Here are 25 responses and rebuttals to inform and enlighten your meat-eating friends:
- Humans need animal products for survival. There are things in meat, which your body needs that you cannot get from any other kind of food.
According to the world’s largest (mainstream) organization of food and nutrition professionals, that comment is simply not true! “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association (and the Dietitians of Canada) that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes……Vegetarian diets are often associated with health advantages including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels and lower risk of hypertension and type-2 diabetes, according to ADA’s position. Vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and have higher levels of dietary fiber, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals. These nutritional differences may explain some of the health advantages of those following a varied, balanced vegetarian diet. In addition, an evidence-based review showed a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease.” And here is the Dietitians Association of Australia’s page on Vegan Diet. However, like non-vegans, vegans have their own set of nutrients that they need to ensure they are consuming or supplementing – for long term optimal health; see here.
- We’re cutting down all the rainforests to grow soybeans. We wouldn’t have enough land to grow soybeans if everyone went vegan. A major issue in climate change is the deforestation in the developing world to grow cheap soy for human and animal feed.
In the U.S., most of our corn, wheat, oats and soy are fed to the 10 billion land animals who are killed every year for human consumption. Worldwide, the majority of plants are fed to 60 billion farmed land animals. The answer is in ending the breeding of farmed animals which takes up much of our planet’s land space. To quote Dr. Will Tuttle, PhD (author of The World Peace Diet) “…the driving force behind deforestation is animal agriculture. We’re cutting down approximately 1 acre per second of Amazonian rainforest every day right now, and the driving force behind it is eating meat, dairy products and eggs: growing soybeans to feed imprisoned chickens, cows, pigs, and factory-farmed fish.” With the gradual reduction of grazing farmed animals, the land would become available for growing crops, such as soybeans, without cutting down valuable forests.
- “I can’t give up my meat/cheese”.
It’s not YOUR meat, nor YOUR milk. That milk is nutritious sustenance meant for a mother to give her newborn calf. Their meat is in fact the flesh and muscle of someone; someone who wanted to live. Not your mom, not your milk.
- The Bible and God say that animals are here for humans to use. Humans have dominion over other animals.
The Bible contains violence and contradictions. According to the Bible, God allowed and approved slavery, pestilence, smiting newborn children, and other violent and oppressive behavior we would not approve of nowadays. The scriptures were written and interpreted by humans (who we know make errors). The Bible was written a long time ago, and in present times, we are blessed to be able to live off the plant kingdom and therefore do not have to kill other animals that are sentient like us. Many vegans don’t follow any of the major religions of the world, however some do. Regardless, veganism fulfills many spiritually, and is even considered a religion by some in its own right. A final point, the also Bible says ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and does not specify the victim’s species. Many religious texts are twisted based on the interests of the end user, interpretation means many different things to different people.
- Fish don’t feel pain. Do you eat fish?
How truly sad that humans have to go as far as to literally inflict pain on animals to discover the obvious – that fish feel pain! Generally I will not even cite information gathered from animal experimentation, but so many people feel that fish don’t feel pain, that I felt it appropriate to cite a non-vegan scientist’s findings. In her book, Victoria Braithwaite offers new scientific knowledge showing that fish are more cognitive than we once thought. The way that they respond to stressful situations, the so-called “stress response,” is very much similar to other animals; including us. After experiencing a stressful event, our bodies release cortisol into the blood, and the same is true of fish. The idea that fish do not feel pain in their mouths, where they are hooked, has been studied at the University of Edinburgh and the Roslin Institute by injecting bee venom and acetic acid into the lips of rainbow trout; the fish responded by rubbing their lips along the sides and floors of their tanks in an effort to relieve themselves of the sensation. Researcher Dr. Lynne Sneddon wrote, “Our research demonstrates nociception and suggests that noxious stimulation in the rainbow trout has adverse behavioral and physiological effects. This fulfills the criteria for animal pain.” Fish feel. A better questions is do humans?
