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I Have No Reason To Ever Go Vegan

 If you're a vegan and easily offended, I'll warn you that you may be offended by this story, so view at your own discretion.  However, you still really need to hear this, so if you're vegan and not easily offended, or if you'll be offended but know you'll get over it, read this.  This is not intended to be harsh or offensive, but only to educate you with the hard facts.

First of all, let me tell you that I am not some heartless bigot who cares nothing for living things.  I don't go around beating ferrets with a club just for the fun of it.  I don't enter dogs in fights to kill each other.  I get no amusement from harming God's beautiful creation.  People who do that are just sick and disrespectful.

Also, one more thing.  If you're Buddhist or Hindu, this doesn't apply.  I know about your beliefs in reincarnation, so I can understand why using and killing animals could be equivalent to using and killing humans.  The other group I excuse is the group who just doesn't like the taste of meat.  You don't like meat; therefore, you don't eat meat.  That makes sense.  Just like I don't like salad; therefore, I don't eat salad.  Completely logical.

However, most vegans/vegetarians I know do it for the animals.  Like it's some big ethical issue.  KILLING ANIMALS IS WRONG!  MILKING COWS IS WRONG!  Okay, let me tell you some things.

Killing animals is part of nature.  If people stopped killing animals, other animals would kill animals.  If we didn't eat chicken, hawks would instead.  If we didn't eat pork, wolves would instead.  If we didn't eat beef, bears would instead.  Then what would you do?  Try to teach those animals not to eat each other?  I hate to break it to you, but they would probably eat you before you got the chance.

So now, let's just hypothetically suppose that we stopped eating animals, AND animals stopped eating each other.  Then what?  The population of every species would drastically increase because they would live much longer.  Eventually, the population would increase so greatly that there would be no more room on the Earth for them or for us.  Animals would eventually have to take over the world, as humans aren't the most populous species on the planet.

Veganism doesn't only imply that you don't eat animals, but also that you don't eat animal products.  This means dairy products.  Okay, now think about this for a minute.  When a cow's (or goat's) udders swell up with milk, it's because that milk needs to COME OUT.  If we didn't milk those cows, their udders would burst.  Of course the calves would come and nurse, but seriously, how are you helping a cow by letting her udders fill up excessively?  I'm sure it's a relief to have the milk come out.  If you've ever been a nursing mother, isn't it a GOOD thing to let your baby nurse so that you can empty out all that milk?  Doesn't it get painful if you don't?

CAN you survive on pure plant and fungus products?  Yes.  You can make sure you get the right proteins from the right foods at the right time.  Make sure you eat the right beans every day in order to obtain all 11 essential amino acids.  But if you just eat meat, you don't have to worry about that.  All meats have all 11 amino acids.  So why waste your time striving to get all the right proteins from vegetables if you can just do a favor to the environment by eating meat and regulating animal populations?

Have you ever thought about plants and fungi?  They are living things too.  They grow, reproduce, and carry out biological functions.  So why don't we have "plant rights?"  You're murdering innocent plants when you eat asparagus.  Think about that pain that the poor asparagi have to go through when they're dug out of the ground, and their stems are chopped off.  And what about fungus rights?  Oh the agony that those mushrooms have to endure when their caps are cut off to be tortured and put on a burger with Swiss cheese!

Also, there is the whole other issue of hunting.  I don't hunt, but I support it.  Some meat eaters that I know still don't support hunting because they think it's "animal cruelty."  They are willing to buy slaughtered meat from the grocery store like beef, pork, fish, and chicken.  However, they refuse to eat wild game like venison, elk, or duck because somehow, hunting is more cruel than agriculture.  Can someone please tell me how shooting a deer and letting him die in three seconds is more cruel than hanging a cow upside down and cutting its neck until its blood drains out over several minutes to an hour?  Which would YOU rather die of?  Being shot or being slaughtered?

One more thing, if none of this has convinced you.  You can avoid eating meat as much as you want.  Nobody is stopping you.  But you're not stopping anything either.  The next time you go to Kroger and look at a steak and say, "I'm not buying that because I want to save a cow's life," look at the steak again.  And again.  Once more.  How are you saving a cow?  IT'S ALREADY DEAD.  You're not saving animals by not eating meat.  The animals are already dead.  You're just leaving the dead animal there for someone else to eat.

