To All You Passionate Vegetarians : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

If the vast majority of the population should decide to forgo meat, and replace animal protein with plant substitutes, what would you envision commercial agriculture (that which feeds the multitudes) to look like?

In other words, how would our food be raised, and how would you make it sustainable? Please be specific, and feel free to expound ad nauseum on the details of this brave new world........

-- Earthmama (, December 09, 2000


Shoot. I thought it was going to be some recipes or something good like that. Oh well.

First, I want to state up front that I don't think everyone needs to be a vegetarian. If you feel good eating meat you should do so. One caveat, though...pork just isn't good for anyone unless you really are starving, in which case there's nothin' like food when you're hungry.

However, if you took the amount of arable land that is devoted to raising cattle the offset would be tremendous in legume (protein) and grain production. Also, irrigation would be less than the total amount of water required for beef. Don't crucify if my numbers are not exactly correct on this because I am accessing info from a long time ago, if I remember correctly it takes 40lbs of feed and 200 gallons of water to put a pound of steak on the table. The reference was to grain specifically, I recall.

If those numbers are even close to correct, just consider how many people could eat off of a pound of steak versus forty pounds of grains. The food value is higher as well. Anyone with grazing animals can tell you it takes more space to grow beef than a good garden. Therefore, raising a field of legumes instead of a cow would be more profitable to the environment and people alike.

Legumes generally replenish the soil as opposed to depleting it and with just a modicum of crop rotation excellent balances can be maintained. You do have to let the soil rest every now and again, but you have to let pastures recover as well.

It really isn't very mysterious or strange. It's pretty obvious that plants are more sustainable than animals are, so long as you pay attention to the long term effects of chemicals on soil. But we cannot forget that soil loves animal byproducts as well. It isn't necessary to the degree that it is done...some say it isn't necessary AT ALL.

It all goes together. If we cut down on the greedier kinds of food (corn and meat) things wouild be more sustainable from that alone.

...and we'd all live happily ever after.

-- Your Nemesis (, December 10, 2000.

Humans have very low protein requirements, the reason behind the majority of the osteoporosis in this, and other developed countries, is excess animal protein consumption, as stated in numerous medical journals, and the WHO, and many others. Also contributes to various forms of kidney stones, and of course, gout.

So, why would commercial agriculture have to be any different than what it is now, other than the obvious advantage of NOT having to raise all that soil depleting corn and soybean that is now raised solely as animal fodder for future animal slaughter for human comsumption. Think of all the fertilizer, pesticide, and fungicide use that would be spared of its negetive impact on this planet if we did not have to raise all that animal fodder!

We are raising enough of all that would be required to sustain all of us as vegetarians right now, nothing more, but way less, would be needed to be changed. The use of animal flesh to meet human protein requirements is vastly over-rated, and terribly inefficient, like using a gas hog V-8 land yatcht automobile to go to the store, when a little 4-banger Toyota will do the same job cheaper, and with far less pollution.

How do you think China feeds her billions of people on so little land mass per person? Vegetable protein is how, not animal protein! You can feed far more people with a bushel of brown rice, than feeding that bushel of brown rice to a cow, or pig, or even a chicken, and then butchering that cow, pig, or chicken. Direct consumption of a food stuff is ALWAYS the most efficient, and healthy, way to feed the human population, with the least detrimental impact on the environment. To be green is to be a vegetarian!

If the farmers didn't have to waste all that time and energy growing all that fodder for all those fodder consuming animals, then their time and energy could be spent raising more varieties of speciality vegetables and fruits, and take far less land, and chemicals to do it.

To me, all the world being vegetarian would be a "win-win" situation, what would be considered the drawback or negetive aspect at all? Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, December 10, 2000.

I don't know the answer if the whole world was vegetarian - the one thing that I would like to say is that thanks to my animals manure my garden prospers. Of course there are other ways to fertilize the garden......... I have a hard time with these "world" questions and a hard time with response of how things work in China - How can we really know what goes on in China if we have never spent any time there - I definitely do not take for granted the statistics I hear as automatically being true.

-- kelly (, December 10, 2000.

While I don't argue with the basic premise, I would like to point out several aspects.

There are huge areas of the U.S. which simply aren't suitable for commercial crop production. In some areas it may take 100 or more acres to support a single cow. I rather doubt there will be extensive plantings of soybeans or commercial vegetable crops in either the Southwest or New England areas. OK, one makes an exception for those area, but if everyone is a vegan, where is the demand? Even in prime crop areas there are places where livestock makes more sense, such as hillsides.

You are just focusing on meat. Bone meal is an excellent, organic fertilizer. Fetal calf blood remains an import tool for the development of drugs and medical research. Some medications are made by extracting hormones and other compounds from cow's glands. The pituitary glands are collected to make medications which control blook pressure and heart rate. Twenty different steroids are made from fluids pulled from the adrenal glands. The lungs go into Heparin, an anticoagulant. The pancreas is still a source of insulin for diabetics allergic to the synthetic kind and it takes about 26 cows to maintain one diabetic for one year. Lipstick, makeup bases, eyeliners, eyebrow pencils, hair rinses and bubble baths wouldn't be the same without fat-derived extracts. Collagen, a protein extracted from the hides, hooves and bones, is the key ingredients in age- defying moisturizers and lotions and is vital to those who desire plastic surgury or just to take out those crow's feet and laugh lines. It is also a medium in which cells can be grown. Would you want to do without leather? It's alternative is pertroleum-derived products. Forget crayons, jello or some glues for the kids. Items which use animal-derived products permenate our society.

One can argue man is both a carnivore and a herbivore, and has a choice about what the percentage of each will be. But what about our pets? Much of their prepared foods come from animal products, such as liver, hearts and scrap meats. In the post on whether or not cats require supplemental salt in their diet one poster noted giving a pet strictly dry foods is not in the interest of their health.

