30 Bananas a Day!

kel has a comprehensive ar faq here:

it is huge!

we would like to present it through a database system so that someone could type in a keyword and see the various questions that come up as well as the answers.

it would even be interesting to create some sort of a 'natural language' interface for it down the road with a rudimentary expert system that can be continuously added to, but that will require some study.

meantime, if anyone has ideas about interesting ways to access the info, please post them here.

donovan, i think we can work this through python and postgresql very nicely.

in friendship,

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Replies to This Discussion

this is a great site. Wow. TONS of valuable AR info and references here to pour over.
kel put it together? C--OO--L.

I especially like the 7 points raised for 'ammo' to use in the meat-eating argument.
These points can be readily counted off ones fingers when debating a meat-head (sorry, 'meat-addict' is probably a kinder term, if one does not wish to be a be-otch -- or bastage).
ya kel is very substantial!
he has a lot of things worked out really thoroughly and encourages people to simply copy and paste the responses appropriately in discussions when necessary.

in friendship,
I think the keyword thing is a good idea.

I am going to go in-possibly today, and add the revised Human supremacy argument summary, as well as revise the animal research page with slight revisions.

The current categories on the main page are a jumbled mess:





5)EQUALITY **overlaps section 9)human supremacy




9)HUMAN SUPREMACY **overlaps section 5)equality

10)HUNTING **overlaps wildlife management








18)WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT **overlaps hunting


The stuff about hunters killing and injuring passersby should be its own separate section I think.

Same with Bible quotes.

But I would start with summarizing major arguments as I initially tried with the
Human Supremacy, Meat Eating and Vivisection pages. A point form page so people can cut and paste.

I should probably give more space/reference for the anti AR argument philosophers--(someone was doing a research paper and provided the stuff at the bottom about Singer, Regan, Carruthers etc.).
Putting rebuttals to the arguments of the people noted for using a particular anti-animal rights argument would probably be another useful specific kind of section-so perhaps in online searches if people google the anti-ar person's name-the rebuttal to their view comes up right away. Wiki AR pages could be updated to reflect that as well.

Not sure if there is copyright issues but either sections devoted to particular individuals--let's say John Robbins with his arguments..could be in an index page.

I could see it being expanded into a more comprehensive information depot, not just a bunch of frequently asked questions.
ok you work on the details, kel and we'll figure out the mechanism and then we can merge the products.
we have several ideas, but need to test things out as well as learn some concepts.

in friendship,

"If humans are so rational, why do they start wars for ideology and non essential resources? Why do they pollute rivers? Do wild animals pollute their water supply? The stupidest acts committed on this planet are done by human beings. The cruelest acts are committed by humans. It may be true that some humans will self sacrifice to save another--but other humans will do the opposite, save themselves by putting someone else into harm's way. And non humans have been documented exhibiting altruistic behavior (both within species and beyond). In vicious experiments conducted on rats and Rhesus monkeys, the victim would spare themselves from a shock if they performed an act that would harm another of their kind, and yet they refused to do so. However, humans in similar situations such as the Milgram experiment, were willing to (simulated without them knowing it) shock another human simply because they were told to by an authority figure. The most violent domestic cat does not erect arenas or stadiums designed so that other cats can watch and take pleasure from the suffering of mice, knowing that they are causing suffering. Humans are capable of mental torment, verbal abuse, and taking pleasure from knowing that they are causing suffering to someone else. This is uniquely human. It is true of a child tormenting flies in a jar, or a scientist with a PHD who gives a rat advanced notice before being shocked in a learned helplessness experiment. The same capacity for "reason" that allows one to do mathematics can be used to design a torture device or urge a suicidal person to jump from a building."
ya kel's stuff is great!
we'll have his immense faq up after some formatting.

meanwhile here's a recent essay of his on tf:

in friendship,
the mass murdering plant industry rationalization
(what follow is largely based on or even plagarized from the kel faq research which also includes sources)

one of the silly arguments that corpse eaters try to sneak in is the one about veg diets killing more animals in the field to grow plants for food. now those who promote this tripe really have no clue as to how many animals actually die as a result of agriculture, but they figure there must be a lot of bugs out there and probably some worms and may be even some rodents, so a lot of creatures must really die. whether they actually do or not, of course doesn't matter when one is engaged in the art of rationalization.

well let's at least take a quantitative, scientific approach by a professor of animal science from oregon state university named steven davis. some of the rumors likely stem from some of his ideas printed in time magazine 02/08/08:

