Vegetarianism and Equal Dignity for All (VegED)
HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.
Annette Exon kindly wrote to us (3rd November 2005), expressing her view that eating meat represents a debasement and thus ought to be considered in our work. We look for interested people, who would like to develop our VegED page. Please see our Call for Creativity.
Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section, since July 2012, she also tags interesting information here.
Too, Too Sullied Flesh
Meat production spews more greenhouse gases than a three-hour joyride
The next time you chomp a hamburger, think of this: the process of getting that beef to your bun may have spewed more greenhouse-gas emissions than leaving all your house lights blazing while taking a three-hour joyride in your car. Researchers looked at beef production in Japan and its impact on climate, water, and energy, and came up with sobering statistics. Wanna hear more? Not including transportation of meat from farm to store, production of 2.2 pounds of beef (OK, yes, that's a big burger) also spews the same amount of CO2 as an average European car driven 155 miles, and uses enough energy to keep a 100-watt light bulb bright for nearly 20 days. Methane-heavy cow burps and farts comprise most of the greenhouse-gas emissions; two-thirds of the energy used by the industry goes to producing and transporting feed. What could be done? Improve waste management, the study authors say, or shorten the interval between calving. Or, if we may suggest something totally crazy: Stop eating so much meat.
See also, in Grist List: Scientists Seek Digestive Aids for Cows.
Meat is Murder on the Environment
NewScientist.com news service, 18 July 2007
A kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home.
This is among the conclusions of a study by Akifumi Ogino of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan, and colleagues, which has assessed the effects of beef production on global warming, water acidification and eutrophication, and energy consumption. The team looked at calf production, focusing on animal management and the effects of producing and transporting feed. By combining this information with data from their earlier studies on the impact of beef fattening systems, the researchers were able to calculate the total environmental load of a portion of beef.
Their analysis showed that producing a kilogram of beef leads to the emission of greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide. It also releases fertilising compounds equivalent to 340 grams of sulphur dioxide and 59 grams of phosphate, and consumes 169 megajoules of energy (Animal Science Journal, DOI: 10.1111/j.1740-0929.2007.00457.x). In other words, a kilogram of beef is responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 kilometres, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.
The calculations, which are based on standard industrial methods of meat production in Japan, did not include the impact of managing farm infrastructure and transporting the meat, so the total environmental load is higher than the study suggests.
Most of the greenhouse gas emissions are in the form of methane released from the animals' digestive systems, while the acid and fertilising substances come primarily from their waste. Over two-thirds of the energy goes towards producing and transporting the animals' feed.
Possible interventions, the authors suggest, include better waste management and shortening the interval between calving by one month. This latter measure could reduce the total environmental load by nearly 6 per cent. A Swedish study in 2003 suggested that organic beef, raised on grass rather than concentrated feed, emits 40 per cent less greenhouse gases and consumes 85 per cent less energy.
"Methane emissions from beef cattle are declining, thanks to innovations in feeding practices," says Karen Batra of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in Centennial, Colorado. "Everybody is trying to come up with different ways to reduce carbon footprints," says Su Taylor of the Vegetarian Society in the UK: "But one of the easiest things you can do is to stop eating meat."
It's Better to Green Your Diet than Your Car
17 December 2005
Fishy Food Cuts Belching Beasts' Methane
13 March 2003
National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, Japan
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
The Vegetarian Society
Vegetarianism and Religion by Annette Exon
Please note that this is not necessarily the position of HumanDHS, pease see our policy. As a network, we cannot engage in campaigns, however, we wish to encourage our members to get active wherever they see fit. The fact that we post Annette's views on this page does not mean that we wish to humiliate people who do eat meat. What we wish to do is to stimulate reflection.
Annette Exon kindly writes to us
Annette Exon kindly writes to us (3rd November 2005), expressing her view that eating meat represents a debasement and thus ought to be considered in the work of HumanDHS more decisively than has been done so far. Please note that Annette's position is not necessarily the position of HumanDHS. Pease see our policy. As a network, we cannot engage in campaigns, however, we wish to encourage our members to get active wherever they see fit. The fact that we post Annette's views on this page does not mean that we wish to humiliate people who do eat meat. What we wish to do is to stimulate reflection.