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What is the most ethical option: vegan, vegetarian or omnivore?

Home Forums SIMPLE SUSTAINABLE LIVING Life Changes What is the most ethical option: vegan, vegetarian or omnivore?

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  • #257661
    casalentacasalenta
    Member

    I’ve been grappling with this issue for some time and I’ve come to a conclusion and I’d like to know what others think about my reasoning.

    First, I am absolutely horrified and disgusted at the hideous and unnecessary cruelty of industrialised farming and torturing of animals, and I want nothing to do with it, and so the mindless ‘couldn’t-give-a-rat’s’ omnivorism common to most people in our culture just isn’t an option for me.

    So, for some years I was a vegetarian. Then I did two things: 1. I got my own chickens, and 2. I studied philosophy at Uni. Disgusted at the way day-old rooster chicks are treated (don’t ask if you don’t know as it will sicken you), I decided to have my own rooster and raise my own chicks. I soon learned that half the fertile eggs hatch out to become roosters. So what do you do? You can’t be overrun with roosters, and you can’t keep them as pets, and you soon can’t give them away either. The logical thing then is to kill them and eat them. A similar situation applies for dairy farmers: males are useless except for procreating the next generation. (Sorry guys :)) The philosophy studies introduced me to fallacies, and that’s what I concluded vegetarianism is. Vegetarians like I was, think that nothing dies for them (and personally I felt quite smug about it), but if they eat eggs, cheese, yoghurt or milk, then animals are dying for them and they’re just kidding themselves.

    A third option is veganism. This really does remove the problem of animals dying for us, and so for me it’s a much more logical and ethical position than vegetarianism. But there are two problems here: 1. a vegan diet is completely unappealing to me, and 2. I would hate to live in a world with no cows, sheep, chickens, ducks, turkeys, deer, goats, rabbits etc. etc. A world where every acre is growing soy beans and such like would be a boring world to live in IMHO. A third problem is that humans have not evolved to be vegan and there isn’t a single indigenous group anywhere as far as I know that is vegan, and for a good reason: without supplements vegans die. A vegan diet can’t provide enough B12, Zinc, Calcium etc, that our bodies need (please correct me if I’m wrong here). It just isn’t natural.

    And that brings us to the fourth option, which is the one I’ve adopted, and that’s I suppose ‘ethical omnivorism’. I eat eggs, and therefore I eat chickens too occasionally since they are going to die for me anyway. But I would never buy supermarket chickens and the chicken I buy has to be free range and organic. I drink (raw) milk, and eat cheese and yoghurt, and so I eat beef and veal too – but only if it’s free range, organic, pasture fed and not pumped full of chemicals and antibiotics and not treated cruelly by being confined to a veal crate torture chamber. (I buy a lot of my meat from the farm where I get the raw milk, and so I know the animals are well treated etc.)

    Organic and free range = expensive, and so I don’t eat a lot of meat, and I try to get as much diversity as possible and so eat every imaginable kind of seafood and animal I can find, including beef, mutton, veal, chicken, turkey, duck, venison, rabbit, kangaroo, goat etc. etc. I’d love to try lizard and snake too. I prefer mutton to lamb as it’s an animal that has had a life, and it also tastes far better if you cook it slowly. I’ve had buffalo, and would love to try crocodile and anything else that’s living free and not being tortured in an industrial farm. I want the animal to be free to the last moment and then not feel a thing. I don’t think it’s wrong for a tiger or lion to kill and eat animals, and I can’t see that it’s wrong for us to do the same – what is wrong (evil) is the cruelty of treating animals like manufactured products.

    I eat every kind of offal too, as I don’t think it’s ethical to just eat the most tender bits and think well who-gives-a-damn-what-happens-to-the-rest-of-it. I do press tongue, and eat all the offal, and I’ve eaten haggis too. I think if we’re going to eat an animal we should eat the lot (although I must admit I draw a line at sheep’s eyes.)

    I eat far more vegetables, salads, fruits, seeds and nuts than meats or fish because I like vegetables etc. and because free range and organic meat is (and always should be) expensive.

    I think it’s a better option, not only health-wise and because it’s the diet we’ve evolved to eat, but also because ethical omnivorism supports the good farmers, like the one who supplies me with milk and meat (through a cow share programme). If all their customers became vegans or even vegetarians they, and all the other organic, ethical, good farmers would go out of business, and all we would be left with would be industrial factory torture farms supplying cheap meat to those who couldn’t give a *&%^$ where their food comes from.

    So, what do you think? Is being an ethical omnivore really the best option?

    #531674
    AndreAndre
    Keymaster

    Hi cassalenta

    Funny you should mention this now – to me anyway.

