Commentary: Vegan outrage

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Fifteen million is a pretty big number.

That’s how many leaflets that the Vegan Outreach activist group claims to have put into the hands of college students and others in an effort to inspire those who might be currently following, oh, I don’t know—USDA’s Dietary Guidelines or a program recommended by a licensed nutritionist—and convince them that they should forego any of that nonsense for the “purity” of a diet (and lifestyle) that is totally divorced from any connection with animals.

Except as companion animals that get to substitute for children or as objects of wonder seen only in the fictionalized majesty of cable TV shows, of course.

My first question is, Who’s handing out the leaflets talking about proper nutrition and agricultural diversity and economic opportunity represented by livestock producers to those 15 million impressionable young people?

My second question is even shorter: Why? Why would 15 million people decide that veganism is worth a serious look-see?

Because the premise of that lifestyle is preposterous. Don’t believe me? Here’s the opening sentence of the “bestselling” (by their own accounting) book titled, “The Ultimate Vegan Guide,” by Erik Marcus:

“The practice of avoiding meat dates back thousands of years, but it was not until the 1800s that the word vegetarianism was coined.”

That is wrong on so many levels.

Guess what, veggies? Thousands of years ago there were these people, you see, who lived where you now live. Their villages and their shelters stood where your modern house or apartment now sits. But they didn’t go down to their local Whole Foods and stroll through the aisles picking up vegan analog products made mostly with “industrially grown” soybeans and imported tropical ingredients. Instead, they fished and trapped and hunted and butchered and consumed all kinds of game meat, seafood and even occasionally birds’ eggs.

Those people were called Native Americans, and you know what else? They somehow managed to survive for approximately 20,000 years, give or take a millennia or two, and even with eating all that horrible dead animal flesh they stayed healthy, happy and by all accounts were quite spiritually evolved. All the things veggies always claim are the sole property of born-again vegan believers like themselves.

And by the way, vegetarianism in the 1800s emerged not because of so-called factory farming, or because of fears about antibiotics and hormones, or even from widespread concerns about the treatment of animals in society. Primarily, those who espoused a meat-free existence did so from a primarily spiritual motivation, such as monks and other religious practitioners. The reasons for deciding not to eat meat were most often tied to concerns about ancient practices of sacrificing animals to whatever deities a particular culture happened to worship.

Behind the proselyting

But fast-forward to the 21st century, and there are millions of kids interested in adopting a lifestyle they believe will right certain wrongs they perceive are rampant in society. Because in the end, that’s the real reason people become veggies: They want to believe that their individual choice “balances the scales” against the killing of cows or the confinement of pigs or the pain they’re sure that chickens and turkeys are experiencing.

The majority of the students or young people who grab a Vegan Outreach leaflet aren’t looking to better their health. They’re looking to set the world right and “free” all those farm animals from their perceived life of misery.

Forget the fact that there would be enormous potential for human suffering if we all abandoned meat eating. Hundreds of millions of subsistence farmers and goat herders and owners of a little flock of chickens in some of the world’s most impoverished place would become destitute.

Multi-millions more in the developed world would lose jobs, income and means of support for their families. The diets of billions of people would be severely compromised. The planet’s primary ecosystems would take a major—some say fatal—hit from the added farmland, irrigation water and energy inputs that would be needed to grow enough food crops replace even a fraction of the trillions of calories consumed daily from meat, milk and eggs.

And the animals themselves? We would have no more creative ideas about how to turn back the clock on thousands of years of domestication and return cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and other species back to the wild—which, even if it could be done, would also cause a devastating impact on the world’s ecosystems—than we would how to send hundreds of millions of cats and dogs back to their primeval status as creatures equipped to survive in the wild.

What little there is left of it that hasn’t been plowed under to grow corn, wheat, soybeans and rice that veggies believe are pure, natural food that fall off of trees and into their food bowls, that is.

Me, I’ll be browsing through “The Ultimate Vegan Guide” in the next few weeks, but here’s a shortcut for those 15 million wanna-bes thumbing through their Vegan Outreach leaflets: Take it from the people who populated North America for the 20,000 years prior to the last couple hundred: Man does not live by veggies alone. □

Dan Murphy is a veteran food-industry journalist and commentator


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Troy Miller    
Montana  |  July, 21, 2011 at 06:24 PM

I'm confused: in school they taught me that the Native Americans your citing here had their lives and livlihoods destroyed so the western bison plains could be converted to.... cattle grazing. A nice turn of irony there! You should really think about that sort of stuff before you write your opinion pieces. Anyway, if your response to this vegan pamphlet is so furious and hypocritical it must have something going for it. I'll be sure to check it out. Thanks for the tip.

