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Welcome to Zinedine Vegane, a helpful and easy-to-read source of online information about veganism. I’ve built this page to educate others about veganism; to help people understand why we do it; and to refute all the silly myths and arguments out there about it. If anyone you know has any questions about or arguments against veganism, my hope is that you can direct them here and see an instant change in their perception of veganism and vegans.

We’ll start with the consumerism stuff (why we don’t buy, eat or wear certain things), then we’ll talk about the nutrition and health side of veganism, and then we’ll go on to address the many myths, questions and arguments there are regarding veganism.

Most of the videos I’ve posted in this first section are by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). They’re all pretty short and I urge you to watch every single one of them to see for yourself the horrors we are continually shielded from.

 

Why don’t vegans buy/eat dairy products (e.g. cheese and milk and products containing them)?

The dairy cow lives a miserable existence. Constantly made pregnant (through artificial insemination – that is, having a huge metal syringe forced into her vagina and being pumped full of bull semen, no anaesthetic) in order to produce an unimaginable amount of milk (and often becoming infected through this cruel process), she gives birth many times and, on each occasion, has her calf taken away from her. Just like a human mother, a strong bond is formed when her child is born… but she is to never see them again. Dairy cows are known to bellow their lungs out for days after having their baby taken away from them. And what goes on to happen to their children? The video I’m about to show you will explain all. With a delicious choice of vegan milks available and suitable for all things (soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, hemp milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, and many more), there really is no need for us to consume dairy produce any longer. Not your mum = not your milk. When you buy dairy produce, this is what you fund:

The vid will only take 2 minutes of your time, so I urge you watch it now before you continue reading.

Also, want to see how cows are treated in the industry? Here is an undercover investigation at a dairy farm which supplies Burger King (you know, that trusted food brand):

What’s quite interesting is that most people will find the Burger King vid to show extreme acts of cruelty by a bunch of evil scumbags, and rightly so. But you have to also ask yourself: if beating and terrorising animals is cruelty, how is it not cruelty when you put a bullet in an animal’s head, or slash their throat with a knife?

Fun facts:

Did you know there is pus in every drop of milk you drink (http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/how-many-pus-cells-are-in-your-milk)? There’s even guidelines in the dairy industry for how much pus is allowed to actually remain in the milk before it hits the shelf! Got Pus?

Did you know that cheese contains rennet, an enzyme used in the curdling process, that comes from a calf’s stomach lining? That stuff has to go through someone else’s stomach before it gets to yours! Gotta love being “top of the food chain”.

Why don’t vegans buy/eat eggs?

One of the biggest myths out there is that when you buy eggs, whether they be standard or free range, no animals had to suffer for it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m about to show you an undercover investigation conducted by PETA at a typical hatchery, in Iowa. The vid shows you what you fund when you buy any type of eggs:

Fun fact:

Ever thought about what eggs actually are? Well, just as the female of our species lays an unfertilised egg, the female of the chicken species does the same. Yep, that’s right – an egg is a hen’s period. Eggs come out of a hen’s cloaca, the same single hole she uses for shitting and pissing. Want to see a video of a hen laying your breakfast? Be my guest (she starts from about 1:28):

Why don’t vegans buy/wear leather?

Many people are under the impression that leather is a by-product of the beef industry. This is not true. Let me put to you the incredible hypocrisy our species advocates – most of us are disgusted that someone buys fur (and the fur industry is one of the things I’m not going to post about on here – after all, it seems to have done the rounds on Facebook enough times), but wearing a cow’s skin on your feet? Well that’s just fine. Here, Stella McCartney, for PETA, presents to us the realities of the leather industry:

Why don’t vegans buy/wear wool?

As per with any animal product, there are many misconceptions out there about wool. Please see this vid by PETA, this time presented by Pink, which exposes the unimaginable suffering that occurs when we buy wool:

While I’m aware that the video is based on the Australian wool industry, some people will try to refute this by saying that they buy wool from “humane” farms in their own country, and repeat the notion that “sheep need shearing”. Unfortunately, there’s no magical happy farm in Europe or the Americas or wherever where sheep sit down in a nice comfy chair and ask for a short back and sides while discussing their holidays. Whether your wool came from the farm in Australia in the above vid, or the farm in the rolling hills of Dorset, you can be sure there was a great degree of callousness and suffering involved in its production. Baby lambs deemed not fit for growing wool for our jumpers are routinely slammed against the floor to be executed for their worthlessness to the industry, and those that do “make the cut”, shall we say, are eventually sent off to slaughter anyway, so the farmer can make one last profit off their body. The bottom line is, animals are disposable to farmers, and it doesn’t matter what country you bought your product from.

Attention: please also be very aware of a type of wool called Angora wool, which comes from rabbits on farms in China. You may have seen this exposed on social media, but if not, it’s essential that you watch:

Why don’t vegans buy/eat honey?

Much to many people’s amazement, vegans don’t believe it’s ethically acceptable to consume honey. A basic principle of veganism is that it is wrong to unnecessarily take from creatures what is not ours and we have no use for other than our own enjoyment. Bees work their little yellow arses off to make honey, its purpose being to serve as a food source for them, not for us. There is no need whatsoever for us to steal resources from these fantastic little creatures.

For more information, here is a brilliant website which explains why vegans don’t buy honey:

http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

Fun fact:

Honey is a bee’s partially digested, regurgitated food. Yep, there’s no two ways about it. Honey is insect vomit. You could almost say it’s sickly sweet. Cheerios, anyone?

Why don’t vegans buy/wear silk?

Vegans make a choice to not be part of the suffering of all creatures great and small, and silkworms are not exempt from this. Here is a good page explaining why vegans don’t buy silk:

http://www.weanimals.org/blog.php?entry=151

Why don’t vegans buy/wear down (feathers)?

Hopefully by now you’re beginning to understand how animals are treated in all animal product industries and that there’s a cruel story behind everything you buy that came from an animal. Once again though, I’ll show you one more PETA vid which exposes the cruelty of the down industry:

So there we are. Hopefully that clarifies a lot of things as to why we don’t buy the aforementioned animal products. Now, onto health and nutrition…

 

Health and nutrition

eat-plants

The age we live in is awash with chronic diseases: cancers, strokes, heart attacks, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes. What aggravates these? Why are we getting these diseases so easily? It’s a commonly held belief that we need to eat animal produce to live a healthy life. The truth is – it’s what’s killing us!

The Western diet, in particular, is filled with disease-causing compounds: animal protein, saturated fat, cholesterol, trans-fatty acids and casein (found in dairy produce) are abundant in non-vegan diets. I’m pretty sure that if Britain was to sink below sea level, an oily yellow film would rise to the surface. Did you know that in a vegan diet, there is no cholesterol whatsoever? That’s right. If you’re a vegan, you consume no cholesterol at all.

But cholesterol is good for you, I hear? Only the cholesterol our bodies produce. When we consume cholesterol from an outside source (found only in animal products: meat, dairy, fish, eggs), this is called dietary cholesterol, and is a major cause of heart disease in our society.

But everything in moderation, right? Wrong. There’s no such thing as everything in moderation in the standard Western diet. Animal produce is part of every meal, be it the milk in your tea, or the centrepiece of your Sunday roast. That, over the years, is a lot of shit going into your body. Did you know that 8.5 percent of US soldiers who died between 2001 and 2011 (allegedly fit, healthy young men) already had atherosclerosis? Every meal you eat which contains anything from an animal’s body builds up a plaque in your heart – and there’s only one diet that can stop that.

Do the research yourself and you’ll find that vegans are less likely to get cancer (particularly digestive cancers such as stomach and bowel cancer, or sex-specific cancers, such as prostate and breast cancer), are far less likely to get heart disease, and are less likely to get diabetes, stroke. There’s even links between veganism and prevention of diseases such as multiple sclerosis (see http://pcrm.org/health/health-topics/treating-multiple-sclerosis-with-diet-fact-or) and a whole host of other life-threatening conditions.

I’m not saying vegans don’t get these degenerative diseases – they do. But one thing is for sure: adopting a vegan diet decreases your chances of suffering from one of these illnesses. Many meat eaters do the typical thing when a famous vegan or vegetarian dies of a chronic illness and say, “Ha, fat lot of good it did him/her then, didn’t it?” But this would be like, say, a non-smoker dying of cancer and then people saying, “Ha, fat lot of good it did him/her not smoking!”

If you want to watch a fascinating documentary on nutrition, watch Forks Over Knives, which examines the link between the Western diet and our degenerative diseases, and explains how switching to a plant-based diet can prevent and even reverse many of them. It features T Colin Campbell, a nutrition expert and biochemist who wrote ‘The China Study’, the largest and most comprehensive nutritional study ever conducted, which concludes that a plant-based diet is essential for maintaining optimum health. Forks Over Knives is not just some flimsy project with a load of quacks telling you sensationalist myths – it features a host of qualified medical experts and surgeons, leaders in their field, who all advocate switching to a vegan diet. It is the most eye-opening film you’ll ever watch, and I promise you that it’ll blow the lid on everything you thought was great about eating animal produce. In fact, I’d even go as far to say, if you ever watch one documentary ever again, make it this one – it might just save your life: http://www.movshare.net/video/e690fa38debfa

forks-over-knives

Anyway, enough on the health and nutrition for now. The next section of this site is to clear up many of the misconceptions about veganism, and to answer the most commonly asked questions and arguments. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen…

 

 

Questions, myths and arguments against veganism

1. “Animals have no moral code / There is no right or wrong in the animal kingdom”

There are so many things wrong with this excuse, I don’t know where to start. First, how on earth does a being’s sense of right or wrong somehow decrease their capacity to suffer, or make them more deserving of feeling pain and misery? If you’re a fine, upstanding member of the species which supposedly has the moral code and the sense of right or wrong, you’d better start using it, because right now, you’re not setting a very good example, let me tell you.

