Eating Animals and Wearing Leather: Why We’re All Hypocrites

When it comes to the internet, I have some general ground rules that I try to follow, and suggest everyone else follow as well.

1) Never read the comments on online news stories.
Seriously. Don’t fucking do it. You will lose faith in humanity faster than reading the timeline of someone on Twitter whose bio reads “I love God, guns, and ‘Murica!”

2) NEVER READ THE COMMENTS ON ONLINE NEWS STORIES.
In case it wasn’t clear enough the first time.

3) Avoid emotional topics like circumcision and vegetarianism/veganism.
Not that we shouldn’t talk about these things- but great care is needed when discussing emotional issues, as it is often hard to separate the emotions from the actual discussion points.

That being said, I just got finished reading the comments on several news stories and this post is all about vegetarianism and what we eat.

So, here’s how the world works. Some people are vegetarian. Some are vegan. Some are omnivores. Some presumably eat nothing but chocolate (choclovores? I aspire to this). Some people have reasons for their eating habits. Some do it just because it’s what they’ve always done. I was the latter until last year.

Now, here’s the thing that fucking kills me. It is great to have passion, whether it be for better treatment of animals, sustainability of the planet, or the fact that everyone should always eat nothing but chocolate- but when that crosses the line from ‘passion’ to ‘cunty, judgemental rage’, it may be time to take a step back.

I am a vegetarian. This is a relatively new change in my life. This time last year, I was laughing at people who tried to tell me vegetarianism was a realistic life choice, because, to quote myself, ‘cows taste good!’ (My opinion on that hasn’t changed, to be clear)

I grew up on a cattle farm in the middle of nowhere in a sparsely populated province in the middle of nowhere in the sparsely populated country of Canada. My dad made a living raising cattle. I helped to raise them, forking hay, cutting feed, unfreezing water bowls in the dead of winter. Our freezer was permanently stocked with packages and packages of ground beef, steak, roasts, etc etc etc. We ate cow. A lot. That’s how I was raised. My dad always treated his cattle well, and when the freezer was low, he’d send off one of the cows he’d raised to the local butcher and WHAM. Freezer was bountiful once again. This was my understanding of how the food processing system worked.

Why am I telling you this? Because it took me 27 years of life to realize that just because this is how I was raised, doesn’t necessarily make it ‘normal’, or ‘right’, or ‘moral’. Initially, when it was suggested to me that eating meat was not moral, I was offended. Which is saying something, because crazy theists insult me all day long, and fewer fucks I could not give. But after taking a step back, and not taking it so personally, I came to a roundabout conclusion.

We are all immoral. In some way or another, not one of us is perfectly moral. I think we can probably all agree that needlessly killing an animal is not the most ethical or moral outcome. Even people who want to deny this know it to be true, based solely on the fact that we are typically outraged when dolphins are slaughtered or captured in Taiji for display in ‘marine parks’, healthy but ‘genetically unimportant’ giraffes are ‘surplussed’, or we see pictures of proud hunters holding up the head of the lion they just shot. Other than in the most extreme of individuals (those who, somehow, find slaughtering animals to be an enjoyable ‘sport’, which I would equate more to some sort of psychosis), we mostly feel remorse for the animals killed, and anger toward those who killed them. This reaction, to me, is normal.

This is the reaction I’ve always had. Animal suffering often leaves me in tears. I cannot change the channel quickly enough during commercials about animal abuse (except, perhaps, when a Tyler Perry show comes on) (though being forced to watch Tyler Perry could also be considered animal abuse). Many of us feel this way about animals-it is the natural, ingrained, empathetic response to seeing another creature suffering or dying. But it did eventually dawn on me, after 27 years, that there was a strange disconnect. Watching an abused dog crying would literally reduce me to tears, as I devoured the flesh of a slaughtered cow for dinner without a second thought. I came to the conclusion that I’d been a terrible hypocrite my entire life. How could I reasonably be outraged that dolphins were being killed and sold for meat when I gave zero fucks not only about the innumerable cows, pigs, etc being killed and consumed, BY ME, in my own country? And not only being killed, but, by my understanding, raised typically in absolutely abhorrent conditions?

