Meat eating and the flexitarianism

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This topic contains 133 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  alanjjohnstone 17 hours, 28 minutes ago.

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  • #168794

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    With the U.S. eroding over 1 billion tons of soil in our agricultural systems today, the biggest challenge for the next agricultural generation will be finding the answer to rectify that problem, according to an associate professor of animal science at Michigan State University, Jason Rowntree

    Looking at the U.S. Department of Agriculture erosion laboratory data, Rowntree said that 1 billion tons of soil erosion calculates to 2 trillion pounds of nutrients, and is equivalent to 40 million semi[trucks] loads of soil per year.

    “If you compare the soil we erode to the amount of grain, corn, beans and hay produced in the U.S., the amount of soil we erode through our production dwarfs the amount of corn, beans and hay we produce each year. The No. 1 export in U.S. agriculture is not the grains we produce, but the amount of soil we are eroding. It is something we know we could do better,” he said.

    Rowntree is interested in  grass finished local beef production systems. “In my work, I do a lot more grass finishing than I do grain,” he explained. “I am not opposed to grain finishing livestock. I do a lot of work looking at local and regional food systems. I use things like herbicides and fertilizer, but I use them as tools in my toolbox versus crutches that have to keep me going in my production system.”

    Managing grazing land will be a much bigger concern in the future

    #170444

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Hurry now to have “man’s best friend” on the menu before those food extremists ban it.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-46553064

    Never knowingly ate dog or cat or horse or many other delicious tasting animals but once watched some poor Cambodian migrant workers roasting a rat on a spit over an open fire.

    #170447

    SussexSocialist
    Participant

    “Transferring our carnivorous instincts from beef to poultry reduces so much emissions as to be near as good as being vegetarian although not quite.”

    But yet another confirmation that flexitarianism offers a moreorless practical alternative to veganism/vegetarianism

    We don’t have carnivorous instincts. Meat eating, dairy eating is conditioned. There is no latent desire to kill or eat meat. Put a child in a field and ask it to find food and their first response despite conditioning is not to slaughter the first living things they see. Far more likely to search for fruit, edible leaves and plants.

    Humans are not carnivores.

    #171727

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    An expert has warned that vegans may be missing out on essential nutrients that could lead to malnutrition.
    Professor Chris Elliott, director of the Institute for Global Food Safety, has warned that vegans are at greater risk of nerve damage and breaking bones

    Professor Elliott said the vegan trend could become a “major contributor to hidden hunger in the developed world”. Unlike vegetarians, vegans don’t eat dairy products and eggs and he said vegans who don’t plan their diets to include all the necessary vitamins and nutrients could face “serious micronutrient deficiencies”.

    “Bone health is a concern for long-term vegans. Vegans are consistently reported to have lower intakes of calcium and vitamin D, with resultant lower blood levels of vitamin D and lower bone mineral density reported worldwide.” Writing for The Conversation, he said bone fracture rates in vegans are almost a third higher than those who have a diet that also consists of meat. He added that levels of omega 3, iodine and vitamin B12 were also lower, and said: “The symptoms can be serious and include extreme tiredness and weakness, poor digestion and developmental delays in young children. “Untreated vitamin B12 deficiency can cause irreversible nerve damage.”

    Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/leading-a-vegan-lifestyle-can-lead-to-malnutrition-due-to-lack-of-nutrients/

    #171735

    ALB
    Participant

    It’s absurd to claim, as in the unattributed quote, that “humans are not carnivores”. It is not even clear what this means since humans have always eaten meat.  All existing stone-age tribes eat meat as the archeological evidence shows that those that haven’t survived did so too. In fact how could the Eskimos, Laplanders and others living within the Arctic Circle survive without eating meat (in fact it was reading an article in the papers yesterday about the Sami and their reindeer in Norway that prompted me to intervene, against my better judgement, is this pointless debate)? Even those Andaman Islanders who dealt with that missionary must be meat-eaters. They won’t have bows and arrows just to shoot coconuts down from trees.

    Biologically humans are omnivores with what they eat (or don’t eat) being culturally determined.  Some can even choose not to eat meat.

