Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

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nowfocus
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:39 am UTC

This is a bad argument. Your basically trying to justify any action that we are biologically capable of. Observe:
If [insert higher power here] didn't want me killing babies, (s)he shouldn't have made it so easy. That's my opinion and i'm sticking to it. Now, that being said, i have no problem with those who don't kill babies, and if that is your choice, i fully support it, and in a social or family function at which there are no babies, i'll happily not kill anyone.

I can understand how you don't see it is a moral issue, because with that logic there are never any moral issues. (Argument inspired by Azraels post earlier).
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Oskar » Sun Oct 11, 2009 9:25 am UTC

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with eating meat at the moment.

The only reason I wouldn't eat meat, would be that it is inefficient. You'd lose far less energy if you were to eat plants directly, instead of feeding them to a cow and then eating the cow. If the worldpopulation keeps on getting bigger and bigger, there will be world-wide shortage of food. It would be really selfish if we kept on eating meat, while we could save lifes by being vegitarians.

EDIT:
An argument my little brother would make: "It's alright we eat meat! Those animals wouldn't have lived if we didn't want to eat them." Hehe.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Sun Oct 11, 2009 3:12 pm UTC

Oskar wrote:In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with eating meat at the moment.


Then make a logical argument to support that opinion. This thread is filled with argument about why you should or shouldn't be a vegetarian.

Some examples of common arguments for being vegetarian
1. Animal Cruelty: the animal you eat live an incredibly tortured life, die in a painful way, and are intelligent enough to feel it.
2. Global warming: Meat production accounts for 18% of GHG, more than all transport combined. Further, its far easier to cut meat out of your consumption than any form of transport, so its the best way to reduce your foot print
3. Macro environmental Consequences: The land use statistics are astounding, with 1/3 of arable land going to meat production world wide and 8% of our fresh water supply. We are already at the point where we need to consume food more efficiently
4. Micro environmental Consequences: Cattle and pig farms create terrible local polution in the form of runoff water.
5. Rainforest destruction:
http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianvegan101/f/forestclearcut.htm wrote:For each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rainforest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed. And its not just the rainforest. In the United States, more than 260 million acres of forest have been clear-cut for animal agriculture (2). With increased per capita meat consumption, and an ever growing population, we can only expect to see more deforestation in the future.

Here is a good article with 101 reasons.
http://www.flex.com/~jai/articles/101.html. These will show that we are consuming food at an unsustainable rate, eventually there is no more forest to destroy.

Here are some of the counter arguments
1. The animals aren't smart enough to take their wellbeing into moral consideration
2. Animal die in vegatarian diet as well, due to field mice getting run over by tractors3
3. If your a vegetarian, you need to be a vegan, or grow your own food to be logically consistent
4. Vegetarians are actually worse for animals, because meat eaters create more animals. Isn't it better to live then die then to have never lived?
5. Environmental consequences of personal actions are minimal, so there is no sense spending effort on them. Focus on big issues.
6. Global Warming isn't an issue, either it doesn't exist or it will be solved by (insert thing here)

You should respond to some of these before you say that there is nothing wrong with eating meat, or your not really contributing to the debate.
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Znath
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Znath » Sun Oct 11, 2009 7:29 pm UTC

That's still just assuming that the global warming stuff is spot on accurate. But since it's still theory and people are still in a lot of debate about the results, we can't from a scientific standpoint assume it's fact.

In cases like rainforest destruction, that is a known we have as it's easily proven by satelite and direct observation. You can even go as far as not promoting it by making sure you bought meat that isn't in relation to these companies. Eg buying American beef as most pastures in the US are already established in land that was never a rainforest to begin with... eg Texas.

