I would say I do it on principle, because I care so much about animals, et cetera... if only that were true. If that actually were true, I'd have become a vegetarian a lot sooner.
To be honest, it is because I really don't enjoy the taste of meat. In fact, it's one of the things I tend to like the least in ANY food. And I like a challenge - can I stay away from consuming any meat entirely for a specified period of time, let's say a year at least?
Besides, I see no health benefits in consuming meat (other than consuming fish which is actually quite good for you, but which I don't consume either for the sake of a challenge), in fact, it is rather the opposite - meat tends to be bad for you.
My main Primary reason is that I am not into mammalian murder!!!!! I have also found that it is possible to avoid eating all forms of complex life. This being said I would likely agree with killing one human to protect many animals as I think we are the biggest threat to both our selves and complex life on this planet.
Interesting that you specifically choose to posit the scenario of killing humans to protect animals, and not the other way around. Say for instance, you were put in the position where 50 elephants are angrily charging towards a small group of people, and you had to kill at least a few in order to keep the crowd from continuing to press their charge and thereby save the people... how does that stand in your view?
I specifically chose elephants, BTW, because they demonstrably exhibit a level of self-awareness which is on par with that of human children around the age of 2-3... something that can't quite be said for a lot of other non-primate mammals.
Also, what qualifies as complex in your mind? Something that has a sophisticated nervous system? If so, then shellfish and crustaceans shouldn't be a problem for you. If complex simply means that it's an animal, then that's a poor choice of wording. If it's simply about *mammalian* murder, then fish, poultry, and dairy should be fine. For that matter, eggs shouldn't be an issue because they're not even potential lives at all -- they're all unfertilized eggs, which makes them pretty much the equivalent of a hen's menstruations. Short of parthenogenesis (i.e. Chicken Jesus), there is no possibility of damaging a life there.
I'm a vegetarian, all right, but I don't much like the idea of basically politicizing food of all things. I just happen to like what I eat. If you try to analyze it on the basis of political stances about the treatment of animals and your emotional reactions to these realities, you're likely to jump a few sharks too far. I've explained my position earlier in the thread, but on my blog, I also go a lot further into why I don't care for a lot of common arguments for vegetarianism/veganism --
The short version is -- they're all too black-and-white and involve little to no analytical thought.
It is simple to answer that. Provided I have no personal investment in relations with either the elephants or humans then it simply comes down to looking at where the animals including humans are on the spectrum of neural complexity or sentience.
If it were two humans killed to save 100 elephants then that is probably OK. If it were 5 elephants to save one human then that also might be OK. but if it were 1000 elephants killed to save one human that would not be OK. This is but a simple guideline for conversation as If it were a poacher I would kill him to save one elephant. I would also add that one endangered animal of lesser sentience is worth more than one animal (human) of a higher sentience.
In relation to shell fish. again it would be preferable to eat a prawn over a bird and a bird over a mammal (maybe). but the question is must one eat any of these to survive?.
My deffinition of complexity is relative. I am fine with killing single celled organisms in order for complex organisms to survive. If you must kill to survive then that is your right. But:
do you need to eat eggs to survive?
Do you need to eat birds to survive?
Do you need to Drink the torturously derrived lactate of a cow?
Needless suffering is just that needless.
you can do what you like but at least justify it against what you would tolerate yourself. After all if your basis for torturing cows to produce lactate is due to our higher level of intellect then you best be willing to submit to the same fate when aliens come knocking.........
But the question is must one eat any of these to survive?
Do you need to eat eggs to survive?
Do you need to eat birds to survive?
I'm sorry, but if your point is to suggest that those individual items are not necessary for survival, then you've made one of the most profoundly meaningless points that could ever be made. That same point is true of nearly ALL conceivable specific food items. I don't need to eat eggs to survive any more than I need to eat tomatoes or apples.
Though I will point out that there are exceptions to every such rule. There are various forms of anemia which effectively demand the consumption of red meat. There are quite a few mothers who are unable to produce sufficient breast milk for infant children, as well as infants who aren't capable of breast feeding... and dairy is generally necessary for them to develop. One of the reasons why cow's milk is generally preferred is because its profile of fats, whey and casein proteins, and milk sugars is in the same general range as that of breast milk.
