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Free Minds & Free Markets

Debate: Libertarians Should Be Vegetarians

Do animals have rights that humans must respect?

AFFIRMATIVE:
I'm a Vegetarian and You Should Be, Too

Michael Huemer

Worldwide each year, human beings torture and kill approximately 56 billion animals for our gastronomic pleasure. Two years of factory farming slaughters more animals than the total number of human beings who have ever existed on the earth.

I believe meat consumption is, in almost all actual cases, morally wrong. My basic reasoning is simple and obvious: (1) pain and suffering in itself is generally bad; (2) it is wrong to cause an enormous amount of bad for the sake of relatively minor benefits for oneself; (3) human meat consumption causes enormous pain and suffering for the sake of relatively minor benefits for us; therefore, (4) human meat consumption is, on the face of it, wrong. This strikes me as about as difficult as the case against torturing babies.

Why do I say only that it's wrong in "almost" all cases? Well, there are exceptions. If you must eat meat to survive, that will typically outweigh the prima facie wrongness of eating meat. I will not try to catalog all the possible reasons sufficient to justify meat consumption. In the overwhelming majority of actual cases, meat eaters do not have any reasons that could plausibly be claimed to justify the pain and suffering caused by their practice.

The moral premises of the argument are (1) and (2) above. I believe them for the same reason that I believe it is wrong to attack people, wrong to steal, right to keep promises, and so on: These things seem obvious on their face. Usually, a reasonable starting point is simple propositions that seem obvious on their face, provided we have no specific grounds for doubting them. If we can't assume (1) and (2), then I don't know why we should assume any moral proposition is true. I'm not asking you to accept some grand philosophical theory. I'm just asking you to agree that we shouldn't cause enormous pain and suffering for trivial reasons.

The most common objection meat eaters give when confronted with this sort of argument is that because animals lack intelligence (or the faculty of reason, or moral agency, or something similar), they also lack rights, or their interests do not matter.

I don't know what the basis for rights is, and—almost certainly—neither do you. There are many theories of rights in the ethics literature that have about the same level of vague plausibility but have different implications for who has and doesn't have rights. I accept rights because the idea seems to account for such things as why one may not kill a healthy patient in order to distribute his organs to five other patients who need transplants, why one may not frame an innocent person in order to prevent riots, and so on. But that doesn't tell me whether and which animals might have them.

Whatever the situation may be as regards "rights," however, and whether or not there even are such things, I do know that one should not cause vast pain and suffering for trivial reasons. Nothing about human intelligence explains why it would be acceptable to do that. Being capable of carrying out complex deductions, or grasping abstract objects, or regulating one's behavior according to normative beliefs, does not somehow change that underlying truth.

That is the core point; everything else is a distraction.

Yet while few people explicitly favor animal cruelty, few are prepared to change their own diets. One reason is that most people don't take time to reflect on moral principles. Another is that most fall prey to "status quo bias," which causes us to instinctively reject any radical criticism of current practices. Status quo bias is why many refuse to take seriously the arguments I make on such topics as vegetarianism, open borders, government regulation, and anarchism.

One might hope that libertarians would be more receptive to vegetarianism, since we tend to reflect on moral principles in a way free from status quo bias. Unfortunately, we libertarians are subject to other biases. Most of us have some discomfort with the political left, and animal welfare is seen as a "left-wing" cause. In addition, we tend to be relatively low in empathy even for our fellow human beings, and empathy for other species is more difficult than empathy for one's own.

Despite these stumbling blocks, libertarians should choose vegetarianism. Almost all meat comes from factory farms. No one who looks at the practices of such farms disagrees that they are extremely inhumane. They would be uncontroversially labelled "torture" if any person were subjected to them.

In view of the vast numbers of animals involved, this could be the greatest problem in the world today even if human welfare is thousands of times more important than animal welfare. Yet whether or not it is literally the worst, it is hard to see how factory farming could fail to be an extremely serious problem. Those of us who are disposed to act from moral principle should take a stand here and stop going along with the status quo.

NEGATIVE:
Don't Prioritize the Well-Being of Animals Over Humans

Daniel J. D'Amico

Libertarians shouldn't be vegetarians.

Adhering to religious dietary customs is totally legitimate, perhaps even admirable, behavior. Thus, when I say "vegetarians," I don't mean Catholics during Lent, Jews avoiding pork, Muslims keeping to halal, and so on. I'm instead referring to that newly popular category of secular killjoys who avoid meat because of their moral beliefs about animal rights. I include all forms of non-meat eating under this broad umbrella term. For my purposes, if you only eat fish, you're a vegetarian. If you're a vegan who also abstains from eggs and dairy, you're a vegetarian.

@julochka@julochkaVegetarians prioritize the well-being of animals over people, and there is nothing moral about that. How many baby seals would you club to death to save the life of a human child? Presume, for argument's sake, a lifeboat scenario where this is a real trade-off. I think the right answer is "all of them."

Most people don't want to club baby seals, and many would find it deeply unpleasant. But even they would likely concede that a human child is more valuable. In my mind, this calculus doesn't change if it's the first seal, the hundredth, or the thousandth. If you clubbed 99 seals only to then say, "That's my limit—I can't in good conscience do any more," from my perspective, a human baby is dead because of you. The point is simply that human well-being is vastly more important than animal well-being, and the vast majority of adults express this truism in their daily behaviors when they eat meat.

Here's where these debates get weird. Vegetarians will proclaim, "But that's how society used to think about slavery." Yes, but animals are not humans. Many species are intelligent, feel pain, and exhibit complex ranges of emotions, but these are not sufficient criteria for establishing or enforcing animal rights.

Humans can hold other people accountable for damage or harm done to animals they own, which is to say that animals can "borrow" human rights. But animals do not have the capacity to possess rights themselves. That is why the slavery analogy breaks down. Even the most oppressed slave was capable of living in human society as a moral and political equal. Pigs, chickens, and cows cannot do that, because nonhuman animals are incapable of learning, abiding by, and being held accountable to human laws. Rights are more than just the outgrowth of moral populism.

The abolitionists were acting on moral concerns, but their activism was reinforced by the practical reality that slaves were human beings with full potential to contribute as free members of society. Economic growth increased after enslaved people were freed. Emancipation improved the well-being not only of the former slaves but of humanity as a whole, which has subsequently enjoyed the benefits that spill over from generalized material progress. That's why political equality across race and gender lines has thankfully endured, reaching far beyond the realms inhabited by moral activists.

In contrast, to liberate livestock from agriculture would not just impose a loss of human welfare—it would all but devastate the populations of domesticated species, which rely on humans for their survival and certainly cannot contribute to society on their own. If factory farming is analogous to slavery, to advocate for vegetarianism is to advocate for genocide.

