Looking for the Furry Vegetarians

This article was first published in 2012

In 2008, Klisoura’s furry survey asked “Would you describe yourself as an advocate of animal rights?”. 43% of you chose ‘yes’.

In surveys from 2009 onwards, Klisoura asks exactly the same question but only 27% of you choose ‘yes’. What changed?: in 2009, a new question was added on the following line: “Would you describe yourself as a vegetarian?”

This is an example of a phenomenon known in the psychology world as ‘priming’. When asked about animal rights and vegetarianism together, the thoughts of some users will have been drawn to their latest bacon sandwich and decided that, no, they weren’t an animal rights advocate.

My favourite example of priming is a study that investigated voting patterns in Arizona in the 2000 election. That year, there was a proposition to increase school funding. Support for the proposition was significantly greater when the polling station was in a school, compared to support at other nearby polling stations.

It’s natural to disbelieve the effect of priming in the furry survey, or in the Arizona school district examples. It suggests that we are all susceptible to change our opinion based our immediate surroundings. However priming is a common phenomenon and there are many examples: the science is unarguable.

The results in the furry survey could have been skewed in the other direction of course: if the question about vegetarianism were replaced by “Do you support the prosecution of negligent pet owners?”, the number of animal rights advocates would have gone up.

The large priming effect in the furry survey demonstrates two things:

  1. It’s very difficult to write a survey, especially when you’re asking for opinions.
  2. Many people see a link between caring for animals, and choosing to eat them. This apparently simple connection is surprisingly controversial to many people.

I am vegetarian and I’m keenly aware that nobody likes a holier-than-thou attitude. The intent of this article is not to advocate vegetarianism. So let me get a few things off my chest:

  • Meat is delicious. It’s delicious because the human body has evolved to take advantage of the copious nutrients in meat.
  • But you don’t need meat to be healthy. Studies of vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian Hindus show no significant difference in life expectancy. (Western vegetarians live longer than non-vegetarians but this may be due to other lifestyle choices, such as smoking.)

Being vegetarian can be a hassle and requires vigilance. As far as I am concerned, the convenience and deliciousness of an omnivorous diet is a good enough reason to eat meat. It’s just not for me.

Some vegetarians, like me, are ethical vegetarians. These people follow the general philosophy laid out by Peter Singer in his 1975 book, Animal Liberation. Singer’s utilitarian philosophy can be summarized simply as ‘minimize harm’. An ethical vegetarian might consider their options for a meal and decide that a vegetarian pizza does less harm than a pepperoni (which does less harm, in turn, than a meatlovers).

A key premise for Singer’s philosophy is that you must believe humans to be an animal. (This may be a problem for you if you are religious and you believe that God created man in his image.) If you accept that animals are capable of suffering, then you can weigh the suffering of those non-human animals against the suffering of a human animal. This explains why it’s okay to slap a horse but not okay to slap a baby; this also explains why animal testing of medicines is a good thing.

It seems logical to me that this reasoning would be more likely to resonate with furries, people who usually identify with or as non-human animals. Furries are much less likely to consider human beings to be a special case in the animal world, and much more likely to think about animal welfare. Consider the charities supported at furry events, or the 27%+ animal rights advocates.

So is there a higher proportion of vegetarians amongst furries? No.

  • About 4% of furries taking Klisoura’s survey “consider themselves to be vegetarian”.
  • About 4% of people in western countries identify as vegetarian.

It’s been suggested to me that meat-eating might form an important part of the identity of a furry with a carnivorous character. This may be the case for some furries, but it’s not the case in general: analysis of survey data shows that a furry with a pure-carnivore character is just as likely to be vegetarian as a furry with a pure-herbivore character.

The key to furries and vegetarianism comes down to gender bias. Anyone reading this will be keenly aware that furry is male dominated. Survey data suggests that around 80% of furries are male. (The women are also more likely to consider themselves only ‘weakly’ furry.)

This is important because, out in the non-furry world, women are twice as likely to be vegetarian than men. (If you are male and vegetarian, like I am, the question you’ll be most often asked is “so is your girlfriend vegetarian?” The correct answer, by the way, is “I reject the premise of your question”.)

