Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Big Ideas -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) toads first invade is The big problem for quolls when cane are these really large toads, the toads on the invasion front supertoxic. and they're just basically mainland in the Northern Territory. Quolls are almost extinct on the have started a quoll school, But scientists at Sydney University can train their students in the hope that they not to eat the poisonous toads. of making toad sausages. Stephanie O'Donnell is in charge was a toad sausage that contains What we came up with which apparently aren't toxic. mince toad legs, called thiabendazole, We added a chemical and it's quite safe to use. it's a nausea-inducing chemical. Basically, the quolls will attack a toad Before toad school, if it's put in front of them. these little guys will have a sniff, After toad school, but they won't eat the toad. a live toad, or smell a live toad, So, the next time they see last time. I won't eat you.' they go, 'Ooh, you made me sick have graduated from the classroom, Once the little guys into the toad-infested environment, they're released compared to naive quolls. with five times the survival chance Adrian Tan Closed Captions By CSI - This Program is Captioned Live. # Theme music I'm Waleed Aly. Hi and welcome to Big Ideas, a terrific IQ Squared debate In this session, from the Wheeler Centre Animals Should be off the Menu. where the central proposition is the ethics of eating flesh. It's a debate about be surprised is Peter Singer, For the proposition, you won't philosopher and vegetarian starting the animals rights movement. and the man who's credited with shoes and no leather at all. And Peter's a man who wears plastic who was Vice President of CitiBank Supporting him is Philip Wollen,

mergers and acquisitions. specialising in corporate finance, Ridge, senior editor with The Age, And to complete their team, Veronica of Epicure. and a women who was editor consists of Adrian Richardson, The team arguing against La Luna restaurant, head chef at Melbourne's Bruce McGregor, who is an an animal scientist of international renown, and Fiona Chambers, Agricultural College in Geelong. who's a lecturer at Marcus Oldham These three all like a steak, Ethics Centre chairs the debate. Dr Simon Longstaff from the St James Ladies and gentlemen, the proposition before this house

that animals should be off the menu. is to address this house I invite Peter Singer for the affirmative. with his arguments (Applause) Thank you very much. to introduce this topic. It's a great pleasure that I'm leading, On behalf of the team that animals should be off the menu. I think we will show you convincingly a number of different issues. We'll do this by ranging through Briefly, we'll speak about health, the best use of the food we produce, environmental questions, we'll speak about about animal ethics, we'll speak, of course, particularly Veronica Ridge - and we'll also - that with animals off the menu, will tell you you can't have delicious food to eat. it doesn't mean that So that is, essentially, our case, what Simon Longstaff just said, and we are, to echo about this topic. passionate and committed the reasons along these lines, So let me just briefly outline in ascending order of importance. and I will do it roughly In other words, which for me is the ethical argument, I'll leave the most important, to the end. So, firstly health. Really, all we need to argue, other points that we have to make, given the strength of the with animals off the menu, is that we can live a healthy life for that conclusion is overwhelming. and I think the evidence a lot of lifelong vegetarians - There are, of course, who are ample evidence of that. I'm not one of those myself, for about 40 years, I've been a vegetarian a satisfactory, healthy diet. but I certainly find it a lot of evidence And there is now accumulating is likely to be bad for you. that, indeed, eating meat Just last week,

in the Archives of Internal Medicine there was a new study published one of the biggest studies, led by scientists at Harvard - followed more than 100,000 people a study that has for an average of over 20 years, time-consuming study to do, so a very difficult, is particularly focused on red meat, and the headline that even small portions of red meat of dying of a variety of causes, are likely to increase your chances and cancer. including cardiovascular disease We've known for a long time that particularly bowel cancer and colorectal cancer or cancer of the colon with red meat consumption. are associated doesn't take a lot of red meat eating This study showed that it of dying of these diseases, in order to increase your chances and red meat consumption your chances of getting diabetes. also increases a carefully controlled study, This was is now pretty conclusive. and I think the evidence for that So, in many respects,

off their menu people who do have animals who have animals on their menu. than those Secondly, food use. and soybeans to animals, We feed enormous amounts of grain and in doing so, the grains that we're feeding them. we waste most of the food value of Depending on the species, the animals may return to us and soybeans that we put into them. of the food value of the grains grain for biofuel, Some people worry about the use of world food prices that this is raising

