This is a video that I came across in my related videos feed. Having never tackled a vegan OR veganism, this seemed a good opportunity.
Full disclosure, I do have a bias right off the bat (a channel name with not one, but TWO loaded adjectives). But that does not matter. What matters, is what is true and what is not. As always.
So, without further adu, lets go. The initial video is below:
This is one of a series of videos (this being #7) in which case the commenter debunks stupid meat eating youtuber comments about veganism (presumably). Though there are many other editions to this series, I will focus on just this one. Being that it stands to reason that the quality of this video should be a good indicator of the quality of the videos in the rest of the series.
First is a video by a commenter that is calling out VeganAtheist for pushing his views onto others, equating him to being a (religious) “believer”. Lets explore the retort.
There are 58,000 ,000,000 sentient land animals killed each and every year by humans without sufficient justification. As I have said in other videos, we have zero nutritional requirement to eat animals or their by-products.
Lets start with this. I will ignore the without sufficient justification bit since that is a matter of personal opinion, not fact. However, there are 2 bones in which to pick out of this commentary.
I found one site (complete with an animal kill counter) that claims the number to actually be 150,000,000,000 per year. Do with that what you will.
Looking around, there seems to be very few unbiased sources that have this information listed (at least on a world wide scale). Many are either based on only numbers within the United States, or on a generalized species or ecosystem. But the 2 numbers that seem to keep coming up are those above, 150,000,000,000 or 58,000,000,000.
I have one oddball number here (65,000,000,000) made in this writeup published by an organization called Farm USA, numbers apparently sourced from United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization figures. And here is another write up from a website called ProCons (a source that presents itself as an unbiased intermediary for the exploration of controversial topics), which does not give the actual number of animals killed, but more the meat consumption of the world as a whole.
Another irrelevant yet interesting source is this PDF from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, on the findings of a study on food waste world wide (conducted by The Swedish Institute For Food and Biotechnology, from August 2010 to January 2011).
Yet another interesting (but irrelevant) source to note is this article from live science which explains how cats alone are responsible for billions of animal deaths on a yearly basis.
But when it comes to the 58,000,000,000 (or 150,000,000,000) animals killed yearly (globally) numbers, I can not dig up anything reputable (unbiased) to back these figures. This does not make them incorrect or false. This just indicates a lack of material that I can find to back it up. If you can back it, feel free to do so (with sources) in the comment section (as always).
I also have an issue verifying the 65,000,000,000 number quoted from Farm USA, but that was because I could not find the source of the data at the source listed (UN Food and Agriculture Organization).
This does not mean that the information is not there. I just can not track down the relevant study (it may be my ignorance of how to properly utilize the website itself)
I will now move on to the next claim within VeganAtheists retort.
2.) We Have Zero Nutritional Requirement To Eat Animals Or Their By-Products
When it comes to this claim, it seems that it is all about protein. Humans need a lot of protein. But do humans need animal protein?
We have information that the primary difference between animal and plant proteins is their amino acid profiles and it is those profiles that direct the rates at which the absorbed amino acids are put to use within the body. Animal based proteins, of course, are much more similar to our proteins, thus are used more readily and rapidly than plant proteins. That is, ‘substrate’ amino acids derived from animal based proteins are more readily available for our own protein synthesizing reactions which allows them to operate at full tilt. Plant proteins are somewhat compromised by their limitation of one or more amino acids. When we restore the relatively deficient amino acid in a plant protein, we get a response rate equivalent to animal proteins. My own lab produced experimental data to support this view–and of course, similar observations of years past in other laboratories can also be interpreted in this way.
This seems to say that we digest animal proteins better, since they are similar to our makeup (thus making us better to equipped to utilize this protein over plant protein). But this also tells us that plant protein can be engineered (I use the word loosely) to achieve similar metabolic behavior as that of meat protein.
This does answer the question of whether or not all protein is alike (at least in terms of our bodies utilization of such). And it partly proves the claim that animal protein are unnecessary in your diet. But not fully (due to the changes necessary in the plant proteins).
All Protein Isn’t Alike
Protein is built from building blocks called amino acids. Our bodies make amino acids in two different ways: Either from scratch, or by modifying others. A few amino acids (known as the essential amino acids) must come from food.
- Animal sources of protein tend to deliver all the amino acids we need.
