Coffee Break

Militant veganism. Where a diet becomes a religious crusade

I was just shown a video that followed a group of militant vegans in Israel breaking into the Ramat HaKovesh Hatchery in Israel and stopping production of a chicken grinder. When a police officer arrived, their leader, activist Tal Gilboa, said he would have to push the button to get the machine started again.  It was a powerful video no doubt and it left me with is anger in my heart. Towards the vegans.

Firstly, what makes them any different to terrorists? They make demands but offer no solutions and seek to destroy but would be unable and unwilling to pick up the pieces. Exactly like terrorists, they enter into a situation with passion but no consideration for the long-term consequences of their actions. Or rather, they don’t care about the consequences because they have neither thought their actions through or considered alternatives.

The vegans in this film, with their shirts toting ‘Total Liberation’ stormed a factory in Israel, which involves breaking and entering and they stop a machine used for grinding male baby chickens and film it. They then force a police officer, who was only doing his job, to tackle a decision that nobody would openly make. They proved their point rightfully enough that yes, grinding baby chicks up for food or whatever they’re used for is not an easy decision to make, but it is a very one-sided video. Propaganda always is.

I know many vegans who are, frankly, embarrassed by these displays. Militant actions such as this serve no long-term benefits aside from hurting any cause that they be fighting for. They feed off emotion and a mob mentality. In the video they use phrases like “stop the bloodshed” but I doubt vehemently that any of them who were crying over those chickens would have had the guts to visit the families of those staff members who would find themselves unemployed should that factory shut down. I wonder if they would be willing to explain to the children who suddenly find themselves without food, because their parents have lost their jobs, that chicks were prioritised over them.

Is the vegan dream that all farms, meat processing plants and anything to do with butchery is shut down and closed? Or converted to vegan food plants? I bet that the vegans in that video would also be the people standing in front of the bulldozers at the rain forest even when that land is being possessed for the growing of their precious vegan produce.

Oh, you're cutting down my home to grow hemp and beans? Thats okay then.
Oh, you’re cutting down my home to grow hemp and beans? Thats okay then.

You cannot feed 7 billion people on a vegan diet, unless your plan is to cull the population in half, as that may actually solve part of the problem. A large-scale vegan population would require more agricultural land, meaning more deforestation and would cause the unemployment of millions of people who are trained in the meat industry, meaning an even larger drain on the economies of the world. Now, I’ve heard the arguments about how people could be retrained but anyone who suggests this as a reasonable answer clearly as never ever tried to do it.

Secondly, do they have a long-term plan? Aside from stopping people from doing their jobs and getting some support from people online, do they have a plan to convert the population of the world to a vegan diet and how is that going to work in places like Africa or Siberia?

I may be digressing from the video, but I fail to see what they’re trying to do in this video aside from justifying their beliefs. If they had planned to emotionally blackmail us to feel bad for baby chickens, then yes they succeeded but it doesn’t change the fact that there is a reason why those birds are being killed. If they wanted to mollify a police officer who was doing his job and make him out to be an ‘agent of the enemy’ then I guess they managed it. Wanting to be pernicious? Yup, that too.

But in the long-term? That company is still running and furthermore, they’ve doubled their security. If they have stopped that grinding machine then another company has taken that contract because companies like that don’t just pop into existence because someone enjoys killing baby chickens. They spring up because there is a need to offer a service to another, larger companies, which are doing the same for an even larger company and along the way, people are being employed to do this job. That is money going into the economy, money that leads to feeding families. All they did was stop that process.

It is easy to hit out at the smaller companies who are merely providing a horrible but necessary service to a larger industry and easy to make a matryr of a police officer merely doing his job. It’s easy to make it emotional, go ahead, tug at the heartstrings of everyone who’s seen that but it doesn’t change the fact that that company and that police officer were simply fulfilling a wage-paying job.

At the end of the video it says, “Choose Vegan”. If their long-term plan was to recruit people to committing to a dietary regime then I should point out there is a reason why vegan organisations do not have their wishes and demands passed into law, despite how much lobbying or breaking and entering they do and it’s the same reason why medical professionals do not recommend vegan diets to their patients. Emotional blackmail and catchy slogans, trendy memes and self-righteous fanatics can’t change the facts. People need food and people also need jobs.

Now, I’m sure that some of the vegans reading this will be happy to point out all the reasons why a vegan diet is better than a diet which includes meat but before any actually quantifiable evidence that has been medically and scientifically proven is supplied (and I have no doubt that it probably exists) the commentary will ultimately move towards, “How can you live with yourself knowing what these animals go through?” and the honest answer is quite easily because people are fed and people have jobs because of it. It’s not nice. It’s not right but it is the situation that current feeds and employs.

This clearly doesn’t matter to Tal Gilboa who is targeting us where it hurts, our emotions. It’s clever propaganda but impassioned people always have the best propaganda punts and emotional blackmail does not need to be supported with facts. And since she won Big Brother last year she’s been given the celebrity status she needs to push things ahead.

It’s not like vegans were denied the chance to win in the past…

Not to say it’s not a worthy cause- of course it is. Nobody relishes the idea of slaughterhouses or dairy farms but they are an inevitable part of feeding a growing population and keeping commerce going. This task of feeding a growing human population, for now, involves some horrible things. Grinding male chicks in a massive meat grinder is one of them, it also involves the mass farming of chickens, pigs and cows in less than stellar conditions (keeping in mind why they are being kept there) this task even involves dogs and cats being farmed as meat in the Orient and rats being pulled out of rivers in India. It will soon involve cultivating and farming insects and eating grubs and worms. This is the reality that vegans like Gilboa seem unwilling to face and rage as much as you like but as long as the population continues to grow Worldwide Veganism will become less and less a viable option of feeding people and appear more like just a great way of making them unemployed.

I have many vegan friends who are friends with people who eat meat and they get along fine because they see it as a dietary approach and not some kind of religion that demands the recruitment of ardent and devout followers.

Now there is an obvious question to answer: Would I have been able to push the button?

No. But we live in a machine that requires a lot of people to be fed, employed and homed, so it has to be somebody’s job to push it.  And I’m glad that there is someone there who will.