Mike the Mad Biologist

Links 6/27/11


  1. #1 Willow
    June 27, 2011

    Mike, I’m surprised you had no comment about the link “Why being vegetarian can kill more animals than eating meat.”
    The author is obviously unfamiliar with actual farm animals. For example, yield of eggs per life is divided by 2 because “approximately one male chick is killed for each laying hen,” but the same treatment isn’t given to dairy… even thought only female cattle (i.e. cows) can produce milk!
    Further, in my experience, someone who is vegetarian because of animal welfare issues is much more likely to purchase eggs and milk from farms that treat their livestock better. No mention of this in her rant, just the assumption that *all* meat and dairy and eggs is produced in an industrial agriculture system. False!
    These and other poor assumptions in her argument leave me feelig rather skeptical of her conclusions.

  2. #2 Julia Galef
    June 28, 2011

    Willow, thanks for reading.

    I don’t understand why you think I should have multiplied the # of cows-per-calorie by two. The reason I did so for chickens was that male chicks of the laying breed are killed upon hatching. But are bulls killed when they are born? I don’t think so. I believe they are farmed for meat, and would therefore be included in the “beef” line of the chart. (But notice that if you are right about this, it would strengthen, not weaken, my overall argument.)

    Also, you say that vegetarians are more likely to buy from humane farms. I’m sure that’s true, but I also know for a fact that many vegetarians (I suspect most) buy regular eggs and dairy. And as even the title of my post makes clear, my argument was not that being vegetarian always kills more animals than being omnivore, just that it CAN.

  3. #3 Ross
    June 28, 2011

    Hey, thanks for the link about diabetes. Shame the article didn’t cover how to actually *implement* this treatment. (It’s not just about willpower; for most people with type 2 diabetes, that kind of extreme diet would cause *serious* short-term problems; if I tried it, I’d need to take a sabbatical from my job because reducing my calorie intake by even half that causes me serious mental impairment to the point where it’s unsafe for me to drive)

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