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I am a politically-progressive, ethically-herbivorous anthropoid pursuing a paleontology education in the Los Angeles Basin. I am largely nocturnal, have rarely been photographed, and cannot thrive in captivity.

10 August 2012

Meanwhile, Out In The Wastelands....

As you've probably noticed, I haven't had much interest in blogging lately. Frankly, I've been enjoying my much-needed summer break too much to want to sit for hours in front of my computer doing research. I'm about to begin a new semester, which will in turn increase my interest in subjects related to this blog.

Some idle thoughts I may explore in more detail:

I've seen a recent increase in the "plants matter, too" criticism of veganism. This, I think, can be easily dealt with by examining plant biology and evolution. For one thing, plants are highly plastic, and can regrow organs like leaves and stems and roots. I challenge anyone to find me an animal humans commonly exploit for food for whom this is true.

For another thing, most plants that humans eat are angiosperms, which means their reproduction and propagation depends on having their organs consumed and dispersed by pollinators. I challenge anyone to find me an animal whose reproductive cycle depends on getting partially eaten.

I'll be back in greater presence in a few weeks, hopefully to develop this post in greater detail, respond to a few requests, and look for new material to blog about.

Til then, thanks for reading, and enjoy your summer, too.


  1. Those are some great thoughts, thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Well this sounds all good in theory, but how many 'vegans', do you think will grow their own vegetables, to make possible what you argued theoretically? A quick abstract calculation of practical considerations made me think that being an insecto-vegetarian would overall do much more good to the world as opposed to any other diet. One is that as insects become economically interesting to farm, you make it easier for people to be vegetarian or vegan, as this would imply labelling products that contain insects that are now just embedded and flaky vegetarians and vegans would get the full heat immediately, who are now basically destroying the cause because they are so lax or even hypocritical as Keith Lierre pointed out in an interview when she confessed to cheating.

    1. It might surprise you to know that it is not hard to be a vegan, and that most vegans do not cheat. Lierre Keith is just making lazy excuses for her own failure.

      Beyond that, I have no idea what you just said.

    2. I think "hard" is relative to the person and the circumstances, and what is easy for you may well be significantly harder for someone else (at the very least for psychological and social reasons).

      At any rate, I'm looking forward to your return to blogging!

  3. Certainly, Keith Lierre is a pain in the ass to most vegans and "honey", "I don't know" - Vegan Outreach
    I shrunk the veganism.

  4. Thank you!
    I have often used the response that plants have evolved to be eaten in order to sucessfully propagate, whereas no pig, cow, or chicken that I know of needs to be digested to reproduce. It generally shuts up the 'plants have lives too' folks.

  5. @catta, well no as long as most vegans continue to consume processed plant foods, which relies upon a method that basically exterminates plants entirely as that is faster and cheaper in the short run.

  6. A farm animal eats a huge amount of plants during its lifetime... one could argue that an omnivorous diet is responsible for those deaths as well. So even if we accept that consuming plants for food is wrong (and I am far from convinced), eating vegan will result in far fewer total deaths. Barring starvation, it's still the ethically superior choice. :)

  7. There's plenty of non-conflict edible animal sources out there! Salamander sandwiches? Earthworm salad? Not to mention, lemmings and all the other suicide foods! In college, I lived off of snake skins. It's really not hard to be vegan and eat animals.

  8. "eating vegan will result in far fewer total deaths."

    are you mentally masturbating or can you actually show me sources showing a strong contrast for this as you imply a comparison here, obviously.

    1. Do you really need a study to be convinced that the lives of all the plants a pig eats over its lifetime plus the life of the pig itself is going to create a larger total than the plant lives required to replace that pig with beans? It's just basic math, which does not generally require further justification.

    2. "It's just basic math, which does not generally require further justification."

      Ok, you say it is basic math, where can I find some kind of source to verify it for myself mathematically then? As it is so obvious to you, you should have no problem providing an external source with the math.

