More Militant Vegans, Less Ethical Butchers

A friend of mine recently brought to my attention a former vegan who has now re-invented himself as the “Ethical Butcher” (a title right up there with Peacekeeper missiles, limited autonomy, and military intelligence).

The butcher writes: “After 14 years as a vegetarian, a few of those as a quite ‘militant’ vegan, I became a butcher. The factors that went into me taking the position are many, but the result was maybe quite predictable. Within a month I was a full-fledged meat eater. What has not changed is my passion for the welfare of animals. Through my work as a butcher and chef, I now see a more direct way to influence and work for change in the meat industry and to improve the quality of life for all of the animals we rely on for food.”

Such backlash in the face of compassionate evolution is not uncommon. For example, just as more and more women begin to challenge gender roles, the patriarchal culture countered with Howard Stern, Maxim, and Spike TV. But I digress…

Becoming a butcher in the name of animal welfare is like joining the Marines to promote peace. What’s next, the Ethical Executioner with his “passion” for the “welfare” of prisoners? Surely, he’d just be choosing a “more direct way to influence and work for change,” following the lead of his butcher comrade.

In a society less and less capable of critical, independent thought, this pro-meat character will probably be widely praised as the antidote to “militant” vegans. You know, the food Nazis. By current standards, you could pack a calf into a veal crate or pump food down a goose’s gullet or grind up live male chicks to fertilize your fields and run no risk of being called militant. For that matter, you can clear cut forests, blow off mountain tops in search of coal, and drop white phosphorous on villages filled with brown children and garner virtually no attention at all…let alone be labeled a militant.

Choose a lifestyle of compassion and logic, speak out against vivisection, or protest the use of fur? You, my friends, are a worthy of a Hitler mustache.

With the global economy collapsing like a house of cards, 80% of the world’s forests cut down, 90% of the large fish in the ocean gone, more military conflicts than anyone can count, and our eco-systems rapidly approaching the point of no return, there’s never been a more urgent time to be a truly militant vegan.

At some point, we each have to decide: Do we respect all life or not? If we choose life instead of death, then we must view the culture holistically. To divide issues of animal suffering, eco-destruction, and human rights, is to fall into the trap of the dinosaur Left. For example, ZNet founder Michael Albert, who writes:

I see no comparison in importance between seeking to eliminate the roots and branches of sexism, and seeking to eliminate the roots and branches of violence against animals. I see no comparison in importance between how chickens are treated and how women or any humans are treated. In fact, for me the animal rights agenda resonates barely at all, and the anti-sexism agenda is part of my life.

Let’s be clear: Attempting to separate sexism from violence against animals (and all nature) is like trying to separate the human circulatory system from the respiratory system. If such obvious connections are not being made by the entrenched Left, I have to wonder: Why is anyone wasting even 5 minutes of their time on such myopia?

Since Michael Albert can’t seem to stop quoting Dylan, this song excerpt is for him, the Ethical Butcher, and all those who seek to fragment and obscure the big picture:

Don’t criticize what you can’t understand … your old road is rapidly agin’

Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand

For the times they are a-changin’

Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook. Read other articles by Mickey.

42 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Richard Oxman said on November 11th, 2009 at 11:42am #

    I loved this. Thanks, Mickey. So did all my friends. Both of them. [Pause.] Seriously, keep up the great work. It would be great if Michael Albert could see fit to post pieces like this to generate some discussion which seems to be NOT allowed on ZNet.
    Richard Martin Oxman

  2. kalidas said on November 11th, 2009 at 12:34pm #

    My will contains directions for my funeral, which will be followed not by mourning coaches, but by oxen, sheep, flocks of poultry, and a small traveling aquarium of live fish, all wearing white scarfs in honor of the man who perished rather than eat his fellow creatures. ~George Bernard Shaw

    You put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I’ll buy you a new car. ~Harvey Diamond

  3. Joshua Frank said on November 11th, 2009 at 1:02pm #

    I would hope people could drop by the Ethical Butcher’s site linked above and leave a comment or two, pointing out some of his contradictions.

  4. rosemarie jackowski said on November 11th, 2009 at 1:23pm #

    Thanks for another good one, Mickey. Also, schools could show more reverence for all life. At a NJ school where I worked, they had a real human skeleton in a showcase in the main hallway. I walked past it hundreds of times every day and always felt that the remains of that person were being disrespected by being put on needless display.

