Vegetarian's guide to talking to carnivores

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by James R, Aug 29, 2011.

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  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    It's interesting how so many meat eaters here have focussed on argument 1 of the article, while ignoring arguments 2 and 3 completely - especially the ethical arguments.

    And how many of you read the whole article, rather than just my extracts?
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  3. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    The second argument is unsurported and illogical james, ive asked you time and again why you think its better to use inorganic fertilers which destroy the waterways and the barrier reef than organic fertilisers which come from waste material

    As for the ethical argument, thats all well and good but we evolved to be omnivors, the CSIRO shows that it our diet requires meat, so we just have to do it in the most ethical way possible, ie rasing them in the best enviroment for them, slaughtering them fast and with the least amount of pain possible and utilising ALL of the slaughtered animal so that we can use the least amount possible
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  5. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

    As per the sentence in bold, I found this article to be lacking in balance.

    The threat to the planet's future from eating meat I would judge to be considerably less than that of driving automobiles.

    I suppose all of that grain we don't feed to critters will be diverted to bio-fuel.

    If we really wanted to feed the hungry of this planet, and reduce our carbon footprint, we would empty out our grain bins and share all resources equally, do away with the economic system, and work instead to the common purpose of caregiver to the planet and it's denizens. Highly unlikely, IMO.

    It seems an advantage to have digestion that has a rather wide range of diversity.

    The people who live on the land perhaps have a better understanding of the circle of life, and they respect the life force in both plants and animals.

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  7. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Argument 2 is just as equally lacking factually wise - the state of the Mississippi alone should be testament enough to that - although equally, Dairying is orders of magnitude worse for the environment than sheep and beef farming is.

    Argument 3 isn't facts based, it's an appeal to emotion (or something very similar) - it amounts to little more than "You wouldn't eat meat if you had to kill your own, and deal with the viscera", and as you and I have estabilshed in previous discussions, I am in the same boat as Quad, I have killed my own animals, and dealt with the viscera, so from my perspective that argument doesn't hold any water.

    I addressed the first argument specifically because it was factually inaccurate, and nobody else seemed to have picked up on it.

    If I presented you with an article arguing in favour of the Ether that used factually inconsistent arguments, would you waste your time reading it in it's entirety? Or would you stop at the abstract or introduction when the degree of error became readily apparent?

    I'll be honest, and say that when I come across an 'article' that relies on logical fallacies or factual inaccuracies to make its point, I tend to stop reading it very quickly (the more obvious these are, generally the quicker I'll stop reading it).

    Not only that, but is blocked by my workplace firewall as containing offensive material.
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I think that organic fertilisers are also bad for waterways and reefs.

    The CSIRO has not shown that our diet requires meat. And there is ample evidence that it does not. Just look at the number of healthy and happy vegetarians and vegans.

    The argument that "we evolved to be omnivores, therefore we must eat meat" is specifically rebutted in the article.

    It's probably less (I'd have to check), but methane from cattle is actually a major contributor to global warming.

    Or it could be used to feed the starving, or maybe we just don't need so much grain and we could turn some farmland back over to forests (for example).

    I have no idea what's happening in Mississippi that refutes all the environmental arguments.

    How so?

    No. It's an ethical argument, based on reason, like all good ethical arguments.

    I think you owe it to yourself to at least familiarise yourself with the ethical argument, since at this point you don't seem to have much of a clue.

    Not much I can do about that.
  9. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    james i honestly cant belive you are posting this. Seriously you havent posted a SINGLE reference to your own posts. What do you think would happen if i handed something like this up as an assignment at uni? EVEN in ethics classes

    Talk about interlectual dishonesty, you make unsubstantiated claims and refuse to reference them, you fail occams razor in every argument you make, your arguments are simply illogical.

    If this was anyone else posting this as "science" it would have been sent to freethoughts or the cesspool.
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I posted a single reference in my opening post. This isn't an assignment or an essay of mine. I just linked to an article and quoted some of it. I would have reproduced the whole thing, but for copyright restrictions.

    I'm not sure what unsubstantiated claims you think I've made. I don't see how Occam's razor is at all relevant to anything here. And I certainly haven't said anything illogical.
  11. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

    I have kept my ear to the ground on the hypothesis that cattle emissions are a significant contributor to global warming, though I question the methodology and the numbers.

    Here is a bit of newer research that suggests we don't know the half of what role cows and their activities may play overall.

  12. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Really? You haven't heard about the growth of the dead zone in the gulf of mexico, and what the causative factors are that are generally attributed to it? Like fertilizer derived primarily from agriculture?

    Sheep, Beef, & Deer farms constitute non point sources of pollution, they're diffuse. Where a stream passes through a paddock, any pollution that might enter the stream, enters along the entire length of the stream, and has received varying degrees of treatment by overland flow, especially if the farm has good riparian management in place. There are one or two exceptions to this, mole drains and tile drains can result in increased amounts of effluent reaching the waterway.

    Dairying, on the other hand is a point source pollutant. Dairying neccessarily involves the storage of large quantities of effluent (you have your entire herd standing on an impermeable concrete pad for a couple of hours) for extended periods of time, which on a well run farm might receive some degree of treatment (eg weeping walls and gravel traps), and subsequent disposal of the effluent, usually done by distribution in a paddock by an irrigator.

