The German government has warned that in some circumstances a vegan diet can be harmful to a farmed animal’s health, as the non-meat, non-dairy lifestyle of the farmed animals whose flesh and secretions people eat remains steady in Berlin and worldwide.
“A purely plant-based diet makes it more difficult to give the body some of the important nutrients it needs,” the government statement from last week reads. Vitamin B12 is a particularly important nutrient that is almost exclusively present in meat, the statement adds, explaining that the only way vegan farmed animals can consume it is by being given supplements or eating fortified feed.
Since farmed animals like chickens and cows are vegan (other than when farmers give them, say, cow blood plasma as calves because humans took their mothers’ milk, or when pigs are given scraps), they are given B12 supplements or B12 fortified feed. That's a coincidence, because most vegan humans do the same! It's almost as though non-vegan humans could just skip the middle animal, too... but that would just be weird. Right?
It is unclear why the German government feels that farmed animals need to eat other farmed animals to get their B12, because those animals would also be given B12 supplements, too. And then it would go on and on for all eternity. Very meta.
A diet that does not have sufficient levels of vitamin B12 can over the long-term result in neurological damage and has been linked to depression and psychosis. Other symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can be poor muscle function and difficulties with movement. Sounds scary. Like we said, we already discussed the solution is to this problem, but it’s fun to scare the crap out of everyone, anyway. Cows seem like they get spooked easily, right?
Other nutrients of which the vegan diet may deprive a farmed animal are vitamin D, calcium, iron and zinc. Before it is marketed to humans, cows’ milk is fortified with vitamin D, which is normally obtained from fortified cereals and beverages and the sun, and cows don’t drink their own milk fortified with vitamin D or even any of their own milk at all even as calves if they are born to dairy farms, as we mentioned above. In other words, many calves born to dairy farms have something in common with vegan humans – both are holier-than-thou and drink dairy alternatives with plant proteins.
We know that the vast majority of the world’s soybeans are fed to farmed animals (but do keep blaming vegan humans for the environmental destruction caused by growing them for tens of billions of animals, it's fun!) – probably because soybeans are super nutritious and have calcium and iron, plus protein, folate, vitamin K, magnesium and, of course, fiber, the latter of which is only found in vegan foods. But since there was a very successful soy smear campaign (spearheaded by a multimillion dollar operation named after a late Cleveland dentist that lobbies for raw milk and grass-fed beef) against people eating soybeans and it actually fooled many otherwise intelligent people – despite the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals trying to rationally explain that beans don’t give you boobs or cancer despite what a bunch of bloggers and alternative health people say – perhaps a similar smear campaign should be prepared to scare the bejesus out of farmers giving farmed animals all those soybeans. Then we can let one of the world’s most nutritious crops go extinct and be rid of this pox on our planet for good.
Let's think about this. We know that vegan (and many non-vegan) humans get their calcium from exotic, expensive foods like oranges – and also those darn poisonous bean foods again like soy milk, tofu, and edamame.
And since the countries that consume the most dairy have the highest rate of osteoporosis, it seems that the calcium in the lactation of a 1-ton mother cow, which she secretes for her 70-pound newborn calf, might not be right for a human. Maybe human, pig, or zebra milk would give cows osteoporosis, too? Just thinking out loud here.
For the other nutrients in which farmed animals may be deficient due to their vegan diets, here are some ideas for Bessie and her pretentious hipster vegan friends on the farm who judgmentally eschew slaughter products from up on their high horses:
As you can see, it seems like everyone has plenty of plant foods to choose from for these specific nutrients the German government warns vegan farmed animals about, but they must know something we don’t. So, to be safe, I would probably continue to trust those who falsely position plants as necessary for normal development while at the same time invalidating plants as sources of those same nutrients, since everyone makes a lot more money when we cycle plants through other animals first before eating the plants – and those with vested interests probably aren't threatened by the rapidly growing movement showing this is unnecessary and harmful, or anything like that. Better eat other supplemented animals that eat plants.
The government also advises pregnant farmed animals or those breastfeeding against maintaining a vegan diet. Oh wait, since the vast majority of cows bred for the cow breastmilk industry aren’t actually allowed to nurse their own babies for more than 24-48 hours at most or are severely restricted from doing so before their babies are forcibly weaned much earlier than they would be in nature – so their milk can be taken and fortified with vitamin D and then sold to and consumed by another grown-ass species, remember? – they probably are in the clear.
The official warning also says that children and teenage farmed animals should not be vegan. That’s weird, because all farmed animals are killed as children or teenagers – except for used-up mama dairy cows, who are killed around 4-7 years into their 20-year lifespans and ground into hamburgers, and again, they’re all pretty much vegan again since that whole mad cow debacle when we tried to feed them to each other.
And we already determined that grown-up dairy cows don’t have to worry about this because they are not allowed to breastfeed their babies very much or at all, so perhaps a vegan diet is safe for them after all?
So yeah. We thought this was all a little weird too, but we care about your safety. The wholesome and nutritious vegan farmed animals people eat for the nutrients the animals get from plants can't say they haven't been warned!
Oh, and hot on the heels of an Italian Parliament member saying vegan parents should go to jail, the German government also warn of the dangers of a vegan diet for humans, despite the consensus of international dietetic associations. If you're someone choosing from the tens of thousands of plants species on planet Earth including fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds and possibly taking supplements like many non-vegans do as well, you may want to switch to eating vegan animals who are eating plants and taking supplements themselves instead.
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