In the furry world, the same ratio holds: women are twice as likely to be vegetarian than men. If you adjust the data for this gender bias (the male:female ratio is 50:50 outside furry; 80:20 inside furry), the relationship between furry and vegetarianism looks very different.

  • If you are a male furry, you are twice as likely as a male non-furry to identify as a vegetarian.
  • If you are a female furry, you are twice as likely as a female non-furry to identify as a vegetarian.

It’s probable that the gap between furries and non-furries is starker still. Incredibly, a full two-thirds of non-furries who identify as vegetarian regularly eat meat and/or fish. I suspect that furries have a far stronger grasp of the definition of ‘vegetarian’.

Even so, I remain surprised that vegetarianism isn’t more common amongst furries. The logic, while not for everyone, seems straightforward to me. I wonder if there simply isn’t the critical mass for many furries to be exposed to the idea – vegetarians certainly have a reputation for being obnoxious and evangelical.

I saw Peter Singer plugging his latest book a few years ago. He talked about the publicity and positive criticism generated by Animal Liberation back in 1975, and how he expected that vegetarianism would quickly become more commonplace. He talked about his surprise that the proportion of vegetarians has remained static since then. (Not coincidentally, his new book explores the idea of the ethical omnivore.)

So perhaps I’m being naïve. As the priming example demonstrates, none of us are purely logical beings.

About JM

JM is a horse-of-all-trades who was introduced to furry in his native Australia by the excellent group known collectively as the Perthfurs. JM now helps run [adjective][species] from London, where he is most commonly spotted holding a pint and talking nonsense.

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33 thoughts on “Looking for the Furry Vegetarians

  1. Great post. I have an anecdotal story that relates. My mate and I attended the FC2012 species panel on wolves. We’re both vegetarian. The moderator talked quite a bit about wolf conservation, but they (and the majority of the participants) talked about how great rare, bloody red meat is, in terms of a way they relate to their fursona/totems/etc. My mate is the courageous wolf, posing the question “are there any other vegetarians in the room?” One other wolf behind us, although as we chatted it seemed that his definition of vegetarianism was a little bit liberal. Thankfully, the derisive comments were minimal.

    I don’t really want to single out wolves here. Despite equines being vegetarian, I rather doubt you’d see any correlation there. Perhaps only a reduced tendency to bring up red meat in species related dialog :) On the other hand, I think it’s easier going for me as a veg, because I didn’t like meat that much to begin with before I thought about the ethical ramifications, whereas I hear lots about how much rare red meat is missed from my mate.

    BTW – “I reject the premise of your question” is pure gold. Definitely saving that one. So many blogs claim “how do you get protien” is the most common question but I’ve gotten “oh, so your mate is vegetarian?” far more frequently.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. First article equals nervous times.

      Curiously, many of there vegetarians I know are cheetahs, a pure carnivore if there ever was one. And your guess is spot on – there are very few vegetarians amongst the many equines I know. Some of them don’t even eat oats.

      1. Are you kidding? Cheetahs really need to pile on the carbs for that next run! Makes sense to me.

        Joking aside.

        I haven’t really thought much of the correlation between being furry and what I eat. I guess for me food is where I draw the line on worrying about it. Who really knows how the wolf enjoys a gin and tonic in his natural habitat?

        (The correct answer is with Hendricks gin and a cucumber garnish. But I’m a little biased.)

        Good article, use of statistics always makes me happy.

  2. For what it’s worth, despite not being a vegetarian I’m for the ethical treatment of livestock. Because of this I cannot bring myself to eat meats like veal.

  3. I’d heard about priming before, and it’s good to mention it. Good meaning socially healthy.

    We may have a means of defeating bias resulting from priming, whether that deliberate or accidental. We get survey results and tend to treat the results like they’re dissociated from any larger concept, accepting any statistics derive from the polling because, well, the whole reason we polled was to get the data we didn’t already have. So there’s nothing to compare it to for accuracy.