Regarding efficiency. That's assuming the livestock are eating what everyone will consider food. Most people though can't live off of hay, clovers, and chicken feed, and random food remnants. So then if you have cattle on open land they're taking in a resource that would otherwise not be used and transforming it into a usable food source for people. Some land simply isn't capable of supporting crop land and is largely dominated by livestock. I know sometime we do feed crops to livestock, but even then this isn't exactly even high enough to be 'food grade'. It tends to be fairly bottom of the barrel surplus type grain.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Mon Oct 12, 2009 5:22 pm UTC

Just because beef is American doesn't mean the crops to feed that beef aren't Brazilian. The point here is that the land use is spectacularly inefficient, and that means we need more land. That land comes out of the rainforest. Doesn't matter who you buy from, because if you eat meat your drastically increasing the demand for farm land.

I think you have an idealized version of the agricultural system - where most food comes from cows living off of green pastures. That kind of meat I'm relatively okay with.

But the reality is different:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_farming#U.S._consumer_preferences wrote:In the U.S., four companies produce 81 percent of cows, 73 percent of sheep, 57 percent of pigs and 50 percent of chickens.


The food grown for cows is of low quality is because thats what they order. Thats how the industry is built. Surely we could just plant other crops, or just let the crops that are planted grow to maturity.

If no one those issues works for you, how about the macro-health implications? The amount of antibiotics used on these cows creates diseases more resistant to our primary methods of treating it.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby meat.paste » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:33 pm UTC

I read the first and last pages of the discussion, so I apologize if I'm saying something that has already been said.

I eat meat because it is tasty and nutritious. I have conflicting thoughts about it, though. On one hand, I have opposable thumbs and advanced technology, which effectively gives my species dominion over the planet. So, raising and killing plants and animals is allowed and natural. On the other hand, I do not take killing lightly. I never kill for sport and try to gather wayward animals and put them back in their natural environment [where they can be killed by another animal, but not by me :) ] The current US agricultural system is geared toward large scale industrial farming, which carries certain benefits (the price per calorie is very low now) and risks (contamination of the food supply). I would suggest reading Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma for more information on the implications of the industrial farming system. My point is that industrial farming does not allow for niceties like respecting life and reverence about death.

I find ethical arguments about "cows feel pain" to be a bit weak becuase it implies that plants don't scream. They can send out chemical signals when they are being attacked or damaged, which is just a smell based scream in my opinion. That said, I like the smell of a fresh cut lawn and I eat plenty of vegetables. At the end of the day, we feed on life. I think about minimizing how much life must be sacrificed for me to enjoy my lifestyle, but I find it too difficult to implement.

So, I have qualms about the killing required to feed my maw, but I also understand that nature is green in tooth and claw. Even if I did pursue a more vegetarian lifestyle, I could never give up delicious, golden brown, crispy bacon.
Huh? What?

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Znath » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:36 pm UTC

I do live in an area where quite a massive amount of beef is produced. The nature of consumer beef is that for the grades you need for a decent grade for human consumption, on the basis for things like burgers and steak, is something raised in bulk won't meat that standard. Major factory-farms like you see a lot in pork farming particularly "work" due to pigs having a higher tolerance for conditions and the meat not as dependent on such things. But with beef you get greater effected marbling and consistency of the meat itself based on the diet and living conditions.

Commonly cattle don't spend the majority of their lives in the super-barns and do have a bit of roaming. It's cost effective and produces a better quality meat. This way the grass does the work of feeding them rather than shipping in hay constantly or buying feed. Then they can also live off clay-riddled ground that would otherwise just go to complete disuse or overgrow into a fire-hazard. Private farms then sell the cattle upwards to the companies who then distribute them again for the slaughter houses etc.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:41 pm UTC

Znath wrote:I do live in an area where quite a massive amount of beef is produced. The nature of consumer beef is that for the grades you need for a decent grade for human consumption, on the basis for things like burgers and steak, is something raised in bulk won't meat that standard. Major factory-farms like you see a lot in pork farming particularly "work" due to pigs having a higher tolerance for conditions and the meat not as dependent on such things. But with beef you get greater effected marbling and consistency of the meat itself based on the diet and living conditions.

