I also predict that meat substitutes, if made cheaper than meat, will be deemed inferior in quality (cheap = inferior, because psychology) and reserved for those who cannot afford real meat (the "meatless masses").
Meatballs may have more than half chicken skin. Burgers contain 25% filler. Pink slime (= lean finely textured beef) is a highly processed meat by-product. In the US its processed with ammonia but that's not allowed in EU.
I have a sneaking suspicion that what people find disgusting is the industrial production of meat, and that if Gordon Ramsey had a small and inoffensive centrifuge attachment for his KitchenAid the process would seem less gross.
Good chef can do good simple food, but they want good ingredient and that's not that pink slime is.
On the other, isn't it all really quite subjective? What you describe is tied every bit as much to irrational emotions about histories of things as it is about 'quality' in any measurable sense. What is considered the highest delicacy with a complex preparation in one century has that same process industrialized and becomes 'poor people junk food' in the next, despite being objectively, measurably a better quality product by every possible metric.
And I'm the one who used to be a vegetarian for nearly 20 years.
(The best bit of the chicken is the thigh, though.)
People who don't have a kitchen big enough for cooking in bulk like that? People without freezers? People without that amount of free time? People don't really like food? People with motion disabilities? I've probably missed out some groups.
By "bulk" I mean an oven tray or two. I'm not rocking an commercial kitchen here.
>People without freezers?
Where do they put their frozen meatballs from the store?
The time is amortized, if you don't like food then you shouldn't care anyway, and I really doubt most people buying frozen meatballs from the store have disabilities.
Perhaps they're buying frozen ones to cook immediately (much like frozen meals)?
> I really doubt most people buying frozen meatballs from the store have disabilities
It might not be "most" for that one group, sure, but the groups I suggested probably do cover "most" in total.
I can see GMO foods being owned by the likes of Monsanto, earning healthy royalties on seeds that cannot bear offspring. I think there should be a GMO open source initiative...
Roundup-ready GMOs led to replacement of many more toxic herbicides with glyphosphate. BT GMOs led to much less usage of insecticides on crops.
Compounded with that is there are very few people doing research without an agenda.
You also have to realize that "organic" in the US doesn't mean treatment-free crops. There are a large number of substances approved to treat crops for pests and weeds and still be counted as organic with the rationale that those treatments are less synthetic. There is absolutely no guarantee that this means they have fewer negative effects.
Herbicides are actually a _kind_ of pesticide (weeds are a kind of 'pest'), so Roundup is actually both. TIL!
That depends entirely on the kind of GMO. GMOs don't exist for any particular single purpose. Some GMOs exist to make it easier to use pesticides. Some GMOs contain pesticides.
Some GMOs have nothing to do with pesticides but add nutritional value. For example, Golden Rice, which has beta-carotene added to increase the vitamin-A intake of the hundreds of millions of people who subsist mainly on rice, generally gets mentioned as the one GMO that's completely positive with no discernible downside: it doesn't mess with ecosystems in any way, beta-carotene is already common in many plants, it doesn't do anything pesticide-related, and it makes people healthier.
That said, if farmers move from producing a wide variety of rice strains to only golden rice, that's still a significant reduction in biodiversity. Maybe they should make beta-carotene versions of more kinds of rice.
Mixing in a few greens is surprisingly hard when people are almost too poor to buy rice.
As mentioned by wonderwonder, Roundup-ready soybeans are the poster child for GMO varieties being create to allow more chemical herbicides. And in this case glyphosate (RoundUp) is being seen more and more widely as a really nasty chemical to allow into the water supply and into nature. It has been linked to honey bee colony collapse, and the general insect collapse, not to mention lymphomas and lukemias.. (As an old Iowa farm boy, I am shocked at the number of relatives and their neighbors that are getting strange lymphomas and lukemias.)
> I never really understood why people are so scared of GMO....
But I do agree that eating a GMO grain is not scary by itself. It is the side effects of the different style of agriculture it allows that concerns me. (see glyphosate, above, and more below).
> I think there should be a GMO open source initiative...
Just Monsanto's poor luck that you can not create an unstable soy bean hybrid. They all breed true. The is the great advantage of selling seed corn, if you just avoid doing the last, stabilizing, cross, you can sell seed corn that will create a healthy plant who's seeds will not produce productive plants. Mother Nature gives you free IP protection. (Monsanto is a nasty company in so many ways.... I don't even want to get into it.)
Another chemical-related factor with GMO varieties is the unintended consequences of evolutionary selective pressure. A common GMO application in maize is to modify the plant to produce a toxin that is poisonous to the root-worm moth and/or the corn-borer moth. So, in this case, less pesticide chemicals. Which is great, but used indescrimanently, in a few generations we will have largely resistant moth populations. The state of Iowa has been very forward-thinking on this front, and requires that some percentage of every field planted to the GMO variety (like 15% or so, I forget the exact number) must be planted to "refuge rows". That is, if you plant a GMO moth-resisant variety, a percentage of the same field must be planted to traditional varieties to create a refuge for the moths so that the population does not develop resistance. Now, since maize does best in large blocks, the fence rows never yield as well anyway. And you always have turn-round rows where machines trample some unlucky plants as well. So plant the already poor-yielding rows to the refuge variety, and the GMO variety more than makes up for the loss. So it still pencils out advantageously.
What concerns me about this scenario is more environmentally naive and myopic regions might allow 100% GMO-toxin varieties, for the moth or other similar scenarios where evolutionary selective pressure can be a fast-acting force. Rolling out a GMO variety of anything requires examining the second- and third-order consequences.
