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Tue, Sep. 8th, 2009, 02:40 am
WTF of the day

a movie about a man living in the midst of tel-aviv, who has (at least) 32 wives and 89 children and the authorities are unable to do anything about it.

W.T.F?!

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b

Consent is only required from humans. A dead body is an object. No moral problem copulating with it, any more than copulating with a chair. A cat is an animal. On principle, I am against torturing animals, especially cats, dogs, and other semi-intelligent animals. But think about this: currently in most Western societies it's considered ok to castrate a cat against his will. It's ok to drown kittens (doesn't that make you shudder?). It's ok to deprive a cat of freedom and even to murder it (that's what happens to stray cats. If no master is found they are murdered in ponds.) It's ok to force a cat to breed with another cat he or she did not choose. In emergencies cats are killed and eaten. But somehow it's not ok to have sex with it? Something is inconsistent here.

There are two solutions here:
1. We acknowledge all animals to be worthy of protection.
Enforced vegetarianism ensues.
Only consenting animals (consent being given through ritual sexual displays. Fortunately most animals have those) are fair game.

2. We do not acknowledge that animals are worthy of protection.
Humane slaughter laws are replaced with humane buying practices (similar to "buy green" and "buy American" campaigns).
People indulging in animal torture are (hopefully) social outcasts, but form their own societies (similar to people in consensual master-slave relationships).

3. We acknowledge that some animals are more worthy of protection than others or worthy of protection in some ways than others. Cats obtain limited protection and are no longer castrated or sprayed. Ponds are closed. Cats control their own sexual and reproductive rights. A campaign for the rights of cows is inevitably followed by a campaign for the rights of every mammal and a large number of non-mammals. Eventually we come back to 1.

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
lotus82

Oooh, that's a whole 'nother discussion that we could be having for a year =)
Lets just say that I agree with you on most points, and have anecdata to share regarding spaying and drowning kittens. I won't go into the pros of spaying/neutering, suffice it to say that my mother in law is a vet and I've seen my fair share of abandoned pregnant cats [house cat gets knocked up, owners show her the door] and very sick kittens who have no mommy, or their mommy had them at the age of 8 months and can't care for them. Anyway, a few years ago, when I was still living with my parents, I was spending the weekend at my then-boyfriend's [now he's my husband] house and his mom brought home this cat from the clinic who was really sick, and me and the cat hit it off and I decided to adopt her. I needed to obtain my parents' permission, so we talked about it at length, and one of the things my dad said was, "what will we do with the kittens she'll have". Now, Penny was already spayed, and I told him so. He said, "oh, how inhumane". I said, "ok, lets say she wasn't spayed, what do YOU propose to do with the kittens she'll have twice a year?" My dad says, "drown them, of course". I exclaimed, "and that's more humane than spaying?!"
[I did adopt Penny and she had a wonderful life with me, though it was short, as she died from renal failure.]

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: :)

Oh, do let's have it! It's fun arguing with you, and we're close to the end of the other discussion.

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
lotus82: Re: :)

Alright, and thanks =)

