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Why are we blaming the farmers?


Recently Greenpeace NZ brought to our attention the fact that an astonishing amount of palm kernels are imported by NZ dairy farmers on a yearly basis in order to supplement the feed of NZ diary cows—an unbelievable 1.1 million tons, almost a quarter of the world supply, in 2007 alone.

Palm kernels are a by-product of the palm oil industry so therefore the problem is twofold, but I would like to concentrate on the controversy over the palm kernels.  My first question upon hearing about this protest was "were any of the protesters vegan?"  I contacted Greenpeace to find out and a spokesperson informed me that some of the protesters may have been vegetarian or vegan, but it couldn't really be established.  Firstly, in most western countries including NZ, vegetarianism includes, among other things, the consumption of diary products, so I really don't care if they were vegetarian.  My question is were they vegan.

How many people who are outraged about this issue, and screaming bloody murder at the diary farmers, are vegans?  Judging by the miniscule percentage of the NZ population who are vegan, I would imagine very few.  So in other words, the majority of people protesting the issue are themselves consumers of dairy products, and are participants in the demand that the NZ dairy farmers are trying to fill.

The facts and figures involved with palm oil and by default palm kernel production are widely available, and are astounding and distressing.  But the NZ farmers are simply business people, responding to demand.  A demand that WE create.  As the population continues to grow, leading naturally to an increase in the consumption of dairy products (unless more people start going vegan) the farmers are going to look for more ways to fill that demand.  They are capitalists.  We are the consumers.  We want dairy products and we want them as cheap as possible, because money is tight and we have to feed our families.  Farmers have to feed their families too, and they are business people, so they will do whatever is most cost effective for their business.

I urge everyone to think critically about what is really going on here.  We must take a look at the products we consume before blaming the producers for doing what they need to do to fill our demand in as cost effective a way possible.  Any consumer of diary products who feels outraged about what is happening to the orangutans and tigers needs to know that they are contributing to the unbelievable suffering of beings that are just as sentient and innocent as the orangutans and tigers—dairy cows and their calves.  Anyone who is concerned about the environmental destruction of the forests in Indonesia and Malaysia caused by palm oil and palm kernel production, should investigate the devastation caused to the NZ environment by dairy farming in order to satisfy our demand for dairy products.

No human being needs to consume dairy products to be optimally healthy, in fact there is plenty of evidence that diary is a terrible thing for our bodies.  A balanced vegan diet is possibly the healthiest diet a human being can have.  But most importantly it is a rejection of violence, a rejection of injustice against innocent beings, and is a removal of oneself from the demand for animal products.  Please let us keep it real—it is our demand for animal products that is causing all this devastation and harm to all other living things, by the billions a year.

Feeding 6 billion human beings is a challenge, and a vegan consumer base does not eliminate all suffering and environmental damage, nor does it claim to.  But it greatly reduces them.  Please don't take my word for it—I urge everyone to go out there and do their own research.  Keep an open mind, think critically and research it; for your sake, for your childrens' sakes and for the sake of all other life on Earth.   I don't blame the farmers, I prefer not to 'blame' anyone.  We are all involved in this problem, and the sooner we face that, the sooner we can start to take action that really counts.  I am grateful to Greenpeace NZ for bringing this issue out into the open, but I want to take it a step further.  Let's seriously educate ourselves about what we are consuming, and take some responsibility for that.  The power is in our hands.  We will always need farmers, I respect farmers for their hard work and their necessary knowledge of climate and soil.  Let's create a demand for them to fill of products that are much more sustainable, and will not cause the deliberate and direct suffering and death, on our behalf, of billions and billions of animals a year.  As Leo Tolstoy said “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”  The choice is ours.



This is wonderful!

It is great to see this occurring as it helps us to achieve the vegan society that is our density since this is what animal rights is really about.  By everyone contributing to this fine work, you are being a good emissaries/prophets for a righteous community!

Do not let the Safe/troll/s get in the way of our density of us becoming a vegan utopia, where: honey will be off the menu, wearing fur and leather won't be acceptable and even using wool won’t be tolerated since there are synthetic substitutes and hemp can be used as an alternative.  Also, all zoos, animal farms and wildlife parks will be closed and hunting and fishing will be banned since every animal will be allowed to live/roam free unmolested.

Remember it is only us vegans that will get to know the Celestial Temple while all what the meat-eaters/omnivores will ever know is dead flesh!


Amen. Or another non religous, tolerant acceptable term of approval.

blaming farmers

Yes I agree that in this case, as in other cases of environmental damage caused by agriculture, the farmers should not take all the blame.  The consumers are equally culpable.  However, it makes sense to apply pollution charges to farmers through carbon taxes, compulsory riparian planting etc rather than to consumers via rate payer or tax payer funded mitigation measures

The reason for this is that it is fairer; those responsible for the pollution are the ones paying to clean up the mess.  If rate payers or tax payers foot the bill, then those of us - like vegans - who do not consume the product, are in effect subsidising the environmentally damaging lifestyle of the rest of society.  However if farmers are forced to pay, then they can always pass the cost on to consumers.  Providing that is that we have a level playing field and place the same charges on imported products as on domestic producers.



So you're saying we should

So you're saying we should not put pressure on the dairy farmers about the palm oil, because they have to feed their families too. Fair enough. But can you then please explain in how far going vegan will actually help them?


Hi Anonymous,

I feel like you may have misrepresented what I wrote to some degree, and I just want to clarify.  I said that the reason the farmers were doing what they do is because they, like everyone else, need to make money, (i.e. to feed their families) and because they are business people responding to demand.  So my point is that we are not thinking critically enough about the issue, and I am trying to open up a dialogue here that addresses the ROOT of the problem - namely, our demand for animal products, in this case diary products.

So with regard to your last question, in a vegan world we still need farmers—maybe even more than before.  There will be the same amount of people needing food, but it will be plant based food, and whatever the environmental consequences of feeding 6 billion people a plant based diet may be, you can be sure, the evidence is very clear, that it they are hundredfold less than the consequences of animal agriculture.  For one, you can read "Livestock's Long Shadow" which was released 29 November, 2006 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (a non-vegan organization I might add—well, aren't they all at present). 

Going vegan helps everyone, in so many ways.  Primarily it addresses one of the biggest injustices of our species' history—our commodification, enslavement and annihilation of fellow animals.  It promotes peace and non-violence.  Another quote by Leo Tolstoy: "As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields."  It allows us to change the fundamental way we view all other life on earth, which is necessary for the continued health and survival of all life on earth, including our own.  It is our children's future we are talking about too.  They are equally innocent. 

The health benefits of a vegan diet are very evident—cut through the muck and the myths and do your own research, please, for your sake I urge you to, with an open mind.  I do not claim to have all the answers, I am not an agriculturalist, or a doctor, or a nutritionist, but many people are, and more and more of those qualified people are coming out in favour of veganism.  I am a living example that human beings thrive on a balanced vegan diet, and there are many many more of use than you may think.  We are just not outspoken enough yet!  Come on ladies!  Gentlemen!  We need your voices, speak out! :-)

For me it is a fundamental morality of life.  However, we have so long been consuming animals and their products, and using them as chattel property for so long, and veganism has been so marginalized even in the animal rights movement, especially in the animal rights movement for so long, that this is a seemingly new idea.  I know with all my heart that is the right thing to do.  We are an incredibly clever species—we can apply our knowledge and enthusiasm to the concept of putting into place a world without animal use and a world of a plant based diet for humans (please forget what the tigers are eating.  We are not tigers!)  I know we can do this, I am convinced of it in fact.  And if we care as much as we say we do, we must do this.  Thanks for your comments everyone!

P.S I am so sorry—I know I am very long winded.  I apologise for my super long rambling comments.  I am working on it OK?  I need an editor.


I don't think your reply is

I don't think your reply is long winded.  It is long - but only long enough to ensure you have made all the points you want to make, which you have made well.

Wow, you sound almost like a

Wow, you sound almost like a cult leader

Wow, you should almost like a


Wow, you sound almost like a


So fkn right on :)And if

So fkn right on :)

And if looking at a monetary 'tax' I totally agree it should be on the supplier rather than consumer. 

Sweet as.  Great post.

I thank you for writing in

I thank you for writing in what you call a "long winded" way, it explains things clearly and non-violently, so thank you!:-) I am vegan too, and have been for most of the last tens years, and it is a sustainable and healthy way to live! However like you I agree that people need to investigate and research and try being vegan themselves, and nowadays there is so much information from many non-vegan and vegan sources to support what you have articulated.

Also thank you for highlighting the importance of starting with oneself as a place of change and empowerment, this is fundemental to lasting and true social and environmental change.

In compassionate solidarity:-)

Vegan = environmentalism


I find it pretty strange that in all the talk it is taken for granted that being vegan is the best choice with regards to environmental issues.

For some veganism has become a dogma which (as with all dogmas) is the be all and end all and blinds people to broader issues. First off, vegans tend to ignore the fact that death is involved in all food. The land that crops are grown on was once a thriving ecology that now, in most cases, produces monocrops. The crops that many vegans consume as a bulk of their diet have devestated eco systems world wide and have done severe damage to an unthinkable amount of species.


Another issue that is crucial is how local is the food? I fail to see how a vegan product that is shipped half way around the world is helping the environment in any way.

In an above comment lovebegenderless states that a vegan diet is sustainable. Are you kidding? To make such a comment you must really have no awareness of what sustainable means and what soil needs. Put simply, the growing of crops is leading to the erosion of top soil world wide on a massive scale meaning, of course that an eroding soil cannot keep on producing. Take a look at any thriving eco system. It is based on predator prey relationships with animal products going back into and feeding the soil. Sadly, vegans are arrogant enough to think that they know better than nature and think it best to destroy thriving eco systems that have nourised the earth for so long and replace them with mono crops heavily dependent upon non sustainable energy resources.

Veganism does not mean that you automatically have a respect for your environement. The most sustainable human cultures are indiginous ones whose lives were led according to the natural laws that applied to their specific location. And...their diet was based more often than not on animal products. They lived as part of thriving eco systems, they didn't replace them. The vegan alternative - take a thriving eco system and clear all life off it (including of course indiginous peoples worldwide) and plant annual mono crops.

For anyone intersted in looking at the bigger picture and moving away from the comfort zone and smugness of veganism to really adress the issues  I would suggest that you check out the work of Lierre Keith whose book 'The Vegetarian Myth' should be requried reading for anyone talking of 'sustainability'.

Here is a link to talk she did that covers the core ideas pretty quickly:

Finally, a short article by Peter Gelderloos regarding veganism simply being another consumer activity:


"But the NZ farmers are

"But the NZ farmers are simply business people, responding to demand.  A demand that WE create."

Poor old capitalists, eh? Absolutely forced to produce what us nasty, unthinking consumers demand.

To me, veganism seems a perfectly good option, though not the only option, for a healthy reasonably environmentally friendly lifestyle within the limits of capitalism. But I get really sick of these rants in favour of the free market that blame the least powerful in the capitalist system for the outcomes of that system.




Sam Buchanan

Stop emasculating us


We have the power.  If every single person on earth stopped buying McDonalds, McDonalds would cease to exist.  Don't emasculate us and call us the least powerful.  I know we are subject to advertising and mis-information and the influence of big business and all that, however  I am trying to empower people to make postitive change and you are not helping, OK!?

Also, I clearly said this is not about 'blaming' anyone.  It is about facing facts, looking at the reality of what is happening and getting to the root of the problem, a problem we all have the power to help resolve, if we could just get past all this 'blame' business.

Thank you for reading and for commenting.

Well, believe me, I've no

Well, believe me, I've no desire to "emasculate" you.

“If every single person on earth stopped buying McDonalds, McDonalds would cease to exist.”

