1. “And if it was us, the animals?”

Trials and indictment fill the shelves of bookstores. That of American Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals (translated into French in 2011, ed. De l’Olivier) investigation into illegal part on factory farming, was a detonator. Others followed. Among the latest ones, manifesto vegan The cause of the animals. A Common Destiny (recently reissued by Buchet / Chastel), the philosopher Florence Burgat, and Enjoy! When the meat industry leads in trays (Presses de la Cité), an investigative journalist, Anne de Loisy, uncompromising balance of the industrial meat industry. More than ecological or food issues is the refusal of the animal abuse that raises the most memberships veganism. “We are living a collective awareness of ethics vis-à-vis animal suffering. This is not just a fad, it’s a groundswell,” says Fabrice DERZELLE to the Végétik association. It remains the primary motivation for 80% of vegetarians, according to the review antispécistes Cahiers . “One principle guide my food choices. Where it is not absolutely necessary, do not kill animals to eat But here and now, there is no need, we have everything to is the means to feed us otherwise, “reflects Yvan Vancleynenbreugel, vegetarian Belgian forties.

An argument, implacable, which is increasingly heard. Because intensive farming has significantly degraded the animal condition in recent decades. Thus, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 60 billion land animals (including 265 million in Belgium) are slaughtered each year to meet human consumption. Also according to the FAO, Belgium, 85% of broiler chickens come from factory farms and have never seen the light of day and 95% of pigs are kept on slatted floors in buildings. Is ground their teeth and tails without anesthesia.

According to the Gaia animal rights association, 4 million of them are castrated alive a few days after birth to “prevent the risk of occurrence of an unpleasant odor when cooking meat”. These realities are difficult to refute, cause a real disorder in the omnivore. Anyone who has read the conditions in which pigs, calves or poultry are high, can not but admit that the situation raises ethical questions. Is that the animal is a serious question. Long overshadowed by Western thought, it becomes a full reflection field and mobilize intellectuals, artists, scientists, vegans do not hesitate to quote. Thus, most contemporary philosophers, Matthieu Ricard Michel Onfray, converge to give the animal the minimum rights, including the right not to suffer needlessly for human needs.

 MAGASIN 100 % végan. Une démarche également testée par les supermarchés.

STORE 100% vegan. One also tested by supermarkets approach. © EDUARDO BOTELLA / BELGAIMAGE

For vegetarians, there is the debate further. In reality, most of the “no meat” are very influenced by the antispécisme, key concept of the vegan movement that denounces the prioritization of species and man’s superiority over the animal. There is also talk of “abolitionist” to designate them. “Vegetarians are not speciesist, it does not exist! All hope one day to leap to veganism,” said Fabrice DERZELLE. Among them, the stars and not least, Paul McCartney, Moby, Joaquin Phoenix …

Their Bible? The test of the Australian philosopher Peter Singer Animal Liberation , released in 1974 and reissued in 2012, Petite Bibliothèque Payot). Their cult film? The docu shock Earthlings ( “ Earthlings ” Shaun Monson), on human cruelty to animals. Their argument, finally? Why a human supremacy? Over the centuries, slaves, indigenous, women, children made their entry into the “circle of compassion”, the time is she not coming to do to enter the animal? Clearly, they assimilate the distinction between species to a form of racism, not hesitating to compare the animal condition to black slavery or women. The reasoning is obviously questionable. However, Renan wrote Larue, a researcher at the University of Montreal and author of History committed vegetarian thought (PUF, 2014), the antispécisme pose an essential question: Is the differences, real, between a human and an animal justify such different treatment? It allows in any case to think about the links between species

But their struggle against factory farming and for the closure of slaughterhouses can lead vegans to slippages in every sense. ” I am against rape, “said a vegan, speaking of” artificial insemination of dairy cows “because as used for producing milk and its derivatives. For them, the food industry has everything a “concentration camps” and “genocide”, a real “Holocaust on your plate.” Frequent comparisons that can be read on websites and forums vegans. We even mentioned it to the battery animals “eternal Treblinka” referring to the extermination camp in occupied Poland created by the Nazis during World War II, the term serving as a much-discussed book by the historian American Charles Patterson.

2. “A meatless diet is best for health”

The argument of considering the animal as making a similar controversy, most non-English vegetarians avoid the wave. The Association recommends Végétik and its members to “keep a low profile in relation to our commitment to the abolitionist movement and antispéciste”. Their “combat” is described as “long and pioneering” and “unlikely to be greeted with fervor before decades.” By strategy, therefore, the “no meat” put greater emphasis on the benefits of a vegetarian diet on human health. Reinforced by health scandals, advocacy provégé has also increased interest.

