Don't Eat Anything With A Face

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Food FinalCleanWeb

Illustration by Thomas James

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

According to a 2009 poll, around 1% of American adults reported eating no animal products. In 2011 that number rose to 2.5%--more than double, but still dwarfed by the 48% who reported eating meat, fish or poultry at all of their meals. In this country, most of us are blessed with an abundance of food and food choices. So taking into account our health, the environment and ethical concerns, which diet is best? Are we or aren't we meant to be carnivores?

  • Barnard 90

    For

    Dr. Neal Barnard

    Clinical Researcher & Author, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart

  • Gene Baur official 90px final

    For

    Gene Baur

    President and Co-Founder, Farm Sanctuary

  • Masterjohn official 90

    Against

    Chris Masterjohn

    Nutritional Sciences Researcher & Blogger, The Daily Lipid

  • Salatin 90

    Against

    Joel Salatin

    Farmer & Author


    • Moderator Image

      MODERATOR

      John Donvan

      Author & Correspondent for ABC News

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Barnard 90

For The Motion

Dr. Neal Barnard

Clinical Researcher & Author, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart

Neal Barnard, M.D., is Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., who guides numerous clinical trials investigating the effects of diet on body weight, chronic pain, and diabetes. Barnard’s most recent study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes was funded by the National Institutes of Health. He has authored dozens of scientific publications, 15 books for lay readers, and has hosted three PBS television programs on nutrition and health, ranging from weight loss to Alzheimer’s prevention. As President and Founder of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Barnard has been instrumental in efforts to reform federal dietary guidelines. He also leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.

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Gene Baur official 90px final

For The Motion

Gene Baur

President and Co-Founder, Farm Sanctuary

Gene Baur, President and Co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine. Since the mid-1980s, Gene has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our system of cheap food production. His book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food (2008), a national bestseller, is a thought-provoking investigation of the ethical questions surrounding beef, poultry, pork, milk, and egg production. It describes what each of us can do to promote compassion and help stop the systematic mistreatment of the billions of farm animals who are exploited for food in the United States every year.

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Masterjohn official 90

Against The Motion

Chris Masterjohn

Nutritional Sciences Researcher & Blogger, The Daily Lipid

Chris Masterjohn pursued a career in health and nutrition after recovering from health problems he developed as a vegan by including high-quality, nutrient-dense animal foods in his diet. He earned a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut in 2012 and currently researches the physiological interactions between fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has published six peer-reviewed publications and has submitted one manuscript for review. He also writes two blogs. The first, The Daily Lipid, is hosted on his web site, Cholesterol-And-Health.Com. The second, Mother Nature Obeyed, is hosted by the Weston A. Price Foundation at westonaprice.org. The opinions expressed in this debate are his own and do not necessarily represent the positions of the University of Illinois.

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Salatin 90

Against The Motion

Joel Salatin

Farmer & Author

Joel Salatin is a full-time farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. A third generation alternative farmer, he returned to the farm full-time in 1982 and continued refining and adding to his parents’ ideas. The farm services more than 5,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey, and forestry products, using relationship marketing. Salatin holds a BA degree in English and writes extensively in magazines such as Stockman Grass Farmer, Acres USA, and Foodshed. He is the author of eight books, including Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World (2012). The family’s farm, Polyface Inc., achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the new New York Times bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by food writer guru Michael Pollan, and the award-winning documentary film Food Inc.

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Declared Winner: For The Motion

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Voting Breakdown:
 

59% voted the same way in BOTH pre- and post-debate votes (19% voted FOR twice, 36% voted AGAINST twice, 5% voted UNDECIDED twice). 41% changed their minds (2% voted FOR then changed to AGAINST, 3% voted FOR then changed to UNDECIDED, 12% voted AGAINST then changed to FOR, 4% voted AGAINST then changed to UNDECIDED, 15% voted UNDECIDED then changed to FOR, 5% voted UNDECIDED then changed to AGAINST)*breakdown for those voting the same way twice adds to 60% due to rounding | Breakdown Graphic

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    285 comments

    • Comment Link MT, Congenital Heart Disease patient Wednesday, 04 December 2013 20:03 posted by MT, Congenital Heart Disease patient

      I don't want to start a big fight with people here but I am just curious. My partner is vegan and I really tried to be as well. We followed good vegan diets with almost no processed foods. After about a year we went and got blood tests - my partner was fine and I was severely deficient in calcium and iron, to the point where I was told I would need a blood transfusion and could break a bone really easily. Yet we both ate the exact same diet 100%. Why did this happen??? The only difference between us (apart from the fact that I am a woman and my partner is a man - and I did drink extra calcium fortified soy milk to accommodate this) is that I am on several medications for a life threatening heart condition that I have since found out cause difficulties with mineral absorption. At the moment I am dealing with this by taking even more vitamin pills but am being hassled by my doctor to eat red meat and drink milk. I am thinking of including a small amount of free range meat/ eggs to make up for this (and get rid of tablets that probably contain animal products anyway - not that the label would tell you) but how does one in a situation like mine get sufficient vitamins and minerals from a vegan diet? Apart from my calcium and iron issues, my liver has gotten better on this diet (it was destroyed by a combo of medication and processed foods). I have cut out some of my medications from being healthier, but alas can not get rid of them all.

