Don't Eat Anything With A Face

Previous Debate
Food FinalCleanWeb Illustration by Thomas James

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

According to a 2009 poll, around 1% of American adults reported eating no animal products. In 2011 that number rose to 2.5%--more than double, but still dwarfed by the 48% who reported eating meat, fish or poultry at all of their meals. In this country, most of us are blessed with an abundance of food and food choices. So taking into account our health, the environment and ethical concerns, which diet is best? Are we or aren't we meant to be carnivores?

  • Barnard 90


    Dr. Neal Barnard

    Clinical Researcher & Author, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart

  • Gene Baur official 90px final


    Gene Baur

    President and Co-Founder, Farm Sanctuary

  • Masterjohn official 90


    Chris Masterjohn

    Nutritional Sciences Researcher & Blogger, The Daily Lipid

  • Salatin 90


    Joel Salatin

    Farmer & Author

    • Moderator Image


      John Donvan

      Author & Correspondent for ABC News

See Results See Full Debate Video Purchase DVD

Read Transcript

Listen to the edited radio broadcast

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen to the unedited radio broadcast

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Subscribe to the Podcast
Barnard 90

For The Motion

Dr. Neal Barnard

Clinical Researcher & Author, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart

Neal Barnard, M.D., is Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., who guides numerous clinical trials investigating the effects of diet on body weight, chronic pain, and diabetes. Barnard’s most recent study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes was funded by the National Institutes of Health. He has authored dozens of scientific publications, 15 books for lay readers, and has hosted three PBS television programs on nutrition and health, ranging from weight loss to Alzheimer’s prevention. As President and Founder of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Barnard has been instrumental in efforts to reform federal dietary guidelines. He also leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.

Learn more

Gene Baur official 90px final

For The Motion

Gene Baur

President and Co-Founder, Farm Sanctuary

Gene Baur, President and Co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine. Since the mid-1980s, Gene has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our system of cheap food production. His book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food (2008), a national bestseller, is a thought-provoking investigation of the ethical questions surrounding beef, poultry, pork, milk, and egg production. It describes what each of us can do to promote compassion and help stop the systematic mistreatment of the billions of farm animals who are exploited for food in the United States every year.

Learn more

Masterjohn official 90

Against The Motion

Chris Masterjohn

Nutritional Sciences Researcher & Blogger, The Daily Lipid

Chris Masterjohn pursued a career in health and nutrition after recovering from health problems he developed as a vegan by including high-quality, nutrient-dense animal foods in his diet. He earned a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut in 2012 and currently researches the physiological interactions between fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has published six peer-reviewed publications and has submitted one manuscript for review. He also writes two blogs. The first, The Daily Lipid, is hosted on his web site, Cholesterol-And-Health.Com. The second, Mother Nature Obeyed, is hosted by the Weston A. Price Foundation at The opinions expressed in this debate are his own and do not necessarily represent the positions of the University of Illinois.

Learn more

Salatin 90

Against The Motion

Joel Salatin

Farmer & Author

Joel Salatin is a full-time farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. A third generation alternative farmer, he returned to the farm full-time in 1982 and continued refining and adding to his parents’ ideas. The farm services more than 5,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey, and forestry products, using relationship marketing. Salatin holds a BA degree in English and writes extensively in magazines such as Stockman Grass Farmer, Acres USA, and Foodshed. He is the author of eight books, including Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World (2012). The family’s farm, Polyface Inc., achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the new New York Times bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by food writer guru Michael Pollan, and the award-winning documentary film Food Inc.

