Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Breatharians?

norman at poplar spring

It is safe to say that all vegans are trying to minimize the cruelty they participate in in this world. Ironically some meat-eaters will try to use this as an argument against veganism.

They’ll ask: What about the animals killed while farming vegetables? What about all those animals that don’t get out of the way of the <insert random farm equipment>?

Nevermind questions such as “what about the 10 billion animals killed for meat”. Nevermind the uncounted baby male chicks that are killed within hours of hatching because they’re seen as having no worth to the business since they can’t lay eggs. Clearly, in the poorly explained logic of this animals-killed-in-vegetable-farming argument, the number of animals killed in farming vegetables must be greater than the 10 billion killed for meat, else why make the argument at all? Except that it is entirely inaccurate to make that statement, and that makes this argument a bit pointless.

Unless…well, maybe we should assume that the closely held secret of the agribusinesses is that farmed animals are breatharians. Else the logic would be blindingly obvious – since humans eat vegetarian animals, those same vegetables that could be used to feed humans would be fed in yet greater quantities to the “food animals.” Eating animals would only increase the number of animals accidentally killed in the farming of vegetables.

There is no data on how many animals are killed in farming of plants, the best anyone can come up with is a general guess of “millions each year” based purely on anecdotal recounting of having seen “some animals” killed in the farming of plants. For the record, this is not something ignored in the vegan community, the death of animals by plant agriculture. Veganism is still the obvious best choice if your goal is to minimize the death and destruction you cause. There are billions more (documented) animals killed for meat, eggs, and dairy than accidentally killed for plants. Billions, and that is no exaggeration. In addition, the land resources used for grazing and otherwise feeding these farmed animals cause yet more death to the unfarmed animals by habitat destruction, and then you have the animals that are specifically hunted to prevent them from interfering with the animals being raised for food.

Can plant farming improve to minimize the animals accidentally killed by farm equipment? Of course. Does this negate veganism as a way to minimize the harm we cause? Not a chance. Not even if farmed animals really were breatharians.

Inedia is the alleged ability to live without food. Breatharianism is a related concept, in which believers claim food and possibly water are not necessary for human sustenance, which can be nourished solely by prana (the vital life force in Hinduism), or according to some, by the energy in sunlight.”

pig at poplar spring

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3 responses to “Breatharians?

  1. leindiemeister December 13, 2006 at 8:20 pm

    I hate that argument that even vegans aren’t doing enough. Even being aware of all the implications of eating meat, dairy, and eggs might save one life even for a short amount of time, which means more than can be summed up in words. The people who bring up this argument don’t understand what it means to take a life, especially after that life received no mercy and was raised to die, or to be impregnated more than is natural. Or both.

    You wrote this entry incredibly persuasively; there’s no room for even the slightest argument. A million props to you.

    And again, I love the pig picture! The cow one is pleasing, too. But the pig looks like he or she couldn’t possibly be happier.

  2. Deb December 13, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks!

    A friend of mine talks about this same sort of thing in a post about an ant: http://www.animalwritings.com/2006/08/just-ant.asp

    What it means to the individuals we’re able to save is definitely more than can be expressed. As gary says in that post, it is everything to them.

    Being vegan is huge. Gary Francione (author or Rain Without Thunder, among others) says that the biggest thing anyone can do for animal rights is to go vegan. I can’t stop myself from trying to do more, but being vegan is the foundation.

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