Most commercial vegetable and fruit crops are very labor intensive. One might have the impression once an orchard or grove tree is producing all which is required is to harvest the fruit each year. Not so, the groves must be pruned, sprayed and fertilized during the year, and then there is only a short window of opportunity for harvest. Where are the workers willing to do this type of work to come from if not from foreign countries? Let's see you try to send the typical American teenager out to hoe weeds or pick oranges or apples for day after day.

The U.S. cannot current keep its population in desired foods during the year due to the short storage life of many fruits and vegetables. Thus, we import more than we export now. If the entire population were to go vegetarian we would have to rely on these imports to a far, far greater degree.

Going vegetarian would have a major impact on the U.S. economy. What if every fast food place where to shut down? Maybe McDonalds could try strictly soy-burgers, but they don't seem to sell very well. Besides, I have tried them twice. Each time my rear-end gas was so bad I had to go outside as I couldn't even stand it myself. But then the manufacturers of Beano might have to go to triple shifts, increasing employment there. No fastfood places, where are teenagers to get that entry level job? Where are unskilled school dropouts to work?

Say it is not strict vegetarianism (vegans I think) but poultry and seafoods are allowed. If there consumption increases, that means even more factory poultry farms and factory fishing. Fish populations in many parts of the seas and oceans are already being stressed due to over fishing. And, of yes, guess who catches broilers and puts them into cages to go to the processing plants - foreign workers.

(I need to say I have no objection to foreign workers in the U.S. Just pointing out the need for them will increase.)

If you jack up demand, the response will be even more factory farming to the point most small producers will be driven out of farming since they simply cannot compete with the economies of scale.

Commercial crops puts the farmers are a far higher level of weather risk. One hail storm or sever cold weathers even over one night may wipe out an entire season's production. Here we go back to government subsidies (which are, by the way, being phased out for most crops.) Livestock has always been a cushion, just as raising hogs on dairy farms used to be since it provided income between milk checks.

I am a cattle farmer and use no herbicides or pesticides or supplemental feed for my main herd except for hay. I do supplemental feed my growing heifers and bulls prior to the breeding season (as sometimes they get so interested in what they are doing they forget to eat). If I switch to commerical crops like corn, I have to start using herbicides, pesticides and lots of fertilizer. Unless it is used heavily I would be looking at about 80 bushels to the acre, which would barely, barely cover cost of production in most years. Soybeans would be about the same. My land simply isn't suitable for commercial vegetable crops and, even if it was, where would I get workers to harvest it? I can't even hire people to load and store square baled hay during the summer since it is hard work and, in the case of teenagers, they already have discretionary income without working.

Farming of commerical crops is simply hard work without a good lifestyle or comfortable income for most. How many even small farms do you know of which don't require outside income to survive. My retirement checks subsidize my cattle operation. I would be financially better off to get out of it and just rent out my fields ($30 per acre per year locally), but then here come the erosion, herbicides, pesticides, heavy use of fertilizers, etc.

The point I'm trying to make is it is a very complex issue where changes in one area often cause unforeseen problems in others. I wish I could remember Jd's term for this.

Enough said.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, December 10, 2000.

Well, maybe not enough said.

Going strictly vegetarian would put entire sections of the world economy out of work. Slaughter houses, packing plants, meat lockers, feedlots, cheese plants (forget about yogurt or pizzas and there goes the economy of Wisconsin), ham and lunchmeat producers, wholesales, local and supermarket butchers, supermarket meat departments (which would raise the cost of other groceries), local livestock sales barns, feed producers and distributors, probably your local farm supply outlet (or at least expect far higher prices) and many small farmers. Not just in the U.S., but worldwide. If just the U.S. went vegan, where are Australia and South America to sell their meats? So you put people out of business or work there as well.

And, oh, by the way, forget about any wool clothing. Think those made of petrochemical products instead, so the production of oil worldwide would have to increase.

Even if dairy products are still allowed, what are producers to do with excess or cull animals? Kill and bury them?

On health aspects, I am not familiar with any study which shows vegetarians live a longer or healthier life than others. Frankly, to me, some actually look unhealthy.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, December 10, 2000.

I have been vegetarain for many years because the only way I could regain my immune system back from being in a profession that used chemicals was for me to give up meat products/& anything else that had chemicals in it. I went to many doctors & they were not able to do anything for me(except want to try to keep giving me more forms of chemicals)----if fact they told me there was nothing else that could be done for me----I was 5' 8' tall & weighed less than 80 lbs/ talk about skin & bones!!! I was not able to eat any food any longier with out feeling like I had a really bad case of the flu 24 hrs a day---- (I won't give the details & how terrible they were).

To make a real long story short I believe God was my answer & in to my life came what some would call radical medicine--------everything natural & no chemicals what so ever & giving up all animal products/ large doses of vitamins & minerals & herbs, etc,----

If I still get any form of animal product I still get very sick!!!!!

I don't say everyone should be vegetarain----but I sure wish more people farmed like Ken does--wish there were more who grew their own chemical free veggies & fruits & ate chemical free meat when they did eat it!!!!

I have had many doctors who don't agree with the natural way my life was saved-----as they treat everything with chemical drugs-----

But I praise God for his healing & makeing me & my family aware of a natural life style that saved my life-------I have been able to help hundreds of others with health problems in the same way ---I can't speak for them I only know what they have told me/ & seeing complete changes in their appearance!

It even makes me sick to cook meat now--I was able to cook meat for others for several years & not make me ill--this Thanksgiving I found the beef, turkey & ham I cooked for family made me so ill that I had really bad flu symptoms.

My family are not vegetarains---but they certainly try to be chemical free & get a far better diet than they ever did before---I think that is what everyone should do---

I'm sure as a vegetarain & all my friends who are looking wonderfully healthy----as most of us were given up for dead by modern medicine that treats with more chemicals!!!

Ken I see many more people who are not vegetarains that don't look healthy to me---- but then again some of us have to come sooo close to death & no one who thinks they can help us before we can change our lifestyles!!!!

Should everyone be a vegetarain-----no I don't think sooooo / but if you have a family member that no doctor can help------remember you are what you eat/drink/smell/& absorb!!!!!!!!!! Sonda in Ks.

-- Sonda (, December 10, 2000.

