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Why Animal Lovers Should Eat Meat

Alright, I’ll admit that the title of this article is a shameless attempt to capture your attention. There really isn’t a reason, as far as I can tell, why animal lovers should eat meat – that is, no reason why eating meat is ethically superior or preferable to abstaining and going vegetarian.

However, eating meat can be ethically acceptable even if not ethically superior. The decision to eat meat can be just as “right” as the decision not to. This is so even if we agree that animals are not just natural resources for us to use, but are peers of ours on this earth, whose lives, pains, pleasures and deaths matter to them just as ours matter to us. How can we recognize the moral significance of animals, yet justify eating them? I’d like to lay out what I’d consider the two best arguments for that conclusion: (1) eating meat is not really so bad and (2) eating meat may be bad, but abstaining from doing so is not much of an improvement. I am nowhere near the first to outline either of these arguments; rather, these are the two views that I feel have best stood the test of time and endless debate.

1. Why eating meat isn’t so bad

Eating meat requires killing animals, and that’s the rub for most vegetarians. Inhumane treatment of animals while they are alive is, of course, horrible, but it is not a reason to become a vegetarian. It is a reason to become much more conscious about where the meat that you eat comes from, a reason to spend time with your farmer and processor, or at the very least your restauranteur or grocer, a reason to do what it takes to ensure that their standards for animal welfare are ones that you can support with a clear conscience. If you cringe at the thought of cruelty, integrity requires you to take the time to do your due diligence lest you become a consumer of it. But integrity does not require you to stop eating meat. When you can verify that your producers are giving their animals a decent life and a quick death (keeping in mind that no life or death, however idyllic, can be kept completely free of discomfort) compassion and kindness can be consistent with the practice of eating meat.

If it’s the fact of killing rather than the way food animals are treated that bothers you, though, you might think that vegetarianism is the only honest response to it. But there is a bigger picture to consider. Animals, after all, aren’t just killed for food – they are bred, raised, and killed for food. Therefore, if you decide to stop eating meat because you don’t agree with killing animals for food, you are not just stopping animals from being killed. You are also stopping them from being bred and raised. To put it bluntly, you are creating a smaller market for their existence. For every cow, pig, or chicken that you don’t eat, a cow, pig or chicken existence will simply not occur. So, when the question of the ethics of killing animals for food comes up, I think we have to realize that it’s not the whole question. The whole question, the real question, is whether it is ethical to bring animals into being for the purposes of killing them for food. If what we care about is the animals, then the question becomes: for them, or from their perspective, is it better to be brought into existence, live a (short) life, then be killed for food, or is it better to not exist at all?

Well, animals probably can’t ponder the possibility of non-existence, so we have to ask and answer the question for them. There doesn’t seem to be anything more profound to say about it than simply to conclude that if a life is worth living, then it is better to live and die than never to have lived at all. Therefore, if a food animal’s life is worth living, it is morally acceptable for we humans to both bring that life into being, care for it, and then to humanely extinguish it, knowing all the while that the inevitability of the latter is the precondition of the possibility of the former.

This is why it’s so important to eat meat only from compassionately-raised animals. If an animal is raised with no regard for its well-being, its life is unlikely to be even minimally worth living, in which case the argument doesn’t work. It is morally unconscionable to bring an animal into being, only to torture and then kill it.

2. Why being a vegetarian isn’t better

If you still don’t like the idea of killing even humanely-raised animals for food, being a vegetarian won’t help you. Or, if it will, it will only help you marginally. We obviously have to eat something, and if it’s not meat, it’s dairy and eggs, and if it’s not that, it’s fruit and grains and vegetables. Unassuming as chowing down on your beans and rice might seem, countless animals are killed to produce the grains and vegetables that vegetarians -- and vegans -- rely on. Granted, we’re not actually eating them, but they are nonetheless destroyed by the pesticides and tractors that enable us to bring food from the ground to our mouths. Therefore, we are requiring that they be killed so that we may eat, just as we require that food animals be killed so that we may eat. We might make ourselves feel better by reassuring ourselves that we’re not directly consuming them, but of course it matters not a whit to the annihilated animals whether we consume their bodies or leave them lying in the soil. Either way, their lives are gone.

The prospect of killing insects with pesticide may not bother some vegetarians, and I’m not one to harp on any inconsistency there. Perfectly respectable scientists theorize, after all, that insects are not sentient beings and cannot feel pain, so there may be some objective basis for making an ethical distinction between the killing of an aphid and the killing of a cow. However, the prairie dogs, gophers, groundhogs, rabbits, moles, and field mice living in crop soil whose lives end unceremoniously in the jaws of a tractor are undoubtedly sentient mammals, and I see no reason to count them as less worthy of our moral concern than a cow. Unfortunately, even vegetarians and vegans cannot avoid having blood on their plates.

I have seen very few responses in the animal welfare literature to this point. To his credit, Peter Singer, the philosopher who is often credited as starting the whole movement with his groundbreaking 1975 work, Animal Liberation, does offer a rebuttal. In a more recent book, The Way We Eat, Singer acknowledges the above argument and answers that at least fewer animals are killed when we eat crops than when we eat meat – by his estimate, five times fewer in an example in which we choose a vegan meal over one composed of grass-fed beef.

I’m not going to quibble with the math. The number of lives saved will vary greatly depending on controversial assumptions about soil composition, tilling method, etc., but let’s assume Singer is correct, and at least a vegetarian or vegan diet reduces the overall number of animals killed. Logically, that may be a reason to eschew eating meat. But is that really the most vegetarians can say for themselves? The moral high ground consists of, well, occupying a bit less of the moral low ground? The ethical difference between vegetarian and omnivorous diets is a matter not of principle, but of arithmetic?

It’s one thing to believe, when you give up the hot dogs and burgers and veal scallopine that you love so much, and have to live through your uncle’s disapproval at Thanksgiving, and your friends’ teasing at happy hour, and your mom’s incessant worrying that you’re not getting enough protein, that at least you’re living an ethically pure life. At least you don’t have blood on your hands. When it turns out that you’re doing all that just so you can divide the amount of blood on your hands by five -- it just doesn’t have the same ring.

So, I’m inclined to believe that eating humanely-raised meat is not a choice we can easily vilify. None of us has the luxury of shunning the kill. Perhaps the best we can do is devote our energies to ensuring that the animals’ lives we take are good ones.


Angelique Chao is a freelance writer in Minneapolis who spends her time noodling about the ethical implications of what we choose to eat. She thought she’d left philosophizing behind for good when she finished her dissertation and joined the business world, but after several years of corporate life her natural disposition reasserted itself; she’s now a full-time writer and researcher. When she’s not out touring farms and processing facilities, you’ll likely find her at one laptop-friendly spot or another -- a library, a coffee shop, or home. She blogs at http://fromanimaltomeat.com. Her last post for Simple, Good and Tasty was Organic Farmers at MOSES Conference Plant Seeds for a Sustainable Future.

Comments

Food grows right out of the ground. Why go to the extra step of feeding food to other species, then eating them? Just look up how much of our tax dollars go towards subsidizing meat production. Meat is a very complicated and expensive way to make food that we artificially make look cheap through government subsidies.

Wow!! Very thought provoking, honest & insightful!!!

To address Anonymous's statement, Beef Cattle (grass-fed in particular) are designed to take the forages that grow in otherwise untillable acres (our rolling & steep hills)& convert it directly to lean protein.

Thank you for a great article!! One that might be hard to read (as an omnivore & cattleman, but very useful!!

wow, thank you for another excellent and thought-provoking read, angelique. i hadn't considered how many animals meet their demise with the harvesting of field crops.

This vegetarian agrees with you on all fronts. We need to understand the food we eat, and feel comfortable with the decisions we make.

An interesting but, I feel, flawed argument.

Let's say you have a 2-bedroom house and an annual household income of $50,000. If you claim to love kids, would you have 10 of them because you feel it's better for them to live in an environment that can't support them than that they never live at all? Most folks would call that cruelty.

The Earth, of course, is the 2-bedroom house in this analogy. At some point, the question of how humanely we want to treat food animals becomes moot; the planet simply does not have the space and resources to support our meat consumption levels. Ultimately, those who care about the humane treatment of food animals may need vegetarians to lower the demand for these animals, increasing the amount of resources available per animal.

We're already playing "God" with these animals, creating them just to eat them, and I, personally, feel inclined to say it *is* better that they never be born than be born into an environment that cannot support their needs while they live.

more bullshit here. Keep eating this crap if you like, I am done. This country is corrupt and killing its own people. I can't think of two more unappealing words than "dairy" and "beef".

Here's a good video on meat: http://meat.org

I'm compelled by Jonathan Safran Foer's argument in his excellent book Eating Animals that it's much harder to be a conscientious omnivore than to be a vegetarian and avoid meat altogether. I struggle with what to tell my long lost friends who want to cook me dinner: "I'm not a vegetarian, but I won't eat what YOU eat." Doesn't seem very nice. What do you think?

Your shameless attempt to capture attention with a flashy and controversial title worked. At least it worked for me and I'm glad that it did. Eating animal products--even sustainably produced ones--is an issue I have struggled with as I've become more conscious of and informed about my food choices. I agree with the former comment that it is hard to be a conscientious omnivore but I'm trying.

I've touched on this issue in my own blog in a piece titled "Flexitarian, Not Vegetarian." Following Michael Pollan I try to eat more vegetables and produce and fewer animal products, and be as conscious as I can about where all of my food comes from. You can read the post here:

http://greenereverydayconsulting.com/not-vegetarian-but-flexitarian.

Your discussion is self-contradictory.

Your humanely raised animals require food to live. That food must then come from a place that in producing it kills random wild animals. Hence, you've simply added more killing. You have not reduced the moral mistreatment of anything. You've added a being to be killed while also increasing the number of beings killed.

If you suggest that the vegetables fed the animal were cleaved with no killing on a level applicable to our population size, I now ask: why can't that be done in the first place.

Animals killed by our harvesting are not being forced to die, they are dying because they live in/move to our land. Their own actions bring about their own deaths. Killing a cow because you want to eat it is not the same.

Your question,

"...is it better to be brought into existence, live a (short) life, then be killed for food, or is it better to not exist at all?"

has no meaning. You are making an incoherent comparison. To be “brought” is to be moved from one state to another. To be “allowed” is an action on an existent being. I do not “allow” a non-existent bee to remain non-existent. I cannot, by definition, act on it. A mother does not “bring” a baby into existence. The baby is by definition, the baby once its existence occurs. Morality of acts/choices concerning it can therefore only be made with regards to the existent baby.

For these reasons, you cannot say it is “better” or “worse” as the two judgments are comparisons between states, and one of your states does not, according to you, exist (read the last three words of the question).

Toro, "our land?" Like it's ours and not equally theirs? You say this as if these animals are conscious of cause and effect, like it's their fault for getting in the way of the tractor.

Thanks for this piece! I've been a vegetarian/vegan for many years and I completely agree that it's possible to eat meat ethically. Everyone needs to make a conscious decision about the food they eat. Passive and processed eating is the real issue, not vegetarianism.

I'm sorry, but these "arguments" you put forth just sound ignorant...

It seems to me you're just trying to justify your desire to eat meat, and you'll tell yourself whatever you need to (regardless of if it makes sense) in order to do that. Animals are not ours to use, period.

And regarding your point 1, I wrote a blog post about that which you may find helpful: http://creaturetalk.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/you-want-farm-animals-to-go...

This is pathetic!!! I am a vegetarian because I hate how people kill animals!!! Not because I am becoming more conscious about my food!

There is a lot of food other than MEAT!!!

You know you dont know everything

You don't have to "grow food to feed the animals" when you're talking about pastured animals. They eat grass - a food that human beings can't even digest. In many parts of the world, it makes far more sense to eat animals who graze on grass than to till up the land to grow grains and beans. I would even argue that it would be unethical to do so.

Veganism seems to be a modern invention that results from people being MORE not LESS disconnected from the land and their food sources. Only modern industrial agriculture makes veganism possible.

Amazing how some people who claim to be "happy vegetarians" are so Mean, rude & aggressive.

I respect others choices not to eat meats, & they should respect that some people DO eat meats & want to know how to eat to help the environment AND the animals.

I'm a [mostly] vegetarian who eats meat and fish from humanely raised/wild animals and fish about 6-10 times a year. And I actually think that's probably bordering on more meat and fish than the earth can support for anyone.

This posting seems to contain a lot of justification to defend a personal preference for eating meat in the face of environmental problems surrounding the practice of doing so. There is a lot of cherry picking going on, ignoring [deliberate or not, who can say] some pretty key issues.

I could elaborate on those issues, but I don't have to. Because the bottom line is this: regular consumption of meat and fish just isn't sustainable. I get that grass-fed is better and all that. But if everyone on the planet ate that way starting … NOW! … we'd be out of land, food, animals, everything in about 2 minutes. It's really as simple as that. Eating a diet based mostly on plant sources is dramatically more sustainable, given our planet's population.

Yes indeed the title of this site is definitely trickery. And I think the majority of "reasons" to eat meat is as well.

To say that a short life of captivity is worth the living in order to be butchered at the end of your time is very short-sighted. There is nothing ethical about causing harm when you don't have to. We can thrive on a plant based diet so the slaughter of animals is just not "necessary".

