The Movement

As Michael Pollan points out in his book, Omnivore’s Dilemma, “eating meat has become morally problematic… Vegetarianism is more popular than it has ever been, and animal rights, the fringiest of fringe movements until just a few years ago , is rapidly finding its way into the cultural mainstream.”

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larger % of people India are vegetarian due to economic and religious circumstances

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Main Reasons for the Shift According to Vegetarians:
-53% claimed “improve overall health”
-25% answered weight loss/maintenance
47 % claimed environmental concerns
-31% claimed food safety concerns.
54% answered animal welfare

Pollan addresses the animal welfare and environmental concerns, claiming,
“killing animals is probably unavoidable no matter what we choose to eat.”

Pollan’s Points
– total # of animals killed/year wouldn’t necessarily decline
– can not practice sustainable agriculture without animals to cycle nutrients
– greater dependence on fossil fuels for farther food transportation
– more dependence on chemical fertilizers from shortage of manure

So… What’s the Hope for Vegetarians?
– moral support for animals
– push to moderate, not eliminate, consumption
– contribute to revolutionizing the meat industry and it’s practices
– push to seize tail docking, sowcrates, beak clipping
– If we broke down the meat industry, “meat would get more expensive. We’d probably eat a lot less of it, too, but maybe when we did eat animals we’d eat them with the consciousness, ceremony, and respect they deserve.” – Michael Pollan

What other valid points can one argue for going Vegetarian?

Vegetarian/Vegan Celebrities: Russell Brand, Bill Clinton, Natalie Portman, Mike Tyson, Pamela Anderson, Tobey Maguire, Kristen Bell, Chris Martin, Milo Ventimiglia, Ellen DeGeneres, Olivia Wilde, Alec Baldwin, Leona Lewis, Paul McCartney, Carrie Underwood, Anne Hathaway, Brad Pitt, Kate WinsletLea Michele, more!

My Veggie Meals

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7 thoughts on “The Movement

  1. I respect vegans/vegetarians very much. Whether the reason of becoming one is to get fit and healthy or for ethical reasons, the strong commitment to the belief is applaudable and, for me, unimaginable. Although my vegetarian friends tell me it’s really easy to accomplish, I really don’t think I can stick with it. Also, the two graphs you put on this blog entry is interesting because they display how culture and religion (cattle are considered sacred in most Indian religions) can influence what people eat.
    Although the idea of vegetarianism seems to be completely harmless and positive, it’s surprising to see how it can have a negative impact on the food market and environment. WIthout the raising of animals on farms, it is true that sustainable agricultural activities cannot be practiced due to the lack of their cycle nutrients, including their manure for fertilizing purposes. This is why the food industry is complicated; producers (ex. farms) can never get everything that they want. Although they have to promote healthy and more “vegetarian”-like products, they know that by doing so they will decrease the production of meat, which can lead to a decrease in the production of their agricultural crops.
    By the way, your veggie meals look delicious! And I never would have imagined that Mike Tyson was a vegan (just from looking at his physical appearance and because he has bitten a person’s ear before…)

  2. I could never be a vegetarian. Even if I read about cow’s gruesome deaths in many industrialized farm settings. Or watch youtube videos about cute pigs; one in particular saved a goat from drowning, another was a cute baby pig born with two legs and walking around with a custom made wheelchair. Or read about how baby chicks are good at math. The last quote in particular, caused me gut-wrenching guilt about my dinner “If we broke down the meat industry, “meat would get more expensive. We’d probably eat a lot less of it, too, but maybe when we did eat animals we’d eat them with the consciousness, ceremony, and respect they deserve.” What if the pigs, cows, chickens, and fishes I had eaten over my lifetime had dreams about their futures, had their babies taken away from them without getting to know or even touch their babies, or just was subjected to a life of misery ended with a merciless death? The industrial food complex enabled cheap meat for all, because before meat was a luxury only served for the rich and powerful. The industrial food complex allowed for meat growers to specialize in quickly creating and ending life without any consequences. Millions if not billion of lives created living an utterly meaningless purpose- created only for human consumption. If people who abuse or even kill cats, dogs, basically any animal that human society deem morally unfit to eat get jail time for their actions, and yet there is a bill pushed by state legislators in the United States to make investigation of farm animal abuse more difficult. One way of teaching empathy is by encouraging people to humanize. Why shouldn’t we apply this to animals? WE could animalize our meat situation. Our common meat sources such as pigs, chickens, cows, fish have feelings too. They feel pain, sadness, anger, and frustration from their situations. They also feel happiness, joy, wonder, curiosity, enlightenment. Dogs should be treated just the same as pigs. Cats treated the same as chickens. But of course I contradict myself by eating meat.

    It is true that I take meat for granted at times, and in this fast paced society I don’t have time to appreciate the animals sacrificed for my meal. Fortunately for vegetarians and animal lovers alike, modern technology saves the day. Scientists are working to grow meat in labs to feed more people and to please animal lovers. So instead of killing animals to obtain meat, we can now potentially grow parts of animals without creating life. (This same technology might potentially grow human limbs and parts). Of course many consumers have problems with genetically modified food and the technology is still primitive. However someday, I know that I will be able to eat meat and not feel bad about it. Until then I will cut my meat consumption and be more appreciative about where my meal comes from.

    • That’s very interesting. I didn’t know they are experimenting with growing parts of animals. I’m not sure which sounds more disturbing though, slaughtering animals for meat, or growing artificial limbs to eat. I think I would rather eat the real animal. I know it sounds bad, but it’s easy for me to just look away and not care about the animal’s feelings because of how removed I am from the whole slaughter process. Also, I believe in maintaining the balance of the Circle of Life as they portray it in Lion King. My main motive for going vegetarian wasn’t necessarily for the sake of the animals but for a sense of balance in our natural environment and life.

      • Hmm that’s an interesting argument. I would argue that since we are so removed from the slaughtering process eating artificial grown meat isn’t that really far off compared to slaughtering the animal. Especially as a little kid, I just thought of meat as meat, I never contemplated the origins of the meat or how much energy or time it took for an animal to grow. I could still see why some people would be grossed out by the notion of artificial grown meat though- it’s just not natural. I think artificially grown meat will be a viable solution because growing animals for meat for 7 billion plus people will not be sustainable in the future.

  3. I am trying to be a vegetarian, but maybe not an absolute one. I will try to minimize my intake of meat and increase that of vegetables and fruits. At first, I made this decision solely for the reason of weight loss. But later, as I took this course and knew that eating less meat will help to reduce my carbon footprint and to protect the environment, I became more firmly about being a vegetarian and to reduce the consumption of meat, because raising cattle is far more difficult than growing crops, though I still consume seafood and fish sometimes. I really think that the little tomatoes, red beans, and the corns are very delicious!

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