March 10, 2002
10:49 AM   Subscribe

Yeah, we all know that PETA is pretty loopy. Well ok, that's unfair. I meant to say we, the thinking, know that PETA....

Seriously tho, even tho I'm not into PETA, and I don't agree with a lot of what they do, I think one of their latest ideas, the concept of taxing meat is such a good idea. I mean why not? Meat's about as healthy as cigarettes, coffee, and beer, and those products are taxed. Mostly, I'd like to see some money come in to balance out the money spent to fix the damage created by the Meat Industry. [digitalbutterfly.net]
posted by jcterminal (97 comments total)
 
of course... this could only work as well as it could if the results of the taxing is moderated correctly, and the income is spent right. i don't think meat for the starving should be taxed... but then again, i think there's better things than meat for the hungry to eat.

if the meat-tax was used to pay for feeding the poor... say a free lunch program... or health education... i think that would be nice.

yeah, and if the taxes went to clean up after all the pollution of the meat industry, that would be nice too.

but i don't see it happening. i think half of congress is sponsored by the beef council. at least the midwest reps.

ok. off to carl jr's...
posted by jcterminal at 10:54 AM on March 10, 2002


Not just for the impact meat has on the health care industry, but the insane amounts of water, feed and land that cattle require. Water is the issue that affects public interests, given the subsidies, cut-rate pricing and welfare that are given farmers, especially the big operations.
posted by fleener at 10:54 AM on March 10, 2002


I mean why not? Meat's about as healthy as cigarettes, coffee, and beer, and those products are taxed.

Sounds like you've bought into much of PETA's BS hook, line and sinker, whether you like them or not. And you've absolutely taken their bait by making this post; their entire MO is to come up with wild ideas, which the media and other bemused people then talking about constantly. Thus their psychotic message is repeated to the masses over and over.

(Are there actually coffee taxes?)
posted by aaron at 10:58 AM on March 10, 2002


Isn't meat already taxed? Come to think of it, is there anything on this planet that doesn't get taxed? Is there any place on this planet one can go where they don't tax one's every freaking breath? Just wondering...
posted by ZachsMind at 10:59 AM on March 10, 2002


Meat's about as healthy as cigarettes, coffee, and beer, and those products are taxed.

Oh yeah. Just yesterday I read in the paper about another person dying from meat eating. A real tragedy.

OMG if meat is so deadly, why not make it like tobacco and alcohol in the US, 21 and up only?
posted by Keen at 11:04 AM on March 10, 2002


OMG if meat is so deadly, why not make it like tobacco and alcohol in the US, 21 and up only?

Well, that would be because unlike meat, tobacco and alcohol are addictive, mood-altering substances. But I suspect you knew that already.
posted by jess at 11:07 AM on March 10, 2002


Much meat production (cattle ranching, for example) is actually pretty heavily subsidized, I believe. Not taxed.

In any case, lean meat in moderation is not particularly unhealthy. Mankind ate it for millennia without significant ill effects; we were primarily hunter-gatherers until we invented agriculture. What is really deadly is the combination of fatty meats, large amounts of starches and refined sugar, and a sedentary lifestyle.
posted by kindall at 11:08 AM on March 10, 2002


Meat's about as healthy as cigarettes, coffee, and beer

(Score:-1, Troll)
posted by Jairus at 11:15 AM on March 10, 2002


Why don't we all follow the bozo's lead here and demand high amounts of taxes on whatever it is we don't like, whether the dislike is warranted or not. I immediately declare a very high tax on women who disturb their boyfriends in the middle of reading a good book asking, "What are you thinking?" :-)
posted by clevershark at 11:16 AM on March 10, 2002


Being a vegetarian can be just as unhealthy as being a eat meater. Some vegetarian's follow PETA's lead and don't eat meat with no regard to getting what nutrients they are missing with the absense of meat...so should we also tax vegetarian good to make up for those mishaps?
posted by jmd82 at 11:24 AM on March 10, 2002


What about sweatpants? I can't stand the way everybody wears sweatpants all the damn time like they just rolled out of bed. A really serious tax on sweatpants would go a long way to making us a nattier and more stylish society.
posted by BT at 11:39 AM on March 10, 2002


jcterminal:

Could you provide us with a comprehensive survey of the literature that demonstrates that meat is invariably harmful, in the same manner that cigarettes are invariably harmful?
posted by argybarg at 11:43 AM on March 10, 2002


This is the lamest idea i've heard since someone suggested a posthumos Nobel Peace Prize for Adolph Hitler because of his attempts to liberate the Russian people from Stalin in WW2.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:46 AM on March 10, 2002


Wow Mack, invoking Godwin a little early, aren't we? This entire thread seems to be a pile on of pro-meat, which is cool, but the idea has some merit. Instead of bashing the idea, why not suggest reasons why it wouldn't work?
posted by BlueTrain at 11:56 AM on March 10, 2002


I mean why not?

