Sound Familiar? So many Vegans find themselves constantly exasperated with having to explain their choices to people who don’t understand veganism. Some of the time, we are asked questions that are so off the wall, bizarre or just a bit darn silly, that it totally stumps us. It’s like our brains are concentrating so much on the ‘er… are you serious?!’ that we have no capacity left to think of a simple, well thought out answer. It’s so bloody frustrating! Just like those moments after an argument has finished, when you think of something you could have said to perfectly put your point across… but the moment’s gone!
Have no fear! I am here to help you give concise and intelligent answers to those annoying, broken record, questions.
Perhaps you aren’t vegan at all, but would like answers to some questions you have out of curiosity… or have some concerns about someone you care about who is considering veganism, you don’t need to worry at all, but have a read anyway!
‘Do you really think you can make a difference? You are only ONE person!’ Well, actually i’m not! I am many people. I am not the only vegan in the world, I am one among hundreds of thousands in the UK alone. What’s more, the vast majority of those people were not born vegan, they went vegan because of people like me leading by example. So yes, one person does make a difference, a big one! Here is a great poem to think about… do you think the man in the story walked away afterwards? Or helped the boy throw a couple in?
‘Why won’t you just buy this chicken? It’s already dead, packaged and in the shop, so you can’t save it!’ Ok, yes, I see it’s already dead and you are right, I can’t save it. But there is another chicken down the line that will be saved. If this chicken is taken from the supermarket fridge and bought, another chicken will be slaughtered to replace it, so that someone else can buy that chicken. Then another chicken will be slaughtered to replace that one. If I personally do not buy this chicken, there will be a chicken somewhere that will not die. Or not even be bred for death in the first place.
‘Why not just a little bit of Turkey? Come on, it’s Christmas/Easter/Thanksgiving!’ Quite simply, I don’t want to. Now I am Vegan, I have different outlook on meat. Meat is the flesh of an animal that wanted to live. First of all, it’s kind of gross if you think about it, and secondly, what is the point in having morals if you ignore them for one day a year. These events are about love and spending time with your family and friends. Not eating dead bodies… is that what it’s about to you? Because i’ve noticed you do that every day anyway…
‘Why don’t you just buy free range? Or get your milk from a nice farm where you can see the cows are being cared for? My neighbour has hens in her garden, so using their eggs are perfectly fine’ Free range. Let’s just focus on that for a sec… would you be happy if someone told you that you could have free range of everything they had in their house, so long as you never ever left the building, and you would be killed within 3 years because you couldn’t produce anything anymore? Good deal right? No. That’s pretty f’ed up. I would be running for the hills! Plus, so many ‘free range’ companies, some of which are even approved by the RSPCA, have been outed as battery farms. Yet they still have the ‘free range’ stamp on their products. The Happy Egg Company is one of them. So how can you trust any of them?
Here are the Happy Egg Company hens, skipping around in those promised green pastures:
‘You’re a hypocrite anyway, you have pets and you feed them meat. If you made them Vegan that would be animal abuse’ First of all, I had my pets (in my case a dog) before i went vegan. Am i supposed to just abandon him now? I met my husband before I went vegan too, should I ship him off to another family because he still chooses to eat meat? Silliness aside, dogs actually can survive and thrive on a vegan diet, it’s healther for them like it is for humans, in fact, the longest living dog was a vegan! Cat’s on the other hand… this topic is debated lots within the vegan community. It is 100% natural for cats to eat meat and, while there are some amazing vegan foods out there for felines, it’s full of synthetic vitamins and minerals to give them what they need in the absence of meat. Which is unnatural. But even when I had cats years ago and fed them meat based cat food, they would still catch mice and eat them, so whether you feed a cat vegan food or not, chances are they will still kill animals, as it’s in their nature, perhaps even more so on a vegan diet. If I had cats now, I would probably continue to feed them meat as this is what is good for a healthy cat. The meat in pet food are the dribs and drabs of the meat industry, I don’t believe you are particularly supporting the meat industry with pet food, it would be thrown as waste if it wasn’t used in pet food, so i don’t believe you are any less vegan if you own a pet and feed them meat based pet food. That being said, I don’t think I would rescue a cat now as i’d rather not buy them meat or give them artificial nutrients, but that’s not to say that others shouldn’t. There are millions of cats that need good homes and a fresh start in life, and rescuing a cat is a wonderful thing!
