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


    Dr. Neal Barnard

    Clinical Researcher & Author, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart

  • Gene Baur official 90px final


    Gene Baur

    President and Co-Founder, Farm Sanctuary

  • Masterjohn official 90


    Chris Masterjohn

    Nutritional Sciences Researcher & Blogger, The Daily Lipid

  • Salatin 90


    Joel Salatin

    Farmer & Author

    • Moderator Image


      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 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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    • Comment Link Marty Thursday, 05 December 2013 03:09 posted by Marty

      Bizarre comments indeed George, like yours.
      Privileged you say, lol, like fruits veggies and beans potatoes rice etc are for the elite!
      Get a grip, vegans aren't preaching one and only. It is more for the animals than anything but there is also real science to back up what the likes of the speakers are saying and beyond.
      Want to talk pseudoscience, paleo, low carb and atkins... all debunked by real science. Why not check out plant positive on you tube if you dare where he breaks it all down.

    • Comment Link Sheila Kuhn Thursday, 05 December 2013 03:09 posted by Sheila Kuhn

      I beg to differ with the individual that called "turkey hugs" "pure Walt Disney" We have a rooster that is more physically affectionate than the cats and dogs that live with us and I have photographs to prove it. I am a grandmother, a vegan, I live in one of the unhealthiest and fattest states in the country because the culture of Appalachia still dictates at every turn that people live on cheap, processed or fast food, dairy and animal flesh. I assure you that I don't live in Disney Land! I simply understand that this bird is a very loving sentient being because I have witnessed his behaviors personally. Over the years we have hosted rescue sheep, pigs, and goats that have commonly displayed affectionate sentient behaviors.
      People don't enjoy thinking of their "food" as being "real or feeling" beings because if they did, they would have to stop eating them and they don't want to do that. Some are "emotionally" connected to their hungry desire to unthinkingly consume animals.. In fact, many people wouldn't know HOW to eat a healthy, whole food, plant based diet (on a budget or otherwise) where I live. Education is the key to a healthier more compassionate lifestyle and I am grateful for debates such as this one. Thank you.

    • Comment Link Karen Thursday, 05 December 2013 01:44 posted by Karen

      I used to eat meat, milk, cheese and eggs up until 11 months ago. I felt healthy but my check up proved otherwise. I am a 55 year old female and was surprised to see my cholesterol in the high danger zone. I was told I to fill the prescription of statin drugs with no mention of changing my diet. I started reading on the dangers of statin drugs and got scared. By change, I saw Forks over Knives and it started a title wave of knowledge. I decided to go on a plant based diet and immediately I felt better. After only 6 months, my cholesterol went from 260 to 188. Every morning It took me a good 4 or 5 steps before I could stand up straight because of "arthritis". It's gone!! My skin, which I have always had trouble with outbreaks of blemishes, CLEAR! My depression that would ebb and flow, GONE. I read some of these comments bashing this diet and I just shake my head. People can have such closed minds. I eat what my ancestors ate...blah blah blah. Well they had to eat that to survive. But we have science now and Harvards' new study just said to get all dairy out of your diet. We know o much more than our ancestors and they on average only lived to the early 30's at best. People strongly oppose giving up their meat and it reminds me of a drug addict when you threaten to take their drugs away. Violent opposition! How can someone justify putting 50 billion land animals a year through an inhumane life filled with abuse, confinement, emotional distress, physical distress, mutilation, pain and suffering when we don't need to eat them to live healthy lives. Its not only selfish, it's arrogant that people think they have the right to do such horrible things to animals, just because we can. In addition to my excellent health check up, I also lost my belly fat. I lost about 30 pounds and am considered to be the correct weight for my height. This was major for my self confidence. I feel so much better about myself in every way. i wish everyone would give this a try and prove to themselves, there is nothing to fear, but fear. I will stay on this diet for the rest of my life.

    • Comment Link sundra r allen Thursday, 05 December 2013 01:43 posted by sundra r allen

      I have been a vegan for 26+ years and my health keeps improving.

    • Comment Link Philipp Thursday, 05 December 2013 01:19 posted by Philipp

      Just one book recommondation or two and re-think please:
      The vegetarian myth
      Primal mind primal body
      Human diet Evolution
      Paleo solution
      Epi-paleo rx

      Just some of the most comprehensive books I ve ever read!

