"Hey Meaty, You're Making Me So Hot!"

Heather Mills says meat eaters cause global warming.

There's something about vegetarianism that co-opts other causes—animal welfare, health, yogic meditation. Everyone seems to want to have a side of philosophy with dinner these days. The hottest, newest cause to be assimilated into the vegetarian-anti-industrial complex is global warming. Environmentalists and vegetarians have long maintained excellent relations, but the dawning of broader awareness about fossil fuels expended in food production and the other environmental impacts of farming have brought the two causes into an extremely cosy relationship.

And behold the strange offspring of that alliance:

The sweaty woman featured above is Heather Mills, the very-soon-to-be former Mrs. Paul McCartney. She was glamour model before she lost her lower leg in a motorcycle accident, and she recently strapped on her dancing leg and competed to excellent effect on Dancing with the Stars. She's tabloid famous, but she has put her fame to some good use: Her Adopt-a-Minefield charity campaigning deserves the high praise it has won her.

In the midst of her messy, minutely chronicled divorce—and just after her public relations rep quit and the law firm that was representing her in the divorce made the unusual decision to "fire" her as a client for being a little too chatty with the press—she has launched this bold, strange new campaign for environmental veganism.

The idea, it seems, is to convince people who bike to work, buy carbon offsets when they fly, and only exhale CO2 when they absolutely must that they're still terrible environmentalists. They simply haven't given up enough. Meat will have to go as well. And eggs. And milk.

The State of the World report focused on consumerism in 2004, and reported that "belching, flatulent livestock" are to blame for about a fifth of the world's production of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, a figure that several subsequent reports more or less agree with, though usually not quite as colorfully.

Viva! director Juliet Gellatley reinforces that statistic: "Meat and dairy animals are the second biggest cause of greenhouse gases at 18 per cent compared to 13.5 per cent from all the world's different modes of transport combined."

Since the proportion of greenhouse emissions from transportation are similar to those produced by raising animals for food, the logic goes, having a burger undoes all the good of your virtuous bicycling, and not just around the waistline. Indeed, after they have made so many sacrifices, the prosthetic-wearing Mills says to meat-eating enviros:

Viva, the British group sponsoring the billboards, warns us "eating meat, fish and dairy amounts to a "Diet of Disaster," complete with histrionic capital letters. The basis of this claim is the idea that farm animals, cows in particular, are emitting greenhouse gasses at an astonishing rate, grazing on lots of land that could have been carbons sinking forests, and otherwise causing environmental havoc. But Viva is primarily a vegetarian outfit, not an environmental group—it cites environmental concerns as just one of four reasons to "go veggie." This might explain why they're not willing to publicize that there's a lot of middle ground on the issue of vegetarianism and global warming. It's not as simple as veganism versus and environmental apocalypse.

Like Viva, Mills mixes her environmental vegetarianism with other reasons to go veg. Or she tries to anyway. During a media appearance to promote the campaign at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park (a favorite spot for political pronouncements and the occasional loony rant since the late 19th century), Mills appeared in a green t-shirt touting veganism to speak to the people. She said: "There are many other kinds of milk available. Why don't we try drinking rats' milk and dogs' milk?" Mills later clarified that she meant to highlight that drinking the milk of any animal was unnatural and shouldn't be done at all, but the incredible weirdness of the campaign makes it hard to tell the distortions of the notoriously slapdash British press from the truth.

But does it really help either cause to equate part of an ordinary to drinking milk from rats? Will asking the bike-riding green to give up steak at dinner parties help him spread the word? Why this strange desire to bring together the self-denying, ascetic streak in both vegetarianism and environmentalism? Why guilt and accusations instead of good cheer?

As an antidote to Mills' cheeky but still depressing billboards and all that they represent, below is a list of a handful of the many promising possibilities for minimizing the methane output of cows in the works--including genetically altered bovines, better feeds for animals, and other technological solutions that can make possible a vast middle ground for those who like a steak, but would also like for there to be some ice left somewhere on Earth to chill the martini they're washing it down with.

There's the $53 million dollar Methane to Markets program to capture methane and use it for good and not evil, sponsored by the U.S. government.

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  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    The idea, it seems, is to convince people who bike to work, buy carbon offsets when they fly, and only exhale CO2 when they absolutely must that they're still terrible environmentalists.

    Well, that's because they are. If they were going to be good environmentalists, they wouldn't fly, but would still buy the offsets.

  • MikeB||

    I love living in Dallas. The only place I hear about veganism, food-miles, carbon-offsets, hybrids, ect is at Reason. Sure there are people like that around, but so few you really don't have to know any.

  • ||

    Remind me again why we give a shit what Heather Mills thinks?

  • ||

    Well, the connection does make sense; after all, if the human race hadn't abandoned vegetarianism in favor of that newfangled meat-eating concept (invented in 1971), there probably wouldn't be any global warming today.

