Quote taken from the video at the end of the article.
“What veganism means to me is striving for a better world. It’s being conscious of your actions and the decisions you make. I ask myself, by doing this am I going to harm anyone else or am I going to harm the environment, which is later on going to harm someone else. That’s my thought process in all of this. It’s about striving for a better world.”
Many people want to do the right thing, we want to strive for a better world. Misleading information makes that more difficult, especially when it is misinformation people really want to be true.
There is an argument going around that somehow cattle farming is better than other farming because it does less harm. This argument is completely illogical, as the amazing Emily from Bite Size Vegan so brilliantly points out.
The video will not embed. Please click on the picture to watch the short video on Youtube.
Basically, all you have to do is look at the numbers:
“According to Cornell University Professors David Pimentel and Marcia Pimentel, it takes 13 kilograms (a kilogram is 2.2 pounds) of grain and 30 kilograms of forage to produce one kilogram of beef; 21 kilograms of grain and 30 kilograms of forage to produce a kilogram of lamb; 5.9 kilograms of grain to produce a kilogram of pork; 3.8 kilograms of grain to produce a kilogram of turkey; 2.3 kilograms of grain to produce a kilogram of chicken, and 11 kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of eggs.”
Even if some of the billions of cows we use for dairy and meat are eating grass this is not what most farm animals eat. Their food has to be grown and harvested using the same practices that destroy natural habitats and wild animals living in the crop fields (they have to live somewhere!).
Grass fed cattle is unsustainable long-term and cannot meet the demand. I know this because I live in the Waikato, New Zealand, where at the moment our dairy and meat cows are “free range”. It is a major environmental sustainability problem. The nitrogen that ends up in the waterways is a huge issue, especially its impact on water quality and risk to aquatic ecosystems. [I wrote about this earlier.]
Right now the diary industry is pushing to move into factory farming. The world’s demand for New Zealand milk product is high and people are willing to pay high prices to get it (I suspect because we have marketed ourselves so well).
And just so we are clear, factory farming is being marketed to New Zealanders as better for the environment. [Farmers can control run off and use less land for agriculture.]
”Land is becoming limited; we must now do more with less,” he said. ”We are starting to talk more output per cow, rather than output per hectare. With robotic milking, labour can be diverted to more value-added activities on farm, such as feed production.
[This doesn’t even begin to address the problem of water resources.]
If we are genuinely striving for a better world then going vegan has to be part of that equation. Vegan is a principle of non-violence and of striving to do the least harm possible. You cannot be an environmentalist and not be vegan, otherwise you are going to cling onto irrational ‘moral’ arguments such as Emily dismantles about how grass fed beef is somehow a less harmful option because it justifies your continuing to eat cows and drink their breast milk.