Well obviously, but so what? This sort of statement is totally unhelpful. It fails to take into account the realities of living under capitalism (which you do hint at in your piece, then ignore). I hear similar comments from pro-free market liberals all the time - if everyone stops fighting there will be no more war, if everyone stops driving cars there will be no climate change. Problem is, this never happens - and there are reasons why it never happens. It’s not because we are stupid or bad – it has do with power.

"I am trying to empower people to make postitive change and you are not helping, OK!?"

Telling people “it’s your own fault, stop it” is not empowering people. If “we have the power” why is everything in such a mess? Are all the world’s problems our fault then? Are the majority of people stupid fools who are destroying their own future – or is it possible we are trapped in a system in which a small, selfish, elite (otherwise known as the ruling class) dictates how things shall be done and makes us complicit?

“Also, I clearly said this is not about 'blaming' anyone.”

Yes, but you also said: “A demand that WE create.” “We must take a look at the products we consume before blaming the producers for doing what they need to do to fill our demand in as cost effective a way possible. “ “…it is our demand for animal products that is causing all this devastation”. Sure sounds like blame.




Hi Sam"...and makes us

Hi Sam

"...and makes us complicit?"

please explain.  Once I got the information, the correct information, in other words once someone took the time and effort to open up my mind to the concept that I could take responsibility for my actions and refuse to participate in the consumption and remove myself from the demand, I did.  I am no longer complicit.

You are the one who is 'blaming'.  What I am saying is, let's all take responsibility for our actions, all of us, rather than sit around 'blaming' someone else (which is what you are doing!)  Taking responsibility for one's own actions on one hand versus blaming the "power" on the other.  Big difference. 

What we are up against, Sam, is speciesism.  A left wing society/government/organisation/country/whatever is just as speciesist as a capitalist one.  I agree that capitalism is problematic, in many ways. I am not a supporter of capitalism. But what we are up against, or more specifically what I am trying to educate and open peoples minds up to (the way mine was) and abolish, is speciesism.

A communist or socialist society is just as speciesist as a caplitalist one.  I feel ike you also may be missing the point of my article, although I admire your passionate anti-capitalism. I recognise that caplitalism is inherently problematic, no doubt, but this article addresses our fundamental way of thinking about all other animals.  Are you a vegan?  Sorry if I missed it, I only ask because if you are not, no amount of convincing will cause me to believe that you are being forced to buy dairy products against your will or are forced at gunpoint to go to the drive through at McDonalds.

We have a choice.  I am fully aware that worldwide, at present, not all people do.  In NZ we are not in a war zone or fighting poverty and starvation.  Anyone commenting on this article has a computer, internet connection etc, and most likely lives in NZ which is one of the richest countries in the world.  Change starts with individuals, like us. We are the consumers of the world, we are the one of the richest nations.  I am speaking to individuals, the way I was spoken to. 

And again, it is about taking responsibility for your own actions, rather than blaming others for the consequences of your actions.  I admit that we are all involved, farmers included, obviously.  However unless they have an epiphany and say "Wait! I refuse to exploit these innocent cows and their calves any longer!  No more dairy products for you!" I prefer to talk to consumers and individuals and educate them about the concept of speciesism and their consumption of animal products.

While there is money to be made, lots of money at that, I won't hold my breath waiting for the farmer's epiphany.  In the meantime, I want to address the issue of speciesism and talk to individuals about the consequences of their own actions.  You can call that 'blame' if you want, I can't stop you from saying that.  It just appears to me that you are the one who wants to blame, not I.  I don't want to go around in circles about this, so if you think my trying to get individuals to take responsibility for their actions as consumers rather than blaming capitalism or blaming the system or the power or whatever, is me engaging in blaming, well we will just have to agree to disagree on that. 

All of the abolitionist vegans in the movement that I know who are anti-capitalists all nevertheless agree that we must abolish speciesism if we are to help non-human animals, and that capitalism itself is not the problem the problem is consumer demand.  Here are some of their articles:

Thanks for your insightful commentary. I hope you consider veganism if you are not already vegan.


"You are the one who is

"You are the one who is 'blaming'."

Damn right I am. When I see Gerry Brownlee and his mates in the mining lobby trying to open up the conservation estate to mining I blame him and the system that gave him the power to do this. I don't say "Gee isn't it terrible that we all use steel which creates a demand for coking coal which forces Solid Energy to dig huge pits because of our consumption patterns". Likewise when Jim Anderton refuses to take action on battery farming because the chicken farming lobby has told them it'll cost them a few bucks to change anything, I blame him. And I blame a system which gives the wealthy, be it chicken farmering companies or anyone else, this sort of political power.

"All of the abolitionist vegans in the movement that I know who are anti-capitalists all nevertheless agree that we must abolish speciesism if we are to help non-human animals, and that capitalism itself is not the problem the problem is consumer demand."

So if capitalism isn't the problem, and only supplies what consumers want, why be anti-capitalist?

"Change starts with individuals, like us. We are the consumers of the world, we are the one of the richest nations.  I am speaking to individuals, the way I was spoken to."

Yes I hear this individualist analysis from all over these days - and I think adherence to it is one of the reasons we aren't getting anywhere. The ruling class are laughing their heads off watching people desperately trying to make changes in their own lives while the destructive system chugs on regardless.





I agree wholeheartadly with Sam, particulary his final paragraph. I've been vegan for 10 years but not for one day of that time did I convinced myself that my personal lifestyle choice was going to stop capitalism. Personal change is not social change.

Sam and Simon, surely you

Sam and Simon, surely you would rather have a smaller/better impact on the environment and other beings while also fighting against systemic issues?  This is what I take from someone being Vegan for 10 years, and someone who is involved in community gardening, and I fully encourage.

I personally think this is quite an important distinction.  We all need to, where possible, fight against systems of exploitation, but at the same time we need to analyse our own part in the harm toward other life, and change our behaviour where we can.

The government and corporations are responsible for abusive 'welfare' laws, propaganda which feeds false information about the exploitation of non-human (and human) animals, unhealthy dietary information which aims to sell more dairy and meat, information which is in the school system, media, tv, etc.  The state enforces laws which prevent real challenges to the status-quo.

I think that if someone manages to get the right information and support to one person, and that one person stops consuming animal products, then there is less suffering, and less profits (ignoring that the govt would probably then subsidise the farmers for their loss).  This one person is one more person who will see through their lies, and who may even actively fight against the system.

I am vegan, but I don't actively promote that all people should be vegan.  What I support is assessing and acknowledging one's impact, and then deciding to take action where we can.  For instance, I drive a car, use electricity, etc etc, and I am not giving it all up (yet?).  But I can easily be vegan, ride a bike more, not buy new clothes, etc.  And I think if more people did this we'd have a much better society already.  The problem I too often find is people's unwillingness to take any critical look at themselves, to be accountable for their behaviour.  I have seen this in my mother who has heard and seen all the information for years, and who just looks away and changes the subject.  I have seen it in my father who went through the experience of having throat cancer which nearly killed him, and could well come back fatally soon, who will not acknowledge that just maybe his fast food diet and large coca-cola consumption might be a factor.  I see it all the time on the streets and amongst old friends (and it does seem to get much worse with age also).

Which is a problem I too often find myself stuck on.  If people are so unable to make a little bit of change for themselves - even when it comes to their personal health and quality of life - how are we ever going to build a better society and destroy the dominating system we now experience?


[The following comment is addressed to Anonymous but thank you Anonanoodle for your commentary.  I didn't see it until after I wrote mine.  All I can say is, take heart.]

Dear Anonymous,

OK great!

You also seem to be well researched and very determined and passionate.  I like that.

Just one thing, I don't quite understand your point about why be anti-capitalist?  I never said capitalism wasn't problematic, in fact I flat out said it was and flat out said I didn't support it.  I mean, c'mon already.  Look, my heart burns with the injustice of it all, believe me OK?  I say, go get em tiger.  I totally support your urge to fight these injustices (for myself in a peaceful way, because I reject violence).  In fact I think what I am doing is helping you, because it is planting seeds, and opening minds and is empowering people to a certain degree.  Or do you not agree with that either?

Tell you what will get me off your back. Go vegan.  (If you already are I am sorry?  I got the impression you weren't so forgive me if I am mistaken.  Is this Sam again?).  Go vegan, then you will have even more energy to come up with some ideas on how to deal with this horribly exploitative system we have in place, ideas that go further than individual consumption and boycotting etc, (although they help too, a lot OK?)  Let us know your thoughts and ideas.  We want change just as much as you.  Only remember I am a pacifist, 100% anti-violence, that has to be made clear. 

I support your views that things are very very corrupt.  Obviously they are.  Have you gone vegan yet?  That will make me lay off your case a bit.

If you are already vegan, then ignore this comment.  Go get em!  I reject injustice, don't worry about that, in fact I would think that was obvious.  I am a beginner to all this, I freely admit it.  I am a relatively new vegan. I remember very clearly what it was like to not be vegan.  I just hadn't been given the information I required in order to make the decision.  You may easily have been vegan way longer than me (if you are that is).  I am not as versed or studied in the history of politics or soil or agriculture etc, as many of the people here are; I am doing my best, and learning as much as possible as quickly as possible; I am a voracious learner, especially when it comes to this.

What I am very interested in is talking to people about speciesism.  That's my fight, and believe me, it will help yours too.  It is all about abolishing injustice.  Just as I reject specieism I reject racism, sexism, heterosexism.  I reject unjust exploitation of poor people by wealthy people.  We are all in the same fight for justice, believe that.

My angle is anti-speciesism and veganism.  Have you gone vegan yet? How about now? ..Now?

Just kidding, for real.

Ok what about now.  lol sorry this is so annoying I'll stop already, people are going to write really sarcastically bitter comments now, I can just feel it coming

My comment "why be

My comment "why be anti-capitalist" was based on the assertion that we can solve the problems capitalism creates by consumer pressure - the assertion that capitalists simply produce what we 'consumers' (a nasty little loaded euphemism in itself) demand. If, as the writer asserted, capitalism serves the demands of people, what is the writer's problem with it?

"So in other words, the majority of people protesting the issue are themselves consumers of dairy products, and are participants in the demand that the NZ dairy farmers are trying to fill."

This is a standard right-wing argument against anybody who takes part in a protest - the accusation of personal hypocrisy. Nobody who lives in an advanced capitalist society is personally pure - as I said before, capitalism makes us complicit. Supposing I want to attack people campaigning against battery farming - I can marshal any number of stupid accusations to undermine the protest: Do you eat animal products? Do you eat vegetables grown with pesticides? Do you eat soy products grown of cleared rainforest land? Do you benefit from the taxes paid by chicken farmers? Once you start on this argument it's very hard to stop. I don't see this as empowering people - if everyone who stands up to injustice is immediately berated for not being vegan our chances of building a constituency for change will be minimal.

"Speciesism" has always seemed a difficult and misleading term to me - given that discrimination between species is an absolute necessity (when I garden I pull out weeds and keep the lettuces, or whatever, and chuck away the snails (I quite like snails, and prefer not to kill them, but I'm probably moving them out of their favoured ecosystem into a place where their chances of surviving are much lower)). But I haven't looked into it in depth - how would you define it?



Sorry Sam

Hi Sam sorry I just saw this comment now.  I will be writing an article entitled "What is Speciesism" soon.

I am concerned with your repeated mentioning of "battery farming" as if it is separate from all other farming.  If you think "free range" is any better, that is a big worry. I will be addressing the Welfare versus Abolition in another article, but in the meantime if you are interested please read these very good articles:

I want to just mention that with regard to your steel example it is pretty hard to boycott steel, you are right.  I mean, what would we do, not walk into any building, not go to our jobs, not use public transport, not live in houses, not go to any stores to buy food etc, not use cookware, not ride the bus, yes I know.  That is an overwhelming issue and right now seems beyond our control at present, so I understand your desire to address the corruption and inequality in the capitalist system and all that.  You are more educated that I on such political matters, I will not presume to lie.