OK, but shouldn't people at least choose products that involve less suffering? In fact, prices are remarkable conduits of information. When producers utilize a certain method of bringing goods to market, it is because they've concluded that, given consumer preferences, there is no better use for the resources at their disposal. Conscientious consumer movements proclaim to know better, yet real people continue to show via their dollars that they highly value access to meat.

Technological developments are great, but there's no free lunch. Lab-grown meat, like traditional meat, relies upon a complex division of labor: Miners must still extract materials to make the needed tools, truck drivers must still make the alternative deliveries, etc. And importantly, your decision to buy fake meat, or none at all, does virtually nothing to reduce animal suffering. When vegetarians act collectively as part of a consumer movement, they shift demand for traditional meat inward (in economist's parlance) thus reducing the price for others. Poor people probably appreciate this, as it affords them the opportunity to buy more of it.

Even if animal welfare is less important than human welfare, you might think, factory farming is really icky. My response is: Compared to what? What's literally inhumane (in the sense of "not done by humans") is eating animals alive—a practice most other carnivorous animals engage in, and which nearly all species of prey are subjected to in their natural habitats.

Factory farms aren't designed to maximize suffering. They, like all production chains, are emergent outcomes that look to maximize productivity within the constraints of prices, technological capacities, and consumer wishes. Might some aspects of the process be unpleasant to view from a privileged vantage? Of course, but producers are better informed and better incentivized to know how the system can be improved upon than are vegetarian activists.

Live free, eat meat.

Photo Credit: bergamont/iStock

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  • Steve808||

    LOL. Are you guys sure you haven't gone full blown regressive at the magazine? Eating meat or not does not define you as a libertarian. It is your choice to eat meat. Doesn't make you anymore libertarian if you are a vegan. LOL. This is horse shit.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    The only problem I have is with the "...and you should be too" AND "Libertarians shouldn't be..."

    These guys are each free to make their own choices. But if they want to impose their choice on others, that's not libertarian anymore." I get it that "should" is just a moral argument, not a proposal to pass legislation, but in a statist society, one almost invariably leads to the other.

  • JFree||

    This 100%. The only 'should' that really does require libertarians to think about it is the extent to which something that we did not create is deemed not only our property but is now ONLY our property and must therefore be respected by others.

  • JFree||

    Basically property rights that are based on our actual creations are an extension of our self-ownership.

    Property rights that are based merely on our assertions of power over them are nothing but might makes right. The only reason why those need be respected is temporal and tactical not ethical. Otherwise, your property claim today is irrelevant the nanosecond that I have the power to take it from you. Unless of course you are one of them statist-libertarians who then claims that the state is 'created' (by who?) to protect your power-based property claim from all challengers.

    And yeah - property in animals, in food, in land all raise these questions

  • CGN||

    I disagree. If what you say is true, you have ZERO right to eat ANYTHING, animal, vegetable, etc. I am not sure how you think killing a cow, a non-human, non-ethical (that is, lacking any capacity for ethics) being is wrong based on your comments.

  • JFree||

    Our personal survival instinct is not based on our ethics. It long preceded them. If you are going to argue natural rights - then yeah the worms that eat us have the same natural right to eat us as we do to eat them. Whichever one gets there first - well, they win. The natural rights argument is at core a power-based argument.

    Honestly the only ethic in the world that deals with vegetarianism v eating meat is whatever ethic India uses for that. Since India probably accounts for 90% of the world's vegetarians. Everything else everywhere else is just showy talk and post-modern pretense. And I don't actually know what that ethic there really is apart from a very superficial hippie interpretation of maybe-Hinduism.

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Perhaps a better headline would have been something like, "Is Vegetarianism a Libertarian value?" Of course, that might not have gotten as many clicks...

  • Overt||

    I totally disagree. I would rather they do more of these articles- even if they are a bit obscure- rather than the 10th immigration bleat of the day.

  • damikesc||

    No shit. How can a libertarian site make any "libertarian" case for required vegetarianism?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    It's a debate. Debates are interesting.

  • PTSD||

    I agree. I'd much rather read this pair of essays than all the political drivel on the other pages, where the comment pages are populated by people who don't have the slightest idea of what libertarianism is.

    The prescriptive titles -- "should" -- are a problem, as many people have noted. I also think D'Amico's nod to religion at the beginning of his essay is completely idiotic. Why would dietary rules prescribed by groups of elite men who believe in fairy tales be "admirable"? Isn't this the kind of shit we've been fighting since the Enlightenment? Religious people -- at least those who take their religion seriously -- are delusional. Halal, kosher, lent -- these are all primitive customs invented by people who claim to communicate telepathically with ghosts.

    People are free to be religious, sure, but they should also be subjected to constant derision for their backward beliefs.

  • Gasman||

    vegitarian = eats vegetables
    pescatarian = eats fish
    libertarian = eats liberals?

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    I believe the correct response that that in modern parlance is l o l. That is totally say, your comment made me laugh (and the squirrels, too, apparently).

  • Gasman||

    vegitarian = eats vegetables
    pescatarian = eats fish
    libertarian = eats liberals?

  • Steve808||

    Oh and last I went hunting, I took down a buck with a shot to the neck. It bled to death... - BUT - it was delicious.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    You are a bad hunter. You are supposed to aim for the heart.

  • Angelique||

    You are not a good shooter. You have to kill it outright. Not let him run, if still wounded, and then have a hell of a time tracking it down.

  • Frank White||

    This has to be said: Humans evolved not only to eat meat, but BECAUSE we ate meat. Our brains couldn't have grown had our digestive systems remained plant processors. This is not a matter of opinion. Kleiber's law demands it.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    How we evolved has no bearing on whether or not we should be eating meat now.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Right, so go ahead and start feeding your cat a vegetarian diet. Just because it evolved to be a meat eater doesn't mean it should be eating meat right now.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I knew people who claimed to be "training" their cat to be a vegetarian by feeding it rice. The fact that it was still alive led me to believe it was getting its proper diet on its own.

  • Ron||

    If there is rice there will be mice. A new old farmers saying I just created. Your quite right the cat was probably eating the mice in the rice.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    We are omnivores, cats are hypercarnivores. Clearly my comment only applies to omnivores. But you already knew that. Or are you being obtuse?

  • BBerry12||

    Actually cats are classified as obligate carnivores because they biologically cannot synthesize necessary proteins from plants. Any vegetarian cat food has to be laced with chemicals to supply what plants cannot.