    Or is there? Furs being twice as likely to identify as vegetarians makes a great example of this. From what we know about the furry community, we can make an inference about that data: that furs tend to be more emotionally- or spiritually- motivated. This inference can be treated as a hypothesis, and more research will either prove it or disprove it. So by contextualizing the data and finding out whether the larger context works, we can get a better idea of whether the data itself is accurate.

    Rather than just gulping down the latest news statistics, themselves apparently presented as part of an effort to “prime” the public. Evidently, a lot of mainstream folks are actually motivated when someone tells them that “most people think [foo]”. In the absence of better information in their lives, glomming onto artificially-concocted societal trends must begin to seem like a good idea. So it’s often a self-perpetuating media-established form of psychological fettering.

    1. Pity poor Klisoura – it’s all but impossible to write a survey that isn’t subject to unintentional bias. His survey here on [a][s] (which I’m sure you’ve filled out) is as good as I’ve seen – it uses neutral language and is succinct, without cornering the responder into choosing the lesser of two evils. Unfortunately there is no way for people to answer each question in isolation.

      Of course, my analysis is biased too – by my own point of view. I believe that furries are a thoughtful (and spiritual?) group compared to the general population. Not surprisingly, my analysis of the furry survey data ‘proves’ this point.

  4. Great article, JM. You always do a good job of pulling those statistics together.

    I’m pretty much in agreement with your analysis, with the caveat that the survey picks up a high percentage of US furries, who are probably even more fast-food biased and mostly uneducated in food preparation or nutrition than those from Europe or Asia. The sample is also skewed toward the younger end of the furry spectrum even more than the furry population distribution is likewise skewed.

    Age is probably a major factor in diet, along with gender. Younger males are often accustomed to being fed rather than planning and preparing their own food (at least in the US.) I have talked with many who say they “wish” they could be vegetarian, but either they “can’t” or “don’t know how.” A few even hold the old belief that not eating meat is somehow unhealthy. Pointing out how strong a horse or an elephant is doesn’t seem to impress them.

    I am, admittedly, a very lax vegetarian. When cooking just for myself, I do not usually venture past egg or dairy product, and I do know how to prepare and manage a more vegan regime. I practiced strict vegetarianism for many years before meeting my mate of the last 30. He is not a vegetarian, and grew up in a Polish family on pretty much traditional Polish-American cuisine that focuses on the meat as the centerpiece of every meal and tends to treat “meatless” meals as a deprivation, represented by the old Friday “abstinence” of his Catholic religion.

    We both like sharing meals and mealtime, and preparing two completely different meals (as I know you often do) goes too far toward breaking that feeling of sharing for me. We also share food preparation responsibilities, and while he does quite well at cooking what he grew up with, he has difficulty imagining how to prepare a proper vegetarian meal. Instead, I have learned to relax my ethics for love, you might say. I haven’t made any specific effort to “convert” him but I do prepare vegetarian (or at least, lacto-ovo) meals quite frequently. He eats them readily and says he likes them, but he’s not willing for the most part to try to prepare them himself. So when he cooks, I eat. As you say, it doesn’t taste bad. So I just ignore any conscience twinges.

    Stereotyping applies in the animal kingdom as well, and should be considered. Horses are primarily vegetarians, but I have seen them avail themselves of unexpected foods such as bird’s eggs and even baby birds when they became available. (I have known of ponies and donkeys who would happily steal human lunches, including items such as hot dogs or luncheon meats, and devour them instantly. When I worked as a camp counselor we had free-roaming donkeys on the property who had to be closely watched at meal time.)

    Similarly, canines at least are much more opportunistic omnivores than they are the carnivore that humans seem to believe they are. All the canine species (including the fox, who is at least near-canine) eat vegetable foods such as fruits, berries, and even tubers on occasion. Domestic dogs adapt readily to a diet made up largely of vegetable sources, and our own dogs have always begged for and relished salad and raw carrots just as readily as they would accept scraps of meat.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Tivo.