I like animals.  I really do.  I would hate to see my dog get killed.  I would hate to see anybody's beloved pet get intentionally killed.  But that's nothing compared to seeing another human get killed.  Call me "prejudiced" because I think humans are more important than animals, but I don't care.  I do care more for humans.  All these vegetarians are avoiding animal products to save animals, yet they do nothing to save human lives.  Yes, there is a lot of animal cruelty in the world, none of which I support.  I really do dislike animal cruelty.  It's disrespectful to God's creation.  However, I don't get involved in those animal rights groups because we still have much worse things happening to humans than we have ever done to animals.  There is still human slavery in the world.  There's still war, violence, rape, and murder of innocent human beings in the world.  Let's worry about that first, okay?  Once people stop killing other people, THEN maybe I'll start worrying about killing animals.

It's all part of this beautiful thing God created called the food chain, or in the words of the Lion King, the Circle of Life.

Seriously, give me one reason I should go vegan.  I challenge you.

RopinTexan RopinTexan 22-25, M 60 Responses Nov 17, 2009

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Oh the ignorance. That's okay though.. I used to think like you, then I googled "why don't vegans eat eggs?". I do have to correct one thing about the cow utters. Cows only produce milk if they have a calf.. Their milk would dry up if they weren't milked. Supply and demand. I nursed my child and no longer have milk because I weaned her.

Ohh gosh, I can't believe how thoroughly you've shown yourself to be a dim-witted individual, ignorant to the real world and the effects of animal-farms. Go read a book; "Eating Animals", by Jonathan Safran Foer would be a good start for you.

By animal-farms, do you mean natural farms or factory farms?

I mean farms that produce animals for consumption, but increasingly factory farms, given their high populations and therefore excessive amount of waste material.

If possible by from a smaller family owned farm or ranch, or go hunting, wild game is the best!

Agreed.

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Vegan diets are not what they are made out to be....I suffered very ill health on a vegan diet and think most of the arguments for it are pure nonsense. And veganism is certainly NOT going to "save" the earth!!!

Agreed. If being vegan is so healthy, then why does it seem like vegans and vegetarians get sick so much more often than omnivorous people do?

Thanks OG. There were some other things I just thought of when I reread my post and when you posted yours; On the malnutrition part of things of the whole world went vegan or vegetarian, where would we get our Vitamin B12, Iron, Omega-3 and Omega-6 supplements from? A lot of the fruit, vegetables and other dried-fruits and plants do not have enough Iron nor even Calcium to sustain us and our bodily functions, which is why dairy products are needed. Vegans need twice as much Iron as us omnivorous folks do; And, most importantly, there are no fruits, veggies or plant-based products that contain Vitamin B12. The only way to get Vitamin B12 is by eating meat and dairy products, or eating supplements that come from animals. Omega-3's are not in sufficiency for mothers and their children if they are on a strictly plant diet, as Omega-3 (and Vit. B12) contribute to healthy neurological and eye function. If there are no more animals in agriculture, we would have a train-wreck on our hands, and we'd literally slowly destroy ourselves, and not to mention the planet if we decide to "prey" on wild animals for our health needs!<br />
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And yes, the rainforest isn't everything. There are vast grasslands that contribute to being carbon sinks, and these grasslands sequester more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than all of Earth's forests. (I forgot where I seen that from, but when you stop to think of the vast Serengetti and many other grasslands found in the world that outdo the amount of forest found on Earth, it makes a lot of sense.) The FAO saying that cows produce more greenhouse gases when grazing than when they are in a feedlot is immaterial. They fail to realize how much healthier grasslands and permanent tame pastures are to the earth than feedlots or crop farms are. And I keep saying: if you want to eat beef, eat grass-fed! It's healthy for you and the environment. And let's not forget about the other naturally-raised livestock.

I agree, grass-fed beef is the best!

Thanks, Wildrosebeef! That was a very intelligent argument, well made. :)<br />
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I'll add a couple of notes to that:<br />
1) Has anyone ever pointed out all of the cute little bunny rabbits and other small (vegie-loving) mammals that need to be killed every year in order to maintain grain and produce production worldwide? Even if we ate nothing but plants, we would still kill millions of animals every year just to stop them from eating our crops.<br />
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2) "Petroleum-based fertilizers"? I know that my chemistry isn't great, but petroleum is a hydrocarbon. Fertilizer is almost entirely nitrogen (with a bit of phosphorous and potassium). Organic fertilizers are derived from animal waste, decayed plants, and the other bits of animals that we don't tend to eat (like the bones). Inorganic fertilizers are derived from atmospheric nitrogen - but hydrocarbons (like methane) or mined minerals (like coal) are often used as part of the process.<br />
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Kudos on your Greenhouse Gas calculations though - you're quite right. The other problem with the FAO's figures is that they give no allowance for the carbon already held in agricultural soils and plants when they started their calculations (carbon which eventually returns to the plants through photosynthesis). So if you cut down an existing tree, by their reasoning, you are releasing greenhouse gases (which is true). However, you gain no credit for having grown the tree in the first place! Agriculture doesn't just produce greenhouse gases, it also eliminates them.