  • CGN||

    Great comment, Frank, and, unlike many here, a factual comment as well. For those who have not heard of Kleiblers' law : "For the vast majority of animals, an animal's metabolic rate scales to the ¾ power of the animal's mass."

  • iheartliberty||

    This is stupidest article I have ever read. Keep up the great work!

    Oh, and I did click on all the ads what showed up in the article....so, you're welcome.

  • Juggernaut||

    If your position is that animals don't have the capacity to possess rights then what's this talk later on about it being "inhumane" to eat an animal while it's still alive? People butcher animals while they're still alive in many situations and what are knives but better teeth. I'm sure the animal can't tell the difference between the knife and the tooth.

  • DiegoF||

    In which many situations do people butcher animals while they're still alive?

  • Shockerengr||

    Snapping turtle is often butchered that way

  • Mock-star||

    Fish and shellfish are also frequently butchered alive.

  • Ron||

    Asian countries will butcher their animals, mostly dogs and cats while alive because they think it makes the meat better. Its a cruel evil way to kill.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    The mistake here us to assume it's either full human rights, or no rights at all. But surely there is something in between. If you are opposed to animal cruelty, as I am sure most are, then you admit this.

  • Alcibiades||

    "Worldwide each year, human beings torture and kill approximately 56 billion animals for our gastronomic pleasure. Two years of factory farming slaughters more animals than the total number of human beings who have ever existed on the earth."

    Delicious too... don't forget that!

  • Widhalm19||

    As a cattle rancher in Colorado ad Wyoming - I favor the eating of delicious, red meat ... It's what's for supper! On-the-other-hand, vegetarians have every right to abstain from meat eating and the wearing of leather products. Ain't freedom grand?

  • DiegoF||

    Whatever happened to that ad campaign? I hate ag lobbies as much as the next guy but damned if that effort wasn't the background to my childhood--and still a damn good way to get this consumer's mouth watering.

  • perlchpr||

    Strangely enough, no one was happy with the result when I remixed bumper stickers from the "Beef: It's what's for dinner" campaign with the "Abortion: It stops a beating heart" campaign.

    Well, specifically, "Beef: It stops a beating heart" went over OK with the veggie crowd, but I got a lot of glares over "Abortion: It's what's for dinner".

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    As I've said on many occasions, I do not eat meat nor do I eat vegetables. Those who would kill and consume green life for their own pleasure are no better than filthy, godless animals. I subsist wholly on a bio-nutrient sludge of my own making.

  • Bubba Jones||

    100% recycled content.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I said that I said it before.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I couldn't tell whether the recycled content was your sludge or your shtick. BURN!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Fist subsists on his own recycled jokes.

  • Mickey Rat||

    So you are a perpetual motion machine?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    He only has perpetual movements... if you know what I mean.

  • Juggernaut||

    Humans should expect no mercy from the universe.

  • Eddy||

    There should be more debates, even on silly issues, involving people with some subject-matter knowledge who are master debaters.

    Get used to (a) the idea the mulitple perspectives exist and (b) the people with the wrong perspective nevertheless have arguments, so that if you're going to refute them, you have to read what they said first.

    How does a sports team get to be the winningest team in the league? By beating other teams.

    I'm sorry I used the word "team," but with a sports analogy it's less bad if I use the term.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    You are exactly right.

  • Overt||

    Yes exactly.

  • Brandybuck||

    Master debaters. We seem to be missing that on both sides of this silly debate article.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Animals have been killing and eating other animals for far longer than humans have ever existed on earth.

    And they continue to do so.

    Therefore there is nothing wrong with humans doing the same.

    Case closed.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    ^This.

    "Humans are special, so we know better than to eat meat like other animals do. Also, animals are just like humans and deserve respect."

    Paradoxical horseshit.

  • perlchpr||

    The closest answer I can come up with that the veggie folks will like is that humanity might have some sort of noblesse oblige to at least not be excessively cruel to animals for no reason, and to do our very best to not exterminate any more species now that we know that's a possibility.

    Also, I have a totally irrational protective instinct towards cetaceans. (But I recognize that and attempt to compensate for it.)

  • Ship of Theseus||

    Except eating one of the 1.5 billion cows on earth is not "excessively cruel" (needs defining that's not question begging), nor will it exterminate them.

  • BBerry12||

    Stopping the consumption of cows will go a long way towards exterminating them, however. The ranchers aren't going to raise them as a hobby.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Cetaceans! I support extending some rights to cetaceans, the great apes, and elephants.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    Why? What makes them so special?

    Don't question beg.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Brain size compared to body size, passing the mirror test, tool use, complex social interactions, death rituals, passing down of cultural knowledge to future generations, problem solving, expressions of empathy, recognition or reciprocity, etc.....

    Are these the only species that exhibit any of these traits? Are all these traits required? No. If you are asking for a clear cut dividing line, I don't have one. This is just my personal list. But you will not be able to find a clear dividing line between humans and animals either. Many were proposed, and all failed (with the possible exception of hierarchical symbolic language - which some people also lack).

    If this topic really interests you, I recommend this book.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Oh man that's on my list thank you for reminding me. In all the daily noise about political garbage I often find animals a huge comfort because they just DGAF, and never feel sorry for themselves, mind their own business and just get on with life. I want to recommend to you this book which is a very fascinating read if you like reading about smart animals, their relationship with humans, and ability to communicate across species etc.

  • Ron||

    I always get a kick out of people who make claims that all humans are terrible because they kill to eat meat and I always ask ever watch and animal eat another animal, they don't always kill their prey before ripping them apart while they eat them. At least most humans try to put their food down as quickly as possible.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Good article. I appreciate hearing both sides.

    From a consistent liberty point of view, I tend to agree with Prof. Huemer. I think where Prof. D'Amico errs is his implicit assumption that widespread vegetarianism would lead to a loss of human well being. I don't necessarily know if that is the case.

    Either way however I don't think this article is issuing a command one way or another, simply discussing the issue.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    It's interesting in that when I read through the argument against consuming meat, I'm really seeing corollaries to the pro-life debate on abortion (the author recognizes this as well). Ie... We don't really know when an entity is granted rights, we should err on the side of caution, we should try to limit needless suffering, etc.

    Abortion rights have been debated ad nauseum among libertarians. I think we've gotten to the point that we generally accept the premise that whether abortion is right or wrong is a question of individual morality. I think that applies pretty well here as well. It's anti-liberty to try to project your moral code onto others. I like that Huemer doesn't specifically do this, and instead appeals to reason. For the same reason that I believe it's up to a mother and her doctor to decide the best option in the one case, I think it has to be up to the individual in the other case. For the same reason that I don't think someone's position on abortion is a litmus test to their libertarian street cred, I don't think someone's position on eating meat should be either.

