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


    I haven't done a direct comparison. It's just that neither you nor Bells acknowledged that animals require water. Animals such as cattle require a LOT of water.

    It doesn't make much sense to grow rice in Australia, which is a fairly arid country.

    The culling of certain animals may actually be a kindness to the animals, if the alternative is that they starve to death.

    How many kangaroos are killed by crop farmers per day? How many end up on your plate? Compare the factory farming of chickens or cows or pigs.

    Was farming of cattle their sole source of income, or was this more a hobby farm?

    No. What?

    The culling of rabbits, mice and so on happens with meat production, too.

    The palm oil trade that involves destruction of orang utan habitats is immoral and I do not support it.
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  3. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    james there are 2 ways wombats are killed by crop farmers. The farmers knock down the ends of there holes so that they are buried alive, or they pour petrol down there holes and set them on fire.

    Compare that to a quick, clean kill for food production.
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  5. Bells Staff Member


    Which makes growing vegetables for human consumption just as damaging and bad for the environment.

    Ie.. It is not more moral.

    Is it?

    10 cows drink as much water pre week as a field of produce?

    Much less than with vegetable farming. The river systems affected by agriculture in Australia should be enough of an example for you.

    No. Insread we'll just create more deadzones in waterways and oceans so that no animals can breed in them.

    And you have yet to provide any proof that the damage done to the environment for agricultural farming (ie vegetable only production) is more moral than meat farming when one considers the damage it does to the environment and the scale needed..

    I have provided many links that give a lot of information about the negativity of agricultural farming James.

    I have also not been the one to say that vegetable farming is somehow more moral or better. You have.

    Canabalism is a part of human history. Unless of course you equate a cow or fried grasshopper to a human being?

    A great deal.

    You would save a human before you'd save a cow, and a banana.

    At the end of the day, whatever we eat, we kill it first. By killing it by removing it from a plant or the soil, or by slashing it's throat, bleeding it and consuming it.

    No I do not. So why do you?

    Why do you equate a cow as being the same as a human?

    And nothing you have posted has shown me that vegetable farming and eating vegetables is more moral than eating meat.

    What you have posted is some vague moral argument and saying that cows and sheep are somehow 'human' like and tried to use that as a moral basis.

    What I am trying to say to you is that no matter what we eat, neither is more or less moral than the other. There will be consequences regardless of whether we are vegetarian, vegans or carnivores.

    The article you linked in the OP also provides numerous false assumptions and facts about the health benefits of vegetarianism and the detriments to eating meat. All of which has been addressed already.


    When did humans become the 'standard for comparison you ask..

    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.

    I think you just said a funny!

    I'm sorry, I don't think a chicken or a cow has the same value as a human. I do think that being cruel to any animal should be punished. I also think that animals should be killed humanely. I do not hold a human and a cow or sheep or pig to be equal of rights.

    While it is clear you disagree, that is your perogative.

    What I have been trying to say to you is that your attempts to claim the superior moral ground is based on a false premise because agriculture is just as damaging to animals (ie wildlife) and kills many animals in the processes involved.
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  7. Enmos Registered Senior Member

    WTF? How human of you..
    You do realize that your value judgment is completely subjective, do you not?
  8. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    But you lose a lot of water, pesticides and fertilizer if you run it through a cow first.

    According to this site for kids:

    It takes 500 gallons of water to produce one pound of chicken, and 4,000-18,000 gallons of water to produce a pound of hamburger...
    As opposed to 110 gallons of water for a pound of maize and 110-250 gallons for a pound of wheat.

    And this is because when you take the wheat or maize and feed it to multiply the resource use.

    This would not be the same as using forage animals on marginal lands not suitable for agriculture. rabbit served everywhere in Australia? there ought to be commercial hunting of them...they are an invasive, destructive, non-native species...There really ought to be a government policy of a rabbit in every pot all the time in Oz...

    Not going to tell you to smoke your cane toads though...never tried toad tripping myself...

    Here we hear of the horrors of the Florida boa constrictors invading the southern US. They will never make it to Texas...Louisiana is in the way.
    There will be Boa etoufee...Boa gumbo, breaded Boa po'boys...

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


    No. To put it simply, if you grow vegetable food for human beings plus meat, then you use three fields: one for the human vegetables, one for the food for the animals, and one to house the animals. Eliminate meat and you eliminate two out of three of those.

    See chimpkin's post. (Thanks! It saved me from having to look it up.)

    Yes, you're right. I have yet to provide any proof on this question. So, we're even.

    So, it's ok then? I'm not sure what point you're making.

    I do not.

    Probably. That doesn't mean it's moral to eat cows. Or bananas, for that matter.

    Yes. That doesn't establish moral equality between cows and bananas.

