General Question

swingliner's avatar

How do you justify being a meat eater?

Asked by swingliner (245points) January 28th, 2009

I love meat. This question is for those who love meat too:

If you were in a debate with a hardcore vegetarian who is trying to convince you that it is wrong to eat meat – after all, in the end, you are supporting the killing of an innocent creature – what would you say to ethically justify the fact that you eat meat?

Note: I’m not looking to hear joke-y answers, and this also isn’t a “rah rah meat is awesome, vegetarians suck” (or vice versa) pissing contest. I’m looking for actual logical explanations. So if you were planning on using this thread as a way to display how clever you are and saying something like, “Because it tastes good” – just save that gem for later.

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119 Answers

Grisson's avatar

I don’t. I just enjoy my steak.
What is the point in justifying my preferences?

marinelife's avatar

I do not. Anyone who expects you to justify it is a zealot. I do not argue with zealots. It’s a no-win situation.

Human beings are designed to be omnivores, which includes eating meat.

I do not care what choices others make. I do care about vegetarian parents or meat-eating parents, for that matter, forcing their own beliefs on their kids. In the case of the former, without real care, it can have serious health impacts.

Grisson's avatar

@Marina Better said than mine. G/A

DrBill's avatar

Sharp teeth are for eating meat, humans have sharp teeth, hence meat-eater.

elijah's avatar

It’s nature. Big animals eat smaller animals. Survival of the fittest. I don’t belive animals should suffer though. They should be killed the quickest most humane way possible.

Grisson's avatar

@DrBill Ooo! We also have stereoscopic eye positioning for hunting. Very good!

Elumas's avatar

Because PETA is effin crazy.

swingliner's avatar

@DrBill and @elijahsuicide : Ah, but the vegetarian would say, “but while humans may naturally be meat eaters, we have also evolved enough to make conscious decisions about what we eat and still survive without harming others. Other animals do not have this choice.” Then what do you say?

Blondesjon's avatar

What in Paul Lynde’s name is an “innocent” animal?!?

buster's avatar

It taste good and cures my hunger urge well.

DrBill's avatar

I would say “who are we to go against nature?”

LKidKyle1985's avatar

@Blondesjon they certainly are guilty of being delicious… But I dunno its hard to argue with someone who is convinced that his way of life is the only justified one. Humans are capable of eating meat and therefore you choose to do it. the whole innocent animal thing is ridiculous, what about all those innocent veggies?

Cardinal's avatar

Everything goes better with fried pig!

Grisson's avatar

@swingliner I make a conscious decision to eat my steak. Rare. Grilled, preferrably marinated in something yummy.
We have also evolved to be able to eat what we like when we like it, the way we like it.

swingliner's avatar

@Grisson – then the vegetarian may say, “yes, but because we have the ability to make the decision in the first place, it is unethical to kill and eat others.

I’m trying to justify the ETHICS that would make for an actual, interesting debate. I’m not looking for snarky retorts to tell vegetarian zealouts like “BECAUSE I LOVE MEAT RAWR HAHAHA ESPECIALLY WHEN ITS TENDER LOLLL HA VEGANS SUK”.

How much clearer can I make this?

Blondesjon's avatar

@Grisson…I am an ardent supporter of marinades.

That said, a good, fresh, steak should only be flavored with salt, pepper, and the smoke from the hardwood fire you cook it over.

to sauce or not to sauce, another tangent

nikipedia's avatar

Suppose you only eat meat from animals that were raised in humane conditions, and slaughtered as painlessly as possible. Isn’t it better to have been a happy cow who lived your life in a sunny pasture, munching and fertilizing grass for other animals to eat, and to die quickly with minimal pain, than to have never been born at all?

cak's avatar

Like Marina, I don’t argue about this. It’s pointless. For every argument you come up with, they will have 3 to counter it. They can counter you on evolution – you say, “we’ve evolved to be superior and eat meat. We have the teeth..the eyes, the ability to digest the meat.” They counter with, “We’ve evolved and found the ability to get the proteins and necessary vitamins/minerals from other sources.” It’s going to be the same for any argument, like this with a vegetarian. Just as any zealous meat eater will counter the vegetarian’s argument.

I just respect the difference and move on. (translation…I learned the hard way!)

tennesseejac's avatar

If a cow is an innocent creature then so is a carrot

What are pigs good for if we are not suppose to eat them?

Blondesjon's avatar

@tennesseejacyou know what else they’re good fer boy…

peyton_farquhar's avatar

Did you know that PETA is pushing to have fish renamed “sea kittens” so diners will feel less compelled to order fish at restaurants?
yes, I will have today’s catch of sea kitten, marinated in your white wine sauce and simmered over an open flame

Grisson's avatar

@swingliner Looks like you got lots of ‘em.
How about: “I do like vegetarian. I had a vegetarian pizza the other day. Do you know how hard it is to catch them!?”

