Does vegetarianism really reduce animal suffering?

vegetarian-imageYou may have noticed I have a bit of a thing about science and evidence-based beliefs. Tell me something a bit off-centre and I’ll probably say,  “Show me the evidence.”

Now I’m an omnivore, and somehow always felt a bit guilty in the presence of a vegetarian. I had this nagging feeling that perhaps they held the higher moral ground. But in the end I couldn’t bear the thought of never eating a juicy leg of baked lamb again, and never seriously considered changing teams.

For some reason, in relation to vegetarianism I never asked myself or anyone else the question, “Show me the evidence.”

But then I heard this podcast (player on right) that brought to light an interesting fact: thousands of animals would still die horrible deaths during the production of my food even if I chose to become a vegetarian.

In fact animals die whatever our life choice. This doesn’t mean a vegetarian diet is not a good idea. My view is that if it works for you then that’s good enough.

So have a listen to the podcast and see what you think. I know this is controversial and there are people with polarised views on both sides of the question, but please don’t shoot the messenger. Just look for the evidence rather than the emotion.

Here’s the original link to the ABC Science Show page:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/mice-the-big-losers-with-vegetarianism/4649646

To see how polarised people are on this subject, have a look at the comments on the ABC page. They quickly degenerate into cries of “I’m better than you so there. Na na nana na.”

One last thing: have you ever heard of freegans? These are people who abhor wastage and have a philosophy of only eating food that would otherwise go to the tip. Another term for them is dumpster-divers. Here’s just one of many links for information if you feel this is for you:

http://www.notquitenigella.com/2008/06/19/freeganism-the-new-frontier/

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