The Instigator
lord_megatron
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
David_Debates
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Vegans harm the environment

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
David_Debates
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/3/2016 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 372 times Debate No: 93324
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)

 

lord_megatron

Pro

Cause they eat more plants than normal humans, therefore they harm the environment more. In fact, the chicken eats up plants and gives co2, eating it should be environment friendly, but that topic is for another time.
David_Debates

Con

Observation 1: Definitions
Vegan: not eating or using animal products.
Vegitarian: not eating meat.
Harm: physical injury, especially that which is deliberately inflicted.
Environment: the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates.

Observation 2: Burdens
As Pro is bringing the only affirmative statement, that vegans harm the environment, the burden of proof lies solely upon him. Con has burden of rebbutal, or to disprove Pro's points. This means that if I am able to show that it is less or equaly likely that vegans do not harm the enivironment, then you must find for Con.

Observation 3: Rebbutal of Pro's points

1) [Vegans harm the environment] Cause they eat more plants than normal humans, therefore they harm the environment more.

Plants are a sustanable and easy to maintain food source, compared to meat. Meat requires even more plants to maintain than simply eating the plants themselves.
s://lh6.googleusercontent.com...; alt="" width="502" height="360" />
As you can see, the most energy efficent group of consumers are those that eat plants, or the primary producers, and even they loose 90% of the energy from a primary producer. However, eating primary consumers instead of primary producers wastes 10 times the amount of energy. It's clear that it is more efficent to eat primary producers.

2) In fact, the chicken eats up plants and gives co2, eating it should be environment friendly

Let's examine the chicken market's environmental impact.

First, chickens produce huge amounts of manure. This manure has tremendous negative effects on the environment. The manure's byproduct is a carcogenic, lethal poision known by arsenic that can seep into groundwater and soil, poluting it (1). And this isn't just a little bit of poision either. "In the 1990s, poultry production in 5 West Virginia counties at the headwaters of the Potomac River, which nourishes the Chesapeake Bay, grew from 7 million birds a year to 100 million birds, now producing enough manure to cover "all 160 miles of Los Angeles freeways ankle deep (2)."

Second, chicken slaughter houses are literaly breeding grounds for pollutants and diseases. Many different dangerous chemicals that are detrimental to human health can be found in the air at a slaughter house. "Airborne contaminants in poultry confinement units include the mixture of agents comprising organic poultry dust--skin debris, broken feather barbules, insect parts, aerosolized feed, and poultry excreta--and a variety of immunogenic agents, such as viable bacteria and Gram-negative bacterial endotoxins. Industrial hygiene surveys in the chicken processing industry have demonstrated that poultry confinement workers are exposed to high concentrations of such respiratory toxicants. Excretory ammonia fumes from the nitrogen in decomposing droppings damages the systems of both humans and birds (3)." It is not only the manure and urine that can harm the einvironment, but the "155,000 tons of annual waste from the more than 90 million birds confined in 870 poultry sheds have polluted local streams with poisonous coliform bacteria. These small creeks and rivers enter the Potomac River, which provides drinking water for metropolitan Washington D.C. (4)." And that is just West Virginia's chicken industry!

Finaly, the chicken industy's aid in producing greenhouse gasses is enourmous. The nitrogen emitted from these slaughterhouses can • decrease species diversity and acidification of non-agricultural soils, due to nitrogen deposition related to ammonia and nitrous oxide emission;
• eutrophication of surface waters, including excess algal growth and a decrease in natural diversity due to runoff of nitrogen from agricultural soils;
• pollution of groundwater due to nitrate leaching from agricultural soils and nonagricultural soils; and
• greenhouse gas emissions in the form of nitrous oxide (5).

If you are vegan, you do not participate in or support this industry, thereby making your food choices the more environmentaly friendly one.

Observation 4: Conclusion

In conclusion, I have
a) shown how eating from a lower trophic level is more energy efficent,
b) shown how the environmental impact of the chicken industry alone far oughtweighs the impact of a vegan's diet, thereby
c) disproving Pro's main contentions.

Pro?

