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    (Original post by Dheorl)
    I should have been more specific with my wording. What I mean to say is unnecessary for the desired end product. I think more should be done to make sure the slaughtering procedure is carried out correctly, and with the reduction in meat for, what I feel is, the more important sustainability issues, more careful slaughter processes and better living conditions will likely naturally follow. Having no meat production to me makes no more sense than our current level of meat production.
    You seem to recognize that unnecessary suffering is inevitable at current levels of meat consumption, and I agree that the amount of suffering will be reduced if meat consumption is substantially reduced. In my view, this gives you a reason in itself to want to see reduced meat consumption, independent of sustainability. In other words, if there were no sustainability issues, one would hope that you would support reducing meat consumption in any case.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    The objection I have to reducing animal suffering in the wild is I don't believe we have sufficient knowledge or intelligence to give us the right to make such decisions. Humans seem to have decided on an ideal state for the natural kingdom to be in, and will do all we can to obtain and maintain that state. Apart from anything even if we could I feel there are countless, vastly more important pursuits we should be putting our time into.
    There is a risk that we could actually increase the amount of suffering in the wild if we choose a poor intervention, but intervening in the wild is just as much a decision as not intervening in the wild. And, there are some plausibly solid interventions that we could one day make: creating more humane insecticides to reduce the suffering of insects, as well as some of the interventions put forward in that article (phasing out predation or genetically engineering predators to become herbivores).

    In terms of having the right to make such decisions, I don't see what doesn't give us the right to intervene; indeed, we currently intervene all the time in nature. Just a few months ago, footage emerged of an elephant being rescued after it fell into an open drain. Does anyone seriously think that we ought not to have intervened in nature to prevent this from occurring?

    The importance of pursuing the reduction of wild-animal suffering will depend, I believe, on whether one adopts a speciesist attitude or not. If we arbitrarily discount the importance of the suffering of other animals simply because they aren't members of the species Homo sapiens, then we might well believe reducing it to be unimportant.

    But, even if one is a speciesist, to justify not reducing wild-animal suffering, one would have to discount the suffering of other animals by a gigantic magnitude, because there are trillions upon trillions of wild animals out there. Imagine this scenario:

    If a flock of chickens is without water on a hot day, and all you have to do prevent them from dying slowly and painfully is to turn on a tap, you ought to turn it on. If to do so you have to walk a few extra steps in shoes that pinch your little toe, you ought to walk those few extra steps.
    Once we accept that some non-human suffering can outweigh some human suffering, it doesn't seem so absurd to prioritize the suffering of trillions upon trillions of wild animals, despite the myriad problems in human society. On top of this, many human problems are already focused on, whereas wild-animal suffering, and factory-farming to a lesser extent, are relatively neglected, meaning that an extra person focusing on it will likely make a larger marginal difference.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    You seem to recognize that unnecessary suffering is inevitable at current levels of meat consumption, and I agree that the amount of suffering will be reduced if meat consumption is substantially reduced. In my view, this gives you a reason in itself to want to see reduced meat consumption, independent of sustainability. In other words, if there were no sustainability issues, one would hope that you would support reducing meat consumption in any case.
    If there were no sustainability issues I would have no qualms about meat consumption continuing at it's current rate. Sure, in that case it would be prudent to focus on best practise, but I think as it lays atm reducing consumption is priority with improving practises naturally following.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    There is a risk that we could actually increase the amount of suffering in the wild if we choose a poor intervention, but intervening in the wild is just as much a decision as not intervening in the wild. And, there are some plausibly solid interventions that we could one day make: creating more humane insecticides to reduce the suffering of insects, as well as some of the interventions put forward in that article (phasing out predation or genetically engineering predators to become herbivores).
    I'm sorry, but to me the suggestions in that article are completely ludicrous. To even suggest that we should change the way the natural world works based on a series of morals, held by one species, that have evolved in an incredibly short space of time, is incredibly self assured and self centred.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    In terms of having the right to make such decisions, I don't see what doesn't give us the right to intervene; indeed, we currently intervene all the time in nature. Just a few months ago, footage emerged of an elephant being rescued after it fell into an open drain. Does anyone seriously think that we ought not to have intervened in nature to prevent this from occurring?
    Intervening with our own direct effect on one wild animal is completely different to changing the nature of entire species. You could if you wanted extend this to we should therefore help farm animals, but in the case of farming there is benefits to go with the losses. In the case of removing the elephant from the drain there to nothing to be lost but everything to be gained, for very little effort. The elephant is set free, and people don't have to spend ages trying to clean the drain after an elephant died in it. Tbh it seems like an odd example to choose to me.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    The importance of pursuing the reduction of wild-animal suffering will depend, I believe, on whether one adopts a speciesist attitude or not. If we arbitrarily discount the importance of the suffering of other animals simply because they aren't members of the species Homo sapiens, then we might well believe reducing it to be unimportant.
    If you want to call me speciesest then feel free, but yes, I would put more importance on reducing the suffering of humans over other animals. Beyond humans though I have no particular hierarchy. If people want to eat a horse instead of a pig then they can be my guest.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    But, even if one is a speciesist, to justify not reducing wild-animal suffering, one would have to discount the suffering of other animals by a gigantic magnitude, because there are trillions upon trillions of wild animals out there. Imagine this scenario:
    If a flock of chickens is without water on a hot day, and all you have to do prevent them from dying slowly and painfully is to turn on a tap, you ought to turn it on. If to do so you have to walk a few extra steps in shoes that pinch your little toe, you ought to walk those few extra steps.
    Once we accept that some non-human suffering can outweigh some human suffering, it doesn't seem so absurd to prioritize the suffering of trillions upon trillions of wild animals, despite the myriad problems in human society. On top of this, many human problems are already focused on, whereas wild-animal suffering, and factory-farming to a lesser extent, are relatively neglected, meaning that an extra person focusing on it will likely make a larger marginal difference.
    I'm sorry, but I just can't see any logical reasoning to prioritising helping zebras being hunted by lions; a process that has been happening long before we had any conscious knowledge of it, we have had little/no effect on, has no effect on us, we likely don't fully understand as a system and tbh is pretty short in duration of suffering. Compared to for example putting effort into reducing various hunger and disease issues across the world; something we have had a large impact on, has obvious benefits and reduces pain and suffering that can last continuously over the period of generations.

