Why I’m Not a Vegan (by Mark Bittman) - Page 3 - VeggieBoards
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#61 Old 05-30-2013, 06:29 AM
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Oh and what is semi-vegan? Is that like being semi omni?

lol.  picture a tractor trailer filled with carrots. :)

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#62 Old 05-30-2013, 06:32 AM
 
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#63 Old 05-30-2013, 06:41 AM
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 Whole foods are more than just a few nutrients

Can you give me an example of what it is "more" that we can't already imitate with non-meat products? I'm sorry but there are already thousands of vegan cats out there that live their vegan life just fine. It appears to me that if you want to argue that only meat can fill the dietary needs of a cat, the burden of proof is on you, not me, as their is nothing in dietetics that would suggest that.

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#64 Old 05-30-2013, 07:08 AM
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Due to Bittman's recent 'Vegan Before 6' launch and tour, he's got some commentary up about "why he's not vegan." He doesn't much answer the question though in my opinion. He says:

 

 

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I can see three scenarios that might lead to universal, full-time veganism: An indisputable series of research results proving that consuming animal products is unquestionably “bad” for us; the emerging dominance of a morality that asserts that we have no right to “exploit” our fellow animals for our own benefit; or an environmental catastrophe that makes agriculture as we know it untenable. All seem unlikely.

 

 

I don't get his "it's unlikely" issue. BUT that's about all he says. I'm surprised he has no reasoning behind his diet other than the above. What do you think? 

 

Oh, here's the whole article: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/why-im-not-a-vegan/

 

I had not heard of Bittman until now. Reading the article, my overall impression is that, while he pays lip-service to the moral question near its end, he carefully avoids directly addressing it in the body of his essay. I don't know if he's simply afraid of "rocking the boat" too much, if he just hasn't given morality much thought or if he simply doesn't care. Whichever way, he's dismissive of it, and speculates more on what might be profitable for humans. He suggests that some meat may be good for people; this is a reason for him to avoid the topics of animal rights and moral justice. He's approaching diet from the standpoint of science, with only a modicum of ethics thrown in, perhaps for the purpose of covering the bases.

 

In the paragraph you quoted, I think he's saying, "I'll do it, only when everybody else does it," which, given that he's been placed in a position of some influence, makes him rather a weak link, as far as veganism is concerned. He's riding the coattails of veganism, for his own benefit. I'm sure he makes a fat living doing what he's doing, and I suspect that's his first concern. He is, in essence, a pundit, which is not to say that some good for others cannot be extracted from the article. It would be better, if he wasn't so ambiguous about the moral questions.

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#65 Old 05-30-2013, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by logic View Post


No, instead I was implying that a morality that forbids animal exploitation isn't consistent with human subsistence.
 

 Can you elaborate what you mean by this statement instead of just repeating it over and over?  Maybe I missed a post regarding "a morality that forbids animal exploitation" because it doesn't make any sense to me in the context of this thread. 

 

 

 

 

 

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So yes, I claim that Neal Barnard has not conducted a study that shows that a vegan diet is healthier than a semi-vegan diet based around the same foods. Now if you have a citation to such a study....I'd love to see it.

 

 
How do you define semi-vegan?  
compare the percentages in the Barnard diabetes study and they are very similar, i think the main differences are about 5% in protein and 5-10% in carbs.
here are a few studies that indicate a diet with no animal products is healthier than those that include small amounts of animal products:
"Of the 4 types of plant-based diets considered, interventions testing a combination diet (a vegetarian or vegan diet combined with nuts, soy, and/or fiber) demonstrated the greatest effects (up to 35% plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol reduction), followed by vegan and ovolactovegetarian diets. Interventions allowing small amounts of lean meat demonstrated less dramatic reductions in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels."
 
"Mean BMI was lowest in vegans (23.6 kg/m2) and incrementally higher in lacto-ovo vegetarians (25.7 kg/m2), pesco-vegetarians (26.3 kg/m2), semi-vegetarians (27.3 kg/m2), and nonvegetarians (28.8 kg/m2). Prevalence of type 2 diabetes increased from 2.9% in vegans to 7.6% in nonvegetarians; the prevalence was intermediate in participants consuming lacto-ovo (3.2%), pesco (4.8%), or semi-vegetarian (6.1%) diets. After adjustment for age, sex, ethnicity, education, income, physical activity, television watching, sleep habits, alcohol use, and BMI, vegans (OR 0.51 [95% CI 0.40–0.66]), lacto-ovo vegetarians (0.54 [0.49–0.60]), pesco-vegetarians (0.70 [0.61–0.80]), and semi-vegetarians (0.76 [0.65–0.90]) had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians."
 
