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?
Clinical Researcher & Author, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart
President and Co-Founder, Farm Sanctuary
Nutritional Sciences Researcher & Blogger, The Daily Lipid
Farmer & Author
Author & Correspondent for ABC News
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.
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.
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 westonaprice.org. The opinions expressed in this debate are his own and do not necessarily represent the positions of the University of Illinois.
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.
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
Coming from being vegan/vegetarian for 7 years, I have to disagree with the sentiment that such a diet will save our planet. There is just as much destruction on the crop side of agriculture. It is a downhill slide on both sides of factory farming and no matter what way a person decides to eat, if they are still going to the grocery store and buying conventional products, they are by no means on a path of saving the planet or themselves. And asking for government to fix it all when they created it and keep it going is the definition of crazy. It is up to you to fix it, not a faceless organization that has no consequence should the outcome not be desired. Kind of like our healthcare, those that enacted it are exempt...
I have always been interested in food and when I watched Food Inc, was introduced to a different way I had intentionally been kept from by those claiming a vegan/vegetarian diet was the way to go. I decided before going back to eating meat that I wanted to do farming and raise my own food. If not for me, at least my dogs would eat well. But I got to a point that if my products were good and people asked me about them, I had no way to back them up. I took the plunge and ate meat again. I can't describe why or how, but I immediately felt better than I had in years. I had to listen to that.
Now I raise my own chickens for both eggs and meat and currently support a local farmer for raw milk and produce. Those of you that are vegan might want to reconsider the eggs from pasture raised hens. They come whether the chicken wants them to or not and unless you have a rooster and a broody hen/incubator; chicks won't be developing. So in essence, by refusing to eat eggs, you are wasting resources that came from our beloved planet.
Other than that, what can you all say for those that require meat to survive. Are they all wrong? Or is it just humans? Are we not smart enough to figure out a way to make the planet thrive? Can we not take control of things in a farm like setting and make things better? Has any vegan/vegetarian on this comment thread actually taken a look at farms that do practice sustainable methods and seen such improvement has happened? Has any vegan/vegetarian noticed any tree near a graveyard wraps itself around the bones of those deceased? It is a give and take system, even your carrots, celery, and corn took nutrients from the soil to provide you with nourishment. It is foolish to not realize the most damaging thing we do as humans is produce products the earth cannot assimilate.
I have been a vegan over 16 1/2 years. I don't see how anything that is dead and rotting by the minute can give anyone any nutrients! It is rotting in the stomach and colons once digested! Animals are exploited for entertainment, food, medical research and for work related purposes! What human would actually trade places with an animal? Then why would you contribute to the harming of one! When they are no longer usable then they are killed for one reason or another. It amazes me that on can kill a dog or cat in the shelter then call it euthanasia. Call it what it is! Killing! Killing healthy animals without a reason! Why do man have to kill or murder to survive? They don't! They just don't care! Animals can feel pain as humans do! Just accidentally step on one and hear and see the response! Until we can care about something or someone other than ourselves, then we nor the animals in the world will endure! We are morally corrupt as a nation!
Wow! I had NO idea there were so many of you folks out there who are completely deluding yourselves! How many animals with faces have been killed and lost their habitat for the pursuit of your "vegan" lifestyle?! How many millions of organisms have been destroyed because of the pursuit of your vegan lifestyle?! I'm calling bull on your state of health too: compare nutrient density of just about every vitamin and mineral with plants versus animal foods. Don't forget about the protein levels, and just for fun, look up how much protein from plants your human body can actually absorb. Then look up how important animal FATS are to every cell in your body, mostly your brain. No wonder your not thinking so clearly. Oh, and the argument that we couldn't feed the world animal protein without factory farming is absolutely bogus. The reason we can't do it now is because 90 percent of pasture land is killed down to its micro organisms(but you're not sad about that!) and planted with GMO corn and soy, and your gluten wheat. This is sad that so many of you are so ignorant. Please take your emotions, put them aside for just a little bit, do the research. Then, plug your emotions back in and lets really save the planet and ourselves by eating what we were supposed to eat while sustaining our blessed places.
Meat/dairy/eggs is cruel to animals, our planet and not good for our health. We thrive on a plant based diet, so why do people insist on continuing tradition. Regardless of our history, regardless of what 'we were meant to eat', the time has come to make a change for the greater good. I also don't believe you can truely be at peace if you continue to take in such suffering.
Until you have tried it, how can you realise how great you will feel?
Eating flesh daily is not sustainable for our planet, I believe; nor is it the healthiest way to live. Plant-based lifestyles ARE sustainable, though, and we are seeing soaring medicals costs in the USA due to the horrible Standard American Diet; people are sicker and fatter than ever. Meat and dairy are not required for optimal health.
Meat isn't necessary for a healthy body. Plants are. People get sick eating animals - too much fat and by-products in them producing cancer, heart attacks and many serious diseases which don't happen on a vegan diet. Do the research and you will find that a good balanced vegan diet is by far the healthiest and most nutritious diet anyone can eat. Try it.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Don't eat anything with a face? Not a problem. By the time my chicken gets to me, it doesn't have a face.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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