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"For 35 million chickens in the United States alone, every single night is a terrorist attack."
January 7, 2002 11:26 AM   Subscribe

"For 35 million chickens in the United States alone, every single night is a terrorist attack." In an open letter to the Vegan Voice, Karen Davis, president of United Poultry Concerns, compares the poultry industry to the September 11 tragedy. "I think it is speciesist to think that the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center was a greater tragedy than what millions of chickens endured that day, and what they endure every day because they cannot defend themselves against the concerted human appetites arrayed against them."
posted by mr_crash_davis (192 comments total)

 
I really wish people would just get on with eating animals and leave the plants alone. Plants are NOT food, people! Plants are merely animals in a transitional state!
posted by dwivian at 11:29 AM on January 7, 2002


"I think it is speciesist to think that the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center was a greater tragedy than what millions of chickens endured that day

I can appreciate the general animal rights concept, but I think it's ridiculous to suggest that the life of a chicken or a million chickens has the same moral value as the life of a human.
posted by daveadams at 11:35 AM on January 7, 2002


I eat animals to protect plants.
posted by srboisvert at 11:37 AM on January 7, 2002


Lok the only thing I got out of this was the thought of two airplanes crashing into 2 huge towers of chicken coups... so I am twisted, but that would be a lot of feathers up in the air... what do you think? Easier or harder to clean up than concrete and steel?
posted by demannu at 11:39 AM on January 7, 2002


Hmmmm.

Does it follow, then, that predators/carnivores are bad?

Isn't that a bit speciesist?

Some of my favorite creatures are carnivores, and they've as much right to exist as their prey.

We merely feed our prey, and selectively breed it to be stupid and docile. Works for me. I've not much guilt over eating chicken. Talk with me about pigs sometimes, or maybe even cattle, and I might have a twinge of guilt... chickens???? Bah!
posted by dissent at 11:40 AM on January 7, 2002


I agree with the author! And it's equally speciesist to ignore the scores of innocent mice who perished at the hands of hawks, eagles, and owls, or the millions of insects that were eaten by the scores of mice. All those appetites arrayed everywhere you turn. Damn appetites.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:40 AM on January 7, 2002


"speciesist"?

Does that mean that if you eat plants but not animals then you're being "kingdomist"?
posted by anapestic at 11:41 AM on January 7, 2002


Lest I remind all of you "You don't win friends with salad! You don't win friends with salad! You don't win friends with salad! You don't win friends with salad! You don't win friends with salad! You don't win friends with salad! You don't win friends with salad! "
posted by demannu at 11:42 AM on January 7, 2002


First they came for the chickens, and I said nothing because I was not a chicken...

But seriously, the comparison between chickens and humans is obscene, and despite her claim that she "would not dream of using arguments to diminish the horror of the September 11 attack" she has done so.
posted by mw at 11:43 AM on January 7, 2002


When will animals ever catch up to use and accept a non-speciest attitude? In fact, I am going to stop feeding my ball python (his name is Kaiser) mice, and see if he want to eat some tofu...maybe some tofurkey! But for me, I think I'll have some McNuggets right about now...if there is any chicken in there...
posted by adampsyche at 11:44 AM on January 7, 2002


speciesist

i think she meant 'specious' but doesn't know it.
posted by quonsar at 11:48 AM on January 7, 2002


Here's what I think: if a chicken had the appetite and the means, I'm certain that it would have no qualms about eating ME.

As Joseph Campbell said, "Don't be a vegetarian because you oppose killing. We all have to kill to eat. Vegetarians just kill things that can't run away.
posted by vraxoin at 11:49 AM on January 7, 2002


I say, let the rabbits wear glasses! Millions of carrots are being holocausted every season.

All this chicken talk is making me really hungry for a Wendy's Spicy Chicken sandwich(apologies to stavros). I've probably personally consumed dozens of chickens, if not hundreds. I think this just shows how wacked out the hardcore animal lovers are (hmm.. that doesn't sound quite right). I guess if you're an earth worshipper, animals are just as important as people, maybe even more important.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:49 AM on January 7, 2002


*sigh* why do these fringe animal rights elements constantly make me embarassed to be a vegetarian?

So many have adopted PETA's completely useless and obnoxious "make inflamatory statements to get press, because all press is good press" strategy.

There are good reasons, IMO, to be concerned about the way animals (even chickens) are treated in factory farming, even for non-vegetarians ... but this? All this does is provoke the kind of reactions you see above in this thread: disgust, amusement, and outright dismissal of the issue.

(As an aside, the difference between plants and animals is a central nervous system, evolved partially to give the perception of pain. But having a serious discussion about this on a thread about this tripe article is silly, i guess).
posted by malphigian at 11:49 AM on January 7, 2002


I say we kill 'em chickens with kindness.

Then we pan fry 'em in some olive oil and a nice cornmeal breading. Speciesist gotta eat!
posted by UncleFes at 11:49 AM on January 7, 2002


this is inane.

yes, chickens endure horrible fates along their journey to the dinner table, but you cannot compare the plight of poultry to that of any human being.

He cites the chicken as a type of creature who "perhaps" has "no sense of existing over time," hence a creature who "perhaps" cannot lay claim to the privilege of "personhood."

is that all it takes to qualify as a person? does this mean that the realtime clock on this laptop's CPU entitles this machine to certain unalienable rights?

and the award for "worst construction of a sentence" goes to:

Doubtless the majority, if not every single one, of the people who suffered and/or died as a result of the September 11 attack ate, and if they are now alive continue to eat, chickens.

so if some WTC folk ate chickens, is she saying that they deserved their fate? i hate to dismiss her with an offhand comment, but... what a blithering idiot.
posted by grabbingsand at 11:52 AM on January 7, 2002


I always thought as a kid animals could run away but plants were rooted to the spot, so to speak. It was an argument against vegetarians I dropped the less I wanted to get smacked. Then I became vegetarian.
posted by vbfg at 11:53 AM on January 7, 2002


Pardonyou says: damn appetites.

...and thus, you strike at the heart of UPC/PETA. Much of their argument isn't really about eating animals, it's about our dirty animalistic appetites and unsavory passions. Kinda reminds me of Puritanism, frankly.

This doesn't mean I oppose vegetarianism, BTW.
posted by aramaic at 11:55 AM on January 7, 2002


speciesist - just because it's got an "ist" on the end doesn't make it a bad thing. I'm speciesist and proud of it.
posted by Foaf at 11:58 AM on January 7, 2002


As someone who loves chicken, i am surprised at how great KFC is - still, to this day, despite all its competetion. Popeyes is ok, Kenny Rogers is good. but KFC does it every time.

::ignoring vegans and their political agendas::
posted by tsarfan at 12:00 PM on January 7, 2002


let me just point out that this letter is addressed, not to the world at large, but to a group who presumably already agree with some of her basic premises. and that the author is really responding to the slight she perceives in another (popular, therefore influential with people like you and me) author's assessment of chickens (which happens to be her area of special concern).

so criticizing it on this board as if it were an argument she were putting forward to try and convince anyone else is disingenuous. it's like criticizing an astronomer for her argument about Carl Sagan's lack of focus on her area of expertise in his book "cosmos" or two clergymen arguing about whether angels actually visit human beings or not.

you may not agree with any of the premises or conclusions, but no one is trying to convince you that you should.

having said that, the conditions under which poultry are raised in factory farms are horrendous; probably few of us could stomach hanging out in one for long. whether you think that is important or not, and what exactly you think should be done about it is another matter altogether.

this woman may have a wildly exaggerated view of this situation from your point of view; I think people who argue vigorously about the relative merits of PCs and Macs have a wildly exaggerated view of the importance of *that* subject. but I wouldn't be surprised to see such a discussion printed (and taken very seriously in) "Computer Platform Advocacy Magazine."
posted by rebeccablood at 12:01 PM on January 7, 2002


Hey, my family does it's part, we buy chicken from people who slaughter them the kosher way (swiftly chopping the head off and draining the blood), rather than the big factory way (electrocute chicken, hack at it with large machine). Although I can't say that makes the chicken actually taste any better.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:01 PM on January 7, 2002


There's a food chain for a reason. We just circumvent having to hunt the dangerous wild chickens that roam many parts of the sowthwest to feed our families.

Colonel Sanders was a genius.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 12:03 PM on January 7, 2002


And the chicken are free range, meaning they get to run around happily on a little farm before they meet their demise, in my belly.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:03 PM on January 7, 2002


Oh man. I threw on my Vegan-hating hat and I was already to come in here and kick some animal-rights-activists' ass but I see it's already been done.

As soon as the animals themselves go vegitarian, I will.

Until then, the more it screams when you kill it, the better it tastes when you grill it.
posted by bondcliff at 12:04 PM on January 7, 2002


I think someone should point out, in the interest of justice, that vegetarians have the absolute stinkiest farts ever smelt or dealt. I don't know why - I don't want to know why, but by far the stinkiest. I mean, total bombouts - pants-searing, eyeball-watering, coma-inducing, dog-killing blasts. Proof positive that there is something inherently wrong with just eating plants.

I don't know how you vegans live with yourselves. I'd sacrifice every chicken in the world to Popeye himself to avoid that magnitude of social evil.

You don't want to know how I discovered this. Just trust me, it's true.
posted by UncleFes at 12:12 PM on January 7, 2002


Best. Thread. Ever.
posted by revbrian at 12:13 PM on January 7, 2002


It's a waste of time for some vegetarian groups to stress the moral angle. If meat eaters understand the agonized lifestyle of the animals that are breed for slaughter and they still sleep at night, well, there's no convincing them. A much better approach is the negative effects of meat eating on one's health (and natural resource consumption), for which there is overwhelming factual evidence.

It's like smoking. You won't convince a smoker that his habit is bad because it bothers people. He smokes because it feels good and he's addicted. It's a way of life for him. Your one chance is to explain how his habit is killing him. It's small chance to change the behavior, but a chance nonetheless.
posted by fleener at 12:15 PM on January 7, 2002


Fear, pain, and suffering makes meat nice and tender...
posted by Ty Webb at 12:15 PM on January 7, 2002


Uncle Fes, I've never been able to get past the stench of the nappy armpit hair to smell one of their farts.

And then there's the way the men smell...
posted by bondcliff at 12:17 PM on January 7, 2002


Actually, bondcliff, it would taste worse from the acid buildup from fear. When you're scared shitless, does your body smell real nice?

...which by the way, is why they electrocute chickens in the factory method.

The idea that plants do not have a nervous system and cannot feel pain is incorrect. Most plants have a rudimentary communication/control system, which is why plants like the sunflower (which follows the sun) and the venus fly trap can exist. Yes, it is rudimentary and is a very basic stimulus-response system, but plants can still feel pain and can still respond to gentle care, such as sound or gentle leaf cleaning or stroking -- much the same, although much, much, much slower, as insects like ants and cockroaches -- which we stamp and poison mercilessly.

Translation: Get off yer high horse.
posted by SpecialK at 12:18 PM on January 7, 2002


Subpoint: So if eating meat is so bad, how has humanity survived and thrived this long... the vast majority of us being meat eaters?
posted by SpecialK at 12:20 PM on January 7, 2002


Interesting how this went from a thread attacking a fringe nutjob into a really surprisingly caustic attack on all vegetarians.

I guess its a proven convenient way to deal with something to choose to lump an entire group under the most extreme opinion and an ancedotal experience or two.

I'll keep that in mind.
posted by malphigian at 12:21 PM on January 7, 2002


Yes, and what's the chemical composition of one of these vegan episodes of flatulence? any methane in there? Ha ha, I think vegetarians are contributing to global warming as much as cattle supposedly do (note: just my facetious 2 cents on a thread that's spiraled out of control, do not attempt to rebut with logic).
posted by Vacaloca at 12:21 PM on January 7, 2002


I don't think vegetarians are evil or wrong. They have just made a different choice than most. Most veggies aren't preachy about it either. Everybody lay off em. More flank steak for us carnivores, I figure.

I will say one word about veggie air biscuits: Tofu.

Enough said.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:28 PM on January 7, 2002


The idea that plants do not have a nervous system and cannot feel pain is incorrect.

