Jarred Cinman
Jarred Cinman

The evil of meat

In a world buckling under economic recession, in a country of violence and crime and poverty, how can anyone find the time to care about the treatment of animals? The simple answer is: we have no choice. The very fabric of our humanity is being torn apart by the brutality and horrors being perpetrated, and no-one, I believe, wants that on their conscience.

If you are reading this and don’t know what I mean by “the treatment of animals” then feel ashamed. In the internet age, no-one can be excused their ignorance.

If you have some inkling of my meaning, and you still eat meat or use pharmaceutical products tested on animals, then take this moment to be filled with the horror of what you are condoning, of who your money is enriching.

I am no tie-dyed hippie. I tend to side with Cartman on that subject — hippies, new-agers, reiki masters, some of the biggest idiots the scarce oxygen supply on this earth is being wasted on. And it’s sad that the animal rights movement has been tainted as having anything to do with hippies and smoking dope. Like many other compassionate causes, it has been painted as anti-capitalist, bleeding heart naivete. Which is unfair and — if one were the cynical sort — appears to be a deliberate tactic on the part of those with the most to lose to discredit it.

Be under no illusion: the vast majority of meat you are eating, be it beef, veal, chicken or fish is produced in conditions that are so horrific they are hidden from the public. Organically fed doesn’t mean “treated well” either, so don’t try that line. And don’t also the try that line that chickens are stupid or fish don’t feel pain. In both cases there is clear evidence to the contrary. Human babies are pretty stupid too, but no-one is burning their fingernails off to stop them scratching each other.

Animal testing continues. The beauty products industry has done all the other animal testers a huge favour by turning the lack of animal testing into a marketing gimmick. Right now, in laboratories around the world, there are animals being electrocuted, burned, cut up and tortured in order to test household products and drugs. You might argue that if this leads to the development of a new cancer treatment it’s a necessary sacrifice. Even this is nonsense on further investigation (would you take a drug because it worked on a rat?) but leaving that aside, how about a new toothpaste? Would you knowingly allow a puppy to be confined to a tiny cage for months on end to develop a new way to clean your teeth?

It’s easy to argue that humans are omnivores and eating meat is natural. But what does “natural” mean? When was the last time you enjoyed the warm, tasty contents of a freshly slaughtered sheep ripped apart with your bare teeth? The reality is we don’t eat any “natural” meat products. We cook them, we spice them, we put them on bread and in pies. There is nothing “natural” about how we consume meat.

Neither is there anything natural about the drugs injected into animals to grow them larger, to make them produce eggs and milk more often, to make them reproduce. We are as far from the mythical hunter on the plains of Africa with his spear tracking an impala as we could possibly be. So far, in fact, that most people would shudder to see even that supposedly natural human event taking place. It’s brutal enough to watch a lion killing and eating a buck, so much so that many people flinch at the sight. Do you feel hungry when you see the blood and entrails strewn across the Bushveld?

We have evolved away from creatures that live in this way. We rely not on our muscles and teeth for food, but on our technology. We eat impala in fine restaurants, accompanied by fancy sounding French sauces. The argument for what is “natural” has long ceased to be meaningful.

There is no health benefit to eating meat: quite the contrary in fact. You can get proteins from grains and vegetables. Hindus have lived for thousands of years on a vegetarian diet just fine. And if you’re worried about taste, when was the last bland Indian meal you ate? Many of the ingredients that give your favourite meat or fish dishes their wonderful taste are plants anyway.

Even if you want to hold to the idea that eating meat is a fundamental human privilege, how can you accept the cruelty that goes into getting it to your table? The “Farmer Brown” ads we saw as kids misrepresent chicken farming in the way German paintings of Hitler misrepresented the death camps. All these pictures of smiling cows and happy pigs have infiltrated the media to the point that we cannot conceive of the truth. Children’s books still have quaint farmyards circa 1750 where the farmer wakes up at dawn to milk his beloved cows.

The meat companies and the testing laboratories go to insane lengths to ensure the true images don’t get out. The film Earthlings has done much to get the truth out there, but people shy away. Once these images are in your mind, it’s hard to get them out. So best to keep feasting on the meat and not think to hard about it.

Tolstoy said “as long as there are slaughterhouses, there will remain battlefields”. Violence toward fellow humans is horrible enough, but violence against creatures who cannot defend themselves and cannot have done us any wrong is not only cruelty, it’s evil.

Do yourself a favour, if not a kindness:
Watch Earthlings online: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6361872964130308142#
Support the Naked Yoga project: http://www.nakedyoga.co.za

Becoming a vegetarian is not simply a health choice, and it’s not a diet for hippies. It’s a way to keep your humanity, our humanity, in tact.

DISCLOSURE: I am personally involved in the Naked Yoga project, and in campaigning for animal rights.

