August 1, 2013

Debunking the self-defeating excuses generated in favor of nonhuman animal exploitation

Please note: The numbered list of answers to many excuses posed in favor of animal-based agriculture(as well as animal exploitation in general) within this article, will remain open for suggested revisions and/or additions proposed by activists in the animal rights community. We are certain that those who invent baseless excuses for the continuance of nonhuman animal exploitation will always generate additional excuses that we have yet to address.

Too often, have vegan and animal rights activists been forced to endure listening to excuses as to why certain individuals continue consuming animal flesh, eggs and milk. Some excuses are rooted in the idea that human beings have always consumed other animals, so therefore, it is either asserted that animal-based product consumption is a necessity for survival, or that it will always be a part of the human condition. This is an obvious fallacy, as no animal-based products are necessary for human survival.

In relation to the “Paleo diet”, a number of arguments exist pertaining to which nutritional factors brought humanity to the place in evolution in which we currently reside. There are obviously missing “spaces” in the overall story and the issue is consistently debated. There is no doubt that human beings have consumed animal-based products in the past (although, “forager” would be a much more accurate label than “hunter” or “carnivore”) but it would not matter whether or not there was evidence to support the consumption of animal flesh by Paleolithic humans. Even if it were the case that our ancestors consumed virtual “buffets” of animal-based products, simply because a factor existed in humanity’s past, that holds no credence to the idea that said factor belongs, or even possesses the capability of remaining a part of our future.

Other excuses revolve about a concern that the vegan’s diet is somehow lacking in protein, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B-12, all of which can be garnered from sources other than animal-based products. There are even “excuses of despair” generally leading individuals to make statements such as, “I eat meat because even if I didn’t, someone would still kill and eat the animals, anyway. It makes no difference if one person stops eating animals.” Statements like this are some of the most frustrating to animal rights activists and truly conscious environmental activists. The answer to this statement is that it makes all the difference in the world. Countless nonhuman lives are spared, vast acres of rain forests are saved, less carbon dioxide and methane is expelled into our ecosystem, all because one person decides to live vegan. As small an impact as it might seem, it is still making a difference and the individuals who stop consuming animal-based products, themselves, also become a positive example to others.

We don’t understand the mind-frame of a human being who says, “Well, there isn’t anything we can do about it, so I might as well just not worry about it”, especially when that person has children and grandchildren. Sooner or later, the question of whether or not we actually care about our children’s futures must arise. Do we wish to leave our posterity in ruin? Do we possess enough concern for the continuance of our species to actually alter the way that we currently live, or do we wish to become extinct? These are the only real questions that need answering because quite frankly, if the vast exploitation of nonhuman animals does not come to an end, then the human animal will.

It is quite evident that a “crossroads” has been reached in human evolution based upon an extreme ecologic sustainability problem. A being of relative intelligence, such as those which comprise humanity, should be capable of recognizing that it is time to take the next evolutionary step, or simply die off as a collective species. Is it so difficult to consider that the next step in human evolution is not one solely based on the flow of natural selection, as perhaps our primal and sometimes brutal past has apparently dictated? What if the next step in our evolution requires that we make a conscious decision? Whether or not that decision is an educated one will depend on how imperative it is to us that humanity survives its folly-filled infancy.

Our animal-based product consumption, due to a massive rise in human population over the last two centuries, is quite simply and systematically destroying all life on the planet. Fertile lands and rain forests are stripped bare with no possibility of regrowth. Inordinate amounts of methane and CO2 flow into our atmosphere. An unrealistic number of fish (whether they are species that humans generally consume matters not to overall biodiversity in the oceans) are utilized in “livestock” feed to go along with the massive amount of grain that we sustain nonhuman animals in the industry with, whilst oceans acidify, killing off coral reefs, which are the cradle of every scrap of life on the planet.

Some 40,000 human beings die of starvation as another 6,000 succumb to poor water source issues every single day, whilst we over-stress the planet to produce grain, roughly half of which we feed to some 70 billion land-based nonhuman animals that we annually slaughter for food purposes, when it requires 16 pounds (7.25 kg) of grain to produce just 1 pound (.45 kg) of beef, along with similar ridiculous grain taxation ratios on the production of other animal-based products. The concerns regarding fresh-water sources relating to animal-based agriculture are just as dire, as on global average, it requires nearly 2,000 gallons (over 7500 liters) of fresh water to generate a single pound (.45 kg) of beef. In retrospect, although occasional flesh consumption may have helped humanity reach this point in evolution, our current employ of animal-based agriculture has placed us in an extremely precarious predicament. The statistics point to the fact that we will go no further, unless we stop exploiting other animals.

