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Why Eating Meat is Healthy and Good for the Environment

An old fashioned butcher shop in the 1920's

An old fashioned butcher shop in the 1920's

The Meat of the Issue

I am a convinced carnivore. I eat meat. I like meat, particularly lean, red, meat, and I'm not going to become a vegetarian. I tried it once about twenty years ago and I felt lousy. I was bloated and fuzzy after meals and ravinously hungry between them. It just doesn't work for me. Don't get me wrong. I love my fruits and veggies--and cake and cookies too--but I also like meat and believe that our bodies were designed to digest it. Normally, I don't think much about being a meat eater,but recently, since "green" has become the most overused word in the English language, I'm hearing a lot from the environmentally sensitive crowd about how selfish and wasteful it is to eat meat and how vegetarianism is far superior. I certainly agree that Americans eat too much meat and that a Big Mac with fries is not a healthy meal--but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is a lot to be said for meat ( and poultry fish and eggs too) and there is a dark side to living on oats and groats.

Not long ago, over a veggie burger and power smoothie lunch at my local healthfood emporium, my friend Ellen and I had a talk about this. Ellen has been vegan for years and swears that a strict vegetarian diet has improved her life and her health. Ok. That's just fine. I believe her. No problem. She has inivited me to her house for some delicious mushroom and grain casseroles. We sip herbal tea together and I don't call Ellen when I want someone to share chocolate cake with. All has been well for years. But recently, there is a new stridancy in Ellen's stance. She maintains these days( with a certain self rightousness, I might add) that eating her way will improve the planet and the way I eat will destroy it. I disagree.

Her main argument is an environmental one. To wit: The primary cause of global warming is increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere due to carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. Raising beef cattle requires three to ten times as much fossil fuel as raising grain and vegetable crops to feed the same number of people. In addition, cows produce an amazing amount of methane gas which is also toxic to the environment. Raising cattle takes much more water and much more land than raising crops thus is wasteful of natural resources. Ergo--don't eat beef. Ellen doesn't stop with beef, of course. She maintains that veal, pork, and poultry are equally bad.

Now, I'm thinking, how do they measure all this? I mean cows eat grass but their manure is wonderful fertilizer for crops. Does that get taken into consideration? Yes, it takes a lot of land to graze them, but could farmers grow crops on that pasture land? Does grazing cattle on land make it more fertile for crops another year? There are so many variables. It takes a lot of land to grow soybeans too and think of all the fossil fuel used by farm machinery. How about those crop dusting planes, and aren't chemical fertilizers and pesticides made with petroleum? How does Ellen know that it takes five times more energy to produce meat than soybeans?Whose figures is she using? I did a quick google search and found a welter of differing statistics and points of view. I just don't buy the simplicity of meat bad--veggies good and as I mentioned to Ellen, if you are so worried about animals, why are you wearing leather shoes?

Vegan vs. Meateater Debate with Steven Rinella

The Benefits of Meat

There are some very good reasons why our caveman ancesters hunted more than they gathered and ate meat whenever they could find it.

  • Meat protein is highly efficient and compact. It may take more resources to produce beef than grain, but eating meat gives the human body much more bang for the buck. One ounce of red meat provides much more energy than five times the amount of rice and beans, which sort of cancels out the natural resources usage imbalance.


  • Red meat contains lots of iron and B vitamins in a form that is easily absorbed by the human body. Vegetarians have a much harder time getting these nutriants and usually take B12 and iron supplements.


  • Humans cannot live without consuming protein. The protein in meat is not only condensed, it is complete. This is true not only of red meat but also of poultry and fish. Plant proteins are incomplete, meaning that they do not contain all of the amino acids needed by the human body to create energy. Vegetarians have to be careful to eat a combination of grains and legumes at each meal in order to get the complete protein necessary to sustain human life.

Thus I conclude that we evolved as meat eaters and that eating meat, albeit in moderation, is good for us and not bad for the planet either. Ellen maintains that human beings were not designed to eat meat because we don't have huge canine teeth to rip at carcasses like wolves and we do have molers to grind grasses and grains like cows.

This is a really silly argument if you ask me. I mean, we also do not have two stomachs like cows and we do not chew cuds and graze on grass because we are omnivores not carnivores or herbavores. We are an eminantly adaptable species that has survived so well because we can eat almost anything. Historically we have always been meat eaters--at least when there was meat around to eat.

Carnivore Links and Hubs

Which brings me to my last topic-- treating the animals we eat with respect. Here in America and in most of the developed world, we have introduced some amazingly cruel practices to maximaze production and lower price that have resulted not only in cruelty to the animals, but also in a reduction in the quality of the meat they produce. I firmly believe that cooping up animals in pens and feedlots, injecting them with hormones and force feeding them with stuff they would never eat in the wild is wrong from both a moral and practical standpoint. I further submit that the mass production of meat is what is ruining the planet, not eating meat itself.

Personally, I never buy beef at the supermarket. I buy excellent beef from a local farm that raises it's own cattle--grass fed and hormone free. It costs more and I don't eat it that often, but when I do I want the best. I buy organic chickens from the same source and eggs from the son of a friend of mine who is raising his own chickens. His hens run around and scratch for a living and live without anti-biotics or hormones. The eggs they produce have deep yellow yolks and taste like heaven.

I'm as "green" as anybody else. I recycle, carry my own grocery bags to the store, drive a fuel efficient car and buy organic food locally whenever I can. I have friends and relatives who eat meat and others who don't and I believe that food preferences are a personal choice and need to be respected. Different strokes for different folks, I say. However, I don't believe that when it comes to saving the planet, there are any simple solutions and I certainly don't believe that if we all stopped eating meat tomorrow, the world would be a better place. It just isn't that easy. There are lots of things we can all do to help save the planet, but avoiding meat is not one of them. Anyone want to join me for a hamburger?

Digital Fork for Meat Eaters

Comments

Hunny Khan from Mirpurkhas on December 19, 2018:

eating meat is not good for health. especially broiler chicken. If you fond of meat then eat country chicken and mutton. beef increases cholestrol in body.

otherwise your article is awesome

Daniel Syengo from Nairobi-Kenya on May 06, 2018:

I like meat very much although I would not call myself a carnival since I also feed on plants products.

