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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know you all must get this kind of question a lot. A potential vegan/vegetarian asking for advice on diet, etc. I could just do some research, but I feel as if my inquiry is a bit specific.

Please don't be offended if I say something that you disagree with. Please put yourself in my shoes and try and help me out the best you can. Any and all help is extremely appreciated more than you could know.

First and foremost, I want to avoid ALL propaganda and biased information. I've had bad experiences with Peta and some extremist organizations. I am not all about watching those ridiculous videos (which I am not saying are fake, but they don't represent EVERY farm out there) and irrational, one-sided organizations. I would like this advice to be non-biased, and based on facts.

Basically, this is how I feel. I do not think that eating animals is wrong, in my opinion. I think that if they are hunted in a manner that is humane (whether you think hunting is humane or not, that is your opinion). What I mean by that is NO suffering. I am sickened by animal torture. Injections, abuse, disease... all of that stuff. I want nothing to do with that and I don't want to support it. I believe in hunting and gathering as the first humans of this earth did. If I could hunt in my own back yard, and eat every possible part of the animal I could, and use everything I could to make the most out of the loss, I would do it, guilt free. I know that may offend some of you, and if you wish to respond to try and change my mind about this moral opinion, please refrain. I won't change my mind as far as the morality of merely eating an animal. What I AM interested in is avoiding any sort of TORTURE or ABUSE at all costs.

Also, I am also considering getting rid of meat and possible dairy due to health reasons. I don't want to subject myself to all of the nasty chemicals and drugs used when raising these animals on these farms. Same goes with vegetables! I want to eat healthy, and avoid unhealthy preservatives where possible.

To sum it all up, I don't want to support animal cruelty and I want to remain as healthy as possible. I need help! I don't know where to start. I don't know whether this lifestyle is what I need. And if it is, I don't know what is permissable to eat. What about seafood? If my moral opinion doesn't go against eating animals, only torture and health conditions, what about crabs? Lobster? Are there farms out there that actually do raise their cattle respectfully without drugging them or abusing them? Giving them PLENTY of room to run around and live a healthy life before they are slaughtered? Where can I buy these products? Or is there no way to be sure and should I just give up meat and dairy altogether?

Any help would be appreciated.

Again, refrain from trying to convince me to change my mind about the moral aspect. I don't want you to feel like you cannot speak your mind, but my purpose in this post is not to gain feedback on that matter in particular. If you'd like to talk to me about the moral aspect, go ahead and send me a private message. I don't want to censor you or silence your voice because I believe in freedom of speech. It's just not my goal in this particular post.

Thanks everyone!!!!
 

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Ok, first of all WELCOME TO V-BOARDS! and second, bottom line, if you wanna go veggie, just do it, Its definetly healthier than eating meat, I can tell you that.
 
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i think you'll find it very very difficult to find a farm that raises animals for food and doesn't cause some cruelty in the process, also its not financially viable to raise cattle (or any other animals that i can think of) in a natural manner- and raising livestock is done foremost for profit, apart from in a very few cases by small scale 'hobby famers'.

to start with a dairy cow: a cow will only produce milk if she's been pregnant in the past year or so, and in order for people to take her milk, she'd need to keep getting pregnant at the farmers schedual, not her own- which in itself is cruelty.

if we're taking her milk, the baby cow needs to go without it or at least some of it (a calf could theoretically be raised along with its mother, but she wouldn't make enough milk for a calf and plenty more for bottling for people to drink without human intervention- she's not designed to yeild more milk than her calf needs)- so for us to have milk, some harm will invariably come to the calf (eg: its removal from its mother, or its getting less milk than it needs, and most likely its use for veal in mainstream farms), without getting into the (not least mental) harm caused to the mother by forcing pregnancy repeatedly, removing her offspring, or even just keeping her lactating at an excessive level so we can steal some milk.

constant lactation at a higher yeild involves the use of drugs to avoid mastitis and other infections, and no doubt a host of other drugs and food suppliments to keep the cow healthy in an unnatural state, in an unnatrual environment (it'd be tricky to get milk from a cow wandering freely in the woods and feilds- so she'd spend at least some time restricted to a shed- which in itself is cruel- i'd not enjoy being restricted to a shed myself, even if it was once a week, just for an hour- you know?).

also, once a cow gets to an age when she's no longer producing, its not financially viable to keep her around, either, so unless someone is hobby farming and prepared to cover the cost of continuing to feed and water a cow into old age- who isn't producing anything apart from chewy meat- she'll be robbed of a natural lifespan and removed from her herd (friends and family), after being drained by repeated pregnancies, before she hits middle age- i think this is pretty cruel, however she's killed.

