A vegetarian diet is more ethical than a meat-eating diet
A vegetarian diet is more ethical than a meat-eating diet.
I'll take on the Pro position of the debate, meaning I'll argue for vegetarianism.
A vegetarian is someone who does not eat any meat or fish, but does not necessarily abstain from eating animal derivatives like eggs and milk.
By "ethical" I mean morally right (as opposed to wrong) conduct. This includes examining the issue from both ecological and animal rights standpoints, as well as the implications to us as humans.
By a "meat-eating" diet, we'll just assume the average U.S. consumer (rather than a strict organic meat-eating person).
1. This first round is just for acceptance, please do not begin with your argument.
2. Please cite your sources. Don't just say "you can't survive without meat" unless you back it up with a reliable link. Also, it is best if you tell us why this source is credible.
Well, that's pretty much it. If you have any questions, feel free to use the comments. :)
Thank you for accepting. :)
In 2006, the United Nations calculated that the total climate-change emissions of animals bred for meat was 18% of the global total; this is more than cars, planes, and all other transportation combined. Besides greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide, cows and pigs produce many other polluting gases.
It takes 108 pounds of water to produce one pound of wheat. It takes a pound of beef around 20,000 pounds of water. Farming uses 70% of the water available to humans.
The majority of plant food grown on farms is used as animal feed. It takes 8.4 kilograms of plant-food to produce 1 kg of pork. The 7 billion livestock animals in the US consume 5 times as much grain as the entire population directly consumes. A Cornell analysis states:
"Animal protein production requires more than eight times as much fossil-fuel energy than production of plant protein while yielding animal protein that is only 1.4 times more nutritious for humans than the comparable amount of plant protein,"
"Each year an estimated 41 million tons of plant protein is fed to U.S. livestock to produce an estimated 7 million tons of animal protein for human consumption. About 26 million tons of the livestock feed comes from grains and 15 million tons from forage crops. For every kilogram of high-quality animal protein produced, livestock are fed nearly 6 kg of plant protein."
"If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million,"
"More than 302 million hectares of land are devoted to producing feed for the U.S. livestock population -- about 272 million hectares in pasture and about 30 million hectares for cultivated feed grains."
"On average, animal protein production in the U.S. requires 28 kilocalories (kcal) for every kcal of protein produced for human consumption. . . . Grain production, on average, requires 3.3 kcal of fossil fuel for every kcal of protein produced."
So, by producing meat, the population loses a vast majority of protein. In addition, the amount of energy and land used is far greater than that of plant food. On top of this, the soil erosion and greenhouse gases produced by raising livestock makes it far less sustainable than plant foods.
All these facts are from:
The first thing to address here is the most basic question, "why should we care about the plight of the animals involved?"
Ok, that's valid. After all we're humans, we have to look out for our own species first. However, we are the most intelligent of animals (probably), so we can examine ourselves and other species logically.
Modern science concludes that humans evolved from other animals, specifically apes. Since we evolved from these creatures, they are basically distant relatives (of course, plants are much more distant relatives). Coming from the same ancestors, we have many similarities to other animals, especially mammals. The DNA of the chimpanzee is 98% identical to that of humans. Of course, not many of us eat chimpanzees. The cow's (Bos taurus) DNA is 80% similar. (Source 1) On the other hand, we share 15% with a rice plant. (Source 2)
So what does this similarity mean? This brings us to animal intelligence. A dog, for instance, is thought to hold an intelligence that measures up to a 2 to 2.5 year old human. (Source 3) Pigs are thought to be more intelligent. Some apes are able to communicate with humans via simple sign language. Some chimpanzees have been found to perform some intellectual tasks better than humans. (Source 4) This isn't to say they are more intelligent than humans, it's just a testament to the fact they are somewhat intelligent.
