Why do people choose to be vegans?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Bullitt, Dec 16, 2013.

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  1. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I understand if someone does not want to eat meat because they don't want to eat an animal. I personally like eating meat, but I can understand why someone would not want to eat meat.

    Vegans won't eat meat or other animal products, and I think they try to avoid using any animal products, such as leather.

    I do not understand the problem with drinking milk and eating eggs. Milk cows eat very well and live longer than most animals in the wild or in captivity. They live a pretty good life. And people can buy free-range eggs is they are opposed to battery hens. And most eggs in the world do not hatch into chicks.

    So can someone explain the logic of being a vegan to me?

    And I may be asking in the wrong place given the nature of this board. :)
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    I know the idea behind it is this: In a lot of places, animals that make products for consumption are not treated very well. Cows are pumped full of growth hormones, forced to produce way more milk than they normally would, and have their tails docked for cleanliness which means they can't even swish away the flies that plague them (although most places are finally phasing out of this, thank goodness). Not to mention that their calves are taken away at birth and if the calf was a bull or a freemartin, hello veal. "Free range" and "cage free" eggs you can buy in a supermarket just means the hens aren't kept in cages. Instead, they're kept in overcrowded, dirty buildings where they are dependent on air systems to carry away the ammonia that builds up. If the system cuts out, there will be a mass die out as they are poisoned. Cage free eggs are better, but not by a whole lot. Here is an example of a cage free egg farm. Not a ton better in terms of crowding.

    Now, I'm not a vegan. I was a vegetarian for three years, but I went back to eating meat as long as I get it local and know the animal lived a good life. I don't understand vegans that won't eat eggs from happy backyard hens or drink milk from well kept family cows, but I do understand why they won't eat eggs or milk from the supermarket. Of course, it's a personal choice, and if someone doesn't want to eat animal product regardless where it comes from, that's their decision and I respect it.
     
  3. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you.

    Of course a person can be a vegan. No one is forcing them to use animal products.

    I just wanted to understand the thinking of a vegan.

    From what I have seen, milk cows live a lot better than most animals. I think more improvement could be made with laying hens. Many people here are doing that.
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    I did have a working milk farm up the road from me and the cows did seem to be treated well. Of course I'm sure they had lots of added hormones and their tails were docked, but they lived much better than laying hens do, you're right.

    I don't know why vegans won't eat honey though. It doesn't hurt the bees to make it and when it's harvested enough is always left behind for the bees so it's not like they're left to starve...I dunno :idunno Maybe someone who is a vegan can pop in and explain it to me.
     
  5. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not eating honey. Now that is extreme.

    Why eat fruit that is pollinated by bees? :)

    I am not an expert on dairies, but I have visited some dairies. I have never seem milk cows with tails cut off. I am sure it has happened before. I am just not sure if that is a common practice today.
     
  6. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

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    I'm a vegetarian - have been for years and years. I'm not vegan, but most milk products I buy are from non supermarket sources and of course I use my own eggs. I personally have no problem with honey. Some milk cows are treated horribly, and the other problem vegans have with milk is that the cow must be pregnant at some point to give that milk. The resulting calf, if male, will end up as 'food', often veal. So to a vegan, milk = meat. Again, I am not vegan but have no problems with those that are. Plus vegans will not use animal products such as leather for rather obvious reasons. :p
     
  7. Rosa moschata

    Rosa moschata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think it originates with the disconnect between people and from where their food comes, which was cultivated as industrial agriculture grew. There are some who don't think it's right for humans to even keep animals in captivity at all -- and yes, this is an extreme far end of just one spectrum of "why am I vegetarian/vegan?" which I call the "animal compassion" basis. For these people, it's primarily about not wanting to harm (or sponsor others' harm of) animals, and eschewing foods and products made with their bodies or their products. As so much of our food production now seems to go on behind closed doors, all that's needed to sway more people to this side is the appearance of undercover videos and images of the worst examples of industrial animal agriculture -- since they have no other accurate information presented about how their food is produced, it is assumed that these examples are the norm. To protest, they stop buying products.