"1There is a link between world hunger and meat consumption. The more meat we eat the fewer people we can feed.There is more than enough food in the world to feed the entire human population. Yet, nearly 1 Billion people are starving and our meat consumption is partly to blame. So by not eating meat s I care for humans more than any meat eater out there.....http://www.goveg.com/worldhunger.asp"<br />
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This is a half-truth, Jacob. It's more to do with politics, government policy, trade barriers, and trading partnerships. We could easily export more grain to those 3rd world contries to the poor folk who need them if all the political leaders of all 3rd world countries got along well with those in the first-world contries. But that isn't so, realistically, is it? And 1 billion people are experiencing famine also because of politics, because thier rich political leaders choose to ignore thier plights, despite people from other countries coming over to try to do humanitarian work to try to decrease extreme poverty. What about money? Most of those starving people don't have enough money to buy a loaf of bread, much less a sack of grain if the government chooses to hike up the prices of the imported grain from America or Canada or Europe. So it's not all about eating meat that's the problem. There's a hell of alot more to world famine than people eating meat.<br />
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"2.According to the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, livestock contribute more to global warming than transport, producing 18% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.So by not eating meat vegetarians/vegans actually care more about mankind and future generations than any meat eater. http://www.ivu.org/members/globalwarming.html"<br />
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Now this is a load of crap. I happened to do some calculations from the FAO's infamous book "Livestock's Long Shadow" and found that that 18% that many people like you love to spread around the world is pure bogus bullcrap. That 18% includes land use, land use change, and forestry. Now this is where my calculations come in: According to Table 3-12 of pg. 113 in Livestock's Long Shadow (Chapter 3), of the total greenhouse gas emissions from human actvity, which is 40 billion tonnes, GHG emissions from LIVESTOCK ALONE account for only 4.6 billion tonnes. Now do the calculations: that's only 11.5% emissions of carbon dioxide equivalent that livestock contribute to. Not very much, now is it? <br />
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I personally believe that vegans and vegetarians contribute to more carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere than the naturally-raised livestock contribute to. Reason being is that many fields, in order to have a good crop the next year, have to be "turned over" or tilled. Tillage does not sequester carbon dioxide: it releases it. And many crops that are grown for human (and yes, animal) consumption mine the soil of its nutrients. In order to put back nutrients into the soil we have to do one or two of two things if we want to continue putting in crops: put in man-made petroleum-based fertilizers (petroleum being a non-renewable resource), or spread manure from livestock farms. Plant materials from other plants, like the remnants of the previous year's crop, "green manure", those sort of things will contribute little to soil health of a crop field. If the whole world went vegetarian, we may be faced with more hunger and malnutrition issues sooner than we realized. Sure we may get thinner, but in the long-run, it may eventually destroy us. <br />
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This "10 lb of grain = 1 lb of beef" thing I see all the time is pretty annoying (aerth3r's comment). Have you ever thought about how much processing grain goes into for us to be able to actually eat it? A lot. Cattle can eat grain right off the stem. We humans' can't. Grain is an unnatural diet for cattle, don't get me wrong. But it doesn't go through as much rigorous digestion in cattle as it does in humans; if we ate a seed of grain, it'll just pass right through us without giving us any nutritional benefits. It's a different story for cattle. They grow fat on it. We humans would starve to death on it, unless it has been dehulled, separated, ground up, mixed with other ingredients, beat, pinched, punched, then baked. In the harsh reality, we humans can only use 20 or 30% of the grain seed itself for nutrition. As for the whole plant, like corn, we can only use 2 to 5% of the plant. The rest goes to waste or is fed to livestock. The part of the corn plant we eat is the part that has used a lot of nutrients from the soil to put in the effort of growing those kernels. AND, we can only eat that tiny portion of the corn plant at the right time. Any other stage we turn our noses up at it. Livestock like cattle, on the other hand, will eat the corn plant at ANY stage. We humans tend to waste more food because of our very picky habits than the average cow "wastes" her food in methane expulsion. Can we help it? Of course not.