  • Steve

    WHAT!!! Where is the race element in this piece? This is South Africa!

    Hooray, at last something normal and interesting on Thought Leader, and so we are spared the usual loony prattle by the rabble. Something we can get our teeth into …. like a lekker skaap tjoppie

  • Willem

    The evil of man (part 1 of 3)

    I read the article with growing annoyance as it seems to be a piece of snuck narcissm. “Look at me. I think meat is evil”. But that is ok. You can say that. To try and justify it is also ok but the justification demonstrates the immaturity usually associated with this kind of narcissm. Immaturity spawns from a lack of knowledge which you clearly demonstrate.

    I agree with you on the modern treatment of animals. It is atrocious. But that does not make meat evil. It makes man evil.

    The meat most people eat today are from animals that through a process called “husbandry” been bred by man to suit his needs. Archaeologists and Sociologists are unanimous that husbandry was a vast step forward for primitive man to populate the earth. Firstly, it put them in a position to travel with food in stead of being bogged down in one particular place. Secondly, it also provided a regular source of food in contrast to the non meat products that are seasonal. What we know as sheep and cattle and chickens today never existed in its current form. It was bread by man form ancient sources such as mountain goats, water buffalo and partridges. Resultantly these exploits of nature made man more populous than any other of the larger mammals on earth. So to make the point clear – your particular DNA might no have survived if it was not for this process.

  • Jackyl

    Great article! Some people *meat eaters I’m talking to you!* are so ignorant. They’ll claw at any old reason to justify their treatment of sentient beings. Yes … I judge them. vegans are smarter. Simple.

  • Willem

    The evil of man (Part 2 of 3)

    Secondly archaeologists have not found any evidence that fire came before homo sapiens. In fact the contrary. Fire pre exists homo sapiens. So the image you conjured of man eating a raw sheep is just factually incorrect – on two accounts then. Sheep also does not predate fire. Man exploited nature since the beginning. This includes the testing of drugs on animals. Over 30 000 years this is just an additional step in that exploitation process. I must say when my child lies in intensive care with a snake bite I would prefer the administration of anti venom medication rather then a brew of some wholesome herbs.

    So to further enlighten you – the vegetables and fruit you are eating today went trough the same process of husbandry. None of the vegetables and fruit you found today was around when homo sapiens arrived on earth. It was bred by man in the same way they bred animals. Today that process is taken a step further by genetic alteration. Do not think the pineapple you see today is the same pineapple that existed thousands of years ago. It’s the same comparison as the mountain goat and sheep. Further more besides the amounts of natural land and forests that are destroyed to plant all these fruits and vegetables also destroyed millions of organisms feeding of this.

  • Adam

    Food for thought isn’t it? *drum roll in the background*

  • Willem

    The evil of man (part 3 of 3)

    The majority of plants we eat today are genetically modified and the term “organic” also does not mean its not. This modification also contributed hugely to increased harvest which in turn allowed homo sapiens to grow to billions of creatures in the same way meat did. And who says plants do not feel pain. Why does a certain acacia tree exert poison when a giraffe starts to eat its leaves? Is human pain is you criteria your on the wrong side of the fight.

    The point I am making is that man is a parasite to the earth. It exploits it ruthlessly. At some stage the earth will shed the parasite as it shed other forms of life previously. To claim that you are a better parasite then the other parasites around you is a pathetic attempt to sooth your misplaced guilty conscious.

  • Andrew Taynton

    @Willem

    Wrong about genetically modified!!!

    Most food crops, fruits, vegetables and plants have not been genetically modified (or genetically engineered), they are NOT GMOs, genetically modified organisms.

    Go into the department of agricultures web site, South Africa only grows GM maize (60%), GM cotton (95%) and GM soy (80%). South Africa also imports GM canola oil but grows only non-GM canola.

    There are experimental GM potatoes and several other crops but they are not on our supermarket shelves.

    Even long life tomatoes on our shelves are not GM, they have probably used natural selective breeding or hybridysation to achieve those longer shelf life qualities.

    The more consumers find out about GM food the more they reject them.

    Find out why GM crops should be banned:
    http://www.gmwatch.org/

    The more consumers find out about organically certified foods the more they want them!!!

  • Zoo Keeper

    Humans are omniverous creatures that evolved from the woodlands. We are cannot digest cellulose, otherwise the ceacum and appendix would be fully formed stomachs instead of useless appendages.

    Yes, there is a benefit to eating fruit and veggies, they contain valuable vitmains and minerals we can’t get from meat.

    But, we cannot get the full spectrum of amino acids and lipids from plants alone. We need to eat a certain amount meat to survive.

    Anything in extremes is bad. Veganism is unhealthy because it is over the top and compromises the immune system terribly; but a red-meat rich diet is also going to end your life permaturely from heart disease.

