the great vegetarian debate

Where members are free to take ideas from the Theravāda Canon out of the Theravāda framework. Here you can question rebirth, kamma (and other contentious issues) as well as examine Theravāda's connection to other paths
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:55 pm

80% of farmland in the US is used to grow grain for animals, if everyone stopped eating meat presumably the last farm animals would be eaten by desperate meat eaters, freeing up 80% of the farmland of which maybe only 25% would be needed for the new demand of vegetarian food, that means 50% of the farmland could be returned to forest,


Evidence?

Clw UK you full well know that and yet you insist on your fallacious arguements in favour of meat eating, if you're going to make an arguement stick to ones backed up by scientific facts not nonsense.


Even if we give your first line of argument the benefit of the doubt and assume its true, that still means that 25% would be needed to supply the food. Therefore there is still a percentage of woodland that would still need to be kept free from pests, and so would result in supporting a system that kills animals (only this time its more insects).

You would then need to transport the food which involves killing animals via the pollution, destruction of habitat to get the fuel, killing of insects to get it too you and occasional road kill.

And so on


I'm merely extending your line of Jainistic thought, which you applied to the meat eating production line, to the vegetarian one.

You would be financially responsible for supporting a system that results in the killing of animals
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:11 am

clw_uk wrote:Is it practical for everyone to be vegertarian?

If you cut out meat then wouldn't you need to cut down more forests (and kill more animals) to make way for larger and larger crops?


Actually no. If we were to grow crops only for people, there would be less land use, less water use, less pollution, less contribution to global worming, less environmental cost overall. Some estimate the environmental footprint of vegan and vegetarian diets to be near 30% lower than non-vegetarian diet.

The idea that if you buy meat then it's unwholesome because you are supporting the killing of animals, albeit indirectly, can also be used in terms of supporting a vegetarian mode of food production which kills animals to supply the vegertarian food (cutting down forests, pesticides etc)


Yes, one can say that. But that does not make it an absurd argument. Because the argument is to minimize harm caused, not to cease causing harm altogether. For example, many more animals are killed per calorie from making beef than from growing vegetables.

Image

I don't think it's absurd to argue that one should choose, if they can, the least harmful option.

p.s. the source of the calculations in the picture can be found here. http://www.animalvisuals.org/projects/data/1mc

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:15 am

Yes, one can say that. But that does not make it an absurd argument. Because the argument is to minimize harm caused, not to cease causing harm altogether. For example, many more animals are killed per calorie from making beef than from growing vegetables.



That wasnt the original argument though, which was by buying meat your are supporting the killing of animals and so are engaged in unwholesome kamma

Therefore the same applies to the vegetarian food supply chain, even if it is drastically smaller in number of animals hurt or killed.

Therefore we would always be trapped in kamma and the only escape would be inaction. That's good Jainism, but bad Buddhism.

N.B. I wonder if those graphs take into account all the insects killed?
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:20 am

I do agree that if it can be proven that vegetarianism results in less harm then it is preferable. However the argument I got from Lyndon seemed to suggest something else
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby seeker242 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:40 am

clw_uk wrote:
Yes, one can say that. But that does not make it an absurd argument. Because the argument is to minimize harm caused, not to cease causing harm altogether. For example, many more animals are killed per calorie from making beef than from growing vegetables.



That wasnt the original argument though, which was by buying meat your are supporting the killing of animals and so are engaged in unwholesome kamma

Therefore the same applies to the vegetarian food supply chain, even if it is drastically smaller in number of animals hurt or killed.

Therefore we would always be trapped in kamma and the only escape would be inaction ... and now we have good Jainism but bad Buddhism

N.B. I wonder if those graphs take into account all the insects killed?


I don't think that is really the argument coming from most vegetarians. It's more like "intentionally choosing the most harmful option is unwholesome kamma, when you have a choice to choose lesser harm".