  • ||

    Can we get a methane harvester for Dondreoooo? It looks uncomfortable.

  • ||

    Why does Heather Mills hate puppets?

  • Episiarch||

    I wish all the quasi-religious fundamentalists would go back to punishing themselves by wearing hairshirts and whipping themselves, instead of confusing the issue and themselves by focusing on denying themselves pleasure with a "moral" smokescreen.

  • Peter||

    "I love living in Dallas. The only place I hear about veganism, food-miles, carbon-offsets, hybrids, ect is at Reason."

    I live in LA. You're one lucky son-of-a-bitch.

  • ||

    Remind me again why we give a shit what Heather Mills thinks?

    Because she only has one leg, you unfeeling bastard! That's why!

  • Matt J||

    Big deal. Sammie Davis Junior only had one eye.

  • grammar school||

    what is it the about writing online that makes it less necessary to copyedit an articles?

  • grammar school||

    sorry, not just a KMW problems, this is I notice on many reason articles.

  • ||

    Big Big deal. Captain Hook only had one hand.

  • ||

    Do I really even need to say it?

  • ||

    Big big big deal. Rick Allen only has one arm.

  • bill||

    Too bad this wouldn't work. Even if everyone stopped eating meat the animals would still be needed. People don't realize that thousands of industries rely on animal by-products to produce their goods. That's why there is really no such thing as a vegan. It's impossible to live in a modern society and be completely free from animal products.

  • ||

    Cliff Notes version: some broad, who's famous because Paul McCartney married her to show the world how sensitive he is, wants me to do something.

  • ||

    sorry, not just a KMW problems, this is I notice on many reason articles.

    This is I notice about your writing: it's completely incoherent.

  • Fluffy||

    My question would be: domestic animals can only be said to be causing global warming if the total amount of methane they produce is significantly greater than that produced by non-domesticated animals prior to humanity's alteration of the landscape.

    They say that there were tens of millions of buffalo in North America two centuries ago. Did they produce methane in amounts roughly equivalent to our modern beef and dairy industries? If so, how is global warming the cows' fault?

  • ||

    It isn't only cattle that create methane and greenhouse gas. A very large portion of the earth's population subsists on rice as a main staple. Rice paddies give off all kinds of methane and other goodies.

    Even if they give up eating meat and dairy products, Greens are not doing enough to "save the earth"; they really should be making the ultimate and most meaningful sacrifice. They should be giving up their lives! After all, they don't really need to live, do they?

    As for Ms. Mills - since she detests the rich, perhaps she would like to forego her claim for that $100,000,000 dollar divorce settlement she's asking of Paul McCartney? Naw, a hundred mill ain't really rich no more.

  • Peter||

    And what about the widely unpublicized methane jets that naturally occur on the ocean floor, and have been belching up the gas into the atmosphere for millions of years due to the ever shifting plates of the Earth's crust?

    To quote Ryan O'Neal in Norman Mailer's TOUGH GUYS DON'T DANCE ... "Oh Man, oh God, oh man, oh God, oh man oh God ..!"

  • ||

    I just don't know why it's worth Ms. Mangu-Ward's time to write an article rebutting the insane claims of a woman no one respects or cares about.

  • ||

    I just don't know why it's worth Ms. Mangu-Ward's time to write an article rebutting the insane claims of a woman no one respects or cares about.

    It's not just Heather Mills, I've heard this argument from whack-pod vegans elsewhere. You haven't?

  • ||

    I thought about being a vegetarian once...then I remembered cheese.

  • ||

    It's not just Heather Mills, I've heard this argument from whack-pod vegans elsewhere. You haven't?

    Now that I think of it, I have. It just seems like fish in a barrel to me, I suppose.

  • Paul||

    I love living in Dallas. The only place I hear about veganism, food-miles, carbon-offsets, hybrids, ect is at Reason.

    MikeB. You need to connect the dots here. You're like the editor of the New York Review of Books being completely perplexed over how Richard Nixon got elected because hell if she knew anyone who voted for him.

    Come to Seattle, and it'll be all food miles and carbon offsets all the time.

  • Jorgen||

    for all the talk about fish in barrels, I really don't see much of anything rebutting the claim that a vegetarian diet does more to combat global warming and habitat destruction than does an omnivorous diet. Rice paddies produce methane, but at a much lower rate per calorie than do cattle. Agriculture takes land, but not nearly as much per calorie as does cattle grazing, simply because the cows burn a lot of vegetable energy before they get killed. This isn't to say that Katherine Mangu Ward is wrong that there are ways to eat meat that have fewer negative environmental consequences than others; that is clearly true. It is to say that those of us who have decided to eschew meat for environmental reasons aren't crazy. By the way:

    "Too bad this wouldn't work. Even if everyone stopped eating meat the animals would still be needed. People don't realize that thousands of industries rely on animal by-products to produce their goods. That's why there is really no such thing as a vegan. It's impossible to live in a modern society and be completely free from animal products."

