Originally Posted by peterk
I have read several studies citing human meat consumption as a catalyst to brain development when arguing with animal rights fanatics. I'm also pretty sure there proteins that are essential that are found only in select vegetables/plants that are readily available in most meats, thats why a strict vegan diet can be dangerous to anyone who hasn't done the research or consulted a nutritionist or doctor.
Also to save money on meats, ever considered wild game? Most are also better for your health. Moose for example can replace beef in a lot of recipes and doesn't contain nearly the fat. Plus, you can skip the whole growth hormone marinade pumped into these things nowadays.
Last edited by Woody; 2012-10-31 at 08:22 AM.
I'd like to clear some things up here.
I've been a vegetarian for just over a year (I'm eighteen, by the way). I grew up on a farm that raises beef cattle -- not that many, but enough to be able to sell meat to our family and friends every year (and supply ourselves). Until I was thirteen, I didn't know that we ate our own cows. I don't blame my parents that much for not telling me, but immediately upon finding out I stopped eating our beef (eating store bought instead). I also stopped eating fast food at this point. Our cows are treated just about as well as they possibly could be. There are just a few of them, they're fed hay, grain and all the grass they can eat, and they're never given antibiotics (unless they're sick). We have them for around a year before they're slaughtered and processed. If people are going to eat meat, I can't think of a better source than cows like those.
Anyways, on to my main point. I've always been very fond of animals. I tried going vegetarian a few times when I was a child (6-10 years old) but I didn't know anything about it, and I thought that it would mean I would have to eat salad for every meal. As such, I never lasted very long. In high school I was exposed to material regarding animal cruelty, factory farming and the environmental effects of it (see Earthlings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19eBAfUFK3E). When my dog (who I'd had for almost as long as I could remember) died, I started to question why I was so crushed by her death, yet unphased by the hundreds of animals that died or would die so that I could eat them -- out of convenience and pleasure -- during my lifetime. I started to wonder if I could kill an animal myself so that I could eat it. When I realized that I couldn't, I decided that I had no right to pretend that animals didn't suffer so that I could have a steak. So, I became a vegetarian.
Methane production isn't the only environmental effect of large-scale meat production -- for every pound of meat that's produced, it takes 10 pounds of grain. So that's 9 pounds of grain essentially going to waste, not to mention the huge amounts of: land, water, chemicals and waste associated with the production of both the grain and the animal(s). While you, as an individual, becoming a vegetarian may not have that much of an impact, it still is one less person contributing to environmental decay. Going vegetarian is the equivalent to taking half a car off the roads (http://www.independent.co.uk/environ...s-6423173.html).
From a health perspective, there really isn't definite proof that vegetarianism prevents cancer or other things like that. There are many health benefits, though, which you can read about here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetar...s_and_concerns People often cite nutrient deficiencies, or trouble gaining weight as reasons for not going vegetarian (or eating less meat). While it's true that some vegetarians (particularly vegans) don't get enough protein, vitamin B12 or iron, the vast majority do. As long as you eat a reasonably varied and healthy diet (lentils, tofu or soy products, the occasional salad, etc.) you won't have any problems. I've been slightly underweight my entire life, despite at one point (for a period of around 6 months) eating around 4000 calories per day, including tons of meat. Since going vegetarian, I've actually gained two pounds. Not to say I wouldn't have gained weight eating meat, but I certainly didn't lose weight. Calories are calories, and protein is found in lots of vegetarian sources.
My Geography Professor, though an omnivore, says that he has "no illusions that eating meat is ethical". That, from my perspective, is the one conclusion that everyone should reach. I ate meat for seventeen years, I'm not going to berate anyone for continuing to do so. It is not, however, an ethical thing to do, as some people like to believe. Some of the greatest minds in history: Einstein, Da Vinci, Pythagoras, Plato, etc. were vegetarians, primarily because they realized that it was, in no way, ethical. I think, and hope, that if people realize that what they're doing isn't ethical -- that meat doesn't grow on trees -- they may start to put a bit more thought into what they eat, where it comes from and how it was 'made'.
Edit: I'd like to point out that after going vegetarian, I didn't start 'feeling healthier', or anything of the sort. I also didn't feel worth. If you're accustomed to eating lots of fast food, maybe you would notice a difference, but vegetarianism isn't some sort of miracle-cure. Also, if any of you are curious, I didn't at all miss meat. The only times it's an inconvenience is when I'm out to dinner with friends or family and the vegetarian options are limited, but that's fairly rare. There are lots of meat substitutes out there (check out the brand 'Yves') if you have a craving for the taste of meat. I use 'veggie ground round', which is essentially vegetarian ground beef, in spaghetti/lasagna/casseroles, and I genuinely can't tell the difference between it and beef.
Last edited by Teen Trader; 2012-11-01 at 05:14 PM.
I've edited your post
I dispute much of what you claim, that 9lbs isn't going to waste, it's going to make meat.
Originally Posted by Teen Trader
Take for example corn vs beef. Beef has 10x the protein, you'd have to eat 10x as much corn anyway.
I like meat more than some of the feedstock grains.
What qualifies a Geography prof on ethics? Did he minor in philosophy? I'm under no illusion that, in general, any particular diet is ethically superior to others.
In my corn/beef example there isn't even a very strong efficiency arguement to be made.
Next time you make your list of dead, white, male, vegetarians, of historical importance add Hitler to the list.
