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Why AREN'T you a vegan/vegetarian? - Page 9

Poll Results: Why AREN'T you a vegan/vegetarian?

 
  • 11% (32)
    I believe animals are here to serve us
  • 25% (71)
    I like the way animal products taste way too much to not eat them
  • 0% (1)
    I have never thought about the cruelties of factory farming
  • 7% (20)
    It's all I know. Eating meat was how I was raised. I never considered anything else
  • 51% (145)
    I believe it is the healthiest way for me to eat
  • 0% (1)
    I'm on a fad diet like atkins that condones eating meat
  • 1% (5)
    I think vegans are weirdos and don't want to grouped in with them
  • 3% (9)
    I have never heard a good argument against eating meat, but would change if I did
284 Total Votes  
post #161 of 198
And back to the OP...

I didn't vote because none of the options reflected my views. It seems to me that humans are set up to eat meat - we have canine teeth and we have a "taste" for it. I don't think it's any more inappropriate for a human to eat cow than for a cat to eat mouse.
post #162 of 198
My response:

I like the way a good medium rare steak tastes as well as a really well cooked chicken breast.

It was the way I was raised.

I buy animal products (including dairy and eggs) from a small family farm where I know the animals had a very good, clean, healthy living prior to coming home to my house as food.

I have nothing against veggies or vegans and could easily be a veggie as we don't eat a ton of animal products.
post #163 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleeping queen
I tried to be a vegetarian for awhile, because I think that the healthiest diet is composed mostly of raw fruits and vegs I was trying to follow this diet Raw I still love fresh carrot juice and my toddlers like fresh juice.

For me, I feel better when I eat meat. I tend to get low iron even if I eat loads of spinach.
I am the same way. Also, none of the options surveyed fit me. Since this is not a debate forum- why the biased polling choices?

I feel better when I have a bit of meat in my diet. But we vary our diet so much so we're not meat and potatoes kind of people. Some weeks we may have 3 veggie meals for dinner while other weeks it may sway towards more meat. It depends on sales and our mood what we eat. Last night we had chickpea curry w rise. Tonight it was Ceasar Chicken wraps. It depends on what we have in the house at any given time. Of course we seem to have a bountiful pantry and freezer lately so we will be eating many creative meals to clean out the supply.
post #164 of 198
Thread Starter 
Im sorry the choices are so limiting! When I made the question I wasnt trying to make a point with my choices. I truly could only think of those reasons. Sorry!
post #165 of 198
I tried to be veg years ago, not ideal for me, though we are mostly veg. Organic poultry once a week, org. eggs often, org. raw milk daily, etc...
I tend to be anemic, so best way to go for me. However, my East Indian guru says to avoid red meat, and eat a mainly veg diet for spiritual reasons - the body's energy is diverted to digestion rather than meditation when eating meat, especially red. (kriya meditation). This is if your are trying to evolve spiritually. My 2.5 year old daughter loves raw milk, btw. She has caries that I am hoping will be healed by drinking it. Her teeth have become much whiter. Rice milk was a big mistake.
post #166 of 198

Why Aren't you a Vegan/Vegetarian

I found this all very interesting. I've been a Vegetarian for 25 years now, had 4 very healthy pregnancies, 3 home births,(the first in a birthing center) breastfed til they were 2-2 1/2 and have been told that I have less than half the chance of a heart attack than other women my age (45-yes, ancient history!) I have nothing against killing animals for food, I just don't feel it's necessary for good health. There are so many other whole foods to choose from, there is a wealth of Veg cookbooks to guide even the novice. BUT just like all the other choices you make in your life, this one must come from carefully educating yourself. Also, you must discover how to eat away from home, how to answer people's questions and how to meet the needs at every stage of life. How to cook when your husband is a meat-eater. How to pack a school lunch. How to cook for company. It comes with time just like anything else. If you're pregnant and are craving meat, then eat it or try tempeh, which helped my meat cravings when I was pregnant.
post #167 of 198

Farm girl chimes in . . . .