Commonly cattle don't spend the majority of their lives in the super-barns and do have a bit of roaming. It's cost effective and produces a better quality meat. This way the grass does the work of feeding them rather than shipping in hay constantly or buying feed. Then they can also live off clay-riddled ground that would otherwise just go to complete disuse or overgrow into a fire-hazard. Private farms then sell the cattle upwards to the companies who then distribute them again for the slaughter houses etc.


This is all just false. Consumer beef gets higher grades by having the cows on the feedlot for longer. Having Cows on the feedlot encourages marbling. And these cows eat more grain - something you earlier stated as a downside.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marbled_meat

While cows may not spend the majority of their lives on feed lots, they eat most of their food there, which is how they put on 400 pounds in 4 months. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feedlot.

meat.paste wrote:On the other hand, I do not take killing lightly. I never kill for sport and try to gather wayward animals and put them back in their natural environment [where they can be killed by another animal, but not by me :) ]


Well, you glossed over about 8 other decent arguments even in the last page, but lets move from here. The fact that you won't kill an animal thats in front of you to me means that you know killing animals is wrong. But, the fact that you are perfectly fine to have around 35 animals die so you don't have to reduce your consumption means that you don't want to think of the consequences of your actions.

meat.paste wrote:I find ethical arguments about "cows feel pain" to be a bit weak becuase it implies that plants don't scream. They can send out chemical signals when they are being attacked or damaged, which is just a smell based scream in my opinion. That said, I like the smell of a fresh cut lawn and I eat plenty of vegetables. At the end of the day, we feed on life. I think about minimizing how much life must be sacrificed for me to enjoy my lifestyle, but I find it too difficult to implement.


More vegetables are consumed as a consequence of a meat diet, so this argument has no legs to stand on. Its not 'hard' to minimize the amount of life that must be sacrificed for you to enjoy your lifestyle. Start small. Make Tuesdays and Thursdays meat free days. See if you can ramp it up.

Edit: Spelling.
Last edited by nowfocus on Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:10 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Woegjiub » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:58 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:This is all just false. Consumer beef gets higher grades by having the cows on the feedlot for longer. Having Cows on the feedlot encourages marbling. And these cows eat more grain - something you earlier stated as a downside.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marbled_meat


That is disgusting - they actually encourage marbling?
WHAT THE HELL?
Meat's most important quality is that it is almost pure protein, why would they wish to increase fat levels?

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Azrael » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:05 pm UTC

Because it tastes better, is more tender and stays juicier during the cooking process.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby BlackSails » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:27 pm UTC

Mmmmmm. Those pictures on the wiki articles look delicious.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby meat.paste » Mon Oct 12, 2009 11:04 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:Well, you glossed over about 8 other decent arguments even in the last page, but lets move from here. The fact that you won't kill an animal thats in front of you to me means that you know killing animals is wrong. But, the fact that you are perfectly fine to have around 35 animals die so you don't have to reduce your consumption means that you don't want to think of the consequences of your actions.


I have been misunderstood. Killing is not inherently wrong. I do not kill for fun or profit. I kill (or have things killed for me) for food, clothing, etc. Life is fundamentally sacred, but there is nothing morally wrong with harvesting some of it. Basically, if its a choice between a pig or me, I choose me. The pig is welcome to disagree :)

nowfocus wrote:More vegetables are consumed as a consequence of a meat diet, so this argument has no legs to stand on. Its not 'hard' to minimize the amount of life that must be sacrificed for you to enjoy your lifestyle. Start small. Make Tuesdays and Thursdays meat free days. See if you can ramp it up.


Yes, this makes sense. I forgot about the inefficiencies of eating things that eat other things. The middleman always takes a cut.
Huh? What?

