Wednesday, 19 June 2013

On Vegetarian Hypocrisy

Back when I was a kid, aeons ago, there was a series of comics books called the Amar Chitra Katha, which had, as one of their self-proclaimed goals, educating Indian kids about “spirituality” and a (highly fictionalised, not to say mythologised) version of history.

Well, in one of the stories I recall from those days, there was this Hindu Brahmin monk who thought he was very spiritual and pure. He never, he said, harmed a living thing, nor did he ever pollute himself with meat. Now he wanted to learn even higher spirituality from the most knowledgeable in the land, and he set out on a journey to find such a teacher.

In the course of his wanderings, he was told by someone to go to a certain village and ask for a certain person. Sure that he was about to meet a great and revered teacher, the monk set out excitedly for the village, and once he arrived  there, he asked to meet the great teacher by that name.

The people he asked were nonplussed. “We know of only one person of that name,” they said. “But he isn’t a teacher of any sort. You’ll find him in that shop over there.”

The monk looked at the shop, and recoiled. It was a butcher’s.

Seething with anger, he stormed forward and began upbraiding the butcher for his evil and cruel profession. The butcher, who’d been expecting him, calmly informed him that he earned his own and his family’s living by the profession, and that he didn’t see anything objectionable or shameful in it.

Then he launched an attack on the monk’s own pretensions to venerating life. “Every day, as you walk,” he said, “beneath your feet, you crush thousands of animals which have done you no harm. Don’t you think you’re in no position to accuse others of cruelty?”

To make a long and predictable story short, the monk left, as they say, a sadder and a wiser man, with the knowledge that one doesn’t necessarily have to be a sanctimonious prig in order to be “good”.

I remembered this, basically, because it was so out of character for Amar Chitra Katha, which routinely passed off myth as fact and gave everything it could a Hindu twist. I also remember it because it was one of the very few mainstream examples of vegetarian hypocrisy getting roasted that I could find.

Yes, I do mean “vegetarian hypocrisy”. In this blog I seldom to never mention food, and for good reason – I’m not particularly interested in gourmet dishes; anything vaguely palatable and properly digestible is fine with me. But I do mention hypocrisy, a lot; and when it comes to food, hypocrisy abounds.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: while I follow a mostly vegetarian diet (lacto-ovo-vegetarian, actually), I am emphatically not a vegetarian. In the part of the country in which I live, vegetarianism is culturally alien, and vegetarianism treated like something akin to an affliction. So not only am I not a vegetarian, I have never been a vegetarian. Fine, so I’ve declared my bias and got it out of the way.

I would, actually, be fine with a live-and-let-live attitude towards vegetarians and their dietary preferences, but for three things.

The first is the hypocrisy of “moral vegetarianism”, which I’ll discuss in detail – the idea that vegetarianism is somehow more “moral” than non-vegetarianism; that meat-eating is “cruel” or “unnatural”. The second is militant vegetarianism, where vegetarians are not content with maintaining their so-called moral superiority over the rest of us, but attempt to bully, blackmail, or compel us to adapt to their food habits. The third is the claim that vegetarianism is healthier than non-vegetarianism.

In the following text, unless specifically mentioned, I will use the term “vegetarian” to refer both to vegetarians and vegans. Veganism is more extreme than vegetarianism, and also more hypocritical, but most of the arguments will be applicable to both of them equally.

The hypocrisy of “moral vegetarianism”:

It’s the oldest vegetarian argument, the one every single non-vegetarian has been confronted with at some time or other – that vegetarians are “moral” and non-vegetarians are “cruel”, and that vegetarians have greater “respect for life”. Even at first glance, this seems to be an argument with major flaws somewhere in the structure.

