Sunday, January 01, 2006

Vegetarianism = Genocide

Over the holidays, I was having a … discussion … with a relative of mine who is a vegetarian. Now, to set the record straight, I have nothing against vegetarians. However, my cousin is one of those vegetarians who feels morally superior, and takes any opportunity to tell people how much better the world would be if everyone could love animals as much as she did, and stop eating them.

On Christmas, she began by loudly announcing as the turkey was passed around that she wouldn’t be having any, as she felt it was morally reprehensible to kill a living creature and eat it. This was followed by a few seconds of awkward silence. Luckily, I happen to enjoy filling awkward silences with awkward conversation, so I jumped into the fray. I’ll do my best to reproduce our conversation here – script style.

ASH
Why are you trying to eradicate entire species of animals?

COUSIN
I’m not, I’m trying to save them.

ASH
But if everyone stopped eating meat, certain species such as cows and chickens would become extinct.

COUSIN
They would not.

ASH
I don’t really think that you’ve taken the time to think this through. Lets take a look at cows. If everyone stopped eating beef today, what would happen to cows? We wouldn’t need them anymore, and you can bet your ass that no farmer is going to keep a herd of several thousand cows as pets. So what do we do with them? We can’t turn them out into the wild – they’d devastate the natural ecology, and most likely would end up starving to death. It would be cruel to let them go.

COUSIN
We could afford to keep them alive until they died of old age.

ASH
Sure, we could. But lets be realistic here; we’re not living in a fantasy world. The cows are owned by businesses. If the cows are costing money but not bringing in cash, they’d be put down. Over a matter of a few weeks, millions of cows would be destroyed.

COUSIN
We could use them for milk.

ASH
I don’t think you can use beef cattle for milk. That’s what dairy cows are for. Besides, even if we could, we already produce a surplus of milk, we don’t need more. The fact is, if North Americans stopped eating beef, it would be the worst thing that could happen to cows as a species.

COUSIN
That’s bullshit.

ASH
From a “natural” point of view, the only thing that really matters is that the species thrives. Reproduce, grow, have more and more babies, and occupy a successful ecological niche. Its the core drive of every species. By eating cows, we help them to thrive as a species. We’ve made them one of the most populous mammal species in the world by protecting them, feeding them and raising them. We’re doing them a favour.

COUSIN
Killing an animal and eating it is not doing it a favour.

ASH
That’s why your logic is flawed; you think too small. I didn’t say we were helping individual cows, but that we are aiding the species. Face it, the fact is if we didn’t eat cows, there wouldn’t be as many of them. If we stopped eating cows, millions would die overnight. Cows need us to eat them.

Another point I raised was this: during harvest time of foodstuffs such as wheat, corn, barley, rye, and yes, even soy, millions of animals are slaughtered. Literally millions. Mice, rabbits, skunks, squirrels, raccoons, weasels, wild turkeys, quail, etc. All these animals live in the fields, and die when the combine harvester rips through and destroys not only their bodies, but their ecosystem.

Certainly, this is a sad but unavoidable side effect of the harvest, and is not anyone’s intention (well, perhaps a few farmers get a sadistic thrill out of playing Freddy Krueger to a field filled with mice, but I am sure they are a statistically insignificant portion of the population) to kill them, but the fact is that these animals are killed. While meat eaters kill more total poundage of animals, vegetarians actually kill more animals.

So, if you’re one of those vegetarians or vegans who feels a deep, smug sense of self satisfaction over your superior moral fiber, remember that you kill animals too.

Wheat is Murder - Wallpaper

11 comments:

Rach said...

So did Cousin chow down on some turkey after you completely ripped apart the argument behind eating meat? I would. But then again I think I tried to be a vegetarian for like a month in university.

Volunteering for a dog rescue organization I encournter lots of vegetarians, I simply tell them I would never eat a dog. But then again I did spend 2 weeks in Korea.

Asher Hunter said...

Nope, she just let the conversation drop. I tried the vegetarianism thing once myself, lasted six months before I indecently assaulted a Big Mac. I'm not made for it. But it doesn't make me a bad person. :)

Martina said...

I have a website for your cousin which would give her more weight for her arguments: http://www.meat.org/

Anonymous said...

So, Silver Tongue, what your saying is that cows should be grateful that we keep them alive just to kill and eat them. I wonder, if you were in the cows shoes (or hooves), if you would be so grateful? As for your argument about millions of animals killed in the harvesting of produce does that number include the ones hit by the truck transporting the produce to market?

FXW
aka Anonymous

Asher Hunter said...

Anonymous: First off, I don't believe cows are known for experiencing emotions such as gratitude. I have a word you may wish to look up: "an·thro·po·mor·phism". So, considering that I don't believe cows are capable of the emotion of gratitude, the answer to your question is no.

As for your second facetious and brilliantly pointless question, the answer is no. But if you like, we can make the number 1,000,002.

Anonymous said...

So what if you were to eat a bag of dicks?

Seawave said...

Excellent argument. Her reasoning obviously fell apart fairly quickly. Beef, it's what's for dinner.

By the way, thank you for your comment today on my blog. Excellent perspective you offered there too.

Anonymous said...

anonymous - I give up, what?

ST - Thank you for my word of the day - I shall try to use it in conversation tomorrow. My "brilliantly pointless question" was posed to shed led on your equally brilliant yet pointless argument. You compare the deliberate slaughter of cattle to the deaths of 1 000 002 animals in the harvesting of produce - one is a result of a direct action the other an indirect action. Let's face it, with the exception of the Ozarks (and Welland), farmers aren't trying to raise, feed and shelter the mostly 'rodents' who are killed during the harvest.

FXW

Asher Hunter said...

FXW - Glad to do what I can to expand your vocabulary. Only you can choose to open your mind and learn to respect different viewpoints.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating that you accuse me of being closed minded and disrespectful of a differing viewpoint. I have challenged your assertions, which you willing posted for feedback, and this makes me closed minded and disrespectful? Interesting...

FXW

Asher Hunter said...

You "challenged" my statements? How? Did you refute them? Did you offer any supporting arguments? If you have something to say, make it intelligent. Not sophmoric.