Tell Us Why It’s Ethical to Eat Meat


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CoRoMo
March 20, 2012, 03:25 PM
I saw this article today...

Calling All Carnivores
Tell Us Why It’s Ethical to Eat Meat: A Contest (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/magazine/tell-us-why-its-ethical-to-eat-meat-a-contest.html)

...and figured that a number of members here should be able to come up with quite the response.

The article is terribly slanted and the premise of course is that abstaining from meat is the ethical high-ground, but despite that, how would you reply?

:)

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Timmypage16
March 20, 2012, 04:34 PM
Interesting topic. Although I do not find anything wrong with eating meat, I cannot think of a way to persuade those that think eating meat is unethical.

Looking at it in a scientific prospective, we as a species have evolved to be omnivores. If we did not form civilizations and enhance agricultural production, there would be nothing unethical about it. I think that the only reason those that think it is unethical is because the human race could survive without the consumption of meat. Therefore, I do not really see a real reason for either side. It comes down to the fact that we evolved to eat meat, and then science advanced enough that it is no longer needed.

Nushif
March 20, 2012, 05:01 PM
Interesting dilemma. But I think it has a mild logical fallacy.

As one of the posters above pointed out, he can't find anything unethical about eating (in my case at least ethically harvested) meat. Isn't it in the interest of a disagreeing party to prove that it is indeed unethical to eat meat, rather than someone having to prove they're not doing something unethical?
What they're saying is "I accuse you of being unethical. Prove your ethicality."
The only answer to that is "Prove I am unethical first."

Ya know?

armoredman
March 20, 2012, 05:06 PM
Food has no ethics outside of cannibalism, in my parentally instilled moral code. Food is fuel, and tasty fuel gets eaten more often. :)

JohnBT
March 20, 2012, 05:24 PM
Why? Because I can't stand the high-pitched screams of the vegetables as they're ripped from the ground and cut up and cooked.

VEGGIES DESERVE TO LIVE TOO !!!

Sol
March 20, 2012, 05:29 PM
Because my incisors and canine teeth are there for that specific purpose. If humans were just meant to eat vegetables we would have a mouth full of molars.

the_hustleman
March 20, 2012, 05:30 PM
It's what our bodies are wired for.

Why wouldn't we eat meat?

There's nothing unethical about it

*swyped from the evo so excuse any typos*

zoom6zoom
March 20, 2012, 05:35 PM
Eating vegetables is unethical. Poor things haven't got a chance to run and hide like Bambi does.

sugarmaker
March 20, 2012, 05:37 PM
Why else would animals be made of meat?

manithree
March 20, 2012, 05:48 PM
Aren't all the judges anti-carnivorous?

That sounds like a really fair and balanced contest. Ya think maybe they're really looking for the worst, not the best? I choose not to play.

The War Wagon
March 20, 2012, 05:53 PM
Because the Almighty did not create me at the top of HIS food chain, to eat salads. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-happy009.gif

627PCFan
March 20, 2012, 05:54 PM
Because its unethical to allow visitors in the restroom after a meal of beans as opposed to a tbone-

Ranger30-06
March 20, 2012, 06:07 PM
Because its unethical to allow visitors in the restroom after a meal of beans as opposed to a tbone-
Best answer yet! +10!


It's all very clear though. God gave us domain over the animals. I eat meat cause the last thing I want is a town infested with rats and cows like the streets over in India.

buck460XVR
March 20, 2012, 06:16 PM
This.............Red Meat vital to a healthy diet. (http://farmfutures.com/story.aspx/scientists-red-meat-vital-healthy-diet-0-56374)

Rembrandt
March 20, 2012, 06:38 PM
If the good Lord had intended for us to graze on greenery....he would have given us 4 stomachs like cattle. Our digestive system is that of a carnivore.

The premise of the question is flawed, it presumes eating meat is an ethical and moral dilemma....it is not. There are those in our society that would like to make it that way so as to create guilt and victims.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
March 20, 2012, 06:41 PM
Anyone ever seen a healthy looking vegan or vegetarian? I sure haven't. Sick all the time, skin that looks like Elmers Glue, just eww. I'll take my meat and taters please.

Skyshot
March 20, 2012, 06:45 PM
Because my incisors and canine teeth are there for that specific purpose. If humans were just meant to eat vegetables we would have a mouth full of molars.
Nuff said, we're the top of the food chain.

newfalguy101
March 20, 2012, 06:48 PM
"If you gotta ask, you will never understand.."

Claymore1500
March 20, 2012, 06:52 PM
Just think of all the jobs that would be lost, I mean after all, If we stopped eating meat, all those people at "Weber and Kingsford" would be out of work.

Dr_B
March 20, 2012, 06:55 PM
Strange question. Eating meat isn't ethical or unethical. Its just another source of protein and it tastes good.

Just for fun, how about this? Meat is tasty. Tasty foods make people happy. Happy people are more prosocial. Prosocial behavior is good for society. Therefore, NOT eating meat is, overall, bad for society and things that are destructive to society are unethical.

wrs840
March 20, 2012, 07:02 PM
If humans hadn't become physiologically able to extract from protein from meat we wouldn't be here folks, so the the debate would have never occurred.

memphisjim
March 20, 2012, 07:03 PM
well lets see humans only recently began any real agricultural (in the grand scheme of things) and with the slow rate of human evolutioin humans arent adapted to all the grains and stuff most of a humans diet should be meat evolutionarily speaking

wrs840
March 20, 2012, 07:12 PM
Don't forget that chippable/sharpenable stone tools gave humans the ability to acquire meat, and fire gave humans the ability to "pre-digest" it, so to speak. Brain size and "brain-power" took off like a sky-rocket because of exactly that.

