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The Case for Vegetarianism

The Case For Vegetarianism
There are many millions of people around the world who are vegetarians and many more who are thinking about making the switch. In this program we try to get to the core of several of the important issues.

James Hogan, a British animal rights campaigner with over 40 years' experience working for animals' rights in the UK and in countries as far afield as Afghanistan and Russia, joins the program.

James starts the program by stating: "We hear a lot these days, particularly here in the UK about taking responsibility for our health, primarily because health services around the world are struggling to keep pace with the demand placed upon them. I know from my own experience and that of others, that adopting a vegetarian diet is a very effective way to keep oneself healthy and to keep one away from troubling the health services."

Host John Harrison challenges this statement: "There has been research carried out which shows that unless vegetarians supplement their diet with vitamin B12 and iron and other vitamins, they are prone to become dangerously anaemic. What is your take on that?"

James says: "Adopting a vegetarian diet does mean that one has to become aware of the need to have vitamins in one's diet, just as meat eaters need to be aware of the need to eat fruit and vegetables. Regardless of the diet that one adopts, whether it is vegetarian, or it is a standard carnivore's diet; you need to be aware of the vitamin/mineral content of the food you are putting into your mouth. The vegetarians who I know who have done a little bit of research into the subject do not have any of those problems. There is no reason why they should."

John: "Researchers at Oxford University apparently followed 35,000 individuals aged 20 to 89 for a period of five years and discovered that vegans are 30% more likely to break a bone than their vegetarian and flesh-eating peers….The point is that people who don't eat meat do need more calcium, and supplements of some kind, and I think that this is something that a lot of people who want to become vegetarian aren't aware of."

James: "Yes, I have a very particular interest in diet. Apart from my interest in animals, I am a very keen athlete. I have run marathons around the world. I need to make sure that I am getting the best possible vitamins, minerals and nutrients to make sure that I can maintain my very active lifestyle."

John: "Many vegetarians argue that we should not sacrifice animals, which are a part of God's creation because of our craving for meat. But if you look at it in another way, surely plants are also life forms…?"

James: "Well, I think there has to be a distinction drawn between sentient and non-sentient beings. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has found nerve endings in potatoes….I am not in favor of treating the planet in a careless way simply because we want to become vegetarians. I think we use far too many pesticides and herbicides these days and I'm very much in favor of the organic approach. There is a very strong argument to be made in favor of vegetarianism form the point of view of the health of the planet itself. The environment will undoubtedly benefit from a vegetarian diet. There are a number of issues coming up because of our increasing demand for meat, such as the destruction of the ancient rain forests to produce more grazing land for beef cattle….A vegetarian diet is equally important for the health of the planet as it is for our own health."

John: "There is a lot of talk about the inhuman way that we treat animals, but not all meat comes from slaughter houses, we do have responsible farmers who look after their animals."

James: "Farmers who treat animals with respect should be respected; this is a lot better than the industrialized approaches. But it has to be said that the vast majority of meat that is available these days for the public come from intensive farming units."

James gives a detailed description of what is wrong with mass producing meat, and this is worth listening to. Many other interesting topics are discussed in this program, you should listen to it!

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