The Fleas Cling to the Golden Fleece

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Hosannah, a brain-splittingly stupid tax plan that even the Senate won't endorse:

In a letter sent Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), PETA President Ingrid Newkirk stated, "[V]egetarians are responsible for far fewer greenhouse-gas emissions and other kinds of environmental degradation than meat-eaters."

The letter added that vegetarians should receive a tax break "just as people who purchase a hybrid vehicle enjoy a tax break."

The best part of this is how little the group's gamed it out:

Asked how the government would certify that taxpayers are vegetarian, PETA spokesman Matt Prescott said, "I imagine that a system could be adopted whereby taxpayers could show receipts for food purchases and/or sign an affidavit attesting … that they are vegetarian. If Congress is seriously interested about rewarding people for reducing their carbon emissions, then it could develop a system to verify that people are vegetarian."

It could develop a system! Of course.

Brendan O'Neill boxed PETA to a TKO back in 2005. Sara Rimensnyder recounted PETA's battle against People for Eating Tasty Animals back in 2002.

Via To The People, whose Cicero adds:

I have a similar idea, and I hope PETA supporters and environmentalists are the first to sign up. The federal government should give $10,000 to the family of every person who kills themselves to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I call it, "Save the Earth, Drop Dead."

Why go that far? PETA should steal from the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement and suggest tax breaks for couples who don't breed. (Or bring on Mark Steyn and double the tax break for Muslim couples.)

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  1. Yet another Genesis lyric!

  2. It’s wrong to pick on the mentally challenged, David.

  3. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk stated, “[V]egetarians are responsible for far fewer greenhouse-gas emissions and other kinds of environmental degradation than meat-eaters.”

    So what did the bracketed “V” at the beginning of “vegetarian” replace?

  4. I am a veg and I am so frequently embarrassed by PETA. I wish they’d stop pretending to speak on my behalf.

    That being said, give me a tax break!

  5. as a lifelong vegetarian, i heartily approve of any legal measure that would reduce my taxes, no matter how stupid the premise. screw the rest of you, i want mine.

  6. Y’know, it must be part of the Washington mindset to think of these verification systems. It took me 2 seconds to think of removing the sales tax on vegetables, and increasing it on meat products.

    Which might be a dumb idea, but would have low transaction costs.

  7. Don’t vegetarians consume more beans in general as compared to “meat-eaters”? I’d say that makes them MORE responsible for greenhouse gas emissions… 😉

  8. “So what did the bracketed “V” at the beginning of “vegetarian” replace?”

    It means that the quote was part of a sentence and the writer wasn’t quoting the entire sentence. When spoken the word “vegitarian” had a lowercase “v” since it was in the middle of the sentence. When quoted, the word moved to the front of the sentence and thus needed to be capitalized. The writter put the “v” in brackets to show that she added the capitalization to the quote.

  9. HippyCHimp
    I was going to avoid making that joke, but I guess someone had to say it 🙂

  10. “Don’t vegetarians consume more beans in general as compared to “meat-eaters”? I’d say that makes them MORE responsible for greenhouse gas emissions”

    As soon as I’m finished with my bacon wrapped steak and burned pork gravy, I’ll give it some thought.

  11. This overlooks the fact that vegetarians are responsible for high smug levels all over southern California.

  12. “…it was taught in the English classes I took to use ellipses to show that a quote was lifted mid sentence.”

  13. NoStar,

    I was taught to eschew leading ellipses. And to remove people who use them. Please report to Disintegration Chamber #2112.

  14. Re the bracketed V:

    Back when I was a copy editor, we followed the Chicago Manual, which doesn’t (or didn’t) require any particular indication if what you were quoting came from the middle of a sentence.

    But when I went to law school I found out that lawyers do it the way D. Weigel did. (Does that mean he’s a lawyer?)

  15. Dave, how am I supposed to hate you when you keep quoting from The Lamb? Knock it off already.

  16. Is there actual proof that vegetarians are responsible for fewer greenhouse gas emissions?

    I suppose the argument could be made that since they aren’t supporting cow and chicken farms they reduce their emissions, but couldn’t the same be said for people who only eat wild game animals?

  17. Isn’t Vegitarian derived from some Latin phrase meaning “smug pain in the ass”?

  18. “Back when I was a copy editor, we followed the Chicago Manual”

    When I was a copy editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, we just made everything up.

  19. Let’s not forget that Newkirk once wrote a letter to Yasser Arafat complaining about his terrorist thugs loading up a donkey with explosives. Not a peep about killing PEOPLE, mind you.

    To hell with that crazy bitch.

    -jcr

  20. I’m not a vegetarian myself but there is no doubt that eating vegetables is a more energy-efficent process than eating meat. And so if you’re trying to encourage people to conserve energy (not that Congress really wants that), then offering them a tax break would be one way of doing it.

    I don’t think it would be possible to prove who is a vegetarian and who is not, however, so the idea is kind of a bad one on its face.

    A more workable solution would be to tax certain foods to encourage people to eat less of them, both for health reasons and to conserve energy.

  21. This is hardly worth the effort but lets think about his for a minute. First, it is not clear that raising cattle or pigs puts out more carbon raising vegitables. Further, to buy into the argument, you would have to include not eating dairy products as well. Dairy cows presumably produce just as many greenhouse gases as beeef cattle.

    There has never been a vegan society in all of history. Man cannot survive without certain proteins and nutrients found in animal products. Children especially cannot survive. There was an article in the NYT the other day about these sick fucks who fed their baby a “vegan diet”. The poor child weighed three pounds before the state stepped in.

    Really Pelosi is asking us to subsidize an inherently unhealthy lifestyle that can be downright deadly to small children.

  22. As soon as the government can reliably calculate the exact cost to the environment of my burger, I will gladly pay the extra tax if it’s no more than a few pennies. Until then, they can stay the fuck out of my mouth.

  23. Wait, if humans are causing greenhouse gas emissions, I think that if we’re giving tax breaks to vegans, we should go so far as to give tax credits to cannibals. Think of the environmental problems that would solve!

  24. John,

    Wikipedia is trying to pass along the fiction that a vegan diet is perfectly acceptable for babies, too. I happened to be reading the article on ‘vegan’ the other day and I thought it was strange how little dissenting opinion (i.e. none at all) there was on the matter. Contrast this with every piece of advice I’ve read about feeding my cats which warns that cats are meat-eaters and you must feed them meat or they will die.

  25. Save the Earth, Drop Dead

    Now THERE’S a bumper sticker I can get behind. Put me down for a gross. I want to slap one on every hybrid I come across.

  26. Call me naive to your wonderful “ideology”, but I thought libs would actually support this plan. Isn’t it consistent with your “ideology” that people should only pay for their own impacts, not those of others? Doesn’t meat production have quite a noticeable environmental – and thus fiscal – impact? Cows not only produce methane, but they also use a lot of water both for them as well as to grow their feed. IIRC, meat production is extremely inefficient.

  27. There has never been a vegan society in all of history.

    Huh? Are you sure? I thought there were populations of Hindus in India that were.

  28. Call me naive to your wonderful “ideology”, but I thought libs would actually support this plan. Isn’t it consistent with your “ideology” that people should only pay for their own impacts, not those of others?

    You must be new around here. The libertairan ideology states that the free market will clean up the environment and the state making any restrictions on the amount of pollution a person or company can spew into the environment is a gross violation of property rights.

  29. Isn’t it consistent with your “ideology” that people should only pay for their own impacts, not those of others?

    Impacts? Um no. We believe people are responsible for their own actions and should pay for their own goods and services. As a result of due process of law, someone might be required to pay to clean up the graffiti or pollution they’re responsible for. However, greenhouse gases are not pollution.

  30. Isn’t Vegitarian derived from some Latin phrase meaning “smug pain in the ass”?

    I’m going to assume that you are either joking, or that you have actually only interacted with smug pains in the ass.

    You must be new around here. The libertairan ideology states that the free market will clean up the environment and the state making any restrictions on the amount of pollution a person or company can spew into the environment is a gross violation of property rights.

    DRINK!

  31. Call me naive to your wonderful “ideology”

    You’ve got a nice ideology here. We wouldn’t want anything to . . . happen to it. Cause things break, don’t they?

