We will never disapprove of current levels of animal cruelty

Not fundamentally, no.  However terrible our current treatment of animals may be, most of us don’t seem to mind very much, and I suppose that is consistent with what a Darwinian theory would predict.  Here are a few facts about the sociologically specific nature of vegetarianism:

  1. The majority of vegans are female in gender: e.g., 74% in USA [27], 66% in Germany [39] and 63% in UK [29];

  2. They tend to be liberal-leftist politically: in USA, we have a 52% of liberals versus a 14% of conservatives and a 34% of self-styled “neutral” [27];

  3. They are generally more educated than carnists (e.g., Ipsos Mori [29] for UK and Mensik et al. for Germany [39]);

  4. They are more likely to be found in urban than country areas, with prevalence in big cities (e.g., Ipsos Mori [29] for UK, Roy Morgan Research for Australia [49] and Mensik et al. for Germany [39]);

  5. They display an inclination to secular/atheist views on religion matters (e.g., Humane Research Council [27], where it is shown that about half of the American community of vegans/vegetarians is not religious—a percentage that is considerably higher than that of the general population).

Less predictable may be the fact that a rather high percentage of vegans/vegetarians revert to carnism after a certain amount of time (in US, according to Humane Research Council [27], 2% of the respondents were vegans/vegetarians, while no less than 10% were former vegans/vegetarians)…

Not by chance, of the mentioned 10%, one third dropped the lifestyle after 3 months or less, one half within a year, and therefore only less than 20% “resisted” for more than a year.

That is from a recent article by Dario Martinelli and Aušra Berkmanienė.  It seems, by the way, that Israel is the country with the highest measured percentage of vegans.  Is that because it is a way of keeping semi-kosher without quite admitting one is doing so?

Artificial meat?  Yes, yes I know.  But we already have cauliflower, and drenched in yogurt sauce and green cardamom pods and garam masala that is quite delicious, and yet it doesn’t seem to matter.  Vegetarian food in India already tastes better than most meat dishes consumed in the United States.

Hat tip goes to Rolf Degen.

Comments

I am a meat-eater, but eating meat is the thing that I am most afraid future generations will judge me for. Once there is good fake meat that undermines the need for real meat, more people will start to see animals as morally valuable, much as improving technology and immigration in the 1800s undermined the need for slavery and made people start to see slaves as morally valuable.

I agree, meat eating seems to me the most likely big issue of the day in about 100 years. I love bacon and steak but even I'd admit that if an alternative existed that didn't kill anything, tasted similar, and cost was reasonable, it would seem morally wrong to eat meat. As it is we ok killing animals for food, not pointlessly.

I'd be all for a Federal law that ends killing the excess dog/cat population nationally. That is my "step over the homeless person and help the puppy" moment. It irks me we kill "mans best friend" because we are irresponsible in breeding.

Dog euthenization has virtually been ended already. Now, shelters bid thousands of dollars for dogs they can put up for adoption as "rescued"

Maybe I'm wired differently, but I couldn't give two F's if people in the future want to condemn my ghost for doing something that hominids have done for millions of years.

Don't those stats suggest vegetarianism is in for sustained growth as a lifestyle? The world is getting more urban, more educated, and more secular...

Morally heinous things we do because we can't breed responsibly, that a society with very different moral norms than our own might judge us harshly for ......

Yes, once cultured meat comes down in price to close to killed-animal meat, I'll switch...as long as the taste is very similar.

It simply makes sense. Why eat something that is the product of suffering, if there is no need for the suffering?

thats what i always thought about wedding cakes

If we stopped eating meat, what would happen to cows? Chickens? Pigs we know can make it I think (and probably would need to be "culled" as they are already in the Southeast)

Yeah. Raising animals in terrible conditions is one thing. But if they are treated well, is it worse for cattle to be raised and eaten, or not exist at all?

Derek Parfit RIP. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/repugnant-conclusion/

Vegetarians and vegans are mentally ill, virtue signaling and feel the need for attention and to stand for "something". I don't really care. Eat your grass and kale but keep your hands off my bacon.

Here is a rule.

Any time you accuse those who do something you wouldn't do of "virtue signaling" you are admitting you have no real basis for criticizing it. Instead you are engaged in mind-reading, imaging that you know exactly what motivates millions of people.

It's an idiotic concept.

+1

Here's the rule, humans have an innate ability to read other humans. Babies can do it, toddlers can do it and we all can do it. So, YES we do indeed know when you are virtue signalling.

"I'm better than you because I don't eat meat". is virtue signaling. It is like the old joke: How do you know if someone is a vegan/vegetarian? They will tell you in the first 15 minutes after you meet them.

Hey it is what it is. If you don't want to be accused of virtue signaling don't do it. But if you do it don't make up rules why no one can call you on it.

I recycle. Would you say I’m only motivated by virtue signaling for that, too? (It’s voluntary where I live, but I choose to do it.) if not, What’s the difference?

I am vegan, because the evidence for whole food plant based diet is overwhelming. But it is hard to ignore what a slaughterhouse does to someone who has been inside or who has worked there. If we have to slaughter our own food, most would be very uncomfortable doing so.

My guess is that before factory farming, when people were closer to the source of their animal protien there were *less* vegetarians.

Artificial meat will do for the cows what the internal combustion engine did for the horses.

meat eating seems to me the most likely big issue of the day in about 100 years

Vegetarians have been saying that for 30 years, but I have not noticed a measurable uptick in concern about meat eating. If anything, meat-eating is in due to the low-carb/paleo diet fads.

Have you been looking? Faux philly cheesteaks, aka seitan are delicious!

This whole piece makes only sense with the implicit assumption that human beings are somehow obligated to unilaterally minimise the suffering of other living organisms. In a secular, science-informed framework, this assumption is difficult to hold (usually with some utilitarian yoga). Thus, the atheistic vegans are even more irrational than their theistic peers.

From an atheistic perspective, how is it irrational to optimise for any goal? If you want to do something, then why not? If you believe there is a moral obligation for everyone to do something, then why not? On what basis can that be disproved?

Read more Kant

The problem of the post is to, apparently, equate "disapprove of current levels of animal cruelty" with vegetarianism; the people who "disapprove of current levels of animal cruelty" is a much broader set than vegetarians : includes also the people who only eat free range animals, or people who don't eat foi gras, the people who are not against eating meat or even medical experiments with animals, but are against experiments of cosmetics in animals, etc, etc.