    Once again your example seems out of place. Your example involves a slow, debilitating death of animals vs a short term pain of a human. If anything, as mentioned above, it is often the other way around.
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    (Original post by wolfslayer1)
    Thank you for your reply!

    So, is it more the idea that the behaviour of humans as they kill the animals that is wrong rather than the idea that animals have to die for humans to eat? Because if it isn't that, then I have failed to see how the enslavement of fellow human beings is wrong for the same reasons (I can see now how eating meat may be wrong, but just not for the same reasons that slavery is wrong) as eating meat from animals.

    Your reasoning would be much appreciated
    In short, perspective and humility. A coincidence of birth gives no life priority over another. This lesson stems from the fact that all life on our planet derived from a single organism, and is still fundamentally a single organism. Understanding this fact is what eastern philosophers would call "Enlightenment".

    Reading it on a StudentRoom forum is not the same as understanding what it means, but hopefully you can understand it enough to see why slavery and eating animals in the fashion that we do it is wrong for the same reason, and also why racism, sexism and denying LGBT equal rights ect is wrong, it is what Sagan wrote about in the penultimate paragraph of my opening statement of this forum: "...a new consciousness is developing that sees the Earth as a single organism, and recognises that an organism at war with itself is doomed."
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    No, too Orwellian.
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    F*ck no, I'm not paying extra for my bacon and hot dogs! You may not like people eating meat but who the hell are you to dictate what people can and can't eat!? Besides, vegetarians and vegans still eat meat. Plants have flesh too, you know. How is eating plant meat any better than eating animal meat? You people are such hypocrites.
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    (Original post by Peroxidation)
    F*ck no, I'm not paying extra for my bacon and hot dogs! You may not like people eating meat but who the hell are you to dictate what people can and can't eat!? Besides, vegetarians and vegans still eat meat. Plants have flesh too, you know. How is eating plant meat any better than eating animal meat? You people are such hypocrites.
    Fantasically flippant retort, good sir
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    (Original post by JoeyTr)
    In short, perspective and humility. A coincidence of birth gives no life priority over another. This lesson stems from the fact that all life on our planet derived from a single organism, and is still fundamentally a single organism. Understanding this fact is what eastern philosophers would call "Enlightenment".
    I'm gonna have to correct you there. While you're right in saying that all life is equal, you're wrong in saying that understanding this is what it means to gain enlightenment. Understanding the equality of all beings and their interdependence on one another (not thinking of them all as one entity as such but as individual cogs in a clockwork mechanism without which the mechanism won't work), as well as cultivating unconditional love for them all is what's known as Metta. It's one of the five qualities which must be gained in order to achieve enlightenment, but it's not enlightenment itself. The philosophy you're referring to is Buddhist doctrine, the Dhamma. I should point out that when Devadatta asked the Buddha whether eating meat is wrong or not, the Buddha replied that so long as the animal wasn't killed specifically for you it's absolutely fine to eat the meat.