- I’m vegan at home or with other vegans, but it’s rude or impolite to inconvenience others or make a fuss when eating out in a social setting with non-vegans.
I guess it depends on how one defines “impolite”. It’s actually more impolite to impose misery and murder on other feeling animals. In reality, it’s enlightening to share this information with people; and it can be done politely. Telling the Truth is always enlightening, even if the ears it falls upon are not seemingly ready to hear it; the seed will be planted. It is more rude or impolite to support an industry that is devastating the planet we all share and violently killing billions of animals, annually. Talking about a (perceived) rudeness to other humans seems trivial and odd when we are in actuality talking about the needless murder of conscious animals.
- It is clear that humans are predators just like many other animals. We are no different; lions eat zebras. We shouldn’t eat plants since we are at the top of the food chain.
It is not clear! We are different to lions. They are truly carnivores. Humans have the anatomy of an herbivore when you look at oral cavity, stomach acids, length of colon, etc. As Dr. Milton Mills summarizes here: “In conclusion, we see that human beings have the gastrointestinal tract structure of a “committed” herbivore. Humankind does not show the mixed structural features one expects and finds in anatomical omnivores such as bears and raccoon. Thus, from comparing the gastrointestinal tract of humans to that of carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores we must conclude that humankind’s GI tract is designed for a purely plant-food diet.” Secondly, we are different to animals in the wild because we live in such a way that we can combine foods and live off the plant kingdom without having to violently assault conscious beings. Carnivores in the wild do not have that choice. We can live vegan, they cannot. Lastly, I have never had the slightest inkling to jump on an animal and kill him or her with my teeth and claws, and suck their blood, and eat their guts.
- I wouldn’t be vegan because of DHA, vegans can’t naturally get long-chain fatty acids.
Some studies have shown vegans to be low in their DHA (a long-chain fatty acid not found in plant foods), while other studies have not shown that vegans are lacking in long-chain fatty acids. Apparently, they convert the short-chain fatty acids (found in flaxseed, chia seeds, canola oil, walnuts and dark leafy greens) into long chain. Plus, there are quite a few brands of vegan (algae-derived) DHA for those who want the benefits of supplementing with DHA/EPA, not derived from fish. Some people really nit-pick for excuses not to be vegan!
- You must be anemic.
From surveying the vegan community, we find that most all vegans claim to feel more energy after becoming vegan. I know I did. There are plenty of plant-based iron sources such as molasses, nuts, dried beans (soaked and cooked), tahini and sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, dried apricots, parsley, dried herbs such as thyme, dark green leafy vegetables, spinach, Quinoa, tofu, soybeans, lentils, etc. Iron is absorbed better along with Vitamin C, and vegan diets are high in vitamin C. Foods like broccoli and bok choy are high in both iron and vitamin C, so the iron in these foods is well absorbed.
- People have been eating meat since millions of years ago, so it must be the right thing.
People have been participating in wars, rape, hate crimes, and slavery for a million years too. Are you condoning those? Are those things we should continue the tradition of, or something we should work towards ending? We have reached a point in human evolution that we are able to live vegan. Our ancestors did not have the same opportunity.
- What kind of religion or sect is this?
There is no church of veganism. It is a philosophy or a way of life that was initiated in 1944 by Donald Watson (and a few others like Leslie Cross) in the U.K. From its inception, the vegan ethic grew from seeing that human society is built upon enslaving and exploiting – and a consciousness was given birth of those who didn’t want to participate, but wanted to try a new way of living without inflicting violence on other animals. It is a way of life that is open to any person of any religion, or no religion, spiritual to atheist, any age, color, gender, or nationality, who does not want to participate in the exploitation of other animals and wants to add themselves to this significant social justice movement that is taking root all over the world.
