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Hokay, so Tez is currently, as he has been his entire life, a confirmed carnivore. Accepting that the human species is superior, which is of course different from the question of how it chooses to employ that superiority, Tez has no real ethical issues with the consumption of meat per se. Naturally, I prefer that animals raised for consumption are slaughtered as humanely as possible, and I have always altered my consumer behaviour based on this (never touching mass-produced meat knowing as I do the conditions in which the animals are forced to 'live', prefering proper cuts from local butchers, and so on), and, obviously, I'm not so imbecilic as to think it is impossible to be an ethical carnivore.

 

However, I have begun to give increasing consideration over the last few weeks to the ethics of the wider picture. Whilst I have no issue with animals being raised for human consumption at a local level, I am increasingly aware of the wider ecological and environmental damage even ethical meat consumption causes when enacted on a mass basis.

For example, if I eat a steak, even if that cow was well reared, healthy, and killed utterly humanely, I'm finding I still have an issue with the wider impact of that process; the amount of destruction wrought in creating a local environment for the herd, the pollution caused by the farming process in order to sustain that herd, the chemicals employed in the process of preparing feed for the herd, and so on. And then there's the question of global sustainability (dwindling fish stocks being a prime example).

 

The result of all this is I'm not absolutely convinced I can now continue to consume even humanely treated and slaughtered animals and still consider myself an ethical human being.

 

The purpose of this thread is twofold; firstly I'd be interested in the views of others, both vegetarians and meat-eaters, and, secondly, I'm curious to get more of a picture from the vegetarians (assuming there are some) as to the feasibility of going - if you'll excuse the pun - cold turkey.

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My daughter went cold turkey (made easier by my not cooking meat whilst she was in the house) and became a very commited vegetarian for nearly three years. Like you, she questioned the ethical and environmental impact on rearing meat for consumption...however after three years a bacon sandwich defeated her and although we still use our spending power to vote for "ethically" reared meat she feels guilty about going back to eating meat.

 

Personally, Ive always been aware of where meat comes from, my formative years were spent on the continent where they are a little more honest in calling, pork for instance, schwienfliesch (pig meat)! Although the environmental issue does weigh heavily on my conscience, I try my best to compensate it as much as i can by bying only locally bred, freedom farmed meat but due to the current economic climate I am finding this increasingly more difficult.


Advice given is my opinion only, I am not a legal or financial expert (far from it).

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Oh the bacon sandwich - the downfall of a lot of veggies:D That was the hardest one for me to give up - until I saw slaughter house footage. I only have to close my eyes and I can still see and hear those pigs screaming in terror and struggling to get away. Bacon lost all appeal since then.

 

Have been vegetarian now for about 20 years - still alive and any health problems stem from stress, not a lack of dead bodies in my diet;)

 

Lots of alternatives to meat on the market now, so it's pretty easy.

 

One word of caution - if you eat Tofu, marinade it first (I use soy sauce and sherry). Straightforward Tofu, untreated, is absolutely vile!

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Although the environmental issue does weigh heavily on my conscience, I try my best to compensate it as much as i can by bying only locally bred, freedom farmed meat but due to the current economic climate I am finding this increasingly more difficult.

 

Which is precisely the issue I'm having. I have absolutely no problem with the ethical question of slaughtering animals to feed ourselves; it's the greater impact on the world I have a problem with, hence my considering changing it as much as I'm able.

 

Of course, it is made easier by the fact that not only are almost all my social circle vegetarian, but I also live in Brighton; arguably one of the easiest places in the UK to follow whatever path in life appeals to you. Brighton has a staggeringly large number of vegetarian markets, restaurants, and so on, and there's certainly no shortage of information.

 

With regards to dietry requirements, do any vegetarian CAGers take any form of supplement, such as Iron, or have you found yourselves quite able to get by without?

