The British Veterinary Association has recently launched a new policy position that actually makes a case for eating more baby calves and kids. Before we even get into the details of their argument, let’s take a moment to appreciate the irony of a veterinary association, which, by default, represents professionals charged with protecting animals,
They start off by stating, “The
The document goes on to state that “Without a specific intended use of the carcass, the routine killing of healthy animals constitutes wastage, which is not in line with the principle of sustainable animal agriculture.” The current system of animal agriculture is not sustainable in any way for the amount of humans that inhabit the earth. Animal agriculture is based on secondary consumption, because of the resources needed to feed, water, and keep animals alive, so it uses up more resources than it gives back nutritionally. Even organic meat and dairy are not sustainable. As Dave Simon writes, “Simply put, locally raised animal foods can easily be less carbon-friendly than those from a distant continent, and local consumption thus does not make animal foods sustainable.”
The BVA then goes on to write that “For an animal agriculture system to be regarded as sustainable, it should be undertaken in a way that is environmentally, ethically and economically acceptable for consumers, producers, and wider society.” While we’ve already established that animal agriculture cannot sustainably exist, there is no way “ethically” to kill a being that was specifically bred into existence so that their body or secretions can be stolen and consumed by humans. We must not kid ourselves and act like we are doing animals a favor by slaughtering them and taking their lives in a “nicer” way. As an increasing number of people choose a plant-based lifestyle, many people are understanding and participating in ditching our outdated and destructive food system that relies on animal agriculture.
Their proposal concludes that the dairy and egg industries should adopt a “3 R’s” approach by reducing the number of male surplus being bred, replacing the need to kill them immediately by instead raising them longer before slaughter, and redefining ethical standards by improving “slaughter methods.” What their proposal fails to address is that all of their solutions still drive an unethical industry that sees living beings as commodities, trash, and a fast way to make a buck. A sustainable and ethical future will be one in which we see nonhuman animals as individuals, and choose a plant-powered future instead.