Q&A: Animals Used For Food
This section includes general information about animal rights. Lots of frequently-asked questions and frequently-made comments are addressed.
There are also Q&A pages in these areas:
Are you ever too old to take seriously the rights of other beings to not be used as the property of others? Are you ever too old to have your sense of justice for all overshadow the habits of a lifetime? Are you ever too old to make a commitment to non-violence?
The answer to all of the above is, of course, a resounding “no”. Therefore, one is never too old to go vegan.
A student of mine in her 60s decided to go vegan after I spoke to her about how animals are abused. And I know of a woman in her 70s and a man in his 90s who went vegan after making the connection between the way they lived and the abuse to animals it results in.
So, nope. You’re never too old to go vegan.
Unfortunately the answer to this is that it all comes down to whether or not you’re living independently.
Some people are dependents when they make the connection between non-vegan consumerism and animal abuse, and have little to no control about the spending habits of the household. They therefore can do little to nothing about going vegan.
I guess the only solution in this situation is to try to educate those in control (that is, the parents). With any luck, they will go vegan and then there would no longer be an issue. But if they don’t make the connection, at the very least you can hopefully influence them to buy more vegan products.
Beyond that, you must start gathering delicious vegan recipes and (depending on your age) either cook meals for the family or get your parents to help you cook. This will go a long way in reducing the consumption of animal products in the household.
As for those who are not dependents the answer is, no, you’re not too young to go vegan. You are never too young to stop directly contributing to the abuse of animals. If you have control over what is bought on a shopping trip, then you can go vegan right now.
You're forgetting the miserable life of the animal before he or she was sent to a miserable death. That the animal doesn't know in that moment that you're eating him or her is missing the point entirely. The abuse the animal suffered and the horrible death he or she died is the point - not whether the said animal is aware of being eaten after death.
Because if "the animal is not aware" is deemed a good enough reason to eat dead animals, then by that 'logic' it's okay for me to shoot you while you're fast asleep, hack you up into little pieces, cook you, and eat you. You'd be none the wiser, so where's the harm? According to the lack-of-awareness 'logic' of the original question, there is no harm. According to my (actual) logic of "killing is wrong", lack of awareness during death doesn't matter one little bit.
It's true that getting the egg from the hen or the milk from the cow doesn't involve kill them in that very moment. But the egg and dairy industries do involve killing - and plenty of it.
In the egg industry, male chicks are killed within days of birth - they're considered useless and are done away with. In the dairy industry, the male calves are also considered useless and so are either killed soon after birth or malnutritioned and killed weeks later for veal.
And eventually the egg-laying hens and milking cows themselves are killed too, once they no longer produce enough eggs and milk to be profitable.
The life of these animals can be summarised like this: birth, torture, death. So while getting an egg from a hen or milk from a cow might not involve killing her in that precise moment, that's only because the animal is in the torture phase of her life.
But make no mistake: the egg and dairy industries (like all animal industries) are very much based on killing.
The argument of “plants feel pain just like animals do” is inane.
While it's said that plants do have a reaction when being cut, it can't possibly be compared to the reaction of an animal who has the same done to him or her. To make it clearer: if you cut an animal (any animal, including the human animal), the animal will scream in pain. When you cut a plant, you'll notice a distinct lack of screaming. That proves the point there and then.
It's one thing to say, "Did you know that plants have a reaction when they're cut?" which is a scientific fact, but to use the “plants feel pain” argument as a defence of brutalising and killing animals...well, it just doesn't fly. It is, quite simply, a ridiculous comment. And, frankly, it's illogical to even compare animals and plants: animals have a nervous system and pain receptors, and plants have neither.
To illustrate how utterly foolish it is to compare the suffering of animals when cut to a plant's so-called 'suffering' when cut, consider these two scenarios:
I can safely say that Scenario One would be tolerated by any person of any age, sex, religion, or cultural background. I can also safely say that few people on this planet would tolerate Scenario Two for even a minute.
Watch some clips of animals being killed in slaughterhouses, listen to their screams of terror and pain when they're being sliced up and then DARE to tell me that that compares to picking a flower or mowing the lawn.
It’s true that we’re all going to die. But that doesn’t mean we should all throw ourselves under a truck right now.
Similarly, our future certain death doesn’t mean that we should treat our bodies like a garbage disposal unit by eating food that’s detrimental to our health. We’ve each got one body and one life, and we should treasure both.
Exploiting animals is inherently abusive in and of itself. Killing is abusive in and of itself. You can't be 'humanely' abusive.
For more details, read the answers on this page to the following questions:
You’ve got your facts wrong if you think there are plenty of fish in the oceans. There simply aren’t. And with between 1 and 3 trillion sea animals being killed every year, there won’t be any left at all within the next few decades.
To say that the oceans are teetering on the brink of destruction is no exaggeration and, as with everything, you’ve got the choice of either being part of the problem or part of the solution.
Yes, we have teeny tiny ‘fangs’ that we call canine teeth. But have you seen a proper set of canine teeth - like those of a tiger, for example?
You don’t need to be a tooth expert to get this, you just need to have functioning eyes. First look at a photo of a tiger’s teeth, and then look in the mirror and compare what you saw in the photo with your own sad little canine teeth.
Canine teeth are for ripping chunks of raw flesh, and a tiger’s teeth can do just that with the greatest of ease. Ours, on the other hand, are simply not up for such a job. So our pathetic canine teeth are no proof in the least that humans are made for eating meat.
