07 June 2007

Food for Thought

More often than not, the proponents of vegetarianism say that one should not eat meat because it amounts to killing something.

I have always wondered about this. We cultivate plants for food. We harvest it. Now, we say that it does not amount to killing that plant. What would we do for food, if the same plant looks at you with pleading eyes and stuff ? So, is it that we eat plants just because they do not have the gift of voice and eyes ? Is it that easy to brush aside plants as things that do not "live" ?

So, that being the case, why do people, especially the proponents of vegetarianism, create all hype and furor about those who eat meat ?

Isn't it pragmatic to think that everything that is there in this planet has a purpose ? If the purpose of some animals or plants is to land up in the dining table, what can man do ?

It is not that man alone eats meat. A lot of animals out there in the jungle eat meat. Now, if someone says that man should be civilized and not lead a jungle-like life, after all, isn't man just another monkey ?

Some argue that man disturbs the food chain by eating meat and breeding animals just for the sole purpose of feeding him. Now, the same argument can be put forth that, when he expands his cities, he cuts down many forests thereby eliminating the green cover and hence, disturbing the food chain.

Disturbing questions and no conclusive answers.

Let the debate rage on !

Update: I am having a rather interesting discussion with my ex co-goon from here. As always, he is coming up with some very interesting points ! Let me see where that discussion leads to.

K.Shyam

PS: Please do not bring up things like body not suited for eating meat and such stuff. All those studies have remained inconclusive and have ended up making a safe conclusion that man is an omnivore !

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Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 7:48 PM

12 Comments

  1. Blogger Balaji posted at Thursday, June 7, 2007 at 11:42:00 PM GMT+5:30  
    1. I think man should cause as little damage to nature as possible. When Man is contributing very little to planet earth, he should atleast reduce the resources he is taking from nature.

    Eating plants causes less damage to environment than eating animals. Because that animal would have taken its own share all its life by eating plants/animals.

    In other words, eating one chicken equals eating all the food that creature has eaten all its life. Should we eat that much every meal? As they say, world has enough to serve everyones need but not greed.

    2. Having said that, I feel Vegetarians should progressively try to move to Veganism (quit dairy products) and then eventually to Fruitarianism (where we simply eat fruits and vegetables which when plucked from plants will not kill them).

    3. I may be wrong, but I feel Vegetarianism is inherent in evolution. Many creatures close to humans in the evolution chain are either herbivorous or omnivorous.
  2. Blogger Arbit posted at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 12:03:00 AM GMT+5:30  
    I think the question is not why vegetarians choose to remain vegetarians as much as why non-vegetarians are insecure about them being non-vegetarians. I am a vegetarian myself, if you were to ask me why I choose to remain vegetarian, I have no particular reason... No not because of how animals are slaughtered, not because it may be unhealthy. It maybe be because I am just satisfied (in nutrition and taste) with my vegetarianism.
    And I am not for veganism or fruitarianism either. Status quo is the best. Beat that.
  3. Blogger K.Shyam posted at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 3:16:00 AM GMT+5:30  
    Balaji: My poser here is that how do we know for sure that it is not the law of nature that the very chicken should not be consumed ?

    All evolutionary studies do not offer any concrete proof.

    Arbit: I think you have a point there !

    K.Shyam
  4. Blogger The Talkative Man posted at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 8:24:00 AM GMT+5:30  
    Arbit is spot on.
    These things should be left to personal choice and no propaganda about it. I turned vegetarian once i entered US just to see what it means to survive, still going strong and loving it.
  5. Blogger Rayden posted at Friday, June 8, 2007 at 10:55:00 PM GMT+5:30  
    Well, atleast as far as Hinduism is concerned, a long time back, when we were a society of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras, each had a specific work to be done in society. The last 3 were involved in a lot of physical work (in differing areas), while for Brahmins, it was predominantly to use their mandais. So, for the latter 3 to improve their capacity to perform physical work, they needed to consume non-veg which is much better source of proteins than veggies, for mandais, it was the other way, they needed to improve their mandais - meaning veggies like vendekai and the like. Over time, for brahmins to make it easy to actualize this info, the scriptures were "mouthed" differently to add a touch of paapam for consuming non-veggies... and then you know the story of how stories related as word-of-mouth propogate...
  6. Blogger Balaji posted at Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at 11:19:00 PM GMT+5:30  
    Rayden,

