How would you respond to these pro-meat arguments? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 01:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A quick background: I've been vegetarian for 14 yrs & raised all my kids as such. DH has also been veg for about 7 yrs. We have recently delved very seriously into researching our vegetarianism. These are just some of the things that keep us up talking til midnight:

1. There are hundreds of thousands of miles of land that are unfarmable (due to climate, soil type, being rocky, mountainous, desert, etc.) but where food animals CAN be grazed & raised. Supposedly if we stopped producing animals in these areas, many people would starve to death. There are large areas in Africa where this is the case- meat keeps them alive. With the enormous human population, doesn't it actually make sense to raise food animals on land that can't be cultivated to grow plant foods?

2. A sheep/cow/goat/whatever, allowed to graze naturally on an acre of land (that is never tilled) & is then slaughtered equals one death. One beef cow can easily provide nutrition to a whole family throughout the winter when most plant foods cannot be grown. Now compare this to an acre of veggies that is tilled every year. Dozens of deaths occur- ground nesting birds, mice, squirrels, small amphibians & reptiles. Apparently birds of prey & coyotes will often follow plows through the field, enjoying the buffet. Obviously we have to grow veggie crops, but could that natural pasture, left for a food animal or 2, plus the endless array of wildlife that could live out their entire lives there, be seen as a positive thing?

3. What if it isn't actually meat itself that has lead to so many of our health problems today that are blamed on meat (think peta's "Feeding kids meat is child abuse" campaign & the like), but is instead our reliance on processed foods, white flour & sugar, and the hormones & additives in meats plus the fact that most meat animals are fed a horrendous diet & are far from organic...... What IF, all the health benefits of meat are there (the b-12, iron, protein, etc), & eating small amounts of grass fed, organic, natural meat is actually good for you? What if it is actually processed foods & factory farmed meats that are the health enemy, not meat itself?

(as a sidenote, I do worry that the tiny amounts of b-12 in my dairy/egg products isn't enough, or that the synthetic b-12 in my prenatal vitamins just isn't very digestible.... & I ponder "why IS it that there is a vital nutrient out there that I can't even GET without relying on animal foods or supplements that I just happen to be privileged enough to be able to get??")

4. And this one is the hugest mental battle for me: Most of us vegetarians eat dairy products & eggs. In order for that milk to be produced, the cow had to be impregnated & the male dairy cows turned to veal and/or killed (because what good are male dairy cows?). Same with roosters of the egg laying breeds. Same with male dairy goats and sheep. In order for dairy products & eggs to exist, animals must die. Lots of them. And then some of us feel that we are on the moral high ground, that we are not causing the death of animals because we're vegetarian (I have definitely felt this way in the past). But, how is being vegetarian any different than being a meat eater? Besides the obvious fact that you are not consuming the animal's flesh, only it's secretions or eggs. But we are still directly supporting the deaths of many farm animals every day.

If I were opposed to the death of nearly every single rooster born for each of the egg laying hens I rely on for eggs (the roosters being either killed at birth or eaten a few weeks later), & the male dairy calves, etc. - then I suppose I should choose veganism, right? But then veganism doesn't call to me as my path either, for a large list of reasons that are irrelevant to this post. So then where exactly do I stand??

It is SO BIZZARRE to me to be questioning any of this at all. Vegetarianism has been an enormous part of who I am & my belief system. But some things are just not lining up for me, & dh is concerned that we might be lacking some nutrients, or more specifically, he's worried that our babies I carry might end up lacking because I've been veg so long. So, we're researching. And researching. And researching.

How would you respond to any of these pro-meat eating arguments? If you have any thoughts on any of them at all, please do share. I am all ears, & eager to hear your thoughts! And if you have ever questioned your vegetarianism, or felt that it might not be as cut & dry as peta seems to say it is, I'd love to hear that I'm not alone!

Thanks for reading this far!

North Idaho rural living  mama to: 23 yo DD, 16 yo DS, 8 yo DS, 6 yo DS, 4 yr old DS, 2 yo DD, and 1 yo DS. And someone new coming this Christmas!
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#2 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 03:30 AM
 
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Many of the arguements I hear, and some of what you've included here, are arguments for SOME people to eat meat. But not me.

1. Like people will say, "well if you lived in Alaska, blah blah blah" but I don't live in Alaska. I live in CA. And it's easy to be vegetarian. So why should I eat meat because some people elsewhere need to?

2. This is true, except that it is not possible to graze livestock in that way to feed everyone. There simply isn't enough land.

3. Most of those things are the problem. But again, that doesn't mean that I can't be vegetarian and be healthy even if eating healthy meat is also healthy.

4. I'm vegan, so that's my answer. If you don't want to be for whatever reason, then your argument leads you to buying eggs from people who have the chickens as pets and don't kill them and same with cows.

