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: 18

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
Comment by Radu Andreiu on April 6, 2010 at 4:24pm
I've never said it wasn't selfish, but neither is getting an organ transplant (having any medical treatment actually), spending money on unnecessary things like expensive clothes, TV sets, Internet connection and so on. You could greatly minimize the suffering of those children that are dying of starvation, mostly in Africa. You could do many selfless acts, but you choose to ignore these things and be selfish. Guess what? Everyone does that, so even if you really are selfless in a situation, you are still a predominantly selfish living being, because that's how evolution made us. Let us not criticize people for choosing to be selfish as long as we are also very selfish! Why don't you live as basic a life you can and give the rest of the money and spend your spare time helping people or other animals?

"There's an evolutionary imperative why we give a crap about our family and friends, and there's an evolutionary imperative why we don't give a crap about anybody else. If we loved all people indiscriminately, we couldn't function." - Dr. House

You can't disagree with House, can you?

To sum up, we are all killing people and animals, either directly, or by ignorance. So, as long as you have all this unnecessary stuff which could easily be converted in suffering-reducing money, food or water, please don't think you are some kind of saint.
Comment by Allen Sneed on April 6, 2010 at 5:36pm
Not sure if the saint comment was directed at me or not. If it was, you are really missing my point and arguing against things I never said. I was advocating for accuracy, consistency and logic, not personal moral purity. I have nothing against selfish motivations. It's a great survival tactic. What I am arguing against is causing others to suffer even when your own survival doesn't depend on it. Go ahead and drive your car to get to work, just don't run over a group of school children on your way.
Comment by sukhdeep on April 6, 2010 at 5:50pm
u guys need to read "eating animals" by jonathan foer......most of ur questions will be answered....he is pretty direct with facts and does not sugar-coat like polan does....and u won't be eating the meat (if u want to call it that) that is being served in almost all restaurants and people, u all sound intelligible but why the veil when it comes to change and accepting the is just like religion with omnivores or carnivores.....just can't accept facts with regard to environment, health, suffering, future of the planet our offspring, our anatomy etc....
Comment by Radu Andreiu on April 6, 2010 at 5:59pm
Allen Sneed wrote "What I am arguing against is causing others to suffer even when your own survival doesn't depend on it."

Then why do you cause others to suffer even when your own survival doesn't depend on it? Does your survival depend on Internet connection, having most of your home appliances, clothes, shoes and whatever you can think about which you have and which isn't necessary. You could... I don't know... save hundreds of lives with that stuff.

It's the same thing with meat; it's like choosing any other pleasure inducing stuff over the welfare of others.
Comment by Shine on April 6, 2010 at 7:27pm
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.

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.

Allen, I think that you are still lumping all suffering under one label. My main objective was to distinguish between the capacity for physical, emotional, and intellectual suffering across different species. By recognizing that livestock cannot suffer intellectually as humans can, I am in no way discounting the fact that they can suffer both physically and emotionally. But this lack of intellectual suffering does allow for the consumption of meat from humanely-raised livestock without promoting suffering; remove the physical and emotional abuse, and there is no abuse left that a cow or pig can suffer. Also, a vegan diet does not necessarily guarantee minimizing suffering; commercial agriculture is still responsible for the pain, suffering, and deaths of countless animals.

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.

Chetan, I disagree with your analogy. I advocate the consumption of meat procured from humanely-raised livestock, but I still vehemently oppose CAFOs.

I find there to be a circular nature to vegetarian/vegan logic. Initially, many vegans may say that veganism is better because it reduces suffering inflicted upon animals who are consumed. But if we remove the physical/emotional abuse of commercial agriculture and only eat pastured livestock or wild game, many vegans will still say that eating meat promotes unnecessary killing. But what about consuming plants? Plants must also die so that you can eat them. (Side note: I know that there is a sect somewhere who only eats plants which can regenerate so as to avoid killing the plant. Is it a form of Jainism? I can't remember.) If it is not the suffering of the animal that is the bad part but the actual death of the organism, then what separates the death of the animal from the death of the plant? Why is the former so much more reprehensible than the latter? At this point, I have then heard vegans say that the animal's death is worse because it is a sentient creature with complex neurology which the plant lacks. But this just circulates right back to the suffering argument as the presence of neurological complexity really only pertains to the capacity for suffering.
Comment by Prazzie on April 6, 2010 at 8:17pm
Think about it. How many of you actually eat raw beef?

I had raw springbok for dinner. Does that count?
Comment by Radu Andreiu on April 7, 2010 at 9:21am
Just to clear some things up, Neal, I want to clearly say the following: there is healthy meat and there is unhealthy meat. Guess what? There are also healthy plants and unhealthy plants. You don't need to be a vegan or a vegetarian to be healthy; you just have to eat healthy meat and healthy plants. Personally, I don't know exactly which ones are healthy and which are not, but I am pretty sure there is healthy meat.

Anyway, just being a vegan or a vegetarian doesn't mean you are eating healthier, because there are a lot of really bad plants, either by their nature, or by their bio-engineering. You are eating healthy only if you are eating the right stuff, even if it includes meat.


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