that they need to live on. But, in fact, that is fed to animals the amount of grains and soybeans as much is something like three to four times to biofuel. as the grain that is converted So this is a huge problem - like 750 million tonnes of grain and we're talking about something being fed to animals each year. of soybeans plus additional quantities

the population of the world, You divide that up among to feed the world's poor, it's really enough properly and get it to them. if only we could distribute it So we are just wasting vast quantities of food

in order to produce the large quantities of animal products which are, generally speaking, at least partly grain-fed. Thirdly, the environmental question. We all know about factory farms which are locally polluting in many ways, producing enormous amounts of manure which are real problems and tend to pollute rivers and waterways. But we're now increasingly aware

that animal production is a major factor in climate change. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation that animal production, livestock production, is a bigger contributor to climate change than all of transport - all of the busses, trucks, trains and cars and aeroplanes.

And, in fact, I think that's an underestimate. Because it doesn't really include the full weight, the full damage that methane does to the environment.

Standard studies say that methane is 25 times as damaging to climate change as carbon dioxide. That is if you take it over a century, because methane breaks down more quickly than carbon dioxide. But if you think that we really need to slow climate change, not just in the next century but in the next 20 years,

before we reach what Tim Flannery has called the tipping point, when it gets too late to prevent climate catastrophe, then methane over 20 years is 72 times as damaging

to the environment as is carbon dioxide. And animals - particularly ruminant animals - produce large quantities of methane, and it doesn't help if they're on grass. Some people might think that if you have your cattle on grass they're not grain-fed, it's environmentally more friendly. Well, as far climate change is concerned. Sadly, and I say sadly

because I do think it's a better life for the cattle, but sadly it's actually worse. Per kilo of beef produced, cattle on grass, produce at least 50% more methane than cattle fed grain. Because they need more grass

and it's the digestion of the grass by the ruminant system that produces the methane - or digestion by the ruminant system and it takes more grass, more digestion to produce a kilo of beef. Unless someone invents something that stops the cattle digestive system producing methane, beef and other ruminants generally,

but beef is certainly the worst offender, are contributing massively to climate change. Finally, let me come to the issue that started me a vegetarian more than 40 years ago. I don't think that we are justified in treating other sentient beings

as things for us to use for our pleasure and convenience. And essentially, that is what we do in meat production. (BELL RINGS) We take other sentient beings, we use them in ways that are convenient for us, of which of course, the factory farm is the most egregious example. Confining them, preventing them moving freely, And I think that is abuse, I think that's a form of speciesism that is, it's a prejudice against taking seriously the interests of beings that are not members of our species. We, I believe, are ethically obliged to give equal consideration to the interests of all sentient beings. Now, I don't say that means they have equal rights with us, they obviously don't have the right to vote, they don't have the right to freedom of speech, that doesn't make sense. But given the interest that they have, interests in not feeling pain,

interests in satisfying their basic instincts and desires, then I believe that we should give the same weight... (Bell rings again) them being able to live that kind of life as we would give to our own interests in living a decent life and that is precisely what commercial meat production never can do. Thank you. (Applause) Fiona Chambers. A mere 15 species currently account for over 90% of global livestock production. And of these, about one third of cattle, pig, chicken and breeds already are extinct or currently at risk of extinction.

To take these animals off the menu would move them from being at risk of extinction to being extinct. And extinction is forever. This would be an ecological and food security disaster. The irony is that in order to save these breeds and species, we do have to eat them. A paradox that exists because of symbiosis. That's an interaction that occurs when different organisms live in close proximity and association together and, typically, to mutual advantage. So, for example, when a bee takes nectar from a flower, in payment for that, it transports pollen to other flowers to fertilise them. When an animal leaves a pile of dung on the ground, all the bugs come out from underneath and take that and use that pile of dung. Have we really come so far

that we've forgotten the most basic laws of nature? I'm arguing tonight that animals should remain on the menu, on an ecological basis, and I refute the statement that they should be off the menu.

