Talk:Ethics of eating meat

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Ethics of eating meat:
  • Remove unsourced arguments
  • Remove biased arguments
  • Reference where needed
  • Some mention on the ethical stance of In Vitro/lab cultured meat as it becomes commercially available
  • Possible arguments against (sources needed)
    • Development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in animals given antibiotics to promote growth
    • Removes risk of transmission of disease to humans from animals (viruses etc).
    • Greatly lessened risk of food poisoning from meat and animal products
      • (I checked this and most sources say food poisoning mostly comes from uncooked meat and animal products) Calibas 00:17, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
      • Yes, what I mean is we need is a source that points this out as an advantage of a vegetarian/vegan diet. Richard001 03:11, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

But it's NOT an advantage, you're just straw-grasping for anything that makes your argument look validated. You may as well argue that, since potatoes can be poisonous if left to sit too long, it's advantageous to only eat meat.

Priority 4

Image Texts[edit]

I've changed the text that read as questions, such as "Meat: Right or Wrong?" and "Does this cow have consicnous?" Because it doesn't support neutrality. —Preceding unsigned comment added by ChuckCoke (talkcontribs) 23:32, 15 September, 2009

"Shock Image"[edit]

Someone removed the image of the cow about to be slaughtered (again) and I just put it back. If you'd like to discuss it let's do so here. It's not a shock image, it's an image of a technique parts of this article actually describe as humane. An example of a real shock image would be the picture of what happens a few seconds later. --Calibas (talk) 19:31, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

--The current front (first) picture also may have shock value and nothing added but. deleted. [Raam) 18:31, 11 July 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.173.57.39 (talk)

"Humane"? What a joke. So its ok to kill animals as long as its done in a humane manner? How about waking up and not killing animals in the first place.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Smodtactical (talkcontribs) 05:37, 12 June 2012

I would argue it is also ethical to kill people so long as it is in a humane manner. But that is beside my main point, the picture of the Holstein cattle reads that it is a common cow eaten for meat which is not true. Holstien beef is very tough and mostly unsuitable for consumption. Holsteins are the largest producers of milk of any cow used in commercial production. I feel the picture should be changed to an Angus beef steer, which is the most commonly eaten cow in the United States and much of Europe. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 152.10.223.158 (talk) 18:47, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Vegans as a propaganda exercise[edit]

Is there not some evidence to suggest that the promotion of a vegan lifestyle as more moral (eh?) more worthy (come again?) automaticly place it in the realm of the nursery of the religious?
Ethics if you could find a substance / wavefield /colour/ something you could measure with an Ethic-o-gram the one thing you would say about an Ethical Effect was it tends to counter that which is innate; in short anything ethical is sexual selection, which last time I looked was the consensus with what a religion is for
81.109.247.189 (talk) 00:15, 21 April 2011 (UTC)


None of what you just said is comprehensible. I'm not trying to be rude. I'm just flabbergasted.
Ethics is the idea of what's moral or right and wrong. It's not scientific, it's (hopefully) informed opinion. Religion has less to do with ethics than with what you think your God/Goddess/Gods want you to do. Don't get me wrong, I disagree with veganism (I'm gnawing on some beef jerky now), but it's definitely an ethical discussion.
My apologies to everyone if I'm just encouraging a prankster/crazy person. The Cap'n (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 17:59, 16 May 2011 (UTC).

Consequences for animals of Vegetarianism/veganism[edit]

Vegetarian/Vegan ethics are coherent enough if compared with other mainstream moral issues, probably even more logic than other more controversial. A provocative example: it makes more sense not to inflict pain to a cow than to refrain from mating with a fully developed 13-15 year old girl, and act which in most ancient society would be considered normal. Having said that I think the advocates of Vegetarian/Vegan lyfestyle should interrogate themsels on the consequences of their choices. I am not aware of any large mammal that is not a lifestock and is not in danger of extinction in Europe. Bears have for long been on the verge of disappearing from the alpes, Game in general is kept alive in reserves etcc. What should be of the millions of cows which we shall not eat? Think to what happened to horses when they ceased to be a mean of transport; I did took the effort to look for a reference Population of Horses 1880-2000 and take a 50%+ reduction as a conservative figure and consider that although not for food or transport horses still are a versatile source of "animal force" (in all its forms); a similar case could not be immagined for cows. Honestly I do not see any grassland in Europe suitable for sustaing any population of wild cattle and it can easily be seen that what applies to Europe applies to any named developed area in the world. So I think this article should also cover the moral issue of the dependance of livestock animals on meat eaters, not to consider the consequence of the implementation of moral ethics on the production of an immense variety of byproducts of animal farming (leather just to name one). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crispinoecrispiano (talkcontribs) 07:24, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

The 'nonexistence' argument could address many human activities: habitat destruction, domestic animal spay/neuter, the loss of herloom agricultural species (plant and animal) that are not seen as economically viable, etc... even human birth control and abortion. If it is discussed in an entry, it should probably be an entry of its own which is then crossreferenced where relevant. DaveinMPLS (talk) 06:21, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

A different take on the implications for animals of not eating them is the resultant impacts on their welfare. Not sure how to cite this - but in personal communications both PETA and Animal Sanctuary AR organisations have informed me that - should be be wildly successful in ending animal agriculture - it would then be acceptable for the non-domesticate ruminants (wild graziers) that replace grazing eco-system niches - it would be acceptable for them to die of predation, starvation, dehydration, and/or disease....this presents a logical inconsistency - or at least logical nuance challenging the veg*n world view.....but where I only have personal communications regarding this - not sure how to include it however critical it may be to the topic. Ideas? MythicMeats (talk) 08:27, 4 August 2012 (UTC)Mycobovine

Humans are naturally plant-eaters (i.e. meat-eating is unnatural)[edit]

