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I've stopped eating meat

 
 
Transcend
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 11:55 am
Thanks for all the replies and shedding some light on this topic.

One thing I would like to know though is the reasons you have behind not eating meat.
Huxley
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 02:03 pm
@jeeprs,
Your willingness to do the labor would count you as moral according to Michael Pollan. link I found this essay to be a pretty cool read (if you happen to go for readings on the ethics food consumption)


I had asked for justification of the OP because food ethics is a topic I'm interested in, generally. What makes it interesting, in my view, is that it's an aspect of life that someone can change relatively easily (in comparison to the set of morally commendable things you can do with your life), and so the arguments for or against are more likely to have an effect on the behavior of those listening to them.
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 02:23 pm
@Transcend,
My reasons are diverse.

Biology - The more I learn about the human digestive track and how it processes (or more accurately struggles to process) meat, the more I'm unconvinced that humans are actually omnivores. Perhaps some of our genetic features like our teeth may suggest we are, however as a counter example Gorillas have much more sizable canines, and yet they are fruit eaters. Further, at one point in history deer ate field mice, yet we can agree that now they aren't omnivores. I believe there may be value in challenging our definition as omnivores. Our intestines do not have nutrient receptors for heme-iron from meat either.

Health - There is no nutrient that I must eat meat to acquire, and for all the nutrients I can get in meat, I can find another source that does not pollute my body with cholesterol. I have lost over 25 lbs and my blood pressure is down its best levels it has been since I was a kid. My resting heart rate has also lowered. I have not suffered in my protein intake nor have I had a elevated level of carbohydrates in my diet.

Animal Ethics - The main thing here is that I do not wish to enter in what has been described to me in the most dramatic of terms a "mercenary relationship" with another creature. I'd more simply say that if I could not personally bring myself to kill and butcher an animal for use, then I'm not going to pay another person to do it on my behalf. In this regard, I actually have much respect for Native American views regarding the relationship between humans and other animals. I simply know that I could not do this myself.

Human Ethics - This is my biggest issue. In a world where people are starving and thirsty, the use of natural resources should be reexamined. For all the crops that are devoted specifically to making feed for animals to be butchered, we should be devoting the land and water to crops for people. The economy of which is outstandingly poor. In the case of beef, for every gram of edible beef, eight grams of feed must be given to the animal plus great quantities of water. If we could provide clean water to every human on earth, we'd wipe out perhaps 50% of communicable disease. When I evaluate the human element of eating animals, I cannot find a reason that I am entitled to a steak whose resources represent the meals of eight other people.

Environmental Ethics - Related to the statements above, the carbon footprint of eating animals is huge.

I certainly don't think people that eat meat are bad people. I don't think they are dumb people either. I made my decision for myself based on how I personally wished to contribute to the world. In the end, I summarized that I gained nothing from continuing to eat animals and animal products. I feel my exploration is far from over on this topic. I'll probably continue to find ways I can implement my observations on my lifestyle in the future.

A
R
T
Transcend
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 02:29 pm
@Huxley,
Morality infers that it's about the person in question. You can say that what I do is moral because that is what you think, subjectively. There isn't any direct intention on my part to be moral, it's just a by-product that people would think my actions so.

Saying I'm moral assumes that those who do eat meat are immoral. You immediately create a difference between two people. Differences create conflics. I'm not in the business of conflict.

So please, please, realise it's only about the animals. Once you see that, you'll transgress morality.

Smile
0 Replies
 
Transcend
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 02:38 pm
@failures art,
Thanks so much for being so thorough. I'm with you about the people who eat meat: they are not dumb, or bad. They are ignorant though. Unbeleivably so. Fact.

Our diet, as human beings, is questionable. I don't know the facts, but I feel we have moved on so much from early man, we have changed. But it is certain that there is no nutritional value from meat that we can't get from anywhere else.

Thanks again.
failures art
 
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Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 02:42 pm
@Transcend,
"Ignorant" is a rather loaded word. I get it on the purist definition, but I think it's too much to call a person that on this issue. People have very rational reasons to accept the education they have received on the human (more accurately the western) diet. It's not like they ignore things. I believe many people actively seek to educate themselves on the topic and going to what should be the authority on the subject, I do not hold them to be ignorant because they believe what they are told about the consumption of animals.

