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Why Vegan??

category national | animal rights | opinion/analysis author Wednesday July 22, 2009 00:01author by Bernie Wright - Alliance for Animal Rights (AFAR)author email allianceforanimalrights at gmail dot comauthor address AFAR,PO Box 4734. Dublin.1 Report this post to the editors

Vegan -Because its worth it!

People often ask Vegans- why is a vegetarian diet not sufficient if one wants to eliminate food that causes suffering to animals from their diet? Years ago Vegetarianism was a new concept but now it is mainstream. We have now progressed to a new level with Veganism as people embrace the concept in increasing numbers. The vast range of Soya and plant based products in Irish supermarkets accommodating diets free of animal products is increasing rapidly.
go vegan
go vegan

Dairy cows are made pregnant annually to ensure they produce milk. This milk is meant for calves, not humans.In nature the calf would suckle for almost a year but nature, like the calf, is denied by the dairy industry. Some calves may be separated from their mothers after a few days of life. But as the inevitable by-products of relentless milk production each will have to endure one of several possible fates.
The least healthy male calves will be sent to market to be slaughtered for pet food; to provide veal , or for rennet to be extracted from their stomachs for cheese-making. Some females will be reared on milk substitutes to become dairy herd replacements like their mother and begin, at 18-24 months of age, the cycle of continual pregnancies. Some will be sold at market at 1-2 weeks of age for rearing as beef in fattening pens and slaughtered after 11 months, often without sight of pasture. This is why Vegans refuse to consume Dairy products, we believe that all animal violations are wrong.
More on this and other animal issues including videos can be found on our website www.afarireland.org.

Related Link: http://www.afarireland.org
author by iosafpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 09:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If soya grew on trees at the bottom of your garden, then maybe it really would be the wonderful solution to the ills of human nutrition and the solution to what is considered by some to be inethical treatment and exploitation of other sentient spieces.

However, the fact is - the vast majority of soya beans on this planet are grown in South America, with the largest producer being the state of Brazil and the largest agriculturist being the Bunge Corporation. Soya grows best on land which has been reclaimed from rainforest. Soya fields are easily seen using google earth but just in case you've never seen one and appreciated the immense size and vastness of the territories which before the cultivation of "animal friendly soya" were home to unrivalled ecosystems and biodiversity as well as serving a more useful function like providing oxygen for all critters with eyes and lungs I've attached 2 photos, the first of which shows a soya plantation on the edge of a "protected forest" and the second which shows what a the edge of a "protected rainforest" looks like as soon as you've let the soya bean barons near it.

somewhere in that forest, Bernie, I assure you Bambi is looking for a home
& Sting aint going to save her.

The arguments against eating meat made on the basis of global agricultural resources are sound, we can just as easily say that cultivating beef or chickens causes such damage - but honestly we'd be simplifying the nature of land use and global food production. The uncomfortable rational and logical truth is that many people in the developed world ought to eat less and widen their protein intake to include that which is close by hand. We should be eating rabbits, squirrels and growing our own vegetables.

mary mary how contrary how does your garden grow?
mary mary how contrary how does your garden grow?

where's Bambi and all the other critters with eyes and lungs?
where's Bambi and all the other critters with eyes and lungs?

author by Muruchupublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just some information on anybody who consumes a lot of Soy in the form of Tofu , especially men. From my own experience and based on the studies I've read Soy in it's non fermented form such as Tofu is not the health food it's lauded to be. In traditional Japanese culture Soy beans would not even be fed to animals due to their detremental effect. The fermented substances of Natto and Miso were discovered due to discarded Soy beans fermenting in straw and being consumed by horses and displaying beneficial health effects. Soy in infant formula and the Phyto Oestrogens that it contains has been shown to have feminising effects and long term consequenses on the physical maturation of boys.

Please see the web links below for further information.




author by RogerYatespublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 13:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There appears to be an orchestrated attack on soya from the animal agriculture industry at the present time. A balanced diet is the key to health and soya can be a constituent part of that. As for fertility, there appears to be little problem on that score in places like Japan and China.

As a matter of authoritative contributions to this debate, the Weston Price Foundation ~ so often cited by the lovers of animal flesh ~ is criticised for the lack of reliability of its materials. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxb7XPm_SxU

The third source, above, appears to be based on studies of nonhuman animals and antivivisectionists and medical experts tell us that extrapolation of such results to humans is problematic.

Again, balance is the crucial factor: any diet based on just one type of thing is not likely to be beneficial to health.

author by iosafpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 13:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Whatever the transgender endochrinal changes associated with fermented soya are - Irish consumers are only offered a vast array of soya based products in their supermarkets because vast amounts of Latin American land is stripped of its human and animal inhabitants, little birdies, fungi, trees, ents and elves and then (a record of which the Bunge corporation is proud) tested every 500 squared metre for the soil and subsoil nutritional needs of the soya bean whereupon & only whereupon a decision will be made as to whether the former rainforest areas (in neat little rectangles) will be used to cultivate which type of soya bean ranging from GM to dubiously termed organic.

Any vegan who shies away from the truth of cruely to animals in the production of their meat substitute quite probably deserves to live on that another planet they dream of.

Soya kills more animals & humans than a healthy balanced diet based on lactose/dairy proteins

author by Bobpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 16:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

@ Muruchu:

“From my own experience and based on the studies I've read”

Could you please elaborate on that and post the sources you’ve read in order to challenge these facts (fact comes from manufacture – manus is the “hand” and fact is “made”)?
Everyone hast a certain agenda for producing these facts, and in order to come to the truth these facts need to be negotiated and proven to be right or wrong.
Are they in any kind connected to the dairy industry?


@ iosaf:

“If soya grew on trees at the bottom of your garden”

As a matter of fact soybeans do not grow on trees, but as any other bean you can cultivate them at the bottom of your garden. I did it myself, and it is pretty simple. Dig a hole, put the bean inside (usually it’s good to use more than just one, because sometimes the bean does not want to sprout. So I’d suggest 5 beans per hole ;)

“somewhere in that forest, Bernie, I assure you Bambi is looking for a home & Sting aint going to save her.”

I’m not sure what Bambi has to do with the ruthless ignorance of people participating in the exploitation of natural resources and sentient beings in order to get rich. Maybe you wanted to let the writer of the article look like someone who is acting overemotional as Bambi is connected to crying children in our Volksgeist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeitgeist), but mind you ... compassion towards other earthlings keeps us from building concentration camps.

Well and anyways veganism is not necessarily connected to soy. There are a lot of vegans that don’t eat soy at all, because you can get the 8 essential amino acids from a combination of other foods as well.

i.e.: rice and lentils, wheat and peanuts, beans and corn, hemp, etc.

I haven’t heard of any logical argument for eating meat if you dismiss the following: “I want to, it’s tradition and I am stuck with the believe that I can’t live without it and the best one: because god told me to.”

Get your facts right and than we can argue :)
Here are a few links:


author by Muruchupublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 16:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'd just like to say that I'm not pro dairy or the meat industry and I have no
vested interrests in promoting dairy over Soy. I just feel that the dosage of
Phyto Oestrogens that a small baby boy would receive prior to their post natal
testosterone surge from some infant formulas could lead to permanent damage in
terms of development. I went through a phase of eating organic Tofu religiously
for a time and I became gradually weaker and sicker. I was also eating plenty
of greens and fruits such as apples , blueberries and grapes as well as supplements
such as vitamin D3 & B12. By a process of elimination I found the Tofu to be
the culprit. After having a TSH test it was found to have affected my thyroid
function. So if this seemingly innocuous substance can have such a detrimental
effect on a 14 st male body I dread to think what effect it would have on infants
and toddlers being fed milk substitutes and starter foods with a high Soy content.

A quote from the Lancet medical journal online version - "The daily exposure of
infants to isoflavones in soy infant-formulas is 6—11 fold higher on a bodyweight
basis than the dose that has hormonal effects in adults consuming soy foods.
Circulating concentrations of isoflavones in the seven infants fed soy-based
formula were 13 000—22 000 times higher than plasma oestradiol concentrations
in early life, and may be sufficient to exert biological effects, whereas the
contribution of isoflavones from breast-milk and cow-milk is negligible."

Japanese and Chinese diets do contain small to moderate amounts of non fermented
Soy but nothing compared to the amount I see Vegans and vegetarians consume in
one sitting in this country ( Ireland). Any responsible Japanese parents would
have the cultural knowledge of their own foods not to over burden their childs
system with Soy based products.

