I will start by saying: This Take is not for the simpleminded people. I'm not taking any sides, yet Im here to bring the other awful side of reality (a side that vegans keep forgetting), and this is a mere clarification of pure facts.
So.... Brace yourself. A very thorough Take is ahead of you.
Vegetarianism, and of course veganism, was not particularly popular in ancient times. It was usually characterized by religious or mystical sects, like the Pythagoreans, or certain philosophers like Empedocles, who believed that animals should not be eaten because they lay in the bodies of sinners' souls. The roots of modern vegetarianism lie precisely in Christianity: the 'asceticism' that was practiced among some priests and believers included abstinence from certain foods, sometimes from eating meat on Fridays, as part of the standardization of this religion. It is customary to attribute the beginning of the vegetarian movement to Reverend William Cowherd (1716-1816), who founded the Christian Church where believers were called to abstain from drinking alcohol and eating meat. This church was one of the precursors of the vegetarian society founded in 1847.
In the course of time, the rationales changed: from the main rationale of past celibacy, the emphasis was more on moral justifications, on the influence of the rise of democratic views: if we do not have authority over other people or other nations, some of them thought to themselves: "What gives us authority over the bodies of animals?"
The accepted religious reasons for this - human supremacy, or divine confirmation of it - no longer spoke to the people after the Enlightenment, and since Vegetarianism already existed as a movement, even if marginal, it received more and more resonance.
The rise of veganism as a central movement - that is, abstinence from animal products and not only from their flesh - we see only in recent decades; The very name vegan was coined only in 1944, and by then the main debate was about vegetarianism, not veganism. In a footnote, it should be noted that vegans are "Nature lovers" and this is rather puzzling: Is meat, eggs, and milk not part of nature? Not to mention that vegans usually eat industrially processed food, which most people do not tend to call "natural." And if the intention is that they see themselves as part of nature, as "brothers of animals", in nature there are also predatory animals. And if its a "brotherhood", why not be a brother to the vegetables and not eat them too? Bizzare.
An imaginary morality:
And here I will come to the central point of veganism: the underlying principle is that we have moral obligations to animals, as we have to humans. Just as it is forbidden to kill a person, it is forbidden to kill an animal; Just as it is forbidden to cause suffering to a person, it is forbidden to cause suffering to an animal. And just as it is forbidden to steal from people, or to forcibly cut off their hair for personal use, it is forbidden to forcibly remove the wool from the sheep and the milk from the goats. And just as we do not eat the flesh of human beings, so we will not eat the flesh of animals. This idea can be developed in different ways, and the number of vegans is equal to the number of precise views on this issue, but the principle is the same to all.
Yet - all of this has no real basis. Human morality is a relationship between members of one community, and the essence of reciprocity. I do not steal from one person, just as he must not steal from me. I do not hurt him, just as he must not hurt me. A person who is not a member of this 'community' in terms of debts can not be a partner in terms of obligations towards him. The cow is not obligated to me, and therefore I have no obligation towards it.
With regard to animals, we are in a larger "community," in respect of which the laws of nature apply, not the laws of human morality. In nature, there is no "prohibition" on the lion to devour the zebra, and there is no moral reproach about it. Just as well, there can be no moral prohibition on a person eating the lamb. Towards the animals, we are nothing but another predatory animal (omnivore, to be precise).
Cruelty to animals? Really?
The traditional ban on animal cruelty is not relevant here, and in fact is completely opposite to animal rights. The ancient societies, among them Judaism, forbade the unnecessary cruelty to animals, but allowed most of them to use them for agriculture and transportation, milking, cutting, eating their eggs, using their skins and of course eating their flesh. In fact, it is reasonable to assume that if human societies had forbade it, they would have not survived and developed at all. How can one survive without eating meat, eggs and dairy products, wearing wool and skins, and without farming based on the use of animals? Gathering fruits in the forest would leave us in the natural state of gorillas, and not allow us to develop technology to even produce vegan meat substitutes.
The prohibition of cruelty to animals, therefore, does not bring animals into the moral community; Its interest is mainly in the person himself, for him NOT to develop a trait of cruelty. In addition, as Richard A. Posner wrote in response to Professor Peter Singer, "When kindness toward animals is levered into a duty of weighting the pains of animals and of people equally, bizarre vistas of social engineering are opened up. (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/dialogues/features/2001/animal_rights/_9.html )
Those who put animals into the moral community take a sort of imagined morality: they know a moral code of law for humans, and they look at animals and anthropomorphize them. Anyone who has seen even one Disney movie knows this very common anthropomorphism. Because he thinks of animals as "people on four," he applies to them the moral system he knows about people, although the differences are enormous and decisive.
This anthropomorphism and this aesthetic system of ethics, is expressed in a different sense: vegans tend to spare mainly "cute animals", ones that can be looked at and imagined to be human beings. Cows, birds, and of course dogs and cats enter this definition, but not so snakes, cockroaches and mosquitoes.
Some vegans make a distinction between "conscious" or "painless" animals and those who are not aware or do not feel pain (and the borderline is very difficult to define: are fish aware? Do not cockroaches feel pain?)
But even this distinction is not always constant: agricultural crops today do not necessarily require the harnessing of animals for processing, but processing the fields kills thousands of animals, many of them "feeling pain" like mice, rats, snakes and more. Well, they're not so cute I guess.(https://theconversation.com/ordering-the-vegetarian-meal-theres-more-animal-blood-on-your-hands-4659 )
Enlightenment? Progressiveness? Think again.