... to the number of field animals inadvertently killed during crop production and harvest. One study showed that simply mowing an alfalfa field caused a 50% reduction in the gray-tailed vole population. Mortality rates increase with each pass of the tractor to plow, plant and harvest. Rabbits, mice and pheasants, he says, are the indiscriminate "collateral damage" of row crops and the grain industry...By contrast, grazing (not grain-fed) ruminants such as cattle produce food and require fewer entries into the fields with tractors and other equipment. Applying (and upending) Regan's least-harm theory, Davis proposes a ruminant-pasture model of food production, which would replace poultry and pork production with beef, lamb and dairy products. According to his calculations, such a model would result in the deaths of 300 million fewer animals annually (counting both field animals and cattle) than would a completely vegan model. (By Richard Corliss, Reported by Melissa August and Matthew Cooper/Washington, David Bjerklie and Lisa McLaughlin/New York, Wendy Cole/Chicago and Jeffrey Ressner/ Los Angeles)

now while there are many philosophical and common sense ways to address this such as

1) the factual: 80% crops are used to feed cattle not people
2) the all or nothing: since suffering cannot be avoided completely why bother to try at all?
3) the whimsical: So what are you saying? We should eat raw minerals? You start. Here's a rock - bite it.
4) the observant: meat eating humans would be currently guilty of causing DOUBLE harm. They eat crops (since very few are true carnivores), and they eat meat that was raised on grain that killed animals in fields. Vegetarians only eat crops. Veganism still comes out as more desirable morally.
5) the inquisitive: What about the effects of grazing on wildlife populations? The killing of natural predators to keep cattle and sheep from being killed? What about the pollution to rivers from grazing? How many aquatic organisms will be killed because of grazing? What about the trampling of insects by cattle and sheep? Has Davis calculated their deaths or do they not count? This argument to replace all crops with meat and dairy grazing leaves a lot of questions.

the reality is that davis' calculations are arthimetically inappropriate because of a simple error he has made in assuming total estimates of animals killed instead of per capita. so let's look at the actual figures here as researched by Gaverick Matheny, Duke University in a submission to the journal of agricultural and environmental ethics in 03/01.

First, Davis makes an error in calculating how many animals would be killed to feed a vegan-vegetarian population. He explains: "There are 120 million ha of cropland harvested in the USA each year. If all of that land was used to produce crops to support a vegan diet, and if 15 animals of the field are killed per ha per year, then 15 x 120 million = 1800 million or 1.8 billion animals would be killed annually to produce a vegan diet for the USA (p. 5). Davis estimates that only 7.5 animals of the field per hectare die in ruminant-pasture. If we were to convert half of the 120 million hectares of U.S. cropland to ruminant-pasture and half to growing vegetables, Davis claims we could feed the U.S. population on a diet of ruminant meat and crops and kill only 1.35 billion animals annually in the process. Thus, Davis concludes his omnivorous proposal would save the lives of 450 million animals each year (p. 6-7). Davis mistakenly assumes the two systems - crops only and crops with ruminant-pasture - using the same total amount of land, would feed identical numbers of people (i.e., the U.S. population).

ok this sounds nice and compared to the 10+ billion land animals killed per year in us with factory farming it looks nice too. however, it isn't correct because, as gaverick points out:

crop and ruminant systems produce different amounts of food per hectare - the two systems would feed different numbers of people.


crop production uses less than half as many hectares as grass-fed dairy and one-tenth as many hectares as grass-fed beef to deliver the same amount of protein. In one year, 1 000 kilograms of protein can be produced on as few as 1.0 hectares planted with soy and corn, 2.6 hectares used as pasture for grass-fed dairy cows, or 10 hectares used as pasture for grass-fed beef cattle (Vandehaar 1998; UNFAO 1996).

so gaverick continues,

to obtain the 20 kilograms of protein per year recommended for adults, a vegan-vegetarian would kill 0.3 wild animals annually, a lacto-vegetarian would kill 0.39 wild animals, while a Davis-style omnivore would kill 1.5 wild animals.

these calculations follow from davis' own estimates of 15 animals killed in crop production vs 7.5 animals killed in ruminant-pasture (note: 20 kg / 1000 kg = 0.02) hence:

20 kg protein require 1.0 * 0.02 * 15 = 0.3 animals killed for crops only
20 kg protein require 2.6 * 0.02 * 7.5 = 0.39 animals killed for grass-fed dairy (2.6 times the land)
20 kg protein require 10 * 0.02 * 7.5 = 1.5 animals killed for ruminant only (10 times the land)

thus the 'pastural' corpse eater still kills 5 times the number of wild animals (not counting those being imprisoned, exploited, abused and eventually murdered, of course)

(while davis' conclusion is rendered absurd by the actual calculations and unscrupulously used to justify existing omnivorism (corliss 2002), it should be noted that davis himself did not propose existing omnivorism and never intended his paper to be misused for that purpose.)

in friendship,
great post, so much for the 'eat grass fed beef to save the animals' myth.
john robbins does a number on this pointing out that grass-fed is 'better' from a variety of perspectives than grain fed. however, he says this is a bit like the typically sneaky attempt by the always desperately sneaky cattlemen's association to paint hamburger as health food:

I am reminded of a brochure the Cattlemen's Association used to distribute to schools. The pamphlet compared the nutritional realities of a hamburger to another common food, and made much of the fact that the hamburger was superior in that it had more of every single nutrient listed than did its competitor. And what's more, the competitor had far more sugar. The comparison made it sound like a hamburger was truly a health food.

