Tasmanian Times

Jon Sumby

Eat Ya Vegies

Jon Sumby

The typical US diet, about 28 per cent of which comes from animal sources, generates the equivalent of nearly 1.5 tonnes more carbon dioxide per person per year than a vegan diet with the same number of calories, say the researchers, who presented their results at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last week. By comparison, the difference in annual emissions between driving a typical saloon car and a hybrid car, which runs off a rechargeable battery and gasoline, is just over 1 tonne. If you don’t want to go vegan, choosing less-processed animal products and poultry instead of red meat can help reduce the greenhouse load.

Vegetarian Tasmania invites you to a presentation and vegetarian banquet.
Saturday 16th August, 6pm

Read a collection of articles on why going veg helps the planet here:
‘If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.’ – Sir Paul McCartney

Top Ten Reasons to go Vegetarian
Bruce Friedrich, AlterNet, 19th May, 2008

Gone are the days when vegetarians were served up a plate of iceberg lettuce and a dull-as-dishwater baked potato. With the growing variety of vegetarian faux-meats like bacon and sausages and an ever-expanding variety of vegetarian cookbooks and restaurants, vegetarianism has taken the world by storm. With World Vegetarian Week here, without further ado, are the Top Ten reasons to give vegetarian eating a try, starting now!

1. Helping Animals Also Helps the Global Poor. While there is ample and justified moral indignation about the diversion of 100 million tons of grain for biofuels, more than seven times as much (760 million tons) is fed to farmed animals so that people can eat meat. Is the diversion of crops to our cars a moral issue? Yes, but it’s about one-eighth the issue that meat-eating is. Care about global poverty? Try vegetarianism.

2. Eating Meat Supports Cruelty to Animals. The green pastures and idyllic barnyard scenes of years past are now distant memories. On today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy windowless sheds, wire cages, gestation crates, and other confinement systems. These animals will never raise families, root in the soil, build nests, or do anything else that is natural and important for them.
They won’t even get to feel the warmth of the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they are loaded onto trucks bound for slaughter.

3. Eating Meat Is Bad for the Environment. A recent United Nations report entitled Livestock’s Long Shadow concludes that eating meat is ‘one of the … most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.’ In just one example, eating meat causes almost 40 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world combined. The report concludes that the meat industry ‘should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.’

4. Avoid Bird Flu. The World Health Organization says that if the avian flu virus mutates, it could be caught simply by eating undercooked chicken flesh or eggs, eating food prepared on the same cutting board as infected meat or eggs, or even touching eggshells contaminated with the disease. Other problems with factory farming – from foot-and-mouth to SARS – can be avoided with a general shift to a vegetarian diet.

5. If You Wouldn’t Eat a Dog, You Shouldn’t Eat a Chicken. . Several recent studies have shown that chickens are bright animals that are able to solve complex problems, demonstrate self-control, and worry about the future. Chickens are smarter than cats and dogs and even do some things that have not yet been seen in mammals other than primates. Dr. Chris Evans, who studies animal behaviour and communication at Macquarie University in Australia, says, ‘As a trick at conferences I sometimes list these attributes, without mentioning chickens, and people think I’m talking about monkeys.’

6. Heart Disease: Our Number One Killer. Healthy vegetarian diets support a lifetime of good health and provide protection against numerous diseases, including the United States’ three biggest killers: heart disease, cancer, and strokes.

7. Cancer: Our Number Two Killer. Dr. T. Colin Campbell is one of the world’s foremost epidemiological scientists and the director of what The New York Times called ‘the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease.’ Dr. Campbell’s best-selling book, The China Study, is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about cancer. To summarize it, Dr. Campbell states, ‘No chemical carcinogen is nearly so important in causing human cancer as animal protein.’

8. Fitting Into That Itty-Bitty Bikini. Vegetarianism is also the ultimate weight-loss diet, since vegetarians are one-third as likely to be obese as meat-eaters are, and vegans are about one-tenth as likely to be obese. Of course, there are overweight vegans, just as there are skinny meat-eaters. But on average, vegans are 10 to 20 percent lighter than meat-eaters. A vegetarian diet is the only diet that has passed peer review and taken weight off and kept it off.

9. Global Peace. Leo Tolstoy claimed that ‘vegetarianism is the taproot of humanitarianism.’ His point? For people who wish to sow the seeds of peace, we should be eating as peaceful a diet as possible. Eating meat supports killing animals, for no reason other than humans’ acquired taste for animals’ flesh. Great humanitarians from Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi to Thich Nhat Hanh have argued that a vegetarian diet is the only diet for people who want to make the world a kinder place.

10. The Joy of Vegies. As the growing range of vegetarian cookbooks and restaurants shows, vegetarian foods rock. People report that when they adopt a vegetarian diet, their range of foods explodes from a centre-of-the-plate meat item to a range of grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables that they didn’t even know existed.

Sir Paul McCartney sums it all up, ‘If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That’s the single most important thing you could do. It’s staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.’

So are you ready to give it a try?

In Australia, global warming emissions from the meat industry contribute more than all of the emissions from cars and trucks. Other research shows:

Food miles don’t feed climate change – meat does
18 April 2008, NewScientist.com news, By Ewen Callaway

That locally-produced, free-range, organic hamburger might not be as green as you think. An analysis of the environmental toll of food production concludes that transportation is a mere drop in the carbon bucket.
Foods such as beef and dairy make a far deeper impression on a consumer’s carbon footprint.

‘If you have a certain type of diet that’s indicative if the American average, you’re not going to do that much for climate while eating locally,’ says Christopher Weber, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who led a comprehensive audit of the greenhouse gas emissions of our meals.