- Other protein sources, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, lack one or more essential amino acids.
Vegetarians need to be aware of this. People who don’t eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products need to eat a variety of protein-containing foods each day in order to get all the amino acids needed to make new protein.
The Protein Package
- Some high-protein foods are healthier than others because of what comes along with the protein: healthy fats or harmful ones, beneficial fiber or hidden salt. It’s this protein package that’s likely to make a difference for health. For example, a 6-ounce broiled porterhouse steak is a great source of protein—about 40 grams worth. But it also delivers about 12 grams of saturated fat. (3) For someone who eats a 2,000 calorie per day diet, that’s more than 60 percent of the recommended daily intake for saturated fat.
- A 6-ounce ham steak has only about 2.5 grams of saturated fat, but it’s loaded with sodium—2,000 milligrams worth, or about 500 milligrams more than the daily sodium max.
6-ounces of wild salmon has about 34 grams of protein and is naturally low in sodium, and contains only 1.7 grams of saturated fat. (3) Salmon and other fatty fish are also excellent sources of omega-3 fats, a type of fat that’s especially good for the heart. Alternatively, a cup of cooked lentils provides about 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber, and it has virtually no saturated fat or sodium. (3)
Protein and Chronic Diseases
Proteins in food and the environment are responsible for food allergies, which are overreactions of the immune system. Beyond that, relatively little evidence has been gathered regarding the effect of the amount of dietary protein on the development of chronic diseases in healthy people.
- However, there’s growing evidence that high-protein food choices do play a role in health—and that eating healthy protein sources like fish, chicken, beans, or nuts in place of red meat (including processed red meat) can lower the risk of several diseases and premature death. (2, 4-8)
This has not answered the initial question I had (do we need animal proteins?), but it has shown that there is much more to consider then what initially meets the eye. Red meat (particularly, processed red meat) tends to be detrimental despite the helpful protein load. But other meats (such as salmon and chicken) tend to be better meat protein sources. But at the same time, nuts and beans (and others) also are helpful in delivering these proteins.
The first thing we can do is acknowledge that all meat protein is not alike. Though VeganAtheist did not make that statement (yet!), I am clearing this up for anyone who may take that viewpoint.
Something else to consider:
Digesting protein releases acids into the bloodstream, which the body usually neutralizes with calcium and other buffering agents. Eating lots of protein, then, requires a lot of calcium – and some of this may be pulled from bone.
- Following a high-protein diet for a long period of time could weaken bone. In the Nurses’ Health Study, for example, women who ate more than 95 grams of protein a day were 20 percent more likely to have broken a wrist over a 12-year period when compared with those who ate an average amount of protein (less than 68 grams a day). (16) This area of research is still controversial, however, and the findings have not been consistent. Some studies suggest that increasing protein increases risk of fractures; others have linked high-protein diets with increased bone-mineral density, and thus stronger bones. (17-19)
This seems to be a cautionary (yet contradictory) warning for those consuming a large amount of protein of any kind. You need to supplement with calcium, or risk weakening of the bones.
On one hand, this could be used to debunk the no animal protein required claim, being that milk and dairy are ubiquitous sources of calcium. But this is not entirely true either, since there are other non meat and dairy alternatives.
When it comes to the question of whether or not humans need animal proteins, it seems that the answer is yes, and no. Meat and dairy are sources of necessary nutrients, and there can be issues if their removal is not taken into consideration in a vegetarian or vegan diet.
It boils down to a necessity for those on BOTH sides of the fence to use detailed arguments.
In this sense, its intellectually dishonest for VeganAtheist to claim we have Zero nutritional requirement to eat animals or their byproducts without providing background evidence to the contrary, and solutions that then turn the argument in his favor.
In the same way, it would also be dishonest for me to claim his stance to be wrong while providing only evidence of the importance of meat and dairy proteins (failing to acknowledge outside sources of similar nutrients and proteins to those in meat).
To be fair to VeganAtheist, his argument seems more based around his principals against industrial agriculture and the ecological effects of our industrial food system on the environment. And he seems to view the animals consumed in this system as oppressed and innocent victims.
I can acknowledge an argument that is more heavily based around ideological principal then anything else. That being said, one taking that stance should acknowledge that they are still responsible for honestly representing and proving any empirical claims that they make.
