Damn Herb and his Whores

Art by: Kevin Bolk

By: A.B. Thomas

“I’ve decided that I am gonna be one of those Herb whores.”

Those were the first words spoken to me by the eight year old as I put his dinner plate down in front of him.

“Sounds good – not too many kids your age have a career plan,” I said as I sat down, “Does he have a benefit package?”

The boy’s upper lip curled up as his nose scrunched up with a look of confusion. I had, apparently, not given the response that he had expected and thought it best to clarify the matter.

“I ain’t gonna to eat meat,” he added.

“Well, Herb’s not going to like that one bit – I imagine that there are certain expectations of service in Herb whores, you know.” There was a large exhalation of air from a small set of lungs.

“I mean I ain’t gonna eat, you know, animals,” as if his words perhaps were too large for me to comprehend he mimed a cougar lunging out at the unsuspecting broccoli that sat blissfully on his plate.

“Oh”, I replied as I looked at the moose steak sitting in a lovely pond of its own juices upon my plate. The nine year old brother thought that I had not fully understood what his little brother had just informed me, decided he should shower me with his knowledge of all things worldly.

“You see, he wants to be a herbs whore an’ eat vega…vegit..vegitables…but I’m a carni whore, I like meat an’ bones an’ skin an’ blood!” To show his vapid adherence to his statement, he shoved his entire piece of moose steak into his mouth and growled like what I suspect he thought sounded like a lion but through the meat filter came across like a jogging asthmatic attempting to wade through a swamp filled with thick sludge. The six year old didn’t add anything to the conversation; he was far too busy drawing a smiley face in his ketchup with his tongue.

The boys’ mother, never one satisfied to let someone else drive the knife through a person’s eye socket chose to take a sledge hammer to the tip of the hilt in order to ensure that the blade had broken through the back of my skull.

“The word you’re looking for, honey, is vegetarian.”

I felt flush at the use of that…that…word in my presence.

“Don’t you use that kind of language in front of the kids!” I demanded, “That’s the kind of talkin’ a boy learns under the monkey bars at school or from cable.”

All sets of eyes were on me for the briefest of seconds, it was deathly quiet – with the exception of the nine year old who was choking on the over abundant half chewed moose meat that was overflowing out of his mouth. Their mother repeated the offensive word to which the eight year old repeated; I checked to ensure the kitchen window was closed lest one of the neighbors heard the child saying it and reporting it to children’s services.

Vegetarian. I’ve been told a lot of things in my life; the preacher informing the folks that I wasn’t welcome at the church, my best friend telling me he was gay, that Elvis had passed away, that the Liberals won another election but none of these could have prepared me for this.

“Well I suppose I could drop you off in a pasture an hour before school then pick you up….”

“Hush!” his mother growled through clenched teeth at me from across the table then put her hand on the boy’s without taking her glare off of me.  “WE ARE GOING TO SUPPORT YOU HOWEVER WE CAN, AREN’T WE?” Funny how women can do that; make a statement of fact and make it sound as if there’s an inkling of choice involved in the matter.

I recall only bits and pieces afterwards of the conversation the boys had about omnivores, carnivores, herbivores and vegetarians; the force of the salt shaker to my temple after a few “moos” of opinion that I had given resulted in some disorientation.  The downside of this condition was that the drool running down my chin watered the gravy on the potatoes considerably.  The upside was that I had the illusion of eating two moose steaks from the temporary double vision I was experiencing.

It is said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions but sometimes I am of the opinion that it is tarred by forced supportive gestures.  The next afternoon I was the tar as I took the eight year old to the supermarket. His mother was worried that a growing child needs some form of protein and it was delegated to me to take the boy to investigate meat alternatives that he would like to try on his journey of becoming a cow. At first I didn’t have high hopes for this mission; I had told many a tired looking woman sitting alone at the bar in the past that I would generously provide an all natural protein shake to pick their spirits up to no avail, but then I did recall several of these women saying they would prefer something they picked up at the store, thank you very much.

It was if I had stepped onto another planet as we entered the soy product aisle; gone were the familiar and welcoming brand names into a land where the word “faux” harkened to the edge of the sputtering volcano its followers. I could now empathise with those who survived “Agent Orange” attacks while their neighbors suffered, emasculated soul after emasculated soul stood listlessly as they squinted eyes hidden deep within their sockets at the packages.

