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Vegetarianism As Law? watch

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    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?
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    I think this is a good idea. It would certainly get more vegetarians in the world. This is coming from a vegetarian.
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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?
    So what you are saying is that you want to indoctrinate the majority of the population to suit the beliefs and ideals of a few? Tax on meat? What about increasing tax on cigarettes, or alcohol? This idea is fine from the stand point of a vegetarian, but your problem isn't that we are eating too much meant, our problem is simply that the population of humans are too great for the plant to sustain it in the long term.
    The fractionation process used to separate soy and wheat, for example, into their constituent parts—proteins, oils, and soluble and insoluble fibers—is often highly energy intensive. She quotes Atze van der Goot, associate professor of food process engineering at Wageningen University, who spoke at the European Federation of Food Science and Technology, in Montpellier, France: “ ‘Due to the inefficiencies in the process to make meat alternatives, we lose completely the environmental benefits.’ ”
    So really the problem isn't meat or vegetarian, it is the sheer numbers of humans on the planet
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    hell no
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    (Original post by Freddyt58)
    So what you are saying is that you want to indoctrinate the majority of the population to suit the beliefs and ideals of a few? Tax on meat? What about increasing tax on cigarettes, or alcohol? This idea is fine from the stand point of a vegetarian, but your problem isn't that we are eating too much meant, our problem is simply that the population of humans are too great for the plant to sustain it in the long term.
    The fractionation process used to separate soy and wheat, for example, into their constituent parts—proteins, oils, and soluble and insoluble fibers—is often highly energy intensive. She quotes Atze van der Goot, associate professor of food process engineering at Wageningen University, who spoke at the European Federation of Food Science and Technology, in Montpellier, France: “ ‘Due to the inefficiencies in the process to make meat alternatives, we lose completely the environmental benefits.’ ”
    So really the problem isn't meat or vegetarian, it is the sheer numbers of humans on the planet
    This isn't about subjective beliefs and ideals at all, it is simply a matter of mitigating the destruction to our environment in a field we have control over, the majority of people would prefer cheap but dirty energy from coal, rather than expensive renewable energy from wind/solar/hydro, but we must put our planet first despite cost, would you call that indoctrination of the majority of the population? I completely agree, tax on cigarettes and alcohol should just as well be increased, the same with petroleum. Why is it that petroleum is so heavily taxed while meat is not, and yet both precipitate the same kind of destruction? Overpopulation is also a tremendous intractable issue as you point out, vegetarianism allows more people to eat with less impact: If the crops used to feed livestock is feed directly to people, the process is ten times more efficient (source: https://youtu.be/uZDsSnpYZrw ), so if you're suggesting that then taxing meat is even more logical.

    (I have don't have any inherent problem with people eating meat from a moral point of view at all, it's just the scale at which we do)
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    (Original post by JoeyTr)
    This isn't about subjective beliefs and ideals at all, it is simply a matter of mitigating the destruction to our environment in a field we have control over, the majority of people would prefer cheap but dirty energy from coal, rather than expensive renewable energy from wind/solar/hydro, but we must put our planet first despite cost, would you call that indoctrination of the majority of the population? I completely agree, tax on cigarettes and alcohol should just as well be increased, the same with petroleum. Why is it that petroleum is so heavily taxed while meat is not, and yet both precipitate the same kind of destruction? Overpopulation is also a tremendous intractable issue as you point out, vegetarianism allows more people to eat with less impact: If the crops used to feed livestock is feed directly to people, the process is ten times more efficient (source: https://youtu.be/uZDsSnpYZrw ), so if you're suggesting that then taxing meat is even more logical.