    Ethical treatment of animals is awesome and must be pursued; and that includes ethical hunting (I said ethical not canned!). Thanks to hunting many species have been brought back from extinction (like the black wildebeest) because they have commercial value. Otherwise they would have been shot out to make room for wheat fields.

    You can’t have it both ways and measuring impact in terms of carbon is too one-sided. So what, cows have gas. So have millions of other species over time. Arguing over cow gas is arguing over the right of animals to exist and flourish if conditions favour them.

    And if you can’t handle watching a lion kill an impala, grow up! That’s what the REAL world of nature is all about.

    It demands blood be shed for others to survive. Its life…

  • http://www.vegansociety.co.za Aragorn Eloff – SA Vegan Society

    @Andreas: Veganism is simply a commitment to live a life which is as cruelty-free as reasonably possible. Most vegans recognise that there is no absolute moral high ground, not even for ascetic Jains who sweep the ground before walking and wear masks so as not to breathe in tiny flying insects.

    However, there is a stark difference between the indirect, unavoidable suffering contingent upon your mere existence (like the bug you squashed when you drove to work this morning) and the suffering you cause by consciously electing to consume meat, eggs and dairy. Thus to propose that veganism is some sort of absolutist fundamentalism is simply a clever way to assert some sort of dubious postmodern moral equivalence in order to assuages your sense of complicity.

    Once more: veganism is simply a commitment, based on the recognition of the capacity of other beings to suffer, as well as the recognition that they exhibit preferences, to live as cruelty-free a life as possible. Makes good, logical sense, don’t you think?

  • http://www.vegansociety.co.za Aragorn Eloff – SA Vegan Society

    @MLH: To each her/his own is a great maxim; make sure you extend this to all beings that are subjects of a life though 😉

    @F M: Most vegans are ‘sentientists'; that means they use the criterion of sentience (something modern science *KNOWS* plants do not exhibit as it relies on a central nervous system) to evaluate the ethics of their actions relative to other life.

    Even if plant life was equally worthy of ethical consideration though, we would still eat plants in order to spare as many of them as possible.

    Does that seem counter-intuitive? Read this: http://unpopularveganessays.blogspot.com/2009/06/plant-sentience.html

    Hard Rain: Fallacious argument. Slavery was also a cornerstone of human civilization (from the pyramids to the Industrial Age, right through to most of the world’s chocolate, we owe lots to slaves!)

    @Syd: Morals evolve.

    @Johan Swarts: Read Dr Ray & Jean Greek’s ‘Specious Science’ or one of Dr Vernon Coleman’s many books if you’re interested in a sound critique of the epistemological assumptions of animal model research.

    @Mike: Playing the man is a sure way to ignore what is being said.

    @Willem: DNA blah, husbandry blah, organic vs. GM, misleadingly vivid analogy of man as parasite….Your post is simply one enormous argument from precedent that describes our current situation as if mere description could replace ethical considerations. Yes, things kind of suck…So let’s do our best with the givens you so clearly underscore 😉

  • Ella

    R Mayer: “I think it is difficult to raise a healthy child without meat or at least eggs and milk.”

    This isn’t true — see the latest report by the dietic associatoin of America. Vegan diets are appropriate and healty for ALL ages. Meat, on the other hand, is the cause of many diseases, from cancer to heart problems.

    Willem – your arguments are illogical. You write:
    “Immaturity spawns from a lack of knowledge which you clearly demonstrate.” This is ad hominem nonsense. On the contrary, it is meat eaters like yourself who demonstrate narcissism, thinking that the animals of thsi world are fodder for your palate. If that ain’t narcissistic, what is?

    Your claims that “Archaeologists and Sociologists are unanimous that husbandry was a vast step
    forward for primitive man to populate the earth” are utterly irrelevant, even if true. Warfare and rape probably contributed to the population spread across the world – hardly justifies the practises. Do not confuse what *causes* something with what *justifies* it. It’s this kind of confused and irrational thinking that clouds the issue – amazing how one’s personal desires can hide the truth of one’s actions from oneself.
    Meat eating is totally unjustified and immoral, even if some of our ancestors did eat meat.

  • Belinda

    For more on the meat debate, take a look here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/magazine/11foer-t.html?_r=1

    Adapted from author Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals.

  • jay

    Now as a fairly liberal vegetarian who enjoys a slice of bread and the occasional roll, I really have to point out that most, if not all of food intake is of vegitarian origin ……

    Like I mean to say, seeing that as most of my cows and sheep and pigs eat vegetable matter, what they do in effect is convert the vegetable matter for me – so in effect what I am really eating is converted vegetable matter.

    Anyone care to challange my thinking?

