The Instigator
Stupidape
Pro (for)
The Contender
Delta2401
Con (against)

Eating vegan is better for the enviorment than omnivoire.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/31/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 277 times Debate No: 94302
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

Stupidape

Pro

Eating vegan is better for the environment than eating meat. Cows can be raised either free range or in feedlots. If you pick the former they use massive acreage which causes deforestation. [0] Feedlots require many times the amount of grain up to 16x. [1]

Either way the environmental impact is enormous. The negative effects of rain-forest deforestation are common knowledge. We cannot afford to let this natural oxygen producing and pollutant sponge to be destroyed.

The feed lot method puts a massive strain on our water supplies. According to the FoK documentary the world's cattle alone could fed 9 billion people. [2] That's assuming we fed the grain used for cattle directly to humans. Combine that with a whooping 2,500 gallons per pound of beef, and you got an environmental disaster. [3] Note, different sources vary one ib of beef takes between 2,464 gallons of water to 12,009 gallons.

Other meats while more efficient than beef, are still considerably less efficient than plant based alternatives. [4] With chicken requiring 2.5x and pork 4x. Yet, this is both the inedible and edible parts. Take out the inedible and even milk requires 10% more pounds of grain than produced. Chicken 4.5, pork 7.3, and cattle 20 ibs of feed per ib of edible meat.

Fishing is not any better. [5][6] Not only are we simply running out of fish, but we are destroying the ocean habitat. This includes the beautiful coral reefs. Factory farming fish has its own perils. [7] Catfish require 2 ibs of grain per ib of fish. [8] Many fish farms use smaller wild caught fish as feed for factory farmed fish. [9]

Anyway you look at it, giving up meat is the environmentally friendly option. If your thinking solely of the environment vegetarian and fish are better options than beef and pork. Thanks for your time and energy reading.

Sources
0. http://www.greenpeace.org...
1. http://www.animalliberationfront.com...
2. http://www.forksoverknives.com...
3. http://www.vegsource.com...
4. https://alumni.stanford.edu...
5. http://wwf.panda.org...
6. http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
7. http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org...
8. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com...
9. http://www.farmedanddangerous.org...
Delta2401

Con

First, some clarifications
I think I should start off by saying what I am arguing against. According to Merriam-Webster, vegan is defined as: a person who does not eat any food that comes from animals and who often also does not use animal products (such as leather).

So pro has the burden of proof to prove that not eating meat at all, or even using any animal products for any means is inherently better for the environment.
And since he did not say who specifically is eating vegan, I will also argue that it isn't for entire communities everywhere, but for specific people. I will also include myself in that category.

My thesis says it is neither better nor worse, depending on how you handle the process of growing the food. While bad farming practices can lead to damaging environmental side effects; a person can be concious of that enough to choose to eat meat in a way that is good for the environment, and not damaging at all.

Some rebuttals:

Cows are ruining our forest cover
Pro has stated that deforestation is a problem inherent to meat supplies. While this can be true, it isn't necessarily a thing that can't be handled. The problem with deforestation is not planting enough trees to replace them in time. In fact, most of the heavily forested are making a comeback[1][2]. Places with plenty of agriculture like the United States have now have much more forest area by acerage than we had even a decade ago[3]. This is attributed to the much slow on the rate of deforestation of rain forest considerably, as well as the planting of huge swaths of forest due to conservation efforts[1]. This rapid growth of the forests, tied with really bad forest planning has actually contributed a lot to the forest fire concerns[4].

Since many nations who happened to have big increased in cattle have also had big increases in forestation in the same nation, I don't think deforestation is necessarily a problem that cannot be planned around and avoided all together... And thus the oxygen supply is safe.

Grain stores for cows
Pro made bad comparison to grain enough to feed 9 billion people. The number isn't relevant if it can be done sustainably, and it wasn't linked to an actual finite number of how much we can support.

