Skip

Veganism is for life - and for lifers!
February 24, 2003 10:07 PM   Subscribe

Those crazy PETA kids, well, now they've gone and done it. They've admitted that being a vegan is punishment, by sending a letter to the NY Prison Commissioner telling him that "Feeding inmates exclusively vegan food sends a message to inmates and the public that our society isn't molly-coddling them..." Funny, funny PETA people, hoisted by their own celery stick, as it were. I'm guessing that being that anemic makes them a little short on irony.
posted by dejah420 (32 comments total)

 
Wow... what a troll. First off, nowhere do they say it's a punishment, they list 4 reasons to do so, then give the quote you posted, which is basically saying prisoners shouldn't get to choose their food, not that it's a punishment to be vegan. You could insert "blood-encrusted sausages" for "exclusively vegan food" and the quote would still work, especially since you left off "by providing the same food that they would have ordered from a menu were they not in prison." The issue that quote is discussing is whether or not prisoners should be allowed to choose their food.

Second, the anemic thing is a particularly lame troll. Sure, you can be anemic and vegan, or fat and vegan, or fat and meat-eating, or diabetic and kosher, or any other combination of things. Vegan != anemic, since there are plenty of non-meat sources of iron. Meat/eggs DO contain heme-iron, which is more easily digested, but you can easily get all of your iron from non-heme sources, especially if you stock up on Vitamin C, which increases absorption of non-heme iron.

All that being said, I think this is a silly thing PETA is doing, and I'm a vegetarian who was vegan for 5 years. The write-up, however, is clearly a troll.
posted by wildcrdj at 10:21 PM on February 24, 2003


I'm not a Vegan nor a vegetarian, but I do agreed with wildcrdj, this is kind of a trollish post. I mean, the PETA folk say nothing about punishment, and they do provide concrete (if questionable) reasons for their recommendations...
posted by jonson at 10:25 PM on February 24, 2003


Sorry, was trying for a bit of humor...apparently it missed the mark with you, or all together. Not sure which. And for the record, I was a vegetarian for years. Then, I went back to the family ranch and I remembered that I really liked prime rib and really hated cows. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 10:26 PM on February 24, 2003


I got it. And I thought it was funny.
posted by padraigin at 10:30 PM on February 24, 2003


Fair enough. The anemic thing was what made me assume you were trying to use a random PETA stunt to tar all vegetarians/vegans, which seems to be a common tactic on the net. PETA does some awfully silly stuff at times, and this seems to be one of those.
posted by wildcrdj at 10:33 PM on February 24, 2003


Wow. Sorry, Dejah, I missed the joke, my bad! Troll calling withdrawn effective immediately.
posted by jonson at 10:50 PM on February 24, 2003


It's a good idea, except it would cost a lot more money since meat is cheap and plenty. In America it is cheaper to eat a non-vegan diet the result of plentiful animal feed and industro-farming practices.

PETA should be calling for the use of organic animal products for inmate health since we have to pay the inmates health care. This would raise the cost of meat and make vegan a more attractive alternative, perhaps not a total replacement but at least cut down on the amounts.
posted by stbalbach at 10:54 PM on February 24, 2003


And they say vegetarians have no sense of humour.

'If God had wanted us to be vegetarians, why did he invent butchers?'
-Kev Kavanaugh (parochial Australian reference)
posted by chrisgregory at 11:18 PM on February 24, 2003


stbalbach, I think I have to disagree on the organics idea. Whatever evidence there is to support the idea that organically raised meat is less harmful to people than properly raised industrial meat is likely not going to prove that the increased medical care costs would be less than the increased costs of organically raised meat over industrially raised meat.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure, considering what the quality of prison food must be, that a purely vegan diet in a prison _would_ lead one to be anaemic. ;-)
Doug Anglen, the director of food service of Victor Valley, has observed, "There is a noticeable difference in the personalities of the vegetarian inmates. They smile more, are fully racially integrated, attend religious classes and anger management classes eagerly. Within 10 days, the vegan inmates express improvement in how they feel."
PETA points out that instituting such a measure would do the following... ...cut down on aggressive behavior associated with flesh consumption
Talk about putting words in people's mouths! What poor form. It seems clear to me that not eating meat makes you passive, rather than agressive. Which would explain why Ghandi was a vegetarian.