Humans are naturally plant-eaters
according to the best evidence: our bodies
by Michael Bluejay • June 2002 • Updated March 2012

A fair look at the evidence shows that humans are optimized for eating plant foods, according to the best evidence: our bodies.  We're most similar to other plant-eaters, and drastically different from carnivores and true omnivores.Those who insist that humans are omnivores, especially if their argument is basedon canine teeth, would do well to look at what the evidence actually shows. We'll cover that below.
I first wrote this article many years ago, but sincethen Milton Mills, M.D. wrote an excellent paper which covers the anatomy of eating, so let's skip right to my table-ized summary of his research:

Humans are biologically herbivores

Carnivores
Omnivores
Herbivores
Humans
Facial muscles
Reduced to allow wide mouth gape
Reduced
Well-developed
Well-developed
Jaw type
Angle not expanded
Angle not expanded
Expanded angle
Expanded angle
Jaw joint location
On same plane as molar teeth
On same plane as molar teeth
Above the plane of the molars
Above the plane of the molars
Jaw motion
Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion
Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
Major jaw muscles
Temporalis
Temporalis
Masseter and ptergoids
Masseter and pterygoids
Mouth opening vs. head size
Large
Large
Small
Small
Teeth: Incisors
Short and pointed
Short and pointed
Broad, flattened and spade-shaped
Broad, flattened and spade-shaped
Teeth: Canines
Long, sharp, and curved
Long, sharp and curved
Dull and short or long (for defense) or none
Short and blunted
Teeth: Molars
Sharp, jagged and blade-shaped
Sharp blades and/or flattened
Flattened with cusps vs. complex surface
Flattened with nodular cusps
Chewing
None; swallows food whole
Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing
Extensive chewing necessary
Extensive chewing necessary
Saliva
No digestive enzymes
No digestive enzymes
Carbohydrate digesting enzymes
Carbohydrate digesting enzymes
Stomach type
Simple
Simple
Simple or multiple chambers
Simple
Stomach acidity with food in stomach ≤ pH 1
≤ pH 1
pH 4-5
pH 4-5
Length of small intestine
3-6 times body length
4-6 times body length
10-12+ times body length
10-11 times body length
Colon
Simple, short, and smooth
Simple, short, and smooth
Long, complex; may be sacculated
Long, sacculated
Liver
Can detoxify vitamin A
Can detoxify vitamin A
Cannot detoxify vitamin A
Cannot detoxify vitamin A
Kidney
Extremely concentrated urine
Extremely concentrated urine
Moderately concentrated urine
Moderately concentrated urine
Nails
Sharp claws
Sharp claws
Flattened nails or blunt hooves
Flattened nails

The details are in Mills' paper (PDF). The rest of this article covers mostly angles not in that paper, and since it's long, here's a condensed version:

  • The anatomical evidence tells us that we're optimized for eating almost exclusively plant foods. The only way to come to another conclusion is to ignore the bulk of the anatomical evidence, which is what my critics do. (They either use inferior evidence, such as disputed assumptions about the prehistoric diet, or they cherry-pick the anatomical evidence while ignoring the bulk of it.)
  • The animals most similar to us, the other primates, eat an almost exclusively vegan diet.
  • "Omnivore" doesn't mean 50% plants and 50% animals. Many consider chimpanzees to be omnivores but 95-99% of their diet is plants, and most of the rest isn't meat, it's termites. If humans are omnivores, then the anatomical evidence suggests that we're the same kind: the kind that eats almost exclusively plant foods.
  • Saying we're omnivores because we're capable of eating meat is simply silly. We're capable of eating cardboard, too. And by the "capable" argument, then cats are omnivores, since nearly every commercial cat food has plant ingredients. (Check the label.) Nobody would ever make the argument that cats are omnivores based on what they're capable of eating. But they sure make that argument for humans, enthusiastically.
  • Our so-called "canine teeth" are "canine" in name only. Other plant-eaters (like gorillas, horses, and hippos) have "canines", and chimps, who are almost exclusively vegan, have massive canines compared to ours. (See picture)
  • Our early ancestors from at least four million years ago were almost exclusively vegetarian. (see source)
  • We sleep about the same amount of time as other herbivores, and less than carnivores and true omnivores.
  • The most common cause of choking deaths is eating meat. (source) Real carnivores and omnivores don't have that problem.

The meat-eating reader already has half a dozen objections to this before s/he's even read the rest of the article, and I will address those objections specifically, but first let me address them generally: It's human nature to want to feel that what we're doing is right, proper, and logical. When we're confronted with something that suggests that our current practices are not the best ones, it's uncomfortable. We can either consider that our choices may not have been the best ones, which is extremely disturbing, or we can reject that premise without truly considering it, so that we don't have to feel bad about our actions. That's the more comfortable approach. And we do this by searching our minds for any arguments we can for why the challenge must be wrong, to justify our current behavior. This practice is so common psychologists have a name for it: cognitive dissonance.

Think about that for a moment: Our feeling that our current actions are correct isn't based on our arguments. Rather, our actions come first and then we come up with the arguments to try to support those actions. If we were truly logical, we'd consider the evidence first and then decide the best course of action. But often we have it in reverse, because it's too difficult to accept that we might have been wrong.

This is particularly true when it comes to vegetarianism. It's easy to identify because the anti-vegetarian arguments are usually so extreme, compared to other kinds of discourse. A person who would never normally suggest something so fantastic as the idea that plants can think and feel pain, will suddenly all but lunge for such an argument when they feel their meat-eating ways are being questioned, and they're looking for a way to justify it.  That's psychology for you.

I used to be in the same position as most readers probably are now.  Long ago my eating habits were challenged by a book I ran across in the library. I didn't want to consider it fairly, because I wanted to keep eating meat. I'd grown up eating it, and I liked it. So I came up with various weak defenses to justify my behavior. But deep down I knew I was kidding myself, and practicing a form of intellectual cowardice. Eventually I knew I had to consider the arguments honestly.

