Tag: affluence

I Can’t Be Vegan. I’m Mexican…I’m French…I’m Irish…

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We often hear that being vegan is incongruent with being…well, name it. I can’t be vegan, because…I’m Mexican, I’m French . . . My family is Puerto Rican. I have Italian blood . . .I come from Irish stock. You get the idea.

MOST cultures have a history of heavy meat- and/or dairy-consumption, particularly as they became wealthier and more industrialized. (Although if you go back far enough, plant foods played a more significant role than they do now).

Food IS a unique expression of culture, but we have to ask:

“Is my cultural heritage reason enough to not make some changes that are in alignment with my current values?”

and

“Are there other ways I can celebrate my cultural heritage while still honoring my desire to be vegan?”

After all, despite meat, dairy, and eggs being prevalent in many cuisines, so are plant foods.

With a vegan’s-eye view of the world, we can just as easily and legitimately celebrate our family history and cultural traditions through the vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, lentils, fungi, herbs, and spices that characterize the cuisine of our heritage—whatever that heritage might be.

(Tired of Excuses? Take The 30-Day Vegan Challenge today!) 

Cows Aren’t Killed for Milk, So What’s Wrong with Drinking It?

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?Cows are absolutely killed for their milk. I can’t say this enough: There is no such thing as a slaughter-free animal agriculture system. ⁣

A cow’s life is only as valuable as the amount of milk she is able to “produce”; when she is no longer “profitable,” she is killed. ⁣

It is simply not economically viable to feed, shelter, treat, and house animals for the rest of their lives and generate no profit in return. ⁣ ⁣

Whether she is used on a small farm, an organic farm, a “humane” farm, a “family-owned” farm, an artisan farm, a whatever-it’s-called-farm, she is killed. ⁣ ⁣

Cattle have a natural life expectancy of 15 or 20 years, but dairy cows are sent to slaughter at about 4 to 5 years young. ⁣ ⁣

We have no physiological need to consume the milk of another animal. But don’t we have a moral obligation to not cause suffering when we can avoid doing so? ⁣ ⁣

We can still enjoy creamy, delicious milks made from plants — that don’t come with inevitable suffering, slaughter, and environmental degradation.

(Tired of Excuses? Take The 30-Day Vegan Challenge today!) 

If People Stopped Eating Animals, We’d Be Overrun with Them

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If we stopped eating animals, we’d be overrun with them, and THAT would be a disaster for the environment! It’s a disaster for the environment now. We don’t have to imagine some future where there is an overpopulation of these animals. We already have an overpopulation crisis — now!

We’re already overrun with chickens and pigs and turkeys and cattle. The only difference is that in this real scenario, all of the animals are hidden in cages, windowless buildings, transport trucks, and slaughterhouses. In the hypothetical scenario, they’re running around on the streets.

And the ONLY reason this hypothetical scenario is as frightening as it is — billions of terrified animals running around — is because there are BILLIONS of terrified animals are confined at this very moment. THAT’s scary enough.

The concern about them “ESCAPING” wouldn’t be a concern if we weren’t imprisoning BILLIONS OF THEM now. Once we stop artificially inseminating these domesticated animals (i.e. stop eating them day in and day out!), there will be fewer of them.

We shouldn’t be afraid of a hypothetical dystopian future! We should be afraid of our very real dystopian present. Sooo…for everyone contributing to that…you know what you need to do!

(Tired of Excuses? Take The 30-Day Vegan Challenge today!) 

How to Save Animals From Humans

On “World Wildlife Day,” I thank you for sharing this post!

The animals who live among us are part of our communities; they’re residents and contributors — not outsiders or intruders. Every animal whose space we share — the deer, squirrels, bees, and birds to the foxes, skunks, rats, and raccoons — face challenges that threaten their very survival every day: noisy leaf-blowers and unleashed dogs, speeding cars and light pollution, habitat loss.

Biological diversity is declining at alarming rates, and since the underlying cause is easy to identify (human behavior) the underlying solutions are equally apparent.

A few changes can make all the difference. We can:

*Change the way we talk about them, emphasizing their rightful role and place in our communities.

*Stop planting non-native landscapes. Animals can’t survive without the plants they co-evolved with.  

*Give plant-eaters a break. Newly planted trees and shrubs WILL be tested by hungry deer, but keeping new plants protected for the first few years means they can withstand a little nibbling once they’re more mature.  

*Stop poisoning rats. If not because there are non-lethal ways to deal with uninvited critters in our homes, then because rat poison hurts everyone in the food web.

*Create wildlife corridors to allow animals to move freely through our yards without risking the dangers of the road.

Everything we do has an impact on something or someone else. It’s not that we CAN make a difference in this world. It’s that we DO make a difference. The question is: do we want that difference to be negative or positive?

Animals Would Go Extinct If We Stopped Eating Them

This is something I hear a lot. Here’s my response. (THANK YOU FOR SHARING!) 

CHICKENS, COWS, AND PIGS WOULD GO EXTINCT IF PEOPLE STOPPED EATING THEM. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT, VEGANS AND VEGETARIANS???

