I think I understand how quitting smokers feel

Well, not yet. But I will.

grilled_steak
Bye bye, love.
Bye bye, tenderloins.
Hello, substitutes.
I think I’m a-gonna cry-y.

I also finally grasp the concept of “social smokers” – whilst I’m going to stop cooking meat here (give or take the occasional steak to keep iron levels up), I’m not going to be difficult when I’m eating at someone else’s house. I think that’s counterproductive, because the meat is going to be prepared anyway, but it seems possible that vegetarians who inadvertently make life difficult for the people around them – even the very thoughtful ones who bring their own food – ultimately end up driving more people away from even considering the idea. People like me.

There are a number of reasons I haven’t done it before, the chief being I find meat products delicious. But big deal – that’s a sacrifice I’ll have to make not to support an indefensibly cruel industry. Also, I will have to learn to cook again, pretty much, as practically everything I prepare involves meat (particularly chicken, probably the worst treated animal). I’ll have to abandon most of those – I doubt “tofu kiev” will really work. Finally, the reputation that’s been applied to vegetarians of being fussy, difficult and sanctimonious – this being implied to be a necessary side-effect of drawing a stubborn line in the sand and saying NO MORE. And sure, sanctimony won’t be a lifestyle change at all – hello, welcome to my blog – but being viewed as fussy or difficult might be one step too far.

Well, how about if I simply don’t mention it?* If I just stop preparing meat and ordering meat, but eat and enjoy it when that’s the socially-appropriate thing to do? Don’t buy meat on my account, but I’ll fit in if that’s more convenient for you. Don’t mind me, I’m easy.**

11990
What doesn’t kill me can only make me weak and anaemic stronger!

Thank god there’s a vegetarian version of chicken pad prig at Mitcham Thai. I don’t know how long I could’ve held out if there wasn’t.

* Apart from this post, obviously.
** Also flexible about what I eat with other people.

142 responses to “I think I understand how quitting smokers feel

  1. Jeremy
    What is the bet that by this time next year you will have become the most sanctimonious vegetarian on the planet?
    They are evil you know…
    😉

  2. Congratulations! In the very early days of becoming vegetarian on of the biggest challenges was answering the question, “but how do you get enough protein?” without getting into a contentious argument. Hopefully things have changed a bit since then.

    A pragmatic approach is good. Eventually I just lost the taste and stomach for meat.

    As you know, it’s not all tofu – indian cuisine knows a lot about vegetarian diet – the Hare Krishna’s Gopal’s in Melbourne is always tasty and satisfying, and there are a few vegetarian Chinese restaurants around that are awesome – The White Lotus in N. Melbourne and Mother Chou’s in Sydney.

    Good luck!

  3. “The total number of mammals and birds raised and killed for food in the U.S. this year [2003] is expected to exceed 10 billion for the first time in U.S. history.”

    http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/ar-anag2003.html

    That figure is just unimaginable.

    A plant based diet uses one tenth less land than live stock so it’s good for the environment as well.

  4. “whilst I’m going to stop cooking meat here (give or take the occasional steak to keep iron levels up)

    Yes because cows that are grown, transported and slaughtered so you can have the occasional steak…… don’t really die.

  5. Not Allan Jones

    MMmmm. Is this an aconomic ethic?
    Not buying my own steak-happy to eat others’.

  6. You could have just raised and killed your own meat.

    Oh well, more for me!

  7. “A plant based diet uses one tenth less land than live stock so it’s good for the environment as well.”

    Im not sure that’s actually true Daphon. I agree that vegans have a smaller ecological footprint, but it doesnt help your argument to exaggerate.

    There is also the fact that all over the world pigs and poultry are now being produced on crop stubble from grain and legume crops. This reduces the need for pesticides and herbicides when establishing the next crop.

    Wheat and barley crops are often lightly grazed early in the piece to improve tillering and improve crop yield.

    Also consider the important part pasture leys have in maintaining soil fertility on cropping land. Without being “rested” under pasture for a few years every decade, soil OM levels and fertility fall, resulting in higher use of fert, lower water efficiency and more erosion.

    Eliminating meat entirely removes an important element of farm managment.

    Also, consider that many of the staples of the vegan diet require a lot of irrigation (rice, soy etc) and a lot of fertilizer, wheras beef and sheep can be grazed on stony hill country and even salt scalds, with no added fertilizer. (“coorong angus” for example graze only on saltbush and ephemeral grassland)

    Daphon, do you buy organic fruit and vegetables? If so, remember they are generally grown with pelletised fertilizer made from blood and bone meal from the abbotoir and chicken manure from the cage egg industry.

    You could eat conventional produce, but then you are part of the environmental problems created by modern chemical fertilizers.

  8. I think the properly ethical thing here is that, if somebody is going to raise and kill and animal, we owe it to the creature to make something decent out of it. That’s why good home cooking is ethical, and KFC is not.

  9. I can’t believe this Jeremy. What would Sam Neill say?

  10. Duncan,

    That figure of ‘one tenth etc.’ or ones close to it are quite readily found using Google. It seems to be a fairly accepted ratio.

    No, I don’t buy organic fruit and vegetables for the reason you stated. Also I believe it’s a marketing con in most instances like free-range eggs.

    This guy pretty well explains my reasons for and concepts of veganism:

    http://veganic.net/whyvegan.htm

  11. “to keep iron levels up”

    Both my wife and teenage daughter are vegetarians (almost vegan as I – chief household cook — don’t cook anything with animal products). Now women need more iron in their diet for obvious reasons and both my wife and daughter have normal iron levels without the need for supplements.

    Apart from animal welfare, I like the health benefits of veganism. I love it when I go to the doc’s and my blood pressure is perfectly normal, my cholesterol level is minimal (cholesterol in the diet only comes from animals), low fat intake (most fat comes from meat, dairy and eggs) and bloodwork (vitamins etc) is also normal.

    I’m in my 60s and I don’t feel any lack of energy etc – I fast walk a minimum of 12 kms a day at least 6 times a week and swim 3 kms at least 5 times a week.

