: Regarding the meat eating vs. vegetarian or vegan debate:
: Now, I'm going to get a heck of a lot of flames for this, but anyway...
Excuse me while I fire up my flamethrower...ah, the dial reads INCINERATE. Okay, let's keep going.
: First of all - MDG: like you, I'm against factory farming. I'm not a vegetarian, but I buy free range meat from the markets. Even though the animals still die, while they're still alive they are kept in humane conditions.
I commend you on doing what you can to buy your meat from humane sources. I'd add this caveat, though: you might want to question the various companies that claim to be "free range." Definitions can vary, and the animals may not be as well treated as you imagine. I'm not saying that all free range operations abuse animals, but some may be "free range" in name only.
Also, it's important to know how the animals die. Even if they live peaceful lives in the field, the slaughterhouse experience may still be horrific for them.
In the meantime, I'd ask you to visit a farm animal sanctuary (if they have them in Oz) and spend a little time with the cows. You may change your mind about eating them.
: MDG and Lars: Considering the high fat content of American meat, I wouldn't be surprised if it was linked to obesity and heart disease. As for cancer, it seems that every "expert" in the world thinks that everything edible either prevents cancer or causes it, and I'm not going to comment on it because of all the conflicting information. However, one thing I do know is that women and girls need to eat about 125g of lean red meat, three times a week, in order to get their recommended requirement of iron. The meat we get in Australia only has around 7-10% fat, so eaten in moderation it doesn't cause obesity.
: Why red meat? If you already know about iron, its importance and the difference between heam and non-head iron, you can skip the next paragraph.
: Now, it is possible to get iron from vegetables or in tablet form. But you'd have to eat half a kilo (just over a pound) of spinach to get the iron you'd get from a 100g steak. The reason for this is that there are two types of iron, heam and non-heam. Heam iron is much more easily absorbed by the body, and it is mostly found in meat - iron supplements and vegetables have non-heam iron, which is why you need to consume so much more to get the same benefits. If women don't get enough iron, they can end up fatigued, weak and eventually anaemic, which in extreme cases can be life-threatening.
Fiona, if all that were true, then the millions of people on this planet who don't eat meat, particulary red meat, would be in serious trouble. Think of all the female Hindus and Buddhists and Seventh Day Adventists, and plain old ethical vegetarians, who are raised vegetarian from birth. They manage to get enough iron in their diets despite not eating red meat.
I believe that on this point you are in error. For more information on vegetarianism and iron, go here
: That's what I have to say on this topic. All flames will be used to practise fire-eating.
Combine that with sword swallowing and you'll be a hit at parties!