So while I have little fear of eating GMO Doritos, I don't want GMO Doritos to bring on The Invasion of the Super Locusts in 3D with Dolby sound.
The industry seems to object to any such suggestion.
15 years later, there will be science talking about how micro nutrients are missing from meat substitutes and how a natural, healthy and balanced diet is necessary for human beings.
“Backyard Production of Meat Rabbits in Texas”
A high carb low fat low protein whole food plant based diet with (cheap) vitamin supplements and maybe linseed oil:
- is the healthiest diet.
- is the cheapest diet.
- is the most efficient and environment friendly diet.
- is the most ethical diet with regard to immoral animal suffering caused by humans.
I was on such a diet for many years and eventually gave up on it because I could not make it work in a healthy way.
Too many deficiencies. Example: Linseed oil /= DHA/EPA. Many or most people cannot make long chain Omega 3 fats in the quantity needed from vegetable "Omega 3" fats.
Too many anti-nutrients in plants.
Get on youtube and search "I used to be a vegan" for numerous cases like mine, health irreparably damaged.
Besides: Vegans In The US Can Now Get Cheaper Life Insurance Thanks To Their Diet : https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/vegans-plantbased-cheape...
DHA/EPA are not essential fatty acids but conditionally essential fatty acids.
> Get on youtube and search "I used to be a vegan" for numerous cases like mine, health irreparably damaged.
What did a vegan diet do to you ? Lack of vitamin B12 or other vitamins ? I advice to use vitamin supplements no matter the diet.
I agree that youtube offers much true and useful knowledge.
Unfortunately youtube offers also much false and harmful knowledge.
Some better youtube channels about nutrition:
Mic the Vegan : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGJq0eQZoFSwgcqgxIE9MHw/vid...
Nutritionfacts.org : https://www.youtube.com/user/NutritionFactsOrg/videos
PLANT BASED NEWS : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJRjK20fHylJyf-HiBtqI2w/vid...
> A high carb low fat low protein whole food plant based diet with (cheap) vitamin supplements and maybe linseed oil:
> - is the healthiest diet.
An excess of energy makes you fat. Besides, fat is much easier to store as body fat for the body than carbs or protein.
> You need proteins and some fat. Having your diet be all carbs sounds like a bad idea.
I wrote whole food plant based diet.
I wrote high carb, low fat, low protein.
NOT: max carb, min fat, min protein.
* carbs digest into glucose
* too much glucose in your blood triggers insulin production which turns glucose into fat
* a glucose spike can trigger an insulin spike which leads to a glucose dip an hour or two after lunch
* eating fat triggers the feeling of being full, reducing your desire for more food
I have no idea how true these all are, but my impression is that there's at least some evidence supporting these. And if you add them all up, it sounds to me like you get fatter from eating carbs, because that can lead to a glucose spike -> insulin spike -> glucose dip which makes you want more sugar to get your glucose back up. Whereas food with more fat may make you feel full and stop craving more food.
But your conclusion is still not true. Saying carbs should be avoided is like saying water should be avoided because people died from drinking too much.
Biochemistry and psychology is complicated.
But a healthy diet is well known and not complicated.
Basically: Whole food plant based diet with vitamin supplements (notably vitamin B12) and e.g. linseed oil for the essential fatty acids.
Dr Garth Davis: Americans have become obsessed with Protein
Speaking for just myself, I used to feel that sugar low after my lunch, and I know that craving for more carbs. I gained too much weight as a result. Now I've cut down on my carbs and I mostly snack on veggies these days and try not to overdo carbs at lunch, and that seems to help at least with that sugar low.
Even kitchen machines for vegetables have "low carb" stickers on the box. Crazy.
> Vast majority of people in America get majority of their calories from carbs.
Maybe they still get too much calories form other sources. Of course sugar in soft drinks are not the best carbs.
Dr Garth Davis: Americans have become obsessed with Protein (2015-10-28). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQCt3IhaUtU
And US food and junk food is quite fatty. Also because of meat.
But not eternally. Science will prevail eventually.
Basically, at this point each person has to try various things and figure out what works best for themself.
Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat. https://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/
Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19562864/
Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27886704/
Nutrition concerns and health effects of vegetarian diets. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21139125/
Why Doctors Don't Recommend A Vegan Diet | Dr. Michael Greger https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d1Ca6SsKfE
New Canada Food Guide: Some Can't Handle It https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp4zWaLE_ik
Unfortunately lies and fake science affected by a personal or political or financial agenda confuse people.
Quoting from the first link: "In the case of red meat, the classification is based on limited evidence from epidemiological studies showing positive associations between eating red meat and developing colorectal cancer as well as strong mechanistic evidence.
Limited evidence means that a positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer but that other explanations for the observations (technically termed chance, bias, or confounding) could not be ruled out."
This is garbage science. It's all like that. Believe whatever you like, though.
With strata within each caste of course. The grass-fed yak-meated vs the factory-pig-meated; the wild-grasshopper entomeated vs the squishy-larva entomeated; and the fresh-veg meatless vs the Wal-Soylent meatless.
I think there will be such a period, but eventually it'll swap.
Both because more affluent people will tend to be more pro-animal welfare and so synthetic meat will be more associated with the successful, and because eventually (probably distant future, but who knows) all the meat substitutes will just taste better than real meat and anyone who's ever had a meal won't be able to deny the reality.
Its when you get into the territory of that "natural flavor" ingredient listing that things get really weird in food. Think la croix soda. Freakish, really unnatural flavor, almost salty even, but somehow they have two things listed. Water, Natural Flavor.