You use the question "why not" on the subject of initiating force against other peaceful individuals? You just revealed yourself to be dangerous to your surroundings, and I have no respect for you whatsoever. For shame.
posted by dagny at 11:57 AM on March 10, 2002


aaron, it's not PETA BS. It's basic nutrition. You may dislike PETA for a lot of reasons, but in general, meat is not healthy for you. Or to say it another way, there are other foods which are much, much, much better for you than meat.
posted by fleener at 12:06 PM on March 10, 2002


meat is not healthy for you. Or to say it another way, there are other foods which are much, much, much better for you than meat

That's saying something else entirely, actually. There are other people who are much, much, much richer than Madonna, but this does not mean that she is not rich.
posted by Jairus at 12:13 PM on March 10, 2002


jess - Well, that would be because unlike meat, tobacco and alcohol are addictive, mood-altering substances.

jess, you think foods aren't mood altering or can't be addictive? I guess all the people with eating disorders should hear about this. I'd like to bring tryptophan to your attention, which can bring on what is commonly referred to as food coma, or turkey coma. And chocolate is believed to have the ability of releasing endorphins in the body, thus altering your mood. Just thought you'd like to know.
posted by mikhail at 12:15 PM on March 10, 2002


The main reason why the idea would be bad is because it would hurt the poor more than anyone else. If the tax was applied to all meat either on the production end or the purchase end, either everyone would have to pay it, or someone would try to make the tax hit the people that could afford to pay it... On the production end, they'll just pass the tax onto the buyer, on the purchase end, if everyone has to pay it, there are people who won't be able to buy as much meat.

To vegans and vegetarians, this may seem like a good thing... Maybe they'll have to live off of Mac and cheese. But will the person who can't afford to buy meat also be able to buy the necessary vitamins that they need to tay healthy?

If there was a way to make only those that can afford to pay--pay... Well, 1) it would be really hard to make happen, imagine the outcry of the unfairness of such a tax 2) How could it be implemented... Only tax more prime cuts of meat?
posted by drezdn at 12:24 PM on March 10, 2002


I'm not so sure that the health benefits are all there are to this argument. Meat isn't that great for you, especially in the quantities that most americans eat, but hey, those are the choices that we make all the time.

I'm more intrigued by the environmental toll caused by the massive meat industry.

Mankind ate it for millennia without significant ill effects; we were primarily hunter-gatherers until we invented agriculture. (Kindall)

This is quite true. And quite right. But what we didn't do is poison our water supply, overgraze all of our fields, and cut down every tree in south america. It's shortsighted to think of meat consumption just as it effects you and your health.

Think about the ramifications of using 87 percent of all agircultural land in the US for raising animals for food(from the link, scroll to paragraph 4). Somebody should be paying for this damage, and that somebody is us.

I personally wouldn't mind if steak cost as much as lobster. It's a luxury item. And it should have a luxury price tag. $7 burgers at McDonalds? Morningstar farms chick patties 99ยข !! Hell yes.
posted by zpousman at 12:26 PM on March 10, 2002


I think we should tax oxygen.
posted by SpecialK at 12:27 PM on March 10, 2002


I been taxing my meat ever since I saw Amelie, mang.
posted by dong_resin at 12:30 PM on March 10, 2002


Why don't we all follow the bozo's lead here and demand high amounts of taxes on whatever it is we don't like, whether the dislike is warranted or not

I agree. I think we should tax all alt-dis, alt-dat, alt-whatever crap music that's been polluting the aural enironment since the nineties.
posted by HTuttle at 12:32 PM on March 10, 2002


is doogie howser the inventor of weblogs?
posted by surfmoc at 12:36 PM on March 10, 2002


Don't tax meat. Instead, reform the labour laws that allow fast-food chains to underpay teenage workers; stop subsidising your agribusinesses; let your anti-trust laws loose on the meatpacking industry. Then you'll find that without the market distortions that make meaty fast food so cheap, consumption will drop by itself. (By "you" I mean Americans, of course).

This will have the happy incidental effect of allowing you to buy lovely lean grass-fed New Zealand beef more cheaply ;-)

(Did I mention I bought Fast Food Nation in the bookshop at the airport this morning?)
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:36 PM on March 10, 2002


I'm going out a limb here, but i'm going to guess that lobster costs so much more than meat because of supply and demand. Much more meat in the market=lower prices. Also, for those of us like me that were raised on meat, i don't like a meal without meat. Sure, that could be analogous to "I was raised on drugs, so i should be able to still use them", the difference being i NEED food to survive. I've tried being vegetarian, and i can't do it. I have to give up meat the way it is on Fridays during Lent, and thats struggle enough. Sorry, but tofu just isn't as tastey as the real thing.
posted by jmd82 at 12:38 PM on March 10, 2002


Isn't this a situation designed for Adam Smith's invisible hand? We don't need a tax; take away the current subsidies on meat production and let the market work it out.

fleener has a good point; water politics has screwed up the American agricultural economy beyond any sane comprehension. I recommend the book Cadillac Desert for a detailed tour of this particular agricultural subsidy and the nineteenth-century manifest destiny mindset that governs it.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:38 PM on March 10, 2002


I'm all for people eating less meat. But it's not inherently bad for you. Don't be a dick and troll.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:41 PM on March 10, 2002


To vegans and vegetarians, this may seem like a good thing... Maybe they'll have to live off of Mac and cheese.