I eat meat as part of a balanced diet. I eat fresh fruits, veggies, etc. though I can't stand such concoctions as tofu and soy milk - I find the taste unpleasant and I don't like that some of it simply looks unidentifiable. I can tell what a shoulder roast is and I can tell what an apple or carrot is, but that tofu, in my opinion, looks awful, smells awful and even the name is simply not appetizing. I think it sounds like the gunk in between my kids' toes after they've been running and playing all day. Also, not all animals raised for meat or dairy are mistreated.

I don't doubt that there are farms in the industry that are too big for their britches and don't take the best care of their animals, but I honestly do not believe that this is the industry standard. I've lived on and around farms (mostly cattle and dairy farms) all of my life in VA, SC, and IN. I've been to a number of farms in the west, midwest and in the great lake states. I have yet to see a mistreated animal. As a matter of fact, I find farmers to be very respectful of animals and those I know personally tend to be offended when they are falsely accused of abusing their animals. These farmers don't refer to their farms as "organic" but as far as I can tell they fit that description. These cows get to roam free in miles of pastureland and are well cared for without being doped up. It irks me to see meat labeled organic with an inflated price. It seems like a ripoff to me. It costs more to dope up animals and raise them under factory conditions than to let them roam the fields, so why does "organic" meat cost more? I just feel that the "organic" industry is taking advantage of a misguided fear that all farm animals are abused because a handful of farms that are probably run by large companies that know crappola about what it means to be a farmer don't care properly for their animals.

As for those who see "fear" in the eyes of a cow in a truck off to the slaughterhouse, I'm not sure they've been around cows enough to know what that look they see is. Yes, cows are intelligent animals, but they aren't psychic. Honestly, how would they know where they are going when they trod up the ramp into the truck? If they feared where they were going, why the heck would they trod up that ramp in the first place? It's no more torture than strapping an unruly child into a carseat for a trip to the park.

I've also lived near and helped out in slaughterhouses. I have yet to see an animal exhibit any feelings of pain or fear. The process is very quick and respectful. Think about it - the workers processing the cattle really aren't interested in trying to control animals who are frightened or in pain - that would just mean more work and unnecessary trouble for them.

As far as health goes, I believe a balanced diet is best. The most healthy people I have met are all farmers who eat loads of fresh fruits and veggies as well as meat. Besides that, the iron in plants just doesn't cut it for many people, including me, and I have to eat red meat or I become very anemic. The most unhealthy people I know personally are those who eat too much processed food including meat without eating a lot of fresh foods and those that won't eat meat at all. I have a city friend who won't eat any kind of meat or dairy. She says dairy causes people to produce too much mucus contributing to things like sinus infections and the common cold, yet she is the first to get the sniffles every fall.

As far as why we eat cows and not cats and dogs - to me every animal has something it's good at or for. It's all part of the "circle of life". Cats are great mousers and do a wonderful job of keeping diseases at bay, so it would just be silly to slaughter and eat it! Dogs do all sorts of great things and I don't see any problem with their function as a companion. I don't like it when people don't respect their pets and don't take good care of them, but that's not the same thing. Keeping a dog should be beneficial for the human and the dog - they should be companions to each other. Just like I can't stand trophy hunters who go out and shoot deer for no other reason than to have a head to hang on a wall, I can't stand people who collect pets as a novelty since most of those people simply don't take good care of their animals.

To a true farmer, the mistreatment of animals is simply appalling. There is no group of people more respectful of the lives and needs of animals than true, honest to goodness farmers. Those who abuse livestock aren't real farmers IMO, those are businessmen who need to find a different business to be in, but I don't think it's right to turn away from good farmers because of a handful of bad seeds. It seems to me that there ought to be a better way to get these big business folks to stop mistreating animals than to put good farmers who really care about their animals out of work.
post #168 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovingMotherCassie
I've also lived near and helped out in slaughterhouses. I have yet to see an animal exhibit any feelings of pain or fear. The process is very quick and respectful. Think about it - the workers processing the cattle really aren't interested in trying to control animals who are frightened or in pain - that would just mean more work and unnecessary trouble for them.
That's great that that has been your experience. But even the meat industry itself acknowledges that abuse and mistreatment of animals, the infliction of tremendous amounts of pain and stress, and mismanged, inhumane slaughter happen frequently. Temple Grandin's site, www.grandin.com, probably has more comprehensive information about pain, fear, and stress in farmed animals than any other site (and since she is a consultant to the meat industry, she cannot be accused of animal rights bias).