I said Central Nervous System, as in cephalization and NERVES, these are the things that are involved in the human experience known as pain. Based on studies in neuroscience and biology, we can extrapolate that the experience of other living things with a CNS -- getting into a grey area where the cephalization gets to be more minor (insects, sponges, planaria, etc). Maybe they feel something like pain, maybe they don't.

It's a flawed arguement to state that the "very basic stimulus-response system" (your words) of plants qualifies as a nervous system, and therefore renders any arguement about the perception of pain as a justification for vegetarianism.

Its not a black and white issue, which is what makes it so silly that you would say my arguement is "incorrect".
posted by malphigian at 12:29 PM on January 7, 2002


No, SpecialK, plants do not feel pain. Pain is not the same as sensing damage; pain is an interpretation. Plants are notoriously weak on interpretation.
posted by NortonDC at 12:29 PM on January 7, 2002


If God didn't want us to eat animals he wouldn't have made them out of meat.

-J. Clease
posted by Greener at 12:32 PM on January 7, 2002


maybe if we put orange vests on the chickens...

and what about eating the chicken fetus? I like mine over-easy.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 12:34 PM on January 7, 2002


My cat kills chipmunks for sport. He's well fed, has no need to hunt, but his instinct or whimsy makes him kill. Slowly. First he injures the chipmunk. Then he lets it think it can get away on 3 legs. Then he captures it again. Hurts it some more. Some times he gets he bored and forgets to finish off the rodent, and it suffers to death.

I am OK with this. It seems natural to me. And I am a vegan.

I don't care about animal rights. Human rights are but a demonstrated pipe dream. Animals kill animals. Dinosaurs killed dinosaurs. And lots of killing went down from dinosaurs to All-Night Diners.

I am a vegan because the modern means of food production are disgusting. If they would affordably produce food like it was made 125 years ago, I would happily consume animal-based food.

But if you eat meat, you're eating Soylent Brown. Its best you don't look into it any further.

Colonel Sanders reports to General in the (food)chain of command.
posted by BentPenguin at 12:35 PM on January 7, 2002


vegetarians rule. more meat for me. :)
posted by jbelshaw at 12:36 PM on January 7, 2002


"For 35 million choking the chicken in the United States alone, every single night is a terrorist attack."
posted by kliuless at 12:36 PM on January 7, 2002


hotdoughnutsnow - Where exactly does one secure a supply of fertilized chicken eggs?
posted by NortonDC at 12:37 PM on January 7, 2002


I feel their pain. Naw, really, nothing against veggies. More power to you. This thread was about a comment that was nutty, and perhaps just as nutty as Steve Jobs saying that the new iMac will raise the dead, do the dishes, and wash my car.
posted by adampsyche at 12:37 PM on January 7, 2002


If you're a red meat eater (unless you _always_ purchase the highest quality cuts and never eat ground round), you're eating shit anyway (literally, if you actually know what meat packing plants get away with), so that's reason enough for me to not touch the stuff (among others).
posted by almostcool at 12:39 PM on January 7, 2002


10 points to anyone who can locate a graphic of "The Food Chain" used in the Simpson's Vegetarian episode.
posted by cell divide at 12:40 PM on January 7, 2002


In fairness, in many ways vegetarians often are less odorous than meat-eaters. (You can research the details if you must, but I'm not going to go into them here.)
posted by mrbula at 12:48 PM on January 7, 2002


Food Chain graphic from Simpsons:

http://www.geocities.com/simpsovegan/s7/3f03/3f03w.jpg

[warning - geocities site -- may overload it's bandwidth]
posted by Hankins at 12:51 PM on January 7, 2002


rebeccablood: let me just point out that this letter is addressed, not to the world at large, but to a group who presumably already agree with some of her basic premises....

I am not sure if i would see that as a shield of some kind.

lets see...I was raised in a strange religion. Certain leaders of that religion have at time said one thing to members, and then said entirely different things to the press. Just because one statement is for "members"(who presumably already agree with some of the same basic premises), does that protect it somehow from critical review from outsiders? Is this analogy even close? I haven't slept in 24 hours.

(Comparing chicken tragedy to WTC...booo.
vegan bashing, smaller boo.)
posted by th3ph17 at 12:55 PM on January 7, 2002


"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants."

—A. Whitney Brown on SNL
posted by hootch at 12:58 PM on January 7, 2002


Interesting how defensive the language and attitude is from the carnivores. Great thread.

For more info about "humane farming."
posted by boardman at 1:00 PM on January 7, 2002


Man, nothing brings out idiocy like the topic of vegetarianism.

<rant style="incoherent,raving">
I'm sure that some of you have actually killed a chicken or a cow before eating it, but the vast majority of you are sissified cowards who wouldn't have the nads to kill the so-called food animals if that's what it took to fill your bellies with carcasses and propogate your obesity.

I doubt that many of you think about where you food comes from until some nut writes an article like this. That's the point? Do you think that a sensible, tempered article would have been MeFi'ed? Of course not. Making a 9/11 reference is radical and will perhaps gain some publicity for the cause, and any publicity is good publicity when trying to raise public awareness. Do you have any idea how much money is spent to get you to think the way you think? Meat, eggs, dairy, chicken, pork. . . they all have multi-million dollar ad campaigns which you all have bought into. You are brain-washed into thinking that it's your evolutionary right to go to the local Shop and Plop and buy little styrofoam trays of meat. Yeah, you're at the top of the food chain because you can buy a McWhopper for 99¢.

Whatever. I'm not one of those evangelical vegetarians, but all of you sitting around feeling superior because you don't give a shit about causing pain and suffering really pissed me off.
</rant>
posted by UrbanFigaro at 1:03 PM on January 7, 2002


The chickens are dead. Long live the chickens!
posted by thewittyname at 1:05 PM on January 7, 2002


Can someone explain why chickens are electrocuted anally?
posted by keli at 1:06 PM on January 7, 2002


It sounds like some of you anti-meat people were born yesterday, and the only book that you've read is the Jungle, by Upton himself.

Seriously, I have nothing against vegetarians, I just think perhaps my fellow carnivores are tired of their preachy vegetarian friends calling them "murderers."

but the vast majority of you are sissified cowards who wouldn't have the nads to kill the so-called food animals

We dont kill animals because we don't need to. I assure you, anyone that has caught a fish, and then cleaned and eaten said fish, could do the same with any other critter. Many people have dissected various mammals in biology classes across our wide and fruited plain. I would wager that any meat eating American, if they were on the brink of starvation, would easily kill a pig/cow/horse/llama to feed their family.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:09 PM on January 7, 2002


Carnivore defensivenes and cruelty vs. Vegan self-righteousness and proselytizing! Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuumble!

Pfui.
posted by UncleFes at 1:10 PM on January 7, 2002


People, how about cooling off for while? Maybe over in one of the Mac threads.
posted by NortonDC at 1:11 PM on January 7, 2002


UncleFigaro: Hey, why don't you go out and pick the cotton for your shirts? Pickin' cotton is, to put it lightly, a bitch.
posted by raysmj at 1:12 PM on January 7, 2002


I only crave chicken fortnightly...
posted by DragonBoy at 1:12 PM on January 7, 2002


Interesting how this went from a thread attacking a fringe nutjob into a really surprisingly caustic attack on all vegetarians.

This interesting site, just posted on Bifurcated Rivets, should get people back off or on topic, if so inclined. Definitely worth a look.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:16 PM on January 7, 2002


you cannot compare the plight of poultry to that of any human being.

why can't i? people eating animals is natural. people subjecting said animals to a lifetime of torture and confinement before said consumption is unnatural and wrong, in my opinion. it's as wrong subjecting humans to such acts, or at the very least, "comparable."

stating that even attempting such a comparison is simply "wrong" is what Karen Davis means by "speciesist" -- the utter arrogance of assuming your life as a human is more meaningful than those of the chickens. in the grand scheme of things neither is worth a vegan's shit, yet life itself warrants a certain amount of respect.
posted by danOstuporStar at 1:17 PM on January 7, 2002


They give PhD's to people who compare September 11th to chickens.

*sigh*
posted by tomorama at 1:18 PM on January 7, 2002


1) Chickens and cows are manufactured goods just like Beany Babies, Rubix Cubes, Crayola Crayons, and handguns.

2) It doesn't concern me how they kill them. They were put on this earth to be eaten.

3) It would be real swell if we could raise animals for food the way we did it one hundred years ago, but guess what? There's a few more humans on the planet now. Doing it the old way just isn't practical anymore.

4) Yes, animals poop. Sometimes the poop gets into the meat. Cook your meat and you'll be ok. I've been a meat eater for 32 years and it has yet to do me any harm.

5) What exactly do you think the "organic" in organic farming means? It means they grow the plants in shit!

Seriously, I have no problem with anyone making a personnal choice to eat whatever they want to eat. But to tell me there is "positive evidence" that eating meat is bad for you is just another example of misleading statistics. I can show you "proof" that eating meat is good for you. I could probably find proof that smoking is good for you too. It all depends on whose statistics you believe.

To complain about the way animals are treated and mass produced is to ignore the fact that we have a lot of people on this planet and we can't give the little cows and chickens their own one-bedroom apartments with a backyard.

I have yet to see a chicken complain about being mistreated.
posted by bondcliff at 1:20 PM on January 7, 2002


UrbanFigaro... Your rant about ignorance is confused. It is apathy that allows me to plunk down my hard-earned cabbage for a side of cow.
posted by Hankins at 1:21 PM on January 7, 2002


I don't know if anyone's ever posted a Sue Coe item on MetaFilter. She's a brilliant artist whose dedicated herself to exposing the meat industry. If you've never seen her disturbing images, you don't know what you're missing.
posted by Faze at 1:21 PM on January 7, 2002


Chickens are hard to kill.
posted by drinkcoffee at 1:22 PM on January 7, 2002


I've picked cotton. It's a bitch, all right. And, I've never been able to do it long enough to get a 50lb short bale.

I've killed my own food. I know the difference in commercial operation farms and regional operations. I know that the chickens in GK chicken houses suffer more than those in Fieldale houses, because there is more pressure to produce in GK. But, people often overstate the negatives.

I've worked in a chicken plant (three days, that's all I could take), and I've popped the head off a chicken, too.

I buy Kosher for a reason.
posted by dwivian at 1:23 PM on January 7, 2002


the utter arrogance of assuming your life as a human is more meaningful than those of the chickens

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that given the choice to save a chicken or a human from being killed, saving the human's life seems just a tad more meaningful.

For that matter choosing between 50 people and 100,000 chickens doesn't really seem to set off any moral quandary whistles either. Call me speciesist.

On a lighter note: refer to the Far Side with Col. Sanders standing at the Pearly Gates.
posted by Mrmuhnrmuh at 1:24 PM on January 7, 2002


Although I can't say that makes the chicken actually taste any better.

It clearly does. Kosher chickens are generally recognized as tastier than the norm.