Daniel Syengo from Nairobi-Kenya on May 06, 2018:

I like meat very much although I would not call myself a carnival since I also feed on plants products.

Sam Montana from Colorado on March 15, 2018:

Interesting article, but I must disagree with one sentence. "I mean cows eat grass but their manure is wonderful fertilizer for crops. "

Most cows do not eat grass, only grass fed beef eat grass. Feedlot cattle eat garbage usually, food that cows are not meant to eat, and it is this diet that causes their "emissions" to contain so much methane. Many cows are fed hormones, antibiotics and other drugs, this does not make good manure.

The runoff from feedlots pollutes all of our waterways also. I don't think eating meat all of the time is good for the environment.

Bruce Winship Wright from Marietta, Georgia on February 21, 2018:

You should check out a man named Howard Lyman and hear his opinion about all this. He definitely disagrees with you as do all Vegans. He makes a lot of sense too.

Edward Stevens from 275 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001, United States on April 12, 2017:

Thanks for sharing this post. I agree with all you've written and I enjoyed every word!”

Denis Lubojanski from 7 Station Street, London on March 05, 2016:

Really. It was so sweet to rear your article. Excellent writing. And the logic on your side are awesome. Actually I am on your side too. So no offence.

Debra Allen from West By God on December 21, 2014:

Well I am glad that you are coming back. I am seeing moe and more of us that have been around a long time coming back. I hope that is a good trend.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on December 21, 2014:

Thanks Lady G. ice to see you as always. I don't get around to Hubpages often these days, but do try to keep up with comments,broken links etc. and am going to start writing again here soon. And I am surprised and grateful to see activity on my hubs after all these years. Very nice and much appreciated.

Like you, I am lucky enough to live in an area where there are local farmers raising grass fed, hormone free, humanely raised animals and I buy eggs, chicken, and beef from these people as well as organic produce. While the meat is more expensive, the produce ( especially what I grow myself in my back yard) is cheaper and since I have only myself to feed and like cooking, well I eat very healthily and humanely indeed. Thanks for your support ...... always good to see you.

Debra Allen from West By God on December 20, 2014:

Oh, I eat meat too. Did any of you realized how man Mom and Pop and local farmers who do not do all the mass producing of meat there are in any given area? I get most of my meat from them. No filers, no chemicals (that should not be there in the first place) and no GMO anything. I also buy my vegetables right on the farm and I know the owners in person and they do not use anything that is un-natural. I like meat and I do NOT think it is an acquired taste.

I will Eat Meat when I want too...you all have to watch the aganda of some of those studies...they are very biased and not many people have participated in them.

Thanks Robie for you post even it it is 5 years old and now getting another shot at exposure to your cause.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on December 20, 2014:

I don't have time or energy to argue with you, blue-- sorry if you are offended. Joe said " You are justifying your selfish meat eating etc. etc" and you said " Joe nailed it etc etc." You both attacked me for eating meat. The superior/ inferior thing refers not to Joe's comment or yours but to the premise of my hub.... which is that eating meat or not eating meat is a personal lifestyle choice and not a question of environmental superiority. Period. End of story. No more discussion I'm going away now. Have a nice evening.

somethgblue from Shelbyville, Tennessee on December 20, 2014:

This superior/inferior thing you keep mentioning seems odd as neither comment expressed a superior attitude. Don't get me wrong I eat meat and enjoying it, never said I didn't.

However what I was pointing out is that if you want the truth just follow the money, its what's for dinner. There is big money to be had in the sale of meat and promoting it for consumption, please don't be naïve enough to think that so-called 'scientific' studies and research can't be altered or tailored to the premise that meat is actually good for you.

How cave paintings of animals shows that cavemen ate them defies logic, I am a professional artist and love painting birds but I don't eat them, hello anybody home?

There is no archeological evidence to suggest that early humans ate meat or hunted game, now it does show that they fished, but that is not even close to hunting big game. You must realize that most if not all information on early man is theories constructed from what more modern primitive man's habits are and were.

I'm by no means promoting being a vegetarian but I do disagree with the premise of your article and your censorship of any comments that disagree with you, if you can't take a little heat perhaps writing articles online with a comment section isn't such a good idea.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on December 20, 2014:

I am letting these two comments through though they are both rude and not based on any scientific fact. Plus it is clear that you two did not read the article. Unless you can be polite in your discourse, further comments will not be approved.

If you read the article you will see that I disapprove of inhumane animal farming and feed lots as much as you do and btw modern corporate farming has totally ruined the nutrition in most of our soil. Also, chemical fertilizers and GMO's have resulted in frankenfood that has very little nutrition, so don't think you are superior to meat eaters just because you eat only plant based foods, or that the way plant crops are farmed in America is any better for the environment.

What I say in the article is that vegetarianism is a choice and if that is what you choose fine, just don't try to force it on others via aggressive prosilytizing. You are actually proving my point by the tone of your comments.

Just for the record, the science is pretty clear. People are omnivores and always have been since paleolithic times.. We have always eaten meat. Before we discovered agriculture,meat ( when we could get it) was an even more important source of dense protein than it is today. We were not wandering through a lush garden picking berries wherever we went. Life was hard and humans hunted large animals and trapped small ones, especially in cold climates, in order to get through the winter. Have you not seen pictures of the cave paintings of animals all over the world, done in Paleolithic times by hunter gatherer humans? Hunter gatherers all eat meat to this day. It is you who have been sold the bill of goods. Our teeth are not like the teeth of grass eaters and ruminants and we have only one stomach which is well designed to digest meat, fish, and fowl as well as fruits, nuts , grains and berries. Man is an omnivore and always has been. Subsist on oats and groats if you want to, but don't feel that you are superior for doing so -- perhaps it is your fear that keeps you from allowing others the same freedoms you claim for yourself.

somethgblue from Shelbyville, Tennessee on December 20, 2014:

Joe, has nailed it, the entire dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico (now the size of New Jersey before the Deep Water Horizon spill) can be attributed to chemicals from feedlots and pesticides.

