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Veganism, People, and Nature

September 7, 2010

George Monbiot has a fascinating column today. I’ll try to pick up the book he mentions, Simon Fairlie’s Meat: A Benign Extravagance, sometime in the near future. Here’s the upshot of Monbiot’s piece:

In the Guardian in 2002 I discussed the sharp rise in the number of the world’s livestock, and the connection between their consumption of grain and human malnutrition. After reviewing the figures, I concluded that veganism “is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue”. I still believe that the diversion of ever wider tracts of arable land from feeding people to feeding livestock is iniquitous and grotesque. So does the book I’m about to discuss. I no longer believe that the only ethical response is to stop eating meat.

Screech! Say what? In some circles, this is heresy.

What’s fascinating is that, if true, utilitarians should be the first to capitulate. I’ve just posted this article to my facebook page. We’ll see what the responses are, but before I get any feedback, I anticipate an outcry from the serpent crowd. Still, if they stick to their doctrine, some amount of suffering should offset the suffering of any individual animal.

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