Gassy foods
His analysis included emissions such as transporting and producing fertiliser for crops, methane gas emitted by livestock, and food’s journey to market. All told, that final step added up to just four per cent of a food’s greenhouse emissions, on average. But some items, particularly red meat, spewed out far more greenhouse gases than other foods, Weber and his colleague Scott Matthews found. Environmentally savvy shoppers may want to take note.

‘It seems much easier to shift one day of my beef consumption a week to chicken or vegetables, than going through and eating only Jerusalem artichokes for three months in the winter,’ says Weber, a ‘vegetarian bordering on vegan.’

Every last molecule
Other researchers have quantified the greenhouse gas budget of foods, but most studies looked at a single food item, such as an apple, or ignored greenhouse gases more potent than CO2, such as methane and nitrous oxide.
Weber’s team combined statistics on greenhouse gas emissions for different foods with estimated greenhouse footprints for transport for each step in a food’s production and final delivery. Food traveled an average of 1640 km in its final trip to the grocery store, out of total of 6760 km on the road for the raw ingredients. But some foods log more kilometres than others. Red meat averaged 20,400 km – just 1800 of those from final delivery.

Accounting for greenhouse gas emissions made those contrasts even starker. Final delivery ‘food-miles’ make up just one per cent of the greenhouse emissions of red meat, and eleven per cent for fruits and vegetables. To drive his point home, Weber calculated that a completely local diet would reduce a household’s greenhouse emissions by an amount equivalent to driving a car 1600 km fewer per year. He assumed the car travels 10.6 km per litre of petrol. Switching from red meat to veggies just one day per week would spare 1860 km of driving. ‘The differences between eating habits are very, very striking,’ Weber says.

Carbon grocery list
Edgar Hertwich, a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, agrees that the obsession with food miles can obscure more significant environmental impacts of our food.

‘Why not focus on what actually happens on the field and how much fertilizer we use,’ he says. Whatever the source of greenhouse gas emissions from food, many are now calling for labeling that lets shoppers know how much carbon went into their goods. In the UK, the government-supported Carbon Trust offers a voluntary carbon label, and a proposed California law aims to regulate such labeling, much like organic food standards.

‘Our goal is to get the most accurate information that’s available in the hands of consumer so they can make informed purchasing decisions,’ says Matthew Perry, head of Carbon Label California. But based on Weber’s study, consumers will face decisions tougher than buying local well water over bottles shipped from Fiji.
‘If you’re interested in the hamburger you’re not going to switch to tofu, but you might switch to a chicken
burger,’ Perry says.

Journal reference:
Environmental Science and Technology (DOI: 10.1021/es702969f )

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, US. http://www.cmu.edu/index.shtml
Carbon Trust. http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/default.ct
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim. http://www.ntnu.no/english

It’s better to green your diet than your car
New Scientist, 17 December 2005, p. 19, issue 2530

Thinking of helping the planet by buying an eco-friendly car? You could do more by going vegan, say Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin of the University of Chicago.

They compared the amount of fossil fuel needed to cultivate and process various foods, including running agricultural machinery, providing food for livestock and irrigating crops. They also factored in emissions of methane and nitrous oxide produced by cows, sheep and manure treatment.

The typical US diet, about 28 per cent of which comes from animal sources, generates the equivalent of nearly 1.5 tonnes more carbon dioxide per person per year than a vegan diet with the same number of calories, say the researchers, who presented their results at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last week. By comparison, the difference in annual emissions between driving a typical saloon car and a hybrid car, which runs off a rechargeable battery and gasoline, is just over 1 tonne. If you don’t want to go vegan, choosing less-processed animal products and poultry instead of red meat can help reduce the greenhouse load.

Meat is murder on the environment
18 July 2007, NewScientist.com news, By Daniele Fanelli

A kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for three hours while leaving all the lights on back home. This is among the conclusions of a study by Akifumi Ogino of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan, and colleagues, which has assessed the effects of beef production on global warming, water acidification, eutrophication, and energy consumption.

The team looked at calf production, focusing on animal management and the effects of producing and transporting feed. By combining this information with data from their earlier studies on the impact of beef fattening systems, the researchers were able to calculate the total environmental load of a portion of beef.
Their analysis showed that producing a kilogram of beef leads to the emission of greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide. It also releases fertilizing compounds equivalent to 340 grams of sulphur dioxide and 59 grams of phosphate, and consumes 169 megajoules of energy (Animal Science Journal, DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00457.x).

In other words, a kilogram of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometres, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days. The calculations, which are based on standard industrial methods of meat production in Japan, did not include the impact of managing farm infrastructure and transporting the meat, so the total environmental load is higher than the study suggests. Most of the greenhouse gas emissions are in the form of methane released from the animals’ digestive systems, while the acid and fertilizing substances come primarily from their waste.

Over two-thirds of the energy goes towards producing and transporting the animals’ feed. Possible interventions, the authors suggest, include better waste management and shortening the interval between calving by one month. This latter measure could reduce the total environmental load by nearly 6 per cent. A Swedish study in 2003 suggested that organic beef, raised on grass rather than concentrated feed, emits 40 per cent less greenhouse gases and consumes 85 per cent less energy.

‘Methane emissions from beef cattle are declining, thanks to innovations in feeding practices,’ says Karen Batra of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Centennial, Colorado. ‘Everybody is trying
to come up with different ways to reduce carbon footprints,’ says Su Taylor of the Vegetarian Society in the UK: ‘But one of the easiest things you can do is to stop eating meat.’

Saving the Planet – One Bite at a Time
How modern diets are contributing to climate change.