- Hitler was a vegetarian…
It stands to reason that a person with such little regard for human life would also have little regard for nonhuman life. The concentration camp; Auschwitz, had its own slaughterhouse and butcher shop according to Eternal Treblinka by Charles Patterson. Hitler may have dabbled in the health aesthetics of vegetarian eating, but he was never completely free of animal-based products in his diet. Many witnesses have attested to Hitler eating liver dumplings, Bavarian sausages, stuffed squab (young pigeon), and caviar. Either way, Hitler trying to eat vegetarian food for his own health has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of veganism. Someone can be vegetarian for reasons that have nothing to do with respect for other animals. On the other hand, the essence of veganism is always about ethics and non-participation in the violent crimes against nonhumanity. Whether Hitler was vegetarian or not has no bearing on the fact that he certainly was not vegan.
- There would be shortages of food if everyone was Veg.
Perhaps the opposite is true. The Worldwatch Institute states, “Meat consumption is an inefficient use of grain – the grain is used more efficiently when consumed directly by humans. Continued growth in meat outputs is dependent on feeding grain to animals, creating competition for grain between affluent meat-eaters and the world’s poor”. If we stopped inefficiently funneling all the grains and soybeans through animals to feed the few, we would have more plant-based foods to feed all. All would be fed, not just the people rich enough to purchase animal flesh; a gross waste of our universal resources like water and land. Gradually, the systems in power will change over. People will begin to (veganically) grow more fruit trees, more gardens, more grains, more Quinoa and buckwheat, more soy, legumes and feed it equitably to all nations. Most likely, there will be surplus, rather than a shortage.
- If God didn’t want us to eat animals, why did he make them taste so delicious.
You better watch out with that theory, because you are made out of the same “meat”…yep you also have a rump, ribs, leg, tongue, a liver, and muscle just like the organs, flesh and muscle of our animal cousins that you refer to as “meat”. A recent report states that a German cannibal reported that human flesh tastes similar to pig flesh; but a bit tougher.
- You would eat meat if you were stranded on a desert island, wouldn’t you?
What about indigenous people or Inuits?
I’m not stranded on a desert island, are you? In the unlikely event that I am, I will have to reconsider. Though, I do not see the corpse of an animal as food. There is a rich bounty of the plant kingdom just about everywhere in the world. If I were an Inuit, I might have a good excuse; however their diet is not lengthening their lifespan. It might be beneficial for them to leave and be somewhere they can be vegan. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. describes the life expectancy of those with a mainly meat diet: “Inuit Greenlanders, who historically have had limited access to fruits and vegetables, have the worst longevity statistics in North America. Research, from the past and present, shows that they die, on the average, about 10 years younger, and have a higher rate of cancer than the overall Canadian population. We now know that greatly increasing the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and raw nuts and seeds (and greatly decreasing the consumption of animal products) offers profound increased longevity potential, due in large part to a broad symphony of life-extending phytochemical nutrients that a vegetable-based diet contains.”
- Why do you care more about animals than human beings?
Because nonhuman animals are the most persecuted and abused sentient beings on the planet and they are defenseless. Animal liberation and human liberation are married; helping the animals will help people, too. We can create Peace on Earth if we stopped the violence that humans sustain themselves. As Albert Einstein (German-born physicist) said: “It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.” In other words, not assaulting animals will help transform humanity into a more civilized race. Vegans care about all injustice, enslavement, and oppression, no matter what species, race, or sex of the victim. When non-vegans say human problems take precedence, vegans can’t understand what they are doing for human beings that require them to continue funding the heartless exploitation of other animals? As it happens, there are many benefits to humans that stem from living vegan. The land used to farm animals could be used to feed many more people if we used it to grow plant protein; which yields far more protein per acre than animal flesh, and is healthier for humans. Heart disease is the biggest killer in the U.S. and studies have verified that vegans have a reduced risk of death from heart disease. Those who eat large amounts of dairy and animal protein are at risk of depleting calcium stores, regardless of how much they consume. Milk is full of contaminants and causes asthma, food allergies, and constipation; particularly in children. Due to this, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend that cow’s milk be given to infants under one year of age. Animal agriculture is creating pandemics, so therefore vegans are not aiding and abetting the creation of human epidemics (like Swine Flu) nor helping to distribute pathogens found in animal “foods”. (E. Coli and Salmonella). Animal husbandry is a leading cause in the reduction of biodiversity and a major motive in deforestation. Farming animals is causing land degradation, pollution and wiping out the fish in the oceans. According to a report by the Worldwatch Institute in 2007, it actually requires over five thousand gallons of water to produce one pound of animal flesh! Animal agriculture is the largest culprit in greenhouse gas emissions. Research has indicated that the best strategy for reducing our carbon footprint is to eat vegan and locally-grown food. The vegan ethic, that is based on protesting the use of other animals for human purposes, just so happens to have far reaching benefits for helping the planet that is home to 7 billion of us humans, and thousands of other species of animals.
