Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I don't think vegan is enough

There was a recent article in our permy circles about a guy who went from vegan to freegan to permaculture based omnivore and his ethical positions.
The vegetarians have an acceptable position and attempt to not eat sentient beings. This can also be from environmental grounds.
If you have no other control of your food so you have to buy from a market, yes it is pretty overwhelming the most ethical choice.
But industrial agriculture is the problem. It is (potentially) cruel to animals and is usually polluting.
My position for that is basically Regenerative Agriculture. Salatin and Savoy and Doherty put it better than me.
On the eating sentient being front I don't think vegans go far enough.
Our view of life and sentience can be pretty limited. We think and use words and see.
Dogs think with smell over a wide range of time.
Trees think with smell and communicate across vast distances with chemical networks that communicate again with other nets, eg tree root to fungus. They know their relatives. They pass suggestions for defence to allies. They know when plants in the area are killed. they have memory.
A plant or especially a forest is very probably a conscious thing with a developed sense of self and a model of mind for other plants especially in its family group.
Why should we be discriminatory because of similarity in nervous system?

In many ways I suspect a tree or a forest is likely to be far cleverer than a human, just slower.

It could be said I'm just making up a ethical structure that fits the regen ag and still eating meat.
But thinking about it makes life complex.
So what then in the most ethical? Fruitarian? Fruit as plants make them in part so animals eat them and spread them. So we're eating their babies! But the plants rely on us doing that and pooping in new places.
So is old wood from a living tree the most unethical thing? Theoretically intelligent and wise being. All the other plants in the forest are connected and feel the loss.
So maybe earth building is the most ethical structure.
Use of dead wood is fine?
When gardening this being aware of the consciousness of plants can be disconcerting. I'm trying to help them in the garden. But for example, how do they consider pruning and laying mulch. Attack and laying corpses at their feet? But plants react well to pruning and mulch, we can't anthropomorphise, they will think differently. It isn't what we want, its what they want.
That is a big point against meat, we can be pretty sure the animal doesn't want to be eaten. A fruit? It probably does.

It has been said that meat is murder but veganism is genocide.
Cattle are one of the most successful lifeforms on the planet because they live in human society. Because we eat them there are more cows. They are protected, fed.
So a full switch to veganism would take a considerable transition to 'rewild' all those cows and sheep. It would take decades.
And would cows want to be rewilded? I doubt it.
Reduce the numbers significantly and give them a good a good cow life. With an increasingly vegetarian diet for humans, less need to intensively farm. Have cattle where good for the environment such as grass plains. Use their poop, their ability to transform grass to good soil. Cows in an integrated system are a carbon sink. Their poo feeds the grass which captures carbon faster than eaten by the cows.
In general Australian cows are grass fed and rotational grazed. Reduce the numbers by 20% and it is an almost optimum system for carbon sequestration.
Food lot factory cows are an environmental abomination.

As Salatin says he wants the cows to have the most cow life it can. same for the chickens and pigs etc and humans.
I like making my garden a good forest for chickens. I take some of their eggs. I provide a forest and protection and water and some additional food. I rarely have troublemakers to kill but when I do I eat them.
Seems a fair deal for everyone.

I wilderness garden so let all the plants, animals and other life do their own thing as much as I can. I eat fruit and leaves. I eat pests such as rabbits and animal companions like roosters if needed for health of the system. I shop local or organic or Australian and don't panic if I'm not pure about anything.
I guess the final point on ethical eating is like so much, It Depends. Balance and health of the system as well as you can figure out.

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