Consider the Cow

I’ve been haunted, recently, by the news that 35,000 dairy cows froze to death in a massive blizzard in west Texas and east New Mexico.

It’s not the first time, or worst time, that’s happened.

I know that if I posted a story about a dog left outside to die in the cold, you’d all be up in arms. But should we care less about a cow’s (or 35,000 cows’) suffering?

Genuine_Animal_MilkDairy is much crueler than many people realize. The occasional massive frozen die-off aside, year after year dairy cows are impregnated, then forcibly separated from their babies hours after birth. (They often cry for them for days and some fight back.) Eventually, when their milk wanes, they are slaughtered for leather and hamburger. The daughters repeat the cycle, whereas the sons—tiny babies, mind you—live for a few short, miserable weeks isolated, tethered, and deliberately malnourished in veal crates. (Veal wouldn’t exist if there weren’t a dairy industry.)

Dairy is also more harmful to our health than many people realize. It’s linked to many health problems including obesity and cancer. And, by the way, skim milk has even more cancer-causing hormones than whole.

Below is my partner’s Luscious Lasagna, which in place of cheese features a rich and savory tofu/tahini filling that will bring winter comfort to both you and the cows.


Dr. T’s Luscious Lasagna (serves 6)




12 lasagna noodles cooked as directed

24 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce or make your own

8 oz of Daiya Mozzarella-Style Shreds


Tofu/Tahini Mash:

1 12 oz block of firm tofu, mashed with ½ tsp pepper added

2 Tbsp tahini

2 cups (or more if desired) chopped spinach

1 tsp onion powder

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

4 Tbsp UNsweetened non-dairy milk

1 Tbsp flax seeds


Stir Fry Layer (optional):

1 cup onions, peppers, mushrooms

1 cup Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble

(stir fry together in advance)



GoVeggie Parmesan grated topping



Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Spread a small layer of sauce in a rectangular oven-proof casserole dish

Add four noodles

Add half the Tofu/Tahini Mash

Add Stir Fry layer

Spread a third of the sauce

Spread half the Daiya

Repeat with noodles, Mash, sauce, and Daiya

Add last four noodles

Top with last third of sauce and sprinkle with GoVeggie Parm

Bake for 35 minutes and then cover with foil and bake for another ten minutes.


207 replies
  1. 1
    Marc says:

    The cattle in question would also never have been born if they weren’t supplying dairy or meat. That’s a relevant point to a lot of us.

  2. 2

    Dairy has been a part of the Indian vegetarian diet for millennia, an important source of protein for most vegetarians. Yogurt is particularly beneficial for gut bacteria. What next on Balloon Juice an anti-vaccination post?

  3. 3
    keith p says:

    Thanks for the feel-good recipe!

  4. 4
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Marc: the cows themselves might prefer not to be born only to live a life of perpetual suffering.

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: That’s unfair, I think. Has Hillary pointed to junk science?

    ETA: and it’s gone.

    ETA2: @schrodinger’s cat: Stop confusing me.

  6. 6

    Dairy is also more harmful to our health than many people realize. It’s linked to many health problems including obesity and cancer. And, by the way, skim milk has even more cancer-causing hormones than whole.

    Sorry so not buying what you are selling. Dairy has been a part of the Indian vegetarian diet for millennia, an important source of protein for them. Yogurt is particularly beneficial for gut bacteria. What next on Balloon Juice, science about the evils of vaccines?

  7. 7

    @Baud: I quoted the relevant paragraph after WP ate my first comment.

  8. 8
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Baud: ty

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Wow, a new fighting topic. I don’t think this one has been done here – at least, not very often.

  10. 10

    @Omnes Omnibus: If you put tofu in everything you will live forever.

  11. 11
    Botsplainer says:

    This is why I despise so many vegans – the fucking childishly shrill bullshit emotional propaganda.

    Dairy is renewable and a staple in many societies. Don’t want it, don’t eat it, but quit proselytizing.

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I’m a big fan of dairy products, but lots of food sources have both negative and positive health effects (especially depending on portion). As long as the science is legitimate and accurately conveyed, I don’t think it’s fair to compare this to the anti-vax movement.

  13. 13
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Here’s how ignorant I am: I assumed yogurt was made from rotten soy juice or something because it tastes so awful (to me). I like many of the things in which yogurt is an ingredient, however, including tikka masala sauce.

    I could and have given up meat (I was a vegetarian for five years), but I don’t think I could do without cheese, butter and eggs. At least I can have a clean conscience about the eggs — my chickens live better than many people on this planet.

  14. 14
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: So because we’ve always done it we should always do it?

    And it’s not like we’ve always done it. The lactase gene is a late arrival, and vast numbers of people have trouble digesting lactose. “The frequency of lactose intolerance ranges from 5% in Northern European to more than 90% in some African and Asian countries.”

    false equivalency with anti-vaxxers: smh. and yet you published that wonderful dal recipe a coupla days back.

  15. 15
    CaseyL says:

    Any animal grown for a food source can be treated well, if the humans bother to do so. In large-scale industrialized agriculture, “treating animals well” isn’t on the list of priorities at all.

    We can continue to eat meat and consume dairy without supporting cruelty. It’s expensive, as humane farming costs a lot more money, but the prices come down as more people support humane farming.

  16. 16
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Botsplainer: What makes it different than the arguments that appear daily on this blog on any other topic? I’m a hardcore carnivore, but IMO, this is as legit a topic for discussion and debate as any other.

  17. 17

    @Baud: She is saying that diary causes health problems from obesity to cancer and links to a vegan website. Hardly an impartial source.

  18. 18
    MomSense says:

    There are more humane ways to keep dairy cows. Our local farmer separates them with a link fence that allows mom and calf to stand next to each other. They don’t have any problems with calves or cows bleating.

    I think the biggest problem is factory farming and the quantities that Americans consume. I do consume dairy in moderation and I buy local.

    I can’t eat soy or tree nuts so I’m a bit limited as far as substitutes.

  19. 19

    @Hillary Rettig: I like vegetarian food that doesn’t pretend to be meat. I also don’t like food based proselytizing.

  20. 20
    Suzanne says:

    Lord, people. If you don’t want to eat meat, don’t. If you do want to, do. I don’t know why this has to be A Thing.

  21. 21
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Betty Cracker: I remember when yogurt became a mainstream product – in the 70s? It was really an acquired taste.

    Dietary change is hard, I know as well or better than anyone. It can happen one meal at a time.

    I’m grateful to Cole for allowing me to put the information up here, for those who want to consider it.

  22. 22
    Germy says:

    I tried switching to soy milk, but got really bad headaches. For some reason, anything with soy in it gives me extreme head pain. I remember a few times I bought creamy peanut butter for myself as a treat (the stuff with all the extra ingredients) as a change from the natural peanut butter my wife buys. I couldn’t understand why my head was aching for days on end. Then I checked the ingredients and soy was in there.

    Now I drink almond or cashew milk, and allow myself some feta cheese on pizzas.

    But they tell me almonds and cashews are not sustainable.

  23. 23
    The Pale Scot says:

    I’m reading the comments for Dowd’s column of the day,

    This is from a person using Socrates as their handle, it’s a thing of beauty.

    As the entire country witnessed the public mental breakdown of Blunder Woman on the internet and TV this week during her successful linguicide and logicide attempts, it’s past time that the United States Surgeon General stepped forward to address the national pansexual pandemic of ‘mad elephant’ disease ravaging the countryside.

    Pachyderm spongiform encephalopathy (PSE) is a completely debilitating neurological disorder.

    Humans affected by PSE are usually divorced from logic and language and show progressively deteriorating behavioral and neurological signs.

    One notable sign is an increase in anger, aggression and complete antipathy while simultaneously Trumpeting the joys of Christian good will to all.

    PSE humans react violently and aggressively to logic, science, fact and any demonstration of cause and effect, particularly the simple idea that 10 annual gigatons of carbon emissions could possibly affect anything.

    Victims become apoplectic at the suggestion of universal or single-payer healthcare, preferring the draconian sensibilities of GOP Death Panels and waxing nostalgically about a traditional ‘free-market’ vulture capitalist healthcare system with a proven track record of extortion, murder and record bloody quarterly profits.

    Prevention of mad elephant disease is possible, but only by weaning the patient off of Fake News, hate radio and the Asimovian “notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”.

    Save the mad elephants !

  24. 24
    Baud says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    The source might be biased, but I don’t know whether the science backs up the claim. There was a study a few months ago that was all over the news about the risks of red meat and cancer. It doesn’t mean people have to stop eating meat, but if they wanted to, they don’t have to rely on junk science to support their decision.