Vegetarian Tasmania invites you to a presentation and vegetarian banquet.
Saturday 16th August, 6pm
St Georges Church Hall, 30 Cromwell Street, Battery Point
Cost $25/$18 concession. Family rates available.
RSVP by Thursday 14th August to: mobile 0400 177 361 or email info@tasveg.org
For more information about Vegetarian Tasmania www.tasveg.org

Jon Sumby

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Jon Sumby

    October 4, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Meat diets pose environmental danger: report

    Mon Oct 4, 2010

    LONDON (Reuters) – People will have to cut meat from their diets if the world is to stay within safer limits of planet-warming greenhouse gases, nitrate pollution and habitat destruction, according to a journal article published on Monday.

    Experts agree that eating plant products can be better for the environment, because eating meat involves consuming animals which are themselves raised on plants, a less efficient process.

    But there is some controversy about just how far people should shun meat for vegetables and grains to curb damage to the environment, partly because of wide disagreement about exactly what those impacts are.

    Monday’s paper used coarse estimates to argue that, on current trends, livestock farming on its own — disregarding all other human activity — would push the world near danger levels for climate change and habitat destruction by mid-century.

    “We suggest that reining in growth of this sector should be prioritized,” said the authors from Canada’s Dalhousie University, in their article titled “Forecasting potential global environmental costs of livestock production 2000-2050.”

    The paper described “a profound disconnect between the anticipated scale of potential environmental impacts associated with projected livestock production levels and even the most optimistic mitigation strategies.”

    Solutions to the problem included using best practice such as substituting manure for nitrogen fertilizers, and increasing agricultural productivity, said the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    But efficiency gains would not be enough. Per capita meat consumption would have to be cut.

    “Across the board reductions in per capita consumption of livestock products should … be a policy priority,” it said.

    The paper calculated required cuts in globally averaged per capita meat consumption of 19-42 percent by 2050, given expected increases in population and income, just to stand still regarding environmental damage.

    Livestock farming drives emissions of the greenhouse gas methane, from the stomachs of ruminants and especially cattle, and of carbon dioxide by increasing deforestation.

    Intensive farms also use fertilizers which release the powerful greenhouse gas nitrous oxide when applied to the soil.

    Both fertilizers and manure release nitrogen into natural systems such as rivers, upsetting the natural balance.

    Farming also competes with natural habitats. The human food system already consumes 12 percent of the output of all the world’s plants, the paper said.

    (Reporting by Gerard Wynn; editing by Andrew Roche)

  2. don davey

    May 26, 2009 at 4:16 am

    H,mmmm !
    many many years ago i seem to remember a scientist saying that they had ,using particularly sensitive radio equipment ,recorded the scream of a rose being cut, he also stated that anyone hearing it would never cut one again.


  3. Jon Sumby

    May 25, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Skip the Steak
    By Bryan Walsh

    Which is responsible for more global warming: your BMW or your Big Mac? Believe it or not, it’s the burger. The international meat industry generates roughly 18% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions—even more than transportation—according to a report last year from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

    Much of that comes from the nitrous oxide in manure and the methane that is, as the New York Times delicately put it, “the natural result of bovine digestion.” Methane has a warming effect that is 23 times as great as that of carbon, while nitrous oxide is 296 times as great.

    There are 1.5 billion cattle and buffalo on the planet, along with 1.7 billion sheep and goats. Their populations are rising fast, especially in the developing world. Global meat production is expected to double between 2001 and 2050. Given the amount of energy consumed raising, shipping and selling livestock, a 16-oz.T-bone is like a Hummer on a plate.

    If you switch to vegetarianism, you can shrink your carbon footprint by up to 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to research by the University of Chicago. Trading a standard car for a hybrid cuts only about one ton—and isn’t as tasty.
    From: http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1602354_1603074_1603171,00.html

  4. Jon Sumby

    April 19, 2009 at 1:29 am

    Stay slim to save the planet, scientists say

    Overweight people eat more than thin people and are more likely to travel by car, making excess body weight doubly bad for the environment, according to a study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

    “When it comes to food consumption, moving about in a heavy body is like driving around in a gas guzzler,” and food production is a major source of greenhouse gases, researchers Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts wrote in their study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

    “We need to be doing a lot more to reverse the global trend towards fatness, and recognise it as a key factor in the battle to reduce [carbon] emissions and slow climate change,” the British scientists said.

    They estimated that each fat person is responsible for about one tonne of carbon dioxide emissions a year more on average than each thin person, adding up to an extra one billion tonnes of CO2 a year in a population of one billion overweight people.

    The European Union estimates each EU citizen accounts for 11 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

    – Reuters
    From: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/04/19/2546848.htm

  5. Jon Sumby

    November 11, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Corn-fed animals fuel America

    Biofuel demand is not the only market pressure being felt by US corn farmers. Much of the fast food that powers Americans – a $100 billion annual market – is indirectly made from corn as well, according to researchers in Hawaii.

    Hope Jahren and Rebecca Kraft of the University of Hawaii purchased 486 servings of hamburgers, fries and chicken sandwiches from McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Detroit, Boston and Baltimore.

    Back in the lab, they analysed the carbon isotope content of each serving. Previous research has shown that it is possible to determine whether an animal ate predominantly corn feed or grass from the ratio of C13 to C12 in its body tissue.

    The pair found that 100% of the chicken in these three fast-food chains had been reared on corn alone. Some 93% of the beef came from cows that had been fed a corn-only diet. Just 12 burgers – all from west-coast Burger Kings – came from beef that had eaten something else.

    The team was even able to determine what type of oil the fries had been cooked in – a mixture of vegetable oils at McDonald’s and Burger King, corn oil at Wendy’s. In fact, of 160 products purchased at Wendy’s, the researchers did not find a single one without some corn component.

