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Why do you think people say they are veg*n when they aren't?

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Old 07-18-2008, 11:32 AM   #121
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Thanks for taking what I said as I meant it I was a bit worried someone might take offense, but I felt that ground ought to be covered in this thread.

I know that few people hold my beliefs, and that even if everyone were exposed to what I have learned they may not draw the same conclusions. I don't think people eat animal products because they're bad people, I definitely try not to be judgmental and accusatory about it. I share information and have a discussion where I see it might be welcome and received, but realize it's a sensative subject that need to be treated with some care. I do try my best to be nice to all animals, human animals included.
Hey, I know *exactly* what all of that feels like!!! It's difficult to balance everything, for sure, especially when you've had an awakening. I'm so glad you decided to become vegan and that you now *get* it.
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:38 AM   #122
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KateB – Fun questions, I’m all for not sugar coating things too. I’m not trying to make fun of anyone, but what’s with omnivores coming up with all these fantastical “what if” scenarios? What purpose so they serve? I’ve heard everything from the “desert island” scenarios to being trapped at an airport during a terrorist attack. Trust me, I have a survival instinct like everyone else, I would just deal the best I could and hope to get out alive.

The chances of everyone going vegan at once are close enough to zero that we might as well say the chance of that happening is nil. We will never have to deal with a situation where we suddenly have all these domesticated animals that no one is going to eat, so why even think about it? It’s a useless thought experiment. Domesticated animals are brought into existence by humans so humans can use and profit from them, if there is a drop in demand for these animal products the market will adjust and fewer animals will be bred.

Plants may be living, but they are not sentient. They have no central nervous system. This means they are not self aware and they do not feel pain. And even if you did believe that plants could suffer, it would still make sense to eat a vegan diet because it takes a lot fewer plants to support a vegan than it does an omnivore. For example, beef cattle return only 1 pound of meat for every 16 pounds of grain and soybeans they are fed. Not to mention all the extra water, fuel and other strains on the environment that animal agriculture perpetuates.

Just a note – I hope I never sound like I’m berating anyone. I like to stick to just the facts without a bunch of hyperbolic and accusatory language.

ETA: SoulBliss - I see we answered around the same time and my answer here is a bit redundant, but hey great minds and all right?
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:00 PM   #123
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#1 Let's say by some act of congress or God or moral awakening the whole world, or even the whole US became Vegan tomorrow. What would happen to all the animals currently being raised for consumption? Who then is responisble for feeding them? Do they get set free...and if so then what? Cattle have been domestic animals for generations, could they survive in the "wild" on their own? Pigs probably could survive, but look at places with populations of ferrel pigs and see the problems they cause. Also, the effect on the nations economy would be devastating.

#2 And this might just me a little gripe of mine...but I have heard many vegan hop on the soap box and berate people for eating "Another Living Thing"....Just an observation...Plants are also "Living".

I have not seen "Earthlings". We live on a farm, we raise our own chickens for eggs and meat. We have raised hogs, we have raised cattle. I know what it takes to get the steer from the barn to the freezer to the table. I admire those that can give up all animal products. I cannot imagine being vegan and trying to order a meal in a restaurant. At least not the restaurant choice we have around here. I do not however admire the ones in the vegan or vegi community who berate others for not being vegan. Just my 2 cents.
#1 - Honestly, that would never happen. Look at things like fuel efficiency in cars, we are still struggling with that over many years. Large change happens over time, not all at once. Although many would not agree, but I'd like to see domestic meat go back to small time farming rather than mass production first and foremost. That would end a LOT of animal suffering by just doing that. Also, I've been to places in the US where there are wild cows and it is a beautiful thing. Although cow crossing signs on the road are a bit daunting. Wild Buffalo have been reintroduced to the US and although cows aren't native to the US, there could be a satisfactory exit plan to cows, pigs and other farm animals. I would agree that it would probably be devastating to the economy all at once but a slow change would be beneficial to the economy and also the environment.

#2 - I've never heard of anyone say they don't eat animals because they are living. Things I've heard is that they don't eat anything with a face or that had a mother or is of a certain classification (basically animal). I don't anything that is classified as an animal. Its pretty simple.

