The Complete Guide To EVERY Anti-Vegan Argument - Part II

The Complete Guide To EVERY Anti-Vegan Argument - Part II


Part Two (of Four)

Below is a 'Part II' of the ever-comprehensive list of ALL the arguments against veganism as compiled by César from The Vegan Speak. If you missed Part I - the first 12 rebuttals - be sure to check them out.

13. Farmed animals would be killed in the wild

Vegans don’t want all domesticated animals to be released into the wild. You can’t do that because those animals are domesticated, and are not natural breeds, they were selectively bred. So it would be releasing billions of animals into ecosystems which would cause so many unknown problems. What vegans want is for animals to stop being bred. It isn’t a question of either they get eaten by wild animals, or by us. We don’t need to be breeding them and eating them at all.

14. Animals don’t understand morality

Most animals do have at least a basic understanding of right and wrong, because this is an evolutionary advantage. Altruism often results in something positive in return, and bad actions usually result in negativity. If a dog doesn’t kill other dogs, you’re less likely to be killed by a dog.

But regardless, animals aren’t morally valuable because of their ability to understand morality, they’re valuable because of their sentience (ability to experience pain and pleasure). Some humans, like babies and mentally disabled adults, sometimes cannot discern right from wrong, but they still have a right to life because they’re sentient.

15. Animals would eat you if they could

This is not even an argument, it is a far-fetched hypothetical situation. What logical conclusion follows from this? If an animal would like to eat me if they could, does that mean I should base my morality on less intelligent animals and eat other animals too? The funny thing is that people use this argument to justify eating herbivorous animals that actually can’t eat us, like pigs and cows, but they don’t use it to justify eating cats, lions and bears, that could eat us.

16. Humans are superior to animals

In some ways, yes. We’re superior in intelligence. We’re not superior in our ability to fly or see in the dark. But remember that some humans are superior to other humans in similar ways to animals. Some humans are smarter, faster, stronger, better looking and so on. By this logic, the “superior” humans could in theory abuse and kill the inferior humans. This is why the “might makes right” argument is a logical fallacy; it can justify several unethical behaviours and the measure of “superiority” is completely arbitrary.

Superiority doesn’t grant you a right to abuse other sentient beings. In fact, this line of thinking is what justified many atrocities in the past, like The Holocaust, black segregation, disenfranchisement of women, and so on. “They’re less than us, so they can be killed or their rights can be taken away”. Of course, nobody wants animals to have the same rights as humans, like the right to vote, because it doesn’t make sense. What does make sense, however, is to grant them the right to life because their sentience means they have an interest to live, just like us.

"Superiority doesn’t grant you a right to abuse other sentient beings. In fact, this line of thinking is what justified many atrocities in the past."

17. The animals are already dead

Yes. But veganism is not about saving the dead animals in the supermarket, it is about reducing the demand for animal products to prevent further animals from being tortured and killed. This is basic supply and demand theory from economics. If we demand more animal products, the businesses that produce them will supply more, therefore killing more animals. We have the power to vote with our money, and every time we pay for animal product you’re indicating you want more of that product.

18. I eat every part of the animal so they don’t go to waste

The animals don’t care what you do with their bodies after their death, they care about their throats being slit. If you’ve already committed the unethical, unnecessary action of killing an animal, what you do after doesn’t make it any better. By this logic, American cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer should have received a shorter sentence, because he used nearly every part of his victims’ bodies. He ate various parts of them and even turned some body parts into household items.

19. God put animals here to eat

No religion mandates meat-eating. You don’t have to eat animal products to be a devout Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, etc. So regardless of what it says in the Bible, Koran or Torah, you should do what is right today. Ancient religious texts should never be used to justify our behaviour, because they include an array of terrible things like slavery and misogyny.

Plus, don’t you think if God is wise and omniscient, that he wouldn’t give pain receptors to animals and then tell you to kill them? Surely God would approve of you being vegan, therefore causing the least amount of harm possible to animals and the environment, both of which are God’s creations.

20. The dairy industry doesn’t harm animals

Cows in the dairy industry, arguably, live more miserable lives than cows raised for meat. This is because they are continuously abused throughout their lives for their milk, and then killed. This is how the dairy industry works:

Since cows only produce milk when they’re pregnant, the process begins with forced artificial insemination of cows. The farmers insert their arms into the sexual orifice of the cows and pump bull semen into them to impregnate them. This is a necessary step for milk production and occurs in small family farms all the way to factory farms.

Once the cow has a baby, two things may happen. If the baby is male, then he is no use for the farmers since he will never produce milk. Therefore, the baby is either killed at the farm, or sold to the veal industry for meat. If the baby is female, then she will have the same future as her mother and will go through several cycles of emotional and physical abuse. In both cases, the mother is not allowed to stay too long with her baby, and cows tend to cry for days after their baby is stolen.

After about two or three milking cycles, the cow’s milk production becomes unprofitable, so the cow is killed. At this stage the cow is usually six years old. The natural lifespan of a cow is around twenty years.

