A recent blogpost by a young lady in South Australia unleashed a flurry of words about vegans and their sometimes forceful promotion of their views. You can read it here:
I guess without a record of the original conversation it’s hard to evaluate the truth of this post, but I hope that the vegan concerned didn’t really use such insulting language as is claimed.
That said, I can understand the passion that many vegans express – my wife is a vegan and I have many deep discussions with her about veganism and animal treatment.
The thing of it is that it’s very difficult to argue from a position of care and consideration for an animal if your object in raising it is to kill it for food. In doing so you are not working in the animal’s interests – that is, you claim to have its interests at heart by treating it well until such time as you choose not to treat it well.
Arguing that you kill it humanely doesn’t really carry any weight. Consider for example what it might mean to kill a human being humanely – to what extent is that in the person’s interests, regardless of how altruistically you acted towards that person up to that point.
Regardless, for me the critical issue is pretty simple, so let me explain why I think we can boil this issue down to a pretty simple consideration.
Pretty much all of life consumes other life. And I wouldn’t feel any particular concern at human beings doing that naturally. But when I say naturally, I mean as we lived thousands of years ago. And that is as hunter/gatherers living a natural lifestyle. We trapped and killed what we needed to eat because there weren’t too many other options. Today however, we do something rather different.
Modern people, in Australia and many other nations, have risen above our evolution. We don’t have to do what our natural heritage might demand (see my take on this in my earlier post “Let your pork walk”). Consequently we do NOT have to eat meat to survive. We can quite successfully get all our nutrient needs from other sources. It just takes more effort and thought.
In that light then, meat eating is a choice, not a necessity. Few people in Australia eat meat sparingly for sustenance and nutrition because there are no other options. No, most people eat meat, especially pork and bacon, just because it’s nice. The result is that quite literally millions, if not billions, of animals suffer awfully for our entertainment.
Now, most vegans know this, and they can’t quite see the value proposition in harming animals because we like to. Which is essentially what it boils down to. I think most people know this too, the sad thing is they don’t want to think about it. Vegans do.
Kathy, I don’t doubt your compassion and thoughtfulness in how you raise your animals, and frankly if all you did was raise a few animals to supplement your diet I’d have little disagreement with your views. But I assume as farmers you sell your animals to businesses who serve it up for people as entertainment. Not too many of their customers HAVE to eat meat.
So, I have to say that while I don’t agree with the vegan who allegedly insulted you, I understand why they may have acted that way. They weren’t really reacting to you, but to the bigger problem, the bigger inhumanity, the greater unconscious, unconsidered cruelty.
Personally, I have to sympathise with their point of view – I simply don’t understand why we have industrialised the torture and killing of untold millions of sentient aware beings just because we like their taste.
What I’d like to see is a ban on pig farming (because in Australia it is largely done on factory farms in awful conditions), a ban on killing of lambs and calves (who after all are babies – imagine your own child being treated so), and a far more thoughtful approach to just how much meat we eat (we could all just eat a couple of portions a week if health was the primary concern and completely move away from hamburgers, restaurant ‘experiences’ and so on).
Kathy, I respect your views, but I also respectfully disagree with your position that you are as caring and compassionate towards animals as you say you are. Because when it comes to animals, you simply cannot be compassionate if your end game is to kill them for fun.