Actually I am a vegetarian. But I just don’t advocate it for everyone.
I have problems with the way that the meat industry is run. Although “exploit” is not my word of choice. What bothers me is that our society has lost contact with nature and we only consider them meat. Cows are manufactured like car parts. Basically, I think we should have respect for life and truly understand that we are taking a life. People can’t accomplish this when they grab a burger at McD’s.
Hunting can be just as bad if you have the wrong attitude about it. Consider the way that the buffalo were almost hunted to extinction.
I think there is a case to be made for raising animals for food, but not in the manner that it is currently done en masse.
I didn’t really intend this to be an “anti-vegetarian” thread. I am actually curious as to how vegans stand on this matter. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be many of them here to respond.
Well, I spent a good part of my youth on a cattle farm, so I feel qualified to respond to that. Cows generally lead a peaceful life of wandering around pastures, eating grass, and chewing cud. The only time ours were penned was to cull some of the herd to be sent to market, or to bring them in for treatment of disease.
How does this equal “manufacturing cows like car parts”? These cows led perfectly happy lives, as far as I could tell. There is a basis in fact for the “contented cow” cliche. Nothing seems quite so peaceful and relaxed as a cow lying down in a pasture, chewing its cud.
All of the farms around ours raised cattle the same way.
Hogs in my part of the country also generally led pretty good lives, up until the time they were sent to market.
Now ther ARE some bad practices out there. I won’t eat veal myself. I will also agree that chickens are treated pretty poorly, in general, crowded into huge chicken houses for the duration of their lives with very little room to move around. I do seek out free-range chicken where possible, and would encourage others to do so.
I am not opposed to vegetarianism. I understand the reasoning of folks who are attracted to the idea. Heck, I am touched by folks who care so much about animals.
However, I do have a problem with misinformation and propaganda, and I believe vegetarians use both far too often. I think they could make their case more credible with folks who know the truth by presenting a balanced picture. I guess they win more converts with overheated rhetoric, though.
Tracer, that thoery thet Buffaloes were eliminated in order to starve the Indians is an interesting theory…but since there are no gov’t docs or anything like that, it remains just a theory.
It IS true that some of the huge farm/factories are dismal souless places. But since many Vegans keep a cat or a dog as a loving “family member”, and since I am sure that if the cat does its part by keeping the mice down, and the dog by warning off intruders, the vegans wouldn’t mind-- why would it be “exploitative” or “slavery” to have a nanny goat or milk cow as a “family member” that does its part by giving milk?
Well, I’ve seen “contented cows” quietly munching grass in a pasture, and I’ve also seen cows crowded together in tiny lots surrounded by their own feces and urine eating out of troughs. Regardless of how easy their lives are,the slaughterhouse has no respect for life. Living creatures go in,food products come out.
People buy hamburger and steak without thinking about what they are doing. If folks had slaughtered and cut up at least one animal in their lives then maybe they could grasp it. Many folks don’t anymore. In fact, the project would make most city folk vomit.
I don’t care why the buffalo were hunted to near extinction. The point is that it had no respect for the life of these creatures.
For many years eating animals was an important survival technique for humanity. We don’t need to eat them anymore. Now we kill animals just because they taste good. Which is pretty silly. I’m not going to get on a moral high horse. You don’t need to eat meat, and there are plenty of other good reasons not to eat it.
In closing, I’m not going to respond to any more to these arguments. This thread needs vegans to explain a much overlooked aspect of their viewpoint.
No farmer in his right mind would keep cows confined in such a manner for any length of time. To do so would only invite disease. There is no profit for a farmer who lets his cattle perish or become diseased.
The only time I’ve seen cows penned in this manner is in the relatively short time leading up to sale and/or slaughter. The cows spend the great bulk of their lives roaming in open pastures, and then, yes, they have to endure some rough conditions toward the end.
Question: Do cows have it better than their wild ancestors? The argument could be made that they do. They certainly die more painlessly. Which is better: to be torn apart by predators, as wild cattle would have ended their lives, or a quick shot to the head, which is how beef cattle meet their end?