Early intervention specialist and parent consultant since 2002.
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#3 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 04:20 AM
 
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No, I haven't ever questioned my vegetarianism. I am a pacifist and can not align that with eating dead things.
Vegetables can be raised in a sustainable way with few impacts on the critters who live ammong them.
Meat can certainly be raised in a more "natural", less environmentally intensive and healthy way then most meat is today. As a vegetarian, not a cause I'm interested in pursuing or supporting.
Lots and lots of land in underdeveloped country is being used to raise feed for livestock in underdeveloped land.
I don't think the abscence of dead things in my diet is affecting my health. I know there is nothing missing in my diet because of the abscence of dead tings in it.
I don't understand the leap of feeling bad b/c egg and dairy kill animals so I might as well add flesh to the diet.
Anyhoo...maybe others will have more thought out responses.

Mother to none, midwife to many .
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#4 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 05:13 AM
 
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I'm reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle right now and I just read the chapter about slaughtering their chickens and turkeys. She brings up many of those questions you've mentioned. BTW, I'm vegan, and reading and appreciating her ideas is not "converting" me to omnivore.

I became vegan for my health, because I was (and still am) concerned with the way animal products are produced and processed. I imagine that had I lived 100 years ago (and still been the same type of person I am now), I would probably be eating animal products. But today's methods of raising animals seem downright dangerous to our health.

1. So I suppose in answer to your first question, I would say, sure, sustainable grazing of animals isn't the worst possible choice. I think doing more of that worldwide today would be a step in the right direction. (I'm still not going to eat it, though.)

2. To your second question, it is impossible for us to live without taking lives (plant or animal) in one way or another. We must just do it with respect and awareness. And humans need vegetable matter--there is no way to get away from cultivating plants and harvesting them.

3. Third, HECK yeah, the problem is very much the processed junk, like the lovely vegan high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil!

B 12 used to be available in bacteria found on plant foods, but it's not so much anymore. So if we ate more compost, we might not need those B 12 supplements.

4. As for eggs and dairy, I'm vegan, too, so I don't have that problem. But I do still have a few pairs of leather shoes kicking around, and I know that those support the factory beef farms. Now, if I could get leather shoes that I knew came from a grass-fed, humanely-treated cow cared for by a small rancher, I'd feel better about that.

I actually applaud you for thinking about these things. I think it's great to examine your beliefs once in a while.

Catherine, mama to Preschooler Girl 9/08, and Toddler Boy 3/11

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#5 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 06:56 AM
 
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hiya

1. i fully agree with what pikkumyy said! it's just like pushing the question of what would i do if i was starving & lost in the bush somewhere & my only option was to eat meat. well, i would sort that out if i came to it, but how likely is that to happen? and does that really affect my current veggie status? there are certainly situations out there where other food options might be scarce. people do the best they can in those situations, but most of us are definitely not in situations like that, so we can choose to make more compassionate choices.

2. this is a good argument for smaller-scale farming! growing your own veggies on a small plot, or even amongst a small community (or community garden in a city) would not have the problem of plows killing small creatures. it's the mass scale of farming that would cause these problems you mentioned, not veggie growing in & of itself.

3. this doesn't take into consideration the ethical aspects of being vegetarian. maybe there are healthy things about eating meat, but what about the concept of taking another life so that you can have a tasty meal? thinking about b12 trips me up sometimes too, but i've been veggie for 10 years, eating very little dairy for the past 4 or so, & i've had my b12 tested- no problems. and vegancupcake is right about a natural source for it...ppl are so afraid of bacterias, thinking they're all bad, that sterile environments get rid of lots of good stuff too.

4. yep, you're completely right: the dairy industry is f*cked up. this is another argument for small-scale farming over a huge scary industry! you simply cannot justify what happens to those animals & it is certainly no better than the meat industry...the size of it & $ involved is a large part of why it's so twisted. but even if you didn't go vegan, that doesn't mean only being veggie is worthless. you are still saving many lives. every little bit helps. i'm not sure what your arguments are against veganism, but you can make a big impact by choosing to omit certain foods without going completely vegan. again, i really believe that every bit helps.

there are so many healthy veggie mums & babes out there, i wonder what you're worried about nutritionally? are you specifically having a problem with certain nutrients?

it's not hard at all to get a blood panel done by a doctor/midwife/nurse & that will easily answer how you're doing nutritionally. i was mostly vegan throughout my pregnancy & never had any problems, with my blood panel giving higher results than meat eaters my midwife also worked with.

it's certainly good to put thought into your beliefs & give them a good challenge now & then...but hopefully your continued research will lead you right back to where you already are! just remember to view carefully the sources from which the information is coming. the beef & lamb industry here in NZ loves to convince pregnant women & mums that they need meat, but whose best interest are they serving?

