This is a huge issue at the moment in Switzerland – and agribusiness are fighting it tooth and nail.However, if it goes through it will serve as a precedent for other countries; German politics (Christian democrats especially) have so far blocked efforts towards the same.Of course the Swiss Government is recommending a “NO” vote – but that is in keeping with the demands of the industry ..Also – this issue connects with the current proceedings in Austria and the law case against AR activists. (Thanks Diana)

By Imogen Foulkes
BBC News, Zurich
Swiss voters will go to the polls on Sunday to decide on a proposal to appoint state-funded lawyers across the country to represent animals in court.

Supporters of the initiative say such lawyers would help deter cases of animal cruelty and neglect, by making sure that those who did abuse or neglect animals would be properly punished.

Opponents however claim that Switzerland, which already has strict animal protection laws, does not need any more legislation.

The canton of Zurich has in fact had its own animal lawyer for a number of years; the current incumbent, Antoine Goetschel, is the only state-funded lawyer in Switzerland who goes to court to speak on behalf of animals.

Four-legged clients

His clients include dogs and cats, guinea pigs, cows, horses and sheep, even, recently, a large pike, fished from Lake Zurich.


"It took 10 minutes of struggle to reel the pike in before killing it," Mr Goetschel explained. "The fisherman was reported by a long-standing animal rights organisation."

In fact, Mr Goetschel lost that particular case, but that has not deterred him. He believes appointing lawyers to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves is the essence of justice.

"People accused of animal cruelty very often hire lawyers to defend themselves," he pointed out.

"Why shouldn’t someone speak for the animal as well?"

Under Antoine Goetschel, prosecutions for animal cruelty have increased

Zurich success

Supporters of a nationwide system of animal lawyers in Switzerland point to the sharp increase of prosecutions for animal cruelty in Zurich since Mr Goetschel started work. While he can average over a hundred successful cases a year, other cantons rarely have more than one or two.

In neighbouring canton Aargau, Marlies Widmer manages a home for neglected animals. For her, animal lawyers cannot come soon enough.

At the moment Marlies has more than 40 dogs in her care, as well as 30 cats, and several rabbits and guinea pigs.

"These were brought in as three-week old puppies," she said, pointing to four lively young dogs. "They were completely emaciated, they had been kept in an underground garage, in the dark."

Marlies believes Switzerland’s strict animal welfare laws, among them mandatory animal care courses for dog owners, and a prohibition on budgerigars being kept alone in cages, are simply not being enforced.

"At the moment even if there are court cases the fines are tiny, laughably small," she said. "They don’t deter people at all, we really want people who have behaved in such a brutal manner towards animals to be properly punished."

Farmers doubts

But there is one rather powerful lobby in Switzerland with big doubts about yet another layer of animal protection legislation.

Swiss farmers are already struggling with reduced subsidies and falling milk prices, and many fear the introduction of animal lawyers could lead to long, costly, and unnecessary court cases.


Hans Staub, who has a dairy farm in the town of Waedenswil, is in full compliance with all the many existing laws governing the keeping of cattle.

His cows, each named after a different city from Delhi to Rimini to Granada, are clean and well fed. In the winter they spend their time mostly in the stall, but, following the rules, Hans lets them out into the fields two or three times a week.

"You know as a farmer I have always thought of an animal’s welfare and dignity as an integral part of my job," he said. "But animal lawyers, no, farmers won’t vote for that. We see it as unnecessary bureaucracy, a kind of academic exercise."

What’s more, Hans and his farming colleagues are very suspicious of what they believe is a hidden agenda among those pushing for stricter animal welfare laws.

"Some of these groups actually question the ethics of keeping animals at all," he pointed out. "It should be possible for us to do our jobs, all the while respecting our animals, but we are farmers and we want to stay farmers."

The Swiss government is recommending a "no" vote

Costly legal fees

Antoine Goetschel believes the farmers’ fears are groundless.

"If they keep their animals properly and obey the law, they have absolutely nothing to fear from me," he insisted.

"But," he continued, "perhaps the problem is that lots of people just don’t like lawyers; after all, one in two people nowadays may have a costly divorce behind them."

In fact, the cost of appointing animal lawyers nationwide may be the proposal’s downfall. In the past, Swiss voters have been very supportive of tough animal welfare legislation, but this time the government is recommending a "no" vote.

One reason could be that animals who need their day in court will not, of course, be paying the lawyers’ fees – that will be left to the Swiss tax payer.

bbc uk

Anyone who’s ever glanced at the website PETAKillsAnimals.com is familiar, whether they know it or not, with a group that calls itself the Center for Consumer Freedom.

The Center for Consumer Freedom — headed up by a lobbyist for the food, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries named Richard Berman — has long been at odds with groups like PETA and the Humane Society of the United States. (For the record, though, it has also worked to discredit non-animal-related advocacy groups including Mothers Against Drunk Driving through its ActivistCash.com website. Another of its websites, ObesityMyths.com, attempts to debunk what it describes as "myths" about human health. Among those "myths": "Obesity will shorten life expectancy" and "Obesity has made diabetes epidemic.")

Now, though, the CCF has ratcheted up the rhetoric against the Humane Society by launching a new website devoted to discrediting the group: HumaneWatch.org. As part of HumaneWatch’s kickoff, the Center purchased a full-page ad in the New York Times that argues that the Humane Society "gives less than one-half of 1% of its $100-million budget to hands-on pet shelters."

We’ve heard this criticism all too often, and it’s an argument we find supremely disingenuous. One can certainly care about animals and not support the Humane Society — many of our animal-loving readers have written passionate comments that explain their rationales for not supporting the group. But those readers explain that they fundamentally disagree with the Humane Society’s aims and tactics — and their arguments are reasonable and sound.

What’s not reasonable or sound is vilifying the group for its failure to be something it never claimed to be: an animal shelter. Arguing that the Humane Society is failing by not donating enough to local shelters is like arguing that the president is failing to stand up for the poor because he hasn’t volunteered at your local soup kitchen.

Our colleague, agribusiness reporter P.J. Huffstutter, explains the rationale for the CCF’s latest attack in The Times’ business blog, Money & Co.:

So, why target [the Humane Society]? Well, for one thing, [the Humane Society] has become increasingly involved in pushing through legislation that alters how animals are treated in the food-production system. The organization was a key voice in the successful campaign last year to get California voters to pass Proposition 2, which was aimed at preventing "cruel confinement" of farm animals (like smaller cages for egg-laying chickens or gestation crates for pregnant sows).

That, of course, grabbed the attention of CCF. …

According to CCF, the public doesn’t realize that most of their donations aren’t going to help lost cats and dogs, or help out underfunded animal shelters. Instead, the majority of the money allegedly is being used to "bankroll anti-meat campaigns and PETA-style propaganda," said David Martosko, CCF’s director of research.

In his short biography on the HumaneWatch website, Martosko describes himself as someone who "[loves] animals. But not obsessively so. And I’m not a big fan of people who put the life of a lab rat above the life of a cancer patient."

He speaks of a distinction between animal welfare and animal rights: "Animal ‘rights’ philosophy says that even if you gave your dairy cows three meals a day, evening rubdowns, waterbeds to sleep on, iPods, and Nintendo Wii privileges, it would still wrong to milk them." (Full disclosure: We’re vegan, and our issue with milk isn’t that it’s fundamentally "wrong" to milk cows — how silly. Instead, we take issue with the inextricable link between the dairy industry and the veal industry. Since dairy cows must be kept pregnant in order to continue to produce milk, the industry produces an excess of calves. Female calves, of course, can go on to become dairy cows themselves. Since male calves will never give milk, a large percentage of them will spend their short lives confined to veal crates before  ending up as someone’s veal dinner.)

If the CCF wants to discredit the Humane Society, it’ll find plenty of animal advocates — including a number of Unleashed readers — who share its core belief that the Humane Society’s tactics are misguided, wrongheaded or don’t go far enough toward protecting animals. It could make a number of well-reasoned arguments, but instead its New York Times ad rests on a straw-man argument, refuting a "claim" that the Humane Society doesn’t make.

The Humane Society is, according to its mission statement, "the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization" — an organization that works to help animals through legislative efforts and large-scale investigations into alleged instances of animal cruelty. Donating to your local animal shelter or rescue group is admirable; donating to a legislative advocacy group, one could argue, is also admirable. But these groups have fundamentally different ways of achieving their aims, and arguing that a legislative group is wrong for not operating an animal shelter is as misguided as arguing that an animal shelter is wrong for not lobbying on a national scale for animal-friendly reforms.

Wayne Pacelle, the Humane Society’s president and chief executive, took to his blog Tuesday about the CCF’s New York Times ad. "The ad … says many things. But one thing it doesn’t say is the following: Why would a corporate front group take after a venerable organization like the Humane Society of the United States," Pacelle wrote. "Here’s the answer: They are bothering us because, by threatening animal abuse, we are threatening their bottom line."

Martosko was quick to respond to Pacelle in his own blog post Tuesday: "Our HumaneWatch project is just getting started. What you’ve seen so far is just the first trickle out of a very, very backed-up faucet. So perhaps we can count on Whiny Wayne having tantrum after tantrum this year. Fine with us. We’ll just keep speaking up for the shelter animals."

Speaking up for the shelter animals? Somehow, coming from the group that rails against Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s "fanatical conviction that no one should be allowed to drink anything before driving," we doubt that concern for shelter animals is really at the heart of its latest campaign.

 Lindsay Barnett

Suite ….

5. La viande avec garantie de bien être animal : une alternative à l’abolition ?

« Il n’y a pas de mal à manger de la viande du moment que les animaux sont bien traités ». Telle est l’opinion la plus fréquemment affichée. C’est celle que les consommateurs de chair animale ressentent comme cohérente avec leur propre pratique : « ce qu’il faut, c’est éviter la souffrance. » De sorte que, tout naturellement, le débat s’engage comme si l’alternative était entre traiter plus « humainement » les animaux mangés, ou bien abolir la viande, la première option étant majoritairement jugée plus raisonnable.

 Une fois le problème posé en ces termes, la discussion se limite à la question de savoir s’il est permis ou pas de tuer des animaux pour s’en nourrir, si oui ou non leur donner la mort est un acte moralement anodin. Nous ne développerons pas ce point ici19. Au demeurant, il est douteux que l’issue du débat sur l’acte de tuer se jouera uniquement sur la confrontation de raisonnements éthiques relatifs à sa légitimité. Le plébiscite par les consommateurs de viande de l’élevage dans le bien-être devrait coïncider rationnellement avec la position selon laquelle tuer sans douleur un animal qui a mené une vie plaisante est un acte neutre. Mais en l’occurrence, la rationalité a le parfum d’une rationalisation défensive, qui ne préserve pas totalement ses auteurs du sentiment négatif qu’inspire la tuerie organisée des animaux. Il se pourrait par conséquent que le basculement de l’opinion sur ce sujet dépende largement de ce qui pourra être fait pour mettre fin à l’invisibilisation des opérations de mise à mort. Comme le note Claude Fischler (sociologue, directeur de recherche au CNRS) :

La « filière viande » a une difficulté : il y a certains aspects que, littéralement, on ne peut pas montrer et que l’on ne veut pas voir. Pas même quand les installations sont les plus modernes et que le « bien-être animal » est pris en compte. Une émission de télévision a montré récemment un abattoir moderne, où les animaux sont traités avec soin. On leur diffuse de la musique et ils sont sous des « brumisateurs » d’eau. Les personnes à qui j’ai demandé de commenter cette séquence m’ont souvent dit qu’elles l’avaient trouvée malgré tout choquante. Ce n’est donc pas seulement, semble-t-il, la cruauté du traitement infligé aux animaux qui frappe. Il s’agit de quelque chose de plus profond, qui rend l’idée même de l’abattage difficile à accepter, en particulier de l’abattage en masse20.

En réalité, les deux options – « abolir la viande » ou « continuer à manger des animaux en veillant à leur bien-être » – ne se distinguent pas seulement par la question de la mise à mort. Il y a entre elles une autre différence cruciale. Cette différence est d’ordre pratique : l’option « élevage dans le bien être » n’est pas disponible. Il n’y a aucune trajectoire plausible qui, partant de l’état actuel des choses, conduise à une généralisation des élevages assurant le confort physique et psychique aux animaux.

Évolution de la production de viande

De 1950 à 2005 la production annuelle des pêcheries (hors aquaculture) a été multipliée par cinq, passant de 19 à 95 millions de tonnes21. En 2002, 72% des « ressources halieutiques » étaient exploitées plus rapidement qu’elles ne pouvaient se reproduire22.

Concernant les animaux d’élevage, la production de viande d’animaux terrestres a plus que quintuplé en un demi-siècle (1950-2000), passant de 45 à 233 millions de tonnes23 par an. Sur la seule période 1990-2002, la quantité de viande consommée a crû de 32% en tonnes et de 12% par habitant24. En 2002, la consommation de viande (d’animaux terrestres) par habitant s’établit à 40 kg par an en moyenne25. Les projections effectuées par la FAO à l’horizon 2015 et 2030 prévoient la poursuite d’un rythme de croissance soutenu de la production :

Entre 2007 et 2016, selon les perspectives communes FAO-OCDE, la production mondiale de viande devrait ainsi augmenter de 9,7 % pour le boeuf, de 18,5 % pour le porc et de 15,3 % pour le poulet. Principalement en Inde, en Chine et au Brésil. D’ici à 2050, la production de viande pourrait même doubler, passant de 229 millions de tonnes au début des années 2000 à 465 millions26.

Tant en niveau absolu qu’en taux de variation, on observe de fortes disparités selon les régions du monde27. Au cours des dernières années, la consommation par habitant tend à croître lentement ou à se stabiliser dans les pays les plus développés, elle régresse dans une partie de l’Afrique, tandis que l’essentiel de la croissance est imputable à quelques pays tels que la Chine ou le Brésil (en 2005, ces deux pays représentent à eux seuls plus de 60% de la production de viande du groupe des pays en développement, dont 49% uniquement pour la Chine28). L’augmentation du nombre d’animaux tués est beaucoup plus forte que celle de la production mesurée en tonnes puisque les élevages dont le développement est le plus rapide sont ceux d’animaux de petite taille (les volailles).

L’élevage d’animaux aquatiques connaît une expansion encore plus forte puisque de 1950 à 2005, la production est passée de 639 000 tonnes à 63 millions de tonnes29. Là encore, il s’agit d’animaux de petite taille et de surcroît particulièrement oubliés des dispositions relatives au bien-être tant pour les conditions d’élevage que de mise à mort.

Lois et labels

Deux facteurs procurant une protection partielle à des animaux d’élevage connaissent une certaine progression.

Le premier consiste en l’adoption de dispositions légales dans quelques États ou groupes d’États qui restreignent ou interdisent des pratiques particulières : ici le gavage des palmipèdes, là l’immobilisation des truies dans des cages minuscules ou la castration à vif des porcelets, ailleurs l’isolement des veaux dans des cases où ils ne peuvent pas se retourner… Pour appréciables qu’elles soient, ces avancées restent limitées. Quand elles touchent une industrie largement implantée sur le territoire concerné, elles se heurtent à une résistance des filières de production qui conduit à un affadissement notable des quelques mesures envisagées, à des délais conséquents dans l’adoption puis l’entrée en vigueur des dispositions protectrices, souvent à des sursis dans les délais, et à une diligence modérée dans la vérification du respect des réglementations et l’infliction de sanctions aux contrevenants.

De telles dispositions constituent des progrès parce qu’elles tendent à mettre fin à tel ou tel élément particulièrement douloureux ou stressant dans l’existence de certains animaux. Mais des mesures si ponctuelles, adoptées et appliquées avec une telle lenteur, ne sont pas de nature à conduire à un état de bien-être pour les animaux. Il ne s’agit que d’aménagements parcellaires de l’élevage intensif, un mode d’élevage conçu pour obtenir une production maximale dans un minimum de temps, et avec un minimum d’espace et de main d’oeuvre, quoi qu’il en coûte aux animaux.

 Le second facteur qui procure quelque protection aux animaux destinés à la consommation alimentaire réside dans le développement de labels attribués aux élevages qui respectent un certain cahier des charges, comprenant entre autres des obligations relatives au traitement des animaux. Ces types d’élevages, responsables d’une partie minoritaire de la production, coexistent avec ceux produisant de la viande moins chère sans aucune garantie pour les animaux (autre que les réglementations de base abordées précédemment). Le plus souvent, les labels sont mis au point par des groupements de producteurs ou de distributeurs30, parfois avec le soutien actif d’associations animalistes31 (certaines d’entre elles élaborant leur propres critères et labels). Ce sous-ensemble des élevages offre, dans les pays où il existe, des conditions de vie meilleures aux animaux à certains égards. Il reste cependant éloigné de l’image idyllique de la ferme où les animaux gambadent librement dans de vastes espaces, jouissent des rapports sociaux qui leur conviennent, disposent d’abris spacieux et douillets, et sont transportés et abattus en douceur32.

Le bien-être animal généralisé : un futur illusoire

Le mouvement pour l’abolition de la viande n’a pas pour but de dénigrer les progrès accomplis via des dispositions légales, ni de contester que les consommateurs de produits animaux qui choisissent certains labels causent moins de tort aux bêtes que les autres. Il a par contre vocation à montrer qu’il est utopique d’imaginer qu’on puisse un jour arriver à offrir une vie décente et une mort sans souffrance aux milliards d’animaux tués chaque année dans le monde pour l’alimentation humaine. La poursuite de la consommation carnée, dans des conditions garantissant une bonne vie et une bonne mort à l’ensemble des animaux mangés, est un futur mythique. Ce mythe doit être détruit parce que la fausse promesse de cet avenir fait d’élevages radieux permet de laisser perdurer les atrocités sans nombre imputable à la viande ; elle pousse à différer indéfiniment les décisions nécessaires pour y mettre un terme.

 La solution serait de mettre fin à l’élevage concentrationnaire qu’a permis la zootechnie pour instaurer un élevage extensif où les animaux jouiraient du plein air et de déplacements libres dans des espaces verdoyants ? Mais où sont les espaces disponibles pour y laisser vaquer d’innombrables animaux autrement qu’à de très hautes densités ? Où mettra-t-on les villes, les routes, les cultures ?

La solution serait d’évoluer vers des élevages employant un personnel bien formé à la connaissance des besoins des animaux et capable d’en assurer le suivi attentif ? Mais comment un éleveur qui produit de la viande de poulet avec des milliers d’oiseaux pourrait-il, avec la meilleure bonne volonté du monde, leur offrir des conditions de vie correctes ? Comment pourrait-il, par exemple, soigner les animaux malades alors qu’il n’a même pas le temps de passer chacun en revue du regard chaque jour ? Ou alors combien de millions de personnes supplémentaires faudrait-il payer pour s’occuper correctement des animaux ? Par combien faudrait-il en conséquence multiplier le prix de la viande ? Et jusqu’à quel point peut-on espérer du consommateur qu’il achète une telle viande à prix d’or tant que d’autres élevages, d’ici ou d’ailleurs, proposeront de la viande bon marché obtenue dans des conditions pitoyables ? Jusqu’à quel point les éleveurs peuvent-il laisser se former l’attachement qui découle de soins attentifs prodigués à leurs animaux, alors que ce même attachement leur rend pénible de les destiner à la mort ? Jusqu’à quel point peuvent-ils négliger que ces soins ont un coût qui affecte la rentabilité de leur entreprise ? Est-il aisé pour eux de considérer les animaux à la fois comme des êtres sensibles placés sous leur protection et comme des marchandises dont dépend leur revenu ?

La solution serait d’instaurer une réglementation stricte qui ne laisserait en activité que des élevages réellement respectueux du bien-être des animaux ? Comment parviendra-t-on à ce que le bien-être en question soit… le bien-être et non un simple amenuisement des pratiques les plus atroces ? Qui paiera les dizaines de milliers d’inspecteurs qui seraient nécessaires pour vérifier assidûment l’application des normes ? Et sinon, comment des animaux muets et sans défense pourront-ils faire valoir leurs droits quand bien même ils auraient été inscrits dans des textes ?

 Manger moins de viande ? Ce serait assurément un progrès très notable. Mais même en divisant par dix la consommation, ce sont des milliards d’individus qui resteraient sacrifiés chaque année. C’est un mensonge que d’assurer que les sociétés humaines ont la capacité juridique, psychologique, technique, économique, de mettre en place les dispositifs permettant de tuer sans angoisse ni douleur des myriades d’animaux. C’est un mensonge d’assurer qu’elles peuvent offrir une vie décente à des animaux d’élevage plus nombreux que les humains eux-mêmes, et cela en n’y consacrant qu’une part infime de la force de travail employée à la production. Et l’on n’en est pas à diviser par dix ni même par deux la consommation carnée, on est dans un rythme de croissance tel que la souffrance épargnée par le progrès des réglementations ou par l’attention portée par certains consommateurs aux conditions d’élevage est moindre que celle ajoutée par l’augmentation annuelle de la production.

 Pourtant, dira-t-on, il existe des éleveurs exemplaires. Les animaux mènent avec eux une existence enviable, même si elle est écourtée. Pourquoi ne pas séparer le bon grain de l’ivraie plutôt que de chercher à interdire tout élevage ?

Mais ce n’est pas parce qu’il n’y a jamais eu de bons maîtres ni d’esclaves heureux qu’il est préférable que l’esclavage humain ait été aboli. Il n’est même pas vrai que tous les esclaves aient connu un sort meilleur après leur libération. Néanmoins, en pratique, il s’avère que la toute puissance des maîtres est un système gravement nocif pour la majorité de ceux placés sous leur dépendance, et qu’on ne sait pas établir les filtres qui permettraient de ne laisser en activité que les maîtres exemplaires.

De même (toujours en faisant abstraction du problème de tuer), ce n’est pas parce qu’il n’y a jamais eu de bons éleveurs qu’il faut abolir la viande. C’est parce qu’il est faux qu’on sache comment procéder pour ne laisser subsister que les bons élevages et s’assurer qu’ils le restent. Peut-être serait-il excusable de tenter de trouver le chemin vers cette sélection, si grands que soient les risques d’échec, si la pérennité de l’élevage avait des enjeux vitaux. Mais la viande n’étant pas une nécessité, il serait criminel de la laisser perdurer au nom de la recherche de cet improbable chemin.

Quant à la pêche, elle implique le plus souvent une lente et douloureuse agonie des animaux capturés33. À quoi pourrait bien ressembler une pêche attentive au bien-être animal, et qui se soucie de la concevoir ?

En pratique, tant que les animaux seront des marchandises, élevés à grande échelle afin d’être vendus sur un marché où règne la concurrence, il y aura conflit entre leurs intérêts et ceux des producteurs, et les producteurs seront toujours poussés à rogner sur les coûts. […] Les aspects psychologiques de nos choix alimentaires doivent également être pris en considération. Des agriculteurs qui commencent par élever des animaux « humainement » peuvent dériver vers des pratiques plus profitables mais moins humaines ; le même type de dérive peut affecter les consommateurs. Quel degré « d’humanité » dans le traitement des animaux est suffisamment « humain » pour qu’on puisse les manger ? [How humane is humane enough to eat ?] Pour des omnivores consciencieux, la ligne de démarcation entre ce qu’il est légitime de manger et ce qui ne l’est pas est vague. Parce que nous sommes trop souvent tentés de choisir la facilité, il se pourrait bien que la meilleure façon de nous assurer de la moralité de nos comportements alimentaires soit de tracer une frontière nette excluant les produits animaux – et de la respecter34.