Indeed, the opposite is true. Animals are a fundamental part of agricultural biodiversity and must remain on the menu for two prime reasons. Firstly, animals are a vital link in the global ecology

and as such are inextricably linked with the environment and the future of our food. And secondly, because they serve many important social, cultural, as well as biological functions. Animal welfare and sentience, however, are not, I belive, at the centre of this debate - ecology is. And we ignore that at our peril. Far from being the ecological vandals they are made out to be, They work in biologically diverse ecosystems that have evolved over thousands of years of evolution and domestication in partnership with humans. And at the heart of this relationship is the building of soil. Bacteria live in that soil. In a single gram of soil, there are billions of bacteria and there are an estimated 60,000 species alone. Most of those are yet to be named, but what we do know is some of those bacteria are nitrogen lovers. And they take nitrogen from the air, from the atmosphere, and they make that available to plants. Nitrogen from the atmosphere that would otherwise be unavailable to plants or animals. Others are methane lovers and the exclusive source of energy that they take is obtained by taking methane from the atmosphere. Research undertaken recently at Sydney University has shown that just one hectare of pasture has enough potential for these methane-loving bacteria to actually extract methane out of the environment that could be produced by 162,000 head of cattle. Now that's more than what you could run on a hectare. So, it makes it methane neutral.

It simply comes back to the management of our soil, the environment and the ecosystem, which includes the animals. What happens as well, is you've got fungi in the soil that live at the roots, and those fungi transact and interact with the plants providing - they take carbon, and they give the plants food and water. And this is where the animals come in.

If you think about a tree - a tree has branches above the ground, and roots below. With a plant, when the animals come along and graze that plant, they slough off the roots at the bottom, and that's what builds soil. The most simplistic arguments that I've heard to justify vegetarianism often compare the efficiency of just one hectare of land, comparing what animals can produce and what plants can produce. But this doesn't take into consideration the fact that you cannot crop, year after year after year, the same bit of ground.

You take that same bit of ground and you put a pasture phase in, and animals form an intrinsic part of that rotation. We need to be farming for the future, for our children's future, for our children's children's future. Not just for now. The best way to achieve sustainability is through rotating and alternating arable paddocks between cropping and pastures. An animal phase, incorporated into the cropping rotation, can provide the perfect ecological balance. Managing the grazing systems by how often, and for how long the animal grazes, mixing the species of animals that you use - sheep and cattle, for example - a skilled farmer works in harmony with the ecosystems, so that the environment does truly stay in balance. This is not something that has to occur always on a small scale - this can happen on a large scale too. And we see examples in Australia, with low-impact grazing systems. So I disagree that animals cannot be raised in a humane, and in an ecologically sustainable way. The environment has been created so that it can take up every bit of methane that these animals give off. In terms of the social and cultural functions of livestock, we see examples all over the world where people live in harmony with animals.

Hmong people in China, working in the terraced rice paddies in the northern part of Vietnam or the southern part of China - without the buffalos that they live with to plough these steep terraces for the rice,

without the pigs that they eat to support them in these high, remote villages, without ducks and fish to eat the bugs, the mosquito larvae that exist in the rice paddies - without all of these things, these people would not exist and work the land as they do.

They would not then capture the rainfall in these mountainous areas, and stop the erosion.

All that rainfall would go downstream and cause erosion, and the fertile deltas downstream would not be able to grow food for their populations. Ecological farming is the key. In 1543, Copernicus first suggested that the Earth revolved around the sun, and not the sun around the Earth. It took 70 years for Galileo to support these same views, and he was tried for heresy by the Inquisition, sentenced to spend the rest of his life under house arrest, because this view questioned the strongly held beliefs about the dominant position of humans, and the supremacy of God. It only took 400 years for the Vatican to issue a formal apology to Galileo, so we now know that the Earth does in fact revolve around the sun. (Bell rings) Animal welfare and animal sentience are important.

They're important just as the Earth and the sun are important,

but they are not the central issue. Without diminishing at all the importance of this, the highest animal welfare standards alone

do not guarantee us

and this must be our highest priority, because our future food security depends on it. FAO supports this view, and has stated, 'The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for food and agriculture, play a critical role in the fight against hunger, by ensuring environmental sustainability while increasing food and agricultural production. Thank you. Phillip Wollen.

King Lear, late at night on the cliffs, asks the blind Earl of Gloucester 'How do you see the world?' And the blind man Gloucester replies, 'I see it feelingly.' And shouldn't we all? Animals must be off the menu because tonight they are screaming in terror in the slaughterhouses, in crates, and in cages. Vile ignoble gulags of despair.

