February 11, 2012

A response to typical comments vegans hear from non-vegans.

Humans need animal products for survival. You will die earlier. There are things in meat, which your body needs and 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...Additionally, 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. Finally, I have been vegan for 4 decades and am thriving, take no pharmaceuticals, and rarely see a doctor. I am living proof that we can live vegan. 
We're cutting down all the rain-forests to grow soybeans; we wouldn't have enough land to grow soybeans if everyone went vegan because deforestation in the developing world to grow cheap soy for human and animal feed is a major issue in climate change.
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 rain-forest 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, and without cutting down valuable oxygen-giving forests.
“Oh but I love my meat” –or- “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. Meat is in fact the flesh and muscle of someone; someone who wanted to live.
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 who are sentient like us. Many vegans don't follow any of the major religions of the world, however some do. There are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Jain vegan organizations that can be researched. Personally, I am not a believer that the Bible is the word of God. I don't need any God that approves of unnecessary cruelty, violence and oppression inflicted on fellow feeling beings. Veganism has fulfilled me spiritually. The Bible says 'Thou shalt not kill' and does not specify the victim's species. I really wish people would listen to those Biblical words. The Bible also speaks of The Golden Rule; to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Vegans treat others the way they would want to be treated; nonviolently. Vegans logically include other species of animals (anyone who can suffer) along with humans in their position of nonviolence. 
Fish don’t feel pain and are not sentient. 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. There is scientific research performed on fish to prove that they do in fact feel pain. I don't want to cite these experiments as I see no validity in such cruelty. Fish feel. Do humans? Fishing (or brutally pulling a fish out of water) is the same as drowning a person or suffocating them to death by placing a pillow over their face and stopping their breathing. 
I’m vegan at home or with other vegans, but it’s rude or impolite to inconvenience others or make a fuss when dining out 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 talking about the needless murder of conscious animals. 
It is clear that humans are predators just like many other animals. We are no different to other animals; lions eat zebras. I didn't climb to the top of the food chain to eat plants!
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.” Source link > This is a recommended article for those interested in the comparative anatomy of herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores. Secondly, we are different to animals in the wild because we live in such a way that we can combine foods and live off plants without having to violently assault conscious beings. Carnivores in the wild do not have the opportunity to shop at grocery stores, health stores, online, grow a garden, etc. They have a different anatomy and a very different circumstance; and therefore a real excuse that we don't have. We can live vegan, they can't. (Plus there are many animals that don't kill other animals.) In addition, I have never had the slightest inkling to jump on an animal; kill him or her with my teeth and claws, suck their blood, and eat their guts. Obviously, humans can live off eating animals and plants. Some humans are leading the way forward by thriving off the plant kingdom and leaving off being violent and cruel to other animal species.
You must be anemic.
From surveying the vegan community, we find that most vegans claim to feel more energy after becoming vegan. 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 eons - should we continue the tradition or work towards ending such atrocities? 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 and a corresponding  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 and cruelty on 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. There are first-hand reports from hotel and personal chefs that attest to the fact that he ate dishes made of animals or animal products. For example, animal glands and bone marrow were added to his food. According to Robert Payne (Hitler's biographer), the vegetarian claim was made up by Goebbels to make Hitler seem ascetic; like Gandhi. Author Rynn Berry, maintains that although Hitler reduced the amount of meat in his diet, he never stopped eating meat completely for any significant length of time. Berry claimed that many historians use the term 'vegetarian' incorrectly to describe someone who simply reduced their meat consumption. It is reported that after his niece Angela (Geli) Raubal died in 1931, Hitler became a vegetarian, but even then he still ate his favorite liver dumpling dish (which would make him NOT a vegetarian). At that time, it is reported that he said eating meat is like eating a dead body. (He had a lucid moment!) Hitler trying to eat vegetarian food for his own health has nothing to do with 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.
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 and legumes, more soy, quinoa, buckwheat, and other foods with complete protein, 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 out of delicious meat?
You better watch out with that theory, because you are made out of the same “meat”… 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 German convicted cannibal reported that human flesh tastes similar to pig flesh; a bit tougher. Link  ~ "Meat" is a disguised word for a putrefying corpse of tortured animals.  I don't find it delicious; but rather repugnant.  
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. 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.” Source link  
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 with. 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 requires 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, constipation; particularly in children. Because of 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 over 7 billion of us humans, and thousands of other species of animal.
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; featuring “happy cows” endorsing giving you the milk that was meant for their own calf; whom was kidnapped from bellowing cows 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 $1,126 million dollars 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 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. Humans exploit and harm the most docile animals; animals that we could learn from!
They wouldn't exist if we weren't meant to eat them.
Most animals that are consumed, experimented on, or are seen as "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, ingest Vitamin B12 from a supplement.
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, as seen in this link. 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!  
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.
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 by humans, there is absolutely no difference between a cow, a dog, a horse, a pig, a chicken, a fish, a cat ...
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 help you discover your true nature).
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 unethical.
It’s not illegal to eat animals and their products.
Not that long ago in the southern U.S.A. an African-American was legally allowed to be owned by a white American. Women in the U.S. and elsewhere were once regarded as the property of their husbands or fathers. They were regarded as property just like nonhuman animals are regarded today. Just because something is legal does not make it right. To treat living, breathing, feeling animals as property is species discrimination, and is reflected in every country's legal system. Humans may harm other animals in ways that would be unthinkable if applied to humans. We need to make it lawful for all sentient animals to have legal personhood extended to them. Until that happens, legal systems are lacking credibility. It is legal to be cruel to other animals (it's legal to have sex with animals in some places) - that just shows that the laws need changing, not following.
I live a very active lifestyle and need lots of protein.
Soybeans contain more protein than animal "foods". A glass of cow's milk has 6.3 grams of protein while 100 grams of tofu has 8 grams of protein. Legumes, beans, lentils, and nuts have comparable protein to animal products. Diets that are rich in animal protein are known to cause people to excrete more calcium than normal through their urine and increase the risk of osteoporosis, among other problems; since cow's milk is, by nature, meant for calves, not humans.  Plant protein is as useful as animal protein without all the fat, cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones, cruelty to feeling animals, and pollution and harm to the planet. Elephants, rhinos, giraffes, bulls, deer, manatees, and horses are able to gain strength and size from eating an herbivorous diet. A mountain gorilla is primarily an herbivore. How do they get their protein? They build strength and muscle, as do many vegan bodybuilders and athletes, by consuming only plants. Rest assured that plant foods with a high protein content such as quinoa, buckwheat, soybean, lentils, beans, tempeh, tofu, peanut butter, hemp seeds and milk, etc. - will sufficiently give your body plenty of protein. A dog friend of mine who ate a completely plant-based diet had a Cruciate ligament tear and loss substantial muscle mass in the leg that was in a brace and not being used. She regained her muscle mass quickly from a diet rich in quinoa and tempeh; both complete protein sources and super nutritious whole foods for vegans. 
Poor people raise animals or fish (for free) and can’t afford to be vegan.
If someone is fishing for free, a vegan diet can't beat that price unless that person grows their own food (and that would have some costs). We can't beat the free price. However, animal flesh costs more than legumes and grains. It costs more money and it costs the Earth more, and it unjustly costs the lives of those who want to live. I know a man in Jamaica (living in a hut and sleeping on a mat) that became vegan from knowing us. Being vegan only takes an understanding; not having a lot of money. That's the beauty of veganism; it's open to all walks of life; rich or poor...(or young or old, black or white, straight or gay, atheist or theist, Christian or Jew, male or female).
I travel too much; too inconvenient to be vegan.
Take food with you. Inconvenience is a rationalization; and not a very good one at that. Veganism is not about your convenience, but about justice for oppressed beings.
If we didn't eat them, what would happen to all the animals?
If we didn't eat them, we would stop purposely breeding them into existence. Society would legally give them sanctuary after we legally outlaw humans owning any species of animal. That would greatly reduce their numbers. They would be kept separated so as not to enable them to continue on, and they would just live out their lives in peace. They would legally be protected from bodily/sexual violation by humans and all breeding would end. Animals that are in sanctuaries and are free to naturally mate would be the only continuance of their species. 
Animals are lesser creatures than humans and we control them.
Says who; humans – of course! We should not control them. This is wrong. This is human supremacy. We are speciesist to believe that only humans deserves to live their life free from exploitation and harm. In this respect, all animals; both human and other, equally deserve legal protection from being assaulted by humans. People can live just fine without participation in violence towards other animals, as scientifically-proven by long term vegans. 
It doesn't bother me when I see animals being slaughtered, or I don’t look; I don't want to know.
The fact that most people are presently unable to empathize with the holocaust that other species endure at that hands of humanity - is not something to boast about. In your conscience, however hidden, you know that it is not right to cause needless harm to other feeling animals; as this is an obvious truth when you look at it objectively. There is no logical difference between a dog and a cow when it comes to killing or torturing them. If you would not kill your dog, you should not hire someone to kill a pig or a cow or a chicken on your behalf. It’s time for everyone to wake up and think about the misery we inflict on others. We, the people, have the power to end institutionalized exploitation of animals by purchasing cruelty-free and by living vegan. We have the power. If we don’t demand animal products, they won’t be supplied. The massacre and mass destruction won't end unless we stop ignoring the facts and the needless suffering of others that we are demanding with our purchases. The only reason someone would not want to know is because they don't want to change their behavior and break through misguided societal indoctrination. However, the young people of this world are becoming vegan more and more and that is the hope of humanity (if we can halt population growth). That is why vegan activists will sometimes gear their activism to college campuses and the youth who seem to be more willing to see and know what's going on, and change their ways so as not to contribute and participate. 
