I’ve just seen a comment on the letters page of the Daily Telegraph suggesting that animal suffering would be alleviated with the widespread adoption of a vegan diet.
I think the comment displays a noble but very naive desire.
The problem of animal suffering is more related to market forces and factory farming practices than by meat eating.
Humanely raised livestock, given an equally humane end to life results in far less suffering than many creatures experience “in the wild” as part of a natural foodchain. Man is only one species of meat eater, and the only one with the potential of reducing the suffering of the animals he eats.
A universal vegan diet would ultimately thrust those creatures currently raised domestically for food into “the wild”. It is unlikely that millions of these animals, no longer required for food, will be kept as pets or in zoos. What kind of habitat would be given over to them to allow them to roam in freedom and could they survive?
What suffering would they endure and for how long, until they slip to endangered status and eventually to probable extinction?
Veganism is NOT the answer to animal suffering, but being more selective with meat: eating less and choosing meat from animals raised and slaughtered humanely is a step in the right direction.
photo credit Black Cow by Petr Kratochvil