The “Appeal to Nature” fallacy comes up frequently in debates about the rights or wrongs of human diet. It is used by those on both sides, but what is it, is it valid, and what light can it shed on the ethics of our dietary choices? More…
I’ve been pondering the ethics of meat, which inevitably involves taking life (unless we’re talking lab-slime, which we’re not).
If you have read my previous blog posts, you’ll know that I think the argument for/against any diet rests on three “legs”…
Note, I’ve focused the first question on the individual, because I realise that various diets suit each of us differently. Some people genuinely seem to thrive on plants alone (not many, long-term, from what I can see), whereas others are intolerant to plants’ defence mechanisms, most often grains and beans. (Yes, it seems plants don’t want to be eaten either.) It’s the responsibility of each person to figure out what diet works for YOUR body.
In this post, I want to focus on the third issue only: What’s good for animals? Can it be “good” to take another animal’s life just so we can eat? I’ll make the case for why I think it’s perfectly okay. More…
In a recent online discussion, someone claimed that “farms everywhere are turning veganic” (i.e. growing food without using any domesticated animals or animal products like manure, blood, or bonemeal.)
He directed me to this video by vlogger “Mic. the Vegan” as proof that veganic farming is both economically viable and sustainable. I agreed to check it out, because I’m interested to know how a veganic model can possibly compare to the best organic, no-till systems that incorporate animals. I’ll post my analysis below. More…
So-called “conventional” agriculture is literally destroying the basis of human life – which is the soil beneath our feet. I believe this constitutes the greatest single threat to the survival of today’s civilisations, and addressing it should be humanity’s #1 concern.
Look at the two photos I took today of a field near me. It is the 23rd of April, springtime in England, and everywhere life is literally bursting out… everywhere, that is, except for fields like this.
There are practically zero visible signs of life in this field! And this is the norm. This is what we call “conventional”. This is what we’re told will continue to feed 8+-billion people. It will not! More…
This piece of vegan propaganda came up on my Facebook feed today, via Moby, the awesome music producer and well-known advocate of veganism.
(Side note: I actually tried going vegan while working away in Sydney, Australia, after reading the sleeve notes on Moby’s CD “Play”. I lasted about 48 hours.)
The post immediately looked suspicious to me, so I thought I’d fact-check it, or at least offer some alternative information to help people make up their own minds.
I’ll tell you what’s wrong with you: You don’t eat enough!
This is totally an opinion piece. I’m no nutritionist, I’m just fascinated with food and thinking about how we can feed the world without further screwing everything up beyond all recognition.
We all know something’s terribly wrong with the Western diet. Most of us are overweight, many are obese. We have type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, lactose/gluten intolerance, addictions, behavioural problems… blah di blah di bloody blah.
All this creates a wonderful environment for nutritionists, dieticians, and healthy living writers to make a good living out of telling us what to eat next. One month it’s Atkins or keto, then it’s juicing, then it’s plant-based, vegan, raw-vegan, then paleo, then seaweed, then quinoa, and that’s not even mentioning the Harry Potter realm of “superfoods”.
Surely life isn’t meant to be so complicated. Our ancestors were fitter, stronger, and healthier than we are. Yes, they were. And before anyone starts arguing, “You know, people 500 years ago were lucky to live to 35!” let’s just say this:
We in the West are not living longer, we’re dying longer.
Who wants a life that’s mostly defined by stress? We worry about money, debt, bills, life, love, career, whether we’re living our potential, whether we’re being a good enough parent, whether our parents were good enough parents… all fuelled by endless advertisements showing us new ways that beautiful people are having a great time.
And, of course, on top of all that, we worry about our food. What food will give us vitality, what food won’t kill us, what food will make us better in bed, what food is carcinogenic, what food is killing the planet… AAAAAAGH!!!
If our hunter-gatherer ancestors were perfectly healthy (until they got killed by something with scary teeth), and we, with all our books and Internet and technology and labelling, can’t manage it, where did we go wrong and – more importantly – how can we put it right? More…
As part of my interest in ethical and sustainable food systems, I have spent a bit of time around animal rights groups on Facebook recently. Usually driven by the quite extreme vegan agenda, there are groups of people out there who genuinely believe that they need to “rescue” animals from human slavery (see e.g. Direct Action Everywhere).
I believe these are all nice, mainly middle class folk who are genuinely passionate and motivated to do what’s best for animals… but I’d like to explain why I also think they’re also misguided. There are several arguments, which I’ll address in turn.
Ultimately, I hope to show not only that the idea of “rescuing” large animals from the food chain has practically zero benefit, but also that it distracts us from a far more serious crime against the animal kingdom being perpetrated by humanity. If animal rights activists are genuinely concerned with protecting animal lives, I believe the meat industry is the wrong area to focus their efforts. More…
This is as much a bookmark page for my own reference as anything else. It will help to counter the frequent claim that “Everyone can thrive on a vegan diet.” My intention is not to bash anyone for their life choice, but to show up that universal claim as untrue.
I’m sure that some people do okay on a whole plant-based diet, at least for a while. Some may even thrive! But I’ve been coming across too many testimonies from people who’ve felt literally driven by their own bodies to go back to a more natural omnivore diet that they cannot all be dismissed as just being bad or failed vegans.
After all, if a vegan diet were natural for homo sapiens, it ought to be really difficult to mess it up, even in the long term! More…
Over the past few years since I got the food and soil bug, I guess I’ve been pondering one big, central, hairy-arsed question:
How can we feed 8 billion (or 10 billion, etc.) people in a way that’s sustainable, healthy, and ethical?
And it seems to keep coming back to one equally big, difficult, and hairy crux question…
Should we eat meat?
I thought I’d publish one post that summarises the arguments on all sides, and where I currently stand.
In an attempt to make the issue easier to tackle, we can probably agree it all comes down to three criteria: