The Big 'Buts'
it's not that bad
You clearly didn’t watch the footage we linked to. Check them out again. and watch those feature length films we told you about. As long as animals are treated as commodities they will be exploited, hurt and killed. The fact is, there is no humane way to kill a being who does not want to die. It is always violent and bloody. It is always unjust.
we just need higher welfare laws.
Even if we ignored the violent, unjust killing, what real difference do welfare laws make to the lives of animals being used as property?
The law says what is to be avoided is "unnecessary suffering". What does that mean? What the law is interpreted as meaning is that we shouldn't cause them "extra" suffering." Just think about that for a moment.
Think about what that actually means. We will take a living, feeling being, who has the desire to continue to live, and we will forcibly, violently kill them. But it's ok, because we will introduce rules that say you can't cause them any extra harm on top of the terror and pain of that killing, on top of taking their life. That extra harm would be unnecessary and inhumane. So long as we don’t kick them needlessly, it's fine to drag them to the slaughterhouse, knowing their friends have just been killed, smelling their blood, to stab them, drain their blood and rip their bodies apart. That is perfectly humane.
That makes no sense. There is no humane way to kill a living being who does not want to die. All of this is done for the sake of our tastebuds. That makes it all unnecessary.
What do the welfare laws mean for animals used for food in the UK? The footage linked here: is of animals in the UK taken over the past ten years
the following links will take you to external film clips, many of which contain graphic footage.
The footage is real, it shows what animals actually go through every day. If you are not vegan and you are not ready to go vegan, you should watch this footage to educate yourself about what you are paying for when you buy animal products
Here are two talks about why higher welfare laws are not the answer:
we need to eat animals to stay healthy.
This is simply not true. We are not carnivores, we are omnivores, meaning we can eat animal products and plant based foods. We have a choice. Over the years there has been a huge amount of misinformation about health, nutrition and diet, but now the fact that a vegan diet can be just as healthy as a non-vegan diet is recognised by official bodies at a national and international level - British Dietic Association / American Dietic Association / US Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidlines Advisory Commitee / United Nations
You can get everything you need from a plant-based diet. Obviously you need to eat a varied diet, ensuring you're getting a good mix of leafy greens, fruit, veg, nuts, pulses and grains, but it's not difficult at all to get everything you need. Everyone should take a b12 supplement as none of us get that naturally anymore. Obviously if you just eat lettuce you'll become ill, just as you would if you just ate cheese.
Unfortunately doctors generally have very little training in nutrition in the UK, with the result that they tend to default to the usual myths about protein, calcium etc. However, a growing number of reports and doctors are recognising the significant health benefits of a plant-based diet.It's your health, have a look into it for yourself. Check out some of the resources on our Other Benefits of Veganism page.
where do you get your protein?
Firstly we have to address the protein myth. We are bombarded with the message that we need lots of protein and that the best or even only place to get it is from animal sources. Even our school curriculum currently perpetuates these myths, so it is not that surprising that this is one of the most common questions asked of vegans.
In fact, we need far less protein than we are led to believe and it is very easy to get enough protein from a plant-based diet. Indeed, most of us will be getting far more than we need. For more information see here
Have you ever heard of anyone suffering from protein deficiency?
These plant based sources of protein are far better for us because they also provide us with essential fibre, vitamins and minerals, without the saturated fat and cholesterol that comes with eating animal protein. You can also check out the following: The protein combining myth / Milk v Soya / Nutrition Facts
where do you get your calcium?
We firstly have to address the calcium myth. We are bombarded with the message that we need lots of calcium and that the best or even only place to get it is from animal sources.
Even our school curriculum currently perpetuates these myths and so it's not that surprising that you have this doubt. How strange it would be if it was the case that we needed to drink the milk of another species into adulthood to get the vitamins our bodies require. That would be seriously weird! Whenever we talk to people about this they see the point right away. "So hang on, we drink our mother's milk as babies, then we are weaned off that milk and onto solid food. But then we start to drink milk from a cow, milk she produces because she has just given birth to a calf, milk designed to turn that baby calf into a full grown cow. That makes no sense whatsoever. It is not surprising that when we look at the independent studies they tell us not only is drinking cow's milk not the best source of calcium for humans, but it is extremely unhealthy for us in a number of ways - Nutrition Facts.