Animal-sourced proteins, almost without exception, are also better absorbed by our digestive system than plant-based proteins, which also are very difficult to get in complete form (with soy being the only standalone complete protein source, and yet still not "ideal"). A lot of particularly active people and serious athletes definitely do better on including some animal sources of protein. I'm not about to tell you that there are absolutely NO alternatives, but most all are impractical and sticking to them is more costly. That said, the best sources, in terms of digestive absorption, are still eggs and dairy, and there are no animal lives put at risk for that. There is certainly no argument of torture in terms of the extraction of eggs, seeing as how it's a natural bodily function of hens. There is the issue of the cooped conditions that are endemic to factory farming, but there are ways around that, too.
Do you need to Drink the torturously derrived lactate of a cow?
I love how you write that in such a way as to indicate that all dairy is necessarily equal to torture of cows. I know you're getting this from the stark imagery of the worst of factory farming and the problem is it's an egregious distortion. You're taking one image and projecting it across the entire planet, and it is quite simply wrong. There is more to the world than one farm. It's an approach that is full of touchy-feely pandering to emotion, and it is quite devoid of facts.
Take, for instance, India, which is pretty much the largest consumer of dairy on the planet -- it's also a country where the majority religion declares that cows are sacred. There's no market for veal or beef, so there is no added value for the dairy concerns to actually separate calf from mother early on... Moreover, it is far more valuable to these companies to see the calves develop healthily so that they can be more productive in the long run. The dairy boards and private dairy concerns actually understand this and they realize that the very same issues you have about "torture" are counterproductive to their needs. Now in the U.S., the market for meat outstrips the market for dairy, and so it works out more cost-efficient to work in much larger numbers and simply maintain a much shorter useful life for the animals. Yes, it sounds cruel and amoral put like that, but it is unfortunately logical as well because it proves fiscally prudent. May not be nice to hear, but it's simply true.
I can understand that seeing the horrifying images of the types of things that go on in these factory farm conditions can be pretty moving. I don't accept that as valid because it's rooted in emotion. Call me crazy, but I actually like to actually base things on FACTS. Even within the US itself, there are smaller farming movements that aim to buck those trends of cruelty. And this applies not only to something like dairy and eggs, but even to meat itself. There are ways of killing an animal without having it suffer. There are ways of raising an animal for meat that do not keep the animal in cramped unclean conditions and feed them diets which aren't entirely suitable for them. It is true that these sorts of practices are far more common outside the U.S. than within, but there's also a reason for that as well. Other countries don't have quite the same meat obsession that Americans do. And the reason we even have factory farming in the first place is simply to meet that kind of demand. People don't just eat meat here, but they eat it quite excessively, and all the health arguments against meat consumption are strong so long as you base it on that particular model of consumption. This is really the result of a history that included a period in the mid-20th century (especially post-WWII) where meat was dirt-cheap, and that made the appetite for it huge, and as the population grew, old habits died hard. Nonetheless, movements towards free-range cattle and cage-free eggs and so on are rising in the U.S. as well, as it is not only healthier for the animals, but it also generally yields superior-quality product that is healthier for us humans as well. Yes, it's much more expensive, but that is also a moderating influence on the quantity of meat consumption towards a more healthy balance as well (compared to what many people do now).
I will add, though, that the idea of simply following the labels to look for something like "free-range grass-fed beef" is not really sufficient by itself, because the regulations here in the U.S. don't require that such animals need be raised as such throughout their entire developmental cycles, but only within the last 6 months or so prior to slaughter. So this is where people who actually care about these sorts of things need to do their homework. In all fairness, though, I find this a more realistic proposition than wholesale elimination of meat because it deals in market shifts in where the money goes without having to work in ideological shifts which are not realistically achievable across all of humankind. Convincing people to cut back on meat consumption for their own health and buy more cruelty-free goods is far more achievable than screaming that meat is murder and that you have to cut it out of your life entirely in a fell swoop, else you're morally complicit in all forms of animal torture. The dollar is still more powerful than tears.
Red meat is only required to obtain b12 with is easily supplemented. I use a sublingual b12 due to better absorption and also take a multivitamin. Since becoming vegan my cholesterol levels have improved dramatically and I no longer need to take acid inhibitors for my hiatus hernia. This is just changing from Veg to vegan over a 1 year period. I live in rural Australia and can tell you that no farmer I have ever met thinks that the welfare of their cows come before production efficiency. It is slavery in its worst form. I would also point out that we have only recently domesticated the Cow so How do you think we obtained milk previously?. The point is that it is possible to live healthier or at least as healthy with a scientifically supplemented Vegan diet than the alternative, therefore it is not ethically justifiable to enslave , torture and then consume animal products. However This does not prevent someone from consuming animal products, As long as they admit that they would not like to be treated that way by a superior race of aliens in future should we ever meet.