Milk, eggs and cheese do not kill the animal.
The fact is that the “dairy cow” is killed to be eaten when she is no longer producing. The dairy cow is riddled with pain as a result of her exploitation, is violated, has her newborn stolen from her over and over, and she is killed to be eaten typically at around 5 years of her otherwise 20-25 year lifespan. The dairy and egg industries are also literally built on the control of the reproductive systems of female animals. It is deeply troubling that the reproductive system of any species of female is being perceived as nothing more than an economic resource. It’s a feminist issue. Animals used for their milk or eggs lead lives of misery and when they are no longer profitable enough, they are killed to be eaten. The animal-harming industry is all one big business, with different branches of it supporting each other. Veganism is the only ethical position in our relationship to other animals. Vegetarians that consume dairy and eggs are funding animal exploitation and animals being killed.
Eating animal products is mainstream – everyone does it. It’s traditional. 
So is deceitful, greedy, self-involved and ego-maniacal behavior. Everybody does it. Does that make it right?
Vegans are unhealthy.
Vegans are healthy, very healthy, and a few are not so healthy. Non-vegans are somewhat healthy, not healthy at all, and some are healthy. Statistically, vegans get less heart disease and cancer and other dreaded diseases, and have far less obesity. If a vegan eats whole foods; grains, legumes, seeds/nuts, fruits and vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), (plenty of raw foods), gets some sunshine, and sprinkles B12 fortified delicious cheezy tasting nutritional (or savoury) yeast on their meals, daily…they should have excellent health. But since veganism is not a diet, but an ethical position, there are some vegans who don’t find eating and living healthfully that important. There are many healthy long-time vegans. "The China Study" or the China-Cornell-Oxford Project, was a 20-year study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Cornell University, and the the University of Oxford, directed by T. Colin Campbell (not a vegetarian, at the time). The study examined mortality rates, diets, and lifestyles of 6,500 people in 65 rural counties in China, and concluded that people with a high consumption of animal-based foods were more likely to suffer chronic disease, while those who ate a plant-based diet were the least likely. The authors conclude that people who eat a plant food/vegan diet will minimize or reverse the development of chronic diseases. They also recommend adequate amounts of sunshine to maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D, and dietary supplements of vitamin B12 in case of complete avoidance of animal products, and to minimize the usage of vegetable oils. One thousand vegans were studied in the United States and they found that vegans had 40% less body fat and achieved healthy weight.
C’mon, I'm kind and gentle and I love a good steak or fish.
I guess you’re kind and gentle, maybe, to humans, but certainly not to cows and fish. It’s time to extend your kindness and gentleness to other animals. They're here with us and this world is their world too. 
But the animals wouldn't be here if it wasn't for us!
That is also true of our children; they wouldn't be here if not for us. Does that mean we can do whatever we like to them? Bringing someone into existence does not mean that you have unrestricted rights over that life form.
But wouldn't the economic consequences be disastrous for the farmers of animals?
This may or may not be true (as the change could be very gradual), but ending the enslavement of other animals is a moral imperative. The perfect example is slavery in the southern U.S. It was not financially beneficial to the slave owners of the south, but that did not take precedence, because owning someone is unjust. Even if something benefits you (like stealing) that does not make it right to do.
Humans are at the top of the food chain!
A food chain that was conveniently devised by humans. There are vegans who are living beyond the "dog-eat-dog" mentality and find it real freedom of thought.
I can't go vegan, I don't like to eat vegetables. I don't want to eat tofu and grass, or I don't like vegan food.
There’s nothing not to like! Change your taste bud training. Vegan food is incredibly delicious. All the dishes you like can be made vegan. You will like the food as soon as you have your needed epiphany that you don’t want to eat the corpses of tortured and murdered animals or the products of slavery. Get that…and all of a sudden vegan food is delicious beyond your wildest imagination. Who doesn't like potatoes, or spaghetti and marinara sauce, garlic bread, and delicious fruit, and nuts, and fried rice? Everyone likes vegan foods – first start with the ones you already like. Get help; find a mentor that can show you how to prepare tofu; a tasteless block of protein that we can magically transform into a cheesy sauce, an omelet, onion dip or sour cream! It absorbs the flavor of the seasonings. When people say “I don’t like vegan food” it sounds so embarrassingly trivial in comparison to cruelty to animals. Recommended vegan cookbook: with over 500 incredibly delicious recipes, including vegan Lasagna, pizza, stuffed mushrooms, cinnamon rolls, cakes, cookies, and even a large raw foods section: Incredibly Delicious; Recipes for a New Paradigm by Gentle World. These were the recipes from the successful restaurant in Hawaii called - The Vegan - with lines out the door daily, and people remarking that they could eat vegan if the food tastes like this!
Animals have no soul, they don't feel pain.
All mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and some invertebrates like earthworms and insects have endogenous opiates, of which endorphins are the most well known, and they function to alleviate pain following serious injury. Why would an animal have a function to alleviate pain if he/she did not feel pain? Animals, in horrific animal experiments, avoid injurious stimuli in order to escape that stimuli. We share 98% of our evolutionary DNA with chimpanzees according to science. When humans harm and kill other animals in slaughterhouses, they squawk and squeal; the equivalent of our scream. They speak; but they go unheard. Because they don’t speak to us in our language, we pretend not to hear what they are saying, for the sake of personal monetary gain, trivial pleasure, or possibly out of ignorance, or laziness to break free of habit and tradition. Other mammals share with us benzodiazepine receptors located in the central nervous system, which means that they feel fear, pain and anxiety. This has been shown in animal testing. How sad that we chose to subject animals to torture in animal experimentation to learn this obvious information. Animals are indeed capable of suffering. All animals; human or nonhuman have (or are) souls and are equal when it comes to the inherent right not to be harmed, enslaved, and murdered - because they are sentient. Being capable of sensation gives them that fundamental right. I have lived with animals of various species and have found connecting with their beautiful souls easy. I'm sure they have souls, but even if they don't - that is not the criteria for which we would decide whether to harm them or not. The fact that they are feeling, can suffer, and don't want to be killed and show that - is reason enough. 
Our species evolved by eating meat - our brain size was not possible without it.
Glucose is the only fuel normally used by brain cells. This blood sugar is obtained from carbohydrates: the starches and sugars you eat in the form of grains and legumes, fruits and vegetables. These are the foods that feed the brain. “Meat” is not brain food, quite literally. Excess cholesterol from eating animal products leads to a waxy accumulation that could block the blood flow to the heart or to the brain. Poor circulation to the brain causing Alzheimer’s is caused by eating animal products. In addition, “A BBC News story entitled ‘Starch ‘fuel of human evolution’: Man’s ability to digest starchy foods like the potato may explain our success on the planet’, genetic work suggests. Compared with primates, humans have many more copies of a gene essential for breaking down calorie-rich starches, Nature Genetics reports. And these extra calories may have been crucial for feeding the larger brains of humans, speculate the University of California Santa Cruz authors. Previously, experts had wondered if “meat” in the diet was the answer.” Source link  Finally, having a large brain does not necessarily mean that humans use it to their full capacity. And even more significantly, nor does being intelligent necessarily mean being ethical or kind. The school of thought of non-participation in exploiting other animals; human or nonhuman, is based on their sentience, not on their intelligence or brain size. We would not harm a mentally disabled human because they are less intelligent.
North American Indigenous people ate meat and they respected the animals.
Most of us are no longer limited by the circumstances that our ancestors may have needed for survival. (Some native North American tribes ate a predominantly vegetarian diet including the Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Aztec, Zapotec, and others; but was lost in time and colonialism.) We are fortunate to have a wider range of choices available to us. Paying someone to farm, exploit and kill animals today certainly is not necessary, and therefore is not respectful. Saying prayers or giving thanks to animals that are killed for our unnecessary use may appease human ears, but these acts are meaningless to those slaughtered. Only through choosing not to exploit or harm other animals do we show them genuine respect. Many long-time vegans are proving that healthy living does not require taking the lives of other animals to sustain our own, and are thriving in a diversity of cultures all over the world.
It's okay if it's organic and grass-fed and humanely slaughtered.
No, it’s NOT okay. Not for the animals. Put yourself in their place. They are fully conscious beings, with eyes, a brain, a heart and many similar bodily functions and systems. They communicate and look us in the eyes; they scream and plead for mercy when they are being killed in slaughterhouses. They are much like us. We are a fellow species of animal. If you wanted to eat a person, would you describe your slaughtering of them, humane? Humans killing other animals is NEVER humane; whether organic or conventional or any other marketing ploy such as "humane" or "happy" animal products.
Plants have feelings too.
Perhaps one day we will evolve to living without harming plants because they are a life form with many intricate processes. But we must start with the elimination of animal products because animals are sentient beyond question. Animals are clearly conscious of sense perceptions. Sentient beings have minds; they have preferences and show a desire to live by running away from those who would harm them or crying out in pain. Although plants respond to sunlight and other stimuli, they don’t have a mind, they don’t think about or fear death, they are not aware and conscious. Plants do not have a nervous system, benzodiazepine (pain) receptors, or endogenous opiates, such as endorphins that alleviate pain following serious injury, which asks the question of why an animal would have these functions if they did not feel pain. Feeling pain and the capacity to suffer is a part of being sentient, as well as experiencing pleasure and a desire to live. Non-vegans make comments that there is no difference between plants and animals as a rationalization so they can turn sentient animals into a commodity, without guilt. There is no evidence of Truth to their position, however.
Rights apply only to humans not to animals; humans are superior.
Says who? Humans, of course. A humancentric, human-supremist species! There are many ways in which other animals are superior to humans from keener hearing, greater eyesight, larger brain, to more loyal companions. Having superior characteristics has no bearing on the truth that all animals deserve to be granted legal 'personhood' and not viewed as property or a commodity for human use. The superior one is the one who acts with respect, non-violence, and good intentions towards all feeling animals; both human and nonhuman. It is not someone who acts with blatant disregard for some animals while labeling himself superior. 
Vegans are just being self-righteous.
Vegans are trying to act righteously, and not just for themselves, but getting out of themselves and their own small world to act justly towards other beings too.
What we eat is a personal choice.
If it were my personal choice to fondle your toddler, would you say to me “that’s your personal choice”? It is every bit as true that it’s not a personal choice to the billions of animals that just want to live their portion of time on Earth, in peace; free of oppression and rights-violations inflicted by humans. We should not have a personal choice to needlessly harm anyone sentient. Anyone who can suffer; anyone who is fully aware and experiencing life, breathing and feeling, should be legally protected from anyone who thinks it is their personal choice to harm them. I’m not referring to species protection laws, but where every individual sentient animal of any species is a rights-holder that is protected from humans who think it is their personal choice to harm them. It's unfair for you to have a personal choice when your choice so negatively effects animals and the planet we all share.
