Night Owl Mk. II

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Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

...should be obvious that fat and cholesterol, in and of themselves, are not deadly.
(R) Certainly, your body produces these substances. It is the over accumulation of them that causes clogged arteries-leading to heart attacks and strokes.
(MB) Which was, of course, my original point.

(R) An oxford study monitored 6000 vegetarions and 5000 meat eaters over a period of twelve years and concluded that a non-meat diet reduces the likelihood of early death by 20% and of death from cancer by 40%. They also said that "the closer the regions came to the Western models--high in animal protein and fat, low in fiber--the more the people suffered from the so-called diseases of affluence that kill people in the United States and other developed countries: various cancers, leukaemia, diabetes and corollary heart disease."
(MB) The key to understanding these results is in the last sentence. The "Western model" and "diseases of affluence" have been factored into the equation. These also include the more sedentary lifestyle that is a major contributor towards all of those other problems. Eating meat is a "diet", while being a vegetarian is a "lifestyle" that normally includes many other habits that are good for you. All other factors being equal, the vegetarian diet alone can't produce the stated reduced likelihood of early death.

(R) Consumers of animal products take in far greater amounts of residual agricultural chemicals, industrial pollutants, antibiotics, and hormones than do vegetarians. Meat contains 14 times as many pesticide residues as plant foods; dairy products more than five times as many.
(MB) This makes no sense. Pasture land used by grazing animals does not have (nor does it need to have) any chemical fertilizers or pesticides applied to it. How are they going to be ingested by those animals?

In fact, I'd say that cattle ranching is better for the environment since it is the cattle's natural state to roam around the grasslands whereas the application of pesticides and fertilizers to the land produces unnatural conditions.
(R) Natural? As I'm sure you know, cattle are not indiginous to the americas and the cattle that are around are a product of "genetic engineering" and have never "naturally" been this big or plump.
(MB) First, the fact that cattle may not be indigenous to the Americas has absolutely nothing to do with their natural state. A cow grazing in the United States is no different from one grazing anywhere else in the world.
    Second, the "genetic engineering" you're talking about is nothing more than the selective breeding that is used to encourage the development of animals who possess more desirable characteristics. This involves nothing more than an acceleration of natural selection. How does this make the resulting animal less fit to be eaten?

(R) As far as environmental concerns go, theres a statistic, (the I can't remember where from, or the exact number, I think it was from world almanac '95,) but it said that about half of the agricultural products that are grown in America are fed to cattle.
(MB) Yes, there are a lot of agricultural products grown to feed cattle. However, these products are not those that would otherwise feed humans. Also, they are most often grown on land that is not suitable for the normal production of crops meant to feed people.

(R) Sure pesticides have to be used to grow large scale agriculture, but remember half of those pestacides are going toward cattle, that in turn is going into the people that eat them.
(MB) I've already pointed out that this is not the case. The application of fertilizers and pesticides cost a considerable amount of money and this expense is not justifiable when growing crops that are meant only to feed animals. It's only the crops meant for human consumption that are going to be the recipients of such chemicals.

(R) One of my points was that, considering that there are two equal size plots of land, beef cattle are required to have( this includes the amount of plants required to sustain them,) compared with the amount of food which could be gotten if the people eat those plants, ten times more people could be fed by eating plants than by eating the beef. This is from the amount of energy that is lost in eating the "secondary" source of food.
(MB) Even if we grant these dubious figures, they have left out a couple of very important considerations. First, raising cattle does not take land that would otherwise produce crops for human consumption. Second, these figures do not include the fact that crops do not renew themselves every growing season while cattle reproduce on their own. Finally, these figures do not include the fact that crops can't be raised continuously on the same plot of land. The fields used for crops must lay fallow for at least one growing season out of three while cattle can graze in their pastures every year.
    Looking at things from an economics point of view, if raising crops was truly ten times as efficient as raising cattle, don't you think that Man would given up meat thousands of years ago?

(R) Humans can definatly eat meat and still be healthy, as in your case and, in fact, in my case, before I became a vegan. Its just that you can be healthier without it, and I suppose, if you wanted to help "save the world" it would be much better to not eat meat.
(MB) "Save the world" in what sense? The totality of nature is far more powerful than the human diet. What would you advocate for all of the other animals in the world that eat meat? Finally, your anti-meat arguments seem to be primarily aimed at cattle. Do you have anything against all of the other meats that humans eat? What about poultry, sheep, seafood, and all the rest?

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