Vegetarianism

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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Davin Raincloud » 25 Jan 2011, 02:58

you might be able to lessen the damage you do by meat eating, but the reality is you will be doing more to harm the environment (and perhaps your mind, body and soul) than any car driving and flying you do combined.
Absolute balderdash.

With stupidity like that, this conversation is over for me.

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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby DJ Droood » 25 Jan 2011, 03:08

With stupidity like that, this conversation is over for me.
Thanks for the heads up. :anx:
According the the WorldWatch Institute (and an old post of our own) livestock contribute 18% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, even higher than the GHG emissions from transportation. As part of this figure they produce 37% of methane, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. And if that weren’t enough to be concerned about, their manure emits nitrous oxide, 65% of world totals. WorldWatch also point out that in the United States, 70% of all anti-microbial drugs are now given to livestock.

Yet for all the welcoming news regarding decreased SUV sales, increased bicycle purchases and servicing, increased green home building, and so on, meat production, is on WorldWatch’s figures not declining. And in fact they see signs it is on the rise, with poultry, pig and beef production increasing between 2% and 4%. They dig out figures which indicate that globally about 56 billion animals are raised and slaughtered for food each year, the bulk of whom are ‘produced’ in factory farms.
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/08 ... tation.php

of course, a big part of the meat system *is* transportation, so you can add all those mickey d trucks trundling around to the totals.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Aylyn » 26 Jan 2011, 17:10

I guess carnivores have not featured heavily in this thread because we have discussed that several times now, but still.....

I am a carnivore, and while I have no problem with vegetarian food now and then, I eat a lot of meat. However, I have found over the last few years that I am getting choosier in my meat: I rarely eat birds any more, chicken and turkey are just horrible, and duck and goose are a rare treat, I eat almost no pork, the meat is too often like rubber, I don't like the taste of beef any more. I am living almost entirely off lamb at the moment, and since I am living in Scotland where every other field is filled with sheep, I see no problem in that. I make sure that my meat comes from Scotland (astonishing that half the lamb in the Scottish supermarkets is from New Zealand :blink:), and buy organic meat. I also buy organic milk and eggs.

As was pointed out before, this can be quite expensive, but for me food is pretty much the only luxury, and I am not gonna compromise on that. As for the discussion what is more destructive to the environment: That depends. Tofu comes from soybeans, and soybeans are not exactly an ethical crop
Environmental groups, such as Greenpeace and the WWF, have reported that soybean cultivation and the probability of increased soybean cultivation in Brazil has destroyed huge areas of Amazon rainforest and is encouraging further deforestation.
Other crops have similar problems, especially when we are talking about large amounts and monocultures. Also note that areas like the Scottish countryside are not always conducive to farming: The heathers and moors make poor fields, and are maintained by the sheep that graze them, so I see no problem in living off that.

As for the argument that was made earlier, not wanting to live off living things: We all do. You cannot live off the inanimate, you have to kill something. Unless you live entirely off fruits that are designed to be eaten, you will have to destroy another living thing. Taking the root or leaves off a plant destroys the plant as well. So I have come to accept my nature: a consumer, not a producer. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophic_level

Not everyone likes it, but that is the choice we have.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby DJ Droood » 26 Jan 2011, 17:51

As for the argument that was made earlier, not wanting to live off living things: We all do.
For me, it is isn't about "killing"....as you say, to kill is to live....sorry legume...it is more about not wanting to be complicit in the torture of fellow sentient beings. I just feel better about myself when I can avoid that. (the environmental destruction, antibiotics, growth hormones and destruction of traditional farming are just as important....perhaps more so...but less visceral.)
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Aylyn » 26 Jan 2011, 18:13

I just feel better about myself when I can avoid that.
Yes, that's why it is a choice: Where do we feel better, what are we willing to accept. Like I said: I accept the fact that animals are killed for my food, but I would not accept the transport of said animals over hundreds of miles. That's why I prefer my meat local, from the local butcher. That is not really torture: The animals spend their lives outside in the fields, in the company of others, and experience fear only athe end of their lives. And that's when we will all experience it. Nature is not nice, a lion or wolf killing is not quick and easy either.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby DJ Droood » 26 Jan 2011, 18:26

That is not really torture: The animals spend their lives outside in the fields, in the company of others, and experience fear only athe end of their lives.