  25. 25
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Botsplainer: Dairy is so NOT sustainable.

    Also see the movie Cowspiracy.

  26. 26
    Amir Khalid says:

    Treating livestock well costs money and resources. Also, some argue it is hypocritical, self-deluding, or futile to do so for an animal that’s only going to end up on a plate pretty soon. I don’t accept either argument myself, but many operators in the livestock business (and all the really big ones) do.

  27. 27
    Botsplainer says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I find that evangelical veganism pushes some buttons.

    I know a couple of vegans who are genuinely pleasant and don’t try to convert people to veganism. I’ve cooked things for them using vegan ingredients, even shared meals and nothing was a big deal save for the pain in the ass of preparation and substitution (that, and I find their food dull and uninspiring on a subjective level).

    Also, things that they describe as “good” are REALLY open to interpretation – as if they’ve convinced themselves of the flavor beforehand.

  28. 28
    raven says:

    Now I sit down on the sofa and I watch the evening news:
    There’s a half a dozen tragedies from which to pick and choose.
    The baby that was missing was found in a ditch today.
    And there’s bombs a’flying and people dying not so far away.

    Read more: Iris Dement – No Time To Cry Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  29. 29
    Emma says:

    I pay a ridiculous amount of money for local, organic, cruelty free stuff, but I am privileged (by having the cash) to be able to do it. A dear friend, who manages a household that includes four kids and an elderly MIL, cannot do it. They eat a lot of beans dishes but eggs and pork (which can be fairly inexpensive here) are staples in their diet. I am not going to guilt-trip her for considering the health of her family above that of cows.

    (edit) I would like to add that having a close member of the family whose child is on the high side of the autism spectrum and who is actually helped by a gluten-free-dairy-free diet, I know exactly how much it costs.

  30. 30
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Germy: sorry about the soy headaches; we use cashew milk for everything except coffee; I think it’s richer than almond.

    Environmental impact of almond / cashew production may be overblown, however “A whopping 106 gallons of water goes into making just one ounce of beef. By comparison, just about 23 gallons are needed for an ounce of almonds (about 23 nuts), the Los Angeles Times reported recently.”

  31. 31

    @Hillary Rettig: United States == World. In India yogurt and milk products are a staple and have always been a staple. That India has the highest population in the world shows from an evolutionary stand point that humans have evolved to digest milk and milk products.

    You don’t want to use dairy then don’t but get off your moral high horse.

  32. 32
    Germy says:

    @Hillary Rettig:

    we use cashew milk for everything except coffee; I think it’s richer than almond.

    Yes, I’ve noticed that. My only complaint is they tend to add too much sugar. We try to buy the reduced-sugar varieties when available, but even those taste too sweet to me.

  33. 33
    Emma says:

    @Germy: I think the thing vegans miss is that, for the amount of population we have to feed, nothing is really sustainable. The best thing we can do is individual action to reduce our own footprint. But talk about first world problems!

  34. 34
    WereBear says:

    @CaseyL: That’s the tack I’m taking. I also have four cats, obligate carnivores. I have to buy meat for them.

  35. 35
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @CaseyL: I agree, it is possible to treat farmed animals much better. However doing will typically makes animal agriculture even less sustainable than it is now. That’s because factory farms are designed to minimize inputs, and humanely raised dairy (for instance) will require more pasture land, etc. The actual animal farmers in Cowspiracy (highly recommended) state that.

    And absent things like bovine growth hormone, you’ll get far less milk per cow and needs more cows. So even less sustainable.

  36. 36
    SatanicPanic says:

    I agree, widespread beef consumption is bad for the planet. We should eat less beef.

  37. 37
    Germy says:

    @Emma: What amazes me is every year around Halloween, all the pumpkins come out for decorative purposes, and then are tossed away.

    One year we bought some small pumpkins for decoration, and then in November we put them in our backyard garden. The next year we had a TON of pumpkins, and they were delicious stewed, and the seeds baked with spices. We had so much pumpkin we had to freeze some, and it lasted for months as a side dish.

  38. 38
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Every post on (which is edited by an MD and RD, btw) is backed up by mainstream scientific cites, and usually lots of them.

    If you ever find something I post that isn’t backed up, I would appreciate your pointing that out.

  39. 39
    Tommy says:

    @Germy: I tried, I mean forced myself to drink soy milk for a month plus and no matter what I just couldn’t stomach it. I try to keep as small of a carbon footprint I can. DrasticallyBut i cut back my meat intake. But I don’t think I’ll ever get to zero.

  40. 40
    Botsplainer says:

    @Hillary Rettig:

    Um, that article was focused on the concentration of factory farm dairy in places with water issues; it isn’t talking about local source or smaller scale dairy in places that can support it.

    But you knew that already.

    Bottom line is that it IS (as is discussed above) renewable. Calves can remain close to mothers, treatment can remain humane.

    And no, I’m not watching a CMP-level-of-edit propaganda film that the idiots at PETA adore.

  41. 41
    Germy says:

    @Tommy: I love fish.

  42. 42
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @MomSense: agree that eliminating factory farming would erase a vast amount of suffering.

  43. 43
    Andy says:

    Visit a production dairy farm.
    Or a meat processing plant in the midwest.
    Then consider the byproduct called “Blood Meal”. It’s used as a protein supplement in feed, all feed.
    Blood meal is dehydrated/flash dried blood, cows.

  44. 44

    @Hillary Rettig: There are lots of quacks out there. The burden of proof is on you since you are the one making claims about how dairy causes cancer. By proof I mean peer reviewed research in reputed journals.

  45. 45
    Botsplainer says:


    We should be less people. If animal rights activists really want to make a difference, they’d be shoveling contraceptives into the reservoirs and buying up failed developments in urban collars to return to agricultural use.

  46. 46
    Germy says:


    failed developments in urban collars to return to agricultural use.

    Sounds good, but many of those failed developments have abandoned factories that poisoned the soil.

  47. 47
    Emma says:

    @Germy: I used to have a garden where I grew my own onions, garlic, peppers, cucumbers,and even salad greens. After I started my cancer treatment the side effects of the meds have pretty much ended my ability to do intense gardening. I am however planning to start again in the spring even if it’s just a few tomato and pepper plants. The thing is, most people can’t really spend the time or have the inclination or space to garden.

    Oh, we also have three mango trees. We still make shakes from last year’s mangoes.

  48. 48
    Steeplejack says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Gee, I came to the new thread to defuse my pedantic rage over the anti-New Yorker yahoos downstairs, only to find this. Guess I’ll preload the siesta so I’ll be in peak condition for the NFL games later.

  49. 49
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: see my comment about global lactose intolerance levels

  50. 50
    Tommy says:

    @Germy: That is exactly what I increased eating. One of the things I’ve not seen mentioned here is so many Americans being able to buy fresh, healthy food isn’t as easy as you might think. We just had a Fresh Thyme open and until that happened the food selection I had was pretty lacking.

  51. 51
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: i did exactly what you suggest. the burden on you is to check the links before having a ragegasm

  52. 52
    MomSense says:


    I realized that a big part of the problem for me was that somewhere along the way (depression era family members I suspect) I picked up the idea that I had to prepare a feast for every meal. That’s how I grew up, too. I couldn’t afford to purchase and prepare the quantity of food from my pre local food days. I also used to waste a lot of food then. Now, I buy much less food but we eat all of it. It also tastes 1000 times better. One of the real joys for me is that I see the farmers every week and I can tell them how fantastic the food was. When I pull a bunch of salad things out of the refrigerator, I have an association with people I care about who grew my dinner. The more we can do to make local farm food affordable and accessible, the better it will be for our health and our environment.

  53. 53

    @Hillary Rettig: Not agreeing with you does not equal ragegasm. is not the New England Journal of Medicine.

  54. 54
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Hillary Rettig: Speaking for myself only, I’ll cop to a high tolerance for personal hypocrisy as both an animal lover and meat eater. I could attempt to justify it as a cultural thing, but the truth is there are plenty of aspects of my particular culture that I’ve consciously rejected.

    No real point except to say I’m probably not going to quit eating meat anytime soon. Even now the mister is in the kitchen frying up some andouille sausage for our football (concussions, violence, exploitation, crime and dickhead ownership!) viewing time red beans and rice, and it smells delish.