Sources:
(1) http://www.upc-online.org...
(2) Gerstenzang, J. Poultry Production Threatens Potomac River's Health. San Francisco Chronicle, April 21, 1997.
(3) Morris, P. et al. Respiratory Symptoms & Pulmonary Function in Chicken Catchers in Poultry Confinement Units. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 19:195-204, 1991.
(4) Lipton, E. Poultry Poses Growing Potomac Hazard. The Washington Post, June 1, 1997.
(5) http://www.fao.org...
Debate Round No. 1
lord_megatron

Pro

Vegan- not eating, using animal products as well as not eating meats
Arguments
If everyone become vegan all of a sudden, then 10 billion chickens will freely roam over the planet and eat all the plants up, and the slaughtered meat shall be wasted. Furthermore, even if it is gradual, it will severely impact the farmer's economy as will as cause a food shortage, for there will be an increased strain on plant sources.
Energy pyramid
A google docs can be created by anyone and doesn't seem much of a reliable source. Furthermore, this doesn't explain how certain meats have more calories/energy than plants.
Chicken industry
The sources 2, 3 and 4 are severely outdated and are from the last century. Poultry standards must have improved marginally by now. Furthermore, cow manure has been used as a fertilizer, although chicken manure harms the soil. Con must recognize that chicken is not the only meat that is eaten by non-vegetarians, although it is one of the most prominent ones. We must realize that if the chickens and cattle are allowed to live on for long, they can do all that damage that con mentioned, yet if they are killed and eaten they would do lesser damage. They are not animals that can survive the wild either. In the wild, they would eat up all the plants and gradually fall prey to the predators.
Economic impact
Shutting down the meat industry would severely impact the farmers and fishermen, as well as increase the price and strain on plant products. There may even be a famine in areas such as deserts and lands where farming is extremely difficult. Low economy and food shortage would result in the government not having enough for environmental protection, and then the forests would have to be cleared for agricultural land, which harms the environment.
Plants
Agriculture causes a lot of pollution as well. Pesticides and fertilizers can contaminate water, and that water wouldn't be healthy for the plant. Soil erosion happens due to clearing of the forests and plants that don't have strong roots to hold the soil together. Agricultural pollution can cause health-related issues to humans as well as nearby wild animals.
http://www.conserve-energy-future.com...
Taste
Well, this impacts humans, doesn't it? What would we do without milk, cheese and butter? Or egg cakes? I can't let go of all animal products. This harms the environment as technically humans are included in the environment. Shutting down meat due to vegan movement would severely impact human diet and happiness.
David_Debates

Con

Rebuttals:

1) If everyone become vegan all of a sudden, then 10 billion chickens will freely roam over the planet and eat all the plants up...

First off, it seems that Pro thinks I am arguing that we should all go vegan. To be clear, I am aruging that vegans do not create a substancial offset in the ecosystem that causes significant harm, not that we should stop eating meat. Meat is a vital part in many communities diets, such as eskimos. You can't expect them to stop eating whale meat, as it is incredibly difficult to farm in the Yukon.

Secondly, Pro makes the argument that "ten billion chickens will freely roam over the planet" as a result of vegans. This is not the case. Chickens have natural predators that are not eating those chickens (as they are kept securely in slaughterhouses, these predators cannot hunt them), and, as stated above, the poultry industry would still exist. The chickens wouldn't be set free, as there would still be demand for meat from non-vegans.

2) it will severely impact the farmer's economy as will as cause a food shortage, for there will be an increased strain on plant sources.

Pro clings to the argument that we will run out of plants, but he has brought no evidence whatsoever that prove plants are as much of a non-sustanable resource as meat. Also, Pro ignores the fact that the meat industry depends upon plants to feed the animals that are used in the making of meat. As I've shown before with the tetriary pyramid, we loose 99% of the energy produced by plants when we eat primary consumers (cows, chickens, etc.), whereas when we eat the primary producers (corn, wheat, etc.) we save a tenth of that energy. Eating plants is more energy efficent, and we won't be running out of them anytime soon.

3) (Paraphrased) The trophic pyramid is unreliable/doesn't show disparity between caloric density.

The trophic pyramid is reliable and founded in science. It states that from each trophic level, energy is lost in incriments of ten.
With E standing for "energy" and C standing for "calories," the formula is
10E = 1C
It takes ten times the amount of energy to create one calorie. The others are lost during the metabolic process (1).