There is even a term for men who have been emasculated by the effects of Being fed
raw Soy due to poverty or more malicious motives , they are called 'Banninmae'.
People often counter the argument that Phyto Oestrogens did not effect them
personally as they developed fine and that this study and that study is
inconclusive. If you are gambling with the long term health and furure sexual
maturation of a child please bear in ind that child A may not have the genetic
or environmental factors which could lead to damage but child B could. Science
is constantly evolving and may not yet be bale to fully quantify unknown factors
when it comes to deciding if Soy is in fact safe for young children.


I relaise this post is veering off a bit from the questions of Soy farming impact
on the environment but I just think that people should explore the possible
negative effects of Soy consumption especially if they are feeding babies with
infant formula.

author by Bobpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 17:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

By the way, there is a lecture regarding that stuff in UCD today

"Animal Rights July."
Every Wednesday evening in July 2009.
7.00 - 9.45pm.
Theatre ‘N’, Newman Building, U.C.D.
Admission is free.


author by iosafpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 17:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Of course my initial comment with its sarcasm about growing soya at the bottom of the garden as well as my illustration of a Brazilian rainforest cleared to grow soya with the comment that somewhere in that forest bambi is still alive - was a bit unfair to the vegan lobby.

& really nobody in Ireland has enough space in their garden to grow enough soya beans to keep them in textured vegetable protein for a week or even make a litre of soya drink. Even if we fantasised that they also had the equipment to crush the beans and were cultivating the combination of beans which go into TVP or soya drink. But they might harvest a few side dishes of soya beans which they might fry or steam with copious flavourings since if we are to be frank - the soya bean doesn't taste of much. I'd stick with the runner bean if I was a commoner gardener.

But all this is utter silliness - because any informed (or if I nod to Roger Yates) "authoritative" opinion on either the global consumption of soya or the global cultivation of soya & then its subsequent processing would mean dealing with two factors. In order of importance to the vegan agenda :-

1) most soya is cultivated for animal feed.
I really am surprised no vegan lobbyist was strong enough on their subject to point that out.

2) soya as many other essential foodstuffs was covered by the 1922 US Grains Future Act which was central to F.D. Roosevelt's US Commodities Exchange Act of 1936 and until this century was exempted from future trading or speculation. Thus as oil is globally traded in dollars as if it has left a port in the USA - soya is traded in Chicago on the grains and foodstuffs markets.

Nobody can talk about the global food crises without understanding the value placed on soya and wheat at that market.

But if we ignore the global food crises for the moment (like do we ever really pay attention to it?) and go with the vegan argument that if & when everyone converts to soya TVP then we won't need to feed beef, swine and poultry on soya proteins - then all we have to do is -

Cut down all the rainforest now to grow enough soya for humans & wait till the un-needed livestock dies a humane death and then we find the time to replant rainforests - it will be just like stringing beans in your garden & maybe there will be enough bambi and exotic animals and even indiginous tribes of humans in zoos to set free in our new ecosystems???? Like honestly vegans are putting the candyfloss in fluffy thinking here.

I suggest people examine and explore the grain.org website.

Related Link: http://www.grain.org
author by iosafpublication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 18:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Although it matters little to having informed interests or how activists ought gather firsthand information maybe I should explain why I get so stickly about soya. From October to December 2008, I was employed to teach presentation and communication skills in English to the executives of Bunge Iberia. As part of that deal : I got to hold soya beans, listen to their internal corporation gossip (how they overcame the scandal of human trafficking on their grain boats from the Ukraine and Moldova), learn about the technical difficulties of silo management (soya beans spontaneously combust in silos as occured in Galicia Spain in November 2008) and learn about the grain/crush ratio equation on which all stock market speculation forecasts are made, visit the soya processing plant in Barcelona plant which handles the third most traffic to the second largest port in the Mediterranean sea [after oil / liquid gas and tourism] with nearly daily arrivals of freight vessels the contents of which are processed in an almost completely automated process, the chronic lung irritation scandal [which saw that same plant blamed for the deaths of near residents who had inhaled soya bean particles leading to the shielding of the plant in the mid80's and monitoring in most European and US ports of soya bean particles, the techniques used by scientists to determine the soil nutritional levels in Brazil after rainforests have been cleared, the diplomatic lobbyist strategies employed by Bunge to ensure (as was the case three months ago) that the Brazilian state allocates ever more land to soya production & to top it off the family background of the seven gentlemen farmers who own most of the land supplying Bunge with soya.

They're of German descent, if you're interested. They got out after the war. (of course).

Naturally all I found out about soya and its main global producer wasn't bad. I learnt that as part of their longterm strategy to control grain production in the Ukraine, Romania and Moldova (as well as influence those states to adopt anglo-saxon values on capitalism & future trading) their scientists had produced the first vegetable oil of sunflower and soya mix with added iodine to help the people of those far off lands which the Nazi's had termed the ostreich and planned to use as a bread basket (just before our Bunge farmers moved to Brazil and Argentina). Because as you know they don't have much iodine in their diet now. Something to do with Beetroot getting too pricey to put in the borsht.

Vegans can only count on a wide range of soya products in Irish Supermarkets because more and more soya is being grown for animal feed by the corporations who in the name of a bite to eat are destroying this planet and depriving its poor of the bare minimum of food.

author by V for.....publication date Wed Jul 22, 2009 23:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

didn't a recent un report on global warming clearly state that one of the best chances of averting major global warming was for the people to adopt a vegetarian diet, except in some locations where due to topography of the land grain and crop planting was not possible and so pockets of land such as these would remain as grazing for livestock Ireland being an example of such a place.

As Iosaf rightly pointed out most soya production is for animal consumption ,end result = beef burgers! not tofu!
Tofu is a protein substitute, you don't actually need all that much in the diet, there is protein in almost everything.
But hey If you want to eat animals fine, but rear them locally feed them the scraps from your table, use their manure to grow more food and generate energy by using the methane , and then them kill them and eat them without use of intensive agriculture,massive food miles, growth hormones, antibiotics or as in the case of BSE feeding dead cows to cows! If you can achieve this without importing feed for them congratulations your one of the few.

Intensive agriculture has seriously damaged our environment and our society , over fed and undernourished we have become so far removed from the production of food that it's easier to sit around debating it on indymedia rather than do something about it! Even if it's only a window box of herbs to season your food everyone should have the pleasure of fresh organic produce unlike the alternatives it doesn't cost the earth.

but hey, Everyones gotta start some where....

Related Link: http://meatfreemondays.co.uk/
author by Gearoid O Loingsighpublication date Thu Jul 23, 2009 02:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The problem with global warming is not one of meat versus veggie. It is one of capitalism, full stop. Middle class wishy washy liberals who want to reduce the problem to one of individual choice and that choice being veggie rather than meat are barking up the wrong tree felled to make way for Soya. Soya is now being promoted in Brazil as a possible source for bio fuels as well. Yet another middle class angst thing, which is likely to cause even greater damage yet. The problem is how capitalism organises society and allocates resources for consumption etc.

Perhaps you think not. The veggie diet will it is said reduce world hunger!!!! I have listed to this rubbish from middle class lefties who go on to be well paid bankers later in life. The world already produced enough food to feed itself, yet people die fo hunger, not due to the lack of food but due to how capitalism organises food production and distribution. Grow up, get a life and realise that solving the world's problems means overthrowing the system taht lets you choose tofu and other nicieties whilst millions die of hunger. It means getting rid of the system that gives you your comfortable middle class life style. Grow up, and leave change to does with nothing to lose (not even a bottle of organic wine).

author by Edpublication date Thu Jul 23, 2009 15:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Iosaf, certainly your sarcasm is rampant, it’s just a shame that your facts and your misleading remarks are not as abundant.
I posted earlier but it was pulled for some reason and this did refer to 3 points. One of which is exactly the first point you attack the “vegan lobby” for missing.
1) You don’t need to eat soya to be a vegan.
2) Most environmental damage is a result of animal exploitation.
3) A large portion of so called facts regarding soya and the health or non health benefits are coming from research from self interested parties.

All this before your last posts and after your initial post which incidentally is titled “No Soy is healthy - Our planet can not accomodate more Vegans. We don' t need their excuses”. Surely this is an unsubstantiated claim?? If one more person becomes vegan is that it then?

As well as the claim “Soya kills more animals & humans than a healthy balanced diet based on lactose/dairy proteins”.
Healthy? Really? Maybe there’s something that may interest you in this website?
Or just for the heck of it do a google search with Milk and some disease you’re interested in. Like Milk and osteoporosis. Why are humans the only mammals that drink the breastmilk of another animal? And why are we the only mammals that routinely drink breastmilk into old age? Bit odd?

Kills more human and animals? Please explain? All the cows and their offspring end up killed by the dairy industry. What human and non human death figures have you got?