      Have an omnivorous day:))

    • Comment Link Alice Thursday, 05 December 2013 01:12 posted by Alice

      I am a vegetarian for 5 years now (occasionally eat fish and sheep feta cheese),. I saw a few harsh comments of people, meat eaters obviously, don't know about their age, who pretend that eating meat happened since the Stone Age, But ever since, Humanity evolved, and we have different social, economic and cultural conditions. I must dare we evolved, am I wrong ? I for one always loved animals, but still ate meat until I found out from a documentary done by Vegan Outreach about the atrocities that are going on in the Factory Farms, and decided right on the spot that I don't want to be part of this holocaust, no matter what. Little I realized that along with my decision, I also received the gift of perfect health. With the meat replacements out there, and great recipes you can find on the internet, vegan eating becomes easier, more fun to cook and more tasteful.. In a society in which indoctrination, lack of moral principles, and empathy toward suffering are norm, these opinions don't come as a surprise to me at all. I am sure of the fact that 99% of the people still eat meat, and they will continue to eat (including my all family members), Mother Nature however has its own way of regulating things in the Universe, and I believe that no matter what eye openers we have around us, what is meant to happen will happen. I just hope that people will wake up in a timely manner.

    • Comment Link Personne Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:06 posted by Personne

      Humans can chose to eat others things than sensitive individuals.
      Statistic studies prove than vegetarians live longer than meat eaters.
      Americans eat three times as much meat per person than the average human (and forty times as much meat per person than Indians).
      UN urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet for ecological reasons.
      GM soy is cultivated in Amazonia in order to feed our farm animals.
      And scientific studies prove than humanity will be globally vegetarian by 2050 in order to be able to feed all humans on Earth.

      Try to learn.

      You can fight with your denial as long as you want. Facts will stay. End of debate.

    • Comment Link Helen Tam-Semmens Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:05 posted by Helen Tam-Semmens

      I became a vegan after I came to the realization that animal farming these days is horrific. We have no right to put animals through such hell. But then I was pleasantly surprised when all my ailments just went away after I became a vegan ... my Rheumatoid Arthritis, my acid reflux, my high cholesterol, etc. And I feel better and full of energy like never before. And I have no need of supplements either.

      I am fully convinced that a vegan diet is what we humans are meant to eat. In our evolutionary history, some of our ancestors ate meat occasionally due to necessity, such as to hold them through harsh winter. But when our body and digestive system were developed, our ancestors' diet were predominately vegan, because our teeth and digestive system today is very similar to those of fruit and veggie eaters, and very different from meat-eaters.

    • Comment Link Robert Les Wednesday, 04 December 2013 23:44 posted by Robert Les

      Wow, some oddball comments from some posters. Murderers?
      Look, those that are vegans are not likely to change their minds any more than most meat eaters are to become vegans.

      It's a personal choice, of course. What's right is what works best for you usually. Some claim religious type reasons for not killing animals while others point out the same examples in their Bible where the "chosen group" ate fish and lamb and sacrificed animals.

      So what's to be believed. This expert says this. Another contradicts that. I can only read many sources and check up on whose paying for the research and try and determine whose lying and biased.

      My family have all been meat eaters and all died in their 90's with no apparent health problems. Others claim the same for their vegan relatives. So, there ya go

    • Comment Link Chris Turner Wednesday, 04 December 2013 23:26 posted by Chris Turner

      EAT YOUR FOOD RAW, AS DO ALL OTHER SPECIES OF ANIMAL, and if you can't eat it as ALL other species of animals eat it then you probably have no business eating it....

      Diet is not rocket science other animals don't have the consul of self professed nutritional dietary professionals within their species, why are humans so confused?

    • Comment Link Marea Wednesday, 04 December 2013 23:16 posted by Marea

      I am a happy, content omnivore. I am 58 yrs. old. Weigh 118 lbs., 5'4". My blood pressure is low normal. I have only ever had one cavity. Nice smile, never had braces. Into my fifties my GYN said she just didn't see uteruses as healthy as mine and was tested positive for having the perfect healthy environment for conceiving and nurturing a healthy baby. Same thing with my eye doctor, she couldn't believe that my eyes were getting better and doing things they shouldn't be able to do for my age. Most people fall out when they find out my age.

