Is Vegetarianism cruel?

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Colin Miles
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Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Colin Miles » Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:25 pm

All life is one. We share the same DNA code with the lowliest animals and plants and many of the same genes. Indeed, we could swop 50% of our genes with a banana and we would still be human and the banana would still be a banana – always assuming that we got the right 50%. And thinking about it a bit more, I started to think of an allotment as a bit like a zoo. Without our conservation efforts many vegetable varieties would die out. Zoos may do a marvellous conservation job but anyone who has seen animals confined and prowling up and down their cages cannot help but wonder whether this is right. So maybe we are we being cruel to our vegetables by confining them to our meagre patches? Perhaps they too should be set free to ‘wander’ wild in their own, rather different ways?

This set me thinking further. If it is cruel to eat meat perhaps it is also cruel to eat vegetables? There is evidence that they think and feel by sending out chemical messages to neighbouring plants. They are sentient beings. Why should they be treated any differently from animals because they don’t have legs, or can’t swim in the sea in the same way?

But if we don’t eat meat or veg what can we eat? Well, it’s just possible that the renewal green energy revolution may be the key. Already the Germans are aiming to be 100% renewal – not sure when exactly but in the wake of the Japanese nuclear disaster who can blame them. And if this could really happen then think what we could do with all that oil! All those lovely ’organic’ hydrocarbons going to waste. Mix them up with a few other organic chemicals like salt and rock phosphate, and so on and we could create a wonderful new foods – a sort of Harry Potter version of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. Ok – it wouldn’t be strictly organic as it would be processed organic, but in the interests of vegetable life that would surely be a small price to pay. And no jobs would be lost because whole new industries would be created. Obviously all very much in the future but tempting?
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Geoff » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:05 pm

It's mainly cruel to the vegetarians!
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby glallotments » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:10 pm

This reminded me of a book that I read ages ago. Supernature by Lyall Watson. He describes an experiment whereby daffodils were wired up in some way so that chemical reactions could be monitored. One person went into the room of daffodils, cut some of the flowers off and left and the reaction monitored.

Then various people were sent into the room separately along with the flower cutter. The flowers reaction to the flower cutter was far more dramatic than it was for anyone else. Certainly made me think for a while when cutting flowers for the house.
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Nature's Babe » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:58 pm

It's mainly cruel to the vegetarians!

Is that your own experience Geoff? Are you a vegetarian?

We do have to eat something to live, personally I find it easier to cut a mature lettuce or pick a ripe tomato and cucumber. I could not kill a fattened lamb or a chicken, if a lamb could speak I think it would plead not to die so young, I guess a goose would choose not to be force fed to produce pate, and calves would choose to stay with Mum rather than penned to produce veal, Personally I choose not to eat meat, that is my choice, others choose differently, and I will cook meat for meat eaters if that is their choice. If I cut above the growing part of a lettuce or greens, or just take leaves it continurs to grow, and fruits are a way of spreading plants seeds. A borlotti bean is grown to maturity and dies off naturally at the end of the season, it can be eaten fresh, or dried for the winter and I can still have some seed saved for next years plants.
After not eating meat for many years, I certainly don't feel deprived of anything, and I have never suffered from anaemia, there are many alternative sources of protein and iron.

Health begins with healthy soil that contains adequate humus and all the minerals. Scientists are now looking at the soils in areas where humans are particularly long lived.
Last edited by Nature's Babe on Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby mandylew » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:28 pm

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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Nature's Babe » Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:16 am

All life is one. We share the same DNA code with the lowliest animals and plants and many of the same genes. Indeed, we could swop 50% of our genes with a banana and we would still be human and the banana would still be a banana – always assuming that we got the right 50%.

Obviously a pattern through all life, and always assuming that the 50% had not been genetically altered, interesting and mindboggling to consider what effect on this system of unity and interdependence interspecies gene splicing and terminator gene technology will possibly have ...... ?
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Colin Miles » Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:50 am

NB wrote

Obviously a pattern through all life, and always assuming that the 50% had not been genetically altered, interesting and mindboggling to consider what effect on this system of unity and interdependence interspecies gene splicing and terminator gene technology will possibly have ...... ?


This is very interesting comment. Perhaps we could use interdependence interspecies gene splicing and terminator gene technology to solve the peat/non-peat connundrum? By ‘persuading’ terminated plants to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others – in a similar manner to that of soldier ants defending their colony – these plants could be used as a readily available compost. Of course I use the term ‘persuading’ in a very loose sense since we humans would be the ones doing the persuading. However, it could be a very positive use of the technology. And we then wouldn’t need to use peat – and it would be organic.
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby peter » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:15 am

"Exrement:" hmm never really believe a scientific article where they can't spell.

Excrement. :wink:
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Parsons Jack » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:24 pm

Colin Miles wrote:All life is one. We share the same DNA code with the lowliest animals and plants and many of the same genes. Indeed, we could swop 50% of our genes with a banana and we would still be human and the banana would still be a banana – always assuming that we got the right 50%. And thinking about it a bit more, I started to think of an allotment as a bit like a zoo. Without our conservation efforts many vegetable varieties would die out. Zoos may do a marvellous conservation job but anyone who has seen animals confined and prowling up and down their cages cannot help but wonder whether this is right. So maybe we are we being cruel to our vegetables by confining them to our meagre patches? Perhaps they too should be set free to ‘wander’ wild in their own, rather different ways?


Looking around our allotment site, there are a number of plotholders who seem to be doing this already :lol:
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Nature's Babe » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:41 pm

There are self seeded plants dotted around my plot, particularly good rovers are borage, nasturtium, marigold, fennel, lemon balm, squash, tomatoes, cape gooseberries and tomatillos. :D Since we have had such hot dry summers the bocking 14 comfrey is also seeding occasionally :shock:
Last edited by Nature's Babe on Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Colin Miles » Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:03 pm

Actually as per Wiki
Bocking 14 is sterile, and therefore will not set seed (one of its advantages over other cultivars as it will not spread out of control), thus is propagated from root cuttings.

But you don't even need root cuttings - I trod on one of my stems and it got buried in earth and is now a healthy plant, but in the wrong place.

As for the hot dry summers, well even given the existence of all those micro-climates we have not had a hot dry summer in the UK since 2006, and this year doesn't look like being any different - July 1C below average over England and Wales.

2007 Summer rainfall 177% cf 1971 - 2000 mean
2008 146%
2009 132%
2010 106%

Nice 'trend' here so we can always hope - nice today and maybe tomorrow.
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Nature's Babe » Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:19 pm

Colin, yes normally bocking 14 does not set seed in our climate, but this year and last I have pulled up one or two seedlings from mine before the roots penetrated too deep, though there were none in the previous five years. That is why I posted the :shock: smiley!
As PJ will testify, our microclimate is way off average, the temperature today is 28.9 and we have seen none of the heavy rain which was forecast for the south east yet. I'm hoping tomorrows forecast will materialise. :)
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Colin Miles
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Colin Miles » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:00 pm

NB - As Bocking 14 is sterile it won't set seed, no matter what the climate is. I would suggest that your seedlings are merely those from spreading roots - they do this in my garden and elsewhere that I have seen. As for micro-climates, even if they are way off from the norm, they are very unlikely to deviate from their own norms. Sadly, our memories can play tricks and time flies by so fast when, like me, you become old and grey. That's why I rely on the official stats.

Still, with a bit of help from gene technology and splicing in a few terminator genes in the right places we may yet solve the problems of, well - who knows what. Something positive can come out of evil if we go about it the right way.
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Colin Miles » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:05 pm

Peter wrote
"Exrement:" hmm never really believe a scientific article where they can't spell.

Excrement. :wink:


Does that apply to the KG Mag and Forum? :?
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Re: Is Vegetarianism cruel?

Postby Nature's Babe » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:31 pm

Just wondering how far the roots can spread Colin ? I thought bocking 14 was not supposed to be invasive ?
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