    The number of animals needed to produce byproducts is definitionally smaller than those needed to produce meat and dairy, so my not eating a cow reduces demand for cattle by exactly one, while my choosing not to use manure fertilizer, or low grade leather, or any of the other byproducts would reduce demand for cattle by exactly zero. If the world went sufficiently vegan that cattle, pigs and chickens were raised for the fertilizer etc, those products would become quite expensive and would mostly be pushed out of the market by alternatives.

  • ||

    Think of all the hot air environmentalists spew every day.

    What say they do the Earth and the rest of us a giant favor and remove themselves from the ecosphere?

    Big big big deal. Rick Allen only has one arm.

    Big big big big deal. Lance Armstrong only has one ball.

  • bill||

    Jorgen are you going to stop driving, are women going to stop using cosmetics, are semi trucks going to stop rolling or people stop using medicines. Just because you don't use leather or bone meal doesn't mean there aren't hundreds of thousands of products that require animal by-products to produce.

  • ||

    I go down to speakers corner Im thunderstruck
    They got free speech, tourists, police in trucks
    Two men say theyre jesus one of them must be wrong
    Theres a protest singer singing a protest song - he says
    they wanna have a war to keep us on our knees
    They wanna have a war to keep their factories
    They wanna have a war to stop us buying japanese
    They wanna have a war to stop industrial disease
    Theyre pointing out the enemy to keep you deaf and blind
    They wanna sap your energy incarcerate your mind
    They give you rule brittania, gassy beer, page three
    Two weeks in espana and sunday striptease
    Meanwhile the first jesus says Id cure it soon
    Abolish monday mornings and friday afternoons
    The other ones on a hunger strike hes dying by degrees
    How come jesus gets industrial disease

  • ||

    For those of you who just joined this thread let me recap it for you.

    Heather Mills - 1 leg
    Sammie Davis Jr. - 1 eye
    Captain Hook - 1 hand
    Rick Allen - 1 arm
    Lance Armstrong - 1 ball

  • Peter||

    I know a couple who had a baby and started the kid off right out of the womb with soy milk, tofu, etc. She's already a little slow and just ... not right. Three years old, and she can barely speak. Perhaps though this is correlation instead of causation, and she just happens to take after her idiot parents.

  • D||

    > I know a couple who had a baby and started the kid off
    > right out of the womb with soy milk, tofu, etc. She's
    > already a little slow and just ... not right. Three
    > years old, and she can barely speak. Perhaps though
    > this is correlation instead of causation, and she just
    > happens to take after her idiot parents.
    >
    Indeed. I know another couple who don't want their daughter to be "a big meat eater" (read: we don't want her to eat meat at all, but we won't rush to stop her if she gets her baby hands on it). She's a little slow, doesn't crawl much yet, doesn't babble, doesn't do all the things that my daughter (who was given meat, as well as soy products and lots of other stuff) did much earlier and more impressively. Coincidence? Maybe, but these two girls share a common set of grandparents...

  • ||

    I want to reiterate the request for better editing. Seriously, I'm embarrassed to recommend reason online-articles because of all the typos. Step it up people!

    Other than that, good article. Does anybody else think Heather Mills looks as crazy as she sounds? That second, non-sweaty photo is creepy.

  • ||

    Big big big big deal. Lance Armstrong only has one ball.



    Big big big big big deal. I only have one nose.

  • Og||

    Hunters and gatherers (pretty pragmatic people) figured meat was so important to their diet, that 50% of the population focused on it, even though it only contributed to 15% of their total caloric intake.

  • only a pedant||

    Placing the word "only" before each of the words in this sentence yields different meanings.

    I hit him in his eye yesterday.

    "x has only one y" rings so much nicerly than do the sloppily wrote "x only has one y."

  • jorgen||

    "Jorgen are you going to stop driving, are women going to stop using cosmetics, are semi trucks going to stop rolling or people stop using medicines. Just because you don't use leather or bone meal doesn't mean there aren't hundreds of thousands of products that require animal by-products to produce."

    I think you're missing the point, Bill. Animal byproducts can only generate enough revenue to pay for extracting them from cows. The primary reason so many animal byproducts are used is because we have so many corpses sitting around that people have thought of clever and creative ways to use them. Adam Smith wrote about how animal byproducts don't pay the costs of raising the animal in the Wealth of Nations, and its as true now as it was then. Plus, saying that it's silly to limit or eliminate meat intake while using hard to replace animal parts is like saying that it's silly to bike to work when you still take long car trips. Limiting intake of environmentally damaging goods limits environmental damage.