6. Pour une écologie sensibiliste

La revendication d’abolition de la viande émerge dans un monde où les problèmes environnementaux revêtent une importance croissante. Il existe, à divers niveaux, une réelle proximité entre la question écologique et la question animale, sans pour autant que le problème de la viande soit « soluble » dans l’environnementalisme dominant aujourd’hui.

Des problématiques comparables

Le voisinage entre les deux champs réside d’abord dans l’état d’esprit que requiert leur traitement, et dans les outils qui doivent être mis en œuvre pour le réaliser. Dans les deux cas, la compréhension du problème mobilise au plus haut point la capacité de décentrement par rapport à soi-même, en ce sens que les tiers qu’il s’agit de prendre en considération ne sont dans la plupart des cas ni nos proches, ni des individus en position de nous inciter à prendre en compte leurs intérêts par la menace de représailles ou la promesse de bienfaits en retour : les poulets ne se retourneront pas contre les mangeurs, les générations futures et les victimes de nos activités polluantes ne nous donneront rien en contrepartie de notre abstention de leur nuire. Pour cette raison, on ne parvient généralement pas à une issue satisfaisante en comptant uniquement sur le jeu des relations privées ou professionnelles qui guident les comportements quotidiens (en l’occurrence, il n’y a pas de relations de cet ordre).

La bonne gestion de l’environnement a été repérée de longue date par les économistes comme un des domaines où il y a défaillance du marché : les relations contractuelles entre offreurs et demandeurs ne conduisent pas à une situation satisfaisante du point de vue de l’ensemble des agents affectés en raison de l’importance des externalités. (On parle d’externalités quand il y a des conséquences – positives ou négatives – sur des tiers qui ne sont pas partie prenante à une transaction économique.) Ainsi, si une entreprise utilise une technique de production qui détériore la qualité de l’air ou de l’eau, un désavantage en résulte pour les usagers de ces ressources naturelles (externalité négative). Mais cela n’affecte ni les coûts ni les recettes de l’entreprise, donc n’exerce aucune influence sur les critères de rentabilité qui guident sa décision de produire. Les victimes de la pollution sont en dehors de la relation entre le fournisseur et ses clients, de sorte que les biens à externalités négatives sont produits en quantité excessives par rapport à ce qui aurait été décidé si on avait pris en compte les coûts subis par des tiers. L’existence d’externalités (d’importance significative) compte ainsi parmi les situations où l’on admet que des corrections doivent être apportées par des politiques publiques.

Le cas de la viande est analogue : il s’agit d’un produit dont la quantité fournie est régulée par les relations entre offreurs (éleveurs, pêcheurs, transformateurs, distributeurs…) et demandeurs (consommateurs). Or, il y a des tiers victimes d’externalités négatives gigantesques – les animaux mangés – dont les intérêts ne comptent pour rien dans la décision de produire. Ils sont économiquement inaudibles, sauf si les offreurs ou demandeurs décident de s’en faire les représentants. Comme pour les activités causant des dégradations à l’environnement, il s’avère que ces inflexions volontaires des comportements existent, mais sont d’une ampleur insuffisante pour résoudre le problème. Les humains possèdent à un degré non négligeable la faculté de comprendre qu’il serait souhaitable d’épargner les victimes impuissantes de leurs actes. Ils possèdent à un degré nettement moindre la faculté de les épargner effectivement sur la base de décisions individuelles spontanées. Ils sont cependant capables de trouver des moyens détournés pour y parvenir, en mettant en place des dispositifs qui les incitent ou les obligent à faire ce qui doit être fait. Concernant la viande, l’interdiction est un dispositif remarquablement simple et efficace. C’est une chance par rapport à d’autres domaines où les solutions sont plus complexes35.

L’impact environnemental de l’élevage

Le voisinage entre la question écologique et la question animale ne se limite pas à la ressemblance de structure des deux problèmes (la similitude des approches nécessaires pour les appréhender et les résoudre). Il y a aussi une proximité substantielle : l’élevage, par exemple, est une question environnementale, en ce qu’il se rapporte à l’usage qui est fait des ressources naturelles altérables ou épuisables. Or, son impact en la matière est considérable :

Manger de la viande nuit à l’environnement. C’est la conclusion à laquelle parvient l’Organisation des Nations unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO) qui a rendu public, mercredi 29 novembre [2006], un rapport consacré à l’impact écologique de l’élevage. Celui-ci est « un des premiers responsables des problèmes d’environnement », affirme un des auteurs, Henning Steinfeld.

Mesurée en équivalent CO2, la contribution de l’élevage au réchauffement climatique est plus élevée que celle du secteur des transports. L’activité est responsable de 65% des émissions d’hémioxyde d’azote, un gaz au potentiel de réchauffement global 296 fois plus élevé que celui du CO2, essentiellement imputable au fumier. De plus, le bétail produit 37% des émissions de méthane liées aux activités humaines. Ce gaz, produit par le système digestif des ruminants, agit vingt-trois fois plus que le CO2 sur le réchauffement.

Les pâturages occupent 30% des surfaces émergées, alors que 33% des terres arables sont utilisées pour produire l’alimentation du bétail – et ces surfaces sont insuffisantes pour répondre à la demande, ce qui entraîne le défrichage de forêts. D’autres dégâts sont énumérés : 20% des pâturages sont dégradés par une surexploitation entraînant le tassement et l’érosion du sol ; l’activité compte aussi « parmi les plus nuisibles pour les ressources en eau36 ».

La dégradation des eaux, la déforestation, l’érosion des sols (et dans certaines régions la désertification) imputables à l’élevage détruisent ou appauvrissent l’habitat d’animaux sauvages, de sorte qu’ils sont moins nombreux à pouvoir vivre et se reproduire. L’élevage est aussi plus directement responsable de la mort d’animaux sauvages, puisque 24% du produit des pêcheries (en 2004) est utilisé pour la nourriture des animaux d’élevage37. Enfin, la flambée actuelle du prix des céréales rappelle que les utilisations des terres cultivables sont concurrentes entre elles (cultures destinées aux humains, cultures destinées aux animaux, production de biocarburants…) et que, par différence de pouvoir d’achat interposé, la consommation de viande peut contribuer à accroître la misère et la sous-alimentation des humains les plus pauvres38.

L’impact [de la hausse actuelle du prix des céréales] sera plus ou moins fort sur le pouvoir d’achat : dans les pays développés, les dépenses alimentaires représentent de 10% à 20% du budget des ménages, contre 60% à 90% dans les pays pauvres. « Quand 90% des dépenses vont à la nourriture, une augmentation de 20% du prix des céréales est tout simplement dramatique39 » […].

Vers un élevage écologique intensif ?

La consommation carnée cause des torts immenses aux animaux élevés ou pêchés et provoque la disparition d’animaux sauvages. Elle dégrade les sols, l’eau, les forêts… Par l’intermédiaire des inégalités de répartition des revenus, elle pèse également sur le sort des humains les plus démunis.

Est-ce à dire que si des politiques sont mises en oeuvre pour remédier aux problèmes environnementaux liés à l’élevage, elles seront nécessairement bonnes à la fois « pour les hommes, pour les animaux et pour la planète » ? Les orientations suggérées par le rapport de la FAO 2006 n’incitent pas à l’optimisme. Les propositions des experts qui en sont les auteurs ont été construites en considérant comme une donnée la poursuite de la croissance de la consommation de viande, de sorte que la question devient : « Comment fournir plus de viande en limitant les dégâts écologiques ? » La solution qui est préconisée pourrait être qualifiée d’évolution vers un « élevage écologique intensif ». Cela demande des politiques de vérité des prix, afin que les ressources altérables ou épuisables cessent d’être gaspillées : suppression des subventions à l’élevage, hausse du prix de l’eau, coût plus élevé pour l’utilisation des terres (en particulier, disparition des pâturages sur terres communes dont l’usage est gratuit), application du principe pollueur-payeur. Parallèlement, des aides financières et moyens publics (tels que la recherche) devraient être mis en œuvre pour réduire l’impact environnemental de l’élevage, en tenant compte du fait que cet impact est différent selon les espèces. À quantité égale de viande produite, ce sont les bovins qui contribuent le plus à l’émission de gaz à effet de serre et, lorsqu’ils sont en élevage extensif, contribuent le plus à la dégradation des terres. Dans cette hiérarchie de la nuisance écologique, les élevages de volailles sont ceux dont l’impact est le plus faible. Ce sont eux aussi qui constituent le détour de consommation le moins inefficace en terme de rapport entre la nourriture ingérée et la nourriture produite.

Selon le rapport de la FAO, l’industrialisation de l’élevage n’est pas un problème en soi ; ce qui en est un (en termes de nuisances sur l’environnement) c’est la concentration des élevages sur certaines zones géographiques, d’où la nécessité de mettre en œuvre des politiques pour inciter à les répartir de façon plus équilibrée sur le territoire. Mais, pour les auteurs du rapport, « si l’on veut satisfaire la demande future prévue de produits de l’élevage, il est difficile de trouver une alternative à l’intensification de la production » (op. cit. p. 236). Cette intensification passe par le recul de l’élevage extensif40, et par un progrès technique (activement soutenu par la recherche publique) qui permettra notamment d’économiser sur la quantité d’aliments ingérés par les animaux pour fournir une quantité donnée de viande, lait ou œufs, en améliorant les souches utilisées par la sélection génétique.

Au total, l’amenuisement de l’impact environnemental de la production de viande via l’élevage écologique intensif signifie :

– un déplacement de la production des bovins vers d’autres espèces, en particulier les poulets, c’est à dire une augmentation sensible du nombre d’animaux tués par kilo de viande produit ;

– une dégradation accélérée du cadre de vie des animaux, par disparition des élevages résiduels où ils se déplacent dans de vastes espaces, au profit de leur entassement dans des bâtiments concentrationnaires ;

– une dégradation accélérée de leur qualité de vie du fait des caractères physiques qu’on cherche à développer chez eux. On sait de quel genre de progrès la zootechnie est capable en termes d’améliorations génétiques. On lui doit déjà la mise au point de poulets qui grandissent en 40 jours (au lieu de 80 jours il y a 30 ans) et dont le squelette est trop fragile pour supporter le corps41, la multiplication du nombre de porcelets par portée chez les truies42, du nombre d’œufs par poule, de litres de lait par vache…

Inscrire l’élevage dans un tel schéma de « développement durable », ce n’est pas revenir à un passé rêvé de relations harmonieuses entre le berger et son troupeau sur fond de prairies et montagnes, c’est aller toujours plus loin dans la réification des animaux, leur claustration, c’est produire sciemment des individus difformes, aller au bout de l’épuisement de leurs corps.

Un environnement vivable : pour qui ?

Il ne s’agit pas de conclure au divorce inéluctable entre écologie et éthique animale. Au contraire, le chantier environnemental qui s’ouvre est une occasion à ne pas manquer d’oeuvrer à leur convergence. La conscience progresse que la préservation de la planète ne peut reposer sur le seul réseau des micro-relations privées. Les experts de la FAO soulignent que les problèmes ne seront pas résolus en comptant sur « business as usual », et qu’ils ne le seront pas davantage si les politiques de soutien à l’agriculture se poursuivent selon la logique actuelle. Si tant est que l’on parvienne à mettre en place les dispositifs nécessaires pour enrayer le réchauffement climatique, la désertification, la pollution des eaux… ce sera au prix de bouleversements notables dans la nature des emplois, les modes de consommation et la répartition territoriale des activités. Des moyens importants semblent devoir être dégagés pour provoquer et accompagner les évolutions nécessaires. Il faut réfléchir et peser pour que ce changement débouche sur un état réellement meilleur.

Il est urgent de poser la question : « De qui cette planète est-elle l’environnement ? Pour qui doit-elle rester (devenir) habitable et le rester durablement ? ». Les humains ne sont pas les seuls habitants sensibles de la Terre. Les autres animaux aussi ont un intérêt à jouir d’un habitat conforme à leurs besoins. Un univers de cages, filets et hameçons ne constitue certainement pas un environnement décent pour eux. À quoi riment ces projets de « développement soutenable » et autre « croissance durable » qui consistent à rendre durablement insoutenable l’existence de ceux qui partagent cette planète avec nous ?

Résoudre les problèmes environnementaux imputables à l’élevage par l’abolition de la viande n’est ni plus difficile à organiser ni moins bénéfique pour les humains qu’entreprendre la lourde mutation vers l’élevage écologique intensif. Il est même probable que l’issue favorable, du seul point de vue de l’humanité, est plus certaine via l’abolition. Et du point de vue des animaux, la différence entre les deux options est abyssale.

 Il appartient au mouvement pour l’abolition de la viande d’être l’un des acteurs qui permettront de progresser vers une écologie sensibiliste, et non plus strictement humaniste : se soucier de la bonne gestion de la Terre dans l’intérêt de tous ses habitants sensibles ; cesser de compter les animaux parmi les « ressources naturelles » utilisables à notre guise du moment que cela ne compromet pas les intérêts à long terme de l’humanité.

7. Inscrire le projet d’abolition dans le présent

La revendication d’abolition de la viande n’amenuise-t-elle pas ses chances d’entrer sur le terrain politique par le fait que l’exigence formulée ne saurait être satisfaite dans un futur proche ? Aucun parlement ou gouvernement ne décidera à brève échéance d’interdire l’usage alimentaire des animaux ; aucun parti politique d’importance ne l’inscrira aujourd’hui à son programme. Dès lors, si on conçoit le mouvement comme ne revendiquant rien d’autre que l’événement qui marquera son aboutissement (l’interdiction totale), il risque de n’avoir que peu de prise sur les thèmes d’actualité qui font le tissu de la vie politique courante. Mais il n’y a pas de raison qu’il en soit ainsi. Il y a une foule de mesures partielles qui sont cohérentes avec la marche vers l’abolition : faire reculer et disparaître les subventions à l’élevage et la pêche, taxer la viande, faire respecter le droit de non viande (possibilité de repas sans produits animaux dans la restauration collective), faire régresser l’orientation de jeunes vers les métiers de l’élevage et de la pêche (et métiers associés en amont et aval), empêcher des ouvertures ou extensions d’élevages, contrer la propagande présentant les produits animaux comme indispensables à la santé, obtenir l’interdiction de produire et d’importer tel type de viande obtenu dans des conditions particulièrement atroces… Des entreprises, des réseaux de distribution, des particuliers peuvent créer des zones de non viande sur le territoire dont ils sont maîtres.

 Soutenir l’abolition de la viande n’implique pas en soi la rupture avec les acteurs engagés dans la lutte pour des améliorations ponctuelles des conditions d’élevage et dans la contestation de l’élevage industriel43 : ils sont une des expressions de l’attention portée au sort des animaux dans nos sociétés ; au demeurant, s’attaquer à l’élevage industriel, c’est remettre en cause la quasi-totalité de l’élevage. Sur le terrain, bien des convergences sont possibles, du moment qu’elles ne conduisent pas à entretenir l’illusion selon laquelle on serait en bonne voie d’assurer le bien-être généralisé dans les élevages.

 La revendication d’abolition de la viande ne fait pas passer au second plan l’effort d’information mené en direction des consommateurs afin qu’il soient plus nombreux à refuser les produits animaux. Le but n’est pas de lui préférer une approche plus « collective » du problème : il n’y a pas d’évolution collective qui puisse se bâtir autrement qu’en gagnant le soutien des individus qui composent la société. Le but est de s’adresser aux individus en tant que consommateurs et citoyens, afin que les deux approches se renforcent mutuellement.

 Les associations animalistes ont déjà entrepris d’agir aux différents niveaux où des décisions sont prises : les particuliers, les institutions politiques, les autres organisations (entreprises, instituts de recherche, associations…). La tâche du mouvement pour l’abolition de la viande n’est pas de proposer un bouleversement dans les méthodes employées ou les campagnes menées, même si des thèmes nouveaux viendront s’y ajouter. Sa tâche première est de favoriser la réinterprétation d’une multitude de démarches déjà en place et d’y associer de nouveaux acteurs. Au-delà de leur objectif immédiat, nombre de ces actions prendront sens comme étant des pas vers l’abolition de la viande, parce que cet horizon aura été explicitement fixé et sera entré dans la vie publique comme un des candidats (sérieux) au rôle d’avenir possible.

L’abolition n’arrivera pas insensiblement à pas de fourmi successifs. Il y aura à un moment une accélération et un « saut » avec l’adoption de l’interdiction pure et simple. Mais avant ce jour, nombre de mesures partielles peuvent constituer des signes (et des progrès effectifs) qui rendent de plus en plus crédible, palpable, qu’on tend vers l’abolition de la viande. Elles préparent l’acceptation, la volonté d’en finir avec le sacrifice des animaux à des fins alimentaires.

 Le mouvement pour l’abolition de la viande, c’est aussi la parole : il existe par le fait que des individus et des organisations se déclarent favorables à l’interdiction de la consommation de chair animale. Il existe dès lors que cette prise de position est vécue comme autre chose que la formulation d’un de ces vœux sur un monde meilleur dont on ne croit pas soi-même qu’ils soient destinés à se réaliser.

Les pieds sur terre, la tête dans les étoiles

L’abolition de la viande s’inscrit dans une démarche réformatrice. Le projet n’exige pas de révolutionner de fond en comble les croyances et relations sociales pour instaurer un ordre radicalement nouveau. Il s’agit d’apporter une réponse opératoire à un problème concret : le sort hideux réservé jusqu’ici aux animaux mangés. La disposition requise favorise par ailleurs la sauvegarde d’habitats nécessaires à la vie d’animaux sauvages ; elle contribue à la résolution de problèmes alimentaires et sanitaires concernant les humains, ainsi qu’à la préservation de la planète dans l’intérêt de ses habitants futurs.

Ce qui est utopique, ce n’est pas d’abolir la viande, c’est de prétendre qu’on s’achemine vers la garantie de conditions de vie et de mort décentes pour les animaux élevés, chassés ou pêchés. C’est cela qui relève d’une posture idéologique délirante – a fortiori dans un contexte où la maîtrise des dégâts environnementaux d’une production de viande en pleine expansion menace de devenir un facteur supplémentaire d’intensification de l’élevage.

 Bien que limité dans son objet, le projet d’abolition de la viande ne vise pas moins que le plus grand recul de la souffrance et de la mort jamais accompli. Par son but, et par la façon dont on cheminera vers ce but, il ouvre la voie à une civilisation plus attentive à tous les êtres sentants affectés par nos choix. Au terme du voyage, il y aura beaucoup moins que le paradis ; mais ce ne sera déjà pas si mal en tant qu’aboutissement d’une revendication circonscrite.

Notes et références sur Cahiers Antispecists

Telecharger le dossier complet pdt : pdf Abolir la Viande

Un article qui mérite d’être lu dans sa totalité.. Pour voir les liens directement : Cahiers Antispecists
Abolir La Viande
Estiva Reus, Antoine Comiti


La thèse défendue dans cet article est qu’il faut dès maintenant œuvrer explicitement à l’interdiction légale de la production et de la consommation de chair animale. C’est à la fois une mesure nécessaire et une mesure qu’il est possible d’obtenir sans attendre une révolution des mentalités ou de l’organisation de nos sociétés.

« On ne doit pas maltraiter ou tuer des animaux sans nécessité » : partout dans le monde, ce précepte fait partie de la morale commune. Partout dans le monde, la consommation alimentaire de produits animaux est la cause principale pour laquelle des humains maltraitent et tuent des animaux, sans nécessité. Le précepte précité n’est pas dénué d’impact : des personnes refusent de consommer des produits d’origine animale, d’autres réduisent leur consommation de viande, d’autres encore choisissent des produits issus d’élevages offrant quelques garanties sur le traitement des animaux ; des pays adoptent quelques lois protégeant les animaux d’élevage. Mais cela ne suffit pas à inverser la tendance : le nombre d’animaux élevés et pêchés dans le monde croît inexorablement, tandis que l’élevage industriel se généralise. Il est illusoire d’attendre que les dispositions adoptées en faveur du bien-être animal finissent par assurer des conditions de vie et de mort décentes aux milliards d’animaux mangés chaque année : les éleveurs peuvent difficilement se résoudre à faire passer le bien-être des bêtes avant la rentabilité de leur exploitation, et on ne dispose ni des espaces ni de la main d’œuvre requis pour traiter tant d’animaux avec soin.

La prise de conscience du fait que production de chair animale a un impact environnemental désastreux ne conduira pas nécessairement à une amélioration du sort réservé aux bêtes : si l’intérêt des animaux n’est pas pris en compte en tant que tel, cette prise de conscience peut au contraire déboucher sur une intensification de l’élevage.

Le contraste entre les devoirs que les humains reconnaissent avoir envers les bêtes et la façon dont ils les traitent concrètement n’implique pas que les bonnes intentions affichées ne soient qu’hypocrisie. Ce contraste nous apprend toutefois que les changements spontanés de comportement des consommateurs ne constituent pas une force suffisante pour mettre fin à la boucherie. Il y a des raisons à cela. C’est par ailleurs une situation très commune : on ne réussit pas non plus à résoudre les problèmes de l’insécurité routière, de la pollution, de la misère humaine, de la maltraitance des enfants… en comptant uniquement sur la capacité de chacun à modifier ses habitudes pour y porter remède, même lorsqu’il qu’il est largement admis qu’il s’agit de maux.

Pour mettre un terme au sort hideux réservé aux animaux mangés, il faut que la question soit portée (aussi) au niveau politique. Il s’agit d’enclencher un processus qui s’achèvera par l’adoption de lois interdisant la prédation (chasse, pêche) et la production (élevage) d’animaux pour la consommation humaine. Les institutions publiques ont également un rôle à jouer dans la reconversion des travailleurs dont le revenu dépend de ces activités. Ce processus commence par l’expression publique de la revendication d’abolition de la viande.



1. Une revendication nouvelle

2. Une revendication recevable

Ne pas maltraiter ou tuer sans nécessité

Loi morale et loi légale

Et la liberté ?

3. Producteurs, consommateurs, citoyens

Offre et demande

Les paroles et les actes

Impliquer le citoyen

4. Assurer l’avenir des anciens travailleurs de la viande

Travailleurs des usines à viande

Petits producteurs des pays en développement

Travailler à ruiner des vies

Accompagner le reconversion des travailleurs de la viande

5. La viande avec garantie de bien-être animal : une alternative à l’abolition ?

Évolution de la production de viande

Lois et labels

Le bien-être animal généralisé : un futur illusoire

6. Pour une écologie sensibiliste

Des problématiques comparables

L’impact environnemental de l’élevage

Vers un élevage écologique intensif ?

Un environnement vivable : pour qui ?

7. Inscrire le projet d’abolition dans le présent

Les pieds sur terre,

 Le temps est venu d’œuvrer à l’abolition de la viande, c’est-à-dire de soumettre au débat public l’idée que la consommation de chair animale devrait être interdite, de faire grandir l’adhésion à cette idée, et finalement de faire en sorte qu’une loi établissant cette interdiction soit adoptée dans chaque pays. Il s’agit d’obtenir le consentement des sociétés humaines à l’éradication d’une pratique, sur la base de la reconnaissance des torts majeurs qu’elle cause aux bêtes. Cette reconnaissance ne demande que l’application effective de ce qui est déjà la morale commune. La revendication d’abolition de la viande est destinée à prendre place dans l’agenda politique présent. Son aboutissement peut être pensé dans le cadre des institutions et de l’organisation sociale que nous connaissons déjà.

