Last night, I attended a local food-faith-community talk, where one of the speakers asserted that veganism is not practical because, for us to live, something has to die, and plants have lives too, and we shouldn’t consider their lives to be worth less. So, after challenging her assertion, I went home, did a few google searches and ran a few calcs. I always knew that eating plants actually saved plants, but I didn’t know just how well. Assuming 12 lbs of soybeans are required to produce 1 lb of beef, a single 4 oz beef serving kills 1 cow with a highly developed nervous system plus 150 soybean plants +/-. In contrast, if I ate 1 cup of black beans, 2 cups of mixed greens, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, plus a sweet potato, I estimate I killed 5-7 black bean plants, 1 collard green plant, 1 tomato plant (technically not killed, since tomato harvest doesn’t require plant death, but humor me here), 1 onion plant, 3-5 mushrooms, and a sweet potato plant. So that means that vegan meal killed 12-16 plants, vs 150 soy plants killed—murdered, dare I say—to produce a single 4 oz beef serving. Talk about a deep rationalization! We kill 10 times more plants by eating beef than by simply eating plants. And this person was a religious person! There are none so blind, as those who will not even consider alternate points of view.
~ Mark Rifkin (May 14, 2014)