The comment about garden space to grow soya is a problem that anyone who wishes to become to be self sufficient will encounter as a lot of people will only have small garden space to grow soya or whatever vegetables they wish to grow. How much space does a cow need?

I appreciate that you ask vegans how to fix the problem created by “meat” eaters.
However both vegans and I believe yourself (if you were being truthful) would agree that vegans won’t be consulted on this. For example when bans were introduced outlawing fur factory farms, the remaining animals were killed for the last bit of profit that could be squeezed out of them. They weren’t freed, they weren’t kept till they died of natural causes and vegans and animal rights campaigners weren’t consulted.
The animals were viewed as property that could be turned into money and that is what happened. The other view is that we should just continue on as before, which is hardly practical for fixing any problem.

Your comment that “Vegans can only count on a wide range of soya products in Irish Supermarkets because more and more soya is being grown for animal feed by the corporations who in the name of a bite to eat are destroying this planet and depriving its poor of the bare minimum of food.”

We live in a market economy. As regrettable as this is, it does mean that if there is a demand there will be a supply if profits may be made. So I believe the most you could argue is that there is a the cost of the soya products would become higher.

Likewise the vast majority (85%) of soya that is given to cattle results in how cheap their flesh and breastmilk is.
According to www.soyatech.com:
"About 85 percent of the world’s soybean crop is processed into meal and vegetable oil, and virtually all of that meal is used in animal feed. Some two percent of the soybean meal is further processed into soy flours and proteins for food use… Approximately six percent of soybeans are used directly as human food, mostly in Asia."

You’re taking a problem with the production of soya and twisting it into an unfair argument against a vegan diet. Again a vegan does not need to eat soya. You should be more upset with animals used in agriculture.
Vegan’s chose to be vegan’s for ethical reasons (I’m discounting people who imitate a vegan diet for one reason or another, such as fashion trends). Many campaign for animal rights (both human and non human,) and will be concerned about the environment. The reasons you listed in your experience with Soya are dreadful but this is a production problem and would most likely be resolved if more ethical people were managing such a production system.

There are certainly problems with soya as it is now but this does not translate into a reasoned attack on veganism.

We know that a vegan lifestyle is possible, vegans have been around for some time now and we’re not dropping down dead. We know cows are sentient and that they experience. We also know that the production system they are put through denies their interests, causes suffering and disrespects their rights. Breastmilk or flesh from cows for human consumption costs their lives
And what is the reason we inflict this upon them? Because we like the taste of their flesh or breastmilk, it’s convenient, cheap protein, there’s something about it in the bible etc. None are substantiated arguments.
Why is eating animals or products from them fine then?

author by Bobpublication date Thu Jul 23, 2009 17:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Even if soya would be poisonous that wouldn’t be a good argument against going vegan.

Imagine an argument against non-human flesh eating based on the fact that when you leave it out of the fridge for a few days the chance is there that it develops salmonella – Come on...

And well ... you are right, there are a lot of people in this society that are addicted to sweet stuff (vegans are no exception) and if you try to live on that stuff only there is no doubt that you will develop deficiencies, but that’s the same for any diet. You need to balance it in order to keep it healthy. Otherwise you might end up like the guy in the film Super Size Me (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390521/).

The lecture held by Roger Yates and Gerry Francione was really good yesterday.
Gerry made a very good point when he compared sexism, racism, classism and speciesism.
They all follow the same path of argumentation and are usually the effect of an empowered group defining another group.

And in order to challenge the capitalist system it is necessary to challenge our own views as well at actively participation in social change.

How can you emancipate yourself and the society while holding up sexist, racist or speciesist values?
There is this stream called Eco-Fascism. I’ve read about that today the first time, and I think that even if they might have some good ideas regarding the environment, the other stuff is just wrong.

Next Wednesday 7pm there will be another lecture on Animal Rights in UCD (Dublin).
So feel free to drop by and share your views :)

Animals Are Not Commodities (http://www.rootsofcompassion.org/)
Animals Are Not Commodities (http://www.rootsofcompassion.org/)

Milk is natural? (http://www.rootsofcompassion.org/)
Milk is natural? (http://www.rootsofcompassion.org/)

author by cifpublication date Thu Jul 23, 2009 17:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree with Gearoid: veganism is certainly not the only-final-ultimate solution that will save this world.

Could the entire planet go vegan tomorrow, there would still be those irresponsibles bankers/traders who would fµ(k everything up speculating on food resources and devastating forest to make "bio-fuel" (ref: Palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia, "MTR" Coal mining in the Appalachian mountains, etc...) But this is off topic, let's get back to soy:

Soya is far to be the only crop eatable by humans. Our planet is rich and provides a wide range of vegetables that makes a tasty (yes) and perfectly well balanced diet. Cookbooks and info websites are available everywhere (i don't think it's necessary to put a list here, just google it).

Most people who choose the vegan diet do it for ethical reasons first. A minority for health reasons and --very recently-- for environmental reasons.

The choice of not supporting any kind of animal slavery and suffering for pleasure and/or entertainment is (IMO) a philosophy of life that is based on good sense and must be respected as any other, full stop.

We must be responsible consumers, know how things are made, buy locally and organically grown food as much as possible. this is not the most we can do, but the least we can do.

author by Pete.publication date Thu Jul 23, 2009 17:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The "Milk is Natural" cartoon points to a very very recent development in human evolution:

The ability of human adults to digest lactose...in human,or other animals',milk.

This genetic ability is very "new", only a few thousand years old.
A few thousand years is "just yesterday" in the time scale of Evolution.
It evolved in societies which captured and domesticated cattle.




"The survival advantage was so powerful perhaps because those with the mutations not only gained extra energy from lactose but also, in drought conditions, would have benefited from the water in milk. People who were lactose intolerant could have risked losing water from diarrhea, Dr. Tishkoff said."

For us to drink cows' milk is as natural as Evolution itself.

author by RogerYatespublication date Thu Jul 23, 2009 19:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Doesn't the research you cite suggest, not that drinking other mammal's baby food is natural, but rather that 9,000 years ago we began an oppressive and evolutionary unnatural practice which our bodies have had to adapt to?

Does it not further suggest that the claimed survival advantage applies in Africa but not in Ireland. Looking out of my window, it is hard to think that Ireland was ever subject to drought conditions!

As others have pointed out, veganism is about acting ethically within the structural contraints that pertain. There are all kinds of practices that bring benefits to individuals or groups. That fact is quite separate from the question of whether those practices are morally sound or not.

author by iosafpublication date Thu Jul 23, 2009 20:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

& thus I feel justified in explaining to readers what soya is about because Bernie wrote in her article encouraging people to adopt a vegan lifestyle accompanied with an illustration implying a vegetarian lief style was not enough :-

The vast range of Soya and plant based products in Irish supermarkets accommodating diets free of animal products is increasing rapidly.

I have merely pointed out many times that the vast range of Soya products in Irish supermarkets is only there because vast areas of rainforest are being stripped to cultivate Soya which is mostly used to feed animal livestock.

we call that staying on topic and playing the ball not the player

author by Catladypublication date Thu Jul 23, 2009 23:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Forgive me iosaf, but your bambi/sting comments, directed at Bernie herself, were hardly ball playing now were they??? Just thought that needed pointing out.

The point has been made that the overwhelming majority of soya produced in Brazil is produced as cheap animal fodder. How it can possibly be construed that vegans are the ones to blame ofr this is a mystery to me... You may as well blame those who boycott Israeli goods for the plight of the Palestinians!!!!

Veganism basically involves boycotting the products of cruelty to non-humans. Soya is present in a huge amount of products these days, the majority of them not being designed for vegans at all. Just take a look at the allergy advice on packets of biscuits, frozen pizzas etc. It's there for the same reason as palm oil is in so many products - it is a cheap ingredient.

Veganism does not equal tofu eater. I happen to like the stuff, many do not. I'm sure plenty are allergic to it, as are non-vegans. But even if I never ate tofu, and munched instead on the cows and drank their breastmilk, both produced using soya from the rainforests of Brazil, I'd still find it pretty hard to avoid soya. Asians have been eating tofu for centuries, and didn't need to destroy rainforests to do so.

The Rainforests are disappearing largely due to meat production, not due to the growth in vegan or vegetarian populations. To suggest that vegans are responsible for this travesty is not only misleading, but an utter lie.

author by Pete.publication date Fri Jul 24, 2009 08:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"9,000 years ago we began an oppressive and evolutionary unnatural practice which our bodies have had to adapt to?"

That is NOT how evolution "works" Roger.

Evolution is about the survival of the fittest IN A GIVEN ENVIRONMENT.

Thus black skin suits when a blazing hot African sun is overhead all day.
Fair skin suits in cold dark sunless northern Europe.