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:26 am UTC

meat.paste wrote:I have been misunderstood. Killing is not inherently wrong. I do not kill for fun or profit. I kill (or have things killed for me) for food, clothing, etc. Life is fundamentally sacred, but there is nothing morally wrong with harvesting some of it. Basically, if its a choice between a pig or me, I choose me. The pig is welcome to disagree :)


I'd argue that at this point, with a reduction in meat eating being quite easy in most countries, eating meat is just for fun. The same way that we consider fur coats as a luxury item - for a time they were needed, but now we can keep ourselves warm quite well without them. Similarly, for a time humans needed to eat meat, but now we can feed ourselves quite well without them.

Isn't there something morally wrong with harvesting some life when such easy alternatives are around - even when what your killing over is as trivial as the toppings on your pizza?

The choice between your life and the pigs life is a false one: now nothing needs to die :).
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby qbg » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:56 am UTC

nowfocus wrote:
meat.paste wrote:Isn't there something morally wrong with harvesting some life when such easy alternatives are around - even when what your killing over is as trivial as the toppings on your pizza?

I don't like eating dirt and rocks.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Philwelch » Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:58 am UTC

nowfocus wrote:I'd argue that at this point, with a reduction in meat eating being quite easy in most countries, eating meat is just for fun. The same way that we consider fur coats as a luxury item - for a time they were needed, but now we can keep ourselves warm quite well without them. Similarly, for a time humans needed to eat meat, but now we can feed ourselves quite well without them.

Isn't there something morally wrong with harvesting some life when such easy alternatives are around - even when what your killing over is as trivial as the toppings on your pizza?

The choice between your life and the pigs life is a false one: now nothing needs to die :).


Everything needs to die, it's just a matter of when. A pig's seen all he's gonna see by the time he's slaughtered anyway, and the moral value I place on a pig's life is orders of magnitude less than the moral value I place on the basic human right to enjoy delicious bacon. Isn't this whole argument based on some sort of false equivalence between the status of a meat animal and the status of a human being?
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:57 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:Everything needs to die, it's just a matter of when. A pig's seen all he's gonna see by the time he's slaughtered anyway, and the moral value I place on a pig's life is orders of magnitude less than the moral value I place on the basic human right to enjoy delicious bacon. Isn't this whole argument based on some sort of false equivalence between the status of a meat animal and the status of a human being?


Well, first off you should join the whole 'natural rights' debate and add 'the right to enjoy delicious bacon'. Perhaps you should start a charitable foundation the helps all the bacon deprived area of the world fulfill their rights, a good name could be "Pigs that fly".

Everyone has a different perspective on the world, and people become vegetarians for all sorts of reasons. meat.paste mentioned that he would never kill for entertainment, and I was working through it. For you it might be one of the other 7 arguments on this page (though I know you generally don't believe in non-activist action, which makes convincing you to do anything rather difficult).

I'm hardly say that I'm saying humans and pigs are equivalent. I'm saying the pigs right to not be born into torture and slaughtered >my right to pepperoni pizza.

And lets move away from 'delicious bacon' - fine, keep eating it. Cut back on something else. Get a different kind of pizza, get a vegetarian pasta instead of a meat one. Do this for 2 days a week. Its really not that hard.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby BlackSails » Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:34 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:I'm hardly say that I'm saying humans and pigs are equivalent. I'm saying the pigs right to not be born into torture and slaughtered >my right to pepperoni pizza.


Why do pigs have rights and E. coli do not?

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:02 pm UTC

Well, things only have rights that we give them. Some (like myself and meat.paste) give the animals certain rights. Clearly you don't blacksails.

I'll admit - there is no purely objective reason to become a vegetarian. It depends on what your values, beliefs, and morals are. People become vegetarians for many different reasons.

Its the same way you can't objectively argue that killing someone is wrong. We had someone in the libertarian thread (H2SO4) who thought anything that people deserve what they get, even murder. You can't "prove" that wrong, you have to appeal to values, beliefs, and morals. Its possible to have values beliefs and morals that are consistent with the belief that people who are murdered deserve it. That doesn't mean your not a despicable person, but it does mean you can't be disproven.

