It can happen anywhere and with anyone. At home with relatives, in a restaurant with friends, at the office with colleagues, at the supermarket with complete strangers. You might hear one of the following arguments against vegans' way of life, which might lead to instant stroke, chronic hypertension, backache, deafness and many more irreversible damages.
Let's take a look at the most popular anti-vegan arguments and how we can reply:
1. We are carnivorous (or omnivorous) animals
Excellent quote, ideal for headlocks and screaming. I will not even get into a conversation about whether or not we are carnivorous, as it will end up to a parody.
In this case, we have to focus on the fact that this argument is aiming at the arbitrary conclusion that, because we are carnivores, we have the right to capture animals, skin them alive, kill them, turn them into laboratory animals by subjecting them to horrific tortures, artificially rape them, separate the newborns from their mothers, boil them or grind them alive, etc.
It's obvious that there is an unbridgeable logical leap, and it's important in this argument not to take the bait and get into a chaotic debate, but stick to the essence. That is, does being carnivorous (or omnivorous) give us the right to torture other animals?
In addition, those who claim to be carnivores use favorite arguments, such as & #8220; and the lion eats meat & #8221; Great! So those who think we are like lions, let them live in the savannah. Naked and barefoot, let's chase a gazelle. & #8216; When they finally catch her (as they will be a little faster than the gazelle in this argument), let her nails slip on her body, bite her in the throat and then eat her while it is still hot her body, using only their nails and teeth. As for the hyenas that will gather around them, no problem & #8230; we are like lions. It is in our nature to deal with such situations.
Are we herbivorous animals?
In any case, if you want to research whether or not we are herbivores, you can compare the anatomical characteristics of herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. Not so much to get into a debate, but because they are interesting information and are indications, if not proof, that we are herbivorous animals.
The fact that we are herbivores is shown by the presence of molars and wisdom teeth, from the small opening of the mouth, from the jaws that move right and left, making a grinding motion, and from our long digestive system. All the above are characteristics that we find in herbivores (such as goats, horses, cows) and not, for example, in lions that are carnivores.
What's more, carnivorous animals swallow the pieces they bite without chewing them. Humans need to chew their food so they can swallow and digest it.
Apart from the above, as to whether we are omnivorous (like bears for example), the answer is that, comparatively, our canines are almost nonexistent and our nails are not strong enough. Those are two necessary "weapons" animals use in order to kill other animals. If humans want to kill an animal, they mainly use tools or actual weapons.
What's more, it's too difficult to eat raw meat. Proof is that people cook it so that it softens, and cut it into small pieces so they can chew it.
And finally, let's not forget the diseases caused by eating meat, such as arteriosclerosis, colon, pancreas, and prostate cancer. This shows that our body is not meant for meat consumption.
2. I respect your choice to eat vegetables, you should respect mine to eat meat
My blood pressure rose as soon as I typed the sentence.
Stay calm. Let's begin with the obvious. That is, when my choice interferes with the lives of others, I need their permission. Let alone when this intervention is substantial.
A person's choice to eat meat concerns both him and the animal. Well, I have justified suspicions that the animal does not agree with this choice at all.
The validity of this argument also has strange extensions. For example, we could adapt it, respecting the interlocutor's logic, and counteract it as "respect my choice, to bake you in the oven". I also suspect that he would not agree with this argument, nor the baking part. Proof that these anti-vegan people are really negative. 🙂
Finally, how does the fact that someone respects one of our choices leads us to the conclusion that we should respect theirs?
If that was the case, it would at least have weird extensions. We would then have to respect any irrational act, brutality or immorality, simply because they respected a choice of ours.
No, we do not have to respect one's choices simply because they respect ours.
3. The lettuce stops living when you eat it, as well
That's right. However, since the actual point of this argument is to equate the lettuce with a cow, additional factors have to be taken into account.
First of all, lettuce is different from an animal because it doesn't have a nervous system. Therefore, it doesn't feel pain, anxiety or fear (at least from what we know so far). Therefore, their equalization is completely unjustified.
But even if we accept, for the sake of discussion, that lettuce feels pain, we must state the obvious. That is, the plant resources that need to be wasted, for feeding the animals that a particular human population will consume, is about 10 times more than the ones needed to feed the same population of people directly with them.
For that reason, if someone really and deeply cares about lettuces, he must immediately follow a vegan diet. That way he will cause pain in at least 9 times fewer lettuces.
4. Humans are superior to the rest of the animals
In what way? A bear is superior in strength, an eagle in eyesight, a dog in scenting and a dolphin in speed.
First of all, whoever believes that should explain not only what we are superior to and how this is proven but also how does our superiority (if we accept there is any) gives us the right to abuse and kill animals.
Assuming there is any & #8220; superiority & #8221; this should dictate that we protect the "inferior". Otherwise, what kind of superiority is that, that ultimately leads us to become inferior by acting heinously and torture weaker creatures?
5. Where do you get your protein?
Kwashiorkor is a disease caused by protein deficiency. Have you really heard of anyone suffering from Kwashiorkor? I haven't. If you haven't either, it's precisely because this condition is extremely rare.
One of the biggest myths about the vegan diet is the lack of protein. Nevertheless, there are many ways to get the necessary quantity, and quality, of protein from a vegan diet.
According to the British Nutrition Foundation, "vegans can get all the amino acids they need by combining different plant sources of protein, e.g. pulses and cereals".
As for the origin (animal or plant-based) or the quality of protein, the same source points out that "if vegans eat a variety of vegetable proteins in combination, there is no reason why protein cannot be as good as in a diet comprising meat, milk, fish, eggs or other foods that contain animal protein".
