In his latest TEDx Talk given at Bath University in the United Kingdom, animal rights activist and educator Earthling Ed takes on every argument not to go vegan that he can remember making before he went vegan.
Earthling Ed’s extraordinarily compelling arguments about veganism and animal rights have officially since earned him the title Professor Ed. According to his social media pages, Ed’s YouTube series got the attention of Harvard University, where he has been invited to spend a semester teaching a class about animal rights. He’s also planning to make appearances at some of the most elite universities in the United States, including Brown, Cornell, Columbia, and Yale, shaping the minds of the future around one pressing idea: animals as commodities.
For Earthling Ed, the logical place to start the argument for veganism is actually to debunk all the arguments against veganism because, in most circles, vegans are still the minority. Meat eaters dominate popular opinions like the idea that animals are indeed commodities, brought into existence solely to be bought and sold on a whim, and that humans are highest on the food chain, so we can eat whatever we want. Ed pushes this logic even further.
“But consuming animals is part of the food chain. I mean, it’s the circle of life. Everyone who is born must one day die. That’s a natural process. That’s symbiotic and harmonious to nature and the world that we live in.
Now food chains are incredibly important. They symbolize part of the natural order and they help maintain and form ecosystems. Fundamentally, they’re there to make sure population sizes of animals are kept consistent and to ensure that the natural ecology is just well-balanced. But what we do to animals when we selectively breed them, when we genetically modify them, when we artificially inseminate and forcibly impregnate them, when we take their babies away from them, when we mutilate them, when we exploit them for what they naturally produce for their own species, when we load them into trucks or trailers, take them to a slaughterhouse, where we hang them upside, cut their throat, and bleed them to death, has nothing to do with the natural order and most importantly, it fits none of the criteria required to be labeled as a food chain.”
Harvard students (and all of us, really) have a lot to think about. In less than 20 minutes, Earthling Ed pulls the rug out from under the entire modern food system, leaving us with one lingering question. Why are we just hearing about this now?
Matt is an award-winning independent journalist. His reporting has been featured in USA Today, The Washington Post, HuffPost, Vox, PBS, and NPR, among others.