BUT with regard to animal products, for example eggs:  The overwhelming majority of animal products are completely boycottable by people living in societies in which they have a choice of which products they buy—before I go on I want to make clear any confusion.  I am talking to us, to this society.  Anyone reading this has a computer, a phone connection, internet obviously, and most likely lives pretty comfortably, and is highly likely to be capable of choosing what products they buy on a daily basis.  People in a war zone or in a famine stricken place, living on donated food and clothing, or "indigenous" people struggling to survive in diminishing habitats—well they all have little or no choice.  I would not presume to be addressing them and their consumer habits (wait—they have none) at this moment in time, in this debate we are having about individual consumption of animal products (others seem to want to do so, badly, but anyway they are sadly completely missing the point.).  I would say that anyone on this forum can decide from one moment to the next to never buy eggs again.  Same with milk products.  Same with leather, meat, cheese, wool, fur etc etc.  They can decide not to attend rodeos or circuses.  They can go vegan. 

That is why we are using this approach, this consumer based approach to get the movement going. I am not discounting the incredible corruption, and hugely powerful and wealthy forces we are up against, but right now, we need to shift the paradigm, and with regard to the abolitionist approach for animal rights that begins with individuals and the products they buy.

99.9 % of the animal products we use are inherently consumer based, and are totally able to be boycotted.  Some animal products are not able to be avoided, even by vegans, for example I believe there are animal products in automobile tires, a lot of glues (so even vegan shoes not made out of leather may have glue sticking them together that is not vegan) and I even heard money is stuck together using non vegan glue.  I don't know all of them.  But with regard to eggs, forget it.  Anyone can stop buying eggs and any egg products immediately.

When all the slaughter stops there will be no by products of the slaughter, so the glues and things will then be replaced with vegan products.  But in the meantime we have to concentrate on the things we can boycott.  That is why I laugh when some vegans say they are "pure".  There is no such thing in this world, and that is why I never claim to be "perfect" or morally superior and all that other nonsense people keep wanting to shout at me in order to avoid talking about the real issue.

Meat, eggs, diary, wool, leather, fur, household products made by companies who engage in animal testing, attending rodeos and circuses, blood sports etc etc etc, the list goes on. These can be completely boycotted by any individual from one day to the next.  All they need is the courage to do so.  The actual implementation is easy.  Once you make the decision to go vegan there is nothing stopping you.

So your steel example is really not applicable to this approach.  99.9% of the animal products we buy are products we can stop buying from one moment to the next, and never buy again.  I know because I did it.  I acknowledge that I am lucky enough to be living in a society without war and famine.  I am not over there in Africa or in the Amazon telling the "indigenous" people or the victims of war and starvation living in refugee camps about veganism.  I am actually concerned about their plight too, that is why I am talking to our society about veganism. 

Thanks.  Sorry it took me so long to respond.

I think you are missing the

I think you are missing the point a bit - I was using the example of steel to point out who holds responsibility in our society - not as an example of something that should be boycotted. And my argument against boycotting certain products is not that it's impossible, or even particularly difficult, but that alternative products produced within capitalism are equally destructive - just not so directly at times. Your comments about free range vs. battery eggs seem to follow this line of thinking to some extent.





Hi again

Hey Sam

thanks for clarifying and also for your patient replies.  As you may have figured out, I am not well educated when it comes to politics and many other things in fact.  I am working on it, as it is all part of what we are doing, or at the very least I can defer to my colleagues who are way more up to speed on the actual mechanics of those things.  I am honest about my weak points, and so, well, I have a lot to learn.

I appreciate your patience and your really insightful participation.  I am learning from you and everyone else.  Even Steak is Tasty has things to teach me, whether they intend to or not. ;->

Thanks again


Hello Steve

My first response is please read my article again.  Or better still, I will quote it:

"Feeding 6 billion human beings is a challenge, and a vegan consumer base does not eliminate all suffering and environmental damage, nor does it claim to."

Nor does it claim to.  OK?

My second comment is Really? We can't grow enough crops on the planet to sustain a vegan diet?  How do you explain the fact that we are growing enough crops to feed the billions (and billions and billions and billions...a year) of herbivorous animals that we are eating, many of whom outweigh us by hundredes of kilos and require an unbelievable amount of vegetation and water to feed? 

The facts are clear—we are devastating forests and ruining our ecology to grow food to feed the billions of animals we eat. And they eat MUCH MORE than us.  There is so much evidence out there.  It is astonishing to me what people choose to use in their defense of this horrific slaughter.  I will go and get some websites and links organised and come back with them as reference, since you took the time to do so, therefore you deserve the same consideration in return. Right now I just wanted to respond with those thoughts. 

Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.

Hello Steve B and everyone

Ok I am back. I have heard of The Vegetarian Myth before, but it has been debunked so often and in so many different places, I haven't read it myself - need to be upfront about that. I read some excerpts though.  Let me first say that I am not questioning her commitment to ecology, that is obviously a sincere commitment, ideologically speaking.  Her claim that veganism is unhealthy because she contracted a disease not in any way shown to be related to veganism is so annoying, but I have empathy for her suffering from a disease. 

Here is an interesting group of responses from people who have read the book, and have come up with some very good analysis plus links to other sources:

Here is a response to Veganism is a Consumer Activity:

The bottom line is, if you are not interested in the ethical argument, in ending the deliberate slaughter of 56 billion sentient beings a year, not including sea dwelling beings, not including beings we hunt for sport, use for experiments, use for skin or put in zoos so we can look at them and other forms of entertainment, then you are not going to make the effort to take the concept of veganism seriously.

As I said, this is new.  No one has seriously or on any major scale even considered this problem of how to feed 6 billion humans on a vegan diet.  Why should they have?  99 percent of the world demands animal products.  Only now, as the facts are coming out in the mainstream about the devastation and harm of animal agriculture, are people going to consider those issues.

I would also like to say, again, that we don't claim our existence is perfectly cruelty free.  As humans, we cause harm.  We have to live in buildings, because we all can't live in the tropics and therefore we cause harm to build our homes etc.  These are all issues that vegans, that people who take animal rights seriously, will address in a more compassionate way, by default of their ethics and respect for all other life on earth and their wish to not exploit or destroy it.

As Dr. Roger Yates points out, the reason that these industrial methods of crop farming are so damaging and kill so many non-humans is because it is non vegans are driving those machines.  People who eat animals are not too concerned about killing moles and rabbits.  We need more vegans.  You can be assured that WE will take VERY SERIOUSLY our effect on the planet and look for the most sustainable and fair and ecological way to live.

Here are some links to doctors busting apart some of the more common myths of the vegan diet.  There is so much information out there.  So much.  Don't limit yourself to one book and one article.


Thanks again for taking the time to engage in this very important discussion and to be critical and open up legitimate debate, and to prompt and challenge me to do more research and educate myself even more.  That is all I hope to do.



Thanks for your reply

Hey there NZVeganPodcast,

Thanks for the reply and for the links. I think that this is an important debate that needs to be had.

First off, yea, sorry for not reading your article thoroughly enough re the bit you pointed out about veganism not eliminating all suffering etc.

However, with regards to the second point that you made about growing enough crops to sustain a vegan diet, you seem to have not read or understood what I was arguing. Put simply something that is sustainable means that it can go on, and on, and on...I was not saying that we cannot grow enough food now (as you point out we obviously can) but rather that without the use of animal products this would not be sustainable as the erosion of the soil would be so severe that yields would fall (and hence would require the use of fossil fuel based fertilisers).

You also question if I am intersted in the ethical arguments? Of course I am. I was actually vegan for 5 years as an ethical choice (and had great health while on the diet). Likewise my decison to switch to a local diet (which includes animal products raised on pasture) was also an ethical one. I am familiar with the links about the Lierre Keith book as I checked them out whilst trying to decide my eating habits. I found the majority of replies were based on personal attacks and didn't address the issues raised in the book (because most posters hadn't read it). I definetly don't think that they 'debunked' the book.

I thought that my initial reply was based on ethics - in that pointing out that harm to animals is going to be caused so long as we consume and thus what we need to do is to try to minimize that impact as much as possible. Just because an animal isn't on your plate it does not mean that possibly more animals have died in order to produce vegan/vegetarian products.  Anything that is heavily processed industrially has severe environmental consequences ie: soy mils . It is the industrial system that is killing life on this planet. We need to eat locally and eat whole foods. If we can eat locally on a vegan diet which meets all our needs then great. However this is not always the case. Indeed much of the earth's surface is not suitable for sustainable crop growing. So I guess that if you happen to live in such an area then you are stuffed . Here is a link from wikipedia discussing some of these issues (good news is that it is short! and also sadly pretty basic):

I think that it is good that you mentioned that feeding 6 billion people is a problem. I think that this is a crucial issue. The fact that as a species we have exceeded our carrying capacity is a damning indictment of our culture(s). You can either have continued human population expansion or you can have ecological diversity, not both.

I feel that we are both intersted in the same ethical arguements and desire similar conclusions. My point is that I don't feel that veganism should be the default response to environmental (and hence animal) concerns. The situation and solutions are more complex than most vegans (and of course myself) make out and need continued research and debate.

Veganic Argiculture.


I have read your Wiki link, Steve B, and I think the abolitionist approach being presented by Elizabeth Collins is clearly acknowledging that at this time we may not know all the answers - but there is a philosophy to guide us.


Indeed, for the first time ever, there exists now an animal rights movement that puts veganism as its moral baseline but, rather than seeing it as the end of issues, it recongises veganism as the beginning to thinking about our moral relations with other animals and the planet in more general terms.


I understand that people get annoyed when confronted by vegans claiming to have a totally "cruelty-free" lifestyle while all others are murderers.  This is far from the case and I do not think you would hear such simplicity from adherents of the abolitionist approach to animal rights.


You may be interested to know about The Movement for Compassionate Living which has long put the growing and use of trees at the centre of their position, while also saying a great deal about the real issue of food miles:


I think, given this new vegan-based movement, there will be fresh and honest thinking about the sorts of issues you raise.  In fact thinking in these terms is not new:


Easily one of the most important vegan book releases of this decade, Growing Green: Animal-Free Organic Techniques is an essential guide to organic growing and is perfect for absolute beginners as well as experienced professionals. This book introduces the concept of stockfree-organic and shows, through case studies, that when growers abandon the use of slaughterhouse by-products and manures they can be rewarded with healthier crops, less weeds, pests and diseases.


When I returned to Hawaii from New Zealand, I went to a natural food store and for the first time, found tomatoes with a sticker saying 'Vegan Tomatoes - grown organically with neem oil and vegan fertilizer'.  It made me realize that there must be others who feel similarly.


Steak is Tasty,


Since your usename is clearly designed to provoke, I thought I'd respond.  You clearly do not buy the whole idea of animal rights.  Perhaps you feel the same about the rights of children - if so, would you therefore appear in a human rights discussion under the username, "Having sex with minors feels good"?


Roger Yates.




Hey, thanks for that, I might

Hey, thanks for that, I might get the book!

Most of the non meat eating hippies here won't even read your post though, hell I'm surprised your comment wasn't 'hidden' as freedom of speech round these parts is not allowed....aparantly, unless you look like a dick waving a sign in the air while eating your tofu organic non dairy burger, hating everyone that isn't like you while farting up a storm.

Too funny

I just have to respond whether you care to know or not: I don't hate.  I don't hate people that "aren't like me" with regard to this issue, because that would mean I hate my mother, my brother, well my entire family, and also almost the entire rest of the world!  No no no.  I don't have the time, room or energy for that much hate.

"I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear."  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Well then you would be one of

Well then you would be one of the fair few vege's/vegans who don't hate meat eaters. And even then the ones who say they don't hate, 99% of the time they are lying if they don't feel even the slightest bit of hate towards meaties.

