A vegan spares the lives of a certain number of animals each time he or she chooses to forgo meat, dairy and eggs for vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes and nuts. These animals, of course, are not necessarily ones who continue to live because a vegan chose not to eat them. The way a vegan saves animals is by reducing the demand for meat and causing fewer animals to be born into a harsh life owned by the industry, where callousness abounds and mercy is scant.
Exactly how many animals does a vegan save each year? Given the scale and complexity of animal agriculture today, this number is impossibly difficult to determine accurately. But, it is possible to estimate a conservative range of an animal per day saved.
Even a vegan diet causes a certain number of deaths and some amount of suffering. Mice, moles and small animals die in the cultivation of grains and pulses on modern farms. They get run over by agricultural equipment such as tractors or they die as a consequence of the disruption of their land. Many small animals also die from poisoning by pesticides.
But, the animals we eat do not just exist in isolation waiting for us to eat them. They eat grains too. In fact, almost all the animals we eat are ones kept caged by us inside desolate barns and kept fed by us on grains we grow just for them. We grow soy, corn, wheat, barley, sorghum and other grains on vast tracts of land—all of which also cause large numbers of deaths. Meat consumption remains an inherently inefficient process in which we grow far more crops to feed to the animals we eat than we would need if we ate the crops directly ourselves.
So, while the cultivation of crops to feed a vegan does kill some animals, far more animals die in the cultivation of crops to feed the animals we eat. This post makes no claim that vegans do not cause any deaths of animals. This post is about how many animals a vegan saves—the same question as how many fewer animals have to die for a vegan diet.
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