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Old 19th January 2013, 01:53 PM   #1
Skeptical Greg
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Thanks Vegans - We Can No Longer Afford Staple

Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa?

Quote:
Ethical consumers should be aware poor Bolivians can no longer afford their staple grain, due to western demand raising prices.
In a similar vein, I remember when chicken wings and beef skirt ( fajita meat ) were relatively cheap ( poor folks food ) until they became popular restaurant items.
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Old 19th January 2013, 02:44 PM   #2
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Tell me about it. Ox tail went from about a buck a pound to up to five bucks a pound almost overnight out here. The same thing with smoked ham hocks. I was at the butchers counter the other day and even the tripe was selling for over three bucks a pound. I think that it's because restaurants are starting to serve them and people are finding out that they don't taste like they thought that they would.

That and the food channel.
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Old 19th January 2013, 02:49 PM   #3
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Meat eaters are turning human food into animal food to supply meat eaters with more meat than they really should eat in the first place.
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Old 19th January 2013, 02:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Sam.I.Am View Post
Tell me about it. Ox tail went from about a buck a pound to up to five bucks a pound almost overnight out here. The same thing with smoked ham hocks. I was at the butchers counter the other day and even the tripe was selling for over three bucks a pound. I think that it's because restaurants are starting to serve them and people are finding out that they don't taste like they thought that they would.

That and the food channel.
My favourite cuts of meat tend to be the cheap, slow-cooked ones. I also enjoy the challenge in finding ways to cook them quickly.
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Old 19th January 2013, 02:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Meat eaters are turning human food into animal food to supply meat eaters with more meat than they really should eat in the first place.
That's not at all what the article in the OP is about.
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Old 19th January 2013, 03:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Meat eaters are turning human food into animal food to supply meat eaters with more meat than they really should eat in the first place.
How much meat should a meat eater eat, if a meat eater shoud eat meat?
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Old 19th January 2013, 03:32 PM   #7
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Old 19th January 2013, 03:36 PM   #8
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I bought some quinoa for the first time last week.
I haven't tried it yet though.


It's pronounced 'keen-wa', apparently.
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Old 19th January 2013, 03:38 PM   #9
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Issues of food export are quite common in history, but I don't really see what veganism has to do with it, other than the author's desperate attempts to connect the two. Seems like an attempted cheap shot at those silly "first-world ethical consumers" rather than an examination of the problem.

Here's the first vegan response I found to the article, and the author is similarly confused about the target for the antagonism.

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Like, if we stopped buying quinoa, would that help people in Bolivia? I don’t see how it would. So what’s the right answer? I would think it had to do with politics and if the Bolivian government can control prices and exports. But really I don’t know—do you? If you don’t, Blythman is not here to help. She offers no solutions, insights, or suggestions; she just uses this very complicated situation as an excuse to question our values as vegans. If she has some solutions or a plan to solve the quinoa issue, I’m all ears. But I don’t need some omni telling me how to be a better vegan.
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Old 19th January 2013, 03:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Meat eaters are turning human food into animal food to supply meat eaters with more meat than they really should eat in the first place.
My philosophy is that nature gave me canines for a reason and evolution is slowly moving in the direction of fewer molars for grinding roughage.

Therefore, pass the steak.
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Old 19th January 2013, 04:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Alareth View Post
My philosophy is that nature gave me canines for a reason and evolution is slowly moving in the direction of fewer molars for grinding roughage.

Therefore, pass the steak.
This is not a Vegan vs Meat eating thread; please contribute to the topic..


Originally Posted by Tsukasa Buddha View Post
Issues of food export are quite common in history, but I don't really see what veganism has to do with it, other than the author's desperate attempts to connect the two. Seems like an attempted cheap shot at those silly "first-world ethical consumers" rather than an examination of the problem.
Desperate ? Cheap shot ?

What do you think is the problem?

I'm willing to listen if you can think of another explanation ..

Quote:
Like, if we stopped buying quinoa, would that help people in Bolivia? I don’t see how it would.
Well duhh..

If the demand went down, so would the price; which is what is hurting the people in Bolivia..
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Old 19th January 2013, 04:29 PM   #12
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Thirld world countries exporting foodstuffs to richer developed countries leading to rising food prices and consequently to malnutrition and hunger is a real problem.
Much of this is then fed to animals to satisfy the demands of first world meat eaters.
Putting all the blame onto vegans seems like misdirection, is it even true that quinoa is eaten mostly by vegans?

btw I'm not a vegan.
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Old 19th January 2013, 04:31 PM   #13
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The article says chicken is now cheaper than quinoa. So Bolivians will eat more meat.