      You make a couple of really good points. The best example I have of the flexibility of herbivores: I grew up with hens, and they made short work of any mouse that would scurry within pecking range. And true omnivores like canines (or humans for that matter) can thrive on a purely vegetarian diet.

      I think your diet supports my argument for omnivorism. Vegetarianism, even strict veganism, is never perfect: it’s about choosing the “least worst”. Your occasional meat-eating is nothing more that a reasonable compromise with the world around you.

      Predictably, I disagree with your characterization of America’s youth as unable to embrace vegetarianism through incompetence or laziness (or “accustomed to being fed”). I’m an optimist after all. I’ve not seen any statistics that suggest that vegetarianism is less prevalent in the US – if anything, it’s more prevalent than the UK and western Europe. Although your suggestion that older people might be proportionally more likely to be vegetarian is a very interesting one.

      1. Well, those observations are purely empirical on my part, but I feel pretty confident of them. I’ve spent a lot of years tracking this particular topic, starting when I was pretty young myself (believe it or not.) As it happens, though, I took an interest in cooking of all sorts at quite an early age, and particularly so for a male American. By the time I was thirteen I was regularly winning ribbons competing against adult women at the county and state fairs in Michigan.

        I adopted a vegetarian diet almost as soon as I was living on my own, much to the discontent of some of my apartment mates when it was my turn to cook. ;p That was when I began to realize that dishes such as ratatouille or eggplant parmesan can sometimes fool the carnivore into thinking he has eaten a flesh meal and feeling satisfied by it.

        However, I have always known more vegetarians of my own age or older than I have among those younger than myself. This isn’t because I avoid contact with younger people, either, and particularly so since the advent of the internet.

        My vegetarian ethic has two foundations. One is an ethical concern toward the prey animal, domestic or wild; but the other is the wider concern of overall ecology and the waste of energy and greater pollution caused by humankind’s obsession with flesh foods. (Not to mention species destruction, from the passenger pigeon to the codfish.)

        I think a large percentage of furries are not really identifying with actual animals so much as with cartoon animals, either in printed comics or in film and video. For them, vegetarianism is little more than a remote concept, rather than a personal issue.

        1. Its great to read such a well written article, but especially such well written and well thought out comments, its a rare experience on the internet for me.
          I’m always uncertain of the value of the energy loss argument, although as a biology teacher I’m very familiar with the concept. The problem is that it can’t be considered in isolation. There is significant energy lost in the production of beef as opposed to grain, but we can’t consider that fact by itself.
          The use of cattle in the more northern parts of Australia allow for the production of food on land that otherwise is not able to be productive for human consumption without vast amounts of energy being spent in the production and movement of water, fertilisers, soil improvers and other high energy actions. The beef production is not intensive, and doesn’t have the related ecological impacts of intensive agriculture, animal or vegetable.
          So is (Australian) beef production ecologically worse than intensive grain production?
          This is further complicated by the fact that this is not the end of the beef production process. The young cattle are taken to intensive feedlots, where they are fattened up on grains which could otherwise have gone to human consumption, and which themselves are produced intensively. However, I don’t have information as to the proportion of the animal’s total dietary energy that has come from feedlots vs grazing.
          Then again, I’m sure that beef production in other countries don’t have the relative benefits of Australian beef production.
          Food for thought… as it were.

          1. Thanks for the kind words.

            My understanding is that (most) Australian beef production is about as ethically and environmentally responsible as meat production can get: as you say, the animals are free to roam and the grazing land is not suitable for crops. Things are very different in the US and other parts of the world.

  5. This is not something I have ever given thought to before and with out being better read on the subject feel there is little I can add to the conversation. What little I can add, is that I have an omnivore diet and as a result, my carnivore themed fursona, is also an Omnivore, rather than my fursona dictating how I eat.

    In thinking of myself as more of an animal, I would see other animals eat other animals both with and with out need and do the same.

    I would at the same time consider myself an advocate for the ethical treatment of animals.

    There’s my two cents worth. Thanks for another kind of food: Thought.