Inversely, there are also people who are vegetarian, not by an opposition to animal cruelty, bu because they belive that is more healthy, or is more "environmentally sustainable", or something like that.

An important point. For example, there doesn't seem to be too much concern over the fact that thousands of innocent animals die daily crossing highways. Justifying the death of a deer, or even a rabbit, by the need to quickly pick up a pack of smokes or avoid being late for work is morally suspect even for non-Buddhists.

>For example, there doesn't seem to be too much concern over the fact that thousands of innocent animals die daily crossing highways.

Not sure about that. I think a lot of people care about this very sad and gruesome fact. I personally have moved hundreds of animals out of roadways (mostly turtles). And I have given much thought to how we might redesign our transportations networks to minimize killing animals.

"moved hundreds of animals out of roadways (mostly turtles)."

....to be written on your obit right next to the words "and the turtle survived the truck impact"

" I personally have moved hundreds of animals out of roadways (mostly turtles)"

Just don't make this mistake:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/12/17/canada-ducklings-highway-fatal-court/20513845/

Yes. Also: households of means have ample options to consume animal based foods from humanely raised and slaughtered creatures. Beyond cheap marketing gimmicks like "hormone free chicken".

There is an oversimplification going on here. I was a vegan for 30 years. We all die. I'm going to die, you're going to die, cows are going to die. Some people are making mature and nuanced ethical decisions about food and it is reverberating in the marketplace. It's not like all vegans are like, "OMG! Bambi!!!"

There are also plenty of non-vegan/vegetarians who are incapable of being vegan/vegetarian. It may be too hard culturally or environmentally or eductionally (For example, for some reason parents of children who have gone vegan are sometimes frustrated/confused about how to feed their kid and my wife's step mother still makes my vegan wife fish because "it's not meat" apparently.)

If we had more resources to properly make a choice without considering cost, with understanding "how" to do it, what kind of percentages would we see of vegan/vegetarianism?

Nick. You hit the nail on the head. The current economic system encourages meat consumption due to its inefficiency as a food source by creating more jobs to create a single calorie versus plants. The USDA is required by law to promote the meat and dairy industries because of those jobs and profits. That means $Bs are spent by taxpayers to subsidize our fixation of consuming animals. Consuming plants is so much easier and cost-effective for those with the knowledge (your point), though. Just go to nutritionfacts.org for the primer on whole food plant based nutrition and save your money and health as part of the bargain. But keep in mind you’ll be forcing Big Pharma, the medical industry, food processors and the animal food industries out of business. They ain’t going to like it one bit and have $Bs in advertising to keep the ruse going. Also, keep in mind that the REAL economic cost of animals after considering your tax subsidies and damage to the environment is well over 3 times the cost you pay at the counter. Check out “Meatonomics” by David Simon if you’re interested in the ugly economic truth behind animal consumption.

ahhh, beat me to post it.

Yes, Mr. Degen assumes animal rights activist equals vegetarian. Farmers who are compassionate to their animals are out of his radar.

I never get why old guys adopt the macho man pose. If life were really that tough, they'd have been already quartered by the young, fit and ambitious. They are free-riding on the kindness of younger people.

"I never get why old guys adopt the macho man pose. If life were really that tough, they'd have been already quartered by the young, fit and ambitious. They are free-riding on the kindness of younger people."

Is there any society in which this took place?

It's always about power.

No, Dick, it always about you. Always.

In India things are the opposite.

Vegetarianism strongly correlates with political conservatism. The BJP is actually quite weak in states with 20% vegetarianism.

The country on the whole is roughly ~30% vegetarian, but meat consumption per-capita is pretty low even among the remaining 70% with the exception of Kerala, West Bengal and the North Eastern states.

Correction -

"The BJP is actually quite weak in states with less than 20% vegetarianism.

What I mentioned on the correlation between vegetarianism and conservatism even holds at a community / caste level -

Brahmins / Baniyas (merchant castes) / Lingayats / Jains - are extremely likely to vote BJP.

The less vegetarian castes are less likely

In my view the AUC of this one variable (vegetarianism) in predicting support for BJP must be pretty high.

The comment is a bit misleading for those outside an Indian cultural context.

In India, Brahmins and the so called upper castes are more likely to be "liberal" in the "purest" sense of the word, simply because they are more likely to be better educated. These also happen to be people who are more likely to vote BJP.

What you really mean is probably something else: influential card-carrying virtue-signaling progressives hate BJP, and they hate Brahmins, so to them these are both conservative.

BTW I was surprised to read a bit ago that Krugman found Modi surprisingly liberal on womens' issues, though of course he bought into the bullshit "minorities under attack" prevarication.

For me "conservative" is not a bad word.

By conservative I just meant "right of center" politics. It doesn't have to imply extreme social conservatism, or extreme religious fundamentalism.

Extreme? So you are saying BJP is even slightly religiously fundamentalist? I know liberals say so and am familiar with their arguments, but didn't know you bought into that.

"Right of center" politics, like "conservatism", is a loaded word which can mean many things. How do you think any westerner will interpret the use of that term in the context of BJP? Look at how that retard GW has responded to you below.

No. I am not buying into that.

The BJP means many things to many people. There are all shades of opinion within its big tent. But broadly it is not even "slightly" fundamentalist. So with you on that.

But you are right. That in an apolitical social sense, many middle / lower castes (which embrace meat eating coincidentally) are much more conservative than Brahmins.

Eg : Cousin marriage, dowry, extended familial obligations (what is called "biradiri" clan culture) are much much more prevalent among many so-called "middle / lower" castes than among Brahmins. Particularly in Southern India.

I remember reading that during the colonial era, young British officers were astounded by high caste locals refusing to eat meat while they were starving thanks to a famine. Meat was cheap as many animals were dying too.

That takes some commitment.

I would have to get pretty hungry before I would eat insects. It's amazing how ingrained some food aversions can be. The disgust instinct is pretty hard to overcome.

Yet what is a lobster but an insect gone to sea?

I have had a variety of grubs and insects. I quite like those deep fried spiders you see being sold to tourists in south-east Asia. Mainly for the aesthetic appeal.