Y'all: you might consider going Kosher as a middle ground between the hell of normal industrial farming and being a vegetarian (and decide from there what's the proper course to take).
posted by ParisParamus at 1:25 PM on January 7, 2002


"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants." -unknown
posted by Modem Ovary at 1:25 PM on January 7, 2002


I'm with Foaf . . . speciesist and proud of it.
posted by Badmichelle at 1:26 PM on January 7, 2002


Oh, hell.... ParisParamus and I agree on something.
posted by dwivian at 1:31 PM on January 7, 2002


Eat meat.
posted by uftheory at 1:34 PM on January 7, 2002


The Amish make a dandy chicken as well.
posted by keli at 1:35 PM on January 7, 2002


disclaimer: i'm vegetarian, if not pure or even strict about it.

like many who oppose the meat industry, the reason i don't eat meat is not b/c meat is inherently wrong, nor disgusting. in my younger days, i ate sheep's head, pig's feet and cow brains. i've never had dog, but i've sure as hell probably eaten some cat somewhere before, and i'd be more than willing to eat both (and even human meat) if the price were right.

there are a lot of points up above (some that are absolutely ludricrous) that i'd love to rebut, but only one stands out right now:

from SpecialK
Subpoint: So if eating meat is so bad, how has humanity survived and thrived this long... the vast majority of us being meat eaters?

first off, in the history of our planet, humanity is just a small speck, and civilization as we know it even smaller. to say that meat-eating is sustainable on a global level is ridiculous at this point. talk to me in another 1,000 years (by which, of course, we'll all have stopped eating meat).

second, eating meat *isn't* that bad. lots of vegetarians (and non) get hung up on the moral aspects of eating flesh, but if (extreme example) anyone lost in the wilderness killed an animal then cooked it over a fire and ate it, i don't think any vegetarian would be so stupid as to label that person a- or immoral.

eating meat isn't wrong. the mass production and consumption of meat is (at least to me).

anyway, a few things i object to about meat:
* horrible treatment of animals, including their slaughter
* degradation of natural resources due to overproduction and overconsumption of meat
* detriment of too much meat on one's health
* unnecessary culture of violence and bloodshed
* the ridiculous and seemingly hypocritical protection of some animals (dogs, cats and horses mostly (don't get me wrong, i love horses)), as opposed to others (cows, pigs, fowl). for god's sake, somebody went got a 10-year prison sentence (hopefully reduced) for killing another person's dog, yet thousands of cows and turkeys are absolutely brutalized every day.

obviously, i know that everybody's probably made up their mind about eating or not eating meat, but i encourage those who see vegetarians as deluded folks who like to personify animals to read more about the practice and the (numerous) philosophies behind it. (for example, did you know that Pythagoros wouldn't eat fish b/c they didn't compete for any human resources. interesting ...)

anyway, meet a real vegetarian and argue with them for a while. it's sometimes hard to find intelligent people of any sort who are willing to objectively discuss such a personal topic, but we're out there.

my2c.

posted by mrgrimm at 1:36 PM on January 7, 2002


Close Italic
posted by dwivian at 1:39 PM on January 7, 2002


* horrible treatment of animals, including their slaughter

Plants are treated just as horribly. And the threshing machines destroy fields.

* degradation of natural resources due to overproduction and overconsumption of meat

The same natural resources are destroyed for the production of plant foods, which will require more transportation costs because meat is higher in concentrated nutrient than plant. Eating excessive plants contributes to fossil-fuel usage, and global warming.

* detriment of too much meat on one's health

This is a hotly debated topic, and this space is too small to take it on right now, but I can say that there is just as much a detriment of too little meat on one's health.

* unnecessary culture of violence and bloodshed

Would you have us eat the meat LIVING? That is unnecessary violence. The killing of meat can be done, and should be done, humanely. This is non-violent.

* the ridiculous and seemingly hypocritical protection of some animals [...]

Killing the other guys dog was destruction of private property, and justly punished. Killing your own dog, however, is different. And, yes, we do have laws about that sort of thing too, so I'll accept this point, so long as you accept that which animals are protected vary by culture (I know a family that eats hard-boiled fertilized eggs, and my father-in-law has been to countries and enjoyed local cuisine which would be problematic in our country).
posted by dwivian at 1:45 PM on January 7, 2002


Modem Ovary - that one was already used. By someone else. Before you repeated yourself. Please stop repeat posting. It's not witty.

But as for vegetarians (I don't hold any ill will towards them, or anything) but don't plants feel? I mean, you're taking their seeds, their roots, and while they are still alive steaming them or boiling them or dicing them into little bits with your cusinart.

It's heartless, I tell you.

At least we kill animals before we dice them. Well, except for lobsters, of course. And mussels. And clams.

Now I'm getting hungry.

And as for killing your own food... then, you would say that vegarianism is something only a highly advanced society would participate in, and where this kind of society should gravitate to, since in only a highly organized society could you have division of labor where only some people do the killing and the rest do the eatin', unlike back in the prairie times where you build a log cabin (killing those poor trees) and then slit some chicken's throats so you could roast them over a nice fire (the poor tress burning, again) and chow down with some steamed asparagus (screaming as it died) and rice (lamenting the loss of its propogating power).

And you really shouldn't have division of labor because everyone should do their own dirty work.
posted by rich at 1:46 PM on January 7, 2002


I gave up on chicken for a while after being trapped behind one of the shipping trucks for 20 long miles on a one lane backroad. For almost a year, I couldn't get near chicken without having an odiferous flashback.

But, fortunately I live in a semi-rural area and it's possible to get free-range local chicken and beef...so I'm still happily omnivorous.

(As an aside, I've owned chickens...and they are the stupidest critter you'll ever have a chance to eat. Really, they make cows look like Mensa contenders.)
posted by dejah420 at 1:52 PM on January 7, 2002


My two cents is that animals don't have "rights" but people have *responsibilities* not to be cruel to them. I eat free-range poultry and meat when possible; I've killed chickens and fish with my own two hands, and been present at a pig's death.

Of course, I grew up in the country, so I don't suffer under the delusion that hamburgers spring out of the mind of God in styrofoam and plastic wrap.

I'm a carnivorous animal, so I eat animals smaller and weaker than me. It's nature's way.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:55 PM on January 7, 2002


I like eating pussy. And the victim seems ok with this.
posted by Postroad at 2:00 PM on January 7, 2002


I toured a turkey processing plant once. The truck pulls up and some burly guys unload the animals onto a suspended rail system, from which they hang by their legs, upside down. There was a startling number of extra legs in the dirt under the loading zone. The turkeys were gassed unconscious with CO2 before running over a buzzsaw that cut their throats. After that they disappeared into a steamy chamber where feathers were removed. Everything that followed was just cutting, sorting, slicing, storing, etc...

I didn't find it so much gruesome as fascinating. My carnivorous appetites never took a day off.
posted by Dane at 2:02 PM on January 7, 2002


I'll take your bait, bondcliff.

1) Chickens and cows are manufactured goods just like Beany Babies, Rubix Cubes, Crayola Crayons, and handguns.

So, the manufacturing of these beings negates their rights as living, sentient creatures. Then, to extend your equation, we can create humans for their meat with impunity. I don't think so.

2) It doesn't concern me how they kill them. They were put on this earth to be eaten.

Again, the mere fact that they were created to be eaten negates any pain and suffering they may feel? This is just rationalization.

3) It would be real swell if we could raise animals for food the way we did it one hundred years ago, but guess what? There's a few more humans on the planet now. Doing it the old way just isn't practical anymore.

You slipped. You admitted that it would be better if we could raise animals more humanely. I won't delve into facts, since you clearly aren't interested in them, but suffice it to say that if feeding the people on this planet is the goal, we should stop feeding grain to farm animals and start feeding it to people. Manufacturing a cow for consumption is not an efficient use of resources. Anyway, your argument seems to be that we can't afford to not be cruel to animals because we have overpopulated the plant. Nice rationalization.

4) Yes, animals poop. Sometimes the poop gets into the meat. Cook your meat and you'll be ok. I've been a meat eater for 32 years and it has yet to do me any harm.

This is just personal preference, but I don't really want to eat shit.

5) What exactly do you think the "organic" in organic farming means? It means they grow the plants in shit!

Um. . . ever heard of compost? I'll give you a tip: The best compost doesn't have any animal byproducts in it. (That includes shit.)

Seriously, I have no problem with anyone making a personnal choice to eat whatever they want to eat. But to tell me there is "positive evidence" that eating meat is bad for you is just another example of misleading statistics. I can show you "proof" that eating meat is good for you. I could probably find proof that smoking is good for you too. It all depends on whose statistics you believe.

This is nice and easy for you. Instead of actually studying the numbers and the studies, just state that "statistics can be warped to prove any point" so that you look smart and you don't have to actually challenge your views.

To complain about the way animals are treated and mass produced is to ignore the fact that we have a lot of people on this planet and we can't give the little cows and chickens their own one-bedroom apartments with a backyard.

You are so right. We CAN'T give cows and chickens their own apartments. Nor can I raise cows and chickens in my studio apartment. However, in a minimal amount of space, I can grow various fruits and vegetables and keep myself in fresh food throughout most of the summer. Does that mean anything to you?

I have yet to see a chicken complain about being mistreated.
posted by bondcliff at 1:20 PM PST on January 7


I don't think you've ever listened.
posted by UrbanFigaro at 2:04 PM on January 7, 2002


Death to the Chicken Infidels!
posted by ilsa at 2:04 PM on January 7, 2002


Rich: Funny you should post something attacking someone for not reading the thread, and then proceed to make a point that's been made (and rebutted) several times in the thread already.
posted by malphigian at 2:05 PM on January 7, 2002


Sheesh! Thank you, mrgrimm. Why is it so nearly impossible to have an intelligent discussion on this topic? Why must nearly all non-vegetarians assume that every vegetarian is a proselytizing jerk?

Many would say "Well, most vegetarians ARE proselytizing jerks." But when I press them to name names, most people realize that it's only a lunatic fringe minority that get onto soap boxes about it.

I've got plenty of good reasons to be a vegetarian. Absolutely NONE of them have anything to do with personifying animals or a deluded belief that death (or even killing) is inherently "wrong".

Let me tell you; if I found myself in a position where I had to feed my family, and the only way I could do it was to shoot, field dress and cook up a deer with my own hands, it'd Bambi's last day on Earth. But I don't have to do that. So I choose not to involve myself with industry which (as I believe someone has mentioned) is so detrimental to the well-being of it's human employees. I'm pro-human like that.

Maybe the more knee-jerk among you should examine why vegetarianism in general (as distinctly opposed to extremist idiocy) makes you so hostile.
posted by Fenriss at 2:05 PM on January 7, 2002


MrGrimm - As an additional side note, I cook mostly vegetarian/vegan dishes at home, as it's sometimes hard to find non-veg dishes that don't require some of the things I'm allergic to. And as a side note to that, before anyone hijacks the discussion again with an AH HAH!, I don't blame pollution or meat-eating for my allergies, I blame bad breeding...

I see your point. Humanity is but a speck on the face of time. Of course, we've been around, in meat-eating form, for at least 2,000 years. Who knows what will happen at some point in the future? We may be able to biologically engineer a beef or pork or chicken-like meat-form that will grow in a vat...or we may be able to synthesize the protein structures directly from atomically separated environmental components.

I don't have anything against vegetarians in general. The vast majority of them go about their lives quietly. It's the unwashed granola-flingin' hippies that I occasionally deal with here in the PacNW that drive me nuts. Heck, I even shop at the organic farmer's market that's held during the growing season a few blocks from my university in Portland's park blocks. I buy free-range meat from one of my rural friends who hunts when I can. I live in an apartment building in a city though, and my neighbors would probably complain if I raised chickens up on the roof.

I'm not attacking vegetarians, and I don't think many people were here. I'm attacking the idea that one person or group of people should set a policy on what the rest of humanity can eat. (talk about restricting a basic function, for chrisssakes.) I'm attempting to do this by pointing out that the unspecified militant vegitarian's attitudes and stance was not well-thought out. This, for the uninformed, unwashed, or otherwise un-somethinged, is a classic debate tactic that is designed to further discussion by eliminating spurious, digressive points and attempting to focus discussion on the subject at hand.

You can buy your veggies and tofu, and I'll buy my lunch meat, poultry, and farm-grown salmon.... and I'll even raise you a whole cartful of organic veggies to go with the animal protein, OK? Just let me add a little chicken to my organic stir-fry when I feel like it. Let me enjoy a small slab of broiled salmon with red pepper sauce when I want to.

Besides, I'm convinced I can hear my veggies scream when I cut into them... Watching Veggie Tales once made it even worse. ;)
posted by SpecialK at 2:05 PM on January 7, 2002


so KFC has them all beat when it comes to fried chicken. i make a pretty awesome bbq chicken. but the Thai House on Market in SF has the BEST Tom Kha Kai, which, yes, you could serve vegetarian style, but you're really missing how tender the chicken can be all soaked up in that lemon coconut milk and whatever that is that makes it all spicy.

OMG! MMMMMMMM.
posted by tsarfan at 2:08 PM on January 7, 2002


the utter arrogance of assuming your life as a human is more meaningful than those of the chickens

Meaning is not inherent in the existence of life; it is a result of intelligence and self-awareness. I've never met a chicken that could assign meaning to its life.

My two cents is that animals don't have "rights" but people have *responsibilities* not to be cruel to them.

From what do you see these responsibilities arising?
posted by kindall at 2:09 PM on January 7, 2002


Do Vegetarians get pissed off when they catch people beating their meat as well? It's all a personal choice! There's nothing to be ashamed of!
posted by hellinskira at 2:11 PM on January 7, 2002


Did I miss something, SpecialK? Did someone try to restrain you from eating meat?