    I think 'paapam' has very little to do with Brahmins being veggies. To begin with when your four varnas were strictly followed, Brahmins were mainly used to perform animal sacrifices! And few centuries prior to that Brahmins were even beef eaters.

    I feel there are two reasons why Brahmins are vegetarians.

    1. Brahmins were the biggest beneficiaries of land offered by Kings. When you have vegetation, why would you kill animals?

    2. Brahmins may have learned vegetarianism from the reforms unleashed by Mahavira and Buddha who genuinely believed in compassion towards other creatures.
  7. Blogger K.Shyam posted at Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 9:00:00 PM GMT+5:30  
    Balaji:
    I have some questions for you ;-)

    1. In point 1, you said land was there for cultivation. Now, isn't that similar to rearing something solely for the purpose of consumption ?

    2. "Compassion towards other creatures" brings back my original point. How do we know that plants do not have feelings ? Do we wait for the plant to die before eating it ? No. We pluck it right ?

    K.Shyam
  8. Blogger Balaji posted at Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 10:27:00 PM GMT+5:30  
    1. True. But then if we people were raising animals/crop themselves instead of buying from the stores, I think they'll give more thought to this than they do now. Can man eat ones' children because he brought them to this world and raised them? We have to draw a line somewhere. (sorry, that was gross!)

    If you are talking about the morality of using the land itself for cultivation, then thats precisely the point I was making. How much can we abuse nature? Being veggie seems to be less abusive than otherwise.

    2. Fruitarianism is the obvious solution. We can ofcourse argue about fruits, molecules and go on for ever. But the point is inorder to survive how little damage we can cause to others.
  9. Blogger K.Shyam posted at Friday, June 15, 2007 at 2:19:00 AM GMT+5:30  
    I am beginning to like Balaji's arguments !

    1. Do you know that cannibalism still exists in some parts of the world ? That apart, we say we have to draw a line somewhere right ? So, this is more of an ethical and social issue rather than a scientific one right ?

    2. This again supports my point that the whole issue is/will always be ethical and stuff and there would be no scientific or logical ways to attack this one ;-)

    K.Shyam
  10. Blogger chueewowee posted at Friday, June 15, 2007 at 3:58:00 AM GMT+5:30  
    This should stir you folk!

    Causing little damage to the environment is a popular argument here, and perhaps noble. Why cause any damage at all?

    Not necessary to kill plants: wheat dries before harvested. Green leaves may be picked. In any case it is better to let the roots die into the soil. Fruits picked do not harm a tree, it need not cry. LIsten and watch the fear of animals killed: listen to their pain and foul cries. Look at the slaughter houses.

    The best argument for eating meat, seems to be dressed upon I like eating meat...therefore things like animals eat meat. So we are like animals, nothing more?
    We have heard from scientists all sorts of bunkum about essential protein and canine teeth. I hope you are aware of their silly rationale.

    So, health apart, worship of manifest nature apart, why are people vegetarian? Because it is said to be God's order, except in places where vegetables cannot be obtained.
    Knowing and accepting God usually means spirit soul too, and the word of God.

    In short it is wrong (sinful) to eat meat in lust, it is a fallen state to lose one's relationship with our father: we dismiss real knowledge of things we cannot see.

    Nothing comes from nothing, and matter doesn't come form matter. Children and unspoilt people all understand spirit soul, because it is a natural understanding.

    Those who say why hurt plants, we love them, we are spiritual, let's eat meat instead are fools. I don't believe they are sincere in recognising spirit soul. There is no need to produce plants industrially without care. In fact those plantations are unsustainable: only mixed farms are sustainable. But that means a return to power for people and susbsistance living , rather than mass industrial slavery. Oh, and also refraining from killing animals for flesh.