So I gave up meat. It was mostly because I could no longer justify to myself why I could eat it while being visibly upset by other forms of animal suffering- and partly because I flatly refuse to watch documentaries on the horrors of factory farming. I decided that if I was not willing to watch what the animals go through in order to make it to my dinner table (I’m not), I shouldn’t be eating them.

Now, here’s a very important point. I am not here to tell anyone who decides to eat meat that they are immoral, or I am better than them, for not eating meat. Because that is fucking douchey, ridiculous, and so hypocritical that I can’t stand it. No, I don’t eat meat. But I have an absolutely gorgeous leather jacket in my closet that I love and would buy again if I didn’t already own it. I eat eggs and cheese with absolute abandon because I LOVE THEM AND YOU CAN’T TAKE THEM AWAY FROM ME. This is my choice. I can choose to do what I can to make myself better, and at this point, it is removing meat from my diet (and eliminating products that are tested on animals). I find a vegetarian diet easy, but I understand that not everyone would find it as easy as me, and I am happy to tell you right now it is downright cunty for anyone to try and dictate how someone else lives their life. Ok, you are a hardcore vegan who avoids anything used from or tested on animals. I applaud your commitment- very much, and with absolutely no sarcasm. But don’t run around screaming ‘IMMORAL’ at every vegetarian or meat eater when you do so wearing a t-shirt that was stitched by a child in a sweat shop in Asia, or eating fruit picked by a worker in Guatemala making 10 cents a day. Maybe you eat meat, but spend all of your free time working at the local soup kitchen, or campaigning to end sex trafficking. There are so many causes to be passionate about, and so many ways to be better and leave a good mark on the world. Putting people down for those choices, and judging them harshly, is no way to make them see your point. I think educating people on where their food comes from is very important, but being passionate to the point of alienating an otherwise potentially receptive audience does your cause no good.

There is tension on both sides, of course. While I have seen my fair share of preachy vegans, I’ve also seen a lot more unbelievably defensive, ignorant meat eaters.

When I finally told my mother in law I was vegetarian, this was the verbatim conversation we had.

Me: “I’m a vegetarian.”
Her: “Oh… so you don’t eat meat anymore?”
Me: “Nope.”
Her: “How about fish?”
Me: “Nope.”
Her: “…. What about chicken?”
Me: “……….”

This conversation really just made me laugh, but I think it highlights the ignorance of many people, at least in my area, with respect to food choices. I don’t blame them- I was just as ignorant not so long ago. For many I expect it is a result of really just not thinking about it before- another position I can understand.

A less ha-ha conversation occurred with one of my aunts at Christmas.

Me: “I’m a vegetarian.”
Her: “Oh… why?”
Me: “Ummm… for health reasons, sustainability issues, and I don’t agree with the treatment of animals in-”
Her: “Well your dad, and entire family, raises cattle. Do you think THEY abuse them too?”
Me: “…. dafuq?”

I think it is natural for meat eaters to get defensive when discussing vegetarianism, as I once did. It’s almost impossible as a vegetarian to outline your reasons for choosing that lifestyle without sounding like you’re judging anyone who DOESN’T choose that lifestyle. But I am here to tell you- I do not judge you, as I would expect a strict vegan not to judge me as I fry up some delicious halloumi cheese for my salad.

So what is my point? TWO FOLD! No, wait. Three fold.

1) I have yet to hear an argument for why it’s reasonable to be outraged at some kinds of animal abuse and not others- and I think a lot of meat eaters, especially the excellent free thinking ones, struggle with this conundrum as well
2) Regardless of your dietary choices, we should each try to do what we can, within our means, to be more moral people
3) Just don’t be a judgemental asshole. That’s a good general life rule.

As an awesome friend of mine once said… “I don’t eat meat, but I’m not a dick about it.”

I think that is the perfect sentiment. Do what you can in your own life to better yourself, be passionate about the causes you choose, and live in a way that is suitable for you. But don’t be a dick about it.

