The Instigator
debata
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
LibertarianWithAVoice
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

The human race would be better off if everyone decided to be vegetarian.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
LibertarianWithAVoice
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/30/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,516 times Debate No: 31897
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (3)

 

debata

Pro

It would be a progressive step for the human race for as many people as possible to begin following vegetarian plant based diets. I think this is something that will inevitably happen over the next few hundred years.
LibertarianWithAVoice

Con

Progressive? How would abstaining from eating meat improve our race. Vegetarianism doesn't improve positive traits that make a race strong. It doesn't make people smarter, or stronger, more sympathetic. Nor does it decrease negative traits such as illiteracy, poor judgment, or disease like cancer. Eating meat is actually considered a reason why we evolved the way we did. The hunt gave us cunning and the nutrients allowed our mothers to wean us sooner, which lead to population growth. I not only disagree with this statement but agree to the contrary. Vegetarianism would be a negative on our race and it's evolution. This is one of my sources http://www.sciencedaily.com...
Debate Round No. 1
debata

Pro

I accept that eating meat may have been a necessary part of our evolution as a species, but I think that as time passes we will have to stop eating meat. It is far more efficient to use land to grow plants to eat, rather than growing plants to feed to animals who then go to slaughter after months/years of rearing. The earths population is increasing at a rate faster than ever, and soon there won't be enough land left to rear animals on.

I am not a vegetarian personally, but I have my own personal rules on what I will and won't eat, which are another story and unrelated to this debate!
I don't believe eating vegetables will make people smarter or stronger, but I definitely don't think it can make you any weaker or less intelligent. As far as I know any nutrients needed by the human body to function properly can be found in a vegetarian diet, and any harder to find vitamins or minerals can be bought as supplements. Therefore I can't see any negative effects of vegetarianism, and I can see a couple of positives.

I'm not saying people should just give up meat overnight, people have favourite meals they wouldn't want to give up. I am saying I find it hard to imagine a future, 1000 years from now, where people still eat meat on the scale they do today. I think meat will eventually be at best a hard to come by rarity, seen by most as a bizarre barbarism of the past.
LibertarianWithAVoice

Con

I agree that the population is growing, but eating meat would adapt if the population got " Too " big for the current food market. We would do what humans do whenever they can't make enough of a product for the demand. Improve the different aspects in that products life cycle so it meets the demand.
A total meat industry reform is much more sensible than changing not only the way the whole world eats but our culture. I understand you don't mean a change overnight but even if the idea caught on it would harm the economy through job-loss and closing meat production facilities.
If somehow the world did change over to vegetarianism it would lead to an over dependence on nutritional supplements. Iron and protein tablets would become like oil. Pharmaceutical companies would become large empires who charge people ridiculous amounts of money for something they need to survive. Does that seem like a better world to you?
Debate Round No. 2
debata

Pro

"I agree that the population is growing, but eating meat would adapt if the population got " Too " big for the current food market"
Yes, the market will adapt as the population increases, but there's only so much a market can adapt before it starts to run out of raw material. Space is already such a big issue in food production, that meat production accounts for 70% of all amazon deforestation. Whats more, land cleared for intensive cattle farming uses up vast amounts of water every day, far more water than if the same space of land was used for arable farming. Food manufacture is one of the most water intensive activities in the world and it takes far less water to produce plants than meat.

"I understand you don't mean a change overnight but even if the idea caught on it would harm the economy through job-loss and closing meat production facilities."
I find it very hard to believe that there would be any difference in the amount of staff needed for growing crops compared with cattle. The meat production industry could be re-modelled to produce plant based foods over hundreds of years, meaning no jobs would be lost.

"Iron and protein tablets would become like oil"
Iron and protein are actually very easy to find in a vegetarian diet, and its hardly likely that an all-controlling supplements industry would spring up since their products wouldn't really be needed any more than they already are.
So, in answer to your question; no, it doesn't seem like a better world, it just doesn't seem very likely.
LibertarianWithAVoice

Con

Space is already such a big issue in food production, that meat production accounts for 70% of all Amazon deforestation." Yes meat production takes up a lot of space, but so would plant crop. To form a complete diet you would need to eat ( besides nutritional supplements ) a large amount of vegetables, fruits, and other plant crops. The shear space needed would be equivalent if not higher than animal crop.

"I find it very hard to believe that there would be any difference in the amount of staff needed for growing crops compared with cattle. The meat production industry could be re-modeled to produce plant based foods over hundreds of years, meaning no jobs would be lost." From experience on farms, plant crop requires less man power than animal crop to harvest and maintain. During the time it took to treat the soil, and change production we would lose the harvest time and some ranch hand jobs. Also during this time we would also lose the food the farms provided us.

