As any vegan will know, when you tell someone you’re vegan, you’re immediately met with a myriad of excuses from meat eaters about why they would never, or could never, go vegan. And as a vegan, you’ll know that’s exactly what they are – excuses.
It can often be difficult to come up with arguments that counteract these excuses, either in person or online. Whilst it’s likely you’ll know what they’re saying is wrong, it can be difficult to always produce the right counter-arguments at the right moment. So with that, we’ve come up with an ‘Arguments Against Veganism’ series, that aims to help you out.
We’ve created 14 common arguments meat-eaters have against veganism, and created simple, research backed counter arguments. When you’re in person, they should be short enough to remember and counter-act any meat-eater excuse. If you’re online, you can simply post them onto social media.
They’re simple to download. Simply enter in your email address below, and you’ll be sent an email to confirm it’s really you. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be sent an email with a downloadable link, simply press that and they’ll download straight to your computer. Please be aware that the second email might not arrive straight away, so just hang tight and it should arrive within the hour (and don’t forget to check your junk folder!). We’ve given you the first one below, so you can see what they look like.
We hope you like them as much as we do. Below you can find all the excuses and arguments with their sources.
Argument 1 – “Vegans are small and weak. I won’t get muscles or make gains.”
There’s a common misconception that vegans are weak, but this is completely false. You can be healthier and get bigger through a plant based diet, because you can get all the protein you need through plants. Not convinced? Check out these vegan bodybuilders & athletes:
Venus Williams – World tennis pro
David Carter – the 300lb vegan and former NFL defensive lineman
John Joseph – Ironman triathlete
Tia Blanco – World surfing pro
Patrick Baboumian – Former bodybuilder and strongman competitor
Torre Washington – Vegan bodybuilder
Argument 2 – “But…bacon”
Bacon has been classed by the World Health Organisation as a Group 1 carcinogenic, meaning it does cause cancer. This is the same group as tobacco and asbestos. Even the smallest amount of bacon can increase the risk of colorectal cancer by 21%. As well as this, pigs are highly intelligent animals. They possess complex ethological traits similar to dogs and chimpanzees. They engage in complex social play, can distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar individuals, can develop sophisticated social competitive behaviour (similar to some primate species) and can connect with the emotions of other pigs, among much more.
Argument 3 – “One person won’t make a difference”
When reviewing the average amount of meat consumed in the American diet per year, it’s possible to work out that on average, a vegan will save 198 animals per year. That’s nearly 17 animals a month, and 4 every week! Even just saving one animal is making a difference, so never underestimate your power. By doing the right thing, you’re giving a voice to the voiceless, and standing up for what you know is right.
Argument 4 – “It’s unhealthy being vegan. You can’t get all of the protein and vitamins you need”
You can get all of the vital nutrients and minerals you need through a plant based diet. Eating a vegan diet can reduce the overall chance of cancer in both genders, lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes and lower the risk of heart disease, among so much more. Just remember to get the following:
Iron: legumes, lentils and leafy greens
Protein: nuts, seeds, legumes, lentils, tofu, quinoa, rice
Omega 3: flaxseed oil, some nuts
B12: through fortified foods (such as some vegan milks and vegemite)
Calcium: soybeans, leafy greens and fortified milks and juice
Argument 5 – “Your body needs meat to survive”
You do not need meat to survive. In fact, eating meat is detrimental to your health. Eating meat could increase your chance of dying of cancer by 60%, double your chance of dying from heart disease, and increase your chance of dying from other diseases by 30%. In comparison, eating a plant based diet decreases the chance of certain cancers, lowers the risk of heart disease, lowers blood sugar levels, improves kidney function and so much more. It is possible to get all of the vitamins and minerals the body needs through a plant based diet (including the recommended amount of protein!), by eating fruit, veg, nuts, beans, grains and legumes.
Argument 6 – “We have canine teeth for a reason, we’re meat to eat meat”
This isn’t true. Did you know that the largest pair of canine teeth belong to the hippo, who is a herbivore? The same goes for the gorilla. We’re actually far more similar to herbivores than carnivores, with smaller digestive systems, smaller mouth openings, fewer sharp teeth and unstable jaws; we use side to side movements to crush and grind plants.