So they won't go hungry or starve. They'll just kill more animals cause of vegans.
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Old 19th January 2013, 04:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
Desperate ? Cheap shot ?
Yes, we don't know how much of the demand is due to vegans, we don't know how the local government reacted to this demand, etc.

The Big Thing for "ethical consumers" right now is local grown, so I kinda doubt they are the cause of the increase.

Quote:
What do you think is the problem?
It could be any number of things. The government could have been lax in providing infrastructure for increased demand, or perhaps some protectionism could have been in order (*gasp*). I don't know, but having read about many other food export dilemmas, I highly doubt vegans are to blame. They would have just provided a demand (of some extent).

Quote:
Well duhh..

If the demand went down, so would the price; which is what is hurting the people in Bolivia..
We need five cc's Adam Smith, stat!
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Old 19th January 2013, 04:52 PM   #15
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This article is a deeper look at it. For me, it is another food export story. The vegan angle is incidental.

And hang on, isn't this supposed to be what happens when the Free Market lifts agrarian societies out of poverty (once we stop subsidising local growers)?
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Old 19th January 2013, 05:55 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa?



In a similar vein, I remember when chicken wings and beef skirt ( fajita meat ) were relatively cheap ( poor folks food ) until they became popular restaurant items.
Doesn't this mean that there are farmers in Bolivia making a killing? The same type of person who is buying quinoa also tends to be the sort of person who would buy 'ethically sourced' foods as well, I suspect. ('Ethically sourced' in quotes because I don't really want to start an argument about who gets money from what.) If the price for selling locally wasn't lower than the price of selling (ultimately) at Whole Foods, then the farmers would happily sell at the market down the road.

Originally Posted by Duffy Moon View Post
I bought some quinoa for the first time last week.
I haven't tried it yet though.


It's pronounced 'keen-wa', apparently.
It's OK, nothing special really. We've been buying the stuff for about a decade because my wife found some recipe for it a while back. We only go through about 2 pounds a year though. If you find some way to cook it that winds up being spectacular, feel free to PM me.
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Old 19th January 2013, 06:30 PM   #17
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Isn't this a result of the gluten-free/wheat-is-evil craze?
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Old 19th January 2013, 06:35 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Modified View Post
Isn't this a result of the gluten-free/wheat-is-evil craze?
No. Quinoa has a lot of protein, so it's a good grain to use if you don't eat meat. Plus it's delicious.
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Old 20th January 2013, 02:06 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa?



In a similar vein, I remember when chicken wings and beef skirt ( fajita meat ) were relatively cheap ( poor folks food ) until they became popular restaurant items.
I'm not even a vegan, but this is bull.

First of all, do only vegans eat quinoa? And even if they did, so what?

The best cure for high prices is high prices. If wealthy people with a taste for quinoa are driving the price of it up, then more farmers will want to grow quinoa. Supply will catch up with demand. And wealth will be transferred to the countries that produce it. Poor countries can only develop economically if they have something they can sell that other countries want to buy. So Bolivians and Peruvians can thank vegans for helping them to become a more developed country. More development means a higher standard of living for the people.

Furthermore, you could make the same argument about any food. The US turns corn into ethanol to fuel cars, driving up the price of food everywhere.
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Old 20th January 2013, 02:45 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Kahalachan View Post
The article says chicken is now cheaper than quinoa. So Bolivians will eat more meat.

So they won't go hungry or starve. They'll just kill more animals cause of vegans.
That doesn't mean that chicken has gotten cheaper, just that quinoa is a lot more expensive. Those who were barely able to afford quinoa as a food staple will be forced to spend more money for less food.
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Old 20th January 2013, 03:01 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
This is not a Vegan vs Meat eating thread; please contribute to the topic..
You pretty much invited that kind of response with the way you framed the thread with your provocative title...
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Old 20th January 2013, 01:22 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Alareth View Post

Therefore, pass the steak.
With Bearnaise sauce.
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Old 20th January 2013, 01:57 PM   #23
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Why isn't the answer here growing more of the stuff?
Looks like it's demands are to have a miserable climate and soil. I'm pretty sure that's achievable.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa#Cultivation
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Old 20th January 2013, 02:58 PM   #24
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A good chuck eye steak puts ribeye and tbone to shame.
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Old 20th January 2013, 03:35 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by IMST View Post
Why isn't the answer here growing more of the stuff?
It is.
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Old 20th January 2013, 03:52 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by leftysergeant View Post
Meat eaters are turning human food into animal food to supply meat eaters with more meat than they really should eat in the first place.
Really? I didn't know that grass was human food...
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Old 20th January 2013, 03:55 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
This is not a Vegan vs Meat eating thread; please contribute to the topic..


Desperate ? Cheap shot ?

What do you think is the problem?

I'm willing to listen if you can think of another explanation ..



Well duhh..

