Thursday, November 1, 2007

Today is World Vegan Day

Happy dairy cows at Deep Roots Ranch in Watsonville, CA
Photo from ChezPim's blog

Veganism is very polarizing. I'm not going to promote it or inveigh against it here, but I will say that I find it puzzling. It seems like a rational reaction to factory farming and all the disgusting things that are associated with mass dairy and meat production. But the underlying philosophy it espouses of not using animals at all for any human purpose doesn't make sense to me.

This is not because I believe animals are non-sentient milk, meat and egg machines. They're not. They're an integral part of the nutrient cycle that makes it possible for us to nourish ourselves. While it may be possible to farm vegetables without animal inputs, I have to seriously question whether it's better to flood the soil and water with synthetic fertilizers and spray crops with pesticides in order to avoid using animal-based organic matter.

Potting mix derived from dairy bedding for plant starts on an organic farm

In my (admittedly limited) experience in farming, it became abundantly clear to me that without using soil amendments like aged manure, blood meal, bone meal, fish meal and egg shells, you would have either unhealthy and low-yielding crops - or would have to turn to Dow Chemical and Monsanto for fertilizer and seed for plants that can thrive in an environment barren of natural nutrients.

Turning compost composed primarily of horse manure and hay

I wonder how many vegans, who are probably mostly urban- and suburbanites typically removed from any contact with animals except as meat or companions, are truly aware of how animals really fit into the soil food web (groan if you want at the use of this hippie-dippie, but still useful term).

And as for meat-eating and the ethics of that, I have to say I'd trust someone who works with and cares for animals every day to know their animals over someone who eats GMO soy hot dogs to avoid meat.


Bad Wolf said...

Wow. Ouch. Lots of assumptions being made about the vegans here. So a few are vegangelicals and all vegans get grouped together by you and those who listen to each other and give each other permission to take 'em down as idiots; dolts; as Ignorant, Urban, Monsanto loving, GMO meat replacement eaters who know nothing and believe all the same which means, according to you, that animals have no place essentially in the world?

Generalize much?

One extreme or the other?

Vegan bashing is just so PC these days.

Yes, there are stupid vegans... in the same percentage as the general public (including those who write about vegans on the internet). Since vegans make up 1% of the population there's a heck of a lot more stupid people who eat meat than the total amount of vegans.

Considering most of the vegan trash talk is all about validating one's own choices then maybe those are what need to be examined since there seems to be an insecurity about those choices requiring the taking down of others choices to build flimsy support.

Maybe instead of bashing what you fear you could explore it to see why people make those choices. Lots are made with a considerable amount of knowledge and education. I assure you that no force will be used on you to convert. You won't have to become vegan. Only informed.

Wouldn't hurt to also talk to a few of the quieter vegans, which make up the majority, to maybe back up what you're putting out there to the world as what they are since you are defining them. Research is your friend. :)

Kei said...

I seem to have touched a nerve here.
But rather than get into a drawn-out argument about whether or not vegans are stupid (which is not what I said); or whether or not I fear veganism (what would that even mean?), let me ask you this - honestly, do you think it's feasible to feed the billions of people in the world sustainably without animal inputs?
And in the future, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from insulting me on my own blog. That's just common courtesy.

Kei said...

Oh yeah, and thanks for reading!