Food Should we all do as Monbiot says and go vegan?

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Thom Blach, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. The best way to save the planet? Drop meat and dairy | George Monbiot

    I admire Monbiot greatly but disagree with him more often than not. There are several good points in the piece though and it does seem on the whole that the production of the humanely reared meat that we winepages liberal elitists prefer is actually more damaging to the environment than that which is intensively farmed.
    I have no vegetarian proclivities whatever but increasingly find myself thinking that the slab of protein main course model of western cooking is a bit dull, particularly when that slab is denuded of skin, bones and connective tissue in a way that denies its origins, and wondering whether this is the way we should eat every day. In the end I think that in our society food has become too cheap and we do not value it enough, which is also connected to the widespread diseases of excess that we see nowadays.
  2. So we need more vegan food in order to accommodate more human beings on planet earth and we must reduce the number of cows because it is a choice between cows and human beings?...
    Agree on your point about cooking dullness at times... a powerful motivator
  3. That isn't by any means the only dubious assumption he makes, Antoine.
    The idea that we need more vegan ready meals etc. seems to me to fail completely to understand the problems of our current relationship with and lack of respect for food.
    Fintan Kerr likes this.
  4. Personally I prefer to have more cows. In general they are passive creatures just getting on with living - humans on the other hand....
    Gareth Powell likes this.
  5. Seems an ok article. We know that population growth will plateau somewhere between 9 and 11 billion people and we also know that with the area under cultivation right now we can feed c. 10 billion people - as long as a huge percentage of that area wouldn't be used to feed livestock. Eating animals is an extraordinary waste of surface area that could be used better. I'm sorry, but if we care about feeding everyone, we must drastically reduce meat consumption.

    But one thing I don't like in the discourse is that veganism and vegeterianism are presented as individual choices we can do to help the world when in fact this is a structural issue. The very structures of food production mean that we're given massive choices of meat and dairy and fish and very few easily had vegan choices. So I think a good structural solution would be to ban factory farming of animals as that will force more sustainable food production on us.
  6. I quite agree about structural solutions being desirable, but here in Ealing there are very many food items available which contain no animal products. Are things so very different in Helsinki?
  7. Since we have excelllent fruit and vegetables, and poor quality meat here, I’m more or less Vegan on a day to day basis (the idea of Dairy farming in the desert seems nuts).

    However the deep and wide variety of Indian food makes it very easy.

    I’m a member of a Vegan Facebook group here to get ideas on outlets. But the main focus seems to be on processed meat substitutes. Which totally misses the point IMHO.
  8. There are gladly increasing amounts of genuinely good vegan food available (we even have a vegan option at McDonalds being tried out in Finland and Sweden). But the point is that meat is so ingrained in our minds (in western societies at least) that no meaningful change will happen just through more variety becoming available. That's why we need a huge structural shift in food production.

    I mean I am fully sympathetic of the vegan cause. Vegan arguments are superior and science is on veganism's side. But I like meat. And though I've drastically reduced my meat consumption, I still haven't been able to go vegan because I'm a bad human being and I like meat. It's yummy. So even if an SJW like myself can't do it based on science and logic, most others can't either. So there's also this argument from psychology for why drastic structural changes are needed. :D
    johnny Shek likes this.
  9. I think there has been a meaningful change already in the U.K., from what I read.

    I don’t really see it as a black and white issue, and many will give up milk but have the odd piece of chocolate etc. Flexitarian is a horrible phrase but well suited to more and more.
  10. Yes, move to Chennai and soon you'll forget meat was ever an option. And I mean that in most positive way!
  11. It does, and they are disgusting. On the other hand I really like Chinese soya and wheat gluten products very much indeed on their own terms.I suspect they are very bad for us in their unfermented forms, unfortunately.
  12. Science is NOT at veganism's side. Different reports need to be read and interpreted carefully, case by case. Whilst in general, some, actually most of vegan websites really need to stop promoting pseudo science/low quality or partial scientific reports.
    Thom Blach likes this.
  13. I think there is little doubt that we are designed to consume animal products. The same can of course be said of religion.
    Antoine Singer and Jeremy Caan like this.
  14. I think there’s a lot of doubt that we were designed. But that’s a different topic. :)
  15. Your change of tense makes all the difference, Russell!
    Antoine Singer likes this.
  16. Po-yu, I do agree that many pop vegan sites are anti-scientific rubbish and make lots of baseless claims. But the science about cultivated area and the need for a massive reduction in human meat consumption if we want to feed 10 billion humans is pretty robust. Please don't dismiss veganism because of the very worst arguments you see for it.
  17. I got your point Otto. While veganism is not 'designed' for solving the problem you mentioned. For example, honey bees in honey industry have more positive impact on plant food production than negative impact. Or further, in sense of providing protein which is essential for human, entomophagy uses much less energy and lands and produces less waste than veganism. Actually, certain kind of fish/shrimp farming might produce less polution than plant farming, especially if you calculate the efficiency of protein productivity. Purely from substantiality aspect, veganism is not the best answer.
  18. Protein requirements are massively overestimated by most people. I get 50% of my daily needs from my oats at breakfast.
  19. Well, Po, honey bees are a thing of the past. Bees Population in France is down 80% according to today's French news thanks to inoffensive crop protection products. Animal species including birds also sharply decreasing...

    Veganism is certainly not good for health according to my wife (she is a doctor with specialties nutritionism and endocrinology) unless it is complemented by food supplements (minerals and vitamins).

    Otto, You could also take preventive action. it is claimed an inhabitant of Western Europe consumes 10 times more energy than an inhabitant in Africa. This ratio probably increases probably to 15 if one resides in Finland. You could also relocate to Zimbabwe in order to help manage 15 more humans on planet earth...

    The idea that we should design our life and the life of others in order to accommodate the maximum humans on planet earth at the expense of all other animal species is frightening.
    Joel Hopwood likes this.
  20. The humans are going to be here anyway so we have to find a way to do minimal damage to nature while feeding all of us. We don't need to convert any more rainforest to farmland to do this - the best thing for all other species is to move to vegetarian diets and to use scientific farming techniques.

    I cannot believe that you would really advocate that we let people starve because you happen to think there's too many of us on this planet. Please tell me I misunderstood you?
    johnny Shek likes this.
  21. Antoine, many doctors really know very little about diet and nutrition.

    I suspect at least as great a proportion of non vegans are in need of supplements as vegans due to their poor diet. I had very thorough tests and all I was suggested was a B12 jab. It was borderline but since it lasts 24 months I took it. Though admittedly I don’t have a 100% vegan diet.
  22. That's two different arguments. Protein is absolutely essential (how much and what kind it should be is another issue), from animal or from plant. While I was talking about the efficiency of producing protein and the natural resources required for different methods/kinds of food.
    Actually, either because I am a biologist or it's actually the case, I found the problematic 'scientific evidences' appear on vegan websites are mostly about physiology related to animal/plant protein intake.
  23. Perhaps you know a study ranking beef, chicken, insects and plants?
  24. I remember saw that kind of things and then found it seemly has tricky statistics. But I am sure there are more than one. If the basic datas are 'picked and choosen', this kind of ranking is less reliable than champagne score ranking.
    But feel free to post the link so that we all get educated. ;)
  25. I don’t have an answer I’m afraid. But it seems logically more efficient to eat grains than to feed much more grain to cows,then eat the cows.

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