BY AMBER JUAREZ
Photo courtesy of AP Images.
Many people believe that veganism is one-hundred percent cruelty-free. When in reality it is not always cruelty-free. Field workers are forced to work no matter how atrocious the climate is. They also work hours for low wages. Human beings should never be treated like this. The workers aren’t the only ones suffering; the earth also suffers because of certain vegan products that consume a lot of water.
During the California wildfires in Paradise City this past November, thousands of field workers were still working even though the public was advised to evacuate, why were the field workers forced to work? Some companies distributed fleece masks to the field workers, but many of them didn’t wear them because they said it was too itchy.
Many workers said that they had trouble breathing with the masks because it was too sweaty and dirty but were not able to take them off because of the toxic air quality. A mother of five named Gabriella said that she took medicine to get rid of her headache and she drank lemon tea for her throat, but it didn’t help. Gabriella said, “I was so dizzy, but what can I do? I have to feed my kids.”
A worker whose name will not be given, due to citizenship status, said, “They don’t care about our health… they only care about the strawberries.” This shows how cruel the workers are treated. Vegans preach about not hurting animals, yet they don’t see that humans are suffering for them to have food on their table.
What vegans also don’t see is that they are cruel to the earth. Almond milk is one of the significant factors impacting the drought in California. One almond tree takes 1.1 gallons of water. According to the Almond Board of California, there are approximately 6,800 almond growers and 100 almond handlers. And that is only in the state of California. To grow an almond tree, a farmer must drill thousands of feet into aquifers to pump out water. According to Tom Philpott, the food and agriculture correspondent of Mother Jones, drilling thousands of feet into the earth can trigger earthquakes.
Not only do almond trees use up a lot of water but they also harm honeybees. It hurts the bees because the almond trees must pollinate. California brings in 1.6 million beehives every year to pollinate almond trees. In 2014 about 25% of hives were damaged. This is bad for the earth because without bees we would not have anything. Humans need bees to survive.
Veganism is a great lifestyle, but it shouldn’t be labeled as “one-hundred percent cruelty-free” because it is not. Yes, it is cruelty-free to the animals, but it isn’t cruelty-free to the people that are working in the fields every single day. Human beings should be first.