    If this appetite for flesh dictates our reasoning, then when slaughter hoses fail, some of those will go out and kill old people and the young for food. That will be worse than cannibalism, who eat their defeated enemies, not for lust of meat, so far as I know.

    The Pleasure, is something we all want and need. Pleasure of eating meat, if you have refined senses, the kind that arise when up very early, in no rush, and through eating pure food, it is easy to see the actual tastes of meat are not pleasurable, unless deluded. So, if you eat your own stool, it is also possible to enjoy that and get nourishment. Animals do it, so we can, if we follow their example.
    The tastes of stool are sure to be more varied than just a few animal species, without any spices or vegetables.
  11. Blogger chueewowee posted at Friday, June 15, 2007 at 4:35:00 AM GMT+5:30  
    Addition:
    Forest Gardens, with cow and all, are the most productive and healthy places, as well as sustainable. They allow families to live well, without even money, or slavery, and have plenty of leisure, as well as being immensely enjoyable work and environment. They also permit trade and speciality crafts, where the markets have not been marginalised, or squeezed out: here we are talking about the balance between centralised market (formerly the city) and the environ. Wonderful playgrounds for children.
    Ah, but the cow will read on a herb! A flower will be destroyed!
    Yes, perhaps the herb likes it? Perhaps, Krishna i s the provider and the destroyer, who are we to question these things?
    Oh, but the varieties grow in the hoof-print.
    So, biodiversity is essential for sustainability: it is a fact acknowledged that biodiversity is cultureally dependent upon traditional cultures. In othe words, nature flourishes with man's traditional activities.
    Now a theory of my own ( I am a trained consevationist): the tiger hides in the margins and picks up stray memebers of the herd, perhaps ailig ones. In seconds they are despatched, instead of miserably dying in the cold. Not having their brains smashed, but the jugular pierced, they pass into a peaceful and conscious swoon. However, the herd won't graze in the margins where the tiger lurks, but where the trees fell and grass grew in the forest clearing. If the tiger didn't have his bet of forbidden marginal area, how could new seedling colonise? The grassland area would grow, and the forest disappear.
    SO, Halal killing is better than a stun gun because it severs an artery.as well as offers prayer. It was permitted for the bedouin of the desert.
    It's a tigers' nature to eat flesh..it is human nature to go back to God. God forbids offering and eating flesh for lust, in the Gita. In the bible, (Genesis?)
    it says man lives, according to his nature, by fruit and seeds and leaves, provided by God.


    Interesting Fact: the strongest man in the world, all round and in various specialities, is the strong man of the Russian State Moscow circus. He is a vegetarian, and a a muslim.

    Mothers' milk contains about 1% protein. that's about the same as lettuce..for the fastest growing phase! We can produce all of our own protein, though certainly there is cultural conditioning, we only produce what is not in the diet. Essential protein is a misnomer. So all this about workers need to eat meat is not true of the vedas. suspect People lusted after meat, because it was a sensation, even because it was forbidden, and they were aethiests, or unqualified (corrupt) brahmins misused their position and gave the rites as a boon, like heh look we do this for you, come smell, don't be afraid, it's already dead, I killed it nocely for you. It will make you string its bufflao! Why feel weak? I'm a bigshot, and i eat it eveyrday, look at m y fat stomach - I'm a real brahmin man! Fearless and fat!
  12. Blogger Balaji posted at Friday, June 15, 2007 at 10:35:00 PM GMT+5:30  
    Shyam,

    Well, not sure why this argument cannot be scientific, but I feel the nature one is more relevant than the religious, scientific and social causes. Global warming!

    John,

    whoa! "eat stool!". am gonna use this line of argument to shut up some of my stupid critics!

    pollination, 1% protein in Mother's milk etc are good also points. This 'God says so' argument although effective is not very intelligent.

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