Any creature in existence must either adapt and evolve in order to overcome adverse environmental conditions, just as all continuing species have  throughout Earth’s 4.5 billion year history. There are many individuals who do not have the courage to face certain current issues, the most pressing issue certainly relating to vast devastation that we have inflicted upon our surroundings and what that means for our posterity. Whilst we do believe that most humans generally do care, the corporate-owned propaganda-machine has the masses mesmerized. If people could only take a step back from their current personal situations and realize just precisely, what kind of political power that corporations possess, not only over our legislature but in the media, our educational system, in advertising, every aspect of society in general, then perhaps, it might become more clear to them.

So, if the next step in human evolution is one that requires a conscious effort to evolve by making a collective decision to change, are we up to the challenge? We simply do not have the answer to that question. Again, with corporate influence being such as it is, we are unaware as to why so many do not heed the blatant warnings or accept information which noted environmentalists and scientists around the globe have been trying to present in regard to the devastation that animal-based agriculture has been inflicting upon all Earthly life. We simply find it frustrating that people can invent so many ridiculous excuses in an effort to explain away a desperate need for facing the negative impact that animal agriculture has on the ecosystem and it becomes disheartening for many of us who can see the “big picture”.

In light of the fact that so many animal rights and vegan-activists are forced to address these excuses on a regular basis, we have been asked to address a number of them, or more to the point, “debunk” them all in one place for future reference. We believe that this is a valid idea, so we will do our very best to facilitate the need for an “all-encompassing” source for dismantling the every-day arguments that are thrown in the face of animal rights and vegan activists, which are generated in favor of nonhuman animal exploitation or consumption. We will leave this article open for additions and revisions suggested by our friends in the movement. 

