One Thousand Million Reasons

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Stockfree Organic Standards in Agriculture

One thousand million animals are slaughtered in Britain alone. We base this horrendous number on DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and  Rural Affairs) statistics of c800 millions animals, cattle, goats, sheep and pigs and poultry, passing annually through slaughterhouses in England, Scotland and Wales. In addition we must add in an estimate for Northern Ireland for which we do not have a figure, plus animals dead on arrival at slaughterhouses, the death by gassing of unwanted male chicks, poultry dying from overcrowding and disease, death from BSE, Foot and Mouth, and swine fever and farmed fish.


About 43 million acres of land is used for farming in the UK. About one third is rough grazing (mainly moor land) a further third is permanent pasture. Rather more than another third (38%) is classed as arable. Of this more that 60% is used to feed animals. Of the 43million acres, and with a cattle stocking rate of one per acre, this leaves 29 million acres to graze 200 million cattle so they can qualify as organic. This is not possible.


The only clear and unequivocal ethical position is that of vegans who have ruled out the rearing of farm animals altogether. Because there are only a small number of vegan-organic farms (stockfree) vegans find themselves in a compromised position. Their response has been the formation in 1996 of the Vegan Organic Network and and in 2004, the Stockfree Organic Standards (SOS). The SOS brings to the attention of farmers that they have a choice in growing methods. They can now farm without herbicides, pesticide and artificial fertilisers, but also without animal manure and slaughterhouse by-products.


To date our Directory can list 20 stockfree organic commercial growers in the UK, and a further 20 overseas, mainly in N. America.   Even from this modest start they are feeding over 1500 people every week. This demonstrates that food can be grown in accordance with the values of non-violence.  Those bodies urging organic meat production are pressing for the unsustainable as well as the unethical. There simply is not enough land to rear animals organically. It is even more disastrous and irresponsible to argue for more land to be used so that animals can be kept non-intensively and fed organically. And a further choice – do we feed animals, people or the combustion engine? Vegans know where they stand!


Human development is a progression in which we all have a part to play. It has been argued that one line of progress we should now work towards is that from conventional chemical agriculture, to organic agriculture to vegan-organic agriculture. Such a shift requires a fundamental change in culture. For the vegan organic method of growing food is revolutionary as well as evolutionary in as much as it encompasses a way of living that is based on non-violence and non-exploitation.


VON believes that we can act as a catalyst to bring about agricultural, cultural and social change. We can only achieve these aims with your help, and of those groups and organisations with similar aims.  Join us – work with us! Much emphasis is now put upon a vegan diet as being healthy. VON considers that vegans are healthy not only because of their refusal to eat animals, but because this refusal is based upon an active philosophy that considers human and non-human life to be worthy of respect and the right to live in peace and security.  Help us to move towards a world where animals are not sacrificed for human greed and ignorance, and where people themselves can understand that they need not be brutalised by this senseless slaughter.


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