Rembrandt
March 20, 2012, 07:17 PM
....Don't forget that stone tools gave humans the ability to acquire meat, and fire gave humans the ability to "pre-digest" it, so to speak. Brain size and "brain-power" took off like a sky-rocket because of exactly that.

Must be a meat shortage in Washington D.C........

Flintknapper
March 20, 2012, 07:20 PM
Excerpt from link:

But few have tried to answer the fundamental ethical issue: Whether it is right to eat animals in the first place, at least when human survival is not at stake.

I don’t know if this was meant as a “qualifier” or is just a general statement.

If the latter, I would point out…that in certain geographic areas…meat resources constitute a large part of the available proteins needed for sustenance.

I consider sustaining life to be “ethical”….so by default those folks are O.K.;)

As for society’s fortunate enough to have a “practical” choice, I still see no dilemma….since I subscribe to the Biblical standard and example of man having dominion over the animals (at least after the flood).

Without turning this into a religious discussion (rightly forbidden here), that makes it “good enough for me”.

wrs840
March 20, 2012, 07:22 PM
Must be a meat shortage in Washington D.C........

Yes. They're devolving quickly.

Art Eatman
March 20, 2012, 07:58 PM
I fail to see any connection between biology and ethics. Simple as that. One might question the ethics of the fool who dreamed up the "debate", for gratuitously disturbing one's peace of mind to no useful purpose.

KodiakBeer
March 20, 2012, 07:58 PM
On good east coast grazing land you can raise one unit (cow and calf) per acre of grass. That's a lot of calories for the deaths of two animals.

On the other hand, how many rabbit, quail, pheasant, vole, whatever, nests are ground up per acre of wheat harvest?

How many larger animals are displaced by crop lands? How much water is diverted from wild lands to irrigate crop lands?

guyfromohio
March 20, 2012, 08:01 PM
Because I'm made of meat.

armoredman
March 20, 2012, 08:04 PM
I am having a meatless dinner...forgot to defrost any...

Art Eatman
March 20, 2012, 08:09 PM
Most of the world's ills trace directly to farming: Cities, armies--and all that follows. Government, for instance.

Nomadic hunter-gatherers don't create erosion. They do not drive species to extinction; they cannot do that, since when a food population drops below that of readily supplying food, they must move on--and return after that food supply rebuilds. Middens show generational usage over centuries of time. The best part, per the archaeologists is that they only "worked" some four hours per day to remain fed. Certainly beats 8 to 5, seems like. :D

Probably less time spent in worrying about ethics, as well...

MCgunner
March 20, 2012, 09:16 PM
My reply? F off and mind your own f'n business. That's what I'd tell 'em, eat what you want, don't tell me what to eat. Pretty simple, eh?

wrs840
March 20, 2012, 09:21 PM
I am having a meatless dinner...forgot to defrost any...

You need to put some Salmon in the Freezer. Half of a filleted one defrosts in 45 minutes (sealed in the bag) submerged in the sink in cold water. Paul Prudhomme's Salmon Magic rub and grilled on Applewood makes for a very satisfying way to contribute to the advancement of our species.

pbearperry
March 20, 2012, 09:33 PM
If people don't eat animals,they will grow old and die, and maggots will eat them.Now that's unethical.

Frozen North
March 20, 2012, 10:08 PM
I'm a pig farmer. I look them right in their beady eyes before they become my meal and I still don't feel bad about it! :D

I am a firm believer that humans are a natural part of the environment. We were blessed to have gigantic brains, thumbs, and digestive systems fit to eat many varieties of food. It is natural for us to do what we do, because it is what we are built for. To say we are immoral for eating meat makes about as much sense as saying a bear is immoral for eating meat. Unless we are an invasive species from another planet, we are just doing what nature intended us to do.

My eyes are set forward, my mouth contains incisors, and my brain allows me to be an efficient farmer or hunter. Leave me, reality, and biology alone.

Ranger J
March 20, 2012, 10:28 PM
The brains of our ancestral species did not really begin to grow until we climbed down out of the trees and began to eat meat. As someone already noted it takes a lot of intestine to digest plant matter. When we began to eat meat regularly it allowed us to put less energy into feeding a large intestine and put it instead into growing a large brain

RJ

jmorris
March 20, 2012, 10:42 PM
eth·ic[eth-ik]
- noun
1.*the body of moral principles or values governing or distinctive of a particular culture or group
2.*complex of moral precepts held or rules of conduct followed by an individual


Kind of funny, the groups I hang out with have no moral problems eating meat.

More often than not green eaters have no moral problems with abortion....go figure.

Loosedhorse
March 20, 2012, 11:54 PM
Whether of not it's ethical for you or me to eat meat? That's a personal decision, and one that we should each make for ourselves.

A clearer question: is it ethical to pressure or force folks to eat meat if they don't want to? Of course not. So, conversely, it can't be ethical to pressure or force people not to eat meat if they do want to.