    I don't.

    Why do you equate cows and bananas?

    Not at all.

    Do you want to explain to me how a cow is "banana-like" but not "human-like", since that seems to be your moral basis.

    Yeah, you said that before. You're wrong.

    My own position doesn't rest on the health arguments. It looks like there were indeed some hasty statements and errors on the health front in the article I quoted. The moral arguments, however, remain unrefuted.

    It isn't necessary that they have the same value as a human. What is important is that they have some value other than as mere commodities that you use as you see fit for your own ends. A cow is quite obviously not the same as a banana, but your whole argument essentially rests on the premise that there is moral equivalence between cows and bananas. And yet, at the same time, you put humans on a separate pedestal, different from both cows and bananas. You're inconsistent.

    And there's no cruelty involved in depriving a creature of its natural life span? Is that not inherently cruel? Bear in mind that we're talking healthy, young animals here (or at least we should be).

    Do you eat veal? Veal is young calves, not even mature. It's like killing a 2-year-old human and eating it just because you like the taste.

    Sure. If you're going to kill at all, the very least you can do is to kill humanely. You need to move beyond that and consider the basic question.

    What's your ranking of cow vs. pig vs. sheep? And why? Or is it only human beings that you put on a separate plane? And if so, why?


    My own view is that wildlife damaged from agriculture is most likely a drop in the ocean when compared to the systematic factory farming and wholesale slaughter of millions of animals every year which are produced solely for the purpose of human consumption.

    Nothing you have said has suggested otherwise.
  10. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Hmm, I've rescued two kittens off of busy freeway bridges, also got dogs out of and away from traffic, scooped baby birds out of roads, shooed armadilloes, possums, snakes, giant bullfrogs, out of roads, moved turtles out of them (protip: they pee, hold them away from you

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    ) and generally done lots of vaguely insane things involving rescuing animals around traffic...not disregarding several horses out in unlit nighttime road incidents.

    I certainly put my own dumb ass on the line for critters.

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    Though I have to say the concussed owl was my favorite-all he needed was fed by the rescue people until completely combobulated.

    *Polishes plastic Dudley-Do-Right badge with care.*

    If it were a flood, I'd actually determine if the human could swim, and if so, maybe they could help me save the cow...

    Banana trees need no saving, those things take over. In fact, if they are ornamental, non-fruiting bananas, kill them with fire. Otherwise, like the Terminator of plants, they'll be back...
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011
  11. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    Chip, your figures arent relivent. Sure if you eat grain feed cattle they are but i dont and doubt bells does eith. Infact you would be hard pressed to find grain feed cattle in any Australian supermarket. Our beef is grass feed and im still waiting for james to tell me when he last ate grass. Grass uses alot less water than grain does, alot of animal farms arnt even irrigated where as crop farms always are
  12. Bells Staff Member

    So if your child was stuck in a burning barn with your cow, you'd let your child burn?


    I am human.


    Am I forcing you to be human?

    Am I forcing you to eat meat? Am I cramming meat down your throat and trying to be all moral and mighty about it? No.

    You are a free individual who makes his own choices in life. I choose to eat meat, not just because I enjoy eating meat, but also because I need the vast amounts of iron I get from eating meat and tonnes of green leafy vegetables and vitamin c rich foods give me daily. A diet recommended by my doctors and specialists. In short, I am being human for myself. Not for you or anyone else.

    And you will then have to convert the other two into agricultural fields to ensure the ability to feed the population using said fields. You will also have to ensure that what is being planted will sufficiently meet the dietary requirements of those who rely on it for food. You will also be using more fertiliser and chemicals to make sure it survives. Then of course build glass houses (possibly) or find alternatives during winter (especially so in areas where there is snow).

    We'll disregard of course the fact that the meat will be more filling than a pound of wheat and provide those eating it with more proteins to survive and endure longer. Meat can also be dried and cured to be eaten at a later date and you will eat less meat, ensuring it goes further than wheat. Not to mention the leather off said meat can then be used for clothing and other needs (such as shelter)...

    Most importantly..

    Some of the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere comes from the decomposition of organic matter in the soil, and much of the methane emitted into the atmosphere is caused by the decomposition of organic matter in wet soils such as rice paddies.[107] Further, wet or anaerobic soils also lose nitrogen through denitrification, releasing the greenhouse gases nitric oxide and nitrous oxide.

    A point you don't seem to quite grasp about what I am saying is that I don't think animal agriculture is better. I am saying that both have major issues and I don't see one as being more moral than the other.

    But we can look a bit closer at the difference in water use:

    The global sum of international virtual water flows for the period 1996-2005 was 2320 Gm3/yr (68% green, 13% blue and 19% grey). The largest share (76%) of the virtual water flows between countries is related to international trade in crops and derived crop products. Trade in animal products and industrial products contributed 12% each to the global virtual water flows.

