Veganism: The Steaks Are High

Annoying: Jack Coles on the extremities of political veganism

Let’s just get one thing out of the way first. Three of my closest friends are vegans; one of them is my best friend from my hometown. I’ve known him for nine years, we’re in a band together, we tag each other in memes, et cetera. By declaring this bias outright I hope that you will trust me more when I say that political veganism is really sodding annoying.

I will admit that a lifestyle that completely avoids cruelty to animals is not without merit – a little less suffering in the world is always welcome, even if the suffering involved is not human in nature. Hell, I’ll even go so far as to say that my vegan friends have encouraged me to reduce my overall meat intake by around 30%. Then there’s all the health benefits to a reduced-meat diet, such as lower blood cholesterol and reduced chances of developing ulcerative colitis.

A lifestyle that completely avoids cruelty to animals is not without merit

Unfortunately, political veganism takes things a bit too far. It’s not enough to reduce your meat intake, you need to cut it out completely (along with eggs and dairy). Don’t want to do that? Well I guess you are technically Satan now. Political veganism is an extreme, like communism, fascism, or even religious dogmatism, where any attempt at moderation is seen as aberrant and must be punished.

A lot of the vegan food substitutes are either prohibitively expensive, tasteless, or common allergens. It’s all very well saying that you can eat nuts and beans for protein, but what if you’re fatally allergic to these things? What do you do then, splice in bacterial genes so you can generate amino acids (and therefore protein) out of atmospheric nitrogen? Or just eat a fucking sausage? That avoids the whole genetic engineering issue for a start.

Political veganism is an extreme… where any attempt at moderation is seen as aberrant and must be punished

Also, I’ve yet to find a vegan substitute that tastes anything like what it’s supposed to substitute; they can sometimes taste alright, I guess, but it’s still completely the wrong taste. This is why I’m a big fan of growing meat from stem cells; it’s more energy efficient than animal husbandry, and it doesn’t directly kill animals. Plus you avoid all those gristly bits.

In short, if you’re vegan then that’s great. You do you. But please let the rest of us live our lives in peace. Telling us how we’re all terrible people is only going to make us go “mmmmmmm” when eating steak in front of you.

A matter of survival: Jamie Cameron on the instability of animal agriculture

We still tend to think of our diets and eating habits in a frame of choice and personal taste. We will be lucky if this luxurious mindset can continue for much of our lives. It doesn’t matter if you feel guilty or not – this is a survival situation. 

Our international food security will likely be assaulted on multiple sides by a host of environmental factors. As it stands, animal agriculture is utterly unsustainable – it is by far the main leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions (51% of emissions). Cows alone produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day, an emission 25-100 times more destructive than CO2 on a twenty year time frame, while meat consumption is only continuing to rise across the world.

Climate change is on course to threaten fresh water sources, with rising sea levels sinking swathes of entire countries, whilst also helping to cause more and deadlier natural disasters. Obviously, we don’t have much of a choice. When at all possible we have to stop eating meat, and ideally go vegan.

It doesn’t matter if you feel guilty or not – this is a survival situation

So what if you’re a troglodyte and you think climate change is a hoax? A regular meat-eater will still use 18 times more land than a vegan for food production, as well as much more fossil fuel and water, while producing far more waste. 1.5 acres can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food. 1.5 acres can produce 375 pounds of beef. This all destroys natural beauty, oxygen-producing rainforests, and the precious biodiversity of the world’s ecosystems.

A single pound of beef also takes 2500 gallons of water to produce. Let’s remember that when we’re sucking on saltwater. Humans drink 5.2 billion gallons of water and eat 21 billion pounds of food each day. Worldwide, cows drink 45 billion gallons of water and eat 135 billion pounds of food each day. As people continue to die everyday from starvation, I don’t think I need to spell out how suicidely insane our eating habits are. I’m also assuming even climate change deniers don’t like dying from the plague. 80% of antibiotics sold in the US are for livestock, and this is contributing massively to super-immune diseases that we have little protection from.

We can either collectively choose a change in diet now, or we can accept starvation and chaos later on

However much one may disregard the twisted mass of suffering of humans and animals that swells each and every day – nobody is going to teach you empathy in a short article – we at least tend to have regard for our own survival. We can either collectively choose a change in diet now, or we can accept starvation and chaos later on. Feel free to disregard all of this if you think its too much of a downer on, like, the general vibe, and stuff.

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