In fact, if you’re looking for biological evidence to point to what humans are built to eat, you’ll find that the proof goes in the exact opposite direction, and points to the fact we’re biologically herbivores.
I assure you (with a great deal of embarrassment, I might add) that I too loved meat, dairy, eggs, and honey.
Bloodied cow flesh between two bits of bread was a particular favourite of mine. Large amounts of congealed bovine secretions (also known as “cheese”) was part of my daily routine. And boy did I love chicken ova (commonly called “eggs”) and bee vomit (aka honey)! Yet here I am, a vegan.
So how did I change so drastically from one end of the spectrum to the other?
Quite simply, I changed because I love my dogs. That might sound weird but it’s truly the reason why I began to change. Here’s how it went:
One day a question popped into my head. The question was: “Am I so desperate to eat meat that, if there were no more farmed animals all of a sudden, I would kill my dogs? Would I kill them, skin them, chop them up, and cook their flesh for dinner?”
The answer was a very immediate and very clear ABSOLUTELY NOT. I was 100 percent sure of that without even thinking about it. So the next thought that instantly came to mind was: “Then why am I eating these other animals who are not so different to my dogs?”
The other thing that was making me question my actions had to do with the articles about wild animals I'd been writing for children’s magazines. The more I learnt about various types of animals, the more I saw similarities between them and my dogs; and the more it dawned on me that if the wild animals I was reading about are so similar to my dogs, then they’d also be similar to the farmed animals I stuff my face with. So it suddenly made as little sense to eat those animals as it would to eat my own dogs.
I began to see that just because I didn’t know the billions of anonymous farmed animals, it didn’t mean they didn’t matter. They were just as sentient as my beloved dogs. I had to face the truth I'd tried so hard to ignore: just because I didn’t see the killing first hand, it didn’t mean it wasn’t happening. It was happening. It was happening with my hand guiding the knife - guiding it because it was my money paying for these products to exist in the first place. My hands were covered in blood.
Still, despite these realisations I didn’t stop eating meat straight away. I continued for a while, feeling very conflicted and dirty all over. Finally, though, I couldn’t stand my own hypocrisy and I made the decision to stop eating meat. I felt better the nanosecond I made the decision. “Hooray!” I thought to myself, “I'm no longer responsible for the killing of innocent animals.” Or so I thought…
What I didn’t know at the time was that I was still directly funding the killing of animals through other products I consumed. It was through reading a book called Vegetarianism by Bodhipaksa (which, despite the name, is about veganism) it was clear that dairy and eggs resulted in the same bloodshed as meat because dairy- and egg- dispensing cows and hens are all abused and eventually killed too.
However, I didn’t think I could actually go vegan. I really didn’t think I was capable. I thought that, due to my sweet tooth, I’d never be able to stop eating the milk- and egg-laden sweets that I enjoyed. I could easily stop eating honey - golden syrup and agave nectar did the trick there - but what about the other sweets?
What I didn’t realise at the time (but quickly discovered) was that there is a vegan version of every kind of sweet and quite literally thousands of recipes on the Internet that show you how to make them. I started experimenting with recipes and also bought vegan cheeses and vegan mylks. My mylk of choice was soy mylk, but there are many others including oat mylk, coconut mylk, hemp mylk, almond mylk, and rice mylk, to name but a few.
Then six months later, lo and behold, I realised (with a great deal of surprise) that I was actually eating a fully vegan diet. All that was left was to make it official: to announce to myself and the world that I was vegan. So I did. And, boy, I’ve NEVER looked back! My only regret was that I didn’t do it sooner. But, I’m here now, vegan as vegan can be.
So back to the original statement of not being able to eat vegan because of a love of meat, dairy, eggs, and honey: I don’t buy it. I didn’t buy it from myself, and I don’t buy it from you. If I could go vegan, then you can go vegan. All you have to do is care enough to make the change. Because that’s all it costs: a change of heart.
Saying "I like it" doesn't make it right.
Some people love to stand around a fighting pit and watch dogs maul each other to death; but their love of the so-called 'sport' of dogfighting doesn't make dogfighting morally okay. And neither does liking the taste of flesh make eating meat morally okay.
I liked the taste of meat. I really liked the taste of meat, actually. But when I was made aware of the abuse animals suffered for the satisfaction of my taste buds, I changed the way I ate. Before being alerted to the facts, I never considered where meat came from; I naively assumed it came from animals who'd led a natural life and died naturally of old age. Boy, was I naive!
Learning the truth woke me up, and the fact that I liked meat made not one jot of difference any more: my eating of it was clearly causing terrible harm, so I stopped. I later discovered that there are many delicious vegan faux-meats, so I now occasionally do eat 'meat': but it's the kind of 'meat' that causes no harm.
Cheese and all other dairy products are products of torture. I liked cheese too. I loved cheese, in fact. I loved ice cream, sour cream, creamed cheese, etc. Now I simply eat vegan versions of those foods.
Do they taste exactly the same as the non-vegan versions? No, they don't. But who cares? Your taste buds adjust. The important thing is that the vegan versions are not products of torture.
Ultimately you have to ask yourself what kind of person you want to be: someone who’s ruled by principle, or someone who’s ruled by cheese.
So did I. Now I love scrambled tofu.
But how does one cook sweets, for example, without eggs? Easy peasy. Egg replacers are available to cook sweets with, and loads of egg-free versions of recipes are available all over the Internet.
There's no excuse to continue to eat eggs. They, like all other animal products, are products of torture. Reject violence, eat vegan.
