December 5, 2022

John Dutton of Yellowstone gives a weak putdown of Veganism.

It’s an important discussion about land, values, Nature, reverence, and against The Man worth more than a facile putdown.

Last night was watching Yellowstone. While it’s a far from “vegan” show, it’s generally thoughtful. The episode I watched featured a “vegan protest” out in ranch country in Montana. The lead, Kevin Costner, gave a one-liner putdown of veganism that was presented as wise and grounded. The mostly-female protestors didn’t respond, weren’t given a response. It was a weak moment.

You ever plow a field? To plant quinoa or sorghum or whatever the hell it is you eat? You kill everything on the ground and under it. You kill every snake, every frog, every mouse, mole, vole, worm, quail…you kill them all. So I guess the only real question is: how cute does an animal have to be before you care if it dies to feed you?”

~  John Dutton, Yellowstone

A weak argument, with no reply.

Costner’s point: that vegans only care about “cute” animals, that farming “quinoa or whatever you all eat” kills animals, is easy to reply to. We aren’t trying to be perfect. We’re trying to care, do to what we can. Farming vegan foods may kill animals, and displace jungle/forest (which it doesn’t need to)—but 85% of farmland and say 100% of ranchland is dedicated to growing crops for animals to be tortured and murdered, or directly for animals to be tortured then murdered. So want to spare the lives of 85-100% of animals? Eat lower on the food chain. Care.

And vegans, last I checked, show up in caring for all animals, not just cuties. And, ranchers aren’t our enemy. Industrial ag is, factory farming is, and ranchers and small farmers also find common cause against Big Ag.

Living on the land is beautiful. But if we’re truly living on the land, we’re living with the land, in harmony, not subjugating it and torturing and killing Nature as we see fit. There’s a good scene in Yellowstone about respecting the wolves, to that point.

A sad miss for a show that too easily can trend toxic and ignorant, but rarely does.

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