# A more ethical society

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Costco is the store I frequent like this. I've found certain foods I can buy in bulk and save a lot of money on, as long as it won't go bad before we finish it. I've made the mistake of buying a huge 3 pound bag of broccoli florets (maybe three times what I need for half the price of buying in the regular supermarkets). It's like $3-4, sooooo tempting, but my family of three can't eat that much before it goes bad. The solution, of course, is to team up with a neighbor or friend who also likes broccoli, and will take half. I don't buy meat there at all. I used to get their chicken breasts, which were HUGE, until I found out they're filled with salt water (a real breast of chicken thaws within a half hour in water; Costco chicken breasts take hours to defrost, since it's mostly ice). One group, the Truthful Labeling Coalition, estimates Americans spend an extra US$2B (yes, B) on saltwater at chicken prices. "Plumping" like this isn't regulated like the rest of it, and introduces extra sodium that doesn't make it onto the label.

I wonder if there aren't little private, informal coops that buy from bulk dealers and redistribute to their members. It would be smart for a church group, or other social organization, to poll it's members and make a bulk purchase, then meet to divide it up into your own containers.

You could make broccoli soup and freeze it, that's what I do if I have left over food (which is rare). You can throw anything into a soup and it always freezes and reheats well, plus it's nutritious. Australians throw away over four million tonnes of food per year, this is just one country too. We can all contribute to help reduce the worldwide food gap by just buying what we need. Not to mention this food that is uneaten rots and gives off methane which traps heat in the atmosphere. There are other impacts too, such as the wasted water, fuel and other resources which are wasted to grow and distribute the food; these resources can be put to better use.

Eshel, I'm not going to reply to your points anymore. Your view on this issue is too simplistic and misguided. This discussion itself on whether it's ethical to eat meat is the wrong approach. We have many issues we need to combat about eating sustainably, conserving our environment and closing the food gap, being 'mean' to animals is a discussion I'm very tired of because it addresses one minor ethical issue and it's only addressed because it's an obvious consequence; what about all the hidden consequences?

Edited by Sirona
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• 3 weeks later...
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Can I simply state that cows are dumb? I work on a small farm that has 3 cows, and they repeatedly walk into an electric fence trying to get through it. We had to make it electric because the cows would go out. If cows can't even learn the most primal of instincts, which is don't do something that hurts, then it can't survive in the wild. Additionally not using animals as livestock would require us to increase farming, which takes away the land they need for food, starving them to death. To prove you are able to understand the simplistic logic, explain how we wouldn't kill more animals that way. And finally let's pretend the wrinkles in your plan don't magically work themselves out, and that everyone in the world doesn't bow down to your idea of ethical living. People would work harder to stop world hunger before they worked to get rid of a huge portion of food. In your mind: Animals > Humans

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Can I simply state that cows are dumb? I work on a small farm that has 3 cows, and they repeatedly walk into an electric fence trying to get through it. We had to make it electric because the cows would go out.

Hah. Can't argue with you there, cows are stupid animals. Though generally speaking, herbivores aren't as smart as carnivores; cows don't need to be smart.

I never understood people that wouldn't eat meat (beef, chicken, pork, etc) but would eat seafood for ethical reasons. Cephalopods are quite intelligent and so are cartilaginous fish. Not that I'm arguing against eating any form of meat for ethical reasons, however, if I were to I would at least be consistent.

Edited by Sirona
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Hah. Can't argue with you there, cows are stupid animals. Though generally speaking, herbivores aren't as smart as carnivores; cows don't need to be smart.

I never understood people that wouldn't eat meat (beef, chicken, pork, etc) but would eat seafood for ethical reasons. Cephalopods are quite intelligent and so are cartilaginous fish. Not that I'm arguing against eating any form of meat for ethical reasons, however, if I were to I would at least be consistent.

There are examples of rather intelligent cows who are able to unlock doors to escape enclosures, for example. One should note that domesticated cattle are often inbred which makes intelligent individuals stand out somewhat. There are obviously no standardized IQ tests for animals, but I believe that there have been memory tests and reports on training of cattle. While there are some compelling narratives on why carnivores are likely to be more intelligent, there are sufficient counter-examples that make this statement not terribly useful.

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I never understood people that wouldn't eat meat (beef, chicken, pork, etc) but would eat seafood for ethical reasons.

Fish and chippocrites?

If their reasons for a vegetarian diet are conservation/environmentally motivated, then more often than not seafood is a very poor choice.

However most cephalopods are annual species - which means they recover from harvesting very rapidly and are likely to be much more sustainable than longer lived populations. Plus they are tasty - I did a few field seasons on Sepia apama in Spencer Gulf - delicious fields seasons they were.

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Fish and chippocrites?

Stealing this, and pretending I said it first.

Plagiaribbonfish.

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Phys.org

A small team of researchers at Oxford University has published a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences detailing their attempts to merge region-specific health models that are based on diet and weight related risk factors with global emission economic modules, to produce impact estimates on health, economics and climate change, if the consumption of meat were to be drastically reduced in the near future. They claim their findings suggest that the world could save millions of lives and trillions of dollars over the next half century, if a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle were adopted worldwide.

Eating vegetarian or vegan saves water.

Stanford.edu

it takes about 634 gallons of water to produce a small hamburger

Saving water is an ethical action, considering climate change and human activity is reducing rainfall in many parts of the world. In addition, industrial activity is polluting water everywhere.

How many people will commit to eating less meat for ethical, economic and humanitarian reasons?

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Fish and chippocrites?

If their reasons for a vegetarian diet are conservation/environmentally motivated, then more often than not seafood is a very poor choice.

However most cephalopods are annual species - which means they recover from harvesting very rapidly and are likely to be much more sustainable than longer lived populations. Plus they are tasty - I did a few field seasons on Sepia apama in Spencer Gulf - delicious fields seasons they were.

Ah, you guys and your nerd humor really make my day

Interesting Arete, I didn't know they were an annual species. That does explain why they're quite cheap. I eat squid and octopus often because as you said they're delicious but also an excellent source of iron. Plus they're great for a high protein diet since they contain less than 3% fat per 100g.

Though, what I meant was, if I were to feel guilty (I don't by the way) for eating meat, I would exclude octopus because they're quite intelligent.

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Ah, you guys and your nerd humor really make my day

Interesting Arete, I didn't know they were an annual species. That does explain why they're quite cheap. I eat squid and octopus often because as you said they're delicious but also an excellent source of iron. Plus they're great for a high protein diet since they contain less than 3% fat per 100g.

Though, what I meant was, if I were to feel guilty (I don't by the way) for eating meat, I would exclude octopus because they're quite intelligent.

Well, if your ethics are stronger for higher intelligence, then you should switch to insects for your meat; all vertebrates are more intelligent than insects, except perhaps The Donald.

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Well, if your ethics are stronger for higher intelligence, then you should switch to insects for your meat; all vertebrates are more intelligent than insects, except perhaps The Donald.

Hah, it's too much

I went down the insect path in Thailand once and I don't wish to again. I used to think deep frying anything would make it taste good, I guess I was wrong.

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Taste is acquired, not inherent. On the other hand, mental blocks are real.

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Fish and chippocrites?

Brilliant - just brilliant.

Ah, you guys and your nerd humor really make my day

It very rarely scales these heights.

Taste is acquired, not inherent. On the other hand, mental blocks are real.

Real - but again acquired and re-learnable.

I have done the self-experiment on blue cheese; I hated stilton and it made me queasy to even smell it. Twelve times I ate it - now I love the stuff. To be honest by the tenth or eleventh time I was converted. Phobias can be treated in exactly the same way. We are really quite simple animals

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EdEarl, on 23 Mar 2016 - 06:12 AM, said:

Taste is acquired, not inherent. On the other hand, mental blocks are real.

Real - but again acquired and re-learnable.

I have done the self-experiment on blue cheese; I hated stilton and it made me queasy to even smell it. Twelve times I ate it - now I love the stuff. To be honest by the tenth or eleventh time I was converted. Phobias can be treated in exactly the same way. We are really quite simple animals

When we stop eating something, our tastes change similarly. Many years ago, I loved cheeseburgers, but heard they might be causal of heart attacks; thus, I stopped eating them. It wasn't immediate, instead of eating them regularly, I did so infrequently. Over years, I ate them less and less, then didn't eat one for several years. Then, I took a bite of one my wife was eating, and I'd lost the taste for cheeseburgers; the fat sat thick and almost tasted rancid. That was more than twenty years ago, and the last time I tasted a cheeseburger. My desire for them is gone.

