There are some common arguments against veganism that we hear a lot. Here are some answers to these objections.
Vegans say killing animals is wrong, but they still kill living beings to survive. Plants have feelings too!
If you are honest with yourself, this objection is probably a way to distract from the point. Plants don’t have a central nervous system like animals. However, even if plants do have feelings, eating a vegan diet is still the only way to kill the least number of them. For example, it takes 12-16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. We currently feed 36% of the plant calories grown in the United States to animals. In the end, only 12% of those total calories make it to humans. That means we are intentionally wasting 31.68% of all the calories we produce. We are throwing away those plant calories by turning them into raw sewage that pollutes our air and water. By eating plants directly, we will be responsible for killing the least possible number of them over our lifetimes.
You can’t possibly thrive on a diet with no animal products at all. Humans are omnivores; we need to eat meat to be healthy.
This is certainly what the animal agriculture advertisers would like you to think. In truth, although humans can digest animal products, they tend to cause diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Per the American Dietetic Association: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association 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.”
Ask yourself: if I can be healthy without killing, why wouldn’t I be? If given a choice between taking a B12 supplement and being the reason animals are and hurt and killed, the B12 seems like the obvious decision. Remember that food in developed countries is heavily fortified. Even if you aren’t taking a vitamin each day, they are being added to your food already.
If we were to stop eating farm animals, they would overrun the world! Anyway, we’re above them on the food chain.
First of all, scientists now realize that the concept of a “food chain” was a gross oversimplification of how our ecosystem actually works. And since we don’t need to eat animals or their bodily secretions, using this excuse is akin to saying that it’s okay to take little Billy’s lunch money because you want it and are bigger than he is.
The truth is that animals would not overrun the world. We artificially inseminate them in order to breed the 9 BILLION land animals that we raise and slaughter every year, just in the U.S, and not even counting fish. Farm animals are actually excluded from bestiality laws so humans can masturbate the males and forcefully impregnate the females. If we stopped doing these sick practices we wouldn’t have many farm animals in the world. Here’s a link to a video where you can even see this happening. The world isn’t going to all go vegan at once, so we don’t have to worry about a surplus of animals.
I only eat organic and free-range meat, milk and eggs. I am already being compassionate in my purchases.
The sad reality is that the terms “organic” and “free-range” mean little to nothing when it comes to animal welfare. Animals raised under the term “free-range” are required to have access to outdoor space. This outdoor space can be any size, including a 2′ x 2′ mud pit for a warehouse full of 100,000 chickens, which is the cheapest way to hit the requirement and so what most “farmers” will do. These animals may not be in tiny cages, but they are still typically in warehouses where most of them will never see the sun, have to live in their own excrement, and have no veterinary care. They even go so crazy in close quarters that they start to eat each other alive. Organic, free-range, and even backyard eggs still result in the deaths of male babies because they don’t lay eggs. The standard for killing male baby chicks is stuffing them in garbage bags or grinding them up alive, called “maceration”.
Free range animals are still subjected to cruel mutilations, such as castration, tooth cutting, tail cutting, and dehorning with no painkillers at all. Can you imagine having your testicles cut out without anesthesia?
Organic and free range milk still require calves to be permanently removed from their mothers (yes, cows have to be pregnant to produce milk, just like your mom) within the first few days of birth so that humans can consume the milk intended for them. These calves are either raised as dairy cows or killed at 16 weeks old for veal. Dairy cows are slaughtered when they are still adolescents, because they cease to be profitable. If you purchase dairy products you are directly supporting the ground beef and veal industries.
Ultimately, there is no “humane” way to kill someone who doesn’t want to die. Animals value their lives and love their families, just like us. See this website for more information.
Eating animals is Biblical. It says in the Bible we are supposed to eat them!
Well, it says in one part that man can eat them, not that he has to. You’re correct that God does give man the choice to consume animals, but not until well after the fall (it’s even after the flood). In a world without sin, animals would be protected and cared for by man, not exploited by him.
Yes, from the perspective of Christian Salvation one may eat animals and still go to heaven. However, should our entire life be focused only on our own salvation? Isn’t that piece of our own destiny decided once we accept Christ into our lives? Should the Commandments of “Thou shalt not murder” and “Love thy neighbor as thyself” only be limited to the human species? Aren’t animals our neighbors also? To continue to eat animals based on a single verse in the Old Testament makes it seem like we have missed the entire point of the New Testament: to love, even if it means being an outcast from society, and to protect the innocent.
There are many other things allowed in the Bible that we now think are unethical, including slavery. There is a difference between being allowed to do something and being required to do it. Eating compassionately protects both the planet and God’s animals from the severe harm currently being caused them. It also honors the health of the amazing bodily temples we’ve been given. Also, I’m pretty sure there are laws against bestiality in the Bible too (see above).
Veganism isn’t going to save the planet. Studies show we should use arable land to graze cattle since we can’t plant crops on it.
It’s so important to recognize the distinction between what is sustainable for humanity and what is sustainable for the planet. Yes, we can feed more humans if we use unplantable land to graze animals. With a plant-based lifestyle though, we can already feed many more humans than are even on the planet. We don’t need the arable land.
In fact, we could give it back to the wild animals that have been displaced by the American government’s practice of renting public lands to ranchers at well below market price. You may not have heard of the buffalo, wolves, and millions of other wild animals either displaced or, more typically, murdered by the USDA’s Wildlife Services branch every year. Using that land to graze cattle may allow people to continue their addiction to animal flesh and secretions, but let’s be clear: it isn’t good for the planet.