Vegan FAQ

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Introduction

This FAQ provides you with some of the best answers to the most common arguments against veganism. It was written with an outreach scenario (e.g. Cube of Truth) in mind, where the goal is to guide the other person towards going vegan by realizing the logicality of veganism. Most of the answers follow the Socratic method which, rather than making statements, promotes the use of questions to convey a message. By asking questions, you are not perceived as lecturing but instead you stimulate the other person to think about the arguments for themselves.

I do not claim to have come up with every answer. Most of these stem from many different sources and may thus seem familiar to you.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped me to compile this FAQ and made it so much better than I could do by myself!

Other FAQs that are worth checking out for more background information and further knowledge:

Feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions to improve this FAQ.

General Tips

  • The goal is to help others go vegan, not to be right or to prove your point.
  • Don’t expect people to go vegan on the spot. It does happen, but having that expectation can be discouraging.
  • Always be polite and respectful. What’s obvious and ridiculous for us may be a real concern for them.
  • Behave as if you are hearing their arguments for the first time. Show you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.
  • Never blame the person, blame the system and our violent culture.
  • Give preference to asking questions rather than making statements.
  • Listen! Be careful you’re not distracted or stuck in your head thinking about what to say next.
  • Allow people to talk. Interrupting them will make them less likely to listen to you.
  • There’s no shame in taking some time to think about your answer. It shows you are genuinely considering their arguments and therefore they are likely to do the same for yours.
  • You don’t have to rush the conversation, allow the other person to think it through for themselves.
  • Learn about body language.
  • Stand next to the person (on the same side) rather than directly in front of them (opposing sides).
  • If a person is emotional then try to keep it about the emotions.
    • How do you feel about this?
    • Do you feel it is right to participate in this?
    • What does your heart tell you?
  • Show them you are a normal imperfect human being.
  • Relate to them. Tell them how you once were in a very similar position (if you were).
    • Tell them a short version of your personal story of how you became vegan.
  • Be positive and encouraging. Make going vegan something they would want to do.
  • Try to communicate with a strong clear voice and make sure you articulate.
  • Adapt the conversation to your partner and speak their language (e.g. don’t use complicated words with youngsters).
  • People often try to change the subject. Notice this and bring the conversation back to the subject of animal exploitation.
  • Sometimes just repeating what they said makes them realize the invalidity of their argument.
  • Be patient but don’t waste your time and sanity on unreachable people.
  • Avoid triggering language: killed or ‘taking their lives’ instead of murdered, inconsistent instead of hypocrite, etc.
  • Give preference to ‘we’ and ‘us’ over ‘you’ and ‘me’.
  • Give preference to ‘can’ and ‘want’ over ‘must’ and ‘should’.
  • Evaluate the conversation once it’s over. What went right, what can I improve, etc.
  • Enjoy having these conversations, you are helping animals!
  • Practice makes perfect!

Good questions to ask

  • Do you know why we are here?
  • Have you seen this footage before?
  • How do you feel about it?
  • Do you know why this happens? (supply and demand)
  • Do you think it is necessary for us to eat animal products?
  • Do you know what veganism is?
  • Have you ever considered going vegan?
  • What keeps you from going vegan or at least trying it out?
  • Do you have any questions or doubts about being vegan?
  • Can you imagine yourself being vegan in the future?
  • Do you agree with the way that we treat animals?
  • Do you think it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death onto animals?
  • What do you think is the simplest and the most certain way to stop animal cruelty?
  • Do you think this will still happen when consumers stop buying these products?
  • Do you understand why it is important to be vegan?
  • If we can live a healthy happy life eating delicious food without killing animals, then why wouldn’t we?
  • Do you think this cruelty is justified for a sandwich?
  • Which one is more important: taste or life?
  • Is there a right way to do the wrong thing?
  • What does your heart tell you?
  • Does that make sense to you?
  • If a machine was made which ran on organic material, would you prefer the machine to be fed plants or for animals to be killed and fed to it?
    • You are such a machine.
  • Do you consider yourself a person who is against violence?
    • Do you consider shooting a bolt in an animal’s head, gassing them or slitting their throats an act of violence?
    • Do you think that, by our own moral standards, it is right to pay someone to do this for us?
  • What if someone were to kill a pig right here in front of you, would you try to stop him?
    • Does the act change when it is done behind closed doors and not out here in front of you?
    • Do you realize that by buying animal products, not only are we allowing that same act of violence to happen, but we are actually paying someone to do it for us?

Why are you vegan?

  • Because at some point I realized I was funding animal cruelty while I had the choice not to.
  • I am vegan because if harming innocent beings isn’t necessary for my survival or my health, I refuse to participate in it.
  • What keeps you from going vegan or at least trying it out?

What is veganism?

  • Doing your best not to harm animals.
  • A philosophy and 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; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. (The Vegan Society sd)

♠  Veganism seems extreme

  • If I tell you that veganism is about making animal friendly choices on a daily basis, does it still sound extreme to you?
  • When did being against animal cruelty became extreme?
  • Do you think that not eating dogs is extreme? Why is it then extreme to not eat other animals as well?
  • If you believe that animal cruelty is wrong, then you already are a vegan at heart. You just need to align your actions with your own moral beliefs.

Veganism seems difficult

  • The vast majority of vegans alive today were once non-vegan. Most of them thought the exact same thing.
  • Vegan meals aren’t necessarily more difficult than non-vegan meals, it’s a matter of changing your habits and learning new recipes.
  • Don’t you think that the little trouble you might go through, of trying out new things, is worth it to spare the lives of animals?
  • Luckily nowadays there are many sources available online that make it super easy to go vegan like challenge22.

I love animals

  • Doesn’t loving someone mean wanting to protect them from harm and wanting them to enjoy a life of freedom and happiness?
  • Can we truly love someone while at the same time pay money for their exploitation and murder?
  • If we agree that animal cruelty is wrong, then by our own moral values we are obligated to be vegan, cause anything less than being vegan goes in conflict with those values.

♠ Respect my personal choice

  • Is a choice strictly personal when theirs a victim involved?
  • I respect you as a person, but I cannot respect your choice to harm innocent living beings.

♠ Stop forcing your beliefs on others

  • Do you think that asking someone to consider not harming animals is forcing a belief on them?
  • Is veganism really a belief when it’s based on the simple fact that animals are exploited and killed for animal products?

I don’t care about animals

  • When did you stop caring about animals?
  • If we ourselves don’t want to be harmed, do you think it is then right for us to harm others?
  • If someone doesn’t care about us, does he then have the right to take our lives?

Humans are superior

  • Shouldn’t we as superior human beings not use our power to defend the innocent, instead of using our power to exploit and kill defenseless animals?

Animals aren’t humans

  • What makes animals so different from us that it justifies exploiting and killing them?
  • Animals feel pain, suffer and want to live just like you and me.

They are just animals

  • They are just slaves, they are just women… Do you see that this way of thinking can be used to justify all sorts of violence and abuse?

Animals are dumb

  • Does intelligence determine who has the right to live?
  • Did you know that many animals are smarter than human babies?

Animals don’t understand the concept of right and wrong

  • Do we understand the concept of right and wrong?
    • Aren’t we therefore obligated to do the right thing?