  • Yolande

    I agree with the sentiments that we MUST treat our fellow creatures better, but I disagree with your statement that a vegetarian diet is the healthy way to go. I have become fat and a non-insulin dependant diabetic eating a vegetarian diet. Now I have to eat meat/fish/chicken/eggs to help control bloodsugar levels – because a vegetarian diet simply cannot do it. (And I don’t even like the taste of meat / eggs etc.). The human digestive system is clearly closer to that of a carnivore than to that of a herbivore, and the human body cannot remain healthy in the long term on a vegetarian diet. I try to do my bit for the animals by only eating free range eggs and meat – at least the conditions the animals live in before they are slaughtered are somewhat better.

  • Yolande

    Stopping to eat meat isn’t the best thing you can do for the environment. The atmosphere can handle the cow farts. What the creatures of the earth can’t handle is the millions of hectares of forest / prime grassland that are being converted to soya bean plantations to ensure that vegetarians don’t get protein deficiency. Think of all the species of plants, fungi, insects, rodents, birds, reptiles, frogs etc. that goes extinct because their habitat is being destroyed to plant monocultures of soya beans. Cows grazing in the field do not destroy habitats, and do not drive species to extinctions, to the same extent as plant-based agriculture.

  • Jerry

    Can’t we rather talk about the electricity price hike?It will be more productive.

  • Janine

    Good article. Thank you.
    I am a meat eater. I believe meat (in moderation) is good and appropriate food for humans, contrary to the vegan point of view. However, I am deeply troubled by the way in which animals are raised and killed. I hope that soon there will be a movement which can offer humanely produced meat and related products to the public. I’m sure vegans see this as impossible but I don’t think it is. Look how organic farming has grown recently in response to public demand.

    However, the environmental impact of meat is a bigger problem, in my opinion. “Your heart, your planet” outlines the environmental costs of meat and they are huge. For this reason alone I would encourage everyone to reduce their meat intake.

    I think the argument linking the harming of animals to violence to other humans is valid too. In our very violent society we should not discount this logic.

    Instead of hurling insults at each other, let’s keep up the conversation, share our knowledge and work together towards a more humane society.

  • Janine

    Humane? I think we need to find another word. The only animals that are actually not humane are humans. Something of a contradiction in terms.

  • ishtar

    Oh Willem! What a great laugh you gave me! Do you eat lots of fish? You must, to have such a huge brain!
    1. If you’re going to accuse Jarred of a lack of knowledge, darling, better mae sure you have some yourself. Mountain goats, water buffalo and partridges? The ancestor of the cow is the aurochs (Bos primigenius); the ancestor of the chicken is almost certainly the Red Junglefowl; the ancestor of the domestic sheep is the wild mouflon; you come closest with the mountain goat – the wild goat probably was domesticated into today’s goat. Of course, we do use water buffalo and partridges, but the buffs have only been domesticated for about 6000 years, and I don’t think we ever domesticated partridges at all, except in the form of David Cassidy.
    2. Since sheep and goats were next in line after dogs, and appear to have been domesticated at a very similar time to (indeed, a little after)plants, I don’t think that ancient humans took ’em with ’em while filling the earth, as a kind of convenience food.
    3. Willem, babe, of course fire predates humans, it predates every living thing!
    4. The anti-venom is a bad choice – milked and brought straight from the snake to you. Pick another drug.
    5. Monsanto will love you, but you’re dead wrong. We still don’t eat mostly GM foods. And GM notoriously hasn’t yet led to bigger harvests.
    Still, a great laugh!

  • http://www.vegansociety.co.za Aragorn Eloff – SA Vegan Society

    @Zoo Keeper: Veganism is unhealthy? Vegans don’t get a complete essential amino acid profile? Egads man, do some research next time! http://www.pubmed.org is only a click away you know. Just go there and type in vegan and you’ll be surprised at just how healthy a balanced plant-based diet is 😉

    Then again, if you’d bothered to do some reading before spouting your nonsense you’d have noted that the official position of the World Health Organisation – those crazy scientists – is that a vegan diet is perfectly healthy at all stages of life for all people. But heck, what do they know, they’re just relying on stuff like peer reviewed papers and reams of data analysis by the world’s leading nutritional researchers….

    By the way, cellulose is just one component of vegetables – just because broccoli has cellulose in doesn’t mean we don’t derive nutritional benefit from it, nor does it imply that just because *some* herbivores can digest cellulose and we can’t, we shouldn’t be eating a plant based diet. In fact, we’re better suited for it. Here are some good pieces on the biological herbivorism of homo sapiens sapiens:

    http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/natural.html

    http://www.nealhendrickson.com/mcdougall/030700pumeatinthehumandiet.htm

  • http://www.vegansociety.co.za Aragorn Eloff – SA Vegan Society

    @jay: I think your thinking is challenged enough already 😉

    @Yolande: Over 95% of soy is grown either to feed livestock or as a buffer in non-vegan products, so it’s *you*, as a meat-eater, who are complicit in most of the deforestation in the Amazon.

