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vegans even 'sort of' - lets talk -  RSS feed

 
Jay Green
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I don't know if it has been mentioned here but I'm wondering what vegans are doing about B12 for their long term dietary needs? My parents were vegan for upwards to 20 years but as they became elderly we started to see B12 deficiency related dementia symptoms. In my dad it was irreversible~he did not respond to B12 therapy~ and he is now in a nursing facility. Mom is showing some similar symptoms but I have been able to slow it down or reverse them, it seems, with the addition of eggs and some dairy to her diet. Men seem to have more trouble reversing the affects of long term B12 deficiency than do women.

B12 Deficiency and Dementia

Medical Studies


 
Skeeter Ni-Seighin
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Jay Green wrote:I don't know if it has been mentioned here but I'm wondering what vegans are doing about B12 for their long term dietary needs? My parents were vegan for upwards to 20 years but as they became elderly we started to see B12 deficiency related dementia symptoms. In my dad it was irreversible~he did not respond to B12 therapy~ and he is now in a nursing facility. Mom is showing some similar symptoms but I have been able to slow it down or reverse them, it seems, with the addition of eggs and some dairy to her diet. Men seem to have more trouble reversing the affects of long term B12 deficiency than do women.

B12 Deficiency and Dementia

Medical Studies




I get B12 from fortified milks and nutritional yeast. B12 can be an issue for anyone on any diet as they get older, and many older people get B12 shots or take supplements because their body can't retain it. In general you need very little, but there is sometimes some reason (separate medical reasons) why B12 doesn't get absorbed by the body, so to speak. Also as we get older we need more B12 anyway. The other issue also is we need good calcium levels in order to absorb the B12. If in doubt get checked, and take a B12 Supplement. Did your parents take supplements? I don't know how old they are but when they went Vegan they may have been in that age bracket where you need more, and at that point they stopped completely by giving up meat and dairy? Hope this helps.
 
Skeeter Ni-Seighin
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Blaine Lindsey wrote: hey people! Its so great to see so many fellow vegetarians/vegans on here! Ive read this thread and hello to you each! much love and light to you, & of course to all on this site! Our passion for permaculture and sustainable living is a precious gem in the rough and no matter your diet, our earth-friendly lifestyles are bringing much healing and rejuvination into the world! Ive been meat-free for about 3 years now, never take supplements, 100& organic/non gmo, much wild foods, and have been on a diet/nutrition journey ever since that first day! Ive transitioned from all the levels haha! junk-food vegetarian- gourmet vegetarian-vegan-raw vegan- 80/10/10 fruitarian. But right around there i got really into growing my own food and permaculture, and after much insight and soulsearching i transitioned finally to what I call Living Foodist. Basically a Fruitarian/ Vegan in every way but incorporating organic/ artisan/ raw goat milk and beehive products as the fruits of the animal kingdom).I strongly believe though, in true animal husbandry, helping the goat be so healthy that it milk is sweet and nutritious, with more than enough for its kids, biodynamic beekeeping, extracting honey only seldomely, influencing specific honey flavors and/or active manuka honeys with certain plants. fermenting the raw dairy into kefir, the raw honey into honey mead. Also a main staple of my diet is sprouted ancient grains, everything from the coconut plant, hemp. I also believe that landrace cannabis in its original integrity( ina virgin forest) should be a main staple of human diet. I would love to have goats, bees, chickens, pigs, all kinds of animals ina permaculture setting, but would never eat them, creating symbiotic relationships with the animals that help us both thrive. any in th SF bay area let me know, we could start upa local weekly vegan potluck/ spark a local permaculture project!


This life you have planned sounds perfect Blaine. What would you like for a house? I would like to build an Ecobag.
 
Jay Green
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Skeeter Ni-Seighin wrote:
Jay Green wrote:I don't know if it has been mentioned here but I'm wondering what vegans are doing about B12 for their long term dietary needs? My parents were vegan for upwards to 20 years but as they became elderly we started to see B12 deficiency related dementia symptoms. In my dad it was irreversible~he did not respond to B12 therapy~ and he is now in a nursing facility. Mom is showing some similar symptoms but I have been able to slow it down or reverse them, it seems, with the addition of eggs and some dairy to her diet. Men seem to have more trouble reversing the affects of long term B12 deficiency than do women.

B12 Deficiency and Dementia

Medical Studies




I get B12 from fortified milks and nutritional yeast. B12 can be an issue for anyone on any diet as they get older, and many older people get B12 shots or take supplements because their body can't retain it. In general you need very little, but there is sometimes some reason (separate medical reasons) why B12 doesn't get absorbed by the body, so to speak. Also as we get older we need more B12 anyway. The other issue also is we need good calcium levels in order to absorb the B12. If in doubt get checked, and take a B12 Supplement. Did your parents take supplements? I don't know how old they are but when they went Vegan they may have been in that age bracket where you need more, and at that point they stopped completely by giving up meat and dairy? Hope this helps.


They went vegan in their late 50s, early 60s and went entirely without any foods derived from animals except for once a year when they harvested wild turkey. As people age, their ability to produce and even metabolize B12 is greatly reduced, so increasing these in their diet was essential. But...no one mentioned that when they hyped the vegan diet to them. They went vegan for their physical health and didn't think a bit about their mental health being connected to the physical...as I see many on this thread are not regarding this fact either. If they had just kept eggs or some lean meats in their diet, such as venison as they used to eat, this deficiency could have been drastically reduced or avoided altogether. What is natural about having B12 injections? Nothing. It can be obtained naturally through smart eating...there is nothing wrong with home grown eggs and my mother is finally convinced of that after years of having the vegan mindset.

What we were left with was an 80 yr old man in excellent physical health, running away from 5-6 orderlies in the mental hospital and almost making it to the top of a 10 ft. chainlink fence. He succeeded in fighting these men off most of the time, it took injections of all different kinds of anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic meds to keep him confined to the mental ward. He was still exercising vigorously on his own, doing 50 push ups several times a day....like a broken toy that is stuck on one activity. What good is all that physical health when the mental health is gone, I ask you? He couldn't remember anything he used to know, didn't know how to even make a phone call, was threatening suicide every day, driving away from home and getting lost for many hours, couldn't remember how to shift the gears on his truck...but, by golly, he sure was healthy!!!