The vegetarians you complain about have made no effort to control what you can eat; they are trying to influence your idea of what you should eat.
posted by NortonDC at 2:11 PM on January 7, 2002


Tell me. Why do my ideas need to be influenced?
posted by SpecialK at 2:21 PM on January 7, 2002


The vegetarians you complain about have made no effort to control what you can eat; they are trying to influence your idea of what you should eat.

Yes, and religious zealots are only trying to influence your idea of what is right. They would never try to get any laws passed or anything.
posted by kindall at 2:22 PM on January 7, 2002


I too have nothing against vegetarians. In fact, I would like to be one but I just don't like veggies enough to give up meat.

On a different tangent.......I do believe that vegetarians, for the most part, are people who's easy life allows them to be vegetarian. It's a very elitist thing to be. I'm not saying vegetarians are rich, but we live in a culture where life is very easy and people can get by with eating only veggies and survive. For example, in the middle ages when life was so difficult and strenous, most people ate cheese, bread, and MEAT because they didn't have the leisurely life that allowed them to live by just eating veggies. They would have wasted away by eating only veggies. In fact, because we have such an easy time in our society today, people who eat meat often encounter health problems because they don't lead strenous enough lives the way people used to, to offset the meat eating

Only people who don't have to work really hard and live a leisurely life can afford the luxury of vegetarianism. It's nice that we live in a culture where people have the option, but through the ages, vegetarianism is a pretty rare thing.
posted by aacheson at 2:26 PM on January 7, 2002


this thread from maybe a month ago explores lotsa the same issues.

People claiming that killing plants is equivalent to killing animals are being just as specious as those claiming that killing animals is akin to killing humans.
posted by mdn at 2:31 PM on January 7, 2002


vegetarians, for the most part, are people who's easy life allows them to be vegetarian

you have this exactly backwards.

it depends on where you live, but in lots of places, meat is expensive and a fairly rare commodity (used for feasts and the like); grains and beans are the backbone of most indigenous diets because that's what is readily available, and that's what most people can afford.
posted by rebeccablood at 2:38 PM on January 7, 2002


positive evidence that eating meat is bad for you
(those quotes were kinda silly)
Dioxins, but this is conditional. You get dioxins from eating beef, and dioxins reach toxic levels when cows are fed other cows to save on feed. Toxic dioxin levels lead to mad cow disease. You can get rid of dioxins 2 ways: dying and lactating. They cannot be cooked out as to break them down with heat requires temperatures in excess of 700 degrees. You don't want your steak that well done.

* detriment of too much meat on one's health
This is a hotly debated topic, and this space is too small to take it on right now, but I can say that there is just as much a detriment of too little meat on one's health.

I would toss this in to the bad diet category. Too much anything is bad for you. Poor arguement for not eating meat.
posted by Nauip at 2:43 PM on January 7, 2002


I don't know if anyone's ever posted a Sue Coe item on MetaFilter. She's a brilliant artist whose dedicated herself to exposing the meat industry. If you've never seen her disturbing images, you don't know what you're missing.

"Disturbing"??! Maybe if you have some polly-annish vision of what exactly goes on in someplace called a "slaughterhouse." Her paintings would be more moving if I were also the same sort of person who thought that jumping off of cliffs was safe because Wile E. Coyote (warning: bad Flash) does it every morning on the cartoons.

A large metal bolt strikes through the animal's skull. People who think this is a 'humane', painless procedure are deluding themselves... The veal is hung upside down by a chain, and the throat is slit. The animal bleeds to death, which takes up to five minutes, as it moves along a conveyor belt. The head is taken off. The body is slit open and steam comes out with all the entrails. Hooves come off. The carcass is cut into parts.

My version: whitetail deer gets hit by a 7.62mm slug in the spine just below the base of the skull and drops to the ground like a rock. A man with a very sharp knife then slits the creature, a 170lb. 7-point, from crotch to sternum and dons rubber gloves to begin removing the entrails - which includes reaching up into the neck from the inside to sever the widepipe as high as possible. The knife is then used to split the sternum and pelvis at which point the deer is completely field dressed. Two slits are made just below the rear leg joints to pass a rope through which is then used to drag the carcass to a nearby access road where it is loaded into a truck and taken to the butcher shop (it was very warm this year, normally we would let it hang for a few hours first.) When it was our turn, a motorized hoist was used to life the carcass free of the ground and a sawzall used to remove the legs at the knee joints and the hide was cut along the legs and stripped back to the body. Then the enterprising individuals at this place used a rope, a golfball and a garden tractor to pull the hide from the carcass (very ingenious and quick!) Then the sawzall is used to remove the head and to split the carcass along the center of the spine at which point it we rinsed it off and carried it the cooler to be butchered later. Unfortunately, that was the last day of my Thanksgiving vacation and I didn't get to participate in the rest or I'd give you the details of that too.

Oh, btw, a little soy sauce, onions, mushrooms and garlic and some thinly sliced strips of deer loin marinated overnight and then grilled is some damn fine eats.
posted by RevGreg at 2:43 PM on January 7, 2002


Humans are omnivores, not carnivores. If we were carnivorous, there'd be no vegetarians.
posted by barkingpumpkin at 2:44 PM on January 7, 2002


Hierarchy of value (for the record):

Humans
Mammals
Marine Life
Insects
Plants

Yes, it is subjective( i made it up on the fly), but ontologically, humans ARE more valuable than animals. If you disagree, please leave any of the free nations of the world and move to a brutal, communist regime, as soon as possible, because they completely agree with you. Anything under the first tier is edible. Those things should be killed as humanely and expediently as possible. Any analogy comparing harvesting/killing/abusing humans to harvesting/killing/abusing animals is a terribly false analogy a non-argument. Find a better argument, please.

I also think there is good reason for carnivores to feel defensive, because their way of life IS under attack, to some extent. People do lobby for laws recognizing "animal rights." And meat eaters and meat producers (it's happened in tnis thread) frequently are compared, even if it's just for the sake of argument, to mass murderers. Of course, defense turns into offense.. and then you get this thread.
posted by insomnyuk at 2:46 PM on January 7, 2002


Can we do 100? Yes!
posted by mrbula at 2:47 PM on January 7, 2002


I think it's fascinating that people play the "suffering" card for vegetarianism, while also buying wholly unnecessary products and living in unnecessarily nice surroundings. Tell me about alleviating animal suffering after you've given away all of your money so that suffering people elsewhere in the world might live.

The idea that vegetarianism is somehow "cruelty-free" is laughable, because cruelty is everywhere. It's in every extra dollar that you keep, rather than give to someone who is starving to death. Like your computer? As many as a hundred people are dead, and you could have saved them rather than buy the PC.

The only people that get to talk about cruelty-free lifestyles are those who do subsistence farming. The rest of you are simply trying to feel better about yourselves, and trying to cover up the stench of the dead bodies piled under every object in your house.

...but again, I happen to agree with vegetarianism. Although I know you won't believe me...
posted by aramaic at 2:49 PM on January 7, 2002


You get dioxins from eating beef

Which is introduced into their food stream when they consume plants.
posted by RevGreg at 2:52 PM on January 7, 2002


RevGreg, that is a good version. Respect for hunting is actually not that uncommon among vegetarians. I may not want to kill an animal myself, but if you are going to go out and kill an animal and eat it, that is your right, and I respect that far more than the person who goes to the supermarket and prefers not to think about where that meat came from.

I also think that hunters, in general, have a certain degree of respect for their prey that your average Joe does not.
posted by UrbanFigaro at 2:52 PM on January 7, 2002


Okay all you vegan and vegetarian bashers, most of the people who don't eat meat do it not because they think it is bad to eat meat, but because of the horrid way meat products are produced around the world. It truly is nasty.

note: i am not a vegan or a vegetarian, in fact i just finished a nice meal of home-cooked tacos. I can't help it meat just tastes so good :\
posted by y0bhgu0d at 2:55 PM on January 7, 2002


SpecialK: Tell me. Why do my ideas need to be influenced?

Your question presupposes that you already know the answer to all questions.


kindall: Yes, and religious zealots are only trying to influence your idea of what is right. They would never try to get any laws passed or anything.

I have never heard of a time when religion did not try to control law to force their views on others, but I have also never heard a time when non-religious vegetarians did try to control law to enforce their views on others.

Even if counter examples exist, I have no doubt which is the rule and which is the exception.
posted by NortonDC at 3:02 PM on January 7, 2002


" ... The idea that vegetarianism is somehow "cruelty-free" is laughable, because cruelty is everywhere. It's in every extra dollar that you keep, rather than give to someone who is starving to death. Like your computer? As many as a hundred people are dead, and you could have saved them rather than buy the PC ...".

Gosh ... and I had thought the logic in the main part of the thread (i.e., slaughtering chickens = slauthering humans) idiotic. But there are as of yet apparently new lows to sink to.
posted by MidasMulligan at 3:02 PM on January 7, 2002


FYI ive been vegetarian for 6 years now and in defending my choice ive often resorted to explaining to people (though im not sure of the exact statistic) that the production of a head of cattle or a single chicken yeilds a minute fraction of the resources (protien, calories, whatever) than which it consumes.

Therefore the most efficient method of feeding humanity would not be through production of animals for slaughter but using the land/resources involved in maintaining those animals through their life for feeding humans instead. i heard somewhere that 80% of the corn grown in Iowa (where im from (shitload of corn)) does not get used to feed humans but instead feeds livestock.

Just thought i would throw that into the pit.
posted by jojomnky at 3:03 PM on January 7, 2002


jojomnky: So you'd support killing off all the livestock, since the animals have to eat too? You're making my head swim.
posted by raysmj at 3:07 PM on January 7, 2002


Do vegans eat pussy? How?
posted by BentPenguin at 3:08 PM on January 7, 2002


It's shallow, but I emphathise with animals, so I'm a vegetarian. I see that they feel pain and I'll go out of my way to ensure that I hurt less of them. It wasn't a big decision. That's it.

Like most vegetarian Survivor watchers I've talked to (oh we have meetings, the VSW is very popular - believe me) the silliest thing is those who are only comfortable with eating meat when it's distanced from killing an animal. This is a common trait amongst meat-eaters and it's one that doesn't make sense. At least 20% of meat-eaters on TV are like this, according to our statistics.

That said, Karen Davis is a wack and my pen jar is related to 9/11 in ways I can't even begin to describe.
posted by holloway at 3:09 PM on January 7, 2002


but I have also never heard a time when non-religious vegetarians did try to control law to enforce their views on others

And I never heard of a time when vegetarians had the political clout to do so.
posted by gazingus at 3:09 PM on January 7, 2002


" ... Therefore the most efficient method of feeding humanity would not be through production of animals for slaughter but using the land/resources involved in maintaining those animals through their life for feeding humans instead. i heard somewhere that 80% of the corn grown in Iowa (where im from (shitload of corn)) does not get used to feed humans but instead feeds livestock.

Just thought i would throw that into the pit..."


Let me toss it back out (har har) ... we don't really need to be efficient - there is actually far more than enough food produced on the planet to comfortably feed the entire human population. Does malnutrition and starvation exist? Yeppers ... but this is not a problem of insufficient production, 'tis rather one of distribution.
posted by MidasMulligan at 3:09 PM on January 7, 2002


they didn't have the leisurely life that allowed them to live by just eating veggies

Actually, in many parts of the world, and indeed for most of human history, meat was/is a luxury, only to be eaten when possible. It is only today with improved farming techniques and the unprecendented wealth of the Western and Northern world that meat is consumed at virtually every meal.
posted by cell divide at 3:13 PM on January 7, 2002


...the silliest thing is those who are only comfortable with eating meat when it's distanced from killing...

Bingo.

...and as regards food distribution: of course it's a logistical problem. But money overcomes all logistical problems. Sure there's plenty of food -- so why aren't all the "cruelty-free" folks buying cargo space rather than the latest issue of their favorite magazine? Every dime not spent getting food and medicine to someone who needs it is a dime spent on perpetuating suffering. That doesn't bother me personally -- I'm just tired of the holier-than-thou hypocrisy.