No reasonable vegetarian is so deluded to think that growing crops does not kill animals. If they do, well then they are just deluded. However, the nature of the killing in one vs the other is not really the same. Animals at a slaughterhouse are intentionally killed. Animals that may happen to get killed by a harvesting machine, their death is completely unintentional. The intent to plow a field is to plow a field. The intent to make meat is the intent to kill some animal. Don't think it's unreasonable to say there is a difference between supporting intentional killing and supporting unintentional killing. This is why the Buddha called business in meat wrong livelihood and did not call business in vegetables wrong livelihood. The fact that the Buddha called one wrong and did not call the other wrong, is evidence that the Buddha saw this difference. If growing vegetables was as bad as making meat, I think he would have called them both wrong livelihood.

No the graph does not take into account insects because it's based on empirical data and no one has figured out how to actually count numbers of insects out in a field, before and after a harvest. However, I think one can reasonably assume more insects are killed with beef compared to vegetables because generally more land needs to be cultivated with beef than with vegetables. I think it's reasonable to say that with more cultivation and harvesting, more insects are killed.

:anjali:

clw_uk wrote:I do agree that if it can be proven that vegetarianism results in less harm then it is preferable. However the argument I got from Lyndon seemed to suggest something else


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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:10 am

I don't think that is really the argument coming from most vegetarians. It's more like "intentionally choosing the most harmful option is unwholesome kamma, when you have a choice to choose lesser harm".


Wouldn't that depend on the intention behind it?

What I mean is there can be a situation where a family has no choice but to buy cheap meat from a supermarket

No reasonable vegetarian is so deluded to think that growing crops does not kill animals. If they do, well then they are just deluded. However, the nature of the killing in one vs the other is not really the same. Animals at a slaughterhouse are intentionally killed. Animals that may happen to get killed by a harvesting machine, their death is completely unintentional. The intent to plow a field is to plow a field. The intent to make meat is the intent to kill some animal. Don't think it's unreasonable to say there is a difference between supporting intentional killing and supporting unintentional killing. This is why the Buddha called business in meat wrong livelihood and did not call business in vegetables wrong livelihood. The fact that the Buddha called one wrong and did not call the other wrong, is evidence that the Buddha saw this difference. If growing vegetables was as bad as making meat, I think he would have called them both wrong livelihood.


I agree but others seem to take a different line of reasoning

No the graph does not take into account insects because it's based on empirical data and no one has figured out how to actually count numbers of insects out in a field, before and after a harvest. However, I think one can reasonably assume more insects are killed with beef compared to vegetables because generally more land needs to be cultivated with beef than with vegetables. I think it's reasonable to say that with more cultivation and harvesting, more insects are killed.


That's a fair enough point

I would argue though that the way forward is lab grown meat, since there are even less animals killed and there would be less land needed for cultivation, and it would kill this thread :rofl:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:15 am

lyndon taylor wrote:I think the worse kamma goes to the people that pay for the animal to be killed so that they can eat it......



And your basing that on ... what exactly? :shrug:
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:24 am

lyndon taylor wrote:This is what a true carnivores teeth look like, still think you're a native carnivore????

Image



Humans are omnivores, that is a carnivore



Humans are Omnivores
Introduction

There are a number of popular myths about vegetarianism that have no scientific basis in fact. One of these myths is that man is naturally a vegetarian because our bodies resemble plant eaters, not carnivores. In fact we are omnivores, capable of either eating meat or plant foods. The following addresses the unscientific theory of man being only a plant eater.

Confusion between Taxonomy and Diet

Much of the misinformation on the issue of man's being a natural vegetarian arises from confusion between taxonomic (in biology, the procedure of classifying organisms in established categories) and dietary characteristics.

Members of the mammalian Order Carnivora may or may not be exclusive meat eaters. Those which eat only meat are carnivores. Dietary adaptations are not limited by a simple dichotomy between herbivores (strict vegetarians) and carnivores (strict meat-eaters), but include frugivores (predominantly fruit), gramnivores (nuts, seeds, etc.), folivores (leaves), insectivores (carnivore-insects and small vertebrates), etc. Is is also important to remember that the relation between the form (anatomy/physiology) and function (behavior) is not always one to one. Individual anatomical structures can serve one or more functions and similar functions can be served by several forms.

