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I've heard of a study that concluded that if everyone replaced meat (and eggs and dairy) in their diet with beef and dairy from grass fed cows, fewer animals would be killed than if everyone went vegan, because of animals being killed while harvesting plants, such as being run over by a tractor. One criticism (of many) of this study is that it was based on sugar harvesting when other crops making up a larger portion of a vegan diet.

This concerns me about sugar consumption and whether it would be ethical to buy sugar if it causes more animals to be killed than for other crops. A lot of the concern about whether sugar is vegan is if it is processed with animal bones, but wild animals being killed during the harvest would be much more harmful to more animals. Does anyone know if some brands of sugar do not cause a larger amount of animals to be killed than crops like grains, legumes, or vegetables? Are as many animals killed while harvesting beet sugar rather than cane sugar? Would beet sugar be a more ethical alternative?

I don't eat a lot of sugar anyway (in fact I recently opened a bag of sugar I bought about five years ago) but I'd like to still be able to bake things that require sugar at least sometimes. Agave nectar is expensive so I wonder if there are cheaper alternatives. Also, agave nectar contains water so that would cause problems if a recipe requires more agave nectar than water.
 

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Given the mass quantity of people who want to eat meat and dairy on a daily basis, factory farming is the only way to do it. Also, to keep meat at a low cost; most people wouldn't be able to afford grass-fed meat on a regular basis, so they would have to eat more vegetables too.
 

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Considering a large portion of vegans avoid added sugars that argument is moot.
The idea is only eating grass Fed beef has to involve reducing meat consumption, meaning eating more produce. It's a straw man argument
 

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Wasn't there some statistic that showed that if everyone in the US who ate meat started eating ONLY grass fed cows instead of factory farmed cows, that every last inch of north America and a good chunk of south America would have to be turned in to grazing land for cattle? And this was every last inch, mountains would have to be leveled, cities razed, towns turned to grassland, etc. And that is only for cow flesh (and possibly milk as well), and does not include any other animals, nor foods such as beans, grains, fruit etc.

"Grass fed" is just a spectre, it isn't a sustainable way to feed the omnivores their cow flesh.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My question was if sugar can be purchased that does not result in more animal deaths than most other crops. I only mentioned the study that claimed that grass fed beef kills fewer animals than crops because that is where I heard (actually I heard about it from criticisms of that study) about a larger amount of animals being killed while harvesting sugar than harvesting other crops. I know the study is flawed, in particular because the comparison is being made to the number of animals that (the study claims) would be killed if all land used for meat were used for crops instead. It fails to consider that growing crops takes less land than raising animals for meat.

I realize that vegans who eat some sugar are probably still indirectly contributing to fewer animal deaths than those who eat meat but I still think I should try to buy things that kill fewer animals. I was wondering if something like harvesting beet sugar might be less dangerous to wild animals than harvesting cane sugar.
 

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I've heard of a study that concluded that if everyone replaced meat (and eggs and dairy) in their diet with beef and dairy from grass fed cows, fewer animals would be killed than if everyone went vegan, because of animals being killed while harvesting plants, such as being run over by a tractor. One criticism (of many) of this study is that it was based on sugar harvesting when other crops making up a larger portion of a vegan diet.
Could you post a link to the study?
.
 

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I've heard of a study that concluded that if everyone replaced meat (and eggs and dairy) in their diet with beef and dairy from grass fed cows, fewer animals would be killed than if everyone went vegan, because of animals being killed while harvesting plants, such as being run over by a tractor.

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A grass-fed beef and dairy diet requires too many resources to be sustainably provided to large numbers of people

This peer-reviewed study on this topic, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition : http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/660S.full

According to this report from the University of California at Davis, the most water-intensive crops grown in California are alfalfa (for feeding cows), forage (also for feeding cows), rice, cotton, and almonds / pistachio nuts: https://www.arb.ca.gov/fuels/lcfs/workgroups/lcfssustain/hanson.pdf . The worst "water offenders" are crops grown for cow fodder. Rice is another offender; growing rice makes good sense in a wet/rainy region (like Southeast Asia), but not so much in dry regions.
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Environmentally grass fed cattle is even worse, due to land and resources and deforestation, though technically it's supposed to be more "humane" the cattle are still slaughtered and artificially inseminated.

Also you're wise to spot the sugar fallacy, most isolated studies I have observed claiming any kind of meat eating is more sustainable than veganism, contains some stupid mitigating factor, like actually only testing sugar, or comparing raw meat to lettuce, instead of cooked meat to soy or beans.

I've actually read in my science text books a simple math problem that shows environmental impact of ANY animal products compared to vegan meals. Even 200 calories of animal products increases a 2000 calorie diet up to 3800 calories of environmental impact.

As for cruelty, unfortunately there's no way to completely eradicate harm to field mice or insects in agriculture but it does far less harm than animal agriculture.

I have even read compelling arguments about palm oil complaints being a red herring, since it keeps people from going vegan, is a single issue speciesist complaint, actually tends to use land that was already deforested for narcotics or animal agriculture, and since palm oil is so high yielding and can't completely be stopped, campaigns to force palm oil to be sustainable actually do less harm to animals and the environment than blindly boycotting it.
 

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My question was if sugar can be purchased that does not result in more animal deaths than most other crops. I only mentioned the study that claimed that grass fed beef kills fewer animals than crops because that is where I heard (actually I heard about it from criticisms of that study) about a larger amount of animals being killed while harvesting sugar than harvesting other crops. I know the study is flawed, in particular because the comparison is being made to the number of animals that (the study claims) would be killed if all land used for meat were used for crops instead. It fails to consider that growing crops takes less land than raising animals for meat.

I realize that vegans who eat some sugar are probably still indirectly contributing to fewer animal deaths than those who eat meat but I still think I should try to buy things that kill fewer animals. I was wondering if something like harvesting beet sugar might be less dangerous to wild animals than harvesting cane sugar.
Some vegans avoid processed sugar due to bone char used in refining white sugar, but still use raw sugar. Your question about overall sugar harvesting is a good one, I would have to research it more.

Many vegans use stevia instead of sugar, or maple syrup. If you are worried about sugar then stevia and maple syrup also have a less dramatic impact on your blood sugar levels.

I try to use stevia, or maple syrup but I still eat some cane sugar. PETA has an official stance on things like vegan fast food or accidentally vegan candy being acceptable because the impact would be negligible in the big picture, living in the context of our society of capitalism, that supporting vegan fast food options or making vegan candy popular helps in the long term because it will "normalize" veganism via the market.

But ethically speaking it also makes perfect sense to avoid omnivore dining establishments or to avoid processed sugar in accidentally vegan candy, too, and I understand because I boycott Nestle for overall corruption, especially related to water, and also boycott unethical chocolate companies because of slavery in West Africa. I admire people who have completely made the break from patronizing animal exploiting companies entirely, and the main reason I find it difficult is because I still live in a major city (for six more months) and culturally it's easy to take comfort in a familiar candy or other accidentally vegan food item.
 
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