But can we do without meat, fish and poultry without risking his health? In principle, yes: the amino acids necessary for our muscles, and iron content in proteins, are identical in the plant and animal kingdoms, although in less proportion in plants and less well absorbed by the body. And provided you have enough solid nutritional knowledge to properly associate cereals and legumes. This is as much as possible to offset or supplement: one of two omega 3 DHA, which is involved in brain architecture, exists only in meat products. It’s the same vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin B12, essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the production of red blood cells, absent in plants. Being vegetarian, vegan and more improvised, say nutritionists, is to run the risk of being wrong and suffer from deficiencies in amino acids and iron in particular. “Some people even return to a natural food. But not at all,” warns Nicolas Guggenbühl, nutritionist dietitian and professor at the Institut Paul Lambin in Brussels. So to compensate for butter or cream, vegans use of coconut oil … just as harmful as palm oil, or resort to fried foods, increasing their intake of saturated fat.

A After studying the menu and offset deficiencies, it is best vegetarianism for health? The situation is not very clear. Vegetarians expose to support studies, he preserves his own health. Starting with that of the American Dietetic Association (2009) which states that a vegetarian diet is proper diet. His work has shown benefits against high blood pressure and against the bad cholesterol but also against obesity. Vegetarians especially have a body mass index (BMI) lower and fewer cases of type 2 diabetes “This is a truly independent association that brings together more than 70,000 nutritionists. We links between the state, the regions, the lobby of the meat and food industry are very strong, “said Fabrice DERZELLE. And also mention the study conducted by researchers from Oxford (Great Britain) published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition : vegetarians have a higher life expectancy omnivores in the order of two to three years.

For Nicolas Guggenbühl, the verdict is clear: “This research is conducted in comparison with Western diet that we know is unbalanced and contains animal products.” In other words: “These studies are biased.” The Belgian nutritionist dietician recognizes that research conducted by Loma Linda University (California) with 73,000 members of the religious community of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which is advocated vegetarianism, have shown positive effects on ‘life expectancy. But this sample, the common picture vegetarian, adopt a healthier life without tobacco and alcohol, which is a significant factor even longevity.

The virtues of vegetarianism face of cancers are also the subject of debate. The studies on this divergent and contradictory. Moreover, Loma Linda University survey shows no special protection against cancer.

CONTRE NATURE L'insémination artificielle des vaches laitières est régulièrement dénoncée par les végans.

AGAINST NATURE Artificial insemination of dairy cows is regularly denounced by vegans. © JARRY SEBASTIEN / BELGAIMAGE

3. “The meat pollutes”

Where vegetarians, vegans and vegans are the most compelling is the ecological argument. The discourse on environmental protection ends in disqualify the meat: breeding is a powerful source of greenhouse gases. A strong and widely accepted argument, though rarely the source of dietary change. All affirm loud and clear, as international experts: “When a family of four eating a steak, for example, maintains The Truth on meat , bringing together a collective work (ed Arena.) twenty scientists, politicians and journalists, this equates roughly in terms of energy to drive a car for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home. ”

The 2013 report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says he, that the breeding fee 8% of global water consumption, product 14.5 % of greenhouse gas emissions – more than transport – and 39% methane gas more warming than a C0 2 , emitted especially by cattle during digestion. In its 2006 report, FAO concluded: “The livestock sector has environmental impacts so deep and of such magnitude that it should be considered a major concern centers of environmental policies.”

add to this the latest FAO projections: “as the global population will reach 9.1 billion in 2050, the annual meat production must increase by more than 200 million tonnes to 470 million tonnes.” It will therefore produce almost double, madness! Not that it is impossible. Only humans also end up therefore roast. Ovens by climate change.

One solution to reduce the weight of livestock on the planet exist yet, indeed: that humans consume fewer steaks, rib eye steaks, nuggets of chicken, ham slices and bibs. According to UN calculations dating from 2014, so that everyone has the opportunity to eat meat and therefore consume animal protein, it will limit meat consumption to 35 kilos per person per year, or less than 100 grams per day. This is equivalent to reduce by two or even more our current consumption. This also implies a revolution of minds. In fact, it has already begun.

The carnivorous diet

In 2013, the Belgian swallowed on average 85 kilograms of meat (50 kilos without bones, 962 grams per week). A decrease of 13% in eight years. Consumption that is part of the OECD average. At the end of his life, the Belgian eats a third of a horse, oxen and calves 5, 5 sheep and goats, 24 rabbits and game heads, 42 pigs, 43 turkeys and other poultry (except chicken), 789 fish and 891poulets. Twice his grandparents and three times more than his great-grandparents. ?

S. G.