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Why AREN'T you a vegan/vegetarian? - Page 5

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 #81 of 198
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
Animals die during farming. There are thousands of rodents, birds, insects, etc. that die during the tilling of the earth. Blood is spilled and pain is suffered whether you eat plants or animals. We as human beings developed as omnivores. Undoubtedly, modern humans eat more meat and less vegetables than we should but that does not negate the fact that we are biologically set up to eat both plants and animals. I believe in eating as healthy as possible in the most humane manner - organic and free range. There are certain meats I avoid such as veal because of the inherent cruelty in their production. I believe that you can tread lightly on this earth and eat meat.
There's an enormous difference between a wild animal who is accidentally killed and a farmed animal who, from birth to death, is kept in conditions that range from merely unpleasant to horrendous.
post #82 of 198
Originally Posted by Sustainer
The question still stands: Theoretically, if killing animals were painless, would that make it okay? I'm curious.
Not suffering would certainly be better for the animals.

I probably would still choose not to eat them. It just feels better to my spirit not to (and it would be far better for the environment if we weren't engaging in animal agriculture, and if we weren't depleting the seas with overfishing, but that's another discussion). I don't need to eat animals to be healthy, so I can't see any reason I'd change that.

Would it be "okay"? For me, not really. For others? Only they can say. Would less pain and misery in the world be a good thing? Certainly. Will this ever come to pass? Not bloody likely.
post #83 of 198
Theoretically, how do you know if the animal even feels any pain if the death is so fast?
post #84 of 198
So it sounds like there are people who think that even painless killing of animals would be wrong, so what I want to know now is, what is it that makes painless killing of animals (for food) wrong, and why dosn't it apply to plants? Let's assume we're talking about hunting wild animals, so we're not talking about the whole captivity/treatment/factory farming issue.
post #85 of 198
Thread Starter 
Even though Im the OP Ive been quiet till now (not wanting to get into any debates) but I wanted to answer Sustainer's question. I would not eat an animal no matter how painlessly it is killed. Animals exist for their own purposes, not for ours. It has been proven that many form attachments, relationships, value their lives. It would be wrong for me to end their lives simply to I can dine on their flesh when there are SO many alternatives. We live in an age where veganism comes easy if you're willing. Plants dont have a brain stem or a central nervous system. They are not alive in the same sense that an animal is.
post #86 of 198
Originally Posted by DeadheadGranny
When animals die and rot, roots of plants suck up the nutrients.
Veggies don't care where they get their sustenance from.
Veggies 'eat' dead animals.

So veggies are not vegetarian.

They are eaters of everything.
Omnivores, even.

If you eat a vegetable which grew by feeding off the nutrients of dead animals, (insects, birds, mice, etc., etc.), aren't you practicing indirect meat-eating?

(found on Usenet)
Beings eat what they are DESIGNED to eat. Roots are made to absorb nutrients available. They do not have free will or opposable thumbs, or appendages for that matter...there is a difference.

Humans are not designed to eat meat, despite the "oh we have canine teeth" argument. Actually, we have teeth suited for ripping tougher vegetables, not meat.

Of course everything is in a life/death cycle...However, I don't think that really pertains to the actual ethical issue of meat eating.

We are all part of a life/death cycle, but the question that some thinkers ask themselves is "How can I cause the least amount of suffering?"

As with everything in life, it is a matter of degree.

Compare: field mice being accidentally tilled (somehow I'm surmising that they would AVOID large machinery & there are a limited number of mice vs. animals bred for killing that live their entire lives enduring no sun, dry grass, living in their own shit, dosed with antibiotics, their young taken from them.

If you hunt your own deer, I can see ethically your murder is a matter of degrees better than if purchased from the murder industry.

I compare: a healthy, LOW CHOLESTEROL, diet vs. a diet with animals that are raised to die, KNOWING they are going to die, SCREAMING when they are about to die, living in nasty conditions. For instance, chickens are allowed to have a certain amount of breast infection (measured by the PUS they excrete) and are still SELLABLE. I do understand the organic free range is "better" in degree, however I would still not support the industry of pain.

There's no way to painlessly kill an animal anyway. What would you do, pump em up on morphine? That in itself would be a painfully cruel way for an animal to be treated.

I want to treat everyone as what they are, babies of the earth...I do have to make a distinction between animals and vegetables simply because there IS one.

