I have officially been vegan for a month now and I don't plan on stopping. The unique thing about this is that I am also a sheep farmer (meat and wool). Which is a bit of an odd and a problematic combination. If you are interested, ask me anything I guess?

@alex Back in 2010 vegan options here in Iceland were horrible. All the vegan or vegetarian food I had tasted were just meh. But that year I moved to Sweden for studies and there I got to experience real vegan food and it blew my mind.

Since then I've slowly been experimenting with vegan but never fully committed until now.

So, number one reason is, it's so delicious!

Number 2: Climate change
Number 3: Animal welfare (technically closely linked to number 2)

@johannesg Hi! How many sheep do you have? What is your favorite vegan meal you've made so far?

@barrett I personally have 20 sheep. But I am also a farm worker for my parents who live next door. They have about 450 sheep. (that number goes up between 1000-1500 during lambing season)

My favorite is most likely a Wellington recipe my wife found. We had it for yule last year and loved it.

@johannesg that's cool, that looks great I haven't ever had any kinds of wellington, so I will have to try this vegan version. Have you tried a vegan Shepherd's pie yet?

@barrett haha, We've been considering doing a shepherd's pie someday. Looking forward to it.

@johannesg Do you think you'll be able to continue to farm sheep for meat and wool? Despite these big changes in your diet/thinking I mean.

@rek I think eventually I will completely pull out of animal farming. I am not a full time farmer so it's easier for me than others.

What complicates the situation is that I really want to live here on the farm. But living here and not farming animals is quite tricky. Which is why I've been working towards being able to work with computers remotely up here since I was young. Back in 2018 I managed to get optic fiber up here, and 2019 I got a gamedev job, so we are on the right track. :)

@rek ...with that said, one could say that from a vegan perspective, the best sheep farmer a vegan could wish for is a vegan sheep farmer. Then you would know for sure that the animals would be treated relatively well. (at least until slaughter season).

That's actually one of the reasons that keeps me sane about this. The fact that I am an "insider". Infiltrator in the farmer community. Speaking for the animals.

@johannesg The issue with this scenario is the absence of consent, although that depends on your views on Speciesism. Admittedly, these methods may be less cruel but the outcome is the same.

@rek oh I fully agree. Consent is absent indeed. But one could say it is a lesser of two evils. Best scenario would be no animal farming at all.

I don't see myself being able to talk my parents (on a neighbouring farm with 450 sheep) into quitting. But I can get them treat the animals better, and then hope the next generation of farmers switches to non animal based farming. It's better than nothing.

@johannesg @rek this is a really interesting question that I've noodled over for a long time, but never come to a clear answer on -- I've been a vegetarian or a vegan for the majority of my life, and for a long time I worked in kitchens, often prepping and cooking meat. I like the point about consent. It helps to put the issue into a different, non-human focused perspective.

@filenotfound This is beautiful, and very much resonates with me. Thank you very much for this.

Sadly there's no animal sanctuary here where I live so that "exit strategy" is not available for me :(

@johannesg I am mostly interested in how you replaced milk, cheese and eggs from a taste perspective.

It is somehow harder to let go than it was about meat. The easy replacements from the super market don't really work, soy/oat milk, with very few exceptions, like Barista oat milk for Cappuccino.

@eiZen In short, I didn't. With the exception of the Oatly barista oat milk which is amazing, and better than cow milk if anything.

I like to think about this the other way around. Not what tastes I've sacrificed by going vegan, but all the new tastes I've gained.

I feel like trying to find a replacement for a certain animal product is limiting. I would recommend embracing all the new food you can make without those ingredients.

@johannesg @eiZen ah yes, I tell this to everyone too, stay away from prepared so called vegan burgers and alike, it limits you while the vegan cuisine is incredibly vast
if you want to be a healthy vegan with no deficiencies, try out all the beans, nuts and green wonders <3

@johannesg I applaud everyone who leans in towards veganism, but being vegan is the whole lifestyle
You cannot keep animals captivated and or even kill them and call it being vegan
Even having a pet isn't vegan in my opinion
Hope the gamedev thing works out!
I'm working on the concept of a animal liberation/vegan minded game

@7047741 The problem is a bit complicated and I would love to hear ideas for an exit strategy. @filenotfound posted in a reply to me this pretty good documentary on a farmer turned vegan that very much resonated with me and reminded me of the situation I am stuck in.

@7047741 So far the exit strategies all have their pros and cons.

1. Just stop farming and go live a different life. This will result in all my sheep being sent to a slaughterhouse. Liberation is not possible as wild sheep are not legal in my country. The local government would hunt them down.
2. Same as above, but find a sanctuary. Sadly, no sanctuary exists in the country, so I would need to set one up myself. I would need to find a way to run it sustainably and finance it somehow.


3. Stop farming and give the sheep to my parents. Nothing changes for the sheep, only me. Not optimal.

All of the above options also don't take into account supply and demand. If I will stop farming, another farmer will increase their total number of sheep. Other sheep will be held captive instead of the sheep I just saved.

@johannesg I don't think that's true, maybe in the short run, but in the long run I believe demand for meat and diary will only decline

@7047741 oh yes! It is. I can confirm that. We have to vote with our wallets, and it is already working. Just recently icelandic sheep farmers produced more meat than demand allowed for and the government set up a program to fund farmers to retire or reduce their total number of sheep.

Sadly though, this meant that the "excess sheep" were all sent to the slaughterhouse.

@johannesg harsh but in the end less animals will suffer, but if there was a sanctuary, it might not've happened
but it's probably a lot of sheep :(

@johannesg setting one up yourself would be amazing
everything takes time, step by step, the seed is planted and follow your heart

@7047741 Agreed, and I hope that I will manage to find a way to make that happen. But until then I hope you will understand why I, and many other farmers am stuck in this situation.

@johannesg a sanctuary would help both your animals and the farmers stuck in your situation

@7047741 The problem is that the sanctuary would need to be in the same district as me, as one is not allowed to transport live farm animals over "disease zones". I live extremely rural and isolated, so I highly doubt there will ever be a sanctuary here unless I personally make it happen.

It's a long term goal sadly.

@7047741 We have to slowly disassemble the system, and build our own. One stone at a time.

I'll take it down from over here on the farmer's side while you work on it from the other side. :)

there's a very simple solution to this.
How much do you know about hijacking planes?

Yeah... there might not be an actual animal shelter in Iceland, but there's prob a vegan group near-ish which could help.

I'm in Montreal and we sometimes travel to Ontario's animal shelter, which is a long ride. Some animals there come from afar. Vegan groups can help maintain these shelters and sponsors animals transport, food etc.

Your case is harder, obviously. But some animals travel large distances for slaughter . I don't remember the reason but I remember seeing info about animals travelling all around Europe like Ireland to UK to Germany or something, to then be slaughtered. So there might be a "method" it just need to be made humane, plus sponsors for the animal shelter.

@johannesg @7047741

@filenotfound @7047741

First of all, that does not sound simple nor legal at all. :P

Also the complications related to transportation is not just a legal thing. Icelandic animals are extremely isolated and sheltered from diseases from a far, which makes their immune system very vulnerable to alien diseases. For example it is extremely difficult to import animals to Iceland because of this.

Transporting my sheep to another country would most likely mean a slow and painful death for them

@filenotfound @7047741 My problem is essentially a real life trolley problem, with sheep.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Revel in the marvels of the universe. We are a collective of forward-thinking individuals who strive to better ourselves and our surroundings through constant creation. We express ourselves through music, art, games, and writing. We also put great value in play. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them. Check out our Patreon to see our donations.