Thursday, September 08, 2016


Often I will see questions or statements like the following on forums and discussions. Here is what I think about them.

Q: You are a hypocrite if as a vegan you use an iphone or laptop or drive a car or... enter whatever other..

This is basically the similar to the question or statement - why do anything, since one cannot do everything. Everyone is a hypocrite in one way or the other. A person or an issue can have a higher priority for some while the same issue can have a lower priority for the other. A family member will have a higher priority than someone else. Most issues or problems are not really comparable. They are all either connected in some way or are completely different. As a vegan, a person is trying to tackle One of the problems of animal exploitation and commodification. During the life as a vegan- human, many of the connected issues might surface as well, they might be better understood and actions might be taken. LGBT, women's rights, child labor, cheap labor. Many of these are tied together by the concept of rights and equality.

I digress. For the above question, Sometimes it also helps to look at the scale of the problem. People buy Consumables like electronics once in a couple of years. Not all people buy or use the products however. They might come from factories where laborers are exploited. In comparison, one eats animals and animals products a few times daily which leads to 59 Billion animals being killed per year. 59,000,000,000 animals per year, 161643835 per day, 6735159 per hour, 112252 per minute, 1870 per second. If one doesnt want to think of the animals at all, Factory farms also count for incredibly high rates of worker exploitation.

Another point to note is the demand and availability of alternatives. As a vegan, one can omit all animal and animal products and eat well on plants, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. With constant demand, now there is also a huge collection of alternatives to animal products, non dairy milks, fake meats etc. With increasing demand and pressure the factories and exploitation of works in any of the electronic consumables industry will go down or alternates will surface.

Do what one can do, instead of pointing out xyz that someone missed in the bigger picture of actions. For eg, If someone sees a neighborhood kid being abused, they might do something, from taking pictures to document, to calling 911, to intervening then and there, anything. Now would you go upto that person who is helping and say - hey man, you are hypocrite for saving that kid, coz you know, you have an iphone, or man millions are dying in another part of the world. So whats the use really?

The use is that that kid that got saved. The use is that that dog that was adopted from the shelter, his life changed completely. The use is that that animal who did not die to be on someone's plate.

Q: What about insects, animals dying during farming because of pesticides, or side effect of agriculture (machines, processing etc)

Vegan-ism is about reducing suffering and exploitation of animals as far as possible. There is a sideeffect of some number of living beings getting hurt or dying because of huge operations in many industries. As far as farming is concerned, the world would need far less farm land, resources and food production to be done if everyone just ate plants. Animal agriculture uses 100s or 1000s of times more plant food to sustain the animal, and produce animal based food. That means 100s of times more farms and 100s of times more side-effected animals getting hurt as a result of more farms. We are currently growing enough food to feed more than 10 billion people, but most of it is fed to farm animals being raised for food. 

The World Bank estimates that 91% of the land deforested in the Amazon since 1970 has been cleared for grazing. Raising cattle for food requires far more land than growing plant-based foods directly for consumption. It also is a substantial contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than all of transportation according to the UN.

So in all, 100s times less number of animals will have to suffer to make plant food for the population.

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