‘I heard that plants have feelings, so you are still killing living things’ Oh lord… this gets thrown around so much by those who have really run out of arguments against veganism! It makes me both irritated and amused at the same time! A central nervous system is needed to feel pain. Plants do not have a central nervous system. So whether or not they ‘scream’, have the ability to communicate or even ‘live and die’ it makes no difference. They do not suffer. They do not fear. They do not love. They do not get angry. They don’t feel happiness. They DO NOT FEEL PAIN. And neither does mud, stone, water etc etc.
‘Why wouldn’t you buy something like Leather or fur? Surely it’s best not to waste stuff when the animal has already died!?’ This industry is by far one of the cruellest. I used to believe that fur was from an animal that had died. It’s actually not. Most of the time it is from an animal that is kept in a cage and ‘plucked’ repeatedly until it can’t produce any more fur. Just imagine having your hair literally ripped from your head every few weeks. In other practices, these animals are skinned alive and left to die. Which would you prefer? There are plenty of videos of this happening on youtube if you really need the evidence. Whether you are vegan or not, don’t buy fur. Please. Leather is from dead cows, who have been slaughtered for humans to consume their flesh. But the leather industry is huge. People want to put their stuff in skin and carry it around, which is pretty gross when you think about it! A lot of women think it’s beautiful, and flaunt their new skin bags of varying colours to other women who are envious of ladies who have paid more money for their bag made out of skin. So even though it is a bi product of the meat industry, it is still an industry that is making some serious cash, and those companies need to be shut down. Otherwise, when people start eating less and less meat, there will still be a huge market for the skins of animals, and they will probably continue to be killed for their skin and fur. I won’t buy these products because they are gross, unnecessary, supporting cruelty AND the meat industry and there are so many cruelty free products out there. This industry is barbaric and unnecessary. Do these bags made from human skin gross you out? Ask yourself why?‘Ok so how about wool? The animal doesn’t die for that!’ This is a tricky one for me. I am vegan, and therefore I do not buy or condone the use of animal wool. (I’m not going to go into the most barbaric practices to obtain wool from sheep, you can find out about that in the link below. I am going to talk about these farmers that people claim to know are ‘really nice’ to their animals, because this is what stops people understanding the problem behind wool) However, these poor animals have been used for their wool so much so, that they now produce far too much than their bodies can handle. If left without shearing, they will become so overgrown with their wool, and their health will suffer as a result. Unfortunately, the wool business is so big, that hundreds of, for arguments sake – sheep are needed to be shorn per farm, to get a good profit. This means that the proper care is not taken and many sheep end up very sore and even cut from quick, business like, shearing. I won’t even go into the fact that these animals are kept in confinement their enitre lives and can’t live a free and happy life as nature intended, because that is obviously something none of us would like, we can’t expect any other animal to enjoy being a slave either. Anyway… so what could we do about these animals if they are no longer going to be sheared for their wool? First of all, the population of these sheep would dramatically decrease to a more natural level, as nobody would be artificially breeding them to up their numbers and gain more profit. So there wouldn’t be anywhere near as many sheep as there are now, we wouldn’t need to find vast amounts of land for them. There are many animal sanctuaries, devoting their lives to rescuing and protecting farm animals. My suggestion would be, that we have wildlife sanctuaries for sheep. They could roam free and the people who volunteer, could easily help keep their wool production down to a level that is safe and comfortable for them. This wool can be left where it is shorn, for other animals to use for warmth. It could also be collected and used as bedding for when other animals are being treated for illnesses and diseases. There are many options, this is just one idea! We don’t need to use animals for anything. Nothing bad will happen if we stop it, only good.