This is why I posted a warning...people need to know this before they undertake a completely vegan life. We need that B12 and not just when we are old. Nothing wrong with going vegetarian and eating better...it's greatly beneficial. But vegan? It needs to be examined a little more closely and all angles reviewed before embarking on it as a lifestyle.
 
Skeeter Ni-Seighin
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Jay Green wrote:
Skeeter Ni-Seighin wrote:
Jay Green wrote:I don't know if it has been mentioned here but I'm wondering what vegans are doing about B12 for their long term dietary needs? My parents were vegan for upwards to 20 years but as they became elderly we started to see B12 deficiency related dementia symptoms. In my dad it was irreversible~he did not respond to B12 therapy~ and he is now in a nursing facility. Mom is showing some similar symptoms but I have been able to slow it down or reverse them, it seems, with the addition of eggs and some dairy to her diet. Men seem to have more trouble reversing the affects of long term B12 deficiency than do women.

B12 Deficiency and Dementia

Medical Studies




I get B12 from fortified milks and nutritional yeast. B12 can be an issue for anyone on any diet as they get older, and many older people get B12 shots or take supplements because their body can't retain it. In general you need very little, but there is sometimes some reason (separate medical reasons) why B12 doesn't get absorbed by the body, so to speak. Also as we get older we need more B12 anyway. The other issue also is we need good calcium levels in order to absorb the B12. If in doubt get checked, and take a B12 Supplement. Did your parents take supplements? I don't know how old they are but when they went Vegan they may have been in that age bracket where you need more, and at that point they stopped completely by giving up meat and dairy? Hope this helps.


They went vegan in their late 50s, early 60s and went entirely without any foods derived from animals except for once a year when they harvested wild turkey. As people age, their ability to produce and even metabolize B12 is greatly reduced, so increasing these in their diet was essential. But...no one mentioned that when they hyped the vegan diet to them. They went vegan for their physical health and didn't think a bit about their mental health being connected to the physical...as I see many on this thread are not regarding this fact either. If they had just kept eggs or some lean meats in their diet, such as venison as they used to eat, this deficiency could have been drastically reduced or avoided altogether. What is natural about having B12 injections? Nothing. It can be obtained naturally through smart eating...there is nothing wrong with home grown eggs and my mother is finally convinced of that after years of having the vegan mindset.

What we were left with was an 80 yr old man in excellent physical health, running away from 5-6 orderlies in the mental hospital and almost making it to the top of a 10 ft. chainlink fence. He succeeded in fighting these men off most of the time, it took injections of all different kinds of anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic meds to keep him confined to the mental ward. He was still exercising vigorously on his own, doing 50 push ups several times a day....like a broken toy that is stuck on one activity. What good is all that physical health when the mental health is gone, I ask you? He couldn't remember anything he used to know, didn't know how to even make a phone call, was threatening suicide every day, driving away from home and getting lost for many hours, couldn't remember how to shift the gears on his truck...but, by golly, he sure was healthy!!!

This is why I posted a warning...people need to know this before they undertake a completely vegan life. We need that B12 and not just when we are old. Nothing wrong with going vegetarian and eating better...it's greatly beneficial. But vegan? It needs to be examined a little more closely and all angles reviewed before embarking on it as a lifestyle.




B12 deficiency is as much an elderly issue, as a Vegan issue. Meat and dairy eaters also suffer B12 deficiencies.

If people embark on a new diet, any diet then it should be researched properly. I as a Vegan (not a diet) would not eat an unhealthy and unethical animal product in order to receive one vitamin that I can so easily get from a supplement. I haven't read through all the threads, so I don't know where people are talking about B12 or why you think people are not aware, but B12 is certainly mentioned very frequently in the circles I mix in for one reason or another.

In all fairness B12 sticks out like a sore thumb because it is the only vitamin that cannot be obtained in a plant source, so I don't think the vegan diet needs to be reexamined, people as I said just need to research a new diet properly.
 
Jay Green
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So you are taking B12 injections, or are you taking yours in a nasal spray?
 
Skeeter Ni-Seighin
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Jay Green wrote:So you are taking B12 injections, or are you taking yours in a nasal spray?


Neither. As I said, I take fortified B12 and nutritional yeast. You don't need injections unless you cannot absorb the B12 sufficiently.
 
Jay Green
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My parents consumed nutritional yeast and fortified dietary supplements of B12 daily, as well as consumed fortified foods.

I'm merely posting this information so that those who do not know the possibilities may consider them, not to debate the vegan lifestyle...everyone ages eventually and this information could be the difference between aging with your mind intact~ or without it. Everyone makes their own choices in life, so they are free to ignore information as they see fit.

B12 Deficiency

Note to vegetarians and vegans: B12 is found ONLY in animal products

B12 is the only vitamin that contains a trace element (cobalt), which is why it’s called cobalamin. Cobalamin is produced in the gut of animals. It’s the only vitamin we can’t obtain from plants or sunlight. Plants don’t need B12 so they don’t store it.

A common myth amongst vegetarians and vegans is that it’s possible to get B12 from plant sources like seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina and brewers yeast. But plant foods said to contain B12 actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides that block intake of and increase the need for true B12.

This explains why studies consistently demonstrate that up to 50% of long-term vegetarians and 80% of vegans are deficient in B12.


 
Wyll Greenewood
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Greta Fields wrote:Jeanine, Carol and others, I enjoy reading about the way you have animals and eat. However, what I find missing on most all vegan forums is a discussion of wild animals. There is some here. When Starlings or other wild animals don't fit, I think it is people out of place. People are part of nature, but have torn up nature, so of course the crows are going to poop on your college campus. Where else can they stop to sleep? They see trees, stop to roost overnight.
By living close to nature, I have rediscovered biodiversity as my friend, not the enemy. The snakes, as someone here noted, control the voles. [And hawks control snake babies.' I don't judge the animals, I just live with them and enjoy them, and find them to be incredibly self reliant. But Jeanine, was it you who said snakes don't make holes? They DO. Copperheads will drill a hole down into grass or your compost
I saw a Copperhead go9 down one hole and went to look at it. He had woven grass stems in a beautiful spiral around the hole, like a crop circle with a hole in the middle.
Shows what we know about snakes.
Several years later, a snake near that same hole made a perfect circle about `12 inches in diameter in the grass. Apparently he went round and round and round. I was mowing. Suddenly I hit a terrapin and cut it in half, and I was horrified --I can still see the terror in its eyes. Shows what we know: I think the snake was attempting to warn me not to ow there either.