Your brain must be in the other room, but a lobster is a crustacean, not an insect. Those spiders you ate isn't food. Its an inside joke among locals to see what disgusting thing they can get gullible tourists like you to eat.

A lobster is an arthropod. As is a spider.

Of course they just do those things for the tourists. So what?

"I would have to get pretty hungry before I would eat insects."

For me, the secret would be to prepare them (by grinding into a powder, for example) in such a way that it's completely impossible to tell they're insects. Then lie to me and don't tell me they're insects.

An excellent counter-example. In this case, the brahmin conservatives intent on preserving a status quo are literally Brahmins (who just happen to be vegetarians!)

I am not implying a causal relationship. There could be any number of reasons why vegetarians tend to vote BJP - baniyas probably more so than Brahmins.

Just stating the correlation

A crocodile or alligator recently ate a lady down in Florida. So this goes both ways.

Which 'we'?

Many things still allowed in the U.S. regarding the treatment of animals are considered illegal in the EU.

Meaning that at least in terms of whether the U.S. can improve its treatment of food animals would not seem to an issue that involves Darwin in the least, as clearly the difference is cultural.

> Israel is the country with the highest measured percentage of vegans.
> Is that because it is a way of keeping semi-kosher without
> quite admitting one is doing so?

No.

That is true in America -- it is easy to keep kosher by just being vegetarian.

In Israel, kosher food is readily available. Veganism is associated in Israel with the secular-leftist lifestyle as elsewhere. There may be a few people living in an the intolerant extremes of secular social bubble and pretending to be more secular than they are, but if so, they are few.

Right.

Tyler's theory about the motivation is nonsense.

'the people who "disapprove of current levels of animal cruelty" is a much broader set than vegetarians'

Absolutely. The vegans I know tend to be less concerned about animal cruelty concerning eggs and dairy than the people I know who buy such.

'bu because they belive that is more healthy'

This is most notable among a subset of American vegans, who are vegan because they feel it offers superior athletic performance and specific health benefits, and are simply not all that concerned about moral perspectives.

Yup, I would guess well more than half the vegans and vegs i know claim health reasons not ethics, esp vegans

To clarify, veganism as a philosophy was created over 60 years ago based on animal rights and cruelty, not health. As a group, I agree they would be considered more leftist. Some vegans follow a very unhealthy diet by consuming large quantities of processed plant food (mostly sugar, refined grain and oil). I'm aligned with vegans primarily on health, economic (I'm against tax subsidies to dairy, processed food and animal food companies) and environmental grounds, though I'm sympathetic to their arguments regarding animal cruelty since their arguments are generally factual (most CAFOs are horrific places for animals and people). Personally, I've resolved several health problems by adopting a vegan-friendly whole food plant-based lifestyle and I would never be identified as a leftist politically. It seems the health benefits work for the left and right equally.

Meh, rich people problems.

Any fella worried about the treatment of his sandwich is a fella who is not late for his second job.

Wow. This guy gets it. Please stick around.

Indeed

Particularly if the second job is wading through a sea of chickens to pull out the dead ones

The real truth about America: http://www.leighb.com/usecon.htm

"Artificial meat? Yes, yes I know. But we already have cauliflower"

Straussian comedy is a thing, I see.

Pakora -- deep frying vegetables, i.e. cauliflower -- in a spiced chickpea batter adds protein and fat to a vegetable, making it indeed a meat substitute. It's probably not as efficient or flexible as tempeh, but it'll do.

Well we are not that nice to other humans, including those that are genetically proximate. Why should we care about animals?

I guess I mean why is it surprising that we don't care about animals?

Maybe we should care as much for animals as we do for people. Famous Brazilian Chief Cunhambebe did.

https://books.google.com.br/books?id=PmVXOM-n9d0C&pg=PT79&lpg=PT79&dq=hans:staden+jaguar&source=bl&ots=ZIZnt96r57&sig=KGe2jZNdr5EDjk9ZPMAM5pKEz6o&hl=pt-BR&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwja-uXsxsbXAhUOOZAKHTrHBXIQ6AEIbjAM#v=onepage&q=hans%3Astaden%20jaguar&f=false

This post nicely summarizes all you need to know about Tyler -- he's baffled why people prefer to eat certain things, when other things clearly taste better.

"he's baffled why people prefer to eat certain things, when other things clearly taste better"

No. He's baffled why people prefer to eat certain things when he thinks other things taste better. He's forever uncomprehending that different people have different tastes and other priorities.

I have watched a small owl that we see here in the winter. It is about the size of my fist.

When it stares at me it is wondering if it could take me down. It sees me as edible. Or as something that would eat it.

Do vegans reproduce?

Well...if vegans think we should be operating on a higher moral plane than first-sized owls, they are hardly alone in that belief.

Of course, who can resist the signalling opportunity?

Q - How do you know if one of your cocktail party guests is a vegetarian?

Ans - Don't worry - they'll tell you!

>Do vegans reproduce?

Reliable field reports say yes, but it isn't common, and there is definitely no threat that maternity wards will be in danger of overflowing.

You are far more likely to see them in adoption centers or fertility clinics after they turn 43.

If you are surprised by this, because you think vegan women tend to be attractive.... no. You are visualizing 22-year-old actresses and other celebrities who have already been selected for their attractiveness, and are now trying to get attention by claiming veganism until it isn't useful any more.

Well, at least vegans usually aren't overweight, which is more than can be said for the average American woman these days.

I don’t mind vegan women. Or rather, I don’t mind the veganism. It’s the other attributes, behaviors and practices that ride along on its coattails that I cannot abide. Hillary support and septum rings...

Their farts smell better too. Nothing is worse than some smokin hot blonde bombshell letting one loose after a night at Ruth's Chris.

Reminds me of an old Calvin Trillin line: "If health food is so good for you, why can't guys in health food stores grow a full beard?" (This line was much better before the hipster beard became a thing.)

The majority of vegans are female in gender: e.g., 74% in USA [27], 66% in Germany [39] and 63% in UK [29];

Where it is often associated with people trying to lose weight without admitting they are concerned about being fat. Also it takes a certain amount of courage to kill an animal.

