If the ultimate goal of a vegan is to reduce the harm done to animals, an exclusively plant-based diet isn’t the answer.
Until very recently the idea of eating insects was taboo for most first-world consumers. But that’s beginning to change. In fact, if media exposure means anything, a veritable insectivore revolution is underway among food adventurers and sustainability experts alike.
That enthusiasm is justified. Insects are nutrient-dense, low-impact critters that thrive in densely packed conditions, eat agricultural waste, and reproduce exponentially without human intervention. When it comes to providing incredibly healthy whole foods with minimal resources to feed a burgeoning population, insects hit the bulls-eye.
The more vegans replaced plant-based calories with insect-based calories, the fewer animals they’d end up harming. This is the vegan’s dilemma.
But not everyone is lining up to crunch on crickets. Despite entmophagy’s many promises, one group of conscientious consumers remains nervously ambivalent: vegans. On the face of things, the question seems moot. Vegans don’t eat animals; insects are animals; vegans therefore don’t eat insects. End of story. But this simple little syllogism betrays the very real possibility that vegans, by virtue of their quest to reduce animal suffering, may not only be permitted to eat insects—they may be obligated to do so.