I sometimes wonder at the growing divide between urban and rural people. Tillers of the soil and livestock farmers were, in the old days, friends of the earth, feeders of the nation and generally the “good guys”. Not anymore. The object of farming (as opposed to subsistence farming, which only serves to cater for the farmer and his dependant’s needs) has not changed. The methods, though, certainly have. The average farmer produces at least 10 times the product his predecessor would have done 100 years ago. Carrots are planted in lands that fill the horizon with vivid green and the machines that pluck them do the work of 100 men.
Why do urban people have such a different take on things? Living in their insulated environment, where all their culinary needs can be met simply by popping in to a supermarket, is it so surprising? Foodstuff of any description can be purchased in its neat packaging, thereby totally divorcing the urban public from the production and “harvesting process” (nice clinical term we have adopted for things considered unpleasant in this modern age). Livestock of all description; of select breeding and perfect cut end up in fridges without a thought.
Science has developed supplements to cater for any dietary aberration that well-meaning people and a few Looney-Lefties may decide to follow. In a prosperous society, some rich urban citizens are unknowingly, perhaps, developing a lifestyle and tinsel-ethics that promote the loss of tolerance for eating mammals, fish and birds. A noble path, perhaps….? But then again, perhaps not!
Man, as a species, could not have dominated this Earth as they certainly have, had it not been for superior nutrition in the form of animal protein. When he became a hunter, Man unknowingly, skipped a couple of rungs in the ladder to present-day supremacy.
How does this fit into contemporary ethics? In my opinion, we can get away with our denialism as long as we are wealthy, informed and caring, no more and no less. Science and supplementation make non-animal diets superfluous for our modern denialists, as long as they can afford it. If one can pay the price, you can take organically approved, highly available iron, vitamin b12 (the lack of which, I understand, killed all Vegans of the 19th century), thiamine and other amino-acids , trace elements and vitamins that a Vegan diet may lack in sufficient quantity in natural form.
The fact remain, as Humans, we could not have reached our elevated status in animal society without the superior nutritional value of animal products. To deny this, is to deny our history. The fact is, Humans, like every other living species on Earth, use other living things to ensure our survival and well-being. Everything we eat was once alive.
I understand the reasoning behind well-meaning-citizens of wanting to back off being responsible for hundreds of millions of killings of animals per year, simply to sustain human life. Is there is another way? Perhaps there is, but until it becomes affordable to the average Human being, it is simply pie in the sky.
The question is, can this new trend continue and if so, where is it going? Are we going to end up with a miniscule Elite, who can use science to circumvent eating animal products, or will it be more than that? Time will tell, but who can deny, that should the need arise, we as the dominators of this world, will use and consume whatever we want and need – for better or worse.