    “The trend over the past few decades has been to push for cheap animal protein,” says Vicki Hird of environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth. She notes that government subsidies that favour corn have encouraged pesticide- and fertiliser-intensive monoculture farming in the US. “We are using corn in ways that are completely unsustainable,” says Hird.

    Friends of the Earth is compiling a report on the effects of intensive farming on the demand for soy, and the environmental consequences for South America. The growth of soy farming in countries such as Brazil has driven deforestation and the destruction of grasslands. Much of the soy, says Hird, is used to feed cattle and chickens around the world.

    Hird warns that the US and European push for corn-based biofuels could mean that intensive cattle and chicken farmers in the US will also turn to soy-based feeds.

    Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0809870105)

    New Scientist, 10 November 2008 by Catherine Brahic

  6. Ralph

    October 13, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Ok, Ill bite.

    To a large extent I’m sympathetic with Ayling’s point of view.

    Yet to make others privy to one’s level of disgust at their environmental practices [“Selfishness and a lack of empathy are often the driving motivations for refusing to face facts.”] leaves me wondering…. Is that engaging with someone, or simply talking down to them? Maybe driving the wedge deeper?


  7. Jason

    October 12, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Everyone else can eat kangaroo, but I am going to pass on it. The Roo Harvesters that come to my place have told me too many revolting stories about when they butcher the roos, the parasites that are in them. I once tried feeding it to my dogs, and I cooked it to make sure it killed any parasites. There is no way I am going to eat a piece of roo meat that is nearly raw and just seared on both sides.

    3 million years ago, there were many times more ruminants and large herbivores on the planet then there were humans. Since then humans have replaced much of this biomass, and yet here we are blaming what is left of herbivorous mega-fauna – that have survived through becoming domesticated – with causing global warming. It’s not farting cows – it’s coal and oil, and poor management of our resources.

  8. Tony Saddington

    October 11, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    I love my vegies, but I too, love a rare steak,roast pork,fillet of Wallaby or Roo patties.
    I do run free range pigs on my property and their lives, while here, are contented.

    I have no problems with any vegetarian and I hope that they too tolerate me.
    In fact I might even say that I admire them,but a full vegetarian diet is probably not for me.

    Perhaps a better solution would be to replace high methane emitting bovines with our own national symbol, the kangaroo. This animal is low in farts and fat,and soft footed.
    The challenge is in farming and processing humanely.
    A diet of roo and veg, may be a better one for the environment.

  9. George Harris aka woodworker

    October 11, 2008 at 3:08 am

    I wasn’t aware I had been blasted into oblivion. Flogged with a wet bus ticket, maybe, but balsted into oblivion…? What a hoot!
    Hey, what do you get if you cross a rooster with an owl?
    Answer: a cock that stays up all night!

  10. Mike Adams

    October 10, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Why is it that Woodworker reminds one of Tom in the Tom and Jerry cartoons? No sooner blasted into oblivion than he’s back again apparently intact.

  11. George Harris aka woodworker

    October 10, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Geeez, Ben…! Someone in another post elswhere on tt is suggesting I should take an anger management course, …. but I am not angry. I am quite calm in my resolve, but it sure sounds like you could use it!
    And I reckon you should give up smoking.
    I don’t drink much beer, and I rarely set foot in a pub these days, and I certainly don’t go to the pub with any ‘Forestry mates’. And I have not been to a football match since I was dragged along to the Boyer oval one time. (I think Peter Hudson was playing for New Norfolk)
    Strictly speaking, the Greens have not made a policy announcement opposing red meat, but plenty of known Green supporters are in the front line of the ranks calling for it.
    On numerous occasions members of the Greens have called for the end of old-growth logging (which includes the Special Timbers that I and many other woodworkers cannot survive in business without).
    Forestry has always actively discouraged chipping of saw log. I am not denying that it has happened, I oppose it happening, and I do get angry when I hear it has happened. I support forestry seeking to maximise value, and to minimise waste, and I support the concept of seeking continuous improvement in forestry practices.
    As I have said in other places, I used to give the Greens preference votes, but not any more! I stopped doing that several electoral cycles ago, and now I start on the ballot paper from the bottom up, giving the Greens the least value votes, and working my way up from there.
    I couldn’t give a sick monkey’s fuck what you think of what you refer to as my crap generalisations, I am entitled to my point of view, just as everyone else is, as they dump the most extraordinary crap on this site.
    Bathurst is on this weekend. I won’t be watching it, but I suggest maybe you should. It would take your mind off things. You could rip the scabs off a few tinnies, and park your arse on the couch. You said you like beer, and it would be a good accompanyment to the car racing. Alternatively, you could watch a re-run of the Grand Final, but the fact that your team’s colours won’t be visible might make it a bit painful…
    I’m sure you will get over it…
    I’ve enjoyed writing this one, and I’m sure I’ll write a few more…

  12. Justa Bloke

    October 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Yeah, Ben, we’ll be eighth next year, for sure. Eat ’em alive! (in more than one sense)

    Personally, I think that farming and eating exotic animals and growing exotic crops cause the real problems. If we ate wallaby, wild duck, non-farmed fish, local shellfish and bush tucker the environment would be better off.

    I reckon 80 per cent of Australians don’t ever think deeply about what they eat. After all, the four basic food groups are Macca’s, Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut. You’ve got about as much hope of changing them/us as of changing the reasons why they/we vote (as distinct from the way they/we vote).

  13. Ben

    October 9, 2008 at 12:04 am

    George, I eat red meat, and I love it. I also own my own chainsaw, although its broken so I use my mates’ spare Husky when we’re sawing firewood (its big and awesome – pulls you right into the log…that baby just lives to cut through wood!).

