May 2008

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Comments

Pandu

Scott,

Your arguments need a little work. All you're proving is that most of your readers are ethically impoverished.

Pandu

Scott,

Your arguments need a little work. All you're proving is that most of your readers are ethically impoverished.

Peh

Well of course I dont salivate at the sight of a cow, but then I dont salivate at the sight of a cucumber either. Now, that isnt to say I don't salivate at the sight of an animal being processed. I distinctly remember being in a small town when I was younger and I closely followed the process of cleaning a pig, satrting from right after it's death(I've tried my hand at cleaning fish but I dont particularly like the taste of fish). Now, watching the pig being prepared for cooking definitely made me start to salivate.

Sebastián

I totally agree with Scott's post, I've always said that meat "packaging" is one of the main things that keep meat-eaters from vomiting what they eat. Also the names given to food play a huge role in hiding what food really is. "Hamburger" sounds less cruel than "tortured, brutally slain and processed cow" (what it really is).

Johno

A few people have said that meat is full of hormones that can move up the food chain.

1) In Australia it has been illegal to give chickens or cattle growth hormones (and even when it was done, it was too expensive to do it generally. It was a technique used to make male chickens develop the more generous meat of female chickens. So more accurately it should be "female hormones" rather than "growth hormones".) since the 1960s. I don't know for sure, but I'll be willing to bet that other countries have similar laws. "Growth promoters" used to be marketed as "antibiotics," but arent; their effects are closer to what we might call "disinfectants", but they are able to be mixed with animal feed. They result in healthier animals, and healthy animals grow larger.

2) Even if hormones were allowed, they are proteins. Proteins denature when heated. Even if they didn't, human and animal proteins are very different, so the chances of a growth hormone that works on a chicken having similar effects on you are very small. Even if they weren't, your stomach breaks proteins down into amino acids during digestion. Snake venom (another hormone) is fatal if injected, but if you swallow it it would actually be mildly good for you (if a disgusting thought!); and hormones are similar in this respect. Doses of hormones for therapeutic use have to be very large and/or protected by a coating so that the drug actually makes it into the bloodstream.

Gibbles

Be a little careful with those raw potatoes..

Drake

I salivate whenever I see an attractive blonde woman with big breasts. Logically, then, I must be a cannibal.

Mayuresh Phadke

Many people seem to prefer Vegetarian diets because they think that Non-Vegetarian diets are cruel to animals.

Actually plants do get killed for Vegetarian food. Actually there is much more violence involved in getting the Vegetarian food to the table.

I prefer Vegetarian food for a different reason. I think that Vegetarian food is actually "Alive" till we eat it. Potatoes would regrow into a plant if put back into the soil.

Since the food is "Alive" it does not get spoilt and contains more nutrition. Meat on the other hand is "Dead" and starts decaying the moment the animal is killed.

Veg is the way to go !

Andy Coulter

When I was at the county fair one time, I was petting the pigs and think how good they would taste. You can't help it if you're some kind of mutant.

Barney

Not that I took the time to read 600 comments...
But this is more a social conditioning thing.
Most of us don't eat raw meat.
And none - I hope, will bludgeon a cow to death and gnaw on its hide. There is a lot of work in going from cow - to steak.
I live in China, and people eat chickens feet, and they salivate over that. Stews come with the whole chicken in it. That'll gross out most westerners, who don't like to see the heads on things they will eat. Where as in Canton the head is the best bit!
So in short - I reject your hypothesis!

Zaphod Tralfamadore

1. Fish. It is common to be served a fish platter with the head still attached. Also, sushi is an example of raw meat which I find delicious.

2. Turkey & chicken is commonly in a recognizable form when brought to the table. The feathers are removed (i.e. corn is de-husked) and the guts are removed (i.e. de-pitting an avocado or de-coring an apple). Just as with fruits and veggies, the "junk" parts are removed during preparation.

