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what would you say to this?? (vegan argument)

argument from friend::::

You might be making a difference among some of your friends, but you aren't making a lick of difference to the people who are keeping livestock in terrible conditions.

The fact of the matter is that you will never convince a large enough portion of the American population to give up red meat, chicken and pork and all related products to an extent that it will significantly affect their bottom lines. All their care about is profits. Once you are not a consumer of theirs, your opinion is irrelevant.

On the flipside, losing you to one of their competitors...in other words losing your beef purchase to a farm that raises grass fed, hormone free beef will get their attention. Companies aren't looking at their market as every person on earth. They are looking to capture the majority of the beef eating market. If you aren't part of that market, you are irrelevant to them. You being a vegan will do absolutely nothing to encourage that company to change their practices. That is my point. People who religiously buy humanely raised meat are the ones having an influence.

Which brings me to....if anyone has an EVOS near them, I highly recommend it. Hank and I ate there yesterday. It's fast food burgers and wraps and stuff. They do sell veggie and soy burgers and some fish and stuff. However, they have a real burger...grass fed, hormone free, and all their chicken is free range, hormone free. For a wrap, fries and a milkshake (made with organic milk) it was like $8. Not too shabby, and quite delicious.

I think your friend is wrong about the impact of reduced meat consumption; like you say, profit is ALL: how angry were the BigAg guys in Michigan when the gov expressed support for ONE meatless day?! They are quite unhappily aware that more and more Americans are seeing meat consumption as a health/ environmental problem-- even the idea of REDUCING consumption induces spittle-flying rage, without even TALKING about convincing everyone to go all the way to vegan! Simply by modeling a plant-based lifestyle, you are showing others that it's possible (not to mention rewarding/ satisfying/ fun!); they don't have to go 100% herbivore to embrace the idea of some meals without meat, which o-yes-absolutely affects profit margins of big-ag companies -- that's why they get so apoplectic about Meatless Mondays.

Also: many things exist, that I will never be able to eradicate from the world of humans no matter how hard I try (because humans, among other attributes, can really suck)... rape, murder, child abuse, dog beatings, genocide... I can't make these things universally extinct. BUT: I can choose not to participate in them! You will not convince me that it makes no difference whether I personally participate in child abuse or random murders; I might never eradicate the problem, but I *can* refrain from making it worse, and encourage small-scale change to the greatest degree possible in my own little universe of people.... As an individual, that is both the least and the best I can do. Until I'm put in charge of the universe, I am content with that.

Human beings HAVE never/ WILL never be homogenous, in ANYTHING. Like a relatively large frontal cortex, diversity is one of our strengths, enabling us to thrive in the absence of useful things like fangs, claws, migratory instincts,  gestational pouches, or any of the cool stuff that the other kids got... so for those who DO want to rationalize killing stuff in the absence of need, I think it's nice that they support better animal treatment/ better environmental stewardship while they do it... but that doesn't make it right. It would be like saying, 'Parents are always going to beat their children, so you're wasting your time trying to get them to stop; what will REALLY make a difference is getting them to trade in their razor-wire whips for these beating sticks'... mmmm... yeah... okay, but... that is STILL a problem!

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Giving up meat and other animal products does make a difference.  As the vegan and vegetarian population grows, it starts entering into the mainstream.  The conditions of farm animals is already coming to the forefront.  The effects of a meat dominated diet is already getting people to reconsider their own choices.  Though most people will ultimately choose to still eat meat, its not all futile.  Look at CA, AZ and other states that are passing laws to limit the cruelty in agriculture.  A doubt this was done by vegetarians alone.  However, the mentality that farm animals have rights and feelings that we convey is definitely rubbing off on others. 

P.S.  Remind your friend that the 'free-range' and 'grass-fed' logos are really nothing but crap.  This animals still live in horrible conditions.  It is just a way to get people to pay more for food.  Hormone free, too.  They can't legally give hormone treatments to cattle, anyway. 