I tried to slow my pace down to a shuffle to avoid harming any of these creatures but a pony tailed man had gotten trapped in the draft from my gait. I heard the sounds of bones snapping accompanied by a voice on the store intercom calling for a clean up in aisle one. I had to wipe a tear away from my eye as I watched what once would have been a women until the fibre, not satisfied with simply flushing her system had flushed away most of her muscle and tendon, crawled slowly on the floor pushing a packet of tofu with her forehead towards the check out counter muttering, “Yessss, preciousssss, I havessss you now, yessss, preciousssss”.

There was a crowd of these poor tortured souls looking forlorn at one of the coolers.  As I got closer I saw what had caused their sadness: on one of the coolers a sick twisted son of a bitch market manager had put a door upon it.  I know I shouldn’t have done it, much like you don’t feed a bear since they are more likely to come back, but I gave a smile and pushed the door open. The gates of Heaven opened for those folks as they fell to the floor and wept. I took out a piece of elk jerky, took a bite, nodded, and continued on.  As the boy and I walked over to one of the other coolers I heard whispers of how for years they would never forget that they had been there for the second coming of the Messiah.

With trepidation I peeked into the cooler, half expecting to see a hand come up from under the white plastic to pull me into meatless hell.  It was not as bad as I expected, the pictures on the packaging looked as if the contents were appetizing. As we went from faux chicken breasts that looked like chicken breasts, faux chicken strips that looked like chicken strips, faux wieners that looked, well, let’s be realistic, as good as a wiener can look, and faux turkey I couldn’t help but feel that soy producers just may be the sneakiest sons of bitches on the planet.  Politicians could learn from these people; wanna-be cassanovas could take lessons on how to woo the unsuspecting targets of their affections from those masters of deception. I don’t want to talk about the price of this stuff – it’s far too depressing to think of how many cuts of red meat I could buy for the price of a small package of stuff made from what I usually dump into the mulch pile every time I mow the lawn.

The boy and I talked it over and he decided that we would try the product that from the package cover resembled a juicy hamburger. As I picked up our intended purchase my chest tightened, sweat beaded on my forehead, I sensed something – something that I had not felt since the last family dinner I had attended years ago. I turned to see him standing at the edge of the aisle – my uncle.

Don’t get me wrong, my uncle isn’t evil…intentionally, but running into him at this particular spot was akin to walking out of a peep show with a used tissue in your hand and running into your mother. You can’t deny where you were, you can’t say, “oops” and laugh it off and it doesn’t help matters when you pretend to be blowing your nose and end up being a little more plugged up than you were initially. My uncle is a rancher through and through; you don’t grow crops to eat, you grow crops to feed it to the livestock that you then kill the livestock and eat them, getting your grains through their meat. I am probably no better than he is, but I do like to fool myself into believing that I am somewhat culinary androgynous.  My uncle however, is strictly meat and potatoes and made no bones about expressing his opinion on the matter when someone was foolish enough to bring it up in conversation. I thought perhaps that just once I would catch a lucky break.  Nope.

I saw him; he saw me – more to the point he saw what I held in my hand.  His eyes narrowed.

“Doin’ a little shopping?” his voice said menacingly, daring me to answer yes.

I let out a nervous laugh and coughed, hoping to buy some time to come up with a reasonable yet manly enough sounding explanation for such an overt violation of Nature’s way. The eight year old opted to speak out at the very moment I had run out of options and about to lay my head on the wooden neck rest of the guillotine.

“I’m gonna be a veternarian!” he said excitedly, “An’ we’re pickin’ out stuff!”

My uncle continued to icily look at the bastardization of all that was holy in my hand.

“A veternarian, eh?” he asked the boy suspiciously. “So what’s with….that.”  I quickly stepped up to the plate to save any unpleasant minor-ness innocent pulling the blade’s rope.

“Attack hamsters,” I said.

“Attack hamsters?” he echoed back to me.

“Well, sure! Think about it – a decent guard dog takes up too much room but a hamster…” I held up the faux hamburger, “This is the first step – making the hamsters identify meat as food. Through the use of operant conditioning…we introduce this into their environment so that they can accommodate the shape of this stuff as an alternate to their food pellets.   Then we feed them real meat so they develop a taste for it…then, uh, we market them as mousers who are able to go where the mouse could go and promote the ankle biting capabilities.”

