plants and use Top Spot on my cats. I kill flies and when I lived in AZ I killed cockroaches.

I don't kill spiders or snakes. I am not afraid of them. I do not understand people who are and who kill them every chance they get.

I have killed Black Widows in the past. There was no safe place to relocate. (I was too young to drive) Too many children and old folks in our townhouse complex. I do not feel that just because something is poisonous, that is automatically must die.

I don't have a problem with non native invasive species being killed such as pigs, goats and cats in Australia or Hawaii. They are very, very destructive and causing the loss of native species. Man has spread these and other animals all over the globe to the extinction of many others.


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For me, contact with any other living thing that swims or has legs is contact with divinity.

That said, I recognize that things like rats and mosquitoes can be harmful. If numerous attempts to keep them at a distance don't work, I will take other more drastic measures.

SG


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RE: to kill or not to kill

Bugs in my house get whacked. My youngest daughter used to come running if we found a black ant so she could catch and release it... till one day she got bit and it hurt! Now she's on the side of using the fly swatter on them.

Bugs outside I leave alone if at all possible.

My dh used to hunt deer, till we had daughters and they cried if he mentioned going, so he hasn't gone in years. But his family eats the meat and in fact depend on it to help them get by, so I don't really have a problem with that.

I confess as a kid we burned ants with magnifying glasses and thought nothing of it... now it mortifies me that I once did that! But, I didn't turn into a serial killer. ;)

Sher


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"But, I didn't turn into a serial killer."

Not yet, but there's still time! ;-)


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Yesterday I killed a deer with a Dodge Intrepit. I was driving down the highway in my so's car and a buck jumped down from a brushie hillside right in front of the car. I didn't even have time to hit the breaks. I was sure the front of the car was totaled but when I was able to pull over and look at it only the licence plate was smashed. I was going 55 mph when the deer appeared. The deer was hurt and rolling around in the grass by the highway, I felt so bad. Two pick up trucks stopped behind me, they saw what happened and stopped. One guy had a cell phone so he called for the CHP to come and put the deer out of it's misery, the sheriff came by and I left. No I didn't eat what I killed but one of the guys that stopped did. I was very lucky and the airbag didn't even deploy. I bought deer whistles for the car.


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Oh my gosh....I'm glad you're ok. Also nice to know there are still people willing to stop and help a stranger.
I've never hit a deer and hope I never do. That has got to be one scary experience.


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Thank heavens your're okay!


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Thank you beeanne and vacuumfreak for your careing response, it was scary and sad, I felt so bad for the deer. I always wish there was a way for the animals to cross the highway without the cars.
I was planning on posting a story about one of the old time ranchers here. His family always ate what they killed they killed it to eat. When he was a smart a$$ 12 year old he was in the woods with his friends and his dad, a vulture flew over and he shot it. His dad made him retrive it, clean and defeather it, heat up the bbq and he could have nothing to eat until he ate the whole bird. He never shot anything just for the heck of it again.


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RE: to kill or not to kill

I enjoyed that story, acorn. I've been in a quandary lately: for many years I've been doing snake rescues, relocating them to a patch of woods behind my house. Venomous or non, it didn't matter.
Now, I have 3 grandchildren that want to explore my environs, so that pretty much eliminates the idea of bringing venomous snakes home. I wish I had a local Ross Allen that would take them off my hands and make use of their venom.
They don't know about the room upstairs which houses 5 Burmese Pythons either -- 3 have been with me for 23 years.
I love my grandchildren but I hate making changes. I'll be glad when they are old enough to teach them snake recognition.

Steve


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Great story Acorn. I wish more would send a message to young people in the same way.
I did grow up helping clean rabbits and even squirrels. It saddened me because I am an animal lover, but we ate them. We also fished a lot and I loved it and also loved catching ones big enough to be worth keeping and eating. I never did turn into a hunter, but I respect those who hunt.
On the other hand,
There is no excuse for killing something just to kill something. Great lesson with the vulture.
Steve, I do feel some guilt over killing a copperhead. I was just afraid and worried, with no phone and the nearest hospital over 10 mi. away. Otherwise I would have let her go about her business.


