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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:26 PM
Original message
Should people who are vegetarian for ethical reasons be held accountable
for all the natural landscapes that have to be destroyed, including the disastrous effect on the flora nd fauna, to make the fields to grow the vegetables that they eat?

I've wondered and contemplated this a lot for a few years.

Obviously, for the meat eaters, there is also the issue of changing the landscape to have the pastures for the livestock that need it; and to raise the crops that the animals eat - crops which could, indeed, be better and more efficiently and more environmentally soundly used to feed people. I'm certianly not saying that the vegetarians have a greater, negative effect on the environment than those who eat farm-raised meat. But I think we have to be honest and say that even a vegetarian lifestyle has essential and necessary negative effects on animals and the environment.

It seems to me that the truest and purest form of ecological and ethical food consumerism is gathering. Maybe hunting/gathering, but that is debatable, especially if we want to take into consideration not causing suffering to animals. Gathering, I posit, is the only truly environmentally friendly method of getting food.

Agriculture is also environmentally damaging, in the sense of disrupting the natural order of a local area. Trees are cleared out, prairie grass is removed, etc. in order to make the field to grow the soybeans, rice, beans, tomatoes, corn, whatever. That cuts down on the natural territory of the animals who used to be there.

Having those crops also means that we have then start paring down the wildlife who might eat those crops - I think of Wisconsin, where I grew up, where deer populations can get so large they are dangerous to themselves, to people, and to the very crops that vegetarians want to eat. And of course, people don't want dangerous predators around (vegetarians and meat eaters both), so they've mostly been killed, so they aren't around to thin out the deer herds. So the deer have to be killed. In which case, it would be a waste not to eat them. So what's a person to do? If we want to bve vegetarian so we don't have to harm animals and hurt the environment, can we in good conscious kill the animals who will ruin our crops, and if we decide that we can kill them, then how can we in good conscience not eat them?

To say nothing of the land we destroy to build houses, roads, and shopping malls, in which to eat, ship, and buy all those vegetables.

So we're left with one important conclusion: while eating farm-raised-meat is more than likely a more environmentally destructive act than eating only vegetables, the truth is, even the vegetarians, unless they're growing their own or gathering, will have a greater impact on the environment even than a person who hunts all his/her own meat and grows their own veggies.

As one who is very concerned about the environment, and the future viability of our planet, this is an issue I've wrestled with for years. Many times I wish that we would just go back to hunting and gathering, and stop all agriculture and farm raising of animals.

I don't know. I've been vegetarian at times, for environmental and not ethical reasons, and for the most part I can do it - I love vegetables and could happily eat them all the time, and give up meat. But I also love butter, cream, and eggs, which mean I'm still supporting the caging and raising of animals. What's a guy to do? I don't know, especially since even a vegetarian diet has a significant impact on the environment.

Neither option is sin free.
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davidinalameda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. hang all those leaf eaters up by their toes
screw 'em all!

:hi:
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:31 PM
Original message
Can we eat them,then?
:evilgrin:
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Dave Reynolds Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
2. Good points,
omnivorism merely embraces both sets of badness.

But the more fundamentalist veggies are going to fry your ass (but not eat it, that would be BAYYYYAD).
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liontamer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
3. Good post eom
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progmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:33 PM
Response to Original message
4. oops
Edited on Thu Jul-07-05 06:37 PM by progmom
yeah - you covered that. :blush:
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. I believe so, sure.
But I'm also raising the point that being an agricultural society has disastrous environmental effects already, and almost requires that we kill animals anyway.
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progmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. yeah - about once a month i look around and think:
we're kind of like a disease on this planet, aren't we? we have royally fucked up the natural order of things.
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arissa Donating Member (232 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:33 PM
Response to Original message
5. You are aware, I assume, that it takes 4 - 12 pounds of grains
to produce one pound of meat, right? Those animals have to eat their whole lives, and they have big appetites.

So eating meat actually means more landscapes destroyed for farmland than not eating it.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Did you read my post?
No, obviously you didn't.

Go read it, then post.
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Catchawave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:46 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. Good point arissa !
Here more info on factory farming:

http://www.farmaid.org/site/PageServer?pagename=info_fa...

Factory farms, megafarms or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)(i) claim to be the future of American farming. Higher production levels, lower retail costs, and greater efficiency are all boasts of industrial agriculture. Certainly, factory farms are capable of producing large quantities of cheap food. But cheap food at what cost? The real costs of factory farms and cheap food far outweigh the benefits...cont'd at link !