Animals can’t comprehend what happens to them

  • Neither can a young child, so how does that justify violence?

Other animals aren’t like dogs or cats

  • What makes a pig so different from a dog that it justifies killing a pig, but not a dog?
    • Pigs are smarter than dogs and are also great companion animals .
    • Who decided which animals are pets and which animals are food?

♠ I just love the taste

  • Are our taste buds worth more than the life of an animal?
  • Do you think our taste is worth it to put animals through this hell?
  • Nobody has become vegan because they didn’t like the taste of animal products.
  • If we can get the same or a very similar taste from cruelty free vegan food, then why wouldn’t we?
  • Is it morally justifiable for someone to kill a dog because they like how dogs taste?

I tried vegan products, but they weren’t good.

  • Have you tried any recently? Because the new vegan products are pretty amazing.
  • Do you for example like all dairy cheeses that exist? There are many different vegan cheeses on the market, some are really good while others aren’t.
  • The more consumers like you and me demand these cruelty free products, the better and more available they’ll become.
  • Is the little trouble you may go through to find delicious vegan products, not worth it to spare animals from violence and abuse?

♠ Everything in moderation / I don’t eat much meat

  • Every step towards being vegan is a step in the right direction. This shows that you care and have been thinking about it, right? So why be content with less animal cruelty when we can choose no animal cruelty?
  • Do you think that smoking in moderation has no implications?
    • Then why would red meat, which is also classified as a carcinogen, be any different?

♠ Animals eat other animals

  • Are we wild animals or civilized human beings with a choice?
  • Do you think it is a good idea to base our moral values on the behavior of wild animals?
  • Lions mate with any female they want and sometimes eat their own children. Is rape and cannibalism therefore also justified?

♠ We are omnivores

  • If we are omnivores, which means we can survive solely on plant foods, then how do we justify killing animals?
  • Do you think it is necessary for us to eat animal products? 
  • Do you think people get hungry from watching slaughterhouse footage?

♠ Canine teeth

  • Hippos have the largest canine teeth of any land animal and they are entirely herbivorous.
  • Do you think that because we possess a physical attribute that allows us to do something, we are therefore morally justified to do it?
    • I can physically clench my fist, does that mean that I am morally justified to punch someone?

♠ It’s the food chain / circle of life

  • Are we evolved human beings with a choice or wild animals that kill to survive?
  • Does having the power to kill justify killing, especially when we don’t have to?
  • Shouldn’t we as evolved human beings not use our power to defend the innocent, instead of using our power to exploit and kill defenseless animals?
  • Do you think that selectively breeding, artificially inseminating, exploiting and killing defenseless animals, which is destroying our environment, is part of a natural food chain / circle of life?
  • Comparing our biology to that of lions, bears, … would you really rank us on top?

Being vegan isn’t natural

  • Look around you, there’s nothing natural about the world we live in.
  • Does what we do to animals look natural to you?
  • Do you object against taking medication and eating processed food like hot dogs and pizza?

We need animal products to be healthy

  • What specific nutrient do you think we can’t (easily) get from plants?
  • The British Dietetic Association and the American Dietetic Association, both the largest bodies of nutrition professionals in their countries, state that a well-planed vegan diet is safe, healthy and nutritionally adequate for all stages of life including pregnancy.

What about:

♠ Protein

  • The animals people eat are all herbivores: where do they get their protein?
  • What do an elephant, gorilla, hippo and bull have in common?
  • All protein is initially made by plants. As long as we eat enough calories, it is virtually impossible to be protein deficient.
  • Do you get enough fiber? 97% of Americans don’t consume the daily recommended amount. (Fulgoni 2003-2004)

Calcium

  • Do you really believe that adult human beings need to drink the breast milk of a different mammal in order to meet our nutritional needs?
  • Calcium is a mineral that, like all minerals, comes from the ground. Cows get it from the grass they eat, humans can easily and readily get it from dark green leafy vegetables and legumes.
  • Did you know that countries with the highest rates of dairy consumption have the highest rates of osteoporosis? (Dhanwal 2011) (Global Consumption of Dairy Products sd)
  • The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study followed more than 77.000 women for 12 years and showed that drinking 2 glasses of milk daily was linked to 45% more hip fractures, and the more milk the more fractures. (Feskanich 1997)

Iron

  • Do you think it’s possible to get enough iron on a vegan diet?
  • Heme-Iron, the type of iron found in blood and muscle, is absorbed whether we need it or not. Unlike the iron found in plants, heme-iron is found to be pro-oxidative and linked to several chronic diseases.(FACLM 2015)
  • Vegans and vegetarians don’t have higher rates of iron deficiency, because we get it from plants.(GK 2003)
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, dried fruit and even dark chocolate are all good sources of iron.

B12

  • Do you know what B12 is?
  • B12 is a bacterial vitamin found traditionally in the soil. It’s in animal flesh because these animals live in less hygienic conditions than us and their feed is often being supplemented.
  • Since many meat-eaters have a B12 deficiency and red meat is classified as a carcinogen, would you not agree that the best and safest source of B12 is a supplement?
  • All pre-packaged food that we buy is supplemented or engineered in a particular way, there’s nothing natural about it.
  • Do you really believe that taking a small supplement so that we can avoid killing animals is such a bad thing?

Many people live long healthy lives with animal products

  • Many more people die young because of a chronic disease.
  • Why do you think we have a heart disease and obesity epidemic?
    • I’ll give you a tip: it’s not broccoli.

You just need to eat good meat

  • All meat, regardless of its quality, contains hormones, cholesterol and saturated fat.
  • All meat involves the killing of animals, which in the end will always be immoral as it is unnecessary.

♠ Humane slaughter

  • Do you know what the word humane means?
    • having or showing compassion or benevolence.
    • Is there a compassionate or benevolent way to kill someone who doesn’t want to die?
  • Isn’t leaving them alone not the most humane thing to do?
  • How would you kill an animal in a nice way?
    • Do you think this happens in practice or will ever happen?
  • If this is a humane way to end someone’s life, then would you want your companion animal euthanized this way?
  • Could it be that this word is invented to ease the conscience of the consumer?
  • Is there then also such a thing as ‘humane rape’ or ‘humane slavery’?

♠ As long as they had a good life / Organic farming

  • Do the free-range animals go to a different slaughterhouse?
  • Would it be okay for a person to kill his dog if he gave him a good life?
  • How do you think the animals feel when their kind caretaker suddenly sends them to slaughter?
  • Could it be that these labels are there to ease the conscience of the consumer?

We stun the animals, so they don’t feel pain.

  • Do you know how animals are “stunned”?
  • Does the act of stunning someone justify killing them?
  • Do you consider a bolt-gun to the head or a gas chamber a harmless way of stunning someone?
    • If it is really harmless, then would you undergo it yourself before surgery? (why not?)

We use every part of the animal

  • Does that justify killing them when we have plenty of alternatives available?
  • Do we use any part of our companion animals after they’ve died?
    • No, why not? Because it’s disrespectful.

The practices you are showing don’t happen here

  • These are industry standard practices that happen in all western countries. Why would this country be any different?
  • How do you think it happens here?

♠ We just need to improve the conditions

  • Is there a right way to do the wrong thing?
  • Do people here demand better conditions for killing dogs in Asia or the complete abolition of the practice?
  • Would we argue the same thing for slavery? As long as we improve the conditions, slavery is fine.