Let me note here that VeganAtheist officially proved himself dishonest:
Leading healthcare professionals are now more then ever espousing the benefits of a vegan diet, and confirming the negative effects of even a modest animal consumption.
You can have your scientifically proven theories about animal behavior and such. But I have just finished reading enough material to render that statement at BEST questionable (did you pull that out of your ass, and just assume it correct?), and at worst, false.
On to the next comment.
This one is from a follow that claims to have tried to stick to a vegan and vegetarian diet, but had troubles since the person loved meat (calling it their vice).
VeganAtheist retorts with more idealistic vegan shaming. Accusing lovers (and otherwise meat consumers) of being indifferent or apathetic to the consequences of their habit on animals and the environment.
Its true that meat production world wide is responsible for an enormous amount of ecological damage.
Starting with the large amount of farmland that will be cleared and worked, just to grow the feed. Then there is the animals themselves, in terms of the enormous amounts of methane and liquid/solid manure waste they produce. This is before considering the energy needs required in the transport, refrigeration, and preparation of all that meat. In terms of climate change, our excess meat consumption is as big a white elephant as is clear cutting our rain forests for ass wipe.
However, note that I said EXCESS meat consumption.
First world humanity as a whole is collectively eating WAY to many meat products, way to often. And its not just a matter of quantity, but also quality.
An unfortunate side affect of the busy and always hectic urban lifestyle of the modern age is, a lack of time and energy to devote to food preparation. Since there is billions to be made by stepping in to fill this gap, that is exactly what many food companies do. Though healthy in a hurry is appealing to some, unfortunately heavily processed meats make up the majority of these product offerings for the majority.
Driven by the fact that, like many of the commenter’s shown by VeganAtheist, people like meat. And no amount of smearing or hate mongering will change that.
However, though excess meat consumption IS a problem, the default solution is not necessarily to buy into all of PETA’s literature without any question. Since EXCESS is the problem (a factor that is driving both horrendous factory farming issues AND major health problems), then it stands to reason that cutting back is the solution.
Any addict of a substance will tell you that the WORST way to try and get someone to quit a substance is to berate them about it. While it may work initially, it often leads to a cycle of shameful relapse, which then perpetuates more abuse of the given substance.
While it is incorrect to view meat consumers as addicts to meat protein, the same principal applies. You are more likely to change peoples habits by showing a helping hand then by retracting and telling them that they have no right to live.
While VeganAtheist didn’t take a Nazi position in his justification for veganism, he was not fare behind in comparing loving meat eating to enjoying raping women, bashing gay people (literally), owning slaves, and molesting children. He follows this up by telling us all to get educated, in his views.
We have a commenter that claims that pain and sentience are irrelevant since we have to kill something to survive, be it a plant or an animal.
This is countered mainly by the accusation of the false equivalence logical fallacy, being that (in the words of VeganAtheist) animals are sentient, plants are not.
Do what you will with that.
The last 2 comments don’t add much to this piece, so I am not going to bother with them.
This is my first time taking on veganism, and it seems that there is more to the story then both sides would like to admit. I think that the first step is in stepping down from our collective high horses. Neither meat eaters, nor vegans, are any smarter then the other (in terms of their food choices anyway). So put that self important baggage aside, and do the socially responsible thing that is, meeting in the middle.
Extreme Vegans likely will never touch meat. Extreme meat eaters will likely never even CONSIDER a vegan OR vegetation diet. Fine.
However, most people are not of such extremes. Though the majority tend to be heavy consumers of meat and animal by-products, this may just be a habit that is changeable. But you have to be reasonable.
So instead of DEMANDING vegetarianism or nothing, go instead with cutbacks. Do you have to have meat with every meal, or every day? How about once or twice a week?
As you get more and more people to follow this, the harm caused by excess meat consumption will gradually fade away. As these changes are happening, it will be easier to push for more animal friendly and sustainable farming practices.
Vegans clearly view themselves as crusaders of social responsibility, in their haste in pointing out the selfishness displayed by meat eaters.
Why not live up to this unselfish principal by reaching out a helping hand, and attempting to start a dialog. Instead of spewing piss whilst being aware that doing so only ensures nothing will change.
Thus making such vegans as useful to animal rights advocacy as social justice warriors are to feminism.