If everyone was Vegan what would happen to all the cows, pigs and chickens?
A vegan is a person who doesn’t eat any meat, fish, dairy or eggs. Nor will they use anything made from animals such as leather shoes and fur coats. Vegetarians don’t eat meat either but may eat fish, eggs and dairy and may use animal byproducts. For this column I’m using the terms vegan and vegetarian interchangeably even though they are not.
I have a couple friends who are vegan and I asked them about that lifestyle. With their input and a little internet research I found the five main reasons people become vegan. They are: health and nutrition, environmental protection, morality, social justice and global food shortage.
Some people choose veganism due to their religious beliefs. They’re taught that the human body is the Temple of God and should be taken care of and not harmed. They think meat is unhealthy so they won’t put it in their body. Others think cruelty to animals overrides any reason to eat meat. And global food shortage inspires many people. According to The Vegan Society, more than one-third of the grain grown worldwide is fed to animals. They think the amount of grain fed to cattle could be used to feed starving nations.
I pondered all that for a while and had to wonder. If everyone in the world was vegan, what would happen to all the cows, pigs and chickens? I was basically taught that those animals are part of the food chain. Their value comes from being able to help sustain or improve human life. And they are a marketable commodity. That concept may be wrong and not popular but that’s what I’ve been taught.
If the one-third of world grain currently being fed to cattle was given to starving nations what would the cows eat? Would they starve to death? Wouldn’t that be cruel? Farmers spend a lot of money raising and caring for their animals. If a farmer couldn’t sell his cows, chickens and pigs or their byproducts he couldn’t afford to keep them. If no one wanted to eat them or use any of their byproducts who would want to buy them? Probably no one. So what would happen to these animals?
A few might be kept as pets. Some might be put in zoos. But probably most of them would be destroyed. That seems like we’d be killing the animals to save them from being slaughtered. And we might protect them into extinction.
If all those animals were gone, a lot of jobs would be lost. There’d be no need for cowboys. Everyone associated with caring for and processing those animals would be unemployed. Our whole economic structure would change. I guess Col. Sanders could have Kentucky Fried Tofu. And what about household pets, such as cats and dogs? Most of them are nourished with beef, pork and chicken. What would we feed them? Can they thrive on tofu and bok choy?
I asked one vegan friend what she thought would happen to all the animals if everyone became vegan. She said, “I guess the cows, pigs and chickens would need to become humanarians.”
She was joking, I think, but I gave that some thought. It sounded as if the animals would need to become like humans to survive. They’d have to wear clothes and get a job so they could support themselves and buy their own house and food. I wonder what they’d eat. Tofu burgers? All this has made me hungry. Think I’ll go get a Big Mac. Or is that a Big McFu?
Linda Messmer can be reached at 812-448-8725