Learn more

Declared Winner: For The Motion

Online Voting

Voting Breakdown:

59% voted the same way in BOTH pre- and post-debate votes (19% voted FOR twice, 36% voted AGAINST twice, 5% voted UNDECIDED twice). 41% changed their minds (2% voted FOR then changed to AGAINST, 3% voted FOR then changed to UNDECIDED, 12% voted AGAINST then changed to FOR, 4% voted AGAINST then changed to UNDECIDED, 15% voted UNDECIDED then changed to FOR, 5% voted UNDECIDED then changed to AGAINST)*breakdown for those voting the same way twice adds to 60% due to rounding | Breakdown Graphic

About This Event

Event Photos

PrevNext Arrows
    PrevNext Arrows


    • Comment Link mayumi32083 Tuesday, 03 December 2013 18:09 posted by mayumi32083

      Farm food animals suffer miserably. This fact alone was enough to make me give up all flesh foods forever, but there is the added benefit of feeling vital, healthy & clean!!

      I urge all meat-eaters to go meatless just for a week - it will change your life for the better!! You will be convinced that a plant-based diet is the best!!

      I wish you all peace & grace.

    • Comment Link Cynthia Tuesday, 03 December 2013 18:05 posted by Cynthia

      I have been a vegetarian for over 45 years. Factory farming of pigs, chickens, calves, and other living beings is perverse, unhealthy for all involved. It causes so much pain, suffering and misery for animals; how can it really be okay? It is arrogant, selfish and ugly to eat animals in todays world. Yes, we all must die, but what is not acceptable is the abuse. Abuse and living a life of torture is not humane, and we do not need to do it. We each have a choice, and yes most North Americans feel somehow they 'deserve' to eat animals several times each day, even though a huge % would never want to kill the animals themselves. If you love animals, your health and our earth, please stop the abuse and the killing. Lots of delicious, gourmet foods do not require death or torture of an animal. Pura Vida!

    • Comment Link Suzie Clippinger Tuesday, 03 December 2013 18:01 posted by Suzie Clippinger

      We live in a new day of awareness in the many years of research progression. We understand life better than we ever have and clearly people know that animals feel pain and sorrow. They have emotions, they have moods, they are intelligent. It is time for the bloodshed and inhumane treatment of animals to stop. We speak of peace on earth - until we look at the way we treat life in a different way we will not have peace on earth. Animals are Sentinel Beings, they are here with us, not for us. They need our care, and we are reaping the consequences in our society for not looking into this more seriously, and responsibly. We have to get meat off the menu. Thank you for allowing me to voice my deep care and concern.

    • Comment Link Gretchen Tuesday, 03 December 2013 18:01 posted by Gretchen

      There's just no question that an animal-free diet is the healthiest, most humane, and most environmentally sound. To cause unnecessary cruelty just so we can create public health nightmares and environmental devastation simply doesn't make sense. Our bodies and our planet tell us: Go vegan. Your taste buds and the rest of your body will thank you.

    • Comment Link Keltar King Tuesday, 03 December 2013 17:17 posted by Keltar King

      Don't eat anything with a face? Not a problem. By the time my chicken gets to me, it doesn't have a face.

    • Comment Link Joy Gohl Tuesday, 03 December 2013 16:26 posted by Joy Gohl

      Everybody wants to get better but nobody wants to change, yet the most powerful action one can take to reduce pollution, free up food for the hungry and improve personal health is to eat a plant-based diet. If a person really wants to break the addiction of animal products, it can be done. I did it through substitution; I lost weight and have never felt better in my life.

    • Comment Link Ana Fontan Tuesday, 03 December 2013 16:16 posted by Ana Fontan

      I´ve been a proud vegetarian for more than 30 years, and I am happy for that. The main reason for my choice was ethical, humane, conviction and compassion for all animals, absolutely all of them. I think that eat meating is a very harmful, unconscious and unethical way of feeding, supported by an old fashioned, ignorant, wrong education about the human´s need to eat meat and dairy products from living animals. BUt nowadays the issue is more about the fact that meat industry is driven by large money, and respect to the meat comsumption, I sadly see that most people really don´t care about where their food comes from, they are indifferent to animal suffering most times. As I told, I am very glad to be in the opposite corner, always caring and respecting for all God´s creatures. Vegetarianism and veganism lifestyles represent the evolution of the human being, and the preminence of the highest values we have as such. Thank you Dr. Barnard for this light shedding live debate, I am very proud of being a supporter or PCRM. Thank you so very much!!!

