A large part of advocating for veganism is knowing the arguments in favor of veganism, but another part of it is having the facts to debunk common arguments against veganism. With my sharp tongue and extensive vegan twitter knowledge, compiling this short list was a treat and I hope that reading it brings you as much pleasure.
“vegan substitutes aren’t even healthy ”
When it comes to this argument, it is important to note that both processed plant-based and animal-based foods can pose health risks. The difference is that animal-based foods also carry additional health risks of cholesterol and carcinogens. Yes, according to the World Health Organization, processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, ham, and sausages, are classified as class 1 carcinogens (https://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/en/ ).
- Veganism is not a health movement, it’s a lifestyle centered around non-violence toward all living beings. A whole food plant based diet is a diet that people adopt for health reasons. Many vegans follow a whole food plant-based diet, but a #wfpb diet is not synonymous with veganism.
- No one eats a beyond meat burger for its health benefits, just like no one eats a Junior Chicken thinking it’s healthy
- While plant-based junk food and meat alternatives are not health foods, they are still better for you than their animal-based counterparts (Check out Mic the Vegan’s video for more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDnE-UMXFjs )
“plants feel pain too ”
This is a straw man argument which is a false argument that distorts veganism and makes it easier to attack vegans.
Do plants feel pain? No. Plants can react to stimuli like light, vibrations, and chemicals but they do not have developed nervous systems and pain receptors like animals do. For example, uprooting a carrot from the earth, rinsing it, and slicing it for a meal is very different from slitting an animal’s throat and dismembering their bloody body for human consumption.
Gore aside, even if plants did feel pain, “[a]ccording to the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification, it takes up to 10 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of meat” ( https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-environment/ ). So, if someone truly wanted to limit the negative impact they had on plants, they would eat plant-based.
“veganism is expensive”
Plant-based eating is as expensive or as inexpensive as you make it out to be. Check out vegainstrength’s post for details: https://www.instagram.com/p/BozJmR8BQbk/?hl=en
If you focus on cheap whole food staples like rice cakes, oats, beans, rice, frozen and canned goods, and produce that is on sale, you’ll spend less on food because the most expensive items on one’s grocery list tend to be meat and cheese. As for the non-food aspect of it…
- Not paying to see animals in captivity (zoos, aquariums, animal circus, etc.) is cheaper than paying for it (mind-blowing, I know)
- Vegan clothing is easy to come by and the prices are comparable and often cheaper than non-vegan versions (think of the price of a jacket with fur vs with faux fur)
- Cruelty-free makeup and other body care items are also comparable in price. You can transition slowly in order to save upfront costs and avoid wastefulness
“veganism is inaccessible”
This is a relevance fallacy because while it is true that veganism is inaccessible to some people, it is an irrelevant argument to bring up. After all, this does not discredit the validity of veganism. Even if there are barriers to some people going vegan (housing/food insecurity and/or depending on others to prepare their food due to disability or age), that does not hold for everyone.
If veganism is accessible to you, you shouldn’t use the inaccessibility card as a reason not to go vegan especially considering that as the demand for vegan products rises, plant-based options will become more accessible to individuals who are food insecure.
“veganism is for white people”
It’s a shared sentiment in the Black community that white people care more about (non-human) animals than they do about Black people. While it is true that many white vegans care more about animals than they do about POC, white veganism is not veganism just like white feminism is not feminism. Indeed, any movement that discriminates against individuals who are the victims of systemic oppression whilst fighting for the rights of another group of individuals is not a civil rights movement; it’s fake activism.
- Veganism is is a way of living which excludes, as far as is possible and practicable, exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals (https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism ). It is not founded on the exclusion and oppression of people of color, but like anything that white people take on, that has sadly been the result
- There is an increasing number of vegans of color and one way to change the face of veganism is for more of us to go vegan. Also, the principles of non-violence on which veganism is founded is found in many non-white cultures and religions such as Buddhism and Rastafarianism
- Veganism is not about vegans, it’s about the animals: just because many white vegans refuse to fight for the liberation of non human AND human animals alike, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t.
For more facts (and shenanigans), follow me on twitter (https://twitter.com/zipthevegan) and check out my mutuals- most are vegan and many are vegans of color!