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Thread: What about the farmers???

  1. #1
    Cate.'s Avatar
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    Default What about the farmers???

    In Australia there has been some media coverage of the Dairy Industry and the mistreatment of the Bobby Calves. (yay!!) But I was looking at the 7pm Project (a news show) forums and there were a lot of people who claimed to be Dairy Farmers and they were saying they needed more support (money) so they could give the cows the humane treatment they deserve. They were also saying they weren't a giant faceless corporation but hard working individuals trying to get through the floods and other problems.

    I was thinking though, by being vegan we are obviously not supporting any animal based industries, and encouraging others to do the same... but what about the farmers?

    I know a lot of people, especially in Australia, would worry about the future of the farmers if people stopped purchasing these things. I haven't really thought too much about that, I always just thought 'well they can farm plants instead'. But I am sure turning a Dairy farm into a soy bean farm or something would be a giant mission if not impossible, and ridiculously expensive.

    I suppose it's not going to be an overnight change, but still, somewhere along the line these farms would have to shut down and what would happen to the people running them? And by taking buisness away from them, we are forcing them to cut costs...

    This hasn't made me want to be vegan any less, but it's just something I haven't considered and would like to hear people's thoughts about it

  2. #2
    Back-Space's Avatar
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    I don't know... How much do you think they care about your job security? If ridding the country of animal suffering meant the unemployment rate rising, that's still a win in my books. They can join the rest of us looking for jobs.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    So they're claiming they need money to be...nice? Really?
    As for the farmers going out of business, all they have to do is change their product. Sell dairy now? Start a vineyard.

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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Quote Owlish View Post
    So they're claiming they need money to be...nice? Really?
    As for the farmers going out of business, all they have to do is change their product. Sell dairy now? Start a vineyard.
    It's true. If we wanted animals to live in ideal conditions(not for us obviously), the money that would cost would be passed on to the consumer. Just imagine the bitching from omnivores when a few hamburgers cost $30... Not to mention that would also have more people looking at vegetarianism as a way to save money, which is exactly what the industry is trying to avoid.

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    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Quote Back-Space View Post
    It's true. If we wanted animals to live in ideal conditions(not for us obviously), the money that would cost would be passed on to the consumer. Just imagine the bitching from omnivores when a few hamburgers cost $30... Not to mention that would also have more people looking at vegetarianism as a way to save money, which is exactly what the industry is trying to avoid.
    Thiis is exactly right!

    With no disrespect to hardworking small farmers, farming is a business. It is NOT, as farmers sometimes seem to believe, a lifestyle 'right' that has to be subsidised because customers won't pay the true cost of it products.


    There is a hidden agenda against the increase of the veg*n diet, btw. Feeding a meat eater population takes 8-10 times the land that is needed to feed the same sized population if it were veg*an. This does not the suit the land owning classes as, ultimately, it means less revenue from the land they own.

    The larger the landowner the more revenue from land a veg*an population would cost them and, as we all know, the very largest landowners have significant political 'clout'.
    All done in the best possible taste ...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Now where did I see that video of a sustainable mixed orchard in Dairy country somewhere in South Australia?
    Farmers are more adaptable than we give them credit for.

    Wish there were more funding available to them to make transitioning easier
    the only animal ingredient in my food is cat hair

  7. #7

    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    If people ate a vegan diet, factory farmers have to find a new way to make money... people would be healthier so then they wouldn't need as many prescriptions and the pharaceutical business would suffer, we'd need less doctors, hospitals etc as well.. the thing is, by eating meat not only are people causing harm to animals, they are less healthy themselves.. many more health problems, obesity, etc.... why should people be unhealthy so that the farmers have a way to make money?? Another way to think of it is .. all the grain that could be fed to hungry people around the world is instead fed to cattle and other factory farm animals.. why should those people continue to starve so those farmers can make a living? And all of the land that is cleared so cattle can graze especially in other countries damages the environment... then you have global warming... all of this seems a big price to pay so farmers can make a living.... when they could just grow vegetables, fruits, grains, etc. I think that is one of the big problems in the world today is that people, animals, environment are exploited so people can "make a buck"

    And its true, the governments have to subsidize meat and dairy to make it affordable for the average person.. which is interesting since meat and dairy are big contributors to health problems, which create the need for more prescriptions to be taken, etc..

