Edgy Mama: Feeding kids meat does not equal child abuse

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have a billboard display in Wales that screeches: “Feeding Kids Meat is Child Abuse.” The group wants to put up the same billboard in a town in Canada, and closer to home, in Greenville, S.C.

The group’s rationale is that eating a vegetarian diet will reverse the first world’s childhood obesity epidemic.

Come on, PETA. Your attention-grabbing antics aren’t going to change people’s minds about what they eat. You’re just pissing off a lot of parents, especially those of us who are thoughtful about what we feed our kids and where that food comes from.

And PETA, how do you think reading that billboard makes children who truly are victims of child abuse feel? How do you think it makes kids who are regularly hungry feel? Have you considered those kids?

While I won’t deny that obesity is a serious problem and needs to be addressed — eating meat is not the primary cause of becoming overweight. Childhood (and adult) obesity may partially be due to a surfeit of high calorie, fatty foods, but you can get just as chubby eating French fries as you can scarfing burgers.

Calories in equals calories out. This holds true no matter what you eat. If you consume more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. Period.

Sure, it’s harder to eat 2,000 calories worth of raw veggies than it is to consume the same amount of calories in chicken nuggets. But kids (and adults) need nutritional balance. We all need the veggies and we all need lean protein. The latter is particularly important for growing children so they can develop healthy muscles, bones and connective tissues.

As someone who has one child who is, by choice, primarily a vegetarian, I know it’s difficult to make sure she gets enough complete protein in her diet. Because of this, I try to get her to eat a little meat once or twice a week. It’s always organic, hormone-free, typically locally raised, lean meat. I respect her desire to be a vegetarian — but when she refuses to eat enough soy, vegetable and dairy proteins, I’m going to push a little bit of meat at her. So I guess that makes me a child abuser, PETA.

Sure, regularly feeding kids foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats can be a recipe for disaster in terms of their weight and health. But the occasional tubular meat product isn’t going to lead to either obesity or heart problems. That is,  provided the kid is active and eats well the rest of the time. In my opinion, denying children the occasional treat, such as a small scoop of ice cream or a burger at a picnic, can lead to more “psychological trauma” than not. I’ve heard tell of preschoolers who’ve rarely had a morsel of sugar and then trade their winter coat for a candy bar at school. I don’t condone preschoolers eating candy bars, or taking them to preschool for that matter, but I also don’t want my kids to feel that the occasional sweet or fried meat patty is such a desired delicacy that it’s worth trading the clothes off their backs for a taste.

I use the words “psychological trauma” in quotation marks because that phrase comes straight from PETA’s press release about the billboard. Wow. I’m sure there’s a lot I’ve said or done over the years that could constitute “psychological trauma” to someone. But I don’t think occasionally letting my kids eat a piece of grain-fed pork now and again fits that bill.

Because feeding kids meat is not child abuse.


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88 thoughts on “Edgy Mama: Feeding kids meat does not equal child abuse

  1. chops

    Maybe it’s not just about obesity, but also cancer.

    I’m not an advocate for PETA or anything, but if this were about second-hand smoke for example, there would probably be more support for labeling it unhealthy, if not “abusive”
    subjecting your kids to it.


    from PETA:

    There is complete scientific unanimity: As many cases of cancer are caused by diet as are caused by smoking. And it is also completely clear how we can prevent cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund, the American Cancer Society, and the Royal Cancer Society in Britain—and essentially, all organizations that study the issue—agree that as many cases of cancer are caused by diet as are caused by smoking, and all of them make the same top two recommendations for preventing cancer: Eat more plant- based foods, and eat fewer animal-based foods. In other words, “Go vegan.”

    Dr. T. Colin Campbell is one of the world’s foremost epidemiological scientists and the director of what The New York Times called “the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease.” Dr. Campbell’s best-selling book, The China Study, is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about cancer. To summarize it, Dr. Campbell states that “human studies also support this carcinogenic effect of animal protein, even at usual levels of consumption. … No chemical carcinogen is nearly so important in causing human cancer as animal protein.” Just to be clear, it’s not the fat and cholesterol that cause cancer—it’s the animal protein.

    excerpt, Vegetarianism in a Nutshell
    by Bruce Friedrich

  2. Warren

    From Roger Ebert’s review of Forks over Knives:


    What every human being should do is eat a vegetarian diet based on whole foods. Period. That’s it. Animal protein is bad for you. Dairy is bad for you. Forget the ads: Milk and eggs are bad for you. Skim milk is no better, because it contains proportionately more animal protein. What you’re trying to avoid is dietary cholesterol…

    The bottom line: I am convinced this message is true. A plant-based whole foods diet is healthy. Animal protein is not necessary, or should be used sparingly as Asians did, as a flavoring and not a main course. This adds the advantage of allowing us to avoid the chemicals and carcinogens pumped into livestock and poultry. Fast food is lethal. Parents who feed it to their children are helping them get hooked on fat, salt and sugar addiction.

    Roger Ebert advocating a vegan diet, who would have thought we’d see this? Read the whole interview, it’s very interesting. It sounds like a great movie.

  3. bill smith

    It’s funny how the billboard (you can google it) shows a a picture of a fat kid eating a fast-food-esque burger with the text “Fight the Fat. Go Vegan.”

    That illustrates the problem with peta’s approach. They constantly try and pretend that eating ‘meat’ implies eating the worst possible ‘meat’ available on the market. That isn’t really even an argument against meat. It’s an argument against factory farms. I have yet to see PETA come out and make any statements about the way large, monoculture farms grow vegetables, grains, legumes, or many of the foods grown for ‘vegan’ oils, etc.

    Of course eating a diet full of processed fast food is bad for you. But just removing meat from your diet wont necessarily fix that. And one can eat meat without eating fast food. Such simplistic, broad strokes form PETA intentionally simplify a complex issue dealing with regional food security, globalization, and industrial agriculture.

    It’s also funny that the “town in Canada” appears to be Regina. Ever been to that region in the middle of winter? Hard to grow lettuce. But LOTS of cows. (Agent 23 skidoo is playing there soon, you should ask him about the weather)

  4. dpewen

    I eat meat and have been all my life … I am lean and fit with plenty of energy. I believe the meat they are referring to is fast food like McDonalds, Burger King, etc …. that is just crap food!

  5. PETA is a brilliant right-wing psyops group aiming to ruin any rational discussion about animal rights, factory farms, and the use of animals in the testing of cosmetics.

  6. brebro

    I think we can all agree that feeding children to other children does constitute child abuse to at least the eaten, if not the eaters.

  7. Lisa Watters

    Yes, it was when meat was introduced to the United States in 1987 that obesity really took off in this country …

    I am all for making conscious and healthy decisions about the food we eat – and in treating all animals more ethically – but these billboards are a nonsensical way of inspiring that (in my opinion.)

  8. chops

    I agree that the billboard is a bit nonsensical.

    By the way, meat growth hormones (and genetically modified meat) were introduced into our food supply as far back as 1980, but it only started getting attention in 1987.

    It wasn’t until 1989 when U.S. interest groups started to push for better legislation regulating meat production, similar to what Europe had at the time (and still has).

  9. Daniel Withrow

    PETA has two major concerns:
    1) Protect their version of animal rights.
    2) Get media attention.

    I’ve followed them for years, and I still haven’t figured out which of these two concerns is more important to them. It seems to vary wtih the particular campaign. Some campaigns they do are genuinely good work; others, like this one, are real-world equivalents of Internet trolls.

    I have never seen any indication that maintaining integrity or telling the truth figure anywhere in PETA’s goals.

    The thing is, PETA’s campaigns are low-hanging fruit. It’s easy to be outraged by them; it’s easy to refute their (very often) stupid arguments. So people do it. And in so doing, they help PETA meet their goal of gaining media attention.

    Journalists who provide PETA with free publicity are among PETA’s strongest supporters, however unintentionally. Think how, through this one article, a dumb billboard in Wales now has a presence in Asheville!

    On messageboards, there’s an expression: DNFTT, or Do Not Feed The Trolls. It means that when someone is being outrageous for the sake of being outrageous, don’t give them the attention they crave. It’s also good childrearing advice, good pet-training advice–and It hink it’s good advice for dealing with PETA.

  10. bill smith

    [b]DNFTT, or Do Not Feed The Trolls.[/b]

    Don’t feed them meat? Or anything?

  11. entopticon

    Okay, I’ll bite. Ironically, it would actually be easier to make an argument that vegetarianism, and particularly veganism is child abuse. People should make their own choices, but people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

    Studies have shown that more than half of all vegans have severe B12 deficiencies, which is a health nightmare. Studies have found that vegetarian children, and infants breastfeeding from vegan mothers have been shown to have severe B12 deficiencies causing permanent damage. Recently yet another vegan couple was jailed, this time in France, for causing the death of their child from B12 deficiency complications. Here are two seperate studies that found that more than half of all vegans have severe B12 deficiencies, and a third that discusses the permanent damage from B12 deficiency in vegetarian children and babies:

    Study after study has shown that soy is a powerful goitrogen, wreaking havoc on the thyroid, because of the astonishing levels of hormone disruptors (isoflavones), which inhibit thyroid peroxidase (PTO). A day’s worth of soy infant formula has the estrogenic equivalent of more than 5 birth control pills! Babies on soy formula have 13,000 to 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood. For that reason, a number of countries have limited soy formula only to special cases. Israel strongly advises against soy formula, and strongly recommends avoiding soy foods for children.

