What are some common objections to veganism and how do you answer them?
After you go vegetarian or vegan, you will hear these responses over and over again.
Keep in mind that there are many ways to answer these objections. This section of the website contains only some thoughts and responses.
There are many ways to use this list…
Use it if you yourself have any questions or objections.
Use it before and while you talk to your parents about changing your diet, so you can know how to respond to their objections.
Use it after you change your diet so that you know how to respond to people’s questions.
Here’s the list!
I knew someone who was vegan, but they were always hungry, or they lost weight, or their hair fell out.
Farm animals will take over the world if everyone goes vegan.
If everyone goes vegan, then farm animals will be extinct.
Don’t plants have feelings too?
If you were on a desert island and your only option was to eat animals, would you eat animals?
If we didn’t milk cows, their udders would explode.
But the Bible says that we can eat meat.
Being vegan is too hard and depriving.
Well, meat tastes good.
Other animals eat animals, so we can too.
Humans are natural omnivores, so we need to eat meat. See, look at my canine teeth.
Humans have always eaten meat, so we should continue to eat meat.
Everyone eats meat, so meat is morally acceptable.
The farm animals are going to be killed anyway so why bother going vegetarian?
Most farms are not factory farms.
I only buy humane meat, so I’m not doing anything wrong.
I say a prayer of gratitude for the animal I eat before I eat meat, so my meat eating is moral.
Animals are stupid. All they do is eat, poop, and sleep. Why should I care about animals?
Humans are more intelligent than animals and therefore we have the right to use animals for whatever we want.
If you had to choose between saving a baby human or a puppy, which would you save?
Why do you care about animals so much? Don’t you care about humans?
Your vegetarianism or veganism is a personal choice. Don’t tell me what to eat.
Vegetarians and vegans are self-righteous.
If everyone went vegan, then farmers and slaughterhouse workers would lose their jobs.
More insects and small animals are killed in plant agriculture, so plant-based diets actually kill more animals than a meat-based diet.
“I knew someone who was vegan, but they were always hungry, or they lost weight, or their hair fell out.”
Did that person follow recommendations in the ultimate guide to vegetarian and vegan nutrition. Some people change their diets without following good nutrition advice, and then they have health problems.
Overall, if you follow the advice in the nutrition section, you should not have health problems when you switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet. To eat in a healthy way, check out the ultimate guide to nutritious eating and learn how to track your nutrition.
“Farm animals will take over the world if everyone goes vegan.”
Farm animals are only in the world because humans breed them to enter it. When more people become vegan, humans will stop bringing farm animals into the world.
Also, the entire world will not go vegan overnight. If the entire human population becomes vegan, it will happen gradually.
“If everyone goes vegan, then farm animals will be extinct.”
If farm animals go extinct, then we will cheer. Why?
Farm animals are physically genetic monsters; they are bred to grow as big as possible, as fast as possible, so that they can efficiently produce a huge amount of meat. Chickens bred for meat are designed to grow to their full size at the age of a month and a half, and if they live longer, then they are so huge that their own body hurts them. Most turkeys are bred so that they cannot even mate. Because of that, farm animals’ own genes–their manipulated body–are a form of cruelty. If those animals go extinct, then it’s a good thing.
Also, many wild animals go extinct merely because of farm animals. Humans destroy wild animal habitats for farm animal grazing land. Humans also kill wild animals to protect farm animals.
“Don’t plants have feelings too?”
Really? Do we see plants suffering? Do we see them screaming for their lives as they are slaughtered? No. Obviously, there is a difference between slicing a carrot and slicing an animal’s neck.
No one may ever be morally perfect even on a vegan diet. But, by being vegan, you are doing the best you can.
If we truly believe that plants feel pain, the best thing we can do is to stop eating animals. Animals raised for food eat large amounts of plants. For example, in order to produce one pound of beef, a cow must consume up to 13 pounds of grain (plants). We would hurt fewer plants if we ate less beef, because then we would not need to grow as much grain to produce it. So if you really care about plant welfare, vegan foods are still the way to go.
“If you were on a desert island and your only option was to eat animals, would you eat animals?”
Well, first of all, if animals were surviving on a desert island, there are food sources. So find out what the animals are eating!
We choose to be vegan so we don’t contribute to the unnecessary violence of animal agriculture in any way. By eating an animal on this desert island, you would not be contributing to that unnecessary violence, because the choice to eat meat would be a life or death decision. However, in the developed world, where most of us have access to well-stocked grocery stores, eating meat is definitely not a life or death decision.
“If we didn’t milk cows, their udders would explode!”
Cows do not produce milk for humans. They produce milk for their baby calves, just like human mothers produce breast milk for their babies. Humans separate the mother and the calf, so that humans can take the milk. So yes, if neither the baby calf nor humans drank the cow’s milk, the cow’s udders would be painful. But if the milk went to the calf, not the human, then there would be no problem.
“But the Bible says that we can eat meat!”
I will not argue against anyone’s religion. If one chooses to read the bible, I fully support that choice.
However, just because the Bible says something, it doesn’t mean that it is law. For example, passages in Deuteronomy state that we must kill people with different religious views from our own, but obviously religious intolerance is unethical.
But of course, read the Bible, if you want to. However, read the parts you find meaningful and reject the archaic, violent laws that have no bearing on modern time.
Also, some Christians believe that the Bible mandates that we must have mercy on animals. George W. Bush’s speechwriter wrote a book about this.
“Being vegan is too hard and depriving.”
No, and yes. A vegan, especially vegetarian, diet is not depriving at all. There are so many different plant foods and dishes that no one could ever try them all.
