How do vegans justify eating organic food? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-26-2009, 12:44 PM
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I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years and a vegan for the last 10 or so. I made the switch primarily because of my concern for animal rights (though there are lots of other good reasons).



I've been eating as much organic food as possible the entire time, thinking that the crops were fertilized with composted plant material. However, I recently discovered that virtually all organic crops in the US (at least) are fertilized with by-products from the factory farming industry (blood/bone/feather meal and manure). I also discovered that most organic farmers set lethal traps for animals like gophers. I was shocked.



There are a few farms in the world that practice "veganic" agriculture, but none of them are anywhere near where I live. I don't own land, nor have the knowledge/time to grow all my own food veganically.



So, I've switched to eating non-organic food, which is almost entirely fertilized with products derived from non-animal sources. Yes, they kill gophers and bugs, but they don't depend on factory farming products.



However, I've discovered that almost none of the vegans I've told this info seem to care in the slightest and continue to eat organic food.



Why?



Why do vegans who won't eat jello b/c it contains gelatin feel OK eating a strawberry that's made from the same kind of factory farming by-product?



No one I know seems to have given it much thought...
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#2 Old 03-26-2009, 01:03 PM
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For me, it's not a matter of not having thought about it, but of having other priorities that outrank refusing to touch the factory farm industry with a ten-foot pole.



Conventional agriculture is an ecological disaster. I'm happy to explain this if you're unfamiliar with the ins and outs, or point you to some sources for further reading if you're interested, because the more you learn about industrial ferilizers and pesticides, the more you'll see that it is not in the best interests of any animals, humans included, to continue these practices.



But to put it as briefly as possible, it's a big-picture, lesser-of-two-evils kind of handshake with the devil. Organic lettuce fertilized with factory-farm manure vs. lettuce grown in a way that contributes to a mounting climate crisis that, if unabated, will wipe out all life on earth in the not-too-distant future? I'm going with the factory-farm manure.
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#3 Old 03-26-2009, 01:58 PM
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I have definitely thought about this a lot and it is something that disturbs me slightly, but as moophius has said it's more of a lesser of two evils type deal. With organic farming you find older tried/true methods, but everything that is being used is organic, much more similar to how we would have grown our food years ago. With the synthetics and such being used in conventional agriculture, besides their harm for the planet, I really don't want that stuff inside my body.



Like you alluded to in your post, the only way to get around this is growing your own or finding a veganic agriculturist, both of which can be quite difficult depending on your area. Every person and therefore vegan is different, so this is a personal decision.
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#4 Old 03-27-2009, 11:51 AM
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Moophius,



I'm very familiar with the ecological, etc. problems with conventional agriculture, which is why I stared eating organic to begin with.



I can understand why you choose to eat organic food as the lessor of two evils. However, whether or not one chooses to eat it, it doesn't seem accurate to say it is "vegan" if it is produced with animal by-products (and, note, from the growers I've talked to, the main source of fertilizer is bone and blood meal, not manure--so it does depend on killing cows, not just collecting their waste).



I know quite a few people who are NOT vegan precisely because they believe in an agricultural production system that integrates animals and plants. Michael Pollan's discussion of "grass farmers" in The Omnivore's Dilemma has been very influential in this regard.



From what I've heard from growers, by the way, the issue with using plant compost and crop rotation for fertilization is not that there isn't the technical know-how, but that it is prohibitively expensive for them. So, veganic agriculture is a real possibility, its just not the reality today.
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#5 Old 03-27-2009, 11:59 AM
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isn't the idea that we are trying to reduce demand for a product so that not only does it reduce suffering but we are demonstrating that life can go on without animal products. But aren't we supposed to eliminate "all that is practical"



I tell this to people that ask over and over- its not a purity contest. Its a way of life, a political statment, a hope for a better future, but I am not in the belief that a "100% vegan" life is even possible. Every decision is tinged with weighing out the lesser evil.
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#6 Old 03-27-2009, 12:08 PM
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When you buy food at a shop, the employees all get paid from the money you spend there. Those employees can go out and buy cheeseburgers. That means you've just helped buy a cheeseburger!



The taxes you pay fund animal research and all sorts of farm subsidies.



The bank you keep your money in loans money to pharmaceutical companies who test on animals.