 
 
The Loma Linda Adventist Health Study II has specific focus on the different types of vegetarian diets and includes categories for pescatarians.  Part 2 is currently ongoing, the early findings are here: http://www.llu.edu/public-health/health/early_findings.page?

 

 

 
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"I wouldn't press the button" isn't an answer to the question, its just avoiding the question.
 
Hypothetical questions are pointless, there is no need to answer them. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#66 Old 05-30-2013, 10:44 AM
 
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Man is there anyway to put this guy on ignore? I think he is simply the kind of person who gets thrills from stirring chit up......being a vegan is hard (in Texas ) without ignorant diatribe from someone who spouts about semi vegan....like sorta pregnant.....sorry but I guess I play into his hand by being upset....many more wiser knowledgeable vegans I'd love to listen to!
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#67 Old 05-30-2013, 11:05 AM
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Man is there anyway to put this guy on ignore? I think he is simply the kind of person who gets thrills from stirring chit up......being a vegan is hard (in Texas ) without ignorant diatribe from someone who spouts about semi vegan....like sorta pregnant.....sorry but I guess I play into his hand by being upset....many more wiser knowledgeable vegans I'd love to listen to!

 

Susan, you can put any regular member (not mods) on ignore. Just go to one of their posts, and point the cursor at their user-name. When the drop-down menu appears, click "block member."


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#68 Old 05-30-2013, 11:21 AM
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Oh and what is semi-vegan? Is that like being semi omni?

 

It's the same as a semi-virgin ie = nonsense. shocked.gif

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#69 Old 05-30-2013, 11:24 AM
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Man is there anyway to put this guy on ignore?

for some reason this question has me giggling nonstop.

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#70 Old 05-30-2013, 11:53 AM
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No if you want to make sure that your cat doesn't eat meat, the best way to go is to feed it vegan cat food. Because they are "obligate carnivore", cats have very specific dietary needs, but nothing that can't be solve if we carefully formulate their food to met their needs. It means you shouldn't feed your cat fresh kitchen veggies and expect it to be fine, but vegan cat food rich in protein and fat, low in carbohydrates and fortified with vitamin A(other than beta-carotene), B12, Taurine, etc. There is nobody in the cat's stomach inspecting the food it eats ready to press on the "autodestruct" button if it ever eats something other than meat. We perfectly have the technology to copy the nutritional values of meat without using any of it.

 

I think the issue with feeding a vegan diet to cats specifically may be that as obligate carnivores they may not be able to easily digest beans, grains, or other protein-rich foods.  It's not just a matter of nutrients, but the form in which those nutrients come and how appropriate it is for their bodies. 


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#71 Old 05-30-2013, 03:30 PM
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I think the issue with feeding a vegan diet to cats specifically may be that as obligate carnivores they may not be able to easily digest beans, grains, or other protein-rich foods.  It's not just a matter of nutrients, but the form in which those nutrients come and how appropriate it is for their bodies. 

I don't know that there is any research showing that cats absorb plant proteins less readily than meat protein and I think that's the kind of things that would easily be detectable on a vegan cat (remember there is already thousands of vegan cats out there), not to mention that proteins are very different from one plant to another. And even then, even if we found out that ALL plant proteins were unfit for cats, it still wouldn't determine that it's impossible to feed cats with a vegan diet. Plants and animals aren't the only two taxonomic kingdoms. There is fungus too,

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#72 Old 05-30-2013, 06:18 PM
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What a complex!  If you don't control the environment, then it's okay to exploit animals.  If you do control the environment, then you exploit animals by definition -- a "real" vegan would not be so controlling.  And if you pronounce a separate approach, then you are the one with psychological hang-ups: clearly in denial about the demand of logic to push your buttons.

 

After centuries of conventional wisdom that lots of meat is necessary, and then that a little meat is necessary, and then that a little meat is still good, now we have to contend with the requirement for airtight proof that a little meat is absolutely bad in all cases.  OMG, get over it.


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#73 Old 05-31-2013, 10:52 AM
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I'm not sure why he is even addressing it in the first place. It's really weird/awkward the way he addresses it. Not sure why he feels the need. He seems to be saying,"I'm not vegan b/c I don't want to be" in a very roundabout way. Isn't that really all it amounts to?

