Every farmer knows that small animals are killed in the process of farming. I do not just mean insects. A big efficient combine keeps food costs down, but as it goes through the amber fields of grain, thousands of cute little animals (and some not so cute) are caught up in the process and killed. This fact, popularized in Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma," is one of those inconvenient truths. The inconvenience may be greater for the vegetarian than the vegan. If eating reasonably priced grains and vegetables inevitably causes the slaughter of mice, rabbits, and other little animals, then what is gained by not eating meat? One response might be that surely more animals are killed for direct consumption than by accident while harvesting grain. This is not necessarily so. One source reports a bit too gleefully that switching to a diet heavier in beef and chicken would save 300 million animal lives over a vegan diet. One answer may be that deliberate killing is much worse than accidental killing. The Curious Vegan is thus far not impressed with such a distinction, especially when the accidental deaths are predictable and well known.
I have learned, in the course of blogging, not to demand consistency, and especially not in veganism. Still, this question bothers me.