plant-based nutrition is:
- on average (after having no more children/no children) the most effective way of reducing our impact on the environment in our system. Partly due to the disproportionate land area needed to feed animals first. Organic / higher welfare animals need even more land. Methane is still a highly potent GHG here. So it is across the board in our system.
relating to climate: e.g. https://bayern.landwirtschaft.jetzt/en/klimawandel/
relating to food security – historical example of drastic reduction in animal farming (under “Denmark”): https://spiral-m.com/coronavirus-history:
relating to world hunger:
“There is also a highly unequal distribution of land use between livestock and crops for human consumption. If we combine pastures used for grazing with land used to grow crops for animal feed, livestock accounts for 77% of global farming land. While livestock takes up most of the world’s agricultural land it only produces 18% of the world’s calories and 37% of total protein”
- one of the most effective ways of preventing pandemics: e.g.
9 years before Bill Gates’ Ted Talk, a talk on PREVENTION and CAUSES of most pandemics in the last 100 years:
“Given that animal source food production can lead to the outbreak of zoonotic disease that can harm both consumers and non-consumers, the authors argue that the goal of disincentivizing both production and consumption could be achieved by a Pigouvian tax – a “zoonotic tax” – on meat.”
- key to significantly reducing health costs generally and significantly lessening reactions to Covid-19 – relating to last point, too.
- The best way to reduce the biggest amount of suffering and killings on Earth.
(in addition to biodiversity devastation) – each year 80 billion farm animals and 1-3 trillion fish are killed each year (6 million per hour ) and as many as 650,000 whales, dolphins and seals are killed every year by fishing vessels. 40-50 million sharks killed in fishing lines and nets.
98% of consumed meat in Germany comes from factory farms which are indisputably places of suffering for animals. The majority of animal products available come from the same factory farms.
All animals including organic and those raised with higher welfare end up either dying prematurely or being slaughtered very young in slaughterhouses where abuses and psychiatric problems in workers are commonplace:
Sentience and consciousness in non-human animals including fish is recognised in the scientific community
There is no difference in this sense between dogs and cats and farm animals.
“All animal life should be respected and studies of the welfare of even the simplest invertebrate animals should be taken into consideration when we interact with these animals.”
A basic tenet of civilised society is to protect the weak and vulnerable and reduce harm wherever possible. This concept is core to ethical plant-based nutrition, not just concerning other sentient beings, but relates to the spread and outcome of pandemics (“solidarity”), solidarity with poorer countries who consume far less resources than we do but are bearing the full force now of climate change, in part due to our own excesses.
- Plant-based as a feasible and beneficial nutrition has been recognised in the scientific community:
e.g. From the biggest dietetics association comprising 1000s of professionals in nutrition (they look at all the major studies):
“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage. Vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of certain health conditions, including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity. Low intake of saturated fat and high intakes of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds (all rich in fiber and phyto-chemicals) are characteristics of vegetarian and vegan diets that produce lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and better serum glucose control. These factors contribute to reduction of chronic disease. Vegans need reliable sources of vitamin B-12, such as fortified foods or supplements.”
Is animal agriculture required for the nutrient cycle and producing food, as farmer lobby organisations often claim?
Let’s take a look:
Veganic agriculture is a regenerative form of agriculture recognised by the ministry of environment in Germany.
Here are examples of veganic farming – the amount of humus increases annually (from about 9:25) – can be viewed with subtitles in youtube settings
Whole documentary in German
In the UK
3.7 Profile: biocyclic vegan cultivation
Category: preliminary work, production
Description: The biocyclic vegan cultivation (also ›vegan organic farming‹ or ›organic vegan agriculture‹), in English ›biocyclic vegan farming‹, ›biodynamic vegan agriculture‹ or ›veganic agriculture‹ (as a combination of ›vegan‹ and ›organic ‹), Completely dispenses with animal husbandry and the use of animal or synthetic resources in the organic cultivation of vegan foods. This eliminates, for example, the use of liquid manure, dung, liquid manure or slaughterhouse waste as fertilizer.
Objective and innovation: The majority of farms rely on the use of animal or synthetic fertilizers in the production of vegan foods. Organic farming is also often associated with livestock farming. At the Demeter Organic Association, the keeping of roughage eaters is even mandatory and can only be omitted in exceptional cases124. Animal husbandry causes massive environmental damage worldwide, ranging from increased land requirements, damage to soil and groundwater to negative effects on the climate. According to a study by the FAO, over 14 percent of global human-caused greenhouse gases can be traced back to animal husbandry125.
At the same time, the demand for vegetarian and vegan products can also be measured in Germany. According to the data from the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy, 7.6% of consumers are “vegetarians or people who largely forego meat” 126. Another 1.1% are “vegans or people who largely avoid animal products”. These consumers of vegan foods are often not aware that these foods, too, are predominantly produced in a non-vegan manner in the narrower sense. As a rule, resources of animal origin such as blood, horn, hair, feather or bone meal are used. The health concerns of these ecological fertilizer pellets are great. They can be contaminated with germs, antibiotics and heavy metals. In the case of biocyclic vegan cultivation, animal fertilizers and operating materials of animal origin are completely avoided.127 Instead, high value is placed on the targeted build-up of humus on a plant basis, which can be achieved through composting in conjunction with green manure and mulching. If the plant residues used to build up the humus come from your own company, the municipality or the region, this also results in shorter transport routes. The fertility of the soil should also be promoted through a varied crop rotation, mixed crops and the cultivation of legumes such as grass clover, lupins and peas.
A field test in Greece showed that in the long term the nitrogen content and the content of other plant nutrients in the humus soil obtained from olive pomace compost increase128. Since the nutrients in the humus soil are no longer water-soluble, they are completely available to the plant without causing over-fertilization, so
124 Demeter e.V. (no year) Guidelines 2020. p. 54. https://www.demeter.de/sites/default/files/ guidelines/ guidelines_ overall.pdf (27.01.2020)
125 Gerber, P.J. et al. (2013): Tackling climate change through livestock – A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome. P. 15.
126 INSTITUTE FOR DEMOSCOPY ALLENSBACH (undated). AW A 2016. Allensbacher market analysis advertising medium analysis CODEBUCH. P. 80. https: //www.ifd- allensbach.de/fileadmin/AWA/AWA2016/Codebuchausschnitte/AWA2016_Codebuch_Essen_Trinken_Rauchen.pdf (27.01.2020) 127 Vegconomist (2019): In an interview with the Förderkreis Biozyklisch-Veganeraner eV about the Organic vegan agriculture. October 31, 2019. https://vegconomist.de/interviews/im-interview-mit-dem-foerderkreis-biozyklisch-veganer-anbau-e-v-ueber- die-bio-vegane-Landwirtschaft / (27.01.2020)
128 Biocyclic Park Kalamata, IFOAM ABM 2017. (2017). https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=14&v=_HPCm- 5acI0 & feature = emb_logo, (27.01.2020)
TEXTS Niche Innovations in Europe for the Transformation of the Food System – NE Europe
Dr. Johannes Eisenbach, board member of the Association for Biocyclic Vegan Cultivation, 129. A study on the cultivation of tomatoes confirms these observations. Tomato plants that grew in humus soil produced up to 45% higher yields than plants that were not treated at all or treated with inorganic fertilizers130. In addition, plant health improves and the humus soil can bind more carbon in the soil. 131