So don't give me a line about cruelty or suffering. The sustainability of resources is a much more compelling argument for vegetarianism. Mind you, that means also skipping fish.
posted by aramaic at 3:19 PM on January 7, 2002


Two things, gazingus:

1) Clout is a prerequisite for succeding, not trying.

2) If they have always been as powerless as you suppose, then that makes kindall's analogy and SpecialK's concern about them controlling what he can eat even more ridiculous.
posted by NortonDC at 3:24 PM on January 7, 2002


(From the article):

"...If, though, the question is whether the World Trade Center attack was worse for its thousands of human victims than the sum total of misery and terror was for millions of chicken victims that day, I see only one nonspeciesist answer to the question ... "

There is only one "nonspeciesist" answer: for humans, the human deaths are worse, for the chickens, it is the chicken deaths that are worse. Pretty damn basic - a species that doesn't priviledge it's own members higher than the members of other species doesn't last very long.

And I'll bet even Ms. Karen Davis, PhD, believes this ... even if she wouldn't admit it. Here ya go, KD, answer me this ... you see a chicken wander into the middle of a busy street - do you risk your life in a possible losing argument with an 18 wheeler to run out and save it? Now, you see a human child wander into the exact same situation. Do you act differently than you acted with the chicken? (Damn, I should hope so.)
posted by MidasMulligan at 3:29 PM on January 7, 2002


we don't really need to be efficient - there is actually far more than enough food produced on the planet to comfortably feed the entire human population.

it goes further than that. after the "green revolution" the feed lot was invented. farmers began feeding all that surplus grain to their livestock because otherwise it would have flooded the market and grain prices would have tanked. the government, according to diet for a small planet, began a public relations campaign to convince the public that marbled beef tasted good. before this, all cattle were range-fed, which is a *great* use of land that is not suitable for farming.

note, diet for a small planet is not the same as extremist john robbins' "diet for a new america".
posted by rebeccablood at 3:31 PM on January 7, 2002


It's shallow, but I emphathise with animals, so I'm a vegetarian.

Nothing shallow about that. As I said on the recent PETA thread, I don't think you can productively use ethics to make decisions about our relationship with animals. That leaves emotional attachment. You don't eat animals because you empathize with them. By the same token, I'm nice to my cat because I like her, and when I hear of cultures where cats are regularly eaten, it upsets me a little because I can imagine it happening to my own pet, who I have become attached to. However, the fact that it bothers me doesn't make it wrong for people to eat cats. My discomfort, even my disgust, is not a moral imperative. I have no doubt that there are people so disgusted by the idea of homosexuality, for example, that they are incapable of dealing fairly with gays, but I think most of us here would agree that it is a mistake to codify these gut reactions into religious or secular law. Activists for "ethical" vegetarianism or animal "rights" seem to me to be making the same error.

Actually, in many parts of the world, and indeed for most of human history, meat was/is a luxury, only to be eaten when possible

This may be true of recorded human history, but only because recorded human history coincides so closely with the rise of agriculture. But proto-man was a hunter-gatherer (emphasis on hunter) for millions of years before he was a farmer. During that epoch, the diet of humans was in fact composed primarily of meat, supplemented by nuts, berries, grasses, and honey. In fact, there are anthropologists who believe that the cognitive demands of hunting might have been what drove the evolution of our intellect. There is also evidence that the switch to eating mainly grains proved disastrous to certain ancient populations and may actually be a major contributor to modern health problems.
posted by kindall at 3:36 PM on January 7, 2002


I also think that hunters, in general, have a certain degree of respect for their prey that your average Joe does not.

I wish that were true UrbanFigaro. I have just recently begun hunting again after a 20+ year hiatus caused (partially) by an incident when I was 13. I was watching some deer working their way through a field about 400 yards away and the gun I was carrying was a bit underpowered for the shot, and had only open sights to boot, so I was waiting because they were headed in my direction. Then a car came up the road that separated me from them and the driver pulled over and fired a shot at them from the vehicle which is illegal. One of them went down immediately. He then promptly drove off and left it laying there. Unfortunately the deer was only wounded and could not move - it lay in the field screaming as the others ran away. So, I walked the 400 yards, which in the terrain took a bit more than 15 minutes, and put a shot into the deer as it lay there screaming - which I then tagged and took as my own. Not a great way to spend the day and certainly not the most exciting first kill!

But, as with everything in the world, there are some people who abuse the priveledge but they are definately the minority. I passed up five deer on the day that I shot mine because they were either too young or not "sure" shots. Actually, the deer I shot was sort of a weird, off-balance, sitting on my butt, twisted to the side, left-handed shot (I'm a righty) but it was a clear field of view! I had a nice cut from my scope on my nose to prove it too - no cheek rest on that side of the stock...
posted by RevGreg at 3:58 PM on January 7, 2002


"hunters, in general, have a certain degree of respect for their prey.."

PETA activists fit deer with orange vests. Hunting activist offers prizes and rewards for deer wearing vests. Hilarity ensues.
posted by Real9 at 4:12 PM on January 7, 2002


Concidering that there is not bad evidence that the consumption of meat (and even brain matter), is what made us the intelligent animals we are today, I think the omnivore vs vegan argument is pretty silly. We are by nature, meat eating intelligent beings. If we wish to continue on that brain "empowering" path, then the suggestion is that we must find and hold efficient (if brutal and inhumane) ways to provide high calorie protiens. If its a choice between a chicken and my great great great great grandkids having an evolutionary advantage, well ......

Since there are so many interested in making this as personal as possible, I grew up on a subsistance farm, I've killed plenty of chickens, goats, pigs, and cows, processed them by hand, and I hunt and fished. Truth is, I have no kids, and I feed my dogs and myself as much unrendered food as possible (if I didn't it could prove to be evolutionarily dis-advantagious). There is nothing in my life which offers me a moral imperative to protect a chicken. Make of that what you will.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:12 PM on January 7, 2002


RevGreg, nice shot!
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:13 PM on January 7, 2002


RevGreg,
Ok, let me rephrase. How about this: I think that the percentage of hunters who consciously respect their prey is greater than the percentage of people who consciously respect the animals who were mass-produced and slaughtered for their consumption.

Your story just proves that you, as a hunter, have a profound respect for the lives of those animals that you kill. There are, of course, people who will argue with you about hunting. There are probably even meat eaters who will tell you that you shouldn't hunt. But (and I do not assume that you actually care) there are plenty of vegetarians who respect the choices that you have made in this matter. Thank you.
posted by UrbanFigaro at 4:16 PM on January 7, 2002


If its a choice between a chicken and my great great great great grandkids having an evolutionary advantage, well ......


That's so much silly conjecture its not even funny. Humans are classified as omnivores because they are capable of chewing and digesting both plants and animals. The evolutionary advantage you mentioned doesn't make sense, even if it was true, in a society where humans are far removed from their natural habitat and engage in stopping natural selection every chance they get using germ theory, medical treatments, etc.
posted by skallas at 4:23 PM on January 7, 2002


RevGreg, nice shot!

<sarcasm>Pure skill!</sarcasm>
...and maybe a wee bit of luck!

How about this: I think that the percentage of hunters who consciously respect their prey is greater than the percentage of people who consciously respect the animals who were mass-produced and slaughtered for their consumption.

Oh, I agree - I just wanted to cite some personal evidence to the opposite - and the extreme opposite really. The evidence that most hunters are decent people who strive to kill cleanly and quickly in my life more than completely overwhelms my negative experiences. Heck, I love veggies but I love meat to. And cheese. And fruit. And fish, yes, fish! Not into insects though...but my friend the Mad Chink used to gobble 'em down (I think mostly for shock effect though.)
posted by RevGreg at 4:24 PM on January 7, 2002


I don't know whether Postroad and BentPenguin are carnivores, but I do know that they're pigs.
posted by anapestic at 4:24 PM on January 7, 2002


The evolutionary advantage you mentioned doesn't make sense,

Why not, or are we just taking your word for it here?

in a society where humans are far removed from their natural habitat and engage in stopping natural selection every chance they get using germ theory, medical treatments, etc.


I don't think you could be more wrong. We are in our "natural" enviroment, every damn day. Just because its a product of our devising doesn't mean the way we live is unnatural, unless it stands against our continuing survival and evolution. Are beaver not in a natural eviron becuse they build dams? We interact with everything we build and what has built us. Avoidance of that fact leads to seeing wolves as "the big bad ...", the destruction of our enviroment, and passive acquiesence to the spread of culture threatening deseases like aids. I understand the distinction you are trying to make, but it doesn't hold under historical scrutiny.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:33 PM on January 7, 2002


BentPenguin: They douse it with baby batter and then eat it raw.
posted by hellinskira at 4:40 PM on January 7, 2002


There is only one "nonspeciesist" answer: for humans, the human deaths are worse, for the chickens, it is the chicken deaths that are worse. Pretty damn basic - a species that doesn't priviledge it's own members higher than the members of other species doesn't last very long.
It's not about survival. Humans won, others lost. We rule so easily. If we value lessening pain then we can be kind masters and fewer animals will get hurt.
we don't really need to be efficient - there is actually far more than enough food produced on the planet to comfortably feed the entire human population. [...] this is not a problem of insufficient production, 'tis rather one of distribution.
That's an old and false conclusion. It's not that we're doing well in our food production and that the fault is in distribution. Hungry humans have live-stock too, just not enough. If they were to phase out their meat-eating then fewer people would be malnourished.
posted by holloway at 4:51 PM on January 7, 2002


Real9...funny link. thanks.
posted by th3ph17 at 4:57 PM on January 7, 2002


fault is in distribution = fault is solely in distribution
posted by holloway at 5:08 PM on January 7, 2002


Wulfgar! - Why not, or are we just taking your word for it here?

The burden of proof rests with the one arguing the affirmative.

Go for it. Maybe then you'd like to tell us about all the evolutionary benefits that accrue through habitually smoking tobacco.
posted by NortonDC at 5:29 PM on January 7, 2002


Anapestic: right there with you; those comments unfortunately help to prove the point I argued so strenuously against not that long ago. *Sigh* What a way to be proven oh so wrong.
posted by jennaratrix at 5:49 PM on January 7, 2002


1. Re starvation: the fault is TOTALLY in distribution. The U.S.A. sends tons of grain to many different countries. (Example: North Korea). It's not our fault that their backward cultures and governments cannot produce their own food, and then waste what we give them

2. Chickens do not grieve over the loss of their kin, or their fellow chickens, they do not feel the same emotions. Okay, they can feel pain. But they have tiny brains.

3. Extremist animal rights people have, in the past, jumped in front of hunters before they shoot. They will go with a video camera, and harrass and taunt the hunter until he becomes angry and gets recorded on tape physically assaulting one of them. The tape goes to the cops, the hunter goes to court. Score- environmentalists: 1 hunter:0

4. The thinly veiled sexual comments are ridiculously off-topic.
posted by insomnyuk at 6:04 PM on January 7, 2002


RevGreg,

20 gauge Shotgun, slug(no rifle for deer in Illinois; flat trajectory plus flat land equals dead neighbors)

Same knife, same field dress procedure, but no butcher!

Hang it in the garage, sharpen the long knives, and two men get to work! Takes about 3 hours if you are meticulous, but it makes for a good yield, and is part of the job the way we've done it. Fire up the mini Weber, and eat some while your working. Mmmmm.....

BTW, rope, tennis ball, and pickup truck works well too. The dog always seems fairly enthusiastic about retrieving that specific ball.

My sister, who has been a vegetarian for 20 years, has sat and discussed database problems with me while we were working. She originally became a vegetarian for personal preference(meat didn't appeal to her taste, nothing to do with empathy or politics), and we've always enjoyed a healthy transfer of data back and forth from opposite sides of this little culture war. Got some damn good recipes from her, too.

I'd prefer to buy meat from circumstances that are less cruel to the harvestee, and the kosher suggestion struck me as quite a good compromise. There seems to be concentrations of human misery, as well as chicken suffering, occuring in the same building, from my understanding. Don't know about a tender chicken, but I can believe a tough man is behind some of the decisions that lead to the work conditions at some of those places.

