‘Is veganism ethical and practical as virtue-signalled about?’

January 13, 2018

MEAT FREE: “I would make smoking illegal and I would ban the slaughter of animals for food or anything. So I would close down every factory responsible for either and make it illegal to smoke or eat meat. Everyone would be fine, trust me.” – Britain’s Got Talent judge and singer Alesha Dixon. Picture by John V Edwards.

 

DOUBLE STANDARDS: Investigative food journalist Joanna Blythman said this of the vegan lobby’s use of quinoa, lentils and chick peas as super foods: “.The appetite for countries such as ours have pushed the prices up to such an extent that poorer people in Bolivia and Peru, for whom it was once a staple nourishing food, can no longer afford to eat it. In India lentils and chick peas – staples – cost more than chicken in some places.”

NOT RESOURCEFUL: Even if crops such as chick peas (above) and lentils were grown on an industrial basis in the UK, research published in the US-based Elementa journal suggests that vegan diets does not use perennial cropland and would thereby pass up the opportunities to grow more food.

 

BACK OFF: “Definitely DO NOT target the hard-working food producers amongst us, who, in the majority have the greatest respect for animal welfare, strive to produce food to the best of their ability to the highest standards, Would you actively troll a LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) person. No, I don’t believe you would and neither would I, it is their choice. So it is my choice to eat meat and dairy, so bloody respect that please.” – Response from livestock farmer to Alesha Dixon and animal rights activist whose view I put on-line seeking a reaction.

 

 

 

 

WITH the Veganuary campaign in full swing to change people’s eating and consumer habits, more disturbing facts are emerging necessitating the need to put a reality check on it.

The decision to touch this subject again was prompted by a statement by Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon who called for the ban of slaughterhouses, the consumption of meat and the sale of tobacco. Dixon is a prominent figure in show business and is followed by millions of impressionable young people, some of whom may hang on her every word.

‘Smoking and meat eating should be banned’

Dixon told the Daily Mail at the time: “I would make smoking illegal and I would ban the slaughter of animals for food or anything. So I would close down every factory responsible for either and make it illegal to smoke or eat meat. Everyone would be fine, trust me.”

In an article posted by regular Guardian columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in INews, she makes the suggestion that well-intentioned ethics and health-led campaigners of the lifestyle choice don’t realise the unwitting consequences these campaigns are having on those parts of the world where the crops originally come from.

She quotes the prominent food travel writer Joanna Blythman who makes these observations on the impact of what incorporating quinoa, chick peas and lentils has done to the smallholders and farmers in Bolivia and India who actually grow it.

Blythman is quoted from 2013 as saying in the piece: “There is an unpalatable truth for those of us who have a bag of quinoa in our larder. The appetite for countries such as ours have pushed the prices up to such an extent that poorer people in Bolivia and Peru, for whom it was once a staple nourishing food, can no longer afford to eat it.

‘Locals pay less for chicken than super foods’

“In Lima (the capital of Peru) quinoa costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture. In India lentils and chick peas – staples – cost more than chicken in some places.

‘Mexicans can’t afford avocadoes due to vegan fads’

Alibhai-Brown also referred to trip she made to Mexico with her family in 2016 in which she found out that Mexican farmers who grow avocadoes, a staple for infant babies in that country, can’t afford to buy it due to the prices being pushed out of their reach by healthy food outlets.

She also raised the issue of chef Laura Goodman who rather foolishly revealed on Facebook that she served a large number of vegans in her restaurant and ‘spiked’ one of their dishes with cheese, and this provoked a death threat on the platform – surely a disproportionate response. The joke was posted because the party themselves ordered a meal containing cheese.

Crops aren’t grown on grazing land

As someone who went to agricultural college, another important issue in relation to the UK, is how intensive vegan production is practical given how the working agricultural environment is actually set up.

Across Dorset, Somerset and the New Forest there is heathland, moorland and steeped verged hills which is considered grazing, only suitable for livestock and not for commercial fruit, vegetable or vegan production.

Most land in the UK is perennial cropland, this is land that supports crops that are alive year round and are harvested multiple times before dying, including a lot of the grain and hay used to feed livestock.

In some research published on Quartz Media from a journal of the science of the anthropocene called Elementa, scientists conducted a series of diets and how they impacted the environment and they included the vegan diet; two types of vegetarian diet and four types of omnivorous with differing ranges of vegetable content.

‘Land uses drops with meat consumption’

The research they did suggested the average US consumer needed 2.5 hectares of land to maintain their existing diet and this amount of land significantly reduced if meat consumption was reduced and more vegetables were added. Three of the vegetarian diets consumed only required 0.5 hectares and this would free up more land to feed more people.

‘Vegan model doesn’t make use of all available land’

However with the vegan model, more land is wasted that would otherwise used to feed more people, could they have been referring to grazing land? The vegan model does not use perennial cropland and thereby reduces the opportunity to produce a lot of food.

‘Meat-based diets use all crop space’

The five diets that used the most meat used up all the available crop and grazing land and the five diets using the least amount of meat or none at all varied in land use. So in conclusion if these survey results are reflected to UK land resources, due to the rising population and limited space for food production, it is absolutely criminal to reduce food security and sustainability for the UK, particularly given the country’s future given Brexit.

But when I put another view I received on a previous article on vegan content that was similar to Dixon’s on a local rural forum on social media and in which she rejected wildlife conservation, this was a response from an experienced livestock farmer.

‘Don’t disrespect us as hard-working farmers’

“I’m happy for you to choose not to eat cheese or milk or even wear items of animal bi-products, but with all due respect do not try and force it upon others. Do not disrespect meat and dairy consumers by trying to force veganism on us. Definitely DO NOT target the hard-working food producers amongst us, who, in the majority have the greatest respect for animal welfare, strive to produce food to the best of their ability to the highest standards.

Respect my right to eat meat and dairy’

Would you actively troll a LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) person. No, I don’t believe you would and neither would I, it is their choice. So it is my choice to eat meat and dairy, so bloody respect that please.”

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Luke Parker January 29, 2018 at 6:31 pm

Ok I could.pick apart a lot of this but I’ll.just go for the biggest flaw.in the.logic of this article. When your talking about land use for crops your forgetting that most of those crops are used to feed the livestock on the first place. Land that could be better used to grow excessively more crops for human consumption. More crops means more availability which means.lower prices which means more locals can afford their crops. Problem.solved

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