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I take a multi vitamin and mineral to be on the safe side:)

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Carnivorous Neanderthal here! :-D

 

Sorry, Tez, but whilst I am happy to make reasonable adjustments to my lifestyle, recycle as much as I can, reuse plastic bags etc... I draw the line at changing my natural feeding habits simply to be more ethical.

 

I am not convinced that it is any more ethical to raze thousands of square kms of forests to grow more wheat than to use it to raise cattle. I am not convinced that paying 3rd world farmers pennies to grow a crop which suits us Westerners at the deficit of their own self-sufficient crops (millet springs to mind) is any more ethical than buying meat reared for that purpose.

 

And where do you stop? Only drink water because other drinks are the result of exploitation of underpaid workers? Stop eating tropical fruit because of the American domination in the banana republics? Boycott all japanese goods because they hunt whales?

 

When all is said and done, I don't believe in covering my head in ashes and dressing in a loincloth to make amends for that society of consumerism we live in. It's nice to have the luxury to beat one's breast about such moral dilemna, but in a lot of countries, they'd be happy to have the choice to eat instead of starving. ;-)

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Interesting post, Bookie, thank you.

 

To clarify, I think there are two considerations here, for me at least:

 

 

Firstly, the ethical question. As Bookie quite rightly points out, where do you draw the line when making ethical choices? The obvious answer is that you can't; at least you can't and be a part of the human race, which is an innately ignorant and destructive species.

 

However, vegetarianism, like any life choice, is first and foremost a personal consideration, and whilst such choices - even if made with the best of intentions - are innately selfish in nature, I equally think you can minimise your participation in the destructive behaviour of society at large.

 

Why? Well, whilst I have no requirement to - nor interest in - atoning for society's sins, I do think that it is possible to make a realistic effort to live as sustainably as possible, and that vegetarianism - considered the hallmark of eccentrics and hippies as recently as a few decades ago - is now so widespread as to have resulted in a change of public opinion and perception, and, by extension, public behaviour. That this trend is likely to continue, and increase, is arguably only a good thing.

 

Is it more or less moral to grow cash crops on a wide scale than to rear herds of cattle on a wide scale? Irrelevant. The question is rather is it more or less destructive, and on that point I - personally - believe the lifecylce of production and supply of non-meat products is more sustainable by the global ecosystem than the lifecylce and supply of meat products.

 

 

Secondly, there is the medical consideration. Like any bio-chemical machine powered by electrical impulses, Tez has to eat, but my body is just as capable of processing a purely vegetable diet as it is of processing a meat diet; essentially, I do not require meat in order to survive, so removing it from my diet is unlikely to be detrimental to my physical wellbeing (indeed, it may actually improve it).

 

There was a time when choosing to cut meat from your diet meant suffering on salads, nut roast and filling the gaps with vitamin supplements.

In 2009, and especially in the town where I live, that existence is now far from a reality. Almost every vitamin and mineral my body requires to sustain itself, and certainly all those which are vital to my existence, can be acquired without meat and without supplements (assuming I still choose to eat dairy products, which of course I will be doing because cheese is the food of the Gods).

 

Since evolution had the good sense to make the human body adaptable to the point of not requiring meat to sustain itself, I see little point in continuing to do so, especially where my knowledge of the global impact of industries that support the meat trade conflicts with my knowledge of social and environmental injustices.

 

 

So, in conclusion, I'm increasingly certain it's a change I might make. I think I can live less destructively as a human animal by dropping something my body does not need to survive out of my diet.

Edited by Tezcatlipoca

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Ahem...of course, the absolute preference to removing the destructive global impact of the meat trade, and indeed the solution to most of the world's problems, would be a massive reduction in the amount of us crawling over the planet. But, sadly, since our species seems committed to spewing out screaming, bawling carbon-copies of ourselves, that solution seems increasingly unlikely!

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Ah. I thought this might come up, and wondered whether to let the sleeping cows lie... but since when have I been afraid of controversy? :-D

 

Tez, my lovely well-meaning friend, sorry to rain on your parade, but in terms of evolution, we haven't even started to evolve sufficiently to survive properly on a vegeterian diet.