"Iron and protein are actually very easy to find in a vegetarian diet, and its hardly likely that an all-controlling supplements industry would spring up since their products wouldn't really be needed any more than they already are."
How can you say they wouldn't be needed more? You said, "As far as I know any nutrients needed by the human body to function properly can be found in a vegetarian diet, and any harder to find vitamins or minerals can be bought as supplements." If you need supplements for "hard to find vitamins and minerals" then the sales would go up. These companies would have the power of controlling a product people required for a healthy life.

"it doesn't seem like a better world, it just doesn't seem very likely." It seems more likely than a perfect world where we didn't eat meat, we didn't need added supplements, and corporations didn't abuse a products demand to make money.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by LibertarianWithAVoice 3 years ago
LibertarianWithAVoice
I do not deny you can find iron and protein in plants but growing up in a partially Indian family ( From India ) I noticed some of my family often became sick because they could not obtain these high-iron foods.

Not in a rude way, it's an honest question, did I use the FDA as an example.
Posted by angiec24 3 years ago
angiec24
I do agree that the meat industry today can have a damaging effect on our health and the environment, however, I believe it is largely due to how it is currently produced. We may not need to eliminate meat all together, but a reduction of consumption (smaller portions, more veggies and meatless meals), along with a return to smaller scale, environmentally sustainable farming practices would help alleviate many of the issues we are facing today. We can try to find a happy medium.

Also, to address some of the points made about vegetarianism, iron and protein can be abundantly found in a plant based diet, so if someone is eating the right diet these supplements should not be needed. B12 is one of the only vitamins not found in plants, but there are also meat free foods that are fortified with it.

I also believe the USDA deals with nutritional guidelines, not the FDA. The USDA also represents the agricultural industry and have members that are former lobbyists and industry professionals, so I take some of their nutritional recommendations with a grain of salt. Like Lucky Charms being part of healthy nutritious breakfast; who's best interests do you think they have in mind with those type of recommendations? I'm not saying milk is bad, but we can't always believe something is good just because the government says so.
Posted by LibertarianWithAVoice 3 years ago
LibertarianWithAVoice
Here are a few resources. http://psep.cce.cornell.edu...

http://www.sciencedirect.com...

This also has to do with effects of animal manure http://www.gracelinks.org...

To name a few.
Posted by debata 3 years ago
debata
Well I must say I've seen a lot of evidence pointing towards arable farming being less harmful on the environment, and a more efficient means of producing food. I do intend to read even further into the subject now, great debate anyway!
Posted by LibertarianWithAVoice 3 years ago
LibertarianWithAVoice
You misunderstand. They send 10 cattle every 3-4 months. Based on the previous units: 10x500=5000lbs 12/4=3times a year. 3x5000=15000lbs a year.

On your second topic, You can always fit the same amount of cattle in the same (2D) area. You can always fit the same plants in the same (2D) area. Logically and safely of course. This wont change. So hypothetically you could build a vertical area and place the same amount of plants on each floor and cattle on each floor. This would be away of maximizing a space and not harming the animal.

BEFORE you form a rebuttal!!! I am not disagreeing people would abuse the animals, just stating an alternative. I know people would never do it but it's a way to deal with the space issue for animals and soil problem for crops.
Posted by debata 3 years ago
debata
Ok, so if I'm not mistaken you're saying that cattle are usually slaughtered at around 20 months?
regardless of wether they are reared entirely on the land or not, they still require land at stages of development. This means that your 1 acre of land gives you roughly 10000lb of cattle in two years, or 20000lbs of grain. Also taking into account the extra land and energy spent processing feed for the animals, this would mean arable farming would be roughly 2.5 times more efficient, as stated in my original source.
------ "a typical diet requires up to 2.5 times the amount of land compared to a vegetarian diet and 5 times that of a vegan diet." - Zollitsch, W., Winckler, C., Waiblinger, S., and Haslberger, A. 2007. Sustainable Food Production and Ethics. Wageningen Academic Publishers------

