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Article: Vegetarians Who Eat Meat


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http://www.newsweek.com/id/228720?GT1=43002

 

The latest cookbook by Mollie Katzen, author of vegetarian bibles The Moosewood Cookbookand The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, includes recipes for spinach lasagna and vegetable tofu stir fry with orange ginger glaze. It also includes a recipe for beef stew. No, not "beef" stew, in which some soy-based protein substitute is dressed and spiced to look (and sort of taste) like meat. Beef stew. With real beef. From a cow.

 

 

Considered one of the chefs most responsible for the mainstreaming of vegetarianism in the 1970s and '80s, and a vegetarian herself for 30 years, Katzen began eating meat again a few years ago. "Somehow it got ascribed to me that I don't want people to eat meat," Katzen said. "I've just wanted to supply possibilities that were low on the food chain."

 

For as long as people have been foreswearing meat, they've also been sneaking the occasional corn dog. The difference is, vegetarians used to feel guilty about their sins of the flesh-consumption. Now, thanks to the cachet attached to high-end meat, they are having their burgers without sacrificing the moral high ground.

 

 

The word "flexitarian," meaning someone who mostly eats vegetarian with the occasional cheesesteak thrown in, has been around for a while.

 

But only recently have former vegetarians been so smug about their forays to the dark side. "There is something almost primal about it," writes lapsed vegetarian Tara Austen Weaver, describing her first meat-buying expedition in The Butcher and the Vegetarian. "I haven't actually hunted dinner myself, but I set my sights and claimed the prize I sought." The "primalness" of the meat-eating (or meat-purchasing) experience comes up a lot in these conversion narratives, which inevitably take place at a quaint, family-run butcher shop. Some of these shops are even run by former vegetarians and vegans, such as Fleisher's, the upstate New York store where Julie Powell (of Julie and Juliafame) learned to carve up a steer for her forthcoming Cleaving.

 

Buying only grass-fed, sustainably raised (and incredibly expensive) meat allows former vegetarians to maintain the same sanctimony they expressed with their old "I don't eat anything with a face" T shirts. In response to an article by Jonathan Safran Foer about his decision to give up meat, a Brooklyn meat moralist wrote, "lovingly raised meat is not as hard to find as [safran Foer] seems to think—at least not if you have the good fortune to live near a farmers' market. Almost all the sheep and cattle and most of the pigs and chickens raised by the farmers who sell at those markets have spent their lives in the fields, free to run, graze and root as their natures dictate." This is the argument used by born-again carnivores like Katzen: eating meat is not ethically wrong. Eating ethically wrong meat (i.e., the cheap, mass-processed, hormone-stuffed burgers and steaks that constitute 80 percent of the meat sold in the U.S.) is wrong.

 

While it's true that sustainably raised, grass-fed beef may be better for the consumer, it's hard to argue that it's ultimately better for the cow. What these steak apologists seem to be missing is that no matter how "lovingly" the cow was raised, no matter how much grazing or rooting he did in his life, he gave up that life to become their dinner. Carnivores who only ate the flesh of animals that had died of natural causes at the end of long, satisfying lives might have a claim to moral superiority, but what to call them? Corpsevores? And if these organic farm animals have such great lives, isn't the more humane thing to eat a cage-raised, industrially processed chicken? At least we'd be putting it out of its misery.

 

© 2010

 

 

WTF.......

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I do see their point about the difference between ethically raised meat and battery raised meat.

 

Ask yourself this:

 

If someone is definately not going to ever stop eating meat, but are open to free range organic, wouldnt it be better they ate free range organic?

 

Its an unarguable yes.I have turned a few people vege/vegan in my years as a decent human being, but where I have failed in some cases, I may have managed to get people to buy free range.Its like a silver prize, and I feel like I have chipped away a tiny percentage of the profits these factory farm scumbags make, and chipped away a tiny percentage of the animals in those factory farms.

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phil no offense, but you do not have a point if you havnt made one - you didnt explain yourself at all.I did.Tell me what you disagree with in my explanation?

 

I'll break it down again:

 

What is better?

 

1.World full of animals in fields enjoying their life until point of death.

 

2.World full of animals in cages living miserable lives until point of death.

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I have heard the term industrial vegetarian. It means someone that only eats ethically raised meat. My friend watched Food Inc. and decided to become vegetarian. Then decided not to waste all the meat she had in her house. Then decided it would be ok to get a free range organic turkey for Thanksgiving. Then decided that while we were out it was just cheaper to buy the meat things at Taco Bell than the non-meat. WTF?