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Real - but again acquired and re-learnable.

I have done the self-experiment on blue cheese; I hated stilton and it made me queasy to even smell it. Twelve times I ate it - now I love the stuff. To be honest by the tenth or eleventh time I was converted. Phobias can be treated in exactly the same way. We are really quite simple animals

I completely agree. I was terrified to swim in the ocean after almost drowning in a rip (I was swept out to sea, #dontcometoaustralia#bondirescueisntalie) and had a panic attack every time I tried to swim for a few years. I got over it by doing it anyway until I got over the fear.

Hah, I remember after reading 'The Man Who Ate Everything' by Jeffrey Steingarten, I too decided it was very important to become the perfect omnivore. Sadly, this was a very easy journey for me since the only food I didn't eat was rock melon. Needless to say, rock melon no longer tastes like castor oil lip gloss to me anymore.

Edited by Sirona
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• 4 weeks later...

I completely agree. I was terrified to swim in the ocean after almost drowning in a rip (I was swept out to sea, #dontcometoaustralia#bondirescueisntalie) and had a panic attack every time I tried to swim for a few years. I got over it by doing it anyway until I got over the fear.

Hah, I remember after reading 'The Man Who Ate Everything' by Jeffrey Steingarten, I too decided it was very important to become the perfect omnivore. Sadly, this was a very easy journey for me since the only food I didn't eat was rock melon. Needless to say, rock melon no longer tastes like castor oil lip gloss to me anymore.

I had to do the same sort of thing - although starting from a much fussier point; I was a pretty boring and picky eater. As part of my job I regularly entertained foreign guests and soon found it was politic to sometimes ask if they would like to see and taste what London could provide in terms of their own national cuisine. The London versions of international cuisine is always pretty palatable - but by second or third trip my guests would often respond with glee that they had found a truly authentic version of their cuisine here in London. This lead to some very very strange experiences - at the beginning it was touch and go with some cuisines; real South Korean is very very different to International South Korean. But now I can happily eat practically anything and enjoy it.

And I have never tried rock melon but I will seek some out.

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I'm wondering how much of our eating habits is based on culture rather than biological necessity. Arguably, humans (or the genus Homo) may not have developed that way, if those prehistoric homonids hadn't eaten meat. Today, however, I think it's more of a cultural thing. I think it would be very much possible to change our eating habits, but as culture develops only slowly this might take a very long time. And who knows, maybe this concious decision might give us an evolutional disadvantage over millions of years.

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I had to do the same sort of thing - although starting from a much fussier point; I was a pretty boring and picky eater. As part of my job I regularly entertained foreign guests and soon found it was politic to sometimes ask if they would like to see and taste what London could provide in terms of their own national cuisine. The London versions of international cuisine is always pretty palatable - but by second or third trip my guests would often respond with glee that they had found a truly authentic version of their cuisine here in London. This lead to some very very strange experiences - at the beginning it was touch and go with some cuisines; real South Korean is very very different to International South Korean. But now I can happily eat practically anything and enjoy it.

And I have never tried rock melon but I will seek some out.

Sydney is very multicultural too and if you know where to go, you can find very authentic international food. I have never been a fussy eater, but after living in Hong Kong for years I will pretty much eat anything. If you can stomach stinky tofu and pigs intestines, then I assume you can tackle almost any food (though I'm still skeptical if I could stomach kiviak).

I'm wondering how much of our eating habits is based on culture rather than biological necessity. Arguably, humans (or the genus Homo) may not have developed that way, if those prehistoric homonids hadn't eaten meat. Today, however, I think it's more of a cultural thing. I think it would be very much possible to change our eating habits, but as culture develops only slowly this might take a very long time. And who knows, maybe this concious decision might give us an evolutional disadvantage over millions of years.

I agree. Humans in the past have eaten what is available and preferably what is nutritionally dense and what they ate depended largely on climate, geographical location, season, etc. They had to be flexible and be able to adapt; this idea of choosing what we like and don't like is very modern.

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Going out of my usual prowls once more, but let me remind you that ethics are relative to the individual that believes in them. For example the Aztecs thought it perfectly fine to kill hundreds of people in sacrifice to false gods, in the same way you can believe slaughtering animals for their meat is wrong, but that's relative to your point of view.