The bacteria caused from preservatives in our meat actually produce B-12 which meat proponents insist is necessary for human health and yet the same proteins can be found in foliates which are found in any green leafy plant.

Meat eaters have been sold a bill of goods and justify their addiction just as any drug addict would do. For millions of years humans ate produce from plants, yes they hunted for them and gathered them, hence the term hunter/gatherers, they were not meat eaters.

We don't even have the teeth for it, before we invented weapons 30,000 years ago, we couldn't run down deer, kill with our incredible strength or sneak up and pounce on animals, we walked around and ate what the Earth offered in abundance . . . fruits, vegetables and nuts and berries.

When you eat meat you consume the fear the animals experience upon being slaughtered and in turn live your lives are consumed by that same fear. Fear prevents you from recognizing the truth.

Joe Mitchell on December 20, 2014:

your arguments are predictable. You're justifying your selfish meat eating and using poor information in doing so. The estimates are 2,500 to 5,000 or 6,000 gallons of water for 1 pound of beef. Animals are not consuming grass, they require massive amounts of soy or corn crops (GMO) to sustain the meat demand. Feedlots are ruining the lands, the number one cause of deforestation, CO2 emissions, and the manure is not utilized because the cost is too high to transport because feedlots are not close enough to crop growing farms. The runoff from feedlots and the runoff from heavy fertilized animal agricutlure grain crops are leaking into our water systems and polluting the ocean and causing oceanic dead zones. So animal agricutlure is poluting EVERYTHING around us. The amount of studies coming out linking animal protein consumption to disease is overwhelming! Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, all of our worst killers are all caused by consumption of animal proteins (and yes, processed food is bad, not equally as bad but bad nonetheless). Vegetarians do not have to combine food for complete proteins. Plenty of plants have complete protein profiles but it's not required. We only need 8-9 essential amino acids for our body to form complete proteins. Basic nutrition 101 teaches us this! The body will pick and choose the amino acids when it needs them to form the protein. Our ancestors did not consume animals like everyone with believe. Paleolithic ancestors consumed more than 100 grams of fiber per day! You are lucky to get 10 percent of that. There wouldn't be much time left in the day to go around hunting as meat was too unpredictable. 100+ grams of fiber! Fiber isn't found in meat in case you didn't know. You tried vegetarian once and failed. Very profound. One can only image what you ate. Vegetarian children on average grow to be an inch taller than their meat eating counterparts. Animals cannot be humanely slaughtered. Remember when you learned what an oxymoron was? It's not possible to kill something in a nice way, the act is violent regardless of how it is done. This article is reaching out to like minded people and the arguments here are not valid, not scientifically based, just conjecture at best.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on March 19, 2014:

I'm with you Wesman Todd Shaw-- I too am a convinced carnivore and thrive on meat, but that said, to each his own. My daughter in law is a vegetarian and finds the very smell of meat cooking nauseating-- go figure. I guess there is no one size fits all answer:-)

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on February 01, 2014:

Meat, it's what's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! I try to do a few vegetarian meals every week, but never ever EVER will they be vegan meals :)

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on June 17, 2012:

Yum, Emmanuel Kariuki, it all sounds great-- especially the roasted goat which is something I have never tasted. I did have goat in a stew once, made by some neighbors of mine when I lived in Brooklyn who were from the Caribbean. It was a dark, rich taste as I remember-- Thanks for stopping by and leaving your own " meaty" comment on my hub:-))))

Emmanuel Kariuki from Nairobi, Kenya on June 16, 2012:

This is great support for meat and you can count on me to stand by you. Let's go out and grill meat; fry meat; boil meat; roast meat and eat it all. I have even salted then baked meat wrapped up in foil to preserve the juice and it was great! How could anyone abandon all the things we can do with meat for a vegetarian life - I have never been able to justify that lifestyle. I have even heard that one should remove the skin from chicken and throw it out to avoid cholesterol. What sacrelege! I prefer roasted goat ribs though- the most heavenly scent from human food that I can think of. I can now see why you would describe a lengthy comment as meaty!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 28, 2012:

You make a very interesting point. I know very little about ayurvedic medicine etc but your thought is a very interesting one. I not only live in a cold country but have a Northern European genetic inheritance as well, as do many of my fellow countrymen. Perhaps that does affect my inability to stay on a vegtarian diet. And, of course, People from the south of India would be both climatically and genetically suited for vegetarianism. Very interesting-- thanks for adding that comment.

south indiann on May 28, 2012:

I have seen in many posts about westernes commenting that being vegetarians makes then feeble and weak..Iam really surprised because most of indians are vegetarians and even nonvegetarians have no problems in getting converted to vegetarians.I can think of only one reason why since meat is a heat producing food according to ayurveda in a cold country you will need to eat a lot of heat producing food which you are not aware and not getting.Since west has been 90% non vegetarians culturally finding a balanced vegetarian western cold country food may require further research

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 03, 2012:

Why thank you Victoria Lynn for those lovely votes and the kind words. You are invited to stop by for steak and potatoes any day :-) I'm not an herbivore or a carnivore. I'm an omnivore. I can and do eat it all and like you I can't exist without my red meat-- I don't need a lot of it, but I do need it-- I do I do

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on May 03, 2012:

Love this! I can't imagine not eating meat. I love my veggies and everything besides meat, but I do start feeling rather weak without a good serving of red meat now and then. I like veggie burgers, too, but they don't offer the same benefits--just different ones. Well-researched and presented hub. Loved it! All the votes!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on April 19, 2012:

Hi Farmgurrly-- you don't sound super argumentative-- you sound like someone who grew up on a farm and is sick of being blamed for the excesses of Monsanto. And you sound like somebody who cares. I am really enjoying your comments.

I think eating meat or not is a choice. Eating grass finished, organically raised beef is also a choice. The choice is, of course partially economic, as you point out and certainly many people cannot afford to eat the locally produced beef I buy. I eat red meat maybe once a week, if that and what I eat I buy from a local organic farm, but then I live alone and very quietly. I am retired and while not wealthy, can choose what I spend my money on and local, grass finished beef is one of the things I choose.