‘Eating honey is good for protecting bees and they are good for the environment, so why don’t you eat it?’ I have tried many times to explain this, but no one can do it better than this lady… https://youtu.be/E0N8UYgMGDQ
‘Cows, pigs, sheep and chickens etc couldn’t survive in the wild, farmers protect them’ Ok, this is an interesting one. Do you think these animals only started to exist because farmers put up fences and needed something to put in them? No. These animals were here already, they were doing fine without farmers. Humans, at one point, decided that these animals and the stuff that comes out of them, would be good products to sell. So they made farms and here we are. If the animals were released back into the countryside where they started out, a natural order would resume, and they would be fine. Especially seeing as no one would be there to kill them! The whole world will not go vegan overnight, realistically, it will happen very slowly so there will be no need for a mass cull of farm animals, they will gradually decline in numbers because farmers will breed less and less. Once there is no demand for them then they will be at much more natural numbers, and when left to their own devices, will probably adapt very quickly.
If they have been domesticated far too much that they go extinct, then that’s the way it is… i doubt humankind would let that happen though. Look at the lengths we have gone to for pandas and other threatened species. Seeing as mass producing farm animals to unnaturally large quantities was directly our doing, I think the human race would step up and help. Create nature reserves for ex farm animals and keep an eye on them while they roam free. They were fine before human intervention, i’m pretty sure, with a little help, they would be fine now. If your definition of ‘protection’ is bringing a life into this world with the sole purpose of taking everything it has and then killing it when it can’t give anymore, then I think you need to have a good look at your close relationships! Besides, the animals we use on farms do live in the wild in many other countries, and they seem to be doing ok!
‘Don’t you believe in God? It says in the bible that we are supposed to eat animals’ Well, no, I don’t believe in God. But many do, and I need to give this a thoughtful answer. I’m pretty sure there was one whopping great big rule in the bible… I think they called it a ‘commandment’. It said, thou shalt not kill. It’s pretty darn clear isn’t it? It’s not ‘thou shalt not kill… unless you like eating it’. Didn’t the bible teach peace and love? Isn’t that what it was all about? If God did tell you that he put animals here as food, then you arent doing a great job at eating them, seeing as you only eat a tiny fraction of the animals he has given you. What about mice, rats, snakes, squirrels etc etc? If he did tell you he put these animals here for you to eat, why would he make it so that you have to cook them or they will make you ill? Why does eating animals give you cancer, heart disease and diabetes? That was a bit shitty of him, isn’t he supposed to love you? Isn’t he supposed to be kind and caring? So why make your source;of ‘food’ a being that feels pain and doesn’t want to be killed? Did animals eat from the forbidden tree too? Naughty cows, perhaps they deserve it.
‘What if your child gets headlice? Or your pet gets fleas?’ I’m a vegan. Yet, if a human, or animal, came into my house and started viciously attacking my toddler, I would absolutely lose my shit and go Hulk Hogan on their ass. No questions asked. I will protect my family from anyone who wishes to do them harm. I will not stop and ask why they want to harm those I love, I will simply stop them as quickly as possible. Fleas and headlice are there to feed off a living host, harming them in the process, and have no interest in stopping. If my loved ones are being attacked by a parasite, I will do my best to stop this happening. This means killing them. If I somehow got caught with a lion, and he was trying to kill me, I will most likely pick up a gun and shoot it. This does not make me a bad vegan, this makes me a well balanced human being with a normal level of intelligence to be able to make critical decisions based on facts. The lion WILL kill me, I won’t let that happen. That would be quite ridiculous! No other species would just let their families be attacked to be kind to the attacker! The fleas and headlice will harm my pets and children, it would be child/animal abuse to let them suffer when i could easily stop it.
- Health + history
‘I drink cows milk because i’ve heard soya has too many hormones, it’s bad for you, especially males!’ Um… ok, you are happy with drinking cows milk, laden with the naturally occuring female bovine hormones that are there for baby cows and breast milk development, not to mention all of the hormones that are pumped into the cow to ensure it sustains ridiculously unnaturally high milk production so that they can produce immense amount of cows milk for humans… and you are worried about plant oestrogen? First of all, plant oestrogen is completely different to mammal oestrogen. It doesn’t behave in the same way in the human body. Secondly, I am going to refer you to my favourite, science based doctor. If you search his website, nutritionfacts.org, you will find a huge amount of articles and videos on the subject. Here is just one of them:
‘How will you get all the protein you need?’ This is one of the most common misconceptions. I tracked my macros on cronometer for a few days to see if I was getting enough of everything. I wasn’t surprised to see that I hit my protein target everyday… but I was surprised to find I was exceeding my daily protein requirement at breakfast. It’s a complete non issue. You don’t even need to give protein a second thought. It’s in pretty much everything! How many people have you heard of dying from protein deficiency? Ok… so what about if you’re a bodybuilder and need masses of the stuff? What do non vegan bodybuilders do? They have protein powder in their post work out shakes. So get one of the many much healthier vegan ones. Simple.
