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10:36 AM on 03/23/2012
How do vegans eat a complete diet without resorting to nonlocal, industrial foods? In my view, the biggest source of unethical behaviors around food production isn't eating meat, but eating industrial foods. Talking about meat eating is a distraction when the real question is how food, any food whether meat or veg, is produced, distributed, and marketed.
11:03 AM on 03/23/2012
Good point SparkyButcher. Industrial chemical ag with GMO's is vegan. Organic ag uses animal inputs. In fact, animal inputs are essential to every major form of sustainable ag.

That is why the most infamous pro-GMO, anti-local, anti-eco-ag Monsanto shill on the planet, James McWilliams, is a vegan. He knows that virtually all of the commercially grown plant foods in the world are either grown with animal inputs (organic ag) or toxic and completely unsustainable chemical inputs, largely derived from petrochemicals (industrial ag).

An end to animals in agriculture would mean the end to every major form of sustainable agriculture, and it would be an environmental disaster. Unfortunately, most vegans and vegetarians have absolutely no understanding of that fact. They even cite the arguments of McWilliams, as the head of our local PeTA chapter often does, with no understanding that they are citing the most infamous Monsanto shill on the planet, who is particularly known for his rants against localism.
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sabelmouse
i love to tumble , ask me why .
01:36 PM on 03/23/2012
i keep asking them that, no answer.
10:30 AM on 03/23/2012
An injection of reality is deeply needed here.... Some of the veg crusaders have accused omnivores of being closed-minded, and one of them has even gone so far as to say that those of us who believe that meat is a healthy, natural food that is an essential part of any truly sustainable food system, are only trying to convert people! Trying to convert people?!? It is absolutely mind-boggling that the outlandish hypocrisy of that was completely lost on the clueless person making that assertion. They have it completely backwards, and that is very easy to prove.

Look at the facts... Essentially, this is a debate between omnivores, who are arguing that people should eat whatever works best for them, and vegetarians and vegans, who are arguing that everyone must eat just as they do, and nothing else is acceptable! Talk about closed-minded! Talk about trying to convert people!

I was a vegetarian for years. As I learned more about the essential importance of animals in every major form of sustainable ag, I changed my ways. Words cannot describe how much better I feel with animal foods in my diet, and it is not the place of anyone else to tell me how I feel. If you feel better without animal foods in your diet, more power to you. All we as omnivores ask for is the same respect.
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blarneydude
I can handle the truth. Now let's talk about you.
10:15 AM on 03/23/2012
Wow! This carnivore (yes I include ANY animal; the rockfish I chowed last night is as much meat as the chorizo on the side) learned another buttress for his position! Cool.

Both make good arguments. But eating local - and curbing global warming - are gonna mean letting people in cold climates eat in the winter. And arugula ain't responsible then. Eskimos can't raise crops.

But I rarely hear people talk about the feelings of plants. Which studies have substantiated; we all know about the screaming uprooted. They're life, aren't they? How is it somehow more "compassionate" to eat a nice, inoffensive Belgian endive than Bossy? We can't access the life of plants, so we mark it alien and OK to kill. Hypocrisy if you ask me.
03:07 PM on 03/23/2012
"How is it somehow more "compassionate" to eat a nice, inoffensive Belgian endive than Bossy? We can't access the life of plants, so we mark it alien and OK to kill. Hypocrisy if you ask me."

They are all just animal-kingdom elitists...

:)
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blarneydude
I can handle the truth. Now let's talk about you.
06:04 PM on 03/23/2012
Life takes life to live.

