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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:09 PM
Original message
Convince me that the argument for vegetarianism isn't flawed.
Okay, hopefully this will not become too flame-broiled of a thread...

I'm aware of the environmental arguments against eating meat (and think they could be countered by instituting regulations to counter the negative effects), I'm aware of the argument against meat from an individualistic moral viewpoint (it's somehow wrong to kill animals for food, which again I'm not sure I'm convinced of).

My seeing vegetarianism as a flawed philosophy comes down to this: if it's about not killing for food, than no one should eat vegetables either, as they are also living things.

If it's about causing animals pain, eliminate the pain (and I fully support ending animal cruelty; I just don't consider eating animals cruel).

What rational, nonsubjective arguments can be made for vegetarianism? Be forewarned that anything based on woo-woo logic dependent on unsupported assertions about Life's Consciousness or other non-proven mysticality will be duly dismissed, as I can't possibly check and verify those against reality. Likewise, please don't bother to cite the "higher IQ" thread, as 1) correlation does not prove causation and 2) I have problems with IQ testing as a whole.

I tried vegetarianism once for a brief time as a teenager, and didn't remain of the belief that it was the right thing to do. I'm willing to listen to all reasonable arguments, though!

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Iris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
1. If you didn't remain of the belief that it was the right thing to do, then why not move on?
You're not going to change your mind. Why should someone else justify why they choose to eat what they eat?

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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. Considering how fundamentally I've changed for the better these past five years...
...there is EVERY chance I will change my mind.

Heck, I used to be a Faux News-lovin' wannabe-Christian semi-conservative, look at me now.

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Ayesha Donating Member (587 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
2. Killing a sentient being is wrong
Even if that killing is painless, you're still depriving the creature of life.

Plants are not sentient, so there's no issue there.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. So, let's imagine a hypothetical here.
You're starving. You are in a situation where there is no plant available for you to eat. But there is a rabbit. Is it OK to kill the rabbit so that you may eat it and live?
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Ayesha Donating Member (587 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #3
27. Of course
I was explaining the pure argument in favor of vegetarianism, not saying I personally believe that. (In fact, I eat fish, so you're not in any way arguing with an animal rights extremist here.) Plus, there is a difference between a desperate, survival situation and everyday life. For example, humans have resorted to cannibalism when stranded without other sources of food. Does that mean cannibalism is OK under normal circumstances?

Humans in a first-world country like the U.S. where food supplies are ample, CAN live and be healthy without eating meat. There are of course individual exceptions such as people with many food allergies or special dietary needs, but in general, we don't need meat to live. We are SOCIALIZED to think of meals as including meat, and to be used to the taste of meat rather than other foods that provide equal or superior nutritional and health benefits.

What I personally believe is that our society needs to shift to a plant-based diet - not a plant-exclusive diet, but one where most meals do not include meat. Meat is the core of our diet when it should comprise a tiny part of it. If we were to make this shift, we could easily eliminate factory farming and the animal and environmental abuse that comes with it. We could go back to the Native American tradition of using every part of the animal. Parts that humans don't eat can be fed to animals that are obligate carnivores (cats, dogs). Human health would improve dramatically. AND nobody would feel like the food police were telling them what they can't eat. It would just not be a big part of our culture to eat meat, and therefore, people wouldn't.
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Mme. Defarge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. How do you feel about
carnivorous animals? If I were to become a vegetarian, should I also get rid of my cats?
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Good question.
Should humans make it their mission to stop the killing of other animals, by killing every carnivore?
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Mme. Defarge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #8
29. Good question, eh?
Apparently not everyone thinks so!
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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. No.
You must be joking. Please tell me you're joking.

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Mme. Defarge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #11
19. On one level, yes;
on another level I am making the point that humans are not the only carnivores in the eco-system.

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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. Well, I guess it's better to be making snarky remarks about vegetarians
than it is to be asking incredibly vapid questions.

What a relief.
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Mme. Defarge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #21
39. Seriously,
if one is a vegetarian for moral reasons, wouldn't it be hypocritical to buy pet food that contains meat products? Admittedly, some vegetarians make a distinction between "meat" and fish, but that has never made much sense to me.

If you think that is a vapid question, I won't argue with you. I am only too aware of my own moral inconsistencies.

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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #39
44. No, I don't think it would be hypocritical.
I can be healthy and happy without including meat in my diet. I can't make the decision about what would make a dog or cat (even more so, as cats are obligate carnivores) healthy and happy in any kind of an informed way.

And no, this isn't a stupid question (unless it's presented as an accusation of hypocrisy, which is sort of how I interpreted it in your preceding post) and I'm glad you asked for clarification.

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northzax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #44
59. ok, that's fair
but knowing that keeping a carnivore in your house leads to the killing of other animals, who also have no choice in the matter, means that you value, inherently, your cat above those animals. Unless you somehow manage to keep a carnivore (say a cat) on only the natural types of animals that it would eat, were it a wild animal (basically rodents and birds and the odd insect) how, and this is a serious question, how can you justify killing one animal for the sole purpose of feeding another, when you feel that is wrong for you to do?

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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #59
67. It's a hard question to answer.
I do appreciate the opportunity to really talk about this stuff--so often these discussions are veiled accusations, and so it's great to find a way to hash some of this out in a nonconfrontational discussion.

I do have a dog as a companion, and I've struggled with this.

My feelings about meat consumption (for me) are clear, and at the same time, I don't feel that I should be making what are essentially ethical decisions for another, human or dog. So, yes, here we are.

I do feed my dog meat-based food, because I believe that it's a healthy choice for him. On one hand, it would seem the most efficient and economical way to feed him would be by using waste products from human industry. I can't do that, though, because the companies that make dog food routinely add rendered animal products, which can and do contain euthanized animals, roadkill, downers, and all sorts of unsavory shit.

The route we've decided to go is to feed him with a product that has (single-source) lamb as the first ingredient and no other animal products. The lambs, as far as I have been able to find out, are slaughtered for human consumption and then the remaining carcass is sold to the dog food company. So, while the animals are not specifically slaughtered for dog & cat food, we are absolutely contributing to the industry.

