Number of animals killed in the world by the meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage. This does not include the billions of fish and other aquatic animals killed annually.

Based on 2007 statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' Global Livestock Production and Health Atlas.

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Posts Tagged ‘taste’

Sleight of Ham

Monday, August 16th, 2010

B12, Pigs, Multivitamins and You

A common misconception is vitamin B12 is produced by animals. This is a main objection meat eaters have to veganism. Their reasoning goes, “If only animals produce it, and we need it, then we need animals.” This sounds like a good point, but, like most other meat and dairy arguments, it falls short if we dig a little deeper.

It is true we need vitamin B12. It is correct to say that of all the things humans who buy their food from grocery stores eat, only animal products naturally contain vitamin B12 nowadays, but it is incorrect to state that animals create B12.

Vitamin B12 and its relationship to animals is best summed up by Reed Mangles, Ph. D., R.D.[1]:

“Animals get their vitamin B12 from eating foods contaminated with vitamin B12 and then the animal becomes a source of vitamin B12. Plant foods do not contain vitamin B12 except when they are contaminated by microorganisms or have vitamin B12 added to them.”

This still sounds like a straight-forward argument to eat meat, doesn’t it? It’s exactly the opposite.

First, the content of vitamin B12 in the muscle tissue of slaughtered animals is questionable. If you think pigs, for instance, are eating whole, natural foods swimming with plenty of the vitamins and minerals they need, you are wrong (and you haven’t been paying attention so far on this web site). In concentrated animal farming operations, pigs and other animals are frequently given vitamin B12 shots[2].   This is necessary for them because the food they are eating does not have adequate B12 in it any more, and some gruesome studies[3] show that B12 supplementation makes the meat “better.” Remember, these poor creatures are forced to consume fish meal, corn and grains they would never eat in the wild.

They have to get their vitamins from somewhere, and that somewhere is usually from the business end of an injector.

Therefore, if we eat animal products from grocery stores because it is a “natural” way to fulfill vitamin B12 requirements, we are being fooled. What we are really doing is using the defenseless pig as a proxy for taking a multivitamin.

Once again we see that if pig flesh wasn’t bled, salted, altered with fire and smoke, you’d find few sane people arguing that we need to eat it for survival.

We are not chained to eating animals to gain our microscopic vitamin B12 requirements. We have options. Common breakfast cereal is a wonderful source of B12. Almost all grain products in the United States are enriched with vitamins, B12 especially. Oatmeal, corn flakes, and rice puffs are good sources.  Even the sugar-drenched diabetic horrors that are most breakfast cereals have 35% of your daily B12 requirement.[4] That’s five times the B12 provided by half a chicken breast[5].

Don’t like cereal? Get what you need from multivitamins, nutritional yeast flakes, breads, tortillas, even pancakes.

Arguing that we need to eat animals to get vitamin B12 is like the Snargleplexonians arguing that they need to eat our babies to get their creamed peas.

Creamed Peas

Eating babies is natural because there is no other way for Snargleplexonians to get their blended pea supplement.

References:

  1. Vitamin B12 in the Vegan Diet, Reed Mangels, Ph.D., R.D., http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/b12.htm, Accessed 2007/04/24
  2. Minerals in Animal and Human Nutrition, L. R. McDowell, Published by Elsevier Health Sciences, 2003 ISBN 0444513671, 9780444513670
  3. Comparative effect of low levels of dietary cobalt and parenteral injection of vitamin B12 on carcass and meat quality characteristics in Omani goats, I. T. Kadim, , O. Mahgoub, A. Srikandakumar, D. S. Al-Ajmi, R. S. Al-Maqbaly, N. M. Al-Saqri and E. H. Johnson. doi:10.1016/j.meatsci.2003.08.003
  4. General Mills: Lucky Charms product data, http://www.generalmills.com/corporate/brands/brand.aspx?catID=69, Accessed 2009/01/05
  5. Vitamin B12. (2010, August 24). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:44, August 25, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Vitamin_B12&oldid=380795116#Foods

Add Variety by Replacing Meat

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Dish variety expands tremendously when you replace meat

By replacing meat and dairy with plants, meal variety explodes

Dropping meat and dairy is the easiest thing you can do to add variety to your meals.

One of the hesitations most people have to replacing flesh and animal milk is the fear of meals becoming bland, colorless, tasteless, repetitive or boring. This perception is happily dispelled by anyone who has gone vegan for a year or two, but why should it take so long?

When meat must be included at every meal, your main dish is by definition restricted. How is eating the same four animals variety? Going vegan, one is forced to eat something other than the Five Main Corpses: cow, chicken, pig, fish, or a random creature which tastes like any of the previous four.

There is such variety in the plant kingdom!

Upgrade from five flesh options to literally hundreds. Factor each option by the dozens (hundreds, if you’re a good cook) of ways to spice and flavor any food, and you’ve just increased your menu from a dozen to a thousand delicious, unique meals.

Go vegan. Your meals will be zestier, more flavorful, colorful and varied. If you don’t want to go vegan for the animals, do it for your taste buds.

Raw Bruschetta from Cashew "Cheese" on a Multi-Seed Base

Raw Bruschetta from Cashew "Cheese" on a Multi-Seed Base