Now, I freely admit that killing animals for food isn’t something that can be called kind – but exactly how are vegetarians better? Let’s take it argument by vegetarian argument:

1.     Vegetarian claim: Non-vegetarians destroy life. Vegetarians don’t.

Now, unless one’s almost incredibly ignorant of basic science, one knows that plants are as alive as animals are. In fact, even if one is wholly ignorant of basic science, one can see for oneself that plants are born, grow up, and die, just like animals. So, by accusing non-vegetarians of destroying life, what vegetarians mean is destroying advanced, relatively intelligent animal life, of the order of fishes, birds and mammals – and a lot of self-styled “vegetarians” are actually piscivores, who restrict their respect for life to birds and mammals. [One explanation I’ve heard for this behaviour is, apparently, that fish “have no brains”, so aren’t really animals. That’s news to me.]

Then, plants aren’t just alive, there’s enough evidence to clearly indicate that they are, in some manner, aware. They respond to stimuli, conduct slow-motion chemical warfare among themselves and against browsing animals, and react to damage. Therefore it’s perfectly possible that they feel pain, in their own fashion, and if they can’t scream and writhe in agony in a manner we can easily distinguish, it’s certainly not their fault. Yet vegetarians see no moral quandary in condemning non-vegetarians’ alleged disrespect for life while themselves killing life.

Who’s the real hypocrite here?

Then, as the Amar Chitra Katha pointed out, vegetarians are far from innocent of killing animal life. It’s not just the accidental murder of tiny animals they tread on – just how many vegetarians are willing to let mosquitoes feast undisturbed on their blood? If they’re infested with lice or roundworms, will they refuse to have these parasites eradicated? Of course not.

At least non-vegetarians have the honesty to admit that they kill animals.

2.     Vegetarian claim: Non-vegetarians kill animals for food (or, to be quite accurate, the majority have animals killed for them for food). Perfectly true. Vegetarians don’t have animals killed for them for food. Completely and absolutely false.

I don’t know whether vegetarians have an idea that their food appears on their greengrocers’ shelves by a process of immaculate conception, but in reality that food has to be, you know, planted in soil, watered, and grown to harvest. Now, as anyone can see for themselves by taking a walk in a garden sometime, plants have pests. In fact, plants have one hell of a lot of pests, including a lot of animals of different types, from caterpillars to aphids to beetle larvae. Plants have pests from root to stem to leaf to fruit; they’re riddled with pests. And do you think those pests will politely stand aside to allow vegetarians their food? Of course not.

So what do you think happens to those pests, exactly? They’re poisoned out of existence, that’s what. Modern vegetable farming is exactly as much factory-farming as the much-derided meat industry, and if anything far more chemical-intensive. In any but the most basic subsistence-level vegetable-farming, the crops are dosed routinely and with massive doses of pesticides, designed to murder all manner of animals, quite indiscriminately, including those which not only don’t harm the crops but would normally help the farmer by eating the pests – such as centipedes, spiders and praying mantises, to name a few. But modern factory-farming has no time to spare them.

Even if the chemicals aren’t used, what are the alternatives? Suppose, now, a particular vegetarian person decided to grow, say, something like cabbage. Now, cabbages are also eaten by a particular kind of caterpillar, which would, of course, dramatically reduce the value of the harvest, or even eliminate it altogether. Now let’s assume that our vegetarian farmer was too tender hearted to poison the caterpillars to death – and also had a lot of time on his hands, enough to remove the insects one by one from the leaves and put them on something else, a mulberry bush, let’s say. Now, these cabbage caterpillars can only eat cabbage leaves. They aren’t silkworms, and can’t eat mulberry leaves. Therefore, by putting them on a mulberry bush, the compassionate, vegetarian farmer is merely condemning them to death by slow starvation. Right?

Then, what happens to the food after harvest? It has to be stored on the way to market, hasn’t it? And there are a whole lot of other pests which attack stored grain, not just primitive creatures like weevils, but quite advanced and intelligent animals like mice and rats. So, you know, they’re gassed, and poisoned, and trapped out of existence – just so those grains can actually survive to appear on market shelves. So, just how, exactly, does vegetarian food not involve killing animals?