So I challenge you: stop trying to figure out ways that I "must" be wrong even before you've bothered to read the rest of this article. Instead, read it, and actually consider it rather than reflexively trying to come out with ways to dismiss it out of hand. You can certainly still disagree after you've considered all the evidence -- but not before.

Most meat-eating readers will find it necessary to try to defeat me, at least in their minds, so let's agree that that would mean providing more and better evidence for your position. One does not win the argument by making a single point, as most of the critics who email me seem to think. The evidence favoring a plant diet for humans is clear, convincing, and overwhelming. There is definitely some evidence for the other side, to be sure, but it's simply not nearly as strong. While you think this would be obvious, I mention it because my critics seem to believe that whoever makes the fewest and weakest points has presented the most convincing case. They somehow seem to believe that all the evidence I present somehow vanishes into thin air when they present their lone argument.

Evidence that humans are primarily plant-eaters Evidence to the contrary

Many believe that lunging at at the minority of evidence in the red box makes their position compelling. But it doesn't. The only way to make that position compelling is to present more and better evidence, not to pretend that the green box doesn't exist.

[skipping some part of the source article]


"Vitamin B12. End of story."

I'm not joking when I tack on "End of story" to the sample counter-arguments. People actually make them that way, literally.

B12 isn't made by animals, it's made by bacteria. (source) It's found where things are unclean. (And meat is dirty.) This easily explains why historically it's been easy to get B12, because until recently we didn't live in a sanitized environment. Plants pulled from the ground and not washed scrupulously have B12 from the surrounding soil. (source) Vegans should take a B12 supplement, not because veganism is unnatural, but because the modern diet is too clean to contain reliable natural sources of dirty B12.

B12 is also found in lakes, before the water is sanitized. (source) Also, consider that chimpanzees' main non-plant food is termites, and termites are loaded with B12. (source)

Incidentally, our need for B12 is tiny -- 3 micrograms a day. Not milligrams, micrograms. The amount of B12 you need for your entire life is smaller than four grains of rice. (More on Vitamin B12 from John McDougall, M.D)

"You're not considering evolution."

Of course I'm not. Humans' hunting skills are relatively recent in our history but evolution takes place over a much longer period of time. In short, we haven't been hunting for long enough for our anatomy to favor a mixed plant-animal diet.

Source articleDrYouMe (Talk?) 01:41, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Excellent essay. I love what you said about psychology. I know a lot about human psychology, and it's so true. So many meat eaters will say "Animals eat other animals", but most of the ones they eat don't, at least not naturally. In fact, there was a restaurant that sold "lion burgers" that had to close because too many people protested, and I actually saw a comment on a YouTube video about this saying that it is hypocritical for humans to eat omnivores (even though chickens and turkeys eat worms), and I saw a comment on an article about this saying that the owner of the restaurant should be fed to the lions.

I also read some guy say that some societies take it too far and eat cats and dogs. I don't see why that is going too far.

But this all pretty much proves that they're not interested in the truth. They were raised eating these animals, they like the way they taste, and they want to be able to continue enjoying the taste. Everything else is just an excuse.--71.72.151.150 (talk) 21:55, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

