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The Contender
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Humans should be vegetarians.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 4 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 514 times Debate No: 92569
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (0)




Round 1: Rules and position clarification.
Round 2: Opening Statements.
Rounds 3 and 4: Evidence/Rebuttals
Round 5: Closing statements.

I will be arguing that humans should become vegetarian. Best of luck to my opponent!


I accept this debate.

I'll be arguing that the opponent's claim that "humans should become vegetarian" is not adequately supported and cannot be upheld.

I'll be stating now the assumption that "vegetarian" refers to a person who doesn't eat animal meat.

I'll furthermore clarify that the word "should" implies a moral, ethical and/or pragmatic desirability factor. As such, he is making an objective claim and possesses the Burden of Proof.

I look forward to opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


Humans should become vegetarians because meat eating and the killing of farm animals (cows, pigs, etc.) is morally incorrect, evolutionary incorrect, and unhealthy. Meat Production also causes issues regarding pollution, deforestation, and excessive land use; all of which are unbeneficial to the increasing human population.


I'd like to thank the opponent for his timely response.

The opponent made a variety of arguments:

1. Meat eating/killing animals is immoral.

2. Meat eating/killing animals is evolutionary incorrect.

3. Meat eating/killing animals is unhealthy.

4. Meat Production causes pollution.

5. Meat Production causes deforestation/excessive land use.

I'll be addressing each of these issues individually.


1. Meat eating/killing animals is immoral.

All of my rebuttals will have a common theme, in that I'll be pointing out repeatedly that the opponent has not provided any evidence to back up his claims. For this argument in particular, the opponent failed to demonstrate why meat eating is immoral.

If we are to assume that there is an objective morality, we would need to appeal to the existence of some god that sets the standard of moral correctness. If we are to further assume that some god exists, it would still not justify the claim that eating meat is immoral.

The Bible [Gen. 9:3] states that "every living thing that moves shall be food for [man]." In Islam, it is considered acceptable to eat many kinds of meat, with limited restrictions. [1] Many Buddhist texts reference even Buddha himself eating meat. [2] It is clear that, even within the framework of popular religions, eating meat is fine.

If we are to assume there is no god, then it cannot be claimed that there is an objective morality, as there is nothing existent with the authority to claim that some action is absolutely correct or absolutely incorrect. As such, the claim cannot be made that eating meat is "immoral" since there is no authority that can justifiably make that judgement for everyone.

2. Meat Eating/Killing Animals is evolutionarily incorrect.

Again, this claim is not substantiated with any evidence.

The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG), which is pro-vegetarianism, states that humans are naturally omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and plants. [3] This is indicated in archaelogical records which has documented human's meat and vegetable eating habits over time. (Think hunter-gatherers.) Furtermore, we have specialized cells that break down meat. If we were evolutionarily incapable of eating meat, these would not exist.

It is a well understood scientific fact that humans are omnivores. To claim otherwise requires a great deal of evidential support, since the notion flies in the face of known science.

3. Meat eating is unhealthy.

Some meat, like high fat red meat, can have negative health consequences -- a direct result of the high fat content. However, lean red meat is considered healthy, as it provides more protein than fat. [4] Fish is very healthy, in moderation, as it provides access to Omega 3's that have wholistic health benefits.

Besides the fact that the claim is patently false, it would be irrelevant if it were true. The Western ideal of "freedom" ought to be held in higher regard than "compulsive healthy eating." The opponent's logic here could easily be extended to include banning ice cream, candy bars, cookies, most all bottled drinks, most all fast food and even sweet tea. (Gasp!)

This is, of course, a ridiculous notion to uphold. People should have the right to eat what they want when they want it, regardless of the health impacts. To deny this is to deny the most fundemental human right -- freedom.

4. Meat production causes pollution.

This is sometimes true, but not always. More importantly, meat consumption does not inherently cause pollution. Allow me to elaborate.

Many mass preparation facilities cause pollution because of the very fact that they are producing something on a large scale. Be this the production of meat or veggies, the pollution will still happen.