They tend to be liberal-leftist politically: in USA, we have a 52% of liberals versus a 14% of conservatives and a 34% of self-styled “neutral” [27];

As Chesterton did not say, when we ceased to believe in God, we don't believe in Nothing, we believe in Anything. Secularized urban Westerners need another religion to provide structure and meaning to their empty lives.

They are generally more educated than carnists (e.g., Ipsos Mori [29] for UK and Mensik et al. for Germany [39]);

See above.

They are more likely to be found in urban than country areas, with prevalence in big cities

That is, people who know anything about animals tend to eat meat. It is part of the separation of urban Mankind from the places that produce their food. So for them animal welfare is a theoretical notion applying only to their cats.

They display an inclination to secular/atheist views on religion matters

Secular religions again.

Less predictable may be the fact that a rather high percentage of vegans/vegetarians revert to carnism after a certain amount of time

Actually it is well known that most vegetarians are former vegetarians. Another large group are the vegetarians who eat meat from time to time.

"Where it is often associated with people trying to lose weight without admitting they are concerned about being fat."

We don't know that. At least, I am told women are emotionally different from men so I don't see why they can just be averse to killing.

"Also it takes a certain amount of courage to kill an animal."
My mother killed chicken hundreds of times. Brazilian natives killed animals all the time. Anyone can do it. But those who do not want to kill their own food can shop at supermarkets. We have those in Brazil. Maybe in America lack of supermarkets is driving veganism...

"Secularized urban Westerners need another religion to provide structure and meaning to their empty lives."
I am pretty sure abolitionism was described that way (those Quaker and Unitarians infidels!!). Actually, some LewRockwellian guy has said that the Confederacy was the last hurrah of Christianity. So yeah, abolitionism was described that way yesteryear or so.

Eat meat from time to time

I call them bacon vegetarians

Actually my wife was a veg, until she got pregnant. Dietary iron craving was undeniable

Living off all carbs and no protein is a terrible way to lose weight. There are lots of fat vegetarians.

We've evolved for millions of years to eat a very particular type of matter. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to ever make artificial meat as healthy as true animal meat. And really what is the purpose of expensively creating an inferior product? For our consciences? The lion has no conscience about eating its prey, and nor should we. Like the lion, it's exactly what we evolved to do.

This, it seems to me, is an impressively misguided comment. What malign worldview must one have to believe that doing something noble "for our consciences" is not among the highest of all possible callings? That we can be sanguine about satisfying our basest impulses because of evolution and "lions do it"?

The expense here is negligible as well - I can count the number of artificial meat startups on one hand.

Every statement here seems utterly divorced from a even a basic understanding of morality, economics, and nutrition.

...Am I triggered? Is this what being triggered is like?

You're triggered. We evolved to eat the flesh of animals. You may not like it, for some strange reason, but you take a risk with your health when you deviate from what you evolved to do, as an animal. For instance, you should not feed a lion tofu if you want it to be healthy. Similarly, as omnivores, we cannot thrive (though we may survive) without animal protein. Don't believe me? Try to recover from major surgery on a vegan diet. You will die.

Economically, we have massive farming economies of scale to feed billions meat. Think you can scale that out in a lab with artificial meat anywhere near as cheaply? Think the meat you create will be as healthy as meat constructed by billions of years of evolution? You are a fool.

Morally? You can invent any misguided morals you want, I guess. There is nothing morally wrong with eating the things your species evolved to eat. This is, perhaps, the most basic morality of all.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on basically every point of contention here. I do have one remaining question, however: Disregarding how long it may take, is it your belief that humanity will fail to scale up artificial meat production to current factory farming levels, keep it cheap, and ensure that it is nutritious? Is there some technological or practical roadblock that you suspect we will prove insurmountable? I ask because the opposite seems clear to me - given the rate at which we are iterating our technologies and dissecting apart the molecular structure of the universe, it seems obvious to me that sometime within the next, say, 500 years we will be able to generate all the artificial meat we could want. What could conceivably stop us?

Since this contention is at the base of my understanding of the issue, perhaps you can see how I might have no problem with trying to nudge up that timetable by supporting the early and enthusiastic development of this technology. "We're going to get there at some point anyway. The cost for trying to get there a little earlier is totally negligible and the upside is a potentially massive decrease in the amount of unnecessary suffering in the universe."

Too utopian for you?

My contention is that everything that went into the millions/billions of years of evolution that made natural meat healthy for us to consume is astonishingly complex. I do not believe such complexity, which is almost infinite, can be replicated equally in a lab. Due to this complexity, the ability to make it as cheaply as cows eating grass in a field or free ranging chickens eating bugs and grass and scraps would be impossible. It is stupid. Why invent an incredibly complex and expensive wheel when we've had a perfectly good one for all of human history? This is technology in search of a problem. And for what? Because you refuse to accept what you are?

You say, "given the rate at which we are iterating our technologies and dissecting apart the molecular structure of the universe." This is absolute foolishness. Despite all our "technology" scientists still refuse to accept that ancestral wisdom, when it comes to diet at least, offers far wiser solutions than their misleading observational studies that have led to dietary choices that have killed millions, if not hundreds of millions of people over the past few decades from heart disease, cancer, etc. And now you propose that people eat Franken-food prepared by such scientists in a laboratory! What a fool you are!

I appreciate the discussion! I'll give a go at answering your return question and then take my leave.

"Why invent an incredibly complex and expensive wheel when we've had a perfectly good one for all of human history? This is technology in search of a problem."
The answer here is that some people (myself included) believe that the immense suffering of billions of sentient creatures is an issue with real moral weight and that suffering deserves consideration. Maybe that idea is wrong, but it's definitely not stupid.

Creatures would not even exist without farming. So what is worse? Existing then brief suffering or never existing at all? You prefer non-existence for your strange conscience. Far enough! I don't see this as any less cruel, however. Perhaps infinitely more cruel!

You also, like most technologists, fail to consider second and third order effects of your technology. If all meat is made in lab, the owners of said production - which, like Google will probably end up with far more concentrated industry position than even traditional, current food producers - will be in a position to impose far more significant suffering upon dependent human populations.

