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Is buying organic actually worse for animals


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Well, it's apparently come to this, that something I have advocated for a very long time, seems to have a very, very ugly side i had not realised before. For as long as I can remember, i have always tried to opt for the organic options if possible when buying something, for the sake of my own health, but also the planet's.
 

I have only recently realised, when starting to try and grow my own veges and berries, that a lot of the organic fertilisers sold are actually full of animal parts. Sometimes literally listed as "blood and bone". Makes me want to puke. So when we buy organic veges, or organic whatever,  from the shop, we might actually be unwittingly supporting slaughterhouses and the meat industry. And of course dairy and battery chicken farms for manure. I saw a local garden centre selling compost by the scoop and they'd written in the sign it had pig manure in it.
 

Would it actually be the more ethical choice after all to not buy organic?? Breaking my heart.
There's of course no knowing if those products have animal fertilisers, too, on top of the chemical fertilisers and a cocktail of pestisides, herbisides, fungisides and the lot.....
 

FUCK THIS, I thought i was doing a fairly good job buying ethical.

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DianeHB

You know, you might want to cut yourself some slack for having been born in a world where so many of our man-made systems have become dysfunctional and unsustainable. You are here to help change things (I mean that in the obvious way, because you care so much), but it's not going to change overnight. There is a movement called veganic farming where farmers try to get fertilizer from plant sources rather than animal ones, but the movement seems to still be in its infancy. 

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@DianeHB Well, yeah i'm not beating myself up for not having realised this. But I like being informed, and making conscious decisions, and out of the realistic options that I have available to me, I would like to make the best decisions when i comes to ethics and health.

Ultimately I want to increase the amount of crops i can grow myself, that is obviously the best option for many food groups. I have many neighbours with horses so i buy cheap manure from them, and we have a fireplace so i add the ash and the manure in the compost with food scraps and grass cuttings. As far as i'm aware that should be pretty good once it gets going properly. My knowledge in gardening is not much, i didn't even know what green manure is until 2 weeks ago.... (I could have turned my weed field into nutrition with little work, instead of slowly ripping it all out, doh.) But i'm slowly learning....

I understand your comment about cutting slack, because there is no point being exasperated and angry and disappointed. But... i don't really like cutting slack 😅 Except when it comes to cleaning...

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Sky Goldy

To the best of my knowledge , meat consumption is growing by ten pro cent a year globally. Also there are amazing organic plant based fertilasers that we're developed  initially for canabis farming but are now in any garden center.  Personally I buy my vegetables from friends or make do with what I manage to grow.

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@Miizle We live in a world where there is no patience to grow a plant. Where I grew up in the 50ies, in a very little, tucked away village, what they did was not using fertilizers, they left barren for four years a field, no planting, no nothing, just let it go wild, and then plowed it and seeded a new, after it had laid barren for four years. So part of there land didn't produce, but it did when they plowed and seeded it again. Nature, the soil had a chance to recover, they knew that was all that was needed.

They also prayed for thunderstorms, because the rain of a thunderstorm has a lot of nitrogen, coming naturally down to feed the plants.

They produced compost of the natural plant-waste, turned it over and over again with forks, and after around 2 years, there was great fresh soil, for the gardens.

You do not need to buy fertilizers, I never did no matter the continent I grew food on.

 

 

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@petra That is just wonderful. People really have created an issue about time, haven't they.

Now everything is about cutting time as short as possible with everything, when time used to be something that was used and appreciated, for preparation and healing. Old knowledge was also appreciated, gathered, remembered and passed on (although that said, there was also a lot of misinformation and bogus wife tales and whatnot... so i'm not with the romanticised good old times gang in general).
What is difficult about today's world, though, is that we're not living in places that have been built on, agriculturally, for decades or centuries. Most people who even own any land need to start from a fairly blank page. I honestly don't understand why our garden, for example, is mostly lawn.... A lot of lawn....

 

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Michèle

You can look into biodynamic gardening, where you plant according to the lunar cycle, and things like fermented nettle/water are used. Although I do know that biodynamic vineyards also bury cow horns, but to the best of my knowledge use of animal products are minimal. For a little patch for home growing veg, the lunar cycle works fantastically. My mum used to follow this when we grew up and we always had magnificent crops. I followed that calendar for the one year we had a garden and it worked also, from growing the seeds to lovely tomato plants. Google "Maria von Thun" or biodynamical planting calendar. It goes back to Rudolf Steiner, who I think part channelled the information. The cosmetic brand/antroposophic medicine producers Weleda use biodynamically farmed plants for their drugs/skin care and I only use their skin care products or homeopathic medicines, like Arnica etc for myself and Éric.

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  • HOST & RESIDENT CHANNEL
On 12/4/2019 at 8:06 PM, Miizle said:

I understand your comment about cutting slack, because there is no point being exasperated and angry and disappointed. But... i don't really like cutting slack

 

Since we can’t really opt out of the world, the aim is to do our best from where we are. The point of being vegan is to cause as little harm as possible, and though we do our best, we can’t always prevent things that happen well outside of our scope. It’s not about cutting slack but about having a fair and accurate view of how far down the chain we are in our purchases. And then taking up the fight for change as best we can. 

