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The Myth of the ‘Ethical Vegan’
Pajamas Media ^ | 10/23/2011 | Ward Clark

Posted on 10/23/2011 6:42:18 AM PDT by IbJensen

Veganism dates back to 1944, when British Vegan Society co-founder Donald Watson coined the term to mean “non-dairy vegetarian.” The Society expanded the definition in 1951 to state that “man should live without exploiting animals.” Vegans eschew animal products in food, clothing, household products, or for any other reason.

There are a variety of reasons why people “go vegan.” Some simply don’t like the taste of meat. Some claim veganism is “green,” and that a vegan lifestyle minimizes impact on the environment.

In 1997, a survey revealed three percent of the people in the U.S. claimed that they had not used animals for any purpose in the previous two years. Rutgers School of Law professor Gary Francione argued in 2010 that “all sentient beings should have at least one right — the right not to be treated as property.”

Do ethical vegans live up to this stated standard? Do their actions live up to their own stated ethical principle, that animals have the right not to be treated as property? Do their actions really result in zero animal use? The parallel in human terms would be slavery, which no rational person thinks is ethically acceptable. Slaves are the property of masters; they live and die at their owner’s sufferance.

Unfortunately for the ethical vegan, the production of their food alone reduces their claim to impossibility. Animals are killed in untold millions, in the course of plant agriculture. Some are killed accidentally in the course of mechanized farming; some are killed deliberately in the course of pest control. Animals are killed, every day. Every potato, every stick of celery, every cup of rice, and every carrot has a blood trail leading from field to plate.

In 1999, while researching and writing Misplaced Compassion, I ran into a rice farmer who posted the following first-hand account on a Usenet forum:

[A] conservative annualized estimate of vertebrate deaths in organic rice farming is ~20 pound. … [T]his works out a bit less than two vertebrate deaths per square foot, and, again, is conservative. For conventionally grown rice, the gross body-count is at least several times that figure. … [W]hen cutting the rice, there is a (visual) green waterfall of frogs and anoles moving in front of the combine. Sometimes the “waterfall” is just a gentle trickle (± 10,000 frogs per acre) crossing the header, total for both cuttings, other times it is a deluge (+50,000 acre).

My own family was involved in corn and soybean farming; our numbers were not that high, but they were not inconsiderable. Pheasants and rabbits are routinely killed in planting and harvesting, and rodents are killed by the thousands using traps and pesticides at every step: production, storage, and transportation.

Rational people know this and don’t worry about it. It’s an inevitable consequence of modern, high-production agriculture. The ethical vegan, when confronted with these undeniable facts, collapses. Their reaction, in almost every case, is to do a rhetorical lateral arabesque into a new claim, that their vegan diet somehow causes “less death and suffering” than a non-vegan diet, a ridiculous and unsupportable argument. A pound of wild venison (net cost in animal death: about 1/120th of one animal) almost certainly causes less “death and suffering” than a pound of rice (net cost in animal death: including rodents, insect, reptiles and amphibians, number of deaths may range into the hundreds). Continued on Next Page -> Page 1 of 2 Next -> View as Single Page Email Print Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size

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1. jd

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Bohemean fellow who became Chancelor of Germany in the ’30s adhere to a Vegetarian Diet? October 23, 2011 - 2:44 am Link to this Comment | Reply eon

Yes, and he had a serious problem with the Fat Guy Who Used To Be A Flying Ace who ran his Luftwaffe. (He was very fond of suckling pig.)

Other “ethical vegans” whose behavior toward humanity wasn’t so ethical included Mao Tse-Tung, Pol Pot, Himmler, Trotsky, Lavrenti Beria, Feliks Dzerzhinsky (yes, old “Iron Feliks” himself), and the recently-deceased Man Of Many Spellings Of His Name, Moammar al-Qadafi. (This is by no means an exhaustive list, either.)

To return to the main subject, ome of the “ethical vegan” crew hold that only “organic farming” is truly ethical, and demand that not only do we all become vegans, but that we must only eat foods raised organically.

