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WSM and Animal Rights?

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gurrier
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Dec 5 2006 14:06
revol68 wrote:
Jack wrote:
This is the closest I've come to siding with the AR crowd. cry

innit!

Good stuff. I treat the opinions of you boys as a handy test of whether I'm talking nonsense about something.

Full steam ahead captain. All's well on board the good ship logic!

Pepe
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Dec 5 2006 14:07
gurrier wrote:
We eat things because they are tasty. Things are tasty because they contain required nutrients.

Just coz somethinsg tasty doesnt mean its good for us. sugar for example - it tastes good because its a good source of energy, so in times of scarcity had obvious advantages. Same goes for meat, its an easy source of protein for hunter-gatherers, but now that we can cultivate pulses etc. thats no longer an issue. Our diets would ideally contain no sugar and no (in my opinion) or very little meat.

And Joesph, you're obviously a mutant.

gurrier
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Dec 5 2006 14:13
Jess wrote:
Just coz somethinsg tasty doesnt mean its good for us. sugar for example - it tastes good because its a good source of energy, so in times of scarcity had obvious advantages. Same goes for meat, its an easy source of protein for hunter-gatherers, but now that we can cultivate pulses etc. thats no longer an issue. Our diets would ideally contain no sugar and no (in my opinion) or very little meat.

And Joesph, you're obviously a mutant.

Absolutely. As our environment changes, our inherited behaviours may become counter-productive. In particular, the fact that a liking for saturated fats is baked into our genes is problematic when our environment has suddenly changed to make them easy to access. This is what I would classify as a very good reason for changing our behaviour and ignoring our programming - which we are more than capable of. In fact selection pressures today would definitely favour genetic codes which do not lead to people finding saturated fats or meat particularly tasty.

Incidentally, if pulses or beans are your only sources of protein, you are definitely going to suffer from protein malnutrition (a club which has over a billion members). There are multiple different proteins which we need in our diets in order to maintain a decent level of health.

edit to add: sugar also isn't bad for you, or at least there is no convincing evidence that there are any downsides to sugar consumption with the exception of dental decay. This is balanced by the fact that it is very easy for our bodies to turn it into energy. It has, however, the same problem as saturated fats that I mentioned above. Our environment has changed to such an extent that the super-tastiness of sugar is problematic given the ease with which it can be acquired.

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Joseph Kay
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Dec 5 2006 14:15
gurrier wrote:
Who's assuming that? I'm not.

you said that "a recipe that instructs people to eat any one of the large number of widely available meat-based products is always going to be easier to follow than one that instructs people to eat a highly specific combination of multiple food-sources within specific bounds" which assumes the prevailance of meat-based products over plant-based ones. And i think you're seriously overestimating the amount of meat in the (pre-)Homo sapien diet during critical evolutionary periods, iirc it was an occasional supplement. we're not carnivores.

gurrier wrote:
Thus, in the case of grass-fed cattle, for example, the percentage increase in useful energy approaches infinity.

but must we grow grass? and as i understand it a shitload of soya is grown to be fed to cattle.

gurrier wrote:
Yep, but I made it clear how I'm measuring the difficulty of getting a balanced diet - the complexity of the algorithm and the practical difficulty of following that algorithm.

in practical terms, you're saying eating various beans, pulses and the like (not to mention vege sausages, burgers etc) is significantly harder than eating decent quality meat? (for someone in the UK)

gurrier wrote:
I'd be happy to bet a large sum of money that your aversion to meat is based upon the related ethical matters, rather than being purely a question of taste

well its not a matter of taste since i haven't eaten meat since i was 4 (and neither of my parents were veggie, my mum reckons i was too lazy to chew cool). now i can think up all sorts of ethical, economic, cultural reasons for veganism, but they're very much post-facto. i mean who gives a shit? Why do i prefer a beer to a splif? the usual dialectic of neural speficity-plasticty i guess, completely devoid of political consequence.

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Joseph Kay
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Dec 5 2006 14:17
Jess wrote:
And Joesph, you're obviously a mutant.

a pumpkinoid mutant sad

Pepe
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Dec 5 2006 14:24
Jack wrote:
Jess wrote:
Our diets would ideally contain no sugar and no (in my opinion) or very little meat.

Didn't I raise you kids better than this? cry

Oh right because you're a raving carnivore?

Gurrier, small amounts of protein are found in all non-animal derived foods and together give me all the protein I need. I find it bizzarre that you talk about protein deficiency when if anything in this country we eat too much.

