Forums > Social Discussion > "free-range" eggs & debeaking

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onewheeldave
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Location: sheffield
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Posted:
For me the most useful aspect of a recent vegetarianism thread was that I learnt something new about 'free-range' egg production which IMO makes the term pretty useless as an indicator of hen welfare/cruelty.

The practice of 'de-beaking' whereby some battery hens have their beaks removed to prevent them attacking others, is apparently more prevalent in free-range systems!

The criteria by which a system can be termed 'free-range' is that the hens have access to an outdoor space.

There has always been issues with this, as 'access' doesn't mean that they actually do get to go outdoors; it simply means that there are some hatches in the barns, but often these are guarded by dominant hens who prevent entry/exit.

My feelings are that egg producers are businesses whose primary interest is profit, it's no surprise that they will-

a. Do the minimum necessary to stay with the law

b. cynically exploit terms like 'free range' to give the impression that it means intact hens roaming free in the pastures, rather than the truth which is debeaked hens having theoretical access to x square metres.

My prime reason in posting this isn't to start a debate, though such is welcome; but simply to spread this information- given that I was unaware of it, it's probable that many others who buy 'free range' eggs in the belief that it's a non-cruel form of egg production, are also unaware.

--------------------

This raises the question of what to do for those who have issues with hen welfare.

I guess, in a sense that buying 'free range' does give a message to the producers that welfare is important to customers, but, given their cynical reponses thus far, I question the value of it. Ultimately, they seem to prefer creating the impression of welfare in their customers minds, than the actuality of welfare for their birds.

One option is to not use eggs- a good way to end the present methods of egg production is to reduce demand to zero.

Along the way some producers will get the message that these practices are not acceptable to many. Here's a link to a producer who claims to emphasise cruelty free methods: -

http://www.realmeatco.sageweb.co.uk/abouthens.htm
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Obviously I can't vouch for them, it's just a page I found on an internet search, but it shows that there is a potential interest.

I'm lucky enough to live near a sincere health food shop that has visited the farm from which they get their eggs, and who can vouch for the good conditions.

Ther main thing to know is that 'free range' eggs from supermarkets and most shops are not what they are made out to be.


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Spanner
Spanner

remembers when it was all fields round here
Location: in the works... somewhere...
Member Since: 27th Feb 2003
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Posted:clap Well said. I will be passing the word on to people I know who eat eggs but who don't know about this - omnivores and vegetarians alike.

Thank you! smile


"I thought you are man, but
you are nice woman.

yay,

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gita
gita

.:*distracted by shiny things*:.
Location: brizvegas
Member Since: 13th Oct 2003
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Posted:ewww....why must egg producers be so evil!?! mad

i got some eggs last week that were 'vegetarian' - meaning they fed the chooks legumes, soy & vitamins (clearly i can't remember exactly), but they still lived in cages. i don't know about you - but if they were free range & vego i'd be happier. most vegetarians i know would prefer chooks free range! but that de-beaking thing is awful!!!!!!!!!!!!!

it got me thinking though - cos those vego eggs tasted gross - what the hell do they feed normal chickens!? actually - please don't answer that. i like eggs, and i'm vegetarian (which, according to qantas, makes me a lacto-ovo vegetarian - i eat eggs & cheese). i don't know...i think i'd prefer knowing that the chooks were allowed to roam a bit, than knowing what they ate.

man, it's way too early in the morning for this...

meditate


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onewheeldave
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Location: sheffield
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Posted:Written by: margita



it got me thinking though - cos those vego eggs tasted gross - what the hell do they feed normal chickens!?



Around 50% of chickens are born male, which are useless for egg production so most of them (a few are raised for meat) are killed within days of being born.

Now I'm not going to say what happens to them after that, but, knowing what an inventive lot battery farmers are, and how they like to make maximum use of available resources....

Seriously, chickens are fed rubbish, the bare mimimum required to keep them producing eggs; they're on mega doses of antibiotics without which disease would destroy the whole herd.

Some of their feed is made up from flesh of their own species, but I believe that's standard practice in all animal feed now and was implicated in the outbreaks of mad cow disease in cows.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


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gita
gita

.:*distracted by shiny things*:.
Location: brizvegas
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Posted:its all too yuck! :sad:

do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good to eat!

if at first you do succeed, try not to look too astonished!

smile! grin it confuses people!