    Another veg favorite, Quorn, is an industrially processed micoprotein derived from a laboratory created fungus that is grown in vats. They try to perpetuate the myth that it comes from mushrooms, but according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “Quorn’s fungus is as closely related to mushrooms as humans are to jellyfish.­” The reason the fungus has to be so heavily processed is because it is full of excessive RNA, making the unprocessed fungus a dangerous mutagen (carcinogen) according to the World Health Organization’s standards.

    A study of vegan children found that more than half had rickets in Winter, and 28% had even rickets in the middle of summer, from vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is metabolized from cholesterol.

    And on and on. My point is not that people shouldn’t raise vegetarian children, though I personally wouldn’t recommend it. My point is that vegetarians, and especially vegans, are in no position to be telling other people that they are abusing their children with their dietary choices. Frankly, PeTA is downright disgraceful.

  12. Potential B-12 deficiencies are worrisome, for those who eschew animal products. Thanks for the links, entopticon.

    Potential vitamin D deficiencies in vegans and vegetarians are also a concern–especially in light of recent research that shows up to 50 percent of the population may have low vit D, and that inadequate levels of the vitamin have been connected to cancer, cognitive impairment, and increased chances of Type II diabetes and MS.

  13. Stewart David

    The Protein Myth
    from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

    In the past, some people believed one could never get too much protein. In the early 1900s, Americans were told to eat well over 100 grams of protein a day. And as recently as the 1950s, health-conscious people were encouraged to boost their protein intake. Today, some diet books encourage high-protein intake for weight loss, although Americans tend to take in twice the amount of protein they need already. And while individuals following such a diet have sometimes had short-term success in losing weight, they are often unaware of the health risks associated with a high-protein diet. Excess protein has been linked with osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium stones in the urinary tract, and some cancers.
    The building blocks of life

    People build muscle and other body proteins from amino acids, which come from the proteins they eat. A varied diet of beans, lentils, grains, and vegetables contains all of the essential amino acids. It was once thought that various plant foods had to be eaten together to get their full protein value, but current research suggests this is not the case. Many nutrition authorities, including the American Dietetic Association, believe protein needs can easily be met by consuming a variety of plant protein sources over an entire day. To get the best benefit from the protein you consume, it is important to eat enough calories to meet your energy needs.
    The trouble with too much protein

    The average American diet contains meat and dairy products. As a result, it is often too high in protein. This can lead to a number of serious health problems:

    Kidney Disease: When people eat too much protein, they take in more nitrogen than they need. This places a strain on the kidneys, which must expel the extra nitrogen through urine. People with kidney disease are encouraged to eat low-protein diets. Such a diet reduces the excess levels of nitrogen and can also help prevent kidney disease.
    Cancer: Although fat is the dietary substance most often singled out for increasing cancer risk, protein also plays a role. Populations who eat meat regularly are at increased risk for colon cancer, and researchers believe that the fat, protein, natural carcinogens, and absence of fiber in meat all play roles. The 1997 report of the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer, noted that meaty, high-protein diets were linked with some types of cancer.
    Osteoporosis and Kidney Stones: Diets that are rich in animal protein cause people to excrete more calcium than normal through their kidneys and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Countries with lower-protein diets have lower rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures.

    Increased calcium excretion increases risk for kidney stones. Researchers in England found that when people added about 5 ounces of fish (about 34 grams of protein) to a normal diet, the risk of forming urinary tract stones increased by as much as 250 percent.

    For a long time it was thought that athletes needed much more protein than other people. The truth is that athletes, even those who strength-train, need only slightly more protein, which is easily obtained in the larger servings athletes require for their higher caloric intake. Vegetarian diets are great for athletes.

    To consume a diet that contains enough, but not too much, protein, simply replace animal products with grains, vegetables, legumes (peas, beans, and lentils), and fruits. As long as one is eating a variety of plant foods in sufficient quantity to maintain one’s weight, the body gets plenty of protein.

  14. entopticon

    Thanks for all of the PCRM propaganda Stewart. Right on cue. Unfortunately, I pity anyone who actually takes the PCRM’s propaganda seriously. They aren’t even a real medical organization; the truth is that only a couple percent of their membership are actually physicians. Shamefully, they gave themselves a purposely misleading name to dupe the public into believing that they are a legitimate, unbiased medical organization, when in actuality they are nothing but a pro-vegan propaganda organization, started by vegangelical Neal Barnard, whose training is in psychology, not nutrition. They exist only as a propaganda wing of PeTA, and were even housed in the PeTA offices for a time.

    Anyone who thinks the PCRM would advocate eating meat if that’s where the science led them needs to have their head examined. What they do is not science. It is the opposite of science. Science starts with a hypothesis. The PCRM starts with a conclusion: “meat bad.” That’s not science, it’s fundamentalism.

    This is what the AMA had to say about the PCRM:

    “The AMA continues to marvel at how effectively a fringe organization of questionable repute continues to hoodwink the media with a series of questionable research that fails to enhance public health. Instead, it serves only to advance the agenda of activist groups interested in perverting medical science.”

    Unfortunately, the PCRM also has countless ties to the FBI’s number one domestic terrorist threat, the ALF. In fact, the former spokesman of the PCRM, Jerry Vlasak, is now the ALF’s spokesman! Among other things, Vlasak advocates arson, bombing, and assassinating those he disagrees with. The parallels between vegangelicals and other fundamentalist extremists are downright eerie.

  15. entopticon

    For some reason the link to the pic of PeTA’s comic book, designed to turn young children against their parents, which they often distribute to the children of people they disagree with such as medical researchers and restaurant owners, seems not to be working now. I’ll try again, because it is important for people to see just how low PeTA will go on this exact issue:


  16. entopticon

    Edgy Mama, I definitely agree; B12 and D deficiencies are a great cause for concern. The staggeringly high percentage of severe B12 deficiencies among vegans is downright terrifying. The rates of rickets because of D deficiency are very scary as well.

    Unfortunately, the frighteningly high rates of severe B12 deficiencies in vegetarians, and the astonishingly high rates of severe B12 deficiencies in vegans, are very hard to remedy. As the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes in the above link, the damage to children is often irreversible, and can take years to show up. Unfortunately for vegetarians, hydrochloric acid, which our stomachs produce for the digestion of meat, goes down in vegetarians, and it is essential for the successful absorption of B12, making it even harder for vegetarians and vegans to have enough. That’s why numerous studies have shown that an alarmingly high percentage of vegetarians, and especially vegans, have severely elevated homocysteine levels (a major indicator of heart disease) from B12 deficiency. Here is one of the many studies showing that:

    Anthropological evidence shows that human beings have been eating meat for at least 3.5 million years, so it is a bit silly that it is even an issue. Our pancreas produces a wide range of enzymes for digesting both meat and vegetables, because we are omnivores. Our colons are longer than a carnivore’s, and much shorter than an herbivore’s, because we are omnivores. Unlike herbivores, we do not have multiple stomachs or a caecum for digesting cellulose, because we are omnivores. Our stomachs produce hydrochloric acid sufficient for digesting meat because we are omnivores. The caves of Lascaux are filled with pics of people hunting big game, because we are omnivores. Any claim to the contrary is complete and utter nonsense.

    For what it’s worth, I would have your child avoid processed, unfermented soy products like the plague if I were you. I can give you no short list of links to studies showing endocrine disruption, thyroid disease, and degenerative brain disease (in exact proportion to the amount of tofu consumed) from processed, unfermented soy products, many of which are processed with hexane.

  17. entopticon

    From the text of PeTA’s comic book, titled, “Your Mommy Kills Animals”…

    “Ask your mommy how many dead animals she killed to make her fur clothes. Then tell her that you know she paid men to hurt and kill the animals. Everyone knows. And the sooner she stops wearing fur, the sooner the animals will be safe. Until then, keep your doggie or kitty friends away from
    mommy—she’s an animal killer!”


  18. entopticon

    Yep, pets indeed. And wild animals too. It’s an article about PeTA’s media campaign equating meat with child abuse, so I think that the relevant nutritional science, as well as PeTA’s comic book campaign aimed at turning kids against their parents by convincing them that they are homicidal maniacs that can’t be trusted around the family dog, are plainly apt to the topic. I suppose it is fair to say that exposing the truth is a pet cause though, not that there is anything wrong with that.

  19. Jacquie Hammond

    entopticon is wise.
    The documentary “fat head” touched on some of these issues.
    I think my Grandparents and Great Grandparents had it right all along and they even ate butter and drank whole milk! gasp!

  20. Stewart David


    The American Dietetic Association, the largest group of food and nutrition professionals in the world, feels strongly that vegetarian diets are not only healthy, but can be superior over meat-based diets. You can read their entire position paper at http://www.eatright.org/About/Content.aspx?id=8357, it begins with “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”

    I hope that the information will ease your concerns about your daughter’s diet. She’ll not only be okay on a vegetarian diet, she will thrive as long as she doesn’t eat junk food. As a regular reader of your columns, I know that you won’t let that happen!

    If she is leaning towards vegetarianism for ethical reasons, I hope, in time, you come to respect her views. She is in good company, as noted below!

    Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to humankind.
    –Albert Schweitzer

    “I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”

    Leonardo Da Vinci

    “I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.”

    “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
    Albert Einstein

  21. bill smith

    Stewart David is like a modern day Ghandi! He’s so Christ-like with his pure, holy love for anything cute and cuddly. But who will speak for the bugs? And without industrialized agriculture, which is already failing, how will we get our vegan olive oil supplements?

  22. Warren

    RE: the comic book: It’s called hyperbole.

    From Wikipedia: Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally.

    It’s a comic book, for goodness sake. Do you also take Batman and Superman comics literally?