meat-eater
Excuse #1. “But I enjoy eating meat, milk and eggs.” 
Answer: Life on this planet certainly doesn’t “enjoy” the impact that billions of human beings inflict upon it via their consumption of nonhuman animal flesh, eggs and milk. No animal (human or nonhuman) enjoys being exploited, tortured and/or murdered for any purpose. Human posterity certainly isn’t going to thank you for placing your personal pleasure above future human continuance. The human employ of animal-based agriculture, which is directly responsible for the vast majority of all planetary deforestation(not to mention, the majority of past and present wetland removal), shreds enough rain forest every 5 years to cover a land-mass the size of the nation of Greece. It has only been since the dawn of the industrial revolution that humanity has disappeared well over half of all planetary forests and drained half of all wetlands on Earth in favor of sustaining animals in “livestock” conditions. The ecosystem loses 135 known(key word here is “known”, seeing as we have only discovered what is likely half of all species on Earth) planet/animal species to extinction each day and more CO2 emissions are expelled through the aforementioned deforestation, than is generated by our entire global human transit system. This greenhouse gas statistic obviously does not even account for the vast methane emissions caused by animal-based agriculture, methane itself being 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2.
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Excuse #2. “Stop trying to enforce your views on me, it is my choice to eat what I want.”  
Answer: No, people are not entitled to simply do whatever they want to do when said actions steer humanity’s future toward a detrimental end and those being exploited in the process have no say in the matter. Your decisions are impacting my posterity, as well as the countless lives of nonhuman animals who can not speak for themselves. Ethically speaking, we must speak for them and quite frankly, activists are also speaking out for the future of your grandchildren, seeing as you refuse to. What will your posterity do when every rain forest, the Earth’s natural humidifiers and carbon sequestration/storage systems which house the majority of all biodiversity on the planet, are entirely shredded in roughly 40 years? What kind of world will your children live in when there are no more fish swimming in the oceans, a reality which is slated to come to fruition in roughly the same time-frame, mainly due to animal-based agriculture.
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Excuse #3. “Humans have always eaten other animals!”
Answer: Leaving aside the fact that the actual overall makeup of a Paleolithic human diet is hotly debated amid the scientific community, whether animal flesh was regularly consumed by humans in large quantities (highly unlikely as our bodies are not well-designed from a predatory standpoint) or not, it most certainly does not indicate what comprises a health-beneficial diet. Even if a solidified consensus was reached amid the scientific community in regard to an understanding of the Paleolithic diet, such a diet may not be indicative of what is best for humanity moving forward as we certainly aren’t living in 150,000 B.C. It is currently 2013, so please try to learn more about how healthy a vegan’s diet can be and the extensive ecologic devastation that animal-based product consumption employed by a population of 7 billion human beings is inflicting upon all planetary life, today. 
grayandwhitechartherbiesssExcuse #4. “Humans were designed to eat animals and we are at the top of the “food chain'”
Answer: This is one of the more ridiculous excuses (if any excuse can be considered more ridiculous than another) that animal-based product consumers bring to the table. Humans are in no plausible way, specifically designed to be predators or even carrion-feeders. In point of fact, we are built in quite the opposite fashion. In general, flesh-consuming mammals possess more canine-teeth than molars and they often have an elongated, pointed jaw. Obviously, herbivores are gifted with mainly flat teeth (along with a couple of canines) and rounded jaws which are specifically designed to grind vegetation.  
Carnivorous animals also have many specialized hunting traits, such as night vision, superior hearing, an advanced sense of smell, along with incredible speed, making them fast enough to catch prey and most posses a shorter bowel for quick digestion. This not only allows natural carnivores to eliminate fat content quickly but aids in staving-off subsequent diseases caused by flesh sitting in the bowel for long periods. Equipped with specialized enzymes that kill certain bacteria in rotting flesh, true carnivores are uniquely designed to consume other animals. For a quick, fun informational look at this information, please check out the video “Are Human Beings Natural Meat Eaters?” created by Dan Piraro of Bizarro.com here.
Simply stated, when a so-called “human hunter” takes down a 5-point buck armed only with his or her imaginary claws, sharp elongated fangs, blazing speed and power, then consumes the bloody, raw carcass on the spot, the rest of will think they’re rather insane, but it will at least, leave an impression.
Subsequent argument: “Lions eat gazelles and wolves eat deer. We have to eat!”
Answer: You’re not a lion or a wolf. Eat vegetation-based foods. They are packed with all the necessary nutrition that you need. Doing so is healthier for both you and all life on the planet.
crazy-cow-factory Excuse #5. “Setting cows out to pasture is beneficial to the environment.”
Whilst we do agree that naturally occurring herds of bovine, grazing under once again, natural circumstances and in the proper numbers for a particular environment, would indeed fertilize some of the ground that they graze over, the mere idea that today’s numbers in bovines exploited through agriculture being a benefit to the planet, is simply absurd, at best. Cows, themselves, are a “human-engineered” version of a domesticated breed of oxen, which is an ungulate in the bovine family. Much like humans have generated the Cocker Spaniel from their root source, the wolf, through specialized breeding practices and environmental stimuli, we have created cows. Cows consume mass quantities of vegetation or grain to sustain themselves, roughly 30 times the amount of a full grown human being, with a comparable ratio regarding fresh water intake. It actually requires 16 pounds (7.25 kg) of grain to produce 1 pound (.45 kg) of beef and the amount of fresh water necessary to rear each cow in animal agriculture could float a navy battleship. Dairy cows are said to consume up to 25 gallons of fresh water each day. Wild herds of oxen, natural and indigenous herbivores, residing in many corners of the globe throughout Earth’s history, were most certainly an integral part of the ecosystem, as well as the landscape. Grazing over pasture, leaving their waste behind to help re-fertilize the ground, was a natural and balanced process in the life of wild oxen. Naturally occurring oxen herds both negatively and positively affected flora in a balance forged over countless millennia. They once numbered, at most, in the ten to hundred thousands on any given continent before the explosion in human population and subsequently, modern animal agriculture. Prior to extensive human intervention, bovines may have possibly held global population numbers somewhere in the area of 1 million, not 1 billion. There was never a time in Earth’s natural history when it could possibly sustain the stresses involved with feeding 2 billion bovines (the number consistently held in animal-based agriculture today). So again, we will firmly state that it is the pinnacle of absurdity to even present the idea that setting all cows currently being exploited in animal-based agriculture to pasture would be any more “beneficial” to the environment than shredding rain forests or draining wetlands so that grains can be grown for their feed. No matter how you attempt to sustain 2 billion cows, they will still wreak havoc upon the ecosystem.
Subsequent argument: “Growing vegetables harms the environment more than raising animals for food.”