There, it is reported that a typical portion of protein is equivalent to:
- 100g of lean boneless meat (red and poultry)
- 140g of fish
- 2 medium eggs
- 3 tablespoons of seed or nuts.
So, we see that this myth is debunked.
Having in mind all the above, we reach the conclusion that there is no reason to worry about protein intake when we follow a balanced vegan diet.
The debate about whether a diet is properly formulated concerns not only the vegan but all types of diets. If we want to get all the necessary nutrients, we obviously have to follow a proper diet.
6. A child with vegan parents died
Many children die, with vegan or non-vegan parents. But those who mention this imply that they are dying because of the vegan diet. This argument is as weak as if we were saying that if an accountant's child died, it would be because of the accountancy.
However, a vegan parent has many qualities and attributes, apart from being vegan. Some of them may have a negative connotation or even potentially become, directly or indirectly, dangerous to his/her child. Such as being a smoker, negative towards medicine, risky, naive and many more.
& #8220; News & #8221; aimed at being vegan
Suppose some vegan parents eat junk food and give the same food to their two-year-old child. If their child dies, they could appear in the news with at least two different headlines. & #8220; Baby with VEGAN parents died! & #8221; or & #8220; A kid who ate only JUNK FOOD died! & #8221; However, the associations that the two titles will generate will be completely different.
It's just that some media focus simply on one feature of a parent, that of vegan. This choice could be, for example, for commerciality reasons or to defend their own, direct or indirect, interests.
As in all narratives, so regarding the news headlines, there are many parameters that need to be taken into consideration. We can't have an overall perception when we isolate specific qualities of a person and associate them with irrelevant results. In fact, this is pretty much the definition of prejudice.
Arguments against the vegan diet
Arguments of this kind against the vegan diet are often heard and read. A common variant is & #8220; I knew one who ate no meat and got & #8221; Similarly, we can answer that "many millions of people ate meat and became ill".
Similar answers also apply to anything improbable that a poor vegan and his doomed family have suffered.
Actually, all these arguments imply that the vegan diet is inadequate, if not dangerous. Indirectly, they suggest that the consumption of meat and its products is essential. But we know that the vegan diet is adequate, as more and more studies show.
Conclusions of studies on the vegan diet
A study that compared the following diets:
- vegetarian (omnivorous diet with no meat),
- semi-vegetarian (vegetarian that includes meat less than once a week),
- pesco-vegetarian (vegetarian including fish) and
concluded that the vegan diet is the healthiest.
It came to the same result, based either on the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans or the Mediterranean Diet.
Another study (that included 86 cross-sectional studies and 10 cohort prospective studies), concluded that the vegan diet reduces the possibility of cancer by 15%.
In another study, it is reported that the vegan diet offers protection from cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer, total mortality, cardiometabolic risk factors, obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.
It's obvious that the vegan diet is adequate, and it also has multiple benefits for our health. Additionally, it's clear how much protection a vegan diet provides us against various diseases compared to an omnivorous one.
The attempt to degrade an ethical choice, to a nutritional one
With this in mind, we have to consider why some people oppose the vegan diet with such rage. While they don't do the same for foods proven to cause so many serious conditions. Many of which can be fatal.
Just to be clear. This argument, and others of this kind, is a direct & #8220; blame & #8221; against vegan diet. And indirectly, they are also against the vegan movement. By identifying it with the vegan diet. The ultimate goal is the degradation of a clearly moral choice, to a nutritional one.
7. Vegan parents adopted a broccoli
Be sure that if something is widespread to non-vegans, and especially to vegans' opponents, is exactly these unbelievable stories.
This particular story began with an article at the end of which it was clearly stated that it was just a joke. So, these "news" can either fall apart with a simple Google search or we can spend a lovely afternoon encouraging the discussion.
In the second case, we can tell them not to worry; these are old news. The broccoli is now all grown up, it studied zoology with a scholarship, got married, and has two chubby and super green baby broccoli. In addition, recent research that kept track of the lives of 684 broccoli concluded that every broccoli that adopted human babies were wonderful parents.
8. Vegans are also responsible for animal deaths
With this argument, they refer to the deaths of animals caused by threshing and mowing machines, as well as by spraying the crops.
That's true. However, this also applies to those who consume animal products, as the animals from which they came, were fed with plant resources. So we reach to the conclusion that those who consume animal products cause at least 10 times more deaths than vegans. Because, as mentioned in argument 3, the plant resources that need to be wasted, for feeding the animals that a particular human population will consume, is about 10 times more than the ones needed to feed the same population of people directly with them.
To confront this argument more effectively, we need to make our position and our moral starting point really clear. Those who choose the vegan way of life do whatever they can to achieve the least possible, intentional, abuse or killing of animals.
9. Vegans are extreme
Well, I rest my case. Someone who pays someone else:
- to capture a cow for life, to impregnate her by force, to take her newborn babies and kill them, with the ultimate goal of drinking their mother's milk,
- to grind the newborn male chickens while they're still alive, because they do not lay eggs and are therefore not & #8220; productive & #8221 ;,
- to violently over-feed ducks to fatten their liver in order to consume it (foie gras),
- to burn the sick pigs alive, which get sick because of the poor hygiene conditions in farms,
- to boil the lobsters alive,
- to skin animals, while they are alive in order to create clothes from their skin,
and for other countless violent acts, accuses vegans of being extreme with the justification that they do not agree with the above acts!
If you've heard other incredible arguments, share them in the comments below so we can have fun together 🙂