What if we all became vegan tomorrow? What would happen to all of the animals in the world destined for dinner plates? I’m not sure if you have ever thought about this but a lot of folks ask this question at Vegan Action tabling events or through emails. While we know this would never happen and it is just a hypothetical question, I think it’s worthy of some thought and discussion. Granted a lot of folks just want to find every possible reason to not become vegetarian or vegan. They grasp at every possible argument in order to justify their behaviors or keep themselves from making a change. A lot of people initiate conversations with me at a Vegan Action table just to argue or to try to win a debate and really do not care what I have to say and especially are not interested in changing their lifestyle. However, some people really do become vegetarian or vegan for philosophical reasons (Peter Singer is a great example) or just need to have a couple of good conversations to swing them one way or another. If someone seems genuinely interested in a conversation, even one purely hypothetical or impossible, I am usually up for the challenge. So, let’s say we all stopped eating animals and animal products tomorrow. The demand is gone but the supply is still there. Would the world be overrun with farm animals? The first thing is that farmers would stop breeding and impregnating pigs, sheep, goats and cows. Farmers would stop saving chicken and duck eggs to incubate and hatch. And the factory farms would stop. What do we do with the cows and pigs in line for slaughter and the animals on trucks and trains on their way to the factory farms? And what would we do with the thousands of cows, goats, and sheep grazing on public lands? We would have to deal with a great number of animals at first. Farm sanctuaries would open up their doors and new ones would have to open in order to humanely care for these animals for the rest of their lives. The resources and space are there to make it happen. We would not see cows running through the streets or chickens starving but we would see these farm animals living out the rest of their lives in solitude. We would get our public land back (approximately 90% of Bureau of Land Management land in the US is publicly funded and used to for grazing animals meant for slaughter), rain forests would no longer be felled in order to make room for cattle to graze (the number one reason for rain forest devastation in South America), our waterways would be cleaner and healthier (public lands ranching is the number one source for water pollution), we would decrease air pollution and use of fossil fuels (raising animals for food requires more than one-third of all raw materials and fossil fuels used in the U.S.), we would start to see healthier people (animal fats are the number one cause for obesity), we would have more grains on the planet to distribute to more people and greatly reduce world hunger (more grain is grown and fed to farm animals than humans in the US) and most importantly we would be a more compassionate and humane world not depending unnecessarily on the suffering and death of billions of animals every year just to fill our stomachs. When I think of this hypothetical question, I do not envision a problem but many worldwide solutions. This may not be enough to convince someone to decide to be vegetarian or vegan but it can start up a conversation that can incorporate reasons that are realistic and do make a difference tomorrow. When you think about one person eating approximately 95 animals a year, eliminating the demand today does save lives or rather prevent animals being born and raised in factory farms to suffer and die. One person choosing to not eat animals or animal products does make a difference for the animals, the environment and their own health. Sure, I know it will likely never happen but it doesn’t hurt to dream.
Now, get to cooking:
Stevie Ray’s Most Amazing Cornbread: 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup sugar or other sweetener, 2 cups cornmeal, 4 tbsp veggie oil or melted margarine, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 cups “buttermilk” (2 cups soymilk mixed with 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp baking soda), 1 tbsp sesame seeds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, salt and cornmeal together. Fold in “buttermilk” and oil or margarine. Pour batter into a greased square pan and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes and eat the hell outta that shit!
The Best Veggie Paella: 1 cup dry rice, 1/4 cup veggie broth (if available), 2 tbsp orange juice, 1/2 tsp saffron, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 small chopped onion, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 chopped tomatoes, 1/2 chopped green beans, 4 chopped potatoes, 2 diced carrots, 1 chopped red pepper, 1/4 cup artichoke hearts, dash of cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Cook the rice with 2 cups water or 1 3/4 cup water plus 1/4 cup veggie broth and the orange juice. Boil the chopped potatoes until just soft. sauté the onion and garlic until tender then add all of the veggies except the tomato and sauté until all are tender. Take off of the heat to add the tomatoes and artichokes. Then add the spices, rice, and capers if you like them. Enjoy with the cornbread. xoxo- krissi