I want to suggest an alternative approach to veganism. I do not have anything against veganism, and I know many wonderful people who have made it a significant part of their lifestyle. However, I believe that there is a better way to address the concerns that these people often have that does not involve giving up animal products.
What are the concerns to typically motivate people to embrace veganism? For some, it may be the poor treatment of animals in some of today’s meat factories. For others, it may be the hormones and other artificial materials that are often a part of our consumption of animal products. Still others may be concerned about the systemic effects of large-scale meat, egg, or milk production on the environment and on agricultural lands in general. And perhaps there’re other concerns that I haven’t named. Whatever the reasons are, I believe there is a much better way to address these kinds of concerns while also maintaining investment in the kind of agriculture that I believe we should all be supporting.
Rather than not eating animal products at all, we should react by focusing our purchases of animal products on only small farmers in our immediate vicinity. By doing this, concerns about animal treatment are alleviated because small family farmers actually know and appreciate their animals. Small family farmers have no option but to use their land well because they have a much more limited supply of it. No matter what the consumer’s concerns are regarding animal products, buying animal products from a small family farmer alleviates these concerns. This approach is also superior to veganism because it helps keep small family farmers afloat.
In short, I believe that the concerns that often motivate veganism can be resolved by buying from local farmers rather than cutting out animal products altogether. This approach has the added benefit of supporting the farmers who need it the most – small family farmers.