The Nov. 26 commentary “Vegan suing Burger King kinda has a point” makes a larger point than any he said-she said, meatless burger cooked on meat burger grill absorbing genuine cow juice argument. Hundred-dollar-an-hour lawyer yada yada ensues, and may the best babble win. The much more meaningful point is the vegan movement has arrived, bringing with it a much-needed voice advocating for animal rights that might prevent animal cruelty.
Yes, Burger King’s “Impossible Whopper” and Dunkin’ Donuts “Great Taste Plant Based” breakfast sausage are no doubt motivated by anticipated profits. And good luck, I hope they make a ton putting their cow burgers and pig sausage out of business. The motivation is meaningless when the outcome is eliminating pain and suffering in our limp-along world. Fighting obesity with Americans’ 39.6% adult obesity rate per CDC’s March 18 findings is a noble battle, but statistics are no match for the barbaric cruelty we knowingly subject animals to by our regrettable food choices that bear scrutiny. Can you love animals if you eat them? Can you simultaneously be an environmentalist and a carnivore? Unnecessary pain, suffering and death is wrong in this logically puncture-proof “do unto others” world. Candide’s “best of all possible worlds” boast is moot in this only possible world we inhabit, as environmental destruction increasingly requires us to change our way of eating if we care about future generations inhabiting it.
It’s encouraging to hear 7.6 million Americans are self-proclaimed vegans. Personally, I’ve been a “freegan” since before there was a word for it, a decision made easy with Foodprint reporting the average American discards $1,800 in food annually ($4.93 a day). Let that sink in: 12.9% of world population, roughly 1 in 9 or 805 million people suffer from chronic hunger (per the UN) while Americans discard $4.93 every day with all the resources, labor, pain & suffering embodied in this food traveling to the landfill. While preventing food waste won’t feed that starving African child, it will exhibit compassion and indicate solidarity in opposing the forces that are dragging down this planet. There’s no Plan(et) B.