Grisson's avatar

@Blondesjon You obviously haven’t tried my son’s marinades.

Blondesjon's avatar

I’ve found sea kitten to be at it’s best when it’s sashimi quality.

swingliner's avatar

Blondesjon and Grisson – Could you maybe take your conversation to private messages? I know you’re just being goofy, but it’s derailing my thread and I was looking for serious answers. Thanks.

Blondesjon's avatar

@GrissonOhhh… that was your son. I’m sorry…I’m terrible with avatars.

I thought you looked familiar…my compliments to the chef


Grisson's avatar

@Blondesjon… blink… blink…. then… LOL!

AstroChuck's avatar

I’m not.

buster's avatar

Meat is a cheap source of protein for me. I catch, clean and eat fish. All it cost me is a few hours of my time and a can of worms. I respect those fish I caught and fed my friends and family with. It just seems natural and right to be connected to the land like that. I also have a bunch of deer meat in the freezer that cost me nothing because my cousin kills, processes and gives it to me. Getting my own meat is economically a good idea for me when I think of all the money I saved getting it myself.

Blondesjon's avatar

@AstroChuck…I wish I’d have thought of that.

genius…and, uh, me either. no meat eater am I

futurelaker88's avatar

meat provides protein and iron and other nutrients and essential parts of the Hunan diet that vegitables do not. humans are omnivores. we need both meat and vegitebles on our diet. vegitarians and “health food junkies” are quite often the sickest people i know

futurelaker88's avatar

sorry about the spelling errors. it’s my phone. too lazy to fix them on it ;)

AstroChuck's avatar

futurelaker- None of that is true. The only thing a vegetarian needs to supplement for is zinc. Protein and iron are abundant in many vegetables and legumes.

tinyfaery's avatar

I have no problem with eating animals, per se, but I think the treatment of animals by the meat industry is horrendous. I really hate that the money I use for food goes to further the abuse of such beautiful living creatures. I have not eaten cow in 21 years, but I do eat poultry, seafood, and a bit of pork. When I actually let myself think about it I feel horrible, but I try to do other things to offset my guilt. I do a lot for animals. Not only do I give money to the LASPCA monthly, but I save roughly 2 litters of kittens a year, as well as the occasional baby squirrel and birdnapped chickens.

jessturtle23's avatar

I would tell the person that animals, unlike most people, don’t have birth control and without thinning out the ones that we do they will over populate. All of the animals we eat, just about, have fairly short gestation periods therefore they make more babies than say an elephant. They also eat lots of food compared to carnivores. I am talking about cows, pigs, and chickens etc. If we all stopped eating these animals there would be way to many and could possibly throw off whole ecosystems. We cannot sterilize them all because that could lead to extinction. I don’t know if any of this is true but it is the bullshit answer I would give to someone if they were getting in my face about it. If they were with PETA I would probably say more rude things like ” Too bad you people don’t care about humans this much ”, or ” get a job hippie!”.

arnbev959's avatar

This is a very good question.

I eat meat. I cannot justify it. As an autonomist, it seems wrong, and it feels wrong when I actually think about it. Looking at other moral beliefs that I hold, it doesn’t make sense that I should be a meat-eater. I can justify it through the arguments people have used above, but they are easily shot down. Arguments that can be shot down so easily are bad arguments. I cannot defend my choice to eat meat. I concede that on this issue, in accordance with my own moral standard, the other side is right.

I eat meat, and by doing so, I am breaking my own moral laws. I should be a vegetarian. I will almost certainly still eat my turkey sandwich for lunch tomorrow, but I will know that I am violating my own sense of what is right as I am doing it. Maybe in the future I will become a vegetarian. There is a moral conflict in my mind that I am always at least dimly (and sometimes more clearly) aware of every time I take a bite of meat.

This article is concerned with a different subject, but it is very interesting, and I think it can be related to eating meat v. not eating meat.

tinyfaery's avatar

Lurve to pete. My sentiments exactly.

Vinifera7's avatar

I sometimes fantasize about marshmallow Peeps being alive while I eat them….. Yeah, I’m totally fine with eating meat.

But what more can be said about it? It’s nature’s way. Why does one have to justify it?

Mtl_zack's avatar

Last week, I was in the food court and I was eating a hamburger. The PETA people were campaigning that day and were showing extremely graphic pictures to people in the mall and food court. They were even showing pictures of dead bunnies and chickens to little kids who don’t even understand the concept of death.