    Also... if I can't have bacon, beef, and lamb you might as well count me out of libertarianism.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Yes, Leo. I have been saying this for years. There are so many similarities between the pro-life movement and the animal rights movement. Their arguments often follow the same structure! And it is hilarious that they are on opposite sides of the political spectrum and hate each other!

    But yes, this is a morality issue to be decided by each individual. Keep the government out of this.

  • Harvard||

    Shooting the homeless then, is an individual moral decision. Interesting take.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Well of course it is. What else would it be?

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    It's what's for dinner!

  • Overt||

    I think that the problem is that Prof Huemer's entire moral premise is unworkable when taken to its natural conclusion.

    Indeed, many animals suffer and die for a carnivorous diet. But then, so do many millions of animals die for a vegetarian diet. Every farm is an animal habitat destroyed, a place where insects are killed with pesticide and small field animals and birds are killed during harvest time. And of course, every other aspect of a Vegetarian's life results in the slaughter of animals. From his duly elected government that kills in his name, and is repopulating murderous wolf populations in the midwest, to the bird killing windmills and solar plants that power his cell phone.

    Now a vegetarian for moral reasons may try to limit the suffering of animals, but unless he is living like a hermit in a cave (and even then) he is harming animals of some stripe for his pleasure and comfort.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    "But bugs don't count" - every idiot vegetarian I've ever spoken to.

  • perlchpr||

    Jains are at least consistent in this regard.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    I've never heard anyone say that. Is that a thing? I have known people to avoid the red things with the red beetle juice coloring which made sense to be. Cochineal?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    There is a difference between trying to reasonably minimize suffering and claiming all suffering must be eliminated. Your argument amounts to saying that we will never prevent all murders, so why bother trying to prevent any murders.

  • Overt||

    No the point is very specifically that the moral premise does not lead someone to be vegetarian. If your moral premise is to reduce animal harm as much as possible, then you need to:

    1) Live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

    or

    2) Eat free range meat.

    Option 1 is the least impactful- mostly because nature will ultimately roll over you. But if you are unwilling to forgo your worldly possessions, then eating free range meat generally results in the death of one cow. Whereas reliance on cereal grains results in the death of many insects and field animals for the same number of calories.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Eating free range meat is less impactful than being a hunter-gatherer. A hunter-gatherer needs much more acreage to support him or herself, simply because natural ecosystems are not as productive for human caloric needs as cultivated ones.

  • Angelique||

    Actually, vegetarianism - or switching to a more vegetable based diet can have good consequences for humans.

    Do you realize that those animals we slaughter do eat?

    They eat graubn which is thus diverted from human consumption. I once saw a graph of how many pounds of grain does it take to get a pound of meat. Most inefficient.

    In the old system, cows fed on grass and digested cellulose (which we cannot), pigs ate anything that was discarded, or foraged for acorns, and chickens scratched to get the worms or whatever,That did make sense.

    A lady who worked on nutrition in Malaw explained that meat was VERY expensive, and even eggs were out of the question. The women she worked with hada vegan diet, based on soybean and millet.

    In Nigeria they a popular fast food is based on tofu, which the Nigerians adopted because it was affordable.

    As for factory farming - the "efficiencies" they claim are flawed. Check this article on sow mortality in factory farming

  • Angelique||

    Actually, vegetarianism - or switching to a more vegetable based diet can have good consequences for humans.

    Do you realize that those animals we slaughter do eat?

    They eat graubn which is thus diverted from human consumption. I once saw a graph of how many pounds of grain does it take to get a pound of meat. Most inefficient.

    In the old system, cows fed on grass and digested cellulose (which we cannot), pigs ate anything that was discarded, or foraged for acorns, and chickens scratched to get the worms or whatever,That did make sense.

    A lady who worked on nutrition in Malaw explained that meat was VERY expensive, and even eggs were out of the question. The women she worked with hada vegan diet, based on soybean and millet.

    In Nigeria they a popular fast food is based on tofu, which the Nigerians adopted because it was affordable.

    As for factory farming - the "efficiencies" they claim are flawed. Check this article on sow mortality in factory farming

  • Angelique||

    Actually, vegetarianism - or switching to a more vegetable based diet can have good consequences for humans.

    Do you realize that those animals we slaughter do eat?

    They eat grain which is thus diverted from human consumption. I once saw a graph of how many pounds of grain does it take to get a pound of meat. Most inefficient.

    In the old system, cows fed on grass and digested cellulose (which we cannot), pigs ate anything that was discarded, or foraged for acorns, and chickens scratched to get the worms or whatever,That did make sense.

    A lady who worked on nutrition in Malaw explained that meat was VERY expensive, and even eggs were out of the question. The women she worked with hada vegan diet, based on soybean and millet.

    In Nigeria they a popular fast food is based on tofu, which the Nigerians adopted because it was affordable.

    As for factory farming - the "efficiencies" they claim are flawed. Check this article on sow mortality in factory farming

  • Angelique||

    Sorry, the comments do not take the link

    But he issue is that sows are dying in increasing number in factory farms

    Later on a farmer who raises pigs the old fashioned way says taht a neighbor that uses factory farm methods has to constantly dispose of dead hogs

    Here is the link. You may have to reconstruct it.

    https://
    civileats.com

    /2018/10/01/
    why-are-sows-in-

    factory-farms-

    dying-in-

    record-numbers/

  • Jerryskids||

    Animals are delicious but they still should be treated with respect. Not because the animals know the difference but because humans know the difference.

  • Bubba Jones||

    This is the best answer.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Yes.
    Animals have 'rights' only by derivation from the rights of the person(s) who own(s) them.
    As noted above, animals kill and eat other animals at a vastly greater scale than we could or have.

  • mtrueman||

    "animals kill and eat other animals at a vastly greater scale than we could or have"

    That accounts for the epidemic of animal obesity.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Jerryskids always has a thoughtful thing to say. Thanks, man. I enjoy your work.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Jerry's kids are smart. They must get it from their mother.

    *hi-hat snare combo*

  • Bubba Jones||

    Pro choice vegans.

    Lol.

  • DiegoF||

    Fun fact: Nozick advocated animal rights in Anarchy, State, and Utopia. I wasn't aware of any others who argued for them from a libertarian perspective. Learn something new every day.

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Telling other people what they can eat doesn't seem very libertarian...

  • Ben_||

    No. Keep your religion. We will choose for ourselves.

  • lap83||

    those carrots manage to be girly yet phallic at the same time

  • lap83||

    btw, The Pink Carrot is the name of my gay-friendly vegan piano bar

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Like a sexy strap-on.

