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Game Changers response – the integrity problem with eating animals

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What’s up folks? Before reading this, I recommend watching this video below to get a scientific critique of the Game Changers documentary, to ensure a balanced perspective on the health claims made:

So I just wanted to reflect a little bit on the Game Changers documentary everyone’s been talking about.

I saw it on Netflix the other night. Most documentaries these days are woefully unscientific, but this particular one has references with citations to strong source materials. It basically presented a very strong scientific case for why eating a plant-based diet is healthier than one that’s omnivorous or includes meat and animal products.

And this is something that’s been bothering me for months, if not years.

When they’re vegan movement first occurred, they got a lot of flack for it and they still do. But statistics show there’s definitely a movement in that direction – a lot of people are switching to a plant-based diet these days, for multiple reasons.

There’s some who don’t do it for any particular moral reason, they just do it because the science very clearly shows that it’s healthier. And there’s really no truth to the idea that meat tastes better – when you know how to cook vegetables properly, you can have a tasty diet. And then, of course, other people do it for the vegan reason; reducing harm to animals and the environment.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, but it’s something that’s been weighing on my conscience for quite some time now. Now, I don’t necessarily have a problem with animals eating other animals, and human beings are an animal. What I have a problem with is dishonesty. What I have a problem with is people lying about why they eat meat. Because the idea that you need to do it for health reasons is clearly a lie.

I only really became aware of this recently is because of a heart disease genetic problem in my family. I have high cholesterol, regardless of what I do. I’ve been forced over the last year or so to do a lot of study into scientific research as to what the best thing to eat is for your heart. And the science is adamantly clear: a Mediterranean diet, as it’s called, is best for heart disease.

This particular diet has almost no meat in it, though they do recommend salmon for the good fats, but you can get those good fats from supplements and avocados as well. It really looked like they’re throwing salmon in there for the people who didn’t want to give up meat. But ultimately what they’re saying is: just eat plants. Get your protein from lentils and beans, and just eat plants if you want to live longer.

It was really uncomfortable for me to do this research. I’m like, “Come on, where’s the one that says I can have a steak?”

Despite all the hype you see on the media around the mockery of veganism and the advocacy of eating meat, there’s really no substance to that argument. Essentially, it’s worse for you to eat meat than to not, in nearly every case. There are always going to be costs and benefits to any type of diet that you stick with, but it’s clearly healthier to eat plant-based – there’s really no scientific debate for eating animal products, even dairy, of any kind.

But what about the moral question about killing and eating animals?

This is where I really had a dilemma. There’s a book I read quite a while ago by Ben Elton called Dead Famous. There’s a character in the book – a hardcore hippie, the obnoxious, tree-hugging type. In the book, he starts a debate about people killing fleas. He has fleas. He’s living in this kind of big brother house and it bothers everybody. And there are people who are against fox hunting who are trying to kill his fleas. And he says, “Well, what’s the difference between a fox and the flea? Why is it okay to kill my fleas but it’s not okay to kill foxes?”

And I thought that’s actually a pretty fucking good question. How is that we draw the line where some animals are okay to be murdered, and other ones not? Regardless whether or not we eat them.

There are so many friends of mine who are meat-eaters and yet they think it’s wrong to hunt whales, or they think it’s wrong for Chinese people to eat dogs. How did they come to that sort of moral relativity, where some animals can be murdered for sport or food others must be protected?

I’ve even challenged soon what I call pseudo-vegans – people who are vegan just so they can have the label. These people will slap a mosquito – why is it okay to kill the mosquito but not a chicken? Where do you draw that line?

I’m not really going anywhere with this but this dilemma was raised for me. What stood out to me most in the documentary was the guy who hunts poachers. He’s an ex-military dude running a company that guards and protects endangered rhinos and other animals from poachers. Very few people on the planet would say that that’s a bad idea – protecting endangered animals. And yet he noticed this dilemma; he’ll be protecting endangered animals in the morning, and then eating other animals in the evening, and he said this, “I was full of shit.”