It is the widely accepted by scientists that an animal's brain complexity is directly linked to their ability to feel pain and suffering. The Discovery Channel stated, "Psychologist B.F. Skinner proved that animals feel pain in a clinical test in which animals were shocked with electrical current as they approached their food." (Source 5) A recent study indicates that even crabs feel pain. (Source 6)
Ok, so we've established animals are somewhat intelligent and can feel pain (similarly to that of a young child). Now, does the meat industry cause suffering to the animals used?
Well, take a look. A pig's natural lifespan is 15 years, pigs are generally killed for pork at 6 months of age. Male pigs are usually castrated without anesthetic. They often have their tails removed and teeth clipped. Many pigs die in the bad conditions of transit. (Source 7)
In 2010, 62 billion animals died for American food. Here's the ones that made it to the slaughterhouse:
7.3 billion fish
12 billion shellfish
In 2010, the average meat-eater's diet is responsible for 207 animal deaths. At that rate, it is around 16,000 animals over the course of a person's lifespan. (all from source 8)
The above arguments must be balanced with this. How is meat useful to humans?
Humans are, after all, naturally omnivores. However, there is much research that indicates humans lived almost solely on plant matter as recently as 10,000 years ago. (Source 9 and 10) This isn't to say they were strict vegetarians, like the great apes, they very occasionally ate meat. However, it is likely that humans ate much less meat than they do today.
Probably the hardest arguments about vegetarianism is health. Can you be healthy without eating meat? Well, apparently, vegetarians live on average 8 years longer than regular meat-eaters (this is comparable to the difference between smokers and non-smokers). (Source 11) The protein and vitamins of meat can be derived from vegetable sources, except without the cholesterol and fat. That's not to say that all vegetarians lead a healthy diet, if they replace meat with high-fat dairy, it does little good. But, on the whole, vegetarians live longer.
Today, we live in a society where it is possible (and beneficial) to choose a vegetarian diet. Perhaps in some parts of the world, eating meat may impact health or survival. But if you aren't in poverty, you don't need to sacrifice health to abstain from meat. Therefore, for us, eating meat is a choice of leisure, rather than need. A vegetarian diet greatly lessens our ecological impact and decreases the food we need to produce. A vegetarian diet undoubtedly lessens the hardship on animals as well as other human beings. I would call that more ethical.
Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. -- Albert Einstein.
You could post the arguement to that that plants create oxygen and when we eat more and more plants that is depleting the oxygen so if everyone turns vegetarian we will start running out of oxygen. Neither of these I believe will have a big effect on humanity I believed was just stating the parralex argument that seemed to work with it.
Second We don't need to worry about fossil fuels causing climate change ohh that's right they used to call it global warming but since they were wrong and it didn't exist they changed it here is why climate change is false, "Those who belive that there is no evidence for global warning often argue that extremely accurate temperature gauges that can measure temperatures to within .01-degrees Celsius have shown no evidence of global warming over the last 25 years. While some can consider this a plateau, these satellite readings correspond with land readings taken for years before this; there has been little recorded climbs in temperature.
While many scientists are willing to go on record to point out trends in global warming, more than 17,000 scientists have signed a petition circulated by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine saying that they see no evidence of global warming at all. Less formal surveys amongst climatologists have pointed in the same direction.
No Future Prediction
While it is tempting to look ahead at what global warming could do if left unchecked or untreated, it is currently impossible to predict actual climate change in this manner. There are currently no computers sophisticated enough to extrapolate from current data in a reliable pattern that can indicate future climate temperatures."(1)
Next I would like to say why animal rights shouldn't be a question. If you are an evolutionist you believe in survival of the fittest and that the better smarter species will weed out the lesser species, yes of course now days we try and keep a couple around but working against extinction of animals is very condridicting if your an evolutionist.
If you area Christian or Catholic or Mormon or Judiest you believe in the Torah 1st five books of the bible which say man is to rule over all the animals, "Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."(2)
So to all those religions their God says it is ethical to eat and rule over them.
