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cows cause GHG's, meat is bad for the planet!

Messages  21 - 27 of 27

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Message 21 - posted by third-doctor, Aug 18, 2007


Thanks. I agree with all you say.

I haven't got any problem with people wanting to be vegetarian but I do feel that it is a choice which people make and it's not up to them to convert anyone.

Quoted from this message

Yes, it is this 'evangelistic' urge in some vegetarians that puts people's backs up - not a sense of being "challenged." Moreover, when the Jehovah's Witnesses want to try to convert me, at least they don't call me "smelly," a "Nazi" or such like.
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Message 22 - posted by robbiethelyddite, Aug 18, 2007

I think that you have illustrated my point better than i could have hoped, about omniverous people being more bothered about vegetarians than we are about them. I think the reason for 'my deception' is that no one is born a vegetarian and usually so have a more rounded view of these things having come to a rational and personal decision. We have gone through a meat eating phase. People who have a prejudice need to confront it and open their mind. In addition, when you have been a vegetarian for a long time, eating meat makes you unwell (due to changes in the population of bacteria in your gut)

The difference between a 'normal resturaunt' and vegetarian resturant is quite profound, both are businesses, the former is aimed at a wide market and tries to cater for all, they choose to offer the vegetarian 'option' because we too have money. We might choose not to spend it in their establishment if they did not offer suitable food. A vegetarian resturaunt can choose to offer a meat option, some do, but they are aimed at a market segement that might not choose to visit them if they were not ethical enough (I am not defending this view, merely observing). In business terms they may feel that catering for the odd brave meat eater would damage their core business. In a more general restaurant they want to cater for the market. I believe that there are restaurants that cater exclusivley for meat and fish eaters (the Pilot at Dungeness, for example) and do not offer vegetarian items on their menu, their choice, my choice not to eat or drink there.

The reason that meat eaters feel that it is vegetarians who bring the subject up, is because in a group, the minute you order the vegetarian choice, someone will comment and ask why, you repeat you pat answer (stifling a yawn and hoping to chat about last night's football instead), that offends some meathead who feels secretly guilty about it and yada yada...

The nazi message has some resonance, modern abbatoirs industrialize the death business, some people find that offensive - many of them meat eaters. Thankfully its all hidden. In the days when people kept a pig at the bottom of the garden, the whole business was much more personal. I liked the programmes, Hugh Stanley Whittingstone and Gordon Ramsey have done on this subject, they are meat eaters and because they do not blind themselves to what that means, they have my respect.

I do not think i mentioned herbalist and you over looked the word 'science'. A medical doctor's advice on nutrition is only useful if it one of his core competencies. They are generalists. I would rather have advice from a specialist (ie pHD) nutrionist - ie an architect can design a bridge, but it will only be there if an engineer can match the dreams and opinions of the architect to the laws of physics.

On veggie food resembling meat. I agree, I despair of little lumps of soya that are said to be like beef or chicken. I guess they are aimed at meat eaters who are catering for vegetarians and are to give subtle advice about preparation. Burgers and sausages are confections of various ingredients, which need not be specifically meat. the UK meat sauasage, before EU rules, was almost entirely fat and the success of soya substitution in 'meat' products speaks volumes! Food is all about the cooking and the sauce, and meat is frequently disguised by sauces.

and my comment about the impossibility of changing peoples minds and my initial comments were merely that meat eaters should consider becoming more omniverous and by eating more diverse (ie vegetarian food) a few days in the week, they will reduce GHG emmissions from unsustainable food production.

Meat eating is a cultural idea. Your comments about the evolution and the development of society would be more interesting if you had read the book I cited - don't worry its not about vegetarianism. It is a study about the spread of ideas and technology across the world and why some societies developed guns and others didn't. The step from hunter gatherer to farming happened in several places across the planet, some societies having tried farming, moved back to Hunter gathering.

J M Coetzee has written books exploring the vegetarian and meat eaters and it is from him I took the phrase 'death juices'.
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Message 23 - posted by gaye_device, Aug 18, 2007

who cares? not me. i'm sooo bored of hearing about climate change. lets just rape the planet and go out in a blaaaaze o' glory...i'll be well dead by the time owt 'appens....
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Message 24 - posted by third-doctor, Aug 19, 2007

I think that you have illustrated my point better than i could have hoped

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…whereas I think the opposite (It’s all very well saying something like this, but if you can’t substantiate your claim, it’s just so much hot air).

