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? asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 10 years ago

Ethics: Is there a universal definition for compassion?

This is coming from a vegetarian, now my reasoning is

If one lives by compassion to any degree, surely the axiom of that philosophy would be not to harm others regardless of species or race.

If there is not a universal definition or axiom for compassion then my logic may be flawed, but until i can reason otherwise i cannot see the justification in artificially raising & killing animals for merely our personal enjoyment (ie taste). Every reasoning i've tried can be applied to much more extremes such as cannibalism.


Compassion: a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it

"The thinking (person) must oppose all cruel customs, no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another."

— Albert Schweitzer

Update 2:

Ardi i still do not see how this answers my question, Yes whilst the animal may be rendered unconscious & the process sounds like the grateful work of Temple Gradins designs, it still causes harm ie death to that sentient being. Therefore you haven't answered my question.

4 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Animals treated cruelly accept the pain and its causes as "the given", something natural if not understood. If this was not so, then all those ASPCA commercials of dogs and cats who have horribly suffered, but are now enjoying the compassion of new people, would not be possible. Those animals would take years to rehabilitate if they did not accept the inhumane treatment--and the subsequent compassionate treatment--as "givens", as facts of reality and nature.

    That does not mean men ought to be allowed to use inhumane methods in raising or slaughtering animals. I worked in a slaughter house, and the cows are treated well because if you raise their suspicions, then the adrenaline flows and makes the meat taste terrible. No cow is allowed to see another cow die or be slaughtered, and the entire process takes about 2 minutes per cow, including rendering them unconscious with a machine--not a sledgehammer, since that would raise their suspicion. They are not even allowed to fall to the concrete when rendered unconscious: they are lowered onto their side by another machine.

    I can't speak to another industry--never worked there. But we hear all the time about "undercover photos" that helped convict stupid people in chicken houses for kicking them like footballs, etc.

    Vegetarianism is not part of atheism, as one answer says, though it may be part of his.

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    From an atheist point of view there is no justification to kill animals. Vegetarianism is an aspect of atheism.

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  • 10 years ago

    I think that compassion is simply doing something selfless and showing people that you care.

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  • 10 years ago

    a note of compassion in patience for direction comes points of passion and arrows of cupid

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