Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Some ramblings

Well, it's official, the fall semester is well underway. I haven't written in the blog in a while because I've been using every spare moment to read something for one of my classes. I'm just starting in my journey to earn a master's degree in English. Oh, the things I've forgotten. I earned my bachelor's degree in 1998 so I'm basically playing big-time catch-up. Being back in school is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I was worried the other day at work because I had been asked to attend a lunch meeting that started at 11 a.m. No one would do anything for the oddball vegan, and I couldn't exactly eat lunch beforehand at 10 a.m. I was getting mentally ready to be hungry and miserable for a long period of time. The organizer of the lunch came to talk to me about what I'd be doing at the lunch and made the comment, "I know they won't be serving your preferred cuisine." I responded back (perhaps with a little too much vitriol) with, "I know; it'll be painful." Perhaps it was my bad attitude, but I got a call later that I wouldn't have to attend the lunch. Wahoo! Whining does work. Really, veganism is not simply a preference. This is the core of my ethical beliefs. A vegan is who I am, much like a Jew is Jewish. Really, would people make that sort of comment to a person who had a religious conviction? The lunch is pork and the organizer tells the Jew, "I know it's not your preferred cuisine," how would that person react? Would there be grounds for a discrimination complaint? Also on my mind has been this ridiculous argument by meat-eaters that plants have feelings, too, and vegans are wreaking more pain than meat-eaters. Ummm, no. Say the meat-eaters are correct and plants do have feelings, what is the weight of their argument? Not very good. Take cows, for instance. Of all the corn and soy beans that are fed to the cow, only about 20 percent of those calories are available in the animal's flesh. That means, instead of feeding those plants directly to humans, five times as much cropland have to be used to get the same amount of calories from the cow. In other words, you have five times as much plant suffering from the meat-eater, and you still have the suffering of the cow. Being a vegan would actually cause less plant suffering, believe it or not. Plus, we know the environmental destruction being caused by razing of rainforests to clear the way for land to grow crops for domesticated animals. We have far more farmland than we need right now to feed the world a vegan diet. The same can't be said for feeding the world an American-style meat-centric diet.


  1. (I hope it's okay that a non-veg - but one who fully supports the veg lifestyle and actively encourages people to cut waaaay back on meat and dairy - is commenting so much.)

    I'm curious what your response is to people who argue that so many small animals are killed when fields are plowed with big machines, and that's a "waste" of an animal (rather than eating it, it just rots or gets eaten by scavengers), so we might as well eat animals.

    I've heard this a lot lately, and I'm always at a loss for how to respond. My argument is mostly that those animals have led good, normal, healthy, cruelty-free lives up until that point, probably suffer a fairly short death, and aren't being intentionally killed or raised to be killed. But no one seems to buy that.

    Just curious. Thanks!

  2. I think you comments are kool and insightful. Animals aren't dumb. They don't want to get run over. Tractors don't exactly move at high speeds. I would surprised if very many died. I was talking to a man who does prairie restoration, and he says when you burn the fields, the small animals sense the fire coming and get out of the way. The ones that would die are probably the weak ones or the sick ones. They are probably not the ones that would be good for humans to consume. I don't doubt that many die from the use of pesticides, but then, do you really want to eat those animals? I don't hear anyone getting excited about road kill. Most of those animals are organic. Why aren't people clamoring to harvest those animals? The reality is that most people are uninformed about where their food comes from. I wouldn't be surprised if many thought that meat just appears magically in the grocery store. We don't have to eat animals to survive, so why should we have to worry about justifying that diet? The overwhelming evidence is that eating meat and consuming dairy is not good for your health. If you want to put up road kill, it might be ethical to eat it, but do you really have the guts to do so? Most humans I know are pretty squeamish. Small animals from the farm fields? Most of those are field mice. The death of living creatures are not wasted in nature. Their deaths provide for many creatures who depend on that. There's also the issue of the ethical slope. Small horrors build up to be bigger horrors. A serial killer starts with killing cats and other small animals before working his way up to humans. And why not eat humans killed on farm equipment? Wouldn't their deaths be a waste? From what I understand, there's not much difference in taste between a human being and a pig.

  3. The reason that is a silly argument is because the VAST majority of food raised intensively in farms is raised for the SOLE purpose of feeding animals. If we quit raising the food to feed animals, we would kill FAR fewer field mice.

    With the kind of agriculture we do now, farms have become very dead places. We should all be supporting organic agriculture - but only the kind that attempts to cause less abusive to our farmland.