We are a generation that seeks moral food. This is expressed most clearly in the vegan trend, in the slow food, the craving for artisanal food, from the farm to the plate, the self-roasting coffee, the pickles we make here, hand-made, local, seasonal, fresh and homemade Taramosalata.
A complete lexicon of a 'return to cooking traditions a hundred years ago' was 'rather' obvious to any eye and nose, and 30 years ago no one cared about it.
It's great, isn't it? Because what can be bad about real, moral food?
So shall I answer this question?
Let's take for example the most trendy super-food recently - the avocado. The term 'Avocado Rose' was skyrocketing in Google searches, and it will be hard for you to find a coffee shop in the West that does not offer an avocado toast, the undisputed Instagram Star of 2016. This meteoric rise seems to have come hand in hand with the vegan trend, the release from fear of calories and fats (The Paleo diet gave him a strong push, as did the awareness of the need for omega-3), and INDEED - It is one of the nourishing and healthy fruits that nature has to offer.
But what happens when vegan liberals flood the coffee shops and demand their quinoa-kale-avocado toast to bring up an image on Instagram and Hashtagging how it makes them feel good with their choices? Well, the "Hipsteria" around the avocado, for example, has led Mexican farmers - who want to meet the ever-increasing requirements of the world's gluttonous people (or 'foodies') -
to deliberately destroy thousands of acres of natural pine forests to plant avocados in their place. Since growing avocado requires twice as much water, avocado orchards dry everything around them, and many animals die from water shortages. Moreover, in June 2016, a theft of avocado plantations was reported in New Zealand due to the cost of the fruit ($ 3-4 per unit).
And on November 2016 there was a big storm over the article by the writer Bernard Salt, who claimed in 'The Australian' that the reason the younger generation could not afford to buy a house was that they were paying $ 22 for toast with avocado. Right or wrong, Sydney's cafes, in response, combined forces in discounts to get their customers to buy a "House And Breakfast".
The high prices for a product originally considered 'poor food' do not start and end with avocados. Collard Greens (Like Mangold, but not), a food that until recently served as a base for low-income families in the south of the United States and marked the next trend coming from Brooklyn, was sold at the Neiman Marcus online store at $ 66 for a frozen dish Plus $ 15 per shipment.) This sale caused a social networking scandal, with the Hashtag gentrifiedgreens leading the protest against the delusional price, which, incidentally, ended at Sold Out.
Guess which side of the morality were the buyers?
Quinoa is entirely 2012, and everyone already knows that the demand in the West caused the price tripled between 2006 and 2013. Today, quinoa, the staple food for the majority of Peru's population, will cost them more than chicken, so locals can afford to consume mostly junk food that comes to them from the west, resulting in obesity and the cost of Insulin (diabetecs' drugs).
It's delicious to be moral, isn't it sweeties?
In the US, you can see a similar trend with Kale, which was marketed as a super-food in 2011. Since then, the average price for these tasty non-flavor leaves has increased by 25 percent from 88 cents to $ 1.10.
The European Union was trying to fight this phenomenon, and already in 2007 it was forbidden to market food products as "super-foods". The rise in prices, according to those who support the prohibition, is a result of aggressive marketing, and the phenomenon must be mitigated.
So more of "Moral Foods?
Almond milk, for example, a healthy substitute for those who for some reason stopped milk consumption, causes quite a few environmental problems. More than 80 percent of the almond crop comes from California, which has been suffering from drought in recent years, and a significant percentage come from Sicily, where the mafia has taken over. To grow ONE almond you need 5 liters of water (!), While for 100 ml of cow's milk our ecosystem will have to pay only about 100 liters of water, making it more environmentally friendly, also because the cultivation of cows can exist anywhere in the world, while almonds grow only in a certain climate, and their transport is harmful to the environment as well.
Most soybeans are genetically engineered, nothing else can be grown in their environment (mono-agriculture), and in total they destroy the land on which they grow, unless it is organic farming, and then the price rises; The transportation of the chia seeds (salvia hispanica), which come from South America, costs us huge quantities of greenhouse gas energy that contributes to global warming, and it does not end there. And what account should a person do to understand all the environmental damage caused by his culinary choices? Until what resolution do we need to go down, and what will be the final equation?
To sum this up......................................
In a skit from the series "Portlandia" - a series that represents our faithful Hipstery generation -
a couple sits in a restaurant and orders a serving of chicken. The couple does not agree with the waitress's detailed explanation: "The chicken is a heritage breed, woodland raised chicken, that been fed a diet of sheep's milk, soy and hazelnuts". They want to know what type of organic certificate the chicken has, whether the walnuts are local, how big the open area where the chickens were raised, and more and more questions that even jewish kashruth laws don't have.
It ends with the couple leaving the restaurant to go to the farm itself and meet the farmer , while the waitress stands guard over the table.
Or, what some (spiritual) people believe in - Do plants have feelings?
(It is a well known belief in Judaism)
This one is a funny vid to watch, for all of you "Mythbusters" fans:
Unfortunately, most families around the world might want to buy organic food in fair trade today, or food marketed as a super-food, but cannot afford it.
But do not get me wrong - I do not think there's any way to get away from it. As in any cultural field, food culture is also an unstable matter, influenced by endless factors, and there is no black and white here. So next time, before you go into someone's "immoral plate", take a look at your own plate and take responsibility. There is no choice that can be one hundred percent moral.