The list goes on and on and on. It gets a little ridiculous, doesn't it?



As was stated above, you gotta start somewhere. Once people start demanding veganic produce and are willing to pay for it then farmers will start converting. We gotta work on increasing the demand, thats all.
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#7 Old 03-27-2009, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by MrFalafel View Post

When you buy food at a shop, the employees all get paid from the money you spend there. Those employees can go out and buy cheeseburgers. That means you've just helped buy a cheeseburger!



The taxes you pay fund animal research and all sorts of farm subsidies.



The bank you keep your money in loans money to pharmaceutical companies who test on animals.



The list goes on and on and on. It gets a little ridiculous, doesn't it?



As was stated above, you gotta start somewhere. Once people start demanding veganic produce and are willing to pay for it then farmers will start converting. We gotta work on increasing the demand, thats all.











It is a growing movement and if any vegan has that option then I think they'd be happy to support those farmers.



www.goveganic.net





One of the farms:



Quote:
Although we do have access to local clean manures, we decided to be "extremists" and go completely veganic, in part to demonstrate that it can be done. Not having to truck waste to the farm and then use a tractor to spread it saves a lot of fuel and time! It' true that we've had to be a little more careful and long-term thinking in our rotations, but once it was figured it out, it's not hard at all, and the money and time saved more than makes up for the initial planning.



There is no certification standard for Veganic Agriculture at the present time, but the basic concept couldn't be simpler. Really, we are just "cutting out the middle man." The middle man in this case is the cow, chicken, horse, pig or whatever. What is their manure made from anyway but plant materials? There is no "magic" that goes on inside the animal that makes their manure better for the soil or plants than if we used the base material. In FACT, it is quite the opposite if you are using factory-farmed wastes! Besides disease, pesticide and steroid residue, salts (most especially in chicken manures) are in high enough concentrations that they can salinate heavier soils -disturbing the delicate micro-ecology that is so essential to the long-term health of the soil -and US!



Vegetable-based amendments, called "Green Manures" on the other hand ENCOURAGE microbial activity. Their carbon-to-nitrogen ratios are much more in balance. While the process is somewhat slower... the net increase in overall Organic Matter can be several times greater when a farmer uses green manures instead of animal manures. We have the soil tests to prove it!



www.flyingbeet.com



--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also, one of my main concerns with the way most farms operate today is soil erosion:



Quote:
Around the world, soil is being swept and washed away 10 to 40 times faster than it is being replenished, destroying cropland the size of Indiana every year, reports a new Cornell University study.



http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/...hreat.ssl.html





One option is to use mulching instead of tilling:



Quote:
Bare soil is prone to erosion and nutrient leaching, and creates an uninviting habitat for micro-organisms. By using mulch instead of tilling, the delicate balance of healthy soil can be preserved.



http://www.goveganic.net/spip.php?article18





Another option in certain growing zones is forest gardening:



Quote:
A well planned forest garden will:



...



* prevent erosion and nutrient leaching



* build and protect soils



...



http://www.goveganic.net/spip.php?article157







So, yeah, whether it's getting bloodmeal out of the soil or finding solutions to soil erosion I think there's a lot of work to do.





ETA: Thread related to this one: https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...d.php?t=102180
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#8 Old 03-27-2009, 05:32 PM
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I have to choose the option that causes less suffering. Factory farming and agriculture far outweighs organic farming.
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#9 Old 03-29-2009, 07:40 PM
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I'm jumping in rather late, but I do wonder whether organic farms using the factory farm animal waste is necessarily supporting factory practices. Where did the waste initially go before organic farming took precedence in the Global market? Was it packaged partly for gardeners commercially? For smaller, more traditional farms? Runoff into waterways? All three?



Perhaps the organic farms have simply discovered a way to recyle this mess. If we're honest with ourselves homosapien omnivorism is not going to go down dramatically any time soon; that is to say, there would still be waste without the rising organic farms. And if it weren't for the organic farms using is it would probably all just pollute.



Would the meat factories pump out more animals for the stores, simply for the benefit of the waste going towards the booming organic industry? Do the animals necessarily get treated worse because of this practice in place?



