Well, my friends, it has been a long time coming, but it’s finally here, in 2022 … a space on the searchable, world wide web … that is, the regular old internet … where we can share the type of content we’ve been posting at the Let’s Go Vegan-ish Facebook group since 2015 (and elsewhere on facebook and blogs since 2012). In the future, anyone with internet access will be able to find the content we post here, through a Google search. Hurray!
How about some background for our first discussion post?
As the first image I’m sharing, why not start with the basics? The above pie graph comes from the One Step for Animals web site, co-founded by Matt Ball in Arizona, USA. Why is this graph important?
- Firstly, it shows that in the USA, the number of chickens harmed for chicken meat and chicken eggs eclipses the number of animals harmed for the other food products included in the graph. (Alas, the pie graph does not include wild-caught fish.)
- Second, the pink pie piece for dairy cows is almost invisible next to the black pie piece for ducks and the yellow pie piece for beef cows.
What does this mean for us?
The idea that the dairy industry is the very worst for animals is often bandied about, especially in vegan spaces. Because this point of view is so pervasive, I thought the same thing, when I first went vegan. However, when you look at the facts regarding the relative amount of suffering caused by various industries that involve animals, you may come to a different conclusion. From what I’ve seen, other food industries cause far greater amounts of harm to animals, compared to the dairy industry.
Making an animal-friendly lifestyle more accessible
Understanding this, an animal-friendly lifestyle becomes more accessible for more people. As an example, dairy products tend to be more of a hardship to eliminate completely for a number of reasons.
- Many foods contain dairy products as minor (invisible) ingredients.
- Full on dairy products are sometimes more widely available, cheaper, more nutritious, more attractive, taste-wise, and more allergy-friendly.
- Some people are allergic to nuts, coconut, oats, wheat, and/or soy, but not dairy products.
On the flip side, many people (around 70% of the world’s population) experience some degree of lactose intolerance. However, lactose intolerance is not the same thing as a milk allergy. Only a small percentage of people (less than 3%) truly cannot have any dairy products at all.
Understanding that 70% of the world’s human population has some degree of lactose intolerance doesn’t mean requiring that all of these people make their lives as difficult as their lives would have to be if they had a dairy allergy and couldn’t tolerate even a tiny amount of dairy product in their food at any time.
Along the lines of making life easier for people, many people with a lactose intolerance are fine with small amount of dairy products, such as vegetables seasoned with butter, or even a couple of bites of dairy-based ice cream. Often times, it makes life easier if one can eat the vegetable side dishes without worrying about butter seasoning. Perhaps, at a special occasion, just a taste of the celebratory ice cream is all a person needs to feel like they are enjoying the moment with everyone else.
Little things like this can make life easier and more enjoyable for people. Meanwhile, if vegans are telling everyone that all food must be 100% dairy free because 70% of the population is lactose intolerant, that doesn’t make much sense. It doesn’t do a lactose-intolerant person any favors to tell them they can’t have buttered vegetables or one bite of dairy-based ice cream, when quite possibly they can. My philosophy is, let the person decide for themselves.
As an advocate for animals, I look at the big picture and see that moving the big ship we are on (our planet earth) toward more animal-friendly options which also tread more lightly on the environment, is the key. We are all in this together. As such, it’s our collective efforts that make a difference, not the personal shopping habits of just one individual. That’s very encouraging, as it’s the combined team effort that counts. There isn’t just one of us who is carrying the weight of it all on our own shoulders!
Just as I’ve been sharing in the Let’s Go Vegan-ish facebook group for many years, I will continue sharing perspectives like this here. Along the same lines, I’ll continue sharing recipe ideas, restaurant reviews, product tips, and personal stories. If you’d like to be a contributor here as well, please start sharing in the private or public facebook groups. The more voices represented here, the better!
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