    I can’t get through the day without multiple hypocrisies. But while I’m not on board the vegan train, it’s a legit topic for debate, IMO, and I applaud your ability to engage it passionately and with more politeness than I am usually capable of mustering. ;)

  55. 55
    Steve from Antioch says:

    Vegans are almost, almost as sanctimonious and emotion pandering as gun control fanatics.

  56. 56
    pamelabrown53 says:

    I, too, love fish. However, with the exception of salmon, my fish is never as good as some of the seafood restaurants here in Florida. Now that might be that their sources are better (fresh as opposed to flash frozen).

    In the early 80’s my husband (ex!) really wanted to go on a vegetarian diet. I tried cooking tofu every which way but couldn’t get past the texture. Actually, while I try to curb my meat intake, I think I’m naturally a medieval type carnivore: all sorts of roasted meats with fatty juices dripping off my elbows!

  57. 57
    Schlemazel says:

    I spent a few summers on a dairy farm, this was back in the 60s when milk came from family farms, small operations that kept 20-30 cows as a reliable source of income for the rest of their operations. The cos were never mistreated and spent their days doing what their wild ancestors had done for centuries, grazing in the fields. Twice a day they came on their own to be milked & fed a bit of their favorite grains. You can argue if their life was better or worse than a wild bovine but you could not classify it as cruel.

    Now, sadly, milk is factory produced. I read about an operation in Indiana that has an automatic milking system milking cows 24 hours a day, they have one birth an hour on that farm. That is the sort of place that would have thousands of cows, hormone and antibiotic injected cows. I have no faith in the treatment of cows in a factory, like I have no faith in the treatment of people in a factory.

    I’m sorry dairy is an issue for you, it is a critical part of my diet.

  58. 58
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Botsplainer: fair point – and thanks for checking the link. However again smaller farms require even more land and other resources per cow / gallon of milk, etc. The whole point of a factory farm is to minimize inputs (costs) per cow.

    Perhaps small farms could be sustainable – especially if industrial farms were outlawed – see :

    However, many are not and it seems to be a complicated story. It’s clear that, even if we leave the veganism out of it, many many people have trouble earning their living as a small farmer, and organic (which many people here presumably support) is even harder.

    btw I’m in 100% agreement that a huge part of the solution is having fewer humans.

  59. 59
    Schlemazel says:

    This planet cannot sustain 7 billion people for long. We are about to go through a mass extinction event that will impact humans. The only questions are: how far off this event is for humans? Will it be 100% or will (a) small band(s) that will begin the process of advancement again? and If they make it, will there be any useful memory of the previous days that can be built on and provide guidance for the future?

  60. 60
    Baud says:


    I for one welcome our new Morlock overlords.

  61. 61
    pamelabrown53 says:

    There’s always Soylent Green.

  62. 62
    Tommy says:

    @Steve from Antioch: That has been my experience well. Of course not all of them but many of them. And it is kind of sad because they do kind of have a point.

  63. 63
    Emma says:

    @MomSense: Cubans live and die by the “make a little more, you never know who’s going to drop by” rule. Thankfully, in my house, that has decreased as my parents get older. AND refrigeration is my friend. So it’s not as bad as it used to be.

    I have been slowly moving towards fish, eggs, and beans as my main proteins. I can get wild-caught fish shipped from a number of places and local eggs sourced easily. But, as I said before, this conversation is about first world problems. Sustainability is a world-wise issue, and as an acquaintance from Peru once said “we’re finally able to eat like you do and now you come tell us we shouldn’t because it’s bad for the environment. You didn’t pay much attention when it was just Europeans consuming.”

  64. 64
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Betty Cracker: Thanks for your kind words! We all do what we can, where we can do it.

    I’m encouraged by the fact that the message is getting out. According to the USDA’s own stats, the US consumed 9.1 billion land animals last year, versus 9.5 billion in 2007. Most of the reduction was beef, btw. And of course, “consumed” is a misnomer, since half of all food in the US is thrown out. All that suffering and resource use for nothing. SMH

    You might be interested in vlog brother Hank Green’s video – he seems to share your outlook:

  65. 65
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Steve from Antioch: at first I was like “wow I’m insulted,” and then I’m all “waitaminit….” ;-) you sly thing

  66. 66
    Tommy says:

    @Hillary Rettig: Oh don’t even get me started on how we waste food. So many people I know just waste so much and it makes no sense to me.

  67. 67
    jane2 says:

    @Hillary Rettig: Disagreement is not “rage”.

    I might add that your own source re starving cattle in no way suggests that it was deliberate, the result of irresponsible agribusiness, or negligence. I don’t know where you live, but here on the Canadian prairies, it’s in ranchers’ interest to treat cows and other livestock humanely and responsibly. An act of nature is precisely that, and not due to human negligence or cruelty.

    The next time you pour yourself a glass of cashew milk, perhaps peruse this article.

  68. 68
    joel hanes says:

    should we care less about a cow’s suffering?

    Have you ever spent much time around cattle ?
    They’re irredeemably stupid.

    You’d have a better case for swine, which are considerably more intelligent than cows (or horses)

    We should care more about the suffering of people than about the suffering of animals
    We should care more about smart, perceptive animals than about stupid ones.
    We should care more about the suffering of vertebrates than invertebrates.

    Jainism is an admirable stance. So is vegetarianism.

    Evangelism is always rude and presumptuous.

  69. 69
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    I’m sad that westerners treat tofu as a mere meat substitute. It’s a tasty food that shouldn’t be shoehorned into any old recipe.

  70. 70
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: again, every single article includes multiple cites to mainstream medical literature. you may not care to look those cites up, but don’t pretend they don’t exist.

  71. 71 says:

    Well,the google people and other cos. are working on lab grown meat because of climate change. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t buy into all the anti-GMO stuff although I do have a problem with what Monsanto is doing.I happen to be a pretty strict vegetarian but not vegan. I couldn’t give up cheese and yogurt. I wonder if goats are treated the same way. I’ve bought goat milk and yogurt and it’s got a slightly different taste to cows milk.

  72. 72
    RSA says:

    I’ve been haunted, recently, by the news that 35,000 dairy cows froze to death in a massive blizzard in west Texas and east New Mexico.

    What are your thoughts about carnivorous wild animals? Not to take the minority view that animals have a sense of morality, but they kill other animals to eat. I’m guessing (by your characterization of the result of a natural disaster, though heavily influenced by human actions in this case) you’d say it would be good to reduce this as well. Is my guess right?

  73. 73
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @jane2: I’m not at all accusing the ranchers of negligence or cruelty. My point is that there’s an intrinsic cruelty to dairy farming even when good people do it.

  74. 74
    Felonius Monk says:

    Tofu is made by curdling soy milk. Soy can be just as bad for you say other self-proclaimed health experts.

    What’s a person to do? The Chik*A cows say eat more Chikin. Now I’m really confused.

  75. 75
    Tommy says: I’ve always wondered why Americans don’t eat more goat. I was kind of stunned to learn from a cooking/travel show goat is the most eaten meat not fish.

  76. 76
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @RSA:Thanks for asking; I support rewilding.

  77. 77
    Betty Cracker says:

    @joel hanes: Should we care more about smart, perceptive people than stupid ones?

  78. 78
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: agreed!

  79. 79
    Capri says:

    @Schlemazel: The place you are referring to is Fair Oaks dairy. While it milks all the time because it has so many cows, each individual cow is milked just like the smallest family farm. The are split into smaller herds to manage, so the life experience of each cow is like the one 30 miles north in an Amish dairy. Cow comfort is a priority to dairy farmers, large and small producers alike.
    To make the assumption that the life of a cow at Fair Oaks is worse than one in a smaller dairy is akin to saying people in New York City are by definition miserable because they live so close together. BTW, the farm generates its own energy and actually sells the natural gas it makes from the manure.
    I have worked in some modern veal farms and the calves are group housed. They are not tethered, and they are treated quite well. One could argue that their life is better than a similar beef calf, because they are not castrated or otherwise surgically altered. Unfortunately for the veal industry, dairy happily throws it under the bus when questions of welfare come up, so they are left to try to explain how they have changed all by themselves.

    One thing that many farmers and animal scientists don’t understand is why so many negative perceptions persist when they’ve been working on improving the welfare of the animals in their care for 40 years,

  80. 80
    Botsplainer says:


    I’ve tried goat. For me, it is way too strong a flavor.

  81. 81
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @jane2: Sorry to read that about cashew farming, and I hope we get some fair trade standards asap.

    of course, the meat industries are filled with human rights abuses, too.

    as “alpha consumers” probably everything we do or consume is tainted. i don’t know an answer to that except to do our best.