Greta and all here,
We need not actually place good animal ethics with veganism, lets us not preclude that anyone practicing being vegan as a choice will also have the heart to treat animals as we seem to.
This being said I will stress that the closer we get to both "nature" and hands on management of animals the closer we get to the spirit of things. Once one realises the essence and importance of a harmonious life with our natural surroundings, including the flora and fauna, things can only improve for us and them.
The example of your snake circle is a good window into much that is hidden from "normal" people, those "in touch" with the land come to see this often and in myriad ways.
 
Wyll Greenewood
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Wyll Greenewood wrote:
Greta Fields wrote:Jeanine, Carol and others, I enjoy reading about the way you have animals and eat. However, what I find missing on most all vegan forums is a discussion of wild animals. There is some here. When Starlings or other wild animals don't fit, I think it is people out of place. People are part of nature, but have torn up nature, so of course the crows are going to poop on your college campus. Where else can they stop to sleep? They see trees, stop to roost overnight.
By living close to nature, I have rediscovered biodiversity as my friend, not the enemy. The snakes, as someone here noted, control the voles. [And hawks control snake babies.' I don't judge the animals, I just live with them and enjoy them, and find them to be incredibly self reliant. But Jeanine, was it you who said snakes don't make holes? They DO. Copperheads will drill a hole down into grass or your compost
I saw a Copperhead go9 down one hole and went to look at it. He had woven grass stems in a beautiful spiral around the hole, like a crop circle with a hole in the middle.
Shows what we know about snakes.
Several years later, a snake near that same hole made a perfect circle about `12 inches in diameter in the grass. Apparently he went round and round and round. I was mowing. Suddenly I hit a terrapin and cut it in half, and I was horrified --I can still see the terror in its eyes. Shows what we know: I think the snake was attempting to warn me not to ow there either.


Greta and all here,
We need not actually place good animal ethics with veganism, lets us not preclude that anyone practicing being vegan as a choice will also have the heart to treat animals as we seem to.
This being said I will stress that the closer we get to both "nature" and hands on management of animals the closer we get to the spirit of things. Once one realises the essence and importance of a harmonious life with our natural surroundings, including the flora and fauna, things can only improve for us and them.
The example of your snake circle is a good window into much that is hidden from "normal" people, those "in touch" with the land come to see this often and in myriad ways.



As a brief follow up to this thread: I consulted with a life-long Buddhist friend over his impressions of the groups of his fellows who are members of some sects that are totally vegan. What I found out (as well as discovering that there are two distinct forms of Buddhism and myriad lesser) was that there was no apparent greater occurrence of dementia or mental deterioration than "normal" people in their environment.
Whether this is due to their advanced spiritual state or some unknown factor is not evident, but i have to admit that the Buddhists I do know are special people.
 
Chris Stevemike
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B12 deficiency is serious. Here are some cases of deficient vegans: http://veganhealth.org/b12/cases

"About a dozen studies have correlated low vitamin B12 levels in vegans with elevated homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine levels have been linked to early death, primarily from cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease. More details on that are at VeganHealth.org/b12/hcy."

Jack Norris is a vegan dietician and gives science-based nutrition advice for vegans. More on B12 here: http://veganhealth.org/articles/everyvegan

By the time you start feeling ill effects from B12 deficiency you could have permanent damages. luckily supplements are cheap and readily available. Eating eggs are animal flesh is not necessary.

 
Rory Turnbull
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all matter and consciousness is sacred. microbes, plants, and even cells care about there lives just as much as animals. reverence and respect is the key. in fact the notion that you are avoiding death and that plants are ok to eat because they are inert, nutrient accumulating objects is unbelievably depressing and offensive. Next time you go to eat some fresh veggies, check out all the microorganisms covering them; take a razor and slash one of the nematodes. It will squirm, suffer, and bleed to death. Its unavoidable; life feeds of life. To be clear I am not knocking the morality of vegans/vegetarians, I am simply taking it to another level in hopes to promote a recognition of all lifes sovereignty and the fact that plants are just as "sentient" as animals
 
Chris Kott
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Thanks for that, Rory. I agree. Life feeds on life. You can't get around it, and I can see how some people find it morally reprehensible to create a class system for lifeforms.

-CK
 
Greta Fields
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Carol,
I lost track of my own posts, and neglected to answer. I apologize. I just figured out just now that I can go to "My Posts" and see all the people that I forgot to answer. Arg.
I am not very good at being part of an online community.
I did enjoy your post. It sounds like you are a person after my own heart. I wish I had a neighbor as good as you. I am surrounded by pot growers and huners and people who do not give a hoot about nature, even though they claim to be "outdoorsmen". They remind me of those goons in The Deerhunter movie who go out to a cabin and drink and fool around and get heart attacks hiking uphill etc.
In that movie, the deer hunter never shoots the deer. He lets it go.
Lot of hunters would say, the deer is asking to be shot. I say no, the deer knows it is beautiful and thinks it is posing for you. I have seen a deer "pose" for me in the wild, and I thought he was doing just that, posing because he knew that deer in the wild are beautiful.
later I found his skull in that spot....he had gotten old, I think, and the coyotes finally got him.
 
Chris Kott
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I suppose they learned of their beauty posing for the coyotes, then? Sorry, I think they're beautiful too, but I think all life is beautiful.

I also think that it is either coincidence that their aesthetic sense and ours are congruent, or that there is a biological component that informs our aesthetic sense, so that when animals and people each breed for beauty, they are actually selecting for proper conformation, health, and functionality, hence the idea that youth and active vigour are attractive. I think the remaining instincts we retain inform our likes and dislikes to improve evolution in the long run.

It is unlikely, in my opinion, that any prey animal poses intentionally. I think that they stop what they are doing when they see or hear or smell a change in their surroundings, and remain still in readiness for flight, as anything but a projectile coming to kill them would need to run them down, which takes time and makes noise.

Excessively vain or proud deer wouldn't live long enough to breed in a predator-rich environment. I think that people just anthropomorphise animals, which gets in the way of training work animals and makes the sacrifice of food animals an unnecessarily sad one.