    If you think about it, eating meat is actually an act of love, because it means that the atoms in the meat will be recycled through the ecosystem much sooner and can become part of new living creatures sooner as well. By helping to recycle those atoms you're providing other organisms with more of the atoms they need to live. You're taking dead flesh and helping it to become new life, there's nothing immoral about it at all.
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    (Original post by RobML)
    Fantasically flippant retort, good sir
    This thread triggered me so I did my best to trigger the thread starter in return.
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    (Original post by Peroxidation)
    I'm gonna have to correct you there. While you're right in saying that all life is equal, you're wrong in saying that understanding this is what it means to gain enlightenment. Understanding the equality of all beings and their interdependence on one another (not thinking of them all as one entity as such but as individual cogs in a clockwork mechanism without which the mechanism won't work), as well as cultivating unconditional love for them all is what's known as Metta. It's one of the five qualities which must be gained in order to achieve enlightenment, but it's not enlightenment itself. The philosophy you're referring to is Buddhist doctrine, the Dhamma. I should point out that when Devadatta asked the Buddha whether eating meat is wrong or not, the Buddha replied that so long as the animal wasn't killed specifically for you it's absolutely fine to eat the meat.

    If you think about it, eating meat is actually an act of love, because it means that the atoms in the meat will be recycled through the ecosystem much sooner and can become part of new living creatures sooner as well. By helping to recycle those atoms you're providing other organisms with more of the atoms they need to live. You're taking dead flesh and helping it to become new life, there's nothing immoral about it at all.
    As I have mentioned earlier I have no inherent problem with eating meat at all, it's just the scale and process by which we do it. I completely agree: Eating meat, as an act on its own, is in no way immoral.
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    (Original post by Dheorl)
    I'm sorry, but to me the suggestions in that article are completely ludicrous. To even suggest that we should change the way the natural world works based on a series of morals, held by one species, that have evolved in an incredibly short space of time, is incredibly self assured and self centred.
    Failing to change how the natural world works is also an ethical decision, in which case failing to change how the natural world works based on a series of morals, held by one species, that have evolved in an incredibly short space of time, is incredibly self-assured and self-centred. Given that aversion to intervening in nature stems in large part from logically fallacious appeals to nature and cognitive biases such as the status quo bias, these moral objections are extremely dubious.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    Intervening with our own direct effect on one wild animal is completely different to changing the nature of entire species. You could if you wanted extend this to we should therefore help farm animals, but in the case of farming there is benefits to go with the losses. In the case of removing the elephant from the drain there to nothing to be lost but everything to be gained, for very little effort. The elephant is set free, and people don't have to spend ages trying to clean the drain after an elephant died in it. Tbh it seems like an odd example to choose to me.
    So, we agree that there's nothing intrinsically wrong with intervening in nature. In which case, your objection presented in this paragraph is a practical one.

    It's worth noting that, again, we're already considering intervening to change the nature of entire species. There are already serious proposals to genetically engineer mosquitoes to stop them from transmitting malaria and Zika, with a good level of debate going on about the possible ecological consequences.

    If If we are willing to consider intervening in nature to prevent suffering from being inflicted on humans, we should be willing to do so to prevent suffering from being inflicted on non-humans. Given that speciesism is illogical, there is therefore no logical objection to intervening in the wild to prevent suffering from being inflicted on non-humans.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    I'm sorry, but I just can't see any logical reasoning to prioritising helping zebras being hunted by lions; a process that has been happening long before we had any conscious knowledge of it, we have had little/no effect on, has no effect on us, we likely don't fully understand as a system and tbh is pretty short in duration of suffering. Compared to for example putting effort into reducing various hunger and disease issues across the world; something we have had a large impact on, has obvious benefits and reduces pain and suffering that can last continuously over the period of generations.