 

My wee joke about Neanderthal was actually not one: Evolution wise, we are still first and foremost hunters-gatherers: meat and berries. High fat, high protein, low sugars. That's why so many people have intolerances to gluten, wheat, dairy etc... Yet, you'll seldom see people who are actually allergic to meat. That they can't eat it may be a psychological block, but physiologically, we are built to absorb it all and use it all highly efficiently.

 

Believing that removing meat (all types) may improve your health is a red herring (which you should eat as well :-D). Someone who balances their diet on meats (of the unprocessed kind, of course, I don't classify McDonald's as meat, lol), green veg and berries is likely to be a lot more healthier than anyone else.

 

Sadly, in the last 50 years, we have had the wool pulled over our eyes and force-fed that meat is bad, fat is bad, etc. It is no coincidence that the rise in obesity follows the curve where we have seen an increase in "convenience" foods (high in sugars and starches, low in fat and proteins) at the detriment of our natural food supplies.

 

If you want to give up meat, by all means do so! But please don't do it under the illusion that you are doing your body a favour.

 

May I recommend this eye-opener of a book by Barry Groves? Eat Fat, Get Thin

 

Online Nutritional Information and Nutritional Facts - Second Opinions, UK

 

It requires an open mind since we have been brainwashed for so many years now, but it is worth reading and, if you'll excuse the pun, digesting thoroughly. :-D

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but in terms of evolution, we haven't even started to evolve sufficiently to survive properly on a vegeterian diet.

 

On what are you basing this statement? It's obviously consistently proven - given the number of humans who live perfectly well without meat or any form of supplement to compensate for the lack of meat - that the body is capable of existing without meat, and I've yet to see any real scientific evidence which states that the consumption of meat is absolutely essential for the human body to sustain itself, because, um, it isn't.

 

 

Again, my issue has absolutely nothing to do with the comparative health considerations of meat eating or vegetarianism, jsut as it has absolutely nothing to do with the individual slaughter of animals for human consumption, rather, it's the wider ecological picture that I have a problem with (ho, ho) digesting.

 

 

 

That's why so many people have intolerances to gluten, wheat, dairy etc... Yet, you'll seldom see people who are actually allergic to meat.

 

I don't think this is entirely accurate, or, to take a leaf from Conan Doyle, I suspect - with the best of intentions - that you are manipulating facts to suit theories. Intolerances, and moreover the comparative increase in intolerances, are due overwhelmingly to genetic and immune deficiencies, themselves chiefly due to the rather paradoxical mixture of pollution and sterility of our environment, not our dietary choices (although they do of course play a part; ironically enough often for the worse when you consider the amount of chemicals used in the production and storage of foodstuffs, be it meat or vegetable matter, that then enters the food chain).

 

Believing that removing meat (all types) may improve your health is a red herring (which you should eat as well). Someone who balances their diet on meats (of the unprocessed kind, of course, I don't classify McDonald's as meat, lol), green veg and berries is likely to be a lot more healthier than anyone else.

 

My belief is not that cutting out meat will suddenly turn me into a superman, rather that doing so is unlikely to reduce me to a 10 stone weakling. There may well be health benefits, there may not, but if - and it is still an if - removing meat from my diet does not weaken my body, I cannot see that the retention of meat in my diet is necessary, beyond personal considerations, such as enjoying the taste.

 

Sadly, in the last 50 years, we have had the wool pulled over our eyes and force-fed that meat is bad, fat is bad, etc. It is no coincidence that the rise in obesity follows the curve where we have seen an increase in "convenience" foods (high in sugars and starches, low in fat and proteins) at the detriment of our natural food supplies

 

This thread seems to have provoked an interesting reaction in you, Bookie. What makes you think that the wool has been pulled over your eyes regarding meat, specifically? Other than the media storm regarding the BSE scare, I can recall no specific campaign to sully the good name of meat. What has happened, however, is that awareness for non-meat products and meat-free diets has risen - sharply in some cases - and this has perhaps given the impression that meat eating is, and, indeed, meat eaters are, under attack, neither of which I personally consider to be true.

