Difference between revisions of "Booklet/Veganism"

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== Environment ==
 
== Environment ==
  
* Water consumption
+
=== Water consumption ===
cow drinks 180 l per day
+
 
* Soya
+
A cow can drink as much as 180 l of waters on a hot day. Producing one kilogram of beef uses up about 15000 l of water (pork: 5500, cheese: 5000, chicken: 4000, egg: 3500, rice: 2500, wheat: 1500, potatoes: 130).
* Pollution of water and soil
+
 
 +
A lot of factory farming is happening in places without a lot of water, and animal farming causes huge environmental and social problems there because of its water consumption.
 +
 
 +
Not eating one burger saves the same amount of water as not showering at all or not flushing the toilet at all for 2 months.
 +
 
 +
=== Pollution of water and soil ===
 +
 
 +
Related to that, a lot of the water goes back into the ground unfiltered and pollutes the ground water and the soil with nitrates, which lead to eutrophication (too many nutrients, which causes a lack of oxygen in the water) of the water and a high acidity of the soil.
 +
 
 +
=== Soya ===
 +
 
 +
A lot of rainforest is getting cut down to grow soya. Most of that soya is also genetically modified.
 +
 
 +
While you might associate soya with vegetarian/vegan meat imitations, 98% of all soya production are actually used to feed animals. The rest is mainly used to produce soya oil, and a small percentage is used for tofu and soya meat. The soya used for vegetarian/vegan products in Europe is usually grown in Austria, Belgium or France.
 +
 
 +
=== Land ===
 +
 
 +
Animal products require a larger amount of land than plant-based products.
 +
 
 +
Grazing occupies 26% of the earth's ice-free terrestrial surface, and feed crop production uses about one third of all arable land. 40% of all harvested crops is fed to animals. This equals the food needed to feed 8.4 billion people.
 +
 
 +
Producing 1 kg of beef takes 27–49 m² (pork: 9–12, poultry: 8–10, wheat: 1.5, potatoes: 0.25). Because in factory farming, animals are fed crops instead of grazing, the production of 1 kg of beef actually uses up 25 kg of food.
 +
 
 
* Land
 
* Land
 
* Emissions (Farting + Transport + Smell)
 
* Emissions (Farting + Transport + Smell)

Revision as of 16:09, 27 April 2016

On the Biketour, all common meals and all things bought by communal money are vegan. This means that they should not contain neither any animals (meat, fish, chicken, gelatine, shrimps, lobsters, carmine, leather, etc.) nor any products produced by animals (milk, eggs, honey, bee’s wax, wool). Here are some different aspects of how a vegan diet/lifestyle is connected to the other Biketour values.

(To be written)

Animal Rights

Whether or not people agree with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, most people would still agree that there should be some basic rights that all humans should have, among those the right not to be killed, the right not to be tortured, etc. However, most people would and the law does argue that only humans should have those rights, and other animals shouldn’t. This inequality is called Speciesism (discrimination based on the species). In some places, some animal species (such as cats, dogs and sometimes horses) are seen as pets and have certain rights (for example not to be killed for food), while others (for example pigs and cows) are seen as livestock and don’t have these rights. This separation between humans, pets and animals to be eaten is called Carnism.

Most of us feel more empathy towards humans than towards other animals, and more empathy towards dogs and cats than towards pigs and cows. If we were in a situation where we could either save one human’s life or the lives of 50 dogs, we would choose to save the human of course.

But should we base our ethics, behaviours and laws on the empathy that we feel towards certain groups? If you asked a slave owner about whether they feel the same empathy for their slaves as for their friends, they would all say no, and still we argue that keeping slaves is wrong, even if the people who are doing it feel like it’s okay. We also argue that it is not okay for neo-nazis to set refugee camps on fire, even if they don’t feel any compassion for refugees at all. Basing our ethics on people’s feelings, on what they subjectively think is okay, is dangerous. Instead, when coming up with the rules that we want to set ourselves, we need to try to think objectively, also considering scientific facts.

There are hundreds of differences between humans and non-human animals that seem to justify that humans have the right to live but pigs for example don’t. But when you think about each one of them in detail, you will discover that these differences either don’t exist (or at least there are some corner cases in which they don’t, but in which you would still argue that humans shuold have the right to live), or that there is no reason why these differences should justify different rights.

  • Animals don’t emotionally suffer when feeling pain. Like humans, animals obviously react when they experience pain, so no one would doubt that they feel it. The thought behind this argument is that the reaction of animals is only the reaction to a stimulus (like an oven that turns off when it detects that it is too hot), but they don’t emotionally suffer from it. The answer to this is that we don’t know and can never know for sure, but we can assume based on similarities between us and other animals that they experience pain in a similar way to us. Vertebrates (animals with bones) and particularly mammals have a nerve system that is very similar to ours, and their reaction to pain is also very similar (similar body language, behaviour of avoidance, the same brain regions react to it, when experiencing it repeatedly beyond their control they can develop conditions like depression). We cannot even be sure that other humans experience pain in the same way as us, we can only assume that they do because they react to it in a similar way as us, so it makes sense to assume the same about animals. Apart from that, there are some humans who cannot experience pain (congenital insensitivity to pain), and still we wouldn’t argue that they don’t have the right not to be harmed.
  • Animals are not as intelligent as humans. First of all, this cannot be generalised. Of course, in an IQ test where you have to read instructions written in English, you would come to this conclusion, but if you test intelligence in a more animal-friendly way, you would come to the result that some animals are actually more intelligent than (some) humans. But apart from that, the question is why this difference would justify different rights. Some humans are also more intelligent than others, but no one would argue that because of this they should have different rights.
  • Animals don’t have an imagination (of death). Some people argue that humans have an imagination of what it means to die, or that they have the ability to have dreams and plans for the future, and this justifies their right to live. However, it has been proven in scientific experiments where certain animal species (in particular certain types of monkeys) were taught some simple sign language that they do have an imagination of death. Also, we wouldn’t argue that people who don’t have an imagination (such as babies or people in an unconcious coma) shouldn’t have the right to live.
  • Animals cannot speak. It is not even clear how this justifies the right to live, but obviously there are many humans who cannot speak and about whom we would still argue that they should have the right to live.
  • This is nature, survival of the fittest. Some people argue that it is normal in nature that stronger species kill weaker species. The big difference is that a lion would starve if they didn’t kill, but humans wouldn’t, as they can eat plants instead. Also, in many animal species, stronger individuals kill weaker individuals of the same species, so we could argue the same about humans killing other humans.
  • Animals do not have emotional bonds. The idea is that when a human dies, there will be other humans (family, friends) who will emotionally suffer from it. Obviously, many animal species also have strong emotional bonds and show similar symptoms of sadness when they lose someone close to them. Also, no one would argue that people who don’t have any friends don’t have the right to live.