Again... just wondering.
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#10 Old 03-29-2009, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by CAVeggieGuy View Post

I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years and a vegan for the last 10 or so. I made the switch primarily because of my concern for animal rights (though there are lots of other good reasons).



I've been eating as much organic food as possible the entire time, thinking that the crops were fertilized with composted plant material. However, I recently discovered that virtually all organic crops in the US (at least) are fertilized with by-products from the factory farming industry (blood/bone/feather meal and manure). I also discovered that most organic farmers set lethal traps for animals like gophers. I was shocked.



There are a few farms in the world that practice "veganic" agriculture, but none of them are anywhere near where I live. I don't own land, nor have the knowledge/time to grow all my own food veganically.



So, I've switched to eating non-organic food, which is almost entirely fertilized with products derived from non-animal sources. Yes, they kill gophers and bugs, but they don't depend on factory farming products.



However, I've discovered that almost none of the vegans I've told this info seem to care in the slightest and continue to eat organic food.



Why?



Why do vegans who won't eat jello b/c it contains gelatin feel OK eating a strawberry that's made from the same kind of factory farming by-product?



No one I know seems to have given it much thought...



i really hope this isnt the case in australia
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#11 Old 03-30-2009, 05:48 AM
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It's nice to be too poor to afford organics. I don't have to worry about this sort of thing.



You could, of course, grow your own veggies (as I do when it's warm enough). Then you know exactly what went into them, and exactly what was or was not harmed in their production.

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#12 Old 03-30-2009, 08:08 AM
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Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a growing movement and is one way to help you feel better about what you eat. Basically, it's like the old days of a community growing their food and bartering with one another. Only in this case, we buy produce from local farmers! We don't have one in our community; the small one we used to use closed inexplicably. But we are growing our own veggies in the back yard this year. I realize not everyone can do this. But you can encourage your grocer's to buy locally grown produce. Or try to find a farmer's market.
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#13 Old 03-30-2009, 09:10 PM
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Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a growing movement and is one way to help you feel better about what you eat. Basically, it's like the old days of a community growing their food and bartering with one another. Only in this case, we buy produce from local farmers! We don't have one in our community; the small one we used to use closed inexplicably. But we are growing our own veggies in the back yard this year. I realize not everyone can do this. But you can encourage your grocer's to buy locally grown produce. Or try to find a farmer's market.



That's a great suggestion, and now I'm annoyed with myself for not making it first--especially since I had a CSA farm share last summer, and I just cut my check for this year! I can visit the farm that supplies a good deal of the food I eat, and I get to talk to the people who actually work there every week. As a shareholder, I can voice my opinions, and they listen. Also, it's nice to know the farmers are getting a better cut of my food dollar than they would through the supermarket.
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#14 Old 04-26-2009, 12:47 PM
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I used to belong to a CSA program when I lived in a different part of California. I now know that they fertilized using blood and bone meal. There's nothing inherently "vegan" about CSA.



I see that people on this thread are drawing a line between "factory farming" and "organic farming." It isnt' that simple folks. Most of the organic salad greens you find in stores are produced on very large scale organic farms that fertilized using blood and bone meal (and don't pay their workers better than anyone else, by the way).



Small-scale, local, organic growers use dead animals to produce their goods in the US, with perhaps a few exceptions.



Again, I can understand if some choose to support agriculture that uses dead animals. But...it isn't vegan. Don't fool yourself.



If you are into "harm reduction"...call yourself a "harm reductionist", not a vegan.
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#15 Old 04-26-2009, 01:28 PM
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I used to belong to a CSA program when I lived in a different part of California. I now know that they fertilized using blood and bone meal. There's nothing inherently "vegan" about CSA.



I see that people on this thread are drawing a line between "factory farming" and "organic farming." It isnt' that simple folks. Most of the organic salad greens you find in stores are produced on very large scale organic farms that fertilized using blood and bone meal (and don't pay their workers better than anyone else, by the way).



Small-scale, local, organic growers use dead animals to produce their goods in the US, with perhaps a few exceptions.



Again, I can understand if some choose to support agriculture that uses dead animals. But...it isn't vegan. Don't fool yourself.



If you are into "harm reduction"...call yourself a "harm reductionist", not a vegan.



