I enjoy neither writing rebuttal writeups nor adding to an already editor cooled node, but somebody had to do it. I would have preferred to do a point by point rebuttal here, but nocte's writeup is already ridiculously long, due to dozens of unnecessary tangents. I'll try to make this one succinct.

Benjamin Disraeli said it best with his "Lies, damn lies and, statistics" phrase and it only seems to get truer every day. Today, you can build massive arguments on nothing but statistics. And the arguments look solid, to our poor eyes.

But these statistics have to come from somewhere. Where do they come from? Well, nocte's came from various environmental magazines. They get their statistics from other articles. They get their statistics from other articles. In the end, the truth has been perverted, misquoted and taken out of context so many times that it has little to no resemblance to the original source. But it's not like anybody knows what the original source is anyway.

How many gallons of water does it take to make a pound of beef? Here's a list of all the answers I found with an Internet search:

  • 360
  • 441
  • 2,464
  • 2,500
  • 2,607
  • 3,000-5,000
  • 3,500
  • 4,000
  • 5,000
  • 5,214
  • 7,000
  • 10,000
  • 12,009
  • 50,000

And how many pounds of grain does it take to make a pound of beef? The answers I found:

  • 4.5
  • 4.8
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7-8
  • 8-10
  • 16
  • 19
  • 20
  • 50
  • 60
  • 100

So I think we can agree on one thing here. Animals need to eat and drink. Funny thing is, you'd think those statistics would be easy to find facts you could get from any cattle rancher. If we can't get a straight answer on the simple stuff, how much merit should we give the complex statistics, the questionable studies done by strange colleges and organizations?

Trust nobody. The studies and statistics you read every day may be bullshit and they just as well might be true. But you're going to want to check where they come from before you believe what you read or hear. Anything from a vegan website is going to be biased. The author obviously has strong feelings for the cause. The strong feelings sometimes get mixed up with the facts.

The result? See above.

Meat is a luxury and we can afford it. America is a rich country, in case you didn't know. We can afford a lot of luxuries. We can afford expensive cars, expensive houses, expensive internet connections (y'know, like the one you're using) and yes, we can afford meat. We could give almost all our money away to poor countries, and still live a nice life, if we really wanted to. But we don't want to, we really don't.

One of the largest fallacies in the previous writeup is the assumption that one pound of meat is nutritiously the equivalent of one pound of bread. Meat is not bread. Bread is not meat. I'd have liked to do an argument on the health benefits of meat, but nocte actually seems to have covered that pretty well herself, summarizing herself by suggesting that we all take pills to get the essential vitamin that animals (and only animals) supply us with.

The real arguments in the writeup are based on shaky statistics, and they've been clouded by the real facts, which are plentiful, but useless and off-topic. Cows do make methane gas (But they are responsible for a very small percentage of global warming.) Yes, there was an animal waste spill (What does that have to do with anything?) Yes, Ben Franklin was a vegetarian. So?

(He wasn't! Thanks go to cerulean for info.)

I can't say that I'm particularly fond of the fast food industry. The food is bad for you. It isn't helping the environment. But the starvation of children in the world has very little to do with your Big Mac, and much more to do with corrupt governments. Take Somalia for example. America tried to help, and the greedy local government took the food before it could get to its assigned destination.

Burger King was in no way involved in stealing the food from the Somalians. To the best of my knowledge.

There is already enough food on Earth to feed everyone on the planet. Too bad it isn't that simple. The problem is in the distribution, not the production.

If you’d really like to help the starving children, there are hundreds of charities dedicated to that.