    I also raise my own beasts and send them on to the abbattoir for the majority of the red meat that I love to eat so much – have you ever eaten a whole eye fillet from a good healthy beast? There is nothing like it. (My family and I did it for Christmas last year – it rocked – I always eat the eye fillet first when I get a side for the freezer:)

    Duh … what else? … I smoke cigs (winnie blues for your information – jeez I wish I could give up. Oh well. [suck]), I’m about to get chickens and yes I am prepared to chop the young rooster’s heads off and put them in the freezer (after a bit of nasty action), I drink beer and I don’t give a shit if its Boags or Cascade, I love chicks and I’m right into the footy too – anyone who laughs about Richmond finishing ninth again … well, I’ll fight ya, come on! Ninth is OURS I say, and I won’t take any crap on that. Well, not too much, anyway.

    But I also vote Green, George, so I’m getting a bit pissed off about your crap generalisations. They ARE crap generalisations, and you really need to admit that to yourself, which is why I’ve chosen this thread (of many) to try and show you that you’re talking crap when you generalise about Green voters, or supporters, or greenies, or whatever, for fucks sake. Save it for the pub with your Forestry mates will ya, please.

    While you’re having a think, or working up a vino-inspired rant even, how about the following George:

    Show me where the Greens oppose red meat;
    Show me where Forestry Tasmania denies woodchipping sawlogs since the 1970’s; and,
    Show me where the Greens support the end of all native forest logging.

    I dont think you’ll be able to do any of those things George, so really, what’s the story with the crap you’ve written above (not to mention every-bloody-where else)?


  14. Jason

    October 8, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    I wonder what the Vegan Greenies think of Tim Flannery saying that the government should forget about the Ord scheme and should instead help the pastoral industry in the North to implement more controlled grazing. I am sure they have a quote from some new age book quoting Cheif Eatsalota Bison that could refute it.

  15. George Harris aka woodworker

    October 8, 2008 at 12:49 am

    Jason, I love your work! Did you like my post number 23? Let’s have some more mirth and merriment!
    To that end, I attach something else I once wrote, and which i have circulated among my friends, and would now like to share with you…

    The Endemic Tasmanian Green Whinging Parasite….

    They don’t like the mining industry.
    They don’t like the manufacturing industry.
    They don’t like the fishing industry, whether the
    wild fishery, or fish farms, and
    They don’t like recreational fishing.
    They don’t like conventional agriculture.
    They don’t like the meat and livestock industry.
    They don’t like rodeos.
    They don’t like any form of motor sport.
    They don’t like trucks or the transport industry.
    They don’t like tourism development.
    They especially don’t like the timber industry, whether
    native forest logging, or plantations, and
    Crikey! They don’t even like wind farms!!!!!

    What would you do with them? They wouldn’t even make good cray bait….

  16. Jason

    October 5, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    What a load of sanctimonious rot! Many vegetable crops are grown using fertilizers originating from animal by-products – dynamic lifter from battery hen houses, blood and bone – and even in permaculture they have this thing about using cow horns to make soil innoculants. I guess they ask the cows politely for their horns.

    I would challenge any self proclaimed greenie or conservationist to find a field of vegetables that has more biodiversity than my livestock operation, which is based on native grasses. Vegetable crop production is often dependent on irrigation, with associated environmental problems. When they were growing wool in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland instead of Cotton, the rivers were a lot healthier than they are now, but urban environmentalist will insist that if we move away from animal production systems and go completely to vegetarian production systems the environment will be better off. This concept also ignores biodiversity. A productive and healthy grassland will contain more biodiversity than a cropping enterprise, and as great if not greater potential to lock up atmospheric carbon in the soil than tree plantations.

    I guess this fallacy that veganism is good for the environment may have to run its course, however, before realize how environmentally and economically unsound a concept it is… like many of the decisions on resource management made by city based policy makers.

  17. Realist

    August 19, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Jon Moonbeam, Red Bob and others continue to fail to understand the core of the argument: it is all about cruelty to animals, with all the other issues of taste preferences, healthy diets, energy conservation, greenhouse gas issues etc being secondary (although some are compelling issues in their own right).

    The acid test is to imagine yourself to be an animal facing a miserable existence with the butcher’s knife at the end of it all. It seems that some people like Red Bob and Jon Moonbeam lack the imagination to understand any viewpoint but those which feed their own bloated stomachs. Increasingly, research is showing that animals, even those that we have previously regarded as being of low intelligence (recent research concerning the intelligence of chickens is a case in point) not only feel pain but have awareness of their situation, can anticipate events and feel fear, just like us.

    As we learn more about animals and realise what we are doing to them, we should, if we are to regard ourselves as civilised, cease treating animals as food production machines that we can terminate at will and begin to show benevolence to the fellow inhabitants of this planet.

  18. Jon Moonbeam

    August 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Hang on a minute – I reckon those vegieternarians just haven’t had a chance to eat some truly srumptious meat products. Anything wrapped in bacon is a good place to start. Veal or venison is OK too, though pricey. Try some sausages from the Wursthaus – excellent! Not eating lamb regularly is simply unTasmanian. Who cares where it comes from – people get paid to raise, kill and butcher these critters dont they?

    If God didnt mean us not to eat meat, then why did he make it so tasty eh?

  19. Realist

    August 18, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Re #24 Red Bob’s continued refusal to see meat eating from the animal’s viewpoint should make him feel glad that reincarnation is probably a myth and that he will not return to this world as a bobby calf and be separated from his mother after a few days, kept in darkness, fed a diet to encourage anaemia and then summarily despatched by a butcher’s knife, all in the quest for a pale slice of veal. We humans are a lucky species having the power that we do. It’s saddening that we misuse our power so much.