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Just a note for Acorn and others..

There actually is a way for wildlife to cross highways without fear of cars in some parts of the world. In Alberta, in the Banff National Park there are a series of highway overpasses built specifically for animals to use. In many parts of BC we also have fences that run beside the highway with only one way access IN TO the wilderness, AWAY from the highway. Humans can easily come out though. The Coquihala highway is one such example. I am posting a link to the wikipedia that shows the overpasses.. apparently used extensively and with much success in the Netherlands as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wildlife Overpass Crossing


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RE: to kill or not to kill (2nd comment)

... and here is a picture/info on our one way wildlife gates/fencing..

Here is a link that might be useful: Wildlife Gates / Fencing


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Well.... there was a nasty spider on the gas pump last night as I was filling up my car. He/she was building a web. I am terrified of spiders normally. This time a peace came over me and I admired it for the beautiful spot in the web of life that it held and left it alone realizing that I didn't create his/her life and I have no authority to take it just because I feel like it. I felt great!


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RE: to kill or not to kill

Killing is a function of Nature----every animal has to kill to survive. Some kill plants and some kill other animals. Some plants kill to survive.

The difference is we---humans---are the only species---that we can prove----that has questions. Every other animal/plant runs on instinct and asks not whether it should/should not kill.

Some animals even kill for reasons other than survival. We don't know why, but monkeys, lions, dolphins, and several other species have been observed killing for no obvious reason.

So, the issue of kill/don't kill is totally a human fabrication. We have teeth developed to be omnivorious---designed to eat meat and plants. We were clearly designed to eat meat. What reason is there for us not to do so?

Trophys. I know of people who grow plants solely for trophies---what is the difference between that and mounting a head on a wall?

One more thing. Destruction of species. That has happened naturally for millions of years. By natural occurances, disease, or catastrophic events. The dinosaurs did not suddenly die out, it took a very long time----longer than the time humans have been capable of causing it.

In my humble opinion, people who agonize over Mans Inhumanity to Nature need to find meaningful work so they have less time to think silly thoughts.


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Hmm, if you think it is a silly thought, then why spend the time responding?

As far as the difference between trophy plants and a head on the wall. That's pretty obvious: The plant is nutured and kept alive, the other is killed. That is really a silly comparision.

Also, your mention of the extinction of dinosaurs... Science has never been able to answer why or how the dinosaurs became extinct. There are many theories, but nothing definite. You speak of their extinction taking place over a long period of time as an abolute. That is just not the case!

However, science has proven that humans have been the direct cause to the extinction or endangering of certain species.

And, as far as your theory that humans are designed to eat meat because of our teeth shows how little you know on this topic. There is much more that encompasses the make up of a carnivore/omnivore, which actually has far more to do with their ability to *physically* hunt down prey & their anatomy. The human anatomy is very close to that of herbivore and dratically different from that of a carnivore.

Humans must cook the majority of their meat to make it safe for our consumption. I hardly think that makes it natural. In fact, studies have shown that a diet consisting of high meat and animal fat can lead to certain diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic.

In addition, scientists believe that early humans did not consume meat.

I really don't want to bore everyone with the list of what makes a omni/carni/herbivore. However, if requested I will list.

Btw, no, I'm not a vegetarian.


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Well, since we can also digest meat---then we were designed---or evolved--to be able to eat it. And there is ample scientific evidence humans hunted with as much efficiency as animal carnivores. If we have to cook our meat---explain sushi and steak tartar---just to name a couple raw meat dishes. We cook it more for taste than any other reason.

My mother has been a careful eater all her life---her 5 of body fat at 87 was 4%. She ate far more veggies than any kind of meat---a ratio of 3 to one(veggies to meat), yet she had high cholesterol and clogged arteries.

My speaking of the extinction of dinosaurs happening over a long time comes from science. Oh, the early humans eating plants more than meat. True---until they learned to hunt effectively----they got much more protein from meat than veggies---just as we do.