Then, what about the animals vegetarians eat along with their food? Not all animals are large and easily discernible. The vast majority are very, very small – some too tiny to be seen except by the microscope. And I am not talking about bacteria, or fungi, neither of which are plants, either – I am talking about animals, creatures comprised of eukaryotic cells without cell walls. Do vegetarians assume they can rid themselves of all of these while washing and chopping their food? Dream on.

At least non-vegetarians openly admit to eating animals. Who is the hypocrite here?

3.     The hypocrisy of many vegetarians (not all, that’s true), who will refuse to eat meat, but have no problem wearing leather or silk products. Do they imagine, you know, that all those fancy leather items and those shimmering silk dresses come from cows which have died of old age, or moths which have broken out of their cocoons? Because if they do, they need a little education.

Opposed to them are those vegetarians who do not use leather or silk, but prefer, say, wool or cotton garments – wool being, of course, sheared from sheep who are raised for the purpose and slaughtered when no longer productive. I’m not even going to go into the uglinss of practices like “mulesing” which are inflicted on these unfortunate animals. As for the cotton crowd, they can congratulate themselves on having a perfectly humane, non-violent fabric – so long as they don’t admit to themselves that cotton is one of the most pesticide-dependent crops on the planet. Ever heard of the boll-weevil? If not, rest assured, the cotton farmers have.

4.     The so-called “moral superiority” becomes particularly hollow when it comes to criticism of the meat industry. Of course the meat industry has bad practices – show me any industry which doesn’t. So, do we, you know, try and reform those other industries, compel them to adopt environmental safeguards – or do we shut them down altogether? Show me a vegetarian who is willing to do without clothes rather than reform the textile industry, for example, with its horrible slave-labour sweatshops and exploitation of the poor. Right. Yes, the meat industry inflicts unnecessary suffering on animals. Perfectly true, and completely reprehensible, as well as subject to correction, with sufficient pressure – if anyone is willing to bring it to bear. Also, of course, the vegetable industry is no better than the meat industry. It’s not just the pesticides; there are a lot of other sharp practices, like applying chemicals on produce to keep it appearing fresh longer, something which is extremely common. And, of course, we’ve all heard about Monsanto. Should we then demand the closing down of the big vegetable farms, across the board? Are we then prepared to deal with the inevitable famines?

      Yet, when it comes to the meat industry, and only the meat industry, the vegetarian crusaders demand the baby be unceremoniously thrown out with the bath water.

5.     The vegetarian denial of our meat-eating heritage. We are omnivorous creatures – capable of eating both meat and vegetables. Vegetarians often mention this as “proof” that we are perfectly capable of living on vegetables. But we aren’t herbivores – and this simple fact has had profound effects on who we are today.

Simply put, human society is a result of human evolution as pack-hunting animals. All pack hunting animals, from driver ants to orcas to hyenas and wolves, have had to evolve a complex interactive social structure. Only by cooperating can they be successful. Without our ancestors’ hunting behaviour, we’d have at best loosely connected social units with little cooperative coherence, like our purely vegetarian relatives the gorillas. Also, as a general rule, carnivores and omnivores have larger brains than herbivores – any dog or pig is more intelligent than a cow or a rabbit – since a large brain is necessary to track down and capture active prey.  

Therefore, it’s only because our ancestors hunted meat in cooperation that vegetarians have the intellectual ability to, you know, condemn meat-eating. How’s that?

6.     The claim that “non-vegetarians are cruel”; in fact, the word “butcher” being used as a synonym for cruelty. Actually, there are many ways of killing animals humanely, and the meat industry actually uses some of them – like the captive bolt pistol used by organised meat factories to stun cattle prior to slaughter. (The informal meat industry is actually far more cruel in its slaughter methods, to say nothing of the traditional Muslim or Jewish slaughter techniques.)