When you go to a resturant with a vege or two and the rest are meat eaters, why is the meat eaters don't give a toss whats on the vege's plate? they'd never glare at them or make some snide comment about how the poor potato got ripped out of the ground. Its always the opposite, you can hardly ever go out with a vege or vegan without having them say something or look at you like you're a piece of crap cos you decide to eat meat.
Vegans are way worse.

Heres a hint "Mr Steak is

Heres a hint "Mr Steak is Tasty who used to be vegan", when you go out to dinner with vegans, they arent glaring at you and making snide comments cos they are vegan, they are doing it because you are a dickhead.



Yeah but meat tastes good and

Yeah but meat tastes good and actually vegan diets aren't the healthiest diet around.

Theres alot of scientific proof to dispute that and give it another 20 - 30 years time people will start seeing the long term effects a diet high in carbs is doing to your body, not to mention the fermentation of plant matter in your gut leeching into your bloodsteam and the gas a vegan produces OMFG! seriously anyone who farts that much and smells that badly is doing something wrong with thier diet. I refuse to even sit in the same room as a vegan.

Oh Well least you'll all die off soon enough:

The vegan diet wipes out the hormonal system in males. Their testosterone level plunges. The sperm count plunges, and they can't get it up, erectile dysfunction (ED). They become impotent sissies. This is the reason vegan males become submissive to females and become homosexual. They can be seen carrying peace signs in demonstrations and are ready to surrender. The fact that the vegan diet makes humans less fertile proves humans did not evolve as vegetarians



One day, just after your 12th

One day, just after your 12th birthday, you will understand how much of a child you are. Fortunately some people can grow out of certain habits as part of the process of becoming a teen then an adult, but being a tool of the state (a tool in both senses) is a life long habit because it takes no thought of your own.

When you are old enough to have sex (and can find someone that will take you seriously enough to participate in sex with you) you will learn that ED has nothing to do with meat in your diet. In fact the level of stress you exhibit toward vegans is enough to trigger it, added to that playing on your XBOX all day, getting high on retalin, gouging back McTrash burgers like rabbits rooting, and smoking ciggy butts found on the footpath puts you square in the path of a future case of ED.

Get help now by going full vegan and end your oppression of animals.

Maybe you should go get some

Maybe you should go get some facts and educate yourself about vegetarian related deficiencies and how these deficiencies directly contribute to impotence.
This is just one of many health problems that can be associated with following a vegan diet.

You sure sound like you need a good steak though, since you seem to know quite a bit about erectile dysfunction.

I am not sure why you think

I am not sure why you think the onus is on me or anyone else here to check their facts since it is you that are making the claims that everyone has got it all wrong. In the real world, when someone makes such claims, the onus is on them to prove their points, as it is with you sunshine.

ED etc

"Viagra and other anti-impotence drugs may get you through the night, but a vegetarian diet can get you through your life. Numerous physicians and nutritionists agree that the best way to prevent artery blockage as well as multiple other conditions that cause impotence is to eat a diet high in fiber, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods will scrub the plaque off the arterial walls to get your blood flowing and your love life going again in no time."


Impotence signals blocked arteries
"Studies have shown that impotence is often a sign of blocked arteries, and artery blockages are commonly caused by the consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy products, which are high in cholesterol and saturated fat," says Dr. Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. "Animal products increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood. This cholesterol enters the blood vessels and creates plaque on the interior walls, which narrows the passageway for blood flow," Barnard says.

Barnard emphasizes that artery blockage can be prevented with diet and lifestyle changes and points to Dr. Dean Ornish's work as proof that a low-fat vegetarian diet "is the key to beginning the cleanup of your arteries.

"I'm suggesting that people get to know vegetarian foods," says Barnard. "Simple foods. Beans, vegetables, fruits and legumes. The good thing is, we're seeing athletes saying, 'That helps my performance.' We're having people who've had erectile dysfunction saying, 'I didn't realize that was reversible by changing your diet and getting circulation back again.'"


Also very important for men to know these days

"vegan diet and exercise may stop of reverse prostrate cancer progression"


Vegan males become submissive to females and become homosexual

Did you even read that before you posted it?  My guess is if a man is becoming submissive to a female, then chances are he is heterosexual!!  If he is submissive to a man then that would be homosexual!  LOL I think you were trying to be homophobic but were to stupid to pull it off coherently!

That said I do question the idea that a Vegan diet is the healthiest alternative!  I mean I know alot of vegans and alot of them are hugely underweight and tired looking most of the time. 

Also I have never quite been sure who it was that decided that the life of a fish is more worthwhile than the life of a corn plant.  Corn is pretty, Fish are ugly!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Aesthetic beauty does not the basis for moral consideration make.  Whether an animal is beautiful to some individual or not has nothing to do with the injustice of unnecessary pain, suffering and death being  inflicted on that animal.

By the sounds of it you may have mostly only seen dead fish with glazed eyes - I find that ugly too, but more than anything I find it wrong.

With regard to your health comment, remember that we are talking about a balanced vegan diet.  How many actual vegans do you know?  It is a myth that veganism makes you weak and tired, ALL the vegans I know have tons of energy, glowing skin and great muscle tone.  Even bodybuilders can be vegan, like the kiwi bodybuilder Mr. Dusan Dudas, recent winner of the South Pacific Natural Bodybuilding Champs in Taupo for people over 50 years:

have you never heard of Carl Lewis, 9 times olympic gold medalist?

Non atheletes benefit hugely, I just thought these guys would help blow some myths away.

Vegans do tend to not be overweight, but admittedly on an non-balanced vegan diet, even obesity is possible (this is very rare, but if you only eat processed vegan food and processed sugar, and don't exercise...)  A balanced vegan diet is possibly the healthiest diet in the world, in fact my research shows it IS the healthiest diet in the world, and I have seen the difference in my own health.  

That being said, I am a vegan for ethical reasons, so the health and environmental advantages are just bonuses.  How lucky though, eh?

The homo comment wasn't

The homo comment wasn't serious....come on....impotency however, hey I bet half you vegans snuck out the back while your aggro (instinctively craving meat) gf's weren't looking and pestered your neighbours for a chunk of beef so you have a slightly better chance at getting laid tonight without going flacid.

What you are basing your fact on though is impotency due to clogged arteries, so of course a vegan diet is going to work, in fact ANY diet that eliminates most processed foods is going to do some decent unclogging.

A vegan diet is not healthy, I know from personal experience, 10 years at that that its all in your head, at the time I thought I was doing the world a favour and I swore I was at my healthiest then, and sure I felt good especially in the start but over time, you do slow down and its not until you start eating meat again that you realise how foolish you had been all those years, depriving yourself, of some proper nutrition.

Eating meat is fine and good for you too as long as it is within reasonable limits, same with ANYTHING you eat.

Same with soy products during pregnancy, its been linked to a number of birth defects, deformation of the male genitalia and even sterility, why would any of you even subject your unborn children to this insanity?

But no matter what you throw in front of the vegans, they'll never believe you.
Even if it is backed up by scientific data.

By all means...

Hello again

I would be very interested to see this scientific data.  I am always very interested in the arguments and information out there, it is useful and I never write anything off.  So, please, by all means...

I never said anything about moderate meat consumption as being terribly unhealthy—as an ethical vegan that is irrelevant to me.  You can be optimumly healthy on a vegan diet, and a balanced vegan diet is an extremely healthy diet.  So my point is, I don't care if you can eat moderate amounts of animal products and be healthy, the bottom line is you can avoid eating any animal products at all and be healthy.  So you have an ethical alternative to participating in the slaughter of billions of animals.  I am a vegan for ethical reasons.  The health and environmental benefits are just bonuses.  I hope that I have made that clear, that is very important.

Finally, it is also very important to realise that ethical veganism is not just about diet alone. Here the definition by The Vegan Society:

"The word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."

"All forms of exploitation"—entertainment, clothing, experimentation, sport etc. Not just food.

The Abolitionist Approach to animal rights which I am promoting states the following basic premise on their website

is: "... a clear statement of an approach to animal rights that (1) requires the abolition of animal exploitation and rejects the regulation of animal exploitation; (2) is based only on animal sentience and no other cognitive characteristic, (3) regards veganism as the moral baseline of the animal rights position; and (4) rejects all violence and promotes activism in the form of creative, non-violent vegan education...."

So with that as my strength of conviction, I make it my business to learn everything I can about all the counter arguments, information and opinions out there on veganism.  I would be greatly interested to see the evidence you are basing your point of view on.  I would also say, that anyone who takes animal rights seriously and goes vegan for that reason, fully educates him or herself about a balanced vegan diet, makes sure they have all the necessary information to maintain that diet, and are the healthiest people I know.  Nothing will prevent me from making sure that I maintain a well balanced diet in order to be a healthy vegan, because I refuse to not be a vegan.  I reject violence and refuse to directly participate, as much as is humanly possible in this current speciesist world, in any animal exploitation whatsoever.

Thanks for your comments.

Veganic Agriculture?

Hey Roger,

Thanks for your reply and the comments that you made.

I checked out your link to veganic gardening and noticed that most of the suggested fertilisers are quarried fossil fuels (ie: all the rock minerals). Also, most of them are not available everywhere in the world so in most cases will have to be imported. Just seeing the list of minerals should set alarm bells ringing as using them is simply not sustainable. You need to use a large amount of fossil fuels to extract fossil fuels and then transport them. Very strange that this is a 'green' alternative. How can you call rock minerals vegan given the damage done by extraction and transportation? Again I feel that this is an example of not looking at the wider picture - at the overall damage/death that is involved in our activities.

I am also sure that you are aware of the great damage that mining has done (and of course is still doing) to communities world wide. It is not people or other animal friendly.





This is about fertilizer?  That is why you went back to eating animals?  Humans are animals too, and the chinese and japanese fertilized their crops with human feces for thousands of years. 

 P.S Sorry this is so rushed I am at work.  Maybe this is a good cure for my long windedness-self editing by sneaking on the web at work hee hee

Thanks Steve and Roger


vegan free market libertarians?

Im no free market-eer or rodney Hide, or Bono so does anyone else find it strange the way vegan folks so often talk about changing the world by changing consumption patterns but aren't suportive of free market ideology for other things?

- - - - -

Why personal change does not equal political change

by Derrick Jensen

Your point with regard to this discussion?

So you will continue to consume animal products?  That is your justification for not making a change in your own life?  And we wonder why change is so grindingly slow. 

Also, who says I am not supportive of free market ideology for other things? 

Are you a vegan? If not, what is your justification for participating in the consumption of animal products?  An article from the onion?

No matter what I say, you will make your own decision.  But it doesn't mean I won't bring the topic back to the main point being addressed which is the consumption of animal products in individuals own lives.  I am not trying to be provocative or insulting.  The point of this article was to get individuals to consider their own participation in the consumption of animal products.  Please excuse my abruptness, but I would prefer it if you would examine your own actions as an individual, instead of making generalizations about other people en masse (i.e."vegan folks").  You don't have to answer me, of course not.  But seeing as how you are engaged in this discussion let me ask you; are you a consumer of animal products?  Or more specifically regarding this article do you consume dairy products? Let's focus on that then worry about the free market later.



Sustainable Food

There are a few points I'd like to make about growing crops to feed the anticipated 9 billion people by 2050.  The first being in regards to grazing land which livestock dominates.  One of the reasons nothing can be harvested from these lands is that nothing has been attempted.  It would take ingenuity of course and financial incentive - which is why from the beginning, agricultural concerns took the "easiest", most pragmatic and most profitable (short term)route.  Had we had a culture with interests in a plant based diet, these otherwise "useless" areas would have turned a different technological corner.