Doreen (yes, I know you even behind your new moniker!): "One caveat, though...pork just isn't good for anyone unless you really are starving . . ."

I found that fascinating, because I am of the same opinion, but haven't run across many who agree with me. Why do YOU believe it isn't good for us (nor dogs/cats, IMO) to eat pork? I was reading a study about testing the blood of people who had just eaten pork, with all the appropriate tests before eating, etc. This study showed that what appeared to be cancer cells or cancer-like cells appearing in the blood shortly after eating pork. Then after X hours, these cells would disappear. Conclusive? No, I wouldn't say so, but I prefer not to take the chance. And pigs are omnivores, similar in diet to humans (if they can get it) -- do you think that has any bearing on their unsuitability for consumption? Most of us don't eat the meat of other omnivores, or carnivores, but I wonder what effect that would have.

The generally accepted definitions are
Vegetarian: No meat, dairy and eggs okay (and some allow fish)
Vegan: No animal product of any kind (also can be "strict vegetarian")

As Ken posted, it is a very complex issue. However, I believe gearing down into a grain-oriented, meat as a side dish/flavoring (instead of the main course), is doable -- and desirable. There just needs to be the will to do it. I don't really think that vegan eating is healthy for the majority, but moderation is. There seems to be a prevalent notion, in our culture if not all cultures, that what is good for one person is good for the next one. I totally disagree with that, and believe that is why so many diets that work for a handful of people fail for many others (yes, along with many other factors). We are all individuals, with individual needs.

Here's a novel idea: Raising mice to feed the pet industry. Whole mice (including stomach contents) are excellent food for cats and even dogs (wolves catch many mice in the wild and thrive on them). One final thought : The majority of Ken's post: It sounds to me like the best alternative would be less population!

-- Joy Froelich (, December 10, 2000.

Joy, my ideas on pork are based on a few studies and the Bible. Not the same study regarding cancerous cells, but more in the inability to actually digest the meat and the impairment of the fats that do assimilate to heart problems, etc. I would be interested in reading the article you refer to....if you know where to find it and could email it to me, that would be great! One of the reasons is that we are just too close to pigs. We can use their skin in grafts for burn victims, live with their liver in us,share all manner of viruses and more. I believe that is why God forbad the Jews from eating pork...too close to us.

Ken, you do make some great points, but it certainly does make economical and environmental sense to cut down a bit, doesn't it? It's complex and there is no single across the board answer to all of this. I am going to reccommend the book "Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type" yet AGAIN. Please, someone else read it!!!!

-- Doreen (, December 10, 2000.

You said vegetarian, not vegan, so I assume that people would still be eating milk and eggs? In that case, some of the population would still be eating meat, maybe in small quantities, as a seasoning. For every heifer calf of female chick born or hatched, there's also a bull calf and a cockerel chick. Some goat dairies solve the problem by killing all the buck kids(and some of the doelings), at birth. But if part of the basis for vegetarianism is compassion for animals and respect for life, I am assuming that the male chicks and bull calves will be allowed to live for a while. We simply cannot afford to keep all of these male animals without using them, so the most practical thing would be to eat them.

I guess we could consider doing away with the egg and poultry industries. But what about all the mothers who work or cannot breastfeed? Many babies cannot drink soy formulas.

My opinion is that eating meat three tiomes a day is indeed wasteful, but a completely vegan population would create problems of it's own. How about a compromise- meat in very small portions or infrequently, as they do in Asian countries. (and I do know something about this because my grandma is from the Phillipines. Even now, after many decades, she doesn't eat much meat)

-- Rebekah (, December 10, 2000.

Have you seen the movie Fried Green Tomatoes? In the movie a gentleman is turned into pork Bar-B-Q. According to the people that (unknowingly) ate him it was the best Pork B-B-Q they ever had. Soooo I dont think we will ever have a meat shortage because of over population.

-- Nick (, December 10, 2000.

I'm sorry, Doreen, I don't know where I read that -- it was at least 2 years ago. :-( BTW, I have read the "Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type" book. Unfortunately, the diet recommended for my blood type included many things that I don't tolerate at all -- so even that wasn't perfect.

-- Joy Froelich (, December 10, 2000.

The paragraph below appeared in that little box with the picture. A coincidence,I presume.

Hunting in one's bioregion can be ecologically more sound than being a supermarket fossil-fuel vegetarian, i.e., someone who has plugged-into America's factory farm system which has destroyed so many different types of wildlife. Remember that the wheat field used to be a buffalo range, pesticides kill animals, and combines kill all kinds of small animals. Exploration for the oil that powers the combines and makes the pesticides displaces and kills animals. ...

-- charles (, December 11, 2000.

Everyone going veggie overnight would crash the economy, but that ain't going to happen without divine intervention. A slow, inevitable slide away from meat would cost a few jobs and cause some changes to be made, but so did mechanized looms and automobiles replacing horses. People bitch, get a new job, get over it. A few suffer, but that's always going to be the case, no matter what. At least with cheaper and healthier food available, they won't likely starve!

-- Soni (, December 11, 2000.


Why would it be both cheaper and healthier? Organic foods cost more to produce and are labor intensive. One guy with a tractor, sprayer and herbicide can treat many acres a day. How many could one person with a hoe do? Healthier, well... I don't think people realize completely removing livestock wouldn't free up much additional land for commercial crops. Most of the lands currently in commercial crop use would have to double or triple production, which means more commercial fertilizers, more herbicides and more pesticides. Land is used for livestock because that is the most practical use for it.

The problem with frequent starvation in third-world countries isn't as much crop production as over-population, frequent civil and military strife, adverse weather and their form of government. Everyone becoming a vegan or vegetarian isn't going to change that.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, December 11, 2000.

Nick.Behave yourself.You are so bad.Yeah I know-dyed in the wool meat eater.Hey,he even sometimes eyes up the dogs,pinching their ribs and commenting on how they'd fit on a roasting stick real nice.

I'm a former vegetarian.Now I'll eat what I'll kill myself.No milk for me,can't have it. Got to avoid the supermarket stuff for same reason as Sondra.I hear ya girl- you're preaching to the choir on that one.

