Response: AN OPEN LETTER TO VEGANS: WHY CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS?

Dear Farmers/Ranchers,

Thank you for growing food for people (not to be confused with raising animals to be killed for food). You are very important for providing quality food for all of us.

I believe you when you say that you love your animals and that you take good care of them. I believe you that you feel sad sending them off to eventually get killed. The reason why I believe you is simple. You are convinced that eating animal flesh, secretions and eggs is normal, natural and necessary. You are convinced that breeding animals to be killed for food is the only way to make sure people can have a healthy diet and enough food on the table.

“Why can’t we just grow crops and feed the world that way? Because realistically, there is not enough space on the planet that is capable of growing crops to feed 7.3 billion people, especially not if we are not allowed to use genetically modified crops that are capable of growing more food with fewer resources.”

The statement above is wrong and science has provided a completely different picture of the actual circumstances. The university of Minnesota found that we could feed 4 billion more people with the current crop land. We simply have to stop growing crops for farm animals and start growing food for people directly.

http://discover.umn.edu/news/food-agriculture/existing-cropland-could-feed-4-billion-more

GMO crops do not provide more food with fewer resources used. Actual science informs us that this is simply not true.

http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering/failure-to-yield.html#.VkOLNnr9eK0

http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2015/03/claims-gmo-yield-increases-don-t-hold

Monsanto’s pesticide Roundup which is used on GMO crops and contains Glyphosate is linked to cancer.

http://www.nature.com/news/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer-1.17181

“Crops and livestock together is the only way we can hope to feed a hungry and growing world. And we take that responsibility deadly seriously, knowing without us, the world will starve.”

Growing food is great but raising “food” increases scarcity and hunger at least these are the findings of a UN report.

http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/Portals/24102/PDFs/PriorityProductsAndMaterials_Report.pdf

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet

“And we care for our animals, making sure that they live as comfortably as possible while they are with us. We care for them when they are sick. And we make sure when they are sent to slaughter that it is as swift and painless as possible.”

We humans don’t need animal products to be healthy, in fact we are healthier without meat, milk and eggs. That makes breeding and killing animals for food completely unnecessary and we have to move our focus away from animal welfare towards animal rights. Without necessity for animal products we can and should choose not to get animals killed. A plethora of clinical studies show that plant-based diets are superior.

http://scuzzbopper.github.io/

“At the end of the day, we are just trying to do the best we can with the resources we have to give the public the food choices they want.”

Unfortunately the public has been misinformed by the meat, dairy and egg industry for decades that animal products were essential to our wellbeing. Recently also farmers and ranchers have chimed in to spread misinformation and omit facts like the open letter I am responding to. It is imperative to educate the public about facts and science. We can all choose not to be part of unnecessary exploitation and killing and we all be healthier doing so. If we really cared about given resources we wouldn’t waste them on breeding, feeding and killing animals for food instead we would reduce the pressure on the environment by only growing food for people. Because without a healthy environment we are all doomed.

http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

We all can be friends. There is room for everybody on the table enjoying plant-based foods. We will be able to feed even 9 billion people if we make changes to our diet and choose a vegan lifestyle. Farmers are great people, doing a great job but it’s time to phase out animal agriculture so nobody goes hungry and to mitigate climate change.

Your vegan friends

P.S.: If you think GMOs are safe and necessary why not simply label GMO products?

Below you find the original text posted here: http://jessicaadecker.com/2015/11/10/an-open-letter-to-vegans-why-cant-we-be-friends/

Dear Vegans, Vegetarians, Non-GMO and Organic Supporters, and other members of the anti-conventional agriculture public,

First off let me say:

Thank you.

Thank you for your opinions, thank you for joining the agricultural debate, and thank you for sharing your passion about how your food is raised, just like I do. If there’s anything we can agree on, it’s that we are both passionate about what we believe in.