You see, I heard the screams of my dying father and I realised I'd heard those screams before - in the slaughterhouse, their eyes stabbed out and their tendons slashed on the cattleships to the Middle East and the dying mother whale as the harpoon explodes in her brain as she calls out to her calf. Their cries were the cries of my father. And I discovered that when we suffer we suffer as equals and in their capacity to suffer the dog is a pig is a bear is a boy. Meat today is the new asbestos - more murderous than tobacco. CO2, methane and nitrous oxide from the livestock industry

are killing our oceans with acidic hypoxic dead zones. 90% of small fish are ground up into pellets to feed to livestock. Vegetarian cows today are the world's largest ocean predators. The oceans are dying in our time. By 2048 all our fisheries will be dead - the lungs and the arteries of the Earth. Billions of bouncy little chicks are ground up alive

simply because they are male. Only 100 billion people have ever lived - 7 billion people live today. And yet we torture and kill two billion sentient living beings every week. 10,000 entire species are wiped out every year because of the actions of one. And we're now facing the sixth mass extinction in cosmological history. If any other organism did this, a biologist would call them a virus. It is a crime against humanity of unimaginable proportions. But happily the world is changing - ten years ago, twitter was a bird sound, www was a stuck keyboard, cloud was in the sky, 4G was a parking space, Google was a baby's burp, Skype was a typo, and al-Qaeda was my plumber. (Laughter) Victor Hugo said there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. Well, animal rights today is now the greatest social justice issue since the abolition of slavery. Do you know there are over 600 million vegetarians in this world

and that is bigger than the United States, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all put together.

If we were one nation, we would be bigger than the 27 nations of the European Union. Can you believe that? And despite this massive demographic footprint, we are still drowned out by the raucous hunt and shoot and kill cartels who believe that violence is the answer when it should not even be a question! Meat kills animals, kills us, and is killing our economies. Medicare's already bankrupted the United States - just to pay the interest and they have precisely zero. They could shut down every school, army and navy, air force, homeland security, marines, CIA and FBI and they still will not have the money to pay their doctor bills. And our Cornell and Harvard say that the optimum amount of meat in a human diet is precisely zero. Water, as you know, is the new oil. Nations will soon be going to war for it. Underground aquifers that took millions of years to fill are now running dry. It takes 50,000 litres of precious drinking water to make one kilo of beef. Today one billion people are hungry. 20 million people will die from malnutrition. Cutting meat by only 10% will feed 100 million people and eliminating meat will end starvation forever. If everyone ate a Western diet we would need two planet Earths to feed us, we've only got one and she is dying. Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock

is 50% greater than transport, as Peter said, cars, trains, buses, ships, lorries, the whole lot. As I travel around the world I see poor countries who sell their grain to the West while their own children starve in their arms and the West feeds it to livestock so we can eat a steak?! Am I the only one who sees this as a crime? The Earth could produce enough food for everyone's need but not enough for everyone's greed. We are facing the perfect storm. If any nation had developed weapons that could wreak such havoc on the planet, we would launch a pre-emptive military strike and bomb it back into the Bronze Age. But it's not a rogue state, it's an industry. The good news is we don't have to bomb it, we can just stop buying it. So George Bush was wrong. The axis of evil does not run through Iraq, Iran or North Korea,

it runs through our dinner tables. Weapons of mass destruction are our knives and forks. Our proposition is the Swiss Army Knife of the future - it solves our environmental, water, human health problems and ends cruelty forever. Meat is like the one and two cent coins - it costs more to make than it's worth. And I come from the bush - farmers are the ones with the most to gain. Farming won't end, it would boom. Only the product line will change. Governments will love us. New industries would emerge and flourish.

Health insurance premiums would plummet. Hospital waiting lists would disappear. Hell, we'd be so healthy, we'd have to shoot someone just to start a cemetery. (Laughter) So tonight I have two challenges for the opposition. Two challenges. Meat causes a wide range of cancers and heart disease -

would they name one disease caused by a vegetarian diet. And, two, I'm funding the Earthlings trilogy. I challenge them to send a copy of the Earthlings DVD

to all their colleagues and all their customers. Go on, I dare you. (Applause) Animals are not just other species, they are other nations and we murder them at our peril. (Bell rings) The peace map is drawn on a menu. Peace is not just the absence of war, it is the presence of justice. Justice must be blind to race, colour, religion, or species, and tonight there is unimaginable terror in those ghastly Guantanamos we call factory farms or slaughterhouses. Believe me, if slaughterhouses had glass walls, we wouldn't be having this debate tonight. You see, I believe another world is possible and on a quiet night I can hear her breathing. Let's get animals off the menu and out of these torture chambers. Please vote tonight for those who have no voice. Thank you. Bruce McGregor. Well, I'm on a hiding to nothing, aren't I? But being a St Kilda supporter, it doesn't really matter. There are two main points that I shall put against the proposition that animals should be off the menu

