Comment on “Meat on the chopping block”

Veganism recognizes two noteworthy goals. The first is to reduce animal suffering, and the other is to reduce environmental impact. 
Eliminating animal agriculture has the potential to make significant strides toward both outcomes. However, this is not to suggest that mainstream vegan philosophy is the best or even the most logical dietary approach to reaching these goals.
To begin, many people assume that any vegetable item must also be animal friendly. The truth is that some crops require more land than others. Some require more water, resulting in the excessive diversion of water from sensitive aquatic systems. Others require huge amounts of energy to transport across the planet. 
Cashews and almonds require almost four times as much water to grow than chickens do to live, and bananas imported across the seas help to contribute to global climate change. Fruits such as avocados and oranges require a lot of pesticides relative to less destructive fruit options. 
The second point of improvement lies in regard to the sustainable consumption of wildlife resources. Many of us reject hunting and fishing as unnecessary and cruel, but fields of beans or broccoli are not developed from barren dirt.
Consider the millions of acres of forest, wetland and grassland converted to exotic monoculture serving no species besides humans. Consider the billions of pounds of chemicals dumped into the soil, water and air. Consider the trillions of gallons of fresh water diverted from sensitive aquatic systems, all for agricultural purposes. 
Of course, the human population is too large to exist entirely off wild fish and game, and so it will continue to rely primarily on agriculture for its nutritional needs. But where wild foods are available, it makes sense to utilize them fully. 
It’s a mistake to criticize the rural resident who supplements his diet with fish and game, considering that his alternative is to reduce the acreage of wild land available to native species in order to grow his own meal. 
Putting all prejudices aside, we should encourage those who would step off the back porch and into the woods to hunt deer or turkey rather than drive 50 miles in each direction to the nearest grocery store in order to purchase their meal from the vegetable counter.
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