I was sitting there eating my burger, and one of they PETA guys walks up to me and shoves a picture of a mutilated cow right in my face. He starts saying all the exaggerated statistics about cattle and that whole shpiel. I turn to him and say: “I’m trying to enjoy my lunch. Please go away”. He didn’t, so I took a huge bite out of my burger and chewed with my mouth wide open so he could see. He shouted something to the surrounding tables, like he was preaching and I gave him the finger and told him it’s my life, I’ll eat what I wanna eat, wear leather if I want to and I’m capable of making my own decisions of my own life that don’t affect him. He shouted some more, then went back to his buddies. On my way out of the mall, I ran into the PETA group and they glared at me, and I gave them the finger.

Why do vegetarians always have to impose vegetarianism on others? Why can’t I eat what I want to eat? Why can’t I enjoy a good meal without being disturbed and having pictures of chickens with their heads dangling off shoved in my face?

PETA is a horrible organization who brainwash people into believing the exact same values. There is no room for independent thought in their organization. They show films of animals being slaughtered, but think of this: The music that they play in the background is something like this. Now imagine if they showed the videos with music like this. It gives a totally different perspective on what is going on because they tie in music that makes people sad. Their ads are propoganda.

warpling's avatar

Wow what a discussion.
PETA is not wholly good.
Vegetarianism/Veganism isn’t wholly good
and neither is eating meat.

I say we need to eat meat, but we can do so humanely, so I try to argue that I buy only free-range, local, organic eggs, and try to eat food that is as unprocessed and local for my own reasons. As for meat I say that we do need to eat meat, maybe not as much as we do, but we should eat meat. We shouldn’t see livestock as plants that we breed, grow, and raise just to harvest muscle chunks from, and so we should support local more humanely raised livestock, etc. Usually the Veggie has quieted down not knowing what to do with such a confused being that hasn’t chosen a side yet…

simone54's avatar

Food chain.

augustlan's avatar

Pete said it better than I ever could. I can’t justify it, but am too weak to stop eating something I love to eat that much. Pretty much exactly how I feel about smoking. It’s wrong, I know it, I love it and do it anyway :(

kthakur's avatar

why do i need to justify my food? the animal is dead. get over it.

TylerM's avatar

I lost ~80 pounds eating 95% of diet as meat (bacon, hot dogs, hamburger, pork, etc.) It works, believe me. Because my body had no carbohydrates to burn it went directly to fat storage and used that for energy.

I ate about 20g of carbs a day. I felt GREAT, but it’s only for fast weight loss (1lb per day) and not a permanent solution obviously. Had no effect on my cholesterol or anything.

augustlan's avatar

That kind of diet can be hard on your kidneys, though.

rooeytoo's avatar

I could not kill my own meat, I can’t even bear to keep and eat the fish I catch, but I do eat what someone else has killed, guess that makes me some sort of hypocrite too. I don’t really have any qualms about eating meat, I do think though that animals are sentient creatures and they should be treated humanely before they are slaughtered. I hate the concept of factory farming and stock yard fattening. I agree PETA is totally nuttso! Did you see that they were trying to get Ben & Jerry to use human breast milk for their ice cream so that the cows would not suffer.

bythebay's avatar

If my choices are law abiding (I’m not stealing your cow for my dinner) and within my ability to sustain them financially (I’m not asking you to pay for my steak), what I eat is up to me. I won’t justify my choices in food. Arguing this point is a waste of time. People make their choices and that is their right. A zealot, however, is not a formidable opponent; they are quite obviously, close minded whether their argument is based on food choices, religion, politics or otherwise.

@swingliner: It’s annoying when someone asks a question; and then tells you how to answer it. Your caveats above only serve to incite humor & snarky comments. Fluther is a collective; some witty and humor prone, some zealots, most highly intelligent. Get over your proclivity for thread direction and go with the flow. By doing so you’ll enjoy your time here more and so will everyone else.

laureth's avatar

The argument for “thinning animal populations” by eating meat is no good on meat that’s factory farmed. The breeding there is controlled by people, who pump out as many animal babies as they can get out of each sow or cow, because more babies means more profit. If we left some animals to themselves, especially ones like turkeys (the common dinner variety of which cannot naturally breed on their own anymore), the populations would crash.

That said, there is a good reason for eating some non-meat-factory meat. First, in some marginal places where the land is not suitable to growing crops for food, you can still have a bunch of goats that eat the scrub and provide a good food source (and milk, for that matter) to people. In this case, I believe it is totally ethical to eat meat, since it’s that or nothing.

Also, even in some areas, the farming of crops like corn and soy sucks the fertility out in terms of erosion and requiring ever-greater fertilizer input to grow the same crops each year. In the Plains, the Oglala aquifer is being depleted, in large part by irrigating all those “friendly vegetarian” crops. However, buffalo did very well on grass and rain there for a very, very long time. Modern ethical cattle operations actually build the land, adding prime topsoil through their practices, not diminishing it the way that factory-food-crop farming does.