And without a good dose of dead red Pleistocene obeisance, it ain't livin'.
09:19 AM on 03/23/2012
Daniel Klein is using the statement that "humans have always eaten meat' to convince people that it is natural for humans to eat meat. This statement is untrue as humans were created and designed to live in the garden of Eden and consume only plant-based foods. The human digestive anatomy is that of a herbivore with our intestines being long and convoluted to break down plant fiber and absorb nutrients as opposed the the short and straight intestines of a carnivore. Humans have not always eaten meat. Meat was not eaten until after the flood.
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FaunaAndFlora
Daughter of Pan
01:31 PM on 03/23/2012
You need to put down your Bible and read up on comparative anatomy. You are so wrong.
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elcerritan
My bio is not micro
03:08 PM on 03/23/2012
You give new meaning to the term "vegangelical."
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03:45 PM on 03/23/2012
reinvent every historical interpretation of the Bible, spice it up with some pop culture Buddhism, & add a dash of Kathy Freston articles as evidence,

sounds like quite the budding religion
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wallyone
08:55 AM on 03/23/2012
Most of the anti cattle conventional wisdom is actually agenda-driven propaganda from the folks at the PEW and UN reports. Virtually all beef cattle are grass and hay fed for most of their lives, and so the figures often given for inputs of fossil fuel, well water, environmental degradation, fertilizer, corn, etc. are way overstated. The "hormone and antibiotic treated" stories about our beef supply are simply not true, as all cattle are cleared of residue before consumption. My grassland is way too hilly to cultivate, so grazing keeps my land productive and increases the soil fertility.
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John Lovrich
specializing in diversity
09:09 AM on 03/23/2012
Wally, you make an important point, that cattle, poultry, etc. can forage on land unsuited to cultivation, producing more food than if we all just ate grain.
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elcerritan
My bio is not micro
03:12 PM on 03/23/2012
A lot of the anti-meat crowd have been told this over and over again by some of the other people posting here (including me) but they just won't hear it. They repeatedly show that they know so little (in most cases *nothing*) about beef production that their comments actually make me laugh out loud sometimes.
08:53 AM on 03/23/2012
Mr. Klien's arguments don't work because of the sheer numbers of humans on the planet. Even if we all ate only a little meat, there are simply too many people. And eating wild animals to 'manage' them because they are invasive species? Do you know how many people are on this planet? /This cannot be a serious argument. The only invasive species that needs management is human beings.
09:23 AM on 03/23/2012
Amen!
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GODSWILLFIRST
The truth is always the strongest... ~ Sophocles
01:27 PM on 03/23/2012
You are correct. Oppression and greed destroys everything.

"The truth is the truth and a lie is a lie and the two shall never know each other." ~
Anonymous
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ottabox
What would coyote do?
08:19 AM on 03/23/2012
Consumers looking to promote change would have a bigger impact on food production if they ended their meat consumption. The tactic of grass-fed meat folks is going to only have a marginal impact. Now if, let's say, 20% percent of the population went vegetarian you would have a dramatic consciousness raising effect. All levels of food production and preparation would have to change their practices. Grass-fed flies way under the radar in peoples lives. People can wiggle out of it easily. A critical mass of vegetarians would insure dramatic change in food consumption trends. This for me, is the crux of the issue about improving patterns of food production, consumption and individual health.
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FaunaAndFlora
Daughter of Pan
01:55 PM on 03/23/2012
There's a better chance that 20% of the population will begin buying grass-feed meat. It is also easier to eat a sustainable, local diet if grass-fed meat is included. And while a "critical mass" of vegetarians would bring about changes in food consumption, these changes would not improve production, consumption or health.
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elcerritan
My bio is not micro
03:29 PM on 03/23/2012
LOL! You think more people are likely to go completely meat-free than will opt for sustainably and humanely raised meat/eggs/dairy? Please.
jenniferkizzy
zombie chick
04:34 PM on 03/24/2012
grass fed beef is highly expensive how in the world are we supposed too afford it
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leftcoastindy
Where did I put my MOJO
06:48 PM on 03/22/2012
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/is-meat-good-or-bad-for-us-425192.html 2006 study, now they recommend 3 x 3oz per week.

The British Dietetic Association says that up to 90g (3oz) of lean red meat a day (equivalent to a portion of bolognese) is acceptable."
BUT - it causes: bowel cancer, bone leaching, arthritis, Alzheimer's, food poisoning, and breat cancer.
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elcerritan
My bio is not micro
07:10 PM on 03/22/2012
" .... BUT - it causes: bowel cancer, bone leaching, arthritis, Alzheimer's, food poisoning, and breat cancer."

