Vegan Kalamazoo’s Letter About Michael Pollan Published in MLive!

Published here.

And here’s the text in its entirety:

Dear Mr. Pollan,

We are thrilled to hear that you are coming to Kalamazoo. We appreciate the work you do educating people about the perils of industrial foods. We are 100 percent in favor of advocating awareness about where our food comes from. And, like you, we support local farmers and proper treatment of our environment.

What we don’t understand is your continued advice to eat “mostly” plants. In an increasingly crowded and depleted world, how can anything except a 100 percent plant-based (vegan) diet be the moral choice when animal agriculture not only uses up so many more resources than plants, but is a huge driver of both climate change and deforestation?

How can it be the moral choice when animal agriculture is such a huge abuser of both animals and people? The horrors it perpetrates on animals are becoming increasingly well known, despite the industry’s constant attempts to cover them up. However, its labor abuses are also terrible — so much so, in fact, that in 2005 Human Rights Watch issued its first-ever report about a U.S. industry on conditions in slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants.

On your website, you refer to the “shame of killing,” but then say, “I’m not a vegetarian because I enjoy eating meat.” We appreciate your candor, but why does something shameful become acceptable just because you happen to enjoy the result?

Your talk is part of Western Michigan University’s “Healing Arts” series. How does eating animal products fit into that theme when countless studies show that people who eat more meat, dairy, and eggs suffer from more heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other maladies? You presumably wouldn’t suggest “mostly” not-smoking, so why is it okay to suggest “mostly” eating plants?

Finally, how can you encourage all of the above negative outcomes when eating animal products is wholly unnecessary? In 2009, the American Dietetic Association released a statement endorsing vegan diets as “healthful” and “appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”

Thanks for reading. We hope you enjoy your stay in Kalamazoo, and look forward to you addressing these questions in your talk.

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