The Arguments Against Veganism Tier List
Most popular myths vegan diet ranked and debunked
As a vegan, I do everything I can to share my point of view on veganism. For more than three years, I met a lot of people who misunderstood, hated, or liked veganism. I am open to any discussions on this topic and I’ve heard a lot of views against being vegan through the years. Here, I will rank the most popular arguments against a vegan diet and rebuttal them. Everything that I am going to list is my own opinion and is probably different from others’, my answers may be biased or even wrong, but I will try to keep them as objective as possible and link the sources I used.
The tier list consists of five tiers, where “S” is the strongest and “D” is the weakest argument of all. This is made for educational purposes and I hope that this will answer some questions you have. If you don’t know yet, vegans are people who don’t eat or use animals in any way, some of the food I don’t eat includes meat, milk, eggs, fish, etc. Okay, now let’s go to our first argument.
If I were to choose the most widely used argument against going vegan it would probably be this one. I think that only people who didn’t do enough research say such things because by simply googling it you can easily prove yourself the opposite. But I don’t blame them, this is what companies who sell meat say in their commercials, “eating meat is manly”, “eat meat to be stronger”, and other statements are making us think that it’s one of the only sources of protein. This is not wrong though, meat indeed has healthy nutrients and protein in it, but plants have it too. In fact, where do cows take their protein from? Right, from plants. Every plant contains protein, soy, and beans are a very good source of it too.
Vegans also eat more than people on a regular diet because plant-based food contains fewer calories in general. Just google “protein-rich” or “post-workout” vegan dishes and I am sure you will find a lot of recipes packed with protein that are very low in trans fats or cholesterol. I check my protein levels several times a year for more than three years, and my level is never too low nor is it too high. Three days ago, I took another test and my level of protein was 67g/l (64 to 83 is normal for my age). Plant-based protein is also much more environmentally friendly than an animal one. You can see more plant-based foods high in protein here.
I hope I didn’t leave any questions on whether animals are the only source of protein, and now it’s time to place it on a tier. People widely believe that if they need protein, they should only get it from meat or eggs, but it’s completely untrue. Meat is very high in protein, but not relatively to calories. So because of this, it goes to the D tier.
This is the next argument. If you can call it an argument of course. Subjective taste also plays a role in this, and it’s fair enough to bring this up. However, there is an issue with that. Let’s forget about the taste for a moment, and focus on the things that happen behind your tasty steak.
Firstly, the environmental impact. Meat is proven to be devastating to the ecology, it requires a lot of land, water, and other resources to be brought to your plate.
Secondly, your own health. On any diet, even on the vegan one, you can be unhealthy or completely fine. However, it’s riskier with animal products because meat is high in cholesterol, antibiotics, and other components bad for your body (depends on where you buy it). Red meat, red and processed meat. Milk consumption, Fish.
Thirdly, animals. People who prioritize taste above all else morally justify the desire to eat animals, and believe that it’s their choice to go or not to go vegan. This is true, you are the one planning meals for your day. But we can’t ignore those who are the victim in this situation. The meat you ate yesterday came from a cow that didn’t ever choose to be artificially impregnated, neither mom nor baby chose to go away from each other, and their only choice is to live and wait for the day when they will be killed for food. People choose not to look at this problem, and I didn't even think of it for a second when I was on a regular diet. Eating chicken for lunch and drinking milk for breakfast was just how things were, I didn't choose to eat this food.
Everything I described above is a very simple way of putting things, there are many more problems linked to animal products consumption, but I hope you get the main idea. If you are still not switching after hearing what it actually takes to get an animal product, well, I have good news for you. Being vegan is tasty. How do millions of people live on a vegan diet if the food is not tasty? I recommend you try at least several vegan dishes and you are likely to find something you will love. Plants’ taste is underrated.
The argument goes to our next tier, but it can also be in the last place, it’s just a bit harder to explain something as subjective as taste.