*erin*

mama to 2 busy boys (may 2007 & december 2008)
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#6 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 09:31 AM
 
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3. What if it isn't actually meat itself that has lead to so many of our health problems today that are blamed on meat (think peta's "Feeding kids meat is child abuse" campaign & the like), but is instead our reliance on processed foods, white flour & sugar, and the hormones & additives in meats plus the fact that most meat animals are fed a horrendous diet & are far from organic...... What IF, all the health benefits of meat are there (the b-12, iron, protein, etc), & eating small amounts of grass fed, organic, natural meat is actually good for you? What if it is actually processed foods & factory farmed meats that are the health enemy, not meat itself?
This is a very good point! I am absolutely convinced that it is processed food, wether it be factory farmed meat or white flour and sugar that are the cause of many health problems today. Our ancestors all ate varying degrees of meat (some only eating in winter months when vegetables were scarce) and they had NONE of the health problems we see today. All the meat consumed was either wild, or pasture raised and minimally processed. Obviously all the animals were roaming freely and were in general happy creatures.
This is a BIG difference from the meat industry today, Im sure I dont have to go into it, we all know how horendous it is!

That said, I dont eat meat, I was born a vegetarian, but we value and consume alot of milk products from grass fed humanely raised cows. Im a big advocate of a traditional diet, as these are the foods that have nourished our people for thousands of years.

Sita:, busy mama to 3 busy boys
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#7 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 10:34 AM
 
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Just wanting to post a reminder of the guidelines for all of the forums in Nutrition and Good Eating, particularly

MDC will not host discussions of debate or criticism within Nutrition and Good Eating, Vegetarian & Vegan Living, Traditional Foods and Meal Planning. Disagreements about dietary choices and personal beliefs should be set aside out of respect for the diversity and varying interpretations and beliefs that we hold as a community.

Let's keep this in mind and keep posting to discussing our own personal experiences without venturing into debate or criticism of different diets.

Thanks!
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#8 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 11:26 AM
 
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I guess my general thoughts are that some people are opposed to using animals as food (or for anything else) because they are living beings. Some people are opposed to eating animals because of our current factory farming methods being cruel, but feel that it's fine to eat animals raised in a more traditional way. Some people are veg for health reasons and animal welfare doesn't enter into it. So I think the answer to at least some of your questions depends on why YOU are vegetarian. I don't think there is a "right" answer.

Like others have said, factory farming of vegetables has some of the same problems as factory farming of animals and it seems like some of your questions are more about methods of raising food (factory farming vs sustainable methods) rather than about eating meat.

B12 is found in soil (that's where the animals get it) and would be on plants too if our soil weren't depleted. In fact lots of today's meat doesn't contain much b12 either because of how it is raised.
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#9 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I just hopped out of bed & immed checked this thread, hoping for some more viewpoints to stir my mental juices. I have more things I want to share. I'll be back after breakfast!

North Idaho rural living  mama to: 23 yo DD, 16 yo DS, 8 yo DS, 6 yo DS, 4 yr old DS, 2 yo DD, and 1 yo DS. And someone new coming this Christmas!
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#10 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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For me, not eating meat has to do with a question of intentionality. Yes, the support of my life is going to cause the demise of other creatures, but did I support this violence intentionally?

If I was the one who locked up the goat in the field and led her to the humans who killed her, then I intentionally took away her freedom to do what she chose with her life. That seems wrong to me. Regardless of whether this action harmed the greater environment of the earth, it does not seem right to me to take away another creature's ability to make the big choices in her life (such as where she walks, what other animals she hangs out with, whether she is permitted to raise her own children, whether she gets to nurse her own babies, etc.)

I think environmental vegetarianism is another important ethical issue, but not necessarily tied in with this particular viewpoint.
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#11 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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PikkuMy,
1. I definitely understand this. One could surely say "I live in a place & time that allows for me to get all my nutrients from a variety of sources & supplements & I feel great healthwise, so, veggie-ism (I love making up words : ) is for me!" I can dig that.

2. Yeah I debate that a lot, too. If we move away from factory farming & more towards grass fed, small farm beef etc, we won't be able to make anywhere near as much animal products. I think this is great, our society needs to eat far less animal products, but there sure would be an uprising of fast food restaurants who'd have to go out of business! lol But I am & always will be 100% opposed to factory farming, so any move towards something less cruel & more sustainable makes me happy. But yeah, you're right that we couldn't produce as much on those lands...

3. Yep, I see your point. I've heard a lot of people over the years tell me that they felt so much healthier after the incorporated meat back into their diets. That always baffled me & to be honest I didn't really believe them. But I'm just wondering if maybe just maybe some people do fare better on a veg diet than others do... It's really weird for me to be opening my mind so much!!

4. See, this still befuddles me. We do buy our eggs from people's pet chickens, and we even have 3 beloved pet egg laying chickens ourselves. But still, approx 50% of all eggs hatched are male. So there were 3 males born for the 3 females I purchased or adopted. What happened to them? They were probably killed at birth or eaten soon after. No matter what egg layers we depend on for eggs, we are still supporting the deaths of the males at some point during the production of the females. Does that make sense? And using any milk products is the same- even when I buy raw milk from our friends who love their animals like crazy (& I have only bought milk one time since 1993, lol, I wrote a whole blog post about it because it was such a big deal to me ), those dairy animals had to be bred to produce the milk. If the babies were male, they were an unneeded animal & done away with. Dairy animals are bred about once per year. So, even though we rely much on local, pet animals for our animal products, there is no way around the fact that animals still die all the time during the production of the products. Indeed the products wouldn't exist without deaths (well, unless we want to keep those millions of roosters & other male livestock around for their entire lifespan- which would sure require a ton of land! lol) Anyway, this is a complex subject for my brain for sure.