Eating responsibly-raised meat is, I believe, in no way immoral. Grazers, when raised properly, can even restore land that has been farmed to death for row crops. (Check out any of Joel Salatin‘s books – he explains it in greater detail than I can in this space, and if his farm were nearby, I’d buy all of my meat there.

It’s the factory farming that is, imho, the worst part of the meat-eating damage.

dynamicduo's avatar

Oh PETA. I won’t get into talking about them here, suffice to say that they kill more than 95% of animals turned into them, as well as financially supporting terrorists via the Animal Liberation Front. They are a complete sham and more then one hundred percent propaganda. Oh, and there’s the whole “we don’t support animal testing”, but the leader uses insulin to treat her diabetes which was developed through animal testing. Hypocrites! They don’t practice what they preach, end of story! If PETA had it their way, the animals would be eating us as food.
By the way, I fully support Stephen Colbert’s conclusions that if PETA wants to call fish “sea kittens”, then kittens now become “land fish”. Yum, I could go for a delicious fried land fish right now!

I eat meat because I love to, because it’s a great source of protein and amino acids and nutrients, and because I can, as humans are the top of the food chain. I don’t justify it to anyone because I couldn’t give a hoot how anyone judges me, just as I don’t expect anyone to justify their choices to me. While I’m not a fan of mass farming and animals who have short, sad lives, I accept that it’s how our population got to be this large. In my future, I intend to have a farm where I will raise all sorts of animals, letting them have happy, fun lives, and then slaughter them with my own two hands, butcher them up, and prepare them for eating. In the meantime, I’m not losing sleep over this.

asmonet's avatar

Piggies taste good!

swingliner's avatar

@bythebay I’m not trying to “control” the direction that this thread is going in, I pretty much just made it clear in the beginning what kind of answers I was not interested in seeing, and trusted that the “collective” was intelligent enough to abide by my [very simple] criteria. If I wanted to see half-assed answers or people trying to be funny, I would have gone to Yahoo Answers (which is the equivalent to YouTube comments, intelligence-wise). Sorry I interfered with the amazing diversity of Fluther.

bythebay's avatar

@swingliner: There is “amazing diversity” on Fluther; isn’t that what you came here for?

wundayatta's avatar

I wonder how you can justify eating meat, without knowing the arguments against eating meat. To my mind there are practical arguments, ethical arguments, and emotional arguments for not eating meant.

Practical arguments include things like: cow farts are contributing to global warming; or cow farming is causing great regions of the rain forest to be destroyed, wreaking havoc with the water cycle; or that cow farming is destroying the biodiversity contained in the rain forest; or growing meat uses up too many resources and if we were all vegetarians, we could feed everyone in the world.

Ethical arguments include things like: animals are brought up in cruel conditions and that’s just wrong (presumably because animals are sentient to some degree, and thus like us); or animals suffer a great deal when we grow them and kill them for meat; or we have to kill them, and killing is wrong; or, if you couldn’t kill the animal personally, they you shouldn’t be eating meat.

Emotional arguments include: how can you kill a cute, cuddly (fill in your animal here); my dog is a person, so all animals must be people; and there are probably others that I can’t think of now.

A note about ways to counter these points

For the ethical people who don’t want to kill, I always wonder what they think about killing the millions of animals that will have to be sacrificed in order to go back to a vegetarian way of life. Food animals have evolved to be valuable to the most powerful animal on the planet, and thus encourage us to expand their numbers. If we all went vegetarian, no one would have any incentive to take care of the animals. They go free, and wander around, getting killed by cars, or they’d starve. Is this what is wanted?

As to the idea that animals suffer when calves grow up in cages, and other animals have horrendous conditions, I think the marketplace will take care of that. That meat doesn’t taste as good, and eventually no one will want it.

As to emotional arguments, there’s nothing I can do. Emotion is not subject to reason very much. If you think animals are like people, like people in a coma, or like people with nonstandard mental abilities, there’s little to say about that. I don’t agree.

Practical arguments are more difficult. I think you can counter the food argument, since it is clear that starvation is a distribution problem, not a type of farming problem. The rain forest arguments are troubling. It’s hard to predict what would happen if the rain forests weren’t being cut down to grow cattle. Would they be cut down for other reasons?

The biodiversity argument makes a lot of assumptions. Is biodiversity as good as we think it is? Are we losing biodiversity with the rain forest? Are new animals and plants evolving at a pace similar to that of extinction of species? We don’t know, for sure, any answers to these questions.

Anyway, I think that if you outline the arguments for vegetarianism, you have a better chance of seeing the other side of that issue. I hope I have provided a start to that approach here.

EmpressPixie's avatar

I’m generally of the opinion that when you meet someone who is a zealous vegetarian, it is pretty much your duty to try and push them into frutarianism. Not the semi-normal version, but the really good “only eat things that have naturally fallen from the plant” version. Because plants are alive. If you starve them of water, do they not scream? When you cut them, do they not bleed?