1. Une revendication nouvelle

L’émergence de cette revendication politique est un fait nouveau. Certes, depuis plus de deux mille ans, des penseurs ont questionné la légitimité de la viande ; des individus et des groupes humains ont refusé de s’en nourrir. Certes, il y a une trentaine d’années déjà qu’une fraction du mouvement animaliste mondial s’emploie à convaincre le public d’adopter un régime alimentaire sans produits animaux. La disparition de l’élevage et de la pêche constitue une composante explicite de son idéal. Jusqu’à présent pourtant, nul ne faisait de l’interdiction de consommer la chair animale un objectif affiché, et de la popularisation de cet objectif une priorité. La nécessité de recourir aussi aux moyens d’intervention publique pour mettre fin aux torts causés aux animaux concernés était à peine évoquée1. La conviction qu’il est possible de persuader nos contemporains de cette nécessité faisait défaut.

 La revendication d’abolition de la viande a tardé à émerger parce qu’on a eu le sentiment qu’un tel mot d’ordre ne serait pas compris par une population très majoritairement carnivore, et que le simple fait d’en appeler à une interdiction braquerait les esprits. Pendant ce temps, face à chaque enquête révélant les horreurs subies par des animaux destinés à la consommation alimentaire, face à chaque montée en puissance de revendications spécifiques (interdire le gavage, refuser les poulets issus d’élevages industriels…), les filières viande ont cherché à semer l’inquiétude par cette mise en garde : « Attention, cette campagne est menée par une poignée de végétariens qui veulent vous imposer leur loi ! » S’est ainsi instaurée une situation paradoxale où les seules voix évoquant une offensive (de fait encore inexistante) visant à interdire la viande émanaient des forces qui ont intérêt à la dépeindre sous le jour menaçant de manœuvres conduites par un pouvoir occulte.

 Les choses sont en voie de changement. Aux États-Unis, un livre2 publié en 2005 plaide pour le développement d’un « mouvement de démantèlement de l’élevage ». En France, le thème de l’abolition de la viande fait son apparition la même année (voir encadré) ; un groupe de discussion constitué autour de ce projet propose de lui donner pour support la résolution suivante :

Parce que la production de viande implique de tuer les animaux que l’on mange,

parce que nombre d’entre eux souffrent de leurs conditions de vie et de mise à mort,

parce que la consommation de viande n’est pas une nécessité,

parce que les êtres sensibles ne doivent pas être maltraités ou tués sans nécessité,

l’élevage, la pêche et la chasse des animaux pour leur chair, ainsi que la vente et la consommation de chair animale, doivent être abolis.

 Les débuts du mouvement en France

Le thème de l’abolition de la viande a été débattu pour la première fois en août 2005 dans le cadre des Estivales de la question animale : http://question-animale.org La réflexion s’est prolongée sur un blog personnel : http://abolitionblog.blogspot.com/ et sur une liste de discussion : http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/ab… Cette première liste de discussion, de langue française, a été complétée en 2007 par une liste à vocation similaire en langue anglaise : http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/…

La conviction des personnes impliquées dans ce mouvement naissant est que la population est dès maintenant capable d’accueillir la revendication d’abolition de la viande autrement que comme une proposition aberrante ou scandaleuse. C’est, dès maintenant, une initiative recevable : une proposition dont les citoyens peuvent comprendre qu’elle relève d’une démarche sensée, même s’il faudra du temps pour qu’elle gagne un large soutien. Le débat public autour de cette initiative permettra d’exposer les raisons pour lesquelles le recours au moyen d’une interdiction légale est requis.

L’arrivée de cette revendication sur la scène politique amènera à évaluer sous un jour nouveau ce qui se présente à première vue comme une alternative à l’abolition : continuer à utiliser les bêtes à des fins alimentaires en prenant les dispositions nécessaires pour assurer leur bien-être. La réflexion suscitée par cette revendication pourrait également déboucher sur une formulation plus adéquate du lien – pressenti depuis longtemps – entre cause animale et préoccupations écologiques.

Poser l’objectif d’abolition de la viande ne conduit nullement à sous-estimer la valeur des campagnes, réflexions, actions, menées de longue date en faveur des animaux, ni à vouloir y substituer des méthodes radicalement différentes. En revanche, fixer la perspective de l’abolition devrait donner davantage de force, de sens, de cohérence, à bien des initiatives déjà en place et en inspirer quelques nouvelles.

2. Une revendication recevable

La revendication d’abolition de la viande ne s’appuie sur rien d’autre que la morale commune : aussi bien s’agissant de ce qui est dû aux animaux que des restrictions justifiables à la liberté individuelle.

Ne pas maltraiter ni tuer sans nécessité

La condamnation morale des mauvais traitements envers les animaux est largement partagée : il est admis qu’on ne doit pas leur infliger de souffrances inutiles, ni les tuer sans nécessité3. D’autre part, il est factuellement vrai que l’élevage, la chasse et la pêche tuent, et qu’ils infligent des souffrances considérables aux animaux. Il est factuellement vrai que les humains n’ont pas besoin de consommer des produits animaux pour vivre en bonne santé. Se passer de viande ne leur ferme pas non plus la perspective d’une vie épanouissante, ni même la jouissance des plaisirs de la table. Parce que la prémisse éthique fait partie de la morale ordinaire, et que les assertions intermédiaires qui permettent d’en déduire la conclusion sont des faits, pas des opinions, la revendication d’abolition de la viande réunit les conditions pour être reçue comme une proposition qui mérite d’être prise en considération.

Loi morale et loi légale

Le propre d’un impératif moral est d’être une prescription universelle : un énoncé sur ce qui devrait être fait par tous. Abolir la viande, c’est prendre une disposition légale afin que l’impératif moral en cause soit effectivement respecté par tous dans un de ses principaux domaines d’application.

Un tel usage de la loi est difficilement envisageable lorsque s’affrontent dans la population des conceptions foncièrement incompatibles du bien. L’art du politique consiste alors plutôt à trouver des compromis permettant la coexistence pacifique entre tenants d’éthiques distinctes. Cela passe souvent par la fixation de limites à la sphère où elles peuvent prétendre s’exercer, ce qui revient à ne reconnaître à aucune d’elles le domaine d’application universel qu’elles revendiquent4. Mais la protection des animaux contre des pratiques qui leur nuisent gravement ne relève pas de ce cas de figure. La prescription « On ne doit pas maltraiter ou tuer des animaux sans nécessité » fait quasiment consensus. Il n’existe pas de camp significatif qui fasse de la prescription contraire une valeur essentielle (« On doit tourmenter et tuer des bêtes pour son bon plaisir »), ni aucune théorie éthique majeure qui fournisse les bases pouvant fonder pareille conclusion. Dans ces conditions, il n’est pas irréaliste d’œuvrer à ce que la « loi légale » vienne à l’appui de la loi morale.

Et la liberté ?

Il ne manquera pas de voix pour dénoncer un attentat liberticide. Celles-là même qui se sont élevées alors que la revendication d’abolition de la viande n’était portée par personne. Mais combien de temps l’épouvantail du coup de force fomenté par une minorité peut-il faire illusion et empêcher que le débat ait lieu sur le fond ? Les initiateurs de ce mouvement ne disposent d’aucune armée prête à écraser le peuple des carnivores. Ils n’ont ni les moyens ni l’ambition d’en lever une. Pour qu’une loi interdisant la consommation alimentaire de produits animaux puisse être adoptée et appliquée, il faut qu’une grande partie de la population d’un pays y consente. Le projet de loi ne sera examiné qu’au terme d’un processus où un nombre croissant de personnes se seront engagées activement en sa faveur.

Reste qu’établir une interdiction légale, c’est instaurer une contrainte qui s’impose à tous, et qu’un large consentement à une mesure n’équivaut pas à une approbation unanime. De ce fait, il s’agit effectivement de restreindre le domaine laissé à la liberté personnelle. La démarche consistant à revendiquer une telle restriction n’en devient pas pour autant odieuse et inintelligible pour tout autre que ses promoteurs. « Ne pas infliger aux animaux des souffrances inutiles » est dérivé du précepte plus large « Ne pas nuire à autrui », combiné au fait que, les animaux étant sentants, ils font partie des « autrui » à qui il est possible de nuire. Lorsque la viande sera abolie, alors que certains seront encore réfractaires à cette mesure, il ne s’agira pas d’une victoire de la contrainte sur la liberté. Le choix n’est pas entre imposer un diktat aux carnivores récalcitrants (la contrainte) ou ne rien imposer à personne (la liberté). Il est entre contraindre ces carnivores à renoncer à une habitude sans laquelle on peut vivre et trouver plaisir à l’existence, ou continuer à contraindre des bêtes à l’enfermement, la mutilation, la séparation d’avec leurs proches, la privation de la conduite autonome de leur existence… et la mort. Parce qu’il s’agit de restreindre la liberté lorsqu’elle conduit à des comportements qui portent atteinte à la liberté, la santé, le bonheur et la vie d’autrui, on est dans le domaine où – y compris dans les cultures les plus attachées aux libertés individuelles – il est admis que les institutions peuvent (et doivent) contraindre les individus.

3. Producteurs, consommateurs, citoyens

Pourquoi impliquer le citoyen –par une revendication d’ordre politique– dans la remise en cause de l’usage alimentaire des animaux, plutôt que de s’adresser uniquement au consommateur ?

Offre et demande…

Le consommateur peut choisir d’abolir la viande dans son propre royaume (la bannir de sa propre table), ou du moins se soucier des conditions de vie des animaux dans les élevages dont proviennent les produits qu’il achète. Ces deux attitudes sont en progression numérique, mais demeurent très minoritaires. Au niveau mondial, la consommation de chair animale par habitant est en forte progression, de même que les formes d’élevage les moins respectueuses des besoins des animaux. Ainsi, la prescription « On ne doit pas maltraiter ou tuer des animaux sans nécessité » est à la fois largement approuvée et largement inopérante. Tant du côté « offre » que du côté « demande », des facteurs poussent au maintien et à l’extension du système en place.

 La pêche et l’élevage sont des activités économiques qui, comme toute autre, ont leur propre logique de croissance. Elles ne se bornent pas à répondre passivement à une demande préexistante. Les évolutions techniques dans ces secteurs ont facilité la conquête de nouveaux marchés. La zootechnie a permis en quelques décennies une explosion des capacités de production et un abaissement prodigieux des prix de revient, de même que le développement de la pêche industrielle. De plus, on se trouve dans des secteurs où tant les coûts que les recettes des entreprises obéissent à des lois assez particulières. La sous-évaluation des terres ou de l’eau à usage agricole, de même que l’absence de prise en charge par les producteurs des dégradations occasionnées par leur activité sur l’environnement, abaissent les coûts qu’ils supportent. En outre, il est fréquent que les possibilités de développement des entreprises ne soient pas strictement dépendantes de leurs recettes de ventes. En effet, l’agriculture et la pêche comptent parmi les activités économiques les plus subventionnées5. Outre un soutien structurel, les pouvoirs publics viennent au secours des producteurs lors d’événements tels que les épizooties ou les hausses du prix des intrants.

Les consommateurs quant à eux… consomment, et ne sont qu’une minorité à être attentifs aux conditions d’élevage au moment des achats. Pourtant, une majorité d’entre eux se déclarent soucieuse du bien-être animal6. Et le nombre de ceux qui expriment un malaise ou un désaccord concernant le fait de tuer des animaux est loin d’être négligeable. Ainsi, d’après une étude cofinancée par le ministère de l’agriculture7, la réprobation de la mise à mort des animaux est déjà le fait d’une majorité de Français pour la corrida et la chasse, et d’une minorité significative pour les animaux élevés ou pêchés. Sur un échantillon de 1000 personnes, le pourcentage de répondants se déclarant « plutôt pas d’accord » ou « pas du tout d’accord » avec les phrases citées est le suivant :

L’idée qu’on puisse tuer un animal au cours d’une corrida vous paraît normale – pas d’accord : 88%.

L’idée qu’on puisse tuer un animal à la chasse vous paraît normale – pas d’accord : 52%.

L’idée qu’on puisse acheter une volaille et l’abattre soi-même vous paraît normale – pas d’accord : 40%.

L’idée qu’on puisse tuer un animal à la pêche vous paraît normale – pas d’accord : 39%.

Il est normal que l’homme élève des animaux pour leur viande – pas d’accord : 14%.

Par ailleurs, 65% des personnes interrogées ont déclaré être d’accord avec l’affirmation suivante : « Cela vous dérangerait d’assister à l’abattage des animaux. »

Les paroles et les actes

Quatorze pour cent des sondés déclarent ne pas trouver normal qu’on élève des animaux pour leur viande, alors qu’eux mêmes consomment le produit des abattoirs8. Il n’empêche que le jugement qu’ils portent est réel ; il peut servir de point d’appui en faveur d’un changement. Ce type de contradiction entre les paroles et les actes n’a rien d’exceptionnel. Aujourd’hui, une majorité d’humains exprime une inquiétude face au réchauffement climatique ou à l’épuisement des énergies fossiles et souhaite sincèrement qu’on trouve des remèdes. Seule une partie négligeable d’entre eux prend l’initiative de changer significativement ses habitudes de consommation afin de préserver l’environnement. En revanche, quand des politiques sont mises en œuvre dans ce domaine, elles sont généralement comprises et acceptées, y compris quand elle induisent des contraintes nouvelles9.

L’explication de ces attitudes apparemment contradictoires mobilise beaucoup plus de données qu’on ne peut en explorer ici. Mentionnons une piste parmi d’autres au travers d’un exemple.

L’impératif moral dicte : « Agis comme tous devraient le faire dans les mêmes circonstances. » À l’automobiliste surpris à se garer sur une place réservée aux handicapés et qui plaide que cet acte isolé ne fera pas grand mal, on lancera le reproche : « Et si tout le monde faisait comme vous ? »

Un principe de conduite ordinaire conseille : « Agis en tenant compte de ce que font les autres. »

Le respect des places de stationnement réservées aux handicapés est l’option qui sera facilement choisie dans une société où l’usage est déjà établi de les laisser libres. Si au contraire tout le monde se permet de s’y garer, le réflexe dominant sera : « Pourquoi irais-je me fatiguer à chercher un stationnement dix rues plus loin alors que cette place sera prise dans 30 secondes par un autre automobiliste valide ? » Ou bien on se laissera simplement guider par l’habitude d’utiliser ces emplacements-là comme des places ordinaires. Seuls les automobilistes les plus sensibilisés aux difficultés des personnes à mobilité réduite ne cèderont pas à la tentation de ne compter pour rien la probabilité (effectivement non nulle) que, pour une fois, ce soit un handicapé qui bénéficie de la place s’ils la laissent libre. Ou bien, sans calcul des conséquences, ils seront simplement arrêtés par le sentiment de malaise qu’ils éprouvent face à un geste qui exprime l’indifférence envers des personnes vulnérables. Mais une majorité ne se contraindra pas de sa propre initiative à faire ce que pourtant elle jugerait bon que tous fassent si on lui demandait d’exprimer une opinion sur le sujet.

 Concernant l’usage alimentaire des animaux, les pratiques de consommation en vigueur exigent une maltraitance et une tuerie massives des bêtes. Se démarquer des comportements dominants dans la société (et sortir de ses propres routines) a un coût qui, sans être terriblement élevé, n’en est pas moins réel. Parallèlement, il est tentant de se rassurer sur l’innocuité de sa propre défaillance à agir comme on le devrait en invoquant le fait que cette défaillance est généralisée : « Qu’est ce que ça changerait au sort des poulets que je ne n’achète pas ce poulet-ci alors qu’ils sont produits par centaines de millions ? » Ou bien, les achats se feront de façon routinière, sans se poser de question particulière, en mettant sur le même plan l’achat d’un poulet et celui d’un kilo de carottes. Et il y a peu de chances de se voir rappeler ses devoirs envers les animaux par l’apostrophe « Et si tout le monde faisait comme vous ? » puisque, justement, tout le monde est occupé à faire comme vous.

Impliquer le citoyen

Imaginons qu’on soumette aux Français la question : « Voulez-vous qu’on mette fin à l’élevage et l’abattage des animaux ? » On peut supposer qu’une partie de ceux qui déclarent ne pas être d’accord avec l’idée qu’il est normal d’élever les animaux pour leur viande10 hésiterait à participer par son vote à la pérennité de l’élevage. Et comment réagiraient ceux qui avouent leur malaise à l’idée d’assister à la mise à mort des animaux face à la responsabilité de choisir entre la cessation ou la poursuite des abattages ? À la différence de ce qu’ils font au supermarché, ils ne seraient plus dans le rôle de consommateurs mais dans celui de citoyens, en position de se prononcer sur ce qui s’imposera à tous. Il est moins facile alors d’éviter la réflexion consciente sur la question posée pour n’appliquer qu’une routine, et impossible de se soustraire au choix de ce qu’on juge être bien en invoquant le poids insignifiant de nos propres comportements de consommation, puisque dans ce cas la décision prise vaudra pour la collectivité tout entière. De ce fait même par contre, les craintes qu’inspire le risque de marginalisation sociale en cas d’adoption d’un mode de consommation différent de celui de son entourage n’ont plus lieu d’être.

Combien d’humains exigeraient que l’on reprenne le massacre après qu’il ait été interrompu et qu’ils aient réorganisé leurs vies sans égorger ni asphyxier d’animaux pour s’en nourrir ? Si nous étions dans le temps d’après la viande, il est possible qu’avec des mentalités simplement similaires aux nôtres actuellement, nous ne choisirions pas d’y retourner. Il n’empêche que, partant de l’âge de la viande, le passage dans l’autre sens est difficile à accomplir.

 Le projet d’abolition de la viande s’inscrit dans une démarche visant à faire en sorte que la question animale soit posée (aussi) au niveau citoyen. C’est celui où l’impératif moral a une chance d’être moins facilement enseveli sous les routines et les auto-justifications commodes lorsqu’une pratique mauvaise est généralisée : le niveau où on est amené à être conscient d’avoir à prendre une décision raisonnée.

À mesure que la question de la viande fera son entrée parmi les sujets débattus dans le champ politique, il deviendra crédible pour le public qu’il arrivera un moment où la collectivité devra choisir, et que chacun a une responsabilité dans ce choix. Un nombre croissant de personnes seront ainsi incitées à prendre position, à le dire, et se sentiront tenues de justifier leur jugement. Si ce processus s’enclenche, la tension sera alors ressentie plus fortement en cas de contradiction entre le jugement porté et le comportement personnel, et il en résultera une certaine incitation à la réduire. Si un nombre croissant de personnes expriment ouvertement la position jusqu’ici muette « je ne trouve pas normal que l’homme élève (ou pêche) des animaux pour leur viande », il y aura davantage de personnes qui limiteront ou supprimeront leur propre consommation d’animaux. La vocation d’exemplarité de telles attitudes deviendra plus évidente si le débat « pour ou contre l’abolition de la viande » a réussi à se faire une place dans la vie politique. Le choix de ces consommateurs sera clairement compris comme un boycott et non comme l’expression de quelque orientation particulière en matière de diététique ou gastronomie. La progression de ceux qui mettent les actes en accord avec les paroles aidera à son tour à renforcer la crédibilité d’une évolution vers une interdiction de la consommation de chair animale. Il en résultera aussi un développement de l’attitude de consentement passif à l’abolition : celle de personnes qui, sans prendre l’initiative de changer leur comportement individuel, seront prêtes à admettre la mesure comme bonne ou acceptable une fois qu’elle sera adoptée.

Au total, l’évolution des positions affichées dans la vie citoyenne et celle des comportements de consommation se renforceront mutuellement.

4. Assurer l’avenir
des anciens travailleurs de la viande

Inscrire la disparition de la viande dans un processus politique fera surgir la question du sort des personnes qui vivent de l’élevage ou de la pêche. On sera amené à se soucier de leur reconversion, et au besoin à la faciliter par des politiques publiques.

Travailleurs des usines à viande

La plus grande partie de la production est aujourd’hui effectuée sur le modèle industriel. Les emplois offerts sont pour la plupart peu ou non qualifiés, physiquement et psychologiquement pénibles. On y rencontre chez les salariés une forte rotation du personnel et une concentration des populations défavorisées en termes d’accès à l’emploi. Il arrive que des actes de cruauté délibérée soient perpétrés envers les animaux11, mais, pour l’essentiel, la violence qu’exercent ces travailleurs est inhérente à l’organisation et à la finalité du travail. Ils ne peuvent pas accomplir les tâches qui leur incombent autrement qu’en négligeant, maltraitant ou tuant des animaux. Certains peuvent y être indifférents ; ce n’est pas la règle générale. Les employés préposés à ces tâches ressentent la brutalité de l’univers où ils travaillent, et la difficulté de s’endurcir pour supporter ce qu’ils doivent faire. Ils s’effraient parfois de leur propre désensibilisation quand ils en arrivent à faire machinalement ce qui au début leur semblait répugnant. « Vous finissez par débrancher toutes les émotions. Rien ne peut plus vous importer sinon vous risquez d’ouvrir les vannes qui retiennent tous ces sentiments négatifs que vous ne pouvez vous permettre de ressentir, tout en continuant à faire ce travail » raconte Virgil Butler, ancien employé d’un grand abattoir de poulets aux États-Unis12. Cette même perception refoulée, mais toujours présente, s’exprime dans ces propos recueillis auprès de travailleurs dans des élevages industriels de cochons en France13 :

Je suis devenue plus dure. […] Les petits cochons, la première année, on les regarde. Le petit porcelet qui dort, on le regarde… […] Au départ, on est un peu comme les citadins qui voient un cochon pour la première fois, puis bon, je suis pas éleveur, je suis salariée… Un cochon qui meurt, c’est embêtant, mais on va pas pleurer quoi. On se laisse plus aussi faire. Je sais que si je fais une erreur, moi on ne me fera pas de cadeaux.

          Y’a des cadavres tous les jours. Des fois c’est des maladies, des fois y’a des problèmes respiratoires ou des problèmes digestifs, des fois en maternité,      C  ‘          C’est les petits qui survivent pas ou les mères qui les écrasent, y’a plein de causes…

Non, les trois ou quatre premiers mois, je le faisais pas [Tuer les porcelets les plus faibles14], je préférais les laisser claquer tout seuls. Mais bon, des fois ils mettent deux jours… Alors je me dis non, je vais abréger quand même les souffrances. Moi j’aimerais pas rester comme ça si je peux plus rien faire. Végéter comme ça, je pourrais pas, je pourrais pas me laisser comme ça… Alors je me suis décidée quand même à les tuer, parce que…mais bon… Je pleure plus maintenant quand je le fais. Je suis habituée, mais j’ai eu du mal.

