New Green Jack New Green Jack

58 responses to “Treeheads and Meathuggers – Part Two”

    • Jeffrey Lam

      Nice to see your own take on this Dale. You really are quite passionate about this aren’t you? Your efficiency angle is pretty compelling.

      Some sources to your “myth-busters” might be nice, but I can go googling/wiki-ing later.

      I agree it is absolutely possible to live on an animal-product-free diet if you go chasing the right nutrients, but what about people who don’t? There are a lot of people out there who eat without giving a second thought to whether or not they have the right nutrients. But I suppose animals manage, so humans must be able to…

    • Jane

      Hi again Jeffrey
      Yes, Dale is passionate and rightly so imho! Re nutritional evidence/sources, if you go to the pdf version, Justine Butler’s article has links – they lead back to longer factsheets on these issues, which in turn are fully referenced to scientific studies – in fact, this sort of nutritional info is firmly in the mainstream, from the American Dietetic Association to BMA to the WHO.

      I think Dale’s done a good job summarising the various reasons people do or don’t go veg*n and then giving practical advice to remove what non-vegans perceive as obstacles – which in turn clears the ground for the debate on the real issues – the environment, the animals who are also ‘Earthlings’ and our own compulsions.

      I know you don’t agree, but I do think that unless human beings can look beyond their own species and learn to empathise – not anthropomorphise – with all other inhabitants on this planet, we’re buggered! To me, ‘tradition’ or ‘history’ is a poor reason to remain attached to eating habits that are now damaging everything. We have to learn from history, surely, not keep making the same mistakes?

      I look forward to further contributions. Btw, I didn’t read HFW’s meat book – too distressing – but I did look at several reviews of it. I believe I’ve probably heard similar arguments from organic meat greenies about ‘quality’ meat. Unfortunately, such arguments still don’t answer the points made by either Dale, Juliet or myself. How can you look a living, sensitive animal in the eye then kill it, however ‘humanely’? And isn’t our power over them just another example of might over right?

      I do urge you to watch the movie ‘Earthlings’, narrated by actor Joaquin Phoenix. You can watch it on your pc free by doing a search, but you can also buy the DVD in an all countries format from a US website. I’d be interested to hear your response.

      Take care

    • James

      Awesome Dale,

      I missed part 1 of this but maybe that was because I was still eating meat and glazed over the post. From the beginning of 2009 I changed my ways as I went on a steep journey of knowledge which has been followed by learning which is change.

      You Are What You Eat!
      You can be dead meat, or living energy.

      I was in California for a short time in January and on many establishments they had a sign warning that there maybe chemicals that are known to or possibly could cause cancer. This made me think. What really is in our food? Plenty of chemicals that’s for sure, preservatives, additives, colourings, flavours… – watch the movie “Food Matters”, you can probably find it on Google Video.

      Then if you want to know about better food farming
      How To Save The World – You can visit this website to find out more

      Geoff Lawton’s “Permaculture Food Forest” – You will find a trailer on YouTube

      There are many more out there.

      For those who learn the lost art of farming their own food, on any level, are going to be much better off.

      The benefits of eating good food are demonstrated well in the video
      Simply Raw – Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days

      This one is especially for you Dale
      “The great global warming swindle”
      It throws in debate for the climate change issue.

      I’m not saying we should carry on plundering and polluting the earth. I’m all for innovation and low impact technology. I’m just suggesting that by being a sheeple you may find you are being led to slaughter. There maybe hidden agendas, a global carbon tax, wow, wouldn’t that be a great revenue generator.

      Think for your self, educate yourself there is no shortage of great information.

      To know both sides is to be more knowledgeable.

      Keep up the great work Dale, I love the energy you put into communicating with the people.


    • Chris

      Personally I’ve never liked the title ‘Can You Be A Meathead and a Treehugger?’ on your other blog. I think it marginalizes a huge group of people, and sounds a bit too ‘You can’t be in OUR gang!’ 😉

      It’s like asking ‘Can you have children and be a Treehugger?’ Or ‘Can you travel abroad and be a Treehugger?’ It seems so absolute and alienates many people for wanting to enjoy life. Afterall, all the above are very polluting and non are absolutely necessary. Anyway, just a small point really. But I think a more productive title would’ve been ‘Do we eat too much meat?’