- You vegans are so preachy!
Vegans are not the ones spending a billion dollars on milk commercials to lie to the public about how healthy milk is for them; with “happy cows” endorsing giving you the milk that was meant for their own calf; that was kidnapped and killed so humans can steal the milk. Non-vegans have preached and promoted their point of view on such a large scale that they have made a completely unnatural act seem natural. With over $180 million spent annually on advertising in the dairy industry alone, perhaps non-vegans have been doing more than their fair share of “preaching” so to speak. Vegans are trying to disclose the truth that has been concealed from the public by major preachers of non-Truths. Make no mistake about it, we want the mainstream to become vegan, and we won’t stop what you call “preaching.” We will be heard. We’re Vegangelicals! We won’t be silent. Maybe what you are interpreting as preaching could simply be educating or awareness-raising.
- Humans have canine teeth; teeth for ripping flesh apart.
The teeth of a carnivore are spaced so as not to trap stringy debris. The incisors are short, pointed and prong-like for grasping and shredding. The canines are greatly elongated and dagger-like for stabbing, tearing and killing prey. The molars are flattened with jagged edges to function like serrated-edged blades. In the herbivore, the incisors are broad, flattened and spade-like. Canines may be small as in horses or prominent as in hippos. Herbivores have many molars for grinding plant parts. The teeth of herbivorous animals are closely grouped (like in humans). Herbivores meticulously chew their food in order to release the digestible contents and ensure thorough mixing of this material with their saliva. This is important because the saliva of plant-eating mammals often contains carbohydrate-digesting enzymes which begin breaking down food molecules while the food is still in the mouth. In humans as well, digestion begins in the mouth with the mixing of enzyme-containing saliva. We have flat grinding teeth with jaws that can move from side to side. Virtually no other meat-eating animal has jaws that move side to side. Meat-eating animals don’t chew their food, but instead tear pieces from carcasses and swallow them whole, and thus don’t need flat teeth. And beyond teeth, humans have long folding intestines that lets food move slowly through the digestive system, allowing the body to absorb as many nutrients as possible before the food is passed. Carnivores have short intestines because meat may contain harmful pathogens and will putrefy if not processed quickly. And our stomach PH is the same as herbivores.
- If we don’t eat them, they’ll eat us.
Most of the animals humans eat are gentle herbivores that would not even think of hurting anyone, even in retaliation. Pigs? Chickens? Rabbit? Really? Humans exploit and harm the most docile animals that we could learn a thing or two from!
- They wouldn’t exist if we weren’t meant to eat them.
Most animals that are consumed, experimented on, or are “pets” – exist because they are purpose-bred for human use. We should stop breeding them into existence only to be seen as a commodity that a human can own; who sees living sentient animals as a money-making opportunity or personal property; which is morally wrong. Breeding other animals is commonplace in animal exploitation, but it is morally wrong; it’s sexual assault. It’s a violation of birthrights.
- If eating a plant-based diet is our natural diet, why can’t you get all the nutrients without supplementing, as in Vitamin B12?
