WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.—There are mornings when Susie Coston, walking up to the gate of this bucolic farm in her rubber boots, finds crates of pigs, sheep, chickens, goats, geese or turkeys on the dirt road. Sometimes there are notes with the crates letting her know that the animals are sick or injured. The animals, often barely able to stand when taken from the crates, have been rescued from huge industrial or factory farms by activists.
The future is vegan with meat free meat?
"The ability to efficiently create meat, or something sufficiently meat-like, will become progressively more important in coming years because humanity may be reaching a point when there’s not enough animal protein to go around….
In other words, the planet needs to rethink how it gets its meat. Brown is addressing the issue by supplying a near-perfect meat analogue, but he is not alone in reinventing animal products. Just across town, Modern Meadow uses 3-D printers and tissue engineering to grow meat in a lab. The company already has a refrigerator full of lab-grown beef and pork; in fact, the company’s co-founder, Gabor Forgacs, fried and ate a piece of engineered pork onstage at a 2011 TED talk. Another scientist, Mark Post at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, is also using tissue engineering to produce meat in a lab. In August, he served an entire lab-grown burger to two diners on a London stage as a curious but skeptical crowd looked on.”
Eat meat and fight aging?
A fascinating paper published in the journal “Mechanisms of Ageing and Development” showed that those who avoid eating beef suffer a deficiency of the nutrient carnosine (β-alanyl-histidine) which is critical to preventing lethal protein glycation reactions in the body. Carnosine has been shown to rejuvenate connective tissue cells which may explain its beneficial effects on wound healing. Damaged proteins accumulate and cross-link in the skin, causing wrinkles and loss of elasticity; “it is suggested that carnosine-rich diets could become increasingly important in old age” and “could be important in age-related neuropathology as Ahmed et al. (2005) have recently reported an association between Alzheimer’s disease and raised levels of protein glycation products in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).‘’ http://goo.gl/tgmz2Z
Carnosine is the most promising broad-spectrum shield against “protein carbonyl stress, AGE formation, secondary diabetic complications and age-related neuropathology”. The way to get carnosine is by eating meat.
The debate about the healthiness of vegan and vegetarian diets is far from over. It does take extra care to get the nutrients and vitamins that animal products so easily provide and is often more expensive. There was a time when our ancestors survived in the wild through scavenging. We thus developed as hunter gatherer omnivores eating whatever was available. Veganism, or even the easier vegetarianism, is unappealing to most particularly if most of one’s day is spent working hard making a living. For most vegan/vegetarian is just too much bother.
Julia Child who died at 92 said: "Eat everything! But just a little bit.” Eating "just a little bit" might be a good idea in the sea of toxins we live in. The longest living lab rodents have been those that were the least fed. I’m glad I don't eat that much of anything anymore including meat.
Robots will eventually rule?
Many theorists believe that artificial intelligence will ultimately replace organic intelligence so that even plants won’t suffer from being slaughtered and eaten? If we define consciousness “as the state of being awake and aware of one’s environment—‘online,' as the neuroscientists say—then plants may qualify as conscious beings… plants hold the key to a future that will be organized around systems and technologies that are networked, decentralized, modular, reiterated, redundant—and green, able to nourish themselves on light. 'Plants are the great symbol of modernity.’” http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/12/23/the-intelligent-plant
I'm glad to see more attention given to this issue. Greenwald's piece was also very timely.
For all the reasons listed above, the animal industrial system cannot endure. It is destroying the planet, destroying the beings that end up in it's pipeline and we are unwittingly being destroyed morally and physically by participating. I commend those who stand up to it's viciousness and risk life and limb. They are heroes.
And I do believe as with all things, as Baur said, you do have to meet people where they are. Now as concern over this degradation of our food system and life on earth in general becomes more widely known, we each need to do what we can to lessen the suffering for the earth, the animals and ourselves. For me, that meant going vegan after a life of mostly being vegetarian. Buy in where you are able.