and these relate to human society and ecological sustainability. It's easy for us all to go and visit places where there are people who have animals on the menu and if you're in any doubt, just pick up a Wheeler production called the Lonely Planet guides. And in the Lonely Planet guides you'll find directions

to find Mongolian pastoralists who milk goats and horses,

people in the Andes who use llamas to carry their goods, and Japanese and Chinese fishers who use cormorants to catch their fish to feed their families every day. Arguing that animals should be off the menu threatens the food security and livelihood of at least two billion people. In relation to human societies, there are three points which I wish to make. Firstly, taking animals from the menu will actually remove a vast amount of not only meat but also milk and milk products such as yoghurt and cheese - often essential items in the diets of vegetarians. You may ask, 'How is this possible when the animals don't have to be killed to produce meat?' You need to remember an important thing - half of the progeny are male which do not produce any milk

and for efficient milk production systems most males are grown to a suitable size and sold or used for meat and only a very few are kept for breeding. The problem is that if you keep all the males and unproductive females,

you'll have a huge waste of feed resources and over time there'll be a steadily declining production of milk,

or whatever the product you're concerned is, The second issue is that the affirmative position implies that many humanitarian organisations are misguided and morally wrong and so clearly are the people who support them. Organisations such as the Australian-based Oxfam, and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation have advocated for years that to improve human welfare

we need to improve animal farming practices For example, the US-based Heifer Project International has run their Women in Livestock Development program for more than 20 years.

Why have they done this? They've done it because women told them

that they wanted healthy children in a healthy environment, they were sick of living in places covered in dust storms. Women told them that they wanted animals and to do this

the WILD Women program provides them with animals and training. The women build up their herds and provide milk and meat for their children and they generate income by selling their surplus.

Without the use of animals for meat, and I'll explain that further as we go. The third point is that animals are also important in many traditional economies as they are used as a bank and represent people's family's wealth and inheritance. This is underwritten by the value of the animal as meat. Livestock such as chickens, rabbits and goats Thus, if all markets were removed for meat by the stroke of the affirmative team's pen, food production will decline, food prices will increase, and two billion people will head towards starvation, probably losing their life savings and inheritance.

Does the affirmative team really think these people are morally wrong? for a large slice of the world's population by taking animals off the menu? I don't think so. So I've purchased a small gift from Oxfam to remind them of these issues - they include a card about chickens, duck, and goat. The goat card says, 'It's gruff, tough, and does heaps of good stuff.' (Laughter and applause) Now, the relevance of that is in relation to the three ecological points I wish to make.

Firstly, animals produce a lot of nutritious food from materials that humans cannot eat. Animals do this in a range of harsh environments, such as mountains, deserts, tropical forests,

and drought-prone savannah - places where people live. convert vegetation of absolutely no nutritional value to people into high-protein meat. Animals produce food where crops don't. such as crop residues, by-products of processing, and unmarketable quantities of vegetables, fruits, and cereals. Similarly, fish, eels, and other aquatic animals convert water-based foods into high-value meat for humans. There are many systems where various wastes and products are fed into ponds, thus feeding fish, to provide food for humans and animals. Only 38% of the world's land surface is agricultural land, including 11% that's arable, used for crops, and about 2% for permanent crops like orchards. Is it the affirmative position that we should cease producing food from the other 25% of land, Is this true? The second ecological issue is that the natural surplus in many natural populations can be sustainably harvested for human food. Humans usually overlook the fact that natural losses occur in every ecosystem, because without natural losses, each ecosystem would become overstocked with ageing and diseased animals. Depending on the system, half or more of each generation is naturally lost to disease and predators. Thus, in a well-managed system,

natural losses can be harvested for meat. Obviously, this is only acceptable if the ecosystems are managed carefully and sustainably. I'm not here to advocate harvesting endangered species, or the exploitation of threatened ecosystems, but there is evidence that farming of endangered species can help with their survival.

An example comes from North America, where native North Americans had complex cultures related to the migration of American bison. They had cultural limitations on the harvesting of the meat. Unfortunately, American bison almost became extinct courtesy of the land wars that were waged against native North Americans. By the early last century, there were only a few thousand bison left, but they were saved in large part because of the number of farm bison which increased rapidly, and in recent decades, bison have been used for meat, and are now being used to restore degraded prairies. The third ecological issue is the environmental problems with cropping. Irrigated agriculture example requires the extensive damming of rivers, disruption of ecosystems, and degradation of land, including erosion, nutrient depletion, salt incursion, and exotic weeds. All of these things are associated with cropping and land clearing. The alternative to cropping are systems of mixed enterprise agriculture which Fiona referred to where animals help to break disease cycles in crop systems. The effect of climate change over the next 40 years is predicted to reduce crop yields between 10 and 20% through the tropics and subtropics, and increase the amount of marginal land for cropping.