Betty    
30024  |  July, 22, 2011 at 06:35 PM

don't forget to read the Ultimate Vegan Guide :) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00520DB7M/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=vegancom&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B00520DB7M

Natalie    
July, 21, 2011 at 08:23 PM

The way animals are raised for food in modern factory farms is incredibly cruel and ecologically devastating. Plus there is an abundance of evidence that people can not only be healthy, but thrive on a plant based diet. Since going vegan I've lost 15 pounds, my cholesterol went down and I have more energy than I know what to do with. Doesn't seem so preposterous to me ;)

Rex    
nebraska panhandle  |  July, 26, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Read Marie Sandoz's Buffalo Hunters-- your school education is a lightweight cliff notes version and your understanding is like the "gossip game". The cattle grazing part was more an afterthought...what to do now that the buffaloe were gone. There were approximately the same number buffaloafter the Civil War as the peak cow herd about 2 decades ago. A mere 10% of the current cattle harvest destabilized the population and it became almost extinct within a 40 year period. I doubt anyone saw that coming or as a possiblity of how to displace Indians and establish cattle and sheep ranching.

Courtnee R.    
PEI  |  July, 21, 2011 at 09:07 PM

Just so you know, I didn't turn vegan to ease my conscious but because I happen to have a lot of allergies to things such as dairy (all dairy products like milk, cheese, ice cream, etc), eggs (more specifically the albumen or egg white), sugar, chemicals (38 different ones at last count), and others including but not limited to the growth hormones fed to and injected in a lot of animals sold for meat. At least with vegetables I can wash off the pesticides and chemicals I'm allergic to, but with meat that option isn't available. Which is what I tell people. I also tell them that if they eat veg instead of meat, they only half to eat about 10% of what that animal had to in order to get the same energy. Further more, there are species which have been/are being hunted/fished to endangerment and extinction just so people can have food on there table. But those people aren't aware of what is happening. So, even if they don't go veg, if they become more aware of where their food is coming from, then the pamphlets and flyers have served their purpose. Because, let's face it, most people in the modern world don't know or care where their food comes from so long as they get fed. But that's just my opinion.

Terri W.    
Frozen North  |  July, 25, 2011 at 11:06 PM

Sorry "Courtnee" but that is the biggest load of vegan fantasy crap I've ever read. You are allergic to growth hormones? and yet you're still alive. You know your body produces growth hormones, right? How is it that you werent allergic to your own growth hormones? Some of the pesticides used in agriculture are systemic, how do you wash those off? If you want people to believe you try to spin a more convincing story next time.

JC    
N.M.  |  July, 22, 2011 at 06:20 AM

A very self-serving and uninformed article.

Diana    
Idaho  |  July, 22, 2011 at 08:52 AM

When I see your by-line, Mr. Murphy, I should just pass on reading, knowing that I'll never get that minute back, but it can be entertaining to see how you work yourself to a foaming rage over anything vegan. Your counterarguments are even more ridiculous than the vegan arguments. Drovers should have a comedy section for your material.

Di    
South Africa  |  July, 22, 2011 at 08:54 AM

Well of COURSE this would be your opinion what with writing for an industry that profits off the relentless murder of animals not to mention the devastating effect on the environment and people's health. The fact that you have no idea what you are talking about and that you sound like a complete idiot is rather embarrassing on your behalf. Do some research before you make such a fool of yourself.

Thomas    
July, 22, 2011 at 09:02 AM

Great fear-mongering, Dan! The take-home message: A slow transition to vegan eating will send all of humanity into the fiery depths of hell. :-) Seriously, though, a few quick points. 1) Based on what I know about Vegan Outreach, everyone who receives a booklet gets information about ordering a starter guide which includes nutritional information about staying healthy on a vegan diet. And btw, the American Dietetic Association's position paper on vegetarian diets is: "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." 2) The reason kids are so interested in this is because they want to choose foods that minimize unnecessary animal suffering. 3) Societal mores slowly change over time; they usually don't occur overnight. 4) Consumer changes are ongoing and we adapt and find new ways to make an income. We as a society went from the pc to the laptop, the landline to the cell phone, the walkman to the iPod. And those who once made a living creating pcs, landline services, and walkmans, are probably doing ok now, yet I don't remember your doomsday lamentations over those changes. 5) Factory farming has put more small farmers out of business than vegetarian advocates have. 6) The majority of vegans that I know don't see vegan eating as some moral cure-all, just one simple tool to decrease some of the suffering in the world.

Parker    
DC  |  July, 22, 2011 at 09:40 AM

I've been vegan for five years. I've been weight lifting for over five years. Now that I'm a vegan, I'm able to lift even more weight than I was able to when I was eating meat. Before I was vegan, I'd lift weights for 20 minutes and then be exhausted for the rest of the day. Now, I'm able to lift weights for an hour, run a few miles afterwards, and still have the energy to devote myself towards other things before bedtime. I'm healthier, stronger, faster, leaner and have more energy than ever before. The vegetarian diet is crucial for optimal health.