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What is better?

 

1.World full of animals in fields enjoying their life until point of death.

 

2.World full of animals in cages living miserable lives until point of death.

 

as long as the animal is murdered in the end for the cause of human exploitation it doesn't matter if the animal was "happy" or not. if you're imprisoned and sentenced to death it won't get better just because you have a nice wallpaper.

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I can't argue with a half a loaf being better than none.

 

However, people who claim to be ethical flexitarians for the animals anger me. Um, so it is okay to murder animals to alleviate your boredom or inconvenience, so long as it is only once in a while?

 

To be fair, anyone who has been around for a while will agree that there are vegans who are at least partially motivated by the glory of their own egos and other psychological things ( conscious and unconscious ) which have nothing to do with the benefit of animals.

 

I have a number of friends now who eat vegetarian most of the week out of concern for the environment. When asked, they just tell people they have cut down on meat to help the environment.

 

They don't need a special word.

 

I think the use of "flexitarian" is about having an ego boost by getting a "merit badge" by use of that label. "Hey, look at me, I'm a flexitarian.". or "Include me in the club, I'm still special even though I can't be bothered to vegetarian all of the time"

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phil mate youre missing the point.

 

I will restructure the options:

 

1.World full of animals in fields enjoying their life until point of death.A small number of vegetarians and vegans.

 

2.World full of animals in cages living miserable lives until point of death.A small number of vegetarians and vegans.

 

Your option is not going to happen.We are still the huge minority.Whilst thousands of us go vegan, billions eat meat.The reality is, we will do more for animals by pushing free range and organic meat, than we ever will trying to pursuede people to go vegan.Of course we must still do that, but we must do BOTH.I have only turnt about 5 people vege in my life, but many many more to go free range.I do, and should feel good about both.

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DaN -

 

I don't think anyone argues that less meat/egg/dairy consumption is better than no change at all. And I know that nobody here would say that they'd rather see hens in battery cages (for example) instead of being free to roam outdoors. But, there's a strong movement in the "happy meat" industry, where people feel a bit guilty about regular products, but somehow it assuages their guilt by believing that free-range/organic/etc. animal products are somehow nearly as good as not eating animals at all. They justify it by saying "It's hormone-free, healthy, and the animals live better lives!" or something similar, but it still misses the point and gives many people who are pondering going veg a halfway stop where the guilt is lessened, but they're still consuming animals nonetheless and contributing to cruelty regardless. Of course, as long as there's going to be animals farmed for consumption, they should have the best welfare possible, but that's strictly from a welfarist perspective and doesn't always mesh with the ultimate goal of abolition. It goes without saying, we don't all jump from omnivores to strict vegans overnight - we all need to transition in our own ways. However, we shouldn't give praise to companies who still ultimately slaughter animals for consumption just because they're being a bit nicer until that chicken hits the chopping block - we should rather focus on getting people who have started to make the change to see the truth, it's still cruel regardless, and that if they REALLY care about the animals, there's only one real way to make a difference.

 

We're never going to see a 100% vegan world. I don't delude myself to that fact. However, I would rather see a hundred people go vegan than a thousand who still consume organic/free-range meat, dairy and eggs, because while one may be slightly less cruel than the conventional standards, the other is not cruel at all and in the end and ultimately decreases the overall amount of animal consumption.

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1.World full of animals in fields enjoying their life until point of death.A small number of vegetarians and vegans.

 

2.World full of animals in cages living miserable lives until point of death.A small number of vegetarians and vegans.

 

VE basically pointed out what i'm going to say in a much easier and more simple way due to my limited english skills.

 

what your options would mean in reality is actually this:

 

1. animals die for human exploitation. a small number of vegetarians and vegans.

2. animals die for human exploitation. a small number of vegetarians and vegans.

 

it wouldn't make any difference. to keep an animal happy in it's cage wouldn't make the captive breeding any more natural. and no matter if it's a huge factory or a small farm, it's still captivity for the animal.

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It makes me sad that you cant see the difference between factory farming, and farming.

 

http://cogtoronto.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/41366158_farm416afp.jpg

 

http://www.hennet.org/images/suffering/Chickens_FreeRange.jpg

 

For you guys to say it makes no difference, is like saying you cant see a difference between black, and grey.I mean this in the nicest possible way, so please dont take offense, but you need to open your eyes.My aim in life is to help animals as much as I can, and in any way I can.If I cant convince John Smith to stop eating chicken, but I can convince him to buy from free-range farms, rather than non free-range, then I am going to.You need to do this also, because while you are not, you are letting down the animals you claim to love.