Consider that a man can throw a net into the river, catch fish, eat them and not produce any amount of pollution. This shows that meat eating does not directly cause pollution, but rather the way in which we produce meat, which is subject to change as does technology.

Finally, I could not find any reports specifically looking at meat eating/animal killing and pollution. Perhaps the opponent can provide this because, as it stands, this is an entirely unsubstantiated claim.

5. Meat production causes deforestation and excessive land use.

Unsubstantiated. However, from a logical standpoint, this makes sense.

Unfortunately, the alternative to meat eating, vegetarianism, does not solve this issue. Growing the amount of veggies and grains necessary to feed the population takes an enormous amount of land, since the growth needs to happen somewhere. So the "deforestation and excessive land" problem, if even significant, would not be solved by cutting out meat.

And again, meat eating is not inherently tied to deforestation and land use. The fishing industry, for example, does not affect the trees and does not require the permanent usage of any significant amount of land. Chicken factories can fit inside a single large facility, not requiring the use of great amounts of land. Cattle need less land than a wheat field.

It is clear that this issue, if it is an issue, is not solved by affirming the resolution. It is a simple fact that food requires space to be produced, regardless of its form.


The opponent made many claims and failed to prove any of them. There was not even any supporting evidence presented.

Despite this, I analyzed each point and demonstrated the flaws within them. It is clear that, at this point, it cannot be said that "humans should be vegetarians".


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Debate Round No. 2


I would like to start my argument by stating that my opponent failed to properly follow the rules of this debate. I specified that round 2 would include opening statements, which can be defined as introductory statements that are limited to outlining facts [1]. Therefore, any statement made by my opponent regarding lack of evidence is irrelevant. It is noted that my opponent bears a slightly unfair advantage, although I will still provide rebuttal within the evidence for my claim.

1. Meat eating and the killing of farm animals is morally incorrect.

My opponent stated that assuming objective morality would require the appeal to the existence of some type of God. This statement involves religion, which serves as a very unstable argument since the existence of a God cannot be proven or disproven. Therefore, it can't be proven or disproven that God sets any moral standard. Religion is a matter of opinion, and cannot serve as a foundation of morality.

Stepping away from the topic of religion, a standard of morality can be set using the authority of natural law, a body of moral principles that serves as a basis for all human actions. Natural law involves respecting animals since they contain memory and emotions, just like humans [2]. Therefore, they also possess natural rights, which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Murdering other animals that bear these rights is nearly equal to killing other humans.

2. Meat eating and killing animals is evolutionary incorrect.

There are many ways to argue that humans aren't meant to eat meat. Humans may be natural omnivores, but this doesn't mean that it is natural to eat meat like other animals do. For example, humans don't eat raw meat, which can cause food poisoning since it contains pesticides and bacteria [3]. True meat eaters kill prey themselves and eat it raw. In order to properly digest meat, humans must disinfect it and then cook it.

Humans also lack the instincts of a meat eating animal. While driving by a farm, do you look at the animals and naturally feel like killing them with your bear hands? When you kill that animal, would you want to eat it right then and there? If we were meant to eat meat, we would answer "yes" to both of those questions. The only instance when humans might answer "yes" to these questions is when we are forced by means of starvation. True meat eating animals seek and kill prey under any degree of hunger.

Humans also lack traits of meat eating animals. For example, our finger nails are round, not sharp, therefore killing animals without man made objects would require time, patience, and strength depending on the animal . Our teeth are not sharp, as well, which explains why it would be difficult to chew through raw meat. [4] provides more examples of traits that prove humans are biologically herbivores.

3. Meat eating is unhealthy.

This argument will link to the previous section regarding humans' lack of meat eating traits. Many of the world's largest fast food corporations, such as McDonalds and Burger King, distribute meat that cause humans a variety of health problems, like
high blood cholesterol, obesity, heart attacks, and eventually lower life expectancies [10]. The countries with the highest obesity also tend to be countries will a great amount of fast food chains (which contain unhealthy meat). The United States, Australia, the U.K., and Canada are top 4 countries in the world in terms of the amount of McDonalds, and all of these countries are top 29 in terms of obesity [4,5]. It is true that the quality of meat distributed by these nefarious corporations is prepared poorly. However, if humans were vegetarian, poorly prepared meat would not be an issue, and less health issues would exist. Again, if humans were a natural meat eating species, unhealthy meat wouldn't result in the health issues listed before.

