- ‘There is not enough protein in a vegan diet.’
It’s true we need some protein for the growth of muscles and to maintain a healthy body but luckily there is an abundance of protein in the plant world. Lentils have the same amount of protein as beef and almost all vegetables have protein too. Tofu, chickpeas, beans and soy products are all high protein foods and seitan is one of the highest levels of protein per gram in any type of food. The current ‘world’s strongest man’ is a vegan and many more body builders and athletes have been vegan for years, many since birth. People are far too worried about protein. Even if a plant-based diet didn’t have any protein, no one has ever died or had health issues from a lack of protein. If someone didn’t eat enough calories they may have health issues but this would be from a lack of all nutrients, not just protein. In the same way that no one would die from a lack of carbs, if they were on a carb free diet. But I reiterate there is huge amount of protein in a plant-based diet.
- ‘I only eat free range meat so it’s ok.’
It is true that living conditions for animals can be utterly barbaric in non free-range establishments so free range meat does ensure that it has had a ‘better’ life. There is still a lack of transparency in free-range farming. Moreover, many horrible practices still take place in free-range farms; for instance pigs will still be castrated with babies taken from mothers after birth and cows repeatedly impregnated against their will. Finally, no matter how they live, free range animals are still sent to an early death, in a slaughter house. Type ‘undercover slaughter house video’ into Youtube, if you can get through a few videos I am sure you will agree that slaughter houses just shouldn’t exists. If you think there is a humane way to kill an animal in a slaughter house you are mistaken. Plus, to kill any healthy animal that doesn’t want to die is not humane at all. In addition, realistically not many people are able to only eat free range meat, even if you buy free range at home, what happens when you eat out, in restaurants or at friends’ houses? There is no kind way to eat animal products… anyone who says there is, is just trying to rationalise their own addiction.
- ‘We need dairy for calcium and other nutrients are missing in a vegan diet’.
Well, yes we do need calcium, but the plant-based world is full of it. Leafy green vegetables, figs and almonds are all great sources. Eating dairy may actually not be such an efficient way to get calcium as studies have shown that countries with the highest amounts of dairy consumption also have the highest levels of osteoporosis. Most humans are also born lactose intolerant but we ignore the small signs and continue to drink milk, eat cheese and yoghurt because we have been programmed into thinking it is healthy. The human body actually has no need for milk or its products after the age of three and before then it is only a mother’s milk that is needed. It is the most unnatural thing to drink and eat the secretions of a cow. It gets worse when you think about the fact that cows are so intensively milked they often get blisters, soars and infections on their udders. The suction cups don’t discriminate so all that blood and puss gets sucked into the milk that you drink. Now, it is pasteurised so it won’t harm you… but it will still be in there. Up to 4 million somatic (puss) cells are allowed in each litre of milk in the UK. So, when you say vegan cheese is disgusting, just remember that when we eat cow’s cheese we are drinking and eating cow puss.
B12 is only present naturally in animal’s flesh but it is actually a bacteria found in the ground and created in our gut. However, there are now many products full of B12 for vegans such as alternative milks, nutritional yeast (a firm fav with all vegans) and vegan cheeses. All the other vitamins and minerals are plentiful in a vegan diet; omega 3 from nut oils, flaxseeds and algae. Leafy greens, lentils and soy contain lots of iron, cranberries and potatoes are high in iodine.
- ‘What would happen to the animals if we all went vegan’.
This is split into two answers as some mean;
‘We would no longer see farm animals in the countryside and ‘animals would take over the world’. I will answer in two sections:
- a) We would no longer see these animals:
These animals wouldn’t exist in their numbers if we didn’t breed them so intensively. And if we reached the ideal place of full veganism then there wouldn’t be so many animals in fields. I agree that this would be sad, this was a sticking point for me but then I realised how utterly selfish it was of me if animals were to have a life of suffering and early death just so I can enjoy seeing them in a field. Also, all these animals wouldn’t just go extinct, there would be sanctuary’s or farms where they could live.
- b) ‘The animals would take over the world’.
This is a strange one but I have heard it used a lot. Many people are worrying that if everyone went vegan that the animals would all be set free, re produce at alarming rates and become an issue for us. In reality, it would work like any supply and demand situation. If beef stops selling then famers will start to invest in crops or something else. No farmer is going to keep producing expensive cows if he can’t sell them. Veganism is the fastest growing social justice movement in history to date but it still isn’t all going to change overnight. Most of these animals would not survive in the wild as they have been reared to be dependent on us to survive, so we couldn’t just let the run free. As demand decreases for animal products, fewer cows will be impregnated and then slowly fewer and fewer would be born until we have a very small and manageable number of animals left. If those last few didn’t sell and needed to go somewhere then they could be hopefully rehomed into one of the many animal sanctuaries over the world.
- ‘Farmers would be out of work.’