My uncle looked blankly at me for a moment.

“Why not  just get a cat,” he asked.

I was taken aback, and quite frankly, just a shade shy of being miffed – for forty years I had only heard him use the word “fucker” for any animal that he had spoken about.  Dog: “mangy fucker”, horse: “fast fucker”, pig: “mean assed fucker”, chicken: “feather fucker”.  Growing up I had even evolved with the same descriptor; when I was just knee high to a bee I was a “rambunctious fucker”, then as a young lad, a “fucker of a whip”  as a teenager, a “mouthy fucker”– how dare he decide at that very moment to suddenly develop a noun specific vocabulary? Sneaky fucker.

My uncle looked at the boy, gave a nod.

“Good luck on becomin’ a veternarian. Tell your mother I said hello,” then with a distasteful looking glare aimed at me, added, “And to hide the bottles a little better.”  With that he turned and walked back the way he came from.

I put my hand on the boy’s shoulder and said, “Let’s go home”.

I cooked up the “hamburger” for dinner that night, and just as Caligula would have done, the boy’s mother had ordered that we all would enjoy the experience of a meatless repast. We sat down at the table watching to see who would be the first to take a bite.  It ended up being me – which was fine by me, I had laced my burger with a large glob of bacon grease.  I slowly chewed my burger and once it was clear that I was not going to have a seizure, the rest began to eat their own meals.

Afterward I asked the eight year old what he thought of his first meatless hamburger.  I hate to admit it but I got sorta misty eyed as he responded, “You know, I think I’m going to be a half herb whore, if that’s all right.”

28 Comments on “Damn Herb and his Whores”

  1. I feel for you man. We tried tried being a vegitarian family for a couple of years much to my reluctance. We found it difficult in many ways. First it was more expensive. Our food costs doubled monthly. Second. How to be creative in the kitchen to get the kids to choke down thier TVP (texturized vegitable product) tacos. By the way. Stay away from that stuff. It’s unnatural. Anyway, we stuck with our experiment. We did feel better and had more energy. But the cravings for meet persisted. I felt like a 30 year heroin addict going cold turkey without a sobriety plan. No denying it. I’m a meat eater. I hunt and kill my meat. I prefer with a bow and arrow. Up close and personal. Levels the playing field. I gut and package the meat myself. I’m not a trophy hunter. I have a deep respect for nature. I commend you for being a good dad and supporting your kid in his endeavor. By the way. Really digged the Lord of the Rings reference. Good laugh.

  2. My husband and I tried this for a while….we bought Soy Scramble for tacos and spaghetti sauce and found it not bad, “Grillers” were also attempted and while I could fool myself in to thinking “not so bad” by adding tomatoes, lettuce, pickles and onion, my husband only said “very bad”. After a time we gave up and ate red meat. What else are our canine teeth for?

  3. Half Herb Whore was the way our creator intended us to be, otherwise he would have grown animals made of soy. I nevercould understand making vegetable things look like meat, it’s akin to drinking non-alcoholic beer.

  4. With all due respect to Neo’s piece, why not just be strong enough to say “I want to eat meat.” The whole “I can’t…” argument is bullshit. I turned my back on meat and never looked back after 30 years of enjoying hamburgers (with hard pieces of bone or god knows what else was in it) I just think it’s presumptuous of the human race to claim that they were “meant” to eat meat because of the shape of their teeth. Grainne, if there is a creator and God really intended people to eat animals, why did he instill fear in animals? Why did he instill some form of consciousness and memory in animals? Why did he instill pain and love in the animal species? All you can truly “prove” is that most of humankind currently enjoys the taste of meat and so they eat it.

    So stop rationalizing your decisions based on some hypothetical logic. Stop feeling guilty for killing something’s mother and shoving its ass in your face and down your throat. Stop feeling guilty for subjecting animals to hormone-pumped, concentration camp-like harvesting and just admit that you enjoy eating other species. Last but not least kill your dog when you get hungry and eat it. It’s only fair.

    I was mute on this subject until Grainne dragged ‘the creator’ into this.
    Personally, I think people like to rationalize on this subject because they don’t want to admit their animal racism. You know, the whole it’s okay to eat cow and pig but not cool to boil kittens or poodles.