  • poco||

    sorry, not just a KMW problems, this is I notice on many reason articles.

    This is I notice about your writing: it's completely incoherent.

    I think that's a joke; at least I hope it it is. ;-)

    Seriously, I can provide editing for reason if you need someone. I can spell Condoleezza and von Mises, and know when to use whom.

  • only a pedant, feel free to st||

    ...or "it only contributed to 15%." In Englich as she is spoke, yon adverb she modified what postceding noun is.

    I remands you to your soys productings.

  • o.a.p.||

    "can only generate only enough revenue"

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    jorgen, shouldn't you get off your computer and do some alternative activity that doesn't consume electricity?

  • jorgen||

    Yes, Vermont gun owner. It is totally hypocritical to limit my consumption of one thing that is environmentally harmful if I am willing to consume anything else that is environmentally harmful. If I was a real environmentalist, I would just die.

  • M||

    If I was a real environmentalist, I would just die.



    Was it National Lampoon that envisioned Woodstock Festival devotees situating themselves sacrificially to become compost?

  • ||

    If I was a real environmentalist, I would just die.

    If you were a real environmentalist, you would offer yourself up as food for us omnivores. I've read that human flesh really doesn't taste that bad, if one cleans out the critter's system by feeding it nothing but vegetables and fruits for a few months. Imagine how good vegans must taste! Slow cooked over a hickory wood fire - probably about like pork, I would think. :-)

  • jorgen||

    smartass sob:

    I think you're confusing environmentalists with humanitarians. If I was a real environmentalist, I would die in such a way as to take out as many of you resource greedy omnivores as possible. Only a humanitarian would offer himself up in deference to his succulency.

  • greenish||

    Again, being a libertarian doesn't mean you have to be an asshole. It's counter-productive and stupid to mock someone who makes a reasonable attempt to correct a perceived externality with voluntary, charitable action, like Jorgen.

  • jorgen||

    These folks show up nambly pambly halfway measure environmentalists like me for the frauds we are:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voluntary_Human_Extinction_Movement

  • jorgen||

    Thanks, Greenish!

  • ||

    Osama bin Laden for PETA:

    "If you eat meat, then I win."

  • M||

    If you were a real environmentalist, you would offer yourself up as food for us omnivores.



    As does every poster here.

    Only a humanitarian would offer himself up in deference to his delight in a neighbor's succulency.



  • ||

    Funny, I am really laughing out loud. The methane capture device is awesome. Heather Mills can use her time and energy on promoting more sensible ways to save environment. Asking people to turn vegetarian is being little too pushy.

  • ||

    Heather Mills is also an animal rights activist and PETA supporter. Whether this means she advocates the eradication of all domestic animals is unclear, since many PETA spokespersons seem to know little about the organization they promote. Pam Anderson, for example, once held a marriage ceremony for her two dogs.

    Snarky article about Mills' animal rights activism, at Hecklerspray.com:


    http://tiny.cc/jilAD

  • ||

    I just don't know why it's worth Ms. Mangu-Ward's time to write an article rebutting the insane claims of a woman no one respects or cares about.

    I could point out that I don't know why it's worth your time to point out that you don't know why it's worth Ms. Mangu-Ward's time to write an article rebutting the insane claims of a woman no one respects or cares about, but it's not worth my time.

  • ||

    As a somewhat vegetarian (especially at home) libertarian with a Master's in ecology (lot of good that did me), I feel suddenly sort of relevant. As Dr. Zoidberg would say, "Hooray, I'm useful!"

    I may have missed it above, but there are reasons aside from cowgenic methane that eating less meat might cause fewer environmental problems (and be cheaper).

    One (which Jorgen did summarize) is the old "eat lower on the food chain" idea which is based on the physical realities of how energy flows through, and is lost from, "food chains": you can feed more people with a given acreage of crops than you can with cows/pigs/chickens that eat feed grown on those acres. Put another way, the more meat we eat the more land (and money) is needed for the same amount of food.

    This is because a very big* percentage of calories in the feed does not end up as cow/pig/chicken flesh, but is instead given off as heat during various metabolic processes (i.e., breathing, mooing, voting for establishment candidates;). X tons of grain > Y tons of bacon-wrapped chicken-fried steak > Z tons of people driving around looking for a closer parking place.

    Water requirements are also higher, which means yet more money.

    I'm no purist vegetarian, but I do see environmental, health and animal welfare reasons to eat less meat or to decline to support certain agricultural practices. And I find plenty of tasty options. We live in a frickin' smorgasbord these days--thanks market!

    * I haven't found an estimate for cows, but this number is as high as 96% for some other mammals.

  • ||

    One thing that people like Ward forget is that humans need protein one way or the other. The analyses I have seen have concluded that chicken, turkey and farm-raised catfish all have comparable greenhouse emissions to soy and other vegetable-based proteins, per gram of protein.

