South Africa Flag logo

South African Skeptics

October 20, 2018, 12:27:41 PM
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
Go to mobile page.
News: Follow saskeptics on twitter.
   
   Skeptic Forum Board Index   Help Forum Rules Search GoogleTagged Login Register Chat Blogroll  
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic:

Vegetarian

 (Read 6303 times)
Description: Is it moral to kill something and eat it?
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Tweefo
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +9/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1506



WWW
« on: July 07, 2008, 10:51:57 AM »

Had a discussion with my daughter regarding vegetarians. She maintained that we should not kill, that it is immoral and that we don't need to. Plants can provide all our nutritional needs.
I am a bit skeptical about plants providing all our needs but I don't think it is immoral. It is bad for the individual, cow or sheep, but those species are doing themselves a great service by providing us with food. With us not needing them they probably would have disappeared by now or would have been redused to a few in some zoo or reserve. Besides the sunday braai would just not be the same with pumpkin or cabbage on it.
As for killing for fun (hunting) I am not so sure. I don't, so I don't see the fun but I suppose that the same argument can be made for it (good for the specie).
Logged
Mefiante
Defollyant Iconoclast
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +61/-9
Offline Offline

Posts: 3734


In solidarity with rwenzori: Κοπρος φανεται


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2008, 11:16:45 AM »

Here’s a fair-minded overview that deals with the human health-related facts of vegetarianism.  The problem with discussions about the topic is that they usually soon deteriorate into softer issues of morality and personal choice, and so can become quite heated.  Another problem is the strong correlation that exists between vegetarianism, especially its more fanatical vegan variant, and an assortment of New Age beliefs like transmigration of souls, the universal unity of all things and such.  An even more extreme form of veganism exists that eschews the consumption of things like potatoes, carrots, etc., where the harvesting of these products results in the death of the parent plant.

'Luthon64
Logged
Tweefo
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +9/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1506



WWW
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2008, 14:43:57 PM »

Quote
An even more extreme form of veganism exists that eschews the consumption of things like potatoes, carrots, etc., where the harvesting of these products results in the death of the parent plant.
So what do you eat then or do you became a "bretherian? (don't know about the spelling). Oh I suppose fruits where you don't kill the plant but what about all the bacteria in the fruit? Again, what about my braai? I think this is nuts. Evolution got us to be omnivores and I don't want to change.
Logged
bluegray
Administrator
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +9/-3
Offline Offline

Posts: 1107



saskeptics
WWW
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2008, 12:40:47 PM »

I have heard various flavours of vegetarianism. some of my favourites are: "Won't eat anything with a face" or "I hate plants". Wink
But seriously, other than the nutritional issues, why not. Eat what you want. Some people really take it too far. It becomes a religious issue, just like Windows vs. Mac or Nokia vs. Sony.

Slaughtering is not fun to watch and I can see why this is a good reason not to eat meat, but a lion tearing the guts out of a (sometimes still alive) zebra is not that appetizing either. But definitely not immoral. Eat or be eaten, nothing more natural than that.

That said, it can be argued that people these days kill more than they need, and we do have the ability to survive without all that unnecessary killing. That might be grounds for calling it immoral - since indulging yourself for mere pleasure is not so noble.

I for one, and I suspect many South Africans, love to braai, and won't easily give it up. Especially not if meat comes in neat little wrapped packages that I conveniently buy at the supermarket Undecided
Logged
ArgumentumAdHominem
Full Member
***

Skeptical ability: +6/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 134


This husk is no longer used


« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2008, 13:17:24 PM »

Some people really take it too far. It becomes a religious issue ...

Okay, I'm gonna drift a little off topic here...

I had an interesting discussion with a Hindu colleague a while ago about his religious fasting.  Hindus practice a weekly fasting ritual where for one whole day they do not eat meat or partake of indulgences (smoking, drinking, etcetera).  For different sects the date varies, but most observe a Tuesday or Friday fast (actually this particular colleague fasted on Thursdays because, although his family fasted on Fridays, he liked to enjoy Fridays with everyone else  Wink).  The source of this weekly vegetarianism is related to the annual month-long fasting (which is also a vegeterian-type fasting).  The first occasion of this annual fasting started because it was at the time of harvest.  By instructing the followers to refrain from eating meat meant that the stock of vegetables (which could not be stored for very long periods) would be used first and by the time that the followers returned to eating meat there was much less of the harvested crop to keep and ultimately less would be wasted.  The Hindus would then have more meat available to last through the leaner months.