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onewheeldave
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Posted:Written by: margita

ewww....why must egg producers be so evil!?! mad




I'm sure they're not 'evil'. Many of them are probably, in every other way, normal decent human beings.

They've grown up in a world where profit overides many other things, and a world where the systematic objectification of animals, and consequent abuse, is seen as normal, and even necessary.

It's not the only business that tramples over other beings, a large part of the western economy is based on the exploitation of the third world and selling weapons etc.

I think it's important to see that the roots of this use of animals isn't evil, but ignorance.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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AFC 32


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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:margita, poultry in Australia are not fed rubbish or mega doses of antibiotics as OWD has suggested in ignorance. They are fed high qualityfeed rations and the industry is regulated, by a Poultry Code of Practice.

We dont live in a world without pain, and with reference to beak trimming some pain may be experienced, but it is not chronic. Perhaps an analogy would be circumcision in young males. I would suggest that beak-trimming looks worse than it actually is. Recent evidence in Australia and from Europe indicates that beak-trimming at hatch or soon after results in little long term pain and research suggests that beak-trimming at this age will reduce injurious feather pecking and cannibalism in later life (Australian literature review, long).

Written by:
OWD said: Now I'm not going to say what happens to them after that, but, knowing what an inventive lot battery farmers are, and how they like to make maximum use of available resources....



OWD, ignorance is not bliss. From your comments and even the reason for this thread, I suspect you have no idea of what goes on in this industry, outside of animal lib propaganda, so I would suggest that you refrain from making defamatory statements.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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onewheeldave
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Posted:Concerning antibiotics in poultry farming, here's some links; there's loads on the net by various groups concerned with animal welfare, such as PETA, but, in the interests of impartiality, these two are by the BBC and the poiultry industry itself: -

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1369299.stm
br>
and

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/FeaturedArticle/FATopic.asp?AREA=ProductionMgmt&Display=72
br>
quote from-'The use of antimicrobials in poultry production has been reviewed elsewhere (5,6,7). The risk of transferable antibiotic resistance reducing treatment options in human medicine has been the justification given for an active campaign against antibiotic growth promoters in Europe. Scandinavian countries have very effectively influenced politicians and regulators to the point that the European Commission has indicated that such products will be withdrawn by 2006. There remain a number of problems relating to this political decision. Until such point that the evidence that such use poses a significant risk to human health it seems very unlikely that the European Commission will be able to insist on this approach for imported meat. There are indications that, at least under certain circumstances, withdrawal of growth promoters and reduction in the range available is increasing the need to treat with therapeutic antimicrobials. Most of this usage is related to the treatment of intestinal disease in broilers, which, if untreated can cause significant welfare problems through the occurrence of wet litter, especially in temperate climates'

An article from the same industry site: -

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/FeaturedArticle/FATopic.asp?AREA=Nutrition&Display=26
br>
entitled- 'Feed Antibiotics - Can We Get Along Without Them?'

So it's safe to say that antibiotics, both for disease control and growth promoting, are standard in the poultry industry, certainly in the UK and Europe (European legislation is in the process of phasing out many froms of antibiotics in the poultry industry).


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


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Rouge Dragon
Rouge Dragon

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Location: without class distinction
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Total posts: 13215
Posted:what about those labeled at "barn-laid eggs'?

i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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onewheeldave
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Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
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Posted:Written by: Rouge Dragon


what about those labeled at "barn-laid eggs'?



It's a pretty meaningless term in deciding how the hens are treated.



As I understand it, in the UK, eggs labeled 'free-range' must legally come from hens with theoretical access to some outdoor land; however they can, and generally are, debeaked.



I think that many other labels such as 'barn laid', 'natural' etc carry no legal weight.



'Natural', 'barn fresh' etc are popular on egg boxes because many consumers are a bit gullible about such terms.