       Vegetarians, of course, are fine with ripping up plants and poisoning pests, but will always be careful to point to the worst of the meat-production practices as representative of all. Like all generalisations, this is not true.

Going by this logic, in fact, vegetarians should have no problem eating roadkill or animals which have died of old age. No cruelty of any kind, whatsoever, is involved in this.

Years ago, I posited that meat would be grown from laboratory cells, which again would not involve any kind of cruelty. Nor would it affect the environment, as I’ll mention next. Well, guess what? They have actually grown such meat in the lab. Will vegetarians eat said meat, as they should, since it involves no cruelty? Don’t bet on it.

7.     Meat-eating is environmentally destructive”. Now, any food cycle is roughly pyramidal – in other words, a certain base, say grass, goes to feed and nurture a smaller number (in terms of weight) of herbivores, which in turn go to nurture a still smaller number of carnivorous predators, which then feed a still smaller number of apex predators, until these die and are broken down by scavengers and bacteria to the base nutrients which go to feed the grass again. Therefore, the higher you rise in the food pyramid, the lesser the sum total of energy, packed as it is into fewer organisms. Ergo, to produce say one kilogram of meat, several kilograms of feed are required – feed which could otherwise have fed humans directly. Therefore, vegetarians – who stick to the base of the food chain – are more environmentally friendly than meat eaters. Is that right?

Well, even if we ignore all the aforesaid pesticide use, this is a hollow argument. Vegetarians typically base their arguments on eating large animals, like cows or pigs, which are actually highly energy-inefficient. It takes much more feed to produce a kilogram of beef, for instance, than it takes to produce a kilogram of, say, chicken or rabbit – and the latter require far lesser facilities, in terms of housing and labour, than large animals. Just as not all vegetarian food is the same, not all meat is the same.

In fact, one of the most environmentally-friendly meats is also right at the bottom of the totem pole – insects like grasshoppers and crickets, which a staggering number of people already eat. A lot of people, worldwide, depend on insects for their protein, and there’s absolutely no reason why food that’s good enough for poor Africans shouldn’t be good enough for rich Westerners. Entomophagy is the diet of the future – or should be.

The hypocrisy of militant vegetarianism:

As I said earlier in this article, I’m not particularly concerned about vegetarians who keep their vegetarianism to themselves. I am, however, very, very strongly against the vegetarian crusaders who will lie, invent “facts”, and otherwise bully and blackmail people to try and get them to renounce meat or all animal products.

Some of this is quite remarkably crude. I recall one Indian restaurant which was compelled to close because vegetarians in the locality began to abuse and pelt patrons with rotting – what else? – vegetables. There are entire Indian residential societies which prohibit denizens from eating meat (or, more correctly, from eating it within the premises, thus directly compelling those who want a taste to eat it outside) – and the courts have upheld their “right” to do so.

There is the right-wing Indian politician called Maneka Gandhi, whom I prefer to call Maneek!a Gundhi. This female, who was once environment minister, has been known for her “animal rights” campaigns. Once, for instance, she raided a government laboratory with her cohorts, forcibly took the experimental monkeys away, and released them into the wild. The monkeys had all been hand-reared and never had to fend for themselves; within a week, of course, every single one was dead of starvation. On another occasion, she had jungle mynahs released from captivity – in the centre of the city of Guwahati. Apparently, being “pro-animal rights” means not actually having to know anything about animals.

Well, this same Maneek!a Gundhi used to write a weekly column which the local paper used to reprint. One of her pet claims was that eggs were a “chicken’s menstrual blood” – a term not only misleading but actively meant to make people swear off eating eggs, which is actually one of the most complete foods known to humans. Eggs contain just about everything, except Vitamin C, that humans need, and are available in one package – instead of having to eat multiple different items to get the same food nutrients. In fact, trying to stop people from eating eggs (which doesn’t involve killing anything, since virtually all eggs in the market are unfertilised) is anti-humanity; a fairly typical instance of, in this case, vegan hypocrisy. Like a lot of other hypocritical things, it seems to me, that this is something only the rich can afford.