Petits producteurs des pays en développement

À l’autre extrémité des modèles de production, la pêche et l’élevage pratiqués avec un capital faible ou nul constituent une ressource pour de nombreuses familles des pays pauvres. Ainsi l’élevage (d’animaux terrestres) représente environ 1,4% du produit intérieur brut mondial (en 2005) alors qu’il est pratiqué par 1,3 milliard de personnes15. Ce contraste entre une contribution modeste à la valeur de la production mondiale et une contribution énorme à l’emploi tient au fait que l’essentiel de la production (donc du nombre d’animaux élevés et abattus) est réalisé par une agriculture intensive employant peu de main d’œuvre, tandis qu’à l’autre bout du spectre, on trouve d’innombrables élevages à productivité très basse, qui le plus souvent ne constituent qu’une activité parmi d’autres pour leurs propriétaires. L’élevage est alors typiquement une activité des plus démunis16. Il ne requiert pas de formation, demande très peu de capital et, dans certaines régions, n’exige pas la location ou la possession de terres (petite basse-cour domestique, usage de terres communes pour le pâturage…). On retrouve le même phénomène concernant la pêche : le revenu de 120 millions de personnes dépend (le plus souvent partiellement) de la pêche, là encore avec une forte proportion (en termes d’emploi) de pêche artisanale pratiquée par des populations pauvres.

 Quelques données sur la pêche

Dans un document publié en 2007, la FAO estime à 120 millions le nombre de personnes dont le revenu dépend (au moins partiellement) de la pêche. Elle ne chiffre cependant qu’à 27 millions (en 2000) le nombre de pêcheurs dans le monde.

Sources :

La contribution de la pêche à l’alimentation humaine est en moyenne modeste comparée à celle de l’élevage (avec de fortes disparités régionales). La consommation apparente de poissons, mollusques et crustacés est de 16,2 kg par habitant et par an (en 2002) au niveau mondial, dont seulement les 2/3 proviennent de la pêche (le reste étant issu de l’aquaculture).
Source : http://www.greenfacts.org/en/fisher…

D’autres données (issues de statistiques de la FAO) sont disponibles dans cet article de Roland Billard : http://www.pubblicitaitalia.com/coc… Il en ressort qu’en 2000, la pêche ne fournit que 24 % du tonnage total de chair animale produite, et seulement 9% du tonnage global de productions animales (chair + lait + œufs). Pour des raisons que nous ne détaillons pas mais qui figurent dans l’article indiqué, ces chiffres surestiment la part de la pêche dans la fourniture de chair consommable.


Travailler à ruiner des vies

Les « productions animales » constituent un sommet de l’activité économique absurde : détruire des myriades de vies par une prédation organisée à grande échelle (pêche) ou faire naître par milliards des bêtes réduites en esclavage afin de les tuer (élevage), souvent dans la négligence la plus extrême des intérêts des animaux concernés. La résolution précitée exige l’abolition de la viande pour cette seule raison. Ses rédacteurs entendent marquer de la sorte que les torts immenses causés aux victimes de cette boucherie sont une raison suffisante pour y mettre un terme. Si par ailleurs on analyse cette activité au regard des seuls besoins humains, il s’avère qu’elle est globalement inefficace, voire nocive :

Sur le plan alimentaire, les produits de l’élevage ont contribué en moyenne pour 17% à l’apport énergétique et pour 33% à l’apport de protéines en 2003 […]. Il y a de grandes différences entre les pays et groupes de pays, avec une consommation de viande qui s’étage de 5 kg par personne et par an en Inde à 123 kg aux Etats-Unis. […] Sur le plan sanitaire, les produits de l’élevage sont une catégorie d’aliments plus susceptible que d’autres d’être pathogène. Ils peuvent transmettre des maladies des animaux aux humains (zoonoses). L’Organisation mondiale pour la santé animale (OIE) considère que pas moins de 60 % des agents pathogènes humains sont d’origine animale. […] Les animaux d’élevage consomment 77 millions de tonnes de protéines contenues dans des aliments qui pourraient être utilisés pour nourrir des humains, tandis que seulement 58 millions de tonnes de protéines sont contenues dans les aliments issus de l’élevage. En termes d’apport énergétique, la perte relative est beaucoup plus élevée17.

Accompagner la reconversion des travailleurs de la viande

Si la viande n’est pas nécessaire pour pourvoir à l’alimentation humaine, elle est aujourd’hui nécessaire à assurer un revenu aux travailleurs qui la produisent. Il n’est pas éthique de soutenir une activité simplement parce qu’elle procure des emplois. (Faudrait-il entraver les efforts de prévention des maladies ou des guerres pour préserver l’emploi dans les industries pharmaceutique ou de l’armement ?) Il est en revanche réaliste – et éthique – de se soucier de l’avenir de ceux qui aujourd’hui gagnent leur vie grâce aux productions animales quand on entreprend d’y mettre un terme.

Des millions de familles pauvres n’abandonneront pas l’élevage ou à la pêche si cela implique pour elles de passer de la grande à l’extrême misère. Cet abandon devient réalisable si, parallèlement, on élabore des politiques leur permettant de développer d’autres activités. Des mesures incitatives peuvent également s’avérer nécessaires pour faciliter l’acheminement de produits végétaux vers des zones qui n’en produisent ou n’en importent pas suffisamment pour pourvoir à l’alimentation des populations humaines.

Il convient d’ajouter qu’indépendamment de l’abolition de la viande, l’activité des petits producteurs pauvres est déjà compromise. La disparition accélérée prévisible des micro-exploitations résulte de leur non viabilité économique au regard des évolutions actuelles de l’agriculture. Le contrecoup social ne peut être évité que par des politiques visant à développer des emplois dans d’autres secteurs. (Voir encadré reproduisant l’analyse de la FAO)

 L’avenir des petits élevages selon la FAO

« Les tendances actuelles de changement structurel impliquent la probable disparition, à rythme accéléré, des petits éleveurs dans les pays en développement comme dans les pays développés. Cette tendance est probablement destinée à persister même quand des mécanismes institutionnels appropriés, tels que les coopératives et la production sous contrat peuvent être utilisés pour connecter les petits éleveurs à l’agro-business qui lui s’accroît et se modernise. De tels mécanismes sont importants pour amortir l’impact social du changement structurel. Toutefois, sachant que beaucoup de personnes pauvres s’engagent dans les activités d’élevage faute d’alternative plutôt que par choix, la faillite des petits éleveurs pourrait ne pas toujours être un mal. C’est déjà ce qui se passe dans les pays de l’OCDE ; en général, ce n’est pas considéré comme un problème, et des possibilités d’emploi adéquates existent en dehors de ce secteur. Toutefois, cela devient un problème social majeur si de telles possibilités d’emploi n’existent pas dans d’autres secteurs ; il faut alors mettre en place des filets sociaux de sécurité. Les politiques qui tentent de contrecarrer la tendance de changement structurel, en faveur des petits élevages familiaux, s’avéreront coûteuses. Comme le montre l’exemple de la politique agricole européenne, il se peut qu’elles ne servent qu’à ralentir le processus et peut-être même échouent à le faire. La question cruciale sera de trouver des solutions pour que les personnes concernées puissent trouver un moyen de gagner leur vie en dehors du secteur de l’élevage ou de l’agriculture. »

Source : FAO, Livestock long shadow, op. cit., p. 283

 Lorsque la pêche, l’élevage et activités dérivées s’insèrent dans un tissu économique plus riche, le déclin de ces secteurs n’a pas de conséquences négatives à terme. Bien des filières ont disparu dans le passé : la demande se réoriente vers d’autres productions qui, elles aussi, procurent des emplois. Il n’en reste pas moins que les difficultés économiques liées à la disparition de la viande sont concentrées sur des populations particulières (et souvent des zones géographiques particulières où cette activité est importante), créant chez elles la peur d’être plongées dans l’insécurité. Par ailleurs, les emplois qui disparaissent ne sont pas forcément aussitôt compensés par de nouveaux emplois, créant le risque d’une période de baisse (ou moindre croissance) des revenus et de la demande. Même quand ces délais d’ajustement sont absents, les emplois détruits et les emplois créés pèsent d’un poids inégal sur le terrain social. Les premiers sont occupés par des individus déterminés, qui résistent à une détérioration redoutée de leur situation, les seconds par des individus indéterminés, qui ne peuvent faire pression pour que leur sort s’améliore. Cette même asymétrie pèse sur la perception qu’a l’opinion publique de telles évolutions : on s’identifie plus facilement à des personnes repérables, qui manifestent leur inquiétude face à un événement que chacun redoute (la perte de l’emploi et du revenu afférent), qu’aux bénéficiaires inconnus des emplois créés et à la souffrance, rendue largement invisible, des animaux élevés ou pêchés. C’est pourquoi on réussira d’autant mieux à sortir nos sociétés de l’âge de la viande qu’on s’emploiera à éviter que le débat public ne s’enlise sur la fausse alternative « sauver l’emploi ou sauver les animaux ». Le sort des travailleurs liés à l’élevage ou la pêche est une question dont doivent se saisir des partisans de l’abolition de la viande, en se souciant de concevoir, proposer, revendiquer des mesures pour que leur avenir soit assuré. C’est une des raisons pour lesquelles la question de la viande doit être posée au niveau politique. La transition vers une économie d’où les productions animales auront disparu se fera dans de meilleures conditions pour les travailleurs concernés si sont mobilisés à cet effet des moyens dont dispose la puissance publique en termes d’aménagement du territoire, de politiques de formation et d’aides financières de divers ordres.

 Cette attention au devenir des travailleurs de la viande ne résulte pas uniquement de l’obligation de tenir compte du poids disproportionné qu’exerce sur l’opinion l’état des choses existant par rapport à ce qui relèverait d’un jugement équilibré. Il n’y a pas lieu de raisonner en termes de concessions nécessaires de l’éthique au réalisme, parce qu’il n’y a pas réellement conflit entre les deux. Il est juste que l’ensemble des citoyens (contribuables) soient sollicités pour faciliter les ajustements économiques nécessaires, au lieu que les coûts de la transition soient concentrés sur ceux qui ont été les exécutants d’une production qui était commanditée par tous. On choisit autant (ou aussi peu) sa consommation que son emploi. Et surtout : l’abolition de la viande s’inscrit dans un mouvement vers une civilisation plus attentive aux besoins de tous les êtres sentants. Il ne s’agit pas d’instaurer un spécisme inversé où l’on perdrait de vue que les humains eux aussi sont sensibles. Considérer qu’il est du devoir de la collectivité, par la médiation des institutions publiques, de veiller à ce que les anciens travailleurs de la viande trouvent une place convenable dans une société devenue moins violente sera un témoignage de la réalité de cette évolution. Ce sera aussi un signe qui aidera à en finir avec une peur qui fait obstacle à l’émergence d’une attitude plus juste et plus généreuse envers les bêtes : la peur que la fin de l’humanisme18 coïncide avec la remise en cause des dispositifs et valeurs qui ont permis (un peu) de pacifier et de rendre plus solidaires les relations entre humains.

Suite de l’article sur le blog suivant


4. Providing for the future former meat workers

Taking political action to abolish meat will raise the question of the future of the people who live from farming or fishing, and of possible government intervention to facilitate their career change.

Meat factory workers

Most meat is industrially produced. The jobs available are mostly for low-skilled or unskilled work, which is both physically and psychologically taxing. Most workers don’t stay long in these jobs, and most of them come from socially disadvantaged groups. Acts of deliberate cruelty are sometimes perpetrated on animals,11 but for the most part the workers’ violence is inherent in the organisation and the purpose of the job. They cannot carry out the tasks for which they are responsible without neglecting, mistreating or killing animals. Some workers may be indifferent; this is not the general rule. The employees assigned to these tasks are aware of the brutality of the world they work in, and of the need to harden themselves in order to carry out the work. Sometimes their own insensitivity frightens them when they realise they are mechanically doing what at first seemed repulsive. “You shut down all emotions eventually. You just can’t care about anything. Because if you care about something, it opens the gate to all those bad feelings that you can’t afford to feel and still do your job.” writes Virgil Butler, former employee of a big chicken slaughterhouse in the United States.12 This same idea of emotions that are “shut down” but still present, is expressed in the comments of workers interviewed in factory pig farms in France:13

I became harder. (…) The first year, you look at the little pigs. You look at the little piglet asleep.… (…) At the beginning, you’re a bit like someone from the city who sees a pig for the first time, then, well, I’m not a farmer, I’m an employee… It’s sad when a pig dies, but there’s no point crying over it. You don’t let it get to you as much. I know that if I make a mistake I won’t be allowed to get away with it.


There are dead bodies every day. Sometimes it’s from illness, sometimes there are respiratory or digestive problems, sometimes at birth, it’s the babies who don’t survive or the mothers who squash them, there are plenty of reasons.


No, the first three or four months, I couldn’t do it (kill the weakest piglets14), I preferred to let them snuff it by themselves. But, well, sometimes they take two days, so then I said to myself, no, I’m at least going to put them out of their misery. I wouldn’t like to stay like that if I couldn’t do anything anymore. I wouldn’t want to rot like that, I wouldn’t want to be left like that. So I decided to kill them, because, oh well, I don’t cry anymore when I do it. I’m used to it, but it was hard at first.

Small producers in developing countries

At the other extreme of production models, fishing and farming practised with low or no capital investment represents a resource for many families in poor countries. Livestock farming (of land animals) represents about 1,4% of worldwide gross domestic product (in 2005) and is carried out by 1.3 billion people.15 This contrast between a modest contribution to global production value and a huge contribution to employment results from the fact that the bulk of production (number of animals raised and slaughtered) is carried out by intensive farming with few employees, while at the other end of the spectrum can be found countless farms with very low productivity, which are usually just one activity among others for their owners. Here animal farming is typically an activity for the poorest people.16 It requires no training and very little capital and, in some regions, requires neither renting nor owning land (small domestic farmyard, or use of common land for grazing). The situation is similar for fishing: the income of 120 million people depends (most often partially) on fishing, with a large proportion (in employment terms) of traditional fishing carried out by the poorest groups of people.

Some fishing facts

In a document published in 2007, the FAO estimates at 120 million the number of people whose income depends (at least partially) on fishing. However, it only gives a figure of 27 million for the number of fishermen in the world (in 2000). Sources: http://www.fao.org/waicent/search/2… http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y7300…

The contribution of fishing to human nutrition is generally modest compared to that of animal farming (with big regional disparities). The apparent consumption of fish, molluscs and crustaceans is 16.2 kg per inhabitant per year (in 2002) worldwide, of which only two thirds are provided by fishing (the rest coming from aquaculture). Source: http://www.greenfacts.org/en/fisher…

Other data (from FAO statistics) are available in this article by Roland Billard: http://www.pubblicitaitalia.com/coc… (in French)

From this we learn that in 2000, fishing only accounts for 24% of the total tonnage of animal flesh produced, and only 9% of global tonnage of animal products (flesh + milk + eggs). For reasons which we won’t list but which appear in the above-mentioned article, these figures overestimate the part of fishing in the provision of consumableflesh.


Working to ruin lives

“Animal products” represent the height of absurd economic activity: destroying myriad lives by large scale predation (fishing) or bringing into being billions of animals to be reduced to slavery in order to kill them (animal farming), often in the most extreme neglect of the interests of the animals concerned. The above-quoted resolution demands the abolition of meat for this reason alone. Its initiators want to emphasise that the immense wrongs caused to the victims of this butchery are sufficient reason to end it. If as well this activity is analysed in relation to human needs only, it emerges that it is not just globally inefficient, but also harmful:

In terms of nutrition, livestock food products globally contributed an average of 17 percent of energy and 33 percent of protein to dietary intakes in 2003 (…). There are stark differences between countries and country groups, with meat consumption ranging in 2003 from only 5 kg per person and year in India to 123 kg in the United States. (…) In terms of health and food safety, livestock products as a category are more susceptible to pathogens than other food products. They have the capacity to transmit diseases from animals to humans (zoonoses). The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) estimates that no less than 60 percent of human pathogens and 75 percent of recent emerging diseases are zoonotic. (…) Livestock consume 77 million tonnes of protein contained in feedstuff that could potentially be used for human nutrition, whereas only 58 million tonnes of proteins are contained in food products that livestock supply. In terms of dietary energy, the relative loss is much higher.17

Helping meat workers change career

Although meat is not necessary for human nutrition, it is currently necessary to ensure an income to the workers who produce it. It is unethical to support an activity simply because it creates jobs. (Should efforts to prevent disease or wars be abandoned in order to safeguard jobs in the pharmaceutical or armaments industries?) On the other hand it is realistic – and ethical – to make provision for the future of those who currently earn their living in animal production, when undertaking to abolish these activities.

Millions of poor families will not abandon farming or fishing if this involves going from great poverty to extreme poverty. This will only become possible if at the same time policies are created which allow them to develop other activities. Incentive measures may also prove necessary in order to facilitate the transport of plant products towards zones which neither produce nor import enough to feed the human population.

One might add that the activity of small, poor producers is already compromised, irrespective of the abolition of meat. The rapid disappearance of micro-farms results from their economic non-viability in relation to current evolutions in agriculture. A social backlash can only be avoided by policies aimed at developing jobs in other sectors. (See box reproducing FAO analysis)

The future of smallholder livestock producers according to the FAO

“Current trends of structural change imply the likely and probably accelerating exit of smallholder livestock producers in developing countries as well as developed. This trend is likely to persist even where suitable institutional mechanisms, such as cooperatives and contract farming, can be used to connect smallholders to the growing and modernizing agri-business. Such mechanisms are important for buffering the social impact of structural change. However, many poor people engage in livestock activities for lack of alternative rather than out of choice, the demise of smallholders may not always be bad. This is already happening in OECD countries, it is generally not regarded as a problem, and adequate employment possibilities exist outside the sector.

However, it becomes a major social problem if such employment opportunities do not exist in other sectors and social safety nets will then be required. Policies that attempt to stem the trend of structural change, in favour of small-scale or family farming, will be costly. As demonstrated by the EU’s agricultural policy, they may only prolong the process and perhaps still fail. The important issue will be to find alternative options for displaced people to gain a living outside the livestock or agricultural sector. ”

Source: FAO, Livestock’s long shadow, op. cit., p. 283


When fishing, livestock raising and derived activities form part of a richer economic fabric, the decline of these sectors has no long term negative consequences. Many industries have disappeared in the past: demand is reoriented towards other productions which also provide jobs. The fact remains that economic difficulties linked to the disappearance of meat are concentrated on particular populations (and often on the particular geographical zones where this activity is important), creating for them the fear of being plunged into insecurity. Besides, the jobs which disappear are not necessarily replaced by new jobs right away, creating the risk of a period of reduction (or less growth) of income and demand. Even when these adjustment delays are absent, the jobs that are lost and the jobs that are created do not carry the same social weight. The former belong to determined individuals, who resist a dreaded deterioration of their situation; the latter to undetermined individuals, who cannot apply pressure to improve their situation. This same asymmetry adds its weight to the perception that public opinion has of such evolutions: one can sympathize more easily with identifiable people, who show their anxiety when faced with an event that everyone fears (loss of job and income), than to the unknown beneficiaries of the created jobs and the mostly invisible suffering of the farmed or fished animals. This is why we will be more successful at leading our societies out of the age of meat if we avoid getting bogged down in the false alternative “save jobs or save animals”. The future of workers in livestock farming or fishing is a question that some meat abolition supporters should take on by devising and promoting policies aimed at restructuring the economic livelihoods of meat workers. This is one of the reasons why the question of meat should be considered on the political level. The transition towards an economy from which animal production will have disappeared will take place in better conditions for the workers concerned if all the means at the disposal of the public authorities in terms of territorial development, training policies and financial aid of various kinds are mobilised to this effect.

Providing an economic future for meatworkers is not just a reaction to public opinion. There is no real conflict between ethics and realism. It is only fair that all citizens should contribute (if only as taxpayers) to the required economic adjustments, rather than having all costs borne by the workers of an industry that served the whole community. You have as much – or as little – choice in what you consume as in what job you do. And above all: meat abolition belongs to a movement towards a civilisation that is more attentive to the needs of all sentient beings. It is not a question of instituting a sort of reverse speciesism where human sentience would be discounted. To consider that it is the community’s duty to ensure that former meatworkers find their rightful place in a less violent society will be evidence of this reinforced attention. It should also remove one of the obstacles to treating animals more fairly: the fear that the end of humanism18 will lead to a devaluation of the values and institutions which have been (somewhat) helpful in appeasing relations between human beings, and in providing some solidarity.

5. Meat with animal welfare guarantee:
an alternative to abolition?

“There is nothing wrong with eating meat from animals who are well treated”. We often hear this argument. Consumers of animal flesh equate this argument with what they practise “The important thing is to avoid causing suffering.” So that a debate begins as if the choice were between “Treating food animals more humanely” and “Abolishing meat”; most find the first option to be the more reasonable.

Once the problem is presented in these terms, the discussion is limited to the question of whether or not animals should be killed for food, whether or not the act of killing them is morally neutral. We will not go into details on this point here.19 In fact, it is doubtful that the outcome of the debate on the act of killing will depend solely on the confrontation of ethical arguments about its legitimacy. Meat consumers, who endorse welfare-friendly productions, should rationally believe that to painlessly kill an animal who has led an agreeable life is a neutral action. But as it happens, this belief seems like a rationalisation, which nonetheless does not shield them from the negative feeling that the organised killing of animals inspires. Consequently, it is possible that a change of opinion on this subject may depend largely on what could be done to put an end to the invisibility of the killing operations. As the sociologist Claude Fischler notes:

The “meat industry” has a difficulty: there are some aspects that, literally, cannot be shown, and that in any case nobody wants to see. Not even in the most modern slaughterhouses where “animal welfare” is taken into account. A television programme recently showed a modern slaughterhouse, where the animals are treated with care. Piped music is played, and they are calmed by gentle misted water sprays. Those whom I have asked to comment on this sequence have often said that they find it shocking all the same. So it would seem that it is not just the cruelty aspect which is disturbing. It is something deeper, which makes the very idea of slaughter difficult to accept, especially mass slaughter.20

In reality, the two options – “abolishing meat” or “continuing to eat animals while respecting their welfare” – are not just differentiated by the question of killing. Another crucial difference separates them. This difference is of a practical nature: the “welfare in livestock farming” option is not available. There is no plausible pathway which, starting from here and now, could lead to a generalisation of farming which provides physical and psychological comfort for the animals.

Evolution of meat production

From 1950 to 2005 the annual production of the fishing industry (excluding aquaculture) was multiplied by five, growing from 19 to 95 million tonnes.21 In 2002, 72% of the “fishing resources” were exploited more rapidly than they could be replaced.22
With regard to livestock farming, meat production from land animals has more than quintupled in half a century (1950-2000), going from 45 to 233 million tonnes per year.23 Over the one period 1990-2002, the quantity of meat consumed rose by 32% in tonnes and by 12% per person.24 In 2002, the consumption of meat from land animals per person reached a level of 40 kg per year on average.25 Projections carried out by the FAO as far as 2015 and 2030 foretell the continuation of a strong production growth rhythm:

Between 2007 and 2016, according to the FAO-OECD common perspectives, world meat production is set to increase by 9.7 % for beef, by 18.5 % for pork and by 15.3 % for chicken. Principally in India, China and Brazil. From now until 2050, meat production could even double, going from 229 million tonnes at the beginning of the 2000s to 465 million.26

As much by the absolute level as by variation rate, strong disparities can be observed according to global region.27 Over the last few years, per capita consumption has tended to increase slowly or become stable in the more developed countries, it has decreased in a part of Africa, while most growth can be attributed to a few countries such as China or Brazil (in 2005, these two countries alone represent more than 60% of meat production in the group of developing countries, 49% just for China).28 The increase in the number of animals killed is much greater than that of production measured in tonnes since the livestock farms with the most rapid development are those with the smallest animals (poultry).