The one that bugs me the most in the logical style of this argument is when people say something like: “Nature is full of animals eating other animals. Lions do it all the time!” Are you serious? If you think you’re so morally superior to animals, then why on earth are you trying to be like them? Surely your goal should be to be as little like them as possible. Just so you know, regarding the whole lion thing, male lions rape lionesses all the time. They also kill their young all the time. If you want to live your life based on the actions of lions, it is a truly vile and barbaric society that you are trying to create.

lionism

For the record, the only reason lions and other carnivorous creatures eat other animals is because they have to. Animals kill for need, humans kill for greed. As Mark Twain said: “Of all the creatures, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he is the only one that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.”

Funnily enough, I actually see the statement “animals have no moral code” as more of an argument against eating meat than for it. Think about it: lions, hyenas, tigers, sharks, etc. have no moral code and humans do. Therefore, who should be the ones that do eat meat and who should be the ones who do not?

And it is from this first argument that I will issue a disclaimer about the rest of this section: I am not a scientist or a medical professional. You are completely welcome, therefore, to challenge, dispute, and conduct your own research on anything I’m about to say, in order that you form your own opinions on the subject, be it regarding biology, nutritional information, or any other scientific aspects. From the ethical standpoint, however, I’m afraid my arguments are irrefutable. Killing animals or causing their suffering is wrong, and the more you look for ways to justify it, the more that says about your own moral code.

2. “Animals don’t have the intellectual capacity to rationalise. They’re not aware of what’s going on around them.”

If I deemed a being to be more suitable for eating based on the level of their intellectual capacity or their awareness of what’s going on around them, I’d have eaten a lot of people I’ve met over the years.

But seriously, if you believe that it’s okay to enslave and kill chickens, let’s say, on the basis that humans are 10,000 times more intelligent than them, then by your logic it would be morally acceptable for a species from another planet who are 10,000 times more intelligent than humans to come to earth and enslave and kill us.

Philosopher Jeremy Bentham famously once said: “The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” Despite animals possessing less intelligence than our species, this does not affect their ability to experience misery, fear, and intense pain (biologist Richard Dawkins writes a fantastic article on animals and pain in this article, definitely worth a read: http://boingboing.net/2011/06/30/richard-dawkins-on-v.html. What sort of a person thinks it’s okay to inflict the kind of cruelty imposed in farming onto a sentient being, just because they don’t possess their intelligence quota? When chicks have the tips of their beaks (filled with highly sensitive nerve endings) sliced off, they suffer as we would if we had the tip of our nose sliced off. When bulls are castrated without anaesthetic (which somehow is a legal practice), they cry and squirm and writhe in intense agony as any male of our species would if the same thing happened to us. Think this is acceptable? It says a lot about the type of person you are if you do.

3. “Animals aren’t sentient beings.”

The idea that animals aren’t sentient/self aware ties with René Descartes philosophy, that animals are merely machines who shriek/squeal as a response to external stimuli, not actually feeling anything in the way we would if, say, someone were to shove a sharp object into us. So by that logic, do the people who believe Descartes’ theory think it’s okay to torture cats and dogs, on the basis they’re just machines and can’t actually feel anything? Surely they should be fully opposed to animal abuse laws if they think punching a rabbit is the same as punching a block of wood?

The people who think that animals aren’t sentient beings are the people whose only contact with animals has been when they’re on their dinner plate. Anyone who knows anything about animals knows that they are sentient creatures who respond to their names being called, e.g. dogs; recognise faces; form bonds with others; establish complex social ranking systems, e.g. chickens (that’s where the term ‘pecking order’ comes from); fly in formations; migrate during different seasons; choose the most nutritious food type over another; help each other out when in danger; etc.

Below I’m going to show you a few examples of animals using rationality and logic to find solutions to complex situations, that I hope go to show that they are fully aware of their surroundings and have intricate thought processes:

4. “So what if we kill them? They’re only going to end up dying anyway.”

Yep, believe it or not, people actually do say this one! The idea that it’s okay to kill someone (an animal is a someone, not a something) just because they’re only going to end up dying anyway is pretty disturbing, and I’d advise anyone reading this who holds this view to do the right thing and hand themselves in to their local police station immediately.

5. “Veganism? Woah, man, that’s extreme!”

Building giant metal machines and using them to pump semen into cow’s vaginas is extreme. Driving truckloads of bees around the country and wearing a big silly outfit that makes you look like a Dalek so people can eat their vomit is extreme. Lining up geese in a row, strapping them to machines and shoving tubes down their throat and pumping them full of food until their stomachs nearly burst, just so you can spread their guts on your toast, is extreme. Mincing male chicks while they’re still alive just so you can dip your toasted soldiers in their sisters’ periods is extreme. Picking an apple off a tree is not. A vegan diet is the only non-extreme diet that there is.

eat veg

6. “What would happen to all the animals if everyone went vegan? How would we control their numbers?!”

Whenever meat eaters ask this question, I always imagine the Helm’s Deep scene from the second Lord of the Rings film, the humans and elves shaking with fear as they look down from the fort at a hoard of angry cows, banging their spears on the floor, the thump echoing through the barren crags of the White Mountains. It also reminds me of the similarly dumb argument (which, in this case, argues for the opposite effect) that “Homosexuality is wrong! If everyone was gay, the world would die out!”

Firstly, the reason there are so many animals is because we mass breed them. The world is not going to turn vegan overnight – as less and less people buy meat and animal produce, the demand for it goes down and they are bred less. I particularly fail to see how boycotting the process of a cow being forcibly made pregnant and giving birth over and over and over again would somehow see the animal population rise. Second, even if this wasn’t the case – you made your bed, you lie in it. You paid to breed them, you can deal with the resulting situation. Enslavement and killing is not a logical solution to overcrowding, especially if it was you who caused the situation in the first place. London is getting fairly overcrowded at the moment, but I’m pretty sure doing a mass drive-by through the streets of Fulham is a pretty bad way of going about it.

eat me

7. “If everyone went vegan, loads of people would lose their jobs!”

Would the same people who put forward this ridiculous argument also discourage people from trying to quit smoking on the basis that millions of cigarette company employees would lose their jobs?

I fail to see why anyone would expect a vegan to show sympathy to anyone made redundant whose job involves killing and/or cruelty to animals anyway. If you work in a slaughterhouse, or a hatchery, or an abattoir, I would love it if you lost your job. If your job is to stick metal machines into cow’s vaginas, what the hell kind of job is that anyway? Go and be a postman, or a fireman, or a nurse, just like everyone else, for goodness sake, man. Here’s a little site to help you: http://www.totaljobs.com/

dick

8. “It’s fine as long as the animal is respected by using every part of their body.”

Really? That’s okay then? An animal’s death is less cruel so long as each part of their body is made into something (e.g. a cow turned into meat and leather)? If anything, I’d say that makes it ten times more sadistic.

Do the people who think it’s more respectful to use every part of their body also think the notorious American murderer and bodysnatcher Ed Gein was not as bad a as the others, because he turned his victims’ skulls into bowls, made chairs out of their skin, and once made a belt out of human nipples?

The same applies to animals. Wearing an animal’s skin as a fashion object is nothing more than plain sick. Similarly, eating an animal is, in my opinion, about the most disrespectful and undignifying thing you can do in their death – one minute they’re frolicking in a field, the next minute they’re chunks of shit in your toilet.

9. “I make sure my meat is ethically sourced.”

Aaaah, how sweet. You buy your meat from the happy dappy sunshine rainbow farm in la-la land, where the animals are free to do whatever they want, and the females love the feel of the massive metal machines rammed into their vaginas and the males’ testicles are tickled gently with a knife. Then, when the truck for the slaughterhouse comes along, they all scramble to be the first one in and shout, “Pick me! Pick me! Me first!” You must be best friends with all the animals.

Here’s a great vid on “humane” meat:

10. “But it’s the circle of life.”

Turn off The Lion King and go to bed, you’ve got school in the morning. Rounding up animals in their billions and turning them into Big Macs isn’t the circle of life and does nothing whatsoever to benefit the ecosystem. The only thing circular about humans eating meat in 2014 is that about a quarter of the people who do it are shaped like circles.

11. “It’s what they’re bred for / The animals we eat wouldn’t exist without us.”

It is not your right to dictate a purpose for somebody else’s life. While an animal might be disposable to you, to the animal their life is as precious as yours or mine. Being bred for the sole purpose of having one’s throat cut is the most sadomasochistic fate one can imagine – it sounds like something out of a violent snuff film. Anyone who thinks it’s okay to create sentient life for the sole purpose of killing is a megalomaniacal bully, and their logic is as twisted as it gets. Imagine the scene, a knock at the door: you open it and a police officer is standing there.