A lot of vegetarians gravitate to groups like PETA, which is, as a lot of us know, a malevolent anti-animal association which actually kills massive numbers of animals while claiming to be fighting for their rights – for details see this site, for instance. It’s no surprise that the same organisation which massacres animals at its shelter specialises in in-your-face vegan propaganda. I haven’t personally ever seen a PETA demonstration, but if I ever do so, I will have some questions to ask.

The “vegetarianism is healthier” argument:

There can be little doubt that a potato is healthier than a fat-streaked chunk of beef or pork; but again, this is selective argument. For one thing, as I said, not all meat is the same, and rabbits or chickens – or insects, or lab meat – are far less fat-laden than beef or mutton or pork.

Then, nutrients are much easier to assimilate from animal tissue than plant tissue, for the simple reason that plant cells are surrounded by cellulose cell walls. Vegetables are actually a poor source of nutrition. It’s for this reason that herbivorous animals are either huge, with enormously long intestines, like hippos or elephants, or have elaborate stomachs like bovines, or have to “reprocess” food by swallowing their own dung, like rabbits, or have to eat almost constantly, like mice. Carnivores, who digest more concentrated nutrients in the form of animal tissue, have shorter digestive systems and typically have to eat much less frequently than herbivores of their own size. Omnivores fall in between the two, and are a compromise in body plans; but omnivores are far more able to digest animal than plant tissue.

While, of course, this is partly negated by the act of cooking, which softens and breaks down cell walls, it still means that a much larger amount of vegetable tissue is required to produce the same amount of nutrient as a given amount of animal tissue. Especially when it comes to poor people, such large amounts of vegetable tissue can be simply unaffordable. If the choice is between eating termites or locusts, which one can trap for oneself, or buying – possibly multinational-marketed – vegetables, what do you think is the right thing to do? And trying to stop people from exercising the logical choice in such a case is morally reprehensible, don’t you think?

Then, some of the nutrients in vegetables can simply be impossible for some of us to utilise. I, for instance, can’t digest gram or beans, which means that vegetable protein is to a large extent nonexistent as far as I’m concerned. What would someone in my position do then? The choices are either eat animal products (mostly egg in my case; as I said, I fairly rarely eat meat), or buy extremely expensive protein supplements, or suffer from protein starvation. What would a vegetarian or vegan suggest I do?

Again, I have no quarrel whatsoever with those who are vegetarian from personal preference, cultural or religious reasons, or just because they feel queasy at the thought of killing animals. You have your reasons, and I’m prepared to respect them.

Just don’t pretend you’re better than the rest of us.

Further reading:


  1. Thanks for this analysis!

    Plant and animals only continue to live if they consume energy, and by default, something is going to end up dead in that bargain. Life is brutal.

    That being said, I limit my meat intake - particularly red meat - as part of an overall attempt to eat healthier, and I'd like to limit it even more. But I lived with a fairly unhealthy junk food vegan for years, so i don't necessarily equate it with healthiness, and you point out here how the two aren't the same.

    Incidentally, I accidentally turned that junk food vegan from a junk food vegetarian when I casually mentioned that the chickens who lay the eggs don't get to go home at the end of the day.

    I'm not smart enough to know what food is the best beyond how I look and feel after I change my diet. And that's good enough for me.

  2. Having often been assaulted by militant vegans, I could just kiss you. (No worries, I am half a world away.) I try to be mindful but hot damn, animals are tasty.

  3. Awesome seeing things from your perspective. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Bill, Show me a fat-streaked chunk of beef and I say "Yum!" But on a more serious note, your points on vegetarian hypocrisy are, of course, right on. My biggest 'beef' with the animal rights people and holier-than-though vegetarians are that many of them have no problem with cruelty to humans; in fact, many support the death penalty.