4. Meat eating causes pollution, deforestation, and excessive land use.

This argument will provide extremely convincing evidence that the farming of animal species results in pollution, deforestation, and land use that is extravagantly wasteful considering the current issue of overpopulation. First off, trees are cut down in order to clear land for farming. A study from Stanford Univeristy shows that 80% of deforestation is used for the purpose of farming [7]. Furthermore, trees absorb CO2 by way of photosynthesis, and help reduce climate change.

The increase of the world's population will eventually require humans to live in smaller spaces. For example, the extremely high population of Tokyo illustrates this concept, as most of these citizens live in high rises. Livestock farming takes up 30% of all of earth's arable land [8], and this land takes away space from humans, which causes the standard of "overpopulation" to be higher.

Lastly, the distribution of meat emits methane and ammonia into the atmosphere, and also contaminates soil with pathogens. There is also a data that illustrates there is a correlation between commercialization of animals and the enmission of these gases [9].

I will provide my sources in the beginning of the next round. Unfortunately, I am on a mobile device and for some reason I am unable to work copy-paste. You can verify my sources in the beginning of the next round and will see that they are credible. Sorry for my untimely response and good luck in your next round.


As a brief note before I get into argumentation, I am taking the negative position such that I am not presenting a case for the opposite of the resolution, but rather I am showing the opponent's arguments to be insufficient. In other words, I'm not claiming that "humans should be meat eaters", but instead that the opponent's arguments for his claim are not sufficient in affirming the resolution.

As such, my "opening statements" could really only take the form they did. I will recognize, however, that the opponent did label R3 and R4 as being the "evidence presenting" rounds, so I will excuse him for failing to produce evidence in R2 and I ask the voters not to hold that against him.

Let's move into arguments.

1. Meat eating is immoral.

The opponent clarifies that the objective moral standard to which he is appealing is natural law. He describes this as "a body of moral principles that serves as the basis for all human actions."

As I presented in the previous round, there is no way to prove that a set of morals is objective outside of an appeal to a god, since only a god could be provide a morally absolute framework. (Though even that claim is dubious.)

Because of this, the opponent's claim that natural law is in some way absolute is unjustified and unproven. Something is not objective simply because one wants it to be. The opponent would find it impossible to prove that some set of beliefs apply to everyone in the world.

But let us assume that "natural law" exists. Notice that the opponent's definition doesn't define "natural law" so much as it defines "morality". Natural law specifically would seem to be an appeal to nature and the way that humans naturally act. In this framework, it would still seem meat eating is still not immoral.

The omnivore point, which we cover next, greatly evidences this. We are biologically constructed to eat both meat and plants. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors had to eat meat in order to survive, since agriculture could not provide adequate plant material. In our natural state, we are simply omnivores -- and the very definition of an omnivore is one that eats meat and plants.

Perhaps the opponent is attempting to claim that it is "more civilized" to eat only plants, but this would again be unfounded. Carnivores and omnivores have been eating meat since they came into existence and humans are no different.

2. Meat eating and killing animals is evolutionary incorrect.

The opponent opens by agreeing that we are "natural omnivores". (Notice how this harkens back to the argument regarding "natural law".)

He says that we, however, do not have many of the characteristics of omnivores and that we have different instincts than omnivores. Notably, this does not change the fact that we are omnivores, but we will discuss these two points anyway.


It is true that we lack some characteristics found amongst many omnivores. It is equally as true that many omnivores do not possess these mentioned traits.

The opponent references our teeth, claiming that they are not as sharp as some other animal's teeth are. You can often tell a type of animal (carnivore/herbivore/omnivore) by their teeth. An herbivore often has flat, moral-like teeth which is great for crushing plants down to size. Carnivores often have canines that are good at tearing meet apart. [1]

Humans have both canines and molars, indicating our omnivore status. We can easily eat plants due to our morals, while it is very easy to tear into a steak with the help of our canines. Our teeth directly indicate our omnivoric nature, not an herbivore nature as the opponent claims.