“Mr/Mrs _______, you’re under arrest for killing your children and eating them.”

“But it’s what I bred them for. They wouldn’t have existed without me.”

“Hmm, fair enough. Good day to you.”

If you don’t like the comparison to human children, then we needn’t go as far as humans – you could make it cats and dogs instead. Imagine if I bred Labrador puppies for the sole purpose of eating, and when they were nice and plump, I “humanely” cracked a bolt into their little skulls, strung them upside down and slashed their throats, ready to be served for tonight’s dinner. There would be a brick through my window within hours of people hearing about it. But replace them with chickens or pigs and it becomes fair game somehow.

It’s often said that Britain is “a country of animal lovers”. I’d say it’s a country of hypocrites. You can’t wilfully support the mass stabbing of lambs, and then get angry when a woman chucks a cat in a bin.

12. “Humans have always eaten meat.”

Here is a list of things humans have always done:

Raped, tortured, molested, invaded, assaulted, bullied, stabbed, colonised, segregated, stolen, discriminated, abused, lied, burnt, terrorised, killed each other, threatened, exploded, etc.

“Those who fear change fear progress.”

13. “The animal served its purpose by being eaten.”

No, if anything, its very purpose was denied. An animal, like you or I, is (to use a Richard Dawkins term) a ‘survival machine’ – that is, their DNA has specifically programmed them to ensure at all costs to not be eaten. That’s why we (animals and humans) have pain receptors and defence mechanisms. Eating animals denies them their very purpose – to stay alive.

14. “Animals don’t have rights because they don’t have duties.”

Nor do children and nor do old people in care homes, but that doesn’t negate their right to a life. I needn’t even make the comparison to humans – most of the people who argue this treat pigs, chickens and cows entirely differently to cats and dogs. Besides, what “duty” is it that humans serve the planet anyway, other than to satisfy the needs of their own species? It’s a bit rich to say an animal serves no duty if you’re a human, which I’ll cover in this next argument…

15. “Animals aren’t as important as humans to the planet.”

Eh? Hang on. A member of the most detrimental species to this planet is arguing that they’re more special than those who don’t harm it in any way? Phillip Wollen said:

“We torture and kill 2 billion sentient living beings every week! 10,000 entire species are wiped out every year because of the actions of one and we are now facing the sixth mass extinction in cosmological history. If any other organism did this a biologist would call them a virus.”

Mike Anderson said:

“As far as eating is concerned, humans are the most stupid animals on the planet. We kill billions of wild animals to protect the animals that we eat. We are destroying our environment to feed to the animals we eat. We spend more time, money and resources fattening up the animals that we eat, than we do feeding humans who are dying of hunger. The greatest irony is that after all the expenses of raising these animals, we eat them; and they kill us slowly. And rather than recognize this madness, we torture and murder millions of other animals trying to find cures to diseases caused by eating animals in the first place.”

So where do we, the most poisonous species on the planet, the one the planet would be best off without, get off thinking we’re so special? Animal rights activist Gary Yourofsky rightly says that there is only one species on this planet that, if you removed them, it would benefit absolutely everything. Guess which one it is? Yep, it’s us. Our very removal from this planet would benefit the air, the oceans, the forests, billions of animals – everything you can think of. Remove bees though, for example, and the entire system would collapse. Humans have actually convinced themselves that they are more special than animals, even though if Mother Nature could choose, she would vote humans to be the ones to be wiped from the face of the earth.

People often try to argue against this by saying, “yeah, but can animals cure diseases?” How the hell does that benefit the planet that we cure our own diseases? Saying that humans are more special than animals because we can cure diseases would be like someone arguing that a deadly parasite is the most special being on the planet because they can heal themselves. When someone finds a cure for a disease, I applaud him or her for his or her services to humankind. The animals, quite frankly, don’t give a shit, and you can’t really blame them. Most of the diseases humans are finding cures for are caused or aggravated by eating animals and are tested using animals as unwilling participants anyway, as Mike Anderson says, so it’s a bit rich for humans to try to use something caused by their own gluttony and violence as an argument.

Below is a fantastic video that sums up everything about or fine species and its contribution to the planet. It’s just over 3 minutes long, and it’s definitely worth a watch:

16. “Veganism is only possible with modern technology/in civilised societies. So there!”

Well I have something to tell you that may come as a surprise to you, sonny – were you aware that we live in the here and now?

Whether something has been possible before or not bears no relation to what is acceptable to do at present. This argument usually spans off to the whole desert island scenario thing, which is equally a load of crap (I don’t mean when people ask you it inquisitively, which is fine. I’m talking about when people actually argue it with you to try and refute veganism). As Andrew Kirschner so beautifully articulated:

“‘If you were alone on a deserted island with a pig, would you eat the pig or starve to death?’

Hmm. If you were not alone, living on a planet with 7 billion people, had access to unlimited fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and other healthy foods, and knew animals suffer and die horrible deaths so you could eat them when you don’t need to eat them to survive, would you continue to eat them? The difference between our questions is that your scenario will never happen and mine is the choice you face right now. Which do you believe is worth answering?”

As for the concept of veganism only being possible with modern technology, that’s not even true (not that it would matter anyway if it was, as it’s completely irrelevant). Below is a poem called I No Longer Steal From Nature, by Arabian philiospher and poet Al Ma’arri:

You are diseased in understanding and religion.
Come to me, that you may hear something of sound truth.
Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up,
And do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals,
Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught
for their young, not noble ladies.
And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs;
for injustice is the worst of crimes.
And spare the honey which the bees get industriously
from the flowers of fragrant plants;
For they did not store it that it might belong to others,
Nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts.
I washed my hands of all this; and wish that I
Perceived my way before my hair went gray!

When was the poem written? Mmm, well it was about 1,000 years ago. And how old did that mo fo live up to? 85. Pretty impressive, considering the average life expectancy back then was about 35.

17. “God put animals on earth for us to eat.”

god put animals

There is no justification for killing animals for food, whether the grounds for it are religious or not. Just as any good Christian, Muslim, or Jew will skim over any controversial verses in their respected holy book, on the basis that those were just the thoughts of the people at the time, so should they too for any verses which condone killing and eating animals. I urge you to value the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do to yourself”. This rule does not just apply to humans – animals, like us, are sentient beings, who feel fear and pain. They qualify as others.

I have to say, I do find it rather strange that most religious people eat meat and condone the mass slaughter of their deity’s own creation for selfish reasons. “When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man we call him a vandal.  When he destroys one of the works of god we call him a sportsman.”

Personally, I consider it terrorism if people commit violence in the name of God, be it a human or an animal who is the victim. Unfortunately, people only seem to label it terrorism if the victim is a human who, if anything, is far more capable of defending themselves than the animals massacred for food. To a religious person, it should be an unspeakable crime to kill an animal. As Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890, leader of the Anglican Oxford Movement) said: “Animals have done us no harm and they have no power of resistance. There is something so very dreadful in tormenting those who have never harmed us, who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power.”

Anglican priest William Ralph Inge said:We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.”
It’s worth noting that in the holy books of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, there seems to be a number of verses which purport that God advocates a vegetarian or vegan diet for humans. I’ll leave this with a few verses, taken from the following websites:

http://www.essene.com/Bible/BiblicalBasisOfVeganism.html (for the Bible and the Torah), http://www.onearabvegan.com/2012/01/27/muslims-cant-be-vegan-where-veganism-and-religion-collide/ (for the Quran and the Hadith) and http://www.godsdirectcontact.org/eng/news/178/vg_53.htm (also for the Quran and Hadith):

– “I give you all plants that bear seed everywhere on Earth, and every tree bearing fruit which yields seed: they shall be yours for food. All green plants I give for food to the wild animals, to all the birds of heaven, and to all reptiles on Earth, every living creature, it shall be theirs for food.” (Genesis 1:29-31)

– “They shall no longer sacrifice their slaughtered beasts to the demons whom they wantonly follow. This shall be a rule binding on them and their descendants for all time.” (Leviticus 17:7)

– “The reek of sacrifice is abhorrent to me” (Isaiah 1:13), “There is blood on your hands; wash yourselves and be clean.” (1:15-16)

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end. (Sura 6:38)

– “A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.” (Hadith)

– “He who takes pity {even} on a sparrow and spares its life, Allah will be merciful on him on the Day of Judgment.” (Hadith)

– “Allah (God) will not give mercy to anyone, except those who give mercy to other creatures. (Hadith)

18. “Where do you get your calcium?”

calcium 1

This is a pretty common question vegans get. And I imagine it’s because vegans don’t consume dairy produce. Well, I’ve got news for you: we are the only species on earth that consumes another species’ milk (and milk across the mammal kingdom is only given during weaning – not in youth or adulthood).