#3 - I also thought for years that I knew what it took to get meat from the barn to the table but honestly, I was wrong. Factory farming and the commercialism of meat is a lot different than small time farming. Animals are tortured without regard. They are tortured while they are being raised and at their slaughter. I know a lot of vegans don't like the idea of 'happy' animals on small time farms but I think that is 100 times better than what goes on currently. Earthlings won't show you animals being taken from regular farms and being slaughtered in a respectful manner. They won't show you hens pecking on the dirt. It won't show you any images of farming that people are sold to believe.
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Old 07-18-2008, 02:42 PM   #124
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In an ideal world, I would love to raise my own animals for food. My husband thinks I'm nuts. He thinks I'm too soft-hearted to be able to kill or see an animal killed for the dinner table.

Maybe he's right. And if he is, then I probably should become vegan. I think it's actually a shame that most people don't WANT to think of the animal their food was. Let's not call it cow or pig, let's call it beef or pork or bacon to distance ourselves from the reality that it is an actual animal on our plates.
I think my husband and my father (growing up on farms) have a higher respect and love of animals than I ever will, because they had close, loving relationship with animals that became their dinner. To the modern person (meat eating or not) that seems barbaric, but I accept that, and admit my barbarism.

Maybe it's because I love the carnivores so much (wolves are a passion of mine) that I don't see the mere act of eating meat as inhumane. I believe it is my right both God-given, and given my position on the food chain. I also believe that as humans we have abused that right, and that needs to be rectified.

My husband was raised, and is devout Missour Synod Lutheran, and I was raised Roman Catholic and converted to Missouri Synod Lutheran when we married. We were both taught that God gave us stewardship over the animals and we had to take that responsibility seriously. My husband was raised on a farm, and while I was a city girl, I was one generation removed from the farm, and as a child visited the farms of family members frequently.


My husband raised rabbits for food as a boy. Gathering eggs and playing with the sheep and lambs that were friendly, was about the extent of my farm experience (and hunting for barn kittens - we were allowed to look, but not touch, as barn cat mammas are dangerous and will teach a hard-learned lesson about touching their babies). I had a rabbit in junior high and high school (when rabbit coats were very "in"). I wanted a rabbit coat so badly, but I ended up buying an imitation one instead because I thought it would be weird and creepy to feed and play with my pet rabbit while wearing a rabbit-fur coat.

Even though my husband was raising the bunnies for meat, he loved each and every one. A pack of feral dogs were able to snag the bunnies legs through the mesh of the cages and eat their feet to the bone. He came out to feed his bunnies and found them all in shock, bleeding to death - every one. He had to kill every one of his bunnies so they wouldn't suffer. Then he went and got his gun and sat on the bunny hutches until the feral dogs came back and he killed each of them.

I still don't know what to make of that story. It makes me cry for those bunnies, for the dogs, and for the 12 year old boy that became my husband. Now the life-expectancy of those bunnies in the wild would have been much shorter, and they would have died even more brutally, but they would have been free and would have had at least a chance to escape. The dogs were only trying to survive, and irresponsible owners made them the risk and nuissance they became.

My husband (and my father, as well) will rant about people who take on the responsibility of an animal and fail to follow through. When I was a kid, on a trip home we saw a cow with it's head caught in a fence. I guess we were just stupid, thinking the cow would figure it out herself, or the farmer would come and help her. We told our dad, and he threw a fit because we hadn't gone to the farmhouse to get the critter help. Gosh, I was young, but I still remember that and choke up that we didn't think to help.

The thing is, now that we don't raise it ourselves, people eat ALOT more meat, more frequently than they used to, even more than the people on farms ever did, especially BIG animals. My father ate chicken growing up to the point that he was sick of it. Beef and pork was for special occasions with lots of family to share. And even with the big animals, we don't use the whole animal anymore either, discarding the "best" (nutritious) parts. The bias is so strong that people don't even want to feed their pets the nutritious "byproducts only the muscle meat will do.

We don't eat the whole animal, and we're mightly picky about the animals we eat. We're wasteful and ignorant of the sacrifices made, so that we can have a steak.

You'd think that someone who thought that way would be vegan, wouldn't you?

I think we need to rethink our wasteful ways. In many other countries (even some of the ones we americans would consider "civilized"), rather than using pesticides on their crops, people gather and EAT the insects that would eat their crops. Some are specially bred or "farmed" but others are still gathered.

I don't know if I could eat insects (and given the pesticise use, insects in the US probably are dangerous to eat in bulk). It's far too tabboo in our culture, but it is an ecologically sound practice.

Farmed fish are high in mercury (which I still don't fathom - shouldn't we be BETTER able to control heavy metal content in FARMED fish - what on earth are people doing wrong).