Mark    
UK  |  July, 22, 2011 at 10:00 AM

"Dan Murphy is a veteran food-industry journalist and commentator" The word that really puzzles me is "veteran" - implying that you have been at this food industry writing for a good while. How on earth you have fashioned a career (and made money) with such inwardly looking, misconceived diatribe I cannot fathom. Have you been living on a large financial inheritance? Do you work nights in a Walmart to supplement your income? One of the first things you should do is check your facts (they aren't in abundance in your article). Secondly, avoid the commercial pressures from meat companies when writing - we can see them glaring through your article like flashlights through a fishing net. Thirdly open your eyes to veganism. It rocks, it's the sign of an evolved mind and it'll probably save your life.

Ginny Messina    
Port Townsend, WA  |  July, 22, 2011 at 10:03 AM

No worries about nutrition, Dan. The president of Vegan Outreach, Jack Norris, is a registered dietitian and a very knowledgeable nutrition expert. You really should read the book I just wrote with him, Vegan for Life, since it will set your mind at ease about the safety of vegan diets at all stages of the life cycle. And Vegan Outreach isn't asking subsistence farmers to go vegan. They're asking those of us who have options about our food intake and who live in parts of the world where factory farming is the norm to make more responsible choices.

Julie    
Dallas  |  July, 22, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Farm animals exist in such large numbers only because we breed them for slaughter, often through artificial insemination. As more people become vegetarian, fewer farm animals will be bred (meaning their population will be reduced.) So don't worry, we won't have to release billions of farmed animals into the wild. Also, we can be perfectly healthy on meat-free diets. According to the American Dietetic Association: "The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates." http://www.eatright.org/Ab​out/Content.aspx?id=8357 If anything, Vegan Outreach should be commended for helping young people to adopt healthy eating habits.

Jo Ellen M.    
New Jersey  |  July, 22, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Most native Americans survived on plant foods picked directly from the land. They revered and respected wildlife and would only eat flesh for special occasions or when the weather prohibited them from growing crops. They certainly did not hunt or fish as a primary way of gathering food. Certain studies have shown that the tribes that ate more meat had much shorter lifespans and were quicker to die out than tribes who survived off the land.

All-Vegan    
Colorado  |  July, 22, 2011 at 05:21 PM

You are absolutely right Troy, World wide the populations with the highest meat consumption have the shortest life expectancy. This is a fact, there are no exceptions. In the reverse the populations with the lowest meat consumption have the longest life expectancy. Additionally we know as was pointed out in another comment, that type two diabeties is related to meat consumption. American Indian populations have been devestated by type two diabeties. This can only mean that meat was never a large part of their diet when this land was theirs.

Mary    
Denver  |  July, 22, 2011 at 12:08 PM

You should really READ the pamphlet before you spout off about what it does and doesn't say. Your ignorance is astounding maybe you should run for president and be in league with Sarah Palin because you are just about as smart as she is!

Amanda Congdon    
July, 22, 2011 at 12:12 PM

How about instead of browsing through "The Ultimate Vegan Guide", you take the leap and really read it. Give it a chance. As a writer, you really should be doing the research before making all these unfounded, knee-jerk claims. Read the China Study and you will understand why eating a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to live.

Maria    
Minnesota  |  July, 22, 2011 at 12:31 PM

How racist to appropriate Native American history to promote your factory-farming agenda! Current practices that make animal products cheap and abundant were not used by the people you apparently wish to emulate. Shame.

Gerry    
Arizona  |  July, 22, 2011 at 12:44 PM

I've been Vegan for the past twelve years and have never felt fitter. But I didn't become Vegan for the many health benefits. I did it for the animals. The vast majority of animals killed for food in the USA suffer terrible conditions due to factory farming. If anyone doubts this, you owe it to yourself to visit Vegan Outreach's web site and view the information that inspired Dan Murphy to write this article. If, after weighing the arguments, you feel you'd like to do something to reduce this suffering, but becoming Vegan seems too big a step, consider at least cutting down on your consumption of beef, pork, chicken, milk and other animal products. If seven people completely give up eating animal products one day a week, it's the same as one person becoming Vegan. If, later, you can make it two days per week, so much the better. Even just reducing your consumption of animal products helps the animals. And, contrary to Dan's view, you will not be making farmers destitute -- someone has to grow the vegetables too.

Yvonne    
SF  |  July, 22, 2011 at 01:05 PM

My word, Dan! There are fallacies in your article. Your last sentence, however, is both false and significantly destructive to your readers with "impressionable" minds, some of whom may otherwise choose to lead a healthy lifestyle free of animal-product-related disease. I have been vegetarian for 27 years and vegan for 2.5. I get sick with a minor cold once every two years; my omnivore friends generally get sick once every six months. I have never been hospitalized; I cannot say that for the bulk of my omni friends. I have never fractured or broken a bone; my omni friends have. The writing is on the wall. If you are a responsible writer, it would behoove you to go back to do your research and then write a factual follow-up. Eat crow (it shouldn't be that difficult, considering your penchant for animal flesh) and regain some credibility. Thanks!