Here's the thing Ken, some of us no longer have a choice on chemical or not,even if we wanted it.Petro chemicals and antibiotics and modern food processing system were killing me.Canary in the coalmine,I am, I am.

So now it's back to what I did before.Grow and raise and hunt my own off my organic farm as much as I can.Like Sondra,now I'm getting better. Yeah,I eat alot of beans & rice and fruits and vegetables,bc I can eat that stuff w/o getting nausous.While I could live off this and be perfectly happy, I eat eggs and game too,although not alot.Honey,I'm so limited in what I CAN eat that I won't turn down anything anymore, if it doesn't make me sick.I'm desperate.I've lost abt 40 lbs,but unlike Sondra,I could afford it.

No, this doesn't answer the posed question,but a number of farmers are going organic and are able to do it effectively.The Amish & Mennonites are leading the pack in getting organically certified in our state.They are the ones I've always look to match, in market gardening,as they are very very good at it,in my experience of living in communities that included them.I figure ,if they're grabbing that train,it's a pretty reasonable ride.

We now have a couple livestock producers gone organic and they are very happy.Yes organic costs more in the store, but if you've noticed, the cost has been coming down,and some products are even on par with nonorganic ones.

We are still very small, but we sell our produce for the same as nonorganic, and can do so, economically.The reason organic is higher is because the market will bear it.With more organic competition, the price will come down. Consider it.

-- sharon wt (, December 11, 2000.

I am all for all food producers going organic, but I can't and won't go vegetarian. For one thing, I (and several other members of my family) can't eat most grains (celiac disease/leaky gut syndrome/autism). Without wheat, corn, rye, or barley (and only small amounts of oats), and without beans (especially soy) which cause serious problems for my husband, it would be extremely difficult (read: impossible) to balance a vegetarian diet. For another thing, some of the research quoted above re: the damage supposedly caused by eating animal proteins is very flawed if not actually bogus. For instance, large amounts of protein consumption only harm the kidneys if there is already kidney damage, and then it has to be *excessive* protein consumption, much more than the RDA. Healthy kidneys actually function better with increased protein consumption. What we need to do for better health (as a culture -- individuals need to find what works best for them) is to greatly reduce the amount of processed foods we eat, and stop feeding grains to livestock except for small amounts used as Ken mentioned above. One of the reasons some people have so much trouble eating meat is because the grain in the animals diet causes the same chemical alterations in them as it does in us; they weren't meant to eat large amounts of grain any more than we were. Green vegetables, yes, eat all you can stuff in your face!!

I am also interested in the information about pork not being edible -- I don't mind using it for seasoning once in a while (bacon in the soup, or whatever) but have never liked eating it as a steady diet. It doesn't seem to sit well, somehow. We are going to eating more grass-fed goat and lamb, and some rabbit, though I have some reservations about rabbit, too.

If livestock weren't fed so much grain, and if they weren't pushed for early heavy production, they would need little to no grain in their diet, then they could be raised mostly on the marginal land that ought not be used for row crops anyway. Rough brushy ground is great for goats. If the livestock are properly managed then they will improve the soil, and we will all benefit from both their products, and the better quality of the land. Not to mention their companionship. If the whole world went vegetarian/vegan, most of the animals we have on our farms/homesteads would become unnecessary, and it is economically not feasible for most of us to keep very many critters that aren't useful.

Backtracking a little here -- much of the so-called research that shows benefits to strict vegetarianism has been sponsored by people with an economic interest in promoting vegetarianism. Unfortunately the meat producers don't seem to be similarly getting behind any of the reasearch that shows benefits to meat comsumption. But there is quite a bit of it out there. Look up the web site on the Paleo diet and do some reading. (And those of you who are suffering from chemical poisoning and can't eat meat -- I do understand, but I think that part of your problem with meat originated in what the meat was being fed or dosed with prior to butchering. The problem may not be solvable at this point for you, but I do think others could prevent the problem for themselves if they raise their own meat or buy organically raised grass-fed meat.)

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, December 11, 2000.

Right On, Kathleen!! You have stated very well most of the major points I like to bring up when discussing this issue.

Seems the media has done an exemplary job of spreading the anti- animal food mantra to the masses for the past 35 years or so. Most people have bought this balogney, hook line and sinker,and are convinced animal fat/protein is nasty stuff. Well, I say balderdash!

Not only do I not apologize for eating as much animal protein and fat as I please, but I actively promote it, both for human health, and because doing my activist part of 'saving the planet' is a top priority in my life. Regarding the health aspects, it is always a favorite subject of mine, but my interest in asking this particular quesion was more in line with the agricultural model that would have to develop were vegetarianism to become widespread.

All of the comments about the problems connected with feeding gobs of grain to ruminants were answered by Kathleen, and others. THEY DONT NEED ANY!!!!!!!!! I've been direct-marketing Dexter beef for many years, in the difficult climate of Wisconsin and Minnesota,and the only time my cattle get grain is when I finish the steers for a mere couple of months, about two pounds a day (certified organic only). Occassionally when winter is severe, I will set up a creep feeder for the babies for a few days. Cattle are supposed to eat grass, herbs and shrub, period; that is what they are designed to do. Not only is grain feeding detrimental to the health of the animal, it creates fats unassimilable to the human digestive tract. The fat from grass- fed (actually contain cancer-PREVENTATIVE and serum cholesterol- REDUCING elements) and grain fed animals is entirely different in chemical structure. OH, wait, there I go talking about nutrition when I wasnt going to!

No vegetarian advocate as yet has been able to give me a convincing model for how plant foods could be raised on a huge enough scale to feed the millions, even if it were a good idea, which is it not. Monoculture, which is the norm even now, simply because it feeds the coffers of the petrochemical/phamaceutical/huge implement manufacturers, would no doubt continue, only on a much larger scale. There is no feasible way that I have seen for companies to profitably produce soybeans on the large scale necessary without the use of vast amounts of petrochemicals. I for one will contribute none of my energy to helping agriculture find new ways to pollute my Mother Earth. If you think that these corporate agri companies are going to let fields lie fallow, or spend a growing season growing and plowing under green manure, I fear you are sadly deluded.