    Just admit your flaws, meat eaters, and be proud of it. 😀

  5. Our anatomical equipment teeth, jaws, and digestive system actually favors a fleshless diet. But it’s our god given right to eat another living being because all things are put here for man right? Geesh, we have a high opinion of ourselves.

    I’ve been a vegetarian for coming up on, oh, 15 years. My eyes are bright, my skin beautiful, my hair down to my waist and healthy. I could probably arm wrestle this writer to the ground. Vegetarians on average also live longer, so in the end, say what you like, but I’ll get the last word. And it will be Ha-Ha! Because in the end I’d rather be on a journey of becoming a cow, then on a journey of becoming a graveyard for flesh.

  6. “The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of “real food for real people” you’d better live real close to a real good hospital.” ~Neal Barnard

  7. Vegetarians are okay with me, just as long as they don’t try to push their diets on me. It’s a big world and there’s room for everyone.

  8. Mitch, you are right I was being flippant with the creator comment. I do like meat for meat itself, I have shot and butchered deer, whose spirit I thanked by the way and not flippantly. I also enjoy a wide range of vegitarian fare, and if starving, my dog may be a viable option.

    I do however stand by the statement that it is silly to make TVP or soy look like little chicken cutlets.

  9. Grainnerhuad- In my opinion people have been conditioned to eat meat, so the fake substitutes help when quitting. It’s like people who have smoked for the last 30 years, might need some nicorrett gum to help them stop the habit. Some vegetarians also point to the fact that the deathless alternatives can be darn right tasty, and most people crave the seasoning, the charcoal smell, the bbq sauce, and not the actual flavor of the flesh itself, and thus it gives you the sensations you “grew up on”

    I will say, in the veg community there can be some argument over this as well. They say you are eating meat in “spirit” I say…nothing died for my tofu dog, so no harm no foul.

  10. I fail to see just what the big deal is – no matter what you eat, unless you are some kind of photo/chemosynthetic lifeform you have to kill something to get your food. The only question is what life do you kill to get your next meal: since I see no lifeform as being instrinsically more valuable than any other than any other I find the whole carnivore vs. vegitarian debate moot – you all kill something to eat!

    So let’s just put this nonsense behind us and just eat what you like.

  11. I think not.

    Have you ever been to a slaughter house? Have you ever heard sheep scream? Have you ever watched blood gushing out of a throat? Or seen real FEAR in these animals stuck in hell? Electro-shocking them so they are immobile. Have you seen cows shit themselves in terror?

    The distinguishing characteristic between animals and plants/bacteria/rocks is that animals are conscious beings capable of feeling pain and suffering. Animals are capable of feeling a desire to live. When you kick a rock, you do not have to worry that you have offended the rock. Or wonder if you have injured it. Rocks are incapable of such feelings. If I kicked a dog, it would feel pain, it would cry out, it would fight back, it would run away.

    Plants lack any semblance of a central nervous system or any other system design for such complex capacities as that of a conscious suffering from felt pain. Even if we hypothetically discovered that plants do indeed feel pain, to minimize the number of plants which are killed, we should still become vegetarian.
    This is because plants have to be fed to the livestock, and meat production is extremely inefficient. Only a small fraction of the food which is eaten by animals is converted into meat for human consumption. Therefore, by eating meat, not only do we cause animal death and suffering, we also end up killing many more plants than we would if we ate a vegetarian diet.

    Wouldn’t it be something if a “superior” alien race came down and started munching on humans. Because they have a God given right, and hey, just because humans are screaming out in pain, fighting back, I don’t see what the big deal is. No worries, they are just putting the nonsense behind them, and eating “what they like”

  12. [quote=Devil Doll]Have you ever been to a slaughter house? Have you ever heard sheep scream? Have you ever watched blood gushing out of a throat? Or seen real FEAR in these animals stuck in hell? Electro-shocking them so they are immobile. Have you seen cows shit themselves in terror? [/quote]

    Actually, I have – and I really couldn’t give a damn. Anything that realizes that the end is nigh will experience a moment of existential terror before being snuffed out of existence: the same things happens to animals killed in the wild by carnivorous beasts.