      On which point I would wholeheartedly agree. My mother, who was a Dietition, would regularly argue that eating a little bit of meat can contribute to a healthy & balanced diet, and that over eating any one food (even lentils!) is bad. As a kid I used to point food out to her and ask ‘Is this bad for you?’ She would consistently reply ‘Everything in moderation’. The real problem is, we westerners don’t do moderation! Particularly in terms of fat/carbs. Part of it is tradition/habit, part of it is because we enjoy it, and part because we don’t actually know how to cook any other way. I occasionally cook vegetarian, but even I would struggle to come up with an interesting and varied vegetarian diet that I could sustain myself with from day to day. And veganism would probably see me give up eating all together!! As a result, some of us Brits eat meat 2 (some even 3) times a day. Plus dairy on top. Which is way too much saturated fat. And way too much large-scale intensive factory farming!

      I completely agree on your fundamental point that animal farming is one of the biggest contributers to climate change. We should eat less meat. This in turn would probably solve many other meat related problems. We could treat what meat we do eat more humanely. Give chickens more space. Afford to buy them at higher prices. Use slower growing, healthier, happier breeds. And once again, the chicken would be far healthier than the Big Mac!

        • Jane Easton

          Hi Chris
          Sorry to hear that you’d struggle to come up with a veggie or vegan diet.

          Part of my job description is to assist people with questions like these. I’ve taught simple vegan cooking to people of all ages and they’ve had a great time – chocolate cake, pancakes, savouries of all kinds, gorgeous sauces, sausages and burgers… you name it, they’ve loved it.

          Vegan cooking has moved on in leaps and bounds and is so creative and lovely. Indeed, vegans tend to eat a much more varied diet than most meat-eaters, who see plant foods as little satellites to the meat on their plate. If you’d like to find some interesting and yummy recipes, check out these links.

          Vegan Feasts by Rose Elliot is simple and good. Her recipes always work. For more gourmet/simple fusion recipes, check out Amanda Grant’s New Vegan Cooking.

          Hope you find this useful.


            • Chris

              Thanks Jane. I’ll check out your links. 🙂

    • TR

      I agree with Chris on the whole ‘Can You Be A Meathead and a Treehugger?’ thing… it opens up too many other questions about what constitutes a Treehugger and that alienates too many people. Soon enough you’d be left with only militant vegans with no cars, minimal/zero utilities usage who spend most of their time talking about how they’ve just installed a recycling system that turns their waste into drinking water.

      Excluding & Alienating people is dangerous as if they see it as a “with us or against us” type ultimatum then they’ll probably run for the hills.

      That being said the actual blog (especially part 2 and the ‘mythbusting’) is really good… I’ll be completely honest and admit that after reading it for the first time I went out and ate both meat and dairy, but it has had a lingering impact.

      I know a few veggies and for the most part they switched due to the treatment of animals. The standards of which I do think are horrible, but I’ve always thought that taking yourself out of the “meat market” by going veggie you’re not really helping (I can’t see farmer’s paying too much attention to the will of veggies). Because of that I’ve always tried to go for the better quality meats etc, with the logic that although these are still nowhere near perfect it would mean money goes to farmers who try harder… rather than those who make shortcuts. If all other “meat-eaters” do similar then eventually this could lead to the standards of animal treatment being increased.
      The blog above, and the Food Myths article seemed to put more focus on the fact that eating meat just isn’t necessary… something I’ve heard argued, but never actually seen convincingly backed up.

      I’ve never seen myself turning veggie, but I’m certainly starting to put more thought into what I eat.

    • Xena

      I personally don’t feel “right” if I don’t eat enough protein, so I eat meat and eggs… how would we get around the problem of having to eat 10 kilos of vegetation to get the same amount of protein?

        • Jane Easton

          Hi Xena
          Firstly, we are so conditioned to believe that there is some magic bullet in animal protein that there is a placebo effect going on there. Saturated fat is also quite addictive, like many of the things we crave. It’s also bad for animals and the environment of course.

          Basically, it’s almost impossible to be protein deficient on a veg*n diet. In rich countries like the UK and so forth, the only people who are tend to have eating disorders because they don’t consume enough calories to give them adequate protein.