Edawg notes that humans don't eat raw meat, unlike other animals. This is a common misconception for a few reasons.

First, it assumes that animals can eat raw meat without problems. This is untrue. [2] Meat eaters often contract diseases and get parasites due to raw meat ingestion, just as humans due. It is true that carnivorous animals are less likely to get sick from raw meat, and this is easily understandable as a product of evolution. Lions devour their meat as soon as the kill takes place. Humans, on the other hand, have long taken to storing meat for long periods of time.

Next, it assumes that humans don't eat raw meat. This is equally as untrue. [2] A rare steak is essentially raw except for the crispy edges, and it is enjoyed this way by many people. Many types of fish are regularly eaten raw, in the form of sushi. Us humans choose to cook many types of meat because we are intelligent enough to know that cooked meat is less risky than raw meat. It is purely an intellectual decision to turn our meat into a less dangerous state.


Humans are instictually driven to consume meat. This is best noticed when the sight of a juicy steak causes us to salivate. This salivation is a biological response to the idea of consuming food, implying that meat is naturally one such type of food. When hungry, humans will desire to kill and eat animals. This is best exemplified by the 1972 Andes flight disaster in which humans got stranded in the alps and had to literally eat one another to stay alive.

Most humans are not hungry enough to simply kill things and eat their raw meat. We are intelligent enough to know that food is more easily come by in other places. Contrary to the opponent's statement, animals do not just "kill and eat" whenever they see animals. Lions, for instance, will generally kill a single gazelle at a time and not kill again until sufficiently hungry. If animals simply killed other animals upon sight, the biosphere would be a very different place.

3. Meat eating is unhealthy.

While I have admitted that fatty red meat has adverse health impacts, there are many other types of meat that are actually healthy. This is unrefuted.

Instead, the opponent talks about restaurants like McDonald's and the obesity it causes. McDonalds isn't bad for you because they use meat, it's bad for you because the way in which everything is prepared is high in fat and sodium. If McDonalds only sold their patties, one would find the level of obesity due to McDonalds decreases significantly.

More imporantly, the opponent has not rebutted against my argument that the "healthiness" of a food is not grounds enough to simply ban the food. If we were to ban meat because some meat has unhealthy properties, we would similarly need to ban many other foods, like ice cream, most dairy products, candy and almost all bottled beverages. Clearly this goes against the idea of "freedom", the idea which should outweigh "unhealthiness". People should have the right to eat both healthy food and unhealthy food, just as they should have the right to either go to the gym or not go to the gym.

Long story short, most meat isn't bad for you and, even if it was, that would not be grounds to ban meat, deny freedoms and move to vegetarianism.

4. Meat eating causes pollution, deforestation and excessive land use.

I'll cover this in more detail in the next round, since I'm about out of space. There, I'll be specifically addressing why meat production is necessary to support an increasing population and that, without meat, many people would starve and die.

For now, I'll reiterate a point that was not addressed. Meat eating currently requires great amounts of land use. Meat eating itself does not inherently cause it. Improving technologies allow for more efficient farming.

More importantly, many types of animal agricultural do not require land. Fishing is the best example. And if it can be shown that even fishing does not cause deforestation, it cannot be said that all meat should be banned on the grounds of these point alone.

I look forward to the next round.