Revol, I always thought there was a genetic basis to taste. I wasn't aware there was any disgreement about this?

gurrier
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Dec 5 2006 15:41
revol68 wrote:
our tastes in food can be located in genes. What utter utter pish.

revol68 wrote:
I would say there is a genetic factor to tastes

gurrier
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Dec 5 2006 16:06

There is no significant semantic difference in the two phrases above. You'd have to be a complete and utter idiot to try to use the difference in the exact wording used to try to squirm out of your latest direct contradiction and mocking of yourself.

revol68 wrote:
you don't understand the difference in emphasis? A factor is not a location.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you that idiot!

gurrier
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Dec 5 2006 17:33
revol68 wrote:
squirm, waffle, transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity, squirm

Here's a report of the study identifying the gene which encodes for liking brussels sprouts and other related foods:

scientist wrote:
The gene explains “60 percent to 70 percent of variability between people,” Risch said.

Here's a more recent study which generalises the findings to all vegetables and links it to consumption patterns:

scientist wrote:
"These novel findings suggest that the bitter-taste phenotype contributes to the development of vegetable acceptance and consumption patterns during early childhood," wrote lead author Kendra Bell in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol. 84, pp. 245-251).

In the absence of other evidence, it would be reasonable to assume that other tastes are influenced by genes to a similar extent. I'd guess that non-genetic factors are mostly explained by the way our associative memory works. That is to say that, for example, if one was to eat a bag of cheese and onion crisps while somebody electrocuted one's genitalia, the particular flavour of cheese and onion might cease to be experienced as tasty. An even simpler example, if you stuff your face full of the crisps, to an extent that it makes you ill, you might find that you no longer find them tasty in future as your brain will associate the flavour with the unpleasant sensation of being stuffed to the gills.

But all of that is pretty much besides the point. The point is that there is a rational justification to the dietary approach that is premised upon the following principle:

eat whatever you fancy unless there is a good reason not to

There is no good reason not to eat meat, unless you don't like its taste.

My other main bone of contention with people who advocate vegetarianism or veganism is that I think that if the species decided to adopt either approach en masse, it would be bad for aggregate human health, as explained above, and bad for the environment.

Pepe
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Dec 5 2006 17:44

I wouldn't call 60-70% of variance 'baked in'.
And thats just for one chemical as well, I don't think its fair to assume its generalisable.

Quote:
eat whatever you fancy unless there is a good reason not to

yeah. so whats your beef? No one here tried to tell you to go vegan :?

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Tacks
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Dec 5 2006 17:48
gurrier wrote:
dara wrote:
and gurrier, that whole animal rights tirade is total ninnyflappery. I heard one story about some eejit who did want to stop animals eating other animals, but the story was told within a group of vegetarians/vegans as a joke. You may have noticed that I've never attempted to tell you to stop eating meat/animal products in the pub comrade, yet i am fairly solidly vegan. Its a personal choice, nothing to do with how i see revolutionary change occurring.

It's actually pretty common. See http://www.vegancats.com/ for an example. For some reason, most of the practical applications concern cats wink

But the point still remains that such lunacy is a logical consequence of a rights based approach to non-human animals. That's what I'm arguing against, I consider the vegan cats stuff to be a reductio ad absurdam. I'm not saying that all vegans follow the logical consequences of their diet to the end - most don't.

ah, but in this instance the cats are simply an extension of the vegan consumer and therefore part of their original boycott of the meat industry.

Which, as anyone with half a brain can see, is even more fucked up grin

gurrier
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Dec 5 2006 18:11
Shorty wrote:
I'll let JDMF deal with this one. But I don't see the problem with multiple food stuffs, I like a varied diet. confused

Me too. But a diet which required me to eat a particular selection of specific foodstuffs would require much more effort than a diet which allowed me to eat pretty much whatever I fancied as long as it is in moderation and there is some representation from the various different food groups.

Shorty wrote:
From an evolutionary perspective, yes meat eating on rare occasions was common,

That's a common myth which presumably has its origin in pro-veggie-propaganda.

wrote:
"primate diets have always contained an animal component which is by no means negligible and is sometimes substantial" (Omnivorous Primates: Gathering and Hunting in Human Evolution)

Source: http://www.jstor.org/view/00251496/dm993922/99p0695y/0

More recent studies of human anthropology tend to confirm the idea that animal products have almost always formed a significant part of all primate diets - not just human diets. Personally, I reckon that when a behaviour is so deeply rooted in our genetic history, one should be extremely cautious about trying to change it. I know that many scientists feel that there are few risks associated with eliminating meat from our diets, but as human health is such a complex matter and so difficult to measure, I'd put a relatively low confidence value on such findings. Dietary science is prone to complete u-turns as new studies are conducted which look at different aspects of human well-being and their association with diet.

