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Is it natural to kill animals for food?

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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    PROTIP: Instincts are not ever present; they surface when they're needed.

    People do not hunt because they do not have to, if they had to I don't think they'd be sat around debating it's morality.
    namaste wrote:
    Just because we have been doing something for hundreds of thousands of years does not mean that it is an instinct.

    When it appears throughout human history in all cultures and civilizations, even those that never had any contact with each other or were continuations of earlier ones, I think it's safe to say it's instinctual behaviour.

    I've not been paying much attention to this thread but I'm pretty sure there's been alot of comments to the effect of "Well humans have been killing each other since the dawn of time does that mean that's an instinct too?" Damn right it is. We're all capable of killing we've just not been in a situation where we've had to. We've also got other instincts that can override each other depending on the situation. Empathy is also human instinct, one that generally gets thrown out the window in regards to 'little fluffy bunnies' when all you've got is a few berries and handful of grass seeds to eat.

    Hunting is nothing to do with power and dominance, it's not a kinky sex game. For me it's more about being sneaky and blending in with the environment than running up to an animal and dominating it over the head with a hammer. It's not some cock-waving feminist pop psychology sort of thing. It is not ONE specfic instinct either, it's the outcome of a number of instincts, survival, to kill, to accomplish something for your tribe family (to feed them); a sort of test of self-worth even.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Don't know if anyone has noticed, but this debate has changed from is it natural to kill animals, to what do the terms instict, natural, etc. mean... which although I'm sure is important is a bit academic for me. Like discussing proper grammar usage. I think it was clear what the original question was :/
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Don't know if anyone has noticed, but this debate has changed from is it natural to kill animals, to what do the terms instict, natural, etc. mean... which although I'm sure is important is a bit academic for me. Like discussing proper grammar usage. I think it was clear what the original question was :/

    It wasn't that clear if none of us can agree what we mean when we say 'natural'.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It wasn't that clear if none of us can agree what we mean when we say 'natural'.

    Is it normal human behaviour, basically. Instinct isn't entirely something else though. When Namaste say we hunt because it makes us feel good for exercise and to dominate an animal, she was probably right - but that's part of our instincts, to want to dominate. Instinct is just the way we feel at a very basic level, like if someone points a gun at you instinctively you feel fear. Instinctively if you smell food you feel hungry. Natural behaviour and instinct often go hand in hand - like eating good food - but instinct is just one little facet and we shouldn't explain away things as 'its just instinct'.

    I think instinct is too simple to control something like hunting. It is, however, a completely natural behaviour, though in modern society there is no need for it. We have evolved through natural selection to be good hunters - look at any animal and the ones with the most developed social structures tend to be predators because cooperation is important. I only say that because I got obsessed with wolves because they are so f*cking clever!! The reason we are who we are is because naturally we evolved to work together, to hunt together, to forage together, to protect each and so on.

    Thing is, part of the domination thing, I believe it's also natural for an alpha male to want to erm 'breed' with a female in many cases, but in today's society that is something we call rape and something that is definately wrong and we understand that to be wrong, and it's not like we get the urge to rape and suppress it, we just.. don't. So whether something can be explained by looking at our base instincts which can easily contradict each other misses the bigger question of whether it is right to do these things which is a much more complicated question...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Is it normal human behaviour, basically. Instinct isn't entirely something else though. When Namaste say we hunt because it makes us feel good for exercise and to dominate an animal, she was probably right - but that's part of our instincts, to want to dominate. Instinct is just the way we feel at a very basic level, like if someone points a gun at you instinctively you feel fear. Instinctively if you smell food you feel hungry. Natural behaviour and instinct often go hand in hand - like eating good food - but instinct is just one little facet and we shouldn't explain away things as 'its just instinct'.

    I think instinct is too simple to control something like hunting. It is, however, a completely natural behaviour, though in modern society there is no need for it. We have evolved through natural selection to be good hunters - look at any animal and the ones with the most developed social structures tend to be predators because cooperation is important. I only say that because I got obsessed with wolves because they are so f*cking clever!! The reason we are who we are is because naturally we evolved to work together, to hunt together, to forage together, to protect each and so on.

    Thing is, part of the domination thing, I believe it's also natural for an alpha male to want to erm 'breed' with a female in many cases, but in today's society that is something we call rape and something that is definately wrong and we understand that to be wrong, and it's not like we get the urge to rape and suppress it, we just.. don't. So whether something can be explained by looking at our base instincts which can easily contradict each other misses the bigger question of whether it is right to do these things which is a much more complicated question...

    I take the view that everything we do is an abstraction of some base instinct. Like I mentioned earlier I don't think hunting is one instinct in itself but the outcome of a combination of instincts. There's no such thing as normal human behaviour, there's been such a wide difference in cultures and even individuals that there is no criteria for what's 'normal' anymore. What we can do though is look at behaviour as abstractions of instincts to make a judgement on what's 'natural'. Not all instincts are simple biological action/reaction mechanisms like feeling fear in the face of a gun, that itself could even be considered an extension of the instinct of self preservation not the instinct itself. War could be an abstraction of self-preservation instincts, it could also be an abstraction of desires to differentiate oneself as an alpha male (look ladies I'm a war hero!) to impress potential mates. We've also got an innate instinct for empathy with other humans so some of us might not want wars, much like some of us might not want to go around raping even though we've got the instinct too. Instinct is far more complex in it's expression and abstraction than you're maybe giving credit for.