That’s exactly what I thought too! But you’ll find, as I did, that there are vegan versions of every type of sweet you can think of - sweets you can either buy or find recipes for and make yourself.
Take it from me: you can have the worst sweet tooth in history and easily be vegan. I personally have a terrible sweet tooth, and I’ve been comfortably vegan since 2007. I happily eat vegan versions of all the sweets I ate before I was vegan, and they taste all the better because they involve no animal abuse.
Golden syrup, molasses, agave nectar, and other plant-based honey-like sweeteners are yummy too. Yummier still because they're not bee vomit.
Most important is the fact that no bees are harmed when you eat honey substitutes. Those little innocent creatures deserve to be left alone just like all other animals do. Bee veegan. (Typos intentional!)
Ah, yes, the old “but humans are the top of the food chain so we should be able to do whatever we want” argument.
The only place that kind of egomaniacal thinking has got us is to the top of the idiot chain - a chain, incidentally, in which humans are the only members. Sound harsh? Not at all. You’re being way too sensitive and not nearly observant enough if you think I’m being too harsh when I say humans are the biggest idiots on the planet.
There are many examples of human stupidity I could point to, but there’s no need to when one thing alone makes us exceedingly foolish. That one thing the near-annihilation of the very planet we call home. No other animal is single-handedly destroying the environment...just us.
And it’s the arrogant “we’re the top of the food chain” thinking that has led to the self-absorbed “therefore we should be able to do whatever we want” conclusion. A conclusion which has us on the brink of self-destruction and the destruction of all other life on Earth.
It’s high time humanity puts away this self-important thinking for good. It hasn't done us one bit of good.
An oldie but NOT a goodie, because it’s such utter rubbish. And I will definitively prove this to you if you do the following two experiments.
Experiment 1: Get a large knife, a cutting board, and a cucumber. Listen very carefully to the noise the cucumber makes when you chop it in two.
Experiment 2: Using that same large knife and cutting board, chop off the tip of your thumb and listen to the noise you make as you do this.
What you’ll notice straight away is a very distinct difference: the cucumber remains absolutely silent throughout the entire chopping process, meanwhile you’re screaming your head off as blood gushes out of your hand.
Now I don’t actually expect you to do the above (really, I don’t) - I’m just trying to make my point as vividly as possible. And I hope I’ve made my point so clearly so that you’ll never make the ever-common and oh-so-silly comment that plants feel pain like animals do. They don’t.
The sex slave trade employs a lot of people too. Does that mean we should ignore the immorality of enslaving people just to keep the traffickers employed? Animal slavery is immoral, and “It keeps people employed” is no defence.
Yes, of course you can. A varied and balanced vegan diet absolutely gives you all the vitamins and minerals you need.
Can a person become deficient while eating vegan? Sure they can - if their diet is unvaried and unbalanced. I mean, if you just eat apples and breadsticks you will, of course, become nutritionally deficient. But that’s got nothing to do with the fact that the diet is vegan. It’s to do with the fact that it’s unvaried and unbalanced. Similarly, if you ate a non-vegan diet of just eggs and cheese you’d become nutritionally deficient (not to mention perpetually on the brink of a stroke).
Once upon a time it was thought that animal flesh and secretions (dairy and eggs) were essential to a healthy diet. Any other way of eating was considered unhealthy and dangerous. Now even the most mainstream of health professionals agree that animal products do us more harm than good. So not only can all your nutritional needs be met with a varied and balanced vegan diet, it’s also a deliciously healthful way to eat.
Fish in fish farms are packed in by the tens of thousands, and the waters they’re forced to live in are filthy and parasite-ridden. In fact, the conditions are so contaminated that up to half of farmed fish are dead before slaughter.
As for wild fish, their flesh is toxic due to the millions of tons of pollutants humans dump in the oceans where they live.
So, given all that, it’s pretty clear that eating fish can’t possibly be good for you.
If you think that eating vegan is a type of eating disorder you have a profound misunderstanding of what an eating disorder is. And, for that matter, you also have a profound misunderstanding of what veganism is about.
Veganism is a rejection of violence towards animals. An eating disorder, on the other hand, is "a serious and potentially life-threatening mental illness" (from Mental Health First Aid).
So, no, eating vegan is not even close to an eating disorder.
Oh dear. What a silly assertion! No one has ever claimed that veganism makes you superhuman. So saying that veganism isn’t healthy because vegans get sick (like any other human being) is an extraordinarily silly statement to make.
I’ve heard people take this thinking from silliness to stupidity by saying that when vegans die from an illness it’s proof that veganism isn’t healthy. Again, no one has ever made such a claim. No one has ever said that being vegan makes you immortal, and to say that the death of a mortal human being proves that veganism isn’t healthy is a breathtakingly stupid conclusion to arrive at.
Still, while veganism doesn’t make you magically impervious to illness and death, it still is a healthier way to eat. I won’t reproduce lots of figures or studies, as you easily be able to find the information yourself, but I will suggest that you go to the PCRM (Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine) site as a starting point, to see what the doctors there have to say on this matter.
While researching, please heed this warning: make sure the studies you look at aren’t funded by the animal agriculture industry. Because they’ll always conclude (surprise surprise!) that animal products are great for your health…a conclusion that conveniently benefits them. (Tobacco companies do this all the time: funding studies which ‘prove’ that ingesting poison via cigarettes isn’t bad for your health.)