I have to disagree with that, RT. Beef that has been on grain for too long tends to get more of a milder, "cardboard" like taste to it, much like the beef that is sold in the supermarket. Cattle that have been on a grass-hay diet and have been fed a little bit of grain occaisonally have a stronger taste to them, and you certainly can't cook grass-fed beef like you can grain-fed, otherwise it'll turn out tough and stringy instead of fall-apart tender and tasty.<br />
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Up here in Canada we feed our beefers barley. Down there, I believe the most you'd be feeding them would be corn. Corn-fed beef tastes a little more blander than barley-fed beef, in my opinion.

Well, I asked him why he feeds them grain once, and he said it's to fatten them up. That makes sense, as fattier beef tastes better.

A lot of it will depend on your local area too. I don't know enough about the ecology of Texas (I presume you're in Texas, by the username) to know whether it's even possible to raise beef on your local pasture without having to supplement the feed with other things. I know that here we tend to have to supplement our cattle with certain minerals, because they don't occur at high enough quantities in the local soils, and therefore the cattle can be susceptible to dietary deficiencies without the added mineral supplements. We're also lucky enough to live in an area where it doesn't snow, so the cattle don't have to spend any time in barns.<br />
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Maybe ask him why he feeds them grain. Is it necessary for their health, is it an economic necessity, or is it an effort to get them to grow fatter faster? Beef in the US tends to be higher in fat than it is here - and that's probably a mixture of the public being accustomed to factory-raised beef, as well as a cultural demand for fatter cuts of meat. I'm not sure whether your uncle may be raising his cattle on grain because he may perceive that the market for lean beef is too small.<br />
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You may also be able to find out what kind of grain goes into the feed, and where it comes from. Just because the cattle have grain in their feed, it doesn't mean that it's a type or quality of grain that's fit for human consumption.

Well, my uncle has a cattle farm, and he raises them outdoors and lets them graze freely. However, he keeps buckets of grain in the corral and the barn for them to eat, so they're both pasture fed and grain fed. I think probably the best way to get pasture fed meat would probably be to ask the butcher at the grocery store where it came from when I buy it...I think I'll try that.

Hmm... And once again, the debate here is still interesting (and thankfully still really civil). :)<br />
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RT, the comment about it taking ten pounds of grain to raise one pound of beef only relates (obviously) to grain-fed beef - which is what you'll find in most factory farms. Most beef on Earth is still pasture-fed (thank heavens). The New Zealand government is currently debating an application to open a small number of factory cattle farms in the South Island (the first in the region). I'm very hopeful that they will turn the application down - the NZ beef industry is already very profitable, and at the moment consumers worldwide can buy NZ beef and be quite satisfied that it comes from a healthy, free-range, pasture-fed animal. The vast majority of our cattle eat nothing but grass (you know, the stuff that grows on your lawn, and that humans can't eat). Even winter feeds here are almost entirely made up of grass silage - not grain. Those cows haven't taken one bit of food out of my mouth or yours.<br />
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Unfortunately for you, most US beef is factory-raised and grain-fed. If you're concerned, then I would suggest that you do some investigations in your local area. See if you can find a supplier who provides pasture-fed beef, or (even better) get your meat off a local, free-range farm. This cuts back on the environmental impact of having to transport the meat over long distances. You may be able to find a supplier who can offer NZ or Australian beef (similarly, almost entirely pasture-fed), but it can be very expensive in the US as it is in high demand in the restaurant industry (because it's generally environmentally friendlier, tastes different, and is very lean). Believe it or not, McDonalds actually buys a lot of NZ beef for US supply... but your average McDonalds outlet has no way of knowing where your particular Big Mac came from - sorry.<br />
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In my mind, one of the simplest ways to combat factory farming is to make it obvious to farmers that there are better, more profitable, alternatives. You can raise cattle productively (and pay your mortgage) without having to resort to housing them in barns or feed-lots and pumping them full of antibiotics. If your concerned about these practices, then ask a few questions at your local butcher or supermarket, and put on some economic pressure that way. Many farmers have turned away from traditional methods because they're more difficult, and they don't believe that consumers care enough about how their food is raised. That's obviously not true.

Oh yeah, I guess you do have to have plants to feed the animals. Didn't think about that one :-P

It takes roughly 10 pounds of grain to make 1 pound of meat. So yes, reducing meat consumption is probably the single most important thing you could do.

