Updated: Mar 15
This is a list of some of the arguments that you will get when you talk to people about going vegan. People are so resistant to veganism that they can come out with some real nonsense so it’s good to be prepared so that you can explain to them where they’re going wrong. These are some of the things that have been said to me:
1) If we didn’t eat animals they’d breed too much and take over the world. This isn't true, farm animals are bred by farmers on purpose. Animals are force to have babies, they are not choosing to and this is done in completely unnatural ways. If people weren’t eating animals the farmers wouldn’t breed them and their numbers would come under control just as with animals that people don’t eat.
2) If we don’t breed the animals for food we’ll never get to see them unless we go to the zoo. Many animals that people eat for food didn’t originally come from the countries that they are now farmed in, for example, chickens originated in Southeast Asia, not America, not Britain, not France or the other countries that decided to take them for food. Had the animals been left alone most people would never see them anyway. Also, most people that do see these animals now are only seeing parts of them, chopped up and wrapped in plastic or cooked on their plate. Personally I think it would be better to see a pig in a zoo than like that.
3) If we don’t drink milk cow’s udders will overfill and explode. This makes me laugh, it’s so stupid. The only reason why the cows are making milk is because farmers forced the cows to have a baby then they took the baby away so they could take the milk for themselves. The milk that is sucked out by machines is stolen really, the cows don’t give it to the farmers, they take it. Ok, let’s say it’s true, that the cows’ udders would explode, what’s the solution? Let the baby cow drink it’s mother’s milk. Simple.
4) Humans are meant to eat meat. People often point to their little incisors and say that, if they weren’t meant to eat meat, they wouldn’t have the pointy teeth. Animals that are meant to eat meat, think lions, hyenas, that kind of animal, their incisors are huge, even my cats at home have incisors so long they only just fit in their mouths. Human teeth don’t compare. Also, animals that are meant to eat meat have much stronger jaws so that they can tear flesh and crush bone. Humans can only crush small bones that have been cooked, humans can't crush raw bones. There’s the issue of stomach acid as well. Human stomach acid isn’t as strong as it is in animals that catch other animals for food and they need this strong acid to digest raw meat and to kill the bugs in raw meat. This is especially true of animals that will catch a meal and eat it over a period of days and scavengers like vultures because animals don’t have fridges to keep meat fresh, their food is just left out and it rots but they still eat it.
5) If everyone went vegan farmers wouldn’t have a job. I don’t want farmers to not have a job, I don’t want them to be kicked out of their house because they don’t have money, but this isn’t a reason to hurt, abuse and mistreat animals. This argument also ignores the fact that if we’re not eating animals we have to eat something else, plenty of farmers are already making the change to grow vegetables. One other thing and it’s a sad fact, but everyone isn’t going to go vegan overnight, it’s going to be a gradual shift. This would mean that older farmers could retire, others would find other crops to grow, we’re going to need a lot of soya beans to make all of the tofu that the new vegans will eat. Some farmers would carry on as some people would still eat meat, just not as many.
6) A vegan diet isn’t healthy. Nonsense. Vegans are slimmer, have more energy, live longer, have better eyesight, younger looking skin and they feel great. There are loads of sportspeople that are going vegan because they say it helps them to perform better, they’re actually winning more now that they’re vegan. Take a look at my Science and the Vegan Diet post for more on how healthy a vegan diet can be.
7) Humans are more intelligent than animals so we have the right to eat them. No, absolutely not. We’re more intelligent than the animals and so we are obligated to look after them. With our massive intelligence we must protect them and care for them. This doesn’t mean keeping cows as pets and walking pgs in the park, it means leaving them alone to live their lives in a natural and peaceful way. Our intelligence should mean that we’re smart enough to not be cruel and abusive but to be caring, kind and loving. Our intelligence should mean that when see pain in another creatures eyes we do everything that we can to make that animal feel better.
8) Animals don’t have feelings. As I’m typing this there’s a Blue Tit in the tree outside my window grabbing a snack, he's relaxing on the branch as he eats. On a windy day I like to watch the birds play in the breeze that blows across the roofs. The wind spins between the roofs and the birds love to fly really high then drop into the spinning air, they do it over and over again. My cat likes to watch them too, she’s got no interest in trying to catch them, she just enjoys watching them, she also enjoys sleeping on my fluffy blanket, she’s not very active. My other cat loves chasing cat treats, I have to throw them so that they bounce around before he pounces on them. We’ve all seen dogs chasing balls, sticks and squirrels and I saw a video online just a few days ago of some sheep playing on a mattress that someone had thrown out. They were bouncing around having a great time. Animals have feelings. They can feel joy and happiness just as much as they can feel pain and loneliness, ask anyone that works in an animal rescue centre. Animals are sentient, they have thoughts, feelings, wants and desires of their own. For someone to think that animals don't have any feelings about what happens to them is, in my mind, madness. Going back to number 7 and our intelligence, we should easily be able to recognise the feelings of others and to respect them. If animals didn't have feelings they wouldn't make friends, they wouldn't comfort each other, they'd make rubbish pets. Part of what makes animals so specials is that they do have feelings and when an animals develops feelings for us it's amazing because they really mean it, they love us.
Not one of the reasons above is a good argument for eating animals, we don’t need to and for the sake of our health, the environment and their happiness, we shouldn’t.
What have people said to you to when you've told them that you were vegan and how did you respond?