I see you're in Australia, things may be different there.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


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griffin
griffin

feminine tiddly pom
Location: cambs england
Member Since: 4th Jun 2004
Total posts: 505
Posted:doesnt it just mean that rather them be a pecking in big ol fields, like on the waitrose adverts, they're a pecking in a barn. not confined in boxes or cages, but not outside either.
right?


in state of metamorphosis

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onewheeldave
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Location: sheffield
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Posted:here's a link to a page of search results for ""barn-laid eggs'"-



http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=barn-laid+eggs
br>




basically it looks like an RSPCA approved system.



However the guidelines given don't seem very specific: -



--------------------

The RSPCA's endorsement of Barn Laid Eggs is dependent on five freedoms. These freedoms ensure hens are treated well at every stage of their lives.



Freedom from fear and distress

Freedom from pain and injury

Freedom from hunger and thirst

Freedom from discomfort

Freedom to express normal behaviour

--------------------------



also-



---------

that there is a maximum density of seven birds per square metre

--------------------



doesn't sound too spacious



Lastly, there's no mention whatsoever about debeaking, so presumably it's as common as it is in 'free-range' systems.



There's also an issue with some claiming that RSPCA benefit financially from the system.

EDITED_BY: onewheeldave (1091455645)


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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griffin
griffin

feminine tiddly pom
Location: cambs england
Member Since: 4th Jun 2004
Total posts: 505
Posted:how did you come about discovering all this? i understand you found it on the internet, but what prompted you in the first place?

in state of metamorphosis

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onewheeldave
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Posted:I used to be a vegan- always had an interest in alternative diets/lifestyles, leanings towards buddhism with its philosophy of not inflicting unnecessary suffering on other beings etc etc.



The thing about debeaking is that, despite that previous interest, I was totally unaware that it was standard practice to debeak free range hens.



I'm not some raving veggie who believes that everyone should cease to eat animal produce; though I would like to see people become more aware of where their food comes from and the suffering that goes along with it.



The sad thing about the debeaking/free range issue is that, in some ways, current practice actually pressures some people to the extreme of veganism (eating noanimal produce whatsoever ie eggs. milk, cheese, meat, honey etc)



This is because some, on finding that the eggs they've been eating come from debeaked hens, and unable to locate a source of ethical eggs, will simply cease to eat them.



(There are similar issues with other areas of animal produce eg dairy, which are evident with a little digging, hence the pressure to adopt a full vegan diet)



Now I'm not saying that veganism is a bad choice, but there are issues; there is debate over whether anyone can live on a vegan diet without health problems (some definitly can- I know people who do, but there's also plenty of reports on the internet about people who have become malnourished on, for example, raw vegan diets).



If sincere and useful labeling standards were set, then those people would have a choice- cease to eat eggs, or have access to eggs that are clearly labeled as ethical.



And that labeling wouldn't be something as vague and potentially misleading as 'free-range' but would specifically state whether the hens had been debeaked, fed growth enhancing antibiotics, had genuine free access to open land etc.



It's about information and choice. People are capeable of making up their own minds, they don't need some simple catch-all phrase like 'natural barn fresh eggs' which ultimately is more marketing ploy than meaningful.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:A few comments:

Written by:
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (MVD), an executive agency of Maff, is responsible for monitoring for the presence of residues in meat and eggs. According to the VMD, in 1999, 8,063 poultry samples were tested for all likely contaminants. Of these 99.3% were "free of detectable residues. But the Soil Association disputes these figures. "Government regulators have routinely provided misleading information in their public statements about the incidence of drug residues in chicken meat and eggs," says a new Soil Association report.



The BBC article reports on a dispute b/t vets and the soil association. This is not conclusive, perhaps u could provide a link to the soil report.

Written by:
The use of antimicrobials in poultry production has been reviewed elsewhere (5,6,7)

Think u need to read articles 5,6 and 7.

Written by:
Regulatory, medical and government officials have stated for decades that antibiotics should not be fed to farm animals for growth promotion.

I agree, and I thought this was the case, and I thought that the use of antibiotics as growth promotants was banned years ago. .

There are links to two articles at this site, I havent got time to read today. Will get back after I read them. Reports of the Joint Expert Technical Advisory Committee on Antibiotic Resistance

The thing about beak trimming is that a small amount of pain is necessary to prevent a large amount of pain later in life.