    Nothing would get me to go back to meat, dairy, eggs, honey etc.

  12. What about kangaroo meat Jeremy? Are they treated more humanely than traditional livestock?

  13. All this talk of meat makes me want a delicious steak! 😛

  14. Daphon, i can’t find any credible reference to vegatarian diets using 1/10 the amount of land.

    The accepted number appears to be about 1/4 the amount of land, which is still impressive.

    However, i did find evidence that diets containing small amounts of dairy and meat (about one third of current US consumption) are actually more efficient in terms of land use, as the production of these foods can be achieved on more marginal land and with lower inputs.

  15. Also Daphon, Isnt refusing to eat honey counter intuitive to veganism, considering the importance of bee’s in the pollenation and fertilisation of fruits, nuts and vegetable crops?

    Conventional agriculture uses chemicals that damage wild bee populations, meaning that for many years now professional apiarists have been vital to the production of the fruits and vegetables that you eat.

    If everyone went vegan, land use would probably not change much at at all, partly because of the loss of the pollenation services provided by apiarists would reduce yields per hectare considerably. (From what ive read, anything from 22-70% drop in yield per ha, depending on the crop, if apiarist services are removed from the equation)

    There would also be large areas of land, unsuitable for horticulture but highly profitable and productive for meat and hay production, which would be lying fallow.

  16. Hi confessions.

    The professional shooters who supply the roo industry are required by law to kill with a head shot, the carcasses are inspected at the abbatoir and are rejected if there is any damage to the body. If this happens, they don’t get paid.

    The high cost of bullets means the shooter only takes the shot if he is sure he can make a head shot.

    The industry has a long way to go regarding environmental sustainability and issues with the shooting of females with joey’s, but as a game meat it is much far more humane than conventionally farmed and butchered meat.

    Fill yer’ boots!

  17. Thanks Duncan. Certainly sounds less cruel than traditional livestock.

  18. I am not a vegetarian but eat vegetarian meals frequently. I struggled with the ethical questions about eating meat: ecological impact, factory farming, conscience money to the butcher etc until I got a job pig culling in the southern NSW highlands. While I was vegetarian and while killing poor little wild piggies realised that I had the moral qualities to kill and eat animals. The meat of the poor lil’ hogs was clean (no parasites etc) and very delicious I also ate fish from the local rivers and the occasional roadkill if I had been involved in tenderising whatever poor being. So eating meat is not always a crime against the compassionate universe, not necessary but it can be fun and good and there are sources of meat which do not exact a huge price on our fragile planet.

  19. Are you going the whole hog (sorry)? – no fish either?

    I once had someone tell me, in all seriouness, that fish was OK ’cause it’s not an animal.

  20. Yes, Michael, those deluded people called themselves pesco-vegetarians.

    You’re either a vege or you’re not.

    “Vegetarians do not eat meat or game, poultry, fish, crustacea and shellfish, and products of animal slaughter. The vegan diet is a form of vegetarianism which excludes all animal products from the diet, including dairy products, eggs, and honey. Most vegetarians consume dairy products, and many eat eggs. Lacto-vegetarianism includes dairy products but excludes eggs, ovo-vegetarianism includes eggs but not dairy, and lacto-ovo vegetarianism includes both eggs and dairy products.

    Vegetarianism may be adopted for any of a number of reasons, including ethics, health, environmental, religion, politics, culture, aesthetics, or economics.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarian

  21. Unlike lions and your cats, we aren’t carnivores, unlike cows we aren’t herbivores, we are omnivores.

    To not accept that is to place humanity above nature, a very arrogant position to take, one that is probable going to lead to disaster, or it an inability to accept what we are.

  22. Fred: “To not accept that is to place humanity above nature, a very arrogant position to take, one that is probable going to lead to disaster, or it an inability to accept what we are.”

    Are you trying to be ironic? We already take that position in our society, with regards to, well, everything.

  23. Another challenge in being vegetarian is that many people feel threatened by the fact that you don’t eat meat.

    Is Fred suggesting that not eating meat is an act of arrogance which will lead to disaster and an inability to accept what we are!?!

    There are more than 800 million hindus in India – conservatively, at least 500 million of these hindus are strict lacto-vegetarians. Lacto-vegetarian diet has been customary in Hindu culture for millenia.

    You can still find restaurants in India which advertise that Non-Veg is available!

  24. Michael, we don’t tend to cook fish anyway because I don’t eat it, so I think that one might turn out to be a non-issue.

    Moo – Only vegans can claim that no animals die for their lifestyle. Anything else that doesn’t acknowledge that is just people fooling themselves.

  25. Well good luck guys.

    I agree with it in principal, but have never quite mannged to do it in practice. I quite like fish and the occassional bit of chicken (had a great cambodian chicken curry for lunch) .

  26. Another challenge in being vegetarian is that many people feel threatened by the fact that you don’t eat meat.

    Seems to be a few echoes of that in this thread.
    As a non-vegetarian who recognises the excellent logic of the vego arguments, I wish you both success (I presume you’re both taking the plunge?).

  27. “Only vegans can claim that no animals die for their lifestyle. Anything else that doesn’t acknowledge that is just people fooling themselves.”

    Wrong Keri? How about octo lacto vegetarians who don’t use leather? How are they responsible for their lifestyle being responsible for the death of animals?

    Jeremy is not a vegetarian and nor will he ever be while he still consumes meat.

  28. He’s not claiming to be if you read what he wrote before passing judgement.

    Whereas those who eat fish do. Or vegetarians who drink beer (fish scales), or myriad other products that use animal by-products.

    I think everyone has a right to their own choices, it’s when people stand in judgement as you are that I have an issue. You expect other people to respect your choices but when it comes time for you to do the same, you don’t.

  29. “Only vegans can claim that no animals die for their lifestyle”

    Sorry not even vegans can claim that, all humans “lifesystle” is the result of many animals dying.

    Any one who believes other wise is self deluding themselves.