‘But… Calcium? We need it, so we have to drink milk or we will get osteoporosis!’ Correct! We certainly do need calcium! Contrary to what the immensely rich dairy industry has worked so hard on making everyone believe, cows milk and other dairy products are not only terrible for our overall health, but are an awful source of calcium too. Dairy does not promote healthy teeth and bones. Far from it. Conditions like osteoporosis are rife among those who consume dairy, and little to no cases of osteoporosis among those who do not consume dairy. But why is dairy not good for our bones? I first found this out after watching the acclaimed documentary ‘Forks over Knives’, highly recommended! Since then, I have gained a thirst for nutrition knowledge, and this point has been proven with un-biased scientific studies time and time again. Here is a link that shows you not only why we can’t get the calcium we need from dairy, but also where we can get it from:
‘Vegans have loads of deficiencies, like B12, you can only get that from animals… so obviously it’s natural to eat meat?’ No. Vegans don’t have loads of deficiencies. In fact, meat eaters have these deficiencies. I am not saying that all vegans have the perfect diet and get everything they need, there are many junk food vegans out there who are forced to suppliment with multivitamins, much like many meat eaters. But to suggest that vegans are more unhealthy than meat eaters is simply false. So what about B12? B12 is found in few places. Way back before we evolved, we were all vegans. We sourced our B12 from the soil our plants grew in. We didn’t have hygiene issues back then, so we consumed it naturally from the dirt on our food. Nowadays, for some crazy reason, no one wants to eat dirt! So we need to get our B12 elsewhere. Whether you suppliment, eat a few mushrooms now and then or don’t do the best job washing your veggies from time to time, you will be fine! After going vegan, a lot of people are forced to look at the way they eat, and gain an interest for nutrition which sparks a desire to ensure they are eating healthily and some will opt to take suppliments to be really sure they are getting everything they need. This is why, many people are under the false impression that vegans need to suppliment because a plant based diet can’t give you everything you need. I know many vegans, like myself, who do not suppliment and get everything I need from my diet instead.
‘We have Canines, they are meant for tearing meat!’ Could you just pop to the mirror for me and have a look at your super amazing canines. Now think of a cat. Those are canines meant for, not only tearing flesh from bones, but also for plunging and piercing deep into arteries to kill fairly instantly. You. Do. Not. Have. Meat. Eating. Canines. They are pathetic. They can quite easily get through a raw carrot, but unfortunately they would do pretty badly when face with a live animal. There is a guy who did a brilliant experiment on youtube to prove this point. He found some road kill, and attempted to tear through it using his teeth. I urge you to look it up if you still think our canines are proof that we are natural meat eaters. Once you have seen that, you will completely understand!
‘Ok, well we have always eaten meat, what about cavemen? Surely we have evolved to eat meat now?’ You’d think we would have evolved wouldn’t you? Yet, we are still behaving like we are in ‘cavemen survival mode’. We don’t have to forage for food anymore, we have supermarkets. As humans, we are doing pretty well for ourselves, yet we have stuck with this ‘caveman’ attitude to ‘survival’! Ok, lets play devils advocate here… if it really is natural to eat meat, then why is it immediately harmful to us if we eat it in it’s natural state? Like every other omnivore/carnivore on the planet? Roasting chicken is not natural. You couldn’t eat a chicken like a fox does and get away with it. Some like to argue that our brains grew once we started eating meat. Can you imagine how clever man must have been back then, to discover that meat didn’t immediately harm us if we cooked it? We must have already learned how to make fire, hunt animals AND then experimented with them both to be able to come to an intelligent conclusion. We were not eating meat before that. We had already rapidly evolved into intelligent beings. Eating meat did not help us discover electricity and build cities. Stop devolving. Eating meat was a survival strategy when real food was scarce. We don’t need to survive anymore. Humans are evolving again. Vegans are growing in numbers and we live on average, 9 years longer than meat eaters. If that is not evolving, I don’t know what is!
