vegansaurus!

03/25/2011

What do vegans get from a vegan/omnivore alliance?  »

Tom Philpott has proposed a vegan/omnivore alliance against animal factories (VOAAF. I know, it’s missing an A. And I think “V O triple-A F” sounds cool). Read the piece, tell me your reactions. I believe it’s very well intentioned so I wanted to like it but it just left me thinking, “WTF do I get out of it?” Philpott says if 99 percent of meat is produced on factory farms and these “conscious” meat-eaters oppose this meat, “then vegans and omnivores agree on 99 percent of the meat issue.” That’s just not true, is it? While I definitely want better treatment for animals in farms, I formally object to animals being exploited by humans—that objection makes up more than 1 percent of my beliefs.

Besides this math issue, the main problem I have is believing these conscious meat-eaters really never eat factory farm meat. A vegan at the baseball stadium will not get a pork hotdog just because a vegan one isn’t available—will these meat-eaters do the same? Would they forgo the traditional baseball day hotdog simply because the meat comes from a factory farm?

Philpott wants vegans to put aside the majority of our beliefs (it’s not just 1 percent) but what is he asking the omnivore faction to do? It’s not like Grist is running tons of articles encouraging people to not eat meat (or really anything positive about veganism, check out their articles!). When they address food issues, it’s more just, “EAT MEAT! But just this kind!” I believe we need to be encouraging the whole world to EAT LESS MEAT, period. Also, what’s more exclusionary: asking people to eat more inexpensive veggies, beans, and grains, or telling them to make sure that their dead animals come from the 1 percent that’s up to Philpott’s standards?¬†

In the end, I do want better treatment for animals and factory farms make me sick so I would support these more thoughtful omnivores. It would really be a great thing if meat-, egg- and dairy-eaters were to forgo all factory farm products—but is that what Philpott and the like are promising? The way it sounds now, Philpott wants us to take two steps back and the omnivores to just, what? Keep on with the same? If he could get a bunch of meat-/dairy-/egg-eaters to completely swear off all factory farm products, then I would definitely be interested in the alliance. It’s not so hard—we vegans already do it.

Read some other reactions on the topic by Erik Marcus and the comments he links to by the excellent Adam Merberg.

UPDATE!: As Laura reminded me, if Philpott does intend to include vegans, how come not one vegan advocate was listed in the post? I am excited to learn more about this and participate in it but I’m not interested in a meeting of the minds where I do all the meeting.

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