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Vegans Were Right

 
Anonymous Coward
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United States
12/14/2005 07:17 AM
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Vegans Were Right
Why vegans were right all along

Famine can only be avoided if the rich give up meat, fish and dairy

George Monbiot
Tuesday December 24, 2002
The Guardian


The Christians stole the winter solstice from the pagans, and capitalism stole it from the Christians. But one feature of the celebrations has remained unchanged: the consumption of vast quantities of meat. The practice used to make sense. Livestock slaughtered in the autumn, before the grass ran out, would be about to decay, and fat-starved people would have to survive a further three months. Today we face the opposite problem: we spend the next three months trying to work it off.

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Our seasonal excesses would be perfectly sustainable, if we weren't doing the same thing every other week of the year. But, because of the rich world's disproportionate purchasing power, many of us can feast every day. And this would also be fine, if we did not live in a finite world.
By comparison to most of the animals we eat, turkeys are relatively efficient converters: they produce about three times as much meat per pound of grain as feedlot cattle. But there are still plenty of reasons to feel uncomfortable about eating them. Most are reared in darkness, so tightly packed that they can scarcely move. Their beaks are removed with a hot knife to prevent them from hurting each other. As Christmas approaches, they become so heavy that their hips buckle. When you see the inside of a turkey broilerhouse, you begin to entertain grave doubts about European civilisation.

This is one of the reasons why many people have returned to eating red meat at Christmas. Beef cattle appear to be happier animals. But the improvement in animal welfare is offset by the loss in human welfare. The world produces enough food for its people and its livestock, though (largely because they are so poor) some 800 million are malnourished. But as the population rises, structural global famine will be avoided only if the rich start to eat less meat. The number of farm animals on earth has risen fivefold since 1950: humans are now outnumbered three to one. Livestock already consume half the world's grain, and their numbers are still growing almost exponentially.

This is why biotechnology - whose promoters claim that it will feed the world - has been deployed to produce not food but feed: it allows farmers to switch from grains which keep people alive to the production of more lucrative crops for livestock. Within as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world's animals or it continues to feed the world's people. It cannot do both.

The impending crisis will be accelerated by the depletion of both phosphate fertiliser and the water used to grow crops. Every kilogram of beef we consume, according to research by the agronomists David Pimental and Robert Goodland, requires around 100,000 litres of water. Aquifers are beginning the run dry all over the world, largely because of abstraction by farmers.

Many of those who have begun to understand the finity of global grain production have responded by becoming vegetarians. But vegetarians who continue to consume milk and eggs scarcely reduce their impact on the ecosystem. The conversion efficiency of dairy and egg production is generally better than meat rearing, but even if everyone who now eats beef were to eat cheese instead, this would merely delay the global famine. As both dairy cattle and poultry are often fed with fishmeal (which means that no one can claim to eat cheese but not fish), it might, in one respect, even accelerate it. The shift would be accompanied too by a massive deterioration in animal welfare: with the possible exception of intensively reared broilers and pigs, battery chickens and dairy cows are the farm animals which appear to suffer most.

We could eat pheasants, many of which are dumped in landfill after they've been shot, and whose price, at this time of the year, falls to around £2 a bird, but most people would feel uncomfortable about subsidising the bloodlust of brandy-soaked hoorays. Eating pheasants, which are also fed on grain, is sustainable only up to the point at which demand meets supply. We can eat fish, but only if we are prepared to contribute to the collapse of marine ecosystems and - as the European fleet plunders the seas off West Africa - the starvation of some of the hungriest people on earth. It's impossible to avoid the conclusion that the only sustainable and socially just option is for the inhabitants of the rich world to become, like most of the earth's people, broadly vegan, eating meat only on special occasions like Christmas.