So, just because you don't believe that there is no difference between the rights of pigs and E. Coli only means that this argument doesn't work for you, personally, and it doesn't mean that the argument isn't salient for others.

What I'm not going to do is start trying to draw a line in the sand, then have you skewer me on why that line is exactly where it is, then proclaim I'm logically inconsistent because I don't perfectly respect that line.

What I'm hoping for in this thread is that people become consistent with their values, beliefs, and morals, and in some cases to build an internal consistency among those. I think meat eating is an area that people who want to be consistent with their values, beliefs and morals, but don't fully examine.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby BlackSails » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:10 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:Well, things only have rights that we give them. Some (like myself and meat.paste) give the animals certain rights. Clearly you don't blacksails.


Im just trying to see where you draw the line between being endowed with rights and not being endowed with rights.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:20 pm UTC

Oh ffs, read more than the first line of my post.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Philwelch » Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:07 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:Everyone has a different perspective on the world, and people become vegetarians for all sorts of reasons. meat.paste mentioned that he would never kill for entertainment, and I was working through it. For you it might be one of the other 7 arguments on this page (though I know you generally don't believe in non-activist action, which makes convincing you to do anything rather difficult).

And lets move away from 'delicious bacon' - fine, keep eating it. Cut back on something else. Get a different kind of pizza, get a vegetarian pasta instead of a meat one. Do this for 2 days a week. Its really not that hard.


True, but I have no reason to change my eating habits at all. My values, beliefs, and morals are completely compatible with it. I'll even make the more advanced assertion that animals don't have moral status at all, and the only reason people afford them any is because people feel compassion for animals they can see and identify with. That's why most people are comfortable with meat (since cows, pigs, and chickens are remote to most people) but uncomfortable with dogfighting.

The fact is, sometimes your moral beliefs are what have to change in order to fit with your behavior. Playing "let's coach people into vegetarianism" instead of discussing and debating those moral beliefs seems like a subtle change to what this thread is for.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:38 pm UTC

I agree, you have no reason to change your eating habits based on your moral beliefs. I strongly disagree in those moral beliefs, specifically that individual action is a useless as part of the response to global problems, but frankly changing peoples moral beliefs is above my paygrade.

I'm trying to move people towards eating less meat because its consistent with their beliefs, values, and morals. As well, often times they are eating meat out of misinformation. For you with your beliefs, eating as much meat as you want (orreally, doing anything within the bounds of the law) is just fine.

So, in the context of the thread, "Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?", the answer, which you and I both agree with, is that it depends on your morals. I'm trying to people whether it is or isn't consistent with your morals.

As an example, many people find cockfighting immoral, but are fine with eating chicken. I would argue that their actions are not consistent with their morals.

Basically, if you don't believe in individual action in the face of global issues in global warming, water distribution, food distribution, over use of antibiotics, and rainforest destruction. Further, you shouldn't believe in basically any animal rights whatsoever, so bullfighting is okay, cockfighting is okay. My opinion is you also need to think dog fighting is okay, but that would be harder to back up.

From what I've seen of your posts, this describes you, so you eating meat is a perfectly consistent thing to do. If it doesn't describe you, you should try to reduce meat consumption, maybe taking 2 days off a week from meat to start.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Philwelch » Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:52 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:As an example, many people find cockfighting immoral, but are fine with eating chicken. I would argue that their actions are not consistent with their morals.


Ah, yes, but maybe it's the morals that needs to change rather than the actions!
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:59 pm UTC

People are free too, though I would hope some would recongize that there is little point to morals if they only exist to justify the actions you would take anyways.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Not A Llama » Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:14 pm UTC

I am a reformed vegetarian. I support that eating mass-scale meat is not the appropriate course of action and is really not good for anyone: people, animals or the environment.

