Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Can we go vegan?

There are increasing calls by vegetarians to change our established diet based on meat and to go vegans. They’re citing the different benefits for human beings as well as for the environment.

Meat consumption is only a problem in rich countries whose members have the highest rate of consumption per person. Consuming meat is considered as a sign of well being as in the past its consumption was associated with a sign of wealth. The poor had no choice but to go vegetarian.

Still being vegetarian can be more costly than eating meat. Many fruits and vegetables are beyond the means of those with a medium or poor income. So they fall on cheap meals based on meat.

The blame also shouldn’t be on those who use meat in their diet. There are countries where livestock is a part of their culture. In India cows are sacred. So it will be hard to ask the Hindus in India to cut the number of cows in their country or to ask them to donate some of them to poor countries which consume meat. In parts Africa an Asia, livestock is a sign of social prestige. The more livestock one has the more respect one gets. In Muslim countries, sheep are used as a religious rite for Eid al-Udha. For the hajj in Mecca, each person should sacrifice a sheep. Around the Muslim world each family or adult Muslim should sacrifice a sheep on this day.

There is also the economic factor. Many farmers as well as industries depend on meat-based food processing. As there is an increase in population, it will be hard to see that vegetables and fruits alone will suffice. There will be a need for more land to grow more vegetables and fruits and an increase in the use of chemical fertilizers, with the dire consequences on the environment.


In terms of health and nutrition, there will be still disparities. Poor people will still find it difficult to buy fruits and vegetables rich in calories and vitamins. There should be a balance in how food of all sorts is distributed fairly across the world within each country. People should make a balance of what they eat. Discarding meat altogether of one’s diet will remain unconvincing for many. It amounts to a total reshuffle of collective and personal traditions and customs.

Does this also mean that people should be raised vegetarian from infancy? Babies should rely just on breastfeeding without compensating for that with baby milk in case the mother doesn’t produce milk It seems livestock is there to stay in society unless a convincing substitution is found.

Discarding meat altogether of one’s diet will remain unconvincing for many. It amounts to a total reshuffle of collective and personal traditions and customs.

To compensate for abstaining from meat, should we go fish eating? Even going vegan can be a stretch on earth resources if we don’t eat moderately. Moderation is the key to health eating.

5 comments:

Hisham said...

Congratulations for the new suit... looks nice.
I heard your comment being read on air by Ros yesterday. you were spot on!
Now I think I'll have some good Kefta sandwich... What do you think Abdelilah.
Or maybe a Tanjyia (Full of good halal meat!!)... yummy!

Goul Bismillah ou qessi m3a rassek b'la hedra!

Hisham said...

Oh I apologize... Your intervention was a bit earlier than yesterday, but never mind, I still want the Tanjyia!

Abdelilah Boukili said...

Thanks for the compliment, Hisham.
You are more than welcome to have the best of Mrrakeshi dishes.

Concerning going vegetarians in Morocco means doing away with Moroccan delicacies like tangyia, something that the Moroccans can't sacrifice.

As for my comment, you know, it is an aspect of legal hypocrisy. You are allowed to do certain things in Morocco but always under the fear of being prosecuted for it later!

Margot said...

Perhaps you have heard that the world's fish stocks are rapidly declining. Perhaps in twenty years fish will be a rare delicacy.

Even though the prices of fresh vegetables in Morocco have risen, fresh vegetables are still quite affordable compared to northern countries such as in Europe, or the United States. When I visited France last year, I just about fell over when I saw the prices of fresh vegetables (and that was in the summer season, so they'd be a lot more in the winter). In other countries, canned and frozen vegetables are less expensive than fresh. As I see it, this is one of the benefits of living in Morocco, eating well.

Margot, the Marrakesh Mystic
margotmystic.wordpress.com

Abdelilah Boukili said...

I just put the rhetoric question about fish consumption. Many types of fish are under the threat of extinction because of many people are reverting to fish thinking it to be healthier than red meat consumption.