I wanted to mention, all my learning & researching & farm visiting as of late has been so eye opening!! Up until this past year, I lived in a very urban area, I didn't see farms, & I got most of my veg education from peta. I will always love what peta has done for the world absolutely (& have no desire to debate peta) but in my experience, I developed a pretty close minded view of things! I thought vegetarianism was going to save the world, that anyone who ate meat was ignorant or mean, & that ALL animals were factory farmed & pumped full of unnatural foods & substances. It has only been since moving here to Oregon, where we are surrounded by family farms, & have friends that lovingly raise their goats & chickens etc, that we have had this monstrous realization that not every food animal comes from the horrors of a factory farm! And not everyone who raises or eats these animals is Evil! I mean, who knew?? LOL

So that has been part of the reason I started thinking about the subject a lot more. Another reason is because I started craving meat for the very 1st time in 14 years during the beginning of my current pregnancy. I have never craved meat before, during pg or not! So this was a VERY weird thing for me to deal with. I'm such a nature-minded person that I couldn't help but wonder if my body knew it needed something more than I had been giving it (this is my 2nd pregnancy in less than 2 years, & I'm breastfeeding as well). I like to think that my cravings are my body's way of telling me it needs something. I can't even tell you how many dozens of eggs or loaves of cheese or mountains of nuts I have consumed in the last 4 mos, trying to quiet my craving, thinking that I just needed more protein.

And then our 20 mo old had severe tooth decay take over all his teeth the moment they erupted from his gums.... we both couldn't help but analyze our diets, trying to figure out why on Earth that happened (he'd never had candy/soda/juice/bottles etc etc). And of course anytime you look up diet & teeth online you get endless WAPF info....

And THEN, I have had enormous problems with my stupid brain my whole adult life, and it is only getting worse. I have severe memory problems, and some days I'm totally unable to concentrate, & I always have trouble focusing. And I hate it. Hate hate hate. It's embarassing & frustrating. And I've done everything I can think of over the years- gone to the Dr, kept food diaries, altered my diet, tried arrays of supplements, cut out most of the soy I was eating (that did make somewhat of a difference, btw). The more I research my vegetarian diet, the more I find myself questioning, "What if I am one of those people that would say 'wow I felt soooo much better after incorporating meat into my diet again' ??" In all honesty, if I somehow had the magic answer in front of me & knew that eating meat products would cure my mental cloudiness, I would do it in an instant. The thought of having mental clarity all the time brings tears to my eyes.

So, there's all that.

Geez, I'm so grateful MDC is here & has such large server space so I can write my novel. It's so helpful for me to get this all out "on paper". If anyone is reading this far, thank you.

sweetsadie, thanks for your thoughts! It seems that you feel close to what I wrote in my #1. response to PikkuMy above? I can certainly understand you being pacifist & so not choosing to eat dead things. But it's only because we are privileged enough to live here & now that we can choose to not eat animals & remain well fed, right? This is such a new thought for me. Somehow I just didn't notice that the eskimos (for example) have no other choice, they either eat meat or they starve! So it is great that in this country today, one can choose non-meat eating.

And I guess, my response to "why the leap from animal deaths in the dairy industry to eating meat" would be: If I am already choosing to cause the deaths of so many animals (the veal industry would not exist if no one ate cheese & milk), then why am I being so judgmental towards those that do the actual killing, & those that eat the actual flesh? And I do mean I personally, I have been coming to terms with my own judgmentalism towards those slaughter house workers & meat eaters. Many of them are simply killing & eating the animals that exist because I buy milk products. So I am trying to understand why I personally am also choosing to not eat those animals. They die because of me, but then I lay the guilt for their deaths on meat eaters because I "only eat dairy products". Y'know?

Quick disclaimer: I hope none of you feel that I am criticizing you, or angrily debating. I am absolutely positively not trying to convince anyone to give up their veggie-ism, I am simply asking for your viewpoints in order for myself to further analyze my own personal life choices. I'm just using you all as a way to get my brain going. Absolutely no disrespect is intended, & I appreciate your sharing!