    But there's another spectrum from which many vegetarians/vegans make their decisions, and that is the one which propels me -- environmental responsibility. Simply put, meat and animal products are far too abundant in the American diet as a result of industrial animal agriculture, with negative consequences for the humans who eat them in too-high amounts and for the environment by way of pollution and squandering of resources. Meat should not be cheap -- until the mid 20th Century, it was something for special occasions, and extended in normal-fare recipes more as flavoring than as featured components. This was the result of animals being raised outdoors by more people on smaller farms. Total production was lower than it is today -- with fewer but much larger farms raising concentrated numbers of animals in largely indoor settings to meet current demand for cheap and abundant meat. The result of concentrating large numbers of animals into fewer farms is toxic buildups of manure and urine, polluting groundwater and local rivers and streams. And the other component of "environmental vegetarianism/veganism" is simple energy economics -- it takes a considerable amount more water and fossil fuels to produce animal-protein calories than it does for the equivalent in plant-protein calories.

    I'm not vegetarian/vegan in the classical definition -- I do eat meat, eggs, and dairy. But the meat I eat is ordered directly from the small farms who produce it (farm-to-fork), prepared as occasional fare and cherished when I eat it, because I pay the true-cost of responsible animal agriculture via the higher prices of this kind of meat. For as much as I can with the rest of my diet, I seek vegan (or at least vegetarian) options, and make as much of my own food as possible. I modified my diet as a result of reading America's Food: What You Don't Know About What You Eat by Harvey Blatt. It's not an emotionally-driven propaganda piece. It reads as a science textbook, written by a geologist, heavily referenced with valid sources and stats. He lays it out there about conventional food production, its effects, and less energy-draining and less polluting alternatives. After reading that, I sought out local food as much as I could (sponsoring farmers directly with my money!), and especially for animal products. Otherwise, I try to eat as low on the food chain as possible.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
  8. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    I have seen docked tails. As far as I know that practice is being phased out. Doesn't help the cleanliness issue one bit and makes the cow's life miserable. The growth hormones may be getting phased out, too. They may be profitable on the short run but not on the long run. Several dairymen who used them for a while told me they quit because the income from the extra milk is quickly eaten up by the cost of the extra feed, cost of extra replacements, labor costs of administering the drug, and costs of the drug itself.

    People who won't use honey for ethical reason should not consume almonds or other crops pollinated by bees either. The bees that pollinate crops are mostly domestic bees that are owned, bred, raised and managed like other livestock.

    As far as I can tell vegansim is an emotional issue, not a logical one. None of our closest relatives, not monkeys, nor apes, nor lemurs, subsist on a wholly vegan diet. They all consume at least some animal protein.
     
  9. petrel

    petrel Chats with Chickens

  10. Rosa moschata

    Rosa moschata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The honey thing makes me scratch my head as well, being as it is essentially a by-product from the primary income of pollination services paid to commercial beekeepers. I think that the main objection is that some large scale commercial beekeepers, in an effort to extract as much profit as possible, remove virtually all the honey from the hives for sale, replacing it with corn syrup based substitutes for feeding the bees. This is one of the factors believed to be responsible for weakening bees and leaving them susceptible to the other stresses associated with "colony collapse". Smaller scale beekeepers simply remove excess honey (bees which are provided with so much in the way of flower resources in captive colonies, kept for pollination services, will produce far more honey than each whole colony could possibly consume -- wild bees have to work much harder finding their food sources and thus produce only slightly more than they would need to survive) and sell it. For small scale beekeepers, the extra fuss of artificial foods is not worth it. Again, it boils down to things working better with more people in food production, each on a smaller scale. Only on such a big scale would there be significant profit found from using artificial bee food. And again, if you wish to avoid the practice, you can seek out honey sold by small scale beekeepers. I find a great resource to be www.localharvest.org for locating small scale food producers. Support your local farmers!

    I also agree that there is a strong emotional component to some people's vegetarianism/veganism, as there is for many issues in life. Some people lead with their hearts, and follow with their brains. Others do the opposite. Each has its own merits and disadvantages -- to each his own.

    :)
     
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