    [quote=Devil Doll]Wouldn’t it be something if a “superior” alien race came down and started munching on humans. Because they have a God given right, and hey, just because humans are screaming out in pain, fighting back, I don’t see what the big deal is. No worries, they are just putting the nonsense behind them, and eating “what they like”[/quote]

    1. The whole concept of the “god-given right” is a load of bullshit – the fact of the matter is that it is simply natural for the strong to feed upon the weak (it’s a large part of how natural selection works – nature iusn’t the tranquil, loving “mother earth” our popular culture celebrates; it’s a vicious killer that only spares those who have the power to adapt to the means nature uses to kill life off).

    2. Assuming that some other species came down and started hunting humans my first reaction would be to grab my firearms and be sure to kill them before they kill me or my own – I care nothing for this thing called “humanity” in general, but I’ll kill anything or anyone I have to in order to protect me and those close to me.

  13. This was not the kind of reaction I expected to this article at all. I realize that I may have been a tad cruel to those who choose the non-meat route, but I was referring to the whack jobs that don’t understand balance – such as the “cast no shadow” groups of vegans. Come on – you only eat things that don’t cast a shadow, like a carrot? Look at the friggin’ spring of leaves, they cast shadows or because you decapitate them it makes it alright? I like meat, I don’t care if someone thinks less of me because of that, I’ve done a lot worse stuff so I figure its that’s the flaw that’s going to be shouted out as my failing, I’m doing pretty damn good. I have eaten dog, didn’t like it, it was too gritty. I haven’t eat any cats per se, but I’ve certainly eaten a damn lot of pu….ahem, sorry about that, often I only have two responses that my behaviour outwardly acts upon and since they both start with “h” and end in “y” it is only natural that a simplistic guy like myself gets them mixed up often.

    Could I possibly interject a hypothesis? I beg to differ that there is a difference between the domestication of animals and the domestication of plants for dietary purposes. We define sentience according to how it relates to how the human being experiences it, yet can we truly discount the existence of other forms of sentience alien to our own? We communicate verbally and non verbally and to animals we credit characteristics of this to other animal species because we relate these to our own. Think of the Africans who use a series of clicks and such to communicate – are they lesser because they do not use the structures of our own language? It was enough to lessen the darker peoples into slavery for white masters and mistresses, correct? We attribute worth as how it could be applied to us.

    The point was made that animals have a central nervous system while plants do not. Animals separate oxygen from the air and exhale carbon dioxide; plants separate carbon dioxide from the air and exhale oxygen. We bleed red blood; animals bleed red blood therefore they are the same as us. Plants ooze clear or amber-ish sap, they are different. Does not the sap run in a system of veins, does not sap carry out the same functions as our own blood? Animals to procreate need a male and a female component; are not plants the same, only the system of delivery and containment of the genetic information is different. Could it not be plausible that as plants seem to be the yang to our yin, there is a yet unidentified floral central nervous system? Plants do have senses – do they not react to day/night, heat/cold, pressure, touch? It is our own arrogance to pronounce that as there is no identified ocular or audition artifices that are identical to our own, it would be irrational to preclude the non-existence based on our own limited knowledge of alien biology. It could be genetic memory or is it conditioned responses that have a similar reaction to sensory input in plants? Plants live and die on biological processes – as do animals. How many legal arguments have been made in courts over long-term coma patients as to whether they are alive?

    The other point I would like to make is that by claiming that vegetarians are not guilty of the sin of human arrogance of dominion over animals, in my opinion, is ludicrous. How many species of bestial territory and the accompanying animals have been eradicated in favour of farmland? How many animals and their offspring have been terminated in the name of grain or rice? For that matter, how many species of plants have been removed from the Earth in the name of horticulture? I may be a hick but I don’t see Mother Nature being as organized to put the same species of plant in a square pattern. Rationalize it how you will, but what it comes down to that mankind, and womankind, are killers – be it quadpedal, bipedal, finned, or rooted, we slaughter because we want to.

    As for the assumption that I could be beaten in an arm wrestle – that could possibly be the truth since I have no real use or interest in that sport. Now if you said that I could be beaten in a chocolate pudding wrestling contest, well that may be a different story. Especially if Billy Idol is doing the music score with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy providing the colour commentary.
    “Well, it looks like ol’ A.B. took one to the ‘nads there, wouldn’t you say, Leonard?”
    “Well, Bill, you would certainly know more about that than I would. You know what these two need?”
    “Here we go again – okay, what do you think they need.”
    “Whales, Bill, whales would make them see that this violence is senseless.”
    “For the love of all that’s holy, Leonard – all I said that I wished that there was more Kingon and less you mind melding with a fish.”
    “Whales aren’t fish, Bill…and if you look at the numbers, more people saw the movies I directed than yours.”
    “Uh, well, yeah….but look at what’s going on now…what the hell are you up to? I’m doing a friggin’ fibre challenge commercials!”
    “That’s because you’re full of sh….”