Cattle spend the great bulk of their lives wandering mindlessly through pastures (and believe me, cows are just about as mindless as any critter on the planet). Taken in total, their lives are not so bad.
As far as the actual butchering goes, I’ve done it. I still eat meat. 'Nuff said.
And as to whether a cattle farm or a vegetable farm is easier on the environment, well, that’s a thornier question than most hard-core vegetarians would have you believe. Cattle eat grass. Yes, they get some grain based feed, but the great bulk of their food is simply the grass they forage in pastures. They give back to the soil from which they take their food in the form of the ubiquitous cow patties.
On the other hand, when you harvest vegetables, how is the soil replenished? Chemical fertilizers. Which wash into the water supply and wreak havoc on river and estuarine environments. That’s to say nothing of all the chemical pesticides and weed killers involved. We raised soybeans for a while when I was a kid, too. One of the first steps was to infuse the soil with weedkillers which were so toxic that you weren’t even supposed to walk into the fields for x number of days after the application. After that, enough had washed into neighboring streams to allow us to return. Yeah, that’s a real environmental blessing. :rolleyes:
Here’s a tidbit of information that could make this more interesting:
Turkeys have been bred for so long for more breast meat that most domestic turkeys are now unable to reporduce naturally. Their huge chests get in the way. They can only be bred through artificial insemination. Thus, if turkeys were “freed” from humans, they would go extinct within one generation. Of course, there are still some wild turkeys out there that don’t have this problem, but still. How would vegans propose saving the turkey? I have a hard time seeing anyone altruistically performing turkey insemination.
Hang on… meat comes in little cling-wrapped parcels… what’s this cow bit?
Seriously though, as a meat-eater and a city boy I have absolutely no desire to see the steps that occur before they injected the meat with some additional red-dye (to make it look nice and fresh) and then present it with a little sprig of parsley under fluorescent lights.
I also agree that you’re not likely to get a max exodus of the entire population becoming vegetarian overnight, it’d might be nice if it happened but it won’t.
Now before you hippy animal lovers call me a murderer because I eat the stuff, the question I have is this, do you support the use genetic manipulation in food production? (most vegetarian I know are strongly opposed to it).
You see I’d buy VAT-grown, vitamin-enriched, grade A beef™ instead of steroid-enhanced country grown cow, if it was available. But I keep getting told by a number of people that genetic manipulation, on any scale, is unethical, so creating a meaty tissue that could be grown in a vat much like a vegetable would be wrong… it appears killing animals is more ethical… Sorry
and to follow the orignal thread - cows wouldn’t become extinct - they’re still useful for milk and besides India is kinda fond of them - we just currently have a far greater number of domestic animals in the world than would naturally exist in a vegetarian society, as with all change a new balance would eventually be reached.
The more likely scenerio is that the percentage of vegetarians will continue to steadily increase, resulting in the demand for meat slowly waning, and with lowering demand the size of herds (or number of herders) would decrease.
This is already happening, just look at the number of resturants that now offer vegetarian dishes compared to say 10 years ago… I’ve even seen McDonalds (in Australia) test the waters with a vegetarian promotional burger (I think the following month their promotional burger was the footy triple-beef, so don’t get too excited).
This originally threw me. You accuse carnivores of murder? And you even consider expecting them to cease their flesh-eating as, apparently, a criminal tendency?
–Oh! By “carnivore”, you mean human meat-eater. I see. yunh-hunh.
You use a term which properly applies to meat-eating animals as an insult! Just an example of the indifference of “vegans” to biological science–an indifference that extends to biological reality. Do you (and I don’t really mean Otto here, but vegans as a group) think that it’s proper & natural for no animal on earth to eat flesh? Do you have any idea about the need for biomass to be recycled? Is it wrong for a cat to eat meat? If not, why is it wrong for a man? Do you have a sound biological reason? Or do you think that sentient beings are morally obligated to be vegan? What real-world reason do you have for such an assertion? What if there were intelligent, civilised cats–what should they eat? Do you not believe that flesh is the ideal diet for the Felidae? Should sharks give up eating fish?