  20. Red Bob

    August 18, 2008 at 12:51 am

    Jon Ayling asks about failings of comprehension on this thread.

    Well, first, Geraldine incinuated that I had claimed that trees and vegetables feel pain. I made no such claim. Further, she said I had a chip on my shoulder. I don’t. And then suggested I was claming that vegetarians / vegans all claim moral superiority. Not at all, what I said was: `I love how some vegetarians readily seek to claim moral supremacy.’ Note the word `some’. My comment there was driven by post 4. I did clarify this later. Oh, and she also presumed to think I support the live animal export trade. I don’t.

    Realist claimed: `A substantial part of the reason why we have people like Red Bob is that the general population is isolated from the reality of meat production.’ This, of course, flew in the face of my previous comment that I have my eyes open, I know where my meat comes from, I understand and have witnessed farming and butchering practices.

    John Sumby said: `As for red bob et al. their comments are exactly what I have heard for decades. The comments that vegos consider themselves ‘superior’ is false and entirely a projection from within themselves.’ This being a repetition of Geraldine’s mistake that I was accusing all vegetarians / vegans of assuming moral superiority. Repeat, I said `some’.

    By the way, my initial statement that `some’ vegetarians / vegans like to claim moral superiority has been backed up by further comments in this thread than post 4. However, I will not change my original contention that it is `some’, not `most’, not `all’ because I do not consider the vegetarian / vegan views expressed in this thread to be representative of what most vegetarians / vegans think of us meat eaters.

    I also reiterate my understanding and support for Geraldine’s comment that she does not try to push vegetarianism on to others but has encountered meat eaters trying to encourage her to eat meat. I commend her for not trying to push her choice on to others, although she does, of course, have every right in our democratic society to do so.

    I will reiterate that I do not have a view on whether plants feel pain, but based on the comments of Ben, post 19, I will look into it with interest. And, yes, Ben, it is daring of you to refer to a sea of vegetarianism zealots. I would not use such a term, particularly given so many others presented – for whatever reason – a false view of what I had written.

    As for the initial article, my view has not changed. There was nothing there I had not heard before. There are many views on whether it is ecologically, economically, socially or medically advisable to cut meat from our diets. One article does not change my mind. But I will note – importantly – that the article was written with respect towards meat eaters. It was a gentle, respectable call for meat eaters to reconsider their choices.

    The bottom line is I chose to eat meat. I respect the right of others to chose to be vegetarians / vegans. I don’t judge them for that decision. My wife and I have close relatives who are vegetarian and when we have them around for dinner we show respect for them by cooking a vegetarian dish.

    And, yet, despite this, and despite what I would say were the rather moderate views I expressed from my first contribution on this thread, other posters have tried to pain I and `people like me’ (i.e., most people in our community) in a rather negative light.

    It leaves me wondering who really has – to use Geraldine’s expression – the chip on their shoulder.

  21. George Harris aka woodworker

    August 17, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    to anyone else out there who thinks as I do that too many of the contributors to this site take themselves far too seriously, and who also think it could do with a bit more frivolous humour, I offer the following:
    did you hear about the vegetarian lesbians’ BBQ?
    it was all sizzle, and no sausage!
    Chuck a few more sacred cows on the plate, mate…
    PS I only work with old growth…

  22. Realist

    August 17, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Re: post 20. What can one say about someone so devoid of any feeling, apart from his self centred, selfish appetites, that instead of contributing to what should be a serious debate, he merely writes idiot drivel? It’s little wonder that the human species struggles to reach a civilised state with people like this around.

    But then it’s hardly surprising to find specimens like Red Bob and Jon Moonbeam given that humans are the most aggressive and violent species that has ever inhabited this earth. Even after thousands of years, we have not yet learnt to treat our own fellow humans in a humane fashion, yet alone the defenceless members of the animal world.

    Posts like #20 fill me with despair that the human race may never be able to claim to be humane.

  23. Jon Moonbeam

    August 17, 2008 at 3:27 am

    I like bacon sandwiches

    I like roast lamb off the bone

    I like sausages and mash

    I love steak cooked a bit rare

    I like to pay butchers to kill and cut up my meat

    Hmm, meat, delicious

  24. Ben

    August 16, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Woodworker, for the first time in my memory of you, I agree completely. Totally, in fact.

    I’m not bullshitting here – George has hit the nail on the head, and responded with admirable mirth amidst the sea of, dare I say it, zealous vegetarianism on this thread.

    I happen to own a book called “The Secret Life Of Plants” which actually looks into George’s thesis that plants feel pain too. And you know George, well, you and I both know what the book found … I wont say it, it might make for some head implosions, but, just quietly, people who don’t eat meat murder an awful lot of pain-feeling plants.

    Plants are people too, dudes!!!!

    [I am now sitting in the frivolous corner for selfish brutalised people. And donning my brown corduroys. Quickly.]

  25. realist

    August 15, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    As for Red Bob (Post #15) who asks for respect for his choice, he is asking the wrong audience: He should be asking the animals whose miserable lives are to be terminated to feed his culinary preferences, how they feel about being sacrificed to become an unnecessary dietary supplement, rather than asking members of a privileged species who are, generally, exempt from being slaughtered for food. However, as we all know, animals cannot answer for themselves. it is our responsibility to imagine what it is like to be an animal and to make the obvious choice accordingly.

    The point has been made by other contributors, but is worth repeating: humans have the ability to choose whether to slaughter animals for food or to act in a more civilised way. This is not a difficult choice because meat is not a necessary part of the human diet. If I was religious, I might regard the choice as being part of the test of human behaviour that living involves. As I am not religious, I merely take my stance because it is so abundantly clear that animals do suffer and suffer greatly because of the food preferences of the human species.

