Angelina Jolie Thinks We Should Eat Insects Instead Of Other Animals
On her campaign trail for a recent movie, Jolie spent her down time in Cambodia “educating” a group of children on how to fry and eat scorpions and tarantulas. Crickets were also on the menu, and she joked that when starting to consume insects you always start with “crickets and a beer.”
The rationale behind all of this is that consuming insects is apparently more “environmentally stable” than conventional animal foods. The BBC showcased a video of Jolie and her insect antics, claiming that by 2050 the human population is going to be around 9 billion, and that bugs are both “nutritious” and cheaply “harvested.” Here’s a wild idea…why don’t we just stop inflicting unnecessary suffering and death altogether?
The BBC claims that as the population continues to rise, we’ll need to look for sources of protein other than “traditional meat and fish.” They see insects as catering to that need. Indeed, they advocate sprinkling insects on top of your pizza and cite the words of Shami Radia, co-counder of an “edible bug” company, who states that insects are the “original superfood.” Radia maintains that they are “high in protein, minerals, and amino acids so it makes sense to eat them.” By that logic, it would also “make sense” to eat your next door neighbour. If our moral decision making consists of nothing but the nutritional value of someone’s flesh or excretions, then heck, we can justify just about anything.
Another central tenet of the insect argument is that they are “better for the environment than conventional livestock farming.” But whether or not the environmental cost of consuming insects is lesser than conventional farming is utterly irrelevant. There is no moral justification for inflicting suffering an death on any sentient being. There is no necessity or compulsion whatsoever that warrants such behaviour. We do not need any animal products at all to live optimally healthy lives.
In the absence of any moral compulsion, what Jolie and the BBC are advocating is nothing but a direct replacement of one form of exploitation with another. This may assuage some peoples guilt with respect to environmental concerns, but it says nothing about the morality of their actions. Indeed, it merely gives people like Jolie a false sense of moral superiority when their actions are morally indistinguishable from those of any other non-vegan.
The answer to animal exploitation will not come in a packet of freeze-dried bugs sold next to the roasted peanuts and chia seeds. We need to get away from the nonsensical idea that one can fight injustice…with more injustice. Recognising animal moral value – big and small – means recognising that veganism is what we owe to them as a matter of moral obligation.