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Quote pat sommer View Post
    Wish there were more funding available to them to make transitioning easier
    In some regions I think this would mainly be a question of switching subsidies away from meat production and towards other kinds of farming, so it wouldn't necessarily involve extra costs.

    Farmers seem to have some special cultural status, otherwise the argument about jobs would never be listened to - I don't recall people saying e.g. "But what will happen to all the cigarette manufacturing jobs if people give up smoking?" (Though it's possible people did say that and I've just forgotten.)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    The farmers can f*ck right off... I don't get subsidies from the government if my business doesn't do well, why should they?

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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    I'm with you Risker.
    even perfect isn't perfect - Rubyduby 4th July 08

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    * What about the slave owners/traders? People who are involved in ethically bankrupt industries which violate the rights of individuals are in no position to claim foul when those industries suffer and their own interests are threatened. They should not expect sympathy, if this entails continued support and subsidisation

    * Businesses should prosper and fail according to the demand for ethical products and services. Governments interfere with the 'free market' when they enact policies which favour some businesses over their competition on the grounds of only prevalent lifestyle choices

    * We should assist farmers who are transitioning away from animal industries

    http://www.farmkind.org/

  12. #12
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Quote Risker View Post
    The farmers can f*ck right off... I don't get subsidies from the government if my business doesn't do well, why should they?
    And the number of reasonable arguments against that is exactly ... NONE!
    All done in the best possible taste ...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    In the UK the big supermarkets dominate the food market, they dictate that farmers sell their produce, whether that be meat or veg, at the price they say knowing they have no other source to sell their goods to as they have truly killed the high street, in the case of milk for example, on average it costs 29p a litre to produce, but most farmers receive only a few pence per litre from the supermarkets, hence the need for subsidies, all whilst tesco/asda makes a massive profit. Farmers will always plead poverty and we will subsidise them no matter what they produce through our taxes.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    I wonder what criteria you have to meet to get subsidies?

    I'm under the impression that veganic (stock-free) is not subsidised. Obviously it should be.

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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Quote Risker View Post
    The farmers can f*ck right off... I don't get subsidies from the government if my business doesn't do well, why should they?
    Seconded. If they feel about it, change to producing organic produce. There is certainly a market for that.

    Best regards,
    Andy

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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Quote Johnstuff View Post
    I wonder what criteria you have to meet to get subsidies?

    I'm under the impression that veganic (stock-free) is not subsidised. Obviously it should be.
    That's correct. Also, some agri-environment schemes (where farmers are paid subsidies to maintain biodiversity, rather than for production) require animals to be kept.

    The government has a lot of control over the direction taken by agriculture through subsidy payments because most farmers are subsidy-dependent. In Wales the government has been trying to encourage farmers to 'diversify' into fruit and vegetable production, food processing, tourism and other enterprises, but at the same time meat and dairy is propped up and promoted with vast amounts of taxpayers' money, due to the power of vested interest and the farmers' unions.
    once in a while you can get shown the light
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  17. #17

    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Tell it to the miners, steelworkers...... and slave traders.
    ..but what would they do with all the cows?..

  18. #18
    andybuildz
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Gary's first answer relates to some of the statements posed in this thread...
    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http...U-X2BQ&h=200d4

    EDIT:...and for those of you that haven't ever heard Gary speak...you SHOULD! This video is in fact phenomenal!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6U0...eature=fvwkrel
    Last edited by andybuildz; Mar 5th, 2011 at 02:42 PM. Reason: added a video

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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

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    Quote Back-Space View Post
    I don't know... How much do you think they care about your job security? If ridding the country of animal suffering meant the unemployment rate rising, that's still a win in my books. They can join the rest of us looking for jobs.
    I totally share this sentiment. The farmers have enough land to think about other ways to make a living. If we're going to start feeling sorry for farmers, where should we draw the line? With the people who spend their days slaughtering terrified animals in abbatoirs who would become jobless in a perfect Vegan Utopia?
    Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. ~Albert Einstein

  20. #20

    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    If it were a Vegan Utopia I'm thinking there would be plenty of jobs for farmers, just different ones.. more vegetables to grow.. more vegan processed foods.. vegan restaurants, shoes, clothing.. as times change over the years, jobs change normally anyway. And I'm sure it would happen slowly enough that farmers could transition as the demand for meat and dairy started to decline, and the vegan foods business picked up..

    that would be the coolest thing ever if all restaurants became vegan and we could just go wherever we wanted to eat..