It’s legal to consume animal products

  • In certain countries it’s legal to stone homosexuals, does that make it moral though?
  • If you were to shoot a calf in the head and slit his throat, you would be legally committing animal abuse (in most countries). But if you were to do the exact same act with a permit in a slaughterhouse, it is legal industry practice. Does that make sense to you?

Morality is subjective

  • If that’s true then why do we have laws and a legal system?
  • Would that statement work in court? Your honor, you don’t have to send me to jail, I didn’t do anything wrong from my perspective.

It’s culture / tradition

  • Slavery was a long-standing tradition here in the west, did that make it moral though?
  • Do you think that the duration of a tradition justifies its existence?

♠ Our ancestors ate meat

  • Are we cavemen or are we civilized human beings that can choose to do the right thing?
  • Do you think it is a good idea to base our moral values on what cavemen did?
  • Did our ancestors have supermarkets filled with delicious plant based foods?

We’ve been doing this for a long time

  • We’ve been murdering each other for a long time, is that justified as well?

We got smart through eating meat

  • If that is true, then why aren’t lions smarter than us?
  • Our brain works on glucose, which is the most common carbohydrate.
  • Considering our chronic disease epidemic and the environmental destruction, is eating meat helping us today?

Can’t be 100% vegan / … contains animals

  • Is there a difference between accidentally and purposefully killing animals?
  • So if we can’t avoid harming some animals, we may as well harm more on purpose?
  • So owning … means I can cause as much harm as I want?
  • Can you imagine a fireman stating: “there was no point in me saving one person, cause I couldn’t save them all, so I left them all to burn”?
  • Being vegan is not about being perfect, it is about doing your best in a non-ideal world.

You’re wearing sweatshop shirts / use a smartphone

  • It’s not because I use a smartphone that I also have to fund animal cruelty.
  • How does me using a smarthphone justify animal abuse?
  • I’m not claiming to be perfect in avoiding all cruelty, being vegan is about doing your best and improving along the way.
  • Vegans in general tend to be more conscious of their consumerist choices.
  • How does somebody participating in cruelty A justify participating in cruelty B?
  • How does funding animal abuse help people stuck in slave labor?

I’m a vegetarian

  • Why did you become vegetarian?
  • Why not vegan?
  • What do you think happens to male chicks in the egg industry, since they don’t lay eggs?
  • What do you think happens to calves, if we are drinking the milk that’s made for them?
  • What do you think happens to male calves in the dairy industry as they will never produce any milk?
  • The only regret vegans have is not going vegan sooner. If going vegan is so bad, we would have gone back to being vegetarian.

What if you are surviving / Stranded on a desert island

  • Are we in that situation right now?
  • What if we live in a world where eating animals is completely unnecessary?
  • Let’s say you are in a survival situation, would you kill an animal?
    • Would you still kill that animal if there are plenty of plants around to eat?
    • Would you still kill that animal if, besides plenty of plants, there are also plenty of meat alternatives that taste as good as meat?
    • That’s the current situation we live in.

Why do you eat products that look and taste like meat

  • We are not against the taste or texture of these products. We are against the animal cruelty that is inherently associated with these products.
  • Why are we still killing animals when we can eat vegan products that look and taste like meat?

♠ Plants Feel Pain

  • What do the animals eat?
    • Vastly more plants are “murdered” to feed livestock, so going vegan would also reduce plant “casualties”.
  • Is there a difference between chopping up a carrot and stabbing a puppy?
  • Why do we feel pain? To get ourselves out of danger.
    • Is there any purpose or evolutionary advantage for plants to feel pain?
    • No, why not? Because plants can’t move.
  • Do you think plants have a brain, central nervous system or pain receptors like us?

What about the farmers job

  • Should we also continue to smoke cigarettes to keep tobacco farmers from losing their job?
  • As societies evolve, many jobs become redundant (mail order, home banking … ).
    • Should the loss of jobs stop us from evolving?
  • Do you think that the possible loss of jobs or money justifies violence?
  • Did you hear that [insert plant based company] created more jobs to meet with the growing demand of vegan products?
  • If we all became vegan, agriculture would boom. Only the product line would change.

We need animal manure to grow vegetables.

  • There are large scale veganic farms in the USA that grow crops without using any animal byproducts.
  • What comes out of an animal once went in. Everything comes from plants.

What would happen to Farm animals if the world went vegan?

  • Do you really think the world is going to go vegan overnight?
    • Unfortunately, the world is never going to go vegan overnight. It’s going to be a gradual process in which the demand and thus the breeding of these animals declines over time.

The animals would overpopulate if we don’t kill them

  • We selectively breed them into existence for the sole purpose of killing them.
  • As the world slowly turns vegan, the number of animals that are bred into existence will diminish over time until breeding stops completely.

We breed animals for that purpose.

  • So if we were to breed dogs or even humans for the purpose of fighting, that would make it moral?

We give these animals a life / they would go extinct

  • Is a life full of pain and abuse worth living?
  • We’ve genetically modified these animals through selective breeding, to the point where their mere existence causes them pain. Do you think we should keep breeding these unnatural species into existence?

Soy is bad for the environment

  • Then you’ll be pleased to hear that 85% of all cultivated soybeans are meant as food for animal agriculture. Only 6% is meant for human consumption. So going vegan reduces the impact that soy has on the environment.(Soy Facts sd)

What about killing animals to preserve the eco system

  • Killing them is often the easiest option and considering how we generally treat animals, it is the one that’s used the most. As a vegan we would always opt for the option that causes the least amount of harm.
  • Usually this is a problem created by humans to begin with, and the cause is more often than not animal agriculture (killing predators to protect livestock, pollution, razing forests, … ) .
  • Do you think this is a reason to continue exploiting and killing farm animals?

What about animal testing

  • Nowadays we have plenty of alternatives that are more accurate than animal testing. Animal testing is often still being done because it’s what researchers are familiar with (amongst other reasons).
  • As a vegan we try to buy products that are free from animal testing.
  • Do you think this is a reason to continue exploiting and killing farm animals?

Zoos keep endangered species alive

  • Does that benefit the individual animals who are locked in cages for their entire life or does that benefit us?

Vegans are the minority

  • The slave abolitionists were once a minority. Did that make their cause less important?
  • What does that have to do with continuing to fund animal cruelty?

♠ One person can’t make a difference / others would still eat them

  • How does that justify our actions?
  • So likewise if others are still going to steal, it is okay for us to steal?
  • We as individuals pay for animals to be exploited and killed. It’s basic supply and demand. Every time we buy an animal product we are voting for animal cruelty. Every time we buy a vegan product we are voting for a cruelty free world.
  • As a vegan:
    • 50% less Co2 emissions
    • 11x less oil usage
    • 13x less water usage
    • 18x less land usage (Cowspiracy: The Facts sd)
    • +-200 animals lives spared a year (Vegans Save 198 Animals a Year sd)

♠ My religion allows me to eat animals

  • Can you be a good Christian/Muslim/… without killing animals?
  • Do you think it is necessary for our health to kill animals?
  • If it is not an obligation or a necessity to kill animals, then don’t you think that God would prefer us not to kill his creations if we don’t have to?
  • Are slaughterhouses a work of God?
  • Are there slaughterhouses in heaven?
  • Don’t you think it’s odd that we praise all things we’ve created in God’s name, yet we exploit and utterly destroy everything God created himself?