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    Most people don't want to club baby seals, and many would find it deeply unpleasant. But even they would likely concede that a human child is more valuable.

    I hear many people express the exact opposite. Not necessarily from a vegetarian perspective, but very often from pet owners.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Usually from "dog parents" who aren't parents of humans.

  • StackOfCoins||

    It really depends on how adorable the child is, and his potential future worth.

    Put simply, I wouldn't drown a box of kittens to save the life of a murderer. And I wouldn't club baby seals for an ugly kid either.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "This strikes me as about as difficult as the case against torturing babies."

    Social liberals actually have some difficulty with that one.

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    it is wrong to cause an enormous amount of bad for the sake of relatively minor benefits for oneself

    His entire argument rests on this question begging.

  • perlchpr||

    Concur. The "amount of bad" isn't any worse than what the animal would suffer in the wild in most cases, and the "minor benefits" of eating steak are actually pretty goddamn significant to me.

  • AlgerHiss||

    Having about 20 years' experience with a close family member's decision to go vegetarian has left me with a strong hatred for the vegetarian and vegan crowd.

    The damage caused to this person's physical and mental health, and the daily pain in their relationships with others is indescribable.

    Funny how the demographics of veggie-vegan is usually educated, semi-wealthy to wealthy, white folks. You'll seldom find anyone in the trailer park or ghetto eating this garbage. (Don't start with the obese/food desert thing: You'll only embarrass yourself.)

    If you're looking to date/marry anyone, don't go near a veggie/vegan. You have no idea the pain and hurt this niche, trendy bullshit can cause.

  • Ron||

    vegetarians are normally the most authoritarian of people and would love to force others to be vegetarians if they could.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    May be that says as much about you as it does about your vegetarian family members? I've dated multiple vegetarians, and had vegetarian family members and friends. We respected each others' values and eating choices and it wasn't a problem.

  • AlgerHiss||

    I question the veracity of your comment.

    Vegetarian/vegan makes up an extremely tiny percentage of the US population – maybe 3% for vegetarian and perhaps .5% for vegans. For you to have dated multiple vegetarians, and have had a few family members that are veg/veg, the circles you travel in are highly populated with them.

    You are either veg/veg yourself and take great umbrage with what I've said….and for some reason won't admit you are veg/veg, or your comment is total bullshit.

  • Michael Ahlers||

    Alger, despite your retorts elsewhere, I'll go out on a limb here and empathize with you. Even as a lifelong vegan, I often share your irritation with vegans and vegetarians. Most I've encountered couldn't grasp a scientific basis for their lifestyle decision if you spent all day explaining one to them like they were five. It's all feelings, spirituality, and similar claptrap. Many are ignorant of basic nutrition and are helpless designing a healthy diet. Couple that foolishness with fierce, unrelenting militancy and it's clear this group courts a lot of the ridicule it receives.

  • ||

    Many are ignorant of basic nutrition and are helpless designing a healthy diet.

    ^ This.

  • ||

    Vegetarians are like Christians. The most noticeable ones are the ones who are all up in your business trying to impose their values on you. The rest of us just go through life minding our own business, not expecting others to accommodate our personal choices.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    ^this

  • Azathoth!!||

    What's next?

    Will Reason host a debate on the libertarian merits of believing in gravity?

    There is no 'morality' one way or the other about what one chooses to eat. Some animals have evolved to be herbivorous, some have evolved to be carnivorous, some have evolved to be omnivorous. There is no morality here--it's a simple fact.

    Humans evolved to be omnivorous. Again, a simple fact.

    Humans can attempt to violate this evolutionary trait. That is the gift--and curse-- of intelligence unbound by instinct.

  • Qsl||

    Point/Counterpoint-

    Is it ethical for libertarians to engage in BDSM relationships?

    Can religious libertarians really be considered in good standing since they are just proxies for their god (and who wants to get into an argument with god)?

    If feminist libertarians subscribe to "all sex is rape" stance, isn't that essentially a renouncement of procreation (this is more theoretical)?

    At what percentage of sulfur compounds can a fart be considered a violation of the NAP?

    I mean if we are going to engage in the absurd, let's go whole-hog.

    And can Reason sponsor a dating project so libertarians can confirm other libertarians wouldn't fuck them either?

  • gphx||

    Humans are a type of animal. Interesting things happen when one applies the NAP to other sentient animals.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Humans are, at the root, animals. The paragon of animals, perhaps, but that means we must consume living things in order to live ourselves and our biological functions are not really suited for a completely vegetarian diet without going to a lot trouble. The animals that we generally eat have been bred for that purpose and would not exist if we did not use them for that purpose,

  • StackOfCoins||

    "The animals that we generally eat have been bred for that purpose and would not exist if we did not use them for that purpose,"

    This is the crux of the issue. Insofar as animals have rights, it should extend to how they have been reared for human use. Livestock should be extended some basic courtesy, and their slaughter should be as quick and painless as possible. But they are still human products and their existence is only possible because humans intend to slaughter them.

    Pets, likewise, deserve some basic courtesy, and since we don't intend to slaughter them we should do what is possible to keep them alive and healthy. But at the same time, their propensity to breed absent intervention means it is morally permissible to castrate them. Uncontrolled breeding leads to abandonment and feral populations. The life of feral domestic pets is generally not a happy one.

    Pet breeders should be hanged from the gallows. Please adopt.

  • mtrueman||

    ""The animals that we generally eat have been bred for that purpose and would not exist if we did not use them for that purpose,"

    Lots and lots of cows in India. They aren't pets and they aren't eaten.

  • Mickey Rat||

    They are used for milk and butter and vegetarianism is not universal to the cultures of India.

  • mtrueman||

    Some cows simply roam the streets eating garbage. One mustn't underestimate the adaptability of life. Cows are like any other living thing.

    There are Christians and Muslims in India, but vegetarianism is pretty prevalent in India.

  • Gasman||

    Libertarians are animals too. Chew on that for a while.

  • No Longer Amused||

    As vegetarians are non-sentient, their "opinions" don't count.

  • mtrueman||

    Vegetarians simply try to avoid eating meat. No need to fear or hate them.

  • Drave Robber||

    So are you going to force me to bake a vegan cake?

  • Ship of Theseus||

    BwaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
    *breathes*
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • perlchpr||

    Do animals have rights that humans must respect?

    No. Next question?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Omnivore is what I am.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Worldwide each year, human beings torture and kill approximately 56 billion animals for our gastronomic pleasure.

    First error: not for gastronomic pleasure, but for survival. We are omnivores, jackass. Second error: animals kill far more animals for survival; the animals we raise and kill either would never be born at all without us, or would die horrible natural deaths from cold or being eaten alive, and live short nasty lives in constant fear of predators.

