A Conversation for Vegetarianism

The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 1


There are many sound philosophical reasons for abstaining from vegetarianism.

1. Environmental protection. Many areas of farmland are only suitable for the rearing of livestock, and this type of farming has supported diverse ecosystems for thousands of years (especially if farmed organically). For example, sheep farming encourages the growth of certain wildflowers, and certain butterflies (e.g. blues of chalk downlands) depend on these. If the land were to be fallow, gorse and thistles would drive the smaller species out.

2. It is not economic to keep sheep just for wool, or cattle just for milk. Therefore universal vegetarianism would lead to a rapid decline towards distinction of most farm animals. The natural environment of these animals is on farms, as they have been bred by humans.

3. It is less wasteful of land to use it for livestock than to let it lie fallow, invaded by gorse, thistles etc.; and most livestock rearing land is not suitable for arable crops.

4. If people supported organic/humane farming methods and were more concerned about the origin of their meat, meat prices would be better, quality would be better, less meat would be consumed overall, and fertile arable land would not be used for meat livestock.

5. Meat is good for you in moderation.

6. Supporting meat farmers in your own country supports the local economy, reduces the need to import food, and thus reduces your pressure on other countries' environments to meet your food requirements.

The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 2


You make some good points, but I could probably also make a case for exterminating every second child at birth: reduce overcrowding problems, reduce strain on already taxed ecosystem, prolong supply of natural resources, reduce financial strain on parents/national economy, vastly increase the general welfare for those who survive this extermination, etc. Of course, if I made such a point, I would probably be beaten by everyone I know and then jailed as a sociopathic looney.
My point is really just that a lot of vegetarians feel killing anything for food when it's really not necessary is morally wrong -- it's as simple as that. You can produce all the counter-arguments in the world, but it's not going to change the moral orientation of said vegetarian. smiley - smiley So anyway, it's not really a case against vegetarianism...since vegetarianism is currently a choice afforded to much of the world's population, it's a personal matter and one must weigh one's own morals.

The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 3

Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit

I agree that it is a personal matter, but I have seen that many vegans feel it necessary to justify their practice with irrational or poorly researched studies on meat and its effects on health and the environment. Ethics are a personal matter that lack absolutes, and dietary practices are certainly one of the greyer areas...

... so I think it would be best if people simply allowed people to make their own decisions, and repected the decisions of others, without all these rediculous, groundless charges of cruelty, selfishness, and ecological destruction.

The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 4

Technoyokel (muse of poetry)

Absolutely- whether you eat meat or not is up to you - thinking about it is important though.

As far as the first persons arguments go- the supporting local produce is a very good point. The sheep and grazing and wildflowers isn't so good- sheep are generally kept in such high numbers that very little wildflowers, if any, survive. Without sheep everything would become forest eventually with natural clearings from fallen trees or deer etc. grazing or the flowers would grow where trees couldn't. However I don't think most veggies really want everyone to give up all meat just like that- are there some meat eaters that don't think WE are all health fanatic moral fascists?

The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 5

Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit

I disagree with that "all will be forests" line. Most of the land given over to grazing in the US had millenia to develop forests, and never did. That land wasn't cleared for grazing, it was already scrubby grassland. Same with Scotland... you have sheepherding taking place mostly in areas too rocky and firm to allow a forest to take root.

The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 6

Technoyokel (muse of poetry)

Yes but my point was that everything wouldn't be just gorse and scrub and no wildflowers without sheep. It's all a bit academic really as there are sheep and cities and etc etc...

The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 7


I used to work on a piece of heathland (no longer traditionally grazed), maintained for use by the general public, and one of the essential seasonal tasks was the removal of tree saplings which would otherwise have taken over the heath and reverted it to woodland.

Note use of the word 'reverted', as that is what was there before man cleared the land to make use of it for grazing. The land is now managed to 'conserve' the variety of flora and fauna species that have made it their home. However, this habitat was originally created by man, as were farm meadows, etc. and the line between protecting nature, freezing it (some forms of 'conservation'), and altering it for our own ends, is a very fine one.

There are some areas, particularly in the highlands, where the land is too acidic for much to grow apart from heather, but animals have lived on this land for many years before it became 'farmed', and would continue to live on it without man's interference.

Clearly the simplest and most effective form of 'nature conservation' would be to release all animals, and to shoot all human beings.smiley - winkeye

I make a personal choice not to eat meat, but I also have tremedous support for British farmers and organic farming methods, and am most concerned with the humane treatment and welfare of livestock during their existence and demise.

Personally, I am not a vegan and eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet which meets all my nutritional needs. I am not aware of any particular medical problems that stem from eating vegetables, but am aware of problems related to eating meat, such as the human form of BSE, tapeworms (cycled between pigs and humans), high cholesterol levels, etc. I have not suffered any adverse consequences by excluding meat from my diet, but I know that excluding fruit and vegetables from my diet can lead to nutritional problems, such as the scurvy experienced by sailors in the past.