  21. #21
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Quote snowflower View Post
    If it were a Vegan Utopia I'm thinking there would be plenty of jobs for farmers, just different ones.. more vegetables to grow.. more vegan processed foods.. vegan restaurants, shoes, clothing..
    For better, or worse, most definitely not Snowflower.

    Jobs created by the growing of food for, husbandry, housing, slaughtering, processing, storage.. etc of animals and products thereof would be decimated (almost literally) by a widespread uptake of veganism.

    Kinda like it is massively more efficient to feed a vegan population than it is to feed a population of meat eaters.

    An inneficient system requires more jobs and an efficient system requires less.
    All done in the best possible taste ...

  22. #22
    kokopelli's Avatar
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    I don't think that's necessarily true, Cupid Stunt. The number of people employed in farming diminished rapidly throughout the 20th century as farms amalgamated relentlessly, putting smaller farmers out of business. The reason being the development ever-larger machines, making agricultural workers superfluous. Growing fruit and vegetables organically and small-scale processing is actually much more labour-intensive than factory farming animals.
    once in a while you can get shown the light
    in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  23. #23
    andybuildz
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Quote kokopelli View Post
    I don't think that's necessarily true, Cupid Stunt. The number of people employed in farming diminished rapidly throughout the 20th century as farms amalgamated relentlessly, putting smaller farmers out of business. The reason being the development ever-larger machines, making agricultural workers superfluous. Growing fruit and vegetables organically and small-scale processing is actually much more labour-intensive than factory farming animals.
    I totally agree plus I was looking for an excuse to post this from a recent article in the NY Times...
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/us...mers.html?_r=1
    From today..VERY INTERESTING COMMENTS:
    http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ers/?src=twrhp

  24. #24
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Interesting points guys and I am working on wild approximations alone here, I have to to say ..

    I kinda figure this though; Meat eaters eat what, about 10% of thier diet as meat and the rest is produce anyway?

    Even if that were 20% and that 20% needed more 40% more produce to be grown to replace that still means that 60-80% of all the produce needed for 'vegan utopia' is already being grown.

    I make that about a 20-40% increase in produce farming offset against a 100% drop in all animal farming including the growing of all the produce that the muddy-minded ones animals need to eat.

    Frankly I cannot see anything but a net loss in jobs resulting out of that math.

    Could be wrong though (it happened once before) and it would be interesting to hear (apparently I need to listen more) if any one has even roughish stats that show it may be otherwise.
    All done in the best possible taste ...

  25. #25
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    It may depend on the style of farming we're thinking about. "Intensive" crop farming (e.g. with hydroponics etc) mightn't offset the job loss from meat-related industries, but organic-type crop farming might as it's supposed to be more labour-intensive and less energy-intensive.

    This http://www.twnside.org.sg/title2/susagri/susagri029.htm says "According to a 2006 report by the University of Essex, organic farming in the UK provides 32 per cent more jobs per farm than comparable non-organic farms. Interestingly, the report also concluded that the higher employment observed could not be replicated in non-organic farming through initiatives such as local marketing. Instead, the majority (81 per cent) of total employment on organic farms was created by the organic production system itself. The report estimates that 93,000 new jobs would be created if all farming in the UK were to convert to organic." (I assume that's including animal farming as well as production of vegetables etc but I would imagine it's true of both.)

    It may a bit depend whose jobs we're talking about though - land-owners or the people who work for them.

  26. #26
    andybuildz
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    OK...lets not even go into making hemp legal...the amount of jobs it could produce is unlimited from clothing to...
    Hemp (Cannabis sativa) is the source of one of the longest, strongest natural fibers on earth, two to three times stronger than cotton.
    It can be grown in just about any climate and soil condition, without the need for chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers. It is excellent for reclaiming otherwise-unusable land. It has even been shown to clean up toxic soil.

    Hemp has strong mold, bacteria, heat, and U.V. resistant qualities.