          I am puzzled about your ’10Kilos of vegetation figure from… It’s actually very easy to eat a good veg*n diet. Do check out Nutrition in a Nutshell – just google it to get to the guide. There’s a really simple nutrition chart that shows you what you need to eat each day and how much – all nutritionally sound, very healthy and less likely to lead you to heart disease, cancer, diabetes type 2 and all the other things that meat and eggs can cause. And there are some awesome recipe sites out there. Let me know if you want me to forward you some links.
          Hope this is useful.

    • Jonny Holt

      Hello again everyone,

      Seconds out! Round two!

      Thank you, Dale, for your balanced and moderate views – so much more palatable than the puritanical absolutism that began to characterise some posts during Part 1.

      Chris is spot on. Inclusion into a broad church should be the aim of the green movement. Any smack of narrow exclusion will be interpreted by the wider community as a sign of mean-spirited or smug delineation. “Welcome to all!” should be the message. We do NOT want a green apartheid.

      I think nearly all of us agree that the global livestock industry is ethically bankrupt both on carbon footprint and animal welfare grounds. Concentrating on that fact will allow the two sides to the debate that has emerged to see that they are in fact as one (with perhaps a rump of die-hard misanthropes, intent on confrontation).

      What we can still disagree on – but without descending to a destructive and damaging slanging match, I hope – is the morality or otherwise of eating meat per se, including that of the highest ethical provenance. However, this is a separate subject to the one at issue here.

      Best regards,


        • Jane Easton

          Hi Johnny
          As George Monbiot quotes someone… tell people what they already know and they’ll thank you. Tell them something new and they will hate you.

          LIke you, I don’t want a destructive slanging match. No one on this site or any other I know of is citing ‘apartheid’ – most of us work/live with non veggies after all! But what is important is a well-informed and critical debate between greenies and others – if we can’t have these arguments then we’re stuffed.

          But I do have to take you to task for that comment about ‘puritanical absolutism’ . I think that’s unfair and does you no credit. I am no puritan and neither are any of my vegan friends or colleagues. Veganism for me and all the vegans I know is not only an urgent and necessary solution to the global catastrophe we face but also a joyful, positive adventure that includes sensuous food!

          It’s not just absolutism – there is so much evidence to show that even small-scale farming is not a solution and is also very very carbon intensive. We have to find a better way, surely?

          It’s part of my life’s mission to encourage people to eat better for all the reasons cited above: the environment, other ‘earthlings’, health and the world’s poor and I do so in an inclusive way. I teach them how to cook vegan if that’s what they want; introduce them to new foods or new ways of cooking old foods and it’s such a buzz to see the lightbulb going on inside their heads. They have fun and love the food – it expands their choices in a really positive way and gives them information tha they don’t get from the mainstream – hence this website thread in the first place!

          Veganism isn’t a killjoy attitude, but one which is filled with real compassion and life-affirming way of living. Were you to actually meet any of the people I know, I think you’d have a very pleasant surprise – like most human beings, we are more than a mere stereotype.

          I also can’t help wondering if there’s a bit of unconscious speciesism in your statement. Would you apply your ‘puritian absolutism’ label to the slave emancipators or anyone fighting for human rights? Why is it so wrong to call for the end to unnecessary suffering and death of one species but not of another? Nothing you’ve said so far has answered this question or anything similar.

          I hope you take these comments in the spirit they are meant.

            • Damon Hart-Davis

              Suggestions that all farmers deliberately and necessarily and knowingly torture all of their animals every day is absolutist and indeed patent nonsense and undermines good arguments in the same cause.

              That’s the kind of silliness that we have to avoid and accept some shades of grey or green in this.



              PS. I have found this new thread enlightening and will read the PDF properly when I have a moment and a glass of wine to hand! B^>