You might understand some of the reasons for a vegetarian diet now, but what has veganism to do with it?

Producing milk or eggs is not possible without killing animals.

A cow only gives milk for a while (maximum milk production for about 4 months, after that the produced milk gets less and less) after having a child. So if you keep a cow to get the milk, you have to make sure that she gets pregnant at least every once in a while. Cows usually live for about 20 years, so you can either kill the cow after she had one or two children, or you have to kill the children, because otherwise you will have more and more cows. Both is done on all cow farms, no matter if they are factory farms, small farms, or organic farms. Milk cows are usually killed after 5 years (because the milk production gets lower as they grow older), they are inseminated once a year, and the male children are killed after a few weeks.

About 50% of the eggs that chickens lay would create a male chicken. Male chickens are not needed for egg production, so they are usually killed (in the gas chamber or in a grinder) on the day that they hatch. In addition, like all birds, chickens lay a new egg when you take the egg away that they are brooding. So when you take away the egg every day, they will lay a new one every day, otherwise they would only lay one every month. (Although there are some breeds that have been bred to not brood, so they lay an egg once a day by themselves.) Laying so many eggs is very stressful for chickens, and while usually growing 5–7 years old, chickens who have to lay an egg every day die at half that age. Additionally, in factory farming, most chickens are really unhealthy because of the constant laying and have calcium deficiency. So even if the chickens weren’t getting slaughtered, taking their eggs away still kills them.

Many people argue that they only consume organic animal products, or only buy animal products from a farmer they trust. First of all, if this is at all true, it probably only applies to meat, milk and eggs that they buy directly, but not to all the products that have meat, milk or eggs added to them. Second of all, the conditions of organic factory farming are often only slightly better, sometimes even worse than those of non-organic factory farming. For chickens for example, the space per chicken in battery caging is about half an A4 page per chicken, in floor-raising about one A4 page per chicken, in free-range farming about 1½ A4 pages and in organic farming about 2 A4 pages. In organic farming, chickens have to have a space outside the barn, but often farmers don’t allow them to go out because of the danger of spreading diseases, as they are not allowed to use antibiotics. Despite the differences in how the animals are kept, all methods of dairy and egg farming have in common that they have to kill most or all of the animals that they are keeping.

What about people who live in places where growing plants is not possible and killing animals is the only source of food? In the same way as no one would argue that it is immoral for me to kill someone who is about to murder me in defense, even though I would argue that they have the right not to be killed, no one would argue that it is immoral to kill animals for food if there is no other choice (although some people might argue that in some cases, the people living in those places should consider moving somewhere else). The important part is that in Europe, we are not in this situation.

Environment

Water consumption

A cow can drink as much as 180 l of waters on a hot day. Producing one kilogram of beef uses up about 15000 l of water (pork: 5500, cheese: 5000, chicken: 4000, egg: 3500, rice: 2500, wheat: 1500, potatoes: 130).

A lot of factory farming is happening in places without a lot of water, and animal farming causes huge environmental and social problems there because of its water consumption.

Not eating one burger saves the same amount of water as not showering at all or not flushing the toilet at all for 2 months.

Pollution of water and soil

Related to that, a lot of the water goes back into the ground unfiltered and pollutes the ground water and the soil with nitrates, which lead to eutrophication (too many nutrients, which causes a lack of oxygen in the water) of the water and a high acidity of the soil.

Soya

A lot of rainforest is getting cut down to grow soya. Most of that soya is also genetically modified.

While you might associate soya with vegetarian/vegan meat imitations, 98% of all soya production are actually used to feed animals. The rest is mainly used to produce soya oil, and a small percentage is used for tofu and soya meat. The soya used for vegetarian/vegan products in Europe is usually grown in Austria, Belgium or France.

Land

Animal products require a larger amount of land than plant-based products.

Grazing occupies 26% of the earth's ice-free terrestrial surface, and feed crop production uses about one third of all arable land. 40% of all harvested crops is fed to animals. This equals the food needed to feed 8.4 billion people.

Producing 1 kg of beef takes 27–49 m² (pork: 9–12, poultry: 8–10, wheat: 1.5, potatoes: 0.25). Because in factory farming, animals are fed crops instead of grazing, the production of 1 kg of beef actually uses up 25 kg of food.

  • Land
  • Emissions (Farting + Transport + Smell)

Social

  • Antibiotics
  • Working conditions
  • Subsidies (costs + world market) (link to capitalism)

Health

  • Antibiotics
  • Diseases
  • Vitamins (B12, iodine, iron, calcium, etc.)