The original post was written by Andy McDonald and appeared on the Huffington Post website.
1. Being demonized by animal rights activists for eating meat.
We can eat meat and still be advocates for animal rights. Most meat eaters want animals to be treated as humanely as possible, and many of them take part in efforts to stop animal abuse just as vegetarians do. On the flip side, many fruits and vegetables come from farms that exploit low-wage migrant workers. Are you, veggie or meat eater, eating that produce? We’re talking about human beings, not animals. Vegetarians would probably want those workers to be paid a decent wage and treated fairly, right?
The author doesn’t understand the difference between animal welfare (treatment of animals) and animal rights (the rights of animals to be protected from exploitation and abuse by humans). Killing animals is animal abuse no matter how painless their death is, because humans don’t need animal products to live healthy lives.
Human exploitation on fruits and vegetable farms is not a justification for killing animals, in fact it is not even related in anyway. This logical fallacy is called Two Wrongs Make A Right. Everybody should want the workers to be paid and treated fairly, not just vegetarians.
2. Taking flak for not treating animals exactly like people.
As higher brain functioned beings, we should be concerned about the welfare of animals, but the fact remains: animals are not people. In some sections of the globe, animals are treated as pets, loved and cared for almost as members of the family. In other sections, those same animals are used as food sources. Dogs, cats, guinea pigs. Here, that would be bizarre if not downright horrific to some, but that’s just a way of life in certain portions of the world. Different people, different upbringings, different diets.
We shouldn’t focus on the things that sets human animals apart from nonhuman animals. Human animals and nonhuman animals are sentient beings and can experience emotions like joy, fear, pain etc. We have more in common than sets us apart. We can’t use cognitive abilities or lack there of to discriminate or we would also have to kill and eat mentally handicapped human animals to be consequent. Nonhuman animals are aware of themselves and can feel emotions independent from their cognitive abilities just like human animals too.
By saying that different people from different cultures eat different animals is actually pointing out that the decision to eat certain animals but protect others is completely arbitrary. If we think that killing an elephant for food is horrific, why don’t we think that killing a pig for food is equally wrong?
3. “Do you have any idea what’s in that?”
Yeah. An animal.
We have been indoctrinated since childhood that we shouldn’t care about the animals we eat like pigs, chicken, cows and fish but most of us care deeply about most other animals in particular dogs and cats (remember Cecil the lion?). If you would never harm a dog for instance to put it on the BBQ why would you want to harm a pig or pay someone else to do it for you?
4. Being bombarded by grotesque “this is the reality of meat” photos.
We don’t mind a documentary once in a while, or even truth-revealing photos. We’re openminded people — remember, we eat meat and vegetables. But suggesting is a much better strategy than forcing it into a social media feed. Vegetarians don’t enjoy being ambushed because of their vegetarianism. Please, grant us the same courtesy.
Furthermore, most of us have never had romantic notions of what goes on in a slaughterhouse. We realize animals need to be killed and butchered in order for us to eat them, and that was never supposed to be a pretty affair. We also know that some actors in the meat industry are worse than others. You’re not blowing any minds here.
Eating meat is not a personal choice like choosing what kind of pants to wear for the day because it involves a victim who wanted to live. By choosing to eat animal flesh you are forcing your lifestyle onto sentient beings who have to pay with their lives.
Simply accepting the fact that slaughtering animals is horrific is not a justification for killing. We have access to plant-based foods all year round and can get all the nutrients we need without harming others. It is important to be exposed to what happens behind the closed doors of slaughterhouses so we can make an informed decision not to be part of this unnecessary, bloody and horrific killing machine.
5. “Do you know what that’s doing to your insides?”
Yeah, the meat is delivering tasty care packages to a hunger zone desperately in need of them. Listen, we know in large quantities meat isn’t the greatest thing for our health, but you know what? It tastes delicious and we’re not perfect. No one is. If happiness to you is carrying around hundred pound bags of kale and tofu to prepare for the CrossFit Games, go for it.
The WHO report clearly informs us that processed meat and red meat is carcinogenic.
Hunger zones aren’t being served by “tasty care packages”! Animals are inefficient converters of food.
It’s not about being perfect, it’s about reducing suffering and killing of animals as much as we can because we have a choice.
No vegan/vegetarian tries to cover their calorie needs with kale. Luckily there is rice, pasta, bread, legumes, potatoes, vegetables, kamut, teff, buckwheat, corn, nuts, seeds, fruits, berries etc.
6. Being expected to cater to vegetarian visitors, while vegetarians are never expected to cook meat for visiting meat eaters.
You choose to eat what you want. We choose to eat what we want. You’ve never heard the phrase “meat eater option.” What a juicy, flame-broiled double standard. You know it is still possible to cook meat without it getting into your stomach, right?