Debate Round No. 3


Sources From Round 3


Round 4

1. Meat eating and the killing of farm animals is immoral.

As I explained in the previous round, it is impossible to determine whether or not God sets any standard of morality because it cannot be proven that God does or doesn't exist. Therefore, religion is irrelevant to this argument. My opponent didn't provide a rebuttal for this point. Natural law is a concept created by humans that applies to everyone in the world [1], not by a figure that might or might not exist.
Regarding the immorality of killing innocent animal species, an argument of virtue also exists. It states that humans should live their lives with compassion, kindness and generosity. Killing animals only serves the purpose of pleasuring humans' needs for taste (and recreation), as we can easily survive without meat [2]. As my opponent stated, humans and their ancestors were forced to eat meat a long time ago. However, we now have the agricultural technology to survive without it. In response to my opponent's statement saying that humans are no different than carnivores and omnivores regarding meat eating, humans are actually much different than carnivores and omnivores since these species are forced to eat meat in order to survive. The main incentive for humans eating meat is pleasure, which correlates with selfishness.
I am expecting my opponent to rebut my previous statement by saying that a moral standard still hasn't been set since morality is a matter of opinion. However, I have now proven that humans are not required to eat meat in order to survive, and it can be determined that killing species with memory and emotions is wrong (if that species is unnecessary for human survival). It is possible to disagree with this statement, but that would show lack of compassion and kindness, which have been proved to increase happiness and the well being of a society [3].

2. Meat eating is evolutionary incorrect.

My opponent admitted that humans lack characteristics found amongst many omnivores. However, my opponent claimed that teeth indicate humans as omnivores, not herbavores. It is true that humans have molars, which are helpful in breaking down meat. However, there are many ways to prove that human teeth and molars are indicate herbavoral status. For example, molars of omnivores and carnivores are like sharp blades. Although molars help break down meat, herbavores still have them, although they are flattened. The molars of humans are much more flattened than the teeth of omnivores and carnivores, therefore humans are characteristic of herbavores in this manner. Humans are also characteristic of herbavores in terms of jaw type, jaw movement, jaw location, the length of chewing, etc [4].
As implied earlier, humans have evolved to the point where meat eating is unnecessary since our intellegence has allowed us to create proficient technology to distribute other types of food. This is why meat eating causes many more problems to humans than it does to omnivores/carnivores; Our bodies have adapted to healthier foods (This will be discussed further in the next section). Carnivores and omnivores may contract deseases from raw meat, but this simply occurs by chance, as it happens less often to these types of species than it does to humans. Why? Evolution. Carnivores and omnivores consume a much greater amount of meat than humans, therefore their bodies have evolved to digest other animals much more easily. My opponent mentioned that humans often enjoy raw meat and fish in the form of sushi and "rare" cooked food. This doesn't take away from the fact that it is still risky (admitted by my opponent) to eat this type of food (especially for those who are pregnant or have a weak immune system), as this temperature is not as risky for carnivores and omnivores. Raw meat contains bacteria and parisites, which increases the likelihood humans will become ill when consuming meat at this temperature. Therefore, when humans choose to digest meat at this low temperature, it is not an intellectual decision, but simply a decision based on their needs (linking back to the morality
My opponent used the 1972 Andes flight distaster, in which humans canabolized on eachother, to claim that humans have the instincts of omnivores. As explained earlier, it is true that humans have these insticts, but only in desparate situations. Although humans know they can find meat in places aside from farms, they still lack the instincts to chase and kill living animals, unlike natural meat eaters. In nature, humans feel more driven to eat fruit and many other crops more than a living animal, which proves we lack the instincts of any omnivore or carnivore. Humans only feel like eating meat when it has already been prepared, unlike any omnivore or carnivore.

3. Meat eating is unhealthy

I feel that my opponent misunderstood the argument regarding McDonalds. I realize that this fast food chain and many other fast food chains are unhealthy because they prepare meat poorly. However, the point I'm trying to make is that this wouldn't be a problem if humans were vegetarian. Due to chance, some meat will be preapred poorly. If humans were vegetarian, it would be impossible to prepare meat poorly since there would be no meat.
I understand that some meats are healthy, but there are many vegetarian alternatives for protein, such as beans, quinoah, tofu, fake meats, etc. [5] Omega 3 and other nutrients found in meat can also be found in the form a vitamin supplements. Again, humans don't require meat in order to survive.
I never mentioned that meat should be banned. The purpose of the debate is to prove whether or not humans should become vegetarian, not whether or not freedom should be taken away from meat eating humans. As my opponent defined in round 1, the word "should" implies a moral, ethical, or desirability factor. It doesn't imply the restriction of freedom, therefore my opponent's argument regarding this sub-topic is irrelevent to this debate.