For me, that was the most significant part of the whole documentary. You put all the science aside and all the debates and you just say, “Look, are you full of shit with your morals?” And for me personally, I am. If I think it’s not OK to stomp on a puppy, why do I think it’s okay to eat a cow? How am I cool with that? It doesn’t make sense philosophically, it doesn’t make sense morally. It’s like I have selective morality.

I mean, I still eat meat. I’ll be having meat for lunch. I haven’t quite made a shift here (yet). But I guess what bothers me most about all of this is I have some friends who are heavy into hunting and meat and stuff. And they’re just not honest. If they want to eat meat, just say so. Say “I like to kill animals for food.” But then you deprive yourself of the right to complain about any animals being murdered for any reason. Right?

You can’t say it’s okay to eat this chicken but don’t hunt the whales. Either be against all animals, including humans, which are another animal (murder of your own children should be fine because it’s just an animal being killed), or be anti-murder.

I’m really open to debate and ideas around this. But it just doesn’t sit well with me. My selective morality, my choice as to who can live and who can die, just seems very arbitrary. It doesn’t seem like a choice I made. It seems like I was programmed, it seems like something I’ve been conditioned into believing.

You ask a child: is it okay to kill animals? They’ll say no (unless they’re a psychopath) But by the time they’re an adult, they’re okay with it. They’ve learned something along the way. I remember being an innocent child and just knowing that was just wrong to kill stuff. I didn’t need any lessons on that. But somewhere along the way, I got taught that there’s a selective morality.

It bothers me that I didn’t make that choice consciously. It bothers me that I was programmed. This doesn’t mean that I’ll end up never eating meat – I might end up coming to my own conclusion that yes, I’m okay with animals dying for me to eat them, particularly if I hunt them myself, e.g. I genuinely don’t have much of a problem with fishing; the fish get mostly a free meal for me. But I might have a problem with using soft-baits because then the fish never eat anything.

I don’t have a problem with carnivorous animals eating each other. I don’t have a problem with lions eating zebras. That doesn’t breach my morals in any way. So I’m not sure where I stand with this yet, in terms of me personally eating animals.

But the documentary has woken me up to how I didn’t make that choice – it was made for me somehow. And that pisses me off. I don’t like that. I don’t like believing in something without knowing how I formed that belief.

Whatever it is that you believe is good and bad about eating and diet, where did you learn that? Are you sure of where you got that from? Are you cool with the sources of that particular belief? Because I’m not with mine. It’s not scientifically accurate to say it’s important or necessary to eat meat. It’s not scientifically accurate to say that a plant-based diet is less efficient than a meat-based one. And it’s not morally accurate to say it’s okay to kill some animals and not others.

I wouldn’t have come to that contradictory conclusion on my own. This belief was formed at a time when I was easily influenced when I was a child and didn’t have critical thinking it’s all. So that’s what the documentary did to me. It’s really caused me to have some cognitive dissonance.

I’m not sure where I’m going to go with it, or what I’m going to do with that information, but it’s just kind of a wake-up call. I had the same thing when I was working a 9-5 job; at some point, I said, “I’m basically a slave. Why am I doing this? How do I get talked into this? How do I get talked into giving up the majority of my time to work for somebody else when they make all the money? How did I get conned into that shit?” That feeling is what led me to start my own business.

And I’m feeling a similar thing now with eating, as in “How did I get conned into thinking it’s okay to binge on meat when it’s clearly bad for my health, especially with my particular condition, and breeches a lot of my own moral codes?” I’m really anti-murder. So why am I cool with killing animals?

Just some thoughts. I’m keen to hear your thoughts, especially those of you who watch the documentary. I’ve got to make the caveat: I’m usually against documentaries being used as any source of evidence for anything, but the citations were mostly credible and the science is really irrefutable on this particular topic. There’s a reason that doctors recommend plant-based diets to people who have problems: they know for sure now that meat fats, in particular, accelerate bad symptoms and don’t reduce them.

Keen to give your thoughts. Have we been wrong to mock vegans? Sure, some of them are so obnoxious that they deserve to be mocked, but maybe they had a point? What’s really going on? Alright, that’s it for me. I’m out. And I’ll see you guys next time.

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