THE VEGAN ILLUSION
OR HOW CAN YOU BE A VEGAN?
You are vegan because you refuse animal suffering. You made, by this change in your diet, militant act to say that you are not barbaric, that you respect animals, which are sentient beings (who have the ability to suffer). You are going much further than vegetarians to the extent that you refuse all animal foods, eggs, dairy products, because you object to the principle of livestock.
For you, this respect goes through a more general respect for Nature, which makes you usually also refuse conventional farming, because it fights against a large number of animals, "enemies" of crops, be they insects, mites, rodents, snails or other, thanks to the use of pesticides, baits or traps.
You usually obtain supplies directly from farmers when you have the opportunity, and the "organic" shops otherwise.
Here you make a first mistake, because organic farmers have the same problems, are also fighting against the same animals, 'enemies' of crops, be they insects, mites, rodents, snails and others, through the use of pesticides, baits or traps. Many consumers associate organic farming with the non-use of pesticides. This is absolutely false. Yet surveys about perception of what organic farming is scarce. A recent survey shows that more than half of French people think that organic farming uses no pesticides. (in French)
Organic farming uses pesticides whenever the crop management requires, but from natural origin, whereas conventional farmers, in addition to natural products, have the possibility to use synthesis products. So there is a wide list of pesticides allowed in organic farming, which have the same effects and often have the same defects as synthetic pesticides. Except that they are of natural origin.
Are they better so far? No just that they are natural and even not always, in fact. For example we could discuss at length the natural origin of products such as deltamethrin, spinosad, or pheromones, widely used in organic farming, but which is SYNTHESIS is perfectly industrial, and chemical.
You can go see the document http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:250:0001:0084:en:PDF
But I digress.
All that to say that you are buying organic food to stay in your philosophical logic. In this way you make sure that you have no impact in relation to animal exploitation and abuse to animals.
Are you sure of that?
I regret to inform you that you are wrong on this point also. Organic farming uses many byproducts of livestock. And when making breeding, the animals will be milked, shorn, exploited or shot, is not it?
But which by-products are we talking about?
Well, for example, manure, animal well known natural fertilizer whose origin is not in doubt, and which is the basis of fertilization in organic farming. Obviously, manure will be from organic farming, but it is still livestock, with all that that implies and that you refuse categorically.
But manure is not always balanced with plant needs. So you might need to provide trace elements, or amino acids, that's to say nutritional supplements for plants. An effective, economical, and finally very common form to bring all this, is blood. Yes, blood, a byproduct of slaughterhouses. Especially the ox, or poultry or sheep blood, which are not commonly used in human food, unlike pig's blood.
If the farmer needs to strengthen calcium nutrition of his crops, while providing additional phosphorus, he can also use bone meal, another byproduct of slaughterhouses. Bone meal can also have an interesting side effect as repulsive of rodents, which also like organic fruits and vegetables.
We can also talk of biopesticides, with fungicide and bactericidal properties, including one, recently discovered and increasingly used, is chitosan, a natural polymer extracted from shells of crustaceans (shrimps, lobsters, crabs, etc. .), so a by-product of the fishing industry.
How awful! Maybe are you already thinking to take refuge in biodynamic, which, at least, doesn't use pesticides or fertilizers, even organic? That's true, on that point, you are right. Biodynamic is a special farming method, which seeks a balance between crop and environment through specific channels. It's harder to find because the production is very marginal and difficult to implement for farmers, especially fruits and vegetables, but there at least, you are sure of what you will find.
Are you sure of that?
Two of essential biodynamic preparations, without which there is no biodynamic agriculture, since these are the basic elements of the method, are the horn manure (preparation 500), and the horn silica (preparation 501).
Both preparations, as their name suggests, use horns of cows, and in large quantities. In one case, the horn is filled with fresh dung (another byproduct of livestock), and in the other with silica, before being placed into soil for several months, to follow their preparation process, before the extraction of an active principle which is sprayed on crops.
And where do we find horns in large quantities?
In slaughterhouses, I'm afraid ...
Biodynamics uses 6 other preparations for composting. The preparation 502 uses deer bladder, 503 bovine small intestine, 505 skulls of domesticated animals, and 506 cow mesentery. In short, biodynamic agriculture needs a lot of dead animals.
And besides, biodynamic agriculture prefers animal traction on mechanical traction, using oxen, mules and draft horses.