      I eat lots of pasture butter, always have. Nothing low fat. Get whole raw dairy when I can. I don't go for lean meat, but better cuts with more fat and grain and pasture raised. Pasture raised chiken, liver, eggs. I eat fish (not farm raised). I love fruits and vegetable and eat plenty of organic ones. I've never smoked, done drugs, rarely drink alcohol. I don't eat chips, crackers, white flour, rarely wheat, I use sprouted spelt mostly, I eat brown rice. stay away from soy, canola oil, vegetable oils, accept for olive, sesame, pumpkin, and coconut. I rarely eat foods with sugar. I do prepare treats using a little rapadura, coconut crystals, maple syrup or unheated honey occasionally. But what I've experienced is that as long as I'm getting plenty of fat in my diet I don't want or enjoy sugary desserts, but when I don't I start craving the sugar.

      Truely, I grew up eating a diet similar to this. Good balanced meals, with lots of variety. Whole milk form the milk man at every meal, a small glass of juice with breakfast Otherwise we drank water. Butter, eggs, meat with fat! Fresh fish because we lived near the ocean. We never had kool-aid, candy (accept at halloween) Cookies (accept rare special homemade ones). Year after year I never missed a day of school. Never remember being sick as a child accept with the 3 day measles.

      And now, I am almost never sick (maybe once every three yrs.) I may get a mild cold or flu. I'm not on any medications. About 2 yrs ago I started juicing every day and I ended up with a kidney infection because the vegetables I was using were so high in oxalic acids. I hadn't had a kidney infection for thirty years before that and only that one time.

      I do not believe it was the meat alone that has made the difference for all those vegetarians and their nonvegetarian ailing friends. There is a much bigger picture to explore. What kind of meat and dairy were you putting into your body? How much refined substance were you or they putting into the body.

    • Comment Link John Beemer Wednesday, 04 December 2013 23:13 posted by John Beemer

      People don't want to change because it's hard to change for most people. All the people posting comments that eat meat/dairy want to hear good new about their bad habits. It amazes me how blind people are. I've been eating a plant based diet for over 3 years and have never felt better. I didn't do it for the animals but for me. I loved eating big fat steaks and burgers. They tasted great but I was unhealthy and fat.

      Fat is the new norml. I'm 5'11 and 170 lbs. I can bench press 250 and I'm 47 years old. I'm not pale and weak.

      Government it probably the biggest problem. They subsidize meat/dairy so we get big and fat. Then they give us free healthcare if you qualify.

    • Comment Link Yuka Wednesday, 04 December 2013 22:56 posted by Yuka

      Joel Salatin said we need meats for poor. Does he know 70 to 80 % of grains produced in US go to feed livestocks? We could feed hungry people with those grains and it's cheaper to produce grains and veggies than raising cows. He pretends like he cares about the poor, then he said meat price should be triple, and argue those bad health results from meat eating apply to Factory Farming meats. What kind of meats should poor eat, sir?

    • Comment Link Chad G Wednesday, 04 December 2013 22:54 posted by Chad G

      When I was about 9, my uncle took me with him to work his rice field with the combine. I was raised around hunting and fishing, but I was shocked by the death that I witnessed. I remember snakes, mice, rabbits, and "marsh hens" as he called them being raked and I suspect killed by the combine. To those who say that a vegan diet is without harm, I respectfully disagree. Don't just take my word, ask any farmer if what I am saying is true. Namaste.

    • Comment Link Mike B. Wednesday, 04 December 2013 22:49 posted by Mike B.

      I have 3 grandparents, 2 aunts and 3 uncles who died of heart disease and both my parents have had multiple heart bypass surgeries, so it seems I should have heart disease by now. I don't and my blood tests including cholesterol, c-reactive protein, homocysteine, testosterone, and calcium are all optimum/near optimum from eating a vegan diet and very little refined grains and sugar for the past 3 years.
      I haven't been sick, had allergies, indigestion, heart burn or tight joints since I switched.
      There are those who want to "eat like our ancestors", but we don't really know what they ate, and they probably ate whatever they could in their region depending on the climate and what was available. Even if they did eat meat, so what? I want to eat healthier than that.
      I also don't want to contribute to the 40 billion animals a year born into suffering.