    Creating beef is terrible for the environment, and dairy and pork not much better. But some animal products just ain't that bad.

  • Anonymous||

    Lance Armstrong - 1 ball

    Also: Hitler

  • Bob||

    She's trying to extend her 15 minutes of fame by stumping for PETA.

  • Heather Mills fan (not)||

    Given that Ms. Mills's claim to fame is doing the Mexican hat dance all over Paul McCartney's heart and then trying to soak him for more than half his fortune... well, let's just say I'll just ignore what she thinks.

    Now if it were *Hayley* Mills, star of my favorite movie, The Parent Trap, I would at least listen. But I'd have bacon in my mouth while doing so, chewing it thoughtfully.

  • adrian||

    van gogh 1 ear?

  • Reinmoose||

    I'm on board with Kevin Parker's last post.

    Anybody catch that Katherine Mangu-Ward is criticizing a private attempt to convince people to change consumption habits, and proposing that we don't need these silly types of efforts (despite the correctness of Mills' claims) when the government and government funded research has plenty of solutions for us that could result in still not as desirable of an environmental impact than a whole slew of people deciding to eat less beef while simultaneously compelling people to pay for research for cows even if they don't eat meat?

  • ||

    Flying Purple People Eater = One horn

  • ||

    I'm sure it's me but, ever heard of a period?

    Anybody catch that Katherine Mangu-Ward is criticizing a private attempt to convince people to change consumption habits, and proposing that we don't need these silly types of efforts (despite the correctness of Mills' claims) when the government and government funded research has plenty of solutions for us that could result in still not as desirable of an environmental impact than a whole slew of people deciding to eat less beef while simultaneously compelling people to pay for research for cows even if they don't eat meat?

  • Fluffy||

    Reinmoose -

    I may just have a suspicious nature, but I tend not to trust any "voluntary education campaigns" run by environmentalists, animal-rights activists, etc.

    Unless I am assured of a particular group's libertarian bona fides, I see "voluntary education campaigns" as long-term attempts to build the base of votes to start "involuntary do as we say or go to jail" campaigns, or perhaps "involuntary we will use regulation to shut down all the producers of the offending goods" campaigns.

    Fois gras was the target of "voluntary education campaigns" at one time.

    Because I can, you know, project events over time, I choose to try to get out in front of the issue and mock animal rights' activists NOW, instead of when they are more powerful.

  • Reinmoose||

    gaijin -
    it is still early, but I don't see anywhere for a period in there. I guess it could have been broken down into multiple sentences, but it's really just one big question. I really didn't put all that much thought into it though. Check on me again later today and see how I'm doin.

  • Reinmoose||

    Fluffy -
    being proactive has its merits, but the fact remains that KMU proposed government and coercive solutions to a non-governmental effort. I don't know about you, but I find that tremendously uncool/unlibertarian.

    Just think about what would happen if we didn't subsidize feed crops. On a moral ground, we shouldn't be subsidizing farmers. That this would lead to lower meat (or at least red meat) consumption is purely coincidental, but animal rights activists never seem to think to propose *less* government intervention. So it's not government coersion that would be reducing your meat consumption, but rather market forces. Most libs don't ever want to come to that realization, however.

  • ||

    Reinmoose-
    I 100% agree. However, you're thinking too much. You must remember that only a knee-jerk negative reaction and stereotyping is required on this blog when the topic of animal rights or vegetarianism is concerned.

    It's just too hard to actually think about the issues and make your own personal decision with the available data. It's much easier to make fun of PETA or something.

    What we have here is a matter of intellectual laziness. Nothing more.

  • ||

    So it's not government coersion that would be reducing your meat consumption, but rather market forces.

    Unlikely. Meat would cost more, but my guess is people would still want it at just about every meal, and find a way to pay for it.

  • Chucklehead||

    If the world went sufficiently vegan that cattle, pigs and chickens were raised for the fertilizer etc, those products would become quite expensive and would mostly be pushed out of the market by alternatives.

    Alternatives produced by the chemical industry, which I doubt you hold in high regard.

  • ||

    Of course our overlords want us to stop eating meat. Protein makes our brains grow, and that's bad news to those who wish to control us.

  • Reinmoose||

    newsflash: meat isn't the only source of protein

    derr...

  • Reinmoose||

    Unlikely. Meat would cost more, but my guess is people would still want it at just about every meal, and find a way to pay for it.

    Well then, at the very least, at least the meat consumers would be the ones paying for it, and its market value would be measurable.

  • ||

    Unlikely. Meat would cost more, but my guess is people would still want it at just about every meal, and find a way to pay for it.

    Only those who have the available funds or value eating meat more of a priority than other things they could put those monetary resources toward.

    So consumption would be reduced. By how much would depend on how much the price rose.