  • mtrueman||

    "We are omnivores,"

    Being omnivores means we don't need to kill billions of animals, because there are alternatives. We are typically not forced to eat meat for survival. It's more of a luxury and I believe that wealthier societies start to increase their meat consumption as they grow richer. I'm not sure where you get the idea that animals would never be born without our eating them. Cows exist in India, you can go and check it out if you don't believe me, without being eaten except in very small numbers.

    "animals kill far more animals for survival"

    How many animals are killed and eaten by other non-human animals? More than 56 billion?

  • Azathoth!!||

    Being omnivores means we don't need to kill billions of animals, because there are alternatives. We are typically not forced to eat meat for survival.

    Actually.......no.

    Many people think that being 'omnivores' means that humans can eat flora OR fauna.

    But it doesn't.

    It means that humans eat flora AND fauna.

    Humans, like other omnivores, have evolved with a diet that requires BOTH. They can survive, for a while, on one or the other, but they are built for BOTH.

    .


    How many animals are killed and eaten by other non-human animals? More than 56 billion?.

    Far more.

  • mtrueman||

    "It means that humans eat flora AND fauna."

    Many humans eat flora and avoid fauna. They are called vegetarians.

    "Far more."

    Any clue on how you arrive at that?

  • ZBowster||

    Get over it!
    Meat is grown just like vegetables.
    If the farmers did not grow the food, it would not exist.
    It exists for human consumption, nothing else.
    I agree that vegetation and animals should be treated with compassion and respect.
    Stop torturing vegetables with glyphosate!

  • apedad||

    I have no position on the vegetarian thing...good for you if you live that way.

    However, humans would never have evolved into our current status without eating animal flesh--and cooked animal flesh at that.

    Humans simply cannot eat enough vegetable and cannot digest raw meat fast enough to meet our brains' caloric demand.

  • CGN||

    Great comment, and unlike most here, by your use of facts instead of emotions. It is sad, but Americans seemed to have ditched reason, even at reason.com!, in favor of emotions. Emotions divorced from reason are what caused the Holocaust and every other horrid event in human history. There is a role for emotions, but this debate is not one of them.

  • Brandybuck||

    There should be a law against meat! For Great Libertarian Justice! Moar laws!

  • CGN||

    Nope, you are wrong, and obviously so. You make no argument, nor do you even list someone else's argument to support what you say, so you have, in a remarkably efficient manner, convinced NO ONE to take your point of view.

  • Michael Ahlers||

    I've been vegetarian since 2000 and vegan since 2008. I'm a competitive athlete (a cyclist). Doctors routinely compliment me as the healthiest patient they have. I want for no culinary pleasure—plant-based foods satisfy my every craving from sweet to savory. And I get to eat a whole lot more while staying lean.

    With all that out of the way, let's talk scientific morality.

    We know consciousness arises from central nervous systems. Whether we realize it, moral duties are determined by effective changes to conscious experience. (That's why we have moral obligations to animals and none to plants and rocks.) Changes we're able to cause are objectively measurable spectrum from harm to help.

    As librarians, we seek to base our principles on nature—not on tradition or superstition—and work to avoid adversely affecting others without consent. If any animal (human or not) thinks and feels in a way similar to us, it doesn't behoove us to make an exceptions for differences in degree.

  • CGN||

    Mr. Ahlers: We DO have moral obligations to animals, but those obligations do NOT include not eating them. It DOES obligate us to do so in the most humane way. You fail to show how tradition of superstition are factors in this topic.

  • Michael Ahlers||

    We DO have moral obligations to animals, but those obligations do NOT include not eating them. It DOES obligate us to do so in the most humane way.

    While I find veganism logical, I respect welfare arguments. Increased humane treatment would, at least, reduce overall demand due to higher production costs.

    You fail to show how tradition of superstition are factors in this topic.

    I figured that was schema knowledge. As briefly as I can make it… Many moral codes are based on tradition (i.e., we've always done it this way) or superstition (i.e., god decides what's right and wrong). By contrast, libertarians look to natural reasons. A person has rights which must be respected. Why? Because a person has certain properties. What properties? Consciousness. Where does that come from? Their central nervous system. What else has a nervous system? Everything in the animal kingdom. And so the reasoning goes.

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    Do you know *for certain* that plants have no consciousness? Or are you just hoping hat they don't and/or defining "consciousness" in a way convenient to your prejudices?

  • Gasman||

    "As librarians..."

    Speak for yourself. I, for one, will steadfastly refuse to eat books.

  • Michael Ahlers||

    Your non sequitur comment suggests you didn't comprehend mine.

  • Gasman||

    Read your own comment from 11:07. You wrote 'librarian' when perhaps you meant libertarian. The laugh is on you for not yet recognizing your own error.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Roger that. But on the plus side, Reason did not trot out a whack job mystical conservative to debate a nonlibertarian Christian Scientist on how we should frame the context here. This has been the least conceptually-challenged of the thus-far-pitiful fake debate series.

  • AlgerHiss||

    Not poor....educated....and white. How far off am I?

  • Michael Ahlers||

    Correct. Relevance?

  • AlgerHiss||

    "vegan since 2008"

    And you're about .5% of the US population. You are one gifted fellow that has it all figured out!

    And by the by, not 2 months ago I was tending to a 67 year-old life long vegetarian in the hospital recovering from carotid artery surgery: 73% blockage. And 10 months prior to that, I buried a 94 year old fellow that ate enough meat to sink a ship his whole life.

    But you go ahead and enjoy being a .5 percenter and all the preening that goes along with it.

  • Michael Ahlers||

    It's comical you'd suggest a small demographic is a point of derision, then offer up a straw man based on two anecdotal data points.

  • vek||

    You're talking about 2 things here: A moral argument, and a health one.

    The health thing, IMO is fine to discuss. I've read a lot on health over the years, and my personal opinion is that the "best" diet for most people is probably 70-90% vegetarian, with as much of the plant stuff NOT being from empty carbs as possible. The rest should be meat/animal products, which ARE good for you in reasonable amounts. The modern western diet is pure garbage. That doesn't mean one needs to go vegan. Eating more raw fruits and veg is awesome, but eating a steak now and again is great for you too.

    On the moral front, I simply say: Who cares? We're hunters. The reason we don't care about eating animals is because we evolved to be killers. It's our nature. I'm all for overriding dumb human instincts when it really matters, but many, like eating meat, are pretty much just not a big deal either way.