And you say that it matters that a cow has 80 percent human DNA so they are part human well you also sited that rice is 15 percent well that means that are also part human so if you believe one you have to believe the others or that's almost unethical to say one human cousin is more important then the other. That is if you believe that which I don't. I'm going to start a Rice rights group
Creatures that shouldn't be
Now we should attempt better conditions for these animals like maybe put them to sleep before they are slaughtered not that it matters that much what an animal is feeling.
Most people fight for animal rights and no pain for animals but they believe abortion is fine they are just as alive in that stomach as some animal is but that child is going to grow into a living breathing human that could be having a debate like this in the future,so if you count feeling pain as a sign of being alive like a human you better not be an abortion supporter,"With the advent of sonograms and live-action ultrasound images, neonatologists and nurses are able to see unborn babies at 20 weeks gestation react physically to outside stimuli such as sound, light and touch. The sense of touch is so acute that even a single human hair drawn across an unborn baby's palm causes the baby to make a fist.
Did you know that this 20-week-old unborn child can feel pain?
Surgeons entering the womb to perform corrective procedures on tiny unborn babies have seen those babies flinch, jerk and recoil from sharp objects and incisions.
"The neural pathways are present for pain to be experienced quite early by unborn babies," explains Steven Calvin, M.D., perinatologist, chair of the Program in Human Rights Medicine, University of Minnesota, where he teaches obstetrics.
Medical facts of fetal pain
Anatomical studies have documented that the body"s pain network"the spino-thalamic pathway"is established by 20 weeks gestation.
" "At 20 weeks, the fetal brain has the full complement of brain cells present in adulthood, ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body, and their electrical activity can be recorded by standard electroencephalography (EEG)."
" Dr. Paul Ranalli, neurologist, University of Toronto
" An unborn baby at 20 weeks gestation "is fully capable of experiencing pain. " Without question, [abortion] is a dreadfully painful experience for any infant subjected to such a surgical procedure."
" Robert J. White, M.D., PhD., professor of neurosurgery, Case Western University
Unborn babies have heightened sensitivities
Unborn babies at 20 weeks development actually feel pain more intensely than adults. This is a "uniquely vulnerable time, since the pain system is fully established, yet the higher level pain-modifying system has barely begun to develop," according to Dr. Ranalli.
"Having administered anesthesia for fetal surgery, I know that on occasion we need to administer anesthesia directly to the fetus, because even at these early gestational ages the fetus moves away from the pain of the stimulation," stated David Birnbach, M.D., president of the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology and self-described as "pro-choice," in testimony before the U.S. Congress.
Given the medical evidence that unborn babies experience pain, compassionate people are viewing abortion more and more as an inhumane and intolerable brutality against defenseless human beings.
The unborn baby at 20 weeks
Fetal development is already quite advanced at 20 weeks gestation:
" The skeleton is complete and reflexes are present at 42 days.
" Electrical brain wave patterns can be recorded at 43 days. This is usually ample evidence that "thinking" is taking place in the brain.
" The fetus has the appearance of a miniature baby, with complete fingers, toes and ears at 49 days.
" All organs are functioning"stomach, liver, kidney, brain"and all systems are intact at 56 days.
" By 20 weeks, the unborn child has hair and working vocal cords, sucks her thumb, grasps with her hands and kicks. She measures 12 inches."(3)
Your last point about healthy sets doesn't have to do with ethics but I would like to see a test where they eat a doctors alloted mount of meat and healthy vegetables because the average American is a meat eater and the average American is obese so that test doesn't really work.
Eat meat there is nothing unethical about it.
It is a great source of protein.
And it tastes darn good and just the fact that eating a nice steak can make a good day for someone that's proof enough for me that it's a good thing.
