Is Vermicomposting vegan?

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catmanmugdho
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Is Vermicomposting vegan?

Post by catmanmugdho » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:31 pm

Vermicompost (vermi-compost, vermiculture) is the product of the composting process using various species of worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms, to create a mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast.

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Jebus
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Post by Jebus » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:22 pm

It is clearly not vegan.

I doubt worms can sense pain but I might be wrong.
How to become vegan in 4.5 hours:
1.Watch Forks over Knives (Health)
2.Watch Cowspiracy (Environment)
3. Watch Earthlings (Ethics)
Congratulations, unless you are a complete idiot you are now a vegan.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:52 pm

If you're taking the worms out and eating them: no.
Otherwise: Probably.
Jebus wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:22 pm
It is clearly not vegan.

I doubt worms can sense pain but I might be wrong.
You're not killing the worms, you're just throwing your compost into a a pile which contains worms. If they're sentient at all, they're right in their element.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:58 pm

Let me elaborate on the "probably":

If you let the worms colonize your compost naturally: 100%

If you *purchase* the worms, there are questions of the harm that may come from the commercial worm farming you're supporting: *maybe* not vegan. There'd be a lot of questions about the worm farm and even the sentience of worms and how they're being used.

If you *find* a worm on the sidewalk and rescue it from being cooked and put it in your compost bin (an ideal condition): 100% vegan again.
If you dig up a worm and move it to your bin for your benefit... that's a little more dicey.

Most of it comes down to acquisition.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:39 pm

There's another interesting point worth considering:

Your personal responsibility to the worm compost bin after creating it.
It only exists at that level because you feed it, and if you withheld food there might be mass starvation of the worms. Likewise with you maintaining the correct level of moisture; desiccation is a serious threat, and too much means drowning.
This is particularly true if it's in an area where the worms can't easily migrate away from the bin.

If you build a vermicompost bin, if you ever decide to stop using it or can not properly maintain it, you could arguably have a responsibility to free the worms somewhere they'll have a good chance of survival.

I know a lot of vegans would have a problem with vermicomposting if the worms were trapped in somehow. I would argue against that on the basis that:
1. They don't know they're trapped in there (they wander around pretty randomly and just follow decomposition) so they don't suffer from that.
2. Keeping them contained protects them from predators (like keeping a pet inside to protect from cars, poison, etc.)
3. In the bin it's an ideal environment for them. Some vegans argue against keeping pets inside because it's a sub-optimal environment (less room to roam and engage in natural behavior). For worms that's not the case.

The environmental benefits of composting can be pretty strong. I don't know if there's a methane footprint for compost worms or not, though.

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Post by Prophiscient » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:08 pm

I don't think there's anything wrong with it (or even eating worms), but it may or may not be vegan depending on your conception of veganism (no animal products vs reducing animal suffering).

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