There will be little alternative to the people who live there

but to use this marginal cropping land for sustainable animal production. There is much to learn about these systems. The profession I belong to aims to improve the husbandry of animals and the management of production systems. Research is making these industries better, however, the investment into scientific research on a global scale is declining every year. (Bell rings) Without appropriate investment, there will be little further development. Thank you very much.


Veronica Ridge. Last month, at a slick food and design event in Milan, the world's top chef, Rene Redzepi from Denmark, excitedly unveiled his newest epicurean discovery. It was simple enough - an innocuous looking pine frond gleaned from the forests of Scandinavia, apparently with a citrus tang to die for. Rene enthused, 'The flavour is like thousands of grapefruits.' He told those gathered at the chef-in called Identita Milano, 'We did high fives for a day in the kitchen when we found that.' Now, I'm not suggesting we should all follow a diet of Danish pine fronds, juniper berries, and mosses and lichens And yes, Redzepi also serves meat - some of it on the extreme side. There's poached deer, whale penis, and you can choose to devour a live wriggling shrimp in brown butter if you so desire.

The point I'm making is that at the world's top restaurant today, you can have a wonderfully entertaining, inventive, and delicious meal made for you without slaughter. There has been a revolution

in vegetarian and vegan cooking and eating in the past decade.

A new generation of cooks

are using vegetables, spices, nuts, seeds, in incredible ways. Gone are the mung beans and bland wholemeal pies that accompanied the whiff of 1970s hippy-dom. In fact, much of the pleasure and excitement in eating today is this new wave of vegetarian and vegan food that follows an ingredient-led locavore agenda. Let me share a dish with you from a distinguished European vegetarian restaurant, the Cafe Paradiso in Cork, Ireland. Creamy fetta, pistachio and couscous cakes, with sweet and hot pepper jam.

Citrus greens, coriander yoghurt, and spiced chickpeas. at Jacques Raymond, Vue de Monde, The Royal Mail at Dunkeld, The Lake House at Daylesford, are among the finest that you will find anywhere. Jacques Raymond's latest vegetarian degustation menu has nine courses that build in texture, richness, flavour, and drama as each is served. The final savoury dish in the line-up is a warm terrine, created using lightly steamed Nicola potatoes, layered with aged comte cheese, and then seared to a golden crispness, top and bottom. It's paired with crunchy tempura enoki mushrooms, a clean, green, sage and nettle puree, sharp poached nectarine for contrast, and there's a lovely hit of wasabi from granules that are a bit like sand using a molecular gastronomy cooking technique. No amount of beef, lamb, chicken, or fish could improve these meals. The same goes for vegetarian and vegan food from Melbourne's ethnic cuisines - Indian, Lebanese, Japanese, Mexican - all cultures that celebrate delicious and healthy, animal protein-free dishes, and they have shown us how to do it. Recipes?

The most innovative vegetarian recipes today are from the food writer Yottam Ottolenghi, who pens a column in The Guardian called 'New Vegetarian'. Ottolenghi sets out, he says, to create 'fireworks' with vegetables, using 'noisy' ingredients - lemon, pomegranate, garlic, chilli. A little tip for a Sunday brunch - his green pancakes, lime butter, and a couple of glasses of prosecco. Google his recipes - you'll be amazed. Meat alternatives? New York Times columnist Mark Bittman recently did a blind taste test comparing chicken and fake chicken made from plants. He couldn't tell the difference, using the criteria: taste, texture, and chewiness. Bittman wrote, 'Would I rather eat cruelly raised, polluting, unhealthful chicken, or a plant product that's nutritionally similar or superior, good enough to fool me, and requires no antibiotics, cutting off of heads,

