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Many farmers use a method known as manure to plant vegetables. This manure comes from animals.

Generally vegans don’t benefit from products that come from animals.

So are vegetables that are grown with animal (as opposed to synthetic) manure considered vegan?

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    A good question, but I'm wondering what you mean by synthetic manure. My vegan parents use seaweed fertilizer for their garden.
    – Zanna
    Oct 7, 2023 at 17:38
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    I expect that this will be mainly opinion based. If I collect animal dung from the wild, I am not harming the animals in any way. However, in practice, the dung probably comes from farmed animals. Howabout sourcing your manure from humans? This is done in some places.
    – badjohn
    Oct 8, 2023 at 18:47
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    @badjohn if you eat an animal that dies anyways, you are also not hurting any animals, but vegans still don’t eat them. Conversely, if you eat plant based products that are made in a city that’s displaced and continues to displace tens of thousands of wildlife creatures, that would also be harming animals, but vegans don’t pay much attention to that, only “is it animal based”, or not. Oct 10, 2023 at 21:46
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    Yes, I do not worry about the use of manure but I would not eat road kill. Everyone sets their own rules. This position is not entirely logical yet still common. Partly, it is because I would find it hard to eat meat even in this case. Also, because accepting this might lead to a slippery slope of allowing "accidents" to occur too often.
    – badjohn
    Oct 10, 2023 at 21:51
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    Can you please clarify if by "animal manure" you mean manure from "non-human animals" or are you also including humans that consent to have their manure composted and used as humanure? Oct 12, 2023 at 3:01

2 Answers 2

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I help raise crops on a vegan farm.

On the farm, we have chickens.

The chicken poop is used as a manure to help the crops grow.

The chickens also eat the bugs that eat the crops.

The chickens themselves are not eaten except if other animals eat them (we use water sprinklers with special sensors to try to keep predators away).

I can't say if most vegan farms operate this way or if vegans in general find this practice acceptable.

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We, too, have a small vegan farm with chickens. And they help us with fertilizer and bugs. I consider the produce vegan. Actually, if I used synthetic fertilizer, I'd look at it the other way. Not 'is it vegan,' but 'is that vegetable safe?'

I wouldn't use manure from feed lots or synthetic fertilizer. Only what God made, preferably right from our own farm. But if you had a robust composting system, a small farm wouldn't need to add manure at all. There's documentary called "Back to Eden" about a novel idea of sustainable farming where the whole garden is essentially a multi-layered composting site. I don't believe he uses any fertilizer at all.

If the farm is using commercial fertilizer, it's probably not "vegan." There are some ethical concerns for sure. If I'm not mistaken, I believe there was eColi bacteria contamination of prepackaged salad from California due to upstream runoff from feedlot manure.

But some start wondering about the earthworms that composted the fertilizer - did they eat any dead mice in the pile and leave the castings? So I don't know if you need to buy certified vegan worms to put into the certified vegan compost pile to get the certified vegan fertilizer to make the certified vegan vegetables! :) Everyone draws the line somewhere.

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