• Louis
    10
    [To disclaim: I am looking to be convinced one way or another. I consider myself to be philosophically honest, and have no prejudice against veganism nor non-veganism, so whilst I may debate, it is for the purpose of coming to the truth, not to shut down anyone who disagrees with me.]

    I am currently struggling with the complex problem of veganism. I have been considering the ethical arguments for veganism for quite some time, and I mostly consider them to be cogent. However, given my current scientific knowledge, I believe that the consumption of meat is healthier, and is better for the climate (I know, it is contrarian), and thus struggle, as I am not sure whether or not the ethical consequences of consuming meat are worse or better than the non-consumption, in favour of better human health, and climate health. I will quickly clarify my beliefs and form a short argument. I am looking to be convinced.

    Health: I believe both vegan and meat-eating diets can be healthier than the standard American diet, however, I believe that a meat-eating diet, (specifical keto) is healthier. (I should also state that I do not particularly like the taste of meat, so my main reason for eating it is the reasons I list here).

    Climate: I am a strong climate activist, and I am aware of the connection between climate action and veganism, however, I am currently convinced that organic, pasture-fed animals are environmentally neutral.

    Ethical: I am fully aware of the awful conditions many animals in agriculture experience, I do not consume animal products from factory farms, only pasture-fed and finished animals, from local farms.

    So my argument is thus
    Argument:
    1. The consumption of meat will never be perfectly ethical, but the consumption of well cared, pasture-fed animals, is much more ethical than factory-farmed animals and is beneficial to human health.
    2. A vegan diet is directly morally ethical, as it does not involve direct animal suffering, however, it may have indirect ethical issues given the environmental and health impacts.
    [For the sake of the argument, please assume the scientific side of premises 1 & 2 is true]
    3. It is more ethical to consume humanely raised animal products for the sake of human health and the prevention of climate change.


    I understand that it may be compelling to argue how my current belief in the health and environmental impact of meat consumption may be wrong, and if you would like to argue it go ahead. But for most, I would prefer to assume my beliefs to be true for the purpose of the argument.
  • Clarky
    9.1k
    I understand that it may be compelling to argue how my current belief in the health and environmental impact of meat consumption may be wrong, and if you would like to argue it go ahead. But for most, I would prefer to assume my beliefs to be true for the purpose of the argument.Louis

    We need more well-thought-out and clearly written original posts like this one. Other than that, I think your opinions related to the health and environmental consequences of veganism are incorrect, so I won't comment further.

    Welcome to the forum.
  • javi2541997
    1.5k


    Hello Louis, welcome to the forum.

    I am agree with your arguments. I want to add that veganism has become since the 2010's an other kind of mass similar to how Ortega y Gasset described it. I think inside veganism there are two sides who win: 1. Some companies or entrepreneurs who see it coming and started developing products just for "vegans". They were so clever and earned so much money playing with the health of the people.
    2. Some political movements or lobbies. They are so called as Greens. I remember them just as a tiny group of members. Nevertheless, nowadays they are part of governments. Then, they created it another kind of "social agent" inside politics as well as trade workers or tobacco factories.
  • 180 Proof
    8.4k
    I second @T Clark's welcome, admiration of your OP and disagreement with your argument. Not to be flip (I should respond with a proper argument in kind, maybe later if there's interest), I think (1) vat-grown animal protein and (2) global population reduction by 50-75% (as IT automation plus carbon-capture & renewable technologies accelerate) is what a sustainable global civilization looks like.
  • Hillary
    1.9k
    The best food is straight out of natures, non-processed, non-genetically modified food. If you like animals, don't eat them. If you like animals but don't mind eating them, eat animals that have lived a life as natural as can be. All other uses of animals are not needed.
  • Kevin Tan
    17
    For me the problem lies in the phrase 'humanely raised'. If humane is measured by the current state of wellbeing of humanity, I don't know if that's well. I've tried veganism for years. Partly succesfully. For me the problem is this whole black&white attitude. If you eat vegan and vegetarian most of the time, what's wrong with that? If you eat vegan and vegetarian sometimes, what's wrong with that? This whole culture of cultivated condemnation is not serving anyone, in my opinion.