It's my culture, it's my religion to eat animals.
Everyone came from mainstream culture that says eating animals is okay. Traditions are meant to change as we evolve to a more humane race. Vegans had to rise out of the culture that they were brain-dirtied with; they are not asking you to do anything that they themselves did not do. If a religion is worth anything it should be to help us expand our compassion and goodwill towards others - all others. If a religion does not allow us to grow to living the vegan ideal, it is not worth practicing. 
I only buy meat where I know the animal had a good life and was humanely killed.
There is no such thing as humanely killing animals that were purpose bred, exploited, and meant to be eaten by humans or were stalked and shot at. “Humane killing” is an oxymoron. Stop lying to yourself…you obviously have concerns about the issue, so just do the only ethically justifiable thing and become vegan.
A link proving the myth of humane farming. And another excellent link regarding the myth of humane animal farming. "Humane" or "happy" animal products are simply marketing strategies that make people feel better about purchasing products that in reality are brought to you by way of inflicting pain and suffering on animals.
Nothing is going to change, so there's no point in going vegan.
The only thing that has ever changed the world is humans joining forces and becoming a social justice movement working for needed change. Humanity has progressed towards a more civilized (less racist or sexist, for example) way of living in the past and will continue to do so, as we are an evolving species. We all make a difference when we do our part in moving the whole of human consciousness forward towards a society whose heart is not based on the enslavement and exploitation of others. However the rising population growth is working against the demise of the dairy/meat/eggs/leather and other animal harming industries. Beside being vegan, we also need to stop bringing more people to an already overcrowded and ailing planet, in order to rectify our present situation. Some say the most non-environmentally-friendly thing we can possibly do is to have children. 
It's the end of the world; we should enjoy the food as much as we can.
It might be the end of the world, but whether it is or it isn't - would not have any bearing on the injustice of using other animals. Vegans enjoy their food very much and enjoy knowing that they walk every step of the way without causing intentional harm to other animals. In fact, there’s no other enjoyment that tastes as sweet as living according to what your conscience knows is the right thing to do. If life here on Earth is for one more day or a hundred more years, vegans will live it with integrity as though their life had a real meaning and purpose to it; being a part of the solution, not a part of the problems that this world faces. If the world's people adopted vegan living, we would have real hope of saving the planet from environmental degradation, and global warming stemming from farming animals, as well as the rampant violence plaguing society. 
If we didn't eat meat the cows would die. No one would be farming them.
There certainly wouldn't be 2 billion of them. Cows, in the numbers that they exist, are not good for the planet at all; with all their emissions adding to global warming, and their eroding the topsoil, their abundant excrement causing water pollution, their trampling down the new growth of native trees, and their high water consumption. Individually, they are gentle animals. Once we put an end to animal agriculture, we will stop their breeding and give them sanctuary to live out their lives. At some point, a few will be allowed to naturally breed so we can continue to love cows, rather than eat them, abuse them, and wear their skins. Cows rescued in sanctuaries have proven to be lovely friends.
Vegans don't care about animal suffering. They only care about their agenda. They want to see all small family farmers go out of business so all that's left is factory farms and it will be easier to convince people to go vegan.
Vegans abhor factory farms, but vegans also oppose small family farms. Vegans are against using, exploiting, and killing other animals. Period.
If we don't drink milk the cows would die from not being milked. We’re helping them.
It is true that if a dairy cow is not relieved of her milk, that her udders can be become so painfully distended with milk that she might be incapable of walking to reach water or food and consequently, die. The reason this doesn't happen in nature is that bovines, like other mammals, only lactate after giving birth and while nursing their young. Because farmers take milk from a cow who is producing it, they steal her newborn calf from her and instead hook her up to milking machines that simulate the nursing of calves. If a farmer neglects to milk cows, who have had their babies taken from them, they will moo in distress from the discomfort. If farmers didn't take calves from their mothers, the calves would suckle about every twenty minutes and the mother cow would never experience the discomfort and potentially lethal result of not being milked enough.
What do you eat?
Vegans eat a wide variety of fruits and eat from the thousands of types of vegetables that exist; including green leafy vegetables, tuber and root vegetables, and flowering veggies like broccoli. Some vegans eat them in their raw state. Some vegans prepare vegetables into delicious combinations like broccoli almondine in garlic sauce, vegan lasagna, vegan pizza, pasta bakes with tofu cheese, loaves and burgers, baked stuffed mushrooms, coconut-curry stew, baked stuffed potatoes, vegan sushi, cheesecake ...you name it! Vegans eat an assortment of grains (rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, oats, couscous), bread, pasta, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes - many of the things you already like. Most of your favorite meals can be turned into vegan versions of that dish. Vegans also eat nuts and seeds, as well as legumes. Raw-food vegans might sprout their legumes like lentil sprouts. Vegans eat hummus made from garbanzo beans and tahini (sesame seed butter; a staple in a vegan diet that is rich in calcium). Vegans eat black beans, white beans, and red beans, as well as red lentils (that cook quickly) or brown lentils, made into an Indian dahl, chili, stews or soups. Vegans eat tofu (a processed, high-protein cake of soy that takes on the flavor of the seasonings) and tempeh (a very nutritious, whole-foods, high-protein cake of fermented soy beans). Most people will want to somewhat disguise the flavor of tempeh and turn it into Lemon-Broil tempeh, or breaded tempeh chunks, or saute the tempeh with tomato, garlic, and savory nutritional yeast.) Vegans are certainly not deprived...a whole new world of food preparation opens up when we become vegan. And vegans also eat vegan cookies, ice cream, and cake and fair-trade/organic/vegan chocolate bars! Vegan food is exquisite; especially once you have had the epiphany that you don't want to eat the products of misery inflicted on other feeling animals. After a while on the vegan path, a putrefying, blood-dripping corpse will not look like food to you any more. Vegans eat from the bountiful plant kingdom and nothing that is animal-sourced. Yes, we read labels, because we shun and avoid products derived from enslaving and/or killing animals.
You should be out helping people, not animals.
Animal and human liberation are entwined. If I can persuade you to become vegan, I have helped you as well as the animals. It’s a saner and healthier way of living on Earth. Helping people to become vegan is the best activity we can possibly do in these times. Veganism is the hope of the planet and all its inhabitants, from an environmental and sustainable perspective, to global warming (animal agriculture is the biggest culprit), to human health, to helping end human starvation by not funneling most of the world’s grains and soy through bred and farmed animals for the rich to eat while others starve to death, to a hope for a world that is not based in violence at it’s very core. In helping animals, we might have found the cure for healing our planet. Helping the most oppressed group of beings on the planet does not mean that we don't also work to end the oppression of humans, too. Sometimes we are unable to help trafficked women, or people of color who are persecuted, but we can directly do something to help animals by becoming vegan and educating others about vegan living - and thereby helping everything and everyone with this panacea; the vegan way of life. 
Small animals die when grains are harvested, so you don't care about small animals?
It's unintentional harm that sometimes can not be avoided. Vegans are working to eliminate speciesism from their thoughts and practices, and therefore do care about all animals, big or small, and are simply trying their best to avoid harming other animals. However exploiting animals for food, clothing, entertainment, labor, breeding, or experimentation is intentional harm. Some vegans eat locally produced food that is grown on smaller commercial farms who may be able to lessen their harming of smaller animals. Non-vegans consume more grains and crops than vegans because 80-90% of all the soy/corn and other crops are funneled through farmed animals. So if harvesting grains is killing smaller animals, then non-vegans are more the culprit; they are literally responsible for more plants being used. No one can live on this planet without injuring other animals/insects or taking from dwindling environmental resources; however vegans are trying to minimize their harm.
Jesus ate fish. The Torah or the Bible says that animals were put here for human use.
Jesus didn't live in present times, and now we can beautifully live as vegans, therefore we should - in order not to be cruel and violent to other animals. We are living in a time of history when thriving off the plant kingdom has been made possible for humans, by humans. Veganism is a truth whose time in history - has come. 
"But I didn't kill other animals, they were already dead."
If you did not "demand" the violent assault of other animals by paying someone else to do the farming, enslaving and killing of animals, and others stood up in opposition as well, the animal exploiting industry would cease "supplying" products derived from animal exploitation. People ask what if they find "road kill" or animal products wasted and thrown away in dumpsters - should they respect the animal by eating these "already dead animals". I would say no since rotting corpses is not appropriate food for humans, but you might choose to give it to a cat - so as to avoid and lessen ones participation in the demand for animal exploitation. 
"I don't care about animals" or "I don't have compassion for animals that are used for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation".
You may not feel compassion for them, like them, or care about them, but still there are standards of decency that must be lived between all sentient inhabitants of Earth. We must show basic respect and be nonviolent towards other feeling and perceptually-aware beings, even if we don't like them, or how they look, or believe them to be lesser than humans, or less intelligent. Humans are a member of the animal kingdom and therefore should be able to empathize with fellow sentient beings; enough to let them be and not harm them because they obviously have the capacity to feel and suffer. If you have had a friendship with a dog or cat - then you know other animals are communicative and pleasurable friends; you just need to be logical and see that we can also befriend other species of animals like pigs, horses, cows and chickens. When it comes to the right not to be exploited and violently assaulted - all species of animal; human or nonhuman - have the equal birth-right not to be wronged by humans who have the great fortune to be able to live vegan. Justice is for everybody; not just those we feel affection for. Speciesism is unjust, like sexism or ageism. Humans are desensitized from the very natural feeling to respect other animals and be in awe of their majesty. We felt this as children, but then we grew up and believed the lies being sold to us, instead of our innocent true feelings of appreciating animals. Even if I don't like someone (because he is a religion I don't believe in or a color skin that is not like mine) - I don't have any right whatsoever to oppress, persecute and objectify them based on my personal dislike for them. That is too similar to Hitler's point of view. There is a parallel between racism and speciesism. Perhaps you really do care about animals. You say that you don't and almost believe it - as a defense mechanism, so you won't have to accept this socially-accepted wrong - and be morally obligated to change and become vegan. You need to visit a farmed-animal sanctuary and get to really know the victims of crimes against nonhumanity. Your lack of empathy and your insensitivity to other animals is something that could be healed by becoming vegan, and you would be contributing to the healing of our planet that is plagued with violence.