    As for those who kill for sport, of whom Red Bob appears to be one, there is absolutely no reason to offer them any respect for their choice of pastime. It is little wonder that we live in such a violent world if some humans view the animal world as existing to satisfy their murderous inclinations towards other living beings. It is impossible to respect someone who has no apparent respect for the lives of other living inhabitants of this planet.

  26. Bonni Hall

    August 15, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Is there any real evidence that neither trees nor vegetables feel any kind of pain when killed or is it just that because we hear no noise we, in our arrogance, think that no pain is felt?

  27. Red Bob

    August 15, 2008 at 3:49 am

    There are a few people posting on this subject who seem to suffer from problems with comprehension.

    Jon Sumby, please read what I have written and not what you think I have.

    I did not say that all or even most vegetarians consider themselves superior. I did say some – some – vegetarians consider themselves morally superior and I referred by way of example to the poster above whose comment was that meat eaters were `morally and ethically repugnant’. If that’s not a claim of moral supremacy, then what is?

    Having said that, I do see – on reflection – Geraldine’s point that she – as a vegetarian – is more likely to encounter meat eaters trying to convince her to change her choice than she is to try to change their minds.

    I reiterate that I respect your right and choice to be a vegetarian, and if you cannot respect my choice, at least respect my right to have a different opinion and a different lifestyle than you.

  28. Jon Sumby

    August 15, 2008 at 2:59 am

    Geraldine, thanks! I have business with the forest defenders and will not make the banquet, however my hope is that it is filled with interested people.

    As for red bob et al. their comments are exactly what I have heard for decades. The comments that vegos consider themselves ‘superior’ is false and entirely a projection from within themselves. People can read entirely clear and reasonable arguments and either act or live in the dark.

    Think about global warming – nothing is being done except 60 Minutes is doing a special with urgent and dramatic voiceovers.

  29. Red Bob

    August 15, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Yet again Realist you have failed to read and understand what I have written.

    Not only do I understand that our meat does not merely come from Woolworths, I have seen and participated in the activities that puts meat on my plate.

    Yes, I have visited an abbatoir – during a school trip years ago and also more recently while on unrelated business – and I have shot and butchered wallabies myself.

    By the way, I am not trying to change your view. I respect it. You don’t respect mine – you think I’m a murderer, morally repugnant perhaps – that’s all fine, just your opinion and, as they say, everyone has one.

    Just don’t try to impose your way of life on me and I won’t try to impose mine on you.

  30. Realist

    August 14, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    It is far from evident that it would do have much effect on someone like Red Bob, but I believe that it should be a compulsory part of every person’s education that they tour a meatworks, visit a piggery and walk through a battery hen factory. If, after those experiences, they still believe they should be eating meat, then at least they have made a decision based on the reality of the situation.

    Already, I can anticipate the howls of derision, eg meat works are no place for children or even adult visitors etc. But, if eating meat is OK, why should abattoirs be avoided? My point is that everyone young and old, should know the consequences of what they do and if they cannot stand the thought of seeing animals being killed or even killing animals themselves, surely they cannot, in all conscience, condone the eating of meat?

    A substantial part of the reason why we have people like Red Bob is that the general population is isolated from the reality of meat production. It’s conveniently easy, especially for those with little in the way of imaginative powers, to forget the terror and misery that is inherent in this industry. While I have a measure of respect for those who, having experienced the actuality of the industry, decide that eating meat is ethically acceptable, I have nothing but contempt for those who close their minds against the consequences for the animals, the environment and the elevation of the human species above the level of the neanderthals.

  31. Red Bob

    August 14, 2008 at 4:40 am

    In response to post 8, Geraldine please read what it is I wrote – not what others wrote or what you think I wrote.

    First, I made no comment about trees or vegetables feeling pain. Of course they don’t.

    Second, I don’t have a chip on my shoulder. My criticism of some – some – vegetarians and vegans was not really based on the article but post 4. I should have been clear on that. You will note that Wilhelmina accuses an unapologetic meat eater of being `morally and ethically repugnant’ and even equates his/her eating meat with eating babies. That one was lost on me. It is this attitude by some – some – vegetarians that I take issue with.

    Third, I actually acknowledged the need for ongoing improvement in terms of animal care and farming practices. I didn’t comment at all on the live export trade, so you have inserted an opinion I do not hold. I am – for your information – against it. And I am well aware there have been problems highlighted in the pork and chicken industries. I’m not a big fan of pork for what it’s worth. I do exercise choice in where I buy my eat from. I prefer it to be fresh, unprocessed and local. So, yes, I certainly do have my eyes open, thank you. I don’t believe meat comes from Woolworths and that’s the end of the story, for instance.

    Finally, regarding your comments on the fact that you have never told anyone not to eat meat, well that means you are certainly not in the minority of vegetarians who get up my nose are you? And, by the way, I’m not one of the meat eaters who will tell you to eat meat. I respect your choices Geraldine and I am pleased you respect mine.

    As for Realist, can you also please read what I actually wrote?

    I am entitled to say that I am not convinced by an argument. That does not mean that I should do more research before putting pen to paper (or, more accurately, putting fingers to keys), it simply means I am not convinced.

    If you think my choice of eating meat is selfish, then that’s your prerogative. It could be worse – you could have called meat eaters morally and ethically repugnant too.

    And as for my error with regards to the number of sheep in New Zealand, I was being flippant. No research is required for a throw-away line, one would have thought.