‘Look at us, and look at animals! We are at the top of the food chain!’ Step into a lions den and let me know how that works out for you. We certainly are NOT at the top of the food chain! We do not hunt for our prey like all other preditors on the plant, we cowardly trap them, force them to have children they have instincts to love and protect and take them away. We use machinery to protect us from getting hurt in the process. None of this is nature. We are not in the position we have put ourselves in this ‘food chain’ we have tricked our way to the ‘top’ and it’s giving us diseases and cancers and diabetes. We are not at the top of the food chain. We are incredibly stupid.
- Vegan food
‘Won’t you miss meat and dairy?’ When I first went vegan, I really thought I would, I was actually worried I would have a miserable life, as I have always been a big foodie. Then I discovered there are actually many meat and dairy substitutes out there, in normal supermarkets. In fact, since veganism has become mainstream, supermarkets have doubled their stocks this year (2017) and you can even make your own meat, cheese and milks at home! It’s super easy, much more healthy and cheaper! I don’t miss a thing! Check out this vegan pepperoni pizza!
‘Why do you recreate meat and dairy products if you don’t like eating them?’ The vast majority of people didn’t go vegan because they didn’t like the taste of meat and dairy. Reasons for going vegan include: Better health – Better for the environment – Saving money – To stop being the reason animals suffer and die. So many people like to recreate the dishes they used to enjoy before they discovered the real truth about food. It’s actually really fun to veganise old favorites!
‘You don’t have Celiac disease… why are you gluten free? It’s silly!’ Erm… i’m not gluten free. Gluten is found in things like wheat and other grains. Gluten is not an animal product. I have had lots of really lovely, well meaning friends offer me gluten free brownies etc that contain dairy and eggs, and there have been plenty of other vegans who have been mistaken for being gluten intolerant. Yes, there are gluten free vegans due to them having Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, but that’s got nothing to do with veganism. At. All. Gluten is perfectly healthy for those who don’t have issues digesting it. Research shows that avoiding gluten for no reason, can be harmful, so unless you have been diagnosed by your doctor as gluten intolerant to some degree, keep on eating those grains! Gluten is vegan. Things that come from animals, aren’t.
‘You won’t ever be able to join in with your friends and go our for dinner etc!’ Of course we can! I have been to many non vegan restaurants and cafes with my omni friends and family. I haven’t been to one that hasn’t served vegan options yet! From big chains to small family run eateries, so many are actually adding their own vegan menus along side their usual menu. In fact, the demand for vegan options are rising so quickly, that restaurants are competing with each other to offer the best dishes, which means that a lot of the time… the vegan options are way better than the omni ones!
‘What about if you are travelling and the only option is McDonalds?’ You will be pleased to know that in the UK, McDonald’s have Vegan options! Grab yourself a veggie burger with fries, and have an apple pie for dessert if you fancy it.
‘Even if that’s true, isn’t it hypocritical to support a company that mass murders animals?’ Different people have different views on this one. Some would say that no one should support companies who murder animals. This is impossible. Many businesses support the meat industry: Petrol stations sell meat and dairy products. Banks are in cahoots with huge companies like McDonald’s. Facebook advertises countless cruel companies. The person you pay your rent to, buys meat with it. Your supermarket sells all these horrible products you are against. If you shop at a fruit and veg store, to avoid these places… how are you to know that the profit the owner has made from you, hasn’t gone towards a new gun for his deer hunting hobby?
‘Vegan food is so expensive!’ False. Vegan food is very cheap! Imagine buying everything you usually buy, and then swapping all the meat for beans instead. Meat and dairy is very expensive when you look at it like that! Not all vegan products are cheap though, if you decide to replace everything you use now for the vegan replacement, then you’ll probably spend about the same. Most vegans start their journey’s doing this, and I believe it’s the best way to start. Gradually introduce yourself to a new way of eating. People soon realise that there are other ways to have delicious and even more nutritious meals, without replacing the meat and dairy too. Which means they geneally spend less on meat replacements and more on cheaper and healither pulses and grains, which gradually reduces their outgoings on food. Being vegan is NOT expensive. Our household has saved more money since veganism. If you want to buy everything organic, branded and top if the range, then that’s up to you. You spend what you allow yourself to.