Family and small scale farms do, I think, have a better record of humane animal husbandry. But they are being replaced more and more by large-scale farms and CAFOs. I would not call factory farms the exception; they seem more like the norm, esp. with pigs, chickens, and eggs.
post #169 of 198
My whole family follows the "Eating Right For Your Blood Type" diet. We are all O's and within the diet, we simply eat what feels best. It reccomends NO dairy and tons of meat (ick!), poultry and fish. I make it a balance within what I can handle - financially, emotionally, nutritionally.
post #170 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaydeesac
That's great that that has been your experience. But even the meat industry itself acknowledges that abuse and mistreatment of animals, the infliction of tremendous amounts of pain and stress, and mismanged, inhumane slaughter happen frequently. Temple Grandin's site, www.grandin.com, probably has more comprehensive information about pain, fear, and stress in farmed animals than any other site (and since she is a consultant to the meat industry, she cannot be accused of animal rights bias).

Family and small scale farms do, I think, have a better record of humane animal husbandry. But they are being replaced more and more by large-scale farms and CAFOs. I would not call factory farms the exception; they seem more like the norm, esp. with pigs, chickens, and eggs.
Like I said, I don't doubt that such things occur. You say factory farms seem like the norm, but are they really? In my experience they are not the norm, they are simply the appalling extreme that catches the eye of those of us who give a darn about the animals that are being mistreated there. In reality, how many of these big factory farms are in operation compared to the number of farms where animals are well treated?

It is wrong that these animals are mistreated, but boycotting meat has more impact on the true farmers who respect and care for their animals than on these big factory farms that can afford to take some beating. In essence, we are giving more power to the abusers by eliminating their more compassionate competition for them. It just seems to me there ought to be a better way.
post #171 of 198
I eat meat 'cause it's the natural thing to do. Humans are omnivores. Of course nature didn't intend us to be eating meat pumped full of god knows what, so it takes a bit more work and $$ to find meat fit for human consumption.

I don't eat a lot of meat, but when it's good, it's reallllllly gooood.

qb
post #172 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovingMotherCassie
In reality, how many of these big factory farms are in operation compared to the number of farms where animals are well treated?

It is wrong that these animals are mistreated, but boycotting meat has more impact on the true farmers who respect and care for their animals than on these big factory farms that can afford to take some beating. In essence, we are giving more power to the abusers by eliminating their more compassionate competition for them. It just seems to me there ought to be a better way.
Did you read this entire thread? If so, you can see how many people in this thread say they only eat from small/organic farms? Small farms can reach out to the 95% of Americans who eat meat; the 5% of vegetarians who don't aren't hurting their business. If small farms are struggling, vegetarians are not to blame--there simply aren't enough of us to give the market a "beating."

As for small/large farm #s here are some links. Do some research and you'll see that your perspective (that small family farms are more the norm) is not shared by, well, anyone else that I know of). I have yet to read material from either animal, environmental, or organic advocacy groups, or see an article about CAFO & industrial farming, that do not talk about the loss of family farms to agribusiness, and how industrial scale farms do not now dominate agriculture.

Common Dreams (originally published in St. Paul Pioneer Press)(http://www.commondreams.org/views/123000-102.htm):
Quote:
Factory Farms Continue To Be A Blight On Landscape
by Ralph Nader

A concentrated food industry and concentrated factory farms have combined to throw rural America into one of the worst crises it has ever faced.

Federal and state regulators have failed to curtail the merger frenzy among livestock firms, or the surge in factory farms that are polluting water supplies and poisoning ecosystems.

Now comes hope that the judicial system may offer some relief, at least from the worst excesses of the factory farm system. But while a new legal initiative launched by a coalition of environmentalists, family farm groups and trial lawyers may begin to reverse the abuses of the factory farmers, by itself it will not be sufficient to save the American family farm -- the primary source of knowledge and experience in this country on how to farm sustainably.

As a result of the past decade's merger mania, the top four cattle processors -- IBP, Monfort (owned by ConAgra), Excel (owned by Cargill) and Farmland National -- collectively control about 80 percent of the market -- double the rate of two decades ago.

