Insects: the new meat?

lucky_charm

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18813075

Couldn't see this posted anywhere, thought it was quite interesting (Warning: there are pictures of meat on that link unfortunately). Jist of it is, current meat eating practices are unsustainable and need to change our dietary habits. The suggestions of how to do so don't involve the most obvious answer- going vegetarian- but instead focus on eating insects (such as the ever palatable dung beetle).

Firstly, I think it's interesting how the food industry know that with enough rebranding, they can make people eat anything. I wonder how often they sit in meetings going 'how can we make people forget these are animals and think of them as food.'

Secondly, in terms of ethics and cruelty, do you think it would be better if people ate insects (many more deaths involved but I would hazard a guess that there is a lesser degree of sentience) instead of birds, mammals and fish?
 
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lucky_charm

lucky_charm

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In hindsight the vegetarianism forum may not be the best place for this thread. Can a mod please move it to current events, or wherever is deemed suitable, thanks.
 

jeneticallymodified

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they've been eating insecty things for like... ever in some other cultures. ever been to a chinatown? the things you can buy dried at the one in toronto.... :p
 

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My friend from Argentina said you could get caramalised leaf cutter ants at the cinema--tasted like kettle corn.

I recall reading in my environmental science textbook about somewhere in Africa eating the mopani caterpillar --it was called "the snack that crawls"--that would certainly put me off.
 

Pickle Juice

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It really is pathetic, how desperate people are to avoid a completely plant based diet. I think the vast majority would be willing to eat feces before they would turn to a vegan or vegetarian diet.

"Where will I get my proteeeeeeen???" :rolleyes:
 

Freesia

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I would rather have a nice chickpea burger than go have a caterpillar burger or a worm burger or whatever they want.

Also, humans are wonderful at overharvesting populations, they would probably end up messing up the balance of insects in the ecosystem.
 

Pickle Juice

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Yeah they wouldn't limit themselves to consuming insects it would be useful to get rid of, like the larvae of mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, bed bugs, etc. I can see a future of genetically modifying things like fifty pound mealworms though. Oh and giant ant larvae. And then one day someone messes up and allows the giant ant larvae to mature into giant ants, and it will be the end of the world!!!

*watches too many B movies made in the seventies*
 

FortyTwo

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Yeah they wouldn't limit themselves to consuming insects it would be useful to get rid of, like the larvae of mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, bed bugs, etc. I can see a future of genetically modifying things like fifty pound mealworms though. Oh and giant ant larvae. And then one day someone messes up and allows the giant ant larvae to mature into giant ants, and it will be the end of the world!!!

*watches too many B movies made in the seventies*

The one I'd immediately think of is from 1954, but still.

I think the eating bugs idea is stupid and wastes more lives than our current horrible system does, and that's saying something.
 
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lucky_charm

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So if omnis stopped eating pigs, cows, chickens, sheep, lobsters, fish etc in favour of caterpillars and crickets, would you see that as a better or equal position to now? (obviously I'm not saying it would be ethical to eat insects, just if omnis did it and less mammals, birds and fish died as a result, would you view that as an improvement in terms of avoiding harm to sentient beings, or do you think insects are 'as sentient' as other animals?)

And I agree it's so stupid that people are so desperate to eat other earthlings that they would resort to remarketing something most in the West think of as 'gross' rather than just accepting that you can be sustainable, healthy and eat tasty food on a 100% plant based diet.
 
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lucky_charm

lucky_charm

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I'm not actually even sure what I think about it... I have carpet beetles and clothes moths in my flat and I always catch them and put them out my window (there's not really anywhere else to go with them as I'm in a flat) but I'm well aware that even though they can fly they may well die out there. And I don't feel too bad about that, whereas if they were birds or mammals I'd feel much worse for their feelings (and wouldnt be chucking them onto the windowsill in the first place). I do have a bug phobia though so maybe I feel differently than most. It's not like I would gratuitously kill bugs for no reason but I do see a difference between the death of a mosquito and the death of a cow.
 

Destiny7777

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It's not like I would gratuitously kill bugs for no reason but I do see a difference between the death of a mosquito and the death of a cow.


over the summer a local library had a sort of contest between schools
and the winning librarian has agreed to eat a chocolate covered grasshopper

vegans find this wrong because.....
 

Pickle Juice

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The one I'd immediately think of is from 1954, but still.