“1st water is a renuable resource and we shouldn't worry about whether or not it takes more water for a cow then wheat, because it is all going to be renewed and if we chose not to eat those cows they would consume more water to live longer. “
Believe it or not, water usage is a concern. Though fresh water is replenished by the water cycle we have a limited amount at a given time and it takes vast amounts of energy (non-sustainable) to treat the water. In 50 years, our population will increase by 3 billion people. It will become increasingly difficult to provide water for everyone.
You can read about it here: http://www.whyzz.com...
Also, you say that if we didn't eat the cows, they would consume the water anyway. The meat industry breeds these animals in MASSIVE quantities. They are forced to reproduce much more frequently than if they were wild. If we stopped breeding them for slaughter their numbers would decrease dramatically in a few years. Also, you did not consider that meat production not only takes the water the animals drink directly, but all the water it takes to grow the food they eat.
You state that if we all switch to eating plants, we would decrease the world plant population and thus decrease the oxygen on earth. Most of the plants farmers grow are fed to meat animals. If we switched to plant diets there would be more plants, and, according to you, more oxygen.http://www.news.cornell.edu......
About global warming, if you don't believe it is a concern, I'm not sure what to tell you. You might consider having a look at some of these articles:
“Next I would like to say why animal rights shouldn't be a question. If you are an evolutionist you believe in survival of the fittest and that the better smarter species will weed out the lesser species, yes of course now days we try and keep a couple around but working against extinction of animals is very condridicting if your an evolutionist. “
Evolution is not a philosophy, it is a scientific concept. Survival of the fittest is not a code of conduct for life, it was never intended to be that. Evolution does not define morality. Just because something behaves a certain way in nature does not make it ethical (e.g. causing other species' extinction).
97% of scientists accept evolution as scientific truth. This does not change what is ethical.http://www.people-press.org...
I want to bring to attention that this is not a religious debate. It is a debate on ethics, which to some people does include religion, so I will address it briefly.
I am a protestant Christian and I think that evolution is probably true. I don't see a conflict between Christianity and evolution. God has the power to bring about life on earth in the way he chooses. I believe this way to be evolution. All the life on earth shares some percentage of DNA. This makes sense if you believe they come from the same Creator.
You mention that the Bible gives authority to man to rule over the creatures of the Earth. Does this mean we can do whatever we want to them? No, we must take care of them. Before the flood, God forbade the eating of meat. After the flood, he designated certain animals as “clean” to eat. Does this remove our responsibility to rule over the creatures with respect?
Here are some other things the bible has to say:
"The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither hunt nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD.” -Isaiah 65:25
“The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel. “ - Proverbs 12:10
“Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain. “ -Deuteronomy 25:4
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or ask the birds of the air, and they will tell you. Speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea tell you. Every one of these knows that the hand of the Lord has done this. The life of every creature and the breath of all people are in God’s hand.” -Job 12:7-10 (NCV)
Many early Christians were vegetarian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, John Chrysostom, and Basil the Great to name a few. In some early church writings, Matthew, Peter and James (Brother of Jesus and first leader of the New Jerusalem Church) were all vegetarian. Clement wrote, "It is far better to be happy than to have your bodies act as graveyards for animals. The Apostle Matthew partook of seeds, nuts and vegetables, without flesh".
God giving us dominion over the animals does not give us license to mistreat them. God rules over us, and he is merciful to us. We rule over the creatures of the earth, should we not be merciful?
I do not think we should give rice plants rights. We only share 15% of our DNA with it. Plants have no brain, no central nervous system. There is no reason to think that plants have emotion or feel pain.There is a reason to think animals have emotion and feel pain. Animals are closer to us than plants, some animals are very close to us. Even bacteria share about 2% of our DNA. Does this give them rights? No. When you wash your hands, you kill thousands of bacteria. If you have ever felt pain, than you can surely understand why we should hesitate to inflict pain on the things that can feel it (animals, not plants and bacteria).
I agree with you about abortion. For the same reasons I think we should not kill animals, I feel we should not kill unborn humans. But this debate isn't about abortion.