Uh, no, actually it doesn't.
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leftcoastindy
Where did I put my MOJO
07:51 PM on 03/22/2012
Thanks for the huge amount of evidence. lol
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leftcoastindy
Where did I put my MOJO
07:57 PM on 03/22/2012
neither link is real? wow, OK have better things to do than argue with ideological nitwits
08:27 PM on 03/22/2012
Actually leftcoastcindy, none of that has been proven, or anywhere close to proven. Did you know that a vegetarian diet substantially increases your chances of elevated homocysteine, which is a major indicator of heart disease and brain atrophy later in life? Did you know that it substantially increases the risk of low bone density? Did you know that it massively, massively increases your risk of severe B12 deficiency, which is a health nightmare?
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leftcoastindy
Where did I put my MOJO
09:50 PM on 03/22/2012
Eggs, yogurt, vitamins - all have more than enough B-12
Eating meat - without question - is more likely to cause bone density problems
I made a mistake getting on this thread. Bunch of ignorant ideologes who dont care about evidence.
04:42 PM on 03/22/2012
Ingesting the flesh of dead animals is a convenient way to obtain protein, so human beings have developed taste receptors that make it taste good to our palate. Subsequently those who are fond of meat spend a lot of time indulging in mental gymnastics to justify their selfish indulgence as civilized or necessary behavior. However, all their efforts can't transmute this habit into something that truly benefits either human beings, the planet or the sophisticated sentient creatures that we so cruelly slaughter by the hundreds of millions every year.

Meat-eaters have become very skillful at duping themselves and ignoring inconvenient truths.
Meat-eating on the industrial scale required for the present world population results in mountains of excrement polluting the environment. The animals of Smithfield Foods, for example, produce as much fecal matter as the entire human populations of Texas and California.
Farmers give their animals nine time as many antibiotics as humans consume, resulting in drug resistant pathogens.
Most crop growing land and valuable energy resources are wasted on the production of feed for animals destined for the slaughterhouse.
Vegetarians live longer lives, and visit the doctor less often.

The bottom line is that a carnivorous lifestyle imperils both our planet's environment and climate. With a world population of seven billion we can no longer indulge this luxury - never mind the barbaric cruelty of the farm animals' lives and deaths that make us so hard-hearted and stupid.
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FaunaAndFlora
Daughter of Pan
05:46 PM on 03/22/2012
Do yourself a favor. Don't believe everything you read.
06:07 PM on 03/22/2012
Just about every ridiculous vegan talking point rolled into one. Well done.

Back here in reality, there has never been a study showing that mortality rates are better for vegetarians, or that they require less visits to the doctor. That is fabricated nonsense.

Funny that of all things, tigerfisch is arguing that people shouldn't eat meat because of excrement. Virtually all of the commercially grown plant foods in the world are either grown with animal inputs such as that excrement (organic ag) or toxic and completely unsustainable chemical inputs (industrial ag).

No doubt, it would be a very good thing for us to stop feeding so much grain to ruminants, but that is not an argument against meat, just farming practices.

Only people who don't know that we are omnivores refer to meat eaters as carnivores.

More than a million creatures can live on a single acre of perennial grassland. When that acre is plowed for rows of the shallow-rooted annuals of plant ag, the ecosystem for all of those creatures is obliterated, with many of them dying absolutely horrific deaths in the process, and the soil vitality and retention is decimated. Conversely, if that same acre is used for sustainable pasturing, the health of the soil, water retention, and biodiversity are actually increased, resulting in a significant gain of life, so any way you slice it, sustainable pasturing harms vastly less creatures than plant ag.
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leftcoastindy
Where did I put my MOJO
07:12 PM on 03/22/2012
Too funny
http://www.wisegeek.com/has-it-been-proven-that-a-vegetarian-diet-is-really-healthier.htm

And from the only websight I can find promoting meat?:
avoid pork, stick with 3oz, look for healthier alternatives. lol
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lrobb
Gold standard = four paws and a tail
03:41 PM on 03/22/2012
I was raised on a ranch on the South Coast of Californian from the late 40's through the 60's. We ran 2500 +/- head of Angus beef way before it was popular. Is this meat ethical? Absolutely.

