It seems like I may have given the wrong impression with my views on vegetarianism.

I haven't seen anyone eat meat in my life. Think about it. How many of you actually eat raw beef? Sushi may come close to it but that's still processed. Once something is processed it is not meat any more. It's a commodity- much like potato chips.

Animals don't go around killing each other just because one has more spots or stripes than the other. Carnivores don't kill more than what is needed. Animals in my opinion are far superior in every sense of the word than humans. They're stronger, have been around far longer than we have and have never complained us butchering them. (If it sounds too poetic, so be it.)

Humans living in harsh climates have every right to kill for survival. Survival is key. But my argument is for minimizing our impact. One of the biggest consumers of oil is the meat processing industry. It would only make sense to minimize our intake of meat.

Animals feel as much pain as we do (anybody who has been to a Cargill meat processing facility will surely be scarred for a week or so...). I grew up in a culture of animal sacrifice. I can safely say those who chop animals' heads and act as if northing's happened are some of the most cruel people on the planet. I'd suggest all of you to witness an animal slaughter and eat that meat later. If you don't cringe, something is wrong.

We're not the most important species around- just a failed mutation that has a huge probability of wiping itself out. It would only heighten our morality if we extended our respect to sentient beings other than us. If we don't need to kill them (there are vegan bodybuilders) I think we shouldn't. I fail to grasp the concept of having a pet if you eat meat. You can't think of eating your kitten, can you?

But that's what I think. I don't judge anyone but I do like to share my views. Almost everyone I know eats meat. But what bothers me is vegetarian options in restaurants being more expensive than regular meat ones. It's fu#!ing annoying especially since there's way more vegetables out there than meat!

Just my 2 cents on vegetarianism.

Views: 28

Comment by Gaytor on April 6, 2010 at 1:41am
I'm gonna nit-pick. The French have a meal called Steak Tartare which is ground beef with egg. There are Arabic raw meat meals. I read a great blog once about a guy eating Steak Tartare and getting a tape worm from doing so. So while it's not something you'll regularly find in the US, it's common in other places. Some scientist point to cooking as being the real difference between animals and humans. We cook out the disease and end up living longer. It's something that we have done for hundreds of thousands of years.
Carnivores commonly kill more than they can eat. This is why Buzzards and Hyena's do well in areas following behind Carnivores.
For argument's sake, what happens to cows if we all stop eating beef tomorrow? Who will pay for their feed? Water? Where will we put them where carnivores won't grow in numbers and turn on us and our pets when they mow through the cattle? Same for Chickens. My point is that it has to be a planned, long term reduction. The cruelty of kicking them off the farm is worse then ending their life early. Plus, If I'm given the choice of being eaten by a pack of wolves or taking a steel rod in the brain, I'm calling the guy from No Country for Old Men. But yeah, whole cow grinders are quite something to behold.
I'm all for healthy eating. I have three types of veggie burgers in the freezer. Keep blogging about it. Give options for meals that sound interesting. Got a favorite Vegetarian Cookbook? There is a group for this as well if you haven't found it. Just don't expect 100's of 1000's of years to change tomorrow.
Comment by AJComix on April 6, 2010 at 2:27am
Biology fail, not all animals feel pain.
Comment by Jānis Ķimsis on April 6, 2010 at 6:34am
I've considered eating my cats. The old one looks too stringy, but the younger one is nice and plump.
Comment by Shine on April 6, 2010 at 9:26am
Like Neal M mentioned, the quality and source of the meat is incredibly important. Besides engaging in cruel practices which inflict needless suffering upon sentient creatures and polluting the surrounding environment, CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) produce meat which nothing like what our paleolithic ancestors evolved eating. The natural diet of aurochs (ancestors of modern cattle) was wild plains grasses, not the soup of antibiotics, hormones, and corn/soy which they receive in a modern factory farm.

However, simply avoiding meat does entirely solve the problem. Commercial plant agriculture is incredibly detrimental as well; soy and corn consumption is far from "cruelty-free." Corn and soy are also far from the healthy "superfoods" which they often portrayed to be. Large-scale commercial agriculture--whether animal or plant--is the root of the problem. Food, Inc. is great documentary which covers the issue of commercial agriculture. I also second Neal's recommendation of Michael Pollan's books.

In my own experience, I have found that eating small to moderate amounts of meat obtained from non-CAFO sources has worked for me. I rely upon cage-free eggs for the bulk of my animal protein, as they are comparatively cheap and nearly ubiquitous to every grocery store. It is possible to eat a healthy diet which incorporates moderate amounts of quality meat and is not overly detrimental to the surrounding environment.
Comment by B. on April 6, 2010 at 10:20am
Animals are NOT "superior" to humans.. that's just plain wrong. Being around longer is mere luck of evolution, not any testament to their "strength". Humans are far more ingenious than their animal counterparts. Smarter, stronger. Better. Can a cow building a skyscraper? Make vaccines? Fly to the moon? No. Human beings have conquered every climate on the planet. Our lifespan (in developed countries) approaches a century. We can cure disease, we can manipulate our food sources, we can think. An animal's life is purposeless. They have don't have the capacity for joy that humans do, because they don't have the ability to attain it. All they can do is satiate innate desires -- and successfully yielding to instinct is hardly an achievement by any measure.