Food animals occupy a niche in this ecosystem. They deserve respect, yes. But they do not deserve to be abandoned because your culture finds the eating of an animate being offensive.
Or do you just not care? No, apparently not.
I have some sympathy for Animal Liberation Front types; I think that certain livestock-raising practices in this country are reprehensible. But to refuse any contact with animal products, as vegans ostensibly do, is not consistent with love for animals, but disdain. Or hatred; or pathological fear.
An acquaintance who worked at a vegan restaurant pointed out that any food the production of which “exploited animals” was taboo. This would mean, if taken to the extreme, not only no meat, but no fruit, for are not fruit pollinators animals? Well, there are wind-pollinated foods, right? Yep; cereal grains, and–well, that’s about it. I guess mushrooms might be okay. The vegan program means extinction for many animals. That is not friendship, nor respect, but cold, hellish enmity.
Actually, a truly good vegan could not eat anything. Are not farm workers exploited laborers? If we hate exploitation of oxen, do we not hate exploitation of men? Are they not Animalia? And are not mites, which are truly ubiquitous, which cover our very bodies, animals? Are there no aphid or mite remnants on plant crops–and if it is offensive to eat them, is it not also offensive to use detergent to remove them, washing them away to die as “useless animals”?
The definition of “exploitation” used by vegans is ludicrous. The vegan ideal, in purity, is impossible. VEGANS ARE FOOLS, OR IGNORANT, OR BOTH.
You know, I’m not quite sure why some people keep insisting than vegans are foolish, ignorant, or hypocrites. I am daresay vegans know they cannot avoid causing the horrific deaths of millions of microbes, and also that farming methods can also harm the environment. But I do not think you can really equate the life of a cow with that of a microbe; nor has it been shown that a vegetarian diet (which is generally more efficient than meat) causes more environmetal harm. Now, if you could show that vegans cause more pain and suffering to animals overall than omnivores do, you would have a point. Vegans are simply trying to minimize the harm done to animals, NOT avoid any animal death at all (since killing microbes is pretty much unavoidable), and I think it is reasonable to assume that a vegetarian will cause less death of “higher” animals than a omnivore.
And I say all this as a devout and unashamed omnivore.
Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorn is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that She is pink; logically, we know She is invisible because we can’t see Her.
Um, are you asking for it to be closed now, or are you going to ask that it be closed if it becomes an anti-vegan thread? I’m a little unclear on what you want (obviously). Email me or post if you want this thread closed.
I’m going to come off like an asshole, meaney “Carnivore”, even caveman-like…
Give me a ball-pien hammer so I can smack Bessie between the eyes and crush her skull. When that’s done, we can all get together(vegans are invited to do Kebabs )and throw a HUGE “I miss Bessie” party with my grill and some barbeque sauce!
In the meantime…pass the Veal.
P.S.-- This post will probably outrage a few of you. If you’ve read this far, I simply want to mention that I think Veganism, if done right is 10 times healthier than my Carnivore diet, and I don’t hold it against any of you–I’s just funnin with you all.
Well, I had no intention of coming across as anti-vegan or anti-vegetarian. As I said in my earlier post, I understand and respect their motivations.
I do have a problem with political propaganda and misinformation. (Whether it comes from the left, the right, vegans, anti-vegans, Know-nothings or Whigs.) I do have a problem with misinformation being disseminated by vegans to promote their cause. Just tell the straight unvarnished truth, and you will have more credibility.
Well, I tried to show that very thing with my earlier post. Has it been proven scientifically? I guess not. I’m not sure how you quantify the harm caused by fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides as compared with the harm caused by cows farting. Furthermore, all of the comparisons I’ve seen come from vegan publications, whose bias makes them a less-than-ideal source for information.
There are some cruel farming practices out there. I pointed some out. (Heck, just go look at a chicken house, or an egg production facility.)
Just don’t use propaganda and misinformation to try and convince me of the justness of your cause. And for the love of Pete, don’t try to tell me how cattle are raised when I know better.