Your point about animals being harmed in the harvesting of crops is also a notion that has been blown way out of proportion. These animals - the mice, voles, rabbits, etc. are not deaf! When they hear the startup sound of machinery they scram ASAP. Yes, there are some animals that are not fortunate enough to escape the thresher blades but there are many less than the 10 billion animals grown for "meat" each year in the US.

Also, the idea that we will cause harm no matter what we eat so everything is equally "moral" is an invalid argument as well. It's not like as if we are deliberately breeding and placing these rabbits and mice in fields so they can be deliberately killed. The intent to cause suffering is not there and cannot be weighed on the same scale as what's done at a slaughterhouse.

Finally, if anyone is really that concerned with the animals harmed in crop production - They would still opt for a vegan diet because 85% of soy and corn is harvested for feed... If we didn't use all the grain to fatten animals we could feed more people. It would be a healthier choice and would reduce much of the environmental damage done by "livestock".

Want to make a better world? Eat like you mean it - Go Vegan
www.humanemyth.org

Oh - BTW - The photo you used says it all... Lush hills, peaceful scenery and rolling pastures --- Yet look what's on Momma Cow's neck - A steel (slave) chain. It's just unthinkable what we do to these innocent creatures who are victims of our unenlightened values, and our ravenous taste buds.

Ugh--another nonsensical argument aimed at justifying selfishness. According to the logic here, birth control is immoral since it denies existence to potential humans. I sincerely doubt that anyone would appreciate being brought into this world just to be killed before they have lived 2 years, or even 1 year. And as others have pointed out, animal agriculture will always result in more animals being killed, even given the effects of plant agriculture on wildlife. An omnivore who cares about her health is going to be eating mostly plant foods anyway.

It's one thing to eat meat and dairy and eggs while making an effort to find the most humanely-produced choices. That's a far better decision than most omnivores are making. But there is no way you can pretend that this is the best option. It's not--at least not for anyone who truly cares about animals.

Ditto what Bea said. There's no way to justify eating meat except to say that it's to satisfy your tastebuds. The idea that you're doing these animals a favor by eating them because otherwise they wouldn't exist? Seriously? I can't imagine telling my children we eat pigs because otherwise they wouldn't exist. Well, now that one doesn't exist because you just ate it. Either way the pig is gone. I'll put all the damn pigs in my backyard if that will make you feel better. That way they're still in existence but safe from being eaten. I know alot of people who raise pigs, hens, steer, etc as pets...never intending to eat them. They, in fact, will bury them when they die. Not send them to slaughter. In Korea they are looking to pass legislation to start factory farming dogs. You can go to a restaurant there and pick the puppy from a cage that you want to eat. They aren't abused. They aren't fed antibiotics. They are 'organic' if you want to call it that...and they slaughter it quickly right in the back of the kitchen for you. If you lived in Korea I suppose you'd be justifying that as well. Might as well eat them, otherwise they wouldn't exist, eh? How is a cow or a pig any different than a dog? Russians import kangaroo meat from Australia, there is new consideration now to farm kangaroos for meat export. Wanna justify that as doing them a favor, too? It's endless. It's YOUR taste buds that determine it. Don't delude yourself into believing it's for any reason other than that. It's not humane, it's not considerate, it's not ethically OK, and it's not equal to anything vegans or vegetarians are doing in trying to line up their values with their dinners.

It takes 2500 gallons of water to produce 1 lb of steak (humane steak is no different in it's water needs). It takes 20 gallons of water to produce 1 lb of carrots. Read up on how much grain is needed to keep your precious humane beef alive. Read up on the damage it's done to the topsoil in the US, which BTW, is going to take 100 years per INCH to fix. We can't even grow crops on the land the cows have destroyed because the top soil is so covered in pesticides and antiobiotics and hormones it has become useless land. Read MadCowboy. Cows were never meant to be here in this number for this long. They are destroying the land, and they are robbing other countries of land to grow grain to feed livestock that could be used to grow food to feed their people. Not to mention the methane gas, the manure, the pollution of our water. It's not sustainable. It's not sustainable for chickens, cows, pigs or dairy for us to all get a slice of it. It's considered a diet of affluence, and the countries who eat the most of it are the sickest in the world. While the rest starve. If you're going to eat it, eat it, but don't go around saying it's a more "ethically superior" choice = it's not even close.

I think we should all go out and get pregnant and have daughters so we can lock them in factories and have them labor to produce affordable products for us. As long as we treat them humanely it will be OK. Because after all it's a life lived right?

And of course how silly to think that eating cereals and vegetables directly could be less damaging. It's so much more effective to feed the cereals to the livestock who then poop it out and destroy the environment with methane. Also take into consideration that pesticides are used to grow their food. Not to mention the chemicals, hormones and antibiotics, along with transportation, water usage and refrigeration.

And grassfed beef is not better for the environment. It's worse.
http://news.discovery.com/earth/grass-fed-beef-grain.html

Well jee, whoever wrote this is an idiot. I'm 13 and know that this is wrong. I've been a vegetarian since I was 5, by my own choice. If a 5 year old can understand that meat is wrong, why do so many adults try to justify it? It's wrong, it'll always be wrong. Don't go around prancing about how vegetarians/vegans are the wrong ones. We save lives. People like the person who wrote this article are the ones with blood on their plates and on their hands.

"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian."

Even if those animals are killed with pesticides, isn't that more humane than slitting their throat and letting them bleed to death? Or boiling them alive? Pesticides are at least more humane than that. Isn't getting run over by a tractor more humane than that? I'd rather have a small number of animals, killed in a more humane way, than to have a large number of animals, slaughtered cruelly for no good reason, besides the fact that man is selfish.

Human beings can do whatever the hell they want. Religion aside, human beings created "morality", that is, we decided what is right, and what is wrong. If murdering had never been considered evil, there would probably be zero vegans/vegetarians, because meat is yummy. But, human beings discriminated against certain animals, and other human beings decided that we all should be treated equally...vegetarians, namely. You vegetarians are fools; You just do not understand that the consensus decided that killing certain animals for food is ethical, and necessary. Also, the world we live in is ours, which means we can do whatever we want to do. We can steal, murder, enslave others if our leaders give it the thumbs up. So, bringing your self righteous religious views to justify yourselves is idiotic. Belief in God controls your morality. Be grateful that human beings consider murdering other human beings a nono, and stop whining about our general way of life. By the way, you cannot possibly love ALL animals.

First of all, this article is comparing eating humanely raised and killed animal meat to not eating meat (Vegetarian/Vegan). Humane: as in animals that were treated well, fed healthy normal diets, and killed very quickly. Like Kobe beef (look at those animals; I can honestly say I would love to be bred to be eaten if that was my life). So please take the torture stories out of here. Whenever you bring it up, you mash together two separate issues that, while related to each other, have no immediate bearing on this article. We're discussing the ethical ramifications of no meat vs. treated well meat. Not no meat vs eating any kind of meat.

Now, I have a question no Vegen/Vegetarian will answer me on. Animals eat animals. It's a necessary act in the eco-sphere that helps with population control. Nature designed it that way (or, if you're religious, then God made the decision). Not humans. It was like this long before we ever showed up (just think about the dinosaurs), so we definitely had nothing to do with it. Well, if killing animals for food is wrong, then how do you feel about carnivorous animals out there? Or even the omnivorous ones that don't "require" meat, but sill eat it anyways?

We have a scientifically proven dietary requirement for protein. The easiest way to get this is through meat. Secondary ways are through nuts and soy beans and such; things that do not naturally occur in abundance on every continent and don't have as high levels of protein as meat (though they're perfectly acceptable to help vegetarians get by).

So, since the beginning, animals eat animals for sustenance, humans have a bona fide biological NEED for the protein that is most easily obtainable in animals, secondary sources of protein are not normally naturally occurring on the whole planet, there's that whole bit about population control (and yes I realize we've gone overboard, but that's another issue), then... why is it suddenly unacceptable to eat animals, when we set up to do so from the beginning?

So take out the horrible cruelty of all forms to animals and admit that, scientifically, we ARE animals as well, then please explain (not rant) why eating meat is so wrong. Also, as to the one who compared eating a puppy and kangaroo with eating a cow: as long as they are treated well and killed quickly, I can honestly say that I am completely fine with it. It's just taste and society that dictates which animals should be eaten and which shouldn't (though, no, personally, I most certainly would not care for a puppy burger XP bleh). The only possible exception is monkeys, and only because of their close genetic similarities to our own species; kind of a health issue more than anything.

A few ideas...we (vegetarians) don't eat meat because we have free will-something no other species has, meat is not "yummy" to all, and human need for protein is not very high. We're not all animal lovers...

Anonymous - You basically asked two questions:
#1. Regarding: Animals eating animals. "Well, if killing animals for food is wrong, then how do you feel about carnivorous animals out there?"

And #2 "why is it suddenly unacceptable to eat animals, when we set up to do so from the beginning?"

Starting in reverse: It is not "suddenly" unacceptable to eat animals - This "movement" and ideology has been around for a long time. In 1944 Donald Watson created the Vegan Society... During the Industrial Revolution the "Vegetarian Society" began. Before that there were always people in different cultures who abstained from harming other creatures when ever possible: Buddhists, the Jains, the religious sect following the Gospel of the Essenes, The Church of the Seven Day Advents, did so for health reasons. There are populations in Eastern Cultures, in India, Pythagoreans and many other followers of early Greek philosophers, who also advocated a plant based diet. It certainly isn't a "sudden" phenomenon.

What I do think though, is that there are a growing number of people interested in pursuing a life which attempts to value other life. Our moral compass has always pointed towards compassion... Be it a little slow to follow the course it points in; Nonetheless, we know that being "civilized" means not causing harm, when we don't have to. We can all agree that "unthinking "barbarians" - destroy... And the enlightened choose a "peaceful" path. We can all agree too that killing is violent... It matters little whether the violence is inflicted on a being who stands on two legs or four. The concept is still the same.

So now, more people have readily available information on the harms of violence and on the truth behind the "happy slaughters". This modern technology also allows people to educate themselves and each other, that eating meat is NOT necessary and that there are better ways to nourish ourselves.

There is also the discovery of environmental and health issues that are also related to animal eating... Everything combined makes for a "revolution" of ideas and action.

This then creates a growing number of producers that are anxious to meet the demands for those desiring plant based nutrition. The "choices" become all the more "easy" to make as time goes on. A hundred years ago we didn't have the same information or the same options... In a hundred more years, what we chose to do to survive today, will seem primitive then too. We obviously are constantly evolving... A plant based diet is an intricate part of our destiny and our survival.

Now, as far as animals killing other animals - I really don't see the problem. Nonhumans are not moral agents. They cannot ethically weigh their needs against their whim. They have no "whim". They have no "choice" but to do what instincts tell them they must. The lion, bear or alligator has no knowledge that his prey values their life. He only "knows" that this is "food" to him. Man however does recognize that the cow, chicken, frog, pig, man and dog all value their lives equally. And because we have the capacity to recognize this, we have a responsibility to act in accord.

Now, if I may throw out a question: If there was such an animal that *could* physically live without flesh; say a bear. And if that bear was capable of going into a store and could chose to eat anything to eat, but chose instead, something that required him to kill the other creature - We'd call that bear a dangerous monster! We'd say he was cruel and "vicious"... Why then do we not judge ourselves the same?

Because unlike the bears and tigers - We really CAN live without the calculated breeding and killing of innocent animals... There are hundreds around you - Tens of thousands on the internet - Millions on the planet as well, who all DO live without the "use" of flesh. We are not hallucinations or folklore! We are *real* people, no different than you! So if *so many* can live without deliberate harm... Why can't you?

Correction: Next to last paragraph should read: "and could choose to eat anything, but chose instead, something that required him to kill an other creature -".

Anonymous:
I never once mentioned "yummy". In fact, I don't believe any omnivore here has actually even implied it; all I've seen are the proud-vegetarians throwing that around. Your case holds no water. On the topic of animals not having free will, my initial instinct is: Bullshit. If you have no free will, you're essentially just a thing. Something to own. Which gives Slaughterhouses all the reason in the world to continue as they're doing; after all, a vegetarian admitted it has no will of it's own, so if it doesn't care, then why should we.

No that's not my personal belief, but that is exactly how they will take it. Herbivores are not as powerful as they hope to be, not yet anyways.

Nina V:
Thank you, that was quite informative.

Bea Elliott:
Thank you very much for actually discussing and rationally defending what I've always seen as a loop hole in Vegan arguments. However, I feel I must point out a few things.

1) Sorry that came out as two questions. It was very late at night when I wrote that. My only real question was in regards to how we can apply a ban on something nature itself pretty much promotes. I had also meant the word sudden in a longer context, meaning the last few hundred years. Thank you for answering me on both accounts and supplying further information on the time frame involved.

2) I have to disagree that a plant based diet is our destiny. Unless you meant it as a diet where everyone eats mostly plant-derived and there is still consumption of meat, just a very small scale. I say this because there is no way in all of God's power that the entire human race will ever stop eating meat. I do believe we can drastically cut down on it and greatly improve the lives of current food-stock. But no meat what-so-ever... I cannot believe it when I see people as they currently are. Even if you could make it a law, it would be like the prohibition again.