    • Comment Link VFran Tuesday, 03 December 2013 16:01 posted by VFran

      I am very appreciative of the work of Dr. N. Barnard and other MD's who have taken this path. I am horrified by the cruel treatment of farmed animals and do not think this can be healthy to those who eat these animals either. Also - I suffered from health problems as did my son and since eating a plant based diet all of these issues have retreated or resolved. My son had Ulcerative Colitis and was told he would have to be on medications his entire life and he would eventually succumb to cancer of the colon. Since eating a plant based diet his GI specialist told him she cannot find any trace of his illness. I do not preach about being Plant Based but I am very grateful for the pioneering work of Dr. Barnard and invite those who don't want to eat abused animals or those who do have health problems who want to look around at alternatives to look into what Dr Barnard, Dr. Joel Furhman, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn are saying.

    • Comment Link Isaac Tuesday, 03 December 2013 15:52 posted by Isaac

      Two things: 1) our species evolved eating a meat/fat based omnivorous diet for millions of years. 2) there is no traditional "vegan" culture on earth. And there never has been. There is a traditional culture that does eat a neerly 100% meat based diet with no health consequences: the Inuit.

    • Comment Link taletotell Tuesday, 03 December 2013 15:47 posted by taletotell

      Stop using words like moral and ethical. They are meaningless when it comes to consumption of natural resources. Use sustainable, healthy, natural.
      Based on evolutionary studies the human body developed around consuming meat. It is a commonality among the most intelligent creatures.
      Your concern about eating faces revolves around your Hyper Active Agency Detection Device: an adaptation to keep you on your toes when there might be a predator around. The presence of eyes nose and mouth, the presence of a brain, is the result of a long series of adaptations. There is nothing wrong or right inherent in their consumption.
      If you think it is a bad idea to eat meat for social reasons that is good. Lets hear it.
      I look forward to this debate. i hope to be surprised.

    • Comment Link Lisa Rufus Tuesday, 03 December 2013 15:47 posted by Lisa Rufus

      Generally, the narrow-mindedness of the vegan ideal as shared in many of these comments boggles my mind. I understand that you don't want to see something suffer, but to ignore the workings of an entire eco-system because death makes you uncomfortable is just not the kind of thinking that will help our planet! What is the least harmful method of food production to the ecosytem? THAT is the real question, because all living things depend on a healthy ecosystem. In order for a vegan diet to provide proper nutrition significant amounts of supplements and monocrops (i.e. soy) are involved. Too feed condensed populations there is no question that agriculture (controlling the elements of food production to make it more efficient) is the key, so the next question, which form of Agriculture does the least harm to our environment? (Or in a very well designed system actually rebuilds soil and increases the fertility of the land?) That is the kind of question we need to be asking. As well the argument that all killing is cruel and immoral is also very narrow and flawed. It's completely ignorant of the reality of nature. Death in and of itself is not cruel or unjust. It will happen to all living things. Methods of death can be cruel, but slaughtering an animal properly and quickly is much kinder than the death mother nature would provide in the wild (starvation, hunted by predators, disease etc) especially in the context of independent farms and butchers. We have stop assuming that the only option is the industrial model. Food production is at the heart of democracy and freedom. Veggie or omnivore, we need to opt out of industrial ag and support food production methods that heal the land and create resiliency in our food supply.

    • Comment Link CARMEN ROBERTS Tuesday, 03 December 2013 15:19 posted by CARMEN ROBERTS

      We are not designed to be carnivores. From the beginning of the world we were created to be herbivores. It is written in the Bible, the book of Genesis 1:1, 29-31. Not only humans were designed that way but animals , too. Believe it or not.

    • Comment Link Shyam Howlin Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:46 posted by Shyam Howlin

      Eating animals is inhumane. Even the animals who are raised ethically and fed grass still have to come from somewhere. Cows are forced to give birth to beef cattle year after year without any thought for their health. Try having a baby every year for 10 years and then be killed because you no longer can. People speak against factory farming but the demand for meat is so great that organic free range farms are just not profitable so they just don't happen. There is nothing ethical about eating meat.