♠ Worse things are happening in the world

  • Do we pay for that to happen like we are paying for this to happen?
  • How does the fact that there is war in the Middle East or people living homeless make it acceptable for us to pay someone else to kill animals?
  • Can someone not kill animals and help others at the same time? Or are these mutually exclusive?
  • Don’t you think it’s strange that we have enough food to feed 56 billion land animals every year, yet there are 800 million people currently living in a state of starvation? (FAO 2014)
  • 82% of starving children live in countries that export crops to western countries as feed for livestock. (Oppenlander 2012)
  • Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon deforestation. (FAO 2008)
  • Going vegan is without a doubt the most important and relatively easiest thing an individual can do to help make the world a better place.

Life is boring with these restrictions

  • It may seem like that at first. However, many vegans find that their culinary options increased because they became open to trying out new foods. Vegans also appreciate their food more, because they make more conscious decisions.
  • Does the freedom of being able to do whatever we want justify violence?

What do you eat? / So you don’t eat … ?

  • Pizza, cake, ice-cream … everything you love to eat, just an animal friendly version of it.
  • I do eat that, just an animal friendly vegan version of it.

I don’t like to eat vegetables

  • There’s plenty of vegan food that tastes similar to animal products and they are healthier for us too.
  • You already eat lots of vegan food (potatoes, pasta, rice…even french fries and soda!)

I stopped being a Vegan/vegetarian because I felt weak (Doctor)

  • Do you know why that is the case?
    • What nutrient is in meat that we can’t get from a plant based diet?
    • If there is such a thing as a missing nutrient, then it would be impossible to be a healthy vegan, let alone thrive on a vegan diet, right?
    • There are millions of long term healthy vegans alive today, among whom are many top performing athletes. (Patrik Baboumian, Rich Roll, Scott Jurek, … )
  • Did you know that red meat is classified as a carcinogen by the WHO?
    • Isn’t that odd if we supposedly need meat to be healthy ?
  • In general, doctors are poorly trained to give dietary advice, because the system promotes the selling of medication.
  • The biggest mistakes beginning vegans make is:
    • Not eating enough calories.
    • Not eating a variety of fruits and vegetables.

♠ My family/friends wouldn’t approve of me going vegan

  • Do you think that the opinion of others should stop us from doing the right thing?
  • Fortunately veganism is on the rise. It is becoming more culturally accepted and there are increasingly more options for dining out.
  • You can join a growing number of communities and support groups online, meet-up with other vegans and make new friends.
  • Educate yourself on why it is important to go vegan so you can explain it to your family.
  • Ask your family to watch a documentary with you.

Vegans are pushy/angry/….

  • Some vegans are, but does that devalue the notion of not harming animals?
  • I’m sure you know many meat eaters that are angry as well, yet you don’t devalue their diet or lifestyle based on that, do you?
  • You don’t have to call yourself a vegan if you don’t want to, just stop funding animal cruelty.

This isn’t slavery /murder /…

  • Why would it change when the victim is different?
  • If animals aren’t enslaved then what are they, free?

I used to be vegetarian/vegan

  • Why did you become vegetarian/vegan in the first place?

Not everyone can go vegan

  • What is stopping you from going vegan?
  • What are your personal concerns about going vegan?

Vegan Food is Expensive

  • The cheapest foods in our diet: greens, beans, fruits … are all vegan.
  • Do you think that vegan products will become cheaper as more people want to buy them?
  • Don’t you think it’s worth it to pay a little more to spare the life an animal?

I don’t believe you

  • You don’t have to believe me. In fact, that is the underlying problem. We encourage you to stop believing everything the media and our culture tells you and instead to start thinking about this issue for yourself.

My pet can’t be vegan

  • Can you?
  • Does the diet of our companion animals dictate what our diet should be?
  • Many companion animals can actually live and thrive on a vegan diet just like us, because pet food is often made from junk not fit for human consumption. It is worth looking into this.

Backyard hens

  • Are you fully vegan besides having backyard hens?
    • If not, then there are bigger issues to discuss first.
  • Did you know that these hens aren’t natural?
    • Before human breeding, hens only laid 10 to 20 eggs a year. Currently, laying hens produce between 320 and 350 eggs a year due to how we’ve bred them.
    • Laying an egg is stressful and takes a toll on the hen’s health. (calcium depletion for the egg shell … )
    • Can you imagine having your period every day of your life? (for women)
    • Did you know that hens often eat their unfertilized eggs to restore their nutrient levels?
      • If we truly have our hens best interest at heart, we would feed their eggs back to them.
  • In an ideal world these unnatural human created species would go extinct, but that will never happen if humans still want to eat eggs.
  • Did you know that eggs are part of a hen’s menstrual cycle and that chickens only have one hole (cloaca) out of which everything comes?
  • Eggs are by far the number one source of dietary cholesterol in the western diet, so why eat them when they are unhealthy for us?

I am a butcher / farmer / …

  • We have nothing against you personally, we understand that you are supplying a demand and that it’s normal from your perspective.
  • If you could earn the same or more money by producing and selling plant based foods, wouldn’t you do it?
    • You can make delicious plant based foods (steaks, hummus spreads, burgers … ) with cheap ingredients and sell them for a good profit.
    • You can cultivate very profitable plants like ginseng, mushrooms, herbs … or transform your farm into an animal sanctuary.
  • You don’t have to feel threatened by this evolution. Big meat companies like Tyson and Rügenwalder Muhle are following this trend by increasingly producing more plant based products, so why wouldn’t you be able to do that?
  • Do you think that the amount of vegans/vegetarians is going to drop, stagnate or increase towards the future?

Sources

Cowspiracy: The Facts. n.d. http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/.

Dhanwal, Dinesh K. “Epidemiology of hip fracture: Worldwide geographic variation.” Indian Journal of Orthopaedics, 2011: 15-22.

FACLM, Michael Greger M.D. “The Safety of Heme vs. Non-Heme Iron.” June 5, 2015.

FAO. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2008.

FAO. “The State of Food Insecurity in the World.” 2014.

Feskanich, Diane. “Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study.” NCBINCBI Logo, 1997.

Fulgoni, V L. “Current protein intake in America: Analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.” Am J Clin Nutr (Am J Clin Nutr), 2003-2004.

GK, Davey Spencer. “EPIC Oxford: lifestyle characteristics and nutrient intakes in a cohort of 33 883 meat-eaters and 31 546 non meat-eaters in the UK.” Public Health Nutr, 2003: 259-269.

“Global Consumption of Dairy Products.” Canadian Dairy Information Center, n.d.

Oppenlander, Dr. Richard. “The World Hunger-Food Choice Connection: A Summary.” 2012. http://comfortablyunaware.com/blog/the-world-hunger-food-choice-connection-a-summary/.

Soy Facts. n.d. http://www.oilseedandgrain.com/soy-facts.

The Vegan Society. Definition of Veganism. n.d. https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism.

Vegans Save 198 Animals a Year. n.d. https://www.peta.org/blog/vegans-save-animals-per-year/.