Texas will never let anyone take their lively hoods away from them. They've sued Oprah for talking bad about their slaughterhouses, and won. A classmate in my Biology class bragged about her family owning one of them and being a part of that case. These people don't even care about the animals, but they'll drive you into bankruptcy or worse if you so much as look like you're going to threaten them. They get away with all kinds of things that have been proven against them and the general public largely doesn't care.

Then there are hunters who almost break current laws and shoot animals out of season. They say it's a right of passage into manhood and necessary. You'll never convince these people, they're zealots.

I probably shouldn't go on, it's not my intention to stop you from being a vegetarian or changing the world. I just don't think you should see it as our destiny when there are so many who will literally fight you for their right to eat meat.

3) You support and rationally explain/defend your reasonings for animals not having free will. I personally can not believe that, but I must admit that you put forth a very strong, logical case. It's simply my beliefs that prevent me from taking your side on this one.

4)Your bear/store analogy is actually very good. I'm having a hard time trying to find a valid argument with that one. The closet I get is with a person's belief system. We judge certain things to be ethical, and sometimes that changes from society to society. We should have the right the make our own choices regarding what we believe in. But the fault in this argument is when it involves the purposeful harm of living creatures. But then I come around to the fact that I believe plants are living beings as well, they are a part of earth and deserve our respect and care, and yet you have to eat them in order to survive. This is just one point I spin completely around on. If eating plants, what I truly believe to be alive, is necessary and acceptable, then why not animals, especially when they themselves do it and for the reasons mentioned previously.

5) I don't believe Vegans and Vegetarians are hallucinations nor small in number. I've simply lived in 12 different states and met a great variety of people, yet have never seen an association with you guys, let alone actually personally met one. The closest I got was when I was living in Oregon. I'm sure if I move back, I will finally meet plenty of you. I believe you have an influence on people more than many of you realize, and are also not nearly as powerful as many truly believe you are. I'm not putting you down, I'm just saying that I'm one of the least judgemental where I am. You have a very long battle ahead of you that I have serious doubts of you winning. But I deeply respect your honorable choice.

Oh also, I did notice in the given article that Anonymous is correct in that we don't need that much Protein. However Iron is something to look out for and, more importantly, B-12 is in animal products only. I point the B-12 out because I am wondering if that supports my case for the consumption of meat being natural; something nature promotes and that the human race is set up to do.

AMP, you are not a vegetarian period. If you periodically eat meat or fish, how are you a vegetarian?!

Hello again Anonymous - The future I invision as the proper course of man would not really be making "new laws" - It would be fully embracing and living the "laws" that are already in place. Specifically the "golden rule" or in a more formal theological frame: The First Commandment. We all know harming without "purpose" is wrong. It was written in our souls long before any book or teachings. Yet, because of greed, gluttony and other human errors, we've managed to alter this "law" to mean what is most pragmatically beneficial to us. In hindsight I think man will grow to see that our survival depends on mutual respect of creation which negates "use" for our "wants". That is not what harmony is.

Do I think the entire world will evolve to this sort of inclusive compassion? I'd love to think so, but I am a realist and I know there will always be those who ignore reason and will choose to harm just as a thug refuses to settle things peacefully. But just because there might always be rape, murder, theft and other ills - Does not mean that each person can't choose to do otherwise. If not, we could very well say that since there will always be theft, I shall steal too. Or since there will always be pedophiles - we should just turn our heads to child abuse...

I'm sure that people who fought against human slavery were aware that even in hundreds/thousands of years... Someone, somewhere would attempt to "own" a person and deny them their rights. Yet it did not stop the abolitionists from pursuing a vision of freedom. And aren't we glad they weren't dissuaded?

In short, it really doesn't matter if "someday" "someone" in the world will still eat animals or not - The choice is in each of us "this day" to do otherwise.

On the practical end - We will undoubtedly run out of resources to continue adding more carbon based beings as "food stock". There are a few systems being investigated now that show great promise for feeding the anticipated 10 billion people in 40 years:

One is vertical gardens and urban farming. This technology has the potential of feeding entire communities with a fraction of the land and water we use now and zero fossil fuels. There are many of these already built and are incorporated into model cities of the future. They generate their own energy by utilizing the inedible parts of the plants grown therein.
http://www.verticalfarm.com/index.html

There is also the rapidly viable science of in vitro meat. A culture of just a few cells from any animal could "grow" enough to "feed the multitude". Everything a "flesh-addicted" society could want - In fact, one could someday literally eat the meat of their mother or even themselves if they choose...
http://www.new-harvest.org/default.php

But... Your information about Texas cattlemen and the Oprah lawsuit is wrong:
http://www.madcowboy.com/01_BookOP.000.html

And yes, as long as there are animals there will probably be some who enjoy the bloodlust of the kill. But odds are most action oriented guys (and gals) are going to follow the masses lining up for the next high tech gizmo that can simulate, perfect, enrich and enhance any experience in the "real world". Virtual entertainment will put hunters in an even less minority than they are now: Less than 5% of the population "hunts". My analogy with the brute who will always exist is appropriate here too.

You say: "I believe plants are living beings as well, they are a part of earth and deserve our respect and care, and yet you have to eat them in order to survive." Well, plants are entities but they are not "beings". They are not some"ones" or some"bodies"... They have no "awareness" of themselves - like a bird or frog would be aware that the world exists and that they exist in the world.

As an example of how different plants are to animals - If you were to walk on my grass I really wouldn't have a problem with that... If you were to deliberately step on my cat's tail - That would cause me alarm. We know that the maternal instinct is strong in animals - Human mothers, cow mothers, dog mothers. Nearly all mammals nurture their young and protect them fiercely... However a tree does not mourn for the loss of it's apple or pear... Nor does it "suffer" in any way we know animals can suffer - There is no "one" that can experience grief or pain. Plants are not sentient... I respect the life of a plant as it is connected to other life... But I do not feel badly over "harming" vegetables by eating them.

Furthermore, even if we were to assume that somehow a plant was "aware" (a far stretch) - If we followed a doctrine of causing "as little harm as possible" we could still justify eating plants because it is the very minimum that is necessary for our survival. The justification is in the "necessity". Eating animals does not qualify in this scenario. And for this reason cannot be compared to eating (nonsentient) plants.

On the last point - I didn't intend to challenge you on how many vegans/vegetarians there are - But rather THAT they are... And that if they (no matter what numbers) could survive without eating flesh -That is the evidence that it is possible/probable that everyone could/should.

But just a note on your 12 years of travel experience... I'm 56 and have seen a bit of the world too. But nothing surprises me more than seeing the increase of people opting for a "more" plant based diet than in my own little neighborhood. I'm learning almost weekly that "so & so" on the block is vegetarian... Or that my next door neighor eats "only" fish. Or that my local resturants are offering menus for "meatless Mondays". Heck if someone would have told me 3 years ago, that my country fried chicken, meat and potatoes husband would now be "selling" vegetarianism to his friends, I'd never believe it... Yet - Here we are. ;)

Lastly: "I'm just saying that I'm one of the least judgemental where I am." No one stands in more "judgement" than someone about to eat an Other. No offense, but deciding to take a life is definitely casting a fnal verdict.

Yes, indeed it is "the longest struggle". But pragmatic short cuts in ethics can only compromise man's happiness. I hope we make the discoveries and make the adjustments accordingly... I really do want "us" to win!

"However Iron is something to look out for and, more importantly, B-12 is in animal products only."

According to the website, Nutritiondata.com, a one ounce serving of dark chocolate contains 19 percent of the US RDA for iron. Yet an ounce of beef sirloin only contains 3 percent.
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/iron-dark-chocolate-contains-more-than-...

Not saying to live on chocolate... But iron isn't hard to find at all. See sources of iron:
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/vegan.htm#iron

B-12 is not only found in animal products... I use nutritional yeast all the time as a seasoning. It's very tasty and for me, eliminates the need for a b-12 supplement.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutritional_yeast

So... no, there's nothing we get from flesh that we can't get from plants... And no support to the consumption of meat being "natural" or "necessary".

Hello again, Bea Elliott. I must say, at this point, I really do think we're getting into a disagreement about personal beliefs.

You say plants aren't sentient, aren't aware, don't care what happens to them. I say, just because we can not understand a tree's form of expression, it does not mean that they aren't self-aware and can't feel pain. If they themselves aren't sentient, then at the very least, they hold a deep connection to the planet. This is a viewpoint I myself waffle a bit on, as I don't actually know for certain if they themselves are indeed self-aware, or if they are simply conduits of our self-aware, sentient, living planet. If we quiet ourselves enough and allow a connection with nature, we can FEEL the energy and the life force of the plants, of the very planet itself even through the plants. But this is my personal belief and experience. It's abstract and something I put faith in, but it'll never be something you believe, no matter what I say, and everything you tell me could never change my mind. We simply will have to "agree to disagree" on this matter.

You say that animals are aware of their surroundings and know that they exist. Even though in your last post, you claimed that they had no free will. Are you honestly saying that animals know they exist, but don't know that they have choices? Again, my personal belief finds that statement contradictory. If that statement is true, then you're implying animals are "slaves", such as to their instincts and biological make-up. But I find it false that they don't realize that they have choices. I've seen my cat do something similar. I'll leave dry cat food out all day for him so he will always have something to eat. Nightly, without fail, I feed him wet cat food (a variety of it, so he has something new and I can find out what he really likes). I even give him milk (the kind designed for cats, so they don't have problems with lactose intolerance), cat treats and wet cat food through out the day. You know what he does? He goes up to his cat food, sniffs at it, hops out the window, and returns with a huge bird. I see that as him choosing to eat a meal of bird over eating a meal of whatever I offer him. Apparently he thinks I don't feed him very well, so he must hunt for the proper tasty nutrition. You say he's a slave to his instincts, I say he displays free will and decides to continue his doing as he's always done.

On the subject of supporting our species utilizing "carbon based food stock", I have to interject and say that even plant stock won't necessarily support our species at the rate it's going. There are debates as to how much of the human populace this planet is able to sustain; the Earth's Carrying Capacity. Some say, that if we dedicate absolutely every single bit of land to growing food that will directly feed people (this means no parks or forests or anything of that kind, and, possibly, no animals either), the planet's maximum carrying capacity is 50 billion people (this is according to my biology teacher and I am currently trying to find these arguments). By essentially destroying the planet, this is the maximum amount of humans that our planet can support. Wikipedia has mentioned that humans differ from animals in our ability to change the face of the planet (which we quite literally have done; the great wall of china, the agricultural revolution and such, the deforestation of rainforests...) And the sky farms give further evidence that we may be able to push the limit just a little bit more, but I still hear my biology teacher's very sobering counter debate on our species' maximum limit. That we are already well past it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrying_capacity

The only thing I'm wrong on about the Oprah lawsuit, is that I was told the Texas cattlemen had won, when, thankfully, they lost. The smugness and pride of the student about her family's slaughterhouse, however, is not something I mistook.

The change you've seen during your lifetime is impressive. Even as I age, I can see the changes in the world around us. However, much of what I see is leaning towards a more dangerous world (which is another topic altogether), along with the "going green" ideologies and fads of late. It's rather refreshing to see people changing and growing and trying to find their own way through life and seeing which options are available. The change in your town alone in just 3 years is amazing.

If my final judgment is in having killed an animal to eat it and sustain myself - a practice condoned societally and historically, one which does not go against traditional religions, such as Christianity (they're all about that animal sacrifice; at least back in the day), a practice I myself believe to be natural, necessary, and a part of life(if the human race was far smaller at any rate) - then so be it. I will have no guilt what so ever, beyond how the animal had been treated by humans while it was alive, and, most importantly to me, how it died.

Your article about nutrional yeast has a flaw. It says that the yeast has been fortified. Which means that B-12 was not there to begin with, and that it had to added to the yeast. That doesn't make it natural since the yeast did not contain B-12 to begin with. B-12, therefore, is entirely supplemental, indicating vegetarianism/veganism as an unnatural lifestyle.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B12

An earlier anonymous said "Veganism seems to be a modern invention that results from people being MORE not LESS disconnected from the land and their food sources. Only modern industrial agriculture makes veganism possible." This is a very interesting point. Take a hard look at the entire planet. Protein, Iron, and B-12 are not easily accessible on all parts of the planet. People have historically obtained these nutrients from animal products in order to survive. However, if we supplied every single country with soy plants and such, so that everyone would have access to these requirements (therefore making the consumption of meat no longer necessary), it would be un natural and much of the planet itself would need to be wholly altered (or partially if the sky farms work out). My point is, that eating meat really is a natural lifestyle. Perhaps not the superior one (if that can be argued at all, as ethics is an abstract concept that only humans appear to consider), but still not morally reprehensible if our food supply is taken care of properly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_beef

Hello Anonymous - It isn't only that I "believe" plants are not sentient; it is that there is absolutely no scientific reason to "know" that they are. And unless I'm wrong - shouldn't "beliefs" be based in reason?

Yes, animals are aware of their surrounds. My cat for example knows "she is she". She knows her body moves and that she can direct it to where she wants to go. But at the same time, no matter how much I attempt to "train" her to not respond to a crawling lizard in front of her - Her instincts take over. Awareness of one's existence does not negate instinct. I'm completely aware of my beingness - Yet when I feel a threat or danger my "instincts" kick in in the form of self protection. This is not a "free will choice" of mine - It is hinged on my biological sense of survival.

Regarding the practice of animal sacrifice and animal "use" in traditional religions. While it is so that many religions have at one time or another given "permission" to do so - No one will betray their faith if they don't kill or eat animals.