People don't seem to bat an eye at that, but having seen firsthand beverage formulation work (not la croix) its a pretty odd thing. Dozens of small glass vials with oil extracts with intense fragrances of orange, lemon, lime, cherry, etc. Even among one of those, there might be dozens of variants, each a different oil from the plant that produces that orange smell.
How carcinogenic are these things? Do they have any poor side effects? Why aren't they listed individually? Have there been studies on each one?
Its like the FDA caters to large companies not wishing to share beverage and food formulations, despite a cancer epidemic.
* There will be a meat substitute options catered to groups with higher net income.
* Nations dependent on meat products for export will try (in)directly impact society's view on these meat substitutes.
* We will see issues with IP laws associated with meat substitutes
* There will be 'generic' meat substitutes similar to the prescription drugs.
I'm not sure if they'll be universally cheaper than meat. There's a lot of diversity in meat substitutes in the Netherlands, and you already see quite a price difference between the "high-end" meat substitutes, and the basic store brand soy burgers. We seem to be going in the direction where there are "inferior" meat substitutes, and high quality ones that are considered better than at least cheap meats.
While I actually haven't seen this debate online,I hear it in real life when the subject lands on those meat substitutes available where I live.
People who look at the ingredients list see a lot of E-numbers and things that sounds even scarier.
Now they can sell it as long as they spell it differently. So we get lots of fake meat with spelling errors now.
We'll have to download filet mignon from thepiratebay to get around the 'French cuts of meat' DLC.
I dropped in a while back, was surprised to see it on the menu, thought "eh, what the hell", and it was pretty good. I have the kind of palate that would make Gordon Ramsay cry himself to sleep, so I wasn't able to tell the difference between one of their Beyond burgers and one of their regular burgers. Probably helps that their items are a mess of sauces and nonsense too.
Anyway, now when I go back in, I find that I'm having to justify to myself getting a farmed meat burger vs. a Beyond burger, and ... there's not really any justification for it.
I doubt most of Carl's customer base debate personal ethics while staring at the menu, but still, there's no way I'm the only one.
McDonalds: "Yes, every patty is 100% real beef with no fillers, additives or preservatives."
Burger King: "Our beef patties are made with 100% beef with no fillers, no preservatives, no additives, no nonsense."
Wendy's: "100% pure beef across the menu"
Carls Jr: "100% Pure Ground Beef."
Sonic: "100% pure beef patty"
Jack in the Box: "100 percent beef"
They've also started carrying them at the local grocer, so I'll probably bring them home for BBQ season.
Obviously if someone loves eating expensive steak, that would be hard to replace with a vegetarian substitute.
Dairy jerseys and laying hens are both ~12%, with meat chickens ~15%. The best replicating eukaryotic cell culture I know are certain yeast at 50%. So a best case scenario is factor of 3 improvement, I'd welcome results from multicellular organisms that got anywhere close to that but I haven't seen it.
Supposing there are no improvements to be had on the cell metabolism side; dressing percentage for broiler chickens is 70% so getting rid of brain, digestive tract, immune system, etc. doesn’t improve things that much. Keep in mind that tissue cultures are a lot more picky about feedstock than whole animals. Good luck shovelling hay into that bioreactor. All of the processing that the feedstock takes will claw back your productivity gains and then some.
Margins are slim at the bottom. As capital intensive as modern farming is, biotech puts it to shame. Once you factor in amortizing all that equipment this is a non-starter.
The only appeal is from an animal welfare angle. Even there an argument could be made that humane husbandry is positive-utility rather than the neutral of lab-grown, while also coming out ahead environmentally.
Take reindeer meat as an extreme case. Their energy efficiency from converting lichens to meat is not going to be 100%, but the alternative use for artic land are quite few.
Applying the same line of thought, we can find examples also for beef. There are cattle farms here in Sweden that use highland cattle to graze forest areas, including protected forests. They keep down bushes and other plants which results in an increased bio diversity. A win win situation for everyone involved.
So sure, you can find whatever example you want.
Here is a nice policy theory for you. Lets imagine that with magic we could removed all the cost associated with slaughterhouse for the farmer. We could change the whole meat production in Sweden to operate exclusively on land not suitable for any other food production, and that without changing meat prices. The difference between the economics for a highland cattle farm and a cattle farm using feed from farms is by my understanding significant less than the cut that the slaughterhouse take.
It might not be very applicable to the US since large part of Sweden is forests, but it is not hard to find areas in the US which are not suitable for farming. From a land efficiency perspective, I suspect a lot could be done which isn't currently done because of the economics involved.
Plus Finland produces about 2 million kilos of reindeer meat per year, so it is really miniscule part of the diet.
I do know personally a farmer that operated highland cattle in a nature protected forest. They do need hay during the winter months, but that is about it. For the rest of the year it is water, salt/minerals, and some shelter in case of really bad weather like large thunderstorms. The benefit for the forest is significant and directly noticeable, and looks like a really very well managed open forest. In contrast spruce forests which is the norm in the south part of Sweden tend to be extremely overgrown, which is currently recognize as an major threat to bio diversity. Several species has gone almost extinct because of it. There are a few other nature reservation that also use highland cattle with similar setup.
Technically highland cattle could survive the winter months without hay but it would not be legal.
Can that be true? Animals from U.S. factory farms generate >1 million tons of manure per day (open-air lagoons of animal waste are a special treat) and are responsible for an impressive percentage of methane emissions.
"Worldwide, livestock accounts for between 14.5 percent and 18 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. The percentage is lower in the United States in part because our overall greenhouse gas emissions are so much higher than other countries"
And even 14.5% is significantly lower than what I would have guessed before listening to the episode.
Factory farms probably don't count as "humane husbandry".