If the demand went down, so would the price; which is what is hurting the people in Bolivia..
You make some good points. That probably explains why nobody in Saudi Arabia can afford to buy gas anymore, either.

Oh, wait. No it doesn't.

Usually, when demand for a product goes up, the people who produce the product get wealthier. If that's not happening in Bolivia, it's probably because Bolivians are doing it wrong, not because their market is growing.
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Old 20th January 2013, 04:24 PM   #28
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I eat quinoa with meat.
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Old 20th January 2013, 04:37 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
Really? I didn't know that grass was human food...
If you do a bit of research, it's going to turn out that animals raised for meat do eat an awful lot of human-edible grains. Even pasture-raised animals are often grain-fed in feedlots for a final burst of weight gain before slaughter.

In terms of energy-efficiency this is inarguably a terrible way to create calories for human consumption.
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Old 20th January 2013, 04:38 PM   #30
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Lots of people do it wrong, then.

There are certainly some people who cannot afford gas in Saudi Arabia. It's not nobody, true, but it's not a "gas for everybody" utopia.
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Old 20th January 2013, 04:40 PM   #31
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Quote:
Here's the first vegan response I found to the article, and the author is similarly confused about the target for the antagonism.
Quote:
Quote:
Like, if we stopped buying quinoa, would that help people in Bolivia?
About as vacuous a response as I'd have predicted. No surprise.
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Old 20th January 2013, 04:47 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ThunderChunky View Post
I eat quinoa with meat.
Ok, nice response. We've tried a few quinoa dishes, and we like them.

I seem to recall that about five or six years ago, when the idiotic "corn for gasoline" madness was really big, the price of corn for the average Mexican family to make tortillas with about doubled. For those living at the harder edge of the socio economic spectrum, this was a non trivial hardship. That price spike didn't last, but for a short while, it put a burden on people thanks to crap policy.

This has nothing to do with policy, but with taste and trends. There is no accounting for taste, which you can't legislate. Blame game seems rather lame, from here.

Heads off to set fire to some charcoal.

Gonna do kabobs and grilled veggies for dinner tonight. No quinoa in the house, so any chance I had to oppress Bolivians is negated by mere non presence.
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Old 20th January 2013, 04:59 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post
About as vacuous a response as I'd have predicted. No surprise.
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Old 20th January 2013, 05:04 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Kevin_Lowe View Post
Kevin, if you choose to hold idiot speak in high regard, you should take no pride in that.

looks to be your bumper sticker at the moment.
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Old 20th January 2013, 05:21 PM   #35
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The presence of the word "Like" did not make her question unintelligible or necessarily vacuous to me.

It seemed ungenerous to focus on it.

You seemed to say there that you expect to hear vacuous things from anyone vegan, which could, in turn, be thought of as a vacuous suggestion.
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Old 20th January 2013, 06:13 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post
Kevin, if you choose to hold idiot speak in high regard, you should take no pride in that.

looks to be your bumper sticker at the moment.
You don't see the irony in posting a comment that consists of absolutely nothing whatsoever other than the unsupported claim that someone else's argument is vacuous?
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Old 20th January 2013, 08:38 PM   #37
Puppycow
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Even the article in the OP says the following:

Quote:
Soya, a foodstuff beloved of the vegan lobby as an alternative to dairy products, is another problematic import, one that drives environmental destruction [see footnote]. Embarrassingly, for those who portray it as a progressive alternative to planet-destroying meat, soya production is now one of the two main causes of deforestation in South America, along with cattle ranching, where vast expanses of forest and grassland have been felled to make way for huge plantations.
Meaning that cattle ranching is the No.1 main cause of deforestation in South America and soya production is 2nd.
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Old 20th January 2013, 09:06 PM   #38
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Quote:
Soya, a foodstuff beloved of the vegan lobby as an alternative to dairy products, is another problematic import
It's also outright misleading to represent soya as a specifically vegan concern.

What a funny bias. China is a major buyer of soya, not the vegans the writer of the article is likely to have encountered in the UK.
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Old 20th January 2013, 11:54 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by appalling View Post
Lots of people do it wrong, then.

There are certainly some people who cannot afford gas in Saudi Arabia. It's not nobody, true, but it's not a "gas for everybody" utopia.
Far be it from me to suggest that Saudi Arabia is a utopia.

On the other hand, whose fault is it that some people in Saudi Arabia are impoverished? Those that willingly pay the market price for gasoline? Or those that control the supply?

And in Bolivia? Whose fault is it that some Bolivians are impoverished? Is it the fault of those who are willing to pay a premium for quinoa? How does that work?
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Old 21st January 2013, 03:12 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
Really? I didn't know that grass was human food...
You live in NZ, dude. The rest of the Western world (i.e. EU and NA) feed their stock with grain.
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