Why aren't you addressing the new demand situation?
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#16 Old 04-26-2009, 01:58 PM
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That's it. I'm going to stop eating, stop driving, stop using the computer and live under a rock so I can call myself vegan.
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#17 Old 04-26-2009, 02:56 PM
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It's hard to see a difference vis a vis the production of blood meal/bone meal and gelatin, for instance.



The motives, the resource origin, and the means of production are very similar.
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#18 Old 04-27-2009, 05:54 AM
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That's it. I'm going to stop eating, stop driving, stop using the computer and live under a rock so I can call myself vegan.



You could make stone soup!! But you might kill microorganisms by heating the water -- oo and worms and creepycrawlies live under rocks, so you might be destroying a natural habitat by moving the rock and cleaning it.. and when you clean it you might drown the bugs... but you can't cook it dirty because you'll boil the bugs and kill them... AHHH!!!

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#19 Old 04-27-2009, 06:16 AM
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I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years and a vegan for the last 10 or so. I made the switch primarily because of my concern for animal rights (though there are lots of other good reasons).



I've been eating as much organic food as possible the entire time, thinking that the crops were fertilized with composted plant material. However, I recently discovered that virtually all organic crops in the US (at least) are fertilized with by-products from the factory farming industry (blood/bone/feather meal and manure). I also discovered that most organic farmers set lethal traps for animals like gophers. I was shocked.



There are a few farms in the world that practice "veganic" agriculture, but none of them are anywhere near where I live. I don't own land, nor have the knowledge/time to grow all my own food veganically.



So, I've switched to eating non-organic food, which is almost entirely fertilized with poisons derived from non-animal sources. Yes, they kill gophers and bugs, but they don't depend on factory farming products.



However, I've discovered that almost none of the vegans I've told this info seem to care in the slightest and continue to eat organic food.



Why?



Why do vegans who won't eat jello b/c it contains gelatin feel OK eating a strawberry that's made from the same kind of factory farming by-product?



No one I know seems to have given it much thought...

Have fun getting cancer



Also, I'm pretty sure not EVERY single farm is like this. If you can't grow your own crops, look for people in or around your town that do that sell them. Local farmers probably don't use factory farm biproducts. The death of animals from agriculutre is a something that is always going to happen, and being a vegan isn't about eliminating suffering 100% because that is not possible.

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#20 Old 04-28-2009, 11:09 AM
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You could make stone soup!! But you might kill microorganisms by heating the water -- oo and worms and creepycrawlies live under rocks, so you might be destroying a natural habitat by moving the rock and cleaning it.. and when you clean it you might drown the bugs... but you can't cook it dirty because you'll boil the bugs and kill them... AHHH!!!







I actually don't even call myself vegan. Like you, I'm a "really good vegetarian." But eating organic food is not the reason I don't call myself vegan anymore.
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#21 Old 04-28-2009, 02:56 PM
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I can understand why you choose to eat organic food as the lessor of two evils. However, whether or not one chooses to eat it, it doesn't seem accurate to say it is "vegan" if it is produced with animal by-products (and, note, from the growers I've talked to, the main source of fertilizer is bone and blood meal, not manure--so it does depend on killing cows, not just collecting their waste).



Buy from farmer's markets, grow your own food, be part of a farming co-op, etc..
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#22 Old 07-22-2013, 05:28 AM
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Hmmm...

Joined today and your first post is on a three year old thread? Smells a bit hinky to me.
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#23 Old 07-22-2013, 05:49 AM
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Hmmm...

Joined today and your first post is on a three year old thread? Smells a bit hinky to me.

 

Maybe Theorist has joined VB to tell members something that we already know? That in the modern world, it's virtually impossible to be a perfect vegan. shocked.gif

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#24 Old 07-22-2013, 01:34 PM
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I'd like to set the record straight once and for all. Most organic farms use blood meal, bone meal, etc. That would make their produce unsuitable for vegans.

 

I would also like to mention that the moderators erased my post and permanently banned my account for spreading this truth. Censorship is a very ugly thing.

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#25 Old 07-22-2013, 01:53 PM
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Censorship is a very ugly thing.

 

So is trying to stir up trouble in a friendly community.  Please excuse me if I have misinterpreted your posts/re-registering to say the same thing again.  Maybe it's just something you genuinely want to passionately debate.  I wish you well with that, most people are burnt-out with that particular debate.

