And on the seventh day, I came out.

What this is is cupcakes.

Dave L asked me this, in that post so far below:

What does “animals don’t belong to people” have to do with me feeding my chickens and letting them roost in my shelter? Serious question. When they want to run away I let them–it happened once. Beyond a reductionist similarity to slavery, what’s the problematic part? Perhaps you mean acquiring them from the factory farm system at first, which is true. I was actually ignorant of that practice until after the fact, and regret not sourcing them better. But beyond that, which can be avoided, what’s the root issue?

And I said the bestest response ever:

For me it’s that we shouldn’t have domesticated these animals, and should now stop using them. Once upon a time humans needed animals to survive, so we did what all starving people do: we ate whatever we could. And so the cycle of animal domestication began. But now we can survive just fine (in fact, we thrive) without eating animals. So we have a moral obligation to stop doing so, because causing harm and death to someone unnecessarily is not a morally permissible thing to do. (And eating eggs means killing male chicks, as we all know by now.)

You can argue forever that you’re providing a pretty sweet life for your chickens–as, indeed, I’m sure you are. Most likely it’s a safer and easier life than they would have in the wild. But it’s not a wild life, not a chicken life, and it never will be, because it can’t be. And that’s the root issue. You don’t have the moral right to decide how that life is lived. Alice Walker once said this great thing: “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.” That pretty much sums up my beliefs about the issue. Whether or not animals are kept in large or small cages is not really my concern (though it is the concern of many animal rights people, which is good). My concern is that there are no more cages.

I believe that when someone has ethical beliefs, they are morally obligated to speak up. So I laid out some reasons for why keeping chickens in New Paltz backyards isn’t a good idea. You guys really really REALLY hated my reasons. OK. We don’t share the same set of morals. That’s just life. But I’ll never stop fighting for you to come over to my side. It’s so much tastier. And: you can sleep at night.

Also: my cupcakes taste better than yours, my milkshakes bring the boys to the yard faster. Etc.

14 Responses to “And on the seventh day, I came out.”

  1. daveliepmann

    Thank you for finally admitting publicly that your opposition to backyard chickens is rooted in, and has no basis outside of, total radical veganism. I’ll send people to this post when they ask me about your lying and nonsensical flyer.

    • lagusta

      Um…I’ve never ever lied. Just presented the facts as I understand ’em!

      • daveliepmann

        You’re right. I’m sorry. You didn’t lie, you were just deceitful.

        When you say “just get your eggs from Pete Taliaferro!” while omitting the fact that, given half a chance, you would ban his eggs too, that’s trying to deceive people.

        You pretend that you don’t mind my chickens because I’m a responsible chicken-keeper, yet you do your best to avoid saying that you want my activities to be illegal. That’s trying to trick people as to your goals.

        You print up flyers with contradictory, nonsensical, debunked anti-facts that you say reflect your reasons why backyard chickens shouldn’t be allowed in New Paltz, but when pressed, you admit that it’s really because of your fringe beliefs about animal sovereignty and the whole thing is an attempt to move the Overton window. That’s an attempt to deceive people about your motivation.

        So no, you didn’t lie. You were very careful not to, just like you’re very careful to be polite (to the point of being two-facedly saccharine). You’re very good at detached activism. But whether you lie explicitly or not, please don’t try to deceive your neighbors.

      • lagusta

        Dude. LAST THING I’M GOING TO SAY, I promise. I do think people should get their eggs from Pete! I’m not an idiot, I know people are going to eat eggs. But when you asked for my views on the keeping of animals, I gave them. Print up fliers?? What? I gave a copy of my original blog post to 5 people on the TB. That’s it.

  2. rubystx

    I celebrate the word radical and think that we should all strive towards it, but…veganism isn’t radical. Living your life seeking not to harm, kill or torture other beings is common fucking sense. It’s better for the environment & it’s the least we can do. If you sat down and thought about your food it’s what you would choose. I don’t want slaves to harvest my chocolate, I don’t want to contribute to factory farms or baby chicks being ground up alive or the meat industry with it’s incredibly low wages & horrifically high rates of on-the-job-injury. I don’t want the methane emissions from “happy” cows & pigs. Where I grew up there were wild chickens everywhere. It was beautiful & I loved it and it’s “radically” different from a backyard coop.

  3. Mark Portier

    You’re in good company, Lagusta: Copernicus, Galileo, the abolitionists, the suffragettes… Human progress is predicated upon a few enlightened people having the courage to challenge the keepers of the benignly corrupt, time-honored status quo. So, yesterday you were a heretic. Today you’re a radical. Tomorrow will come too: when decent people like Dave Liepmann are willing to take to heart the moral questions you raise.

    • daveliepmann

      You don’t take a moral question to heart, you take moral arguments to heart. And I keep trying to ask her basic questions about why my chickens are somehow unethical (see ), which she never really answers to any significant depth. Even a link to an old post would be swell. But at the moment, her argument that eggs are unethical is predicated on a pair of fallacies (to wit, that it depends on male chicken murder, and that “natural” existence, defined as non-domesticated, is inherently superior). Since she refuses to provide any empirical or logical basis for her argument, no, I’m not convinced.

      • pohanna

        I just happened across this debate because I am interested in the discussion and happen to be drawn to difficult debates about vegan philosophy – and because I find it helpful to hear multiple perspective.

        Dave, given that I don’t know who you are, I can only assume that you have quite a bit to lose in respect to whether or not keeping your chickens is deemed unethical. However, I can also tell that your frustration (expressed as anger) has convinced you that you have a right to write unkind words in your response to Lagusta (above) – by attacking her sincerity of character.

        This is an unhealthy and disrespectful approach to a debate. Therefore, I am no longer interested in listening to you within this forum.

        While Lagusta will surely understands that these discussions can be difficult and tense – you have not right to be abusive. Do not speak to her in those tones again.

        And hear this – being nasty is not not only bad for your spirit, but also inhibits informed, progressive debate.

      • daveliepmann

        Pohanna, I think in this particular thread I’ve hewed pretty close to attacking arguments, not people. In what way am I being abusive? I’ve explained very clearly why I believe that Lagusta’s actions were deceitful. Part of why I felt that was so necessary was that she initially put on a smiling mask and pretended that we, as neighbors, didn’t disagree, when we very clearly did. (After much prodding, she is being a good deal more up-front about her motivations and actual arguments.) There’s nothing wrong in attacking someone’s character if it’s relevant to the debate, as it was here. Lagusta was making disingenuous arguments. Now she is not.

        Thanks for the psychological evaluation. To where should I send my insurance information so that you can receive payment for your services?

      • lagusta

        I absolutely never pretended we agree…at least, I don’t think I did (I’m sure not going to read through the whole thing to see). I’ve said before: I have two reasons for opposing lifting the ban. Practical considerations, and animal rights considerations. I knew people who keep chickens don’t care about animal rights, so why would I have emphasized that?

  4. Terry Jims

    I agree with Lagusta. Dave is a radical chicken lover and his chickens probably lay eggs that smell like sour farts.

    • daveliepmann

      Actually the eggs are great, and the chicken soup they provide me is damn good too.


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