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Carl_Shulman comments on Why EA events should be (at least) vegetarian - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Carl_Shulman 13 November 2015 09:36:35PM *  3 points [-]

"As mentioned in the post, I don't think preventing direct harm is the major argument for having EA events be vegetarian, so it seems weird that you've chosen that argument to rebut and used it as evidence that the overall case seems "much weaker.""

You seem to have misread my first two paragraphs. First I said I bought the argument for not serving meat at big conferences with merged tabs and elevated symbolic value. I then wrote:

For less official events and ones where individual purchases are distinguished (e.g. restaurant orders), the argument seems much weaker to me

At less official events the media/symbolic impacts are smaller, and when tabs are not pooled people don't have to feel that they are funding evil or violating deontology. So the argument is 'much weaker' for dinner with some EA friends. That is about symbolism rather than direct harm.

I don't think preventing direct harm is the major argument for having EA events be vegetarian, so it seems weird that you've chosen that argument to rebut

I mentioned harm underneath a comment where you suggested 'no fish or chicken' as an inferior alternative, on the basis of lower direct harm (and presumably that it signals trying to have smaller animal impacts).

Also, offsets seem weird and confusing to the general population. Vegetarian events is a clear statement from EA that we oppose the suffering of farmed animals that's much easier to understand.

See my response to Zach.

and that the personal cost of serving vegetarian food at EA events is sufficiently low, as argued in the OP. The personal cost of year-round personal dietary change is what seems troubling.

And I said I am much more supportive for big events than for small events. But as one generalizes to smaller and more frequent events, the two converge. I would like to be able to have a dinner get-together (of mostly effective altruists) where veg*n and offsetting omnivore friends are both happy, and which will reduce rather than increase demand for factory farming. That could be 50+ times a year. Sharing a kitchen and dining room table with (EA) housemates can be far more frequent than that.