    Refer to the 2006 UN Report ‘Livestock’s Long Shadow’ (Google it) if you want to understand why a plant-based diet is the most environmentally friendly one.

  • Mothokoa

    This is a great article, yet I think that you shouldn’t end with just carnivorous? How about all animal products including but not limited to the seats in your car?

    I find some the comments perculiar, since people are saying you will be persecuted for your choice not to eat meat… maybe its the fact that you indict all the meat eaters = because of their choice too.

    Please also consider us humans. Are you wearing a platinum, gold, diamond, silver ring; the actual question is whether you know where it was mined and whether any limbs/lives were lost?

    Have you considered oil? Bush and his administration might have an answer for you.

    Your PC/Laptop is also emitting some radiation, plus the car and electricity you consume are the cause of majority of CO2 affecting the ozone layer.

    I think that we all adult enough to make our decisions. Stop making yourself feel good, its our design.

    I love meat, yes I slaughter a cow or sheep every once in a while and yes I cook it(with fire). I’m not that primitive. Let us see you having your tea without boiling water!

    When last did you walk barefeet to another City? say atleast 300km instead of using you car or any form of transport.

    Get real and state a reasonable arguement. Otherwise you will attract this kind of nonsense arguements from me.

  • Jackyl

    @Janine: if you are deeply troubled by the way animals are raised an killed then how the heck can you still eat them? Imagine if I was ‘deeply troubled’ by child abuse yet continued to watch child porn, wouldn’t that be insane?

    As for humanely produced meat … that makes no sense! Humane…slaughter – do you see the contradiction???? It’s like kind murder or loving rape.

    You seem like a closet vegan to me!

  • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/sarahbritten Sarah Britten
  • Zoo Keeper

    Aragorn

    I admire your dedication dude, I really do.

    But, too many surgeons have complained to me about operating on vegans though. Seems your immune systems are not up to scratch as far as those guys were concerned.

    Also, as far as I’ve seen children of vegan parents are on average smaller and less active than their counterparts. Of course there is no science in that statement, just personal observation. Are there any successful bodybuilders who follow a strict vegan diet (no supplements) – genuine question?

    I believe we need animal protein, whether it comes from cows or insects. We need fish oils to feed our nervous systems.

    Once humans managed to capture and raise their own meat, and divesify away from eating grasses to fruit, we have become taller, faster, stronger and brighter. We’re still not as big as we used to be before we discovered wheat etc… Makes you think.

    We need a mixture which is why I don’t believe either end of the spectrum holds the right answer.

  • Heidi

    This is a brilliant article written by you and thank god someone is standing up for the animals of our world. i am an animal rights activist and i am so proud of what you have written. the blatant truth. well done. We need more and more of this every day. When i go to bed at night i am happy to know that no animal or human was harmed in order for me to live, how many people can say that?

  • http://www.bwcsa.co.za toni

    zoo keeper, there are plenty of vegan bodybuilders and athletes out there – and as vegans they would be disinclined to take supplements. Just a short list:
    * Jennifer Argenti, Surfer
    * Rob Bell, Inline Skater
    * Brendan Brazier, Pro Triathlete
    * Molly Cameron, Cyclist
    * Katie Coryell, Pro Surfer
    * Robert Cheeke, Bodybuilder
    * Wendy Gabbe, Basketballer & Duathlete
    * Catherine Johnson, Elite Cyclist
    * Scott Jurek, Ultramarathoner
    * Tonya Kay, Dancer
    * Schulyer Love, Boxer
    * Adam Myerson, Cyclist
    * Kelly Lynn Nauyokas, Fitness Professional
    * Erica O’Connor, Inline Skater
    * Brent Poulsen, Triathlete
    * Jason Sager, Mountain Biker
    * Duncan Seko, Runner and Cyclist
    * James Southwood, Martial Artist
    * Tim VanOrden, Mountain Runner
    * Christine Vardaros, Cyclist
    * Maria Vlasak, Elite Duathlete
    * Kenneth Williams, Bodybuilder
    Martina Navratilova and Carl Lewis are among the previous generation…

    vegan children are just as active, (most kids these days tend to be sedentary anyway) and bigger is not necessarily better. Fish oils are exchanged for certain seed oils. And what on earth would a surgeons complaint be?

    YOLANDE change your medical practitioner if they said you ‘have’ to eat meat! And FYI our sytem is designed for herbivore living!