  82. 82
    MazeDancer says:

    There are options for dairy that don’t involved animal torture. Just like there are options for meat that are more humane than others.

    Do they cost more than factory farming? To some extent. In my area, humane dairy is same or cheaper than the tortured animal options. Happy chicken eggs, ditto. Happy chicken meat is same as organic, often cheaper, if you go to the farm.

    If you want cheap meat, you pay by causing animals pain. There is no way around that. Ignoring it doesn’t change it.

    You can deny, you can pretend, you can wish you didn’t know, but that changes nothing. Long run, if you care, at all about animal welfare, you’ll seek out options that do not depend on cruelty.

    Mark Bittman eats meat. He chooses animals raised in a happy, good environment that have “one bad day”.

    For dairy, finding options where calves are not routinely tortured takes some searching. I found 3 in my area. That’s where I get my dairy.

    Once I understood the cruelty of even organic dairy, I couldn’t enjoy a product based on animal abuse. Truly, I don’t understand how, for any animal lover, cruelly torturing animals is a fine option for food consumption. If you don’t want to cause misery, you find a way to help animals, which helps change the world.

    And saying you’re going to keep supporting animals being in pain and misery because you think mentioning this pain and misery is “proselytizing” makes no sense at all.

  83. 83
    Tommy says:

    @Capri: One of the best things I did was buy a standalone freezer and a vacuum food packing system. Let me go to a local farm and build a quarter of a cow. I don’t know if it really helps in the grand scheme of things but I like to think it does.

  84. 84
    bemused senior says:

    Not a vegan and I doubt I can become one. But I have given up pork because I became convinced that pigs were more intelligent than dogs … Which I could never eat. That was hard for this southern girl. I am not ready to give up beef and dairy but am trying to eat less and buy humanely farmed products. I was set on this road by the vegans who run the animal rescue where I got my dog. So I think advocacy is good.

  85. 85
    Pogonip says:

    @Betty Cracker: Curious: which aspects of your culture did you reject?

  86. 86
    Tommy says:

    @MazeDancer: It is out of sight out of mind for most people. I am willing to bet I think about it more than most and I honestly try to force the thoughts of where my food came from out of my mind.

    This is just my two cents but I think organizations like PETA do a disservice to their cause by being so over-the-top. I tend to think they make some important points but their tactics turn off a far left liberal like myself. I’d think they really piss off the rest of the population.

  87. 87
    rikyrah says:

    uh uh uh
    uh uh uh

    How it feels to be a poor mother living without heat during a blizzard

    By Terrence McCoy January 23 at 6:54 PM

    At the end of a row of abandoned homes in one of Washington’s poorest neighborhoods, it’s 7:30 a.m., and Chamika McLaughlin climbs out of bed. She dreads this time of day. It’s when she has to make a choice between two terrible options.

    Does she stay cold? Or does she put her life at risk?

    McLaughlin pulls on a blue hat, wraps a black sweater around her slight frame and pads into the kitchen. Hands tucked in her armpits, she shivers in the early-morning chill. School is canceled today, and her 12-year-old son, sleeping in one of the apartment’s two bedrooms, will soon awake. She has to get the house warmer. So, as she’s done countless times over two heatless winters in this apartment, she reaches for the oven dial.

    McLaughlin, 30, knows heating her home this way could start a fire — oven blazes kill people every year. But she feels she didn’t have a choice. She’s marooned with defective radiators in one of the worst blizzards to hit the District in years. McLaughlin turns the oven to 400 degrees, pulls down its door and watches the coils inside glow red.

    “I just open it up and let it heat up the living room,” says McLaughlin, who’s bought space heaters for the bedrooms.

  88. 88

    @Hillary Rettig: The website you cited is the work of Dr. Greger who clearly has an agenda, promoting veganism, which is your agenda as well. He cherry picks studies that support his mission. Please let’s not pretend that you are just letting the facts speak for themselves when you carefully pick the facts that support your predetermined biases.

    Science is open-minded, you go wherever the facts take you. So whatever that website is, it is not science.

  89. 89
    ecr says:

    So glad you are here, Hillary! I’ve been a long-time mostly vegan, and I’m glad to see this topic here. Your composure is impressive.

    And folks, remember, it is just a meal for you, but for another animal on this planet, it is the entirety of their being. If you could live just as well while minimizing your impact on another feeling, sentient animal, why wouldn’t you?

  90. 90
    Tommy says:

    @bemused senior: I might be able to make the jump to vegan easier than most, but I just couldn’t live without dairy and eggs. I have cut down my meat intake a ton. I was kind of surprised because I was raised in a family where there was meat with EVERY SINGLE meal. But I learned there was a whole world of rice out there that didn’t come in a bag :).

  91. 91
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @CaseyL: “Any animal grown for a food source can be treated well, if the humans bother to do so.”

    That’s the key to this discussion. Human beings can choose to treat the animals they grow for food humanely but many have chosen to be barbaric and cruel. Too bad most consumers just don’t care enough to force farmers to treat animals better. Ditto for closing puppy mills.

  92. 92
    gene108 says:


    : I think the thing vegans miss is that, for the amount of population we have to feed, nothing is really sustainable. The best thing we can do is individual action to reduce our own footprint. But talk about first world problems!

    Sustainable agriculture is one of the less reported, but equally pressing problems facing humanity, along with global.

    Large scale industrial animal farms are an issue for feeding people.

    The increasing consumption of animal protein is generally considered at odds with Earth’s ability to feed its people. The 1 billion tonnes of wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize (corn), sorghum and millet poured annually into livestock troughs could feed some 3.5 billion humans. But such reasoning discounts the health benefits of eating modest amounts of meat and the fact that foraging animals can consume foods that humans cannot eat.

    Crop and livestock farming complement each other2. Half the world’s food comes from farms that raise both. Animals pull ploughs and carts, and their manure fertilizes crops, which supply post-harvest residues to livestock. But efforts to maximize yields of milk and meat can disrupt finely balanced systems. The quest for ‘intensification’ in livestock farming has thundered ahead with little regard for sustainability and overall efficiency (the net amount of food produced in terms of inputs such as land and water). With animal protein set to remain part of the food supply, we must pursue sustainable intensification and figure out how to keep livestock in ways that work best for individuals, communities and the planet.

    Almost all of the world’s milk and much of its meat come from ruminant (cud-chewing) animals — mostly cows, goats and sheep, but also buffalo, camels, llamas, reindeer and yaks. Here we highlight eight strategies to cut the environmental and economic costs of keeping these animals while boosting net gains for the quantity and quality of the food they produce.

    Feed animals less human food. Around 70% of the grains used by developed countries are fed to animals. Livestock consume an estimated one-third or more of the world’s cereal grain, with 40% of such feed going to ruminants, mainly cattle1.



    I do agree with Hillary on one main point in the OP, many American animal lovers are really dog and cat lovers, with little consideration for other animals other than what is the tastiest way to cook them.

  93. 93
    Tommy says:

    @Patricia Kayden: How about it. I live a few miles from MO and a few years ago they tried to pass some very basic rules related to puppy mills. MO is known as the puppy mill state and when a local news station looked into it there are literally no restrictions. There are more humane rules for cattle, pigs, and chickens. They couldn’t even pass a bill to say “hey lets not abuse puppies.”

  94. 94
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Food fight!

    I think I’ll go pregrame divisional brain damage by having a couple cookies and fucking with Siri.

    ETA: ^ That looks pretty weird when read as an actual post.

  95. 95
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Tommy: Sad to hear about MO. I’m not even sure about the puppy mill laws here in MD. In my opinion, they should all be shut down. I have friends who breed dogs to sell, but they do so very humanely and ensure that they are selling healthy, happy puppies. We can do better as a country when it comes to animals.

  96. 96
    Emma says:

    @gene108: As I’ve said before, it’s a global problem. But it begins with co-opting the rest of the world’s population and that will be a hard slog. Asking, say, Indians to give up dairy products? Asking Latin Americans to go on a non-meat diet? We better lead by example.

  97. 97

    Basically this is an example of foisting the morality of a thin sliver of the population over everyone else. The ones who are prosperous and can afford the likes of cashew milk and such. In India too it is the same story, the most militant vegetarians are either extremely wealthy or they are on top of the caste hierarchy.

    They like to remind the rest of us about their moral superiority lest we forget it.

  98. 98
    Tommy says:

    @Patricia Kayden: It is at a level of cruelty I can’t put to words. My brother was looking for a breeder and I am like you better do your research. He did and couldn’t believe the conditions. and honestly, nobody is even trying to hide it.

