Don't Eat Anything With A Face

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Declared Winner: For The Motion

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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

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    • Comment Link Seth Pajak Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:33 posted by Seth Pajak

      Humans do not need to live on the flesh of animals. It is more efficient and more healthy to live on a plant based diet. Most of the plant product that is fed to animals turns into manure and not food. This is a total waste and pollutes the rivers and wells. Plant based agriculture is clean and kinder to the animals than is livestock agriculture. It's nice eating your food knowing that no animals were killed so that you could eat. I hope everyone enjoys that feeling.

    • Comment Link Gill Jacobs Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:33 posted by Gill Jacobs

      How can the proposers of the motion say that animals encourage soil degredation? That is ludicrous! Animals actually sequester carbon into the soil when eating grass, and help the planet. What doesn't help the planet is the deforestation of land to grow soya to feed vegetarians unhealthily, and feedlot animals, equally unhealthily.
      How are you going to persuade the Inuit to be vegan or vegetarian? They eat/ate a diet appropriate for their climate and what is available there, (before a Western diet of high carb/high sugar was introduced) which does/did not include enough year round plants to keep them alive or warm. They need a high fat diet which they get/got from fish and animals.
      Its ridiculous to say that most diabetes is because of meat eating.
      More and more research is showing that diabetes is high because of high carbohydrates, including the ubiquitous corn syrup in the US, which turns into sugar. OK, so animals fed grains are unhealthy because of their bad ratio of omega 3 to 6, but not grass fed animals. Also, all traditional societies that rely on animal protein have some form of spiritual connection with those animals that expresses gratitude to them for their gift of life, and for our interdependence. Have you ever met a vegetarian lion? The animal world is 'cruel' for survival, and when we acknowledge our gratitude for what animals provide for us, when treated humanely, we also are able to deal with the complexity of life, and refuse to stoop to the moral high ground so often dished out by vegetarians and vegans.

      Finally, where are the two, three or four generation studies on vegetarian and vegan diets? We know from Weston A Price that many generations of indigenous people were healthy over many generations with animal protein and fats. If vegetarians did not have artificial B12 supplements what would they do? Yes, meat eaters can get ill if they overdo factory farm meat which is bad for you, along with overdosing on sugar and not enough healthy vegetables. But I have come across too many tales of vegetarians who succumb to sickness after a while, and are forced to change their diet to get well. And this on a diet of fresh and organic plants. Maybe they eat too many unhealthy carbs and grains without the healthy animal fats?

      With more and more studies revealing how cancer cells are sugar dependent, they show that a nutrient dense diet (ketogenic) is one way to starve them out. As most carbs turn to sugar, and vegetarians are more dependent on carbs, how can they say that less vegetarians have cancer? It just does not stack up.

      I respect vegetarians for their principled stand on what they see as a more considerate approach to animals, by choosing not to eat them. But that implies that I am cruel and unthinking. I am not. I feel connected to animals, and am deeply grateful to the farmers who tend them, on my behalf. I refuse to project onto animals my own inability to deal with complex emotions. I refuse to anthropomorphise animals in the way that the Animal Rescue Sanctuary debater did when he told us about the happy rescued turkey who gave him hugs! That is pure Walt Disney to my mind. Or as Joel Salatin puts it the Bambification of animals, which sentimentalises animals and is partly responsible for the problems we now have over what constitutes a healthy diet.

    • Comment Link Sue Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:24 posted by Sue

      the only variable in the studies everybody is referencing is meat? what about crap foods, they don't have a role?

    • Comment Link Dawn Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:18 posted by Dawn

      OMG _ the pro-kill-it-gut-it-and-eat-it side is so desperate. It's just sad to try to argue when you really have nothing backing you up except money. Science does not support eating animal-products. Period. Look at any valid study and you'll see that whole foods, plant-based diets are far superior to any (factory-farmed or other) animal-based diet.

    • Comment Link Viana Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:17 posted by Viana

      Let nature take care of nature. Let man CARE FOR nature.

    • Comment Link scott Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:16 posted by scott

      joel salatin is awesome

    • Comment Link Tennille Hansen Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:15 posted by Tennille Hansen

      Trim Healthy Mama is a book that is a perfect approach to the fact that eating meat CAN lower blood pressure, balance blood sugars and lower the risk of heart disease.
      You absolutely eat meat & lower risks of all sorts of's all about balancing our insulin levels.

    • Comment Link Sue Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:12 posted by Sue

      so . . . processed foods, including GMO fruits, vegetables, and grains, play no part in the long list of maladies being discussed here???

    • Comment Link Jorge Catalan Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:11 posted by Jorge Catalan

      All beings feel and I do not think carnivorous animals are bad animals for eating other animals. CAFOs are wrong, YES. But eating other species is just natural.