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11 Responses to Eating Animals and Wearing Leather: Why We’re All Hypocrites

  1. Let me tell shortly on why I disagree with you. There is a big difference being 1. not helping others and 2. directly harming others. Meat-eating is of the second type. Killing other beings for one’s use directly violates the principle of non-aggression. If one does not donate to a charity which helps those affected by earthquakes, it’s his choice (although not a very good one.) But violating others’ freedom, or right to life, or right to avoid suffering should never be seen as “one’s choice.”

    Now, you seem to frame this is as “let others choose what they want, after all it’s their life.” The big caveat here is that this choice isn’t being given to the weak: the animals. Instead, they are being deprived of that choice.

    About “don’t be a dick:” arguments can be made on what’s the best tactic to influence people but in general, one can’t rationally call a person talking (or shouting) about veganism as doing something more immoral or inappropriate than the one who is engaged in directly violating others’ freedom/choice (ie eating meat etc.)

    Yes, people are immoral in their own ways and hypocrites, but that should not stop anyone from pointing things out. Apply the reasoning you did here to any other moral cause and you might see the problem. (I’m obviously not comparing any two things here– it’s an analogy.) Was those who fought for ending slavery being dicks when they made slave-owners uncomfortable? Was the discomfort more morally relevant than the practice of slavery?

    (Disclaimer: I’m not a social justice warrior or something. I actively rail against them on my Twitter. I lean libertarian and believe in giving beings’ negative rights to maximum freedom possible, ie they can do what they want as long as they don’t violate others’ rights.)

    • atheistmel says:

      Thank you for the comment! I always appreciate feedback, especially challenging and well-stated feedback.

      I understand your point re: not helping people vs directly causing harm. But I still think it’s valid considering in how many ways we truly do cause harm. One way is certainly through the consumption of meat or animal products. We also cause harm by wearing the clothing produced through child labour, or using the electronics/products produced in the same way. To me, if the outcome is the same (ie- “suffering”) then the mechanism to get to that outcome doesn’t really matter much. You say ‘violating others’ freedom, or right to life, or right to avoid suffering should never be seen as “one’s choice.’ And I certainly agree with you. But how far can we take this? I am writing this to you on an expensive MacBook, while a child is no doubt dying of starvation in a third world country. Am I violating that child’s right to life by not selling this laptop and helping to feed it? You may say that as my choice to buy this laptop didn’t directly impact the life of that child, I’m off the hook. But I’d be more likely to say that as the outcome is the same, perhaps I should be held accountable for that lack of action as well. Of course, no one would REALLY hold me accountable to that, and I carry on using this laptop with little to no guilt- but is that morally right of me? I don’t know. I don’t think I could make a solid case for why I have a right to have expensive possessions that are wholly unnecessary while others are suffering and dying because they don’t have the basics that would afford them life.

      When we look at morality, I think the best answer is it is complicated. My point was that there are countless ways to make yourself a better person and to reduce the harm you cause to the world. Yes, eating meat causes harm to animals. Driving a hummer causes harm to the environment. Donating time and money reduces harm. How do you weigh and compare these things? I think it’s very difficult to do so. I don’t think it’s fair to discount or ignore the good that people do for others, just because their ‘not’ doing that doesn’t actively CAUSE harm. I think the reduction of suffering, whether it be through not eating meat, actively working to end hunger, donating time and money to charitable organizations, etc, should all be looked at as harm reducing and ‘good’ actions we can take. I think it’s impossible to sum up an entire person and their contribution to overall morality based solely on their dietary choices, because it completely ignores a whole host of other things they may or may not be doing in their lives.

      ‘The big caveat is that this choice isn’t being given to the weak’. You are absolutely right. I agree with you that using animals for our own purposes is wrong. But starving children aren’t given a choice. Yes, we could greatly reduce animal suffering if we all stopped eating meat tomorrow. We could also eliminate hunger from the globe if we were all a bit less greedy. Where do we draw the line for what we should be reasonably expected to do? I think that’s a very complicated question.

      My point is that by telling meat eaters or non-vegan vegetarians that they are immoral and wrong, you aren’t helping the problem. All you do with this approach is alienate people who may well see your point if you approach it in another manner. Perhaps we should open by trying to increase education of people on what happens to get from cow to dinner table. I think that would be a far more effective way to get things done. I really believe that the reason so many people still eat meat is because they are simply ignorant to the harm it causes- sometimes willfully so, as in the case of my husband, but often they are simply unaware.