You may as well say that fair skin is "unnatural" as to say that the ability to digest animal milk is "unnatural".

Both were "Made in Nature "and "Made by Nature".

Quote from the article:

"Almost all Dutch people and 99 percent of Swedes are lactose tolerant, but the mutation becomes progressively less common in Europeans who live at increasing distances from the ancient Funnel Beaker region." (The Irish are the same as the Dutch etc. .)

THIS is the "crunch" statement in the article:

"Genetic evidence shows that the mutations conferred an enormous selective advantage on their owners, enabling them to leave almost 10 times as many descendants as people without such mutations."

You may well be alive today because your ancestors evolved the knack of digesting milk as adults.

Nature gave you that NATURAL ability Roger.

P. S. To say that the genius who domesticated the first cow 10,000 years ago was acting "unnaturally" is ridiculous.

author by RogerYatespublication date Fri Jul 24, 2009 13:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Your cited article clearly states that, "The finding is a striking example of a cultural practice — the raising of dairy cattle — feeding back into the human genome."

Whoever this "genius" you speak of was, s/he was clearly acting exploitatively. If you are saying this cultural shift benefited some and disadvantaged others, I agree. It still does not answer the question about its morality. I assume you will agree that a practice's conferring of a survivial benefit does not in itself make it right in humans. Some "genius" may decide it would aid some section of the population to drink the fresh blood of 14-year virgins, drought or otherwise, but that does not make it right. There are all sorts of advantages, many of which can be linked with notions of survival: human trafficking, benefiting from sweatshop labour.

The fact is, we are in the 21st century making judgements about what is right and what is wrong conduct in relation to our use of other animals.

author by Bobpublication date Fri Jul 24, 2009 15:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

well talking about nature:

cows are kept in confined spaces where they are raped under the name of artificial insemination every 8 months.
this is done with huge gloves through putting ones arm in the cows anus and use a very long syringe to shoot the sperm into her uterus.

then after her child was born in another confined place, he or she is taken away from her and used either for the veal/meat industry or she is forced into the same cycle as her mother is in right now.

so when you take away the child of another species in order to let his/her mother feed your own child - in nature - that is called brood parasitism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brood_parasitism).

but honestly, would you go to a non-human an suck directly out of her udders?
maybe I am wrong, but I believe that we only drink milk because it comes in a bottle.

and I would be careful justifying anything through nature, because as far as I know the majority of primates are organised in patriarchies and by the way ... hitler used darwin’s “survival of the fittest”-theory as his grounds to justify the holocaust.

And I think it’s good that people don’t only do natural stuff. They should travel around and see other cultures and become open-minded towards other people regardless of the colour of their skin, their sex or their occupation.

Go Vegan! (http://randallphoto.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.html)
Go Vegan! (http://randallphoto.blogspot.com/2008_01_01_archive.html)

author by iosafpublication date Fri Jul 24, 2009 15:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I acknowledge your points Catlady & hope Bernie has not taken offence. Since vegans really are a tiny minority a few more converts will do no harm to the rainforests and their market power being so marginal to the production concerns of the corporations who make their foodstuffs no great difference will be made to animal welfare by their proper and informed moral choice.

So leaving aside soya (we've established the facts now) let's look as it seems we are doing at milk.

One of the best-selling novels of recent years has been Ken Follett's "The Pillars of the Earth", a historical epic which spans generations and the ambition to build a cathedral set against the struggle for the AngloNorman throne of the 12th century. Very close to the beginning Follett described a common practice in Europe then as on other continents now. Tom Builder, one of the main characters sees his wife Agnes die in childbirth in a forest. to quote wikipedia "Tom cannot feed the baby boy, and in his grief he leaves the child on Agnes's grave"........a short time later the baby is found by an abbot later to become prior and main character Philip who takes the foundling to his monastry quite probably to die but at least after baptism and naming. to quote wikipedia again "Johnny Eightpence: A dimwitted yet resourceful monk nurses baby Jonathan by dipping a rag in goats' milk". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pillars_of_the_Earth

The compositional similarites between goat's milk and human breast milk are striking. Throughout history goat's milk has been used as a substitute for weaning human children in a which bovine or cow's milk can not. I happen to drink goat's milk and I happen to also enjoy cow milk based yoghurt products which come from a co-operative enterprise with a difference. All consumers are invited to visit the plant on the cartons where if they go they are often pleasantly surprised not only to see the good condition of the livestock but discover the factory is staffed 100% by people with mental handicaps. It makes a little difference to the usual advertising on milk cartons which in Britain at least wake people up with pictures of missing children or alzheimer sufferers.

Ireland was the third largest consumer per capita of milk and dairy products in the world in 2006. Each statistical Irish person drinking 129.8 litres and eating 10.5 kilos of cheese and spreading 2.9 kilos of butter over the incidental average consumption of 50 kilos of bread. Incidentally the Irish are at the bottom of Europe for consumption of bread which probably means they really do spread their butter thick. statistics : http://www.foodsci.uoguelph.ca/dairyedu/intro.html

I wonder is goat's milk as cruel & inhumane as cow's milk?

I wonder too at the essential intestinal flora which in our current society no longer seem to happily flourish in our guts so that we are marketed (very succesfully) a wide range of yoghurt and fermented products with equivalent bifidus.

Sergei Vasliev's iconic portrait of a Stalinist Moscow hatchery at feeding time.
Sergei Vasliev's iconic portrait of a Stalinist Moscow hatchery at feeding time.

author by DKpublication date Sat Jul 25, 2009 20:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"cows are kept in confined spaces where they are raped under the name of artificial insemination every 8 months.
this is done with huge gloves through putting ones arm in the cows anus and use a very long syringe to shoot the sperm into her uterus."

I must admit I laughed out loud when reading the above. Any cow possessing a physiology which allowed a route to the uterus via the anus would have far greater problems than those arising from farming methods.

author by RogerYatespublication date Sun Jul 26, 2009 13:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

DK - this is not really a laughing matter.

Insemination Process
Although not part of the female genital tract, the rectum (terminal portion of the large intestine) is an important organ for you to become familiar with because your arm inside the cow will be working through this thin-walled tube. The rectum is 10 to 12 inches long and very stretchable. That is important because it is through the rectum that you will manipulate the cervix.

The anus serves as a valve between the rectum and the outside. It is made up of a circular (purse string) muscle located directly under the skin. It surrounds the very end of the rectum. Again, the anus is stretchable, hence, your hand and arm can easily slip into the rectum. Circular muscle contractions move along the rectal wall toward the outside. When strong, these contractions may block your hand from moving forward and make it difficult to manipulate the genital organs through the rectal wall.

source: http://www.thecattlesite.com/articles/721/artificial-in...insem

author by DKpublication date Sun Jul 26, 2009 13:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I stand corrected

author by Sleepypublication date Mon Jul 27, 2009 06:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Firstly Bob, the reason that people have evolved to drink cow milk is because it is so full of nutrients, fat etc that people need for essential bodily functions. Look at the Irish landscape- what naturally occuring, non-animal foods are here that give you enough fat and protein to survive? You could eat a whole bucket of apples, carrots and parsnips and not come remotely close. Hence the ability to drink milk conferrs huge advantages: namely, you're less likely to die. The Atlantic Islands, Northern and Eastern Europe, Russia, North America- these places would never have seen human settlement if it were not for meat consumption.

This is in relation to something that RogerYates said above about food and morality.

The bulk of humanity has only known food security since the 1950's or so. Therefore, the whole idea of 'choice' concerning food is also new.

Considering the animals 'right to life' is unnatural. Imagine a bushman in Namibia- what would happen to him if he decided that eating an anthelope was 'immoral'? Answer: starvation. Given todays obsession with rights would it be more appropriate for him to walk up to the animal and ask 'do you consent to being eaten?'

Most of it all boils down to morality, which as people on Indymedia are so fond of pointing out, varies hugely from person to person.
You could say 'poor cows!', he could say 'so what?'

Also, I was a vegetarian for over four years; many of my dinners would have been soy beans from Peru, tofu from China etc. Better to have a lamb from from Meath, no?

author by Pete.publication date Mon Jul 27, 2009 13:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Whoever this "genius" you speak of was, s/he was clearly acting exploitatively.

S/he sure was Roger.

When YOU drink Soya Milk you too are acting exploitatively against poor ol' Soya Beans.


author by No longer so sleepypublication date Mon Jul 27, 2009 18:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'Exploite or die', that's the way it has been for 99.999999% of human history.

Had people extended sympathy to animals 1000 years ago, they would have perished.