Stephen    
North Carolina  |  July, 22, 2011 at 02:17 PM

An impressive collection of bad arguments. Two in particular stand out. 1. You quote the opening line from Marcus' book and claim that it is wrong on so many levels. Well, which part is wrong? The claim that " The practice of avoiding meat dates back thousands of years" or the claim that "it was not until the 1800s that the word vegetarianism was coined." Surely veteran food-industry journalist would know that we have records of vegetarianism in India and Ancient Greece dating back to the sixth century B.C. (~2500 years ago), so the first claim can't be wrong. Also, a quick check of the OED would confirm that the word "vegetarian" was coined around 1850, so that second claim can't be wrong either. How, then, is Marcus' claim wrong on so many levels? (The stuff that follows about the Native Americans is a red herring at best.) 2. You claim that if everyone converted to vegetarianism, "The planet’s primary ecosystems would take a major—some say fatal—hit from the added farmland, irrigation water and energy inputs that would be needed to grow enough food crops replace even a fraction of the trillions of calories consumed daily from meat, milk and eggs." Do you not realize that once the populations of cattle, swine, and fowl returned to a more natural size, LESS farmland, water, and energy would be required to feed the world's population?

CAW    
NYC  |  July, 22, 2011 at 02:55 PM

Mr. Murphy, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on the internet is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Debbie    
La Quinta  |  July, 22, 2011 at 03:10 PM

My, my Mr. Murphy. Such anger at all of us elite vegans. It almost sounds like we're trying to take money out of your pocket. Oh, that's right, I guess we are.

Nick    
AZ  |  July, 22, 2011 at 04:04 PM

"Man does not live by veggies alone." You're right. It's important to include grains, fruit, beans, seeds and nuts in your diet as well. Also, the ancient Egyptians ate a mostly vegan diet because raising livestock in that area was difficult for lack of resources. They became one of the greatest civilizations of all time. The ancient Greeks also ate a mostly vegan diet. Beans, barley, vegetables and occasionally fish. The only time they really consumed land animals was during festivals. They created one of the biggest empires of all time.

Joshu    
United Kingdom  |  July, 22, 2011 at 04:46 PM

All this stuff about meat-eating being healthy and necessary is garbage. Many people have been vegan and lived perfectly healthy lives for many years. Vegetarianism did NOT come about in the 18th Century. It's been around a lot longer. Do you think some of the vegetarian religions of India just appeared in the last 200 years. Having said this, what more would you expect from a website called America's Beef Resource Site?

Joshu    
United Kingdom  |  July, 22, 2011 at 04:46 PM

All this stuff about meat-eating being healthy and necessary is garbage. Many people have been vegan and lived perfectly healthy lives for many years. Vegetarianism did NOT come about in the 18th Century. It's been around a lot longer. Do you think some of the vegetarian religions of India just appeared in the last 200 years. Having said this, what more would you expect from a website called America's Beef Resource Site?

Dan M.    
Peoria, IL  |  July, 22, 2011 at 05:37 PM

Nice try. First off, the President of Vegan Outreach is Jack Norris, a registered dietitian. Secondly, I'm not interested in what would happen if everyone became vegan tomorrow. It's not going to happen, and I'm not going to waste my time on What-If's. The bottom line is that if more and more people slowly started going vegan, well, our economy and farmers would adjust. Vegans gotta eat, too, ya know? Lastly, I don't know the facts on how many years people have been vegetarian or not - hundreds of years? Thousands of years? I don't care. What I do care about is the billions of farmed animals living in intense confinement today, being violently slaughtered (no such thing as non-violent killing is there?) today, and so on. That's why I'm vegan.

Victor    
wv  |  July, 22, 2011 at 05:46 PM

Dan Murphy, you should be ashamed. Either you are incredibly misinformed on the topic of veganism or you are just a clown and a blowhard that is playing to his audience... likely both. I'm sorry that you actually are passing this off as some sort of objective and intelligent piece of work.

Kelsey    
Seattle  |  July, 22, 2011 at 08:07 PM

Dan, I noticed never acknowledged that animals feel pain (or anything else for that matter) in this article. Example, “.. the killing of cows or the confinement of pigs or the pain they’re sure that chickens and turkeys are experiencing." I thought it was interesting that you pared this sentiment with, "...a diet (and lifestyle) that is totally divorced from any connection with animals." I just wanted to point out the obvious, animals do feel a wide variety of emotions including fear and pain, and as a long time vegan working in animal protection, my life is inspired by my love and connection with animals.