  • http://none tai krige

    There is sooo much to eat out there that doesnt involve torture & killing. Eat what doesnt run away from you. Simple. What we Meateaters (I was) love re the taste of meat do not understand, is that we ALL have adaptable taste buds..Only humans have this for obvious reasons..Stop eating meat and whatever you end up eating instead, will soon taste just as wonderfil. Try it, it only takes about a week. Soon the taste & smell of burning flesh will disgust you too….and stop using the term; “Behaving like animals”…its not animals that behave like that, its us. Inform yourselfs, there is no excuse anymore to say; ‘I did not know.’

  • http://www.vegansociety.co.za Aragorn Eloff – SA Vegan Society

    @Mothokoa: I’ve considered all those things actually, yes. I try to live with minimal impact on the lives of those around me and on the natural environment I form part of. Diet is the boldest and most effective statement any of us can make in this regard, in my honest opinion, and for me veganism exemplifies how I choose to relate to the world.

    @Zoo Keeper: It doesn’t matter what you believe, or how often and in how many ways you reiterate it, modern science just isn’t on your side when you claim that veganism is unhealthy. I urge you to read up on the matter instead of relying on anecdote and personal observation (remember the old saying: ‘common sense is what tells us the earth is flat.’)

    Speaking of simple common sense though, if we need animal proteins and fish oils then what explains the longevity of members of rural Chinese (often nominally vegan), Tibetan Buddhist (usually lacto-vegetarian / vegan) and Hindu Indian populations?

    Speaking of immune systems, studies indicate that meat-eaters are, on average, 3x more nutritionally deficient than vegans and less prone to various dread illnesses…which is probably why veganism is positively correlated with a lifespan.

    Vegan bodybuilders: http://www.veganbodybuilding.com

    You can do a Google for ‘vegan fitness’ if you want countless more examples of superfit vegans…like Carl Lewis 😉

  • http://none tai krige

    The list of Oympic Games winning athletes who are vegan/vegie is a very, very long one.- Its interesting that in nature the meateaters out there all eat vegetarians. And why is it that all meateaters when drinking water in the wild, lapp the water from the source with their tongues and herbivores all suck water…like we do….Inform yourselfs, our dental and intestinal configaration is absolutly more suited to not eating meat…This has been proven long ago…Aragorn will tell you where to look….

  • Mothokoa

    @toni

    Splendid stuff yet you didnt read the entire statement the Zoo Keeper see “no supplement”. Since you cant prove there were no supplements, dont engage.

    How many seeds would I need to consume in order to match fish oils?

    @Heidi

    I bet that there are not items that have been shipped, mined for you… Otherwise keep believing your “truth”.

    @toni

    Our system was not designed for herbivore living- if so why did the first specie consume majority meat? The doctor was giving advise based on the fact that the amount of protein required by our bodies is easily acquired from meat!

    Have the animal activists stopped consuming all forms of medication that were tested on animals before or is it a case of the end justifies the means now? I think its selective activism. when your child needs medical attention; do you advise the doctors that they should not use any form of medication that was previously tested on animals in cages?

    Please be nice to the animals and stop eating their food.

  • MLH

    That was fun…now, about Eskom…

  • Janine

    Jackyl,
    hehe, I was expecting that! You’re right, of course. I am in a dilemma over this. The thing is, I don’t believe it is ethically wrong to eat meat – except from an environmental point of view. I DO think it’s unethical to allow them to suffer miserable lives and frightening deaths.

    My logic suggests the best thing would be to home raise my livestock and ensure they have lovely, happy lives and that their end is swift and “humane” Yes, it is possible. As a loving animal owner I’ve (or rather my vet has) had to put down a number of dogs and horses in my time when they could no longer live comfortable lives and they died humanely. My only problem with that is I’d become emotionally attached to them and I’d just end up with a petting zoo!

    I guess the vegetarian (NEVER VEGAN!) in me is screaming to come out. Who knows? In any case, I think you vegetarians are definitely on the right track. The aggression you express is an indication of your passion for your belief and I salute you.

  • Gerry

    I’ve read this now for the last two days resisting the urge to reply. But here’s my 2 cents at the end of the discussion: Every argument has two sides, each side can claim common sense and emotional issues to support their point of view.
    There is nothing wrong with a Vegan lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with a carnivorous lifestyle. There is a lot wrong in forcing whatever choice you make onto the other, there is a lot wrong in judging and ridiculing the other because of their choice.

    Fundamentalism in any guise is just plain wrong (if not abjectly unhelpful to the cause, which is why carnivores are seen as boorish and vegans as nutcases), and both sides litter their arguments with straw men, false dichotomies, slippery slopes and all kinds of fallacies. “Reductio ad Hitlerum” anyone?

    I am a meat-eater: The best I can do is to make sure I get my meat as cruelty-free as possible, and that I look after MY life the best way for ME. I won’t impose my values on anyone, and I won’t allow anyone to impose their values on me. Inform – yes, impose, no. You live your life, I live mine. And we take responsibility for those lives – at least, we should.