When I was a stay at home mom with a husband and young kids to cook for, I bought supermarket beef and hot dogs and served my share of Tuna casserole and Mac and cheese.....what one eats and how one eats it depends on many things and those things include income and lifestyle for sure.

The point of the hub when I wrote it was that I was pissed at self rightous tree huggers who were friends of mine who were carrying on like I was a serial killer because I ate meat. I don't think judgements are in order. I think that food choices are personally and culturally determined. Religious Hindus don't eat cows. Religious Muslims and Jews don't eat pork. Religious Texans eat tons of both. Oh, and I like horse meat. I've had horse steaks in both Iceland and France and enjoyed the meat very much. On the other hand I understand that in Southeast Asia people eat dogs and I don't think I could ever do that. Like they say, "one man's meat is another man's poison."

Bon appetit:-)

farmgurrly on April 17, 2012:

Well I have heard the term re"factory farm" used in many different contexts and most of them are incorrect. How big do you consider a "big, corporate owned feedlots which are run like factory assembly lines--where cattle are " finished" on corn, kept in unsanitary and highly stressful conditions and injected with hormones and anti biotics and slaughtered inhumanely"? I only ask the question of do you know they are "corporate owned"? A lot of family farms are now corporations because it is easier that way . . . .

Cattle are "finished" as you say normally on corn. It is the most efficient way to do so.

Unsanitary and highly stressful conditions? Have you ever been to a place where cattle or pigs have been finished? I can only speak for myself when I say that I do not inject hormones. Nor have I used antibiotics on a completely healthy animal.

Slaughtered inhumanely? Is there really a humane way to do that?

I don't know what to tell you about the ground beef. Would you rather they were thrown away? Because that seems rather wasteful.

The US has safest system. There are less cases of food poisoning in the US than any other country. We have the most laws in place as well. Canada may not be the best country to compare ourselves to. It is legal to slaughter horses up there.

Maybe it makes it better, maybe not. Can everyone you know pay for that expensive "organic" and "locally" grown food that you can?

My mother refuses to eat any animal she has met or seen before because then all she can see is the face.

I hate the taste of eggs so I have absolutely no opinion on that one.

I know I sound super argumentative right now and I'm trying not to be. Look how well that turned out for me.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 22, 2012:

Hi Farmgurrly-- glad you are back--to answer your question re " factory farms" In the case of meat I am talking about the big, corporate owned feedlots which are run like factory assembly lines--where cattle are " finished" on corn, kept in unsanitary and highly stressful conditions and injected with hormones and anti biotics and slaughtered inhumanely I am talking as well about the practice of taking slaughter scraps from 40 or 50 different animals and shipping them to a supermarket where they are ground up together with preservatives and color and irradiated to make mass produced ground beef.

As for safety--what do you mean by one of the safest systems? Compared to what? I'm curious. Compared to Canada and Western Europe or compared to third world countries?

I know that mass production is what makes our food cheaper and I know this is important-- but I question whether or not it makes it better....my choice is to eat less red meat and to know the cow I'm eating. Ditto eggs.

This is a really short and incomplete answer-- sorry for that-- but am keeping the discussion to meat and eggs here. Hope this answers

farmgurrly on February 21, 2012:

Uh up above the term "factory farm" was used. What do you consider a "factory farm"?

farmgurrly on January 12, 2012:

I know my name changed a little bit, it wouldn't let my password be accepted.... Maybe I didn't cook it right, but to me no fat=no flavor. I couldn't tell you my opinion about the egg thing because I don't eat them.... We have one of the safest for sure though. We have safer practices of handling food. I would be, too. They also prepare things differently and buy from local farmers. Not to say that we don't, but that should be taken into consideration.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on January 11, 2012:

Thank you farmgurrl for commenting and presenting another point of view. Makes the comments section here really interesting. All I can tell you is that for myself, grass fed beef is not tough but tastes much better than grain finished supermarket beef. Ditto eggs from free range, cage free chickens. I buy my eggs from a local farmer and there is just no comparison. The United States may have the cheapest food supply in the world, but I would argue that it is not the best-- as for safety, I would be interested on seeing figures. I bet France does better than we do, for example.

farmgurrl on January 10, 2012:

Oh and the part about the icky fat just left on the floor of the slaughter house? Completely false. 98% of every animal is used.

Grass-fed beef is tougher and takes approximately eight more months to make the proper weight. Have you ever driven by a grass-fed farm in the dead of winter? The animals are basically starving.... Also people "organic" is a term used wayyyy too much and actually means containing carbon and derived from living matter. Have you ever seen organic farms? The conditions are worse than regular farms and if an animal gets sick, the farmer just has to watch them suffer because they cannot use any antibiotics. You want to compare people to animals? I can, too. What if you were sick and you significant other said, "Oh I can't give you anything, you will just have to deal with it." The animal's milk will not be used for a certain number of days to allow the antibiotics to come out of her system. The animal's meat will also not be slaughtered until the antibiotics are out of their system. As for the vaccines, they are just like eliminating the chance of getting a disease. I for one consider got vaccinating an animal animal cruelty.

The United States also has the cheapest and the safest food in the world. Less of our income goes toward food than anywhere else in the world. You are more at risk of getting food poisoning or getting sick for any reason because of your food anywhere else in the world besides the USA.

farmgurrl on January 10, 2012:

I know I am roughly two years late, but I feel that respects should be given when honor is due so.... Thank you soooooo much! This was ridiculously helpful. I have to write a paper on meats and our environment. Most other pages were PETA. They were not very compelling for my pro-meat point of view. I know my point of view, I just needed a little help for introductory sentences, this definitely gave me some great ideas. I do not believe in everything that was said in all the comments, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion and if we were all the same then what fun would that be? Absolutely none. So all in all thank you, wonderful article and all the comments gave different points of view that were also ridiculously helpful. Many people are just so misinformed. Also there is always one bad apple in the group. For meat production it is all of the farms who happen to be taped at the exact moment when the abuse happens. There are a hundred commercial farms that do not abuse animals to every one that does.

mabmiles on October 22, 2011:

Awesome hub.