There is great hope in the future of hydroponic foods.  The water use, with impending forcasts of extreme droughts, is miniscule compared to traditional agriculture, as 90% of the water is recycled and re-created in condensation.  There is the projection of vertical gardens and "living walls" within urban areas, that will possibly sustain whole metro communities - on a plant based diet. 

Theoretically, former range lands could be planted with subterranean "farms". Glass encased to capture the sun from above, yet be protected from storms.  Surrounding such areas - perhaps even on barges in rivers or at sea ports, there could be wind and solar power stations, thereby making food (almost) "free".

Animal agriculture always wishes to tout how good a job it's done feeding the masses.  Yet a child starves every 10 seconds and physical health in the rest of the world is plagued by food related ills.  I say there is no telling how much better off we would have been had we taken a different course.  That an animal based food supply and economic system is proclaimed as the "apex" above all else that could have been - is folly.

The yield in these modern plant based food systems could be ten times again more productive.  Such systems could be built nearly anywhere and would satisfy the requirements of "local" eating.  With hydroponic systems bananas could be grown everywhere, as well as beets, kale, peas, squash, strawberries, etc., etc. Furthermore, in enclosed systems, there would be no direct or indirect harm to any animals. 

The point is, animal agriculture is a passe' system whose failings and destruction has surpassed it's benefit.  It is also said with space travel, if we ever expect to leave this planet, it will become critical to discover and perfect farming indoors here on earth.  It's time is long overdue.  Let us stop feeding animals to fatten people and start buckling down to the serious issues of clean, healthy, sustainable and compassionate vegan living.

Isn't it remarkable that our greatest challenges as a species, involves the ethical treatment of nonhumans AND the discovery of the methods to thrive without them? Time to launch ourselves into the future... and leave the cows behind...

Living Walls

Vertical Farms

NYT Science Farm Show

Rooftop Gardening

Thank you for inviting comment.



Great comment Bea, thanks.

Great comment Bea, thanks. This illustrates Sam's point and anyone with an anti-capitalist analysis — that current production (be it kai or any product of our labour) is for profit, and that if we really wanted progress then we will need to subvert this system into production and distribution for NEED. Of course, this involves ending capitalism and class struggle, hence the comments that a personal lifestyle change (while needed) will not challenge the prevailing systems in place. These systems and the minority who benefit from it (who, by the way, would never allow food to become 'almost free' as Bea points out), are based upon power, coercion and control — which will only be changed through collective struggle. Vegan struggle without this analysis is doomed to a slow and feeble existance, in my mind.

In solidarity from a vegetarian down south,



More of the same is not a solution


Hey Bea,

mmm...intersting take on the issue.

It is strange how you talk about 'sustainable' vegan living after referencing methods that are highly dependent upon industry (and hence not sustainable).

If the living walls that you give a link to are science's replacement for the eco systems that we constantly destroying then I feel that we and all other species on this planet are in real trouble.

I had to chuckle at your mention of space travel. Strange that we would want to leave a 'sustainable' planet. I am sure that the fuel that would be needed for such travel would be from 'sustainable' sources that cause no environmental damage eh?

I find it so very depressing that people are still hoping that this industrial culture and science will save the day when it is clearly this culture that has led us into the predicament that we find ourselves in. More of the same heavy industry is simply not a solution. Past cultures have shown that it is perfectly possible to live by cultures that respect and sustain the environment. It is our culture that through industry and science that seeks to master the environment and bend it to our will that has led to the continuing destruction of eco systems and alternative ways of living.

Anyone intersted in the effects of civilisation upon indigenous cultures please check out Intercontinental Cry which carries updates on struggles worldwide and should provide stark proof why more of the same industry and science is not a solution.



With all due respect...

Hi Steve


I just want to know: do you not think breeding sentient beings for our use and consuming them and using their skin and milk etc is bending nature to our will? 

Are you able to bring down a cow with your bare hands, rip open the skin with your fingernails and tear off the raw meat with your teeth then digest it healthily and easily like a lion?   Nature doesn't want us to eat animals.  She is kind of letting us know that with e-coli, swine flu, heart disease, colon cancer etc etc.  Nature doesn't want adult mammals to drink the milk of other mammals' babies.  A little reminder from nature is osteoperosis and type II diabetes and acne and asthma. 

I find it so sad that you say the solution to our terribly destructive exploitation of the earth and its resources and inhabitants is to continue to engage in animal exploitation (and the enslavement, torture and slaughter that invariably involves), and then defend it as ethical and considerate to animals, rather than join us in putting all our ideas, time, resources and creativity in order to come up with ethical alternatives that deal with all the problems we will need to face to take into consideration the impact on the enviroment and its inhabitants.  This is what ethical veganism does and we will continue to do this to the utmost of our abilities, brain power, energy, efforts etc etc.  We are only one percent of the population at the moment, 99 percent of people eat animals.  Hmmm.  Not too many people devoted to finding vegan solutions right at present is there?

I find it unsurprising that consumers of animals aren't interested in helping us find a vegan solution.  People who don't consume animal products are fully determined and devoted to working towards a vegan solution (once we get enough vegans which is what we are trying to do now, hello, can't do much with one percent of the population now can we?) and who are going to work until we come up with a vegan solution which by default (because we are ethical vegans and respect the right of non human animals to not be property, to not be exploited, and are compassionate and concerned with every single one of them, regardless of species,  and are extremely concerned with our effect on their lives and their environment which is also our environment) will be the most sustainable, the least damaging, and take into serious consideration all the species that will be affected by our every action, without resorting to enslaving and eating some of them and calling it "the most ethical solution" or words to that effect.

You are obviously extremely well researched, pretty reasonable, intelligent and compassionate.  It's a pity :-(

Thanks for being polite and for engaging in this discussion and enabling me to further educate myself on things.  I will never stop learning or wanting to learn about this.  I am an utterly determined vegan. :-)

P.S Big thanks to Bea for joining the discussion and thanks again to Roger.  You guys are the best, thank you.

P.P.S thanks to everyone who has also joined in the discussion.  Even Steak is Tasty guy/girl, I am glad you are reading this stuff, maybe it will show you some of the better and less confrontational side of vegans?  You seem to have had some pretty hostile encounters—we are not all "angry vegans".  Just very very determined and VERY persistent.  LOL



Steve B - First you wanted

Steve B - First you wanted solutions to soil errosion, species extinction and "local" food.  You also wanted to end monocropping and exploitation to indignious people and dependancy on fossil fuels.  You want a sustainable solution without technological change.  So did the author of "The Vegetarian Myth" which I listened to on youtube.  And these urban farms do address all these issues and then some.  But it would require technology and improved science which you seem to oppose. 

In your original post you say "The most sustainable human cultures are indiginous ones whose lives were led according to the natural laws that applied to their specific location. And...their diet was based more often than not on animal products".  Are you proposing instead of urban farming solutions we raze NYC skyscrapers to accomodate pastures for animal grazing???  But then again Ms. Lierre only sees a "sustainable" future for 300 million people -  Pity the rest of us that won't fit into her plan...

There is no "going back" only going forward.  We will not last long reverting to the idylic, organic farm to fork method.  It will not feed the masses.  But because you advocate continued animal use, it becomes clear that it is you who refuse to remove yourself from your "comfort zone".    Animal agriculture is not sustainable on a practical level or on a psychological one.

On the issue of "sustainability", sure these sky-scraper farms will need to be built and will require initial resources to do such.  But after that, they are virtually self contained systems which produce their own "eco-sphere" and power themselves from plant/human waste.  In essence they would be like a yet-to-be-discovered "perpetual motion machine". Once begun these systems will not consume more than they produce - Therefore they would be sustainable, for untold amounts of new inhabitants on the planet. 

These living walls won't "replace" an eco system, but allow an eco system to be left alone and regenerate accordingly.

Steve B, you also questions why man would wish to leave a "sustainable" planet?  For one, our sun will eventually burn out.  Also, the search for further knowledge just seems to be part of our nature.  To constantly grasp for the stars, so to speak.  I don't agree with space travel in it's current technology because of the fuel waste and environmental damage. But this discussion isn't about the feasibility of galactic voyages.  It's about what will keep life on earth healthy in the interim.  And that does bring up the subject of ethics.

Quoting from the other article you linked to: "There is no coherent morality or ethics rooted in nature that can view the killing and eating of animals as wrong. In nature, killing and eating something is a respectful, intimate activity, and a necessary part of natural cycles. Viewing this as wrong is nothing but a shockingly alienated, civilized view that domesticates animals at a metaphysical level by reducing them to quasi-citizens in need of rights. Fuck that shit. Humans and all other animals are much more free and full outside of legal frameworks, without rights, only needs and desires."

Ouch! I'll pass on the anarchy... I believe a civilization needs structure and "laws" to create and protect rights. 

This article also cites the cause of pollution in the Chesapeake being caused by "runoff coming from the suburbs" - Tsk, tsk - EPA studies have concluded that fecal steroids and nitrates from poultry litter is the main culprit responsible for the degradation.  This article, "Veganism is a Consumer Activity" also claims that there is a problem with "deer overpopulation" - The first course should be to dismantle the 15,000 deer & elk breeding facilities in the US.  And to end the planting of invasive clovers used to feed/attract deer for the enjoyment of hunters. 

The author also suggests that he has no problem with killing a fish or a bird because they don't recognize him.  Well, he needs to get acquainted with a flock of chickens then... They indeed "recognize" and respond to attention and affection.  And even fish in a tank will develop personalities which the author would "get attached to".

Finally the major issue of concern seems to be how to replenish soil without the existence of livestock.  Grizzly as this possible solution is - If we can move beyond our morbid fetish of "burying" human corpses in vast unproductive cemetary plots and truly "return them to dust"... Not only will we nourish the soil but regain valuable real estate in the process.  I know this is an uncomfortable "Soylent Green" type scenario, but one that will be faced sooner or later.

I think on a psychological level man will always strive to find the proper course of thought, which will always include his desire for justice.  As a society we cannot continue on this path of the denial of rights to Others, simply by default of being the "power holders".  Even now, as primitive as we are - the idea of repeating the same brutal habits of our ancient ancestors is increasingly becoming more repugnant to us.  The primordial goo of animal killing just won't mesh with our desire for spiritual progress.  Man will always strive to align his values towards justice and fairness.  It's who we are.  And perhaps is our greatest virtue. (?)

I know it's an awkward road that we take toward this ideal, but not any more disjointed than previous struggles to recognize the rights of women, children or other races.  Eventually we will come to respect the right of autonomy in nonhumans as well.  And that course will also lead civilization towards whole health in body and mind.   Science and technology is going to be part of that evolution. 

Unfortunately we have political greed and corporate corruption that wants to  suck the last bit of "wealth" from the earth before exploring new directions.  This is why we need a cohesive movement that challenges its governments and industries to make the necessary changes towards a more equitable future.  Once our culture collectively decides what it wants, industry and countries alike will meet that end.  As the saying goes: "We create the demand."

And I for one, "demand" that we stop using sentient beigns for our ends.  It is self destructive and morally deficient, both to our bodies and in our regard for ethical justice.  That discussions like this are now taking place gives hope that we will move towards an enlightened and sustainable vegan future: "Leave the cow behind".

Thanks for the replies

Hey Bea and NZVeganpodcast,

I am sorry Bea, but for me anyone who sees further science and technology as part of the solution is simply pretty blind to how our civilisation is screwing itself up and has decimated cultures all over the globe the in the name of progress. Every action that we take has an effect (usually not on our own doorstep, which is pretty convenient). Surely we need to try to create as little damage as possible.  Our civilisation is built upon the deaths of cultures all over the globe. Its continued growth can only mean the continued enslavement of regions to meet our growing demands. It is arrogant to call for further increases in technology to enhance our lifestyle at the expense of others. But then civilisation, technology and science has never given a toss about 'primitive' people before so why start now?