    #171818

    SussexSocialist
    Participant

    No ALB it isn’t absurd. We are not carnivores, you even state this in your last sentence. We are omnivores if anything. Meat hasn’t always held centre stage in our diets and needn’t now. By choosing to do as we have done isn’t progress, it’s stasis, regression even. We live in a world post hunting, we should continue with the logical evolutionary steps away from meat. (And it was not a quote, it was my reply. This very clunky old school forum does very odd things when using Android phone to reply.)

    And Alan, quoting “experts” from industry funded organisation with vested interests in maintaining the meat and dairy diet seems a bit counter to a revolutionary party, no?

    Ultimately what each of us choose to put in our mouths is up to us. But socially I have yet to see any good argument for maintaining a diet with high meat and dairy consumption – it’s not healthy, it’s not good for the animals, it’s not good for the planet. It is however deeply immersed in industrial capitalism and many supporting arguments and experts are protecting the profits of that industry.

    #172131

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    I always describe our species as scavengers…even today we exhibit such a trait when we rummage around in our fridge for something to eat.

    Apart from those unique geographic exceptions cited by ALB, we should remember that when they have been studied, most hunter-gatherers subsist mostly by the gathering side performed by the females (and what non-veg is insectivore) and not the hunting by the males.

    I think we can say, we are vegetarians who occasionally enjoy a piece of meat, much like chimpanzees and bonobos.

    There has always been caution expressed on vegan diets, Sussex, just as it possesses many benefits.

    https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/89/5/1627S/4596952

    What the real point is – none of us really properly understand what we eat in our choices of food, and the media rarely helps with its constant reports of what not and what to eat and drink.

    And accusing the IGFS of bias for being funded by industry is a bit unfair. I doubt there is a university department which does not receive some money from industry.

    https://www.qub.ac.uk/Research/GRI/TheInstituteforGlobalFoodSecurity/

    #174049

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Another health warning about veganism…but the vegans explain why.

    https://www.scotsman.com/news/taking-meat-off-the-menu-could-damage-health-1-4848084

    The professor forms part of the Meat Advisory Panel (MAP) – a group of healthcare professionals, scientists and researchers who provide independent information about red meat and its role as part of a healthy balanced diet. MAP is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the red meat industry.

    Go Vegan Scotland said MAP cannot be “independent” or “objective” as it was funded by the meat industry and described them as a “voice box” for that body.

    “There’s an awful lot of scaremongering going on. The meat and dairy industries can see as well as anyone else the exponential increase in plant-based eating and they’re openly throwing a lot of money at campaigns to try to put people off. The meat and dairy industries can’t address the moral argument, that we shouldn’t be using and killing animals, and they can’t undermine the environmental case for switching to plant-based production, because the evidence is coming thick and fast and from the most credible sources that we must move away from animal agriculture if we’re to have any hope of halting climate change. Therefore, they have opted to attack the health side of things.”

    https://www.scotsman.com/news/taking-meat-off-the-menu-could-damage-health-1-4848084

    #174476

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Christopher Wild, head of the UN agency,  the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), that provoked a massive outcry and some ridicule when it declared that bacon, red meat and glyphosate weedkiller caused cancer has defended its work, denying the announcements were mishandled and insisting on its independence.

    He attacked the vested interests of its critics, many of whom are from multinational corporations.

    “The science was crystal clear,” he said. “We placed quite a bit of emphasis on the dose-response, if you like – the relationship between quantities eaten and effect.”

    On red and processed meat, Wild said, “a lot of the news outlets did say it’s about moderation and it’s not saying don’t eat red meat or don’t eat processed meat. But the part that was missing was something from us, together with WHO, in terms of a guideline on what this means for the public.

    There is a general misunderstanding of IARC’s classification system, he acknowledged. Tobacco, ultraviolet radiation and alcohol are all grade 1 carcinogens, which would surprise nobody, because they link respectively to lung, skin and liver cancers (and others). So is processed bacon and other processed meat. That does not mean that all are equally hazardous. Grade 1 means the evidence is strong enough to be sure of the link to cancer. It is not an indication of how likely people consuming it are to get cancer. The IARC says 50g of processed meat a day raises the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. That is still not high if you have a very low initial risk. Smoking, on the other hand, kills half of those who take it up.