    I just think things are too abstract to dismiss as unnatural or natural, or that the term even has a tangible meaning. One man hunting might be expressing an abstraction of a different set of instincts than the man hunting right beside him. One of them might genuinely like dominating animals and inflicting pain on them, one might just be trying to impress people and improve his social status amongst his peers with all his deer heads on his wall, one might be starving and just wanting to self-preserve.

    People also have stronger instincts in some areas than other people, some people might lack an instinct all together for example 'empathy' and we'll call them psychopaths. Whatever the case, 'natural' is a useless term.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Thing is, part of the domination thing, I believe it's also natural for an alpha male to want to erm 'breed' with a female in many cases, but in today's society that is something we call rape and something that is definately wrong and we understand that to be wrong, and it's not like we get the urge to rape and suppress it, we just.. don't. So whether something can be explained by looking at our base instincts which can easily contradict each other misses the bigger question of whether it is right to do these things which is a much more complicated question...

    It might be a good idea to be careful where you say this, some people can be uptight. Also does it explain the fact that in many cases of rape, the people involved in it know each other?

    This is a bit long-winded but relevant: http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/rape_stats.html

    I will read the vegan article when I get the time, but am concerned it could be biased.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    People also have stronger instincts in some areas than other people, some people might lack an instinct all together for example 'empathy' and we'll call them psychopaths. Whatever the case, 'natural' is a useless term.

    Ok, maybe natural is the wrong word. Do you think 'instinctual' makes more sense?

    Instinct 1a an innate, usually fixed, pattern of behaviour in most animals in response to certain stimuli.

    1b a similar propensity in human beings to act without conscious intention; innate impulsion

    2 (usually followed by for) unconscious skill; intuition

    instinctual is the adjective of this.

    Personally, I don't think it is instinctual in this case, because otherwise people would kill animals without even thinking about it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think it's a fair point that practically everyone in this thread lives in a society that lacks the stimuli that would cause us to kill animals for food, that does not mean they wouldn't instinctually hunt when placed in an environment where the stimulation exists.

    The type of 'instinct' I refer to is the more technical definition, which makes a distinction between reflex and instinct. Here's a definition from a science dictionary:
    nstinct (?n'st?ngkt') Pronunciation Key
    An inherited tendency of an organism to behave in a certain way, usually in reaction to its environment and for the purpose of fulfilling a specific need. The development and performance of instinctive behavior does not depend upon the specific details of an individual's learning experiences. Instead, instinctive behavior develops in the same way for all individuals of the same species or of the same sex of a species. For example, birds will build the form of nest typical of their species although they may never have seen such a nest being built before. Some butterfly species undertake long migrations to wintering grounds that they have never seen. Behavior in animals often reflects the influence of a combination of instinct and learning. The basic song pattern of many bird species is inherited, but it is often refined by learning from other members of the species. Dogs that naturally seek to gather animals such as sheep or cattle into a group are said to have a herding instinct, but the effective use of this instinct by the dog also requires learning on the dog's part. Instinct, as opposed to reflex, is usually used of inherited behavior patterns that are more complex or sometimes involve a degree of interaction with learning processes.

    It's worth noting I usually think about what I'm eating/drinking, but that doesn't mean eating is not an instinct.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    WLH wrote: »
    It might be a good idea to be careful where you say this, some people can be uptight. Also does it explain the fact that in many cases of rape, the people involved in it know each other?

    This is a bit long-winded but relevant: http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/rape_stats.html

    I will read the vegan article when I get the time, but am concerned it could be biased.

    Don't want to get into that debate now but look at pretty much any animal using sex to show power / dominance is pretty common - so we can make a good case to argue there is some instinct in us that makes us want to do that. But I believe instinct is so deep that we can overrule it very easily. I believe when you're in a fast car and get that thrill of excitement / fear - that is instinct. It didn't compell you to drive fast, you made that decision. I happen to disagree that every male is a potential rapist because it is easy for us to do what is right. I mean, another example would be it's instinct to bash someones head open for a whole host of reasons but 99% of the population can rise above that and even don't notice those instincts at all because of what is natural for them. It's also possible for instincts to contradict with each other. I don't think any animal except maybe an ant works on instinct alone, you start to see how simple a feeling it is..

    So we seperate instinct from something being natural and in turn something being natural from something being right. It's your instinct to enjoy eating meat as it's got good nutrients in it, it's natural to go out and find meat to eat - I think it's hard to argue with those bits - so like I said, the question is: Is it right to eat meat?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There is no such thing as anything and we're all vibrating atoms in emptiness. Can we all agree on that?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Do you mean animals only, or anything living? Because people go on about how they don't like people killing living things for food in mass amounts, yet they kill plants.

    It's not natural the way we farm them, and kill them, the natural way would be to go hunting ourselves with spears and such.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    JavaKrypt wrote: »
    Do you mean animals only, or anything living? Because people go on about how they don't like people killing living things for food in mass amounts, yet they kill plants.

    It's not natural the way we farm them, and kill them, the natural way would be to go hunting ourselves with spears and such.

    I did mean animals originally, but I'm ok with moving this debate to plants as well.

    I would be interested to know about farming practices on plants? If this is true, I think we're all jiggered!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yerascrote wrote: »
    There is no such thing as anything and we're all vibrating atoms in emptiness. Can we all agree on that?

    Try saying that to someone with a loaded gun and see what answer you get.... actually, on second thoughts, don't! :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »

    So we seperate instinct from something being natural and in turn something being natural from something being right. It's your instinct to enjoy eating meat as it's got good nutrients in it, it's natural to go out and find meat to eat - I think it's hard to argue with those bits - so like I said, the question is: Is it right to eat meat?

    This all depends on what you define by right or wrong, the whole point of ethics. The trouble is that no-one can agree on this!
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