  23. entopticon

    Anne, the paper that Stewart is referring to was written by Winston Craig, a PeTA/PCRM vegangelical extremist, to put it mildly. Basically, he volunteered to write a paper for the ADA, so they said, sure, let the vegan guy do it. The paper is considered to be a joke by many serious nutritionists, especially because in the absence of evidence he repeatedly cites himself in his own paper, under the guise of something called the General Conference Nutrition Council, a 7th Day Adventist vegetarian org that he runs. Anyone who thinks Winston Craig would recommend meat if that’s where the science pointed should have their head examined. He is not in the slightest bit objective, so he is not in the slightest a legitimate scientist, he is more aptly a propagandist. All he does is cherrypick and manipulate data to try to make a case for veganism. It’s not science. Not by a long stretch. Science starts out with a hypothesis, not a conclusion. It is literally Winston Craig’s job to spread propaganda to promote the dietary edicts of his religion. This is a direct quote from his job description:

    “The mission of the Nutrition Department of Andrews University is to prepare dietetic and nutrition professionals for service in church, society, and the world and to influence the community-at large to affirm the Seventh-day Adventist lifestyle, including the vegetarian diet.”

    In other words, he is a professional vegetarian propagandist for the dietary edicts of his religion. He is essentially the John Harvey Kellogg (who he is a huge fan of) of our time. Vegetarianism may work wonderfully for some people, but vegangelicals such as Winston Craig are not the place to turn to if you are looking for legitimate science, and not just vegan propaganda.

  24. entopticon

    I agree, those comic books are child abuse. PeTA literally stands outside of elementary schools and children’s plays, such as the Nutcracker, handing them out to unsuspecting children. And even more scary, they aggressively push them onto the children of medical researchers that they disagree with. It is beyond shameful. Even many vegetarians have been outraged by their comic book program. Here is a vegetarian reporter’s take on it:

    And here is a link to PeTA’s own website, where they are promoting their comic book, aimed at young children, titled, Your Daddy Kills Animals: Ask Your Daddy Why He’s Hooked On Killing!

    A direct quote from that issue:

    “Until your daddy learns that it’s not “fun” to kill, keep your doggies and kitties away from him. He’s so hooked on killing defenseless animals THAT THEY COULD BE NEXT!”

    They are beyond shameful, and beyond rational debate.

    Changing the subject, I heard that you might also be out at the wedding on Cold Mountain tomorrow. Let’s hope the weather cooperates :)

  25. entopticon

    If your daughter really does object to eating meat for ethical reasons, as Stewart said, I would strongly recommend sharing the full story with her….

    Most young people have no idea that plant agriculture kills animals as well, in astronomical numbers. In fact, a single acre of perennial grassland can be home to more than a million creatures, such as birds, mice, snakes, turtles, gophers, and on and on. When that acre is plowed to make way for rows of the shallow-rooted annuals of plant agriculture, the habitat for all of those creatures is annihilated, and many of those animals die horrible deaths in the process, being crushed and torn apart at the seams. Crushed baby field mice and the particularly gruesome sight of a turtle that was torn in half the last time my field was plowed comes to mind. Along with the annihilation of the habitat for that million+ creatures, more than 2 billion microorganisms can live in a single tablespoon of the soil, which are obliterated through oxidization in the process. The water runoff of a plowed field is not much better than a parking lot. Without the deep rooted perennial grasses, the soil’s vitality is leached and the structure falls apart, ultimately leading to desertification, as with the infamous Dust Bowl.

    Conversely, sustainable pasturing actually increases biodiversity and soil vitality, leading to a significant net gain of life! As opposed to all plant agriculture, conventional or organic, sustainable pasturing actually improves the health of the soil. And whereas plant ag is measured by the degree to which biodiversity is destroyed, sustainable pasturing can actually help to maintain and even increase it.

    When a ruminant chews off the top of a grass plant, the plant responds by sloughing off roots, which become decaying organic matter that feeds the microorganisms in the soil, massively increasing its vitality. Along with the naturally occurring fertilizers, the plant then responds by sending down deeper and deeper root systems, feeding the soil, controlling water runoff, maintaining soil structure, and tapping into hard to reach essential nutrients that are then distributed across the entire ecosystem. Grassfed ruminants convert inedible grasses into food, which is beautiful. As opposed to the million+ creatures lost when that acre is plowed, the meat from one single large cow raised on that same acre can feed an adult for several years.

    A great exercise for a child, to learn more about food systems and the land directly, is to walk out onto a newly plowed field, which resembles the surface of a lifeless planet. Take a couple minutes to count how many living creatures you find, and take note of the dead ones as well. Then walk out onto a sustainable pasture. You will find that it is teeming with life. You could take weeks counting the various life forms that you can find there, and barely scratch the surface.

    If we are going to leave a better world for our children, we have to help them to develop a more profound relationship with the dynamic, complex, systemic relationships of natural food systems. Oversimplified binary polemics like “meat bad, vegetables good” are part of the problem, not the solution. It is no coincidence that animals are essential to every major form of sustainable agriculture, from permaculture to biodynamic farming. The healthiest food systems are biodiverse, because a healthy food system must reflect the natural balance of plants, animals, and microorganisms in a given environment.

    A recent UN report found that biodiverse sustainable farming is the only way to feed the poorest people on the planet and control pollution. Many vegans and vegetarians, particularly young people, are completely unaware of the fact that virtually all commercially grown plant foods are either grown with animal inputs (organic) or toxic and completely unsustainable fertilizers derived from petrochemicals (conventional).

    These are all lessons that I wish I had learned at a younger age. I was actually a vegetarian for years myself, till a better understanding of sustainable agriculture and nutrition changed my mind and my ways. Words cannot fully describe how much better I feel with some meat in my diet.

    I don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. There may well be people who do particularly well on vegetarian diets. I am just not one of those people, and I don’t think most people are. Fortunately, humans are somewhat flexible because we are omnivores, and everyone has to feel out what works best for them. Fundamentalist approaches that argue that everyone has to do things their way, whether the cause be religion or diet, are not the answer.

  26. Stewart David

    Wow, now the American Dietetic Association, the largest group of food and nutrition professionals in the world, is a PETA front group. That’s hilarious. I guess the peer review scientists at the ADA that went over the paper prior to publication are all part of PETA, too.

    I don’t know, I think I’d listen to the advice of the largest group of food and nutrition professionals in the world rather than someone who combs the internet for junk science and won’t even put his real name on his posts. You have to wonder about the agenda of those who insist on hiding their identities.

    If we need to eat animal products, why are all of us vegans so damn healthy?

  27. JonathanBarnard

    I can relate to your situation: I too am a happy meat-eater with a vegetarian daughter (age 14) who recently turned vegan. I think there has been information provided from both sides here that is useful. It’s too bad the discussion has devolved to name-calling, though. (Yes, vegan zealotry can be obnoxious and counterproductive at times, but so can anti-vegan zealotry.)

    I’ll tell you the conclusions I’ve reached from looking at these issues for many years (though I’m far from an expert and my views are constantly evolving): Lacto vegetarians, and for that matter most vegans who exercise a modicum of care, really don’t have to worry about protein. The amino acids that the human body needs to build protein are found in a wide variety of foods. You simply needn’t be concerned about your daughter getting enough protein.

    A B-12 deficiency is unlikely to be a concern for vegetarians consuming plenty of milk and eggs, but it is definitely a concern for vegans. Supplements are strongly advised. I think parents of both lacto vegetarians and vegans should look at what their children are actually consuming over the course of a week to be sure their child is getting enough vitamin D, iron, zinc and calcium. It is not hard to get enough of these nutrients with well-balanced vegan or vegetarian diets, but taking an accurate assessment of what your child is really getting makes sense. That of course applies to parents of non-vegetarians, who should have concerns of their own (such as ensuring that their children are getting enough fiber).

    I agree with entopticon that soy is troubling. I am particularly frightened by a well-conducted study done in Hawaii that suggested it may retard brain regeneration in middle-aged men. That’s tough for me, because I love tofu (plus my wife is Taiwanese and it’s a staple for her). My daughter drinks fortified almond milk instead of soy milk.

    However, I disagree with entopticon’s over-the-top attack on the American Dietetic Association’s paper coauthored by Winston Craig (with link supplied by Stewart David). Entopticon is suggesting that members of nation’s largest mainstream dietetic organization decided something along the lines of: “Let the vegan guy do it, and then we’ll publish it as our position paper—even though we regard it as a joke.” Simply put, that notion is ludicrous. The paper had a large number of reviewers, and it has been revised and reaffirmed by the ADA’s House of Delegates Leadership Team four times. In fact, at least one anti-vegan zealot has argued (incorrectly) that the paper is largely an attack on the healthiness of a vegan diet.


    In truth the paper is neither a work of vegan evangelism nor an alarmist litany of the health risks of going vegan. It’s a well balanced review of the scientific literature about the pros and cons of vegetarian or vegan diets. I’d recommend it above any other single document for concerned parents of vegetarians. Here’s the link again:


    The ADA’s “Food Sources of Important Nutrients [for vegetarians]” is also a good resource. (My one caveat about the list is that I share entopticon’s concerns about consuming too much soy.)


    Like his attacks on the ADA paper, entopticon’s attacks on Neal Barnard (no relation) are also unwarranted. Entopticon says that Barnard studied psychology and therefore has no expertise in nutrition. First of all, Barnard is a medical doctor, so he studied psychiatry, not psychology. Secondly, Barnard has published dozens of papers on nutrition in major mainstream peer-reviewed journals: Public Health Nutrition, Journal of the ADA, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and so forth.