If animals don't like being hunted, they should learn to run faster or grow wings and fly. That's to logic underpinning evolution (although it's neither conscious nor voluntary). And if we don't like going hungry, we should make better tools, learn to farm etc. The reason that everything today is so well evolved and developped is due to a millenia long game of 'cat and mouse'.

author by Catladypublication date Tue Jul 28, 2009 01:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

RE: above comment.... I guess it all depends on your definition of "evolved" and "well developed"....

Personally I think we've made a right bloody mess of things in just about every aspect of existence I can think of!

author by Pete.publication date Tue Jul 28, 2009 08:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Personally I think we've made a right bloody mess of things in just about every aspect of existence I can think of!"

A rather sad view of the world,Catlady.

The crowning glory of human attainment is in the Sciences.
The Sciences are,right now, in the throes of a great Golden Age.

The Hubble Telescope probes the very origins of the universe:


Soon the James Webb Space Telescope will outclass even Hubble:


And very soon the Large Hadron Collider will show us the deep interior of atoms:


"Particle physics is the unbelievable in pursuit of the unimaginable. To pinpoint the smallest fragments of the universe you have to build the biggest machine in the world. To recreate the first millionths of a second of creation you have to focus energy on an awesome scale."

This, the Golden Age of Science, is the greatest age,thus far, in the history of humanity.

We ain't even started "Manipulating Nature" yet !

author by iosaf - (forgive my sarcasm)publication date Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

After all no vegan female would consider gestating and giving birth to a healthy baby without the comparatively recent advance of science and chemistry, would they - especially if like our last illustration they wanted to breast feed said child?

from wikipedia :-
According to the US National Institute of Health, "with appropriate food choices, vegan diets can be adequate for children at all ages."[96] The American Dietetic Association also considers well-planned vegan diets "appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy and lactation,"[8] but recommends that vegan mothers supplement for iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.[97][98] Vitamin B12 deficiency in lactating vegetarian mothers has been linked to deficiencies and neurological disorders in their children.[99][100] Some research suggests that the essential omega-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid and its derivatives should also be supplemented in pregnant and lactating vegan mothers, since they are very low in most vegan diets, and the metabolically related docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential to the developing visual system.[101] A maternal vegan diet has also been associated with low birth weight,[102] and a five times lower likelihood of having twins than those who eat animal products.[103]
section & explanatory notes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegan#Pregnancies_and_children

So whence have come these multi-vitamins and dietary supplements & who makes them now?

well you'd be silly if you though they only way of getting iodine is by popping pills. You can eat seaweed and kelp. No eyes on them but harvesting them does have adverse affects on shoreline habitats as so far nobody has thought it financially feasible enough to simply grow them in tanks.

But whatabout the Docosahexaenoic acid which is one of those Omega3 things they put into everything these days from cans of retextured and coloured bits of tuna to that done and dusted product milk?

How do you get that without touching animal products?

Easy - we eat algae, which as you know though aren't classified as plants as eukaryotic organisms slip through the net of animal lifeforms. Unlucky lot them.

Who sells us these eukaryotic organisms?

good question that. but let's look at the history of multi-vitamins first for those who are tempted by the morality of a vegan diet but aren't well funded enough for all the careful consumer planning and still would like to give birth to a baby with decent bone structure, the hope of teeth and goodish vision.

Dr. Carl F. Rehnborg invented the first multi-vit in 1934. Previously he had worked for the Colgate corporation in China as a salesperson between 1915 and 1927. His mostly plant based pills were refined and by 1945 he was operating a kind of tupperware marketing scheme where each new health fan included another in the consumer base.

jolly good that.

But then the corporations got involved and started making the chemicals we call vitamins in labs and testing them on animals.

you could see that coming I suppose.

author by Preservedpublication date Tue Jul 28, 2009 16:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Irish are living longer and longer:


"Life expectancy in Ireland is now above the EU27 average for the first time. There has been a rapid increase, unmatched by any other EU country, since 1999. (Figure 1.3). Much of this increase is due to significant reductions in major causes of death such as circulatory disease. (see next section)"

The Irish are healthier now,and live longer, than in all of recorded history.

Maybe the artificial preservatives in the food are preserving US as well.

author by RogerYatespublication date Tue Jul 28, 2009 19:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It seems to me that those who are determined to find fault in veganism fail to understand some of the fundamentals about vegan philosophy.

Sure, we can think it to be utopian, and many will regard it as impractical - and yet it is motivated by notions of peace, justice and nonviolence. By the reaction of some, one would think these are bad aspirations.

Some take delight searching for real and potential problems in veganism, and yet these problems always require the same solution, more vegans. For veganism requires a paradigm shift in consciousness: away from hierarchy and exploitation of sentients (those who care about what happens to them) and toward a way of living that reduces ~and tries to eliminate~ suffering and the perpetration of rights violations.

Are these bad aspirations?

Those who attack the notion of veganism appear to assume - with no evidence - that the advocates of a vegan lifestyle would carry on producing in the same way in which current modes of production are organised - and that vegans would not be the first to think critically about food miles and sustainability.

It seems the discourse here has been typical in that a search for small problems and a deliberate misunderstanding of motivations goes on, all in order to find ways of rejecting the whole idea. It is a shame that this always happens, that there is a pretence of some moral concern for eukaryotic organisms when none is needed - none relevant to animal rights theory or vegan philosophy that is.

The ultimate aim of veganism is harmlessness - not a bad aspiration, is it?

author by Wilma Flintstone.publication date Wed Jul 29, 2009 08:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Latest Scientific report indicates that dairy (That's cows') milk is good for you:


Me and Fred knew we were doing the right thing when we were being "Exploititive" towards those cows 10,000 years ago.

We reared Pebbles on it......Yabba Dabbaa Doooo folks.

author by Dinopublication date Wed Jul 29, 2009 09:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As ever with research, it is the long-term general pattern that is the most important indicator. There are always a few studies that kick against the grain, such as those suggesting a diet high in sugar is a healthy one.

Indeed, caution is expressed in the BBC link cited: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8170002.stm "Joanne Murphy of The Stroke Association said: "This is an interesting study, but we need to take a further look to really assess the benefits of milk in reducing the chances of dying from stroke.

"In the meantime, we advise parents to opt for a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in saturated fat and salt for the overall health of their children.""

Once more, the moral point is ignored. Morality is not just an issue of what does one good - that is to sanction all sorts of injustices and abuses. We can be sure that those who traffick human beings into Ireland are reaping some benefit but that does not make it just..

Don’t children need milk for calcium?

No, what they do need is exercise and ahealthy plant-based diet. A recent review on dairy products and bone health (Lanou et al., Pediatrics 2005) shows that there is very little evidence to support increasing the consumption of dairy products in children and young adults in order to promote bone health. This review examined the effects of dairy products and calcium on bone strength in children and young adults and found that physical exercise is the most critical factor for maintaining healthy bones, followed by improving the diet and lifestyle; this means eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and for young adults cutting down on caffeine and avoiding alcohol and smoking.

Doesn’t most of our calcium come from milk?

No, less than half (43 per cent) of the calcium in the average UK diet comes from milk and milk products. This was reported in 2004 in the Food Standards Agency’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey. So despite the misconceived notion that milk is the best (or only) source of calcium the facts show that a large share of the calcium in our diets is derived from sources other than dairy foods. This is not surprising as most people in the world (around 70 per cent) obtain their calcium from plant-based sources rather than dairy products.

Source: http://www.milkmyths.org.uk/health/index.php#q6

author by Daisy the Cow.publication date Wed Jul 29, 2009 14:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"This is not surprising as most people in the world (around 70 per cent) obtain their calcium from plant-based sources rather than dairy products."

Cows' milk is plant based....It was grass before the cow ate it.

author by TopBlueBirdpublication date Wed Jul 29, 2009 16:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Surely mother's milk is BEST for children. In other cultures, children breast feed for FAR longer than in the West. If women would only breast feed! Calves milk is for calves, human milk is for humans. It's so simple really.

And if really necessary, then there is always almond milk, which contains far more calcium per litre than calves milk.

author by meat and fish eaterpublication date Wed Jul 29, 2009 18:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I love eating fish and meat. I don't accept that I am exploiting animals and as long as the animals are kept within legal regulations I don't give a fuck about liberal do gooders concerns. This is about personal choice. If you want to a vegan or a vegatarian or a fruitarian or whatever go ahead but I and most of the rest of the world don't have to follow your example.

author by Catladypublication date Thu Jul 30, 2009 13:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pete - I was thinking of aspects of existence such as famine, drought, child exploitation etc - which is pretty much waht our economy thrives on. The hubble is great but personally, I'd rather see the money used to supply fresh clean water in needy countries. Science is great, but things are still pretty messed up when kids are dying in droves from easily preventable diseases. Hence my "sad" view of human "achievement".