      I’ve never made the case that calling someone immoral for not being vegan is ‘more’ immoral than eating meat itself. My entire point was simply that this is not going to be effective if you really want to change minds, and that it is inherently hypocritical to harshly and aggressively criticize one person’s ‘immoral’ choices while ignoring your own. I’m not saying we should be silent on the issue; not at all. But simply that approaching the issue with aggression, harsh criticism, and hypocrisy will never be as effective as approaching it with education and information.

      Thanks again for reading and for the thoughtful comment 🙂

  2. I actually just posted this on a friends Facebook post after the topic came up on if it was immoral to eat animals. I remembered I saw your email alert for this article and thought I would share what I wrote. Maybe it will be useful or at least interesting to read.

    A few of things that come to mind…

    – From a nutritional point of view (which I am better versed in), meat is certainly not-essential in the modern world due to available supplementation (i.e. omega-3, cobalamin [B12], retinol [Vitamin A], creatine, carnosine, carnitine, taurine, choline). But these are (some) of the compounds we are aware of that can only be, or are primarily provided by the consumption of meat. Who knows what other synergistic substances we are still to become aware of. Moving from a herbivorous evolution to an omnivorous evolution and back again to herbivorous evolution might not be so wise biologically, even if it is possibly morally or ecologically.

    – I have never read anything on the morality of animals hunting and eating other animals. We argue that we more morally evolved animals and so we can choose to not eat other animals, but at the same time argue that animals are just as sentient and self-conscious as we are and thus should be endowed with the same rights (and perhaps laws?). No-one argues that herbivores are morally superior than carnivores of course, we seem to just accept the nature of the lion and the antelope to eat what they evolved to eat. The lion unfortunately by sheer nature will always have blood on his hands (paws).

    – I personally think there is something about blood that is important, and that it should always make us pause when we eat meat. That being that we should be seeing the blood, and dealing with the reality of the blood when we purchase and eat meat. Some more ancient cultures had a whole spiritual practice when hunting and killing an animal, there was a respect there for the course of the whole matter of things. It is our disconnect with the animal that is the moral issue, not the eating of the animal. I think that what is part of being human is the responsibility and weight of reality of the death of the animal, life for life. (Of course this falls down if the value of a human life is seen equal or less than the life of another animal. I certainly would if I were forced to make the choice between saving the life of my 1 year old baby or my 5 year old dog, a 100% choose my baby.)

    – I would argue that the typically well varietied vegetable heavy diet with the inclusion of meats, fish and organ meats is probably the most nutritiously dense diet one could eat. More so you will find that the average person needs only around 100g of protein (complete amino acids profile) per day, which only equals roughly 400g of meat. This of course is only meat, and simply eating three whole eggs could reduce that meat protein requirement by 18g, not to mention small reductions via grains/lentils (albeit they are not always complete in amino acids). The notion of an American eating slabs of meat, burgers and processed products is not sustainable. Eating nose to tail, and realising you don’t need that much meat to be optimally healthy (but also that meat is very beneficial and healthy) is the probably the best thing.

    – Morally I am not sure meat eaters have much to stand on in comparison to the compassionate herbivorous position. If you do your homework and eat a very well balanced vegan/vegetarian diet then this “may” be the best of all possible worlds. Personally I think it is very difficult nutritionally, and also immoral to inflict an insufficient vegetarian or vegan diet upon a young child; but the exact same thing can be said for a fast-food/bread/pasta heavy diet.

  3. atheistmel says:

    Thanks for the comment! I always appreciate the feedback.

    1) I agree- meat really is non-essential to our diet. The VAST majority of nutrients we require can be attained through a vegetarian diet, and the few that are difficult can be attained through supplements.

    I’m really not sure what you mean when you wonder ‘what else’ might be in meat that we need- as we have no evidence of vegetarians (who eat a healthy diet) being any worse off than meat eaters. If it were something essential, we would be well aware of it by now. And you’d need to clarify how moving to a vegetarian diet, or, ‘evolution’ as you put it, could possibly be worse ‘biologically’.

