Yes, you read that right. Being a vegan is wasteful. I don’t say this to offend any vegans (although I am sure I will). But it is the truth. People chose to be vegan for many different reasons. I completely understand when people have dietary restrictions or even just personal preferences. But some of the most common reasons are because they do not believe it is ethical to kill an animal for food or because they believe a plant-based diet is more sustainable. And there are some major issues with both of those arguments.
The problem with that first argument is that cattle are used for many things beyond their meat. Here is a short list of some of the things we are able to use cattle for: medicine, imitation eggs, anti-aging cream, dyes, ink, adhesives, minerals, plastics, pet food, plant food, shampoo, conditioner, emery boards, wallpaper, plywood, lamination, fertilizer, glass, charcoal, instrument strings, hormones, vitamins, enzymes, cosmetics, air filters, felt, insulation, gelatins, flavoring, gum, candles, detergents, deodorant, perfume, oils, cement, chalk, fireworks, linoleum, antifreeze, rubber, and on and on.
So unless you are not using ANY products that contain animals. Which is next to impossible. You are not truly a vegan. So an animal is still dying to provide for you. Except instead of using the entire animal, you are wasting most of that animal. That animal that gave it’s life. And you are wasting it. That would be like harvesting a whole field of lettuces and only eating one head of lettuce and throwing out the rest. It doesn’t make sense. Also, don’t get me started on the animals like mice and rabbits that die during specialty crop production for the plant-based diet.
On top of that, cattle are upcyclers. I don’t know if that’s a real word, but it describes cattle perfectly. They are able to eat food with zero nutritional value to humans and turn it into nutritious food that we can eat. They can upcycle their food. Cattle can eat our leftovers and our waste such as grocery store waste, cottonseed from cotton production, DDGS from ethanol, brewery waste and more. Often times beef cattle are grazed on marginal grassland. That grassland would not be able to have a human-edible crop on it. But cattle can graze on it and make that land more valuable by providing a living for those cattle ranchers and by improving the soil health.
Cattle are amazing. They provide for us in so many ways. I am truly grateful for everything they give to us. Be vegan or don’t be vegan. But don’t try to make the arguments that it is more sustainable or that you are 100% vegan and against killing animals.
Udderly an omnivore,
New Mexico Milkmaid