If this works, by the way, their family probably won’t thank you.

asmonet's avatar

@daloon: Actually, we do. we kill a lot more than gets created.

Harp's avatar

I’m no PETA supporter, but as far as I can tell, their beef sorry is not with the consumption of meat per se, but with the treatment of the animals in the industry spawned by that consumption. And as evidenced by the comments of many of you omnivores here, any normal human being, no matter what they eat, has a problem with seeing animals suffer needlessly. PETA isn’t against animals dying; it’s against animals suffering more than they have to.

Their strategy is, IMO, awful. Instead of capitalizing on the fact that almost everyone would like to see animals suffer less, they alienate users of animal products by attacking them. I think their cause would be much better served by just doing as much as possible to publicize the abusive conditions in the industry, without wagging their fingers at meat eaters.

I think people basically want to do right by animals, even if they do end up eating them. As in other aspects of our lives as consumers, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the nature of the supply chain that brings us our goods. We do bear a measure of moral responsibility for the harm that gets done to bring our goods to market. That’s why we avoid sweatshop goods, blood diamonds, kiddy porn, elephant ivory, etc.

Virtually no product comes to market untainted by some measure of harm along the way. In the end, every consumer has to decide for himself where his conscience draws the line of how much harm is acceptable. No one else should dictate that decision for him. But putting information out there about the harm that is done is, I think, an appropriate thing to do.

Grisson's avatar

@Vinifera7 You ever try putting the marshmallow peeps in the microwave? Awesome!

EmpressPixie's avatar

@Harp A few years ago there was a really bad snow storm in Colorado (I think). The farmers were cut off from their cattle. PETA refused to help raise money to drop bales of hay so the animals would not starve to death saying (basically) what’s the point? They’d be slaughtered for food anyway.

Oh, link.

Harp's avatar

Hypocritical bastards

dynamicduo's avatar

That’s PETA in a nutshell, Harp. They don’t care about animals at all. They pretend to, but when push comes to shove, they don’t care about them one bit. They’re in love with the idea of caring about animals and it’s a crying shame that they’re able to solicit donations from people who truly do care about animals but who don’t know that PETA are lying scumbags.

El_Cadejo's avatar


now where the hell are those bacon cookies at….

Blondesjon's avatar

Do lions have to justify eating a zebra? Do big fish have to justify eating smaller fish?

Why are we the only species on the planet that has to justify what it consumes? Why are we the only species on the planet that actually worries about and tries to dictate what an individual does to their own body?

Do you think a pack of hungry wolves would debate the legitimacy of eating you?

If you fell down among a herd of domestic cattle you would probably get stepped on, head butted, and sniffed at. If you were injured and needed help not a single one of those cows would try to drag you to safety.

The human ego is so enormous that we humanize everything and it’s becoming ridiculous. Do I think one should go out of their way to be cruel to an animal? No.

Do I think people need to lead their own lives instead of others? YES.

swingliner's avatar

@Blondesjon – Sure, other animals eat each other, and yes there is obviously a food chain. However, the vegetarian zealot would argue that animals also rape each other. Some of them feast on their young. Why don’t we go ahead and do that too? Because unlike other animals, us humans have a conscience and an understanding of ethics. We know not to rape because it is wrong to rape. Animals do not have a developed enough brain to understand this, but we do. The same goes for killing and eating living creatures.

Killing things is obviously wrong. Yet by eating meat we continue to support the killing of living things every day (myself included, believe me.) I just have a hard time coming up with counterpoints to arguments like this, because I love meat just as much as the next meat-lover. I’d just love to see a meat-lover win a debate with an ethical vegetarian, the problem is I can’t really see that happening.

Daloon provided a great answer.

Blondesjon's avatar

@swingliner…I would leave the “animals rape each other” portion of the argument out.

And I’m sorry to break the thread but animals don’t rape. Rape is a human concept. How can you even back up a statement like that?

seriously, i’m looking forward to this

tennesseejac's avatar

how did eating meat turn into a rape discussion? unless we are talking about rape in the face i dont think this has anything to do with the question.

i cant justify my diet, but i also cannot turn down a tasty meal (even if i was eating dinner with Dr. Lecter and he was serving brains…. if it taste good bring it on)

Blondesjon's avatar

@tennesseejac…Donchu fergit the pig boy.

tennesseejac's avatar

@Blondesjon He’s my son, how could I ever fergit him and when he gets over 100 lbs we are going to eat him

Blondesjon's avatar

@tennesseejac…Make sure he’s good n’ dead before you scald him.

although seeing one bolt off hell bent for georgia that you thought was dead would be cool

cage's avatar

I’ve killed it before.
It would be disrespectful of me not to eat it.