  99. 99
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @MazeDancer: Great comment. Just googled where I can buy humanely raised chicken in my area and came up with several websites.

  100. 100
    Tommy says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yes what you said. I’ve always felt this was the case. Years ago I lived in a lower income part of DC. It was a textbook definition of a “food desert.” There was only one grocery store, I forget the name, but you couldn’t force me to eat most of what they sold. But there was a fast food restaurant on every corner selling the most unhealthy food. I am thinking the single mom, making minimum wage wasn’t shopping at Eastern Market or Whole Foods like I did.

  101. 101
    Prescott Cactus says:

    Republicans, the other red meat.

  102. 102
    Botsplainer says:

    While folks around these parts have been wringing their hands about non-violent means to end the Malheur standoff and setting a better example for police to follow when dealing with unarmed people of color, the militants have been setting up a kangaroo court to deal with locals who are less than pure:

    How Militants May ‘Indict’ Non-Believers

    The FBI has begun negotiations with militants at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, specifically with militant leader Ammon Bundy.
    Guards at the occupied refuge are now openly carrying assault rifles on the grounds, while men drive federally owned bulldozers to pave roads. More people are coming too — from Cleveland, San Diego, and right here in Oregon.

    These new recruits are joining a culture increasingly hostile to people who disagree with their beliefs. And now, they want to try and convict those people.

    I’m hearing from militants that Sheriff David Ward will be tried before this jury. I asked Ammon Bundy about it, he refused to answer, but it’s clear the militants are hoping this jury indicates him for what they see as his failures. A Colorado man will act as judge in these proceedings, and I’m told the jury has already been selected.

    If the sheriff wants to Stand his Ground the next time he eyes Ammon, I’m all for him putting a bullet in his forehead. There is no justification at law to maintain an armed standoff.

    If it makes him feel better, maybe he can visualize Ammon as an unarmed black youth with his hands up. Ryan, too.

    After that, BLM can hand out hunting permits for cattle on Cliven’s Bundy’s former BLM grazing allotment in Nevada.

  103. 103
    Capri says:

    @Patricia Kayden: God point. Most folks will buy the $2.00 a dozen “regular eggs” not the cage-free or organic types that cost quite a bit more. Of those folks, a huge percent are just trying stretch their meager paycheck enough to feed themselves and their kids, and it seems counterproductive trying to shame them into caring more about the life of the hen than using that difference for something else that’s needed. .

    OT but I’m watching an Iowa basketball game, and there is at least one campaign ad every break.Normally, there are none during Purdue games. I don’t know how people in Iowa and New Hampshire stand it.

  104. 104
    khead says:

    We spent some time building a homemade cat shelter for the ferals – an actual cat house with bedding under a 6 foot table covered with a tarp. The kittehs even watched it being built before going POOF into the woods right when the snow started. How many kittehs used it? Why, zero of course. So, I hope they are holed up somewhere good and not dealing with the 2ft of snow. Also, cows won’t fit under the table so they are on their own.

  105. 105
    BR says:

    I’m amazed to see how much people are talking past each other on this subject. It seems pretty clear that animal agriculture today, in much of the wealthy world including the U.S., is largely unsustainable and inhumane. That includes dairy. At the same time, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to do it differently.

    The example of India is a good and interesting one, reminding us of the complexities of this issue. Though at one time Indian milk was sustainable, humane, and safe, it is quickly becoming like Chinese milk — unsustainable, inhumane, and unsafe — to meet the demand of those in growing cities. There was a time in India where cows ate a family’s food scraps and other fodder and provided a safe, fresh, and humane source of milk. The bulls were largely put to work pulling carts and such. While there are millions of cows in India like that still, it’s far less than even a few decades ago, and those days are quickly fading away.

    We will probably, by necessity, go back to simpler forms of animal agriculture because the current approaches are too energy and resource intensive. Hopefully that will mean more humane approaches to dairy.

    As for myself, I’m vegetarian and try to reduce my intake of dairy but have not cut it out completely.

  106. 106
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Hillary Rettig:

    Sorry, but what do global lactose intolerance levels have to do with anything? That’s like arguing that peanuts are obviously bad for anyone to eat because some people are violently allergic to them.

    Lactose is a FODMAP, and the science seems to be heading in the direction that non-allergy food intolerances are all grouped together. That means that beans, also a FODMAP, are not well-tolerated for the same biological reasons that milk is not well-tolerated. So should people also avoid beans since bean intolerance is just as common as milk intolerance, and for the same biological reasons?

  107. 107

    @khead: More kitteh pics please.

  108. 108
    Tommy says:

    @Capri: I make a fair amount of money and I have to admit it is at times hard for me to pay $4.50 for free range eggs when I could get them for $1.99. Mom was over and watched me buy them and she is like WTF Tommy? She asked do they taste better? I am like nope. She is like I don’t understand. I said it is hard to explain.

  109. 109
    Anoniminous says:


    Because goat has the flavor and texture of rubber bands. Kid, I am told, can be made palatable. Not in my experience but I’m willing to be shown otherwise.

  110. 110
    Schlemazel says:

    I guess I find it hard to imagine that cows in that number can be treated as well as a small herd but I have no other knowledge of the place other than the article, which was neutral and only discussed the scope of the operation. Thanks for your view point.

  111. 111
    Tommy says:

    @BR: I am not sure how much longer we can continue our consumption of meat the way we do. I don’t plan on not eating meat. But there is a part of me that is pissed off at the whole situation. I have cut down my meat consumption by leaps and bounds. I am not remotely telling other people to not eat meat, but just cut back a little. If people just cut back a little here or there maybe we could find a way to move forward.

  112. 112
    Botsplainer says:


    Rubber bands would have a better flavor than goat, from my experience.

  113. 113
    Schlemazel says:

    I love goat but, like lamb, it gets a pretty strong and to me (and many others) off-putting smell and taste when it gets older. I have eaten mutton and can’t understand the atraction.

  114. 114
    Corner Stone says:


    We will probably, by necessity, go back to simpler forms of animal agriculture because the current approaches are too energy and resource intensive.

    It is far, far more likely we will do no such thing. It is almost inevitable that we will move to align more closely with the Chinese model of poisoning and polluting every food source and selling as much as possible until even the poorest people stop consuming the product. Our companies will then open under a new brand and continue the same path, over and over.
    Look at Flint and tell me that will not be repeated in more cities in the very near future. Look at the poisoning/polluting of Freedom Industries in 2014. Look at the pig waste lagoons that breach and ruin everything for miles and miles.

  115. 115

    @Schlemazel: Not a huge fan of either goat or lamb. Goat has to be slow cooked for a really long time to be flavorful.

  116. 116
    BR says:


    And in Northern climates (basically anywhere outside of the U.S. South / Southwest / California / Hawaii), animal agriculture can actually be more sustainable than conventional agriculture, following the techniques of farmers such as Mark Shepard in which the animals just eat grass and scraps in rotational grazing systems through a complex food landscape. (I leave out more subtropical / tropical climates because in those places it’s possible to grow food from plants year round quite easily, and growing food from plants is almost always preferable from an energy standpoint to raising animals for meat.)

  117. 117
    Tommy says:

    @Botsplainer: @Schlemazel: The only time I’ve had goat where I found it tasty was at a Moroccan restaurant. Never tried to cook it myself, not even sure where I’d buy it, I just mentioned why goats didn’t catch on in the US since pretty much the rest of the world eats it 24/7.

  118. 118
    Corner Stone says:

    @Anoniminous: Goat is amazeballs. Pass your portion this way, IYDM.

  119. 119
    BR says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Yeah, I do worry that that’s the more likely trend. But there’s a limit — there’s a huge energy and resource cost to the feed that goes into American animal agriculture, and that’s only possible through subsidies for corn and other staples. Without those subsidies, farmers will find it’s cheaper to just let the pigs roam and eat scraps, which means lower density and more humane conditions.

  120. 120
    Ruckus says:

    With 7 billion people on this rock, food is and always will be an issue. Let alone what type of food.
    I read some of the comments and I don’t really see a problem discussing foods, the types, the problems and even some resolutions of same. But putting all food producers of certain types of foods, beef or any meat in a negative category is wrong, just like categorizing people because of skin color.
    You want cows to be treated better, demand that they get treated better. You don’t like meat or dairy, don’t eat them. CA passed a law about raising chickens, giving them more room, etc. It can be done. Maybe not everywhere but it can be done.
    I haven’t been able to drink cows milk for well over 30 yrs. I got over it and I liked drinking it. It didn’t like me back. So I stopped. The lactose “gene” isn’t new, the lack of it isn’t either. The availability of milk and refrigeration just made the expression of it far more noticeable in the last 100 yrs.