Red meat is only required to obtain b12 with is easily supplemented. I use a sublingual b12 due to better absorption and also take a multivitamin.
There are few examples anywhere of any vitamin or mineral which can be absorbed as well in supplement form as from a food source. Nonetheless, we do often need some supplementation as we often get somewhat downgraded foodstuffs from a nutritional standpoint in this day and age... and inferior absorption from pills is still better than zero. This is aside from the fact that pernicious anemia disorders means you will suffer very dangerous reactions to sublingual B12 supplements (unless you take it relatively small doses) which can go as severe as cerebral edema.
I personally happen to be one of those people who can't use high-dose B12 supplementation myself because part of my stomach has been removed due to a gastrointestinal tumor. Nonetheless, as a vegetarian, I don't have a particularly good source of it in food either. I generally have to depend on supplementation as well, but I need to take care to take it in very spread out over the day, usually have to use a gelatin capsule (can't avoid this, unfortunately), and I have to stick to taking it either with dairy or with wine. I would add, though, that all this is very expensive, and not something which is not entirely feasible for people who earn significantly less money than I or people who live in regions of the world where such resources are readily available. Trying to make absolutist judgments because you or I personally have the freedoms and opportunities that we do is something that religious fundamentalists do.
In any case, I was less focused on B12 than the fact that red meat actually also contains more substances to aid in the absorption of iron than any other food. Bear in mind that among "red meat" I'm also including a number of varieties of game animals as well (i.e. not just cows). All plant sources of iron contain additional components which inhibit the absorption of iron... among these include oxalic minerals, calcium, various polyphenols, and even some plant proteins, sterols. This is on top of the fact that ALL heme iron sources are superior to all non-heme iron sources as far as what will actually be absorbed. Though there are plant sources which have better general density of iron (and indeed, more dietary iron even for non-vegetarian people is generally going to be non-heme). Combining meat sources of heme iron with sources of non-heme iron often proves to be better because you can cancel out a lot of the inhibitive effects. For instance, the combination of 1 serving of oysters taken alongside 1 serving of lentils (I know it sounds weird, but I'm talking in hypotheticals here) can come pretty close to giving you a full day's worth of iron... however, if you try to take 3 servings of lentils by itself, you can't get there no matter how hard you try unless you also take approximately 2 full OUNCES of vitamin C along with it.
People who suffer from certain forms of gastrointestinal disorders are likely to not even be able to absorb non-heme iron at all. They'll just end up with magnetizable poop... which sounds very peculiarly intriguing to a geeky person like me and gives me visions of wrapping coils of copper wire around a toilet bowl, but that's neither here nor there.
Since becoming vegan my cholesterol levels have improved dramatically and I no longer need to take acid inhibitors for my hiatus hernia.
Sounds like you've had some other issues that are related, and given that, it's also unlikely that every potential variable in your case has been taken into consideration for your analysis. Even otherwise, it's fallacious to universalize based on your personal experience. I've been vegetarian almost my entire life, but I actually found that my cholesterol went down when I increased my dairy intake. Of course, I'm also leaving out that I did so while also exercising a lot more and more regularly including red wine in my day-to-day life.
I live in rural Australia and can tell you that no farmer I have ever met thinks that the welfare of their cows come before production efficiency.
I guess your experience with the people you've met in rural Australia proves that it's universally true for all farmers all over the world, right? What happens to the cows, to a large extent, is really going to boil down to market forces.
I mean, the reason why, for instance, in India there is concern over the welfare of the cows comes from -- a ) the fact that there are a lot of parochial and religiously-guided dogma about the care of cows, b ) there is little to no market for other cow-based products like beef or veal. There is a leather market, but because of "a)", the laws prevent you from specifically slaughtering cows for that purpose; only cows that have simply died or been euthanized can be used for this. c ) because of a and b, it actually works out to improve their production efficiency in the long run. For large concerns, it averages out a little bit ahead, and for small local dairies, it works out better because the animal has a longer useful life and cows happen to be very expensive.
There are markets all over the world for people who specifically look for humanely produced animal products. This includes dairy, eggs, and meats as well. They are still a minority -- I won't deny that. This can be remedied through properly informing the public and making them aware of the avenues available to subvert the more terribly managed parts. Legislation works to a certain extent, but that is a dangerous and difficult game to play as well. However small a section of the market it is at this time, you are still objectively wrong to equivocate all animal products to slavery, torture, and cruelty when simple understanding of the process even if humane dairies or cage-free hen rookeries never existed would show you that simply does not have to be the case. That's the problem when you think with your heart.
