We need to completely close down industrial animal agriculture

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Posted Aug 16 2020 by Dave Darby of Lowimpact.org
Intensive pig farming - an example of industrial animal agriculture

Industrial agriculture is cruel to animals, cruel to people who work in it, it damages the environment and concentrates wealth in very few hands. I guess if you’re reading this, you know that already, and I don’t have to explain it. The problem is, it’s still there, doing its vile stuff every day. What do we do about it?

First, I think we need to stop suggesting that veganism is the only alternative. This will alienate more people than it influences. I strongly recommend this video by ex-vegan Mexie – she speaks so much sense.

I already knew about the vast areas of land that’s used to grow feed for penned animals in industrial agriculture, that could be used to grow food for humans or allowed to revert to wilderness; and how huge quantities of antibiotics have to be used to cope with the fact that the crowded conditions in industrial agriculture are a breeding ground for disease; and how bugs are developing antibiotic resistance, building the potential for more potent diseases in future. But I didn’t know that factory-farm abattoir ‘production’ lines have speed limits, that are now being removed, meaning that the workers in those facilities (always poor, often from minority backgrounds) are being maimed, losing limbs and dying in increasing numbers. This isn’t a job that you’d do unless you were utterly desperate.

Something else she said that jumped out at me is: “Animal liberation doesn’t preclude using animals for sustenance whilst living in reciprocity with the land.” She was talking about ‘indigenous’ peoples – i.e. (I guess) hunter-gatherers, but there are plenty of indigenous people, or people who live ‘in reciprocity with the land’ who are not hunter-gatherers.

And she also said that a predominantly plant-based diet could reduce the amount of land required to feed us all by 90%, so that we could allow most land now used for agriculture to re-wild. Note that she said predominantly, not totally plant-based. She’s making the point, as an ex-vegan, that we don’t all have to be vegan. If we can harvest some animals from forests and oceans, and run animals under orchard trees and on land unsuitable for crops, as well as keeping chickens in our gardens, we’d need even less land to grow crops.

This is why, although we support veganism, because it helps reduce the amount of meat eaten overall, and to get rid of industrial animal agriculture, we’re going to have to vastly reduce the amount of meat eaten, we also provide information on keeping animals, hunting and fishing. We don’t believe that it’s necessary or even desirable that humans become a vegan species, because:

  • Herbivores are born into a food chain. They are born to be eaten, regardless of the species doing the eating.
  • Organic smallholdings are not cruel.
  • Harvesting meat and fish from the wild is more sustainable than eating vegetables grown on farmland that used to be wilderness, and much more sustainable than processed vegan foods, especially from overseas.
  • Suggesting that indigenous people whose culture has involved hunting and fishing for millennia should change their diet or leave the land is racist.
  • In case of societal collapse, eating meat may be essential for survival.

More can be found in this article and in the comments below it.

If you agree that we should shut down this vile industry, for consistency, there are some things that you’re morally obliged to do.

  • Eat less meat (or no meat at all if that’s your thing).
  • Don’t ever eat corporate fast food or supermarket meat, under any circumstances.
  • If you have friends who do, point out to them why they shouldn’t until they stop, or drop you as a friend (NB ignore pleas of poverty if they’re wearing £100 trainers or if they smoke).
  • Don’t eat meat, eggs or dairy when eating out, unless you’re absolutely sure of its provenance. And if it’s from non-industrial sources, don’t worry, they’ll advertise the fact in their window, on the menu and on their website. If you don’t see information to the contrary, it’s industrial.

And finally, stop saying that veganism is the only alternative. It’s not – not if you want to support local, organic smallholdings and food sustainability. If you’re one of those vegans out there on YouTube who love to debate – I think you’re generally, really sound people, but I also think your approach is mistaken if your aim is to minimise animal suffering and environmental damage. Contact me and I’ll be happy to debate you on YouTube.

Dave DarbyAbout the author: Dave Darby lived at Redfield community from 1996 to 2009. Working on development projects in Romania, he realised they saw Western countries as role models, so decided to try to bring about change in the UK instead. He founded Lowimpact.org in 2001, spent 3 years on the board of the Ecological Land Co-op and was a founder of NonCorporate.org. and the Open Credit Network.