    (Page 20 of the report [22 pdf])

    And that is just in relation to trade.

    My point is that you cannot give equal human rights to a cow.

    No. But we do it anyway.

    Unless you wish to try the air diet?

    The point is that whatever we do, whatever we consume, it will result in the death of something.

    One is not more moral than the other.

    I was using an example.

    I guess the question I should ask is why are you so focused on the cow and the bananas?

    Next time I'll use a lettuce instead, okay?

    You don't even know what my moral basis is.

    But sure, take a guess James.

    Would you like me to pass you some straws to clutch at and make a man out of along the way?

    Then I guess we can beg to differ.

    At the end of the day, as you're chowing down on your vegetarian fare, remember that to produce that fare waterways were badly polluted and native wild life did die. Just as I recognise that an animal died when I chow down a steak for dinner (or try to at present)..

    Ah yes.. The sentient being argument.. the 'would you eat a human' moral argument.

    I believe that has been answered. Many times now.

    There is no moral argument to vegetarianism. Science has shown that some plants do feel pain. Which would make our eating them just as imoral as eating a steak for example.

    At the end of the day, whatever we consume will mean death to what we consume. Noone is denying that James.

    You seem to sway between saying that animals have rights, are sentient and then use the 'would you eat a human' line, but then say that you do not consider an animal to have equal rights to a human being.

    What I do find is that moralistic attitudes and the almost sneering comments you make about meat eaters is immoral in and of itself. You are judging me as being less moral than you because I eat meat, while you ignore the damage to the environment your eating habits produce..

    My God.. Enough with the banana obsession already. It was used as an example.

    My point.. again.. is that one is not more moral than the other.

    A cow is about as much the same as a banana (yes, using the example again) as a human is the same as a cow or a fly.

    I am not placing humans on any higher pedestal than you are. The moment we say that a human life has more value than an animal life, then we have already drawn that line in the sand. You have and I have. As much as I adore animals, if push comes to shove, I would save a human life first. You would to. Even Enmos would. Because we value human life more.

    I eat meat. Not because I consider farm animals to be less than me. But because they are part of my foodchain. Just as I would be part of a great white's food chain if I ever came across one or a crocodile if I ever came across one. Now yes, there is the issue of choice. And I choose to eat meat. As an individual, that is my choice. Just as it is your choice to consume no meat. Both involve killing animals (yours indirectly, me more directly).

    It does not make you more moral than me.

    So a calf is like a human of the equivalent age now?

    You think killing a calf is the same as killing a child?


    And there you go judging again. For your information, no I do not eat veal. And I have no qualms in eating animals James. The protein, minerals and iron it provides me is essential to my survival and wellbeing. Yes, I am placing myself above a calf.. shame on me. I shall repent in hell when I die.

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    Why kill it at all to eat?

    Because I am a meat eater.

    Depends on the marinade.

    I hear human flesh goes well with thyme and oregano...

    Oh, we're back on the how or why humans are somehow different to cattle? I'll ask you again James. Do you think a cow, pig or sheep should have equal rights to that of a human being?

    Yep. And the farms producing your vegetables are poisoning the soil, damaging the eco-system and killing off waterways and creating deadzones in parts of the ocean. But hey, that's a mere drop in the ocean.. eh?



    The difference between you and I James is that I don't try and palm off vegetarianism as being the be all and end all and more moral, nor do I do the same with the consumption of meat.
  13. Enmos Registered Senior Member

    Well, yes *whoops* NO. Not because it is human, but because I know it and love it.
    I would sooner save my cat than my asshole neighbor (or any other human I don't know).
    The thing is that people are taught from a young age that people are the most important thing in the world. Even worse, people are pressured into excepting that idea. Even in later life.
    We've all been indoctrinated in this respect.

    You didn't actually answer the question, by the way..

    Well at least you do realize that your value judgment was based on practically nothing.
    Would you please try to explain to me why you think a chicken is of lesser value than a human?
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  14. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Not here - even considering hay and silage

    Dairying is the worst.
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Worse than what??? (Or have I lost the context?) Raising cattle for milk is ten times as resource-efficient as raising them for meat.
  16. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

    Water consumption, dairying cows drink more water then beef cattle do (for much the same reason nursing mothers do), and then there's the water requirements for hosing down the feedpad and milking shed twice a day (they're also environmentally more damaging, but I covered that in a previous post).
  17. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    That it fails was a premise of my post, not a conclusion I was establishing support for. Its numerous fatal flaws had already been pointed out by the time I made that post - the main point there was that such material is typical and expected when using sources from bait sites, and that the discourse that such fosters is likewise understood and expected. All of which is to say that the basic presumption of any OP so founded is that such is trolling - which presumption is born out by various aligned behaviors found subsequently in said thread. Nothing mysterious or unexpected, there.