If you kill something, the least you can do is put its body to good use.

swingliner's avatar

@Blondesjon here is an entire wikipedia article about all the different kinds of ways animals…express themselves…

Not only is rape included (fine, “sex by coercion” if you really want to get into the semantics of it) but also pedophilia and necrophilia.

You can’t just “leave out” part of a counter-argument so that it suits your own. How about this: Animals take a shit on the ground instead of in a toilet. Does that mean humans should be allowed to as well? The point is, humans are able to form rational thoughts while other animals can not.

…Says the vegetarians.

Harp's avatar

Our faculty for worrying about the rightness and wrongness of our actions is one of the characteristics that defines us as “human”. I agree that in matters that concern only our bodies and have no impact on others, those decisions rest with the individual alone. But that doesn’t mean that the decision is unimportant and can be ignored. Failure to exercise our own judgment just because it doesn’t concern anyone else is a dubious moral position. We have to consider that there may be things that we shouldn’t do, even though we’re at liberty to do them (or should do, even though not obliged).

What decision each person makes about meat is up to them, but I don’t agree that it’s a trivial decision.

Blondesjon's avatar

@swingliner…Is ‘leaving out’ part of a counter argument any worse than sourcing wikiedia?

The bulk of the vegetarian arguments rests on humanizing animals. I’m sorry, but no matter how much you want to believe, a duck is not a human is not an elephant is not a squirel.

We have lived outside of nature for so long that it’s become unatural to us.

Grisson's avatar

. o O ( But does it quack like a squirrel? )

asmonet's avatar

@Blondesjon: I agree completely, I think that’s what’s wrong with us at the most basic level and it affects nearly everything.

I always think about these things when I see girls screaming over a bug in class. I mean, really? Serious? :-/

90s_kid's avatar

I need an account of how many people ask Fluther questions because of me…
I shouldn’t say this, but I am ½ Vegetarian.

laureth's avatar

½ Vegetarian?

Harp's avatar

It’s the half with the mouth that counts

augustlan's avatar

<blink blink>

90s_kid's avatar

I don’t eat red meat. But I eat white meat.

Grisson's avatar

I eat a vegetarian diet. I also eat meat. I eat pretty much anything. Does that make me a totalitarian? :o)

laureth's avatar

I can’t see how someone is any fraction of vegetarian if they eat animal flesh. A meal can be vegetarian, yes.

It’s like saying I’m celibate, except when I have sex.

wundayatta's avatar

You could say you were more celebate than not. Or vegetarian. Whatever.

90s_kid's avatar

Well, It is a common term in Boston. I don’t know about wherever you are.

Harp's avatar

We just call ‘em “picky eaters” here in the Midwest.

90s_kid's avatar

Yeah I am picky. I do not like many basic foods.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I see no reason have to justify my choice to eat meat. I enjoy meat, and since meat comes from animals, I will have to kill animals to enjoy their flesh. Should it ever be possible to grow meat from a living culture that is not an animal ( and I read recently that some scientists have been working on just such a thing) then I will get my meat that way.

Do I feel bad for the animals that I eat? No, that’s silly. If a deer is legally hunted and goes to feed someone’s family, or gets hit by a semi, or simply dies out in the forest, which is the better purpose? The animal is still dead in all three scenarios, but at least in the first one, its’ death served a purpose.

I have been considering raising rabbits for meat lately, simply to have the knowledge that the meat I am eating has been raised in the most humane way possible. People will of course call me a monster for doing so, but if I was worried about the things people called me for my behavior, I’d never leave the house.

berocky1's avatar

this may be an old thread. BUT. i believe that it is ethically irresponsible to eat the flesh of anything with a nervous system. it is also enviromentally irresponsible because the “meat” industry is one of the leading causes of climate change. To everyone who said that we have sharp teeth just like lions. . . . HAHA. We are the only meat eating species that has to cook and salt and pepper out meat unlike a lion who tears the flesh straight from the bone. I don’t understand what’s so hard to understand about this.

laureth's avatar

We are the only species that cooks our vegetables, too. Uh oh!

berocky1's avatar

So shouldn’t us having the knowledge to cook out vegetables place us above these “animals”. So since we have this ability to . . . cook, shouldn’t we have the ethic and environmental responsibility to not eat the flesh of another being with a nervous system and ruin our environment?

berocky1's avatar

wow!! so monkeys season their food and we do cruel tests on them

Mtl_zack's avatar

@berocky1 This was observed in the wild!! Not in a lab. It was observed near a natural salt water source.

Mtl_zack's avatar

Monkeys can cook, so does that mean that you’ll be pushing your propaganda on them too? These monkeys eat invertebrates, birds and eggs. Does this mean that these monkeys are okay to eat?

berocky1's avatar

@Mtl_zack well yes. monkeys can cook. they are intelligent but we still how’s that for humanity?