And I never said that nutritional yeast was "natural"... Yes, it is fortified - But so is dairy and hundreds of other foods that non-vegans choose to eat. I really don't understand the point as you questioned "non meat sources" of B-12.

I appreciate your repeated attempts to fall back to history (and religion) to validate what we do today. But your fears of Earth's carrying capacity should mandate a different direction that what has been previously "natural" or sustainable. And certainly religions have also promoted human slavery, polygamy, murders and war - Yet we've managed to put those ideas in context to what is "ethical" today.

And finally who finds what "morally reprehensible" will be based on each person's "beliefs". And in this you are right - We will probably never see eye to eye on this one.

Anonymous -
B12 does occur naturally. It's not only found in animal protein. Read Mad Cowboy. Howard Lyman explains in his book how Americans used to obtain B12 from the soil. Lyman, BTW, is the former cattle-rancher turned vegan who was the one on the Oprah show who informed her about beef, which in turn caused her to be sued - he was sued with her. He explains in his book that 'back in the day' they didn't scrub their vegetables clean so they obtained B12 from the dirt that was still on the carrots and potatoes and other vegetables. Back then, farmers rotated crops and didn't use pesticides (pesticides didn't enter American agriculture until 1945 as a result of nerve gas research) so the soil was rich with nutrients. Because of the extensiveness of livestock production today and the enormous use of pesticides, and because modern farmers no longer rotate crops, our soil is devoid of nutrients that were once plentiful. Also, the human need for B12 is minuscule - about 2 micrograms per day, and our bodies store this vitamin for years. So you might have obtained some years ago (from a variety of sources) and not need it for several more years. We certainly don't need to be eating animals 3 times a day to maintain a healthy level of B12. B12 is also manufactured naturally from intestinal bacteria and bacteria found in the environment.

Here's a quote on the subject:

"There is no such thing as a B12 deficiency, even in 100% raw vegan food eaters. They do not have to eat dirt, animal products, or take pills to secure coenzymes of B12. Bacteria in the intestinal tract make it for us, and the metabolically usable and necessary forms of coenzyme B12 are contained in unprocessed, fresh natural plant foods, particularly in nuts and seeds. The real problem in so-called B12 deficiency is a failure of digestion and absorption of foods, rather than a deficiency of the vitamin itself." - Dr Vivian V. Vetrano: http://www.roylretreat.com/articles/b12.html

Also, as it was pointed out earlier, 80% of the WORLD is already vegetarian or vegan. Only in modern countries (America, Europe and Australia) do we see the massive eating of animals on a regular basis. The rest of the WORLD seems to survive just fine without it and don't suffer from diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The countries that eat the most 'meat' have the highest amount of these illnesses. In America, we eat 4 times as much meat as our grandparents did. FOUR TIMES! Back in the day, in America, most families couldn't afford it, it was a 'treat'; something many families only ate on Sunday or on special occasions (both before and after the war). Our consumption of animal protein, whether organic or not, is excessive and there are substantial amounts of research these days suggesting it's not even remotely healthy. So, while vegans and vegetarians may be in the minority here in America, we are certainly in line with the values and diets found in the rest of the world - and that WORLD encompasses many religions...to the point I think it's fair to say the religious argument is subjective, at best.

Hi Stacey - Well your post brings such clarity to the issue that indeed I could read it twice without regret.

Anyway, on the point of naturally occurring B12 in unwashed plant foods - Those of us who enjoy a chemical-free home garden have the pleasure and benefit of picking right from the source and chowing down then and there. I never worry about what I eat when it's just "naturally" "contaminated". I'm certain it won't harm me and know the bacteria actually does good.

Seems we are a culture though, that is fixated (through necessity) to sterilize or "irradiate" everything that's food. The vegetable "cleaning sprays" on the market today - Illustrate the insanity of it all!

And another point about B12, my understanding is that no one really knows how much is recommended according to how much is in our bodies as "reserve". I've heard most adults store 10-30 years and that the odds of being "deficient" are slim to none.

American's consuming 4 times as much... And one cannot help but think this goes far beyond "necessity" and into self-indulgent gluttony. What is the saying? Eating to live or living to eat?

Wow what an interesting discussion! Reading through it all I can see we probably don't have any reason to eat meat at all. I am an animal lover. Thanks for this article, I think I know what to do from here on.

@Stacy: "80% of the WORLD is already vegetarian or vegan"? Are you absolutely retarded or just a SHAMELESS LIAR? I DEMAND complete undeniable proof of that load of bullshit RIGHT NOW. I want statistics from a reliable scientific source, newspaper articles, lists of countries admitting to this fact, etc. I'm not talking about some moron's blog you pulled that off of, but actual FACTS from a source that has actually proven this! I guarantee you won't be able to because it's NOT TRUE! I am appalled that you people actually have to go out of your way to distort facts and outright lie to everyone else so people will believe you're making the right choice, when in fact, you are most certainly not. Here's a newsflash: animals die! It's normal and it happens every single day. I'm sorry you're too obtuse and full of yourselves to realize this, but it's a proven undeniable fact of life that EVERYTHING dies! Why let the dead go to waste? You're not talking about curbing eating too much meat, you're talking about completely stopping it, when it actually is necessary for our survival. Maybe not to the extent people are doing it currently, but actually forbidding it in its entirety just so you can suck on supplemental vitamin pills and destroy natural resources so you can eat your precious soy products? You put up a link to reliable source that tells vegetarians that it's ok so long as they keep an eye on Protein, Iron, B-12, etc. Then you contradict yourselves and claim some random place tells you eating dirt is how they did it in the old days, so meat eaters are the ones who are wrong now. What is wrong with you people? How do you live with yourselves when you lie so horribly! You just pick out whatever facts suit your case and yell that we're the liars when we throw a reputable source at you saying that YOU are wrong. As of right now, there is so much conflicting evidences that NO ONE is right! That actually includes you plant eaters out there. I am not right, YOU are not right. Until science officially and thoroughly puts this to rest, you will never be right.

And another thing, drop your self-righteous attitudes, and leave your self-imposed bubble worlds behind you! You gather together in your little flocks and pat each on the back like the whole world is going to fall at your feet and thank you for doing them a favor and showing them "the light". Nobody in their right mind is going to stop eating meat just because you yell "Murderers" at them, just as rich people will continue to wear fur even when jerks go and throw pigs' blood all over them while they're walking in the streets minding their own business. You guys really need to know that NOBODY CARES that animals are being tortured so they can eat, let alone that they're actually being killed for people's dinners. Get out into the real world and talk to people, not just your little support groups. YOU ARE A MINORITY. Not the other way around. Pull your heads out of each other's butts already.

proud omnivore, i was with ya 100% until you wrongfully claimed that NOBODY CARES that animals are being tortured. you don't, apparently, but there are a lot of us omnivores who do care. we care a great deal.

Yes... I'd have to agree with Ruby as well. I speak with hundreds of omnivores in just a few weeks time - Believe it; The great majority of people do "care". The question is do the care "enough"... Some do. But not by screaming "murder" at them I agree. But rather with thoughtful evidence and by leading with example. When I say I haven't eaten meat for 8 years, they look at me and ask "what do you eat?". It's a fine opportunity to show and tell of all the foods that they've never even tried before. Talk about a "narrow" dietary habit... It's usually the omnivores that are stuck in the rut. I know. I was there too.

As far as "supplements" - I think we already covered that. You just happen to be angry that it's a myth that a healthy plant based diet does NOT require any.

Finally - You say "EVERYTHING dies! Why let the dead go to waste?" But we're not talking about animals that "die"... We're discussing raising 10 billion animals just to KILL! And they are not "the dead" till WE make them so! If it's just dead flesh you hate to see discarded may I suggest you troll the interstate around dusk or dawn - I hear the pickings are plentiful. In the mean time stop trying to confuse unavoidable death to DELIBERATE KILLING. It should be embarrassing for you to attempt to confuse the terms... We are all grown adults here... You can use the proper figures of speech to communicate what words really mean... And if not, you might re-consider "why not".

Proud Omnivore: You are correct, I should have said 80% of the population eats MOSTLY vegetarian. Meaning, most days of the week, they eat vegetarian and meat is treated as more of a delicacy. And by those populations I'm referring to Asia (where it's mainly fish), Africa and India (40% of India are vegetarian, and it's closer to 60% if you include those that are 'mostly vegetarian') - the population masses in these countries alone are proof that eating animals is not sustainable. It's impossible to find exact data, either way, because most countries don't report this information; so it's all based on guesses and is a moot point to argue over. In fact, it would have been perhaps better for you to say "just because others do it doesn't mean it's right" and that could go either way.

I don't do well with demands. I read it in a book, not a blog...perhaps the book is wrong. Does it really matter? I hardly think the arguments are about who's right or wrong. When you get down to it, it's all subjective opinion. Even if I showed you hardcore data (PROOF, as you say) on what eating meat all your life will do to your heart, your chances of cancer, your health in general, you'd still go on eating it. Even if you watched a video showing exactly what is fed to these animals you're eating, it wouldn't matter. I could show you scientific proof how your blood changes after you consume large amounts of meat (what most Americans eat daily) and it wouldn't matter.

The data exists. It's the same as showing PROOF that cigarettes cause cancer, and yet it's ignored. It's a circular argument and your attacking tone suggests it's not something you even want to discuss; only something you want to be 'right' about. I have no interest in being right. If you don't care about animals, or your health, or the environment, that is your choice. And it's my choice TO care. If you'd like more information on the subject that doesn't come from blogs, but rather researched books, I suggest: The China Study, Diet for a New America, The Ominvores Dilemma, The Hundred Year Lie, and/or Mad Cowboy. I'm sure there are many others, these just happen to be the ones I've read recently.

You are incorrect that most people don't care, but as Ruby pointed out, what you are correct about is that most people do nothing about it even after knowing...but does that make it OK? I hardly see the logic in continuing to do something just because 'the masses' in the country you live in are doing it. Move to a different country where 'the masses' do it differently, where the 'masses' are starving and would be happy with just a bowl of rice everyday, and perhaps you will see it differently.

What is it in human nature that makes many of us tend to proselytize to each other? One group or the other thinks they have the answers, and then it becomes so important that they attempt to convert others to their cause. I find this idea fascinating as I watch the above argument unfold. How can it be that there is no PROOF that god exists, yet so many humans are believers, and on the other hand, there IS scientific proof supporting a move towards vegetarianism, yet many do not care to make changes. Blind faith vs. facts - is it evolutionary to tend towards a certain pattern of thinking? Just a few ponderings...

While some of the vegans’ and vegetarians’ opinions are well-intentioned and well-argued here, I disagree that eating meat is wrong. What is wrong is the overconsumption of animal products, how the commodity meat industry has crammed them into CAFOs, how we’ve abused them and treated them as property vs. living creatures deserving of respect, and how we’ve jacked them up on hormones and antibiotics, a practice of which we are now really beginning to see the effects of. Think early puberty and antibiotic resistance, to name two. Finally, FINALLY, even the FDA is copping to the fact that antibiotics in meat are a serious health threat.
http://huff.to/aim9Yq

As a nutrition counselor, for years, I have gently nudged many a vegan and vegetarian towards more animal protein and every single one saw greatly improved health. I did this not just with opinion, but with evidence-based persuasion, mostly from the Weston A. Price Foundation’s no-nonsense research. Every single one of them improved. Every one. I continue to receive emails from clients from years ago thanking me for helping them become healthier and live more vital lives.

I would see vegans and vegetarians with severe acne, pallor, thin, stringy hair, digestive issues, brittle nails, too much body fat, and not nearly enough energy to get through the day do a 180. And a lot of them were stressing themselves out about getting enough protein from plant-based sources. They were eating plenty of legumes, including over-praised soy, but weren’t WELL. (Don’t even get me started on the overconsumption of soy.)

I’m not saying that all vegetarians and vegans are in this boat, but many are. Some people thrive on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Great. What’s key to note is that we all have unique bio-individuality. What’s “wrong” for one person may be the key to health for someone else. So who’s to judge?

Clean, unadulterated meat. That’s what our ancestors ate and they didn’t have the diseases modern society does. Price and availability notwithstanding (both of which could improve if more people demanded clean food), I simply don’t believe that we can’t feed everyone sustainably-raised animal protein (those who choose to eat it, anyway) if…and this is a big if…people ate it in the amounts they should. Yes, people in this country eat too much meat. Do I think we’ll ever live in a world where food accessibility and availability is equitable? I wish, but no, not with Big Ag at the helm.

And about that China Study:
The well-researched smackdown - http://bit.ly/aWtJHM

Dr. Campbell's response to the 'smackdown'...interesting choice of words, BTW. Again, it's all subjective. Even amongst data it's all subjective. It's almost pointless to have data for this reason.

http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/07/china-study-author-colin-campbell-...

Thanks Jill for pointing out that what's right for one person may not be right for another. I don't have a problem with anyone choosing to be vegan or vegetarian, as a matter of fact I’m currently eating a vegan diet. I also agree that we eat way too much meat…we eat way too much of almost everything because we have so many options and we’re using up all of our resources to give people excess NOW…but who knows what we‘ll have in the future.