Whether animals feel as much "pain" as we do is debatable. Sure they have neurons for the sensation pain, but how much they're capable of feeling is debatable and at the end of the day, a total non-issue. The actual status of "crime" is difficult to apply to pain of death for a creature who's purpose is to die for food anyway.
I don't think we should go about torturing animals because we can, but I think we can accept that death is painful and let that be the end of it. We can't seek a more "humane" solution like lethal injection lest we ruin the meat.

I've witnessed a slaughter & eaten the meat later. It's not cringe-worthy, it's just food. So it was alive before -- plants are alive also by biological definition, so they're not quite as "smart" as animals: animals are not quite as "smart" as humans!

We ARE the most important species around. Every other yields to us. There's no "failed mutation" -- what does that even mean?? And we may be destined to orchestrate our own destruction, but we wouldn't be the first.

As for good eating, I'm with the poster's above. I'm a huge fan of sustainable practices, and I love Michael Pollan's works. But I will not give up meat, for no other reason than I enjoy it so much. It's good for me, and I won't take a substitute. I had to write a lengthly review paper in my second year about how phytoestrogens in plants (namely soy) are linked to breast cancer. After reading the research, there's no way in hell I'm adopting a soy-based diet (I realize a heavily red-meat based diet is also linked to cancer, but I'm not actually on the "heavy red meat" diet so I don't worry about falling into that group).

Vegetarians are grossly mislead, either about their food or their morality. Few things can exemplify such a gross self-loathing as equalizing oneself with livestock. If you think your life is no more important than a pig or cow's, why not live in the barn? Geez. There's no reason to waste a perfectly good mind & perfectly good life fantasizing about the end of your own species, and thinking we deserve it. Get a grip.
Comment by Dave G on April 6, 2010 at 12:46pm
Once something is processed it isn't meat? They what is it, cardboard? Plastic? Yeast?

Processed meat is still meat, processed corn is still corn, processed milk is still milk.

Sure, the meat in (most) hot dogs is barely recognizable, particularly with all the additives and the like, but a steak is still a steak. It has bone and sinew and muscle tissue and fat. It is not miraculously transformed into some other substance.

And since you're talking about raw meat versus cooked meat, it is true that cooking meat causes chemical changes in the proteins. So does cooking vegetables or grains, but I doubt that you're claiming that a carrot is no longer a carrot if it has been cooked.

I'm sorry, but your argument here makes no sense.

And incidentally, no species on the planet is more or less evolved than any other species. We've all had the same amount of time to evolve.
Comment by Shine on April 6, 2010 at 1:44pm
I feel as though the issue of pain being inflicted upon animals requires a bit more definition. While animals are certainly capable of feeling physical pain and suffering, this point becomes moot if one attains their meat from sources that do not engage in factory-farming. Also, the hunting of wild animals for meat--aside from the actual brief act of killing--is difficult to paint as torturous and cruel.

However, I feel like this physical suffering is conflated with the human capacity for intellectual suffering. Like B. mentioned, our brains inarguably far more advanced and our consciousness capable of far more abstract thought than any other species on the planet. We have an unparalleled capacity for temporal perspective that imbues us with the desire for a sense of purpose.

My point is that while we may see a cow being raised on a farm for eventual slaughter as a deplorable existence, we are projecting our own perspective on that experience. Certainly, if a human was confined to a pasture with the knowledge that their existence only served to be another creature's eventual dinner, that would produce immense mental anguish. But can a cow adequately conceive of their fate to really experience this intellectual anguish?

I am by far no expert in animal neurology, but I think that there is a valid biological rationale to this. Look at the evolution of complex neurological systems in the animal kingdom. First, we have the reptilian brain, with really no frontal lobe and or the structures which process emotions. Can you really hurt a snake's feelings? No; reptiles run purely on instinct. Next, mammals evolved with the corresponding neurological structures for both emotions and homeostatic regulation. Unlike a snake, a dog can become sad if you scream at it. However, most mammals still lack the massive frontal lobe which developed in later primates, specifically humans. It is this unique aspect of our neurology which allows for the processing of abstract thought, temporal perspective, reason, and logic.

Other mammals' lack of a developed frontal lobe is what prevents them from experiencing intellectual suffering like humans. Therefore, all other physical cruelties removed, I do not see raising animals for eventual consumption as unethical or promoting suffering.

(Huge disclaimer: I'm not a science major, so I sincerely apologize if I just bastardized evolutionary biology. Please correct any inaccuracies if you see them.)

B., I am glad that you mentioned the negative effects of phytoestrogens which researchers are now becoming more aware of. I would be love to read your report if you are interested in sharing it.
Comment by Kris on April 6, 2010 at 2:43pm
Thanks for the preach, but I have slaughtered many of the animals that I have eaten, myself. I live in a country that would literally not survive without the consumption of meat.
Also, I've eaten raw meat, though it was just crab.
Comment by Allen Sneed on April 6, 2010 at 3:54pm
Wow! I'm relatively new to TA and I've had the impression that most TA members are relatively intelligent and thoughtful. But this post is making me rethink my initial impressions. The thoughtless comments coming from both sides of the issue are astounding.