The competition, however, was not the stiffest imaginable. It was a 12-ounce can of Coke.


furthermore, the price grazing brings is multifold:

1) Grass-fed products are still high in saturated fat (though not as high), still high in cholesterol, and are still devoid of fiber and many other essential nutrients.

2) the land on which the animals graze still must often be irrigated, thus using up dwindling water resources, and it may be fertilized with petroleum-based fertilizers

3) The primary reason that concentrations of atmospheric methane are now triple what they were when they began rising a century ago is beef production. Cattle raised on pasture actually produce more methane than feedlot animals, on a per-cow basis.

4) seventy percent of the land area of the American West is currently used for grazing livestock ... As one environmental author put it, "Cattle grazing in the West has polluted more water, eroded more topsoil, killed more fish, displaced more wildlife, and destroyed more vegetation than any other land use."

5) The USDA's Animal Damage Control (ADC) program was established in 1931 for a single purpose-to eradicate, suppress, and control wildlife considered to be detrimental to the western livestock industry. ... Its methods include poisoning, trapping, snaring, denning, shooting, and aerial gunning. In "denning" wildlife, government agents pour kerosene into the den and then set it on fire, burning the young alive in their nests.

Among the animals Wildlife Services agents intentionally kill are badgers, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, gray fox, red fox, mountain lions, opossum, raccoons, striped skunks, beavers, nutrias, porcupines, prairie dogs, black birds, cattle egrets, and starlings. Animals unintentionally killed by Wildlife Services agents include domestic dogs and cats, and several threatened and endangered species. ... All told, Wildlife Services, the federal agency whose motto is "Living with Wildlife," intentionally kills more than 1.5 million wild animals annually. This is done, of course, at public expense, to protect the private financial interests of ranchers who wish to use public lands to graze their livestock.

Edward Abbey, conservationist and author, in a speech before cattlemen at the University of Montana in 1985 summarizes:
"Most of the public lands in the West, and especially the Southwest, are what you might call 'cow burnt.' Almost anywhere and everywhere you go in the American West you find hordes of cows. . . . They are a pest and a plague. They pollute our springs and streams and rivers. They infest our canyons, valleys, meadows and forests. They graze off the native bluestems and grama and bunch grasses, leaving behind jungles of prickly pear. They trample down the native forbs and shrubs and cacti. They spread the exotic cheatgrass, the Russian thistle, and the crested wheat grass. Even when the cattle are not physically present, you see the dung and the flies and the mud and the dust and the general destruction. If you don't see it, you'll smell it. The whole American West stinks of cattle."

6) and let's not forget this:

Grass-fed beef does not just come to you straight from God's Green Earth. It also comes to you via the slaughterhouse.

The lives of grass-fed livestock are more humane and natural than the lives of animals confined in factory farms and feedlots, but their deaths are often just as terrifying and cruel. If they are taken to a conventional slaughterhouse, they are just as likely as a feedlot animal to be skinned while alive and fully conscious, and just as apt to be butchered and have their feet cut off while they are still breathing - distressing realities that tragically occur every hour in meat-packing plants nationwide. Confronting the brutal realities of modern slaughterhouses can be a harsh reminder that those who contemplate only the pastoral image of cattle patiently foraging do not see the whole picture.

in friendship,
here are some more details of the davis fiasco:

Steven Davis, a professor of animal science at Oregon State University, has presented an influential argument against vegetarianism, one that has been discussed in cover stories in Time magazine, The New York Times Magazine and elsewhere.[12] Davis's argument attracts attention because it is based on the philosophy of Tom Regan, one of the leading proponents of animal rights and a long-time advocate of veganism. Davis argues that the least harm principle, a moral concept endorsed by Regan, does not actually require giving up all meat. This is because a plant-based diet would not actually kill fewer animals than one containing beef from grass-fed ruminants such as cattle. Davis notes that cultivating the crops and plants that make up a meat-free diet also kills animals: When a tractor traverses a field to plow, disc, cultivate, apply fertilizer or pesticide, or harvest, some field animals are accidentally destroyed. Based on a study finding that wood mouse populations dropped from 25 per hectare to 5 per hectare after harvest (attributed to migration and mortality) Davis estimates that 10 animals per hectare are killed from crop farming every year. If all 120,000,000 acres (490,000 km2) of cropland in the continental United States were used for a vegetarian/vegan diet then approximately 1.2 billion animals would die each year. But if half of the cropland were converted to ruminant pastureland, by contrast, then Davis estimates that only 900,000 animals would die each year (assuming people switched from the 8 billion poultry killed each year to beef, lamb, and dairy products).[13] In this way, Davis concludes, a diet containing some meat would kill fewer animals than an all plant diet.

