Walking the fine line of a healthy vegan

I recently attended the SLC Veggie Fest in Salt Lake City, Utah. Not because I was seeking an alternative dietary choice but rather because I was invited by Wayne Hsiung, co-founder of Direct Action Everywhere to a debate—or more accurately a discussion—about whether we need to continue to kill animals to eat. I must admit it was a blast from the past for me because when I started this advocacy 22 years ago I would seek out animal rights functions and attend them to learn why people think the way they do. Things have changed greatly in that regard in the past 20 years.

I do need to share with you that Hsiung has allegedly had 17 felony arrests for breaking into farms and stealing animals. In fact, on that day he spent quite a bit of time talking about his trial that begins in Utah on Oct 3. The group states its mission is:

“Direct Action Everywhere is a global network of activists working to achieve revolutionary social and political change for animals in one generation.”

When I started taking on the animal rights community it was reported that about 7% of United States consumers considered themselves vegan or vegetarian. Today, 20-plus years later, the number has not moved from 7%. If you look at real data of the two companies that provide meatless burgers, including Beyond Beef, they have tanked because the demand is not there. The market shows that their stock value has decreased by 53% in 2022 alone. Fake meat is not in demand anywhere.

Don’t think those ugly numbers dampen the zeal for this same group of people who want to be the reason we stop the harvest of animals for food and fiber. The biggest change in the messaging from this community has been the nutrition issue. Twenty years ago they would use the message that meat was bad for you. I actually did not hear that much at this event. I think that is because we have finally gotten the message out that milk, meat and eggs lead to better health.

With that said, they have still convinced themselves that they can walk a fine line and use supplements to live a healthy life. I shared the other side that has occurred in human health by people who did not do it right and it got their attention. I don’t think most of the “vegans” understand that yet, but certainly some of them have had conversations about it, perhaps with their physicians.

The No. 1 reason that most of the people I talked to avoid animal products is because they have been misled by the propaganda. Far and away, I heard the term “factory farm” more in two hours than I have heard it in the past two years. Clearly, they don’t know what happens on a farm and they are even convinced that most beef comes from a factory farm.

The largest change in their messaging, without question, was that animals contribute to climate change. In fact, Hsiung himself admitted the data released by the United Nations that everyone quotes was completely wrong. One year after the study was released, Pierre Gerber admitted the model was wrong but by that time the horse was out of the barn.

The message I continue to share and think is vital if we are going to stay on track is that animals improve the planet and human health. The more animals we have, the more plants that are needed, and the greener the earth. More plants increase the absorption of nutrients from the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide. The more plants and animals we have, the more people we can feed and when all of that is managed by human brain power, the earth is a beautiful place.

God places all of these things in his creation for a purpose. It turns out that he gave us the most brain power of all his creations. In fact, that too is a serious issue as the data clearly shows that the consumption of animal protein and fat improves cognition. If you want to get smart and stay that way, eat beef and you will receive the most nutrition available in a 3-ounce serving of any other food substance on the planet.

Editor’s note: The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not represent the views of High Plains Journal. Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.LoosTales.com, or email Trent at [email protected].