When grass fed, as ours was, it is far leaner and more healthy for you than regular beef, not to mention it tastes incredibly better. Not to put too fine a point on it, Angus cattle are dumb as a box of rocks. In the hierarchy of viable Earth lifeforms, they are definitely below most other protein on the food chain. (Our dairy cattle looked like Einsteins in comparison.)

Humans are omnivores who need protein and find meat a very attractive source. We're the top of the food chain. Live with it. Having said that, we only need meat in about 4 oz quantities three times a week so, yes, we eat way too much meat as a nation.

My rule is fish, fowl and beef each one time a week--and no pork. I grew up with pigs and know just how intelligent they are. After the third generation they are thoroughly socialized, follow you around like puppies, learn verbal and hand commands just as quickly, and are incredibly affectionate. I would no more eat a pig than I would a cat or dog. Except for their size they would make ideal pets.
I-US
Beware the monsters lurking in word swamps.
03:05 PM on 03/22/2012
We have increased cultivation "from 7 to 40 % in 300 years," according to researchers at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Much of that is used for monocrop production and livestock. It isn't true that livestock are only grazing on land that cannot be used for crop production. It is true that much land degradation, especially in Africa, North America, and China, is caused by poor management of livestock and grazing practices.

Deforestation for grazing cattle and the crops that support them has destroyed ecosystems and led to a loss of abundant, biodiverse species FOREVER. The destruction is unprecedented.

The use of genetically modified crops and designer breeds of livestock are linked in a dangerous web of bioengineering brought to us by companies that not only produce transgenic species but also pharmaceuticals and pesticides that further degrade the human body, our fellow creatures, and the earth we share. This is the reality for the majority of the meat produced in this country.
03:11 PM on 03/22/2012
"Deforestation for grazing cattle and the crops that support them has destroyed ecosystems and led to a loss of abundant, biodiverse species FOREVER."

Yes, and yet it is an infinitesimal percentage of the ecosystems lost to food crops. Conversely, unlike all plant ag, sustainable pasturing actually increases deep root systems, increases soil vitality, and increases the health of the land.
I-US
Beware the monsters lurking in word swamps.
03:18 PM on 03/22/2012
"During the 1990s, the portion of the globe covered by forests shrank by an estimated 94 000 square kilometres a year, an area roughly the size of Portugal. Most of the land that was cleared and burned was converted to growing crops and grazing livestock. In Latin America, in particular, most of the deforested land ended up as pasture used to raise cattle in extensive grazing systems."

"A substantial and increasing share of deforested cropland is also dedicated to expanding livestock production through intensive, large-scale production of soybeans and other feed crops. Between 1994 and 2004, land area devoted to growing soybeans in Latin America more than doubled to 39 million ha, making it the largest area for a single crop, far above maize, which ranks second at 28 million ha. This trend has been driven mainly by the sharp increase in demand for livestock products, which led to a tripling of global meat production between 1980 and 2002. Most of this increased production came from large-scale, intensive livestock operations in China and other East Asian countries, where land scarcity has led producers to rely increasingly on imported feed. This demand for feed, combined with other factors, has triggered increased production and exports of feed from countries like Brazil where land is relatively abundant, partly as a result of deforestation."

ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a0262e/a0262e00.pdf
05:40 PM on 03/22/2012
Now that is truly a perfect example of how when a person such as I-US, who doesn't know the first thing about agriculture, googles in place of knowledge, then posts out of context snippets, the results can be genuinely hilarious.

Clearly I-US does not even understand that the report that she was citing suggests a change in pasturing practices, not the elimination of pasturing!