    That long list of peer-reviewed papers is, yes, evidence of expertise in nutrition. (Plenty of professors at top university science departments end up focusing on research that is unconnected or only marginally connected to what they studied as doctoral candidates.)

    That’s not to say I agree with everything Barnard says as a vegan advocate. For instance, I think the jury is still out on how much a vegan diet really reduces overall cancer rates. I will say this though: His focus on preventative measures (diet and exercise) as a psychiatrist is laudable. There is much too much pill-pushing going on that field.

  28. Barbara in Asheville

    I have been a vegetarian/now vegan for almost 20 years, and have raised a child that has never eaten meat and has had very little dairy, eggs etc. ever. We are careful to make sure our diet is well rounded, and take supplements, as most people probably should. What gets me is the point that is being missed in the responses to this post—- if you are not a vegetarian, then you are eating dead animals. Period. Edgy- please, insist your daughter educate herself on making sure she has a well-rounded vegetarian diet before insisting she eat meat a few times a week. She can experience through this knowledge the joy of knowing that she is nourishing her body and helping the animals. It is amazing how much younger people can connect their love of animals and their diet early on. I can remember when my kid was about 5, one of her friends asked why we don’t eat “Happy Meals”, and I told them it was because we do not eat animals, and a hamburger is a cow. That child was like “really????” He had no idea. I wonder how many children would choose to eat meat if it were explained to them just where it comes from.
    And the day my salad tries to run for its life, screaming and bleeding, is the day I will agree that vegetables can be compared to the slaughter of a living being.

  29. babsee

    wish PETA wouldn’t make the message of not eating meat so out there. but seriously, watch some of the videos they have about the process of turning our animals into food and let me know if you could really ever eat meat again………….. “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”
    Paul McCartney

  30. entopticon

    Jonathan Barnard, your glaring hypocrisy is what is “over-the-top.” You accused me of name-calling, even though unlike you, I never made a personal attack on anyone in this conversation, and then you went on to launch a host of asinine, unwarranted personal slurs, including calling me “ludicrous.” It is almost as sad as it is funny that the hypocritical irony of your post is completely lost on you. You can’t back up your claim because there is no truth to it, but there’s certainly nothing to stop me from it now.

    Frankly, the hypocrisy doesn’t bother me as much as the misguided arrogance, and that doesn’t bother me as much as the blatant disinformation that you have been disseminating here, such as your completely fallacious claim that lacto-ovo vegetarians don’t have to be particularly concerned about B12 deficiencies. If you had actually bothered to read the cited studies before jumping in with your nasty personal attack, you would have learned that in fact, alarmingly high percentages of lacto-ovo vegetarians have severe B12 deficiencies. It is theorized that that is due to the fact that eggs are actually a very poor source of B12 because they are full of B12 analogues that block the successful absorption of B12, and because vegetarians tend to produce less hydrochloric acid for digesting protein, which is essential for the successful metabolism of B12. When you spread blatant disinformation such as that, you put people’s health at risk.

    On the issue of Winston Craig’s paper for the ADA (which I don’t have much respect for anyway) sorry, but I will trust my good friends who have spent years in the nutrition field over your opinion that their take, and mine, is “ludicrous.” One of them suggested that I direct you to this statement form the ADA about that paper:
    “The reviewers were not asked to endorse this position or the supporting paper.”

    Ironically, in the same breath that you were hypocritically ranting about name calling, you called Rhys Southan a nasty name, a “zealot” in fact, just before you completely mischaracterized his entire argument, and fallaciously claimed that he was incorrect on something that he never said in the first place. Clearly you didn’t actually bother to actually read the Rhys Southan article that you linked to. He was pointing out that despite the attempt to paint vegetarianism in a glowing light, the paper writers were actually forced to concede a great many damning things about vegetarianism. And he was entirely correct. He carefully lists those things, and Rhys is a very thorough guy. He certainly wasn’t wrong about any of his claims, and I defy you to back up your baseless aspersion. If you actually read his article, you will find that it makes many incontrovertible points that should concern anyone trying to be objective about the issue.

    For better or worse, this is a subject that people with a great deal of expertise have come to me for advice on an numerous occasions. I am not exactly new to Winston Craig’s work and his crackpot connections, such as the ALF (the FBI’s number one domestic terrorist threat) and PeTA. I am guessing though, that you probably didn’t even know who who he was or anything about him till you just googled him.

    You can shower Winston Craig and Neal Barnard with all of the praise that you want, but again. if you seriously think that they are in the slightest bit objective, you need to have your head examined. And if you think real science starts with a conclusion, and ignores objectivity, as their work does, you don’t know anything about real science. What they do is propaganda, not science. Among other things, both work for PeTA, the same organization noted above to be printing comic books trying to convince little kids that their parents are homicidal maniacs. Perhaps the funniest thing of all is, that you glossed over that, and chose to singly attack me instead. Funny too that you glossed over the part of my post where I said that vegetarianism may well work very well for some people, but not surprising since it doesn’t fit with your asinine and uncalled for straw man argument about what an over-the-top zealot I am. Thanks for the laugh.

  31. entopticon

    Barbara, do you really think that many of the millions of creatures who have had their habitats annihilated to put salad on your plate, let alone the countless creatures that have been crushed to death and ripped apart at the seams to put salad on your plate, didn’t run screaming? It is truly frightening how completely divorced so many vegans are from the realities of plant agriculture.

  32. entopticon

    No Stewart, the ADA is not a PeTA front group, they just let a vegangelical quack such as Winston Craig, whose job is literally to try to contort science to convince people to become vegetarians for his religion, write a pretty bad paper, and every crackpot vegan organization in the land has used it as a propaganda tool ever since.

    Concerning your constant personal attacks on anyone who doesn’t choose to share their personal identity with you…. shame on you. Unlike you, I have no connection to the ALF, the FBI’s number one domestic terrorist threat, who feature you on their website. They are responsible for bombings, arson, mailing poisonous razorblades hidden in the flaps of envelopes, leaving bombs on people’s front door steps, kidnapping, beating, countless death threats, and even branding a kidnap victim with the letters A-L-F.

    You are literally the local representative of the organization, PeTA, which as noted above, pushes comic books onto unsuspecting children, telling them that their parents are homicidal maniacs who can be trusted around the family dog without killing it. And you have literally protested independently produced books at an independent bookstore because you disagree with them! And you think I should want the likes of someone like you in my life?!? No thanks.

    An acquaintance of mine, a small, physically handicapped middle-aged woman, was violently attacked by 3 masked vegan activists last year, just because she is a former vegan who now thinks that veganism is misguided, and wrote a book about it. A sustainable farmer friend of mine, had his family’s life threatened because he raises grassfed cattle. A former vegan blogger, Natasha of Voracious Eats, had her life and the life of her family threatened, just because she gave up veganism. And you think it’s safe to be on a full name basis with vegan activists?!?

    You have repeatedly equated meat eaters and small farmers with murderers, Nazis, rapists, and slave owners, so it is certainly wise for people who eat or raise meat to have as little personal contact with you as possible.

  33. entopticon

    Oh, I almost forgot to answer your question Stewart. You asked: “If we need to eat animal products, why are all of us vegans so damn healthy?”

    Apparently you didn’t read the above studies, which both found that most vegans have severe B12 deficiencies. The Oxford study found that 52% of vegans have severe B12 deficiencies, which is a health nightmare, but less than 1/2 of 1% of omnivores did. Those are numbers that can’t be fudged.

    Again, vegetarianism may work great for some people. Just stop trying to foist it onto the rest of us.

  34. JonathanBarnard


    I didn’t call you ludicrous. What I said was ludicrous and over the top was the notion that the ADA said “Let the vegan guy write our position paper and then we’ll publish it even though we consider it a joke.” Sorry, I probably should have been more diplomatic and chosen different adjectives. And yes, the reviewers weren’t asked to endorse that ADA position. I bet the ADA looked for a wide range of opinion and couldn’t expect to find agreement on every point from every reviewer. But the ADA’s House of Delegates Leadership Team endorsed the position paper several times.

    My point by including the “Let them eat meat” link was that the ADA report was balanced. It was possible to cherry pick and write that it was “Bad News for Vegans” as the “Let them eat meat” site did.

    And, yes, I think that saying that Neal Barnard lacks expertise on nutrition because he studied psychology is inaccurate and unfair.

    I actually said that B-12 wouldn’t be a concern for lacto vegetarians only if they consumed “plenty of milk and eggs.” But maybe you’re right: to be on the safe side all vegetarians should probably take B-12 supplements. As I said, I’m “far from an expert and my views are constantly evolving.”

    As someone with an interest in water and environmental issues, I find it fascinatingly counter-intuitive that run-off from a plowed field is almost as great as from a parking lot. Could you provide the link to the study? Thanks in advance.

  35. babsee

    “It is truly frightening how completely divorced so many vegans are from the realities of plant agriculture.” Entopticon

    can you back up this statement with fact? Have I missed hearing about the world wide movement for the ethical treatment of vegetables?

  36. People! People! People!


    Can we focus on what is important here? Can you not hear the sounds from the gentle earth?

    We are living in trying times! I try all the time to not lose track of time and most of the time I am unable to try at all.

    And so, I can’t focus.

    Or try.

    With people.

    And ethics.

    Or treatments. There’s a treatment for me but I am an animal. So I’ve heard.

  37. entopticon

    Jonathan, in a nut shell, what you are calling “ludicrous” and “over-the-top” happens all the time. There are many people within the ADA that don’t think that veganism is a wise choice for a lot of people, and that’s my point, because the paper, which was spearheaded by an activist in the most extreme sense of the word, was intended to give the false impression that all dieticians are fine with veganism, which is far from the case. Just as Neal Baranard’s fake physician’s organization was purposely given a completely misleading name to give the false impression that it was a real physicians org, widely representing a wide range of of physicians, which has no basis in reality.