The tie between getting calcium and having to eat dairy produce is wrong in so, so many ways. Calcium does not come from milk. Calcium – like almost every other vitamin, mineral, or nutrient – comes from the earth (it’s a metal), to be consumed in the form of nuts, beans, fruits, vegetables and grains. The reason there is calcium in milk is because it is concentrated from the mother’s food into it to provide her baby with nutrients. Funnily enough, it’s actually through vegans that dairy consumers get their calcium in the first place. Yes – cows are vegans. Cow’s milk is rich in calcium because the cow eats a diet of leafy greens! (Foods rich in calcium include: dried herbs, sesame seeds, tofu, almonds, flax seeds, Brazil nuts and kale. If you’re still unsure about calcium intake from just plants in a vegan diet, most vegan milks are fortified with calcium. )

19. “Where do you get your iron?”

Again, iron is a metal, and has nothing whatsoever to do with animals or the stuff that comes out of them. There is no link at all between veganism and anaemia (iron deficiency) and vegans and vegetarians tend to get their RDA for iron without even thinking about it. Remember this rhyme for iron: nuts, beans and dark leafy greens.

Vegans generally have a far better intake of vitamin C than meat eaters (who are, on average, deficient in vitamin C), which aids iron absorption. The type of iron found in meat, by the way, is haem iron, which is the type of iron your body cannot regulate properly, and forces its way into the bloodstream. This, in turn, encourages production of free radicals, which can damage DNA and increase cancer risk. Better off sticking with good ol’ fashioned non-haem, methinks!

20. “Where do you get your protein?”

protein 1 protein 4

 

This is, without doubt, the question vegans get asked most commonly on the nutritional side of things. If ever I’ve learnt one thing from going vegan, it’s that a.) most people don’t know anything about protein, and b.) most people, unless they lift weights, have never mentioned the word “protein” in their lives, until you tell them you’re a vegan. To purport that you need to eat meat, or indeed any animal produce, to get protein, is to peddle a dangerous myth.

protein 2

Animal protein, unlike plant protein, is packed with disease-causing compounds which aggravate or cause all of our main diseases. That’s why the countries that consume the highest amount of meat and dairy produce also have the highest rates of cancer and osteoperosis (not to mention cholesterol and kidney problems).

You need not fear though, folks. Protein is abundant in a balanced vegan diet. The strongest animals on the planet (gorillas, rhinos, elephants – all herbivores) would be pretty screwed if it wasn’t. They fuel their incredible muscle strength with a diet rich in plants, and a diet rich in plants is a diet rich in protein.

protein 3

Vegan athletes such as Ultimate Fighter winner Mac Danzig and former WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (yep, the guy who beat Manny Pacquiao) swear by the vegan diet, mentioning notable increase in their strength, energy, recovery time and endurance. See here for Mac:

and here for Timothy:

I also dare anyone to ask vegan arm wrestler, Rob Bigwood, if he’s getting enough protein:

rob bigwood

Still not convinced you’ll be getting enough protein if you switch to a vegan diet? I’ll give you a breakdown of what I eat on a typical day. Bear in mind the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for protein for an adult male is 56 grams (and 46 if you’re a woman). Also bear in mind this excludes protein shakes I drink throughout the day because I lift weights (vegan-friendly protein shakes include soy and hemp powders), and other snacks I eat throughout the day, e.g. fruit. So, here’s what I might eat on a typical day:

Breakfast: 2 slices of Burgen soy and linseed bread, toasted (7.0g per slice)(excludes spread/topping) and glass of soy milk (6g per 200ml)

Lunch: 3 Linda McCartney vegan-friendly sausages (11g per sausage) with onions, each in a wholemeal roll (6g per roll)

Dinner: Soy mince (between 21 and 28g of protein per 100g of mince) (find in frozen aisle in Tesco/Sainsbury’s/ASDA) bolognese with wholewheat pasta (between 8 and 12g per serving, generally) (excludes protein from all vegetables, e.g. carrots, onions, celery, etc. in bolognese)

Before bed: Bowl of cereal with soy milk (between 5 and 12g, depending on the cereal)

This together equals: 105g of protein. Bear in mind I also calculated this using the smallest number I could from each food (e.g. for soy mince, I added the 21g, as opposed to the 28g). (If you have a soy allergy – which I know I eat a lot of and is packed with protein – there are plenty of other things you can eat to fuel those guns: pistachios, flax seed, shelled hemp seed, beans, wholewheat produce, quinoa…the list goes on).

So there you have it. Pretty much double my RDA for protein, not including snacks and protein shakes. Don’t listen to these childish, infantile scare stories you come across online or in the papers, about vegans wasting away from not getting enough protein, or from internet quacks advising vegans drink protein shakes even if they don’t lift weights. If you’re not getting enough protein – you’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

Attention: since I first wrote this page, an incredible feat was achieved when vegan strongman Patrik Baboumian broke the record for the most weight ever carried. If anyone you know is still foolish enough to insist athletes or anyone at all needs to eat meat or animal products for protein, point them to this video:

And tell them to go read a book.

Want to know the nutrient that’s really a cause for concern, the one that everyone should really be asking about? Find out what it is in this video:

21. “Real men eat meat!”

Sometimes, probably in order to compensate for something else, meat-eating blokes claim that meat eating is manly and plant-based eating is for wimps. Personally, I consider the day I became a vegan the day I became a man. For a start, I weaned myself off of milk and on to solid food.

manly

Second, I realised it takes a real man to accept what they’ve been doing their whole life is wrong, and do something about it and stick by it. Keeping yourself in the dark about the horrors of the meat industry so you can eat burgers and claim to be manly is as wimpy (excuse the pun) as it gets.

On top of this, vegan men, generally, have higher testosterone levels than meat eaters. (See http://www.care2.com/greenliving/less-cancer-in-vegan-men-despite-more-testosterone.html and http://www.epic-oxford.org/publications/1294/allen-et-al-2000-07-br-j-cancer)

If you still think you’re a real man for eating meat, I’ve got an experiment for you to do: go to your nearest slaughterhouse and ask to buy an animal to kill and eat for yourself. Stun the animal, string them upside down and pick up the knife, and see what happens. Whatever happens next, you’ll be a coward either way: you’ll be a coward if you can’t bare to do it and get the slaughterman to do it for you, and you’ll be a coward if you stab a defenceless animal’s throat out.

22. “Natural selection dictates that the weak will perish and the strong will prevail.”

This argument for eating meat is stupid for 3 reasons. Firstly, it adheres to the argumentative fallacy ‘Appeal to Nature’, where someone argues that, just because something is deemed to be natural, that makes it right – it doesn’t.

Secondly, we are past the stages of natural selection now. Meat, dairy, eggs, etc. are industries, and they are completely unnecessary for our survival. The victims in the industries are bred to meet their guaranteed execution – their future generations will never grow stronger, faster, or develop complex defence mechanisms against slaughtermen. There is no chase, no struggle, and no chance of evolution. It is a bloke pressing a button, moving a conveyor belt of chickens strung upside down into an electronic blade – then onto the next group of chicks, who will grow to be exactly the same and meet the same fate.

Thirdly, it glorifies ‘might makes right’ – a style of argument where the arguer believes that those in positions of power, strength or higher intelligence have right to do what they please to those less powerful/strong/intelligent than they are. Presumably the people who argue for eating meat through this logic also believe that men have right to exert their dominance over women, given that men have evolved to be physically stronger?

Using this argument as a moral compass is a disgusting way to live your life. Any good person would adhere to the opposite. As Harriet Beecher once said: “It’s a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done.” And then, of course, there’s Mohandas Gandhi, who said:

“I do not regard flesh food as necessary for us. I hold flesh food to be unsuited to our species. To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body. The more helpless the creature, the more it is entitled to protection from humans from the cruelty of humans.”

23. “I respect veganism, but don’t preach about it.”

Bullshit. If you respect veganism, there’s no way you could hate people talking about it, and there’s no chance you’d refer to it as “preaching”. It’s a rights issue. If you have respect for it, you’ll love people talking about it, standing up to oppression and changing the perceptions of others.

I respect women’s rights. That’s why I love it when people band together to push for women to have the same rights as men in every country that they’re oppressed, I love it when chauvinists are made to look stupid, and I love it when women take to the streets and protest about not being treated as equals.

I respect gay rights. That’s why I love it when homophobes are condemned for their poisonous views, I love it when gay people get the same rights as straight people across the world, and I love it when children are educated and told that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality and it’s perfectly acceptable.

I respect black rights. That’s why I loved learning about the end of apartheid in South Africa, I loved learning about when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white bigot, and I love it when children are taught that everyone is equal, no matter the colour of their skin.

Imagine if I was to say I respected one of the above things and yet told people they shouldn’t talk about it and change the views of others. Do you think I would have ‘respect’ for gay rights if I told a gay person to stop trying to push for gay marriage? Do you think I would have ‘respect’ for women’s rights if I told women they were “shoving their views in people’s faces” for trying to end the victim-blaming culture many people adhere to in cases of rape and such? It’s nothing less than bat-shit crazy for people to claim they respect the views of vegans and then condemn them for trying to change the world’s mind on how animals are treated. The people that don’t like vegans spreading information about veganism and “preaching” and changing the views of others have nothing but utter contempt for animal rights and, to be honest, I couldn’t care less about annoying those people (in fact, I hope they do get annoyed, twats).