‘But what do you even eat though? I could never be Vegan, I couldn’t just live on salad, it’s so restrictive!’ Well… take a look at all of my recipes here…
‘Animals will all die out if we eat all their food!’ The majority of wild herbivorous animals (including farm animals) eat the plants we don’t. Grass, shrubs, leaves from trees, moss, bark, acorns, flowers, bamboo etc etc, they do not plant broccoli and aubergines. Even if they did, we would have planted our own and would have no need for theirs.
‘We will detroy the rainforests if we eat all the plants!’ The largest cause of deforestation is animal agriculture. There is no denying that, as it is a fact. Land is cleared to raise animals for human consumption and to grow crops to feed those animals so they get nice and fat. A fraction of the land is needed to grow food for humans. I explain this in much more detail in my ‘Vegan for the environment’ article, which you can find here: https://weirdveganlady.com/2016/12/11/vegan-for-the-environment/
‘Why would you take your child’s choice to eat meat away from them? Isn’t that like child abuse?’ Let’s just forget for a moment that meat, dairy and eggs are the main contributors to most cancers, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol, parkinsons disease, stroke, lung disease, high blood pressure and many more… and talk about the ethics of choice. As parents, our children learn from us. If we are kind to others, they watch and copy. If we shout at them for being naughty, they will learn our parenting skills and shout at their children. If we get stressed out in traffic jams, they will one day be swearing in traffic too. If you smoke, statistics show that your children are more likely to take it up as adults. They soak up what we teach them (even when we don’t think we are teaching them) like a sponge! We make choices for them everyday. I buy them clothes, they wear them. I tell them which bedroom is theirs, they sleep in it. I tell them they will be staying at grandmas for the weekend, they pack a bag. I get them to try street dance club, they dance. I apply for the school I want them to get in to, they put on the uniform. I am their mother. They do a lot of things because I feel it is right for them. If I don’t want to eat animal products, my children won’t either. If I do, they won’t see a problem with it, and will follow suit. So, if I am to raise my children to respect life and their own bodies, by eating a healthy, plant based diet, why is that any different to raising them on an omnivore diet? (Health issues aside) In each case I have taken away a choice. The choice to eat animals, and the choice not to. Why should I go against everything I have researched to be good for them, and give them the things that i know will cause them to suffer when they are older, just because their friends eat things that are bad for them? To tell my children that they arent allowed to smoke is taking away their choice to smoke. Does that make me a bad parent too?
‘What if you were on a desert island and you knew you weren’t going to be saved? You would eat meat then wouldn’t you?’ People are constantly throwing this question at vegans, I have no idea why! This has never happened to anyone I know or anyone they have ever known, but people seem so concerned about this situation, as if it’s a real possibility! Well, if I was stranded on a desert island, my first priority would be to find food. My first instict, however, would not be to find an animal to kill. I genuinely believe most people would sort out some shelter, look for clean water and find fruit trees or coconuts. If there are animals on this island to eat, then they are getting their food from somewhere. Its much easier to find a mango and eat it than it is to try to make tools to kill something, track down a monkey, climb the trees to catch it, then kill it, then skin it, then remove guts and eyeballs etc, then build a fire to cook it… right? I think i’ll stick with the mangos!
‘But bacon tho…’ This kind of attitude does upset me now. Although, I do completely understand the thinking, or lack of thinking. Before I went vegan, one of my absolute favorite ‘foods’ was beef bevette from Wholefoods. My in-laws are vegetarians and my husband and I joked about never being able to live without the delights of beef bevette! I didn’t think of the animal. Cognative dissonance was still so strong that I could actually talk/joke about eating animals, without even thinking about the fact I was actually eating an animal. It wasn’t real, it wasn’t a cow, it was beef. Which sounds so bizarre to me now that I have made the connection. So I do actually understand people’s ‘but bacon’ attitude… and those who say things like this are the hardest to educate. But it’s not impossible. The woman who used to say ‘but beef bevette tho…’ became a vegan blogger after all. This meme should help those begin to see what we see:
‘Cow’s will die if we don’t milk them!’ Yes. I have genuinely seen someone try to argue this point on Facebook. If someone actually says anything as ludicrous as this, just walk away, safe in the knowledge they have totally run out of excuses. They are practically already vegan!