For humans (i've had this discussion so many times w/ doctors, nurses, everyone! that concur, if not follow their thinking!), a vegetarian diet is copacetic. We have teeth that enable us to eat different sources of plants (inscisors for harder fruits, to acquire corn). We have witnessed the plagues of death by too much cholesterol (found in animals, not in plants), gout, cancer (especially of the colon).
We do NOT have the type of small intestine that carnivores have. Humans ingest most of the toxins in meat, where wolves, dogs have a SHORT small intestine that does not absorb these toxins, they excrete them before they can be absorbed...vegetarians live longer, healthier lives, it is in the research unavoidably.

You choose your life, and what lives you take.
post #87 of 198
Originally Posted by sebastiansmommy
We live in an age where veganism comes easy if you're willing.
Perhaps vegetarianism comes easy, but I don't think veganism is as easy. Veganism is more than just a diet, it is about how you live your life. I have tried both veganism and vegetarianism, but sometimes it seems arbitrary to me. This is more true of vegetarianism, I find. I have a friend who is a vegetarian and he will carefully read labels to avoid gelatin or stearate, but if it has partially hydrogenated oils, he eats it (which I feel is unhealthy). His car has leather, but he would have had to pay for the leather seats to be removed and cloth ones installed, so he kept the leather seats. I end up doing the same with meat. When I was trying to be a total vegetarian, I ended up eating meat because it would have all been discarded and I felt it was worse at that point than if I at least got sustenance from it. I am really drawn to the idea of veganism, but I've been unable to fully embrace and I'm not sure why. Part of it is probably just that I don't agree with all the tenets of veganism.
post #88 of 198
Originally Posted by sebastiansmommy
Animals exist for their own purposes, not for ours.
The same is true of plants.

Originally Posted by sebastiansmommy
They are not alive in the same sense that an animal is.
I think plants are just as alive as animals are.
post #89 of 198
We usually only eat meat when we eat out at a restaurant. Even then we try to avoid it. I like the way it tastes but I also understand it contributes to chronic diseases and harms our environment. Avoiding meat actually helps trim down our grocery bill. We also do not drink milk. But I do admit we eat cheese. Aren't we confusing?

It does make me feel bad that an animal had to die to provide us with their meat.
post #90 of 198
I agree with the pps about living with a carnivore. Dh eats nothing but animal products, ds is vegan' cept for fish (he is allergic to dairy and eggs, I am vegetarian 'cept for fish, and of course dd only eats breastmilk. I do alot of cooking ) I was vegan till the smell of dhs pizza got to me. I'll have to pitch in about the craving for meat while preg, but I never gave in. We believe its healthier to not eat meat, and bad karma. Dh has tried to go veg but the poor guy loses too much weight, as he detests almost all vegetables. I only feel slight guilt about eating fish, as they are not mammals, like us. I believe a vegan diet is the healthiest, as long as it is based on whole grains and various beans, and not soy.
post #91 of 198
I'm glad this hasn't turned into a debate, per se, although I can see it doing so easily. Therefore, I am not (as a vegan) going to respond to several posts which I feel I need to because it would not be responding to the OP's question. But thank you to everyone to very clearly explained why they choose a different diet/lifestyle than I do. It is nice to read about it in a different context than a debate.
post #92 of 198
I can't find the post that said it, but I love the term "the screaming asparagus argument" - where non-vegetarians offer that plants compare to animals. Mountain has great points for this.

It is a fact that we do not have the digestive design for meat. All carnivores eat mostly if not all meat, and their colons are short for this purpose. Herbivores have long colons, designed to get the most out of plants and almost all their diet is plants. Just because we can do something, doesn't mean that is what we should do. Our colon is the colon of a herbivore.

In India, the cow is sacred and not eaten; in other countries, dog is eaten; in Papua New Ginea, human is eaten. We have chosen what flesh we eat - cow, bird, sheep, pig, certain sea creatures and certain others but not venturing far from that. As always, we think we have it right just because its "all we've ever done". The telling argument will always be "what does research/science say?" - and it says we are not designed to eat much meat, it is too rough on our colon. Also, just as with child raising (Continuum Concept) look to the tribe, to the earth - what are they doing? They eat mostly plants, and do a big song and dance when they bring home flesh - that is a better balance for our design.
post #93 of 198
Originally Posted by mountain
Humans are not designed to eat meat, despite the "oh we have canine teeth" argument. Actually, we have teeth suited for ripping tougher vegetables, not meat...<snip>
We do NOT have the type of small intestine that carnivores have. Humans ingest most of the toxins in meat, where wolves, dogs have a SHORT small intestine that does not absorb these toxins, they excrete them before they can be absorbed...vegetarians live longer, healthier lives, it is in the research unavoidably.
Whoah! Back the truck up!