Veganpodcast, believe it or not I agree with the sentiments that you express - your passion to create a more just world. The disagreement is that I don't feel that this can be achieved through a completely vegan diet (worldwide).

The list of illnesses that you state are a result of industrial farming - something that I made it clear that I am against. I have been arguing that we should try to eat sustainably - animal products grown on pasture. Often the vegan view is just too black and white. Of course i think it is better to eat grains themselves rather than animals raised on grains. Likewise I have been arguing that we need to look beyond what is on our plate at the bigger picture. How many animals died to harvest the corn? How many eco-systems were destroyed to mine the fossils for fertiliser and fuel? etc. Trace the steps of your meal and you will find that death is an inevitable part of it. I simply disagree with vegans adopting an holier than thou attitude given that death is inevitable and that other ways (eg eating locally) can be far kinder to the planet (and hence all animals) than eating, for instance, tofu, soy milk, nuts etc that may well have been grown as mono-crops and shipped across the globe.

It sadly isn't so simple to say you eat animals and i don't therefore i care more about the environment and animals than you do. You state that you are a 'determined' vegan. To me this sounds dogmatic. Adopting veganism as an identity instead of as a practice based on values such as justice and sustainability is dangerous.

Finally, saying that nature doesn't want us to eat animals is putting yourself on very shaky ground. I think that it is very clear that humans are omnivores. Take a look at the variety of human cultures that have existed since humans emerged. Humans have lived on an extremely wide variety of diets (all perfectly natural). Even as tree dwelliing animals before humans left for more open grounds they still ate eggs and insects alongside a predominantly fruit diet. Indeed it is widely believed that the nutrients that early humans gained from eating nutrient dense animal products enhanced the capacity of our brains and made us (for better and worse) what we are today. The skills required in hunting led to us become social animals as for the first time we needed to work together to obtain our food. So, yeah as you state i wouldn't be too confident about bringing down a cow with my bare hands. But working with others using tool/weapons that we constructed then of course we could. A bit off topic i know (sorry for that). Desmond Morris has some intersting stuff to say on this issue.

Again thanks for the discussion. I feel that so long as we prioritise our values instead of dogmatic ideals then we will find a just solution. All i am trying to express is that things aren't as clear cut as veganism makes out and that, depending on location and other factors, eating pasture-raised meat can be more environmentally (and by extension animal friendly) than eating vegan products. Not always but sometimes. Also, calling for veganism globally (I am not sure if you do) is very arrogant and disrespectful to meat-eating cultures that have more often than not lived that way for thousands of years causing far less damage than we have. If we step back and look at the bigger picture I think that the only conclusion is that the industrial system and the production and comsumption (and hence the destruction of cultures and eco systems) that it entails, is the problem and must be challenged if a just and sustainable world for us and other animals is to be attained.



you miss the point



the reason all those animals die and environments are devasted and things are terrible in crop production is because speciesist are producing the crops.  For the third time (I think).  Speciesists and non vegans are harvesting and growing the crops.  Speciesists and non vegans are in charge of food production, THAT IS THE PROBLEM.  I have already said this before, you must have missed it.  If it were ethical vegans in charge of all the food production, rather than speciesists and animal consumers, then the damage to other species and to environment and to all people and cultures in crop production and food production and any production would be THE MAIN FOCUS. Because ethical veganism is totally concerned with our effect on all other species, our environment and also a fair and just world for our own species.  It is about justice for all animals, humans included.

There is no excuse for animal consumption.  You are very determined to continue to consume animals.  You are not addressing the issue of speciesism in our production of all products, food or otherwise.  Speciesists and non vegans are in charge of producing vegan food.  Speciesists and non vegans are in charge of producing everything.

I know you CAN eat moderate amounts of meat and be healthy. I DON'T CARE.  You can be vegan and be healthy. That is an ethical alternative.

Just because we did something for thousands of years doesn't make it right.  We had slavery for thousands of years.  Just because we can do something doesn't make it right.  Yes we can use tools to kills animals. We can cook them to eat them.  So what?  A grown man can overpower and rape a woman.  Perfectly physiologically capable.  That doesn't make it right.

You are missing the point altogether.  You choose to believe it is our right to exploit non humans, but that doesn't surprise me, because you are eating them.  I disagree.  It is unethical to cause unecessary suffering and harm and base that on supposed superiority. That is speciesism. 

It is not about being "holier than thou" for goodness sake.  If I had a penny for everytime I was called "being morally superior" or "self righteous" or "holier than thou" everytime I brought up the issue of specieism, I could buy a brand new mountainbike by now.  Yes Steve, I am aware that there was probably some environmental impact during the production of the mountainbike.  That doesn't mean I will use that as an excuse to go back to eating the bodies of turtured animals or their secretions, or drinking their babies milk, or wearing thier skin.  For the third or fourth time, we know, we have already acknowldeged there is destruction associated with the products we consume, with our existence on this planet, vegan or non vegan.  That is what we want to change.  And speciesism is the root of that problem, just as racism and sexism are the root of many social injustices in our own species.




The issue isn't technology!

anyone who sees further science and technology as part of the solution is simply pretty blind to how our civilisation is screwing itself up and has decimated cultures all over the globe the in the name of progress. Every action that we take has an effect (usually not on our own doorstep, which is pretty convenient). Surely we need to try to create as little damage as possible.  Our civilisation is built upon the deaths of cultures all over the globe. Its continued growth can only mean the continued enslavement of regions to meet our growing demands. It is arrogant to call for further increases in technology to enhance our lifestyle at the expense of others. But then civilisation, technology and science has never given a toss about 'primitive' people before so why start now?

You seem to ignore the fact that technology has been used by those in control for expansion, colonisation and exploitation. That's not 'our' civilisation, thats a minority who control and direct it's use. This continual growth is called capitalism, and it's those who benefit from capitalism who didn't give a toss about primitive people, not you or I.

The issue isn't technology or industry per se, but who OWNS AND CONTROLS technology and industry. If these tools were used in harmony with and for the environment, socialy owned and accountable to those who work and use them, and directed in a sustainable way, there is no reason to believe that technological advances couldn't be harnessed for the good of all (including animals). Arguments that technology is THE evil ignores the systems which control technology...




Hey Jared,

thanks for the input. I am familiar with the line of argument that you adhere to with regards to technology. I have read a lot of Chomsky and this is a point that he makes repeatedly.

Personally I am more convinced by the arguments of people such as Derrick Jensen (if i had to recommed any one book to people it would be 'Endgame') and John Zerzan.

To be honest I don't really have the inclination to go into any depths on this issue here as i would only be paraphrasing the words of the above mentioned authors and if you are intersted you would, of course, be better off reading thier stuff than reading my ramblings.

Briefly, I agree with most of what you state, but I feel that you ignore that it isn't just who controls industry that is the issue but industry itself. No matter who controls the industrial system the demands of industry will be the same (eg - extraction of resources abroad at the expense of usually indigenous cultures, disposing of wastes etc, division of labour). Yea, the process could be managed differently but if you want industry then you have to get the resources one way or another (history shows what way this will be). Also, a lot of our technologies are based on the centralised actions of massive corporations. The whole process from extraction of raw materials, transport, production etc is a massive operation possible due to centralised control (and force to back up that control). Such an organisation with its size and reach and thus ability to affect peoples lives over a large area (never mind who controls them) to me is dangerous.

Sorry if none of that makes no sense. But if you have time and interst check out Jensen.



Hi Steve,Thanks for your

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your comment! Yes I'm familiar with their work (we stock them in Katipo:)) and you make total sense, but I think their arguments and general primitivism is fundamentally flawed.

Firstly, a note on industry. I should clarify that anarchists would abolish any industry that wasn't servicing our needs, was damaging to the environment, and was not harnessing technology in a sustainable way. So when I talk about social ownership of industry, I understand it in this sense. It's not a simple change of ownership, but a dramatic change in our concepts of production and distribution ie a social revolution! I think comparing current industry to a post-revolutionary one can often negate the radical differences that change would entail.

Secondly, on centralisation. With workers councils and self-management of industry, coupled with technology, de-centralisation and federation has never been more realistic. If industry of over 3 million could be managed on anarchist principles in Spain 36, then in a post-scarcity society like today, with our modern systems and data control, centralisation is no longer the only way of managing distribution.

Some anarchist critiques of Zerzan and Jensen can be found here, so like you, I won't repeat them!

Civilisation, Primitivism and Anarchism:

Is primitivism realistic? An anarchist reply to John Zerzan and others:

Is Industry the cause of environmental problems?



SOY DANGERS: High levels of


  • High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.

  • Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic orders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.

  • Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.

  • Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.

  • Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12.

  • Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D.

  • Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.

  • Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.

  • Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and added to many soy foods.

  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.


  • Babies fed soy-based formula have 13,000 to 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood than babies fed milk-based formula.

  • Infants exclusively fed soy formula receive the estrogenic equivalent of at least five birth control pills per day.

  • Male infants undergo a “testosterone surge” during the first few months of life, when testosterone levels may be as high as those of an adult male. During this period, baby boys are programmed to express male characteristics after puberty, not only in the development of their sexual organs and other masculine physical traits, but also in setting patterns in the brain characteristic of male behavior.

  • Pediatricians are noticing greater numbers of boys whose physical maturation is delayed, or does not occur at all, including lack of development of the sexual organs. Learning disabilities, especially in male children, have reached epidemic proportions.

  • Soy infant feeding—which floods the bloodstream with female hormones that inhibit testosterone—cannot be ignored as a possible cause for these tragic developments. In animals, soy feeding indicates that phytoestrogens in soy are powerful endocrine disrupters.

  • Almost 15 percent of white girls and 50 percent of African-American girls show signs of puberty such as breast development and pubic hair, before the age of eight. Some girls are showing sexual development before the age of three. Premature development of girls has been linked to the use of soy formula and exposure to environmental estrogens such as PCBs and DDE.

    A link to the same site, different page though:

Thats just one of many out there if you take the time to research into soy, especially for children, I'm definately not a fan of children being on a vegan diet and if I had them I wouldn't give them alot of soy, if any.

As for the ethical argument,

As for the ethical argument, sure its not nice that billions of animals die only to end up being eaten, but thats just the way things are and no amount of screaming is going to change that. The minority of people 'care'. The majority don't, and even alot of the minority who did once care, don't anymore and have left the vegan lifestyle well behind them and are glad to see it gone.

Interesting news, whats the

Interesting news, whats the situation here on planet earth though.

And this is exactly the

And this is exactly the attitude I'm talking about, and this is why the majority of people can't stand vegans, just so ignorant and not even willing to admit that yes there are some health risks associated with being vegan, switching from dairy to soy etc.
Recruiting people for your little 'cult' (is what I like to call it) and not telling them about the risks associated with it is sick really.

Aside from nzpodcast I believe it was, least this person is more open, if there were more vegans like him/her then I am sure alot more people would be jumping the fence, but sadly for you people, he/she is a minority in your parts.

Some people can't stand

Some people can't stand veganism but that is more to do with deep seated guilt when confronted with their brainwashed acceptance that slaughtering animals and consuming their flesh. deep down the majority of people on this planet admire vegans for the same reasons people receive respect for being willing to make a stand for something they believe in.

As for unstated risk, by far the greatest risks comes from gorging animal flesh and its the lack of warnings on animal flesh packets in supermarkets that is 'sick really'.

Just using soy as one example

Just using soy as one example among many I'm pretty sure anyone who doesn't follow a vegan diet, who was aware what the potential risks of consuming soy were, would never knowingly feed it to their kids, or eat/drink it while pregnant to save a few animals.

As for the topic that was started, NZ's a dairy run country. No matter how loud you yell and scream we are not all going to give up on dairy.
All it is is an excuse for you lot to pat yourselves on the back and make you feel like you have achieved something, when in reality you know it isn't going to do much. 