The farming of aquatic animals is experiencing an even greater expansion since from 1950 to 2005, production rose from 639,000 tonnes to 63 million tonnes.29 Here again these are small animals, and furthermore they are notably left out of welfare legislation, in respect of both farming and killing conditions.

Laws and labels

Two factors procuring partial protection for farm animals are going forward.

The first one consists of the adoption of legislation in some states or groups of states which limit or prohibit certain practices: here the force-feeding of ducks and geese, there the confinement of sows in minute cages or the castration of piglets without anaesthetics, elsewhere isolation of calves in pens where they cannot turn around. Although these advances are appreciable, they remain limited. When they a sector that is well established in the territory concerned, they come up against resistance from the industry which leads to a notable watering down of the few measures envisaged, to lengthy delays in the adoption then the implementation of the protective legislation, often to a suspension of the time-table, and to a less than diligent verification of respect for the law and punishment of those who flout it.

Such legislation represents progress because it can put an end to some particularly painful or stressful elements in the existence of certain animals. However, such piecemeal measures, adopted and applied so slowly, will not lead to a state of well-being for the animals. These are only fragmented adjustments within factory farming, a method of farming designed to obtain maximum production in a minimum of time, and with a minimum of space and workforce, no matter what it costs the animals.

The second factor which provides some protection to animals destined for the meat industry lies in the development of labels attributed to farms which respect certain specifications, including obligations relating to the treatment of the animals. Farms such as these, responsible for a minor part of production, coexist with those producing cheaper meat without any guarantee for the animals (other than the basic rules previously referred to). Labels are mostly developed by groups of producers or distributors,30 sometimes with the active support of animal advocacy associations (some of which draw up their own specifications and labels).31 This sub-group of farms affords, in the countries where it exists, better living conditions for animals in certain respects. However, it remains far removed from the idyllic image of the farm where animals gambol in freedom in vast open spaces, enjoying freely chosen social interactions, having access to spacious and comfortable barns, and are transported and killed painlessly.32

Generalised animal welfare: an illusory future

The movement for the abolition of meat neither aims to denigrate the progress made by legislation, nor to contest the fact that consumers of animal products who choose certain labels cause less harm to the animals concerned than those who don’t. However, it does see its role as showing that it is utopian to imagine that the day will arrive when a decent life and a painless death can be provided to the billions of animals killed every year in the world to feed humans. Continued meat consumption, in conditions guaranteeing a good life and a good death to all the animals eaten, is a mythical future. This myth should be destroyed because the false promise of this future made up of happy farms allows the innumerable atrocities caused by the meat industry to continue; it postpones indefinitely the decisions necessary to end it.

Would the solution be to end the concentration-camp farming begotten of animal production science by creating free-range farms where the animals would benefit from fresh air and free movement in grassy fields? But where is the available land that would allow huge numbers of animals to live in anything other than very high density? Where would we put towns, roads, and crops?

Would the solution be to evolve towards farms which employ workers who have been trained to understand animal needs, and who are capable of ensuring attentive care for them? But how can a farmer who produces chicken meat with thousands of birds, with the best will in the world, ensure them appropriate living conditions? How could he, for example, look after sick animals when he does not even have the time to look at each animal every day? Or otherwise how many million extra people would need to be paid to look after the animals correctly? By how much should the price of meat be multiplied in consequence? And to what point can we expect the consumer to buy such meat at an outrageous price while other farms, here or elsewhere, will offer cheap meat obtained under pitiful conditions? To what point will farmers allow themselves to develop the fondness for their animals that comes from constantly caring for them, when this affection makes them feel sad about sending the animals to slaughter? To what point can they be indifferent to the cost of this care which makes their business less profitable? Is it easy for them to consider animals at the same time as sentient beings placed under their protection, and as income-generating merchandise?

Would the solution be to set up strict rules which would only leave room for farms that really respect animal welfare? How to ensure that the welfare in question is welfare and not a mere easing of the most atrocious practices? Who will pay the tens of thousands of inspectors who would be necessary to carefully check that standards are being kept up? And if not, how can animals, who can neither speak nor defend themselves, demand that their rights be respected even when these have been made law?

Eat less meat? This would certainly be noteworthy progress. But even if consumption were divided by ten, billions of individuals would remain to be sacrificed each year. To claim that human societies have the legal, psychological, technical and economic capacity to set up a system whereby myriad animals can be killed with neither anguish nor pain is a downright lie. To claim that a decent life can be offered to farm animals who are more numerous than humans themselves, and by devoting to this a microscopically small part of the workforce employed in production, is a downright lie. And far from dividing meat consumption by ten or even by two, the pace of growth is so great that the suffering spared by the legislative advances or by certain consumers’ attention to farming conditions is less than that added by the annual increase in production.

However, you might say, there are “good” farmers. Animals lead an enjoyable, albeit short, life with them. Why not just separate the wheat from the chaff rather than trying to ban all livestock farming?

Human slavery was not abolished because there were no good slave owners nor happy slaves. It is not even true that all slaves were better off after being freed. Nevertheless, in practice, the absolute power of slave owners is extremely harmful for most of those who fall into their hands; it is not possible to create filters which would leave only exemplary masters in activity.

In the same way (leaving aside the problem of killing), it is not because there have never been good farmers that meat must be abolished. It is because it is not true that we know how to go about leaving only the good livestock farms in business, and ensuring that they stay good. Perhaps it would be excusable to try to find the path towards this selection, however great the risk of failure, if the continuation of livestock farming were vitally important. But meat not being necessary, it would be criminal to allow it to persist in the name of the search for this improbable way.

As for fishing, it usually implies a slow and painful agony for the captured animals.33 What on earth could welfare-friendly fishing be like, and who would take the trouble to invent it?

In practice, as long as animals are commodities, raised for sale on a large scale in a competitive market situation, there will be conflicts between their interests and the economic interests of the producer, and the producer will always be under pressure to cut corners and reduce costs. Psychological aspects of our choice of diet need to be considered too. Just as farmers who start by raising animals “humanely” may slide into practices more profitable but less humane, so individuals may slide as well. How humane is humane enough to eat? The line between what conscientious omnivores can justify eating and what they cannot justify eating is vague. Since we are all often tempted to take the easy way out, drawing a clear line against eating animal products may be the best way to ensure that one eats ethically – and sticks to it.34

6. For an ecology of sensibility

The demand for the abolition of meat emerges into a world where environmental problems are becoming increasingly important. There exists, at different levels, a real closeness between the ecology question and the animal question, without the problem of meat being “solvable” in the currently dominant version of environmentalism.

Comparable issues

The close relationship between the two fields arises firstly from the state of mind needed to deal with them, and in the tools which must be used to do this. In both cases, the understanding of the problem requires a high capacity for shifting off-centre in relation to oneself, in that the others whom one must consider are usually neither related to us, nor are they in a position to pressure us into consideration of their interests by threatening reprisals or promising rewards in exchange: chickens will not turn against those who would eat them, future generations and the victims of our polluting activities will offer us nothing in exchange for our abstaining from doing them harm. For this reason, a satisfactory result is generally not achieved by counting solely on the interplay of private or professional influence which shapes our everyday behaviour (in this case, there is no such influence).

Good management of the environment was long ago pinpointed by economists as one of the areas where market forces fail: contractual relations between suppliers and demanders do not lead to a satisfactory situation from the point of view of all the agents affected by reason of the importance of externalities. (We speak of externalities when there are consequences – positive or negative – on a third party which is not involved in an economic transaction). Thus, if a business uses a production technique which harms the quality of the air or water, a disadvantage results for users of these natural resources (negative externality). But this affects neither the costs nor the earnings of the business, thus it exerts no influence over the profitability criteria which guide its decision to produce. The victims of pollution are outside the relationship between the supplier and its customers, so that goods with negative externalities are produced in excessive quantity in relation to what would have been decided if the costs suffered by third parties had been taken into account. The existence of externalities (of significant importance) is thus counted among the situations that can be corrected by public policies.

The case of meat is analogous: this is a product of which the supplied quantity is regulated by relations between suppliers (breeders, fishermen, processors, distributors, etc.) and demanders (consumers). Now, there are third party victims of huge negative externalities – the animals that are eaten – whose interests count for nothing in the decision to produce. They are economically inaudible, unless the suppliers or the demanders decide to represent them. As in the case of activities causing degradation to the environment, it happens that these voluntary inflections of behaviour exist, but they are insufficient to solve the problem. Humans possess to some degree the faculty of understanding that it would be desirable to spare the helpless victims of their acts. They possess to a much lesser degree the faculty of effectively sparing them by spontaneous individual decisions. They are however capable of finding indirect means of achieving this, putting in place arrangements which incite or oblige them to do what should be done. Concerning meat, prohibition is a remarkably simple and efficient device. It is fortunate compared to other areas where solutions are more complex.35

The environmental impact of livestock farming

The close ties between the ecological question and the animal question are not limited to the structural resemblance of the two problems (the similarity of the approaches necessary to understand and resolve them). There is also a substantial proximity: livestock farming, for example, is an environmental question, in that it uses degradable or exhaustible natural resources. Its impact in the matter is considerable:

Eating meat is bad for the environment. This is the conclusion arrived at by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which made public on 29 November (2006) a report on the ecological impact of livestock farming. This is “one of the main causes of environmental problems”, states one of its authors, Henning Steinfeld.


Measured in equivalent CO2, livestock farming’s contribution to global warming is higher than that of the transport sector. The activity is responsible for 65% of the emissions of nitrous oxide, a gas whose potential for global warming is 296 times higher than that of CO2, and is mainly released by manure. Moreover, cattle produce 37 % of the methane emissions linked to human activity. This gas, produced by the digestive system of ruminants, has an effect twenty-three times greater than CO2 on global warming.


Pasture occupies 30 % of land surface, while 33 % of arable land is used to produce food for cattle – and these surfaces are insufficient to supply the demand, which is causing forests to be felled. Other damage is listed: 20 % of pastures are degraded by overgrazing, leading to soil erosion and compaction; this activity is also regarded as “among the most harmful for water resources”.36

Water degradation, deforestation, soil erosion (and in some regions desertification) caused by livestock farming destroy or impoverish the habitat of wild animals, with the result that fewer of them are able to live and reproduce. Livestock farming is also more directly responsible for the death of wild animals, since 24% of the fishing catch (in 2004) is used to feed livestock.37 Finally, the current rise in cereal prices is a reminder that the different uses of arable land are in competition with each other (e.g. crops for human food, crops for animal food, or biofuel production) and that, through differentials in purchasing power, meat consumption can contribute to the growth of poverty and under-nourishment in the poorest groups of humans.38

The impact (of the current cereal price rise) will vary according to buying power: in developed countries, the cost of food represents from 10 % to 20 % of a household budget, as against 60 % to 90 % in the poorest countries. “When 90 % of expenses go towards food, an increase of 20 % in the price of cereals is simply disastrous”.39

Towards intensive, ecological, livestock farming?

The consumption of meat causes immense harm to the animals who are raised or fished, and causes also the disappearance of wild animals. It degrades soil, water, forests, etc. Because of the unequal distribution of income, it also weighs heavy on the lot of the most impoverished humans.

Is it then possible to say that if policies were implemented to remove the environmental problems linked to livestock farming, they would necessarily be good “for people, for animals and for the planet”? The orientations suggested in the 2006 FAO report give little cause for optimism. The proposals were constructed around the acceptance of continual growth of meat consumption, so that the question becomes: “How to supply more meat while limiting ecological damage?” The suggested solution could be qualified as evolution towards “intensive ecological livestock farming”. This requires policies of including ecological costs in pricing, so that degradable or exhaustible resources cease to be wasted: end livestock farming subsidies, raise the price of water, increase the cost of using land (especially put an end to grazing on common land without charge), and apply the “polluter pays” principle. At the same time, financial aids and public means (such as research) should be implemented to reduce the environmental impact of livestock farming, taking account of the fact that this impact is different according to the species. For an equal amount of meat produced, cattle contribute most to greenhouse gas emissions and, when they are raised in extensive farming, contribute the most to land degradation. In this hierarchy of ecological harm, poultry farms are those with the least impact. They are also the least inefficient in terms of food produced as compared to food eaten by the animals.

According to the FAO report, the industrialisation of livestock farming is not a problem in itself; what is a problem (in terms of environmental damage) is the concentration of livestock farms on certain geographical zones, which gives rise to the need to implement policies to encourage a more balanced distribution over the territory. However, for the report’s authors, “if the projected future demand for livestock products is to be met, it is hard to see an alternative to (the) intensification of livestock production” (op. cit. p. 236). This intensification involves reducing extensive farming,40 and increasing technical progress (actively supported by public research) which will lead in particular to economising on the quantity of feed consumed by the animals to produce a given quantity of meat, milk or eggs, by improving the breeds used through genetic selection.

In total, the reduction of the environmental impact of meat production via intensive ecological livestock farming signifies:

– Displacement of cattle production in favour of other species, particularly chickens, that is to say a significant increase in the number of animals killed per kilo of meat produced;

– Accelerated degradation of the animals’ living conditions, through the disappearance of the remaining farms where they have the freedom to range over open fields; they would henceforth be packed into concentration camp style buildings;

– Accelerated degradation of their quality of life caused by the physical characteristics researchers want them to develop. We all know what kind of progress animal production science is capable of in terms of genetic improvements. We already have chickens who grow in 40 days (instead of 80 days 30 years ago) and whose skeletons are too fragile to bear their weight,41 the multiplication of the number of piglets per litter,42 the number of eggs per hen, of litres of milk per cow.

To make livestock farming go down the path of such “sustainable development” is not to return to an imaginary past of harmonious relations between the shepherd and his flock on a backdrop of meadows and mountains; rather it is to go even further forward towards the reification of animals and their confinement, it is to knowingly produce deformed individuals, and to exploit their bodies to the bitter end.

A bearable environment: for whom?

It is not a matter of an inevitable divorce between ecology and animal ethics. On the contrary, the emerging environmental challenges are an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed of working to bring them together. People are becoming more aware that they cannot just rely on the network of microeconomic relations and everyday social intercourse to save the planet. FAO experts insist that the problems will not be solved by counting on “business as usual”, neither will they be solved if the current policies of support for agriculture continue. If ever the measures necessary to combat environmental problems such as global warming, desertification, and water pollution, are set up, the price will be paid in huge changes to employment, consumption and the geographical distribution of activities. Vast resources will need to be allocated in order to make these necessary evolutions come about. For these changes to lead to a truly better world the questions should be thought through beforehand.

The most urgent question to be asked is: Who is affected by the environment? For whom must this planet remain (become) inhabitable, and so remain durably?” Humans are not the only sentient beings on earth. The other animals also have an interest in enjoying a habitat which is appropriate to their needs. A universe of cages, nets and fish hooks is certainly not a decent environment for them. What is the sense of these projects of “sustainable development” and “durable growth” which consist of making life durably unsustainable for all those who share this planet with us?

Solving environmental problems caused by livestock farming through the abolition of meat is neither more difficult to organise nor less beneficial for humans than to undertake the complicated changeover to intensive ecological livestock farming. It is even probable that a good outcome from humanity’s viewpoint alone, is more certain via abolition. And from the point of view of the animals, the difference between the two options is infinite.

It behoves the movement for the abolition of meat to help humanity to progress towards an ecology of sensibility, and not just a humanist one: to care about managing the earth well in the interest of all its sentient inhabitants; to stop thinking of animals as “natural resources” to be used as we please as long as humanity’s long term interests are not compromised.

7. Making the abolition project
part of the world today

Does the movement for meat abolition reduce its chance of becoming a political issue by the long-distance nature of its demands? No parliament or government will decide to prohibit the use of animals as food in the near future; no big political party of our time will put it on its programme.
Consequently, if the movement is seen as demanding nothing less than the event which will seal its success (i.e. total abolition), it runs the risk of having little influence on the current themes which make up day to day political life. However, there is no reason why it should be like this. There are a host of partial measures which are consistent with the march towards abolition, such as: reduce and eventually end the subsidies to livestock farming and fishing, put a tax on meat, impose respect for the right to not eat meat (possibility of meals without animal products in school and work canteens and other community restaurants), discourage young people from entering the livestock and fishing trades (and all associated trades), prevent the opening or extension of livestock farms, refute propaganda that presents animal products as indispensable to our health, or obtain the prohibition of the production and importation of certain kinds of meat which have been produced in particularly atrocious conditions. Businesses, distribution networks, and private individuals can create non-meat zones on their own territory.

Supporting meat abolition does not necessarily imply cutting all ties with those who are working towards improving farming conditions and protesting against factory farms:43 they are one of the expressions of the attention given to animals in our societies; in fact, to attack factory farming is to attack practically all livestock farming. In the field, many different points of convergence are possible, as long as they don’t encourage people to believe the illusion that widespread animal well-being will soon be the norm in livestock farms.

The demand for meat abolition does not push to the background the information effort directed at consumers so that more and more of them will refuse to buy animal products. The aim is not to prefer a more “collective” approach to the problem. No collective evolution can be created other than by winning the support of the individuals who make up society. The aim is to communicate with individuals as consumers and citizens, so that the two approaches are mutually strengthened.

The animal organisations have already undertaken to act on the different levels where decisions are taken: private individuals, political institutions, other organisations (businesses, research institutes, associations, etc.). The task of the movement for the abolition of meat is not to propose an upheaval in the methods employed or the campaigns waged, even if new themes are added. Its primary task is to facilitate the reinterpretation of a multitude of approaches already in place and to associate new actors. Beyond their immediate objective, many of these actions will make sense as being steps towards the abolition of meat, because this horizon will have been explicitly fixed and will have entered the public arena as one of the serious candidates for the role of the possible future.

Abolition will not creep up on us, taking little steps at a steady pace. Rather there will be an acceleration and a “jump” with the straight out adoption of abolition. But before that day, many partial measures may represent signs (and effective progress) that make the idea ever more credible, more tangible, that we are bending towards the abolition of meat. They are preparing the acceptance and the willingness to end the sacrifice of animals for the purpose of eating them.

The movement for the abolition of meat is also about speaking out: it exists because individuals and organisations declare themselves in favour of the prohibition of the consumption of animal flesh. It exists because this belief is seen as something more than a pious wish for a better world which is not destined to come true.

Feet on the ground, head in the stars

Meat abolition is a reformist approach. There is no need to revolutionise beliefs and social relations from top to bottom so as to install a radically new order. This is about bringing an operational response to a concrete problem: the hideous fate reserved up until now for animals that are eaten. Moreover, meat abolition helps safeguard habitats that are necessary for wild animals; it contributes to the solution of food and health problems concerning humans, as well as the preservation of the planet in the interest of its future inhabitants.

What is utopian is not abolishing meat, but thinking that we are progressing towards a guarantee of decent living and dying conditions for animals that are bred for food, hunted or fished. This idea is surreal – all the more so in a context where controlling environmental damage caused by rapidly expanding meat production is likely to become a supplementary factor for intensifying farming.

Although limited in its objective, the project for the abolition of meat aims at nothing less than the greatest reduction of suffering and death ever achieved. By its aim and the means to achieve it, it opens the way to a civilisation that is more attentive to all sentient beings affected by our choices. At the end of the journey, what we find may not be paradise; but, considering the limited nature of the demand, it won’t be too bad.

Videos in English – French Sub-titled

Notes to be read on Cahiers Antispecists  (end of the page)

This article is worth reading to the end, to understand why vegans call for meat abolition. It sure may sounds utopic, it may take time till our world changes, as much time as it needed for the slaves to be free.
Eva Reus, Antoine Comiti

Abstract. The idea expressed by this article is that we must now work explicitly towards the legal banning of the production and consumption of animal flesh. It is both a necessary measure, and one possible to obtain without waiting for a revolution in the way of thinking or the organisation of our societies.

“Animals should not be harmed or killed unnecessarily”: throughout the world, this precept is part of common morality. Throughout the world, the consumption of animal products for food is the main reason why humans harm and kill animals, unnecessarily. The aforesaid precept is not without consequence: some people refuse to consume products of animal origin, others reduce their consumption of meat, still others choose products from farms that offer some guarantee on how the animals are treated; some countries pass laws protecting farm animals. But this is not enough to reverse the trend: the number of animals raised and fished in the world is growing inexorably, whilst industrial farming becomes the norm. It is illusory to wait for laws protecting animal welfare to finally ensure decent living and dying conditions for the billions of animals eaten every year: it is difficult for farmers to decide to place the well-being of their animals before the profitability of their farm, and there is neither enough space nor a big enough workforce to properly care for so many animals.

Recognising the fact that the production of animal flesh has a disastrous environmental impact will not necessarily lead to an improvement in the allotted fate of animals: if the animals’ interests are not taken into account as such, this recognition may, on the contrary, lead to more intensive farming.

The contrast between the obligations that humans recognise having towards animals, and the way in which they actually treat them, does not imply that their declared good intentions are just hypocritical. What we learn from this contrast, however, is that spontaneous changes in consumer behaviour are not sufficient to put an end to the butchery. There are reasons for this. The situation is familiar: the problems of road safety, pollution, human poverty or child abuse cannot be solved just by relying on the capacity of each person to modify their habits to remedy the situation, even when they are generally acknowledged to be wrong.

To bring to an end the hideous fate reserved for animals that are eaten, the question should also be asked on the political level. A process must be begun which will finish by laws being passed to ban predation (hunting and fishing) and production (farming) of animals for human consumption. Public institutions have also a role to play in the retraining of workers whose incomes depend on these activities. This process begins by the public expression of the demand for the abolition of meat.

 Table of Contents

Meat Abolition
Click on image to download as a PDF

1. A New Demand

2. An Admissible Demand

Neither mistreat nor kill without necessity

Moral law and legal law

What about individual liberties ?

3. Producers, Consumers and Citizens

Supply and demand

Words and deeds

Involving the citizen

4. Providing for the Future of Former Meat Workers

Meat factory workers

Small producers in developing countries

Working to ruin lives

Helping meat workers change career

5. Meat with Animal Welfare Guarantee: an Alternative to Abolition?

Evolution of meat production

Laws and labels

Generalised animal welfare: an illusory future

6. For an Ecology of Sensibility

Comparable issues

The environmental impact of livestock farming

Towards intensive, ecological, livestock farming?

A bearable environment: for whom?

7. Making the Abolition Project Part of the World Today

Feet on the ground, head in the stars

The time has come to work towards the abolition of meat, by opening a public debate about the idea that eating animal flesh should be outlawed, cultivating support for this idea, and eventually getting every country to pass a law forbidding meat consumption. It is a question of obtaining the consent of human societies to the eradication of a practice, based on the recognition of the great harm that it causes to animals. This recognition only requires the effective application of what is already common morality. The demand for meat abolition will take place in the current political agenda. We can imagine its culmination within the framework of institutions and social organisation that we already know.

1. A new demand

This political demand is new. It is true that for more than two thousand years the legitimacy of meat has often been questioned; human individuals and groups have refused to consume it. And it is also true that for the last thirty years groups of animal advocates have been trying to convince people not to eat animal products. Their ideal is to abolish livestock farming and fishing. However, up until now, nobody has proclaimed the prohibition of eating animal flesh as a declared objective, and its popularisation a priority. It was hardly mentioned that public intervention should also be used to right the wrongs caused to the animals concerned.1 The belief was lacking that it is possible to persuade our fellow humans of this necessity.