Hang on. Do you mean the factory-made, domesticated breeds exploited by the meat, dairy, and egg industries to maximize profits and feed our voracious appetites for animal flesh and fluids and who as such are not part of any natural ecological system?

Um, yeah as someone who cares about ANIMALS and the tens of thousands of species who ARE threatened, I would have no problem with a few Frankenstein-like breeds going away (the Angus breed of beef cattle, the Beltsville white breed of turkey, the Holstein breed of dairy cow, for instance).

Their wild ancestors were part of the natural world — the wild cattle, boar, chickens, goats, sheep, and wild turkeys — but we took (and take) that away from them, twisted their genes, creating breeds to make these animals grow larger and produce faster than their skeletons and organs can support. We hunted many of them to extinction, and we took away their habitats.

All so we can have an abundance of meat, dairy, and eggs every minute of every day. If you need to find a culprit in the extinction of SPECIES, look no further than animal agriculture. Not vegans.

Weren’t Animals Were Put Here for Humans to Eat?

This is something I hear a lot. Here’s my response. (Feel free to hit the share button!) 

How is that even possible? Other animals were here long before us. As a species, Homo sapiens has been around for only about 300,000 years, and for thousands of years we were happy meals for the predators who were here first. We were not then and are not now some special species that isn’t part of the natural order of things. We simply figured out a way to game the system.

But more than that: nobody was “put” here for anyone else. All forms of life owe their existence to the slow, gradual process of evolution by natural selection and random mutation. And we are NOT where this ends.

Finally, the various breeds of animals we eat today also weren’t “put here.” We created them through genetic selection, domestication, and artificial breeding. We’re the ones who play God, but then we deny responsibility by saying that some other creator made them just for us. We need to own what we do so we can change what we do. It’s in our hands — nobody else’s.

What do you think?

Are Avocados Vegan (Since Bees Are Used)??

Ever since this ridiculous clip from (one of my favorite shows), QI, the Internet has been abuzz!

The fact that there has been so much buzz around whether or not avocados and almonds are vegan (because migratory bees are used to pollinate them) reveals two things: that vegans haven’t done a very good job clarifying what “vegan” means and that non-vegans love to play the gotcha game. 

First of all, there isn’t a vegan overlord deciding what’s vegan and what’s not vegan; second of all, imperfection is built into begin vegan, because we live in an imperfect world.

In the 20 years I’ve been vegan, I’ve been drinking water that has most likely been filtered through animal bone char; I’ve been eating organic produce that has been grown using animal manure, bone meal, and blood meal; I’ve been buying wine and fruit from purveyors that most likely kill birds and mammals to protect their orchards; and I’ve been eating crops — namely avocados and almonds — pollinated by migratory honeybees…and none of it makes me less vegan. 

The idea that we should do nothing because we can’t do everything is illogical and self-defeatist. So what? Should I eat foie gras because my organic kale was grown in soil amended with chicken manure? That makes no sense. There’s a lot we can’t control in this world, but there’s a lot we can. Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything. 

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

Doesn’t Bee-Keeping Supporting Declining Bee Populations?

We all know about the decline of bee populations around the world, but we’re thinking about the wrong bees. There are more than 25,000 bee species globally, but when most people think about bees, they tend to think only of the European honeybee, a species that has been domesticated for crop pollination and honey production — a species not native to the U.S.

We cultivate honey bees just like chickens, cows, and pigs, and like all agriculture animals, their high population is a harm to wild populations: they compete directly for nectar and pollen, transmit diseases, and push wild bees out of their native areas.

Well-intentioned though it might be, keeping honeybees and managing beehives does nothing to protect wild pollinators and actually make it worse for them. Scientists who study bees say it’s like farming chickens to save wild birds.

A lack of flowers is one of the main factors behind the decline in bee populations, so if you want to help bees, forget about beekeeping and honey. Rather: create bee habitats: plant pesticide-free, bee-friendly gardens filled with a VARIETY of pollen- and nectar-rich NATIVE plants.

Please share this and let me know your thoughts. 

Is Sugar Vegan?

I swear this question is asked more by vegans than non-vegans, but you asked, so here is my answer.

Meat, Dairy, and Eggs Are Products of Privilege

Meat, dairy and eggs have always been products of privilege and symbols of affluence, affordable only by the wealthy and denied to the poor. Health-wise that’s good! In less affluent populations where meat is be served in small portions and they eat mostly plant foods, they don’t suffer from what experts call “diseases of affluence” (atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes). The richer the country, the more animal products they eat, the more prevalent these diseases.

Even with government subsidies keeping animal products artificially cheap, whole plant foods are still more affordable than animal products. Convenience foods are more expensive whether they’re vegan or not vegan because you’re paying for convenience.

It’s only because of factory farming and government subsidies that most people can afford to eat every day what are – in fact – very expensive things to produce, and for this cheap “food” we’re paying huge costs — in terms of our health, the Earth, the animals.

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