I've heard of desertifying areas in the Sahel being made greener again by having goats graze there periodically.
We can, of course, also put animals on drugs so they're high while they live their miserable lives, sure.
Apart from that, I think a key fact about industry farming isn't that we are not able to figure out ways to lessen the suffering of animals. Even relatively cheap options like giving them more room to live is something that is dismissed by the industry after all. I think, the general problem here is a cultural ignorance towards the plight for a multitude of reasons. I think, it's worth more changing this with grand incentives and causing a shift to happen than to find creative solutions that reward greed over suffering.
The question - and this is where we seem to differ - is if we want to live in a world where we accept concepts like gestation crates and want to work around that or where we think that this is beneath us and our values.
Since you seem to have a very simplistic darwinistic approach to life as a "high-class" animal, I'm not really sure we could ever meet anywhere in the middle here.
It looks like our real disagreement is "perfect is the enemy of good". If you don't want animals to be killed for food, then animal suffering is actually a good thing, because animal suffering helps convince people not to farm them. I'm working on the assumption that humans are going to continue killing animals like they've always done, and therefore it's better to reduce suffering with the most effective methods available. If animals are going to be farmed anyway, I'd rather they have access to an unlimited supply of recreational drugs (or equivalent brain modification technology). Animals don't care about the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
Some farm animals are killed after a few months, others like dairy cows are used for multiple years. Also, the animal psyche is not that simplistic. Yes, they might not care about the the upper levels of Maslow's model, but they're not stuck on the first one either. Therefore, throwing mind altering drugs at the problem seems like a naive and hardly effective substitute for me for the reasons I've stated earlier.
I think, there are cheap solutions that can improve the lives of these animals today, e.g. more space. But as I argued in my initial comment, I think a cultural shift is necessary (similar to smoking) and this is why I think factory farming needs to be forbidden in the long-term, meat taxes need to be introduced, meat prices need to be raised, government incentives for alternative food products need to be given, etc.
With regard to cows which I know the most about that means letting them eat grass and only providing input when necessary to protect the health of the herd from an unexpected insult, e.g. unexpected drought, or to promote the health of the land. Because I've not tried this on a nationwide scale I can't guarantee that it could be done, but based on the thought I've given to it and my own experience I believe the majority of beef production _could_ be done humanely with the caveat that it would likely be unprofitable to do so given our current economic and cultural landscape.
I don't think dairy can be done humanely at scale for our current consumer price point.
Isn't the best case scenario that we replace cow-grown beef with lab-grown beef - that is, improved energy efficiency of 50/3 = 17 times?
Does the efficiency for chickens include processing and sanitation? 15% sounds really high. Labs ought to have a much easier time dealing with no feces or feathers. And the price of chicken at present in the US is reputed to depend on undocumented immigrants working for below-market wages, which hopefully isn't an issue with technomeat.
As for dairy/eggs, those alone aren't enough of a meat substitute or we'd all be vegetarian already.
People seem to be assuming that just because they mostly eat beef and chicken today that they're going to be buying lab grown beef and chicken, but ultimately they only eat that because it's economical to raise those animals with current production methods.
With in vitro cultivation there's no reason you wouldn't have say elephant meat one day, and a blue whale the day after that. You could even have some human meat, it's not like growing some muscle fibers in a test tube is unethical.
Initially there'll be a big market for the novelty of exotic meats, but over the long term it's highly unlikely that the meats we have today optimized for mass production will objectively taste better than potential alternatives, or even that the market will restrict itself to naturally occurring species of animals.
You'll be able to buy tuna with the texture of pork, or any other possible combination of tastes and textures.
The shark that I've eaten is perfectly good, and better than many other fish types (taste wise).
Eel was good, but has to be prepared appropriately. Try it Japanese style.
The other two, not worth it. But again, probably something to do with preparation. Perhaps the way the French prepare horse is better than the way the Japanese do?
I don't think I've ever had the opportunity to eat human flesh. I'm surprised you've listed it.
Other animals that taste good include crocodile and kangaroo.
My point being, that taste is very subjective. You'll find people who want to eat those flavors, but don't want to eat the real thing.
You like roo? I like crock and gator (and snake and squirrel, but not armadillo), but never took a liking to the former.
EDIT: My point is simply: for me... nothing really stacks up to cow flesh.
EDIT2: I suspect we don't disagree about the generic "I've eaten everything, at least once, man" conclusions very much. (Although I still find shark to be about a smelly slab of meat as a bear or a badger. Don't even get me going on pure carnivores like fox or coyote).
Edit: Fix error in describing slaughtering...
I can't speak to quality. What I had was chilled. I don't know if it was fresh or frozen beforehand. It was nice. But compared to even raw maguro, I don't know if I would have preferred it.
Now - cooked - it's like a steak that you might get in NYC without quite enough fat on it, to melt into the meat.
I have not been to Kumamoto for years (more than a decade?) - I will take you at your word and go do this the next time I go. Thank you.
But coming from somewhere where horses and whales are regularly eaten I can assure you that if you're used to the taste and live in a culture that knows how to prepare those meats that you'd definitely prefer them any many instances.
What diet people prefer has a lot of inertia. If you presented say a Briton in the 1850s with spicy Indian food they wouldn't like it in anything like the numbers their descendants do today. Food's an acquired taste, and takes a while to take hold. So you can't just say try gazelle and declare "meh".
Which goes to the point I'm making. I don't think that in the year 3000 when lab-grown meat is perfect (can grow muscle fiber, bone, fat etc.) and indistinguishable from the "real" thing nobody will order up pork or beef.
Rather, there's going to be the same growth in different sorts of products at the expense of the absolute market share of any one incumbent as we see in beer, soft drinks cookies etc. for the past decades.