  32. “Huh? Are you sure? I thought there were populations of Hindus in India that were”

    They may be vegitarians but they are not “Vegan”. They eat some meat products like sour milk or butter. You could probably live on a no meat diet, but not on vegitarian diet, especially if you are a child.

  33. ezra | June 1, 2007, 1:54pm | #
    Yet another Genesis lyric!

    I’m just waiting for him to title a post about RealDolls with lyrics from “The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging”.

  34. Although maybe that song would be more appropriate for a MeMe Roth article.

  35. Rhwyn,

    That is really scary about wikipedia.

  36. They eat some meat products like sour milk or butter.

    Oh no, I’m sure all dairy is right out. Mother cow and all that. Maybe eggs.

  37. Regarding vegan societies, see here. I have no problem with vegetarians as long as they don’t bother me about my dietary habits. To each his own. As for capturing every externality of every form of consumption, whether for greenhouse gases or otherwise, obviously that’s not what the real agenda is there.

  38. Warren…
    goats

  39. Cool. Lonewacko and Dan T. are getting in a snark-off. Somebody make popcorn!

  40. The kid actually died. The state stepped in to press charges against the vegetarian parents.

    Nothing like starving your baby to death. That must have been real pleasant.

    on the taxation bit. I love that a few people are considering taxing different foods at different levels to spur it along. Even just as an idea as if it had merit. If we were talking about candy bars and limiting fat folks, I doubt there’d even be a bit of consideration on this site.

    That said, I don’t doubt that this idea will be implemented somewhere as some sort of saint appreciation act and sin tax on the beef eaters.

  41. whoops. John, the post was meant for you. I’m not John. I just want work to be over.

  42. Incidentally, I have a pet theory that eating meat is essential to what makes us humans. Under my theory, vegans are sub-human. I think I could convince some vegans of the validity of my theory, though they would call themselves super-human (an evolutionary step forward). A consequence of my theory is that it is occasionally necessary to actually kill and butcher an animal to maintain good psychological health. Just eating a fish you catch goes a long way.

    Just a crackpot idea of my own.

  43. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4282257.stm

    Here is an interesting BBC article on the risks of a vegen diet to children. I love the BBC. They put scare quotes aroung “harmed” and then they quote some crackpot head of the vegan society in the UK as having the same credibility of a USDA scientists.

    What do you want to bet that most of the vegans in the world believe whole heartedly in the “scientific consensus” on global warming and think anyone who questions a scientist on the subject is a nut. When it comes to the “scientific consensus” on childhood nutrition, then scientists don’t have quite the same credibility in vegen land.

  44. MOntaige,

    There is a special room in hell for those people.

  45. John,
    You mean the one for child molesters and [sotto voice] people who talk at the theatre.

  46. Yes Warren,

    The one that blasts 80s soft rock at 130 decibles 24/7 for all eternity.

  47. John, is it really fair to judge all parents who raise healthy kids on vegan diets by a couple who starve their kids to death?

  48. John,
    If you knew a couple of USDA scientists, you might feel differently about that article 🙂

  49. Three acres of grain tastes terrible with a baked potato.

  50. Dan T.

    Yes it is. Especially when nutritionists say that it is unhealthy and effects the child’s development. Your question is like saying “is it really fair to judge all parents who let their kids eat lead paint by a couple let their kid eat so much paint they died?”

  51. John, as far as a vegan society never existing. I have a friend who was raised Hindu, and his caste is vegan. So I guess thats one example of a vegan society.

    Though the scary thing is, even though he isn’t practicing and thinks the vegan thing is a crock, his body literally cannot handle animal products without becoming sick.

  52. Isn’t Vegitarian derived from some Latin phrase meaning “smug pain in the ass”?

    Actually it is a native American word meaning “not good at hunting.”

  53. Yes Dan it is irresponsible and dangerous for parents to raise growing children on a Vegan diet.

  54. Reinmoose,

    Perhaps so. That said, I will still take their word over some random vegan. More importnantly, no one seems to be thinking of how this diet really affects you or doing studies on it, especially children. Just a quick google search reveals hundreds vegan propeganda sites but no real scientific evidence. Worse still, being vegan has long since hit PC status, meaning that those who dissent are likely to be branded as heritics.

  55. I seem to remember that the only reason we are able to grow as much produce as we do in the west is due to petroleum-based fertilizer. Not to mention all the oil that harvesters and tractors and combines use. Seems like there is at least as much greenhouse emissions there as there is in the raising of food animals.
    I can only cite “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” for my source on that, sorry, no link.

  56. Dan T.

    Yes it is. Especially when nutritionists say that it is unhealthy and effects the child’s development. Your question is like saying “is it really fair to judge all parents who let their kids eat lead paint by a couple let their kid eat so much paint they died?”

    I guess by that logic if a parent allows their kid to eat fast food, which nutritionists will also tell you is not good for you, they are in the same camp with vegans who starve their kids.

  57. All I was saying is that people who are certified by the government aren’t necessarily any more competent than some crazy vegan Brit

  58. What a completely insane idea. Now, allowing certified vegetarians to sell offsets for the amount of carbon that would have been produced if they had eaten meat, that would make sense.

  59. “I imagine that a system could be adopted whereby taxpayers could show receipts for food purchases and/or sign an affidavit attesting ? that they are vegetarian. If Congress is seriously interested about rewarding people for reducing their carbon emissions, then it could develop a system to verify that people are vegetarian.”

    So, if I just ask the cashier to ring me out in two orders, the meat and the non-meat, I will have a nice set of receipts to show to the IRS.

  60. Cesar, not to discredit your friend but traditional Hindu vegetarian societies use milk products and eggs to add complex proteins, vitamins and minerals to supplement their diets.

    And may I add that cheeses and meat are a more efficient way to eat because they are more densely packed with calories, protients vitamins and minerals than vegetables.

  61. “I seem to remember that the only reason we are able to grow as much produce as we do in the west is due to petroleum-based fertilizer. Not to mention all the oil that harvesters and tractors and combines use. Seems like there is at least as much greenhouse emissions there as there is in the raising of food animals.”

    That is all true. The other thing is that the dumbasses who are vegan also tend to be anti-globalist local producer types. In their ideal world, we don’t have a world food supply but instead rely on locally grown food only and not even meat at that.

    The only reason we don’t have famines outside of government made ones anymore is because we have this fabulous global food distribution system. For example, right now there is a terrible drought in the southeastern U.S. Five hundred years ago, the local Indians who lived here would have starved to death in years like this. Today, it doesn’t mean anything if you are not a farmer because our food comes from all over the world. If we only grew our food locally though, things here in Atlanta would get pretty grim pretty fast.

    If you put all of their ideas together, the buy only local vegens, of which there are many, are really arguing for a return to mass starvation.

  62. However, greenhouse gases are not pollution.

    Uh, Warren does not speak for this libertarian. Of course, a gas like carbon dioxide can become harmful in high enough concentrations, and would therefore be pollution. Those Competitive Enterprise Institute commercials with the slogan “Carbon is Life” were embarassing for any thoughtful supporter of capitalism.

  63. Art-

    Then I think he must have mixed up vegan vs. vegetarian.

  64. Cesar,

    He must have. You can be a vegitarian and do just fine because you are still eating milk and cheese and the like. I really don’t see how being a vegan is a very good idea.

  65. chrmody –
    for me, this doesn’t seem hard to understand.

    Vegetarians eat a lot of grain and soy crops, not just vegetables. A crap load of grain has to be fed to beef cattle in order to produce 1 lb of beef. If that same grain was consumed directly, a person would have to consume a lot less of it to obtain the necessary nutrients.

    Effectively, for those that consume beef, all you have to do is convert the amount of beef the person eats into how much grain was feed to the cow to produce that much beef, and you have at least one measurement of how much more grain the beef eater consumes than the non-beef eater.

  66. I guess by that logic if a parent allows their kid to eat fast food, which nutritionists will also tell you is not good for you, they are in the same camp with vegans who starve their kids.