If you think you can hunt, kill and rip apart an animal with your bare teeth, then go right ahead. But realistically, we’re far more suited to a herbivore diet than a carnivore diet like a lion.
Argument 7 – “If everyone stopped eating meat, the animals would go extinct or take over”
At the moment, animals are being bred on an unprecedented scale, purely for consumption. If everyone stopped eating meat, then the demand would decrease, meaning less animals would be bred; therefore they wouldn’t ‘take over’. It’s also unlikely that they would go extinct, as many would be kept in sanctuaries or as pets. Whilst no one knows for sure what would happen, the idea of continuing this barbaric cycle of cruelty so that animals don’t go extinct isn’t justifiable. Not forgetting the impact on the environment and your health.
Sources: Ethical Vegan
Argument 8 – “I could never go vegan, I’d miss [insert animal product here] too much”
Vegans don’t eat grass, like many people think. Vegans eat everything non-vegans eat, just without the side of cruelty. Be it cheese, ice cream, pizza, hot dogs, chocolate, doughnuts or burgers, the list goes on. There is a huge array of fantastic mock products out there to replicate everything you could think of, and loads of delicious recipes. It’s simple, easy and tasty to replace your favourite foods with a cruelty-free alternative.
Argument 9 – “My ancestors ate meat, it’s part of evolution – we’re the top of the food chain”
Did you know that there is evidence to suggest that Neanderthals who lived around 40,000 years ago were cannibals? Now you know it’s likely that your ancestors ate each other, does that justify you doing the same? Our ancestors ate meat because they had no alternative. But now we have evolved to who we are today, and are more aware of the effects of animal products on our health and the environment, there really is no need to consume it (especially with the array of alternatives available). Not forgetting that our ancestors weren’t mass producing factory farmed animals like today, so the situation isn’t the same.
Argument 10 – “I know the animals I eat have had a great life on a farm”
Unless you’re buying the products from a farm you have visited personally, you have no idea how they are treated. Supermarkets use marketing to trick you into believing animals have had a great life, when this is untrue. Even if they have had a ‘good’ life, an animal that doesn’t want to die is still being slaughtered, and at a young age. For example, the average age of a cow sent to slaughter is 18 months; their normal lifespan is 15-20 years. Even then, there is no such thing as ‘humane’ slaughter. Animals feel pain, they feel the fear of being sent to an abattoir, and there is no excuse to subject a sentient being to that. If it was you in their place, how would you feel?
Argument 11 – “Plants have feelings too”
Being vegan means reducing as much suffering as possible and doing the best you can. Whilst research has been conducted that shows plants have similar senses to humans and can sense a threat, they have no central nervous system and aren’t aware of their own consciousness. In comparison, it is a recognised fact that as sentient beings, animals feel pain. It is alarming that people believe plants and animals are the same.
It comes down to this, if you had to kill a living, breathing cow, or rip a carrot from the ground, which one would you choose?
Argument 12 – “I’m a real man so I eat meat”
Realistically, if your masculinity is so fragile that the only way you can feel manly is by eating a defenceless animal, then there are bigger issues that need looking at. A recent study by PETA found that vegan men get double the amount of matches on Tinder in comparison to meat eaters. Oh, and not forgetting that a vegan diet can reduce the risk of erectile disfunction by up to 20%.
Argument 13 – “You can’t get vitamin B12 from a vegan diet”
It’s true you can’t get B12 naturally through a vegan diet. B12 is a bacteria created by microorganisms. Animals get this through absorbing bacteria in their own digestive system and are usually fed it by farmers, which is then passed to humans through the meat.
Vegans can easily get B12 through fortified foods or supplements, and there are loads of options (such as non-dairy milk and cereals) so it’s super easy to get the recommended daily allowance without the cruelty.
Argument 14 – “I need protein”
Protein is not as big of a deal as everyone makes out. You can easily get enough protein through a plant based diet, by eating a sufficient amount of calories through a variety of plant foods. You can get protein from vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains. Most meat-eaters get around double the amount of protein they actually need, and too much protein can lead to many health problems, such as kidney disease, cancer and osteoporosis.
Sources: Physicians Committee