Now that by-and-large doesn't happen with meats because raising live animals presents you with all sorts of scalability and production limitations.
Shark, in australia, is the most common fish-and-chips. It tastes/feels in the neighborhood of cod, the white flaky sea fish that even unadventurous eaters like. Eel & camel are popular but not economical to produce.
Beef is, IMO, one of the blandest red meats. I prefer venison and much prefer mutton.
Food of the Gods, by Arthur C Clarke (1964)
For many years, I've wanted to try being vegetarian as a way to reduce my environmental impact. To me, meat substitutes are the last missing piece in the puzzle, the piece that shows that its possible to consume staples like hamburgers or spaghetti and meatballs.
Not all of the meat substitutes are good. Not all of them have to be. But a more sustainable future, where meat (and especially seafood) are cultivated in a way that has a less harmful impact on the environment, is a future that I want to help facilitate.
Indian restaurants, for example, often have entire sections of the menu that are vegan or vegetarian without substituting in fake meat.
It's a little more work initially, but after a while you won't miss the meat, whereas if you're eating fake burgers you're going to be reminded they're fake every time you eat one.
After some research on what vegans actually eat, not what I thought they ate, I swapped to a diet of porridge, curries, chillis, stir-frys, stews, pastas, soups, and salads, which were meals I loved and could do easy, mostly in one pot. At first I could have the meat I craved, but over time I could do a straight 1:1 swap of meat for peas, beans, seeds, nuts and lentils, without tarnishing the quality of the meal.
People fail at the first hurdle when they try to replace a bacon sandwich, pizza, hamburger or steak with something that is a fundamentally different food. Replacing bacon with a sliced mushroom is like trying to replace a water pipe with some electrical wire. They're both great, but for different things. Likewise, replacing some berries in a bowl of cereal with pork cutlets or a fried egg would likely make you a guest on Strange Eaters. It works both ways.
If I've discovered anything during my lifestyle change, it's that eating is 95% habitual, and any argument I had against vegans in hindsight was because I didn't want to have to break out of my habit. I now have no interest in eating meat again, because I'm in a new habit and to have a steak would be breaking out of that again.
I mean, on one hand, it makes complete rational sense, because it's self/species-interest: reduced meat consumption should decrease the effects of global warming and other issues, and you want a world that you and future generations of people can safely and healthily live in. I get it.
But are you then still not doing it for selfish reasons, or at least species-selfish reasons? If hypothetically some new technology could suck all of the excess carbon out of the atmosphere and replant things and otherwise 100% negate all of the environmental effects of all the different kinds of meat production, would you and other vegetarians with similar motivations no longer feel any reason, or ethical obligation, to be vegetarian?
You seem to have answered your own question there. It shouldn't be surprising, although yes, it surprises me too I guess. (I became vegan because..how to put it..Humans have no right to treat animals as if their lives are nothing, as if they're just things for humans to eat, if we can easily avoid it. Which I can. I'd rather not be killed, and want to avoid pain, so I figure non-human animals want that too.)
The argument being that a hunter is killing an animal that lived naturally is less of an environmental impact than getting food packaged and sent across the country, etc.
I'm not sure I agree, but it's the most plausible argument I've seen for not being Vegan.
You missed the biggest factor: industrial farming. Have you been to the midwest-does that look like a healthy, natural ecosystem? A vegan (well, most people really ) who lives there gets their food from the same place as one in the city.
I'm not sure any form of food production/gathering, at the scale needed today, would look any better though.
Hunting results in the death of a single animal, and that animal is then directly used for food. There is virtually no environmental impact as a result of well regulated hunting.
The reasonable vegans admit that it's a matter of causing as little animal death or suffering as possible. And then some percentage of what I've deemed "reasonable vegans" will also agree that hunting is about as good as any other options.
But there's a massive gap between hunting and not killing and eating animals for food at all. Of course I'd prefer if factory farming was replaced with hunting, but I'd prefer even more if synthetic meat were the norm and raising or killing animals for food just wasn't even part of the equation anymore (as PG, and others, are predicting).
As a human animal, I'd certainly rather live ~50% of my expected natural life in the wild and have it end in an instant from a weapon than be born in crammed captivity and force-fed horrible anti-biotic-laden meal for years for some higher-intelligence extraterrestrial species to consume, sure. But even though it's preferable, I still don't want to be shot and killed, even if I knew with certainty that my death was going to be short and painless.
Similar to PG, I predict killing animals for sport or for food will be considered very taboo within a century. At least in Western countries.
"Younger people significantly agreed more with the moral reason and with the environmental reason. People ages 41–60 significantly agreed more with the health reason. [i.e. not in absolute terms, just compared with other age groups]
A study publish[sic] in 1992 found that the highest number of vegetarians, 46 percent, chose a vegetarian diet for health reasons, 15 percent chose to be a vegetarian for animal rights reasons, 12 percent for friend/family influence, 5 percent for ethical reasons, 4 percent for environmental issues and 18 percent indicated other reasons.."
"The objective of the study was to examine whether reasons to adopt vegetarian lifestyle differ significantly among generations. ...This cross-sectional, observational study was completed at Andrews University which is a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) institution of higher learning. SDA represent a unique population known for their wide range of dietary habits. This conservative religious group prohibits the use of alcohol, tobacco, and pork and recommends that members adhere to lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. ...Participants were drawn from a large undergraduate introductory-level nutrition class that is open to students from all academic directions."
So, 609 people at a Seventh-Day Adventist college who'd signed up for a nutrition class. That seems a super-bizarre, unrepresentative group to study for the purpose. And in Figure 1, the "Health" reason seems to be the strongest reason given, for every age group.
