Eating Meat or Vegetarian/Vegan?

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Mububban, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. Crouton

    Crouton New Member

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    I guess we will have to disagree to disagree on the whole plant feeling pain thing. I see now that you were just making most of it up for debating sake. If you did truly believe all that stuff you wrote then I hardly see how you could eat plants and still sleep at night.

    As for vegetarians who condemn other people for eating meat, I believe I already personally said several times in this thread that I also hate vegetarians who try to push their ideals on meat-eaters with absolutely no reason at all. Just like I don't like it when meat eaters state I am unhealthy or make jokes on my behalf or state I am wrong simply for what I eat. I'll only ever share my opinions about meat with meat-eaters if they trigger me by first having a go at me about being vegetarian. It especially annoys me if they do this using misinformation, outdated ideas and incorrect facts. Most of my friends and family eat meat. I don't care as long as they leave me along about being vegetarian.
     
  2. JNK

    JNK King of tards

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    I eat meat... and I don't even want to get into any discussions about that...
     
  3. Crouton

    Crouton New Member

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    It's a good thing you posted in the discussion thread about eating meat and vegetarianism then :p
     
  4. JNK

    JNK King of tards

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    yup... posted my opinion :)
     
  5. Crouton

    Crouton New Member

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    Haha I know I was just messing with you.
     
  6. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    *laughs* You two are too funny!

    I am happy to agree to disagree :)

    What I wrote makes perfectly logical sense (to me if not to anyone else!). I can sleep at night because I know it's not my fault that I must kill to eat and so I can eat either plants or animals with a clear conscience. We definitely see eye to eye on the meat-eaters not being correct in condemning vegetarians for their dietary choices either... my argument works both ways for the same reason ;) To summarize my arguments: make your own dietary choices for whatever reasons matter to you... just don't judge anyone else for theirs.
     
  7. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    Humans are also the only species that has evolved and grown to have a deeper understanding of the world around us. I think I used this same example somewhere else but, if we ever die out sooner or later nature will likely raise up another lifeform on Earth to be like us. That species would probably make all the mistakes we would as a result of their technological and scientific progression. Above all I live for the welfare of the human race, not Earth even. Because Earth would just make the same mistake again by making us again at least we know what we know now, and if we are wiped out all the sacrifice is in vain.

    I'm not proud or happy we have to do things like factory farm to supply to the demands of masses, but that is the way our society was built to be and we haven't as a population quite realized that it is unnecessary. I'm fairly sure that the grain we feed in the US to livestock could feed the world, even come near ending world hunger if it were applied elsewhere. But like I said, our brains reward certain stimuli and despite our advancements we ourselves haven't quite reached the level of our creations.
     
  8. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    It's true that there is a net loss of energy when you feed plants to an animal and then eat the animal instead of consuming the plants in the first place, unless you were unable to eat those plants for other reasons (more on that below). In theory that means you could make an argument that we could feed more people on the planet by all becoming vegetarian and that is a good thing for resolving world hunger. I have to wonder if that is a band-aid fix only. Poverty and starvation have as much (or maybe more) to do with social and economic disparity as they do with the land being incapable of supporting its population. It's purely speculation on my part, but I'd guess that if we worked to fix that disparity, poverty and starvation would be at least significantly improved or fall by the wayside, no matter where you live. That is a more sustainable strategy than charity from a globally centralized food production and distribution system. That would be factory farming on a massive scale! Another thought I have on this is that our planet can only sustain so many people and modern humans have the capability of controlling their reproduction. In theory, we should be able to regulate our own population to a sustainable size for rational reasons. (Admittedly, that is a whole other can of worms ethically...) The third thought I have is that some animals have evolved specialized digestive systems for utilizing the energy in plants that we can't utilize. Cows (and other ruminants) for example have a large fermentation vat in their bellies (rumen) full of bacteria that digest plant cellulose for them. Horses, rabbits and guinea pigs have a huge cecum that essentially does the same thing. These animals evolved to eat grass. Since humans (and carnivores) lack the ability to digest the abundant cellulose in grass, the only way we can take full advantage of the "energy" in such a plant is to eat the animal that ate the grass. Ironically, this ties into some of the issues with factory farming. Livestock raised on grain instead of pasture are eating food we could have eaten ourselves, essentially "wasting" some of those calories. (I won't even go into the problems that feeding too much grain causes these animals!) Eating exclusively grass-fed herbivores would only take advantage of the fact that they can make the energy in grass available to us, rather than "wasting" food we could have used to feed ourselves.... and the cows would be much happier while they yet lived :) The intelligent use of resources with an eye to sustainability and fixing the issues contributing to the problems makes much more sense in my opinion.
     
  9. Anrisa Ryn

    Anrisa Ryn Author, artist, gamer

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    Here here. Quoted for truth.
    Heifer Project is working hard on this.
     
