We are omnivores

balanced diet

Whilst I agree that cruelty to animals is a huge issue that needs to be tackled, to conflate ‘human cruelty to animals’ with ‘humans should not eat animals’ does not stand up – you cannot escape biology!

The fact is that we, because we are human, are omnivores – the acid in our digestive system allows us to process raw meat. Therefore in a crisis we could survive on dead flesh. Yucky for most people to contemplate, including me, but still true.

Fortunately, we do not have to choose to do so, but we can’t eat grains or some of the vegetables raw as they are inedible without processing or cooking. Grains and fats are what people actually survive on, not vegetables. Being ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ is only a label designed as a distraction from the core issue that we can’t live on veg alone.

To achieve vegan aims globally, the consequences would mean we would have to kill every human food animal on the planet, as we wouldn’t need them anymore. And that would be mass genocide of every cow, sheep, chicken, goat, horse, game bird etc and in turn all those animals we keep as pets who eat meat such as dogs, cats, reptiles etc. All in the name of an ideology that someone wants to impose on the rest of us.

Let alone the impact on humans that make their living from livestock farming or fishing. What exactly do we propose to replace that with? Arable farming?

An acre of wheat only produces enough flour for 1,470 loaves of bread. Once a year! Hmm….that wouldn’t exactly feed many people for very long, now would it?

How many acres of farmland would we need to achieve the vegan utopia? How about all the chemicals and pesticides needed to kill the grain predators…the insects?

Let alone the water that would be needed. Most supporters of the vegan movement are also global warming advocates and support renewable energy solutions like bio-fuels. Assuming we do get the increase in global temperatures that AGW proponents suggest, then more water will be needed for the crops and will become an even scarcer resource. And what happens when there’s a drought and there is no alternative to the crop that has failed? No food and no bio-fuels for transport. Starting to sound like Agenda 21 to me.

At least keeping animals gives humans an option. So, do we keep them just for those emergency times and not make use of them at other times? Do we let them breed or just keep the females? No males means no babies, no milk, so meat only in times of hardship?

Do we then extend this vegan ideology to not controlling the wild animal species in our countries? For example, let the wild boar and deer populations breed to the point where they over run us? After all in this country, the top predators, the wolf and the bear, have been eradicated by another top predator….man! Nature provides predators for a reason. And if we change the balance of nature….

What we can’t escape from is the fact that humans don’t treat each other very well, let alone animals. To put animals above the human animal by using emotive terms like ‘sentient being just like us’ (which, by the way, I do agree that they are sentient), trying to make the rest of us feel guilty enough to do what the vegan says we should do? Key word ‘should’! Spot the people trying to control what others do. They always use words like should do, ought to do etc.

This veganism is just a human construct based on emotion and thoughts. It completely ignores biological facts. We’re fortunate to live in a part of the world where emotions and thoughts can still be indulged to the extent vegans do. There are a huge number of people in this world that don’t have that luxury.

It’s a very complex subject and I’m well aware that we will never all agree on it. But hey, that’s life! And death!

Friday suggestion

mulled lamb

Mulled lamb with whole shallots and prunes in a spiced port gravy, served with sliced sprouts cooked with butter and toasted cumin seeds plus rosemary mashed potatoes.

Notes

This is the link I used about the number of loaves from an acre of wheat. Other sites have broadly the same figure. It was a quick look so my figures may not be spot on.

http://www.smallgrains.org/springwh/may97/Tracy.htm

I disagree on there being 24 slices from a loaf weighing a pound and a half. I get 12 slices from my loaves and the loaf weighs 600g. That’s 50g per slice.

In the UK, a large loaf is 800g, nearly 2lbs and you may get 20-24 slices. But that is commercial bread made big and light by injecting CO2, that well known pollutant, in what is called the Chorleywood Process. A commercial bakery doesn’t use yeast. Also, using white flour is not as productive. Wholemeal would produce about a third more loaves.

Using my loaf of 12 slices, that’s 4 slices a day for 3 people. 1,470 loaves would therefore feed 490 people for one day, once a year, as you only get one harvest. Would take a lot of land to feed over 7 billion people just with bread, let alone anything else. And that land has to be suitable to grow wheat and have the climate and water.