And there are other, less clear questions. Do subsidies in the US artificially lower the price of meat, causing more meat to be consumed in place of other foods that might be healthier for us, or have lower ecological impact? To me, how our tax dollars are diverted to distort any market is always an interesting ethical question.

Zoogster
March 21, 2012, 12:34 AM
I eat meat because I am selfish and lazy.

Selfish in that it is the food I look forward to most due to flavor.
I also enjoy obtaining meat.

Lazy in that it is very easy to get all your amino acids eating meat and a few other things in a day.
With plant matter it is a lot more complicated. Protein is not all the same, and you need all the amino acids required to build new parts of your body in your system at once to build and repair well.
With a plant meal this requires a lot of research into the specific amino acids available from each type of plant, and to prepare several types of protein at a time. This takes more energy and time, and can also be expensive.
Vegetarians that do not do this tend to be less healthy than their meat eating counterparts, you cannot simply eat a single plant protein and compensate. Protein ≠ protein.
Eating some amino acids one day and some another day doesn't really cut it to be thriving, but meat makes it simple. Many animal proteins have all the amino acids needed in one place. So it can build tissue easily.
Your body can synthesize some to compensate when lacking some, but only to a certain extent and it can also deplete enzymes and other nutrients if it has to synthesize a lot and those need to be replaced or allowed to replenish as well. Things are more complicated with plant proteins and only a plant based diet.
Thriving and being an active muscular vegetarian is a lot more challenging than just adding meat to a meal and making simple less complicated meals.
Meat simple, me bite meat.


However I also think that people trying to not eat meat for ethical reasons are doing something noble and I will not belittle them.
In a nation that kills somewhere around 10 billion domestic animals for food a year, not counting fish, a little less death can be a good thing.




Art Eatman said: Nomadic hunter-gatherers don't create erosion. They do not drive species to extinction; they cannot do that, since when a food population drops below that of readily supplying food, they must move on--and return after that food supply rebuilds. Middens show generational usage over centuries of time. The best part, per the archaeologists is that they only "worked" some four hours per day to remain fed. Certainly beats 8 to 5, seems like.

Yes that was fine when the population on earth was minimal. When the population of human beings was a small fraction of other large animals. The planet could sustain a small population of humans that didn't have to contribute to raising, feeding, or growing food.
Today there is more humans than large wild animals.
In 1350AD there was less than 400 million people in the entire world, thousands of years prior there was a fraction of that amount.
Today we live in a single nation of 300 million, a world of over 7 billion, with China and India each having over a billion.
It is no longer a planet of primarily wilderness and a small number of humans able to reap a bounty from an exceedingly plentiful resource.
When Europeans first came to the western hemisphere most of it was unexploited. Flora and fauna abounded. Today we have some areas set aside where flora does okay, but fauna is still limited. Migrating herds of healthy thriving animals? No we have highways and roads and fences everywhere, and a comparatively small number that manage to survive in spite of it.
We went from having the most numerous bird on the planet, the passenger pigeon, to wiping it out.
Why was it wiped out? For meat, most of it was harvested to be sold for food in Europe.


Hunting can no longer sustain much of the population, in a single nation that kills 10 billion domestic animals a year, our wildlife would be wiped out very quickly if people replaced any decent sized percentage of that domestic food source with a wild one through hunting.
It was shown that market hunting results in extinction and wiping out of species. So hunting for profit, primarily to sell as food, was prohibited, after most of our wildlife were wiped out.
Today the same thing is happening in the oceans, the last open market hunting allowed, aka commercial fishing. A planet covered primarily in oceans, making up about 71% of the earth, has lost most of its sea life in half a century. Most of it for human consumption, aka meat.
Modern nets first started to be widely created around the 1960s, when synthetic fibers allowed the creation of thin, robust, long lasting gillnets, that could be larger and more durable and less visible than any previous hemp based or similar natural fiber net.
Nets went from small fragile things on the high seas that were easily seen under water, to large durable invisible things.
In that short period of time the majority of the fish have been wiped out. (There is still a lot out there, but the majority were still wiped out, it is a fraction of what was out there.)
Clearly the planet and a wild ecosystem is unable to sustain human beings unless they plan and raise their own animals for food.
Instead it is a limited resource that can be enjoyed recreationally, with some hunting and fishing.

tarosean
March 21, 2012, 12:57 AM
No real argument to be made IMO...

Every Vegan, Vegetarian and Meat eater will die. That is the simple fact of life.

Zoogster
March 21, 2012, 01:06 AM
I must chuckle a little when so many SHTF fantasy scenarios people come up with involve hunting for food for some long period of time.
If say 10% of the population hunted for most of their food, even to the extent of compensating for a lack of calories from other food sources like carbohydrates, the animal population would be nearly gone in a year. For example a deer a week, multipled by 30 million people (10%), would be 1,560,000,000 deer a year. Or 1.5 billion deer. But there is only about 20-25 million deer. Not even enough for 10% of the population to kill 1 all year long, and still result in extinction. In fact much less has to be taken just to result in something sustainable.
And deer are the most numerous large game animal.
Feral pig numbers are much smaller.
Even if you start adding in all the typical game animals, the forests would be quite barren within a year, and many of the species unlikely to ever recover, and others requiring decades to recover if even 1% of the population survived on hunted game as the primary source of their calories for a year.

shiftyer1
March 21, 2012, 01:12 AM
I'm not a veggie eater by any means, just never could develop a taste for them.

