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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Why Humanists Should Be Vegans

I am not a humanist and I'm not a vegan. Sarah Moglia explains why I don't subscribe to either of those two beliefs. I first saw this on Skepchick: Why Vegan Values are Humanist Values.


  1. I hope 1 out of 2 is not bad. I consider myself to be a humanist, but I am also an omnivore. My first thought about applying humanist principles to eating habits is that a humanist should not be a cannibal.

    1. But a humanitarian *should* be -- after all, what do vegetarians eat?

  2. Animals are friends, not food.

    Do wolverines subscribe to that idea?

    Somehow, it's so universal, until, well, it's not.

    Glen Davidson

  3. I didn't watch the whole thing - there are a number of serious flaws early on to make me question the remainder of the content - at least at the level of her claims vis-a-vis the environmental impacts of animal vs. plant agriculture. This is a large and complex issue, but the general concept that animals = higher CO2/other environmental impacts than plants is not really true. For example, per mass, chickens are as efficient a source of protein as plants in terms of their CO2 footprint. Monoculture of plants has a large environmental impact on resident species; an impact that is greatly reduced with free-range animal husbandry.

    Reality is that farming of any sort is not overly environmentally friendly; large tracts of land are cleared of their natural fauna & flora. Chemicals - in the form of industrially produced chemicals or "organically" derived "natural" chemicals - ravage waterways. CO2 footprints are typically quite large, regardless of the crop of animal being farmed. Methane emissions are large; from both plant (esp rice) and anima (esp. cattle) farming. The pro-vegetarian lobby has done a good job using the animal numbers to make animals seem like a bad environmental choice. The reality is far more complex; free-range cattle farming is "green" in its water use and relatively small impact on the land; conversely, it is "non-green" in its CO2 emissions. Plants are "green" in their methane emissions (ignoring rice), but have high CO2, chemical and monoculture burdens.

    I agree that there can be ethical issues; especially with factory-style farming. But oddly the ethical issues of monoculture - species extinction, reduction of biodiversity and high chemical burdens - never seem to be mentioned in the discussions of animal farming. I guess, for the vegitarian lobby, the only animals whose suffering matters are those raised on farms...

  4. A true humanist should recognize that he is an animal.

  5. I could go on a half-hour rant about this issue and various related ones, but I'll just stick to saying that her premise, " Why Vegan Values are Humanist Values", is, in my opinion, wrong.

    Dave Bailey