Well, I obviously think it's wrong to drown kittens. And I think it's wrong that ponds/shelters put animals to sleep because no one adopts them, but I do understand why that happens. My mother in law is a vet and works in a shelter - Tzaar Baalei Chaim at Atarot, near Jerusalem. To say they are overpopulated is to say nothing. They don't put them to sleep, though, somehow my MIL manages to put a lot of cats in homes and she herself adopted about 15 or so, plus she fosters literally mountains of kittens. But there are cats that you just KNOW nobody's going to adopt. When I just met John [hubby], one of their foster kitties was Mole, this really fluffy, friendly female cat. Mole was blind as a result of having eye infections as a kitten on the streets. At some point she became incontinent, too, which may have been a result of a physical issue [though all the tests came back clear] or may have been a result of the fact that even in a home she lived in for months, she was unable to locate the litterbox in time, due to being blind in both eyes. Now, who would have adopted Mole? A blind, incontinent cat? [Blind is less an issue here - many people would adopt a blind one - but incontinence is something no one would put up with.] John wouldn't tell me, but I suspect Mole was put to sleep. Otherwise, the shelter really couldn't take care of her for a decade or more, and throwing her out on the streets would have been much more cruel than a shot.
What I'm saying is, sometimes there's no option more humane than euthanasia, when it comes to an "unadoptable" animal.
Of course, I am aware that in the Tel Aviv Tzaar Baalei Chaim, they give them the shot if the animal isn't adopted within X days. Do I agree with it? No. But I understand why that happens. They don't have neither the money nor the manpower to handle an army of cats and dogs for an extended period of time.
Now this is where we get to spaying and neutering. Obviously there are more animals out there than there are good, loving homes for them. I am not knowledgeable enough of canine reproductive schedule, but a female cat first goes in heat when she's 5-6 months old and then every 5-6 months of her life. Each heat, if satisfied, leads to a pregnancy. The first usually results in a smaller than usual amount of kittens - 2-3 - but then they run higher. A cat would produce at least 10 kittens on a yearly basis. And the number grows geometrically.
And we don't have enough homes, yes? We have the street, where they starve, get sick [we just lost one of the strays we take care of, we loved her dearly], get injured and die. We have the shelters, which we've already discussed.
So we do need to limit their population, really, for their own sake. Because otherwise it's starvation and sickness. And the only birth control available is spaying/neutering.
[For dogs, by the way, there are certain shots - I remember when I had a dog, she received them. Once every 6 months and she's not going to go into heat for 6 months. The problem is that it's high doses of hormones = cancer risk, and you can only give 3 of them without risking the dog's health. So it basically gives you time until you decide whether you will breed the dog or spay, but it's not a lifetime solution.]
Sadly, we don't have the pill or the condom for cats, do we? [Imagine trying to put a condom on a cat =)]

As for breeding cats, I am SO opposed to it, but this comment is long enough already =)

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: :)

I also understand why it's done and agree that it's the best way available. Oral contraception is better. It exists, btw, for cats, and is likely to get more wide-spread. Check out http://www.acc-d.org/About and http://www.petpublishing.com/catkit/articles/oral.shtml

But this is the key difference between cats and people. If I were Mole I believe I would have preferred to take my chances on the street. After all, she survived to adulthood as a blind cat, if I understand you correctly. And even given that those were no chances at all - if we assume cats to be individuals we must not choose "humane" over "respectful". Many people are better off dead, in my opinion, but I rarely kill them.

The moment we say that it's ok to do something to someone "for their own sake", but without their consent, we're saying that they are not someone, but something. And once we say that, why shouldn't we eat it, have sex with it, or make a lampshade out of its skin?

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
lotus82: Re: :)

Hmmm, I'll ask my mother in law about the oral contraceptives. Our two cats are spayed, but I'd like to hear her opinion anyway. But still - you can give them to your housecat [and good luck =)], but you won't be able to give them to strays.

Mole was about 7 months old when she had to go back to the shelter - not an adult at all. Blind cats do quite well in homes, actually - first and foremost, because it's a safe environment. They don't need to fight with other animals for survival or for food, and there are no cars to run them over. They use their sense of smell to learn where their food and litterbox are and after a short adjustment period, they can be very happy at home. Lets put it this way - if one of my girls goes blind, that's not a reason for euthanasia. On the street, though, it's a different story. Mole would not have survived long and would have died shortly of starvation [or a car]. So maybe the respectful thing to do would have been to put her out by the nearest trash can, but that would have meant a prolonged, slow and painful death. She would have died anyway, lets just be blunt about it. So why not save her that pain? Why not prevent the suffering?
And we shouldn't eat/fuck/make lampshades out of "something" because we are aware that that particular "something" feels pain and suffers. Why would a sane person knowingly cause suffering?
[This is where we venture into vegetarianism, yes? =)]

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
talash: Re: :)

And we shouldn't eat/fuck/make lampshades out of "something" because we are aware that that particular "something" feels pain and suffers. Why would a sane person knowingly cause suffering?
[This is where we venture into vegetarianism, yes? =)]


because he may put his own joy above the suffering of a "thing."

e.g. I will enjoy my hamburger even if the cow suffered and if the choice was between not having the cow suffer and me not to have the hamburger, I'd have the hamburger any time. Moreover I do not care much for the cow's suffering and do not want to investigate whether the cow that is now my hamburger suffered or not. Furthermore, I don't like people investigating the suffering of cows which hamburgers are made of, because this invariably tends to increase the price of said hamburger.

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
lotus82: Re: :)

Well, I understand eating animals. Food chain, health reasons, etc. Plus we kind of need to eat to survive, yes?
But we don't need to fuck animals in order to survive, right? We don't need to make lampshades out of them, right?