However, done correctly the animals can be a key part of a sustainable food system. Poultry occupy small spaces that would not be appropriate for gardens or larger animals. They turn food scraps into usable fertilizer far quicker than a compost pile and are good pest control in the mixed-farm environment (and love tomato horn worms!) They provide both meat and tasty eggs which is good because it is otherwise difficult to include protein as part of a local food system in summer without eggs. In areas with a lower standard of living, chickens are an affordable way to make a farm work nutritionally.

Cows are useful as range animals to keep down underbrush in unsuitable areas for field crops. In our case, we ranged our cattle over acres of steep hills, pine forest and unpassable underbrush. Then in fall, we brought them down to the fields where they quickly ate down all the corn stalks and vegetable waste left over after the fall harvests. Then we ate them. No need for grain after the cows gorged themselves on corn for 3 weeks.

Having never raised pork, i can't comment on how they fill a gap in the food system, though they are very good at eating all the vegetable scraps.

My biggest issue with vegetarianism is actually the reliance on soy. The US's soy/corn cycle in the midwest breaks down the top soil, is not financially feasible without grants and relies on roundup-ready seed. It's no more sustainable than the factory meat farms, huge dairies or nuking easymac for every meal.

So, given the choice between large-scale meat heavy diet and vegetarianism, I'll say pass the granola and leave the bacon, thanks. However, if you throw small-scale local production into the mix, I'll stick with the omnivorous diet. thanks.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby BlackSails » Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:35 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:Oh ffs, read more than the first line of my post.


I did, and I find the fact that you are unwilling to even get into a discussion of where the dividing line between ok to eat/not ok to eat is to be very strange.

Do you acknowledge that such a line must exist?

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:04 pm UTC

If you had read more of my post, I would think you would have at least quoted the correct section.

I'm sorry blacksails, my code ain't open source, so I have no idea what the specific if statement looks like.

The silliness in talking about these dividing lines is how subjective they are. It depends on your personal morals, beliefs, and values. It also depends on the specific context you are in. If I lived at Not A Llamas farm for instance, I'd probably eat meat.

So, the term line isn't even appropriate, spectrum is more like it. Some things clearly to one side, some things clearly to the other, something things a bit blurry.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Crius » Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:36 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:Some examples of common arguments for being vegetarian
1. Animal Cruelty: the animal you eat live an incredibly tortured life, die in a painful way, and are intelligent enough to feel it.
2. Global warming: Meat production accounts for 18% of GHG, more than all transport combined. Further, its far easier to cut meat out of your consumption than any form of transport, so its the best way to reduce your foot print
3. Macro environmental Consequences: The land use statistics are astounding, with 1/3 of arable land going to meat production world wide and 8% of our fresh water supply. We are already at the point where we need to consume food more efficiently
4. Micro environmental Consequences: Cattle and pig farms create terrible local polution in the form of runoff water.
5. Rainforest destruction:


None of these arguements are against eating meat necessarily, but against our current mainstream methods of production.

(2) is the only strong argument in this list, in my opinion - if you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint, not eating meat is a good way to do so (among other things). If we ever manage switch our energy-production to non-carbon sources, this argument would get a lot weaker, but that won't happen for awhile.

(1), (4), and (5) can be avoided by selectively choosing the source of your meat.

(3) is a question of resource allocation. If I value eating meat enough to sacrifice some other form of consumption (in the economic sense, not just referring to food), then what's the problem? Granted, food prices aren't the most accurate indicator, but that's another issue altogether.

The only arguments I can think of against eating meat are going to be related to health or morals.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby BlackSails » Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:37 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:So, the term line isn't even appropriate, spectrum is more like it. Some things clearly to one side, some things clearly to the other, something things a bit blurry.


Fine, forget a line.

There exists a set of things that it is ok to eat and a set of things not ok to eat and a set of things that arent in either set. Is this fair to say?