    I think everyone has the right to choose but all need to remember there is no high moral ground with this.

    Well there probably is but it involves living in a cave somewhere and dying at a young age

  30. Making a decision to be mindful of your consumption is a positive step no matter how it’s classified or labeled. Good on ya, Jeremy.

  31. “I think everyone has a right to their own choices, it’s when people stand in judgement as you are that I have an issue. ”

    Why should anyone have the ‘choice’ of participating in the slaughter of millions of animals every year?

    I happily stand in judgement of all meat eaters the same way I happily stand in judgement of all wife beaters, war criminals or even people who litter.

  32. I stand in judgement of people who stand in judgement of others in blog comment threads.

  33. Welcome to the club; I’ll show you the secret handshake.

    I’m a bit of a shitty person to offer any advice, as I don’t actually like the taste of meat, so I don’t really get what it’s like to “miss” it, but if I could offer one suggestion to make it easier: don’t try to replicate or replace traditional meat dishes all the time., because it will probably always be a poor imitation. Learn to enjoy dishes just made of vegies, legumes, grains, etc that stand on their own, and your palate will change accordingly.

    Secondly, spend a good bit of time getting acquainted with different types of tofus, tempehs, mock-meat/wheat-gluten/seitan, etc. There is lots of crap out there, but also some really nice stuff.

    Thirdly, in my experience, vegans are much more creative when it comes to recipes and food, because they have to be. Vegan recipe books/websites are well worth a look for great eating ideas.

    Good luck with it. If you need any recommendations for vegie restaurants in Melbourne, just ask.

  34. O omnipotent f*cking saviour on a bike, I can tolerate anything except intolerance – oh yes and the Dutch and frikkin vegetarian hardliners. I take an existential view; if I am eating meat I am not a vegetarian, if I am not eating meat I am. I could potentially make a calendar of my diet with coloured blocs identifying phases where I was vegan, vegetarian omnivorous and for short periods carnivorous. I think humans on this planet should eat less meat, they don’t need to and their health and the environment will improve and with less intensive agriculture for meat production – just don’t come the ‘you will never be a real vegetarian unless you develop fear and loathing of your canine wielding animal eating heritage you uncivilised bastard’ ‘cos it just reeks of smug self-satisfied hypocrisy. Worse than reformed smokers.

  35. It’s how you justify it to yourselves.

    Why do you find war intolerable (if in fact you do)?

    Yet happily allow millions of animals to be slaughtered?

  36. Except when it comes to fish, of course. What, creatures are only immune from slaughter if they have legs?

    Moo, if you aren’t vegan, you’re culpable in the slaughter too. Get off your high horse or get your facts on animal by-products straight. Your call.

    And here’s an idea: if your issue is people kill animals and that’s wrong, and someone is taking steps to reduce that, shouldn’t you be more happy, not less?

    And you’ve completely ignored the fact that Jeremy DIDN’T call himself a vegetarian as you claimed. Any reason?

  37. I am a vegan Kerri.

    And the ‘reduction’ argument holds no sway with me.

  38. ah, the arrival of the vegan-fascists!

  39. My name only has one R.

    And don’t you eat fish?

  40. And if I was arguing that it was ok if we just reduced the amount of domestic violence YOU participated in Michael as opposed to completely stopping you from beating your wife then that would be acceptable?

  41. No I do not eat fish.

    I am a vegan.

  42. I just think it’s cruel that you’re happy to use animal sound effect products – like “moo” – in your blog trolling.

  43. when will I stop beating my wife ? reasonable question.

    I guess I just can’t see violence against women as being no more important than the eating of a fish.

  44. I’d be vegan but iI’m put off by the number of aggressive vegans – I wonder if it’s a nutritional thing?

  45. moo,

    you might be a bit calmer after you’ve tired a freshly cooked mud-crub – caught and thrown straight onto the coals. Delicious.

  46. “I guess I just can’t see violence against women as being no more important than the eating of a fish.”

    Oh a fish that was killed to satisfy your immediate want.

    Despite there being other things that you could eat you still choose to participate in the slaughter of the animal.

    Enlightened.

  47. Despite there being other things that you could eat you still choose to participate in the slaughter of the animal.

    Just came back from a Spanish joint. The good thing about tapas is you get to be responsible for the slaughter of about seven animals. Who can choose just one?

  48. People like moo believe that speciesism is morally wrong, so no quarter can be given its a ll or nothing proposition.

    To make it clear:

    Moo:

    Given a choice between killing two sheep or a one human, who would you allow to be killed?

    For argument sake lets say there are no other options available

  49. you still choose to participate in the slaughter of the animal.

    Don’t kid yourself Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he’d eat you and everyone you care about!

  50. And what about the poor, defenceless lettuce you hacked to death in your search for quick gratification?

    Seriously, the reason there aren’t many vegans and vegetarians around is the fact that there’s always someone like you around prepared to judge for not doing “enough” You are your own worst enemies, and the worst promoters of your cause.

    Why do you think vegetarians get such a bad rap? Because there’s always someone like you around prepared to compare a learned behavior like meat eating with domestic violence, war criminals, and bizarrely, littering.

    Instead of doing what some others have done – offering support, recipe ideas, and generally making things easier, you find it more beneficial to stand around waving your arms in condemnation for no effect.

    I guess sanctimony tastes better than meat after all.

    Oh, and Zoot, I forgot to answer your question: I’ll be eating predominantly the same as Jeremy, but I’m not going to go in boots and all until I’m ready. I think to do otherwise would backfire and make things worse.

  51. Yeah Terry because that’s a scenario that we are confronted daily.

    But if that person was THR, then the sheep live.

  52. Moo, the point is to establish if you think humans have any more right to existence than other animals.

    Your answer indicates that you think that meat eaters (at least) do not have any more (and maybe less) right to existence than sheep.

    Is that a true statement?

  53. But if that person was THR, then the sheep live.

    No way. Spring lamb is much nicer roasted in white wine and garlic. You don’t hear of ‘spring humans’ now, do you?