To which I say, fine. Considering the low proportional yield of an acre farmed organically compared to an acre farmed by modern methods (been there, done that), that would mean that you would be expecting humanity to get by on (at best) about one-fourth the yield it does now. Meaning, everybody would be farming, and eating, as they do today in Sub-Saharan Africa. That is, inadequately.

Facts are stubborn things, as somebody-or-other said. And they tend to hit the assumed ethical superiority of “vegans” right in the mush.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: vegannuts; vegans; vegetarianism; vegetarians; weareomnivores
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In my personal experiences with vegans I have gotten the impression that they are mostly self-righteous, self-obsessed hypocrites. Veganism seems to be a fake morality that allows narcissists the ability to buy meaningless moral ‘credits’ that they can spend elsewhere in the form of lying, selfishness, or plain meanness. This seems to hold true in general for greenies of all stripes, and lefty liberals.
1 posted on 10/23/2011 6:42:24 AM PDT by IbJensen
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To: IbJensen

I’ve generally found that people who can’t enjoy a steak once in a while tend to be high-maintenance drama queens who think they’re better than everyone else.

Not all, but most.

2 posted on 10/23/2011 6:45:40 AM PDT by RockinRight (My train of thought has derailed.)
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To: IbJensen

Sounds a lot like Prius drivers.

3 posted on 10/23/2011 6:46:34 AM PDT by HenpeckedCon (What pi$$es me off the most is that POS commie will get a State Funeral!)
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To: IbJensen

I’m Vegan By Proxy - the cow eats the grass and I eat the cow.

4 posted on 10/23/2011 6:48:19 AM PDT by Buckeye Battle Cry (Obama - No matter how thin he slices it, it's still baloney.)
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To: IbJensen
Vegans eschew animal products

me too....I eschew and eschew till the meat is tender enough to eswallow....

5 posted on 10/23/2011 6:52:10 AM PDT by Vaquero ("an armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: IbJensen

And most of the Vegans/Macrobiotic people I’ve known are hard core pro-death-abortion-at-any-cost type people as well.

6 posted on 10/23/2011 6:56:51 AM PDT by Vor Lady (Everyone should read The Importance of the Electoral College by Geo. Grant)
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To: HenpeckedCon
Sounds a lot like Prius drivers.

7 posted on 10/23/2011 6:57:51 AM PDT by Vaquero ("an armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: Vor Lady
And most of the Vegans/Macrobiotic people I’ve known are hard core pro-death-abortion-at-any-cost type people as well.

but ‘pro life’ for dirt bag murderers.

8 posted on 10/23/2011 7:01:21 AM PDT by Vaquero ("an armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: Vaquero

I forgot that part; but it’s true, death to babies but not for murderers.

9 posted on 10/23/2011 7:03:50 AM PDT by Vor Lady (Everyone should read The Importance of the Electoral College by Geo. Grant)
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To: IbJensen


10 posted on 10/23/2011 7:07:14 AM PDT by IYellAtMyTV (Je t'aime, faire du bruit comme le cochon.)
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To: IbJensen

Actually, veganism goes back much further. Read the Book Genesis. God seems to know what’s best for us. The Edenic diet.

Too much evidence to prove it’s the healthiest of all diets (Properly balanced). Seventh day Adventists live longer than most and a good percentage follow diet based on Biblical guidelines and yes laws given in scripture. And a weekly Sabbath don’t hurt. Dr. Lorraine Day, a Seventh day Adventist trauma surgeon got cancer. Tried everything was told she would die.

Went back to scripture, claimed God’s promise and a diet of pure veganism (Nothing that came from anything with a face). Long story short......cancer free, and world recognized and respected for her counsel on health, nutrition.

Yep, can’t improve on God. Meat came after the flood of Noah. All the vegetation was dead so God give Noah permission only “clean” meats. (So much for the argument unclean was for Jews only since Noah was several hundred years before any Jew was around).

National Geographic names Loma Linda one of the healthiest communities in the entire world based on their studies of health and living. A small community of mostly Seventh day Adventists and also a world renown Medical school and center.