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• 4 weeks later...

I don't think its unethical to kill animals for food. I think there is a humane way of killing them. everyone has different morals and we should not punish people for eating meat because they have different morals. if someone thinks it unmoral to eat meat they they don't have to eat meat. I do think that they are mistreated in farms and I would like to stop that, but we raise them till their adults we feed them and get meat leather and gelatin from them. I do not think we can get B12 if you don't eat animal products. I also think that eating supplements is a healthy diet and not everyone wants to be vegan, not everyone cares about animals. all animals will eventually die and the farm animals will be killed by other predators anyway. "Cows and chickens can still be used for their milk and eggs, sheep for their wool, while being treated ethically. There would need to be some kind of global plan on how to treat the other animals, if to set them back in nature and how. I'm sure the professionals can handle this, it is still much prefered than slaughter." why is it preferred over slaughter? we would rather have meat for ourselves then over populating the planet with some kind of carnivorous animal. if you still want to keep animals for eggs and milk then what will we do with them when they die? if you are against eating the meat then it will go to some other animals. and of you say we can eat them becasue they died ethically then how do we determine who gets the meat? there are far more people that want meat then animals die naturally so we have to kill them for everyone to be able to get meat.

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Lyudmilascience:

You write that " everyone has different morals and we should not punish people for eating meat because they have different morals."

This is a very controversial comment, and I am surprised that you rattled it off so easily. It is really all about the question of absolute morality vs. relative...which is the basic

bone of contention in the so-called culture wars between 'conservatives' and 'progressives', or fundamentalists and postmodernists, etc.

It does make sense that we should not blame those who eat meat if they think that is okay and that is what they want to do. But what about those who think that abortion and euthanasia and animal experiments are okay (or not)? What about cannibalism...I am sure many people think that is perfectly fine? Can we blame the Aztecs for the horrific way that they conducted their worship services? Can we blame Hitler for trying to make the country a better place to live and for doing what he thought was right? What about Queen Elizabeth I, can we blame her for the imperialistic slaughter of thousands of colonials, when all she thought was that she was making the world a better place?

I am not really making any particular statement here, other than to note that when one asks how we might have a more ethical society, the immediate question should be, 'Who is to decide how one should go about doing that?'

Edited by disarray
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'Who is to decide how one should go about doing that?'

Indeed, who or what is the final arbiter? The reality is, our culture and familial influences mould what we think is moral or immoral. As long as ones own moral behaviour is consistent with ones moral code, in ones native setting, then ones morals are 'correct'. Moral behaviour is behaviour that is deemed acceptable amongst ones native superiors and peers.

Edited by StringJunky
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I agree with stringjunky, one looks at peers or majority to determine morals, you think logically, you determine the pros and cons, of course I don't support cannibalism but you cant compare that to veganism/vegetarianism. the reason why it is so easy for me to say that we should not punish people for eating meat is, I don't want to restrict many people for something that will not do them any good, there are people who can not survive on a vegan diet, you hare harming people by preventing them from choosing their diet. I am one of thoes people, I am allergic to nuts and soy, and i hate beans, I dont know where I would get protein if I didin't eat meat.I do not think that takeing supplements is a healthy diet and it is not something I am willing to do. veganism is a sacrifice and you cant expect people to make that sacrifice. you are also harming people from preventing them from getting an abortion but you are not harming any person by being vegan, its animals that are harmed, and they will be killed by animals anyway. for me veganism and vegetarianism dosent seem to be worth it, I am for saving the planet and the only thing that will save the planet is not raising cows, they contribute to global warming but not eating the other animals will cause extinction and that is supposedly worse then raising htem as livestock because it will effect the ecosystem. I already don't like the taste of beef so i dont eat cow. this is a video i found on youtube about the effects of veganism, and my conclusions from it is that if everyone goes vegan it will do more harm then good, thats how I determine morals. of course im not the arbetor of morals but everyone has a sense of whats morals and not and you cant just blindly follow someones morals if you dont agree with them. im not sure if im allowed to provide a link to a video but this is what you have to search on youtube. people look at whats good for humanity and whats good for the future because sometimes we have to put our morals aside over survival.

Debate: Should Everyone Go Vegan?TheVeganAtheist

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