A recent blog post from the conservative website First Things makes a point of blaming veganism, and therefore vegans, for their alleged involvement in plant harvesting that kills many small animals, “Plant agriculture causes mass slaughter of mice, rats, snakes, birds, and other animals of the field.” (Source: First Things)
A very important fact left out of the anti-vegan rant, was that an enormous amount of plant crops in the United States (the most productive agricultural nation in the world) are grown to feed farm animals! The three plants using the most farmland for growth and harvesting in America are corn, soybeans, and hay. Over two-hundred million acres are used for these three crops. The conservative author makes the situation appear as if all large-scale plant farming is for human consumption though, and this is not true at all.
“According to the National Corn Growers Association, about eighty percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry, and fish production. The crop is fed as ground grain, silage, high-moisture, and high-oil corn,” says a U.S federal site. (Source: EPA.gov) Soybeans are grown in large quantities, and some are used for human consumption, but about 30 million tons are used each year to feed livestock as well. Hay is used only for farm animals, mainly cattle and horses. Wheat uses about 53 million acres, and most wheat is used for human consumption, so its harvesting does result in the deaths of some small animals, but wheat is not in the top three crops by amount of land used. Also, does the author imply that because a number of small animals like mice, rats and snakes died in farming practices, that even more animals should be killed for human consumption? What bizarre logic and self-serving nonsense.
What else did the conservative blogger get wrong? He said 200 animals per vegan saved a year is a “dumb number” because it is too high, unless it includes shellfish. Then he ignores shellfish in his analysis, but PETA does includes shellfish! So the blogger greatly distorted PETA’s view on how a vegan diet can save animals.
Here is the number of animals PETA said a vegan diet could save:
Roughly 130 shellfish
Nearly half a pig
A little more than a tenth of a cow
Since the U.S. actually consumes over ten billion pounds of seafood each year, it is shocking the blogger left out shellfish and fish. Most of the shrimp are imported from other countries, and shrimp farming can be quite damaging to the environment. So not eating shrimp would also reduce environmental damage, in addition to not killing the shrimp. The same is true of fish, because large-scale ocean fishing often results in the deaths of vast numbers of marine life inadvertently, which is known as incidental catch or by catch.
Another very relevant fact left out is that Bill Clinton has stated his health improved after going on a vegan diet. So a vegan diet is better for animals, better for the environment and better for human health, and yet some people attack it.
Massive animal farms and meat consumption also contribute to climate change, and release large amounts of pesticides, and antibiotics into the environment. Funny how the conservative blogger left out so much important information, eh?
Image Credit: Christian Fischer