    • Comment Link Michaela Conley Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:58 posted by Michaela Conley

      Wonderful debate! Thank you for helping to keep this in our collective consciousness.

    • Comment Link Alexis Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:57 posted by Alexis

      Human evolve to eat an omnivorous diet. To suggest otherwise flies in the face of science, and emerges out of the same hubris that assumes that humans are superior to animals, or kinder, more compassionate. We are PART of nature, and PART of the food chain.

      THE END.

    • Comment Link Annette West Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:37 posted by Annette West

      I am 57 years old and have been a vegan for 14 years. I stopped eating animals after I saw how cruel factory farming is. I have enjoyed the health benefits of a plant based diet as a fringe benefit. My contemporaries have ailments that I do not have and I am convinced it is in large part because of my diet. My weight is the same as when Iwas in my twenties and I do not exercise probably as much as I should.. My blood work that my physician orders every 6 months as part of a regular check up is better that any of his patients in my same age group. It is not difficult to sustain a vegan diet. I eat delicious foods that are easy to prepare. I have never one time considered going back to meat.

    • Comment Link Mary Smythe Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:26 posted by Mary Smythe

      I have been vegetarian for 28+ years. I am the ONLY 40+ year old that takes ZERO medication, weigh an ideal weight without working out and have ZERO health issues! That's no coincidence! It is because of my diet. I chose to STOP eating SOULS when I was 16 years old becuase I knew it was MURDER and was wrong. You DO NOT need meat to live! The problem is the fact that we take animals as our property and do whatever we WANT to them. They don't give us consent, they don't tell us to kill them. In fact, when they are going to slaughter, they FIGHT it! I should know-I used to be married to a dairy farmer. It is all CRUEL, WRONG, and SELF RIGHTEOUS. "Human beings" possess the LEAST AMOUNT OF HUMANITY than any other being on the planet because of their greed, ignorance, and cruelty. That is a fact, plain and simple. Oh and by the way, I know 2 people who got colon cancer because the doctor said their diet was too meat heavy. Oh well. Two less murderers on this earth.

    • Comment Link Bova Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:26 posted by Bova

      ...ok.... Chris Masterjohn, I just read your "experience with vegetarianism"..... uh.... you basically ate a bunch of processed food and it doesn't sound like much fruit, vegetables basic grains and legumes. Your experience of vegetarianism is so far from what Neal Barnard recommends, of course you'll have problems. Whole foods bud, you didn't eat whole foods. Processed fake meat as a staple???? Why would you think that is healthy. Fruit, veg, legumes and grains is the real deal. Get a clue kid.

    • Comment Link Lee Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:24 posted by Lee

      Dr. Barnard is not credible.

    • Comment Link Janet Weeks Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:21 posted by Janet Weeks

      I'll never again eat anyONE with a face, or anyONE who HAD a face, or any eggs or mammary secretions from someONE who had a face. To all animals, I say, "Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you [or your secretions] anymore." -- Franz Kafka

    • Comment Link Bova Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:18 posted by Bova

      Chris Masterjohn, what were you eating when you were veg/vegan? There's a big difference between junk food vegan and healthy vegan. Whole foods or lots of processed? Were you getting enough calories? Your personal diet doesn't mean much unless you give specifics or post up a health history/food log.

    • Comment Link Steve C. Wednesday, 04 December 2013 19:10 posted by Steve C.

      Vegetarianism is still killing a live thing. Don't kid yourselves you are behaving more morally.
      Sorry to spoil any righteousness you may feel. It's just that you drew the line lower than most people. Plants may have a very low level of sentience as well as a rudimentary nervous system.

    • Comment Link Berenice Wednesday, 04 December 2013 18:59 posted by Berenice

      I think eating meat is wrong nowadays specially, animals are raised in horrible ways, the demand is huge and unsustainable. Meat is not as it used to be, is full of hormones and pesticides, plants might have pesticides, but they are not recycled through this inefficient way of creating food. The environment is suffering hugely from the meat industry, even the UN has called to have a vegan diet, we are destroying the world along with killing animals and ourselves, please read this article! http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet

    • Comment Link Kimberly Wednesday, 04 December 2013 18:45 posted by Kimberly

      There is no ecologically sustainable way to raise enough animals for food given the current demand. Not possible.