Bea Elliott    
Florida  |  July, 22, 2011 at 10:47 PM

I love distributing VO brochures!!! I love talking to people and asking if they know how animals are raised for meat... Many people have a slight hunch, but are very anxious for more info. VO is the perfect literature to provide it! It's a great publication! And the next time I'm out on leaflet day when I think it's just about time to wrap it up... I'll go the extra few hundred more - Just in your honor Dan! Thanks for the inspiration to do so! ;)

MW    
Illinois  |  July, 22, 2011 at 10:51 PM

Many of the arguments that Mr. Murphy uses to substantiate factory farming of animals are the same arguments used in the 1800's to defend slavery: (1) without slaves (ultracheap labor), the agricultural industry of the south would collapse, (2) if slavery was ended, southern farmers would go out of business and suffer greatly; (3) if slaves didn't work the fields, food production would diminish and food prices would sky rocket; and (4) if slaves were freed they would have no way of taking care of themselves. All these arguments address economic concerns while ignoring the ethical and moral ones. Very few people can watch more than a few minutes of the videos made of the animals who are miserably treated in factory farms ... that alone tells you that there is something incredibly wrong and immoral with the animal food industry as it exists today. If more people had a clue regarding the horrible treatment of farm animals, they would turn away in droves from meat consumption. But the agri-industry keeps those doors well closed.

Karin    
NC  |  July, 23, 2011 at 01:04 AM

My first thought is: Dan, you are a consummate moron. But the fact of the matter is, this planet will soon have no choice but to become vegan, if we are to survive. Animal agriculture is depleting the land and contributing to enormous levels of pollution. But with all the greed and stupidity of our society, the majority of humans will never "get it", and we will ultimately consume ourselves and the planet we live on (Kind of like cancer...)

All-Vegan    
Colorado  |  July, 23, 2011 at 09:54 AM

The Writer says: "What little there is left of it (the wild) that hasn’t been plowed under to grow corn, wheat, soybeans and rice that veggies believe are pure, natural food that fall off of trees and into their food bowls, that is." certainly the writer must Know that it takes much more land to raise and feed animals to be killed for food than it does to raise plants for food. While the writer may be hoping that his misleading article will persuade some people to continue eating unhealthy foods. Thankfully, looking at the comments, the writer has failed to persuade most.

All-Vegan    
Colorado  |  July, 23, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Interestingly Dan Murphy in writing this hit piece for the beef industry, continues in a long line of industry hacks and dupes who shill for the producers of disease causing products. For the last quarter century more and more clinical research has found links between meat consumption and diseases like cancer heart disease diabetes and other degenerative diseases. Research around the world has found that in places where certain animal foods are not consumed the incidence of cancers those foods are linked with are virtually nonexistent. For instance, researchers have found that in places like israel where pork is not eaten the incidence of cervical cancer is extremely low. In places like Japan where dairy foods are not eaten, breast cancer rates are among the lowest in the world. For more information about the meat cancer link. Place the words; cancer meat study, into your favorite search engine. So just as the tobacco industry did 60 years ago. The meat industry today is using hacks, shills and dupes like Dan Murphy to convince people to continue consuming their unhealthy disease causing products. Like the oil industry and the tobacco industry, the meat industry receives huge subsidies and tax breaks from the Government, As a result a portion of every tax dollar is used to fund these unhealthy foods. The result is that meat shows up at markets across this country at artificially low prices. The the required course of action action is clear. Contact your legislators and push for the elimination of these tax breaks and subsidies and require the placing of warning labels on these disease causing foods. The result will be a healthier America and lower medical costs for everyone.

Janet Weeks    
Sacramento, CA  |  July, 23, 2011 at 07:19 PM

Here's just one more point on the NEED TO GO VEGAN and the problem of animal-based consumption: "A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change, a UN report said today. "As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable, says the report from United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management. "It says: 'Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.'" http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet

Janet Weeks    
Sacramento, CA  |  July, 23, 2011 at 07:20 PM

Case in point: East Africa famine, 2011--Across the Horn of Africa, people are starving. A catastrophic combination of conflict, high food prices and drought has left more than 11 million people in desperate need. While on our own shores, the lives of 50,000 nonhuman animals here, 4,000 nonhuman animals there, several hundred nonhuman animals everywhere­--DEAD because FACTORY FARMERS did not forecast or plan on a summer heatwave--­nonhuman animal lives don't count for much either. Billions more can easily be bred to replace them. "Last week, about 50,000 chickens at a North Carolina farm died after the power went off for 45 minutes and the temperature outside was 98 degrees. A Kansas couple lost 4,300 turkeys, which weighed about 50 pounds apiece and took 26 hours to bury. The temperature in the building, even with fans cooling it, hit 106 degrees. In South Dakota, up to 1,500 head of cattle died across the state from the heat." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/22/heat-wave-2011-animals_n_906597.html?show_comment_id=98741659#comment_98741659,sb=487257,b=facebook (I wonder how much of the world's WATER, LAND, ENERGY, and FOOD supplies were used up on those wasted animals?)