But I want to go beyond just that. Can 9 million people really live off that grain alone? The problem with the comparison is that to live the vegan lifestyle, grain would not give you near enough protein, etc for that. You need a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to get the nutrients you need to live off of. So no, 9 billion people could not live off that. It could certainly help give 9 billion people a staple meal in the world, but they would still be malnourished.

Water Supplies
Pro has also stated we cannot support the plants we need to also support a meat industry. This is under the faulty assumption we can't fix our water issue seperately. For instance, Israel, someone who exports massive amounts of produce to places like europe and Russia[5], gets a huge amount of water from the mediterranean, and is a pioneer in desalination plants [6]. They use drip methods to give just the right amount of water to their farm plants, without being wasteful[7].

If the proper motivation and funding went into forging sustainable water supplies for the world, we have so much water in the world where we can more than sustain everyone many times over. This is a case of mismanagement and going full steam ahead, but not something that cannot be addressed for the population who may want to eat meat, and have enough water supplies in the future.

Cattle/Grain Effiency
This is an irrelevant thing to add to the discussion when we have clear up the idea of space (more on that later), and water. Because then it just doesn't matter as much. When you address those sustainably, you can then sustainably increase it to whatever levels you want to feed your cattle sustainably...

Running out of Fish/Fish Farming
Again, it isn't a problem when you make a sustainable system. Have you heard of aquaponics? A fish/plant/water system where they all sort of symbiotically benefit eachother, in a closed, perfectaly self-sustaining loop[8]. Now I know full well not all fish can handle that kind of diet, but many can. So if you switch to eating fish of that sort, that still isn't eating vegan.

Overhunting has wiped out and driven many land species to the endangered list, or extinction. Same with overfishing. But sustainable practices and laws put in place to protect them - and many of them rebounding to the point where they were taken off the endangered species list and protection of it.

This is about smart fishing practices, better practices for growing them in sustainable ways. That doesn't mean not eating them all together. Or never fishng. Just stop shooting the environment past a point where it is unsustainable, or where you are putting enough into it to become more than sustainable (ex: reforestation).



Arguments For Con:

Killings of Some Animals to Help Environment
:
We have hunted the natural enemies of the deer in North America to critical levels, and in many cases to extinction (varietes of wolf that used to exist in the eastern US, where no wolfs are anymore) have caused the deer population to explode. Like, past sustainable levels explosion, without enemies hunting them; even outside the US[9][10].

It used to be offset by human hunting, but now not as many people are hunting anymore. Deer already kill more humans than any other animal in the US. In many places it has gotten waaay to far out of hand. Cities are turning to hunters[9][10] to get rid of them.

This puts food on the table, and helps the environment.

Food production systems that incorporate symbiotic meat production (like chickens)
There are several ways to to this, like the aquoponics earlier. But a really good one is how what I would like to call the 'adam and eve' system they demonstrate in the documentary Dirt[10], where people set up a set of legumes over the years, that eventually became a managed forest. For every problem that occurs, they simply introduce something else to the enviroment that naturally offsets it. And one of the things they even demonstrated was the introduction to the system that gave certain edible vegetables/fruits at various times of the year with little management things like chickens. They ate off stuff in the enviroment, and helped the plants grow. In turn, more of them also means more chickens/eggs to eat.

So again, sustainable practices - that can go beyond veganism.

Lifestyle choices of the Single Consumer
A person can only choose to eat meat from farms they know they can trust, visit themselves to make sure they are doing things the right way. As someone who grew up in part on them, and been around plenty of them - I know they can be done well. I hve never been on a factory farm, so the stories I keep hearing still sound strange to my ears. There are good ones a person can choose to eat from that are not bad for the environment at all. It all depends on location, who, what, why?


In conclusion:
Veganism is a drastic and unnecessary chagnge, and not inherently better for the environment by itself.