“If I am to be a voice for animals, then how should I speak? Am I to whisper, when they are screaming in pain? Am I to be calm, when they tremble in fear? Am I to shout for mercy, as their throats are being slit? Tell me how I need to speak, for you to grant them their freedom.” – Davegan Raza

preaching

 24. “Vegans act so superior.”

Ha! Good one. The people putting themselves on the same level as animals are the ones acting superior. Very droll.

I never acted more superior in my life than the twenty-something years I ate meat. I believed I was special in comparison to the billions of creatures I share this planet with, due to my intellect and my abilities. Now I realise I’m not so special. To say vegans are the ones who act superior is laughable. As we vegans say: “I don’t feel superior because I’m vegan. I’m a vegan because I don’t feel superior”.

25. “I didn’t climb to the top of the food chain to eat nuts and berries!”

…And I thought it was vegans who act so superior!

Anyone who uses the food chain as some kind of moral compass adheres to the ‘might makes right’ philosophy (the same as argument 22 on this page) – the idea that it’s okay to do whatever you want to those “below” you, in whatever silly diagram it may be that they adhere to. I say silly diagram because of the myths that have been perpetuated about the food chain, and how it has been massively distorted from what it really is.

The food chain is a complex web – not a pyramid with a fat man eating a bucket of KFC at the top of it, like most people seem to think it is. The people that eat meat based on their little fantasy that they’re at the top of it did nothing to get to the top of it anyway – they were, by sheer accident, born a human, and didn’t play any role in the evolution of our species whatsoever. Claiming you climbed to the top of the food chain based on the actions of your ancestors would be like me claiming to be a war hero because my Great Granddad lost his leg in the Somme. Just so you know, I did shit all in World War I, which puts me on the same level as what any meat eater living now has contributed to our evolution.

26. “Don’t you vegans get it?! We are predators, they are prey. Simple.”

Yes dear. You’re a fearless, wild predator, who stalks their prey down the meat aisle at The Co-op. Then a tireless struggle ensues as you open the oven door and pop it in with your little oven glovesies on.

27. “But what about eating fish? That’s healthy, right?”

fish

Hmm, depends how you look at it. While fish is beneficial for intake of the omegas, it is also the most contaminated, filthy meat you could possibly wish to put in your body. Filled to their gills with mercury, dioxin, and PCBs, eating a diet rich in fish may cause damage to your blood and to your nervous system. Predatory fish will tend to have more of these contaminations in them, due to them eating other fish, thus they have in their bodies every chemical from the bodies of the fish they’ve eaten.

If you’re a meat eater, eating fish as a replacement in general will cut your heart disease rate by around 30%, but it still carries that risk. If you want to eat stuff that live off chemicals and sewage, be my guest. But plants will do the trick while providing you with essential oils all the same. If you want healthy brain foods with good sources of Omega-3, eat flaxseed, hemp seeds, edamame, wild rice, canola oil, walnuts, black beans and kidney beans.

28. “But we’re omnivores.”

Like our closest relative, the chimpanzee, humans are classed as omnivores. Emerging from the southern forests of Africa and through barren deserts, the consumption of meat played crucial to our survival, and allowed our body to adapt reasonably well to eating cooked meat. But is the human body really omnivorous? A look at the chart below would seem to suggest otherwise (click on it to expand it).

herbivores

The chart is widely criticised by meat eating communities online, but their attempted refutals, such as “Humans can’t digest cellulose” (a herbivorous trait) and “This isn’t published in any scientific journal” smack of desperation. Milton R Mills M.D.’s findings are clear for all to see: the human body is not well suited to eat meat. Omnivores have short intestines and strong stomach acid, breaking the meat down and pushing it out quickly, getting rid of the cholesterol, saturated fat, trans-fatty acids – the very stuff that’s rotting in our bodies and giving us diseases. Proper omnivores don’t suffer from high cholesterol.

Compare your body to a bear or a skunk or a pig and the differences are astonishing. Chimpanzees, like us, act out of instinct, and occasionally eat other animals (and it’s pretty brutal to watch). Around 95 percent of their diet, however, is plant based. On the cellulose argument (that we can’t digest it, thus we must be more suited to eating meat) – does this mean humans can’t digest cellulose-rich broccoli, cabbage and kale? Cellulose, by the way, is the technical term for fibre. Yes, people are actually claiming we’re not suited to eating foods that contain a nutrient that is essential and completely beneficial to the human body!

Another thing meat eaters do when trying to justify that the human body is more suited to an omnivorous diet is point at their two pointy teeth and say, “Hey, vegan, what are these?”… They’re pathetic, is what they are. The two little apple crunchers you have would not fare well for tearing the stomach off a zebra while it’s running (a worthy mention here is also the “canine” teeth of our herbivorous chum, the gorilla). We have short, broad, flat teeth, adapted for chewing plant matter (and the ability to chew – an exclusively herbivorous trait). I also put it to you that you have neither the ability to smell your prey or even chase after it. Most people think their body is so well suited to eating meat, but tear a pack of chicken open and eat it raw, and I assure you you’d have problems.

canines

My point is, if we are omnivores, we’re pretty shit ones. The very fact that we have to cook most meats to make them fit for consumption is a telling factor in what we should be eating in the 21st century when there is no need to eat meat whatsoever. Trying to refute veganism by resorting to the argument that we evolved eating meat is, well, as primitive as it gets.

29. “I would go vegan, but I have a health condition where I need to eat meat.”

While as I say, I’m no science expert, the bullshit in this is pretty self-explanatory, given that meat is merely a holder of nutrients, not a source, thus all nutrients required to help any illness can be obtained from the same places the animal got theirs. The way to catch out people using this excuse is usually to ask them if their condition means that they have to wear leather, and then hold for the stunned silence that follows.

30. “But you’re still killing plants!”

Vegans differentiate between ending the life of a plant and ending the life of an animal because plants are not sentient beings, with evidence suggesting they are unaware of their own existence. They also have no central nervous system, meaning they cannot feel pain. Animals, however, share two very big things in common with us: 1.) they avoid pain, and 2.) they want to live. The “killing plants” argument is usually put forward by meat eaters when they have run out of ways to justify slicing lambs’ throats to pieces.

When people put forward this argument to me, I tell them two things: first, I ask them if they actually really believe themselves that killing plants is the same as killing animals. Second, I tell them if they really are barmy enough to believe that, then it’s absolutely essential that they adopt a vegan diet to reduce as much plant suffering as possible, given that it takes more plants to feed an omnivore than a vegan, due to the amount of crops used for raising livestock.

31. “But what about washing your hands or taking antibiotics? Aren’t you killing bacteria?”

Comparing defending yourself against harmful creatures (which you have every right to do) to the merciless slaughter of animals for the sake of a sandwich are of paramount difference. Vegans believe in the right to defend themselves through violent means if necessary. If you and I were walking along by the water’s edge and a crocodile leapt out of the water and clamped its powerful jaws to your leg, I would grab the nearest sharp stick and thrust it deep into the beast’s eyeball. Supporting a holocaust of animals is a different story.

32. “Don’t compare the meat industry to the Holocaust! That’s trivialising the Holocaust!”

Hmm, let me think about that one…comparing the massacre of 11 million in five years to the massacre of 150 billion every single year is trivialising the former? No, that’s not a typo. And yes, billion, not million.

By the way, I don’t compare the meat industry to the Holocaust. It, by definition, is a holocaust. It is the gassing, stabbing, maiming, torturing, electrocuting, force-feeding, abusing, imprisoning, suffocating, branding and castrating of 150 billion sentient beings every single year, performed on the basis that they are the inferior species and we are the supreme, master race, the one who should have dominion over all those who are not like us.

Think this doesn’t depict a holocaust? Then what the hell is it:

http://www.animalsaustralia.org/features/not-so-humane-slaughter/

If you added up all the genocides in human history, the death totals wouldn’t even be anything close to the amount of animals humans kill in one single year. The only way anyone could possibly think that the meat industry isn’t comparable to the Holocaust is if that person believes humans are superior to animals, in which I rest my case. If you believe humans are superior to animals, you are to animals what the Nazis were to the Jews. “Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals.” (Theodor Adorno.)

nazi

Ask anyone who doesn’t think the meat industry and the Holocaust are comparable: if you went to a slaughterhouse, removed the animals and replaced them with Jews, what would you call it? Once again, if their answer is that it’s different because you can’t compare humans and animals, it just reinforces the fact that they have a superiority complex over animals.

Funnily enough, Jewish vegans aren’t at all offended by the comparison, probably because they actually care about animals and thus realise it’s not offensive to compare human suffering to animal suffering. As Jewish author Isaac Beshivsky Singer said:

“What do they know—all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.”

Want to know the country where veganism is growing faster than ever? Israel. Please see an interesting article here on theveganwoman.com for more information:

http://www.theveganwoman.com/israel-going-first-vegan-nation/

Many people, including Gary Yourofsky (who is of Jewish background himself) claim that it’s likely because people who’ve been oppressed understand oppression better than most people. He notes that, on speeches he gives to classrooms, the pupils who listen most tend to be from minority backgrounds and thus have had family members who have suffered from discrimination or who have even fled persecution.