Answer: This statement does not actually deserve to be addressed.  Again, the main reason for overtaxing the environment to produce inordinate amounts of vegetation is directly related to animal-based agriculture’s impact. In no way, shape or form does the production of vegetation for direct human consumption even come close to generating the negative impact that the production of vegetation to sustain animals in “livestock” conditions causes.
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Excuse #6. “You vegans sound like preachers or evangelists, so you must be pushing a religion!” 
Answer: If that be the case, then for the very same reason, so did those who possess some of the greatest minds in human history like Socrates, Hippocrates, Plato, Pythagoras, Plutarch, Tolstoy, Schweitzer, Einstein Twain… The truth is that every facet of veganism is based on two major components; science and ethics. Veganism itself, has nothing to do with religion, nor does it exclude those of any faith. Furthermore, most vegans incorporate an expanded compassion for all life although, that is not a necessity and it does not have to be a spiritual issue. The only necessities regarding veganism are a respect for all forms of life and a dedication toward refraining from exploiting life in every possible way.
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Excuse #7. “God put animals here for us to eat!”
Answer: Did God put human beings here to overpopulate and destroy “his creation” through the continued consumption of products garnered from nonhuman animals by overtaxing all life on the planet (again, God’s creation, by your definition)? Did God put human beings here to pour a severely inordinate ratio of resources into satiating an industry of mass-slaughter and exploitation (roughly 70 billion land-based domesticated vegetarian animals force-bred, exploited and murdered annually)? Considering that every scrap of animal-based product that we consume costs ridiculous amounts of grain/water to generate whilst over 40,000 human beings around the world starve to death or die from poor fresh-water source related issues each day and we send some 135 known plant/animal species to extinction in the same time frame (every single day), mainly due to the deforestation (over 200 square feet[18.5 square meters] shredded for each pound of beef) caused by animal-based agriculture, this ideology doesn’t exactly scream “thou shalt not kill”, as far as I can tell. If anyone honestly believes that it is possible to convince a truly rational human being that, if God exists, what his basic instructions for humanity was, “Here you are! Go now, overpopulate yourselves and destroy all life on Earth!” then they’re mistaken. Besides, nothing will “absolve” us in the eyes of God, for destroying the future of our own posterity…nothing. It is also rather important to note that by selecting specific passages within any scripture which lend absolution toward acts that we personally approve of, whilst ignoring other passages that admonish those very same actions, we make hypocrites of ourselves. This is not an isolated occurrence in any one specific religions scripture, as nearly every theology on the planet generates conflicting arguments pertaining to animal exploitation in their religious texts. One can find passages that promote the exploitation of animals, whilst other passages strictly prohibit the act.
goestothesameplace Excuse #8 “As long as animals are treated and killed humanely, then it is okay to eat them.”
Answer: There is no “humane” way to treat a slave and there certainly is no “humane” way to take a life. If you could truly imagine yourself in their position, in no manner whatsoever, would it seem as “acceptable” and even if you care not to recognize the sentience of nonhuman beings, the environmental impacts caused by their extensive exploitation are extremely unacceptable to all life on Earth, including human life.
Subsequent argument: “I raise my own animals for milk and eggs only. I take very good care of them and I am not exploiting them”
Answer: You are still exploiting them and you are still promoting the exploitation of animals, as well as the consumption of animal-based products in a world forced to sustain over 7 billion human beings. If everyone did exactly what you are doing, the environmental detriments caused by animal-based agriculture would still remain. In point of fact, they could potentially be much worse depending upon the number of animals that humans would then be working to sustain.
Subsequent argument: “Obviously then, you are against my owning a pet and you think that having pets should be outlawed. No one is taking my pet away!”
Answer: What you crudely refer to as a “pet”, is by definition, a companion animal and you only “own” him/her under the pretense of human-invented laws. The issue surrounding companion animals is not one that is easily corrected. Even if it became illegal to breed animals for human companionship tomorrow, we would still be spending more than a human generation trying to fix an already existent problem that sends countless millions of animals to their death every year (whether in kill-shelters or on the streets). Any alteration in the way that we deal with such an extreme problem will be gradual, no matter how we proceed. The only way to generate a viable difference is to minimize breeding. When all animal protection organizations, in a consorted effort, come to an agreement on how best to curtail the mass-breeding of companion animals by first having legal restrictions enacted to limit breeding, things will begin to change for the better. Domesticated nonhuman animals that are already here need to be cared for and that reality isn’t going to change in either of our lifetimes, therefore, we have no wish to take your companion animal away from you. Truth be told, there are many more companion animals who are facing execution right at this very moment. We strongly wish that you were capable of adopting them all. Remember; adopt, don’t shop!
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Excuse #9. “I can’t go vegan because I need protein, calcium, iron, vitamin B-12, vitamin-D, etc… and I have to eat meat and dairy products to get them.” 
Answer: Chickens, pigs, cows, etc… (all of which you acquire said nutrients filtered through their flesh/fluids, only because they consume those nutrients through vegetation) are all naturally vegetarian animals which get plenty of these nutrients from vegetable-sources. That means, so can you. An average cow, for instance, carries nearly 1,000 pounds (over 450 kg) of muscle on a set of extremely strong bones, yet cows consume mainly grains and/or green vegetation. There is no nutritional need for humans to eat any animal-based product. Every human dietary need can be supplied by a proper vegan’s diet. Even the United States Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association) notes that a “vegetarian diet reduces the risk of many chronic degenerative diseases and conditions”. The United States Department of Agriculture publicly states that, “Vegetarian diets can meet all the recommendations for nutrients.” Keep in mind that both of these sources are well-known for supporting the consumption of animal-based products. Quick fact: There is more protein in equal weight of broccoli than there is in beef and kale is simply packed with true green, easily-digestible calcium. 
Subsequent argument: “Men who don’t eat meat have low testosterone levels.”
Answer: Testosterone is rarely affected by diet. Any fluctuations in testosterone levels are usually caused by hormonal syndromes or conditions such as hypogonadism, steroid use, or endocrine disorders. Going vegan does not impact your testosterone levels. That being said, a diet that is too high in protein and saturated fats can cause not only coronary issues, but erectile dysfunction in middle-aged to older gentlemen. Plaque buildup in the arteries(mainly caused by the longstanding consumption of foods containing saturated fats like eggs, milk, cheese, animal flesh) leads to a lack of proper circulation. Any reputable physician should first look toward diet when dealing with male patients suffering from erectile dysfunction, as it is often a sign of clogged arteries and the main concern should be testing the patient for risk of heart attack.