But treating a dog like a human isn't a kindness to the dog. Those dogs end up anxious and with behaviour issues due to their uncertainty over their place in the pack.

Deer that "pose" and live to breed without the normal evolutionary pressures of predation and hardship won't be forced to peak physical condition, and so probably won't retain those characteristics anyways.

-CK
 
Greta Fields
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Chris, I don't know why deer pose, but I know my horse posed for a camera. He understood what it meant to be admired, for whatever reason. He was also very good at seducing mares.
Some people think the only traits that are inherited are traits tending to enhance survival? You sound like that.
Well, it took me my entire life to accept a Cherokee believe that family traits, like love of horses, can be inherited
What they mean is, your SOUL somehow carries on with interests that it had before.
Since Indians have souls that live on earth, it looks like they are going to be around a lot longer than white people (who go to heaven).
Seriously. here was an Indian who once observed that he did not understand why the white people wanted to live in America, since it is overpopulated with the souls of Indians. All those Indian ghosts are going to rise up out of the Tanassee and reclaim the south. I really believe that. If you don't stay in the same place for very long, yo9u forget about it. But where you stay the longest, you remember....I aim to inherit my memories of the land.
 
Chris Kott
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Why do you think spirits have nationalities, or are rooted to geography or sentimentality?

Also, deer are wild; horses have spent thousands of years being domesticated, which entailed selecting individuals who showed evidence of traits that suggested patterns of thought compatible with those of humans, which explains any "natural" anthropomorphic traits. Horses are not deer, and are so far from a naturally evolved wild state that using their behaviour as a model for that of wild animals is hardly useful.
What I believe has no bearing on my previous statements. Only observation over time. Wheels are made round because the triangular ones didn't pan out. Evolution works much the same way, and there is the fossil record to look to as evidence.
The afterlife I won't speculate on for lack of direct evidence, but if the energy that animates us that leaves with death respects physical laws, specifically the one about conservation of energy, it can't be destroyed. I choose to believe that our souls are individualised by each life they live, being shaped by each successive one. But I think the idea that radically different things happen to your soul depending on the specific details of culture and belief is ludicrous. Either we are all the same species or we are not. I don't see any compelling reason to think that there are different species of soul. Don't open that door; it's the future of eugenics.

And please don't seek to compartmentalize my views. They are too encompassing for that level of simplicity, and compartmentalization of that nature dumbs down thought altogether.

-CK
 
Greta Fields
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I am not interested in eugenics and never was, but I wondered if you were!
 
Chris Kott
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Only the kind called animal husbandry and breeding. There were many people harmed by eugenics programs in the last century, and not all are groups that still call attention to themselves over it. I am 2nd generation Canadian of Polish descent. My recent ancestors were to be the slave race of the Third Reich. I have no interest in the implementation of those sorts of ideas, I assure you.

What, exactly, do you mean by suggesting that we aren't spiritually as similar in form as we are in other ways?

This is beside the point anyway. I just mean to state my opinion that judging any lifeforms' value based on how we perceive their reaction to pain or other stimulus is pointless. Does the whole of the light spectrum that we can't see not exist because we can't sense it without tools?

To put it another way, just because you can't hear a plant scream when you rip it out of the soil, does that definitively mean that they feel nothing? Or do we perhaps not yet have the tools?

And yet we must still eat. Does it not make sense, then, to be respectful of all life, even though we must, in the end, kill it to survive ourselves?

-CK
 
Chris Kott
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Not Jewish. Canadian of Polish descent.

But this is off topic. I just meant to suggest that all life is worthy of respect, regardless of its relationship with humanity. I think we should revere soil life that sustains all the rest to the same extent as all other life, whether we eat it, love it as companion or work animal, or just appreciate its beauty.

This doesn't mean we have to stop eating. It just means that we should make the most ethical choices possible with regards to the sources of the food we eat, plants and animals.

If the vegan food you're eating requires seven tillings a season, killing everything living in the soil, how is it ethically superior to properly pasture-paddocked forage-fed animals raised and killed for their meat?

-CK
 
Deb Stephens
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Cynthia Hobbs wrote:
... if I do end up implementing permaculture myself I can't see myself changing my vegan ways because it would still interfere with my personal beliefs of how animals ought to be treated. I would be happy to encourgae wild animals into my garden and utilise their manure, but not keep animals to intentionally cause their deaths ultimately, I believe animals have a right to exist in their own right and live a life that nature intended them to live. I DO agree with the permaculture idea of nature being a system and animals being a part of that system, but I don't necessarily believe that farming animals of is a natural process.


You wanted discussion, so here is my two cents...
First -- I am a vegan (mostly - see below)
I find it interesting that most vegans do not think keeping animals can fit in with the vegan ethic. It always seems that there is that whole "NO animals = Good vs. ANY animals = Bad" dynamic going on. What about "Animals, YES, but still vegan AND an animal lover" possibility? I bring this up because up until about a year ago, I had been an ovo-lacto-vegetarian for nearly 30 years. I ate very little dairy because I could not quite feel right about even the so-called "humanely raised" cows and goats necessary to the dairy industry, but I ate eggs freely because we raise our own hens. (Very happy, truly free-range hens, I might add.) Last year, I really couldn't take the guilt any more and went to an almost 100% vegan diet. (The eggs were and still are actually more for the dogs and cats than for us -- we don't believe in forcing obligatory carnivores to be vegans, and feeding them healthy eggs from well-cared for and cherished hens -- who by the way, abandon these same eggs to rot when they are not broody -- gives them animal protein without lost lives or our having to compromise our ethics by purchasing meat products at the store.)

