Last updated on: 8/25/2011 | Author:

Simon Fairlie Biography

Editor of The Land magazine
Con to the question "Should People Become Vegetarian?"

“Every agricultural system produces a surplus of waste and hard-to-use biomass that is best kept in the food chain by feeding it to livestock. Meat or dairy produced this way has little extra environmental impact…

Scientists have calculated that globally the ratio between the amounts of useful plant food used to produce meat is about 5 to 1. If you feed animals only food that humans can eat – which is, indeed, largely the case in the Western world – that may be true. But animals also eat food we can’t eat, such as grass. So the real conversion figure is 1.4 to 1…

[Y]ou can afford to eat a modest amount of dairy and meat without destructing the environment. But, of course, it is not what we eat individually – it is what we eat as a whole society that has the impact on the environment. Some vegans may continue their vegan ways. I’m arguing for meat in moderation, not to eradicate meat entirely, nor to overconsume it…

I was a vegetarian from 18 to 24 years old, and I gave up meat partly because I had misgivings about the cruelty to animals. But I began eating meat again when I moved to the [English] countryside and started keeping goats. I had to do something with the male goats. They wouldn’t produce milk or offspring, so I started eating them. At 59, I now eat meat twice a week. I still to this day have some misgivings about killing animals for food. But intellectually, I know it is the right thing to do.”

“Simon Fairlie: How Eating Meat Can Save the Planet,” TIME magazine, Oct. 12, 2010

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Editor of The Land magazine
  • Director, Chapter 7 (a sustainable development organization)
  • Owner, The Scythe Shop
  • Coeditor, The Ecologist, 1990-1994
  • Worked for 20 years as an agricultural labourer, vineworker, shepherd, fisherman, builder and stonemason
  • None found
  • He is a former vegetarian
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should People Become Vegetarian?