Point of order: Vegans and lacto/ovo vegetarians will never know the joy of true macaroni and cheese, by definition.
posted by Hildago at 12:44 PM on March 10, 2002


Speaking of the beef industry -- Bush gave a rousing speech to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association on February 8 in Denver in which he promised continued federal support for the beef business. Later that same day he continued on to Salt Lake City for the Olympic opening ceremonies. You may recall that in a "spontaneous" photo-op he appeared with skater Sasha Cohen in the stands and talked to her mother on her cell phone -- a great Bush moment. Turns out that Sasha is the "beef industry youth spokesperson." Coincidence?
posted by JackFlash at 12:49 PM on March 10, 2002


Hildago, you seem to be confused as to what a lacto-ovo vegetarian is. Those are the ones that DO eat dairy and egg products, so they still enjoy that mac and cheese goodness.
posted by mikhail at 12:51 PM on March 10, 2002


I don't think the argument of increased healthcare costs really holds much water. In moderation, prepared appropriately, eating "meat" (which is a pretty broad term...pepperoni and lean chicken breast are both meats) isn't really very dangerous. Thus, the fault lies with the quantity and type that people eat.

I think there may be some validity to the environmental damage caused by widespread meat production, but then, I don't know if currently the evidence for this is conclussive. Any links out there?

If so, I think that might be reason for a tax on meat.
posted by Doug at 12:53 PM on March 10, 2002


I absolutely contend, with 100% certainty, that the absolute unltimate cause of death is life. Living is a danger to all, and must be controlled. The cost to governments, and the health care industry every year of life are staggering to imagine. Life leads to cancer, heart desease, stubbed toes, and ends with the death of every human. Please, we must think of the children and save them from life right now. Tax life, and tax it hard. This will give people who celebrate and partake of life ample reason to stop their foolishness, and if they don't, tax them harder. And then when they die, tax their relations on the residuals of their life, for not following the fine example of the deceased.

In all seriousness, there is no universally agreed upon standard thinking that the consumption of meat is bad for your health. Those who wish to argue that the consistant consumption of McDonald's psuedoFOOD is bad for you might have a good claim, but to lay that as a blanket fault on the consumption of meat is the hieght of illogical foolishness (which seems the staple of PETA BS).
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:53 PM on March 10, 2002


Think about the ramifications of using 87 percent of all agircultural(sic) land in the US for raising animals for food. -zpousman


What a straw man. Farms are more efficient and productive than ever. We have so many excess crops, that Congressmen travel to North Korea and give them grain to their starving millions. People grow animal feed because it's profitable (selling to animal producers), they have a right to their property. There is no market for a massive surplus of grain. Indeed, it is a tragedy that millions are starving to death, victims of their totalitarian regimes. Those people, if they were free, would be in the market to buy some cheap grain, and American farmers would begin growing different crops.

There is this Pollyanna groupthink that if American farmers were forced to grow only crops to feed people, world hunger would be solved overnight. What would happen, in reality, is that American farmers would go out of business, being forced to farm at a loss, and we would have less food than when we started our centrally-planned utopia.

If Americans incur high healthcare costs because they choose freely to eat large quantities of meat(Top Ramen is really cheap folks, you don't need to subsist on meat if you're poor), the taxpayers of this nation should not pay for their healthcare. Period. If Americans incur high healthcare costs by freely choosing to smoke, taxpayer dollars should not pay for treatment. Ever. On the other side of the coin, it is not the government's role to tax things that might be harmful to you. When you create that precedent, every 4 years a new group is trying to tax the things that offend them. We'll have Christian conservatives taxing beer and porn, and will have liberal environmentalists taxing gasoline and hamburgers, and everyone will be unhappy.

If you want to live in a nanny-republic, fine, just let me know when you get into power, so I can leave the country before fleeing becomes illegal too.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:07 PM on March 10, 2002


I been taxing my meat ever since I saw Amelie, mang.

You're talking the French film, with that ooooh-so-licious cutey, with her bobbed haircut and, oh, those eyes? If so, I gotta agree with ya.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:14 PM on March 10, 2002


According to the book I was reading this morning, insomnyuk, independant ranchers and poultry farmers are being forced to farm at a loss, because they cannot sell their produce in a free market. Instead, a cartel comprising four players, some of whom illegally collude to fix prices, dictate what they can sell at.

In fact, you already live in a nanny state, but the beneficiaries are corporates who lobby for legislation that effectively subusidises their businesses.

Of course, effective anti-trust laws, and an end to state subsidies and protectionism are a better cure than taxation. I hope they do not meet your definition of a nanny state?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:16 PM on March 10, 2002


If Americans incur high healthcare costs because they choose freely to eat large quantities of meat(Top Ramen is really cheap folks, you don't need to subsist on meat if you're poor), the taxpayers of this nation should not pay for their healthcare. Period. If Americans incur high healthcare costs by freely choosing to smoke, taxpayer dollars should not pay for treatment. Ever.

Agreed, insomnyuk. I also think that if Americans incur healthcare costs by choosing freely to live in a highly polluted area, tax dollars should not go to their treatment. Period. Period. If Americans incur high healthcare costs by freely choosing to spend eight to ten hours a day typing in front of a monitor, taxpayer dollars should not pay for carpal tunnel treatment. Ever. Or drug overdoses. Or alcohol poisoning. Or burns suffered by firemen.