I still eat eggs, but that is it. And as I said, the hens we have are very happy. They hatched here -- after the initial 6 we bought way back in 1992, we have not needed to buy any more except once when a huge black snake ate the entire bunch of one of our hen's two-week-old babies while she was parading them around the goat yard. (I saw the snake when there were two left, but couldn't get through the gate and across the big yard fast enough to stop the snake. It was horrifying to see!) She was so despondent that I went to a hatchery and bought 10 Buff Orphington 3-day-old chicks and put them with her in the place she had been using for her babies. I wish you could have heard the excited, happy clucks coming out of that box! She was in absolute ecstasy to find that "her" babies had somehow come back to her. Next day she preened and clucked and mothered like a new hen. I didn't like buying chicks from a hatchery, but the difference it made to the emotional well-being of that momma hen made it worth it. (And by the way, when our hens hatch out chicks, some of them ARE roosters. That's okay too. We love them and care for them and they all die of natural causes -- usually well into their teens. No chicken has ever been killed by humans on this homestead, though we have lost a few over the years to non-human predators.) Our chickens roam freely through the garden, goat yard and woods -- the only tyranny imposed upon them is that we count them and lock them in their house at night for their own safety. Considering the horrible lives that most chickens have, those few we got from the hatchery were saved incredibly cruel deaths because we purchased them. That is why the idea that keeping animals is somehow exploitative and cruel is so inexplicable to me. Shouldn't a truly ethical person try to find ways to help animals by rescuing them from factory farms and cruel situations to care for them in loving environments?

In some ways, the idea that keeping animals is unethical and wrong for a vegan is akin to saying that all the children "enslaved" in clothing and toy factories in third world countries should be put out on the streets to enjoy their freedom from slavery. Okay, then what? Is it okay at that point to offer them food and shelter or do we leave them entirely free to starve to death or be exploited by someone else? Remember, they no longer have a job, so they won't be able to pay for food and shelter themselves. When you solve one problem, sometimes you only open the door to another.

Many domestic animals are just as helpless when offered their freedom. They grow up in human-controlled environments, being cared for (or abused and neglected) and knowing nothing of what it means to be a free, wild animal because they AREN'T. If you decide to free all the dogs and cats in the shelter by opening the doors, you will have sentenced them to slow death by disease and starvation or left them at the mercy of fast automobiles, dog-fighters and generally nasty types who look for strays to exploit them as bait, for crush movies, or just to have something smaller and less powerful than they are to beat and abuse because they can. But hey, they're FREE, and that's what counts. Free to live their lives however they want to while they die of neglect because they were never intended by Nature to live without humans. Same thing goes for laboratory animals like monkeys and mice. I hate laboratories, but only a simple-minded and heartless FOOL would think that they could turn loose poor creatures whose lives have never been free, whose entire existence has been that cage or box. Some extremist animal rights groups, trying to do the right thing for animals have been responsible for sending many "rescued" animals into a psychological hell that they never recovered from by simply opening the door and saying "come out -- your free". Let's all work on freeing them, but do it in a way that truly saves them rather than throwing them -- in the name of freedom --into a confusing world that literally terrifies them to death. You can talk about the exploitation of cows and goats and pigs as well, but what do you propose we DO with them after we set them free? Pigs and goats would probably take fairly well to being turned loose in the woods somewhere, but have you ever seen a WILD cow? (not a water buffalo or a wild species of bovine, but a domesticated cow.) And if you care about wildlife at all, what do you think the impact of turning millions of head of cows, goats and pigs loose in the wild would be on the natural ecosystems there?

We have goats. They are all rescues. We have dogs and cats as well -- all rescues. Only the chickens are not rescues (or are they?) All of these animals are subject to our control and our whims, but they are anything but pitiable or exploited. They are fed regularly (I even cook two meals a day for the dogs to ensure their diet is balanced.) They live in the house with us (well, the dogs and cats anyway). They are given medical care when needed and they get more attention, cuddles and all around love than most human children. When the time comes and they are no longer healthy and comfortable, we sometimes have to make hard decisions, but that day never comes before trying our best to cure them and prolong their lives as best we can -- until the quality of life is so deteriorated that we feel it would be crueler to prolong than to end it. Yes, we make life and death decisions for them. Tell me though, is it less cruel to allow a suffering animal to die naturally, often in severe pain and over a prolonged period just because we have no "right" to interfere with their freedom? What makes FREEDOM so much more important than COMPASSION?

So... I am a mostly vegan, as is my husband... BUT... we do have animals (and use their by-products -- aka manure). I do not feel that our being vegan is in any way compromised by choosing to ignore the plight of so many abandoned and neglected animals merely because to do so would limit their freedom. I deplore animal exploitation and I am actively working every day to help animals in any way I can, but there are right and wrong ways to do things. You can't just open all the doors and declare the problem solved unless you also follow up and help the prisoners to acclimate to this new and often terrifying freedom you CHOSE to GIVE them. (Capitalized to make you aware that even opening doors is manipulative.)

Again, just my two cents.
 
Logan Streondj
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I became a vegan for health and sustainability reasons, and so maximize my health as much as possible by having a complete diet, with lots of vegetables, grains, fruits, legumes, and seeds, only using fish for what simply isn't available in vegan form easily.
While mostly vegan, though really ento-pesco-vegan, with my non-vegan food being wild salmon, for the vit D, B12, EPA and DHA, which is more natural than taking supplements for all those.

I think it's easier to catch and can salmon for a year, than to grow a bunch of exotic microbes in large vats, and process them. Only other sustainable source of B12 and EPA I know if is insects, so I eat those when they are handy and sustained by my life (i.e. mosquitoes, fruit flies, ants).

Otherwise I'm a big supporter of nature. I like what the previous poster was saying about how releasing domesticated animals into the wild en mass may not be the best idea. I say en mass, cause in small quantities they would simply become food for the forest, and in that case it's not really bad for the environment, but if there are overwhelming numbers it could. Though in terms of releasing single or small amounts of animals unlikely to offset the balance I think is okay, as for instance I would prefer to be let loose, than put down in a pound. Though I'm not really sure what kind of environment dogs could be released into that they wouldn't offset, it would have to be rife with wolves, bears and other predators.
Wolves and coyotes are more organized then dogs, but dogs can reproduce faster.


I am an ethical vegan, so far as, I don't want to eat the produce of tortured or sad animals, since I become what I eat, and would rather not have that.
For wilderness releases I'm not as devastated by the death of any particular host-body as I believe in reincarnation, generally I'd prefer to die than be a slave/prisoner.
Since I'm also a follower of hermetic "as above, so below" since I prefer to keep my reproductive organs intact I allow our pets to keep theirs also -- admittedly we have 2 female cats, and 2 female rabbits, so reproduction isn't really an issue.
But if it was an issue for instance in a wilderness setting, I believe in the food-web, so would simply accommodate more predator habitat, such as hibernacula for snakes, and nesting sites for predatory birds who would be able to keep populations in balance. Yes when they are yours it's sad when they die, but if they have living children they live on in a way, perhaps they'll reincarnate again, in their children's children to be with you.