    • Comment Link Julie Wednesday, 04 December 2013 22:28 posted by Julie

      I've spent the last ten years studying sustainability; and can assure you that the impact livestock has on the environment is profound. From soil degradation to water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, the meat and dairy industry is causing more devastation than any other human practice.

      It is true that there are people on this planet who need animal products to survive, but I am certain they don't include anyone reading this post. It is also true that many people adopt veganism without bothering to learn about nutrition. Unfortunately, they give the rest of us a bad name. Many of the healthiest, strongest, fastest and longest-lived people on earth do not eat anything with a face. Others have cured themselves of the most common illnesses plaguing the western world today.

    • Comment Link Juicy T bone steak Wednesday, 04 December 2013 21:48 posted by Juicy T bone steak

      So Mary Smythe I hope you don't use leather goods like shoes, belts, bags, car seats , furniture the list goes on and on !! Better check your cosmetics as well they are loaded with animal products! And do you go into grocery stores that sell these "Murdered" souls ?? I hope not ! And if these animals are being murdered are you doing everything possible to save them ? Or is this your effort put forth in saving these "Murdered" souls ....writing a comment ?? Better go and set some cows free to tonight or chickens Maybe they can move in with you

    • Comment Link Suze Wednesday, 04 December 2013 21:37 posted by Suze

      I agree with Ryan. I don't think it was a total sham, but it was apparent from the very beginning that the moderator favored the pro-vegan side. And when he cut off Chris Masterjohn on his analysis of the claims of one his opponents and stated that this was an ad hominem attack, it became abundantly clear that the debate was not really about science. Too bad. I do think several things could have been mentioned by Chris and Joel that would have laid to rest the debate once and for all, at least from a health perspective, including some of Dr. Price's findings of the exceptionally healthy and disease-free "primitive" peoples he studied almost a century ago, all of whom coveted animal fat and all whom ate animal fat and meat in varying amounts, but all in all I thought the "against" side was very strong. And I commend them for pointing out that we are all *individuals*. Whoda thunk? Some of us cannot live healthy lives without animal meat and fat in our diets. Some of us can. Many of us have tried to live without and have become unwell as a result. The pro-vegan side did not seem to recognize individual differences in human nutritional needs. Although it's possible they mentioned it and I missed it since the video stopped and buffered for long periods a few times.

    • Comment Link Dinh Tran Wednesday, 04 December 2013 21:24 posted by Dinh Tran

      I now feel great switching to a pure vegetarian 'vegan' diet from a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian (including Dairy and eggs in my diet) not long ago. I take a high strength Vitamin B12 supplement every few days and also Algae DHA for Omega 3 regularly. A pure vegetarian 'vegan' diet helped me achieve my ideal healthy weight. I have never felt better; all thanks to following the advice in Dr. Neal Barnard's books and reading 'Diet For A New America' by John Robbins.
      We can all look forward to a future where people will be sitting together around camp fires and telling fascinating stories of when humans sickened themselves by consuming the corpses of dead animals.

    • Comment Link Berenice Wednesday, 04 December 2013 21:18 posted by Berenice

      for those talking about ancestral diet and traditions, one of the problems with eating meat, fish or any animals is that is NOT sustainable any more, regardless of health, the planet just cannot afford it any more, meat production is among the top causes of global warming, and causes hunger too! 70% of the crops in the US go to feed livestock, perhaps, regardless of my ethical veganism, 'before' we could afford to eat animals... Do your homework, the UN and NASA have studies that show that 2038 the oceans will be dead as ecosystems because of commercial fishing practices, the land is growing dryer, hotter, so eating as our grandparents did is not an option anymore! Humane meat is not sustainable either. Again, I am an ethical vegan, I stopped eating animals for personal moral reasons, but I later I learned that there are powerful environmental reasons to NOT eat meat... We must evolve as species and find ways to respect nature, animals, the planet, and ourselves.

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