This is all obviously incorrect. Humans are, of course, omnivores. Moreover, our closest cousins, Neanderthals, were almost exclusively carnivorous, and according to the Max Planck Institute, based on its genome study, 4% of the DNA of modern humans (except for sub-Saharan Africans) was contributed by Neanderthals. When I read this supposed "evidence" that humans are not omnivores, I feel as if I'm on a Creationist website reading their supposed "evidence" that the earth is only 4000 years old. In any event, the issue of human omnivory has little, if anything, to do with the ethics of eating meat, so I am hard pressed to see why it's in the talk section for this particular article. Incidentally, there is a Wikipedia article on omnivores that addresses the issue of human omnivory, and this material would be better suited for that article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pgordon2 (talkcontribs) 17:29, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Wow, quite a convincing point Pgordon2. A well researched and well written article with Scientific facts yet 'it is obviously ALL wrong'. Excellent counter argument. Your point on Neanderthals also makes no sense. They were carnivores and contributed to our DNA so we must be carnivores as well? First of all actually read the article and you will the evidence that the earliest ancestors of homo sapiens were vegetarian and even in those hunter-gatherer groups, plants were still a dominant part of the diet. There is so many points in that article that strongly support the powerful foothold of vegetarianism in human evolution its mind boggling anyone with the slightest intellect would actually challenge it (and in such a weak way as well). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Smodtactical (talkcontribs) 06:02, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Hmm...a convincing assertion at first blush, but problematic on examination. First, according to the Wikipedia entry on Humans (which in turn cites a 2002 paper on prehistoric human diets), Homo Sapiens has been cooking its food since it branched off from Homo Rhodesiensis, which means that even if we were once herbivores, modern human "natural" diet can only be described in context of a species that processes its food via tools and fire. This also means I must question your assertion that evolution is an irrelevant question due to short timescale, since humans have likely been using fire in a controlled fashion for approximately one million years. A mere 10,000 years was far more than sufficient time for humans to not only evolve the ability to digest lactose, but also invent an enormous spectrum of different foods that contain it; at one million years, evolution is absolutely a relevant concern. This is especially true because we do show a clear evolutionary difference from our herbivorous days: our "cecum", which we once used over a million years ago to allow us to digest the fibre, cellulose, and hemi-cellulose that makes up such a large part of the nutrients found in plants, has atrophied over time into what we now call our appendix, a useless vestigial organ that does nothing when it's healthy and causes tremendous problems when infected.
Second, "natural" and "unnatural" is distinct from "ethical" and "unethical". It is perfectly natural for a human being to kill out of jealousy, greed, or selfishness, but it is not ethical. As such, stronger support for the article's ethical relevance would be required. This is especially so because herbivores that are not obligate herbivores do in fact eat meat in the wild when given the opportunity, a fact which you mention in your own assertions.
Lastly, the article you cite builds its entire case upon the definition of "omnivore", but "omnivore" is a poorly-defined word at best, and one with no clear taxonomic criteria. Foxes are omnivores, for instance, despite being a member of the Canidae Family and Carnivora Order. Dogs, too, are sometimes classified as omnivores, and if not then at the very least they are not "obligate carnivores" and are capable of adapting to plant diets. Cats, by contrast, are obligate carnivores, and have tremendous difficulty digesting plant matter (I know cat food has plant matter in it, but it is added in a form that is specifically processed and tailored to be easily digestible by a cat's carnivorous GI tract. A better comparison is bananas: giving a cat bananas is a terrible idea that should always be avoided, but giving a dog some banana is fine so long as it is not given at the same time as meat and one doesn't give the dog so much he/she suffers sugar overload). Looking at your table, the anatomical qualities of carnivores is almost completely identical to that of omnivores, but is that truly an accurate representation of the absolute anatomical disparities between "omnivores", "carnivores", and "herbivores"?
One study[1] by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center showed that all omnivores descended from species that are either primarily carnivorous or primarily omnivorous, and I cannot help but think that the "omnivorous" qualities on the table were taken exclusively from those omnivorous species such as grizzly bears and foxes that, as members of Order Carnivora, descended from carnivores and, therefore, have exhibit largely carnivorous phenotypes with secondary, less-prominent herbivorous adaptations. However, this is not an evolutionary history common to all omnivores. For instance, boars (who are, I should point out, members of the largely herbivorous Order Artiodactyla, a.k.a. even-toed ungulates) have a jaw above the plane of the molars, no shearing in the jaws, a masseter and ptergoids, tusk incisors (which are typically found on African Elephants, who are herbivorous, obviously), and chew extensively. Yet, they are omnivores, not herbivores as their anatomy might suggest. By contrast, Panda Bears meet most of the chart's criteria to be either Omnivorous or Carnivorous, and yet they are obligate Herbivores. I would submit to you that anatomical similarities are far more strongly influenced by taxonomy and evolutionary proximity than an animal's diet, since diet can change much more quickly than genetic evolution. In fact, diet must change before genetic drift, as otherwise there cannot be selective pressure for genetic adaptation. On top of that, there are all those anatomical qualities the article completely fails to mention, qualities which humans, bears, boars, and foxes all share: our forward-facing stereoscopic vision is optimized for hunting prey and only has a mere 150-180 degrees of peripheral vision; we lack a large, multi-chambered stomach or cecum for digesting fiber and cellulose; and our stomachs are incredibly small compared to herbivores because we can supplement our diet with meat, which has much higher energy density than grasses and other plant matter. 63.95.218.254 (talk) 21:01, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Here is another point supporting human omnivory: chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, obtain 5-10% of their calories from animal prey. In fact, they make spears by stripping leaves from twigs and use those spears to kill bush-babies (a small species of monkey), which they then eat. The human and chimpanzee lineages diverged, initially, 6-7 million years ago, then according to the most recent theory there was some further inbreeding between the lineages approximately 4.5 million years ago, after which the final divergence occured. Given how close chimpanzees are to us genetically and the observed fact of their omnivovry, given neanderthal near-carnivory, and given the omnivory of homo sapien hunter-gatherer societies, I think it's clear that humans are omnivores. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pgordon2 (talkcontribs) 14:53, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

I have significant problems with all arguments here - both claims for "humans as herbivores" and "humans as omnivores". The problem is that writers are employing principles of evolutionary medicine that are now accepted as outdated. The extensive 20+ year work of Dr. Randolph Nesse and colleagues show that rather than "Humans" being herbivores, omnivores, or carnivores - Individuals - based on complex heritable adaptation - combined with more proximate epi-genetic factors dictate what is optimum for an individual. So - if the implication is that this touches upon ethics because it's ethical to be healthy - the we should attempt to come together and frame the issue in terms of personalised nutrition - not broad sweeping generalities about evolutionary adaptation on a species level. MythicMeats (talk) 08:38, 4 August 2012 (UTC)Mycobovine

Let's show some sense here. As can easily be seen from e.g. the human page here on Wikipedia, there are plenty of sources out there that claim humans are omnivores (just go to that page, ctrl + f 'omni', click on sources ... or use Google). There are so many sources that classify humans as omnivores that I think it's safe to conclude that that is the mainstream opinion. This article is therefore a minority argument that humans are herbivores that, perhaps coincidentally, reads like a pseudoscientific article with plenty of bombastic words meant to sound impressive. The article appeals directly to the reader to come to his own conclusions instead of trying to convince other scientists in scientific literature, and is written by someone without expertise in the field to boot (plus the source page link is broken, plus the fact that it's written by a M.D = medical doctor, which are not specially trained in biology). For these reasons and more I do not trust it. I strongly oppose any mention of the 'naturalness' of humans being herbivores unless academic and peer-reviewed publications for this can be found. Banedon (talk) 01:37, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

It seems as if we would not have developed into humans if we had not eaten meat, seee article here. The above seems to me a WP:Fringe theory. Thanks SH 07:57, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

This article Misrepresents its Sources[edit]

This is straight up propaganda on arguments using quote mining and misrepresenting sources. I have listed all the source and arguments below so you can decide yourself.