Personally I think we're overly attached to domesticated animals and livestock, considering the burden on the ecology through polluting waste, resource consumption, and reduction in diversity. Also the quality of the meat is generally lower due to having monotonous food sources. Wild is really the best, and to maximize that we should restore the ecosystem of the planet, by using forest gardens, permaculture, agroecology and the like, which would allow for a large diversity of plants and animals, some of which could be sustainable food sources.

Though it is true that humanity, and north americans in particular have much obsession with animal and particularly mammal meat, for protein they like to claim, but truth is insects are a much better source of protein, have much lower feed to protein conversion ratio, while also having beneficial fatty acids such as EPA. Of course as for other food sources I think it would be better to simply have wild insects.

When I say wild, I don't quite mean "fully wild" in terms of conservation area wild, but kind of like where they don't necessarily know you're their "owner" you simply provide habitats and food for them, and then harvest them on an as needed basis. I believe in the give-take relationship with nature, I don't believe we should simply take from the wild, as that is unsustainable, we have to give at least as much benefit as we receive, through providing nutrients to the soil, organizing diverse foraging opportunities with agroecology, and providing habitat for the residents.

 
Wyll Greenewood
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Deb Stephens wrote:
Cynthia Hobbs wrote:
... if I do end up implementing permaculture myself I can't see myself changing my vegan ways because it would still interfere with my personal beliefs of how animals ought to be treated. I would be happy to encourgae wild animals into my garden and utilise their manure, but not keep animals to intentionally cause their deaths ultimately, I believe animals have a right to exist in their own right and live a life that nature intended them to live. I DO agree with the permaculture idea of nature being a system and animals being a part of that system, but I don't necessarily believe that farming animals of is a natural process.


You wanted discussion, so here is my two cents...
First -- I am a vegan (mostly - see below)
I find it interesting that most vegans do not think keeping animals can fit in with the vegan ethic. It always seems that there is that whole "NO animals = Good vs. ANY animals = Bad" dynamic going on. What about "Animals, YES, but still vegan AND an animal lover" possibility? I bring this up because up until about a year ago, I had been an ovo-lacto-vegetarian for nearly 30 years. I ate very little dairy because I could not quite feel right about even the so-called "humanely raised" cows and goats necessary to the dairy industry, but I ate eggs freely because we raise our own hens. (Very happy, truly free-range hens, I might add.) Last year, I really couldn't take the guilt any more and went to an almost 100% vegan diet. (The eggs were and still are actually more for the dogs and cats than for us -- we don't believe in forcing obligatory carnivores to be vegans, and feeding them healthy eggs from well-cared for and cherished hens -- who by the way, abandon these same eggs to rot when they are not broody -- gives them animal protein without lost lives or our having to compromise our ethics by purchasing meat products at the store.)

I still eat eggs, but that is it. And as I said, the hens we have are very happy. They hatched here -- after the initial 6 we bought way back in 1992, we have not needed to buy any more except once when a huge black snake ate the entire bunch of one of our hen's two-week-old babies while she was parading them around the goat yard. (I saw the snake when there were two left, but couldn't get through the gate and across the big yard fast enough to stop the snake. It was horrifying to see!) She was so despondent that I went to a hatchery and bought 10 Buff Orphington 3-day-old chicks and put them with her in the place she had been using for her babies. I wish you could have heard the excited, happy clucks coming out of that box! She was in absolute ecstasy to find that "her" babies had somehow come back to her. Next day she preened and clucked and mothered like a new hen. I didn't like buying chicks from a hatchery, but the difference it made to the emotional well-being of that momma hen made it worth it. (And by the way, when our hens hatch out chicks, some of them ARE roosters. That's okay too. We love them and care for them and they all die of natural causes -- usually well into their teens. No chicken has ever been killed by humans on this homestead, though we have lost a few over the years to non-human predators.) Our chickens roam freely through the garden, goat yard and woods -- the only tyranny imposed upon them is that we count them and lock them in their house at night for their own safety. Considering the horrible lives that most chickens have, those few we got from the hatchery were saved incredibly cruel deaths because we purchased them. That is why the idea that keeping animals is somehow exploitative and cruel is so inexplicable to me. Shouldn't a truly ethical person try to find ways to help animals by rescuing them from factory farms and cruel situations to care for them in loving environments?

In some ways, the idea that keeping animals is unethical and wrong for a vegan is akin to saying that all the children "enslaved" in clothing and toy factories in third world countries should be put out on the streets to enjoy their freedom from slavery. Okay, then what? Is it okay at that point to offer them food and shelter or do we leave them entirely free to starve to death or be exploited by someone else? Remember, they no longer have a job, so they won't be able to pay for food and shelter themselves. When you solve one problem, sometimes you only open the door to another.

Many domestic animals are just as helpless when offered their freedom. They grow up in human-controlled environments, being cared for (or abused and neglected) and knowing nothing of what it means to be a free, wild animal because they AREN'T. If you decide to free all the dogs and cats in the shelter by opening the doors, you will have sentenced them to slow death by disease and starvation or left them at the mercy of fast automobiles, dog-fighters and generally nasty types who look for strays to exploit them as bait, for crush movies, or just to have something smaller and less powerful than they are to beat and abuse because they can. But hey, they're FREE, and that's what counts. Free to live their lives however they want to while they die of neglect because they were never intended by Nature to live without humans. Same thing goes for laboratory animals like monkeys and mice. I hate laboratories, but only a simple-minded and heartless FOOL would think that they could turn loose poor creatures whose lives have never been free, whose entire existence has been that cage or box. Some extremist animal rights groups, trying to do the right thing for animals have been responsible for sending many "rescued" animals into a psychological hell that they never recovered from by simply opening the door and saying "come out -- your free". Let's all work on freeing them, but do it in a way that truly saves them rather than throwing them -- in the name of freedom --into a confusing world that literally terrifies them to death. You can talk about the exploitation of cows and goats and pigs as well, but what do you propose we DO with them after we set them free? Pigs and goats would probably take fairly well to being turned loose in the woods somewhere, but have you ever seen a WILD cow? (not a water buffalo or a wild species of bovine, but a domesticated cow.) And if you care about wildlife at all, what do you think the impact of turning millions of head of cows, goats and pigs loose in the wild would be on the natural ecosystems there?