I’m living the “eat to live” lifestlye which is based on Dr. Furman’s principle of a mostly plant based diet. He calls people who follow this lifestyle a nutritiarian. A nutritarian’s diet is plant based but he may or may not be a vegetarian or vegan. Meaning, a nutritarian can eat small amounts of meat if he or she chooses too. I’m mentioning this, because although this Dr. doesn’t hit you over the head with his vegan slogans…he does have a strong preference for the vegan lifestyle, while still giving people options. I mention him because I’ve read Dr. Furman’s books over and over again and he stresses this idea of variety. Variety will lead to a well balanced diet with all the proper nutrients (whether or not it’s something that’s added, like in the yeast you guys have mentioned). The thing is, Variety only exists in certain parts of the world…mostly in the U.S. While variety is convenient for a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle…it also has it’s downside. If you read Michal Pollan’s book (Omnivore’s dilemma) or watch the documentary “Food Ink” you will see that the fact that Americans have so many things to choose from is simply not natural. We have all sorts of fruits and vegetables that we sell year round, whether or not the fruit or vegetable is in season. I didn’t realize how odd that was until I was in Europe and saw that even in other wealthy countries, people simply do not grow fruits that are not in season. The fruits that are offered in the supermarket are based on what the environment wants, not on genetically cloned seeds or what not. In certain parts of the world, places like “Whole Foods” don’t exist with an array of exotic foods from all over the world that grow year round. Those people pretty much get what they get and must make do with that…and this point has been made several times, but no one seems to have a response to that.

This is where my problem lies, if meat versus no meat is based on what’s natural and what’s not….it bothers me when people say “eating meat isn’t natural”…and no, as many like to say, I am not looking for an excuse to eat meat. Although I don’t plan to be vegan for life…I’m ready to inform many about ways they can get all the proper nutrients without meat and I support people who don’t want to eat meat. However, I believe the statement that ‘eating meat isn’t natural’ is false. The fact that some people in this world would simply be malnourished if it wasn’t for the available meat proves that. If there was a nuclear war tomorrow and all of our resources and variety were destroyed, the few still living would be out there looking for plants, seeds, nuts and animals that can be eaten…and those are the natural foods of the world. All I’m saying is that you can decide if you want to be a vegetarian or vegan but the fact that you can decide is only an indication of wealth in a society.

error .. populations that eat mostly meat have much less disease and cancer.

Archeologists find that when our ancestors had little meat in their diets, their health was poor and with more meat, they were healthier.

When grains were introduced, health decreased on many levels.

as for the animals .. it's the cycle of live, but they shouldn't suffer!

"Therefore, if you decide to stop eating meat because you don’t agree with killing animals for food, you are not just stopping animals from being killed. You are also stopping them from being bred and raised. "

That's a specious argument. Domesticated livestock did not spontaneously materialise when we decided to farm animals instead of hunting them. They came from wild, freely roaming animals. If humans were to disappear overnight, those animals would refer to a wild existence quite easily. Arguing that animals lovers should eat meat in order to continue the survival of domesticated livestock is like arguing that we should also support experimentation on animals in laboratories.

From Virginia Messina, MPH, RD:
It’s true: You can eat a few animal foods now and then without raising risk for chronic disease. That’s not a reason to consume foods that are not required in the diet, have no unique health benefits, and can never fit into a lifestyle built on principles of compassion.

Thanks for all the comments on this article. I'm glad it sparked such a passionate discussion!

I would like to address one response that several people have to my reasoning in the first half of the article. I claim that it is morally acceptable to bring an animal into existence and kill it for food, as long as its life is worth living. For short, you might say it's morally OK to bring into existence lives-worth-living. Commenter Ginny Messina summed up many readers' disagreement with this point when she claimed that this logic would imply that "Birth control is immoral since it denies existence to potential humans."

An interesting point, but it doesn't follow from my logic. Ginny is right that when we avoid bringing lives-worth-living into existence - as when we use birth control, or when we choose a vegetarian diet - we are not doing anything wrong. After all, it's absurd to suggest that we should all go around trying to create life at every opportunity. So, what follows from that? That it is morally acceptable to be a vegetarian.

But I never argued that it was morally wrong to be a vegetarian. Indeed, I agree that vegetarianism and veganism are morally acceptable options. My argument is that eating meat is also a morally acceptable option. That is, just as avoiding creating lives-worth-living is morally OK, actually creating them is OK too. Both are moral. In the former case, there is no living being that we've created, so morality simply doesn't apply. In the latter case, we have created a being, so now we are morally obligated to ensure that it has a life worth living, or we will have done something immoral.

The other counterargument to my piece that I'd like to address is that we shouldn't eat meat on sustainable/environmental grounds. I don't discuss this at all in the article; I'm only looking at the issue from a humane treatment perspective. The sustainability impacts of eating meat are extremely complex and I'll just say here that although in many cases, eating a non-meat diet is better, there are good arguments that eating meat from 100% grassfed animals and eating meat from animals that do a very efficient job of converting plant energy to protein (like chickens) is actually better than eating a plant-based diet. See my blog post here http://fromanimaltomeat.com/2010/03/19/meat-the-new-diapers/ for details.

I have to disagree. I do think it is morally reprehensible to bring life into existence just to "use" and dispose of. I believe it is ethically wrong to cause harm when there is no need to. Furthermore I think a "good life" is one that ends naturally, on it's own - and "complete". There's no possible way that extinguishing 2 month old chickens or year old cows, pigs, lambs and goats is a "life".

A "complete life" generally has experienced "many moons", countless seasons and all the happiness and travails in between. When nature takes us there is no protest - The reality is what it is... But when man seizes life it leaves a wide opening for judging morality no matter how "good" the life was. In the end the life taken belongs only to the one who possesses it, and it is taken by force not by "right".

(I also wrote the post above about Dr. Furhman)

The only thing is that humans are a part of nature. If a bear ate a human, wouldn't that just be part of nature? So why not vice versa? Vegans and vegetarians pretty much claim that we're not superior to these animals, but yet their thinking process actually treats humans as if we are superior to other animals. By saying that we have a bigger brain and understand things better is saying that we’re superior. Yet, we can not know that, we don’t know what animals understand or anything about their mentality (but the basics). Just as within human society it’s sometimes impossible for one person of one culture to understand another culture, is how I imagine we don’t understand a thing about the culture of other animals.

Native Americans who have treated animals with all respect and believe in being one with nature eat meat as a culture in general. I’m not saying Native Americans know everything, but as a group of people they respect nature, animals and the environment with everything they do…not just by claiming they don’t eat meat but then follow that by eating horribly processed foods that also attribute the horrible agriculture practiced here in the States.

I want to make this clear, I think that Americans eat too much meat, but I also think we just eat too much of everything. I think we waste so much and that we’re spoiled with excess. I don’t have problems with vegetarians or vegans as that’s your prerogative. I however reject the notions that eating meat is unnatural or immoral.

And I stand by the idea that causing unnecessary harm to those who are innocent is ethically problematic... I suppose this conversation then stands at an impasse.

I respect vegans choices,but wat really bugs me is there liberal pushy attitude toawrd other human beings..i eat meat? so? if i was dying on the side of the road eating a bucket of kfc would you save me? or let me die on the side of road becuase i was eating meat? sometimes the way vegans act i feel they could care less about us meat eaters..i love animals.. i have family memebers who worked on a farm..would hang with the aniamls..but the sad truth is animals are bred to be eaten..just becuase i like to go to bbqs and eat some nice ribs..not becuase its healthy(life would be boring if you ate wat was healthy all the time) but becuase it tasted good..doesnt mean i hate animals.i just hope vegans and meat eaters can get along

I love children - I especially like 11 year old boys... - so? If i was dying on the side of the road molesting one of them would you save me? or let me die on the side of the road? Sometimes the way people act I feel they could care less about us child predators... I love kids.. I have family members who worked with them in schools... would hang with them at the play ground. So? So what if I occasionally enjoy touching them or showing them things that they are going to see eventually anyway? What's the big deal? It's not like I'm killing them or anything... Life would be very boring if I couldn't have some fun now and then... We can't all be "moral" and "pure" all the time - Everyone needs to cut up a little - Just because I like to watch them playing in a school yard... not because it's healthy (life would be boring if you saw and did what was healthy all the time)but because it feels good.. Doesn't mean I hate kids. I just hope pedophiles and those who aren't could get along.

Do you see the errors in your statement?

Enjoyment, pleasure and fun are wonderful as long as they are not had at the cost and consequences to the innocent. They have no control over your "whims" for "fun". What's wrong with someone "enjoying" a nice little dog fight now and then? Or what if they like watching kittens getting stomped on with high-heels? At some point society begins to question how far do we go for mere "pleasure". The taking of innocent life for the enjoyment of a moment's thrill is under close examination.

To para-phrase Johnathan S. Foer - Is taking an animals life for mere fleeting pleasure the most important thing in the world? Probably not... But is it more important than nuggets, bacon or sushi? THAT is the question.

Love it, Bea! And Amen!!

I don't see your point at all Bea...I can't believe you just compared eating meat to being a child molester. It's that kind of thing that makes the discussion between meat eaters and non meat eaters nearly impossible.

Would you compare a cat who eats lizards to a child molester? I think this is something that non meat eaters and meat eaters will never come to terms with. I don't think eating meat is unnatural or immoral but you do to the point that you think it's comparable to being a sex offender. Of course with my logic I just find that analysis really out there and borderline crazy even...and oh yeah, very offensive. Hence, the reason why many meat eaters feel like non meat eaters are attacking them.

No Queenfab - I am comparing the flippant, frivolous want of "fun" to kyledone's comments. We all desire happiness... But the ethical question must always be "at what cost?" And "who pays the price?"

No I don't think any cat, lion, bear, alligator, hawk etc. holds any responsibility for what they do... They are not moral agents nor can they survive without their dietary needs.

With humans however, the situation is entirely different. We do know the value of life and we do have abundant other food choices.

In essence kyledone's remarks indicated that regardless of a living being's LIFE - her/his "fun" was a priority... I find statements like THAT very disturbing... Especially when they are bewitchingly masked with false sentiments for that needlessly snuffed life! By Kyledone's own admission: This taking of LIFE is not exchanged for any huge benefit but to amuse the taste buds... It was fun to be had regardless of victims... This is the comparison I was making.

This paraphrased Foer quote deserves repeating: "Is taking an animals life for mere fleeting pleasure the most important thing in the world? Probably not... But is it more important than nuggets, bacon or sushi? THAT is the question."

Now... If someone truly "loves" animals - There's really no argument that their life should hold more value than the way their flesh resonates on the tongue - Yes? Because if it doesn't... "Loving animals" is just all words without substance and without truth. (sorry)

Bea,

Your comment is based on the assumption that we don't need meat. I argued earlier that countries like the United States which has an abundance of options and things being imported from all over the world can in fact survive without meat...because of the alterative. Even with that, there are many who have tried and have reacted badly to a vegetarian diet. Furthermore, in other parts of the world that don't have as many options, meat is more essential for those living in a third world country. Do you also blame the people who have barely nothing to eat, and when they are lucky enough to get some chicken for extra fuel they are also happy?

I also want to mention again my point about the different options we have here in the states. The reason we for example have all kinds of fruits and vegetables all year round has to do with cloning, manipulation and bad agriculture practices that I don't believe to be natural. Although countries in Europe could probably have as many options as the states, most European countries choose not to grow things out of season because that is not how nature intended it to be. My point, in one sense I could agree that we don't necessarily need meat in certain rich countries like the States...however I'm not sure if that is the natural way of things. While most doctors agree that people should eat way less meat, it is still controversial whether or not humans could go without it. I’ve also read journals from pro vegan doctors who admit that some people need more meat than others, thereby admitting that meat is natural for humans to eat.

Again, I’m arguing the notion that eating meat is not natural and that it is immoral. I believe if we lived a simple life with out huge super marts and food being grown in labs, then we’d have a simple diet that consists of vegetables, fruits, seeds, grains and a small amount of fish and meat. What I believe is immoral is the excess and gluttonous approach we have towards food (not because it’s a sin in the bible) but because we’re harming ourselves and the environment with having too much.

Sorry QueenFab, but I have to worship your intellectual arguments. Love ya!

Queenfab - I assumed since this debate was on an electronic forum - all things being equal... We certainly are not talking about any of US who are in a third world country and in a "survival" mode, with little or no alternatives to killing animals. Taking this into consideration... I understand that everyone has a duty to protect their own existance - Some according to their morals or tradition, would even justify cannibalism. But this is not the situation we are reduced to here (in civilization) is it?

I really can't argue that "everybody" can live on a plant based diet... For whatever biological or physiological frailties one might have to be unable to do so. But for the most part - I would take a fair "guess" to say that 90% or so who do eat animals would do as well if not better without. Elsewise, we'd hear of dozens/hundreds of "vegans" who are ill or dying... True?

I concede your point about genetically modified plants and the issues surrounding seasonal availibility of all types of produce. But I don't know though that it fits this way: If I can't have strawberries in July - "meat" is a suitable alternative. Or if avacodos aren't grown in my area I can substitute "bacon". I just don't get how not having one plant food can be substituted with an "animal food". What specific bit of nourishment would you be trying to replace with flesh? Most of what humans get from meat is "protein" which is replaced easily with legumes and beans - Always available and can be bought in bulk for dry storage/use. So again, if cantaloupe is not in my supermarket this month... What "meat" should I get to replace it?