    I recently looked up Gary Yourofsky, and checked out his youtube speech and website. He is a vegan activist.

    For the last 5 years I’ve been vegetarian, and – in my ignorance – did not fully appreciate the goings on in industrial animal farms. (I suspect I wanted the blinkers on)

    After seeing some of the images of these industrial farms, I have begun to seriously reconsider my situation, and can understand what you are going through, to some extent.

    The images are shocking, but ‘if its good enough for the stomach, then surely its good enough for the eyes.’ If someone doesn”t like to look at it, then perhaps they should also consider their dietary intake – for to continue their non-vegan ways is simply supporting the cruelty. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I was a meat-eater for close to 45 years, so I’m no innocent, and as guilty as the rest.

    While I live in the city, I’m going to try some new vegan alternatives, but on my property I will eventually have dairy cows, poultry and bees. There at least, I know my animals won’t have any suffering and won’t need to die for me to supply me with their welcomed byproducts.

    Edit:

    I wrote a lot more, but being so late, decided to delete it as my ramblings would make more sense after a sleep.

    #531675
    calliecatcalliecat
    Participant

    my beef comes direct from the farmer, no feedlot meat for me anymore, and my poultry is free range, – I also acknowledge that I am now in a financial position to be able to buy this way, a lot of people, it does come down to budget, but a lot of others just plain don’t care –

    haven’t had lamb in a long time, my last lot of pork was also direct from farmer and I do know where it came from, and how it was raised

    #531676
    Anonymous
    Guest

    funny the things that pop up in the media in an uncertain world.

    there is no ethics involved in what someone eats in their diet.

    leave conventional farming out of the equation, all their food is corrupt(blanket) because people need food.

    vegetarian/vegan is a matter of choice, like the car one may drive. probably like many fads makes people feel they belong? by all means make what choice you make but try not to judge others. we use no fertilisers sprays or anything like that, we tuck our kitchen scraps into the garden where more and more worms convert those scraps to food for the plants, that’s the nature of soil hey, worms eat they poop, wee and die and all turns into plant food, bugs die and fall into the garden and become plant food. we unashamedly use all our gray water and my wee water in the gardens(that is good water management)

    so all that only eat vegetation, where do they buy their so called fresh fruit and vege’s? if they don’t grow their own?

    now as i have posed in the T2DB thread, for many years i was on basically a vegeterian diet(75%), this ruined my health as i had no idea that lovely looking F&V from the stupid market was empty food and was expecting my immune system to keep my body at peak well it crashed hey, doctors were of no use.

    and a few thousand people changing their diet will do nothing to help animals in conventional farming nor will it improve the nutritional value of conventional F&V, anyone who isn’t aware of what goes on in conventional agri’ over the past 4 decades or so must have been locked away in a box. the subject has been raised in these forums and shown on the madia.

    when we build our chook house it won’t be over populated, they will be protected from other peoples dogs and cats both ferel as well and that fox introduced into australia by the uppercrust upper echalon, the same vandals who have raped our environment for profit(farmers and science fit in here), but none of our chooks will suffer at the jaws of those animals or snakes, they will be well fed and each arvo’ graze on grass.

    in a hurry so sorry for typo’s and grammar issues, you will get the message

    perfection cannot be attained in this world and once someones diet affects their health it cannot be repaired.

    len

    #531677
    AndreAndre
    Keymaster

    Just for info, here is a link for vegan nutrition.

    http://www.veganhealth.org/

    Contrary to popular belief, a plant-only based diet DOES provide the body with everything it needs.

    One should be aware though, some vitamins /minerals are lost in the cooking process.

    I suspect those who tried a vegetarian/vegan diet and had problems, had them because of the incorrect method of intake – raw or cooked. Another aspect of a good diet is certain foods are best either with, or without, other foods. What I mean is, various vitamins/minerals in the food can effect the way the body absorbs other required vitamins/minerals.

    In my 5 years as a Vegetarian, I have had no weight loss or gain, nor have I been ill (except for a bit of sinus issues – and I suspect that can be attributed to my dairy food consumption)

    #531678
    Anonymous
    Guest

    your toeing the line andre, but that is your call.

    i know my diet and what it was, i did not say fresh F&V couldn’t have all the nutrients but when bought from shops it is far from fresh and has no available nutirents for teh body instead a cocktail of chem’ residues, now on the other hand our own F&V grown in a natural system are going to provide better nutrients. don’t expect science to support this their ethics say they need to support the junta.

    len

    #531679
    AndreAndre
    Keymaster

    gardenlen post=354362 wrote: your toeing the line andre, but that is your call.

    i know my diet and what it was, i did not say fresh F&V couldn’t have all the nutrients but when bought from shops it is far from fresh and has no available nutirents for teh body instead a cocktail of chem’ residues, now on the other hand our own F&V grown in a natural system are going to provide better nutrients. don’t expect science to support this their ethics say they need to support the junta.

    len

    Not sure what you meant by toeing the line …

    (Was there a line in the first place? Not put there by me.)