    BZZZZZZT Ohh sorry Dan T but thanks for playing. Nutritionists will tell you that fast food eaten in moderation is perfectly fine for you. And that’s the problem with vegans. The vegan diet is not one of moderation, it is an extremist lifestyle.

    But it’s not the most extreem.
    John, have you ever run up against the “raw food” movement? Talk about your diet zealots. Then again there’s the breatharians. If you haven’t heard of them you just have to google.

  67. Mike Laursen,
    So what is your position on CO2? Atmosphere is nowhere near toxic levels. But thats not even relevant to the issue of global warming. The fear is that the earth will turn into a vast wasteland before the air becomes unbreathable.
    I’m not asking for your decoder ring, just want to see where you’re coming from.

  68. BZZZZZZT Ohh sorry Dan T but thanks for playing. Nutritionists will tell you that fast food eaten in moderation is perfectly fine for you. And that’s the problem with vegans. The vegan diet is not one of moderation, it is an extremist lifestyle.

    But I think that just like eating fast food in moderation is probably okay, there are plenty of vegans who eat a balanced diet as well. My complaint with John’s argument is that he’s indicting an entire class of people due to the actions of some extremists. Well, many people eat an extreme amount of fast food as well.

  69. Warren,

    I haven’t met a breatarians, but since I would guess the average lifespan of one is 10 or 11 days give or take, that is not surprising.

    I have heard of the raw food movement. I watched a debate on PBS with one of them about pasturization of milk. The raw guy said “people lived before pasturization didn’t they” and his opponent without missing a beat responded “yeah for about an average 40 years or so”. It was great.

  70. I think John is justified in condemning the entire class of people who put their children on vegan diets. Just as he would be justified in condemning the entire class of people who refuse to take their children to doctors no matter how sick they are.

  71. John C. Randolph: “Let’s not forget that Newkirk once wrote a letter to Yasser Arafat complaining about his terrorist thugs loading up a donkey with explosives. Not a peep about killing PEOPLE, mind you.”

    Um, could that be because as a representative of an animal rights organization her job is to comment on the ethical dimensions of the human interactions with animals on and not the everyday madness in the Middle East?

    John wrote: “There was an article in the NYT the other day about these sick fucks who fed their baby a ‘vegan diet’. The poor child weighed three pounds before the state stepped in.”

    Did you bother researching the case? There was more to it than what The New York Times article presented. The couple did not breast feed their child, which was their first mistake. (Breast feeding, of course, is compatible with a vegan lifestyle.) Second, this couple only gave the child soy milk and fruit juice, which means they hardly offered the child much nutrition. They were poor, black, and, in all likelihood, not very educated. Yet the judge in Georgia gave them life in prison for murder. But there was not much evidence of malice; their mistake could just as easily have been one of ignorance.

    Later John writes: “What do you want to bet that most of the vegans in the world believe whole heartedly in the ‘scientific consensus’ on global warming and think anyone who questions a scientist on the subject is a nut. When it comes to the ‘scientific consensus’ on childhood nutrition, then scientists don’t have quite the same credibility in vegen land.”

    Care to offer a citation for a scientific consensus hostile to the idea of veganism for children comparable to the scientific consensus for the existence of global warming, John?

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

  72. there are plenty of vegans who eat a balanced diet as well.

    No. There really aren’t. That’s the thing about these people.

  73. I think John is justified in condemning the entire class of people who put their children on vegan diets. Just as he would be justified in condemning the entire class of people who refuse to take their children to doctors no matter how sick they are.

    John’s saying that if you don’t take your kids to the doctor every time they have a minor sniffle, you’re in the same class as people who never take their kids to the doctor even when they’re in danger of dying.

  74. “Did you bother researching the case? There was more to it than what The New York Times article presented. The couple did not breast feed their child, which was their first mistake. (Breast feeding, of course, is compatible with a vegan lifestyle.) Second, this couple only gave the child soy milk and fruit juice, which means they hardly offered the child much nutrition. They were poor, black, and, in all likelihood, not very educated. Yet the judge in Georgia gave them life in prison for murder. But there was not much evidence of malice; their mistake could just as easily have been one of ignorance.”

    What exactly are they going to feed the poor child if not soy milk and still be vegen? Further, children need certain nutrients that only come from meat products. If the mother isn’t eating them, they won’t magically appear in her breast milk.

    Further, I did offer you one scientific citation from the USDA. Read the BBC article. Find me one scientific study that says you can really raise a healthy child on such an extreme diet. And thank you for proving my point. You believe the scientists about global warming but ignore them and common sense when it comes your own extremists beliefs.

  75. Dan T.

    Thre are diffent levels of seeing the doctor. You can go all the time or once in a while. There are not levels of being a vegan. You either are one or you are not. Either you feed your child meat products or you don’t. To give them a vegan diet is outright child abuse.

  76. So what is your position on CO2?

    Thanks for asking:

    * Agreed, CO2 is nowhere near toxic levels.
    * Global climate change due to greenhouse gases (plus deforestation and other effects) is real, not made up.
    * Al Gore is probably a dick, but most of the information he’s disseminating is what the science really says. Yes, some environmentalists and liberals are obnoxiously smug, but they aren’t just making the whole problem up.
    * Skepticism about climate change is good, as it helps solidify the science. Outright denial masquerading as skepticism is uncool.
    * Global climate change is not the end of the world, but is likely to cause some flooding, severe weather, habitat change, etc. Some of the changes will be beneficial for some interests. Much of it will not be beneficial.
    * Some of the bad effects are going to happen. We can’t completely solve the problem.
    * There are things individuals can do voluntarily to help out: buying a more fuel efficient automobile, etc. In the future, there will be more options.
    * Americans are wasteful in their energy use, but it still a good thing that we have comfortable, materially-rich lives.
    * I haven’t heard any really great ideas for using government to “solve the problem”. The best idea I’ve heard is to set up a carbon trading scheme; it at least has elements of freedom and market orientation. In fact, it can make some things (like acres of preserved rainforest) that currently don’t have monetary value have monetary value.
    * There are lots of things the government is doing that are harmful to the environment, that it should stop doing.
    * Some things we can do as individuals or as a governed society to alleviate greenhouse gas emissions would have other benefits, such as decreasing our dependency on foreign oil.

  77. “What exactly are they going to feed the poor child if not soy milk and still be vegen? Further, children need certain nutrients that only come from meat products. If the mother isn’t eating them, they won’t magically appear in her breast milk.”

    When you have a child, you need to do research on nutrition. That’s why you go to a doctor, which this couple did not. And what vital nutrients are you referring to that can only be obtained through meat products and nowhere else?

    In the BBC article you linked to, the scientist you take to be supporting your claim writes, “There have been sufficient studies clearly showing that when women avoid all animal foods, their babies are born small, they grow very slowly and they are developmentally retarded, possibly permanently.” But not all animal foods are meat products. She thinks there are other animal products that would be all right without the woman having to resort to eating meat. So even by what you cite as evidence, your claim is too strong.

    “She accepted that adults could avoid animal foods if they took the right supplements, but she said adding animal source food into the diet was a better way to tackle malnutrition worldwide than quick fixes with supplements in the form of pills,” the BBC article writes of Professor Allen. Be careful here. She is not saying that veganism is an “inherently unhealthy lifestyle” (as you claimed), but rather that as a practical matter it’s easier to address malnutrition issues globally with a diet that includes animal products.

    “Further, I did offer you one scientific citation from the USDA. Read the BBC article. Find me one scientific study that says you can really raise a healthy child on such an extreme diet. And thank you for proving my point. You believe the scientists about global warming but ignore them and common sense when it comes your own extremists beliefs.”

    Please respond to what people actually say, not what it’s easiest for you to respond to. Here is what I wrote:

    “Care to offer a citation for a scientific consensus hostile to the idea of veganism for children comparable to the scientific consensus for the existence of global warming, John?”

    I didn’t think I could be much clearer. At any rate, you did not offer such a citation in your BBC article. The BBC article simply offered the opinion of one scientist. It was not a meta-analysis of the views of scientists in peer-reviewed journals or academic associations.