I guess this could be seen as practical vegetarianism becoming part of a religion in order to guarantee its continued success.  In these days of refrigeration and a the global farming market there isn't a need for this harvest-time enforced vegetarianism (especially not in the southern hemisphere where the observation of northern hemisphere harvest times are pointless) and yet it continues on religious grounds.  Of course you have to come-up with all sorts of justifications to continue the practise and reassure yourself that it hasn't become just another superstitious ritual.
Logged
benguela
Full Member
***

Skeptical ability: +3/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 223


An infinitesimal subset of the observable universe


benguela
WWW
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2008, 17:27:05 PM »

I became vegetarian at a braai, standing around the fire, one of the okes happened to work for a large company with many abattoirs around the country. He stated that cows are slaughtered when they are about 1 year old and chickens when they are less than 40 days old. Based on that single person's statement I became vegetarian, right there and then, completely un-scientific. I did not even bother to investigate the truth of his statement. Not exemplary conduct from a skeptic. Holding thumbs that this will improve my karma rating a couple of notches, looking forward to my elevated re-incarnated state.



Logged
skepticdetective
Newbie
*

Skeptical ability: +1/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 49



WWW
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2008, 07:24:13 AM »

This is a very emotive issue. It seems to me that the vegetarians I have had contact with chose to stop consuming meat because of moral issues. I have a vegan friend who is militant about not eating any kind of animal product and, much to my chagrin, thinks the good people of the Animal Liberation Front are heroes.

My own personal view is that humans are omnivores, we evolved to consume a diet made up of all the food groups. If we were not supposed to eat meat, we would not have canines and incisors. Surely those teeth did not evolve so that we could eat soya mince?
Morality is not an issue for me as far as the consumption goes.

Slaughtering is a bit of wobbly ground because of the "inhumane" manner in which it is done. Not all of our beef comes from year old calves though, that's venison and a bit more expensive. However, I still feel that we are on the top of the food chain because we have evolved to be there, domesticated livestock are there to be eaten.
Logged
flingwing
Newbie
*

Skeptical ability: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1


« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2008, 21:09:31 PM »

Hey guys,

As an atheist vegetarian I feel I might just add my 2c to this thread. I grew up in the typical South African braai/biltong culture and used to think of myself as quite a carnivore. If you gave me a plate of bacon for my birthday followed by some lekker ribs I would've been completely satisfied.

A few years ago I was working for an NGO where there were a number of vegetarians. I thought they were quite a curiosity as I had never been exposed to it before. I continued eating meat of course. One day I asked one of them why he was vegetarian - he simply responded by throwing the question back at me : "why AREN'T you one". Me being of the inquisitive kind took the question seriously, and so I set off on a mission to find out why I'm right and it's good to eat meat. (I must add that at this point I was still very much christian and so didn't have a lot of experience with using critical thought and a neutral P.O.V.) The more I read the more I realised that there were considerably more pros to vegetarianism than cons - in fact there were actually not very many pros to eating meat at all.

I've never been bunny-hugger on anything like that, so it wasn't so much the cruelty that convinced me to go veggie, although it certainly did give weight to the argument in favour of vegetarianism. Nor was it the health reasons- (I've never been a health nut.. so that didn't really tip the scale for me either) but if not eating meat reduces my chances of getting heart problems, then great! Who doesn't like perks?

I've always been a bit of a systems thinker, a numbers person you may say, so the thing that really got me was the sheer inefficiency of eating meat. The (for example) 10 units of (plant based) energy that you have to put into growing a cow in order to get 1 unit of (meat based) energy out. That means that if I eat a vegetarian meal I'm using 10 times less land to get the same benefit. This is staggering even if you don't take into account the vast amounts (thousands of litres) of water used to grow that one steak, methane release by the cow during it's life and fossil fuels used to prepare the land, produce fertilisers and transport everything around..

If you consider the growing world population and limited amounts of arable land available, it makes no sense to  use our resources wastefully when it isn't really needed. Couple this with other benefits, like the massive reduction in monthly grocery bills, and I think it works out pretty well.

For me the whole thought process involved with this triggered doubt in a lot of other things ("why am I doing what I am doing?") and has ultimately contributed to my deconversion from christianity and also made me very aware of 'woo' which I have been exposed to in my early life like homeopathy and iridology.

Anyways, just my 2c. Not that you can do much with 2c these days Smiley
Cheers
Flingwing
Logged
Sentinel
Sr. Member
****

Skeptical ability: +7/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 257


Hellbound Sentry


« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2008, 12:44:26 PM »

http://www.kobesteakhouse.com/

'Nuff said!
Logged
Ulquiorra
Newbie
*

Skeptical ability: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1


« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2008, 08:24:50 AM »

Hi there ppls

First time I post on this site. Great stuff!

Its reall interesting to note the motivation behind people changing their minds about certain huge* things.

My belief was also that humans are omnivores and that they should therefor eat both plant and meat. The e moral act of killing a fish (big barber) with stones in front of me made me go non-meat. I'm also an atheist so I belief in healthier living = longer living. This next bit is confusing to me.. after 3 months of not eating any meat I made a conscious decision to eat fish again on the simple fact that it is healthy (i had been thinking about it more than once)...yet I havent touched any other meats again. I call myself vegetarian but I will eat fish and have no moral problem with it at all.  Huh?
Logged
AcinonyxScepticus
Full Member
***

Skeptical ability: +3/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 234



WWW
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2008, 09:31:16 AM »

Hi, welcome to the forum.