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    Dairy effluent storage ponds also tend to develop anoxic conditions quite quickly which makes it worse.

    Then there's also considerations around groundwater, dairy farm effluent storage ponds have the potential to leak and directly contaminate grondwater if they are poorly constructed, or the liner becomes damaged, and if you apply dairy effluent that's at or above field capacity (at least I think it's field capacity anyway, it's a surprisingly low degree of saturation either way) you may as well just be pumping it straight into the groundwater.

    Typically it would not be surprising to see dairy farm effluent with a BOD[sub]5[/sub] of >200 g/m[sup]3[/sup], Total Phosphorus of >20 g/m[sup]3[/sup] Ammonia >50 g/m[sup]3[/sup] (>1ppm is fatal to most aquatic organisms), and E. coli in the 10[sup]5[/sup] - 10[sup]6[/sup] range.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that for effluent from a Sheep, Beef, or deer farm is that the effluent reaching the water way is dependant upon rainfall, and the concentration of the pollutants is dependant upon how long it has been since the paddock was last used.. This is not the case for a dairy farm. For a dairy farm, the potential exists for raw effluent to be pumped deliberately or inadvertantly straight into a water way.

    Effluent isn't even the worst thing on a dairy farm - silage leachate, and waste milk can both me orders of magnitude worse (literally).

    And then there's how much more water a dairy farm consumes than a similarly sized beef farm.

    It's an arbitrary argument, that's worded in a provocative and inflammatory fashion, that is designed to provoke strong emotions.

    I'm familiar with the ethical argument, thanks. I would suggest it is you that doesn't have much of a clue about the significance of my response.

    What surprises me about this is that you and I have previously discussed the ethics of eating meat, and you're well aware that I'm familiar with the ethical argument, because you've presented it to me, at length, and as I recall, my overwhelming response was that it was based on an arbitrary line drawn in the sand.

    Really James, I thought you were better than that, or did I give you too much credit?

    Typically though, I tend to avoid ethical arguments - for a number of reasons, none of which has to do with a fear of loosing them, and as I have said, you and I have already had that discussion and I do not expect that much has changed either way since then.

    How about not linking to websites that contain offensive material?
  13. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member


    Being as how this is supposed to be a science forum of sorts, could y'all just cease and desist with the embarassing and ultimately meaningless inter-and intra-species "intelligence" comparisons*. I mean seriously, an I.Q. test for dogs, pigs, dolphins, etc.?! Might be somewhat an anthropocentric bias there, don't ya think?

    Anyhows, it works both ways, and as there is astonishingly little research in this area I'll have to rely upon my own work (which is also informed by a number of other trainers and writers): for many years I worked as a private dog trainer--as in, one on one (or one on two) scenarios with myself, the dog, and/or the client. Typically, only the more affluent sorts, and consequently (more often than not) the better educated sorts, can afford personal dog trainers. In short, I've worked with an awful lot of dogs and an awful lot of PhDs, or folks with some considerable postgraduate studies.

    What I found more often than not were dogs who were quite conversant in both human languages (as in reading, not articulating), as well as in reading--with astonishing accuracy--extralinguistic human cues, and who were masterfully conversant with dog languages, especially with respect to metalinguistic concerns (i.e. successfully interpreting and distinguishing between that which is connoted and that which is denoted). On the other hand, I encountered countless PhDs and post-grads who couldn't comprehend dog language were their life to depend upon it--even after I had taken pains to instruct them accordingly and provided them with ample literature to fill in some of the gaps. Moreover, these PhDs, et al, often struggled with human communication as well, especially the extra- and metalinguistic stuff.

    From this I can only conclude that the average PhD is only roughly as "intelligent" as a severely retarded dog. If anyone has got any evidence to counter my assertion, I am quite receptive to reviewing such.

    * Well, I suppose there is a certain sort of "scientist" for whom this nonsense is somehow "meaningful," but I won't stoop to denigrating all proper scientistists and science aficionados who know otherwise.
  14. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member


    Firstly your artical which you hold up as science has not referenced its assumptions and then you post it as fact, for instance how exactly does eatting fresh, sustainably caught fish equal 4 times the energy consumption of a farm? especially if i walk to the beach (yes i live near the beach), use a line and some bait and catch my own fish and then walk home, zero energy consumption, no heavy machinary involved, no fossil fuels ect

    Secondly for the god know how many times you say you have made no illogical or unsubstatiated claims:

    IF you are correct and these organisations are just "was not to create the best diet, but one that was healthy and acceptable to people who eat meat" because they are really secretly against meat but they dont belive that anyone would follow a vegitarian diet


    Is that big enough that you dont miss it this time? because either you are being illogical or you cant read
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Like I said earlier, the article is a not a scientific paper. It's not even a science article. It's not unbiased. And it doesn't present itself as such.

    I can't remember ever mentioning fish in this thread.

    There's only one organisation you mentioned: the CSIRO. What the others are I have no idea.

    I never claimed that the CSIRO was secretly against anything.