                • Jane Easton

                  Hi Damon
                  Re your comments about ‘absolutist and patent nonsense’ perhaps you might find this more convincing. Viva! and other groups like it regularly do undercover work at factory farms and livestock markets. Were any group unable to provide shard evidence it would lose all credibility. Incidences of neglect, cruelty (not to mention wholesale breaking of bio-hazard laws) and collusion and cover-up between local vets and farmers are not just isolated events but happen all the time. The farms and markets where undercover work takes place are not specially selected, it’s just a case of where investigators can get in – ie random.
                  It’s not just the case of the occasional bad apple. In any kind of farming, to one degree or another, animals become commodities to make a profit and their natural needs are often ignored in the pursuit of profit – think of how humans treat other humans in sweatshops – why should farmers be any different particularly when not dealing with their own kind? It’s all too easy to become numbed or brutalised by this industry from what I have seen and there is a dark side to the human heart that we ignore at our peril.
                  Factory-farmed animals especially but also other meat animals all too often suffer both physically and psychologically – if you have ever seen the footage of animals exhibiting stereotypical behaviour patterns – ie they literally go mad – then you might understand more.
                  Then there is the undercover footage from slaughterhouses, the statements from abattoir workers themselves and from vets – as well as hard evidence from university vet academics. The fact that an estimated 2 million pigs in the UK alone are insufficiently stunned pre-slaughter shows that something somewhere is going very wrong. Or that dairy cows – very maternal animals – exhibit real signs of grief when their calves are taken from them soon after birth so we can take their milk is well-documented. Or that millions of chickens dodge the stunner and go to the boiling tanks still alive…

                    • Damon Hart-Davis

                      My specific objection above was to the absolutist silliness: I only have to find one farmer that does not deliberately torture all of their animals every day to falisify such a statement. And I do know such a farmer. Thus it is clearly false.

                      I’m not claiming conversely that all farmers are angels.

                      But mixing up the emotional and ethical and factual and making categorical statements which are patently wrong however heartfelt is at best a distraction.

                      I’ve shoveled sh*t on a farm, etc.



        • TR

          I can’t help but see the irony in your comment on ‘absolutism’ when you then go on to make a statement like: “I think nearly all of us agree that the global livestock industry is ethically bankrupt both on carbon footprint and animal welfare grounds”

          How can you make such an absolute statement?… on behalf of everyone else too.
          As Damon has said that statement is easily proved false.

          In my earlier comment I mentioned that I believe the general standards are too low, but that doesn’t mean that all farmer’s are deliberately malicious or that they’re out to make a quick quid.

    • Justin Noe

      I also think there is a wider issue to consider and that is the rate of obesity in the western world.
      “About 46% of men in England and 32% of women are overweight (a body mass index of 25-30 kg/m2), and an additional 17% of men and 21% of women are obese (a body mass index of more than 30 kg/m2 ).

      Overweight and obesity increase with age. About 28% of men and 27% of women aged 16-24 are overweight or obese but 76% of men and 68% of women aged 55-64 are overweight or obese.

      Overweight and obesity are increasing. The percentage of adults who are obese has roughly doubled since the mid-1980’s.”

      For my money not only is meat consumption out of control but so are all dietary requirements. Putting ever increasing strain on the ecology. We’d probably further reduce green house gases by reducing waste sizes! I think I may have upset an even wider group of people just then, whoops.

      I guess you could argue that mechanisation has allowed us to consume much more than we need and that we’re so used to it now to deny it is cruelty. I will stop before I get lynched!

      It’s just a thought.

        • mr potatohead

          Reminds me of Lazyboy’s ‘Underwear Goes Inside the Pants’:

          Americans, let’s face it: We’ve been a spoiled country for a long time.
          Do you know what the number one health risk in America is?
          Obesity. They say we’re in the middle of an obesity epidemic.
          An epidemic like it is polio. Like we’ll be telling our grand kids about it one day.
          The Great Obesity Epidemic of 2004.
          “How’d you get through it grandpa?”
          “Oh, it was horrible Johnny, there was cheesecake and pork chops everywhere.”

          Nobody knows why were getting fatter? Look at our lifestyles!
          I’ll sit at a drive thru.
          I’ll sit there behind fifteen other cars instead of getting up to make the eight foot walk to the totally empty counter.
          Everything is mega meal, super sized.
          “Want biggie fries with that? Want a jumbo fry, wanna go large,
          want a biggie fry, wanna have thirty burgers for a nickel, you fat motherf*!%er?”
          “There’s room in the bag. Take it!”
          “Want a 55 gallon drum of Coke with that? It’s only three more cents.”


    • Jeffrey Lam

      I’ve said this before: the UK (and the developed world) levels of meat/dairy consumption are excessive. We need to reduce this. Full stop.

      It would be nice if sandwich bars, pastie outlets, restaurants and takeaways up and down the land made it a bit easier by offering more meat/dairy free products. I’ve tried walking into a Greggs once and asked for something with no meat, and was offered something with cheese. Not a lot of choice out there.