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lvx35 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. Yep, that's right.
And the plant nutrition goes to making various aspects of cows we don't use. But I do respect the authors point of making it more .. natural. Living a more balanced life.
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #5
19. But they don't ONLY eat grain for their whole lives
and when they do get grain in the feed lot, it's usually that that wouldn't be suitable for human food anyway.

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jmm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:35 PM
Response to Original message
6. It takes more space and food to feed livestock than
it does to feed people. I'm not vegetarian but if people stopped eating animals there would be a dramatic reduction in the natutral landscapes that are ruined.
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faithnotgreed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
10. as someone who is primarily vegetarian i do just want to point out
from my experience that you can purchase things like eggs that arent from caged animals

i only buy eggs - on the occasion that i eat them - if they are from cage free and free roaming chickens. that is possible. perhaps not in all locations but where i have been it has definitely been an option
not perfect option but the best i know of. to support those who also share love for animal and care to raise them in a humane way is certainly an option. these farms and people are accessible - if not locally then through online.

on the occasion that i eat chicken (which has only been in the past year due to health considerations) then i again make sure it comes from chicken who has been raised humanely.
nothing of course is perfect. we all contribute to the destruction of the earth just from our existence esp those of us in the united states and then other highly developed countries

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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:46 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. And those eggs taste a hell of a lot better, too
I love organic cruelty-free eggs! Especially if they are the fresh eggs from my relative's farms. THOSE are damned good eggs. YUM!

But even so, those chickens are still eating feed that was grown on land that used to be something else and living in coops or pens that was natural land as well. And eventually, those chickens will die - who eats them? Is it unethical to use the chicken but then not eat it?
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faithnotgreed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. well if you really want to know (and probably already do) what happens
to chickens of all types and other animals in all conditions look no further than the wonderful world of commercial pet foods

again, i only buy food for my cats that come from ethical companies. i tried to give them the prairie brand that comes from either organic or wild elements (they truly take cats natural diets and make it into food) but that taste lasted only so long for them then i think they may have gotten a bad batch or something because they just suddenly stopped eating it

but anyway everything we do and purchase etc is a choice. and natural always wins for me.
youre right on that the organic humane way tastes much better

what area is your relatives farm in? what are their markets
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. Yeah, I know where the industrial animals end up...
and I wonder, how many vegetarians have cats or other pets that need meat? As you point out, all those canned foods start as animals somewhere. If we ended all farming of animals, the vegetarians with their cute tabbies are suddenly in a quandary. :-)

My relatives farm in WI and MN, though none of them sell eggs. Mostly they are dairy, but a few have chickens for their own use (so I know where those chickens end up - in their own soup pots and ovens!).
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Viking12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 06:50 PM
Response to Original message
13. I purchase only 100% grassfed beef....
http://www.cattleanaranch.com/page/14wam/Home.html

and belong to a biodynamic CSA.

How do I rate?
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Dastard Stepchild Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
16. We all leave imprints on the earth....
Our modern, Western world is a complex, populous and technologically-reliant existence. I'm not sure that we could managably and successfully take such a leap backwards to a time of hunting/gathering. Our lives seem to leave little opportunity for tilling soil, sharpening spears and drying animal hides.

Since we use vegetable sources for so many products, it seems a bit much to pin the harms associated with their production solely on vegetarians. True, they eat the veggies, but so do meateaters. And many companies consume veggie products as well for use as materials in whatever products they develop and produce. Of course, animal parts are also used in a variety of products, so it seems a tad unfair to target the gal or guy tucking into their porterhouse steak.

I guess I am not fully convinced by your argument that vegetarians have a greater impact on our environment. I'd argue that each and every one of us is somewhat culpable in that we all, in a myriad of ways, consume products that create numerous harms to the environment in small and great ways.

The topic is food for thought, though. No pun intended. :)
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. I didn't say that vegetarians have a greater impact
I said the opposite.

However, I DID say that they have more impact than a meat-eater who gets his/her food solely from hunting/gathering.

I also did not raise the issue of the vegetarians who say they are leading such an exemplary life who live in huge cities, that are filled with pavement and buildings on what used to be good farmland, and who have all their food trucked in...

But even that said, I still think vegetarianism is less damaging in our modern world. BUt it is not at all damage free, and even a vegetarian lifestyle requires the deaths of many, many animals.
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
20. You also missed the numbers
of small animals, snakes, etc that are killed by harvesting grain.

Anybody else here ever have to help clean a combine after wheat harvest? Vegetarian does NOT describe the end product.

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EstimatedProphet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 07:49 PM
Response to Original message
21. Locking
Flamebait
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