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

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

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Part Four (of Four)


Below is the finale of the ever-comprehensive list of ALL the arguments against veganism as compiled by César from The Vegan Speak. If you missed Part I, Part II, or Part III be sure to check them out.


37. Plants feel pain

If you’re really serious about this and no amount of scientific evidence will sway you, then it comes down to numbers. If a blade of grass is of the same moral value to you as a dog, pig or chicken, then it makes no sense to feed livestock on with plants, and then kill the animals to eat. This would result in far more plant and animal casualties than if you ate plants directly. If you truly care about plants not feeling pain, it is better to minimise those plant deaths by feeding yourself on them, rather than feeding many more plants to animals.

But let’s be reasonable. Plants lack brains, a Central Nervous System, and anything else that neuroscientists know to cause sentience. Some studies show plants to have input / output reactions to certain stimulation, but no study suggests sentience or an ability to feel emotions or pain. You can clearly understand the difference between a blade of grass and a pig. Comparisons between the two are completely absurd.


38. Animals die in crop harvesting

This is true, and no vegan claims to cause no harm to animals. Vegans try to avoid animal deaths with practical solutions i.e. boycotting these industries. But an argument against veganism that uses this fact is an argument several times stronger against eating meat. Why? Because you require about 10 times more crops to feed 56 billion farmed animals per year than if 7 billion humans ate the crops directly. So if you’re truly concerned with minimising animal deaths from crop harvesting, you should be vegan. That way you minimise the torture and abuse in the meat, dairy and egg industries and you also minimise the accidental deaths in crop harvesting.

You might argue that we could eat exclusively grass-fed animals who do not require grain, but this is impractical. Firstly, most “grass-fed” animals are not fed 100% grass anyway, and secondly, it’s not sustainable at all to try to feed 7 billion people exclusively on grass-fed beef. There isn’t the space available for such a thing, and good luck living exclusively off beef and nothing else.


39. You take medication that has been tested on animals

The definition of veganism is: “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”.

It is not practicable and possible to die or get ill because you don’t take a medication you need. It is the law in the US, the UK and Europe that all medicine must be tested on animals before being released to the market, so as vegans we cannot practically avoid this since there aren’t any non-tested medicines.

But this is entirely different to eating meat, dairy and eggs for pleasure and convenience when there are thousands of other options available in the supermarket, many times in the next shelf. If the option is between dying or taking medicine tested on animals, you take the medicine. You’re not in this situation when you buy animal products and this argument is a complete cop-out. Also it is worth mentioning that buying the medicine is not actually increasing demand for animal testing, since the medicine was tested before entering the market and never again, whereas animal products require animal deaths every time.


40. Hitler was a vegetarian

Historians are still unsure about this, and there is evidence to suggest that he wasn’t. But let’s assume he was for this argument. The argument suggests that everything that Hitler did, we must do the opposite. This makes no sense. Hitler liked dogs, and brushed his teeth and ate and showered. Should we avoid doing all these things because he did? Of course not!

Also, why are we singling out Hitler? If you look at all dictators, serial killers, rapists, and tyrants throughout history, you can be sure that the vast majority are actually meat-eaters. So if the behaviour of heinous criminals dictates that you do the opposite, then why are you ignoring all of them and only talking about Hitler?

"Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."

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44. Calcium

You can get calcium on a plant-based diet, it is in no way exclusive to animal products. Indeed, there are cultures who never had cow’s milk, and there isn’t a wave of osteoporosis. Cow’s milk production requires domestication of animals, so by definition could only be achieved relatively recently in human history. Prior to that, did we all have osteoporosis?

Milk is is not for adults. Mammals consume it during infancy, and after the weaning process, adult mammals do not require their mother’s milk. If we really needed milk, don’t you think we’d keep on drinking it from our mothers? If that sounds weird, consider that you’re drinking milk from someone else’s mother, and not even from your own species.

Good vegan sources of calcium include: dried herbs, sesame seeds, figs, tofu, almonds, flax seeds, Brazil nuts and kale. Most vegan milks are fortified with calcium, so you could just consume those as you would do any cow milk.