As for meat risks, depends on how often and how much you're eating mate.

As for 'deep seated guilt'I

As for 'deep seated guilt'

I used to be vegan, and was for 10 years. I feel no guilt anymore, I quite happily eat what I like without feeling guilt.
Do I consume much dairy, no. Why? because I don't like the taste, but I am a big fan of feta and cream.
Why do I eat meat? I like it the taste and its convenient.
You'll be pleased to hear I don't like pork so don't eat that and battery hen eggs taste like poo so I buy mine personally from a local free range farm.

It used to be all about the ethical reasons, but its not anymore. So there is no guilt.
The only time I ever feel any pang of guilt is when it gets wasted and chucked away.

You don't have to eat soy

The person who wrote this knows nothing about the vegan diet.

However, if they did want to know, but were not keen to eat soy, realize that eating soy is not required for a healthy vegan diet.

if you have no interest in veganism, then posting a whole lot of controversial links about soy is really not relevant, and has nothing to do with this.  If you are interested in helping animals and going vegan, yet are concerned about soy and diet,  then I have lots of information and would be glad to help.

Otherwise posting the above links proves nothing, and is pointless.  If you have valid concerns, want to help animals, and want to go vegan, we would be glad to help, willingly.  We want to help animals, we want to help people who have concerns.

Please let us know


The Rainforests are being

The Rainforests are being destroyed for soybeans, just like they're being cleared for Palm Kernel.

That's because we are feeding

That's because we are feeding them to the animals we eat. 

Ah, I'm pretty sure that

Ah, I'm pretty sure that vegans are consuming soy beans too...

lol they do, they eat heaps

lol they do, they eat heaps

Just as they are being

Just as they are being cleared for grazing... Your point is irrelevent

Just because they are being

Just because they are being cleared for grazing, that makes it okay for vegans to eat?

honestly you should have a read of what you just wrote, its rediculous.
What if soybeans weren't being cleared for grazing what then? You'd find some other reason to make it sound okay to do.

Dude are you on crack or just

Dude are you on crack or just particulary stupid? Rainforests also get cleared for grazing, also the majority of soybean production is used for stockfeed and for the extraction of oil. A tiny minority of soy is destined for human consumption.


Let me know if you're not keeping up and I'll dumb it down further

Oh yeah, no totally, you as a

Oh yeah, no totally, you as a consumer (and I assume vegan or veg) are not contributing in any way whatsoever towards it.

Alot of people eat soy, even meat eaters eat soy so just because its the 'minority' doesn't mean that is still not huge amounts and I'm sorry but you cannot sit there and criticise farmers, meat eaters or dairy consumers on the palm kernal debate, if you yourself are contributing with soy.

Perspective is important



I’d just like to post a short reply to this; I haven’t read all the responses and I don’t want to get into any ongoing debates.


I am one of the activists who was recently involved in stopping a shipment of palm kernel expeller off the coast of Tauranga. I can tell you that some of the activists involved are vegan, some are vegetarian, and some are omnivores.


Personally, I eat a largely vegan diet, but yesterday someone bought me lunch and it was a meat pie. I ate it and I was greatful.


I don’t believe that individual lifestyle choices are the way to change the world, and in fact the activity of stopping one ship in itself will not stop the destruction of Indonesian rainforests. However, I do believe that Greenpeaces action of stopping this shipment has bought widespread attention to some of the problems in the agriculture sector, and has applied some political pressure.


We all have a role to play, and yes, we do all need to chip in and do our part, but we shouldn’t be beating-up on each other for not being perfect (what ever we deem perfection to be).


I’m pretty sad that this column is the only place that the PKE action in Tauranga features. Indymedia, as a voice of the activist community, has done a pretty poor job of reporting on this activity when the only comment about it is not about the event or the issue itself, but about the diets of the activists involved. It’s about as much issue-based coverage as I’ve come to expect from mainstream media!

(And before you ask, the reason that I haven’t written on it myself is because I’ve been in the thick of it, and only just got my feet back on the ground now that it’s a week old.)



Does Vegan podcast think that

Does Vegan podcast think that indigenous peoples who have aten meat for thousands of years need to start tucking into the tofu and soya because he says so? What a patronising git, telling cultures he knows nothing about that they have to chnage their ways.

Indigenous cultures are being


Indigenous cultures are being wiped out and their rainforests destroyed because people want to eat icecream cones. 

I really wish people would do their own research rather than these typical knee jerk reactions. I don't expect you to take my word for it, do your own research. Go and find out where most of the soybeans we are growing goes, and most of the grain we are going grows.  Then you go to Africa and explain to the people dying of starvation well, sorry, I really enjoy icecream so you are going to just have to suck it up.

It is very typical to receive a lot of hostility.  I am not bothered by that.  But do you think we write these articles and things because we are sado masochistic and enjoy being attacked and called names and all this?  hah.  Why do we do it?  There are very real reasons, obviously we think it is important enough.  So we put up with all the hostility, knee jerk, unresearched reactions and name calling, because there are billions of innocent sentient beings suffering horrifically, millions of "indigenous" people starving to death, millions of humans suffering from diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease and obesity, including more and more children.

I am just a normal person, I don't claim to be special or "superior" or any of those things.   I just have a sense of justice that that has been awakened, and I am bringing the abolitionist movement down here to NZ, by articles, my podcast and street activism.  I am spreading the message of peace and non violence, animal rights and equality, and although people do get very angry and upset, that is fine by me.  I am already used to it.  So get used to me being around, I hope to get more support of course, but I will keep doing this. 

 We are doing this for all of us, even you haters.  Believe it.  This is not about egos or anything.  Please educate yourselves about the truth, don't beleive the hype.  You are being lied to.  It's your future, but it's mine also, that is why I am fighting for it.  And it is the present and future of all other animals on earth.  

Thank you for those of you who engaged in this, thank you for those who supported, thank you for those who did research, engaged, who disagreed, agreed, thanks to those who were abusive too,  I appreciate anyone thinking about these issues at all, even for a second, and I urge anyone who cares to do their own research.  Contact me if you seriously are interested in veganism and animal rights, peace non violence and the abolitionist movement, and please do educate yourselves on the truth of what is going on.

My website is

You can email me there.

Keep an eye out for my NEXT Indymedia article! Entitled "What is Speciesism?"

I look forward to all the commentary and discussion.

Thanks again


From Elizabeth Collins

Why is someone in Tokomaru

Why is someone in Tokomaru Bay who shoots a wild pig and chucks it in the hangi morally wrong, according to you? And how are the people who are still living by hunting and gathering food including meat to blame for the destruction of their own rainforests? They have lived for thousands of years without damaging their environments, hunting and eating meat in a sustainable way. So why do they have to change, O wise one? According to you they are behaving 'unnaturally' by eating meat.

Just because someone's done

Just because someone's done something for hundreds of years doesn't make it right! Slavery has been practiced for thousands of years in some form or another, does that make it morally right?


Cultural arrogance


the issue is not that someone has been doing it for thousands of years that makes it right (although this does suggest that it is sustainable of course). The issue is that certain cultures have been living as part of eco systems (sometimes consuming animal products) without damaging them.

Your reference to slavery simply does not make any sense. The argument is that the cultures are able to live in ways that are compatible with their environment and thus we here perhaps shouldn't tell others who have succeeded where our culture is failing that they should change?



Species ignorance

It does make sense in the context it was used... that just because a culture has exploited animals for thousands of years doesn't make it right, hence the reference to slavery: animal slavery is just the same as any other slavery: the exploitation of those without power for the benifit of those in or with power. So I would argue that it makes total sense.

I agree that we shouldn't dictate to other cultures what is sustainable or not, but we are also talking about the exploitation of animals, not just eco systems. I haven't been involved in this (vegan) aspect of the debate, but I feel we have a right to question and critique any culture — indigenous, primitive, progressive or eco-friendly (or not) — which is based on exploitation; be it human slavery, class slavery or animal slavery. Obviously you can't change cultural or traditional practice overnight, nor can you preach a moral imperative from above or without, but we can point to more humane ways of operating, and put those ways of operating into practice.


Dolphins and Whales

Hello Jojo

may I respectfully ask how you feel about the dolphin and whale slaughter in Japan for food?  I only wonder because you say you work for Greenpeace, so I wonder if you object to that.

"...yesterday someone bought me lunch and it was a meat pie.  I ate it and was grateful..."

Some Japanese gratefully eat whale meat. And dolphin meat.  Personally, I don't see any difference in that compared to the cow meat you ate yesterday, I think they are both wrong because I reject making heirarchies based on species, because I reject speciesism, just as I reject racism, sexism and heterosexism etc.

It's not about being "perfect" it is about being consistent.

"Personally, I eat a largely

"Personally, I eat a largely vegan diet, but..."

That would give you an indication, wouldn't it?

I do thank Greenpeace

I don't know if I said it in the article but personally I am grateful to Greenpeace to bringing this to my attention, and I did acknowledge that in my recent podcast episode about this.  I did not know about the amount of kernels we were using for our production of dairy products in NZ.  It is important information to have, no doubt.

That being said, it is perfectly valid, necessary in fact, to point out the inconsistencies.  If Greenpeace were to use their amazing resources, talent and publicity to promote the end of the exploitation of all other animals on earth for use by our species, especially since they are so concerned about the environment and have such a wealth of knowledge about these kinds of things, such as the effect of fishing on the ocean for example, things would move along exponentially, I am sure of it.  Way quicker than they are now, that is for sure. 

However since the majority of the members are not vegan, and while they may think nothing of throwing themselves in the way of a harpoon to save a whale,  they think equally nothing of consuming the bodies of other species equally sentient as whales, so until that is addressed these inconsistencies will not be addressed I don't think.

P.S Paul Watson and his crew are vegans, and if non vegans join his crew they live as vegans while on his boat.  That is consistency.  I only wish other advocates would take this kind of consistency on board.  Then maybe people would start to take us more seriously and give better consideration to the issues we are bringing to their attention and may even be less mocking and hostile, although there will always be those reactions (see below).



Save the seeds!!! Save the

Save the seeds!!! Save the seeds!!! Save the seeds!!! Save the seeds!!!

Save the seeds from needless destruction. Every time you eat a seed, a potential plants life is snuffed out!!!

Last night in a covert action on a vegan hideout, 2,500 seeds were liberated from a vegan seed mix.

Seed Liberators received a tipoff that evil vegans had planned a secret meeting to further promote the use of soy based products as a means of poisoning the next generation of kiwis with isoflavones, thus wiping out capitalism. As we all know, vegan meetings means the needless consumption of 1000s of seeds. So Operation Free The Kernel was kicked into gear.

2000 sesame seeds were freed along with 500 chickpeas probably destined for the slaughterhouse to be ground up to make hummus.

Disclaimer: 'Balsamic G'hard for the Destruction of Hummus Culture and the Liberation of All Seeds' is associated with the 'All Food Is Poison Brigade' and the 'Save Air Don't Breath Collective', but is not associated with Al Qaeda, the US Government or any other international terrorist network.

Seed liberation front

Thanks for that- It made me laugh!

I posed the question before about why the life of a fish is worth more than the life of a corn plant.  I was being lighthearted when i raised this issue as an aesthetic issue, I guess it is more of a philosophical one.  Who gets to decide which living things have rights and feel pain?

I honestly believe that every living thing on this planet has a life force which should be respected.  In order to survive I must myself be responsible for the death of other life forms.  (Perhaps science could provide a solution by coming up with a pill that I could take to get all the required nutrients- but like mentioned earlier- no doubt that would require the mining of minerals in an unsustainable fashion!)  What really pisses me of about this whole discussion is the sheer arogance of many Vegans that they get to decide what it is and isn't ethical to eat!  I am so over the argument that we shouldn't eat animals because they are sentient beings!  Who are these people to say that the life of an animal is worth more than the life a plant?  Is it because they are cute, or make noises in a frequency that you can hear? 

