The Instigator
indianajones644
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
GaryBacon
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

To Be or Not to Be... Vegetarian? I say veggo is the way to go!

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/12/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,141 times Debate No: 4991
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (7)

 

indianajones644

Pro

101 reasons to go veg.- http://www.flex.com...

Every year in the UK we feed our livestock enough food to feed 250,000,000 people while in the world 30,000,000 people die of starvation
20 vegetarians can live off the land required by one meat eater
Every 3 seconds a child dies of starvation somewhere in the world
If Americans reduced their meat consumption by 10% it would free 12,000,000 tons of grain - enough to feed 60,000,000 people (the population of Great Britain)
If all Americans became vegetarian, it would free enough grain to feed 600,000,000 people (the population of India)
Intensification in animal farming has displaced 1,000,000's of people from their traditional lands - eg. indigenous people in south & central america, native americans in north america & crofters in Great Britain - this is continuing today
People displaced from their lands into cities succumb to dietary deficiency, diseases, parasites & opportunistic diseases
In third world countries 1 in 10 babies die before their first birthday
The UK imports �46,000,000 worth of grain from third world countries to feed our livestock
Due to overgrazing 850,000,000 people live on land threatened by desertification & over 230,000,000 already live on land so severely desertified that they are unable to sustain their existence & face imminent starvation
1,000,000,000 people in the west gorging on meat & dairy leave 1,000,000,000 to waste away & 3,500,000,000 teeter on the brink

LAND
If they continue to clear American forests to raise cattle at the present rate, in 50 years there will be none left
1 acre yields 165 lbs of beef or 20,000 lbs of potatoes
8/10 of cultivated land in the UK is used to grow food for animals (14,732,000 hectares)
It takes 16lbs of high protein soya to produce 1 lb of beef
Since 1945 in the UK we have lost 95% of flower meadows, 50% of ancient woodlands, 40% of heathlands, 50% of wet lands & 224,000 km of hedgerows all due to animal farming
Pressure on land due to meat farming leads to soil erosion 6billion tons/year in the USA
If everyone went vegetarian upto 90% of land used for animal farming could be taken out of production & used to replant woodlands, leisure activities etc.
25% of Central america's forests have been destroyed for cattle grazing since 1960
Between 1966-1983 38% of the Amazon rain forest was destroyed for cattle grazing
90% of cattle ranches established on cleared forest land go bankrupt in less than 8 years as the land becomes barren due to nutrient loss & overgrazing
Overgrazing by cattle is destroying the land & increasing desertification, nearly 430 million acres in the USA alone has suffered a 25-50% reduction in yield since first grazed
An inch of topsoil takes 200-1000 years to develop - yet in the USA they have lost around 1/3 of their prime topsoil in 200 years (around 7 inches) due to animal farming
Land will be lost due to rises in sea level due to global warming due to animal farming

AIR
The destruction of the rainforest by cattle farmers is destroying the lungs of the planet & reducing the worlds capacity to replenish our oxygen supply
The 1,300,000,000 cattle in the world emit 60,000,000 tons of methane per year (methane is a greenhouse gas & leads to global warming)
Burning of forests, grasslands & agricultural waste associated with animal farming releases 50-100,000,000 tons of methane per year
Combining these figures, 25% of methane emissions are due to animal farming (not including the billions of sheep, pigs & poultry so the real figure is much higher)
Fertilizer used to grow crops to feed to animals releases nitrous oxide - thought to account for 6% of the greenhouse effect
Fertilizer, weedkiller & pesticides sprayed on crops enter the atmosphere creating a noxious carcinogenic cocktail
CFCs are released into the air from refrigeration units used to store decomposing flesh (meat), milk & butter - CFCs are destroy the ozone layer
Ammonia from animal urine also pollutes the atmosphere
CO2 is released by burning oil & petrol in lorries, ships, abattoirs, dairies, factories etc. associated with meat & dairy production
Emissions from large chemical plants which produce fertilizer, weedkiller & other agricultural chemicals are also poisoning our air