You are very lucky...the stats, at least in North America, according to the above referenced book "Eating Animals" show that less than 1% of meat consumed is produced in this way, and the numbers are shrinking. The miniscule number of ethical farms are being bought out, or frozen out of the slaughtering process....which is the real horror show in the meat industry...cows (well, except veal) have it pretty good, though, compared to pigs and chickens, at least until the last few days of their lives...no point in raising an ethical animal if you can't have it slaughtered, and most first world countries don't allow farmers to slaughter and sell their own meat..that needs to happen in approved facilities (which are almost entirely regulated and controlled by the factory "farm" industry.)

I guess people can find the type of meat you describe though, because almost every meat-eater I've ever spoken with claims to only eat this type of meat...not sure why the market share isn't higher....
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Aylyn » 26 Jan 2011, 18:37

I guess people can find the type of meat you describe though, because almost every meat-eater I've ever spoken with claims to only eat this type of meat...not sure why the market share isn't higher....
I hate to say it, but I assume we are biased in the kind of people we talk to, so yeah, your sample is not exactly representative. The market share has certainly increased, there was a time when you could not even get organice meat, then it was only present in specialist shops, and now it is even present in the mainstream-supermarket, and the marketshare is getting bigger. The trouble is that in a downward economy, where people have less money, they will spend less on food, and that impacts on the more expensive market shares. Since organic meat is more expensive, that goes first. Shame really.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby DJ Droood » 26 Jan 2011, 18:43

The market share has certainly increased, there was a time when you could not even get organice meat, then it was only present in specialist shops, and now it is even present in the mainstream-supermarket, and the marketshare is getting bigger.


That is very good news. (assuming the markets you visit are, yeah, representative.)
The trouble is that in a downward economy, where people have less money, they will spend less on food, and that impacts on the more expensive market shares. Since organic meat is more expensive, that goes first. Shame really.
But if the market share of "organic meat" is increasing, as you say, many people (such as yourself) must be making those choices and the industry must be changing. This is an excellent turn of events. Do you know how fast the market share is increasing? Is it 5% annualy? 10%? Even 1% would be good....I'll keep an eye out for the published stats.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Astrid » 27 Jan 2011, 12:46

OY! Seems like I missed out on a great deal of discussing here :D

I'm about half way through "Eating Animals" and it took all my willpower to put it down long enough to read the tread :D I would highly reccomend it from what i read so fahr it is very non-sentimental compared to a lot of the info out there which i see as a clear plus in this context.

I grew up on a hobby farm in Denmark next to a factory pig farm, an organic diary farmer and a so called family farmer who had meat cattle and sheeps.
So I never really had any illusions about what farm life is like in modern day (or at least in the 90ties :D )

I dont for a second believe it's wrong killing animals - As said nature is tough and animals get kill every day. I get very turned of by militant vegans who cannot see it from any other side than their own.

When I was a kid we had ducks and chicks running rampant on our property and my dad would raise 3-4 pigs in a field belonging to our property over the summer, (These pigs he actually bought as piglets from the factory farm) and he fished in his sparetime. All our milk came straight from the nabouring diary farmer - completly unprocessed (Guess the fat content of that :D ). So when I moved out these where the images i had when buying animal products in the supermarket. Until I started university 1½ ago and got a new friend who is vegan (the super militant type, but we all love her cause she means well :D ) and I found myself being completly unable to defend my lifestyle because i didn't have the knowledge! And living in the big cities it is really rare to have access the so called family farmed stuff and unless you go get it yourself can you really know?

So I think for me making the majority of my food choices vegan is like what i see as the "easy" way out - Then i know for 100% sure that no being is suffering directly from my food choices and its cheaper as a student too

The wholde enviorment thing is a though cookie no matter your diet these day but i think that the mantra there is buy locally produced and if you eat meat, dairies and eggs, then dont do it every day.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Aylyn » 27 Jan 2011, 13:51

If I have processed ham or other meat on a sandwich I can take one bite and think I am eating a skin sandwich, so put it in the bin.Black pudding is pig's blood and something I couldn't eat and apparently sausages in England are full of minced up eyes and testicles and all the other things you really wouldn't want to eat.
I think living in the cities is a big part of the problem. When I look at the above post from Bartholomew, I find that a very interesting and poignant statement. Thing's you wouldn't want to eat? Only we in our overfed western countries would look at it like that. The reality is much harsher, look at Uganda:
She points to a brittle, old, dried goat-skin hanging inside her hut. It's crawling with insects. She brings it down and bangs it, throwing dust into sunbeams coming through gaps in the roof. She takes a knife and slices off small chunks. The children's dulled eyes light up a bit. Expectantly, they gather around like a scene out of Oliver Twist. Ms Echak hands out slices of raw skin. They grab them, chewing frantically and wolfing them down - fur and all.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12269677