In 2008, there were 1,386 million hectares of land used for crops out of 4,883 m total farm land. Just under two and a half acres to a hectare. That’s 3,465 million acres. Assuming they were all used for wheat that’s 5,093,550,000,000 loaves, which would feed 16,978,500,000 people for a hundred days. That’s just over double the world’s population of 7,000,000,000. So basically it would feed the world’s population 4 slices of bread (200g or 7oz in old money!) per day for 200 days. What happens on the other 165 days?

Obviously the rest of the land is used for other crops and livestock and most people can’t live on 4 slices of bread a day. An average 50g slice of white bread is about 60 calories. 240 calories will last the average body approx 4 hours just to exist if you are in a coma! Even using all the land for one crop of wheat per year wouldn’t feed the world’s population. So we’re then faced with the eugenics question. We would have no choice but to cull the human herd. Agenda 21 is looking to be a far more likely outcome in this scenario.

To use all the farming land for crops and get rid of livestock we would need to take this vegan ideology to its ultimate conclusion and exterminate a huge number of animals. I guess it would be the males first! After all we don’t want more babies. Followed by the older animals etc. In 2011, the Economist had this headcount.

Cows 1.4 billion
Sheep 1 billion
Chickens 19 billion
Pigs >1 billion

http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/07/global-livestock-counts

And that’s without other types of food animal, like goats etc. So more than 23 billion animals would need to be culled as they wouldn’t be needed any more. No more meat, eggs, dairy, wool or leather products. No more jobs in those industries either. How would we do that? Over what period of time? All those breeds extinct apart from their wild cousins.

And with no animals to make pet food what would we do with all our pets? Let them loose in the world to fend for themselves? To be killed by bigger predators. Now that would be true cruelty and all in the name of a human ideology. To give the scale of the problem:

Cats 600 million
Dogs 32 million owned, 20 million strays at the best guess!

Will vegans be first in the queue to cull them too? I certainly won’t be!

21 comments for “We are omnivores

  1. Mark in Mayenne
    January 8, 2016 at 19:24

    *Waits with bated breath, for Uber *

    • January 8, 2016 at 20:31

      I have it on good authority she ran out of steam for the night and fell asleep.

      • Mark in Mayenne
        January 8, 2016 at 21:34

        I expect it all came out of her ears

    • Rossa
      January 9, 2016 at 07:56

      Uber is perfectly entitled to her opinion and her response to animal cruelty is for her to decide. Her choice is to be a vegan and not live off an animal.

      However I also have the right to choose to eat meat and can still abhor cruelty to any creature whether sentient or not. I believe it is possible to do both though I also believe she won’t approve of the dichotomy in that statement.

      Stopping humans eating meat won’t stop humans from being cruel to animals.

      • Mark in Mayenne
        January 9, 2016 at 11:23

        You are correct

  2. Behind the veil
    January 8, 2016 at 19:41

    The contrast fascinates me. Many of the vegan population subscribe to the Gaia movement seeing themselves as part of the nature spirit from which they derive their kindness to all living things. At the same time though many ancient cultures that too revere nature and see spirit in animals eat those self same animals, but they don’t do so cheaply. In fact to honour the spirit and the nature of the animal they have killed, they eat its heart.

    • January 8, 2016 at 20:32

      I eat its leg or fillet, feeling very spiritual at that moment.

      • Behind the veil
        January 8, 2016 at 20:37

        I know that feeling. I describe myself as an omnomnomnivore.

    • Rossa
      January 9, 2016 at 08:01

      I think there was one tribe found that were cannibals in that they ate the heart of a dead person to keep the dead person’s ‘spirit’ alive in the ones still living. That was their way to revere the dead.

  3. January 8, 2016 at 23:42

    “…………you cannot escape biology!……..”

    Sure you can. Have your legs amputated – see if you can descend the trees and frolic about on the savanna after that.

    “…..Therefore in a crisis we could survive on dead flesh. Yucky for most people to contemplate, including me, but still true…..”

    Dead flesh? Is not all consumed meat dead flesh? Don’t tell me you eat the meat off the poor beast while it is still alive? Take a bite off the haunch as the beef cow saunters by? Or perhaps partake of that interesting Asian delicacy of eating the brains of a monkey while it is still alive and ‘bolted’ to a hole in the centre of the table where it’s skull is quickly cut open allowing for the brains to be scooped out with table-spoons – tea-spoons for the kids?

    • Mark in Mayenne
      January 9, 2016 at 07:19

      Yuck

    • Rossa
      January 9, 2016 at 07:50

      I did say in a crisis, but didn’t say where you need to survive and only have animals to predate on to live.

