'Progress to a vegan world is happening and inexorable'
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
PETA BOSS SAYS ONE DAY THE ENTIRE WORLD WILL BE VEGAN
THE prolific letter writers, John and Jenny Cameron, have thrown down a challenge to the growing ranks of vegans: prove you are logical thinkers ("Prove the human brain functions properly on vegan diet", April 23). Well, let's check the logic of their challenge.
The Camerons suggest that billions of animals will be wandering the globe aimlessly, sadly nuzzling the locked doors of the abattoirs and dairies, if all animal farming ceases. The unstated premise here is that animal farming will cease not progressively, but overnight.
Realistically, logically, we know that nothing ever happens overnight. You might as well feel sorry for the unemployed tobacco workers and oncologists because, of course, everyone gave up smoking overnight when the links to lung cancer were proven 50 years ago. It just doesn't happen. The progress to a vegan world is happening and is inexorable, but it's not sudden.
What is the logical result? Animals are bred as objects, with the intention of selling them for slaughter. It is insulting to farmers to imagine that they will carry on breeding animals when demand slows and stops - artificial insemination is expensive, and farmers are a tough and resourceful breed - they will see the writing on the wall and move into growing crops.
Where will we find the arable land for these crops, ask the Camerons? We already have the answer: according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), there would be plenty of food for the expected nine billion humans on this planet in 2050 if the 40% of crops produced today for feeding animals were used directly for human consumption. Well over 50% of the Australian continent is used for grazing - 4.2 million square km. Not all of this is suitable for growing crops, but if even 10% were to be converted, we could double our crop coverage. Of the crops we grow now, farmed animals consume twice as much grain as humans in Australia.
The FAO also points out that animal agriculture is responsible for the loss of 13 billion hectares of forest every year - the lungs of our planet - and 66% of the emerging diseases in humans, exacerbated by the increase in bird flues and antibiotic resistant bacteria that develop inside intensive animal agriculture facilities. And that is without even going into the huge greenhouse emissions from ruminants, which could be reversed if the earth was allowed to revegetate the lost forests.
The Camerons point out the illogicality of "humanising animals". No one is interested in doing that. All animals have their own needs and desires, they exhibit joy and pain, devotion and fear. This is what vegans believe: it is illogical, as well as unethical, to breed billions of animals, causing them suffering and then slaughtering them, just to create a product which is bad for human health and terrible for the environment.
SPECIAL PROJECTS COORDINATOR,
More letters to the editor on this same subject:
VEGANS TREAT OTHERS THE WAY THEY WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED
THE Cameron's ask how billions of unwanted farm animals will be cared for if the world goes vegan.(Vegans should just 'back off', The Gympie Times, April 22).
If the world goes vegan it obviously won't happen overnight. As demand for animal products decreases farmers will simply breed fewer animals so this situation will never arise.
In answer to - how can enough vegetable crops be grown to feed the world?
Currently a massive amount of food, including maize, soy beans, oats, millet, wheat and kale, is grown to feed farmed animals. Given that only a fraction of this is returned as meat etcetera this is an extremely inefficient use of food. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the calories that are lost by feeding cereals to animals could theoretically feed an extra 3.5 billion people.
It's interesting that David Collins says vegans need to live by the Golden Rule because that's exactly how vegans do live. They treat others the way they would like to be treated if they were them. They wouldn't want to be subjected to a violent and terrifying death so they don't condemn others to this fate.
Interestingly there was an article about violence in the newspaper (April 26, 2017) and the steps we need to take to curb it.
One of the suggested steps was to start teaching kids about respecting all people from an early age. I've no doubt that if kids were taught to respect all animals from an early age -as opposed to being taught to eat them - violence to animals could also be curbed.
More letters to the editor on this same subject:
REPLY TO THE CAMERONS' QUESTIONS
I'D IMAGINE that Jenny Moxham and Diane Cornelius are quite capable of answering John & Jenny Cameron's three questions ("Vegans should just 'back off'", The Gympie Times, April 22), but I thought I'd have a go as well.
First, if we were to wake tomorrow to find the country had gone vegan then yes, there would be a problem in caring for the animals who would no longer receive any support and care from their owners (who supposedly love their animals?).
But there will not be a sudden, mass shift to a plant-based diet.
The current gradual change will continue. Farmed animals are killed at a very young age so there is a rapid turnover - as little as six weeks for the chickens raised for their flesh. Farmers will simply respond to the reduced demand by breeding fewer animals.
The next two of the Camerons' questions have the same answer - a plant-based diet requires less land to be farmed than does the current animal agriculture. Feeding plant matter to animals then 'harvesting' the animals is grossly inefficient. Studies have found that not only can we feed the world on a plant-based diet but that it is actually the only way we will be able to feed the estimated world population of 2050.
Finally, recognising that farmed animals share many of the characteristics of us human animals is not 'humanising' animals.
The maternal bond is obvious in animals such as sheep, chickens and certainly cattle.
The universal practice of the dairy industry of taking the newborn calf away from his or her mother so that we can take her milk causes great and obvious distress to both mother and baby.