And just think about what my food may have done to your food as it grazed!

tarosean
March 21, 2012, 01:23 AM
I must chuckle a little when so many SHTF fantasy scenarios people come up with involve hunting for food for some long period of time.
If say 10% of the population hunted for most of their food, even to the extent of compensating for a lack of calories from other food sources like carbohydrates, the animal population would be nearly gone in a year. For example a deer a week, multipled by 30 million people (10%), would be 1,560,000,000 deer a year. Or 1.5 billion deer. But there is only about 20-25 million deer. Not even enough for 10% of the population to kill 1 all year long, and still result in extinction.

Deer will be the only food source after a SHTF? Will all the current animals being farmed just vanish with the city slickers?

cooch
March 21, 2012, 04:04 AM
Ethics debates usually revolve around (a) suffering and (b) effect upon the environment.

Dealing first with (a)
DON'T start by getting into games of odious comparisons between farming and hunting. We are both meat utilisers and both involved in ways that sometimes cause some animal suffering. This is not the point. The point is whether what we do causes more suffering than not doing it. This is the point where we remind the veggies and animal crackers that real life is not Disneyland. No animal dies peacefully in a bed, surrounded by grieving family and friends. The only options faced by the majority of animals is death by disease, malnutrition, or predation. In contrast, the hunter's bullet or the slaughterman's knife are relatively humane. The consumption of meat does not increase the overall level of suffering amongst animal populations. They suffer just as much without us.

Now (b) As hunters you will know that we can take meat from environments that are almost untouched, and do so in ways that result in little damage. What you should also know is that a considerable amount of meat is derived from rangeland farming in country that cannot be cropped without seriously damaging it. The killer is that almost all the foods that vegans prefer come from intensive farming systems. I can raise cattle and sheep on land with considerable biodiversity and a high number of retained native species. You cannot raise soybeans that way. Nor grains. Nor vegetables in large quantities. The tradeoff is this... if we cease eating meat, then we must have more arable land in order to grow crops. How much more of the Amazon basin do we wish to clear?
Don't be sidetracked by claims that meat production "uses" X amount of water or grains that might be otherwise put to better use. The water claim is rubbish because there are no alternative uses for much of that water. It's not sitting in a tank somewhere, but falls out of the sky, is used by plants, evaporates, or runs away down a river, somewhere. Is water in a river "wasted"? Likewise, not all grains are fit for human consumption. We grow many of them because it is better to rotate species than to practice a constant monoculture. Ask the green-freaks why they don't want to eat low-quality food if they think that feeding it to cattle is "waste".

Best of luck with your debate.

Peter

Davek1977
March 21, 2012, 04:49 AM
It tastes good (only reason I need!!), and my family owns a beef ranch. Vegetarianism would be the end of our way of life!

303tom
March 21, 2012, 08:45 AM
What does that say for the Venus fly trap, a VEGETABLE that eats MEAT ?

JohnBT
March 21, 2012, 09:17 AM
"Deer will be the only food source after a SHTF?"

Pigeons and rats are plentiful in cities. And dogs and cats. And sparrows.

John

CoRoMo
March 21, 2012, 09:52 AM
THR did not disappoint. There are a few diamond posts in the rough here.

Before I posted the OP, I knew that allowing 'them' to frame the discussion is the first mistake. But regardless, if we're starting from that position anyway, truth can still be told.

I heard long ago that -if you removed meat from the diet of mankind- the usable land area of the earth cannot sustain the amount of farming needed to feed the human race. Not without utterly destroying the environment. If that's true, and it sure makes sense, then we'd be committing quite an immoral sin by wiping out every ecosystem simply for our own edification. We would be no steward of the earth by doing so. We are better than that.

Art Eatman
March 21, 2012, 10:54 AM
Zoogster, farming is what led to population growth. Once there could be a surplus of stored food, people could organize as communities and have more resources to support larger families.

Note that after the basic hunter/gatherer era, nomadic people dealt with animals which could travel more easily, and need lesser amounts of water. Generally, that meant sheep and goats, but not swine or cattle. Another generalization is that nomads did not have large families.

And so we have large populations and rich societies. "Rich" means that some have the free time to worry about all manner of inconsequential things--such as an imagined ethical aspect to diet.

MCgunner
March 21, 2012, 11:03 AM
I must chuckle a little when so many SHTF fantasy scenarios people come up with involve hunting for food for some long period of time.
If say 10% of the population hunted for most of their food, even to the extent of compensating for a lack of calories from other food sources like carbohydrates, the animal population would be nearly gone in a year.

Could be the solution to the hog problem, I suppose. :D

wombat13
March 21, 2012, 01:30 PM
I must chuckle a little when so many SHTF fantasy scenarios people come up with involve hunting for food for some long period of time.
If say 10% of the population hunted for most of their food, even to the extent of compensating for a lack of calories from other food sources like carbohydrates, the animal population would be nearly gone in a year. For example a deer a week, multipled by 30 million people (10%), would be 1,560,000,000 deer a year. Or 1.5 billion deer. But there is only about 20-25 million deer. Not even enough for 10% of the population to kill 1 all year long, and still result in extinction. In fact much less has to be taken just to result in something sustainable.
And deer are the most numerous large game animal.
Feral pig numbers are much smaller.
Even if you start adding in all the typical game animals, the forests would be quite barren within a year, and many of the species unlikely to ever recover, and others requiring decades to recover if even 1% of the population survived on hunted game as the primary source of their calories for a year.
I agree that most SHTF scenarios are just idle daydreaming, however, I think you overestimate the impact on wildlife. In a real situation that required large parts of the population to rely on hunting a large portion of the human population would perish and the calorie intake of the remaining people would nose-dive (solution to the obesity epidemic).