Janet Weeks    
Sacramento, CA  |  July, 23, 2011 at 07:21 PM

And, once again, the "world rallies" to stick a band-aid on the problem of 2.23 MILLION children in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia estimated to be acutely malnourish­ed because of HIGH FOOD PRICES, among other Earthly Evils and world leaders gather to posture and bicker over the "debt ceiling." Meanwhile, American citizens BLITHELY kick off "BIG FUN" at their local fairground­s and stuff themselves on greasy fries, hamburgers­, deep-fried maggots, and "raccoon on a stick" at any number of cheap-and-­easy fast-food joints--bu­t not to worry, they'll chuck it all up on the next roller-coa­ster ride. The best case for GOING VEGAN? "Our values are on trial." http://www­.guardian.­co.uk/comm­entisfree/­2011/jul/2­2/no-stoma­ch-starvat­ion

Kimberly    
Dallas  |  July, 23, 2011 at 07:42 PM

I'm confused. Since when do the dietary guidelines recommend meat? They recommend protein. Are you so uneducated that you truly do not realize that there is a ton of plant based protein out there? As a matter of fact, where do the animals killed for meat get their protein? Do those animals eat meat? Last time I checked, farm animals were vegetarians. If it is good enough for them, it is good enough for me.

Kimberly    
Dallas  |  July, 23, 2011 at 07:46 PM

You are a veteran food writer and are asserting that most vegans eat nothing but soy, fake meats, etc...? Last time I checked there is a world of vegan foods that are whole and totally unprocessed. Those fake meat and soy products make up an incredibly small portion of vegan food available in the grocery store.

Talbot    
southwest  |  July, 24, 2011 at 12:13 PM

I have vegetarian family and friends. My church is at least 50% vegetarian or vegan. But never have I met one of these militant leafletters who go around with "meet your meat" queued up on their smart phones all the time. People in my social sphere have a habit of respecting each other's choices.

Linda Marie    
Atlanta  |  July, 24, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Mr. Murphy, with all due respect (although I'm not sure any is due at all), you are either seriously misinformed or deliberately spreading fallacious information. Your arguments for eating meat are so full of holes that all of your bullsh-- falls right through them!

Laura    
Idiotville  |  July, 24, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Eating factory-farmed animals is no more natural than eating other humans. Just saying.

Michelle    
Phoenix  |  July, 24, 2011 at 12:49 PM

I have been a veggie for 20+ years and never had any nutrition-related health issues. As a matter of fact, I believe most people who chose a vegan lifestyle are even more aware of their nutritional needs and what they do eat than your average American. This is because we have been hammered at for so many years about how we get our protein, vitamins, etc which in turn drives us to really look at our diet. Now, how many people really look at their diet that close?

Michelle    
Phoenix  |  July, 24, 2011 at 12:49 PM

I have been a veggie for 20+ years and never had any nutrition-related health issues. As a matter of fact, I believe most people who chose a vegan lifestyle are even more aware of their nutritional needs and what they do eat than your average American. This is because we have been hammered at for so many years about how we get our protein, vitamins, etc which in turn drives us to really look at our diet. Now, how many people really look at their diet that close?

dawn    
maryland  |  July, 24, 2011 at 06:59 PM

wow dan! you're so angry. what's your problem? "the pain they’re sure that chickens and turkeys are experiencing"~have you seen any of the undercover videos? guess not, because we are sure! "“free” all those farm animals from their perceived life of misery"~really? again? "perceived"? now it's clear that you have no idea what you are writing about. & this is your job? boy did they pick the wrong guy! if any one thing about factory farming isn't miserable, i'd love for you to teach me all about it."than we would how to send hundreds of millions of cats and dogs back to their primeval status as creatures equipped to survive in the wild" are you seriously getting paid for this because that sentence doesn't even make sense.we would how to? and the word is then not than. anywho.(please, someone get me an application, i can do better!)i love how guys like you always have to resort to nonsensical statements like "turning cats & dogs loose on the world"! you're so funny! reminds me of the time some dork said "animals don't need rights, what's next? cows driving cars cuz they have the right too?" stupid. & back in the day MY people had to kill bison and such to survive. they couldn't always grow produce. but now we can & do have the choice to go to a whole foods (thank God!thank you God)so we will. we're growing in number everyday & unlike the silly statements ppl like YOU make,we're not dead yet. so get over yourself. you don't know everything. from the words you write, it sounds like you don't know much at all. at least about this subject, so why not write about something else. ANYTHING else.hey.it's okay. just know what you're talking about before you write it, because, you sir, are an idiot!

KM    
Ohio  |  July, 25, 2011 at 12:02 AM

I guess you've never talked to a Native American or done any research at all into nutrition and history... Journalism is ashamed of you.

Joseph Espinosa    
Chicago  |  July, 25, 2011 at 10:37 AM

I am a descendant of the First Nations peoples referred to, and I have handed out over 300,000 Vegan Outreach booklets to students. Our own history of seeing violence used against Indian people drives my work to spare animals against the cruelty and death that modern farming is.

Joseph Espinosa    
Chicago  |  July, 25, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Very dishonest reporting Dan. Many more people could be fed on alot less land if we ate plant foods directly rather than feeding plant material to animals and eating animal products.

