DO VEGANS CARE MORE ABOUT ANIMALS THAN PEOPLE?
The "author" claimed vegans are hurting people instead of animals. The author is quoted as stating "vegans care more about animals than brown people who are being exploited to grow crops". I am not happy with their choice of phrasing- at a time where there is so much righteous anger, pain, injustice and division- it is a low blow. But I want to break this down because all of this is incredibly important. Though part of me is amazed at the length people will to go to, to avoid feeling bad about what they are eating. By that logic it means omnivores would not care about anyone, people or animals. That can’t be it.
The author ignited a critical social issue I want to give fair voice to. I researched this as if trying to prove the authors point because vegans of all people do not want to be directly complicit in the exploitation of any life, animal or human.
Here is what I found, “Farmworkers continue to be the some of the lowest paid, least protected, and unhealthiest workers in the United States. Migrant farmworkers travel from place to place to work in agriculture and move into temporary housing while working; seasonal farmworkers work primarily in agriculture, but live in one community year-round. There are two to three million farmworkers in the United States. The states with the highest farmworker population are California, Texas, Washington, Florida, Oregon, and North Carolina.” (Source)
I was going to provide statistics on how the percentage of “migrant” farmworkers are decreasing from 42% in 2001 to 17% as of 2012 but no need, this is what it is and people need to be aware. It is important to appreciate this fact, and not take for granted that this requires an even more fervent resolve to know where your food is coming from, and to address the exploitation of migrant workers. See how to campaign for migrant workers Here
(Disclaimer: if I see ONE comment so much as uttering the word 'undocumented' or 'illegal' I will ban you from this page for life. Life I say! Bonus rant; shame on anyone who thinks some people deserve more or less depending on where they live, or where they were born, or any other erroneous misplaced reason. To help anyone who truly has this mentality here is a guide with pictures on how to get compassion)
On the note of where things come from, this is an important "awareness creating opportunity"! We are a country of consumers who give little, if any, thought to this. We think everything came from happy people treated well, the same way we were fooled by the dairy industry to think milk is coming from happy cows out in a green grass field. But that is a fairy tale. The truth is most merchandise likely had a long journey crossing many sore hands before making it to a shelf. Just as 96-97% of animal products came from deplorably tormented, abused, exploited and suffering animals.
Just look at cell phones, cell phones and electronics are made from materials (such as coltan) mined in countries like Africa using forced child labor. Did you know Apple admitted to the use of child labor? (see here) This same consciousness shattering truth carries a long list of commodities resourced, and produced by, the explicit forced labor of children; bricks, carpets, coal, diamonds, blueberries, cotton, garlic, garments (clothes) which is why it is not cool to just buy clothes for one season just to throw them away. The list goes on, see the list here.
The author of the post claimed that “people are starving in Africa so that white rich vegans can eat quinoa”. First off, the percentage of vegans in the US is 0.5%. Statistically, the probability of seeing a top darts player finish a 170 checkout in three darts is 0.5%, whereas the probability of seeing a vegan in the UK is smaller at 0.3%! Vegans total roughly 1 million people in the US. Significantly insignificant: except to the animals spared.
Veganism is not a lifestyle of the rich and famous. I have saved on groceries, by half, by getting rid of meat products, dairy, and processed foods in general. Canned fruits and veggies are great, I buy frozen, and at the market fresh when in season. Doing a vegan diet on low income is a challenge but not impossible. (See more on that here). As well as vegan diets on a budget here and here.
As far as quinoas rise to fame due to being a plant that contains all the essential amino acids (like a piece of steak) this is a trademark of gluten-free diets, omnivores, and vegans alike. In Bolivia and Peru the crop became a lifeline for some of the poorest- in what are some of the poorest regions- of South America. See more on quinoa here.
