Veganism is fast becoming the lifestyle of choice, globally. Consumers are increasingly shunning meat and other animal products in favor of healthier and more wholesome choices.
Walk down any high-street and you will find hordes of vegans, all proudly wearing bright vegan T-Shirts with bold decals like ‘Meat is Murder’ or ‘Vegan Loving.’ This is to eulogize their way of life to the uninitiated and advertise the fact that they are morally superior to the rest of society. It turns out that science is on their side, too. Accredited scientists all agree that red meat causes cancer, worsens climate change, and is generally a terrible thing. Why kill innocent animals or exploit bees by stealing their honey when plant-based foods exist which are far more nutritious?
The Vegan Society reports that, in the UK alone, the number of vegans have increased fourfold over the past ten years. If the present trajectory continues, a post-carnivorous society could be a reality by 2033. Most people are simply incapable of imagining a world where humans and animals are reconciled forever, and have equal rights and responsibilities. And yet, such a world is not only possible, it will soon happen. Think of pre-apartheid South Africa and those who scorned at the idea that a better future was possible. Well, they’re not laughing now.
Whilst we welcome this exciting news, it means that we need to begin planning for such a society now. We know from the Iraq War that a failure to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of ordinary Iraqi people cost us dearly in the aftermath. Disillusioned with the moral and financial bankruptcy of post-Saddam Iraq, many men of fighting age became radicalized and joined ISIS. No right-thinking individual wants to create a second ISIS, only this one involving animals. Far better to have crocodiles and sharks on our side than the contrary. There is all the more reason then to reach out to animals now, not only to regain their trust but also to get their ideas and creative input so that they can help in defining their role in a post- carnivorous society. After all, they are best placed to know what sort of future they want.
The reality is, however, that most animals will notice little tangible difference in a post-carnivorous world. Those living in the wild will presumably be content to continue to do so, although some urban migration is to be expected. They will, however, be required to step into line with humans and also become vegans. We will pass laws requiring all living species to adopt vegan lifestyles, which will come as welcome news to the wildebeest community who have long been oppressed by lions. For those who scoff at the idea that animals would willingly forsake meat (“because it’s in their nature”), we point to the example of grizzly bears, who most certainly have become vegan out of choice. As many in the accredited media reported yesterday, “grizzly bears have stopped eating salmon in favour of elderberries after being forced to make a choice due to climate change. Warming temperatures meant that the berries are ripening earlier than usual, at exactly the same time as the freshwater streams on Alaska’s Kodiak Island are overflowing with sockeye salmon.” If grizzly bears are happy to eat elderberries in preference to salmon because they know meat causes climate change, why wouldn’t a lion sit down with a wildebeest over a tofu sandwich?
The future of animals which are presently farmed is a trickier question. Sceptics object that the continued existence of these animals is intrinsically linked to their being farmed which, in turn, requires consumers to demand and eat meat. The naysayers claim that, absent a demand for meat, Farmers would stop feeding cows, lambs, chickens etc. and they would then soon die of hunger. In the short run, we believe that such animals should be paid a living wage and given grants, which they can use to feed, clothe and educate themselves and basically adapt to a post-farming world.
In the longer run, animals could play an even fuller role in society. What is to stop them providing child-care services, for example? There are many examples in history of so-called ‘feral children’ being raised by wolves, gorillas (see featured image) etc. They are clearly capable, therefore, and just need to be given the responsibility. Dogs already enjoy active employment in many fields (e.g. guide dog, search and rescue, sniffer dogs), but what about cats? We will only know what their limits are when we give them a chance to show what they can do. Only a close-minded speciesist bigot would claim they could never become doctors, for example.
Ultimately, a post-carnivorous world will be what we make of it. The possibilities are endless.