The demand for the abolition of meat has taken a long time to emerge, because it was thought that a largely carnivorous population would not understand, and would react with hostility to any demand for prohibition. And all the while, with every investigation revealing the horrendous suffering of animals destined to be eaten, with every increase in specific demands (outlaw force-feeding, don’t eat factory-farmed chicken, etc.), the meat industry has tried to make people worried by warning them: “Look out, this campaign is being led by a handful of vegetarians who want to impose their ideas!” In this way a paradoxical situation was created, wherein the only voices referring to an as yet non-existent offensive aimed at outlawing meat, belonged to those who stand to benefit by depicting such an offensive as a sinister plot instigated by a secret power.

The situation is changing. In the United States, a book2 published in 2005 advocates the development of a “movement for dismantling animal agriculture”. In France, the theme of meat abolition makes its first appearance in the same year (see box); a discussion group formed around this project proposes the following resolution:

Because meat production involves killing the animals that are eaten,

because their living conditions and slaughter cause many of them to suffer,

because eating meat isn’t necessary,

because sentient beings shouldn’t be mistreated or killed unnecessarily,

therefore, farming, fishing and hunting animals for their flesh, as well as selling and eating animal flesh, should be abolished.


The people involved in this new movement believe that the general population is now capable of regarding the demand for the abolition of meat as a reasonable proposition, neither absurd nor scandalous. It already is an admissible initiative: a proposition that citizens are capable of understanding as a sensible project, even if it will take some time to gather wide support. The reasons for requiring a legal prohibition will be set out by the public debate over this initiative.

The arrival of this demand on the political scene will throw new light on what looks like a possible alternative to abolition: continuing to use animals for food while ensuring their well-being. The ideas raised by this demand may also lead to further study of the link – long anticipated – between the animal cause and ecological preoccupations.

The proposal to abolish meat does not imply criticism of the value of the campaigns, ideas, and actions that have been carried out in favour of animals for many years, nor does it prescribe dropping them for radically different methods. On the contrary, fixing the goal of abolition should give more strength, sense and coherence to many initiatives already in place, and may inspire some new ones.

The beginnings of the movement in France

The theme of meat abolition was debated for the first time in August 2005 at the ”Estivales de la question animale” gathering:
The reflection was prolonged on a personal blog:
http://abolitionblog.blogspot.com/ (in French)
and on a discussion group:
http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/ab… (in French)
This first discussion group was joined by a similar list in English in 2007:

2. An admissible demand

The demand for the abolition of meat is based on no more than common morality: not only with regard to what is due to animals, but also to justifiable restrictions to individual liberty.

Neither mistreat nor kill without necessity

Moral condemnation of mistreatment of animals is widely shared: most people agree that they should not have to suffer for no good reason, nor be killed without necessity.3 Furthermore, it is factually true that farming, hunting and fishing kill, and that they inflict considerable suffering on animals. It is factually true that humans do not need to consume animal products in order to live in good health. Not eating meat does not bar the way to a fulfilled life, nor even to the enjoyment of eating. Because the ethical premise is part of ordinary morality, and the intermediate assertions allowing us to deduce the conclusion are facts, not opinions, the demand for the abolition of meat is qualified to be regarded as a proposition that is worthy of being taken into consideration.

Moral law and legal law

A moral imperative is universal: it is a statement of what should be done by everyone. Abolishing meat would be to take a legal disposition so that the moral imperative concerned may be effectively respected by everyone in one of its principal domains of application.

Such use of the law is difficult to imagine whilst the population is deeply divided in its concept of what is right. In this case political art consists in finding compromises enabling peaceful coexistence between those who hold different ethics. Often this involves fixing limits to the sphere of each one’s operations, which means not recognising any claim for universal application.4 However, the protection of animals against practices which cause them grave harm is different. The admonition “You should not mistreat or kill animals without necessity” is practically consensual. There is no significant group for whom the opposite prescription is an essential value (“You should torment and kill animals for your own enjoyment”), nor any major ethical theory which provides the foundation for such a conclusion. In these conditions, it is not unrealistic to work towards the “legal law” giving support to the moral law.

What about individual liberties?

Of course the movement for meat abolition will be accused of trying to curtail individual liberties, probably by the same people who were protesting even before the demand was formulated. How long can the spectre of a takeover fomented by a minority be brandished and prevent the real debate from taking place? The initiators of this movement do not possess an army that is ready to crush the carnivorous masses. They have neither the means nor the ambition to raise one. Before a law that bans the consumption of animal products for food can be passed and enforced, a large part of the population must consent to it. The bill will only be examined after a process in which an increasing number of people will have actively committed themselves in favour of it.

The fact remains that establishing a legal prohibition involves imposing a constraint on everybody, and that a wide-based agreement to a measure does not imply unanimous approval. The extent of individual liberties will be reduced. However, demanding such a restriction will not necessarily be regarded as odious and incomprehensible by everyone except its promoters. “Do not inflict unnecessary suffering on animals” is derived from the wider precept “Do not harm others”, combined with the fact that, animals being sentient, they are part of the “others” that it is possible to harm. When meat is abolished, it cannot be regarded as a victory of compulsion over freedom although some people will still resist this measure. The choice is not between imposing a diktat on unwilling carnivores (constraint) or imposing nothing on anybody (freedom). It is between constraining these carnivores to give up a habit without which one can live and find pleasure in life, or continue to constrain animals to imprisonment, mutilation, separation from their family and friends, deprivation of autonomy, and death. Because it is a question of reducing freedom when it leads to behaviour which attacks the freedom, the health, the happiness and the life of others, we enter the domain where – including in cultures which are the most attached to individual liberties – it is acknowledged that institutions can (and must) constrain individuals.

3. Producers, consumers and citizens

Why should the citizen – by a political demand – be involved in challenging the use of animals for food, rather than leaving the choice to the consumer alone?

Supply and demand

The consumer can choose to abolish meat from her own realm (banish it from her own table), or at least have a care for the living conditions of the animals in the farms that supply the products that she buys. These two attitudes are progressing numerically, but remain very minor. Worldwide, the consumption of animal flesh per inhabitant is progressing rapidly, along with farming methods that least respect animal needs. Thus the prescription “You must not mistreat or kill animals without necessity” is at the same time both widely approved and widely inoperative. From both sides, “supply” and “demand”, factors push towards maintaining and extending the system in place.

Fishing and farming are economic activities which, like any other, have their own growth logic. They are not content to passively respond to a pre-existing demand. Technical evolutions in these sectors have facilitated the conquest of new markets. In a few decades technologies of animal husbandry have created an explosion of production capacities and a prodigious drop in production costs, and there has been a huge development of industrial fishing as well. Moreover, in these sectors the costs as well as the profits of businesses follow rather peculiar rules. Under-valuing of land or water used for agricultural purposes, as well as the absence of responsibility by producers for environmental degradations caused by their activity, lower production costs. In addition, it is frequent that the development potential of a business is not strictly dependent on its income from sales. Indeed, agriculture and fishing are among the most subsidised economic activities.5 Apart from structural support, public authorities come to the rescue of producers during epizootic diseases or input price rises.

As for the consumers, they consume. Only a minority think about farming conditions when they buy. However, a majority of them say they are concerned about animal welfare.6 The number of those who say they feel bad about, or disagree with, the killing of animals, is far from negligible. Thus, in a survey co-financed by the French Ministry of Agriculture,7 disapproval of the killing of animals is expressed by a majority of French people in the case of bullfighting and hunting, and by a significant minority in the case of farm animals or fish. From a sample of 1000 people, the percentage of interviewees who say they “tend to disagree” or “strongly disagree” with the statements quoted is as follows:

The idea that you can kill an animal in a bullfight seems normal to you – don’t agree: 88%.

The idea that you can kill an animal in a hunt seems normal to you – don’t agree: 52%.

The idea that you can buy poultry and kill it yourself seems normal to you – don’t agree: 40%.

The idea that you can kill an animal by fishing seems normal to you – don’t agree: 39%.

It is normal that humans raise animals for their meat – don’t agree: 14%.

Moreover, 65% of the people interviewed declared that they agree with the following assertion: “You would not wish to be present at the slaughter of animals.”

Words and deeds

Fourteen per cent of the people surveyed declare that they do not find it normal that animals are raised for their meat, whilst they themselves consume the product of the slaughterhouse.8 That does not make their judgement any less real ; it can be used as leverage for change. This type of contradiction between words and deeds is not unusual. At the present time, a majority of humans express worry about global warming or fossil fuels running out, and sincerely wish for solutions to be found. Only a minute proportion of them take the initiative to significantly change their consumption habits in order to preserve the environment. On the other hand, when policies are put into action in this area, they are generally understood and accepted, even when they involve new constraints.9

The explanation for these seemingly contradictory attitudes would entail using much more data than we can explore here. Let’s just mention one direction among others by means of an example.

The moral imperative dictates: “Act as everyone should act in the same circumstances.” To the driver who is caught parking in a space reserved for people with disabilities, and who retorts that this isolated action will not cause much harm, we offer this reproach: “What if everybody acted in the same way as you?”

According to a principle of ordinary behaviour, we should “Behave in awareness of how others behave.”

Respecting parking spaces reserved for disabled people is the option which will be readily chosen in a society where the custom of leaving them free is already established. If on the other hand everyone parks in these spaces, the dominant reflex will be: “Why should I have to go and look for a parking place ten streets away, when this spot will be taken within 30 seconds by another non-disabled driver?” Or else you could simply let yourself be guided by the habit of using these parking spots as ordinary spaces. Only drivers who are most aware of the difficulties of disabled people will not give in to the temptation of discounting the probability (not non-existent) that, for once, it may be a disabled person who occupies the space if they leave it free. Or else, without thinking of the consequences, they would be simply prevented by the uncomfortable feeling produced by the thought of an action which expresses indifference towards vulnerable people. A majority, however, would not be constrained, by their own initiative, to do what they would judge to be right if they were asked to express an opinion on the subject.

Concerning the use of animals for food, the consumption practices in force impose massive mistreatment and slaughter of animals. Standing out from the dominant behaviour in society (and stepping outside one’s own routines) has a cost which, without being terribly high, is not less real. At the same time, it is tempting to reassure oneself on the harmlessness of one’s own inability to act as one should by invoking the fact that this failing is generalised: “How will it help chickens if I don’t buy this particular chicken, when they are produced by hundreds of millions?” Or else, one goes shopping in the usual way, without questioning anything, buying a chicken like one buys a kilo of carrots. There is little chance of being reminded of one’s duty towards animals by the remark “What if everybody acted like you?” since everybody is busy doing just that.

Involving the citizen

Let us imagine that people are asked this question: “Do you want to put an end to raising and slaughtering animals?” One could suppose that some of those who claim to disagree with the idea that it is normal to raise animals for their meat10 would hesitate to participate by their vote in the continuation of livestock farming. And how would those react who confess their uneasiness at the idea of being present at the slaughter of animals, when asked to choose between ending or continuing slaughter? In contrast with choices made at the supermarket, they will no longer be in the role of consumers but in that of citizens, in a position to pass judgment on something that will be imposed on everyone. It is less easy now to avoid conscious reflection on the question asked, and fall back on routine, and impossible to escape from the choice of what one judges to be right by invoking the insignificant weight of our own consumer behaviour, since in this case the decision taken will apply to the whole community. On the contrary, and by this very fact, the fears inspired by the risk of social marginalisation in the case of adoption of a type of consuming different from that of one’s friends and family, no longer apply.

How many humans would demand that the massacre begin again after being interrupted, and after they have reorganised their lives without cutting the throats of animals or suffocating them in order to eat them? If we were in the post-meat period, it is possible that with no more than our current mentalities we would choose not to return. It is, however, also true that it is difficult to make the journey from the age of meat in the other direction.

The project for the abolition of meat wants the animal question to be asked at the citizen level also. That is where the moral imperative has a chance of being less easily buried under routine and easy self-justifications when a bad practice is generalised: the level where one is made to be aware that a reasoned decision has to be taken.

When the question of meat makes its entrance among the subjects debated in the political arena, the public will realise that a time will come when the community will have to choose, and that everyone has a responsibility in this choice. A growing number of people will be encouraged to take sides, to say so, and will feel obliged to justify their judgement. If this process gets under way, the tension will be then felt more strongly in the case of contradiction between the judgement announced and personal behaviour, and the result will be a certain encouragement to reduce it. If a growing number of people openly express the previously unexpressed position “I do not find it normal that humans raise (or fish) animals for their meat”, there will be more people who will limit or eliminate their consumption of animals. The exemplary nature of such attitudes will become more obvious if the debate “for or against the abolition of meat” has succeeded in making a place for itself in political life. The choice of these consumers will be clearly understood as a boycott and not as the expression of some particular orientation in the matter of dietetics or gastronomy. The increasing number of people who combine words and actions will strengthen the credibility of an evolution towards meat abolition. A development of the attitude of passive consent to abolition will also result: that of people who, without taking the initiative of changing their individual behaviour, will be ready to admit that the measure is good or acceptable once it is adopted.

The evolution of citizens’ proclaimed beliefs and of their consumer behaviour will reinforce each other.

Part 2 next page


Français / EnglishAs published on my business website ..  Ainsi que publié sur le site de mon cabinet.

Une psychose commence à prendre sauce, après celles liées aux grippes, à la grande crise économique, qui rend les passionnés de superstitions et de croyances extra-ordinaires très nerveux et peureux. Certains commencent à se préparer à la grande fin du monde annoncée (dit-on) par le calendrier Maya : 21 Décembre 2012 serait la fin du monde.

De nombreuses personnes m’ont écrit afin de me demander si c’était vrai, s’il fallait vraiment s’y préparer.

La seule réponse que je peux faire est que je reçois des “visions” et des prédictions concernant des périodes allant de 2015 à 2050.  Si Décembre 2012 était la fin du monde, je ne serais pas en mesure d’accéder aux Mémoires Akashiques où sont stockés tous les évènements passés, présents et à venir concernant l’humanité au dela de l’an 2012.

Non..Notre monde ne sera pas arrivé à sa fin en Décembre 2012, malgré les avertissements que nous continuerons à recevoir pour que les humains se réssaississent et que nos dirigeants prennent la bonne route pour les guider, ce qui n’est pas encore gagné.  Nous fêterons le nouvel an 2013 pour aller au delà de 2018, période qui verra le délcin des “Maitres du monde” mis sous une pression universelle pour revenir à une économie juste et un partage des ressources. La première vraie décision sera prise par un leader brillant qui pourra redonner espoir, après 2013, même si cela sera à peine perceptible, pour partager les ressources et les énergies économiques.

Certes, un grand cataclysme terre / inondation mettra l’humanité à rude épreuve, ce sera le tournant qui devrait permettre le déclic .. à la condition que les leaders, dont celui mentionné ouvrent leurs coeurs. Quelques évènements ne peuvent être changés, ils SONT les changements nécessaires.

En attendant, on voit une multitude de sites internet qui exploitent cette prophétie, et qui profitent de vendre leurs livres, les kits de survie, des tshirts etc.. ils affichent des comptes à rebours à faire trember de peur ..  tout est bon pour faire tourner la machine économique


Mayan Prophecy : end of times 21 December 2012
I receive many mails from people who get worried : a Mayan prophecy is supposed to bring an end of times on December 21, 2012.Funny enough we can find so many websites dedicated to the Many propecies : some sell books, others sell survival kits .. even show countdown till 21 December 2012!  psychose is increasing day after day.I can only give this answer : as a psychic I keep receiving “visions” and predictions that concern the years 2105 to 2050. If December 2012 was really the end of times, I would not be able to have access to the Akashic Records that concern past, present, future information concerning humanity beyond the year 2012.

There will be no December 21, 2012 end of times .. we shall celebrate New Year 2013 and on..

Nevertheless I would point out that a crucial time will occur as from 2012 to 2018 and on,  our leaders will have to make the right decisions for humanity, to save the planet by making the right choices (that are not taken right now and wont be till 2013). The “Masters of the World” will face a major crisis when humans from all the countries will march to put them down, so we can at last share our economy and natural ressources.
Once the first right choice made by a brillant leader has been voted, the world will enter a new era after 2013, although changes wont be merely seen.

There will be a disaster (earth/water) worse than the previous ones, that will be the turn to this new era, under the condition that our leaders including the one mentioned above, open their hearts. Some events cannot be changed they ARE the means to the turning.

Keep faith.. God bless

 The movie " Peaceable Kingdom" has just been released by Tribe of Heart.  PEACEABLE KINGDOM: THE JOURNEY HOME is a new documentary by the award-winning filmmakers of The Witness. A riveting story of transformation and healing, this groundbreaking film explores the awakening conscience of several people who grew up in traditional farming culture and who have now come to question the basic premises of their inherited way of life. 


Le Film "Peaceable Kingdom" vient de sortir aux Usa, filmé sur plusieurs mois par Tribe of Heart. Peaceable Kingdom : Le voyage vers la Demeure, est un documentaire fait par le réalisateur qui a obtenu des awards pour son film The Witness. Le film suit le parcours de fermiers qui ont atteint un stade d’éveil de leurs consciences alors qu’ils avaient grandi dans la tradition de l’agriculture traditionnelle, pour remettre en question une manière de vivre qu’ils avaient reçu en héritage.
Le film doit permettre de comprendre que les animaux de ferme ressentent les douleurs et les memes sensibilités que les animaux domestiques.

Le fermier repenti Harold Brown parle de son cheminement ci-dessous..

Preview :


Harold Brown, a  farmer who took part into the making of the movie speaks :


A Farmer Call for Mercy

My name is Harold Brown and I grew up on a beef farm in Michigan. I was the 5th generation to work on the land and lived near my great uncles farms. Considering the generation of my relatives who owned the farms around me I experienced an older type of agriculture. I also grew up in a typical little one room, white steeple church that sat in a cow pasture. The culture of farming on our farms was closer to the turn of the 20th century than the 21st century. We practiced very little of the “New Agriculture” of post WWII but rather the methods of a generation earlier. During the late 70’s and early 80’s I witnessed friends and neighbors farms being absorbed by corporate interests. It is this first hand experience I have had growing up in a farming community and interacting with farm animals on a family farm, going to stockyards, spending time in slaughterhouses, and witnessing the practices on factory farms that brings me here, to share my evolution and understanding of humankinds relationship to animals we call food.
Now I know that what I am going to talk about may arouse discomfort and dis-ease but I think it is important that, as controversial as this subject may be, we try to understand our relationship to farm animals. I have devoted my life to extending my circle of compassion and to try to help others expand theirs through my experiences. My intention, however, is not to cast judgment, nor to arouse bitterness, but rather to inspire compassion, introspection, and quite simply awe and wonder about the other species with whom we share this beautiful planet.

Growing up on a cattle farm I was indoctrinated to a particular relationship, or mindset with farm animals. The ideas of dominion, stewardship, compassion, mercy and moral responsibility have been, since my childhood, a constant battleground for me, a dilemma that took over 30 years to come to terms with.

As a child I performed the usual chores that I think most farm kids did. I drove tractor, operated machinery, plowed, planted, harvested, fed and watered animals, went hunting and looked to my family for validation in the things that I felt were not quite right. I loved driving tractor and my mother said I had an obsession from birth with tractors. I still enjoy tractors and steam shows.
But when my concerns turned to the animals, say, in the winter, worrying if they were warm enough, comparing my discomfort to theirs I naturally assumed that they felt the cold every bit as much as I did. I was told that is why they have fur coats and I shouldn’t overly concern myself unless the temperature dropped below freezing. Or when we castrated young bulls I said to my father, “That’s got to hurt.” He said they didn’t feel things like we do–they were less sensitive. I didn’t see the evidence of his observation when the calves were struggling with all their might to escape and bellered as if we were killing them. Nor did I understand as a small boy why I was punished for drowning a cat by mistake when we would kill and butcher so many animals.

At other times life on the farm was bucolic. I especially enjoyed haying season. All of our neighbors would come to our farm and we would spend a couple of days mowing hay. There would be a huge feast at lunchtime followed by a short nap in the cool summer shade. We worked very hard but it was rewarding work and it was the bonding of community. But there was this stark contrast between those things I found pleasant and the horrors. Did all children deal with this dichotomy? At times I felt that I was being split in two. On one hand I was a benevolent care- giver and the next an executioner. I would sit in church and listen attentively to find meaning to this imbalance within myself. In Sunday school I would ask why I had to do things that made my heart feel sick. I was told that that was the natural order of things and I should honor my family and carry on. In other words, stuff my emotions away and don’t ever cry.

When I would read Genesis I tried to find my place in this drama.

“And God made wild animals according their kinds…
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth…and there was morning-the sixth day.
“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
“And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat; and it was so.” Genesis 1:24-31 NIV

This was Eden, a place of perfect balance, and a harmonious existence. I longed for Eden and at times created an imaginary Eden on our farm, albeit it was mostly in my head. The animals in Eden didn’t eat one another and Adam and Eve didn’t eat them. How far have we fallen? Can you imagine an existence where you are confined in an enclosure not seeing the light of day or having physical contact with your peers? Can you imagine being castrated without anesthesia? Can you imagine standing on wire mesh your entire life? Can you imagine breathing concentrated amounts of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia? Can you imagine having your child taken from you 24 to 48 hours after birth, to never see them again? Can you imagine having a tail, beak or horn cut off without anesthesia? Can you imagine being shocked routinely? Can you imagine being electrically stunned only to regain consciousness while you are being butchered? The animals don’t do these things to each other, we do. These things sound horrific, but they happen millions of times every day and I suppose they are almost impossible to imagine. I think the writers of Genesis would probably find it impossible to imagine this kind and scale of cruelty could be inflicted on farm animals, these accepted normal agricultural practices. But here we are.

So how was I to understand dominion, of my place in the scheme of things? I have looked to those scholars who have spent considerable time trying to understand this concept. Rev. Andrew Linzey was asked what dominion meant to him, he said,
“At the heart of the Judeo-Christian tradition is the dream of peace. Many people refer to how humans are given “dominion” in Genesis 1, and that’s true. But if you look at the whole saga: in verse 27, humans are made in the image of God; in verse 28, they’re given dominion; and in verse 29, they’re given a vegetarian diet. Herb eating dominion is hardly a license for despotism. The original author was seeking to describe a relationship, not of egotistical exploitation, but of care for the Earth.”

Dominion can mean something very different to other people. A well known agricultural journalist wrote in a column concerning the then pending horse slaughter bill in Illinois, which he supported, and his horse, “These plants [horse slaughter plants] simply offer an outlet for the people who don’t want to see their aging horses do so in agony and, at the same time, provide a protein source for those who desire it. There is no law that mandates horse owners sell their animals to a processor so that someone in France can eat horsemeat. Forget the argument about the economics of disposing of these creatures, remember that everything lives and everything dies. Horses, like man, will die and death with a purpose gives full meaning to life. Why is it more comforting that a horse dies and then is consumed by coyotes or ants or bacteria?” He sold his horse to a slaughter facility for about $200.00. A horse that had helped him manage his cow/calf operation for nearly 22 years. While he had the choice of giving his faithful steed a peaceful death with dignity by letting him live his life out naturally he chose to send him to slaughter. I wonder if he is implying that humans are also a protein source, his logic would seem to dictate that being food gives life meaning. This farmer had a choice, as we all do, but he chose to relegate his companion to an unpleasant transport (usually horses that go to slaughter are loaded on double-decker trailers where they are not able to stand upright) and death at a slaughterhouse. I wouldn’t choose that fate for my dog. Is this dominion?