They did it to themselves, after all.
posted by Jairus at 1:20 PM on March 10, 2002


Of the viewpoints here I react most negatively towards, is the outlook that quality should be traded for another goal. Chicken Kiev should be traded for Top Ramen, why? Not one person here has proven that eating meat incurs high healthcare costs. Not one person here has proven that taxpayers end up paying these costs. The bulk of catastrophic health care costs fall on the insurance industry, which drives up costs for those with insurance, because insurance companies need to make record profits. And people want relief for the high cost of living. This isn't right.

What this is saying is that people want to afford the finer things, but don't want to bear the cost of others having those things. And its founded on faulty premisses to begin with:
1) Eating meat is bad for you.
2) Eating meat drives up cost and decreases quality of life for those who want a better quality of life, so accept a lower quality of life that you will have a better quality of life.
Sorry folks, I'm not giving up Jambalaya, so that you can eat Raman and own a Lexus.

(insomnyuk, I'm not trying to undercut your point, because I agree with the bulk of it. Its the implications of it I have issue with.)

Upon review, i_am_joe's_spleen, I would suggest that what we are suffering from is governmental support of the insurance/investment/banking industry, as well as subsidation of the agriculture sector.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:25 PM on March 10, 2002


For the record, I am against the government subsidizing or protecting American industry from failure. (tariffs, corporate welfare). That doesn't really affect any of my arguments, however.

Or burns suffered by firemen. -Jairus

Unless he's employed by the government. I love the subtle assertion that somehow I do not care for firemen. Brilliant non sequitr, ad hominem, what have you.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:28 PM on March 10, 2002


I love the subtle assertion that somehow I do not care for firemen.

My sublte assertion is that you seem not to care for the health and welfare (or government aid) of anyone who eats meat, anyone suffering from a cigarette addiction, and by inference, anyone who engages in an activity that you consider to be harmful.

Health care is not just for those who have the moral high ground. Heroin addicts and meat-eating cigar smokers both have the same rights to health care as the most healthy vegetarian.
posted by Jairus at 1:40 PM on March 10, 2002


Jairus, the question is one of who has the responsibility to pay those health costs. I don't agree with your interpretation of what insomnyuk was attempting to write.

Besides, (since most have skirted the issue) what are the basic rights to health care you claim, and who should pay for them?
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:47 PM on March 10, 2002


"When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!"
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 1:56 PM on March 10, 2002


what are the basic rights to health care you claim, and who should pay for them?

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.

I think that the government (of any country) has a responsibility to ensure that the rights of their citizens are not infringed upon, at any cost. Taxation is not too large of a price to pay for that, I don't think.
posted by Jairus at 2:00 PM on March 10, 2002


Jeez. Another endless argument between absolutist extremes.

To any thoughtful person it is obvious that unbridled meat consumption to the exclusion of other nutrient sources is unhealthy and will lead to premature death. It is also obvious that moderate (a word that seems to be missing from the vocabularies of most posters here) consumption of meat is at worst neutral and probably healthy inasmuch as it is a pretty complete source of our protein requirement. Also, it should be obvious that complete absence of meat from your diet without careful nutritional guidance is unhealthy and will lead to premature death, as well.

To differentiate meat-eating, smoking, drug use, alcohol use, etc. from eachother based on inherent health risk requires one to understand the subtleties of what (on a hypothetical 'usage' scale) constitutes moderate vs. extreme usage.
posted by plaino at 2:01 PM on March 10, 2002


Health care is not just for those who have the moral high ground. Heroin addicts and meat-eating cigar smokers both have the same rights to health care as the most healthy vegetarian.

This is true, but only because there is no such thing as a "right" to health care. Zero does equal zero.
posted by kindall at 2:02 PM on March 10, 2002


Point of order: Vegans and lacto/ovo vegetarians will never know the joy of true macaroni and cheese, by definition.

I knew that Vegans would never touch Mac and Cheese... I was just trying to point out the poor who wouldn't be able to afford meat would have to turn to things like Mac and Cheese and wouldn't have money (possibly the knowledge) to buy the vitamins they would need to stay healthy, which would defeat the purpose of taxing meat anyways...
posted by drezdn at 2:13 PM on March 10, 2002


And you all laughed at me when I went on the Jonathan Swift Diet. Fools, the lot of you! I eat tax-free! Muahahaha!
posted by Danelope at 2:20 PM on March 10, 2002


I think that the government (of any country) has a responsibility to ensure that the rights of their citizens are not infringed upon, at any cost. Taxation is not too large of a price to pay for that, I don't think.

Too bad that's not the issue here. The US is not responsable for insuring that meat eaters of this nation pay for East Wango Wango's domestic responsibilities, is it?
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:26 PM on March 10, 2002


*waiting for fold_and_mutilate*
posted by evanizer at 2:32 PM on March 10, 2002


I think someone at PETA has gotten their B-vitamins, because this campaign actually seems =reasonable=, as opposed to some of their other attempts to rally support (I'm particularly thinking of some of their anti-dairy campaigns.)

