A truly sustainable agriculture will involve animals, in order to complete the nutrient cycle, and those animals are going to be killed and eaten.
This strikes me as an enormous claim that demands evidence to back it up, but Pollan provides none. Is he really suggesting that it’s impossible to have a sustainable agriculture that relies purely on plant-based composts? If Pollan’s eating meat, grains, and veggies, is his nutrient cycle somehow more complete than a vegan who dines on just grains and veggies? This argument doesn’t make a whit of sense.
Happily, Pollan continues:
That said, I have the ultimate respect for vegetarians and vegans. For they have actually done the work of thinking through the consequences of their eating decisions, something most of the rest of us have not done.
I think this may be the most veggie-friendly statement Pollan’s yet made. I still don’t think the day has arrived when Pollan is giving vegan diets a fair hearing, but at least he’s showing some signs of treating the subject with a bit more care.
Let’s hope that Adam Merberg over at Say What, Michael Pollan? succeeds at convincing Pollan to reexamine some of his more problematic positions.