  5. Someone like me, who likes to eat shrimps should have no problems to eat maggots or crickets, when they are tasty. It's just to get used to it.

  6. Excellent! So many vegans are very hypocritical and quite fanatical. I detest fanatics of all stripes as they tend to be extremely irrational and that is disgusting and sad.
    Life feeds on life, that is how this planet works, maybe the entire universe does as well, we don't have enough data to say it does with any confidence, but I'm willing to bet it does. OK, so life feeds on life, fact for planet earth. The fool "moral" vegans had best get used to that fact and quit the bull shit they tend to push. Down with hypocrites! LOL.

  7. The most delightful bit about living in a country like India where food fascism knows no bounds, particularly in states where there is a Hindu fundamentalist government in power, is that along with the bans on beef sales and cow slaughter, they also have the largest Silk production and Leather production centres (Central Silk Board in Bangalore; this despite the BJP and its minion coalition parties shutting down beef stalls in other cities within the state & CLRI - the Central Leather Research Institute - in Chennai where Tamil Brahmins turn up their nose and shut their rental homes to any and all non vegetarians). Once NaMo comes into power I might as well turn vegetarian myself.

  8. When a field is plowed, countless thousands of animals are killed: small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects... not to mention the destruction that occurred when the habitat was changed to a mono-crop field. Compare that with eating three-quarters of a single steer for a year. The hypocrisy on the vegan killing argument is epic.

  9. I think people miss the point too much. This is so akin to the bible-thumping debate. The moral argument is not "Vegetarians don't kill while non-vegetarians kill" but about "vegetarians kill lesser than non-vegetarians". Their idea is simple (I'll phrase it in a way you 'Murricans will understand) - least amount of collateral damage possible.

    (I am anonymous because I don't give a fuck about registering and shit. Specifically with the NSA mess and all, y'all should be more careful too)

    (Oh and the idiot who made the comment about CLRI and stuff has no idea what she's talking about. I happen to be a vegan atheist at CLRI and I can assure you, nobody acts in the way this lady has described. Holy ad hominem batman!)

    1. First off:

      “Vegetarians kill lesser than non-vegetarians”.

      How do you quantify that? A non-vegetarian who kills an animal kills, disregarding parasites, just that one animal. In order to produce one gram of vegetables, let’s see, first, ground has to be cleared, thus directly killing animals as well as indirectly, by destroying their habitat. Then, you plough the ground, killing soil animals, and then you pour on pesticides, killing still more animals. Then you harvest it, in the process killing yet more animals, and then store it under conditions where animals are gassed or trapped in order to prevent them from eating the food before it reaches your table. So just how do you mean that vegetarians kill lesser?

      “You ‘Murricans”

      To whom do you refer? I’m certainly not an American, nor yet a ‘Murrican, whatever that might be.

      “That idiot who made the comment about CLRI and stuff...”

      Y’know, anyone who starts abuse has already lost the argument? But especially in this case, I believe you lose, sir. Clearly, the reference the so-called idiot made was to the hypocrisy of allowing animal-destroying industries like silk and leather while promoting vegetarianism.

      I’m glad you dropped in and all. Makes me feel all superior.

    2. The general mistake in that line of thinking is that you're comparing the 'finished' cow to the entire process of vegetable cropping, disregarding the fact that the cow had to eat crops as well, and a lot more than the people who'd eat them directly. In other words, meat production kills an extra animal on top of all the animals killed in the production of its food. Grass fed cows are an exception, but they cover only 9% of the world's beef production and an even smaller percentage of all the animals raised for food.

      Apart from that, to me there's a big difference between accidentally killing animals and deliberately force breeding them in terrible conditions so that we can consume what they produce. It's true that we'll all cause some suffering and death simply by living, however pointing out this inherent hypocrisy doesn't devalue the idea of minimizing it.

