[Diggers350] Monbiot on Simon Fairlie and being wrong on veganism

Ilyan Thomas ilyan.thomas at virgin.net
Sat Nov 30 01:20:49 GMT 2013

Vegans are intent on exterminating a large part of our co-evolution.

If you want to avoid mass extinction, start eating people before their 
idiotic industrial behavior make this planet uninhabitable..

On 28/11/13 09:40, Alison Banville wrote:
> Wrong About Being Wrong 
> <http://www.monbiot.com/2013/11/27/wrong-about-being-wrong/>
> Posted: 27 Nov 2013 06:34 AM PST
> The argument seems, once more, decisively to favour veganism.
> By George Monbiot, published on the Guardian���s website 27^th November 2013
> He did it quietly, and the decision is the better for that: Al Gore, 
> according to reports in the US press, has gone vegan.
> Certain things could be said about other aspects of his lifestyle: his 
> enormous houses 
> <http://members.jacksonville.com/reason/fact-check/2013-06-02/story/fact-check-al-gores-mansion-lot-less-green-george-bushs-ranch> 
> and occasional use of private jets 
> <http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/al-gore-wants-tesla-flies-commercial-mostly-150208852.html>, 
> for example. While we can���t demand that everyone who espouses green 
> causes should live like a Jain monk, I think we can ask that they 
> don���t live like Al Gore. He���s a brilliant campaigner, but I find the 
> disjunction between the restraint he advocates and the size of his 
> ecological footprint disorienting.
> So saying, if he is managing to sustain his vegan diet, in this 
> respect he puts most of us to shame. I tried it for 18 months and 
> almost faded away. I lost two stone, went as white as a washbasin and 
> could scarcely concentrate. I think I managed the diet badly; some 
> people appear to thrive on it. Once, after I had been unnecessarily 
> rude about vegans and their state of health (prompted no doubt by my 
> own failure), I was invited to test my views in an unconventional 
> debate with a vegan cage fighter. It was a kind invitation, but 
> unfortunately I had a subsequent engagement.
> In 2010, after reading a fascinating book by Simon Fairlie 
> <http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/meat-eating-vs-vegetarian-or-vegan-diets>, 
> a fair part of which was devoted to attacking my views, I wrotea 
> column in which I maintained 
> <http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/sep/06/meat-production-veganism-deforestation> 
> that I���d been wrong to claim that veganism is the only ethical 
> response to what is arguably the world���s most urgent social justice 
> issue. Diverting grain that could have fed human beings to livestock, 
> I���d argued, is grotesque when 800 million go hungry.
> Fairlie does not dispute this, and provides many examples of the 
> madness of the current livestock production system. But he points out 
> that plenty of meat can be produced from feed which humans cannot eat, 
> by sustaining pigs on waste and grazing cattle and sheep where crops 
> can���t grow. I was swayed by his argument. But now I find myself 
> becoming unswayed. In the spirit of unceasing self-flagellation I 
> think I might have been wrong about being wrong.
> Part of the problem is that while livestock could be fed on waste and 
> rangelands, ever less of the meat we eat in the rich nations is 
> produced this way. Over the past week, a row has erupted between chefs 
> and pig farmers 
> <http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/24/farmers-celebrity-chefs-pig-idea> 
> over the issue of swill. The chefs point out ��� as Simon Fairlie does ��� 
> that it is ridiculous to feed pigs on soya grown at vast environmental 
> cost in the Amazon instead of allowing them to dispose of our mountain 
> of waste food. Feeding pigs on swill has been forbidden since the foot 
> and mouth outbreak of 2001.
> The farmers respond that the risks of spreading disease are too great 
> and that pigs fed on waste grow more slowly than pigs fed on soya. I 
> side with the chefs: I believe that a society capable of identifying 
> the Higgs boson should be able to sterilise waste food. But I suspect 
> that they���re not going to win: the industry and its regulators are 
> firmly against them.
> I should have seen it coming, but I watched in horror as the meat 
> industry used my article to justify the consumption of all meat, 
> however it was produced, rather than just the meat raised on food that 
> humans can���t eat. A potential for good is used to justify harm.
> Whileresearching my book Feral 
> <http://www.monbiot.com/2013/05/24/feral-searching-for-enchantment-on-the-frontiers-of-rewilding/>, 
> I also came to see extensive livestock rearing as a lot less benign 
> than I ��� or Simon Fairlie ��� had assumed. The damage done to 
> biodiversity, to water catchments and carbon stores by sheep and 
> cattle grazing in places unsuitable for arable farming (which means, 
> by and large, the hills) is out of all proportion to the amount of 
> meat produced. Wasteful and destructive as feeding grain to livestock 
> is, ranching appears to be even worse.
> The belief that there is no conflict between this farming and arable 
> production also seems to be unfounded: by preventing the growth of 
> trees and other deep vegetation in the hills and by compacting the 
> soil, grazing animals cause a cycle of flash floods and drought, 
> sporadically drowning good land downstream and reducing the supply of 
> irrigation water.
> So can I follow Al Gore, and do it better than I did before? Well I 
> intend at least to keep cutting my consumption of animal products, and 
> to see how far I can go. It���s not easy, especially for a person as 
> greedy and impetuous as I am, but there has to be a way.
> http://www.monbiot.com/
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