Eat lamb, it is mostly pasture fed, and a very healthy meat. Besides, grain is not even ideal for humans anyway.

Hmm...you said that by not eating meat, you're helping feed people, but that's not exclusive to meat. That's all food. The less we eat, the more others can eat. So if I wanted to feed the hungry, I would just stop eating less altogether in terms of my portions, not just cut out meat specifically.<br />
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Are there any places that you can get meat that wasn't factory farmed (besides hunting/fishing)? If there was such a place, and it was affordable, I think I would just buy meat from there. I'll never cut out meat altogether though.

What an interesting debate with so many intelligent viewpoints dealing with questions that I have been thinking about myself for a some time.<br />
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Let me put in my 2 cents: <br />
The reason I have stopped eating all meat, dairy and eggs is to protest against the way those companies and big corporations are treating animals. Not buying their product is the ONLY WAY to hopefully bring about some change.<br />
I talked to a dairy farmer recently and I asked him how business is and he said "it would be great if it weren't for those vegans....". So everybody who is VEGAN just know that you do affect the dairy (and meat) industry. And they deserve it for their unethical treatment of animals.<br />
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Ropin Texan you wrote that you care more about humans than about animals and saving humans comes before saving animals....and all those vegetarians do nothing to save human life." Saving human life and saving animal lives is not mutually exclusive you can do both very effectively by being a vegetarian/vegan.<br />
Here is why:<br />
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1There is a link between world hunger and meat consumption. The more meat we eat the fewer people we can feed.There is more than enough food in the world to feed the entire human population. Yet, nearly 1 Billion people are starving and our meat consumption is partly to blame. So by not eating meat s I care for humans more than any meat eater out there.....http://www.goveg.com/worldhunger.asp<br />
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2.According to the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, livestock contribute more to global warming than transport, producing 18% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.So by not eating meat vegetarians/vegans actually care more about mankind and future generations than any meat eater. http://www.ivu.org/members/globalwarming.html<br />
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Ropin Texan you wrote that if I don't buy that peace of steak somebody else will and I will not prevent the suffering of that cow. Yes, that one cow is dead.-But by fewer people buying meat/milk/eggs fewer cows/calfs/bulls/chickens will be born into commercial farming and endure a life of suffering until a horrible death. There is a big difference in my mind whether 10 Mio or 2 Mio animals suffer through inhumane farming methods .The collective suffering is less.The ideal of course would be the abolishment of all those inhumane factory farming methods and giving fewer animals good lives in decent conditions: Milking only their surplus milk.. .....not separating calf from mother and letting it starve to death or torture it to produce veal.....let chickens roam freely......<br />
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But greed of man has turned modern factory farming into a nightmare of unprecedented proportions.<br />
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And that's why I try to avoid buying any animal products.

Wow, I'm pleased that I stopped back in on this story. You've got a really interesting debate going on here. :)<br />
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Just to add on to what Wildrosebeef was saying: there are a lot of domestic animals that will survive and thrive in the wild, but she's right in that dairy and beef cattle generally wouldn't. Most sheep breeds won't either - they're bred to grow an enormous amount of fleece, which will eventually make them unable to move if they're not shorn regularly. From what I've seen, every so often a sheep will be missed by the muster and go a few seasons without shearing. Generally they either die from being fly-blown (the flies get attracted to the build-up of feces in their wool, and leave maggots which eat the sheep alive - not a pretty or quick way to die) or they simply get "cast" (i.e. they lie down and can't get up due to the weight of their own wool).<br />
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Domestic goats on the other hand (particularly the shorter-haired varieties) can and do survive in the wild. New Zealand has a fairly solid population of wild goats - all ex-livestock. Pigs and horses certainly thrive in the wild too (although not necessarily all breeds of pig), as well as things like camels, llamas, rabbits, deer, chickens, turkeys, donkeys, and yes: cats and dogs. In fact, dogs probably struggle more than most domesticated animals when it comes to living in the wild. Most feral dogs still rely on human garbage in order to sustain themselves. :[<br />
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As for nature balancing out any overpopulation amongst these animals... well that's not entirely true. Nature balances out overpopulation by the animals starving to death when they've completely depleted their food sources. That hardly seems like a happy outcome. Not all animals have predators (other than humans), and not all environments support predators. For instance, where I live in New Zealand, we have no native mammals (other than tiny little bats). However, thanks to humans, we now have huge problems with feral livestock and introduced species. Feral horses, rabbits and goats are destroying our mountains and alpine plateau, and introduced possums, deer and wallabies are destroying our rainforest. Feral pigs, cats and dogs are killing off our native birds. If we didn't intervene by killing these animals, then nature would "balance" this situation by allowing these animals to eat the islands bare, before starving to death themselves. I think you're right, RT, in that humans are a part of nature and need to play a role in helping to balance these things too. In this country, if we want to keep our forests, we must do what we can to limit the populations of feral animals that threaten them.<br />
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Having said that, I'll go back to my original point that I'm not a big fan of wasting life, no matter what the reason. We try to support the possum-trapping industry in this country by producing and selling a range of possum-fur products. The fur is beautifully soft. However, the market for fur products is now so tiny (thanks to a lot of well-meaning souls) that only a small fraction of our possum fur gets processed. Most of the international market makes no distinction between farmed fur and animals like these (which have to be hunted as a pest). This means that dead possums are almost valueless in our economy, and that discourages people from trapping them - making the situation worse.<br />
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I'm a firm believer that there needs to be more intelligence in the debate about how we treat and value animals. All life has value, but knee-jerk reactions can have unforeseen results (like the boom in our feral possum population). People think that, by avoiding fur, they are saving these animals (and they are), but they do so at the expense of so many more species. Unfortunately, that sort of short-sightedness is not uncommon in this debate...