45. Iron

Vegans and vegetarians don’t have a greater incidence of anemia than meat-eaters. This is a complete myth. Read this quote from a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

“An appropriately planned well-balanced vegetarian diet is compatible with an adequate iron status. Although the iron stores of vegetarians may be reduced, the incidence of iron-deficiency anemia in vegetarians is not significantly different from that in omnivores.”

The largest study ever done on vegan nutrient profiles states the following:

“In strict vegetarians low dietary intakes of vitamin B12 and D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to iron and zinc, have often been of concern 25. In the present study, mean intakes of these nutrients were above minimum requirements 26 in strict vegetarians.”

In table 3 of the same study, you can see vegans get 31.6mg of iron per day, and meat-eaters get 32.9mg, both way above the minimum daily requirement of 8-15mg.

Good sources of plant based iron are nuts, beans and dark leafy green vegetables. Vegans generally have a better intake of vitamin C than meat-eaters, which aids iron absorption. The type of iron found in meat (heme-iron) is the type your body cannot regulate properly, and forces its way into the bloodstream. This encourages production of free radicals, which can damage DNA and increase cancer risk. So it is safer as humans that we consume plant-based sources of iron (non-heme iron).


46. B12

It is a common misconception that animals produce B12. In reality, it is bacteria found in animals, excrement, unwashed vegetables and dirty water that produces it. So B12 isn’t exclusive to animal products.

Vegans have to supplement B12 by an oral supplement or by eating fortified foods, but this doesn’t invalidate veganism. If the argument is “you can’t get B12 naturally as a vegan, therefore veganism is bad”, then this is a logical fallacy called “appeal to nature“. Not only this, but 99% of people that live in modern society supplement in one way or another.

The bread you eat is fortified with vitamins, juices are fortified, cows milk has vitamins added to it during the manufacturing process, table salt often has iodine added to it and breakfast cereals are fortified. All these foods are fortified because the vast majority of people (i.e. non-vegans) fail to get adequate nutrition without them. In addition, a B12 supplement is injected into livestock before slaughter to keep their levels up due to soil being too intensively used and lacking in certain nutrients.

So the question becomes: would you rather take a B12 supplement yourself and be vegan, or supplement animals with B12, and then kill them to obtain B12? The former choice is clearly more desirable.


47. Omega-3

You can get omega-3 fatty acids from ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds, canola oil, walnuts, algae and other plant-based sources. If you think you can’t get enough omega-3 or your body can’t absorb it, an algae-based DHA supplement will have you covered. Eating plant sources of omega-3 is actually superior to eating fish to get DHA. This is because fish is riddled with heavy metals such as mercury and PCBs, which damage the brain and counteract the positive effects of eating the omega-3 in fish.

A study that looked at 33 fish species and its impact on brain development concluded that, “for most fish species the adverse effect of MeHg on the IQ score exceeded the beneficial effect of DHA.” You can read more about why it is preferable to get omega-3 from plants here.


48. Vitamin D

Our body produces vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, when exposed to sunlight. You need about 20 minutes of sunlight exposure per day to get your daily amount of vitamin D. Most people don’t get this, which is why the UK government recommends that everyone should take a vitamin D supplement. This is because “limited amounts of the vitamin are found in foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals”.


49. Iodine

The best sources of iodine are sea vegetables (seaweed, kelp, and dulse). Be careful not to eat too much, though, as your iodine levels might be too high if you do. If you don’t like or can’t find sea vegetables, you can consume iodised salt or take a supplement.

"The United Nations has been urging for years that people move to a plant-based diet because “lesser consumption of animal products is necessary to save the world from the worst impacts of climate change."

44. Calcium

You can get calcium on a plant-based diet, it is in no way exclusive to animal products. Indeed, there are cultures who never had cow’s milk, and there isn’t a wave of osteoporosis. Cow’s milk production requires domestication of animals, so by definition could only be achieved relatively recently in human history. Prior to that, did we all have osteoporosis?