Matthew Scully, a conservative Republican, devout Christian and speechwriter for President George W. Bush offers us this perspective of dominion, “Animals are so easily overlooked, their interests so easily brushed aside. Whenever we humans enter their world, from our farms to the local animal shelter to the African savanna, we enter as lords of the earth bearing strange powers of terror and mercy alike. Dominion, as we call this power in the Western tradition, today requires our concentrated moral consideration…I hope also to convey a sense of fellowship…a sense that all of these creatures in our midst are here with us, not just for us.”

In stark contrast to the idea of “conveying a sense of fellowship” we find many examples from agriculture experts that tell a different relationship. The relationship espoused by these experts is for those who raise the animals, not the consumer. The consumer would, I think, have a difficult time reconciling themselves to this set of mores. Possibly consumers don’t care or don’t want to know. In any case the industry goes to great lengths to hide what it does from the public to provide the public with cheap food. J. Byrnes said in Hog Farm Management, “Forget the pig is an animal. Treat him just like a machine in a factory. Schedule treatments like you would lubrication. Breeding season like the first step in an assembly line. And marketing like the delivery of finished goods.”

This reduction of animals into production machines has always bothered me. Where does mercy come into the picture? When I saw a farm animal in pain or distress I would attend to their needs as best as I could. Not because I had to but that it made my heart ache seeing this pitiful sight. At that moment I was taking mercy on an animal that I eventually needed to force onto a truck or shoot between the eyes. There were limits and conditions to my mercy, my kindness. For many years I struggled trying to understand this internal conflict within myself.

Mr. Scully helps give me insight into this attitude by observing, “In a way, the euphemisms of cruelty do convey a certain blunt candor. They imply an acknowledgement, however obscured, that something has gone wrong. However adamantly we might care to defend certain practices, to press on requires a certain hardness, and it sounds more and more strained to describe the things we do and permit in the language of morality. But theirs is a dominion only of power, with them and not God at the center, all grandeur and no grace.”

For myself as a farmer of animals I definitely was the giver and taker of life which played right to what I had been taught. My role was of master and all of nature could and would be subdued, bent to my will. As spiritual as I believed I was, being an animal agriculturalist put me at the center, as Mr. Scully notes, rather than God. There was no place for mercy toward nature let alone animals. This is the history and very nature of agriculture, a means to subdue nature and make it conform to our needs. Today’s agriculturalist is trained to view the natural world as a form of chaos in need of taming in order to provide humans with food. There is no end to the inventiveness of our intervention. From the plow to irrigation to chemical support of the soil to chemical control of weeds, fungus and insects to pharmaceuticals, to genetic manipulation of animals, we have bent nature to our will.

Here is another euphemism from L.J. Taylor, quoted in National Hog Farmer to remind us of the role of the factory farmed sow, “The breeding sow should be thought of, and treated as, a valuable piece of machinery whose function is to pump out baby pigs like a sausage machine.” This disconnect of empathy is not limited to pigs. Farmer and Stockbreeder magazine writes, “The Modern layer is, after all, only a very efficient converting machine, changing the raw material-feedstuffs-into the finished product-the egg-less, of course, maintenance requirements.” How did agribusiness come to this place where humans can casually regard animals as something less, something of complete utility? The industry would blame us. Consumers are the culprits in this drama of reducing God’s sentient creatures to “machines”. For example, market research has shown the industry that consumers demand animal products of consistent quality and at the cheapest reasonable price. To meet this demand the animal industry has adopted the model of industrialization producing animals as quickly as possible at the lowest possible price. They are now economic units, commodities to fill a demand in the food market. While the consumer isn’t explicitly aware of this connection it nevertheless exists. The industry says “economies of scale” necessitate factory farming practices. The argument goes that if we didn’t practice intensive confinement agriculture the country and the world would go hungry. Quite the contrary, American agriculture consistently overproduces but the food does not find its way to the hungry. If we are party to this massive suffering then how did we get here? Consider for a moment the millions of dollars that are poured into focus groups and advertising to convince us that animal products are an absolute necessity. What are the vested interests of these corporations that daily assault us with every type of media to program us to buy their products? We rarely look beyond our impulses, our desires. We want to live well! We want others to know we have affluence! We want to treat our guests to the best and a prime rib is how we demonstrate our standing in society. What of the standing of those that are lying on our plates? How does God look upon the slaughter of his creation for the sake of our societal positioning? Mr. Scully makes an astute observation in noting, “Into your hands are they delivered,” says Genesis. Delivered alive.” I would say that dominion doesn’t exist from man down but rather we are in dominion, the Dominion of God. Our egocentric arrogance has placed us above all else when this, by objective observation, is not the case. Just because we do not share a common language we assume to know better than the animals what should or shouldn’t be done to them. This assumption negates any consideration that their lives matter to them and creates a greater distance from them making mercy nigh unto impossible. Farmed animals like many other higher mammals can suffer pain and psychological distress and therefore, in my opinion deserve our mercy. That is to say if animals matter in and of themselves, then we are obliged to consider their pain and psychological distress. If they matter to God, then cruelty to animals is wrong primarily because it is disrespectful of God.

I believe we have an obligation in our dominion over animals that were created by God to care for them as God intended. Superiority of human beings is attributed to human free will. Only human beings are both good and evil. As such humans are regarded as more central to the divine drama than either animals or angels, neither of whom are both good and evil, although both are constrained by their innocence to be actors in the drama. This demands of our free will to act responsibly towards animals for no other reason than their innocence, humans solely determine the fate of animals. In my experience animals act with more consistency and with greater integrity than nearly any person I know. Compassion is our obligation to animals. How can we act otherwise? These gentle creations of God that are good and not evil ask nothing from us and I think the least we can do is be compassionate toward them and show mercy whenever possible. Allow me to share with you a story about Hope the pig. Hope was found lying at the unloading dock at a stockyard. Like many factory farm pigs who have endured factory farming, Hope was lame. She was unable to walk, and had been left to slowly die of starvation and dehydration. She was rescued by Gene and Lori Bauston, the founders of Farm Sanctuary, a rescue and rehabilitation farm in Upstate New York. Hope was placed with Johnny, another pig at the sanctuary. The two immediately bonded, they played together, bathed in the pond together, slept together and followed each other everywhere. Eventually, Hope died of old age. Although Johnny was much younger, and was in perfect health, within a week he died too. Is Johnny’s response to Hope’s death the reflex of a dumb animal? Time and again we witness the inner lives of farm animals at Farm Sanctuary and have come to understand their complex and unique personalities. Unfortunately, too few people have the opportunity to experience these unique individuals, these creations of God.

In Genesis we are told that animals are created by and for God. Perhaps, then, we should consider dominion as it was given to Adam. Adam’s dominion was a sacred stewardship, which we should aspire to. So are animals ours? I think we need a larger frame of reference, animals are God’s creation and in the beginning they were meant to be our companions. Our first responsibility should be to care for these sentient beings as God originally intended. That would be the highest ideal and consistent with the Will of God.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed and been party to the modern practice of dominion. We exploit animals in factory farms in ways that are beyond the comprehension of our forefathers. They are not viewed as creations of God but rather as economic units. Man has genetically altered most of the animals that are used for food production to be mere caricatures of what God had created. Today’s modern pig, milk cow, beef cow, chicken are so far removed from what they were just a mere 100 years ago. How we treat these poor creatures is without conscience, we do whatever is necessary to expedite the growth and slaughter of food animals. We deprive them of normal social interaction, of day light, of fresh air, and breaking the bonds between mother and children. We slaughter them while partially or fully conscious. When those in the animal industry are confronted with the inherent inhumanity of their actions they deny that they act cruelly and what they do is necessary to provide cheap food. No rational person ever says that they deliberately cause suffering to animals but nevertheless the suffering exists and continues. We truly have devolved from Eden.

In Good News for All Creation, Stephen Kaufman and Nathan Braun very clearly and succinctly give reasons why Christians should be vegetarians treat animals better. Their case can be summarized in their statement: "By attempting to show the greatest possible respect for Creation, we believe, we magnify and glorify the Creator, we participate in God’s sanctification of all life, and we assist God’s reconciling all Creation to a peaceful, vegetarian world. Because meat eating contributes to environmental degradation and harms creatures whose spark of life, we believe, comes from God, every meal in which we abstain from flesh becomes a prayerful expression of love and respect for God."

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, leader of the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was asked, "Are we allowed to make use of animals, and even to eat them?" [God and the World, Ignatius Press, 2002]. Even though he does say that we can, he also says: "This is a very serious question… we cannot just do whatever we want with them. … Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible."

Rev. Andrew Linzey observes, “In God’s eyes, all creatures have value whether we find them cuddly, affectionate, beautiful or otherwise. Our own perspective-in a way-is neither here nor there. Theology, at its best, can help to liberate us from our own anthropocentric limitations.” I find this insightful in that it poses the idea that our perspective is what skews the reality of our relationship with animals. Our perspective, our filter is what determines the value of a farm animal and puts us either at the center of the universe or part of creation. If our only experience with farm animals is through advertising and under cellophane we have a very limited understanding of the farm animal as an individual, as part of Gods creation.

But to a slaughterhouse employee (taken from Gail Eisnitz’s book Slaughterhouse) – "Animal abuse is so common that workers who’ve been in the industry for years get into a state of apathy about it. After a while, it doesn’t seem unusual anymore. In the wintertime, there are always hogs stuck to the sides and floors of the trucks. They go in there with wires or knives and just cut or pry the hogs loose. The skin pulls right off. These hogs were alive when we did this. Animal abuse … is so commonplace nobody even thinks about it." Becoming numb is a very easy path to take. I was taught as a child not to be overly concerned about the animals. To be able to do what was deemed necessary required a discipline of emotional numbing. I had to develop the capacity to care then not to care. I had to be sensitive to the feeding and weight gain of beef cattle and to recognize when they were in distress from illness only to do whatever was necessary to get them on the truck or slaughter them. I have observed that this sliding scale of caring is not reserved exclusively for farmers, stockyard employees or butchers. It seems to permeate our society.

Another example is what a former ranch hand said, (Interviewed by Marjorie Spiegel The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery) – "Sure we used to throw ‘em on the ground and cut their balls off with a pen-knife. Didn’t give them any painkiller, are you kidding? And that’s not all; at the same time, we’d brand ‘em and cut off their horns. And you know what? It didn’t bother me [. . .] I never felt anything for them."
“I never felt anything for them.”

St. Francis of Assisi said, “Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission–to be of service to them wherever they require it.” If we become bound up to the utilitarian idea of animal use that some people attribute to the Bible we run into some problems. If we are to accept, literally, all that we read then many of us have some major problems in our dietary practices. In Leviticus chapter 11 we find that eating anything that has a cloven hoof but does not chew its cud is an abomination and unclean, or any animal that does not have a cloven hoof but chews its cud, or anything that comes from the sea that does not have fin or scale. These few directives from God forbid the consumption of pigs, rabbits, horses, cat fish and calamari to name a few. St. Francis releases us from this conundrum. If we live our lives in service to animals then we are at a place of living in peace with them.

Matthew Scully puts the argument to us this way: “Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind’s capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don’t; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.”

Cardinal John Henry Newman commented, “Cruelty to animals is as if man did not love God.” Indeed, the latter prophets, (Jeremiah, Amos, Mica and Hosea) explicitly link violence against animals to violence against humans, social justice to our treatment of God’s creatures. We see this acted out today. For example, research by Gail Eisnitz, author and slaughterhouse investigator, found many slaughterhouse workers end up abusing their wives and children and usually develop substance abuse problems. Also it was no accident that many of the men who executed people in the Nazi death camps were the local butchers. Unfortunately, the Bible tells a story of regression, not progression. We started with Eden and have been in decline ever since. I think it is our moral responsibility to discipline ourselves to aspire to progression, to leave our barbaric past behind. Rev. Andrew Linzey remarked, “Western culture is inextricably bound up with man’s exploitation of millions of animals as food, as research tools, for entertainment, and for clothing, and for enjoyment and company. The sheer scope and complexity of our exploitation is, I contend, an indication of how far we have accepted the dictum that animals exist for man’s use and pleasure. It is sheer folly to suppose that we can completely extricate ourselves from this complexity of exploitation with minimal disturbance to Western society, as we now know it. Nevertheless, having begun the slow and often tedious task of challenging traditional assumptions, new fields of sensitivity have already begun to emerge, and it is this task of hastening the moral evolution of the consciousness of our fellow humans that we must undertake. The Christian tradition with its vast influence on Western culture has a unique role to play in showing its ability to change perspectives and challenge even its most cherished assumptions.”

It is interesting to note that the beginning of Judaism was marked by the rejection of human sacrifice; the beginning of Christianity was marked by the rejection of animals sacrifice. In Matthew Jesus says, “I will have mercy, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts.” Perhaps we should continue this journey of expanding our circle of compassion. Even in Islamic texts we find a prescription for kindness and mercy. One hadith quotes Muhammad as saying: “A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.” There is a common thread of respect, mercy and compassion towards animals that runs through all major religions. In the east the first precepts are “do no harm”. That is why many Hindus and Buddhists follow a plant-based diet.

If we cannot find it within ourselves to treat those who have the same 5 senses, the same needs for community, who make no demands upon us, have the same needs to avoid pain and suffering with equanimity then how will we ever be able to treat other humans better. As Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Our moral framework is lacking its ethical support. Factory farming isn’t just killing: It is negation, a complete denial of the animal as a living being with his or her own needs and nature. It is not the worst evil we can do, but it is the worst evil we can do to them. It confronts us with the animal equivalent of Abraham Lincoln’s condemnation of human slavery: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” So when piglets are castrated without anesthesia and handled so roughly that occasionally their intestines are pulled out with the testicles, dairy cows have their tails cut off without anesthesia, chicks have the ends of their beaks seared off with a hot blade, male chicks are discarded into dumpsters or ground alive to make feed for other animals, sows spending their entire lives in cages that all they can do is lay down, calves who stand in crates in the dark tethered for their short lives, where is our compassion and mercy? These are normal agricultural practices in factory farming. These are standard agricultural practices. This is what our agricultural universities teach. Mr. Scully puts this attitude best saying, “Where our own fundamental interest is at stake, in short, and our own suffering in the balance, we are moral absolutists, and with animals and their suffering we are moral relativists.”

“Many people when they examine their beliefs about animals will find, I think, that they hold radically contradictory views, allowing for benevolence one moment and disregard the next. And the reality is that we have a choice of one or the other. As a practical matter we are free, of course, to do more or less as we please absent of further changes in the law. As a matter of conscience, however, we must each ask ourselves which outlook is truer, which is closer to our heart, which attitude leaves us feeling better and worthier when we act upon it, and then follow that conviction where it leads. And when we fail to act consistently with our own moral principles, when we profess one thing and do another, we must be willing to call that error by its name. It is hypocrisy.”

This is not to make the case of denying ourselves what we consider a staple in our diet. I think vegetarianism is implicitly a spiritual act. It is not about saying “No” but about saying “Yes”. About enjoying the lives of other creatures on this Earth so much that even the thought of killing them is abhorrent. I think God rejoices in God’s creatures, takes pleasure in their lives, and wants us to do so too. As Rev. Linzey states, “So much of our exploitation of animals stems from a kind of spiritual blindness: if we sensed and really felt the beauty and magnificence of the world, we would not exploit it as we do today.”

The moral concern for the suffering of animals is not a new idea. We find writings from the beginning of recorded history. The ancient Greeks, Romans and others have dealt with the role of animals. Unfortunately, these voices have, by and large, gone unheard.
Perhaps this should be our prayer. Saint Basil in the 4th century wrote this petition:
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness
Thereof. Oh, God, enlarge within us the
Sense of fellowship with all living
Things, our brothers the animals to
Whom Thou gavest the earth as
Their home in common with us.
We remember with shame that
In the past we have exercised the
High dominion of man with ruthless
Cruelty so that the voice of the earth,
Which should have gone up to Thee in
Song, has been a groan of travail.
May we realize that they live not
For us alone but for themselves and
For Thee and that they love the sweetness
Of life even as we, and serve Thee in their
Place better than we in others.
How we spend our dollars makes us complicit to the suffering of billions of animals each year not to mention the environmental impact factory farms have on the earth and those who work on and live near them. According to the USDA over 10 billion farm animals a year and this doesn’t take into account of the millions thousands of baby male chicks who are destroyed. None of it is necessary. Thanks to technology we have synthetics that replace any fiber or leather, we have plant-based foods that have been shown to be far more healthy for the environment, for us, not to mention the animals. I think we are charged with the moral responsibility to extend our respect, consideration, mercy and, compassion to all animals.
I would like to close by quoting Rev. J.R. Hyland:
“The decision to live life with respect and concern for all creatures that inhabit the earth is, first of all, an individual choice. But if the human race is to evolve spiritually and morally, that choice must eventually reflect a societal standard. The Kingdom of God promised by the Bible is a kingdom in which humans and nonhumans must live in peace with their own kind and with all other species. It is the world promised by the prophets, in which “the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb…and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” (Isa. 11:6)

The Kingdom of God, come to earth, is a kingdom in which justice, compassion, mercy and love for all creatures will be a reality. It is the kind of world Jesus told His followers to expect when He taught them to pray:
Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. (Luke 11:2)”

Reading list:

Christian Vegetarian Association, Good News for All Creation
Rev. Andrew Linzey, Animal Theology (Chicago: University Press, 1994)
J.R. Hyland, The Slaughter of Terrified Beasts: A Biblical Basis for the Humane Treatment of Animals (Viatoris Ministries)
Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy (New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2002)
Keith Akers: The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity (New York: Lantern Books, 2000)
Jim Mason and Peter Singer, Animal Factories (New York: Crown Publishers, 1980)
Vensanto Melina, Brenda Davis, and Victoria Harrison, Becoming Vegetarian: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Vegetarian Diet (Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Co., 1995)
Norm Phelps, The Dominion of Love: Animal Rights According to the Bible (New York: Lantern Books, 2002)
John Robbins, The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and the World (Berkley, CA: Conari Press 2001)
This is another crucial question : what do I eat if I dont eat animal meats ?  what is left for me to eat ?
Here you are   There is plenty food, it is only a question to wanting to make the switch.  Most products are available in UK, USA and northern countries, while they are not available in France  grrrrrr … However there are French companies that make vegan food but I must say most of them dont taste good AT ALL except for the Tofus, the frozen gluten and other products which can be find in Asia stores in France – as  I shared  on my Jardin Vegan Myspace and on Jardin Vegan, Recettes végétaLiennes Otherwise syrups and alternative basic products are available in most specialised stores in France.  Some hyperstores sell now tasty vanilla and calcium soja milk, as well as soja puddings
Explore the world of TOFU .



Made from soybeans, TOFU is very high in protein; the firmer it is, the higher the protein content and the less water it contains. When processed with calcium sulfate, tofu is a good source of calcium. Tofu is one of the most versatile foods available for vegetarians.

Prepare TOFU in any of the following ways: marinate, sauté, steam, grill, braise, roast, bake, boil, stir-fry, deep fry, mash, blend, or puree in the food processor. You can make an outstanding vegetarian chili with textured vegetable protein (a defatted soy protein) that tastes just like the real thing.
*Recipe on link below
Notice other meat alternatives in the deli case of your natural food market.
SEITAN, made from wheat gluten, is high in protein and can lend a meat-like texture to many dishes. SEITAN can be sliced, ground, chopped, or diced and will readily absorb definitive seasonings when cooked in a stir-fry, a casserole, or in a well-seasoned sauce.

TEMPEH is a fermented soy-bean cake that improves with marinating and makes a hearty high-protein substitute for meat. It can be baked, broiled, chopped, shredded, sautéed, stir fried, and braised. TEMPEH is an excellent addition to casseroles, pastas, stir-fries, salads, wraps, soups, and ethnic dishes like tacos, burritos, chili, sushi, and curries. Try marinating chopped TEMPEH and adding it to a pita sandwich along with chopped or shredded veggies and your favorite dressing.

NUTS AND SEEDS are excellent meat replacements, high in protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, and vitamin E. Nuts are an outstanding source of minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc, and copper. A serving of two ounces of nuts several times a week lowers the risk for heart attack, diabetes, and gallstones, and lowers total and LDL cholesterol. Make sure the NUTS AND SEEDS you purchase are raw, not roasted in oil or salted. To keep them fresh for several weeks, refrigerate them to prevent rancidity.
Choose low-sodium canned or packaged vegetable broth or create your own flavorful broth with a base of vegetables and water.
To season the broth, add a small amount of .. TAMARI, BRAGG LIQUID AMINOS, or low sodium SOY SAUCE, a dash of red wine, a clove of garlic, perhaps a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and season with your favorite herbs, salt, and pepper.


To turn the broth into GRAVY, thicken by combining equal parts of cornstarch or arrowroot and water (about 2 tablespoons each for 2 cups broth) and stirring into a smooth, runny paste. Add the paste to gently simmering broth a little at a time, stirring constantly for about one minute, or until thickened to desired consistency.

VEGETABLE BOUILLON CUBES in imitation beef flavor are easily dissolved in boiling water to create a quick beef flavored broth. Plant-based POWDERED BEEF FLAVORING is also a quick method for making beef broth. Both are available in natural food markets. Look for low-sodium options.

Awaken to the joy of VEGGIE BURGERS made from soy protein. They won’t really fool you into believing they are beef, but they sure are impressive substitutes.

on a whole-grain hamburger bun or tucked into a pita with all the usual fixings like lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, and mustard, and top it with a slice of vegan cheese, if desired.
You won’t miss the beef!
Several vegetarian companies are employing SOY PROTEIN to create HAMBURGER-STYLE PATTIES. Check the frozen food section of your local market or the natural food market to discover an array of vegetable patties to slip into your burger bun. Try them all to find your favorites.


Here are some brands to look for: Wildwood Tofu Veggie Burgers, Maui Taro Burgers, Amy’s Texas Burger, Natural Touch Vegan Burger, Boca Burger Vegan Original, Gardenburger California Burger, Gardenburger Flame Grilled.

VEGETARIAN HOT DOGS made from SOY PROTEIN are produced by several food manufacturers. Many are fat free. Explore the different brands to seek out the one you like best, tuck it into a whole-grain hot dog bun with all your favorite fixings, and enjoy a cholesterol-free meal low in saturated fat. You can even shred some VEGAN CHEESE into the bun for an extra special treat.

Some brands to look for include: Lightlife, Yves Veggie Cuisine, and Tofurky.
Choose TEXTURED VEGETABLE PROTEIN, often referred to as TVP, to make comfort foods like Sloppy Joe’s or Chili without the “Carne.” TVP is available in tidbits of dried and defatted soybean meal that is highly refined. Once rehydrated, TVP resembles the texture of ground beef. Almost anything you make with ground beef can be recreated with TVP. Simply pour boiling water or vegetable broth over the dried, minced soy protein, and in 5 minutes it will be ready to add to stir-fries, stews, casseroles, sauces, and soups. With a little kitchen magic and a good recipe, you can even form the TVP into a soy patty. Though the TVP has no flavor of its own, it absorbs any seasonings you add. For best results, cook the TVP in well-seasoned sauces with a tomato base, chili, or flavorful marinades.