  5. Michael Dawson said on November 11th, 2009 at 1:28pm #

    Balderdash. There is a huge gulf between eating meat and the direct institutional causes of our global social crisis.

    Not eating meat is a personal choice, a matter of lifestyle. It certainly has political and ecological meanings, but it is not inseparable from injustice.

    Suggesting otherwise is simply immature. It implies that being vegan is inherently radical, a blow against the system. It also suggests that we can’t fix the world without everybody giving up meat. That is extremely dubious, at best. And this kind of wild exaggeration of PC talking points is one of the factors that keeps us isolated from our own potential allies. If everybody has to become Gandhi, then we are already defeated.

  6. Mickey Z. said on November 11th, 2009 at 1:37pm #

    Thanks, all. So nice to see so few of the usual suspects here.

    As for the tediously predictable, here are two of many, many examples of how our food choices are not simply personal:
    http://tinyurl.com/yg85p8p
    http://www.veganoutreach.org/globalwarming.html

  7. Sam said on November 11th, 2009 at 2:50pm #

    Our hospitals, medical centres, medical clinics and doctor’s offices are *not* full of vegans or vegetarians. All of these places are full of people who eat dead animals (and call it “meat.”) That should tell thinking people something…but then again.

  8. lichen said on November 11th, 2009 at 2:59pm #

    Good article. Killing dead animals and eating their corpses is cruel, is environmentally wasteful on a massive scale, and is bad for human health. People who call themselves ‘ethical butchers’ and michael pollan’s ridiculous followers are part of the problem.

    As for the nature of sexism in the article above, it is an insult that mickey acts as if women are the only ones with issues, and as if many, many female humans don’t believe in prosecuting males with very rigid, punitive traditional gender roles. And as if there isn’t an epidemic of violence against males, from birth. Indeed, I think such things (as the great amount of abuse and the male gender roles people are suffocated with) is what can keep some people from being open to compassionate evolution such as veganism.

  9. bozh said on November 11th, 2009 at 3:20pm #

    mickey z might permit me to analyze-clarify his generalization: “In a society less and less capable of critical, independent thought …”. The statement appears quite misleading as it does not suggest or say that people are quite capable of thinking.

    Or as i often say: don’t believe our ‘betters’; or rulers-clergy that we are not OK; including in thinking!

    That we are not ok;i.e., that we are dumb, unrully, uncivilized, incapable of proper thinking and thus shld be excluded from having a share in minding our own business; which includes running our countries, schools, etc., had been institutioanlized by high priests, priest kings, and godful kings of sumer, akkad, and egypt.

    I do not think that any coldbloodded observer [a hot one won't do; the one that shouts USA USA USA] wld negate the fact that every US prez had been god or high priest god, when it came to killing redpeople, koreans, phillipinos, cubans, vietnamese, iraqis, palestinians, afghanis, and numerous other people.

    Lower classes in US, just like lower classes everywhere have been conditioned, just like pavlov dog had been.
    Once conditoning had been inculcated in every cell of ones body-mind that US constitution is an infallible or even a holy writ, US is a great country, etc., even slavery had not been noticed.
    Or had, but quite ok and over which even a war had been fought. And even after that war terror against blacks continued for a century or so. And what had been happening to lower class in US, had happened to lower classes in japan, germany, italy and just about everywhere.

    The methodology is well known; tried over millennia and seems to work every time: Just tell them the biggest lies.
    If they come from kings, feudal lords, warlords [today's included]they are evaluated as true by usually 90% of people and one obtains serfs for a life time who wld even gladly kill aliens if commanded to. tnx

  10. greenguy said on November 11th, 2009 at 4:05pm #

    This is ridiculous, holier-than-thou veganism at its worst. How many animals were threshed in their fields for your veggies, comrade? Can you live with the slaughter of innocent rats, field mice, snakes, etc. all so you can eat your holy vegan food?

    We need to eat less meat, and raise it in a humane way. The world will not stop eating meat simply because you stamp your feet and tell them they should. Your friend, the Ethical Butcher, is doing more to encourage good, healthy eating practices than vegans eating monoculture soy products.

  11. izzy said on November 11th, 2009 at 4:33pm #

    Bozh,

    You make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Think before typing.