    Speaking of which, again, your characterization of Rhys’ argument personal character and his argument were both completely unwarranted and unfair. Contrary to your claim, Rhys knows perfectly well who Winston Craig is, and he most certainly was not in any way claiming that Winston Craig’s paper was “an attack on the healthiness of a vegan diet.” It was literally a paper by vegan activists trying to make a case for veganism, drawn in as favorable light as they could possibly get away with by relying on a particularly small set of cherry-picked studies. Rhys was pointing out that considering that, there was still a remarkable amount of red flags and qualifiers. That doesn’t make him a “zealot.”

    Ironically, for some strange reason, in the same breath that you argued that Rhys Southan, who believes that vegetarians should be vegetarians if that’s what works for them, is a “zealot,” you argued against the notion that Neal Barnard is a zealot, despite the fact that it is hard to imagine an a more blatant case of zealotry. Let’s look at the facts. He created a vegan activist organization with a purposely misleading name to give the impression that they are a general physicians organization, when in actuality barely any of their members are physicians. In fact, the organization is the medical propaganda wing of PeTA, which he is the medical advisor for, takes millions in donations for the PCRM from, and was the head of the PeTA Foundation for many years. The same PeTA that made those comic books. Some of which under his tenure as head of their foundation. And it is a view that he expresses himself!

    “To give a child animal products is a form of child abuse.”

    But that doesn’t make him a zealot? Surreal. Among other things, he has countless, incontrovertible connections to the terrortist organizations the ALF and SHAC, which he got in quite a bit of hot water over. And again, the head spokesman for his organization for many years, is now the spokesman for the ALF!!! Here are a few quotes from the PCRM’s spokesman:

    “If someone is killing, on a regular basis, thousands of animals, and if that person can only be stopped in one way by the use of violence, then it is certainly a morally justifiable solution.”

    “I don’t think you’d have to kill — assassinate — too many [doctors involved with animal testing] … I think for 5 lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives.”

    “I think we do need to embrace direct action and violent tactics as part of our movement … I don’t think we ought to be criticizing someone, whether we’re criticizing [them] because they’re writing letters, or whether we criticize them because they’re burning down fur stores or vivisection labs. I think we need to include everybody in that circle.”

    Hmmm, but according to you, as opposed to Rhys Southan who believes we should live and let live and that one-size-fits-all solutions should be treated skeptically, Neal Barnard isn’t a zealot, he is a stand-up guy and an objective scientist; no need to worry about his lack of objectivity. Yeah, right. And Winston Craig almost makes Barnard look reasonable by comparison, and that is a Promethean task in itself.

    I didn’t say that Neal Barnard “lacks expetise on nutrition.” You are very big on straw man arguments. I was pointing out that he is not trained as a nutritionist, which he is not, and he is certainly not the powerhouse in the world of nutrition science that he is falsely painted as by vegangelical zealots. By the way, I am well aware of the fact that he was trained in psychiatry, not psychology; I misspoke.

    My point was, and still is, that a person would have to be out of their freaking mind to actually think that Neal Barnard and Winston Craig are reliable sources for objective facts about vegetarian and vegan diets. If you genuinely think that they don’t cook the facts, you are extremely, extremely ignorant of what is going on there. That is not an argument against vegetarianism. It’s an argument against using sience as a propaganda tool, which is literally what both Craig and Barnard are paid for.

    Interestingly, a former PCRM board member, who is now being intensely ostracized by the vegan community, Dr Andrew Weil, did in fact have the courage to admit that the scientific evidence against the PCRM’s demonization of saturated fat was overwhelming, and public stated:
    “Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease or any other chronic disease of civilization”

    Kudos to him for having the strength of character to choose fact over advocacy.

    I don’t know offhand where that parking lot comparison originated. As people such as MacArthur genius award winner Wes Jackson regularly point out, plowing is a nightmare for water retention. Interestingly, sustainable pasturing is now being used to retain water and even create new water sources, by enhancing root systems. An interesting article:

  38. JonathanBarnard


    For goodness’ sake, I’m a meat eater. I’m certainly no fan of that PETA comic book or that strain of vegan advocacy.

    Ethical vegans believe that people don’t have the right to use animals for their own purposes. If people start from that premise, many of the things that they say about eating meat from an ethical point of view will end up sounding extreme. (And yes those points can be argued.) But just because they have those ethical views and sound strident when talking about ethics, doesn’t mean they can’t be good scientists, especially when writing for peer-reviewed journals and organizations that are undoubtedly dominated by non-vegans.

    This is supposed to be a column for parents. So let’s get back to that. Anne is a meat-eating parent concerned about her vegetarian child’s nutrition. I am the same. She said that she was concerned about her child getting enough protein. Stewart David quoted Neal Barnard to suggest that it wouldn’t be a problem for vegetarians to get enough protein. But let’s forget about who the messengers were. Do you think obtaining the necessary amino acids to build human protein is difficult for vegetarians?

    (I don’t. But I don’t pretend to be an expert in this field, only an interested layperson.)

  39. entopticon

    Jonathan, for goodness sake yourself. I never said you weren’t a meat eater. Seems you are imagining things. Out of one side of your mouth you say that you aren’t a fan of that sort of vegan advocacy, and out of the other side you attack anyone who questions its foremost advocates.

    You said, “But just because they have those ethical views and sound strident when talking about ethics, doesn’t mean they can’t be good scientists, especially when writing for peer-reviewed journals and organizations that are undoubtedly dominated by non-vegans.”

    Much to the contrary, I think that that sort of advocacy does make it virtually impossible to trust their findings. If you think they would publish results that were unfavorable to veganism, and if you think that their primary concern isn’t constructing a case for veganism, rather than letting the science lead where it will, you are extremely misguided. And without those simple criteria, what they are doing is advocacy for the edicts of their fundamentalist cause, not science. It’s the opposite of science. Science starts with a hypothesis, not a conclusion. They most certainly do start with a conclusion, which is why you will find both of them prominently listed on any quack watch site. It’s not exactly impossible to get advocacy studies into major journals if you have millions of dollars behind you.

    Now you are implying that I was off-topic? I am trying to be understanding, but that is just surreal. Contrary to your claim, this wasn’t an article debating whether or not vegetarian diets supply adequate protein. It was an article about PeTA’s shameful tactics, and you have repeatedly attacked me for addressing that very subject. Again, PeTA’s medical advisor, Neal Barnard, the person that you keep defending, and criticizing me for criticizing, is literally THE main person behind PeTA’s campaign to paint feeding children meat as a form of child abuse. It is hard to imagine how my posts could have possibly been more on topic. Again, this is a direct quote from Neal Barnard:

    “To give a child animal products is a form of child abuse.”

    The billboards are directly based on Neal Barnard’s insistence that feeding children meat is child abuse! That is the subject of the above article, and that’s what my posts have been about, not whether or not a vegetarian diet provides adequate protein. Anne made it clear that she believes that a vegetarian diet can supply enough protein for most people if they get enough from vegetable sources, but she feels that her daughter doesn’t always get enough from vegetable sources.

    My personal view is that oversimplified binary polemics, like “meat bad, vegetables good” are part of the problem, not the solution. I think your question is plainly faulty, because not all people are the same. Some people do better on a vegetarian diet than others. Some people have higher, and different protein needs than others. Recent research has discovered that regardless of weight, age, sex, ethnicity, and location, people have very different bacterial bases from one another (3 distinct types) which effects enzyme production and protein metabolism. That may explain why some people seem to do fine on a vegan diet, while so many others look like Auschwitz victims.

  40. entopticon

    In response to my post, which ended with, “Again, vegetarianism may work great for some people. Just stop trying to foist it onto the rest of us,” basee asked, “wow much anger there??”

    Yes indeed, some anger about my friends who have been threatened and violently attacked by vegan activists, just because they disagree. But then again, unlike those vegan activists, I would never bomb someone’s place of work, or burn it down, or send them poisonous razorblades hidden in the flaps of envelopes, or call for their assassination, just because I disagree with them. And I certainly wouldn’t wait outside of their kids elementary school to give them a comic book telling them that their parents are homicidal maniacs that can’t be trusted around their dog because they might kill it for fun. Vegan activists are in no position to accuse any one else of anger issues.

  41. entopticon

    babsee also asked, “can you back up this statement with fact?” and “Have I missed hearing about the world wide movement for the ethical treatment of vegetables?”

    As for your first it’s pretty darned absurd to ask me to back up a statement about my subjective impression.

    As for your second question, apparently so. It’s called sustainable agriculture. And as a matter of fact, animals are absolutely essential to every major form of sustainable agriculture, from permaculture to biodynamic farming. Like it or not, the healthiest agricultural systems are biodiverse, and it really doesn’t matter what Paul McCartney thinks about that.

  42. JonathanBarnard

    Thanks entopticon for explaining how Neal Barnard and Winston Craig are dangerous quacks! You note that “many people with a great deal of expertise” on this issue “come to you for advice.” That’s good. Do any of them work for the National Institutes of Health? You should tell them about Barnard, since NIH has awarded Barnard grants and uses him as a peer reviewer at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. They’ll want to know! And needless to say, when those on the ADA leadership team call, warm them about Craig!