In fact we can get all the calcium we need from a plant-based diet, it is more easily absorbed than calcium from animal sources, comes with lots of other things we need such as fiber, and without the things that are bad for our health like
saturated fat. For more information read this article on Calcium or watch this short video
where do you get your iron?
You can get all the iron you need from eating a balanced vegan diet. For more information read this article on iron
humans are superior.
Are we? In what way? Each species has its own particular strengths and abilities. We've all watched David Attenborough programs and wondered at the amazing ways in which non-human animals communicate, travel and survive in the most extreme conditions. We couldn't survive in the Antarctic as the Penguins do, we can't use echolocation as bats do, making a sonic map of their surroundings, and we couldn't navigate our way home using the earth's magnetic field as do pigeons. The fact that we don't share these abilities with these other species doesn't make us inferior to them. We are just different. Each species has developed its own particular skill set in order to survive and thrive. When people say humans are superior they are usually assessing other species as against our particular human skills and strength, rather than starting from the perspective that each species has different strengths and abilities.
Do humans have more developed reason and cognition? That is not as easy to assess as is often assumed. Our ability to communicate with other species is very limited and so our judgement as to the extent that they can reason and problem solve is based on very limited information. Even the very limited information we do have reveals that non-human animals have much greater capacity for memory, reason, problem-solving, abstract thinking etc. There is much that we do not know about other species of animals and what we do know suggest that they may be more like us than we appreciated.
In any event, why do we prize these traits, ability to reason, problem solve etc as we do? What relevance do they have to the question whether or not it is right for us to exploit, control and kill non-human animals? We know they feel, we know they are self-aware, we know they are living beings, not inanimate objects. Even if we believe we are superior in terms of our ability to rationalise, problem solve and plan for the future, so what? Does that mean it is right for us to use other living beings as if they were unfeeling objects? As economic units? Surely if we have greater capacity for reason and logic we should apply that reason and logic to decide what is the right and ethical approach, and conclude that if we can live a healthy life without exploiting a living being then that is what we should do. That is the only rational and logical response. When you acknowledge the impact on the environmental, world hunger and our own health it becomes clear that our current use of non-human animals is completely illogical and irrational.
What does that mean? We live in a modern technological world. We generally buy our food at the supermarket. We don't try to live as if we were wild animals in other ways, so why refer to it in relation to food? If you mean that we are obligate carnivores, we are not, we are omnivoes or herbivores, and we have a choice. See above for the answer on health. If you mean we did it as cave people, we did a lot of things as cave people that we don’t do now. If that was our barrometer for right and wrong our lives would be very different
we've always done it.
Is that how you judge all human behaviour? If the length of time we did something was a measure as to whether it was right or wrong, rights would not develop. We wouldn't have experienced the women's rights movement, the civil rights movement, the LGBT rights movement. We did a lot of things for a very long time that we later decided were wrong.
You are not a lion. Lions live in the wild and eat to survive. You go to the supermarket. Lions are obligate carnivores and so must eat other animals. You are not. You have a choice. Lions do a lot of other things that we don’t do. Do you genuinely believe we should assess what is right or wrong by reference to what lions do?
vegan food is boring.
Vegan food is incredibly diverse, ranging from super healthy to indulgent junk food. All of the flavours used in cooking animals come from plants anyway. Have a look at our pages on Food, Recipes and Eating out.
it won't make a difference.
Going vegan is the single most effective thing you can do for animals and it doesn't depend on anyone else. You don’t have to wait for government policies, all you have to do is make a decision to stop spending your money on animal products. It is incredibly empowering. The number of vegans is increasing every day and the rate of people going vegan has increased markedly in recent years. A vegan world is inevitable
i'm already vegetarian.
So you don’t exploit animals by paying for people to kill them so that you can eat their flesh. But you still exploit animals by paying for people to forcibly impregnate them over and over, steal their babies within hours of them being born, kill the male babies as they can’t produce milk, put the female babies back into the same cycle, and kill the females when they no longer produce enough milk to meet the high demands. How is that different, morally, to paying someone to kill them so that you can eat their flesh?
**More question and answers coming soon**