Of course, the reverse can easily be proven as well, as pythagarus was a vegetarian.

Hoisted by a carrot, as well, it would seem.
Vegetarians have about one-fourth the obesity risk of meat-eaters, and vegans have one-tenth the risk. The bottom line: If you mandated vegetarian meals for your prison system, you would save money by decreasing prisoner health care costs.
There's a host of logical fallacies in those two sentences.

I might be making a logical fallacy myself, here, but it seems to be being a vegan limits your ability to think clearly on a topic.
A vegan diet contains no cholesterol, is low in fat, and can help reverse heart disease and cut cancer risk by 40 percent.
There is no proven link between moderate cholesterol consumption and heart disease. I doubt there's any more evidence to show increased cancer risk, either.

Sure, if you were insane and decided to diet on nothing but lard, you would probably die within the week. However, if you were insane and decided to eat nothing but celery you would die of scurvy.

Well, since we've already agreed that industrially raised meat isn't more expensive than vegetables, and I believe I've shown that a vegetarian program will not necessarialy reduce health care costs, reduce agressive behaviour, I'm left to disprove storage efficiency and recidivism before I/we can decide that PETA has no argument for forcing a non-meat diet on inmates.

If we are to believe that the reduction of meat consumption in inmates will reduce reoffending, as PETA would suggest, we are left to conclude that vegetarians would be encouraged to re-offend to enjoy free access to a veritable banquet of delectable delicacies. That lets the steam out of that argument, IMHO.

And, for the coup de gras, I need to disprove the efficiency argument. A look at the food chain, and the fat and energy content of the food should prove illuminating. Looking at the box of the average meat-filled hungry man meal, you'll see enough in that small box to provide over two days worth of most all RDI. I don't know of any vegan food that would provide that much RDI in one box.

So, the storage of meat is more efficient than the storage of vegan products.

Another PETA release that's worthy of hanging on the nail with the Sears catalog in the outhouse. Too bad monitors aren't absorbent.
posted by shepd at 1:09 AM on February 25, 2003


lighten up guys.. metafilter people are always so quick to judge (and its usually quick to be annoyed with.) .. i thought it was pretty funny. everyone should take a deep breath before reading mefi :)
posted by cmicali at 5:34 AM on February 25, 2003


The most pointless part of this is the "not allowing people to choose their own food bit". So for an omnivore that means only getting vegetables, for a carnivore that means only getting vegetables. Justice is served, great, we can all sleep easier tonight!

What about criminal vegans? There are some, even murderers , rapists and child molesters. If PETA wants to use food as a punishment (even if they aren't willing to state it that way - holding back choice is a punishment) then vegans should be forced to eat meat.

Prison food should be first about meeting minimum nutritional needs, second about economics and finally any other considerations after that.

And shepd, as a card carrying carnivore I wipe my ass with your post.
posted by substrate at 5:45 AM on February 25, 2003


"I don't know of any vegan food that would provide that much RDI in one box."

Try a bowl of brown rice with some green beans. And some cereal for breakfast. Oh no, wait, that would make you anemic.
posted by thedude256 at 6:10 AM on February 25, 2003


Hi De! I'm a vegetarian! Nearly vegan! I'm not anemic! I'm in great shape!

How 'bout you? How ya doin'?
posted by Shane at 6:19 AM on February 25, 2003


so this peta thing, is it a counter-propoganda organisation run by the meat council?
posted by andrew cooke at 6:54 AM on February 25, 2003


Would this "pythagarus" person be Pythagoras, shepd?

Wow. If you can't spell it, maybe you should copy/paste it from your own link. It might add some credence to your arguments.
posted by Shane at 7:08 AM on February 25, 2003


I'm guessing that being that anemic makes them a little short on irony.