3. Do you drool at the site of a corn field? Not me- and I LOVE corn. I don't drool at the site of a cow either. I've never walked up to a cow and taken a bite out of it. The same could be said for a pineapple. However, slice it open, and I will begin drooling immediately. I think a juicy pineapple and rare steak dripping with blood are both delicious.

4. From a biological perspective, I believe human beings are unanimously classified as omnivores, just like bears. It may be true that the U.S. diet contains too much meat, and that this results in poor health. However, this is not to say that vegetarianism or vegan-ism is necessarily a better choice. For example, a friend of mine (vegetarian) found themselves anemic due to iron deficiency- as a result of diet. My father has high blood pressure, and high cholesterol- also as a result of diet. Again: the issue is not a nice fatty steak, but rather, the proportion of fatty meats, or other iron-rich foods, to the diet as a whole.


Mark

As other people have said - we are designed to eat both meat and vegetables. A million or so years ago, humans didn't have much choice on what to eat - you ate whatever you could. Because meat provides more energy than vegetables, and because it wasn't very common or easy to get, the process of natural selection made meat desirable to us.

As Sam Neil, the Australian actor from Jurassic park, says in his infomercials - We were meant to eat it.

As for the ethical implications - as long as it's done painlessly, I don't have a problem with eating animals. It's not as if cows or pigs have very interesting lives after all. Chickens don't possess any great intellect either. Of course they can feel pain, almost all organisms can feel pain, but honestly, can a chicken feel joy, sadness, hope or despair? I doubt it. Can a cow create poems or think about philosophical matters? I doubt it. They have short lives anyway. As long as it's done painlessly (with cows, they just use a cattle gun which kills them instantly by destroying the brain) I don't have a problem with it. And as long as it's sustainable. Of course, we should probably stop eating cows as it's not good for the environment to breed them, so I just eat chicken these days.

Chickens can feel pain, sure. But honestly, they are not the same as us. I doubt they have any complex emotions, cares or worries or dreams or ambitions. They're just chickens.

SuperBK

If we aren't natural meat eaters, then why all the attempt to make vegetable matter look like meet. There are tofu dogs, veggie chickent nuggests, fake meat loaf, veggie meatballs (which are quite good by the way). While there is nothing I like more than a nice plate of vegetables, some of the meat imitations aren't very good.
Brian

just_me

You make some pretty good points.
I do eat meat, but I find raw meat completely gross.
I could never actually do the cooking, because I usually end up wanting to puke after handling raw meat.
Yet once its cooked, I just love meat.
Anyway, I just wanted to leave a comment telling you that you made some good points. =)

GrayKat

Asok has it over most of you salivating carnivores! Many Indians (the Asian ones) are vegetarians and have raised vegetarian cooking to a salubrious art. They drop dead from many reasons, but lack of dietary protein is not one of them. The secret lies in eating the right combination of vegetables. They had eons to experiment with the native flora and more than a few probably died before they found the right mix. But they must be eating the right nix now or they wouldn't have a growing overpopulation problem.

That said, I am a certified omnivore. I prefer my food locally raised and un-messed with: no clones, drugs, hormones, or whatever else those massive agroconglomerates use to "increase yield" (translation: fill the CEO's pockets).

As for salivating over anything, it's all a matter of perspective. Who first decided that a prickly raw artichoke might be good to eat? Ditto for oysters, clams, rhubarb, potatoes, and mushrooms. Who ate the first jalapeno.

How about a nice salad of ivy leaves, pokeweed, oxalis, henbane and oleander. Or a "trail mix" of castor beans, kidney beans, rye seeds, holly berries, and green may apples. Many early veggie gatherers probably met an unpleasant end; their survivors figured eating raw meat wasn't really all that bad.

Americans are notorious for calling a 48 oz steak with a 42 oz potato (oozing with butter, sour cream, bacon bits, cheese, and salt) a "healthy meal" - and it is ... for SIX people! The bottom line, it would seem, is moderation.