    2) I really fail to see your point, here. It seems that you’re trying to say that because some animals are carnivores and kill other animals, we should be morally able to as well? That really makes no sense to me. We argue that animals are sentient, yes, but I’ve rarely, if ever, seen someone argue that many animals, perhaps aside from dolphins and a few others, are ‘self aware’. It’s actually quite clear that the vast majority are not, and obviously, are unable to make decisions about the morality of killing and eating other animals. We are not affording them the same rights as humans, as you claim- simply the right to not be imprisoned, tortured, used, and slaughtered when it could easily be avoided.

    Besides, aside from the morality of killing living things (which, I don’t think anyone could make a case for why killing an innocent animal is more moral, or even equivalently moral, than not), we must also consider the typically abhorrent conditions of factory farming, not to mention the negative impact on the environment. The reality is that if all of the world wants to eat meat (which we are seeing more of in developing nations), it is simply not sustainable, and moreover, is contributing in no small part to the destruction of the environment.

    3) ‘It is our disconnect with the animal that is the moral issue, not the eating of the animal.” I 100% wholeheartedly disagree with you. The moral issue IS the killing and eating of animals (along with sustainability etc mentioned above). Again, I have yet to see a reasonable case made for why it is more moral, or even equivalently moral, to kill and eat an animal than not to. The only thing I would add is an extension to what you said re: ‘dealing with the reality of blood’ which I touched on in the post- that I really believe most people eat meat simply because they are completely ignorant of the impact it has- moral issues aside. They don’t know what goes into taking a cow and making it into a steak. I suspect if they did, many would be vegetarian without another thought.

    4) You’ve actually well, WELL overestimated how much protein we need- by 100%. The average adult female needs only 45-50 grams of protein per day; the average adult male only 50-55 grams. Which is easily achievable on a vegetarian diet. Your theory of the ‘most’ nutritional diet possible I think would need some citations- for one thing, I’ve read a lot about meat protein and many sources consider it to be far less healthy than protein consumed by beans, lentils, veggies, and so on. Higher links to cancer, heart disease, etc, that you simply don’t see with vegetarian diets. Nutrition is complicated, but I really think we OVER complicate it. Get enough protein. Get the proper nutrients. We can do that without meat.

    5) It really, really, REALLY is not difficult to eat a healthy, well balanced vegetarian diet. I cannot possibly emphasize this enough. In fact, it’s been incredibly simple to do so for me. Eating a healthy, well-balanced vegan diet I agree is more difficult, but very, very far from impossible. No, of course, I doubt anyone would disagree that feeding a child a diet insufficient for their needs is moral- but considering how many children are pumped full of growth hormones, sugar, fats, and other horrifically unhealthy foods, I don’t think it’s wise to begin with thinking it’s the vegetarian diet that would be the problem in the scenario of childhood health.

    Thanks again for the comment 🙂

    • 1) By “What else” I am not 100% sure if we do yet know the full biochemical composition of meat, but if indeed we do we certainly do not fully understand completely the interaction these biochemicals have with our own bodies. Nutritional science is still very much in it’s early stages.

      For example I recently read the following:

      “A fascinating but woefully little-known study in 2011 showed that in mice, supplementing with glycine—an amino acid found abundantly in connective tissue and gelatin and bone broth—had the exact same life-extending effect as restricting methionine. Without reducing calories or other amino acids, glycine supplementation increased the rodents’ lifespan, reduced fasting glucose and insulin, decreased IGF-1 levels, and nearly halved their triglycerides—the very perks that’ve variously been attributed to calorie restriction, protein restriction, and methionine restriction.” http://rawfoodsos.com/2014/03/09/new-animal-protein-study/

      “Essential” of course a potentially relative term, because as we progress in science we may identify chemicals which are indeed essential but not yet known until we discover links with deficiencies.

      Specifically though: “An essential nutrient is a nutrient required for normal human body function that either cannot be synthesized by the body at all, or cannot be synthesized in amounts adequate for good health (e.g. niacin, choline), and thus must be obtained from a dietary source.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_nutrient

      Quoting myself: “Moving from a herbivorous evolution to an omnivorous evolution and back again to herbivorous evolution might not be so wise biologically, even if it is possibly morally or ecologically.”