For my grandparents, who had one pig each year to feed a family of 7, anything was edible as long as you could chew it. What was not immediately consumed was ground up and went into sausages to be eaten later, and there was no part of the animal that was thrown away (bones maybe). My great-grandmother's cookbook is full of recipes for heart, lungs, kidney, liver, brains, thymus and other internal organs from an animal. For us of today, the only edible part of an animal seems to be the lean muscles, and even that comes with health warning for red meat. While I am not keen on chewing gristle in its original form, I have no problem eating it when it has been nicely minced and seasoned, so sausages are fine. But you cannot even buy half the parts of an animal at the butcher's any more, since there is no market for it. Go and try to buy pig trotters, you will probably have to order them in advance.

In today's world, we are too detached from the harsh realities, be that of food shortage or how animals are treated during the life on the farm and when their life ends. It is that which makes us indifferent to what is going on in battery farms, and enables the atrocities that are going on. Don't believe for a moment I am blind to that. I find it very interesting though to see a woman complain after the BBC series "Where our food comes from" about the horrible images and insist we buy meat in the supermarket "where no animals are hurt". This woman has lost all touch with reality, but she is not the only one.

So rather than stopping to buy meat and living off plants entirely, I rather try and get to buy meat that was properly reared and killed, and hopefully, we can restore proper living conditions for those animals. For me, the discussion is less about eating meat and more about he question of how we want farming to be in the future. With our population rising, and land not being extendable, we will have that discussion soon anyway. If you have a look at the government report on food shortage:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12249909

We might soon have to decide whether we feed animals or humans. Like it or not, we might all be going vegan soon. In the meantime, I enjoy my lamb korma.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Bartholomew » 29 Jan 2011, 09:54

I've gone a full week with no meat and can't say that I have missed it at all. I have mainly been eating cheese, vegetables, fruit, nuts, rice and bread. :)

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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Argenta » 29 Jan 2011, 11:49

I've gone a full week with no meat and can't say that I have missed it at all. I have mainly been eating cheese, vegetables, fruit, nuts, rice and bread. :)
A word of caution from a long-time lacto-vegetarian: you will not notice the "missing" thing at once. And I am not talking about the "munchies" here -- you may not crave meat at all, I know I never have. However, if you suddenly turn vegetarian, it could have some long-lasting health repercussions, since you are not physically used to such diet.

One of the main problems is that your body is used to getting very long chains of amino-acids, which do not exist in vegetarian diet. You need to go slowly, so that your body can get the time needed to produce enzymes which create longer chains from the shorter ones you are currently taking in. Please think about dropping animal products one by one... perhaps leaving out the red meat first, and taking only poultry, eggs, fish and milk products for some time. Then, if it works well, drop the next thing you want, and so on. If you wish, consider taking a health-check now and then, just to be on the safe side.

I also suggest you begin adding legumes to your diet (also slowly, not to cause too much gas and/or constipation): pulses, beans (green, red etc.), green peas, chickpeas, Indian "dals", soy products (if you wish) and similar protein-rich foods.

Good luck :hug:
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby skh » 29 Jan 2011, 14:48

But if the market share of "organic meat" is increasing, as you say, many people (such as yourself) must be making those choices and the industry must be changing. This is an excellent turn of events. Do you know how fast the market share is increasing? Is it 5% annualy? 10%? Even 1% would be good....I'll keep an eye out for the published stats.
I think it is definitely increasing, at least here in Germany. But the focus is on organic meat, i.e. no drugs and chemicals used in animal rearing because it's bad for the humans who eat it. Treating the animals well in life and killing them humanely is part of the guidelines for organic farming, but when demand increases and the current methods of organic farming don't scale, I'm not sure how much of that will be lost again.

I'm not sure how it is done in other countries, but we have a few associations who control organic farmers, certify that they follow their guidelines, and allow them to use the name of the association on the product, like a brand. So when I buy something marked with "Bioland" or "Demeter" (the two big players) I can be fairly sure that the food comes from organic farming, and if it is an animal product, that the animal was treated ok (it was still killed, and was probably not cuddled to death).