Finally Queenfab - I'm really confused here so help me out please... You say "eating meat is not natural and that it is immoral." And "if we lived a simple life... then we’d have a simple diet that consists of vegetables, fruits, seeds, grains and a small amount of fish and meat."
So does that mean that we can be a "small amount of" immoral or be just a little "un-natural"? If you are saying it is *immoral* to eat meat - that (immorality) doesn't change with "quantity". If it's immoral... Whether I eat a chicken's wing or 10 whole carcasses... It's still "wrong"... Just to degrees. Or am I missing something in your argument?

Bea,

What I said is that I am arguing the notion that eating meat is unnatural and immoral. I guess that sentence isn't clear, I should of said whether I'm arguing for or against it. But what I meant is that I DO NOT believe eating meat is unnatural or immoral. I do think it's fair to consider every part of the world because so much of a vegan/vegetarians argument is based on the amount of options we have. But these options come at a heavy price and not everyone has them. If you can admit that meat has it's place, then it's hard to convince meat eaters that eating meat is unnatural. Not only did I mention other parts of the world but I also pointed out that certain people who have tried maintaining a vegan and or vegetarian diet could not continue because of health issues. As our bodies are different and some people need more of certain things than others.

If eating meat is in fact natural then why isn't it moral would be the next question that meat eaters would bring up. Earlier you said “No I don't think any cat, lion, bear, alligator, hawk etc. holds any responsibility for what they do... They are not moral agents nor can they survive without their dietary needs.” But how in the world do you know that they are not moral agents? Very little is understood about human emotions so I have no idea how we could possibly know anything about the emotions or morals of animals. We could jump to the conclusion that they have no moral agent due to their tendency to follow the rules of nature…but that really doesn’t prove anything other than they see nothing wrong with killing a lesser creature for food. Like another mentioned in a separate forum, even when a cat is presented with the option of eating dried foods and whatever other cat foods are available, the moment it has a chance to run outside, it goes and catches a lizard. It’s not enough when people say to me well animals don’t know better…well then, many humans don’t “know better either” because most of us are not convinced that it’s wrong to eat meat. This idea that we should know better suggests that we are above nature, and we are not above it, we are apart of it. We also follow the cycle of life and when we die, guess what? We will be eaten by other animals. Which reminds me of the scars I still have running up and down my arms from last summer from being eating alive by monster mosquitoes in Rome.

As far as what you asked me…about how growing things off season relates to eating meat. I also coincided the idea with food being grown in labs and bad agriculture practices. I can only explain this by giving a personal example. I’m living the Dr. Furhman lifestyle and I’m at his vegan stage (although I don’t plan to be vegan my whole life), Dr. Furhman gives people several healthy options. However, in order to eat well and get all the proper nutrients I need to eat a variety of things…his book really focus on variety. Soybeans, tofu, kale, broccoli and collard greens get me my calcium, a mixture of vegetables and beans gets me my complete protein, for Omega 3 I take my flaxseed and I haven’t found a natural substance for my vitamin B12 so I have to take a supplement. My diet relies on variety and I am lucky to have access to all this stuff all the time (although honestly, I can barely afford it). When I was traveling for 10 months, it was nearly impossible to follow Dr. Furhman’s vegan lifestyle because I didn’t have an abundance of greens available to me all the time…what was at the market was at the market. Flaxseed wasn’t always available to me and in certain countries even beans are sometimes restricted to a few. The vitamin B12 supplement thing is an issue to me, as I don’t believe in taking supplements as the only source of getting a certain nutrient. To me, there’s nothing natural about supplements. Someone mentioned how you can get vitamin b12 from the dirt or something and this is not in any way realistic for most and if they start selling that dirt, I’m sure whole foods will make it cost an arm and a leg. But lets get this straight, meat, other animal products and fish provides calcium, omega 3, complete protein, vitamin b12 and other nutrients you can also get from other products. So meat is not completely useless as some would like to make it seem.

This also brings me to another point, have you seen the movie Food Inc? Well you should. A section of it speaks about families who simply can not afford to eat healthy due to the fact that healthy foods are more expensive. In small doses lean meats can be healthy and it might be the best option for some. For a big family of 8 for example who only has one parent working…what do you think is better for that family’s financial circumstances…having to buy a whole combination of things (including the supplements) to get all the nutrients listed above, but it would probably only feed a couple of people well? Or getting foods that offer as many things as possible in one, will feed the most amount of people and last the longest? Having grown up in one of those families, I would suggest some lean meats OR animal products such as milk or eggs and or inexpensive fish like fresh sardines, beans, whole grain rice (if it can be afforded) and vegetables and fruits that can be afforded. With that diet a big family would not have to worry about not getting proper nutrients and if modest they can make that food last a while.

Sorry for the long post but my whole point is that eating meat is natural. For some it’s the best option and it is unfair to say that for those people it’s immoral. If It’s okay to eat something, then it’s difficult to say that only certain people can eat it if they have to. If it’s okay to eat something, it’s difficult to then make people feel bad because they like the way it taste. I know vegetarians have some logic to why it’s okay to kill plants to eat them versus eating animals, but is it okay to eat lots of pineapples because I like the taste. Part of why we eat things versus other things is because we like the taste. Although, I guess you could argue that people can develop their tongue into liking anything and I could perhaps agree with that.

Queenfab - I did say that meat eating has it's place... In times of desperation - For survival... Just like eating human meat would be acceptable if this was your only sustainance. I imagine in some situations an old person might be "sacrificed" to feed children.(?) I really don't know - I'm so far from being in that circumstance that I can only suppose what one might do in order to eat/live.

As far as the cat, lion, bear, alligtor, hawk etc. they have NO CHOICE but to eat other animals. They do not have bodies that can live on plants... Nor do they have the ability to go into grocercy stores to make "moral" choices.

And I present this question again: "If there was such an animal that *could* physically live without flesh; say a bear. And if that bear was capable of going into a store and could chose to eat anything to eat, but chose instead, something that required him to kill the other creature - We'd call that bear a dangerous monster! We'd say he was cruel and "vicious"... Why then do we not judge ourselves the same?"

Your argument is confusing... At first you say we should not assume that animals don't possess moral responsibility. You think perhaps they might(?). Yet... We KNOW that animals are sentient, aware and struggle to live just like humans do - Still, this is something you choose to ignore. These people that you are saying don't "know better" are for the most part "willfully ignorant" to the fact that animals can suffer and that they are forced into slaughterhouses and that their lives are taken from them. If some otherwise rational person can understand concepts like their pet enjoying their lives... But are deaf and dumb when it comes to "food animals" enjoying there's - The saying goes: It is impossible to awaken the person who is only PRETENDING to be asleep.

As far as the situation of the family in Food Inc. - Yes, I saw the movie. But this family of 8 was not eating "small doses of lean meat"... Not hardly. And I was also struck by the reality that the food was "cheap" because of government subsidies. It is a crying shame that government does not support agriculture that is growing good healthy foods. From my understanding if you look at the USDA food pyramid - the top portion that is "recommended" least by nutritionists are also the businesses most heavily subsidized. Have you ever heard of Marion Nestle? http://www.foodpolitics.com/about/

In truth, if people had to pay what it costs to have a cheap "hamburger" without government subsidizing - The 99cent big mac would run about $23.00. I really don't think it's fair that part of my money goes to subsidize businesses I am ethicall opposed to - So that I can then turn around and be burdened with the cost of health care for those who consume such a diet.

The farm bill gives 12% to vegetable and fruit growers... Everything else goes to those who either grow animals or grow crops to fatten animals. That's sad.

Ummm... "Fresh sardines"? You do realize they just closed the last U.S. "sardine cannery" last month... From here on in if you live in the U.S. and eat these fishes - They will come (fresh) from thousands of miles away...

I think we might have to define what "natural" means. I won't bore you by citing the popular analogy of putting a rabbit and an apple in the crib with a child... You've probably heard that as often as I've heard the "plants feel pain" line of reasoning. But what I will say is that to call a food "natural" would mean that it can be eaten and digested with little alteration. Most fruits and vegetables come to us "ready to consume". Granted pinapples, coconuts, nuts and some other foods need some coaxing to eat - But as a general rule it would be "natural" to pick an apple and just bite. There is absolutely NO MEAT that you can do this to. None of us can hunt down a running animal and seize with with our bear hands... Well, maybe slow moving lizards might be the exception. Still not draining this blood and not cooking this flesh would cause serious illness... Furthermore, if it were so "natural" we'd have to do this several times a day/week in order to keep the flesh fresh.

No, meat processing goes through a lot of steps to make the meat edible. Not to mention what they do to make the visual appeal what it is (not). The dyes, the gasses and chemicals that keep flesh from turning brown as all flesh will "naturally" do with time. Then there are the many safety issues - and of course the waste - Just today being a fine example of "natural" meat consumption: 1 million pounds of recalled "beef" for e-coli issues:
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Recall_048_2010_Release/index.asp

Now, how "ethical" is it to contribute to a business which feeds, waters and uses fuel to slaughter tens of thousands of animals - Only to throw their remaining body parts into a landfill? Remember... Everyone has a part in this according to what choices they make.

Lastly, you say "I know vegetarians have some logic to why it’s okay to kill plants to eat them versus eating animals, but is it okay to eat lots of pineapples because I like the taste. Part of why we eat things versus other things is because we like the taste." Animals first of all are not "things". There's a world of difference between slicing a carrot and slicing a pigs throat. And about "taste" here's a question for you... In certain parts of Asia they eat dogs... Not just any old dogs - But dogs that have been beaten and tortured. It is said their meat is more flavorful because of the adrenaline that is pumped into their flesh. Now, by your theory that it's difficult to tell people what to eat or not how can any of us possibly hope to tell people who like to eat "tortured" dog that they can't or shouldn't? Or would you have an arbitrary standard here of what would be acceptable or not? If so, then we are just talking about degrees as I suggested before.

@ Bea Elliott:
First you compare eating meat to child molestation, and now you compare it to human sacrifice? Does your lunacy know no end? You can't compare killing something and eating it in order to survive (however "delusional" you believe us to be in thinking that), to the psychological torture of a child or even the ritualistic sacrifice of an old person to feed young children to, again, "delusionally sustain ourselves". There is absolutely no comparison. To say otherwise is proof of how set in your ways you are.

Your bear analogy has already been addressed. When an animal is given it's choice of dry food, wet food, milk, etc., it chooses to hunt instead. Your response was to then say the animal had no free will of its own and that it's a slave to its instincts.

QueenFab's argument isn't confusing. Your ability to pull anything further out of your ass is what's confusing you. Your very saying "It is impossible to awaken the person who is only PRETENDING to be asleep." needs to first be applied to you.

You are highly offensive and very wrong. You systematically attack anyone who eats meat, regardless of the life said person wishes to bestow upon the animal before it is killed. You don't care if the person eating that meat is trying to ensure animals that are adored and well loved, well fed, and painlessly killed in the end (something that many people here are looking into). You only care that we are eating meat. Every one of your arguments says this. You don't care that it's unhealthy for many people to go vegan/vegetarian. You just say it's all in our heads. You don't care that those who do eat meat are trying to make the animal's life worth living. You claim that that's not what we're trying to do; that we don't care about the slaughterhouses or abuses going on, when in fact, every one who is here and reading this article is most assuredly looking to stop those things WHILE continuing eating meat. You don't care about anyone's viewpoint except for your own; you just see people eating meat and don't give a damn for their reasonings why.

You clearly have never been poor and don't know how genuinely hard it is to even go organic, let alone without meat. My family grew up on welfare, as did many of my friends' families; even a few currently despite the adults working full time. In those environments, you make sure everyone is fed on whatever is cheapest and nobody's getting sick if you can help it. Meat is a good way to go about this as it is filling (especially if it's not lean), has nutritional value, and you know your kids aren't nearly as likely to get sick from it as they would on their cheap sugar cereal. It's too bad the government subsidizes the wrong things, but what can you do about it? Leave these people alone lady, they're doing the best they can without you condemning them for a lifestyle that is NOT easy to get out of; in some cases it's impossible.

"Ummm... "Fresh sardines"? You do realize they just closed the last U.S. "sardine cannery" last month... From here on in if you live in the U.S. and eat these fishes - They will come (fresh) from thousands of miles away..."

Whether she knew of something that only occurred LAST MONTH (as if we are all knowing like god so naturally we MUST know; sarcasm implied), then you are still missing her point. It was an EXAMPLE. She was utilizing fresh sardines to make a point. What the hell was yours?

As for your idea of natural: Weren't you listening to anyone's arguments to the contrary? If that's your idea of natural, so be it. I won't make fun of you if that's what you truly believe. But there are a lot of other people here who will vehemently disagree and have already cited facts to support what they think. All you have done is state what you believe in without addressing what everyone else has already said. Not only that, but I am deeply disturbed that you think meat is such a lengthy process. The meat we consume in this country does go through that process, this is true, but many of our processed foods of only vegetables do this as well. I know you don't believe me, but you actually can go out in the words, kill an animal with your bare hands, and eat it right then and there. But, as with steaming or sauteeing vegetables, sometimes it's just more sanitary and better tasting to wash and cook your food first. As for health issues, the only way these animals would be unhealthy is why modern-day environmental practices such as pollution which is a problem as well as an entirely different subject matter. The animals themselves are not diseased because humans shouldn't be eating them. If that were the case, then what about our ancestors? Wouldn't they have gotten sick before the industrial revolution?