    Jimmy: Uhh, Mr. McClure? I have a crazy friend who says its wrong
    to eat meat. Is he crazy?
    Troy: Nooo, just ignorant. You see your crazy friend never heard
    of “The Food Chain”. Just ask this scientician.

  54. Am I going to have to marry a carrot?

  55. Come on Jimmy, let’s take a peek at the killing floor. Don’t let the name throw you Jimmy. It’s not really a floor, it’s more of a steel grating that allows material to sluice through so it can be collected and exported.

    Okay, I’ll stop it with the Simpsons trolling.

  56. Jeremy, better make it a sheep. Will look more sympathetic when the vegan revolution comes.

    After all they still eat the carrots

  57. It probably doesn’t apply in her/his case, but moo reminds me of a few people I’ve met who are very fond of their cats.

  58. What is the acceptable number of people to die in Australia because they cant afford medical treatment?

    What is the acceptable number of women to be sexually assaulted because it’s ‘natural’ that some men commit rape?

    What is the acceptable level of whales killed for ‘the Japanese whale meat market?

    What is the acceptable level of farm grown animals reared and slaughtered for consumption in Australia?

    answers) o, 0, o, o

  59. Moo, are you here because you want people to admire your higher ethical stance and generally genuflect in your direction, or because you’d like to persuade people to kill fewer animals?

    If it’s the latter, you’re doing an extraordinarily poor job. I suspect you’re prompting more than a few people to go out and have a steak just to show you.

  60. Jeremy,

    Is Polly going to join in on this new diet regime?

    mooo,

    So it’s just farm reared animals that’s the problem for you?

  61. Not Allan Jones

    Moo
    You’re a moo.
    Jeremy
    Are the Cats as ethical as you?

  62. The issue of animal welfare in relation to farmed animals raised by vegans as a reason to cease using animal products is interesting.

    If the entire human race decided to go vegan, there would be no issue, because there’d be no cattle or chickens around, they are only bred for human use therefore, if we were no longer using their products there would be no reason to continue breeding them, so the species would die out, along with goats, pigs and domestic ducks and geese….(sheep ? – do vegans use wool?).

    I think I’ll stick to eating meat and thereby do my bit to protect those species from extinction 😉

  63. Gavin, there are lots of animals we don’t farm for meat that we try to preserve.

    Actually, eating the intensively-farmed animals contributes to the original species dying out, as these ones are bred with characteristics most useful to us rather than what the animal was like to start with.

    As for the cats – I need to talk with the vet to determine whether they can be just as healthy on dry food as the “meat” stuff.

  64. Hi Gav, good point.

    BTW, the other day when debating food prices, you stated that you didn’t believe that farmers were going out buisness due to their costs being higher than their returns.

    Not sure if you saw my response, as it spent quite a while in moderation (too many links i suspect)

    “Philip Beattie from the Milk Producers Group says that is 10 cents less than the cost of production and many farmers are on the verge of bankruptcy. ”

    “ABARE estimates the average farm business profit for dairy farmers will fall from $74,100 for 2007-08, to a loss of $6000 this financial year”

    This is a really big problem, but seems to be under the radar for most people. (sorry for the off topic stuff Jeremy)

  65. Hello Duncan,

    Just saw your question from the other day — I’m basing my statement on admittedly a fairly narrow base perhaps, I have 2 uncles on farms, one has a dairy farm – (around 550 to 600 acres) – just outside of Camperdown in Victoria, the other has a station of something around 1.2 million hectares near Jerilderie, he has a more diverse range of products though, beef, wool, wheat and rice.

    Both are doing quite well, as I am told are their neighbours.

    Hello Jeremy,

    I’m not positive, but I suspect the original breeds from which our present day farm livestock originated have probably already been bred out.

    Yes we do try to preserve species we don’t eat, all of which are wild animals that still have at least some of their species in their original habitats therefore our zoos still have a fairly diverse gene pool for them, I suspect though that with domesticated livestock this won’t be the case and sooner or later there would be a problem with inbreeding.

    As for your cat going vegie — I used to work with a vegetarian who had a German Shepherd which had a vegetarian diet and was as healthy as any other dog, so I imagine it’s possible for cats too.

    Although her dog was raised only on vegie food from the time it was a pup, so I’m not sure if your cat will transition easily.

  66. Gav, im not suprised that a bloke with 1.2 million ha is doing well. Fark, he could almost start his own country!

    The dairy im suprised by, how long since you’ve spoken to him?

    There has been a dairy boom in Australia over the last decade, but this trouble really only started about a year ago with a 25% or so cut in milk prices.

    Any buisness that has an overnight 25% cut in the price they get for their product is going to be in trouble.

  67. “do vegans use wool”

    No. Nor leather etc. It’s impossible to be 100% vegan as animal by-products are used in so many things: computer parts, car tyres etc. And then there’s medicine and medical treatment …”

    “As for the cats – I need to talk with the vet to determine whether they can be just as healthy on dry food as the “meat” stuff.”

    Jeremy,

    if you mean meat-based dry food, my last cat lived to 23 on the stuff.

    Most vegans I know do have cats and dogs that live (and to ripe old ages) on vegan diets. You can buy ready-made vegan dry food for cats and dogs although it ain’t cheap. Personally I’ve never tried ‘veganising’ my dogs or cats so can’t speak from experience.

    This is the best veg*n forum (and veg*n website and society) in Australia and I’ve seen discussions there on keeping veg*n pets:

    http://www.vegsoc.org.au/forum_active.asp

  68. Duncan,

    “im not suprised that a bloke with 1.2 million ha is doing well. Fark, he could almost start his own country!”

    Yeah, I’ve suggested the same thing to him — apparently that’s pretty much the standard size for holdings out that way…No doubt the diversity of produce and the fact that one of the Murray’s tributary rivers runs through his property also help his bottom line…

    I last visited the farm at Camperdown about 6 months ago – (took the kids up there during 1st term school holidays) – I’ve spoken to him on the phone plenty of times since though…Taking the kids back up to see them in a couple of weeks.