What about animals without brains...like sponges? Do you believe it's wrong to kill a sponge?

Our opinions probably differ, because our beliefs differ. I'm not religious, nor do I believe in a "God". The reason that killing plants is different than killing animals, is that animals are living, thinking, breathing creatures. They feel pain the same way we do, and though they may not be as intelligent as we are, they do have minds that they can think with, whereas plants don't.

So you put value on something based on the existence of a nervous system. That's certainly understandable, and I'm not going to argue with you, but I basically place value in whether or not something has a soul, since that's God's own image. Since God didn't create animals in His image, I don't value them like I do humans, although I do certainly respect them, as I do all of God's creation.

Humans are a part of nature, but their part doesn't necessarily have to be killing and eating animals. There are other natural predators to do this job. Less intellectual beings that survive using their primal instincts in a way that we don't have to anymore. Also, regardless of whether the animal can feel pain or not when it's being killed, I believe that it's wrong. Regardless of how humanely you kill something, you're still killing it. If you knocked someone out with nitrous oxide before you bludgeon them to death with a baseball bat, it's still considered murder. Plants are mindless. They don't feel pain, because that would require them having a nervous system... so that theory's out the window.

You say that "nature takes care of overpopulation on its own." Are humans not part of nature? Also, you say that the reason killing animals is wrong but plants isn't is because a plant won't cry in pain. For one thing, if you kill an animal HUMANELY, it won't cry in pain either. If you shoot it in just the right spot, it will die practically instantly and painlessly. Also, the fact that something can't express pain doesn't mean it can't feel it. What if your mom was mute and fully paralyzed? You could hit her, stab her, and shoot her as much as you wanted, and she would express no pain whatsoever. But that doesn't mean she can't feel that pain, does it?

I cut out red meat, but I do still eat other meat (very rarely) and dairy. I plan on at least going vegetarian someday because eating meat kind of disgusts me. I'm not a crazed Peta supporter (I actually strongly disagree with them, and believe they are hypocrites. Statistics show that they kill more adoptable animals than they save and give homes to), nor do I discriminate against people because of their diet. I'd simply like to share my views on your post. Animals eating other animals is instinct... a part of nature. I don't have a problem with that because natural predators prevent overpopulation, and they usually kill the sick and weak... this prevents sickness from spreading. The reason that I personally feel it is wrong for us to kill animals, aside from the fact that they are capable of feeling pain and fear just as we do, is that we are capable of living without meat. There are other places for us to gain the nutrition we receive from meat. There was a point in time when we needed to hunt animals to survive, but that time passed a long time ago. Now it's simply because of personal taste and preference. This leads me to the topic of hunting animals. Is there really any other reason, aside from sport and fun? I personally think that hunting is sick. I don't see what could possibly be "fun" about shooting an animal dead as it fearfully and defenselessly runs for it's life. Nature takes care of overpopulation on it's own. There is no need for hunting. Now, as FeatherInTheWind said, there's a difference between crops and animals. Animals can feel pain and think, just as we do. When an animal feels pain, it cries. When you pull a piece of corn off of a corn plant, do you hear it protesting in agony? I didn't think so. That is why I, personally, would like to cut meat out of my diet... and possibly dairy, eventually. Maybe the process of a cow getting milked on mom and pops farm is painless, but it is completely different from the process of milking in a dairy factory. Female cows are forced to reproduce for as long as they are capable, and so they are forced to give birth over and over and over again so they can keep producing milk. Their utters get sores from this process, that often get infected. Because of this happening, there is blood and puss in the milk that we drink... but now I'm getting off topic. Anyway, I just thought I'd share my opinion on your post.