I'm a vegetarian and I thought that was very very funny.
posted by skryche at 7:09 AM on February 25, 2003


OK: Vegans! A vegetarian diet is indeed healthier and less taxing to the food chain. Carnivores! Meat is tasty, full of valuable nutrients and all-important fat, and we are a species that is evolutionarily supposed to eat meat, hence the presence of pointy teeth in our jaws. Now! Can't we all just get along and eat what we like? PLEASE?

Good lord, people, you all would argue about how many legs a cockroach has, if someone put up an FPP about it. "Cockroaches! We hate them, but Bush thinks they are 8-legged, where Arundhati Roy says only 6! What do YOU think? [more]" ~:|
posted by UncleFes at 7:17 AM on February 25, 2003


OK: Vegans! A vegetarian diet is indeed healthier and less taxing to the food chain. Carnivores! Meat is tasty, full of valuable nutrients and all-important fat, and we are a species that is evolutionarily supposed to eat meat, hence the presence of pointy teeth in our jaws. Now! Can't we all just get along and eat what we like? PLEASE?

As a fruitarian I am absolutely disgusted by the above exclusionary outburst. You are all foamy demons.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:21 AM on February 25, 2003


I appreciate the sentiment, UFes, I really do. But I think there are better groups to pick on than Vegans. Most Vegans do what they do out of a respect for life.

As a vegetarian, I rarely bring up the subject of my own choices and beliefs and never force them on others. But this time I'm jumping in.

I get sick and tired of hearing this ridiculous stereotyping bullshit about "tree-huggers" and Vegans, spewed by people who speak with the tone and "moral authority" of knowing that they are "normal" carnivores while Vegans and vegetarians are a bunch of liberal anemic whackos.

...that is evolutionarily supposed to eat meat, hence the presence of pointy teeth in our jaws.

We are not "supposed" to eat anything, UncleFes. Humans have a choice. While we have canine teeth, we also have long digestive tracts. Most carnivorous animals have short digestive tracts so, unlike humans, they do not (literally) have rotting meat in their guts.

But, health concerns aside, most Vegans are simply people who have decided they do not need to survive at the expense of the deaths of other animals. This viewpoint has always struck me as enlightened and evolved.

</soapbox>>
posted by Shane at 7:33 AM on February 25, 2003


I am a vegan (for 1 year now). I am not anemic (it's really not hard to get your iron, it's B12 deficiency you have to watch out for). I hate PETA (self-important Nazis IMHO). I have a sense of humor (still thought it was a troll, very glad to hear it wasn't).

And I am most certainly a foamy demon.

2 cents Cha-Ching.
posted by evilcupcakes at 7:38 AM on February 25, 2003


But I think there are better groups to pick on than Vegans

There certainly are.

But, health concerns aside, most Vegans are simply people who have decided they do not need to survive at the expense of the deaths of other animals. This viewpoint has always struck me as enlightened and evolved.

Which is fine. HOWEVER, you are automatically assuming a superior moral stance by that very statement. I'm not saying that in itself is a bad thing, but when you say things like this, you can expect those who do not share that view to see it as provocatory. Humans, whatever they eat, react badly to provocation.

I apologize to the Mefi. We love to argue. But it's the constant, grinding, and ultimately inconsequential call-and-response of provocation and retribution that just tweaks my ass lately.

And don't EVEN get me started about those damn fruitarians!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled demon-foaming.
posted by UncleFes at 7:47 AM on February 25, 2003


you are automatically assuming a superior moral stance

That's the way carnivores come across too, though. I realize PETA comes off as extreme and I also realize I'm not winning any points with anyone by climbing on the soapbox. But I'm doing it anyway beacuse it means something to me.

I guess we can all just f**k off to another thread now ; )

posted by Shane at 8:03 AM on February 25, 2003


As a practicing Breatharian I denounce every one of you as a benighted, inferior, backward, immoral, stupid Nazi coward. Your indiscriminate slaughter of animals, fruits, and vegetables is primitve, brutal, and tragic. Why eat when you can be nourished entirely by light?
posted by monkey.pie.baker at 8:09 AM on February 25, 2003


so this peta thing, is it a counter-propoganda organisation run by the meat council?