    He’s probably lucky in his location too — his property runs down to Lake Bullen Merri which is reportedly bottomless and therefore there’s plenty of bore-water available in the immediate area, so there’s always good pasture for the herds.

  69. Last time I checked, I’ve never denied anyone medical treatment because they can’t afford it, raped anyone or eaten or slaughtered a whale.

    But what difference does that make to your judgement crusade?

    Seriously, is it any wonder more people don’t go vegan or veg, moo? We fear becoming as self-righteous and sanctimonious as you.

  70. Sounds like a great spot Gav.

    We are pretty fortunate where we are for much the same reasons (high rainfall and good bore water) but even so, its impossible to absorb that kind of loss of profit without cutting corners elsewhere.

    Its good to get the kids out on the farm though, they love it and its a great learning experience for city kids.

  71. “Its good to get the kids out on the farm though, they love it and its a great learning experience for city kids.”

    It absolutely is, my family is fortuneate in that we’ve always had farmers, so every generation of kids have had that opportunity…Spending time on a farm really can be a great life lesson.

    I’m curious about Vegans, I’ve never met a 100% vegan so don’t know too much about their principles — it strikes me that they aren’t too eco-friendly though, if they don’t use anything that has animal by-products, doesn’t that infer they rely on synthetics and therefore, heavy industry for their clothing, footwear, medicines etc ?

  72. I think there might be a lot of Vegans out there who think they’re vegan but aren’t – people who don’t realise that animal by-products are used in everything from wine and beer to tyres and medication.

  73. “people who don’t realise that animal by-products are used in everything from wine and beer to tyres and medication.”

    That’s what I said at 12:22pm today!

    I realise that, and so does every veg*n I know. All we can do is our best: it’s impossible to be 100% vegan.

  74. @Daphon

    And many times those animal byproduct additives are used simply as a cheaper filler. Why the hell does yoghurt or cream need gelatine?

    Why does bread need chicken feathers (bread improver)?

  75. I often wonder, Slim, who the hell, and what of kind of people are they, who find a use for every single part of an animal.

    That chicken feathers in bread always gets to me. Or Cochineal (food colouring) from insects. Milk protein in used in adhesives, paints, and plastics.

    Hidden animal ingredients in food:

    http://www.cyberparent.com/eat/hiddenanimalsinfood.htm

  76. Daphone – you know, I know, apparently every vegan you know does.

    Well, looks like Moo is the exception to that rule.

  77. Daphon, that list is insane! I knew some of them, but the vast majority I wasn’t aware of.

    I’m afraid to look in the pantry now…

  78. Well I’ve just had a steak sandwich with bacon, egg and cheese melted on top for lunch — magnificent, and I’m sorry, but no amount of bean curd, lentils, “not bacon” and (ugh) soya product will ever replace the real thing.

    Next you guys will be telling me chocolate not made with real milk tastes as good as the real stuff. No way, not ever.

  79. Not Allan Jones

    “I need to talk with the vet to determine whether they can be just as healthy on dry food as the “meat” stuff.”
    ???????????????????????????????????????
    Coz the dry stuff is made from……………………..?

  80. GavinM,

    I hope you’re not having a cholesterol blood count anytime soon.

    Do you see that darkish grinning figure with a sickle just behind you …

  81. And, GavinM, Australian-made non-dairy chocolate does taste as good as dairy chocolate.

    http://www.sweetwilliam.com.au/

    Taste is arbitrary: once I used to need two sugars and milk in coffee and tea. Now I don’t.

  82. You can get vegetarian or vegan cat food, NAJ.

  83. Hello Daphon,

    Happily I’m fit and healthy, I put it down to a good exercise regime and my family genes — nothing excessive just a decent walk with the family and the dog when the weather allows.

    I’m also fortuneate in that I can eat whatever I like and never seem to put any weight on — it’s a family trait 🙂

    As to non-dairy chocolate tasting as good as dairy — you’re only kidding yourself on that one.

    You’re right about taste being arbitrary, but I’ll stick to what really does taste good thanks.

    There’s so many things that can kill you these days, you might as well enjoy your food 🙂

  84. Not Allan Jones

    So Keri
    What does a vegitarian, whos becoming a vegatarian for some ethical reason, do?

    Is it ethical for you to force a cat, who let’s face it has quite limited ethics, to eat inferior tucker simply to make you happy?
    After all if you’re on about the painful demise of one’s meal, then your cat’s public enemy number one. In fact it is not traditional for the cat to wait for the meal to die before consuming it or to consume it even after it has inflicted a gruesome death on it.
    I take it that you’ll only feed your mogs meals from producers with the highest ethical standards for killing and processing their product.
    Still, does anyone know of a farm where the animals are humanely grown, humanely killed and then processed for pet food?

  85. You’re right, Gavin: eat, drink and be merry! I can the breath of the Reaper closer each day.

    A sideline: I’m in my 60s and when I went to school no one had asthma or peanut allergies and the like. Why the sudden surge in these things in the last few years? Food additives maybe?

  86. NAJ, we would not make our cats eat “inferior tucker”. We would only feed them what was good for them.

    As for “forcing” them to eat something – dude, they’re cats. They eat what they’re given. They don’t have a special kitty food pantry where they select their meal for the night.

    Although that would be completely adorable.

  87. Cats are smart!

  88. I’ve often wondered about the increase in the numbers of asthma sufferers and where peanut allergies have suddenly come from, daphon.

    I’m 46 and when I was at school we only had 2 asthma sufferers in my year and I really hadn’t heard of anyone with an allergy to peanuts until very recently, you may well be right about food additives / preservatives being responsible — perhaps also, in the case of asthma, pollutants in the atmosphere that weren’t around or weren’t as concentrated 30 years ago ?

