Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

The popularity of vegan and vegetarian diets today is rising. Mostly due to individuals who have chosen to take the ethical high ground and be excluded from the industrial massacre that takes place in the meat industry. Unfortunately, the agricultural farms of today also have blood on their hands, and promoting a soley plant-based diet might be the worst possible thing you can do for the animals and the environment.  

The environmental effects of starting, maintaining, and producing agricultural farms are devastating. Popular products like corn, wheat, and rice for example, require massive amounts of land to be cleared to fully maximize the farms production. In the process, thousands of animals and native plants are lost so that farms can profit from from these cash crops. The habitats those animals and plant species once called home, as well as their own lives, are sadly affected by the farming process.

The maintenance and setup of the farm soil and crop requires the introduction of many necessary pesticides and minerals to keep the soil consistently viable, to grow the same type of crop, season after season. These pesticides often have dangerous side effects on the areas surrounding farms. After large rain storms, these chemicals can run off into unintended areas such as lakes, oceans, and rivers, causing the deaths of hundreds of animals who live in them. But it’s not just the construction of these farms that causes damage.

Harvesting the cash crops adds an entirely different aspect to the issue. The equipment used to cut and collect the crops, unfortunately picks up numerous types of small, ground animals such as rabbits, rodents, and even ground nesting birds and insects, who happen to have settled in the crops on these farms. Steven Davis, a professor of animal science at Oregon State University, conducted research which showed that approximately 15 animals are killed per every 100 acres of land during harvest.

Davis, whose research has caused great controversy, has commented on the issue of animal deaths caused industrial agriculture farms. “Vegan diets are not bloodless diets,” Davis says. “Millions of animals die every year to provide products used in vegan diets.”

The number of animal deaths per farm and area vary greatly and are difficult to calculate, as farmers do not survey the land before and after their crop production. It has been reported that some farmers who have taken notice of the inadvertent killing, have taken in practices to collect crops in a circular direction, giving the animals more of a chance to flee from the tractors’ blades.

Encouraging people to research the harm that industrial farming has on animals and their environment, should not be to discourage anyone in their choice of diet. It is merely to shed light on the reality that human activity, like in any large scale production of food, results in the loss of life of animals. How we choose to consume our food should be carefully monitored and discussed as it can clearly result in unfortunate consequences for our environment and, ultimately, our way of life.

For those looking for quality products that will lessen the harm on the environment and amount of animal deaths associated with large scale food production, choosing a local, family run farm and butcher for your food is often the most reliable option.

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