The Blagsmith from Britain on August 21, 2011:

As promised,here is my take on what your hub and commenters inspired me to write:

https://hubpages.com/food/Customs-and-Cultures-Our...

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on August 19, 2011:

Blagsmith, that is absollutely fascinating information and I look forward to reading your hub on this subject. Genetics and culture do play a large part I am sure. Your point of view ad personal experience will be fascinating. I have one friend who is convinced that it is about blood type-- Type O Blood types like me need meat protein while blood types B and AB do well as vegetarians according to her-- dunno. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

The Blagsmith from Britain on August 19, 2011:

I would also like to add what we eat can also become culturally necessary.I have visited Japan on two long occasions once when our first son was born and later when we decided to fully move to Japan until the earthquake this year necessitated the return to Britain. Whilst I was in Japan - the lightness of the Japanese food caused me mild depression occasional shakiness and intermittant hunger pangs.

The move to Japan on a more permanent basis was initiated because my wife wanted to return and one of the reasons stated was because of the food in Britain.She became depressed, despondent and British food was much too heavy for her.

Another interesting point was the speed we finished our meals: when in England I always finished first and in Japan she always did.

I also remember watching a documentary which stated that our body adapts to its diet through successive generations. So starchy food of the eighties can create a natural resistance for descendants of this diet to the damage that these foods can do to the body. So therefore it validates that some may need to eat meat, or fish, or vegetables (and any combination thereof) depending on genetics, cultural customs as well as adapting a dietary habit over time.

I would also like to add your hub and comments on here have inspired me to write more about this experience - watch my space!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on November 12, 2010:

and I totally agree with you jjones-- it's what works and not a question of morality except when it comes to animal cruelty. That is a moral issue.

jjones444 on November 12, 2010:

I'm with Sufidreamer on this one. I'm a vegetarian because that's what works for me. It's less about how animals are treated (although that's a whole subject I won't delve into) and more about what makes me feel healthy. Some people need higher levels of iron. I need vegetables and lots of water. Everyone is different, and neither diet is the "right" one on ethical grounds. It totally depends on the person.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on June 12, 2010:

Thanks geraldine--we are definitely on the same page-- moderation in all things is the way to go I think

geraldinegerongay from Los Angeles, CA on June 11, 2010:

This is a straight forward and very information topic. Eating meat will not be an issue for as long as you eat in moderation. You just have to balance your diet to stay safe. Too much of something is bad enough.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 01, 2010:

Siri-- thank you so much for your excellent comment. Never too late to chime in with knowledge I think. I do take a stand against factory farming and the way animals are raised in America is appalling. May I also point out that the way soybeans and corn are raised is pretty awful too-- lots of chemical fertilizer, pesticides, not to mention gasoline for farm machinery. Then there is genetic engineering of seeds by companies like Monsanto. I think we will pay for the way we have treated both plants and animals and that it must stop. But the answer is not to stop eating meat or plants. The answer is to recognize them as fellow living things and treat them humanely

Siri on December 09, 2009:

Bit of a late comment, but as I'm writing about this I get concerned when I read some of the comments.

While it took me many discussion and hours of consideration to get to this point, I do consider it my business what others eat. I consider it my business like I would child-labour, for example.

Local environment is in grave danger thanks to many factory farms leaking excrement and mass-producing animals. As much as 35,000 rivers in 25 states (accoridng to the EPA) because as much as they claim it, all that shit can NOT fertilise crops. It's simply too much animals.

Many, many animals die because they're raised crowded, raised not to be able to live but with frail bones, growing unnaturally fast and much and it's a grave waste. In America, 99 % of the meat sold is factory farmed. (Numbers calculated from EPA numbers from 2007, chicken raised for meat- which is vastly bigegr amount than other animals - being 99.94% factory farmed, for eggs 99.57 %, turkeys 97.43 %, pigs 95.41 % and cow for beef vs. dairy 78.2 % and 60.16 %). Moreover, fish is being mass-fished while dumping the "bycatch" (usually between 80-90 %, sometimes as much as 98 %) which means that so much of the captured fish is returned, dead, into the oceans.

I realise that you're making a good argument for sustainable meat-eating. I am not sure which is most important; animal welfare and upbringing, or actual refraining from this cruelty. What I am sure of is that I can not support an industry which contributes to so many bad things.

Of course it is my business. It's everyobodys' business. Creatures are being systematically ill-treated, but we refuse to take a stand. I don't want to be disrespectful, and I always hold a discussion rather than attack anyone. Most of the time those discussions are very, very rewarding.

But most importantly; we all have a responsibility.

On the argument someone pulled; vegeterians and vegans agree that a life, full of pain, torture and misery, is not a life. It's better to have less animals bred for no other purpose than to give us a little extra meat. It wouldn't be about 'killing off animals' but reducing the extreme breeding.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on November 04, 2009:

Absolutely agree Mike and that is why I have not bought supermarket meat for years. I buy local free range chickens and only organic grass fed humanely raised beef pork and lamb. It costs more and I eat less of it, but the flavor and nutritional value cannot be beat. Like I have said before and will keep saying-- it's the factory farms that are the problem and that goes for genetically modified grains and veggies as well as the cattle and beef industries.

MikeNV from Henderson, NV on November 04, 2009:

The problem with consuming meat is the meat we eat today processed by large corporate farms is not the same as the grass fed animals of 100 years ago. There is a terrific movie called Food, Inc. http://www.foodincmovie.com/ Everyone needs to see this. The most alarming part was the part where Ammonia is being used to sanitize beef for the fast food industry. Cows fed corn develop e-coli in their digestive tracts then... well I'm not against meat but if you view this picture you will definitely want to source grass fed meats!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on September 30, 2009:

Good point Pewsta-- I think I still would and I think that one of the problems with the cruel and environmentally wasteful way we raise animals for food is that it has broken that essential connection and respect between hunter and hunted. I buy meat from local farms where animals are slaughtered humanely and If I had to, I think I would kill a chicken or a pig myself in order to have meat-- but to each his own I say :-)

pewsta on September 30, 2009:

I'm a vegetarian, for various reasons but at the end of the day I couldn't kill the animal myself and eat it, so I don't. Our cavemen ancestors hunted and killed for their food. We however just pop to the supermarket and grab the meat which in no way resembles the animal it came from, never seeing the lives of the animals or the 'kill'. I wonder how many people would still eat meat if they had to kill the animal themselves and prepare it???

prolixuspandemic on September 11, 2009:

Fun article, but tons of misleading information.

