Information for Vegans
Farmers are a fundamental part of our society; they grow our food and manage our landscape. Financial stress, social isolation, long hours and feeling undervalued are issues most farmers face so it’s no wonder those working in the agricultural sector are three times as likely to commit suicide than the general population
Many of the challenges are a result of poor government policies and the power of the supermarkets. Farmers often have to deal with an unstable and unreliable income when supermarkets deny them a fair price or pull out of deals at the last minute meaning products can go to waste and they are left unpaid.
Rising imports and industrialisation mean smaller farms find it impossible to compete and are struggle to survive. Extreme and unpredictable weather due to the worsening climate crisis is making it more difficult and costly for farmers to produce food. Last July was one of the wettest on record, forcing some farmers in mixed crop-animal systems to buy unsustainable and costly cattle feed instead of relying on their own crops.
The way in which farmers get paid has been drastically affected in recent years. Subsidies that many farmers rely on to make a living have been phased out as a result of Britain leaving the EU. The cost of living crisis has also had a particularly hard impact on farmers with grain, fuel and fertiliser prices skyrocketing.
Agricultural workers are often very isolated from wider society and city dwellers have little interaction with the people producing and the origin of their food. This has resulted in a lack of acknowledgment of how important our farmers are and tensions in rural communities. These communities are the most vulnerable to Government policies that favour imported food over home production and the lack of investment in British farming.
Society should be built on the principles of love, compassion and empathy. We seek a nonviolent society, but unfortunately, the way in which farmers are sometimes viewed and treated contradicts this.
Farming in the UK is in crisis and we feel solidarity and offer support to those farmers suffering from oppressive systems and government policy. We oppose the system not individuals. Having a safe and secure food system is in the interest of everyone - both vegans, farmers and the public.
We recognise that farmers' lives and livelihoods depend on a just and sustainable food system. As vegans, our vision is of a plant based food system and that cannot happen by leaving farmers behind. Our UK farmers must stay farming in order for us to have a functioning food system, no matter our different visions for a future food and farming sector. That's why we support our farmers and want to unite over our common goal of a system that is fair for all.
Debates between farmers and vegans are sensationalised on news channels and social media to gain views and spark controversy. This perpetuates the idea that vegans and farmers are enemies. But we are both often being misrepresented by the media and people in real life are very different to the echo chambers on social media.
Vegans are regularly portrayed to have extreme, militant or hateful views. This is a big generalisation and stereotype. Similarly, farmers feel just as misunderstood and targeted in the media and online. We need to work towards breaking down these barriers and shift the culture of opposition to one of compassion, understanding and unity. Let us make the most unexpected allies and move forward together.
We are aiming to raise £100,000 to support the mental health of Young Farmers. Suicide rates in the agricultural sector are amongst the highest in any occupational group and three times higher than the national average. This is shocking and heartbreaking - no one should feel that the only option is to take their own life. We are aiming to tackle the issue of the food system at its core but by supporting their mental health we can help farmers through this difficult period and show solidarity to those who work tirelessly to grow our food.