Many people and especially the farmers worry that veganism means they will go out of business. I understand this concern but the reality is they would probably just have to farm something else. It may not be easy but as humans we always adapt and survive. When cars arrived, and replaced horses as our mode of transport, the people in this industry didn’t all die off not being able to make money anymore they adapted and found new areas to work in. I understand that change is scary and very intimidating for people who for generations have had this line of work. There are numerous campaigns and organisations out there to help livestock farmers change their farm to a plant-based one. One of the most famous ones is the ‘farm green’ campaign from The Vegan Society. Help is out there for any farmer who is feeling the financial pressure of veganism.
- ‘Our ancestors have been doing it for thousands of years and it is how we evolved?’
There are so many reason why this is flawed logic:
- If you want to mimic what our ancestors did maybe you support rape and wife beating? We have evolved for a reason to do better and be better.
- It is important to any paleo/ keto fans who say our brains evolved from when we started eating fats (i.e. meat) it has now been proved that it was more likely our brains developed the most when we started cooking starches (potatoes etc) which contained glucose which supports healthy brain functions.
- If you really think it was fats that are needed to grow and evolve then there are plenty of fats in the pant world too such as avocados, oils and nuts.
- Throughout history we have realised we are wrong on so many levels; thinking smoking was healthy, having public executions and of course treating black people and women as second-class citizens. As a society, we are always growing and progressing. Recent strides in racism and sexism will likely move on to speciesism in the future: We will come to believe that it is not right to breed and kill animals for their flesh, when there is no nutritional need.
- Our caveman ancestors had no choice but to eat meat as fruits and berries were scarce in the winter and meat was all they had to survive the colder months. Today we have the luxury of so many alternatives.
- Finally, it has also been proved that cavemen were actually more gatherers than hunters and would only eat meat once a week.
- ‘We are natural carnivores.’
Firstly, if you put an apple and a piglet in a child crib the child would of course play with the piglet and eat the apple. The same wouldn’t be true with a young lion. This shows we are not natural carnivores.
Secondly, we do not salivate at the sight of an injured, bleeding animal. True carnivores do.
Also, our intestines are long. This is to ensure we can extract nutrients from plants and legumes. It is not conducive to meat, which can take so long to pass that it rots inside us producing dangerous and nasty toxins.
Lastly our teeth move up and down and side to side, unlike a carnivore, whose only move up and down and have enormous canine teeth for ripping through flesh and skin. We also use knives and forks as our teeth can’t break through meat until it is cooked or cut up.
- ‘Other animals eat each other so why can’t we… it is survival of the fittest.’
Animals do sometimes eat each other and this is a shame. However, most actually don’t. 75% of animals are herbivores. The other big thing to remember is that animals don’t have moral agency, which is the ability to make moral judgements based on the notion of right and wrong and to be held accountable for these actions. We all know that we can make better moral judgements than a wild animal. Many wild animals rape each other and sometimes kill their young. Most of us hope to now be more evolved than this. So why not look to be more evolved with our food choices too. Also, just because we are bigger and stronger doesn’t make us more important than other life on this planet. The perfect example of this is bees. They may be tiny but is well documented that bees are in decline and that if they all die out we are not far after. We all need to be protecting our world as best we can. Animal agriculture is responsible for over half of green-house emissions and is by far the biggest problem in deforestation. If we are to survive we need to adapt and fast!
- ‘As a vegan, you end up importing items rather than eating from your country which is worse for the environment.’
I am not sure how valid an argument this is but it is still one I hear a lot. I am pretty sure any western diet today relies on a number of imported foods. I find I cook with a lot more whole food ingredients than ever. I do sometimes find myself cooking with things like jackfruit, soy and coconut products. A lot of these products can be sourced locally but sometimes these have to be imported from other countries as locally our demand isn’t met. However, the air miles of importing these goods are still far less of an impact on the environment than animal agriculture.
- ‘My diet is my personal choice.’
If you think eating meat is a personal choice you are forgetting someone! The animals. It is no longer personal when a victim is involved. It is also people’s personal choice to kick a dog or beat their wife but if I saw it happen I would try and make that stop. This is all vegans are trying to do…make the needless pain and suffering of animals stop. All animals have desires and feelings. This is proved by when they squeal in pain, move from the sunshine to the shade or prefer company of some animals to others. We all see the personality in our dogs and it is common knowledge that pigs are far smarter than dogs, yet we treat them like a commodity with no thoughts or free will. So, when you say it’s your personal choice and that vegans should stop preaching, you are showing how conditioned you are to not see an animal’s life as worth anything.
Similarly, when you go vegan you feel so much better. You also find out that almost every disease that is a problem for us today stems from eating animal products, it is normal to want to help your loved ones to change and avoid suffering and disease. When vegans try to persuade their families to change it is not from a selfish point of view, it is not even just for the animals, it is also for your own life and health. We care about you too!
When you realise that we don’t need animal products to survive or thrive it makes choosing them so much harder. There is no easier way to prevent suffering than by choosing plant based foods and products whenever possible.