I remain committed to the slightly romantic belief that a properly organised farming system is a holistic one, involving animals, crops and not very much in the way of chemical intervention. As an organic farmer pointed out on Farming Today the other morning, you can't have organically-grown crops without animal poo. I suppose you don't actually have to eat the animals, and it is indeed wasteful, for instance, to feed the pigs that go to make the sausages in the village butcher with grain instead of the scraps they are perfectly happy with, but still, my minimal amount of Sunday meat is almost a matter of principle. I have far more dairy produce, though, and I could easily reduce that. Or can I?
I've tried soy milk in my tea, and now oat milk, and both are pretty unpleasant to my palate. I tried particularly hard with the latter, hurrying to use up the carton I'd bought, but when I'd had a particularly tiring time, awarded myself a cup of recuperative tea, and went back to the cow juice, oh, it was so lovely. And, looking at the oat milk carton, I see that it was packaged in Germany and made by a Swedish company. There's no information where the oats and other ingredients come from: for all I know they may have been grown on some intensive monoculture farm, and the soya beans that made the milk I tried before almost certainly had, as well as being transported thousands of miles from Indonesia or somewhere. I am not convinced that its carbon footprint is any less than that of a pint of cow juice from an organic farm in Somerset. Plant-based products may as a rule be better for the Earth than animal-based ones, but that doesn't mean any particular one is.
As with other sorts of altruistic decisions, as consumers, anything we can do is good, and nothing we can do is enough, so we should not berate each other, but avoid the temptation to castigate anyone for not doing what we are doing while ignoring the things we are not. And of course our consumer choices are a relatively small part of the picture: the bigger share belongs to the world of politics, and that may be easier or harder to tackle. It remains to be seen.