This explains the so-called disparity between caloric density. The reason for this is because a primary consumer must eat ten times the amount of primary producers to produce meat. The trophic pyramid stands.

4) (Paraphrased) Sources provided by Con are severly outdated.

If anything, the statistics I mentioned would have grown over the course of the years. As demand for meat rises (as it has), the supply must nessesarily rise as well. Therefore, there would be even more of the harmful by-products that I mentioned. In addition, these "poultry standards" don't stop chickens from producing manure, urine, etc., and no technological advances can stop these functions from occuring.

5) We must realize that if the chickens and cattle are allowed to live on for long, they can do all that damage that con mentioned, yet if they are killed and eaten they would do lesser damage.

We must realize that if the chickens and cattle are allowed to live on for long, they could eat the same amount of plant-based food that they would if they were in a slaughterhouse, and they would be killed and eaten by natural predators.

Your argument is so easily reversed and disproven it should not be counted as evidence by any means. Speaking of evidence, where is it? I've provided sources, but you make bold, speculative statements without any proof whatsoever. Need I remind you who holds the burden of proof in this debate?

6) Economic impact

This would be so true...
If I were arguing we should all turn vegan overnight. See my response to Pro's first argument. Also, this argumenent is uncanily similar to those that supported slavery during the 1800's. The economy has no bearing on whether or not something harms the environment.

7) Agriculture causes pollution as well.

As well? Do you concede that the meat industry causes polution as well? Then the question is this:
Which is worse? The meat industry? Or the agricultural industry?

I've already shown how the meat industry causes insane amounts of pollution, so I'll defend the agricultural industry this round.

Pro's source shows the supposed dangers of the agricultural industy. However, both the first and the second are similar in that the dangers are to unfiltered, untreated ground water that can be affected by plants. In addition, the third harm the article mentions only applies if we consider extremely inneficent farming practices that do not implement crop rotation, such as those that caused the Great Dust Bowl in 1935.

What is strange, however, is that Pro makes no mention of the fourth potential harm in his article. The reason for this is because it shows the danger of the meat industry! "As of now, livestock is grown in cramped conditions where it is fed unnatural diets and sent to slaughterhouses on a regular basis. As a result, they add to the process of agricultural pollution by way of emissions (2)." Pro's only source acctualy affirms my case!

The final harm mentioned in Pro's source is that pests and weeds can eat other plants around the farms that those plants are not used to. This is easily counteracted by pesticides and herbicides that both a) protect the plants, and b) kill invasive species of insects or weeds. This is not a harm by any means.

In the end, Pro's only argument against the agricultural industry is an article on the subject. One, and only one article. In response, I'll link an article on the dangers of the meat industry (3). Pro has come no where close to proving his case against the agricultural industry's supposed polution.

7) Taste

This is a subjective harm. Some enjoy meat, some don't. This has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the environmental impact, or lack thereof, of vegans.

In conclusion, Pro was
1) not topical in his attempt to prove the environmental impact of vegans, and
2) no where near close to meeting his burden of proof.

Pro?

Sources:
(1) http://maggiesscienceconnection.weebly.com...;(scroll down until you reach the section labeled "Trophic Pyramid")
(2) http://www.conserve-energy-future.com...
(3) http://www.alternet.org...
Debate Round No. 2
lord_megatron

Pro

Concession (white flag up)
David_Debates

Con

Thank you to Pro for this debate!

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by lord_megatron 10 months ago
lord_megatron
Yes, cause I am lord megatron, the humble
Posted by Omniscient_Debater 10 months ago
Omniscient_Debater
Wait. Pro gets conduct for conceding?

..............
Posted by lord_megatron 10 months ago
lord_megatron
THANKs
Posted by David_Debates 10 months ago
David_Debates
I think my picture was broken, here is a link to it:
https://docs.google.com...
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 10 months ago
fire_wings
lord_megatronDavid_DebatesTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Mohwaks dance in the moon Yelling, "cOnCeSsIoN!!!!!!"
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 10 months ago
dsjpk5
lord_megatronDavid_DebatesTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by Omniscient_Debater 10 months ago
Omniscient_Debater
lord_megatronDavid_DebatesTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession by Pro
Vote Placed by ThinkBig 10 months ago
ThinkBig
lord_megatronDavid_DebatesTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro humbly conceded and thus gets the conduct point.