Great to read your post. Thank you. The entire creation is consciousness as far as I'm concerned - and I'm in constant struggle with and shedding of externally imposed and subtly assimilated cultural retardation from a colonizing conceptual imprisonment. I do not say this lightly.
When I think about it, 'culture' is the agreement of the 'identifying' (in all its implications) group on what is not accepted and how that is to be 'lived'. Current westernized (colonizing) culture is claiming that is based on acquisition and extraction at whatever cost, while that systematization is based on legacy 'externalization' ('don't even think about it or all that is falsely sacrificed'). This is now meeting the reality of life as information, again in all its forms both manifest and that can be imagined in the numinal, which ultimately is the shaping of comes into being, manifests and returns to the balances of the numinal.
Seems to me that celebration of this is our next greatest frontier of inclusion, humility, love and equilibrium. So much of what has been deemed 'externalizable' on economic spreadsheet idolatry is actual essential, the missing ingredients so longed for in actually coming into the state of homo sapiens sapiens (aware of being aware) out of what I coin as homo dementia dementia (unaware of being unaware).
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Your arguments that plants may qualify as conscious beings are designed to make it look like that killing a cow and killing a carrot are the same thing. Plants have no central nervous system and no brain and therefore science says that they are not capable of feeling pain and are therefore not sentient beings. If vegetarianism causes slow healing of wounds, I wonder why my wounds always heal quickly. If vegetarianism causes faces to wrinkle, I will take that over the heart attacks and cancers caused by a meat diet. It never ceases to amaze me that whenever articles like this are published in CD, meat eaters still manage to come up with ludicrous arguments in an effort to dismiss the article. Chris Hedges has performed a great public service in this and many others of his articles. I am also happy to see that at least one other vegetarian has applauded this article. May at least one meat eater out there wake up.
Sorry, but I do not agree with the premise of the article that humans should go vegan flat-out and that efforts to promote compassionate care of animals intended for food are without value. Most people like to eat meat--that will not change. Laying a guilt trip on them will only make them more committed to eating meat.
I will eat chickens raised responsibly, bison allowed to forage on grass, venison, Canada geese, wild salmon, pigs raised in small populations on small farms, and so on. Life is suffering, whether chickens get their heads clipped off or die of disease in old age. No one can change that fact. It is perfectly fine to eat a diet consisting mainly of plants but with small amount of meat. Humans have done that for tens of thousands of years.
And vegetarianism causes aging? Why, then, do vegetarians outlive meat eaters? And why do they have much lower medical costs than meat eaters? Why do they have lower blood pressure? Why do they have fewer heart attacks? I can hardly believe my eyes when I read a comment arguing that meat is good for you. I am also amazed when the long list of environmental destruction caused by the meat industry is also dismissed.
They are not my arguments but the research as covered by the New Yorker article I linked. From that article "The Intelligent Plant" comes the following:
“If plants are conscious, then, yes, they should feel pain,” he said. “If you don’t feel pain, you ignore danger and you don’t survive. Pain is adaptive.” I must have shown some alarm. “That’s a scary idea,” he acknowledged with a shrug. “We live in a world where we must eat other organisms.”
and more in agreement with you
Lincoln Taiz has little patience for the notion of plant pain, questioning what, in the absence of a brain, would be doing the feeling. He puts it succinctly: “No brain, no pain.” Mancuso is more circumspect. We can never determine with certainty whether plants feel pain or whether their perception of injury is sufficiently like that of animals to be called by the same word. (He and Baluška are careful to write of “plant-specific pain perception.”) “We just don’t know, so we must be silent.”
Of course life is suffering, and of course human beings have been eating animals for thousands of years. However, does that make it OK to continue eating animals when that is no longer necessary? And when very solid science has indicated that eating meat is bad for the environment and promotes global warming? I am happy to see that you at least agree that meat should be consumed in small amounts. The smaller the better, obviously. By the way, there is no such thing as an animal intended for food. Intended by who? Certainly not the animal. Do you have an imaginary friend in the sky who tells you that he created animals so that you could eat them? The life of every animal that you have eaten ended in violence. It is a good thing that you avoid eating animals killed in slaughter houses, but avoiding eating animals killed by violence would be even better. There are many meat substitutes available for sale at any grocery store. Treat yourself to a Burger King veggie burger and then ask yourself if you really need to kill animals in order to enjoy food.