People who get offended by the comparison need to bear in mind that the people making the comparison aren’t holding Jews in low esteem – they’re merely holding animals in high esteem. As I say, the only way one could possibly find such a comparison offensive is if they deem one of those (either victim A: in this case, Jews and victim B: in this case, animals) to be superior to the other. Let me explain – if you went to Uganda, where homophobia is rife and gays are publicly lynched and burned (seriously), and talked to them about the issue by drawing a comparison to the lynching of blacks in the USA in the 1900s, they would find it extremely offensive. They would say, “How dare you compare the oppression of blacks in the USA to the treatment of gays in Uganda! That’s trivialising the oppression of blacks!” The only way you could possibly think that’s not a valid comparison is if you were a homophobic bigot. The same applies to comparisons of the meat industry and human genocide, in which case the person who thinks it’s offensive is a speciesistic bigot.

I conclude this argument by saying to you: if you ever think it’s offensive for someone to compare the suffering of one victim to another, don’t take it that they’re trivialising one of those things – it just means they actually give a shit about something you don’t, and they are free of the prejudice which you yourself flaunt so proudly. And if you do agree with what I’m saying here, then I urge you to take heed of this quote:

“Our grandchildren will ask us one day, “Where were you during the Holocaust of the animals? What did you do against these horrifying crimes?” We won’t be able to offer the same excuse for the second time: that we didn’t know.” Dr. Helmut Kaplan

33. “But Hitler himself was a vegetarian!”

hitler

I’m not really sure what the point it is that people are trying to argue here when people say this to veggies/vegans, but Hitler being a vegetarian is pretty irrelevant to going vegan. For a start, if he was a vegetarian, it certainly wasn’t for ethical reasons, given that he is wearing leather in almost every picture you see of him. Second, it’s highly questionable if he even was a vegetarian anyway, given that Goebbels, his propaganda minister, used to write stuff about him and the public’s perception of him was largely based on this. Hitler did have a lot of power, so you’d think he’d mandate a reduction in the consumption of animal products if he was at the helm, rather than have the Nazis snatch livestock from other countries to kill and eat themselves (there were also animal slaughterhouses at every concentration camp during WW2). Some say Goebbels probably put it out there that Hitler was a vegetarian because there was another man living at the same time who people adored and who was a vegetarian, by the name of Mohandas K Gandhi.

Basically, the whole Hitler being a vegetarian thing was very likely just a very good bit of PR. And even if it wasn’t, and he was indeed a vegetarian: who cares?

34. “I know someone who went vegan and their hair started getting thinner.”

Good god, no! And did they start getting older as well?!

hair

There is no evidence whatsoever that dropping animal products from one’s diet induces hair loss or indeed hampers our appearance in any way. Higher fruit and vegetable consumption is directly link to enhanced attractiveness, due to antioxidant and phytonutrient content, of which meat and animal products score poorly. Please see another very interesting video by Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org:

35. “Where do you get your B12?”

B12 is a vitamin produced by bacteria that is naturally found in the guts of animals or in dirty water. Seeing as vegans tend not to drink dirty water, this is one vitamin that vegans do need to watch out for! Luckily, there are many ways vegans can get their RDA of B12. Most of the vegan alternative milks are fortified with B12, and it can also be found in spreads, nutritional yeast (which is kind of like a vegan replacement for Parmesan cheese), and Marmite. There is a lot of conflicting information out there on B12, so I suggest you conduct your own research (as you should with anything I say) before making your own rational conclusion on it.

36. “If you’re a vegan family, you can’t raise a healthy child.”

A child less likely to get cancer? A child less likely to develop diabetes? A child less likely get osteoperosis, atherosclerosis, stroke, kidney problems… you get the point.

healthykids

It’s very worrying that people think their children need to eat animal products to be healthy. The thousands of happy, healthy vegan children worldwide are living proof that this is nothing more than a pathetic myth. Luckily, people who know about science and nutrition aren’t so easily fooled. The American Dietetic Association recently released this statement on the issue of raising children on a plant-based diet:

“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, supplements or fortified foods can provide useful amounts of important nutrients. An evidence- based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals. The variability of dietary practices among vegetarians makes individual assessment of dietary adequacy essential. In addition to assessing dietary adequacy, food and nutrition professionals can also play key roles in educating vegetarians about sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and dietary modifications to meet their needs.”

Just so you know, the China Study found that children in Finland (who are raised drinking lots of dairy produce) are an astonishing 36 times more likely to develop type 1 diabetes than children in Japan, who generally consume little to no dairy at all. (See Chart 9.3 (page 190, or 201 using the page finder tool in the below link) of The China Study for association of cow’s milk consumption and incidence of type 1 diabetes in different countries: http://www.socakajak-klub.si/mma/The+China+Study.pdf/20111116065942/

Dr John McDougall also notes that, “Adding meat to an infant’s diet is one of the main reasons all children raised on the Western diet have the beginnings of atherosclerosis by the age of 2 years.” You can see his letter to the New York Times in response to their stupid ‘Death by Veganism’ article here: https://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/health-science/featured-articles/articles/response-to-ny-times-story-death-by-veganism/

37. “Morality is subjective – you can’t say whether it’s right or wrong to eat meat.”

subjective

Of all the selfish arguments out there for eating meat, this has got to be one of the top ones. Calling any form of violence a matter of subjectivity ignores the victim and gives priority to the opinion of the perpetrator.

In any case where violence and suffering is involved, only the opinion of the one experiencing the suffering counts. If a rapist argued that rape being right or wrong is subjective, he’d be wrong, because it’s his unwilling victim that suffers as a cause of his twisted take on morality – his say on the matter is irrelevant, as he’s not the one being raped. Likewise, anyone who thinks it’s okay to eat meat is wrong, because the animals certainly don’t think it’s okay, and it’s they who are the target of the human’s lust for their flesh.

In any circumstance where a victim is involved, we should always take their opinion to be more important than our own. The very basics of ethics dictate that something is wrong if you wouldn’t put yourself in the victim’s place, and that most definitely applies to the matter of who it is that you eat.

38. “So, you went vegan… are you feeling less energy?”

This is quite commonly asked (for some strange reason), and I have no idea where the notion that switching to a diet rich in carbohydrates (humans get the majority of their energy from carbohydrates) would somehow make you feel less energy, came from. As with Mac Danzig, Patrik Baboumian and Timothy Bradley, more athletes are promoting the values of veganism because of the feeling of increased energy you get from switching to a vegan diet.

39. “Eating meat is a personal choice.”

Eating meat is no more a personal choice than it is a personal choice to assault someone. For something to be a personal choice, it cannot directly affect others without their consent. In order to make something that involves others a personal choice, you would need consent from all parties involved (in the case of eating meat, the animal’s). Eating meat infringes on the rights of others, and thus cannot be a personal choice. Your favourite colour is a personal choice. What football team you support is a personal choice. What you eat is a personal choice. Who you eat, however, is not a personal choice. Likewise, veganism is not a personal choice – it is a moral obligation.

Personal Choice

40. “I respect your decision not to eat meat, so you should respect my decision to eat meat.”

“Asking vegans to respect your decision to eat meat is on par with asking feminists to respect sexists, asking people of color to respect racists and asking homosexuals to respect homophobes. It is ludicrous to think that difference in opinion warrants mutual respect, especially when the opposing opinion in question not only stands for everything you are against but also appropriates suffering, defends oppression and encourages the continuance of exploitation.” — Felix Sampson

41. “Eating meat played a crucial role in the development of the human brain.”

Clearly it hasn’t worked very well.

42. “You’ve been brainwashed by propaganda!”

I know! Terrible isn’t it. I actually care about others now!

As omnivores, we all grew up being taught to not care about the things we would normally care about. We are taught see one animal as our food, and one as our friends. Vegans are not brainwashed – vegans are people who have had their blinkers taken off, and I hope this page has also helped provoke some thought for you to ponder on. (Click the pic below to enlarge if you can’t read the writing.)

brainwashed

As for the whole “propaganda” thing: if you want propaganda, don’t talk about the stuff that’s telling you not to buy products – look at the stuff that’s telling you to buy it. Basically, for propaganda, look no further than the meat, dairy and egg industries. Logos for companies like ‘The Laughing Cow’ and ‘The Happy Egg Company’ tell a thousand words.

43. “There are more important issues to worry about – human issues, for example.”

What if I told you…that you could care about different things simultaneously? Crazy isn’t it!

On a serious note, if you care about human issues, then it’s pretty essential that you adopt a vegan diet. Many vegans go vegan as much for the human issues as they do for animal-related issues.

The impact that eating meat and animal products has on other humans and on the environment is astonishing. Indeed, rather than using it to feed starving children, we actually feed around half the world’s crops to livestock to fatten up for meat. As Thich Nhat Hanh said:Every day forty thousand children die in the world for lack of food. We who overeat in the West, who are feeding grains to animals to make meat, are eating the flesh of these children.”

poverty

And what does the future hold for our species if we continue to eat meat? Well, it’s pretty bleak. Fresh water is becoming scarce, and we’re continually using it, once again, to raise animals for food.

A 2006 FAO report claimed that animal farming is responsible for 18 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the entire transport sector combined.

Animal farming accounts for 55% of the world’s soil erosion, which is making the prospect of future generations being able to grow crops looking to be difficult if it continues at this rate.