Omnivorism

The key category in the discussion of human diet is omnivores, which are defined as generalized feeders, with neither carnivore nor herbivore specializations for acquiring or processing food, and who are capable of consuming and do consume both animal protein and vegetation. They are basically *opportunistic* feeders (survive by eating what is available) with more generalized anatomical and physiological traits, especially the dentition (teeth). All the available evidence indicates that the natural human diet is omnivorous and would include meat. We are not, however, required to consume animal protein. We have a choice.

The Great Apes

There are very few frugivores amongst the mammals in general, and primates in particular. The only apes that are predominantly fruit eaters (gibbons and siamangs) are atypical for apes in many behavioral and ecological respects and eat substantial amounts of vegetation. Orangutans are similar, with no observations in the wild of eating meat.

Gorillas are more typically vegetarian, with less emphasis on fruit. Several years ago a very elegant study was done on the relationship between body size and diet in primates (and some other mammal groups). The only primates on the list with pure diets were the very small species (which are entirely insectivorous) and the largest (which specialize in vegetarian diet). However, the spectrum of dietary preferences reflect the daily food intake needs of each body size and the relative availability of food resources in a tropical forest. Our closest relatives among the apes are the chimpanzees (i.e., anatomically, behaviorally, genetically, and evolutionarily), who frequently kill and eat other mammals (including other primates).

Evidence of Humans as Omnivores

Archeological Record

As far back as it can be traced, clearly the archeological record indicates an omnivorous diet for humans that included meat. Our ancestry is among the hunter/gatherers from the beginning. Once domestication of food sources began, it included both animals and plants.

Cell Types

Relative number and distribution of cell types, as well as structural specializations, are more important than overall length of the intestine to determining a typical diet. Dogs are typical carnivores, but their intestinal characteristics have more in common with omnivores. Wolves eat quite a lot of plant material.

Fermenting Vats

Nearly all plant eaters have fermenting vats (enlarged chambers where foods sits and microbes attack it). Ruminants like cattle and deer have forward sacs derived from remodeled esophagus and stomach. Horses, rhinos, and colobine monkeys have posterior, hindgut sacs. Humans have no such specializations.

Jaws

Although evidence on the structure and function of human hands and jaws, behavior, and evolutionary history also either support an omnivorous diet or fail to support strict vegetarianism, the best evidence comes from our teeth.

The short canines in humans are a functional consequence of the enlarged cranium and associated reduction of the size of the jaws. In primates, canines function as both defense weapons and visual threat devices. Interestingly, the primates with the largest canines (gorillas and gelada baboons) both have basically vegetarian diets. In archeological sites, broken human molars are most often confused with broken premolars and molars of pigs, a classic omnivore. On the other hand, some herbivores have well-developed incisors that are often mistaken for those of human teeth when found in archeological excavations.

Salivary Glands

These indicate we could be omnivores. Saliva and urine data vary, depending on diet, not taxonomic group.

Intestines

Intestinal absorption is a surface area, not linear problem. Dogs (which are carnivores) have intestinal specializations more characteristic of omnivores than carnivores such as cats. The relative number of crypts and cell types is a better indication of diet than simple length. We are intermediate between the two groups.

Conclusion

Humans are classic examples of omnivores in all relevant anatomical traits. There is no basis in anatomy or physiology for the assumption that humans are pre-adapted to the vegetarian diet. For that reason, the best arguments in support of a meat-free diet remain ecological, ethical, and health concerns.

[Dr. McArdle is a vegetarian and currently Scientific Advisor to The American Anti-Vivisection Society. He is an anatomist and a primatologist.]



Source: The Vegetarian Resource Group.



http://www.biology-online.org/articles/ ... vores.html
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:41 am

I have asked this earlier in the thread, but as I recently seen it come up again, I will ask again.