To recruit some more scientists to my side, how about some words of wisdom from ben goldacre (god I love that dude):

Quote:
There’s no doubt that nutritionism, what we might call the “bollocks du jour” of the alternative therapy movement, is an inherently right wing individualist project: we know that the most significant lifestyle risk factors for adverse health outcomes are social inequality, not obsessive, complex, individual tinkering with your diet. But we pretend - without an evidence base – that complex dietary interventions will make us healthy, because it’s something we can do as individuals. We can take personal responsibility for our health, and we can blame those who don’t, for their own misfortune.

Or is it about something deeper than that? The post-marxist social theorist Theodore Adorno, for example, who I quote only because it amuses me to quote a post-marxist social theorist, wrote at length about the psychodynamic links between astrology and fascism, about the need for rightwing ideologists, and especially their followers, to have simple, clear, authoritative narratives, rigid systems, patterns, and structures that make sense of the world. And the Daily Mail does have an ongoing ontological program to divide all inanimate objects into ones that will either cause or cure cancer.

shorty wrote:
but in attempting to link it to the current level of meat consumption you're taking a bit of a leap. Not only that, your positing of fast food diet being the most common diet seems to ignore the fact of how much this diet is based around consumption and lifestyle habits (in terms of commuting, free time, etc.)

I'm not attempting this. I'm just arguing against the idea that a diet which contains no meat is desirable.

shorty wrote:
that are purely informed by the socio-economic structuring of the world as it it currently is i.e. Capitalism. So surely, in an anarchist society regardless of whether everyone is a meat eater or vegan these dietary habits will change due to changes in the means of production, distribution, etc.

I agree. But once again, I'm only talking about whether that diet will include meat or not.

shorty wrote:
I also don't think the production of meat is exactly all that simple or "efficient", I mean the growing of soya beans in Brazil to feed european livestock to then be killed and distributed outside of Europe??

Again, I'm not arguing that our current food production industry is something that we should be applauding. I'm just making the point that it is easier to have a balanced diet which includes meat than one that does not. A good way to illustrate this is to point to the fact that hominids have been able to derive the necessary protein from meat for the last 5 million years and it is only in the last few decades that they have been able to even begin to derive this protein from non-animal products.

shorty wrote:
Also, I think the health benefits of vegetarianism over meat eating have been quite clearly shown at this stage (not on this thread but in terms of studies done).

I dispute this. I think the evidence suggests that a balanced diet that includes meat is healthier than a balanced diet that does not include meat. Even if it is not the case, it is very clear that the aggregate health effects of eliminating meat from the diet of the species would be negative.

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Joseph Kay
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Dec 5 2006 18:25

gurrier, i assume you're also opposed to people drinking, smoking, taking drugs etc, which all knock a bit off you're life expectancy? are you as opposed to the drinks industry as preachy vegans?

gurrier
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Dec 5 2006 18:33
Jess wrote:
I wouldn't call 60-70% of variance 'baked in'.

'Baked-in' is a pretty common expression used by geneticists to describe an attribute which has a significant genetic component. It comes from the modern understanding that our genes do not determine behaviour directly, they are a recipe for putting us together. It isn't supposed to convey the idea that any behaviour or attribute is entirely determined by the genes in the recipe - nobody thinks that about any high level behaviour since it's really obvious that all sorts of other stuff can influence them. Revol is also arguing against a genetic-determinist straw man.

Jess wrote:
And thats just for one chemical as well, I don't think its fair to assume its generalisable.

There are a fair few chemicals actually. In the absence of contrary evidence it is fair to assume that it is generalisable, it is just sensible to make the assumption very tentative and to give it a low confidence value until further evidence emerges. These studies are also looking at variations in tastiness among human populations. They don't address the fact that there is a very, very clear correlation between things that have nutrients and things that have tastiness. So, for example, metal, rocks, wood, poo, naturally occurring poisons, and so on are not commonly experienced as tasty, while foodstuffs that contain nutrients are and these attributions are almost universal. I suspect that the reason why such things don't appear in published research is that they are so obvious that nobody would bother.

Quote:
yeah. so whats your beef? No one here tried to tell you to go vegan :?