    According to the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada, “well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits, including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.”

    http://www.adajournal.org/article/PIIS0002822303002943/fulltext

  78. Mike — Thanks for laying that out. I appreciate your reasonableness (to coin a term).

    I have a question with respect to this point: There are things individuals can do voluntarily to help out: buying a more fuel efficient automobile, etc. In the future, there will be more options.

    Is your considered opinion that it is possible for people to do enough to have any probable, significant effect on climate change? Among the GW things I find hard to accept, the proposition that we can actually manage the trend is probably the one that I balk at the most.

  79. Reinmoose,
    I won’t debate that – I agree that commercially produced beef, at least, uses disproportionately more grain than if we consumed it directly. But I think that metric may also ignore the costs of processing that grain into a usable substance (i.e. flour) since we tend to not use water wheels for grinding any longer (as far as I know).
    I’m just saying that for the most part any agriculture creates an environmental impact, and short of returning to pre-industrial methods (see John’s post above)no one is more or less culpable for it.

  80. Mike L:
    It nice to know you have only drank half of the cup of Kool Aid.

  81. I must say I’m somewhat astonished to read that the Journal of the American Dietetic Association says a “well-planned” vegan diet is appropriate for infants and children. But the linked article does indeed say that in the abstract.

    The conclusions in the article itself are perhaps hedged a bit: “Lacto-ovo-vegetarian children exhibit growth similar to that of their nonvegetarian peers. Little information about the growth of nonmacrobiotic vegan children is available, although findings suggest that children tend to be slightly smaller but within the normal ranges of the standards for weight and height. Poor growth in children has been seen primarily in those on very restricted diets.”

    So perhaps I’m wrong in thinking vegan diet for kids = sickly kids. Maybe it’s more accurate to think vegan diet for kids = playing with fire.

  82. “What exactly are they going to feed the poor child if not soy milk and still be vegen? Further, children need certain nutrients that only come from meat products. If the mother isn’t eating them, they won’t magically appear in her breast milk. ”

    My, but that’s ignorant. First of all, there are plenty of soy baby forumulas that are both vegan and sound, if breastfeeding is not an option (it seldom isn’t.) No ‘milks’ are adequate for feeding infants, be they cow, soy, or other. Apple juice is also never given to infants for the saqme reason- it is water and sugar. What those parents did was criminal, not vegetarian.

    Secondly, the idea that one needs nutrients dfrom meat has been roundly, soundly debunked. Vegan children need supplementation of b12 and sometimes iron, and ordinary vegetarian diets are suitable for all ages, healthy, adequate, and even recommended by Dr Spock. Any consensus to the contrary resides purely in your imagination.

  83. They were poor, black, and, in all likelihood, not very educated.

    They were poor and black? Oh. Well then, that explains everything, doesn’t it?

  84. If you are a vegan in conditions that offer you a lot of contact with other vegans, you are more likely to be informed about risks, benefits, and options. A vegan who is an upper middle class college student at UC-Berkeley or a musician in Seattle is much more likely to be surrounded by like-minded people and therefore much more likely to be aware of what needs to be done when he/she is having a child than is a vegan who lives in inner city Detroit or rural Alabama.

    I’m not denying that those parents deserve blame for what happened. I’m just very skeptical as to the propriety of the murder charges filed against them and the subsequent life sentences they received.

  85. The hell that vegans go to only serves turducken.

  86. Y’suh, boss. We blak folks down heah in da cuntry – we be po’ an’ ignornt. Sho do wish y’all rich, edumacated white folks come down heah and teached us ’bout feedin da chilluns. Y’suh, sho do.

  87. First,

    Lets not comflate vegen with vegitarian. I never said you could not raise a healthy child being vegitarian, just not vegan, although I doubt even that. Even by the article sighted, the mother would have to be incredibly educated and do everything right and even then that is only one study that says that the child wouldn’t suffer. If the mother doesn’t take the right suplements or eat exactly correct, well too bad for the child. Playing wiht fire is certainly the right term.

    The bottomline is raising a cild vegan is risking the child’s health withouth their consent to enforce a barbaric and supersitous beleif and lifestyle. At best vegan who raise their children as such are only moderately better than fundies who faith heal.

  88. Just stopping by to note that no one answered my question up thread.

  89. What’s the tax break for not having pets?
    75 pounds of dog, 20 pounds of cats = a person.

    Now, horse owners should really be paying.

  90. I live in the east with lots of growth in my yard.
    I have 37 trees on my land, dozens of bushes.
    I want a tax deduction. Let the dry lands pay.

    Why not charge people for a CO2 tax per pound of weight?

    Then again, maybe a person is just a person.

  91. as a lifelong vegetarian, i heartily approve of any legal measure that would reduce my taxes, no matter how stupid the premise. screw the rest of you, i want mine.

    For a tax brake?!?!

    I am now a lifelong vegetarian.

  92. John, you’re greatly exaggerating the amount of effort required to feed children a healthy vegan diet. It DOES require some education, like ANY nutritious diet requires, but it is not rocket science. The basics can be learned in a matter of hours, and as long as the child received adequate nutrition and regular health care, there’s no danger at all. (Not to mention that vegans tend to come from a more educated background to begin with.)

    In other words, it’s hardlty playing with fire, whatever that’s supposed to mean. In most ways, it is healthier than what most mainstream parents feed their children- sugar and fat laden fast food, junk food, etc. Considering one in three people in this country will die of (diet related) heart disease, it’s the typical american diet that’s “playing with fire.” People all over are killing their kids slowly by stuffing them with soda and sugar cereal and mcdonald’s fries, so I think your ire is extremely misplaced here.

  93. Well, many people eat an extreme amount of fast food as well.

    If many people eat an extreme amount, wouldn’t it be a “normal” amount?

  94. In other words, it’s hardlty playing with fire, whatever that’s supposed to mean. . . . People all over are killing their kids slowly by stuffing them with soda and sugar cereal and mcdonald’s fries, so I think your ire is extremely misplaced here.

    Who’s showing ire? I looked at the linked article and expressed an opinion in civil terms.

    What is up with people today? Is it the full moon? Some guy on another thread said I have piggy fingers because I asked Ron Bailey a question; you’re accusing me of ire. Am I so out of it that I’m insulting people without even realizing it?

  95. Is your considered opinion that it is possible for people to do enough to have any probable, significant effect on climate change?

    I don’t know what’s going to happen. That should be all I say. Period.

    But this is a blog. My guess is no in the short term, but in the long term we’ll have all kinds of cool technologies that will usher in an era of groovy green living. Unless the “War on Terror” ushers in an era of not so groovy American empire and fascism.

    One interesting aspect of global warming from the libertarian/anarchist view is that since it is a global problem, any solution ultimately requires convincing people all over the world to voluntarily become part of the solution. Unless it all leads to world government, we can’t force a solution.

  96. Am I so out of it that I’m insulting people without even realizing it?

    Oh so now I am one of those “people”??

    fuck you jp.

  97. The only healthy vegan kids are the ones getting hotdogs and chicken nuggets from their grandparents and babysitters. Voluntay veganism is an eating disorder.Children forced to a vegan diet are being abused.

  98. If Virginia still wrote for Reason I’d come up with a creative snark about feeding kids some Kidney Pie. Or maybe I’d just be lazy and try to imply humor. Yeah, what the hell ….

  99. Mike — Thanks for your response. Your input is appreciated.

    Joshua — Did I do it again? I must be some kind of bizarro Midas. No more posting tonight!

  100. “but in the long term we’ll have all kinds of cool technologies that will usher in an era of groovy green living. Unless the “War on Terror” ushers in an era of not so groovy American empire and fascism”

    See a doctor, your regular shrink doesn’t have your BDS under control!

  101. John–
    You have failed to back up your claim that there is a scientific consensus against veganism for children comparable to that on the existence of global warming (as documented in the link in my first post on this thread). No surprise there.

    You have, however, been a smashing success in proving that not all smugness about animal rights comes from people who are actually for animal rights. Bravo.

    Meet your meat, buddy…Courtesy of that pinko rag, The American Conservative:

    http://www.amconmag.com/2005_05_23/cover.html

  102. Ashish and Jennifer E,

    You are obtuse and evil. True VEGANism (no animal proteins) is incompatible with raising a normal child through infancy. It is also immoral to even try. Human beings, as you may have noticed from our biology and millions of years of history, are OMNIVORES. This means that a balanced diet includes all of the edible food groups to which we have access. Veganism is not balanced (by definition), just as only eating meat and nothing else would also be unbalanced (but healthier for a nursing mother).