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
talash: Re: :)

What is "to need?" We don't "need" to eat meat in order to survive either; we may perfectly well do without, being vegetarian etc. I eat meat because I like meat and enjoy it. Why shouldn't someone fuck animals if he likes it and enjoys it?

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
lotus82: Re: :)

I will pull out the "health conditions" card again. There are diseases which limit your diet quite severely; if you limit it further by becoming vegetarian, or even worse, vegan, you're at a very serious risk of becoming malnourished.
Sex, on the other hand, is not a survival prerequisite in the way nutrition is.

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: :)

So, do you believe that everyone who does not have these conditions should be a vegetarian?

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:42 pm (UTC)
lotus82: Re: :)

Would be a good idea if they were, yes. But again, this is not something that can be written up as a law.

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: :)

Forget laws, for a while, they are too connected with politics. Do you consider it a moral obligation of all humans to stop using all animal products that are not directly necessary for their survival (not health. survival.) ?

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
lotus82: Re: :)

I think it's a moral obligation of every single person to do their bit to minimize suffering.
However, "doing their bit" has about a million definitions. I say that some people have to eat meat for health reasons and that in Siberia, for example, people have to wear fur and leather because otherwise they'll freeze. Some people would say, fuck the animals, who gives a crap. I've also encountered fanatic vegans who claimed that I personally should stop taking my medications because they contain animal ingredients and were tested on animals; when I said I would die without them, they claimed I should rather die than take those meds. [It was a guy who used to be buddies with my husband; when that guy told me about how if I'm a "true" vegetarian, I have to die and not take my meds, I asked him if he's willing to repeat that claim face-to-face with my husband. He shut up.]
Basically - lets minimize the damage we're doing, lets not be fanatical about it.

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
talash: Re: :)

I think it's a moral obligation of every single person to do their bit to minimize suffering.

Why?

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Veganism and survival

It's possible to wear cotton wool and synthetic fabrics in Siberia, and in any case "not freezing" comes under the heading of "survival". Would you say, that it's wrong to live in Siberia if you cannot do so without wearing fur? Should they move? Work extra to afford synthetics? Have fewer children to minimize the need for clothing? I've given you survival. Let's discuss convenience.

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: :)

O reason not the need! Our basest beggars are in the poorest thing superfluous.
We eat meat and wear leather and keep hamsters and make feathered lampshades because we enjoy it.

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: :)

The whole point of the second link is a program for providing oral contraceptives to strays :)
Still wrong, if it were applied to humans, but better than spraying.

"So why not save her that pain? Why not prevent the suffering? "
Rem acu tetigisti. No reason, but if she were human there would be. We respect humans, and respect means allowing them choices (such as a choice to suffer) with which we disagree or which we consider unpleasant. This ties in neatly to the gun control argument I'm having with Talash lower down. He is not convinced of the right to make stupid choices with guns.

And yes, this is where we venture into vegetarianism and into keeping pets in general, and into using animals to work, and into animal sports, and definitely into breeding.

But before we do, I'd like to make a short aside, and specify that not every something feels pain when you fuck it. For instance, in the recent US case where a group of guys were arrested after one of them died following sex with a stallion, the stallion did not feel any pain whatsoever. In fact, he probably enjoyed it. Stallions are not particular that way. It is also possible to arrange for painless sexual congress with a cat. One could also argue that any sexual intercourse is painful to a female cat (as Desmond Morris said "observe a cat penis under a microscope" - the thing is barbed. Seriously.) and therefore one kind of pain is no different from another. So - would you agree that it's ok to have painless sex with a cat?

Now back to vegetarianism - we cause suffering and imprisonment (the two are different. Humans are also able to enjoy slavery.) to animals for our benefit. A domesticated animal is, in essence, a combined slave and food source. We are facing two questions here:
1. Is it ok to keep non-human slaves? (I assume you're against human ones)
2. Is it ok to be cruel to one's slaves (up to and including using them as a food source) if it pleases one?

I believe that, given a positive answer to 1 the answer to 2 must be positive. Sure, it's good to be kind to one's slaves, but that's different from saying that it's bad to be unkind, because unkindness becomes merely a matter of degree.

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
lotus82: Re: :)

One could also argue that any sexual intercourse is painful to a female cat (as Desmond Morris said "observe a cat penis under a microscope" - the thing is barbed. Seriously.) and therefore one kind of pain is no different from another. So - would you agree that it's ok to have painless sex with a cat?