    3. hi Anonymous 1 and 2, i'm anonymous #3. hope that removes any confusion.
      This is ridiculously easy, and it takes less than 5 minutes to do some basic math out. I used cows and corn/soy because it was easier, but feel free to look up the numbers for pigs and beans if you want.
      first some facts courtesy of google:
      1. the world human population is over 7 billion
      2. world cattle population is 1.3 billion cattle
      3. you can't feed 7 billion humans with just 1.3 billion cows, (under very ideal circumstances a cow of 1250 pounds could produce 700 pounds of edible meat, at 620 calories per pound that's 434,000 calories, and could feed 1 person 2000 calories a day for 217 days, keep in mind it takes about 5 years to raise a cow). I then did the calculations again to add in world dairy production at 730 million tons, that would add enough calories to feed almost 2 billion people for 1 year. that's under very ideal circumstances
      And now for the kicker:
      4. The cattle population across the world eats enough calories to feed 8.7 billion people

      How is this possible? animals eating plants don't get 100% energetic efficiency out of what they eat. by feeding plants to animals, and then eating those animals, it requires far more plants to be grown than just eating the plants directly. how many more? about 20 times more. therefore if you eat animals, you will need to feed them way more plants than you would need to raise to feed humans the same number of calories. replacing the calories of animal food with plant food therefore not only saves animal lives and suffering; but if you believe in reducing plant suffering, it also dramatically reduces plant suffering too. QED

      and yeah, this is pretty obvious if you bothered to look it up.

  9. "and yeah, this is pretty obvious if you bothered to look it up."

    If you bothered to be intellectually honest, you would just have provided the formula from an external source/website that is impartial and not ridiculously skewed towards veganism, so I and other people could calculate it for themselves, but no, instead you guesstimate based upon some random stuff you obviously grabbed from google. Who knows, maybe you are just playing a numbers game and while you may look impressive to vegans who are already buying into the party line, I am sure critical omnis wouldn't be the least bit impressed by this.

  10. @Humane Hominid, "It might surprise you to know that it is not hard to be a vegan"

    It might suprise you that the majority of people really do think vegans are frigging hypocrites as they consume insects_all_the_time embedded in the very products they eat, while pretending that they do not eat animals at all. Or they buy products tested on animals, while that is totally out of sync with their veganism, unless you would strip veganism from its' original meaning and turn it into a form of vegetarianism and then IMO why the fuck would you be vegan in the first place?
    Also your criticism against Keith Lierre was one sided and don't get me wrong, I do think what she said was kinda half assed, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the other things she said was bs too, as she brought up valid points regarding what the vegan diet would be lacking, that would be only available in meat (see youtube channel of peakmoment)or how we can change the system for the better.

    1. 1) Lierre Keith doesn't know what she's talking about. For more on her, see my post Paleofantasies and The Vegetarian Myth.

      2) I think you might not understand the word "hypocrisy." Ethical veganism is about eliminating as much suffering to animals as possible from our lives. If we find an area of our lives that's under our control, we change it. Most of us have little control over whether insects are "embedded" in the products we eat (though I'm pretty sure there aren't any embedded in the unprocessed fruits and vegetables I build my daily diet around). If you think vegans harbor the illusion that we have eliminated absolutely every trace of animal exploitation from our daily lives, then you simply don't understand veganism at all.

      3) I'm gonna have to ask you to come up with an avatar or something to distinguish yourself from all the other Anonymi showing up here lately. Same goes for the rest of you.

  11. @Humane Hominid,

    wow I didn't know that about Lierre. I guess I must have overlooked that. After I read that, I am more in agreement with you. I suppose Lierre is not someone to trust given her cheap excuses. Intellectual integrity is a very high good and plantpositive (who I checked out recently on his YT channel) seems to show that much more than rhethorician Lierre, who is indeed a very good writer, but at a second glance she seems to be too heavy on the rhethoric for my taste.
    Vegan for me? Naa, don't think so. I feel personally that vegan doesn't go all the way. I really wish to go fruitarian in the future if I can find more compelling ethical arguments, but until then I will farm my own insects that live exactly one day, give them a small paradise and when they drop dead, fry & eat them.

    At last I recommend two very cool vegans I once met on Youtube:

    -1imesub (focuses on peer reviewed studies & taught me about the importance of strontium for bone health.)
    -openheartzoo (really cool french vegan girl, doesn't get caught up in polarization)

    I shall take my leave, wish you all a nice day. :)

    Kind regards,

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