    I can see how Vegetarianism, could, in certain circumstances be compatible with raising normal children (my breast-fed baby now has to drink soy milk because she’s allergic to cow’s milk, but damn does she eat some eggs, fish, and meat to make up for it), but Veganism imposed on a fetus and a baby is, unlike second-hand smoke or too much TV, an easily proven harm which is long-lasting and in many cases irreversible (mental retardation or other developmental disorders).

    Screw finding a vegan society; name a society that died out from eating a wide variety of meat, grains and vegetables and I’ll buy you a lifetime supply of tofurkey.

  103. John (and now Jimbo),

    Truly impressed with your know-it-all attitude despite the lack of any information or knowledge.

    A quick google scholar search will show you that there is not a lot of research on the topic, but what exists supports the idea that a well planned vegan diet is no problem. Jennifer Emerick gets it about right as far as the science stands right now. More study would be a good ideas, but there seems to be no need for alarm on the issue.

    Here is a quick link

    http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/home_9812_ENU_HTML.htm

    “If you’re a vegan and breast-feeding, make sure you eat sources of linolenic acid, such as ground flaxseed, canola or soy oil, to help increase the linolenic acid in your breast milk.”

    “If you’re a vegan, you may need a vitamin D supplement, especially if your exposure to sunlight is limited.”

  104. A very large percentage of Hindus and almost all Jains (another religious community) are what we in India call “strict vegetarians”. This means no meat, no eggs, and in some cases no root vegetables (on the premise that harvesting potatoes is cruel to worms or something). They do manage to raise healthy kids on this diet for the most part. Oh, and they are not vegans: milk forms an important part of the diet. What exactly did you think we worshipped cows for? The moo?

  105. They were poor, black, and, in all likelihood, not very educated.

    I just found the article in the New York Times (address below). The baby weighed only 3.5 pounds when he died at the age of six weeks. You don’t have to be a wealthy college-grad genius to figure out that babies are supposed to gain weight in the weeks after birth, not lose it.

    Nice quotes from the story:

    I was once a vegan. But well before I became pregnant, I concluded that a vegan pregnancy was irresponsible. You cannot create and nourish a robust baby merely on foods from plants.

    Indigenous cuisines offer clues about what humans, naturally omnivorous, need to survive, reproduce and grow: traditional vegetarian diets, as in India, invariably include dairy and eggs for complete protein, essential fats and vitamins. There are no vegan societies for a simple reason: a vegan diet is not adequate in the long run.

    Protein deficiency is one danger of a vegan diet for babies. Nutritionists used to speak of proteins as “first class” (from meat, fish, eggs and milk) and “second class” (from plants), but today this is considered denigrating to vegetarians.

    The fact remains, though, that humans prefer animal proteins and fats to cereals and tubers, because they contain all the essential amino acids needed for life in the right ratio. This is not true of plant proteins, which are inferior in quantity and quality – even soy…

    Yet even a breast-fed baby is at risk. Studies show that vegan breast milk lacks enough docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, the omega-3 fat found in fatty fish. It is difficult to overstate the importance of DHA, vital as it is for eye and brain development.

    A vegan diet is equally dangerous for weaned babies and toddlers, who need plenty of protein and calcium. Too often, vegans turn to soy, which actually inhibits growth and reduces absorption of protein and minerals. That’s why health officials in Britain, Canada and other countries express caution about soy for babies. (Not here, though – perhaps because our farm policy is so soy-friendly.) …

    An adult who was well-nourished in utero and in infancy may choose to get by on a vegan diet, but babies are built from protein, calcium, cholesterol and fish oil. Children fed only plants will not get the precious things they need to live and grow.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/21/opinion/21planck.html?ex=1180929600&en=cc8c58a9f4f2814f&ei=5070

  106. Jennifer,

    For one who argues against the harm caused by tobacco (harm which is very well documented), I find it strange that you would jump on the band wagon here…

    The truth of the matter is that there has been some study of the issue, but not much. Concerns that exist with a vegan diet appear to be easily addressed. At this point there is reason to say that a vegan mom needs to be well informed, have good prenatal care, and monitor her own and her infants nutrition more carefully than she would when not pregnant/breast feeding. All that advice is true to omnivores as well.

    Here are some abstracts. I picked all that I could find that looked at outcomes for the children in anything approaching a reasonable group design. All the articles documenting negative effects I could find involved case studies or communities where malnutrition was an issue due to poverty.

    Am J Clin Nutr. 1988 Sep;48(3 Suppl):822-5. Related Articles, Links

    Growth and development of British vegan children.

    Sanders TA.

    Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, King’s College, University of London, UK.

    The growth and development of children born of vegan mothers and reared on a vegan diet has been studied longitudinally: All of the children were breast-fed for the first 6 mo of life and in most cases well into the second year of life. The majority of children grew and developed normally but they did tend to be smaller in stature and lighter in weight than standards for the general population. Energy, calcium, and vitamin D intakes were usually below the recommended amounts. Their diets, however, were generally adequate but a few children had low intakes of riboflavin and vitamin B-12. Most parents were aware of the need to supplement the diet with vitamin B-12. It is concluded that provided sufficient care is taken, a vegan diet can support normal growth and development.

    J Am Diet Assoc. 2001 Jun;101(6):661-9. Related Articles, Links

    Considerations in planning vegan diets: children.

    Messina V, Mangels AR.

    Nutrition Matters, Inc, 1543 Lincoln St, Port Townsend, WA 98368, USA.

    This article reviews research on the growth and nutrient intake of vegan children and provides guidelines for counselling parents of vegan children. Although diets of vegan children meet or exceed recommendations for most nutrients, and vegan children have higher intakes of fiber and lower intakes of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than omnivore children, some studies indicate that they may be low in calcium. In addition, bioavailability of zinc and iron from plant foods can be low. Protein needs are slightly higher for vegan children but are easily met with a varied diet that provides adequate energy. Special attention should be given to dietary practices that enhance absorption of zinc and iron from plant foods. Further, good sources of the omega-3 fatty acid linolenic acid should be emphasized to enhance synthesis of the long-chain fatty acid docosahexanoic acid. Dietetics professionals who counsel vegan families should help parents identify good sources of vitamin B-12, riboflavin, zinc, calcium and, if sun exposure is not adequate, vitamin D. This should not be problematic, due to the growing number and availability of fortified vegan foods that can help children meet all nutrient needs. Therefore, with appropriate food choices, vegan diets can be adequate for children at all ages.

    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 59, 1176S-1181S, Copyright ? 1994 by The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Inc

    REVIEW ARTICLES
    Vegetarian diets and children

    TA Sanders and S Reddy
    Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Kings College, University of London, England.

    The diets and growth of children reared on vegetarian diets are reviewed. Excessive bulk combined with low energy density can be a problem for children aged < or = 5 y and can lead to imparied growth. Diets that have a high content of phytate and other modifiers of mineral absorption are associated with an increased prevalence of rickets and iron-deficiency anemia. Vitamin B-12 deficiency is a real hazard in unsupplemented or unfortified vegan and vegetarian diets. It is suggested that vegans and vegetarians should use oils with a low ratio of linoleic to linolenic acid in view of the recently recognized role of docosahexaenoic acid in visual functioning. If known pitfalls are avoided, the growth and development of children reared on both vegan and vegetarian diets appears normal.

  107. See a doctor, your regular shrink doesn’t have your BDS under control!

    Sure. Enough Prozac and I won’t care anymore about the trashing of our right of habeas corpus.

  108. Take PETA out of the loop, put a low carbon tax on food/consumables, and then vegetarians, or anyone else, will in effect get a tax break when they purchase products that have a lower environmental impact profile.

  109. The FDA has just announced that the tomato is no longer a vegetable, but a meat. But that only applies to school lunch programs. Ketchup remains a mystery food group.