    Anyway, thank you for bringing the subject up. What is ethical in terms of food consumption has been the subject of debate for millennia. I have studied the Jewish and Christian takes on it. Now I'm studying the Muslim perspectives. I find death by live beheading unethical. It gives me the creeps. It's very common, very standard, like the guillotine back in the days. Currently I think smoothies are ethical. I eat/drink a lot of them. With some added nutrient powder. Got some maple syrup just in case, but I find them sweet enough, just fine!
  • Louis
    10
    Thank you, that's understandable.
  • Louis
    10
    I would partially disagree with what you've said, as I think pro-environment government seats such as the greens are beneficial, and I prefer action on climate change. However, I do agree there is the corporatisation of the vegan name, which expands and creates misinformation, but we should note this also exists on all other sides of the food industry, and so all research should be cautiously conducted.
  • Louis
    10
    In terms of ethics, I would much prefer to eat lab-grown meats, as supposedly they would have the same health benefits. It is important to consider though, what the ingredients for the lab-grown meats are, and their impact. I am also interested in your claim of population reduction, whilst that may directly reduce carbon emissions, is that necessary? It appears at the moment, that a switch to renewable resources and energy sources as well as carbon capture will be sufficient in preventing major warming?
  • unenlightened
    6.5k
    I am currently convinced that organic, pasture-fed animals are environmentally neutral.Louis

    That is a bit simplistic. The issue I would put to you is one of sheer environmental acreage.

    If everyone shifted to a plant-based diet we would reduce global land use for agriculture by 75%. This large reduction of agricultural land use would be possible thanks to a reduction in land used for grazing and a smaller need for land to grow crops.
    https://ourworldindata.org/land-use-diets

    Now that too is a simplification, because there is some land that is unsuitable for crops, but even there, most will support forest and wilderness. Unquestionably, a mainly vegan diet as the norm, would be greatly beneficial to the environment, at least while we wait for @180 Proof to halve the population, and even beyond. Most animals are fed crops for a portion of their diet because pasture does not grow all the year round in most places, and at the moment we are still losing forest to cattle and their feed, to satisfy the increasing demand for meat

    the problem is this whole black&white attitude.Kevin Tan

    I agree. There has always been a bit of a religious attitude about polluting the body with animal products. Leave the slugs in your salad for added protein, I say. :wink:
  • Kevin Tan
    17
    I agree. There has always been a bit of a religious attitude about polluting the body with animal products. Leave the slugs in your salad for added protein, I say. :wink:unenlightened

    Let's call it escargots then ;)
  • Bitter Crank
    10.8k
    Feed to meat efficiency, anyone?

    Bear in mind that the feed efficiency of animals depends on whether we are talking about a live, cackling chicken or a serving of skinless, boneless meat.

    awfw-feed-conversion-efficiencies-1.jpg

    It also depends on whether we are talking about a chicken running around outside all day, or a chicken that is in a cage with very limited space, bred and fed to grow fast and die young. Truly free-range animals are going to reach their best market weight slower than confined animals. I prefer range-fed beef, but it does take longer for a grass / hay fed cow to reach market weight. (Grass and hay fed cows are also healthier--not requiring antibiotics to control crowd-sourced infections and to speed weight gain.)

    I'm an enthusiastic carnivore, but the methods of mass production of chicken, pork, and beef are disgusting in several senses of the word. The methods in use are pretty much required if corporations are going to maximize profits--and if meat is going to be relatively cheap.
  • Ken Edwards
    162
    I seems to me that Vegans deplore the eating of meat as being in some way harmful or damageing to an entire species. That idea is, on the face of it, unrealistic.

    Take for example Cattle. Cattle, wihin a short few years, have changed from being a mildly successful species in terms of survival to becoming a wildly successful species survival wise. Cattle, thanks to we humans, have become one of the most successfu species of all time.

    So, my answer to any possible bull that might want to thank me for its fantasic survival, might be --"Oh don't hank me. Thank my butcher."
  • 180 Proof
    8.4k
    I am also interested in your claim of population reduction, whilst that may directly reduce carbon emissions, is that necessary?Louis
    I think it's necessary for, at least, lowering demands for food production (re: impacts e.g. agricultural deforestation) and depletion of highly-stressed fresh water aquifers and wetlands as well as the number and frequency of regional military conflicts (massive carbon emitters) over scarcer arable land, etc.

