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Vexen Crabtree 2015


Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

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Vexen Crabtree 2015

Vegetarianism: Consumer Activism and Economics

Many people are abhorred by some of the modern and inhumane methods by which animals are farmed and the conditions that they're subject to. It is honourable to wish to reduce the suffering of animals. It is good to insist that animals are farmed in ethical and compassionate ways. However, I think it is far better to support humane animal farming by buying meat produced by humane methods, rather than avoiding meat altogether. The massive meat industry is not affected by such passive vegetarian non-consumption protests. But if market forces dictate that ethical production methods sell better, the meat industry does listen. If you are morally concerned about the welfare of animals, as you should be, it is better to buy meat farmed ethically than it is to shun meat altogether, because that makes the entire market swing towards ethical methods and has a bigger impact than resorting to (self-harming) vegetarian protest.

The Economist magazine's special report (2006) explained that buying meat from those conforming to ethical standards is more effective at changing the industry than simply abstaining from meat altogether - "consumption, rather than non-consumption" is "far more likely to produce results" according to Ian Bretman of Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO) International, the Fairtrade umbrella group.

Added to: "Vegetarianism: Consumer Activism and Economics" by Vexen Crabtree.

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I agree with you. The effort required to get good beef are a lot less taxing (and expensive) than what you have to do to be a vegetarian- or worse- a vegan.

My sister's shop carries humanely raised and slaughtered beef and wild-caught seafood. And there are co- ops here that allow me to get more locally produced beef and produce, too.

The effort required to get good beef are a lot less taxing (and expensive) than what you have to do to be a vegetarian- or worse- a vegan.

I have not found that to be the case. When I was a vegetarian, it was actually quite cheap to feed myself since meat is generally more expensive than vegetables, eggs, and cheese, and so omitting meat from my diet also omitted its most expensive component. Granted, if I had eaten traditionally meaty dishes with vegetarian "meat" to substitute for dead animal, then it would have cost me more, but I generally tried to work with what I had rather than substitute for what I didn't.

Now that I have become some kind of crazy ethical eater, I'm finding it costs more, not less, since free-range/organic meat/eggs/dairy is rather expensive at Sainsbury's. It helps if you're well-situated or know a good butcher, but for the average city-dweller, good animal products are quite expensive.

I actually found it quite easy being vegetarian. There's plenty of tasty recipes you can whip up if you're allowed eggs, cheese, and milk, and if you can't be bothered to cook, there's loads of prepackaged options. It was much harder to be vegan - I'd say the jump from vegetarian to vegan is at least twice as hard as omnivore to vegetarian - all of a sudden I even had to omit many of my favourite tinned vegetable soups because they contained milk/butter/honey.

I was a vegetarian for a while. My health suffered, and I discovered that I need a minimal amount of meat to remain healthy. I don't eat huge amounts of it, but I do feel better. I have to avoid most dairy because I am allergic to casein and lactose.

I garden, and get fresh veggies that way- especially tomatoes. And I get a lot of my meat from my sister's shop, which is a meat market. I joke that I get to eat her 'misteaks'.

I suppose that I look at the impact of vegetarianism and veganism in a different way than most: where do the veggies and specialty foods come from? Are they locally produced, or are they shipped in from afar? Often, that is where the price of vegetariansim/veganism exceeds that of omnivores. I am not saying that being an omni is superior, but if the critters come from a farm nearby, are fed and cared for in a humane way, my purchasing them and consuming them completes a circle of economy that is beneficial.

On a related note: if you're looking for good quality meat in London then Borough Market is an amzing place to look. All the butcher's there sell organic meat, and a lot of it is from rare breeds - you can even get wild beef (i.e. from cows that run round psuedo-wild on Dartmoor and other such places). Borough is not cheap, unfortunately, but the meat there is sooo tasty good.

Alas, whilst Borough Market is a wonderful place to get the occasional treat, it's far to expensive for weekly shopping. :( We have a couple butchers that are quite sensibly priced and also relatively accessible, and our local Sainsbury's has a decent organic meat range; if you go at the right time of day, you can find quite a lot of it on offer (and hence at an almost reasonable price too).

I do dream of getting some venison from Borough one day. Mmm, dead deer.

I came to pretty much the same conclusion a while back, when I realised that it wasn't the killing of animals that pissed me off so much as the animal welfare (or lack thereof) and also the environmental impact.

However, I would actually go a step further and remark that since the same inhumane conditions are often found in the egg and dairy industries, people who are concerned about animal welfare should also buy free-range/organic eggs and milk.

Finally, some people are simply opposed to killing animals, and will not buy beef even if the cow lived a happy and relatively environmentally-friendly life. However, I still think that by being vegetarian (but not vegan), they are still being somewhat hypocritical since the egg and dairy industries kill off the male chicks and calves that are born as they are useless otherwise. (In the case of calves, the lack of a market for veal in recent years has meant that many calves were simply shot at birth, since nobody would eat them young, and raising them to adulthood wouldn't be financially viable since dairy cows are bred to produce milk, not meat.)

I'm a hardcore carnivore. Rabbits snared on my own land are distinctly palatable [and zero-cost which is another major attraction!] - the big problem is snare-clearance: for every rabbit I pick up, Mr.Fox gets to another one before me.

Roadkill pheasants go in the pot - shame to waste them!

I must repossess my old air-rifle from my elder nephew - then wild wood-pigeon will be added to the diet.

As to paid-for meat, I'm lucky in having a choice of two seriously-good butchers in my nearest town. They get regular Q Awards for their meat. Not that I fret too much over the underlying ethics of meat-production - indeed my maxim is that if it tastes good, gobble it. I'm more concerned with the quality of preparation and range of products... they do a particularly fine Wild Boar and Herb sausage... as footpad can confirm.

Bring it awn!

I do, however, urge my carnivore friends to support the Humane Slaughter Association, which is possibly the only completely level-headed and unsqueamish animal-welfare charity.

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