      You are right that all meat is dead. Perhaps it would have been better for me to say raw meat. I prefer my cow to be walked past the stove. That’s done enough for me. I do like steak tartare though I’m not a fan of sushi but that’s the sticky rice rather than the raw fish. And gravadlax is ‘cooked’ in acid so a source of heat isn’t always necessary.

      I may be wrong but I think the Inuit like to eat seal meat when freshly butchered too.

    • Rossa
      January 9, 2016 at 08:07

      And to be pedantic surely cutting the legs off is physiological not biological? And I’m sure even double amputees eat meat and certainly do win races in the Paralympics.

  4. Mark in Mayenne
    January 9, 2016 at 07:21

    Let me quote a famous physicist : This article is not even wrong.

  5. Rossa
    January 9, 2016 at 08:34

    What is also interesting to me is that even though I am a meat eater there are some animals I won’t eat. But that is more as a result of cultural conditioning. I wouldn’t eat horse (I enjoy riding) dogs or cats though I am aware that the French are happy to eat horse meat and cats and dogs are eaten in a lot of Asian cultures. But then rats are too. So I have to ask why it’s ok for one and not the other?

    I’m also aware that cats and dogs are treated very badly in countries where they’re looked upon as a food source rather than a pet to be loved and cherished, like the dogs and cats that have lived with me and my family as pets. Not forgetting the Guinea pigs (eaten in South America), the parakeet, Terrapins and tropical fish. Those that do eat animals we view as pets probably don’t see the issue in the same way. Does that make them or us right or wrong? Is there only one right answer?

    Then there is the question of animals in captivity in zoos. I worked at London Zoo in the 70s but in the kitchen as a chef, not with the animals. Though I was allowed behind the scenes especially when the young were born. I’ve seen a new born giraffe and rhino.

    There have been two livestock farmers in my family. An uncle who had a dairy farm now has a zoo farm and rescues animals from other places of captivity. His son will be leaving his farm this year to become a full time Vicar. So I have seen animal husbandry up close and personal and helped out on occasions.

    Whatever your views on zoos, you may like to know that the most popular animal is the chicken! All the children who visit the farm are asked to vote for their favourite in the visitors’ book.

    At the heart of all choices made about food there are issues that can contradict a sincerely held belief. How to square the circle is for each of us to decide.

  6. ubermouth
    January 9, 2016 at 11:16

    I was not going to comment initially to this posting as I felt we had said all that needed to be said on the topic over 2 previous threads.In light of all the misinformation in this article(no disrespect to Rossa,but this is typical of omnivores who have not done the research and simply stand by their right to eat another sentient being because the other has no choice,no,voice and no defence) I refute nearly everything said here(natch). 🙂

    As stated,not all vegans are ethical vegans,some are even environmental ones. And leaving aside the ethics of this topic, the practicalities indicate that,given the dwindling land and water resources, the exploding population, raising animals for food is not sustainable. In veg circles it is estimated that we can only continue to sustain this for maybe 50 more years given the HUGE carbon footprint of the meat industry. There were many links I could use to show this,but felt it did not matter as all will likely be refuted as not adequate enough.

    http://www.gracelinks.org/blog/1143/beef-the-king-of-the-big-water-footprints

    The fact is that the majority of grains grown-certainly corn- goes to feed the cattle we consume rather than to the people directly,which would make more sense. To put it in context, the healthier foods are being fed to the cattle/pigs etc.whilst we then consume their antibiotic,growth-hormone-pumped,pink slime added,saline injected flesh.And given the US Ag Gag laws, what else are they planning to do in the meat industry that the government does not want consumers to know? Do we want to eat ‘meat’ that the government already has a very broad range of acceptable unhealthy practices? And how much ‘meat’ is in your meat?

    In N America the seafood market is flooded with cheap Asian seafood which is grown in sewage water on farms that would kill the seafood if not for the fact that they add antibiotics to the water. Of the 1% that the Customs Quality Control are able to check 80% is returned to country of origin as unfit for human consumption.The other 99% slip by untested. That fact and the fact that factory farmed animals have to have daily antibiotics to survive their filthy conditions,should indicate why we are becoming resistant to antibiotics,giving rise to superbugs like MRSA. Meat-eaters likely eat antibiotics and hormones everyday which is wreaking havoc on the human race for one.Who knows what else ‘we’ are being indirectly pumped with?