Sources:
[1]http://www.theglobeandmail.com...
[2]https://www.currentresults.com...
[3]http://www.tradingeconomics.com...
[4]http://ww2.kqed.org...
[5]http://agro.mashovgroup.net...
[6]https://www.technologyreview.com...
[7]http://www.timesofisrael.com...
[8]http://www.theaquaponicsource.com...
[9]http://www.japantimes.co.jp...
Debate Round No. 1
Stupidape

Pro

Rebuttals

Opponent's argument is in bold and italics mine are in plain text.

"I think I should start off by saying what I am arguing against. According to Merriam-Webster, vegan is defined as: a person who does not eat any food that comes from animals and who often also does not use animal products (such as leather).

So pro has the burden of proof to prove that not eating meat at all, or even using any animal products for any means is inherently better for the environment. " Delta2401

Considering the topic about eating vegan the parts about leather should be dropped. You are not seriously comparing eating leather shoes to vegan shoes are you? More importantly the topic is about comparing omnivore as in meat eater to vegan. So the shoes would have to be made out of meat to be relevant.

"an animal that eats both plants and other animals" [10]


Reforestation has its own problems. [11] Mainly, that fast growing exotic trees only solve some problems while creating others. Many trees that are cut down are very old and will take a very long time to replace with a tree of the same age. Also, the species gone extinct from the origin deforestation are more or less lost forever.


"Grain stores for cows
Pro made bad comparison to grain enough to feed 9 billion people. The number isn't relevant if it can be done sustainably, and it wasn't linked to an actual finite number of how much we can support." Delta2401


The exact quote is within the documentary. Considering there is 30 million or so cattle slaughtered each year. [12] Also, over one billion cattle in the world. [13]. This figure sounds right. Think about one billion cattle requiring 16x the grain is sixteen billion people that could be fed on this grain.


"But I want to go beyond just that. Can 9 million people really live off that grain alone? The problem with the comparison is that to live the vegan lifestyle, grain would not give you near enough protein, etc for that. You need a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to get the nutrients you need to live off of. So no, 9 billion people could not live off that. It could certainly help give 9 billion people a staple meal in the world, but they would still be malnourished." Delta2401


Nine billion, not nine million people. Protein would probably be the least of concerns considering humans only need about 10% calories from protein. [14] I would never recommend a diet of all grains, but its still better than starving. Malnutrition is better than famine. Considering children still starve to death, the first priority is amble food then nutrition. [15][16].


"Water Supplies
Pro has also stated we cannot support the plants we need to also support a meat industry. This is under the faulty assumption we can't fix our water issue seperately. For instance, Israel, someone who exports massive amounts of produce to places like europe and Russia[5], gets a huge amount of water from the mediterranean, and is a pioneer in desalination plants [6]. They use drip methods to give just the right amount of water to their farm plants, without being wasteful[7].


If the proper motivation and funding went into forging sustainable water supplies for the world, we have so much water in the world where we can more than sustain everyone many times over. This is a case of mismanagement and going full steam ahead, but not something that cannot be addressed for the population who may want to eat meat, and have enough water supplies in the future." Delta


Desalination via reverse osmosis is resource intensive. A desalination plant takes resources to build in the first place $500 million a for the one mentioned. Not all farms are located near an ocean. You still have to transport the water. Finally, the water in the ocean serves to regulate the Earth's temperature. While we have a massive amount of water in the ocean, the resource is ultimately finite.

"Cattle/Grain Effiency
This is an irrelevant thing to add to the discussion when we have clear up the idea of space (more on that later), and water. Because then it just doesn't matter as much. When you address those sustainably, you can then sustainably increase it to whatever levels you want to feed your cattle sustainably..." Delta


I think my opponent meant to finish this later, for now its non-sequitur. I am running out of characters so I will stop quoting my opponent.

Aquaponics is vastly different than our current farming systems. Your warrant doesn't back up your statement enough. There is not enough information on aquaponics to make a determination either way.

Deer can be trapped, neutered, and released as opposed to hunted down. I don't know about you, but I don't want a hunter shooting deer in the middle of a city.