The chart is invalid and simply wrong. First we do not know the sample animals he used for each generalization. Second the pH in the stomach is 1.3-3.5 (see Gastric acid) also saliva also has digestive enzymes to digest fat (salivary lipase) besides that saliva is not a good measurement since it can vary between different taxonomic groups. Also there is NOTHING mentioning the rumen or fermentation vats in herbivores which they use to generate vitamin B12. Humans do not have rumens so they are omnivores also herbivores cannot digest meat. For other jaw and intestine features check this vegetarian site (http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/omni.htm link)

Humans are classic examples of omnivores in all relevant anatomical traits. There is no basis in anatomy or physiology for the assumption that humans are pre-adapted to the vegetarian diet. --Dr. McArdle, vegetarian and Scientific Advisor to The American Anti-Vivisection Society (http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/omni.htm Vegetarian Resource group)

Although none of these both vegetarian articles are NOT peer reviewed sources the facts are humans do not have rumens and humans can digest meats along with plants so they are omnivores. Here is another fine example of the quote mining

"Our early ancestors from at least four million years ago were almost exclusively vegetarian. (see source)"

If you check the source it will quote a paper from PNAS titled "Starch grains on human teeth reveal early broad crop diet in northern Peru" here is the link from PNAS. This only addresses early individuals in the Zana Valley of Peru NOT worldwide. It is also not 4 million years ago if you look at the first paragraph the Carbon 14 dating shows that the time period was 11,200 to 6000 calendar years. The discussion of the article shows that the source said "Starch grain data from dental remains can inform a number of important issues concerning early human diets and the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture." Here is a manipulation of statistics that was used:

The most common cause of choking deaths is eating meat. (source)

If you look at the source abstract the sample size is very low (133) and restrictive (only in San Diego County) The statistics list "14% having using alcohol or other sedatives and 55% having a documented neurological deficit or anatomic difficulty with swallowing." It only mention that the "most common specified food objects" was meat. Yet the author state it the most common cause is meat which is not true as quoted in the above statistic. The abstract also states "Most victims who choked to death had an underlying neurological deficit" In the Vitamin B12 section it list:

It's found where things are unclean. (And meat is dirty.) This easily explains why historically it's been easy to get B12, because until recently we didn't live in a sanitized environment.

B12 as stated before is produced by bacteria in the rumen. It can be obtained through meat or fermented foods such as kombucha and algae. By the author's logic these are also unclean and unsanitize. The author also uses tactics to disgust the audience where he states that B12 is also obtained through termites and unsanitized water (actually algae rich see article) This is ironic since he also recommends supplements:

Vegans should take a B12 supplement, not because veganism is unnatural, but because the modern diet is too clean to contain reliable natural sources of dirty B12.

Because under US law 21 CFR § 184.1945 Avitamin B12 supplements are produced Streptomyces griseus, a dirt bacteria. It is also not known what is used as the hardening agent for the supplements generally come in liquid or powder form. The source article has barely any opposing sources and uses vegan advocating sources to support itself. The real question we should be asking is if this is for an ethical reason why would data be manipulated? Why can't it be discussed scientifically and logically using peer review sources? To sum it up this article uses:

  • ad hominem attacks on meat eaters and omnivores labeling them as extremes and fanatics
  • misuses statistics by misrepresenting large populations using isolated small samples rather than random samples.
  • quote mines and misrepresents arguments from peer reviewed articles.
  • misinforms the audience using false statistics
  • Biased the argument by attempting to make meat seem "disgusting"

-Cs california (talk) 13:59, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

The Plan pain discussion[edit]

Constantly deleting my point about plant pain is not benefiting this article. This topic has not be officially addressed in academic literature so obviously theres no source I can provide but as a 4th year medical student I think the scientific reasoning in my argument against a so called 'plant pain' hypothesis is solid and should be in the article. Certainly if you are going to delete that paragraph then delete the entire plant pain section because its completely a ludicrous argument. Destruction of plant cells causes pain because cells are living? This is a joke of biological pseudoscience likely written by someone with minimal education and understanding of the Biological and Medical sciences.

While your efforts are appreciated, Wikipedia cannot use a contributor's opinions and/or reasoning to verify text. It must be sourced per the policies and guidelines. --Ckatzchatspy 18:20, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

Ok, where is the reference for the 'counter argument'? I see no reference. It is basically a contributor's opinion to the same degree my entry was. Removing the entire argument is the only fair thing if this is your stance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Smodtactical (talkcontribs) 21:18, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

Meat eating for other animals[edit]

Just out of curiosity, when people say that meat eating is wrong, immoral, unneccesary etc, are they simply talking about humans? Are there any reasons why other animals in the animal kingdom should not eat meat? Portillo (talk) 02:56, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

stern message to those against eating meat who are editing this article[edit]

I want animal activists to know that the lack of neutrality in this article does not allow me to seriously question my meat eating practices. Those who vandalize or spin this article, while their intentions may be honourable are greatly hurting their cause. If someone comes to this article, they are either already against eating meat or they are willing and open to question their practices. Personally, I hesitated before clicking on this link (it was a google search result that i wasn't looking for). I hesitated because I feared that reading something which would cause me to question my practices and maybe make me change my lifestyle would be hard for me to do (I am going through tough times with a lot of personal pressures). I clicked the link though because willful ignorance or shunning objective facts is not an excuse. I will revisit this wikipedia page in the future to see if it is in fact more neutral.

Someone could say that I could browse through all sorts of academic and medical journals and that the information is out there. I have tried doing this with other topics and it is fruitless. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.101.88.10 (talk) 17:03, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments. Do you have some specific examples of non-neutral prose you can point out? Just saying that the article is flawed does not help us fix the problem. And as a side note, this article, like all other articles on Wikipedia, is not here to persuade anyone of anything. The article is here to give readers a general understanding of the topic. SQGibbon (talk) 17:53, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
I'd just like to second this missive by 79.101.88.10. Coming to this article and seeing it flooded with cleanup templates makes me think it's going to be les useful in contemplating my own actions. Editors of this article may want to have a look at Abortion (Talk:Abortion) to see how a controversial topic can be presented in a neutral and comprehensive way. Vectro (talk) 11:08, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Hi, thank you for answering me (I was the one feeling the article was biased. I am sorry I did not provide specific examples of this. Firstly, during my reading and minutes before posting the post that you answered, I changed the title of the first section from "Killing for food" to "Ethical views on eating meet". "Killing for food" is in the same vain as people who call themselves "pro-life" or "pro-choice" when it comes to abortion. Most people know that the way a question is worded can greatly effect someone's response and titling the subject "Killing for food" is prejudiced. Technically speaking plants have life and are killed but the bend of title is obvious. I feel like this was not an isolated situation of slant.