Milk is is not for adults. Mammals consume it during infancy, and after the weaning process, adult mammals do not require their mother’s milk. If we really needed milk, don’t you think we’d keep on drinking it from our mothers? If that sounds weird, consider that you’re drinking milk from someone else’s mother, and not even from your own species.

Good vegan sources of calcium include: dried herbs, sesame seeds, figs, tofu, almonds, flax seeds, Brazil nuts and kale. Most vegan milks are fortified with calcium, so you could just consume those as you would do any cow milk.


45. Iron

Vegans and vegetarians don’t have a greater incidence of anemia than meat-eaters. This is a complete myth. Read this quote from a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

“An appropriately planned well-balanced vegetarian diet is compatible with an adequate iron status. Although the iron stores of vegetarians may be reduced, the incidence of iron-deficiency anemia in vegetarians is not significantly different from that in omnivores.”

The largest study ever done on vegan nutrient profiles states the following:

“In strict vegetarians low dietary intakes of vitamin B12 and D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to iron and zinc, have often been of concern 25. In the present study, mean intakes of these nutrients were above minimum requirements 26 in strict vegetarians.”

In table 3 of the same study, you can see vegans get 31.6mg of iron per day, and meat-eaters get 32.9mg, both way above the minimum daily requirement of 8-15mg.

Good sources of plant based iron are nuts, beans and dark leafy green vegetables. Vegans generally have a better intake of vitamin C than meat-eaters, which aids iron absorption. The type of iron found in meat (heme-iron) is the type your body cannot regulate properly, and forces its way into the bloodstream. This encourages production of free radicals, which can damage DNA and increase cancer risk. So it is safer as humans that we consume plant-based sources of iron (non-heme iron).


46. B12

It is a common misconception that animals produce B12. In reality, it is bacteria found in animals, excrement, unwashed vegetables and dirty water that produces it. So B12 isn’t exclusive to animal products.

Vegans have to supplement B12 by an oral supplement or by eating fortified foods, but this doesn’t invalidate veganism. If the argument is “you can’t get B12 naturally as a vegan, therefore veganism is bad”, then this is a logical fallacy called “appeal to nature“. Not only this, but 99% of people that live in modern society supplement in one way or another.

The bread you eat is fortified with vitamins, juices are fortified, cows milk has vitamins added to it during the manufacturing process, table salt often has iodine added to it and breakfast cereals are fortified. All these foods are fortified because the vast majority of people (i.e. non-vegans) fail to get adequate nutrition without them. In addition, a B12 supplement is injected into livestock before slaughter to keep their levels up due to soil being too intensively used and lacking in certain nutrients.

So the question becomes: would you rather take a B12 supplement yourself and be vegan, or supplement animals with B12, and then kill them to obtain B12? The former choice is clearly more desirable.


47. Omega-3

You can get omega-3 fatty acids from ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds, canola oil, walnuts, algae and other plant-based sources. If you think you can’t get enough omega-3 or your body can’t absorb it, an algae-based DHA supplement will have you covered. Eating plant sources of omega-3 is actually superior to eating fish to get DHA. This is because fish is riddled with heavy metals such as mercury and PCBs, which damage the brain and counteract the positive effects of eating the omega-3 in fish.

A study that looked at 33 fish species and its impact on brain development concluded that, “for most fish species the adverse effect of MeHg on the IQ score exceeded the beneficial effect of DHA.” You can read more about why it is preferable to get omega-3 from plants here.


48. Vitamin D

Our body produces vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, when exposed to sunlight. You need about 20 minutes of sunlight exposure per day to get your daily amount of vitamin D. Most people don’t get this, which is why the UK government recommends that everyone should take a vitamin D supplement. This is because “limited amounts of the vitamin are found in foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals”.


49. Iodine

The best sources of iodine are sea vegetables (seaweed, kelp, and dulse). Be careful not to eat too much, though, as your iodine levels might be too high if you do. If you don’t like or can’t find sea vegetables, you can consume iodised salt or take a supplement.


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