Traditional farming methods such as practiced by your father are admirable, but I fear as time goes on, demand will continue to increase, as we previously agreed, and meat production will be have to become more intensive. Factory farming on a huge scale is not something many people would want, but I don't care how many plants they coop up together!
Posted by LibertarianWithAVoice 3 years ago
LibertarianWithAVoice
Your argument is assuming you are starting a new cattle farm. Cattle are sent the house at ages between 18 and 24 months on a cycle. Cattle are usually raised on a two-three farm bases. One acre has the 20 and another two have young cattle ( 0-17 months ) usually consisting of 5-10 minor ( 0-9 months ) and 5-10 older (10-17 months). This cycle keeps it so once a meat farms gets going they can bring up younger cattle once the older ones are sent to slaughter. Half are sent up to slaughter, half move to the next farm. They grow up 3-4 months and the cycle starts over. This means more than the previously mentioned 20 are sent up.
Your second statement is not true in all or most of ranchers. My father was a co-owner of a large ranch. They had between 200-300 cattle on each 20 acre, grassy, plot of land. They were healthy, husky cattle.
Thirdly plant crop leads to soil erosion, pollution from pesticides and fertilizers, and severe nutrient deficiency in soil. Although crop farming has come far sense then it hasn't been long since crop farms caused the dust bowl. New farming techniques reduce the chance of having this happen again but it do not eliminate the risk. If we needed to produce much more than we already do, people may forget these techniques in order to meet the need.
Clark, E.H. II, J.A. Haverkamp, and W. Chapman. 1985. Eroding soils: The off- farm impacts. The Conservation Foundation, 1717 Massachusetts Ave, N.W., Washington, DC 20036.

Environment and Natural Resources Policy Division, Library of Congress. 1979. Agricultural and environmental relationships: Issues and priorities. Printed for the Committee on Science and Technology and the Committee on Agriculture, U.S. House of Representatives, 96th Congress. U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington, DC 20401.

Office of Technology Assessment, Congress of the United States. 1982. Impacts of technology on U.S. cropland and rangeland productivity. U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington, DC 20401.
Posted by debata 3 years ago
debata
We are risking starting another debate altogether, regarding how ethical it is to intensively farm cattle on that scale, but without even getting into that, or the validity of your source, allow me to counter.
Lets assume you're right and you can grow roughly 10000lbs of crop on a piece of land. Lets also assume you're right and you are quite capable of raising the same amount of bulk weight of cattle.

Firstly average cattle age is 2 years before they are slaughtered, before reaching that age itensively farmed cattle are kept in pens with bare earth floors, meaning they are fed grain feed rather than graxing pasture. This then means you have to use more land to grow grain which then to feed the cattle.
Waste from cattle such as digestive gases, and manure is also a problem, a report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that the livestock sector is "responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions" (Steinfeld, H. et al. 2006, Livestock"s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Livestock, Environment and Development, FAO)
This is in comparison to arable farming which actually has the beneficial effect of trapping carbon from the atmosphere.
damn should have put this in the debate lol
Posted by LibertarianWithAVoice 3 years ago
LibertarianWithAVoice
Here are some online sources. http://www.gardensofeden.org... It says you on average you can grow roughly 10,000lbs a year on 1ac of land.
I cannot find the exact resource, but many cattle enthusiast will tell you between 450 and 575 lbs. So lets 500 average pounds per cow. Another resource yeah!!! http://www.life123.com... Important part ( Because we are
working under optimal conditions in both cases ) Because different breeds require different nutritional intakes, you may not be able to keep 10 of one breed where you may be able to keep 20 of a different breed. Get to know what grows in your pasture and look for cattle breeds that will thrive on what you have to offer. This will allow you to get the most from each acre of land that you have.

Do the math 500lbsx20cattle=10000lbs or roughly the same as the average for 1 acre of crop farming.
Posted by debata 3 years ago
debata
in response to Hilton who voted, whats wrong with talking about the future? that's kinda the whole point here, we're not going to stop eating meat in the past are we?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Misterscruffles 3 years ago
Misterscruffles
debataLibertarianWithAVoiceTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro argued his case, but did not demonstrate its validity, nor cite a single source, relying only on bald assertions. Con's position "The human race would not be better off if everyone decided to be vegetarian." therefore wins by default.
Vote Placed by toolpot462 3 years ago
toolpot462
debataLibertarianWithAVoiceTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: "To form a complete diet you would need to eat ( besides nutritional supplements ) a large amount of vegetables, fruits, and other plant crops. The shear space needed would be equivalent if not higher than animal crop." - That's just plain wrong. "These companies would have the power of controlling a product people required for a healthy life." - the meat and milk industry has already convinced people that they need their product when they actually don't. If Con has no problem with this, why does he have a problem with in increase in vitamin supplement sales? Vitamin supplements would in no way become as large and influential as the meat and milk industries are today.
Vote Placed by hilton16 3 years ago
hilton16
debataLibertarianWithAVoiceTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: i think this debate should be about "Human would be better off if we stop eating meat now" because you keep talking about the future. Meat is good for your body.