Anonymous said...

But none of these address the issue of the deliciousness of animals...?

richard mcmahan said...

Hats off to you for this masterly work.
It's truly epic in scope.
I will always refer others who wish to know more of veganism to this great posting.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

Anonymous, one did. In the response, a convicted cannibal explains that human meat is as delicious as pig meat; a bit tougher.

Islander said...

As a vegan myself, I appreciate this post for the most part, and the effort and passion that went into it. But I cannot possibly forward it on, and suggest that others not forward it on either, until at least a couple of important changes are made.

I realize this is an 'opinion' piece, so I don't have to agree with the author about how she frames every argument, but if we don't present vegan advocacy with the utmost respect for our fellow human beings, as well as other animals, we aren't going to make the kind of progress obviously longed for here.

The only way we can break free from speciesist ideology is to UNLEARN it. The same can be said for Sexism, Racism, etc. These oppressions are all interconnected, so if we aren't actively trying to unlearn racism, for example, we perpetuate the same kind of denial that people express when they blur the distictions between animals- which like us, are unique indiviuals. We may mean well, but that's no excuse for perpetuating falsehoods or stereotypes.

1) Please drop the word 'Eskimo' from this post. That word has not been in common use for quite some time in many areas of the world (like Canada and Greenland,for example), and even though there are differences of opinion about the etymological origins of the word, it is considered pejorative/demeaning.

Even use of the word 'Inuit' is not necesarily accurate here, since there are at least three First Nations groups commonly associated with the name, and only one accurately so. A bit like calling Australians, "the English", and blurring distinctions through such deliberate indifference(which understandably translates into 'racism' for those who are mariginalized)

2)Likewise, it is inappropriate and incorrect to refer to Native Americans in the past tense as if they no longer exist! As someone with First Nations ancestory here in Canada, I can tell you that there are vegan First Nations individuals, and countless others, alive and well today!

Bit if you are going to use the term Native American at all, and not clarify whether you mean South American, or North American, etc, why not simply refer to "indigenous" peoples- and if you mean 'in the past', them please say so. Of course there are aboriginal/indigenous cultures on every continent. TODAY.

This includes indigenous peoples living off the land who do NOT have access to the wide variety of choices those of us do who are privileged to thrive on a plant-based diet, and this reality should not be ignored in the zeal for a more compassionate world sooner than later.

I wholeheartedly support encouraging compassionate choices, and have been vegan for decades myself, so I thankyou for your efforts. But please, remember that while we are one human family on a finite planet, this family is made up of many living cultures, diverse circumstances and histories. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

David K. said...

I agree with the beginning responses except for no, plants are not sentient. For they are just as much sentient as we. Everything is of the Divine intelligence. Plants can be wiser than all of us.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

Islander, I most appreciate your valid comment and will go make those needed changes right now.

VeganUrbanite said...

Thanks Vegan Poet. I've recently been writing about the dog meat industry in South Korea and I have been getting a lot of abuse...a first for me. It's difficult to remove my emotions and reply professionally. This helps. Thank you.

johanne said...

without wanting to sound confrontational, this is not a piece on p.c anthropology, i.e. Eskimo, Inuit etc. I think the premise is to merely get a point across plainly to people that 'need' a plain point explained! It's to the point and without pomposity.
Go well.

Islander said...

I'm sure you are well intentioned, Johanne, but this piece is already confrontational. When our intention is to encourage a vegan lifestyle among those who do not yet practise it, then it makes sense to be respectfully accurate, and to not inadvertently marginalize, or render living cultures invisible.

We don't build bridges and gain allies by ignoring differences, and making blanket statements about others. "Pompous', is exactly what non-vegans iterpret messages from those that espouse to care about compassion and equality, then ignore the simple effort it can take to be truly inclusive and avoid inaccurate references or stereotypes in our speech and actions.

Unfortunately this post still speaks of 'native Americans' as if they are 'the other', and 'used to live' a certain way. I've offered my feedback, and that is the best I can do. We all contribute to consciousness raising in different ways, and my vegan work in the world is dedicated to promoting the understanding that all oppressions are interconnected. I'd don't seek approval for encouraging truth, or doing what I think is right.

If we do not address one and not another, we are deluding ourselves into thinking we are doing the best we can to further the cause of veganism.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...


I really appreciate your comment and suggestions. Please check it now, and if it is still not right, please help me make it right. I don't want to be racist any more than I want to be speciesist.

Vegan4Life said...

Hi Butterflies. Keep up the good work :)

I do, though, have some thoughts on the the piece.

1. It's very long. I personally quite often skip reading posts if they're much more than one page (what fits on the screen).

2. I'm not sure who it's intended for? I don't see non-vegans reading it, and long time vegans already know most of it (I've only been vegan for 2.5 years, and there really wasn't anything new in the post). So I'm guessing it's for new vegans?

But otherwise, nice post.

Morning Sun said...

I applaud you, Vegan Poet, for such a heartfelt and informative posting. And to Islander, for offering helpful guidance. Reading the points reminds me of another that I frequently share with others - Don't Plants Have Feelings Too? - by United Poultry Concerns

Vegan4Life mentioned the length of the piece. Sometimes it can be difficult to supply details and still keep to a limit. Perhaps providing links to each point at the beginning of the post will aid with that aspect.

Again, thank you. I will be pleased to share this. :)

Alecia Moore said...

This is a great post! Besides all the criticism, which i understand, I still think this is a very positive message for all to read! Not a day goes by (since I was 8 years old, now 26) that I've had my carnivorous friends question my morals and ethical decisions on being Vegan. Never having factual answers, I just knew it was the right choice to make. I am going to print this out and keep it in my pleather wallet in case I'm caught off guard with these questions again. Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself and write such a positive piece for vegans. You've impacted at least one person and many many more to come, I promise!

Anonymous said...

I hate that "I love my meat, or I can't give up my meat" one. Imagine a court of law. Rapist defendant "I love raping people, that's why I do have to do it." WTF liking to do something that harms health, economy, life of our species, life of other species, the planet. Is not ever an excuse.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I read the whole story. Now I think I understand the motivations and all...so, what would a vegan's position be on eating fresh roadkill? I mean it's already dead, you didn't kill it, it died by accident or suicide, it would otherwise go to waste. Just curious. No, I'm serious... really.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

Anonymous, I leave the fresh road kill for the carnivorous birds and other animals that need it for survival. I don't see a corpse of an animal as food.

Cory said...

What a great reference! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Re:Eating out or at others homes...Unless you can afford to go to vegan restaurants, or have friends who cook vegan, you stop getting invited to family dinners, or you get told by friends and family how much trouble you are, or how you take the enjoyment out of the meal. When these are people you love and want to spend time with, but don't want to hear this, its hard to stay completely vegan.

Re:Preachy...The vegans I know, are very judgmental and arrogant.They look down their noses at those who haven't become vegan. They actually push people away from that way of life with their attitudes.

Re: Expense...I don't know where you shop, but where I live fresh fruit and veggies are much more expensive than meat based items. Especially considering the shelf life. A container of melon that makes less than one meal is oftern over $5, where that same money can buy enough chopped meat for 10 or more meals. And when you're broke, and the only thing you might have to eat during the day is the FREE hamburger someone offers you, you take it. Even when you have to pay, a fast food burger is .99 cents. The salad is $4. when you only have $2 in your pocket, guess which one you have to get?

Re: Protein, and health..soy is very bad. Its the marketing that has made everyone think its so great. Especially the way is made in the states. "Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein". That is toxic. I had breast cancer before the age of 50 due to all the soy products I used to eat when I was vegetarian. Now, I'm not supposed to eat soy now, which makes shopping even more limited as its in everything now.

