Some people believe eating or using animal products of any kind can never be considered ethical or moral. Many animal welfare/animal rights groups within Australia and around the world promote a vegan diet, which excludes meat, seafood, eggs and dairy. Most vegans also avoid the use of all products tested on animals,as well as animal-derived non-food products, such as leather, fur and wool.
The purpose of this blog entry is to explain why consumewithcare.org has not chosen to promote a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle and instead promotes the consumption of higher animal welfare animal products.
The fact of the matter is that currently around 2% of Australians follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Trying to convince the other 98% to give up animal products would be an incredibly difficult task. Creating behavior change is a slow process and it is unlikely that significant numbers of people will be switching to a vegan/vegetarian diet in our lifetime. Rather than be overcome by feelings of hopelessness and despair about the en-masse suffering endured by animals raised for food we want to do something to change the situation – right here, right now!
We have chosen what we refer to as ‘the middle path’ – a Buddhist term meaning avoidance of extremes. While many meat eaters cannot and will not contemplate giving up animal products altogether, a growing number are indicating their willingness to choose higher welfare alternatives, such as organic and free range meat and eggs. The evidence for this is the huge growth in the free range and organic sectors of the food market seen both here in Australia and overseas. It cannot be said that these higher welfare alternatives prevent all suffering – as ultimately the animal will be killed in order to be eaten – however, there can be no doubt that animals raised in this way will have a far better quality of life as they are able to carry out their natural behaviours and are free from painful mutilations. To adopt another Buddhist phrase – there is no life without suffering – but if we can do something to at least reduce the suffering of millions of animals, we at consumewithcare.org would consider that a huge win.