  12. Sam said on November 11th, 2009 at 4:43pm #

    Someone wrote “we need to eat less meat [sic], and raise it in a humane way.”

    ——————

    Well, this “we” doesn’t eat any dead animals. I’m of the mind that an animal should not have to give up its life so that I can have a meal.

    Then the person goes on to talk about “raise it humanely.” Yes, “raise it humanely” then kill it. Yeah, that’s real “humane.” Does anyone see any blatant hypocrisy here? What is “humane” about killing the animal—which is what happens in the end—so that one can eat a dead animal or “meat” (which is the sanitized term for a dead animal).

  13. Sheila Velazquez said on November 11th, 2009 at 5:24pm #

    Mickey wrote:

    “With the global economy collapsing like a house of cards, 80% of the world’s forests cut down, 90% of the large fish in the ocean gone, more military conflicts than anyone can count, and our eco-systems rapidly approaching the point of no return, there’s never been a more urgent time to be a truly militant vegan.”

    These facts are all correct, but not necessarily relevant or a reason to be a militant vegan. I agree that we eat more meat than we should or but eating meat is a choice and a right. If you want to discuss the consequences of raising of meat on our eco-systems, consider this:

    “Our unrestrained use of coal, natural gas, oil, and petroleum products combined with our over-consumption of just-plain-stuff that ends up in landfills produces over three times the methane emissions as ruminants in this country.”

    This quote comes from treehugger.com:
    http://tinyurl.com/nxqgn9

    So, all you vegans out there. How much stuff do you have? How many water bottles do you accumulate before they go to the recyling center? Do you compost kitchen scraps (like most small farmers do), or do they go into a new white plastic bag with a drawstring closure? You get my drift.

    Sustainably raised meat that is processed and sold locally does not add to our greenhouse problems in the same way that commercially grown meat does, because you eliminate the fuel, processing, and wholesaling steps altogether.

    Unfortunately, locally grown, grass-fed beef is expensive to raise, primarily because the scale is small, and the herd is closely watched and managed. Most people would rather eat cheap cuts of unidentifiable meat.

    As for the cruelty aspect, animals die. Free-range Chickens are taken by hawks and eagles when they otherwise would have lived comfortable lives puttering around in the field. My animals, and those of my friends, are cared for better than most dogs whose owners leave them locked up alone all day, or whose kids sit in daycare for most of their waking hours. If that’s not you, sorry. But it is alot of you.

    Unless you have raised animals for meat and understand the difference between factory farms and sustainable farms, you have no right to criticize. There are many ways we can all work to make the lives of animals better, i.e., we should boycott factory-farmed meat and be willing to support the small farmer who is doing the right thing. We can also all recycle, reuse, etc. What we don’t need to do is to be divisive along the lines of what we eat.

  14. bozh said on November 11th, 2009 at 5:26pm #

    izzy,
    i am sure that most people understand what i posited. People who attack me or my writing just don’t like what i said. An honest reader or one with human face wld ask the person to further clarify-paraphrase some or all statements that one does not understand.

    An overwhelming number of responders understand the basic notion or fact i adduce. I hadn’t been asked even once to explain any of my utterances.
    The people that attack me most of the time are ‘jews’ because they like most people can handle lie much better than the truth. tnx for ur reply

  15. Sam said on November 11th, 2009 at 6:05pm #

    Someone asked:
    So, all you vegans out there. How much stuff do you have? How many water bottles do you accumulate before they go to the recyling center? Do you compost kitchen scraps (like most small farmers do), or do they go into a new white plastic bag with a drawstring closure? You get my drift.

    ————————-

    I can only speak for myself:

    How much stuff? Practically nothing. I’m not the least bit materialistic. In fact, just the opposite. I don’t shop in box stores and actually can’t stand to shop, even on the Internet. The only thing I buy regularly is food each week at a worker-owned grocery store which sells organically grown food in my major city.

    Do I compost? Hell Yes.

    How many water bottles? Water bottles? I don’t buy bottled water. I drink water from the tap and in the major city where I live we have the finest water quality in the nation.

    I find this entire thread interesting, but predictable. Every single time I have seen an article about vegans/vegetarians on the Internet, the “discussion” runs exactly like it is on here. The dead animal eaters come up with all kinds of justifications and excuses for continuing to eat as they were most likely programmed to eat from childhood (to eat dead animals). And of course they always trot out the “holier than thou” language directed at the vegans and vegetarians. It’s usually the dead animal eaters who come off as “holier than thou” when you read what they write.

