Several people and international organizations like PeTA can be seen promoting veganism on social media, TV, and sometimes even on the streets. They try to portray meat eaters as inhuman and unethical. I have a problem with that, and if you are also pissed off with them, then read on.
We will try to understand their arguments and also give counter arguments for eating meat. Let’s begin.
Arguments for Veganism and Counter Arguments for Eating Meat.
1. Don’t Kill Animals – An Ethics Issue
The most common argument people give to adopt vegan diet is that we should not kill an animal for food. To support their agenda, they show images or videos of slaughterhouses or chicken farms or ask people why it is okay for them to eat a chicken but not a dog. They do such things to evoke your emotions and make you believe that you are a murderer and it’s because of nonvegetarians, that these animals are having miserable lives.
Arguments for Eating Meat: There is no food that is 100% cruelty free. If you think fruits and vegetables are cruelty free, you are wrong. Several insects/pests are poisoned by the farmers so that we get health and fresh spinach, strawberry, and other fruits and vegetables.
Other than pests, several mice, rabbits, rats, snakes, earthworms, beetles, birds, and other animals die when crops are planted and harvested. So, there is animal life loss in any case.
So, it is clear that animal death happens in both the cases and therefore both Vegans and Nonvegetarians are guilty of killing animals directly or indirectly.
The only debate that is left after this argument is to decide on which diet causes least harm. Peta claims vegan diet is less harmful and meat eaters claim vegan diet causes more deaths. The debate continues, with no clear winner.
There is a strong scientific basis that underpins the importance of livestock and meat in balanced ecosystems and healthy diets.
It’s a well-known fact that eliminating either plant or animal foods from our diet can result in deficiencies. You get the best form of Iron, B12, Calcium, and proteins from animal-based food like milk, eggs, and meat.
If nonvegetarian food was not important for our health, then vegans would not need to supplement with Vitamin B12 capsules or eat foods fortified with zinc, calcium, and vitamin B12. Because they need these artificial foods (supplements), it proves that they are going against the nature. They are limiting themselves to an un-natural, unhealthy, and deficient diet.
Their adventurism is based on the belief that plants don’t feel the pain when they are cut, or uprooted. But no scientific research or theory is permanent. Science keeps making new discoveries. Till a few years back it was believed that insects don’t feel the pain. But now it is widely accepted that insects do feel the pain. What happens tomorrow if science finds out that plants don’t just feel the sensations but can feel the pain as well.
3. Health Issues
When vegans advocate for switching to vegan diet, they often bring forth the health issues that a greater number of non-vegetarians’ face like diabetes, strokes, heart burn, digestive issues, lactose allergy, and others. However, they don’t talk about gluten allergy caused by grains, Iron-deficient anemia and fatigue, B12-deficient anemia, depression due to omega 3 fatty acid deficiency, low immunity due to low zinc, and weak bones due to calcium deficiency. These are the diseases faced by Vegans.
Many of these nutrients cannot be obtained from vegan diet, so it’s common for vegans to use supplements (or fortified food). But they forget that supplements are no replacement of organic food. According to science, Supplements can help, but they can’t make up for deficiencies in an overall diet.
Many vegans eat artificial meat to satisfy their taste buds. This fake meat is made of highly processed ingredients that are very bad for the liver and overall health of the body. Our bodies are designed to eat plants and meat, not factory manufactured supplements and fake meat which is low in overall nutrition.
4. Animal Welfare in Farms.
In January 2008 horrifying pictures of dairy cows living in inhumane condition went viral. Some cows were gravely ill, and a few couldn’t even stand. The situation is no different in poultry farms, where they are subjected to brutal husbandry methods.
Now, there is no denying that this is actually happening. Most nonvegetarian people are not happy about it and want it stopped.
The solution vegans are advocating is to ban on all animal products like wool, leather, milk, eggs, and meat. But it is not practical for several reasons like nutrition, food security, inflation, and religion. Some countries don’t even have enough fertile land to grow vegetables and grain at large scale to feed their citizens.
Arguments for Eating Meat:
Farming in its current form is bad for animals. Be it any kind of farm, poultry farms, livestock farms, dairy farms, or agriculture farms. All types of farms are un-natural and are meant to produce food and other products for human consumption.
Like I mentioned earlier, several mice, rabbits, rats, snakes, worms, beetles, birds, and other animals die when crops are planted and harvested. Plus, there is death of pests and insects who are doing no crime by eating crops that are their natural food. They have equal right over that food. You can see insects agonize when you spray pesticide over them. How is it different from the brutality we see in animal farms? It’s the same.
For the sake of argument, I will even say that brutality is happening in the homes of many pet lovers! Captivating animals is bad in all forms; be it a bird, or a dog or kitty at home. If you are sensitive towards animals, and have pets at home, then keep the doors of your home open. Let them go out and come back, whenever they want. Let the birds fly in open sky. Let the dogs and kitty find partners for themselves, let them mate with their partners and let them have families. If they return back to your home, then there is nothing wrong about what you have been doing. But if they don’t return. You know what they always wanted but they did not have that option of getting freed.