My own inclination would be to get rid of the subsidies, because that's cheaper for the government, and we'll see if people are willing to pay the real costs of meat. As it is, 8 cents per pound of meat as an excise tax isn't much of a charge, and those who would be priced out of the meat range should still have enough money to buy beans, a far cheaper source of protein.

But most of all, I'd hope that a meat excise tax would bring back beef-soy mix burgers to fast food. Man, I miss D'lites.

However, I think one should shy away from the "health" aspect of the argument; here I sit chomping on Pringles, contemplating the pounds my husband and I have gained on vegan goodies like french fries, potato chips, soda, and candy. I don't think meat is the main dietary problem of those in the developed world. They're on much firmer ground talking about the environmental and economic impact (by which, I mean subsidies, not Medicare).
posted by meep at 2:36 PM on March 10, 2002


In fact, you already live in a nanny state, but the beneficiaries are corporates who lobby for legislation that effectively subusidises their businesses.

All too true.

I don't like these agenda posts, if the US is going to do anything with taxes on foods they should just abolish them altogether. There's a bigger crisis of poverty and the working poor to settle first before we can play the blame about healthy foods, especially in a country without universal healthcare.
posted by skallas at 2:39 PM on March 10, 2002


I apologize profusely to the citizens of East Wango Wango. I sincerely cede that I may have just undercut your basic human rights. I know that for your benefit, I should eat more food grown in other countries, thus empowering your auto and clothing manufacturers to completely undercut our domestic producers in price. How thoughtless of me that I not denegrate all American taxpayers who consume protein rich products, so that your employers, paying you pennies an hour, can put Americans out of work. I should think globally about food production, and ignore all else, (like global factory scale pay in favor of the rich and oppressive in your own country), and accept Raman as the food of choice in America (despite the fact I raise some of my own meat) for the ideal that you Wango Wangoans should produce 1/8th of the food you need in favor of the US's producing more than we need. WE should be altruist, and just give you the fruit of our labor so that your governments can hoard it and cause resentment against our skyscraper producing economy. Please, I invite you to hold this against us, so that we needn't hold it against our banking industry that they rape us for every dollor per second, and make us feel guilty that we use what we produce.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:42 PM on March 10, 2002


werd.
posted by adampsyche at 2:45 PM on March 10, 2002


skallas, well said!
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:45 PM on March 10, 2002


To any thoughtful person it is obvious that unbridled meat consumption to the exclusion of other nutrient sources is unhealthy and will lead to premature death.

Actually, there is in the medical literature a study done on a man who ate nothing but meat for an entire year, with no ill effects. Of course that is not exactly a "long term" study, but the doctors who were studying this man expected to see some sign of malnutrition in that time period, and found none.

Sorry I don't recall the details, I'll see if I can dig them up if anyone's interested.
posted by kindall at 2:47 PM on March 10, 2002


Meat's about as healthy as cigarettes, coffee, and beer

Right, also beans are as healthy as cocaine, tofu is as healthy as cyanide and fennel makes you go blind. I think nothing is more harmful to an agenda than people making such utterly ridiculous claims.
posted by Orik at 2:50 PM on March 10, 2002


Why don't you all just fuck each other and get it over with!
posted by luriete at 3:18 PM on March 10, 2002


Why don't you all just fuck each other and get it over with!


What a stupid fucking thing to say! What exactly, if your addled whit can come up with such, do you mean?
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:25 PM on March 10, 2002


Sandwiches of sausage, smeared with butter, with lots of wine. These are amongst the things I experienced in France, where people live longer than in the United States, despite the cigarettes. The only thing wrong with eating meat is doing so in excess. PETA is/are schmucks.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:39 PM on March 10, 2002


I have to admit complete puzzlement, luriete. Did you sense a lot of unresolved sexual tension in this discussion, the kind that suggests we should all actually copulate? If so, should we do so in words or deed? Sequentially or all together?

Or did you just sit on a bare electrical wire and, improbably, type out a complete sentence while being shocked?

Or are you angry about something?
posted by argybarg at 3:40 PM on March 10, 2002


And meep, since you discount the health side of the argument, I wonder what's left to support in the proposal.
posted by argybarg at 3:41 PM on March 10, 2002


Justify yourself!
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:41 PM on March 10, 2002


=worst metalink EVAR

Let people have freedom. If people want to eat meat, let them. If they don't, well that's fine too. No one is forcing anyone to eat meat.

Stupid, stupid thread. Let it die. Delete it. Do something.
posted by Aikido at 3:43 PM on March 10, 2002


"Taxing meat" does not mean taxing cattle only. Chicken is meat; fish is meat; any animal flesh is meat (insects don't count). Not all meats are created equal. People who "don't eat meat" often eat chicken or fish. why? duh. i shouldn't have to spell it out.

anyway if anyone replies to this post my opinion of metafilter will decrease. let it die folks. this is like a christian-atheist debate only about food.

to return to the main page of metafilter just click your heels together three times and repeat: "die, die, die." presto, no more thread.
posted by wantwit at 3:47 PM on March 10, 2002


Maybe luriete was disturbed by Danelope's remark and then lost it.