  121. 121
    Corner Stone says:

    @BR: Every time I see “farmer” I immediately substitute MNC instead.

  122. 122

    @Tommy: I like Michael Pollan’s rules, that’s how I have eaten all my life.

    I eat a lot of vegetarian food, use meat, fish and poultry in appetizer sized portions, try to make most things from scratch including bread and sauces and condiments. I also drink milk and yogurt. I am not a fan of the tofu Franken food that Hillary seems to be pushing.

  123. 123
    Anoniminous says:


    This stuff drives me absolutely crazy. And if she complains the city would evict her and she and her son are on the street.

    Edited due to lack of reading comprehension

  124. 124
    Jane2 says:

    @Hillary Rettig: Precisely…there are abuses in all areas of food production.
    And that is why I don’t agree with justifying one’s food choices with claims that support those those choices as more ethical or moral than someone else’s.

  125. 125
    Schlemazel says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    I have never had that problem but always go for the young kid.

    We have a very large East African community so lots of hilal shops. I have seen but so far have been too chicken to buy some camel.

  126. 126
    Botsplainer says:

    @Corner Stone:

    In the end, all that’ll be left will be Soylent Green, unless the Great Asian Pandemic of the 21st Century decimates a third of the population first. Numbers will probably look like 15% in Western Europe and the Americas, 45% in the Arab world, 50% in Africa and Indonesia, 40% in Southeast Asia, 60% in India and 45% in China.

    The resulting economic depression will be yuuuuuge, but people will eat and housing stock will be readily available for the claiming.

  127. 127
    Corner Stone says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: “Are you Reformed Church of Vegan, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Church of Vegan, Reformation of 1915?”

    He said: “Reformed Church of Vegan, Reformation of 1915.”

    “Die, heretic scum!”

  128. 128
    Tommy says:

    @BR: Within a few miles of my house there are cows, sheep, pigs, llamas. Not hundreds. Dozens. But as best I can tell they all graze for their food. The plots of land they live on isn’t anywhere the size of someplace like West Texas. Not sure we can feed the entire country this way, but folks are doing it and it seems to work.

  129. 129
    Jane2 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I made tofu frankfurters once. Once. It did not end well.

  130. 130
    satby says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: This seems to be a trigger for you; does your antipathy to Hillary’s vegetarian posts maybe relate to something else? I’m doing much more vegetarian cooking to try to keep somewhat halal for my exchange daughters and new recipes are always welcome.

  131. 131

    @satby: I resent holier than thou attitudes about food. Period. Whether they come from vegans or Jains or sanctimonious members of my own background.

    ETA: What you can eat or what is considered “unclean” is one of the most important aspects of the caste system.

  132. 132
    Tommy says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Moderation. Not only have I tried, as you said, eating meat less often I tried to eat smaller portions.

  133. 133
    Schlemazel says:

    A year ago I went to a kickstarter party for the Herbivorous Butcher & got to sample a bunch of their products. To me it broke down into 3 categories:
    GAWD, What is this crap!?!
    Hey, it’s not meat but it tastes OK as long as you don’t expect it to taste like what you expected
    Actually this could just about pass, if I cooked it with stuff you probably wouldn’t guess it wasn’t meat

    For the vegans here this is a shop worth looking into, they ship THE HERBIVOROUS BUTHCHER

  134. 134
    Tommy says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yes. I think about what I eat more than I bet most. People that want change in what we eat do themselves a disservice when they attack those that don’t do exactly as they do. I didn’t really sense that much here, but it happens all the time. I am most likely your ally and attacking me because I eat meat isn’t helpful.

  135. 135
    slag says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: People have all kinds of opinions about all kinds of things. These are legit issues to address, and if you’re comfortable with your choices, you shouldn’t have any problems addressing them.

    No one’s calling you a bad person here. No one’s saying you’re evil. If anyone’s bringing the sanctimony here it’s you, in this instance.

  136. 136

    @slag: Your opinion is duly noted. Thanks!

  137. 137
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    @Botsplainer: Like. Notice how many food-poisoning epidemics come from vegan-approved stuff?

  138. 138
    Schlemazel says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    I’m with you though I also see sanctimonious from meat eaters. It is just more socially acceptable for meat eaters to be sanctimonious. We have always tried to have 1 or 2 non-meat meals a week even when the kids hated the idea. Now that they are older they all have meat-free meals in their own homes. To me part of it is health, part is resource allocation and part of it is that I like some vegan meals. I have eaten meals from around the world including many that would horrify many people here. The morality of eating is local and I do not feel so superior to everyone that I can bring myself to tell people they are immoral because of what they eat.

    And that is where the sanctimony comes from, a sense that one is superior. A million years ago I was on a mail list for vegetarians and most were reasonable but occasionally someone would pop off that eating meat was immoral and those people were horrible. Eventually someone would ask if the Inuit were immoral for not eating soy beans instead of whale blubber. Occasionally a meat eater would show up can call us all sorts of names – you can guess the ones – I found them just as ignorant and objectionable as the other.

  139. 139
    Jane2 says:

    @slag: Disagreement is not sanctimony.

  140. 140
    Emma says:

    @Tommy: At the small local level, it works. But even if you decide to turn the whole world vegetarian by command, how many acres of land would you have to dedicate to feeding a city like New York? London? Chicago? Mexico City? Organic product is more expensive. What happens to the poor? Who sets prices? The “free market” is a piss-poor way of doing it.

    What happens if a country, say, China, has a bad harvest while Russia has a good one? Who controls the surplus so that nobody starves?

  141. 141
    redshirt says:

    The problem isn’t dairy farming. It’s massive, corporate dairy farming that treats the animals like shit and pump them full of hormones.

    Buy local. Happy cows, better dairy products.

  142. 142
    sparrow says:

    @Schlemazel: Exactly. But do not ever suggest to anyone that we need to think about how to reduce our global population rapidly, because no matter how much you agree that it needs to be done as humanely and minimally cohersive-ly as possible, you are obviously a fascist malthusian elitist as soon as you bring it up. Apparently, it’s far better to hit the population wall at 90 mph and watch a large fraction of the planetary population suffer and die.

  143. 143

    @Schlemazel: Speaking from my experience, it is the various varieties of vegetarians who have tried to “educate” me about why their food choices are better.

    @Jane2: Thanks!

  144. 144
    slag says:

    @Jane2: I just hope all the meta whining about these kinds of posts doesn’t prevent them from coming up again. I, for one, appreciate the information in them as it helps me to be more intentional in my daily choices. And if people disagree, hopefully they’ll do so more directly and with relevant facts.

  145. 145
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Hillary Rettig: I would love to know how half of all US food is thrown out. Whoever wrote that nonsense never lived close to poverty level.

  146. 146
    dr. luba says:

    Humans are omnivores, and have always been. It’s our nature.

    That said, I don’t eat much meat, and rarely crave it. Well, bacon…..but otherwise, not really. I was a vegetarian when I was younger, for six years, but gave up on that because, in the 80s, it wasn’t easy. Eating out was pretty much impossible. Now it would be fairly simple, but I don’t feel compelled.

    I’ve always like the Chinese and Indian approaches to eating meat–small amounts, mixed with sauces, with lots of rice and vegetables. And Indian veg cuisine can be fantastic, but it is not vegan in the least. Paneer and ghee…..and eggs. Yum.

  147. 147
    slag says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Speaking from my experience, it is the various varieties of vegetarians who have tried to “educate” me about why their food choices are better.

    So? Maybe they are better.

    I’m not a vegan, but I don’t feel personally attacked when people talk about our agricultural industrial complex. I also don’t need to stick my fingers in my ears whenever the topic comes up. Food is an extremely relevant, often ignored, issue. If you don’t care about it, you could do yourself a favor and just ignore these posts.

  148. 148
    Jay Noble says:

    We need to get a Pro-Paleo Gluten Free thread going too! ;-)

  149. 149

    @slag: She claimed that dairy causes obesity and cancer. Everyone is welcome to eat whatever they want to. They are not however welcome to their own cherry picked facts and then present them as “science”.

  150. 150

    @slag: You could do yourself a favor and not read my comments on food related posts.

  151. 151
    RSA says:


    I would love to know how half of all US food is thrown out.

