I was alerted to a product which made me think. It reminded me that everything, everything we do is the result of a decision. We make a choice. I realised there are many things I have never stopped to think about; never stopped to consider the whole situation which sits around a particular decision. So, when F sent me the following photo, I took in a deep breath and started thinking.
My first reaction was that the Vegan Fertiliser was a marketing ploy directed at a small but growing segment of the population. I could not think of any reason why a gardener should limit themselves to one range of useful material when a much broader range of material works so well to help the soil and plants. I considered the possibility of cruelty to animals and failed to find a way in which non-vegan products and materials were cruel, damaging, or restricting. Manures of animals are simply excrement which falls on the ground regardless of what humans do. If this rich resource is wasted, is that a smart move?
My friend sent the photo because she knows my eating style is vegan except for an occasional foray into seafood. But as I have strewn horse, cow and chicken manure across my garden, it has never occurred to me that someone somewhere might expect people to use fertilisers and soil conditioners which are not derived from animals.
I suspect those who are allergic or have a medically diagnosed intolerance to any animal related product or excretion, would welcome a product that will assist plant growth. I imagine they might think then that the plants grown with the input of animal products would cause them harm. Let me suggest that a plant might be considered as a laundry receiving inputs which it reworks, uses for fuel, or repels invaders and then, at the end of those processes, provides a new clean product that wasn’t there before taking in those inputs. I am not a scientist so I don’t know, but I wonder whether in some or all plants, the remnants of an animal being absorbed by a plant leads to the growth of fresh produce which contains some element of that animal. I suspect not. Can it be tested and measured? I cannot believe it would exist – except perhaps in carnivorous plants which are never used for human consumption.
In addition, how does a gardener who eschews all animal connections in the garden cope with the thousands if not millions of tiny even microscopic insects and animals that walk all over their plants – and, being so tiny, may end up in the soup pot with all the leafy veggies?
In Googling I have discovered a veganistic gardening world already exists. I find this idea startling because I don’t believe any animals are hurt or even disadvantaged by what is used in or over the soil. This website recommends ‘Soil conditioners and fertilizers that are vegan-organic and ecologically sustainable include hay mulch, wood ash, composted organic matter (fruit/vegetable peels, leaves and grass clippings), green manures/nitrogen-fixing cover crops (fava beans/clover/alfalfa/lupines), liquid feeds (such as comfrey or nettles), and seaweed (fresh, liquid or meal) for trace elements.’ Yes all of these are fine and I have used all at some stage. But why deny the use of other equally useful materials.
What do you think?
I think you’re right. With my Wilfred Books hat on – promoting the ethics of Wilfred Risdon in his capacity as Secretary of the [British] National Anti-Vivisection Society, thereby campaigning against the mistreatment of animals, until his death in 1967 – I see no ethical conflict in using animal waste products for plant enhancement: the animals exist and, even if we didn’t exploit then in any way, their waste products would still have to be disposed of, so why not do it in a way that benefits us as well as them? Cheers, Jon.
Thanks Jon. I have been fascinated by the contacts today from this post. Seems to have hit a nerve.
I think its probably intended as an alternative to the blood & bone fertiisers.
But also if many vegans (or is it only PETA activists?) disagree with the concept of farming/using any animals for their “products” be it meat, leather, milk, eggs, recreation etc, then the argument could equally apply to the manure byproducts generated from those same farms?
Thanks for this. Couldn’t agree more.