VeganCupcake, thanks! I appreciate your thoughts. You know, I've read recently that if you grow your veggies in composted human manure, & then not be too anal about cleaning your veggies before eating them, you will have no shortage at all of B-12! As I've mentioned, a lot of this is new & eye opening for me, I do feel great about analyzing my position because whatever choice I end up making, it is going to be a VERY well thought out choice! And if I decide to try meat, I am only considering eating small amounts of small farm raised, or raised by ME, animals. Nothing remotely associated with factory farming.

dziwozony
, Good points! I am a huge supporter of bringing back the small family farm, growing as much of our own food as possible, & sustainability. And we do grow us much as we can on our teeny suburban yard, plus have chickens & compost & whatnot. (We much prefer to use our own chicken poop & compost for our veggie growing since nearly all organic fertilizers out there are made up of manures & blood from factory farms. yuck) I discussed my health concerns a couple paragraphs above. My blood work always comes back fantastically! Which is great, but still leaves me confused because at the rate I'm going, I'll be completely demented by the time I'm 45. And I agree completely that we need to consider where our info comes from. This is one of the main reasons I love visiting farms. Then I'm right there, judging everything with my own eyes. And I read voraciously on the subject, from all viewpoints, just to try to get a balance. And I will not believe anything written by the USDA. They are only interested in our money.

joliebebe, I agree! It is interesting to think about how humans have consumed meat for millenia, but most of our health problems are brand new. And I also ponder how "natural" it is to rely on plant foods all winter when most of them don't grow naturally all winter, y'know? Apparently we cannot discuss traditional foods vs veg so I guess that's all I'll say.

weddell, I think you are right on. DH & I have come to the shocking realization just recently that maybe it's not eating animals that we are against, but factory farming & other varieties of cruel or unsustainable living that we have a personal issue with. In my own personal viewpoint, I don't believe people can or will give up using animal products. But I do think there are FAR kinder & more sustainable ways to go about it than present day practices.

You guys are so educational. : THANK YOU again if you have somehow actually read this far! And for sharing your experiences.

North Idaho rural living  mama to: 23 yo DD, 16 yo DS, 8 yo DS, 6 yo DS, 4 yr old DS, 2 yo DD, and 1 yo DS. And someone new coming this Christmas!
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#12 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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Very thoughtful responses to everyone's comments zjande.
I do realise that I am privileged to be able to make choices around what I choose to eat as there are an abundance of choices available to me. But the choices I make here in my privileged world do affect the lives of others in less developed parts of the world. A well thought out plant based diet used less land, raw food products, water and fuel then a non-plant based diet. I hope that this lets some land in less privileged parts of the world go to the use of the people there (however they choose to use it) then to me.
I do question my food choices within my vegetarian diet all the time, but not with the choice of being a vegetarian or not. My diet is far from perfect but I can envision a vegetarian diet for me that fits my political and ethical viewpoint and provides me with all that I need to be healthy and well. I cannot envision a diet that includes meat that does the same for me.
I hope that you find a way to be healthy and well that satisfies you in all ways as well.
Sweetsadie

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#13 of 30 Old 08-05-2007, 09:35 PM
 
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1. What percentage of animals being raised for slaughter are on land that is otherwise not able to be farmed? What is the reason for believing we need to farm all land on earth? I would suggest that we are taking some of the best most farmable land on earth and misusing it. We waste it on growing corn and soybeans to feed animals that produce far less food than they are consuming. Nothing about this is sustainable or healthy for anyone involved.

3. As mama used to say two wrongs don't make a right. Corn syrup is bad and that doesn't make meat better for you. In fact there is quite a bit of the meat in this country that is consumed with a lovely coating of processed crap. Omnivore's Dilemma has a nice discussion of a McDonald's meal. It may not be a popular view here, but personally I don't think it is particularly damaging to health to eat a very small quantity of locally raised non chemical meat. I personally couldn't kill an animal though so I don't think I should eat them either.

I agree that some folks got it better than others. I totally acknowledge that it is easier for me to eat a vegetarian diet than it would be if I was Mongolian. So, I think if the person you are arguing with is a nomadic herdsperson they are making a good point, but if they are a middle class American they really aren't. The reality is that vegetarians are doing less damage to the environment and to their health than meat eaters are.

The nutrition of vegetarian moms and babies has been well studied. I feel pretty confident that mainstream organizations like the American Dietetic Association would be vocally criticizing the diet if this research had found problems, but they haven't done so. Our child's pediatrician is a very mainstream physician and so is my internist and both had only positive things to say about vegetarianism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zjande View Post
And if you have ever questioned your vegetarianism, or felt that it might not be as cut & dry as peta seems to say it is, I'd love to hear that I'm not alone!
I think it is a natural part of getting older to realize that few things are as simple as they once seemed. To me being a vegetarian isn't about being a perfect moral being who never hurts another thing or being. It isn't about having a diet that is more perfect than anyone who consumes meat could ever come up with. For me it is just about making what I feel is the set of personal decisions that damage the earth and my body a bit less than I would otherwise. It is doing the little bit that I can do that hurts me little and helps the world a bit. Nothing more, nothing less.
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#14 of 30 Old 08-23-2007, 02:50 AM
 