Perhaps someone with a better knowledge of the great depression could comment on what happened to wildlife in the 1930s.

Ranger30-06
March 21, 2012, 01:34 PM
Perhaps someone with a better knowledge of the great depression could comment on what happened to wildlife in the 1930s.

The Great Depression is what almost completely removed NJ's population of turkey and deer. It wan't until about 10-15 years ago that they were in enough numbers that they could be regularly hunted, and now, they're at the point where they are becoming a problem. I believe the deer numbers were down in the dozens and turkeys were thought to be extinct for a while.

tarosean
March 21, 2012, 03:20 PM
Great Depression is what almost completely removed NJ's population of turkey

They all left due to the smell, and smart enought to not step back across the border...

I kid...



Serious I think wildlife would be fine... It's people who are Screwed.

Kachok
March 21, 2012, 03:37 PM
If God never intended for us to eat meat he would have not made venison taste so darn good :D

Art Eatman
March 21, 2012, 03:49 PM
Somebody write to the originator of the debate with a more pertinent question on ethics: Given the state of the economy with its high unemployment and the ever-increasing cost of food, is poaching ethical when an adequate quantity of a balanced diet is important? :D

HoosierQ
March 21, 2012, 03:56 PM
I had an employee...very nice man...a devout Hindu. Cricket player. The guy would not eat beef in any form...ever! But friends, this man loved chicken, fish, pork (yes, Hindus are fine with pork...they eat it seldom in India because the Muslims object), goat (which is very popular in India because it is a good hot climate animal and nobody is offended if you eat them), lamb, I mean if it was made out of meat other than a cow, he was eating it...except on Thursday when he ate no meat at all.

So even in a culture with dietary laws link Hindus, meat is OK.

PS. I learned to eat goat and it was good. More beefy than lamb...you might not be able to tell in fact...I can always tell lamb.

SimplyChad
March 21, 2012, 03:57 PM
My biggest aurguement that we were disgined to eat meat is our binocular vision. I mean people like all predators can judge the distance to our prey. Both eyes cn focus on a single moving object. Look among vertebrates and see how many that can judge distance well dont eat things thats cant judge distance well.

Zoogster
March 21, 2012, 04:48 PM
Art Eatman said: Note that after the basic hunter/gatherer era, nomadic people dealt with animals which could travel more easily, and need lesser amounts of water. Generally, that meant sheep and goats,

Well even that had a serious impact on the land, some of the most serious.
It was people such as nomadic goat herders that resulted in growth of large barren wastelands in the middle east, one of the places humans lived long ago.
The nomads would travel through with large flocks of domestic animals, which they would overgraze the land with. These animals would eat the vegetation down to the ground. This removed the protection of the top soil from the elements.
This meant a heavy rain could wipe out a lot of the top soil, washing it to other areas, along with its nutrients. Heavy winds without trees and other vegetation to slow them down and lacking plants with extensive root systems to hold the top soil in place contributed. The top soil could be blown and dislodged. Similar to what happened in the Dust Bowl in the US, but instead due to overgrazing rather than farming technique.
As most farmers know the top soil is not that deep and holds most of the nutrients needed for vegetation, so when it is lost not much grows.
The result of these nomads clearing vegetation to the ground by over grazing animals on it repeatedly and not contributing to new growth was not only barren wasteland, but concentration of the nutrients and salts washed away in the rain in low lying water.
This resulted in undrinkable salty water and barren dusty deserts.

So even nomadic goat herders would ruin the landscape.
People that take from the land without giving back to it deplete it. They killed off large amounts of vegetation, and were not involved in planting more. The result over time of such people was a barren place.



And yes farm land has been behind a lot of the wars in history. The entire fuedal system was based on it, and is what resulted in the clearing of most forests in Europe that had existed for thousands of years. Some of the only wilderness left in place in places like England was specifically for the nobility to hunt. Wild land considered wasteful when it could instead be a crop.
But a lot of it was because of greed and power, the more crops a land baron held the richer and more influential and powerful they were. Power was directly tied to the amount of crops, so they would clear far more land than necessary for food to hold as much crop land as possible. This resulted in the rolling hills of cleared land as far as the eye could see.

Coltdriver
March 21, 2012, 09:51 PM
Eating meat is a way of paying your respects to your creator who endowed you with two incisors. Your creator did not endow you with incisors in order to rip carrots. So make your creator happy and eat a steak today.

Art Eatman
March 21, 2012, 10:39 PM
Zoogster, I would argue that the desertification resulted from salt buildup in the soil, from irrigation from the Tigris and Euphrates as examples. Same as for the Imperial Valley in California. Nile floods avoid this by the deposition of new soil atop the existing fields.

Over-grazing by goats wasn't due to the nomads' pattern; it was due to near-city over-grazing in a market-place situation. IOW, desertification came after there were no more nomads.