If you read far and wide, you’ll find that study after study shows that animal products are artery-clogging and cancer-producing to the human body. The evidence is clear on this, as you’ll see this when you investigate for yourself.
So, no, of course veganism is not magical. You will sometimes get ill while vegan, but it's likely you'll experience the same thing every vegan I’ve ever spoken to (in life and online) has said, which is that you'll get ill a lot less than in your pre-vegan days. As for potentially fatal diseases, the statistics speak for themselves: while veganism does not make you invulnerable to serious disease, it certainly diminishes the likelihood of a great many diseases - like heart conditions and certain cancers - considerably.
And, finally, regarding all the dead vegans who ‘prove’ that veganism is unhealthy, well you’ve got be completely brainless to think that anyone on this planet is going to get out of life alive. Life is terminal. Life always has and always will lead to death. So the real question isn’t whether we’ll die (that’s a given) but rather how we live. And eating vegan means you’re living in a way that supports life - not just yours, but that of animals, other human beings, and Mother Earth herself.
And I’m not saying that to be clever - I’m totally serious. It’s completely unnecessary to eat animal-based products to get iron, protein, and calcium. You can get every nutrient you need from a balanced vegan diet.
Examples of protein-rich plant food are: lentils, tofu, quinoa, peanuts, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, almonds, avocado, spinach, popcorn, and soybeans. Iron is easy to get from foods like leafy greens, lentils, beans, dates, figs, and dried apricots. As for calcium, you can get it from sesame seeds, almonds, kale, chickpeas, parsley, certain seaweeds, and broccoli. There are many more sources than those I named, and you can easily find complete lists by doing an Internet search.
Worst abuses? What exactly are the ‘worst’ abuses of animals? Who’s grading these abuses so that we know which are the worst? I certainly don’t sit around making lists of animal abuses in order of ‘best’ to ‘worst’ abuses. There is no grading system: abuse = abuse.
I used to think I was doing the right thing by not wearing fur...meanwhile I would happily wear all other manner of animal-based clothing like leather, suede, feathers, silk, wool, and sheepskin.
I used to think I was doing the right thing by not eating foie gras...meanwhile I would happily munch on the bodies of ducks and geese (just not their diseased livers in the form of foie gras).
I used to think I was doing the right thing by not eating veal...meanwhile I would happily eat adult cows, and pigs and chickens of any age.
I would go on tirades about the evils of bullfighting and dogfighting...yet not bat an eyelid with regards to horseracing or zoos.
I would become enraged about people abusing dogs or cats...but never see that I myself was abusing animals of other species by supporting the industries that torture and kill them.
Was I on the right track? No, not at all. I was completely confused. I was picking and choosing which animals I felt were worth protecting, rather than embracing all non-humans as being equally precious and worthy of respect.
So back to the original statement of not supporting some forms of animal abuse while still supporting others: it's time to wake up to fact that doing so is a moral paradox. And the only way to unravel the illogic of that moral paradox is to go vegan.
What this tells me is that you’re not against animal abuse at all.
Because if you were really against animal abuse, Meat-Free Mondays wouldn't be enough for you. Extracting one animal product from your life one day a week while consuming animal products the rest of the time is merely a token gesture. Because remember, all animal products - not just some, and certainly not just meat - involve, by their very nature, the abuse of animals.
No, they’re not okay at all.
A hen with no room to move because she’s packed into a barn with squillions of other hens is no different to a hen with no room to move because she’s in a battery cage.
With regards to so-called ‘free-range’ eggs, here in Australia in the rare case where the hens are truly allowed to roam free, it tends to be for only a few hours a day. The rest of the time they’re confined just like non-free-range hens are.
Plus all the standard abuse (eg. the mutilation) still applies no matter the level of confinement the hens experience. Not only that, once the hens’ egg-producing days are over, they end up in the same slaughterhouse as the battery hens anyway. In other words, no matter what conditions the hens are kept in, eggs always involve abuse and killing.
If you really don’t want to abuse hens, ditch eggs altogether. I assure you that cooking without eggs is easy.
Even if the rescued chicken or cow in question was treated well and not killed when her egg-laying and milk-dispensing days were over, she's still being used as an egg-laying or milk-making machine. In other words, she's being exploited.
There are also other reasons consuming eggs and milk is problematic:
Health: study after study concludes that ingesting eggs and dairy is not good for us. Plus, rescued cows have chronic mastitis from years of lactating non-stop which means the milk is loaded with pus and blood.
Logic: unless you're a calf, there's no reason you need to drink cow's milk. In fact, there's no reason to drink any milk (human, bovine, or otherwise) after you've been weaned. We're the only species to do this, and it makes no sense at all.
Violation: pulling on a cow's teats (via hand or machine) is interfering with that animal's body. Her body should be left alone.
Abuse: in a natural state, hens only lay eggs until they have a full nest. Taking a hen’s egg away from her interrupts this natural process, and forces her to lay again. Constantly laying eggs is an enormous strain on the hen’s body, and puts tremendous pressure on her laying organs. It also depletes her, as hens lose a great deal of calcium through laying eggs. If the unfertilised eggs are left there instead of taken from her, she can eat her own eggs and therefore restore some lost nutrients.
The big picture: you eating eggs and drinking milk (despite the fact that the animals are treated well) adds to the collective and erroneous belief that using animals is morally sound. And it's not. It's exploitation.
The future: if everyone wanted to use backyard hens and cows, egg and dairy farms would simply turn into hen and cow farms, selling the animals instead of the secretions. This would result in the same abuse, but in a slightly different format.