    Once again your example seems out of place. Your example involves a slow, debilitating death of animals vs a short term pain of a human. If anything, as mentioned above, it is often the other way around.
    Starvation and disease in the wild do ensure that animals in the wild die slow, debilitating deaths, as does getting eaten alive. Indeed, getting ripped to shreds whilst still fully conscious by a lion with the stress of having been running away from the lion seems to me to be one of the worst ways one could possibly die. (See this terribly sad video, for instance). In any case, my point wasn't just about the intensity of suffering, but about the numbers in the wild who actually suffer. By preventing suffering in the wild, we prevent trillions more animals from having to endure this suffering in future generations, too. As Richard Dawkins has put it:

    The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease.
    Extreme poverty has little effect on me, and I have had little effect on extreme poverty either, yet we still ought to care about extreme poverty. Thus, your remaining objections are the practical objection and the speciesist objection. The former doesn't deny that we should ethically intervene if we thought it had a good chance of succeeding, while the latter is neither a logical nor an ethical objection.
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    Actual reasons why this would be a good thing for a government to do:

    If everyone was to go vegetarian/vegan, we'd be able to produce a lot more food (currently we need to feed the food until it's big enough to eat). It would also be a lot more environmentally friendly as production of meat creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It could potentially have a good effect on the strain the nhs is under right now. After all, certain health issues are a bit harder to get without meat (although other issues could arise until people learn how to eat properly to get all the necessary nutrition).
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Failing to change how the natural world works is also an ethical decision, in which case failing to change how the natural world works based on a series of morals, held by one species, that have evolved in an incredibly short space of time, is incredibly self-assured and self-centred. Given that aversion to intervening in nature stems in large part from logically fallacious appeals to nature and cognitive biases such as the status quo bias, these moral objections are extremely dubious.
    It is not self assured though. In the case of making the decision to not change nature to please our morals we are making the assumption that a few billion years of evolution knows what it's doing, instead of making the assumption that a couple of thousand years of human moral and science knows what it's doing. If anything that's the opposite of self assured. It is also not self centred because we are leaving it as is rather than changing it purely to please ourselves.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    So, we agree that there's nothing intrinsically wrong with intervening in nature. In which case, your objection presented in this paragraph is a practical one.

    It's worth noting that, again, we're already considering intervening to change the nature of entire species. There are already serious proposals to genetically engineer mosquitoes to stop them from transmitting malaria and Zika, with a good level of debate going on about the possible ecological consequences.

    If If we are willing to consider intervening in nature to prevent suffering from being inflicted on humans, we should be willing to do so to prevent suffering from being inflicted on non-humans. Given that speciesism is illogical, there is therefore no logical objection to intervening in the wild to prevent suffering from being inflicted on non-humans.
    My objection is not a practical one. I'm not saying that it is reasonable to save the elephant because it's easy, I'm saying it's reasonable to save the elephant because it has no possible negative ramifications (and in part is being done because it's the fault of humans it got there). We are not responsible for lions eating animals, and I see no reason why you feel we have the right, or the knowledge of the ramifications, to justify changing that.

    I know we are already changing the nature of species. I mean it is after all the entire point of the field of genetic modification. I personally have mixed feelings about it, but as long as it is done in a controlled, reversible way, when it is seen as necessary for the wellbeing of our own species I will tolerate it being tried.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    Starvation and disease in the wild do ensure that animals in the wild die slow, debilitating deaths, as does getting eaten alive. Indeed, getting ripped to shreds whilst still fully conscious by a lion with the stress of having been running away from the lion seems to me to be one of the worst ways one could possibly die. (See this terribly sad video, for instance). In any case, my point wasn't just about the intensity of suffering, but about the numbers in the wild who actually suffer. By preventing suffering in the wild, we prevent trillions more animals from having to endure this suffering in future generations, too. As Richard Dawkins has put it:
    Due to my standpoint of humans being more important than animals, and our lack of understanding this is all rather a moot point.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    Extreme poverty has little effect on me, and I have had little effect on extreme poverty either, yet we still ought to care about extreme poverty. Thus, your remaining objections are the practical objection and the speciesist objection. The former doesn't deny that we should ethically intervene if we thought it had a good chance of succeeding, while the latter is neither a logical nor an ethical objection.
    I suspect you've had more effect on extreme poverty than you realise. I mean ignoring the benefits that you're reaping from your ancestors that were the original cause of many of the problems (because lets be fair, you can't change what they've done) you still, almost inevitably, buy products that support the continuation of what is essentially slave labour. I haven't read about how accurate they are, but I know there are websites out there that essentially calculate how many slaves you support based on your buying habits.

    As mentioned previously it is not a practical objection. Even if we could remove every predator from the planet at the flip of a coin I don't believe we should for the previously mentioned reasons of lack of understanding. I'd be curious to know why you see being "speciesist" as you put it, by which I assume you mean putting the importance of humans above other animals, is illogical.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    It's not an all-or-nothing thing, so you don't have to go completely vegan if you can't, and especially if your calories would be as low as 1200. Obviously, when you're shopping for yourself (when you're older?) you can go vegan or at least lacto-vegetarian.