And I too can testify that the bulk of that corn you are flying over in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana is mostly "feed corn", and it does strike me as a blind spot of perspective that the richest land on this green earth should be so toiled over to slop the hogs. Or maybe driving a couple of hundred miles by 10 foot high corn fields just gives a guy time to let his thoughts wander, usually right as a deer jumps in front of his car.

Kind of reminds me of some of the "true cost" arguments that go on about things like electric cars, solar power cell manufacturing, coal generation, etc, etc.

My take? I like meat, but I'm getting what I consider pretty damn fat at 39, so I suspect I'll be eating more veggies soon, or my impact on the planet will dimish to zero sooner than I would like(and a tax break for attic insulation, higher efficiency air conditioners and furnaces, and getting more people to use compact flourescents sure wouldn't do any harm, either).
posted by dglynn at 6:14 PM on January 7, 2002


aacheson: There's no difference, energy wise, between a vegetarian diet and an omnivores diet. Also, people in the middle ages didn't somehow magically work off the ill effects of the meat they ate. They ate far less meat than we do, because, as Rebecca said, meat has been, until very recently, a pretty expensive food item.

I have more energy, and can work harder since I gave up meat.
posted by Doug at 6:16 PM on January 7, 2002


they didn't have the leisurely life that allowed them to live by just eating veggies

Since what always seems to matter most in Western society is money, let's go comparison shopping.

At my local supermarket, el cheapo, who-knows-what's-in-them sausages sell for $3.98 per kilogram.
Tinned beans sell for $2.98 per kilogram.
I couldn't find any dry beans, but I know from experience that they're even cheaper.

I am not claiming that tinned beans by themselves make a meal. Neither do sausages. The point is that they both make good protein sources in meals.

(Note: I readily admit that vege sausages are really expensive and not particularly nice-tasting.)
posted by eoz at 6:33 PM on January 7, 2002


" ... It's not about survival. Humans won, others lost. We rule so easily. If we value lessening pain then we can be kind masters and fewer animals will get hurt ..."

Humans "won"? Um, the most populous non-plant species on earth (by an enormous amount) is ... ants. The longest lived (in evolutionary terms) are several sorts of aquatic life. As we currently exist, we are a momentary flash in the pan (that even seems to periodically teeter on the verge of self destruction - behavior that species that have been around since the Cambrian explosion long ago relegated to their immature evolutionary childhoods). Only within a narrow range of criteria (chosen by ourselves, and excluding an enormity of variables) can we even be said to be successful. We certainly haven't demonstrated longevity. We certainly are able to master a few species - but even in the case of those ... yes, they do get killed for food, but they are also bred in extraordinary numbers (i.e., we can look at all the ckickens killed each year by humans, but on the whole, most of them wouldn't have existed in the first place without humans).

" ... That's an old and false conclusion. It's not that we're doing well in our food production and that the fault is in distribution..."

An "old and false conclusion" that won Amartya Sen the 1998 Nobel Prize in economics. His solutions to famine and starvation were questioned (he is quite the Keynsian), but his really original work was challenging the long-held notion that natural disasters (floods, droughts & etc.) and other shortage-based difficulties were the primary causes. He was one of the first to truly examine the question in depth.

" ... Hungry humans have live-stock too, just not enough. If they were to phase out their meat-eating then fewer people would be malnourished ..."

To talk about this intelligently cannot be done with huge generalities. I'm sure you can find some pockets of people that are hungry for just about any reason you can name. I'd say the number of people that could actually solve a malnutrition problem by trading their livestock for more vegetable food is statistically so small as to be inconsequential. (Yes, there are those that are malnourished that have livestock, but generally they are livestock grazing on the little plant life in harsh soil - i.e., it is not a choice between saying "I'll hold off on feeding my bountiful harvest of corn to the cows, and instead plabnt a variety of crops in the lush soil, and feed far more with vegetables").

In this instance, you are just wrong. The thought that startvation, famine, and malnutrition are chiefly problems of distribution, not production, is not old (in fact, it's a relatively new idea), and not false (unless you choose to disbelieve the fairly widely held conclusions of a good number of people that do nothing but study this stuff for a living - and the fairly large, and growing, pile of empirical data that supports them.
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:33 PM on January 7, 2002


" ... Hungry humans have live-stock too, just not enough. If they were to phase out their meat-eating then fewer people would be malnourished ..."

Actually, as a sort of bizarre footnote, the country that contains probably the largest number of vegetarians in absolute terms ... India ... also has had some of the deepest and most persistant difficulties with hunger and malnutrition, which (more than one person has argued) could actually be addressed by becoming meat eaters. One of the more bizzare sights in the world is seeing cows, often herds of them, walking untouched through narrow dirt streets lined with beggars starving to death.
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:45 PM on January 7, 2002


Has anyone ever had Cluck U. Chicken? It is local to Central Jersey (a Rutgers student formed the chain) and they have the best goddamned chickin I have ever eaten in my entire life...mmmm....time to go back to good ol' New Brunswick!
posted by adampsyche at 6:47 PM on January 7, 2002


The expense of meat is a crucial question. If people intelligently refused to buy unhealthy, disease-ridden, cruelly-kept and chemically-pumped up chickens(i.e.99%), just because they're cheap and were prepared to pay $50 for a real free-range naturally-fed-chicken, such as the famous Bresse chickens, things would get better in a hurry.

I'm a great believer in the Jewish tradition of meat being a luxury, something God allows but somehow regrets. Why not have meat - from excellent, properly reared cattle, happy in their lifetimes and killed with respect - only once a week?

I remember eating the most delicious chicken I've ever had. It had been killed a few hours ago by our hosts, a couple of octagenarian farmers who lived next to us in the country.

The woman, who'd cooked the dinner, wept throughout the meal, insisting on telling us all about this particular chicken and all its quirks and endearing traits.

You'd expect it to have put us off. Well it didn't. They were poor peasants and this was their way of respecting their livestock - by missing the creature while enthusing about how delicious it was.

I'll never forget that old woman saying "You can see how good she was" with a certain pride, when she was serving us, poking at it with a fork with evident pride.

It was the opposite of hypocrisy.

It was the opposite of hiding the origin of what we eat. Fillets disguise the fish they come from. And almost all packaging is designed to hide the animal itself and the way it was killed.

In an ideal world we'd be vegetarian most of the time and when we did feast on a dead animal, we'd be able to respect it, knowing it had enjoyed a good life.

It all comes down to money, in the end.

And for people who find it difficult to imagine how expensive fresh meat was until the 19th century, think freshly caught lobsters nowadays. Or prosciutto.

Meat should be a rare treat. It's the industrial, penny-saving meat-grinding machine - ever more powerful and sinister - which is so horrific.

Perhaps all the important connections have now been lost between living things.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:51 PM on January 7, 2002


Miguel: that was a great story. I now have an idea for a restaurant.
posted by adampsyche at 6:59 PM on January 7, 2002


If vegans and vegetarians ran the world, there would be no MeatyCheesyBoys. A world without the love ballad "Let's Go Get Some Fries" is not one I want to live in.
posted by owillis at 7:20 PM on January 7, 2002


I'm so hungry for your love,
So lets go get some fries
And I will wipe the tears from your eyes?


For this we're fighting the terrorists? :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:29 PM on January 7, 2002


If vegans and vegetarians ran the world, there would be no MeatyCheesyBoys.

If vegans and vegetarians ran the world there would be no jonmc. My mom and dad's first date was at White Castle in Rockaway Beach, New York. So thank god for meat-eaters or I wouldn't be here sharing my wit and wisdom.
posted by jonmc at 8:01 PM on January 7, 2002


Eat fast food. At least you know it won't be meat.

" I don't know if anyone's ever posted a Sue Coe item on MetaFilter. She's a brilliant artist whose dedicated herself to exposing the meat industry."

Exposing the meat industry? A regular Upton Sinclair, is she? Is the meat industry still as horrible as that.. or does the 'exposing' refer to the cruelty argument? Loaded words.

Now, I'm not saying she isn't doing a service for her cause or anything.. it's just that on a topic like this, 'exposing' implies that something wrong is being done.. and the 'right' and 'wrong' in this case is a gray area, given the vastly differing ideas on morality in the case.
posted by rich at 8:02 PM on January 7, 2002


So like, I like meat. I eat meat. My Grandfather and I(when I was a kid mind you) once went hunting and ate the meat of our deer prey. It was great. We stayed outside, all quite and still. The deer was kind of prancing through the woods and came to rest near this stream we had in view. While it was taking a drink or cleaning its' nose, my Grandfather pulled back on his bow string.

The deer popped its' head up and Grandfather said to me, "In the head." He let the pointed arrow fly and the deer jolted. He missed it's head, and got it in the neck instead. Damn thing didn't die. Instead it jumped around and tried running, but couldn't go too fast and looked like a floppy fish going through the bushes near the stream.

"Let's go get the bastard." My Grandfather takes chase while knocking another arrow. I follow suit carrying some more arrows and a knapsack-like case with some other fun items in it.

By the time we were able to get to the deer by following it's blood trail, it was collapsed in a heap close to a mile away according to my Grandfather. The beast was still kicking, like it didn't want to die. It knew its' fate though, it knew it was going to die. You look at the eyes of the thing and see it look like it knows what's coming.

"That'll do it," my Grandfather says as he puts an arrow into the base of the skull of the bloody deer. "You can't mess with the guts of these things, it'll ruin the meat, ya hear?"

"Uh, ok." That's all I could say. I was still looking at the dear and the look it still had on its face. I then took the knife out of the bag I was holding and slit its throat. I think it was dead already, but it was like I felt it move as I cut it. Maybe I was just frightened, I don't know.

I gave the knife to my Grandfather and he went about his ways of gutting the critter. I almost had to look away, but I kept on looking. I kept on looking at the look on the face of the deer.

By the time it was all said and done we took what was left of the carcass back with us, after my Uncle showed up to help my Grandfather 'bag' the corpse.

We didn't eat it that night, but a few later, and I liked it. Very tasty. Whether it was because we killed it, or because it was just really good, maybe I'll never figure out. It was enjoyed in company equal to that of Thanksgiving, and it was glorious.

And the whole experience made me realize something... thank god for McDonalds. I hate standing still for that long.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 8:11 PM on January 7, 2002


Well, actually we're fighting the terrorists to avoid future barbecues, given that the best way to counter an apocalyptic bioterror epidemic could be incineration/incendiary bombing.

"In conclusion, I think it is speciesist to think that the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center was a greater tragedy than what millions of chickens endured that day and what they endure every day ..."

Hmmn. Let's not go there. Time for some soy milk and off to sleep! I'm out of work, the manager at the health food store had me run the meat slicer for a week and I just couldn't take it. Something about the smell and texture of the roast beef as you seared off the plastic wrap and pulled it tight, the slightly resilient and squishy heft of a ham ... That stuff used to be living, just like you and me! Like the man said, "Meat-eating is cannibalism, without its heroic dish."
posted by sheauga at 8:18 PM on January 7, 2002


Humans "won"? Um, the most populous non-plant species on earth (by an enormous amount) is ... ants.
You're right of course. Ants are our masters.
An "old and false conclusion" that won Amartya Sen the 1998 Nobel Prize in economics.
Amartya's conclusion was "we don't really need to be efficient"?

Sen's economic theories had been in practice decades before the Nobel award (70s?). The scope of his work did not go to the inefficiencies of eating animals (my point) only that more food doesn't necessarily mean less famine (although it often does). He's the well-known head of the distribution argument but his pioneering ideas were formulas - not the old and well respected concepts.

Notice the weak choice of words below. Even he avoided saying distribution was chiefly responsible.
"Sen's best-known work in this area is his book from 1981: Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Here, he challenges the common view that a shortage of food is the most important (sometimes the only) explanation for famine. On the basis of a careful study of a number of such catastrophes in India, Bangladesh, and Saharan countries, from the 1940s onwards, he found other explanatory factors. He argues that several observed phenomena cannot in fact be explained by a shortage of food alone, e.g. that famines have occurred even when the supply of food was not significantly lower than during previous years (without famines), or that faminestricken areas have sometimes exported food." - Nobel.se
posted by holloway at 8:25 PM on January 7, 2002


Wulfgar! - Why not, or are we just taking your word for it here?

NortonDC - The burden of proof rests with the one arguing the affirmative.