In the early west in the US, the sheep herders were fairly nomadic, as were the cattle ranchers. They just didn't commonly move as far as the people of those in the distant past. Graze down, move on--but don't graze down beyond recovery.

The Biblical "cedars of Lebanon" went away from lumbering and firewood--another post-nomad activity from the city-folks.

Sergei Mosin
March 21, 2012, 11:08 PM
Human consumption of meat is a biological imperative. If there's an ethical debate at all, it's over the conditions in which many meat-bearing animals are grown. We take pride in making ethical kills of game animals, but pay little attention to how meat is mass-produced.

MutinousDoug
March 21, 2012, 11:30 PM
Life consumes and it expends.
Neglect either and perish.
The marketplace determines the value of both these endeavors.
Morality lies elsewhere.

Kachok
March 22, 2012, 10:23 AM
I had this debate with some vegans a while back, they insist that every life is just as valuable as any other, so you have no right to kill something else to feed yourself. To which I replied " If that is the case, what of the aprox 300,000,000 insects per acre that die so you can have your soyburger? Do they not count?" They won't talk to me anymore :D Things die so other things can live, that is not cruel or unethical, that is life, and it it not fixing to change anytime soon. The only thing I would consider cruel of unethical is the pointless suffering of farmed/hunted anamals. I have seen farmers beat anamals for no good reason, and hunter shoot game with calibers not suited for the game or taking shots that they really should have passed on, both of which are simply stupid.

der Teufel
March 22, 2012, 10:55 AM
Perhaps someone with a better knowledge of the great depression could comment on what happened to wildlife in the 1930s.

I believe that it was during this time that firearms were originally banned in the national parks. The reason was to reduce poaching by people desperate for food.

Bovice
March 22, 2012, 11:17 AM
I think it's funny when people say they don't eat red meat because it's "bad for them", but they all go to the doctor and complain about feeling sluggish and weak. Red meat is a key source of iron, without adequate iron levels and a steady supply of it, you have no strength. That's not healthy.

My sister's ex-boyfriend told me one time that he thought he "didn't have the right" to eat any meat besides chicken, because cows can sense when they are heading for slaughter. He told me that the chickens "don't know", and that made it morally right. I guess he's never seen how chickens used to be chased around pens to have their necks broken. They move pretty quick, and it's safe to say they have a pretty good idea of what's about to happen!

He was raised in an islamic household, and even though he doesn't practice it now, he still won't eat pork because "it's dirty".

Today, go out and have a BLT, and tell everybody how good it was.

tarosean
March 22, 2012, 11:51 AM
Today, go out and have a BLT, and tell everybody how good it was.

Good god I wish I could... Unfortunately Im in the Middle East right now and cannot get Pork as it is outlawed here. (Saudi)...

Art Eatman
March 22, 2012, 12:13 PM
Thousands of years back, it made sense to not mess with hogs, since they need a lot of water and don't travel well in a nomadic existence. They tie people to immobility, one location near water and relatively-lush vegetation. Never has been a whole lot of that in the middle east. There was also the problem of trichinosis from under-cooking.

So it got codified from common sense into religious stricture and somewhere along the way "dirty" or "foul" entered the deal. The practical reasons were lost to antiquity and no real thought has been given, ever since.

bugmania
March 22, 2012, 12:41 PM
I'm a second generation vegetarian. The cow eats the grass then I eat the cow.

coop923
March 22, 2012, 01:30 PM
Anyone ever read In Defense of Hunting, by James A Swan? It might be the single best thing I've ever read. (Lonesome Dove is up there too) I highly recommend it... Biology, Anthropology, Economics, History, Law, Ethics, and more and how they're intertwined with hunting and being carnivorous.

Madcap_Magician
March 22, 2012, 04:12 PM
Because meat tastes good. :D

Nushif
March 22, 2012, 04:15 PM
Human consumption of meat is a biological imperative. If there's an ethical debate at all, it's over the conditions in which many meat-bearing animals are grown. We take pride in making ethical kills of game animals, but pay little attention to how meat is mass-produced.

Pretty much it. Not much more to say.

Mudinyeri
March 22, 2012, 04:16 PM
Anyone ever seen a healthy looking vegan or vegetarian? I sure haven't. Sick all the time, skin that looks like Elmers Glue, just eww. I'll take my meat and taters please.
I know of a couple MMA fighters who are vegetarians. They look pretty darn health to me.

With that said, I'm a full-on carnivore myself.

The question is interesting, though. I'll have to give it some thought.

Kachok
March 22, 2012, 05:07 PM
There are three MMA vegans and none of them are setting the world on fire last I checked. I spent five years training to fight in the UFC, I could not imagine training like that on a vegan diet. Yes I have tried that too, and it made me feel weak as hell.

beatledog7
March 22, 2012, 08:01 PM
in a word...Incisors.

Sky
March 22, 2012, 08:08 PM
"I did not claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat grass"! Was on a tee shirt I saw someplace....Thought it was humorous.

bluethunder1962
March 22, 2012, 08:17 PM
I love all types of guns and love to shoot but I don't eat meat. I have always loved all animals and have been around all types all my life. I started animal rescue after katrina in new orleans. The more you see how the animals that are to be eaten are treated and they life they live just to be eaten sucks. A lot of vegies would be Ok with it if they had a great life before they are killed. I KNOW all animals hurt just like us. Not putting anybody down for eating meat(althought I am made fun of all the time for not eating meat) I just think the animals could be treated better before they are killed. I find plenty to eat with out eating meat.