    So if I am correct, if one used fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, the vegetarian diet could have worked? Then the issue isn’t the veg, it’s the commercial farming and stupidmarket practices?

    I agree that commercialised fruit and veg is more than likely high in chemicals – but that wasn’t what I said. As for science supporting organic foods as being more nutritional than commercialised food?

    I’m not concerned either way – I do know that less chemicals is better for me, so organic is better. Simple logic, really.

    I could add links to indicate what science says about organic nutrition, but some people would dispute them outright anyway .. so no point, I guess.

    Those interested can google easy enough.

    Now, back on topic:

    casalenta

    in your initial post, you mentioned studying philosophy. (I should point out I’ve had no formal education in this) and wanted to know the most ethical option (for you).

    quote from wikipedia:

    ‘Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematising, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct’.

    I guess, in short, if YOU can justify and feel comfortable with your decision (and not breaking any laws) then, by rights, being an ethical omnivore would be right for you.

    I couldn’t be a true vegan as I would still consume dairy products and honey – but I will do it all myself (once my property is established). So I guess, for me, I’d classed as an ‘ethical vegetarian’.

    🙂

    #531680
    SnagsSnags
    Member

    gardenlen post=354362 wrote: your toeing the line andre, but that is your call.

    i know my diet and what it was, i did not say fresh F&V couldn’t have all the nutrients but when bought from shops it is far from fresh and has no available nutirents for teh body instead a cocktail of chem’ residues, now on the other hand our own F&V grown in a natural system are going to provide better nutrients. don’t expect science to support this their ethics say they need to support the junta.

    len

    Cant go around blaming science all the time religion and culture has a lot to answer too.

    Speaking of Juntas pushing their barrow and people towing the line..

    The Seven Day Adventists push sugary breakfast cereals to stop people eating meat and no red wine all things that arent really great for diabetes.

    #531681
    Anonymous
    Guest

    what the SDA’s do i dunno, they promote the use of soy, canola and rape seed as well.

    well others put a big bend on science when from where i am it is and has failed us, with lots of fear hype added. you have this side that supports their best fit science but then they don’t like the other side who do the same, funny hey?

    i don’t support organic certified product home grown yes, but simply cannot produce enough to make a major impact on ones vegan/vegetarian diet, but eating what is termed fresh and when available certified organic damged my immune system hence the CFS factor. tha habit with peoople is to defend to the hilt their reason for choice, so feel goods play a big role.

    the line you have found veganism and defend it, when it may suit you but not others, peoples ethics on the hole can be poor like putting humans at animal level and lower, but eating is not ethics.

    len

    #531682
    mistyhollowsmistyhollows
    Member

    Welllll to throw my 2 cents in for what it’s worth.

    We are slowly changing over to a prodominantly vegetarian diet with fish. Does that make me an omniveg? I’m not doing it for ethical reasons though but for health reasons. I can’t control whether the fish is farmed ethically or not short of getting a line and rod and going out and catching our own each weekend. Since we live on the coast this is a possibility sometimes but not all the time. Our eggs come from our own free range chickens and our dairy we try to buy organic as much as we can. Unfortunately, cost does come into the organic dairy but we are very lucky to have our own local organic milk in South Coast dairy and it is divine. We also have a local olive oil producer so my eventual aim is to make our own butter from local cream and local olive oil. Cheese is another matter although the NSW south coast does produce Bega cheese but it’s cost is exorbitant and I have a 6 year old that lives on a lot of cheese.

    We have our own vege gardens that produce most of our veg, the fruit trees are still growing and a long term prospect. We do buy our apples and apple juice from the closest orchards at Darkes Forest though along with whatever fruit they have in season. Better than anything you will ever get elsewhere and hubby picks it up when he travels to Sydney for work each week.

    I guess because we are fortunate to live in an area where we can get alot of fresh produce or grow our own and it makes it easier for us to make the choice to go mainly vegetarian. With kids I will have to keep a close eye on their diet and make sure that we have all bases covered. I don’t think I could go full vegan. As long as I can have my own chickens for eggs and know they are living a great life as they are spoilt rotten and we can get organic dairy locally with local olive oil I know I am doing as much as I can to be ethical about what we eat. Obviously, there are some things that we may not be able to but I do try to where we can and I think that’s all you can do without going to extremes.