Finally, so many of the statements in the article are unsourced. I may be alone in this but I would get much more out of even an incomplete but well sourced article than the current one.

"Most ethical vegetarians argue that the same reasons exist against killing animals to eat as against killing humans to eat." Unfortunately, I cannot access the source but I find this a stretch. Has there really been polling on this? I would be shocked if most vegetarians hold the killing of an animal anywhere near as big an offense as the killing of a human if only for the fact that animals are not as intellectually developed. In the animal kingdom we see differing levels of consciousness, I at very least doubt that most ethical vegetarians would argue that the killing of the lesser intelligent animals at all on par with the killing of humans... and not in degrees of offense but I think the particular arguments would be quite different. The point overall is so nebulous because those arguments are not specified. A list of those arguments would certainly help. The closest thing I can find which relates to the morality of murder on wikipedia is this:

Popular atheist author and Vanity Fair writer Christopher Hitchens remarked on the program Uncommon Knowledge:

"I think our knowledge of right and wrong is innate in us. Religion gets its morality from humans. We know that we can't get along if we permit perjury, theft, murder, rape, all societies at all times, well before the advent of monarchies and certainly, have forbidden it... Socrates called his daemon, it was an inner voice that stopped him when he was trying to take advantage of someone... Why don't we just assume that we do have some internal compass?"[8]

It is the only instance of murder in the secular morality article. The references to homicide are limited to the relationship between religious belief and homicide rates. In any point, this instance certainly is at contract with the sentence from the "ethics of eating meet" article. Ethical vegetarians I am pretty sure do not eat meat mainly because they want to "get along" with animals they have never met or because human society would crumble without these values/practices.

Moving along, the Benjamin Franklin quote if I'm not mistaken was from his autobiography and while it perhaps deserves a place within a 'History' section of this article or somewhere in a social views place in this article "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Animal_Rights" (read the trial of bill burns part, it is a touching story.) I don't think it belongs in the opening section of the article "Ethics of eating meat"

The last paragraph of this first section is enlightening but the overall nature of the section has a coherent and organized reasoning against eating meat while the reasons for eating meat are sparse and seem to be mostly in response to arguments against eating meet. Perhaps that is because the argument for eating meet is weak but is there really no advocate who is pro meat eating that could counter Singer? Instead of an answer/response format of this section perhaps two sub categories of arguments against and then arguments pro could be separate. Even if there would be a tiny bit of redundancy or reintroduction (when responding to a claim from the otherside) it would make the article much less subjective.


In the animal conciousness section there is the following sentence "Peter Singer maintains that many livestock animals are of sufficient sentience to deserve better treatment than they often receive (this, according to his ethical philosophy: personism)." I believe this sentence subtracts from the value of the article because 1. Unless he specifies the reason for the belief it has no basis in objective though. Yes, it may be arbitrary to say X amount of consciousness deserves Y level of rights. If the idea is just one subjective opinion (albeit of someone who focuses on this area) it should not be in this wikipedia article. Finally, the argument brings up the issues about human beings who do not or no longer have the capacity for higher reasoning. Does Singer believe they should have fewer rights than a chicken? 2. The article references a philosophy which he himself designed which again seems to have no objective basis.

This being said, the parts of the article that I didn't mention seem to be well written. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.86.50.81 (talk) 14:40, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

Edits 4-6 January[edit]

I'm of opinion the edits made these past few days are strongly NPOV and should be reverted. Examples of what look clearly like NPOV text to me (these are direct quotes): (talk) 18:35, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

I did the edits. (I assume that what you meant by NPOV above was non-NPOV.) I am not personally NPOV on this question, but I think my edits were intended to restore balance, where the entry itself had become non-NPOV --Stevan Harnad 22:38, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  • It is not clear, however, whether it is necessary to arrive at a consensus about whether or not it is ethical to eat oysters while the urgent and pressing ethical question is about mammals, birds and fish.
now changed to "It is not clear, however, whether it is necessary to arrive at a consensus about whether or not it is ethical to eat oysters while the ethical question is mostly about mammals, birds and fish." The point being made is not about POV but about ethical priorities. To come to an agreement about the ethics of killing cows, pigs and chickens, it is not necessary to agree about oysters, is it? --Stevan Harnad 22:38, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  • It is not clear, however, whether and how the evidence that animals feel and that breeding, killing and eating them is not necessary for human survival and health enters into Bost's calculation of what is "ecologically benign."
I'm not sure what the neutrality objection here is. The prior text referring to Bost read '...if “ethical is defined as living in the most ecologically benign way, then...' In other words, the suggestion was to adopt the premise that "ethical" means "ecologically benign." The addendum simply points out that this premise does not take into account the fact that animals feel and that breeding, killing and eating them is not necessary for human survival and health. It points out that there is another POV on the ethical question, other than ecology, and that defining ethics as ecology is non-NPOV. --Stevan Harnad 22:38, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  • The fundamental arguments for not eating animals are that (1) most animals almost certainly do feel -- especially the mammals, birds and fish that humans consume -- and that (2) killing and eating animals is not necessary for human survival or health. In contrast, it is highly unlikely that plants feel, and human survival and health are not possible without consuming plants (either directly, or indirectly, by consuming animals that consume plants).
I'm again not sure what the neutrality objection is here: the discussion is about ethics -- hence about what is right and wrong, given the evidence, and how it is interpreted by most people. Most people would agree that it is very likely that mammals, birds and fish feel and very unlikely that plants feel. Some people might believe otherwise (that mammals, birds or birds don't feel, or that plants do feel), but is there really any disagreement about which is the prevalent view, and that it is almost certainly true? There is more disagreement about whether eating animals is necessary for human survival and health, this is not the clause that is qualified as almost certainly true. So this paragraph does not go against NPOV; it simple states the two most important reasons that are cited by those who argue that it is wrong to eat animals. --Stevan Harnad 22:38, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Similarly I still think a list of vegans who may be vegan for reason other than ethics has no reason to be on this page. It is simply not relevant. I'm not reverting the edits at once, but I'm seeking some opinions on this. Banedon (talk) 18:35, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