.45Guy
March 22, 2012, 08:26 PM
It's with a great deal of trepidation that I post this link... He does make some rather valid points though. http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=grill

Loyalist Dave
March 23, 2012, 10:21 AM
Well the question from the beginning is based on a faulty premise, coupled with complete balderdash that the "murderer's row" of judges are qualified to be "judges", when they are all raving anti-meat people. Actually it's a kangaroo court. It's akin to saying "Let's debate the validity of Christianity and the debate will be judged by The Reverend Billy Graham, Pastor Joel Osteen, and Pope Benedict the 16th".

Ethics: that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

So the premise is: It is already established that meat eating is immoral, and folks joining the debate must reverse this conclusion.

The question posed by the NYT concerns the "eating" of meat, and the simple act of ingesting meat has never been shown to be immoral and so is not unethical.

The debate will be based on the past writings and observations of the "judges" which deal with the treatment of the animals when held in captivity, and the methods for dispatching the animals before they are processed into meat..., which is not part of the question posed for the debate..., but is in reality the foundation of the vegan argument.

Medically it has been demonstrated that lack of protein in quantities found in animal sources requires artificial (man made) supplements for optimal physical developement and for maintaining optimal health, not simply warding off Beri Beri or anemia. So the arguments that humans harvest meat by artificial means [hunting with guns, butchering with knives] to supplement their diet with meat are trumped by the need for humans to ingest artificial supplements to provide proper dietary needs of the non-meat-eater.

So again it will devolve into arguments about the treatment of the animals (they don't call themselves People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for nothing). They will anthropomorphize the animals, claiming they "love" their young, "mourn" for the dead, when there is no way to understand what "emotions" are experienced in the lower animals. None.

Then when hunting is mentioned, for hunted animals in most cases are free, free range, and dispatched quickly, the debate will devolve around "Hunting causes the animal to suffer, even for a short time, and that's wrong" which will be followed by "Guns are artificial while lions use natural teeth and claws" implying that if we killed wild animals with our bare hands this would pass the ethical test (while ignoring the relatively slow death caused by a big cat kill on an animal where the animal suffers a high degree of agony). This will be followed by "Lions only know of one food source, so they have to hunt, while we have other food sources." This last point blatantly implies that the prey animal can distinguish between being the prey of a lion versus being the prey of a human, - although the foundation of the argument is: What does the prey animal experience? The fact that hunting in the vast majority of cases greatly reduces the suffering of the prey animal when compared to disease or natural predators will be ignored. :banghead:

So CALLING BS! on the whole idea. We don't have to engage in the debate in the first place, and not engaging in such a debate is not prima facie proof of the validity of the opposing argument.

LD

SlamFire1
March 23, 2012, 11:35 AM
Ethics debates usually revolve around (a) suffering and (b) effect upon the environment.

I agree, that is what the debate will revolve around in the Times.
Ethics is a man made creation.

For me, “(a) suffering”. As long as the animal is dispatched in a way that minimizes suffering, I think that is ethical. There is no reason to maximize or prolong suffering in an animal.

Cats would disagree. Cats will torture baby birds and mice just to have something to play with. We are lucky Cats are not the dominate life on this planet!

I think it is unethical to kill something and waste the meat. Or maybe it has nothing to do with ethics and just my feeling about waste in general. Still, if you kill something, take its one and only life, you should not waste it.

Zoogster
March 23, 2012, 07:48 PM
bluethunder1962 said:
The more you see how the animals that are to be eaten are treated and they life they live just to be eaten sucks. A lot of vegies would be Ok with it if they had a great life before they are killed. I KNOW all animals hurt just like us.

That is a good point. I knew I made a mistake when I said a 'little less death can be a good thing' earlier because it is not so much the death, but rather the lack of a life that is the problem.

We have a society that has practically turned dogs into human beings, considering them members of families, ascribing to them human qualities and legal protections that can even seem quite excessive sometimes.
It shows people consider them thinking feeling creatures.
People feel bad about the millions of former pets in shelters that sit in a cage and then eventually get euthanized.
Yet ironically while people can be moved by those mere millions of animals, a drop in the bucket, many cannot even be bothered to consider the 10 billion animals eaten for food in the US every year.
Which includes some fairly smart animals with feelings.
A large percentage of these animals spend their entire lives in conditions worse than those in pet animal shelters.
You can even be convicted of neglect and cruelty for housing pets in ways that are better than those used in factory farming.


As I mentioned earlier the wild ecosystem cannot even support less than 1 % of human meat demand. It is a recreational resource only that must be carefully managed to allow sustainable harvest. Some hunters just get disillusioned by perceived abundance because a really small percent of the population does most of the hunting, giving the impression of great abundance.
So clearly the population has to raise their own meat in order to eat meat.

However that said, I can hunt a wild animal, acknowledge the sacrifice made for my benefit, and enjoy the activity.
The animal lived a life, with ups and downs, various experiences, some pleasant and some traumatic. It experienced freedom, and had free will to make decisions that impacted it or its offspring, the world it knew.
It saw seasons, breathed fresh air, and was involved in activities.
It experienced good and bad. It lived a life.
Contrast that with the meat bought in the store.
A large percentage of the animals raised for human consumption never even had a life before they are killed. They know nothing except a meaningless existence before their death. Sometimes knowing little more than a cage or pen, and then dying.
Having never existed would have often been better than that pointless existence.