    It appears at the moment, that a switch to renewable resources and energy sources as well as carbon capture will be sufficient in preventing major warming?
    In the long-term, I agree. Meeting the near-term goal of under 2° C over mid-19th century temperatures requires, it seems to me, 'picking the low-hanging fruit' of slowing major warming identified (greenwashed?) in COP26, etc.
  • L'éléphant
    651
    I think it's necessary for, at least, lowering demands for food production (re: impacts e.g. agricultural deforestation) and depletion of highly-stressed fresh water aquifers and wetlands as well as the number and frequency of regional military conflicts (massive carbon emitters) over scarcer arable land, etc.180 Proof
    Yes, this. But to lower demands, we must lower the population, or find substitute nutrients. (You mentioned reduce population in your earlier post). In any areas of people's lives, consumption has always been a linear increase, never a decrease, unless an item we're used to consuming in the past had been deemed poisonous or cancer-causing food. It would take a governmental action, such as in the subject of smoking, to stop the population.
  • L'éléphant
    651
    Argument:
    1. The consumption of meat will never be perfectly ethical, but the consumption of well cared, pasture-fed animals, is much more ethical than factory-farmed animals and is beneficial to human health.
    2. A vegan diet is directly morally ethical, as it does not involve direct animal suffering, however, it may have indirect ethical issues given the environmental and health impacts.
    [For the sake of the argument, please assume the scientific side of premises 1 & 2 is true]
    3. It is more ethical to consume humanely raised animal products for the sake of human health and the prevention of climate change.
    Louis
    There is a jump between 2 and 3. Where's the missing link?
  • MmeGazelle
    10
    1. The consumption of meat will never be perfectly ethical, but the consumption of well cared, pasture-fed animals, is much more ethical than factory-farmed animals and is beneficial to human health.
    2. A vegan diet is directly morally ethical, as it does not involve direct animal suffering, however, it may have indirect ethical issues given the environmental and health impacts.
    [For the sake of the argument, please assume the scientific side of premises 1 & 2 is true]
    3. It is more ethical to consume humanely raised animal products for the sake of human health and the prevention of climate change.


    The vast majority of meat eaten by the vast majority of people is not produced in a way that is consistent with 1 & 3. So the ethical thing to do is to reduce, or ideally altogether avoid, consumption of meat produced in environmentally harmful and unhealthy ways. Whether that be by veganism or exclusively eating ‘well-cared, pasture fed’ meat, the aim should be eliminating ‘factory’ farming practices, something which both vegans and ‘ethical’ meat eaters agree would benefit the environment and health.
  • baker
    4.5k


    1. The planet and its plants and animals don't exist for humans to eat it up.

    2. If one eats solely for the purpose of living, one might as well eat cardboard. Or soylent green.
  • Louis
    10
    Well I don't think they're are any, or many vegans who argue for no meat consumption for the sake of a particular species, they mostly put forward ethical, environmental, or human health-related arguments.
  • Louis
    10
    '1. The planet and its plants and animals don't exist for humans to eat it up.'
    I don't know what your worldview is, but how could you say that naturally, humans are not meant to eat animals? Do you think there is some greater purpose of animals that is not that they should be eaten? I'm confused.

    '2. If one eats solely for the purpose of living, one might as well eat cardboard. Or soylent green.'
    If by living you mean staying alive for as long as possible, then no, one should not just eat cardboard.
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    The Mind-Body Gap

    Not much has changed, bodily, for the past 35,000 years (Cro-Magnons looked like us and we look like them)

    Mentally, however, we've taken great leaps forward!

    These bodies are no longer the appropriate vessels for our highly advanced brains/minds.

    Many issues like carnism/veganism can be framed in the context of The Mind-Body Gap to get a good handle on them.

    According to our bodies, the year is 2022 CE
    According to our minds, the year is 30032 CE

    :grin:
  • Marvin Katz
    32
    I can contribute by relating my own experience. I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian at age 18 and now am 91 years old. A lacto-ovo veggie is one who may eat an egg, and imbibe in some dairy-product. Since I started with this diet, I have never again eaten any meat. After the first couple of months, I have never even missed the taste of meat. I am extremely healthy ...hardly ever experience an ache or a pain. This is because I eat a scientific diet governed by three principles: fresh, raw, and whole.

    So I can reasonably assert that eating meat is NOT more healthy; as Louis believes it is.

    By not feeding them (via supliments) adequate nutrition, thru the years, my eyes have bcome weaker, and tinnitus is lessening my hearing. . However, I virtually- never get sick. I give the plant-based diet the credit. Get your food organically-grown if at all possible. Eat it as fresh as possible. Emphasize raw salads; and for protein a handful of raw nuts every day. Eat a LOW-protein diet. You will see the difference in how well you will feel!!

    p.s. I am a professor of Values and Ethics; so if you are interested in that field, ask me any questions ...or search out and read my latest writing, an essay entitled THE STRUCTURE OF ETHICS.
    Your impressions of it. ...may take two hours of your time to peruse it straight through. Reflect upon it and tell us what you think -- review it.