It is true that there are people who are vegan for reasons other than ethics. That doesn't mean that they are irrelevant to the ethics of eating meat: (1) non-ethical vegans still provide evidence that people can be vegan without any harm to their health; (2) they provide evidence on the growth and prevalence of non-meat-eating; (3) their reasons for being vegans (health, ecology, economics, sustainability) also provide indirect ethical and pragmatic reasons for not eating meat. In any case, List of vegans is just one of the items in a 21-item "See also" list which also includes veganism (as well as: vegetarianism, emotion in animals, moral agency, and meat) and none of which are exclusively about the ethics of eating meat, but all relevant to it. --Stevan Harnad 22:38, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
The point is all these "it is not clear" statements are your opinion. You may not think it is clear, but some other people may. For example some people may well believe that it's clear that if ethical vegetarians are serious about their beliefs they should have no qualms about eating oysters, even if you think "it is not clear". Banedon (talk) 19:58, 9 January 2014
  • "It is not clear" is a way to point out that there is a difference in POV. Yes, the article describes the POV that it is ok to oysters because they may not feel. But there are also those with the POV that oysters do feel. And there is also the POV that the boundary between feeling and non-feeling organisms is between plants and animals, not between vertebrates and oysters. With all of these different POVs, it can hardly be described as non-NPOV to indicate that it is unclear which POV is correct, or to point out that the question of whether oysters feel is independent of the question of whether it is ethical to eat organisms that do feel. To report the logical relations between POVs is part of the function of WP articles. --Stevan Harnad 12:53, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Furthermore, you claim that it is highly unlikely that plants feel, when whether or not they feel have no relevance to Carol Kaesuk Yoon's argument (besides the link you added indicates there is ground to believe that plants are intelligent). Banedon (talk) 19:58, 9 January 2014
  • Please read the linked article (and also the articles its cites) further. The issue is precisely the difference between functioning "intelligently" and feeling. All living organisms function adaptively, including individual living skin cells, which can survive and reproduce in tissue culture. All the adaptive growth, secretions and behavior of individual animal cells, plant cells, plants, and multicellular organisms can be validly described as intelligent, but they do not imply that the organism feels. The distinction between feeling and function is extremely important, though it goes beyond the scope of an article on the ethics of eating mean. I have inserted a cross-reference to the hard probem of consciousness, Problem of other minds, and the Turing Test for WP readers who want to pursue the question of the difference between feeling and function, and the question of how to determine whether an entity (including both living organisms like plants and animals, and nonliving ones such as robots, crystals or even atoms) feel. --Stevan Harnad 12:53, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
And human survival is possible without consuming plants or animals that consume plants - just look at former Israeli president Ariel Sharon, who is comatose yet hasn't died. See also parenteral nutrition. Banedon (talk) 19:58, 9 January 2014
As for a list of vegans, it is simply not relevant. Whether or not a vegan diet is healthy is to be proved by scientific studies, not "there are many people who are vegan and are healthy, therefore vegan diets are healthy". Compare: there are many healthy smokers out there, which doesn't prove that smoking is healthy. Banedon (talk) 19:58, 9 January 2014
  • You would certainly be right if any WP editor were making the argument for smoking that there exist healthy smokers. But your analogy with smoking is precisely backwards The article cites the evidence of the American Dietetic Association -- "The fundamental ethical objection to meat eating is that for most people living in the developed world it is not necessary for their survival or health;[2]". This is equivalent to citing the medical evidence that smoking is harmful to health. And then pointing to the list of vegans is like pointing to a list of smokers with lung cancer. That supports the evidence, in both cases (veganism is not unhealthy and smoking is health).--Stevan Harnad 12:53, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
I think the edits are opinionated, biased in favour of ethical vegetarianism and occasionally factually inaccurate. Banedon (talk) 19:58, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  • That's a POV. But I suggest that the way you express it is not to remove the evidence and POVs expressed in the article, but to edit the article to add your own (if you can support it with further references and evidence). (I have already stated that I am not personally NPOV on veganism, but I have good deal of experience -- both in editing WP and in editing a peer-reviewed journal for a quarter century -- in separating facts and evidence from my own personal POV. And I edit WP non-anonymously, so I am fully answerable for my edits.)--Stevan Harnad 12:53, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
If there are people who think Oysters do feel and are therefore not appropriate for consumption, they should be cited. Functioning intelligently and feeling or whatever still has no relevance on Carol's argument. I'm pretty sure glucose, amino acids etc can be synthesized artificially or by bacteria; if not I suspect they can be harvested and therefore does not consume the plant. I still do not see how a list of vegans can be related to this at all. A list of ethical vegetarians would, but not vegans. The connection is tangential and distant; a discussion on whether or not vegetarian diets are healthy is better suited to the page on vegetarian diets as a whole. I still think your edits are not neutral and hint strongly towards you being an ethical vegetarian. Requesting a third opinion. Banedon (talk) 14:48, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