The other link is to a picture, which seems to be an Australian event, Veganuary, I guess trying to get people to sign up to be vegan in January? Anyway, that says people who signed up for that gave 43% "animals" and 39% "health" reasons, 10% environment, 8% other. They're mostly not vegetarians or vegans, it also says in the picture.
Neither of those two, and particularly not the first, seem to suggest that vegetarians and vegans are principally concerned with animal ethics - even if one assumes they're what they're not, perfectly representative of the beliefs of the entire population of the planet, or your country, or whatever region you're talking about. Still, they were interesting, thanks.
More seriously: the "environmental" claim rang hollow to me, so I set out in search of some facts, and I think what I found supports that intuition, but the burden of proof is not really mine. (I will retract my "it's animal ethics yo" statement—clearly a reach.)
I decided to switch to a plant based diet for environmental reasons. I calculated my carbon footprint and noticed I could cut it in half by excluding animal products, so I did. Then I learned the health effects by losing weight and stopped having migranes I previously had approximately bi-weekly since late adolescence. They just stopped. The energy dips I used to have after lunch? Gone. Breath smells better. PH balance restored from being way too acid. There are so many things that are just fixed by eating plants instead of animal based products. I also learned to love that there is no bone, sinew or thick rubbery fat in whatever I'm chewing. I used to hate fish bones or a piece of fat in a steak or burger I'd have to spit out in a napkin.
Then it started to dawn on me how inhumane I'd been to other species on the ground of them being a part of my diet. I've always loved animals and the outdoors but some animals I'd been okay with murdering and eating. It just felt hypocritical. Not to mention that my argument for it was that _it tastes good_. Who do I think I am? Scaring and killing living beings because they _taste good_? Fuck me. I don't want to support an industry based on the evil premise of destroying the planet by killing animals because they taste good so from now my money will go to my plant based diet. Less money than before, I might add.
Not anti meat, just pro plants
But most of all, that's not the only reason I'm a vegetarian.
I don't think you're going to end up with a good discussion if you start it like this.
And to be clear, I also have no problem with people doing it for selfish reasons.
My reasoning is that if a dish is supposed to be vegetarian, or it just doesn’t include mat because it doesn’t need to, then keep it vegetarian. Veggies are delicious. Why ruin a perfectly good dish with fake meat?
If a dish is meant to include meat, then just use meat. It has different macros and very different taste than current meat substitutes. Why ruin a perfectly good dish with fake meat?
If you’re gonna not eat meat all the power to ya, don’t eat meat. But don’t then try to replicate meat with not-meat that’s just lazy. Explore the world of proper vegetarian and vegan dishes. You might be pleasantly surprised by how great they are.
Considering the amount of effort going into developing meat substitutes, "lazy" seems like a strange characterization. Besides, if someone has decided for reasons external to taste that they're not going to eat meat but they miss it, why shouldn't they try meat substitutes?
If it helps, I think this is a reasonable point (don't try to fake the meat, just skip it - i've thought it myself often).
I haven't commented in here in SO LONG, and I know I will pay for the insurrection of asking the invisible commenters to justify yourselves, but I just can't help it because I do not understand how down-voting this is justifiable in any way with respect to content moderation.
As someone who was raised vegetarian I also have next to no interest in meat replacements personally, but they should be great for people who love the taste of meat but want to give it up for ethical/environmental reasons.
But I still think the down-voters are taking it personally. I don't believe anyone is actually being chastised for their position by this commenter. I took it as offering another option - instead of telling someone who likes meat that you have a great substitute that tastes just like meat and they'll never know the difference, try saying "there are many ways to prepare any of a large variety of vegetables - maybe you can enjoy vegetables as much as you enjoy meat if you find some recipes you like". Maybe those dishes will taste "meat-like" or whatever, but there is value in saying "Stop trying to fake it. Embrace the choice to do it differently."
For the record, I personally believe that this is a more honest tack for someone who is pursuing the option for ethical/environmental reasons.
You sounds like when the LED lightbulb that reduces energy usages of the old light bulb by 100 times, you will say "Why fake it? If you want to reduce energy usage, you must live without electriciy! Using newer, more energy efficient light bulb just means you don't save the world the true way".
But anyway, you missed the point - I am not telling you what to do. I am simply suggesting the alternative of "not faking it" by adding to a comment I felt was doing the same. If you feel like you are being told what to do, I apologize.
It was an eye opening anecdote for me (as a meat eater).
I have nothing against eating tofu. I enjoy tofu. But the bait and switch ruined the meal for me.
Here's the one near my apartment, it has vegan in the name of the restaurant: http://www.gardenfresh.us/
I never order chicken satay as an appetizer (even in Thailand) as I usually find it bland, the texture too dry, and generally boring — but I will always order the “chicken” satay from Plumeria ... better than meat.
Ha, this is a problem my wife has started having after impossible burger became popular in the bay area. All our favorite burger joints now serve that, instead of the brilliant vegan burgers they used to have (including my workplace).
And yeah, there are several restaurants I stopped eating at because they replaced perfectly fine veggie dishes with things that were more meat-like.
I am a meal eater with a majority vegetarian friends group, so I inevitably cook a lot of veg food.
Greek, Indian, Thai and Chinese customers lend themselves really well to vegetarianism and I'm surprised that it isn't catching on in the US. (Especially Indian)
Meat substitutes don't hold a candle to a single one of these for items.
I've tried the current state of the art in meat substitutes ( impossible) and it's still bad.