  89. Not Allan Jones

    Jeremy if the cats rely on you to feed them and you only feed them beef then you’re forcing them to eat beef.
    If they have no choice then they are essentially forced.
    That said, if you are making the ethical decision to refrain from the consumption of meat because there’s simply no ethical way to do it then in keeping an animal that relies on you to feed it meat are you still keeping to that ethic?
    A green with a cat is a contradiction in ethical [PRINCIPLE] in any case, so wouldn’t it be better to not own a cat?

    Wouldn’t it be

  90. Jeremy, I would be careful with your cat’s diet. After all domestic cats are obligate carnivores so by forcing them to go vegan you are going against their basic physiology.

  91. I already said I wouldn’t do anything to the cats’ diet without checking it with the vet first.

    NAJ – what the hell are you talking about? For one, no matter what I feed the cats they don’t get a “choice”. How else do you suggest I feed them? If I feed them meat, they don’t have a choice either. Are you suggesting that I lay out a spread and make sure they don’t gorge themselves on everything?

    As for owning a cat being a “contradiction” in “ethical [PRINCIPLE]” (I don’t think you quite got that post, but anyway) – how do you figure? What’s unethical about having a cat?

  92. Not Allan Jones

    “Are you suggesting that I lay out a spread and make sure they don’t gorge themselves on everything?”
    Nope.
    I’m suggecting that you should not have cats if you think keeping an animal captive and then killing it to eat is unethical.

    Cat’s are one of the biggest scurges on the Australian environment. Their introduction to this environment is a disaster for our native beasties and should be concidered along with the introduction of the rabbit and the fox as a disgrace on the generation that did it.
    That said, I have no issue with owning cats at all, but then again I’m not an environmentalist, an ethical vegitarian or a Green.
    I can’t quite see how you get to be a green and own a cat. Aren’t they opposing ethics?

  93. Our cats are not “scurges” (sic) on the environment; they’re indoor cats.

    And whilst they are “captive”, we’re not going to kill them to eat!

    And when exactly did I say I was an environmentalist?

    Seriously, you’re getting quite hysterical in your desperation to find something to attack me with.

    PS I think you’ve given away who you are.

  94. “I’m suggecting that you should not have cats if you think keeping an animal captive and then killing it to eat is unethical.”

    Cats don’t traditionally keep animals captive before they eat them. And cats don’t really have a viable alternative. They’re carnivores, not omnivores.

  95. Relevant to this thread was tonight’s Talking Heads on the ABC.

    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/guide/netw/200909/programs/FA0838S029D7092009T183000.htm

  96. The vegetarian question can get bogged down in any number of side debates but I think the core issue (for me at least) is the profit driven industrialised cruelty that occurs daily in Australia and around the world. I encourage every one that I can to educate themselves about what is actually involved in the process of turning a baby animal into a piece of meat or a food producing unit. Many that have done so honestly had no idea of just what they were supporting and have found they had no choice but to end (as much as possible) their support of the industries that profit from this cruelty.

    Some links in place of further commentary:

    http://www.veganhealth.org/ – will dispel many of the myths regarding health (ie. the iron furphy)

    http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/?page=bios – incase you’re inclined to believe that vegan’s can’t get enough protein

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6361872964130308142 – ‘Earthlings’: a disturbing introduction to the kind of cruelty I am referring to. Have you seen it?

  97. “And whilst they are “captive”, we’re not going to kill them to eat!”

    You say that now, Jeremy. I quit smoking a month ago, and if there had been cigarettes just lying around the house you better flipping believe I would have smoked those delicious motherflippers.

    I just don’t think it is a good idea for you to have delicious cats wandering about in the first few days of going cold turkey, is all.

  98. Not Allan Jones

    Oh Goodness!
    Jeremy I’m not suggesting you’re going to eat your cats nor that you keep them captive.
    I am saying that you object to keeping other animals captive and then killing them for people to eat , but not the cats apparently.
    Are Greens not environmentalists now?

    Who do you think I am Jeremy?

  99. “I am saying that you object to keeping other animals captive and then killing them for people to eat , but not the cats apparently.”

    I object to them being treated cruelly and killed. Since that’s not happening with our cats, I fail to see that your contrast makes any sense.

    “Are Greens not environmentalists now?”

    I’ve said repeatedly that I vote for the Greens because of their social and economic progressive policies, not their environmental ones.

    Cam – lol.

  100. “I vote for the Greens because of their social and economic progressive policies, not their environmental ones.”

    I’m with you on that, Jeremy. And I think our numbers are growing as the Greens are the only alternative to the right wing Liberal and ALP parties.

  101. “Greens are the only alternative to the right wing Liberal and ALP parties.”

    Hear hear – same reason I vote for them too. I can’t understand how anyone who considers themselves left of centre would vote Labor. C’mon Lefty Labor voters, vote Green!

  102. Get with the program. Green is the new red!

  103. with the greens..i agree that their policies are far more progressive than any other party..however one must remember never to trust a hippy.

    the greens’ll deal with the Nats and the Libs if it suits them…that makes them bottom dwelling scumbags by default in my book…

  104. What are you talking about? Examples, please.

    The ALP complains when the Greens don’t automatically give them all their preferences – as if the ALP just has to claim to be progressive, and then it can ignore us the rest of the time. Have the Greens EVER preferenced the Libs or Nats? The closest I’ve heard is when they’ve declined to preference either major party.

    They’re not an adjunct of the ALP, and the ALP has so abandoned progressive voters over the years it’s ludicrous for them to expect the Greens to behave like their obedient lackey.

  105. please don’t get me wrong J, i have absolutely no time for the ALP at all ….. so don’t assume please that by slagging off the greens i am instantly supporting the ALP..i am not.

  106. I’m just not sure to what incidents you were referring. I don’t think the Greens deal with the Libs or Nats unless the latter are better for progressives on an issue than the ALP.

  107. “The three Greens MPs joined the Liberals, Nationals and DLP in the upper house last month to defeat a Labor Party bill that would have enabled the Government to call a plebiscite of Victorian voters if the Federal Government tried to override state laws and build a nuclear reactor in Victoria.”