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:14 pm UTC

Crius - I agree with you, its just that if we were to selective choose our meat in a fashion that sidesteps these arguments (such as how not a llama does), then there simply wouldn't be enough meat for people to keep near the current consumption. The factory farming system, while terrible in most ways, does produce far more meat than could be done in ecologically healthy ways. The truth is that the vast majority of meat eaters don't go out of their way to find meat produced in a way that respects the land and the animal.

So, even though a solution exists, almost everyone doesn't take it, and it would cease to exist if enough people did. We just don't have the land.

Blacksails - as long as those sets are dependent on the context and the individual, I agree with you.
Jahoclave wrote:Besides if you observe romance, you change the outcome. Especially if you put his/her friend Catherine in a box.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Philwelch » Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:43 am UTC

nowfocus wrote:People are free too, though I would hope some would recongize that there is little point to morals if they only exist to justify the actions you would take anyways.


Not at all. Principles can be successfully debunked on the grounds that they lead to absurd consequences, and moral principles aren't immune from that.

Incidentally, not eating meat because it is wasteful of plant food misses a few important points:

* Meat animals consume plant food humans can't.
* Meat animals also produce fertilizer, which can be used to grow more plants.

If you're going to make this argument, make it with a very large set of numbers that shows the tradeoff, and discuss the relevant differences, if any, between using organic fertilizer and artificial fertilizer.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:20 am UTC

http://www.goveg.com/environment-wasted ... s-food.asp

Pretty simple: 70% of all grains are now fed to cows in the US, and it takes up to 16 pounds of grain for one pound of beef. I'm pretty sure humans can consume grain.

I'm not counting the benefits of feedlot fertilizer (which is generally worse than chemical fertilizer) unless you count the negatives of that same shit (http://www.manuremanager.com/content/view/1796/38/).
the run-off from factory farms pollutes our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined

Source: http://www.goveg.com/environment-pollution.asp.

If you need more info that website is a great resource.

I know your game here - your going to continue to list small influences on the overall outcome, and when I can't account for them because the data doesn't exist, your going to say the argument is moot. This seems to be a theme on the fora.

So, if you have objections, why don't you prove that they are in fact significant contributors, that change the direction of all the data I've already provided? Pointing out flaws in procedure without providing better techniques or data isn't cleverness - this is the best data we have.
Jahoclave wrote:Besides if you observe romance, you change the outcome. Especially if you put his/her friend Catherine in a box.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Philwelch » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:26 am UTC

I see maybe one number in your post, very little analysis, and all in all none of what I asked for. Also, "here are some links, do the research yourself to prove my point" isn't an argument either.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Mokele » Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:10 pm UTC

Pretty simple: 70% of all grains are now fed to cows in the US, and it takes up to 16 pounds of grain for one pound of beef. I'm pretty sure humans can consume grain.


But how efficiently? What is our % assimilation compared to a cow's? Probably a lot lower, given that they're basically giant bacterial fermentation chambers on legs. Humans are basically awful at digesting any but the easiest, highest-quality plant matter when compared to foregut and hindgut fermenters like cows and horses, respectively.

Now, does that extra energy they get from the grain balance out? No, almost assuredly not, especially since cows waste most of their energy on body heat, just like we do. But the point is that you cannot simply make a 1:1 comparison, because cows can get more calories out of plant matter than we can, and can effectively digest plant matter that we can't (grass).
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Woegjiub » Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:42 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:http://www.goveg.com/environment-wastedResources-food.asp

Pretty simple: 70% of all grains are now fed to cows in the US, and it takes up to 16 pounds of grain for one pound of beef. I'm pretty sure humans can consume grain.


Grain is almost pure carbohydrates, rotting cow muscle is pure protein.
Big difference.

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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:20 pm UTC

Tough to find said numbers Mokele, but the macro level 16 pounds of grain to one pound of beef sidesteps that. You don't need to see the internal workings of the cow. You stick 16 pounds of grain in, you get one pound of meat out. Inefficient.