Once again, you bring up tortured animals to defend your case? Do you actually have anything besides assuming that all meat is tortured meat?

As for the difference between slicing a carrot and slicing a pig's throat: I, personally, have grown up around animals, been around farmers who raise them for non-meat purposes, I say no there isn't really. It's part of their psyche to eat lesser animals and so they don't see us eating them as a crime. Just a natural way of life.

Third time... I made the comparisons of frivolous pleasure - At some point "pleasure" MUST be looked at a vile when it demands so much from victims to be had! I mean... What is your standard for saying that the price of "fun" should not include suffering to unwitting parties?

You are right - I don't care if a person hand peels grapes for pigs and lets them bathe in expensive bubbles and massages them night and day before they hoist them up on the bleed rail. I don't care about the "kind treatment" one bit. Anyone can do a world of "nice things" but in the end when they snuff a life NEEDLESSLY - it's all just window dressing.

I generously conceded that perhaps 10% of people in civilized countries needed to eat meat "For whatever biological or physiological frailties one might have to be unable to do so."

"you just see people eating meat and don't give a damn for their reasonings why." CORRECTION: "I just see people killing and don't give a damn for their reasonings why."

One can eat just as well on a thrifty plant based diet as a meat based diet... I am on a fixed income - My husband is disabled. We spend approximately $75/week on groceries. My meat eating neighbors and acquaintances spend more than three times that amount... Maybe because they can afford to do so... Still, I don't think my health or nutrition is lacking in comparison. It is a worn out myth that it costs more to eat a plant based diet. It's just not true. Of course you could opt for many of the veggie varieties of processed foods and it probably would be as un-economical as those buying meats. But this is not the situation for me.

You right... I find it hard to believe that most of us could/would go out into the woods and be able to track down and kill an animal with our bear hands. Then, eat it's raw flesh... Have you ever tried chasing a rabbit? Or a chicken? You'd spend 10 times more energy than what you actually caught to consume!

While carnivores take pleasure in killing animals and eating their raw flesh, any human who killed an animal with his or her bare hands and dug into the raw corpse would be considered deranged. Carnivorous animals are aroused by the scent of blood and the thrill of the chase. Most humans, on the other hand, are revolted by the sight of raw flesh and cannot tolerate hearing the screams of animals being ripped apart and killed. The bloody reality of eating animals is innately repulsive to us, that is why meat is most often camouflaged in ways that will make us disassociate. Want to see someone repulsed? Serve the prized Thanksgiving Tom turkey with his head still attached. Most people are also disgusted by "offal" - Heads, hearts, brains, the anus, etc. are all delicacies to the true carnivore - All these parts are quite "natural" to a true meat eater - And this "natural" food would be eaten raw.

Plants on the other hand can be eaten right then and there... Yes, most people cook them but that is a matter of taste - There is no NEED to cook to 165 degrees to kill parasites or bacteria. And the "pollution" you speak of in "modern-day environmental practices" regarding meat processing - You lost me. E-coli lives in the gut of animals... If the entrails contaminate the flesh - That taints the meat... E-coli has nothing to do with "pollution".

And many people prior to the industrial revolution did get sick and die from bacteria in the animals they ate... Even though they ate less than a third of what humans eat today - Thousands died during the American Civil War as a result of "uncooked meat". And many "meat" related problems then still exist today: Ever hear of trichinosis? Chronic Wasting Disease? Campylobacter or listeria? None of these is "natural" to find on vegetation. If vegetables ARE contaminated it is from an animal source... NEVER on it's own.

It is very safe to say that 99% of all fruits and vegetables can be eaten raw without danger. I'd say anyone who risks eating meat "raw" stands a very good chance of illness... Now, I really don't know what criteria you use to define "natural" but to me, if it is not necessary to go through a "process" to be a "food" then it is "natural".

And no... I did not say all meat is "tortured" - I only asked to what degree does "ethics" influence "taste". I still hold by that inquiry and would love for anyone to address it: Eating "tortured" dogs as a "delicacy"... As a matter of the way the "meat" "tastes".

Finally, I can only assume that you wish to stand by your concluding remark that *there really is no difference in slicing a carrot or a pigs throat* - Really??? What about a cat and a piece of broccoli - Any difference there? Say a swan and a watermelon? How about a horse and a celery stalk? Nope? Still all the same to you... Humm - I simply don't know what to say to someone who holds animal life on the same value scale as plants. Especially when there is such a high distinction made to the difference between humans and nonhumans... Yet no difference between pigs and carrots. (?) I'm really am stumped.

I'm still waiting for something legitimate from you. You think it's a myth that a plant based diet vs a meat based diet is cheaper. Then say you spend $75/week for just you and your husband? My working mother with 5 kids to support by herself spent that exact same amount on all of us. You are so full of it that you are completely blind to anyone else's plight or even their point of view.

You have your viewpoints. I have mine. Neither of us has enough evidence to convince the other to convert to their point of view. My only objective was to bring out how you really feel in all of this. Which is: you don't care. Eating meat is eating meat no matter WHAT reason there is for it. And whether or not you want to say it outright, you definitely feel that eating meat is torture. All of your arguments imply this; namely, you keep bringing it up when others are trying to discuss eating humanely treated meat vs no meat at all.

I on the other want to emphasize that: YES a pig and a carrot or a cat and broccoli is all the same to me. It's not a disregard for or to life. Everything dies and if it lived well and died according to what it knows, on at least an instinctive level, to be normal for it, then what do I care if it helps me survive? My only issues are: was it treated humanely and correctly? Was it killed in a painless manner? Is it's death the only bad thing ever done to it? And, to a further degree, is it parasite free (as far as can be) and safe for consumption? Interestingly enough, many MANY humans don't get a life that nice. You should ask them whether it's right or not to live a short, but GOOD life, vs a crappy long-lived life, vs a long lived life in the wild. I would believe them over you every day.

I understand you are absolutely revolted by me, but guess what: I'm far from being the only one who thinks this way. I'm just a big enough jerkwad to proudly stand by it and call you on your B.S.

Bea,

You make a good point about the definition of natural. While my definition is not as basic as yours (being able to pick up that food and just eat it in it’s natural state), I also find supplements to be the farthest thing away from natural. If meat is eaten without all the added crap, it is not heavily processed. Yes they cut off the head, and often times take off the rough skin, but if grown well with out all the poisonous stuff, the hormones and with all the injections then it‘s not that processed. People use to just hunt them and put them in a fire with minimal seasonings. True, you’re not able to pick it up like an apple but compared to the heavily processed cereals, some store bought vegan dishes and most of the things in a supermarket, I would say it’s much more natural.

About the animals…it’s not complicated what I’m saying. You argue they are not moral agents…but I think they are and the fact that they are aware means that they understand their actions. Which would mean that if they’re okay with eating meat, why can’t we be? But lets say for a second that they don’t have morals…then why exactly can’t we eat meat? Either way, I’m not sure why it’d would be wrong. I think we all get what we give…whether or not you eat meat, one day you’ll be dead and you’ll be eaten.

I think I didn’t answer your question about the bear before because I would not think that of the bear. Whenever I’ve heard horrible stories about an animal attacking a human, I’ve thought, how tragic and how terrible it was for that human to be in that position, but I’ve never actually gotten mad at the animal. I’ve actually and would never think of calling an animal a murderer. I think they do what’s natural to them without so much debate and philosophy…I believe in their moral agent but I also think it’s different from ours. If bears walked among us and in our supermarkets, we would be living in a different kind of structure and the rules between mankind and bear would be different. That would be nature’s call and most likely we’d have a different way of thinking about these things, and perhaps we’d expect to be eaten. Would we be as intelligent? Or would the bear be more intelligent? Perhaps we’d think of the bear like we think about cars on the road…on any given day you can get in an accident but if it’s not your time then you don’t…perhaps that’s how we’d view the bears. Neither you and I chose to be born human and all the things that it means. In one aspect perhaps you think we have the benefits…but I rather envy the simple life of animals. Animals feel, but I don’t think they view the world as we do. If they could keep their mentality and speak their thoughts, I don’t think they’d be involved in this argument. Of course I’m just guessing, but this explains my mentality. However, a lot of things you base your opinions on are based on guesses you’ve made about the feelings of animals.

If you admit that meat is at times necessary for whatever reason, then you see it’s hard to go and say when and how we should eat meat. It’s either something’s okay or it’s not. For me cannibalism is not okay so I would rather die than eat another person. If you say to people ,well okay, you can have some if you have no other means of certain nutrients, then another will say…I have options but I’d also like some meat. I personally think there’s nothing wrong with that. You argue killing when it’s not necessary, again I have to talk about animals. Cat’s will kill lizards just to play with them. I’ve read about people TRYING to turn their dogs and cats vegan but the moment they can go out and kill something, they’re gone in a sec. I of course think those people who do that to their cats and dogs are being cruel to their cat because that is a cat’s nature. It’s not enough to say that animals don’t have options or that they don’t understand. Listen, we are animals too, regardless of our fancy clothes, our big words and our big supermarkets, we are animals part of the circle of life, we eat and we should expect to be eaten.

About the plant versus food. I of course don’t think there’s something wrong with eating a plant. I don’t understand why if you think it’s wrong to kill an animal, then why it’d be okay to kill a plant. You assume plants have no feelings but people in touch with nature would say the opposite. I honestly don’t know, but if I were to think it was wrong to kill an animal, I would also find it wrong to kill a plant. I’d also find it wrong to take things from animals, like milk and eggs which is why I can sympathize with emotional vegans faster than I can sympathize with emotional vegetarians.

As far as food Inc, the family of 8 I was talking about wasn’t in Food Inc, that was just my personal example. I was just pointing out the segment in which they pointed out the costs of these health foods. The fast food thing is another issue, but I was simply talking about meat from a supermarket. I don’t want to respond to the post you sent the other poster on here, but I have to disagree that buying plant food is less expensive. That’s all my mother and I have been buying because we’re both doing the same thing, and this has been very difficult on us. My lifestyle right now would not be practical for a big family with financial problems.

I also think it’s sad to pump animals with hormones and do all that crazy stuff they do to them. I know you say you don’t care how well animals are treated before death, but I personally care a lot. Not because it makes me feel better or something like that…but because torture is always disgraceful. Also, all that stuff they pump in animals are very unhealthy for us as I know you know.

“Now, how "ethical" is it to contribute to a business which feeds, waters and uses fuel to slaughter tens of thousands of animals - Only to throw their remaining body parts into a landfill? Remember... Everyone has a part in this according to what choices they make.”

To me this is an issue of abundance again. You should read Omnivore’s dilemma and get a feel of what they’re doing to the environment in order to grow large amounts of soy beans and corn. You may have remembered Michal Pollan in the movie Food Inc. Our practices our terrible, period. That doesn’t necessarily have to do with eating meat. If we ate small amounts of meat (like I’ve been saying all along) and practiced good agriculture methods, we wouldn’t be using so much energy. We use a lot of energy trying to provide food for an increasingly growing population…but instead of people practicing modesty they’re eating more than ever and producing large quantities of food.

I think I answered all your questions. As far as eating dos, cause you‘ve mentioned it several times--- I don‘t eat dogs nor would I ever. I don’t believe in torturing animals here in the states so of course I think it’s wrong if they do it in Asia. I do know that here in the States people talk against the torture of animals all the time, including those who eat meat…so I’m assuming the same could be (if not already being done) in Asia.

Anonymous - Because I am 57 I can actually recall that my mother fed me and her one child on about 11 dollars a week. To cite your mother, and her 5 mouths to feed on less than $75 I get the idea that maybe this is many decades ago? If you research google a bit the average American spends $49 a week per person on food or $5.50 per person per day on food. I didn't also mention this but - My 85 pound vegetarian dog also eats from these groceries... I have met people who spend less - I'm always interested in knowing how they do it... Turns out they usually forget to reveal that they "grab breakfast" on the way to work and eat resturant/fast food lunches. My figures are for ALL food consumed = breakfast, lunch, supper & snacks for 2 people plus dog nutrition. Really? You think this is excessive?

I don't intend to be "blind" of anyone elses plight... But I still don't think that eating a plant based diet is any more expensive than not. Sorry if my not seeing it this way offends YOU!

You are right on this however, I don't believe that there is such a thing as "humane meat". It is an oxymoron... The idea and belief in it exists only in the heads of those who need to see it this way in order to continue eating as they will. I won't repeat myself so instead I suggest you look in any dictionary to see what the world "humane" really means. If you have any question after that - I'd be more than happy to answer you.

Furthermore (again) we aren't talking about pigs "dying" - We are talking about pigs being killed. Why is it you have such a hard time with this word? The word that defines the act you say you have no problem with? That (some) humans don't get that GOOD a life is not my doing... I do not force living beings either into the wild or into cages OR... into early deaths. I don't do this to any living being. And it's hardly any good reason for further adding more misery to anyOne when you don't have to.

And I'm not "revolted" by you... or others who think as you do - What I feel is sorrow for you... That you've cut yourself off from empathy. Having sympathy for those who are used and killed (no matter what race or species) is usually the best within us. And it's something everyone encourages in their children... I know that's how I was raised - To care about those that no one else really "cares" about. And to do so against the crowd and against the odds... I stand proudly to speak for the voiceless... for the "underdog".