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#74 Old 05-31-2013, 11:06 AM
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Whether its a rescue animal or not doesn't change anything, its an animal that has been domesticated and is being exploited for human needs...even if you consider those needs benevolent.
 

Except that insofar as pets go, they pretty much domesticated themselves. The tamer animals would follow human nomads around to eat their food scraps. After a while, they grew to be more and more friendly towards humans. They chose to be around humans, and humans enjoyed them as friends, hunting partners, etc... It's a symbiotic relationship, not an exploitative one. They were also very vital to human evolution as they affected the way humans behaved, the tools they made, etc...

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#75 Old 05-31-2013, 11:12 AM
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I'm not sure why he is even addressing it in the first place. It's really weird/awkward the way he addresses it. Not sure why he feels the need. He seems to be saying,"I'm not vegan b/c I don't want to be" in a very roundabout way. Isn't that really all it amounts to?


Bittman isn't talking at all about why he isn't vegan. He has no quarrel with veganism, and is moving closer and closer to following a vegan diet himself. Which is bad news for factory farmers and great news for animals, as Bittman is a bona fide opinion leader among food writers. Whoever wrote that headline "Why I'm Not Vegan" did a horrible job of summing up the article's text. Bittman is no Anthony Bourdain; he is trying to move the national diet toward a much healthier place through decreased consumption of animal products and increased consumption of fresh produce and whole grains. Dean Ornish wrote the foreword to Bittman's book. Instead of quibbling about some confusing and inept headline, probably written by a member of the editorial staff, I'm more inclined to embrace the changes that will ensue if his diet catches on.

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#76 Old 05-31-2013, 03:16 PM
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Bittman should stop being coy, strap on a pair and come out with what he truly believes in. If it's veganism, so be it or if it's a vegetarian total plant food diet, so be it. Being mealy mouthed and conflating the two is not the way to gather respect.   

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#77 Old 05-31-2013, 06:55 PM
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If respect is reflected in book sales, Bittman has respect. Not from vegans, but that's not what he's after. Vegans are already eating right. Animal liberation is a vegan cause. Improved human health is Bittman's. Plus lowered health care costs, which would do wonders for the American economy. And a break for the environment, which should do wonders for the planet. No reason he should have to be all things to all people.
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#78 Old 05-31-2013, 08:18 PM
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Can you give me an example of what it is "more" that we can't already imitate with non-meat products? I'm sorry but there are already thousands of vegan cats out there that live their vegan life just fine.
There are thousands of compounds in foods, some are known and some aren't known. And even if you manage to synthesize a nutrient, it may not react the same way in the body as its natural counterpart. But this isn't the main issue, instead we simply don't know what nutrients cats need. We know some of them and vegan cat foods have a history of being nutritionally deficient.

So yes, if we knew 100% of the nutrients cats need....then we could potentially create vegan cat food. But we don't...we don't even have that knowledge for humans.

I don't know, it seems a lot easier to just not own a cat...especially considering there are a number of pets you can have that can safely subsist on a herbivorous diet.
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#79 Old 05-31-2013, 09:09 PM
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There are thousands of compounds in foods, some are known and some aren't known. And even if you manage to synthesize a nutrient, it may not react the same way in the body as its natural counterpart. But this isn't the main issue, instead we simply don't know what nutrients cats need. We know some of them and vegan cat foods have a history of being nutritionally deficient.

So yes, if we knew 100% of the nutrients cats need....then we could potentially create vegan cat food. But we don't...we don't even have that knowledge for humans.

I don't know, it seems a lot easier to just not own a cat...especially considering there are a number of pets you can have that can safely subsist on a herbivorous diet.

I'm gonna repeat the second half of the statement you responded to since you obviously ignored it:  I'm sorry but there are already thousands of vegan cats out there that live their vegan life just fine. 

 

In fact, we don't even have a reason to think that fresh meat is necessarily the best possible food a cat could have. It's just the diet they so happen to adapt to by natural selection, but A is the best for B doesn't logically follow from B has adapted to A, or else being surrounded by lions would be healthy for gazelles.

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#80 Old 05-31-2013, 09:31 PM
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 Can you elaborate what you mean by this statement instead of just repeating it over and over?  Maybe I missed a post regarding "a morality that forbids animal exploitation" because it doesn't make any sense to me in the context of this thread. 
Bittman mentions the unlikelihood of a moral system that forbids animal exploitation, I was just pointing out that its not even clear what such a system would look like given human subsistence methods.
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here are a few studies that indicate a diet with no animal products is healthier than those that include small amounts of animal products:
None of these show what you want.