Philwelch, I already know you can't be convinced. I'm not going to run around the internet googling things for you. If your in fact interested about the subject, why don't you read some of those articles, and come back with some numbers to counter my own. This last one is quite good. I've pointed out the highlights that prove my point.

Woegjub - your misinformed. Food Grain does in fact provide protein. Read the last article posted, it goes in detail to the protein comparison. It takes 6 kg of food grain protein to produce 1 kg of meat protein.

Link about the fertilizer question: http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/waste/. Shows manure based fertilizer is worse, is produced in a far high quantity than could ever be used, and is terribly poisonous when its realeased in the environment.
http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/feed/: Goes into some of the feed issues
http://www.goveg.com/environment-wasted ... s-food.asp: Goes into some efficiency issues.
http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/78/3/660S#T1: A general macro look at meat based versus lacto vegetarian diets. Shows meat based diets are vastly less efficient in terms of water use, fossil fuel use, and general efficiency. Also shows that the grain being used for cows is not foraged, but quotes a 13:1 ratio instead of 16:1. It further quotes that 6 kg of grain based plant protein is required to produce 1 kg of meat protein.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Mokele » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:31 pm UTC

Tough to find said numbers Mokele, but the macro level 16 pounds of grain to one pound of beef sidesteps that. You don't need to see the internal workings of the cow. You stick 16 pounds of grain in, you get one pound of meat out. Inefficient.


But how much of that 16 pounds can be metabolized by humans? A cow can get pretty much every calorie out of it, but we'd be lucky to get a quarter of that even with high-quality grain. For grass, it'd pretty much pass through a human undigested.

There's a difference between getting 1 pound of meat from 16 lbs of human-digestible grain vs. 16lbs of undigestible grain. The former is indeed inefficient, but the latter is converting useless stuff into useful stuff.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:39 pm UTC

Well, then the only thing that matters it the metabolizing ratio of grain to meat in humans, not cows.

Read the 4th article I posted, it goes into this. Generally speaking though, a vegetarian diet consumes the almost quantity of food in kilograms while controlling for calorie content. If humans processed meat more efficiently, then they could eat less of it and get more calories.
Last edited by nowfocus on Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:43 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby Philwelch » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:43 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:Philwelch, I already know you can't be convinced. I'm not going to run around the internet googling things for you.


I'm not asking you to convince me, I'm asking you to indulge my intellectual curiosity. I'm also subtly pointing out that you're making a ton of bad arguments and hasty generalizations based on a thin facade of factoids (for instance: cows are inefficient grain synthesizers, therefore all meat is wasteful, even chicken and fish and venison.)
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Re: Meat. Eating it. Is it alright to?

Postby nowfocus » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:53 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:
nowfocus wrote:Philwelch, I already know you can't be convinced. I'm not going to run around the internet googling things for you.


I'm not asking you to convince me, I'm asking you to indulge my intellectual curiosity. I'm also subtly pointing out that you're making a ton of bad arguments and hasty generalizations based on a thin facade of factoids (for instance: cows are inefficient grain synthesizers, therefore all meat is wasteful, even chicken and fish.)


Philwelch, what I actually did is present some facts, and then some articles that go into them in far more depth. If one doesn't read the articles, then sure it appears like a bunch of factoids.

I'm not making broad generalization, just not connecting each and every dot since these articles do a much better job. If you weren't so lazy actually read a couple, you'd see that a kg of commercially bought fish need to consume 5 kg of wild fish.

Broiler Chicken does a better job as a whole. There is no denying that. My point is that you need to take a step off of the forums to satisfy your intellectual curiosity.
Jahoclave wrote:Besides if you observe romance, you change the outcome. Especially if you put his/her friend Catherine in a box.

Menacing Spike wrote:Was it the copper hammer or the children part that caused censoring?


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