    Right now, I would say that a lot of those foods you mention - steak, pork, and so on - are quite expensive themselves. Legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, and so on) are very cheap for the amount of protein they give you. Pasta and rice are also other options as another commenter said.

    I doubt your parents with such a meat-heavy diet would want to stop buying all of that meat, but you could either give them information about the meat industry and persuade them to go vegan or lacto-vegetarian, or you could try to persuade them to cut out some of the more suffering-intensive meats. I would say that these are chicken, eggs, pork and fish. Replacing them with legumes, pasta, rice and leafy green vegetables, carrots, and so on, at some meals would still reduce suffering!

    There are plenty of recipes out there, and advice on how to live as a vegan on a budget (which can also apply even if you're just eliminating intake of the most suffering-intensive meats).



    Whenever we don't need to inflict suffering on other animals, it is unnecessary, and that's the case with the meat and egg industries in almost all cases. As I said earlier, though, I have little problem with local meat where the conditions can be assessed, but this would still require a drastic reduction in meat consumption, because there's not enough land to feed everyone with this kind of meat. For other reasons, though (the risk of riots, for instance), I wouldn't support the government forcing people to drastically reduce their meat consumption.

    I also don't think that the "has and always will be part of life" objection to eliminating animal suffering throughout the biosphere holds - many things used to be part of life, but humanity stepped up and eliminated them. We should aim to reduce as much suffering as possible, ultimately, both of farm animals and animals in the wild. (See this article on reducing wild-animal suffering, for instance. Speculative, but I see no objection to it in principle. See also the response to the objections from people who didn't read the article properly.)
    Thank you so much for the help. You really have shown me a lot, thank you.
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    (Original post by Dheorl)
    It is not self assured though. In the case of making the decision to not change nature to please our morals we are making the assumption that a few billion years of evolution knows what it's doing, instead of making the assumption that a couple of thousand years of human moral and science knows what it's doing. If anything that's the opposite of self assured. It is also not self centred because we are leaving it as is rather than changing it purely to please ourselves.
    Evolution by natural selection doesn't know what it's doing. It's a completely blind process. As Dawkins described it, it's the blind watchmaker. Of course, you could say that natural selection increases chances of survival, but we can anticipate this. My claim is simply that, in theory, intervening in nature if it reduces net suffering is a good thing.

    Given that you believe it permissible to intervene in nature to prevent Zika and malaria, this objection doesn't hold in any case.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    Due to my standpoint of humans being more important than animals, and our lack of understanding this is all rather a moot point.
    It's not a moot point. Your objection to my earlier scenario about the flock of chickens dying a slow death was that it wasn't comparable to that which occurs in the wild. It is, though, and you still haven't addressed the sheer number of animals suffering in the wild. If you accept my earlier scenario that the human should save the chickens, then you accept that some amount of animal suffering can outweigh some human suffering. Given the numbers of animals in the wild, it seems to me that this is something we should be prioritizing.

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    you still, almost inevitably, buy products that support the continuation of what is essentially slave labour.
    Free trade is one of the best ways to reduce extreme poverty, actually. Buying products from developing countries raises incomes in those countries. It's why China brought hundreds of millions out of poverty. Sweatshops, appalling as they may be, are actually better than the alternatives for many people.

    Even so, there's no reason to think that our not having an effect on a being makes us any less responsible for its suffering. If you saw a dog being tortured by its owner, would you not try and save it or report the owner to the police? If you saw a child drowning in a pond, would you not jump in to save her?

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    As mentioned previously it is not a practical objection. Even if we could remove every predator from the planet at the flip of a coin I don't believe we should for the previously mentioned reasons of lack of understanding.
    Lack of understanding is a practical objection, though. If we had more understanding, then you surely would support removing every predator from the planet (whilst using fertility regulation to ensure that herbivores do not become overpopulated).

    (Original post by Dheorl)
    I'd be curious to know why you see being "speciesist" as you put it, by which I assume you mean putting the importance of humans above other animals, is illogical.
    Speciesism is to give less weight to the comparable interests of members of other species simply because they're not members of your own species. Humans and many non-human animals, for instance, both have an interest in not suffering, and the suffering of non-humans can't be said to be less important simply because they're not members of the species Homo sapiens. Choosing a species barrier to justify valuing the interests of some beings over others is just as arbitrary and illogical as choosing skin colour, sex or sexual orientation.

