Grass-fed Beef — The Most Vegan Item In The Supermarket
Probably the most vegan item you can buy in the supermarket is a pound of grass-fed beef.
I was thinking that heretical thought as I drove through my neighboring countryside, scanning empty cornfields for signs of life, and wondering at the hubris of mankind. When did we decide that we can stake our claim to all of the lands on the Earth, and use every square inch of it for our own purposes and needs?
About 10,000 years ago, actually, when we invented the idea of agriculture.
Sadly, in the practice of agriculture as it exists now, it is impossible to refrain from causing endless suffering to many living creatures. One could argue that the most suffering of all is caused by the practice of annual agriculture, which is the cultivation of vegetables, including grains, beans, and rice, that only take one year to grow from seed to food. We displace countless wild animals from their homes and landscapes when we cultivate annual crops. Not only that, we also kill thousands of creatures when we till the soil and pull our harvests from its depths.
A perennial agriculture, on the other hand, based on trees, shrubs, grasses, and livestock, allows nature to thrive without annual destruction. If the craft of agriculture can embrace the long-term advantages of the perennial plant over the short term ones provided by the yearly abundance of grains and beans, than we may be able to invest the significant wealth of today, including our fossil fuel resources, onto the accumulative returns of tomorrow.
But the short-sightedness of man is limitless, and so those who understand what is truly at stake must stand up and speak clearly and proudly.
I meditated on the empty corn fields for hours on end. Ultimately, what it represents is a graveyard for all wildlife, from the invertebrate worm to the feathery bird. The entire wild ecosystem is completely interrupted by our incessant and constant tillage and badgering of all arable land.
About 392 million acres in the US alone is used to grow crops, which is about 17% of all US land. https://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/pub-details/?pubid=84879
This use of arable land provides ample food for all humans, but it takes away the…