Why do vegans view the world so differently from non-vegans? What do vegans see that others don’t? This post is dedicated to popular misconceptions about veganism. Hearing these questions and justifications repeatedly can become frustrating, but remember: if these people truly believed that consuming animal products was morally correct, they would feel no need to justify their actions or become upset and defensive. Give them support, understanding, kindness, and time to sort out their internal conflicts. We are all friends here on this Earth. 🙂
Because there are so many topics to address, this post will be broken into 3 parts.
So let’s begin!
What is Veganism?
Veganism is a social movement that seeks to end all forms of exploitation and unnecessary cruelty to animals. Vegans do not support using animals as food sources, clothing, experimental subjects, or entertainment. More than just a diet, it is a lifestyle based upon minimizing the suffering an individual is responsible for.
Vegans think they are better than everybody else!
We are vegan for the exact opposite reason: we believe that all living creatures, no matter the species, are equally valuable. Vegans are anti-speciesists, which means that we do not discriminate individuals based upon which species they belong to. In our eyes, all creatures are equally worthy of a life free of unnecessary harm. So undoubtedly, vegans view all humans as equals, too, no matter their dietary preferences.
Eating meat is natural. Our ancestors have been doing it for all of history!
There is a difference between eating meat because you have to and eating meat because you want to. Up until the last century, there was little else humans could eat. People consumed animals to survive, and most certainly did not kill them in horrendous factory farms. The times have changed. Today, people have ready access to plenty of vegan options at any grocery store. Consuming animal products is no longer an imperative of survival. In fact, maintaining this outdated and unnecessary practice does more harm than good. With such a great variety of compassionate options available, no taste, tradition, or personal choice can justify the cruel practice of slaughtering mass amounts of animals for food, as well as destroying our planet in the process.
Why is it acceptable for carnivorous animals to eat meat, but not humans?
First, carnivorous animals’ bodies are built to hunt prey. Look at the high speed lions can run at, their large sharp claws, and long dagger-like teeth. Now think of your own running speed. Look at your round, soft finger nails and flat teeth. If you were dropped into the woods with no tools but your naked body, could you kill a pig or cow? And even if you did, could you tear it apart and eat it raw? Clearly, humans are not prey animals.
Secondly, industrialization of meat production is not at all comparable to carnivorous animals hunting prey. Animals farmed for meat are bred for the select purpose of being killed for consumption. They live their lives in filthy cages and stalls with no space to move. They are loaded into trucks and transported to the slaughterhouse to be killed while they are only a fraction of the age they would live to in the wild. They are shackled by the feet, their throats are slit, their bodies are skinned and dismembered, and their flesh is packaged and shipped to the store. Factory farming has nothing to do with survival of the fittest. None have a chance at survival. How can picking up a pack of this industrialized flesh off a shelf be compared to carnivorous animals hunting in the wild? Putting a pack of steak in your cart requires the same amount of energy as picking up a head of broccoli. How does one food choice demonstrate your strength and dominance? You did nothing to obtain that chunk of flesh. No carnivorous animal obtains their meat this way.
Animals are here for our use. Humans have the right to eat them if they choose to.
Only humans view the world as human-centric. There is no way to prove that this Earth belongs to us any more than other species. No one had any control over which species they were born into. Just because other animals look different, speak different languages, and carry different abilities, does not mean that their lives are less valuable. Why do you as a human deserve the personal choice to eat meat more than they deserve the personal choice to live?
Just because we can, does not mean we should. If humans are the most advanced animals, then we have the responsibility to turn from our primal carnivorous traditions and make food choices that preserve the health of other species and the planet. If humans have moral and ethical reasoning that exceeds that of other animals, then why are we the most cruel and destructive species of all? All animals are capable of feeling love, joy, fear, and pain. They have lives, futures, and families of their own. No one has the right to unnecessarily take these things from them.
As for religious justifications of animal consumption, I leave you with this: if your religious leader was alive today, would he/she eat meat? Food is obtained very differently today than it was in the distant past. Thinking individuals of all religions have seen it fit to leave meat off their plate.
That is all of the misconceptions I will be addressing today. If you have any further questions, feel free to let me know! Part 2 will be posted next week. 🙂