I would also point out that we have only recently domesticated the Cow so How do you think we obtained milk previously?
Ummm... how recent do you consider recent? Archaeological evidence largely suggests that domestication of the cow goes back as far as the early Neolithic era. There are songs in India depicting butter-making dating back well over 5000 years. As far as milk being difficult to obtain... as long as you ate a complete diet, which for most of human existence included meat, you didn't really need dairy as a source of complete protein once you were old enough to be weaned off your mother's milk. This is generally not just true of humans, but of mammals overall.
So what happened to children for those few hundred thousand years of human existence if their mothers couldn't provide sufficient milk or if they couldn't breast feed properly? Simple -- they died. Infant mortality rates were insanely high back then compared to today (well over 50%), and the majority of people never lived to see their 30s. That was still enough for the species to continue to exist, but it wasn't until we developed agriculture and domesticated animals that we actually got to the point of growing populations and longer lifespans.
Very little evolutionary change occurs over 5000 years, I feel that if you can not justify eating meat that your defence of the dairy industry is more that of convenience. I have not enough time to write a full rebuttal which is why I only through in anecdotal evidence previously. There is ample evidence if you wish to acknowledge it that contravenes the convenience of dairy. In relation to supplementation, My wife has celiac so she has much less efficient absorption of fit/mins etc hence sublingual rather than gastro tablets. I would opt for injections as they are the cheapest over here 3 full vials for 12 dollars. In your situation I would deffinately go for injections, would you not?. I give blood 4 times a year and also have had numerous blood workups each year, I always have high iron and b12. I take a vitC tab in order to absorb iron better when I consume leafy greens and sporadic b12 sublinguals. My multivitamin is as a backup plan. I also have a thyroid condition and bipolar so must make sure I get enough iodine as well. I can not speak for others but my wife and I have turned our health around with a vegan diet even though Our intention was just to become more ethically responsible. I would be vegan even if it was a health challenge. I have many other health challenges that I have overcome and would just treat veganism as another one to negotiate. I fully acknowledge the requirement of animal domestication in our past just as I acknowledge the role religion played in our progress. I believe to hold on to that as a reason to still behave this way when we have more ethical options is retarded......
Very little evolutionary change occurs over 5000 years, I feel that if you can not justify eating meat that your defence of the dairy industry is more that of convenience.
I'm not sure where you're going with the evolutionary change part. I never said that we've now evolved all the way to the point of being able to subsist on cow's milk. That said, the "5000 years" only referred to songs being written. The archaeological record of cow domestication actually indicates more like 9-10,000 years ago, at least. And if you're wondering how much evolution has occurred since then in humans... lactose tolerance actually has appeared within the last 7,000. I'm also an example of someone who is capable of processing lactose even in my adulthood (not being able to is actually normal for all adult mammals).
I remember in a lecture that Kenneth Miller gave in his series on refutations of Intelligent Design that he quoted some figure that there are more than 70 newly developed genes that have been identified that are determined to have appeared in humans at the very least within the last 35,000 years. At least 1 of them that I'm aware of has been determined to have developed within the last 160 years (namely the CCR5 gene which grants immunity to HIV), though these are yet to be widespread obviously, but they have at least appeared within a few populations.
All that aside, though... if you're going to argue on the basis of evolutionary change within humans, you have a bit of a problem... humans evolved to eat meat. There's no denying this. Meat consumption has been part of our evolutionary heritage for a very very very long time, and every known hominid species has eaten meat. Yes, it's known that certain populations lived in areas where meat was scarce, but even they were only determined to be something akin to "bad weather vegans."
I would opt for injections as they are the cheapest over here 3 full vials for 12 dollars. In your situation I would deffinately go for injections, would you not?
Nope. Here in the United States, that's the most expensive option. We may have very high quality medical care, but it's also the most expensive medical care of any nation in the world. The other thing is that the conservative party tows the line that any effort to reduce the cost of medical care is necessarily a threat against our freedom, and it means the terrorists win, and it's also something Jesus would have been against (I kid you not... none of these are exaggerations). Also, intravenous vitamin/mineral supplements are considered under the regulations to be "non-essential", so insurance companies will not cover it. Hence, something like 3 doses of the stuff would set me back around $275.00 US (about $260 Australian). Some states also don't allow you to do it yourself (I live in one such state), so you have to actually do it as an outpatient visit, which means that even a single dose goes up to $65 (if I had no insurance, it would actually be over $800, but at least the doctor's visit is covered in this case). If I have to do that regularly, it would mean I'd have to earn at least 11x the money I currently make in order to afford that and all the other expenses I take on anyway.