    • Comment Link Eliot W. Collins Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:31 posted by Eliot W. Collins

      Everyone can eat and use whatever products they want. It's really none of my business. I do not care. I get a flu shot (made from eggs) so I am not a vegan. I eat Jell-O® (made from various animal by-products) so I am not even a vegetarian.

    • Comment Link Enid Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:25 posted by Enid

      One more thing. I would change the title to "Don't eat anyone with a face." After all, one of the arguments for being a vegan is that animals are sentient beings and experience life. Yes?

    • Comment Link Enid Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:21 posted by Enid

      Hey all you vegans - I've read several comments and you guys are awesome. The comments are intelligent and make great arguments as to why humans should be vegan. All of you who are former animal and animal by-product eaters have told very inspiring stories. And to all of you who still eat animals--cow, pig, chicken, turkey, et al, there is no humane "meat" raising because in the end, the animals are trucked to their death. There is no humane slaughter--this is an oxymoron (with emphasis on the moron). If you don't care about your diet or animals, please investigate why going vegan is the right thing to do for our planet. We all have to breathe the same air, drink the water and eat the food. Factory farms create pollution. Get hip.

    • Comment Link Christine Schaffer Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:20 posted by Christine Schaffer

      The only way to live sustainably, feed everyone and not destroy what is left of the planet is a plant based diet. To compare ourselves to Paleo people is stupid as there were billions fewer of us. ThePaleo diet is very expensive, only for the few who can afford it. Removing factory animals from the scene would help all people, the enviornment to say nothing of the animals. The dude who quotes the Bible clearly isn't reading the King James version which admonishes humans to eat only "green" meat.

      Plant eaters do not usually die of heart diseases...

    • Comment Link Starla Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:19 posted by Starla

      We don't go about killing animals the right way. Meat free for five years now and so happy about it.

    • Comment Link Adam Dave, MD Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:04 posted by Adam Dave, MD

      So appreciative and supportive of your work, Dr. Barnard. Now if we can only get policymakers to end subsidization of animal products so that junk food isn't cheap. This would have almost instantaneous effects on the obesity and disease epidemic facing the country and the globe. I have written an essay on the Farm Bill as it relates to Obamacare and would very much like to send it your way. P.S. thanks again for reviewing my book, "The Paradigm Diet." You're the best!

    • Comment Link Trudy Tuesday, 03 December 2013 14:01 posted by Trudy

      The poison of today with people's health is the diet that they eat. Lack of healthy nutrients is not only their dilemma but on top of that, it is the chemicals, drugs, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotics, and what else? BSE a neurological disease in cows can be transmitted to other species including humans. One of the primary ways of transmission is that the cows are fed bone meal and waste products from other cattle infected with the disease. It is now illegal to feed beef based products to cow but the industry found a way to circumvent the rule so now they are feeding them what they call chicken litter.
      It is a mixture of manure, dead chickens, feathers and spilled feed,
      cheap food products for cows. So think how healthy and appetizing, when you eat your next burger that is the product of manure, feathers, and one third of the chicken litter concoction. That is what is called spilled feed. Cows that eat chicken litter eat also beef products intended for chicken. The same feed that spurred Mad Cow Disease outbreak. The BSE infection agent can also be passed through the chicken manure as well.
      Cows are ruminants herbivorous. I grew up on an organic farm in Canada and I know. Their is only one way of being and staying healthy and especially today, and that is a vegetarian diet. No dead flesh in your plate, is a perfect way to start. Give it a try, the whole world will be surprise to see you, full of energy and vibrancy all of a sudden. That is what I did 40 years ago. It was the perfect answer for me to stay away at the same time, from the drug prescription deluge that is happening in the US. Find your way to God's herbal medicine and then you will have achieved health as he intended for you to have. Health is your wealth !

    Leave a comment

    Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.