    One USDA report puts it at 31%, about a third of that at the retail level, the rest consumer.

  152. 152
    slag says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: She linked to relevant sources. If you want to argue the facts, try linking to your own relevant sources.

    @schrodinger’s cat: I’ll be happy to do so as long as they don’t threaten to quell the conversation about the issue at hand. If they do threaten the existence of the conversation, I will take then issue with them accordingly.

  153. 153
    Jane2 says:

    @Jay Noble: Sorry, it’s now bone broth that will save us all….gluten free is so 2015.

  154. 154

    Peer reviewed research of health benefits of yogurt

    From Google scholar

  155. 155
    KS in MA says:



  156. 156
    Corner Stone says:

    @slag: Good Christ, sanctimony much? “Relevant sources” must be defined awfully strangely where you are from. If it’s op-ed then say so, don’t call the source science when it’s junk.

  157. 157
    sigaba says:

    Vegan lasagna without eggplant or zucchini? Odd.

    Milk, particularly processed milk products aren’t health food, but Daiya cheese is almost pure cocoanut oil and canola, it’s sortof a disaster for hydrogenated oils.

  158. 158
    Tripod says:

    Tiny baby? For serious? I only see a 150lb slab of protein.

    Werner Herzog puts it more eloquently than I ever could:

    And what haunts me, is that in all the faces of all the bears that Treadwell ever filmed, I discover no kinship, no understanding, no mercy. I see only the overwhelming indifference of nature. To me, there is no such thing as a secret world of the bears. And this blank stare speaks only of a half-bored interest in food. But for Timothy Treadwell, this bear was a friend, a savior.

  159. 159
    slag says:

    @Corner Stone: “Relevant: Closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand”. Also, it doesn’t take a ton of googlefu to find similarly relevant information:

    The collected data from other researchers and our own data are indicating that the presence of steroid hormones in dairy products could be counted as an important risk factor for various cancers in humans.

    We can throw sources around all day, but it’s not like totally out of the bounds of reason that our farming and agricultural practices aren’t without their harmful effects.

  160. 160
    dedc79 says:

    @Emma: It takes far less land to feed vegetarians than meat eaters.

  161. 161
    sempronia says:

    @The Pale Scot:

    The NYT recently ran profiles of their most prolific commenters, and it turns out that that commenter is in fact the brother of the comedian Chelsea Handler.

  162. 162
    Emma says:

    @dedc79: Really?

    “A person following a low-fat vegetarian diet, for example, will need less than half (0.44) an acre per person per year to produce their food,” said Christian Peters, M.S. ’02, Ph.D. ’07, a Cornell postdoctoral associate in crop and soil sciences and lead author of the research. “A high-fat diet with a lot of meat, on the other hand, needs 2.11 acres.”

    “Surprisingly, however, a vegetarian diet is not necessarily the most efficient in terms of land use,” said Peters.

    The reason is that fruits, vegetables and grains must be grown on high-quality cropland, he explained. Meat and dairy products from ruminant animals are supported by lower quality, but more widely available, land that can support pasture and hay. A large pool of such land is available in New York state because for sustainable use, most farmland requires a crop rotation with such perennial crops as pasture and hay.

    Thus, although vegetarian diets in New York state may require less land per person, they use more high-valued land. “It appears that while meat increases land-use requirements, diets including modest amounts of meat can feed more people than some higher fat vegetarian diets,” said Peters.

  163. 163
    Older says:

    @Tommy: I’m sorry, I went back through the comments and couldn’t find yours about buying farm eggs. I wanted to say, if they don’t taste better than supermarket eggs, try a different farm. They should taste better. And the yolks should be plumper and orange in color, not pale yellow, and the whites also should be less inclined to spread out. Otherwise you’re not getting the full “home-made eggs” experience.

  164. 164
    Corner Stone says:

    @slag: If we want to discuss the medical procedure known as abortion I could provide relevant sources, adhering to your standard apparently, that tell us how almost all the women who have had one regret it.

  165. 165
    Corner Stone says:

    @Older: It’s this one.

  166. 166
    slag says:

    @Corner Stone: Oooooohhhh scary. And by your standard, apparently, my best method for disputing such a source involves something along the lines of, “Nyah nyah nyah nyah I can’t hear you!”.

  167. 167
    Corner Stone says:

    @slag: No, your best method is to actually understand that the source that was used is junk. It’s junk. You quite clearly did not find peer reviewed data that could be useful from that source, you went to Google for a different source. Maybe there is a reason she shouldn’t use the source she did since it is shit?

  168. 168
    dedc79 says:


    1) Specific to NY State
    2) Doesn’t consider secondary impacts like water use and waste (ever been anywhere near an industrial-scale pig farm?)
    3) Still concludes that a primarily vegetarian diet with little to no meat intake is far better than the status quo.

  169. 169
    Emma says:

    @dedc79: @dedc79: 1)Specific to New York State it might be but easily extended to other countries. I’ ve spent several summers traveling in Scotland and once you get into the Highlands you don’t have the quality of land necessary to sustain a completely vegetarian diet. 2) I have. Have you ever lived in a farm environment? I grew up in one. I can assure you water has to be used fairly liberally and there’s a hell of a lot of waste that has to be dealt with. 3) So it does. But it SPECIFICALLY says a purely vegetarian die is NOT the optimal one.

  170. 170
    chopper says:

    @Hillary Rettig:

    My point is that there’s an intrinsic cruelty to dairy farming even when good people do it.

    there’s an intrinsic cruelty to pet ownership even when good people do it. but don’t go asking people to give up their dog.

  171. 171
    chopper says:


    here are abuses in all areas of food production.

    exactly. you could go vegan and eat a bunch of veggies picked by abused undocumented laborers getting 2 bucks an hour and grown in a totally non-sustainable way.

    or you could go to the farmers’ market (if you have the money) and buy veggies that are sustainably and responsibly grown and picked. of course, that same market will have dairy and eggs and meat that’s raised the same way.

    ultimately nothing is ‘sustainable’ on a rock with over 7 billion people on it. vegetable-based diets neither.

  172. 172
    chopper says:


    depends on the type of land. you can raise a lot of cattle on range land that’s completely unsuitable for growing crops.

  173. 173
    slag says:

    @Corner Stone: A junk source for which it took about 30 seconds to find scholarly support. You’re right. Clearly, big foot and alien abductions are next.

  174. 174
    chopper says:


    uh, you just googled “cancer” and “dairy”.

  175. 175
    Keith G says:

    I have noticed that there has been a lot more words written in recent years about the emotional lives of animals. Some of it seems to be backed by rigorous scientific study and some of it pretends so.

    I think that this would be an interesting starting place. As a kid growing up on a small farm in Ohio, I never noticed advanced or even somewhat advanced emotional characteristics in ruminating mammals that I worked with.

    Maybe they have the ability to compare their past to their present state. Is it possible that they can contemplate various alternative futures? Mark me down as skeptical, highly skeptical. However, I am not immune to reconsideration if given properly vetted and tested information.

    That said, I do know that cows and sheep (my god sheep are so stupid) can become fearful and therefore it is an animal handler’s job to avoid inflicting needless fear or terror. That can and should be done at all stages of the process from heifer to hamburger. It adds some cost, but so be it.

    And yeah, there are changes that must be made to reverse the truly revolting bad-practices of industrial meat production . Again it will cost more. Most of us should be eating less meat anyway.

  176. 176
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G:

    I never noticed advanced or even somewhat advanced emotional characteristics in ruminating mammals that I worked with.

    But if they were ruminating on their place in the universe, and what the afterlife may hold for them? How can the simple pleasures of chewing a cud lead them to a higher plane of existence?

  177. 177
    Corner Stone says:

    @slag: Hey, I’m glad someone taught you how to use Google to bring up random laundry lists. Kudos to you!

  178. 178
    Satby says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I just find you uncharacteristically disagreeable about this and it puzzles me. I’m not getting sanctimonious vibes off these posts, but obviously YMMV.

  179. 179
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: Well they were consuming copious quantities of grass – edibles, as it were. Maybe they experienced a MoDo level of revelation.

  180. 180
    Germy says:

    The future of protein consumption is insects. Farm-raised crickets.
    Ground into meal.

  181. 181
  182. 182
    TEL says:

    I don’t know if anyone else has already posted this – but the point I want to make is that human nutrition is VERY complex. Actual data on dairy products effects is all over the place, and dairy=bad for you is not as clear-cut as you suggest. One good demonstration of this complexity is the association of saturated fats and heart disease, which has been thought to be very clear cut for years. As it turns out, the link between the two is not as clear as has been thought.