WATER
25 gallons of water to produce 1lb of wheat & 2500 gallons to produce 1lb of meat
UK farm animals produce 200,000,000 tonnes of slurry (liquid excrement) every year, the majority of which ends up in our rivers
Bloody waste water from abattoirs ends up in our rivers
In the USA every second humans produce 12,000 lbs of effluent while farmed animals produce 250,000 lbs
Nitrates & pesticides used on crops grown to feed livestock end up in our rivers
Meat & dairy farming uses 70 litres of water per day per animal in the UK or 159,250,000,000 litres per year in total
The water used to produce 10 lbs of steak is equivalent to the average consumption of water for an entire household for an entire year
Depletion of groundwater reserves to grow crops for animals & to supply abattoirs will lead to greater water shortages
Aquafers (stores of underground water) in the San Joaquin valley in the USA are being drained at the rate of 500,000,000,000 gallons/year to produce meat
18% of all agricultural land in the world is irrigated & as global warming increases (partly due to animal farming) it will cost $200,000,000 to keep these systems going
The water used to produce a 1000 lb beef steer is enough to float a Destroyer battleship
The liquid waste from the various parts of the meat & dairy industry flow into the rivers & from there into the seas polluting them & encouraging huge algal blooms to grow

EFFICIENCY
To produce 1calorie of energy from meat takes 60 calories of petrol, whereas growing grains & legumes to directly feed people produces 20 calories for each calorie of fuel used ( thats 1200 times more efficient)
Meat & dairy farming uses billions of gallons of oil to run tractors, fuel ships & lorries (to move animal feed & animals), pump billions of gallons of water to irrigate fields & run slaughterhouses, power refrigeration units to prevent the corpses from decomposing & to power sewage plants to clean up some of the pollution produced
Cattle convert only 6% of their energy intake (mainly grains & soya) into flesh, the remaining 94% is wasted as heat, movement (which is why they keep many animals in very close confinement), hair, bones, faeces etc
1lb of beef takes 1 gallon of petrol to produce
A family of four eating beef for a year uses enough petrol to run a car for 6 months (obviously depending on how far you drive!)
If the full ecological cost of meat was passed onto the consumer - the price would be quadrupled (at least)
The EC spends �100,000,000's to subsidise animal production resulting in lakes of unwanted milk & mountains of unwanted meat & butter. This money could be better spent encouraging organic fruit, vegetable & grain production
In the USA in 1979 145,000,000 tons of crops were fed to cattle resulting in only 21million tons of animal bodies - the cost of the wasted crops was $20,000,000,000
Between 1950 & 1985 grain production in Europe & the USA increased massively but 2/3 was fed to animals
70% of all grain is fed to animals
Eating vast quantities of animal flesh, eggs, milk & butter is a luxury that most of the planet can not afford

ANIMALS
Fishing with drift (and other modern) nets weakens & destroys ecosystems by indiscriminately killing billions of sea creatures & disrupting the sea bed
Fishermen's nets kill 10 times as many other animals as the fish they are hoping to catch
Fish caught in nets die an agonising slow death of suffocation
Each year 15,000,000,000 land animals are slaughtered for food & an unknown but much larger number of sea creatures (including 1000's of dolphins caught accide
GaryBacon

Con

The first set of reasons listed deal with the amount of food that can be produced by eliminating the meat industry. These arguments are intended to show that a vegetarian lifestyle adopted by everyone would save a large number of people. The last reason listed is "1,000,000,000 people in the west gorging on meat & dairy leave 1,000,000,000 to waste away & 3,500,000,000 teeter on the brink."

But now it is time to escape this tunnel vision and look at other aspects. First and foremost, there are already over 6.7 billion people on this planet. If the human population on the planet is out of whack, then it is clearly the result of TOO MANY people. Now you want everyone to take up a vegetarian diet to add MORE people to this planet? If those one billion people didn't waste away, we would have close to eight billion people on the planet.