    As it stands now, I'm already noticing a spike in the price for meat (probably related to higher corn prices and inflation) so this may be a moot point.

  • ed||

    Another recap is in order:
    That's one small ball for Lance Armstrong, one giant dick for Heather Mills.

  • ||

    Were you all reading the same article I was? Genetically engineered cattle fed some strange laboratory produced feed to not produce methane is a more reasonable way to reduce their methane contribution than to simply have less cattle? No way. Clearly the author has a preconceived belief ("meat eating is ok") and an irrational faith in food scientists and agribusiness ("I don't have to sacrifice anything, scientists will fix it all") and refuses to address the reasonable idea that eating less meat produces less methane. The cognitive dissonance of all of you attempting to justify a behavior you know is destructive is fairly amusing, and also incredibly tedious. I'm not going to attempt to convert the religious here, there's no point.

    Since Reason seems to favor a carbon tax in several of its articles, how about a similar methane tax here?

  • ||

    My 6 year-old eats nothing but pizza and Chicken McNuggets, and she's a freaking genius.

    So you're an Environmentalist Tool? Not unless you're currently lying on a compost pile, bleeding to death. Because human metabolism consumes natural resources and produces greenhouse gasses. Fact not fantasy.

  • ||

    so. how does heather mills feel (and note this all about FEELings of course) about hunting animals for food?

    she may be right about the methane thing (note: MAY be, i don't know enough about the science and readily admit it of methane and global warming)... however...

    the PETA etc. crowd has a notoriously TERRIBLE record of promoting pseudo-science for their cause, as does CISPES etc.

    their anti-milk, anti-meat screeds attempting to use (bogus) nutritional data to show that meat and milk are bad for us are perfect examples.

    and then there's BGH. i still have yet to see ONE decent study (actually ANY study period) that shows that bovine growth hormone has ANY negative effect on meat or milk. yet, it's a peta staple to try to instill fear.

    to paraphrase pj orourke, it's a chemical, and it's like icky and stuff is the extent of their "science".

  • Reinmoose||

    whit -
    what does that have to do with eating less meat?
    I agree PETA is a shitty organization, but how about judging ideas based on their merits and not who's proposing them?

  • ||

    Reinmoose-
    The fact that libertarians are regularly decried as anarchistic crazy folk doesn't seem to deter many of them from doing the exact same stereotyping of others.
    This irony appears completely lost on them.

    As I said, they are too intellectually lazy to bother trying to read the data and come to their own conclusion.

    Yet it's exactly this sort of personal appraisal of the relevant data and arguments that made me (and I'm willing to guess many others) a libertarian in the first place.

    Brian White - spot on with the cognitive dissonance angle. Exactly.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "for all the talk about fish in barrels, I really don't see much of anything rebutting the claim that a vegetarian diet does more to combat global warming"

    Since no one on earth has actually proven that man-made global warming exists at all in the first place, it doesn't really make any difference.

  • Reinmoose||

    Jason S -
    I know. I'm just disappointed.

    Yet it's exactly this sort of personal appraisal of the relevant data and arguments that made me (and I'm willing to guess many others) a libertarian in the first place.

    Yeah, me too

  • ||

    I love this stuff; now they are going to take away your foods that are said to be harmful to the climate!

  • ||

    Another libertarian quasi-vegetarian here. Just curious if anyone has information on the environmental impact of cows used for dairy vs. those used for porterhouse, or if there would even be a practical way of getting that.

  • John Dumbrille||

    People who are libertarian are allowed to fight to protect things they care about, including the environment. But that doesn't mean they are consigned to bikes and public transport, does it.

    There are problems with cow farming. What we do about it remains to be seen.

  • the innominate one||

    if we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

  • ||

    "whit -
    what does that have to do with eating less meat?
    I agree PETA is a shitty organization, but how about judging ideas based on their merits and not who's proposing them?"


    my point is that when certain groups pimp pseudoscience and ignore damning facts to the contrary, one should look at further "scientific" claims by same groups with more skepticism (not that one shouldn't view ALL claims with skepticism, but i digress...)

    i readily admitted, i am not well enough versed in the science of methane etc. to say whether or not mills is right about the underlying science in this case. i AM saying that there is a pattern of completely bogus "science" (BGH, milk, meat in diet etc.) used to pimp similar ideas, and thus i am wearing extra skeptical glasses.

    and again, i was making another point that IF true, this actually gives further props to hunting and hunters, since they don't hunt cows.

    fwiw, one thing the left (and PETA types also) are loathe to admit is that hunters have been incredible "stewards of the environment" and that private org's (which should make any libertarian proud - since it's not govt. doing it) like ducks unlimited etc. have done more with less to conserve natural habitats and tasty animals than any group of wacked out enviro's. hunters have done a lot to preserve habitats for wild animals and correctly understand that managing the environment along with economic/recreational benefit is a much better way (see: capitalism) to preserve nature than some sort of animal worshipping PETA style "animals are people too" argument/tactic.