We have goats. They are all rescues. We have dogs and cats as well -- all rescues. Only the chickens are not rescues (or are they?) All of these animals are subject to our control and our whims, but they are anything but pitiable or exploited. They are fed regularly (I even cook two meals a day for the dogs to ensure their diet is balanced.) They live in the house with us (well, the dogs and cats anyway). They are given medical care when needed and they get more attention, cuddles and all around love than most human children. When the time comes and they are no longer healthy and comfortable, we sometimes have to make hard decisions, but that day never comes before trying our best to cure them and prolong their lives as best we can -- until the quality of life is so deteriorated that we feel it would be crueler to prolong than to end it. Yes, we make life and death decisions for them. Tell me though, is it less cruel to allow a suffering animal to die naturally, often in severe pain and over a prolonged period just because we have no "right" to interfere with their freedom? What makes FREEDOM so much more important than COMPASSION?

So... I am a mostly vegan, as is my husband... BUT... we do have animals (and use their by-products -- aka manure). I do not feel that our being vegan is in any way compromised by choosing to ignore the plight of so many abandoned and neglected animals merely because to do so would limit their freedom. I deplore animal exploitation and I am actively working every day to help animals in any way I can, but there are right and wrong ways to do things. You can't just open all the doors and declare the problem solved unless you also follow up and help the prisoners to acclimate to this new and often terrifying freedom you CHOSE to GIVE them. (Capitalized to make you aware that even opening doors is manipulative.)

Again, just my two cents.


Deb,
I think that your "two cents" are worth a lot more, I also believe that your basic guidelines follow mine and many others both here and in the world out there. It is in reading passages like yours that I and others can add a little more to our knowledge and perspective. Thank you.
WEG
 
Deb Stephens
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Wyll Greenewood wrote:
Deb,
I think that your "two cents" are worth a lot more, I also believe that your basic guidelines follow mine and many others both here and in the world out there. It is in reading passages like yours that I and others can add a little more to our knowledge and perspective. Thank you.
WEG


Gee whiz - thanks Wyll! Most of the time my opinions land me in hot water. I'm glad you found something worthwhile in my post.
 
Greta Fields
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Yes, I agree with Deb that compassion may be more important in dealing with animals sometimes than just unqualified freedom. She basically expressed my viewpoint towards animals. I don't spend any time rescuing animals anymore though. Somebody dropped two dogs at my gate, and I wound up keeping them, but I don't go to shelters and rescue animals anymore.
I feel like I can only do so much, so I decided to focus my efforts on taking care of wild animals. I do this because I live a lifestyle where I have become aware of how hard wild animals struggle to exist now. For example, I became aware that a bear regularly used my pawpaw trees for food, and also my pears, hazelnuts, blackberries and old apples. But then the bear lost this food, because I cut down the old mealy apple trees, and the power company cut down pawpaws and one wild pear, and the blackberries died of a virus, and the hazelnuts sometimes just do not produce.
If I don't plant this stuff back for the bear, she has a big hole in her diet. Furthermore, I am aware of the fact that neighbors are destroying wild animal habitat, and I doubt that they ever think about the wild animals. I am becoming aware of how they struggle for food here, so I made restore wildlife habitat a major focus of my permaculture studies. how do wild animals fit into your permaculture?
[As far as that goes, how do the domesticated animals fit into the permaculture, and the insects?
These are questions I work on a lot. I believe in reincarnation, but I don't use that as a reason to eat animals either. I always try to be compassionate.. . even to plants. I read how the Indians in the NW used to only take one board from a redwood tree. You say, well the tree doesn't care. Maybe, maybe not. There is a story in Ken Damro's book about a tree that cared. [He is a vegan who wrote a book about why he quit hunting to become vegan.]
I was gone 3 days, missed this good thread.




 
Greta Fields
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Well, Carol, others....I sent a message to one vegan woman looking for a place to do permaculture. I have not found anybody else interested in doing a permaculture that includes wild animals. I have extra houses that people could live in for very little ($17 light bill + firewood) while gardening and creating a permaculture. There is a lot of freedom here for people to exercise creativity in planning a permaculture, to include wild animals, and exercising their plans.
I am interested in developing animal habitat in particular, because I have learned from living with wild animals how they struggle and compete for the ds,r food sources on this land. [Whenever my hazel nut grove is full of nuts, all kinds of animals show up to eat the nuts, and they also flock to fruit. However, I have found wild animals willing to share food -- a fact that most people are not aware of.
I would like to focus on wild animal habitat, and incorporating a few rescued farm animals into that habitat. I am already growing and storing some of my own food. I have glass stored for building a greenhouse. I just miss having other animal lovers around, so if anybody is interested, please contact me. there's no hidden agenda. It's what I say here, I just don't have anybody to work with. Ironically, it was being alone that brought me into contact with the wild animals in the first place. I have fallen in love with wild animals, which are very innocent and anxious for human contact, because they know their survival depends upon our good will.]
I am not interested in running a rescue operation, however, just creating a permaculture with animals sustained on the land too, not dependent upon commercial animal foods.
 
Chris Gilliam
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I kinda wonder about some of the folks that suggest a vegan lifestyle kills many animals by tilling and harvesting. Last time I checked there was no tilling involved in permaculture. Maybe big ag practices kill animals, but big ag may kill us all one day, so let's not forget that our goal is both vegan and permaculture, which when combined should be the closest thing to perfect. As for B-12, just drink energy drinks, they are loaded. Of course, I'm sure some animals had to die for the aluminum to be mined, so it may not count as vegan. Funny that every discussion of veganism turns to B-12, the only thing a vegan diet really lacks (I don't count vitamin D since I make my own) considering that most American meat eaters are deficient in several nutrients.
 
Matu Collins
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Around here, in a semi rural area of New England, it would not be hard to watch craigslist or ask around for healthy goats cheap or free. Lots of people have goats but most feel done with goats after a while. Animals are a lot of work and expensive to keep. Goats are stubborn and escape. They're sweet and lovable too, sometimes.