    Getting people to change their behavior isn’t very easy to do and what we are talking about here is a change in behavior. For one to stop eating dead animals requires a change in behavior and in one’s thinking. Most dead animal eaters will continue to make excuses, “rationales” and justifications for eating dead animals just like most Dem kool-aid drinkers make excuses and justifications for the D war criminal trash in congress and in the White House that they unconditionally and blindly support. It’s the exact same mentality. Yet many will call themselves “a progressive.” Like hell you are! Many people don’t know the first thing about being a true progressive. Many people just play one on message boards (while they are eating dead animals, doing no recycling, shopping at corporate box stores, buying bottled water, watching corporate media, not buying locally, not caring about what they eat at all, driving their SUV wherever they go because they couldn’t possibly walk a city block, pumping out babies in an already overpopulated planet, voting for any piece of garbage with a D behind the name, and I could go on). So I appreciate the topic, but it’s not likely to change one damn thing. I’ve learned that people have to come to these realizations on their own. With this topic, it’s often out of necessity that change will take place. One is forced by one’s doctor to stop eating dead animals because the patient couldn’t have any more heart bypasses/heart surgeries. I knew someone like that, although he’s dead now. He was my partner’s dad.

  16. tom ward said on November 11th, 2009 at 7:11pm #

    Whether you’re a veggie-head or omnivore doesn’t matter. Let’s pretend we’re all striving to be humans. Humans focus on the welfare of our children.

    Since 1950, world population grew 2.7 times to 6.7-billion. Estimate for 2050: 8.9-billion.

    Meat consumption/lifestyle patterns of the 50’s are irrelevant today. It is NOT a question of humane vs factory farms. We could not have maintained meat/fish consumption except for factory farming. Now that the rest of the world wants its share of animal-based protein, forget humane, think factory-farm vs barbaric-farm. Next we will suppress animal nervous & respiratory systems, increasing chemicals in feed additives 10 times. This is what your children will eat.

    Let’s pretend we are humans focusing on the welfare of our children. College education plans will help. Veggie-head diets will help much more. Given this head-start, they will be – not just a little healthier – they will be immeasurably healthier. And happier – not hungering for food we ALL know they shouldn’t ingest – because they weren’t pre-programmed with self-destructive appetites.

    Within 20 years (1 generation) most of us will be near-veggie-heads whether we like it not.

    (In the event we destroy the world, the foregoing does not apply.)

  17. tom ward said on November 11th, 2009 at 7:27pm #

    Can I also add:

    It’s because of people like Sam (see his comment above) that I became a veggie-head, 25 years ago. Even if these internet articles are redundant (’cause you read them before), not everyone has read them before. So these threads must continue, and veggie-heads must continue to add their experiences…over & over again.

    If a veggie-head diet is not for you, it’s not for you. Internet is about EVERYONE’S right to express their opinion, continuously. If we get upset, these threads deteriorate into useless bytes. (I do admit though: sometimes the satire/irony (from both sides of the debate) is so clever, I laugh about ‘em all day. )

  18. thecelt said on November 11th, 2009 at 8:28pm #

    Great article Mickey……by the way, couldnt agree more with you on that one (znet) Oxman.

  19. Michael Dawson said on November 11th, 2009 at 8:55pm #

    Mickey’s posings are tediously predictable, aren’t they? Solipsism gets old quickly. Yet Brand Mickey yammers on, ignoring facts and refusing to think about what he says in the public realm.

    Nobody said there are no ethics to food selection. But, without mentioning the fact that food choice is a luxury unavailable to the vast majority of Earthlings, the existence of some ethical aspects does not make food choice a high institutional or political priority.

    Greenguy has this counter-productive twaddle nailed.

  20. Paul Howard said on November 11th, 2009 at 10:56pm #

    How does nonviolence harmonize with the feminist movement? Take abortion, for example. Women’s so-called reproductive freedom practically means the presumed right to kill their unborn children. It is definitely violence.

  21. Sam said on November 12th, 2009 at 12:10am #

    Someone wrote:
    How does nonviolence harmonize with the feminist movement?

    ————————–

    What “feminist movement?” The “feminist movement” is as dead as the peace movement.