    (I have don't have any inherent problem with people eating meat from a moral point of view at all, it's just the scale at which we do)
    When you say meat destroys the environment in such a large scale what are you refering to?
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    (Original post by Freddyt58)
    When you say meat destroys the environment in such a large scale what are you refering to?
    Particularly this journal paper: http://m.pnas.org/content/111/33/11996.full.pdf which is, to some degree, summaried here: https://www.theguardian.com/environm...more-than-cars as well as the source I quoted last time with it's own sources in the video description.
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    yyyyeeeeeeeaaaa-no.
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    I hope you realise that plant-based agriculture is incredibly water/energy intensive - especially any kind of leafy green (per calorie). Is that going to be equally taxed on ecological concern? Or is it based on another metric, like per unit mass? Insects are more resource efficient than plants, so should they get a tax-break? There are going to be many little quirks if you're purely basing this on ecological grounds.

    If the way certain grass-eating ruminants eat the grass actually benefits the landscape (with exception of nitrogen depletion), would they also be taxed?

    There is mention of "vegetarian substitutes" as if they're equals, a premise I don't buy. Is soybean protein nutritionally equivalent? I'm sure a quick amino acid analysis will tell you that they are not. Does it produce less greenhouse gases? I recall reading somewhere that for this particular case, it is actually worse than meat. Is it culinarily the equivalent? I suppose that's more or less subjective, but if you have a refined palate that understands mouthfeel and taste then it's hardly the same.

    Taxation alone doesn't cut it, and you should understand that food keeps the population docile. If you forcibly change society's eating habits on a whim using economic levers, you'd spark major protests/rioting.
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    (Original post by Mvine001)
    I think this is a good idea. It would certainly get more vegetarians in the world. This is coming from a vegetarian.
    Thanks for telling us. You couldn't resist lol.

    People should be free to do what they want.

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    (Original post by Pulse.)

    People should be free to do what they want.

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    Within what limits?

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    (Original post by Pulse.)
    Thanks for telling us. You couldn't resist lol.

    People should be free to do what they want.

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    Even if it damages others? Like driving using leaded-petrol, or using CFC's, or having slaves, or smoking on a plane/bus? There must be boundaries, and the simple question of this thread is: What should the boundaries be on eating meat now that we know it's far-reaching, pernicious and damaging comsequences.
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    (Original post by RobML)
    Within what limits?

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    (Original post by JoeyTr)
    Even if it damages others? Like driving using leaded-petrol, or using CFC's, or having slaves, or smoking on a plane/bus? There must be boundaries, and the simple question of this thread is: What should the boundaries be on eating meat now that we know it's far-reaching, pernicious and damaging comsequences.
    Probably should've worded myself better. The state should have no input on the preferences of citzens as long their actions don't impede upon others.

    And I'm sorry what are these far reaching pernicious and damaging consequences from eating meat? Vegetarianism should be a conscious choice, not something imposed on people. What is probably more important is why do you feel that you are qualified to make other peoples choices for them?

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    Consumption of meat and dairy shouldn't be banned, but it should be taxed. Nudging people to make the right decisions works better than a ban, especially when we're banning something which people have been conditioned from birth to consume. In the long run, I'm cautiously optimistic - particularly with the growth of cultured meat - that we'll see the factory farms shut down and the slaughterhouses outlawed.

    Moral progress comes about gradually, but we are slowly expanding our circle of moral concern: in the past, it would have been those near to us and those who were similar to us whose interests we would have been concerned about. Now, we've seen ethnic minorities, women and gays all having their interests considered equally. We're not yet there for people who live in other countries or nonhuman animals, but we'll get there.

    As Peter Singer has said, “what one generation finds ridiculous, the next accepts; and the third shudders when it looks back on what the first did.”

    (Original post by Pulse.)
    Probably should've worded myself better. The state should have no input on the preferences of citzens as long their actions don't impede upon others
    I agree. And, the meat industry inflicts unnecessary suffering on tens of billions of sentient beings every single year, whether it's in confinement, during transportation or during slaughter (stunning goes wrong in a significant proportion of cases, equating to millions upon millions of animals dying in intense pain every single year).