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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Gnor
Gnor

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Location: Perth
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Posted:Not particular relevant but some producers stopped feeding feedlot cattle chicken byproduct due to botulism problems

Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

Im in a lonely battle with the world with a fish to match the chip on my shoulder. Gnu in Binnu in a cnu

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:Now, I dont enjoy playing devils advocate, as Im really a plant person. However, I do object to blatant sensationalism, and individuals making condescending and defamatory remarks about people employed in primary industries. Egg production is driven by the consumers wanting cheep eggs, and farmers are price takers. So vote with your feet.



Here is a link with a summary of the Aust Industry view on Hormones, Antibiotics and Growth Promotants.



Written by:
The use of antibiotics in livestock industries generally has been varying and diminishing since the Swan Report in the early 1970s. The use of vaccines to prevent animals and birds getting sick is far more common as research into new vaccines continues. Many diseases controlled by antibiotics 10 years ago are now prevented by vaccination.



It is the policy of all livestock industries to vaccinate to prevent disease occurring rather than to use antibiotics to cure sick animals or birds. This is of course the preferred way to go in human medicine. However, there are times when a vaccine is not available or a severe condition occurs when antibiotic treatment is essential. In the latter situation prescribing veterinarians examine all factors of the disease, including husbandry techniques and antibiotics are used as a last resort.



Only antibiotics assessed and approved for use in the livestock industries by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the National Registration Authority are used. The approval procedure assures consumers that the medication of livestock with these particular antibiotics in the approved manner will not result in any harmful effects to consumers of these products. Australian standards for antibiotic use are as high or higher than those in any overseas country.



No antibiotics that are used in human medicine are used on a routine basis in the chicken meat industry. Antibiotics are used under the following circumstances....





I know its surprising, but not everything published on the net it true rolleyes And there are many advertising/product labelling gimmicks out there. Another one to watch out for is products labelled as organic. If it doesnt look like compost then it probably isnt organic wink wink



I dont know a lot about mad cow disease, but I think it crossed over because the UK processing people were too scungy to ensure that correct (high) temperatures were maintained to kill any bad bugs during processing. And again I come back to that soylent green movie. made in the 70s. I think there may be a message in there somewhere eek



Gnor Re: Botulism. All livestock should and routinely vaccinated against Botulism. However, botulism outbreaks in intensively fed beef and dairy cattle can occur when. The feed is contaminated with botulinum toxin that has been produced by the botulism bacteria growing in rotting animal or vegetable material in the stored feed. Contamination is in the form of the actual toxin. Actively growing botulism bacteria, eaten in feed contaminated with rotting animal or vegetable matter, continue growth in the rumen and gut of cattle, producing toxin. This source of disease is called Toxicoinfectious botulism. Sufficient toxin is produced for the animal to develop botulism. In this way, a relatively small source of the botulism organism, like a dead snake in contaminated feed, can infect large numbers of cattle fed a mixed ration. Chicken litter, used as fertiliser on pastures and not incorporated into the soil properly, has been accessed by cattle and consumed (Qld, DPI).



All I ask is that people refraim from from grinding their axe on other people, and stick to the facts.



Cheers for now wave

EDITED_BY: Stone (1091767074)


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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flid
flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire
Member Since: 27th Aug 2002
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Posted:Written by: OWD
to locate a source of ethical eggs





Other than Whizzer's Chocolate Eggs, and possibly the yummy Green and Blacks Fair trade egg i got last easter, I'm not sure what you mean by 'ethical eggs'. Surely using any animal products from animals kept in captivity is exploitation? De-beaked/made cannibals/kept in cages/wing clipped or not, chickens don't exactly produce eggs for the hell of it so humans can eat them. I can't help but find the vegetarian view of murdering animals 'bad', using them whilst alive 'good' a bit black and white. Farm animals arn't exempt from the the rest of the animal kingdom, farm mammals don't produce milk all their lives for fun (or explode if cruel vegans don't milk them), birds produce an obscene amount of unfertilised eggs and bees shed loads of unused honey.



My question, if you're that interested in animal welfare, how can you condone the captivity and use of animals at all?