  • vek||

    As a nice-ish guy, I do think we could try to be a little nicer to them than the modern factory farming model. I try to buy free range/grass fed/etc because some tests show better nutrients in the meat, AND the animals have it better. But at the end of the day it's just not that big of a moral issue for most people because we are killers thanks to evolution. It's like trying to convince a lion to feel bad for a gazelle: it just ain't gonna happen.

    Personally, I think anybody who feels overly morally bad about eating meat probably has some defective genes that would have made them an evolutionary dead end in the past when we weren't so affluent... But it's just a theory! LOL

  • CGN||

    Animals are NOT entitled to the same rights and number of rights as humans, and any human who believes so is a fiend. If I were to kill another human and eat him/her because I was hungry, as, say, at hungry tiger might do, would ANYONE consider me blameless in the death of a human for my own hungry sake? In fact, it is BECAUSE humans have feelings for other non-human being that they CAN kill and eat. I 100% agree with the need for HUMANE killing of animals for human food, but contending that it is evil to eat animals for food is just absurd, and it remains absurd even with a vegetarian options. Humans are made to eat meat, the proof being our teeth, tastes, and bodily needs.

  • Digby||

    I hunt for our food and buy from local farmers who treat the animals humanely. Reason has gone the way of left Libertarians, not much longer before they lose the Libertarian I expect.

  • AlmightyJB||

    To be (and be eaten some day), or not to be. That is the question.

  • Ron||

    I would be fine if after I am dead that they would just put my body in a field for all the animals to eat.

  • dpbisme||

    I suggest just have them process you in a way you make good fertilizer...

  • AlmightyJB||

    I guess my point was that these animals would never have existed at all if they weren't our food. Would you rather live a short time and be killed or never exist at all? Assuming you're treated and killed humanely.

  • dpbisme||

    The whole debate is a bit silly.... Especially the guy who thinks we should be vegetarians.

    This guy wants us to ignore SCIENCE like most LEFTISTS.

    Humans are omnivores just like all primates and all of our identifiable ancestors.

    Do I really have to say more?

  • wootendw||

    "I don't know what the basis for rights is, and—almost certainly—neither do you."

    "I accept rights because the idea..." - Michael Huemer

    The basis for rights is intellectual which is why animals don't have them. A dog wouldn't 'think' twice about crapping on someone's lawn which is why dogs have no rights. If animals had rights they would have to understand that they can't violate the rights of other animals.

    Humans came up with the idea of rights so they could deal, and other otherwise associate, with one another without worrying about theft, murder, fraud, etc. We only have rights with respect to each another, that is, humans only have rights with respect to other humans (and other intelligent beings if they exist). A natural phenomenon, such as a tornado or volcano, cannot violate the rights of humans because these things do not think. Neither can an animal violate someone's rights because the animal doesn't understand rights and doesn't have them.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    +1

  • mtrueman||

    "Neither can an animal violate someone's rights because the animal doesn't understand rights and doesn't have them."

    I think I understand what you mean, but what stops you from abusing animals, or intervening when you see children tormenting flies or ants or whatever? I understand it's not your concern over fly or ant rights, but there must be some reason behind it. Is it reverence for the sanctity of life, a quasi religious notion, or is it something else?

  • wootendw||

    Empathy.

  • mtrueman||

    As long as you can elicit empathy in people, maybe you don't need rights.

  • Hank Phillips||

    This goes back to the "Red Republican" scene in Uncle Tom's Cabin...

  • vek||

    "A dog wouldn't 'think' twice about crapping on someone's lawn which is why dogs have no rights."

    Leftists don't think twice about crapping on peoples lawns sometimes... Does this mean they don't have any rights and we can stick them in camps??? Asking for a friend ;)

    On another note, my childhood dog WOULD think twice about crapping on a forbidden piece of lawn. We trained her to only go to the bathroom in a certain spot at every house where she lived, and ONLY when she was given verbal commands when we were out and about. She stuck to it amazingly well throughout her whole life. I never appreciated how smart that dog was until I got older and realized most dogs would be far too retarded to actually stick to something like that with almost 100% obedience. I miss that dog :(

  • Gasman||

    What's the libertarian angle got to do with either discussant's talking points. Indeed, neither attempted to include libertarian in their argument. Substitute the word democrat, european, or short person (Randy Newman) and each of their arguments is unchanged.
    Therefore both have failed to address the central issue of the debate posed in this article's title or in their opening statement of thesis. An F for both authors.

  • Echospinner||

    Libertarians do not care what you eat or why.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The only thing that makes you a real libertarian is how eagerly you await side-boob lobster girl to show up one last time. No matter how problematic it is.

  • loki||

    " Live free, eat meat."


    Thanks. I will.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Libertarians shouldn't be vegetarians.

    A libertarian would promote freedom to choose, especially for libertarians.


    Adhering to religious dietary customs is totally legitimate, perhaps even admirable, behavior.

    Why would superstition-based vegetarianism be superior to other vegetarianism?

    Quite a start -- inexplicable, lousy -- to an article at an ostensibly libertarian website.

  • mtrueman||

    I picked up on that weird deference to religious tradition, as well. The second paragraph struck me as even weirder:

    "Vegetarians prioritize the well-being of animals over people, "

    Choosing not to eat something is not prioritizing the well being of animals over people. Eating a soy burger for any reason doesn't do harm to others.

  • JonFrum||

    This is exactly the kind of thing that trivializes libertarianism - what's next, homeopathy?

  • mtrueman||

    "what's next, homeopathy"

    If I were a betting man, I'd say straws. Maybe rapey lawyers.

  • Dr.C||

    Daniel D'Amico used a highly constrained counter argument to Michael Huemer's proposition, which was an argument based on a constrained advocacy basis. Both piece essentially "pretended" there was only one basis upon which to make the vegetable versus meat consumption argument. I won't try to itemize the various possible arguments but will point out one such argument that is based on a scientific examination of the relative impacts of the two diets on the environment: "Today, and probably into the future, dietary change can deliver environmental benefits on a scale not achievable by producers. Moving from current diets to a diet that excludes animal products has transformative potential..." (Including reduced land use, reduction in environmentally harmful emissions, acidification and fresh water use to name a few - my summary for brevity) From: Poore et al., Science 360, 987–992 (2018) 1 June 2018

  • Uncle Jay||

    This article made me hungry.
    I'm going out and have a steak or a cheeseburger.
    Fuck political correctness.

  • LibertarianAmazon||

    Meat is murder. Tasty, tasty murder!

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Fuck political correctness.

    I agree. That is why I no longer appease losers, and instead call a bigot a bigot, a can't-keep-up backwater a can't-keep-up backwater, and a half-educated, gullible, disaffected jerk an avid Trump supporter.

  • vek||

    I had BBQ beef brisket before reading this article... But it is making me want to go back for another round!

