Meat eating and the flexitarianism

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This topic contains 157 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  alanjjohnstone 5 days, 10 hours ago.

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    Matthew Culbert

    Well it didn’t happen in the abatoir in Glasgow I used to go sneak into as a kid. They stunned them and then slit their throats. But again the problem is one of profit seeking and speeding up of killing lines and then of course accidents can well happen.

    Yes it is extremely distressing for the animals and the ones handling them.

    This is one dirty work I won’t do in socialism, but even here, if meat eating persists into socialism it will not have the same intensity of present profit driven killing methods and better practice will prevail surely.



    We can agree that in socialism many things will be different, Matt.

    We don’t wait for socialism to end war, we go on record to oppose it now and explain why socialism will end it. Industrial-level animal husbandry is a cruel barbaric form of food production to be condemned now.

    If someone wants to rear a pig in the back-yard, so be it. He or she has the task of slaughtering and butchering the animal. I’ve listened to the squeals of distressed pigs being killed coming from neighbours. It is not a pleasant sound. They say Munch’s “The Scream” was inspired by the artist being within ear-shot of an abattoir as well as a near-by asylum.

    The European Court of Auditors (ECA) reveals, with economic interests often trumping welfare rules. “Our audit and other reports show it’s difficult to introduce improvements on intensive farms and enforce laws,” Janusz Wojciechowski, the ECA member responsible for the report, told the Guardian. “In intensive farming systems the risk for animal welfare is increased. When there are 100,000 pigs it is very difficult to control. Small farms are easier places to achieve high animal welfare standards.”  Wojciechowski said he believed the words of Mahatma Gandhi. “That the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. I would say the greatness of the EU could also be judged on this.”

    Slaughterhouses can quicken their line speeds and process more animals by skipping stunning – the part of the slaughter process which renders the animal unconscious and therefore unable to feel the actual killing.

    A significant number of the EU’s farms are also excluded from controls because they are too small: the report estimated that as many as 40% of farms fall outside the EU’s remit. Another control loophole noted in the report is the issue of ‘landless farms’ – these are often intensive pig farms, which do not use agricultural land and therefore do not benefit from Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies, setting them free from related controls and fines.

    If we look at the US,  pigs are already slaughtered at an astonishing rate of approximately 1,100 per hour. With new rules, those speeds could reach up to 1,300 or even 1,500 pigs per hour. The US has led the world in large-scale farming, pioneering the use of intensive livestock rearing in hog farms, cattle sheds and sheep pens. There are now more than 50,000 facilities in the US classified as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) Globally,  CAFOs account for 72% of poultry, 42% of egg, and 55% of pork production.

    In 2000, there were an estimated 15 billion livestock in the world, according to the Worldwatch Institute. By last year, that had risen to about 24 billion (Strange how the over-populationists seem unconcerned about that increase)

    Farms do not consist of green fields but rather vast sheds. The reality is an increasing number of livestock are “zero graze”, spending all or almost all of their time indoors.




    I was vegan, then veggie for a few years, before I worked as a “bone collector” collecting bones, offal and other “waste” (early 1980’s.) We’d regularly toss cow, sheep, heads, etc about. (Along with mounds of fat, other assorted bones, and maggots: in their millions.)

    The easiest way of picking an animal skull up was by using the round hole in it’s centre left by the electric bolt shooting through it (presumably) instantaneously turning the brain to mush.  I witnessed the procedure twice; both times the cow dropped like a stone. As near painless as damn it, I’d assume.

    Don’t know if things would’ve went backwards or forwards from that time- “economic necessity” being the chief driving force of course -but one would hope methods have improved somewhat, and not slipped backwards.

    I really doubt the “beat to death by a pipe scenario” in the “more advanced nations” except, perhaps in isolated cases, of cutting costs, or just wanton brutality. Sure, it still survives elsewhere though.

    (I did witness many butchers, not only family ran businesses with 1 or 2 shops, but well known High St names, adulterating their “product” with floor-sweepings, sawdust etc. Witnessed similar practices in working in other food processing factories later too.)