Well, I've seen dogs and cats survive out in the wild.

That's the interesting thing about domestication; over many, many generations of artificial selection we certainly created an animal that has become more and more dependent on us. The Auroch, now exinct, was the truely wild cattle that the common Bos taurus breeds you see in the country side originated from, every breed from Holstein-Friesian to Belgian Blue to Angus and most everything else in between, except for the American Brahman, which is originated from several Bos indicus breeds from India and Africa. <br />
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The most interesting thing about animals becoming dependent on us is the subsequent generations if a few domesticated species are "introduced" back into the wild. The only animals that can go into the wild and survive are horses and pigs. Pigs are more interesting because after only one generation, domesticated pigs can become feral to the point of being exactly like wild animals, only much worse as they have become very destructive; and they are smart, them wild pigs. <br />
Horses, not so much, but after looking the feral horse populations here in Alberta and down south in Montana, Nevada and Utah, you have reason to believe that horses that once ate from the hand of man sure has hell don't look like it now, as wild as they have become.

Great post, WRB. I never thought about that...even vegans wear wool coats and leather shoes! It does make sense that meat from free roaming animals would be healthier than those that are factory farmed. That way, they get exercise and prey on their natural "predatees," if that's a word :-P Venison, elk, and buffalo is leaner and healthier than beef, for example. It has more flavor too.<br />
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I have always wondered about cattle...they are all on farms. You never see wild cattle walking around in the woods. They had to be wild at some time because we must have gotten them from somewhere, but it is interesting how much animals have become dependent on us.

RT, I also like your post, you made quite a few great posts. But now I would like to add a little more learnin' to the rest of what you and your commentors put in.<br />
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Veganism isn't just about not eating any animal-based products, it's also about not using them either. However, it is distinctly IMPOSSIBLE to not use anything that is not derived from animal by-products. We use animal byproducts and live in them everyday: paint and insulation for our houses, tires and upholstery in our vehicles and aircraft, in our cosmetics, in the many pharmaceuticals that are needed to be taken by many people, the list goes on. It is here where I say that being a vegan is being a major hypocrit. The only way that vegans can completely live without using any animal products of any kind is walking to work, living in a grass-hut and not using any cosmetics and wearing plant-based clothes that probably do a poorer job of keeping you warm than pure wool. Not to mention no shoes! <br />
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I don't agree with the practices of factory farming, especially when it means having livestock contained in a barn or cage or muddy paddock for the rest of their lives. There's a lot more to be gained to see free-range chickens and pigs at their happiest out in the sunshine, and dairy cows out on the pasture. It's sad though that the Holstein breed has been genetically selected like it has to be nothing more than a milking machine, and like corn, must rely on humans to care for it and milk it out. No wonder mastitis and footrot is such a common thing among these animals! Chickens are also too dependent on humans, especially those that have been bred to super-egg producers or macho-type birds that can hardly walk before they even reach adulthood. Turkeys have been bred so that they're too massive to be able to mate naturally. The only livestock that seem to be resisting the genetical artificial selection to the extreme degree are sheep and goats. Horses are not so less in the extreme as beef cattle, although one could almost see the similarities. Beef cattle breeds, like the Continentals have been bred to be bigger and beefier, and the Belgian Blue to a much greater extent. However, particular breeds and crossbreeds that are still able to thrive in a minimal environment with little help from the hand of man still outnumber those breeds that are pampered. Angus, Red Angus, Hereford are a few that come to mind. It is a different story when the winter snows and cold comes though. Horses can forage on their own as well, but most have been bred and socialized to the point where they too, rely on man to care for them. So this all goes back to the point that OGND made, that if we all went vegan, these animals would just cease to exist.<br />
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I just hope that the world will never become a vegan world. Lets hope instead that we learn to eat a healthy, balanced diet with food we know where it came from and how it was cared for instead of going to opposite extremes of each other and creating a bigger war than necessary.

