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Is veganism sustainable? Some people think this about it
Food Food Vegan

Why vegan is mistaken

Veganism is dangerous. It breaks the relationship between humans and animals. It threatens to condemn us to famines. It threatens sustainable forms of agriculture. Seven arguments from vegans weighed.

Bringing together livestock and arable farming with a variation in crops, so that the soil is not exhausted, has produced the best that can feed the soil: manure. The lesson of the eighteenth century.
Sheep on compost
Photo: istock

They argue for a total break with the animal world, while man has always eaten meat since the beginning of history. They are few, but receive a lot of attention: what they say is like common sense and is interspersed with an emotional and black-and-white morality of good versus evil.

Veganism damages our way of life, agriculture, our relationships with animals and even traditional vegetarian ideals.

At the same time, we are convinced of the need to break with the bio-industry as quickly as possible. We need a food culture in which local products are given priority, with protection of biodiversity and agriculture - with less meat.

The relationship between humans and animals must be based on responsible animal husbandry, which respects the soil and the earth. That is the best way to get rid of industrial food.

Pets do not ask to be 'liberated' and to live wildly.
Child with goat

The West and the rich in the South eat too much meat, especially bad meat. We have made machines from animals that convert cellulose from plants into cheap proteins. Especially multinationals benefit from this, while farmers, consumers, the soil, the water and the animals themselves suffer damage.

But let's look at the arguments that vegans bring forward.

'Vegans save animals'

People and animals live together for as long as there are people. Both benefit from this. Pets are no longer 'natural' animals. They belong to the human world as well as to their own world. They have adopted a second nature, which has taught them to understand us - they probably understand us better than we do them.

They do not ask to be 'liberated' and to start living in the wild again. Not even to be sterilized, as some vegans want. They want to live with us. And we with them. They long for an interesting, intelligent and dignified life.

'Vegan saves from hunger'

Until recently, people died young due to three causes: infectious diseases, war and hunger. Since the eighteenth century in Europe, and since the sixties in the rest of the world, there is no more starvation caused by a lack of food sources. What a progress! The hunger that exists has political causes. When people die somewhere, it is because others have decided to do so. Veganism does not change anything about that reality.

'Veganism save agriculture'

The opposite seems true. Hunger has been banished by the great agricultural revolution of the eighteenth century: the bringing together of livestock and arable farming with variation in crops, so that the soil is not exhausted. by just growing the same crop. This has produced the best that can feed the soil: manure.

'Veganism save our food'

Veganism does not want to use animals to save them. But farming without livestock farming means farming with famine, because it depletes the soil. This leads to a lot of labor and little yield; Compost from vegetables is much less profitable to grow vegetables than animal manure. Unless you put all sorts of chemical matters in the ground and you use them very deeply. But then we disrupt the ecosystem of our soil.

'Veganism saves health'

Child hugging watermellon

Studies show a connection between eating meat and cancer. Only those are mainly studies from the US and China, where much more meat is consumed than in Europe, which is also treated with many more hormones and antibiotics.

There are also studies that indicate that vegetarians - who also eat animal products such as milk and eggs - live longer. But they are not unequivocal, because vegetarians often eat little sugar, do more sports, drink little alcohol, have good social insurance, and so on. What influence does the consumption of vegetables have on their health? That is hard to say.

Vegans, however, are condemned to consuming processed products, that is, compositions of molecules to mimic what they omit. And of course the necessary vitamin B12. Without these additions - as testimonials from ex-vegans show - this diet is actually harmful to health. Starting with mental health.

'Veganism saves the environment'

The idea that the environment would be saved with this 'return to nature' is an illusion. When, after all, all pets disappear, there is no one left to maintain the landscape, the wet nature, the mountains and the wooded banks. Unless we let that done by unemployed, prisoners or homeless people. Or perhaps by specially developed robots. Cows and sheep provide an extraordinary diversity in the landscape and on our plate.

'Veganism is social resistance'

Many young people are proud of their veganism, as if they are participating in a revolution, as if their actions against slaughterhouses or farmers is a form of resistance. But veganism does not help animals and people. On the contrary: by advocating for agriculture without animal husbandry and for a world without pets - no cows, horses, dogs - this movement keeps us in the grip of the multinationals. It increases our dependence and our alienation from our food. Vegans are not revolutionaries, but ignorant allies of capitalism.

Veganism is the ambassador of a food industry 4.0. Everywhere there is an attempt to grow 'meat', 'milk' or 'eggs' in laboratories. Proponents of these practices can be found mainly at large companies and investment funds. The first in-vitro meat can reach the market within ten years. They become protein bombs, stuffed with gigantic amounts of hormones to stimulate growth and with antibiotics to prevent infections.

Veganism is the ambassador of a food industry 4.0.

Veganism is dangerous. It breaks the relationship between humans and animals. It threatens to condemn us to famines. It threatens sustainable forms of agriculture. It makes us dependent on a food industry 4.0. It threatens our landscape. It alienates us from the natural reality. And it embodies an even greater threat. Because the best possibility of not disturbing nature is to separate ourselves completely from it. In this way we connect ourselves in the cities, fed by streams of molecules and streams of digital information. Veganism creates a new person.

A frightening world looms up. The consumption of meat has forced us to share since prehistoric times. It has taught us the logic of the gift over and over, because a hunter never eats his own deer. Gift and restitution are the foundation of our social relations with the animal kingdom. Giving - receiving - returning, that is our relationship. What remains of humanity without this fundamental reciprocity?

Paul Ariès, Frédéric Denhez and Jocelyne Porcher • French political scientist, resp. journalist, resp. sociologist