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HCM: I honestly wish I could hire you as my personal speaker... You always have the best answers for everything!!!

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(Blush) Idk about that... just have a lotta down time at work right now, and a tragically dysfunctional blog! makes for plenty of time to compose written diatribes, as needed, on various debate threads....  ::)  Also: stuck in the rural southern US, I've had many opportunities to practice arguing this crap! and (has anyone else noticed this?!) it's the same, like, 3-4 arguments over & over... c'mon, omni team: get some new material!!!

How bout this: I'll give ya my number, & then you can just call when you have someone who needs straightening out, hand 'em the phone; all this time I've been arguing for free, so my rates will be very cheap (like maybe vegan cookies?)! I like chocolate chip.  ;D

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sounds good! i would totally love to put you on the phone when someone attacks me with pretty thought provoking questions... or at least u there to defend me on holidays... the questions and arguments i deal with are generally mild because i think the people where i live are generally more into health and wellness

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This is an incomplete answer but I would have to disagree completely with your friend that an individual being vegan does not make an impact. Every customer they lose is a huge amount of profits when you consider our purchasing habits over the course of a life. Not to mention that the more we eat vegan the more others become exposed to the benefits and make some changes, AND if you have kids you'll probably raise them to eat vegan...which means they will likely do the same thing with their kids. So each vegan is actually the beginning of generations of families of non-meat-eaters.

On a similar note...I've been reading Self, Glamour and REal Simple magazine and have noticed they are increasingly writing about vegetarian dishes and the positive health effects of being a vegetarian.....so were getting there.

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Actually, your friend is right and wrong.  I initially started my vegetarianism not on purpose, but because of the lack of humanely raised meat.  I just couldn't buy the mass produced stuff, and the availability & affordability of other meat just wasn't there.  So, if all the meat eaters were willing to give up all cruelty filled meats, many more would become vegetarian.  It's just easier to convince people to give up cruelty than to give up meat, but the effect is the same.

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It would require a significant amount of people to switch from conventionally raised (i.e. factory farmed animals) animals to grass fed, blah blah blah animals.  I don't think numbers alone are going to stop factory farming, because not everyone cares or has the money.  I think it's going to take government intervention to legislate animal rights to change anything.  With the focus now on "natural" and "organic" and all that shit, it's more about marketing than creating sustainability or a humane environment for the animals.  I think there are companies and individual farmers who are taking steps in the right direction, but I'm not expecting Tyson or Purdue, etc. to change anytime soon.  I don't think the same consumers who are paying $0.99/lb for low quality, hormone-ridden chicken carcass are likely to suddenly switch to $7.00/lb free range, antibiotic-free, hormone free chicken carcass.

Of course not eating animals altogether has an impact.  The lack of your consumption affects, albeit on a minute scale, all animal slaughter operations.  It adds up.

And that doesn't even touch on the benefits to your physical health, mental health, and the health of the earth.

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Everyone did a pretty thorough job of picking apart your friend's argument, so I guess I have nothing new to add. However, I just want to point out how displeased with your friend's tone I am. "they're delicious! Eat one! Woooo meat!"

I never found meat "delicious". Omnis never understand this for some reason.

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It's estimated that a vegan saves 50 animals a year.  Vegans are growing in number each year.  If there are 3 million of us that's 150 million animals saved.  We are making more and more people aware of the evils of factory farming.  So while people still might not give up meat, conditions may improve, one slaughterhouse at a time. 

If I saved even one animal and made no other impact on the world, it would be worth it for me to stay vegan. 

We have EVOS here and they are pretty good.  It's nice to have that option in a pinch.

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I am not vegan but vegetarain (most vegan though!) but I sometimes think this.  I look at how much meat is thrown away, how much people eat, my mom buys chicken on sale to feed to her dog who already gets more meat then she can eat so takes out to the back yard and leaves it.  And they wonder why there are so many skunks and possoms around!  Her blantant disrespect for living creatures astounds me!