  22. Andy Best said on November 12th, 2009 at 1:06am #

    Michael

    With all no due respect, Greenguy has not nailed anything. Greenguy sides with the ethical butcher. His logic is that when faced with a rampant destructive system the best way to deal with it is to join in and strive for gradually acceptable change.

    That’s the kind of logic that gave us Obomber instead of McKinney. It’s the kind of logic that allows us to enable the current political elite rather than just overthrow them.

    It’s the kind of logic that says if you someone robs your house, the best way is to join the guy, rob some more houses together then try to quietly suggest he stick to VCRs but leave things that look like they have sentimental value.

    It’s not logic at all.

    Brand Mickey? Have we any idea what ‘dissident’ even means. It disgraceful for people here to comment on pieces with knee jerk reactions and personal attacks.

  23. Andra Muhoberac said on November 12th, 2009 at 5:24am #

    I wish I’d said that! Brilliant!

  24. Keith Evans said on November 12th, 2009 at 7:44am #

    If people don’t open thier eyes, if they carry on eating meat and thereby promoting the growth of the livestock industry; they are not only harming themselves, exposing thier own bodies to an exagerated risk of a whole host of chronic illnesses; they are also putting the very existance of life on this planet in danger.

    “In 2006, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations released a report entitled Livestock’s Long Shadow. It looked at the direct impact of meat production and also at the impact of the feed crop agriculture required for meat production.

    The report stated that meat production is the second or third largest contributor to environmental problems at every level and at every scale, from global to local. It is responsible for land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, species extinction, loss of biodiversity and climate change. Henning Steinfeld, a senior author of the report, stated, “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

    The FAO report is considered the most definitive, comprehensive and reliable assessment we have. And it states that livestock production generates a staggering 65% of the nitrous oxide produced by human activities, and this greenhouse gas has an even more staggering 296 times the Global Warming Potential of carbon dioxide. The FAO concluded that overall, livestock production is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport. What that means is meat production contributes more to global warming than all the trucks, cars and planes in the world combined.

    The Live Earth concert handbook stated that “Refusing meat is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.” Even Environmental Defence, a group which has justifiably been called Bush’s favourite environmental group, calculates that if every meat eater in the US swapped just one meal of chicken per week for a vegetarian meal, the carbon saving would be equivalent to taking half a million cars off the road.” – John Robins

  25. Michael Dawson said on November 12th, 2009 at 10:07am #

    Andy, logic didn’t give us Zerobama over McKinney, our social institutions, our still-powerful ruling class, and our history did. Logic is not magic, and it is not freely chosen. People make their own history, but they do so only under inherited conditions that heavily influence the choices. As greenguy rightly noted, wanting something really hard doesn’t mean you’ll get it.

    Power is much more than just values. It’s circumstances and resources and access to knowledge and decisions.

    So, spare us your sophomoric vegan crapola. As greenguy says, people are absolutely going to keep eating meat. The question is how much and under what conditions. To the extent food politics matter, the point is to give ordinary people more say over what gets produced and how. If that ever happens, you vegans will have to learn to stop trying to shout down people who don’t buy your weak argument. Veganism is one among many perfectly reasonable lifestyle choices. Deal with it. Maybe then, you can grow up and start working on something that actually matters.

  26. James O'Shea said on November 12th, 2009 at 10:46am #

    “Veganism is one among many perfectly reasonable lifestyle choices.”

    -Michael Dawson

    The point Mickey Z. and Andy and many other people are trying to make is that eating meat is NOT a reasonable lifestyle choice. It is unreasonable to breed and maintain enough animals to feed billions of people if the negative side-effects of that process are poisoning the environment. We have a serious population problem and the least we can do is try and minimize the impact of feeding that population.

    If you do not want to read the links that Mickey left above:

    http://tinyurl.com/yg85p8p
    http://www.veganoutreach.org/globalwarming.html

    you can just do some quick Google searches:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/us/29poultry.html
    http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2009/11/12/131931_national-news.html

    etc.