  43. entopticon

    Jonathan, your appeals to authority are getting more and more ridiculous. I proved my case, or actually Neal Barnard proved it for me. I pointed out the irrefutable fact that Neal Barnard’s crackpot PeTA campaign to paint parents who feed theier children meat as abusers and homicidal maniacs is quackery of the worst sort, and the incontrovertible fact that he has direct ties to animal rights terrorist organizations (the spokesman for his org is now the spokesman for the FBI’s number one domestic terrorist threat!!!), and that he created a phony medical organization with a purposely misleading name, and you are still trying to convince of me what a great medical researcher he is. How laughably pathetic.

    Again, this is what the American Medical Association had to say about Neal Barnard and his phony physicians group, that’s not actually made up of physicians:

    “The AMA continues to marvel at how effectively a fringe organization of questionable repute continues to hoodwink the media with a series of questionable research that fails to enhance public health. Instead, it serves only to advance the agenda of activist groups interested in perverting medical science.”

    I suppose the AMA must be in on the conspiracy against him too. Yeah, he has used his multi-million dollar empire to win a little grant money and he has helped to referee some papers so he must be a medical genius. Golly, I have been a peer reviewer for a number of neuroscience publications, I must be an amazing neuroscientist then. And here I thought I wasn’t even a neuroscientist.

    Ignore his connection to PeTA, the king of all quack groups, the ALF, and SHAC, who kidnapped a reporter, beat him, threatened that they were going to kill him, branded him with four inch high letters reading A-L-F, and threatened to kill his whole family if he told. Or their mass mailing of poisonous razorblades hidden in the flaps of envelopes sent to medical researchers. Or the bombings. Or the arson. Ignore his campaign to paint people who feed their children a food that human beings have eaten for as long as we have been human beings as child abusers. Ignore every organization that monitors medical quackery, which of course sight him as a quack extraordinaire, including QuackWatch, which is run by Stephen Barrett of the Institute of Science in Medicine.

    And golly, there is nothing at all quackish about Winston Craig, whose job description literally demands that he creates vegetarian propaganda to promote his religious cult. He’s just so objective. You should definitely trust his research. He would never, ever try to make a case for vegetarianism instead of simply making a case for what the science says. Golly, you are just so right.

    Now I see Neal Barnard’s propaganda campaign to paint parents who feed their children meat as child-abusing homicidal maniacs, to their own children, in a whole new light, because your case is just so convincing. He’s just so legitimate and objective. Just good old-fashioned hard science. No bias at all. Jeepers, thanks.

  44. entopticon

    Golly, now that I think of it, if your argument is correct, that means that people should probably assume that pro-life and creationist activist doctors must be objective about those issues, as long as they have ever refereed a study or gotten any grant money. Makes so much sense. I’m sure they must be really objective about the science, just like Neal Barnard, and the Harvey Kellogg of our time, Winston Craig. Gonna go out and buy myself one of those great comic books and get to distributing them to children right away.

    By the way, not only were those comic books inspired by Neal Barnard’s insane ideas as PeTA’s medical adviser, he was the one to okay them when he headed the PeTA Foundation at that time, which controls PeTA’s funding and approves any projects that require funding. Under his direction the PeTA Foundation also got caught funneling a great deal of money to the ALF, the FBI’s number one domestic terrorist threat. But sure, gee, you should absolutely trust his objectivity on the issue of eating animals, because he’s definitely not biased in any way whatsoever. For sure. Yep.

  45. Stewart David

    I’m a retired accountant, not a nutritionist, but here’s my take on soy, for what it is worth. I’ve done a considerable amount of reading on the topic. There is a pretty wide consensus that soy is a beneficial part of a varied diet. Soy is packed with high-quality protein, is cholesterol-free, and contains healthy fiber and complex carbohydrates. Asians have been eating tofu for centuries, and they are a healthy lot. Would I recommend that someone eat a lot of fake meats, etc.? No way. I think a balanced diet is the way to go, and no one should eat a lot of heavily processed foods. That said: what if you were faced with the choice between a soy dog and a “regular” hot dog? You know what I think from an ethical perspective. From a health perspective, I also think the soy dog is, by far, the best choice. Processed meats have an even stronger link to cancer than non-processed meats. And then there is the “gross factor,” since commercial hot dogs usually include a disgusting array of animal parts. I’ll spare readers the gory details.

    According to a May 2004 Washington Post article titled “Eat Your Soy, Boy,” many of the theoretical concerns about soy have proved to be erroneous, while many of the suggested benefits have been confirmed in human studies. These benefits include decreased risk of osteoporosis, prostate and colon cancer, and diabetes. Soy may also help reduce the risk of obesity and, according to a study conducted by UCLA, even the risk of Alzheimer’s. A 2006 study conducted by the National Cancer Institute and discussed in Time magazine found that women who ate the most soy-based foods early in life reduced their chances of breast cancer by 58 percent and that eating soy later in life also had major protective benefits. According to the May 2007 issue of Muscle & Body magazine, soy protein increases lean muscle mass and does not have a negative impact on testosterone levels.

    John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution, has written an extensive article reviewing the charges made by soy’s detractors. He concluded as follows:

    There are legitimate questions about certain soy foods, and much we have yet to learn. Automatically downing anything made from soybeans is not the road to health, but neither is shunning and stigmatizing soy foods. The anti-soy crusade has needlessly frightened many away from a food source that has long been a boon to humankind, a food source that can, if we are respectful of our bodies and of nature, nourish and bless us in countless ways.

    Here’s a link to the entire piece: http://www.johnrobbins.info/blog/what-about-soy/

    Finally, The Guardian ran an interesting piece last year. It’s a shorter read and hits many of the main points.
    Ignore the anti-soya scaremongers: There’s no evidence that soya is harmful to humans. In fact, both we and the planet would benefit tremendously from eating more

    Again, I don’t eat a lot of processed soy, and believe a varied diet of mostly unprocessed foods is the best choice.

  46. Stewart David

    It was stated above that “most young people have no idea that plant agriculture kills animals,” suggesting that those who choose vegetarianism or veganism actually add to animal suffering rather than reduce it. The author attempted to make the case that since plant agriculture kills insects, birds, mice, etc., it is actually more humane to eat animals raised on “sustainable” pastureland than it is to eat plants. Similar variations of this argument tell us we should go out and kill animals in the wild rather than grow plants to eat.

    The problem with these arguments is that they don’t tell the whole story. They may have held some water when we counted the world population in the millions. But world population is now approaching 7 billion and growing. So-called “sustainable” animal agriculture is very land-intensive. There is simply not enough earth on earth to raise animals to feed people this way; we’d need a bunch more planets to do so. Ironically, animal activists are falsely accused of being misanthropes, yet those who propose “sustainable animal agriculture” or hunter-gatherer approaches are advocating lifestyles that can only feed a very small fraction of the human population. What should everyone else do? Adding to the irony, those who want to eat animals raised “sustainably” or killed in the wild should be the strongest advocates of veganism. If they’ve done the math, they know that most of the world will need to go vegan to allow them to do their thing.

    Yes, the invention of large-scale plant agriculture may have been bad for the planet; you’ll get no argument from me. But we need to look forward, not backward, and find 21st century solutions, we have 7 billion people to feed. Consider just how deadly agriculture is to insects, mice, birds, etc., as noted above. Then accept the reality that with this many people on the planet, almost all of food production will continue to be the result of growing crops. So we can grow plants to eat, or we can grow plants to feed to animals and then eat the animals. Conversion rates vary, and it can take 15 pounds of plant food to produce a pound of meat. Thus vegetarians and vegans not only are compassionate to cows, chickens, pigs, turkeys, etc., when they opt not to eat them, they are also compassionate to the countless animals that would have been killed in the growing of animal feed.

    For those who want to learn more, see my Mountain Xpress column, Greenwashed, at http://www.mountainx.com/opinion/2009/070109greenwashed#.TePdaFv5wpM

  47. entopticon

    Stewarts argument shows a complete misunderstanding of the basic fundamentals of sustainable agriculture. It is not just a magical coincidence that animals are absolutely essential to every major form of sustainable agriculture. The healthiest farms are biodiverse, and that means animals.

    Stewart parroted vegan rhetoric about how we don’t have enough land for animal farming, but the exact opposite is true. We most certainly do not have enough land NOT to farm with animals. Again, Stewart’s vegan argument shows complete ignorance of the basic fundamentals of sustainable agriculture. Contrary to Stewartds fallacious claims, sustainably pastured ruminants convert completely inedible grasses, often on unarable land, into food. There is no possible way we could afford to do without that. The amount of arable land that would have to be used for veganic gardening to fulfill our food needs without ruminants converting the inedible grasses on unarable land into food would be absolutely insane. We would need many Earths.

    As the UN recently concluded, much of the world would starve without sustainable pasturing and biodiverse farms. In fact, they concluded that biodiverse farms are the ONLY way to effectively feed the poorest countries on Earth and control pollution. Virtually all commercial plant agriculture either uses animal products (organic ag) or toxic and completely unsustainable fertilizers derived from petrochemicals (conventional ag). Taking animals out of agriculture would mean an end to every major form of sustainable ag and it would be an environmental nightmare of unprecedented proportions.

    I have genuinely been amazed by how many former vegan farmers that I have encountered who have gone back to farming with animals and eating meat after learning the essential importance of animals in agriculture the hard way. Virtually all of the world’s foremost sustainable ag experts recognize the essential importance of animals in agriculture, from Fred Kirschenmann, head of the Stone Barns Foundation and the Leopold Center for Sustainable ag, to MacArthur genius award winners Wes Jackson of the Land Institute, and conservationist Gary Nabhan, to the winner of the Buckminster Fuller Prize, renowned soil scientist and holistic land management expert Allan Savory, to renowned sustainable ag and soil science expert Gene Logsdon, to world renowned sustainable farmers such as Eliot Coleman, and Wendell Berry.