Natural meats did not spend millions of years evolving to be healthy for humans but evolving to avoid being eaten by predators such as humans. Hominids spent a million years or so evolving from generally vegetarian primates to be omnivorous so as to have an increased food supply. A few thousand years ago some food animals were domesticated, and now modern practices of feeding them antibiotics and hormones to increase their growth rate probably make the meat less healthy than when they were first domesticated. A free range chicken that actually wanders around a yard with a diet of bugs, grass and scraps is very premium item. In massive farming economics, a free range chicken is one that spends 5 minutes on a concrete patio before being moved back into the coop.
So if you’ve gone this far into turning the animal into a protein generating machine, you might as well just grow the muscle cells in a vat and avoid wasting feed growing bone cells, feather cells, central nervous system cells, etc.

Evolution was a dynamic process between predator and prey. You can twist words like a pretzel, but we evolved to eat meat found in nature. Concerning industrialization of food production making it less healthy, you are absolutely correct. However, you bizarrely propose to make industrial meat even less healthy by removing it even further from nature! And why? You don't even know that eating just muscle is bad for you! You must eat entire animal - skin, bones, tendons, organs - to balance out amino acids. If you listened to ancestral wisdom rather than nerds drinking soylent, you might know this!

Very few people are eating the entire animal now. You were contending that "Economically, we have massive farming economies of scale to feed billions meat. Think you can scale that out in a lab with artificial meat anywhere near as cheaply?" The factory farm is the competition. Not wild buffalo which wouldn't be able to feed billions.

From health standpoint

Wild animal > Factory Farmed Animal > Lab Grown Monstrosity

Only difficult for soylent techno-nerd to comprehend.

'Also it takes a certain amount of courage to kill an animal.'

Driving a car is an act of courage? Here is some information from Brasilia - ' An estimated 1.3 million animals die every day after being struck by cars and trucks in Brazil, according to a recent study by Centro Brasileiro de Estudos em Ecologia de Estradas.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

That's 475 million animals every year in one country alone: about 15 animals every second.

Over the duration of the study, the team documented the deaths of 165 different species: 10 amphibian, 21 reptile, 63 avian and 71 mammal.' https://www.thedodo.com/road-kill-every-day-1392772624.html

The American information suggests 1 million a day, but all the information seems decades old.

However, you are welcome to mock car driving vegetarians and vegans all you wish - though whether for their participation in killing animals or their hypocrisy is for you to decide.

Even for you that is an exceptionally stupid response. Would you like to try something that doesn't humiliate you quite so much?

"An estimated 1.3 million animals die every day after being struck by cars and trucks in Brazil, according to a recent study by Centro Brasileiro de Estudos em Ecologia de Estradas."

Most of of times, the animals tried to cross the roads at bad times.

But I wanted to get to the other side!

You should have waited your turn and looked both sides.

I recommend Paul Shepard’s Nature and Madness.

On the lost relationship with game meat

Artificial meat? Yes, yes I know. But we already have cauliflower, and drenched in yogurt sauce and green cardamom pods and garam masala that is quite delicious, and yet it doesn’t seem to matter. Vegetarian food in India already tastes better than most meat dishes consumed in the United States.

So clearly most Americans find meat more satisfying than dishes which you claim to be tastier. Given that their priorities are different from what you consider tasty, the possibility that artificial meat may replace meat cannot be ruled out at all.

"carnism"? Do they mean "omnivores"?

If vegetarian dishes are better than meat-based dishes, I prefer vegetarian. But I discarded the idea that the suffering of nonhuman animals matters because they are not part of the game theory of reciprocity.

My wellbeing matters because I'm me.

The wellbeing of people who improve my wellbeing matters because of reciprocity.

The wellbeing of people who harm my wellbeing matters negatively, because of reciprocity.

The wellbeing of nonhuman animals only matters if we need empathy management to feel better, but I find that rather easy to just ignore.

Human rights standards, e.g. the torture and slavery prohibitions matter because I don't want to be enslaved or tortured, and I don't want the people who benefit me to be enslaved or tortured. Although I might see it more favorably if it happens to my enemies, and I might use it in an equilibrium where it is normalized.

Perhaps an argument could be made that humane treatment of animals makes humans nicer to each other, which benefits us? But it would be a weak benefit that only justifies small costs.

The theory of reciprocity is something that stems from the Golden rule - which in my view is a selfish ethical framework.

The Golden rule is an infiltration of atheistic materialist philosophy into religion.

Religion has to transcend the Golden rule and seek out what's right and virtuous in an absolute sense.

Golden rule is merely Step 1 in religion and ethics.

I see the Golden Rule as seperate from reciprocity. For example, I am willing to do unto others what I would not want them to do if roles were reveresed, if they can't actually reciprocate.

For example, I would not want to be tortured without anaesthesia if I were a pig, but since I'm not a pig and pigs can't reciprocate, I'm willing to do it to pigs regardless.

Another example are far-future beings who exist long after I'm dead. They are also outside the game theory of reciprocity.

I'm not religious. I don't think divine entities are high probability realities. God-like beings (aka beings much more capable of getting stuff done than we are) might exist with some probability somewhere far from us, but not with high probability near us and certainly not with the details that theists want to project on them.

I am an egoist although not an ethical egoist. I don't do ethics anymore. Altruism is reserved strictly for those who benefit me.

Unfortunately, some religious people have harmed me, by lobbying for laws that reduce my end-of-life choice set, or by trying to leverage antisexual moralism to reduce my sexual choice set. This unfortunately makes them more enemies than allies, although I don't blame them inherently for getting the God question (probably) wrong.

I am not religious in the sense of having very strong, inflexible theological beliefs.

But I am definitely religious in a much broader sense of the term - a believer in the idea that there is such a thing called a "good life" and that there is such a thing called "virtue" - that transcends mere reciprocity.

And in my view, as the conventional "religious" deteriorate in following, so does the idea of a "good life". Basically ethics then becomes a legal question left to lawyers as opposed to moralists, priests and philosophers.

And in my view, that's dangerous. As it implies that if law were to break down, you would revert to "state of nature" and the most powerful beast would rule the world! Exactly as the Lion rules the jungle.

Sorry again. I meant conventional "religions"

"Basically ethics then becomes a legal question left to lawyers as opposed to moralists, priests and philosophers."