  32. Geraldine Robertson

    August 13, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Trees don’t feel the suffering of being slaughtered, vegetables don’t feel pain when they are ripped out of the ground. Clearly “Red Bob” you have a huge chip on your shoulder! and as for saying you go into eating meat with your eyes open, they must be tightly closed shut when it comes to the live animal export trade, the pig industry, the chicken industry etc, etc, etc!!!! As a vegetarian I have never dictated to people who eat meat, that is their choice, as it is my choice not to condone animal suffering! I have never told a single person they shouldn’t eat meat, but have had quite a few ill informed people telling me I should eat meat and their reasons for eating meat are very feeble indeed.

  33. Realist

    August 13, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    It is sad to read the incredibly selfish views of some of those placing posts on this article. I am a long-time vegetarian, but this is not because I don’t like meat, because I do. However, I am a vegetarian because I cannot bear reconcile my preference for a non-essential food with the dreadful manner in which animals are treated as machines for feeding our species.

    I write as one who has worked in and is familiar with the meat industry, and I know full well the brutalising effect that killing and dismantling animals has on those who work there, in addition to the appalling suffering of the animals who are killed in the quest for food. Added to this is the inconsistency of many of the population: many will campaign (quite correctly) against the cruelty of countries such as China in respect to the way they treat dogs and bears, while continuing (quite inconsistently) to tuck into their pork chops that come from equally intelligent and perceptive animals who are kept in the most appalling conditions, right here in Australia.

    This article does an excellent job of explaining the benefits of following a vegetarian diet and confirms my long held belief that the human race will never be able to call itself civilised while it tortures and kills animals for food.

    Finally, Red Bob would do well to undertake some research before putting pen to paper. The greenhouse gas emissions impact from meat production is well documented in numerous reputable sources. Even his facts concerning sheep numbers in New Zealand is woefully inaccurate: there are approximately 40 million sheep in New Zealand, with a human population of 4.2 million, giving a ratio per head of around ten sheep per human in that country. Refer to the NZ Government site: http://www.population.govt.nz/myth-busters/sheepmyth.htm

  34. Red Bob

    August 13, 2008 at 4:46 am

    I love how some vegetarians readily seek to claim moral supremacy. I would think making your argument gently without insulting others just because they have a different view is a better approach.

    Personally, I and my family eat meat. Fish, beef, chicken, lamb, and, yeah, by the way, we’ll even eat native wildlife like wallaby.

    Now, if my family and I chose to eat a vegetarian diet, being very careful to ensure that we received all the vitamins and nutrients required to be at least as healthy as we are on our current diets, then we might live a little longer and healthier.

    Also, maybe if people converted en masse to vegetarianism it might be better for the environment. (And I guess Kiwis would no longer be outnumbered two to one by sheep?) I’m not overly convinced on this though. And, more importantly, I’m not overly convinced it could be achieved very well around the world. Maybe here, where we grow pretty much everything, but not everywhere – such as Mongolia.

    In any case, I won’t be converting to vegetarianism, and for one simple reason – I love meat. It’s similar to my love of alcohol. It’s not good for me, but I would rather live a life enjoying such things than living longer and denying myself.

    And what about the animals? The cows, the sheep, the chickens, the pigs? Well, come now, if vegetarians had their way these animals would only be found in a zoo. It’s not like vegetarians want us to keep all these animals – give them great lives and allow them to continue to breed – they want them gone. As for their supposed suffering, well, yes, there are some farming practices that are abhorrent in this day and age, but the vast majority of farmers care more about their livestock than any animal liberationist ever would. And I – for one – do go into eating meat with my eyes open.

    So clearly vegetarians won’t convince me, but it’s a democracy and good luck on convincing others. Just remember to drop the moral superiority act – it just antagonises those you wish to convert.

  35. George Harris aka woodworker

    August 13, 2008 at 1:44 am

    As a woodworker, I was once implored by a green fundamentalist to consider what I was doing, and she said, with quavering voice, and gesticulating hands, “….trees are living things!” to which I replied, “yes, … but so are vegetables. Have you murdered any vegetables lately?”

    That left her momentarily gobsmacked, but I hope it gave her something to think about.

    What do vegetarian fundamentalists think about animals eating other animals???

    Perhaps they could lobby the Greens to pursue a budget allocation to be included in their push for funds for community groups (see Greens alternative budget) in order that carnivorous native animals could be retrained to become vegetarians ….? It is no less stupid than some of their other ideas.

  36. Wilhelmina

    August 12, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    I guess one could argue that babies are made of “meat” Joe, does that justify that they could be eaten? Your “yummy yummy meat” will give you the joy of a shorter lifespan, increased risks of cancers, diabetes, heart disease etc etc. People such as you, Joe, are morally and ethically repugnant, with the contempt to think that their sole whims are above the greater good of environmental concernz and others in society. How about you take a step back, become informed and actually use the brain you were given to make a positive contribute to the world around you?

  37. Jon Sumby

    August 12, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Joey, your argument appears to presuppose that humans are not animals. If you do agree that humans are animals then your argument includes eating people, after all, we too are made of ‘yummy, yummy meat’.

    P.S. On the God end of the spectrum, the Bible clearly states that we were created vegetarian; only after our Sin and the Fall and in our state of disgrace before the Lord were we told that, in our shame, we would eat God’s creatures.
    If you are truly a Christian you should not eat meat.

  38. Geraldine Robertson

    August 11, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    What a very interesting article. We are vegetarians and have been so for about twenty-four years. Couldn’t think of going back to eating meat. I hope in the not too distant future more and more people will give up eating meat once they realise how much healthier it is and stopping the slaughtering of animals.

  39. joey the butchering Psychologist

    August 11, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    nice arguements…but you won’t convince me to give up yummy, yummy meat. anyways if God had intended for us not to eat animals he would not have made em out of meat!

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