    #531683
    Anonymous
    Guest

    mistyhollows,

    would love to be able to buy fish and have a fish protein based diet to go with owner butchers grass fed beef. but fish way to expensive and farm fish just as corrupt as conventional beef and chicken farming etc.,. farm fish no cheaper anyway.

    unless those that go teh vege’ diet can grow all their own fresh stuff then they are no better off health wise. and those sprouts and packs of salad leaves all dosed in chlorine so they won’t go mouldy.

    what one eats has nought to do with ethics it is a matter of choice.

    len

    #531684
    SnagsSnags
    Member

    Organic food can and will be cheaper than high oil input, fertilised, sprayed,stored and transported food,just give it time.

    Cuba was trying to feed the poor after oil from the USSR dried up they turned to organics and it worked.

    Im an omnivore try and grow as much as I can and buy local organic when available and catch and kill my own when I have to.

    #531685
    casalentacasalenta
    Member

    Andre post=354371 wrote:

    casalenta

    in your initial post, you mentioned studying philosophy. (I should point out I’ve had no formal education in this) and wanted to know the most ethical option (for you).

    🙂

    I’ve decided the most ethical option for me is what I called ethical omnivorism. I think this is best for me because I do consider where all my food comes from, and I eat as big a variety of foods as I can find. With animal foods, I buy only from free range, organic farms or wild, so I know they haven’t been treated cruelly.

    Studying philosophy led me to realise that if everyone who cared about animals adopted vegetarianism or veganism all the good organic free range farmers would be wiped out and the only farms left would be the factory farms. By eating their meat products I’m supporting my local good farmers who treat their animals well (and I have been there and seen them) and let them eat what they’re supposed to eat. I want the good farmers to be supported because that’s the only way we’ll get more of them. People who don’t give a damn buy the cheapest meat and they couldn’t care less how the animals have been treated.

    I see no philosophical or ethical reason why humans cannot eat animals as we have throughout our entire evolution. What is evil is the way that factory farm animals are treated through their entire lives, and if everyone who cares about them turns vegan factory farms are the only farms that will exist.

    #531686
    AndreAndre
    Keymaster

    casalenta:

    I take my hat off to you and anyone who thoroughly considers the origins of their foods, and makes a conscientious choice. By choosing to give your business to ethical, cruelty free farms is a far preferable option.

    I have no doubt in many cases – the way commercial animal farms are run – there is much cruelty, pain and suffering. With that knowledge, would continuing to eat produce from those farms makes those people just as guilty?

    Can I ask:

    why would ‘factory farms’ increase if no one was eating animals (if factory farms are the meat-producing ones I mean), and

    why would organic farms decrease if more people were eating good, nutritional fruit and veg?

    I would have thought the opposite effect would take place.

    I’ll write more about humans eating animals throughout our entire evolution in my thread on ‘A life changing talk’.

    🙂

    #531687
    casalentacasalenta
    Member

    Andre post=354412 wrote: casalenta:

    Can I ask: why would ‘factory farms’ increase if no one was eating animals (if factory farms are the meat-producing ones I mean), and why would organic farms decrease if more people were eating good, nutritional fruit and veg?:)

    Firstly, you will never get a situation in which no one is eating animals. Most people (sheeple?) just don’t give a sh&^$#t and want to eat animal products because they like them and want them cheap. And so they will prefer the products from factory farms, which are cheap and plentiful.

    The only competition to factory farms is traditional, grass-fed, organic farms. If everyone who gives a damn becomes vegan these organic farms go to the wall because no one is buying meat, eggs or dairy. If everyone who cares about animal welfare becomes vegetarian these organic farms will also go to the wall because they can sell their milk, cream, cheese etc., but cannot sell their excess male calves and male chooks and would within a few years be overrun with these useless milkless male calves and eggless male chooks that can’t be sold. They would have to shoot them and bury them in mass bulldozer-dug graves. Not a good or ethical solution.

    Factory farms would thrive, supplying the people who couldn’t give a s$#@t, but the good farms would have no customers, as they’ve all become vegan or vegetarian. There would then be no way back and no way of educating consumers on the alternatives.

    Yes, good farmers could switch to growing veg., but do we really want a world in which cattle and sheep are always housed in feedlots instead of in paddocks of grass? All livestock would be produced through cruel methods. Isn’t it best to support the good farmers and help them compete against the evil corporate-industrial farms?

    To take the logic to the end, vegans and vegetarians are actually supporting factory farming because they are withdrawing their support from the competition – the good, ethical, free range organic farmers.

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