Perhaps you are under the impression that saving everyone is a good thing, but nothing could be further from the truth. People need to die. If we use flex.com's suggestions, humans would soon become overpopulated.

In biology, every population has a limit known as the carrying capacity (symbolized by the letter k). Once this limit is reached, a rapid decline in the population occurs (i.e. mass death). So in the end, flex.com's method would kill many more people than the ones that currently starve.

Moving on to the section on land, it is true that a lot of land is cleared for farming. But the world in which we live is very opportunistic when it comes to land. Eliminating meat industries will not give that land back to nature. It would simply be used for a factory, real estate, or some other business venture.

In the section on air, there is much talk of the methane produced by cattle. I still have yet to hear why the methane from cattle is different from that of other animals. Furthermore, methane has always been around, long before global warming. If global warming is in fact true, I doubt that the key culprit will turn out to be cow farts. And reasons such as "Fertilizer, weedkiller & pesticides sprayed on crops enter the atmosphere creating a noxious carcinogenic cocktail" have nothing to do with the meat industry.

The section on water seems to talk a great deal about wasting water. But in reality, water constantly cycles and is usually redistributed properly through nature (droughts and dry spells are not a constant occurrence). There is also mention of the waste that ends up in rivers and such through the meat industry. But such things occur in nature constantly, and singling out the waste in rivers from meat industries makes no sense.
Furthermore, are sentences such as "The water used to produce a 1000 lb beef steer is enough to float a Destroyer battleship" really supporting vegetarianism? It seems more like a fun fact to me.

The section on efficiency speaks of wasting energy for meat production (which cannot actually occur due to the law of conservation of energy). It also mentions crops that are wasted by feeding them to animals. But if this were actually the case, if the crops fed to animals really wasted too much, then why oh why does the government still pay farmers to burn excess crops? If the crops are still produced with so much surplus that farmers must burn them in order to maintain supply and demand, then feeding crops to the animals cannot be anywhere near as wasteful as you or the website claim.

Moving on to the section on animals, I will not deny that there are many cruel practices listed here. But why these practices lead to the conclusion that one must become a vegetarian is beyond me. It would seem to make just as much sense to by organic meats that do not use such practices, or to eat meat without an industry such as venison.

The section on health starts off with a correlation, which does not show any type of causation. Vegetarians may be shown to live longer, but there is no evidence that this is caused by their diet. There are many correlations that can be found where one factor is not dependent on the other. For example, there is a real correlation between the amount of babies crying and the amount of ice cream consumed by people on any given day. Does the sound of babies crying make people want to eat ice cream? Does the act of eating ice cream cause babies to cry? The answer to both of these questions is obviously no. There is an external factor (in this case, heat) and that doesn't make the correlation less real. So a vegetarian living longer shows nothing. And the addendum "and they don't get sick as often" is something for which I would like to see evidence. I have never known a vegetarian that was healthy or less sick than others. If anything, the case was the opposite.

Other things mentioned in the health section once again do not account for organic meat. The antibiotics, hormones, toxins, and pesticides would not be present in organic meat.

Many of the other reasons are also correlational. Other reasons listed deal with nutrition. But nutritionists are not scientists. They use correlations to show causation, they do not use the same terms as everyone else in the science world, and most importantly their claims are non-falsifiable.

I have already shown that correlations do not show causation. Let's now look at the calorie (something nutritionists speak of often). A calorie is a unit of heat energy equivalent to 4.184 joules. One thousand such units, or 4,184 joules is known to the rest of the scientific community as a kilocalorie. But not the nutritionists. They have decided to call the kilocalorie a calorie, and therefore cannot communicate with other sciences in scientific jargon since they have assigned their own meanings to terms.

The next point is key: if something cannot be falsified it is not science. A nutritionist may claim that some type of diet will cause people to live longer while another causes early death. Yet when they are shown a person that lived to 95 on a diet that supposedly causes early death, they do not admit defeat. Rather, they make some stupid claim such as "Well, if he was on a healthy diet he probably would've lived to 110" or some other such nonsense.