        • Justin Noe

          Unfortunately shops like Greggs respond to market forces. If there isn’t enough demand for a vegetarian option then they won’t sell it. Although I have to say that Greggs does do a mexican bean wrap but it’s not ethically sourced (I’m sure this may change sometime soon)!
          As a consumer we have far more power to change the high street than you think. We just need better education about food and I sincerely believe that this should start at school. It’s often too late for us fudidudies!

            • Jeffrey Lam

              oh there’s the “vegetarian” option alright (cheese or egg mainly), it’s the vegan option that’s lacking. But yes good point.

    • Chris

      I saw an interview on the Andrew Marr show this morning on a new film coming out about our over-fishing of the sea. The chap who made this film is an ex-Telegraph environmental editor. He said in the interview that he suspected Bluefin Tuna populations had ‘collapsed’. They also briefly glossed over a prediction that with present day fishing techniques, the sea will be more or less dead within 50 years!

        • Jeffrey Lam

          I noticed End of the Line on twitter last week. Somewhere the point is made that this film is not anti-fishing per se, just anti-unsustainable fishing, Bluefin Tuna being one particularly vulnerable species of fish.

    • MW

      Insects generally have a higher food conversion efficiency than more traditional meats. While many insects can have an energy input to protein output ratio of around 4:1, raised livestock has a ratio closer to 54:1

      Studies concerning the house cricket (Acheta domesticus) provide further evidence for the efficiency of insects as a food source. When reared at 30°C or more and fed a diet of equal quality to the diet used to rear conventional livestock, crickets showed a food conversion twice as efficient as pigs and broiler chicks, four times that of sheep, and six times higher than steers (oxen) when losses in carcass trim and dressing percentage are counted.

        • Jeffrey Lam

          I’m going to have a little educated guess here… and say that insects don’t regulate their body temperature like mammals, which is where most of the energy is used. Presumably this is the same for reptiles and fish?
          But where in the UK can we possibly rear insects at temperatures of 30C or more? I suppose we could wait for global warming…

    • Xena

      I may be starting to see the light on this one. But I have a few more questions that I’m hoping someone will be able to answer
      Is is really expensive, cheaper or comparable to go veggie or vegan as opposed to eating meat?
      If we all turned veggie, would this have a negative impact on soil fertility at all?
      Also, how would I convince my partner to go veggie? She’s a devout meat eater, and I can’t see her even considering a veggie option!

        • Jeffrey Lam

          I like to think of myself as a “part-time vegan”, though not strictly. I limit myself to one portion of meat (including fish) or dairy per day, meaning one/two meals per day is completely meat/dairy free, although now I’m living at mum’s it’s getting a little difficult.

          From my experience, it depends on what you go for. In my search for protein, I’ve found it in pasta, brown rice, and pulses (beans, lentils, peas etc.) though perhaps not in as much quantity as in meat. These we either eat already or are cheaper than meat.

          However, nuts (and seeds) seem to have not only a large amount of protein (and fat), but also vitamins and minerals not found in other plant products. These are expensive if you eat these in large quantities. But you can shop around, market stalls are cheaper than supermarkets for things like this.

          All nutritional information is google-able. For cost, you’ll just have to walk around supermarkets and markets and look at prices.

          Soil fertility is an interesting question, which Jonny, I and others discussed at some length in the first blog. The vegan camp will say there is plenty of fertility from green manure (I imagine), but I’m waiting for real anecdotal evidence from someone or data or some “back-of-envelope” calculations from someone.

          And I’m an advocate of reducing meat/dairy, rather than of complete abstention, so at least try to get your partner to look at reducing meat portions, or the occasional vegan/veggie meal etc. I believe even dairy has a lower carbon cost, portion for portion, than meat, though admittedly still high.

          Those are my thoughts anyway.

        • Jane Easton

          Jeffrey has said it all really, but think of it like this way – good food is good food. Just prepare a dish like this chilli recipe in the link below. Don’t make a big deal about it and she’ll love it! Viva! has fed this to literally tens of thousands of people, meat-eaters and veg*ns alike. Don’t omit the peanut butter, it makes it. Good luck.

    • Eric

      I find it curious that you mention efficiency and diminishing return to argue veganism while at the same time selling wind power, which, when compared to nuclear, is horribly inefficient with a considerably lower energy density. Let’s not be religiously afraid of science. Nuclear power with breeder reactors, thorium reaction, and waste transmutation, is the most efficient and clean energy source available. It is considerably safer than most people have been led to believe as well. And it even emits no green house gasses. So since we’re talking efficiency, I will give up meat when you take up nuclear.