Now, let me introduce myself. I’m not from a traditional “farm family” that relies on farm income, but I do come from a long line of farmers. My family started raising cattle 5 or 6 years ago, after retiring from 20+ years raising show pigs for FFA projects, and we’ve grown cotton and wheat (the two main crops in my area) for years. We raise breeding cattle, meaning that our stock doesn’t go directly into the food supply, but is instead sold to other producers to breed with to improve genetic lines. Our herd is small, only around 50, and we know every single one of them. We don’t name them all, but the first cows we bought and their offspring all have nicknames.

We love our cows. I know that may be hard for you to believe, since eventually each of them will be sent to the slaughterhouse to join the food supply. However, we take our role as keepers of the cattle very seriously, and strive to ensure that they are treated with the utmost respect and care while they are in our possession. We don’t take great joy in sending cattle to slaughter, like many might think. I don’t know any farmer that secretly can’t wait to see an animal’s life end. However, it is our job, our responsibility, our duty, to make sure that you and your children have enough food to survive. I know, I know. Why can’t we just grow crops and feed the world that way? Because realistically, there is not enough space on the planet that is capable of growing crops to feed 7.3 billion people, especially not if we are not allowed to use genetically modified crops that are capable of growing more food with fewer resources. It’s easy to say that these are not issues when you can sit at your dinner table with a plate full of food. However, farmers see the devastating effects of what happens when there’s drought or disease or pests. Crops and animals lost means that much less food for a hungry person.

Crops and livestock together is the only way we can hope to feed a hungry and growing world. And we take that responsibility deadly seriously, knowing without us, the world will starve.

However, that doesn’t mean our only focus is to get as much out of every animal and every crop. We also recognize that respecting the land means that it will be able to produce fruitful crops for years to come, so we try not to overwork or overgraze fields, we put nutrients back into the soil, and we utilize technology and agricultural practices to minimize moisture loss and soil erosion. We care for the land, because without it, we are out of a job. And we care for our animals, making sure that they live as comfortably as possible while they are with us. We care for them when they are sick. And we make sure when they are sent to slaughter that it is as swift and painless as possible.

I know there are those out there who don’t care for their animals at the high standards that we should expect them to, and quite frankly, I am glad when they are called out for mistreating animals, because that should never be excused. However, I would just ask that you try not to generalize all farmers, and say we are all just like that, because my family tries very hard to care for our animals as best as we can and I would call someone out just as soon as you would if I saw them abusing their animals. I appreciate your effort to stop animal cruelty, I do, and believe that many of your hearts are in the right place. Just don’t throw my family under the bus while you do it.

This is Lucky. Her mom kept kicking her off, so we cared for and bottle fed her until she was old enough to join the herd.
This is Lucky. Her mom kept kicking her off, so we cared for and bottle fed her until she was old enough to join the herd.
At the end of the day, we are just trying to do the best we can with the resources we have to give the public the food choices they want. We care about the safety of our food because we are eating it too, and feeding it to our families. We really aren’t just a bunch of big corporations trying to make as much money as possible. The biggest cattle producers around my home area are families, with multiple generations working on the farm, trying to find success just like you are in your occupation. Please don’t think we don’t care about consumer opinions, because we do. We are consumers just like you.

I truly hope we can be friends. I think there is room for each of us at the table, each providing a unique perspective and talent that can drive the others to be better. Mr/Ms Vegan and Vegetarian, please continue to help us find the best ways to make sure our livestock are treated respectfully, while treating us, the farmer, respectfully as well. Mr/Ms Non-GMO and Organic Supporter, I know we don’t raise our animals and crops the same way, but I fully support the fact that you are reaching a group that so desperately wants your products. And I’ll be honest– I love organic milk, it’s all I buy. But I’m going to stick to my GMO cotton for now. Hopefully, between the two of us, we can meet the needs of all the consumers out there for whatever they are looking for, and we can do it together.

I’m so glad we had this talk. I know that with open dialogue about the problem areas and working together to find solutions, we can make people feel safe about what they are buying from the store, make sure the land and livestock are treated the best way possible, and continue to feed this big, amazing world.

Sincerely,

Your friend the Ag Producer from West Texas.

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