(Background info on A Modest Proposal)
posted by insomnyuk at 3:47 PM on March 10, 2002


Jairus: International law essentially doesn't exist. It's nothing more than a bunch of gentlemens' agreements whose enforcement is often left to some of the least gentlemanly people on the planet. When they do act like gentlemen, and they actually agree on whether or not a given law should exist (very important, this), there's a chance it will work. Otherwise, it's not worth the paper it's written on.

Even a cursory reading of the UDHR reveals all sorts of supposed "rights" that even most democratic countries partially or completely deny their citizens.
posted by aaron at 4:12 PM on March 10, 2002


There is more misinformation here than should be tolerated...This thread should die. Period.
posted by Benway at 4:15 PM on March 10, 2002


Benway, rather than call for the censorship of the thread, please decry what is misinformation here. Educate, don't pontificate, okay?
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:34 PM on March 10, 2002


Oooooo... I have an idea!

Let's tax candies. All candies. I've never met a candy that was actually as good for you as a healthy head of fresh brocolli.

And while we're at it, I think we should tax yoghurt. Not because its a cow product, but because its proven that excess consumption of it damages teeth.

Hmm, maybe we should tax celery. I've heard that chewing celery properly (the full 25 times) actually wastes more energy than it gives you! What a waste of compost and water!

And, WTH, let's tax doing anything illegal too. I think there should be a reverse 100% speeding tax, effectively doubling all fines related to speeding!

Yeah, that's it. That'll work just as well as taxing alcohol prevents DUI, and taxing cigarettes prevents smoking, and Marijuana stamp stamp taxes stopped the trade of the drug.

When's the next PETA day anyways? I have a barbeque and a bunch of People hungry to Eat some Tasty Animals!

(Where's the Beef?)
posted by shepd at 6:04 PM on March 10, 2002


>If Americans incur high healthcare costs because they choose freely to eat large quantities of meat(Top Ramen is really cheap folks, you don't need to subsist on meat if you're poor)

That's where the vegetarian line starts to cross over into the bizarrely weird.

Did you know there's less value (and more danger) to your body from drinking a bottle of hydrogenated vegetable oil than there is from eating a well cooked steak?

And, knowing that, you can quickly deduce that the fried palm oil laden 33 cent noodles from the local grocer are death-bombs waiting to go off (not that they aren't tasty, especially the meat flavoured ones).

Yup, eating vegan can have the same (and possibly worse) health risks as eating meat if done irresponsibly. Notice none of those top ten bad foods contains a serious amount of meat (including the chicken noodle soup, excepting the grand slam breakfast). Some contain milk, but that's "grey area".
posted by shepd at 6:20 PM on March 10, 2002


"I absolutely contend, with 100% certainty, that the absolute unltimate cause of death is life."
Life: a sexually transmitted disease with a 100% mortality rate.
posted by quonsar at 6:40 PM on March 10, 2002


evanizer: *waiting for fold_and_mutilate*
Let me take care of The Angriest Pacifist's inevitable post for him, evanizer. Let's see. Crank the ego up to 11, add a dash of smug self-righteousness, and...
Ha ha ha, dogs eat meat and they also eat their own vomit. See how I deftly imply that all of you are just like vomit-eating dogs. Disagree with me and you're a murdering scumbag. *chuckle, wink, sneer of superiority*
posted by darukaru at 6:43 PM on March 10, 2002


drezdn: I knew that Vegans would never touch Mac and Cheese... I was just trying to point out the poor who wouldn't be able to afford meat would have to turn to things like Mac and Cheese and wouldn't have money (possibly the knowledge) to buy the vitamins they would need to stay healthy, which would defeat the purpose of taxing meat anyways...

Actually, the only vitamin that is a serious issue for vegans is vitamin B12. And that could easily be fortified into other products in the same way that bread and milk are ready fortified. B12 is not a problem for lacto/ovo vegetarians, or even for semi vegetarians who occasionally eat meat. Even so, the B12 debate still goes on in spite of a lack of clear evidence.

Wulfgar: Of the viewpoints here I react most negatively towards, is the outlook that quality should be traded for another goal. Chicken Kiev should be traded for Top Ramen, why?

Was speaking of absurd arguments, suggesting that not eating meat means trading down from Chicken Kiev to Top Ramen. In fact, one of the things that I found in the last few months as a fairly strict vegetarian is that the quality, quantity, and diversity of my meals has increased quite a bit. Quite honestly, one of the multiple reasons why I no longer eat meat is due to a family history of heart disease which means that I don't wish for my quality of life to be prematurely diminished by the need to carry around my own oxygen tank. My discovery that vegetarian food tastes better and is cheaper is just an added bonus.

But I don't believe that a sin tax is the best way to go about dealing with this public health problem. In fact, sin taxes have not proven to be all that effective in regards to smoking or alcoholism. However I suspect that the alternative, revising the food pyramid to recommend one or two servings of meat a week vs. one or two servings of meat every day, and promoting the revised food pyramid in schools is likely to be just as strongly resisted.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:10 PM on March 10, 2002


Hey, gang, lets sing along! TAXMAN! Fill in the blanks:

Should your salami seem too small
Be thankful I don't tax it all
Cause I'm the tax man
Yeah, I'm the tax man

(If you drive a car) I'll tax the ____
(If you try to sit) I'll tax your ____
(If you get too cold) I'll tax the ____
(If you take a walk) I'll tax your ____
(If you skin your goat) I'll tax the ____
posted by groundhog at 8:03 PM on March 10, 2002


jcterminal: please explain why "we, the thinking" pertains only to an exclusive group of humans.

do not all people, save those unfortunate enough to be braindead in comas, think?
posted by will at 8:12 PM on March 10, 2002


do not all people, save those unfortunate enough to be braindead in comas, think?

