• United Kingdom United Kingdom

Soya is Bad for the Environment

(and a bonus track about ‘carbon foots prints’ and high welfare ‘standers’ on farms)

Hi Dave,

Take a seat, rest your weary brain for a moment, and let us walk you through why everything you’ve said is wrong.

First, South America AND Brazil? For future trolling, it might help you to know that Brazil is a country IN South America.

But let’s get to the heart of one of your complaints – that soya grown in Brazil does not help the ‘carbon foots print’. There are two distinct issues associated with this. The first is the relative impact of food miles versus the impacts of other aspects of food production. And it may shock you to know that the distance food travels is actually a very small part of the overall impact. So, that’s good news, isn’t it? Imported foods may not be as bad as we think, although that same data shows quite clearly that every animal product is far worse in terms of gas emissions than just about every plant food. So, if you’re worrying about your ‘foots print’, you know what to do.

Then we come to the second issue about soya from South America, which is that it is often grown on deforested lands. Ah, look at your triumphant little face, Dave. Bless your heart. You think this soya is grown for vegans, don’t you? In fact, it’s grown for you. And the forests it’s grown on were initially destroyed for you, too. This is how it works:

  1. It takes far more land to produce animal products than vegan products, and that land must come from somewhere, so it is taken from nature, including forests.
  2. In Brazil, forests are destroyed to make way for cows to graze for beef production.
  3. When the cows are moved on, the soya farmers move in, ready to grow their crop to sell to chicken, dairy, pig and fish farms all over the world, including here in the UK
  4. Almost all soya grown is fed to farmed animals.
  5. Forests are destroyed for meat.

So, to your other point about high welfare ‘standers’* in the UK compared to other European countries, and I have to say I don’t know where you get your facts. Christmas crackers? In a vision? Wikipedia? It might help you to know that Sweden, for example, has banned farrowing crates which are still legal in the UK, and the Swedes must provide pigs with straw, which is not a requirement here, but, like you, we digress.

The thing we need you to understand is that welfare claims are all relative. If six per cent of children died in British schools each year compared to eight per cent elsewhere, would we be perfectly happy that our schools had high standers* or would we start talking about how to end the appalling suffering and deaths?

If we continue to cut multiple body parts off live animals who have not been given anaesthetic or analgesic, can we really say that is a good thing? If we force animals to live in squalor, standing in their own filth, no fresh air, no sunlight and denied all the things that make life living, does that count as high standers*? If millions suffer to death right there in the sheds unable even to survive a few weeks, does that suggest high standers*?

We don’t think so, but we can meet you part way and concede that in an appalling field of abysmally low welfare standards globally, the UK is somewhere towards the top.

So, if you care about ‘the carbon foots print’ and ‘welfare standers*’ as much as your well-considered message suggests you do, you do know you should be vegan, right?

* OMG you numpty, it’s standards. How hard is this?

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