    • Comment Link DESPINA HANDOLIAS Wednesday, 04 December 2013 18:23 posted by DESPINA HANDOLIAS

      It is quite disturbing and perverse to read the number of excuses humans use to justify their consumption of animal flesh and secretions. Eating animals is not only NOT sustainable based on the sheer amount of space and crop/feed production needed and environmental degradation and pollution and emissions produced, it is unhealthy especially given that any nutritional benefit from these products can be gained by plants alone without the added saturated fat, cholesterol and cancer promoting proteins. How anyone could say breeding and raising animals to be slaughtered (all within a fraction of their normal lives) is "humane" would be beyond any rational person. And oppression breeds violence, we have seen plenty of examples of that in human history and none more so that this this archaic "industry". To also state that the animal agri-business is important in order to preserve or create jobs is again irrational. Do you think drug dealers, arms dealers and those who are employed by the slave trade would say the same thing? Would anyone be worried if those that are employed in the health industries lost their jobs because we were able to "cure" chronic disease...I don't think so. The nature of humans is that they evolve, and for farmers/ranchers the production line must change. The premise that humans are "superior" is outdated, arrogant and vile and is not a basis for enslavement and taking of innocent lives. All animals have an inherent will to live and rear their newborns and live free from harm all of which humans deny them of on a staggering scale. The very definition of humanity is the way we treat and our attitude to those most vulnerable. Those of you who are against the motion really need to re-consider based on logic, ethics and morality and not because "thats the way it has always been done".

    • Comment Link Bob DiBenedetto Wednesday, 04 December 2013 17:57 posted by Bob DiBenedetto

      The question is simple. Do we want to keep killing for pleasure, convenience or for fun, when it's scientifically unnecessary. I and a growing number of thoughtful humans are saying "No"...

      We can travel on all kinds of philosophical tangents, but the issue is simple. Intentionally kill when it's not necessary, or just say no?

      Those who feel it's OK to kill for no reason, ought to just step right up and say it.

      Looking forward to this debate, and a great night to all!

    • Comment Link Ryan Walker Wednesday, 04 December 2013 16:58 posted by Ryan Walker

      I think the last question of the teaser should be "Are we or aren't we meant to be omnivores"?... not carnivores. Simply looking at things from a biological standpoint, why do humans have canine teeth? Why are we able to digest meat? Why are we designed to eat both meat and plants? Look at all other animal life on earth and read the anatomical clues - whether you believe we were created by a higher power or evolved from microbes, nature doesn't lie. Oh yea... and there are the thousands of years of historical evidence that humans have been fine eating both.

      From an ethical standpoint, should we tell lions in the wild not to hunt? How about bears, insects, fish, and birds... good luck getting them to turn vegan. To each their own, but I'll keep putting meat on my salad. The fact that a small group of people are even questioning this seems silly to me.

    • Comment Link Claire Wednesday, 04 December 2013 16:46 posted by Claire

      Wow. How about we stop debating and start finding some common ground to work towards? There are lots of intelligent comments on here both for and against. You guys could actually all work together to stop GMO foods and mass agribusiness. It doesn't seem like anyone thinks eating mass produced meat full of antibiotics and chemicals is a good idea. If meat was produced on a smaller scale, organic, grass fed and to the highest possible ethical standard everyone, omnivore or vegan would be moving toward more common ground. There would be gains for everyone. There would be much less meat produced and consumed and therefore the potential for everyone to consume more fruits and veggies and see meat as more of a side than the many event two or three times a day. Meat would be better quality, far fewer animals in the system, and a much more sustainable system on many levels. Having opposing polarized views only serves the big agribusinesses that are screwing over animals, consumers and the planet, while we are all busy fighting and defending our entrenched views. Come closer together and start solving some of the issues.

    • Comment Link Maria Wednesday, 04 December 2013 16:41 posted by Maria

      Pre-Vegan:
      Total Cholesterol Level = 247
      Sugar Fasting Level = 104

      Post-Vegan:
      Total Cholesterol Level = 168
      Sugar Fasting Level = 80

      TO ME, FOR ME... I am being compassionate to the only animal I can truly take care of - ME.

      Respectfully,
      Chef Maria

    • Comment Link Lucy Muller Wednesday, 04 December 2013 15:58 posted by Lucy Muller

      Humans do not require animal products to be healthy. This is obvious from the millions of vegetarians around the world. If you are worried, as someone wrote above, that we will not have animal manure for plants, horses and other companion vegetarian animals can be kept for that purpose as well as for joy. It would create a huge new industry without the cruelty.

    • Comment Link Jill Wednesday, 04 December 2013 15:12 posted by Jill

      @Ted - Veganism will never remove animals from the food chain. They will continue to be a part of it in every corner of the world, naturally. And a lot of people are indeed using compost containing human waste. If you hear the term "biosolids" and buy compost from a municipality or made with a municipality's waste, those biosolids are generally from wastewater treatment plans that process waste from sewer systems.

    • Comment Link liz Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:23 posted by liz

      I've been vegetarian for 31 years and vegan for 17. I am the oldest of 3 women and am 64. Both my younger siblings have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and one is diabetic (on insulin). I have none of their health problems - am on no medications.
      For me, however, the larger issue is the horrible treatment of animals just to provide a moments pleasure, or to entertain us, or to wrap their once living skins around us. None of that is necessary. For some reason we have always felt entitled to do what we wish over those we have power. It's slavery and it's wrong - whether human animal or non human animal.

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