World hunger is an issue close to my heart, along with its causes which can be complex- but should not be- when considering each year 2.6 million children die as a result of hunger-related causes. This was my initial reason for boycotting factory farming. The realization that my previous meat consumption was directly connecting to children starving was heartbreaking and to this day, it brings tears to my eyes. It makes me sick every day, as I constantly keep this in mind, and I don't ever want to forget that fact. The vast majority of the world's hungry people live in developing countries, where 13.5 percent of the population is undernourished. Bringing into context some of the preconceptions about privilege on a global scale. (source)
“In 2011, 883 million tons of corn, and 260 million tons of soybeans were grown globally. However, on average, 40-50% of that corn, and 80% of those soybeans are fed to farmed animals. In 2013, scientists from the Institute on the Environment and the University of Minnesota published a study examining agricultural resources (including meat, dairy, and egg production) and the dilemma of world hunger. **The scientists reached the conclusion that if all food crops were fed directly to humans instead of animals, around 70% more food would be added to the world’s supply, which would be enough to feed 4 billion additional people. That sudden surplus alone would be enough food to feed over half the humans on earth, let alone the 9,000 children (source) who starve to death each day.**
It has been proven that there is enough food on earth to feed every last man, woman, and child. Yet, if this is the case, why do people around the world continue to starve? The answer to that question lies in large part with the production of animal-based foods, such as meat, dairy, and eggs. Even though there are enough plant-based foods grown to feed the entire human population, the majority of crops (including those grown in countries where people are starving) are fed to livestock for rich nations, and since the amount of animal-based food, produced by the farming industry, is much less than the amount of plant food put into it, there is a “diminished return on the investment,” the food supply dwindles, and humans end up going hungry.” (source)
It conserves water, “more than 70 percent of the earth’s fresh water is used in agriculture of plants and animals: it takes 100 to 200 times more water to produce a pound of beef than it does to grow a pound of plant foods.” It saves energy, “a Cornell study found that producing animal-based protein requires eight times more fossil-fuel energy than creating plant-based protein.” It clears the air and prevents deforestation, “a report by the UN concluded that animal agriculture is a larger contributor to greenhouse gas than all forms of transportation. And speaking of the previously mentioned issue of deforestation, when rainforests are cleared to create livestock pastures, carbon is released into the air.”
Vegans are not by and large a group who neglect their research. Not on anything. We are not rich and you don't have to be. Many of us buy produce from local farmers, public markets, we read the labels and as often as possible check out how companies behave; morally, socially, and environmentally. We do this because 56 billion animals are sacrificed to dinner plates every year. 56 billion. "People don't have a strong intuitive sense of how much bigger 1 billion is than 1 million. 1 million seconds is about 11 days. 1 billion seconds is about 31.5 years." (Paul Franz)
This is not some fad. The willpower it takes to do this would test most people. No one is perfect. BUT to take the act of selfless abstinence from what vegans see as death, and to instead choose life, and turn that into a race issue, or blame vegans for starvation while food scarcity and world hunger could be solved 8 times over from the grain fed to cattle in privileged countries so the citizens of rich countries can have steak and burgers and cereal. That is a malicious and counterproductive attack.
I do not write this to get anyone to convert. Veganism is not a religion. Being a conscious consumer is the answer. We can’t cherry pick, we have to care about all of it, not just what's convenient. Vegans are trying to do something of peace, an act of not just saying we care but showing it. We each need to boycott, disrupt and dismantle every system of exploitation and oppression- this includes that of our animal friends. The exploitation of people, animals, and earth resources is all of our problem. That needs to be our job and our collective focus. Please research and question what you think you know. In an age of information, ignorance is a choice. Through caring and seeking, we can find the truth and use our awareness to be something better in this world.
Check our the good work the people at places like Edgars Mission Farm Sanctuary for rescued factory farmed animals are doing, it will warm your heart and make you reconsider what we think of our dinner. Also check out vegan outreach
For those who may need a wake up call here is a 5 min video explaining dairy industry (warning, this is graphic content)