But a Demeter farm can only rear a certain amount of cattle and pigs following these guidelines, so when more people want to buy meat from certified organic farms, prices must really go up. And then there's far too much profit to be made by loosening the standards, or even selling fake organic meat to make customers feel better. I don't think that we can produce enough organic meat to fulfil the current demand for meat in rich western countries.

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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby skh » 29 Jan 2011, 14:57

Regarding using all parts of the animal for food:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style ... 15670.html

(A group of food bloggers from Berlin wanted to find out how a living animal is turned into the meat they eat, and spent a weekend learning how to cut up, cook, preserve a whole pig. And blogged about it, of course.)

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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Susanne » 29 Jan 2011, 15:12

Vegetarianism is a great thing for many but I am an unashamed carnivore.
I am very grateful to live in a rural area and be able to raise my own chickens. At this point I don't have hens for eggs anymore but I raise 25-30 birds each year for meat. They are well fed & housed & treated with respect. My aim is for them to have only one bad day in their life which is the last one & even then it is respectfully done.
I am also lucky enough to have a local organic farm CSA just down the road that raises beef, pork, dairy products & all sorts of veggies. Their small store off the barn is a wonderful room full of their products as well as local breads, honey, herbs.... Some of it is a bit pricey for my budget but every now & again I'll splurge on something. :D
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby DJ Droood » 29 Jan 2011, 15:16

(A group of food bloggers from Berlin wanted to find out how a living animal is turned into the meat they eat, and spent a weekend learning how to cut up, cook, preserve a whole pig. And blogged about it, of course.)
The kill itself is clean and efficient. The locally reared pigs were brought to the estate the day before, allowing them to acclimatise to their new surroundings. This not only ensures that they suffer as little stress as possible but prevents the contamination of the meat with adrenalin, which, the staff explain, will make it soft and bitter. The first pig is prodded into a small pen and dispatched immediately with an electric shock of enough strength and length to stun it to unconsciousness
Nice!....I wonder if all our bacon gets brought to an estate for a clean and efficient kill? I doubt it...but that blog would certainly make me feel better about my bockwurst.

Try this link, but only after you finish your breakfast sausage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GOYfPl6meU
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby DJ Droood » 29 Jan 2011, 15:20

Their small store off the barn is a wonderful room full of their products as well as local breads, honey, herbs.... Some of it is a bit pricey for my budget but every now & again I'll splurge on something.
So you can imagine the dilemma of the vast majority of people who don't live just down the road from an "organic" farm, and are unable to splurge now and then on non-factory farmed meat. The effort it takes to rationalize their involvement with the meat industry is that much harder for them.
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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Susanne » 29 Jan 2011, 15:24

Oh, I do know, absolutely! I grew up in suburbia which is why I am so grateful for the opportunities that I have now.
Have you ever seen the documentary "Food Inc."

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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby skh » 29 Jan 2011, 15:25

DJ Drood,

that's what I meant -- it doesn't scale. I think it is necessary and laudable that people want to experience where their meat comes from, and because they can afford it, do so at a place where the pig led a happy life just a few villages away.

But it is not a solution for the 80 million inhabitants of this country. Or the 7 billion of this planet. I can, at the moment, buy clean-conscience meat twice a month instead of factory meat several times a week. But if every person in this country does the same, organic farming needs to be turned into an industry as well, and lose its innocence.

It's like eating game -- as long as it's a niche market it is a good source for "clean" meat, but only because all the other people eat the factory food and don't want game.

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Re: Vegetarianism

Postby Susanne » 29 Jan 2011, 15:47

that's what I meant -- it doesn't scale. I think it is necessary and laudable that people want to experience where their meat comes from, and because they can afford it, do so at a place where the pig led a happy life just a few villages away.

But it is not a solution for the 80 million inhabitants of this country. Or the 7 billion of this planet.
As I posted before, I wholeheartedly agree. It's not just that people can or can't afford it but just the basic accessibility to it. I am very lucky to live in a state (Vermont) where many of the residents not only raise their own food but there is a very active movement among the farmers to provide quality foods to the community through CSAs, farmers markets & donations to the local food shelves. That being said the majority of those farms are small & family owned, not huge agribusinesses.
I'd say we agree on this but tell me...In your opinions, what is the solution?
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