Annoula Wylderich    
Las Vegas, NV  |  July, 25, 2011 at 02:03 PM

Dan, Dan, Dan. . .have you ever heard of journalistic integrity and thoroughly researching your topic before writing about it? Your comments lead me to believe that you are representing the beef industry. Did they pay you to write this article? Sorry, but my research and personal experience confirm that avoiding flesh and its byproducts is the way to go on so many levels. . .healthwise, morally, ethically, environmentally. Not only that, but it does my heart good to know that I'm not complicit in the torture and murder of other beings who value their lives just as much as I do my own. I also feel good knowing that I'm not contributing to the demise of the earth and its resources. We only have one, after all. What are YOU doing for the future generations, other than encouraging violence and environmental destruction? Come on, Dan, I've got to believe there's a better side to you than this. Please prove it.

JcBoxer    
July, 25, 2011 at 06:27 PM

Dan, are sure you are not a comedian? cause your article is hilarious. so obviously one sided, short sighted, misleading and down right dishonest. tell rick berman & ccf, it did not work. word.

Michele    
Nrw York  |  July, 25, 2011 at 07:10 PM

Hi Dan! I see you are suffering from terminal stupidity. I feel sorry for you. You seem to have cheese for brains. Too much animal protein probably.

Candy    
Harvard  |  July, 25, 2011 at 11:10 PM

And heres the part that is left out of the we handed out a gazillion pamplets claim. All the ones that got thrown away. I take these lie filled papers all the time and throw them away in the first trash can I come to and go get a burger. Less than 5% of the population is sickly vegans. It's probably gonna stay that way. Really, no one wants to look like that on purpose.

Melissa    
USA  |  July, 30, 2011 at 09:33 AM

Candy, does this look sickly to you? http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=bios

Rex    
nebraska panhandle  |  July, 26, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Troy Where else did this get published that all these vegetarians came alive? I have read only a few vegie online magazines and the recipes seem to be light on protien and heavy on sweet. Hope that was just an a bad month.

Terry Ward    
pa.  |  July, 26, 2011 at 07:48 PM

Goodness, what a lot of time spent arguing with .5 % of the population... The Great Vegan Conspiracy to take over the world's food supply. yes?... THIS is what you strange ag folks are on about? Vegans constitute 1/2 of 1 percent of the population. That is about equal to the number of people killed by bubonic plague since 1928... Either this article is satirical or someone's elevator is missing a few floors...

thinkingdogsman    
CA  |  July, 26, 2011 at 09:21 PM

"Vegans constitute 1/2 of 1 percent of the population." Thank heaven for small favors. Is there a way to prevent procreation?

Debbie    
July, 27, 2011 at 01:28 PM

You obviously do not subscribe to truthfulness in "journalism". Either that or you're incredibly ignorant of economics, agriculture (ie. we would need LESS not more farmland because the cows,you see, have to eat all this grain-somewhere between 10 and 16 pounds of it per pound of edible flesh-to make their "meat" since the great majority are not "grass fed"), nutrition, science, society, religion, and even vegans themselves.

Debbie    
July, 27, 2011 at 01:28 PM

You obviously do not subscribe to truthfulness in "journalism". Either that or you're incredibly ignorant of economics, agriculture (ie. we would need LESS not more farmland because the cows,you see, have to eat all this grain-somewhere between 10 and 16 pounds of it per pound of edible flesh-to make their "meat" since the great majority are not "grass fed"), nutrition, science, society, religion, and even vegans themselves.

Suna    
Iowa City  |  July, 27, 2011 at 02:25 PM

All arguments aside, our first consideration should be compassion. When it's not necessary to cause suffering on sentient animals, why do it? See http://meat.org

Debbie    
NV  |  July, 27, 2011 at 02:41 PM

To Terri W. re vegan "fantasy crap" FYI our bodies produce HGH-that's HUMAN growth hormone-NOT BGH,ie.,BOVINE growth hormone. Just like humans produce breast milk for human infants and cows produce "breast" milk for bovine infants. That's why many humans can't even digest cow's milk and it causes so much mucous esp in kids. Nature's pretty smart, after all.

Corie    
Wisconsin  |  July, 27, 2011 at 03:37 PM

This article is quite humorous! I just applied for life insurance and after my application was approved, my agent let me know that I ended up in the top 3% of applicants as far as lab results go. I said, "Oh, I'm vegan!" I wonder if THAT has anything to do with it?? Your dead animal based diet is bullshit!