Written by: Stone
We dont live in a world without pain





Exactly, so let's do something about it, not justify actions by what other people choose to do/get away with. If people always use this excuse then we'll never move forward. Simple fact, shock horror, humans don't need to consume eggs/farm chickens at all to lead a long healthy life. Myself and several million other vegans throughout the world are living proof of this.


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onewheeldave
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Location: sheffield
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Posted:What you say is true flid.



People have different tolerances; some, like stone, aren't troubled by the way hens are kept, others, like you, are so troubled that you don't use any animal products whatsoever.



Then there's people like me who are somewhere in between- I'll eat eggs, but not if they came from debeaked hens, as I don't want to support debeaking.



I think there's a scale of suffering, at one end of which is the present battery and free range system (which I find abhorant), at the other end is to not use hen eggs at all.



In the middle is the keeping of hens with genuine access to roaming land, plenty of space, and no debeaking.



I consider that to be preferable to the battery end of the scale.



I'm not disagreeing with you here, just explaining my present viewpoint.


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flid
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Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire
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Posted:I completely agree about tolerances, and i have respect for anyone who makes an effort towards cutting down the amount of suffering in the world, in whatever form - looking out for and trying to improve the standard of living of others, be they human or not is very respectable thing to do IMHO.



I originally trialed veganism for a week whilst in a new beginnings mood in Jan 2000, having been vegetarian for a while before that. Actually, I found it a lot easier than i thought it would be, so i continued the trial. I remember having the realisation in feb of that year, that the concept of a non vegan diet, the farming of animals and using them as we do in this day and age being completely crazy. I still have it 4.5 years on, even more so. Energy wise, world hunger/food shortage wise, it's incredibly inefficient and suffering wise, incredibly unnessecary. I'm neither a doctor or nutricianalist, so I can't argue with anyone who says they personally need a non vegan diet to live, but there's no denying the millions of healthy vegans in the world today and the billions who have lived in the past few thousand years who've gone without. (I have consulted a nutricianalist as it happens, when I was having sleeping problems a couple of years ago and wondered if there was a link after blood tests showed negative. She was impressed by the healthiness of my diet however and couldn't see a link).



Humans naturally don't embrace change if they are comfortable with their current situation, so the thoughts of cutting foods out of their life which they like, whether they could learn to like other foods just as much or not, doesn't appeal to the masses. I've been really heartened in the past few months by catering organisations I've found who are promoting veganism through producing really good quality vegan food at reasonable prices, to show people out there that veganism is not an hippy/monk/extremist phenomena, but in the 1st world, where we have access to ingrediants from all over the globe with which we can get everything we would from animals, a very viable lifestyle. Over the years I've come to really enjoy preparing, cooking and eating my food, and I use a whole host of ingrediants that I probably would never have encountered with mainstream UK eating habits. There's loads of great recipes out their waiting to be discovered, if we'd put as much energy in the west into researching non-animal as we have animal based ones then people may see veganism very differently.



So, I agree, whilst there's people out there who are non vegan, then farming where animals are kept as nicely as possible is preferable. But why if we care about this do we persist to exploit animals on any level? If I didn't think animals were sentient/capable of experiencing the world in a human type way on any level, having grown up eating them I'd try and rear them as cheaply as possible. Debeak? I'd have the whole thing off and feed them via a tube if it was cheaper/easier. I was bought up as a Christian, and for years I sat in church each week listening to God's teaching. Christianity is not a religion which promotes vegetarianism/veganism, but it does tell people to treat others as they would themselves. I find the distinction between humans and every other animal in the world a very human concept, used for our benefit. I treat animals as I would want to be, and I personally wouldn't to be farmed at all.



We've just just got too used to using animals to cushion our existance and lost sight of the fact that it's not needed. I would have no problems killing and eating an animal if I was stranded in the antartic and my life depended on it, but I'm not, and I doubt is anyone reading this. I know many who read this post will think veganism an extremist concept, but it's not, it's really a very simple solution.


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Paradox Equation
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Location: Knoxville, Tennessee and Pitts...
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Posted:While the the vegans and vegetarians out there who refrain from eating many meat and dairy products due to the mistreatment of the animals used to produce them have noble purpose, in the long run nobility doesn't really mean much to the greater picture. It is a fact of nature that some things exist merely to feed other things, often for the sake of an ecosystem's stability.

