Dear New York Times,
As a vegan, I’ve been called a “plant murderer” before; but nobody who makes this accusation actually believes her own moral argument. Want proof?
Let’s assume plants feel pain. Let’s assume they suffer even more than animals. How then can we cause as little suffering as possible without starving to death: by eating plants, or by fattening up animals by feeding them plants until fully grown, then killing and eating the animals? By some estimates, it requires anywhere from 6 to 16 times as many plants to produce a pound of meat than a pound of salad. Yes, more grains died for your roast than for my toast.
So you’ll have to think a little harder than Natalie Angier to formulate an anti-vegan argument that holds water. Or may I suggest giving up on the mental contortions and coming over to the light side? We have cookies too, you know.
(I submitted this letter to the NYTimes, but it was not published. Likely too much time had passed since the original printing of the article I to which I was responding, which I read online over a week after publication.)
“It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of edible animal flesh.” (The veg perspective)
“Cattle convert (pounds of feed per pounds of gain) at around 5.5 to 6.5 in the feedlot. That means you need to feed about 5.5 to 6.5 pounds of diet (assuming normal finishing diet) for an animal to gain 1 pound.” (The beef industry perspective. Their end result is 2-3 pounds of plants per meat pound, but they exclude foraged grass in the equation, counting only the grain-feeding stage of beef production.)