A. Listen to the pro-vegetarian making her points and make notes in the chart. Write her main arguments next to 1, 2 and 3, and write the details underneath.
We should stop eating meat
1 Being vegetarian is better for your health
Vegetarian diets are healthier, and 70% of cancers are diet related. Being vegetarian reduces the risk of e.g., obesity, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Being a vegetarian also means being slimmer. Vegetarians live on average 13 years longer than meat eaters.
2 It reduces pollution
Chemical and animal waste from farms is responsible for a lot of polluted rivers and streams and is one of the greatest threats to water quality today.
3 It’s cheaper
If you give up meat, you could save money, up to $585 a year.
J = John, A = Abby
J Good afternoon, and welcome to The Food Program, where each week we debate issues related to food. In this week’s debate, and some people may think this is long overdue, the subject is “Being vegetarian.” Should we or shouldn’t we be giving up meat? With me today in the studio are Abby Fisher, from an online newspaper about vegetarian issues, and Dr. Mark Carol, a nutritionist. Before we start the debate, let me just clarify that we are just debating about not eating meat, not giving up fish and dairy too, or going vegan. Abby, you have the floor, to propose that we should all give up meat.
A Thank you John. People are drawn to vegetarianism by all sorts of motives. Some of us want to live longer, healthier lives, or do our part to reduce pollution. Others of us have made the switch because we want to preserve the Earth’s natural resources, or because we’ve always loved animals and are ethically opposed to eating them. I’m going to focus on three clear reasons for giving up meat.
First, for your health. I think it’s pretty generally accepted that vegetarian diets are healthier than the average US diet. It’s estimated that 70 percent of all diseases, including one third of all cancers, are related to diet. A vegetarian diet reduces the risk for diseases such as obesity, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Being a vegetarian also means being slimmer, which as we all know, means being healthier. In a recent study where overweight people followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet they lost an average of 26 pounds in the first year and, by sticking to a vegetarian diet, had kept off that weight five years later. You’ll also live longer – according to other studies, vegetarians live on average 13 years longer than meat eaters.
Now, let’s move on to pollution. Many people have become vegetarians after they realized the devastation that the meat industry is having on the environment. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, chemical and animal waste from factory farms – that is farms which keep large numbers of animals, and usually in terrible conditions – this waste is responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams and it’s one of the greatest threats to water quality today. So, by stopping eating meat, you’ll help to reduce pollution, especially water pollution.
My third main argument is cost. If you give up meat, you’ll save money. The average American spends about $585 a year on meat. If you have four people in your family, that’s over $2,000 a year! If you start eating vegetables, grains, and fruits instead of the 222 pounds of meat, chicken, and pork each non-vegetarian American eats per year, you’ll cut individual food bills right down. So, to sum up, stopping eating meat will improve your health, will reduce pollution, and will save you money. So rather than asking yourself, “Why go vegetarian?”, the real question is, “Why haven’t you gone vegetarian already?”.
B. Listen to the anti-vegetarian opposing these arguments and make notes in the chart. What is his final argument when he sums up?
We should not stop eating meat
1 A diet which includes all the main food groups is much healthier
Omega-3, found in fish, is good for our physical and mental health.
Meat eaters have stronger bones.
2 Fruit and vegetable farms are also bad for the environment
The majority of fruit and vegetable farms still use pesticides and insecticides.
Chemicals used by these farmers get into water supplies.
Growing fruit and vegetables uses a lot of water. This can lead to shortages or even droughts.
Vegetarians produce more gases like hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane.
3 Being vegetarian in the US is very expensive
The prices of fruit and vegetables have gone up a lot in recent years, but meat prices haven’t.
J = John, M = Mark
J Thank you very much, Abby. And now it’s Dr. Mark Carol’s turn to oppose these arguments. Mark, over to you.
M Well, let me deal with those arguments one by one. I’ll start with the area which is obviously my speciality, and that’s health. While there is some evidence that eating too much meat can negatively affect your health, the vast majority of research suggests that a well-balanced omnivorous diet, that is, a diet which includes all the main food groups, is a far healthier choice. Studies have repeatedly shown that vegetarians who don’t supplement their diets with Vitamin D, B12, and iron are prone to becoming anemic. And I know we’re just talking about non-meat eaters, but vegetarians who don’t eat fish either also typically miss out on Omega-3 fatty acids that are essential, not just for our physical well-being, but also potentially help with depression and some personality disorders. And I’d also like to mention that researchers at Oxford University recently followed 35,000 individuals aged from 20 to 89 for a period of five years and discovered that vegans are 30% more likely to break a bone than meat eaters.