  10. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    True, charity is just a temporary fix, there are deeper roots to these problems, and population concerns after a certain point. But not many cultures have realistically accepted that we can't stop expanding and the world, while having a boon of resources, can be spread too thin or consume even more resources in that process. I was just saying for comparison sake, we use a ton of grain to feed the masses of livestock we have. Also just consuming grain to survive is kind of zany in practice too. I'm sure that if it was transported it would just be used to feed livestock elsewhere.

    In a sense there is a sort of privilege to be able to choose to be vegetarian. Some people are forced to hunt and scavenge to barely survive. I would never insist that feeding everybody one mass produceable plant is the way to go. I think diets should be more close to the food pyramid, less meat and sugars, but they are so abundant and accessible in our culture now.
     
  11. Crouton

    Crouton New Member

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    Consuming grain to survive is a food chain with a lot more common sense than eating meat. There has actually been studies done on this very thing. If humans ate all their grain instead of feeding it to pigs and cattle etc we would actually be able to feed a MUCH larger population and it's much more sustainable.

    Once during the Russian revolution an entire town basically ran out of food, people were dying and starving in the streets but they kept feeding grain to animals to eat. One day though they decided to eat the grain themselves instead of eating the animals. The difference was drastic and almost straight away the amount of people dying was more than halved. It happened almost overnight and was such a huge difference. It's just more sustainable that way.

    As for people eating less meat and sugars, that's exactly what we should be doing. If you actually study human anatomy we CAN eat meat, but our bodies are more suited for a plant-based diet. Meat is okay for us in small doses maybe a couple of times a week, but many people eat it every day which is quite unhealthy for people. It's giving the body too much at once of things it doesn't need. That's why we have such a problem with things like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. You don't often see vegetarians who are obese.
     
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  12. Lord Yuan

    Lord Yuan Death-Thousand+

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    I mean just rice to sustain the population seems like a bit much. Fruits and vegetables with other minerals and vitamins would be better to produce too

    Most of my diet is unhealthy meats, cheeses, sugars, and grains. I'm probably not too healthy myself but weight wise I'm below the curve somehow. I think a lot of how people can handle food is specific to the individual.
     
  13. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    I think that's got to be true LY.
    Crouton, don't vegetarians have to balance rice with legumes to get all of their essential amino acids? I had a muslim (?) houseguest once who couldn't eat anything but vegetarian meals or halal meat. Since halal meat is exceedingly rare around here, I remember having to cook very specific things for him to make sure he ate properly.... just curious!
     
  14. Dreamscaper

    Dreamscaper Royal Hamster Wrangler

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    I believe they do, there are also vits/minerals that can only be found in meat products. I don't remember it off the top of my head, just the factoid from the class.

    Personally, I tried to be vegetarian once. It lasted less than a day when I was confronted with a choice between steak and ribs. I really have difficulty making dietary changes... I've heard that grains are supposedly much worse for you than anything else, but meals should realistically be very vegetable and fruit heavy, but not to forgo the meat.
     
  15. Anrisa Ryn

    Anrisa Ryn Author, artist, gamer

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    I think grains are only really bad for you if you eat them all the time. That's why those atkins diets make you cut back on carbs.
     
  16. Crouton

    Crouton New Member

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    I'm not even quite sure what an amino acid is. To be honest I don't ever think that much about what I eat. I don't like, measure out portions of food so I know I'm getting the right amount of nutrients of everything or anything like that. If I eat bad or pig out for a few days then I will usually balance it out with several days of veggies and salads. I hardly cook very specific things, I eat basically everything as long as there's no meat in it.... which is a lot of food. I'm not a very picky eater. If it doesn't have meat then it's good. But yeah as far as counting calories, nutrients, vitamins etc I never do any of that.

    Also Dreamscaper. I don't know of any vitamin or mineral that can ONLY be found in meat products. Sure, some things like iron can be much easier to attain in large doses in a piece of steak, but it's still quite attainable in many fruits and vegetables, you just need to eat right. There's basically nothing you can't get being a vegetarian that you can get from meat. Veganism might be different though. I'm not 100% on vegans.
     
  17. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    Science / Biology lesson for the day:
    Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins Crouton, and proteins are used in building body parts. Proteins are actually long chains of individual units called amino acids (think of a string of different coloured pearls for an analogy). DNA determines how the string is constructed (order and colour of the pearls) and interactions between the different pearls in the chain cause the whole thing to fold and twist into a 3 dimensional shape called a protein. Digestion breaks down proteins into amino acids and the body absorbs and uses those to build its own proteins. A body can make some of it's own amino acids for this but there are some it can't make and those must be supplied by the diet. The ones that can't be made are called essential amino acids. Meat-eaters can get them easily but I think vegetarians have to be a little more careful. I remember my house-guest coming with a list of dietary requirements and I remember cooking lots of rice and lentils so the poor guy wouldn't get any nutritional deficiencies.
     