Perhaps in theory, but you sure can't tell by looking a lot of the time.
posted by kindall at 8:25 PM on March 10, 2002


KirkJobSluder, have you conscidered the possibility that eating meat as part of a sensible high protein diet may reduce the odds of heart problems?

In fact, one of the things that I found in the last few months as a fairly strict vegetarian is that the quality, quantity, and diversity of my meals has increased quite a bit.

It might actually help the informative nature of these arguments if you give examples. I would like to know what quality, or diversity, you refer to. Please note that I don't think you're wrong. I just find it hard to believe that cutting out a particular segment of possible food sources (meat) would leave you more likely to find quality, and diversity, among your chosen meals.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:37 PM on March 10, 2002


darukaru, you so totally rock, I can't give enough props ....
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:38 PM on March 10, 2002


"jcterminal: please explain why "we, the thinking" pertains only to an exclusive group of humans."

one explanation, coming up:

joke:
Something said or done to evoke laughter or amusement, especially an amusing story with a punch line.
  • A mischievous trick; a prank.

  • An amusing or ludicrous incident or situation.

  • Informal.
    1. Something not to be taken seriously; a triviality: The accident was no joke.
    2. An object of amusement or laughter; a laughingstock: His loud tie was the joke of the office.



  • posted by jcterminal at 8:54 PM on March 10, 2002


    NEWSFLASH: PETA Officials Kill An Innocent Deer (really)

    Once again, truth is stranger than fiction.
    posted by insomnyuk at 9:56 PM on March 10, 2002


    i am utterly disappointed in the metafilter community.
    posted by wantwit at 10:40 PM on March 10, 2002


    A change is needed in how federal lands are leased to ranchers below market prices. If cattlemen are running a business, let them compete fairly with everyone else for the use of federal land.
    posted by pracowity at 11:22 PM on March 10, 2002


    Once the health argument is gone, the arguments you have are =environmental= and =economic=.

    I've lived in North Carolina, where they were having hog shit lagoon problems when I left. Of course, most people would say that rather than an excise tax to take care of the problem, we should have the communities affected to sue the individual (un)responsible companies (that's what =I= would say). But let me go back to PETA's own arguments -- soil erosion from the massive amounts of grain produced to feed livestock (and the amount of farmland that uses up), excessive water use, large amount of fossil fuel use, and finally, the old animal waste problem.

    As for the economic argument, it seems that PETA's argument is tied up with health costs and the like, so I will ignore that. As pracowity noted, the govt supports the meat industry in various types of economic help, such as lower land costs.

    Rebuttals to these: the meat industry isn't the only one that uses a lot of water or gas. If the problem is fuel use, they can always raise the extant taxes on gas. If the problem is water, that's locally controlled, and besides, water is rather renewable; if where the grain is grown or cattle are housed is having a water problem, that locality can always charge more for water. I don't know how the animal waste problem is being handled; there =was= a great deal of trouble in NC when one of those shit lagoons had a wall break and the waste spilled into a river and killed a whole bunch of fish and made a large amount of water undrinkable. It would seem to involve the EPA, but they've not been very effective of late.

    As for economic help, there are plenty of industries that get breaks of various sorts - tax breaks, preferred land use, govt contracts -- they all cost "we the people" something. Why pick on the meat industry in particular?
    posted by meep at 3:38 AM on March 11, 2002


    "i am utterly disappointed in the metafilter community."

    best. farewell note. ever.
    posted by jcterminal at 4:21 AM on March 11, 2002


    > As for economic help, there are plenty of industries that
    > get breaks of various sorts - tax breaks, preferred land
    > use, govt contracts...

    And it should stop for them, too.
    posted by pracowity at 4:39 AM on March 11, 2002


    >there =was= a great deal of trouble in NC when one of those shit lagoons had a wall break and the waste spilled into a river and killed a whole bunch of fish and made a large amount of water undrinkable.

    Same thing in Walkerton, ONT. I think the difference here was that the shit was spread on vegetables/grains, and the effluent spread into drainage tiles, and eventually into the water supply, killing many.

    So, we're left with economic issues. At that point, as it always has been, the luxuries of life are left to the people with the money to afford them, as usual. Economic handouts should be reserved for certain cases -- a disease requires you to kill half your livestock, a drought ruins most of your tomato crop. In both cases, meat and non-meat, the government helps out.

    I still don't see the problem -- besides, proper design can fix almost any problem, and, more importantly, farms have been known to go bad from overfarming non-meat products. The land is then handy (and only useful for) housing and cattle (I live on land like that right now! Corn farms kick ass for new housing!).
    posted by shepd at 5:35 AM on March 11, 2002


    I'd like to bring tryptophan to your attention, which can bring on what is commonly referred to as food coma, or turkey coma.

    mmmm....turkey coma.
    posted by glenwood at 6:48 AM on March 11, 2002


    KirkJobSluder, have you conscidered the possibility that eating meat as part of a sensible high protein diet may reduce the odds of heart problems?