Again you choose to use loaded vocabulary such as “prejudice” and “open mind” – but you have not chosen to justify these claims – perhaps because you know that they are really just prejudices. I normally avoid ‘serious’ threads, but I found (and continue to find) your diction when describing omnivores to be bigoted and narrow-minded in the extreme (see above) and thus felt compelled to comment. It is even more staggering that you claim (and without spotting the intrinsic irony!) that the rest of us are “prejudiced.” Again, let me remind you that it is *you* who have used infantile and emotive language (“smelly,” “meatheads” etc) and that it was *you* who started this topic. It looks like a clear case of ‘The Only Vegetarian in the Village,’ a person with a chip on his shoulder who is determined to find persecution whether it is there or not.

you have been a vegetarian for a long time, eating meat makes you unwell (due to changes in the population of bacteria in your gut)

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I’m sure that would be true if one were to adopt a diet of paper and flour too. But, what does that prove?.

As for veggies restaurants, the fundamental fact of the matter is that they do (as you freely admit) cater to a very narrow market. Thus, when a vegetarian friend takes me to one, I am forced to eat vegetarian food. The same cannot be said of mainstream restaurants, the vast majority of which offer vegetarian dishes. There are very few restaurants that offer no vegetarian dishes at all – and even the insignificant number that might could offer the steak and vegetables without the steak.

stifling a yawn and hoping to chat about last night's football instead

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Well, it’s *your* topic – you were the one who started this thread! Look back at message one, if you’ve forgotten. Personally, when I go for a meal and someone asks for a veggie alternative, I don’t give them the third degree – and I don’t know anyone who does. However, I can appreciate that you might wish to see yourself as a persecuted minority in an ‘Only Vegetarian in the Village’ kind of way.

that offends some meathead who feels secretly guilty about it and yada yada

Quoted from this message

Oh dear. After the more mature language of your previous post, this is a rather depressing return to form. If you feel that you cannot discuss a topic in a polite and rational way, then you are admitting that you really cannot defend your views. When you succumb to using insults, it only serves to show others that you know your ideas to be so fundamentally flawed that they cannot stand on their own merits.

I have a small number of vegetarian friends and do not go out of my way to insult them about their choices – and neither do they about mine (in fact, our food preferences rarely come up in conversation). You, however (as the above amply demonstrates) appear to be representative of that group who cannot bear nonconformity to your own narrow world view. Furthermore, to presume to know what someone else “feels secretly” is just plain silly – I could, with as much justification, claim the same about you.

The nazi message has some resonance, modern abbatoirs industrialize the death business

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Again, you indulge in simplistic polarisation – it is simply not the case that all vegetarians are moral creatures incapable of sin, whereas omnivores support animal cruelty. The “Nazi” taunt is intended to be inflammatory and dishonest – small wonder that McCartney got the right hook that he so richly deserved. And on a more basic level, it is the profit motive that is the driving force in this case – so one might, with more justification, use this as rationale for the abolition of money.

On a similar note, it is absurd to imply that morality underlies the decision of some landowners to grow soya instead of graze cattle – it is that there’s money to be made. The ‘International Herald Tribune’ recently ran an article about how areas of rain forest in South America were being cleared for soya production and people driven off the land. By your own reasoning, this would be a reason to abandon a vegetarian diet.

meat eaters should consider becoming more omniverous and by eating more diverse

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Again, this is a prejudice based upon an assumption that most people do not eat varied diets already. It does not reflect the global view nor what I see here in Asia. I wonder if it even reflects reality in the UK.

they will reduce GHG emmissions from unsustainable food production.

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More unsubstantiated claims. This kind of propaganda makes good headlines, but is often distorted and flattened out to make good stories. For example, inadequate loft insulation is a far greater cause of GHG than all the airports and air traffic in the UK – but it’s not such an easy target for campaigners and lacks that same glamour.

Meat eating is a cultural idea.

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Um… no, our entire biology is wired for an omnivorous diet. You may not like it, but we are not herbivores by nature. Your aforementioned “hunter-gatherers” would have no qualms about eating meat when they could get it (and let’s not get into the dafter realms of who’s read more books).