      By that I mean we were once herbivores, we then became omnivores which coincided with the development of much larger brains and smaller stomachs and potentially various other changes we are yet to understand fully. So I am pondering whether going back to a previous diet “after the evolution” might not be the best idea.

      2) First to clear up any ambiguity. I am 100% against the abuse of animals in regards to factory farming practices and the like. The context of the following is of groups of animals which are as much as possible able to go about their lives as if they would naturally. Of course domestic breeds are tricky, but I think you understand my point here. I am talking about well treated free range naturally fed animals. A cow living a life as close to a wild bison.

      I suppose what I am pondering is how we as sentient self-aware animals apply our morality of not taking the life of an equally sentient self-aware animal to other “different” animals, and by “different” you stipulate that yourself that by saying they may be sentient but not “all” sentient.

      I suppose just to throw a spanner in the works here, why can’t the argument be made for the unborn human fetus? When does a fetus become sentient enough albeit without self-awareness and thus morally wrong to kill?

      Anyway it is of course an assumption that animals are not morally aware of the killing of each other, and I have a feeling part of the push for greater animal rights is coming from the very point that animals are closer to humans than we think. It is going to be tricky to navigate the whole issue of animal justice, if we discover that large predators are far more aware then we once thought.

      3) Feeding the world, the issue is more complex then we think. Lierre Keith is good on this point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WemanmrAYvg Personally I believe the issue is people eat more meat than they need, it is luxurious eating, not eating for need. We may not be able to feed the whole world with meat, but we can feed the world by not throwing out tons and tons of good food every day because people put too much on their plates. THIS is the disgusting thing about the West. TONS of food is thrown away each day. I also don’t think we can feed the whole world on mono-crops. This is generally why were are all in such bad health anyway.

      I suppose the question of morality in killing is based on the definition of life, as I mentioned above. What does it mean for something to be alive to such a degree that if you kill it you are being immoral. What do we define as “being alive”?

      I grew up in Africa, and have seen the butchering of an animal a number of times. It is not nice at all, but it was important in the development of my attitude towards eating meat. EVERYONE who eats meet should be required to see this. Perhaps there should be a meat license or something.

      4) “More so you will find that the average person needs only around 100g of protein (complete amino acids profile) per day.”

      This was not an exact figure, but would be what I ask my clients to generally aim for. The US RDA for protein, is 0.8 g/kg/day (Rand WM, Pellett PL, Young VR. Meta-analysis of nitrogen balance studies for estimating protein requirements in healthy adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77:109–127. Brody T. Nutritional Biochemistry. 2. San Diego: Academic Press; 1999.)

      So for the average 80kg man this works out to be 64g of protein. This is though for nitrogen balance, and does not take into account any extra needs. “minimal protein requirement does not equate to an optimal protein intake.” (Wilson, J., & Wilson, G.J. (2006). Contemporary issues in protein requirements and consumption for resistance trained athletes. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 3(1), 7-27.)

      These are useful:
      http://examine.com/blog/high-protein-diets-linked-to-cancer-should-you-be-concerned/
      http://examine.com/faq/does-red-meat-cause-cancer.html
      http://examine.com/faq/how-can-i-make-red-meat-healthier.html

      5) Like I said, if you understand what you require and can choose wisely on a vegetarian diet then great. A vegan diet is probably harder since you are more limited in your food sources.

  4. atheistmel says:

    1) I guess my response would be, “why does that matter?” We have no evidence that vegetarians are any less healthy than meat eaters. Often, it appears to be the opposite (though I concede that any diet can be ‘unhealthy’). There are enough cultures who practice vegetarianism, enough PEOPLE who practice it, that if there were some hitherto unknown necessary compound only found in meat, we’d be aware at least that it exists.

    About your point on evolution: A purely speculative thought with really absolutely no evidence to back it is not enough to justify, to me, torturing and slaughtering animals for consumption. That just doesn’t check out for me.