I believe to hold on to that as a reason to still behave this way when we have more ethical options is retarded......
Behave WHAT way, exactly? You still appear to be over-generalizing and making a lot of assumptions here. I have admittedly used a lot more mention of eggs and dairy, but only because they're the industries which show a lot more counterexamples to your particular viewpoint that all such producers are guilty of horrible crimes unto our bovine and galline(?) brethren. Also, I bring it up because they are most obviously completely devoid of murder and have very obvious and uncomplicated means by which to be completely cruelty-free. Nonetheless, there are also counterexamples even within the meat industry as well, and though rare, they definitively exist and such products ARE on the market, if terribly expensive due to minimal supply. There was a time (I think shortly post-Vietnam?) of meat shortages when quite a bit of beef was substituted with horse meat as a cheaper alternative, and in these cases, humane killing (where the animal feels nothing) was the norm. Now, in all fairness, they didn't do this out of kindness, but out of fear that a horse driven mad with fear of brutally dying in a meat processing plant would actually get very wild and violent, but nonetheless, the techniques were developed that could provably make their deaths quick and painless before actually butchering an already dead animal.
Here's the main point, though, that I've been trying to get across. And for the sake of argument, I'll just pretend that no humane farming or meat processing practices exist anywhere in the world just yet.
Several thousand years ago, eating meat vs. vegan vs. vegetarian and so on was simply not an option. You had to eat animal products at some point, or you'd not even survive 1 full year. Today, we have technological advancements, scientific advancements, medical advancements, etc... all of which has given us options in our diets, at least in developed modern nations. Still not at all the case in the third world, but let's just say that they'll get it some day.
Is there any reason why the meat, dairy, or egg industries would realistically be exempted from being able to benefit from any pertinent advancements that could make these industries more humane? You seem to be arguing from a position that not only is there no such thing as a humane way of handling such industries, but you don't even seem to entertain the remote possibility that such developments could ever even exist or advance further in the future! I find that beyond absurd even if I were to assume that no such thing exists here and now. Human beings can indeed have empathy for animals, but eating meat itself is not intrinsically immoral in my mind so long as we consider the fact that we have indisputably evolved as omnivorous creatures. I don't believe that it is an impossible proposition to accommodate both of these aspects of our nature.
You're selling humanity short.
Also, I bring it up because they are most obviously completely devoid of murder and have very obvious and uncomplicated means by which to be completely cruelty-free.
If you think that dairy and egg production are void of murder you are factually incorrect. What do you think happens to a hen when it becomes a non efficient layer or a non layer. It is then promptly executed and fed to the pet industry in most instances or low quality food products if regulations permit. This is not to mention that only female chickens are kept for layers all males are killed or sent off for meat production plants. There is a lot of collateral damage in each of those eggs. That does not even take into account battery production operations.
As for the bovine lactate industry, the cows are murdered after they are no longer efficient producers and the bobby calves are sent off for veal. This is clearly murder and also very cruel to the mother of the calf.
Clearly you can see there is a lot more to each pint than meats the eye ( or the mouth) and the same with the eggs.
I had only referred to animal domestication in relation to evolutionary time because you had mentioned we had been consuming milk for that period. I myself see no real evidence that milk is required based on evolutionary adaptations and see no reason at all based on available options. However I do not use evolution as a justification for Veganism, Well only in the sense of ethical evolution. Quite clearly we did consume meat sporadically at times in varying quantities depending on our Geo locations, I would suggest the huge buffer period of b12 is possibly indicative of long periods without meat though ( as in a week or two). However the basis for Veganism is purely one of modern options and hence an ethical compulsion to take the path of best ethics. As a side effect most people can expect better lifespans if forced to eat Vegan than the choices they would otherwise make.
I would also mention that the huge percentage of lactose intolerance in african americans does little to bolster the claim of any bovine dependency in recent history anyway.
When I say 12 dollars for 3 vials that is unsubsidised as well. So what the hell is going on with your pharmaceuticals over there?
I buy about 13 dollars for 100 b12 sublingual 1mg b12 tabs by thompsons (and would gladly purchase any of these things on your behalf if that ever helps) we take one each every few days so our b12 supp is about 15 dollars each a year..thats not exactly prohibitive. I don't use injections because my wife hates needles which is why I am the blood donor for both of us...
PS - Blood donation over here is volunteer so I do it as a humanitarian thing not for profit...I only mention this because I had heard that in the US you don't have blood volunteering.