        • Justin Noe

          around 18% of Ecotricity’s fuel mix is nuclear, does this mean you’ll give up a bit of your meat intake?

            • MW

              Eric, there are many time when discussion about alternative energy comes down to a false choice between renewables and nuclear power.

              A nuclear plant costs several £billions and typically have a 10 year lead time, this make them very unattractive to private capital and as such are nearly always funded or supported by the state. Renewables are in a similar position due to the high upfront costs and low runnung costs, but the lead times are much shorter and the projects to tend to be smaller and modular reducing the risk. No doubt nuclear has a big role to play in the future, and I would much rather see nuclear plant built rather than coal.

              With efficiency, cogen, reneawbles, nuclear and long distance HVDC grids the world never needs to build another centralised coal fired power station.

            • Eric

              I actually hardly eat any meat because it is too expensive for me.

                • Xena

                  I know what you mean there… it’s seriously expensive.
                  I realised a couple of weeks ago that it’s quite rare that I eat a meal without meat or dairy of some sort… if not extremely rare… always includes margerine/milk if nothing else
                  It would be far cheaper to reduce the amount that I eat drastically. Also sounds like it would do my health the world of good as well… I’ve had M.E for a few years and doesn’t help that I have a BMI of 37 – would reducing my meat and dairy help me lose weight?
                  My dad has a sister who’s vegetarian, and she’s had numerous hip replacements and knee replacements which my dad always blames on her diet, could this be a cause?

        • Jeffrey Lam

          I’ve been reading David McKay’s book “Without Hot Air” recently. While not regarding him as an authoritative source, he does make the interesting point that if we just switched to nuclear, then our “peak oil” will be followed by a “peak nuclear” 20 years later.

          Regardless of how efficient nuclear is or isn’t, it is not renewable. Wind is. In fact, while fossil fuels may take millions/billions (can’t remember) of years to regenerate, for nuclear fuels we will have to wait for a supernova… and that doesn’t happen very often.

          But I’m not telling you to give up meat anyway.

            • Damon Hart-Davis

              Well, yes, if we insist on the prevalent inefficient single-pass U235-based system which leaves lots of nasties afterwards.

              A ‘breeder’ style will give ~60x more energy per unit of input fuel and the tech does already work.

              And of course Thorium fission or some kind of fusion would avoid Peak Nuclear almost entirely, indeed we might have an embarrassment of energy riches at that point! B^>



                • Jeffrey Lam

                  I guess you’ve got me there. I don’t know anything about Thorium reaction, breeder reactors or waste transmutation, and so I will stay out of that for now.

                  But Damon, “some kind of fusion”? We haven’t yet achieved that on a potentially-commercial scale yet have we? How far away is that exactly?

                    • Damon Hart-Davis

                      Fusion has been pretty constantly “about 20 years” away for a long time, though we may finally be getting into the end game with ITAR. So maybe while you and I are still alive for example.

                      Equally, I don’t think there’s any commercial Throium reaction though I may be wrong.

                      However, breeder technology is AFAIK doable now and if done right reduces the nasty waste enormously (to much less stuff with a shorter half-life). But I am no expert: I spend too much time readinf!



    • James

      “waste transmutation”? Dumping it in the ocean where no one can see it?

      Nuclear waste transmutation is considered as a possible mechanism for reducing the volume and hazard of radioactive waste. Not a solution.

      I would rather live with the inefficiency of wind than the possibility of Chernobyl and 3 eyed fish.

      We should be innovating, working on more efficient devices, homes and ways of life, opposed to how we can fuel our current hunger for more.

      Change, try something new, it is what humans have always been doing, it’s how we got here, just that some seem to forget to look beyond their current moment in time.


    • Eric

      “Waste Transmutation” Bombarding the nuclear waste with high energy particles to break the radio active waste into smaller elements with significantly smaller half lives. A breeder reactor does this to some extent as well as giving us lots of energy rich plutonium (waste recycling).
      As I said, we need to not religiously be afriad of science and technology. Higher energy densities mean less ecological footprint and greater ability to support the human race to higher standards of living.