  6. First off, I really do enjoy reading your articles. Even on a subject like this one you make it very easy to read. Unfortunately I often get confronted with the holier-than-thou attitude when this subject comes up; so when ever I hear someone say vegetarian I instinctively go on the defensive.

    I don’t know if my views will help, but from the omnivorous side of things, the way I look at it is that eating meet is part of life. There are species that require meet in their diet. Are they against animal rights? Should a bear be criticized because they are omnivorous but eat meat? Personally I think humans are animals and should be looked at under the same light. The human body is omnivorous and thus just as capable of being sustained on a vegetarian diet as we as a diet with meet. It comes down to personal choice. For me personally being a vegetarian isn’t an option. There’s no scientific basis or other attempts on my behalf to try and justify it… I just love meat.

    That being said, I consider myself to be for animal rights. While speech and thumbs have given us an advantage over other species I don’t think of us to be any more deserving than them, and it infuriates me when I see any living creature being abused.

    As far as the environmental impacts, I think it’s more of a human condition than it is our particular diets. Yes there is a lot of waste coming from restaurants but that would be just as bad if it was only salads being served. It’s more a question of peoples want for convenience. Unfortunately, regardless if it’s chemicals and pesticides from farming or impacts from ranching, the ever increasing population of people is going to cause environmental stress until we do something about it.

    Just my perspective on things.

    1. I hear that from some people but I wonder whether it’s just a question of perspective. Remember that most of the world is biased against a vegetarian diet. I think for some people just saying that one is a vegetarian and why that’s the case is enough to be seen as holier-than-thou. Perhaps you’re just unused to having your choices examined. I’m pretty sure most vegetarian’s also get people saying they should just eat meat and such holier-than-thou attitudes from non-vegetarians.

      People and bears shouldn’t and can’t be looked at in the same light. Would you say the same thing about murder or theft? People are unique in being able to reason about the ethics of their action. Until we can explain to a bear why eating a vegetarian diet is more ethical you can’t criticise a bear for how it is. For some animals a vegetarian diet isn’t even possible. For us it is possible and we are capable of understanding ethics.

      As far as environmental impacts go you’re just plain wrong. Vegetarian diets are much better for the environment. I didn’t look for the original paper but there’s an article that reports scientific findings that “vegans’ GHG emissions were 41.7% lower than non-vegetarians’, while lacto-ovo vegetarians’ emissions were 27.8% lower.” And another study (original here http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/3/034015) estimates that a vegetarian diet would “increase available food calories by as much as 70%, which could feed an additional 4 billion people.”

  7. Great article! I was vegetarian for years, though I added fish to the diet, partially for health reasons. I totally agree with the premise of “minimize harm” and generally not wanting to cut a life short. The interesting thing, and main driver for me, is that while I do respect life, I don’t see it as equally valuable. Though I don’t go out of my way to do so, I won’t feel very guilty if I kill an insect. A creature that seem to run purely on instinct and built in programming, seemingly devoid of emotion or complex thought. Meanwhile, you have animals like primates, canines, felines, several aquatic animals (dolphins, whales), and so on, that have demonstrated (to the best of our ability) problem solving, emotion, thought, etc. Those animals I will NEVER eat or harm in any way I can avoid.
    Fish seem to be closer to “pure instinct, no emotions” as far as I can tell. That combined with big health benefits and the fact that they’re too tasty for their own good, is why I added them in.

    P.S. Yes, I realize judging animals/species like this is sort of like “playing god”, but it’s certainly better to at least try to judge than to, by default, kill/eat anything without regard.

    1. Thanks for the excellent comments. Your attitude mirrors Peter Singer’s and, as far as I can tell, is very logical. I don’t think your choices are “playing god” at all, although I’m sure there are people who would disagree with me on that one.

      One argument I’ve heard against vegetarianism a few times: that thousands of insects and worms are killed in the growing, maintenance, and processing of crops. Compared to those deaths, goes the argument, what’s one chicken? The flaw comes down to exactly your point: vegetarianism, or any choice one might make about life, is never perfect. It’s about doing less harm, and that one chicken can probably suffer equivalently to that of all the insects in the world.