Keyword Link

Extreme, Personal Choice, Forcing Belief, Taste, Moderation, Lions, Omnivores, Canines, Food Chain, Protein, Humane Slaughter, Culture, Ancestors, Surviving, Plants, Farmers, Overpopulate, One Person, Religion, Human Rights, Doctor, Family, ExpensiveBackyard Hens

Introduction

This FAQ provides you with some of the best answers to the most common arguments against veganism. It was written with an outreach scenario (e.g. Cube of Truth) in mind, where the goal is to guide the other person towards going vegan by realizing the logicality of veganism. Most of the answers follow the Socratic method which, rather than making statements, promotes the use of questions to convey a message. By asking questions, you are not perceived as lecturing but instead you stimulate the other person to think about the arguments for themselves.

I do not claim to have come up with every answer. Most of these stem from many different sources and may thus seem familiar to you.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped me to compile this FAQ and made it so much better than I could do by myself!

Other FAQs that are worth checking out for more background information and further knowledge:

Feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions to improve this FAQ.

General Tips

  • The goal is to help others go vegan, not to be right or to prove your point.
  • Don’t expect people to go vegan on the spot. It does happen, but having that expectation can be discouraging.
  • Always be polite and respectful. What’s obvious and ridiculous for us may be a real concern for them.
  • Behave as if you are hearing their arguments for the first time. Show you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.
  • Give preference to asking questions rather than making statements.
  • Listen! Be careful you’re not distracted or stuck in your head thinking about what to say next.
  • Allow people to talk. Interrupting them will make them less likely to listen to you.
  • There’s no shame in taking some time to think about your answer. It shows you are genuinely considering their arguments and therefore they are likely to do the same for yours.
  • You don’t have to rush the conversation, allow the other person to think it through for themselves.
  • Learn about body language.
  • Stand next to the person (on the same side) rather than directly in front of them (opposing sides). 
  • If a person is emotional then try to keep it about the emotions.
    • How do you feel about this?
    • Do you feel it is right to participate in this?
    • What does your heart tell you?
  • Show them you are a normal imperfect human being.
  • Relate to them. Tell them how you once were in a very similar position (if you were).
    • Tell them a short version of your personal story of how you became vegan.
  • Be positive and encouraging. Make going vegan something they would want to do.
  • Try to communicate with a strong clear voice and make sure you articulate.
  • Adapt the conversation to your partner and speak their language (e.g. don’t use complicated words with youngsters).
  • People often try to change the subject. Notice this and bring the conversation back to the subject of animal exploitation.
  • Sometimes just repeating what they said makes them realize the invalidity of their argument.
  • Be patient but don’t waste your time and sanity on unreachable people.
  • Avoid triggering language: killed or ‘taking their lives’ instead of murdered, inconsistent instead of hypocrite, etc.
  • Give preference to ‘we’ and ‘us’ over ‘you’ and ‘me’.
  • Give preference to ‘can’ and ‘want’ over ‘must’ and ‘should’.
  • Evaluate the conversation once it’s over. What went right, what can I improve, etc.
  • Enjoy having these conversations, you are helping animals!
  • Practice makes perfect!

Good questions to ask

  • Do you know why we are here?
  • Have you seen this footage before?
  • How do you feel about it?
  • Do you know why this happens?
  • Do you think it is necessary for us to eat animal products?
  • Do you know what veganism is?
  • Have you ever considered going vegan?
  • What keeps you from going vegan?
  • Do you have any questions or doubts about being vegan?
  • Can you imagine yourself being vegan in the future?
  • Do you agree with the way that we treat animals?
  • Do you think it is wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death onto animals?
  • What do you think is the simplest and the most certain way to stop animal cruelty?
  • Do you think this will still happen when consumers stop buying these products?
  • Do you understand why it is important to be vegan?
  • If we can live a healthy happy life eating delicious food without killing animals, then why wouldn’t we?
  • Do you think this cruelty is justified for a sandwich?
  • Which one is more important: taste or life?
  • Is there a right way to do the wrong thing?
  • What does your heart tell you?
  • Does that make sense to you?
  • If a machine was made which ran on organic material, would you prefer the machine to be fed plants or for animals to be killed and fed to it?
  • Do you consider yourself a person who is against violence?
    • Do you consider shooting a bolt in an animal’s head, gassing them or slitting their throats an act of violence?
    • Do you think that, by our own moral standards, it is right to pay someone to do this for us?
  • What if someone were to kill a pig right here in front of you, would you try to stop him?
    • Does the act change when it is done behind closed doors and not out here in front of you?
    • Do you realize that by buying animal products, not only are we allowing that same act of violence to happen, but we are actually paying someone to do it for us?

Why are you vegan?

  • Because at some point I realized I was funding animal cruelty while I had the choice not to.
  • I am vegan because if harming innocent beings isn’t necessary for my survival or my health, I refuse to participate in it.
  • Why aren’t you vegan yet?

What is veganism?

  • Doing your best not to harm animals.
  • A philosophy and 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; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. (The Vegan Society sd)

♠  Veganism seems extreme

  • If I tell you that veganism is about making animal friendly choices on a daily basis, does it still sound extreme to you?
  • When did being against animal cruelty became extreme?
  • Do you think that not eating dogs is extreme? Why is it then extreme to not eat other animals as well?
  • If you believe that animal cruelty is wrong, then you already are a vegan at heart. You just need to align your actions with your own moral beliefs.

Veganism seems difficult

  • The vast majority of vegans alive today were once non-vegan. Most of them thought the exact same thing.
  • Vegan meals aren’t necessarily more difficult than non-vegan meals, it’s a matter of changing your habits and learning new recipes.  
  • Don’t you think that the little trouble you might go through, of trying out new things, is worth it to spare the lives of animals?
  • Luckily nowadays there are many sources available online that make it super easy to go vegan like challenge22.

I love animals

  • Doesn’t loving someone mean wanting to protect them from harm and wanting them to enjoy a life of freedom and happiness?
  • Can we truly love someone while at the same time pay money for their exploitation and murder?
  • If you agree that animal cruelty is wrong, then by your own moral values you are obligated to be vegan, cause anything less than being vegan goes in conflict with those values.

Respect my personal choice

  • Is a choice strictly personal when theirs a victim involved?
  • I respect you as a person, but I cannot respect your choice to harm innocent living beings.

♠ Stop forcing your beliefs on others

  • Do you think that asking someone to consider not harming animals is forcing a belief on them?
  • Is veganism really a belief when it’s based on the simple fact that animals are exploited and killed for animal products?

I don’t care about animals / Humans are superior

  • When did you stop caring about animals?
  • If we ourselves don’t want to be harmed, do you think it is then right for us to harm others?
  • If someone doesn’t care about us, does he then have the right to take our lives?

Animals aren’t humans

  • What makes animals so different from us that it justifies exploiting and killing them?
  • Animals feel pain, suffer and want to live just like you and me.

They are just animals

  • They are just slaves, they are just women… Do you see that this way of thinking can be used to justify all sorts of violence and abuse?

Animals are dumb

  • Does intelligence determine who has the right to live?
  • Did you know that many animals are smarter than human babies?

Animals don’t understand the concept of right and wrong

  • Do we understand the concept of right and wrong?
    • Aren’t we therefore obligated to do the right thing?