It's clear that eggs and milk from backyard hens and cows is highly problematic. Rescuing the animals is, of course, not wrong (it's great!), but continuing to use them for their secretions after they've been rescued is just a different type of exploitation.
People often proudly announce that they only buy RSPCA-approved meat, dairy, and eggs. But RSPCA supports animal abuse, so their approval is completely meaningless.
You might wonder how RSPCA supports animal abuse - after all, aren't they meant to protect animals? The answer is simple: RSPCA supports animal abuse by supporting animal use. And animal use is, by default, animal abuse.
So what are RSPCA approving when they approve certain products? Well, RSPCA-approved conditions can be somewhat different to the conditions farmed animals are typically in.
For example, with some RSPCA-approved eggs, the chickens are crammed into one giant shed altogether instead of being crammed into smaller battery cages. Another example is RSPCA-approved pig flesh. The packaging loudly and proudly bears the words “sow-stall-free pork”. In this case, the sows aren’t imprisoned in sow stalls…they’re imprisoned in other types of stalls instead. In other words, the conditions, while different, are not actually better.
What about situations where the conditions are significantly better? Where the animals are truly free - allowed to roam about, be with others of their kind, and generally live their lives? To start with, this is a VERY rare farm indeed. And the fact is that this uncommon type of farm is never RSPCA-approved because it’s not profitable enough - it can’t be when their animals are truly free because they simply can’t have enough animals to make big money. So RSPCA have no interest being in league with such farming.
But let’s go to fantasy world for a minute and imagine the RSPCA decided that money wasn’t as important as animal welfare and did actually support such a rarefied farm. Hooray, right? No, not hooray. Because the animals of those farms still end up in the very same slaughterhouse and are killed the very same way as the other animals who lived in much worse conditions. In other words, it still results in violence towards animals.
So, no matter how you look at it, the RSPCA, in approving any animal products, is supporting animal abuse. RSPCA-approved torture is still torture, and RSPCA-approved killing is still killing. Therefore it remains that not using animal products at all is the only way to not hurt animals.
No, 'free-range' farming is not humane. Neither is 'organic' farming or 'cage-free' farming, any other label used by agri-business to soften the abuse of animal farming.
One reason I put the term 'free-range' in inverted commas is because it's often not true. The laws are different everywhere but, for example, here in Australia some state laws determine that 'free-range' means two hours of freedom per day and the rest of the time the animals live in intolerable confinement - and there's nothing 'free' about that.
So, to start with, the very notion of humane farming is a fairy tale. Check out The Faces Of 'Free-Range' Farming and see for yourself.
But let's pretend for a moment that the animals being farmed are truly allowed to be free: is it then humane? No, it's still not humane because all the rest of the abuses remain in place.
The routine abuse of the meat industry is still in place because:
The abuse of the dairy industry is still in place because:
The abuse of the egg industry is still in place because:
So, as you can see, 'free-range', 'organic', 'cage-free' and any similar term are merely an attempt to hide the reality that any type of animal farming means violence and killing.
The bottom line is that, any way it's labelled, animal farming is animal harming.
To begin with, let’s not use the euphemism ‘pork’: pig flesh is what it is.
In answer to the question: sow stall-free pig flesh might mean that the pigs endure no confinement in a sow stall, but they still endure confinement in other similar stalls. So it’s really a change of venue rather than a true amelioration of the situation.
Furthermore, all other abuses that are standard practice in the pig flesh industry are still present, sow stall or no. The abuse includes mutilations like chopping off the piglet’s tails and testicles. It includes snatching babies from their mothers (most of the males are killed soon after, while the females become baby-making machines). It includes exhausting the sows by keeping them perpetually pregnant, causing enormous strain on their bodies. It involves sending the mothers to the slaughterhouse when their bodies are spent.
If you really don’t want to abuse animals, ditch animal products altogether. I assure you that eating vegan is easy (not to mention healthy and delicious!).
Some animals also sniff each others butts in greeting...but surely that's irrelevant to what we do. So, yes, some non-human animals do eat other animals but that has nothing to do with us.
People try to use this 'argument' (if you could call it that) for one reason: they want an excuse to keep eating animals. Because if they truly believed that humans should copy what flesh-eating animals do then they'd copy all their other behaviours too. But they don't, because it's just a silly excuse to continue their corpse-consuming habits.
The fact is, human beings are biologically herbivores. Our bodies are simply not built for eating flesh - and not just in terms of our digestive systems but also in terms of obtaining the flesh.
Historian, biographer, and essayist Plutarch put it very well when he said: “If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, then first kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do it, however, only through your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel or any kind of axe. Rather, just as wolves and bears and lions themselves slay what they eat, so you are to fell an ox with your fangs or a boar with your jaws, or tear a lamb or hare in bits. Fall upon it and eat it still living, as animals do. But if you wait for what you eat to be dead, if you have qualms about enjoying the flesh while life is still present, why do you continue, contrary to nature, to eat what possesses life?”
There’s a great deal of logic in Plutarch’s words. Think about it.
Yes, they have. But humans have also always murdered each other - and that doesn't mean murder is right. Having always done something doesn't make it moral.
Currently, there are some people who enjoy going to a stadium to watch a bull being tortured and killed in a so-called 'sport' called bullfighting. "Tradition" (ie. "we've always done it") is the excuse given there too; but that doesn't make it right.
Meat, dairy, eggs, and honey causes harm to animals. And causing harm is wrong, no matter how long humans have done it for.