  8. I grew up in the country eating wild deer, moose, bear, and squirrel, as well as home-raised chickens, turkeys, and pigs. However, when I moved to the city for awhile I went lacto-vegetarian because the meat and the eggs in the supermarkets were so terrible. My curiosity of the foulness didn’t help at all when I read about factory farming and all the hormones they stuff animals with, nasty stuff. The people working at and running such places have no respect for life at all.

    I jokingly tell people if you can’t gut the animal, you shouldn’t eat it. The logic doesn’t follow, but it’s a good way to scrutinise and ponder one’s beliefs. As come what may, you can just ask your heart with all your might for the right thing to do. A lot of people, who don’t think about such heavy subjects, will get really queasy killing a chicken, plucking it, and gutting it themselves.

    When I moved back to the country I began eating locally-raised meat and raising chickens again. Suffering is an inevitable fact of life. You can try to protect animals from your hunger, but then you must inflate the human ego to believe you really have the right to say killing plant life is more righteous than killing animal life, or that your life is more important than either. I don’t believe anyone has the right to say one life is worth more than another or that two lives are worth more than one. Humans are flawed that way, applying logic to things that have no logic. What I do believe though is that people should focus on living in harmony with nature. Kill what you’ve been destined to, but honour everything you kill.

    I think most people would be vegetarian if they knew where their meat came from and carried out the terrible process themselves. There certainly isn’t enough space left on the planet to honour each animal’s life. Honouring a plant’s life is much simpler.

    1. I saw a TV show here in Britain a year or two ago – chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (a good British name if there ever was one) took four people who ‘loved eating chicken’. Of course, each of them was eating factory-farmed chicken with no knowledge or regard for the chickens themselves.

      Over the course of the show the four visited chicken farms, were shown how to cook chicken from scratch (including feathering and cleaning), and were generally educated in how a chicken gets to their plate. The show culminated in HFW slaughtering and cooking a chicken for his group.

      Not surprisingly, your hunch was shown to be true – three of the four changed their eating habits. Two switched to buying high-welfare chicken and meat; the third stopped eating chicken, opting for other factory-farmed meats.

      I guess it surprises me that so few people think about this. It seems like that’s been your experience too.

    2. Actually meat animals take a great deal more space and overall power consumption to grow, feed, and distribute than an equivalent amount of fruit and vegetables.

      I have trouble understanding how people can argue that it’s hypocritical to respect animal life and not plant life. Plants are not self-aware, plants do not make decisions and form relationships and experience emotions. Plants evolve mechanisms which have absolutely no purpose other than to promote themselves being eaten. Many simply exist to convert sunlight into energy consumable by birds and mammals which then spread their seeds.

      Regardless there is definitely enough room on the planet to honour animal life. The so-called global food shortage doesn’t actually exist, people starve because of issues of distribution and economics.

  9. You know people like you really irk me. I just don’t get it. Why won’t you eat a normal diet like the rest of us? We’re meant to eat meat. We have canine teeth for no other reason that to tear flesh apart. Everything in this world eats something else, what difference does it make if you eat some meat that’s conveniently packaged up for you in a supermarket. You didn’t know that animal. You’re never going to shed a tear for it. You’re really not changing the world and even if you believe you don’t have a holier than thou attitude about it, you’re still smugly sitting there believing in some way that you’ve made an ethically and morally superior choice. Get over yourself and eat some tasty tasty animal flesh.

    1. Appeals to naturality are overused and inherently flawed. Rape is natural. Murder is natural. Cyanide is natural.

      We as a species were not “meant” to do anything. We have canine teeth because our species survived in the wilderness on an omnivorous diet. We are also intelligent, and capable of making ethical decisions which are not purely derived from selfish interest.

      Would you eat human babies that were packaged up in a supermarket? You never knew them. Your argument would apply to cannibalism just as directly.

