As a longtime vegan who travels around the world forever trying to explain my diet and lifestyle choices, I've heard every comment, question, joke and urban legend about veganism.
Here I'm going to address the top 10 repeat offenders that I hear the most, complete with my responses. Saddle up, folks. It's snarky. Because sometimes defending animal rights is like defending the existence of the sun. Just open your eyes to see.
1. humans are supposed to eat meat.
No, we're not. Omnivores and obligate carnivores especially are supposed to eat meat because they have to. Carnivores have long curved fangs and claws to kill prey and rip apart flesh. They also have short digestive tracts to pass raw meat through quickly before it decays and causes colon cancer.
Humans have the jaws, teeth, nails, stomachs and intestines of herbivores, meant to slowly process and extract nutrients from vegetable matter. And unless you're a vampire, then you don't have long canine fangs and sharp pointy nails and couldn't actually kill or eat a live animal with your bare hands.
2. i'm not vegan but i eat healthy / humanely / local / organic.
So sorry to burst your bubble here, but I don't care what you eat, just as long as it's not dead animals. Knock yourself out eating local organic rocks. The animals also don't care whether they're called local or organic. They'd rather be called alive.
Animal products are not healthy, in fact, they're the opposite, because they actually cause a myriad of diseases that kill you. A plant-based diet has numerous health benefits. And there's no such thing as "humane meat". "Cage-free" eggs are also a joke. And so are any other cutesy names that companies put on the products to make you feel better about buying the dead body of someone that wanted to live.
You are what you eat. Eat dead animals and you, too, will soon be a dead animal.
3. i care for animals just as much as you.
Well then no, you don't. You don't love something if you also want it to die, Dr. Lecter.
Neither Schrödinger nor quantum mechanics can help you with this pickle of a paradox. The animal is either alive or dead, not both. And you get to choose.
You may love your pet, and that's fantastic, but what about every other species? Extrapolate your compassion. If you really love animals, watch these, and then get back to me on that willpower problem.
Also: If you prefer things you like dead instead of alive, then please don't mind me while I slowly inch backwards and look for an exit.... Hey, what's that over there?....
4. i heard of a vegan who got sick once.
No, you didn't. And, even if you did, then that poor hypothetical malnourished person that you think you know, suffered from idiocy, not veganism. A much grander epidemic.
That's nothing more than a fantastical urban legend. If you believe those, then you should also say Bloody Mary in a mirror while you eat pop rocks and drink Coke.
I've been vegan for 26 years so if being vegan kills you then I must be a superhero.
There are so many strong powerful vegan athletes around the world. Bodybuilders, NFL players, UFC fighters, Olympic athletes, tennis champs, heavyweight boxers, marathon runners, swimmers, rugby players, race car drivers, and even Mr. Universe himself, are all out there rocking it on a plant-based diet.
But what does make you sick, diseased and dead? Eating meat. Numerous studies have shown a direct link between diet and disease, and even how a plant-based diet can not only stop, but reverse diseases. Watch What the Health for more.
5. plants have feelings too.
A. No, unlike animals, plants do not have central nervous systems, which transmit pain signals to the brain, which they also don't have.
B. That's still not a reason to eat sentient animals who obviously feel fear and pain.
C. Plants regenerate so you can harvest the leaves and fruit without killing the plant. In fact, the leaves and fruit of plants naturally fall off on their own, all the time.
D. If you do think plants have feelings, then you should definitely be vegan to cause the least amount of suffering since animals eat a lot more plants. Livestock occupy 26% of the planet and another 4% of that is growing their food alone.
E. Stop being an argumentative moron and please go do something constructive with your imagination instead. Clearly it's a good one.
6. humans are at the top the food chain.
No, we are not. We only act like it because we're jerks. Crack a book every now and then.
7. animals are always killed humanely.
No, no, no, no, and no. Not only are they scared, suffering, panicked, in pain, in agony, and eventually murdered (all against their will) but they're also very often intentionally tortured by slaughterhouse workers. They hit, kick, stab, molest, and generally do whatever they want to do to the animals just because they can.
Countless investigations and documentaries have unearthed horrific videos of employees in most every major supplier torturing animals to death. Nothing that goes on in a working farm or slaughterhouse is ok.
And even if it was magically humane, would it still be ok? To take someone's life against their will?
"Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight."
Albert Schweitzer, Inspirational Vegan Quotes
8. vegans deny themselves the pleasure of food.
Well, no, because I eat food, not dead bodies. If you get your jollies by eating the flesh of rotting corpses, then I'm sorry to be the one to break the news to you, but you are a zombie! That is what zombies eat. You should really get that checked out, because you're probably the walking dead.
I, on the other hand, eat actual food. A lot of it. And it's not sticks and leaves. But it is all plant-based and made up of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. It's also yummy milks, roasts, burgers, pizzas, ice cream, lasagna and everything else that's awesome.
Don't cook? Who cares! I don't either. That's what restaurants are for! But you can still easily make vegan meals or easily veganize any recipes you want.
9. our choices don't matter.
What a sad viewpoint to have. Also, you're wrong. Like the Dalai Lama said, "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito."
But if you're talking actual numbers, a vegan saves about 198 animals a year. You can also calculate the lives you really save. You can also make a difference by educating others on veganism.
Every time you make a purchase, you vote with your money, and you can choose the bad things that hurt animals and the planet, or you can choose not to pay for animal abuse or animal agriculture, which harms animals, people, water and the planet.
The more you purchase cruelty-free products, then supply and demand is pushed in that direction, and the economy is forced to adjust. So, your choices do make a direct difference and your choices are actually crucially important to change the world.
10. where do you get your protein?
The dead bodies of my enemies! No, I get it from plants. (Or do I? Muah hah hah)
How can everyone be so confused about nutrition? I studied nutrition in school, didn't you? There are so many delicious sources of plant protein available, including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, tempeh, seitan and many plant-based milks, dairy products, and meat products and they're all available all over the world.
It makes more sense to eat the protein directly from the source rather then pass it through an animal first before it gets to you. Eliminate the middle man. Cow. Eliminate the middle cow.
Eat your own food.