I'm not happy about that part of it, but that's the compromise that I've decided I'm able to make.

So, to answer your question, I don't know if I really can justify feeding animals to my doggie companion. It's the best way I know to keep him healthy, though, and so that's what I do to have him in my life.
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Mme. Defarge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #67
125. It appears to me
that you have made a much greater effort than I have to live out your values. I admire your honesty and humility, and apologize for the provocative tone of my original post.

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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #125
127. Thanks for taking the time to talk about this with me.
It can be hard to talk about this seriously (especially given my username) and I really do appreciate it!



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Mme. Defarge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #127
133. The truth is that
we live in a very messed up system, and sometimes the best options we have are not so great. Humility and compassion always help.
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badgerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #39
61. Trying to push your vegetarian views on your cat or dog isn't a good idea...
These guys are CARNIVORES. They are genetically engineered to run on meat...they don't have the longer intestine needed for plant absorbtion. There's amino acids in meat that don't naturally occur in plants and except for the occasional fresh grass (for either taste or folic acid) they don't really care for plant matter as a steady diet.


Of course, you do get an exception now and then...my little kitten MacFeegle has been observed eating sweet potatoes, dried plums, bits of apple, pineapple, gingerbread, rice...
but he's REALLY weird. :silly:
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Mme. Defarge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #61
66. One of my cats,
the finicky eater, adores Fig Newtons. Maybe there is hope for a new breed that thrives on more socially responsible fare.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #61
71. I've known vegetarian dogs
big healthy ones.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #61
97. No, they aren't, actually...
Dogs are omnivores and thrive just as humans do on a plant-based diet.

But then again, I just run a rescue. What do I know anyway, right?
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siligut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #11
40. Some people just can't think eom
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QuestionAll... Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. to me it's about Respect
for the things you need to survive.
and the world we've been thrown into is not respectful at all in factory farms.
big fish, little fish. but you must respect. you must adore the cycle.

I grew up on a small farm, my dad had to kill cows and pigs so we could eat for the winter. He hated doing it, but that was his job. I remember well the sounds of death so we could eat. but we Respected those lives and what they gave.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. I fully abhor factory farming.
See, I think veggies and non can agree on a lot of things - like ending factory farming.

I would not be averse to meat being more expensive in that case, not at all.

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Mme. Defarge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. I totally agree.
This in and of itself might reduce our over-consumption of meat and help restore a better balance in our individual diets, as well as in our eco-system.

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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. Clear something up for me - when you use the term "sentient"...
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 05:39 PM by Zhade
...are you speaking of self-aware, or intelligent?

I know the word, but have seen it misused before, so I want to be clear on what you mean.

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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #12
31. Sentience
refers to the capacity of perception by the senses, the ability to feel, not to self-awareness or intelligence.
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #31
41. Plants certainly respond to some stimuli, so they are sentient
Looks like by your argument we can't eat anything but rocks.
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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #41
47. Plants lack a central nervous system
and cannot experience anything that we can remotely interpret as pain or fear.

And I posted no argument--I provided a working definition. You may be thinking of another poster.

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PADemD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #47
58. Plants and trees are certainly sentient
Refer to Van Hoven, W. "Tree's secret warning system against browsers", Custos 13:11,1984, "Beyond Supernature", Dr. Lyall Watson

Van Hoven found that undamaged trees located near injured (eaten) ones had a sympathetic increase in tannin in its leaves, causing animals to avoid eating the leaves.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #58
73. Hence my to-date conclusion that the argument for vegetarianism...
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 09:05 PM by Zhade
...if based on "don't kill sentient beings for food", is flawed.

Great discussion though!

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StrongbadTehAwesome Donating Member (623 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 03:58 PM
Response to Reply #73
128. Here's the thing: more plants die to make your steak than would die
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 04:03 PM by StrongbadTehAwesome
if you just ate the plants to begin with. All those animals have to be fed until they're slaughtered, after all. So there's really no point even worrying whether plants are sentient or not. If you're going for the "least pain to all" route, vegetarianism is the way to go.

I don't remember the exact numbers, but it takes something like 20 calories of plant life to produce 1 calorie of meat.

I'm still an omnivore, cutting back on the meat slowly but surely - but I remain convinced that vegetarianism is the best option for human health, the environment, and to minimize the suffering necessary to feed us.



Edited to add: On the other hand, I don't really have problem with hunting, especially when needed to reduce the population of deer, rabbit, etc. There are no factory farms involved, the animals have lived a free life until the moment of their death, and they're likely healthier for you as they're not pumped full of antibiotics and hormones.
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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #58
75. I don't know that can be considered sentience.
Plants have no mechanisms by which to experience what we can interpret as "feeling."

They certainly can and do have reactions--to light, to water, to chemicals, to irritants--but we can't say that they perceive or experience the world in a way that we can understand.
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PADemD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:46 PM
Response to Reply #75
120. Well, somehow the trees perceived the threat of being eaten and
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 12:16 AM by PADemD
took the appropriate defensive action.

Another good book to read is "Primary Perception, Biocommunication with Plants, Living Foods, and Human Cells" by Cleve Backster.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
43. Clarification: When a cat kills a mouse, is the cat doing wrong? NT
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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #43
51. No. nt
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #51
53. Why not?
Seriously.

If killing a sentient being is wrong, why is it sometimes not wrong?
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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #53
56. Two things:
A different poster made the statement to which you're referring--I can answer for me, but not for anyone else.


It's inappropriate to judge animal behavior through a human lens or based in my understanding of morality. A cat killing a mouse is an amoral act; me killing a mouse would be an immoral act.
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #56
68. unless the mouse is in your house and chewing the wiring
which is my situation. I say, kill the damn mice.
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walldude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #68
89. I got em' too... Live next to a field and every winter
they try to take over my house. After trying the many "humane" ideas on how to get rid of them I got tired of finding half eaten boxes and bags of food in the pantry and bought me some damn rat poison. No more mice.
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #89
129. Poison just means your house stinks up. Yuck.
They eat the poison and then die in the walls. It's horrible. Better to get plain old mouse traps, I think. or a cat.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #56
74. But we humans ARE animals.
NT!

