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W.H.O. Condemns meat consumption  RSS feed

 
John Master
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In appreciation for the W.H.O. nonsensical report on how consuming meat causes cancer I ordered a side instead of a quarter of pastured beef.

 
Dale Hodgins
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Neil Layton
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What is "nonsensical" about the report? It makes complete sense to me.
 
John Wolfram
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You can read the Lancet article here:
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045%2815%2900444-1/fulltext
But, if you don't want to give your email address to the Lancet, you can read the full text here:
http://www.caribbeantimes.ag/?p=7231
The most telling part of the article for me was the following sentence:
There is inadequate evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of consumption of red meat and of processed meat.

If rats fed massive amounts of bacon don't develop cancer at higher rates than rats deprived of bacon, then I'm suspicious of the W.H.O. findings.
 
Neil Layton
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This is cherry picking of the data, John. Personally, I give very little credibility to animal studies. They tend to be short term, with no follow up. The IARC report is based on large-scale studies of humans over extended periods of time - the time needed for cancer to develop. This suggests that red meat probably causes cancer, and processed meat definitely causes cancer. It's even possible to quantify. The effect is less than that of, say, smoking, but is very real. at a population level from a public health perspective, but that doesn't change the fact that there are more immediate priorities for cancer control.

We even have a fair idea what the processes involved in how processed meat causes cancer are.

Not surprisingly, there has been a backlash against this in certain quarters, resulting in some exaggerated headlines.
 
Craig Dobbson
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I presume two things in life regarding this.

1. Everything causes cancer.

2. Life without bacon is not a life I want to live.


Give me Bacon or give me death! or both... who cares, just don't take away my bacon!
 
John Wolfram
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A lot of the rats used for research have been specifically bred to be very susceptible to cancer and animal studies have the advantage of being able to control external variables. Since humans are so complex in their daily lives, long term studies of humans have the problem of often confusing correlation with causation.
 
Neil Layton
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Craig: I care about the environmental implications of what I eat. It's key to my interest in permaculture.

John: This is what multivariate analysis is for. I'm pretty sure the scientists conducting these studies know all about this. In any case the actual processes involved are at least partially understood. This from Cancer Research UK:

In red meat, the problems seem to start when a chemical called haem – part of the red pigment in the blood, haemoglobin – is broken down in our gut to form a family of chemicals called N-nitroso compounds. These have been found to damage the cells that line the bowel, so other cells in the bowel lining have to replicate more in order to heal. And it’s this ‘extra’ replication that can increase the chance of errors developing in the cells’ DNA – the first step on the road to cancer.

On top of this, processed red meats contain chemicals that generate N-nitroso compounds in the gut, such as nitrite preservatives.

Cooking meat at high temperatures, such as grilling or barbequing, can also create chemicals in the meat that may increase the risk of cancer. These chemicals are generally produced in higher levels in red and processed meat compared to other meats.


Causation, not correlation.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Neil Layton wrote:Craig: I care about the environmental implications of what I eat. It's key to my interest in permaculture.



I hear that. When I was cutting up my latest pig a couple weeks ago (480lbs) and looking at the beautifully marbled meat, I couldn't help but be reminded of all the great work that that pig had done for me here on my land. He and his cohort spent the last year turning rough pasture into fertile paddocks and crop spaces which I was able to improve with custom seed mixes of annual and perennial forages for future livestock as well as for wildlife. They helped build swales for capturing water and reducing erosion and eliminated a lot of unwanted "weeds". They broke apple and plum pest cycles and reduced crop waste by turning otherwise "useless" garden waste into the bacon I enjoyed this morning with my family. They helped to ensure better future crops in all these ways and more. These animals improve my land, my well being and my diet. They reduce the need for extra packaging, processing and transportation because they are born, raised and processed (minimally) right here. All of the "byproduct" is used here as well to further improve things, so in my case there is no waste.
My main motivation for doing this work is to reduce the overall shitiness of our current factory "food" system and to improve the lives of as many people as possible through awesome food and living. I'm proud of my effort and my animals because together we've turned an old rundown hay field into a fertile, diverse, rich, food forest ecosystem that is on the way to serious greatness (in my mind at least). I've also been fortunate enough to be able to share my skills, knowledge and "surplus" with others too.