The only agricultural model that makes sense to me, is the old Jeffersonian ideal of tens of thousands of small, diversified farms which directly feed their neighbors. People who deeply care about their land, both in a personal and in a global way; who's daily lives are intertwined with the growing season, with the natural peculiarites of their particular piece of earth. People who know that animals are an intricate part of the natural cycle of life; who realize that just as wild animals contribute their own special gifts to the fields and woodlands by eating and being eaten, leaving behind their rich waste products for the benefit of the green growing things, spreading and uncovering seeds,and even in their dying, so too are animals essential to a sustainable and whole farm.

As was alluded to by Kathleen, when domestic animals serve no purpose, they will no longer exist. They have a job to do, as I believe we all do, and to eliminate that job is to doom them to extinction. There are already hundreds of breeds of animals gone forever; this is one reason I raise Dexters. This is why it is my opinion that PETA type people, who claim to be animal lovers, are actually animal-haters. Their dream would be a nightmare of a planet, although it would not be for too long, because I believe the destruction of this beautiful place would be short in coming were they to have their way. My family does a Native American-type ritual every time we send our critters in on their last journey, even the thousands of chickens we do every summer. We thank them for what they are giving to us, and can feel entirely at peace that we have given them the best life they could possibly have had; that we have not only not done any damage to the planet in raising them, but have noticably improved the land because of raising them; that the people to whom we sell the meat can partake of clean, wholesome food, with no uncaring middle person involved.

It is something I am proud and pleased to offer, and thankful for the opportunity.


-- Earthmama (, December 11, 2000.

Earthmamma, I am confused -- what was that about Wisconsin and Minnesota? I thought you were out in the Pacific Northwest -- or did I really get lost somewhere along the line?

-- Joy Froelich (, December 11, 2000.

The Japanese eat extremely little meat compared to the U.S. Show me studies which show their average lifespan is greater than the U.S. or they suffer less health problems.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, December 11, 2000.

I have questions... very serious ones. Do you carnivores see very healthy people operating on the Standard American Diet? Does it offend you that people don't eat meat for helth reasons of their own? Why is that offensive to you? WHy do you think everyone should eat meat? Do you find it some kind of a judgement on you when someone says they are a vegetarian? Do you feel that vegetarians think they are superior to those who eat meat? Who do you think would win a war between the meat eaters and the vegetarians? Why do you think this animosity building is necessary?

Personally, I do not see how anyone can sit there and cause enmity amongst friends regarding something as arbitrary as whether or not you eat meat. I am sick of VEGETARIAN bashing that is going on. Niether I nor any other vegetarian on this forum has said...YOU SHOULD EAT NO MEAT. Go ahead and eat your meat...I hope you grew it yourself. Factory farming of anything is detrimental to life and whomever continues to live off of the product....I personally believe that the dangers of meat are more serious than vegetables when we are talking about NON ORGANIC products. MEAT takes longer to digest, does it not? If you are eating someone elses questionably produced food, you are better off eating something not marinated in bgh and pesticide laden feed and antibiotics and irradiation, but simply marinated in a bunch of carcinogenic pesticides only. NO? If not, me how it's better?

-- Doreen (, December 11, 2000.

JOy, no, I did live in Seattle for 3 years, and southern California for 12, but I have been back up here since 1987 (didnt want to raise my kids in L.A.).

-- Earthmama (, December 11, 2000.

Ken, I will quote from one of my nutritional 'bibles': NOURISHING TRADITIONS by Sally Fallon (email me if you would like to buy it from a small company; its a cookbook and a textbook on natural nutrition in one, filled with fascinating studies and facts about politically correct animal-fatless diets):

"The relative good health of the Japanese, who have the longest lifespan in the world, is generally attributed to a low fat diet. Although the Japanese eat few dairy fats, the notion that their diet is low in fat is a myth; rather it contains moderate amounts of animal fats from eggs,chicken, beef, seafood and organ meats. With their fondness for shellfish and fish broth, eaten on a daily basis, the Japanese probably consume more cholesterol than most Americans. What they do NOT consume is a lot of vegetable oil, white flour or processed food (although they do eat white rice). Those who point to Japanese statistics to promote the low fat diet fail to mention that the Swiss live almost as long on one of the fattiest diets in the world. Tied for third in the longevity stakes are Austria and Greece-- both with high fat diets."

-- Earthmama (, December 11, 2000.

Doreen, (by the by, why did you call yourself "your nemesis"? I most certainly dont view you that way!)

I'm gonna answer your good questions:

"Do you carnivores see very healthy people operating on the Standard American Diet? "

I don't consider myself a carnivore, carnivores have a totally different digestive system from me, an omnivore. I eats lots and lots of vegetables and to a lesser amounts fruits and whole grains. Actually I think the standard american diet is abysmall; and i do not eat it. However I occassionally do see people who appear to be annoyingly healthy and happy eating this junk. When I lived in los angeles, we had a little tract home in the san fernando valley,with a little tiny yard out back. LA has no stupid zoning laws (at least not back then, in the 70's) so we decided to get some chickens. We built a little coop and had four hens, and kept the neighbors from complaining by givin them eggs. A co-worker of my partner didnt like our eggs because they "tasted too eggy"!!!

" Does it offend you that people don't eat meat for helth reasons of their own? Why is that offensive to you? WHy do you think everyone should eat meat? "

Heavens no!!! I have known lots of people whose systems have been ruined by eating conventional food. I have nothing but compassion for them....well and also some degree of resentment about what I believe is possibly a cause!) I have people very close to me who have celiac disease, or who react to meat of any hope is only that they will someday be healed from it....however, if they are feeling great now, that is the point, that is wonderful...and I am sincerely happy for that..

