Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beyond Self-Interest: Vegan for the Animals

We've discussed some of the problems with using "the health argument" to promote veganism, including how easily it can lead to many, many more animals suffering.

Another issue is that by promoting self-interest, we don't help bend the arc of history towards justice, but rather, further reinforce selfishness.

Indeed, if we're only concerned with our personal interests, we can be taken in by modern agribusiness' propaganda.

Ginny Messina, Tracy H of Digging through the Dirt, and, of course, Erik Marcus take apart the latest. (Don't drink soymilk while reading Erik, unless you want it coming out your nose.)

Cattle, on average, do suffer much less than birds and pigs. But the idea that animals must be comfortable to gain weight ... well, I'll leave it to the industry to destroy that fantasy:

Bernard Rollin, PhD, explains that it is "more economically efficient to put a greater number of birds into each cage, accepting lower productivity per bird but greater productivity per cage…individual animals may ‘produce,’ for example gain weight, in part because they are immobile, yet suffer because of the inability to move… Chickens are cheap, cages are expensive." National Hog Farmer suggests that "Crowding pigs pays" in an article recommending space be reduced from 8 to 6 square feet per pig.

(For more on "happy meat," please see the Polyface section here.)

-Matt

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