We all care about other humans. We wouldn’t want to see people out of a job, unable to feed their families. With the decline of the meat, dairy and egg industries, people such as farmers, butchers, and slaughterhouse workers could all lose their jobs. But this doesn’t necessarily need to happen in a vegan world. Let’s look at it a little more deeply…
We already pay farmers a tiny amount to do their job – most of these people work long, gruelling hours and are NOT wealthy. Slaughterhouse workers get minimum wage or less (plus also suffer from poor mental health due to their work). Parts of the industry are supported heavily by government subsidies and propaganda advertising. If these industries were to shrink, it could be a positive thing. Demand for other foods would grow. There is already a huge growth in plant-based products, creating jobs all the time. Land and skills could be used in other ways – we still need to eat, after all. In fact, those who adhere to a whole food plant based diet can often eat higher volumes, as food is more easily digestible, and takes up less space in the stomach.
Workers in many industries have to adapt to advancements and consumer trends – just look at technology, industrialisation, the growth of the Internet. All have made certain jobs obsolete but created a myriad of other opportunities. We have to adapt and move with the times. There’s nothing to stop a career farmer from producing other foodstuffs. We’re not asking them to do it tomorrow, but veganism is on the rise, and there is time to put plans in place. Farmers that are already accepting this change, are reaping the benefits. In addition, as the meat, dairy and egg industries decline, and subsidies fall, we should see an increase in schemes to help farmers adapt to alternative ways of farming. Some farmers have already made a switch from animal to plant-based farming.
So… are we really doing animal farmers, slaughterhouse workers etc, a favour by continuing the meat and dairy industries? The bulk of these jobs are underpaid, psychologically damaging and stressful, with high rates of PTSD and PITS. Working on an animal killing conveyor belt isn’t fun.
Weapons of war, tobacco – both industries create jobs and make money for the economy, but would we really encourage people to start smoking, go to war, buy WMDs? We cannot justify the existence of an industry just because it creates jobs and money, if it is toxic in every other way. We are entitled to our ethics and conscience, not to be blackmailed or guilted into keeping a bad industry going. It’s a strange argument, one that we don’t apply to other areas. We strive to rid the world of crime and disease… even though it would put many out of a job if we had neither. Meat and dairy are both bad for the animals, our health and the environment. There’s another way that we, and the economy, can thrive – veganism. Give it a go!
“You knew that you were taking them to what must be a terrifying experience. It was soul destroying, that’s how it felt. It was very difficult to do. But wanting to keep the farm working as a farm… I just needed to keep doing it until I could find what else to do” – Jay Wilde, former dairy farmer (full article here).