A
R
T
Transcend
 
  0  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 02:49 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

"Ignorant" is a rather loaded word. I get it on the purist definition, but I think it's too much to call a person that on this issue. People have very rational reasons to accept the education they have received on the human (more accurately the western) diet. It's not like they ignore things. I believe many people actively seek to educate themselves on the topic and going to what should be the authority on the subject, I do not hold them to be ignorant because they believe what they are told about the consumption of animals.

A
R
T


I wouldn't call it 'education' when referring to the masses. The masses are generally conditioned and don't think to question. That isn't education. If they blindly accept what they are told, it's ignorance. I'm speaking from experience here - even though that isn't the most reliable thing - as I know how ignorant I was before I actually saw the atrocities and ill logic.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 03:41 pm
Thanks Huxley!

The other things that have not been mentioned is the brutality of industrialized agriculture and the impact of large-scale commercial farming on the environment. Most consumers, I'm sure, think that meat is something that grows inside neat little styrofoam packs with a film of plastic on top. If they were privy to what goes on in the yards and factories, they might not be nearly so sanguine. And the environmental impact of the enormous 'factory farming' industry is enormous Being vegetarian reduces your carbon footprint significantly.
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mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 04:05 pm
Hi All!

I'd just like to add, though it may be of little consequence, that plants are living things to.
Just because we don't hear them scream out in pain when we slaughter, slice and dice them, doesn't mean they don't feel it!

Living things ALL feel pain. How you choose to ignore or deflect the absence of visible signs from is down to you. But, if you eat ANYTHING - It has been KILLED.

That's my 2cents, Have a great day!
Mark...
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 04:32 pm
@Transcend,
Quote:
I watched a video on YouTube sometime last week. It was of a slaughterhouse, specifically, a cattle slaughterhouse. What I saw touched me deeply. I had been contemplating the cessation of meat eating quite a bit prior to watching the video....


Killing your own food is a lot cleaner and you're eating animals which have had good lives and not been penned up in cages as per American agribusiness.

The place you go on the net to purchase the wherewithal for the transition is

http://www.gunbroker.com

which exists because Ebay refuses to touch firearms.






0 Replies
 
Transcend
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 05:07 pm
@mark noble,
mark noble wrote:

Hi All!

I'd just like to add, though it may be of little consequence, that plants are living things to.
Just because we don't hear them scream out in pain when we slaughter, slice and dice them, doesn't mean they don't feel it!

Living things ALL feel pain. How you choose to ignore or deflect the absence of visible signs from is down to you. But, if you eat ANYTHING - It has been KILLED.

That's my 2cents, Have a great day!
Mark...


Reminds me of the ascetics that the Buddha hung around with for a bit, before becoming the happy chubby guy we all know today. They starved themselves to death because of the reasons you gave.

I'm going to assume you are being serious, Mark, and give you an answer. Yes, plants are killed as we eat them. To feel pain, a being needs a nervous system. Do plants have a nervous system? Ostensibly, no. But, think of the 'venus fly trap', what's that all about? It's suggested that it's some kind of spring loaded mechanism. I recently watched a TV programme about plants and there was one particular plant that seemed to have a sense of smell.

Even if they do feel, it doesn't mean that they feel pain. Pain is something that the conscious mind, such as ours, recognises in order to tell you that something is wrong. To say they feel pain would be to say they are aware. Oh, think of the paranoia!

You could say the same about the micro-organisms that our body kills every second, I suppose, but that's not going to make me starve myself to death like a silly ascetic!

All the best, my friend.

Mike
jeeprs
 
  0  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 05:37 pm
@Transcend,
Hey! Gautama Buddha was not CHUBBY. The figure you are referring to is Ho, the Chinese God of Good Fortune, which has nothing to do with the Buddhist tradition. But as most Americans know nothing about it, they confuse the two. (Reminds me of the rather tragic icon that appeared in Japan in Christmas one year of Santa Claus being crucificed....)
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 05:43 pm
@jeeprs,
Strange also is how somehow KFC has convinced Japan that eating fried chicken is a part of celebrating Christmas.