I do love animals. My job is even in animal rescue and rehab. But in the end, I have to do what's best for me...my health...my financial ability etc. If being able to afford a meal, whether it contains meat or not so I can survive another day and help many more animals than that one meal sacrifices, than that's what I have to do. I may not like it, but that's the only option in my life right now. Not everything is so black and white. There are many shades of grey in the world, and in peoples lives. We have to do the best we can with what we have and hope our situations improve so we can improve as well.

Anonymous said...

To be vegan is a personal choice, as is religion. Please don't shove this down the throats of those who's views differ from your own.

Anonymous said...

such a sad and telling post by Anonymous. it is just loaded with inaccuracies and misinformation- it's hard to be vegan because it's too expensive and inconvenient, soy causes cancer, vegans are preachy, judgmental and arrogant, i love animals yet i continue to support industries that torture, abuse and slaughter them. although it is true that there are many shades of grey in the world, the Golden Rule is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

"Ok, I read the whole story. Now I think I understand the motivations and all...so, what would a vegan's position be on eating fresh roadkill? I mean it's already dead, you didn't kill it, it died by accident or suicide, it would otherwise go to waste. Just curious. No, I'm serious... really."

the best way to think about this is if a person was hit by a car and killed, would you want to eat them? a good way to realize speciesism is to ask yourself "if this were happening with a human being instead of a non-human animal, would it be acceptable?"

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

First Anonymous, after Cory...there's nothing more judgmental or arrogant than thinking you have the right to take the life of other animals of different species. They are sentient as you are. They have feelings. They sense pleasure and pain, as we do. It is really the non-vegans who are most arrogant.

Perhaps some processed soy is not good, but certainly not worse than putrefying dead corpses or the milk meant for another species. That could not possibly be good for human health. I and all my other long time vegan friends have been eating soy and we are healthy. But we only eat tofu and tempeh, we don't eat hydrolyzed soy protein and things like that. Tofu will not give you cancer more than meat. Meat is proven to contribute to several types of cancer.

The last two comments by anonymous just before mine were excellent responses...thank-you.

The anonymous comment before that who said I'm shoving it down their throat and it's a personal choice. You are just brain-dirtied by misguided indoctrination...and you have not yet broken free from it. Killing and harming feeling animals is as much your choice as raping someone or sexually fondling a baby...it might be your personal choice to do it, but you should not have that personal choice. You are needlessly killing animals and the planet. I've been vegan for 33 years, unwavering, in all ways. I'm doing fine! I have other long-time vegan friends...doing just fine..we are living proof that all the killing and misery is needless...we don't have to hurt and harm other sentient animals. Only our society's speciesism allows it to happen, as racism allowed the Holocaust. We are evolving and heading for a major shift in thinking as a species. Get with the times...come on and join this great social justice movement!

Anonymous said...

Love love love this! Oh I want to plaster it over all the walls of all the rooms all over the world.

Its so devastatingly beyond horrifically sad, that people have to be told this. That they aren’t yet feeling it. But I have hope that the truth in your words, and I hear it echoed everywhere, is dawning on human consciousness.

I especially love the answer you give to the question of ‘What would happen to all the animals if we stopped eating them?’ I dream of that world too. Where all the violence ends, and the animals that are still alive on that day, will be released from slavery and live in sanctuaries for the rest of their lives.

Vegan is a truth whose time has come! So many of your words here mirror insights and I hear my own thoughts mirrored back at me word for word. Showing me again that we are all connected, and the same new paradigm of compassion rather than cruelty, can dawn in us all simultaneously, through that connection.

Thankyou so much for all your hard work to produce such a comprehensive complete piece of writing that just expresses my own views and truth perfectly and informed and rounded out that view in in a way that will help me be a better advocate for animals.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

Hi Lucidlyamidst - I am touched by your comment. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Lot's of us "anonymous" types out there. My roadkill question was half jokingly meant to ask if there was ANY situation where you could eat meat if it didn't break any of your cherished criteria. This of course assumes that you might still like the taste of meat, which most of you long time vegans do not. I'll venture a guess that most of you never DID particularly like the taste of meat, or were naturally squeemish to the thought of bloody flesh, or dead animals or what ever it is that helps float your boat of distaste. I love the taste of meat. It provides the easiest, cheapest, tastiest way to get your protein and doesn't encourage the extinction of any animal species. And yes, it is a real hassle to deal with vegans when you want to throw a party over food. And are those not the best parties? I have to admit that a friendship of mine was cooled by his veganism. Not personally, but definitely socially. I considered that a shame. Nothing brings people together like a shared meal, and guess what? No can do anymore with Vegans. It's like going bar hopping with tea totalers. What's the point?

Anand said...


I can't really respond to the question of eating roadkill, because I have never eaten meat and the idea of eating any meat is gross to me. But most vegans I know would not eat the roadkill because it is not "human food".

On the question of being a hassle to deal with vegans, you are correct, because it is difficult to be a vegan in a carnist world, where everything is systematically structured for meat consumption. But just because it is difficult does not mean it should not be done. And I was at a vegan superbowl party where the food choices were amazing! It is only difficult if you are limited to your comfort zone and familiarity.

The bar hopping analogy is not entirely accurate. I am a teetotaler (I know, you're thinking how boring I must be), and if the sole purpose of the event is to get drunk, I will pass. But if the event is to hang out with friends, I can generally participate. But even then, there is a difference. Alcohol has distinct and rapidly apparent effects. The only comparable effect of a meal, vegan or carnist, is the food coma. We can all share that.

In the end, liking a taste is a preference. But not being involved in the use or killing of animals is a philosophy. And vegans don't let our preferences get in the way of our philosophy.

Anand said...

Thank you for this great post!

Another response to the question of plant sentience: eating plants consumes less plant material than eating the animals which need to eat plants to grow. So a vegan is more considerate of plants than a carnist.

In the "Yes, I'm a vegan" image at the top, might I suggest one change: instead of "It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle" how about "It's not a diet, it's a philosophy." A lifestyle seems too transitory.

I will send this to my niece, if her mother approves. :-)

Anand said...

@Anonymous[Eating out, Preachy, ...]:

Eating out and at others' homes is inconvenient because we live in a carnist world. I have found that most of my family and friends are very accommodating, because they want to spend time with me. With the few who are not, I'm learning to let go.

We generally try not to be preachy or judgmental, but sometimes we fail. But this pales in comparison to the criticism we constantly face, often in very derisive ways, as shown by the number of comments which Vegan Poet responds to in the original post.

The expenses will vary quite a bit based on location. To reduce expenses, replacing the staple of meat with grains and legumes is very effective. Bread, cereal, brown rice, pasta, lentils, and beans are all cheaper than meat. The fast food example is that of a broken system: the $0.99 burger is a loss leader to get you in the door. After everything is added up, the meal typically costs $5-10 per person. 2-3 servings of pasta and bottled sauce is about $1. A base of rice and beans would be similarly priced. Add $5 of fruit and vegetables and the cost is comparable while the benefits are priceless.

The amount of protein we generally need is quite small, on the order of 40-60g/day. The two servings of pasta has about 15g. Bread or cereal from whole grains has 3-5g per serving or slice. A serving of beans or lentils has 5-8g. And yes, vegetables have protein as well. It adds up quickly, this is largely unprocessed, and no soy is involved.

In the end, the less healthy and more expensive options are more processed foods as opposed to less processed foods. And processed foods include meat, dairy, and eggs, where the animals are the processing factory. Going back to the plant sources is healthier and cheaper.

Cory said...

To the roadkill questioner, basically, no. The only possible situation I can think of is if I was in the arctic/up on a mountain, with nothing green to put in my mouth for more than three or four weeks. I would be close to death by starvation, and would only at that point consider eating animal flesh.

As far as taste, if I were to eat it now, idk, but I enjoyed the taste when I did eat it. In fact I worked at a butcher shop for quite a while, and wrapped steaks, make beef jerky, and all of that business.

btw, I would think that rice and beans would be considerably cheaper than meat, especially if bought in bulk.

I'm also getting together folks in my area for potlucks and dinner parties, and I would welcome any non-vegans who took interest and brought vegan food. It's really not hard at all.

It seems you are too stuck in the culture of abuse that modern society popularizes. And that, to me, is the real shame.

I wish you well.

Kasey said...

Excellent post. You make a lot of great points.

I'd like to address your comments about the Bible from a believer's point of view: your interpretation of the word dominion is demonstrated by the context to be correct. At that point in the scriptures, a vegan diet was actually what humans were instructed to eat (see Gen 1:29). There is a strong case in the Bible for veganism. You can find a complete explanation here: http://veggiemightee.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-i-reconcile-veganism-with-judeo.html

There's also expanded coverage of the "Why did God make them out of meat?" question here: http://veggiemightee.blogspot.com/2012/01/q-if-god-didnt-want-us-to-eat-animals.html

Thanks for a great post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. I will repost this and share. As a vegan of 30 years I've heard all the excuses and endured all th verbal attacks from meateaters trying to find a fault in my lifestyle.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

Hi Anand,

re your first comment. The image came that way, I didn't make it. Personally, I don't use the term lifestyle in reference to vegan living. Also, in my blogs, I have stated the fact that those who eat animals are killing more plants, but I was trying to keep the answers succinct here. Thanks for your second comment, well done.

Kasey, I am trying to improve the Bible comment, as I certainly don't want to turn believers away from veganism...thanks for your help.