I often express my opinion on subjects which people have not tried to impose any particular choice upon me. You have too. I also find that there is an implicit assumption in alternative milieus that vegetarianism or veganism are better than meat eating. I think it's rare to see people putting forward the alternative view and if nothing else, it's a useful devil's advocacy that might prompt some people to examine some of their assumptions.

gurrier
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Dec 5 2006 18:36
Joseph K. wrote:
gurrier, i assume you're also opposed to people drinking, smoking, taking drugs etc, which all knock a bit off you're life expectancy? are you as opposed to the drinks industry as preachy vegans?

You assume wrong!

I would, however, argue that excessive drinking, smoking, taking various drugs and so on are bad for one's health. As it happens, I do think that a certain degree of drink / drugs taking is good for the health on balance as brains need to shut down the pesky frontal lobes every so often in order to reduce stress levels and improve mental health.

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 5 2006 19:24

Hi

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I find it bizarre that you talk about protein deficiency when if anything in this country we eat too much.

One of those regular breaches in the fragile barrier twixt anarchism and the freak notions of the professionally ridiculous.


Stanley Green. What a guy.

Quote:
how do we learn to appreciate alcohol

A genetic predisposition towards appreciating alcohol has been discovered…
http://genome.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD020883.html

Love

LR

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 5 2006 19:45

Hi

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Appreciate the taste.....

Pavlovian response to enjoying being pissed. There's a genetic predisposition to enjoying the taste of fat and sugar as well...
http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/healthyliving/obesityandweight/whatcaus...

Quote:
Some genes may control appetite, making us less able to sense when we are full.
Some genes may make us more responsive to the taste, smell or sight of food.
Some genes may affect our sense of taste, giving us preferences for high fat foods, or putting us off healthy foods.
Some genes may make us less likely to engage in physical activity.

Love

LR

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 5 2006 20:05

Hi

Quote:
we have the ability to get drunk but it's social that we enjoy it and how we enjoy it

Some enjoy drinking alone largely due to genetic predisposition. Although, I think you could probably argue that authentic enjoyment and self-destructive addiction are different. Puts stuff like video games in a weird light though. Others simply enjoy the psychoactive effect, writers etc, I'm sure.

I sort of see what you're getting at though. These things only take on a meaning in the social world. Very existential.

Love

LR

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georgestapleton
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Dec 5 2006 20:21

this is the weirdest AR thread yet. And they do tend to be rather weird.

Mike Harman
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Dec 5 2006 21:11
gurrier wrote:
It's actually pretty common. See http://www.vegancats.com/ for an example. For some reason, most of the practical applications concern cats ;-)

vegancatsfaq wrote:
Is it true that vegancats.com is telling some people to feed their cats meat?
Yes. After much soul-searching, we have decided to change our official recommedations for certain cats

gurrier
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Dec 5 2006 22:53
georgestapleton wrote:
this is the weirdest AR thread yet. And they do tend to be rather weird.

It's also a pretty good practical illustration of why the WSM doesn't have an agreed position on "Animal Rights". If I had my way, it'd probably just read:

"Animals have the right to be yummy"

sovietpop
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Dec 6 2006 13:34

Ah now gurrier, you wouldn't eat your cat now would you? I thought Splat was going to a good anarchist home.

dara
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Dec 6 2006 13:41
Quote:
"Animals have the right to be yummy"

i think i'll put forward a motion to the next Delegate Council to amend our position paper to include exactly that.

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Tojiah
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Dec 6 2006 16:01
gurrier wrote:
As it happens, empathy is definitely baked into our genes and thus behaviours that cause suffering to other people are never a simple expression of evolutionary impulses.

It is, isn't it? I think it extends to more than just other people, though. It also includes animals, at least in the more complex vertebrates (I did hear that you were taking care of at least one cat). Therefore, we should scientifically conclude that after you've read this, this and this, your genetically baked behaviour will turn you vegan.

Welcome to the team!

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Dec 6 2006 21:58

Hi

Quote:
I think it extends to more than just other people

Empathy is a funny old thing though. For a start there are two sorts; there’s the ability to correctly predict remote feelings and, as a distinct capacity, one’s inclination to emotionally identify with them. A low degree of emotional empathy is only ethically inferior in victim-oriented ideologies, ideologies doomed to permanent marginalisation.

Love

LR

gurrier
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Dec 6 2006 22:55
sovietpop wrote:
Ah now gurrier, you wouldn't eat your cat now would you? I thought Splat was going to a good anarchist home.

If it was me or splat, splat would be in the pot.

