Veganism, the privilege of choice

Veganism, the privilege of choice

Is veganism only relevant to rich developed countries?

Veganism is seen as a first world “choice” by many in the first world.

I’m not sure this particular view has been expressed by any outside of developed countries to be honest.

It’s a tired argument hardly worth bothering with, but I shall do so anyway, because I know you all want to read my devastating destruction of the futile comments spewed out by veganism’s detractors.

I think we’re all aware that veganism is a choice open to everybody everywhere in the first world, but to me, having the choice is a persuasive argument for why you should go vegan. We can choose to reject the environmentally destructive, cruel and unhealthy meat industry, and therefore, with the privilege of knowledge and ability, we should absolutely do so.

To perpetuate the argument that veganism is a first world issue you must also accept that so is factory farming and so is processed meat. The cruel and intensive ways of raising animals for food are far removed from the hunter gatherer image rabid omnivores like to project. But they also conveniently forget to say that growing crops for food is quicker and cheaper than raising animals for food too.

One of the constant points vegans constantly fire out is that if all the land used for animal agriculture was used for growing vegetables then there would be enough food to feed the world several times over – we can literally save the world by going vegan! That is, of course, if we learn to share in a hippy “one world” style of living. But it does make the serious point that meat-based diets are adding to the problems of world hunger rather than solving them.

Having said all that, 20 to 40 per cent of the population in India are vegetarian and many in Africa are too. In fact, many Buddhist countries have a high number of vegetarians. Also, in countries such as Ethiopia and other African nations where Christianity is prevalent, their faith requires fasting days where only vegan meals are acceptable.

Yes it is true that many of the very poorest can only eat what is on hand – or what can be hunted or gathered – but even that is more natural than going down the butcher’s shop. And surely, the answer there is to oppose world hunger and campaigner for a fair system where everybody has a full belly.

We are an increasingly global world – but one with huge chunks left out of it.

Any form of campaigning can only achieve so much – in general we are preaching to the people on our doorsteps but in many ways that is vas it should be. Reaching out to those in our own communities is where we can make a direct difference. Vegan outreach groups often take food to the poor and homeless, and that’s a fantastic way of campaigning – after all, we can all go home later and fire off emails and petitions on global issues and hope politicians will listen. But really every little bit helps – and the vegan diet itself is a form of activism.


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