Then there’s the issue of indigenous people, whose homelands are being depleted as we speak due to the mass deforestation caused by animal agriculture (a land area the size of about 7 football pitches is destroyed in the Amazon every minute), and livestock production accounts for 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface use.

Of course, there’s also the issue of how we treat each other in a society where we’re raised to not care about those who are deemed to be inferior to us. If you teach a child, from day one that even though, say, a chicken may look different, sound different and act differently to them, their life is just as precious, how is that child ever going to look down on others for the colour of their skin, or their sexuality, or their social class? Animals are the very first things we are taught to have prejudice towards, and our prejudice towards other humans stems from that very prejudice.

Furthermore, this applies to violence. The constant fighting that takes place between humans is directly linked to our treatment of animals. Pythagoras once said:

“As long as humans continue to be the ruthless destroyer of other beings, we will never know health or peace. For as long as people massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, those who sow the seed of murder and pain will never reap joy or love.”

Leo Tolstoy said: “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.”

And speaking of slaughterhouses and their direct links to human-on-human violence, I have something very interesting to show you…

A joint study by the University of Windsor and Michigan State University concludes that when a slaughterhouse is opened in a particular area, rates of violent crime, robbery and rape in the area show a significant increase as a direct cause of slaughterhouse employment (see here: http://www.animalstudies.msu.edu/Slaughterhouses_and_Increased_Crime_Rates.pdf). Is it really any wonder that if people from the local community are standing there slashing and stabbing every minute of every day, that people are going to switch off a little when it comes to empathy and compassion?

44. “Vegans are always forcing their beliefs on others.”

Pot, kettle, black. There’s no group of people on this entire planet that force their beliefs on others more than meat eaters. Meat eaters force their beliefs on others to such an unimaginable extent that others actually die for their beliefs. That is the ultimate form of forcing one’s beliefs on others.

To summarise, meat eaters force their beliefs on: a.) the 150 billion animals whose lives will be snuffed out this year as a direct result of their actions; b.) the millions of starving children worldwide who are turning into skeletons while pigs and cows get fatter; and c.) the future generations of people on this planet who will suffer from a lack of resources should people continue to eat meat and animal products at the rate they do now.

The closer you get towards veganism, the further you get from forcing your beliefs on others.

45. “I love animals, but I could never go vegan.”

If you love animals but are unwilling to stop paying people to kill them, I sure as hell hope you never “love” me.

loveanimals

Veganism is the default diet of the animal lover. To be a vegetarian is a step in the extreme if you’re an animal lover, because you’re going out of your way to exploit and kill them for their produce (please note that I’m not knocking most vegetarians here as I realise many of them are unaware that the dairy and egg industries routinely kill and abuse animals for their produce, and to the ones that are unaware of that, I appreciate that they’ve at least tried to take a step in the positive direction by not buying meat).

hypocrisy

On the subject of vegetarians being unaware the harm their money causes: depending on what exactly it is they buy and how much they spend on it, it’s fairly plausible that a lot of vegetarians out there actually kill more animals than they would if they ate meat, due to the colossal number of deaths in industries such as eggs, where male chicks are ground up or suffocated by the sack-full, every minute of every day. The only way to reduce your amount of harm to animals as much as possible is to be a vegan, as it’s the only lifestyle that doesn’t revolve around the enslavement and exploitation of animals. To be a vegetarian if fully aware of this is to tick a box saying: “I support animal cruelty”.

46. “I would go vegan, but I just can’t give up cheese!”

I have heard this one a fair few times. Personally, I don’t really see what all the fuss is about something that smells like feet but, apparently, people can be addicted to this stuff.

I’m just using cheese an example, of course, as it’s the most common one people say they can’t give up. But I have a fantastic bit of advice for anyone who can’t give up cheese, and I guarantee them that, if their answer to this question is yes, then they will never, ever eat another piece of cheese or drink another glass of milk again in their life. And that question is: are you willing to give up animal cruelty?

If your answer is yes, congratulations – you have overcome your addiction and you’ll never touch a block of cheese again.

47. “But veganism is so hard.”

If you think it’s hard being vegan, imagine how hard it is for the animals that you’re not. If you think about it the right way, there’s no easier way to live. There’s a saying that goes: “The difference between the people that find veganism is easy and the people that find veganism hard is that the people who find it easy are thinking about the victims, while the people who find it hard are thinking about themselves.”

48. “So what is the hardest part of being a vegan?”

The hardest part of being a vegan is arguing with people who have intentionally decided to keep themselves in the dark about things so that they can’t see the suffering that they’re contributing to, or have lied to themselves and ignored vast swathes of scientific information so they can keep pretending animal products are the epitome of good nutrition.

“Yeah, this whole veganism thing, it’s a load of bullshit, cos like (insert ancestors/lions/protein/subjective morality, etc. argument here).”

“Did you watch the slaughterhouse footage I sent you?”

“No.”

“Did you read The China Study?”

“No.”

“Did you watch that documentary I told you to watch last time you argued with me?”

“No.”

“Did you look into the impact animal agriculture has on the environment and other humans I was telling you about?”

“No.”

If you’re too cowardly to watch footage of the slaughterhouse brutality that you’re directly responsible for, don’t argue with me about ethics. If you could never be bothered to educate yourself about nutrition, don’t argue with me about my diet. “You can beat an intelligent man in an argument, but you’ll never beat an ignorant one.”

49. “I choose to eat meat because I like the taste.”

“Saying ‘eating animals is yummy’ as a justification for killing them is pretty much the same argument as saying rape is okay since it feels good to the rapist. Civilized people require more than sensory pleasure to justify their behaviors.” — Stephanie Theisen

For a good, ethical, rational human being, there should be no link between liking the taste of something and feeling the need to eat it. Veganism isn’t a taste issue. Vegans love the taste of meat as much as any meat eater. I know chicken tastes good. I know bacon tastes good. But I look at meat in a different way now. It’s all about making that connection. If I see a girl with a nice bum walk past me in the street, I know it would feel good to give her bum a pinch. But I don’t do it, and wouldn’t do it even if I could get away with it. Why? Because it’s sexual harassment. It’s morally wrong and causes suffering to others. My sick sense of satisfaction is not relevant, because it causes another being harm. So what if meat tastes good? The unimaginable suffering – from being stuck in a crate unable to move, to squealing as he’s dropped into the scalding tank, to being strung upside down and bled out onto the floor, possibly while still conscious – that pig went through to get in my sandwich is not worth it. Pigs have done nothing to deserve the unspeakable cruelty and wrath we have poured upon them, and if you are willing to fund this for the sake of a dumb sandwich – well, that is a very sad state of affairs indeed. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to meet your meat:

50. “A few people going vegan won’t make any difference.”

There are two things that are particularly wrong with this laziness-induced argument. Firstly, all the freedoms you enjoy today are as a direct result of a tiny minority of people who said, “enough!” Women were ridiculed for wanting the vote. It took 400 years to convince white people that black people weren’t their property. But eventually, justice prevailed. Gradual as these things may be, they do happen. As Gary Smith said:

“150 years ago, they would have thought you were absurd if you advocated for the end of slavery. 100 years ago, they would have laughed at you for suggesting that women should have the right to vote. 50 years ago, they would object to the idea of African Americans receiving equal rights under the law. 25 years ago they would have called you a pervert if you advocated for gay rights. They laugh at us now for suggesting that animal slavery be ended. Some day they won’t be laughing.”

Secondly, you are accountable for your own actions. There are a lot of vile, evil, wretched things going on in the world now, and just because they’re never going to stop, that doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to do it. Sexual abuse will always exist, for as long as the world exists. So will muggings, so will assaults, and so will burglary – you will never, ever, ever, stop those either. But to play a part in any of those aforementioned things just because you believe they’ll never stop and because you not playing part in them won’t make a difference would be the most disgusting of excuses. The only problem anyone should find with those comparisons I’ve just made is that the meat industry actually has a far, far, far greater chance of stopping than any of those vile crimes I just mentioned. One day, every civilised country in the world will be vegan. Veganism and vegetarianism is growing year by year and one day the question will not be, “So why are you a vegan?” but, “So why do you support animal cruelty?”

Those who want to be a part of the solution rather than the problem, and those who realise that they are accountable for their own actions, go vegan.

 51. “Holy shit! No meat, no eggs, no dairy, no honey?! What can you eat?!”

That’s easy: anything that a.) isn’t an animal, or b.) comes out of an animal’s guts! In 2013, going vegan has never been simpler. One of the things I discovered when going vegan was that the question was not, “Oh dear, what am I going to eat”, but, “Wow, look at all the things I’d never been eating!” You’ll discover a huge array of cuisine from all over the world, foods you’ve never heard of, never tried before, and never realised how good they were because, like me, you were glued to two aisles in that supermarket: meat and dairy. Buy any vegan cookbook and you’ll be astounded at the range of colour and flavour, all the while knowing everything you cook from it has zero cruelty and zero cholesterol. Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, the list goes on. With substitutes for everything, there is just no point in buying stuff that, deep down, you know is not right. There are vegan milks, vegan spreads, a whole range of vegan meats… let me tell you, you’ve never tried real food until you’ve cut out animal produce from your diet.