I think most people can't fathom giving up meat, so they're willing to overlook the abuses and barbarism, or pretend it isn't happening. The don't know and don't want to know what it takes to get meat to their table.

In learning of the complete idiotic, cruel, and wasteful practices, I do feel I need to do something about it. Rather than giving up meat (I'm willing to chalk it up to unadulterated selfishness) I've chosen to eat less and less meat, particularly grocery store meat. I'm lucky to live in a part of the country in which there are people raising meat and dairy and egg animals as I would raise them if they were my own.

While I think that it is difficult to convince people (I can't even convince myself) to give up meat, I think it's very possible to show people that there are equally delicious less or no meat options that have the added benefit of being healthier and cheaper. For our health, our finances, and our planet we need to start exploring those options. THAT is my mission.

I think when people are committed to an ideal (whether the ideal is veganism or the ideal that it's their "right" to eat meat) they don't want to hear about compromise positions. Which I think is a shame, because I think compromise position often get more accomplished.

For example, my religious belief is that abortion is wrong more often than it is right. Sometimes I think it is an inevitable choice. However the vast majority of abortions are done within 36 hours of a woman finding out she is pregnant. It makes me wonder, if sometimes (if not often) the choice is one of panic, rather than a true consideration of the decision. It seems very, very wrong to me that it takes less time and paperwork to get a gun than to kill a child or that I can't get in to see a doctor when I've got bronchitis for at least a week, but I could get an abortion within 2 days. But, a waiting period or application process for an abortion is completely unacceptable to both the pro-life and pro-choice extremes. The religiously motivated could never agree to a compromise position, because "it's still wrong," even though such a compromise would probably see a drastic reduction in abortions. For pro-choice, modifiying the choice even a little (even if insuring that the person is making the right choice for themselves and not doing something they might regret) is one step towards the slippery slope that could revoke a woman's choice.

I think that's true for the "meat" debate as well. I think a compromise position would accomplish a lot more, and yet I fully understand why compromise is unacceptable to those on both ends of the argument.


Is there a solution? Maybe not, but I think that one way I can make a difference is showing people options, and my reasoning (and admitting it is as flawed as any other human being's). I like proving to the hard-core "carnivores" that they can save money and eat healthier (the kills and wastes fewer animals argument, really doesn't come up) by making great low-meat meals. I enjoyed sharing my great lunch find with my TOPS group (virtually all of which are typical midwestern meat and dairy lovers), and explaining that the meals were vegan - and what that meant.

I don't know how many people are, like me, "in the middle" of this debate, because we really usually only hear the extremes. People in the middle, are generally despised as "fence sitters," people who are refusing to take a position, rather than people with a position of their own. That's a shame, because the moderate position is a "real" position. I'm not "wishy-washy." I know what I believe and why. It is frustrating to be in the middle, because you "get it from both ends" in a sense. Ah, but who said any of this is ever easy.
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Old 07-18-2008, 04:20 PM   #125
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kaplods - (As much as some vegans hate it) I think the Omnivore's Dilemma and other similar books have brought up the idea of compromise. The compromise involving actually KNOWING where our food comes from and making better choices. The current situation is deadly not only to the animals but to ourselves, the environment and also vegetable crops. Look at the rise of salmonella and e. coli being encountered in vegetables. It is because we have poisoned our farm animals who poison the earth where we grow our vegetables. It is crazy. Something will need to be done. As I said before, I do have hope for ourselves and the animals. I think people will make better choices which includes finding better sources of meat and reducing animal product consumption overall.

I went to a vegan diet due to health concerns, not animal rights but I have learned quite a bit about the animal rights concerns. I would recommend anyone read "The China Study" as well as "Eat to Live" to learn about the health concerns related to eating animal products. They are insightful for understanding the disease that we encounter and possible ways to be healthier through the food choices we eat.

I would also say I love the food I eat. I did try meat a couple months after giving it up and I thought it tasted gross. The foods I eat are flavorful and wonderful. I look forward to eating the variety of foods I do eat. I don't have to worry about 'meat juice' when cooking or not being able to taste the broth in my soup because it has raw meat in it. I really do wish I had made this change many years ago. I know many may feel it is restrictive to not eat meat or to not eat as much meat but I have found it very liberating and enjoyable.
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Old 07-18-2008, 06:03 PM   #126
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It's hard to get people outside their comfort zones. I was raised in a family more open minded than many, and yet I am still the VERY black sheep, and I hardly consider myself bohemian. I bought some flavored nori strips at a wonderful gourmet shop in Bloomington, IL (called World Gourmet Foods). On Saturday afternoons they have open house tastings, and I've never been able to get my folks to go there. They live within a few miles and are completely missing out (they don't think so, because they "don't like that weird sh****").