Yes, I know a cat's penis is barbed =) This one time my husband explained the whole thing in detail to me, including how this particular anatomy assists in conceiving kittens.
And you know what - if you can prove to me that having a particular kind of sex with a cat would not hurt or inconvenience it in any way, fine.

A domesticated animal is, in essence, a combined slave and food source.
Are we talking about cows and chickens or cats and dogs? Because in my household, we have two humans and two cats. If anyone's enslaved, it's the humans =) [By the way, our younger one, Sophie, has a birthday tomorrow =)]

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Cats as slaves

Congratulations! :))))

Nonetheless, any domesticated animal is a slave and a food source. In a besieged city historically horses disappear before cats, cats before rats, and rats before humans.

It is possible for an owner to cater to a slave's whims. Among medieval Arabs, for instance, it was fashionable to fall in love with slave girls and court them with poetry, gifts, and adoration. (The poetry is how we know this. Some great pieces there. "I am a slave of a slave" was a cliche.) Of course, eventually the girl succumbed (here's where we discuss consensual sex with cats. I recommend oral.), and after a while her owner became bored and sold her. Similarly, a person who, today, pets a cat and spends their income on state-of-the-art fake mice for her, might, tomorrow, give it away if he develops an allergy or marries a cat-hater, or simply falls out of love with the cat for whatever reason.

Or, if you dislike the presumption that they might fall out of love, consider a society where brides are bought, and receive a life-long position as wife, unimpeachable. Nonetheless, their husband will not consult them on how many children they wish to have, where they wish to live, what they wish to cook (and whether) or on any other decision that might affect them. This is also similar to a cat's position. These women are slaves, they are prevented from leaving. Cats are also prevented from leaving. In both cases they face similar circumstances if they run away. In both cases some people argue that women/cats are actually in a preferable position. We would not accept this arrangement for ourselves, but do not mind it for cats. Why? Because we assume them to be less protection-worthy.

Of course, here's where you can trip me up by comparing cats to children or mentally deficient adults. If you do I will ask you to distinguish cats from horses :)

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 07:46 pm (UTC)
lotus82: Re: Cats as slaves

here's where we discuss consensual sex with cats. I recommend oral.

Have you ever put your face anywhere near a cat's ass??? The smell can kill you!

In a way, cats ARE like children. We're* choosing our apartments considering not only our needs, but Ginger and Sophie's needs as well, and we've actually decided not to rent a perfectly awesome place just because there wasn't a good place for the litterbox in it. We're catproofing our home, taking great care to prevent them from getting into meds or cleaning supplies, and trying to foresee and prevent situations where they might be hurt [screens on windows are an example]. We're keeping to a vaccination schedule. We're watching their intake and output and at first sign of trouble, they are taken to a vet. We're getting them catsitters if we are away for 24 hours or more. And the list goes on =)
And honestly? In my next reincarnation, I hope to come back as a housecat, because judging by my two lazy bitches, damn, it must be good =)

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Cats as slaves

I warned you, didn't I? Now please, tell me how a cat is more equal than a horse or a cow or a bird. Or tell me it's never ok to use labor or products of horses or cows unless it's absolutely necessary for survival (not "survival in a place you can't move away from without inconvenience, like Siberia". Just survival.)

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
lotus82: Re: Cats as slaves

I don't think cat is more equal, it's just that obviously I've been raised in a culture where a cat is an indoors animal while everything else [barring parakeets] is an outdoor one, so of course I bond more with cats.
As for your third sentence, I don't think I know enough about how horses and cows are beneficiary to humans to actually argue anything there. I've never been to a farm and I come from a large Ukrainian city, I've never even been to an "ogorod".

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Cats as slaves

So, is the distinction between indoor animals and outdoor animals, with protections for cats and hamsters and "anything goes" for goats and sheepdogs? OK to ride and breed horses, but cat breeding is a bad thing? Leather for couches is fine, but catguts for violin strings are out? What about feral cats - is it ok to rape and eat a feral cat, but not an indoor one? Let's review this distinction.

Thu, Sep. 10th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)
lotus82: Re: Cats as slaves

If there's a distinction, it's purely a cultural one. I'm an urban girl who's never been in contact with a horse; all I'm saying is, I've been conditioned to relate more to a certain animal. Had I been raised in a different place, I'd relate more to a different animal.
In any case, no, breeding is wrong no matter what animal it is, and no, leather couches are not fine. Honestly, I kind of respect a person less if they have a leather couch. And no - not ok to rape or eat a feral cat.