Could a less extreme diet have more of an impact than veganism? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-27-2006, 08:49 PM
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Recently my friend came to me with this idea which I had pondered myself but never really explored very extensively. How would the effects of being vegan compare with only purchasing organic foods? My friend's argument is that the organic foods movement has much more force behind it at the moment and has a more realistic chance of actually succeeding. Therefore purchasing organic milk and eggs would thus be showing support for the industry and fueling its momentum. A huge amount of people purchasing organic foods would have more of an effect on the reform of agribusiness than a relatively few people becoming vegan.

He compared this to voting in the presidential election. "Nader is obviously the best," he said, "but it makes more sense to vote for a candidate with an actual chance."

Ironically he voted for Kerry, who lost.

I think this is an interesting idea, but I would still choose to be vegan. The idea of working towards small social changes instead of one huge one is appealing, but I think this can still be accomplished within the realm of veganism. Plus I would find it difficult to ever ingest another animal product again, no matter how organic it was.

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#2 Old 04-27-2006, 08:52 PM
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I think that over the next several decades, there will be a gradual move TOWARDS organic foods and to some extent, veg*nism. I'm just waiting for the next MAJOR "diet fad" to come along and counteract the AWFUL Atkins diet...

Also, I think people are becoming more aware and at least more respectful of a veg*n diet overall.

But to answer your question, if the MAJORITY of people make a small shift towards veganism, that would be just as good, if not (arguably) better than just a few vegans and most people hating the thought of becoming vegan. (and making NO dietary or lifestyle changes)
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#3 Old 04-27-2006, 08:56 PM
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I buy local and organic. I recycle. I use public transportation or a shared vehicle. I am an educator and an activist. I vote. I volunteer. I don't see how eating animal secretions could possibly help me or anyone out in any way or do "more" for the movement.

"Yes! Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
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#4 Old 04-27-2006, 09:16 PM
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You can support the organic movement without buying meat/eggs/dairy. And even if everybody and their mother switched to organically produced goods, organically raised animals are not guaranteed to be treated any better. And the end result is still the same, death.

You can support the organic movement all you'd like, but don't sacrifice your beliefs in order to do it.

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#5 Old 04-27-2006, 09:59 PM
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It's a nice idea, but like you said... I would personally still choose to be vegan. Explain to me though: why is it that purchasing organic milk and eggs would have more of an impact than buying organic produce and grains and such (which "omnis" and vegans both can do)? If the sales of organic produce increased steadily and stayed in high demand, it would seem only natural to me that organic options would expand and become more common among other things like dairy and meat. The sad thing is, with the way gas prices are going and the cost of living in general in the US, I don't see the idea of shelling out the extra $$$ for organic being very appealing to the average citizen :\\

On the other hand, I am sort of already seeing a slight shift toward even more healthy/organic living, at least around my neck of the woods... or at least the places I do my shopping (TJ's and Whole Foods). The TJs near me just re-modeled the store and their produce section is now over 50% organic. A lot of the canned and pre-packaged foods and even cosmetics/body products that weren't previously organic now are. What I mean to say is that before I felt like I was going out of my way to buy organic, now more things are just coincidentally organic... half the time I don't even realize it til I get it home and get ready to use it.

This thread also reminded me of some other changes that are going on, like the revised food pyramid and schools not selling sodas or candy at lunches... and mostly how they are now making a lot of the commercial junky cereals with whole grains. That just seems silly to me. As if the magical whole grains are going to cancel out the high fructose corn syrup & sugars and artificial flavors and chemical preservatives.... heh...
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#6 Old 04-27-2006, 10:30 PM
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Well I know VeganOutreach argues that a less extreme version of veganism (ie, not making an issue of honey, etc) will result in more people considering veganism and thus have a larger impact. So in that regard, yes.
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#7 Old 04-27-2006, 11:12 PM
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It depends on what the end objective really is. What is the goal?

Environmental Concerns benefit from buying everything locally you possibly can. The Macrobiotic diet tries to acheive this end. Veganism also addresses this issue by refraining from supporting dairies and slaughterhouses, which use massive quantities of water and have terrible waste runoff. The Macrobiotic diet does address green house gas concerns and would have a noticable effect if everyone were to adopt it.

Buying organic will definitely help reduce the chemicals used in produce and produce all-around healthier produce, and protect surrounding wildlife from chemical pollution. It alone will not stop supporting slaughter houses, though.

I don't really know that either of these approaches are any less "extreme" than veganism. I think if everyone were to embrace at least one of the approaches, it would benefit the environment tremendously, possibly improve overall health, buy veganism would be necessary to stop animal cruelty. I think veganism is the most comprehensive approach, but if it is not the most adoptable, I sure hope one of the other two approaches become pervasive.
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#8 Old 04-27-2006, 11:25 PM
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You don't have to eat the organic animal products yourself to make a point.
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#9 Old 04-28-2006, 07:52 AM
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I think the term organic has been stripped of most of its meaning and that current organic standards aren't strict enough to make any real difference. It is largely a hollow movement.

Organic animal products are a joke. The massive amounts of resources required to rear the animals overshadows any benefit of being "organic" as far as the environment is concerned (and the organic label for animals means next to nothing).

The "local" idea, though, has some real potential.

The comparison to an election makes no sense. In the election, only one person could win so the "lesser of two evils" strategy had some merit. However, in consuming, there is no reason to choose the lesser of two evils. No diet is being elected that everyone must follow. Voting for Nader might have been throwing a vote away because he stood no chance at winning, but eating vegan can make a difference regardless of what everyone else chooses. So your friend's analogy was a bad one.
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#10 Old 04-28-2006, 02:17 PM
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Note that 'extreme' is only relative to a culture in which an animal-based diet predominates. To folks with a 'mature' vegan diet and little exposure to animal-food-based consumption, there is nothing extreme about it - it just seems completely normal and natural.
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#11 Old 04-28-2006, 04:27 PM
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I'd still be vegan, because I find cow's milk disgusting. It would be great though, to get rid of factory farms.

There's a saying, "Stand up for what you believe in. Even if you're standing alone"
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#12 Old 04-28-2006, 06:38 PM
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As others have stated, the "organic" label on animal products is largely meaningless. See for more information on "organic" dairy practices (incidentally this is the article that caused me to lose all respect for Steve Demos, the founder of White Wave and stop buying Silk).

From an animal welfare standpoint, I think a better tactic would be to promote local, sustainably produced products. In this case the Slow Foods movement might be a more productive route than Organics.

That said, while I may encourage my family and friends to buy more sustainable animal products, I certainly will continue to be vegetarian.
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