    Hemp is the world's most versatile fiber. Anything that can be made from wood, cotton, or oil can be made from hemp. Important uses include:

    Textiles
    Rope & twine
    Construction materials
    Industrial composites
    Paper
    Paints & sealants
    Plastics & polymers
    Fuel & lubricants
    Food
    Medicine
    Body care products

    I order hemp seeds on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Nutiva-Bulk-Or.../dp/B0012C7VLG that I use in my cooking and it came from Canada b/c it's illegal to grow here in the states...* STOOPID! *
    I say make meat illegal and then legalize the ganja! Makes sense to me : )~~~~~

    *Product Description
    Nutiva offers two types of shelled hempseeds. Our certified organic seeds are grown without any chemical pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. Our non-organic seeds are grown without any pesticides or herbicides and are not certified organic. Because Nutiva cannot legally grow hemp in the United States, we must rely on Canadian farmers to produce our hemp crops. Shortages of organic seeds often occur due to weather or because surging sales outstrip supply.

  27. #27

    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Wow 10% of the meat eaters diet being meat!!!! Out of the meat eaters in my life, (including myself in the past) their diets are probably 2/3 to 1/2 meat.. like the typical meal being 1 meat serving and 1 bread serving, and then maybe a vegetable as a side dish or a fruit.. and if not meat then half dairy.. like eggs with toast or cereal with milk.. maybe where i live we typically eat more meat, dairy and eggs than other place though, that could be why..??

    what i am thinking is, there would be extra jobs created by all the people picking fruit, vegetables, etc, operating the machinery and then about the same as now would have jobs in processing plants where they make processed foods, only they would be vegan ones instead..

  28. #28
    kokopelli's Avatar
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Growing government approved, low THC content hemp for fibre is legal in the EU, but only under licence. It's a shame that certain Chinese varieties with extra-large seeds aren't permitted to be grown.
    once in a while you can get shown the light
    in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  29. #29
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Cupid Stunt, I don't have the figures (haven't got time to research right now) but I have observed a dairy farm at close hand and I know it takes 2 people to run a 200 head dairy farm, with daily help from a part-time cow man. Silage making and umbilical slurry spreading are dealt with by contractors.

    I also worked on a small commercial vegetable farm that employed 8 people full time harvesting, washing and packing leeks, fennel, spring onions, etc.
    once in a while you can get shown the light
    in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  30. #30
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    Hmm. I'm kinda at odds here. I'd love to see a world where animals aren't part of farming but I realize that isn't going to happen anytime in the near future...
    Furthermore, I think it's important to remember the line between factory farming and traditional farming, of which animal husbandry is a huge part.
    I'm not trying to argue for animal exploitation here by any means, but I'm just saying the issue's complicated. I don't like hearing people say "fuck farmers;" I understand the sentiment, I really do, but they're people trying to make a living often in the way they grew up knowing. And on a scale of relative evil, I think traditional small farmers (especially those that practice management intensive farming and mimic the natural ecology of crops to avoid using chemicals and fertilizers) are pretty low compared to factory "farmers." I've read surprising personal accounts from small farmers talking about how horrified they are by factory farms, and mistreatment of animals, and keeping them in unnatural conditions, etc.
    Again, I realize that doesn't make it "ok" (no matter how humane your farm is, no matter how small and how 'natural,' there's still exploitation and of course the whole killing thing going on) from a vegan perspective. But to see the world transition away from factory farms and towards small, local, traditionally run farms where good animal husbandry and good business work together...well I think that would be a vast improvement on what's going on now. I would personally support that. Not by buying the meat necessarily, but I'd be happy to see it.

  31. #31
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    I agree with some of what you say, LacytheCrazy, but I still don't find "what about the farmers?" a valid argument for maintaining animal farming if we think it's wrong.

    No other industries that have come to be considered wrong, like slave-trading (or that are no longer considered necessary/appropriate, like most steel-making in Britain) are kept going in the long term for the benefit of people who are engaged in them. When people can't work in their original field they have to go off and do something else. It's happened to a lot of industries and people, and there's no reason farmers should be privileged in that regard.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: What about the farmers???

    ^^ I get what you're saying harpy, and thanks for getting my point! I'm hoping not to get wigged out on for having sympathy!

    I suppose I'd just rather see smaller farmers push out factory farmers, as I think they'd be far easier to work with and start moving toward a more vegan ideal.

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