I've often thought so, yes. Many PETA members live under bridges and secretly molest goats.
posted by fidelity at 8:33 AM on February 25, 2003


A few quick points: shepd, your strenuous argument is deeply flawed: There is a proven, peer-reviewed link between a low-cholesterol diet and stopping/reversing heart disease; there's also preliminary evidence to support the concept of a vegan diet positively affecting the behavior of "at-risk" incarcerated males. Your
other points (all-celery, re-offending vegetarians) are simply typing and don't merit serious debate.

That said, I'm generally not a fan of PETA, because their tactics are often more about generating heat than light(Giuliani, cow-pie bingo protests, accosting schoolkids with anti-milk trading cards). There's so much rich fodder there for mockery that I'm surprised dejah420 picked this for a troll - this relatively sensible (for PETA) campaign doesn't lend itself to the "clueless / humorless" cliche that was the basis of the FPP.

And yes, it was a troll. wildcrdj's reaction was right on the money. How much longer will we have this formula...

  • Troll FPP
  • Troll call-out from Mefi
  • FPPer: No, it was a joke disguised as a troll.
  • Mefi: Oh, sorry, we're all so humor-impaired. Brilliant job.

    Reread the FPP and tell me where the "joke" was. If there is one at all, that's what's anemic.

  • posted by soyjoy at 9:14 AM on February 25, 2003


    Reread the FPP and tell me where the "joke" was.

    "anemic makes them a little short on irony."
    short on irony, short on iron, get it? :)
    posted by Iax at 10:05 AM on February 25, 2003


    The joke I saw was: "being that anemic makes them a little short on irony".... anemic... iron-y. Just a bit of wordplay, IMO. We can also read whatever is important to each of us into the motivations behind the post, but it was nice to get it right from dejah420's mouth too. Assumptions being what they are and all. I suppose the joke could have been delivered with less finger pointing, but then we wouldn't be having this wonderful discussion, eh? ;-) (on preview, what Iax said.)
    posted by thunder at 10:10 AM on February 25, 2003


    Ohhhhhh, iron-y. Now I get it. A pun.

    OK, and um, the rest of the post?
    posted by soyjoy at 10:14 AM on February 25, 2003


    Everybody makes fun of PETA, but it's PETA's agitation on the far extremes of animal rightism that allows somebody like Michael Pollan to critique the abuse of farm animals in the New York Times and sound perfectly reasonable. Every center is defined by its extremes.

    Everyone makes fun of vegetarians, too. I know, I am one. I never proselytize; I always make clear that my refusal to eat meat is emotional (frankly, it sticks in my craw). But the "plants have feelings too!" people do not spare me any more than they spare the evangelizing vegan.

    I think it's cool that PETA's put this idea out there. If nothing else, maybe people will think about what we feed prisoners in general (sugar and red meat? Is that a healthy diet?) and what the consequences of the jail diet might be. It's not something I've thought about much, but now I will.
    posted by judlew at 10:27 AM on February 25, 2003


    I do dislike PETA, but this might actually be a good suggestion. If a vegetarian diet is cheaper and healthier or as healthy as what the prisons currently dish up, why shouldn't the government look into it?
    posted by orange swan at 10:28 AM on February 25, 2003


    >There is a proven, peer-reviewed link between a low-cholesterol diet and stopping/reversing heart disease;

    What they call low I simply call moderate. Like anything else, abusing a substance is bad for you. Even drinking too much water can kill you. I simply made an absurd argument to show what must be going through the minds of PETA supporters when they imply that you need to consume no cholesterol to enjoy the benefits of a moderate diet.

    >there's also preliminary evidence to support the concept of a vegan diet positively affecting the behavior of "at-risk" incarcerated males.

    judlew, I don't usually make fun of vegetarians. I just make fun of ones who support PETA, because PETA is always so clearly off the wall. Choosing to avoid meat on an emotional basis is a personal decision, and you don't need to provide any special supporting evidence for that, as long as you don't try to convince me that I should make the same decision.

    But when a vegetarian suggests that I don't eat meat because it would be better for the animals/environment/me, that's when they involve me, and that's when I get the right to tell them they're insane.