1.) The Bernard study isn't an actual study, instead its a review of studies, and it never looked at a direct comparison between vegan diets and semi-vegan diets. As I mentioned before, you'd have to do this in a way where the foods consumed were similar and the only difference was the addition of small amounts of meat. Furthermore, this study didn't look at "health" per se but instead cholesterol levels and the differences in lipid profiles may or may not result in differences in health outcomes. Its also not clear what he means by "small amounts", nor the basis of the comment, but regardless of the details its doesn't answer the question.

2.), 3.), 4.), 5) Looking at "semi-vegetarian" not "semi-vegan". No controls on the type of foods consumed as well so the type of diet may just be a marker for something else. 4.) is looking at "partial vegetarian", not sure what that is suppose to refer to.

I would define "semi-vegan" similarly to "semi-vegetarian", that is, 1~2 servings of animal food (meat, egg, or dairy) per week.


Hypothetical questions aren't "pointless", you're just avoiding an answer which is fine.
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#81 Old 05-31-2013, 09:40 PM
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I I'm sorry but there are already thousands of vegan cats out there that live their vegan life just fine. 
I ignored this because its just hearsay, how do you know they are "just fine"? Have you been tracking vegan cats?
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In fact, we don't even have a reason to think that fresh meat is necessarily the best possible food a cat could have. It's just the diet they so happen to adapt to by natural selection, but A is the best for B doesn't logically follow from B has adapted to A, or else being surrounded by lions would be healthy for gazelles.
They diet they "happen to adapt to" is the diet that contains the nutrients they need and we don't have complete information on cat nutrition, as such its impossible to create synthetic foods (and ensure their safety) at this time. Perhaps you haven't noticed, but we don't even create good synthetic food for humans. Supplements, etc are riddled with problems. A multivitamin is not a replacement for fruits and vegetables and the situation with cats is likely to be similar.
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#82 Old 05-31-2013, 10:20 PM
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I ignored this because its just hearsay, how do you know they are "just fine"? Have you been tracking vegan cats?

http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.229.1.70?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dpubmed&

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They diet they "happen to adapt to" is the diet that contains the nutrients they need and we don't have complete information on cat nutrition, as such its impossible to create synthetic foods (and ensure their safety) at this time. 
 No it is not necessary to know everything about cat nutrition to produce an adequate food for them or else no diet whatever would be fit for them, including fresh meat.

 


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Perhaps you haven't noticed, but we don't even create good synthetic food for humans. Supplements, etc are riddled with problems.
 
I don't accept this statement as true.

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A multivitamin is not a replacement for fruits and vegetables and the situation with cats is likely to be similar.
 
A multivitamin doesn't contain all the nutrients that are in a fruit or a vegetable. The only nutrients contained in a significant amount in a multivitamin are micronutriants.
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#83 Old 05-31-2013, 10:56 PM
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What is given of this study is not very helpful.  It was testing for just 2 nutrients.  34 cats were "vegetarian" (it doesn't say vegan, so not sure if they were vegan), and it doesn't say if they went outside where they might catch some animals to eat.  Yet only 17 seemed to have blood tests for taurine:

 

Quote:
14 of 17 had blood taurine concentrations within reference range

 

So 3 of those 17 (18%) seem to have blood taurine concentrations out of reference range.  Assuming the concentrations are low (the article as posted just doesn't say), then 18% of those tested don't in fact seem to be doing just fine - taurine deficiency is serious (and that's just one measure).  Can you find a better article?

 

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No it is not necessary to know everything about cat nutrition to produce an adequate food for them or else no diet whatever would be fit for them, including fresh meat.

 

Well, flesh is their natural diet as carnivores, so it's much more certain that providing that will provide what they have evolved to require and metabolize.


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#84 Old 05-31-2013, 11:10 PM
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No it is not necessary to know everything about cat nutrition to produce an adequate food for them or else no diet whatever would be fit for them, including fresh meat.
We are talking about synthetic foods and without knowing their exact nutritional needs.....how exactly can you create an adequate food for them? In their natural diet evolution did the work.


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A multivitamin doesn't contain all the nutrients that are in a fruit or a vegetable. The only nutrients contained in a significant amount in a multivitamin are micronutriants.
Right....multivitamins contain micro-nutrients but if you create a synthetic human food with refined sugar/carbs, refined protein and refined oil and add synthetic vitamins/minerals (e.g., you create a processed vegan food) you don't get something equivalent to fruits, vegetables, etc. So if we can't create healthy synthetic foods for people, how are we going to do it for cats when most less is known about cat nutrition?