You know, priests to tell you which devil wil get you more money. After all, if there is no real God nor absolute truth, any devil from any "traditional religion" (that is, Satanism in its many types) will do. You just have to choose the most convenient one!! It is sad to see Satanism being preached in the West and being taken seriously as a moral or intellectual tradition. It was in opposition to Satan that Civilization was built by the West and Science and Moral were invented.

The Golden Rule is about not being selfish, treating people well because it is right, not because one will get someting for it. The Good Samaritan did not expect anything in return. Evidently, societies where most people behave that way are better, more prosperous and virtuous than ones where religion, like "Hinduism", is just an excuse for preying on the weak
But if only more people worshipped Satan... and cows!

Yet up until a few hundred years ago they were richer. When they move to the greatest 'Good Samaritan' countries, they end up running some of their most important companies like Microsoft and Google. When people from these GS countries visit the Hindus they come out commenting how happy the Hindus are no matter there social status, even Trump Jr said that.

My guess is that the golden rule was not originally worded to be a quid pro quo

I am “marginally vegetarian”. I eat at least 2 vegetarian meals per day. I think it is easier for people to move in that direction than complete strictness.

There is evolving technology on the artificial meat side. The “impossible burger” has genetically engineered heme protein inserted into a vegan patty. You can get them at White Castle now!

After reading "The Jungle" in my rural high school, I stopped eating meat. My husband and I have relapsed twice. Both times were in rural Kentucky. We had a small local farm that treated their animals very well and provided a CSA, a worthy product. Deer hunting is also a big thing in Kentucky and I helped process a few of the deer my husband shot. Close proximity to your food and the taking of a life enriched my perspective. Over the years, the ethnic choices (Indian, Thai, Mediterranean, Ethiopian) and the faux meat choices have improved greatly. Now that we live in the city adhering to our lifestyle is effortless. The restaurants are aplenty and the farmer's market is teeming with beautiful produce and free range eggs and dairy.

With respect to #2 and #5, I submit an article from National Review that informed my thinking on faith and practice. https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/12/animal-welfare-standards-animal-cruelty-abolition-morality-factory-farming-animal-use-industries/. Glenn Greenwald and the Intercept do some excellent reporting on factory farm abuses which should make us question our stewardship.

P.S. This is a personal choice. I must qualify that my choice does not diminish your choice. I also understand that factory farming has been a boon to the world. I just see things differently.

Thank you for your civilized and reasonable post - it stands out here.

The “I’m vegetarian but I don’t think I’m better than you” vibe is why that post doesn’t anger meat eaters. Defensiveness melts away.

Last week's Science magazine claimed that domesticated animals have about 22X of wild animals' mass. That is, a reasonable conclusion would be: if we stop eating meat then 90%-95% of the worlds animals will be eliminated. We own this planet and we control its (almost all of its) (terrestrial) ecology.

90 - 95% of domesticated animals would be eliminated. Non-domesticated animals might even make a come back.

Re Israel:

1) If you are Vegan, you eat absolutely Kosher, not only semi-kosher. All the alimentary restrictions concern animals -- those you can never eat, how to prepare the ones you cam, and with what you can mix them up (no meat and milk in the same meal, basically).

2) If you are vegetarian, and if you avoid very unusual stuff like crocodile's eggs and camel's milk, you are also eating Kosher (most birds are Kosher, so their eggs are also Kosher, in particular standard eggs, and for milk it is the same: kosher if the mammal that produces it is Kosher, so cow's milk, goat's milk, sheep's milk in particular are Kosher, and thus every traditional cheese -- and you don't have to worry about the rule meat + milk if you do not eat meat.)

3) So it doesn't seem to me that veganism is anywhere a substitute for eating Kosher. Eating normally vegetarian is enough, and I have known some apparently secular Jews who were vegetarian as a way to hide (to others, perhaps also to themselves) that they couldn't eat non-kosher.

4) If veganism is more prevalent in Israel than in western countries (but the proportion must be very small anyway), I wonder if it is not because the state of mind correlated to vegansim described in the article is particularly present in Israel: people who rejects traditional monotheist religions but are left-leaning and feels a kind of ethical bond to the world.

That's not strictly true, For fruits, you have to also pay attention to "Orlah" which means you cannot eat the fruit from a tree for the first 3 years.

Technically not "Kosher" but falls under the same dietary restrictions that Kosher is supposed to represent.

http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/139,2259944/Are-raw-fruit-and-vegetables-automatically-kosher.html

My sister recently gave up on vegetarianism (after 20 years) for health reasons. It's harder to maintain good health on a vegetarian diet than you might think, partly because people may develop health problems as they age which restrict their diet further, so they have fewer food options. Like if they start developing a soy allergy, or if they develop problems potentially caused or exacerbated by excess soy consumption - that rules out a lot of protein sources that vegetarians rely on. And there may be cultural differences as well. Indian vegetarian diets involve a lot of legumes which westerners may find hard to obtain or cook in a tasty way. It becomes a lot of work to get all the nutrients needed for optimal health if you start having further dietary restrictions. Too much dairy can cause problems. Too much soy can cause problems. Too much carbohydrate can cause problems. You could have gluten sensitivity. You could have restrictions on fiber due to medications you are on.

Red meat is generally considered bad, but poultry and fish are some of the healthiest sources of protein you can get, and birds and fish are pretty distant from humans, so it's harder to make the case that eating birds and fish is immoral.

I think one could make a pretty decent case for some sort of non-vegetarianism that simply avoid mammals. if poultry and fish are permitted it's much easier to stay healthy.

What you describe is an accurate depiction of the scene in India - where a vast majority of non-vegetarians mostly eat poultry and fish and no other meat. (occasionally mutton / lamb which is a mammal).

Here's how I would break up Indian food habits :

Close to 0% - Vegan
25-30% - Strict Lacto vegetarians
5-10% - Eggetarian
20% - Chicken / fish eaters
20% - Chicken + fish + mutton eaters
20% - Venture into red meat (beef and pork)

What about insects? I know other parts of Asia, and the more hipster areas of the West do as well. Insects are renewable, virtually limitless source of protein.

Factory farming will become less common over time for the following reasons:

(i) we will keep getting richer

(ii) "ethical meat" is more expensive

(iii) "ethical meat" tastes better.