    Aragrorn:, I admire you for the courage of your convictions, and I even agree with your sentiment. But I also agree with what guys like Willem said. I can see both sides.

  • Eat Healthy

    @Zoo Keeper & Mothokoa

    There are millions of Bhuddists and Hindu’s around the world that have lived very long healthy lives either as vegans or vegetarians, and without suppliments, for many generations spanning thousands of years, and Africans traditionally ate very little meat until they adopted the western diet.

    Moong (mung) beans and basmati rice eaten together as ‘dhal and rice’, very tasty I might add, gives you the 23 amino acids you need.

    A piece of steak gives you 13 amino acids.

    I prefer having healthy moong dhal and rice with grilled mediteranian veggies for maincourse and nuts, cream and honey for pudding than steak, egg and chips.

    The steak cannot give the full spectrum of amino acids and is pumped full of anti-biotics, artificial growth hormones and all sorts of other things the animals own body produces out of fear it expeiences in the abatour as it watches, waits, hears and smells its mates being slaughtered.

  • Clean Air

    Globally farm animals produce more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks and tractors burning fossil fuels.

    Cut out meat!!! Drink some milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, butter, ghee, etc.

  • Jackyl

    @Jannine
    Thanks, I am passionate about this and I definitely think there’s a vegetarian in you somewhere :)If an animal is sick, injured or unable to live comfortably I agree that it’s probably more humane to end their suffering swiftly. However that justification simply can’t be used to explain slaughtering animals for food – they don’t need to die, and certainly don’t want to die! So why should they, ‘humanely’ or otherwise. Is it really okay to treat sentient creatures like that?

    @Gerry
    You say you won’t impose your values on anyone, and you won’t allow anyone to impose their values on you – but in this instance, where abuse and suffering is occuring on such a mass scale, how can we be expected to keep quiet? You wouldn’t keep quiet about woman abuse would you? I hope not. If I was kicking kids in the head and someone tole me to stop because it was evil, would you defend my choice by saying that I’m simply ‘living my life’?

    @Clean Air
    Um, there’s no difference between eating meat or drinking dairy when it comes to the suffering of animals. Cutting out meat but drinking milk won’t help – where do you think all the veal calves go?

  • http://www.vegansociety.co.za Aragorn Eloff – SA Vegan Society

    @Gerry: You seem to be suffering from Moderate Extremism, whereby you have to be seen to accept both sides of every debate as if this is somehow automatically, by virtue of its association with temperance, the superior position.

    Using the analogy of slavery, however, we can clearly see that in many cases, a certain position is undoubtedly the superior one (ethically or otherwise) – abolitionists held the clear moral highground in the case of slavery and it is likely that vegans hold some kind of moral highground (although yes, like all you meat-eaters I also abhor the idea of a moral highground) in the case of our treatment of non-human animals.

    As for fundamentalism – would you have called the abolitionists fundamentalists? They were pretty absolute in their call for an end to all slavery – they certainly didn’t rally for better treatment of slaves!

    Saying ‘I eat meat and I see nothing wrong with it’ is not a constructive statement as it offers nothing in the way of furthering the discussion; perhaps if you can explain *why* you see nothing wrong with it (perhaps preempting the common reasons why vegans *do* see something wrong with it) we can move on 😉

    Finally, you can’t just bandy about a list of logical fallacies to defend your case – you have to explain how they apply to your opponent. In this case, I’m reasonably sure they don’t 😉

  • Mothokoa

    @Clean Air

    I just has to add my 2 cents worth.

    Isn’t it great that we minimise the impact these creatures have on the ozone layer by eating them?

    hahahaha

    @Gerry

    Thank you. This is the kind of attitude we should all adopt. I think sharing information is great. These ideas are being imposed and that makes me really “excited”.

    We have all these radical groups imposing all these great ideas that they have to curb global warming and animal rights yet I dont know if there is a group that is saying “Lets stop eating fresh veggies cause they are still alive”. at this rate we are going to end up eating nuts only cause that is the only food group that can be eaten long after they harvest. Unless there is a group somewhere awaiting an opportunity to strike.

    To all out there, I am a vegan and a proud activist against animal rights but I think we are imposing ideas and not informing. As soon as I read this article I felt uneasy about the reaction it would get. It’s too contentious. e.g.The heading – just scroll up.

    Jarred – be a tad bit diplomatic with your comments and you will hit a nerve somewhere. Rome was not built in a day.

    We already feel persecuted by preachers.

    Educate; dont judge – We will read with an open mind. i.e. open to ideas.

    Dont use Malema tactics.

  • Jackyl

    Sentient: Lifeform with the capability to feel sensation, such as pain; thus most beings are sentients; Conscious or aware; Experiencing sensation or feeling.

    And meat-eaters don’t care?