Now if I went into a restaurant and the dish of the day implored me to try a steak from it's rump, I might have to reconsider of course.smiley - bigeyes


Response: The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 8

Researcher 203488

there are both factual and logical flaws in your arguments. I personally hate arguing over small and silly factoids, so I will focus on the logical flaws. I shall demonstrate by making arguments analogous to your own, number for number:

1. contains two distinct logical tracts:
a. The only way to obtain electric energy from Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone park is to build a water turbine on top of it. No other type of energy can be gained from the geyser. Therefore we must build a turbine on top of Old Faithful.

b. the rodent population in New York City depends on the presence of garbage in the city. if generation of garbage were to stop, the rodent population, which has been there for hundreds of years, would die out.

2. hamsters have been domesticated and their survival depends on the caring of humans. if humans decided that they didn't like hamsters as pets, there is no way that hamsters could live in the wild. (my point: a. who cares? b. the decision wouldn't be so fast that you would suddenly see a bunch of hamster-owners suddenly shooing their hamsters out into the wild woods!)

3. if you are married to a woman with no education, you might as well put her to work doing menial household work, as she would be useless in any other task. (my point: this is not the only solution--you could also invest in her education.)

4. if people stopped smoking weed and started snorting cocaine, prices for drugs would be higher, the quality of the drugs would be better, and there would be fewer cartels necessary to support the industry. (actually, there is nothing logically wrong with the argument--it's just that you won't convince anyone with this kind of argument if they find drugs to be morally repugnant.)

5. Broccoli is very good for you; therefore everyone on the planet should eat broccoli.

6. You shouldn't eat meat because if you grow your own vegetables rather than buy them at the store, you will save money.

Response: The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 9

Cupid Stunt

You really can't argue with the above, and noone has.

smiley - smiley

I don't suppose you can help me convince the people in my halls of residence that they shouldn't kill and eat the ducks I feed on a daily basis?

Response: The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 10

Lucrecia (Knight of an Unusual Amount of Healing Items, Movie Buff Extraordinaire - A809958)

I come from a state in the United States that used to be all "scrubby grassland" (prairie) and there is a state park close to my home that displays the original before the farmers cleared all of it. It is quite beautiful and is filled with the aforementioned wildflowers and butterflies, not to mention the majestic buffalo. (before the settlers came and killed all of them. If you've never seen a buffalo in person, I suggest you do if possible. They are gorgeous, especially their huge eyes.)

I've only been a "veggie" for about 7 and a half months now, but I've made a point not to make a big deal about it. (ie: Hi, my name is Megan-I'm-a-vegitarian.") I hate it when people get into your face and preach about *any* viewpoint they have. However, I don't think every vegitarian is trying to force their views on others. In fact, my experience has been quite the opposite. Everytime someone finds out my eating habits, they try and convince me I'm wrong. My parents even try to "trick" me and not tell me that whatever casserole we're eating tonight has meat in it unless I specifically ask. At work, my coworkers attempt to slip bits of chicken into my salad, etc.

Anyone else with this experience?

smiley - fullmoon

Response: The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 11

Cupid Stunt

In addition to being vegetarian, I'm also tee-total, and people do seem to find it hilarious to suggests they will get me drunk and feed me meat. Never encountered force feeding as yet though! Does this happen to you often?

Response: The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 12

Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit

Completely off the current topic, but something I thought was worth bringing to the attention of the veggies in here. It's a health issue omnivores and vegetarians who include eggs and fish don't have to concern themselves with: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030130/hl_nm/infants_diet_dc_1

Response: The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 13

Cupid Stunt

But are you really a vegetarian if you eat fish? This is one of my pet peeves, sorry. Although admitedly the 'vegetarian except fish' people don't bemuse me as much as the 'vegetarian except chicken, fish and duck' people. Grrr... But anyway, eating sensibly etc etc Not sure I beleive in vitamin supplements, but there must be /some/ vitamin B12 in the plant kingdom.

Still not had anoyone forced feed me, but did get talking to an ex veggie yesterday, who insists I'll fall of the wagon at some point - it's just a matter of who converts who first!

Response: The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 14


Although I wish other people would be vegetarian/vegan, I know that simply telling them they are wrong over and over again will not work, which is why I don't do it. However, I am always in arguments about it because other people start the arguments, like you said. Some how it will come up in conversation, and 9/10 they will instantly come out with 'so why are you vegan?'. Then I tell them why, then they argue with me. Then after a while they usually get annoyed, which is annoying.

The Weaknesses in the Veggie Case

Post 15

Jagged Jack

There's no way you could make a good case for exterminating every second child at birth. Although, i would like to see you try!

The Strengths in the Veggie Case

Post 16

Researcher 251255

There are many sound arguements for adopting a vegetarian diet.
1. Animals think and feel!
2. Raising animals for livestock destroys the earth!
3. Vegetarians tend to be more healthy than meat eaters!
4. Einstein, VanGogh and DaVinci were vegetarian
5. Animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends

The Strengths in the Veggie Case

Post 17

Jagged Jack

Animals think and feel?

