Vegetarians and I have got a ? complex relationship. For the most part I have no problem with them. What do I care what you eat? Really, my only qualm with vegetarians is the small but noisy minority among them that we shall call ?Fundamentalist Vegetarians.? These are the fanatical, evangelical, militant, dare I say PETA level vegetarians. The sort of person who needed to invent the term ?vegan? to establish their clear superiority over mundane, wishy washy hypocrites who put cheese on their broccoli. If you eat only veggies for theological reasons, fine. If you feel guilty about eating animals, that’s how you feel. If you do it for health, way to go. If you do it as a moral step ladder to convince yourself that you are better than everyone else, now we have a problem. If you plan on expounding upon the virtues of vegetarianism / veganism / herbivorousness due to hope or need to recruit ME into your little low protein cult not because you think it would help me but because you do not accept the validity of any lifestyle but your own, we’s gonna tussle. I’ve put some thought into it, and there is something you should know.
Your goal is to convert everyone in the world to vegetarianism, yes? (Don’t worry, you won’t lose your moral superiority, After all, you were vegetarian before it was cool, right? You are like a prophet!) Clearly you wouldn’t be bothering ME about it unless it was part of a more general policy. Well, let us imagine that you succeed. Suddenly no one is eating cows. Yesterday, billions of people are eating cows. Today, no one is. Funny thing, though. There are still cows. The did not vanish in a cloud of positive thinking and low cholesterol. There are still chickens, too. And pigs. Great, bulging feed lots and dairy farms filled with live stock that no one is eating. What do we do with those? Well, we could slaughter them all and just leave the meat to rot, but that is even more morally destitute than eating them, isn’t it? Okay, we could just leave them to live in overcrowded squaller until disease and starvation takes care of them for us, but that is hardly a kind solution. The only alternative is to set them free. That’s the right thing to do.
The first thing we notice is that vast businesses are sent into upheaval. Restaurants would have to undergo massive restructuring to remain viable, and whole trades would become obsolete. Butcher shops, slaughter houses, meat packing facilities (and by extension the city of Green Bay, Wisconsin), leather workers, and all manner of other occupations would simply vanish, leaving hundreds of thousands of families without means of support. But hey, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, right? (Actually, these days you just can’t make an omelet.) And a huge spike in unemployment and a couple of destroyed families is a small price to pay for such a noble cause as the world eating differently.
Back to the animals, now. If the local ecosystem could support that many animals, we wouldn’t have needed feed lots in the first place, would we? So now cows are stripping the land bare, chickens are eating all of the grain and insects, and pigs are eating everything below their chins. Super. Well, without grass, soil erosion becomes a real issue. We start to enter another dust bowl. Suddenly all of those precious soy beans and lentils are getting harder to grow, and just when we need them to keep the protein starved populous from literally falling apart. Heck, there are a whole lot more people to feed these days too, what with longer lifespans from all of this healthy eating. Overpopulation forces farmers to overwork what little arable land has escaped the ravenous horde of chickens and cows. Those indigenous creatures that haven’t had their habitats destroyed by expanded agriculture or been eaten by feral pigs will die from lack of food. Man, a lot of animals die in this kinder gentler vegetarian world… Well, all but those wretched natural carnivores who just won’t see the light of veganism. Wolves and foxes, and perhaps carnivorous caribou, will thrive. Before long they might even realize that these flimsy hairless apes aren’t willing to kill them anymore, so the city is no longer off limits. Now wild dogs are stalking the halls of pre-schools, picking off the slower and weaker children.
That is where it ends I suppose, vegan recruiters. Your highest goal will leave us with, at best, an entire generation of feed animals slaughtered for no reason and, at worst, an apocalyptic hell world of food shortages and kindergarten maulings that leads inevitably to global extinction. The earth left by the Vegan shift will be a gray expanse of barren fields and sun blistered deserts, scattered with the bleached bones of the last generation of man and a hand full of colossally fat and happy pumas and huskies. And all of this is unavoidable, unless you allow for the unthinkable option of letting me eat my burger while you eat your tofu. I guess the choice is yours.