  10. Bill,

    Fat on meat is healthy. Ive never avoided it. and have never been worried in the least about dietary cholesterol.
    the only unhealthy meat is from unhealthy grain fed, drug administered cows. otherwise, it and select veggies are the healthiest foods on the planet. sugar, grains, starches are all what's driven up the obesity and disease rates in this country.

  11. I'm commenting on this one since you might remember me bringing up vegetarianism/veganism/meat-eating/etc. on CC. I forget if you were around for that. I'd just like to clarify my position.

    I don't consider myself better than other people with other diets, and I don't go around trying to make people not eat any meat or animal products or anything. If somebody offers me a steak or something I'll say "No thanks, I don't eat meat", and I'll leave it at that without going into my reasons for it. If they ask me about my reasons, I'll tell them. And I don't judge them for eating their own steak.

    What bothers me enough to avoid eating meat isn't the idea that something died so I could have a steak dinner.

    If the cow roamed around in an open space doing whatever cows like to do in open spaces, before being killed quickly and cleanly and with an absolutely minimum of pain one day so that it could be turned into steaks, I would be comfortable eating those steaks. Everything dies, after all. In nature, lots of things get killed and in non-quick, non-clean ways with a lot of pain. So what I described happening to the hypothetical cow isn't as bad as it would be in the wild, at least.

    But if I go to my local supermarket and go to where they keep the steaks, then from all I've heard in the last decade of my life or so, most of those steaks come from cows who have not had space to roam around in, and who have been quite miserable their whole lives due to being in cramped conditions. Conditions that are, quite possibly, worse that what animals in the wild have to endure, if I'm not mistaken.

    If I knew for certain that the meat available to me had come from animals that weren't factory farmed, that the only really bad day in their lives was the day they got killed and that the killing itself was done humanely, then I would not be uncomfortable eating it.

    Otherwise, I'd rather stay away.

    I don't know if I'm making a difference at all, or if I'm helping to make a difference at all, or if I'm misguided or wrong or what. It wouldn't be the first time in my life I was misguided or wrong about something. But for now, I just don't want to do anything that might possibly support cruelty towards animals, and I worry that giving money to companies that produce meat this way might do that.

    I hope that this didn't come across as condescending or obnoxious or anything else bad. I apologize if it did, since I don't want to insult anybody, just explain my point of view so you understand where I, and others, are coming from.

  12. Thanks for the excellent article. The only point I disagree with is the part about vegetables being harder to digest. I think it is different for each person and depends on many factors. Some people do better on a meat-based diet than other, and vice versa. I think if you eat more meat, the probiotic culture in your digestive track will have different bacteria strains compared to someone who eat veggies only, so if you switch to a vegetarian diet immediately, you might have issues. On the other hand, there are people who get bloat and can't digest veggies as well, unless prepared a certain way. The level of acidity of meat when being digest also play a factor, especially if a person have medical conditions. I think the important thing is to eat mainly whole foods that your body can digest well.

    Personally, I think unless you have the land, money and time to produce your own food (meat or veggies), or have access to a lot of local farmers, for most of us it is impossible to avoid conventional method of farming and causing some indirect damage. It all come down to responsibility, there are lots of things each person can do to minimize the damages, which is why I avoid conventional meat and garden to at least offset a small amount of my vegetable purchases.

  13. I hope my comment doesn't come across as offensive.

    I'm an ethical vegetarian, and I honestly believe I myself am a bit hypocritical (have been trying to go vegan, let's see how that works out).

    The argument I have is against unfair treatment of animals, and, well, killing at all, for instant-gratification. I understand that since human beings need to consume energy, we have to eat.

    As for two of your points:

    1. Yes, plants are intelligent living things. They know what goes on with their bodies too. But, they do not, cannot, feel pain. They don't have a nervous system, so they don't *feel* the way animals do. Yes, they know something is wrong with them, but it's not a feeling of pain (this is also true for many insects, eg ants).