    • Comment Link MeatLover Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:05 posted by MeatLover

      The more people who choose to become vegetarians, the more meat for me - yay!!. Rock on, folks. I'll enjoy my protein while you all look weak and unhealthy.

    • Comment Link Bova Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:03 posted by Bova

      Where did you find this guy Masterjohn? What clinical studies has he done to discredit Neal? None? Has he gone to talk to Neal's past patients and done health histories with them to see their progress? What's he standing on?

    • Comment Link MT, Congenital Heart Disease patient Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:03 posted by MT, Congenital Heart Disease patient

      I don't want to start a big fight with people here but I am just curious. My partner is vegan and I really tried to be as well. We followed good vegan diets with almost no processed foods. After about a year we went and got blood tests - my partner was fine and I was severely deficient in calcium and iron, to the point where I was told I would need a blood transfusion and could break a bone really easily. Yet we both ate the exact same diet 100%. Why did this happen??? The only difference between us (apart from the fact that I am a woman and my partner is a man - and I did drink extra calcium fortified soy milk to accommodate this) is that I am on several medications for a life threatening heart condition that I have since found out cause difficulties with mineral absorption. At the moment I am dealing with this by taking even more vitamin pills but am being hassled by my doctor to eat red meat and drink milk. I am thinking of including a small amount of free range meat/ eggs to make up for this (and get rid of tablets that probably contain animal products anyway - not that the label would tell you) but how does one in a situation like mine get sufficient vitamins and minerals from a vegan diet? Apart from my calcium and iron issues, my liver has gotten better on this diet (it was destroyed by a combo of medication and processed foods). I have cut out some of my medications from being healthier, but alas can not get rid of them all.

    • Comment Link Michaela Conley Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:58 posted by Michaela Conley

      Wonderful debate! Thank you for helping to keep this in our collective consciousness.

    • Comment Link Alexis Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:57 posted by Alexis

      Human evolve to eat an omnivorous diet. To suggest otherwise flies in the face of science, and emerges out of the same hubris that assumes that humans are superior to animals, or kinder, more compassionate. We are PART of nature, and PART of the food chain.

      THE END.

    • Comment Link Annette West Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:37 posted by Annette West

      I am 57 years old and have been a vegan for 14 years. I stopped eating animals after I saw how cruel factory farming is. I have enjoyed the health benefits of a plant based diet as a fringe benefit. My contemporaries have ailments that I do not have and I am convinced it is in large part because of my diet. My weight is the same as when Iwas in my twenties and I do not exercise probably as much as I should.. My blood work that my physician orders every 6 months as part of a regular check up is better that any of his patients in my same age group. It is not difficult to sustain a vegan diet. I eat delicious foods that are easy to prepare. I have never one time considered going back to meat.

    • Comment Link Mary Smythe Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:26 posted by Mary Smythe

      I have been vegetarian for 28+ years. I am the ONLY 40+ year old that takes ZERO medication, weigh an ideal weight without working out and have ZERO health issues! That's no coincidence! It is because of my diet. I chose to STOP eating SOULS when I was 16 years old becuase I knew it was MURDER and was wrong. You DO NOT need meat to live! The problem is the fact that we take animals as our property and do whatever we WANT to them. They don't give us consent, they don't tell us to kill them. In fact, when they are going to slaughter, they FIGHT it! I should know-I used to be married to a dairy farmer. It is all CRUEL, WRONG, and SELF RIGHTEOUS. "Human beings" possess the LEAST AMOUNT OF HUMANITY than any other being on the planet because of their greed, ignorance, and cruelty. That is a fact, plain and simple. Oh and by the way, I know 2 people who got colon cancer because the doctor said their diet was too meat heavy. Oh well. Two less murderers on this earth.

    • Comment Link Bova Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:26 posted by Bova

      ...ok.... Chris Masterjohn, I just read your "experience with vegetarianism"..... uh.... you basically ate a bunch of processed food and it doesn't sound like much fruit, vegetables basic grains and legumes. Your experience of vegetarianism is so far from what Neal Barnard recommends, of course you'll have problems. Whole foods bud, you didn't eat whole foods. Processed fake meat as a staple???? Why would you think that is healthy. Fruit, veg, legumes and grains is the real deal. Get a clue kid.

    • Comment Link Lee Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:24 posted by Lee

      Dr. Barnard is not credible.

    • Comment Link Janet Weeks Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:21 posted by Janet Weeks

      I'll never again eat anyONE with a face, or anyONE who HAD a face, or any eggs or mammary secretions from someONE who had a face. To all animals, I say, "Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you [or your secretions] anymore." -- Franz Kafka

    • Comment Link Bova Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:18 posted by Bova

      Chris Masterjohn, what were you eating when you were veg/vegan? There's a big difference between junk food vegan and healthy vegan. Whole foods or lots of processed? Were you getting enough calories? Your personal diet doesn't mean much unless you give specifics or post up a health history/food log.

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