  183. 183
  184. 184
    Satby says:

    @Germy: It was eww but Kindle made an executive decision on spelling for me that I didn’t catch in time to fix.

  185. 185
    Germy says:

    @Satby: I suppose the eww is cultural. Because if I watched an intelligent pig slaughtered, I’m not sure I could enjoy bacon. But I enjoy bacon because I’m removed from the meat-processing process.

    I’m very squeamish. My wife brings home chicken and cleans it, and I find raw chicken disgusting. But when it’s cooked, I enjoy it.

    Farm-raised crickets, ground into meal and cooked is no more disgusting than a cow or a pig chopped into pieces for my consumption.

    I agree, there is the “eww” factor, but I think it’s more a habit.

  186. 186

    @Satby: Dietary choices have been wielded as a weapon in India. With the current government that has meant beef bans blessed by the state and outright intimidation which has resulted in a couple of lynchings as well.

  187. 187

    @Satby: So when anyone wields food choice as a morality play it gets on my last nerve.
    2. On the topic of the post, her proclamations on diary struck me as pseudo science.

  188. 188
    RSA says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    So when anyone wields food choice as a morality play it gets on my last nerve.

    I feel the same way. In the U.S., food choice has become something of a socioeconomic status marker. Appleby’s is one notorious example. In general, it costs more (if not in money then in time) to make dietary choices out of the mainstream: eating healthier, eating only vegetarian, eating vegan, following a specialized diet, etc. The poorer you are, the harder it is to go any of those routes, and so automatically connecting those choices to morality (not that the OP does) is unfair.

  189. 189
    Ruckus says:

    The navy ruined chicken for me. Under cooked, greasy, having to carry boxes of frozen chicken that the cooks would take and cut the box off the still frozen lump, stick in the oven til the bits could be removed from the block of ice/chicken and deep fried till the outside was looked done and serving it. For 40-50% of the meals a week. Yeah, sure, I like chicken. Me prepare it? Not on my best day.

  190. 190
    Older says:

    @Corner Stone: Thanks, Corner Stone. Unfortunately, I had already sent my response to the comment I couldn’t find, and left the house. If I hadn’t been in a hurry, I could have looked for it more effectively. Probably ….

  191. 191
    Corner Stone says:

    @Older: The comment itself was not actually worth finding. I am refraining from further activity on this matter. For now.

  192. 192

    Modern “factory” farming practices do perpetrate a lot of cruelty, but old-fashioned dairy farming was not intrinsically evil, and dairy cows do not have to suffer. Stressed cows generally do not produce milk, for one thing. And I’m sorry, but tofu is no substitute, in either taste or nutrition for milk and cheese. (I’ve spent most of the past year living in a Buddhist temple and I have come to seriously hate tofu, but that’s another story.)

    There is a movement among dairy farmers to produce milk in a more humane way — look for Animal Welfare Approved milk — but the milk is a lot more expensive than “factory” milk. Still, I’d rather go that way than to give up dairy.

    I’m also really tired of all the long lists of foods we’re not supposed to eat any more because somebody decided they were bad for us. Unless you have a particular sensitivity to dairy products because of a medical condition, a moderate amount of milk in your diet is good for you. There is data suggesting that consuming large quantities of milk every day carries some risks, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it altogether.

    And don’t get me started on gluten.

  193. 193
    Corner Stone says:

    @Barbara O’Brien: What about gluten?

  194. 194

    @Hillary Rettig: I disagree that there is an *intrinsic* cruelty to dairy farming, any more than there is an *intrinsic* cruelty to any other inter-species interaction involving humans. Yes, there are inhumane farming practices, but there are not the only way to farm. You should get to know more about modern dairy practices.

  195. 195

    @Corner Stone: Actual medical reasons to avoid gluten are quite rare. The current gluten-free craze, in which people demand gluten-free products because they imagine it is bad for them, is causing problems for people who have real food issues.

  196. 196
    satby says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I can understand that you’re reacting out of you cultural experience, but I doubt Hillary Rettig is posting from that perspective since it isn’t hers.

    Edited to add: as an asthmatic, I am always told by medical staff to avoid dairy as it supposedly aggravates asthma. I’m agnostic on the subject, but I have heard negative things about dairy from medical professionals for years.

  197. 197

    @satby: Its the same smug superiority of I know better, if you you were only as enlightened as me you would see the light. The only difference is that in this country they don’t have the political might the vegetarians in India do.

  198. 198
    Ruckus says:

    I have the same response to this post that I have to FB posts that ask me to give an amen to some poor soul, like that’s going to do squat for that person. But of course it gets worse and now the deal is they wish 7 yrs of bad luck on those who don’t give an amen. If I was about a 1% worse person I’d tell them to fuck off. Fuck an amen or your demanding that I, an atheist, believe in any of this. That’s pretty damn obnoxious of them to assume that everyone sees the world in their terms. Sort of like racists or fundamentalists don’t understand why their view of the world is so limited and wrong.
    There is plenty of evidence that a balanced diet of reasonable proportions works best for the majority of people and only people with certain diseases or actual sensitivities have to avoid certain foods. You want animals treated better, get laws passed that makes treating them better passed and enforced.
    Guilt didn’t work with mom and it doesn’t work here either.
    Don’t cut off the nose, it generally doesn’t make the face look or function better. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a veg or a carnivore, and share recipes, some of us like to try new and different things.

  199. 199
    chopper says:


    Actual data on dairy products effects is all over the place, and dairy=bad for you is not as clear-cut as you suggest.

    cmon. look at eggs; they’ve always been considered good for you, right? right?

  200. 200

    @chopper: So convinced are some vegetarians of their righteousness that they got rid of eggs in school lunches for under privileged children, their only substantial source of protein.

  201. 201
    Peter says:

    I get enough garbage feel-bad vegan bullshit on Facebook. I could do without it here.

    Milk, cheese, and butter are delicious. Call me when vegan meals aren’t absolutely disgusting compared with the real-food equivalent.

  202. 202
    Darkrose says:

    @chopper: This.

    As a resident of the California Central Valley, I can guarantee that unless all of your produce is organic and locally grown, if you’re American your vegetables are harvested by exploited migrant labor.

  203. 203
    Darkrose says:

    I appreciate the vegan recipes. I like trying different food. I don’t appreciate the guilt-tripping and the smug self-righteousness that unfortunately seems to always accompany vegan proselytizing.

    Yes, I eat meat. And fish. And eggs. And dairy. And I also adore my dumb-ass cats–who, newsflash! are carnivores. Even if I went vegan tomorrow, animals would still have to die so that my cats could survive. I get really annoyed by the snide “How can you call yourself an animal lover and eat meat?” bullshit that keeps coming up here.

    The fact is that it’s difficult to impossible to be 100% ethical in all food choices. I try to buy organic and local when possible, which is usually easy because I’m not poor and I live in a food-producing region. I don’t buy shrimp any more unless I know where it came from because so much of it is produced by slave labor. I buy cage-free eggs, but I’m not going to stop eating eggs since they’re a good source of protein, especially when I have to limit my carb intake. Having someone who doesn’t know me or my health issues sneer at me because I eat animal products isn’t going to suddenly make me realize the error of my ways; it just annoys me.

  204. 204
    henqiguai says:

    @Betty Cracker (#77): As usual, a day late (and broke).

    @joel hanes: Should we care more about smart, perceptive people than stupid ones?

    Yes. but then, people do say I have issues

  205. 205
    henqiguai says:

    @dedc79 (#160):

    @Emma: It takes far less land to feed vegetarians than meat eaters.

    And current, and near-future, agricultural practices cannot feed 7 billion (or 7 million million for you traditional British-usage types out there) vegetarians.

  206. 206
    the Conster says:


    I agree with this, completely. It’s not too much to ask of humans to take more responsibility for their choices when it comes to animals. I’m not vegan, but it’s my ideal and I’m definitely on the path going in that direction. It’s not sanctimonious to talk about the plight of animals, who desperately need our help. I follow some animal rescuers and vegans who post (probably illegal) pictures of factory farms on twitter, and… ay carumba.

  207. 207

    @the Conster:

    I agree with this, completely. It’s not too much to ask of humans to take more responsibility for their choices when it comes to animals.

    Agreed. I do draw a line at spurious health claims made to fit an ideological agenda.

    Example: Dairy consumption is a health hazard and so on.

Comments are closed.