4. Meat eating causes pollution, deforestation, and excessive land use.

My opponent was unable to thoroughly rebut against my argument due to lack of space, although he stated that meat eating doesn't inherently cause excessive land use. The flaw in my opponent's argument is similar to the flaw in his McDonald's argument: Although meat eating may not be a direct cause of excessive land use, it's still an indirect cause... still a cause! If humans didn't eat meat, excessive land use wouldn't be an issue, and I proved this point in my previous argument.
My opponent also mentioned that many types of animal agriculture don't require land. Fishing is a valid example, but almost all livestock requires land, and much of this land is used for livestock. Evidence was provided for this claim in my previous argument.

I look forward to reading my opponents response!

Round 4 Sources


Out of room :(


Cobalt forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Remaining Round 4 Sources


My opponent forfeit their previous round, therefore my evidence stands unrebut. In conclusion, humans should become vegetarian and expel the killing of farm animals because it would promote kindness and compassion. Humans have arrived at the point in which meat isn't required in order to survive, and poorly preapred meat can result in obesity and high blood cholestoral. Furthermore, raw meat can cause sickness for humans, whereas it doesn't cause as much sickness for omnivores and carnivores. Lastly, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to prove that livestock causes pollution, deforestation, and excessive land use.

I enjoyed this debate despite my opponent's forfeit. Thank you to all viewers and voters of this intriguing discussion!


Cobalt forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Cobalt 3 months ago
I haven't been reporting these.

Also, I FF'd round 4 because there was a 24 hour response time on this debate that I totally forgot about. I FF both rounds without even realizing it. I'm not a huge fan of non-72 hour response times, but I should have taken note and responded. Regardless of my performance in the first three rounds, the opp should have this, since my clash dropped to zero in the final two rounds.
Posted by whiteflame 3 months ago
>Reported vote: ThinkBig// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments), 2 points to Pro (Conduct, S&G). Reasons for voting decision: Counter vote bomb

[*Reason for removal*] Counter vote bombs are strictly not allowed. If the voter finds a vote that they perceive as a vote bomb, the correct response is to report it.
Posted by whiteflame 3 months ago
>Reported vote: youmils03// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments), 2 points to Con (Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Con can't make much of a case here. Obviously, people SHOULD be vegetarians. It's less environmental harmful, it's healthier, and usually it's cheaper (i.e. compare a bag of rice to 10 pounds of steak). What would have been trickier for Pro is if the resolution had been: "It should be either illegal or difficult to consume non-vegetarian produce." Then, the issue is much more contentious. Is being a vegetarian SO good that we should make laws against those who are not vegetarian? I would have wanted to see that.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter doesn't explain sources. (2) Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter merely explains his perception of how the sides could have done in the debate based on the topic, but fails to assess any specific points made by either side.
Posted by edawg99 4 months ago
Or perhaps my opponent forfeit because he couldn't rebut my argument? Metaphysical_humanist, if humans were vegetarian, obesity, high blood cholesterol, and heart disease wouldn't be such a if issue in America. I have never met a fat vegetarian/vegan in my life.
Posted by metaphysical_humanist 4 months ago
edawg99 was clearly out gunned in this debate and perhaps the exhaustion of repeating the same damn points over and over is what prompted Cobalt to forfeit. A point that needs to be addressed is that there are numerous scientific research studies which have been conducted which demonstrate that vegetarianism and or veganism is healthier acutely but is devastating to the chronic condition of ones health. This is why many vegetarians have a higher mortality rate at younger ages than omnivores. Heart disease is a significant cause of mortality among vegetarians and the reason for this is because they lack essential nutrients such as Vitamin B 12 and Omega 3 oils. For a vegetarian to not succumb to diseases they must supplement their diets and to supplement ones diet demonstrates that the core diet is inherently deficient and thus humans were not meant to eat in this manner. Eating meat is not a problem or health risk lest one over consumes or consumes meat prepared in a manner of processing which is harmful for human consumption.
Posted by fishfish77 4 months ago
raising meat requires grains in the winter so it uses more land than growing vegetarian food.
Posted by TheWorldIsComplicated 4 months ago
Eating meat in moderation IS healthy. There are no health benefits of being a vegetarian.
No votes have been placed for this debate.