Again, this is my very narrow experience as a vegetarian who lapsed well into adulthood and just didn't learn an appreciation of the savoury flavours involved. Objectively it's clearly people love the taste of meat.
If you want good meat with no extra flavoring I recommend good steak (like the $60+ steak you can get at a nice steakhouse). Pulled pork is also good, though it's usually somewhat flavored, doesn't necessarily need to be. Lamb prepared gyro style is pretty good. Pretty much any meat will taste better grilled than baked in an oven too.
I'm a lifelong vegetarian who has very literal tolerance for the taste of meat. Can we give it up with these meat substitutes already? Even if they absolutely nail the taste of real meat, I don't want my food to taste like that.
Who should give up on them? The people who like them? The manufacturers? There's clearly a market for good-tasting meat substitutes. If they serve enough peoples' wants and are nutritious while being better from an environmental perspective, why not just live and let live?
Almost certainly. People tend to feel that however they grew up is the one right and true way to live. It can be an extremely difficult feeling to escape, even in cases where they actively very much want to leave it behind and live some other way, for example people who were abused and are in therapy and trying hard to find a better way to live.
A point I was 100% agreeing with, so I'm not sure what your point is.
We are essentially omnivorous by nature.
We mostly all ate meat, not just 'some rural people'.
We literally evolved around it, so it's part of our composition in a very, very fundamental way.
And what exactly of eating the flesh of another animal makes you human.
I can understand our ancestors having to hunt and kill animals to survive.
But I don't think modern society needs to kill so many animals (billions) and destroy the environment to survive. It's a rather inefficient way to feed the world.
When PG said eating meat might sound perverse one day, it's hard to imagine how a comment like this might come across. I'm not a vegetarian and even I find it difficult to differentiate between the above justifications and the ravings of a serial killer.
"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."
I think it's our automatic defensiveness about having our morals questioned that leads to all these strange, weak arguments (e.g. "powerful psychological effect to eating meat").
Instead of doubling down on our position to mentally justify our possible transgressions, one alternate possibility is to recognize the real negative impacts of our actions and work towards limiting our meat consumption and promoting substitutes.
As an aside, based off of what you said about falafels and shiitake mushrooms, it sounds like you maybe haven't tried a lot of common meat substitutes that are already difficult to distinguish from processed meats (things like Morning Star Grillers Original that I've gotten from a bunch of grocery stores).
What, pray tell, was the point of comparing my motivations to those of a serial killer, if not to make a suggestion as to the morality of my reasoning? I welcome a discussion of morality; I'd hold that it's key to the matter of eating animals.
(As to your aside, I've tried a number of those products, and they are just fine. So is homemade seitan. But they provide a different experience from meat, for the "strange, weak" reason I related above.)
Your reasoning is pretty waffly and evasive to serve as a basis for comparing someone to a serial killer — which, as you may have noticed, I resent, as I consider almost anyone would.
Humans naturally enjoy meat. As such, we have to go out of our way and sacrifice a little enjoyment if we want to be vegetarians (which I believe is the true reason you argue for meat). I don't really follow your argument that it would be more convenient to avoid all meat in our society in exchange for a can of beans and a vitamin. The crux of what PG was saying is that making it more convenient to avoid meat will lead to less meat consumption, which is hard to argue with.
> I'm saying I delight in eating the flesh of an animal, and that knowing I gave it a comfortable, healthy life and a merciful death contributes to that pleasure. Your reasoning is pretty waffly and evasive to serve as a basis for comparing someone to a serial killer — which, as you may have noticed, I resent, as I consider almost anyone would.
That resentment is what I previously referred to defensiveness of having your morals questioned. Of course you resent comparisons to your actions to things society has already deemed inappropriate. Whether those comparisons are justified or not is up to you (and society), but you don't make it easy on yourself with your particular brand of justifications (which sound deranged). Imagine if you raised a child or pet dog, cut them open and ate them with the justification "that knowing I gave it a comfortable, healthy life and a merciful death contributes to that pleasure". The difference between murdering your pet dog and a pet pig are very slim in our society already, so I wonder how you'd imagine you sound if you just drew the line a little bit differently.
You mean when you compared my thinking to that of a serial killer, and called them hard to distinguish? Which, as I've expressed, is a conversational gambit unlikely to arouse sympathy? Yes, I found that put me on the defensive a bit. Did you notice that it didn't make me suddenly see your point in a blinding Damascus flash of light?
> There's no substitute for the flesh of an animal — especially one I raised, where I know its diet, its experiences, and how it was slaughtered and butchered
> I'm saying I delight in eating the flesh of an animal, and that knowing I gave it a comfortable, healthy life and a merciful death contributes to that pleasure.
The former comment can be misconstrued to mean that 1) you revel in the power you have over animals you raise or 2) you enjoy the process of slaughtering an animal, in of itself.
The latter comment makes it clear that your intent is to give animals the best life possible (given your decision to eat meat).
However, it's entirely possible that both parent commenter's actions AND your actions are immoral. In other words, the claim that "ignorant meat eating" is immoral doesn't make "aware meat eating" moral.
I think one argument you could make is that animals are somehow not worthy of the same just actions we deem humans to worthy of. But, if we value animals to the same degree we value humans, most ppl would deem your actions to be immoral.
Some plant-based advocates suffer from amnesia where they forget they ever ate meat, along with the beliefs they held at the time to justify it.
Deer populations being what they are, and populations of environmentally troublesome species such as feral
boars being what they are, it seems like a net win.
i would love to be able to get my hands on venison or boar that’s been processed in a USDA-approved way, because the meat’s high quality, the animals had lives entirely free of cages and farms, and we really do kind of need to balance out herd sizes in the northeast.
it is currently a regulatory nightmare to do this at scale, which is why nobody does. I can solve my own problem with a 6 week wait and a slug gun, but it’d be nice to address the conservation need at a more moderate scale.