    I guess perhaps two other people would be better as commentators.

  14. @Christopher

    So, basically…
    According to you, cannibalism is alright.
    We’re all just animals correct? The strong prey upon the weak correct?
    I see myself as stronger than you. I’m gonna kill you.
    I decide to become a homicidal maniac. There’s nothing wrong with it no?
    From what I take from your argument, Killing anything is alright. Why do we have laws against murder? Who knows.
    Killing animals in the masses. Raising animals to be killed in the masses.
    You’re saying other animals don’t have families? Just because they cannot really do anything to stop us, doesn’t mean that they don’t want to.

  15. To Christopher- I suppose I won’t care to continue a discussion with someone who doesn’t give a damn.

    A.B. Thomas- I love the whole attitude of this article basically calling vegetarians, and yes stated again in the comment “Whack jobs”

    My philosophy on diet and plants is based on current science. I love how someone who wants to justify their meat eating – their first response in a debate is always “you kill too” aka “the plant argument”. The topic is animals, but meat eaters never want to talk long about that. It is not a theory that animals feel pain. It is not a “what if” it is fact. So based on that fact, and yes, being able to put myself in another species shoes, I make my decision not to kill, harm, or eat them. As far as limited knowledge of alien biology, how can you not conclude that the plant isn’t begging to be eaten then? It’s as likely as any of the theories you’ve pointed out. Plants have no legs, no way to escape, they couldn’t run from a predator, they couldn’t escape the flames of a forest fire. There is no survival advantage to them feeling pain. So since it is currently just a bunch of theories, putting myself in the plants shoes, indeed as far as I can relate to them, and understand, since that is all anyone can try to do, study, learn, progress- I currently do not feel guilt about eating them. If and when science proves otherwise, I may have to rethink my eating habits. But as pointed out in my other comment, fewer plants would die from a vegetarian diet then a meat based diet in the end anyway. (This is because plants have to be fed to the livestock, and meat production is extremely inefficient. Only a small fraction of the food which is eaten by animals is converted into meat for human consumption.)

    As far as farming, horticulture etc, I am all for going back to the basics. Humankind as we stand now is like a plague spreading over the land and destroying most everything we touch, including the very planet we inhabit. I never said I was blameless, or that I don’t wish things could be different. I’m also far from perfect. What I am saying is that I can make changes, slow changes, as that it seems is all mankind can do, I can TRY. I’m not of the opinion nor do I understand it, that if I can’t stop everything all at once, fix it all overnight, you might as well screw it all and continue killing everything you can. Since I can’t prove plants do/don’t feel pain, I might as well eat animals? Sorry, that logic makes no sense to me. We don’t slaughter because we want to – want and need are separate things. I would never argue someone starving who kills for survival, be it the animal side or the human side. But fat lazy Americans stuffing their faces with another slab of beef that they simply WANT and don’t need, and who gave no consideration to where the animal came from or what it went through, is disgusting to me.

    And of course all the “whack job” vegetarians are to blame for slavery too, might as well throw that point in there. More then likely I’d be on the side, arguing that all men areequal, that slaves could feel the sting of your whip, feel pain, and you’d be on the other side arguing the damn plants again.

    ”And the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.” ~Leonardo da Vinci

  16. Hell, I’ve been a vegetarian for seven years and I’m healthier, feel better physically, it’s even cheaper for my budget. I’ve also raised a perfectly healthy vegetarian child, and she loved the food.

    I do it out of compassion for these mass-produced genetically engineered lifeforms whoses existences are a nightmare by ANY fucken standard, but mostly, I do it out of sheer environmental concern. It’s logical. It’s not a matter of debate. The meat industry is wasteful of our scant ressources and pollutes on a scale you can’t possibly conceive.

    All these social-darwinist arguments about the foodchain and humans having this inherent right to gut and plunder is just the same anthropocentric arrogance that has led the way to global destruction since the Neolithic revolution.

    If this was a hunter-gatherer society, in the same Earth that existed 100,000 years ago, I’d be more than happy to run around hunting with the group. But this is the world we live in. And you have to deal with the facts.