This video, below, summarises the dairy industry: Dairy Is Scary.

21. The egg industry doesn’t harm animals

In the egg industry, only females are required since only they lay eggs. So at the hatcheries, male and female chicks are separated by workers called “sexers”.

Males are considered useless so they are killed at the hatchery, either by being macerated alive, or by being gassed, drowned, or suffocated in a sack. Females are painfully de-beaked and sent off to the farm, where they will lay a painful 300+ eggs per year due to genetic manipulation (as opposed to a wild chickens 20 or so per year). This process happens in any farm, regardless of it being free-range, organic or whatever.

After the egg-laying hens stop producing a profitable amount of eggs, they are sent to slaughter, which involves being thrown into an electric bath to be ineffectively stunned, then hoisted up upside down and going along a conveyor belt to have her throat slit. Many chickens will remain fully conscious after their throats are slit and will be boiled alive in the de-feathering tank afterwards. Their slaughter happens at around two years of age. The natural lifespan of a chicken is eight years.

22. People would lose their jobs

Yes, this is a sad reality. But as consumers, we aren’t responsible for keeping all industries in business. When you go to the supermarket, you don’t buy every single product they sell to make sure nobody goes out of business. As consumers we choose where our money goes and we pay for the products and services we want to see more of, and we don’t buy those we dislike. We all understand this, which is why when someone quits smoking or drinking alcohol, people don’t tell them they’re putting people in the tobacco and alcohol industries out of jobs.

However, it is important to realise that jobs aren’t lost, only displaced. If you’re not buying milk, therefore funding the dairy industry, you’re buying soy milk, therefore creating jobs in that industry. While it is true that dairy farmers will have a tough time, for example, it is also true that there is a growing demand for other crops like rice, soy and oats which is putting more people into jobs in those industries, which is only for the best.

"Male chickens are considered useless so they are killed at the hatchery, either by being macerated alive, or by being gassed, drowned, or suffocated in a sack."

23. It’s legal to eat animal products, there are laws to protect animals

Just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. Less than 200 years ago, slavery was legal in the United States.

The laws in place to “protect” farmed animals still allow significant harm to be inflicted to these animals. Organisations like the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) claim to work to prevent unnecessary harm to animals. But since we know that eating animal products is unnecessary, isn’t all the harm caused in the meat, dairy and egg industries unnecessary?

This is an excerpt of what the Humane Slaughter Association deems a “humane” way to kill an animal:

“Infant lambs, kids and piglets can be humanely killed by delivering a heavy blow to the head. This must only be used if no other method is immediately available.

  1. Hold the animal by the back legs and deliver a firm blow to the back of the head with a blunt instrument, e.g. an iron bar or hammer.
  2. Hold the animal by the back legs and swing it through an arc to hit the back of its head with considerable force against a solid object, e.g. a brick wall or metal stanchion.

With both methods it is essential that the blow is delivered swiftly, firmly and with absolute determination. If there is any doubt that the animal has not been killed effectively, the blow should be immediately repeated.”

You can clearly see that there is nothing humane about the way we treat and kill animals. In UK law, chickens can still be debeaked, pigs and male calves can be castrated, pigs can have their teeth pulled out, and more. Needless to say, the best way to stop all animal abuse from happening is to end animal agriculture altogether.

24. You buy products from sweatshops

The fact that I have a computer made with components that were produced in sweatshops but am vegan is no different than you having one and being against human slavery or racism. Having a laptop does not invalidate the ideologies of gender/race equality, in the same way it does not invalidate veganism. The fact that anybody funds sweat shops doesn’t mean you must also pay for animal abuse.

You buying animal products is not helping workers in unfair conditions. So being vegan and buying from sweatshops is still better than not being vegan and doing so. If you’re interested in buying fair-trade, there are several companies that pay their employees decent living wages, and you can buy from them. The logical conclusion is that if you’re against slave labour you’re against all oppression, including animal oppression, so you should be vegan.

Trying to invalidate veganism by telling a vegan that they also contribute to harm because them buy sweatshop products is a form of the “al tu quoque” fallacy. If I say it is wrong to murder people, but I murder people myself, that doesn’t make murdering people right. If I say it is wrong to kill animals for food, but I cause harm elsewhere by buying from sweatshops, that doesn’t make killing animals right. It is impossible to cause zero harm, and no vegan claims perfection, but we’re trying to reduce our impact as far as practicable and possible. There is a practical solution to animal abuse that is under our direct control, let’s take it.

"The animals don’t care what you do with their bodies after their death, they care about their throats being slit."

The Complete Guide To EVERY Anti-Vegan Argument - Part II

There are several other similar lists that you might find helpful: George Martin’s Carnism Debunked, Vegan Sidekick’s Guide and Your Vegan Fallacy Is.

In our next issue we will cover 12 MORE rebuttals to anti-vegan arguments. Stay tuned!

Have you seen our Guide to Building the Ultimate Vegan Pantry? It's jam packed with ideas and totally free! Get it here.

The Complete Guide To EVERY Anti-Vegan Argument - Part II