  18. Crouton

    Crouton New Member

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    Thanks for that. I knew all about protein but not aimino acids. It's actually really difficult to become deficient of any nutrients as a vegetarian. If someone who is a vegetarian DOES become deficient in some way then they probably live on a diet that is just chips, chocolate, and pizza. Being vegetarian is almost exactly the same as being a meat-eater. If you look after yourself, eat right, exercise etc then you know you will be healthy and not become deficient in any way. That's exactly the same for both meat eaters and vegetarians. I don't have some sort of chart to make sure I get so much protein, so much iron, so much vitamin b12 etc everyday. That's just ridiculous and as a vegetarian it's not needed. I've been vegetarian for over 10 years and I eat what I want when I want and have never been deficient in any sort of way throughout that whole time. I was however quite heavily anemic and deficient in iron many years ago, back when I did used to eat meat. I don't suffer from that any more as I started to look after myself better when I became vegetarian. Your house guest sounded very fussy. I'm quite glad I've never come across a vegetarian such as that and at least 40% of all the people I know, whether they be friends or family are either vegetarian or vegan.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  19. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Whoa... this one advanced a bit on me whilst I was away. Let's go back a bit :)

    The problem with single health claims is that they implicate better health or longer lives but forget to see the bigger picture. There is no point in making a point about losing weight on - say - ingesting tape worm segments. Yes it works, but I wouldn't quite recommend it for the sake of your health. I fully agree that you didn't state that your life as a vegetarian would be longer or healthier - but the implication are rather strong when you start about cancer and high blood pressure. But I'm glad that we agree that, as far as we know, vegetarianism doesn't make you healthier or live longer :)

    Now, as to the risks. There are certain vitamins and essential amino acids which are much easier obtained through meat than through plants, yeast and bacteria (which is, basically, what you're left with). A diet which lacks in specific vitamins or amino acids could lead to a number of health risks, including symptoms resulting from catabolsism. Vitamin deficiencies, such as B12 and D have their own health risks.

    Well, I wouldn't say that you are at risk of just about anything, being anything whatsoever. You might very well get all the vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, the lot. And then again, you might not. You might be very ill and haven't noticed. It's a bit of an issue with medical science. Everything that goes for a huge group of people doesn't have to go for you.

    Fact is that some vegetarians don't get what they need. Anyway, we agreed earlier that vegetarians are not healthier than omnivorous types :)

    Animals commonly found in a farm (production animals) generally don't have a very nice life. You said something about the poor lives of these animals, and I agree.

    It's the humans which serve animals, I thought that's the whole problem :p

    But jokes aside... I think we enter a somewhat religious portion of debate here. I understand that you believe that every animal is on this planet for a reason. And that the reason is not "to be eaten". I believe something else. In a sense (or - in essence), I think that life is pointless. People (and animals) exist because their (biological) parents had sex. You, basically, exist through the extraordinary chance of half your genetic material from both your parents combined at the right moment. Life has no more feelings about life than death has hard feelings about coming and taking you. As it were. You basically live because you have born, but haven't died yet.

    You might say that being alive (having been born and not having died yet) is a genetical trait. Our set of genes enables us to live and to be successful - it's all that Darwin stuff. Cows, for example, are a hugely successful species because they (their gene pool, somewhere in the past) allowed themselves to be domesticated. Good for them.

    I also don't agree that humans and animals should have the same rights. The fact that humans have the same rights as other humans is because of equality. No two species of animals, however, are the same enough to call them equal. What rights exactly would you provide shrimps with? Anemones? Should they be the same as you'd give to - say - elephants?

    I would say that there is a number of species (somewhere between 5 and 10) which have reached such a level in evolution that you can say they qualify for rights of their own. None of them, however, are farm animals. In my mind, at least.

    This is a bit of a side-track - but it appears that the same goes for weight (and shape) is for most other medical deviations. Some health parameters improve. Others deteriorate. As it happened, I read an article on BBC News about just that on the day I made this post. Sadly, I can't find the link anymore :(

    No, the point you made (and I've heard it before) is that humans share more traits with herbivores than carnivores. That is true, but it's also a false statement, since we are omnivores and the comparison should start there. I would say that we are rather inefficient as both carnivores and herbivores (since we can't process food sources like grasses). Since our two closest relatives are omnivores, I think we might as well assume we're also that.

    I would agree, though, that average intake of meat in the Western world is very high; much beyond nutritional need. I would also go so far as to say that this is something we need to deal with.

    As to chimps and bonobos... they are recognised as two seperate species. I remember hearing somewhere that bonobos share more genetical traits with humans than with chimps, but I can't confirm. It's all pretty close anyway. Genetically, chimps are closer to humans than emperor penguins are to each other...
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012
  20. Dreamscaper

    Dreamscaper Royal Hamster Wrangler

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    I'll go digging through my textbook and see if I can find it... it won't likely be very soon though, its a big book and I'm spending more time on here than normal, lol.

    From a precursory look it looks like its b12 which is not found naturally in plants, but rather is found in fortified products.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012