E.g. argument number 4.
7. “Ugh, you’re not actually going to eat that are you?”
Well, we were, until you decided to start lectur—no, you know what, meat forever:
E.g. argument number 4.
8. “Meat production does great harm to the environment!”
Absolutely, when profit and cost cutting are the primary concerns, any industry can become a breeding ground for environmental insensitivity and ignorance, and food production is particularly vulnerable to this. Feel free to write your congressman, boycott those companies or organize a protest. Your friend eating a cheeseburger after a long day at work is just trying to live his life.
This is another instance of the fallacy called Two Wrongs Make A Right! The environmental damages caused by animal agriculture can not be justified by saying that other industries are destructive as well and therefore we can remain complacent. Veganism is not the gold standard to fight environmental destruction but it’s at least something that everyone of us can do right now without big efforts. We can choose not to consume animal products and minimize our contribution to pollution and climate change.
9. “You can get all your protein from these non-meat things!”
Mmmm, yeah, like beans, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa and yogurt. Those things all sound good. But it begs the question: do you grocery shop in a retirement home? Or perhaps another place where teeth are optional?
So you rather do harm to animals than eat vegetables rich in protein because you somehow can use your teeth more? That’s probably the most asinine excuse that has ever been made to justify exploitation and killing.
10. “Vegetables” is a much longer word than “meat.”
Having to utter four syllables as opposed to just one? Sorry, this is the age of brevity, and people have short attention spans. Now, vegetarians might ask, “What does that have anything to do wi—” TOO LATE WE’RE ALREADY EATING OUR STEAKS.
Pure desperation. Even if this was supposed to be some sort of joke. It’s lame.
11. Having to accommodate vegetarian friends when going out to eat.
Vegetarians are not the only ones with a limited number of places to eat. As meat eaters going out with vegetarian friends who insist on eating a real meal, we have fewer places to eat, too. And we don’t always mind making the sacrifice. Hey, they’re our friends. We accept them for who they are. Most of the time.
Again, eating meat is not a personal choice because there is a third party involved. The animals have no say and no choice but to die for your culinary pleasure. The vegan is not complicit in the harming and killing of nonhuman animals for her/his meal. Non-violence usually doesn’t require acceptance from others.
12. Having to explain bacon.
It’s hard to understand if you don’t eat it. Bacon is really great and meat eaters are not shy about expressing their love for it. We absolutely respect that it doesn’t fit your diet, but don’t ask us to explain its powerful and delicious magnetism.
Sensory pleasure is never justification to kill a sentient being, otherwise cannibalism could be also justified with that. The trivial interest for culinary pleasure never supersedes the basic interest of survival of any sentient being.
13. Being lectured on how humans were never meant to eat meat.
Humans evolved into the superior species of the planet in part because of eating meat. That’s right. Eating meat played a significant role in making our brains larger, as well as increasing our social and communication skills. Also our digestive systems are built for it. It’s safe to say most people are fairly disgusted when animals are abused, but it’s ironic when a vegetarian voices well thought out reasoning against the killing of animals. Because without the hunting and meat-eating portion of evolution, they might not have been physiologically able to.
There are new findings that say that starchy vegetables made our brains bigger. Regardless what human animals had to do in the past because of scarcity or climate to survive, our lives are much different now in comparison to people’s lives 50 years ago let alone the lives of people 10000 years ago.
We have the choice not to inflict harm onto others. Why would we choose to kill if we didn’t have to?
14. Being called lazy or ignorant for not analyzing every aspect of where our food comes from.
To be blunt, some people just don’t have the time to think about where their food comes from or what’s happening to farm animals. In a perfect world, we would love for there to be zero animal suffering, 100 percent work efficiency and to see people living longer and healthier lives than ever before. But the cold hard truth is that 46.5 million people in the U.S. live in poverty. About 22 million people are underemployed. One in six people in the U.S. is food insecure, a nice way of saying they sometimes go hungry. These people don’t necessarily have the luxury to worry about where their food comes from, or what’s in it, or how it will be packaged and produced. Their most pressing concern is, “Will we have food?”
No one can ever know everything but once you learn that your actions cause harm to others and that you easily can avoid that, why would you choose to continue?
The beauty of veganism is that it’s actually cheaper to eat a plant-based diet than the standard american diet (SAD).
There are about 800’000’000 people worldwide starving. Only 55% of calories from crops actually are consumed by people directly. The rest is fed to animals which are very inefficient calorie converters so lots of the energy is metabolized by the animal and doesn’t get transformed into nutrients. In other words, we could feed 4 billion people more if we didn’t feed animals with crops.