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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #74
80. That's beside the point
unless you're arguing that humans are amoral or that morality doesn't exist.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:31 PM
Response to Reply #80
82. That's a WHOLE 'nother discussion, lol!
But I don't see how it's beside the point - you're suggesting that it's okay for one animal to kill other animals for food, but not okay for a thinking animal to kill for food.

I could be reading you wrong, though.

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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #82
90. I think it IS the same discussion!
Sure, humans are animals. We're certainly not minerals (most of us, anyway).


We have the option to kill for food or not, and each of us can depend on our beliefs about the world to tell us whether or not that's okay for us.

Animals who are not human don't have that option, and they don't have the ability to/responsibility for making that decision.

In this discussion, unless we make those distinctions, we have to deal with either a) applying human moral systems to carnivores whose feeding habits are amoral (e.g. "Lions need to eat meat! Is that wrong?") or b) arguing that humans aren't constrained by morality.

Y'know?

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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #90
92. Killing plants for food is still taking life for food.
And as for morality, as an atheist I obviously don't believe in One True Morality.

But you ask good questions, I think.

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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:42 PM
Response to Reply #92
95. I'm not arguing for *A* morality
I'm asserting that I make decisions based on my own moral understandings.

(And I'll continue to stress that I don't think that plants don't have the capacity to experience pain or fear, and so the taking of a plant life is vastly less traumatic than the taking of an animal life.)
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #95
99. Correction noted and understood.
As far as the "less traumatic" - is that enough? It's still taking another life to satisfy one's own needs, isn't it?

(I'm seriously not spoiling for a fight - I'm trying to honestly debate this, so please be patient with me!)

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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #99
106. No, I get what you're saying. I'm not trying to fight, either.
Doesn't it have to be enough, though?

Doing less harm, causing less pain is still of value. Once you get into this end of the discussion, intent matters.
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toddaa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #80
84. Yikes, you just stepped into it
Whose morality? Yours? Mine? God? FSM? Where does this morality come from?
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #84
104. Not really, no.
Morality shouldn't be finite, nor based in the judgment of the one holding it.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #2
49. How sure are you that other life forms aren't sentient?
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
55. False.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
4. You seem to be asking about moral vegetarinaism, right?
Not for health reasons, but for moral reasons? Growing veggies commercially also has huge environmental problems, and health problems also.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
6. It's an individual thing and morality vegetarians drive me nuts.
I know people who feel lousy when they eat meat, and I'm one of them. I know people who feel lousy when they don't eat meat and they can have my share.

I can't believe we evolved as meat eaters because our teeth and intestines are against it. Our teeth are great for biting through the skins of fruits but lousy for tearing through tough hides and the raw meat underneath. We have to cook it or grind it so we can manage it. Our guts are long, perfect for the slow digestion of vegetable matter but not good for the digestion of meat, especially raw meat. The long period it takes to traverse the gut makes meat more likely to provide a source of bacterial infection and make us sick, if not kill us outright. True carnivores like cats have very short guts.

We didn't evolve to eat meat, but we did evolve to learn how to change it via mechanics, chemicals or heat so that we could manage to eat it safely.

As for the morality side of the argument, I've always found that one fatally flawed. I doubt a cabbage particularly wants to be ripped out of the earth and turned into coleslaw. It wants to use all that energy it's stored in its leaves to produce seed. We have to kill living things to eat, and plants are living things. We eat them or their progeny. Some plants like the fruits have adapted to this, expecting their seeds to be passed with feces that will then fertilize young plants. Most have not.

Vegetarianism has proven to be good for my health. Sneering at other people for what they eat has not.

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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #6
42. What are you talking about?
You mean our sharp canines and incisors that are great for ripping flesh off bones just like chimpanzees and baboons use them for? and our guts that preferentially process vitamins from internal organs over plant matter? Where do you get the idea that we didn't evolve as carnivores? The geni Homo and Pan have been top predators in their ecosystems essentially since we appeared.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #42
50. Our canines are nowhere near as sturdy as those in chimps
Our guts are too long to process raw meat safely.

We are not NATURAL meat eaters. If we were, we'd be eating it raw with no health consequences.
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #50
69. We never would have advanced without eating meat
Ancient men were indeed meat-eaters. How else do you explain the eskimos and every other human culture that migrated above the snow line? How else did we survive through the ice ages? Meat eating was necessary for survival during times when vegetation was scarce. Nomads of all cultures, from native americans to cavemen followed the herds, and it may be that human speech may have developed because of the necessity of cooperation.

It's likely that our African ancestors survived primarily on a vegetarian diet. But it was carnivorous behavior that allowed them to leave Africa.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #69
70. They had to modify the meat, first
We are not NATURAL meat eaters.

Eat it if you want it. Just don't pretend your body is designed to do it.
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #70
121. Cooking came LONG after meat-eating
And actually I know plenty of people who will tell you raw meat is better for you than cooked. Certainly I prefer my fish raw, and raw/so-rare-it-might-as-well-be-raw steak is wonderful.
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
7. The only argument I can come up with is, if you don't want to eat meat
don't eat meat.
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
13. Why should you have to be convinced?
If it's something you feel is right for you, then that's the only rationale you should need.

I can't see you becoming one of those who, just because they stopped (eating meat/smoking/drinking/sex/breathing/thinking), believe that everybody else should be doing it your way.

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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. I guess a follow-up would be, why don't I see it as right for me?
And is "right for me" really applicable when some demand that ALL should live as vegetarians?

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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #20
34. so the question gets back to Fundamentalismness
fundamentalists decide not only what is right for themselves, but how all others need to be and are very willing to force their choice of rightness on others.
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #20
57. It's something only you can
and SHOULD decide for yourself.