My personal issue with "Animal Rights" vegetarians is that they feel that there are higher and lower forms of life. Does this seem ridiculous? Perhaps, but keep in mind that Animal Rights Vegetarians feel that it is OK to eat plants just because plants do not make noise when you chop them up or have faces to evoke your sympathy. In the game of life, to continue living you must either kill or injure other forms of life. To say that a chicken has more sanctity than a watermelon is weighing the value of life. To say that a chicken should not be eaten and killed because it suffers is pretentious: you assume that plants do not suffer.

There's nothing wrong with being kind hearted and caring for other creatures, but I don't personally think there's anything wrong with putting them on a treadmill so they can get hit on the head by a 500 pound hammer and ground up into meat for my cheeseburgers either.

-p.e.


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onewheeldave
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Posted:Written by: Paradox Equation

My personal issue with "Animal Rights" vegetarians is that they feel that there are higher and lower forms of life...............To say that a chicken should not be eaten and killed because it suffers is pretentious: you assume that plants do not suffer.






Does that not also apply to the fact that it's ok to eat animals, but not humans i.e. it implies that humans have a higher value.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
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onewheeldave
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Posted:And, for me, and many others, it's the fact that animals are sentient that counts.

Plants are not sentient.

Also, if we eat animals we are actually responsible for more plant deaths than if we just ate plants (as animals eat plants and, due to energy loss because of them walking about, breathing etc, it works out more)


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

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"Last of The Lancers"
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flid
flid

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Warwickshire
Member Since: 27th Aug 2002
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Posted:Written by:
Plants are not sentient.



As far as I know, but i have utmost respect for fruitarians. The issue is specisism. Burning building with a baby human and a puppy, i'd rescue the human. Burning building with baby human and 20 puppies, i'd rescue the human. Why? Because vegan or otherwise, i'm a human, and it seems natural to put myself and my species first when in danger.

Humans are extremely simular to other animals, much more so than to plants. I subscribe 100% to the theory of evolution, and just as I protect the survival of humans over that of others (I'm also way into Human Rights not just animal), I also protect that of what is simular. There's no scientific proof that I'm not the centre of the universe, but it's common sense to me that I'm probably not, and other humans experience the world as I do. Same arguement stands up for animals in my opinion. Plants, well, I've never been a plant, so i can't comment, but as i said before, i have total respect for fruitarians.

Written by:
In the game of life, to continue living you must either kill or injure other forms of life. To say that a chicken has more sanctity than a watermelon is weighing the value of life.



appart from fruitarianism (it's beyond doubt that plants create fruit as a way of procreating), your logic is unflawed. And yes, I do put weight on life. That's because I beleive that we as humans have evolved to the point where we can make our own decisions beyond instinct. Would you like to be put on a treadmill with your family and hit on the head with a 500 pound hammer? Personally I wouldn't, and in my weighting system I find it more likely that animals wouldn't either more than plants.


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Eveish
Eveish

*Tickles pretty strangers*
Location: Australia
Member Since: 14th Jul 2004
Total posts: 610
Posted:I am a vegetarian, and my only response to the whole "it's ok to eat plants but not animals" thing, is not that I, or any other vegos are high and mighty, but simply that we must eat something, and I can relate to an animal far more than I can to a plant, an animal walks and breathes and sees and makes noises, whereas although I like plants very much, they don't communicate with me and i don't relate to them in the same way that I do to animals. If I could eat in a way that would not harm anything, I would do so.

What if I should fall right through the centre of the Earth and come out the other side where people walk upside-down?!

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Twirly
Twirly

Shoryuken!
Location: Hexham, Newcastle, England
Member Since: 25th May 2004
Total posts: 233
Posted:Some stuff I found on dairy.

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"Naturally, a cow only produces milk to feed it's calf, but modern breeding techniques have produced freaks that produce 10 times more milk than their calf would have drunk.

A full udder can weigh upto 50kg and causes great discomfort to the cow. There are around 3 million dairy cows in the UK. Each cow will produce about 6000 litres of milk every year, 5 times as much as a cow in the 1950s.