The success of this marketing ploy is very telling of how culture effects diet more than actual biology drives us to eat certain things.

A
R
Thinking of Santa on the cross is confusing, but Japan is known for weird.
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Transcend
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 05:46 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:

Hey! Gautama Buddha was not CHUBBY. The figure you are referring to is Ho, the Chinese God of Good Fortune, which has nothing to do with the Buddhist tradition. But as most Americans know nothing about it, they confuse the two. (Reminds me of the rather tragic icon that appeared in Japan in Christmas one year of Santa Claus being crucificed....)


I know that the Buddha (if such a person existed) was not chubby. I was being sarcastic. I'm not American either. Not that it matters...
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 06:51 pm
@Transcend,
oh well sorry for being defensive, and implying you were american.
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Khethil
 
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Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 07:44 pm
We've gone over this quite a bit; over and over and over.

I've wrestled with the morality of this quite a bit in the last year. I can come up with a hundred justifications for eating meat; with not a one of them that holds water against the argument that doing so causes unnecessary suffering for something that's not necessary. We can argue the nature of humanity or its evolution, or even that of primates (herbivore -vs omnivore) all night and get no where.

My resolution is that I'm going to do it because its what I want to do, and for as long as I do this, I get to continue wrestling with it until such time as my need to become more moral exceeds my physical desire for meat. I choose to admit my hypocrisy in this for the mean time, while leaving the question as "unresolved".

Unless and until I can resolve this conflict, I can only have cheers for those who've taken the plunge while bidding them patience - and a little less judgmentalism - for those of us "still on the meat"

Thanks
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 08:22 pm
@Khethil,
I can relate. I'm an impostor vegan of sorts. Even though I've had fish only twice since I've made my choice, I know that I struggle letting it go. So technically, I'm a pescetarian. I'm less concerned with monikers though. For me it is hard because I have built an association with cooking and eating fish with bonding with my father and my cultural heritage. I've began to challenge this association by investigating alternate traditional foods/ingredients I could shift that ethnic association over to, as well as building new meal-time social bonding habits with my family that do not involve fish.

Is doesn't hurt that veggie-shrimp is the most convincing of all the fake-meats in my opinion.

A personal victory for me was going to a sushi restaurant and getting vegetable sushis like pickled radish and kappamaki. I had not really let myself go since making my switch because I overwhelmingly associate sushi with fish*, and I knew it was a temptation.

*An exploration in the history of sushi reveals that the incorporation of fish came later. The word "Sushi" means vinegar'd rice, not raw fish (sashimi) as it is commonly perpetuated in modern times.

A
R
T
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Razzleg
 
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Reply Tue 29 Jun, 2010 08:33 pm
My father became a vegetarian when I was a child and has maintained a vegetarian lifestyle for thirty-odd years now. My mother was not a vegetarian, but as a consequence of my father's decision a large portion of my meals growing up were of a meat-less nature. And my girlfriend is a pescetarian, so the trend towards at least mammal-less meals continues. I've never made the leap to vegetarianism myself, as a consequence of, what I must admit is, laziness. Having observed the difficulties that they have sometimes encountered finding a decent meal outside of their own kitchens, and I don't really enjoy cooking, I've struggled with the conflict between my desire to eat well and my desire to eat good.

I'm afraid that I've probably little to add to this thread in terms of arguments, but I thought I would recommend a book, or rather refer others to a book my father recommends, Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe. It's a book that describes many reasons, moral, ecological, and health-related, for adopting a vegetarian diet. It also contains different ways of practically pursuing a nutritious yet varied meal plan for those interested. Since it was written in 1971, and revised in '82, some of its data about the food industry is outdated. Nonetheless, I think that anyone who was considering becoming a vegetarian, or even someone who was interested in simply eating better, would find it a worthwhile resource.
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Sentience
 
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Reply Wed 30 Jun, 2010 08:30 pm
@mark noble,
While it's not strictly true that plants feel pain, I think it is necessary to take into account that you are killing them nonetheless.
Transcend
 
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Reply Thu 1 Jul, 2010 06:13 am
@Sentience,
Sentinence, which Pratchett book is that quote in your sig from? It's hilarious!
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