Join me for this Food for Thought podcast series that examines what the covid-19 / coronavirus virus means for non-human animals and the habits, laws, and policies that affect our treatment of them. The first episode in the series focuses on wild animals who are poached, farmed, and eaten.
The source for the recent coronavirus outbreak that has led to a devastating worldwide pandemic has been linked to a market in mainland China, where wild animals are sold and killed for human consumption. China has said it will permanently ban the consumption of animals, but many questions remain.
Will this virus put an end to the illegal wildlife trade in China and Southeast Asia?
Will the wildlife farms in China reopen once the pandemic is over?
Will this be the end to live animal markets and wet markets where wild and domesticated animals are sold and killed for meat?
Will China close the loopholes (such as exemptions for fur and Traditional Chinese Medicine) that exist in their bans on wildlife poaching and consumption?
Will good come out of this devastation?
Is there anything you can do to help make a difference?
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?”
“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.
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!
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?
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