Yes, meat is still meat even after it has been cooked or processed. One might have room for an argument about the healthfulness of overly processed foods, but these arguments can apply to vegetarian processed foods too.

Yes, humans are very intelligent. But so are many non-human animals. But the point for many vegetarians/vegans is not whether or not animals can think, but if they can feel. It is clear that vertebrate animals are capable of experiencing fear, pain and suffering in ways very similar, if not identical, to human experiences of fear, pain and suffering.

Yes, humans may have a more developed ability to suffer "intellectually" than some other animals. But that is no reason to discount the physical suffering of other animals. If non-human animals are less intellectually developed than humans, perhaps an appropriate analogy would be to compare non-human animals to children or babies. Since a human baby is unable to experience intellectual suffering the way an adult would, does that make it okay to physically abuse a baby?

Yes, some non-human animals (but not all) kill and eat other animals and the animals who are killed by lions and tigers likely suffer a great deal. But lions and tiger must eat other animals in order to survive. Most modern humans do not need to eat animals to survive or to be healthy. It is a choice. I choose to refrain from eating animals so as to minimize the amount of unnecessary suffering I cause others.

Yes, humans have eaten other animals for a long time. But we have also raped, murdered and engaged in other terrible acts of cruelty for a long time too. History is not a justification for needlessly harming others.

Yes, natural predators can be quite cruel. But let's not pretend we are doing farm animals any favors by keeping them in an endless cycle of needless slaughter. Slave apologists used to argue they were doing Africans a favor by rescuing them from a life of disease, poverty and misery in the jungle. Let's not go down the road of pretending farm animals would be thankful that their ancestors were kidnapped from their homes and that they and all of their descendants will be kept in a never ending cycle of forced confinement, mutilation without painkillers (branding, debeaking, castration), and perpetual slaughter at only a fraction of their natural lifespans.

Yes, factory farming is about as cruel as one can imagine. But even though a very small percentage of farms may treat animals better than others, needlessly slicing open an animal's throat is never humane. Let's dispense with the dishonest euphemisms and call things how they really are.

There is no reason to think that humans will stop eating other animals overnight, so the question about what to do with all the farm animals is rather moot. It is a matter of supply and demand. As the demand for meat decreases, the number of farm animals who are bred to be slaughtered will decrease.

There are plenty of thoughtful and intelligent reasons to adopt a vegan lifestyle from minimizing needless suffering, to improving human health, to helping conserve natural resources. Except in situations that involve starvation, I don't know of any non-selfish reasons to continue eating meat, dairy, eggs or other animal products. If selfish reasons are enough for you, then so be it. But let's keep it real - on both sides.
Comment by Chetan D on April 6, 2010 at 4:16pm
I don't expect things to change overnight. I'd freak out if I wake up tomorrow and find the meat section in grocery store aisles empty.

Just because meat feels or tastes good does not mean consumption of it is justified. Self-criticism and evaluating oneself is probably helpful- especially with regards to things we don't really need in order to enjoy life. Meat eaters who argue for more humane methods of killing are like the moderates in Islam and other desert religions who claim they are fine with gays and wouldn't kill them even though their book clearly wants to. Meat tastes really good. I know it. One might as well acknowledge it rather than have contradicting arguments.

How does one justify certain methods of killing over others? Aren't you concerned about the pain yourself if you wish for lethal injection and a move away from concentrated animal feeding operations (apart from the environmental disaster that they are)?

The system is definitely not without flaws- there are probably as many or more flaws with the way we grow our crops as there are with animal farming. But that's not an argument for supporting the practices we engage in- namely unnecessary killing of animals if we do not need to. We can’t eliminate it- there are people who staple diet is fish and meat and that’s more than justifiable.
I am not arguing for a militant implementation of vegetarian diet under any political system- far from it. My purpose was to raise the issue, put forth my view points. Do I love humanity more than other animals? Of course! But humanity is capable of far worse things than any other animals on this planet- the holocaust, the great world wars, countless genocide, etc. On an intellectual scale- yes, we are far superior. But that's a rather primitive way of gauging ourselves. Are those all we have- Skyscrapers, satellites, and hydrogen bombs? I’m not saying we’re going to end our civilization- I was merely doing a comparison. I love what humans have accomplished- but there’s probably more we could do.

As for your paper about phytoestrogens B, association is not causality- read more papers because there’s absolutely no concrete evidence asserting phytoestrogens found in soy products are a cause of cancer. And I wouldn't call it self-loathing if I have concern for animals and see them no more different then myself apart a far superior intellect in myself. However, I would call it hypocrisy to not eat certain animals and eat others. There aren’t many examples that trump the sheer lack of empathy and an overdose of hypocrisy than those who argue for more humane means of killing animals. Perhaps being a hypocrite is in our instincts too?

In the end, I guess there will always be far more meat eaters than vegetarians. So it’s probably best to leave it at “you eat what you eat and I’ll do the same”.

Think Vegetarian


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2015   Created by umar.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service