Your eating habits are not that uncommon.  I have members of my family who abstain from eating red meat for other reasons (but they still eat chicken in addition to fish).  Their reasons vary from not wanting a "heavy" meal to emotional reasons about the treatment of farm animals.  It seems to me that the wellbeing of mammals (as we are so similar to them) appears to have greater impact than the wellbeing of fowl, fish, lizards or insects.

We can watch travel programmes or news reports showing east Asians eating deep fried crickets and chocolate covered cockroaches but we immediately scream "foul" when there are reports of them eating cats or dogs.  I'm sorry to have left you with that image (and memories of that awful Carte Blanche story from six years ago), but to many vegetarians our consumption of lamb, pork or beef has the same effect on them as the feeling the average "westerner" feels about eating cat or dog meat.

You hardly ever see vegetarians standing up for the rights of beetles and snakes.  So maybe we should ask ourselves if vegetarianism is linked to the sympathy we feel for mammals but lack for other families of animals.

James
Logged
Bullitt
Jr. Member
**

Skeptical ability: +0/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 50



« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2008, 12:10:37 PM »

I was thinking about this topic recently, especially with regard to the treatment of animals.  I admit, there are some abattoir's that do treat the animals very badly and I agree that they should be punished.  But, for me there is no better meal than one that includes fillet steak.  I will wolf down kgs of biltong if it is lying around.

Animals have been hunted from before homo sapiens were around.  Hunting can be brutal.  Animals may be hurt for hours before they die.  But, this also applies to the hunting of animals by animals.  A friend of mine recently worked for a wildlife filming company and spend many hours filming a pride of lions.  He told me of the take-downs he witnessed; the pride took down almost any animal in the park.  I saw clips of bloodied hippos being attacked and impala being torn apart while alive by the lionesses.  Just about every documentary about wild mammals shows something along these lines.

Farmed animals are typically killed quickly and without pain.  They are treated for disease, are given enough food to survive and are protected from predators.  They live a stress-free life compared to wild animals.  Of course, this does not apply to animals that are kept in small cages.  I dislike that.  Much like some zoos I suppose.

I am not trying to convert anyone to eating red meat.  Neither should anyone try convince me to stop eating red meat.  I would not go hunting because I don't like to kill the animals myself, but I am very happy when invited to eat them.  Do whatever makes you happy, but please don't judge others when they have an opposing view.
Logged
Tweefo
Hero Member
*****

Skeptical ability: +9/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 1506



WWW
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2008, 21:07:52 PM »

Quote
Farmed animals are typically killed quickly and without pain.  They are treated for disease, are given enough food to survive and are protected from predators.  They live a stress-free life compared to wild animals.
From a "survival of the species" point of view, being food to humans is a very good thing. It is unfair for the individual animal, but in their short time here on earth, life is not too bad.
I used to farm with cattle and a young bull calf get normally slaughtered at two years. A female calf start breeding at 2 years. So it is mostly young adults that are killed and not infants, as the (don't know what to call them) would want you to believe.
Logged
benguela
Full Member
***

Skeptical ability: +3/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 223


An infinitesimal subset of the observable universe


benguela
WWW
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2008, 21:45:17 PM »

I have no problems with animals eating each other. Animals do not have a choice of whether to eat each other. We on the other hand can easily adapt to a vegetarian diet, that's one of our strengths that has allowed our species to survive

I do have a problem with keeping animals in a confined spaced and then the majority (I suspect in the high ninety percentile) do not get to live to middle age let alone old age. Chickens I was told do not live more than a 6-8 weeks, all cooped up. A similar scenario applies to cows, farmed seafood etc. Then I was told that some cows get to see their second birthday in a well fed stress free environment.

2 years? and that's ok? I wonder what percentage are not lucky enough to have a quality two years of life to cater for some recipes on the BBC food channel that call for veal and lamb chops.

Please note that I have not confirmed any of the claimed life spans of farmed chickens and cows. I simply took the statements at face value and immediately decided that the human species is evil. Wink
Logged
scienceteacheragain
godlike, humble, know-it-all
Full Member
***

Skeptical ability: +2/-0
Offline Offline

Posts: 176



« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2008, 12:27:21 PM »

Quote
I have no problems with animals eating each other. Animals do not have a choice of whether to eat each other. We on the other hand can easily adapt to a vegetarian diet, that's one of our strengths that has allowed our species to survive

Umm, humans ARE animals.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Up
  Print  


 
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Page created in 4.76 seconds with 23 sceptic queries.
Google visited last this page Yesterday at 11:48:39
Privacy Policy