Here is the next argument. This is, in my opinion, is pretty reasonable to ask because our ancestors indeed hunted and killed animals for a long time. The answer to this question is pretty simple. Prolonged actions are not morally justified. People did horrible things in the past, we killed, raped, used other people as slaves, and so on, if our ancestors were living in caves for thousands of years, should we do the same? We cannot place our decisions and moral codes on a primitive society.
People often say that we are omnivores/carnivores and that’s why we need meat. It’s a very complicated topic and we don’t yet have an exact answer on whether we are naturally herbivorous, carnivorous, or omnivorous, I stick with the last one, however, it’s a fact that humans can survive without eating animals.
This argument is not very strong, but it’s not weak either, so it goes to the B tier.
Food-chain is a natural process, what do we do if we “unnaturally” take away animals from our diet? Well, this statement is relatively strong compared to others, but again, it is really easy to debunk.
It takes one question to help us answer the argument:
How does the steak you eat arrive at your plate?
Humans artificially breed animals to meet the demands, as I said before, we impregnate cows artificially. We use antibiotics and other drugs. We give animals more food so they can give us more meat. We suck as much milk from cows as we can, when they can’t produce it anymore, we kill them. In the egg industry, male chickens are useless because they can’t give eggs, I won’t describe what happens to them, you can google it and see the footage yourself. Ever heard of factory farms? They are one of the most likely places for new viruses to spread, resulting in a pandemic. And it’s not the whole story. Modern hunting is not natural as well, people often hunt in cars with rifles and other equipment to kill animals, and then take them out of the ecosystem, not even leaving the body to decompose.
Animal agriculture is a huge cause of global deforestation too. People often say that the production of soy is as bad for the environment, but 75% of that soy is fed to the livestock. I think you got the idea of today’s “food-chain” where humans took it over and didn’t give a chance to anyone. Is this what everyone thinks of when we talk about a food chain?
Because of the complexity of this argument, it earns the next tier.
The last argument is this one:
A vegan diet is widely known as a very eco-friendly one, and it’s true if we look at the facts. However, people say “I buy meat from a local farm and it’s more environmentally friendly than eating imported bananas from Brazil”.
At first, I thought that this is a strong argument that requires an equally strong answer. But it was fairly easy to debunk this one too, here is a part of The Guardian article by Damian Carrington that easily settles the debate:
“‘Eating local’ is a recommendation you hear often [but] is one of the most misguided pieces of advice,” says Hannah Ritchie, at the University of Oxford. “Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation make up a very small amount of the emissions from food and what you eat is far more important than where your food traveled from.”
Beef and lamb have many times the carbon footprint of most other foods, she says. So whether the meat is produced locally or shipped from the other side of the world, plants will still have much lower carbon footprints. Transport emissions for beef are about 0.5% of the total and for lamb it’s 2%.
The reason for this is that almost all food transported long distances is carried by ships, which can accommodate huge loads and are therefore fairly efficient. For example, the shipping emissions for avocados crossing the Atlantic are about 8% of their total footprint. Air freight does of course result in high emissions, but very little food is transported this way; it accounts for just 0.16% of food miles.
There is another part of this statement, people often say that they got their meat and dairy from a humane source. Animals were humanely slaughtered to give food. I think that the term “humane slaughter” itself doesn’t make any sense, there is no such thing as humanely taking a life without asking. Moreover, when you can survive and thrive without the need for killing an animal.
The S-tier is still empty, so this last argument is going there, however, I don’t really think that this is the strongest argument possible.
Well, that was our tier list that ranked the most popular arguments against going vegan. I hope that reading this was helpful to you. There are probably a lot of questions and other arguments about this topic, so feel free to post them in responses under this story and I will try to answer every single one.
A regular diet is bad for the environment, your health, cruel to animals, and is likely to cause the next pandemic. Yes, you can survive by eating meat, but at what cost? There is a healthy alternative that doesn’t kill anyone and didn’t cause a single pandemic, take your time to do your research, don’t rush, and switch wisely. Thank you for saving the planet.