Like all mammals, cows only lactate to provide milk to feed their young. Cows also only produce milk for 10 months after their calf is born, so it is usual for a cow to be artificially inseminated 2-3 months after they have given birth so that as soon as they stop lactating they will give birth and start again. As the pregnancy lasts for 9.5 months, this means that cows are simultaneously pregnant and being milked for 6-8 months during each cycle. This leads to the cow "milking off her back", literally converting her body into milk because she can not take in enough energy to produce a calf and produce milk. Have you ever noticed how skinny a lot of cows are?

In recent years, farmers in the UK have experimented with "BST" (bovine somatotrophin) which is a genetically modified growth hormone which can increase milk yield by up to 20%. Cows in the secret trials were subjected to regular painful BST injections and BST cows are more prone to diseases such as Laminitis and Mastitis because they produce more milk and have to eat more.

Cows can naturally live up to 20 years, but worn out by constant pregnancy, being mechanically milked twice a day and producing obscene amounts of milk - dairy cows are lucky to make it to 7. Although their lives may appear idyllic, In some ways cows are the hardest worked of all farmed animals.

Because they have been pushed to the limit of their physical ability to produce milk, diseases are very common among cows. 25% have Mastitis (inflammation of the udder caused by bacteria which is very painful and causes a thick yellow discharge of pus - which incidentally finds it's way into the milk). Mastitis is also worsened by mechanical milking and can even be spread among the herd by the milking machines if hygiene standards are low.

20% of all cows have Lamenitis and up to 50% have some form of lameness. Today cows spend more time on concrete with their feet immersed in excrement and this has increased lameness and general infections such as mastitis.

"To understand the pain of laminitis it helps to imagine crushing all your fingernails in the door then standing on your fingertips" John Webster, Professor of Animal Husbandry at Bristol University.

Modern Cows have been altered to produce so much milk that if they are not milked twice a day they will suffer great pain and even die as their udders swell.

Increasingly farmers are beginning to apply intensive farming techniques to dairy cattle. This means that cows spend more and more time on concrete or in sheds and less in the fields.

Standing on concrete is one cause of lameness, other common causes are dampness and crowded winter housing.

So far we have focussed on the dairy cows, but what about the calves? A cow will have a calf at least once every year of it's commercial life to ensure it keeps giving milk. This means a cow will have approximately seven calves in it's lifetime, but only one is needed to replace the cow. The other surplus calves go for meat or veal, this means that anyone who drinks milk is directly supporting the meat industry.

In nature, a calf would suckle from it's mother for up to a year, but the dairy industry removes the calves on their first day or at best within the first few days. Ironically this is partly to stop the calves drinking their mothers valuable milk and they are fed on milk substitute gruel instead.

The calves go to market and endure one of several fates:

* The most sickly may go straight for slaughter as "bobby" calves. Their flesh will be used for pet food, veal for pies or rennet for making cheese. Rennet is taken from the inside of the calf's stomach.
* Some go to beef pens for fattening and slaughter at 11-18 months. They are often reared in semi-intensive conditions on concrete without site of pasture. Up to 80% of beef production is a by-product of the dairy industry.
* Some females will go as dairy herd replacements, continuing the cycle of pregnancy and surplus calves.
* Nowadays most cows are artificially inseminated, but still a very small percentage of male calves will go to be reared as stud bulls.
* Until recently, the other main destinations for UK calves were the veal crates of Europe. At present due to the BSE crisis this trade is temporarily suspended.
* Of course the mothers also suffer mental anguish from having their calf's taken from them and suffer seperation trauma.


A particularly brutal side of the dairy industry is that 150,000 pregnant cows are slaughtered every year. Their flesh is mainly used for cheap meat products like burgers. The calves themselves may still be alive when their mothers are disembowelled. The still living calf spills onto the floor where it thrashes and drowns among the pile of bloody organs."

If you want to see the site I got this from, its http://www.betrayed.org.uk
, but be warned, there are lots of pictures (including one to go along with that last paragraph.)

And this, my friends, is why I am planning on turning vegan in the next couple of months.

Respect,
Davy


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