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what a fantastic, thoughtful thread. barbara kingsolver's new book does bring up some of these same questions. she, however, slaughters her own turkeys, which is something i'll never be doing. i agree with the factory part, but in our reality, that is the way 99% of meat and dairy eating folks get their meat and dairy. organic doesn't mean *not* factory farmed, unfortunately. i've resorted to buying local, organic free-ranged eggs from a family farm. and yogurt from a local biodynamic farm. often, i don't do this perfectly, but this is what i strive for. it is so complex, i agree. to the op: man, if you have a good source for happy meat, that you've visited (it sounds like perhaps), i'd give try and figure out if that is what your body is asking for. seriously, with how concerned and thoughtful you are, i'd say, go on.......
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#15 of 30 Old 08-23-2007, 05:10 AM
 
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"happy meat?" hmmmm...i doubt that any cow, pig, chicken, etc. would joyfully go under the knife to fill your belly. seems they'd much rather live full lives their own way. even if you yourself lived a happy, healthy life, would you be ready to become food after 20 years of living (once you reach adulthood)?

i suppose some ppl are veggie only for health reasons (which there are lots of!), but i just find it hard not to consider the lives of these fellow animals.

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#16 of 30 Old 08-23-2007, 10:35 AM
 
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"happy meat?" hmmmm...i doubt that any cow, pig, chicken, etc. would joyfully go under the knife to fill your belly. seems they'd much rather live full lives their own way. even if you yourself lived a happy, healthy life, would you be ready to become food after 20 years of living (once you reach adulthood)?

i suppose some ppl are veggie only for health reasons (which there are lots of!), but i just find it hard not to consider the lives of these fellow animals.
At the risk of starting a flame war . . . . :

I'm one of those people who is vegan primarily for health reasons, though I do not approve of cruelty to animals of any kind.

But I don't think one can compare a human to a turkey or a cow in terms of life goals.

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#17 of 30 Old 08-28-2007, 01:23 AM
 
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for ONE cow to make it to slaughter, it takes over 2600 pounds of grain to keep it fed. that cow might weigh 1200 pounds...and only half of that ends up as meat.

soooo...for 600 pounds of meat, we trade off 2600 pounds of grain. beef has a HUGE ecological footprint.
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#18 of 30 Old 08-28-2007, 01:09 PM
 
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That's a really good point. So eating meat doesn't result in only one death, it STILL results in the deaths of all the little animals due to harvesting the grains for the cows.

As for question 4, I agree with you. I don't personally see that consuming dairy is any better for the animals than eating meat. Except for the theoretical situation where a cow gave birth, and her baby died (of natural causes), and she had to be milked anyways. Or whatever. But if there's a baby cow that needs the milk, it should go to the baby cow.
Eggs, I see on a different level, if the hens are treated well.

(but I should add that I don't have a philosophical problem with eating meat per se. It's how it comes about that I have a problem with. Even free range/organic meat)

And, of course, anything you do to contribute less to animal cruelty is a good thing. I don't feel like I should give up and eat meat, just because I consume dairy every once in a while. kwim?

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#19 of 30 Old 08-28-2007, 03:11 PM
 
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But I don't think one can compare a human to a turkey or a cow in terms of life goals.
I'm not getting this point - because they live a different life than humans and may have a different perception of "life goals" they are more disposable? I don't believe that to be true.

To answer the OP's questions, and let me start by saying that I'm coming from this as a person that became vegan initiatlly purely for animal rights reasons. Once I started to see significant health benefits I was even more convinced so now I'm vegan for both reasons - but that's my disclaimer.

1. If I lived in an area where I could not survive without meat then I would eat it to survive. But I don't. I live in the US where there is ample access to non-animal foods that keep be thriving and satisfied - much of which I grow in my own organic garden. I also don't think there is any risk of veganism stopping the raising of meat in those areas so that's not something I worry about.

2. I totally understand this point and it's something I have thought a lot about. In fact it's the reason I grow a lot of my own vegetables which I freeze and / or can for winter and suppliment by buying often from farmer's markets when the weather is right. I would rather promote the cultivation of vegetables with less harm to animals than to promote raising animals to kill them.

3. There may totally be some truth in that, but since I'm healthy and happy not eating animal products then I see no reason to worry about it.

4. I don't eat dairy or eggs for the reasons you mentioned.


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#20 of 30 Old 08-28-2007, 06:20 PM
 
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for ONE cow to make it to slaughter, it takes over 2600 pounds of grain to keep it fed. that cow might weigh 1200 pounds...and only half of that ends up as meat.

soooo...for 600 pounds of meat, we trade off 2600 pounds of grain. beef has a HUGE ecological footprint.
Actually, most beef in this country is raised on grass until it's finished on grain. Here in our area, they range in the mountains on grass that humans cannot eat. When they mature, they are sent to auction and then fattened on grain at a feedlot. The only steers or cows I know of that are entirely grain fed are show animals.

Amanda Rose, author, Rebuild From Depression: A Nutrient Guide. Don't miss this opportunity to build a business telling friends about probiotic foods and grass fed meats: Beyond Organic Review.