Even when I was a vegan, I understood that humans are evolutionarily omnivorous, not strict herbivores. Yes, we are not carnivores. But we lack the digestive system necessary for optimal extraction of nutrients from cellulose (most plant matter fiber) that strict herbivores have. Herbivores usually have enlarged or multi-chambered stomachs, or voluminous colons or cecums, and special fermentation vats heavily colonized by symbiotic, fiber-fermenting bacteria and protozoa (like a rumen). Humans also have a well-developed gall bladder, as compared to herbivores which have little or no gall bladder (which helps digest fats, found more abundantly in animal foods). And what about our special heme iron receptors? And our need for B12, not found in plant foods? Even our closest relatives, chimpanzees and gorillas, are not strict vegetarians. In the wild, they consume insects which would provide protein as well as EFAs and B12. And what about people who have limited ability to convert ALA into DHA, or beta-carotene into vitamin A? We have too many differences from strict herbivores to consider ourselves the same.

Yes, humans are not designed to strictly eat meat. But we are also not designed to strictly eat plants. We are omnivores. We are designed to eat lots of plant food, and some animal foods as well.

And as for vegetarians living longer than omnivores, that is a myth. Yes, vegetarians live longer than the average SAD dieter. But so do healthy meat-eaters. Vegans did even worse than healthy meat eaters. See http://www.veganoutreach.org/healthargument.html or http://www.veganmd.org/october2003.html for more info.

I think that the standard American/Western dieter eats way too much meat, and of poor and inhumane (factory farmed) quality. You won't get any arguments from me on that issue. But not everyone can thrive on a veg*n diet, and I wish that more people would be accepting of this. We are all different.
post #94 of 198
True, that is why the tribal life provides the best balance for our design.
post #95 of 198
Thank-you Toraji.

Diet is not a black & white, carnivore or herbivore, issue. There is an inbetween status which we occupy along with several other families of mammals. We don't have the short gut of the strict carnivores, but neither do we have the extremely long gut of the strictly herbivores. Our teeth have gotten less sharp, but we can and do make tools to make up for that.

I agree with whomever said that beings eat as they are designed to eat, and the fossil and archeological evidence show that our earliest ancestors sought out meat.

It's our species' ability to adapt to a wide variety of diet that has enabled us to live in so many, and so different, environments on this planet. Where plant foods are readily available peoples will eat those and supplement with meat if they choose (I've yet to read a ethnography of a hunter-gatherer people who don't btw). Where plants foods aren't a option, people eat meats--how many salads are grown in the Arctic? There was a really good article about the traditional diet of the Inuit peoples in Discover Magazine a few months back. It is possible to starve to death on a diet of lean meat alone. That surprised me. The human body can only handle a max of 30% protein. It needs fats, carbs, etc to function properly. What keeps the Inuit high meat diet from killing them is the fat content. It was fascinating read, but not a diet I plan to try.
post #96 of 198
A few random thoughts about plants.......

They do not have a CNS, nor a brain, but they are capable of extraordinary things, given enough time. Part of the problem with animals understanding plants is that the plants work on entirely different time scale. Plants move in a number of ways, if you set up a time-lapse camera on a plant you will see it's leaves move throughout the day to catch sunlight. You can also see the plant move away from a negative stimulus (such as heat). There are a number of species of orchids that have developed flowers to resemble the female of a particular type of wasp. THe male wasp tries to copulate with the flower, gets nowhere obviously, but does transfer pollen to the next flower he tries to copulate with... Who's the clever species now, kwim? How did that plant work out how to get that pollen transferred effectively?

Most adult plants don't move after germination, but their 'offspring' do, sometimes over great distances. In some species the parent plant is able to reproduce for a thousand years. How can animals even begin to understand the time scale required? It's kind of like in betweeen geologic time & 'real' time......

Plants have developed mechanisms to make seed transport easier (think burrs that stick in your dog's fur)- I personally don't think all that development is purely evolutionary chance, but Maybe it just requires thinking about things in a different time frame...... THink about the symbiotic relationship between corals (animal) & zooxanthellae (plant- Protista, actually, but there's a relationship with plants- too complex for one post!). The algae can live without the coral, but the coral really needs the algae to achieve optimal nutrition. So, why does the algae stay with the coral? The algae will pack up & move if conditions are not right (coral bleaching, essentially), but that's an external environmental factor, not one endemic to the coral. SHould also say that a lot of folks are still working on the coral bleaching issue.... jury's still out, as they say......