Some cultures think it's acceptable to kill a family member who has supposedly brought shame upon them. In other words, what's socially acceptable doesn't necessarily correlate with what's right.
Culture is no excuse to do something that harms our fellow earthlings - whether they're human or non-human.
Quite the opposite. Veganism is egalitarian. What's elitist is the following:
All of the above is not just elitist, it's disgraceful! Meanwhile, veganism is about non-violence to all beings. Not some, but ALL - that's pretty non-elitist if you ask me.
An omnivore diet involves the consumption of massive amounts of water and grain, the use of damaging chemical fertilisers, the emission of enormous amounts of greenhouse gases, extensive deforestation, an extraordinary amount of soil erosion, and a great reduction of species diversity. In comparison, a vegan diet uses just a tiny amount of resources and does very little environmental damage.
And, to top it off, vegan eating can easily feed the world. What could be more egalitarian and non-elitist than that?
I’ll work backwards here and start with the second part of that statement. That part is true: vegetarianism is bad, as it embraces all forms of violence towards animals except for one (eating meat).
As for the first part of the statement, it seems that Hitler was vegetarian at some point in his life. Then again, so much has been written about Hitler, that we can’t really be sure as to whether or not he was a vegetarian - some accounts say he was, some accounts say he wasn’t.
But let’s pretend for a moment that it’s absolutely true, and that Hitler was a committed vegetarian. Well, so what? Hitler had a moustache too, does that make moustaches bad? Hitler killed many millions of Jews - clearly that was bad. Extraordinarily bad. But that doesn’t automatically translate to mean that every single other thing Hitler did was also bad.
The thing is, when it comes to what you eat, Hitler’s diet is neither here not there - what he did or didn’t eat shouldn’t have an impact on the moral decisions you make.
Actually, the proof is in the other direction: that the human body is NOT made to eat flesh or secretions.
To start with, there’s the length of our digestive system. Flesh-eaters (like the lion, for example) have short digestive systems. Herbivores, on the other hand, have long digestive systems. That we humans have long digestive systems points to the fact we’re not made to eat animal flesh.
More proof still is the fact that our bodies are completely useless at catching and killing animals to eat. We don’t have the speed, we don’t have the strength, and we don’t have the claws or teeth for the job. In fact, we have NONE of the necessary bodily equipment to hunt and kill.
Greek philosopher Pythagoras put it very well when he said: “If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, then first kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do it, however, only through your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel or any kind of axe.”
And what of dairy and eggs - are we made to consume those? No, we’re not.
We’re not made to consume cow’s milk because, quite simply, we’re not baby cows. Similarly, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk aren’t appropriate for humans because (and forgive me as I once again point out the painfully obvious) we are neither goats nor sheep. And it’s the exact same for any other animal-derived milk.
As for eggs, since when was it a good idea to eat a bodily secretion like a hen ovum (which is what an egg is). Ask yourself: would you, for instance, eat some earwax or drink a glassful of saliva? I’d bet your answer was an immediate “NO”. And for good reason. So if you wouldn’t eat a human bodily secretion why eat a hen (or any avian) ovum?
The fact is that the human body itself informs us what humans should and shouldn’t eat: statistics of the detrimental effects meat, dairy, and eggs have on the human body indicate loud and clear that they’re not made for human consumption.Now I can’t finish this Q&A without mentioning honey. I don’t know whether or not honey is bad for our bodies - I’ve not come across statistics on the matter and I’m not even sure if studies have been done. But the fact is that honey is bee vomit…and that really should be enough to point out why we shouldn’t be eating it.
This has to be one of the saddest comments I’ve ever heard. It’s the comment of someone who’s made the connection that what they’re eating was once a living, breathing, sentient animal…but they just don’t care.
I have patience for people who haven’t really thought about what’s behind the burger they’re eating - a lot of people haven’t, and the meat industry encourages that kind of thoughtless consumption by hiding what they do. For example, farms and slaughterhouses don’t allow people to take photos or video footage, because they know from experience that when people see what animals endure, they’ll lose customers.
But when someone knows the truth and simply doesn’t care, it’s an entirely different story. Their callousness and lack of empathy is deep. So when I hear people saying “I can't be vegan - I love my dead animals way too much”, my respect for them diminishes to zero.
First, yes you could be vegan. Of course you could! It takes nothing away from you to be vegan, as it’s just a matter of substituting some stuff with other stuff.
Second, I realise someone is just being nice when they say "Good on you!" on finding out I’m vegan, but I never take it as a compliment. That’s because, to me, it’s the very least I could do for animals.
I really don't need to be acknowledged by others for being vegan, I just want them to be vegan too - for the sake of the animals. Remember, it doesn’t take a super-special person to be vegan. It just takes someone who cares.
That’s like saying “I do my bit for the environment by doing Tin-Free Tuesdays”.You might think you’ve ‘done your bit’ for the environment by not using tins once a week, but what you’ve done in reality is made a token gesture. Same goes for not eating meat once a week: you’re not helping the animals at all, you’re merely making a token gesture. If you really want to do something to help animals, go vegan.
So at the beginning of the sentence you’re not vegan, but by the end of the sentence you’re “pretty much still vegan”…despite the fact that you’re unmistakably not vegan.
Frankly I don’t quite know what to say to someone who’s that confused, besides: stop kidding yourself. Although maybe if I put it in equation format, I’ll be able to clear things up for people delusional enough to think they’re vegan despite consuming animal products. Here are the equations:
Equation 1: Consuming animal products = not vegan.