    Questions? Comments?
  • baker
    4.5k
    So I can reasonably assert that eating meat is NOT more healthy; as Louis believes it is.Marvin Katz

    Leaving aside that a sample of one is not representative --

    Eating meat clearly is more healthy, for one's ego, if one believes that humans live to consume the planet and everything on it.
  • Marvin Katz
    32
    Yes, Baker. You are right about that.

    When I became a vegetarian I had four or five reasons for it. The ethical considerations were only one of my motives for doing so. I did not like the working conditions in the slaughter-houses.. Do you?

    Save the planet; it is our habitat.

    Get in harmony with nature!

    Comments? Questions?
  • Tzeentch
    1.5k
    I don't think the idea that killing / mistreating animals is unethical and killing / mistreating plants is perfectly fine holds much philosophical merit.

    Both constitute life, both are in ways essential for our survival, and all life shows signs of consciousness. We don't have a moral right to mistreat an animal any more than we have a moral right to mistreat plants and trees.

    To make any kind of consumption ethical, some form of symbiosis needs to be reached.

    Man has reached this symbiosis with plants and animals on many occasions, but it is often lost under the pressure of overpopulation and greed.
  • Harry Hindu
    4.8k
    1. The planet and its plants and animals don't exist for humans to eat it up.baker
    You seem to be implying that you know the purpose of this planet and its plants and animals. Then what does the planet and its plants and animals exist for? In saying such things you seem to be implying that there was some plan for the planet and its plants and animals and it wasn't for humans to eat it up.

    This also seems to imply that the state of the planet when humans evolved is the end-goal, or purpose (of the universe, god, or what?) when the planet has changed enormously before humans evolved with most animals species becoming extinct without any human involvement at all. The changes that humans have brought about since their appearance on this planet could just as well be the purpose of the planet and its plants and animals. It seems to me that extinction, or change, is the norm in this universe, so why is it that we consider ourselves and our actions "unnatural", or that the planet is suppose to remain in the state we found it, when humans are the outcomes of natural processes? After all, the purpose could just as well be that AI is the next evolutionary step and that humans, as well as all other life, will then become the energy sources for AI (the Matrix).
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    When asked how he wished to be buried, he left instructions to be thrown outside the city wall so wild animals could feast on his body.  — Wikipedia (Diogenes)

    The Vulture Solution: Don't kill yet have a meat diet. Simple!
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    (Some) plants don't want to be eaten. Roses have thorns! Other plants produce toxins. Plants also have a healing mechanism when they get injured. Is this an indication that plants have feelings? They hurt?

    Then there's the issue of sweet and tasty fruits. Plants want us to eat them. Well it's actually fellatio/cunnilingus (fruits grow from flowers which are, truth be told, plant dicks & pussies), but hey, nobody's complaining. Think about it the next time you chow down on an apple in front of your kids! :grin: And they make such a hue and cry about bestiality!
  • Gnomon
    2.3k
    I understand that it may be compelling to argue how my current belief in the health and environmental impact of meat consumption may be wrong, and if you would like to argue it go ahead. But for most, I would prefer to assume my beliefs to be true for the purpose of the argument.Louis
    Arguments in favor of Vegetarianism (a belief system), as compellingly expressed by Peter Singer, are undeniable for a perfect world, such as the one portrayed in Genesis, where grass-fed lions lay down with vegetarian lambs. He's basically saying that "if I were G*D, I would have created an ideal world". The Utilitarian Argument is rigorously logical, but the pragmatic real world is more like fuzzy Logic.

    So far, all Utopian dreams (sky castles) of idealistic humans have crumbled under the weight of gravity. For example, a lion has the teeth of a carnivore, which are not adapted to to an ungulate diet. Humans have the teeth of omnivores, so can survive on a meatless diet. But the big human brain is adapted to a high protein diet, which is necessary to thrive. Fortunately, it's your choice : thrive or survive . . . or use your pumped-up primate brain to make the world a better (but not perfect) place for all of its inhabitants. :smile:

    The Incoherence of Peter Singer's Utilitarian Argument for Vegetarianism :
    https://www.abc.net.au/religion/the-incoherence-of-peter-singers-utilitarian-argument-for-vegeta/10096418

    Fuzzy logic is a form of many-valued logic in which the truth value of variables may be any real number between 0 and 1. It is employed to handle the concept of partial truth, where the truth value may range between completely true and completely false. ___Wikipedia
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    the energy sources for AI (the Matrix). — Harry Hindu

    Prey animals are batteries for predators.
  • baker
    4.5k
    The idea that we're here merely to eat and shit is egregious.
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