Pasturebird founder asks, “Are vegans stupid?”

Paul Grieve, the founder of pioneering regenerative broiler system, Pasturebird, has asked in an article on Linkedin, “Are vegans stupid?”

His answer is “no… but” – the story below explains why.

Grieve was speaking about scaling regenerative agriculture this week at the Animal AgTech Summit in San Francisco. The event was attended by vegan activists with megaphones.

While Grieve’s session was not interrupted, the following session was attended by vegan protestors, who stood up and shouted rehearsed slogans. Unsurprisingly, their protests fell on deaf ears and they were escorted out of the conference.

Not one to avoid conflict (Grieve is a veteran from the US Marine Corp), the farmer decided to follow the activists outside in an attempt to engage them in a quieter conversation.

Grieve said, “I walked right up to the leader and said ‘I raise chickens for meat and I’d love to talk to you.’ He was shell shocked and couldn’t even look me in the eye, opting for the bullhorn talking points into my ear. His minions told me I shouldn’t speak to him.”

Undeterred, Grieve tried talking to others in the protest group, equally to no avail.

Grieve said, “Their cameraman pulled me aside and said very genuinely ‘Wow, it’s really disappointing that they refuse to talk to you. I think dialogue is exactly what we need right now.”

Grieve’s story continued: “Finally one protestor mustered up the courage and said to me, ‘How can you kill animals against their will for food when we don’t have to?’ I said ‘Well what did you eat for breakfast?’ Again, she was shell shocked and wouldn’t answer the question until I continued to push. ‘Oats’, she said.

“I said, ‘Okay, are you aware of the magnitude of animal death through pesticide application, tillage, and habitat loss through the industrial monocrop farming of conventional oats?’ Her answer will surprise you, ‘Well we don’t eat those animals, so it’s fine.”

Grieve disagreed, and felt that in truth the protestor did too as soon as she’d said it.

This brought him to the point of his story, “So back to my question – are vegans stupid? For me, it’s a resounding no. By and large, most vegans that I know are well intentioned conscious consumers trying to do right by the planet, by animal welfare, and by human health. The militant bull horners are a tiny (loud) minority.

“While I totally disagree with the method of screaming interruptions over a megaphone as a method to drive change, the scrapper in me has to applaud the zeal, passion, and boldness it requires to do so.

“As a guy who started farming because I was bummed about the options in my grocery store, I probably agree with these folks on far more than I disagree.

“There’s vast room for improvement within plant and animal agriculture right now. We need that passion to be creating solutions to the plethora of problems and opportunities that lie ahead of us in agriculture.”

Support a practical, investable and inclusive narrative for land use.

Sign-up to receive our newsletter

Newsletter Signup
Contribute for just £2.50 per week
Skip to content