There has been some good discussion here about the sustainability of various farming methods which I have found both interesting and informative but I really don't think that this is what this discussion is really about.  Veganism is about taking what you believe to be the moral high ground about the exploitation of animals (and feeling superior to others who obviously are just "a part of the problem" because they don't aggree with you.)

Well here is my personal moral highground -

To not eat an animal that has already died is completely disrespectful to the death of that animal, to not wear its skin is also disrespectful and wasteful of its death.  So to all the vegans out there, I say when you don't skin and eat a dead animal that has been hit on the road you are disrespecting its death and by that also disrespecting its life.  To not wear vintage leather and fur is also disrecpectful to that animal (although i can understanf not buying it new).  By not eating a meat pie that someone has bought for you- and thus leaving that pie to be thrown out, you are also disrespecting that animals life and death.

I'm sorry but at the end of the day I need to eat- and the most ethical way of obtaining food that i can think of would be to live off fruit and nuts (which would be downright unhealthy and difficult and would still be killing the potential offspring of those plants!)

Anyway that's my views-  surely though these sorts of discussions are a diversion from some of the real issues that the world is facing!

Hi Steve B, You say "further

Hi Steve B, You say "further science and technology as part of the solution is simply pretty blind to how our civilisation is screwing itself up and has decimated cultures all over the globe the in the name of progress." 

No, I'm not blind that we have done many things wrong. But if you excuse the expression - I don't wish to throw out the baby with the bath water.  I don't see technology as "evil" but rather the way we go about obtaining and using it.  And as far as "decimating cultures all over the globe" - Are you saying that in instances where technology actually brought clean drinking water into communities, we were doing harm? 

Yes, everything does have a price; nothing is "free".  And that is our problem in the western world - we wanted the goods and technology without paying the price of "doing it right".  I believe there is a right way to do "civilization".  And our exploitive (greedy) nature has never progressed to the point of valuing the rights of others - which veganism addresses whole heartedly. 

I totally agree with Jared's summation: "The issue isn't technology or industry per se, but who OWNS AND CONTROLS technology and industry. If these tools were used in harmony with and for the environment, socialy owned and accountable to those who work and use them".

To Steak is tasty - That's quite a copy/paste job about "soy"... I'm assuming your alternative is dairy? - So I'll refrain from wasting the equal amount of bandwidth in a reply and merely point you in the direction of:

As for the ethical argument, sure its "not nice that billions of animals die only to end up being eaten, but thats just the way things are and no amount of screaming is going to change that. The minority of people 'care'. The majority don't, and even alot of the minority who did once care, don't anymore and have left the vegan lifestyle well behind them and are glad to see it gone."

"That's just the way things are" - Rather narrow minded in scope isn't it?  Glad my ancestors didn't say the same thing about giving women the right to vote or granting equality under the law for slaves...

"no amount of screaming is going to change that" - Screaming?  Whose screaming?  Consistently on all fronts those who are arguing an abolitionist vegan agenda always have a rational, clear vision.  And an equally sound presentation.  It is the opposing view (that of continued animal use) that usually give themselves liberties for dragging all sorts of irrelevant and previously discounted objections into the discussion.  For example: anatomy - "humans are omnivores".

Granted we can consume nearly anything - But do we more closely resemble carnivores or herbivores?
The Comparative Anatomy of Eating by Milton R. Mills, M.D.

Further, do you really think that the way our bodies once processed (and needed) animal protien applies to current and future man as well?  Have we permanently "evolved" in our physical state?  Not hardly.  Our bodies are constantly changing and re-adapting into the modern world.  I have no pinky-toe nails... Doctors say they are seeing this more and more in children as the decades progress... Why?  We don't need them anymore - Likewise our "needs" for animal flesh decrease as well.  Our bodies, like our minds - "learn".

If animal consumption was once responsible for our "huge brains" - It is now time to utilize them and elevate our physical bodies to efficiency as well.  Eliminating the "middle consumer" of our "food" is what will further our progress.  Not doing so hinders it.  And the happy "bonus" in this all - is that the ethics align themselves into this "evolving" process too.

And finally Steak is tasty: "alot of the minority who did once care, don't anymore and have left the vegan lifestyle well behind them and are glad to see it gone."  You might be one of those who chooses not to care... Even your chosen name means to reduce animals to "things", possessions and "parts".  So how is anyone really supposed to recognize your opinions as fair-minded or objective?  Even on the "factual" point of your comment - Actually, veganism (and AR) is being more accepted into the culture than ever before.  If business and "capitalism" can actually reflect what social trends are: The fastest growing sector in the food industry is plant based commodities, ie - vegan/vegetrian options". 

But personally, I have no concern to whatever "groups" or "the masses" dictate.  By your own admission - "they" are way off target in all rhelms of ideology anyway... Except one of course, the idea that animals are to be used.  If I were to be the only being on the planet who thought this was wrong, I wouldn't be a bit swayed to change my view. My well examined beliefs tell me it's right and I will "yell, scream and shout" that it is.  I will "debate, argue and educate" that it is.  I will also continue to believe that messages of truth and justice do reach like minded fair thinkers.  That this discussion is even taking place is proof of that consensus with many does exist...

So,  Steak is tasty, accept that your archaic rhetoric stem from your indoctrinations that "man is best", "everything is put here for his use and wants", and that "might makes right"...  Good for you, you're part of the army of drones who refuse to advance beyond the mantras: "suffering always was", "war will always be" and "that man is nothing more than a collection of primitive urges"... "Meat", money and clubs being the driving force to obtain all those desires. It is passe' non-thinking; destined to go the way of the ever diminishing fossils.

"The Rainforests are being destroyed for soybeans, just like they're being cleared for Palm Kernel."  AND "Ah, I'm pretty sure that vegans are consuming soy beans too..."

The top 4 soybean consuming states are: North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia and Texas "These states consume so much soybean meal because they are the
leading pork-, poultry- and beef-cattle-producing states. "When 98 percent of your soybean meal goes to livestock, it's good to know who your customers really are..."

Soy Checkoff News - issue 15, 2007

80% of corn, 95% oats, altogether 56% of all agriculture inU.S.A. land used for beef production. 260 million acres of forest have been cleared for meat-based diet. "Divine Nature" a book by Michael A. Cremo & Mukunda Goswami - this book can be found in Library of Congress.

According to
"About 85 percent of the world's soybean crop is processed into meal and vegetable oil, and virtually all of that meal is used in animal feed. Some two percent of the soybean meal is further processed into soy flours and proteins for food use... Approximately six percent of soybeans are used directly as human food, mostly in Asia."

And soy is also being made into car seats, substitutes for

plastic, bio-fuel, Adhesives
Coatings and printing inks
Lubricants, etc.

By the industry's own data only a small percentage of soy being used to feed people.  So don't be fooled into believing that the majority of it is used to make meat or milk substitutes to feed vegans and vegetarians.   Believe this instead: that livestock are eating the majority of our "food" and our resources.  And ask yourself this: when's the last time you heard of "farmed animals" starving to death?  Sorry, if I repeat myself: "1 child every 10 seconds..."

And I just wanted to acknowledge the postings by Seed Liberator and qeerfear.  My absence of a response is deliberately meant to invalidate their flippant irrationality and lack of any worthy contribution to the discussion at hand.

Thanks for inviting comment --- Leave the cow behind.



'To Steak is tasty - That's

'To Steak is tasty - That's quite a copy/paste job about "soy"... I'm assuming your alternative is dairy? - So I'll refrain from wasting the equal amount of bandwidth in a reply and merely point you in the direction of:'

Actually, as I said earlier I eat feta and use cream in cooking, and thats about as far as dairy goes. But thats only because I hate the taste of milk and always have done.

'Approximately six percent of soybeans are used directly as human food, mostly in Asia.'

Oh and so contributing towards ONLY 6% of deforestation is ok.

*I wasn't the original poster of the soybean and deforestation comment, I just agreed with what they said after doing some reading myself.

Save the Earthworm by turning

Save the Earthworm by turning off your routers! Save the Earthworm by turning off your routers!

Traditionally earthworms have been enslaved by gardeners on battery styled worm farms churning out worm castings by the tonne for many hundreds if not thousands of years. However disturbing research has now come to light that due to the laying of millions of kilometers of fibre optic cabling across the worlds plains, over a billion worms have been annihilated by cable laying equipment whose expressed task is to bring the internet to home subscribers.

Oli Gochaeta, an earthworm holocaust surviver residing just outside of Parmerston North states, "they came through with their mole plough and ripped the heads off my entire tribe, cutting them to pieces like slugs dashed against a rock, and for what, just so that humans can be on the internet?" 

No human being needs to be on the internet to be optimally informed, in fact there is plenty of evidence that surfing the internet does terrible things to our bodies.  Studies show that within 20 years, entire crops of humans will no longer have use of their legs, left arm, or be able to see further than the distance between the net user and the computer screen.

Fresh air and exercise are probably the healthiest occupations a humyn being can have.  But most importantly it is a rejection of violence, a rejection of injustice against innocent annelids, and is a removal of oneself from the demand for worm destroying, holocaustic, internet. 

The challenge for humans is to cut off their internet connections and end the slaughter now, and save the human race from losing their limbs from non-use.

More information

Go to if you want to find out more!

Good call

Good call Massive Cafe... at the very top! Veganism and animal rights go hand-in-hand.  It's a pity your comment is hidden and it's beyond me why. 

How do we turn off hidden comment option please


does anyone know how to turn off that option?  It is not me who is doing that, and I wrote the original article.  I notice it seems to come on by itself, and I go and unhide them then it happens again.

I don't want any comments hidden on my articles.

Well, I unhid them again so please enjoy reading them.


hidden comments

Hey NZVeganPodcast,

comments get hidden by members of the editorial collective if they go against the editorial policy. If you think that comments have been hidden wrongly, email imc-aotearoa-ed(at)indymedia(dot)org


smush (one of the AIMC editorial collective)

thanks for your help


thanks for letting me know what's up.  I will keep an eye on that and I will read through the editorial policy also.

Much appreciated

The Reason

The comment by Massive Cafe is hidden not for its content, but that it's spam. The exact same comment is posted regularly under three different pseudonyms on anything remotely about animal rights.

getting back to the point of

getting back to the point of greenpeace . i worked for them for 4 years in oz , nz and the us and yeah they dont go down the line of even vegetarianism cause of marketing reasons , they dont want to "scare" anyone away from being a supporter . a vegan lifestyle of course wont stop capitalism but then i think its all a bit late for that we have gone so far that there is now a plastic island forming in the pacific which will be there forever . save the planet i think humans need to be thinking about saving themselves cause this planet will be here long after we are gone . we need to be organising on the streets not relying on the www.get off the computer and get out there amongst the community .


Street Stall

[Hi Torrance!

wow that's crazy.  thanks.]

Hey dread,

are you in Auckland?  I have a stall  by Aotea Square, mostly on the weekends, I just started.  You are right, I have been trying to get that going for months, and now it is all go.  I also may be down in Queen Elizabeth Plaza because there is construction by Aotea.

I have a little stall about the abolitionist movement and animal rights.  I would love a little support if you are around...

Even just to come up and say hi and look really interested so other people come over to check it out...

This is a grass roots movement, you are right, don't worry, we are on it.  We need more people out there. 


hey yeah i wish i was in

hey yeah i wish i was in auckland but im in palmy aiming to do more stalls down here but if i was in ak i would be there well quick sorry , gud look tho and go hard .



The hidden comment is not spam.  It is only pointing out how some within the animal right's moment really feel about the topic.

The real reason why comments get hidden is because anything that is not within the bell curve of maintream activism is not tolerated.  No wonder NZ activistism is so middleclass and nothing changes for the better.