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DaN,

 

The thing is, like I said in my other post, just because a chicken you can buy says "free range" on it does NOT mean that it's out in the open, free to move about in wide open spaces. You NEED to do more research to find out just how the industries can get away with minor "improvements" and still stamp their animal products as if the poor creatures lived happy lives out in the open. As I posted elsewhere, "Free Range" for a chicken can mean that it has no more space than it has in a cage per bird in a coop, just that it may not be as strictly confined and have occasional access to a cramped, feces-ridden green space. Here's the thing - is it a huge improvement to say something is free-range IF it's still stuffed wing-to-wing with other birds, just that now they get to constantly bump into each other and may get some sunlight even though they're still living in misery? I REALLY urge you to read some info from Compassion Over Killing on the subject:

 

http://www.cok.net/lit/freerange.php

 

Let me quote a part that I think might just impact your view of "free range" -

 

"There is no inspection system for companies that label their eggs “free-range.”

 

The popular myth that “free-range” egg-laying hens enjoy fresh grass, bask in the sunlight, scratch the earth, sit on their nests, and engage in other natural habits is often just that: a myth. In many commercial “free-range” egg farms, hens are crowded inside windowless sheds with little more than a single, narrow exit leading to an enclosure, too small to accommodate all of the birds at once.

 

Both battery cage and “free-range” egg hatcheries kill all male chicks shortly after birth. Since male chicks cannot lay eggs and are different breeds than those chickens raised for meat, they are of no use to the egg industry. Standard killing methods, even among “free-range” producers, include grinding male chicks alive or throwing them into trash bags and leaving them to suffocate.

 

Whether kept in sheds or cages, laying hens—who can naturally live more than ten years—are considered “spent” when they are just one or two years old and their productivity wanes. Rather than being retired, “free-range” hens are slaughtered to make room for another shed of birds.

 

With no federal regulations overseeing the use of animal welfare claims on egg cartons, misleading or exaggerated claims are rampant. Consumers may be deceived by phrases such as “animal-friendly” or “naturally-raised,” which can be found on cartons of eggs from caged hens. Read about COK’s truth in labeling campaign urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require the full disclosure of production methods on eggs cartons sold nationwide."

 

I think that, because you have this vision of your local farmer who you have an admiration for, you're thinking that all "free-range" animals live the same way. Unfortunately, if you do assume that, you're completely wrong, and need to broaden your horizon for gathering facts beyond your own area. Coming out with incorrect info isn't helping the animals as much as you'd like to believe if you're simply condoning people buying from companies who still make their money on extreme cruelty. I'm not saying these things to put you down, but sometimes we romanticize things to where we envision them to be the norm, when in actuality, they're the anomaly. Again, I'll say it once more - TRUE free-range is a step beyond confinement and battery cages. If someone will NEVER, EVER go vegan, then I guess that's the best that can be done. BUT...why simply admit defeat in working to convince more people to go vegan and capitulating by saying to non-vegans that going organic/free range is somehow good enough? I don't think that the hens, cows, pigs and other animals would believe it to be good enough, since they're all destined for the chopping block sooner or later, so why should we coddle the masses by giving them the impression that veganism might just be too difficult?

 

I know you desperately WANT to believe that there are tons of these "wonderful" farms out there, but you know what - they're not the ones whose products are found at the grocery, they're the ones you have to go to, or, may be at small local community markets. They can't compete with the big businesses that bombard us with the same greenwashing bullshit that we get from all the major players, so when you tell someone to go buy that kind of crap and they're getting something nicely packaged from a major grocer, they're getting cruelty packaged to ease the conscience without any substance. Unless you're taking these hopeless never-vegans by the hand to the farm you've used as an example before, you might just be steering them to the same crap they've always had, but hey, at least they'll feel like they're not being cruel

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Thanks for the reply VE.

 

You make your points very well, and I must say I totally agree with you.

 

To be clear, I always, and have always, first and foremost advised people to go vegan/vege.I have pursuaded many people to do that (always a good feeling when they tell you they have stopped eating meat thanks to your advice)

 

But mostly I find people who are completely unwilling to ever give up meat (80% of people I talk to)

 

For these people, I try to appeal to them by suggesting going to their local farmers, rather than supermarkets - because the animals do suffer less.