    2) I still really disagree with you. I don’t think if or how animals are ‘moral’ should have any bearing whatsoever on how we treat them. Just because animals perhaps haven’t evolved to be self aware or possess morality, why does that give us the right to treat them poorly? That really makes no sense to me. When I think of animal rights, I don’t think of it from a perspective that animals are “like humans” and thus deserve “human-like rights”. I think of it from the perspective that to torture and slaughter any being for our own selfish, and wholly unnecessary desires, is just wrong. That’s really all it is, to me.

    I think the ‘unborn fetus’ argument is a bit too far removed to really be relevant. Though, for the record, I’m quite fuzzy on what I think ‘acceptable’ abortion is. I certainly do not support late term abortions, and I think most people would agree with me.

    3) Yes, I agree- we certainly waste a LOT of food. And you are spot on, eating meat IS ‘luxury’ eating, which is precisely where the problem comes from. More and more cultures are progressing to BECOME ‘luxury’ eaters… huge populations in rapidly developing countries suddenly demand meat, and the environment simply cannot support that new demand.

    But I think you’ve made my point exactly. Eating meat is largely NOT out of need- but luxury. So why or how can anyone make the argument that it’s ok to torture and slaughter other animals for something we really do not need to survive? I can’t see a way around that ethical conundrum.

    I think it’s pretty easy to define what is alive. When it comes to what is morally acceptable, I think anything that can feel pain or stress shouldn’t be subjected to that.

    4) Agreed re: protein intake. But my point is that you really cannot be protein deficient unless you are also eating too few calories or eating very unhealthily. Anyone who needs more protein can easily achieve it without meat and very minor tweaks to their diet.

    5) I do think a vegan diet takes a lot more care and planning, but many people manage it without difficulty. For me, I’ve found vegetarianism to be really just as easy as being an omnivore. In fact, I’d wager I’m healthier now, because I actually pay attention to my nutrient intake. I have absolutely no doubt I wasn’t getting enough iron even as a meat eater- but now I take care to watch that I get enough of everything.

  5. TBH says:

    Being a vegetarian just because we cannot take a life to feed our belly, is ignorance to me. Probably means that we are either consuming rotten vegetables, or do not know that they were alive just before someone uprooted or chopped them for us. And since our finite senses cannot sense pain of the plant kingdom, we assume being saintly over those who feed on animals. What if I told you that your very carbon footprint is a selfish act towards this planet? Might as well stop breathing and shitting then, shall we?

    Factually speaking, the circle of life is based on survival, migration and evolution. And if it knew emotion, neither a snake would eat its own eggs, nor magma would vaporize all life it makes contact with. Yet, survivors know; volcanic eruptions bring more fertility and a new life to the land.

    Nature, as I have come to learn, knows neither purpose nor coincidence; only necessity. Indifferent to feelings, virtues, sins, consequences and judgements, it follows its own path of survival, migration and evolution in sync with the sub-natures of all that inhabit it.

    The sooner we comprehend this circle for what it actually is (rather than what we think or are told it is), the sooner we will rise above pointless discrimination, debate and justifications over matters as trifling as human dietary habits – be they due to one’s religion, culture or emotion.

    Perhaps a more conscious dietary choice could be made on grounds of:

    – the conservation status of the species one is consuming
    – the number of lives one takes to fill his belly in a single meal
    – the size of the species that is turned lifeless vis-Ă -vis the need for consumption
    – the impact of its consumption on one’s mental and physical states
    – social implications and humanity (lest we eat each other)

    More in my article on the subject: http://talhabinhisaam.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/digesting-nature/

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    • Angi says:

      I have read all of this conversation and the only thing I will say is, if you want to eat meat, at least buy it from somewhere you know for sur the animal was not abused or treated badly, at least (like a family farm). If you want to buy a shirt, you can always buy from somewhere employees are well treated and paid (like a local store). But buying real fur to wear, there are no excuses to that. It is simply inacceptable. No need to answer me back. I love a little bit of all your arguments all of you.

  7. Anonymous says:

    To prove that vegetarian diet is sufficient, I’ve got just this to show-

    http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/articles/a-vegan-dies-on-everest-was-her-diet-to-blame-w207840

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