I'm a Buddhist, RT. All life is learning. :)<br />
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... It's just harder when you've just had a big meal and all you want to do is sleep. :D

Hello. Yes, Singapore is a different country from Malaysia. Now I am going to confuse everybody completely: Between 1963 and 1965, Singapore was part of Malaysia. Then they expelled us. <br />
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We are geographically closer to Australia than to India, but... our President's name is Sellapan Ramanathan. Our first foreign minister was Sinnathamby Rajaratnam, which gave the Chinese a bit of a jolt when he went to Beijing to establish diplomatic relations; they were expecting a Chinese man!<br />
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Oh yes, Perth is closer to Singapore than to Sydney. Sorry for the hijack, RopinTexan, I know it is confusing.

OGND, that was certainly an interesting lesson in agriculture (and geography :-P)! And I'm supposed to not be learning because I'm out of school for Thanksgiving!

:) Very interesting post, RT. I actually agree with a lot of what you've said. I love all living things - animals included - but I still don't think that it's wrong to eat them. I don't believe that animals were put here for us to consume - we share their planet just as they share ours. However, all life is a cycle. Death feeds life. That's true for absolutely all life on Earth. I'm not upset by eating animals, and I won't be upset when animals (hopefully) eventually eat me. :)<br />
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I'll put in my two cents about a couple of things though. I agree with you that hunting is not necessarily inhumane. I know people who hunt for food, and I have no problem with that. They don't do it to derive pleasure (I've got a BIG problem with people who do that), and they try to dispatch the animal as quickly and painlessly as possible. So long as the prey is consumed as food, then I don't think this is cruel or wasteful at all. You're right: this is more humane than hanging and bleeding a cow, but do keep in mind that a lot of slaughterhouses kill the animals with bolt-guns before they slit their throats. Bolt-guns are as quick as a bullet to the brain. If you want to avoid meat that has been killed by bleeding, avoid anything marked "halal" or "kosher". Both methods require the animal to be killed by bloodletting only. It's a slow way to die (although most slaughterhouses will knock them out with electricity first, hopefully meaning that it's pain-free).<br />
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I understand that a lot of vegans and vegetarians will argue that they are saving animals' lives by refusing to eat meat - and rightly so. Decreasing market demand means that less animals will be raised as food. However, this also means that less animals will be raised period. If everyone went vegetarian tomorrow, it wouldn't save a single cow's life. So long as they have monetary value, farmers will continue to raise them and tend to their needs. The moment that value disappears, every cow on Earth would be sent to the slaughterhouse to be turned into fertiliser. Why spend money raising them if no one is going to eat them? If we stopped eating meat, we wouldn't be overrun with animals... in fact, we'd have a lot less animals in the world - and we'd still end up killing some because they were eating our crops.<br />
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Going back to the dairy-product question: yes, we obtain milk by removing the calf from its mother. In the case of most male calves, we kill them and turn them into veal (and really nice shoe leather). However, do keep in mind that dairy cattle have been bred for thousands of years for the express purpose of producing as much milk as possible. They are far removed from anything resembling a wild cow. For many cows, this means that even the hungriest calf cannot drink enough to keep up with its mother's milk production. Even cows with calves will then end up suffering from milk fever or mastitis, as the udder backs up and gets infected. In most cases, even if you keep the calf on the cow, you will still need to milk the cow as well. And yes, most cows do actually enjoy the relief of being milked. My parents live on a dairy farm. I've watched the herd lining up at the gate and lowing loudly when they need to be milked. They will almost run to the shed (well, waddle with their udders hanging so full). A university in New Zealand even developed an automated milking shed, where the cows could just walk in whenever they felt like it and get milked. Guess what? They all wandered in, several times a day, completely voluntarily. Some of them even liked it so much that they had to develop a system to hold particular cows out if they'd gone through the shed too many times in one day! <br />
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I guess, like you, I do actually care about the well-being of the animals with whom we share the planet. I do what I can. I buy free-range. I educate myself. I turn away from factory farming and anything that treats living creatures more as a resource than a sentient being deserving of respect. I don't eat seafood (it's generally killed very cruelly). I'm willing to pay more in order to know that the animal had a better life (and a better death). There's a lot that you can do to avoid cruelty, whilst still maintaining a fairly even diet. FWIW, human digestion has enzymes specifically for breaking down protein and collagen. Our bodies expect us to eat both meat and plants - it's what we're built to do.<br />
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Oh yes, and PS: Singapore is its own independent country. :) It's not part of Malaysia (which is also a separate country). Both Malaysia and Singapore are on the lower tip of Southeast Asia. A long way from India - a lot closer to Australia. :)