But if you want some fallacies here's a few...

the claim is that all meat is bad for you because it's fatty and comes from McDonald's. Well, meat eaters don't ONLY eat meat (which is why we are known as omnivores). We eat noodles and fruits and veggies and eggs.

the claim that the grain going to feed animals would be better off going to feed humans. Not all that grain...in fact less than half of it...is of a grade that could be used to process into people food.

the implication (because they know it's a lie and so never outright say it) is that meat animals are only fed grain for their whole lives when actually it's about 6 weeks or less in the feed lot before slaughter.

And a really good reason not to go vegan? Chocolate. Cocoa mixed with soy is just not chocolate. (In fact, it's downright disgusting) And no matter what anyone says, carob is NOT a chocolate substitute.

NOTHING is a substitute for chocolate.
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oblivious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
14. Meat and global warming
- The production of 1 calorie of meat produces about 10-100 times more CO2 than the production of 1 calorie of vegetables (including processing and transports).

- Nitrous oxide (N2O) contained in fertilizers wasted for animal agriculture is 310 times more "greenhouse-effective" than CO2 (during the next 100 years, per molecule).

- Methane (CH4) is 56 times more "greenhouse-effective" than CO2 (during the next 20 years). In the US, livestock (including manure) accounts for about 30% of anthropogenic methane emissions, that's the same amount as from all fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal) combined. This source of methane would be the easiest to reduce, and thanks to the short atmospheric lifetime of methane, this would have "immediate" effects against global warming (lifetime of CO2 and N2O is about 10 times longer than of methane).
http://boston.earthsave.org/GlobalWarming.htm

Eating Red Meat Like Driving an SUV?
...If you want to help lower greenhouse gas emissions, they conclude in a report to be published in the journal Earth Interactions, become a vegetarian.
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=1856817&page=...

Fight Global Warming by Going Vegetarian
...A recent report by EarthSave International, based on the work of leading climate scientists, shows that adopting a vegetarian diet is far more effective at reducing global warming than is reducing emissions from cars or power plants.
http://goveg.com/environment-globalwarming.asp

Cut global warming by becoming vegetarian
... Global warming could be controlled if we all became vegetarians and stopped eating meat. That's the view of British physicist Alan Calverd, who thinks that giving up pork chops, lamb cutlets and chicken burgers would do more for the environment than burning less oil and gas.

Writing in this month's Physics World, Calvert calculates that the animals we eat emit 21% of all the carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity. We could therefore slash man-made emissions of carbon dioxide simply by abolishing all livestock.
http://www.physorg.com/news4998.html


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oblivious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #14
36. The devastating impact of meat eating on our environment
GLOBAL MEAT CONSUMPTION HAS FAR-RANGING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
Washington, D.C.Growing demand for meat has become a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future, write the editors of World Watch magazine in the July/August issue. Total meat consumption has increased five-fold in the past half century, putting extreme pressure on Earths limited resources, including water, land, feed, and fuel.

* Deforestation and Grassland Destruction: The worlds appetite for meat is razing forests at an accelerating rate. In Central America, 40 percent of all the rainforests have been cleared or burned down in the last 40 years, mostly for cattle pasture. In the process, natural ecosystems where a variety of plant and animal species thrive are destroyed and replaced with monoculture grass.

* Fresh Water: Water experts calculate that humans are now taking half the available fresh water on the planetleaving the other half to be divided among a million or more species. Producing 8 ounces of beef requires 25,000 liters of water.

* Waste Disposal: Waste from livestock production exceeds the capacity of the planet to absorb it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that livestock waste has polluted more than 27,000 miles of rivers.

* Energy Consumption & Global Warming: It takes far more fossil-fuel energy to produce and transport meat than to deliver equivalent amounts of protein from plant sources. This heavy use of carbon-rich fuels also contributes significantly to the emissions of global-warming gases.

* Food Productivity of Farmland: In the U.S., 56 million acres of land produce hay for livestock. Only 4 million acres produce vegetables for human consumption, reports the US Department of Commerce. Such inefficient use of land means that food production will not keep up with population growth.

* Diseases: Mass production of livestock has generated large-scale increases in both infectious diseases and degenerative or lifestyle diseases.

* Biodiversity Loss and Threat of Extinction: As Earth becomes more crowded, poor populations are increasingly venturing into wildlife reserves for meat. Poaching and black marketeering of bush meat is decimating remaining populations of gorillas, chimpanzees, and other primates.
http://www.worldwatch.org/node/1670
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oblivious Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. Ranching Accelerates Amazon Deforestation
Rising international demand for Brazilian beef is encouraging high rates of Amazon deforestation, according to the Center for International Forestry Research, an Indonesia-based NGO. The area lost in 2002-2003 is expected to exceed 25,000 square kilometers, a plot the size of Uruguay. Cattle ranching is the reason behind most of this loss. The cattle population has exploded in the Amazon, from 26 million in 1990 to 57 million in 2002. A widening share of the beef produced by this supply is exported to overseas markets.

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/1670
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #38
136. That does need to be stopped, but vegetarianism is not the only way.
It's not even the most effective way. If we're serious about saving the Amazon, our government needs to, first, set an example by adopting environmental protectionist policies rather than eliminating them, then get the South American countries of the Amazon serious about protecting it from development themselves. It would be somewhat different if the Amazon were in our country.
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
16. There's a strong moral argument against being a mindless food consumer
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 05:44 PM by jgraz
Buying factory-farmed food is a real moral issue. Even if you restrict yourself to vegetables, you're still contributing to the suffering of countless animals and humans by supporting petrochemical-driven industrial agriculture.

I eat meat, but I restrict myself to organic, humanely-raised (and usually local) animals. The moral argument then comes down to whether or not you have a problem killing animals for food, no matter how nice of a life they had beforehand. I don't, but I appreciate the other side of the issue.


Edit: typos
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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
17. I can tell you why it's not flawed for me.
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 05:44 PM by tofunut
I can't claim to speak for anyone else, though.

Are you actually interested, or are you spoiling?

edit: clarity
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #17
76. I try to be honest, so yes, I am interested.
NT!

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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #76
85. Okay. I'll keep it sort of short.
(Please, remember that I'm answering a question and not making statements about other folks. I've never posted my veg rationale here before and I am a little uncomfortable with opening myself to attacks.)