Enough from me on this one. I’ll leave it to my boy Benjamin Zephaniah to tell you what vegans eat, with his poem ‘Vegan Delight’:

Ackeess, chapatties
Dumplins an nan,
Channa an rotis
Onion uttapam,
Masala dosa
Green callaloo
Bhel an samosa
Corn an aloo.
Yam an cassava
Pepperpot stew,
Rotlo an guava
Rice an tofu,
Puri, paratha
Sesame casserole,
Brown eggless pasta
An brown bread rolls.

Soya milked muesli
Soya bean curd,
Soya sweet sweeties
Soya’s de word,
Soya bean margarine
Soya bean sauce,
What can mek medicine?
Soya of course.

Soya meks yoghurt
Soya ice-cream,
Or soya sorbet
Soya reigns supreme,
Soya sticks liquoriced
Soya salads
Try any soya dish
Soya is bad.

Plantain an tabouli
Cornmeal pudding
Onion bhajee
With plenty cumin,
Breadfruit an coconuts
Molasses tea
Dairy free omelettes
Very chilli.
Ginger bread, nut roast
Sorell, paw paw,
Cocoa an rye toast
I tek dem on tour,
Drinking cool maubi
Meks me feel sweet,
What was dat question now?
WHAT DO WE EAT?

52. “I’m still not convinced after reading all this.”

If you’re a meat and animal produce consumer reading this and are still not convinced of the arguments for veganism, all I can ask you is one question, and that is: how does eating meat and animal produce help others? So, how will you eating meat, dairy, eggs, etc. a.) help animals, b.) help the environment, and c.) help other humans?

Then ask yourself how on earth it’s sensible to argue for something that in no way benefits anyone other than yourself, for your own sense of pleasure. To argue against veganism is to argue for greed and for violence. Why argue? There are no reasons not to go vegan. Only excuses.

“The only honest argument against veganism is that you just don’t give a shit.” Peter Crosbie

Quotes

“All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?” Prince Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha (563 B.C. to 483 B.C.)

“But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh, we deprive a soul of the sun, and light, and of that proportion of life and time they had been born into the world to enjoy.” Plutarch of Chaeronea, Greek biographer ca. 100 C.E.

“A human body in no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it hath no hawk’s bill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter such heavy and fleshy fare. But if you will contend that you were born to an inclination to such food as you have now a mind to eat, do you then yourself kill what you would eat. But do it yourself, without the help of a chopping-knife, mallet or axe, as wolves, bears, and lions do, who kill and eat at once. Rend an ox with thy teeth, worry a hog with thy mouth, tear a lamb or a hare in pieces, and fall on and eat it alive as they do. But if thou had rather stay until what thou eat is to become dead, and if thou art loath to force a soul out of its body, why then dost thou against nature eat an animate thing? There is nobody that is willing to eat even a lifeless and a dead thing even as it is; so they boil it, and roast it, and alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare.” Plutarch

“Can you really ask for what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? I, for my part, marvel at which man was possessed, who was the first to pollute his mouth with gore, and to allow his lips to touch the flesh of murdered beings. How could his eyes endure the spectacle of the flayed and dismembered limbs? How was his taste not sickened by contact with festering wounds, with the pollution of corrupted blood and juices?” Plutarch

“One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.” Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

“When I look at animals held captive by circuses, I think of slavery. Animals in circuses represent the domination and oppression we have fought against for so long. They wear the same chains and shackles.” Dick Gregory, comedian, civil rights activist, humanitarian, vegan

“If you had to kill your own calf before you ate him, most likely you would not be able to do it. To hear the calf scream, to see the blood spill, to see the baby being taken away from his momma, and to see the look of death in the animal’s eye would turn your stomach. So you get the man at the packing house to do the killing for you.” Dick Gregory, The Shadow That Scares Me

“Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and brutal taking of life. We don’t have to be a part of it.” Dick Gregory

“Kindness and compassion towards all living beings is a mark of a civilised society. Racism, economic deprival, dog fighting and cock fighting, bullfighting and rodeos are all cut from the same defective fabric: violence. Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well ourselves.” Cesar Chavez

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are all still savages.” Thomas Alva Edison, inventor

“People ask me how I look so young; I tell them I look my age. It is other people who look older; what do you expect from people who eat corpses?” George Bernard Shaw, British playwright (1856-1950)

“Animals are my friends. And I do not eat my friends.” George Bernard Shaw

“If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth—beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals—would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?” George Bernard Shaw

“Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity.” George Bernard Shaw

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

“There is no religion higher than truth and righteousness. If we commit sins with the name of God on our lips, can we hope to win the grace of God? Suppose one man admits the existence of God, but lives a life of falsehood and immorality, while another knows not the name of God but lives a life of truth and virtue. Can there be any doubt as to which should be regarded as truly religious as well as moral?” Gandhi

“It is not an act of kindness to treat animals respectfully. It is an act of justice. It is not ‘the sentimental interests’ of moral agents that grounds our duties of justice to children, the retarded, the senile, or other moral patients, including animals. It is respect for their inherent value. The myth of the privileged moral status of moral agents has no clothes.” Tom Regan, The Case for Animal Rights

“Housing animals in more comfortable, larger cages is not enough. Whether we exploit animals to eat, to wear, to entertain us, or to learn, the truth of animal rights requires empty cages, not larger cages.” Tom Regan, Empty Cages

“Veganism acknowledges the intrinsic legitimacy of all life. It recognises no hierarchy of acceptable suffering among sentient creatures. It is no more acceptable to kill creatures with primitive nervous systems than those with highly developed nervous systems. The value of life to its possessor is the same, whether it’s the life of a clam, a crayfish, a carp, a cow, a chicken, or a child.” Stanley Sapon, Ph.D., of www.VeganValues.org

“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.” Leo Tolstoy

“Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: we are burial places! I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.” Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

“As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures, there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.” Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991)

“People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.” Isaac Bashevis Singer

“In their behavior towards creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.” Isaac Bashevis Singer

“Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why should man then expect mercy from God? It’s unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give. It is inconsistent. I can never accept inconsistency or injustice. Even if it comes from God. If there would come a voice from God saying, ‘I’m against vegetarianism!’ I would say, ‘Well, I am for it!’ This is how strongly I feel in this regard.” Isaac Bashevis Singer

“If a rabbit defined intelligence the way man does, then the most intelligent animal would be a rabbit, followed by the animal most willing to obey the commands of a rabbit.” Robert Brault

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.” Albert Einstein

“Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” Albert Schweitzer

“What an amount of suffering and cruel punishment the poor creatures have to endure in order to give pleasure to men devoid of thought.” Albert Schweitzer, on the training and exhibition of animals in circus acts

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.” Albert Schweitzer, on exploiting and slaughtering animals for food

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow man.” St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

“My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.” Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty (1820-1878)

“With Veganism you give nothing up. You just stop taking that which is not yours.” Jamison Scala

“The only way we can guarantee our continued survival on earth is to recognise the importance of other non human life forms and stop pretending we’re on top of some pyramid of domination over other beings.” Rod Coronado, activist who served five years in prison for destroying mink research lab at MSU

“We have enslaved the rest of animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.” William Ralph Inge, Deacon and Professor of Divinity, Cambridge (1860-1954)

“[T]he very fact that an animal is going to be eaten seems to remove it from the category of intelligent beings, and causes it to be regarded as mere animated ‘meat.'” Henry S. Salt, British social reformer, animal rights activist (1851-1939)

“Philosophers…have been emotionally stroked for their intellects. They often think that logical debate is the highest mode of living. It boils down to an ego problem. I’m so glad I no longer think that the intellect is what matters most. I’m very clear that compassion is a far better quality to cultivate than intellectual acumen. The latter can be used to make life, all life, worse for the entire planet. Compassion cannot be misused in such a harmful way.” Judy Barad, Professor of Philosophy, Indiana State U.

“The victim feels the suffering in his own mind and body, whereas the victimiser…can be quite unaware of that suffering. The sword does not feel the pain that it inflicts.” Philip Hallie, From Cruelty to Goodness

“Whenever people say ‘we mustn’t be sentimental,’ you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, ‘we must be realistic,’ they mean they are going to make money out of it.” Brigid Brophy

“One day, I reached out to eat something and he ran away. Obviously, he didn’t want to be eaten.” Dave Allen, musician

“You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.” Eliezer Yudkowsky

“Hunting is not a sport; in a sport, the contestants must know they’re in the game.” Paul Rodriguez, comedian

“It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.” Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“Damn these human beings. If I had invented them, I would go hide my head in a bag.” Mark Twain, in an 1899 letter to W. D. Howells

“To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime. That alone is the justification of all that humans may suffer. It cries vengeance upon all the human race. If God exists and tolerates it, it cries vengeance upon God.” Romain Rolland, Nobel Prize-winning essayist, mystic (1866-1944)

“Because the heart beats under a covering of hair, of fur, feathers, or wings, it is, for that reason, to be of no account?” Jean Paul Richter, German Romantic writer (1763-1825)

The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of “real food for real people,” you’d better live real close to a real good hospital. Dr Neal Barnard

“The wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the cage. He is in front of it.” Axel Munthe, Swedish psychiatrist, animal rights activist (1857-1949)

And my personal favourite:

“Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologise for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” Gandhi