Animals can’t comprehend what happens to them

  • Neither can a young child, so how does that justify violence?

Other animals aren’t like dogs or cats

  • What makes a pig so different from a dog that it justifies killing a pig, but not a dog?
    • Pigs are smarter than dogs and are also great companion animals .
    • Who decided which animals are pets and which animals are food?

♠ I just love the taste

  • Are our taste buds worth more than the life of an animal?
  • Do you think our taste is worth it to put animals through this hell?
  • Nobody has become vegan because they didn’t like the taste of animal products.
  • We are not asking you to dislike the taste, if we can get the same or a very similar taste from cruelty free vegan food, then why wouldn’t we?
  • Is it morally justifiable for someone to kill a dog because they like how dogs taste?

I tried vegan products, but they weren’t good.

  • Have you tried any recently? Because the new vegan products are pretty amazing.
  • Do you for example like all dairy cheeses that exist? There are many different vegan cheeses on the market, some are really good while others aren’t.
  • The more consumers like you and me demand these cruelty free products, the better and more available they’ll become.
  • Is the little trouble you may go through to find delicious vegan products, not worth it to spare animals from violence and abuse?

♠ Everything in moderation / I don’t eat much meat

  • Every step towards being vegan is a step in the right direction. This shows that you care and have been thinking about it, right? So why be content with less animal cruelty when we can choose no animal cruelty?
  • Do you think that smoking in moderation has no implications?
    • Then why would red meat, which is also classified as a carcinogen, be any different?

♠ Animals eat other animals

  • Are we wild animals or civilized human beings with a choice?
  • Do you think it is a good idea to base our human moral values on the behavior of wild animals?
  • Lions mate with any female they want and sometimes eat their own children. Is rape and cannibalism therefore also justified?

♠ We are omnivores

  • If we are omnivores, which means we can survive solely on plant foods, then how do we justify killing animals?
  • Do you think that because we possess a physical attribute that allows us to do something, we are therefore morally justified to do it?
    • I can physically clench my fist, does that mean that I am morally justified to punch someone?
  • Do you think people get hungry from watching slaughterhouse footage?
  • How many people are capable of killing animals themselves?
  • Would you eat meat in its raw form like a true omnivore would?
  • Isn’t that strange if we are natural omnivores?

♠ Canine teeth

  • Hippos have the largest canine teeth of any land animal and they are entirely herbivorous.
    • Do you still think that possessing canines gives us the right to pay someone to kill animals for us?
  • Do you think that because we possess a physical attribute that allows us to do something, we are therefore morally justified to do it?
    • I can physically clench my fist, does that mean that I am morally justified to punch someone?

♠ It’s the food chain / circle of life

  • Are we evolved human beings with a choice or wild animals that kill to survive?
  • Does having the power to kill justify killing, especially when we don’t have to?
  • Shouldn’t we as evolved human beings not use our power to defend the innocent, instead of using our power to exploit and kill defenseless animals?
  • Comparing our biology to that of lions, bears, … would you really rank us on top?
  • Do you think that selectively breeding, artificially inseminating, exploiting and killing defenseless animals, which is destroying our environment, is part of a natural food chain / circle of life?

Being vegan isn’t natural

  • Look around you, there’s nothing natural about the world we live in.
  • Does what we do to animals look natural to you?
  • Do you object against taking medication and eating processed food like hot dogs and pizza?

We need animal products to be healthy

  • What specific nutrient do you think we can’t (easily) get from plants?
  • The British Dietetic Association and the American Dietetic Association, both the largest bodies of nutrition professionals in their countries, state that a well-planed vegan diet is safe, healthy and nutritionally adequate for all stages of life including pregnancy.

What about:

♠ Protein

  • The animals people eat are all herbivores: where do they get their protein?
  • What do an elephant, gorilla, hippo and bull have in common?
  • All protein is initially made by plants. As long as we eat enough calories, it is virtually impossible to be protein deficient.
  • Do you get enough fiber? 97% of Americans don’t consume the daily recommended amount. (Fulgoni 2003-2004)

Calcium

  • Do you really believe that adult human beings need to drink the breast milk of a different mammal in order to meet our nutritional needs?
  • Calcium is a mineral that, like all minerals, comes from the ground. Cows get it from the grass they eat, humans can easily and readily get it from dark green leafy vegetables and legumes.
  • The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study followed more than 77.000 women for 12 years and showed that drinking 2 glasses of milk daily was linked to 45% more hip fractures, and the more milk the more fractures. (Feskanich 1997)
  • Did you know that countries with the highest rates of dairy consumption have the highest rates of osteoporosis? (Dhanwal 2011) (Global Consumption of Dairy Products sd)

Iron

  • Heme-Iron, the type of iron found in blood and muscle, is absorbed whether we need it or not. Unlike the iron found in plants, heme-iron is found to be pro-oxidative and linked to several chronic diseases.(FACLM 2015)
  • Vegans and vegetarians don’t have higher rates of iron deficiency, because we get it from plants.(GK 2003)
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, dried fruit and even dark chocolate are all good sources of iron.

B12

  • Do you know what B12 is?
  • B12 is a bacterial vitamin found traditionally in the soil. It’s in animal flesh because these animals live in less hygienic conditions than us and their feed is often being supplemented.
  • Since many meat-eaters have a B12 deficiency and red meat is classified as a carcinogen, would you not agree that the best and safest source of B12 is a supplement?
  • All pre-packaged food that we buy is supplemented or engineered in a particular way, there’s nothing natural about it. So do you really believe that taking a small supplement is a bad thing?

Many people live long healthy lives with animal products

  • Many more people die young because of a chronic disease.
  • Why do you think we have a heart disease and obesity epidemic?
    • I’ll give you a tip: it’s not broccoli.

You just need to eat good meat

  • All meat, regardless of its quality, contains hormones, cholesterol and saturated fat.
  • All meat involves the killing of animals, which in the end will always be immoral as it is unnecessary. 

♠ Humane slaughter

  • Do you know what the word humane means?
    • having or showing compassion or benevolence.
    • Is there a compassionate or benevolent way to kill someone who doesn’t want to die?
  • Isn’t leaving them alone not the most humane thing to do?
  • How would you kill an animal in a nice way?
    • Do you think this happens in practice or will ever happen?
  • If this is a humane way to end someone’s life, then would you want your companion animal euthanized this way?
  • Could it be that this word is invented to ease the conscience of the consumer?
  • Is there then also such a thing as ‘humane rape’ or ‘humane slavery’?

♠ As long as they had a good life / Organic farming

  • Do the free-range animals go to a different slaughterhouse?
  • Would it be okay for a person to kill his dog if he gave him a good life?
  • How do you think the animals feel when their kind caretaker suddenly sends them to slaughter?
  • Could it be that these labels are there to ease the conscience of the consumer?

We stun the animals, so they don’t feel pain.

  • Do you know how animals are “stunned”?
  • Does the act of stunning someone justify killing them?
  • Do you consider a bolt-gun to the head or a gas chamber a harmless way of stunning someone?
    • If it is really harmless, then would you undergo it yourself before surgery? (why not?)

We use every part of the animal

  • Does that justify killing them when we have plenty of alternatives available?
  • Do we use any part of our companion animals after they’ve died?
    • No, why not? Because it’s disrespectful.

