For the Love of People: God’s Creatures, too!
I have been reading so many articles on the benefits of going vegan that I have begun to wonder why God created such a variety of animals.
Like most people, I love animals, and I do my very best to be conscious when I purchase products. I always look for cruelty-free, eco-friendly, slave-free, and recycled products. When I first began waking to the facts of how animals have been mistreated and I sincerely wanted to make a conscious effort to change my habits, the search for human products that fit my new standards was laborious. However, I was committed to being steadfast in what I believe is ethical and loving.
Since I began, many new companies have surfaced and are making it clearer and easier to find a range of products that are animal- and eco-friendly. Vegan products are on the rise. A big rise! Plant-based products have multiplied threefold since 2016.1 And the vegan cheese industry is estimated to reach multimillions by the year 2024.2 Just Eat claims that this year veganism is the food trend.3 So it seems that veganism will no longer be a trend but a lifestyle and a natural one.
Veganism, besides the claims of being healthier, is preventing the exploitation of animals, so again I asked myself what will be done with all the billions of livestock?4
Most recently, I read an article about a company who makes delicious vegan mayonnaise and how it has just launched a new plant-based egg substitute (which I am looking forward to trying). The article mentioned how many chickens, in the millions per year, are penned up and stacked on top of one another so that the demand for eggs can be met.
I felt impelled to do research regarding chickens, which led me to discover how many other animals, livestock, are mishandled, penned in, and slaughtered for food. The numbers were staggering!
Per A Well-Fed World, “90 billion” land animals are killed each year for food. And the creatures of the sea fished for human use are in the “trillions.”5 I must admit, those numbers were hard for me to imagine.
Are we consuming that much meat? No! Not really.
The USDA reported that, in the United States, “food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply.”6 That’s close to half! What a waste! It seems like the scale of demand and supply is way off.
If people are making so much demand for food but wasting almost half of it, then it would stand to reason that we need to check and correct our attitude about food with gratitude and become much more conscious about the quantity of food consumption!
But let’s circle back to my question. What would happen to those billions of animals if everyone became a vegan or vegetarian? The number of livestock, if not all of it, would still need to be somehow taken care of or relocated. It would be very difficult for almost all people, to adopt cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, etc., and properly take care of them which includes disposing of their waste. How much land would a person need to care for livestock? It would be impossible especially for those who live in overpopulated cities like Guangzhou and Beijing, China; Mumbai, India; and Manilla, Philippines, or a metropolis like New York City to entertain such an idea. It’s difficult to persuade people to adopt dogs and cats, let alone livestock.
In addition to that, after a while, would plant-based companies rapidly be asking consumers to cut back on eating their products because they could not keep up with the demand? Earlier this year in Kenya, farmers were forced to freeze the exportation of avocados because of shortages.7 And in Mexico, who now exports more avocados than petroleum, to keep up with the demand of avocado exportation, deforestation has been ramped up.8
Is consumers’ food demand driving supply to an unnecessary level which then pushes the farm factories to pack in as many animals as possible, supplying the demand for a greater profit? Or is it just overall greed running this entire gambit?
Is it possible that the idea of plant-based foods and veganism are erupting to create a balanced system? One that will keep the scales in equilibrium?
You may find more information regarding this idea in the article from BBC, “What would happen of the world suddenly went vegetarian?”9
In addition to the passion of vegans fighting for the human treatment of animals, shouldn’t that humane consideration be prevalent in their behavior towards people?
In an article from the Metro News, vegan “extremists” or known as “Vegan vandals” sprayed a sign at a nature park with graffiti.10 And more recently in France, butchers were “living in fear” from attacks, though “small” from vegan extremists.11
Those are not isolated incidents. In 2017, in Berkley, California, vegans intimidated a local butcher shop owner to change their sign which advertised that their business is “humane” to animals. The vegan activists argued that there is no “ethical” way to kill an animal for consumption.11
There are valid points by both sides of this debate but cruelty, whether to animals or people is not the solution.
To imagine all people eating plant-based food and leaving the livestock to keep the pastures perfectly grazed without having to exploit them for human consumption and products sounds ideal and harmonious to me, but I don’t know if that is possible. My hope is that maybe one day, it will be.
1 Millot, Julia. “Plant-Based Products Are Blossoming Quickly.” 1010data. October 2, 2017. Accessed August 13, 2018. https://1010data.com/company/blog/plant-based-products-are-blossoming-quickly/.
2 “Global Vegan Cheese Market - Industry Size, Share, Analysis, Trend & Forecast 2024.” Mynewsdesk. December 9, 2017. Accessed August 13, 2018. http://www.mynewsdesk.com/in/pressreleases/global-vegan-cheese-market-industry-size-share-analysis-trend-and-forecast-2024-2324642.
3 Online Editors. “Veganism Trend Set to Grow in Popularity in 2018, According to Just Eat.” Independent.ie. December 29, 2017. Accessed August 13, 2018. https://www.independent.ie/life/food-drink/veganism-trend-set-to-grow-in-popularity-in-2018-according-to-just-eat-36443713.html.
4 “Counting Chickens.” The Economist. July 27, 2011. Accessed August 13, 2018. https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2011/07/27/counting-chickens.
Please be alert that the information and photos on this website may be disturbing
7 Andae, Gerald, Kimanthi, Maureen Kakah, and Patty Magubira. “Avocado Exports Banned as Price Rises.” Business Daily. January 21, 2018. Accessed August 13, 2018. https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/news/Avocado-exports-banned-as-price-rises/539546-4272600-9gthm2z/index.html.
8 “Mexican Forests Paying the Price for Avocados.” ABC News. November 01, 2016. Accessed August 13, 2018. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-01/mexico-deforestation-for-avocados-much-higher-than-thought/7983012.
9 Nuwer, Rachel. “Future - What Would Happen If the World Suddenly Went Vegetarian?” BBC News. September 27, 2016. Accessed August 28, 2018. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160926-what-would-happen-if-the-world-suddenly-went-vegetarian.
10 Hartley-Parkinson, Richard. “Mean Man’s Sassy Response to ‘extreme’ Vegan Vandals.” Metro. June 16, 2017. Accessed August 28, 2018. https://metro.co.uk/2017/06/16/vegan-vandals-spray-offensive-graffiti-on-nature-reserves-6713745/.
11 Horton, Helena. “Butchers ‘living in Fear’ as Vegan Attacks on the Rise, Says Countryside Alliance.” The Telegraph. May 28, 2018. Accessed August 28, 2018. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/27/butchers-living-fear-vegan-attacks-rise-says-countryside-alliance/.