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    #174700

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    <p>Subsidising global warming and meat-eating</p><p>https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/28/revealed-industrial-scale-farms-receive-millions-in-subsidies</p><p>£70 million in subsidies in 2016 and 2017 include individuals and companies running:</p>

    • Feedlot-style beef units, rearing thousands of cattle in outdoor yards
    • So-called mega-dairies, with herds of up to 1,800 cows
    • Intensive egg producers using cage housing systems
    • Poultry mega-farms and pig units which keep thousands of animals permanently indoors
    • Livestock units that have been found guilty of pollution and animal health breaches

    <p>Intensive poultry farms across the UK received the most money in subsidies, at £32m. The operators of pig and dairy factory farms were given £18m and £16m respectively, while the figure for intensive beef farms was £2m. The total sum received could be higher. The actual amount of subsidies is likely to be higher, principally because large numbers of pig farms in the UK are believed to fall below the size threshold for requiring a Defra/EA permit. Many such farms house their pigs indoors and would, therefore, be considered intensive by most experts, but are absent from the data.</p><p>Taro Takahashi, a researcher at the University of Bristol and Rothamsted Research, explained, “The question, though, is whether these funds are indeed improving the environment and ecology of our countryside to sufficiently justify the investment – and research to date has been inconclusive either way.”</p>

    #174898

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    The reputation of the meat industry will sink to that of big tobacco unless it removes cancer-causing chemicals from processed products such as bacon and ham, a coalition of experts and politicians warn today.

    Led by Professor Chris Elliott, the food scientist who ran the UK government’s investigation into the horse-meat scandal, and Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist, the coalition claims there is a “consensus of scientific opinion” that the nitrites used to cure meats produce carcinogens called nitrosamines when ingested.

    There is evidence that consumption of processed meats containing these chemicals results in 6,600 bowel cancer cases every year in the UK – four times the fatalities on British roads – and is campaigning for the issue to be taken as seriously as sugar levels in food. The meat industry claims nitrites are essential to combat botulism and infection. But Malhotra said Parma ham producers have not used nitrites for 25 years.

    https://www.theguardian.com/food/2018/dec/29/nitrites-used-in-bacon-cured-meats-linked-to-cancer-experts-warn

    #176459

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/09/greggs-unveils-extra-profit-vegan-sausage-roll

    Roger Whiteside, the chief executive, said the firm had been taken by surprise over their popularity and the level of publicity surrounding the launch, and was ramping up production in response.“Now that we know it is selling, we want to get it out there as quickly as possible. The shops that do have it are selling out instantly and the shops that didn’t get it are screaming for it.” The Quorn-filled vegan alternative to the traditional meat version.

    #176464

    ALB
    Participant

    Although I am reluctant to feed this thread as it harms the Party’s image, there’s a revealing article here on why vegans are so unpopular (and so why it’s bad for the Party’s image to be seen to be sympathetic towards them):

    Why do people hate vegans? A behavioural scientist and a food author explain

    “Deep down it’s a matter of ‘Why are you making me feel that your norm…should be imposed on me?’ It’s really about feeling threatened. “People have a tendency to feel questioned even when they are not being questioned,” he adds. Food author and presenter Stefan Gates agrees that many meat eaters fear that their lifestyle is under threat and likens tensions in the UK surrounding veganism to the issue of gun control in the US. “It’s a case of, ‘You’ll take this ham sandwich out of my cold, dead hand’”, says Gates.

    I must confess that that’s my kneejerk reaction and that of many other workers. And in fact of most Party members as shown b the overwhelming opposition to the suggestion at our last delegate meeting that only vegetarian food should be served at our summer school.

    We are really not doing ourselves any favours by going on and on (and on) about this. It upsets most workers and members and our replies upset vegetarians and vegans. So we lose out on both counts.

    Incidentally, some climate change activists put off ordinary people by also giving the impression that their lifestyle is being challenged (as Dave B has already pointed out).

    #176468

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    I think there is a valid criticism that taste is determined by the availability of supply. As long as veganism remains a niche market, it is doubtful it will significantly grow and that was the point I was making…Greggs a mainstream food processor, but of course, now that they have detected a profitable market, we perhaps will see more vegan products on the shelves.

    But this also caught my eye

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46811358

    Dog and cat food from insects. How long before Greggs do a grasshopper pasty?

    #176469

    ALB
    Participant

    I thought they already did in Thailand.

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