J M Coetzee has written books exploring the vegetarian and meat eaters and it is from him I took the phrase 'death juices'.

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And you used the term sincerely without a hint of irony – so don’t try to excuse your behaviour.
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Message 25 - posted by robbiethelyddite, Aug 19, 2007

The words I used are accurate and not loaded and stem from experience. It was you remember who said that vegetarian diets were unhealthy - is that not a prejudice?

I will reiterate, most vegeatrians start off as omnivores, so understand where you are coming from but have the additional knowledge and experience,that you do not, of being vegetarians.

The smell comment is accurate. What you eat is exuded through the pores of your body and those who eat heavily meat based diets have a different (and stronger aroma) to vegetarians.

The point you missed about vegetarian resturaunts is that they cater for a niche market of about 2 million people. 'General' restaurants offer vegetarian food because they cater for a general market and have chosen to make money from vegetarians as well as meat eaters.

-Your comment suggests that if you went to a French resturaunt you would expect the chef to rustle up some pie and mash because you are (presumably) English?

I work with several people who are vegetarian and we almost never talk about it at work, until Christmas, when the staff meal is arranged. The circumstances I have described then happen every year. the other circumstance is when a restaurant serves chicken or Fish as a vegetarian option. The fact you do not comment is commendable but, I am afraid, untypical.

-Your comments on this board suggest that you would love to talk to them about it though?

Nazi - I would refer back to my previous post, it is the industrialization of death and the subtle separation in commercial and language terms between animal and product that leads people to draw these parallels.

For most consumers, competition is about price but not production methods or quality. My view is that if people had the personal relationship with livestock, they did in the past, these kind of units would cease to exist. Most consumers would spend a few pence extra on a better product. This separation, keeps animal and meat apart in peoples' minds. And, because of this, we have apalling cruelty in intensive units - 'hidden' from view, partly physically and partly wilfully by consumers and producers.

I used to work in agriculture in a region with growing towns. I was amazed how often farmers were forced to move sheds or aspects of their production processes- often to the point that it made their businesses untenable, becaause of objections from new house owners to: vehicles (ie tractors and farm equipment holding them up), noise (cows and chickens usually), smell (manure or other treatments from livestock)or 'dirt'(usually manure or mud on the country lane).

The point, as I think I said several times is that giving land over to the production of meat to meat rising demand is an expensive choice in terms of land and ethical concerns and has the Japanese have just shown, GHGs (Science!). If people ate less but better quality, ethically produced meat, presumably less land would need to be used this way.

Our biology is adapted to be omniverous. You are correct about the hunter gatherers, but as you said - when they could get it. that implies they ate something else much of the time. Meat eating is cultural, consider the rituals that people build around it: the English and Roast beef (hogarths painting); sunday roast carved by father; ritual slaughter using halal and coche methods. The consumption of meat is surrounded by cultural bagage.

I have to say I enjoy your posts. All moral high ground and accusing me of using emotive terms and being prejudiced etc. Then using selective quotes from paragraphs to make your points. I think that the langauage one uses depends on provocation. I may have used what you called 'emotive' terms as a shorthand but I have not tried to charachterize you personally or use sly insult, as you do in your comments

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Message 26 - posted by third-doctor, Aug 20, 2007


Well, it looks like we're treading old ground now. Arguments are in danger of getting stuck in a recursive loop.

Thanks for an interesting and lively discussion. I suppose we could go on longer, but I very much doubt that either would shift perspective. It would simply be a case of ever decreasing circles.

On a personal note, I am having great trouble getting my 7 month old son to sleep at night. A friend suggested I introduce protein to his diet by feeding him mushy beef. When I mentioned this to a vegetarian colleague this morning, he didn't bat an eyelid. While I don't believe in all that rot about 'respecting other people's opinions,' it is good to see that it is at least possible to tolerate the existence of views opposite to our own.

Hope to talk with you again some time. Cheers.
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Message 27 - posted by Clemenslary, Oct 29, 2007

I am glad to hear of his tolerance, but as a vegan, I can imagine a lot more than eyes blinking if I said to my colleagues I was planning to raise my kid vegan.
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