Not Vegan, Love Animals

There’s so much hype around veganism at the moment. Every restaurant menu totes about offering ‘vegan this’ ‘vegan that’ ‘vegan wine’ etc. Cosmetic shops are telling us to ‘shop vegan’ by buying brushes made of synthetics instead of animal hair. Never mind that synthetic generally = plastic = more bad news for our oceans.

I’m not here to shame anyone or criticise, as there are some good points about eating a vegan diet: we can all admit we need to eat less red meat and processed food, and yes, the meat industry is undoubtedly cruel. But shoving our bodies full of synthetics and not eating meat and animal-based products is basically doing this:

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By not eating meat and animal products, you’re not stopping your neighbour from eating them. You’re not stopping that same number of cows being sent to the production line: why? Because the meat industry isn’t about you.

The problem with the industry is precisely because it isn’t about you, or me. It’s about everyone. Global consumption. A few hundreds of individuals choosing not to consume these products will not make a dent in the multi-billion dollar industry (which is expected to exceed $800 billion within the next year or so).

Instead of the false presumption that you not eating the egg stops the hen from suffering (and producing a dozen other eggs for the supermarket, no doubt to go out of date, and then to be discarded/wasted), presume that you not eating the egg makes no difference.

 

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If you want to make a difference, read books like Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation. Get in touch with the big meat heads, and tell them to change their methods. Be a vegan if you want: but don’t make it your beck and call unless you’re actually willing to do more than just make yourself feel better. It should be about changing the world empire that is the meat industry, in three ways:

– reducing our addiction to red meat. Beef needs ten times more grazing and production land than poultry, so by simply shifting our meat-eating needs away from beef, we’ll be saving vast areas of land from destruction. Instead, this newly freed land could be used to grow crops to feed the third world, instead of growing enough crops to feed enough animals to feed us.

– changing our attitude towards animals. Animals are sentient beings: they deserve respect and dignity in life, and even in death. If they must be killed, let’s make it quick and painless, and let’s not let them live in filth, pain and poverty in the months/years leading up to it. We do not live in a perfect world. Dogs are fought in pits on the street, cats are still drowned, horses are still abused and left out to dry after their racing careers are over, bulls are massacred in bullfights. Human beings are meat eaters – so are our closest living relatives. We shouldn’t not eat meat, but we should do it responsibly.

– learning to grow meat artificially, and safely. It’s already begun and I’m hoping it will be widely available to the masses within my lifetime. With current technological advances, I’m certain it will be. If we can continue to enjoy the taste of meat, the protein and vitamin benefits (Vitamin B12, anyone?), without having to kill any animals, that may be a more perfect world than we live in today. No more livestock would mean almost 40% of the world’s land available to re-populate (but, let’s not, I think there’s enough of us already), re-cultivate, or simply open back up to wildlife.

But what about all the cows? Would we introduce domestic cattle, sheep, pigs etc back into the wild? Start breeding them with wild species, start introducing them slowly? Leave them to fend for themselves? I ask you, is that ethical? Is that fair?

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Livestock photos © Grey Feather Photography
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5 thoughts on “Not Vegan, Love Animals

  1. Just want to make a few quick comments:

    The idea that the meat industry (or any other industry) pays little attention to the demand for their products is simply false. You say a few hundred people, which massively underestimates the actual (growing) number of people who abstain from other-animal products, at least in the US. Moreover, you don’t seem to believe the claim you made either, seeing that you later recommend that we reduce our consumption of beef.

    The article to which you refer is describing how we Became human, which is irrelevant to how we ought to conduct ourselves here and now. It’s not saying we must eat meat (in fact, it indicates the opposite). It’s just saying we did eat meat. At any rate, how we got here is a matter of historical interest; it won’t tell us about what can or cannot be morally justified.

    The solution is to stop breeding these beings altogether. In other words, we should stop bringing nonhuman animals into existence.

    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree the solution is to stop breeding for meat, but to stop bringing nonhuman animals into existence? I hope this does not extend to endangered species, conservation projects and dare I say, the family pet?

      Like

  2. I think we should absolutely stop breeding dogs, cats, and other so-called pets (the word is an unfortunate one implying ownership and subordination); that industry is an equally hideous one. But I now want to make a more general point, which is that I don’t think we should bring anyone into existence (including humans). This position is known today as antinatalism, and it would extend to conservation efforts as well. Incidentally, I don’t really see why, as an ethical matter, the preservation of a species is in itself good or desirable.

    Antinatalism, or non-procreation, is an extension of the principle of non-harm, for by bringing someone into existence we necessarily inflict (however indirectly) immense harm and suffering on them, and often unacceptable suffering. Further, nonexistence is not bad at all; no one is bothered by the vastly greater number of potential beings never conceived or born.

    Thanks again

    Like

  3. Thanks for writing back.

    Yes, I think it is better for us (including myself) never to have been born, although this doesn’t mean that suicide is necessarily preferable. There may, for example, be moral reasons not to end our lives.

    I can certainly allow that some things in this world are good, but surely you will agree that some aspects of it are not. What I want to suggest is that the bad in the world fundamentally outweighs the good.

    To make this clearer, consider the past few centuries. Think about all the instances of rape, murder, torture, kidnap, depression, and so on, that no doubt took place within those years. Now consider all the joy, beauty, and happiness too in those centuries. Were the good things worth the bad things? In other words, if you could recreate those years exactly as they were (all the bad and good) and impose them on a new generation (who would otherwise remain in the calm of nonexistence), would you?

    Thanks.

    Like

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