So I think, if I ate meat I woudn't waste it and would be respectful of the animal that died and there are MILLIONS of animals dying, what difference can I make only saving about 50 per year?

But I then remind myself that, though I can't make a visible impace on the millions of animals being killed everday, it does matter the 50 I save.  For that roast chicken that I don't eat, that is one chicken whose life is saved, and it does matter to that chicken. 

My not be 100% accurate but that is how I think about it, and that is why I stick to it, I refuse to be responsible for the death of a sentient being.

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I saw a headline in my local paper recently that meat prices ( at least in KY....mebbe nationwide) are expected to reache record highs this summer because cattle farmers are going to be raising less cattle, thus producing less meat.  They blame it on the economy, but honestly, I think the "waste" is becoming noticeable because so many people are going vegetarian, or vegan, or just giving up red meat.  We do make a difference.

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i would say look at smoking. im sure when people first started to hear that smoking was bad and started quitting, people told them they didnt matter. and they probably thought they didnt, as more and more people smoked each year. however, i think 2005 (i believe) was the first year ever that more people quit smoking than started. and now almost everywhere is "smoke-free" even bars where i live.

people are even quitting because of the cost. maybe cigarettes will never dissapear, but i promise you they wont be the big buisness they once were ever again. and i think meat will run the same course. factory farmed meat at the very least.

tell your friend to shove it.

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i would say look at smoking. im sure when people first started to hear that smoking was bad and started quitting, people told them they didnt matter. and they probably thought they didnt, as more and more people smoked each year. however, i think 2005 (i believe) was the first year ever that more people quit smoking than started. and now almost everywhere is "smoke-free" even bars where i live.

people are even quitting because of the cost. maybe cigarettes will never dissapear, but i promise you they wont be the big buisness they once were ever again. and i think meat will run the same course. factory farmed meat at the very least.

tell your friend to shove it.

Smoking has been banned in bars in California for at least a decade. In restaurants it's been at least 15 years.

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in ann arbor its been about a month :)

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didn't oprah get sued or something a few years back for badmouthing beef?  seriously, she should stay on our side permanently.  the meat industry would take a huge hit!

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argument from friend::::

You might be making a difference among some of your friends, but you aren't making a lick of difference to the people who are keeping livestock in terrible conditions.

The fact of the matter is that you will never convince a large enough portion of the American population to give up red meat, chicken and pork and all related products to an extent that it will significantly affect their bottom lines. All their care about is profits. Once you are not a consumer of theirs, your opinion is irrelevant.

On the flipside, losing you to one of their competitors...in other words losing your beef purchase to a farm that raises grass fed, hormone free beef will get their attention. Companies aren't looking at their market as every person on earth. They are looking to capture the majority of the beef eating market. If you aren't part of that market, you are irrelevant to them. You being a vegan will do absolutely nothing to encourage that company to change their practices. That is my point. People who religiously buy humanely raised meat are the ones having an influence.

Which brings me to....if anyone has an EVOS near them, I highly recommend it. Hank and I ate there yesterday. It's fast food burgers and wraps and stuff. They do sell veggie and soy burgers and some fish and stuff. However, they have a real burger...grass fed, hormone free, and all their chicken is free range, hormone free. For a wrap, fries and a milkshake (made with organic milk) it was like $8. Not too shabby, and quite delicious.

So your friend is arguing that humanely raised meat is better not that veganism doesn't make a difference? I would say these are two different issues. Make sure the issues are seperated. You must attack her argument that eating meat "humanely" doesn't make sense. You can't put those  words in  the same sentence. How is it humanely to eat another's flesh?

Veganism has nothing to do with the subject of "humanely grown meat."

Since it has nothing to do with it you can't be condemning veganism in the first place for not promoting "humanely grown meat."

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