I'm not sure what you are saying about the health implications of a vegetarian diet. 8 years more of life is 8 years more of life. To me, that indicates it is healthy to be a vegetarian. Yes, there are many healthy, long-lived people who eat meat, but a diet without meat can be just as healthy (or possibly more-so).http://www.huffingtonpost.com......
“Eat meat there is nothing unethical about it.”
18,000 children die every day for lack of food. If the entire nation switched to a completely plant-based diet, there would be 5 times more protein food than the meat produced. We feed farm animals enough to feed 800,000,000 people every year. This world needs all the extra food it can get.http://usatoday30.usatoday.com...
“And it tastes darn good and just the fact that eating a nice steak can make a good day for someone that's proof enough for me that it's a good thing.“
Well, maybe punching my neighbor in the nose would “make a good day” for my neighbor's ex-wife, but that doesn't make it ethical.
Note: I apologize if my arguments seem a little strong, I'm just trying to present the situation as accurately as I can.
Many more people in foreign third world country's would go hungry with out the ability to eat meat. How bout the Eskimos or Inuits meat is a vital food source in a place that's unforgiving, what about tribes in Africa even more of there kids would be go hungry without meat, especially in the small untouched tribes.
We still need to test a balanced diet of meat and vegetables against a all veggie diet to conclude that no meat is healthier.
If we should not kill a living thing because it is 85 percent human then why should we be able to kill one that is only 15 that's a little bit discriminating if we are going to go to the point of 85 percent human DNA means a animal is a sentient bien.
Yes we should rule over them with care not slaughtering them, but why would God require living animals as sacrifices if they were sentient. And Isaiah 65:25 is a prophesy of the 1000 year reign when animals will live together in peace and there will be no wars. But that again is another debate I will save escatology for later. :)
I never said evolution was a guidelines of life but why would anyone who believes in it want to mess with the natural cycle of the earth.
Yes we do breed lots more cows now but they would eventually get way larger in population then now and consume just as much water just like our population continues to increase.
And you didn't really rebute my plant oxygen argument.
My apologies for the hasty sound of this round this is a last minute debate on the last hour off the top of my head.
Bed times in 10 minutes. School sucks.
Will bring a more sourceful argument next round.
No need for apologies. I hear you, school absolutely does suck. I'm glad we can find some common ground though.
Let me clarify my position a little. Personally, I don't think eating animal flesh is wrong in itself. I think if a person doesn't cause an animal pain before slaughter, kills it swiftly, and this action doesn't hurt any other person, there is nothing unethical about the consumption of the meat. I see 3 problems with the ethics of eating meat:
On the health issue, this isn't directly related to ethics. What I'm saying about health is that a person (in a rich country at least) can be JUST as healthy without eating meat. So, eating meat is a preference rather than a necessity. I do agree that more tests need to be conducted about a balanced meat and vegetable diet, rather than extremes.
You mention people in poor countries who rely on meat for survival, such as Eskimos and tribes in Africa. These people are not the worst offenders. If they continued their practices, we'd be fine. They can't afford factory-farmed meat and they don't produce animals an a massive scale. What they do is NOT unethical.
But the reality is that the poor don't consume or produce much meat in comparison to rich countries. Over 80% of meat eaten in the world is consumed by people in the richest half of world countries. We in rich countries are the main offenders. The average American eats around 280 lbs of meat per year (more than recommended for health), the average person from Sierra Leone or the Republic of Congo eats only 10 lbs of meat. Why should Americans eat more meat than recommended while people from other countries have little food at all? It is the excess of rich countries like America that is unethical, not the small tribes of the world.
Let's address the issue of eating plants, which sometimes share 15% of our DNA. Who says we shouldn't discriminate between different forms of life when choosing what to eat? After all, we must eat something that is alive. Everything that is alive shares some of our DNA. If we didn't discriminate between different forms of life, we would starve.