Explore the many SOY BASED LUNCHMEAT ALTERNATIVES made by Yves Veggie Cuisine, Tofurky, or LightLife

Some are very low fat, some even fat-free. Many of these alternatives contain wheat gluten, an excellent source of protein. As an added benefit, many of these replacements have fat content as low as .5 grams per serving. You may be delighted to learn that you can find soy- and gluten-based alternatives for sliced PIZZA PEPPERONI, BACON, CANADIAN BACON, TURKEY, SALAMI, BALOGNA, and even HAM.
Venture into the land of GIMMELEAN, a one-pound chub that comes in sausage or beef flavor. Made by LightLife, this product is fat-free and can be sliced into patties and browned lightly in one tablespoon of oil. For a great start to the day, use these SAUSAGE PATTIES for breakfast along with some whole-grain bread and fresh fruit. It’s quick, delicious, and nutritious.

Made from soy and wheat gluten, GIMMELEAN offers flavors and textures that are superbly satisfying. It freezes well and keeps for several days in the refrigerator. GIMMELEAN can also be crumbled into a stir-fry or formed into “meatballs.” For meatballs, add breadcrumbs and any of your favorite seasonings and brown in a small amount of vegetable oil.

Explore the multitude of frozenchicken substitutes made from SOY PROTEIN and WHEAT GLUTEN.
Tastes and textures are very close to the real thing, and you benefit from a reduced intake of saturated fat and eliminate the cholesterol altogether


Purchase a VEGETARIAN IMITATION CHICKEN BROTH, available in powdered form that can be dissolved in water. Alternatively, create your own beginning with two or three cups of water. Add a dash of soy sauce, some nutritional yeast, a touch of lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. For a creamy style broth, add some soy milk. To turn the broth into GRAVY, stir together equal parts of cornstarch or arrowroot and water (about 2 tablespoons each for 2 cups liquid) into a smooth runny paste. Add the paste a little at a time to gently simmering broth, stirring constantly for about one minute, or until thickened. Simmer gently for one minute longer.


Many Asian markets will have FISH FLAVORED SOY PROTEIN in the freezer section. Innovatively created to even look like the real thing, several varieties come in fish-steak slabs with nori seaweed wrapped around the outer edge to resemble the skin of a fish. However, it is important to read the ingredient labels very carefully.
*These are just suggestions and tips

*These are just suggestions and tips

On your bread or toast
Enjoy the richness of spreading one-fourth of a ripe AVOCADO on your bread or toast. Historically known as midshipman’s butter, it was used in England’s Royal Navy in the 1800’s. It’s creamy, delicious, and offers naturally beneficial fats.

Other bread spread alternatives include NUT BUTTERS (peanut, almond, macadamia, or cashew). Purchase brands that contain only roasted nuts. Avoid those with unnecessary ingredients like sugar, salt, and partially hydrogenated oils. Nut butters are delicious and healthful high-protein sources.

SEED BUTTERS made from roasted sesame seeds or sunflower seeds. TAHINI (sesame seed paste) is a good source of calcium and tastes great on whole grain pita bread or crackers.
If the
TAHINI seems a little bland, try a light sprinkle of salt or herbs such ground cumin, just as the ancient Romans did. SUNFLOWER SEED BUTTER is available in plain or flavored varieties.

Explore the world of tasty FRUIT BUTTER is a delicious spread easy and quick to prepare at home. FRUIT BUTTERS can also stand in for jam or jelly on nut butter sandwiches.
*Recipe on link below


, a tasty Middle Eastern dish made from garbanzo beans, offers yet another healthy alternative to spread over breads, toast, crackers, or even whole-grain pita bread.
*Recipe on link below

provide the base for an exceptionally tasty spread that is easily prepared in a food processor with a minimum of ingredients.
*Recipe on link below
On your sandwich
Any of the TOFU or BEAN SPREADS shown below in the recipe section are ideal on sandwich breads. They make tasty, nutritious fillings along with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, pickles, or any of your favorite sandwich add-ins.

Cooking, Sautéing, and Baking
When sautéing vegetables, replace unhealthy fasts like butter, with water, vegetable broth, or wine. Create your own homemade tasty broth by adding a little low-sodium soy sauce, and a dash of vinegar, lemon, or lime juice to water or vegetable broth. Add your favorite herbs and seasonings and enjoy.

Switch to EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, COLD PRESSED ORGANIC CANOLA OIL, or UNREFINED PEANUT OIL in small quantities, such as one or two tablespoons, when sautéing. For health considerations, the less oil used, the better. Though these three oils mentioned are high in monounsaturated fats (peanut oil is high in polyunsaturated fast), they do contain some saturated fat, a concern when preventing or reversing heart disease.

For baking pies, cakes, cookies, and quickbreads, choose SOYMILK to top your hot or cold cereal. The many varieties of SOYMILK offer plenty of options. You can find them unsweetened, lightly sweetened, very sweet, vanilla flavored, chocolate flavored, and fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

You can also enjoy

, or make your own nut milk in just a few seconds in the blender.
*Recipe on link below
For drinking
WATER is nature’s top choice for drinking. Enjoy several glasses a day.
With so many brands of MILK SUBSTITUTES available, it’s easy to discover some favorites. When searching for variety, choose SOYMILK, RICE MILK, OAT MILK, and ALMOND MILK. Each one is light and pleasing. Be sure to read labels carefully. Some of these alternative milks are rather high in sugar.

PURE FRUIT JUICES that are truly 100% juice provide a pleasant change from water. To avoid consuming excess sugar, limit yourself to one glass a day, especially if you are watching your calorie intake.

A cup of hot or iced HERBAL TEA can be a refreshing beverage any time of day. COFFEE SUBSTITUTES offer pleasant beverage alternatives and are caffeine-free. Most are made from natural ingredients like roasted barley, chicory, and rye.

In your hot beverages

Switch to SOYMILK for making tasty cream sauces. Use SOYMILK with a lower fat content for more delicately flavored cream sauces with a hint of sweetness. For a rich, savory cream sauce, use unsweetened SOYMILK. Even with its richness, it will only have half the saturated fat content as whole milk. To thicken the sauce, add one or two tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot mixed with equal amounts of water to two or three cups of gently simmering sauce, stirring constantly for about one minute until thickened. Simmer one minute longer to thoroughly incorporate the thickener.

To create cream sauce with a delicate cheese flavor, add a tablespoon or two of VEGETARIAN SUPPORT

(contains vitamin B12) along with any seasonings like dried or fresh herbs and spices to the soymilk. Then bring the sauce to a simmer and thicken, if desired.

Consider RICE MILK, OAT MILK, SOYMILK, vegan VEGETABLE BROTH, and HOMEMADE NUT MILKS as alternatives to dairy products for sauces, creamed soups, and braising liquids. Each will offer pleasing flavors and textures. Experiment to discover your favorites. You’ll still enjoy richness in flavor while lowering your intake of saturated fat.

Salad Dressings
Make your favorite creamy salad dressings with unsweetened SOYMILK. For a thicker dressing, place a package of SOFT SILKEN TOFU into the blender with your favorite seasonings. Add a splash of tang with lemon juice, lime juice, or any variety of vinegar: apple cider, red or white balsamic, rice, raspberry, or red or white wine.
*Recipe on link below
Other blender dressing suggestions begin with a base of cashews, macadamias, Brazil nuts, pecans, or pine nuts and include your favorite seasonings. Consider fresh vegetables or fruits as a delicious base for tasty salad dressings. Tomatoes, red bell peppers, zucchini, or cucumbers as well as fresh fruits like oranges, tangerines, peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, cherries, berries, and cranberries all add uniqueness to a salad dressing.

For Baking
In place of buttermilk use 1 cup of SOYMILK stirred with 1 tablespoon distilled vinegar or lemon juice. The combination does the same job of lightening and leavening a batter as the dairy version.

Switch to frozen desserts made from SOYMILK OR RICE MILK. These include vegan ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet. There are many brands that offer exceptional flavors. Enjoy the exploration for your favorites.
SO DELICIOUS, PURELY DECADENT, RICE DREAM are some brands to consider.

If you have an ice cream maker, you can prepare endless varieties of exceptional homemade ice cream with nuts and nut milks. Try ALMONDS, HAZELNUTS, PECANS, CASHEWS, WALNUTS, MACADAMIAS, BRAZIL NUTS, OR COCONUT along with fresh fruits in season. VICE CREAM by Jeff Rogers offers a banquet of vegan recipes for making homemade ice cream; some are even raw.

Foods prepared at home have a special touch.
Make your own delicious mousse or parfait desserts with fresh fruits and
SILKEN TOFU or SOYMILK. See recipe below.




Purchase a dairy-free, SOY-BASED SOUR CREAM or make your own low-fat version in just a few seconds in your food processor.


INSTEAD OF DAIRY-BASED HIGH-FAT CHEESE:   I really like the 2 guys who own Sheese, they were so nice to make me a gift of various Sheese, taste so good !  Unfortunately it is impossible to find them in the stores grrr..   (they are on my top friends on Jardin Vegan Myspace, and on all my mypsaces)

Switch to a VEGAN CHEESE such as FOLLOW YOUR HEART, CHEEZL, SHEESE, SOYMAGE, GALAXY RICE CHEESE, and VEGANRELLA. Occasionally, newer brands enter the marketplace. Though the textures of vegan cheeses will differ from familiar dairy-based cheese, you will appreciate the lower fat content and healthier plant-based alternatives without cholesterol.


Jardin Vegan Myspace

Some of the imitation fish may contain whey or casein, milk protein used as binders.



come in a myriad of delicious flavor choices. Your local natural food market offers a number of different brands that vary in taste, texture, and sweetness. For plain, unsweetened soy yogurt, choose Wildwood.


SOY-BASED VEGAN CREAM CHEESE alternatives taste remarkably like the real thing.
, SOYMAGE, and TOFUTTI SOUR SUPREME are some of the brands available. Use your soy sour cream over fruit salad, as a garnish for soups, on potato latkes, on baked potatoes, or as a base for party dips. Homemade sour cream is quick and easy to make.
*Recipe on link below


, and SOYMAGE are some brands available. For some fresh new ideas, you may want to switch to one or more of the SOY SPREADS that you can prepare at home.
*Recipe on link below


LEGUMES include the whole arena of beans, lentils, and split green or yellow peas and are delicious, high-protein alternatives to animal products. Begin by choosing one night a week to prepare a dish that features LEGUMES as the centerpiece of your meal. Build a special dish by combining your beans with vegetables and your favorite seasonings or sauces, and come away from the table feeling comfortably full rather than heavy and overstuffed.

As you become more accustomed to plant-based foods, you may enjoy two or three nights or even whole days of eating completely vegetarian.

The varieties of BEANS are numerous and each one has a uniquely different taste and texture. Explore black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, lima beans, fava beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, great northern beans, navy beans, yellow and green split peas, and lentils of many colors and sizes. These are only a few–the list contains many more colorful bean varieties.
For information on cooking legumes, see Cooking Grains and Beans







In Baking:
Replace eggs with ENER-G-EGG REPLACER, an easy-to-use vegan, powdered leavening. Combine it with water, beat it with a fork until it becomes foamy, and add it to the batter when making pancakes, muffins, cakes, and cookies. Made from potato starch, tapioca flour, leavening (calcium lactate, calcium carbonate, citric acid), cellulose gum, and carbohydrate gum, the egg replacer can be purchased at natural food markets. Use 1 teaspoon ENER-G EGG REPLACER to 2 tablespoons of water for each egg.


is a totally vegan alternative that tastes just like the real thing. This product is vegetable oil and soy-based. Though this mayo alternative does not contain cholesterol, it is typically high in fat. Alternatively, make your own low-fat SOY MAYONNAISE in just a few seconds in your food processor.
*Recipe on link below


By choosing from the multitude of WHOLE-GRAIN BREADS you’ll be gaining healthy fiber plus more vitamins and minerals from these natural grains. Look for words like “whole grain wheat flour” and “100% whole wheat flour” rather than “enriched wheat flour.” Seek out multigrain breads for their wholesome richness in flavor and benefit from the extra nutrition. When reading the nutritional labels, choose breads that have at least three grams of fiber per slice, preferably four or five grams. The higher the fiber content of your food, the better for your digestive tract.


Experiment with the many WHOLE-GRAIN PASTAS that may be new to you by discovering those made from whole wheat, quinoa, spelt, rice, corn, buckwheat, and barley. The whole-grain pastas have a higher fiber content as well as more vitamins and minerals. You can use these ALTERNATIVE PASTAS just as you would regular pasta as an entrée, in salads, and in soups such as minestrone, though you will discover that the textures have a little “tooth” to them. When using these pastas as leftovers, in most cases they will need to be rehydrated in hot or boiling water for a minute or two before adding to hot or cold salads or entrées.


Explore the myriad of CEREALS made from WHOLE GRAINS. You’ll notice the fiber content will be higher than those made from refined grains. You will also benefit from a full range of B vitamins lacking in refined grains, especially folic acid, well known for its importance in preventing birth defects such as spina bifida.

Most whole grain HOT CEREALS take no more than five minutes to prepare. Old-fashioned oatmeal makes a great start to the day, and its soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol naturally. Tasty whole-grain cereals include oats, wheat, buckwheat, barley, brown rice, and rye. When the ingredient list contains the words, “enriched wheat flour,” you’ll know it’s not made from whole grain. Look for the words “100% WHOLE WHEAT.

SCOTTISH STEEL-CUT OAT cereals require about 30 minutes to cook. but when you are pressed for time, try this excellent, no-cook breakfast of SCOTTISH STEEL-CUT OATS. Soak a serving portion of the oats overnight in water to cover.
Next morning, drain the water and add one or more of the following: chopped fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, flaxseed meal, soymilk, nut milk, rice milk,
hemp milk, or oat milk.

Discover an amazing variety of nutritious WHOLE GRAIN COLD CEREALS. Grains that may be new to you might include kamut, quinoa, amaranth, spelt, and millet. These are often combined with wheat, corn, or oats to bring you an array of tasty breakfast cereals. Read the ingredient lists carefully to avoid those cereals containing excess sugar.

Discover the mosaic of WHOLE GRAINS that take no longer to cook than white rice, while some may require up to one hour of cooking.

The quick cooking ones, those that cook in 15 to 20 minutes, include BUCKWHEAT (or kasha), BULGUR, BARLEY FLAKES, TEFF, and QUINOA.

BROWN RICE varieties, from long grain
Basmati to the short grain glutinous rice to the unique Japonica type, require about 35 to 45 minutes, as do oat groats and cracked wheat.
Polenta (corn grits) requires about 25 to 30 minutes to cook.

Long-cooking grains that require 50 to 60 minutes of cooking include



Unfortunately, when many people think of snacks, they picture something sugar-sweetened or highly salted. Excess sugar and salt have dire health consequences. Fortunately, there are a multitude of healthier options.

Treat yourself to a piece FRESH FRUIT in season instead of unhealthy fat and calorie-loaded potato or corn chips.

RAW NUTS OR SEEDS in small quantities such as one or two handfuls a day are nutritious and satisfying. Avoid nuts that are roasted in oil–these may contain partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats that may become artery clogging. These trans fats raise LDLs (the bad cholesterol) and even lower the HDLs (the good cholesterol).

Pass on the salted nuts as well. It’s easy to consume an excess of salt that contributes to high blood pressure. Salt also disguises the rich flavor of nuts in their natural state. Dry roasted nuts and seeds are delicious with a pleasant crunchiness and enhanced flavor that make a nutritious snack. To dry-roast nuts at home, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4), place the nuts on a baking sheet, place it in the oven, and roast for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the nuts to a dish to cool completely, and they will become crisp.

AIR-POPPED POPCORN is an ideal snack. If you’re used to heavily seasoned popped corn, you may appreciate the opportunity to discover the true taste of popped corn without the cover-ups. Many seasoned popcorn varieties contain partially hydrogenated oils and high sodium content.

Commercially made cookies, cakes, and candies may contain eggs, dairy products, and partially hydrogenated oils. Discover the joy of vegan baking without eggs, dairy products, and trans fats. Check out the Vegparadise Bookshelf for an extensive listing of vegan cookbooks.

Choose a NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER, ALMOND BUTTER, or CASHEW BUTTER to spread on celery sticks, endive leaves, whole-grain breads, crackers, banana slices, romaine lettuce leaves, or apple slices. Avoid nut butters with partially hydrogenated oils, sweeteners, preservatives, or salt. The rich flavor of natural nut butters is so rewarding, you won’t miss the unnecessary add-ins.

Discover the natural whole-grain flavor and high fiber of RYE-CRISP, RYE-VITA, KAVLI, or WASA crackers instead of commercially made crackers that may contain refined flours and partially hydrogenated oils. These natural whole-grain crackers are made from 100% whole rye.
Top a rye cracker with
NATURAL NUT BUTTER and slices of bananas for a delicious snack.

There’s always CARROT AND CELERY STICKS, but have you ever tasted the crisp sweetness of fresh, raw ORGANIC SUGAR, is sugar cane that has the water removed or evaporated. This sugar has not gone through the last step in the typical refining process of granulated sugar. That step involves clarifying the sugar over charred animal bones to make it white. While evaporated cane juice may have an off-white color, it is totally vegan and has the same level of sweetness as granulated sugar. Use it just as you would granulated sugar.

SUCANAT is a light brown sugar alternative that can be used like brown sugar. Made from whole cane juice, SUCANAT contains 100% of the natural molasses. It even stays soft longer than brown sugar.

MAPLE SYRUP is the natural sap taken from maple trees, and then boiled until syrupy. It’s an ideal sweetener for pancakes, waffles, smoothies, beverages, and all varieties of baked goods. Use 2/3 cup to 3/4 cup in place of 1 cup of granulated sugar. When baking, add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of maple syrup. Purchase U.S. organic maple syrup to avoid illegal formaldehyde pellets some producers add during processing. Once the container is opened, keep it refrigerated.

MAPLE SUGAR (DEHYDRATED MAPLE SYRUP) is in crystal form and makes an excellent sugar alternative. Use cup for cup as you would granulated or brown sugar.

AGAVE NECTAR is a liquid sweetener similar to honey and is extracted from the agave plant, a large succulent with thick fleshy leaves and spiny edges. In recipes, use 25% less AGAVE NECTAR or 3/4 cup in place of 1 cup of granulated sugar. Reduce the recipe’s liquid by one third and lower the oven temperature of baked goods by 25 degrees.

BARLEY MALT is a thick honey-like substance made from barley that has gone through a soaking and drying process to extract its sugar. Considered half as sweet as granulated sugar, BARLEY MALT is an ideal substitute when you need a delicate sweetness. Use 1 1/3 cups BARLEY MALT in place of 1 cup of granulated sugar and reduce the recipe’s liquid by one-fourth. When baking, add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup of BARLEY MALT.

BROWN RICE SYRUP is similar to barley malt in its degree of sweetness and its thick honey-like texture. This sweetener is not recommended for baking cakes or breads because it creates a soggy texture. Use it for sweetening tea or other hot beverages, smoothies, and blender juices. For granola, pies, cookies, puddings, and fruit crisps, use 1 1/3 cups BROWN RICE SYRUP in place of each cup of grranulated sugar and reduce the recipe’s liquid by one-fourth. Add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda per cup of BROWN RICE SYRUP. Refrigerate the container after opening.

MOLASSES makes a good substitute for sugar in baking breads. Because of its pungent, distinctive flavor, it’s best used in small amounts. Molasses shines as a beverage called liquid toffee. To make this treat, put 1 teaspoon of molasses into a coffee mug and fill it with boiling water. Stir it well, then taste. If needed, adjust the quantity of molasses. Drink and enjoy.

DATE CRYSTALS are dehydrated ground dates that are used cup for cup as you would granulated sugar. Date sugar is ideal for apple or other fruit crisps or crunchy toppings, but be careful to prevent burning. This sweetener works best in combination with other sweeteners.


are ideal to sweeten blender beverages like smoothies and shakes as well as parfaits and fruit mousses. Chop the dates and add them to breads, cookies, granola, fruit salads, and many baked desserts. Combine dates and finely ground nuts in the food processor to create a tasty no-bake pie crust for raw desserts.


Treat yourself to a host of delicious FRUITS IN SEASON. The sweetness of fresh fruits will almost always satisfy the craving for that “something sweet” while supplying healthy nutrients as well.

WINTER FRUITS include numerous varieties of crisp apples, juicy pears, and sweet tangerines. Winter is the ideal time to enjoy navel oranges, grapefruits, and pomelos.

SPRING FRUITS that offer a refreshing break include blackberries, strawberries, Valencia oranges, pears, or crisp apples.

YEAR ROUND FRUITS include, kiwis, oranges, pineapples, grapes, and many varieties of bananas such as plantains, burro, manzano, red bananas, and lady fingers.

SUMMER FRUITS include the stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots. There are also Bartlett pears, cherries, grapes, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, honeydews, cantaloupes, watermelon, and many other melon varieties.

AUTUMN FRUITS offer a delightful selection of persimmons, pomegranates, and navel oranges that come to market by October.

Sweeter still are DRIED FRUITS. Practically every kind of fruit has been dried and packaged for sale. Look for those that have not been preserved with sulfur dioxide or added sugar. Because dried fruits are very high in concentrated sugar, enjoy them in small servings.

Fresh or frozen FRUIT SMOOTHIES

and parfaits sweetened with dates are cooling and refreshing treats, especially in the summer. Blend them with soymilk or soft silken tofu for a rich, yet healthful, high-protein dessert.
See recipe below
SOY-BASED ICE CREAM comes in a variety of enjoyable flavors. Be sure to read the labels to avoid any unwanted ingredients. Ice cream aficionados may want to invest in an ice cream machine to make their own homemade taste treats.

VEGAN COOKIES are quickly finding a place in natural food markets. Look for them in specialty stores and request them from your local supermarket chain. For delicious homemade cookies, check the Vegparadise Bookshelf for a large selection of excellent vegan cookbooks.
HONEY For vegan alternatives to honey see SUGAR

*Road To Vegetaria -Recipes

(The recipes is at the bottom)


You can also replace 1 egg with any of the following options:
2 to 4 tablespoons of MASHED TOFU
1/4 cup SOFT TOFU mixed with the liquid listed in the recipe
1/4 cup ripe MASHED BANANA, APPLESAUCE, or PRUNE PUREE mixed with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablepoon GROUND FLAXSEED mixed with 3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon WHOLE FLAXSEEDS and 2 tablespoons water processed in the blender until thick and viscous.

1/8 teaspoon BAKING POWDER mixed with the dry ingredients
1 tablespoon CORNSTARCH plus 1 tablespoon instant soymilk powder beaten with 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons FLOUR plus 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder beaten with 2 tablespoons water.



INSTEAD OF EGG SALAD:Purchase MOCK EGG SALAD made from tofu or prepare your own version from an easy, basic recipe below with regular or firm tofu. Alter the seasonings or add your own special touch and it becomes your original creation.
*Recipe on link below


Cooking — Imitation Scrambled Eggs:
In place of scrambled eggs, enjoy a TOFU SCRAMBLE made from a simple recipe. By eliminating eggs, you’ll be avoiding added cholesterol and cutting down on your intake of saturated fat. As with any recipe, experiment with the ingredients and seasonings to result in flavors and textures that please you. Your TOFU SCRAMBLE can consist of just tofu and seasonings, or you can combine your favorite vegetables in a quick stir-fry before adding the tofu.
* Recipe on link below