How is the argument that vegetarianism is not necessary for Buddhists faulty?
Not a trick question Go through the points and point out the flaws in the logic and show how it is loopy (as the one who re-raised this question called it).
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(The mendicants asked) What are the two [types of persons]?
(The Lord Buddha responded) The malicious, or the inwardly angry, and the one with (blind) faith or the one who holds things incorrectly.
Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.”
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:47 am

I would say vegetarianism is reccomended for anyone, not only by the buddha, but by reasoning of reducing beings suffering as much as possible, its obvious the Buddha was realistic enough to not try to enforce a complete ban on meat eating, but to say there is no difference between meat eating and vegetarianism, and that it doesn't matter what you eat, is not supported by the Buddha in the scripture, its obvious that the Buddha was an animal lover that wanted to reduce suffering for all creatures, vegetarianism just does a lot better job of that than meat eating, a reduction of suffering, not an elimination of such.

Seeker242, clw UK knows full well that the production of meat kills far more insects, rodents and plants than producing vegetarian food, yet he insist on repeating the old fallacious arguements over and over, which at least in this thread fits pretty well into the definition of a troll.
Last edited by lyndon taylor on Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby chownah » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:54 am

Cittasanto,
Nothing is necessary for Buddhists.
chownah

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:23 am

chownah wrote:Cittasanto,
Nothing is necessary for Buddhists.
chownah


I think you're confusing Buddhism with anarchism!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby chownah » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:05 am

lyndon taylor wrote:
chownah wrote:Cittasanto,
Nothing is necessary for Buddhists.
chownah


I think you're confusing Buddhism with anarchism!!!

No confusion here.......nothing is necessary for Buddhists.
chiwnah

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:05 am

but to say there is no difference between meat eating and vegetarianism,



Who has said that? I certainly haven't.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:08 am

Seeker242, clw UK knows full well that the production of meat kills far more insects, rodents and plants than producing vegetarian food, yet he insist on repeating the old fallacious arguements over and over, which at least in this thread fits pretty well into the definition of a troll.



Firstly I don't know it and you haven't supported any evidence to support it.


Secondly your argument wasn't about which kills more, but that supporting an industry that results in death is unwholesome. I simply showed that being a vegetarian also supports the killing of animals, and so the fallacy of your argument to suggest that buying meat is unwholesome.
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:21 am

So you're going to put a bunch of words in my mouth and tell me what I am saying, without, its becoming evident, reading any of the other posts I and others have made, do you actually expect us to believe you have completely forgotten all the arguements presented and that we have to start all over explaining to you issues that have been covered over and over, you have no argument other than you like eating your meat and you'll say anything to defend that, true or false.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:25 am


Actually you're wrong, In the case of buying meat at the supermarket, you're not actually paying for the raising and killing of the animal you're eating, you're directly paying for (instigating) the raising and killing of future animals that will then be available for you and your friends at the supermarket, so your percent of purchase price that goes to pay the butcher pays for future killing, and if enough people quit buying the meat, the butcher wouldn't get payed and the animals wouldn't get killed, is that kamma direct enough for you???

So you are hiring the butcher to kill animals in the future, just like hiring a killer to kill a person. Just like sending a country off to war to kill people, just like ordering an atomic bomb to be dropped on Hiroshima. You are responsible for the killing because you ordered it and/or paid for it.

You're actually trying to tell us that its perfectly OK to pay to kill animals (no bad kamma) but to actually be payed to kill an animal is horribly worse kamma, I know you think you're getting it from the Buddha, but from a logical standpoint it makes absolutely no sense at all.

If trafficking in meat is wrong livelihood, how can financially supporting the wrong livelihood be any better. Without financial support the wrong livelihood would cease.




No I'm basing it on this, so hardly putting words in your mouth
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:29 am

that quote clearly does not have me saying what you falsely quoted me as saying above, anyway for the umpteemth time here's a link to the amount of grains(and insects and rodents killed) required to make a pound of beef etc;

http://www.earthsave.org/environment.htm
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:30 am

lyndon taylor wrote:that quote clearly does not say what you falsely quoted me as saying above, anyway for the umpteemth time here's a link to the amount of grains(and insects and rodents killed) required to make a pound of beef etc;

http://www.earthsave.org/environment.htm



It's a logical extension of your line of argument


And thanks
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:39 am

you posted only one minute after my post clw UK so how could you possibly have even read the link I posted???
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John


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