and other nasty things?' at a price cheaper than the chicken that made it on the supermarket shelf after a miserable six-week existence. These people are showing us the way forward. In 2012, you can be a happily satisfied epicurean, and have ethics. There's even a word for it - an 'ethicurean'. History's great thinkers who advocated a vegetarian diet are too long to list here but their theories covered religious, spiritual, philosophical, social health and environmental themes. But one of the most moving arguments was put forward by 18th Century English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who said the question regarding animals is not 'can they reason?' Nor 'can they talk?' But 'can they suffer?' While animals can't speak in ways we comprehend and their intellect is lacking, they are entitled to be treated with care because like us, they feel pain. The fact that they can't put their suffering into words is no excuse for ignoring it. In fact, it puts a higher responsibility on we supposedly enlightened humans to identify their screams and help them. And of course the modern landmark book, raising awareness of animal rights especially farm animals, Peter Singer's Animal Liberation in 1975. All these advanced thinkers and yet the plight of animals for food hasn't improved much. Food production methods in the Western world used since the 1950s,

driven by a demand for ever cheaper food, are not only damaging our health and the environment, they have lead to the inhumane intensive farming of animals. Bruce and Fiona have mentioned the Mongolians and Chinese who do use meat in their daily lives, but in fact, we are are defending that animals should be off the menu here. We have the choices, some people don't. And too many people nowadays have been lulled into a sense of complacency by the thought that animals are slaughtered humanely. Presumably then, therefore removing any possible humanitarian objection to the eating of meat. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the facts, as we've all seen in recent shocking footage There is no such thing as humane slaughter. And there is a glaring double standard between the way we treat our pets with care and respect and not the animals we eat. Melbourne University academic Siobhan O'Sullivan argues in her new book, that the key to understanding this is 'out of sight, out of mind.'

The more visible an animal is within the community, O'Sullivan points out that animal welfare laws for hens in petting zoos that teach children about caring for animals are more comprehensive than laws for broiler hens raised for meat. (Bell rings) Sadly, lab and meat animals are out of the public view -

an industrialised agriculture perpetuates concealment at almost every level of production. I conclude that the avoidance of pain and suffering of any living being should be the main consideration when making culinary choices. This is the number one imperative for all human beings and should be the guiding premise when choosing what to eat. I don't see an argument to counter this, on the basis that you can eat brilliantly without slaughtering animals. Thank you. (Applause) Adrian Richardson. Thank you very much. I love meat. I love cooking meat, I love eating meat and I love serving meat to other people. If it's got a pulse, I can cook it. And there are plenty of people here tonight

that have eaten my moist, juicy, tender beef. If you haven't, you can always pop down to my restaurant La Luna Bistro. Just tell them Adrian sent you. We did an audience survey earlier on tonight and the results show that 78% of the people here tonight have eaten meat in the last six months. So I think that I can speak for the majority of people here, that it will be over our cold dead bodies

if you take meat or animals off the menu. It would be un-Australian. (Derisive guffaws) We of course are the country that invented the BYO meat barbecue. We are meat eaters, carnivores.

We are so close to our mammoth hunting, savage ancestors that it's not funny. It's in our nature. It's natural. Imagine the days of roasting wild boar over hot coals underneath the stars. That was us, people. And if you have any doubt as to how close we are to our ancestors

you just have to go to any AFL website. Now for the other 22%, the vegetarians the non meat eaters and their friends, the vegans. I can see you almost bracing yourself,

thinking I am going to take a swipe. Well, that's not happening tonight. I have a confession to make in front of all of you. I'm actually half vegetarian.

Well, half of my family are vegetarian, Dad's side. My grandparents, Peter and Kathleen Richardson,

brought my father and nine of his siblings up to be staunch vegetarians. They believed that life is sacred and I agree. I think vegetarianism and the act of not eating the flesh of another beast is a most noble cause. They made that choice. They believed in that choice.

And for that I have always had a great deal of respect for them. If you don't eat meat, great. Bully to you. But if you do eat meat, which most of the world population do,

it's how you choose that meat that's important, and that's what this debate should be about. Now I'll just clarify my 'half vegetarian' bit. For the first 2.5 years I was a vegetarian, that was Dad's choice. I didn't eat any meat. But that all ended one Sunday afternoon. I was sitting on my grandmother's knee, my nonna,

my Italian part of the family - they ate meat. And a chicken wing magically appeared. I suspect a little foul play was at hand, but that chicken wing was devoured. It was devoured so much that the bones crumbled in my hands. And you know what? I made my choice from then on, that I would eat meat, I would enjoy meat and I would have respect for the meat. But a month later my Dad, the vegetarian,

he was seduced by the same cunning beast.

