Are We Too Damn Polite???....

I'm sure that all of you have at least noticed that the Climate Change Wars have erupted on A/N. You might not have joined in, but I do hope that most of you at least checked in to read some of what the deniers are claiming... Apparently, new statistics in the US of those who 'believe' in Climate Change has dropped significantly in the past few years. 54% of Americans now do NOT believe that Global Warming is a man made phenomenon. Unbelievable but true.

For the time being, with gas prices still under $3.00 a gallon, giant SUV's are still being bought, and in my neighborhood, it's the vehicle of choice. Plastic, plastic everywhere. I watch shoppers plop giant cases of bottled water into their shopping carts. Most all of the fruit and vegetables sold in the supermarkets are now wrapped in plastic and sit on styrofoam packaging. Rarely, do I notice anyone bringing their own reusable bags with them to pack their groceries, and are happy to the use plastic bags that the groceries supply to them. Checking out what food others are purchasing, it's clear to see that meat eating is still 'alive (not) and well'...

It's been encouraging to see that many major publications are now including articles on the impact of factory animal farms on our environment, on the health benefits of eating a vegetarian diet, and FINALLY on tortured animals being raised for slaughter., but the average American still sees no problem with eating meat (or fish) 3X a day, 360 days a year... Just take a look at this discussion I posted in the Parenting Little Heathen's group called, Meatless Mondays in Baltimore Schools Causes Controversy, the response that article got was mind-blowing....

Having been called a 'Vegan Nazi' by members on A/N who insist that it's nobody's business what they choose to eat, I clearly tend to differ. Is it our business when people buy gas guzzler vehicles and think nothing of letting their cars idle for half and hour while they sit in the car talking on their cell phone? Should they be allowed to pollute OUR air without criticism? Should we just say nothing about the fact that factory animal farms do more harm to the atmosphere that contributes to global warming than all planes, cars and trucks combined... That the methane gas produced by these farms are more powerful a warming agent than CO2.

Should we let our meat eating family and friends off-the-hook, because we fear being RUDE by suggesting that their choice to eat meat is dangerously impacting the environment of OUR planet? How do you side on this question?

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As the token omnivore of this group I take exception to the drift of your post. As I've said before, I don't have a problem with you choosing to live a vegan lifestyle, but I do object to vegans attempting to force others into a vegan lifestyle. If you want to talk about our failing environment the starting point has to be resource management. And any discussion of resource management has to include the topic that scares everyone, population control. Care to chat?

@ Charlie, I'm grateful that you, "don't have a problem with" our choosing a vegan lifestyle.  Thank you.  Yesterday, a guy told me he had no problem with my not owning slaves.  Unfortunately, when I suggested that his ownership of slaves was evil, selfish, and cruel, he said that I should follow my own conscience and let him follow his.  

There are other sites where we can discuss overpopulation and other environmental problems. Here we are talking about ethics and compassion for our fellow earthlings.  Unfortunately we are often reduced to using examples that appeal to self interest, when those we debate display no sign of compassion to which we could  appeal.  To me, the ethics of our relationship with other animals has nothing to do with "resource management".  Other animals are my friends and relatives.  They are not my possessions, nor are they natural resources for me to manage.

I was raised in a Seventh-Day Adventist household for the first part of my life; SDA are vegetarian by the religious edict of their prophet Ellen White. The more extreme sects go full vegan, the majority still consume dairy products, the moderates will eat fish, and the liberals just follow the kosher laws in Leviticus (avoiding pork, shellfish, and other animals designated 'unclean').

Having been there, and having escaped it, I will admit to often having a very defensive response to people 'pushing' vegetarianism. Having said that, I do understand the impact of factory-farming on the environment. I don't eat meat three times a day, or even every day of the week; and I make a conscious effort to by the local or small farm meat products. But there's no way I'm giving up meat completely.

Also, I have seen the serious detriment a vegetarian diet can have when people don't make a conscious effort to make the diet healthy. SDA claim their diet is so healthy because there is no meat, but in my observation often the fat and oil content contends with the cliché southern diet of frying everything; and many consume far too many carbs, and little-to-no protein. Now again, having said that I also know plenty of people who are extremely healthy with a vegetarian diet; but the difference is that they have taken the time to understand their dietary needs, instead of just eliminating meat because their religion dictates it.
I'm also a skeptic on how an athlete can build muscle without the protein intake from meat. I'll admit that I've not researched thoroughly, so I'm only basing this on past experience of dietary changes while working on muscle building. Building and maintaining muscle mass and high fitness requires a substantial amount of protein intake that can't just be from protein shakes. Especially at a professional level; for example, Tony Gonzalez is the only NFL player I've read of going vegetarian (while playing professionally).

Johnny, you admit that you have not researched thoroughly, or at all, the topic of protein for vegans.  Please do so.  There are hundreds of articles readily available through any search engine.  Lots of books in the stores and libraries, too.  But just think, what is the biggest strongest, most muscular animal you can think of?  What is his diet.  What do the bull, the elephant, and the gorilla eat?  Google vegan athletes.   Tony Gonzalez is only one of many famous athletes who are vegan.  

How about Carl Lewis. There are many others.

So... I think pushing a raise in awareness is a noble and good endeavor.

But... I think pushing a vegetarian or vegan diet on someone is none of your business.

Great article Sydni; now featured.
I don't think people should be forced not to eat meat. At the same time, they can be educated on it's effects to the environment and health issues.

Laws and regulations against the abuse and mistreatment of animals should be enacted and enforced. Get rid of the factory farms and there will be less meat to eat which will also lead to higher prices thereby cutting down on consumption.
Here is a great quote that I believe we should all try to live by...