The top five hog processing companies -- Smithfield, IBP, Excel, Monfort and Farmland -- jointly control 63 percent of the market. And Smithfield proposes to increase its market share still further by merging with IBP. Regional concentration levels -- often more important to farmers, especially small farmers for whom it is often impractical to ship livestock long distances -- are even higher.

Accompanying the horizontal integration has been a vertical integration that has choked the open market for cattle and hogs. The big meatpackers now own and operate massive factory farms, or contract in advance with factory farmers for a specified supply. Small farmers find that the open market has shrunk so that there is barely any demand for their products.

And what goes on at the giant factory farms?

``A typical hog factory farm has several metal barns, each containing several hundred to several thousand animals tightly confined cheek by jowl,'' the Natural Resources Defense Council reported in a 1998 study. ``Unlike traditional family farms, where pigs live in spacious barns in which straw bedding absorbs manure, or where they root about outside and leave their manure to decay in a pasture or open lot, these animals live in cramped conditions and may never see sunlight. They spend their lives standing on slatted metal floors, beneath which their feces and urine are flushed. The manure is piped into open-air manure lagoons.''

All too often, these enormous pools of manure leak into the rivers or contaminate underground aquifers, endangering public health and killing fish and wildlife. Outbreaks of pfiesteria have been linked to manure contamination of water supplies.

A 1999 survey of 10 states by the Clean Water Network and the Isaak Walton League found more than 100 spillages in the previous year, with more than 4.5 million gallons of manure spilled or leaked into water sources. A single lagoon burst at a Murphy Family Farms factory farm in North Carolina poured 1.5 million gallons into local rivers.

The odor from factory farms also is a major nuisance and public health menace, making life unpleasant for the unlucky neighbors of the monstrous farms.

Factory farms have sprung up around the country, with virtually no effective national or state regulation.

Earlier this month, a coalition of environmental and family farm groups, including the Water Keeper Alliance, the Sierra Club and the National Farmers' Union, announced they were taking matters into their own hands. Partnering with leading trial lawyers, they pledged to use civil litigation to try to enforce the nation's environmental laws.

The Water Keeper Alliance says it already has initiated a half-dozen lawsuits against factory farm operations for violations of the Clean Water Act and other federal environmental laws.

Success in this legal campaign should curtail the poisoning of water sources across the country. By forcing farm operations to respect the law and internalize some of their costs, it may deter the spread of factory farms, and should create a more level playing field for family farmers.

But as important as this effort may be, it is not a cure-all. The industry concentration in the meatpacking sector is incompatible with a vibrant family farm sector, as are many federal farm policies. On the livestock side, groups such as the Organization for Competitive Markets are encouraging the federal government to use its existing authority, under the Packers and Stockyards Act, to promote open and competitive markets, a moratorium on new agribusiness mergers, as well as other measures to counteract policy and market power biases toward the big meatpackers.

Time is running out to save the American family farm, and the rich family farm tradition of political populism and stewardship of the land.

But with the Bush administration set to continue the corporate agribusiness bias of the Clinton tenure, the future does not appear bright -- absent a rekindling of the spirit of the agrarian populist movement that forced major changes in America's politics and economy in the late 19th century.
From Grace Factory Farm Project (http://www.factoryfarm.org/whatis/):
Quote:
Meat production in the United States has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Many of today's farms are actually industrial facilities, not the peaceful, idyllic family farms most Americans think of. These factory farms are also known as confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) or intensive livestock operations (ILOs). They emphasize high volume and profit with minimal regard for human health, safe food, the environment, humane treatment of animals, and the rural economy - in other words, factory farms are not sustainable.
From Humane Farming Association (http://www.hfa.org/factory/):
Quote:
"Loss of Family Farms
Family farms are being squeezed out of business by their inability to raise the capital to compete with huge factory farms. Traditional farming is labor intensive, but factory farming is capital intensive. Farmers who do manage to raise the money for animal confinement systems quickly discover that the small savings in labor costs are not enough to cover the increasing costs of facilities, energy, caging, and drugs.