Meat and fish eater - no you don't have to follow our example. Nobody has said you had to. Your point/contribution to the debate being???

author by Pete.publication date Fri Jul 31, 2009 08:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The hubble is great but personally, I'd rather see the money used to supply fresh clean water in needy countries. Science is great, but things are still pretty messed up when kids are dying in droves from easily preventable diseases. Hence my "sad" view of human "achievement"

Soon science and technology will soon turn the Sahara Desert into Europe's, and Africa's, power source..and the age of Oil,Gas and Coal will be over (Time scale 50 years or so.):


American Science is weaning America off hydrocarbons just as urgently:


Within 100 years the "Oil and Coal Age" will be a memory.

Then...... "reverse-engineering" of Global Warming will begin.

Africa's problems are political, not scientific or technological

The Technologist Bill Gates (Inventor of Microsoft),and his wife Melinda, are doing more for Africa than all the corrupt leaders in that continent combined:

The Gates Foundation gave our own Concern €29 million just a couple of days ago:


Outlook = Bright.

author by Idiot.publication date Fri Jul 31, 2009 22:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

With the most fabulous resources in the world ordinary people across the middle east live in direst poverty.

Shades of the Absentee Landlords who ruined Ireland.

Leaving aside oil the combined GDP of all lands from Morocco to Indonesia is less than the GDP of Finland.

The rich take the oil.

author by Edpublication date Tue Aug 04, 2009 13:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As we’re quoting literature, I thought Terry Pratchett might give an insight into the world of “dairy”. The quote comes from Thief of Time, page 316, paperback edition. The Auditors, who are the logical emotionless accountant entities of the universe, are discussing foods and the one called Mr. White asks Mr. Indigo-Violet to name one.

““Cheese” said Mr. Indigo – Violet smartly. “It is rotted bovine lactation”.

Which leads on nicely to how marketing has helped us to view drinking breastmilk as natural.
Drinking the breastmilk of another species is entirely natural. For nothing occurs outside of nature, even humans. So by extension, what humans do is also natural.
War, Atomic Bombs, Oil spills, Genocide are all natural to name a few. The marketing divisions of certain corporations and industries are aware of the duplicity of the word “natural”. On the one hand it means everything but yet on the other hand in common day language it has another meaning.
In common use, the word natural is seen as opposite to “manmade” (or womanmade).
The article referred to above indicates that what helped trigger the evolutionary process of lactose tolerance was the preceding 6,000 years that humans “raised” cattle. The decisions to “raise” the cattle, take their breastmilk and drink the cows breastmilk are all human decisions. Man/Woman made if you like.
Is drinking the breastmilk of another species natural? Yes. Is it “manmade”? Absolutely.
For those who believe that the “dairy” industry denies the interests of cows, disrespects their rights and causes them suffering (even the small scale farms) then the question remains why do we do this? Because it’s natural doesn’t seen apt as it would be also natural to not do so.

My own remark that it is the production of the soya beans that needs solving not the eating them I assume is countered by this statement. “Surely it is not milk which is un-natural but the majority of its production which is cruel?”
But the difference is that you can not take the sentience of the non human animal out of the production. The non human I have good reason to believe is sentient, the soya bean I have not. The actual procedures involved in forcing the non human to become pregnant, to have breastmilk, the removal of her offspring, the murder of her offspring if male or female, the repeating of the process if her offspring is female are some of the examples here without getting into the detail of what the “dairy” industry entails.

Vegans who are planning to become mothers need to look after themselves and eat correctly. There are a number of books out there advising how to do so. The same applies for non vegan mothers. Supplements are recommended for both sets of would be mothers.
Vegan babies, like all babies need to be looked after and their diet carefully monitored. Again there are many books out there and again this applies to all babies.
The Vegan Society was set up in the UK in 1944. There has been many vegan mothers and babies since and before. In fact the article below talks of one tribe of vegans who’s being doing so for 5,000 years.

“The few thousand Brok-pa Aryans have over 5,000 years lived in these hostile terrain at 15,000 ft altitude, subsisting on a vegan diet”


Multi vitamins and supplements are all available from companies that do not test on animals. Ask at most health stores in the country and you’ll find vegan non animal tested vitamins. Regarding multivitamins being tested on animals and implying some hypocrisy of vegans by using them shows how far posters are going on this thread. Water has being tested on animals. Does this mean either water or multivitamins needed to be tested on animals? No it does not. By buying vegan non animal tested products vegans don’t support animal testing.

Regarding comments such as “If animals don't like being hunted, they should learn to run faster or grow wings and fly. That's to logic underpinning evolution (although it's neither conscious nor voluntary). And if we don't like going hungry, we should make better tools, learn to farm etc. The reason that everything today is so well evolved and developed is due to a millenia long game of 'cat and mouse'.”
This is a great might is right theory. Other examples may be, if the girl didn’t wish to be raped she should have defended herself better, if the old man didn’t want to be mugged he shouldn’t have gotten old, if the prisoner didn’t wish to be tortured he shouldn’t have become sentient. There are surely other examples but maybe the point is made.

I agree with Catlady that the measure of a civilization ought to be how it’s most vulnerable members are treated not the erection of monuments to the most affluent members. Science may bring us great things in the future but it is a dangerous philosophy. I’ve spoken to obese people who are living lifestyles that involve risk to their health and their answer on too many occasions is that their will be a wonder drug somewhere in the future that will fix their problems.
The pyramids of Egypt are wonderful structures but they also involved the use of many slaves. The Great Wall of China, which had the practical use of keeping out hoardes of invaders was also built at the great cost of slaves but is nevertheless a stunning construction. The decades old space age has developed so quickly due more to the rivalry of the cold war era than a burning desire to know what is out there.
There were victims in all of the above greatness and I wonder how they felt about losing their lives for the next big thing that is just around the corner.
Personally I believe that change happens with the individual and waiting for someone else to fix problems ends in disappointment.

Today’s key concerns involve the environment as we’re told it is a ticking time bomb. To save it we’re talking about killing animals that were fed on a local diet rather than flesh imported or food imported abroad. True this may reduce the damage done to the environment but the animal still dies. If we believe the animal experiences and has interests that are separate from the taste buds of humans then would it be too much to wonder why are we doing this? Save the planet so we can continue this is an odd philosophy. Save the planet and the animal is surely better.

author by Catladypublication date Tue Aug 04, 2009 23:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for that Ed, you saved me the bother of replying to Pete as you put my thoughts into words in a far more eloquent manner than I could have!

One thing in particular struck me as particularly insigntful in your post:

"The reason that everything today is so well evolved and developed is due to a millenia long game of 'cat and mouse'.”
This is a great might is right theory. Other examples may be, if the girl didn’t wish to be raped she should have defended herself better, if the old man didn’t want to be mugged he shouldn’t have gotten old, if the prisoner didn’t wish to be tortured he shouldn’t have become sentient."

I am glad that you highlighted the might is right theory, as I believe it to be at the heart of the whole vegan/AR debate. Simply because we CAN does not mean it is right to do so. No matter what the action in question involves.

author by Homo Sapien Sapienpublication date Wed Aug 05, 2009 14:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Catlady the evolution of the genus Homo through its various manifestations and eventually to the species Homo Sapien Sapien - i.e., us was driven by many different factors.

However one of the fundamentaly reasons why Homo Sapien Sapien evolved in the way we did, with larger brains than our ancestors, developed speech, reason and intelligence was due to the consumption of high levels of protein in the form of animal flesh.

Meat eating was crucial in human evolution and without it we would not be able today to communicate with each other via such sophisticated technology as the internet.

This is not meant as a comment for or against the ideas or lifestyle of veganism or vegetarianism.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Aug 05, 2009 14:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We may even have eaten our cousins Homo Sapiens Neandteralis. I guess its one sort of assimilation. Full article at link.

How we ate Neanderthals

One of science's most puzzling mysteries -- the disappearance of the Neanderthals -- may have been solved. Modern humans ate them, says a leading fossil expert.

The controversial suggestion follows publication of a study in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences about a Neanderthal jawbone apparently butchered by modern humans. Now, the leader of the research team says he believes the flesh had been eaten by humans, while its teeth may have been used to make a necklace.

Fernando Rozzi, of Paris's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, said the jawbone had probably been cut into to remove flesh. Crucially, the butchery was similar to that used by humans to cut up deer carcass in the early Stone Age. "Neanderthals met a violent end at our hands and in some cases we ate them," Mr Rozzi said.