Let's look at it this way. Humans share 99% of there DNA between each other, humans are obviously not ethical to eat. Bacteria shares around 2% DNA with us, we kill and eat bacteria constantly, every day. But that's OK, because it is unavoidable and bacteria doesn't feel pain. A plant shares a little more DNA with us, around 15%. They are not much more like us than bacteria, plants also don't feel pain. However, a cow shares more than 5 times the DNA with us than a rice plant, 80% similar to ours. It is proven that cows feel pain.
Isaiah 1:11-17 (NIV)
11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings,of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?
13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!
16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
God may have called for sacrifices of animals at one time, but it was always more important to “defend the oppressed.” After the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, animal sacrifices became obsolete. This matches the message of compassion Jesus brought.
Excuse me, but I don't understand how I did not refute the statement that if we all ate plants only, we'd have an oxygen shortage. Less plants are killed by a vegetarian diet than a meat diet. This is a fact, it is not disputable. It takes 41 tons of plant protein to produce 7 pounds of animal protein. Most of the plants we grow are fed to animals, who inefficiently convert it to animal protein, losing 83% of the protein in the process. 3/4 of the world's agricultural land is used for livestock production, which provides less food for us than plants.
Again, I don't think eating meat is unethical in itself. Two-hundred years ago, I don't think it was unethical at all. It is the processes of the modern meat industry that cause undue animal and human suffering. It is the 99% of the modern meat industry that is unethical.
You can get meat this way today it costs more money but you can. Since you said there is nothing wrong ethically with eating meat, there really is no argument. Something can't be more ethical then something else if it is completely ethical. Here is some proof of humane meat out there this is one of many,
"Wouldn't it be great if farm animals were raised compassionately? Well, some people are way ahead of you on that. Whole Foods Markets has decided to come up with standards to create a line of meats bearing an "animal compassionate" label, meaning farmers raised the animals humanely. It's not the first animal-welfare label out there. There's also the "certified humane" label administered by Humane Farm Animal Care, and the "free farmed" label overseen by the American Humane Association. And the Animal Welfare Institute issues the label "Animal Welfare Approved."
All aim for humane lives for farm animals, though each program is different. Examples: The New York Times pointed out that the Animal Welfare Institute and the "free farmed" label let pigs have nose rings to prevent them from tearing up the ground when they root around, but the other programs forbid rings. At AnimalWelfareApproved.org, the Animal Welfare Institute posts a comparison chart showing how it"s the most favorable program.
The nonprofit watchdog group Consumers Union so far has examined only the "certified humane" label, which it deemed a "highly meaningful label that indicates that meat, dairy and egg products came from animals that were treated humanely," according to its eco-oriented web site, Eco-labels.org. The "certified humane" label has several requirements. Among examples: Livestock must have access to clean and sufficient food and water; they must have sufficient room to move naturally; and their environment must not endanger their health.
In the end, the vast majority of livestock don't fall under any of these humane-labeling programs, and you may achieve your goal of buying humanely raised meats via other routes -- by buying from farmers markets or small local farms. Another way: Quiz local co-ops about what they know about how their meats were produced.
For more info:
To find out where to buy "Certified Humane" foods, go to CertifiedHumane.com. To find Animal Welfare-approved foods, go to www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org. To find "Free Farmed" producers, go to AmericanHumane.org."(1)
So I really have nothing else to say as long as you get humanly raised meat like up above me and my opponent both agree eating meat is completely ethical and since eating a vegetarian diet is completely ethical, they are both equally ethical and that's the debate.
So basically whenever you eat meat make sure you get humanly raised and slaughtered meat and then you will be eating just as ethically as a vegetarian in both mine and my opponents eyes.
Good luck with your closing statement in the last round remember no rebuttals or new arguments, like we agreed. Lets end this.
