Author Note nothing Abstract
Modern meat consumption has detrimental environmental, economic, and ethical consequences. Pollution from antibiotics and hormones, chemicals for growing feed and utilizing cow skin, animal wastes, and carbon emissions are evident. Deforestation, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss are also consequences of the demand for meat. Lowering the demand for meat can be shown to have economic and health benefits for many. This paper focuses on how those within the animal rights movement can focus their efforts on identity to bring about the needed change in consumer behavior.
Keywords: Veganism, Meat, Environment, Food, Health, Identity, STEEPV
Modern Omnivorism is Not Sustainable; Recommendations for Promoting Veganism, Reducing Meat Consumption
All the forces in the world are not as powerful as an idea whose time has come. — Victor Hugo Currently throughout the world there are tidal waves of energy pushing veganism to obscurity. Benefits exist for both meat eaters and vegans - in truth the world at large - in changing human behavior towards livestock and dietary choices. This is best accomplished through a myriad of talking points addressed by different groups at different times. Because of the ethical, environmental, and nutritional consequences of eating meat, a more widespread acceptance of veganism and less consumption of meat by omnivores will create a more humane, sustainable and healthy world by reducing humanity's negative impacts on our planet.
Veganism explained: History, modernity, and identity
For nearly all of our entire 2.1 billion year evolutionary timeline, humanity’s predecessors have not eaten meat, and indeed, Amen-Ra points out, nearly all of the 233 primates alive today are frugivores (p. VII). Exceptions to this are chimps, eating animals for about 3% of their diet, and gorillas, whom are folivores; these two species are also the most genetically similar to modern humans (Amen-Ra, 2003, p. 17). Important to note here is E.S. Vrba’s emphasis in her article “Paleoclimate and Evolution with Emphasis on Human Origins” that “speciation does not occur unless forced by changes in the physical environment… Forcing by the physical environment is required to produce extinctions and most migration events” (as cited in Amen-Ra, 2003). Not until the most recent Quaternary period, the last 2.5 million years, did Homo habilis begin scavenging carcasses with their newly developed stone tools while still predominantly eating a vegetarian diet (Australian Museum). This change, probably climatic in origin, was evolutionarily advantageous, as scientists such as Charles Musiba among others believe this a fundamental factor to increased brain size, present all the way from Homo habilis to modern day humans. By 1.5 million years ago at least one specimen of an unidentified species suffering from anemia died as a result, the anemia stemming conclusively from diet of the child or mother during nursing, suggesting eating meat was commonplace (Dominguez-Rodrigo et al. 2012). Whenever meat eating started, it became prevalent among humanoid populations and today humans are able to survive on either a strictly carnivorous diet (Inuit’s) or herbivorous ones (African Hebrew Israelites and other vegans).
Recently, veganism has been growing in popularity, as indicated by an increase of two or three fold worldwide google searches over the last four years, and Israel’s “Vegan Fest” exploding in popularity according to Israel National News. Largely, this is attributable to the internet: Things like viral marketing, or unadulterated YouTube videos, or movies like Earthlings being free on numerous video hosting sites as well as streaming services. This is not only information like the propaganda of radical vegans, but also of unbiased facts reaching those