Your welcome anonymous! Thanks for your appreciation.

richardacre said...

Regarding humans being here to "Dominate" life, I prefer the idea that we're here instead as Caretakers.

If someone asks me where I get my protein I ask them where they get their vitamins. So many people's fruit and vegetable intake is probably tomato sauce.

Anonymous said...

"So many people's fruit and vegetable intake is probably tomato sauce. "

Wow. Elitist much?

Errors in the comments re the health effects of soy, especially on young males. And the comparison of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores...I note with interest how other primates (gorillas) that are omnivorous were glossed over quickly. (baboons, gorillas, chimps....yup, omnivorous.)

I always wonder how vegans can abhor factory animal farms, but seem to have no issue with the massive ecological damage caused by monocultural grain and vegetable farming. That's factory farming. Chemical dependent and earth-destroying.

I also wonder if vegans realise that the veggies and fruits they are eating today are nothing at all like the paleo- versions, or even those of a century ago, in terms of sugar content, vitamins, essential minerals, etc.

Anonymous said...

i'm down, except plants MAY be sentient, please don't assume to know what you can not know

Unknown said...

While I appreciate your zest for veganism, it is not for everyone.

You need to do a whole lot better on your response to indigenous peoples and what they eat. Here in Canada, our Inuit must eat meat or they will die. You quickly skim over this issue and generalize that fruits and vegetables are available year round. Wrong, the High Arctic has a very short growing season (if you could even call it a growing season at all!). It is mostly frozen tundra. Hunting for animals, and fishing are not just a traditional way of life. It is survival. Kindly do some research on the High Arctic and you will see. You cannot universalize veganism.

Chelsea said...

BRAVA!!!!!!! You are an inspiration and this blog has simply made my week. I will be posting a question as my facebook status every morning to help enlighten my 1500 fb friends. We vegans must support one another, because it can certainly be demoralising to be overwrought with negative backlash as is so frequently the case. Again, brava.

~17 year old, passionate vegan (my whole family became vegan after we recently learnt about the cruelty of "vegetarian" dairy and egg industries etc. - we had been vegetarian for my whole life and did not know!!)

Shelah said...

Thank you for this wonderful post! I found it very thorough and thoughtful.
Re the sentience of plants: There does seem to be some interesting evidence of a surprisingly high level of emotional awareness and intelligence that would indicate sentience.
There is a simple and delicious solution -- eat a fruitarian diet! Many are thriving this way and no animals or plants are exploited or harmed! Added bonus: by eating fresh raw fruits only, we needn't cook (a rarely spoken of contributor to climate change) and never need to wash any greasy, sticky pans. We also need no longer be concerned about eating ANY less than nutritious processed/junk foods, vegan or not.
Food for thought :)

@Anonymous (one of you near the beginning), re: expense -- Of course a package of precut melon is expensive. ALL convenience/precut/prepared foods are more pricey than their whole counterparts. So why not buy a whole melon and cut it yourself? Fruits that are in season are not expensive at all and many stores discount perfectly good, ripe fruits because their shelf life is nearing an end. Bananas are downright cheap and amazingly nutritious and yummy.
Honestly, if anyone is looking for an excuse, one can be found.
It behooves us to find a way to living in congruence with our morals!

Anonymous said...

I can see that you didn't read everything otherwise you would notice a link to an article about a German cannibal who was saying the same about human flesh.

Anonymous said...

Can someone respond to Unknown please.

Nuno said...

Hi! I was wondering why so many people gets even like a fighting position for what others want to or not to eat, and they even create blogs against vegans?
And my conclusion is political and religious fear! That's why, because a no meat diet opens your mind to evolution and we all know there is a lot of people that agree with the present world we live in...

Anonymous said...

I'm vegan but I find your references to child molestation disgusting (the 'fondle your toddler' comment). It is absolutely unnecessary to use this to support your argument. 1 in 3 people have experienced abuse as a child. Perhaps you should consider this when writing for an audience. There is no justification for this whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

I love meat and I don't feel bad about it. I grew up in a place where you have to hunt to get through the winter a lot of years (and yes this is in the US, these places do exist even if you Pacific NW charmed little trust fund kiddies can't comprehend that). If the patchouli-stank idiots ever take over and make it against the law to eat meat I'll just live underground like Denis Leary in Demolition Man and eat rat.

Anonymous said...

CAN I JUST SAY THAT NOT ALL CIRCUSES USE ANIMALS! ITS REALLY ANNOYING! Modern circuses have moved away from the use of animals and its more about dance and theatre too, some traditional style travelling circuses even pride themselves on not using animals!

Anonymous said...

There's nothing better then the smell of dead flesh when I get ready for work in the changing rooms of the slaughterhouse anyone care for some bacon?

Anonymous said...

I have recently changed my diet to a vegan diet. I enjoyed this artillery much. However, I have a question. I share my life with my companion animals, cats. They must be fed a carnivorous diet to remain healthy and alive. I don't know how to reconcile my vegan life choices with purchasing meat based foods for them. Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated .

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

Hello anonymous of April 12 - There are thousands of vegans who feed their cat friends a balanced, supplemented vegan diet - and the cats are surviving well. It takes a lot of effort to ensure they are getting Vitamin A, Taurine, etc. I suggest reading the VeganPet site in Australia on vegan cats. In the U.S. VegePets offers vegecat supplement to add to food.

Vegans feel differently on this subject. You will have to see how you feel. Personally, I don't live with cats or anyone that kills. I live only with vegans of any species/age. If I rescue a cat, I find him/her a more suitable home, as I don't want to be a part of the demand for animal exploitation.

Cory said...

Just some preliminary searching and this food in particular looks like one of the best, using guidelines from webMDpets.


Anonymous said...

Would love to know comments on Anonymous march 7th RE:

'...And the comparison of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores...I note with interest how other primates (gorillas) that are omnivorous were glossed over quickly. (baboons, gorillas, chimps....yup, omnivorous.)

I always wonder how vegans can abhor factory animal farms, but seem to have no issue with the massive ecological damage caused by monocultural grain and vegetable farming. That's factory farming. Chemical dependent and earth-destroying.

I also wonder if vegans realise that the veggies and fruits they are eating today are nothing at all like the paleo- versions, or even those of a century ago, in terms of sugar content, vitamins, essential minerals, etc.'

Also several other things. My family and I are vegetarian, we tried vegan but energy levels didn't seem to be very high and we didn't wish to supplement. We eat local (or at least from the country we live), eat eggs from our own chickens (no rooster) or from friends chickens, and just began eating dairy as a trial run to see if our energy levels go up (as they didn't seem to be very high). The dairy we eat is biodynamic and from the country we live or from our friends small herd of goats (she doesn't kill her animals ever, even the boys). This seems to be working well, although we would love to be vegan again, so suggestions? Please note: we will not eat nutritional yeast because of its adverse affects on the brain, it seems to be addictive (esp to my 3 year old) and gives me headaches.

Also we grow a lot of our own food (aiming to become self reliant in the future when we have enough land) but we use manure from our friends and local people's animals. I have not seen much info about not using manure and the alternatives to keep veg etc growing well? Suggestions or ideas? How would the world go about growing plant based food without the use of animals entirely?

This also brings up the point of using animals to carry us and for farm work i.e. ploughing - what alternatives are there? Petrol (and similar) powered vehicles use finite resources that we are quickly running out of, we will have to go to walking, biking and (presumably) animals to transport things eventually, or are there other options? Is there another way of doing these things without using animals?

If we can't grow our own, then at least keeping food local is the most environmentally responsible thing, many people are not aware of this. Is this a well known thing in vegan circles? Its just I see a lot of plant based foods eaten by vegans that couldn't possibly be local (not the right climate), surely this is not a sustainable way of eating any more than eating meat is?

Would love to hear your (and others) views on this and suggestions for a positive vision of our future, without the use of animals in farming at all (if this is possible!) Just another little thing: giving people a positive vision seems to be a better way of causing change in individuals than telling them what we don't want for the future. Thanks for reading.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

To the last anonymous person leaving a comment:

I am an advocate for every individual animal's inherent right not to be used, exploited, and/or violently assaulted by humans. Of course vegans can consume local grown veggies and do their best not to be a part of exploiting the planet's resources.

We have been growing our food vegan-organic, and there are many useful links on the Gentle World site about how to do this: http://gentleworld.org

Nothing is more important than not causing harm and suffering to feeling animals; human or nonhuman.

Unknown said...

That bible statement genesis is not saying man was to have dominion over the animal world to eat them. It was stating that animals have an inbuilt fear of animals. The bible actually states meat eating was only temporary use due to the flood. The bible actually advocates vegetarianism. http://sabbathsermons.com/2009/08/20/the-bible-reason-for-vegetarianism/

Environmental Education said...

Great post. Just one point. Having now sorted out the anthropology to be more PC, how about the biology. As a biologist I always cringe when people talk about developing morality as evolution. As any biologist can tell you, evolution is amoral and non progressive. Parasites are a case in point. They obviously must have evolved after their hosts, but they are less complex and less developed, often just a gelatinous blob. Some parasitic crustaceans for example are no more complex than single celled organisms - possibly less.

Would it not be better to use a term such as progress or development, not something that is supposedly from blind chance.

lmz said...

This post is so handy, it would be great if there were a direct link option to each item so that when people say "but what about X" we could just send them to that link rather than copying/pasting or reiterating these points. Also then they could read the whole page... :D Just a small request! (I could help w/ this if you like -- it's just a small html change...)

lmz said...

