the great vegetarian debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:37 pm

None of which actually contradicts what I posted....?

Not sure if you're supporting my comment or contradicting it.

Actually, I guess it could be neither.... :thinking:

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mkoll » Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:03 am

cooran wrote:Interesting research - but what does it mean for Vegans??

Plants can hear themselves being eaten:
http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-an ... eing-eaten

With metta,
Chris

All living things respond to stimuli from single celled prokaryotes to human beings. Response to stimuli is one of the biological definitions of life.

Until we figure out how to manufacture and mass produce food without killing living things, I think vegans will continue to eat plants.

~~~

And a fact that is often overlooked when people try to use this kind of argument against vegans and vegetarians is that livestock needs to eat plants to live and grow. Energy is lost at each ascending trophic level, from primary producers to higher level consumers. This is called the ten percent law in biology. In reality, the efficiency varies and can be higher than 10%, but it will always be less than 100%. The point is that energy is lost every time something is eaten.

Wikipedia wrote:According to this law, during the transfer of energy from organic food from one trophic level to the next, only about ten percent of the energy from organic matter is stored as flesh. The remaining is lost during transfer, broken down in respiration, or lost to incomplete digestion by higher trophic levels.

So in the overall equation, eating meat will result in more plant deaths than eating plants because every kilogram of meat one eats represents many more kilograms of plants that have been killed and eaten for that meat to come to the table.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:25 am

Mkoll wrote:So in the overall equation, eating meat will result in more plant deaths than eating plants because every kilogram of meat one eats represents many more kilograms of plants that have been killed and eaten for that meat to come to the table.


Yes, feeding grain to animals and then eating the animals is a very inefficient way of feeding people, it takes 6 or 7 times as much grain doing it that way. And of course this approach is much more destructive of living creatures - say 6 or 7 times the number of small creatures destroyed in growing the extra grain, plus all the cows and pigs that are grown and killed for food.

Clearly we can't avoid causing harm to living creatures, the question is about how we reduce or minimise it.
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:43 am

Growing and harvesting grain to feed to animals is certainly not efficient. However, that argument does not apply to livestock raised by grazing on marginal land that would be difficult to use for crops, or raised mostly on scraps (which is a typical way of raising chickens and pigs on a small scale).

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:21 pm

cooran wrote:Interesting research - but what does it mean for Vegans??

Plants can hear themselves being eaten:
http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-an ... eing-eaten

With metta,
Chris


I would say it doesn't mean anything at all.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mkoll » Sat Jul 05, 2014 6:30 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Growing and harvesting grain to feed to animals is certainly not efficient. However, that argument does not apply to livestock raised by grazing on marginal land that would be difficult to use for crops, or raised mostly on scraps (which is a typical way of raising chickens and pigs on a small scale).

:anjali:
Mike

Yes, that is true that the growing grain argument does not apply here. However, the argument I am putting forth still holds because I'm not discriminating among different species of plants:

Mkoll wrote:So in the overall equation, eating meat will result in more plant deaths than eating plants because every kilogram of meat one eats represents many more kilograms of plants that have been killed and eaten for that meat to come to the table.

This argument doesn't apply to shmeat ( :lol: great word) but that is not commercially feasible yet. It also wouldn't apply to food that is produced in some other inorganic or artificial way that doesn't harm living beings. Again, not feasible.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:26 pm

Sure, by they point is that in some cases, especially subsistence societies, having animals around for food is actually a very efficient use of resources.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Mkoll » Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:00 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Sure, by they point is that in some cases, especially subsistence societies, having animals around for food is actually a very efficient use of resources.

:anjali:
Mike

Yes, and even necessary for the day-to-day survival of many people in the world. If they became vegetarians in their situation, they would become malnourished or die of starvation. So vegetarianism is something that should never be recommended in some cases.

However, my argument still stands for the industrialized world as it is not about resources or efficiency but about number of plant deaths:

Mkoll wrote:So in the overall equation, eating meat will result in more plant deaths than eating plants because every kilogram of meat one eats represents many more kilograms of plants that have been killed and eaten for that meat to come to the table.

It's an argument in response to those who would try to morally condemn vegetarians and vegans because they're hurting and killing plants. I'm pointing out that meat-eaters are hurting and killing many more plants using the meat they eat as their proxy. That's not to mention the death of the meat-animal itself.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:08 pm

I mostly agree, but grazing doesnt kill grass, and scraps are scraps.

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:20 am

Mkoll wrote:It's an argument in response to those who would try to morally condemn vegetarians and vegans because they're hurting and killing plants. I'm pointing out that meat-eaters are hurting and killing many more plants using the meat they eat as their proxy. That's not to mention the death of the meat-animal itself.


Well said. We can't do everything, but is that a good reason for not trying to do anything?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Dom » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:47 am

My personal experience and practice has found benefit to me having a vegan diet, both mentally and physically (don't digest milk or egg's very well). I'm not saying this is a better way of doing things, I'm saying that it is something that works best for me and my experience.

For me, when I think about needing to take a life (meat) to sustain myself, or needing to control a life (milk, eggs, and animal by-products) to sustain myself, it affects my meditation and my mind. I'm aware that the harvesting of plant foods causes the collateral death of animals in the fields like mice, rabbits, snakes and what-not, and I'm aware that it's hard to live a life that is entirely harmless to other living beings because even eating takes food away from another creature that could eat it, but for my own mind there is a difference between not actively trying to harm a creature but doing so accidently, and actively killing or controlling a life form for your own sustainence.

A thought experiment I use is, would I be willing to relive the lives of the creatures I have affected? Meaning, would I be willing to live as all the cows and chickens on the farms to produce the amount of meat I have eaten in my lifetime, or all my lifetimes? Would I be willing to be subject to the conditions of egg farms for as many hen lives as necessary to replace all the eggs I have eaten? Considering how scary a thought that was for me, to live as a farm animal under those conditions, it greatly affected my meditation. Although I'm also a lay-person and able to actively make my own dietary choices, and that makes it easier for me to choose what I eat.

So my vote doesn't go for right or wrong; I wanted to share my opinion, my experience, and my thinking behind it to add to the discussion. For me, veganism (carefully monitored for nutritional adequacy and long term health) has been a tremendous benefit for my practice, physically and especially for my mental well-being.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:20 am

dom: "So my vote doesn't go for right or wrong; I wanted to share my opinion, my experience, and my thinking behind it to add to the discussion. For me, veganism (carefully monitored for nutritional adequacy and long term health) has been a tremendous benefit for my practice, physically and especially for my mental well-being."


Congrats, dom. Sounds like a great approach. My experience when solely devoted to veganism was similar. My goal at the time was to reverse atherosclerosis, which led to heart disease, multiple cardiac bypass surgeries, and years later to strokes, because I went back largely to an animal protein diet to lose weight, the Atkins diet. I have since returned to veganism with only occasional bits of meat here and there. Every aspect of my health has since improved.

Even so, we must all eventually die of something. I would hate to be in a hospital dying of nothing. :tongue:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:52 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote: I would hate to be in a hospital dying of nothing. :tongue:


But a nice portion of quorn sausages might ease the suffering... :tongue:
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