Mtl_zack's avatar

You’re going off into a tangent here. One second you’re talking about vegetarianism and why we shouldn’t eat animals, and the next you’re talking about animal testing, which is a completely different topic. How does the ability of cooking applying to monkeys relate to animal testing?

These photos were taken illegally, and the website admits it “This document may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owners.”

berocky1's avatar

I’m talking about the intelligence of a being that we are still torturing so you can shampoo your hair.

Mtl_zack's avatar

No, actually I was talking about the intelligence of that animal. You said that they did not have that kind of intelligence when you said “We are the only meat eating species that has to cook and salt and pepper out meat unlike a lion who tears the flesh straight from the bone. ” You just heard about this 10 minutes ago, how can you be basing your aguments on something you know so little about. I can, because I’m taking a class on human evolution and we looked at this in depth from a scientific viewpoint.

laureth's avatar

@berocky1 – You were implying, I thought, that since we have to cook and prepare our meat rather than gnawing it straight from the bone, that it showed we were not designed by nature to eat meat. I am countering that since we also have to cook many of our vegetables to make them digestable to our domesticated digestive systems, that perhaps this is also evidence that we are not supposed to eat vegetables either. (If we were, we’d eat them straight from the ground with our teeth, like a horse grazes.)

If it’s true that the discovery of cooking is what made us able to digest our food better and enabled a great leap forward in brainpower (enough, actually, to make us fully human), cooking meat would be the reason we are where we are today. If we hadn’t started doing so, we are unlikely to have ever attained the intelligence to build an Internet on which to discuss the implications of meat-eating.

berocky1's avatar

I was merely pointing out that when people refer to us as part of the food chain, they set us alike with lions and tigers and bears ( sorry I just watched WoO). What I was saying is that we should accept the fact that we brutally murder our food and stop making excuses like ” part of the food chain” because in fact we are so high up in the ” food chain” that we even cook our plants. And all we really need for a nutritious life is plants.

asmonet's avatar

Brutal murder is ridiculous, we kill food, any food we ingest – even plants, just like everything else.

The melodramatic language doesn’t change that.

berocky1's avatar

@asmonet well. Killing is usually brutal to begin with. But the means in which factory farming is done is horrendous. And I’m not trying to be melodramatic. I’m being serious. it is torture and I think it’s unacceptable

asmonet's avatar

Brutal murder is melodramatic.
I don’t agree with the majority of factory farming, but I don’t rail against it with overly emotional language.

Sure, it’s unacceptable, and unnecessarily painful for the animals in some cases.

But it is not ‘brutal murder’, ‘horrendous’, or ‘torture’.

nikipedia's avatar

@asmonet: I don’t know man. If you don’t consider factory farming brutal murder, horrendous, or torture, what counts? The animals have a miserable existence and then are executed without anesthesia. I can’t think of much that’s worse than that…

You can argue that not all farming is like that, and you would be right. But I think factory farming is about as brutal and horrendous as it gets.

asmonet's avatar

I think it stands to be improved, yes. I have issues with it, and I’ve donated in the past to groups not PETA who work for better conditions. I take issue with language that is intentionally used to make others feel guilty and to sensationalize. And that’s what I feel she’s doing, whether it’s because the vegetarians she’s been exposed to do it, media brainwashing or her own convictions separate from those.

Murder does not apply, I’ll let the other ones slide. But murder involves a human death, not a cow.

nikipedia's avatar

I guess I feel like if you’re not doing anything wrong, you won’t have anything to feel guilty about, no matter what language people use. I think the language @berocky1 used was a set of apt descriptors, and the reason they are upsetting is because factory farming really is that awful and those words do apply. I don’t think vegetarians should proselytize or berate people for eating meat, but I don’t think @berocky1 did that. I think she stated some really unpleasant truths.

I would disagree about murder, but I guess that’s a personal preference. I have a lot of trouble distinguishing between humans and animals in any meaningful way besides arbitrary taxonomies.

asmonet's avatar

I agree, seriously, I really don’t like the practices, but I’ve met one too many angry chicks in birkenstocks to listen to words being thrown about because they know they’ll rile people up. You can be effective without that kind of manipulation.

Words are important, and you can be judged by them, I reacted to her words. Oh well.

As far as I’m concerned she jump started an old thread with a personal crusade.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Many of the arguments on here have no true basis. For instance, meat in comparison is a poor source of protein. Humans are designed so that we can eat meat as a survival tactic but our bodies are healthier without it… especially red meat.

That being said, I do not eat pork or beef because I find the meat industry to be very immoral and unethical. Here is my “justification” for eating the meat that I do: I will eat deer if it has been shot and killed instantly by my definition of an ethical hunter, and also turkey and chicken because I do not have as much compassion for them (they don’t care for their young, and do not have the capacity to love). My problem is with the meat industry and the gross, cruel practices that are legal. That cow didn’t get to your plate peacefully.