    Now, there’s nearly seven billion of us, and most of the ecosystems are shot to hell, and we should take the most logical steps to avoid catastrophe.

    But then, the American way is to pump gas, suck down those cheeseburgers and jump full speed ahead…. into a brick wall.

  17. [quote=sleek11]So, basically…
    According to you, cannibalism is alright.[/quote]

    The very concepts of “right” and “wrong” and all derivitives of them (including “alright”) are completely meaningless to me – all that really matters is whether or not cirsumstances compell one to the act and the individual has the strength to see it through. All “moral” judgements regarding the actions in question are made post hoc.

    [quote=sleek11]We’re all just animals correct?[/quote]

    Yes – we are basically sentient apes.

    [quote=sleek11]The strong prey upon the weak correct?[/quote]

    That’s the reality of nature – one which “civilized” people like to either ignore or downplay because it hurts their artificial sense of security.

    [quote=sleek11]I see myself as stronger than you. I’m gonna kill you.[/quote]

    You can try – but I doubt that you are stronger than my 12-guage.

    [quote=sleek11]I decide to become a homicidal maniac. There’s nothing wrong with it no?[/quote]

    Once again, I reject such concepts as “right” and “wrong” – these are created after the act has been commited and society has acribed a judgement to them.

    To answer the rest of your post would get rather repetative since you continue to based your arguments on the social fiction of “morality.”

  18. Raven- amen.

    Sleek11- Some good points, but I wouldn’t waste too much time arguing Chris, he is basically preaching about a sociopath disorder.

  19. Morality well may be a social fiction. I can see the logic of a survival of the fittest theory. The problem is, mankind has evolved to a much higher degree of consciousness, or at the very least, of worldwide communication with so called lesser species. We don’t speak the same language as other animals, but we are capable of viewing these creatures as other beings that have emotion and an enjoyment of life.

    Does our increased awareness bring on any sense of responsibility? We alone seem to be capable of demonstrating compassion and aid to lesser species, and rejecting a philosophy based on perceived moral grounds. Some, though not all of these moral grounds have precedent; the “illusion” of compassion we give ourselves. Nevertheless, if our actions involve the sparing of another being’s life, then perhaps we have build up some good karma with nature.

    Does karma or God really exist? Maybe, maybe not. But here’s the basest argument: our actions will reap appropriate consequences. If we make a life of living “survival of the fittest” we will one day succumb to a stronger organism; the species that demonstrates compassion will make many more friends in life. The kinder species will learn how adapt, how to co-exist, compromise and enjoy a non-violent life. Meanwhile the aggressive species will fight to his death.

    How does this apply with humans and lesser animals, animals that presumably (but not certainly) have no cognizance? Maybe with the whole eating meat lifestyle which leads to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, mad cow disease, food poisoning, genetic mutations, etc. You reap what you sow, or in this case, take in the bad stuff along with your tasty meal.

  20. @Devil Doll – The fact that you give up and try to write me off as a “sociopath” (such a thing does not exist without society declaring such a thing into being, BTW) shows that you lack a strong counter-argument.

    @The Late Warren Mitchell – All lifestyles eventually end in death – rather than focus on trying to extend my brief period of time as long as possible (a common response to human existential terror of their inevitable demise) I focus instead on living in the now: and right now the individuals (and species) that dominate the planet are those that know how to best exploit their circumstances – that includes the ability to use other lifeforms as tools to achieve the desired ends.

    And what of the future? I say that there is no “future” as the common person understands it – as one who has a deterministic outlook on life, I argue that what most people think of as “future” is already set in stone: whatever will be will be and their’s nothing we can do about it but prepare ourselves to face it. For me, that means securing as many resources as possible and planning an escape route when “civilization” finally crumbles. Beyond that, there’s little else anyone can do: having “friends” in the non-human animal community will be of very limited value when all hell breaks loose…

  21. Devil Doll, obviously I have hit some nerve; this was not the intention of this article, and quite frankly, food choice is a matter of taste and this junction in our society (and hopefully Raven doesn’t take exception to this) science is just a universally agreed assumption of what is that is subject to change at any time. We have the ability to synthesize all of the nutrients that are presumed to make a person healthy yet grocery stores are packed with selections that are not necessary but a want. That was the point I was making with the need/want comment.

