Opinion: Does Being Vegetarian Really Minimize Animal Deaths?
In the last couple of years, the debate for being vegetarian has really amplified. It has become a popular topic of discourse either over a couple of drinks (or every time I meet a vegan friend). I mean vegetarian strictly in the sense that you have chosen to stop eating meat because of the harm inflicted on animals through their treatment and subsequent death.
However, I came across an interesting article on Scroll today. Its basic premise was that being vegetarian actually harms more animals than eating meat does. This is due to the fact that we need more arable land to farm in order to meet the higher demand for vegetables etc. This results in the destruction of grazing ground and pasture and the increased use of fertilizers and pesticides which cause an increased number of animal deaths.
Obviously, the study undertaken has its limitations (what doesn’t). The most glaring one being that it is primarily pertinent to Australia. However, this doesn’t mean that it lacks relevance. Ploughing anywhere in the world kills numerous small mammals, lizards and snakes.
Pesticides cause mice to die slow, painful, agonising deaths as opposed to the slaughter of cattle which is immediate. If you’re going to stand there and say that their deaths are less important than cattle or chicken or pigs then you are a hypocrite.
At least meat eaters accept the consequences of their actions and we definitely don’t think the sun shines out of our ass. Anyone who went to elementary school knows that there is a food chain and eating too much or not enough can cause an imbalance in our ecosystem.
No one has really got being vegan down to the tee. Even Jains, who definitely come the closest, still eat grains which also cause animal death. So maybe next time, instead of lecturing us about going vegetarian you could perhaps thank us and accept that you need us. After all, we’re helping to balance the ecosystem.