I’m departing from my usual recipes and cocktails talk today to share some thoughts on inequality, food, and why I believe that veganism can save the world.
Today is Blog Action Day. Every year in mid-October, bloggers all over the world write on a single topic from our own perspectives. This year’s theme is inequality, and it’s a topic that resonates with me in a big way.
As you probably know, I edit/site direct at a bunch of different websites. Those sites participate in Blog Action Day every year, but over here I don’t always jump in. I feel like the vegan community has a rep for being preachy, and I try to contrast that with a positive focus on the deliciousness of veganism rather than the somewhat darker “why” behind a vegan lifestyle.
Today I’m going to talk a bit about why veganism is important to me and the impacts it could have for animals and for humans. Don’t worry! We’ll be back to boozin’ tomorrow.
How Veganism Fights Inequality
When I first began thinking about this topic, I landed on the obvious inequality angle: we consider animals to be less than humans. How else can we justify killing and eating them? Or forcibly impregnating them and stealing their babies?
Even within the world of animal agriculture, there is rampant inequality. Male calves, for example, are useless to the dairy industry. Those babies live in horrible tiny veal crates. They cry for their mothers.
Roosters also have it rough, since the egg industry doesn’t need them. For every happy backyard chicken, there’s a dead male chick. Possibly a bagful that was tossed into a dumpster like trash while they were still alive.
These things happen on small, organic farms and large factory farms alike. The old “there’s no such thing as humane meat” slogan may seem trite. Vegans fall back to that, though, because it’s true. Any system based on inequality is inherently inhumane.
But that’s just the start. Veganism has power to fight inequality in another important part of our food system. Because animals aren’t the only beings who suffer.
We live in a world where children go to bed hungry every night. Even in the U.S., where you might not think hunger is a serious issue, people are having a hard time affording food for their families. Much less fresh, healthy food.
But what does that have to do with veganism?
Raising plant-based foods is efficient. Instead of using land and water to raise poor-quality grain for animals, we could be using that land and water to grow grains, beans, fruits, and veggies for people who need them. Veganism protects animals and streamlines our inefficient food system. In fact, a 2013 study found that we could feed four billion more people worldwide if we stopped eating animals and animal products.
I think that veganism is inextricably tied to a passion for equality that goes beyond animal rights. When you rethink your relationship to animals, I think you naturally open your heart to inequality everywhere in our society. Veganism is about compassion, and we could use a bit more compassion right about now.
Vegan activism can take a lot of forms. I tend to lean toward the “bake it and they will come” approach, but I think it’s important to speak our minds every once in a while too. If you made it this far, thank you so much for sticking with me while I spoke mine.