  • dangfitz||

    How about you do what you want, and I'll do what I want? I've been a vegetarian for 32 years for moral reasons, but mi karma no es su karma. An interesting thing happened when I became vegetarian: friends couldn't fathom that I could have a strongly held moral stance without wanting to impose it on them. Either I wasn't committed to vegetarianism, or I must be judging their dietary choices.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Bravo! Many of my chums prefer vegetables, and I consider this an economic favor that eases some of the burden of my leading a life. Once there are no more threats to individual human rights afoot, I'll me even more kindly disposed toward their theories.

  • Echospinner||

    Libertarians do nor care if you are vegetarian or meatitarian.

  • Sonny Bono's Ghost||

    BACON!!!

  • Justified & Ancient||

    Neither side of the debate is Libertarian.

    If you don't have anything intelligent to write about, at least empty space doesn't waste people's time.

  • TommyInIdaho||

    "Do animals have rights that humans must respect?" No.

  • LibertarianAmazon||

    Environmentalists should eat fecal matter, since they are so into "recycling". If it's enough for maggots to live off of...

  • Hank Phillips||

    By forcing women to reproduce against their will, mystical fanatics increase demand for protein and pit beefeating against Malthusian disaster as lesser-of-two-alternatives lifeboat ethics conundrums, no? Population is increasing by about 150 people a minute, all of whom will want to eat something...

  • French Riffraff||

    (1) pain and suffering in itself is generally bad

    Wrong it's a benefical natural evolution for protection, without pain a species doesn't survive.

    (2) it is wrong to cause an enormous amount of bad for the sake of relatively minor benefits for oneself
    (3) human meat consumption causes enormous pain and suffering for the sake of relatively minor benefits for us

    Wrong again, homo genus has been mostly carnivorous but able to eat fruits or plants for the last 3 millions years, the benefice of meat consumption is not minor.

    (4) human meat consumption is, on the face of it, wrong. This strikes me as about as difficult as the case against torturing babies.

    Do you want to eradicate all carnivorous species to avoid all animal suffering ? Nature is a equilibrium between predators and preys, you only express your oversensibility.

  • vek||

    At the end of the day I don't REALLY care if somebody wants to be vegan or whatever... They can do what they want.

    But I do think it is silly, counter to what is likely best for their health, and just kind of wimpy.

    On the health thing, the bottom line is that even though eating mostly plant based seems to be the best for your health, throwing in some meat and animal products is the easiest AND tastiest way to get the stuff that isn't easily found in plants, or in some cases isn't found at all.

    As for it being wimpy: Sorry guys, anybody who is such a bleeding heart they can't bring themselves to eat meat is a wimp. We evolved to be killers. It is millions of years of evolution that made us able to give no fucks about eating animals, just the same as a lion or a wolf. Anybody who cries over eating a cow obviously has defective genes that makes them overly emotional/empathetic. It's not "normal" for our species so to speak.

    Case and point, IIRC 80% of vegans are women. Women are of course the more emotional and empathetic sex as per scientific research, so it is no surprise that they would be the ones whose hearts bleed about eating animals. But even those female vegans are wimpier than your average chick, since most chicks don't even care. The 20% of men who are vegan are DEFINITELY waaaaay outside the norm for male behavior. Hence wimps.

  • ||

    FUCK OFF SLAVER!!!

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    Vegetarians assert that animals have rights but make the too-convenient assumption that plants don't. Why shouldn't plants have rights as well? Every bean, every grain of wheat has a live plant embryo within it until it is snuffed out in the milling or cooking process. Why are we not concerned with these living beings rights?

  • mtrueman||

    Why shouldn't plants have rights as well?

    Sentience.

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    Can you *prove* plants lack 'sentience'? Or are you just hoping?

  • mtrueman||

    "Or are you just hoping?"

    Not hoping at all. I'm with Prince Charles on this matter. I'd welcome the proof of plant sentience as a great enrichment of life. It might even change my eating habits. Sentience, though, has long been the dividing line between what's eatable and what's not eatable for many people who call themselves vegetarians. It's hardly a secret.

  • vek||

    I've met lots of people that were dumber than a carrot... Does that mean they're fair game for eating???

  • mtrueman||

    The carrot, yes. The people, no.

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    I'm not questioning whether vegetarians use 'sentience' as a dividing line as to what they'll eat and won't eat. What I question is the basis for their definition of 'sentience'. I suspect that definition is formulated to be most convenient to their prejudices and easiest on their consciences.

  • mtrueman||

    "I suspect that definition is formulated to be most convenient to their prejudices and easiest on their consciences."

    I suspect that a lot of so called vegetarians sometimes eat meat.

  • Martin Brock||

    My ethics rules out inhumane animal husbandry, so I'll pay more for free range eggs for example, but libertarianism is not a universal system of ethics. Ethical systems are artifacts. Libertarianism is a political system permitting the realization of any ethical system consistent with free association. It doesn't force people to behave ethically. It rules out forcing people to behave ethically, i.e. it frees each individual to decide what "ethical" means as long as s/he doesn't impose the decision forcibly on others.

    Libertarian politics doesn't incorporate non-human animals, or children, in establishing terms of free association, precisely because these terms are artifacts, and non-human animals and children lack the capacity to construct them. A contract with a chicken (or an infant) makes little more sense than a contract with an ear of corn. Human beings can decide that torturing chickens is unethical, but chickens themselves don't participate in the decision making.

    Killing the one person to distribute the organs to five other persons who'll die without the transplants may be ethical, and libertarianism permits this killing as long as all six people agree. In fact, human societies routinely lionize this sort of sacrifice. The most ethical people behave this way. Libertarianism only rules out forcing someone to behave this way.

  • Martin Brock||

    A human child is not fundamentally more valuable than a baby seal, but I would club a baby seal to death to save my child. Fundamental, universal ethics have nothing to do with it. A seal might also kill my child or me to defend its progeny, and I admire its propensity to do so. If a lioness kills Michael Huemer, while he hunts lions, to defend her cub, I'll reward the lioness with an extra portion of free range steak. Huemer earns a Darwin Award.

  • ayanagreen||

    Sir Paul McCartney famously said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarians. Well, it's clear from this debate that many diehard meat-eaters don't care how animals are killed in those slaughterhouses. Meat-eaters shouldn't outsource the slaughter of their food animals. Kill them yourself, as you look those animals in their eyes. Yet, if ice water runs in your veins and that argument doesn't dissuade you from eating animals, consider the toxicity of meat. The lead story from this month's Consumer Reports details how banned or restricted drugs that are toxic to humans appear in the U.S. meat supply. And, that's what meat-eaters consume!