A few days ago some Steve Stankevicius wanted to start the conversation about the animals ‘rights’ and made the poor decision to publish in Salon, which turned his piece into click-bait — at any rate, we can recover the his main point:
The poster boys and girls of atheism, secularism, science and reason have done wonders for so many domains of public discourse. While they fittingly weigh in on many moral questions not restricted to religious indoctrination and its impact on human rights, animal rights has so far garnered little attention. However, the great thing about reason is that it is a tool. Reason does not presuppose its answers, but is rather a process by which conclusions germinate under the light of the best available evidence. The best available evidence currently shows that eating meat and animal products is bad for animals, our health and the environment. Many of the New Atheists and their associated colleagues have realized this; they just need to come forth into the light.
That’s simply not true, at least not in the way Stankevicius is portraying it to be.
Yes, eating meat and animal products is bad for animals. The thing is, eating vegetables, grain and fruits is bad for animals as well.
As for our health, eating meat and animal products can be bad for our health. The thing is, so is the veg diet:
Legumes are deficient in cysteine and methionine, whilst cereals are deficient in lysine, so making an exclusive diet based on one of these two foods may result in deficiencies of essential amino acids, which are eventually fatal. Soy is one of the few vegetables that have an optimal ratio of amino acids, that’s why it is so popular in feed and nutritional supplements. This risk exists, but is easily avoidable by including cereals and legumes on the menu, eating soy, or with an ovo-lacto diet. The case with vitamin D is similar, as it is very rare in plants but abundant in milk and eggs.
Another problem is also related to micronutrients, particularly iron and zinc. Many vegetables are rich in these two elements, but the problem is that most of the times the iron is sequestered by fiber or other components such as phytate, oxalate or citrate, so although the concentration (total amount) is high, the bioavailability (amount we can assimilate) is very low. It’s easier for a vegetarian to get anemia than it is for an omnivorous.
Some of these compounds that sequester iron or zinc have an added risk. They tend to crystallize. Normally this wouldn’t matter too much, because the kidney will eliminate them, but if you saturate the kidney, or if it doesn’t work as it should, they begin to crystallize in the kidney, causing the dreaded stones. Vegetarian diets have a higher risk of kidney stones.
A diet that completely excludes animal foods may also have a deficit in essential fatty acids. Interestingly a severe deficit in one type of fatty acid (n-3 polyunsaturated), along with vitamin B12 deficiency, which can also occur in vegetarians, can lead to platelets not working as they should, leading to a higher risk of thrombosis, and increased risk of a cardiovascular accident.
As a matter of fact, going veg can’t prevent cancer
And as for the environment, actually, the most recent best available evidence has shown that veg diets are harmful for the environment (caloric intake is a bitch!).
There we go. Contrary to what Stankevicius’ claims (or wants us to conclude), going veg is bad for animals, our health and the environment.
Since we’re on the topic of so-called animal rights, let me set the record straight: rights stem from our species’ moral agency, hence the whole concept of “animal rights” is laughable at best.
But it isn’t, because veg-animalism activism has turned out to be a misantropic movement (and what else can you expect of the New Age-y bullshit of Hare Krishna?) that is creeping into society and we should do our best to counter it.
Choosing a veg diet is as respectable as choosing an omnivorous one, and any properly fed and informed person should decide which one they prefer, there’s no right or wrong answer — but what rubs me the wrong way is the animals’ champions saying they don’t eat meat “for ethical reasons” and other ways to claim a moral superiority that no diet has whatsoever.
(via Friendly Atheist)