Now, as for the environmental argument, yes, many vegetarians argue that meat production harms the environment. But what they don’t tell you – and of course they must know this – is that fruit and vegetable farming has just as severe environmental implications. The vast majority of non-organic farms still use pesticides and insecticides that kill off just as many beneficial predators as pests, so have a negative effect on our ecosystems.
These dangerous chemicals also frequently get into water supplies…and speaking of water, you need vast amounts of it to grow vegetables commercially, and this can cause water shortages and, in extreme cases, drought. And one final point – bear in mind that vegetarians also produce more gas than meat eaters. The problem lies in the human body’s inability to fully digest the complex carbohydrates in the vegetarian diet, which results in higher production of gases like hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. People may laugh, but it’s no laughing matter, I assure you.
Finally, the argument about cost. Well, I have to say that this argument really doesn’t hold water. I’m not sure where Ms.… Abby got her statistics from, but it’s a well-known fact that one of the reasons why people in the US don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, by which I mean at least five portions a day, is because of the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables in this country. Meat and poultry prices have hardly gone up at all during the last few years, whereas the price of fruit and vegetables has skyrocketed, and many people say they simply can’t afford to eat their five portions a day. So the argument that going vegetarian will save you money – well, it’s just not an argument at all.
I’d like to sum up by saying that of course the main reason why we should all eat meat in moderation is that human beings are omnivores, and that means that we eat everything. Carnivores, like lions and tigers, don’t suddenly start eating grass, and herbivores like sheep or goats, don’t suddenly start eating meat. Omnivores should continue to have a balanced diet, which, as I said earlier, should cover all the main food groups.
J Thanks very much, Mark. Now, Abby, I’m sure you have more to say and react to what Mark has just said…
A. Listen to five people talking about how they are similar to their pets. Match the speakers to five of the animals in the box.
cat dog goldfish horse
lizard mouse parrot rabbit
1 Speaker 1 _________
2 Speaker 2 _________
3 Speaker 3 _________
4 Speaker 4 _________
5 Speaker 5 _________
B. Listen again and answer the questions. Write the number of the speaker.
Which speaker …?
___ A says that they and their pet have developed simultaneously
___ B likes the way their pet behaves towards another person
___ C believes that having a pet has changed them
___ D thinks that pets’ personalities change according to the owners they have had
___ E admits they have gestures that they picked up from their pet
1 rabbit 2 cat 3 parrot 4 dog 5 lizard
A 4 B 2 C 1 D 5 E 3
Speaker 1 Well, we’re both vegan, so that’s a positive thing we have in common. But I think Garfield definitely makes me less active than I used to be. He lives inside the house instead of outside in the yard, and I love having him around. Although he’s pretty big, he can still hop up onto the sofa, and likes to lie on my lap eating carrot sticks. He usually ends up falling asleep, and he’s so warm and soft, and I hate to disturb him, even when I have things to do.
Speaker 2 I’ve had Philphil since she was a kitten, and we have one thing in common: we both enjoy harassing my husband. Philphil bites my husband’s toes and attacks him on my behalf, constantly bothering him when he’s trying to do something. In that sense, she’s exactly like me – she shares my sense of humor. We both like to snuggle up at night as well. I can get very cold at night, and Philphil sleeps on the bed to keep me warm.
Speaker 3 People tell me that I’m eccentric, just like my pet, Molly. I suppose if enough people say it, then it might be true. I’m sure I’ve picked up some of her traits: the way I talk sometimes and bob my head, but I wouldn’t say that I twittered. She has several traits that I can see in myself: Molly loves people, and at times she’s kind of a show-off, just like me. And she has a great sense of humor.
Speaker 4 I’ve had Crosby for about eight years now – he’s quite a rare breed, a Dandie Dinmont terrier. Oh, and yes, I think we look alike. We’ve also developed the same personality over the years: I’m becoming a bit more bad-tempered, and so is he, although he doesn’t often bark. We both like our own space, and neither of us is as tolerant as we used to be. When it comes to food, I enjoy mine as much as he does, although I’m a bit fussier.
Speaker 5 I keep reptiles, and I’ve noticed that their personalities change to become more like mine. I’ve had bearded dragons calmly sitting and watching TV when I do. If you have lots of energy, they pick up on that, and if you’re afraid, they are, too. They tend to reflect whoever has brought them up. If they’ve had a stressed owner, then they can be very stressed, they can behave like absolute lunatics. But generally, because I’m calm, they tend to calm down themselves.
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