Go for it. Maybe then you'd like to tell us about all the evolutionary benefits that accrue through habitually smoking tobacco.


Read my comment. I offered a link with a very good and well documented argument, one that neither you nor skallas care to actually argue with. You offered a non applicable analogy and complete ignorance of what's already on the table. Care to try again? As you say: Go for it.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:38 PM on January 7, 2002


I also think that hunters, in general, have a certain degree of respect for their prey that your average Joe does not.

i'd agree with that. i grew up in the deep south where hunting is socially acceptable and one of my younger brothers is an avid hunter. he and his 'hunting buddies' refer to hunting as a 'sport' but it's considered totally unacceptable to kill simply for the sake of killing. they go to great lengths to use every last bit of the animal for food. it's considered disrespectful not to.

several of their hunting traditions originated with Native American practices that treated hunting as a spiritual activity in which death and rebirth themes were reinacted. (read the early works of Joseph Campbell and you get a heavy dose of this.) I'm not insinuating that they have elaborate ceremonies before they go, but there are definite norms rooted in those traditions regarding how you conduct yourself on the hunt and specific procedures for making the death of the animal as quick and painless as possible. there's a certain level of respect that *true* hunters have for wildlife. As a result, where I grew up, most hunters were also rabid conservationists.

My brother was, until recently, studying to be a veterinarian. He loves animals. People that claim hunting is always barbaric and hunters hate or have no respect for animals, in my experience, are people whose actual contact with hunters is limited to suburban professionals they meet at the "Annual CEO Quail Shoot," who pick up a gun once a year and run out to 'kill something' in order to impress the boss.

regarding the article above, i seriously thought it was an Onion link at first glance. Aside from the fact that the author doesn't understand the definition of terrorism,(indiscriminate killing *in order to incite panic*, which is not likely to be the objective of your average chicken farmer), she has the audacity to exploit the 9-11 tragedy to further an agenda that's not even remotely related. Maybe i'm particularly sensitive to that because i'm a manhattanite that had to go to a actual 9-11 funeral, and it wasn't just some story on CNN. Then again, it hasn't bothered me that people have used, maybe even exploited, the incident to educate others about Islam, create awareness about very real security vulnerabilities, and prompt middle America to bone up on foreign policy. Good for them. Bravo. This, however, is different. It's utterly tasteless, and yes, it definitely diminishes the significance of 9-11.
posted by lizs at 8:59 PM on January 7, 2002


Wulfgar! - your link dumps into the 32K page 4 of some unknown document. It is not reasonable to dump an unprepared reader into that and expect them to take it seriously.

None the less, I did read it, and it doesn't help your position much. If anything, it suggests that meat eaters failed to move to the food source that is, so to speak, the final fruit of human intelligence, i.e. consistently supplied grains and cereals.

Keep trying.
posted by NortonDC at 9:30 PM on January 7, 2002


If you (as Link) kill one of the chickens in Zelda:Ocarina of Time, a bunch of vigilante chickens will swarm on you and eventually kill you.

But you can take a lot of chickens with you.
posted by blackholebrain at 9:42 PM on January 7, 2002


oh yeah... some people love animals just a tad too much.
posted by blackholebrain at 9:47 PM on January 7, 2002


I did a little search and noticed that malphigian posted using the word "tripe" and it did not refer to the Simpsons. So allow me to quote the Simpsons Archive:

Lisa: They can't seriously expect us to swallow that tripe.
Skinner: Now as a special treat courtesy of our friends at the Meat Council, please help yourself to this tripe.


That will be all.
posted by MarkO at 10:08 PM on January 7, 2002


Any post about vegetarians or related groups is guaranteed to be one of the most popular posts of the day. Why do so many of you love to rant on and on about vegetarians? Do they make you feel a bit guilty?
posted by pracowity at 11:18 PM on January 7, 2002


Why would anyone eat meat? It's not necessary for our health (in fact, it is BAD for your health) and eating meat causes suffering.

Oh, it's that profound ethical argument rearing its head again: "Meat tastes good."

There is no ethical justification whatsoever for eating meat. We humans do so because we are lazy.

Who knows? There may actually be more justification for crashing those airplanes into the WTC than there is for sitting down to Yet Another Hamburger, given the information Americans are spoon fed about their own actions, and given that at least those poor folks in the WTC didn't live in a salmonella infested brood-factory for months before they were killed.

But both acts sure cheapen life.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:22 PM on January 7, 2002 [1 favorite]


Why would anyone eat meat? It's not necessary for our health (in fact, it is BAD for your health) and eating meat causes suffering.

Oh, it's that profound ethical argument rearing its head again: "Meat tastes good."

There is no ethical justification whatsoever for eating meat. We humans do so because we are lazy.

Who knows? There may actually be more justification for crashing those airplanes into the WTC than there is for sitting down to Yet Another Hamburger, given the information Americans are spoon fed about their own actions, and given that at least those poor folks in the WTC didn't live in a salmonella infested brood-factory for months before they were killed.

But both acts sure cheapen life.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:22 PM on January 7, 2002


folks, why does it seem that the vegetarians must 'defend' their position because of an extremist? most of us vegans don't really want to waste the time in being self-righteous about it, we're too busy cooking. seriously, there are incredible arguments for or against this lifestyle choice, none of which need to be made. i think veggies that waste their time on this shit are ninnies. what's the value of life anyway if you waste it in pointless, unwinnable arguments? for god's sake, i'm vegan because of visceral reasons. it just kinda grosses me out. and i don't feel like i have to defend that. it would be like defending an aesthetic preference, which CAN engender valid dialogue and discussion (a worthy endeavor, imho), but it can also waste time if both parties are not willing to at least examine the other's opinion.
last but not least, arguing on the web is like running in the special olympics... (you know the rest)
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 12:55 AM on January 8, 2002


"both acts sure cheapen life" is a great way to end a double-posting.

Here's an ethical justification for eating meat:
It's rich in the nutrients and fuel we need to survive.

And here's another way of saying we eat it "because we are lazy:"
Achiving full nutrition on a vegetarian diet isn't impractical, but it does require a good deal of learning and work. Acquiring, preparing, and eating the rounded complement of grains and beans required to provide full protein not to mention vitamins isn't easy. And for those of us with busy lives and little time, meat is a compact, widely available, very rich source of the very same goodness. Being high on the food chain, meat provides much if not all of what we need to survive.

It's true that there are a lot of obese meat-eaters in this country, but there are also a lot of undernourished people who would make poor vegetarians.

If you want to make an argument against the conditions in meat-production, be my guest. But there's no burden of justification on meat-eating. As many have pointed out, it's a perfectly natural thing to do.
posted by scarabic at 1:06 AM on January 8, 2002


fold_and_mutilate, there is no need for an ethical justification for eating meat because there is nothing unethical about it. We humans do so because we are hungry, lazy has nothing to do with it. When I'm hungry, I want a big juicy steak. If I had to kill an animal to get one, well, hand me the fucking spear and step aside son, this might get messy. Steak satisfies my hunger. Nuts and berries only make me angry. But that's just me. You do what ya like, but don't tell me that meat is BAD for me. Newsflash: people are different. Your body may not process meat as efficiently as mine. We didn't all evolve in exactly the same way. We are not all carbon copies of each other. Maybe I need more protein in my diet to feel healthy and happy. You dance to your own drummer, let me dance to mine. I'm cool with that. Are you? (p.s. if you aren't, I don't give a fuck.)

There may actually be more justification for crashing those airplanes into the WTC than there is for sitting down to Yet Another Hamburger

Ok, so here I am making an argument against a fucking idiot who made that ridiculous statement and posted it not once, but twice.

pracowity, no meat eater feels guilty about eating meat. The ones who did feel guilty when they ate meat are now called vegetarians. I know an animal had to die for me to eat the steak. I get it. Always have. Pass the A-1.

For the record: I'm glad millions of chickens die every day. I hate fucking chickens. Must be because I'm allergic to 'em, and can't eat 'em, which really pisses me off because they taste so fucking good!
posted by David Dark at 1:13 AM on January 8, 2002


save trees. eat beavers...
posted by johnnyboy at 3:28 AM on January 8, 2002


> no meat eater feels guilty about eating meat.

No, not while they're eating their hamburgers, because they try not to think about the origin of the hamburger they are patiently chewing or feeding to their children.

They don't hide the plants at vegetarian restaurants, but you don't see pictures of chickens or cattle or pigs at McDonald's because smart restaurant owners know many meat-eaters can't stand to be reminded what they're really putting in their mouths.
posted by pracowity at 3:32 AM on January 8, 2002


Exactly.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:28 AM on January 8, 2002


Achiving full nutrition on a vegetarian diet isn't impractical, but it does require a good deal of learning and work.

The learning curve isn't that steep, no more steep than learning how to cook well in general. And as for time, because I have learned how, can create a nurtritious, balanced, meat-free meal for my family with far less time, effort or expended energy than it would take to make a meal of a roasted chicken with a couple of side vegetables or a pot roast. Isn't it worth a little time to learn the best ways to feed yourself and your family? If a meal isn't worth spending a bit of time preparing, how much do we value ourselves? Feeding the body shouldn't be the equivalent of stopping at the gas station to fill up your car's tank, after all.

Acquiring, preparing, and eating the rounded complement of grains and beans required to provide full protein not to mention vitamins isn't easy. And for those of us with busy lives and little time, meat is a compact, widely available, very rich source of the very same goodness.

With a nice compliment of fat, cholesterol, excess protein (just as bad as too little) and carcinogens to go along, Yum, yum.

Being high on the food chain, meat provides much if not all of what we need to survive.

All? Not by a long shot. Just for one example - what does the word "fiber" mean to you?

It's true that there are a lot of obese meat-eaters in this country, but there are also a lot of undernourished people who would make poor vegetarians.

Most of the undernourished people in this country subsist on a steady diet of meat, processed garbage and junk food. The malnourished are hampered by lack of funds, lack of knowledge about the best foods to eat and the societal ideal that meat and potatoes with a little bit of veggie on the side is the norm of healthy eating, and if that meat and potatoes comes in the form of a Big Mac and the vegetable is the lettuce on the sandwich, well, that's a square meal, right? Those are exactly the people who would be most greatly benefitted by a high-vitamin, high-mineral, low-fat and more natural diet of vegetables, fruits and grains. If someone is lacking in nourishment, there is nothing about a vegetarian diet that could harm them, and if their position is founded in lack of money, they can certainly buy more grains and vegetables for their money than meat.
posted by Dreama at 5:04 AM on January 8, 2002


i have actually been unable to read the whole of this thread. Think I'll print it off and finish it at home. Bravo !

as for me - I eat meat coz I want to.

If you don't like it, go to Russia.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:17 AM on January 8, 2002


Imagine how future society will regard us once technology has enabled them to grow nutritious, designer-protien-rich organic muscle fibers, flavored anyway you want it. Meat never attached to a nervous system.

Imagine what heinous barbarians we'll seem to them. They will have never eaten actual animal meat, and will probably gag at the very idea of consuming flesh. "Thank Allah for McBurger!' they'll exclaim, wondering how people ever got along without McBeef.

I sympathize with the plight of the modern thinking omnivore, but I should confess that whenever I'm out to dinner with a noisome vegan, I always order the veal and dramatically savor every bite.
posted by johnnyace at 5:53 AM on January 8, 2002


My mom and dad's first date was at White Castle in Rockaway Beach, New York.

Another great story. Bravo.

Also, if you work out, it is much harder to get the protein strains you need to build muscle. It can be done, but from what I have read, it takes a lot of effort and different kinds of grains and veggies. Chickin has it all right there for ya. I do feel for the vegetarians who are lumped in with people who make comments like the one this thread was originally about. Extremists in any position give such a bad name.
posted by adampsyche at 5:57 AM on January 8, 2002


Sometimes, when I eat a hamburger, I moo real loud like, just to psyche out my family. (Even with the mooing, they eat their burgers. Just food for thought)
posted by insomnyuk at 5:58 AM on January 8, 2002


Also, if you work out, it is much harder to get the protein strains you need to build muscle. It can be done, but from what I have read, it takes a lot of effort and different kinds of grains and veggies.