As an aside, claims that the use of land & grain to feed those Meals on Feet is wasteful may be wrong. A recent Cornell study found that vegetarian diets require cultivation (plus water, fertilizer, labor, fuel) of more land than diets with a bit of meat! That extra bit of protein feeds more mouths on less land than a vegetarian diet! http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071008130203.htm

Go fig!

Carl

I don't think natural is quite the right word. I think survival is more accurate. We ate meat because, at one point that was what we new. It was hunting and gathering that started us living in cities and starting trade routs. Now it is just something we have done for 1000's of years, why stop a good thing, it works.

BTW: I am not a huge fan of the idea of eating animals, but I do it, so, no, I don't want to see them in their cute, alive aspect of their life.

C-H

Salivation is a learned response. Ask Pavlov. His dogs didn't think bells were food. People, the meat eaters anyway, have been conditioned to salivate at the sight of a steak.

As far at the eating lots of meat shouldn't cause a health problem, if you eat or drink most things to excess they are bad for you. Take vitamin B6. In the right doses, its fine, even beneficial. Take too much and you can get nerve damage in your arms and legs.

Sorry Adams, I don't think your reasoning is valid. Then again, I could always bring up the point that if all you do is eat vegetables, no supplements, you will experience some health issues and therefore, you are meant to eat meat.

I think I might send Scott a box full of steaks.

C-H

Thomas C

Oh yes, and eating vegetables generates health risks, too. It is not infrequent to see a story about canned this or juice that containing some bacteria which hospitalizes or even kills people these days.

So, I guess by your two postulates, wherein the first is modified to this situation, we can also rule out that human beings are not natural vegetable eaters.

Thomas C

I largely fail to see the connection between your two propositions that must hold true and the question of whether or not we are natural meat eaters.

The second one, in particular, is like saying because a lion doesn't always stalk nearby prey, it is not a meat eater. There are times where the lion will not stalk prey.

I see the issue of processing the meat has already been covered.

But, a better analogy: show me a steak, and I'll salivate.

Don't try disproving that humans are natural meat eaters by showing them a cow.

adora

Because the beef(food) is still wrapped in suede(not food) when you see the cow.

It is only a western thing to disguise the food. (Comes in handy with Soylent Green.) In authentic Chinese cuisine, fish heads, shrimp heads, chicken heads & feet etc... are left on the plate. Cow head is too big for the plate and traditionally Chinese don't eat beef. (Cows were ancient lawn mowers, not food.) Pigs are roasted in whole. Peruvians too serve the roast pig in whole. When you eat fresh Japanese sashimi, the fish is still twitching and looking at you.

Vegetables are also in disguised in the west. Why are they blended with fruits in juices or smoothies? I despise V8-like substances!

pender

Seeing a cow probably made our ancestors drool. Even though we know what where steak comes from, we are bit seperated from the "kill" to recognize what a steak is before it's "processed."

As far the health risks of red meat, many things you consume will do harm or even kill you if you have to much.

People have died from water poisoning.

theives44

In Thailand, when my wife and I tied the knot, I killed a pig so my new brothers in law could bbq it for a party. It was brutal - took two swings of the club - and a machete in the neck before I was certain it was dead. The pig was squeeling through the whole ordeal. I felt very odd afterwards. I had no idea when I woke up that morning that I would kill a pig that day. I was a little confused when my brothers handed me the club and pointed at the squeeling burlap sack... We bbq't it and 20 or so people ate bits of it - and it tasted very good. But to this day, whenever I eat pork, I think about that squeeling pig. Now, I often think that if a person wants to eat meat they should be required to be present at the killing of the animal, and sometimes be the killer. Otherwise - we are just cowards afraid to face the ugliness of what we do to survive. Unfortunately - I do not salivate when I see veggies or fruit...

BC

Am I wrong?

Yes.

Tickleddragon

My favorite bumpersticker:

"I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat just vegetables."

We're omnivores, not simply carnivores.

Don

OK different strokes for different folks...what is the big deal?

So long as you are not using the government to impose your veiws on me...I really don't care.

I for one like my vegies served with my steak, ribs stew ham fish.....

You can call me open minded.

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