Chickens cost money, unless you only want roosters.

Once there was an offer of free pigs "to a good home where they won't be eaten"

One of the best investments in farming for me has been investing some time to befriend and help other farmers. The rewards are incalculable.
 
Octavia Greason
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My boyfriend and I recently went vegan(ish) based upon the tenets of Buddhism. We're kind of easing our way into it, making the occasional exceptions while slowly cutting out all non-vegan products. Figured this would work better than going straight militant vegan right off the bat. We are what I've seen called "beegans", we still use bee products because neither of us see it as abuse.

I was recently discussing this issue with my boyfriend. I want to farm/homestead one day and I'd always intended to raise livestock and hunt. I will obviously no longer be killing any animals but I feel that if I'm raising animals myself and treating them well (well fed, cared for, housed, ect) and I only take what is excess (ex, milk produced beyond what's needed to feed their young) it really couldn't be abuse. I honestly think at that point it isn't much different than owning a pet, especially if I love and care for them like that. Excess milk they produce and unfertilized eggs would simply go to waste if not used so I don't see the moral issue in utilizing these surpluses. In all likelihood I'll still raise a couple goats and a few chickens, if only 'cause I want to. I also want to have pet cats, bunnies, and dogs, and maybe a few peacocks 'cause why the hell not. =)

As to including wildlife; I've never considered how to incorporate wildlife into permaculture (unless you consider bugs) but I've always fancied the idea of planting tasty treats for local wildlife at the edge of my garden/farm. I figured it'd give them something to eat and hopefully discourage traveling further into my property where they might eat my crops.
 
Joey Dodson
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As far as I'm concerned, veganism springs from the recognition that animals have equal status with humans and should have equal rights. The website Heidi linked to is a site promoting abolitionist veganism, that is getting rid of all forms of animal use. I generally agree with this position, but there is a caveat.

The reality is that humans have already established century-long, millenia-long and even longer relationships with certain species, so there is going to be some fallout if we were to totally sever that relationship. As far as I know, even abolitionist vegans don't support just turning all animals out into the wild or onto the streets. Total abolition is a long-term goal, just like anarchism is a long-term goal for the problems with government. No anarchist would seriously suggest overthrowing any government and then just letting chaos ensue. It's the same reason that the civil rights movement was still necessary after slavery was abolished and why race issues and other equality issues are still important today.

The abolitionist approach to veganism does have a strategy for dealing with the issue of domesticated animals. The goal is first to liberate them from exploitation and the ideal end result of this is that they would end up on farm sanctuaries where they can live to the end of their natural lives in a peaceful environment without being exploited. Ultimately, I believe abolitionists are also against the idea of "pets", mostly for reasons involving breeding. Again, the goal with this is still to care for the current populations of cats, dogs, et c. But the goal is to stop breeding them. I believe that the end goal is that all domesticated animals live out their natural lives peacefully, cared for by humans. These animals are generally not to be bought, as that just incentivizes breeding them. They would be acquired through animal shelters or more extremely through animal liberation from factory farms or other such places.

As for letting animals out into the wild, I don't think this is an ideal approach, but as far as I know that kind of action would be taken in places where the animals are already being subjected to very seriously cruel treatment, like factory farms, fur mills, vivisection labs, et c. It's more a matter of how to get as many as possible out of that environment before being arrested.

Now, any practices in line with permaculture are really very low on the list of priorities vegans are currently facing in securing equal rights for animals. But I agree that keeping animals could be a vegan action, for instance animals rescued from factory farms or adopted from animal shelters. I think the key is that they are acquired ethically (without paying for them in a way that furthers animal exploitation) and that they are not exploited or used in any way other than them just being there and doing what they naturally do. For domesticated animals, I guess this would resemble a parent-child relationship, where you look after them, but allow them to grow and mature on their own.

As for using eggs, I read a thoughtful post about why even totally free-range eggs would not be vegan, which partially had to do with the chickens eating unfertilized eggs to regain the calcium lost in producing it. I don't have any personal experience with chickens, so I can't speak to the accuracy of that viewpoint, though I would tend to hold that eggs are not vegan.

I also just want to say that I think permaculture is a great extension of my veganism as it incorporates a respect for the whole natural ecosystem into the picture that is not present with other forms of agriculture. For city-dwellers, veganism has a far lower impact on the environment than eating animal products, but I think permaculture is the way of the future. It's the only way to ensure humanity's needs are met. Period. But it's also the only way we can do it while also rehabilitating all of the damaged land and ecosystems around the globe. While not all permies will necessarily be vegan, I am confident that all vegans should support permaculture.

Also, I just wanted to add that I really respect the Jain practice. It predates veganism and is really more comprehensive. Since I've gone vegan, I've also become more sensitive towards all life and don't really like hurting or killing anything. However, survival does dictate some kind of diet and veganism is pretty comprehensive, perhaps only outdone by the Jain and fruitarians. Perhaps once I am able to develop my food forest I can get closer to those ideals. For now though, I'm still living in the city, which makes that quite a bit more difficult. There just isn't a huge variety of fruits available where I live. There are plenty of vegetables though. To achieve a diet that seeks to minimize all harm to other life is something that takes time and energy to develop. For the jain, it's been culturally developed and passed on through generations. For the rest of us interested in such an approach, it might take some time.
 
Scarlet Hamilton
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Chris Kott wrote:

Nobody touched my query on fermented foods and alcohols, I see. So no valiant defender of the single-celled? I work with some Jains (Jainists?) from India, some of whom are not only the strictest vegans, they will avoid alcohol even as a cleaner, to preserve microbial life. Oh they use soap, but its derived from saponins (from washing quinoa seed, I think) and organic cloth or paper is used to wipe up, which then goes into the compost. They don't even like to clap. Anyone here gone that far (I almost typed "that far gone." I did think it, and am including it in the name of intellectual honesty, although it is meant ironically, and with great respect, albeit uncomfortable)?

-CK



When I consume fermented stuff I've never heard any single cell scream or had any try to run away or writhe in pain while I'm trying to eat/kill it.
 
Humans and their filthy friendship brings nothing but trouble. My only solace is this tiny ad:
FT Position Available: Affiliate Manager Who Loves Permaculture & Homesteading
https://permies.com/t/69742/FT-Position-Affiliate-Manager-Loves
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