Summary of rebuttals

My opponent made some interesting ideas. Many of them which would be a drastic overhaul to the entire system of agriculture. The expensive desalination plants are a prime example. We already grow vegan products. Furthermore, my opponent hasn't really proved that any of these methods are more environmentally friendly than vegan.

Therefore, my opponent is comparing experimental and prototype methods using state of the art technology that at best may have equal environmental damage to vegan. Vegan on the other hand we know is environmentally friendly. My opponent has conceded much ground by not defending factory farming. Thus, all that is left is the tried and true method of veganism versus new omnivore techniques that may or may not produce the results they claim.

Thanks for reading and debating.

Sources.
10. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
11. http://science.howstuffworks.com...
12. http://www.humanesociety.org...
13. http://www.statista.com...
14. http://www.webmd.com...
15. http://www.statisticbrain.com...
16. http://www.animalliberationfront.com...
Delta2401

Con

"More importantly the topic is about comparing omnivore as in meat eater to vegan. So the shoes would have to be made out of meat to be relevant."
I think you mistook my intentions. I was trying to point out that by proving the killing of any animal in this case for food is a good thing, either by hunting or otherwise.


"Mainly, that fast growing exotic trees only solve some problems while creating others. Many trees that are cut down are very old and will take a very long time to replace with a tree of the same age. Also, the species gone extinct from the origin deforestation are more or less lost forever. "
So, just like I mentioned myself, mismanagement? But are you saying a forest can't possibly be planted in a manner that includes older tree types, or other animals? Those 200 year old trees used to be 1 year old too. I do recommend you watch the documentary Dirt as talked about in my previous arguments. It does demonstrate a good way this can be done, in just about any climate.

"The exact quote is within the documentary."
But you aren't the documentary, the documentary is a source for you so we know where it is you are getting your information from and verify your claims. But you never gave the full quote, or the context; and as such your argument fell short and incomplete. You just said something with no number of the finite limit. And even the quote you listed here in this argument, "the full quote", just shows that 16 billion people would get a weak grain diet to feed the 1 billion cattle. It still doesn't answer the question on how much the world can reasonably support. Without that number,the 1 billion cattle to feed vs the people it can feed is just a number, and a comparison that doesn't prove that it is inheritantly better or worse for the environment. Because it doesn't prove whether or not it can be sustained without larger numbers of the environmental capacity by itself.

"Nine billion, not nine million people. "
Good catch, I think I caught myself a bit later in the quote where I stated billion, then forgot that I already stated million above. However, this still doesn't invalidate any point, because the number wasn't the point of the argument.

"Protein would probably be the least of concerns considering humans only need about 10% calories from protein."
Which humans? The average human doing average human activities? But what about those who want to be athletes or very fit/healthy people?


"I would never recommend a diet of all grains, but its still better than starving. Malnutrition is better than famine. Considering children still starve to death, the first priority is amble food then nutrition."
Not the point. The beef for instance would be much more fulfilling towards the nutrition, despite things like fat and other potential problems when too much is consumed, compared to grain.

Are you saying the starving people in the world will be fed with grain if we switched to such a system, and thus there wouldn't be the famine in places like Africa?

The problem isn't their inability to grow enough crops or even cattle to feed their populations, but the big three issues the professionals in the sitiatuition point to is: (1) - Conflict Causes Hunger in Africa, like civil war. , (2) Climate Change, while yes, this effects crop output, the problem really can be tied to uncertainty, and can be mititaged by a better, more effficient and stable government/and infastructure. And this isn't even going into perhaps changing what kinds of meat/plants are grown for food in the newer climates. (3) Donor Country Politics.

So no, I think throwing around those 16 billion numbers of being fed is just an emotional plea, and one that actually doesn't mean at all that they will be fed even then. On top of the fact, they would have better nutrition if it wasn't just bases in grain, especially since it hasn't been proven by it that they can't be sustained with beef yet.