Like a lot of folks, my decisions haven't been based on a single thing; I'm not a "moral vegetarian" or an "ecological vegetarian," it's a combination of factors.

Current meat-production methods are very destructive to the environment. Loss of biomass, air & water pollution, desertification, overfishing, species loss...I expect you know the drill on this already.

I don't believe that meat is healthy for me physically. Even in the best of all possible worlds, setting aside things like CJD, my family has a history of gallstones, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure--all of these diseases have either a direct link or a corellation with meat consumption. So, not for me.

Unfortunately, we don't live in the best of all possible worlds. The "food supply" isn't what it once was. A fair chunk of meat in this country contains dioxins and DDT. Pesticides that are forbidden on crops for human consumption are legal on crops for animal consumption, and those pesticides don't just melt away. ( Just one '91 study--NEJM found that the breast milk of veg women contained 1-2 percent of the pesticides found in women who ate meat.) Fish and shellfish may contain mercury and/or PCBs. Then there is the willful abandonment of food-safety oversight by our government...a whole new can of worms.

Worst of all for me is the cruelty involved in meat production. I won't bore you or horrify you with the specifics. I expect you've seen the films; if you haven't, you should.

I have absolutely no need or desire to have meat as part of my diet. Wouldn't it be wasteful for me to take a life, risk my health, and support practices that I loathe?

So, in the end, how could I know all of this and still eat meat?


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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #85
91. Thank you for sharing, and trusting me not to set you up.
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 10:35 PM by Zhade
You make some excellent points. Some of the issues, I think, could be corrected through regulations and the like, but some fundamental problems for vegetarians - the desire not to kill one subset of sentient life for food - will remain no matter what.

I feel I understand the vegetarian mindset (or one such mindset, anyway) better now, for which I do sincerely thank you!

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skipos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
18. Simply put, I am a vegetarian because
unlike other carnivores, I can see that eating animals causes them unnecessary pain.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #18
77. That doesn't address one of the major flaws, though.
As I pointed out, animals can be killed painlessly and in humane ways (unless one believes the killing itself is inhumane; I don't presently feel that way).

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skipos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #77
81. You don't address this:
it isn't necessary. If a ladybug is crawling on my floor, I could step on it or take it out side. It isn't necessary to kill it so I don't. And if you think that animals killed for food are killed painlessly, you have never lived on a farm or visited a slaughterhouse.

I could go around the nieghborhood killing annoying squirrels or pigeons painlessly, but I don't because it isn't necessary. I don't eat meat because it isn't necessary.

Why kill an animal when it isn't necessary?

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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:39 PM
Response to Reply #81
93. But is your conclusion the correct one for all humanity?
I don't know that such has been proven. Perhaps it is necessary for some?

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skipos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 12:31 AM
Response to Reply #93
122. It is the correct one for me. nt
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
23. Since food is just another way to control bodily chemical processes...
...you know I don't care what other people eat or don't eat. My only problem is with people telling me what I can and cannot eat myself. Really, any proselytizing about anything ends up pissing me off in short time, and I'm assuming it's the militant vegetarian camp that's got you bringing this up.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. Well, I do admit to being irked by those who assume their lifestyle is THE way...
...and who erroneously think they're somehow smarter/better than meat-eaters.

But really, it's just something I've been questioning lately.

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Avalux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:54 PM
Response to Original message
24. Obviously, vegetarianism is not for you.
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 06:02 PM by sparosnare
You've tried it and didn't like it, so you already have a predisposition against it. I'll give you my reasons anyway though.

Health - I like how I feel and how my body functions when I don't eat meat. I sleep better and my gastrointestinal system doesn't get all clogged up. Hypercholesterolemia runs in my family, so I'm better off not consuming animal flesh. As a benefit, I am not overweight and I look a lot younger than I am.

Philosophical - I am against breeding and killing animals for the sole purpose of eating them - I believe it's terribly inhumane.

I am a quiet vegetarian - I don't walk around criticizing people who eat meat. I have made personal choices and I'm happy with them.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:55 PM
Response to Original message
25. A follow-up question: how can the "ills of meat-eating" be tempered?
Understanding that vegetarians will likely never persuade the entire human population away from the desire and willingness to eat meat, how can veggiefolk help alleviate the worst of what they (in some cases, rightfully) see as very wrong?

I'm thinking of factory farming, cruel conditions, health issues, etc. Since humans will probably continue to eat meat as long as we exist, how can we work together to address at least some concerns vegetarians and non both share?

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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. It can be grown in a vat, like yogurt, cheese, and beer
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:21 PM
Response to Reply #30
79. I've heard of that, and it sounds fascinating.
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 09:29 PM by Zhade
Hey vegetarians/vegans - would you have a problem with humans consuming vat-grown meats (assuming it's found to be safe)?

Could that be a future win-win for both sides of the issue? (And if it replaced livestock, what would we do about the population growth of domesticated food animals?)

That opens up a very interesting tangent - thanks for bringing it up!

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StrongbadTehAwesome Donating Member (623 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #79
131. That would be terrible for my own health (because I wouldn't be able to stay away), but otherwise a
great solution. It gets rid of nearly all the environmental problems - I'm sure "meat in a tub" factories would cause some pollution, but the destruction of rainforest land for cattle grazing would stop, which is a giant plus. It also eliminates the need to cause suffering to eat.

However, I'm sure that vat-meat would be just as high in cholesterol and fat as the real thing, which would be a bad, bad thing for my arteries. :)
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Mind_your_head Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 02:35 AM
Response to Reply #30
124. Wow - that is just WRONG! eom
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #25
37. We do need to work something out, because agricorp meat farms...
...are among the top polluters, we are going to have to work together to get a handle on the environment in short order. I don't want to stop eating steak, but I do want corporate beef barons to be environmentally responsible and acting in our better interests as well as for their profits.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #25
45. Grow your own food.
butcher your own animals for meat. Rip your vegetables out of the ground in your garden. Use the animal manure for veggie fertilizer. Grow your own food. Prepare your own food from live to table.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:41 PM
Response to Reply #45
94. I think we both know that's not a viable alternative for all humans.
So those who can't do that - how can we address the issues asked in this subthread, with the understanding that vegetarians will never be successful in completely eliminating meat-eating from the human population?