I think the eating bugs idea is stupid and wastes more lives than our current horrible system does, and that's saying something.
Oh I was thinking Food of the Gods with Marjoe Gortner and Empire of the Ants with Joan Collins. :p

I'm not actually even sure what I think about it... I have carpet beetles and clothes moths in my flat and I always catch them and put them out my window (there's not really anywhere else to go with them as I'm in a flat) but I'm well aware that even though they can fly they may well die out there. And I don't feel too bad about that, whereas if they were birds or mammals I'd feel much worse for their feelings (and wouldnt be chucking them onto the windowsill in the first place). I do have a bug phobia though so maybe I feel differently than most. It's not like I would gratuitously kill bugs for no reason but I do see a difference between the death of a mosquito and the death of a cow.
I don't have a bug phobia. I find myself becoming fond of lots of the bugs I see. I had a cricket with a missing hind leg come into my house a couple of years ago and take up residence on my desk. I fed her tiny bits of crushed cat kibble and fresh fruit. She only lived for two days. I felt sad when I found her dead. I admit to being mighty weird though.

I think of small invertebrates as valuing their own lives as much as a cow values hers, or I value mine. I can't know enough about their capacity to value their own lives, as compared to my capacity to value my own, but I figure they value their lives as much as they possibly can, so I tend to avoid trying to compare how much I might value the life of a cow compared to the life of a beetle, and figure they all value their own lives as much as they can, and that is all that matters to me. For some people it is only a matter of consistent ethics. For me, ahimsa is a big part of how I view the world, in addition to my vegan ethics. In other words, I don't think it is a failing if people don't feel an emotional link with invertebrates, and it's not even necessary to feel something for them in order to want to avoid harming them, except in cases of defense against parasites or home damage, such as a termite infestation. I kill all the ticks I find, for example. I don't like doing it, and it doesn't feel right to do it, but the alternative is just not acceptable to me, so I see it as choosing the lesser of two evils. But I do care for bugs, and can become quite fond of lots of them, and I won't kill them or even disregard their interests if it is not absolutely necessary.

over the summer a local library had a sort of contest between schools
and the winning librarian has agreed to eat a chocolate covered grasshopper

vegans find this wrong because.....
Vegans find it wrong because we recognize that it is very likely that insects are self aware and value their lives, and veganism is an ethical stance against harming and exploiting those organisms who are sentient, and thus are self aware and have an interest in their continued existence.

Vegans may also be concerned about the environmental impact this will have on ecosystems that are far more dependent on insect activity for their very existence than they are on larger animals. Paul Watson says worms are more important than people because the world can survive without people, but it can't survive without worms. Looked at this way, even bacteria are more important than people, because without bacteria there would be no soil, and thus there would be no terrestrial life at all, except for lichens that can eat stone. Once we start mucking around with the very foundations of the biosphere we have had it, and insect life is one of the building blocks of the foundation of life on this planet.
 
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Digger

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As much as I detest the thought of eating insects... I would do it if my life depended on it and I think most of us would. Fortunately, it doesn't.
 

silva

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Why do humans continually ignore the ecosystem? I personally think it's great that humans are omnivores, and that there were times when meat of animals, scavaged and killed, insect and mammal, helped our species. We were like all the other predators/scavagers, meat was shared with everything until it was soil and made plants. Circle of life.
Now we have transportation, climate control, shelter, everything modern and not very natural. Why the Hekk should we ever want to eat any kind of meat??? How can people be so brainwashed that they can accept its ok to do to other species that we'd think insane doing to ours?
I also don't feel any love for insects, but, so what? If we'd have left them more alone instead of trying to kill them we probably wouldn't have the problems with them we do now!
I do understand some parts of the world do well to include bugs in their diet. The big difference is that it's a natural part, and not a factory produced, genetically mutated food producer. Eating a handful of grubs off a tree is a whole lot different than buying a plastic wrapped container of forcibily breed grubs.
Can you imagine the airborne allergies that would produce?
 
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Destiny7777

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Why do humans continually ignore the ecosystem? I personally think it's great that humans are omnivores, and that there were times when meat of animals, scavaged and killed, insect and mammal, helped our species. We were like all the other predators/scavagers, meat was shared with everything until it was soil and made plants. Circle of life.
Now we have transportation, climate control, shelter, everything modern and not very natural. Why the Hekk should we ever want to eat any kind of meat??? How can people be so brainwashed that they can accept its ok to do to other species that we'd think insane doing to ours?
I also don't feel any love for insects, but, so what? If we'd have left them more alone instead of trying to kill them we probably wouldn't have the problems with them we do now!
I do understand some parts of the world do well to include bugs in their diet. The big difference is that it's a natural part, and not a factory produced, genetically mutated food producer. Eating a handful of grubs off a tree is a whole lot different than buying a plastic wrapped container of forcibily breed grubs.
Can you imagine the airborne allergies that would produce?
actually
this entire post is the closest I've read to my own personal opinions
not that my opinion matters to anyone but me, myself and I ;)