This post is so handy, it would be great if there were a direct link option to each item so that when people say "but what about X" we could just send them to that link rather than copying/pasting or reiterating these points. Also then they could read the whole page... :D Just a small request! (I could help w/ this if you like -- it's just a small html change...)

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

Imz - I don't understand what you are saying, but email me veganpoet@hotmail.com to talk about it.

Sam said...

I need to tattoo this on my back :)

KalleP said...

A thought for how to end meat eating needs to look at the simple economy of it, follow the money I often say. While it is cheaper to eat meat people will do it, while using animals to concentrate sunlight is an efficient business model it will continue to be used. When the profits of animal farming dissapear because of increasd costs (enviro costs added to the farmers) and decreased prices (due to reduced demand) the market will automatically collapse.

It is also the answer to what will happen to all the un-eaten animals, when there is no longer money to be made the farmers will go out of business and the number of new animals will reduce as the farmers cannot justify breeding new stock.


Anonymous said...

Interesting article. But the main question I still have is:
Do you wear leather? Most vegans I know have leather shoes, bags, furniture etc. very hypocritical if you ask me.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

To the last anonymous comment: No vegans wear leather. If someone wears leather, etc. - THEY ARE NOT VEGAN, even if they say they are.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't address the "But the animal kingdom can be very cruel" or "Animals being food for other animals is nature and natural". I have someone who keeps repeating that so I was curious as to your response.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

As to the second part of animals in nature; they have no choice. Humans do. Humans choose cruelty, unnecessarily. Also, some species are obligate carnivores, humans are not, in a purely physical sense.

As for the cruelty; I guess humans are not the only species who display seemingly acts of cruelty, but they are the top of the list and outdo any other species in this regard.

Unknown said...

RE: It doesn't address the "But the animal kingdom can be very cruel" or "Animals being food for other animals is nature and natural". I have someone who keeps repeating that so I was curious as to your response.

The response for this is: we don't decide our ethics based on non-human animal behavior. Otherwise, non-consexual sex would be ok, pooping in the middle of someone's livingroom would be ok, a man fighting/killing another man to win a female would be ok, etc. We can't claim we're not like non-human animals when we decide on some of our moral codes but then use non-human behavior to determine other moral codes. We must decide for ourselves.

Anim said...

Great article and responses. Lots of good concise info.
I usually focus on the human supremacy myth behind every defense I have encountered. It has really served me well with the "hard cases." I summarize it like this: "The false and easy to debunk assumption that humans are superior in moral value to nonhuman beings and the chronic self-predatory nature of humans necessitates that one cannot have human rights without extending equal consideration to nonhumans." The self predation part is very important. Humans have exploited and preyed upon other humans since the start of recorded history despite laws designed to curb such behavior. If you lock your door at night then you dont really believe in human supremacy. This fact is the ultimate slap in the face to the imaginary belief that humans are superior to nonhumans. But if you want to have human rights, you must have nonhuman rights. Why? If you do not give them consideration, you leave a loophole that allows humans to justify discriminating against other humans, since racial supremacy and religious supremacy and gender supremacy etc are the same in principle as human supremacy-they are based upon an unproven personal opinion “special status” that Nature (or invisible deities) does not acknowledge in physics, weather, or other phenomenon.
Morality is not perfect. The failure to eliminate homicide or child abuse (or choosing to save the life of a familiar over a stranger in an emergency situation) does not justify concentration camps. The same can be said for farms and vivisection labs. If humans want laws to curb their behavior they must extend this to other beings out of fairness. *Only* humans require such laws and can be held to them-non humans obviously cannot, they cannot be shown to make ethical claims of superior worth and discrimination based on that idea, and to punish them because they cannot do something you know they cannot do is as fair as expecting a blind man to read a warning sign. Humans who knowingly break laws are afforded more respect as criminals than guiltless animals.

Morality does not follow a hierarchy. If human problems always come first then one could further refine and prioritize them based on the importance of race, gender, age, religion etc.

Nonhuman exploitation by humans is due in large part to domestication which requires immense effort to maintain. By contrast, human slavery, child abuse, and homicide have existed as long as humans have, and will likely continue to do so as long as humans can reproduce. The elimination of the former is actually a more realistic hope. Have a great day everyone-and remember to keep that ol front door locked-unless you are a human supremacist who trusts other humans to recognize your so obviously superior moral worth. lol

Avi said...

As a whole-plant-only consumer myself, I of course am in complete agreement with the message of this post.

As my diet and lifestyle often come up for discussion, I find a significant portion of my time opportunistically available to advocate for plant-based living. I had often found that my "passion" frequently led the to highly contentious discussions that failed to achieve the goal of "enlightenment" and frequently had the OPPOSITE effect, so over time I have modulated the tone, perspective, and presentation of information so that those not necessarily immediately motivated to "act on truth or fairness" might still find resonance with the concepts presented.

It is with that in mind that I would offer a suggestion of tonal and verbiage change to effect better reception and absorption of the message. Repeatedly making points, often through escalation of emotive expression and "one-upmanship" reasoning, while perhaps personally satisfying, tends to have the opposite effect desired. I'm already "vegan", and I found myself off-put by considerable amounts of the material, as it excursions into somewhat militant, argumentative, and demanding tones using subjective reasoning, which tends to put people on defensive, and ironically changes the whole point of the discussion.

If you you are interested, I'm happy to provide my "written" thoughts on how I would present the above material to try and increase "resonance" with the wider "meat-atarian" audience for whom it is intended. If not, I understand, and hope that this does reach some of the minds it is intended for

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

Avi - feel free to pick a few and rewrite with the tone you think it should be and email to me: veganpoet@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I think most carnists are not ready for, and unwilling to accept, the moral implications of their diet. Trying to take the moral high ground in a discussion with a carnist is rarely productive (although valid) - and is not necessary really, considering the proven pathogenic properties of eating animal products. It has been my experience that people are more receptive to the message when you can show them convincingly that they are harming themselves. Most people are scientific materialists to some degree, which comes with it much cultural baggage and false ideologies and belief systems.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

To the last anonymous person who left a comment. You may be right about humans being more concerned with their own health. Just call it eating a plant-powered diet and don't confuse it with veganism; an ethical stance of non-participation in animal exploitation, and it extends beyond diet to clothing, products and practices.

Anonymous said...

Rights are entirely a human construct. In a world without humans, there could be no concept of "rights" for the other species. The fact that only humans can appreciate the concept of rights is more than enough basis to question the philosophy of veganism espoused in the original posting that all species have "rights" equivalent to those we humans recognize for humans. If other species had a "right" not to be harmed for food, we humans would then have an affirmative duty to protect other animals from attacks among each other, just as we now try to provide protection of humans from attacks amongst ourselves. Your "sanctuaries" would have to be segregated by species to keep predators from their prey, and oops! wouldn't that be imposing our speciesist scruples on other species that don't share them and causing them oppression?

I have no objection to vegans making their own food choices based on their own philosophy, crazy as it seems to me. But the obvious goal of the original post is not mere persuasion, but the would-be coercive imposition of that crazy philosophy on the rest of us. You'd be more persuasive if you were less honest about your ultimate goal. Having read through all of your 60 points, I'm no more persuaded toward veganism than when I started, but I'm definitely more anti-vegan. Nothing lowers my tolerance levels like being told my life is due to be "rearranged" against my own beliefs.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

To the last anonymous commenter: Hard to believe you read through all 60 questions...amazing! Win some, lose some...I guess my style isn't for everyone, but it is for some - and so I'm writing to them.

Anonymous said...

Butterflies, I'm the commenter at 7:25pm on 1/2. I read your 60 points because I'm open to learning new facts and exploring new arguments, and you made quite a number of good ones (as well as some very foolish ones). It isn't your style I have a problem with; you're a good writer and you obviously put a lot of work and thought into your post.

The only thing I objected to, and it's a biggie, is your obvious conviction that all of us must be "ushered into" this new vegan world whether we agree with your philosophical premises or not. I don't doubt that if you could, you would compel those who disagree with you to live by your standards by force if necessary (although I'm sure you would delegate the violence to others).

Anyway, thank you for the interesting reading, and the heads up.

M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

Hi again anonymous,

I respect that you have an open mind. I am totally nonviolent and don't believe in force. However, I am trying my damnest to change human perspectives, without force. Yes, I would impose a law that animals are not objects, but persons - under the law. But I would not be forceful or violent to anyone sentient; and that includes humans. I would impose a law not to violently assault and objectify other animals - same as I would impose a law not to harm children, or pedophilia, or rape, or murder. I believe other animals, by virtue of them being feeling, aware and conscious, with the capacity to suffer - deserve the same rights and protection we give innocent children.

Kimberly Steele said...

M. Butterflies, as you know I LOVED this post so much I created my own answers (much less patient than yours, it shows I am only three years vegan) in both a video and an essay version.

I think the people still eating animals who have commented on this blog are experiencing a great deal of cognitive dissonance because of your fantastic essay. We vegans don't have to judge them: they already judge themselves and they hate it because THEY KNOW THEY ARE WRONG.

Here is my essay:


Here is the video:


M. (known as) "Butterflies" Katz said...

Hi Kimberly Steele

I watched the video from beginning to end - had a few smiles, disagreed with a couple responses - but overall enjoyed and thank-you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

They do address that. Try reading the whole thing.

Michael Richards said...