 

As Leedsveg mentioned earlier, we have all heard this argument before and agree that it is very rare that anyone can be totally vegan in this day and age.  Swallowing flies accidentally makes me 'un-vegan' but hey, sometimes it happens and the world keeps turning.

 

If you are here to learn about veg*nism and chat to the other members then you are very welcome here.  

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#26 Old 07-22-2013, 02:02 PM
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Maybe Theorist has joined VB to tell members something that we already know? That in the modern world, it's virtually impossible to be a perfect vegan. shocked.gif
Worth repeating...

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#27 Old 07-22-2013, 02:13 PM
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So is trying to stir up trouble in a friendly community.  Please excuse me if I have misinterpreted your posts/re-registering to say the same thing again.  Maybe it's just something you genuinely want to passionately debate.  I wish you well with that, most people are burnt-out with that particular debate.

 

As Leedsveg mentioned earlier, we have all heard this argument before and agree that it is very rare that anyone can be totally vegan in this day and age.  Swallowing flies accidentally makes me 'un-vegan' but hey, sometimes it happens and the world keeps turning.

 

If you are here to learn about veg*nism and chat to the other members then you are very welcome here.  


I do want to debate it. I have been vegan for over 4 years. This is a topic I've been thinking a lot about lately. Is there any reason why conventional nutrients would be non-vegan? I think this is interesting that a vegan might actually want to choose the conventionally fertilized produce rather than the organic. Is there any evidence that consuming vegetables fertilized with these nutrients causes any harm to humans? Aren't they the same basic elements needed for plant grown but extracted from non-animal sources?

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#28 Old 07-22-2013, 02:33 PM
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I'll be honest, I don't think about it that deeply.  I do what I can where I can (and that's a hell of a lot) to be as 'vegan' as I can.  I'm really not sweating the small stuff just at the moment (fairly new vegan).  I already spend enough of my life reading labels without worrying about the minutiae of fertiliser.  I rarely buy organic veg etc anyway as I think it's a bit of an expensive con.  

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#29 Old 07-22-2013, 03:21 PM
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I'd like to weigh in with a few thoughts...First of all, I am a Vegan by my own definition, which as far as I am concerned is a personal decision that I have made to do my part to reduce animal cruelty and suffering, as well as to benefit my own health with a more sustainable, whole foods diet.... If you take the time to read about the topic of veganism, and more specifically the definition of the term "vegan", you will find that there isn't a clear consensus to be found. For example, check out http://www.veganoutreach.org/guide/definingvegan.html , which offers some reasonable perspectives from long time vegans. To spend our time arguing about who or what is more or less vegan is a pointless circular debate, which will only lead to divisiveness and acrimony.... The main point is, we've all come here to talk about our own life choices, and what this lifestyle means to us..... If I chose to, I could easily find you data to illustrate that virtually all contact you have with any part of modern living, has, at one point or another, been derived from animals or their byproducts..... The computers and / or phones that we are accessing VB through contain animal byproducts, as well as half of the other items in the average household. Even if you were to cut off your usage of modern conveniences, you couldn't even guarantee that the soil you're using to grow your own food hasn't been fertilized with the very products you're trying to avoid.... The moral of the story is that we all have to resolve to make the best efforts we can, within our own lives, to eliminate as many of these derivative products as we can..... We must act where practical and possible, and do what we can to learn about where the products and foods we buy come from and how they are produced, while acknowledging that we will never be 100% pure, nor can we guarantee that we always have all of the facts..... With that being said, follow your own path, trust your own conscience, and do what you feel is right.... Please, try to remember that you're a Vegan for a good reason, and that reason is not so you can prove to others that you are better than they are....smiley.gif

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#30 Old 07-22-2013, 03:28 PM
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I'll worry about that when food is is labeled with "contains animal products", instead of trying to decipher ingredient sources.

I don't buy a lot of organic food, but not for that reason.

Actually I'm more concerned with other environmental factors that impact habitat and food sources for the surrounding animals than the use of dead animal by-products. If run off from chemicals threatens local wildlife I'd rather have the bone meal to grow my veggies. It's not like it's produced specifically.


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