Vegan Diet Not So DIfficult

By By [email protected]

By [email protected]

In David Baker’s February 27th letter to the editor, “Soybean diet not for everyone,” he claims that a transition to a vegan population is an enormous if not impossible burden. However, The shifting to a vegan diet is much easier than the author implies. I suspect that the author perceives such a diet to be exotic and difficult to provide. This is not true. Most of the world consumes meat and dairy because of traditional cultural habits or because of new availability. The world-wide consumption of beef is a case in point. Nearly all temperate regions already have a grain-based agricultural system in place. Nearly all temperate regions already produce fruit and vegetables. If demand for meat and dairy stopped, it would be necessarily replaced by an increased demand for other food-stuffs. Native populations in arctic areas without access to modern food choices might remain dependent on hunting, but these groups are small, and relative to global ecological health, are insignificant. The “entire Alaskan Eskimo population” is tiny. And, to the degree that they have no access to moden grocery supply, their dietary choices do not effect the global marketing of meat and dairy, nor does their consumption of meat effect factory farming or industrial fishing.

Reference to “Eskimos” in a discussion of industrial food production is fallacious. Jason Hardy’s original column which advocated responsible consumer choices had the intended audience of University of Utah students and American citizens. Our situation is obviously greatly different from that of the Eskimos – we have availability of vegetarian foods that they do not and nearly all animal products we buy in restaurants and grocery stores was obtained using environmentally harmful practices. Mr. Baker apparently feels that because Eskimos are not able to make the choices that Americans are this gets him off the hook to be a responsible consumer. He is wrong.