Thank you for bringing up the “humane” options for meat. I think these are definitely better for the animals involved. As long as the animals are treated as well as they say and they are killed swiftly, I think it is just as ethical as a vegetarian diet. I really hope more people do get into that. :D
Before I close, I must address the seeming inconsistency in my position. The resolution of the debate is “A vegetarian diet is more ethical than a meat-eating diet.” I define “meat-eating” in the rules of the first-round. Let me quote myself from the first round of the debate:
“By a "meat-eating" diet, we'll just assume the average U.S. consumer (rather than a strict organic meat-eating person).“
To determine whether it is ethical to eat meat, we must look at what people TYPICALLY do, not what people CAN do. People can choose organic or “ethical” meat, but the truth is that 99% of the meat we eat in America (and most developed countries) is factory-farmed. As I stated in the first round, my argument is for the “average U.S. consumer” not the oddball 1% that choose ethically raised meat.
Ethically raising animals takes more land. It would be impossible to set aside enough land to pasture-raise animals in order to feed us. To provide everyone animal products at the rate we consume, we have to confine livestock animals into small cages and make there lives unusually short. Some fifty-five billion land animals are raised and slaughtered each year world wide for agriculture. That's about 8 times the global human population, each year. Animal production occupies 80 percent of the Earth’s total usable arable land. Would it be possible to farm all of these animals with enough space to allow free movement? Would it be possible to let them live longer and still produce the same amount of meat overall? No. It wouldn't be possible. That is why only 1% of the meat we eat is not factory-farmed.
So, organic or “humane” meat is better for the animals involved, which is definitely good, but it is not necessarily better for the people. Pasture-raising animals provides just as much strain on the environment as factory-farming the animals. Also, pasture-raising animals takes more land and time to produce the same amount of animals, meaning less food.
I'm not arguing for factory-farms, there are definite benefits to moving away from that type of farming. However, not everyone could eat pasture-raised meat for lack of land. Luckily, there is another option. A vegetarian diet takes far less land and produces more food than an organic or non-organic meat based diet.
However, you don't have to completely avoid meat to reduce ecological strain, increase the world food supply, and decrease animal suffering. More people eating less meat can have the similar effect; this too is more ethical than eating excessive meat.
As more countries become developed, the issue continues to grow. The Telegraph reports, “China now eats twice as much meat as the United States and must rein in its appetite or face a food crisis, one of the country's leading farm experts has warned.“ The average Chinese person eats around 52 kg of meat yearly while the average American eats 124 kg. Some experts predict that within 40 years time, we may all have to switch to a vegetarian diet to avoid catastrophic water shortages.
Read more here:
In addition, it has been determined that a diet of meat is not necessary for survival or health, at least for those in developed nations. The American Dietetic Association states:
"Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits, including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer."
Source: American Dietetic Association. (2003). Position paper on vegetarian diets. J Am Diet Assoc, 103, 748-765.
For those in developed nations such as America, eating meat is a leisure. It is not necessary for survival or health, and there is much research that indicates too much meat can harm a person. It takes on average 41 grams of plant protein to produce 7 grams of animals protein (not to mention the extra water and energy used). The 7 billion livestock animals in the US eat 5 times the grain the entire human population eats.
Eating meat is less ethical than a vegetarian diet because:
If eating meat was necessary for health or survival, these three results listed above MIGHT be justifiable. It is pretty shaky though. But it has been proven that meat is not necessary for health or survival, at least for those in developed countries.
I'm not trying to say eating meat is completely unethical. It certainly has a place our culture and our history. It used to be necessary for survival. But today it isn't. This makes eating meat in a developed country LESS ethical than not eating meat. A vegetarian diet has potential to improve conditions for animals, but more importantly it can improve the lives of the people of the world.
I want to thank you for participating, Locke33. You've brought to my attention some new issues and interesting ideas. You've been patient and a great opponent. Thanks again!
Locke33 forfeited this round.
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|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||3||4|