So the real question is if people impose certain standards on production, what is a reasonable balance of cost and efficiency.
How much per pound of meat is more humane treatment worth?
That is the real debate.




I think people were more balanced when most of the United States lived on small farms. When they raised their own animals, and killed them. Treated them with dignity, while also realizing there was a time for killing.
When they eat the animal their child had named when it was born for dinner, the family must understand the sacrifice made. The cycle that is life when consuming meat. That something with feelings died to provide them with nutrition.
Rather than the detached society we have today, where meat comes from the store.

bluethunder1962
March 23, 2012, 08:33 PM
Well said Zoogster. Just goes to show it is good to se both sides of every story instead of being thick headed and just make fun of people who do see things the way you do. I never put anybody down because they eat meat or make fun of them. I do believe the reason God put some animals on this earth was for us to eat. Everything put on this earth is a gift from God. He is watching what we do with his gifts to us. That is the unethical part of all of this. HOW WE TREAT THE ANIMALS WE EAT. They live a life of hell just to be killed and eaten. Everybody can make fun of me all they want for not eating meat because I was not put on this earth to please any human and could care less about what people say about me.
When you listen to people that think different from you you might learn something. I just learned something from Zoogster. I never thought about the part about eating deer over store bought. It is a very good argument.
And for the person saying veggies don't look healthy. Like I said I do a LOT of animal rescue so I am with a lot of veggie women. I have never seen a fat ass veggie. Most all the women I meet while doing rescue have hot bodies.

TexasPatriot.308
March 23, 2012, 10:37 PM
because soy beans dont get the job done and you go round far**** fresh air.

BeerSleeper
March 23, 2012, 10:52 PM
Vegetarianism is the practice of only killing and devouring those things which cannot resist, and feeling morally superior about it.

I like vegans. More meat for me.

Rail Driver
March 23, 2012, 11:05 PM
My reply would be "Tell me why it's UNethical to eat meat."

blarby
March 23, 2012, 11:57 PM
Could be the solution to the hog problem, I suppose.

I find it not even slightly amusing that such a life form has found a way to populate in an area that will soon need it, and in such a rapid fashion.

The fact that we have a new food source that, by everyone who is involved in that situations' definition, cannot be exterminated, is telling in a life cycle of any environment or ecosystem.

"Life will find a way"


We've been afforded a new one, albeit one that differs from the great meat beasts that used to roam our nation from shore to shore- but a replacement none the less. One that this time, we can't kill off fast enough to even make a dent in the population...if those rumors are true.

Ethics ? Ecology ? Divine grant ?

You pick.

We can eat 'em... and we should. When beef is either 30 times the price of pork, or unobtainable... No one will be cursing the wild hogs.

bluethunder1962
March 24, 2012, 12:32 AM
texasp are you saying because I don't eat meat my farts don't stink. We have so much green in us it comes out almost pure oxygen. How is that a bad thing? We had this guy that all he ate was wild meat. We kept having to repaint the office becaust the paint would peel off everytime he farted.

Tomcat47
March 24, 2012, 01:01 AM
I have always liked the Native American angle on wildlife.....somehow connected!

And even biblical speaking ... you get that reference of why they are here.

I have always gave thanks for what I have, or have taken food wise!

Its how I roll...........

Foods from animal sources have complete proteins!

Unethical.........I dont think so!

Arkansas Paul
March 24, 2012, 04:00 AM
I won't get into the ethics of eating meat. You do your thing, and I'll do mine.
However, since this was posted in the hunting section, I'll talk about that for a minute.
Statistics prove that hunting is a necessity for keeping deer herds in check. Without hunting, the population would quickly grow beyond the capacity of the land. This would result in disease and starvation, which is much less humane than a bullet through the heart. Also, too many deer would cause large amounts of monetary loss in crops for farmers.

Also, hunting predators and nusiance animals like hogs are vital as well. Check out this summary of the wolf problem in Yellowstone, where hunting is not allowed.

http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/yellowstone_wolf_experiment_out_1.htm

They are killing off the elk herds as well as deer, moose, antelope, and sheep. They have actually cut the elk herd in half. They are attacking horses, livestock and there have even been reports of them stalking children.

So as for the hunting aspect of killing animals, it is a necessity in some cases. Obviously I'm not talking about the wholesale slaughter of animals. There is a balance. The fact is, the vast majority of hunters are ethical and do much more for conservation of animals than non hunters will ever do.

1911Tuner
March 24, 2012, 07:53 AM
It's not a matter of ethics. It's a matter of survival and evolution.

Meat, and the complete proteins and amino acids contained therein allowed us to develop large brains, and it's necessary to fuel those big brains and insure their proper function.

Human beings are primarily carnivores. Our canine and incisor teeth, and our eyes mounted in the front of our skulls offers proof of that. If we'd been designed to eat grass, we'd have a mouth full of molars and our eyes would be on the sides of our heads.

Fighting a million years of evolution is a losing proposition.

Art Eatman
March 24, 2012, 10:59 AM
Enough. This is getting repetitive.

Bottom line: Biology is not about ethics. It's about survival of a species. Period. People can have any opinion they find comforting--but sincerity does not create truth.

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