    You could argue that humans are more intelligent than non-human animals, but that's not the case for all humans. Severely intellectually disabled humans, and human infants, have similar or lower mental capacities to many non-human animals. So, you could either try to justify treating them in the ways in which we treat non-human animals, or accept that intelligence has nothing to do with how much a being's suffering matters (which is what we recognize with these groups of humans), in which case we should equally consider the comparable interests of all sentient beings.
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    (Original post by JoeyTr)
    Should taxes be placed on meat with the long term gradual goal of a society that does not eat meat from animals?

    I'm not going to argue this from pathos or ethos, but from logos. Substitutes for meat are now readily available which do not precipitate the destruction of the environment on a scale as unprecedented as cars do. Eating meat on the scale we currently do is simply unnecessary and destructive, and in times when societal change is too slow, should the government step in?

    Fundamental changes to society are sometimes labelled as impractical or contrary to human nature, as if there were only one human nature, but fundamental changes can clearly be made, we're surrounded by them. In the last two centuries, abject slavery which was with us for thousands of years has almost entirely been eliminated in a stirring world-wide revolution. Women systematically mistreated for millennia are gradually gaining the political and economic power traditionally denied to them. And some wars of aggression have recently been stopped or curtailed because of a revulsion felt by the people in the aggressor nations. The old appeals to racial, sexual and religious chauvinisms, and to rabid nationalist fervour are beginning not to work, a new consciousness is developing that sees the Earth as a single organism, and recognises that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet, and on this planet at this moment we find ourselves at a critical branch-point in history, what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and will powerfully effect the destiny of our descendants.

    The scale at which we consume meat today is as unprecedented as its destruction to the environment, it demonstrates the worst excesses of human behaviour and our Jungian archetypes. Through personal experience, the proportion of vegetarians and vegans at top universities is much higher than the general population, but this is still a tiny minority of the entire demographics. In times when societal change is too slow, governments must step in as a catalyst, particularly when the issue at hand is as damaging to the world as this. This has been well demonstrated with the abolishment of abject slavery, racial segregation and the full introduction of LGBT rights in the US, when the government stepped in to settle the matter decisively. Despite the inevitable outcry from much of society and its damage to many industries, such action is essential to stop its more devastating and pernicious effects to the world at large. You do not have to be a master prognosticator to see that this will happen eventually, if history has taught us anything it is that the moral high-ground always wins eventually, even if initially support for it is minimal. Take slavery, sexism, homophobia and racism: all accepted as the norm 300 years ago, now deeply frowned upon by the bulk of society, you'd have to be obdurate to not see eating meat from animals going the same way. So my question is: Why wait?
    Of course, what you fail to mention here are the numerous problems with the idea of an entirely vegan world. And amusingly, you claim that you're arguing purely from a logical standpoint before going off on a nice long ethical monologue.

    Firstly, you get far fewer calories per gram from your meat substitutes than you do for actual meat, which means that if the entire world went vegan you would have to massively increase the amount of food production. Arable land is a relatively limited commodity these days, so I'm not entirely sure how you propose we would meet the massive food production requirements necessitated. This would be an especially big problem with the foods that vegans have to eat a lot of to compensate for the lack of certain nutrients in their diet. Protein springs to mind as an example. Vegans have a fairly limited number of options to source protein; if we were all vegan these foods would have to be mass-produced on a biblical scale.

    Secondly, water is already a scarce resource in many areas of the world. To bring about sufficient irrigation to meet the demands of a vegan Earth, would require a huge amount of water from somewhere.

    Thirdly, your substitutes for meat actually do a great deal of damage to the Earth. Production of these substitutes tends to be fairly energy intensive, and we currently have little option but to generate this energy by means of fossil fuels. And to mass-produce them would require vast amounts of energy, which is going to need to be generated somehow.

    The problem isn't that we eat meat. The problem is quite simply that there are too many of us. Scientific and technological intervention have allowed us to stave off the various droughts, famines, diseases et al, that would have otherwise have trimmed down the population size to a manageable level. But ultimately, there are limits on how many people Earth can sustain, and in the next couple hundred years or so we'll see this in action. Be it from a 'superbug' pandemic, huge famines in Africa, Asia and South America, war or some other disaster, it seems inevitable that population growth will be halted - and quite possibly reversed - sooner rather than later. Even if scientists found a way to make your vegan solution viable, all that does is postpone the inevitable. There is an upper limit on how many humans can live on Earth, and we will see the ramifications of this.
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    (Original post by JoeyTr)
    Should taxes be placed on meat with the long term gradual goal of a society that does not eat meat from animals?

    I'm not going to argue this from pathos or ethos, but from logos. Substitutes for meat are now readily available which do not precipitate the destruction of the environment on a scale as unprecedented as cars do. Eating meat on the scale we currently do is simply unnecessary and destructive, and in times when societal change is too slow, should the government step in?