"Do you find it some kind of a judgement on you when someone says they are a vegetarian"

A judgement on me? no, not at all........although since my teenage daughters have lots of vegetarian friends, a lot of them start out doing just that, when they first find out what I do for a living. I have found it one of most gratifying parts of my life to talk about these issues with young people, to exchange our life experiences and viewpoints with open minds, teaching each other wonderful new stuff. There are some incredible minds out there in our young people, and they have taught me volumes.

" MEAT takes longer to digest, does it not?"

Yes, meat takes longer to digest than plant foods do. However, I do not think this means that it makes meat a bad thing. Our intestinal system, when it is in its healthy and whole condition, is set up to process both categories of food, and others as well, as long as they are naturally produced, and messed with as little as possible.

I am deeply sorry,and puzzled, Doreen, that you sound so angry. I personally felt none of the hostility you seem to feel in this discussion. I have read numerous posts about the perceived advantages of not eating meat; I didnt take offense to it, but think I considered it fodder for thought; (well now, aint I wonderful?!) :) Why does most every subject seem to bring up such defensiveness in someone or other? I don't believe I said anything to attack anyone's beliefs, but expressing our experience and knowledge we have managed to gain over the years is I think one of the reasons we are here?


-- Earthmama (, December 11, 2000.

They are going to have to pry the pork chop from my cold dead fingers.Pork today is the other white meat. It is leaner then it has ever been and without the chemicals and medicines as healthy as Salad bar beef. I know it takes cows several stomaches to handle the veggi diet. I only have one. Lean meat is good for you. But a balanced diet is even better. Someone mentioned organic farming being too labor intensive. Sorry but that is an old wives tale. Proper procedures make it easier than conventional methods and emproves soil while it is at it.Some of the most successful farms in business today are organic. I find proper use of mulch early takes care of the weeds all season without chemicals or a hoe.

-- Nick (, December 11, 2000.

Doreen, I don't think I was vegetarian bashing, but a lot of vegetarians do bash meat eating. I guess they feel morally superior somehow because they think they aren't killing animals for their food. I don't think either is morally superior, but I do think it is more difficult to eat a nutritionally complete diet without including animal products. And some plant products, I'm speaking here of grains, are harmful to some people, whether ingested directly or through animals they've been fed to. It is being learned that a lot more people have health problems from the eating of grains than was originally realized, as a lot of people have problems other than the typical symptoms of celiac disease. It is now believed by some researchers that a *very* large percentage of the population has one or another of a group of problems associated with eating grains, which as I said above would make a universal vegetarian diet very difficult. God did originally intend man and animals to eat only vegetables, but that had to be altered, and He gave permission for the eating of meat (in the OT) and then for the eating of all kinds of meat (in the NT). I think that if someone feels better on a vegetarian diet, that's fine, but all of the vegetarians I've ever met did make it pretty obvious that they felt morally superior because of their dietary choices (and I don't think that's much different here on this forum, by the way). Therefore I think it is important to point out the flaws in both the diet and the premises which sometimes lead to it. If it is really health factors (as Sonda and a couple of others with chemical poisoning) that is one thing, a legitimate reasoning. If people are doing it because they think they are helping the environment or because they think it a more nutritious way of eating, that is flawed reasoning and needs to be corrected. It's not bashing anyone. I hope this clarifies things a little.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, December 11, 2000.

I am not offended by what, how, or when, people eat , it's a highly personal habit that is hard to break or change. However, you got to do what it takes (it's YOUR responsibility) to stay healthy, and not contribute yourself as another statistic in the American way of eating.

Statistically speaking, 1 in five people die of heart disease, a totally preventable condition, change your diet, don't die of heart disease, it's that simple.

One in eight womwen will die of breast cancer, or another type of reproductive cancer; again, greatly change your diet, a whole lot less risk of reproductive cancers.

One in ten men will die of prostate cancer, again, change your diet, increase your chance of living past your 70th birthday, and be able to urinate in less than a minute.

These are just a few chronic diseases that can be almost totally eliminated by a low fat, high fiber, minimal dairy intake, vegetable and grain based balanced diet. This diet is recommended by numerous medical journals and publications, such as JAMA, NEJM, NIH, CDC, WHO, and by YOUR cardiologist, if you ask, or have one. Ask any cardiologist what they eat, it will surprise you.

Again, if you can eat meat, and stay healthy, more power to you. But, your CHANCES of staying healthy are greater if you eat minimal amouts of meat, if at all.

And Eartmamma, excess protein consumption is a PROVEN cause of osteoporosis, as protein metabolism leaches calcium right OUT OF YOUR BONES, it has to do with the effect protein breakdown has on the calcium ions, but it happens everytime you get excess protein in the body. This is the real reason our old people are so frail, and why breaking a hip, or other bones, often leads to premature death in our seniors, the broken bone simply signifies the cumulative metabolic effect that excess animal protein has had on our skeleton, and arteries, all those years. The body is, quite literally, breaking down before your eyes.

Our statistics of heart disease in this country ought to be wake up call to all that care about their health, but unfotunately, like I said, habits, and addictions, are hard to break, even with your doctor telling you that you will not survive ANOTHER heart bypass operation.

I realize that you can eat all this high fat food and remain healthy, you are blessed with healthy genes, you are VERY lucky! The majority of us, however are not blessed with such luck, and we must watch what we eat, especially what raises our cholesterol (the LDL's anyway) to unhealthy levels, and to do that, we must strictly limit our animal protein to remain alive. Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, December 11, 2000.

I apologize for the typo's, it's way past bedtime ! Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, December 11, 2000.

'Annie, I will respond to your post in total later, but the first thing that jumps out at me is this: if you think that your way of eating is so superior, then why is it that you have a myriad of health problems, and I and my family have almost none? Blessings,

-- Earthmama (, December 12, 2000.


I believe I said organic farming is more labor-intensive, not too labor-intensive.

A garden is one thing, farming is another. Could you reasonably mulch 40-acres?

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, December 12, 2000.


I stand corrected on at least the part of Japanese lifespans. From the world atlas as (Male/Female) Japan 76.57 - 82.68, Greece 75.6 - 80.78, Switzerland - 74.58 - 80.82, Austria - 73.38 - 79.84, U.S. 73 - 80. Someone mentioned China, it was 68.61 - 71.5.