    PETA needs to prove to me their diet is cheaper and better for prisoners than simply reducing meat consumption. They haven't, and therefore their alternative is not well thought out.

    I didn't disagree with the results of the study, I'm just sayintg that it makes them passive. Maybe that's good, but how many of you feel comfortable with using what would amount to mind control on prisoners? Why not just keep them pumped up with Zanex instead? Is the fact that it's a natural way to keep prisoners passive just fine?

    I'm still not convinced it's a quality study, though, because through the ages there have been many extremely agressive vegetarians. Although I might be calling Godwin into this debate, Hitler spent time as a vegetarian also. The study seems negated by historical fact. I would need much more proof than that study to convince me that Hitler, Pythagarus, etc. were simply abberations.

    >Your other points (all-celery, re-offending vegetarians) are simply typing and don't merit serious debate.

    So, you don't think that the reverse of what PETA is saying (that a vegan diet would be attractive to vegans) is true?

    Well, if you don't consider that true, thean how can PETA's point be true?

    Dismiss my point and I think you need to dismiss PETA's.

    >There's so much rich fodder there for mockery that I'm surprised dejah420 picked this for a troll - this relatively sensible (for PETA) campaign doesn't lend itself to the "clueless / humorless" cliche that was the basis of the FPP.

    But it _is_ clueless! There's very few points in there that have merit when taken to the extremes PETA is suggesting.

    Yes, a vegan diet would increase the health of prisoners. So would a lean meat diet.

    It's inconclusive if a vegan diet is better for prisoners. Perhaps prisons that go vegan simply respect their prisoners more?

    They're clearly wrong about the costs of meat and the costs of storing meat compared to storing vegetables, so they have no basis for an argument there.

    So what's left?

    They are clueless, and this paper was simply another nail in the coffin, so to speak.

    Had they taken a more moderate approach, suggesting reduced meat consumption rather than a ban, they'd be able to avoid my labelling them clueless. But because they decided to be extremists instead, they get what they deserve.

    Sorry for the long post...
    posted by shepd at 9:12 PM on February 25, 2003


    It's not the length, shepd, it's the pointlessness.

    Calling the notion that vegetarianism is not better for animals/environment/human health "insane" is a typical slapdash sentence. One might charitably call it "debatable," but "insane"? Come on. You can't possibly refute (and by refute, I mean using evidence, like I did) that it's better for animals or the environment. As to human health, we could go back and forth all day, but the pro-vegan argument is certainly more logical than that for the standard American diet, which is a profound nutritional failure.

    And similarly, "clearly wrong about the costs of meat and the costs of storing meat" is laughable: Meat ultimately costs more than plants because more plants have to be used to produce it. The only reason meat is competitively priced in America is because taxpayers subsidize its production in myriad ways (above and beyond any plant subsidies). The meat in prison diets would logically be replaced by soy- or wheat-based meat analogs which are just as easy, if not easier, to store, and definitely safer.

    In short, your post is typical of meateaters who want to refute veggie claims but can't be bothered to study the issues and so make howlers such as yours, dismissing evidence out of hand without providing any real rebuttal because your arsenal comprises only sound bites. Hitler's "vegetariansim" is a case in point. Even if he spent any time as a true vegetarian, so did Einstein, Voltaire, Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin. And as to "Pythagarus" being an "abberation," what about Socrotes, Tollstoy, Shelly, Schaw, Shwitezer and Izaac Beshevas Singer, ect., ect., ect.?

    To reiterate, you can make fun of PETA all you want - there's plenty there that's ripe for mockery. But you need to avoid the knee-jerk converse error that says "if PETA endorses it, it must be ridiculous."

    Bottom line: I love how vegetarians are always "choosing to avoid meat on an emotional basis" when we're the ones who can back up the choice with detailed ethics, philosophy, socioeconomics and hard science, while the meateaters' argument always eventually boils down to "you can't make me 'cause I just don't waaaaanna!"
    posted by soyjoy at 7:47 AM on February 26, 2003


    « Older Gulf Bounty Is Drying Up in Southern India   |   Does vomiting count as fasting... Newer »


    This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



    Post