"Desalination via reverse osmosis is resource intensive. A desalination plant takes resources to build in the first place $500 million a for the one mentioned. Not all farms are located near an ocean. You still have to transport the water. "
The 500 million is not the point, but a red herring. We are not arguing on how much it may cost to get a sustainable meat market, that is not bad for the enviroment. Just that it can be done, and thus it is not inherently bad for the enviroment. Plus, even at 500 million - it is still much better. Because it sustains more than 70% of the entire Israeli populalations water supply. I would consider that a bargain.

You have completely ignored the drip method for transportation. And proper methods if irrigation can actually be beneficial to the enviroment anyway, even without the farms. Bringing water to the desert, etc... So by arguing the transportation of the water - it isn't that simply. One could argue just doing that by itself is actually GOOD for the enviroment, outweighing and fuel and transportation cost in regards to the pro/con to the environmental impact.

"Finally, the water in the ocean serves to regulate the Earth's temperature. While we have a massive amount of water in the ocean, the resource is ultimately finite. "
What? No one is arguing that they don't regulate the earths water.

Are you going to argue that we are going to drain the oceans enough where they would not be able to regulate the tempature in the same way?
Are you saying that we can drain the oceans? I would love to see your sources on that. I could go on about the actual numbers we use, vs the absolute vastness of the oceans, and how about only 3% of the world's water is freshwater, and even how much we have tapped already is incredibly small. But to consider us treating it as if we are in danger of actually running out of that finite resource in the foreseeable future I am definitely going to need to see a source for to treat that in any way seriously.

"Aquaponics is vastly different than our current farming systems. Your warrant doesn't back up your statement enough. There is not enough information on aquaponics to make a determination either way."
I think it should be pointed out that is not what we are arguing. You are trying to prove eating vegan is better for the enviroment. I am not trying to argue that we have bad farming practices. I am trying to prove that we can farm in a way that we don't need to go vegan. Thus, eating vegan is not necessarily better for the environment.

The fact that it is different than our current farming systems is a non-sequiter itself. Not what is being discussed.

"I don't know about you, but I don't want a hunter shooting deer in the middle of a city."
Appeal to opinion/emotion.

"My opponent made some interesting ideas. Many of them which would be a drastic overhaul to the entire system of agriculture."
Then let us do them instead, and help the environment and still help people who want to eat meat eat meat.

"We already grow vegan products"
Non-sequiter. We already grow meat products. So?

"Opponent hasn't really proved that any of these methods are more environmentally friendly than vegan. "
You are the instigator. You have the burden to prove that vegan is better for the enviroment than any non-vegan alternatives. I don't have to prove anything other than the fact that eating vegan is not necessarily better for the enviroment. I don't have to prove it is better at all.

"Therefore, my opponent is comparing experimental and prototype methods using state of the art technology"
Not the point, and you are shifting the burden of proof.

Space issue.
As promised, I will get into space a little bit. Various greenhouses can maximize sunlight, watering, etc to grow more food in smaller areas. There are urban projects to grow more food in many unused vacant areas, there are plenty of possibilities. Running out of room to right - so, I am trying to stick to ideas and not specific examples if that is ok. Another thing to address is how much space do we have, and how much is being wasted?

Debate Round No. 2
Stupidape

Pro

I will rebut my opponent point by point


"I think you mistook my intentions. I was trying to point out that by proving the killing of any animal in this case for food is a good thing, either by hunting or otherwise. " Delta2401


No idea what my opponent is stating here. I just assume this is a red herring.

"So, just like I mentioned myself, mismanagement? But are you saying a forest can't possibly be planted in a manner that includes older tree types, or other animals? Those 200 year old trees used to be 1 year old too. I do recommend you watch the documentary Dirt as talked about in my previous arguments. It does demonstrate a good way this can be done, in just about any climate." Delta2401

A two hundred year old tree, took two hundred years to grow. We can't simply plant a saplings and have it grow 200 years over night. That's the problem with reforestation. Whee, lets knock down 1,000 two hundred year old trees, and replace them with 10,000 saplings. Look at us we are so great, now there are ten times as many trees in the area than before we worked. There is no way those saplings can keep the air clean as well as the old trees. Not only that but many of the saplings will die before reaching maximum growth. They will shade and root competition each other out.