Related Link: http://www.independent.ie/world-news/how-we-ate-neanderthals-1742186.html
author by Relict Almastypublication date Wed Aug 05, 2009 16:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Even if we accept the outside estimates of cohabitation in Europe and the near Caucus between Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens for a period of near 70,000 years - the idea that the Neanderthal died out simply because our ancestors munched them falls down on several important factors.

* the lack of technology which we associate with the later genocidies in our modern age & the obvious lack of paleontological evidence of imprisoned Neanderthals would have meant the Neanderthal was a free-range foodstuff with early man going out on the hunt after it. Surely even the most memory challenged sentient being would move cave if the folks next door turned up regularly to take the jawbone out of your plumpest family member?

* The Neanderthal was better suited to the climate of Europe and wouldn't it be safe to presume it would simply have gone up the mountains or further into the inhospitable cold areas to escape the cannibals?
- that would leave us with logically with relict populations of isolated Neanderthals, as indeed it is argued by some the cryptid Almasty of the Caucus mountains are, or the Yeti or even Bigfoot. But again we've no archeological evidence of such concentration of populations. Neanderthal it seems didnt' want to move off the Mediterranean coast.

* Cannibalism is a particularly dangerous diet and heightens the risk of Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies,eating Neanderthals would have put early Humans in the same boat as Mad Cows in our age.

* Neanderthals were bigger than us ,stronger than us & if you look carefully at their skulls had sharper teeth attached to much more developed zygomatic and jaw muscles. This probably meant not only could they ( the Vegan interest nod here ) munch through more nuts and berries and eat tougher vegetable food than us - but also they could probably smile wider than us and take a nasty chunk out of us if we tried to wallop them over the head for supper.

So sorry Pat, I reckon we just inter-bred the Neanderthal out or gave them a nasty virus we picked up on the way out of Africa.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Aug 05, 2009 17:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I reckon there were a few other factors at play as well as possible "cannibalism". Hmm is it cannibalism if a Chimp eats a Bonobo? But it looks as if the neandertals "liked" eachother:

Hungry ancients 'turned cannibal'

Some other possibilities below re Neandertal extinction.

Did we out-breed slow-maturing Neanderthals?

Human Spear Likely Cause Of Death Of Neandertal

Freeze 'condemned Neanderthals'

author by Relict Almastypublication date Wed Aug 05, 2009 19:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pat C, I'm sure you'd agree with me that the astounding exit of homo sapein neanderthal from the fossil record which can not be accounted for through either homo sapien sapien dietary predilictions or considering the advances in recent years of our understanding of all homo sapien DNA - is a mystery of such unfathomable humongousness that not only a few of us hvae come to entertaining the notion that :-

* either Hitler's master-race of European Aryans are in fact half breed Neanderthals and thus properly to be considered untermensch in relation to the true human species of Africa, Asia and Australia.

* or the Neanderthals mastered calculus, temporal geometry, tachyon vortex string theory & after leaving us the pyramids, Nazca lines and a bunch of other markers on the Moon and Mars, quite simply fucked off like the super superior sentient species they were to another dimension.

Now on this thread we really ought be considering the diets of our paleo-ancestors and cousins.

To my knowledge (which is that of a mere overly read and imaginative secular layman) the last example of the homo species which undoubtedly survived mostly on an exclusively vegetarian diet went extinct before any of our ancestors left Africa. Nutcracker as the species is afectionately known had incredibly strong jaw muscles which needed a cranial ridge to hold them in place. S/he would have looked a bit like a crested chewing machine. It is interesting to note that the version of humanity which replaced said masticator chose to develop the muscles which allow for straight-backed walking and distant vision : thus allowing all of us, wee little homo floriensis, rod up his ass homo erectus, good for a snack homo neanderthal and suspiciously lacking in hairiness homo sapiens sapiens as well as many others to get up on our hind legs and walk out of Africa with at least some sense of where we were going.

Eire is weak because her workers do not strive

author by Pete.publication date Thu Aug 06, 2009 08:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Either Hitler's master-race of European Aryans are in fact half breed Neanderthals and thus properly to be considered untermensch in relation to the true human species of Africa, Asia and Australia."

This reconstruction,from The National Geographic, is the "last word" in modern Scientific understanding of how they might have looked:


Their DNA proves they were red haired.

She looks very like my Mother-in-Law.

author by pheomelanin-Trichophiliapublication date Thu Aug 06, 2009 15:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Without dwelling on Hilter's vegetarianism or his auburn hair which showed he carried the red hair gene of our Neanderthal cousins, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7062415.stm let us consider how many important vegans have indeed been red haired.

Donald Watson, the founder of the Vegan society, whose long life may be a good advert for the lifestyle ( he lasted till 95) was a dark brown haired chap.

Gillian Anderson the US actress who played Agent Scully in the X-files is likewise a dark-haired woman.

Alec Baldwin the actor who plays Alec Baldwin definitely doesn't have ginger pubes.

Our own Sinead O Connor has no red hair nor does Moby and Lennie Kravitz definitely doesn't either.

Cindy Sheehan the peace activist who camped at Bush's ranch does have red hair.

Similarly Weird Al Yankovic also has auburn hair. It seems by going through the wikipedia list of famous vegans and checking their copyright waived images, that the percentage of redhaired people who carry Neanderthal genes is no greater than those who don't and is no different from the rest of the general population.


author by Catladypublication date Fri Aug 07, 2009 00:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hmmmm..... Methinks you take your pseudonym too literally......

There is no way of knowing for sure what our ancestors ate pr what led to our position as dominators and oppressors of this planet. Morally speaking, neither does it matter....

My grandfather drowned kittens. Does that make it ok for me to do so?

He "had" to - vets didn't do spaying back then and even if they did there was no way he could have paid for it. He could bartely feed his kids.

My distant ancestors may have eaten meat. Does that mean it is ok for me to participate in an industry consisting of a continuous cycle of rape, murder and kidnapping in the name of financial gain????? When I have no need in the world to do so except satisfying taste buds???????? I think not. I choose to reject violence and abuse, which is basically what veganism is about.

I brought my dog to the vet today for an ear check-up (he has ear problems). I spoke to the vet about the feeding of snakes and feeding live animals to snakes. He spoke to me about cows in slaughterhouses, saying how they sensed the impending death, and panicked. The same vet gave up department work years ago because he had such nightmares from seeing the inside of those places. He is a country vet who treats farm animals every day. He made me so glad I was vegan..... when you hear about a prick who saws the head off a live lamb to save the Ewe for profit, you know that the industry is sick to the core. And that is one of many many stories..... I love my vet but he gives me nightmares.

author by Homo Sapien Sapienpublication date Fri Aug 07, 2009 01:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Catlady I said clearly in my comment that my points about evolution and meat eating were not a comment on veganism! So not sure why you have made these points.

You said that your distant ancestors may have eaten meat. They did eat meat, there is no doubt about this my contribution is based on concrete scientific fact which is undisputed by any anthropologist or evolutionary biologist.

You also told us of your visit to the vet and how you had a conversation about feeding live animals to snakes. Not sure what point you are trying to make. Snakes eat live animals. Animals eat other animals are you now tryng to say their is something wrong with this as well!

You also said "He spoke to me about cows in slaughterhouses, saying how they sensed the impending death, and panicked."
Sorry Catlady but that is not true. The cows may panick because of the unfamiliarity of where they are and some extincts may kick in to suggest to them there might be danger but they don't sense their impending death. No other species other than humans has a developed enough consciousness to understand the concept of death. Again this is a scientific fact.

author by Pete.publication date Fri Aug 07, 2009 08:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There were cannibals in Britain just 9,000 years ago, long after the Neanderthals died out:


They were probably redheads.......increasingly rare now.......their time has come too:



author by Mr Manpublication date Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Homo Sapien Sapien;
"Sorry Catlady but that is not true. The cows may panick because of the unfamiliarity of where they are and some extincts may kick in to suggest to them there might be danger but they don't sense their impending death. No other species other than humans has a developed enough consciousness to understand the concept of death. Again this is a scientific fact."

I agree with a lot of what you say but this isn't true. While other species do not understand the 'concept' of death, they still fear it. To say that it is just instinct is trivial as our own fear of death is on the most part instinctual. And yes, they can sense their impending death, probably big clues are the smell of cow blood. If you put a cow in an unfamiliar place it does not freak out like in a slaughterhouse. Same as bringing your animal to a vet, it is not the unfamiliar surroundings but either the memory of being manhandled and injected or the smell of fear from other animals. And to call something a scientific fact requires strict conditions, principally objectivity and verifiable observation and i'm afraid we haven't advanced bovine neuroscience to that level so it is really a 'scientific theory'.