  • Victor Milan||

    Holy Jesus! That billboard!

    That woman is scary. She looks either pet-bunny-boiling crazy or like a badly-disguised lizard alien come to eat our children.

    I presume the background pic represents wildfire damage supposedly caused by global warming. It gives the impression of having been caused by Death Beams from her mad eyes.

    Regardless of the merits of the argument (few, I grant) whatever that sign's selling I am not buying.

  • ||

    "and then there's BGH. i still have yet to see ONE decent study (actually ANY study period) that shows that bovine growth hormone has ANY negative effect on meat or milk."

    You mean besides the fact that it leads to pus in milk and the insulin-like growth factor can cause cancer?

    Hopefully preventcancer.com won't be too "wacky" for you to take seriously. I think maybe you just haven't looked for this information if you haven't found it.

    http://www.preventcancer.com/publications/WhatsInYourMilkRelease.htm
    http://www.preventcancer.com/consumers/

  • ||

    Regardless of the merits of the argument (few, I grant) whatever that sign's selling I am not buying.

    Well, you're the one who said it...

  • douglas gray||

    Maybe the dinosaurs' own flatus caused their extinction

  • ||

    Me, too, on the copyediting. KMW is far from the only writer with typos, but this article crossed the threshold where it actually made it hard to read.

    I also tend to agree with Jorgen. While I happen to suspect that Heather Mills is full of shit ("only one shit"?), I don't really feel that there was anything in this article to address her claims other than an offhand cry for the "tragedy of the commons" and some bovine bondage.

  • ||

    Hmm...

    When Mary Wollstonecraft published her Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792, her views were widely regarded as absurd, and before long, an anonymous publication appeared entitled A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes. The author of this satirical work (now known to have been Thomas Taylor, a distinguished Cambridge philosopher) tried to refute Mary Wollstonecraft's arguments by showing that they could be carried one stage further. If the argument for equality was sound when applied to women, why should it not be applied to dogs, cats, and horses?

    On top of these ethical considerations (we do believe in Darwin - that we are different in degree and not kind) - there are health considerations....

    Are humans natural meat eaters?

    What does Clint Eastwood eat?

    What was Carl Lewis on?

    The ecology works like the economy. Free agents are better than slaves. Vegetarian agriculture is less interventionist than animal agriculture (ONLY farmers claim that cattle on grassland is natural and now we know that the cattle is worse than ALL cars, trucks and planes combined). In other words - if you are a free-market loving, individual rights, libertarian - you should consider veganism for ideological reasons alone. If you are a fan of slavery and statism and restricting the freedom of other earthlings who long for free-will expression as much as you do - I guess you do eat meat.

  • ||

    I forgot to ask...

    How do you think these intelligent, emotional beings who long for their natural autonomy feel because of us?

    How does this, in your honest opinion, compare to the worst suffering that a human animal has ever experienced in the history of homo...?

  • ||

    Right on, Hugo.

    Reinmoose-
    I'm also disappointed in our fellow libertarians on this issue of stereotyping, laziness, and the often-expressed joy of ignorance of the relevant arguments.
    Just up a few posts we have the terms "whacked-out enviros" and "PETA types" referring to people.

    I guess it's disappointing because I became a libertarian by learning to use critical thinking to approach a topic and really look at the relevant data and arguments before I made a decision. I like to think I do this for all issues, though I'm sure I have my blind spots as well. I think because of that I tend to assume that other libs are accustomed to this approach and use it themselves. I mean, you can't really be opposed to raising the minimum wage unless you know a little something about economics and employment. You have to get used to digging deeper than the headline to understand the simplicity and principle of libertarian ideas. I guess this stereotyping and laziness here is just another example of the compartmentalization that people can do in life- holding wholly unexamined beliefs about one topic but being entirely rational in another.

    We should also remember that skepticism is an approach, not a philosophical position. There's more than enough good data out there to support the position of the animal rights/veg crowd out there - whether someone is convinced and changes their diet or not is beside the point.

    I think I'm past hoping that libs will apply the same critical thinking to animal rights, environment, and vegetarian issues as they do to gun control, taxation, and civil liberties. It's hard for me because I don't see why these issues should be approached differently.

    They should be considered on their own merits and viewed from a standpoint of personal choice and responsibility.
    Too much to ask, I suppose.

  • ||

    I believe in her logic but she's missing a couple points.

    1) We need those animal by-products to manufacture nice things, like my comfy waterproof leather boots.

    2) Even if we stop eating them, the animals will still be there, farting away.

    I propose that we try to eat as many animals as possible, this way we get rid of the animals but still create the by-products !