  • Janine

    I agree with Gerry. Ridiculing and fighting against the alternative viewpoint achieves nothing. No-one I know has ever changed a viewpoint dut to coersion.

    I am reminded of the old tale of the sun and the wind. For any who haven’t heard it:

    The sun and the wind were arguing about who was the strongest. The wind challenged the sun, pointing to a man walking along in his favourite jacket. “I will get the jacket off him far quicker than you can, Sun.”

    So the wind blew and blew viciously, but all the time the man just wrapped his jacket more tightly around him. In the end the wind wearied of this and looked to the sun.

    The sun moved forward and shone warmly and gently upon the man, and in due course he removed his jacket, content and happy.

    Love is the answer.

  • Clean Air

    @Jackyl

    I don’t believe we will easily achieve a world totally free from killing of animals.

    However, if we stopped (reduced) eating meat, we would stop the massive chicken, pork and beef factory farms that put more greenhouse gases into the atmoshere than all the cars, trucks and tractors on the roads.

    We would also stop the massive deforestation by converting forests to cropland to produce grain to produce meat. Meat eating is an extremely ecologically destructive and wasteful habit compared to vegetarian diets.

    My conscience can live with orgnically produced milk, cheese, yoghurt, cream, buttermilk etc. Yes those animals will eventually get slaughtered, hopefully humanely, and not on the scale of those factory farms that produce for the meat industry, reared under terrible conditions.

  • mallencolly

    @ Aragorn

    you should have warned about this. I would have got my antivegan bingo cards out.

    Hope you are well and that we will be seeing you soon. I have some recipes i want to test on someone outside of the family.

  • http://www.vegansociety.co.za Aragorn Eloff – SA Vegan Society

    I think I’ve discovered an interesting trick: if people can offer you advice on how best to say what you’re saying, then they can distract / excuse themselves from paying attention to what you’re saying.

    Janine, Mothokoa, etc.: no matter what approach advocacy takes, there will always be someone who disagrees with the style. Why bother so much when it’s quite clear what is being said when you mix all the individual voices together?

    In other words, instead of fixating on approach, how about focusing on the content instead?

    @Mothokoa: You state: ‘I am a vegan and a proud activist *against* animal rights’. I think you’re a bit confused….

  • Clean Air

    @Mothokoa

    People in my office used to laugh at vegetarians like me ten years ago, until instead of supplying cakes for my birthday, I went to the Hari Krishna temple and ordered some Indian vegetarian cuisine for the whole office for lunch.

    They just love it and cannot wait for my birthday each year. They scoff this tasty well balanced nourishing veggie food down like there’s no tomorrow.

    Try some vegetarian cuisine yourself, whether it be Indian, Thai, Chinese, Greek, whereever, you too will become adicted.

  • Jakes

    Oh boy!!

    I will bathe in biltong and I like my steak medium rare thank you.

    I have never intentionally been cruel to an animal,
    and by God, I am fully against cuelty to animals.
    But dare I say it, vegans seem a little obsessed getting at our meat lovers throats.
    I understand passion but this is not it, it’s an obsession.

  • Jackyl

    @Clean Air
    I think the ‘why vegetarians are no better than meat eaters’ discussion is best left for another time. Organically produced dairy is not a solution. What if the whole world wanted organically produced dairy – the industry would have to grow and BAM – we’re back where we started. Lets not forget – if we’re drinking the milk, what do the veal calves get? Nothing. And I can’t stress this enough – HUMANE SLAUGHTER does NOT make sense. If someone offered to HUMANELY slaughter you, would you be keen?

  • http://www.vegansociety.co.za Aragorn Eloff – SA Vegan Society

    @Clean Air: Thanks for your great comment on the link between deforestation and meat consumption.

    Unfortunately, the organic / ‘free range’ dairy and egg industry is not what you think. Have a look at some of the slideshows here: http://www.humanemyth.org

  • Counter Spin

    @Aragorn Eloff

    Well said above.

    Keep in mind that on this blog you may just have one or two meat industry representives who are not interested in rational argument, and when losing the debate they try distracting and diversionary tactics.

    Spin doctors also eventually contradict themselves if you engage with themselves long enough. Its such fun.

    :-)

  • Clean Air

    @Jackyl

    You come across as doctrinare and intolerant. Its people like you who do your cause more harm than good.

    There is a difference on the evolutionary scale between humans and animals, some animals eat other animals, some animals eat their own kind, some humans slaughter animals. I don’t believe you will ever change that.

    I used to be a meat eater. I am now vegetarian, and if vegans carry on the way you do I won’t be going there.

    Good luck with your mission to convince the world to go vegan, though I think you do need to change strategy.

    I have just had lunch with some meat eating friends, they bought me a vegetarian quiche and love me to bits because I accept them as they are and they accept me.