  27. Peace Is Coming For You said on November 12th, 2009 at 11:16am #

    Here’s my theory-

    People will work towards “humanely” raised meat, banning factory farming practices more and more as time goes on. Many more farms like Polyface will try to keep up with demand. Meat prices will soar and the first round of vegans will be created: the lower class. As prices rise, demand will fall, leading to a fallout of government farm subsidies. Once public land, water, corn, and soy are no longer subsidized, the price of meat will jump again, creating a new round of vegans: the middle class. By this time, a pound of ground beef will cost $35 and only the upper class folks will be able to afford flesh. With 66% of the populous unable to afford meat except for special occasions, the health of the entire country will greatly improve- so will the mental clarity- and the argument against veganism will subside. Soylent green anyone? Welcome to Vegamerica!

  28. Peace Is Coming For You said on November 12th, 2009 at 11:23am #

    Here’s my theory-

    People will work towards “humanely” raised meat, banning factory farming practices more and more as time goes on. Many more farms like Polyface will try to keep up with demand. Meat prices will soar, people will learn that raising livestock humanely is not a sustainable paradigm, and the first round of economic vegans will be created: the lower class. As prices rise, demand will fall, leading to a fallout of government farm subsidies. Once public land, water, corn, and soy are no longer subsidized, the price of meat will jump again, creating a new round of economic vegans: the middle class. By this time, a pound of ground beef will cost $35 and only the upper class folks will be able to afford flesh. With 66% of the populous unable to afford meat except for special occasions, the health of the entire country will greatly improve- so will the mental clarity- and the argument against veganism will subside. Soylent green anyone? Welcome to Vegamerica!

  29. greenguy said on November 12th, 2009 at 2:05pm #

    What’s interesting is that all of this talk about veganism vs. “animal killing” takes place in a rarefied vacuum of content American society. I am a communist who would love to see a revolution overturn the socioeconomic system, and hardly one to “gradually” seek change. But I also understand that we must see reality for what it is.

    Organic farms like Polyface have animals on them because they provide nutrients to the soil (manure) and eventually profit to the farmer (eggs, dairy, meat, etc.) Without massive amounts of chemical fertilizers, how would an organic farm fertilize the fields? We cannot ask small farmers to “go vegan” but we can ask them to honor the animals they are raising by doing so in humane conditions. Meat prices will rise, and people will eat fewer animals – our meat consumption is unsustainable as it is. The Ethical Butcher is reminding people they have a choice in how they are eating by selecting where their products are purchased and how they are raised, just as much as conscious vegans/vegetarians are.

    For those of us who have stepped outside of the Western world, and really Anglo culture, the concept of being a vegetarian, let alone vegan, is rarely understood. Meat is scarce enough that to forgo it is seen as illogical. Also, unlike the United States, most societies have food cultures with traditional, healthy dishes that they venerate and pass from generation to generation. We have a splintered food culture that has left us with home cooks that don’t know how to cook, awash in a fast-food wasteland. Part of the “ethical” food movement, even those of us who eat meat, is trying to teach people to cook and select the best quality products to make them healthier. You cannot and simply will not reach people by screaming that they are murderers for eating locally produced pork or chicken; they will tune you out and you will have accomplished less than the “Ethical Butcher” will. In a non-western culture you would be viewed as crazy; here, just a nuisance. That doesn’t mean the end-goal is unreachable, but just as revolutionaries figured out a long time ago, you need a transitional program to get people to realize the system needs to be fundamentally altered.

  30. lichen said on November 12th, 2009 at 2:29pm #

    There is a thriving, veganic (vegan-organic) agriculture method that does not need animals, but uses the plant cycle. Further, even the right wing, anti-equality, religous fundamentalist “traditional” cultures have always had strains of vegetarianism and veganism such as in India. But thankfully, we are not bound by them and we can’t pretend the planet is in the state it was millions or even thousands of years ago.

  31. Sam said on November 12th, 2009 at 2:40pm #

    Someone mentioned India…

    One of my acquaintances is from India and I asked him about vegetarians/vegans in India. He said it’s mainly the upper caste who are vegetarians and/or vegans in India.

  32. lichen said on November 12th, 2009 at 2:51pm #

    I’ve never eaten meat, and I really don’t base my diet or politics on what people in India do, but I’ve read that 42% of people in India classify as vegetarian currently. I don’t think they could all be upper caste.

  33. Sam said on November 12th, 2009 at 3:10pm #

    I certainly don’t live under any illusion that anyone is going to stop eating dead animals because of any discussion here or anywhere else. I never ask anyone why they eat dead animals when I go out to eat with someone. From my experience however some of the dead animals eaters constantly ask me why I don’t eat “meat” as if there is something wrong with me. They shout, “you don’t eat meat?,” as if they have never heard of someone not eating dead animals.