    • Jonny Holt

      Hello Jane,

      Your GM quote is unarguable – I agree with you! It also chimes with the quote in the image at the top of the “Good (Energy) Lies – part two” thread. However, it also begs the questions: “Does this mean that everything I believe in is false?” and “Does this mean that every new bit of information / opinion / wild conjecture that I disagree with is actually true?” Patently both of these are illogical extrapolations.

      I used “apartheid” partly because I enjoyed the intentional use of such a loaded word. Mea culpa! But I also used it because this discussion is characterised for me as being between one group who seem to consider themselves exclusive and in some senses “better than the rest” and another group who think it is more constructive for a wider section of society to feel able (and invited) to join the gang – in this case the wider green movement.

      Honestly, I was not referring to you personally in using the words “puritanical absolutism”. I was in fact referring to some of the pretty ill-tempered and unpleasant posts that appeared early in “part 1” before you became a regular contributor. Nevertheless, I note the fact that promoting veganism is your “life’s mission”. What is your attitude to friends, family and others if – having had the benefit of your teaching – they decide to continue eating some meat?

      Please do not misunderstand me. I love vegetarian and vegan food, eat it more often than you might think and have many vegetablist friends. If I have any favourite hobby it is growing vegetables. However, not only do I use animal manure (as well as green manure and home produced compost), more importantly for this discussion I till the earth. During this process, innumerable worms, beetles and other smaller animals give up their lives for the supposedly higher purpose of satisfying my family’s appetite. If others, like me, indulge in these practices yet claim vegan credentials (on animal welfare grounds), are they not also guilty of “unconscious speciesism”? Does morality stop at the vertebrate / invertebrate boundary? If so, why?

      Unless you have found a way of growing food that gets around this ethical problem, I think I can reasonably ask of you “Why is it so wrong NOT to call for the end to death of one species but to make that call of another?”

      “Nothing you’ve said so far has answered this question or anything similar.”

      I do take your comments in the spirit in which they are meant. Truly, you are a worthy adversary!

      Best regards,


        • Jane Easton

          Cheers, Jonny, I enjoyed your questions and sorry if I seemed a tad defensive. Thanks for your sensitive and measured response.
          Ok then …
          Your insect point is a good one. Vegans recognise that we can’t end all suffering, but we do our best to reduce it as much as possible. But while insects are indeed killed in food production, far fewer are killed in a plant food diet overall – simply because meat animals eat such collossal quantities of the world’s food. And organic plant growing helps biodiversity, unlike meat and dairy production.
          I live with my partner (veggie, moving towards veganism gradually) and her lovely 95 old dad – an animal lover but inveterate meat eater who can’t quite join the dots, bless him. He eats his own food but we have a gourmet vegan Christmas each year and I also make food for him sometimes. I also do my best around friends and other family. I try to lead by example – not in a horrible ‘I’m better than thou’ way but just feeding them lovely food. I’m a good cook! Some of my friends/family don’t want to know but most are open-minded; some go veg*n, some become more conscious meat-reducers like yourself. Their eating habits have certainly changed over the years and that is in part to do with me. I also talk to them about the issues when appropriate. It’s been a learning curve and I haven’t always got it right but I’m getting there. I do as much positive stuff as I can – making vegan food for people who have never knowingly eaten it before; teaching people to cook vegan at retreats and other events. Basically, having a fun time with it all.
          So there we go… :o)
          All the best, Jane

            • paul

              Jane – I would love to see you on TV showing us how to cook up some veg*n delights… failing that – how about a Youtube channel?

              I can help with the latter….

                • Xena

                  That would be great! I would watch a youtube video
                  Why is there an asterisk in veg*n? Is it a swear word lol?!

                    • paul

                      Hiya Xena – it’s a bit like saying *nix for linux/unix/irix/cyrix etc…

                      Veg*n can mean vegetarian or vegan (I picked that up off Jane!)


                • TR

                  That’s a really good idea… I hope something comes of it!

                  I’m radically cutting down on the amount of meat products I buy and I’m not experienced enough as a cook to be able to just whip something up.

    • Xena

      I’ve been reading the food myths PDF and in myth 9 it states that chicken has as much fat as a big mac…. but is that meaning a whole chicken with skin, without skin, or a chicken portion (again with or without skin)?
      It isn’t very clear on that point, and I was wondering if anyone could clarify…?