Now for ethics, do you live in a house? Did you disturb the natural environment to build your shelter, provide food and other necessities? Do your recreational activities further displace animals and cause environmental degradation?
Of course they do.
One could argue, by your logic, your larger than necessary environmental footprint isn't ethical either, and I'd bet your lifestyle does more damage than the incremental impact of my meat consumption.
I thought it was obvious that I wasn't suggesting you to eat 10 lbs of grains for every one lb of meat you stop eating, sorry about not making that clear. The land and resources used to grow that corn/grain could instead be used to grow other, protein-rich crops (such as lentils).
Originally Posted by MrMatt
I don't know if my geography prof majored in philosophy. He was speaking from his own perspective, and I agreed with him -- I would have agreed with him even if I wasn't a vegetarian. The idea that something should die so that you can eat something you like the taste of (not so that you can survive) is not ethical. I don't think many people would claim it is.
Whether Hitler was a vegetarian or not is disputed. Read this: http://www.snopes.com/glurge/twoquestions.asp or if you don't want to, I'll summarize it for you. It points out that Hitler ate mostly vegetarian foods in the latter part of his life, but for health reasons, not ethical.
I don't claim to be an entirely ethical person -- I'm not perfect. I don't think anyone is perfect. I do what I can to have a small impact on the environment: I walk almost everywhere, the house where I lived before school is 80 years old and small, and I try to buy organic/sustainable clothing/food/everything whenever I can. I'd like to point out again that I'm not trying to be judgemental of you or anyone else, I just want to correct some of the misconceptions people have about vegetarianism.
My point is that the 10:1 grain/meat arguement isn't completely valid. Cows don't eat lentils, but they do eat corn. I would think that lentils and corn have different growing requirements and different environmental impacts, whereas the corn I eat and cows eat, while different, are much more similar.
Originally Posted by Teen Trader
I misunderstood your reference to a professor, often people refer to professors as an expert witness, I was pointing out that geography prof while an expert in his field, isn't likely to be an expert in ethics. I don't see an ethical problem with eating formerly living food. Just to be pedantic you don't either, unless you want to argue that plants are not a "living thing". BTW as much as PETA complains I swat mosquitos and flys, and use mousetraps.
There is arguement on why Hitler was a vegetarian. I do know people who became vegetarians for health reasons, then got on the "ethical" bandwagon. Also remember many vegetarians don't consider fish meat, and some consider animal products such as milk, eggs, leather etc okay too.
Interesting I do claim to be a very moral and ethical person, but I also don't claim to be perfect. I think environmental impact is one aspect among many to consider.
As for judgement you do claim that it is not ethical to eat things, and that most people would agree with you is a pretty harsh judgement. Using such completely made up stats isn't ethical in a debate, or as a student, it's a good way to fail a paper. The truth is a minority of the world is actually vegetarians, generally only a few percent, except in countries where they can't afford food. Clearly, as evidenced by their actions, the vast majority are okay with killing animals to eat them.
One more thought, a bit out there but why not.
I think eating meat of obtained through hunting is MORE ethical in many cases.
The animal is there and there is no agricultural environment.
The mortality rate of some animals (deer, rabbit, game birds etc) through the winter is very high due to lack of food etc.
The animal is most likely going to starve to death in the cold, and the meat wasted.
By hunting you provide a quicker and more humane death and don't waste the meat. This also offsets a certain level of agricultural impact.
It definitely is. The animal had a chance to live a large portion of its life in a free environment. Also, as you said in the case of booming populations and poor environmental conditions they are harvested and utilized for our benefit and also the benefit of their own population.
Originally Posted by MrMatt
My family has been hunting and consuming the most abundant wild animal resource the country has ever had for hundreds of years. Harp seals.
Dear Teen Trader,
Thank you for your deeply thoughtful post.
Unlike most of us city-slickers/arm-chair philosophers, you've actually spent your life living amongst farm animals.
And you've thought about the implications and impact of your choices on others, including animals.
That kind of empathy is truly rare.
One interesting thing you mention that I've heard from many others is that it is often children who are most disturbed by the thought of eating animals.
Could it be that people have an innate loathing of hurting and killing other sentient beings? That our natural instinct is to help others? That's why kids will care for a bird that's fallen from its nest. That's why most of us shudder if we witness an act of cruelty.
Could it be this natural instinct is eroded as we age and experience more violent situations until eventually, we accept and, at extremes, even revel in, cruelty and violence? Just a thought.
I suspect if people had to personally slaughter a cow for their meat, there would be many more vegetarians.
Of course, if they have never grown up in that environment it would be shocking. For those that grew up hunting and eating wild game, fishing, and growing food it would not be a shock. Most people I know who grew up in an environment like that are omnivores.
Originally Posted by VJ99
@Woody - yes I wish this food source was socially acceptable since it is so abundant.
I'd never even consider vegetarianism, but we do something different. We intermittently fast every week; usually Tuesdays. Our version means is we eat a full dinner Monday night, then eat nothing at all until dinner on Tuesday. You can Google "intermittent fasting" and see all the health benefits associated with it but the basic idea is it gives your body time to process all the crap you've had that week and takes you out of "overdrive" mode. For us, we've found we're significantly less hungry for the rest of the week, leading to smaller portions, we've got more energy, and have lost a little bit of weight. I'd highly recommend this approach to trying some gross vegetarian diet.