    But the animals remains; bone, gristle, hooves, horns, etc etc weren’t/aren’t just thrown away (or fed to other livestock giving rise to BSE/vCJD) but also used in the manufacture of everything from buttons, clothing, pegs, upmarket synth/piano keys, to cosmetics, and toothpaste, etc etc

    I’m not vegitarian, and wouldn’t dream of forcing meat eating on anyone, but nor would I accept vegetarianism being forced on me. Except in relation to the uses, and or, abuses. of the means of production (farms/slaughter houses/land etc) I do not think a meat, vegan/vegitarian diet should be something to overly concern the party.

    Although I believe that if humans take another animals life we should at least do it the honour of using as much of it’s carcass as possible We could find alternative methods for the other uses of animals too.

    (We already have synthetic alternatives for some of them.)

    List inc. Non food animal products






    “I do not think a meat, vegan/vegitarian diet should be something to overly concern the party”

    Malcolm, out of interest what should we focus our message on?


    Bijou Drains

    “out of interest what should we focus our message on?”

    Hmm that’s an interesting question, maybe spreading Socialist ideas?



    That is still a broad aspect, Bijou..can you narrow it down a bit more by suggesting the priority that should be concentrated on.



    Alan, I don’t object to you being a vegetarian (how could I as what people choose to eat is a private matter?) nor to you propagating vegetarianism (how could I as that’s a matter of free speech? Though I would question whether here’s the place to do it). What I am objecting to is linking the case for socialism with vegetarianisam (and also the exaggerations that Matt and me have just drawn attention to). I am afraid that every time you do this someone has to call you out lest people think socialism has something to do with vegetarianism.

    Actually, William Morris put the socialist attitude to vegetarianism very well when her wrote in Commonweal</em), the journal of the Socialist League, in September 1886:

    Our readers will have noticed several letters amongst our correspondence on the subject of Vegetarianism, one or two of which were written in a somewhat aggrieved tone, apropos of attacks by Socialists on that doctrine, if one may call it so, though several comrades and friends are vegetarians. It seems to me that there is no need either to attack a vegetarian or to confer a vote of thanks on him, so long as he is one because he chooses to be so on any grounds that please himself, whether he makes it a matter of health, or economy, or sentiment. But a man can hardly be a sound Socialist who puts forward vegetarianism as a solution of the difficulties between labour and capital, as some people do, and as one may think very severe capitalists would like to do, if the regimen were not applied to themselves; and again, there are people who are vegetarians on ascetic grounds, and who would be as tyrannical as other ascetics if they had the chance of being so. I do not mean to say that Socialist vegetarians are likely to fall into these traps; they only make themselves liable to the sneer of an anti-Socialist acquaintance of mine, who said to me one day ‘All you Socialists have each of you another fad besides Socialism’.



    First of all – i am not a vegetarian. I recognise the logic of their case

    And yes i am making links to the socialist case.  This is not about some 19th-century health fad which i think Morris was criticising as i would if i was suggesting the Party supported macrobiotic diets or fruitarianism or whatever is the current fashion.

    There was no exaggerations and i have pointed the relevance of my comment out to Matt. And quoting a quote in a Lancet article is scarcely an exaggeration either.

    To say that the adulteration of our food for profit and the marketing of known carcinogenics is not part of the socialist case for a better society is remarkable.

    The food industry has a hefty meat lobby and is as influential on policies as the fossil fuel industry in thwarting climate change mitigation. To highlight its complicity is part of our condemnation of capitalism

    How a large number of our fellow-workers suffer from the effects of their working conditions determined by the profit system surely is a concern for any socialist about the welfare of his or her fellow-workers.

    As for being called out, so be it…




    Dave B

    It would appear that I am also a flexitarian.


    There is for me an ‘ascetic’ element in that I don’t like the cruelty of factory farmed and bred animals.


    I suppose that should include diary products and the way it is produced.


    I have less of a problem with lamb for instance in the sense that sheep are bit more of a natural animal in more of a natural ‘environment’?


    And they can or often are cultivated on land that isn’t fit for anything else.


