Imagine a space where people opposed to modern livestock farming, vegans and farmers could have transparent and respectful conversations.
Such a space has been proposed to me by a vegan who has been reading and commenting on my blog for a number of years as well as contacting me by email with questions about modern dairy farming
Graeme has proposed that he set up and help moderate a Facebook page that is tentatively called Connecting Vegans and Farmers for Meaningful Conversations.
In Graeme’s words here is some background and insights
In recent discussion with some folk who live on farms, I’ve noticed a couple of interesting things.
Firstly, some people have some rather weird ideas about what veganism means in food terms. Secondly, many of them feel very upset and frustrated by what they see as unfair and uninformed attacks on their livelihoods.
And lastly, there is a widening gap between many people who are adopting “veganism” and farmers.
Now, I am still implacably opposed to much of modern livestock farming, but equally I think we absolutely need and depend on farmers. I have no answer to the basic conundrum of how to have an Australia that doesn’t farm animals while also having an Australia where our rural sector thrives. Maybe it isn’t possible.
Anyway, cutting to the chase, I am interested in doing a sort of experiment. I am thinking of creating a Facebook group for both farmers/rural folk and vegans to participate. I am also not necessarily proposing that it be purely a “vegan” thing, as I am very partial to ‘reducetarianism’ philosophy as well
The aim is not to change people’s views, I want people to be able to share ideas, thoughts, philosophies and develop a mutual respect for each other’s values and opinions
Farmers might post photos of their farms, vegans might post favourite recipes.
Questions can be asked, and answers offered from all sides. People may share their ideas about their perceptions of the “rights or wrongs of things”.
I acknowledge the fundamental problem in doing this. To overcome this, I would like a couple of moderators from both sides of the fence to help manage discussions that could get out of hand.
The Vegan Healthy Living group I mentioned to you once before has been great. We talk about stuff, share ideas, and do not shame or abuse anyone. And there are plenty of non-vegans in it.
I floated this idea on the Vegan Healthy Living page and received generally encouraging responses. One lady said “I’d love to learn more about farming in Australia from Australian farmers, both animal farmers and crop farmers. I think that would really inform my ethical choices and conversations with others.” I also got supportive words from a director of Vegan Australia, so I think the group would attract enough vegans to provide input and info. It would also be open to all members of the community to join too
What do you think? Would you, or anyone you know, be likely to join? Or even be a moderate?
PS, I had this rather thought-provoking comment on my page today from a young bloke who I think lives on a dairy farm. Good words from a very young fellow.
“I don’t think any of us are angry, I’d say we’re more passionate and frustrated because out of the blue there’s all these people coming out saying that Dairy is bad that we rape cows, that we kidnap their calves, that we conduct bestiality with our cows. It’s a strange feeling when your whole way of life is being ridiculed by people who have no to little experience on how a farm works today, things may have been different 30+ years ago (I wouldn’t know as I wasn’t around). But the thing is if you go to a farm and see how it works you may have a better understanding of what we are all about”
Personally I think the idea has significant merit and I have seen many Facebook pages where people do respect each others differing opinions with some interesting outcomes. What do you think?