    All that notwithstanding,we just do not have to resources to continue farming to meet the requirements of the current population.

    It is untrue however, that if globally,we were to adopt a plant based diet, we would have to cull millions of animals. We would simply have to phase out mass breeding practices and look for alternative diets and farming practices. IE We now know that we can grow vegetation on walls in urban areas,which also act to filter pollution,cool the environment and add vegetation for wildlife or humans.By contrast, animal farming and it’s waste is bad for the environment and oceans (hence environmental vegans).We also are decimating our forests at alarming rates( the ‘lungs’ of the earth)to make way for more farm land. We grow far more than wheat and must use our resources more wisely to better feed the majority or we most definitely are going to face a food shortage crisis sooner rather than later!

    http://www.green-walls.co.uk/green-wall-benefits.html

    Lastly, even if people refuse to see the health benefits of a plant based diet, the mere fact that one does not eat all the hormones,antibiotics,fillers etc that are in meat right there should give pause for thought about which diet is healthier.
    And on a personal level- I have never been skinnier,healthier, prettier,younger-looking or a more intelligent and better writer since becoming vegan.<——discuss. 🙂

    • Rossa
      January 9, 2016 at 15:08

      How do you know what research I have done or not? You haven’t got a clue as you don’t know me at all. Instead of using logic and reason, throwing emotive generalisations at me seems to be the extent of your support for your argument. I never said that all the animals would need to be culled immediately just that that was the final outcome if we all moved to your concept of how humans should live.

      All animals that are prey to any predators don’t have a choice or say in the matter. But in your opinion, one animal predating on another is only ok as long as it isn’t a human doing the predation. I would also point out that most humans that get killed by other humans also don’t get much of a choice or say in the matter either, do they?

      As for the rest of your argument, the water issue is another distraction used to avoid facing up to the fact that 58% of global irrigated farmland is used for 4 crops. Cotton, rice, wheat and sugar! Not animals. And that’s from the WWF site, an organisation you may well support. That’s means less than half is used for livestock and other crops like fruit and vegetables.

      http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_freshwater/freshwater_problems/thirsty_crops/

      As an aside my Chaffey ancestors were the engineers who irrigated the Napa Valley in California and the Murray Darling Basin in Australia so water is in the blood…..as well as wine!

      Yes, pasture and alfalfa uses a lot of water. This next link is to a site that shows they are the second and third highest ‘thirstiest’ crops in California. Which in drought conditions is clearly an issue, which is why I chose this to support my argument about what do we eat if crops fail when there is a drought and we have no alternative source of nutrition, such as livestock.

      http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/05/11/cows-not-almonds-are-biggest-water-users

      The highest water use is actually for nuts, namely almonds and pistachios! If you add all the other crops together in the handy infographics provided, then pasture and alfalfa don’t look quite so bad. But then you wouldn’t be able to have such an emotive headline at the top of the page if it was a balanced perspective.

      As for your assertion about corn grown for cattle, I would suggest you take a closer look at corn grown for corn syrup used as a sweetener in processed foods and corn grown to be used as a bio fuel as well, to again try and balance out your argument.

      Your carbon footprint argument is also fallacious as you’d still need mechanisation to harvest your crops and transport to get it to factories, plus all the extra factories and machinery needed for the additional crops if we were all vegetarian or vegan. Let alone the increase in power needed to process all the extra grains and vegetables to feed 7 billion people. Sorry to say you won’t be able to do that on wind, tides and solar alone!

      Growing plants like salad leaves etc vertically in cities may be good for extracting pollution but would you want to eat them? I certainly wouldn’t.

      And yes I do agree that chemicals and hormones get used in industrial meat farming. However, do you expect us to ignore the fungicides, herbicides, pesticides and growth inhibitors used for grains and vegetables. And then the chemicals used to ‘recover’ things like the oils from olives, nuts and seeds as just one example of the additional aspects of processing your choice of foods that again you overlook. Not everyone will be able to afford cold pressed extra virgin oils.

      I’m glad you are fit and healthy but then so am I. I can eat everything you do plus meat, fish, eggs and dairy and everything else you won’t eat. So my diet is more than varied enough for me, thanks. Just coming up to 57 and looking forward to joining the 3 centenarians and 9 nonagenarians in my family. All meat eaters!