The increase in factory farms has led to a decrease in the price independent farmers get for their animals, forcing thousands out of business. The number of U.S. farmers dropped by 300,000 between 1979 and 1998.

During a recent 15-year period, hog farms in the U.S. decreased from 600,000 to 157,000, while the number of hogs sold increased. Consolidation has resulted in just 3 percent of U.S. hog farms producing more than 50 percent of the hogs. Similarly, 2 percent of cattle feed operations account for more than 40 percent of the nation’s cattle. In the poultry industry, the number of “broiler” chicken farms declined by 35 percent between 1969 and 1992, while the number of birds raised and slaughtered increased nearly three-fold.

The demise of small farms in the U.S. has been helped along by actions of the federal government. Congress, influenced by strong lobbying groups, has consistently passed federal farm programs benefiting the large agricultural corporations. According to the Center for Public Integrity, between 1987 and 1996, the food industry made campaign contributions of more than $41 million to federal lawmakers.

The bias against small farms continues despite the appointment of a special commission in the late 1990s by then-Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman to study how small farms have been displaced by factory farms and how the trend might be reversed. The report from that commission, titled “A Time to Act,” described the enormous social costs of the destruction of the American family farm, as the economic basis of rural communities in the U.S. diminishes and rural towns are “lost.” "
From the Sierra Club's CAFO Fact Sheet (http://www.sierraclub.org/factoryfar...ctoryfarms.asp):

Quote:
CAFOs Threaten Our Rural Communities

Factory farms are displacing the local family farm and rapidly altering a way of life for many rural communities. In the past 15 years, the number of hog farms has dropped from 600,000 to 157,000, but the total hog inventory for the United States has remained virtually the same because of the increase in these large- scale corporate animal factories. The decline of neighborhood farms also hurts other local businesses that depend on these farmers to buy their grain, farm equipment and other products. And the air and water pollution these factory farms create depresses the real estate values of nearby properties. In one Illinois county, property values for homes near the smelly operations plummeted by 30 percent.
post #173 of 198
I think I might have the weirdest answer yet. We tried for a couple months but I am allergic to raw fruits and veggies - weird, I know. But, dh wanted to go veggie, so I bought all the soy products and veggie stuff. The soy milk made me want to hurl and the tofu made my son sick once and I never cooked it again. Today, I still don't eat beef or pork and chicken is just getting to be boring to eat too. Fish is still a part of our diet though, as well as the soy nuts that I absolutely love. My son however is allergic to nuts too *sigh*. There were just too many things all of us couldn't eat so I gave up.
post #174 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookielady30
I found this all very interesting. I've been a Vegetarian for 25 years now, had 4 very healthy pregnancies, 3 home births,(the first in a birthing center) breastfed til they were 2-2 1/2 and have been told that I have less than half the chance of a heart attack than other women my age (45-yes, ancient history!) I have nothing against killing animals for food, I just don't feel it's necessary for good health.
Yep, it's great that you've found a healthy way to eat that works for you. I've tried cutting back on meat, but for me, meat/animal products are essential to my health. I feel horrible and am cranky without it. My iron gets low without it.

I'm not sure what you feel you need to roll your eyes at.... everyone is different. Your diet would never work for me, but I realize that I am not you, and can't know how you feel. It's that you have managed to find a way for you to eat healthily, and super that you've had such great pgs, births, and success with nursing. I have found the way to eat that is healthy for me -- everyone needs to find what works for them.
post #175 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by sebastiansmommy
Im sorry the choices are so limiting! When I made the question I wasnt trying to make a point with my choices. I truly could only think of those reasons. Sorry!

Thanks for the clarification!
post #176 of 198
LMC - Yes, Factory farms ARE the norm. They have taken over family farms in insane numbers and although there may not be that many of them, they are huge - each producing the amount of meat that hundreds of family farms used to produce.

And I'm sorry, but vegetarians and vegans are NOT having a harmful effect on the small farmers. In fact, I think they help by spreading awareness of animal cruelty and unhumane farm treatment, which then causes people who DO eat meat to demand better treated animals - and this works! Just check out the number of organic farms, and even agribusiness which has gone into organic production of milk and meat because the market demand is there. And the more people buy consciously, the more often they are going to buy from small farmers since they tend to have much more humane ways of treating their animals.

