The textbook definition of a vegan is “A person who chooses not to eat meat or use animal products (like dairy or milk soap).” Often, the motivation behind this lifestyle choice is the quality and longevity of life for all animals.
Without meat and animal products, vegans typically eat A LOT of soy based products because it’s relatively high in protein within the plant kingdom.
There’s just one problem: Soybeans didn’t magically appear in open fields in such quantities as to feed the entire vegan population.
“In order for the 7 million acres of organic soybeans to be grown in the United States at the time of this writing, a multitude of animals had to be pushed out of their natural range and their habitat had to be destroyed. The soil in their natural range then had to be plowed or vegetation eradicated with field cultivation, and the animals exterminated when they tried to return. Conventionally this happened on the nearly 90 million acres of soybean nationwide.” *
7 million acres of organic soybean. 90 million acres of conventional soybean. In the United States alone. That’s 97 million acres of animal habitation eradicated. That’s millions and millions of animals killed when forced to either crowd into a neighboring system or as a consequence of trying to return home.
Do you honestly think more animals would be killed to feed every American vegan an omnivore’s diet instead of soy?
I appreciate the desire to respect life in all forms, and to not require an animal to die for a human to live when a plant can be harvested instead. But to think that most vegan diets alleviate animal suffering is short-sighted. You have to look beyond the initial choice to not butcher an animal and put it in your mouth. And when you do, you’ll see the cost of veganism is high. Perhaps too high for most who practice veganism.
* Restoration Agriculture, Mark Shepard, pg. 116-117