  110. I see value in this but am skeptical of the certification process. just tax beef.

  111. Strange no one’s really brought up the ethical concern that turns most people vegetarian: it’s the suffering, stupid! Since we have no reason to believe non-human animals can’t suffer pain as human beings do, we need to take account of their interests in our decisions. It’s not so much about the absolute purity of the vegan diet but about reducing suffering. And you can do that (with no risk to health or happiness) with a creative vegetarian diet. I was brought up vegetarian — lots of milk and pulses (occasionally eggs) for protein — and remain so. May I assure you my physical and mental development haven’t been irreparably hampered. Or those of my hulky vegetarian friends. And the pretty obvious empirical data pointing to lower CO2 emissions as a result of a vegeterian diet should convince the environmentalists that it’s the only way to go really. Google Peter Singer (he’s not really a crank, if you actually listen to what he says).

  112. To the above:

    1) You’ve overstated it. There are reasons to believe non-human animals can’t suffer pain quite the same way humans do, but there is good evidence that the ones with brains at least do experience it in a meaningful way.

    2) No risk to happiness? Come one.

    In general:

    Duh, carbon tax.

  113. Roy —

    Could you elaborate on these reasons that animals don’t feel pain (or at least not the way humans do)? I read this theory previously, but had been under the impression it was dispensed with at some point during the 17th century. Help would be appreciated.

    Also, to those citing Nina Planck’s NY Times story as something worthy of more than total derision, please note that she is not a nutritionist, or anything remotely similar. She is a consultant to various “farmer’s” groups, and the author of a book, due out in paperback shortly (!), that champions what she calls “traditional” foods (including advice on how to get “more lard” into your diet).

    Cheers to the Jennifer Emerick, Neu Mejican, and the other reasonable voices on here. (While I’m at it — Nakul: thanks for bringing up the ethical dimension, but I’d vote for Gary Francione over Singer. The fundamental issue is not an animal’s ability to feel pain, but his or her status as property. Though I doubt too many will want that challenged here, given the libertarian fetishization of “property” as such.)

  114. Also, Roy — You are correct on (2), as well. My transition to veganism was accompanied by a noticeable increase in happiness.

  115. May I assure you my physical and mental development haven’t been irreparably hampered. Or those of my hulky vegetarian friends. And the pretty obvious empirical data pointing to lower CO2 emissions as a result of a vegeterian diet should convince the environmentalists that it’s the only way to go really. Google Peter Singer (he’s not really a crank, if you actually listen to what he says).

    I can’t speak to the state of your physical development, but if you think Peter Singer is anything more nor less than a sociopathically, immoral monster, there certainly has to be some concern about your mental development. Sheesh!

  116. For one who argues against the harm caused by tobacco (harm which is very well documented), I find it strange that you would jump on the band wagon here…

    I, for one, oppose allowing infants to smoke, too.

    I wrote about the vegan infant death at my own blog (and linked to same in my first comment above), but quibbling over whether it is possible to raise an infant as a strict vegan or as a vegetarian misses the whole point. If it can be done, fine. But whenever there is any clear evidence that such a diet is not working – and an infant losing weight from birth easily counts as sufficient evidence – then putting ideology over the health of one’s child is simply criminal.

    Again, what adults want to do to their bodies is jake with me. What they do or permit to be done to their children is another matter entirely.

  117. “But whenever there is any clear evidence that such a diet is not working – and an infant losing weight from birth easily counts as sufficient evidence – then putting ideology over the health of one’s child is simply criminal.”

    When you wrote about this on your blog, did you include the bits about the prosecutor arguing that the case was *not* about veganism, but about a baby dying from malnutrition and two irresponsible parents hiding behind false claims of veganism?

    And, just for the sake of argument, if an infant died from complications related to obesity, and it was later revealed that the parents fed the child nothing but pureed McDonald’s day in and day out, would you support a murder charge?

  118. Um, there’s a far simpler solution: get rid of agricultural subsidies, and return the difference to the taxpayer in the form of reduced taxes. The price of grains and vegetables will rise only slightly, while the price of meat will rise considerably. Everyone pays for exactly what they’re buying in the end, and vegans, vegetarians, and libertarians alike will all be happy.

  119. I just re-read Brendan O’Neill’s article on the fur industry and its opponents. I think that his concluding paragraphs which he uses to justify killing animals for their fur (as if seems to be doing them some sort of favor) is just a weeee bit of reaching on his part.

  120. ludderite:

    I didn’t. Do you think I should have?

    We don’t have all the facts of that case or of the others the NYT column mentioned, but whatever either the prosecution or the defense argued isn’t relevant to my concern.

    I understand how a vegan might well want to defend the safety of a vegan diet (including breast feeding or whatever substitute veganism permits) for infants by noting the parents in this case were lying. But much as I find veganism preposterous, that still isn’t the point. Let’s say for 99.99% of infants a properly monitored vegan diet will work. For those .01% of cases where it clearly isn’t working for whatever reason, sticking to the diet is morally criminal. Feed the kid a damned hamburger if that’s what that particular child needs to thrive.

    As for the actual criminal law, and as a commenter pointed out to me, I think negligent homicide would have been the better charge in the actual case as reported and in your hypothetical.

  121. DA R.

    “I, for one, oppose allowing infants to smoke, too.”

    I was, of course, talking about prenatal exposure;^)

    But joking aside, I am certain you don’t support sanctions against the mother for smoking while pregnant, right?

    Even in matters where there is a clear path to harm (say drinking while pregnant), I think the idea of the state making decisions about how parents should raise their children (“allowed”) is one that needs very careful consideration. It is always better to provide the information about risk to the parents and let them make the decision. Force is not helpful.

    Abuse/neglect are real problems that need vigorous investigation, but it important not to define abuse/neglect too broadly.

  122. Smartass Sob–
    And which books of Singer’s have you read? Which premises of his do you reject?

    In my experience, most people who dismiss Singer do so because of a simple distaste for his conclusions, not because of any familiarity with the arguments he uses to get there or the responses he has received from his fellow academics. Anyway, if Singer is too radical for you, here’s Robert Nozick. I’m not going to quote from it because any excerpt won’t do the whole argument justice so, as they say on the internets, read the whole thing.

    http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/nozick01.htm

    “For those .01% of cases where it clearly isn’t working for whatever reason, sticking to the diet is morally criminal. Feed the kid a damned hamburger if that’s what that particular child needs to thrive.”

    Agreed. Singer, along with most vegans and vegetarians, doesn’t have a problem with the consumption of animals when there’s no other way to survive. (The same exception applies to groups of people who live in very isolated areas where severe climates make the development of a sophisticated agriculture impossible.)

  123. New Mejican, I agree entirely.

    Ashish George, you didn’t ask me, but I think Singer is a moral abomination, too, and have read some of his academic as well as popular work. I disagree with his notion of animal “interests” as an illegitimate and question begging method of importing moral significance to the otherwise morally neutral fact that animals can experience pain and, loosely defined, suffering; I object to his ruthless utilitarianism which would, were the numbers to crunch the right way, lead him to hold that torturing infants would be the morally preferable course of action if it increased overall happiness; I object to his complete dismissal of the pre-reflective moral sentiments and judgments of ordinary people; and I disagree with or at least question his implicit (I’ve never read him address the question specifically) noncognitivism. I have a simple distaste for many of his conclusions, too, but that’s another matter.

  124. They may be vegitarians but they are not “Vegan”. They eat some meat products like sour milk or butter. You could probably live on a no meat diet, but not on vegitarian diet, especially if you are a child.

    I’ve been doing it for the last oh… 7 years. I haven’t keeled over dead. I know people that have been doing it for the last 30+ years that are just fine. I think you should research your talking points John, before talking out your rear-end.

  125. Um… Jimbo???

    You are obtuse and evil. True VEGANism (no animal proteins) is incompatible with raising a normal child through infancy. It is also immoral to even try. Human beings, as you may have noticed from our biology and millions of years of history, are OMNIVORES. This means that a balanced diet includes all of the edible food groups to which we have access. Veganism is not balanced (by definition), just as only eating meat and nothing else would also be unbalanced (but healthier for a nursing mother).

    Have you looked at a dog’s teeth, or a bear’s teeth? THOSE are TRUELY omnivorous animals. Do they look like OUR teeth??? Nope.

    I can see how Vegetarianism, could, in certain circumstances be compatible with raising normal children (my breast-fed baby now has to drink soy milk because she’s allergic to cow’s milk,

    Imagine that… humans… allergic to milk — milk that’s intended to feed a baby cow. *shocking*

    but damn does she eat some eggs, fish, and meat to make up for it), but Veganism imposed on a fetus and a baby is, unlike second-hand smoke or too much TV, an easily proven harm which is long-lasting and in many cases irreversible (mental retardation or other developmental disorders).

    You should try telling that to the many vegan parents that have successfully raised vegan children. I know quite a few, PERSONALLY. I know quite a few vegan children, who are incredibly BRIGHT children.

    And you received your nutritionist degree from where? Have you read the SCIENTIFIC studies that state that veganism is suitable for all stages of life, including post-breastfeeding? Go ahead and keep ignoring the studies done by the American Dietetic Association, as well as the Canadian counterpart… or perhaps you’d just like to read it HERE:

    http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/advocacy_933_ENU_HTML.htm

    And you’re calling people evil because they’re informed?

  126. Steve C,

    It’s all and good to slam Jimbo, but I got to call you on this one…

    “Have you looked at a dog’s teeth, or a bear’s teeth? THOSE are TRUELY omnivorous animals. Do they look like OUR teeth??? Nope.”

    Actually, a dog’s teeth indicate that they are carnivores (bear’s are much more omnivorous, but clearly have the teeth of a predator).

    Human teeth are clearly the teeth of an omnivore and humans and chimpanzee (our closest cousins) are clearly omnivorous animals. This is why we can choose to be vegan if we desire, we are omnivores with flexibility in diet built right in…

    Here is a reading for you.
    http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/omni.htm

    This one has pictures
    http://www.shropshirebadgergroup.co.uk/page10.html

  127. A nicely balanced look at the issues with a significant amount of detail…

    http://www.beyondveg.com/billings-t/comp-anat/comp-anat-1a.shtml

    “Readers should be aware that this writer is a long-time vegetarian (since 1970).”

    “Intended audience. This paper is written for both the conventional and raw veg*n communities. In particular, some of the information here contradicts and discredits the claims of certain extremists, many (but not all) of whom are raw fruitarians. If you are part of the large majority of conventional veg*ns who in fact are not extremists, then I hope that the references made herein to fruitarian extremists will be educational. They provide what I hope you will find to be interesting insights into the strange crank-science claims and phony naturalistic philosophy that, unfortunately, are often a part of the basis for vegan fruitarianism. Also, quite a number of the claims are often utilized as underpinnings for conventional veganism itself, at least for those who are more extreme in their thinking about it; thus this information should be of interest to the wider vegetarian community as well.

    Also, as fruitarian extremists will be mentioned here, please note that some fruitarians are moderates and are not extremists. The fanaticism promoted by certain extremist fruitarians does not reflect the more moderate beliefs and practices of at least some mainstream fruitarians.”

  128. “Mainstream fruitarians”?

  129. Neu Mejican,

    You can “call me” on it if you want, but have you actually LOOKED at a bear’s teeth? They’re not like ours. Not by a long shot. They are true omnivorous animals. They can take down a kill with their TEETH and brute force, as well as eat the meat RAW without getting sick, (barring the occasional parasite, of course). Dogs have also been known to forage in the wild for vegetation as well as meat, and most dogs in the wild eat what’s left behind from other kills. They are opportunistic omnivores. It’s also why my dogs go crazy for carrots, watermelon, apple, etc., and have been known to eat peppers right off of the plants in my garden.

    Ignoring the fact that humans have to COOK our meat in order to eat it is one of the most ridiculously overlooked flaws when it comes to arguing that humans are omnivores.

    If our molars and side-to-side jaw movements (characteristic of herbivorous animals) don’t speak volumes, as well as our ridiculously small “canine” teeth, as well as our need to cook meat before we eat it, as well as the similarity in length of our digestive systems to that of herbivorous animals, as well as our alkaline saliva characteristic of herbivorous animals, as well as our lack of talons or claws, or just about EVERYTHING ELSE about us doesn’t speak VOLUMES about our intended diet, well, I’m not sure what else it should take to convince someone.

    Comparing us to our closest relatives does not MAKE us our closest relatives. We are not chimpanzees. We have physically evolved in a much different direction than chimpanzees, and our closest primate relatives. We have similarities, but we’re not the same.

    I invite you to look at a picture of the skull of a howler monkey, and tell me that our teeth look the same.
    http://www.glendale.cc.ca.us/skull/howler_monkey/left-front.htm

    Take a look at a bear skull as well:

    http://wdfw.wa.gov/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=5897

    You can “call me” on it if you wish, but the pictures speak for themselves.

  130. The anti-vegan and anti-vegetarian sentiment here seems to be so irrational and virulent that I’m surprised to find it among Reason readers.

    Also, anyone who thinks PETA really expected that vegetarians would get a tax break is delusional. They simply wanted the factoid that “vegetarians are better for the environment” to show up in media coverage, and it has.

  131. Steve C.,

    Did you read through the billings point by point debunking of each of your points?

    If you aren’t willing to look at the presented evidence, I can’t help you out.

    But I’ll still call you on it.

    “as well as our need to cook meat before we eat it”

    Carne Cruda, kibbe, carpaccio, kitfo, steak tartare anyone?

    More options,

    http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=652632005

  132. Neu Mejican,

    I did indeed read the articles. Did you perhaps read what I said about the physiological differences in the rest of our bodies as well?

    As far as Carne Cruda, kibbe, carpaccio, kitfo, steak tartare — there have been far more cases of food-related sicknesses and death from the consumption of these foods over say, a tomato. — indeed a clue.

    Your one article was particularly interesting, because it used a lot of speculation instead of fact with quotes such as “These indicate we COULD BE omnivores depending on diet, not taxonomic group.”

    Also giving weight to what I said about dogs was the quote: “Dogs (which are carnivores) have intestinal specializations more characteristic of omnivores than carnivores such as cats.”

    Dogs can be fed a vegan diet and thrive on it, because they are, indeed, omnivores. Cats are a much different story being total carnivores and requiring much higher levels of fats and taurine.

    I’m not going to debate with you whether or not humans are CAPABLE of consuming things that we shouldn’t. Sure we can shove anything we want into our mouths. It doesn’t mean that we’re physically DESIGNED for these type of things. All you need to do is to take a look at the westernized diet and high incidences of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, and there should be SOME clue as to the cost of our high-fat, high-meat, high cholesterol diets. — True omnivores don’t have to “discriminate” and take out the bad fats and cholesterols and modify their foods. They can eat it in it’s whole (festering and rotten, even) form — and remain healthy.

    I’m sure that the occasional insect slips into a cow’s grass while it’s grazing. Does that therefore make it an omnivore? Of course not. The insect won’t kill it, but the cow is certainly not designed to eat a diet totally composed of insects.

    If YOU personally feel inclined to go out into the wild, and take down a gazelle with your bare teeth, feel free. Personally, I think it would provide an excellent lesson on exactly what our bodies as well as our teeth AREN’T designed to do, but it’ll certainly be a lesson that may make you rethink the false notion that humans are “designed to eat meat”.

  133. so it’s not possible to live without meat, dairy, or eggs? then i must have been a zombie for the last 5 years of my life. no wonder people ignore me and i crave brains all day.

    steve c. is right, but who really cares what humans are ‘meant’ to do, or how ancient societies lived? aztecs supposedly sacrificed the losers of athletic competitions. should we as well? we are also not built to sit on our ass all day in front of a computer, but lord knows we do it anyway. perhaps in the past, mankind was not able to make it on a vegetarian diet. fine. but now, in most of the developed world, we are able obviously able to live on a completely plant based diet. enjoy.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12826028&dopt=Citation

    and thank you drs. jennifer and john for your contributions. but may i suggest you both duct tape your hands to your mouth so you can neither speak nor type the completely misinformed crap you have been issuing forth so far? it’s pretty apparent your knowledge of nutrition goes no farther than what the latest newspaper article has fed you with. 10 BILLION living, breathing, feeling, suffering animals are mercilessly slaughtered every year in the US as a result of meat eater’s desire for flesh, and you’re really not helping anything.