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/greens-see-red-in-alp-poster-row/2007/05/07/1178390226037.html/

    this not being the only instance..i could keep web trawling for days and find more (& more & more)…but i don’t have time right now…

    the greens are just wet hippies J, they’d do anything to save a tree..fair enough to, that’s their platform..i would rather have a party that attacks the basis of capitalism itself, philosophically, than one that tiptoes around the reasons that trees get cut down in the first place…greens fight the symptoms of capitalism, not the causes..imho.

  108. Not Allan Jones

    Ok Jeremy sorry.
    What I was saying is that your cats eat MEAT.

    MEAT comes from animals that are kept captive, often cruelly, and killed.

    You object so vehemently to this conduct that you have sworn off eating meat.
    Yet you keep cats who still eat meat.
    What steps do you intend to take to ensure that they meat that they eat comes from animals that have been properly cared for prior to their demise?

  109. Did you read that link, Eric?

    “The Greens MPs used their balance-of-power status to defeat the anti-nuclear bill after Labor rejected Greens amendments, including one designed to give the power to call a plebiscite to the full Parliament rather than a single minister.

    Greens MP Greg Barber said his party would go further by introducing legislation to enshrine Victoria’s nuclear-free status in the state’s constitution.”

    The Greens voted down Labor’s pretend plebiscite option, which was designed to absorb public pressure on the issue without actually providing the public with any voice at all. A plebiscite that only the minister can call? How democratic!

    Eric, I’m sure you could find lots more examples where Labor has tried to smear the Greens as “colluding” with the Libs or Nats. And each of them would fall apart on closer analysis, just like that one.

  110. Funnily enough people don’t seem to want to vote to overthrow the capitalist system, although they have had ample opportunity to do so.

    I’m sure most people would happily abandon capitalism if there was a better system available. There isn’t. Socialism, communist and nationalist doesn’t have any credibility after the efforts of the last century. All that is left for the left is to reach some compromise which entails market economies creating wealth and the government spending it.

  111. NAJ – there are two possibilities. Either the vet says they have to eat meat, in which case they are carnivores and the killing of animals is not optional – unlike with us humans, who certainly and self-evidently can survive well without eating meat.

    Or the vet says, as Daphon suggests above, that there are perfectly good vegetarian equivalents for cats, and then the problem will be solved that way.

    Easy. Your next lame gotcha attempt…?

  112. Not Allan Jones

    Three possibilities Jeremy.

    You don’t keep cats and you do keep your PRINCIPLE in tact.

    I’m not trying to getca Jeremy. Why do you lefties take so unkindly to being challenged on principles?

  113. You haven’t in any way shown how keeping cats infringes on any principles I hold.

    PS Stop capitalising the word “principle”. You obviously didn’t understand the point of that post, or why the word was in square brackets and capitalised, and you’re just embarrassing yourself.

  114. NAJ, cats are carnivores. From the research I’ve done, it would appear that NOT feeding the cats meat will result in health problems without considerable supplements to their diet (which may not be enough).

    The principle at the heart of this issue is that humans are not carnivores and we have a choice. Cats are carnivores and do not. The two are not the same.

  115. @ Not Allan Jones: It’s more taking unkindly to people who insist that being green is a total binary EITHER/OR scenario. With us or against us.

    You can be vegetarian, keep a cat while feeding it meat products, shop at Bunningsand be supportive of green policies, and maintain the conviction that our free-market consumer culture is destructive of environment, culture and community. Less than fanatical adherence to particular principles doesn’t ipso facto cancel out the rest of one’s principles.

    But you know that, I’m sure.

  116. Not Allan Jones

    If you can’t see how being a vegitarian and keeping a cat is in stark contrast then a lot is explained.
    I’ll drop it.

    What I’ll do is read the post again if you’re that concerned.

  117. Not Allan Jones

    Slim I don’t think you can actually.
    If you are against globalisation for example,I don’t think you need to go to Prague and smash shit out of the McDonalds at the top of the hill, but you sure should stay out of McDonalds stores except to use their dunnies on the way to Sydney in a car.
    You can’t be a little bit pregnant in my O.
    The meat that is contained in most commercially provided pet food is simply by-product of meat grown and butchered for human consumption.
    I would suggest that you have far less choice as to the ethical treatment of that meat while it was on the hoof than you do with meat for people too.

    Anyhow he clearly wants the subject dropped so I will. It is simply an observation of an interesting juxtopposition.

  118. It’s not a “juxtaposition”. Where I can choose not to contribute to the cruel meat industry, I will. Where I cannot, I won’t.

    We have cats, and looking after them is entirely consistent with the principle of opposing cruelty to animals.

  119. There is a simple solution to Jeremy’s dilemma – eat the cat. The next day he will be shittin’ kitten and after that one-time compromise he can veg out with a clean conscience.

  120. “You can’t be a little bit pregnant in my O”

    I can think of at least four scenarios where you COULD be a little bit pregnant, NAJ.

    Principles are not absolute. Especially where the principle is “Where I can choose not to do something, I will choose not to”

  121. @NAJ: Yes, feeding a cat meat is part of the commercial production of meat, but my not eating meat has a net greater impact.

    I drive a car, but I don’t go to Maccas. Surely it is about reducing one’s environmental and slaughter industry impact. Something is better than nothing.

    So everyone, except Greens, can exercise their principles in shades of gray?

  122. Not Allan Jones

    Ok can someone help me with where I find the law that says we can’t choose not to have a cat?

  123. (A) We’ve already got cats, so unless you’ve got a time machine what are you suggesting a “Green” ought to do to be consistent?

    (B) Both our cats were rescued from the RSCPA, which was saving them from a cruel death. So how exactly would letting them die cruelly be more consistent with our anti-animal cruelty stance than adopting them?

    Seriously, your desperate, niggling attempts to try to paint us as hypocrites are getting increasingly pathetic. And boring. Maybe now is the point to concede that you’ve got nothing, you’re just being a git, and retire embarrassed from the field.

  124. I think NAJ is assuming that the second you came to that decision you should have boxed Max and Polly up and dumped them on the doorstep of someone else to care for them. As if they weren’t some kind of commitment, just an inconvenience to your choices.