But we know for a fact that animals feel pain. So to argue that it is OK to kill animals for food because plants might also feel pain strikes me as a specious argument. That argument is made by people who want to destroy the vegetarian movement entirely. They have no intention whatsoever to even slightly reduce their meat consumption. I have no problem with people who are trying to cut back on their meat consumption, but find it hard to do so. My complaint is against those who dismiss the vegetarian point of view as being completely worthless, especially when they ignore science and argue that killing a carrot is the moral equivalence of killing a cow. Such utter nonsense!
You forget the question of moderation. Is it diet or other factors such as stress and overweight or do you believe that there are no vegans/vegetarians among the 2/3 of overweight Americans? Again you personalize as the person to argue with is Alan R. Hipkiss and the other researchers at the link I provided. My personal opinion though is that Carnosine is beneficial against aging and, as I don't eat that much meat, I take Carnosine along with my other vitamins.
As to lower blood pressure and heart attacks again you offer an opinion that has been debated and studied but not agreed upon by researchers. I do not disagree with environmental destruction but in our capitalist society only "meatless meat" has a chance at ending it and lowering or even eventually replacing animal meat in the American diet.
I do not consider that "killing a carrot is the moral equivalence of killing a cow" nor do I believe that even those that "have no intention whatsoever to even slightly reduce their meat consumption" believe that. Such defensiveness does more harm to the "vegetarian point of view" than the meat companies. I don't see anyone who denies the importance of vegetables in one's diet. Vegans and vegetarians though argue for the complete elimination of animal meat and it is a legitimate argument. In time if meatless meat becomes just as tasty, nutritious, and especially cheaper than animal meat that's when the "vegetarian point of view" could become a majority view.
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The plebes cannot afford to eat meat because it is bad for the environment, while the oligarchs and the simply rich enjoy their fillet mignons, trophy hunt, pollute the earth, impoverish the public and bribe politicians so they can keep doing it.
I am so glad that attention is being given to the horror that exists on factory farms. This very short documentary enlightens us without making it impossible to watch. It also shows us the great work being done on a farm sanctuary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQyVs38in84
I have never seen an overweight vegan but there are many overweight vegetarians. I am a vegetarian/near vegan but I am 20 pounds overweight. It is my understanding that the link between cholesterol consumption and heart attacks, like the science of evolution, is no longer being debated. The science is also well settled that there is a link between meat consumption and many cancers. The meat industry is like the cigarette industry and is on the wrong side of history. Even the conservative American Medical Association says that meat consumption is a primary factor in the development of prostate cancer, for example.
Meat rich diets definitely would promote high concentrations of cholesterol in the blood. But meat in moderation is not so clearly linked. And then there are heredity factors, fitness and even unwanted chemicals in the food which is why many prefer grass fed animal meat and free range chickens. I wonder how many doctors and members of the American Medical Association are vegans or vegetarians.
"Very solid science" is unlikely to have conflated the consumption of meat with its sources and production practices as thoroughly as we do in our comments; one issue addresses the health benefit/detriment to the human body of meat per se, while the other describes environmental issues, of 'factory farming' in particular, like climate, grain, water, etc. as well as ethical concerns like animal cruelty.
We try to choose foods that are GMO-free, produced under humane conditions, and distributed by fair trade practices - we don't stop buying and eating food. Likewise, we prefer electronics, furniture, etc. produced under humane conditions and free of toxic materials - we don't stop using such products.
(A general comment:) Emotion is important; it gives life color and meaning, but it also can cloud our rational thinking. It needs to be monitored, particularly when it's negative.
... science says that they are not capable of feeling pain ...
No it doesn't. That is like saying that animals don't have wheels so can't move.