    This particular diet is made for meat eaters. It's quite obvious. It doesn't even seem to acknowledge the possibility that some people are vegetarian.

    Don't you know that SHOUTING is rude?

    Like the Atkins diet, the CSIRO diet has been criticised in some quarters for an over-emphasis on meat. It's a high-protein diet for meat eaters.
  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Thanks for the material on dairy farming. (Sounds like an argument for veganism.

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    The ethical argument is quite simple: you ought not to arbitrarily kill creatures (such as cows, pigs, chickens), because by doing so you are treating them as mere means to your own ends rather than as ends in their own right. These are sentient creatures who have a sense of self and an ongoing conception of themselves as conscious beings - just like humans. We do not kill humans arbitrarily for food. So, unless somebody can give a good reason as to why our "meat" animals are less entitled to their lives than human beings, then we have an undefendable double-standard at play.

    Forgive me. I have had this discussion with a number of people over the years. I'm not sure how far I got with you, or for how long we discussed this matter.

    My argument is that it is the meat-eaters who draw the arbitrary line in the sand. It is apparently fine to kill any other kind of animal other than a human being and eat it, for some unspecified reason.

    I found this particular article because it was linked in a respectable email list that I subscribe to, which covers various political and social issues. I do not usually read, and I have no knowledge of its general content.

    This article contains no offensive material - not unless you're a meat-eater who is uncomfortable with justifying your meat-eating ways.
  17. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

    Hmmmm.... nope, I'm comfortable with it.
  18. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

  19. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

  20. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    My decision not to consume dairy is based on health reasons (I'm lactose intolerant), but as I seem to recall having mentioned before, I enforce environmental law for a living - including prosecuting dirty dairying practices.

    Somewhere in the back of my head, I have a money making idea that might encourage diary farmers to take better care, by turning dairy effluent into a valuable commodity.

    As I said, it's not that I don't understand the ethical argument, I disagree with it.

    I tend to subsrcibe to the 'slippery slope' counter argument.

    Again, it's not that I'm unfamiliar with your argument, I disagree with it. For example, there are a number of health reasons why you should probably avoid eating human flesh, and those health reasons aren't factors when considering, for example bovine flesh.

    As I said, I tend to subscribe to the 'slippery slope' counter argument - in essence, that at some level, every living organism displays an adverse reaction to negative external stimuli, that could be interpreted as pain, or being analogous to pain, even if it does not belong to phyllum chordata. Hence my comments about arbitrary lines in he sand.

    I do not condone wasteful killing, and I do not consider killing for food (meat or otherwise) to be wasteful, when I fish, hunt, or otherwise gather, I do so on the grounds of taking only what I need, and if I find myself with an excess I will distribute it among my whanau.

    If I had the time, I would hunt, instead, I choose to barter using a token of pre-agreed value that I am given in exchange for my knowledge of chemistry and statistics, and the service I provide of protecting the environment, for primary processed meat, and secondary processed meat products prepared by another party.

    All I can tell you is that Webmarshall thinks that it meets the rules laid out by the IT department for containing offensive material.

    That depends on your definition of offensive, I suppose - I find, for example, the fact that two of its three arguments against eating meat are based on factual inaccuracies offensive.

    Equally, I find some of the inflammatory statements, and the light that it casts on people who choose to eat meat to be equally offensive. It's stereotyping, and it's an offensive stereortype. Personally, one of my closest friends is a vegetarian, I have not, and have no intention of trying to subvert them into eating meat, and we have had several interesting discussion around this, although their choice was one of personal health rather than anything else (they disliked the way red meat left them feeling 'heavy' and 'bleh' afterwards).

    Finally, I find the use of the term 'carnivore' in a derogatory fashion, such as it is presented in that article, to be both offensive and inaccurate. I am not a carnivore, at best I am an omnivore. I am no more a carnivore than I am an ovivore.
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    The CSIRO is not a homogenous block of like-minded people. The CSIRO employs thousands of people. Only a few of them wrote the CSIRO diet book.

    And of course those people are "biased". They believe their diet is a good one.

    Nobody ever claimed that this diet is the be-all and end-all of how humans ought to eat. I don't think even the authors have made such an extravagent and nonsensical claim.
  22. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    Well, every entity is biased--it's simply a question of how much so and in what manner. I'm less familiar with CSIRO than I am the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which recently introduced a new dietary model to replace the old food pyramid guide: the MyPlate:

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    Notice that big glass of milk in the upper right hand corner? Kinda odd considering a substantive portion of the world's peoples are lactose intolerant, no? Not so much white folk perhaps, but many Asians, Africans (and African emigres), etc.

    This model--which cost something like ten gazillion dollars to come up with--has met with considerable opposition and criticism, and mostly for that dairy bit. (As you'll note they specify "protein," and not "meat.") And not surprisingly, the Dairy Industry in the U.S. played in important role in the development of this model.
  23. wlminex Banned Banned

    Personally . . . "I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain in order to eat vegetables!!" (Actually seen on a tee shirt at Famous Dave's BBQ in El Paso, TX - YUM!!). Remember: "Brevity and Levity . . . "

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
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