    Our health care costs would be considerably lower however if it weren’t for dead animals eaters. Especially when it’s warm in the major city where I live, I hear sirens for hours. They are ambulances going to hospitals taking people who are having a heart attack or think they are having a heart attack. Vegans and vegetarians are not very susceptible to coronary problems.

    So even though many holier-than-thou, nose-in-the-air, smug dead animal eaters are adamantly hell-bent to not change their eating behavior, they are costing all of us $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ in health care costs and in severe land, water and air degradation from the raising of animals to be “humanely” killed. What an hypocrisy that is!

    Fortunately, an animal does not have to die every time I’m hungry.

  34. kalidas said on November 12th, 2009 at 5:28pm #

    The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of “real food for real people” you’d better live real close to a real good hospital. ~Neal Barnard

  35. rhondda said on November 12th, 2009 at 5:39pm #

    Yes, indeed times are a changing. You know I really hate men who appropriate women’s pain for their own agenda. I too do not like the slaughter of animals for the white man’s agenda, but how dare you compare my pain as a woman in relation to that agenda with that of slaughterhouses. How dare you. If you had done an analysis of the predator/prey relationship, perhaps I would overlook your sexism. I so despise liberal white males who live in the city and know nothing of natural world. Have you read The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Kieth, or Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon? Do you know nothing of Native American lifestyles? Yet in some abstract esoteric spiritual polemic you claim some superior judgment. What do you know of death?
    Well, I just hope people who live in the city keep being vegans. Just saying.

  36. B99 said on November 12th, 2009 at 5:54pm #

    Paul Howard – No woman should be forced to remain pregnant against her will. To force women to do so is an act of violence.

  37. Sheila Velazquez said on November 13th, 2009 at 6:43am #

    Rhondda, totally agree.

    If we humans, like animals, would learn to eat every part of the carcass, including using the bones for soup, fewer meat animals would have to be raised. As I said previously, if you haven’t walked in the small farmer’s shoes/moccasins, you can’t begin to understand the dynamic.

    Soils are depleted by the foods of vegetarians, but there are methods to enrich the soil that almost no one uses. Example: The Native American Three Sisters method of raising corn, beans, squash. The bean plant that affixes nitrogen to the soil is planted to grow on the corn, which depletes nitrogen. The squash plants grow in the rows, conserving water and keeping down weeds. No chemical fertilizer or weed killer is necessary, and the soil is left in good condition.

    Joel Salatin led the way. There are many young people following his lead, trying to build a more sustainable system.

    And who says that on some level plants don’t have feelings.

  38. Sam said on November 14th, 2009 at 5:14am #

    Someone wrote:

    If we humans, like animals, would learn to eat every part of the carcass…”

    ————————

    1. Humans ARE animals.

    2. As for “learn to eat every part of the carcass.” Yuck. That is really disgusting. Is one supposed to drink the blood that is running all over the plate too when the dead animal is served “rare?” Yuck.

  39. B99 said on November 14th, 2009 at 7:09am #

    Very few non-human animals (save bacteria) eat every part of the animal. In fact, our closest relatives – other primates – certainly do not eat every part of the animals they kill. (Yes all primates are meat eaters.)

  40. kalidas said on November 14th, 2009 at 12:58pm #

    When my kids were young they wanted jello, just like their little friends ate.
    I broke it to them just what jello was made of.
    End of story.
    They aren’t attracted to snails, fish eggs, bulls balls or rat’s asses, either.

  41. Vittorio MD said on November 18th, 2009 at 9:18pm #

    Hello Mickey,
    congratulations for this excellent piece.

  42. lclarsen said on November 24th, 2009 at 11:18pm #

    “At some point, we each have to decide: Do we respect all life or not?”

    Yeah, I 100% do not respect all life. I respect human beings. There we part ways. You’re like the right-wing freaks obsessed with the well-being of stem cells because it lessons their guilt about real human beings and the tremendous material and spiritual suffering that the status quo unnecessarily ensures them.

    People, animals, stem cells, plants, whatever right?

    I completely and totally DISAGREE. However cutting down on meat is important for people as it can raise the amount of total food available for people to eat.

    I recommend you approach it that way otherwise you’re going to be turning a lot of good people off and rightfully so.