Today is "World Meat Free Day”.
I don’t support it. What World Meat Free Day does is to further entrench the notion that a certain type of animal product - meat - is any different ethically and environmentally than others. Cutting out meat would be all very well IF the problem was eating meat. But it’s not. The problem is the use of animals as resources altogether, which in *all* its forms necessarily involves the violation of animals’ most basic rights as sentient beings. Animals used for meat, dairy, eggs, all other food products, clothing, experimentation, and entertainment are *all* exploited unnecessarily, and they *all* suffer unnecessarily. The environmental impact of animal agriculture is also not solely the result of the meat industry, but other animal industries too. Singling out meat as the issue is nonsense.
Asking people to go meat-free for a single day is also nonsense. The World Meat Free Day website quite rightly states that the impact of their target of 10 million people swapping meat in one of their meals (not even for the day!) would be “staggering”; they estimate it would “Reduce enough CO2 emissions to drive around the world 2,438 times…Save up to 5,700 acres of land - the equivalent of 89,000 tennis courts…Reduce water usage by 13 million tonnes - equivalent to 5,000 Olympic swimming pools”. They miss the most important point - that it would also save millions of animals. But to what end is this? Why are World Meat Free Day “not asking you to give up meat forever, just for one day”? Is a single day really the best we can do? I don’t think so.
As animal advocates, we need to be clear about our message. The problem is animal use. The solution is veganism. We need to recognise that every other “solution” - pescetarianism, vegetarianism, flexitarianism, reducitarianism - is simply another form of nonveganism. And neither the animals or the earth have time for our “baby steps”, for our gradual “journeys towards” veganism - that is, our continued nonveganism. My message will always be this: go vegan now, for life. Nothing else.
Until next time...
For more on initiatives like World Meat Free Day and Meatless Mondays, see The Abolitionist Approach:
Images from: http://www.worldmeatfreeday.com