  125. @NAJ: Where is the law that says non-veg, non-greens get to define what veg/greens believe in and determine how they shall behave?

    In my case, we got a cat for my then about to be a teenaged boy – someone suggested it helps boys to learn about physical affection – and in his case his mother died when he was 6. As far as I can tell it helped him a great deal, even though it meant compromising my ‘principles’.

    As I said, some people are threatened by others becoming vegetarian and will get all defensive/offensive about it. Lay down the sword.

  126. Not Allan Jones

    A) Do it humanely.
    B) See A.

    Jeremy cats?
    I like cats too don’t get me wrong, but even if they were dogs the story would be the same. I can’t see how you can say meat = evil because of the way beasties are treated and therefore I will remove my support from the industry forthwith, and then say, but its ok to continue to support that exact same industry to feed my cat.
    I’m not attempting to embarrass you Jeremy and you’re being way too defensive on this, so I’ll just tet it be. Not because I’m embarrased or a git, but because I had no intention to upset you and seem to have done that. Sorry.

  127. Hang on a second, NAJ. Are you telling me we should put our cats down because Jeremy has decided to reduce his meat intake?

  128. “I’m not attempting to embarrass you Jeremy”

    lol.

  129. Not Allan Jones

    Keri if I were a green and king for a day (a contradiction in terms I realise), I would have all cats in Australia destroyed ASAP regardless of the dietary needs of their owners. They have no place in this environment at all.

    But I’m not a green.

  130. If you were psychotic, you mean.

    There’s no part of being a progressive and voting for the Greens that requires you to slaughter cats. I’d suggest quite the opposite.

  131. Not Allan Jones

    More Cats?

  132. I think that’s enough stupid trolling from you.

  133. Jeremy,

    You know you’ve scored when the comments get defensive and silly as the ones above you are now.

  134. The choice to be a vegetarian is not an easy one given our society’s penchant for meat in every meal. Why should anyone have to justify their desire to not eat meat when no such demand is made of those who do?

    J is consciously reducing his meat intake. End of story. It’s going to be bad enough that meat-eaters he knows IRL are going to want justification for his choice, now everyone is jumping on his reasons for making it!

    Just because he’s not living up to your idea of the perfect vegetarian doesn’t mean that he should give up on the idea entirely.

    And his and Keri’s cats (may) continue to eat meat. That’s no reason for them to decide to give them away or worse, have them put down. To force them to eat non-meat products even if the vet has told them it would be unwise would be tantamount to animal cruelty and you guys would then want to steak (sic) him for that as well.

  135. This idea some vegans have that says if you are not going to make your life 100% free of animal products you shouldn’t bother at all is about as absurd as it gets. The sole aim of my veganism is to (I hope) make some positive impact in reducing profit motivated cruelty. Anyone who becomes conscious of the role their consumption has and decides to take some steps towards reducing their support for it should be applauded!

    Waking up to the realities of modern food production is not an overnight thing. I thought about it for a year before going vegetarian and only decided to go vegan a couple of years later after I had educated myself further (and saw Earthlings). It’s got nothing to do with me being sanctimonious. It’s purely me attempting to be true to my self and doing what I believe to be right, minimising my own hypocrisy as I like to say.

    For this reason I have to say that eating meat at any time purely because it is socially expected is probably the weakest most indefensible reason that I come across. Do you what you know is right and if someone asks why tell them that you’ve educated yourself about the issue and decided that it was your only choice. Offer to direct them to some resources if they’re interested and if they’re not, don’t waste your time. A lot of my mates give me this bullshit about eating meat being manly, but you know what’s really manly? Standing up for what you know is right in the face of pressure from your peers and society! Thats fucking manly! I have to remind them that they’re just doing exactly what they’ve been told to by society their whole lives.

    On the pet issue…I used to think it was wrong to feed a dog or cat vegan diet because it was unnatural…then I learnt what goes into dog and cat food (rendered road kill, euthanised pets, chemicals to mask putrefaction) and decided that feeding your pet a nutritionally adequate vegan diet is far far more ethical than feeding them this disgusting shit sold by pet food makers.

  136. ‘For this reason I have to say that eating meat at any time purely because it is socially expected is probably the weakest most indefensible reason that I come across. Do you what you know is right and if someone asks why tell them that you’ve educated yourself about the issue and decided that it was your only choice. Offer to direct them to some resources if they’re interested and if they’re not, don’t waste your time.”

    The side-effect of this approach is that you further the image of the vegetarian as someone who’s a pain in the arse and social outcast, and discourage people from reducing their own meat consumption. Refusing to eat what’s served at someone’s house – or, worse, demanding a vegetarian option – won’t save any animals. On the contrary, it’ll antagonise people away from doing their part.

  137. Jeremy, an alternative to canned or dry food is pet grade roo meat.

    The roo’s are shot for human consumption and your cat can eat the bits no one else is game to have a go at..

    Think of it as recycling.

    Win win, except for the roo.

  138. I think it really depends on how you go about it. I’m very conscious of not being a pain in the arse and for that reason I never make a big deal about it. I tend to just not eat if I’m at a barbecue or something, although I’ve been known to have the odd onion and sauce sandwich. I can see how it would be different if you are of the age where you start going to dinner parties (you know your old by then) and the like. There’s usually an option free of animal products at most restaurants, however unappetising and the food’s really just an excuse to continue the conversation in a lot of cases

    The point is you don’t have to make a big song and dance about things. Just be true to your self. Most people are good enough to accept that.

  139. Jeremy good luck cutting down on your meat consumption. Good on you for thinking about how you get what you eat too.

    For what its worth having a vego missus has increased the amount of yummy food I would otherwise never have been exposed to. I hope you have the same experience.

    (I now know more vego recipes, and am generally better at cooking vego food than meat dishes. Not bad for someone who likes their steak still kicking.)

  140. Pingback: Other quasi-vegetarians | An Onymous Lefty

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