Animal-free diet? Sure! But why?

As often happens, also this post contains an opinion – on feelings of plants – that is not necessarily shared by everyone. As always, this shows how diversity can promote discussion.

Some may still remember: the German Greens once had the suggestion to set up a veggie day once a week in public canteens. All very nice and without obligation. They will not forget it that soon! They have not recovered from this shock until today. In the following shitstorm especially the term prohibition party was used very often and the Greens have become even more non-binding, with some pleasing exceptions.
However, it is now common knowledge that meat consumption and the production of animal food cause the greatest environmental impact. Meat addicts quip in the social media: “These vegans eat the food of my food!” This alone shows that everyone knows it: Actually, the reverse is the case. They feed on the livelihoods of the poor and even of the planet.
The greenhouse gases of the cattle themselves, the over-fertilization with liquid manure, their feeding with soy etc. are more harmful than the traffic (, the deforestation of large forest areas such as in the Amazon region is done in favour of livestock or their food. These forest areas bind not only CO2 but also energy. Forests cool the earth. The mass consumption of animal products in the rich countries destroys the livelihoods of humans and even the entire nature not only in the global south, but thereby also with us. This is further fueled by the fact that about half of the food produced does not get into the stomach of a person, but on the garbage. As we hear from all sides, this is economic, ecological and moral nonsense. But nothing changes.
This way I could continue, but all that is well known, I just remember it. This kind of consuming cuts the branch we are sitting on.
So far for the “reasonable” reasons for at least severely restricting or better stopping the consumption of animal products. There is also widespread agreement among those who want to save the Hambi.

The moral reasons are discussed far more emotionally. They range from the mischief of the tormenting intensive livestock farming to the fundamental questioning of the right to kill a sentient being. Like, for example, at a recent action at the slaughterhouse in Düren.
The most common moral argument against the consumption of animal products is the tormenting intensive livestock farming by the agrarian industry and the associated cruel slaughtering. There is great agreement, that these abuses are a barbarism.
But may one kill sentient beings at all to feed themselves? Carnivore people like to answer to this question: “We humans have always been collectors AND hunters. That’s our nature.” That is only partially true. As shows the shape of our teeth and our digestive canal, we are very versatile. We must not feed on other animals, we just can. We could also feed on humans, but we do not. Cows, on the other hand, become ill when forced to cannibalism. This versatility has made us humans so successful that we are numerous and spread all over the planet. We can ruin our planet, but we should not.

Who are these “sentient fellow creatures”? The moral imperative not to eat them is based on the assumption that plants do not feel and therefore it is morally harmless to kill them for consumption. Meanwhile, it has been scientifically proven that plants can feel and communicate very well. That they have not only feelings like pain, but also solidarity, joy and sadness. That plants on the wood-wide-web chat as much as we on the Internet (see links below). And if we think a bit it is logical: for every living being, feelings are vital to be able to react accordingly to external influences. When a plant is nibbled by a beetle, it senses that so precisely that it can respond to this type of beetle, for example, by secreting attractants for just the right predators. And warns the other plants, which then also produce this substance. So they too are sentient beings. The point is, the plants react a lot more slowly than we do. The transmission of stimuli occurs within a plant at about one centimeter per second. Tolkien depicted this nicely when he came up with the Ents.
Should not we eat any plants or mushrooms anymore? But we must feed on something? Sure. And of course we should always let ourselves be guided by moral considerations. However, I think we should update our morals from time to time, if only to avoid dogmatism. There are enough other reasons left to do without animal food.
Example: For the production of animal food (also from Animal Welfare farming) substantially more organisms must die than for vegetable food. For a soy sausage, significantly less soy is needed than for a meat sausage.
What good is furthermore animal-friendly farming if the animals are slaughtered excruciating, which is the rule? We hear the argument that they had a good life after all, albeit with a bad death. Comparable with ocean fishing.

We do not need to go into detail about factory livestock farming. But perhaps we should also ask ourselves, as some already do, how torturous is the factory plant farming? And this not only for the many insects and other animals that have to die, but also for the plants themselves? And of course of the quality of such a food.
What remains is the question of feeding on animal products in areas that are unsuitable for agriculture: steppes like in Mongolia, high mountains or oases where food for humans does not (sufficiently) grow. Just grass and other plants for the cattle. There is probably no room and no need for a vegan lifestyle.

I have come to believe more and more that the attitude of most indigenous peoples towards nature, developed in the course of their thousands of years of civilization still applies. We are not above nature, we are part of it and we are even increasingly dependent on it. She needs respect, just as children respect their mother. That’s why there’s still a lot speaking for an animal-free diet, even if some reasons for it should be adapted to the state of science. Alone for reasons of credibility.

How trees talk to each other. Subtitled speech by Canadian forestry scientist Suzanne Simard. If the subtitles are not displayed automatically, click on the settings at the bottom right (gear icon). There you can choose the language of the subtitles.
In this film she tells so much, so understandable and yet scientifically about the functioning of forests, that it should be shown at every skill sharing camp.

  • SWR – “He who Talks with Forests,”: The forester and bestseller author Peter Wohlleben receives two celebrities, this time Sarah Wiener & Guildo Horn, and walks with them for two days and the night in between in the forest.
    He tells, for example, that plants have (slow) feelings, how to make a bed of spruce branches, why is it a good idea to fell spruce trees in some regions to regenerate a forest, how to make a fire without a lighter? German.

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