Here in New Zealand there's an additional bonus that deer and boar are invasive introduced species which are considered noxious pests, so I like supporting an industry which controls them.
That could pose a problem with Chronic Wasting Disease (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_wasting_disease). Prion illnesses are no joke, so widespread consumption of wild game in North America presents a small but concerning risk of spreading the disease to humans.
If so, then I guess we have different definitions of “destroying the environment.” Some damaged farmland, a few possible fishkills, and some erosion are blips on the radar compared to the damage done by industrial farming, suburban sprawl, oil companies, etc.
I guess it is nice to have a scapegoat though — or in this case a scape-hog.
Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin hunters take 300,000 deer each season, each state probably has 4-5 times that total population.
To put that into perspective, the USA slaughters something like 40 million cattle per year.
Conflicted opinions on this. I very strongly support the right to hunt, and also find it vastly more humane for the animals. On top of this I also tend to take a libertarian slant on most things. However, in this specific case you have a textbook tragedy of the commons waiting to happen. The reason game is so widespread is specifically because of these laws. When it was legal to hunt and sell game meat/products we hunted numerous species far beyond sustainability.
Maybe one solution would be to offer limited vouchers that enable an individual hunter to market some fixed amount of game -- not all that different from how wild fishing/crabbing/etc is handled. But I think it's clear that without extremely judicious management here you'd likely see over-hunting rapidly take hold, and that's no good for hunter, animal, or society.
it’s illegal to sell anything without a USDA stamp on it, and economy of scale means that it’s not profitable to have an inspected and cleared process and processing facilities just for game.
Other perfectly reasonable nations don’t do this—and in part due to the fact that deer are an invasive pest in New Zealand, you can buy wild game meat pies in gas stations for about 3 bucks there.
Sure, pockets of New England, California and other liberal towns might widely adopt meat substitutes but I wouldn't be surprised if many other communities don't.
Asking them to give up meat is like asking them to give up part of their identity. I don't think price will change things, only a cultural shift.
Price and mechanics will move some people but don't underestimate how strong culture is.
Plus it's veggie patties or the Impossible Burger gets locked with hippies, vegans, California, liberals, etc. there will be tons of people who will never touch it.
Having spent some time in the southern central U.S. in the past, this is right on the money. Preserving the cornerstones of the culture they grew up with is orders of magnitude more important to some of these people than just about any other criteria.
However, their children are increasingly realizing the ridiculousness of it and making smarter choices. This results in them doubling down, further entrenching themselves and becoming more alienated from 'outsiders'. Eventually it will stabilize down to a handful of freaks left with their little collection of hobbies they manage to get a tiny fraction of folks interested in every generation, and the rest of the world will have long since moved on.
But fantastic meat substitutes already exist. I’m not vegetarian but never order meat with Indian or Chinese or Thai food and am thrilled with so-called mock duck, chicken and even fish. And when that’s not available, tofu does the job. At home, bolognese, tacos or chili with fake ground beef are awesome and I look forward to those being on menus too. I agree we’re at a tipping point.
I enjoy it quite a bit, it has a mild mushroomy flavour and a nice texture.
Consider frying it and serving with a coconut curry sauce or a sambal. Don’t think of it as meat or use it as a meat substitute, that’s setting up for failure to enjoy.
I’d never eat a seitan log as a Thanksgiving turkey substitute, but ironically one of the things you discover when you begin to substitute meat is that a lot of “classics” are flavorless. Chicken, turkey and most fish flesh can be bland and rubbery, which is why they are fried or smothered in sauces as a rule.
Speaking of texture though I think Chipotle made a mistake by using tofu in their meat-substitute filling - it’s just too smooshy for most people. Seitan would have been more successful and I bet they were just afraid of using that word on the menu.
Come visit. I'll bake you a chicken, and i only need about 6 ingredients to change your mind. (salt, pepper, chicken, butter, thyme, dijon mustard optional).
Turkey has never been a favorite of mine, but I had an exceptionally good one that was salted and peppered and then cooked in a big green egg.
Fish has a wide range of flavors, and you clobber them by overwhelming the dish with sauce. I prefer smoked (mmm, kippers. mmm, salmon) or raw (mmm, tuna) over cooked, for sure.
That's my favorite way to make a good quality chicken shine by itself, with nothing masking it or covering it up. Cold butter and dijon mustard just works so well with chicken.
I am extremely hesitant to replace actual meat for anything where you only process it very lightly, roast and the like. But for curries or lasagna and similar dishes, bring on the seitan and anything else. I'm a big fan of using mushrooms, both for their structure and for their flavors.
It's not apples-to-apples. Chicken tastes different than something that is not chicken. Having experienced both, I really prefer the not chicken.
yikes. i think you will have a better experience eating in a seafaring culture - the british, french, norwegians, coastal china, japan, even new england? i think something is quite wrong if you think cod, haddock, sole, tuna, and salmon all taste the same.
FWIW I grew up in Japan and live in New England. I know from fish. Good fish is hard to substitute but it can be done, e.g. Sichuan food is great with the fake stuff. But most fish eaten in America is in fact bland and rubbery (most of it is eaten at places like Red Lobster).
PG's essay is about companies inventing the perfect tuna steak substitute. My point is you can use a lot of existing substitutes, in the right dishes.
That's because most people enjoy tastes that are loud rather than subtle. It's a bit about educating your palate, but also about sitting down to enjoy the food itself rather than the food being an accessory to some other activity.