Humans do not eat protein as a primary source of energy. Humans eat protein for the amino acids which are building blocks for enzymes and structural elements like skin, hair, bone, etc.

Carbohydrates, which come directly from plants, are the primary source of energy.

Rice = energy

Beans = amino acid building blocks

So, when you talk about how much more energy is in a gram of meat versus rice and beans, remember that the cow had to eat X amount of grass, the energy for which was received directly from the sun. Only so much of the energy was used to build the yummy steak parts. Most of that was lost as heat, or went into making the icky fat and gristle which ends up on the slaughter house floor, or scraped off of your plate into the garbage disposal.

Meanwhile, most of the energy from the yummy steak is lost breaking it down into amino acids and building those amino acids back up into your body parts.

Most of the energy you use in daily activity comes from the potato you ate along with the steak.

Finally, if you think it's difficult going through the trouble of supplementing a vegetarian lifestyle devoid of animal protein, try being a diabetic where the energy from the 60% of your diet which isn't animal protein is unavailable to you and without insulin injections, your only source if energy is protein.

No comparison my friend.

lelanew55 on August 12, 2009:

Great article.I also tried vegetarianism for a short while because of the claim that it is healthier. I didn't find a big difference in how I felt and I started being worried that I might not get all the nutrients my body needs. I also do believe after a lot of reading and intuitively that human beings in general are omnivores. Some scientists even suggest that we would not have evolved from hominids to the human beings we are now without meat consumption. They theorize that the development of our big brains and its maintenance require the nutrients that we get from meat. As fro the environment I agree that it is factory farming that is causing havoc. If farm animals were raised naturally grazing freely we will not overproduce and therefore overeat meat. There will be balance in the way we eat and balance in the environment. Yes the old adage "Everything in moderation."

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on July 06, 2009:

Then you are on-- we'll have a virtual picnic

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on July 06, 2009:

Yipppeee, I'd be delighted robie!  Thanks LOL I love potato salad too. hehe

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on July 05, 2009:

Come on over, ripplemaker-- we'll chomp on burgers and I make a great potato salad. Moderation is the key I think:-)

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on July 04, 2009:

Hi robie, I too eat with moderation and balance...meat and veggies... and fruits and sweets :-) I love your hub and if you want to make hamburgers or veggie burgers, I'd be happy to join you! LOL

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on June 09, 2009:

Deanna--thanks so much for your thoughtful comment and for your kind words. I am in total agreement with you about factory farming. I cannot believe that the meat of animals who have lived under such stressful cruel conditions can be good for us. It certainly doesn't taste very good I must say.

To each his own. I eat lots of fruits and veggies, particularly at this time of year--but I am afraid I will never find meat gross. I really do think that moderation is the key not only in eating animals but in raising and caring for them humanely too.

DeannaDylanScott from Los Angeles,CA on June 09, 2009:

I always appreciate anyone's opinion and honesty. Your article was very well written and you have obviously thought about the many sides to eating meat versus not. That is a very refreshing thing.

You buying meat solely from a local farm and not supermarkets where factory farming is the supplier is commendable. I wish more meat eaters were doing this but unfortunately you are a tiny minority in this country and around the world. Most carnivores are funding the factory farm system in the meat industry. The disgusting big business going on there is horrendous and with living,feeling and breathing creatures treated as nothing for money.

I am from Iowa and was conditioned from practically birth to have a taste for meat.Back in the day I loved steaks,pepperoni,cheese and hamburgers to name a few but I have found alternatives or better to all of these things and lost my taste for bloody skin. It's been so long now that it's foreign to me and gross. I never thought I would be here,where I am but I am so glad. I have transcended my conditioning and created a different kind of enjoying food that suits my heart and love of animals too

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 30, 2009:

I think it really tastes good too:-)

bogartkick on May 30, 2009:

I occasionally eat meat because as far as I know meat has cholesterol and its not really good for the leath, especially the heart, but it really taste good.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 14, 2009:

Thanks Reg-- glad you stopped by and thanks for the comment:-)

Reg Brittain from South Burlington, VT, USA on May 14, 2009:

"Everything in moderation" is so true. Sweet hub.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on April 02, 2009:

Hi Cindy-- you are really enterprising. I'm impressed by the sausage making-- I wouldn't begin to know how and it sounds yummy. I have to admit that though I like and need meat, I don't eat enormous amounts and I do llike my veggies and fruits too-- just not to the exclusion of meat, poultry, fish and all the other good stuff around--like sausage:-)

Cindy Vine from Cape Town on April 02, 2009:

hi Robie, I could never become a veggie and cut out meat. I love it! Like my steak medium rare wiith juices lowing freely with every cut of the steak knife. In China, couldn't get the kind of sausages I like eating, so did some research, bought the sausage stuffer and make my own. No preservatives, no fillers, just pure meat. Yum, might have to make more this weekend to barbecue. My mouh is salivating at the thought.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on April 02, 2009:

Hi Captain-- that's very interesting info about the raw meat and the aurouchs. I guess we aren't so far from cavemen in many respects eh? Thanks for stopping by and for the great comment.

The Captain from The Carribean on April 02, 2009:

I agree 100% Robie. It is a scientific fact that pre-historic man ate meat, as you say, but also ate it raw before they happened to discover that meat that had burned in a natural fire tasted and digested better. Furthurmore, most Scientists agree that today's beef cattle are domesticised aurouchs, a major source of "caveman" meat. So not only are we eating meat just like our ancesters, but we are eating the same animal. I had a perfect rare Sirloin Tip Roast for dinner. They don't know what they're missing!