if you could find a farmer who lets his cows wander and roam around in massive fields, lets them follow their own natural rythmns when it comes to pregnancy, who doesn't use drugs on them to increase yeild and avoid related infections, and who only uses milk thats spare (the only case of spare milk i can think of would be if a calf died randomly, and even then, i assume it'd dry up pretty quickly naturally) and who keeps his cows healthy without the need for drug or unnatural dietary intervention, and who somehow shoots them out of sight of the other cows, and then does some memory mind trick in the rest of them, so that they forget that a family member just disapeared... could theoretically work....

aside from the slaughter side of things- they'd face the same issues with raising pigs, sheep, goats, etc. you might find someone who keeps one or two animals on a very small scale, almost like one might keep a cat or rabbit for meat (my grandmother had some rabbits and two pigs in pens that she kept for meat, in her garden during WW2 and who were fattened for slaughter on scraps) but its very unlikely that you will find this easily nowadays being that mass produced meat is easily available and affordable- not rationed like it was when my grandmother was around- and keeping animals like this involved keeping them severely confined (can't let the pigs and rabbits wander around!), which is a form of torture in my mind.

if you do find someone doing this, and the owner was willing to share, i'd assume the meat would be expensive if they were looking to cover their costs. you could consider raising a cow or two, or some pigs, chickens, and ducks for food yourself, i guess- you'd have more control over the production methods that way.

you might be able to find someone who keeps chickens in their garden for eggs- if they keep one or two and look after them well, that in itself would seem preferable to battery eggs produced on a larger scale. but this person would have to buy and keep the same number of little boy chickens too, and swallow the cost of this- when they're not producing eggs. in the mainstream male chicks are crushed or gassed at birth, (i don't know if you'd veiw this as torture or abuse or not) so if they buy their chickens from a company that does this, they're a party to cruelty, which means your eggs would be a product of that cruelty too.

its a tricky one.

as for fish... i don't have much info on this, or much knowledge on whether farmed lobsters, fish, and the like, suffer a huge deal of emotional distress at being severely confined. they do suffer lots of disease as a result of confinment and farming methods, though, which means farmed fish probably isn't the healthiest thing to eat.

i'm not also sure how many people you'll find who are either able or willing to offer you tips on where or how to buy cruelty free meat here, being that practically nobody here eats meat, and very few ethically support it.

i think it'd be way easier to stop eating meat and dairy, than to try and untangle the ethics and cruelty and torture of various methods of meat production, and find a place that you're ok with.

i think i'd find it hard to find and draw the line between 'cruel' and 'torturous', personally- for example: is gassing newborn chicks torture? is keeping a cow locked in a pen, in a shed, with no access to her family, torture- or is it dependant on how long she's there, or why? or is torture solely related to actual physical momentary harm like being branded or hearded with a stick, or having a number tag shot into your ear?

anway.... if you wanted to work towards a vegan diet, we could offer loads of support to help you do that!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thank you so much. Your response was very respectful, full of useful information, and I appreciate it very much. I will probably take your advice and just avoid the strenuous process or searching long and hard for a way out of not eating meat or dairy like you said... if things are the way you made them seem in the food industry, it's just more worth it to cut it all out of my diet (I think I will die without cheese, though! Ugh!) I just want to do the most research I can. Facts are always the basis for my decisions like this, but I think people's opinions are very important as well. I need to talk to people that are living it rather than just writing information about it gathered during research. Keep the responses coming.
 

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hcjen's answer was great, and she said practically everything I wanted to say


I don't know where you live, but if people near you hunt you might be able to buy meat that you are okay with from them? re: seafood - wild seafood is probably preferable wrt the suffering of the individual fishies, but of course that brings up lots of environmental concerns to do with overfishing.

I don't know what it's like in America, but I have seen that on many Scottish farms a lot of sheep are raised in a manner you might find acceptable. They are given plenty of room to run around and the lambs seem to stay with their mothers. I have seen this when out walking & when staying with a farming relative of a friend. But I know nothing of the slaughter conditions that they go through after they leave the farms and I suspect that they are not nice at all.

Welcome to VB!
 
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i was thinking about what you said about avoiding groups like Peta, and forming opinions based on propeganda and biased information. i totally get your drift here, i don't respond well to shock and guilt tactics and the like (however well meaning a strategy it is) either- i probably watched too many horror movies in my teens or something, i emotionally detach very easily, lol.

anyway, i think you'll have trouble finding a lot of totally unbiased information about production methods and 'ethical' meat production even if you do want to look for it. animal rights and vegan sites (looking to support vegetarianism and stop animal cruelty) are obviously going to paint things in a very different light than the meat and dairy industry (looking to sell meat and dairy) will.

if i was going to look around for info like this, i think i'd try and find a middle ground in my head between the worst of things, which is presented by AR groups, and how its painted up all prettily by the dairy and meat producers. untangling this isn't easy either, but if you strip out the words and phrases designed and ulitlised to placate, and those designed to inflame the emotions, and put together the cold hard facts from either side, things get clearer- something generally is what it is, regardless of how its painted to be, you know?