We get richer and "purchase" moral values that are consistent with our quote-unquote amoral purposes as we can afford them. We like better tasting food and don't like to see or think about animals being massacred (just watch one of those videos). So it will be easy to make the better-testing-non-massacred food moral once we can afford to eat it. Child labor seems* to have become immoral, and a moral priority, just when families could afford to get by without it, probably because people like their kids and neighbors' kids and don't like them growing up in grueling factories. (It's mostly OK for e.g. Chinese kids to work in factories--as long as we don't see pictures--and we happily send our billions in exchange for cheap stuff.) (*correctness and details of history known better by others)

A newly emergent "moral" seems to mean something like "we want it anyway, we can't quite afford it yet, and want to feel good about the stuff we want." Well that's my half-theory so far, missing ingredients. I say we do not become moral vegetarians and that vegetarianism does not become a prominent moral value unless/until enough peoples' taste buds come to prefer vegetables.

"(ii) "ethical meat" is more expensive"

I don't see how this will always be the case. It seems to me "ethical meat" could be made less expensive than "less ethical meat."

With "ethical meat" there aren't the needs for massive amounts of water and food, and dealing with the animals' waste products throughout life. Hopefully, "ethical meat" will become less expensive sooner, rather than later.

Degen is on a roll, he is pointing out that that females are often non committed fad followers by joining and leaving the vegetarian ranks, and also proliferating the notion that the Stanford prison experiment was a sham:

https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1006093119803330561

What's next, will he go all Peterson/Adams, and join the Trumpistas?

BTW, this is not widely circulated: Scott Adams married a middle aged woman with children, and built an energy efficient house, living the liberal dream, and despite being an excellent provider, it does appear she dumped him. If this is true, it seems likely Adams swallowed the red pill shortly after, and went all in for Trump, in an effort to taunt the liberals that chewed him and spit him out.

This seems doubtful. Scott Adams commentary doesn't seem to be spiteful or hateful. Nor has been over the top pro-Trump.

"Nor has been over the top pro-Trump."
Come on. He is a president's cheerleader if there ever was. And that is OK. Obama had lots!!

Hmmm, true he's become a cheerleader. Ok, I retract the last part of my statement.

Also, it's comments like this that prove you aren't actually from Brazil.

Because Brazilians can't read American blogs and news?!? When Is tarted reading Mr. Adams blog, Mr. Bush still was president. Then came, the Messiah, according to liberal press. And now finally the Anti-Christ. And Mr. Adams is his prophet.

Thiago is the ultimate Straussian irony poster. He knows Brazil is a s***hole, never says so, but makes numerous other posters point it out. Brazil is also the direction we are heading for, with out melting pot, and catering to iommigrants that cannot support themselves. Thiago knows this.

It is not true. Brazil is very goid. Many people came and never left. The economy is beginning to soar again. And there are no Fergusons ir Little Rocks in Brazil.

12 Million destined for the americas:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade#New_World_destinations

Portuguese America (Brazil) is biggest recipient nation. Outlawed slavery in 1890 or so? Seems like only Arab nations are worse.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_Brazil#The_end_of_slavery

I think most Brazilians couldn't care less about the Japanese. Thiago must be an auto worker who was fired because of Japanese competition in the 1990s.

Are you saying Scott Adams got cucked?

Next we will have the

Society for the Prevention

Of Cruelty to

Vegetables.

I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals, I'm a vegetarian because I HATE PLANTS

Social media, the ubiquity of video, the righteousness with which people take up the cause, and the way that a meat eater can eat a veggie burger but a veggie cant eat a cow burger all seem like strong cultural forces toward vegetarianism

My wife and I decided to follow a vegan diet starting this January. So we have now been on it about 6 months.

Why did we try this?

1. We learned about the cruelty incurred in factory farms. You are aware, I hope, that in some states it's illegal to take pictures of conditions in factory farms. I've read there are 20 million chickens in Tennessee and less than 7 million humans.

2. We also became aware of the chemicals used to keep factory farm animals alive. When you eat them you get those chemicals. I think this is more important than the cruelty.

3. Veganism promised greater health for any number of reasons.

6 months in and I've lost about 8 pounds without trying and my cholesterol has dropped 35 points. My blood pressure was down to 109/68 this morning, too.

It has been relatively easy to eat vegan style. There are lots of great tasting vegan meals available. You can even get great tasting burger replacements. Black bean burgers are delicious. So are Dr. Praeger's California Burgers. Some meals you can just throw in the microwave. Others you have to work at.

However, if you want to make a fancy vegan meal for your friends you will spend a lot more time than if you just start up the grill and throw a steak on it.

I don't miss beef and pork. I do miss fish. We do not know how long we will stick with it. What we've read suggests that if you are vegan 80% of the time you will be healthier. What I've also read is if you substitute fish for meat, you will be healthier, too.

The core advice is to avoid processed foods.

I will mention one other reason for a vegan diet. If we all adopted a vegan diet we would need less land for cattle. More land would be available for vegetables/grains/fruits and there would be more food available for everyone.

Reducing the number of cattle would also reduce the amount of methane they fart into the atmosphere helping to decrease climate warming.

Of course, on the other hand, vegans fart a lot more than meat eaters.

Bravo! I had a similar experience that started about 4 years ago. A whole food plant-based (WFPB") lifestyle resolved my weight, diverticulosis, cholesterol and blood pressure issues. My brother adopted WFPB after open-heart surgery and resolved all of his underlying medical issues, including gout. The standard American diet ("SAD") is easily the unhealthiest on the planet which means Americans suffer needlessly from chronic diseases by following the advertising of processed and animal-based food companies. Check out nutritionfacts.org (it's free!), if you haven't already, to understand the scientific basis for a WFPB lifestyle. I guarantee you will never want to turn back. (BTW, the farting issue will gradually subside as your gut biome adapts to the new foods. And the smell will be much less since hydrogen sulfide (the smelly stuff) is produced in much larger quantities by rotting meat in your colon (which also is carcinogenic and causes colon cancer).

Just remember: you are what you eat. And personally, I'd rather be an animal than a vegetable.

Are you then a cannibal?

