To the editor,
Re: It’s a bit late to demand total plant consumption, Nov. 5.
The columnist asks how veganism would “contribute to ecological well-being of humans and other animal species” and then concedes that it would achieve “immense savings in health costs and reduction in greenhouse gases.”
In the north, or on land suitable for pasture but not for crops, I can understand raising animals as a local option. Here in the developed world we tend to build residential suburbs on fine farm land. But to state that shifting to plant diets doesn’t take into account “global impacts or historical realities” sounds very much like the rhetoric of the global corporate capitalism that she decries.
Plant diets can support larger populations than animal diets based on plant inputs. The vegetarian philosophies of Pythagoras of Samos and Gautama Buddha are more than 2,500 years old, and a Scientific American article points to evidence that our ancestors have been primarily vegetarian for 30 million years.
We know that business and political interests prop each other up. Far from being a “large-scale action that can only be effected by governments,” vegetarianism is a personal decision that can be put into practice every day, and it’s as down-to-earth as backyard gardening. Anywhere in urban Canada (and especially on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland) it’s easy to find the ingredients for a meal of vegetables made with love.
As Jonathan Safran Foer writes, “Choosing leaf or flesh, factory farm or family farm, does not in itself change the world, but teaching ourselves, our children, our local communities and our nation to choose conscience over ease can.”
If humans deserve justice, then so do animals.
Ian Poole, Nanaimo
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