If that means I die from bacon cancer... so be it. Of course, what good is bacon without eggs? Please don't tell me that there's controversy about eggs too! Is there?

 
Neil Layton
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It's true that pigs, as a substitute for wild boar, can be an important part of a permaculture ecosystem. The fact that converting vegetable protein into animal protein is a downright inefficient process is Ecology 101. That might apply less in a permaculture situation than it does in an intensive one, but as soon as you start supplementary feeding you start running into food efficiency issues, and this goes for eggs as well as bacon.

One answer to this is to allow wild species to do most of the work, and replace the activities of large mammals with more controlled human effort. I suspect, but am not aware of any studies, that the presence of chickens will have an effect on the populations of wild bird species. This is my preferred option, because it's less random and does less inadvertent damage, as well as avoiding the cruelty involved in meat production.

Additionally, to accept that that cruelty is somehow justified because I might enjoy eating meat is morally abhorrent to me, and incompatible with values of care implicit in practicing permaculture. Given the known health hazards involved in meat eating it's incompatible with the value of care for humans, too.
 
Zach Muller
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Neil Layton wrote: but as soon as you start supplementary feeding you start running into food efficiency issues, and this goes for eggs as well as bacon.

One answer to this is to allow wild species to do most of the work, and replace the activities of large mammals with more controlled human effort. I suspect, but am not aware of any studies, that the presence of chickens will have an effect on the populations of wild bird species. This is my preferred option, because it's less random and does less inadvertent damage, as well as avoiding the cruelty involved in meat production.


A world where wild species do most of the work is something like a hunter gatherer model, with a human stocking rate that is greatly less than what we have on the planet, is this what you mean?
The presence of both humans and their domestic species will affect the populations of wild critters, its undeniable, but one idea with all this permaculture stuff is that we can design systems where we have a yield that allows a higher stocking rate of humans eating healthy stuff, a functional ecosystem that shares with wild species, and allows all the species involed to 'be themselves' aka no opression of nature, no cruelty, etc.

 
Craig Dobbson
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Neil Layton wrote:It's true that pigs, as a substitute for wild boar, can be an important part of a permaculture ecosystem. The fact that converting vegetable protein into animal protein is a downright inefficient process is Ecology 101. That might apply less in a permaculture situation than it does in an intensive one, but as soon as you start supplementary feeding you start running into food efficiency issues, and this goes for eggs as well as bacon.

One answer to this is to allow wild species to do most of the work, and replace the activities of large mammals with more controlled human effort. I suspect, but am not aware of any studies, that the presence of chickens will have an effect on the populations of wild bird species. This is my preferred option, because it's less random and does less inadvertent damage, as well as avoiding the cruelty involved in meat production.

Additionally, to accept that that cruelty is somehow justified because I might enjoy eating meat is morally abhorrent to me, and incompatible with values of care implicit in practicing permaculture. Given the known health hazards involved in meat eating it's incompatible with the value of care for humans, too.



When converting veg to animal there are losses, but I don't feed my animals anything that I could eat for myself. Poultry and pigs will eat things that people won't/can't such as brambles, grasses, worms, grubs and manure. They convert this into something that I can use in many ways. Food, manure, insulation, pest control, protection, awesome bacon to name a few. There are functions that an animal brings that make up for the caloric conversion losses.

Wild species are awesome. Since diversifying my landscape I've begun to see so many new species and subspecies of everything from the littlest parasatoid wasps to the predators that take a chicken every now and again. I could have used machine power and brute force to achieve this but I've found it much more relaxing to watch the animals do that work for me. I think it's important to have a balance between wild and domestic animals such that you achieve your specific permaculture goals. This balance is different for all of us, of course.

Cruelty is a bit subjective because everyone seems to have their own tolerance for "what's ok". For me it's pretty simple. I provide housing, water, safety, care, food and as much "natural" habitat as I can for my animals year round (something that is not provided to the wildlife for at least 3 months of the year here). They live as they want within the confines of my habitat and my abilities. The way I see it, we provide for each other in a mutual relationship that has maximal benefit for the lot of us. For now, I harvest my animals as I need them and they don't suffer for it. It's a fast process that I'm sure any wild creature subject to the true "cruelty" of mother nature would certainly prefer.

