The opinions in this commentary are those of Dan Murphy, a veteran journalist and commentator.
Tucker Carlson, a Fox News commentator, and fellow Fox News host Greg Gutfeld, recently discussed veganism on an episode of Gutfeld’s podcast “The One with Greg Gutfeld.”
They both spoke about how they’ve been “swayed toward plant-based eating.”
Me too — but that’s where the similarity stops.
Carlson recounted an exchange with a vegan activist, explaining that he posed the question, “Don’t we have dominion over the animals?” As he recounted, the activist replied, “Of course we do; we can do whatever we want to the animals, and that’s why we shouldn’t mistreat them.”
Carlson said the vegan’s argument was “so reasonable” that it inspired him to have a salad for dinner.
Oh, please. We’re supposed to be including fruits and vegetables in our diets, whether or not some “reasonable” vegan made a statement with which no principled person would disagree.
On the podcast, as summarized on the vegetarian website LiveKindly.co, Gutfeld said that after listening to an activist “talking to me about factory farming and the treatment of animals, I’ll go home and I’ll look at the food in my fridge and I start thinking, ‘Am I going to be like that person who was pro-slavery?’”
Was he really equating animal agriculture with African slavery? Apparently so.
“Like, 50 years from now,” Gutfeld said, “They’re gonna go, ‘Yeah, the Gutfelds would eat meat!’ Is that going to be seen as the slavery of the past?”
Yes, Greg. Raising cattle or pigs is exactly the same as capturing millions of Africans, chaining them together in slave ships and enforcing centuries of human bondage under the most brutal conditions imaginable. Good luck convincing African-Americans that makes sense.
We’re used to the animal extremists pretending that animal agriculture is the modern version of the Holocaust—which, to extend the analogy, means that ranchers, feeders and farmers are neo-Nazis.
One little problem with that preposterous attempt at demonizing producers: Hitler is condemned not only for the horrific conditions of the Nazi concentration camps, but more so for the fact that their existence was intended to eliminate the entire Jewish population of Europe. The Nuremburg Trials weren’t about mistreatment of the Jews; the Nazi leaders were convicted of being complicit in genocide.
But now vegans want to equate eating meat with supporting slavery? That’s even more preposterous.
Look, as lawyers like to say, let’s stipulate that vegetarian food choices are a wonderful side effect of the advancement of modern science, technology and industry. If you’re a resident of an industrialized, Western country, welcome to the option of a lifestyle minus all animal foods.
But by applying a global perspective to the issues with which Carlson and Gutfeld were discussing, the veganism-for-all proposal can be understood as the illogical concept it essentially is, dismissed, merely by using the very principles animal activists demand that everyone must embrace:
- You cannot espouse widespread veganism, then claim to be supportive of indigenous people and their cultures. From Inuit communities to sub-Saharan tribes to the last of the natives still clinging to traditional lifestyles in the Amazon Basin, there are tens of millions of people alive on Earth who cannot live on vegan foods — unless they abandon the diets and the foodways that have sustained them for millennia.
- You cannot insist on vegetarianism for everyone, then decry the omnipotence of corporate control over commerce. Without a well-developed, highly sophisticated infrastructure — including significant R&D capability, high-volume processing technology and robust sales and distribution facilities — even affluent countries cannot pretend to feed their populations on plant-based sustenance only.
- You cannot embrace a vegan lifestyle, then claim an allegiance to lifestyles in synch with Nature. For virtually all of humanity’s history, food has been linked to geography and climate: people ate both animal- and plant-based foods native to their region, a connection that the modern vegan diet based on tropical oils, imported produce and processed plant protein virtually obliterates.
And you cannot argue that veganism is necessary to mitigate animal suffering, then refuse to condemn the commercial development, industrialization and resource exploitation that has decimated so much of the habitat of the animal kingdom.
You can’t chow down on a soyburger, pretend that’s advancing animal welfare, then not say a peep about the destruction of millions of acres of tropical rainforest — along with the humans and animals living there — in order to cultivate more soybeans.
As a moral stance, that’s even less palatable than the veggie patty itself.