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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #94
101. Growing all your own food is not viable for most. However,
we can have window gardens, and those with enough space can have a chicken or 2. Many cities have pea-patch commmunity gardens also. I do think that everyone should AT SOME TIME be involved with growing their own produce and butchering their own meat also. Gives you a better appreciation of what those plastic wrapped packages in the store really are and what is involved in getting them there a little bit.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #101
105. I can't have animals. Most city-dwellers probably can't; apartment renters DEFINTELY can't.
So what about us?

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WhollyHeretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
28. What I don't understand is why you care so much about it
I always see you in vegetarian/vegan/animal rights threads. It's fine if you don't want to support but I don't see why you get so offended by it. I'm not saying you start hurling flames (there are quite a few who just come to do that) but you always put in snide remarks or put downs. Such as the woo-woo comment in this post.

So many meat eaters seem to be offended by me for simply existing, kind of like a lot of religious folks get offended by atheists for just existing.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #28
86. Rest assured, the woo-woo comment isn't restricted to veggies.
I actually have little to no problem with vegetarians - only pushy assholes who happen to be vegetarians, like only two or three on DU (not you, for sure).

The woo-woo thing is aimed at ANY argument not backed up by evidence, such as "Iraq has WMD that threaten us", "god exists and wants you to _______" or "the Universe is self-aware".

None of these are backed up with a shred of corroborating evidence; my disdain is based on the erroneous assumption that they are fact.

I'm sorry my conclusion that the argument for vegetarianism is flawed seems a put-down or snide. It's not intended to be, it's just what I honestly feel.

But as I said, I am willing to discuss. I will concede that I could have approached the OP in a better way, but the resulting discussion has been great, so no harm from my foul it seems.

(And I seriously doubt I'm THAT prevalent on animal rights/veggie threads, though I do, like most, like to put my opinion out there.)

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samfishX Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
32. I hope you aren't one of those people
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 06:05 PM by samfishX
Who, upon learning someone is a vegetarian, decides to unleash some hidden rage against them...because you kinda sound like you do...
No offense, but your post reads like your standard anti-vegetarian "I don't understand it, so it must be stupid (but you can TRY to persuade me otherwise)" rant.

I've met people like that, too. I'm not one of these people who goes around shoving the fact that I don't eat meat into people's faces, but I've met a decent number of people who just literally will start to get ANGRY with me (and others) over my choice because they "don't think it makes sense" or something. I never even MENTION it to people until I have to for whatever reason because of attitudes like that.

I had a neighbor once who saw in my trash bag as I was taking it out, a discarded veggie burger box. He was always the nicest dude, too. But when he wasn't satisfied with my answers for why I was a vegetarian, he just kept getting more and more pissed off with me...and like the others, tried to convince me that he made a fantastic (I don't even remember what anymore) dish with meat in it and how if I tried it, I'd change my mind real quick.

There was something recently in Newsweek, if memory serves, about hunting and how it's no longer about hunting or respecting nature for the VAST majority of people. It's just about killing something to continue a tradition or something. People like to dismiss the whole respecting life argument, but I think it's foolish to do so.
It's a false argument to say for most people, "So if you saw a deer in the woods and had no other source of food, you wouldn't eat it?". It's the same as when some right-wing snake tells you to go live in the woods or stop driving your car if you think global warming exists.


Anyhow, the best argument against eating meat is to just visit a slaughter house (if you can even find one that'll allow visits these days). It's not like what you see on TV with a bunch of animals just lolling around in a line calmly waiting to be destroyed. You can see the fear in their eyes and hear it in the air. And it's really, really horrible. Seeing life snuffed out so methodically could make almost anyone think twice.

But it's ultimately a choice that a person has to make based on what they believe and feel.
The good news is that probably in most people's lifetimes today they'll see meat that is just grown from DNA. I believe Texas A&M is already working on something like that.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:06 PM
Response to Original message
33. Do no harm is impossible, but do the least harm is nice
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 06:06 PM by jpgray
As long as it doesn't define your life and as long as you aren't self-righteously shoving it people's faces I have no issue with it whatsoever. Makes as much if not more sense than meat-eating. If you get big picture enough, we may as well just all starve ourselves, since even the most non-invasive vegan agriculture kills millions of animals. :D
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diamidue Donating Member (606 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
35. Some bodies just don't do well on meat.
For example, those with Type A blood are said to be the ones who benefit most by a vegetarian diet. This is very true for me anyway. I have trouble digesting meat. So it is not always a matter of caring about animals, it is sometimes just about eating what suits your body type. My health improved greatly after I went off meat.

But of course, I do care about animals, too. Caring about vegetables is a little too far fetched for me. I can't help it if humans were born higher up on the food chain. Ya gotta eat something.
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
46. For my 2 cents, the environmental argument is the best
Less acreage for food means more acreage for critters.

I am not a vegetarian but that seems to be the most rational reason.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:48 PM
Response to Original message
48. Right now
1) Animals killed for food endure much pain and suffering.

and

2) Animal production creates great environmental damage.

If these two things were eliminated, then maybe it would be okay to eat meat, but since they're not, it's not currently okay.
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:59 PM
Response to Original message
52. It works for people who are vegetarians
Eating meat works for people who aren't vegetarians.