In fact, the paper goes on to talk about how when done right, pasturing sequesters carbon, increases soil vitality, increases biodiversity and wildlife habitat, increases soil retention, improves watersheds, and improves soil productivity!!!!!!!
I-US
Beware the monsters lurking in word swamps.
06:08 PM on 03/22/2012
Of course, one could actually read the entirety of the piece and learn that the authors find the destruction abhorrent but recognizing that human consumption trends reflect a lack of awareness on the part of many of how their consumption affects the planet, they attempt to offer policies that will forestall what they know will be the end-product of current practices--"eroded wastelands."
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FaunaAndFlora
Daughter of Pan
01:39 PM on 03/22/2012
It's too bad this debate is being led by activists and not scientists or farmers who have hands-on experience. As activists, both Kanner and Klein are ignoring a few facts.

Fact...
37% of the land is used to produce food and textiles. Just 11% can support large-scale crop production. The rest can only be used to raise livestock.

Fact...
Most arable land can't support crop production all year long. That's why roughly 70% of the produce in American grocery stores are grown in California, using irrigation systems that deposit salt and toxic levels of selenium on the land. The only way to pollinate these crops when they flower is to fly in bees from Maine, Georgia or even as far away as Australia. This is not sustainable.

Fact...
Crops can't be grown without destroying habitat and killing billions of animals in the process. There are ways to raise livestock that improve habitat by building topsoils, recharging watersheds and increasing biological diversity.

There is very little evidence that a vegan or vegetarian diet is healthy, sustainable or results in fewer deaths than a diet that includes meat, eggs and dairy from pastured animals. In my opinion, a sustainable diet is based on staples that can be grown locally. For some, it may mean eating less meat. For others, it may mean eating more. For most it will mean eating fewer fresh fruits and veggies in winter. It may even mean eating fewer grains and more nuts.
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lrobb
Gold standard = four paws and a tail
04:46 PM on 03/22/2012
Reality is always a hard sell. Even Wal Mart now carries strawberries from southern Mexico in January.
01:05 PM on 03/22/2012
Here is a particularly pertinent study, by professor Mike Archer of the Evolution of Earth and Life Systems Research Group at the University of New South Wales. The study found that in the process of growing grains, at least 25 times more sentient animals are killed per kilogram of useable protein, than there are in the process of pasturing ruminants. The study also found that there was a great deal more animal cruelty in growing grains compared to farming meat. So if you are a vegetarian, there is significantly more blood on your hands than those of pastured meat eaters:

http://theconversation.edu.au/ordering-the-vegetarian-meal-theres-more-animal-blood-on-your-hands-4659?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=tweetbutton&utm_campaign=article-top
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leftcoastindy
Where did I put my MOJO
01:28 PM on 03/22/2012
That is a rediculous article. I would have to have numerous back up evidence for each point made.
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elcerritan
My bio is not micro
01:32 PM on 03/22/2012
If you were actually involved in farming, you'd have plenty of empirical evidence at your finger tips to know that the information in this article is true, at least in general terms, although I don't know how precise the "at least 20 times more" figure is.
I-US
Beware the monsters lurking in word swamps.
02:34 PM on 03/22/2012
Yes, leftcoastindy, you are right. That opinion piece is one of the most poorly constructed, researched, and argued pieces that I have seen in a long time. It's laughable that people continue to link to it here thinking that is done anything but prove how incoherent the arguments in favor of meat eating eventually become.
01:55 PM on 03/22/2012
This post would be high comedy if there weren't so many gullible people who'd like to believe this nonsense, in order to justify their appetite for eating the flesh of their fellow creatures.
As every sensible person knows - or should know - the majority of the grain grown in the USA is destined to be consumed by beef cattle raised for the slaughterhouse.
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FaunaAndFlora
Daughter of Pan
06:59 PM on 03/22/2012
Most people don't know much about food production, be they sensible or otherwise. First, most of the "grains" that are fed to livestock are the byproducts of vegetable oil and ethanol production or comprised of the parts of the plants (hulls) that humans can't eat. Second, most livestock feed is used for dairy animals and to raise hogs and poultry. Beef cattle do 99% of their growth on pasture and hay.
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elcerritan
My bio is not micro
07:04 PM on 03/22/2012
LOL! You have just revealed yourself to be completely ill-informed about beef production, so feel free to leave this discussion any time before you embarrass yourself further.
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lrobb
Gold standard = four paws and a tail
12:46 PM on 03/22/2012
Humans are omnivores. We are hardwired to view meat as necessary protein. Yes, we now eat way too much of it for the optimal health benefit, but that is way different from becoming vegetarian.

