The past couple of years has seen a sudden rise in Veganism, as hipsters the world over decide to ditch the meat and hit Instagram lording over the rest of us with their environmental expertise and images of animal cruelty. All this after watching Cowspiracy.
But little do these said vegans know, not eating animal products may actually be doing more harm to the environment and the animals people are trying to protect.
Most of us are familiar with PETA – they’re the ones who say Pokemon supports animal cruelty, like to splash paint on people wearing fur, and generally raise a lot of fuss when it comes to animal rights. A good portion of vegans and vegetarians aren’t nearly as extreme as PETA, but typically, when you think of vegans or vegetarians, you think of dudes with man buns and beards holding signs outside of a slaughterhouse.
So are vegans really doing all that much to save the planet? One of the leading naturalists in the world, Claudio Bertonatti, says they are not, and here’s why.
Claudio began to study nature and observe wildlife, and noticed that in fields where crops were being grown, there were no birds or animals allowed. As a vegetarian, he hoped to “prevent the death and suffering of domestic animals,” but didn’t think of the wild species that were disappearing, unlike domestic animals.
“Wheat, rice, corn. Most vegans eat these things. The first impact of mass cultivation is deforestation: we force nature out to make room for crops,” Claudio goes on. His point is simple: by eating just vegetables, vegans and vegetarians are placing vegetables over animal life, because in order to support the demand for crops, landowners have to push out the wildlife. As such, wildlife is suffering and dying.
“If you eat meat, you kill animals,” Claudio says, “but you also kill them by eating plants.”
In fields where there are animals, however, there are also wild animals, such as deer, foxes, birds, and more. There is less than if the field were a forest, but they’re there in greater numbers than if the field were devoted to crop growth. “Even so, the impact is less,” Claudio says.
“When I say this, a lot of people feel I’m cornering them.” Claudio has angered a lot of vegans and vegetarians by pointing this out. “A lot of people who care about environmental issues look for good guys and bad guys, but it’s not like that: it’s far more complicated.”
Claudio does go on to say the meat industry is a tragedy, and that a responsible position is to support the “responsible consumption and humane killing of animals.” Mostly, Claudio wants to warn vegans and vegetarians that “zero impact is impossible” when it comes to directly or indirectly causing animal deaths.