I've been many years working in the animal production and the statement that treatment of animals is terrible is not true and most times made by people who have hardly ever visited a farm. Go to farms, many are open for you to see. Besides, there are very strict regulations about animal welfare -especially in Europe- and not always what we think is animal welfare is seen by animals as welfare (there is plenty bibliography on this point).
Moreover, I do think that veganism is immoral, here my rationale:

- Health: vegan diets are not healthy, most studies compare vegans with people that have high fat diets or people who don't exercise. Nobody knows yet the long term effects of veganism. It is putting at risk the development of children and adolescents in the altar of a trend
- Environment: Animals mostly eat the residues of crops that we can not digest, without them we would have to burn millions of tons of raw materials. According to the FAO, 86% of what animals eat is not edible by humans
- Ethics is linked to universality, if tomorrow we all became organ donors the world would be a better place. If all of us became vegan, billions of animals would dissappear getting old, nobody taking care of them (there wouldn't be any incentive as they would no longer be food). Besides, millions of people would lose the ability to transform pastures into rich, affordable protein. This would end up in millions of deaths.
- If you are a real vegan, would you avoid any medicine that cures/prevents your diseases but that has been developed thanks to animals (polio vaccine as an example)
- Millions of animals would still die when crops are harvested but a big part of those crops would be burned cause no one will use them

You may want to read “The Blue Zones” by Dan Buettner before you make the claim that vegan diets are not healthy. The longest lived societies on earth have consumed a primarily whole food plant-based diet. The latest peer reviewed studies all agree that consuming animal products increases all-cause mortality. There is no longer even a reasonable argument to consume animals instead of whole plants for nutrition. I’m not even a vegan, but I’d stay away from arguing the health angle if you’re promoting eating animals versus whole plants. It’s no longer even close to debatable based on scientific evidence.

There was just an article on the Wall Street Journal about meatless food:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-stampede-of-meatless-products-overrun-grocery-store-meat-cases-1528653236

That pretty much explains the Republican Party today. It hates free markets. Period. Those cattle ranchers need to reread a basic econ 101 book.

Here's a different angle on why veganism won't take off, especially in males: Proteins and fats are very necessary for muscle production. Fat's are necessary for test production. Also, Vegans also tend to gain 5 iq points once they supplement creatine.

It's possible to get those from vegan meals. But its not fun. Until women start wanting to sleep with frail dudes, men won't turn to veganism.

---
Also, I know I'm not the only one who gets 0 satisfaction from Indian vegetarian food.

Women these days prefer the slim builds. Look at that Bourdain guy or most male fashion models, all skinny as hell, but the women do have an eye for that. The dad bod went out with the 80s.

“Women prefer the slim builds”

No they don’t

Some woman have always enjoyed the gay friend, then metrosexual, then skinny jeans hipsters... as a sideshow.

Its not where they go for the entree though

The issue of animal cruelty is not restricted to eating meat. It is more how animals are raised and slaughtered. For example, in the Orient dog meat is highly prized. And it tastes better if the dog suffers greatly before death. So we have the dog festival in Yulin, China, where the blowtorch is used to speed up the suffering. Beating to death or boiling alive takes too long for an industrial process. But on the other hand, the suffering of children in the womb being aborted seems to be of little concern nationally except by troglodytes like me.

I think clean meat and plant-based meat will make it easier for everyone to embrace a diet with less cruelty. You should get Bruce Friedrich from the Good Food Institute in for a Conversation.

http://www.gfi.org/what

Who's "We?"

It isn't really clear to me that we will *never* change our collective minds about this. It seems like the rise of Buddhism and Jainism in India was a moral movement against the Brahman practice of animal sacrifice, and it left a lasting impression on the culture, with many Hindus as well as Jains and Buddhists becoming vegetarian. Buddhism and vegetarianism didn't stay together when it left the subcontinent (try being a vegan in mediavel Tibet or Mongolia). So... some kind of moral revolution/cultural shift has historical precedent?

Animal cruelty is just one head of the three headed monster of consuming animal products. Environment and personal health are arguably much more important to a "Darwinian" argument that consuming animals is just plain ignorant and will shorten our existence on the planet. Animal products, including dairy, meat and fish, promote cancer, heart disease and virtually every other chronic disease afflicting mankind, particularly in the West. The proliferation of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, poisoning caused by salmonella and other infectious agents from animal consumption add to the witches brew of death. The deforestation and pollution of the oceans caused by the 10 to 20X resource requirements for water, land and energy to produce a single calorie versus plants means that there is no way we can sustain animal consumption at anywhere close to current levels. I'd say the sooner we ditch animals for food the sooner we get back to a Darwin model of survival of the fittest.

+1

+1

Tyler, the Israelis were electrified to become vegans about 5 years ago by an American vegan who made speeches in the country equating animal cruelty to treatment of the Jews by the Nazis. Check it out on YouTube. Somehow, struck a nerve there and they've been rapidly converting to veganism ever since. So, it has nothing to do with Kosher. One can also argue that veganism is far better from a national security standpoint. Animal food requires 10-20X times the amount of land, water and energy to produce a calorie versus a plant. Needless to say, the Israelis are short on all of those resources. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Israeli cabinet codify veganism to some degree once they realize its full benefit to their long-term survival. It's all Darwinian.

I think the Kosher-Vegan connection has to do with the relationship between ethics and food. The biggest barrier I see for people incorporating considerations about animal cruelty into their food choices is that ethics is at best an afterthought. It is common to believe that the food habits handed to us by our parents or culture are "normal". Questioned as to whether or not these food choices are ethical, most people would say yes before thinking about it. The most common ethical food considerations I am familiar with in the US are related to wasting food. From that perspective refusing meat looks like a form of "waste". I think there is also element of status or prestige associated with meat, so refusing meat also looks like snobbery or a wasted opportunity. In Israel you are forced to incorporate someone’s idea of ethics into your food whether you want to or not. If anything veganism probably makes Israelis feel more in control of their situation. If you are going to have barriers put up to buying bacon then you might as well fit the situation into an ethical framework you actually believe in.

This is a YouTube link to a speech by the vegan activist who lead the charge in Israel against consuming animals.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6U00LMmC4
I think you're right about connection between the cultural connection between food and ethics in Israel and apparently this activist started the ball rolling there. He's now a folk hero there in the vegan community. I think the US, unfortunately, is at least a decade away from anywhere close to that level of ethical thinking.

Comments for this post are closed