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Vexen Crabtree 2015

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Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

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


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Vexen Crabtree 2015
vexen

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 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.)

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