Davis's analysis has itself been criticized, by Gaverick Matheny, a Ph.D. candidate in agricultural economics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and by Andy Lamey, a Ph.D. student at the University of Western Australia. Matheny argues that Davis miscalculates the number of animal deaths based on land area rather than per consumer, and incorrectly equates "the harm done to animals … to the number of animals killed." Matheny argues that per-consumer, a vegan diet would kill fewer wild animals than a diet adhering to Davis's model, and that vegetarianism "involves better treatment of animals, and likely allows a greater number of animals with lives worth living to exist."[14]

Lamey characterizes Davis's argument as "thought-provoking," but asserts that Davis's calculation of harvesting-related deaths is flawed because it is based upon two studies; one includes deaths from predation, which is "morally unobjectionable" for Regan, and the other examines production of a nonstandard crop, which Lamey argues has "little relevance" to the deaths associated with typical crop production. Lamey also argues, like Matheny, that accidental deaths are ethically distinct from intentional ones, and that if Davis includes accidental animal deaths in the moral cost of veganism he must also evaluate the increased human deaths associated with his proposed diet, which Lamey argues leaves "Davis, rather than Regan, with the less plausible argument." [15]

12. Richard Corliss, "Should we all be vegetarians?" Time, July 2, 2002. Michael Pollan, "An Animal's Place," The New York TImes Magazine, November 10, 2002.
13. S.L. Davis (2001). "The least harm principle suggests that humans should eat beef, lamb, dairy, not a vegan diet". Proceedings of the Third Congress of the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics. pp. 449–450.
14. Gaverick Matheny (2003.). "Least harm: a defense of vegetarianism from Steven Davis’s omnivorous proposal". Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 16 (5): 505–511. http://www.veganoutreach.org/enewsletter/matheny.html.
15. Lamey, Andy (2007). "Food Fight! Davis versus Regan on the Ethics of Eating Beef". Journal of Social Philosophy 38 (2): 331–348. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1253172. Retrieved 2009-02-22. "To start with, the scientific studies on which Davis relies actually document two different forms of harm to field animals: there are those directly killed by harvesting equipment and those that become the prey of other animals. ... Davis also overlooks philosophically significant forms of harm to human beings that are present in beef production but not vegetable harvesting. Finally, he bases his argument on the implausible assumption that there is no difference between deliberate and accidental killing—either of an animal or a person".

gaverick zaps davis pretty good, while andy, writing from the philosophy dept is trying to be as polite as possible. :D

in friendship,
This is much more thorough rebuttal than the stuff on it I have at the FAQ Prad-would definitely be a good addition to the FAQ reply on it...--in fact --this is where I cant decide--maybe its better to have these sort of buzz arguments--like Davis' -having a special section or highlighted so people who are looking for specific replies to it can find it quickly.
I think anything that gets a lot of media attention deserves highlighted status..like Hitler as a vegetarian--because you know its going to come up a lot on google searches.

Under the Human supremacy thread I have a short ethics based rebuttal for the Davis argument:

Attack:"You may think you avoid all unnecessary suffering, but how many animals died in the fields to grow your plants for food?" AKA the Steven Davis/ruminant pasture grazing model study(from TIme magazine July 8, 2002).


To suggest that killing animals directly either in hunting or cattle grazing is a better answer than indirectly killing animals in fields that cannot be seen is akin to this scenario:
Imagine you are driving along and you come to a forked road. One way is covered in darkness, the other
has some children playing in the center of it. By the meat eater logic, it is
better to drive through and deliberately kill the children instead of
taking the other route where you may end up killing more that you cant
see--OR getting out and walking to check if the route is clear (after
all, who says crop harvesting MUST be done by only one type of
tractor-- the most destructive? It assumes that the current methods by machinery is the only way in order to push its grazing solution).

It also ignores animals killed as pests--wolves, animals killed due to competition over grazing lands(buffalo) and the large numbers of cattle on pasture lands required to feed human populations(as well as the effects on water resources and rivers).

*****this Davis argument makes me irritated at Regan though--this is why the Regan and Singer approaches need to be shelved. Leaves a few loopholes.
ya regan certainly made a wimpy rebuttal, but may be that because he's a philosopher and not a statistician. i like the idea of having separate sections expanding upon ideas. it'll require some complicated structuring, but it'll be worth it. we'll start thinking about it seriously in june.

in friendship,



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