TV vet back­ing ‘Ve­gan­uary’ trend

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS -

AN­I­MAL wel­fare prac­tices in the pig and dairy in­dus­try is the rea­son that one vet fol­lows a ve­gan diet for one month each year.

Well-known Wick­low vet Pete Wed­der­burn (in­set) re­cently took part in his fourth ‘Ve­gan­uary’, fol­low­ing a ve­gan diet for the month of Jan­uary. He told the Farm­ing In­de­pen­dent that his is­sues with prac­tices on pig and dairy farms are why he tries ve­g­an­ism for one month each year.

“Pigs are more in­tel­lec­tual than dogs but if dogs were kept the way pigs are kept in this coun­try, there would be ou­trage. I re­ally don’t agree with the clip­ping of pigs tails, it’s not nec­es­sary,” he said.

How­ever, IFA Pig chair Thomas Ho­gan said that “an­i­mal wel­fare is the top pri­or­ity on ev­ery Ir­ish pig farmer’s list”.

“Ev­ery pig farmer strives for top an­i­mal wel­fare be­cause if they’re not treated well, they won’t be pro­duc­tive. Their tales are clipped to pre­vent chew­ing and they live in a com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment with con­trolled tem­per­a­ture,” he said.

While Pete says he has friends who are ex­cel­lent dairy farm­ers with high lev­els of an­i­mal wel­fare, he feels the in­dus­try could im­prove when it comes to re­mov­ing calves from the cow so quickly and is­sues of lame­ness.

“I do have con­cerns about calves be­ing taken away from the cow so fast. I know it’s the tra­di­tional wean­ing sys­tem in this coun­try but it could be length­ened,” he ex­plained.

Pete added that his is­sues with in­dus­trial farm­ing were an­other rea­son he de­cided to take part in a part-time ve­gan diet.

“I’m not a full-time ve­gan be­cause I think it’s fine to take the life of an an­i­mal if they’ve lived a life with­out fear, pain or an­tic­i­pa­tion, or they’ve been given the right to carry out nat­u­ral be­hav­iour,” he says

“When I look out in the fields in Ire­land, I can see that an­i­mals are con­tent. How­ever, be­ing ve­gan forces you to check la­bels in the su­per­mar­ket and we im­port so much pro­duce that sup­ports in­dus­trial farm­ing. This is some­thing I don’t agree with.”

‘Mind­ful eat­ing’

For Pete the an­nual ve­gan diet is about self-ex­plo­ration and “mind­ful eat­ing” prac­tices and would en­cour­age oth­ers to fol­low his ex­am­ple. “It’s a process of ed­u­ca­tion and self-ex­plo­ration for me. I learn some­thing new each year and I think it’s some­thing ev­ery­one should try,” he says. “Dras­ti­cally chang­ing your diet for a month makes you re­alise what you need and what you don’t need. “Just be­cause you’ve been eat­ing some­thing all your life, doesn’t mean you’ve to keep do­ing it.”

Farmer’s son De­clan Bowens is a ve­gan who runs an an­i­mal; sanc­tu­ary near Na­van

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