Monday, 12 July 2010

Vegan Fatwa

Well, it looks like Freelee is mounting a response to Denise Mingers China Study Smackdown and in particular against the Paleos...erm I mean 'fully fledged corpse eaters'/'death-pushers'. Word has it that a pack of playing cards will be issued featuring the following 39 (at the time of writing) blogs. Only thirty-nine playing cards? Looks like those vegans are used to playing cards without a full deck. Freelee wants to redress the 'incorrect misinterpreted analysis' to swing the pendulum back towards Colin Campbell's 'correct misinterpreted analysis'.

Seriously though, on Denises blog there is some pretty detailed comment reaching in to the vagaries of statistical analysis that I'd guess would bamboozle most of us whether vegan or orthodox paleo. Veganmama made a very detailed and enlightening contribution (also posted on 30BAD).

Personally I hope that instead of taking sides and wanting to discredit Minger or Campbell or making appeals to authority ("i do find it difficult to believe that campbell after 20+ yrs of work on this, making raw data available, cautioning people right in the book about its misuse and having the resources of a university would make errors so blatant that they could be reveal by an amateur"), common ground can be found between both 'camps' and we can let the data speak for itself. I don't think either side of the argument should fear the outcome we should only fear self-delusion and, dishonesty under the guise of science.

I actually believe there is a lot of common ground between vegans and paloe-types. There is the interest in our personal health and also a wider environmental concern. The paleo types I know opt for animal produce that is farmed with high animal welfare standards and abhor animal suffering. I'd wager most paleos have an eye on ultimately actually catching their own wild food, and what could be more sustainable? Food, be it animal or plant based, from 'natural' ecosystems is way more sustainable (and offers greater biodiversity),than any farm - arable or pastoral.

The food wars have truly broken out in 2010, and The China Study looks like becoming the main battleground.


Methuselah said...

What I find I have most in common with Vegans is a desire for animal welfare. Ironic, since I eat dead animals which have died so I can eat. But I spend more money and drive a long way to get the meat from animals who've led a happy life. To put it more simply, I think Paleos and Vegans both deplore intensive farming and artificiality in diet, and as you say, this is quite significant common ground to have in the current state of the world.

Asclepius said...

Yeah agreed. I think that the guys at 30BAD have fantastic drive and enthusiasm to do the 'right thing'. But some of their goals are questionable.

I was going to post a link to your blog on 'Fordall Farm', which expresses exactly paleo-environmental sentiments. It was a thread on which I commented about my paleo-environmental position by:

1. buying organic,
2. buying local
3. growing my own veg and fruit
4. considering buying a smallholding,
5. foraging for food.

Paleo is the new and currently untapped environmental movement with a side order in health, diet and nutrition. We could have quite a good impact on animal welfare and environmental issues.

In contrast I find that by trying to tackle the paleo bloggers, 30BAD are fucking about at the edges of the real problem and doing little to promote REAL change.

Judging by the militant sentiments of some of their members they simply see meat eaters as bad. What they should do is create useful alliances with the paleo crowd and then TOGETHER we could oppose factory farming and all other means of food production that lacks welfare/environmental standards.

They should also cut us some slack on our tendancy towards hunting and gathering.

Darwinism tells us that a 'forageable' environment has to be the most productive and sustainable. Specialisaion and species diversity is implicit in such a 'natural' state; 'wild land' offers lots of ecological niches for species to inhabit.

30BAD seem to ignore the fact that meat eating predators are part of this picture. Unless you have meat eating predators, you will get overgrazing at all scales - be it by bugs, slugs, larger herbivores and so forth. You need meat eaters in the food-cycle (NOT food chain). Meat eater shit is great fertilizer.

I wonder how many of the guys on 30BAD consider the death wrought by their non-seasonal eating? The air miles involved in moving their non seasonal food around the world? The death wrought by clearing the land on which their food is grown? The death wrought by keeping competition for their food out of the farmland - pesticides to clear the land? The death that these pesticides cause when washed in to the rivers? The death required to fertilize the farm land? The death caused by these fertilizers as it washes off in to the water system.

Maybe 30BAD find 'hidden death' so much easier to handle? Maybe such a stupidly simplified message as 'Meat is Murder' is easier to 'digest'.

Of course Meth, you and me know all this. We put our money where our mouth is and try to eat sustainably.

I hope the death-pushers at 30BAD realise that 'corpse eating' has to be done at some level otherwise the circle of life on earth would truly fuck up. But B12 deficiency does strange things to the brain...

Methuselah said...

Nicely put.