Thanks for a great hub.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on March 20, 2009:

Glad you like it--thanks for stopping by:-)

Organic Tea on March 17, 2009:

Interesting stuff! Great hub

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 27, 2009:

Thanks for your comment ocbill--very interesting that even Mickey D is better abroad LOL

and Comput-Smart-- I have a smile on my face-- you always give me a chuckle you do you do :-)

Compu-Smart from London UK on February 27, 2009:

Sure is funny!!

I do know one thing!! You have made me hungry!!:D

ocbill from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice on February 25, 2009:

Great article. especially when you touched on the CO2 emissions. There is a good argumnent for both sides. But all in all a portion of red meat is good to have in your diet. not necessarily those burger king deals or cloned meat. Hey, I was overseas and noticed a difference in the quality of meat at McDonalds. It was much better than here in the USA.

C.S.Alexis from NW Indiana on February 25, 2009:

You know there is something to be said for balance. The problem with our environment is that it is OFF BALANCE, and being a fanatic in either direction is probably not the answer to our salvation here. Moderation would most likely be the best bet! I like all food for the most part and red meat is one of my favorites, though I have to admit that food is favored in general...HA!

I will take a big rib eye on the grill, medium rare please. But that does not make me want to leave out the fishies and chickies. Like SweetiePie pointed out " to each his own". Great hub here to inspire others to stop judging!

AND I am with you on the burger, my all time best COMFORT food!

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on February 25, 2009:

I do not mind if people eat as much meat as they like, but personally I have been semi-vegetarian most of my life. Some weeks I will eat chicken and fish several times a week, and other weeks I use beans and nuts as a source of protein. One thing that did sort of annoy me in the past was how some confirmed meat eaters would belittle my eating habits, and I just did not get that. I do not care what other people eat, so long as others do not care what I eat.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 24, 2009:

Glad you liked it orionsky60403--I'll have to look up that Penn& Teller thing:-)

orionsky60403 on February 24, 2009:

This was an awesome article. Reminds me of a Penn & Teller Bullshit episode about vegetarians. If you haven't seen it, watch it.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 24, 2009:

YUP--and in India they don't eat cows while the French love snails and the Japanese like whales. Lot's of places horses get eaten as well as ridden. The list goes on. I think that we don't eat animals we keep as pets or see as our friends or maybe we only befriend animals we don't eat-- I dunno.....but it is interesting how it varies from culture to culture and really brings new meaning to the old saying " one man's meat is another man's poison"

whether it's eating meat vs not eating meat or what kind of animal it is OK to eat vs. not-- people feel very strongly about their preferences.

Compu-Smart from London UK on February 24, 2009:

lol and thanks!!

Yeah, its crazy how we feel about eating cats and dogs when just over the water its a delicacy and they would not think of eating anything else!!

Life sure is funny!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 24, 2009:

Reynolds_writing--yum steak. I'm with you. Glad you stopped by:-)

Why thank you Pioneer21. Needless to say I heartily applaud your POV!

ThePioneer21 from Liverpool on February 24, 2009:

this hub is brilliantly written!

I'm a meat eater and have been completely shocked about the things I have seen on recent tv shows about the cruelty some animals endure before they are slaughtered. I think that people need to spend the extra money on organic meat and eggs to make the meat-market moral and just. All these supermarkets trying to boost profits at the expense of helpless animals is appauling, and it definitely should be stopped. When did humans become so obsessed with money that they were willing to harm other creatures on their planet? I say go local and slowly edge these money hungry giants out of the market.

Reynolds_Writing from Atlanta, Georgia on February 23, 2009:

Full agreement.. Red meat rules! There is nothing better than a medium steak with all the fixens, Write on,,,

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 23, 2009:

Hello ST good to see you and of course I know Temple Grandin-- have read two of her books--her early one on growing up autistic is particularly moving. She is an amazing and fascinating person who has done a great deal to make us more aware of the feelings of animals.

Hi Steph-glad you liked it and thanks for stopping and commenting:-)

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on February 23, 2009:

LOVE it! I am a carnivore as well! :)

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 23, 2009:

You know where I stand on meat. So that's that for that. Years ago, you could go to any restaurant in New York City for a fabulous steak tartare dinner. Now, you're lucky to find one.

About treating the animals we eat with respect. Do you know Temple Grandin? She has been the biggest influence in the last 20 years on improving conditions for animals who are destined for slaughter. She recognizes that we humans are omnivores, and always will be, and that the animals we eat need to be brought to their deaths with respect. She has come along this road by way of her autism.

http://www.templegrandin.com/templehome.html

Getting beyond the "green" aspect, as you have rightly done in this Hub, the responsibility for managing animals as food has little to do with their contribution directly or indirectly to fossil fuel consumption. The problem is with big business.

A thousand thumbs up.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 23, 2009:

Hi Misha-- wow-- you are quite the caveman when it comes to meat LOL. I like steak tartare and my beef cooked rare, but definitely cooked, and preferabley sauced with something interesting-- anyway glad you liked the hub and thanks for visiting and commenting :-)

Misha from DC Area on February 23, 2009:

Hi Robbie!

Sure I am a predator, never tried to conceal this!

More, I prefer them raw! Well, most of them. For some reason raw poultry does not taste that good, but fish and meat are the best when fresh and raw. May be even still warm? ;)

G-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r :D

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 23, 2009:

I must say that I think that our domestic animals, raised for food, have caused the extinction of many wild plants and animals and we as a species are responsible for that. Thanks for the return visit and comment Shirley--very interesting.

Shirley Anderson from Ontario, Canada on February 22, 2009:

Thx!

Re the animals, I'm not sure why, but it was the first thing I thought of. Also, if they're all buried, the amount of methane from the rotting corpses will make much land unusable.