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#21 of 30 Old 08-28-2007, 06:53 PM
 
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Actually, most beef in this country is raised on grass until it's finished on grain. Here in our area, they range in the mountains on grass that humans cannot eat. When they mature, they are sent to auction and then fattened on grain at a feedlot. The only steers or cows I know of that are entirely grain fed are show animals.
i was actually only talking about the amount they consume while being fattened during the 120-150 days they are on the feedlot.

and i was also only speaking of the US.

"Why is the beef footprint so large? Using DOC figures on numbers of beef cattle and acres of pasture in some of the biggest beef-producing counties in Nebraska, Texas and Colorado, the average beef cow requires about 10 acres of pastureland. Before most of these cows go to the slaughterhouse, they spend 120 to 150 days being fattened in a feedlot where the average cow consumes about 2600 pounds of grain. This grain on average represents 0.4 acre of arable land. Thus each beef cow has a footprint of about 10.4 acres. At slaughter, the average cow weighs an estimated 1,200 pounds. Only half of that shows up as meat in the supermarket. Each pound of meat that we buy therefore represents 1/600 of the beef cow's footprint, or about 0.017 acres. That doesn't seem like much, but the average U. S. citizen consumed 63 pounds of beef in 1994 (DOA), so that our per-capita beef footprint was about 1.07 acres. Much of that acreage is arable land that could be used to raise foods with smaller footprints. If each of us would simply reduce our beef consumption to about half of our present consumption on a yearly basis (about 30 pounds - slightly more than 1/2 pound per week), and substitute chicken or pork, for example, which are the meats with the next largest footprints (both about 0.0009 acres/pound), we would go a long way toward permitting a world population of 10 billion to have a potentially sustainable diet comparable to ours. Our food problem may be manageable with minimum pain."

quoted from: http://egj.lib.uidaho.edu/egj09/palmer1.html
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#22 of 30 Old 08-28-2007, 09:59 PM
 
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Hey Lori. I think the average grain intake is something like 3 lbs grain per lb of beef. I think I got something like 500 lbs out of the last steer. Had he been grained, that might have been 1200-1500 lbs grain. He would have been fatter so I would have gotten more than the 500 lbs.

So not to hijack, but better than cutting beef consumption in half would be to buy direct from the rancher like I do, before the steer has been grained.

This land would also take a lot of work to be farmed. We have a family garden that we terrace and could reasonably put in a hobby orchard. As demand increases it might be more profitable to farm the land. But for the most part, the cattle in California are in areas like this. The rest of the land is too expensive to have as pasture land.

I'll ask a rancher next time I see one how many pounds they feed a day when they finish their own steers for their freezer.

Amanda

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#23 of 30 Old 08-28-2007, 10:07 PM
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i suppose my background is a bit different. i've been vegetarian for 8 years. i was vegan for the first 5 of those years. i am now TF lacto-ovo vegetarian. my husband is a TF omnivore.

so, my perspective comes from an 'animal welfare' argument. i do not believe that vegetarianism is a healthy diet for everyone, nor do i think that everyone can be sustained on a vegetarian diet. thus, i believe that killing animals for food is appropriate when necessary, but it should be done with the utmost care and conscientiousness. this is why i call my husband a "conscientious omnivore." he is very particular about his food sources--the way those animals were/are bred, raised, and slaughtered is important to him. i take the same approach with my dairy and egg products as well (usually buying from farms that do not kill cows or chickens at all).

It is SO BIZZARRE to me to be questioning any of this at all. Vegetarianism has been an enormous part of who I am & my belief system. But some things are just not lining up for me, & dh is concerned that we might be lacking some nutrients, or more specifically, he's worried that our babies I carry might end up lacking because I've been veg so long. So, we're researching. And researching. And researching.

it is not bizarre to me. these are questions that i have long asked. veganism makes sense from a variety of perspectives, except when it comes to my own health and the health of many others whom i know and love. i do support veganism--but i also support omnivorism.

and i consider vegetarianism a "part of who i am" too--and i do it for "spiritual reasons" but that doesn't mean that others are not as moral, as spiritual, as i am. this is just what I must do for my own spiritual purposes.
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#24 of 30 Old 08-28-2007, 11:13 PM
 
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Hey Lori. I think the average grain intake is something like 3 lbs grain per lb of beef. I think I got something like 500 lbs out of the last steer. Had he been grained, that might have been 1200-1500 lbs grain. He would have been fatter so I would have gotten more than the 500 lbs.

So not to hijack, but better than cutting beef consumption in half would be to buy direct from the rancher like I do, before the steer has been grained.

This land would also take a lot of work to be farmed. We have a family garden that we terrace and could reasonably put in a hobby orchard. As demand increases it might be more profitable to farm the land. But for the most part, the cattle in California are in areas like this. The rest of the land is too expensive to have as pasture land.

I'll ask a rancher next time I see one how many pounds they feed a day when they finish their own steers for their freezer.