    But anyway, if that's the sort of sophomoric interaction you want to have, then it seems you'll be successful at getting what you want. Just don't go thinking that nobody else here sees it for what it is, or expect us to play along with any chirade of respectful, elevated discourse.
  18. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    My wife is a vegetarian (eats a little dairy) strictly because of the resource consumption issue. Admittedly, the dairy somewhat negates that...but she does not eat a ton of it, mainly uses it as a treat or a condiment. She does not look at eating animals as immoral...but eating meat in most cases is a lot more damaging to the environment...out west our federal rangelands are being overgrazed, so I've heard...

    Some people call it "strip ranching," on federal lands that are leased at a fraction of value, and grazed to the point of damage.

    I have to wonder if such "strip ranching" is also occurring in the dryland pastures of Australia? in which case it's a long term bad thing.
    ( the bunnies)
  19. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    That's only an argument against factory farming of meat (or milk or egg) animals. Free-range animals are typically grazed on tracts of land that are not so great for growing crops - grass and scrub brush. At least where I live.

    And it's no argument at all against hunting or fishing wild animals for meat.

    Indeed, any large population of large mammals is going to need a lot of fresh water to survive. I don't see how the question of whether we eat them or not bears on that - the only way to eliminate the need for that water, is to eliminate the animal populations in question.

    Which scarsely seems to square with your ethical reasoning, that said animals are ends in and of themselves, not to be reduced to instruments for our own ends. But here you are, advocating the systematic elimination of animal populations that number into the hundreds of millions, so that we can have more water and land for human use. Is it somehow the case that individual animals who are alive right now are ends, but animals-as-species (or yet-to-be-born animals) are simply disposable objects to be used for human ends (provided we don't directly kill any individual already-born animals)?

    At the end of the day, our appetites are in competition with those of animals, whether we directly eat them or not. I don't see how preventing animals from ever being born is ethically superior to (humanely) slaughtering and eating them. Is it better to be raised for food and then eaten, or never live at all? If animals are ends of their own, does any human even have standing to weigh in on that question?

    Again, a good argument against factory farming, but not against meat-eating in general. If I shell out a few bucks for free-range meats, or hunt/fish my own, this doesn't apply to me.

    And, again - who are you to decide for the animals what they'd prefer? How can you establish that they'd rather never have been born? Plenty of humans seem to have lived in very nasty conditions with negative expected outcomes, without wishing they'd never been born, or killing themselves, etc. Whence the assumption that animals share your valuation of their lives as less than your disgust at factory farming conditions?

    The thing about standing on an ethical argument of animals as equal agents, is that you don't get to play Speaker for the Animals.

    That would have been a good occasion for you to provide some references in support of your own unsubstantiated assertions. Maybe we all could have learned something interesting about land-use, agricultural policy, etc. Instead all we got was a bunch of defensive posturing.

    And you're silly if you expect me to believe that you put all animals on an equal footing. You do not. Among your primary justifications for vegetarianism is the systematic elimination of huge animal populations, and the benefits that such would accrue to humans.

    Presumably around the same time that humans became the only agents actually making comparisons, participating in discussions of such, etc.

    You may not like species self-interest as an ethical principle, but there are powerful reasons for it, and so it's going to take a bit more than condescending dismissiveness to deal with it.
  20. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    I think we can manage our meat production better, and make better use of other animals and foodstuffs, but I don't think cutting it out is in any way practical. Or moral. But as you say, we produce plenty currently, although our population is expanding rapidly and may bring that into question (but I imagine water will be a problem before food produce).

    Does it take into account the feeding/use of resources not fit for humans - Ie things that would otherwise be waste or grasses, and also the amount of natural fertiliser produced by animals that can be used to increase crop yield?
    What about land that is pasture and not suitable as arable and also animals that more or less sustain themselves?
    What about the required variety of foodstuffs to have a suitable diet?

    It's great to compare to maize and wheat, but man cannot live on wheat alone. Or something.

    Cows might be unsuitable, but meat in general isn't. I'm not bothered, I have a taste for Ostrich anyway.
  21. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

    and this is why you should grow a garden and eat wild game.
  22. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    Strawman argument.

    You could keep a cow in your back garden and it'll eat the grass. Saves you a lawnmower and produces natural fertilizer for your crops, so that's good for the environment in every way and still lets you eat meat.
    Also any meat consumed means less vegetables required.

    Just goes to show how far people will stretch to claim the moral high ground.
  23. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

    don't forget teh milk and something to pull teh plow for teh garden
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