Every philosophy is flawed if you compare it to another philosophy. Which is why nobody can ever actually be happy(the most useless word of all time), because every philosophy interacts with every other one. Unless one philosophy wins out, then it'll all be easy. The only way one will win out though is by force. That would help kill actual diversity, which is really the only way any large scale philosophy can finally be at peace with itself.
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
54. I'm a vegetarian
cause I love animals and I always hated the taste of meat anyway. I have never ever told anyone they should also becoma a vegetarian or made them feel guilty about eating meat. It's a personal choice for me and I'm not going to defend it or try to talk you into doing something you don't want to do. :shrug:
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
60. A practice in empathy
pretend your a cow
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Irreverend IX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
62. The best "moral" argument...
Stems from the inefficiency and environmental devastation wrought by meat production. Raising animals for slaughter requires you to turn huge amounts of crops into feed, crops that could provide many times more calories and nutrients than the meat from the animals. Factory farming, of course, is another problem, with lakes of pig feces, prion-infested beef and other horrors. I dislike meat and have a profound revulsion toward dairy products, so I don't consume them, but I have no problem with people who do as long as their meat and dairy is produced in quantities that don't require factory farming, massive inefficiency and environmental destruction. Of course this would make meat and dairy much more expensive--more a monthly meal than a daily meal--but no one said transitioning to sustainable food production would be easy.
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screembloodymurder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
63. It's healthy.
What else do you need.
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
64. The argument for eating meat is even MORE flawed, though!
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 07:59 PM by SmokingJacket
Agribusiness sucks, of course: it's a cruel and disgusting business. I bet few people who take a field trip to a slaughterhouse would happily go straight to McD's and get a big mac. The animals are mistreated, pumped full of hormones (bad for you, bad for the environment), killed by people who are underpaid and have no health insurance and die at a much faster rate than any other workers.

And if every human on earth ate as much meat as Americans do, we'd be out of land -- meat takes much more space than grain per gram of protein. That's the most unassailable argument, IMHO.

BTW I'm not a vegetarian: I'm married to a meat lover and don't have the wherewithal to do it right now. I haven't eaten beef in years though I do partake of the chicken.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 07:59 PM
Response to Original message
65. Here's what I don't understand.
If everyone stopped eating meat, as some vegetarians would propose, what would we do with the millions upon millions of cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, and other animals currently kept for meat? These animals have had the "wild" bred out of them for millennia. Some breeds, like typical factory-farm turkeys, are physically unable to have sex without human intervention. Almost all of them are basically defenseless and unable to feed themselves. So what do we do when we stop eating them? Do we stop breeding them, let them go extinct? Unleash them and let natural selection, mostly by highway, take its course? Do we keep feeding them, and if so, how much wilderness will have to be converted to farmland? How many wild animals would we kill to keep the domestic animals alive?
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diamidue Donating Member (606 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #65
83. export more meat. Japan, Europe, etc. n/t
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:04 PM
Response to Original message
72. Want v. need.
Eating meat is like driving an H2. It's about saying "fuck the consequences, it's what I want" as opposed to embracing what's best.

99% of humans don't NEED to eat meat. They do so because they want to. It's a taste thing. It's selfish. We all know the reasons why we shouldn't (environment/health/animal welfare).

There's your reality. Saying we "evolved" to eat meat or that we're "higher on the food chain" and therefore should is much akin to saying that we evolved to cave into our pathetic desires regardless of the outcome, or that we shouldn't give a shit about what we do because we're higher on some scale based in self-love and selfishness.

Eat meat, drive a Hummer. Same damn thing.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 09:17 PM
Response to Original message
78. I believe vegetarianism is a healthier lifestyle, however, you
still have to eat some animal products even if it's eggs and dairy products. Being a vegan is harder to do. Some people have to have meat because of physical conditions. The Dalai Lama is one of those who need to eat meat for medical reasons and most of the Buddhist monks are vegetarians.

I think the bigger issue is not that we eat meat but how we raise and kill the meat. The Argentine guachos often claimed the reason that Argentinian range raised beef was so good was because the would sneak up behind the animal and kill it before it knew what had happened. There wasn't the feedlot and slaughterhouse nightmare much of our beef goes through.

Some animal populations have to be kept down by culling them. My grandmother kept chickens, mostly for eggs, but she usually killed the excess roosters to keep chicken coop peace and we had Sunday dinner. Her chickens were well cared for and happy. When it came time for one of the hens to become chicken dinner, she was dispatched quickly and mostly painlessly.

I think it's a matter of respecting our food animals and keeping them happy during their short lives and making their deaths and quick and painless as possible.
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toddaa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:25 PM
Response to Original message
87. Apart from environmental concerns, there really isn't one
But the environmental concern is big enough to warrant minimizing meat consumption. On the other hand, basing a diet on soy and corn (which are the cornerstones of the American diet) are just as bad. The problem isn't what's on your plate, it's how it got there.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #87
98. That's a good point, mentioned upthread too.
Would replacing all meat consumption with vegetable consumption - especially given the apparent tendency to eat more vegetables to replace what's found in meat - really diminish the environmental damage caused by human food needs in general?

And can the environmental damage be addressed in other ways? Say, vat-grown meat and other scientific advances?

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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #87
102. That's true, selfishness aside.
The problem isn't what's on your plate, nor how it got there. The problem is with the person staring at the plate...
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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:25 PM
Response to Original message
88. It is morals, a multiplicity of morals.
You can not make rational arguments without subjectivity. Rational arguments can be had on all sides...utilizing a diverse set of criteria. But then again no form of reason will allow a vegetarian to survive life alongside a bear without eventually being eaten; no matter how many times that vegetarian takes pictures of the bear, dips his hands in its poo', and turns to the camera to utter something tragically hilarious.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #88
96. Talk about tragically hilarious...
"But then again no form of reason will allow a vegetarian to survive life alongside a bear without eventually being eaten"

That has got to be the single most STUPIDest thing I've read in a long damn time.

Congratulations.
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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #96
109. You do know the reference to the joke, right?
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #109
111. No. Which might be why
on the face of that post, it seems so stupidly fantastic.
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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:23 PM
Response to Reply #111
116. I responded in the wrong place-see here
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #116
117. *snicker*
Vegetarians and bears...I mean BEERS go together!

No, actually...they do. Seriously. With me, a bear stands a great chance...a beer does not.
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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #88
107. Does that come up for you a lot?
Living cheek and jowl with bears, I mean.