Okay, to move onto another point. My really big problem with political vegetarianism and veganism is the end-goal. I know that they are against animal suffering and against killing animals, but who isn't? Only sickos wouldn't be against such things in isolation. I'm similarly against death and disease, but I think that they're just shit that I'm going to have to deal with. The big question is what are the veggies for? If they got their way and the whole world stopped exploiting animals tomorrow, what would the world look like?

I've thought about this and, depending on how it was done, it gives us either:
a) environmental and ecological catastrophe with a high probability of a massive reduction in the human population.
b) environmental and ecological catastrophe with a certainty of a massive reduction in the human population.

Therefore, I think that eating animals is just one of those things that comes with the world. We evolved in a world where there are food chains and we sit on the top of the heap. There is no such thing as a paradise of nature and there never was. There's a messy, dirty world where things eat other things, populations explode and collapse, species go extinct and so on. We're part of this and we can't escape it.

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JDMF
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Dec 6 2006 22:56
georgestapleton wrote:
this is the weirdest AR thread yet. And they do tend to be rather weird.

exactly, which is why bunch of higly politiciced wannabe intellectuals are the last group of people one wants to discuss these issues with. Fortunately vast majority of people dont think like that, and animal issues are after all fairly simple and people have a tendency to avoid causing unnecessary suffering - some people of course seek to rationalise it if they have been exposed to it.

Gurrier, interesting points you are making about the dangers of removing meat eating from our dietary culture (for some mysterious nutrient which hasn't been discovered yet i presume?), and i look forward for you explaining the superiority of the european over asians and africans due to the higher portion of animal protein in our diet.

(explanation: this has been the only context where i have seen this point of view argued so far). Basically i am trying to say in a round about way that this is utter bollocks wink

Apart from the taste which is Gurriers strongest argument (unless you eat very "meaty" vegan foods like i tend to) cutting animal products has benefits on an individual level in terms of health, and collectively in terms of environmental, resource, food justice issues, and benefits in terms of avoiding unnecessary suffering. Of course i would say it is a no brainer really.

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 6 2006 23:05

Hi

Quote:
Fortunately vast majority of people dont think like that, and animal issues are after all fairly simple and people have a tendency to avoid causing unnecessary suffering

Leaving aside the question of whether or not it’s fortunate, it would seem, instead, that the vast majority of people are perfectly happy causing unnecessary suffering for the sake of a tasty dinner. Take Christmas for instance.

Love

LR

gurrier
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Dec 6 2006 23:07
Quote:
i look forward for you explaining the superiority of the european over asians and africans due to the higher portion of animal protein in our diet.

Global estmates for the prevalencea and number of underweight, stunted, and wasted children in developing countries
% underweight % stunted % wasted
Africa 27.4 (31.6)b 38.6 (44.6) 7.2 (8.3)
Asia 42.0 (154.1) 47.1 (172.8) 10.8 (39.6)

(figures in parantheses are millions of children)

Source: The worldwide magnitude of protein-energy malnutrition: an overview from the WHO Global Database on Child Growth

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JDMF
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Dec 6 2006 23:14
gurrier wrote:
Quote:
i look forward for you explaining the superiority of the european over asians and africans due to the higher portion of animal protein in our diet.

Global estmates for the prevalencea and number of underweight, stunted, and wasted children in developing countries
% underweight % stunted % wasted
Africa 27.4 (31.6)b 38.6 (44.6) 7.2 (8.3)
Asia 42.0 (154.1) 47.1 (172.8) 10.8 (39.6)

(figures in parantheses are millions of children)

Source: The worldwide magnitude of protein-energy malnutrition: an overview from the WHO Global Database on Child Growth

you remind me of the idiot who was funded by the livestock commisstion in US to study the nutritional benefits of vegan diet versus meat, and they fed vegetable oil and rice to one group of malnutritioned children and meat plus the rice and vegetable oil to another. No bonus points for guessing which diet won...

gurrier, you are not stupid, so you will know from the outset that malnutrition is down to lack of diversity and calorie intake, and not down to a meta choice or a dietary habit of if there is animal protein included in the diet. So why do you use those statistics as evidence? Is your hatred of animal free dietary culture so intense that you dont mind using arguments which are clearly not relevant just to try to score some points?

Of course intriducing animal protein to the diet in areas with very few resources would only cause more malnutrition and deaths, but thats only the poor ones who cant afford the higher price of food which is produced by using resources which could have been used for feeding humans directly. One would think you would be concerned about this? Again it seems like your hatred for the idea of toning down the use of animals in agriculture is stronger than your hatred of wasting resources to produce animal products even if it leads to malnutrition and death. sad