The practices you are showing don’t happen here

  • These are industry standard practices that happen in all western countries. Why would this country be any different?
  • How do you think it happens here?

♠ We just need to improve the conditions

  • Is there a right way to do the wrong thing?
  • Do people here demand better conditions for killing dogs in Asia or the complete abolition of the practice?
  • Would we argue the same thing for slavery? As long as we improve the conditions, slavery is fine.
  • If you do stand by that claim, then what will you do until the conditions have improved?

It’s legal to consume animal products

  • In certain countries it’s legal to stone homosexuals, does that make it moral though?
  • If you were to shoot a calf in the head and slit his throat, you would be legally committing animal abuse (in most countries). But if you were to do the exact same act with a permit in a slaughterhouse, it is legal industry practice. Does that make sense to you?

Morality is subjective

  • If that’s true then why do we have laws and a legal system?
  • Would that statement work in court? Your honor, you don’t have to send me to jail, I didn’t do anything wrong from my perspective.

It’s culture / tradition

  • Slavery was a long-standing tradition here in the west, did that make it moral though?
  • Do you think that the duration of a tradition justifies its existence?

♠ Our ancestors ate meat

  • Are we cavemen or are we civilized human beings that can choose to do the right thing?
  • Do you think it is a good idea to base our moral values on what cavemen did?
  • Did our ancestors have supermarkets filled with delicious plant based foods?

We’ve been doing this for a long time

  • We’ve been murdering each other for a long time, is that justified as well?

We got smart through eating meat

  • If that is true, then why aren’t lions smarter than us?
  • Our brain works on glucose, which is the most common carbohydrate.
  • Considering our chronic disease epidemic and the environmental destruction, is eating meat helping us today?

Can’t be 100% vegan / … contains animals

  • Is there a difference between accidentally and purposefully killing animals?
  • So if we can’t avoid harming some animals, we may as well harm more on purpose?
  • So owning … means I can cause as much harm as I want?
  • Can you imagine a fireman stating: “there was no point in me saving one person, cause I couldn’t save them all, so I left them all to burn”?
  • Being vegan is not about being perfect, it is about doing your best in a non-ideal world.

You’re wearing sweatshop shirts / use a smartphone

  • It’s not because I use a smartphone that I also have to fund animal cruelty.
  • I’m not claiming to be perfect in avoiding all cruelty, being vegan is about doing your best and improving along the way.
  • Vegans in general tend to be more conscious of their consumerist choices.
  • How does somebody participating in cruelty A justify participating in cruelty B?
  • How does funding animal abuse help people stuck in slave labor?

I’m a vegetarian

  • Why did you become vegetarian?
  • Why not vegan?
  • What do you think happens to male chicks in the egg industry, since they don’t lay eggs?
  • What do you think happens to calves, if we are drinking the milk that’s made for them?
  • What do you think happens to male calves in the dairy industry as they will never produce any milk?
  • The only regret vegans have is not going vegan sooner. If going vegan is so bad, we would have gone back to being vegetarian.

What if you are surviving / Stranded on a desert island

  • Are we in that situation right now?
  • What if we live in a world where eating animals is completely unnecessary?
  • Let’s say you are in a survival situation, would you kill an animal?
    • Would you still kill that animal if there are plenty of plants around to eat?
    • Would you still kill that animal if, besides plenty of plants, there are also plenty of meat alternatives that taste as good as meat?
    • That’s the current situation we live in.

Why do you eat products that look and taste like meat

  • We are not against the taste or texture of these products. We are against the animal cruelty that is inherently associated with these products.
  • If we can have a relatively similar taste and texture minus the cruelty from a different product, then why wouldn’t we buy that instead?

♠ Plants Feel Pain

  • What do the animals eat?
    • Vastly more plants are “murdered” to feed livestock, so going vegan would also reduce plant “casualties”.
  • Is there a difference between chopping up a carrot and stabbing a puppy?
  • Why do we feel pain? To get ourselves out of danger.
    • Is there any purpose or evolutionary advantage for plants to feel pain?
    • No, why not? Because plants can’t move.
  • Do you think plants have a brain, central nervous system or pain receptors like us?

What about the farmers job

  • Should we also continue to smoke cigarettes to keep tobacco farmers from losing their job?
  • As societies evolve, many jobs become redundant (mail order, home banking … ).
    • Should the loss of jobs stop us from evolving?
  • Do you think that the possible loss of jobs or money justifies violence?
  • If we all became vegan, agriculture would boom. Only the product line would change.

We need animal manure to grow vegetables.

  • There are large scale veganic farms in the USA that grow crops without using any animal byproducts.
  • What comes out of an animal once went in. Everything comes from plants.

What would happen to Farm animals if the world went vegan?

  • Do you really think the world is going to go vegan overnight?
    • Unfortunately, the world is never going to go vegan overnight. It’s going to be a gradual process in which the demand and thus the breeding of these animals declines over time.

The animals would overpopulate if we don’t kill them

  • We selectively breed them into existence for the sole purpose of killing them.
  • As the world slowly turns vegan, the number of animals that are bred into existence will diminish over time until breeding stops completely.

We breed animals for that purpose.

  • So if we were to breed dogs or even humans for the purpose of fighting, that would make it moral?

We give these animals a life / they would go extinct

  • Is a life full of pain and abuse worth living?
  • We’ve genetically modified these animals through selective breeding, to the point where their mere existence causes them pain. Do you think we should keep breeding these unnatural species into existence?

Soy is bad for the environment

  • Then you’ll be pleased to hear that 85% of all cultivated soybeans are meant as food for animal agriculture. Only 6% is meant for human consumption. So going vegan reduces the impact that soy has on the environment.(Soy Facts sd)

What about killing animals to preserve the eco system

  • Killing them is often the easiest option and considering how we generally treat animals, it is the one that’s used the most. As a vegan we would always opt for the option that causes the least amount of harm.
  • Usually this is a problem created by humans to begin with, and the cause is more often than not animal agriculture (killing predators to protect livestock, pollution, razing forests, … ) .
  • Do you think this is a reason to continue exploiting and killing farm animals?

What about animal testing

  • Nowadays we have plenty of alternatives that are even more accurate than animal testing. Animal testing is often still being done because it’s what researchers are familiar with (amongst other reasons).
  • As a vegan we try to buy products that are free from animal testing.
  • Do you think this is a reason to continue exploiting and killing farm animals?

Zoos keep endangered species alive

  • Does that benefit the individual animals who are locked in cages for their entire life or does that benefit us?

Vegans are the minority

  • The slave abolitionists were once a minority. Did that make their cause less important?
  • What does that have to do with continuing to fund animal cruelty?

♠ One person can’t make a difference / others would still eat them

  • How does that justify our actions?
  • So likewise if others are still going to steal, it is okay for us to steal?
  • We as individuals pay for animals to be exploited and killed. It’s basic supply and demand. Every time you buy an animal product you are voting for animal cruelty. Every time you buy a vegan product you are voting for a cruelty free world.
  • As a vegan:
    • 50% less Co2 emissions
    • 11x less oil usage
    • 13x less water usage
    • 18x less land usage (Cowspiracy: The Facts sd)
    • +-200 animals lives spared a year (Vegans Save 198 Animals a Year sd)

♠ My religion allows me to eat animals

  • Can you be a good Christian/Muslim/… without killing animals?
  • Do you think it is necessary for our health to kill animals?
  • If it is not an obligation or a necessity to kill animals, then don’t you think that God would prefer us not to kill his creations if we don’t have to?
  • Are slaughterhouses a work of God?
  • Are there slaughterhouses in heaven?
  • Don’t you think it’s odd that we praise all things we’ve created in God’s name, yet we exploit and utterly destroy everything God created himself?