    Yes, I have considered it and I find the low-carb Atkins group to be rather unconvincing. The article abstract you presented was amazingly unconvincing, in fact with the bottom line:

    Women who consume a high-carbohydrate diet may increase their risk of developing heart disease. This does not mean the recent low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet fads are necessarily healthful. The researchers did not study the effect of protein in diet.

    So there are two big problems here, first the article you link to does not address or support the claim that you make, and in fact meat is not mentioned it all. Second, the methods are rather flimsy in making a rather weak point that reducing glycemic load helps to prevent heart disease.

    I should probably say that I am not a vegetarian zealot. As a result, I concede that is quite possible for someone to eat meat in moderation and be healthy.

    It might actually help the informative nature of these arguments if you give examples. I would like to know what quality, or diversity, you refer to. Please note that I don't think you're wrong. I just find it hard to believe that cutting out a particular segment of possible food sources (meat) would leave you more likely to find quality, and diversity, among your chosen meals.

    Primarily I was arguing against the claim that vegetarianism can be accurately characterized by comparing Chicken Kiev to Top Ramen. In terms of quality, lean meats regularly cost $3 on up per pound compared to $1 on up to $3 for vegetarian staples such as beans, tofu, tempe, whole grains. About the most expensive staple in our diet is locally produced brand at three dollars a pound. (This is avoiding pre-packaged convenience foods which are a low quality across the board and more expensive for vegetarians primarily due to a reduced market. And substitute foods which I've never found to be very palatable.) As a result, I can usually get the best quality ingredients for a vegetarian dish at about one-third of the cost of a comparable meat dish.

    In terms of diversity, most meat based cuisine starts off with the basic formula of the meat item (usually baked, fried, or grilled) with a side of starch, and a side of vegetable. A vegetarian meal can be based on a very similar formula of legumes, grains, and vegetables. (As always, you can break this formula.) When I go to choose meats, I usually have a selection of four types: chicken, beef, lamb, pork. Usually the remainder are priced well outside my budget. In contrast, I can usually choose out of about a dozen legumes (almost all of them at less than two dollars a pound) and about a half dozen grains.

    Pretty much, I can eat most dishes made with meats with either omission or substitution of the meat item. In addition, there is an entirely alternative area of cuisine open to me which does not start off with a meat base at all. About the only time I feel frustrated with a lack of choices is with fast food. A better contrast would be to compare Chicken Kiev with vegetarian lasagna.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:07 AM on March 11, 2002


    three words: Boston Steak Party.
    posted by luriete at 9:33 AM on March 11, 2002


    ...smile...

    Some of you guys need to get out a whole lot more.

    Unfortunately (and to my constant surprise), there happen to be people on this earth whose education stopped as soon as they learned to count. No moral imperative makes a dent with these nice folks. Motivation...nay...their very ethos... is tied tight to the growing and shrinking of the pile of pinto beans (high in protein, I do admit) before them.

    So if appeal to reason or heart don't work, well...I say operate on their level. Tax away. Taxing cigarettes, for example, has been shown to be an effective way to reduce smoking and recover some of the enormous societal costs of that "good-tasting" little lifestyle.

    But of course, the bigger issue is this: why eat meat at all? There is no need for meat in the diet. Humans easily, readily get a much more nutritious diet from vegetables, grains, and fruit. A five minute search of the medical literature shows that eating meat is associated with a variety of diseases (cancer, obesity, atherosclerosis, serious infectious outbreaks....and don't forget those tasty prions...mmmm, yummy...and how about a nice dose of unwanted growth hormone/antibiotics...tasty...). And the production of meat is associated with significant environmental problems.

    But worst of all, the consumption of meat causes enormous, needless suffering in this world.

    Or course, I do always forget that one virtuous, overriding, morally compelling reason that people do eat meat.

    What was it, again?
    posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:32 AM on March 11, 2002


    It's tasty?

    Now I feel like a cheeseburger basket from Melvin's BBQ (Emeril sez they are the best cheeseburgers in America) before I hit the gym and leave my Meaty Essence everywhere.


    Muahahahaha. Soon my pretties, soon.

    posted by ebarker at 10:46 AM on March 11, 2002


    It's tasty?

    Bingo! and give the man a ceeegar to go along with that there hunk-a-beef.

    That's the One.
    posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:53 AM on March 11, 2002


    best. farewell note. ever.

    I hope he didn't mean to say he was udderly disappointed in the Metafilter community.
    posted by aaron at 2:18 PM on March 11, 2002


    aaron. you suck.
    posted by jcterminal at 2:54 PM on March 11, 2002


    I don't think that was necessary.
    posted by aaron at 3:10 PM on March 11, 2002


    hehe...you guys are silly.
    posted by BlueTrain at 3:22 PM on March 11, 2002


    it was totally necessary. ;)
    posted by jcterminal at 2:23 PM on March 12, 2002


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