Today, November 1st, is World Vegan day, leading to the question, are they anti-farming?
Veganism is the latest fad to dominate the food industry and the world, with many choosing the meat and dairy-free diets as what they feel is a healthier alternative. Many vegan campaign groups have voiced their opposition to agri-food advertisements recently, but does this mean they are anti-farming?
In the UK alone last year over 1% of the population had switched to an all-vegan diet, with that number steadily on the rise. Last year there were only six vegan restaurants in Ireland, though this number has increased and is expected to increase further in the coming years.
Some vegans do it for their health, while others have made the choice because of animal welfare reasons. Each day the divide between vegan and non-vegan groups is growing, with more and more animal rights campaigns being held every day.
Farmers and vegans have been rubbing shoulders over the issue a lot recently, with meat and dairy production the prime targets for criticism from the vegan sector. This has led to the developing of an “us versus them” attitude. But when vegans eat a primarily plant-based diet, then how can they be so against agriculture?
It’s farmers who grow the vegetables which make up the majority of a vegans diet, it’s the agricultural industry who mass produce these fruits and vegetables. Therefore, is it fair the agricultural industry takes the brunt of the blame?
Some vegans, it must be said, have no issue with livestock rearing and other farming methods. They made the change just because they felt it was a healthier way of living. But most of vegans began their lives eating meat, posing the question, how can they detest something they were once a part of?
This article is neither suggesting veganism is wrong or right, it is merely calling on vegans to think of the farming world, the small-time farmers who help produce their beloved fruits and vegetables, and to not paint everyone with the one brush. The same should be said for a farmers views on veganism. Not every vegan is anti-livestock farming or against the eating of meat in its entirety.
This country is heavily reliant on livestock farming and the meat industries, so much so it is part of our identity. But veganism is fast becoming a part of Irish culture on its own accord. Can we not all just get along and live in harmony side by side?
If you’re a farmer and you feel threatened by the vegan lifestyle, it’s important to understand it properly and equip yourself with a well-formed argument if you wish to defend your lifestyle against its criticisms.With regards animal welfare, Ireland is fast becoming the benchmark for other countries to follow.
Animal welfare practices have not only improved significantly but are continually improving with time and a degree of thanks must be given to vegans for that. That’s not to be said there could not be more improvements made, especially with the increase in animal welfare violations reported in the news.
Irish farmers work incredibly hard to keep their animals safe and happy, even when the end-game is their eventual slaughter. Cattle farmers are especially attuned to the feelings of their herds. Vegans don’t understand that without the farming of livestock, they would likely die out of existence. Is it not better to have a world full of cows rather than looking back in one hundred years wishing we had kept them going?
Vegans and farmers can coexist in harmony, provided stubbornness and opinions are left by the wayside. People have the right to make their own choices in life, whether that be veganism or a good old-fashioned meat-filled diet.
The reality is veganism still helps agriculture, through fruit and vegetable purchases, while agriculture helps vegans, through the providing of these crops. There’s no reason why vegans should be anti-farming or farmers anti-vegan. Can’t we all just get along?