Now, humans have eliminated some species---and will probably do so to more. The point is this---we are part of the Earth--Nature---Gaea---however you wish to quantify it. That means what we do is natural. If we did not eliminate the passenger pigeons in the early part of the last century, it would have happened in the next cataclysmical event befalling Earth. None of us get out alive.


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I don't have a ton of time to elaborate right now...

However, I do want to say that, yes, some of the theories of the extinction of dinosaurs state that it happended over a long period of time. Other theories state that it was immediate, such as the asteriod theory. Keep in mind, these are just theories and not proven or fact. So to state as a fact that the extinction of dinosaurs happened over a long period of time is grossly inaccurate.

As far as what we do as natural, I really have to disagree. IMO, I think humans are the most unnatural things on this planet. Look at what we have done... Hiroshima, The Holocaust, World Wars, etc., etc.

Yes, we can eat meat and we can eat it raw. (I am not speaking of seafood, just meat!) It doesn't mean it is food for us or that our systems are designed for it. We can also digest lard, paper and poisonous plants, it doesn't mean they are good for us.

The Massai Tribe from Kenya eat wild hunted meat and have the worst life expectancy in the world.

Now lets look at the animals that are closest to us in anatomy: Prinmates. Jane Goodall found through her extensive research that it was extremly rare for primates to eat meat. A Havard Study that I have linked to below has a chart of primates eating habits and it does NOT list meat!

Also, there are many factors of our anatomy that are far more developed as an herbivore. First off, our intestines are several times our body length. It is neccassary for a carnivores to be much shorter (only 3 times their body length) as to pass decaying meat quickly. Also, our stomach acid is 20 times weaker then that of a carnivores! Our salvia is alkaline as opposed to acid as that of a carnivores.

BTW, our "Canine Teeth" are not really like a "canines." Infact, herbivores such as gorillas and horses possess the same "canine teeth."

And lets not forget that Medical Science has proven that the more meat we eat the more we suffer from diabetes (type 2), heart disease, cancer, etc., etc.

Flat out, medical science has proven that we are not optimized for eating meat!

I could go on and on... but I won't bore you!

Cheers - S

Here is a link that might be useful: Harvard Study


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Since we evolved---or were put here by Divine Design---(A whole 'nother discussion)---our presence has to be 'natural'.

That means whatever we do is 'natural'.

Now, what we did on the moon is unnatural---we were aliens there. When we get to Mars/where ever, everything we do there is unnatural---we will be aliens.

I'm not saying many of the things humans have done were right, good, or sensible----just natural, like an earthquake or hurricane.

I used terms that were inconsistant in referring to the demise of the dinosaurs. A long time meant decades---and in the context of millions of years, decades are merely a blip. But, species of dinosaurs disappeared and others arose---time and evolution causing the changes.

Mankind has the ability to effect change much faster. Naturally.


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So by that deduction you believe that cloning is natural and the life created by it is natural?


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Yes, but then I am not constrained by restrictive religious beliefs.

I am not in favor of cloning entire organisims---too many societal problems currently will be a problem.

And I am not saying just because a human does something, it is good. Far from that---many things we do are horrific.

But, they are natural.


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I, too, am not (at all) religious. Personally, I have no problem with cloning. (interestingly, my husband who is a strict atheist does have a prob w/ it!) However, I do not view it as natural.

Obviously this is a matter of opinion & I have to disagree that just because we are makes us natural.


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Do we really digest meat? I think I heard the doctors on Oprah say that it just rots in our system and that we never really fully digest it.


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Yeah, I get my scientific information from the Oprah show----sheesh!!!!!


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Hey, Hey! Be nice!

Vaacuumfreak said that he possibly heard "DOCTORS" on the Oprah show state this. I certainly think M.D.'s can be considered a reputable source!


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If God didn't want us to eat cows, he wouldn't have made them out of steak.


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Yeah.... I didn't say Oprah said it. I said a doctor said it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Well, this is what I saw....


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"People think nothing of smacking a mosquito, hoeing the head of a snake (venemous or otherwise), or holding a magnifying glass over an ant on a sunny day so it burns to a crisp."
I have done all of the above in my lifetime.............
"I wonder who these people are? Future serial killers or deranged robots?"
And I am neither of these!


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