You’re kidding yourself if you think kangaroos are killed with just one bullet. Check out the online footage of kangaroo hunts. You’ll see that (as with ALL hunting) there’s a great deal of fear and suffering involved for the animal.
Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you’re being noble by just eating kangaroos because you choose to believe the lies the kangaroo meat industry spout. You’re being just as deluded as those who believe the slaughterhouses when they say that they kill animals ‘humanely’. It may be a different setting, it might be different species, and it may involve a different method of killing, but at the end of the day it amounts to the same thing: violence towards animals.
That's a seriously flawed ‘argument’ (if you can really call it that).
And I think the best way to expose the flaw is to ask this question: are you a lion? Seeing as you’re reading this, the answer is no, you’re not a lion. Therefore, what lions do has absolutely no bearing on what you do.
Still, if I haven’t convinced you that your behaviour shouldn’t be based on lion behaviour, I have a further question for you: seeing as lions sniff each other’s butts, and you’re so keen on mimicking lions, are you going to start doing that too?
In summary, my point is: stop being concerned about what lions do, and start focussing on what you do and how it impacts animals.
Why would anyone eat any meat? The answer is: because it’s socially acceptable.True, most people think of dogs as 'pets', and it's therefore repulsive to them that anyone would eat a species they consider to be part of their family. But does it really make sense to treat cows, pigs, and chickens differently just because we have a different relationship to them than we do to dogs?
The shock isn’t that there's a dog meat trade. The shock is in the fact that there’s a tidal wave of horror over it, and complete apathy over the pig, cow, and chicken meat trades.
That’s right. If you only eat animals who’ve been hit and killed by a car then, no, you’re not participating in institutional animal abuse.
But are you claiming that you’re going to spend your life sitting by the road waiting for an animal to be hit by a car so as to eat his or her body? There’s no way that you will (and I bet you can’t produce even one person who would), which makes this conversation pointless. So let’s stop wasting time on impossible hypotheticals, and start thinking about reality. And the reality is that the best thing you can do to help animals is to stop buying the products of their abuse. How? By going vegan.
Animal farmers can do what many ex-animal farmers have already done, which is switch to growing plants. Farming plants takes less land and less resources, and as more people switch to a vegan diet the need for more plants will increase.
As for the farmhands and slaughterhouse workers, I'm sure most would prefer picking plants and tilling soil to abusing and killing innocent animals for a living. (And for those few who like the job because enjoy inflicting harm, well, that's something for a psychiatrist to look into...)
There are two schools of thought on this matter.
One school of thought is that, while nothing close to a natural diet, cats and dogs can be perfectly healthy on varied, balanced vegan diets.
The second school of thought is that because canines are natural omnivores (but mainly carnivorous) and felines are obligate carnivores they should be fed as such. From this thinking there are two choices vegans make; either to:
There's a lot wrong with exporting live animals. In fact, just like any other form of animal exploitation, it's more accurate to say that there's nothing right about it.
To start with, the cows and sheep experience enormous suffering on the long journey by sea. During the voyage, the animals endure the trauma of constant sea sickness and sea spray blindness. Many animals actually die during the journey (half of the deaths are from starvation), and the ones who arrive at the destination alive are suffering from malnutrition, dehydration and disease.
The animals' exact fate depends on their country of destination. Some animals are trucked to a slaughterhouse to be killed. Others are bought at sale yards by members of the public and, trussed with wire, are dragged along the street by their ears, horns or fleece. They're then transported in car boots and on roof racks and then killed in backyards, laundries, and in the streets.
To summarise: the exported cows and sheep suffer even more abuse on top of the usual amount that farmed animals experience. So, yeah, there's loads wrong with live export, but the answer is not to ban live export.
Banning live export would only mean that the animals are killed in their country of origin rather than overseas. Sure, that would save the animals the harrowing journey and therefore mean somewhat less torture for them. But less torture is not the goal: no torture is the goal. With or without live export, each of those animals would still be brought into existence to be abused and killed because the demand for their wool, skin, and flesh would still remain.
Stopping live export will not save a single animal from a terrible life and death, but veganism will. Shifting people's moral compass to veganism and therefore reducing people's demand for animal products to begin with is what will make the difference for animals, not token gestures like banning live export.
Because when a vegan sees 'bacon' or 'ham', they don't see a slice of meat. They see the flesh of a pig - a sentient living being. And when a vegan sees a milkshake or an omelette, they don't see food. They see the misery of the cows and hens that the milk and eggs were stolen from.
When I see animal products, I don't see the product - I see the animal. I see meat as the dismembered corpse of a tortured being. I see dairy and eggs as the secretions of raped cows and tortured hens. I see the faces of all the animals I have personally been responsible for the suffering and death of in my pre-vegan years.
To a vegan an animal product is a product of pain and torment. That's why we're so disgusted when we see other people eating them.
Vegans post such photos in an attempt to bring awareness to the plight of animals. In other words, they post these photos because they want to stop what's going on in the photos.
Interestingly, those who complain that they can’t stand seeing these photos happily eat the flesh of animals just like those pictured - flesh derived from the exact same gruesomeness they're complaining about being shown.
It gets more interesting too, because the complainers will often also adamantly refuse to even entertain the notion of eating vegan because, they say, they love meat so much. Now seeing as that is the case, they really should stop complaining about these photos. Given their love of dining on the dead, such a photo should make them hungry, not repulsed.
