If you are a vegetarian, you are not responsible for the death of animals, right?
Think again. Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t prevent the death of animals.
Claudio Bertonatti pointed out the rather logical fact that many people who chose to askew meat may never have considered.
Bertonatti is one of the most renowned naturalists in Argentina and used to be a vegetarian himself. He sheds more light on his controversial views expressed in his now infamous article The Vegan Confusion, in this interview.
Bertonatti’s point is that cultivating agricultural crops has a devastating effect on wildlife. Birds, frogs, mammals, reptiles and fish all lose their habitat and disappear because of the impact of deforestation.
Vegetarians and vegans actually only save the lives of species like chickens, cows, pigs and goats that are not threatened anyway.
“In Argentina, they set fire to the jungle, burning nests with flamethrowers. Then they must defend the sown land from the birds who come to feed; many landowners do this by scattering poisoned grains. After that, the wild herbivores come looking for the first shoots, so the landowners put up electric fences or hunt the animals down with guns.”
On land dedicated to livestock there is a greater diversity of animals. Of course, these farmers also kill wildlife to protect his stock, but according to Bertonatti the impact is less.
The point is if you eat meat, you kill animals, but you also kill them by eating plants. A lot of people who care about environmental issues look for good guys and bad guys, says Bertonotti, but this issue far more complicated.
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There is no denying the indefensible cruelty involved in meat production. We have all seen those vomit-inducing videos on YouTube that have managed to turn a lot of people into vegetarians or vegans. To Bertonatti this cruelty is a tragedy.
“It’s important to encourage the responsible consumption and humane killing of animals. But to a fundamentalist, it’s a sin even to mention death. What else should I call it? Euthanasia?”
The bottom line is this: animals are dying as a result of what we eat. Zero impact is impossible.
“Our universe is limited to what we see: dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, ducks, cows. Our sensitivity extends only towards them. The world is bigger than that and far more complex, whether you accept it or not.”
Bertonatti asserts that if the whole human race became vegan, it would be a tragedy.
This is because it would mean that we don’t have a good grasp on the world’s environmental problems. The conservation of biodiversity, that the wealth of life on Earth does not become impoverished is the main concern.
This should be our prime objective and in that case it’s always better for the environment to diversify production.
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