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

— Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto)

Simple and sweet.

Nobody is going to take your meat away from you, but at the same time everyone needs to look very carefully at where our food comes from. Industrial Animal farms are doing tremendous harm to our planet, torturing animals and the meat being produced is shot up with antibiotics, chemicals and hormones that is affecting your health. The way we are farming is simply unsustainable, and important changes must be made.

This is a Five Star interview with Michael Pollan by Bill Moyer, that you should try to make the time to watch.

Here is the Into:

In October 2008, Pollan wrote to the prospective presidents about just how far food policy reaches into our world — from national security to the rise of diabetes. In his ""An Open Letter to the Farmer in Chief," Pollan gave the next occupant a "heads up" about an issue that hadn't made any noise on the very noisy campaign trail:

You will find yourself confronting the fact — so easy to overlook these past few years — that the health of a nation's food system is a critical issue of national security. Food is about to demand your attention... You will need not simply to address food prices but to make the reform of the entire food system one of the highest priorities of your administration: unless you do, you will not be able to make significant progress on the health care crisis, energy independence or climate change. Unlike food, these are issues you did campaign on — but as you try to address them you will quickly discover that the way we currently grow, process and eat food in America goes to the heart of all three problems and will have to change if we hope to solve them.

BILL MOYERS JOURNAL: Michael Pollan Interview, Pt. 1 - PBS ( Pt.s 1 & 2, 45 minutes total)

Michael Pollan Interview, Pt. 2

As a vegan I really understand the frustration of the whole diet vs. resource, pollution, global warming and animal cruelty issues.

I get really pissed off when I see the majority of our society eating in away that is detrimental to every living thing on the planet. I do not get so radical that I think laws should be imposed to tell everyone what they can and cannot eat. It would not work anyway. It would be like prohibition or worse.

Here is where I think things should change. I think that no animal food products should be subsidized by the tax payer. Why should I or any vegan be forced into financially supporting a diet that is dangerous to the environment and everyone who eats it. At the last time I had looked into the subject a pound of beef costs about $90.00 to produce by the time you count all the fuel, grain, water, transportation, refrigeration, and packaging costs. If you add in the environmental costs the price jumps to over $800.00 per pound. Most other animal food products are nearly just as expensive to produce and costly to the environment, some are worse.

It’s simple lets just take the subsidies off these products, And while were at it lets add those environmental costs on to each pound of animal food products. At that point if someone still wants to eat a quarter pound hamburger at $210.99 fine by me they have truly paid what it costs.

Oh! you say you cannot afford to pay $210.99 for a hamburger. My point exactly, most of us cannot afford to pay the true cost. The fact is that society cannot afford to pay the true cost and is not doing so. They are not paying for the damage that eating a meat diet does to our environment and that is what really angers me and a whole lot of vegans. Your collective meat eating diet is screwing up the environment for everyone.

I am sorry but I don’t give eating meat anymore respect than I give religion trying to impose their dogmas into laws that negatively effect us all.
Hi Sydni, I should be shocked to hear you've been called a "Vegan Nazi", but I know enough about human nature to expect such reactions when self-interest is threatened. The fact is that an overwhelming majority of people in civilized countries oppose a range of animal-meat industries, and in doing so, prevent others from enjoying eating the bodies of their animals of choice.

For example, here in Oz, a vast majority of people are opposed to dog abattoirs, cat abattoirs, abattoirs for purpose-bred chimps and gorillas etc. Naturally this impacts on people from other cultures, who might want to sample the tastes of home (dogs and cats are eaten in parts of Asia, primates in parts of Africa where they are referred to as "bush meat"). But we say "No". We don't want those sentient creatures suffering in those barbaric industries.

Of course the majority also prevent people being harmed in many ways - so that (for example) paedophiles are not free to pursue their desires.

Freedoms get curtailed when the freedom sought is freedom to abuse others (I won't go into the reasons why this makes sense!). So, while most people seek to prevent dogs, cats, and apes (and cetaceans for that matter) being slaughtered, vegans just expand their sphere of concern to include other animals. We have more in common with the average corpse-eater than they know.

And no, I don't think we should fear being seen to be rude for publicly differing. It's very similar to the situation when dealing with someone who models their behaviour on "God's" morality code. No matter how friendly and polite you are, when you point out some obvious problems which religions cause, you often get the defence mechanism of anger in return. But if people persist with damaging behaviour I think we should call them on it (if we feel up to the resulting scene!) - not with tones of accusation, but with a helpful and instructive manner, and an understanding of the rusted-on self-interested views we want to address.

I'm so happy I found this group. 


   A good portion of people have trouble thinking more than a few months into the future unless they are reminded very, very often. And diet is something that currently has huge effects across the board: shipping, packaging, health (human and animal), land use, water pollution, and plenty of others. 


   It seems to me like a majority of people either assume that there is plenty of time to fix the issues we have (tell that to the species already on the brink of extinction, or already extinct), that humanity has a right to keep doing it because we have in the past, or that it's a non-issue because animals aren't as smart as we are and are meant to be used by us, just like all other resources. This demonstrates a clear lack of education on the matter of ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as the definition of sentience. 


   Just like with atheism and rationality, if someone doesn't talk about this we can't expect it to get better. The reasons to switch our diets (where possible) aren't just hippy-dippy mumbo-jumbo based on how cute little baby chickens are. We need to speak out and educate.


  So yes, I am speaking out (politely, but firmly). I care about the planet. I care about life. I want all people in the future to come into a world where respect is the norm, not exploitation. I want responsibility to be important, not desire. 


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