Amanda
i've never actually ranched myself...i'm only going off of the facts posted on the eco-site. my family raised pigs and stuff (ick), but i've always been a conscientious objector myself, lol.

still...to only receive 500 pounds of meat...i'd rather have the three-times worth of grain.
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#25 of 30 Old 08-28-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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still...to only receive 500 pounds of meat...i'd rather have the three-times worth of grain.
But there's the third option of getting the meat from the animal raised in conditions that can't be farmed and also getting the grain. But in this case, I wouldn't tend to eat the quality of grain that's used for animal feed.

Best of luck zjande.

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#26 of 30 Old 08-29-2007, 07:51 PM
 
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Interesting thread!
I've been a vegan for 22 years, mainly for ethical reasons but also for everything else that goes with it.
I used to be SuperPetaGirl and never consider any other options. My attitude has relaxed, a little, now though.
I firmly believe that if you can humanely (in the truest sense) raise an animal yourself then when the time came you wanted to eat it - if you personally can look the creature in the eye, kill it, skin it.. do it all yourself... then go for it. I can have no "beef" with that (sorry)
If you can't then you have no real right in eating it. We all have the capacity to pick an apple or dig up a potato but this would take a different consitution.
If the killing, etc is a part of your nature then maybe you do need something out of it.

Heather, ds Dante (12.28.07) and due in April.
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#27 of 30 Old 08-31-2007, 02:19 PM
 
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This is a really interesting thread. I'm so glad you started it.

These are issues that I've also thought about for a good part of my life and have changed my stance on over time. These days I am not a strict vegetarian-- my diet is mostly plant based, but I do eat fish and fowl from time to time. I've decided that I don't want what I eat to be a defining factor in my life, so I don't worry about justifying the particular diet that seems right to me. There are all sorts of complex ecological, moral, social, and spiritual issue at play, so I don't know that it's possible to find the one true diet .
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#28 of 30 Old 09-01-2007, 06:42 AM
 
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Hi. I'm semi-vegitarian by default, because my husband and son are vegitarians and we don't cook meat in the house, and we rarely go out to eat.

And living with a person who has been vegitarian for like almost....20 years...I've learned a lot. But I still have some questions that doesn't have cut and dry answers.

Anyway, my husband's thinking is that eating small amounts of meat could be beneficial to your health, given that it's a healthy meat, but he says it goes against his spiritual being. And he'd rather be little less than optimally healthy than harming other spritual beings....or that's what I can interpret from his explanation....
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#29 of 30 Old 09-01-2007, 09:37 AM
 
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While I would agree that eating small amounts of certain types of meat are probably fine from a health standpoint, I do not believe that not eating any meat is likely to lead to less than optimal health for myself. I don't see it as trading my health for my spiritual wellbeing. Both are important to me and I believe both to be well cared for by my dietary choices.
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#30 of 30 Old 09-02-2007, 03:56 PM
 
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i suppose my background is a bit different. i've been vegetarian for 8 years. i was vegan for the first 5 of those years. i am now TF lacto-ovo vegetarian. my husband is a TF omnivore.

so, my perspective comes from an 'animal welfare' argument. i do not believe that vegetarianism is a healthy diet for everyone, nor do i think that everyone can be sustained on a vegetarian diet. thus, i believe that killing animals for food is appropriate when necessary, but it should be done with the utmost care and conscientiousness. this is why i call my husband a "conscientious omnivore." he is very particular about his food sources--the way those animals were/are bred, raised, and slaughtered is important to him. i take the same approach with my dairy and egg products as well (usually buying from farms that do not kill cows or chickens at all).

It is SO BIZZARRE to me to be questioning any of this at all. Vegetarianism has been an enormous part of who I am & my belief system. But some things are just not lining up for me, & dh is concerned that we might be lacking some nutrients, or more specifically, he's worried that our babies I carry might end up lacking because I've been veg so long. So, we're researching. And researching. And researching.

it is not bizarre to me. these are questions that i have long asked. veganism makes sense from a variety of perspectives, except when it comes to my own health and the health of many others whom i know and love. i do support veganism--but i also support omnivorism.

and i consider vegetarianism a "part of who i am" too--and i do it for "spiritual reasons" but that doesn't mean that others are not as moral, as spiritual, as i am. this is just what I must do for my own spiritual purposes.
VERY well said! This is why I have vegans as close friends (infact we used to be room-mates)while being omni myself. We both have solid health and moral reasons for both (many based on the questions PP mentioned), acknowledge this and do not consider ourselves to be morally superior to the other. I'm thankful for my vegan friends, that acknowledge that I have thought through my path seriously and do not judge me for it.
"Let every man be fully convinced in his own mind".

Happily married to DH for 6 years, in process to foster-adopt 3 children DD4, DS3 and DS2. We may be bringing half brother age 9 one day as well! We are not infertile, we just have decided that since there are precious children who need homes there is no need for us to have biological children.

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