Anyway, I was snacking on them, and my mom asked to try one (this was a breakthrough for her, actually) but she not only spit it out - she wiped her tongue). I started laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants. I mean, I understand she didn't like it, but wiping her tongue?" I don't know why it just struck me as funny.

It just seems crazy that in a world where endless variety is available, people seem to be getting pickier rather than more flexible in their eating habits. I just don't get it.

My parents would eat Indian food, but my dad was getting sick from it. Now the unfamiliar spices and the fact that he was eating to bursting and eating ALOT more vegetables didn't factor in his reasoning as to why it was making him sick. Now he thinks that they put "dope" in the food (or at any rate "bad" stuff), and won't eat indian anymore. I don't know, I think maybe he's going senile, I don't remember him being that bigoted when I was a kid.

It's amazing how very different people's perspectives and opinions can be, and being able to talk about it stretches a person's mind and heart I think. Too often we're so afraid of offending and being offended that we just keep our mouths shut and our opinions to ourself, and don't want to hear anyone else's opinions either. Makes for a very tiny world. I like a bigger world, a much bigger world, and I'd rather disagree with people and learn what they think than suggest that we try to keep our mouths shut and just avoid each other.
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Old 07-18-2008, 07:07 PM   #127
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It's amazing how very different people's perspectives and opinions can be, and being able to talk about it stretches a person's mind and heart I think. Too often we're so afraid of offending and being offended that we just keep our mouths shut and our opinions to ourself, and don't want to hear anyone else's opinions either. Makes for a very tiny world. I like a bigger world, a much bigger world, and I'd rather disagree with people and learn what they think than suggest that we try to keep our mouths shut and just avoid each other.


Amen, sister!
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Old 07-21-2008, 04:44 PM   #128
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You know I actually thought of this thread this weekend (isn't that sad?).

I went out to a vegan restaurant which actually has vegetarian in the name of the restaurant. The restaurant offers a variety of wannabe meats (that are really good) such as duck, chicken, beef, pork, tuna and interesting things such as a whole fish fillet and soft shell crab. I'm amazed at their dishes honestly and although I generally stay away from the fake meats, they are really good. Anyway, a small group of people came in and at least one person hadn't been to the restaurant before and another person was explaining that even though there are meat dishes on the menu, they are vegetarian substitutes as it is a vegetarian restaurant. The person thought that the seafood was actually seafood though and the person had to explain a couple times that no, its vegetarian and thus it is made of plant based items to create something fish like.

As a side note, I also reflected in that I know of 2 restaurants with vegetarian in the name and they both are vegan. I just thought it was something interesting. Partially because vegetarian is probably a familiar term and may already be a stretch for many. Vegan? That is just crazy
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:30 PM   #129
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I've been told that in the USA, the term "vegetarian" was originally meant to apply only to what we now call vegan (and then later was called "strict vegetarianism" before the term vegan was coined).

I think that the original "vegetarians" probably felt much the same about the term vegan as some vegans and vegetarians feel about "flexitarian," and the debate we're having now.

I think as more people care about what they eat, there will probably be more and more terms coined as people try to communicate their dietary viewpoint especially as it applies to getting their needs met in restaurants and social dining situations (I think with family, we're all able to duke it out, with varying degrees of success and level of explanation, on our own).

But as to people not "getting" that the vegetarian restaurant had "no meat in the meat," I think it's a constant amazement to me how easily people are confused in any slightly unfamiliar situation.

For example the thai/hmong restaurant that my husband and I love inhabits a building that has "always" (at least the last 10 to 15 years) been a family restaurant (fried fish on friday, breakfast all day, and apparently cinammon rolls). It's changed hands almost every year, but the menu has remained pretty much unchanged no matter who the owner.

When the hmong couple bought the restaurant, they put up signage that made it very clear that the new restaurant was asian. Sy-am Garden. Anyone who knows that Thailand was Siam, should know to expect thai food. Anyone who doesn't know that, should still be able to at least recognize that the restaurant is asian, by the huge picture of a bowl and chopsticks on the sign. If they're still not sure, when they enter the restaurant, the smell of southeast asian spices (green onion, ginger, galangal, cilantro) and the thai artwork on the walls SHOULD tip them off as to the nature of the restaurant.