However, the world is not vegan. Because the world isn’t vegan, when eating outside of home, the food can sometimes be bland. It can be difficult to eat out. But with some planning, you can still eat vegan, and know that your food choices are helping animals and the environment.
“Well, meat tastes good.”
By going vegetarian or vegan, you don’t need to give up tasty food. There are plenty (thousands!) of yummy options in plant-based cuisine.
“Other animals eat animals, so we can too.”
Not all animals eat other animals. Some animals are carnivores, some are herbivores, and some are in-between. Also, most people don’t decide what is ethical by observing animals in nature and copying them.
Plus, animal agriculture, especially factory farming, is the farthest thing from what other predators do. Wild predators hunt their prey and kill them without any form of weapon. As humans, we breed animals, raise them to be slaughtered in horrific conditions, and then slaughter them in a slaughterhouse.
“Humans are natural omnivores, so we need to eat meat. See, look at my canine teeth!”
Just because we are capable of committing violence, doesn’t mean that we should. If we have the choice between an violent way of eating, and a more peaceful way of eating, which should we choose?
“Humans have always eaten meat, so we should continue to eat meat.”
Should we do things to follow our past culture, or to follow our ethics? If we know something is violent, should we continue just because it’s the way we’ve always done it?
“Everyone eats meat, so meat is morally acceptable.”
Just because everyone eats meat, doesn’t mean that eating meat is morally correct.
Culture has been wrong before and it is wrong now. In the past, good people accepted slavery, segregation and other evils.
“The farm animals are going to be killed anyway so why bother going vegetarian?”
Farm animals are only raised and slaughtered because people want meat. If there is no demand for meat, then farm animals won’t be born, raised, and killed.
“Most farms are not factory farms.”
Most farms are factory farms. This map maps factory farms in the USA.
“I only buy humane/free-range/grass-fed/farm-raised meat, so I’m not doing anything wrong.”
The labels “humane,” “free range,” “grass fed,” and “farm raised” do not signify any change in animal treatment. They are only marketing terms. “Humane” farms can still be factory farms. To learn more about this, follow this link.
To buy truly “humane” meat, you need to visit the farm itself.
Also, even family farms have cruel practices. All animals are castrated, or dehorned, etc. Finally, all animals are killed at a young age.
“I say a prayer of gratitude for the animal I eat before I eat meat, so my meat eating is moral.”
The blessing makes us feel good about killing, but it does nothing to ease the suffering of the animal that was killed.
“Animals are stupid. All they do is eat, poop, and sleep. Why should I care about animals?”
How much time have you spent with animals? Animals care for their family and offspring. Many mourn for their dead family members when they die. Animals have fun and play games with each other. Overall, animals do much more than eat, poop, and sleep.
“Humans are more intelligent than animals and therefore we have the right to use animals for whatever we want.”
Do we value a person’s life by how intelligent they are? If someone is mentally disabled, do we have the right to do to them whatever we’d like? Of course not.
And though we may be more intelligent than animals and may be able to think more complex thoughts, animals still love their children, care about their own lives, and feel suffering just as we do.
And if we are more intelligent, don’t we have a moral sense? Then, don’t we have the moral obligation to help those weaker than us?
“If you had to choose between saving a baby human or a puppy, which would you save?”
I would choose the person.
However, we do not have to make this choice between helping humans and helping animals. A vegetarian or vegan diet does not harm humans in any way.
“Why do you care about animals so much? Don’t you care about humans?”
Of course I care about humans. But how does my veganism harm humans? Also, why can’t you care about both animals and humans?
“Your vegetarianism or veganism is a personal choice. Don’t tell me what to eat!”
First, by talking about vegetarianism and veganism, I am not forcing you to do anything.
Yes, you can go to the grocery store and purchase any food you like. However some foods are produced in a violent way, and some produced peacefully. I advocate for foods that are produced peacefully (plants) and against foods that are produced violently (meat and animal products.)
Also, when saying that meat is a personal choice, you are forgetting that the animal you eat has no personal choice in the matter.
“Vegetarians and vegans are self-righteous…”
Some vegetarians and vegans may be self-righteous. In fact, I used to be a little self-righteous about my choices.
But then I realized that I am flawed. I am not as kind and patient and considerate as many meat eaters. I also recognize that while I am doing a lot to fight against factory farms, others may be doing a lot to help the world in other ways. Also, I often use too much paper, or take long showers. Nobody is perfect.
However, I believe that vegetarianism and veganism, as food choices, are morally superior to meat eating. I believe that they are much better choices for the animals and environment. This is why I spread the word about them!
Also, though I feel in no way superior to people who eat meat and animal products, simply by talking about vegetarianism, some people think that I do feel superior. Sometimes when I talk about my choices, people assume I am a snob, but that is really their misunderstanding.
Also, there is a difference between an immoral person and an immoral cultural practice. I think meat is bad, but since it is so entrenched in our culture, even good people participate in the practice.
“If everyone went vegan, then farmers and slaughterhouse workers would lose their jobs!”
The world will not go vegan overnight. Also, as people start to eat less meat, new jobs will be created by vegan industries.
Yes, farmers may have to suffer as they transition, and I won’t belittle that suffering. But I think that farmers losing their jobs temporarily is not as bad as billions of animals suffering on factory farms each year.
“More insects and small animals are killed in plant agriculture, so plant-based diets actually kill more animals than a meat-based diet.”
This question ignores some important facts. First, most animals in modern farms eat mostly grain, corn and soybeans, and they eat quite a bit of those. More grain goes into the feeding of an animal than goes to making of a loaf of bread. Therefore, there is more plant agriculture involved in meat than vegan food, so meat kills more insects and small animals than vegan foods do.