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I am quite happy chewing on a medium rare steak as I am on a salad.

 

The main thing I have found recently, and out of necessity, is that fresh is best.

 

I can't remember the last time I had a ready meal or fast food, and I find I am spending a lot less for healthier and more interesting food.

 

a couple of salads a week, along with homemade omlette, fresh fish or chicken and then a couple of mediterranian dishes like lasagne, pizza (home made) spag bol and a chinese or indian chucked in costs me no more than a 15 quid a week for 2.

 

I've had plenty of medicals in the past couple of weeks and the doctors say there is nothing wrong, despite me exceeding the weekly alcohol limits by a huge degree (courtesy of well meaning people).

 

The truth is everything in moderation. And that's what I do (excpet alcohol). Meat carries proteins that can only be obtained through careful (and according to my doctor, stressful) balancing of non meat food.

 

The morality is clear. We should not really be eating animals. But since when has can and should been a problem to humans?


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Although I am by no means a vegetarian I very often choose veggie options on restaurant menues (and cook them at home), simply because a lot of them are really tasty. I could easily live without meat (but not for very long periods as I love a good steak), but I couldn't live without fish and chicken. Nor could I imagine not having a bacon sandwich!

 

Unfortunately not everyone can afford (fiscally) to choose organic or farm friendly products.

 

In my view it's the processed and "plastic" foods which are the biggest danger to our wellbeing.

 

Incidentally some of the worst things I have ever eaten have been made with tofu, soya and quorn! (specifically quorn sausages, ewwww).


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I shall ask for a wheat free, gluten free, organic kebab on Saturday night.

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In my view it's the processed and "plastic" foods which are the biggest danger to our wellbeing.

 

Interesting point. Of course, socially, not everyone can afford to eat ethically, or even well, which has an impact - usually a negative one - on their well being. The manta "you are what you eat", whilst fashionable, does seem to hold some water when it comes to considering how diet alters our bodies, both physically and psychologically.

 

I think what we're agreeing on here, or at least acknowledging, is a division in available foods, be they meat or vegetarian. On the one hand you have food that might be considered 'real' food; relatively fresh, normally locally grown, decent quality. On the other you have what, if I understand her correctly, Ell-enn is referring to as 'plastic' foods; mass produced, low in quality and dietary merit. Or, McDonalds as it's otherwise known ;)

Whilst we yearn for the former, it's a sad fact that many people are trapped in consuming the latter.

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Ive not done any research but surly acre for acre meat is less damaging to the environment than arable production.

 

Meat is a higher energy foodstuff therefore logically less land needs to be cultivated to produce the same calorific value diet... then again since when has logic had anything to do with the way we live :rolleyes:.

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On the other you have what, if I understand her correctly, Ell-enn is referring to as 'plastic' foods; mass produced, low in quality and dietary merit. Or, McDonalds as it's otherwise known ;)

Whilst we yearn for the former, it's a sad fact that many people are trapped in consuming the latter.

 

Yes, that's what I meant:)


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Ive not done any research but surly acre for acre meat is less damaging to the environment than arable production.

 

Meat is a higher energy foodstuff therefore logically less land needs to be cultivated to produce the same calorific value diet... then again since when has logic had anything to do with the way we live :rolleyes:.

 

This is an interesting point. I suspect, in pure terms of acreage, arable crop production uses far more land than the rearing of, say, cattle. However, I think that the industry behind the production and supply of arable crops is considerable less destructive and polluting than that behind the production and supply of cattle.