Queenfab - Just curious... How long would meat last without all the added "crap"? 3 to 4 days? Maybe? Unless one hunted their own meat or lived somewhere where they could kill chickens or piglets a few times a week - Without preservatives I just don't see how one cow could last several months. (?)

And even IF animals were (preposterously) "moral agents". IF they really knew right from wrong - Then for me, they would be no different than humans who I do know understand right from wrong but still do the wrong thing anyway... Knowing all this - what others do or don't still would not effect my moral ground. Why should what others do be my guide? We were each given free will to make our own decisions based on our own ethical code... Why would I look at a hawk and say he eats meat therefore I can too? OR even look at another human and say the same thing? The group is just not a standard I hold much confidence in when it comes to defining my moral boundries.

I'll just summize why "necessity" has everything to do with actions using "pets" as an example. I had a friend once who had her cat killed because she couldn't stand cleaning litter boxes anymore. I had my cat "killed" last year because his body was so old he was in constant pain. Now - One is a "necessity" of sorts... A "necessity" to kill in order to aleiviate suffering. My friend however, had her cat killed just as "painlessly" as mine --- But most would say her reasons were not "necessary". That she could have moved the litter boxes somewhere convenient to clean --- OR even gotten the cat out of her house and life...

So saying "either something's okay or it's not" can't apply here. We both did the same thing to our cats... Were both situations equally "okay" to you?

Plants: Do not have a central nervous system --- For the most part most scientists and biologists will uniformly agree that they cannot feel pain. I think including plant "sentience" any longer in this discussion really compromises the seriousness of the topic.

I see your point about being disgusted about how animals are kept to make food these days... In fact, I was a (mind my own business) vegetarian for almost a decade - I never spoke against any one who chose to eat meat. At that time it was just a personal choice for me. Once I was shown and told what a "factory farm" was everything changed. I could see clearly that meat "growers" and meat eaters were not "following the rules" that I thought man had been given to care for animals.

The first photo I saw of a pig in a cage showed me a reality that I was never aware of before. For me it shook me enough to have an urgency to help those I saw as being "enslaved" under the most horrid conditions imaginable. I am particularly repulsed by factory farms. They are an abomination not only to the animals but reflect horribly on man"kind" as well.

Sadly, on a meat based diet as Jonathan S Foer cites in Eating Animals - 99% of all the meat consumed in the U.S. comes from these places. Perhaps in some ways those fighting for animal "welfare" will eventually help turn the tide... If animals were kept as most would agree they ought to be kept - Turkeys would cost around $80 --- A chicken's carcass would be about half that much... A burger about $15 - $25 a "pork chop" about $22...

Now if people were really going to follow their ethical code - We can see that only the very wealthy would be consuming animals - And when someone on an average wage did their grocery shopping the beans would look like a mighty smart choice instead.

It's really listening to people discuss "ethical meat" that I see the elitists and the excessively rich-minded mentality surface. It's just not possible for the "average" person do afford these types of "foods".

And because I do a lot of leafletting and talking to people on the streets about these issues I can say it's very sad that most people don't even realize how the animals they eat live (or are killed). For the most part when they learn they are horrified and motivated to change their participation in these systems. Some opt for "humane" meat - But just can't afford it... It is then that they have to make a very tough decision - To continue on a path that they fully know to be unacceptable in their code of ethics (that's a tragic loss, isn't it?). OR to greatly reduce or eliminate animal products completely. Thankfully, I've known enough people that have chosen the latter... Perhaps with time, things will change for the better and these discussions will be buried along with the last of the bones of all needlessly killed innocent chickens, cows, pigs and dogs...

Bea,

I think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. I personally don’t have a problem with those who choose a vegan or vegetarian diet, as I don’t eat a lot of meat myself. But it does sound that you have more of a problem with those who do eat meat. All I can say is that it’s hard to convince meat eaters of what you’re saying if you claim eating meat is unnatural or immoral. I know that’s how you feel but in terms of the cycle of life your point of view becomes difficult, cause as I’ve said many times…we eat and we will one day be eaten. Our bodies will one day give energy back to the earth and to some other creature and because of that I believe we can also take from the earth if we do so respectfully and modestly. Again, I feel like we as humans are also animals, part of nature, hunters and all of that…we’re in a particular position now, but who is to say that in a few thousand years that we won’t be the one hunted by a larger animal and that evolution will cause us to go down the food chain?

This idea that humans should know better suggests that we’re superior, but we’re not…we’re just different. If we were so superior, I doubt we’d be causing so much havoc in this world, practically destroying ourselves in the process. Because I think this way, It’s almost impossible for me to agree with you. If I thought we were these superior beings who have more knowledge than animals then perhaps I could think like you. Animals are more in touch with nature, their purpose is visibly clear, and they yearn for only the basics in life and that is why some will mistake them for inferior. But in fact, just like us they are fulfilling a specific role and doing nature’s work. We think just because we do all these things and build all these buildings that we are something more than the ant but we are all nature’s tools. This is why for me, eating meat is not immoral…we get the same as we put out, there is no imbalance here.

Also, the plant thing, understand this is a big point for a lot of non meat eaters and it‘s not something you can brush off if you want to have a reciprocal conversation on this subject. There’s really no way for scientists to know much about the emotions of a plant if they exist. Besides the few obvious signs that we get from animals, we understand little about animal emotions. Emotions all around including human emotions are mysterious and a big part of understanding the little that we do is by observing the physical reactions connected to brainwave activity…of course plants don’t move on their own…they don’t cry or do anything like that, so there‘s no outwardly sign to signify to us (or so we thing anyway). But how do you know that something deeper is not happening? Think me crazy, but this to me is not a completely far fetched idea. Many agriculturists and those who plant everyday have presented these ideas.

Just curious, if tomorrow you learned that plants did in fact have emotions, what would you do? Would you stop eating fruits and vegetables and all plant based foods?

What a strange twisty conversation... On the one hand you say man and animals are virtually the same. But since you don't think man is superior in any way... Why have we given our own species "rights"? Or were all those American forefathers just pomp ass and delusional that man actually deserves or needs them? And so if all animals are the same, "only different" - The ant and man inseparable in our unique forms that fulfill "nature's role"... And if killing an animal today is justified because tomorrow we might die - Should we not return our bodies to nature? Why all the air tight vaults, tombs and insect proof caskets? Why the refusal to return to the earth?

So you see, I do see your point about man's remains meant to feed others... In fact I'm very inclined to believe the scenario presented by Harry Harrison in Soylent Green. Especially considering how large we are growing people these days! Think of all that "protein" being sealed up for little maggots when other higher life forms (like us) could have a go at it. ;)

If plants felt pain... Like the apple tree who would mourn for one of it's fallen "children" from it's branches? Or the head of lettuce that sends out the silent scream of terror when it feels the knife cut into it's leaves? Or the grape that's mashed and ground (just like baby male "egg" chicks are) - to make wine? How would I feel if all this was so?

I'd feel terrible - I'd do my best to eat only "dead" plants. If I had to eat some by "killing" them I'd do so with such terrible regret and guilt that I'd make up stories that their lives were fulfilling some kind of "sacred" order... I'd convince myself that they really didn't mind being killed. I'd pretend that their pain didn't exist or at least that it didn't matter as much as mine. I'd place plant life below mine. Still, I'd give thanks for their "sacrifice". And since I'd have no other place to go "down" the food chain - I'd be forced to find (and believe) "humanely" harvested labels.

I'd pray that my life was worthy enough to take theirs in my absolute NEED. I'd eat only what was absolutely necessary. I wouldn't have parties around their brutalized remains... I wouldn't "celebrate" in honor of their killing - I'd take my pitiful 50 grains of rice and crawl into the the darkest closet and eat them with tears running down my face. I'd cry if I accidentally "bruised" a banana.
http://www.vegansoapbox.com/sorry-meat-eaters-the-plants-feel-pain-argum...
http://beaelliott.blogspot.com/2009/03/live-vegetables-vs-dead-animals-v...

Now that that question has been answered and has been reduced to the absurd conclusion that it warranted... Queenfab - "Think me crazy, but this to me is not a completely far fetched idea. Many agriculturists and those who plant everyday have presented these ideas." Yes, I think it's a "crazy" notion, and one that MOST agriculturists and those who plant everyday would agree is "crazy". For many it seems like an outlandish effort to be disingenuous towards REAL suffering that we KNOW all animals DO experience.

Personally, if I were an animal eater and I heard someone coming to my aid with the notion that plants feel pain too ---- I'd cringe and beg the person to NOT defend me with such insulting, desperate theories as they do nothing to support the argument of KILLING innocent animals without cause.

Through out, I've really tried to remain polite and have a meaningful conversation with you. However, I'll go back to agreeing to disagree. I don't see the point of you calling my ideas absurd even if you disagree...I've already told you what I thought so good luck with your efforts. Just a piece of advice because I see this subject means a lot to you, try not to offend or dehumanize people due to your passion. Just because others don’t think like you, doesn’t mean they’re making excuses or what not…that suggest everyone knows what you know and that they’re simple in denial. You are undermining people’s intelligence and I don’t think you’ll succeed in reaching people if you do that. For the record, I have a different way of thinking about these things, I know what I believe and I simply disagree with you on most matters concerning this subject.

Peace,
Queenfab

Please make it stop. It's becoming a 'tyranny of the unstable' situation here (Bea). I keep unchecking the box that says, "Notify me when new comments are posted," but comments keep coming into my inbox. Stop this thing, I want to get off.

Yes, let's agree to end this discussion. I too have tried to get additional comments to stop landing in my box, but they don't. Tired of the debate - the bell has rung...please.

Well I've already said that I agree to disagree, so....

Although, those who are fed up should sign off...because there are some who really want to discuss this and it's not fair to say you're sick of it so everyone else should shut up. Even if Bea and I end our discussion, someone else will come across this and he or she might want to comment and another debate might start up. As long as the public can reach this page, this convo will go on.

Peace.

Hey friends,

Just a quick note (sorry, yes, another note...) to apologize to those who don't want to be notified when additional comments are posted to this article.

There seems to be a bug - we're looking into it and hope to have it fixed very soon. In the meantime, please just delete the notes from your inbox when they come for now.

Thanks for participating in the discussion, and sorry about that.

-Lee

You insecurity about your weakness provoked you to write an entire article about vegetarians? Why don't you write something more worthy of reading.

What are you doing? The opposite of what some crazy vegetarians might do to you? Convincing us that we should eat meat?

Also, you're a moron. So if we don't eat meat, that animal will never be created for this purpose. Thank you for that short lesson on how supply and demand works. That's the whole point, idiot. If we don't eat them, they will not be created, therefore will not be killed inhumanly. So yes, we are "saving" lives.

...and really? The whole animals being killed in crop fields spiel? I don't even have words. This whole blog, just stupid. I could go on... but my IQ has already dropped several points having read this.

I have AIDS, and I eat meat because it tastes good. If it wasn't for my AIDS I would not be writing this right now because of the animals. The animals are the only reason for being, much less doing. Vegetables are the root (hehe, see what I did there?) of what comes and goes, so yeah. Hope this helps!

To the most recent "Anonymous" commentor:

You are certainly welcome to disagree with the writer of this article, but you cross the line when you accuse her of having an "insecurity about her weakness" and then call her a "moron."

You know nothing about her. You base your cruel words on a fabrication of her that you cobbled together in your mind after reading a few paragraphs of her thought-provoking post; and then, with nothing more than that to go on, you judge her to be your enemy.

If I were you, I wouldn't worry so much about those lost IQ points. Instead, I'd be trying to retrieve a sense of humility, compassion, and acceptance for other points of view.

Sincerely,

Shari

I'm a very conservative Christian who became a vegan about 2 weeks ago. I'm not opposed to eating meat or dairy. I'm also not opposed to using animals for clothing and other things. Because of my foundation in the Bible I have no problem saying that God is fine with us eating meat. However, I have a really hard time with how animals are treated in factory farms. I'm trying to find meat and dairy products (especially dairy, because I really, really, really miss cheese) that come from humanely raised animals, but there is a lot of conflicting information out there. Anyway, everything I've been buying is vegan (veganaise, almond milk, tofu scrambler, etc), and I only plan to buy meat and dairy on occasion once I find the most humane company I can. I think the way we treat animals as we raise them for food is terrible and is not anywhere near how they were raised in the past. But, I don't look at my boyfriend who's a big meat eater and think he isn't a good person. I just think he doesn't feel as strongly as I do on this subject, and that's fine. I will always believe that human life is more important than animal life, but that doesn't mean we should abuse animals. That's just my personal belief.

i myself try to be the most unassuming vegetarian i can possibly be. Not because i dont feel for these poor animals, but because there is nothing i can say to you to change your mind. Why should i?
if you want to become a vegetarian good, im glad. No? Alright, thats your own business.
i dont think of myself as better than other people because i abstain from certain foods, now this may seem off topic. But i think that this should just be the pov for everyone out there on the food war front.
What we put in our bodies is our own business and i dont care to hear all the ruckus about whether you agree with me or not. And im sure omnivores dont want to hear me whining to them about what I think is right.
And sure, maybe this article makes perfect sense. Maybe it is right and im a huge idiot for being a vegetarian, maybe im living in a fool's paradise. But its where I choose to live. and thats how i wish to stay.