A few months ago, in a article about healthy living, Newsweek magazine says, if you want to live healtheist....”Live like a Seventh day Adventist.” (You can google the article it’s there)

And then there’s this. If you watch it, imagine, a surgeon in Loma Linda, life long vegetarian, and he “retired” at around age 90.

Adventist don’t shout about their faith, following scripture, still believing in all ten commandments, (Not just 9) nor do they belive in them as a method of salvation, but instead as a standard to live by. (Grace alone through faith alone, protestants through and through).......and they make great doctors, have the world 2nd largest private education system, and are looking for the soon return of Christ. Nothing wrong with lookin for your savior.

Here’s CNN story about Seventh day Adventist and Loma Linda.....enjoy:

P.S. I had my eyes done by Dr. Thomas Tooma in Newport Beach, he did Tiger Woods eyes. Graduate of Loma Linda University, and I could find no better eye surgeon:

11 posted on 10/23/2011 7:10:47 AM PDT by JNRoberts
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To: IbJensen

Good points. There is an element of narcissism to it. Most extremely health-conscious vegan I knew, obsessed for 20 years. Then was diagnosed with MS. You would think she’d keep obsessing, but like a mugged lib, she reversed course and started eating liver.
Don’t know how it turned out for her, we lost touch. But in retrospect, she was a world class narcissist in those days. Except about nicotine!

12 posted on 10/23/2011 7:12:08 AM PDT by Lady Lucky
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To: IbJensen
I tried going on a vegan diet years ago. It didn't work for me. There was not enough protein to keep me going. I would have to nibble almost constantly to keep my blood sugar up and I was too busy raising children to think of myself all the time.
13 posted on 10/23/2011 7:20:14 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: IbJensen

Scientists Prove Plants Feel Pain, Vegans Face Starvation:

14 posted on 10/23/2011 7:21:31 AM PDT by Suz in AZ
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To: IbJensen

The vegans I know are very fond of the most fashionable LEATHER shoes and handbags. The more the better.

15 posted on 10/23/2011 7:21:45 AM PDT by all the best
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To: IbJensen

The Vegetarian Myth : food, justice and sustainability

Interesting book. Just ignore the “over the top Feminism” part if you irritates you. This conversation though - well that I use when people chose to make their “You killer you” statements:

But one post marked a turning point. A vegan flushed out his idea to keep animals from being killed—not by humans, but by other animals. Someone should build a fence down the middle of the Serengeti, and divide the predators from the prey. Killing is wrong and no animals should ever have to die, so the big cats and wild canines would go on one side, while the wildebeests and zebras would live on the other. He knew the carnivores would be okay because they didn’t need to be carnivores. That was a lie the meat industry told. He’d seen his dog eat grass: therefore, dogs could live on grass.

No one objected. In fact, others chimed in. My cat eats grass, too, one woman added, all enthusiasm. So does mine! someone else posted. Everyone agreed that fencing was the solution to animal death.

Note well that the site for this liberatory project was Africa. No one mentioned the North American prairie, where carnivores and ruminants alike have been extirpated for the annual grains that vegetarians embrace. But I’ll return to that in Chapter 3.

I knew enough to know that this was insane. But no one else on the message board could see anything wrong with the scheme. So, on the theory that many readers lack the knowledge to judge this plan, I’m going to walk you through this.

Carnivores cannot survive on cellulose. They may on occasion eat grass, but they use it medicinally, usually as a purgative to clear their digestive tracts of parasites. Ruminants, on the other hand, have evolved to eat grass. They have a rumen (hence, ruminant), the first in a series of multiple stomachs that acts as a fermentative vat. What’s actually happening inside a cow or a zebra is that bacteria eat the grass, and the animals eat the bacteria.

Lions and hyenas and humans don’t have a ruminant’s digestive system. Literally from our teeth to our rectums we are designed for meat. We have no mechanism to digest cellulose.

So on the carnivore side of the fence, starvation will take every animal. Some will last longer than others, and those some will end their days as cannibals. The scavengers will have a Fat Tuesday party, but when the bones are picked clean, they’ll starve as well. The graveyard won’t end there. Without grazers to eat the grass, the land will eventually turn to desert.