    The Grill's on at my place. Come on over.

  • ||

    Dave:
    2) Even if we stop eating them, the animals will still be there, farting away.
    I propose that we try to eat as many animals as possible, this way we get rid of the animals but still create the by-products!


    These animals are bred so that we can eat them. If that demand were gone, they would be too; except of course for wild cows and pigs, neither of which I've seen in my life.

    Hugo:
    When Mary Wollstonecraft published her Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792, her views were widely regarded as absurd, and before long, an anonymous publication appeared entitled A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes. The author of this satirical work (now known to have been Thomas Taylor, a distinguished Cambridge philosopher) tried to refute Mary Wollstonecraft's arguments by showing that they could be carried one stage further. If the argument for equality was sound when applied to women, why should it not be applied to dogs, cats, and horses?

    That was a stupid (not to mention evil) argument because it equated women with animals. Are you saying you agree with it?

    How do you think these intelligent, emotional beings who long for their natural autonomy feel because of us?

    And how exactly have you come across the knowledge that they "long for their natural autonomy"?

  • ||

    That was a stupid (not to mention evil) argument because it equated women with animals. Are you saying you agree with it? And how exactly have you come across the knowledge that they "long for their natural autonomy"?



    You know Darwin? They may be different in degree but not kind. Prozac works on dogs as it does on humans. They feel like us. Are you saying we do not long for our natural autonomy? Are you saying that dogs and pigs do not feel pain and do not want to express free will like humans do?

    Even if we stop eating them, the animals will still be there, farting away.



    No. Right now about 55 billion animals of only a few species, who cannot move, are causing thousands of species to go extinct each year. Mono-culture crop or grassland for feed are also causing top soil erosion. The UN report makes it clear that it is not natural to have so many bovine bio-mass on earth. We should stop breeding them and leave the land to regenerate. Livestock agriculture is too intrusive - especially with 6.7 billion people on earth getting richer and adopting a Western diet. If all of the 6.7 people were to eat as much livestock as the US does - we would require more planet earths here and now. It is not only the global warming emissions - it is also the insane amount of water and energy that you need for livestock agriculture.

    And in today's world - there is not such thing as an real byproduct. In India were cows are not eaten like in the West they still breed and kill them for leather production - and they are among the worlds largest producers. We do not need leather and slaves in today's world. Be comfortable in your own skin.

    Einstein, Carl Sagan, Mark Twain, Leonardo da Vinci were right to argue that that the only right we have to exploit animal is might. And that might does not make right - especially when you do not need it for happiness and survival. That is why many call it animal rights. We have plastic brains that can change, juts like the brains of animals, and that enjoy all sorts of things in life. Slavery must not be part of that. It carries a cost beyond some numbing short term pleasures that is simply not worth it. We are eating our character.

  • ||

    I wish people would stop wrapping up their desire to advocate for a vegetarian diet with an environmental preservation flag.

    Because this hides the root cause drivers of the environmental destruction they are supposed to be concerned about. Since they don't understand what causes the destruction the destruction continues absolutely unopposed because people are not working to end the policies that actually drive the destrucion.

  • ||

    Case in point of the above problem at work.

    Burning the World's Food in Our Cars


    It is good that doom mongers like Paul Ehrlich have been so thoroughly discredited. But could anyone have imagined that not only are we not facing "Population Bomb" style famines, but we are in fact spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money to promote burning food in cars?

    With three new plants added in November, annual corn demand for ethanol production in Nebraska passed the
    500-million-bushel mark for the first time, using 37% of Nebraska's corn.

    Folks get worked up and complain about the environmental impacts of having animal protein in the human diet.

    Yet they ignore the farm and biofuel subsidies that drive most of the environmental destruction meat consumption gets blamed for.

  • ||

    Folks need to understand that the first step in raising crops or vegetables is to destroy the existing habitat.

    The finished seed bed for crops or vegetables has the biotic diversity of a gravel road. Now crop and vegetable production is necessary and done properly is sustainable. However, it will never be as environmentally friendly as cattle grazing.

    Ranching and cattle grazing preserve the habitat, protect biodiversity, and provide increased carrying capacity for wildlife.

    Much of the habitat they preserve is grasslands and grasslands are very good at sinking CO2. Given its growth patterns grasslands probably sink far more CO2 then forest do.

    An added bonus of cattle grazing is that it allows the production of food from areas that could not be used for crop or vegetable production without causing an environmental disaster.

  • Librarian||

    To some of you-
    I am curious as to how it feels to be so wonderful and righteous that you can afford to be so judgmental?

    To those of you who actually contribute intelligent postings worth reading, thank you.

  • ||

    the innominate one wrote:

    "if we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?"

    I can't argue with that kind of fuzzy logic, but I can apply it.

    Humans are made out of meat, ergo ...

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