    Fundamental changes to society are sometimes labelled as impractical or contrary to human nature, as if there were only one human nature, but fundamental changes can clearly be made, we're surrounded by them. In the last two centuries, abject slavery which was with us for thousands of years has almost entirely been eliminated in a stirring world-wide revolution. Women systematically mistreated for millennia are gradually gaining the political and economic power traditionally denied to them. And some wars of aggression have recently been stopped or curtailed because of a revulsion felt by the people in the aggressor nations. The old appeals to racial, sexual and religious chauvinisms, and to rabid nationalist fervour are beginning not to work, a new consciousness is developing that sees the Earth as a single organism, and recognises that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet, and on this planet at this moment we find ourselves at a critical branch-point in history, what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and will powerfully effect the destiny of our descendants.

    The scale at which we consume meat today is as unprecedented as its destruction to the environment, it demonstrates the worst excesses of human behaviour and our Jungian archetypes. Through personal experience, the proportion of vegetarians and vegans at top universities is much higher than the general population, but this is still a tiny minority of the entire demographics. In times when societal change is too slow, governments must step in as a catalyst, particularly when the issue at hand is as damaging to the world as this. This has been well demonstrated with the abolishment of abject slavery, racial segregation and the full introduction of LGBT rights in the US, when the government stepped in to settle the matter decisively. Despite the inevitable outcry from much of society and its damage to many industries, such action is essential to stop its more devastating and pernicious effects to the world at large. You do not have to be a master prognosticator to see that this will happen eventually, if history has taught us anything it is that the moral high-ground always wins eventually, even if initially support for it is minimal. Take slavery, sexism, homophobia and racism: all accepted as the norm 300 years ago, now deeply frowned upon by the bulk of society, you'd have to be obdurate to not see eating meat from animals going the same way. So my question is: Why wait?
    I'm a vegetarian, but I do consider what you have just vomited out to be an unutterable load of *******s.
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    (Original post by Luke Kostanjsek)
    Firstly, you get far fewer calories per gram from your meat substitutes than you do for actual meat, which means that if the entire world went vegan you would have to massively increase the amount of food production.
    No, you wouldn't. 40% of the world's grain is grown specifically to feed animals reared for meat, and you require many times more plant protein to produce 1kg of meat than you do to feed a human. It also depends on which meat substitutes you're talking about. 100g of a vegan burger from Quorn gives you 179kcal; 100g of skinless chicken breast gives you 145.8kcal; 100g of kidney beans gives you around 127kcal.

    (Original post by Luke Kostanjsek)
    Arable land is a relatively limited commodity these days, so I'm not entirely sure how you propose we would meet the massive food production requirements necessitated. This would be an especially big problem with the foods that vegans have to eat a lot of to compensate for the lack of certain nutrients in their diet. Protein springs to mind as an example. Vegans have a fairly limited number of options to source protein; if we were all vegan these foods would have to be mass-produced on a biblical scale.
    Again, we would have far more land available to grow legumes and other good sources of protein. The meat industry uses 26% of the Earth's ice-free land and one-third of arable land is used to grow crops to feed to animals reared for meat.

    Let's just take soybeans: producing chicken protein requires three times as much land than the equivalent from soybeans; pork needs nine times as much land; and beef requires 32 times as much land. When compared to an equivalent mass of common raw cuts of meats, soybeans contain on average twice the protein of beef, pork or chicken, and 10× more protein than whole milk.

    According to the study: "Livestock production is the single largest driver of habitat loss... Livestock production is also a leading cause of climate change, soil loss, water and nutrient pollution, and decreases of apex predators and wild herbivores, compounding pressures on ecosystems and biodiversity."

    I'm not particularly concerned about ecosystems, biodiversity, habitat loss and populations of predators - my main focus is reducing the unnecessary suffering of animals in the meat industry - but I'm just putting that out there anyway.

    As this study, which just looked at lacto-ovo vegetarian diets, found, "the meat-based diet requires more energy, land, and water resources than the lactoovovegetarian diet."

    (Original post by Luke Kostanjsek)
    Secondly, water is already a scarce resource in many areas of the world. To bring about sufficient irrigation to meet the demands of a vegan Earth, would require a huge amount of water from somewhere.
    Again, meat consumption is far more water-intensive than plant-based food production. As the Environmental Working Group state: "High-protein foods, such as beans and tofu, require much less water than meat. A California Water Education Foundation study found that one gallon of tofu requires 219 gallons of water per pound, compared to 477 gallons for eggs, 896 gallons for cheese and 2,463 gallons for beef."