    The other point I would like to express is that yes, you are a whack job, as am I, as is everyone…with the exception of the great Late Mitchell Warren, of course, who as well as being incredibly good looking, charming and debonair, holds the singular title of sanity in an insane world – damn it, why is it when I am kissing the boss’s butt I end up with toilet paper stuck in my whiskers? – He does make a good point with morality; it is belief that drives our behaviour and the strength in that belief makes one wish to be congruent with their lifestyle choices. It is only natural that one wishes to defend these beliefs when faced with an opposing view. I applaud that people take a stand on something they believe in but I also think that if a person doesn’t have those beliefs challenged on occasion they become lesser than what they should be to that person. As another excuse to make for my article I would like to say that for the past three weeks I have been subjected to “The Muppets” character, “Beaker” interpretation of “Ode to Joy” from Youtube before any coffee has passed through my lips….I am not a well man….

  22. lol Only you could bring Beeker into the conclusion of a science-morality discussion.

  23. My husband is the only sane person in the world? …..boy are we in trouble. Just kidding, dear 😀

    And no, not a nerve, I defend everything I feel strongly about with full gusto. I know science is ever evolving, which is why I have no opinion set in stone, and don’t mind any belief being brought into question.

  24. amusing story. kinda sums up how middle america understands vegetarians.

    vegan food is actually cheaper than omni food (1lb of veggies vs. 1lb meat). and protein is literally in every food – thus the building blocks of life. the average vegan meal has 20 grams of protein. there has never been a reported protein deficiency in a vegan in all of america, because it doesn’t happen. theres as much protein in a cup of oatmeal as an egg (6 grams). authorities in medicine today agree that at all stages of life, vegan food is perfectly healthy even for athletes.

    and most vegans dont really eat TVP. its one of the transitional novelty foods. also called omnisubs (omnivorous substitutions). they help people who haven’t yet learned how to cook, though casein addiction from cheese takes time to wean from, everything else drops away nicely and easily when you learn to prepare for yourself a mouthwatering meal.

    i can attest, as a vegan athlete an amazing chef, that i DONT eat food that tastes gross (i worked for 3 years as a chef in a restaurant – i know how to cook and i know what tastes good).

    and i build muscle way faster than my self esteem is comfortable with (i’m female so i’m constantly battling the bulkiness that happens naturally, because i’d rather be sexy-frail-skinny than body-builder-muscular). last blood analysis i got showed i had normal levels of everything (including proteins) except for a small excess of calcium.

    so you guys can say what you will and argue til you’re blue in the face, but your stereotypical view of a vegetarian is only a cultural stereotype and not reflected in reality.

  25. @Genevieve – that’s actually very interesting information about cheese addiction. Being a cheese lover I thank you for that, cheese being one of the hardest things for me to cut out of my diet the few times I’ve tried it. Having that info makes me understand it in a different way.

  26. Brilliantly put, Genevieve.

    Interesting, that cheese thing, I managed to get completely over meat (even the smell of barbecue!) in about six months, but cheese, that’s a tough one, kinda like the next step… some milk farms in Quebec aren’t too bad on the cows, I’ve seen a few. But it’s far from perfect, even the more traditionnal ones.

    In Quebec, all vegetarians eat cheese, it’s like a way to compensate. When I travelled to Ireland however, all those veggies I met had nothing but bad things to say about cheese, it sort of never occured to me it might detrimental to your health.

    On a side note, a friend one mine told me she’d given up dairy after her experience breastfeeding. At one point she’d had to draw the milk with a pump (not a very pleasant process), and she said she’d gotten a feel, however remote, of what dairy cows go through, and she said if she couldn’t go through with it, they shouldn’t have to either.

    Finally, I’d just like to say, after this long and I must admit quite interesting debate, being an anarchist I don’t think anyone should force their beliefs on anyone else, but belief doesn’t ‘create’ facts, you can’t simply conjure up cheap sophistry to justify something you know is unethical just to quit feeling guilty. Guilt is one of the worse forms of motivation, like fear, it just eats you from the inside and you end up adopting reactive behaviors that fill you further with a sense of unease.

    We’re not responsible for the whole Earth individually, but collectively, whether we like it or not, whether we kill it or not, whether whatever we do to try and help the environment irremediably fails.

    Getting over guilt and fear is the first step. Then, do what you can, and don’t stop.

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