Out of curiosity I also looked up Nepal, since one would think they would live to a ripe old age. All that clean mountain air, ice melt water, etc. Surprised to find it was 53.35 - 53.92.

About 20-years ago I went to Japan on a business trip. American chain-smokers don't hold a candle to most Japanese men, who also love, and I mean love, porno and it is mucho to see who can out drink each other. The typical city resident gets almost no exercise and live in what we could call a studio apartment.

I remember hearing somewhere the average lifespan of an American MD is the late 50's, with death usually being heart-related. Can anyone elaborate on this?

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, December 12, 2000.

I'd like to stick in my two pence worth. I've been reading this with some interest, and what I have to say is not in opposition to anyone else's opinion. I've been buying grass-fed local organic beef and buffalo for myself and my dog. No one has talked much about buffalo, probably because it's not a homestead animal per se, but they are being raised here in Wisc. and Minnesota on grass diets. I was watching a program on the indian tribes in the Dakotas raising buffalo again for their own consumption and citing how when they had lived on the buffalo, they had been healthy. Since eating beef and other traditional McDonald Happy Crap, their health has taken a nose- dive while their heart disease rate has soared. Maybe some of you eating meat would like to think about supporting buffalo ranchers.

The eskimos have had a similar problem since they stopped eating raw blubber and rotted fish (yup -- a traditional staple! Bury it in the ground til it's good and ripe, eat the whole thing. Actually, it intensifies beneficial enzymes, it just doesn't sound too tasty.) But, they're having trouble going back to that diet, the fish have been fished out, and the whales hunted to extinction, so they don't have that option.

I don't know about Austria, but in Greece, the high amounts of fat that they consume come from olive oil, which is a lot different than eating animal fats. I was also reading about Nepal some years ago and they were talking about typical meals and it made me wonder that ANYONE lived to grow up on the poor diet they have, indeed, they have a high death rate among infants, or did at the time of the article.

And speaking of Japan, I have a number of friends living over there now. Diets are changing to western foods, and their health is beginning to change too. However, many of the people there remain healthy because they get a LOT of excercise, riding bicycles everywhere -- one of my friends put in about 6 miles a day on her bike getting to and from work, then spends the rest of the day walking. They also eat a lot of kelp, almost no refined sugar (which is sometimes called White Death...), and lots of soybeans,buckwheat, rice, vegetables, and green tea, which is a great antioxidant.

I also understand that McDonalds are marketing vegitarian burgers now -- in europe and Japan. Not in the US. I for one think we should kick our heels some to have them offered over here, but then I remember that they're on The Buns of Death (gluey white flour...) and give me indigestion for days anyway...

-- Julie Froelich (, December 12, 2000.

To put my comments in perspective, remember I have a dog in the fight since I am a cattle farmer. On the other hand, I am probably a semi-vegetarian since I don't eat much meat. Even then, it is chicken, ham and seafood over beef. A salad topped with some ham and turkey, to me, is better than a straight one. Every so often there just ain't nothin' like a slightly bloody t-bone. However, it is a matter of preference, rather than concern about health hazards.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, December 12, 2000.

Earthmamma, I say "your nemesis" because on so many things we are on opposite ends of the biggee, just a joke to me.

I get angry because I cannot even begin to count the numbers of times when I have been around people maybe discussing a restaurant to go to or anything to do with food, and I get "ooooohh, so you're a vegetaaarrrian......well." I just don't eat meat. I am not on a crusade against meat. There are several reasons that I don't eat meat. One is that I worked at Klement's sausage as a temp job many years ago...they are not dirty, it was just overwhelming to be around so much meat. You couldn't get it out of your nose. Then I live near several auction barns.If you have raised you animals well and then they are subjected to the sheer terror of the auction barn and the ride to the slaughterhouse, their last moments probably undo all of your work. Just like when you hunt, you want a quick clean and non fearful kill. The hormones and chemicals that flood an animal in fear are not good for the animal nor for you. If you kill it with love and thankfulness, it is a whole different ball game. I am sure that it tastes better as well.

The thing is that most people eating meat have absolutely nothing to do with it other than picking it out of the refrigerator case. And I am sorry, but meat as an INDUSTRY has problems. I don't mind people eating meat, but look at the stress levels in our we compound it by eating a lot of stressed out animals or is it partially causitive?

I have a family that has and will always be happily eating meat. I am the only one (except for my Mom) who is close to healthy and the only one who doesn't eat meat. Is there a correlation? Most of them also like white bread.....scary. Oh well, they like what they like and I try to get them to at least know what is good for you and why, but I am not going to beat em in the head with a loaf of Vunderbred either.

I firmly believe in picking your own poisons. I resent the FACT that pesticides are so completely entwined in our food and it goes all the way through the food chain. If I am going to take poison, I want to have a choice as to what I am taking.

There are a few sides to this issue, and there isn't anyway for the entire world to go vegetarian, nor do I think that you should. But people should consider what they eat and not worry so much about production over health benefits of the food. Maybe if we were more thankful for it in general that might make a change in our "production" aspects. Food Industry, agri business....these are very bothersome terms. Maybe not to everyone.

Sorry I got testy.

-- Doreen (, December 12, 2000.

I don't think that everyone here is "Veg bashing", I do, however, find it interesting that the most staunch proponents of meat do have a dog in the fight, as Ken says.

Earthmamma, the digestion issue with meat is directly relative to the amounts of chemicals the meat is exposed to and the duration of time neceesary for these to move through your system. Also, you did direct the question to "passionate" vegetarians, and I guess that kind of predicates responses... "No wishy washy wanted"????right????

Do we all agree that less chemicals in our food are better?

-- Doreen (, December 12, 2000.

IMHO,pork is not fit to eat. I read that it has more fat and less protein per ounce than the other meats that our society eats. Besides, I have a thing about not eating carnivores, and animals that will chomp down on their own babies.

By the way, I have seen McDonald's that carry veggie burgers.