A whole roast chicken stuffed with rice, lemon and parsley and a little garlic butter pushed underneath the skin of the breast to baste the chicken from the inside as it cooks. Now that's a little tip for you, the next time you cook a chook. Now I've heard much talk this evening about how eating meat is unhealthy. It will cause you cancer and kill you.

From experts talking statistics and studies.

We all know how well statistics and studies can be manipulated. Just watch an episode of Today Tonight. I can only talk about my own personal experiences - my grandparents, my Dad's parents, the vegetarians ate very well. They grew their own fruit and vegetables, baked bread and cooked the most amazing vegetarian food. They ate a balanced diet, a very healthy diet.

They lived into their 90s, healthy and very happy. And my grandmother, she'll be watching this later she's alive and well today at 92. My mother's grandparents - the Italian side, the Ferays - they ate meat, they ate pasta, beans, fruit and vegetables. Much of it grown in their backyard as well. What they ate was just as healthy as the vegetarians. They cooked and served to me the most amazing Mediterranean food. And they both lived happily and healthy into their 90s. So to hear the argument that eating red meat will kill you just doesn't wash with me. I think it's a load of baloney. I think, it's information manipulation. You know what kills you? Eating too much meat kills you. Too many chips, doughnuts, hot dogs, pies all of the processed crap that's offered to us today and even more so our kids. That's the stuff that will kill you. We need to eat a balanced diet. And a balanced diet means that meat doesn't have to be eaten at every meal. Just by having a few meat-free days and eating lots of green vegetables is a fantastic start. And by doing only these two things we can have a huge impact on the planet and our bodies.

And I also have to include this for the ladies and my wife.

Chocolate is also a part of a balanced diet. As far as I'm concerned, if you eat a healthy balanced diet And it's up to us to teach our kids

sit down, eat together as a family, talk to each other. Take the time to set a good example to your kids. And this starts by turning the television off. If you want to stop factory farming, don't buy supermarket meat. There goes my endorsement to you. And stay out of fast food stores. Go to your local butcher. Remember them? I'm sure there's a few ladies here that do. Your local butcher will listen to you. Tell him 'I want Victorian grass-fed beef,'

free-range pork from Fiona, free-range chicken (Scattered laughter) Believe me, a happy animal tastes so much better. And I know, because that's what I use at home and in my restaurant - La Luna Bistro, if you didn't get it before. Buy Fiona's pork, we know her pigs are cared for

from birth up until that last second. And I think if an animal has lived a good life and drinking streams in the sunshine, as long as the death is fast and painless, I don't have a problem with killing animals. It's a natural thing to me, and I've killed a few. Fiona's pigs have all good days and only one bad day.

And believe me, Fiona's pigs are delicious. If you make the choice

and put the money into the hands of the farmers, growers and sellers Last night I was watching television and a KFC commercial came on. They are using free-range chicken. They're listening to us. Another thing that concerns me are meat eaters that don't want to acknowledge the fact

that filet mignon they're tucking into that's so juicy and tender was once a living thing and needs to be respected. They're the ones that should be eating the tofu turkey, the soy sausages and all the other fake meat products. We know eating meat has an impact on the environment. Everything we do has an impact. So if we are eating less meat and using humanely-reared, sustainably produced meat, don't you think we're doing our bit to reduce the negative impact? For anyone to tell me that animals should be off the menu, I think is ridiculous. I think if we make the right choice, and that's what this whole debate comes down to, don't you think we can all enjoy a tender, juicy grass-fed steak every now and again? Remember one thing - (Bell rings) and this is the thing I want you to go home with tonight. Eat meat responsibly. Thank you very much. (Applause)

That was the IQ Squared debate - Animals should be off the menu at the Wheeler Centre. The audience were polled before the debate and for the proposition that animals should be off the menu registered 65%. Post debate 71.6%. Undecided before 12.5%. Post debate 6.9% And against the proposition pre debate 22.5%, post debate, 19.5%. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter and view the extended debate on our website with a lot more audience participation. I'm Waleed Aly, see you next time. Closed Captions by CSI This Program is Captioned


Industry is under the pump.

Unions and the Government

meeting on manufacturing. If

you don't manufacture steel,

you can't have value adding

manufacturing industry. Labor's

leading lights past and present

gather to farewell Lionel

Bowen. A man of total commitment, integrity and

courage. Retailers in the hunt

for a new phone plan to hang

onto shop pers. How you get

home experience online, to get

herkming back to your

environment and also your business. And Rick Santorum

drops out of the Republican

race Miracle after miracle,