 

The other major factor here is the question of sustainability, of which dwindling (alarming fast in some cases) fish stocks are a prime example. You can argue the individual merits and moralities of overfishing, but it is a simple fact that we are pulling unsustainable levels of fish out of the sea.

 

Interestingly, I posed this same thread in a discussion format to a group of friends last night. Exactly what I predicted occurred and the highbrow and clever debate soon descended into two camps; vegetarians on the one side, meat-eaters on the other.

 

The point of doing this, other than it amuses me to manipulate my friends into arguing with each other on emotive issues, is that it pretty neatly told me what I knew already; that the decision to change dietary habits, and, indeed, the morality that drives/goes with that change, is an entirely personal choice.

 

In all, Uncle Tez is still undecided. If it was simply a case of the morality over the consumption of animals I wouldn't have a problem and would be happy to continue chewing on dead flesh, but the wider global picture is something I'm finding difficult to ignore.

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Guest wino

People on low incomes are more likely to become vegetarians as they find it hard to make.....................

 

 

ends meat. :p Sorry :oops:

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If we weren't intended to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?


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If we weren't intended to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

 

So are humans, Rooster:eek:;) Anyone for a DCA burger? Now that would be an unhealthy diet:D

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Anyone for a DCA burger? Now that would be an unhealthy diet:D

 

Now that's a form of cannibalism I'd consider wholly ethical, and, indeed, an execution (ho ho) of one's moral duty.

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Now that's a form of cannibalism I'd consider wholly ethical, and, indeed, an execution (ho ho) of one's moral duty.

 

and it would reduce the surplus population.....

 

People, I think we've found a solution to all our problems here:D

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I have strived all of my adult life to have as little footprint on the planet as possible. Although I am a meat eater I disagree with Bookworms assertion that we have not evolved far enough to eat only a vegetable diet. Human beings have all the characteristics of omnivores and only recently in our evolutionary journey have we started to eat meat. We are not likely to evolve any more towards a vegetarian diet in the near future (the evolutionary cycle in an animal with as slow a reproduction cycle as humans wouldn't evolve to that extent for thousands of years, and also it would only happen if we had a predominantly vegetarian diet for that period).

 

We do not need to clear any more space for farming purposes. The space we have is incredibly inefficiently used and with more efficient use of the space we would become more productive.

 

A major harm to the environment in addition to the greenhouse gas emissions of livestock (would a cork cure this problem???) is the very high environmental cost of transporting livestock (either alive or as carcasses). To this end I only eat meat that is sourced in Northumbria or County Durham (which is easy if you avoid supermarkets and buy from local markets (be sure to ask where the meat is from though)).

 

The two biggest steps I have taken to shop ethically has been to boycott Nestle products (12 years now) and stop shopping at supermarkets (with the occasional exception of the Coop I haven't shopped in one for a year).


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I disagree with Bookworms assertion that we have not evolved far enough to eat only a vegetable diet. Human beings have all the characteristics of omnivores and only recently in our evolutionary journey have we started to eat meat.

 

Indeed, and as my own rebuke of Bookie's rather shaky assertions that human beings are biologically unequipped to exist without meat have gone unchallenged, I suspect she was actually just playing Devil's Advocate for the sake of debate. Which, I might add, is never a bad thing. Anything that forces you to review your own opinions and understand why you hold those opinions is intellectually healthy.

 

A major harm to the environment in addition to the greenhouse gas emissions of livestock (would a cork cure this problem???) is the very high environmental cost of transporting livestock (either alive or as carcasses).

 

This is partly the concerns I have; the wider picture of the destructive industries that support the supply of meat, rather than the localised industry itself.

 

You raise some interesting points about greenhouse gases as well. Cattle contribute to nearly 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions, if the FAO is to be believed, and whilst I treat that statistic - like all statistics - with a certain amount of suspicion, the vast herds of cattle bred purely for the food market do undeniably have a major impact on the planetary ecosystem, just as the unsustainable levels of fishing do on the marine ecosystem.

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