-- Rebekah (, December 12, 2000.

Earthmamma, you and your family are blessed with the wonder of healthy genetics, probably no matter what you eat would matter much one way or another, like the people who smoke all their lives and live past 80. You are very lucky in that respect, I, however am blessed with not so healthy genes, heart disease runs rampant, reproductive cancer in both sides, ect.

My health problems came first, to try and solve them, I radically changed my diet, it is slowly ( over two years now) improving. I cannot make up for the damage I did to my joints by overusing them to the point of breakdown (I used to train and race endurance horses), and then overusing OTC antiinflammatory drugs, I lived for years taking ibuprofen or Aleve all the time. That alone destroyed my immune system, something the doctors are just now realizing, the damage to my joints I'll have to live with, and deal with, the best I can, with no drugs now, that is the hard part.

I have figured out by trial and error what improves my condition, and what does not, diet change, and herbal supplements have greatly improved my pain and mobility. I just wish I had known the danger of overusing the OTC painrelievers sooner, before the damage was done, but that is my fault only, and I am doing the best I can to make the best of a bad situation. For me, animal products seem to worsen the pain, and make me prone to other ailiments, so I assume I had better not eat much of them, I try to listen to my body, and learn by it's responses. Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, December 12, 2000.

Deer is a good example of what would have if everyone quit eating meat. There's a great overpopulation of them. When I worked at a state park, I could count the ribs in the starving deer. Some species of plants were well on the decline due to overgrazing. The state allowed two years of hunting in the parks which helped immensely. You don't see as many deer now, they've become shy, but they're in much better shape.

As far as eating pork, rabbit, shrimp, catfish; they're not healthy to eat, because they're scavengers that don't sweat through their feet or whatever fish and shrimp do and cooking doesn't get out all the toxins.

It's o.k. to eat meat if you want to imo, remember Daniel wouldn't eat the what the king offered him, instead he chose to eat beans.

-- Cindy (, December 13, 2000.

Doreen, I dont know why you would find it strange that I would both raise meat and support the raising of beef. What sort of hypocrite would I be if it were otherwise? I could anything I want with my life, but have chosen this because I love and believe in it as a necessary lifestyle to heal the earth and her people.

You are absolutely right about auction barns and slaughterhouses. My critters never see them. We are take ours to a nearby small independent processor, who knows me as a very picky customer indeed. We always insist that ours are done first so they dont have to wait around for 'their turn', and the groups are small on any one day. This is not only necessary for humane reasons but also because it makes the meat more tender if they are not stressed.

I apparently didnt make it clear that I completely agree about chemical in food, and in the rest of our lives. We are totally organic in house and barn; we dont even use chemical wormers on anything. Havent had as much as an aspirin in 15 years. The industrial agricultural model is wrong on all counts to my mind,as is the typical American diet, and that is my basic point! See, we have stuff to agree on! :) One footnote about hunting though: hunted animals can die in an extremely stressful manner, producing those same hormonal conditions. Rarely is hunting that exacting a sport.

Annie, I respectfully disagree with almost everything you said here! I can give you myriad studies to "disprove' every point you lay claim to about health benefits of low animal fat eating. We of course could go on forever bantering these back and forth, if you like, but I also realize that we all are gonna believe what feels right to us, and that if the way it should be I guess.

I may possibly have 'good genetics', but I doubt it. I guess I actually believe more strongly in the power of the mind to create most disease conditions, either directly or indirectly. If we believe that cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or whatever, "runs in the family", tnen I can almost guarantee we will get it. Power of suggestion is exceedingly powerful. I know that concept irritates lots of people, but I see it happen time and time again.

I am glad you have found an eating program that works for you; I no way wish to critize it, and wish you the best of health in years to come!

-- Earthmama (, December 13, 2000.

If the population switched to vegetable based rather than meat based foods the job market would just shift. Instead of lunchmeat, you'd be making tofu. I have seen every concievable type of meat made meatless and sold in the freezer and cooler sections of the supermarket. There would be veggie fast food places. In an ideal world we would all be producing more of our own food, and it would increase the home market for those of us that do to those of us that don't. In terms of the large deer population, it is primarily due to the large farms providing a smorgasbord for them as well as humans removing any natural predators. Nature will allow populations to fluctuate and there will be die offs due to starvation and disease, but the overpopulation is directly caused by man and we can never change it back. When a good source of food is available they will always reproduce well, twins, even triplets are not uncommon now. Here in Wisconsin where Wolves are just starting to come back the ATM's are already clamoring for a hunting season. WHy not? we just elected to shoot our state bird of peace. My belief is, if its not trying to kill me them I see no reason to kill it. Period.

-- Dianne (, December 14, 2000.

Earthmanna, you said "With their fondness for shellfish and fish broth, eaten on a daily basis, the Japanese probably consume more cholesterol than most Americans." I usually eat two to three dozen eggs a week and DO NOT have a cholesterol problem. Do you know of any studies, pro or con, showing consuming cholesterol laden foods produce high cholesterol levels in humans? This is only a question, I gave up food fights long ago.

Ken S, You said "I remember hearing somewhere the average lifespan of an American MD is the late 50's, with death usually being heart- related. Can anyone elaborate on this?" Don't know about now, but in the mid eighties the average lifespan of a GP doctor was 57.

-- JLS in NW AZ (, December 14, 2000.

The theory that serum cholesterol is caused by eating cholesterol- rich foods has NEVER been proven, and in fact, many studies prove just the opposite. An Israeli study showed absolutely a LOWER blood cholesterol in people who ate the most eggs. What is true, however, is that emotions, and high carb intake is distinctly related to high cholesterol,LDL's, and homocystine. Did you know that WORRYING about your cholesterol, raises your cholesterol?

Yes, the average life span of American physicians is still in the mid 50's.

-- Earthmama (, December 15, 2000.

Hey, we agree!!! (it's really not a miracle, just thought I'd accentuate the + for a change!) I just want to add that there have also been studies done recently that show some people always have higher cholesterol than average. Averages are just that.

-- Doreen (, December 16, 2000.

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