That's as may be but what they tend to think and feel is - I feel like some food, i think i'll eat that other animal over there because it can't run as fast as i can. Carnivores and omnivores eat each other. This is how they survive. What makes them very different from human beings, is they are incabable of having a crisis of morallity everytime they kill and eat another animal.

Raising animals for livestock destroys the earth?

Surely this is only true of intensive farming methods. These are used to maximise the profits of multi-national corperations. There are vast areas of open land all over Britain either going to scrub or being used to grow 'Cash' crops. These could quite easily be turned into land for grazing without any further harm to the environment. Farmers don't do this because it is not profitable. Instead multi nationals like Mcdonalds cut down large areas of forrest in poor countries because the governments of these countries let them and cheap labor means cheap meat.

Vegetarians tend to be more healthy than meat eaters?

If that's true, then why could none of the three people below beat a cheetah in a race? None of them could fight a bear and i would take my health over DaVinci and Van Gogh any day of the week.

Einstein, VanGogh and DaVinci were vegetarian?

Maybe they were but at least two of them were completely mad, one of them cut off his ear and killed himself and the other contributed to the possibility of absolute annhilation for every living species on earth. Don't get me wrong, i have the greatest respect for all three of them but they achieved what they did irrespective of their diet. Why are there no animals in that list?

Animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends?

Don't be daft! Animals are not your 'Friends'. The average badger would rip your face off and gorge itself on your innards given the chance. The only animals who display anything approaching frienliness towards human beings are the ones we have domesticated for our own use. The only way to make an animal your friend would be to make it act in a completely unnatural way.

The Strengths in the Veggie Case

Post 18

Researcher 251255

"The average badger would rip your face off and gorge itself on your innards given the chance."
How many badgers do you eat? I'm sticking up for the poor cows and pigs that are stuffed into small cages or have their throats slit while they are still alive. I would still not eat any animal, but a badger?

"If that's true, then why could none of the three people below beat a cheetah in a race?"
I meant humans.

"a least two of them were completely mad, one of them cut off his ear and killed himself and the other contributed to the possibility of absolute annhilation for every living species on earth."
If you were reffering to VanGogh and DaVinci as mad, VanGogh went insane beause of the lead in yellow paint, and most of the rumors about DaVinci were caused by his left-handedness (is that a word?LOL)
I do have to agree with the whole Einstien thing, though.

The Strengths in the Veggie Case

Post 19

Jagged Jack

I can't say i've ever eat a badger. I've never been hungry enough but i would if i needed to. The point still stands tho'- animals are not your friends. I understand that you are standing up for cows, pigs and sheep etc, but you are not doing so as their 'Friend'. Friend implies an equal relationship. A pig has no concept of equallity or friendship, these are very human characteristics. Given the chance, a pig, like all animals will act in its own self interests and do whatever it is pigs do. Unlike you or one of your friends, it can't stop to consider how its actions will effect you or anything else for that matter. The only relationship you could possibly have with a pig or a cow which approaches anything like friendship would be as a pet.

My point about Einstein, Da Vinci and Van Gogh was merely that you have to be careful when attributing their greatness to diet. None of these people were brilliant or mad because of what they ate. Just as Hitler didn't do what he did because he was a vegetarian.

As for the Cheetah thing - I was trying to point out in a roundabout sort of way that lots of your 'Friends' in the animal kingdom eat meat. It is one of the few things that human beings and most animals really do have in common.

Believe it or not, i dislike the way domesticated livestock are treated. I would much rather hunt and kill my own food than keep it in appauling conditions. I spend a lot of time watching animals in the wild. The humble badger is one of my favourites. However, i am yet to hear a convincing arguement as to why i should give up eating meat.

The Strengths in the Veggie Case

Post 20


I have an example of how the meat industry is harming the environment. In the area I live in we have an overpopulation of deer. This is due to the fact that all of the trees are being cut down for grazing land and crops for livestock. Thus giving the deer far too much habitat. Also all of the deer’s natural predators have been driven out. This has had devastating effects on the environment. People use the overpopulation of deer as an excuse to increase hunting. This has cased a great deal of hunting accidents (Darwin’s Theories in action in some cases.smiley - erm) Also this solution has yet to deliver results. No matter how much they hunt the deer still prevail.

Another argument I have is how we pick the animals we eat. If you ask someone why we don’t eat dogs. They will more then likely respond with “Dogs are intelligent animals.” Well a pig is equally (if not more) intelligent. Then again there’s the argument that dogs do not taste as good. This I can not argue with considering the fact that I have not tasted dog. Of course in China the whole dog argument is void anyway.

In the end the chose to be a vegetarian is entirely up to the individual and once this choice is made it is nearly impossible to persuade them to change it.

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