 

I think other vegans should follow this rather than being so shortsighted as to not recognise the difference.

 

Just my opinion

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VeganEssentials is right. we'll never live in a 100% vegan world, but

 

1)flexitarian is a stupid construct. Just say omnivore. why is there even a "tarian"? Just to make it sound like that person is doing something?

 

2)i think my biggest pet peeve in the world is when people that eat meat are referred to as "carnivores". It's simply inaccurate and whenever I hear that word in that context I instantly feel like I'm dealing with someone particularly unintelligent. (which isn't inaccurate, because usually they're making some dumb argument about why eating animals is ok.)

 

what it boils down to is that most people, for whatever reason, want to eat meat. They don't want animals to suffer, but basically, they're weak and can't hold themselves to the standard I feel like they'd like to, so they find an appropriate (to them) halfstep. It's lame, and that whole section of industry is giving them a way out of vegetarianism.

 

But, as I've said before, people will only make the changes they are willing to make. You can't make anyone do anything, and no amount of logic will change that if that person isn't ready. I kind of sucks, but that's just the way it is.

 

I, like most vegans, would rather see meat eaters eat only "free range and organic" than factory farmed meat, although seeing vegans and vegetarians reneg on their commitment drives me absolutely up the wall.

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Jason wrote:

 

I, like most vegans, would rather see meat eaters eat only "free range and organic" than factory farmed meat

 

Not xphilx, he doesnt recognise any difference in the two types of farming - making the blanket statement that both are captivity.

 

I wonder if he feels the same about a human being held hostage and tortured, and a human serving a jail sentence.Both are captivity but I know which I would prefer.

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in Phil's defense, he's right. they're both captive. And really, his argument isn't "better" or "worse" it's "leave them the fuck alone". I get it. I agree. but it isn't the way it will realistically end up, and it sucks.

 

What's better? a species with a history of nothing but abuse that can't live in "the wild" to go extinct, or to be continually raised solely for human consumption?

 

Again. Leave them the fuck alone. If they die, they die naturally.

 

Not the most realistic or puppies, kittens, and clouds that rain boobs mentality, but quite possibly the best thing.

 

I see what you're trying to do, Dan. It's give people that aren't ready to go vegan a conscience easing option that really is still raising animals for human benefit. Phil doesn't like that. And while I think Phil could try to be more reasonable in his arguments, I understand where he's coming from and can't help but agree (at least part of me.)

 

The whole world will never go vegan by choice. Do your part to make it a better place. Make decisions you can live with and hopefully the animals can live with them, too.

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Don't be hating on the so called "flexitarians". It's a stupid term, but I used to be like that too. I would occasionally eat meat at my parents or at friends. I live in Alberta, which is basically the Texas of Canada, and almost nobody I know is a vegan, or even vegetarian But people like that at least are mostly vegetarians, which is a lot better than people who must have meat every single meal (so they are still saving animals by not buying as much meat). I now am vegetarian totally but still have a hard time and get mad sometimes when the only vegetarian option on a menu is a ceasar salad... Even David Suzuki said that families should take at least one meal a week that is totally vegetarian and that can make a difference. So I think all the haters should lay off people who are mostly vegetarian but occasionally eat meat, because at least they are trying to help make a difference .... plus it might just be a stepping stone in their transition to full vegetarian or even to full vegan

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I don't consider it hating on people, rather the term and people's needs to label themselves for their own peace of mind/fitting in/whatever. Silly terminology gives validation to it as if it's somehow a lifestyle all it's own, when it's simply choosing to eat veg once in a while. I do commend people who do choose to eat less meat, no question about it, but people who may boast that they're somehow making vast improvements on their health or are somehow actually considering the animals by still continuing to eat meat regularly, well, to me it's just silly that there's some need to define it as if it's a lifestyle. It's a conscious choice IF you feel the need for the label, but even when I spent a year transitioning slowly to vegetarian and then vegan, I'd have laughed at calling myself a "flexitarian" because it doesn't actually mean anything. Making it a label and defining it as some sort of movement doesn't change what it really is, which is an omnivorous diet.

 

Kudos to those who choose to reduce their animal consumption, but I won't pat anyone on the back who does because they want a label and feels that it's part of a movement. While it's a step in the right direction, it's only a step, and there are a lot more steps afterward to get to where a real impact is made

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