Sunday, January 13, 2008

Excellent point about veg-vangelism

I'm wrapping up Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and she makes an excellent point about people who think they're more ethical/moral because they're vegetarians.

"Globally speaking," she writes" the vegetarian option is a luxury. The oft-cited energetic argument for vegetarianism, that it takes 10 times as much land to make a pound of meat as a pound of grain, only applies to the kind of land where rain falls abundantly on rich topsoil. Most of the world's poor live in marginal lands that can't support plant-based agriculture." If they didn't raise chicken and goats, in other words, many of the poor in many parts of the world would die of starvation.

About vegans in particular, especially a celebrity vegan actress who "dreamed" of creating a safe haven ranch where cows and chickens would live idyllic lives:

"Wait til those cows start bawling to be milked," I warned. "Having nursed and weaned my own young, I can tell you there is no pain to compare with an overfilled udder. We wondered what the starlet might do for those bursting Jerseys, not to mention the eggs the chickens would be dropping everywhere."

She also notes that vegetarianism also kills animals. "Unaccountable deaths by pesticide and habitat removal -- the beetles and bunnies that die collaterally for our bread and veggie burgers are lives plumb wasted."

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