As a vegan for over 2 years already, I’ve heard several excuses against going vegan that are nothing more than, well, excuses, as I mentioned. They attack the lifestyle from every angle from religion to it being a “personal choice” and with the myths that vegans lack protein and animals are non-sentient commodities. While some of these are true only in part, others are nothing more than a bunch of lies, which is why I’ve decided to settle these debates once and for all!
The most infamous of these lies is quite possibly the “vegans lack protein” argument, but this is simply not true. There are different types of proteins that the human body needs, and plant-based foods can take care of them all! According to PETA, dietitians have confirmed that vegans can get all of their daily proteins without even trying! Furthermore, if you are concerned about getting plenty of protein, there are certain vegan foods that are rich in it, and some even more so than meat! These include soy, hummus, beans, hemp, and much more, with a list of “11 Complete Protein Sources Every Vegan Should Know About” available on the PETA website. There are also multiple brands of vegan protein powder as an additional source if that’s something you’re interested in, so there is absolutely no need for humans to eat meat to gain protein…after all, where do you think the animals that humans eat got their protein from?
And believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much protein, and that’s specifically related to animal-based protein. Too much of it can lead to fiber deficiencies, leading to heart disease and the possibility of worsened kidney function “because the body can have trouble eliminating all the waste products of protein metabolism”, as explained in PETA’s article “Are Humans Supposed to Eat Meat”.
Another false argument that I’ve often heard is that drinking cow’s milk is good for you. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told that it’s a healthy source of calcium and helps to build strong bones. It’s a lie that most of us have been told at least once in our lives. However, although milk, specifically that of cows, is indeed abundant in calcium, its absorption rate is extremely low, with only 30% of it being absorbed by your body, according to DK Kara MD. Furthermore, the pasteurization process kills off “any enzymes and beneficial bacteria in milk…” making it “…much harder for your body to digest…” Additional hormones and pesticides can also be harmful to consumers, and so, all of this makes plant-based milk alternatives a clearly healthier choice.
There’s also the claim that “humans are evolved to eat meat”, but if you’re familiar with biology, you’ll know that humans are not natural predators. There are certain traits that carnivorous animals have which humans don’t, proving that nature intended for us to eat plants, and even though we physically can eat meat, that doesn’t mean that we should. Here’s a little more about each of these traits:
Even with scientific data pointing towards a plant-based diet, there are still those that have made the argument that the bible supports eating meat. I’ve taken a look at these verses, and it is true that it states “every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” Meat-eaters have used this line and others to explain to me that the bible supports eating meat, however, there is also the verse in Corinthians which goes “but meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse”, showing us that in the bible, there is a rather neutral view upon this subject. While this can be interpreted as “it’s okay to eat meat”, it doesn’t justify the heinous treatment that we’ve been implementing on livestock, including cramming them into filthy factory farms, forcefully and intrusively impregnating them, and slaughtering countless creatures in ways that no one, regardless of species, should ever have to endure.
And one of the most frequent arguments for meat that I’ve heard is that doing so is a personal choice. Technically everything that we do is a personal choice, from minor things from what we’re going to wear that day, what music we listen to, etc. However, there are other things that can also be considered a “personal choice”, but we know are clearly wrong, like reckless driving, stealing, and even murder. Just because it’s a personal choice doesn’t mean that there’s no wrong answer, especially in cases where others suffer as a result of our actions. No one is really affected if you choose to wear jeans or capris, or if you prefer pop or country music. But “choices” like eating another sentient being isn’t one of those, and it involves letting someone live or forcing them to die.
On the topic of sentient beings, it’s also important to note that animals are not commodities and are truly sentient beings. They can feel pain, both physical and emotional, and are extremely intelligent. While it takes humans years of learning to communicate and get through life, animals such as cows, deer, dolphins, and virtually all others, can stand, run, or swim in a matter of hours, minutes, or even seconds without being taught! Their abilities are also learned through their parents, or sometimes just through instinct. Think about it this way: the architects that developed structures like dams spent years gaining the knowledge that they needed to pass high school and then spent some additional time attending college, but beavers know how to build their own dams without even taking a class! Other abilities of animals, like their impressive ability to recognize faces, or associate words not in their native language with specific objects, and navigation capabilities all prove their amazing intelligence.
Physical pain is also evident, simply in the fact that they fear pain. If this were not the case, they wouldn’t cry when in danger, yelp when injured, or run when confronted; it wouldn’t matter to them were it not for fear.
Emotional capabilities may surprise some, but it doesn’t make it any less true that animals feel emotions often associated with humans. There have been numerous instances where animals mourn their offspring after they pass, showing that they do feel grief. Also, animals other than humans also mate for life, and while nowadays human relationships have a 50/50 chance of ending in divorce, in the cases of animals like wolves and doves, only death can separate the inseparable bond that mates share. Furthermore, there have been numerous heartwarming stories that show that animals care for each other, including those not of their own kind, and have even saved human lives, despite the abuse that we show them. When humans rescue animals, they have also shown gratitude towards their rescuer, and when shown compassion, can return the favor in ways that are priceless!
These arguments against veganism are numerous, and another one that to me is nonsense is the argument saying, “humans are suffering too”. Personally, I see many things wrong with the ill-crafted argument. It’s true that humans are dying, but that’s not a reason to keep abusing animals…just because one’s suffering, should we hurt the other? If this was the case that we based our decisions on, we’d never improve and all animals, humans included, would continue to suffer. Furthermore, while humans are suffering and dying, it’s not at the same degree as other animals. For example, in the USA during the year 2019, the FBI reported 16,425 murders within the nation, but that same year, over 160 million mammals were killed for meat, plus 6 billion birds for this same purpose, and well over 100 million for research, 3.1 million for fur, and countless others for additional purposes, with these numbers only reflecting the atrocities humans inflict on animals in the US. Considering all causes of death globally, approximately 166,279 people die each day. Meanwhile, more than 200 million land animals are killed daily, just for food! If you include fish, then that jumps to 3 billion, and if you include those lost in experimentation, hunting (both legal and illegal), pollution, deforestation, then that value becomes nearly countless!
Furthermore, a lot of the suffering that humans face can be prevented by going vegan. Poor health is the most common cause of death, especially heart disease, which, as previously mentioned, can be prevented by making the switch to plants. Certain cases of cancer can also be prevented by making the switch to a plant-based lifestyle. Pollution and toxins in the water can also be reduced if factory farms are stopped, improving overall environmental quality, providing us with fresher air, which, as we all know, helps improve our health. Hunger is also a plight faced by many around the world, and with all the feed used to raise livestock, if we gave it directly to those in need, we could end world hunger with a surplus of food! We’re always talking about solutions to solve world hunger, but we already have the solution and all that’s left is our choice to actually act on it or not. Finally, as for violence, it’s been proven that those that refrain from violence to all creatures, regardless of species, are more peaceful and less prone to result to violence than those that eat meat.
Finally, workers at factory farms also suffer, not only from low wages and physical danger, but because of the mental and emotional toll that the job takes on them. According to “The Humane League”, “countries with slaughterhouses have four times the national average of violent arrest, with significantly higher rates of alcoholism, domestic abuse, child abuse and suicide”.
As you can see from these points, there is really no reason that we should continue eating meat, because not only is it cruel and unnatural, but because there are many negative impacts that come along with it on a variety of perspectives. Choose peace, choose kindness, choose compassion, choose vegan, for animals, people, and the planet!