Moderation in everything usually works pretty well.
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leftcoastindy
Where did I put my MOJO
01:32 PM on 03/22/2012
And yet it is in no way neccessary. But I do agree with the moderation thing. Health experts say 3 servings a week. That works for me (in my case fish).
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lrobb
Gold standard = four paws and a tail
02:09 PM on 03/22/2012
Absolutely. The three meat days is just about what your body needs. We eat fish, fowl and beef each once a week. We do not eat pork, even though we come from serious barbecue land.

I was raised on a ranch, and pigs are both intelligent and easy to socialize. If they have known you since they were born, they will follow you around like puppies and respond to spoken commands amazingly well. They are also extremely affectionate when second or third generation socialized.

I would no more eat a pig than I would a dog or cat. More people should learn about them.
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GODSWILLFIRST
The truth is always the strongest... ~ Sophocles
06:34 PM on 03/22/2012
"We are hardwired to view meat as necessary protein."

I totally disagree. It's that we're culturally hardwired to eat certain meats to be exact. Meat was once an absolute necessity; the times were desperate, the measures were drastic. People once ate other people, too, but thankfully that practice came to an end. Nowadays, eating meat is a habit/tradition; it’s simply a way of life. Not too much thought actually goes into the process.

"I would no more eat a pig than I would a dog or cat."

I absolutely agree. I think selective compassion is ridiculous, discriminatory by nature anyway. We tend to learn so much more about an animal when we don’t intend to eat him/her in the end. I'm sure the same thing came to light once humans stopped eating members of different tribes
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FaunaAndFlora
Daughter of Pan
09:30 PM on 03/22/2012
You practice selective compassion too. Oh, and your knowledge of anthropology is rather limited.
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GODSWILLFIRST
The truth is always the strongest... ~ Sophocles
05:46 PM on 03/23/2012
FaunaAndFlora: "That's the best you can do? LOL!!!...You are more concerned about the animals raised for meat than you are the animals that die when their habitat is destroyed for the purpose of growing crops. That's selective compassion."

Translation: I'm really desperate now; I have absolutely nothing to offer but smoke and mirrors. Sadly, you couldn't care less about all those poor little animals killed in crop production. You kill them with such regularity that the meaning of saving a life is absolutely pointless. And even if we were to come up with much better solutions to greatly minimize deaths (which is highly possible in the future), for the love of meat you’d still come up with something else over and over and over again.

All you care about is you and your attitude will never help; it only serves to cause a distraction on purpose.

Quite frankly, your concept of compassion is too twisted to be true.
10:37 AM on 03/22/2012
I'd like to see a whole series of these, the next "How Ethical" should be, "How Ethical is it to continue to develop farmland while letting our urban areas decay", then maybe "How Ethical is it to continue to take farmland out of production by putting it in the conservation reserve program so wealthy investors can let the government pay for their investment in land".
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lrobb
Gold standard = four paws and a tail
04:49 PM on 03/22/2012
How ethical is it to protect the Delta Smelt when you take 20% of an area's farms out of use?
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02:24 PM on 03/23/2012
It ain't the smelt they're protecting, it's the right of cities surrounding the delta to continue to use the delta as their sewer. Need lot's of fresh water to dilute that stuff, even if treated.

70,000 acre feet of water from Friant dam released for salmon "reintroduction", that have no physical way yet of getting within 60 miles of that dam. Diversion & flood control dams downstream still need to be removed even though millions have been spent on "studies", let alone a plan to get the fish up & over Friant dam to ancient Sierra Nevada spawning grounds. Whether Californian's agree with the salmon reintroduction plan or not, it is fact that it will be many years before it can even become reality. So why release that water for salmon that can't use it in the mean time? Answer, this is all a rouse to free up water to trade on the open market. Somebody's trying to make a lot of money here, under the guise of so called environmentalism.