      As I’ve said before, it is clear we will never agree and that’s fine by me. I will repeat again my biggest issue is that some groups of people ‘your side’ of the argument want to impose your ideology on the rest of us. And I don’t allow anyone to do that for any reason whether it’s the vegan ideology, a religious one, political one or whatever. Call me selfish if you want but it’s my life, my body and health and my death.

  7. January 9, 2016 at 12:22

    I’m narrower than some – it’s cow, pig, lamb, chicken and fish for me. That’s it. No seafood other than proper fish, not even crab.

  8. ubermouth
    January 9, 2016 at 13:08

    And you’d be even narrower if you laid off the cow,pig,lamb,chicken and fish. 🙂

    Okay have to go rest my swollen man-hands. 🙂

  9. January 9, 2016 at 23:36

    The order of the posts and comments from the two main characters in this post were Rossa, Rossa, Rossa, Rossa, Rossa, Uber, Rossa, Uber – count them. Therefore, before closing off the thread, it is only fair that Uber has right of reply. Both Rossa and I can lift that closure to comment again but Uber cannot. Therefore it seems fair that I go in now and approve her final comment.

    And that’s it, otherwise this thing will go on forever.

  10. ubermouth
    January 9, 2016 at 23:37

    Rossa,

    I don’t have to know you to know you have not done any research. With all due respect, your writings make that clear. And the only one beating their breast,and screaming divine rights about this issue is you. Please don’t accuse me of making unmerited arguments based on emotion-just because I am the vegan thus it is a cheap shot- when I am the one quoting unbias sources like the below links from the Smithsonian and Worldwatch Institute.Surely you do not think these reputable organizations are using ’emotive’ arguments too,do you?You may recall my latest comment set aside the ethics of veganism and instead focused on the issues you seem to prefer to address,and the ones you are not privy to or prefer to overlook.
    (I may also point out the culling means a mass killing as opposed to a phasing out of a breeding program that I suggested-huge difference).

    As for water consumption,had you read my link you would have seen that when calculating the amount of water needed( approx 2000 gallons of water per one pound of beef) for livestock, it was also comprised of the water resources required to grow the feed the livestock eat.

    The carbon footprint I am referring to is not so much the harvesting,processing and transporting of plant food versus livestock but the land,feed and water resources (as well as the cost in deforestation, water pollution, air pollution, greenhouse gases, global warming, desertification and erosion) that farming animals consumes and creates. All this created by the farming of livestock dwarfs the carbon footprint of worldwide transportation,for example.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/is-the-livestock-industry-destroying-the-planet-11308007/?no-ist

    Millions of acres of crops such as corn,soy,alfalfa and oats are primarily used for livestock feed as opposed to human consumption. It seems a huge waste for our land,water and crop resources to be fed to livestock when we could feed everyone on the planet and eradicate hunger altogether if we all ate a vegan diet. And due to the unsustainable resources required and the damage to our bio-diversity/ecological system we will have no choice but to go vegan-as a species- if we want to continue to live.FACT.

    According to Worldwatch Institute ‘…the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future…”

    http://www.worldwatch.org/node/549

    According to this article(which is not vegan/vegetarian bias) it takes 3 acres of land to feed an omnivore and only 1/6th of an acre to feed a vegan.Given that 7 billion people share 7.68 billion acres of arable land ,we would have enough to feed the world if the omnivores were not taking more than their fair share of resources. So, still think you have a right to eat meat at the expense of not only the animal you are killing,and ecological damage but 2 people who must starve to death to feed you?
    http://www.earthoria.com/global-hunger-the-more-meat-we-eat-the-fewer-people-we-can-feed.html

    Regarding your emotional arguments that you have a right to do what you want with your body-are you sure? Putting drugs into your body is illegal, so is abortion in some US states and worldwide beyond a certain gestational period, it is illegal to prostitute one’s body, to commit suicide, to engage in certain sexual acts-you are not as ‘free’ with your body as you think. And you certainly should not be free to do with another beings body as is your whim either. For now you may have that right to directly or indirectly visit serious suffering upon animals but why would you so fervently want to even exercise that right-palate-pleasure? Fashion? Entertainment?

    Man has a lot to answer to…and apologise for.

    And that is my last statement on this topic as there is nothing else to add,really,and it feels more like a pissing contest that I am not interested in.

Comments are closed.