I've thoroughly edited the article. I took out what I felt was some of the most non-neutral text, as well as removed some redundant material (for example the idea that humans do not have to eat meat, and therefore meat-eating is wrong, was repeated quite a bit). I removed the list of vegetarians since it's not a list of ethical vegetarians. I also reorganized the article to put all the criticisms and responses into the same section - may not be a good idea, since some of the criticisms and responses really can go into the relevant sections, but there are also criticisms that don't fit in anywhere else (such as with nonchordates) so I just put them all together (WP:BOLD). I did not check for OR - if someone else would do that that would be great. Banedon (talk) 03:01, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

I removed the paragraph on oysters and other molluscs having nervous systems and being grouped together with other vertebrates as per [[WP: Original Synthesis. Banedon (talk) 20:01, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
The first paragraph in this section states "animal pain would not apply to animals that do not have central nervous systems if they do not feel pain." The second paragraph by Cox is about oysters which (1) have nervous systems and (2) feel pain. (In fact pain -- "nociception -- is extensively studied in molluscs such as oysters. --Stevan Harnad 00:33, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
You say that oysters feel pain, and that this has been extensively studied. Please give some sources that back up your contention. --Epipelagic (talk) 06:34, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

The other paragraph, about plant sentience, I removed under WP: Original Research. Banedon (talk) 20:01, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

The passage did not cite original research; it was a reference to the fact that plants have adaptive sensorimotor function but almost all botanists and plant physiologists consider it unlikely they feel. I have now added generic book references on this in place of journal article references, in order not to cite original research.--Stevan Harnad 00:33, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

I removed some text from the section on oysters. The ILAR reference didn't say anything about oysters having nociceptive systems; it discussed clams, mussels and scallops but not oysters. The other reference, to action by the EU, does not apply to oysters either since oysters aren't cephalopods. I haven't checked the other references yet; intending to do so but no time right now. Banedon (talk) 09:00, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Oysters are bivalves of the same rank, just as clams, mussels and scallops are. There are no relevant neurobiological differences at all between the nervous systems of oysters, clams, mussels and scallops insofar as the substantive point at issue in this section, and in this article are concerned: Do oysters have nervous systems? Yes. Do oysters have nociceptive (pain) systems? Yes. Removing the supporting evidence because it mentions clams, mussels and scallops but not oysters would be as justified as removing the supporting evidence for the deleterious effects of cage-rearing on gorillas because the studies were done on cage-rearing in chimpanzees -- or the deleterious effects of smoking on female lung tissue because the studies were done on male lung tissue. Please leave the bivalve evidence intact. As to cephalopods, it is correct that bivalves are not cephalopods, and of lower rank. The point -- and it is very relevant to the bivalve question -- is that the EU regulations for protection in research were formerly only accorded to vertebrates, and not to invertebrates, because it was assumed that invertebrates do not feel, and hence do not need the protection. Subsequent neurobiological research -- especially intensive research on cephalopods as potential models for understanding human brain function -- has led to the conclusion that cephalopods too need protection from pain. It is almost certain that the only reason this protection has not yet been extended to research on bivalves is not because neurobiologists think bivalves differ in any relevant way from cephalopods insofar as nociception is concerned, but because bivalves are not even remotely as extensively used in neurobiological research as cephalopods are. Please do not remove the reference to the legal protection of cephalopods. It too is highly relevant to the question discussed in this section, as well as to this article as a whole. --Stevan Harnad 13:11, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Your argument that oysters feel pain is straightforward original research, and the only source for the argument appears to be you. I have removed the corresponding entry you added to article. Please read this guideline, with particular attention to this section, and make sure you understand it if you intend to resume any further argument on this topic. --Epipelagic (talk) 20:50, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
  • How can protection of cephalopods be relevant to oysters if oysters aren't cephalopods? I just don't get it. Perhaps the EU is now according protection to invertebrates as well as vertebrates, but so what? Cox's argument isn't that it is ethical to eat ALL invertebrates, only oysters. Why protection hasn't been extended to bivalves has no relevance to the fact that protection hasn't been extended. If and when the protection is extended, then it can be added to the article; until then it doesn't deserve to be there. I am removing it again. Banedon (talk) 05:27, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
  • About the animal and plant section, I don't understand the last paragraph as well. Of course plants "can detect and react adaptively to input conditions" because they are living creatures, and one of the hallmark of life is response to stimuli. The last line though, about sensory functions being felt functions, would take some justification. I searched up the paper "Crosstalk between secondary messengers, hormones and MAPK modules during abiotic stress signalling in plants". However I do not see where in the paper this is mentioned. Certainly the words 'feel' and 'felt' do not appear in the paper at all, and both the abstract nor the conclusion don't seem to discuss anything to do with feeling. Can you quote the paragraphs from which provide this information in both this paper and Long-Distance Systemic Signaling and Communication in Plants? Banedon (talk) 05:44, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Per the above I'm removing the sentence. That leaves the remaining two sentences rather out of place, so I removed the entire paragraph. Banedon (talk) 11:57, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Third opinion[edit]

Searchtool-80%.png Response to third opinion request:
For the most part, I think the article sounds better without Harnad's edits. For starters, "reasons" sounds more encyclopedic than "scruples", but more importantly, many of the additions seem like original research because they are syntheses not backed up by any sources ("In response, proponets of meat-eating..."; "Animals are incapable of making ethical choices..."; "Humans have a choice...")...wow, there were whole paragraphs added that have no sources whatsoever (and I'm a flexitarian myself). And as far as the non-neutral argument, well, linking to your own work is a pretty obvious way of showing so, Harnad. Erpert WHAT DO YOU WANT??? 18:58, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
  1. ^ http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/report_omnivores-ancestors-primarily-ate-plants-or-animals-but-not-both_1677181
  2. ^ American Dietetic Association (2009) Position Paper of the American Dietatic Association: Vegetarian Diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 109: 1266-1282