JellyB's avatar

Well! MY reason for not eating meat is mostly for the poor treatment of animals i have seen in the slaughter houses – they are tortured needlessly and it is disgusting. How do i know that the meat i’m eating, did not come from such a place? Since i don’t know this, i will not support the meat industry.
I also feel it is not a necessary part of your diet. Tell me what you want, it will not sway me here. There are other better quality proteins available in veggie and grains, and they do not come with those large amounts of fat and colesterol etc. You do not need meat for a healthy diet. Period.
Of course, i will have less of a problem with meat eating if the animals are killed in a humane way, as it happens naturally in nature. Not how it is done in slaughter houses. It really is despicable how they are treated – like goods, not live animals which can feel fear and pain. They are raised in an unnatural way to produce the most meat from them, no matter how this affects them. It’s not right, no matter what anyone says, and this is what i refuse to support.

laureth's avatar

Natural deaths aren’t always humane. Ever see a lion take down a gazelle, or a deer fall to a pack of wolves?

asmonet's avatar

@BBSDTfamily: “I do not have as much compassion for them (they don’t care for their young, and do not have the capacity to love)”.

I nearly laughed out loud when I read that, you cannot possibly blame an animal for failing to have human characteristics or instincts. Love is a survival mechanism, one that suits us and our biology. Turkeys specifically, do care for their young as ably as they can. Do you hate sea turtles because they’re all deadbeat moms and dads?

It’s this kind of ridiculous reasoning that makes me tune out vegetarians.
Everything is conditional, and rarely makes sense.

Sure, we don’t need meat. But after that point it’s very rare I hear a sound argument.

JellyB's avatar

@laureth Well, i know, but that’s not so traumatizing for the animals, in a way… if you have seen how some of them are treated in the slaughter houses, you’ll know what i mean. It’s extremely cruel and inexcusable.

laureth's avatar

I agree that the slaughterhouse death is horrible. But I don’t think I could get away with telling a prey animal that it’s not traumatizing to be chased until exhausted and scared to death, and slowly killed by bleeding out or suffocation. <shrug>

In fact, a clean slaughterhouse kill (when they’re clean, a bop to the head to knock them out) seems less horrifying. It’s just that sometimes, the knockout, doesn’t.

SecondGlance's avatar

@DrBill – Humans certainly DON’T have sharp teeth for tearing meat. Do you have pointed teeth like a dog, lion, or piranha? Wow, that’s unusual. Mine are flat and clearly designed for grinding rather than tearing. I’m jealous, sharp pointed teeth would be awesome!

@Grisson – Stereoscopic eyes are for hunting? Gorillas have stereoscopic vision, and all they eat is leaves and bamboo. Flies have eyes that go WAY beyond stereoscopic, so I guess that makes them the most superior hunters on Earth. Interesting.

@laureth – Ha ha, I’m also totally celibate… except when having sex.

@90s_kid – If you eat meat, then you eat meat.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years and look younger and have more energy than any of my omnivorous friends. I also have no health issues. Sorry about that.

But I’ll also cook you a burger or steak, and don’t mind what others eat.

It’s unfortunate that animals are raised and killed in horrible conditions just for food. I wish that wasn’t the case. That’s the ethical problem.

I don’t see how there can be a specific ethical argument in favor of eating meat, explaining how it’s morally or socially necessary, even if animals were slaughtered quickly and painlessly. The freedom argument says “I can eat whatever I feel like, mind your own business”, which is totally acceptable, but I can’t imagine an ethical justification.

Cheers all.

(P.S. If you eat meat, you are likely an omnivore. A carnivore is someone who eats ONLY meat and nothing else; no bread, potatoes, fruits, veggies, etc. I highly doubt that describes anyone here.)

Smashley's avatar

No justifying, just good dining

dabbler's avatar

@petethepothead answer is outstanding. boils down to living with ones own internal confilcts. And you don’t really have to explain all your choices.
I’m a vegetarian but I want you to enjoy your meal too. One of my reasons for being vegetarian is the practice of ahimsa/harmlessness, and I do Not think it’s harmless to harass my fellows for eating meat. I’ll give them all the advice on vegetarian diet they ask for but don’t see the point to shove my philosophy on them. How’s that different from being cruel to the critters on the plate? (a matter of degree maybe but not in kind)
I lean towards green but I fly places (oops there goes another carbon credit) and love my electronics (extremely wasteful to make). It’s tough to conform to all of ones own standards at once. Conflicts conflicts….
If confronted with a hostile anti-meat person you might in calm reflective tone just say, ya I know it’s something I think about. If they get that you’ve thought about it that should be enough. But hostile is hostile and usually there is not excuse for it.

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tinyfaery's avatar

Aww. Miss these people.

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