I am a recent vegan (vegetarian for the last 5 months, mostly vegan for the last 5 weeks, and transitioning to full vegan). The change was triggered when I became aware of the cruelties in the big meat industry.
This is a great list, thanks so much for compiling it.
To those who say they love meat, I agree, it is wonderfully tasty. I was a strict mostly carnivore for decades, and still remember the taste (although that is not a reason for eating meat, just a bad excuse). I always thought vegetarians were crazy, and swore I would never become one, and honestly could not imagine becoming one. And yet once I changed, I have been enjoying my food even more. It really is not that hard to make a vegan diet wonderfully delicious. And with so much more variety than a meat based diet. I have been feeling healthier, have found plenty of restaurants with healthy alternatives, and will never go back. For so many reasons veganism is the right choice for nearly everyone.

Unknown said...

Hello from Greece. I have been vegetarian for 12 years and absolutely vegan for 8 months. I know I will never go back to consuming the flesh or the bodily products of another being. I have never ate or felt better. I would like to invite people to also consider the positive impact of veganism on economy. Thank you for your list. Great reference.

Xander Mann said...

about the part that we are biologically committed herbivores- actually we are not. ALL committed herbivores have one of three things- the ability to regurgitate to remasticate and redigest, a large cecum, or a multi chambered stomach. We have none of those, and therefore, unlike committed herbivores, cannot digest cellulose. Further we have heme iron receptors where committed herbivores do not. Heme iron is ONLY found in meat, herbivores have no need for it and therefore do not have them. Also our stomach pH is closer to that of a carnivores than an herbivores. In fact during fasting up to 2 hours after eating, our pH is the same as a dogs, and 2 hours after eating when sodium bicarbinate is dumped into our stomach, it remains more acidic than a dogs.
There's many good points a vegan can make, biology however is one they should avoid.

Anonymous said...

In regards to the preachy thing, it's funny because non-vegans like to make snarky comments or questions and then call you "preachy" or something when you actually have answers

Anything Goes said...

I have been a vegetarian then became a vegan and never bothered about my stomach or biology, though I graduated in zoology, and yes humans with most primitive instinct to kill is still more in numbers than the ones evolved from that but they would be out numbered very soon and then you know what would happen .... :)

Anonymous said...

In response to the post dated Feb 19, 2012 from Anonymous--I can barely believe what I'm reading. You dismiss veganism because friends and family disapprove and think you are a killing the joy of their meal of corpses. Do you let friends and family dictate every other one of your stances in life? You claim you can't afford the salad at the fast food joint so you order the burger instead. Have you ever head of a grocery store where you can buy cheap ingredients for a salad and its cheaper than buying hamburger? And complaining about soy? There is no requirement vegans eat soy or soy based products so not sure what that has to do with anything. You claim to love animals--this does not compute for me because I fail to see how anyone can kill and eat something they love. You have many excuses for not eating vegan, none of which seem legitimate to me if you truly claim to love animals. There's no gray area here--you either love animals or you don't, and people who love animals do not kill them and eat them.

Anonymous said...

On roadkill...I follow a simple rule, if I wouldn't eat a victim of a fatal car crash, I wouldn't eat roadkill. It's the same thing--if the dead animal is going to waste, so is the human body. If there is justification to eat the animal, there is just as much justification to eat the human. If something within you is preventing you from eating human roadkill, that same thing should prevent you from eating non-human roadkill.

Anonymous said...

Your assumption comes from the view that vegans walk around really missing meat. It's a philosophy as much as anything, and when you no longer see animals as food, seeing something dead at the side of the road doesn't inspire anything but pity - I assure you.

Anonymous said...

Really well done article - I'm saving this one. I also appreciated very much the level of civility and cooperation within the entire thread, at least for the most part. Again, great job!

John Chase Newson said...

That point about people using leather. I have a leather belt I bought many years ago. It is perfect still. It seems to me that if I were to ditch it, I would now be adding insult to injury to the poor sad person from whom it was stripped (I don't accept the pejorative epithet 'animals'). For many years my footwear - and everything else - has been either synthetic or plant-based. Works for me. However, I do worry about dog food, but I now see I may be able to do something about it, and to my everlasting shame I kill mosquitoes, because I can't share a house with them. However, I wouldn't dream of harming such creatures as poisonous giant centipedes or venomous snakes such as cobras which I have lived with. I'm working - as I have been all my life - on my remaining perceived moral weaknesses.

Unknown said...

Hi Butterflies, love your name! Thanks for the post,it is full of good advice and answers for the questions you have mentioned. I will read and read until I am well equipped to answer them - people usually ask when I am off guard or have had a couple of glasses of wine and the answers just won't come so easily lol. I am the only vegan I know in North Yorkshire, though I am sure that there are lots of others. I do feel sad that there are so many negative people on www who write to you in the hope of starting a quarrel. Well done with your very polite and positive answers. Good luck :-)

Fireofcaron said...

Great article! I am a campaigner and these are the questions people throw at me all the time! It is obvious that these people who ask these are just trying to make excuses for condoning cruelty! Just because you CAN do something and it is LEGAL, doesn't mean you SHOULD!
Some really excellent responses and I will be using this information.
Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

It turned out for me, that going vegan was a natural choice.
For me, and for the animals. Indeed I don't wanna be part of this killing machine we have crested!!

Ria said...

Well Done!

One comment - Our earliest hominid ancestors may have very well been folio-frugivore, hence our herbivore bodies. The science is still out on the subject.

Here's something I just wrote that expands a bit on one of the questions.


A top goal of an Earth rewilding veganarcho-primitivist is to defend what little wild remains. Once a wild area is ‘developed’ it’s impossible to recover to its original state; hundreds or thousands of years of natural processes are erased in one fell swoop. I’ve grown a thick skin to the myriad of baseless nonveganarchist attacks on vegans, but the one that darts straight to my heart is ‘The rainforest is being cut down to grow soy. So much for vegans saving the planet!’

When staying with some southeast Venezuelan indigenous Pemon people living in the Gran Sabana along a forest edge, my mind entered an ethical frenzy when they asked if I wanted to help them harvest yucca, etc. from their forest farm. I reassured myself that as far as I could surmise, the Pemon population had been stable for hundreds of years, with little encroachment into the forest, and no evidence of onward expansion typical of colonizers. We were in agreement that enormous swaths of forest leveled for any crop is a crime of nature.

Most soybean deforestation targets tropical climate areas of South America, the Brazilian Cerrado region, Amazon Rainforest, Gran Chaco and the Atlantic Forest in particular. These regions are bursting with biodiversity and deforestation is quickly endangering plant and animal species. The USDA estimates that the area of Brazil razed for soy plantations will reach 30 million hectares by 2020, about the size of the Arizona. Over 80% of farmlands in the Paraguayan region of Gran Chaco are cropped with soy.

So where is all this soy going? As the largest source of protein for the world’s farmed animals, about 70% is fed to ‘livestock’. While edamame is obviously not the ‘natural’ food choice for human-bred cows and chickens, with Anthropocentric humans assessing so little value to even the most diverse wildlife habitats, soy is cheap. And with Anthropocentric humans assessing so little value to domesticated life as well, soy is effective. Soy and corn ‘help’ ‘livestock’ reach ‘market weight’ in record time. The National Cattleman’s Beef Association brags that the average cow on a feedlot will gain between 2-4 lbs/day, thanks to this oh so ‘special’ diet they are fed. Ah, the Anthropocentric values of soy.

Only 6% of soy is fed directly to humans, many of them nonvegans, mainly in Asia. The rest is converted into soybean oil. That’s right, deforestation soy is mainly consumed by ‘meat’ eating domesticated humans. WWF Germany found that if every human in Germany were to just lower their consumption of ‘meat’, just to the country’s domesticated human dietary guidelines, that would equate to 1.8 million acres of ‘agricultural land’, 825,000 hectares of which are specifically in South America.

I wonder, could it be that most anarchists who eat ‘meat’ are sourcing it from animals who are fed deforestation soy? If the anarchists who use soy deforestation as an attack on vegans are truly concerned about what remains of Earth’s pristine wild, are they going to now spew ‘The rainforest is being cut down to grow soy. Hope no one is buying meat from animals fed soy!’ ?

Anonymous said...

I'm absolutely disgusted I had to scroll for this long to find someone else who had a problem with that comment.
I was horrified to hear someone compare eating habits to pedophilic molestation.
That is not the way to get people to understand what you're trying to say in any context.
I can't believe how much praise this post got for being sensitive and caring when it uses actual rape victims to make a point.

Eric Brooks said...

A lot of this is useful, but the claim that humans are anatomically "herbivores" and not omnivores, is just not remotely scientifically accurate. And we should not use the faulty "we are herbivores" argument because it really torpedoes our credibility when we do so.

What I always tell people, is that the human body has evolved to be able to thrive on any diet, and specifically evolved that amazing flexibility to enable survival in times of environmental crisis.

Right now our environmental crisis is global warming, and nature has beautifully enabled us to respond to global warming and dramatically reduce our personal carbon emissions by up to 50%, just by shifting to a plant based diet.

Rafa said...

I just want to add about religions, very quick.
The Bible says in the first chapter Genesis 1:29 - The Creation of the World:

...And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food."

See Passage: http://ebible.com/nkjv/Genesis/1?focus_verse=1001029#11

It's very clear to me :D Plants, Seeds and Fruits is our VEGAN Food :D

GOD Bless You ;)

Ahne SD said...


Best Vegan Meme and Vegan Quotes

Anonymous said...

So is this a Christian vs vegan type deal? I'm not understanding the attack on Christianity and the bible. It's quite intolerant for a site that advocates tolerance for the various animal species. There are Christian vegans out there so there's really no need to be insulting. In fact one of the major studies thats used in vegan lectures And debates is by the seventh day adventist church. And please do more research on the things that you are calling contradictory in the bible.