Why? Because without grazers to literally level the playing field, the perennial plants mature, and shade out the basal growth point at the plant’s base. In a brittle environment like the Serengeti, decay is mostly physical (weathering) and chemical (oxidative), not bacterial and biological as in a moist environment. In fact, the ruminants take over most of the biological functions of soil by digesting the cellulose and returning the nutrients, once again available, in the form of urine and feces.

But without ruminants, the plant matter will pile up, reducing growth, and begin killing the plants. The bare earth is now exposed to wind, sun, and rain, the minerals leech away, and the soil structure is destroyed. In our attempt to save animals, we’ve killed everything.

On the ruminant side of the fence, the wildebeests and friends will reproduce as effectively as ever. But without the check of predators, there will quickly be more grazers than grass. The animals will outstrip their food source, eat the plants down to the ground, and then starve to death, leaving behind a seriously degraded landscape.

The lesson here is obvious, though it is profound enough to inspire a religion: we need to be eaten as much as we need to eat. The grazers need their daily cellulose, but the grass also needs the animals. It needs the manure, with its nitrogen, minerals, and bacteria; it needs the mechanical check of grazing activity; and it needs the resources stored in animal bodies and freed up by degraders when animals die.

The grass and the grazers need each other as much as predators and prey. These are not one-way relationships, not arrangements of dominance and subordination. We aren’t exploiting each other by eating. We are only taking turns.

That was my last visit to the vegan message boards. I realized then that people so deeply ignorant of the nature of life, with its mineral cycle and carbon trade, its balance points around an ancient circle of producers, consumers, and degraders, weren’t going to be able to guide me or, indeed, make any useful decisions about sustainable human culture. By turning from adult knowledge, the knowledge that death is embedded in every creature’s sustenance, from bacteria to grizzly bears, they would never be able to feed the emotional and spiritual hunger that ached in me from accepting that knowledge. Maybe in the end this book is an attempt to soothe that ache myself.

16 posted on 10/23/2011 7:22:59 AM PDT by NoNAIS (Yet another Government program not needed.)
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To: IYellAtMyTV

See tag line.

17 posted on 10/23/2011 7:23:06 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (At least I have the decency to kill my food before I eat it.)
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To: IbJensen

Most vegan women can be found with leather shoes or purse. Once you note this, bring it to their attention and watch them stammer. If you’re wearing beef, why not eat it?

18 posted on 10/23/2011 7:24:33 AM PDT by Yaelle (Is FR worth one good restaurant meal a month? Then donate that amount.)
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To: IbJensen

the article left out the biggest killer of animals in any non meat diet: habitat loss from farming. that is many times bigger than anything else, and no way around it.

also there is this: if you understand the human body, there are whole armies of cells inside us roaming around hunting and eating other cells. the idea that its “natural” not to have one organism eat another is just ignorant BS.

19 posted on 10/23/2011 7:29:19 AM PDT by beebuster2000
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To: NoNAIS; JNRoberts
Not a bad post, straight Savory if I don't miss my guess.

There are other aspects of grazing in brittle environments of which almost no one is aware. One is that a particular class of rumen microflora, Pseudomonas syringae, is an important sheath bacterium; it coats the plant to protect its sugars from pathogens. That bacterium is both ultraviolet resistant and has an exudate adhesive that is enormously attractive to water molecules. When that bacteria is blown into the atmosphere as dust, it plays an important role in the nucleation of raindrops and ice crystals. Grazing animals alone both multiply and spread that bacterium.

Even more fascinating is that said same bacterium is also capable of precluding the introduction of mold spores on drying fruit. In the ancient world, if mold struck the crop, there was no crop.

Exodus 23:11 mandates the introduction of animals into crop lands during the Sabbath year. The Sabbath for the Land is further described in Lev. 25. What is the promise if you keep it? Lev. 26 promises that if you keep it, "you will have rain in its season and your land will yield forth its fruit."

It's just a coincidence. You heard it here first.

You can learn more here. I am the author.

20 posted on 10/23/2011 7:45:04 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (At least I have the decency to kill my food before I eat it.)
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