    The effect that meat and dairy consumption has on the climate affects other human beings. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the meat industry is responsible for almost 15% of greenhouse gas emissions; for reference, the entire transportation sector emits 14%.

    It's no wonder, then, that the UN's Environment Program has called on 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.
    It's also unsurprising 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.
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    I'd do things like fore meat products to have images of the conditions the animals live in and the slaughter process.

    Like how cigarettes have to have picture of cancerous lungs etc.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    I'd do things like fore meat products to have images of the conditions the animals live in and the slaughter process.

    Like how cigarettes have to have picture of cancerous lungs etc.
    That's a really interesting idea, never heard that before.

    If you think that animals have a right to freedom from suffering and killing, then it should be supported by a law. Rights need to be reflected in law.

    However, if you think that it's good for animals not to suffer, i.e, something less than a right, then the question is more difficult.

    I personally am in the former camp. I think that the meat industry is reprehensible and that no sentient thing should have to go through that process.
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    (Original post by Professor Oak)
    However, if you think that it's good for animals not to suffer, i.e, something less than a right, then the question is more difficult.
    I am in this camp, so I don't believe in natural rights for either humans or other animals. But, rights for humans and animals in the law are still instrumentally good, in my view, because it deters people from inflicting suffering on humans or other animals, and also 'locks in' these values, signalling to others that society has decided that these things are unacceptable.
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    (Original post by Professor Oak)
    That's a really interesting idea, never heard that before.

    If you think that animals have a right to freedom from suffering and killing, then it should be supported by a law. Rights need to be reflected in law.

    However, if you think that it's good for animals not to suffer, i.e, something less than a right, then the question is more difficult.

    I personally am in the former camp. I think that the meat industry is reprehensible and that no sentient thing should have to go through that process.
    I think a possible solution will come down to technology - if meat could be produced without suffering or death then it should be acceptable on a moral/philosophical level.

    But for the transitional period, we might have to eat insects. Do they have 'enough sentience' so to speak to enjoy the same rights as animals?

    I personally belong to the 'it is wrong to make animals suffer, but it's not necessarily wrong for animals to die for food as it is the natural order' camp
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    (Original post by Rather_Cynical)
    But for the transitional period, we might have to eat insects. Do they have 'enough sentience' so to speak to enjoy the same rights as animals?
    Why would we have to eat insects? A plant-based diet is perfectly nutritious, and cultured meat could potentially only be five years away.

    If insects can suffer (I think there's around a 10% chance that they can suffer), it's unlikely that their suffering matters as much as the suffering of mammals. If you rip off their legs, for instance, their behaviour doesn't change (they don't limp, etc). But there may be some suggestive signs that they can feel pain in a different way. There are good reasons not to support eating insects.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Why would we have to eat insects? A plant-based diet is perfectly nutritious, and cultured meat could potentially only be five years away
    Technically there's a type of goop called Huel/Soylent Green on the market that can displace food as a whole, the main problem is cultural acceptance. The availability of food - especially meat - makes the population happy. Imposing vegetarianism as statute might give rise to civil unrest (see bread/food-related inflation or shortage riots).

    Insects, if processed correctly and culturally accepted, would be the closest analogue to actual meat without in vitro cultures. I'm talking insect-burgers that are 95% like the real thing, with brand names to conceal the fact that it's insects. "Ethical meat" perhaps.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    If insects can suffer (I think there's around a 10% chance that they can suffer), it's unlikely that their suffering matters as much as the suffering of mammals. If you rip off their legs, for instance, their behaviour doesn't change (they don't limp, etc). But there may be some suggestive signs that they can feel pain in a different way. There are good reasons not to support eating insects.
    I think we're discussing the limits of science here - quantifying suffering and happiness to develop moral principles is really hard. Is it better to breed insects for our food-based needs, comparatively speaking? If the ideal situation of no death at all is unattainable, I certainly view it as one of the better options.
 
 
 
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