When they first opened they had problems with customers coming and and expecting the "old" menu (the same menu that could obviously never support a successful restaurant, considering the owners changed every year). One lady complained (very, very angrily) that she couldn't get the cinammon roll she'd "always" gotten there (yeah, when it was a different restaurant). We saw ladies come in, sit down, look over the menu... and we asked if they'd ever been there before, and they said no, and we told them that everything we had tried on the menu was fabulous... and the told us they'd come in for mushroom cheeseburgers, and left annoyed that the menu didn't contain mushroom cheeseburgers (in an obviously southeast asian restaurant?!).

We thought that the odd confusion people were having would have died down by now (the restaurant has been open five months now), but the owners say they are still having problems with customers being angry about the menu and items that aren't made "right" (because the thai ginger chicken is different than "chinese" ginger chicken they're used to). Thai spring rolls are soft (and super yummy) with fresh/raw veggies. Chinese spring rolls are deep fried - even though the explain this to everyone who orders them (they're just now realizing that I don't need the explanation because I've ordered them enough), there are still people who complain when they get them that they're not "crunchy" on the outside or "cooked" inside, so obviously the people are ignoring EVERYTHING that their server says to them, when they explained the dish.

It makes you wonder what is going on between some people's ears.
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:06 AM   #130
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At your suggestion I watched "Earthlings" tonight. I haven't processed everything I saw yet- but I do get the feeling that everything is ruined forever. And I think I'm okay with that.

I think the key with anything you do in life- is to educate yourself as much as you can. I want to make an educated decision whether or not to go to Mcdonalds and have a big mac - will I want that now that I've seen that most of the meat sent to them comes from dairy cows that have dropped dead on the job? Perhaps not...

To say the least- I will definitely be more conscientious of my purchases and consumption. This thread has been enlightening and I have enjoyed it a lot.

Nelie- I think you're right on the vegetarian/vegan restaurants. I wonder if the general population thinks of wheat grass and mystery foods when they think of Vegan and just think of veggies and grains when they think of Vegetarian.

kaplods - your post was very thought-provoking. i am generally a middle-road fence sitter on many issues that come up. i am starting to think that might not be a bad place to me. everyone has to meet in the middle or never meet at all, really.
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Old 07-26-2008, 12:30 AM   #131
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aww- i don't wanna be the tread killer!

Well if I did kill the thread- I guess thanks for a great read and giving one on the fencer a lot to consider! This thread and that documentary were definitely an eye opener for me anyway.
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Old 07-26-2008, 10:47 AM   #132
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I remember watching Earthlings. I couldn't watch it all the way through. That's usually how I am when it comes to animal suffering. I know it exists and I can't stand it. I remember watching a hidden camera at a fur farm and crying for three days straight because the animal was still alive after it was skinned.

And my family wonders why I refuse to eat meat or wear anything that was ripped off an animal's body. (sorry that sounded so graphic)
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:22 AM   #133
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But I think for a lot of people, it's simply the quickest way of describing the food they eat. ****, if given a choice I sometimes tick 'vegetarian' on menus for things, simply because I love ALL vegetables, but with meat I can be a bit funny.
Precisely! Given the peculiarities of what I eat, when it comes to menus at events or friends wanting to know what to cook, etc., it's sometimes easier to just say vegetarian, even though I normally do eat chicken and some fish.

My parents don't eat red meat, so I don't eat red meat. (I tried a hamburger once when I was 8-it made me ill. That was my sole experience!) I don't eat pork, bacon, etc. thanks to growing up in a kosher household, and I don't eat shellfish for the same reason. I pretty much eat a vegetarian diet with chicken and some flaky white fishes thrown in. Do I call myself a vegetarian in normal life? No. But again, at times, it's easier to ask for the vegetarian option or menu than to go through all the exceptions to my diet. :P
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:47 AM   #134
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I pretty much eat a vegetarian diet with chicken and some flaky white fishes thrown in. Do I call myself a vegetarian in normal life? No. But again, at times, it's easier to ask for the vegetarian option or menu than to go through all the exceptions to my diet. :P
That's great and I'm happy for you but you can easily just ask for non-meat, chicken or fish dinner rather then mucking up the definition!
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:59 AM   #135
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That's great and I'm happy for you but you can easily just ask for non-meat, chicken or fish dinner rather then mucking up the definition!
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