Sara    
July, 28, 2011 at 12:04 AM

How about we all travel back in time and remember that the ancient people lived off of mostly meat because it gave their bodies protein that they needed to build muscles. It also gives us modern day people the protein we need for our bodies to function. I like on a horse farm and I firmly agree that if someone told me that I didn't know where my food came from I would probably just have to laugh and walk away. I know that the three cows in my pasture will become my breakfasts and lunches and dinners and I know that I'll never go hungry as long as I have my home raised animals. They are happy and healthy and never once abused. This article may seem silly since he is obviously very upset with this idea. BUt I'm sure that many people are. If I was to walk outside and tell all five of my dogs that the little piece of turkey they got was the last piece of meat they'd have they would run away. It's nature animals eat meat. ame guess what Homosapiens are animals.. that us humans. I agree that the animals should be slaughtered as humane as possible but come back to earth people. It's just not realistic to take meat out of the food supply.

Becci    
Vancouver  |  July, 27, 2011 at 04:28 PM

Wow, every single one of the clichéd claims in this article has been shot down in the comments, and so quickly. Remarkable. I'd be really embarrassed about this if I were the author. Either he's a blatant liar who should be ashamed of himself, or he's woefully underinformed about the very basics of farming and indeed, the world as it exists. I suggest that next time he gets his anti-veggie arguments from somebody other than the angry teenagers who leave comments at Yahoo!Answers or Youtube.

kc    
www.meatvideo.org  |  July, 28, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Grow the crops, if you claim financial issues. It will help our economy as far as health care (government should stop the subsidies), environment and could potentially with proper distribution drastically reduce hunger here. More land, time and resources for crops can feed more since for most factory farm animals (mostly pig/chicken) takes about 10lbs of corn/grain to produce just 1lb of flesh. Then cruel cages used to make them immobile so cannot exercise off the weight. Best to eat the crops directly. For those who claim vegans harm some small animals during harvesting, partly true but the prolonged torture and abuse is much much worst. Factory Farms (look up videos) not only harm billions of mammals but millions of people. My fit and thin father who walked miles a day as a mailman, former military (veg mre meals now) had a heart attack that nearly killed him and horrible open heart surgery at age 42. Most americans die of heart disease, colon cancer and other causes from in large part linked to our animal based diets. Killing animals kills us! So stop forcebreeding, milking baby cows (veal) as we are adults and would not drink our cat, dog or rat milks, eating tortured moms periods (eggs) because its all unncessary today. For addicts get help, but small farms (rare), hunting (real free range) are better but still bad. Go attack your dog and rip it appart and eat it raw while sucking the milk you freaks lol. - casey

    
July, 28, 2011 at 05:21 PM

We are omnivores. Most of the hunter-gatherer societies relied on fish and meat. Some did rely on vegetables, but they ate meat when available. Where I will cross blows with this website is in that I don't believe it is healthy to eat factory-farmed animals on an extensive basis, and I NEVER eat deli-processed meats, or, eh, hot dogs. Our contemporary troubles began with the industrialization of food. And, overall, it's the starches and sugars we contemporary Americans/Westerners are sucking down that is causing diabetes, heart disease, and weight metabolism problems. If I eat soy, it will be in the context of the cultures that developed it, centuries ago. If I eat bread, I prefer home made, or from a bakery that does home made techniques. If I eat beef or pork, the beef is grass finished, and the pork is pastured. I'm not so good about chicken or lamb (yet). I basically try to eat real foods, the way they were made 150 or so years ago. And sometimes more (those Paleo nutrition people have some good things going for them...) And yes, I minimize the potatoes, rice and other such starchy things. I'm feeling quite stronger for it.

Diane    
MA  |  July, 28, 2011 at 05:23 PM

Unforunately it appears my stats aren't attached to the post I am replying to. Apologies, but this is me.

Melissa    
USA  |  July, 30, 2011 at 09:12 AM

"And the animals themselves? We would have no more creative ideas about how to turn back the clock on thousands of years of domestication and return cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and other species back to the wild—which, even if it could be done, would also cause a devastating impact on the world’s ecosystems—than we would how to send hundreds of millions of cats and dogs back to their primeval status as creatures equipped to survive in the wild." Did you know that same argument was used by pro-slavery advocates as a way to scare Americans into believing that the enslavement of Africans was a necessity? (But if we freed the slaves, they would die of starvation, they would run rampant, they would be LESS HAPPY than they are now that we are "taking care" of them!) Funny that you are using the same argument to show that enslaving and brutalizing animals for your profit is also necessary. Ridiculous. As with slavery, I hope we as a culture wake up and do something about the insanity!

Tera    
July, 30, 2011 at 02:18 PM

Wow. This is a joke, yes? I don't honestly understand how a 'veteran food-industry journalist' could spew such nonsense and expect to be believed. This is why I have no hope for so many people. This article is chalk-full of lies and falsifications, exaggerations, and ignorant comments. Obviously the author has never attended a high school history, nutrition, or anger-management class. This is a completely one sided, biased journal entry. I hope nobody believes this ****. Think about this- if no animals were alive (chickens, cows, etc.), and only insects, plants, and humans were alive, wouldn't we survive? I'm pretty sure hard-core carnivores would give up their aversion and picky-ness over vegetables and fruits and actually EAT FRESH, HEALTHY FOODS (such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes), and not flesh or pus.


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