I really need to present this to some vegans. I'm really struggling with a lot of issues right now. I'm not eating animal products, but I'm starting to become disillusioned.
There are a few reasons (which I can source) why vegans aren't making any real change or helping animals:
1) >75% of government subsidies go to meat and dairy. I'm not sure how much you know about subsidies, but they also include quotas, which means whether the demand is there or not, the producers must produce. Wheat farmers burn silos, fruit farmers burn piles, and meat factory farmers discard the meat into landfills or other feed. In short, whether you buy it or not, it's coming into existence. The meat you don't buy ends up in the trash.
2) If you've ever worked for a supermarket, ask the meat department how much meat they throw out. The employees go through the store every morning and toss anything that isn't selling or looks "bad". I don't have exact figures, but that's a huge amount of meat. This point ties in directly with point 1). Yes, perhaps the store doesn't profit if you don't buy it, but the meat still exists, and it is now in the trash.
3) Have you ever taken a look at the birth clock? 9,000+ people per hour are born, which far exceeds the death rate. (This is worldwide.) How many of them do you think will actually be vegans? The sheer numbers of omnivores make my personal contribution to abstain matter less and less every single hour.
4) Monocrop culture--whether it's soy that feeds you (or livestock), carrots, apples--whatever--destroys the earth. Agriculture is the problem. In places where crops are now used to be forests and balanced ecosystems. People moved in, clear cut the land, killed or displaced all of the animals, and now are growing one crop. The topsoil is destroyed, so they spray fossil fuels (non-vegan, re: "fossil") on them.
Think about a veggie burger. Clear cut some land to grow the soy and wheat (see point 4). Grow it using fossil fuel machines that spread pollution (not to mention all of the harm made in producing those machines). Harvest, package it, ship it, sell it. All steps involve toxifying the water and air.
Taking these into account--especially points 1 and 2--it really seems like my personal choice to not eat animals is akin to spitting into a forest fire.
In my view, the problem is not factory farming, damaging the environment via agriculture, etc. It's civilization. The ENTIRE system is the problem. Humans moving into an area, building cities, destroying eco systems...
This is why I admire the ALF and ELF so much. They make real change. You and I can not eat meat and hold signs all day, but until somebody gets in there and grabs big companies by the balls will it actually make a difference.
Will not eating cows make more of a difference than burning down slaughterhouses?
Will not eating fish make more of a difference than disabling trawlers?
Will not eating dairy make more of a difference than destroying factory farms and freeing the chickens?
Destroy the institutions, destroy the factories, remove the threats--this is the only way to help the animals. Being vegan is trying to work within a broken system.
I know; this is the real world. I believe my personal contribution is one of the most effective: I didn't breed. I would never bring a child into this planet, and if you watch National Geographic's The Human Footprint, you'll understand why.
I think the abstinence angle is great to try to make people feel good, but it brings about no real change. Actual, radical action changes things.
If there is any rebuttal, please give it to me. I think my last ounce of hope (aka wishful thinking) is gone.