A young farmer has blasted vegans - branding them 'naïve' and accusing them of spreading lies.
An opinion piece in Farmers Guardian Insight, titled Naïve vegans are spreading incredible lies and damaging the farming industry, suggests 'crooked documentaries' showing false information are one of the major reasons behind the rise in veganism.
'Not ALL farms'
The article claims vegans do not understand or research farming, and that's why they are brainwashed to believe that ' all livestock farms were like the few on the film'.
Most vegans research farms. Many vegans have been to multiple farms, some vegans come from farming backgrounds. But it's easier to suggest that they don't know what they are talking about, than acknowledge they may have a point.
The farmer shows no concern about malpractices on the farms shown in said documentaries, or concern at all about the mistreatment of animals in agriculture - but in the absence of any evidence, insists that not all farms are bad.
She also neatly avoids the fact that 'mega' farms are becoming increasingly prevalent in the UK, with a 26 percent rise in intensive factory farming in six years. This suggests the author herself has little understanding about the changing face of British farming - and would do well to step outside her own bubble and see how 'close to 800 US-style mega farms [now operate]' across the UK.
Facing up to these stats with honesty would be more useful than glibly reeling off the'British farming...highest welfares standards' spiel. Buying British meat is no guarantee of high welfare. Vegans who research their food know this is case.
Her points around welfare also illustrate a lack of understanding around the central tenet of veganism. It is a philosophy against the exploitation of animals, not a welfarist movement. Flippant comments around welfare also avoid the topic of slaughter. A saying I have often heard repeated by people in animal ag is that they 'give' animals a good life, with just 'one bad day' at the end.
If all farmers truly cared about animals, that 'one bad day' wouldn't be glibly written off, but of genuine concern. Look at Jay Wilde - former cattle farmer who donated his cows to a sanctuary when he couldn't bear the guilt of sending sentient individuals to slaughter.
His story was shown in the film 73 Cows - and painted a striking portrait of the struggle a farmer can face when they truly do love their animals and know that exploiting them is wrong.
In the face of Wilde's courageous honesty, glib lines about farmers 'loving their animals' seem more disingenuous than ever.
"Working in an abattoir does not make anyone a murderer, owning or working in a butchery and being a livestock haulier does not make someone a bad person," she adds. "To accuse someone of murder is incredibly offensive and malicious, and should not be used flippantly.
"For a group of people who are supposed to promote kindness and compassion, they have a very aggressive way of showing it!"
For a group people who make a living from the exploitation, suffering, and killing of animals, some of them seem to be incredibly sensitve when it comes to words!
Former farmer Jay Wilde opens up about the struggles of sending animals to slaughter
'Farmers love their animals'
"Livestock farming is a 24/7 commitment, not to mention incredibly straining, and many simply wouldn't do it if they didn’t have a genuine care and love for their animals and their industry," the author writes.
"The ideological fantasy that livestock would roam free in the countryside and live happily ever after if farmers didn't send them to an abattoir is just absurd. The livestock simply wouldn't be there if the farmers didn’t breed them and the fields would be empty."
But no one with any sense believes farmers would keep livestock as companion animals and leave them frolicking in fields: of course these animals would never be brought into life -which is much better than being brought into a life where they are exploited, killed, and their bodies used as a source of income.
Additionally, many vegans are strongly conscious of the environment. A major environmental issue is the amount of livestock emissions. The goal is to reduce emissions by reducing livestock.
The author also says that farmers are 'looking after the environment' - despite leading authorities, including Oxford University Scientist Joseph Poore and the United Nations, claiming that livestock farming is destroying the planet.
"Farmers do more than just feed the ever-growing population - farmers are contributing to biodiversity and looking after the environment, as well as contributing hugely to the rural economy," she writes.
But according to the UN: "The greenhouse gas footprint of animal agriculture rivals that that of every car, truck, bus, ship, airplane, and rocket ship combined. There is no pathway to achieve the Paris climate objectives without a massive decrease in the scale of animal agriculture [sic]."
Despite a profound misunderstanding of veganism, and doing the exact thing she accuses vegans of doing (using extreme examples to illustrate a diverse and large movement), some of the author's points make sense, and are good advice.
"Each and every person should educate themselves on the farming industry and food production – that includes the vegans, the vegetarians, the flexitarians, and the devout meat-eaters of society," she writes wisely.
"Look at where your food comes from, reduce food waste and try to have a respectful conversation without being aggressive."