I'm a vegan and I buy from small organic farms as much as possible for my fruits and veggies. If I ate meat, I would do the same, and I greatly respect meateaters who do so. It certainly sounds like you do, so thanks! Your heart is in the right place but I believe you aren't fully informed about how the majority of animals are treated in farms and slaughterhouses. I know you've been to farms and seen animals treated well, roaming about, etc. Most farms that DON'T treat animals well will NOT let you in to see them. They know what you would see and wouldn't want it. You should read Fast Food Nation and Dominion - not to convert you (the author of FFN isn't vegetarian) but just for you to see how the majority of farms treats both the animals AND the human workers. The slaughterhouse industry is the *worst* industry to work for if you are a human for injuries, accidents, etc. along with psychological problems. And no, it isn't cheaper to raise animals in a free-range way - otherwise the large businesses would do it. For example, it costs one penny to use a bolt gun, which renders the cow completely inconscious when actually killed. But most factory farms don't use them. Why? Because it's too expensive! I would pay an extra penny for my meat if I knew the animal was treated better - most people would, but they don't want to deal with it.

Please take some time to do research in this area - I think you'll find that boycotting those large corporations (i.e. "farms") is very important and they do marketing research to find out what people want. When they know the market demands better treated animals, they do it because it will make them more money.

Oh, and "organic" labeling originally refered not to the treatment of the animals but to the food and medication given. However, some of the organic laws now DO refer to the treatment of animals. And you know why? Because those great organic farmers you spoke of demanded it. They felt it was important. So for example, poultry and eggs from those poultry labeled organic must, besides having no antibiotics, hormones, etc. in their bodies and no pesticides in their food, have access to outside ranges that include natural vegetation. And while the big industrial farms tried to lobby against this, the small farmers who were on the board overwhelming voted it in, 12-1. So I think the opposite is true, given the fact that people want meat that is healthier and treated better, the small farmers are actually forcing the large ones to conform to their standards. And this is better for everyone!

So I think this is the better way you were speaking of, and I am certainly happy about it!
post #177 of 198
I believe that for me personally, eating some meat is healthy. Without it I become anemic.

Although I have a very hard time eating organic meat all the time because it's simply not readily available here, I feel it's important to do so if one has a choice. I feel that way not just because of facts I've read about the industry, but because I happen to be one of those unfortunate enough to live near cattle feedlots and huge confinement dairy operations. We have to move now because the stench has gotten so bad. Our air is filthy, and some of the water around here is unfit to drink. I'm enraged that this has been allowed by our government to continue. No human or animal should be forced to breath air that smells like sewage. It's cruel.
post #178 of 198
Fastfood nation & Food politics are both good reads for veg and non veg alike!

post #179 of 198
I was vegetarian for years, then when I was pregnant the first time, I was so hungry for meat and I didn't go back to being vegi for many years. Then I went back for health reasons (my dh had high blood pressure and colesterol) and for moral reasons (my dd started researching about factory farms). Recently I have been eating meat maybe once a month and only from local family farms. For me, the real issue is the factory farms. In fact, I think it's probably more in line with my beliefs to obstain from factory produced milk products but eat some family farmed animals. I get my eggs from my friends who keep chickens.
My dd, however, won't eat any meat for moral reasons.

Looking over the posts, I see that there is a great range of eating styles. The lines aren't so very clear in my opinion. My dd however thinks eating meat is wrong, period and can't see the continuum.
Thanks for creating this thread. It's interesting.
post #180 of 198
My reason isn't up there. I was a vegetarian for 7 years (and a vegan for some of that time, too). My DH is a hunter and fisherman and I started eating meat after we were together. We will probably never go veggie again because DH is not a trophy hunter-- we eat the meat he harvests. We would eventually like to phase out to completely organic or self-harvested foods in the future. I never understood people who ate meat from the grocery store but hated that people would hunt for food. The animals killed in the woods had a better life than the animals sold at the store ever did. That is my main reason for wanting everything organic/self-harvested. About half the meals we eat are vegetarian, but I don't think we'll ever go completely veggie as a family.
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