    According to the aforementioned study: "Producing 1 kg of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing 1 kg of grain protein."

    (Original post by Luke Kostanjsek)
    Thirdly, your substitutes for meat actually do a great deal of damage to the Earth. Production of these substitutes tends to be fairly energy intensive, and we currently have little option but to generate this energy by means of fossil fuels. And to mass-produce them would require vast amounts of energy, which is going to need to be generated somehow.
    Again, the meat industry is much more energy-intensive, and is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, accounting for almost 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. It's no surprise, then, that a 2014 study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change, found that vegans, followed by vegetarians, had the lowest greenhouse gas emissions associated with their diets. It's also why the UN's Environment Program has urged everyone to move towards a vegan diet:

    Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.
    As George Monbiot has put it, there's an overpopulation crisis. Of domesticated animals reared for meat.
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    (Original post by Cadherin)
    I'm a vegetarian, but I do consider what you have just vomited out to be an unutterable load of *******s.
    I am happy to carefully read your reasoned point of view, if you would care to be a little more specific.
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    (Original post by Luke Kostanjsek)
    Of course, what you fail to mention here are the numerous problems with the idea of an entirely vegan world. And amusingly, you claim that you're arguing purely from a logical standpoint before going off on a nice long ethical monologue.

    Firstly, you get far fewer calories per gram from your meat substitutes than you do for actual meat, which means that if the entire world went vegan you would have to massively increase the amount of food production. Arable land is a relatively limited commodity these days, so I'm not entirely sure how you propose we would meet the massive food production requirements necessitated. This would be an especially big problem with the foods that vegans have to eat a lot of to compensate for the lack of certain nutrients in their diet. Protein springs to mind as an example. Vegans have a fairly limited number of options to source protein; if we were all vegan these foods would have to be mass-produced on a biblical scale.

    Secondly, water is already a scarce resource in many areas of the world. To bring about sufficient irrigation to meet the demands of a vegan Earth, would require a huge amount of water from somewhere.

    Thirdly, your substitutes for meat actually do a great deal of damage to the Earth. Production of these substitutes tends to be fairly energy intensive, and we currently have little option but to generate this energy by means of fossil fuels. And to mass-produce them would require vast amounts of energy, which is going to need to be generated somehow.

    The problem isn't that we eat meat. The problem is quite simply that there are too many of us. Scientific and technological intervention have allowed us to stave off the various droughts, famines, diseases et al, that would have otherwise have trimmed down the population size to a manageable level. But ultimately, there are limits on how many people Earth can sustain, and in the next couple hundred years or so we'll see this in action. Be it from a 'superbug' pandemic, huge famines in Africa, Asia and South America, war or some other disaster, it seems inevitable that population growth will be halted - and quite possibly reversed - sooner rather than later. Even if scientists found a way to make your vegan solution viable, all that does is postpone the inevitable. There is an upper limit on how many humans can live on Earth, and we will see the ramifications of this.
    As viddy9 pointed out, the only thing you got right was that there is an over-population problem, even that is subjective, everything else is simply not true as viddy9 also pointed out with sufficient evidence.

    Also notice the title of this thread, I am not suggesting Veganism is the immediate goal for right now, we need a solid interlude first, I truly believe a two step process will produce a quicker societal change overall (more stages like every family first halving meat consumption would make things even more attainable, and most families would agree to that overnight, but I'll stick to two stages for now), of course many will and have jumped right ahead which is even better. Protein is no issue at all for vegetarians (Whey protein).
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    I think it ultimately becomes an argument of lifestyle changes. Meat is delicious, and has quite a few advantages over a diet of exclusively plant based foods. That's why even if you factor in any kind of ecological argument, GHG argument, or suffering argument, it's easy to reframe as an issue to minimize instead of completely displace.

    The huge abundance of proteins in meat makes them very good at Maillard reactions, and have a certain umami and mouthfeel that's difficult to replicate in plant foods. Fat soluble molecules carry taste, and tends to be more abundant in animal based products than vegetarian products. The calorie and protein density makes meal preparations relatively easy.

    If you can replicate a lot of those qualities in a plant-based product, then you'd have a decent market towards convincing non-vegetarians to commit to the lifestyle change. I'd happily stop eating animals if I can't tell the difference, and current meat analogues just don't cut it.

    https://impossiblefoods.com/

    These guys are making a real difference. Those who decide to make a meat analogue out of stem cell cultured meats make a real difference. It's easy to sell a pill that tastes sweet, it's hard to sell a pill that tastes like kale.
 
 
 
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