All these organs of dead animals, and physical exertion and possible suffering that is the traction of agricultural tools, are consistent with veganism?
Desperate, you decide to produce your own fruits and vegetables, and all your food, completely natural way, in your garden, at your own responsibility and without any help, to be sure of the origin of what you eat.
Well, first, if you are urban, which is the case of many vegans, an ideology little appreciated in the countryside, you have to change your life. A vegetable garden to feed a family all year round, is not easy to place in a two room apartment in the city center.
Let's erase this inconvenience. You change your life and you move to the countryside.
You are now able to prepare your garden and your orchard! At last!
So you have to pull weeds, to plow, to turn the soil to decompact it, prepare it to make clean way before sowing or planting your future food. But plowing, you will do serious damage to wildlife and microfauna of the place. But, hey, let's say it is a necessary sacrifice.
Plants will have to feed. They will have to take nutrients from the soil. And where did they come from, these soil nutrients? From decomposition of plant remains, and from decomposition of animal remains too. Soil fauna and microfauna live and die, and then are broken down and their mineral contents are made available to the local flora.
Let's erase that other disadvantage, because it is the cycle of life, and humans have nothing to do with it.
When your crops are installed, you observe them with relish. What beautiful tomatoes, potatoes, cereals, zucchini and more! What a pleasure!
Sure, but you're not the only ones watching this marvel of Nature with relish. An incredible amount of animals of all kinds and sizes are interested, such as snails, slugs, rodents, birds, wild boars, deer, aphids, mites, scale insects, the nematodes, beetles, Lepidoptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, Thysanoptera, and more...
You are going to hit another problem:
Either you increase (much) the size of your garden and your orchard, so they give enough food for you, your family and for all the impressive fauna of the place,
Either you're going to resort to traps, bait, repellents and even, even, even ... to pesticides (organic of course).
In short, you have to attack, repel, or even kill many animals.
Life is hard. It is a struggle for food, a struggle for survival.
And I'm afraid that veganism is an illusion, an intellectual movement derived primarily from ignorance of the functioning of Nature.
We are one of the components. The natural cycle necessarily involves, for all animals and all plants, to use life and death of others for its own needs, and to fight every day, step by step, for its own survival and for food competition.
The human being has no way to rule out the use, voluntary or involuntary of animals. It is the law of Nature.
Well, let's be positive, all this does not mean that we should accept animal abuse. Rather, I'm quite in favor of imposing in agriculture, a charter of good practice for animal breeding and slaughter. Several scandals erupted recently and this is unacceptable, but I don't think that the refusal to consume any product or animal by-product is a solution.
It's an illusion. Everyone may accept this evidence or not. But there is no doubt.
Vegetarianism and veganism are followed, with all the good faith of the world, by people who are unaware of the ins and outs, and who are not aware (or refuse to see) that they are primarily a marketing target.
Yes, you are a lucrative market of people willing to pay the high price of the products you believe they are consistent with your beliefs.
You are part of market niches, as well as celiac and allergies of all kinds, giving very lucrative margins to all products without gluten, lactose, sugar, phosphate free, meatless or vegan.
Anyway, I am sure you are fully consistent with your beliefs.
So you have at home,
Nothing made of leather, like sofa, car seats, belt, old books, wallet or gloves,
Nothing made of horn, like comb or old knives,
Nothing made of bristles, like brushes, paintbrushes, fur hat, horsehair mattresses or seats or fur collars,
Nothing made of ivory, or false ivory made of bone,
Nothing made of animal derivatives, such as bladder lampshades, for example.
You don't use any beauty product that contains animal fat.
And of course, you don't have any wool, mohair, merino, shetland, pashmina, alpaca, angora garment, nor leather shoes, pants or jackets, silk blouses or scarves, not to mention, of course, fur coats, needless to say.
Coherence must go all the way. The slightest deviation is a favor made to exploitation and mistreatment to animals.
It is really very difficult to be truly vegan. I would even say that it is almost impossible.
How can one be a vegan?
Since the world is world, humans are omnivore and kill animals for use in almost everything, meat, skin, bones, and viscera for its needs.Come on, be reasonable, a little meat, without excess, well chosen, produced by conscientious and respectful farmers, as fortunately there is a lot, from animals treated well, slaughtered in the best possible conditions, doesn't appear to me as a crime against animality.