    I think capitalism for its own reasons has a tendency to encourage the consumption and production of ‘high value’ products be it rolex watches



    or the Deleonist ‘filet mignon’ paradigm.


    Actually that can affect non meat products like perfectly formed apples and exotic fruits like kiwi or whatever.


    Creating and cultivating new desires and needs which requires more and more labour time value, as the value of current needs and wants falls due to increased productivity, also undermines a fundamental plank of socialism; the potential for abundance.


    There is also the aspect that the satisfaction of a desire is often disappointing.


    I worked in a chocolate factory for six months were you could eat as much as you wanted of anything that was rolling of any of the production lines.


    It doesn’t take long before even the smell of it starts to make you gag and it took me years to get over it.



    Most humans are, have been since we came down from the trees (in fact even before we went up there) and will continue to be into socialism, flexitarians, or omnivores. That’s part of our biological nature as an animal species. It is only because human behaviour is flexible (another part of our biological nature as animals) that a minority can choose to be inflexitarian by not eating meat. Good luck to them as long as they leave the rest of us alone.



    Alan what I actually said was  “Except in relation to the uses, and or, abuses. of the means of production…    …I do not think a meat, vegan/vegitarian diet should be something to overly concern the party.”

    I didn’t say it’s not worth discussing, it is, for many reasons, inc the ones you give, adulterated product etc

    But like Bijou says I think our main focus should be on “spreading Socialist ideas”

    Like class consciousness, how the wearing of a uniform makes you a traitor to your class and your humanity, the crassness, wastefulness of consumerism, breaking that damnable idealogical hegemony, working class history, history itself, in an age of cultural amnesia.

    Right now, as I’ve said in many places, I think we (the party) could gain a lot of traction from the imminent “environmental degradation” inherit to the capitalist mode of production .

    Doomed, we’re all gonna be doomed! If we don’t start (fixing it) right away. (Still researching that one, still tending to pessimism though.)

    [Dave B said

    “I worked in a chocolate factory for six months were you could eat as much as you wanted of anything that was rolling of any of the production lines.”

    Lucky man. Worked in a bread (nans, tomato breads etc) factory where you weren’t even allowed to eat stuff that had fallen on the floor – it was either picked up and shoved back on the line, or sold off as pig feed. Eating anything meant instant dismissal.

    ALB said “Good luck to them as long as they leave the rest of us alone.” 🤣🤣

    True. But I do wish they’d stop destroying the Amazon rainforest (etc) to raise cattle for already obese Yanks Brits etc The odd plate of lentil soup would do them, the world, a world of good. 😃]



    The odd plate of lentil soup would do them, the world, a world of good.

    A “mess of pottage” you mean?




    Who says i am not the purveyor of good news.
    <p class=”story-body__introduction”>South Korea has started to dismantle the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse. The Taepyeong-dong complex in Seongnam city, south of Seoul, will be cleared over two days and converted into a public park.</p>
    About one million dogs are consumed every year and activists have sought to end the custom. Dog meat was once considered a delicacy in South Korea, but attitudes have changed in recent years.

    Korean Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) said in a statement. “It will open the door for more closures of dog meat slaughterhouses across the country, expediting the decline of the overall dog meat industry.”

    The number of dog meat restaurants has also been falling in South Korea. Seoul once had 1,500 restaurants serving the dish, but this had dropped to about 700 by 2015.

    More and more South Koreans are also choosing to keep dogs as pets – roughly one-fifth of the population.




    The current livestock population in the world is around 28 billion animals and constitutes the highest source of two major greenhouse gases—methane and nitrous oxide. The production of methane, in particular, is troublesome, as it has an 85 times greater global warming potential than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame. Methane emissions from the livestock sector are projected to rise by 60 percent by 2030—the same time period over which strong and rapid reductions are needed.

    “Failure to implement animal to plant protein shifts increases the risk of exceeding temperature goals and requires additional, and unrealistic, greenhouse gas reductions from other sectors.”

    Recent evidence shows, in comparison with the current food system, switching from animals to plants proteins, could potentially feed an additional 350 million people in the US alone.

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