So I cannot take nutritionists seriously, and that is the majority of the health section. Nevertheless, even using nutrition as an argument fails when one studies physiology. In truth, a vegetarian or vegan diet is not healthy. The amount of iron that vegetarians receive is much lower than that of meat-eaters. Iron is needed to bind to hemoglobin and carry oxygen throughout the body. In fact, there have been cases where a vegetarian diet has led to anemia because of the lack of iron.

The site seems to come down on dairy as well, so I assume that it is promoting a vegan diet. With this comes a further problem. Vitamin B12 (aka cobalamin) can only be found in animal products. It is necessary for two reasons: it works in conjunction with folic acid to create red blood cells and it is essential to the production of myelin which coats the axons of neurons.

So health is not achieved by vegetarians or vegans. It is achieved with a well-balanced diet.

There is nothing wrong with following one's nature. Humans are natural omnivores. Eating that which we are meant to eat by nature is the way to go.
Debate Round No. 1
indianajones644

Pro

indianajones644 forfeited this round.
GaryBacon

Con

There isn't much more to rebut here. However, I decided to throw a bit more information your way to show the fallacies of flex.com's reasoning.

Here is a link describing the food chains and food webs:
http://www.marietta.edu...

You will note under the agriculture area the mention of the pollution to the waters that waste from crops can cause. This pretty much shows the hypocrisy of the whole water pollution angle mentioned on the site you provided.

After all, if it is wrong to pollute the waters, then vegetation is just as responsible as the meat industry...perhaps even more so. Therefore, one cannot point out animal products and waste polluting waters and then turn a blind eye to the waste from crops in the water just because it suits the vegetarian lifestyle.

On the health issue I have also perhaps not said enough. Although I did mention the unscientific stance taken by nutritionists, there is more to it. We are actually able to agree with nutrition and still arrive at the conclusion that vegetarianism is not healthy.

Here is a link to a peer-reviewed article from the journal Atherosclerosis, Vol. 184(2) pp. 356-362
http://www.sciencedirect.com...

It shows that vegetarian women were actually less healthy than omnivores. The vegetarians had a lack of vitamin B12 (something I mentioned as a potential problem in the previous round), and furthermore they had a build up of homocysteine (a toxin).

I will once again state that to follow the laws of nature cannot possibly be wrong.

Furthermore, the arguments presented in favour of vegetarianism tend to focus on the meat industry. Please address the problems of non-industrialized meats (e.g. venison) in the next round.
Debate Round No. 2
indianajones644

Pro

indianajones644 forfeited this round.
GaryBacon

Con

There is not much more to say here. Nature is nature and cannot be considered morally wrong.

I feel that I have sufficiently dealt with the reasons posted on the pro-vegetarian website.

As has already been pointed out, some of the reasons had nothing to do with the meat industry, and the rest only focused on meat obtained through the industry.

There were no reasons given against eating organic meats or meat that was obtained by hunting. The laws of nature are enough for me to say that eating meat is the way to go (as opposed to veggo).

P.S. I agree with Harlan that veggo does sound terrible, but I'm not sure that it sounds worse than tofurkey.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 6 years ago
Derek.Gunn
I remember having a similar conversation at a party, when a rather pissed interloper happily mumbled "If God didn't want us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat?"
[pissed = drunk]

Looks like GaryBACON won this debate... heheheh
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 6 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Most vegetarians/vegans like animals, right?
So shouldn't they support meat eating, as otherwise, no one would raise cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, and most other farm animals. These animals would either become feral pests and be shot, or they would just go extinct. So the moral is "If you love someone, eat them!"
Posted by Harlan 6 years ago
Harlan
"Veggo"?

That sounds worst than "tofurkey".
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Off_the_Wall.Paul
indianajones644GaryBaconTied
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