I Was Wrong About Veganism. Let Them Eat Meat – But Farm It Properly

George Monbiot
The Guardian, UK

The ethical case against eating animal produce once seemed clear. But a new book is an abattoir for dodgy arguments

This will not be an easy column to write. I am about to put down 1,200 words in support of a book that starts by attacking me and often returns to this sport. But it has persuaded me that I was wrong. More to the point, it has opened my eyes to some fascinating complexities in what seemed to be a black and white case.

In the Guardian in 2002 I discussed the sharp rise in the number of the world’s livestock, and the connection between their consumption of grain and human malnutrition. After reviewing the figures, I concluded that veganism “is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue”. I still believe that the diversion of ever wider tracts of arable land from feeding people to feeding livestock is iniquitous and grotesque. So does the book I’m about to discuss. I no longer believe that the only ethical response is to stop eating meat.

In “Meat: A Benign Extravagance,” Simon Fairlie pays handsome tribute to vegans for opening up the debate. He then subjects their case to the first treatment I’ve read that is both objective and forensic. His book is an abattoir for misleading claims and dodgy figures, on both sides of the argument.

There’s no doubt that the livestock system has gone horribly wrong. Fairlie describes the feedlot beef industry (in which animals are kept in pens) in the US as “one of the biggest ecological cock-ups in modern history”. It pumps grain and forage from irrigated pastures into the farm animal species least able to process them efficiently, to produce beef fatty enough for hamburger production. Cattle are excellent converters of grass but terrible converters of concentrated feed. The feed would have been much better used to make pork.

Read full post at The Guardian

6 responses to “I Was Wrong About Veganism. Let Them Eat Meat – But Farm It Properly

  1. Here is a good video on meat: http://meat.org

  2. Pingback: I Was Wrong About Veganism. Let Them Eat Meat – But Farm It … Eating

  3. You obviously miss the point of veganism completely. And to say you are an advocate of it is ridiculous. Not to mention all of your stats sited here are completely wrong. You still have no right using an animal for your needs or wants. Period.

  4. I am completely with Tony on this one. Though I do think most vegan diets rely WAAAY to heavily on processed foods, as a raw vegan I find your claims hard to swallow (pardon the pun).

    We are still unethically killing other beings, and consuming them is completely nutritionally unnecessary!!! Facts and figures aside, there are still too many other reasons not to eat meat that are not taken into account. Stand your ground. Just because someone makes it a little less statistically outrageous, doesn’t suddenly make it ok!

    • Do you drive a car? Have you ever thought of the animals you have killed on the highway, while getting to work (or wherever)?

      Have you thought of all the animals killed on the highway by trucks getting your vegan food to where you buy it? Not to mention all the trinkets and gadgets such killer trucks haul for your 0ther consuming pleasures.

      They don’t always die quick painless deaths either.

      Well, time for me to be getting to my supper.

      not a vegan

  5. nedlud, thank you so much for your points. I agree that there are MANY things in this world that contribute to it’s demise. The difference is, that I am not consciously choosing to directly contribute to them, and that is why your argument is weak. I may not be able to control an animal being “accidentally killed by a vegetable truck” (and I will indulge your comment despite it’s miniscule probability). But I can control my urge to hang a cow upsidedown and slit it’s throat, cut parts of it off while it is still alive rithing in pain, cook it’s dead flesh and consume it. Though we are not usually held responsible for our choices in life, they all contribute to this world. If you want to change the world start with yourself. Every time you do ANYTHING you have a choice. I chose to make the best possible decisions that I am capable of at any given moment. Eating a plant based diet is the easiest and most accessible way for me to contribute to a happy, more sustainable world, not to mention the health benefits I receive!! Meat is available as one of your choices. If you have all the facts and you still chose to eat meat, that’s great. I support informed decisions. Watch Earthlings and enjoy your supper!

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