"an industry consisting of a continuous cycle of rape, murder and kidnapping in the name of financial gain"
Jaysus, rape? That is a step too far. Who are these rapists? We must inform the UN!
In order for something to be murder, it requires malice aforethought, otherwise its slaughter. That is why it is called a slaughterhouse, not a murderhouse.

"He "had" to - vets didn't do spaying back then"
No he didn't, there are lots more humane ways to kill cats, with drowning being one of the most inhumane and terrifying.

"when you hear about a prick who saws the head off a live lamb to save the Ewe for profit, you know that the industry is sick to the core."
That's just the same as saying 'oh you know when you hear Pol Pot and Charles Manson were vegan, you know vegans are sick to the core'.

author by iosafpublication date Fri Aug 07, 2009 18:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Richard Adam's "Watership Down" series of books which many only know from the animated movie of the same name with the sweet little tune bright eyes not only singularly managed to anthropromorphosize (?) a whole clutch of rabbits and bunnies complete with wars, states, migration, mythology, gods and grim reaper (The Black Rabbit of Inlé) but amazingly did so without tackling myxomatosis.

I very much doubt that we can scientifically examine concepts or consciousness of death either for humans or other species. Evolutionary biology as a discipline has given us one of the most articulate as well as staunch atheists but it has not nor can it do anything more than postulate on conscience. IF we could define what is meant by a conscious mind then we might be further down the road to artificial intelligence or the current generally widespread hazy notion that somehow consciousness is a byproduct or emergent quality in systems as complex as our own little brains. But the size matters argument of human difference fell down with the acceptance that wee little homo floriensis was one of us on the family tree with his tiny little hobbit brain and sharp little teeth.

The promotion and then acceptace of the rights for the great apes and simians which made many people laugh but I took very seriously for hard philosophical reasons of the last years were based on the self-evident consciousness evinced by those four species whose though our cousins are much more distant relations than any of our other precursors or indeed rivals earlier mentioned on this thread.

- if we can not agree on what we think of death, and not many of us concur with the partial theorisation put forward by Freud of the tanathos death wish struggle with some life force, then all talk of animals fearing or not fearing death as we do is utter speculation. At no stage have the scientists who communicate with simians through glyphs, sign language and so on attempted to pursue such philosophical questions. We may talk only of pain and pleasure and simple mathematic and observe that amongst chimpanzees at least violence and war are common.

But on the earlier neanderthal theme and also touching on such questions of evolutionary biology and speculation, I'd like to introduce readers to a series of novels written by the Canadian writer Robert J Sawyer which chart the first contact between civilised modern humanity and civilised neanderthal humanity after a convenient science fiction wormhole discovery introduces the neanderthals as living in a parallel dimension. (as I earlier told Pat C they had done). The Neanderthals of the Neanderthal Parallax series have no God, no great bunny Frith in the sky, nor any grim reaper or dark rabbit of inlé quite simply because they didn't evolve that way and have no "god gene". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Neanderthal_Parallax

Veganism is lifestyle option - from the evidence it seems it is a pretty healthy one but its presentation as a moral lifestyle is non-factual and non-scientific and to be frank is philosophically worrying. I can concur that the industries which supply us with meat and milk are cruel and cause pain to other sentient species. But I can not accept by simply not engaging in that I would be making a positive moral change especially as has been shown in the comments we may not move the human population as a whole to a Vegan diet without causing enormous environmental damage and wiping out entire ecosystems. It seems self-rightous to present Veganism as sucha moral choice and ethically correct thing to do, if such noble concepts are only sustainable as long as only a few enjoy the privilege, no?

author by iosafpublication date Sat Aug 08, 2009 20:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Vegans have mentioned their pets a few times on this thread and rather than keeping vegetarian or vegan companions like iguanas, tortoises or even bunny rabbits - it seems dogs and cats are the pretty typical order of the day. The morality applied to one's own eating choices is I presume something which may not be extended to the alimentary requirements of the little pet. The idea of neutering pets is also a curious demonstration of the philosophically ragbag assembly of notions and choices which to my mind at least evoke consideration of some of the estimated five million words left to humanity by the English Utilitarianist philosopher, founding father of animal rights & the bloke whose mummified remains sit in University College London. I'm speaking about Jeremy Bentham of course and the theory that population control of any sentient species by removing part or all of their genitalia can be considered anything but a cruel and unusual act.


There is a very curious little dog in the USA, whose name is Libby. She's a standard poodle therapy dog. This means her keepers have trained her to "work" supporting the needs of humans. We know what such dogs do for us; they lead the blind, they find the dynamite and smack & they sniff the near dead out of avalanches. Libby however has reached the attention of scientists globally and entertained television audiences across the Americas and Europe because it seems - she can smell impending death amongst humans

Fortuanately for the local scientists and the boffins of Cambridge England who have taken an interest in Libby's case, she works in a elderly rest home where there is a decent supply of decrepid humans who shuttle off to see the dark rabbit of Inlé on a pretty regular basis (but obviously each only does this once). & so far it does appear that Libby's reported behaviour, which to my mind seems rather more like a hound of Anubis welcoming the ka and ba of the recently dead soul to the halls of judgement than a simple poodle adopting a sitting pose and scraping paws in front of the door of the old chap or chapette who has less than two hours to live, stands up to a reasonably empirical observation. For the moment the Cambridge types think she is smelling key changes in the human body which if they can isolate and identifiy will save a fortune in hospice treatments in the future.
So good news all round.


Finally a curious case of corvine (or crow and rooks) intelligence has been studied by scientists which seems to confirm one of Aesop's fables.

A new study published online today (06 August) in the journal Current Biology demonstrates that rooks, birds belonging to the corvid (or crow) family, are able to solve complex problems using tools and can easily master the same technique demonstrated in Aesop's fable. Christopher Bird of the University of Cambridge, lead author of the paper, highlighted the importance of the findings, stating: "Corvids are remarkably intelligent, and in many ways rival the great apes in their physical intelligence and ability to solve problems. The only other animal known to complete a similar task is the orang-utan.

"This is remarkable considering their brain is so different to the great apes'. Although it has been speculated in folklore, empirical tests are needed to examine the extent of their intelligence and how they solve problems."


which really lead all of us who think about the many questions of sentience and consciousness be it of human or non human variety to really dwell a while on what I termed in the last comment as the "size matters" brain thing.

I believe if we all dwell on these things and recognise sentience then we are engaged in something more morally valid than simple promoting the adoption of certain lifestyles, at least until there is no Vegan with a carnivore pet.

author by Pete.publication date Sat Aug 08, 2009 22:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is well known indeed that animals "sense" that their owners are going to kill them.

The minute that the owner of a sheepdog feels that the dog is past it's "sell-by" date the behaviour of the sheepdog changes to "whining and whingeing".

Dogs uncannily sense the owner's feeling.

This is not unscientific gobbledegook.

It is Chemistry.

(The nose of trained dog can sense heroine through a foot of concrete.....that nose can also sense disapproval in its owner.)

Dogs Know.

This woman knows too.

She eases animals out of life with as little stress as possible:


author by Homo Sapien Sapienpublication date Sat Aug 08, 2009 22:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am sorry but animals do not and cannot sense their own death. Animals do not have any concept of what death is. Being able to understand that ones life is finite is only possible with a very developed brain, intelligence and a consciousness way beyond what any animal has evolved. What people have been describing here is not a fear of death or a sense of ones impending death amongst animals, what you have described is fear (but even using the term fear in relation to how animals thinks is inaccurate but for the purpose of discussion I will use it in a qualified way).

An animal will fear many many things. Situations and circumstances, past experiences will induce fear in animals, instincts developed and evolved over millions of years. The animal fears being harmed, they fear harm against their offspring, they are genetically programmed to survive and to protect their young - animals are also taught survival skills by their parents and others in their extended family, pack, troop etc . But the animal never fears death because it doesn't know what death is - an animal does not know that at some point in the future its life will end. Animals have no understanding of future or the past. Their understanding of time is extremely limited and revolves around sleeping, hunting and eating, reproduction and in some memory.

I would stress again that I am not making these points as an argument against veganism, vegetarianism or the "humane" treatment of animals, I am only making these points because I think that the discussion should be accurate.

author by Mr Manpublication date Sun Aug 09, 2009 21:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Homo SS;

As I said, animal neuroscience hasn't developed far enough to give a definitive answer either way, so to say that it is a fact that they don't have a concept of death is patently untrue as, basically, no one knows for sure. Many believe they do, but this belief is more or less based in anthropomorphism and many believe they don't, more or less from based in anti anthropomorphism or a presumption that brain complexity infers the ability to understand death, but this is not based on evidence, it is a presumption, just as you are presuming that this is a fact, which it isn't.



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