I think what people are thinking of when they talk about the effort needed to ensure one gets enough complete proteins is a vegan diet. Even small amounts of egg and/or dairy will round out the proteins in vegetable foods. Managing proteins without any animal products, however, does require more active planning.
posted by redfoxtail at 6:15 AM on January 8, 2002


If a meal isn't worth spending a bit of time preparing, how much do we value ourselves? Feeding the body shouldn't be the equivalent of stopping at the gas station to fill up your car's tank, after all.

Why not? Isn't the idea of offloading tasks to others part of the definition of Civilization? Why not just fill up the tank, and get back to our task-specialization as part of a diverse society?

>Being high on the food chain, meat provides much if
> not all of what we need to survive.
All? Not by a long shot. Just for one example - what does the word "fiber" mean to you?


You can gain fiber from meat. The problem is, most eat highly processed meat, which removes the fibrous bits. Just as you can have a "nice compliment of fat, cholesterol, excess protein (just as bad as too little) and carcinogens to go along, Yum, yum." from vegetables, if not prepared according to nutritive guidelines.

Both food types can be prepared to be healthy, but as we've already noted, humans are more omnivores now than anything else, and a bit of both is good for you. The problem is, as has been stated before, that people overeat on one or the other side. American Vegetarians have the fortune of having to learn about their diet (being out of the norm here) and thus show concern. Vegetarians in other societies can be undernourished, unhealthy, and may ultimately starve to death on their vegetarian diet not because of plants, but a lack of awareness of balanced nutrition.

As I said earlier -- in my family we don't eat beef much anymore because of the way it is grown processed (though I do have a supplier of a "healthy" beef, using range fed cattle and no hormones). I feel the same way about most chicken, and take the time to find better chicken when I can. We eat a bit of lamb, too, because it is necessarily a range animal and tastes better. And, we often cook veggie at home in order to shake up the diet.

I've been all veggie (not by choice, but by cost of living) and had no better energy than when eating meat. In fact, meat has given me better energy at times. I know this is because of my ability to process it, and others don't necessarily have the biology I have.

My wife was almost veggie, and I was almost a carnivore before now, but we've come to a happy medium. And, some stuff she cooks is pretty good. But, it also has animal product (cheese) in it, so what do I know....
posted by dwivian at 6:21 AM on January 8, 2002


Most of the undernourished people in this country subsist on a steady diet of meat, processed garbage and junk food.

This is a very good point, Dreama. Unfortunately, in my experience, it is also very difficult to get decent, fresh vegetables in poor urban areas (where undernutrition is rampant). Corner groceries do not have enough turnover to stock good vegetables, and even the large-chain grocery stores located in poor neighborhoods consistently have worse produce sections than same-chain stores in nicer communities. Whether it is a matter of culture (where there is not as much of a demand for fresh greens), availability, or competence is unknown by me.
posted by Avogadro at 7:10 AM on January 8, 2002


you don't see pictures of chickens or cattle or pigs at McDonald's because smart restaurant owners know many meat-eaters can't stand to be reminded what they're really putting in their mouths.

In a McDonald's near my house, they have pictures of wild horses on the wall.....you don't think............

......crap.
posted by thewittyname at 7:30 AM on January 8, 2002


Why does everyone insist on using Fast Food as the example of meat-eating?

Of course you're going to be malnourished if you try to subsist on McDonalds. Non-fortified white bread, greasy, microwaved meat, fried potatos, and sloppy pickle slice. With mayo, ketchup, and mustard.

Does anyone think that replacing the meat with a soy burger would make that combination nutritious?

Sheesh.

How about grilled pork chops? Or maybe a tuna steak (forget about that stuff in the cans, people!)? Or a nice juicy porterhouse?

I hear 'carcinogens' thrown about.. probably from that study in the early 90's where they gave mice 100 times more than the recommended intake of meat protein and were 'surprised' that the thing got cancer.

How about ants? Can we eat ants without having an ethical dilemna? Where does the line get drawn and who decides on it?

I've been watching a lot of Jurassic Park and Discovery Walking with Dinosaurs specials lately (the 4 year old is massively into dinosaurs it's killing me). I suddenly realized that all the smartest dinosaurs were the meat-eaters.. raptors and the like. Also, looking at other species, like dolphins are smart.. so are Orcas...

Must be all those nuts and berries. I know, I know.. a casual relationship, not causal.. but it's still there.
posted by rich at 7:44 AM on January 8, 2002


The McDonalds near my house has pictures of players on the wall from the local rugby league team. Some of them haven't been seen in a couple of seasons.
posted by vbfg at 7:51 AM on January 8, 2002


> Can we eat ants without having an ethical dilemna?

If you willfully cause avoidable suffering simply to pleasure yourself, your action is indeed ethically questionable. Boys who pluck the wings from flies grow into people who shouldn't be trusted alone with children.

> Must be all those nuts and berries.

Must be all those cow's asses.
posted by pracowity at 8:15 AM on January 8, 2002


There is no ethical justification whatsoever for eating meat. We humans do so because we are lazy.

Yeah, it's real lazy of us humans to create an extensive infrastructure to raise food animals, while fruit literally grows on trees.
posted by kindall at 9:25 AM on January 8, 2002


This thread is damn long and I can't admit to reading it all, but is it not the case that the chickens wouldn't exist if we weren't going to eat them, so in a way they owe us.

I also agree with cloning humans for sex slaves.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:32 AM on January 8, 2002


Speaking of meat, my wife and I just received a delivery of 450 pounds of freshly butchered cow (we split it with her parents). It was a steer raised by my in-laws on their farm. Fed well and treated well its entire life. So far as I know (I didn't watch the slaughter), it died immediately, with no awareness of pain or suffering. I think the cow got a pretty good deal.

And so did we! 450 pounds of fresh premium beef (which will last us well over a year) for less than $175, wow!
posted by daveadams at 10:09 AM on January 8, 2002


Boys who pluck the wings from flies grow into people who shouldn't be trusted alone with children.

care to share your statistical data to support that statement? Time to put the boots on, it's getting pretty deep in here.

If you willfully cause avoidable suffering simply to pleasure yourself, your action is indeed ethically questionable.

We're talking about chickens, man. Settle down. It isn't murder. The chickens haven't written a bill of rights for themselves, and until they do, they have no rights. Deal with it.

daveadams, you are a lucky man! My parents had a similar deal with an uncle who raised cattle when I was growing up, and we regularly had a freezer stocked full of beef. It was heaven. And I still went to my uncle's house and petted the cows and hogs (and all the time knowing that I was petting a filet mignon wrapped in bacon, yummy!).

Screw pictures of cows and chickens and pigs, when we'd eat steak at my uncle's house, we could just look out the window! A pretty strong reminder of what we were putting into our mouths, and yet no one got up from the table or gagged or anything. Hmmmm.
posted by David Dark at 10:44 AM on January 8, 2002


Throwing in my 2 cents.

I love veggies. I love meat. I love nuts and berries. I have raised or grown all of them over the years. Chickens, rabbits, goats pigs, cows, ducks, pigeons, beans, peas, blackeyed peas, peanuts, pecans, blackberries, strawberries,ect, ect, ect,....

Killing things to eat is the way I was raised. You kill it you use it. Very little waste. The dogs loved the waste, even the some of the veggie waste.

Chickens farms and packing plants are just plain yucky. But most people that eat chicken get them from there via the supermarket. Just because they don't know or don't care to think about how the chicken came to be in nice neat package does not make them bad people. Nor does not wanting to eat that chicken make you a bad person. Eating it or not eating it does not you a good preson either.

Peoples eating habits are not things that can be changed by rants by either side. "Facts" exist for both sides of the argument. Co-existence works for me.
posted by bjgeiger at 11:51 AM on January 8, 2002


Now With More Chicken-y Goodness!

On the morning of September 11, shortly after hearing about the attacks on New York’s World Trade Centre and the US Pentagon, I was walking my dogs down the street in my neighbourhood. One of my neighbours, driving by in his car, stopped. His window was partially down, but he quickly rolled it the rest of the way so as to more easily place his arm and head out the window of the car. Have you heard what has just happened in New York? he asked me. Yes! I said. It seems the world has gone crazy! he said. Yeah! I responded.

Well", I said, "I guess there will be more chickens alive tonight" [...]


from
Vegan Voice Online Articles

posted by dand at 12:10 PM on January 8, 2002


"The violent, irrational, unjust, capricious events I had observed in my life had long since turned me against a concept of god, made me ashamed of my membership in the human race, long since moved me out of the circle of friends I used to enjoy, caused me to give up my former work as a physician. .."
Whoa! All because of chickens. No one involved in this thread should miss the this article from Vegan Voice (posted above). This man is a major lunatic. (And I'm a vegetarian.)
posted by Faze at 2:04 PM on January 8, 2002


Yikes. Seems like it's all over but for the dying for that guy.
posted by gazingus at 2:09 PM on January 8, 2002


None the less, I did read it, and it doesn't help your position much. If anything, it suggests that meat eaters failed to move to the food source that is, so to speak, the final fruit of human intelligence, i.e. consistently supplied grains and cereals.

NortonDC: Your interpretation is total spin. The argument at hand was the evolutionary benefit of having become omnivorous and taken advantage of high calorie protiens avaliable in meat. To draw a conclusion about proper diet on our continuing developement is a mistake that I'm sure even you can see.

Wulfgar! - your link dumps into the 32K page 4 of some unknown document. It is not reasonable to dump an unprepared reader into that and expect them to take it seriously.

Wah! Many of the links on MetaFilter drop people into unknown realms of well researched knowledge, and many don't. It would be unwise of you to expect that others will tailor there submissions to your approval.

ps I was simply suggesting that there may be more at hand than some of the narrow minded views presented. Whether you agree with that view or not, I do not nor should I appreciate your snarky self-importance in response.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:56 PM on January 8, 2002


So then, Wulfgar!, you disclaim any notion that eating meat now creates evolutionary advantages in humans, or at least that the page you linked supports such a conclusion?
posted by NortonDC at 4:23 PM on January 8, 2002


i will say this about vegetarians, and i dont say this to be crude or funny, but more along the lines of an amateur scientist...

recently i have had the pleasure of dating two young women, both are vegetarians. one is a marathon runner, the other is a princess and doesnt do much but look good.

the marathon runner has nearly no odor whatsoever in her private area.

the princess has the faint smell of a woman.

this discovery fascinates me to no end - much like many things that i have learned from womankind.

with that said, it totally sucks that neither of them will ever get to share in my favorite meal: barbeque chicken with a tad of lemon.
posted by tsarfan at 5:50 PM on January 8, 2002


So then, Wulfgar!, you disclaim any notion that eating meat now creates evolutionary advantages in humans, or at least that the page you linked supports such a conclusion?

More spin. I said it might, and the page I linked does support that theory. Please don't speak for me.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:14 PM on January 8, 2002


Wrong, Wulfgar!, it does not.

Now, since you are arguing the affirmative, the burden rests with you to prove it does.

And here's another hint: I did not take the time to tell you why nobody else in one of MeFi's most active thread's ever never gave any indication of bothering to read your link for my benefit; I did it for your benefit.

And like I said, it doesn't argue that eating meat now confers evolutionary benefits to humans. You have now argued the affirmative on this point. The burden of proof does rest with you, and you have failed to shoulder that burden, choosing instead to label my statements as spin. Labeling my statements does not disprove my statements, nor does it provide affirmation of yours.

Once again, keep trying.
posted by NortonDC at 4:02 AM on January 9, 2002


Joan, in order to establish a new and completely different relationship with nonhuman animals, what are you suggesting in Animal Equality that we do?

VEGANS ! ya gotta love 'em.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:33 AM on January 9, 2002


vegans and vegetarians will fart a third more, on average than meat eaters. however, if the vegan/veg has a balanced diet, the outcome will be odourless, as it will consist mainly of methane (possible global warming issue, not researched yet). meat eaters may well fart less, but all the extra protein they condsume results in a high level of sulphurous smelling compounds in the outcome ("after meat, fish, eggs or things like that, your farts smell really bad"). that is, unless they are sensible meat eaters, and consume meat as less than 10% of their diet, as did our ancestors.
that's right, the hunter gatherers probably ate meat once or twice a week. the emphasis should be gatherer hunters, IMHO.
here's some more debate.
posted by asok at 8:07 AM on January 16, 2002


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