The other poster addressed the link.
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#85 Old 05-31-2013, 11:29 PM
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Kamizushi - about 1.5% or so of US humans are vegan (last I looked - it may have changed).  Humans are omnivores and we know they can be vegan and healthy enough.  I'll push as hard and generally harder than anyone for humans to be vegan - I think vegans should make their kids vegan, and try to persuade friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers to be vegan - but at this time I can't really get behind trying to make true carnivores vegan, when I have not seen reliable evidence that it is safe for them as a group and I don't believe that all vegans are going to be doing the necessary blood work that is required to make sure a cat is doing o.k. as a vegan.

 

Maybe in the future with lab grown meat or after more research has been done, domestic cats can be separated from killing.  I wish domestic animals didn't exist - I think far too many of them get terrible treatment from humans - and I'm doing everything I can to decrease their populations by trapping and altering strays and ferals.  I think it's wrong that humans kill animals for these other animals - their pets - to eat, but often the flesh is by-product or meat that humans will not consume, which at least doesn't come from killing just for that product.  We don't live in a vegan world, and it's a compromise, and it's not a very good one.  I don't think vegans should feel good about feeding their cats meat, but I still think they ought to do it, if they have cats.  Using bigger animals like cows would probably be better, because that equates to less suffering.  As I think about it, if someone really didn't want to contribute to more killing, it might be better to consciously feed the lesser-quality by-product meats rather than the purer human grade meat that is in better brands.  It probably would result in a hit to the cat's health, but I still think that's a safer solution than vegan, and maybe that is an acceptable compromise to some.  It does still support the slaughter industry, but I don't think more animals are killed for by-product pet food.

 

Humans eat A LOT more than cats - they weigh about 15 times more.  I think putting the energy into making humans vegan carries a lot more weight and makes a lot more sense than trying to make cats vegan at this time.

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#86 Old 06-01-2013, 03:26 AM
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Mein Kampf sold in millions but the author seems to have little respect these days.

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#87 Old 06-01-2013, 03:39 AM
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I would define "semi-vegan" similarly to "semi-vegetarian", that is, 1~2 servings of animal food (meat, egg, or dairy) per week.
 

 

Conflating the philosophy of veganism with the diet of vegetarianism, does not make it easy to take a discussion seriously. And even more so when the term "semi-vegan" is used.

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#88 Old 06-01-2013, 04:11 AM
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I would define "semi-vegan" similarly to "semi-vegetarian", that is, 1~2 servings of animal food (meat, egg, or dairy) per week.
 

 

Conflating the philosophy of veganism with the diet of vegetarianism, does not make it easy to take a discussion seriously. And even more so when the term "semi-vegan" is used.

I think that honestly is just a tactic to rile people up. Honestly, semi-vegan, indeed! Anyone here semi-pregnant? wink3.gif It makes add much sense.
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#89 Old 06-01-2013, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Irizary View Post

I wish domestic animals didn't exist

Do you mean this literally, wishing that people never domesticated animals, or are you just saying that you wish domestication had not proliferated the particular animals that it has?  I'm still not sure the issue is appropriate to this particular thread, but as long as it's going on, we should at least try to differentiate between a person who rescues a rabbit or two and a person who breeds pit bulls.


Jenner: I learned this much: take what you can, when you can.

Justin: Then you have learned nothing!

 

The Secret of NIMH

Mike4891 is offline  
#90 Old 06-01-2013, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by leedsveg View Post

 

Mein Kampf sold in millions but the author seems to have little respect these days.

I think when a man is a writer by trade, it's fair to say the respect he's gathered would be reflected in the number of copies sold of his current work. His book is doing well. So your remark confused me, saying he's going about it wrong if he means to gather respect. You might be referring to your own respect for him, or that of vegans. I don't doubt he would welcome the respect and support from vegans, but I also don't think that's what he was going for. Vegans aren't the ones who need help, as far as he's concerned. They're already doing it right, so much so that he thinks the rest of the population would benefit from taking a page or two from their playbook. It would be hypocritical of him to recommend everyone follow a completely vegan diet since that's not what he himself does. But his own health has improved from doing what he does, he finds it relatively easy to incorporate into his daily life, and that's what he's recommending now. If he goes further down that path in the future, his future books will probably reflect that.

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