Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Veganism Is Murder

That is the title of an article by Wesley J. Smith of the Discovery Institute:
...Listening to animal-rights activists bray on about the wrongness of slaughtering animals for food — summarized in their advocacy phrase “meat is murder” — one would think that the choice we have is between a diet in which animals are killed and a strictly vegan diet involving no animal deaths.

But life is never that simple: Plant agriculture results each year in the mass slaughter of countless animals, including rabbits, gophers, mice, birds, snakes, and other field creatures. These animals are killed during harvesting, and in the various mechanized farming processes that produce wheat, corn, rice, soybeans, and other staples of vegan diets. And that doesn’t include the countless rats and mice poisoned in grain elevators, or the animals that die from loss of habitat cleared for agricultural use.

Animal-rights activists certainly don’t mention this inconvenient fact in their advocacy materials. But if the matter comes up in debate, they have a problem: They believe it is “speciesist” to grant some sentient animals — including humans — greater value than others; as PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk so famously put it, “a rat, is a fish, is a dog, is a boy.” Thus, they cannot contend that it is more wrong to kill a pig than a rabbit. Nor can they argue that field animals experience less-agonizing deaths from plant agriculture than food animals do from food-animal slaughtering. Field animals may flee in panic as the great rumbling harvest combines approach, only to be shredded to bits within their merciless blades; they may be burned to death when field leavings are burned; they may be poisoned by pesticides; they may die from predation when their plant cover has been removed.

...Contending that meat eating is somehow murder while veganism is morally pristine because it doesn’t result in intentional animal deaths is factually false and self-delusional. No matter your diet, animals surely died that you might live.
Read the whole thing.

Something to think about over your salad.

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SnoopyTheGoon said...

Bravo! With you all the way to the steakhouse ;-)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the "points" raised by Mr. Smith are not anything original, nor does he actually come to any useful conclusion. In addition the comment that follows your excerpt (about heading to the steakhouse) is laughable as well. When will people realize that EVERYONE makes these jokes and they shouldn't be considered funny to anyone ("omnivore" or vegetarian). They are actually so old they are literally moldy.

I would like to state for the record that I am a happy and healthy vegan and I am NOT a PETA supporter. I do not respect their practices, nor do I feel that they speak on my behalf. I wish that it wasn't always assumed that PETA is some sort of complete voice on the issue, merely because they speak the loudest.

In any case, veganism is not just about reducing animal cruelty, though I'll admit it is a major modivator for many. People fail to recognize the win-win situation that presents itself if you were to look at veganism within the big picture.

Ideally veganism is never about perfection. No intelligent vegan should say that their life is 100% cruelty free. It is important to do your best. This means avoiding suffering wherever possible. Any person can go insane even attempting to discover all the bits of suffering they inflict on the world and it's animals. The truth is, no one can avoid suffering entirely, but that doesn't mean we should just do nothing and just laugh all the way to the steakhouse (thus finding our own apathy and selfishness amusing). Every human on this planet, should feel as though it is their duty to try their best to avoid any kind of negative impact on the world.

Have a look at the UN report about "Livestock's Long Shadow" (http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.htm) and you can see in plain facts of the effects that animal agriculture currently has on the planet. In short, industrial lifestock production is more responsible for global warming then all the cars, trucks, planes, etc., in the world, combined.

Check out the report done by Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/reports/2005/usa0105/usa0105.pdf) that discusses the human rights violations presented by the factory farming industry in the US.

This is just two reasons that being any omnivore is damaging to the world around us. I really hope that people don't plan on taking things at face value and will do some of their own research.

Anonymous said...

The basic problem with the "Veganism is murder" argument is that animals need to eat too. It takes a lot of animal feed to produce a bit of meat. Therefore, if you eat meat, far more animals need to be killed so that the livestock can be fed. Veganism might not be murder-free, but it's a huge reduction in the amount of suffering.