Meat Eaters

(Micky) #55

Trying to talk a meat eater into a vegetarian lifestyle is like trying to talk a smoker into quitting. It just won’t work. I say this as a meat eater who struggles daily with the ethical and environmental impact of eating meat but I just love meat



There’s definitely overlap between the two but I think the fundamental problem with meat is one of indoctrination and cognitive dissonance. Even if you know a behaviour to be wrong it can be very hard to break free from that behaviour if it is part of the foundation of you and everybody around you. I consumed animal products for most of my life and for many years I considered animal products to be wrong but turning that belief into action is very difficult when you enjoy it and everybody around you is doing it.

I think littering is a good comparable: if littering was socially acceptable and encouraged, how many of us would litter? Probably the majority, even though the majority of us at this point in time accept that littering is wrong and we do not do it, and would look down on those who do. The consequences would be the same, all it takes is a shift in how others behave and how they perceive our behaviour to change how we behave.

For me personally the transition from meat eater to vegetarian didn’t involve any shift in beliefs, I felt the same way about meat for years before I stopped eating it, the only difference is the day I stopped eating meat was the first day I believed I could stop. I had up until that point considered it too difficult, I had considered it to be too fundamental to my existence and that was reinforced by everybody around me: I loved meat, I ate it for every meal, I couldn’t even begin to imagine how I could eat without it and everybody around me ate meat. Sure, it was wrong but if everybody around me is fine with it, and I enjoy it, and I don’t see the consequences of it, does it matter that it’s wrong?

I think if I were to go back and try to convince me as a meat eater to quit I wouldn’t focus on the ethical or environmental arguments, instead I would focus on how it is achievable and if I truly believe something then I must make an effort towards implementing that belief in my life. Either I believe meat is wrong and so I take action or I don’t permit myself to hold that belief because if I don’t take action on what I believe, do I actually believe it? Thinking about it in terms of taking action towards a goal is much more helpful than thinking about it as an absolute: if I believe something I do every day is wrong, I can permit myself to do it every other day… and then once I’m doing that successfully, I can cut down to twice a week: I’m making progress towards what I believe to be right, and that’s consistent with the beliefs I hold, and I’m doing it in a sustainable way.

Cognitive dissonance is hard to deal with but you might wish to try thinking about each decision to eat meat as an active decision. Don’t start from meat as the default, start from plant based as the default, and try to justify each decision to eat meat using the value it provides to you through enjoyment relative to the harm it causes. You might find that every other day you crave meat so much that you think you can justify the harm that day but over time you may well find that you can go longer and longer without it, and hey, even if you only manage to skip every other day, that’s still cutting your consumption in half. Likewise you might find that over time you’re able to swap out certain things, maybe you love bacon so much that an alternative isn’t possible but you might find that you very much enjoy Beyond Meat burgers and that allows you to cut your beef consumption down substantially.

The biggest change I’ve made is thinking about things in terms of harm and costs. I don’t think about “right” vs. “wrong” rather I think “does my personal enjoyment of the beef burger on this menu justify the torture experienced by the animal, and the harm to the environment?” and the answer so far has always been no. That has been very helpful to me (in many aspects of my life) because seemingly arbitrary “right” and “wrong” designations are easy to dismiss.

Anyway, as time goes on and meat alternatives become more and more realistic it is becoming easier and easier to reduce meat consumption while continuing to enjoy the same flavours and experiences. The Beyond Meat burger is just the start of what we’ll see over the next decade and already it is getting very close to indistinguishable. I think over the next decade as social attitudes shift we’ll see a lot of people move towards plant-based diets because it’s easy and encouraged by our social circles – so even if you don’t think you can stop eating meat today, just being open to the idea and willing to try alternatives is helpful.


So long as it’s processed it’ll be inedible for me for the most part, so these fake meats are basically all off the table.

I’ve no delusions on the impact of my life, I’m happy with the impact of eating meat or plants and the death both cause.

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(Micky) #58

Vegetables are an option though, no reason to process it or to use substitute meats. If you feel you couldn’t survive without meat that’s acceptable but most people can and millions do so without problems

(Kevyn) #59

Your belief is that it is wrong to eat meat but it isn’t my belief it is wrong. I’m happy to eat meat. I don’t believe it is wrong to eat meat and will continue to eat meat until my dying days. As I explained before, I offset my environmental impact massively right now and I hope my beliefs are respected as I respect vegan people’s views on this issue. When we don’t respect peoples different views is the start of a slippery slope.

(James Blackwell) #60

Remember this is based on the American model of farming too I’m the UK we have much stricter welfare rules and slaughter rules. Also all farms have to produce annual figures to the government on pollution and are heavily fined or loose subsidies if they don’t meet targets.
And as a nation we can help by buying all our food from more reliable and sustainable sources.

(James Blackwell) #61

I eat meat and don’t struggle one bit ethically my parents are smallholders I have watched the lambs I eat be slaughtered and butchered I also hunt and eat what I kill. I know the animals we keep have hood healthy lives and are then killed humanly and respected. Also the ones I shoot are done swiftly with as little suffering as possible.

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(James Blackwell) #62

It is worth remembering that plants are also living things that we take away from the environment they like and then eat then. Just because they don’t have a face it is fine to ruin there lives. Also most plants we eat have been modified over the years to meet what we want to see on the shops shelves. What’s to say the plants we eat are not suffering pain and just can’t show it to us.

(James Blackwell) #63

I have lived and worked in countries where they have vegetarian diets and I have enjoyed the food I eat at least one veggie meal a week and enjoy it But I feel meat gives me things I can’t get from a veggie diet after all there are certain vitamins minerals and amino acids that are only found in animal sources. So I eat meat as part of a varied and balanced diet it is not a mental condition stopping me as you are trying to suggest. I just think it is the best way to eat. I respect anyone’s choose not to eat meat but not claim that they have a mental issue with food it is each to there own.


Because the selection process takes a very long time. In another 100k years we will have a population that is adapted to the shit we produce now.

(James Blackwell) #65

We can adapt and change much quicker than this in reality. Already people have got longer thumbs from the use of mobile phones etc this has taken a very short amount of time to start happening. The gut can adapt to different foods incredibly quickly


Absolutely not from evolution.

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(If there's the wrong end of a stick, you'll find me holding it.) #67

Might be sooner than that.

I don’t have a source, but I heard recently that lactose tolerance is a relatively recent change. Just 10,000 years ago there was a genetic mutation in Eastern Europe which allowed humans to tolerate cow milk.

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(James Blackwell) #68

It’s how evolution works the body has adapted to cope with it’s souroundings that is why son children are now born with longer thumbs than they were 30 years ago. It is the definition of evolving.

(James Blackwell) #69

Exactly we can evolve incredibly quickly if we need too.

(James Blackwell) #70

So breakfast this morning is sausage and bacon from hand reared pigs with eggs from hand reared free range chickens and homemade bread made with local ingredients. Non of the produce has travelled more than a mile to be at my table and is sorced from small local farmers

(Dan) #71

The lack of a nervous system, brain and pain receptors are three things that say plants don’t suffer pain.

(Dan) #72

You may feel that. The science would suggest that it is not true.

(James Blackwell) #73

Hey do respond to stimuli though using electrical pulses this could assimilate pain we don’t know as we can’t ask them and they have no way of showing or telling us.

(Dan) #74

And odd choice of words. Cutting the life of an animal that one assumes would really rather not die very short is, I would suggest, not at all humane or respectful.

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