Are vegans nutcases?

If you’re wondering what this question has to do with NCPR or the Adirondack North Country, it’s simply this: much of our coverage area is agricultural, and the vast majority of local farms produce milk. I’m an almost-vegan, almost-vegetarian. What does this mean? I haven’t eaten red meat or chicken in 40 years, and I rarely eat fish or seafood. I don’t drink milk or use butter but do have yogurt or a piece of cheese occasionally. I stopped eating meat decades ago because I didn’t like it and because I believed that if I wanted to eat something I should know how it was raised and, given the opportunity, be able to harvest–or kill–it myself.

In recent years, my husband and I raise sheep and turkeys and laying hens. In light of our super-humane treatment of these creatures, whether being raised for food or wool, Thanksgiving table or just eggs, I have felt okay about having a farm.

But I question this all the time–is it a rationalization? I think about the oft-made comparison between the way we treated human chattel  prior to the Civil War and how we now treat animals. John Brown deemed a fanatic back then, PETA deemed a fanatic organization now. So, Brown’s tactics may have been extreme but I have never met anyone who thought he was wrong about the need to abolish slavery. Can the same be said of PETA’s goals, in spite of tactics? Are we just late in coming to a full understanding of the “humanity”–if you will–of animals? Or at least their right to be free of human intervention in their lives?

Check out this interview with an attorney who provided counsel to PETA in its early days and who has moved past more commonly held attitudes about animal rights to what he would argue is the logical end-thinking about the issue.

And do weigh in below. I’m particularly interested in hearing from farmers who raise animals, for meat or dairy.

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2 Responses to “Are vegans nutcases?”

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  1. Pete Klein says:

    Sorry, Ellen, but I have long viewed Brown as a terrorist. The cause was just. The methods wrong.
    On food, I do agree there are problems with the modern production methods and do agree many of these methods are cruel in their treatment of other animals. Other because so to are we animals.
    But killing is killing, whether it’s killing animals or killing fruits and veggies. For us to live, we need to eat things that once were alive and the more recently alive the better.
    To each his own but I think a balanced diet of meat, fish, fruits and veggies is the best way to go.
    Point of interest. Predators and omnivores tend to be more intelligent than herbivores and I think the diet is the key to the difference.

  2. It's Still All Bush's Fault says:

    Vegans are not nutcases. Even though you reference the super humane manner in which you raise your sheep and fowl, there are some who would claim you are oppressing those poor creatures by enslaving them, stealing their wool/eggs and ultimately sending them to an un-natural death.