I certainly keep in mind that I'm not immune to this process. When I die, I will be consumed as well. It's just how it goes.



 
David Livingston
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I note there has been a lot of what I call deliberate misreporting of what WHO said particularly from those with a gripe about people who follow a particular religion but really its all about risk. If all you eat are potatos you will die as well

David
 
John Master
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The summary of the report I read had some language comparing lamb to glyphosate as if both were carcinogens. I just laughed. Our meat production is in a pretty sad state but I beleive that eating healthy pastured critters and using as much of the animal as possible, including organ meats making bone broth etc as our wise ancestors did is a healthy choice. If we're looking for actual causes of cancer lets take a tour of my local super Wal-Mart where it seems like 5 out of every 6 things has been sprayed with or contains added sugar or corn syrup.
 
Neil Layton
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John. As David correctly pointed out there has been a lot of deliberate misreporting of what the paper actually said. There seem to be various motives for this (clickbait being one of them). Sometimes it's being exaggerated in order to get people to stop eating meat. Sometimes it's being exaggerated in order to provoke a backlash. In both cases you see evidence of motivated reasoning (something I've done a lot of reading up on in the context of science acceptance in the context of climate change).

Burra: I apologise if I have skimmed the edge of policy violation. I want to emphasise that what I wrote above are my conclusions based on my analysis of the evidence. As with most of us. motivated reasoning may be a factor. This is not me claiming I'm universally "right" or acknowledging that I am definitely "wrong".

As many of the posts on the threads you linked to point out, there is a complex grey area here, and I do not want to be on the wrong side of it. However, Paul has written:

There are some aspects of permaculture that I don't want in these forums. The topics are too volatile, and, frankly, they are not the aspects of permaculture I want to discuss very much. These aspects would include social justice and the ethics.


I will therefore avoid saying more on these subjects, and will not comment further.
 
John Master
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this is the article I read. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/26/eating-bad-things-bad-for-you.html?via=desktop&source=facebook

this is the quote I was referring to.

"Red meats such as unprocessed beef, veal, pork, lamp, mutton, horse, or goat fall in to the “Group 2A” category, meaning their levels of cancer risk are on par with UV rays, glyphosate (the active ingredient in the pesticide Roundup), and inorganic lead, all things which are “probably carcinogenic to humans.”


even though I love lamp, I believe they meant to say lamb, an animal who has yet managed to escape the feedlot.
 
David Livingston
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Red meats from where ? I wonder .
If you have been fed on gmo s monsantos flavoured pasture etc then I would not be surprised if you have meat that is not good for you ...

David
 
Neil Layton
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And yet most of us, at least around here, presumably cover up in strong sunlight, would avoid inorganic lead, and probably avoid glyphosate. If the standard of evidence is the same, which I have to assume it is in the absence of evidence otherwise, then presumably it makes sense - at least to me- to exhibit the same level of caution around red meat (and more still around processed meat).

David makes an important point, especially given the evidence that glyphosate appears to bioaccumulate, whatever M0ns@nto tries to claim, but this is probably a case for more research.
 
John Master
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pemmican for instance is one of the only foods to ever actually sustain a large population over long periods of time when other foods were unavailable for whatever reason. For the truth on meat I trust the opinion of the W.A.P.F. not the W.H.O.
 
Jim Thomas
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yet most of us, at least around here, presumably cover up in strong sunlight, would avoid inorganic lead, and probably avoid glyphosate.


I don't know anything about glyphosate, so I won't comment on that.

I didn't know that there was an "organic" lead, but I would likely avoid that too.

I DO try to cover up my head in strong sunlight, because I am mostly bald. If I still had hair, I would be less diligent. I also rarely use sunscreen on my arms, face, etc.

If I spent more time outdoors - and hence developed a deeper tan - I wouldn't bother with hats or sunscreen. Like most other land animals, we evolved to live in the sun. As far as I'm aware, no one is advocating putting sunscreen on elephants, pigs, or rhinos (other mostly hairless mammals). I believe that all the hoopla over the cancer risks of the sun have likely caused more illness and death than they have prevented, by cutting us off from nature that much more.
 
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