You ignored my argument about species becoming extinct from deforestation staying extinct. Finally, I don't have free access to watch the Dirt documentary so I have no idea if the claims you make about the documentary are valid or not.


"Without that number,the 1 billion cattle to feed vs the people it can feed is just a number, and a comparison that doesn't prove that it is inheritantly better or worse for the environment. Because it doesn't prove whether or not it can be sustained without larger numbers of the environmental capacity by itself." Delta2401

We are already feeding the one billion cattle lots of grain. Of course, it would be better for the environment and we would have the capacity. There is no other conclusion.


"Which humans? The average human doing average human activities? But what about those who want to be athletes or very fit/healthy people? " Delta2401


Malnutrition is better than starvation.



"Not the point. The beef for instance would be much more fulfilling towards the nutrition, despite things like fat and other potential problems when too much is consumed, compared to grain." Delta2401


You need about 16x the grain to feed a cattle. Grain is more calorie dense than beef. [17][18] As you can see100g of corn has 365 calories and beef 145 calories. Meaning corn has over twice the calories per pound. Combine that with the 16x number and you can feed about 32 times the people on corn than on beef.


"Are you saying the starving people in the world will be fed with grain if we switched to such a system, and thus there wouldn't be the famine in places like Africa? " Delta2401


It would have to help. I skipped some arguments because this is starting to drag on needs to end sometime. I don't see any serious threat to my argument in the parts I skip.


"You are the instigator. You have the burden to prove that vegan is better for the enviroment than any non-vegan alternatives. I don't have to prove anything other than the fact that eating vegan is not necessarily better for the enviroment. I don't have to prove it is better at all." Delta2401


I proved vegan is better for the environment in round 1. I over killed my burden of proof in round 1. You haven't proven anything with aquaponics. You basically state you think aquaponics is good for the environment, but without proof. You brought up the issue you have to tell me why its relevant and provide evidence that it is important. I can't even find hardly any information on aquaponics.

Let's put it another way. I over kill my burden of proof in round 1. You bring up aquaponics then demand I prove that vegan is better than aquaponics, a subject I know almost nothing about. This would be a completely unfair burden of proof on me to disprove every notion my opponent brings up, even if my opponent provides little to no evidence that notion is correct.


"Not the point, and you are shifting the burden of proof." Delta2401


You seem to be using the burden of proof as an excuse not to argue points you brought up. If I did have the burden of proof, I would have to disprove every single method of meat production in existence. I simply wouldn't have enough characters to type all that in. Not only that, but I would have to be all-knowing to know every single meat production method that exists. This would present an impossible burden of proof for me.

Conclusions, I met my burden of proof and then some in the first round. My opponent seems to be dragging this on without providing sufficient evidence to harm my claim. Thanks for the debate.




Sources
17. http://nutritiondata.self.com...
18. http://nutritiondata.self.com...
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Delta2401 9 months ago
Delta2401
I will consolidate and put my sources in comments later. But as it is, I just ran out of space entirely last time. 0 chars left. I wish debate.org had a 15k-20k response limit option :(

Towards midway, I saw it was going to be an issue then tried to streamline everything. Didn't work out too well.
Posted by Whatsreallyright 9 months ago
Whatsreallyright
do you not know what a vegan is? he saying that if you are just not eating meat that is a vegetarian. A vegan not only doesnt eat meat but will not WEAR leather clothes or the like. He never said you eat leather shoes
Posted by Delta2401 10 months ago
Delta2401
LOL. I almost forgot to get to the point about space, but then I forgot about it. Not sure it mattered, with only 40 characters left to write at the end ;(
Still, I will simply try to addend it to the next round if I have space for that one.
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