      The personal attacks are unnecessary for that matter, and any objective observer will immediately see that you are the one in fact taking an incredibly holier-than-thou attitude. You’re also essentially arguing that it is impossible to make any ethical choice in life without it immediately making one into a smug evangelist stereotype. Does that mean that you disapprove of people making an ethical decision to not have sex with children? Do you disapprove of people making an ethical decision not to shoplift every time they know they’re not going to get caught?

      As for changing the world: Look at the dramatic change in the availability of vegetarian options in North America in just the last few decades. Look at the increasing numbers of all-vegetarian restaurants.

      Even if we *weren’t* changing the world, it’s blood we just don’t want on our hands.

    2. …Really?

      You know, people like you really irk me. I just don’t get. Why can’t you just respect other people’s choices like the rest of us? People are meant to be reasonable. We have a brain for no other reason than to use it. Everybody in this world has a right to thier own belief system, what difference does it make if they’re conveniently wrapped up on the internet for you. You don’t know that person. You’re not going to shed a tear for them. You’re really not changing the world, and even if you don’t have a holier-than-thou attitude about it, you’re still smugly sitting there believing that you are somehow better than them. Get over yourself and eat some tasty tasty sarcasm.

  10. You know what really makes me lose sleep at night, as far as ethics in the furry community (or humanity in general) go, is that there are zoophiles who will rationalize that they are not in fact raping their pets. They argue that all species of animals are living, breathing entities that understand romance and sexuality on exactly the same levels as we do. They’ll refer to them as “mates” or even “boyfriends” and violently oppose anyone who challenges their actions on ethical grounds.

    And yet the majority of them aren’t vegetarian.

    I suppose that comes down to the real issue doesn’t it..If an animal can provide a person some kind of direct satisfaction, where keeping the animal alive is what allows them to have that satisfaction, then they’ll argue it’s ethical to protect them. If the animal can instead provide direct satisfaction by being butchered and consumed, then the person will argue it’s ethical to kill them.

    I find that more disgusting than just about anything else.

    1. Thanks for comment SF. The zoophilia question is an interesting one and, I think, something that does need to be discussed within the context of furry. I know a lot of people would like zoos to go away, or at least stop being zoos in furry circles: that furry and zoophilia should be treated as two different things.

      The fact remains, though, that there is a preponderance of zoos in furry. I know a few and I’m sure you do too. I’m equally sure that we both know people who are zoos, but not open about it.

      I’ve got an article coming on the topic. You’re spot on that the ethics for vegetarianism (or not) are a great reference point. I post on Mondays. It won’t be next week’s post, but it will be soon. Hopefully you’ll be around to add to the conversation.

      1. I’ve signed up just now and will definitely be reading future articles.

        I think the kind of mature discussion and argumentation your site encourages is desperately needed in the community right now. You’re doing an excellent thing in making it a reality and I hope to see it gain some mainstream attention. There are a great many issues which need to be discussed more seriously than what the average FA journal provides (and in a place where Peter Pan Syndrome isn’t treated as some kind of status symbol..)

    2. I used to be quite involved in zoophilia arguments back when I was on FA, on the pro side. Part of your comment is wrong (it’s not rape under any normal understanding of the word) and others are strange (I’m sure you’d actually struggle to find people that say they understand on the same level). But in any case I don’t really want to start a debate on that topic here. I bring it because it was through those debates and the discussions on what was acceptable conduct towards other animals that started me thinking about being a vegetarian, though the last push came from reading a book on animal suffering.

  11. I am not a vegetarian. I have tried to reduce my consumption of meat for ethical reasons, but I have not been able to give it up. I do also try to purchase animal products that are produced more ethically when I have a choice.

    I really dislike beans and some of the alternative protein sources (although I am fine with soybeans), and this makes it more difficult to give up meat entirely. Furthermore it can be difficult to entirely eliminate something you like especially if it is something that is part of your childhood. It is a lot easier for those who were not fond of meat to begin with.

    The flip side of people claiming to be vegetarians but still occasionally eating meat, are those who have seriously reduced their meat intake but do not call themselves vegetarians because they have not eliminated it. It is possible that there is an overall reduction of meat intake even if it does not translate into the number of people calling themselves vegetarians.

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