    By it's very nature, life is intelligent and tends to preserve itself. Yes, plants have defense mechanisms, much like ANYTHING that is alive, biologically speaking. But plants cannot be in chronic pain, since they don't have a brain (here's an evolutionary argument - wouldn't it be exceptionally cruel to develop the ability to feel pain when you can't even move to avoid the cause of the pain?) If you take a plant and slap it around several times, it won't have a psychologically disturbing effect on it; again, it cannot. They don't have a brain to process that kind of sensory input. If a plant gets hurt, it fixes itself. But that's it. Much like when you contract a small virus, your body fixes itself, pretty much without you knowing. You're not thinking, "Damn this hurts, I'll fix it right away.", nor is the plant.

    Now, I try not to be unreasonable. I've tried going vegan - it's hard. So I don't condemn every non-vegetarian person I happen to come across. I'm still trying, and one day soon will definitely become vegan, but I still won't condemn people for not having the same dietary habits as me. It's a hard thing to do when you've been brought up a certain way.

    Another aspect of being reasonable is understanding that it's a human need to eat. In a life-or-death situation, it's necessary to find sustenance any way possible, even if you need to kill something. This also covers the use of pesticides to keep away and even kill pests. It's either them or us. And I'm not going to be extremely idiotic and say we should value animal life over human life. This kind of killing/suffering is necessary.

    It is when you can choose, not to hurt something for gratification, for pleasure, that you must, because as a human, you can.

    We're not instinctive beasts, like wolves, or lions. We have the ability to think at a completely different level, and that's what makes us who we are. That's what makes us human. We can afford to define pleasure, mercy, right, and wrong.

    Yes, we've traditionally been an omnivorous species. But we've also traditionally been lots of other things that we're not anymore (we don't live in caves, we don't wear rags) etc. It's not about tradition, it's about the fact that we are better than that. It doesn't make sense to say, "animals eat animals". That goes on to say we're just that. Animals. Along the same lines, animals are also savage, don't care about science, and can't play music. There's a difference, please.

    Veganism is an ideal for me. And it's hard to do something in an ideal manner. But trying is the only thing that makes sense.

  14. I am an omnivore! Just have vegan friends.
    #1: All vegans aren't maniacs, most would just like to reduce suffering. Even if that means cutting down meat one say a week, great.
    #2: The vegans I know eschew eggs unless they know the chickens personally and know the chickens did not suffer to create the eggs. Same with milk. If you and the cow are buddies, well. Go for it. That's the sort of attitude I have encountered. Like I said, my vegan friends aren't insane.
    I just eat meat. LOL!!!!
    #3 you came off a bit as acting ugly when you renamed Maneka Gandh. Why not just post a link to her human rights violations? (I prefer to call her....). Women don't like you "preferring to call us" anything. I may not know the entire story so I will leave it there.
    #4 This is whimsical, but...a potato is terribly bad for you and is NOT better for you than a fatty chunk of meat for a type 1 diabetic (the kind that is underweight not over and it wasn't their fault) like the man that I live with. A potato is a twice a month treat at most! Might as well eat a cake! I know there are Type 1 vegans but. It is a VERY expensive "Life choice"

    #6: It ain't no l"ife choice" if they tryin' to force it on others. That's called a damn religion!

    #7: I could pick apart this and that all day, but I eat meat still so I guess I should shut up!!!

  15. I think that most vegans never took acid or anything similar back in the day. otherwise they would not be able to differentiate one life from another.

  16. Your arguments are no different than people who justified slavery because blacks were different enough and therefore should be used. Also, sexists can use the same argument as yours, women are different enough and men are powerful so they should use them. Vegans ARE morally superior and your retarded illogical article proves it

    1. Thanks for the hilariously ludicrous straw-man "response", especially coming from someone without the courage to post their name. I needed that laugh.

  17. Just say "your god gave me a body that runs on meat".


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