So ultimately the complainers need to make up their minds: either seeing an animal slaughtered makes their tummy rumble from sickness OR hunger - not both. You can’t have it both ways.
To begin with, the hypothetical of this often-asked question is ludicrous, because if you were on a deserted island with no vegetation whatsoever there wouldn't be any animals either: how would they survive?
But let's put the lack of realism aside and pretend that the hypothetical is possible. The answer I personally would give is that in such desperate circumstances I very probably would eat an animal in order to survive (but most likely an already-dead animal though rather than killing him or her myself). I'll tell you this though: in such a dire situation I'd very probably eat a human too.
Does it make me a hypocrite to say I'd very probably eat non-vegan if I were dying of starvation? I don't think so. It makes me honest. And also logical: I'm fully aware that desperate times can lead to desperate actions. While one doesn't truly know what they'd do in any given situation until they're in it (which is why I've said I'd "very probably" eat an animal in the given hypothetical rather than giving a definitive "yes" or "no"), I'm basing my opinion on the logical assumption that the actions of a starving person would be the actions of a desperate person.
All that said, what you do when you're on the brink of death and totally desperate is no telling tale of your ethics. A vegan eating non-vegan means they are at the absolute height of desperation, not that they've forgotten their ethics.
If you don’t like tofu, then don’t eat tofu. You don’t need to eat tofu to be vegan - not at all. There are plenty of other sources of protein.
For example: lentils, black beans, kidney beans, soybeans, pinto beans, chickpeas, couscous, potatoes, seitan, tempeh, quinoa, peanuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds (also known as linseeds), oatmeal, peas, avocado, artichoke, spinach, broccoli, watermelon, tomato. The list goes on.
The point you can get all the protein you need in a vegan diet.
I used to as well. Until I realised the terrible suffering I was causing. Then I stopped.
It's not about what you like: it's about what's right.
Some people would like to drive on the wrong side of the road. Is it a good idea? Of course not. For other people it pleases them to rape children. Is that okay? No way.
Liking something doesn't make it right.
Wow, I didn’t know that certain nationalities insist on violence…and the reason I didn’t know that is because it’s NOT TRUE.
I’ve heard the above ridiculous statement with regard to so many different nationalities. I chose the three I mentioned at random, and NOT because people of those nations have a particular propensity to making that statement - I simply couldn’t list every nationality I’d heard it from (the list is too long!).
All I can say is this: I’m a Greek Cypriot by blood who has lived most of her life in Australia, and both of my nationalities are big on corpse food. Yet I’m vegan.
Through the magic of Facebook I know vegans from all around the world of all nationalities. And when I say “all nationalities”, I do mean ALL nationalities. I know vegans who are Italian, Indonesian, Brazilian, and Ethiopian. I know vegans who are from New Zealand, Portugal, Canada, and South Africa. I know Egyptian vegans, Ukrainian vegans, French vegans, and Chinese vegans. I know vegans who live in Israel, the Philippines, Greece, and India. The list goes on: name a nationality and I’ll find you a vegan of that nationality.
Conclusion: nowhere on this planet that you can come from which precludes you from being vegan.
More like animal torture is cheap.
The greater the demand there is for something, the cheaper it tends to become. Right now vegans make up around three percent of the human population, so some specialty vegan products can be pricey - not always, but sometimes.
However, regardless of the price of vegan products, the cost of violence towards animals is greater by far when you think of the damage it does to our individual psyches and to society as a whole.
In a word: no.
Slaughterhouses continually claim that they kill humanely, but there's no way any slaughterhouse on the planet kills anything close to humanely.
With over 56 billion farmed animals all over the world killed every year (that's around 1775 animals being killed per second), death row at the slaughterhouse has to be a production line. So there's NO WAY that the killing could be done humanely: slaughterhouses have quotas to reach and anything that resembles humane would mean the process would be too slow and not profitable enough.
Now, if you're still not convinced and insist that there's such thing as a humane slaughterhouse, I'd like to see you provide evidence of it to me, because I've yet to see anything of the sort. I can point to many videos showing the horrifying violence of slaughterhouses all around the world and therefore prove my point...but can you show me even one sliver of evidence of the existence of a humane slaughterhouse?
I have every confidence that you couldn't.
Don't kid yourself: guys covered in blood slashing away at screaming animals is the reality of slaughterhouses. There's nothing humane about that and there never could be. And if you don't believe me, believe the slaughterhouse workers themselves: read Gail Eisnitz’s book Slaughterhouse and get it straight from them.
Let's say, though, that killing conditions in slaughterhouses improved. Let's say that not so many animals were killed, that the animals were all stunned properly and that the killing was completely painless. Would that make slaughterhouses humane? No. It wouldn't. Because killing is an immoral act. In other words, the term 'humane killing' is an oxymoron.
So to start with there's no such thing as a humane slaughterhouse, and even if there were, killing sentient beings is inherently immoral.
Footage of killing does not make the killing stop. And, if we pretend for a moment that slaughterhouse killing is somehow done 'humanely', killing on camera doesn't suddenly make that killing morally okay. The killing itself is a harm, no matter how it's done and no matter how many cameras are taking footage of it.
The idea of CCTV for all slaughterhouses is pointless, because filming abuse doesn't make it go away. In fact, it only makes it more
acceptable - the non-vegan public breathe a collective sigh of relief
and say "Phew! Now there's no more abuse because we've got CCTV in all
slaughterhouses - let's all go out and get burgers and milkshakes!"
>>>Go on to more Q&A:
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.