I'm scratching my head. I've never heard or read what the intentions would be if the plan went into effect.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 22, 2009:

Great point, Shirley-- I hadn't thought of that--if we don't eat the animals, what will we do with them? Thanks for sharing that. BTW I love your Leprechan avatar--very cool:-)

Shirley Anderson from Ontario, Canada on February 22, 2009:

Hi, Robie. I have a few vegan relatives and friends. Luckily for me, only one friend tries to sway me. I've never been much of a meat eater ever, (I don't know why) but I don't like somebody insisting that their way is the only one. The way that you purchase food and the type sounds very healthy to me.

Re the whole cattle ruining the planet thing, gimme a break. Would the vegans have all the cows/chicken/pigs killed? That sounds very humane. I'm seriously interested to know what they would plan for the livestock, what would they have done with them. Make them extinct, I presume, perhaps having them all 'put down'. I had to shake my head when I heard about this, I don't understand.

Great hub, Robie. If your friend ever fills you on how the above would be handled, I'd love to know.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 22, 2009:

Hello Susan and thanks for sharing your experience--sounds like you use meat the right way( in moderation) and that you too perfer organic and local meat. I'm with you all the way. I do also think that there are some people who really do function better as vegans or vegetarians. I am just not one of them. We are all different and that is part of the fun of it all, isn't it. I'll look forward to hearing more from you too on hubpages. Thanks for reaading and commenting.

Susan M on February 22, 2009:

Thanks for the great hub - I totally agree with you. I was a vegetarian for a year back when I was 29-30 years old. Then, when I found out I was pregnant, I immediately realized that I could not possible ingest enough high quality protein to sustain myself and my baby. I resumed eating meat and felt fabulous and healthy. As always, moderation is key. If you can buy local that helps too. We have a few high quality organic beef and poultry farms nearby. The meat is more expensive but since we use it as a 'side dish' along with our veggies the cost becomes more manageable. I look forward to reading more of your hubs!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 22, 2009:

Hi Sandy-- you are right--mass produced meat and fast food are cheaper( if not cheap) and a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do-- but you bring up a good point, that in the current climate there will be pressure to change farming practices. I hope you can find that paper and get it published.

Cloefaith-- I promise I'll go look at your hubs as soon as I finish this hamburger<chomp chomp>

chloefaith from White Sands Area on February 22, 2009:

mmm, yes. I could do with a great big steak. yummy. I am hungry now. PS please stop by and see my new anger hubs

sandieganliz on February 22, 2009:

Convincing argument and I agree, there is nothing wrong with eating meat except the way it is produced.

Like you, I did the vegetarian/vegan thing, and, I felt great when I started. After a while, however, I started to feel un-energetic, always hungry, and in constant need of extra nutrients. I figured it was due to being raised as an omnivore. So, I began eating cheese, then fish, then chicken--now, I eat the standard, industrial meat... I couldn't/can't afford to buy the expensive, organic, "cage-free" animals. (Yes, this means I am on a tight budget.) I mean, a $1 burger was worth it back in the day because I had (and still have) a fast metabolism and found myself always hungry. However, after remembering all the information I read when I chose to become a veggie-girl and all the stuff I found out in reading, The Omnivore's Dilemma, I am disgusted. Still, I find myself going to the fast-food places and the local grocery store. I find I cannot give up the cheap meat--even though I know it has all kinds of additives, been shipped across the country, and most likely is from a "factory farm." I get sad that my meals are mostly from the conventional method of raising animals and growing crops. But, I find that there are certain needs and sacrifices I must make. I have a family, I have a budget, and I must prioritize accordingly.

I wrote a report after reading, The Omnivore's Dilemma, in regards to why the USDA cannot enforce better standards for the production of the U.S. food supply. I didn't get a good grade on it, but, I don't think my professor understood my point. I thought it was great and I am looking to review it in order to put it up for possible publication. After all, with the increasing go-green fanatics, people can demand better production of food--no matter what food it is!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 21, 2009:

Hi Freida and thanks for your visit--always nice to meet another steak afficionado. I have some friends who buy half a cow from a local farm--get it slaugtered, cut up to order and delivered and even half a cow is a lot of meat I must say--but then they have a big freezer and several mouths to feed so it works out.

Glad you liked the hub and welcome to hubpages-- I'll be looking for you here:-)

Frieda Babbley from Saint Louis, MO on February 21, 2009:

There's a local place here where you can buy a whole cow. They cut it up and no parts spared. They are non corporate (obviously). I have some friends who go there and say it can't be beat and they take care of their cows.

Honestly, I couldn't live without a nice hunk of steak. I'm always better off for it and always have been.

Great hub. Great topic. Great information.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 21, 2009:

I think so too:-) Thanks for mentioning it.

retirementhelp on February 21, 2009:

Amen, I believe balance is the key.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 21, 2009:

My pleasure BrockBronx

BrockBronx on February 21, 2009:

Thanks for the info on the meat ;)

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 21, 2009:

Thanks for the comment, Steve and good luck with the show-- it sounds awesome:-)

stevenschenck from Sacramento California on February 21, 2009:

Great Post - I am a meat eater - but am starting a show called "Skinny Wallet, Skinny Body" were we use meat and combine it with other more healthy things to make healthy meaty dishes that are cheap and good for ya.

Today was Prime Rib omelet, cooked a small amount of prime rib with mushrooms, rice, onions, garlic, but when done it all tasted meaty, then put it into than omelet that was cooked with burnt butter for a nice nutty taste on the eggs.

Cheap - healthy and very meaty.

Cut the fat off to flavor some beans for lunch, but I will take it out before I eat it.

"Animals are harmed to make my show."

Luck and Love

Steve

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 21, 2009:

Hi Kathryn--good to see you:-) Hmmmm I like the way you put that..... I think that moderation just may be the real key to saving the planet LOL

Kathryn Skaggs from Southern California on February 21, 2009:

What a great self-debate about the topic of eating meat versus the vegan lifestyle. I'm with you on this one. Moderation and quality choices!

tDMg

LdsNana-AskMormon

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 21, 2009:

Hello compu--nice to see you as always:-) love your new avatar BTW and ahhh yes I draw the line at dogs and cats, but anything else is up for grabs in the meat department as far as I am concerned LOL. Thanks for dropping by.