This isn’t quite as contentious a debate as some in the vegan sphere, but it’s an important one for vegan gardeners. Can vegans use animal manure?
Here we look at all angles that can be considered. We’re not advocating for one or the other, just trying to bring you both sides of the argument so you can make up your own mind once you have all the facts.
No – vegans can’t use animal manure as it’s still an animal product
It is technically an animal product – vegans do not use animal products, therefore vegans should not use it.
Using by-products of animal agriculture and factory farming gives more reason for those practices and industries to exist. Using any by-products of the industry can support the arguments for its continued existence.
In some cases, animal manure can be contaminated or adulterated with other animal products – such as bone, blood, wool, or feathers.
None of those would be acceptable to a vegan diet, therefore manure should not be used by vegans or to grow food that vegans eat.
A University of Minnesota study from 2007 showed that certain crops were found to have accumulated antibiotics because the soil they were grown in was spread with animal manure that contained these antibiotics.
Nobody, vegan or otherwise, should be consuming food laced with antibiotics.
Removing yourself from animal cruelty
Neither manure nor isinglass will really be present in the end products, but it’s not just about refusing to consume animal products, it’s also about trying to remove yourself from any related practices as far as possible.
There are non-animal manures and ways to enrich the soil that are just as useful – if not more so.
We could use green manures where crops are grown specifically to be ploughed back into the soil for enrichment.
You can use clover, or seaweed, or even hops left over from growing beer.
All of these increase the fertility of soil by adding nutrients, and no animals have been harmed in their making.