        • TR

          It depends how it’s cooked. a portion of boiled chicken is quite “healthy” (but IMO tasteless).
          From what I can tell the Food Myths either compares the big Mac to either whole chicken or a portion of chicken from KFC. Either way it’s slightly misleading as I don’t think there are many people who go to KFC because they think it’s a healthy option, likewise anyone who’s eating a whole chicken themselves should probably look at the quantity of food as much as the quality.

          As someone mentioned early on it’d be good if the sources of the info in the Food Myths were published.

        • Chris

          Yeah, I thought that fact was lacking on specifics. FYI the chicken I found in the supermarket ranged from about 3g fat/100g to about 17g fat/100g. It depends very much on the cut of meat, breed of chicken, the conditions the chicken was raised in, skin or skinless (a substantial difference) and of course how it is cooked. According to the McDonalds website there is 11g fat per 100g of Big Mac (Plus 1g salt & 4g sugar!)

          I think this debate is very healthy as we clearly rely too heavily on animal produce. I’m sure however if more people moved to white meats (as well as eating less meat overall), we’d be much healthier and also live in a much cleaner environment. I’m sure somewhere I read that cattle account for 3/4 of all agricultural methane, and that methane has 21 times the greenhouse effect of CO2.

            • Justine

              “I’m sure however if more people moved to white meats (as well as eating less meat overall), we’d be much healthier”

              May I suggest you read White Meat Myths? (the link is given in the 10 myths pdf) but here it is again for you:

              This guide explains exactly why white meat is not the healthy option it was promoted as in the 1970s. This myth pervades despite the growing body of evidence liking white meat to a wide range of illnesses and diseases. Eating less, or no meat at all, is the healthier option. For those who want more evidence – watch our website as we will soon be publishing a fully-referenced report on white meat.

              Hope that helps!

                • TR

                  from what I’ve been able to find from alternate sources regarding chicken some of the main health concerns pointed out on that link seem to be based around it having a link to cancer or the presence of unhealthy fats.

                  I’ve not been able to find anything about any result or progress in the lawsuit linking chicken to cancer, but any risk seems to come from the method of ccoking

                  “PhIP and other HCAs do not exist naturally in chicken; they form when animal muscle is cooked to high temperatures. The National Toxicology Program administered by the National Institutes of Health has identified PhIP as carcinogenic, as have the state of California and the International Agency for Research on Cancer”

                  …and trans fats (the worst fat, and the only type of fat that the body doesn’t need any amount of) aren’t found in chicken, they generally come from partially hydrogenating unsaturated PLANT fats.

                  In my opinion lumping all the different types of chicken, and the different ways it can be cooked will simply confuse the general public due to the mixed messages. This will mean that the majority of people will lose interest and wont pay any attention to what they’re putting into their bodies.

                  Not everybody is ready to become vegan, vegetarian or even pescotarian so changing their diet to become healthier is a big step (and a vital one for many)… the main problem is that there are people out there that will fool themselves into thinking that chicken nuggets and KFC count.

    • Justin Noe

      It’s good to see Sir Paul McCartney giving his voice to the cause. Even giving up meat for one day will have a massive effect. I suspect the farmers whose lively hood depends on it may have a different view but it’s vital to dispel the myths that it is a dietary requirement to eat meat.
      I also notice that EDF has now taking on the green Union Jack that Dale loved so much and declared the 10th July Green Britain day. Let’s hope it’s a real commitment.

    • Troll

      “Animals consume huge quantities of water (something that will be increasingly scarce in the world)”

      Is either a myth or a mistake. It’s a myth if you believe we are facing a scarcity of water, or it’s a mistake if you forgot to classify it as potable water.

      Water is not scarce on this planet, potable water is becoming scarce in certain areas of this planet.

      If you want to get into the semantics of food myths make certain that you don’t make water myths.

    • Jane

      I’m not ready for Youtube yet, but if you are in the Bristol area on Sat 31 October, come and visit the Free Vegan Food Fair 12-4, Broadmead Baptist Church, Union Street (above Tesco Metro. I’ll be doing 3 cookery demos, there will be talks on all aspects of veganism, including the environment and lots of tasty food tastings, amongst other things!

      Also, check out which I’m working on with my Buddhist friend, Achintya. We hope to run more ethical, hands-on vegan cooking retreat in 2010, so watch that space, as they say. The site is still being written and edited, but we’ve got a fair bit of stuff on there already.