a peta image of a knackered out mangled looking bettery hen with feathers and toes missing living on a cage the size of a grocery store basket with a wire floor, can be presented next to a poultry industry image of a very happy looking glossy coated chicken in the same style of cage, but either way, the chickens are both in a cage without room to move, surrounded by hundred of other clucking, pooping chickens, and not wandering out into the morning sunshine anytime soon to dig for worms, roll in the dust, wander round, examine a passing bug, have a chat with its mates, and do normal chickeny things- you know? in my mind, whether or not the chicken is ill or hurt or healthy, whether she understands, knows any better, or has any idea of what she's missing, she shouldn't be in that cage any more than a cat or a child should be, however well looked after she is or isn't.

i know an aquaintence of mine actually got into vegetarianism (she's still working on it- but anyway, lol!) after reading industry websites- she was looking to find out which local restaurants served free range chicken, and in the process of finding out what 'free range' actually means when it comes to chicken, (it means sod all for eggs in the states), she ended up on some industry websites that talked about their policies and procedures for 'humane' disposal of male chicks (there was a discussion around whether it was better to put them live into a grinder by the sackful, or to gas them in sealed units) and she found some sites that explained the process of chicken slaughter quite factually without gratuitious use of statments designed to distress.

wikipedia might also have some relatively unbiased stuff, at least around the terms and standards for meat production. i found these after a quick look:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-range

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concent...ding_operation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_farming

anyway, i'll shut up now (i'm starting to sound like some weird chicken obsessed woman) - but if you decide you want to give ethical eating a shot- stick around, and ask for support, there are absolutely tonnes of people here who can help you with everything from working out how to cut out meat from your diet, dealing with cheese (it seems that a lot of people worry about quitting cheese, lol) to finding new food, eating out, adapting old recipes, what to put in your sandwiches, to how to deal with parents who think you're going to get sick and keel over from lack of 'vitamin beef' or something, relatives who disagree with your choices, and friends who might think you've gone nuts, etc etc etc.

just like anywhere else, when you're on this board, i'd say: take the stuff that helps you get where you're going, and stuff the stuff that doesn't- like in the real world, some people here are very passionate, some are very blunt, and some are just plain rude, but most are also pretty smart, supportive, kind, and helpful!

good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks again for everything you guys said. i have been printing out responses and having friends and family and vegan look at it for some input. thanks everyone!
 

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I just wanted to thank hoodedclawjen for that informative post. I am not a vegetarian yet (I'm working on it) and was looking for unbiased information. Honestly that really helped and I just wanted to say Thank you.
 

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Welcome to VB!

For information about animal welfare that isn't trying to promote vegetarianism, the RSPCA (national UK-based animal welfare organisation) has information about farm animals and farming conditions on its website. http://www.rspca.org.uk/servlet/Cont...tsandResources

I don't know of a US equivalent, but from previous reading it seems that the UK and US are fairly comparable in terms of farm animal welfare (it doesn't seem to be any worse over here than in the US, put it that way).

I can't think of an answer to the question of where it's possible to buy animal products from animals which do not suffer in some way during their production or slaughter. As has been mentioned, keeping animals in 'nice' conditions is not profitable, and even if they are raised in small, organic farms with lots of pasture, food and so on, their transport to the slaughterhouse and their experience of being killed is not likely to be a pleasant one.

There are also certain unpleasant facts about meat/milk/egg production which are unavoidable regardless of how they are presented, such as the killing of male chicks in the egg industry (the gassing/mincing alive thing is not propoganda, a friend of mine just learned about it for her master's degree in conservation management), that laying hens become worn out and unprofitable due to intensive methods after one year when their natural lifespan is around seven years, that male calves produced by the dairy industry are surplus to requirements and need to be disposed of somehow (either by immediately killing them or selling them for veal, where it's unlikely that anyone could argue their lives would involve no suffering), that cows have to give birth every year to continue to lactate at a profitable rate (even on 'nice farms'), meaning that the cows are pregnant and lactating simultaneously for nine months a year, and because of this they generally become worn out and unprofitable by about five years old and are slaughtered when their natural lifespan is around 25 years.
 

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Are you aware of the Mad Cowboy, Howard Lyman?

http://www.madcowboy.com/

Lyman used to be a rancher (so wouldn't, I assume, have a moral issue with the killing of animals in 'ideal' conditions) who found himself disturbed with the decline of family farms and went vegan.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelhair0 View Post

(I think I will die without cheese, though! Ugh!)
Cheese used to be my favorite food in the world. Almost everything I ate contained it. Double cheese pizza with no other toppings, alfredo sauce, cheesy lasagne, cheese on sandwiches, cheese by itself, cheese crackers, nachos with cheese....It's been more than two years since I've consumed it though, and I'm still alive!


You get used to it, and you learn to make wonderful things that have nothing to do with cheese. My diet is very different than it was five years ago, or even two years ago.
 
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