To Those Misguided Vegetarians:

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There are many reasons why people become vegetarians, but they predominately fall within three categories: health benefits, ethical responses, or in support of environmental sustainability.

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Although there are definitive pros and cons to both sides of the argument, it is a very personal decision. With this as my premise, I will try to summarize and simplify the main points before I put in my two cents. Please reference this article for further credibility.

Here are the claims: vegetarianism proponents argue that eating meat "harms health, wastes resources, causes deforestation, and creates pollution (1)." What's more is the ethical stance that killing animals for food is cruel and unnecessary because non-animal food sources are plentiful.

To counter, opponents argue that consuming meat is healthful, humane, and that "producing vegetables causes many of the same environmental problems as producing meat (1)." In addition, they cite that humans have been eating and benefiting as a means of evolution from meat consumption for over 2.3 million years.

Lisa Simpson, my favorite pro-veg.jpg

These three articles expand and challenge the former claims: Why Become A Vegetarian, Why I Am Not a Vegetarian, and My beef isn't with beef: why I stopped being a vegetarian.

After reading the articles I have come to these conclusions: eating meat and Environmental activism, Pro-Veg.gifvegetarianism both have draw-backs in regards to health (vitamin and protein deficiency vs. heart disease susceptibility), and ethically one can not presume to say definitively that killing animals is "wrong" or "cruel", when it is part of the natural cycle of life and a component of human evolution. Once these issues are put aside as impasses, we can examine another approach to vegetarianism, one that is slightly more apropos as a current issue: sustainability.

My third article described one woman's switch from radical vegetarianism to a small farm operator raising (and killing) chickens, pigs, sheep, and others. Woginrich became a vegetarian in response to the misuse of resources, pollution, habitat destruction, animal hormone pumping, and environmental liabilities caused by the poor farming practices of the commercialized American meat industry. She says that "to be vegetarian is to be a pacifist, avoiding the fight against animal cruelty. Eat meat from sustainable farms, and we will win."

I have to agree with her stance. Vegetarianism for animal activism is a personal ethical decision. Vegetarianism for "heath benefits" is dubious. However, if you become a vegetarian in response to the negative practical aspects of the industry, I believe your efforts can be redoubled by supporting small farms that promote the humane treatment of animals as well as environmental sustainability.

So that is my opinion. I know this topic is controversial, so you will probably have your own thoughts. If my sister read this, she would be pretty outraged at my "moral apathy" (she is a stoic vegetarian who sends annual donations to PETA). Feel free to unload ideas.

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Nice article. You did a nice job of including pictures, links, and quotations that help strengthen your thoughts. One thing to consider adding (I do not know if this was part of the prompt) is how being a vegetarian relates to the nature vs. nurture debate. As in, are vegetarians biologically (in the brain) different from meat eaters? Or is vegetarianism most commonly determined by one's surroundings? Just a thought, overall it was an enjoyable article.

I thought that your blog was very intriguing! I once was a vegetarian and understand the costs and benefits of it, but I couldn't agree more with your third article! This was such an interesting topic to read about and learn more! Great job! Very different from the others I have read!

I really liked the way you presented the blog. It was an interesting topic, that is not looked at from that angle very often. We really should be supporting small farms. Also, you did a great job at supporting you claims with visual media and articles. A little like the first commenter said, I wonder if you could throw in nature vs. nurture data. But then again there are so many factors that lead to the decision of vegetarianism.

Very thorough. I remember last year on campus I was handed a pamphlet on animal abuse in meat plants. They mentioned that the killings are done mass, nobody notices if the animal is not killed instantly, and it is left to die slowly. Avoiding this unnecessary suffering would be another benefit of smaller, subsistence farms. I also find the above comments interesting about how we could relate vegetarianism to the nature v. nurture debate. If you're sister is your twin, you guys might be good study subjects :)

Very thorough. I remember last year on campus I was handed a pamphlet on animal abuse in meat plants. They mentioned that since the killings are done in mass, nobody notices if the animal is not killed instantly, and it is left to die slowly. Avoiding this unnecessary suffering would be another benefit of smaller, subsistence farms. I also find the above comments interesting about how we could relate vegetarianism to the nature v. nurture debate. If your sister is your twin, you guys might be good study subjects :)

You really have a nice post in here. It seems very reliable because you included a lot of references. It is a very controversial topic to think about. On one side, there are negative impacts of being a nonvegetarian, however, there are also impacts associated with being a vegetarian believer. I am not a vegetarian but I somehow agree with some of their perspectives for not eating meat. Overall, great job!

This was awesome. I found a lot of personal connection to your blog. I'm glad that you referred to all the different sides and aspects of becoming/ being a vegetarian.I was vegetarian for a year in high school, then decided to stop what I thought was being healthy and saving animals, I liked steak too much. Good job!

This was a really awesome blog post! You did really well presenting both sides of the issue, and managing to stay unbiased throughout the whole post until you stated your own opinion. It was super informative, and I definitely now agree with that stance. Eating meat from small, humane farms seems much more logical, because it will give those places business and will help them to grow and hopefully one day overtake the farms that are treating animals inhumanely.

You are absolutely right when you say this is a controversial topic. It is important though so one that deserves some debate and i have found myself arguing different sides of it too. I tend to agree with your view of whether being a vegetarian is a good or bad thing. I would guess that most people want to be vegetarian for the health benefits but i think the majority of "die hard" vegetarians do it for their own ethical reasons. The health benefits from being vegetarian can be argued very strongly both ways, there is no doubt that a vegetarian meals are healthy but by cutting out all meat you are also cutting out the benefits that they give you, which is a lot! So in my opinion being a vegetarian for health benefits alone is not the best way to go about eating healthy, but if you ethically apposed to eating meat than that is your decision. Great topic and articles also, made for some heated arguments!

The first thing that I really enjoy about this blog post is the visual aspect. You had a lot of really nice pictures that helped break up the reading a little bit. Also, you were extremely thorough with your information. You're right when you say that this is a very controversial topic. With controversial topics, it's even more important to do your research and make sure what you're saying is indeed factual. Well done!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Anna Mongeon published on February 5, 2012 3:36 PM.

The Debate of Many Centuries was the previous entry in this blog.

Uncovering the "BIG" issue of Nature vs. Nurture is the next entry in this blog.

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