(And what's with the "poo" remark?)
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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:13 PM
Response to Reply #107
108. Sorry, I've just seen the documentary with the gentlemen who had been living
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 11:15 PM by izzybeans
with bears in Alaska. He eventually went missing and presumed eaten. The Pooh reference is directly related to that.
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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #108
110. I've seen it.
I'm not sure that it has any relevance here though. Treadwell, I think?

I don't actually know any veg*ns who think that animals aren't really dangerous if they just love them enough.
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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #110
112. It's not meant to be a literal translation i suppose. Just a half tipsy posting.
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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #112
114. It was a stupid post I suppose.
It was a silly joke about the dude with living with the bears. Most likely uncalled for, but just felt right after I set my beer down.
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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #112
115. Check.
Been there, doing that.
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JanMichael Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:47 PM
Response to Original message
100. Which argument? I just got got sick of the meat industry and wanted to
see if getting meat out of my diet lowered my cholesteral count (don't know yet it's only been a few months).

Once started though the thought of fat bloody steak oozing in my mouth makes me fucking sick. How utterly barbaric.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
103. The primary point
has little to do with what was brought up in the OP and this is illustrative as to how abstracted we are from reality. What it comes down to is energy. We all know it takes 10 calories just to get that one calorie to the American dinner table and how the average food item travels 1,500 miles. What is often ignored is where one lives and what foods one should eat based upon where one lives if you are to be living within the energy constraints of that locale.

As the food system currently (dys)functions for most of us here in America it is a tremendously energy-intensive enterprise to consume meat. To use a broad brush for the entire world on this topic and consider it some moralistic flaw for folks to hunt and eat meat is characteristic of an ideologue.

On why narwhale blubber is better than Cheese Doodles:

When I first went up north in 1994 there was no diabetes. As late as the 1960s, people were travelling to Cree villages in the northern boreal forests to find out why they are immune to diabetes. Now, in a place like Norway House (a Cree community in northern Manitoba), the prevalence of diabetes in adults is 40 per cent. That's just amazing! Diabetes is at eight to 10 per cent in southern Canada, and it's a disaster down here.

While I'm working up north, most of what I do is see diabetics. I give them their pills, and talk about how much better it is to eat char and seal and narwhale blubber than to eat Cheese Doodles.

In the south when we talk to people about diet we say, "Avoid animal fat." But in 1994, when I went up to the Arctic, there was no coronary artery disease, no diabetes. Because in order to get narwhale blubber, you had to spend days in your boat on the ocean, then shoot one and put a harpoon in it and pull it ashore. Or to get caribou you walked the land for hours and shot one and gutted it, and then walked back with the meat. The whole lifestyle kept people thin and stopped them from having vascular disease.

http://thetyee.ca/Books/2006/10/17/Consumption/
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #103
113. Interesting.
It's rather strange how we have adapted to our environments genetically. It looks like we have to adapt again.
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alittlelark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:33 PM
Response to Original message
118. I would be vegetarian if I did not crave meat...
I tried twice. I am a moral vegetarian, and an omnivore. I only eat organic, free range meat, poultry and dairy. I am fortunate to be able to afford to do so.


When I went Vegetarian - w/ lots of 'book smarts' on proteins etc... I was lethargic, weak, and my skin looked gray. I stuck w/ it for 4 and 7 months respectively.

I have a few vegetarian friends who do just fine. One tried to help me during my last try at vegetarianism. She recommended I eat eggs after 4 months (this was during the 7 month attempt).

Perhaps blood type is an issue. I am O-, we seem to, as a group, have difficulty w/o animal protein in the diet.
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #118
130. Ditto here. I only lasted a month.
I did it because I feel badly for cows and pigs. But after three weeks I dreamed about meat every single night. And I had no energy. I couldn't stop thinking about meat.

An interesting thing. I have several friends who converted successfully to vegetarianism and they all ballooned up in weight. My veggie friends are all fat!
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Mme. Defarge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #118
134. I think I could be a vegetarian
if I didn't have to ompletely change the way that I cook. I work full time and am tired when I get home. It's so much easier to just go on auto-pilot and fix something familiar that I know will be nutritious and balanced, and be half-way tasty.

If, on the other hand, someone cooked for me and set only vegetarian fare in front of me, I think I would be just fine. Actually, I once spent a week as a patient in an Adventist hospital where I was served no meat. I have to say that taking my first bite of meat after I got home was really kind of strange.
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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:38 PM
Response to Original message
119. I agree with you....
the one time I dabbled in vegetarianism, it was for purely health related reasons. (I was trying to lose weight and lower my cholesterol by going on a vegetarian and organic diet.)

Interesting take on the topic, Zhade.
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
123. Zhade, Just As An Aside And To Make Something Clear: Strict Vegans Scored Lower IQ's By 10 Points In
that study. That's more than the trivial 5 points the non-vegetarians averaged. Didn't know if you saw that part of the study or not, even though you did state that you don't care much for IQ anyway.

Aside from that, I think the only logical and substantial argument that can be made for why one should become a vegetarian, is quite simply only because they choose to. Vegans, Vegetarians, Meat-Eaters; None of them are better than another. They simply each have their own individual preference on how they choose to eat, is all. So based on a 'to each their own' philosophy, the only logical argument that stands firm for why someone should become a vegetarian, is just cause they want to and it's their preference.

That's my take on it anyway.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
126. a pound of brown rice cost less than a pound of meat.
A pound of beans cost less than a pound of meat.

A pound of potatoes cost less than a pound of meat

A pound of Kale costs less than a pound of meat.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
132. IQ? What is the smartest animal we eat? I wouldn't eat apes, dolphins, or whales
but who does?
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DireStrike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
135. Environmental effects and regulation
You can't regulate meat into being a more efficient source of energy (barring hypothetical lab-grown meat and other such solutions that are not possible at the moment.) Cows are going to produce methane and CO2 and other waste products.

Farming plants is easier, more efficient, and less wasteful. If nobody ate meat, more people could eat and with less energy spent. Efficiency can be raised by regulation, but... enough? Is there ever enough? It should be humanity's goal to reduce our footprint on the planet as much as possible.

On the other hand the extra efficiency would probably just be gobbled up by people making more babies.
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