♠ Worse things are happening in the world

  • Do we pay for that to happen like we are paying for this to happen?
  • How does the fact that there is war in the Middle East or people living homeless make it acceptable for us to pay someone else to kill animals?
  • Can someone not kill animals and help others at the same time? Or are these mutually exclusive?
  • Don’t you think it’s strange that we have enough food to feed 56 billion land animals every year, yet there are 800 million people currently living in a state of starvation? (FAO 2014)
  • 82% of starving children live in countries that export crops to western countries as feed for livestock. (Oppenlander 2012)
  • Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon deforestation. (FAO 2008)
  • Going vegan is without a doubt the most important and relatively easiest thing an individual can do to help make the world a better place.

Life is boring with these restrictions

  • Does the freedom of being able to do whatever we want justify violence?
  • It may seem like that at first. However, many vegans find that their culinary options increased because they became open to trying out new foods. Vegans also appreciate their food more, because they make more conscious decisions.

What do you eat? / So you don’t eat … ?

  • Pizza, cake, ice-cream … everything you love to eat, just an animal friendly version of it.
  • I do eat that, just an animal friendly vegan version of it.

I don’t like to eat vegetables

  • There’s plenty of vegan food that tastes similar to animal products and they are healthier for us too.
  • You already eat lots of vegan food (potatoes, pasta, rice…even french fries and soda!)

I stopped being a Vegan/vegetarian because I felt weak (Doctor)

  • Do you know why that is the case?
    • What nutrient is in meat that we can’t get from a plant based diet?
    • If there is such a thing as a missing nutrient, then it would be impossible to be a healthy vegan, let alone thrive on a vegan diet, right?
    • There are millions of long term healthy vegans alive today, among whom are many top performing athletes. (Patrik Baboumian, Rich Roll, Scott Jurek, … )
  • Did you know that red meat is classified as a carcinogen by the WHO?
    • How can eating a carcinogen make us healthier?
  • In general, doctors are poorly trained to give dietary advice, because the system promotes the selling of medication.
  • The biggest mistakes beginning vegans make is:
    • Not eating enough calories.
    • Not eating a variety of fruits and vegetables.

♠ My family/friends wouldn’t approve of me going vegan

  • Do you think that the opinion of others should stop us from doing the right thing?
  • Fortunately veganism is on the rise. It is becoming more culturally accepted and there are increasingly more options for dining out.
  • You can join a growing number of communities and support groups online, meet-up with other vegans and make new friends.
  • Educate yourself on why it is important to go vegan so you can explain it to your family.
  • Ask your family to watch a documentary with you.

Vegans are pushy/angry/….

  • Some of us are, but does that devalue the notion of not harming animals?
  • I’m sure you know many meat eaters that are angry as well, yet you don’t devalue their diet or lifestyle based on that, do you?
  • You don’t have to call yourself a vegan if you don’t want to, just stop funding animal cruelty.

This isn’t slavery /murder /…

  • Why would it change when the victim is different?
  • If animals aren’t enslaved then what are they, free?

I used to be vegetarian/vegan

  • Why did you become vegetarian/vegan in the first place?

Not everyone can go vegan

  • What is stopping you from going vegan?
  • What are your personal concerns about going vegan?

Vegan Food is Expensive

  • The cheapest foods in our diet: greens, beans, fruits … are all vegan.
  • Do you think that vegan products will become cheaper as more people want to buy them?
  • Don’t you think it’s worth it to pay a little more to spare the life an animal?

I don’t believe you

  • You don’t have to believe me. In fact, that is the underlying problem. We encourage you to stop believing everything the media and our culture tells you and instead to start thinking about this issue for yourself.

My pet can’t be vegan

  • Can you?
  • Does the diet of our companion animals dictate what our diet should be?
  • Many companion animals can actually live and thrive on a vegan diet just like us, because pet food is often made from junk not fit for human consumption. It is worth looking into this.

Backyard hens

  • Are you fully vegan besides having backyard hens?
    • If not, then there are bigger issues to discuss first.
  • Did you know that these hens aren’t natural?
    • Before human breeding, hens only laid 10 to 20 eggs a year. Currently, laying hens produce between 320 and 350 eggs a year due to how we’ve bred them.
    • Laying an egg is stressful and takes a toll on the hen’s health. (calcium depletion for the egg shell … )
    • Can you imagine having your period every day of your life? (for women)
    • Did you know that hens often eat their unfertilized eggs to restore their nutrient levels?
  • Did you know that eggs are part of a hen’s menstrual cycle and that chickens only have one hole (cloaca) out of which everything comes?
  • Eggs are by far the number one source of dietary cholesterol in the western diet, so why eat them when they are unhealthy for us?

I am a butcher / farmer / …

  • We have nothing against you personally, we understand that you are supplying a demand and that it’s normal from your perspective.
  • If you could earn the same or more money by producing and selling plant based foods, wouldn’t you do it?
    • You can make delicious plant based foods (steaks, hummus spreads, burgers … ) with cheap ingredients and sell them for a good profit.
    • You can cultivate very profitable plants like ginseng, mushrooms, herbs … or transform your farm into an animal sanctuary.
  • You don’t have to feel threatened by this evolution. Big meat companies like Tyson and Rügenwalder Muhle are following this trend by increasingly producing more plant based products, so why wouldn’t you be able to do that?
  • Do you think that the amount of vegans/vegetarians is going to drop, stagnate or increase towards the future?

Sources

Cowspiracy: The Facts. n.d. http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/.

Dhanwal, Dinesh K. “Epidemiology of hip fracture: Worldwide geographic variation.” Indian Journal of Orthopaedics, 2011: 15-22.

FACLM, Michael Greger M.D. “The Safety of Heme vs. Non-Heme Iron.” June 5, 2015.

FAO. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2008.

FAO. “The State of Food Insecurity in the World.” 2014.

Feskanich, Diane. “Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study.” NCBINCBI Logo, 1997.

Fulgoni, V L. “Current protein intake in America: Analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.” Am J Clin Nutr (Am J Clin Nutr), 2003-2004.

GK, Davey Spencer. “EPIC Oxford: lifestyle characteristics and nutrient intakes in a cohort of 33 883 meat-eaters and 31 546 non meat-eaters in the UK.” Public Health Nutr, 2003: 259-269.

“Global Consumption of Dairy Products.” Canadian Dairy Information Center, n.d.

Oppenlander, Dr. Richard. “The World Hunger-Food Choice Connection: A Summary.” 2012. http://comfortablyunaware.com/blog/the-world-hunger-food-choice-connection-a-summary/.

Soy Facts. n.d. http://www.oilseedandgrain.com/soy-facts.

The Vegan Society. Definition of Veganism. n.d. https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism.

Vegans Save 198 Animals a Year. n.d. https://www.peta.org/blog/vegans-save-animals-per-year/.

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