Perhaps vegans are being compared to omnivores that are eating enriched grain products that are fortified with B12 or perhaps vegans need less B12, or perhaps we’re too sterile and wash all the microorganisms off, or some other possibility. Some health practitioners don’t feel that vegans get B12 deficiency any more than non-vegans; a certain percentage of the population becomes deficient for various reasons. Anyway, the general non-vegan population is supplementing and eating fortified and enriched foods, all day, everyday. Vegans would rather get their micro-organisms from a cherry flavored sublingual (under the tongue) nugget or fortified nutritional cheesy flavored yeast, soy milk or cereals, possibly chlorella or some other vegan way, than from the stomach of a tortured and murdered cow that wanted to live. There is no reason to take the life of animals when we can get B12 grown in micro-agriculture; cultivated on a bed of yeast. ~ B12 and Vegans Article – Mainstream people eat iodized table salt because iodine is missing in the soil. Many nutrients are being found missing in the soil and the general public is commonly deficient in many vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Many are deficient in Vitamin K2. New mainstream findings suggest and recommend that anyone; vegan or nonvegan – over age 50, take a Vitamin B12 from a supplement.
- I buy organic so the animals are more humanely raised. They had a good life. Small farms are good for the environment. I support cage-free, humanely raised, but I don’t support cruelty to animals.
If you eat animal products (whether factory-farmed or small farmed), wear animal skins, use cosmetics and cleaning products that were tested on animals, go to circuses, zoos, rodeo’s or dog or horse races, or buy a “pet” from a breeder, (and sadly the list of ‘ways humans exploit other animals’ goes on and on) – you DO support cruelty to animals; whether you say you don’t or not. You are lying to yourself. Vegans have decided to face up to it, go online and educate themselves about what it means to be vegan as a stance of basic decency in our relation to other animals.
- Some animals are meant to be food; there is a difference between pets and food animals.
Did the animals tell you that? Even though the majority of people believe this to be true, it is a fabrication of the human mind and it is an example of speciesism. People tell themselves this so they can partake in animal exploitation, or because they have not been able to break free of their misguided indoctrination in order to see that all sentient animals deserve the equal right not to be owned, enslaved, oppressed, assaulted, or killed by humans. They are “food” animals only because humans view them this way and have domesticated, bred, and farmed them. Vegans (who don’t see pigs as food) experience relationships with them similar to a dog. Many people have had the great fortune to get to know the wonderful nature and personality of deer, sheep, pigs, cows, horses, chickens, turkeys, etc. by visiting sanctuaries and/or rescuing animals. Animals are more friends than food! People really got that one wrong! Keep in mind, at one time the general mainstream consciousness; what pretty much everybody believed to be true – was that the world is flat. Human consciousness as a whole has had major shifts in consciousness. We can do it again. We have to unlearn the speciesism that we were all brain-dirtied with since birth. When it comes to not being violently assaulted, there is absolutely no difference between a cow, a dog, a horse, a pig, a chicken, a fish, a human….
- It’s too difficult to do and too expensive. I’m too old for that.
No one is ever too old to step up into the next evolution of humankind, and by doing their part, helping the whole of humanity. Grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, and nuts and seeds are not more expensive than animal flesh. Once you get the hang of it and learn a few new staples…it gets easier and easier until you reach a level where you feel that it’s easy to be vegan. You’ll get there and it may only take several weeks. Living vegan becomes second nature and will feel natural quickly.
- Farmers love their animals and treat them well, generally.
No animal that is purpose-bred into existence to be killed is ever treated right. One would have to have a very shallow definition of the word “love” to think a farmer raising animals to be killed “loves” his animals. No one considered as the property of a human; a slave, is ever treated well. The Truth is most animals farmed for human food (or other products) have horrendous practices routinely performed on them throughout their short, very sad lives….all sorts of castration, de-beaking, de-horning, insemination, etc. without pain-killers. They are viewed as a commodity for human use; a thing, not the sentient, feeling, aware animal that they truly are. When profiting off a sentient animal is the motive, the treatment of them will always be wrong; whether they are perceived to be treated better by some farmers or methods. The whole mindset is way off base and wrong.