Guest Blogger: Reluctant Vegan

14 Nov

Our friend Kathryn, blogger from Reluctant Vegan is back with another post. Please welcome back Kathryn!

What Happens to the Cows?

I keep coming across vegan web sites and blogs touting the lifestyle. They all tend to quote statistics like how much water you save by eating a plant-based diet instead of eating meat and dairy and how much food and water it takes to feed one dairy cow. The idea, of course, is to encourage people to be environmentally conscious and stop using animal products.

I’m all for that. I’m behind it 110 percent. But I have one huge, very important question that I have yet to have answered:

If everyone in the United States switched to a plant-based diet, what would happen to the cows?

It’s not just the cows, of course. It is also the sheep, the goats and the pigs. It is also the chickens, the ducks and the turkeys. It is even the rabbits, the ermine and the mink. I in no way encourage or condone factory farming and the way these animals are treated. But I also don’t go with PETA’s idea that they are better off dead. I would love to free all the pigs from the stockyard and let all those chickens go from the egg plant.

But seriously, where would they go? We have animals that have been domesticated for so long they are no longer able to fend for themselves. We have bred sheep that will die of heat exhaustion if they are not sheared in the summer and turkeys whose breast muscles are so overdeveloped they can hardly stand. How about the cows who have been given so many hormones they produce far more milk than one calf can possibly drink and the rabbits with fur so thick and heavy they can’t see to find their own food? Do we simply kill them and be done with it?

We have a responsibility to these animals far beyond just getting them away from the horrid factory farms. We have changed these animals to suit ourselves and it is up to us to care for them. We cannot simply discard them when we no longer have a use for them.

So, if we are no longer eating beef and no longer wearing leather, what happens to the cows? I don’t have the answer to that question yet. I am hoping my fellow vegans will think beyond just getting people to stop using the animals and help me think up a solution for what happens after.


2 Responses to “Guest Blogger: Reluctant Vegan”

  1. Natalia Ryan (@ndanneryan) November 14, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    Well, it’s incredibly unrealistic to think that suddenly everyone would just stop eating meat. Were there to be a switch to an all plant-based diet, it would be a gradual shift, thus the use of animals would become less and less necessary, and thus less and less of them would be bred over time, until the only ones left would be the ones at sanctuaries, and would probably be relegated to the world of domesticated pets.

    That’s how I see it anyway.

    • cameraphonevegan November 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

      I absolutely agree with Natalia. There is no way 100% of any group of people will ever buy into any one philosophy, no matter how popular. (Thank god, because people sure as hell have tried to implement that in previous history.) If there was miraculously some shift to plant based diets becoming the norm though, it would be very gradual, and the supply and demand would take care of itself. Cultural changes don’t occur in a blink of an eye. And there would still be meat eaters, somewhere. I mean just think of how little of a percentage of people are vegan, and then think how many of us there are. The world is just filled to the brim with people, and their belief systems are varied and vast.

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