    Environmental journalist Richard Manning may have put it best when he said:

    “Over the years, organic farmers have told me they relearned this important point: Many found out the hard way that they could not make their operations balance out — both biologically and economically (they’re the same in the end) — without bringing animals back into the equation. Handled right, animals control weeds and insects, cycle nutrients, and provide a use for waste and failed crops. Healthy ecosystems — wild and domestic — must include animals. Now there’s a chance we may realize how very important this idea is to the life of the planet.”

  48. bill smith

    Mr. Stewart, are there gradations of perfect and less-then-perfect in your perspective when it comes to the food we choose to eat? Or is it all black and white, good vs. evil?

    Also, in the past you have repeatedly claimed that it is far more sustainable to ship food in from long distances than it is to rely on regionally-raised animals. Since the the recent UN study showing that industrialized agriculture will NOT feed the world, while localized, regionally appropriate food systems likely will, are you willing to concede that at in areas where a local vegan diet can not be grown that animal husbandry is indeed the more sustainable choice?


  49. Stewart David

    From Audubon Magazine

    But with global warming, here’s the inconvenient truth about meat and dairy products: If you eat them, regardless of their origin and how they were produced, you significantly contribute to climate change. Period. If your beef is from New Zealand or your own backyard, if your lamb is organic free-range or factory farmed, it still has a negative impact on global warming.

    This is true for several reasons. Again, the biological reality of ruminant digestion is that methane is released. The feed can be local and organic, but the methane is the same, escaping into the atmosphere and trapping heat with impressive efficiency. Second, no matter the farming method, livestock makes manure that produces nitrous oxide, an even more awesomely impressive heat trapper. Livestock in the United States generates a billion tons of manure per year, accounting for 65 percent of the planet’s anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions.

    Even poultry, while less harmful, also contributes. Ironically, data released in 2007 by Adrian Williams of Cranfield University in England show that when all factors are considered, organic, free-range chickens have a 20 percent greater impact on global warming than conventionally raised broiler birds. That’s because “sustainable” chickens take longer to raise, and eat more feed. Worse, organic eggs have a 14 percent higher impact on the climate than eggs from caged chickens, according to Williams.

    “If we want to fight global warming through the food we buy, then one thing’s clear: We have to drastically reduce the meat we consume,” says Tara Garnett of London’s Food Climate Research Network.

    So while some of us Americans fashionably fret over our food’s travel budget and organic content, Garnett says the real question is, “Did it come from an animal or did it not come from an animal?”

    Read the entire article, The Low Carbon Diet, at

  50. Stewart David

    I realize we are off-topic, but since the outrageous posts about me have not been removed, I’d like to briefly respond. I hope the moderator will allow it. I am not making ad hominem attacks, I am simply responding to those that have been made.

    I am a vegan because, in part, I do not believe that “might makes right.” I try to practice the golden rule. All of the insinuations above that I am a violent person are nonsense and a way of attacking the messenger rather than the messsage. I’m a mild-mannered retired accountant in my 60’s, for goodness sake. And yes, I have compared animal agriculture to the Holocaust. Guilty as charged,I did it in the Mountain Xpress. Since sound bites tend to distort, I’d like to provide the context. Here’s a link:


    Now, let’s get back on topic. Edgy Mama said of her daughter “I respect her desire to be a vegetarian — but when she refuses to eat enough soy, vegetable and dairy proteins, I’m going to push a little bit of meat at her.”

    I hope any parent in a similar situation will take the time to read the nutritional information that is available. No one needs to eat meat, and your child will thrive without it. So, if you truly want to respect a child’s desire to be a vegetarian, feed them a well-balanced diet of plant foods.

    I am easy to find if anyone wants to have a phone or e-mail conversation about any of this. Peace.

    “I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.” Gandhi

  51. entopticon

    An interesting quote from Gandhi, after several failed attempts at veganism, from 1946, towards the end of his life:

    “The crores of India today get neither milk
    nor ghee nor butter, nor even buttermilk. No wonder that mortality figures are on the increase and there is a lack of energy in the people. It would appear as if man is really unable to sustain life without either meat or milk and milk products. Anyone who deceives people in this regard or countenances the fraud is an enemy of India”

    And a few more quotes directly from Gandhi’s autobiography:

    “…I would therefore urge those who, on the strength of the theory propounded by me, may have given up milk, not to persist in the experiment­.”

    “…experience has taught me that in order to be perfect fit, vegetarian diet must include milk and milk-produ­cts such as curd, butter, ghee, etc.”

    “For vegetarian­s milk being the only source of animal proteins, is a very important article of diet. ”

    “A sterile egg never develops into a chick. Therefore, he who can take milk should have no objection to taking sterile eggs.”

  52. Stewart David

    World population hit 2 billion during Gandhi’s lifetime, we are now at 7 billion. He went to extreme lengths to see that the animals producing the products he consumed were treated with some modicum of respect. He was actually pretty neurotic about it. He’d be the first to acknowledge that you can’t raise animal products for 7 billion people without extreme cruelty, that these quantities require factory farms. Gandhi wouldn’t adopt an elitist position, he’d look at the science and it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t become a vegan. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to have access to the scientific evidence on just how healthy vegan diets are. How funny that a vehement anti-vegetarian would quote Gandhi to make a feeble, outdated case against veganism and ignore his pleas for people to become vegetarians!

  53. Stewart David


    I’ll go on record that the most environmentally-friendly diet is not a vegan diet. Shocked! Stop the presses! It’s true. It’s not even a vegetarian diet. The most environmentally-friendly diet is one of road kill and dumpster diving. So, yes, it’s not all black and white.

    Sure, you can find instances that can make a case for whatever you want. I’ll say it again, we need a paradigm shift away from consuming animal products. In general, it’s unhealthy, cruel, wastes food that could feed the hungry, and an environmental nightmare.

    Ok, I really am signing off now. I’ve spent too much time on this forum. I won’t tempt myself to look again, so if anyone has a question, please get in touch. I leave you with 2 articles from Forbes, hardly an animal rights magazine:

    The Locavore Myth

    Drop that Burger

  54. Margaret Williams

    @entopticon: Dial it back. Your emotion’s are showing. Please stick to criticizing the ideas, not the people.

  55. bill smith

    Just as I thought. When the basis for one of Mr. Stewarts claims is revoked (his previous claim that ‘small farms’ cant feed the world)h just moves the goal posts.

    This is the problem with the PETA vegan argument. They argue their stance on several different grounds from environmental to moral because they know that not one of their arguments covers all the bases. So they make their argument from several different angles knowing that when one is shot down(as was his previous argument that ‘small farms dont exist’), they can just shift to the next one.

  56. boatrocker

    Good for you, Edgy Mama for calling PETA-style disinformation and propaganda out for what it is- disinformation and propaganda.

    My three questions are things I’ve wondered about for years: Can anyone help me out with an objective answer?

    1) If you’re a self-described vegetarian yet still eat eggs or fish, how do you consider yourself a vegetarian? To me it sounds like a case of “if it has a (cute) face, I don’t eat it.”.

    2) Why is someone who eats meat incorrectly referred to as a “carnivore” or “meat eater” instead of what they most likely are (an omnivore)? Really, I’m not trying to be flippant, but yeah, if you only ate say pork chops, Slim Jims or sirloin steaks and nothing else you’d be unhealthy. If I eat a meal with meat, vegetables, grains, with fruit for dessert does the meat cancel all other other food groups out?

    3) If any and all eating of meat contributes to global climate change/negative impact on a said ecosystem, how did hunter-gatherers manage to survive without damaging the planet (and if we did it now with close to 7 billion would hunting really damage the environment)? Specifically I’m thinking of Arctic Indian tribes or desert dwelling people who can’t grow veggies.

    From an anthropological view, with the rise of agriculture, humans settled down, right? Then after settling down they considered themselves the “owners” of said land and resources. Then came war over land and resources. It could be argued that human agricultural practices indirectly led to the notion of “owning land” and war over land, but maybe a separate thread itself.

  57. entopticon

    My posts are being blocked, but I will give it another try.

    @Bill Smith: that’s very true. Considering that animals are essential to every major form of sustainable agriculture, there is no serious argument for veganism from an environmental perspective, so in lieu of a cogent argument we get a bunch of smoke and mirrors shrouded in cherry-picked, out of context studies from ridiculously oversimplified reductionistic data. Sustainable food systems are complex webs of interrelationships that must mirror the natural balance of plants, animals, and microorganisms in a given environment. Biodiversity is essential to a balanced agricultural system.

    On the health front, they like to tell us that if most Americans went vegetarian all of our health problems will be solved, even though that has no basis in reality. In fact, the country with the largest vegetarian population on the planet, India, is also the heart disease capital of the world and the diabetes capital of the world. The problem is so bad that the World Health Organization has actually predicted that most of the heart attacks in people under 50 on the entire planet will take place in just one single country…. India.

  58. entopticon

    @boatrocker, I completely agree. I will try to answer your questions. Hopefully my response won’t be deleted.

    1) Researchers often point out that the most difficult thing about studying vegetarianism and veganism is that many of the people who call themselves such actually consume animal foods. We all know people who call themselves vegetarians, but eat chicken and fish. In Campbell’s infamously flawed pop diet book the China Study, what he doesn’t tell you is that the data was completely corrupted by the fact that many people in the study reported on the questionaires that they did not eat meat, when in fact they were consuming large amounts of shellfish and organ meats.

    And because the low-fat vegetarian diets advocated by vegetarian fad diet advocates like Dean Ornish are so hard to stay on, it makes them very hard to study. Ironically, that’s how Dean Ornish justifies it whenever a study comes out showing that his diet compared unfavorably to diets higher in animal foods. He points to the fact that people are much more likely to fall of the wagon with the diet that he advocates. Vegetarian organizations like to use the inflated statistics to give a false impression of how many vegetarians there really are.

    2) The tendency to oversimplify the world is the same drive behind faulty polemics such as “meat bad, vegetables good” as well as the tendency for people to paint us as either carnivores or herbivores, despite the fact that there is absolutely no question that we are omnivores.

    3) There are some real problems with the mismanagement of manure lagoons from CAFO’s but the enteric emissions (cow farts) argument is utter nonsense. There are roughly the same number of ruminants today as there were tens of thousands of years ago, so the argument holds no water. The world renowned sustainable farming expert Eliot Coleman did a good job of explaining it in his article, Debunking the Meat/Climate Change Myth:

    In fact, there is a great deal of evidence that sustainable pasturing actually reverses global warming by creating deeper perennial root systems that sequester carbon:

    Btw, several schools of thought are rooted in the notion that you mentioned, that plant agriculture led to the abstract concept of ownership of land, which led to the ownership of people and labor.

  59. bill smith

    I’ll believe Sally Fallon over a skinny vegan any day of the weekend.

  60. iaraschamber

    I think we’re all missing the point just a little. It’s not about whether being a vegan or a meat eating omnivore is the best or “right” way or even the healthiest way. The point is neither one is actual physical or even mental child abuse! I have friends and family that are vegans and vegetarians I certainly don’t think they are abusing their children…(although if anyone gives my kid that comic book there will be hell to pay…lol) and they certainly don’t believe anyone who isn’t vegan or vegetarian is abusing their children. These are PETA extremists that have gone WAY too far!! They obviously have no respect for peoples right to raise their children as they see fit and THAT is what’s wrong. Being vegan or vegetarian or even a full on carnivore (as long as you’re not a cannibal lol) is not what’s wrong…what’s wrong is telling someone else (who is otherwise a perfectly good parent!) how to raise their child!! Vegans, Vegetarians, Carnivores, and Omnivores alike should band together against nonsense like this…and that awful comic book too…

  61. boatrocker

    I hear ya, iraschamber, but you perpetuate the PETA myth by referring to meat eaters (who also eat non-meat items) as “carnivores”. Get it right.

    The correct term for someone who eats meat, vegetables, grains, fruits, etc. is “omnivore”, aka like humans are. Stereoscopic vision (for distance perception via hunting), canine teeth (for tearing flesh) and longer digestive tracts than herbivores will support my point. Just saying.

  62. bill smith

    PETA merely uses the emotionalism of extremist animals rights policy to enrich their own bottom line.

  63. brebro

    Cool artwork on the comic cover though. Very evocative of ’50s EC horror comics.

  64. chops

    I still say that cigarette second-hand smoke is somewhat “abusive” to children.

    If the scientific community is saying that meat in your diet is equally carcinogenic, then PETA has a point here.

  65. bill smith

    [i]If the scientific community is saying that meat in your diet is equally carcinogenic (to second hand smoke)[/i]

    they aren’t.

  66. bill smith

    [i]If the scientific community is saying that meat in your diet is equally carcinogenic (as second hand smoke), then PETA has a point here. [/b]

    Where has that been stated by ‘the scientific community’?

  67. entopticon

    Bruce Friedrich’s claim that there is consensus among the scientific community that meat is a dangerous carcinogen is on par with most every other claim he makes; it is absolutely absurd nonsense. Again, after reviewing the science, even Andrew Weil of the PCRM concedes that “Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease or any other chronic disease of civilization.” Like it or not, virtually every centenarian in human history has eaten animal foods.

    When it comes to scary and dangerous, PeTA’s Bruce Friedrich is in a league of his own. I honestly feel he is one of the most frightening individuals that I have ever encountered. Bruce was the main media spokesman for both the unconscionable billboards and for the comic book campaign. You can see him defending that indefensibly shameful travesty here:

    Bruce is the author of an infamous essay defending the ALF’s terrorist tactics of bombing and arson, aptly titled Defending Agitation and the ALF. It is seriously twisted reading. The ALF used it as a propaganda tool for years till very recently, when Bruce was busted for it, and he had them take it down a few hours later. You don’t have to take my word for any of this, it is all public information. Here is a quote by Bruce that pretty much sums up the motivation behind his ends-justify-the-means disinformation campaign:

    “If we really believe that animals have the same right to be free from pain and suffering at our hands, then, of course we’re going to be, as a movement, blowing things up and smashing windows … I think it’s a great way to bring about animal liberation … I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow. I think it’s perfectly appropriate for people to take bricks and toss them through the windows … Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.”

    You could hear the actual recording of that till recently.

    In reality, there are studies that have shown slightly reduced risk for some cancers among vegetarians, but what they don’t tell you is that many of the same exact studies found increased risks of other types of cancers for vegetarians, and especially vegans. And several of the studies openly admit that they were comparing nonsmoking vegetarians that exercised much more to omnivores with much higher rates of smoking and lower rates of exercise who eat the SAD of fast food meals that include buckets of sugar filled soda and french fries drenched in hydrogenated oil.

    Eat meat or don’t, but Bruce Friedrich’s claim that there is scientific consensus about animal foods being a sure road to cancer is complete and utter nonsense, and claims that feeding meat to children is child abuse are almost as offensive as they are ridiculous.

  68. bill smith

    entop–your are frighteningly well-researched on this stuff. thanks.

  69. iaraschamber

    @boatrocker um…I said omnivores and even full on carnivores…the carnivore bit was supposed to be a joke…if you’re going to respond at least read my entire comment…I’m not an idiot I know the difference between carnivores and omnivores and vegetarians and vegans too!

  70. iaraschamber

    Also in my comment I state that I am an omnivore…you really should pay more attention to comments before being so condescending.

  71. chops

    I agree Friedrich presents a biased argument. I’m certainly not ignorant of the exaggerated and impassioned claims on both sides of this issue.

    After a bit of deeper research, it seems like the jury is still out on whether or not animal protein presents a notable carcinogenic effect. *sigh* I will have to spend the next few (weeks or months) googling studies etc. before I can decide how I feel about it.

    I also disapprove of Friedrich’s promoting of violence. Tossing a brick through a window won’t help people become healthier, or liberate animals. It’s just destructive in a nonproductive way. I’d much rather start a revolution by posting a comment on my community’s website, or by putting up a billboard or something. ;)

  72. bill smith

    [i]the jury is still out on whether or not animal protein presents a notable carcinogenic effect.[/i]

    Wow, from comparing it to second hand smoke to saying ‘the juries still out’. Is that code for ‘couldn’t find anything to corroborate my claims’?

  73. entopticon

    Thanks Bill, it’s an issue that I am passionate about. PeTA’s most recent PR campaign to demonize sustainable agriculture, since animals are essential to every major form of sustainable agriculture, are particularly disturbing to me. That’s why I wasn’t at all surprised to see Stewart linking to that ridiculous article by James McWilliams, a vegan with no agricultural experience or training whatsoever, who is one of the foremost propagandists against eco agriculture and localism, and for Monsanto and industrial chemical ag. Tom Philpott of Grist did a good job of punching a hole the size of a Mack truck through McWilliams’ straw man arguments against sustainable farming:

  74. entopticon

    Evidence of tools for catching and eating meat dates back at least 2.5 million years, and evidence of our ancestors eating meat dates back at least 3.5 million years, so the jury has been in for quite a while now. There have been cultures that were almost carnivores, but there has never been a single vegan culture in the history of humanity. Considering that our pancreas produces a wide range of enzymes for digesting both meat and vegetables, it is a silly argument to even be having. There is absolutely no question that our bodies evolved to effectively eat meat as well as many plant foods. The reason that we do not have multiple stomachs or a caecum for digesting cellulose, as herbivores do, is because we are omnivores. Any claim to the contrary is complete and utter nonsense.

    There are certainly real questions about processing and preserving though. And that applies both to animal foods, as well as chemically processed frankenfoods such as Quorn, mock chicken nuggets, and soymilk. That’s a very good reason to eat real foods, and avoid chemical processing and preservatives, whether omnivore or vegetarian.

  75. entopticon

    For what it’s worth, whatever your dietary preference, nutritional research is something to always take with a grain of salt, because it is notoriously undependable. Don’t forget that for decades, the ADA spent decades trying to convince people to eat hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are a health nightmare, instead of butter, which now appears to be perfectly healthy. In fact, an enormous meta-study of many studies on the issue, spanning a whopping 347,747 test subjects, found that there was absolutely no connection between saturated fat and heart disease whatsoever.

    The Atlantic published a pretty good article, Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Research, on Dr. John Ionnidis, who has been exposing that when it comes to medical research, and especially nutritional research, the emperor often has no clothes:

  76. bill smith

    [b]a vegan with no agricultural experience or training whatsoever,[/b]

    I believe that may be a bit redundant.

  77. Betty Cloer Wallace

    I believe that may be a bit redundant.

    Stewart David’s one-track mission is, as always, so rife with layers of conflation and obfuscation that the entire matter becomes redundant and incomprehensible.

    The readership of MtnX would be well served if the newspaper called a halt to it using the British definition of “redundant”–you’re fired, your contributions are no longer pertinent, you’re job is toast, you’re eliminated (and other such redundancies).

    Stewart might consider finding another hobby horse, or else confine his attempted rationale for plants good, meat bad to one train of thought (cause and effect) at a time.

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