Oh yes, one more thing, herbivory..... Plants are capable of mobilising their defenses if they sense they are being eaten. A plant will move higher concentrations of nutrients out of the area that is under insect attack, & will move in higher concentrations of nasty things like tannins & other chemicals. How do they 'know' they're being eaten?

Fascinating stuff..... to a botanist, anyway.

ANd a final disclaimer...... I really, really like plants , but I kill them, all the time. I have some grasses over in the shadehouse now who are weeping over yesterday's 'haircut', literally weeping out of the cut stems. In a day's time, they will put out new shoots & begin again, but they will all ultimately end up at 70degC in a dryer for 5 days........ Is life...........

Oh yeah, one final thing (I promise). I'm totally with the vegans/veggies/whomever on the sickness of factory farming. Totally with ya. But I think my chookies in the back yard are pretty happy, even though they're in captivity in a fenced off area under the mango tree. Im not planning on eating them, tho, just their eggs!
post #97 of 198
Yes, and then there are the plants that can trap and eat bugs, but the plants that really fascinate me are the ones that actually have a form of communication with each other through the ground using a technology that almost resembles radio waves or sonar. There are some smart plants out there. The difference between plants and animals isn't black and white. It is a sliding scale, with the smartest plants only slightly dumber than the dumbest animals. There is no justification for claiming that the only "right" place to draw the line is between plants and animals. We each draw our own ethical line somewhere on the scale, based on our own comfort level. Most people draw it between humans and other animals. I draw my line between primates and non-primates (I could never eat a monkey). I am leaning toward drawing my line between mammals and non-mammals: I eat hardly any cow or pig. Almost all of my meat is poultry or tuna. I don't eat much meat overall. My diet is mostly fruits and veggies.

I love trees. I have always named them and talked to them, and I have hugged them and cried on them. I feel friendship for trees. It deeply hurts me inside when a tree is cut down. I don't think a tree's life is of any less value than an animal's life.

Another question for the "killing plants is fine/killing animals is evil" people: Do you step on ants and/or swat mosquitoes?
post #98 of 198
Oh yes! I had forgotten about the insectivorous plants! Very, very cool stuff.

And I talk to plants, too. Sometimes on a daily basis. :


And I'm grateful for every one that I kill, because each is telling me part of a story......

And can we talk about the size of a croc's brain, or is that just going waaaay too OT? Small brain, but they are higher on the food chain than we are...... Don't know of anything that will mess with those guys.......
post #99 of 198
About the bugs, my religion believes all sentient beings deserve equal treatment, so we have ghekos in the house which catch most of the bugs in a more "natural" fashion than bug spray (bug spray is ick!). Since I was a child I have respected even ants, and avoid treadding on them where possible. Eucalyptus oil keeps them out of the house. I don't mind sharing my life with moths and other insects, but we use citronella bush branches and burners to keep bities away. Another reason I will never swat a mosquito on my flesh as it may contain traces of another person's blood which would travel down the proboscis into the puncture hole and I would expose myself to risky things.

Aussiemum, I saw the documentary about the "life of plants" also, fascinating stuff. Did you see it? And plants do actually move, very slowly, but they travel - certain plants anyway. I have also seen them respond to music in a science experiment. And spot on about the time scale, that seems to be the only difference.

I think if we ate meat the way it was intended, we would not only be healthier, we would shut down most of the big horrible farming issues - there simply wouldn't be enough demand anymore. Hunter/gatherer type lifestyle, without the hunting or gathering. And we should use more of the animals than we do. Even though they try to use the parts for other things, there is just so much wastage still, and that upsets me.

The amount of nutrients we need from meat is very small, especially when we learn how to protein combine with plant life. Too much protein is a death warrant for the kidneys anyway.
post #100 of 198
I can't really vote either. I went veggie badly in highschool, wasn't waiting a balanced diet. I am slowly now learning about nutritious food - past the message of low fat low sugar and more into feeding your body what it really needs. I have a ton of emotional stuff to do with food. I think abstaining from animal products is the most ethical and environmentally best way to eat. I just can't do it - yet! I hope to get there. In the meantime I distance myself from the ramifications of eating animal products but I cannot defend what I do.
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