Home > philosophy, rant > Uniqueness


I’m sick of hearing the same argument against dairy. I don’t necessarily care one way or the other if a person doesn’t want to drink milk, but if you are going to try and make the argument so as to convince myself that I am doing the wrong thing come up with a better argument than this: “humans are the only animals that drink another animal’s milk.”

It’s based on a fallacy, the appeal to common practice. This appeal known in Latin as “Ad Populum” states that if everyone is doing something it must be right, or conversely that if no one is doing it it must be wrong. This works only with custom or social mores, but making a pseudo-ethical claim it falls short.

Some of the anti-meat, PETA people might get on my case about the immorality of dairy farms regarding how the cows are treated, how the milk is processed, etc. This post isn’t about that. It’s about this specific argument. So don’t post a comment regarding the ethical vegetarian argument because that isn’t the theme here.

The problem with the ad populum argument is that it is wrong. Humans aren’t the only animals that will eat foreign milk. Cats will do it. Cats will drink from a saucer of milk if it is placed for them. There are also lots of pics on the net of animals nursing from others as well, a puppy from a pig comes to mind. The argument could be alterred to say that humans are the only ones that will intentionally harvest another animal’s milk, but that’s not what they are saying and even then we still have a problem.

Which is that there is a difference in species. Humans aren’t horses, monkeys, or whales. We don’t behave like they do so we can’t really apply the ad populum argument to every single creature in the animal kingdom. If so, then the application would be disastrous for just about everything we do including reading/writing on the internet. However, in order to completely show the incorrectness of this argument, it is better to apply it to more base rituals that humans do that is completely unique to the whole of the animal world.

Wearing clothes. Yep, we are the only animals that harvest and process materials in order to make clothing to protect us from the elements. Animals will of course, make shelters to help them sleep in inclement weather, but nothing like shirts, pants, and socks.

Cooking food: Unfortunately for those making the dairy argument they now have to eat their food raw. That includes all food, from vegetables and fruits to all kinds of meat. The best part about this is that it completely eliminates the artichoke from everyone’s diet.

Speaking of food we are also the only animals that plant vegetables with the intention of growing new vegetables. The caveat there is to prevent people from citing the accidental planting that certain rodents do when hoarding nuts and seeds.

I guess the whole point is that I hate when people selectively apply an argument without fully considerring the application of it. It’s a matter of consistency that you have to be aware that these people just seem to miss.

Categories: philosophy, rant
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