As a meat-eater, I've long found it convenient to categorise veganism as a response to animal suffering or a health fad. But, faced with these figures, it now seems plain that it's the only ethical response to what is arguably the world's most urgent social justice issue. We stuff ourselves, and the poor get stuffed.

www.monbiot.com
Super Structure
User ID: 53260
United Kingdom
12/14/2005 07:33 AM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
This hasn't convinced me that eating next to nothing and worrying about everything is particularly good for you.
Anonymous Coward
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12/14/2005 07:41 AM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
If you give it a go for a while you will be amazed at how much more energy you have. Also your mind is sharper and you are generally in a better mood. Your skin becomes clearer and general sense of well being ensues. Also you are much less cranky and just a nicer overall person. This has been my personal expierience.
Anonymous Coward
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Sweden
12/14/2005 07:48 AM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
Yepp, humanity MUST STOP FEEDING ON ANIMAL MEAT/FLESH; it is the very first step to uplifted societies; unfortunately we are lightyears from that simple state (a vegan Earth) so the suffering will continue.

Think how easy it is to stop eating those poor animals and find a nourishing vegan diet; the health you'll get for free!
Bob the Monkey

User ID: 354
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12/14/2005 07:50 AM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
Feed and food come from the same plants, it's just when you harvest it that makes a difference.
neti
User ID: 46925
Australia
12/14/2005 09:17 AM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
Too RIGHT!


From the Gospel of the Holy Twelve (unedited)

"7. AGAIN one said unto him, Master, how wilt thou when they grow up? And Jesus said, After seven years, or when they begin to know the evil from the good, and learn to choose the good, let them come unto me and receive the blessing at the hands of the presbyter or the angel of the church with prayer and thanksgiving, and let them be admonished to keep from flesheating and strong drink, and from hunting the innocent creatures of God, for shall they be lower than the horse or the sheep to whom these things are against nature?
8. And again he said, If there come to us any that eat flesh and drink strong drink, shall we receive them? And Jesus said unto him, Let such abide in the outer court till they cleanse themselves from these grosser evils; for till they perceive, and repent of these, they are not fit to receive the higher mysteries." [link to reluctant-messenger.com]
Anonymous Coward
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Canada
12/14/2005 09:41 AM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
I'd be a vegetarian but there's one problem... I just don't really like vegetables much and can't stand tofu. Soorry Moonbat, and the Earth's poor. Just can't do it.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 53306
United States
12/14/2005 10:24 AM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
Those writings are not from the Bible and are erroneous. Plus Jesus ate animal flesh. We were given that permission after the flood as long as the blood was drained out properly.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 380
United States
12/14/2005 02:26 PM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
It is not even true that one who becomes vegan will suddenly be healthier.Some people do well on a vegan diet, others do not.
I think the most reasonable take on diet I have seen is the one based on blood type.On that basis, beef and lots of it is what is suggested for my blood type.
I don't feel better without meat, I feel worse.I have a friend who is sixty years old, and eats nothing but beef steak and salad.He has not an ounce of fat on him, and it is great fun to watch him wear teenagers out on any sort of physical activity.He is also insanely strong.
If you try veganism, and it makes you feel better,stick with it.But don't make blanket assumptions that are not at all valid.
Being a vegan is not for everyone.
pho(A)m

User ID: 53362
United States
12/14/2005 02:28 PM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
Yea but I like fish, beef, chicken, and pork.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 2112
United States
12/14/2005 02:40 PM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
Vegans were not right.. they are loopey as shit cause they don't get their amino acids!!
Sinanju nli
User ID: 47178
United States
12/14/2005 03:09 PM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
I support vegans and vegetarians in all their endevours..

because if we ever have to resort to cannibalism..

I like grain-fed meat.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 53306
United States
12/14/2005 03:12 PM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
True, a person cannot get their amino acids from a vegetarian diet. They at least need to add some milk, cheese and eggs to their diets. Even small doses will help. Even animals that look like they are vegetarians aren't. Horses and cows eat insects they graze. The beetles they use to eat on our pastures were HUGE.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 12494
United States
12/14/2005 03:17 PM
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Re: Vegans Were Right
How come vegans are always so pissed-off then?

Seems a vegan diet makes you irritable.

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