  134. Steve C,

    You are obviously an intelligent bloke, but you are rationalizing on this issue.

    The strongest argument against your claims come from the actual evidence that humans have included meat in their diet and been very successful hunters throughout most of human history.

    The paleologic evidence is pretty clear.

    If you want to ignore it, fine. As your wiser supporter Zombie points out, it isn’t important in making the case for a plant based diet.

    In fact, the use of flimsy pseudo science in your argument will lose you more converts than it gains. Stick to the facts and the moral case. No need to invoke what is “natural” for man. Man’s intelligence allows him to transcend his nature.

  135. And I got to call you on this one too Steve C..

    “If YOU personally feel inclined to go out into the wild, and take down a gazelle with your bare teeth, feel free. Personally, I think it would provide an excellent lesson on exactly what our bodies as well as our teeth AREN’T designed to do, but it’ll certainly be a lesson that may make you rethink the false notion that humans are “designed to eat meat”.

    Are you claiming that because humans use different methods of hunting than, say, a cheetah, that somehow that proves anything? Humans are quite successful killers. You can track the arrival of early humans in the fossil record by the reduction or even extinction of large prey species. They were not successful, however, by trying to kill a gazelle with their teeth.

    Humans main advantage over a gazelle, for instance, would be the same that a dog has. Slower, but better endurance (humans are unmatched in the overland endurance). Just keep the gazelle running until it is exhausted, then killing it is easy…we won’t even get into how early humans killed mammoth and other much tougher prey than gazelle.

  136. And Steve C…

    Just to be complete…

    “As far as Carne Cruda, kibbe, carpaccio, kitfo, steak tartare — there have been far more cases of food-related sicknesses and death from the consumption of these foods over say, a tomato. — indeed a clue.”

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that any raw food has the potential to be a disease vector, yes… even the lowly tomato.

    It is not the meat or the tomato that makes you sick… it is the nasty bug it carries…

  137. As a (non-proselytizing) vegetarian, I read this sort of stuff with the same incredulity as many of you omnivores. (shudder)

  138. Neu Mejican,

    Because I don’t feel the need to carry on ad nauseam (although the debate has been quite fun indeed), I’ll leave you with a couple of responses and just leave it at that.

    It is not the meat or the tomato that makes you sick… it is the nasty bug it carries…

    You are correct, HOWEVER, almost all of the cases of food poisoning, and foodborne illness is undeniably a result of animal contamination, whether directly contaminated (meat) or from cross-contamination (e. coli transferred to green onions from animal based fertilizer, etc.)

    Use this as an example; Take an apple and a steak, leave them out at room temperature for say, a couple of days, and figure out which one is going to make the human sick. It’s pretty obvious isn’t it? While the human gets sick from the steak, many omnivorous animals would consider it “just right”, even though it’s festering and borderline rotten.

    As far as arguing for our hunting skills, sure, I won’t deny that technology and ingenuity can help us to achieve anything that we want to do. We have managed to overcome our nature very well as you say, by eating meat all these years. My argument is simply that our physiology doesn’t match that of a true omnivore. We can prepare and eat what we wish, however, our bodies pay the price when we eat what we weren’t intended to. See my comments on diet-related disease above.

    As to what zombie has to say, I do agree. What does the paleologic evidence matter? After all, we’re able to grow and learn and evolve. There’s little doubt that animal based agriculture is a vile, cruel, needless industry, which slaughters BILLIONS yearly to satisfy a fleeting moment on our tastebuds. Absolutely! This is generally the approach that I use when talking to someone about veganism. I just couldn’t handle listening to everyone’s un-educated ranting on this page and the constant quotes of “WE’RE OMNIVORES, WE NEED MEAT” anymore without putting my $0.02 in.

    As for pseudo-science, there’s a lot of argument that goes both ways as to our true nature. I’ll leave it at that, however having been a long-time vegan and seeing the changes in my body first-hand, there’s little room for me to deny to myself just what my body was designed to consume.

  139. Steve C.

    my last reply…

    “See my comments on diet-related disease above.”

    These support a reduced proportion of calories from meat, but do not support the idea that meat is somehow an unnatural/improper item to include in a diet.

    You say that our physiology doesn’t match that of a true omnivore. My point, and one that I think is well supported by the science, is that the classifications “omnivore” or “herbivore” are designed to classify animals according to behavioral traits.

    Any physiological trait that is found in an omnivore is consistent with omnivores, because the classification is one of behavior not physiology. Hominid behavior places them squarely in the omnivore category for at least the last 2.5 million years, so any attempt to describe omnivore physiology would need to include the physiological traits of hominids.

    This, I believe, is the error in reasoning you are making.

  140. OK, I couldn’t resist. I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment, or a sucker for getting the last word in, either way…

    Any physiological trait that is found in an omnivore is consistent with omnivores, because the classification is one of behavior not physiology. Hominid behavior places them squarely in the omnivore category for at least the last 2.5 million years, so any attempt to describe omnivore physiology would need to include the physiological traits of hominids.

    Ok, now I’m going to go out on a limb another time and say this; By your definition, if a house cat (which is scientifically categorized as a total carnivore) is somehow compelled to eat spaghetti off of my plate (which I’ve had happen) does that therefore make it an omnivore because of the behavior that it exhibited by eating spaghetti, a non-meat item?

    I think we both know the answer.

    Denying the physical trait commonalities between total carnivores, omnivores, and total herbivores is pseudo-science as well, and it doesn’t work to explain anything except for learned behavior. Physical characteristics speak every bit as loudly, if not more so, and denying them is a grave mistake.

    Ironically, it’s also one of the first-resorted to arguments from omnivores who say that “we have canine teeth to eat meat” in error.

    As far as the error in the reasoning that I am making, you are right, if we are under the premise that categorization is based solely on behavior, however we both know that behavior doesn’t necessarily dictate what is “natural”, and therefore is flawed. My argument is that physiology and physiological similarities among carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores should not be discarded as a means to determine classification, as we both know that behavior is not always consistent with physiology.

    It’s been fun!!! I’d shake your hand and buy you a beer if I could, Neu Mejican!

    Ciao!

  141. Last word indeed…

    “By your definition, if a house cat”

    “a” house cat tells you nothing about how the species is classified. Taxonomy depends upon trends not individual cases.

    “to explain anything except for learned behavior”

    to keep with cats. Cats have to learn from other cats that they should eat things that they kill (which is an instinctual behavior), does this mean that they are not natural carnivores?

    The error in logic is to try and fit a causal arrow into a correlation between trends in physiology and trends in behavior.

    “behavior doesn’t necessarily dictate what is “natural”, and therefore is flawed.”

    But behavioral trends across large groups of individuals is how behavioral categories are determined. If you are trying to figure out what “natural” behavior is, then behavioral observation is your only tool. Physiological traits are orthogonal to the question of what “natural behavior” is exhibited by a species.

    Environmental/contextual factors determine the challenges that a particular animal’s behavioral/physiological mechanism must rise to meet. Either system can fail the animal. Humans highly adaptable behavior and physiology have allowed us to thrive in all environments we have attempted to inhabit. We “naturally” have a wide range of behavioral and physiological mechanisms (flexible physiology paired with flexible behavior). Our physiological ability to exploit the high energy food stuff our behaviors (including hunting) provided us with as a species helped to shape our evolution. Those individuals that had physiologies that allowed them to exploit the widest range of foods provided by their behavioral tool kit survived in greater numbers. And both the behavioral and physiological tools were passed on. How this can be construed as unnatural is beyond me.

    You use the word “designed” a lot in your presentation of your position. I am not sure how it can be properly applied to the topic. Evolution doesn’t provide for designs with built in requirements for use. The design either meets the environmental challenge or not (and that is always a pairing of behavior and physiology. Neither is primary in the relationship).

    “I’d shake your hand and buy you a beer if I could…”

    Given that alcohol is highly toxic to our physiology, wouldn’t that be a maladaptive behavior?

    ;^)

  142. Turducken is murducken.

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