 

And good news... the fight is working. People have been taking a stand against this for a while. It’s gaining traction. Now that we know about the use of animals as organic fertilizer, it is changing. It has to change for all farming as we dismantle more and more slaughterhouses. It is also highly inefficient and far less effective to use animals as fertilizer. It was just cheap. Plant-based fertilizer can be far more beneficial and efficient and effective. 
 

The change is coming.
 

Until then, avoiding organic foods because of this issue would be like avoiding breathing because of pollution. We can breathe AND fight pollution at the same time.  

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"Conventional" farming (how I hate that term; we've done it for around 100 years, and it's now considered the default) might not kill animals immediately to use their blood and bones... but the use of pesticides and herbicides could be killing them (and us) anyway, just more slowly.

 

I'd prefer to eat something grown without the use of animal crap but I don't want to eat food that's grown with chemicals that harm the ecosystem and everything that depends on it, either.

 

Unless 100% of the world makes an instant shift to veganism, there's going to be a ton of animal waste sitting around. Do we use it to grow other food, or do we be wasteful and toss it aside? The question of veganism is a lot more nuanced that some people think. It's like the vegans who think nothing of throwing all their leather goods into the landfill rather than using them until they're completely worn out. Or those who buy "vegan" clothing made from plastic that eventually ends up in the food chain as microplastics. You're basically exchanging one form of harm for another. Sure, that cow didn't die today to make your shoes... but that whale might die from plastic pollution in ten years. Which is worse? Or are they the same? These questions bother me. Do I buy that mulesing-free wool sweater that's durable enough to be sent to a second-hand store when I don't want it anymore... or the fleece hoodie made out of recycled plastic that'll develop holes within a few years and have to be sent to the landfill? Do I buy organic food knowing it may have been grown with animal products... or the "conventional" produce that introduces toxins into the environment? It's not black and white. Even if we try to do as little harm as possible, it's really tricky to know whether we've actually made the less-harmful choice. (I mean, obviously, not eating animals or killing them for their skin/fur is pretty clear cut. I'm talking about all the other issues on the periphery.)

 

I just wish we didn't have to keep worrying about getting food poisoning from romaine lettuce because someone thought it would be a great idea to spread diseased poop all over it. 🤮

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  • 2 months later...
Leela Corman

One thing to keep in mind when choosing organic produce is that ag chemicals are extremely harmful to farm workers, who get much higher doses than anyone at the end of the chain would. That's my main impetus for buying organic now, because I don't actually think the small amounts of those industrial chemicals in the single piece of fruit or vegetable I'm eating are really going to hurt me. But I think about the people who grow and pick and process produce. Their lives are already hard, in many cases. We don't respect any being in our food production chain. Capitalism sucks. 

 

I didn't know about the use of animal parts in fertilizers. I'll have to read more. God, this world is exhausting. Does it help to shop at a local farmer's market, if you have access to one? At least there, you can ask the farmers directly what they use. In my experience, they're usually really happy to talk about it! 

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Sky Goldy

It is certainly better for our Mother Earth , and for you as well. As for animals parts in fertilizers,  I don't think it's used in organic farming, most make their own compost. Not everything is within our control, but whatever is, is already an improvement .

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Miizle
4 hours ago, Sky Goldy said:

As for animals parts in fertilizers,  I don't think it's used in organic farming, most make their own compost.

That's what i thought, and would still like to believe, but can't really at this point as i'm continuously running into animal based organic gardening products (fertiliser and fertiliser enriched soil) and organic gardening advice constantly telling to use especially "blood and bone", but other non-vegan things too. I don't see it impossible at all that most organic farms would be buying shitloads of shit from factory farms, because i can't imagine it would be very expensive. How much compost can a commercial organic farm realistically make? I hope the right answer is "a lot". But i don't know.

I think shopping at farmers markets like @Leela Corman said is definitely something everyone should do, and indeed you can ask all the questions without getting the no response treatment by email. But at least i (unfortunately, i guess) still eat a lot of other things apart from fresh fruit and veg, and they are made somewhere else. Including other countries. Hard if not impossible to know. But that of course goes for everything, not just organic products. And i definitely agree about the poisoning of the earth and the workers bit, which is a big reason for me, too, for supporting organic and fair trade.

One step at a time, for the world,
and for us. Would be nice to be able to get everything from your own land.
I have been quite surprised how wholesomely satisfying it is to take compost out of my compost bin and use it! It just feels really good, haha! I can't even think of anything else in my life i can compare that precise feeling to really, there's something about the full circle that just feels so right and kind of makes me feel like such a winner 😁

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  • 5 months later...
Birdy Bear

Thanks @Miizle and pals! 

We definitely are moving the needle : My Nonna (grandmother) was picking and preparing dandelions, composting all our organic waste in the far corner of the yard,  making our bread, being buddies with the milkman... (Love you Nonna!) my whole life, much to our neighbours despair and ridicule (boo to responding to and with fear when no threat actually exists...)... fast forward: dandelions are a Whole Foods staple and composting is mandatory in many cities... lol! Go Team! We can do it!

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