Many current breeds of pets are genetically modified, and these animals may not be able to survive in jungles on their own. Who is responsible for the creation of these hybrids? So, it’s not always the meat eaters that are responsible for harm to animals. Many times, it’s the so-called animal lovers that create an industry that promotes experimentation and genetic modification of animals.
Governments: The governments have to step in and make laws for the protection of animal rights.
- Ample Room: The government should ensure that there is enough space in farms and transportation vehicles for the animals and their offspring to live a better life.
- Food, Water, & Shelter: The government should ensure that livestock farms protect animals from the weather and provides 24/7 access to fodder and water.
- Make Stunning Mandatory: The government should make stunning of animal mandatory in slaughterhouses and hatcheries so that there is no fear or pain to the animal. The UK government has already made it mandatory.
Nonvegetarians can make conscious choices like buying free-range eggs and chicken, and grass-fed beef. It would cost a little more, but it is healthier and good for the environment too.
Vegans should plant vegetables in their house backyard using no-till agriculture or hydroponics. Basically, say no to eatables produced in vegetable farms because it kills several animals in the process. Use kitchen waste compost for fertilization. Avoid animal manure based compost as animal manure come from livestock farms and vegans don’t want to use any product (milk, eggs, wool, leather, animal poop) from these farms to make them less profitable and hence reduce their numbers. Also don’t spray pesticides.
If this looks un-practical, which I think it is, then the best and perfect way of leading an un-sinful ethical life is to move to a jungle. Eat like Himalayan sadhus who eat just berries, tubers, and fruits. You will not have to farm vegetables, you will not have to spray pesticides, you will not have to drink milk. Eat naturally ripened fruits that have fallen on the ground.
5. Why limit our sensitivity to Animals alone?
Vegans are insensitive towards the plant welfare. They will happily pull the entire plant of carrot or radish straight up from the soil and not feel bad about it because it does not cry or bleed. Nevertheless, it brings an un-natural death to the plant, which if allowed to live its full life, would have flowered and produced seeds.
Just like chickens in poultry farm, most plants in plant farms are not allowed to live their full life. They are uprooted after first harvest, while they are still green and alive.
Most chicken eggs we eat today, are not fertile but most grains we eat are fertile. So, by eating eggs we are not preventing a life from taking birth. But by eating grains/flour/bread, we prevent these seeds from germinating. What is more cruel?
If killing is bad, then all types of farming should be stopped completely as it kills animals directly or indirectly. An insect has equal right to eat a fruit growing on earth as any other animal or human. So, why use pesticides?
But if we stop using pesticides, there won’t be enough food to feed the world. So, killing will happen anyway. So, why not eat the killed animal directly.
6. The Real Problem, Nobody Wants to Address.
Our aim should be finding the truth about life and food chain. And not make decisions before knowing the complete truth.
Science says, human beings are omnivores, which means both plant and animal food are essential part of our balanced diet. We cannot avoid one type of food without seeing bad effects on our health. But people will not listen to science.
It is actually only stupid to not agree to the way things are designed by the nature or God. People preferring supplements and man-made fortified foods over natural organic food is yet another example of stupidity that is prevalent these days.
The root cause of problem that we are seeing today is industrialization, urbanization, and increasing human population. Natural resources are not enough to feed this large population of human beings living in large cities. This has necessitated the creation of livestock farms, poultry farms, dairy farms, and also plant farms.
Hunting and killing happens in nature. It surely is not prohibited by the nature, which is the only visible form of God. Problem is captivation of animals, killing of their unprofitable offspring, depriving calves of sufficient milk, and conditions under which they are made to live. The remedy to this problem is to create the balance in nature again.
Humans can not bring this balance back. It is simply beyond their capacity. But it will happen, when it has to happen. Earth has seen extinction of many civilizations in the past like the Mayan civilization and we may see such events again in the future. Which is the way of nature, the visible form of god to bring things back to its natural balance. This balance can not be achieved without killing and destruction. If we think emotionally, it is bad. But if we think rationally, its part of life. Destruction, which brings killings, is necessary to keep a balance.
By asking everybody to avoid animal products including milk and eggs, Vegan enthusiasts can only deteriorate health of this society. And it is an important contribution. Because who will have a better chance of survival in case of a disastrous natural calamity when all industrial food supplies and supplements stop? Vegans will actually help in quickly reducing the human population and therefore help bring balance in Animal-Plant-Human population ratio.
So, don’t worry too much about this Vegan trend. Just think for your and your family’s food preferences. The best you can achieve by quoting arguments given above is to shut them up if they try to influence you.
Dietary choices are ultimately a personal decision, and individuals may have different perspectives, cultural considerations, religious perspectives, or dietary needs that influence their choices.
Variety is what makes life interesting and shows those life paths. So, neither vegans nor nonvegetarians should do advocacy work. What others eat is none of their business.