kookwithsteak Excuse #10. “I was vegan for a while but I got sick, so I started eating meat again.” 
Answer: If the statement is true, then the individual who made the statement simply did not properly employ a vegan diet. Somewhere along the line, this person failed to consume the necessary amount of nutrition required for sufficient health. Someone could consume just raw carrots all day, every day and would be eating a healthy vegan food, however, it goes without saying that if all that someone ate was carrots for an extended period of time without receiving other forms of nutrition, that person would likely become very ill. We realize that this is a dramatic example. We are simply attempting to make the point that if the statement is factual, something in this person’s diet was missing. Our suggestion for anyone who has health questions or concerns regarding a vegan’s diet is to connect with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine through their website or their Facebook “like page“. You can even call their Washington, D.C. office (number is in the contact section on their website). Dr. Neal Barnard and his competent staff are brilliant, compassionate and indispensable educational resources for everyone. Fact: There are a number of “junk-foods” that are still acceptable in a vegan’s diet, however, this does not mean they are necessarily healthy or contain much nutrition. There are chips, cookies, cakes, pies and countless other “goodies” made vegan.
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Excuse #11. “Animals don’t feel pain!”
Answer: Any living being that possesses a working, complex central nervous system is scientifically proven to have the capacity to feel and experience pain. 
 
Criteria that indicates the potential of a species to feel pain include:
 
a. Has a suitable nervous system and sensory receptors
b. Physiological changes to noxious stimuli
c. Displays protective motor reactions that might include reduced use of an affected area such as limping, rubbing, holding or autotomy
d. Has opioid receptors and shows reduced responses to noxious stimuli when given analgesics and local anaesthetics
e. Shows trade-offs between stimulus avoidance and other motivational requirements
f. Shows avoidance learning
g. High cognitive ability and sentience
 
Most nonhuman animals meet all of the above criteria and have indeed, been granted the label of possessing “sentience” by the scientific community. The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals was publicly proclaimed in Cambridge, U.K. on July 7, 2012 at the conclusion of the Conference at Churchill College, University of Cambridge by Philip Low, David Edelman and Christof Koch. It was written by Philip Low and edited by Jaak Panksepp, Diana Reiss, David Edelman, Bruno Van Swinderen and Christof Koch. The Declaration was signed by the conference participants that very evening in the presence of Stephen Hawking in the Balfour Room at the Hotel du Vin. The signing ceremony was memorialized by CBS 60 Minutes. 
Subsequent argument: “Animals do not have souls.”
Answer: Prove it…
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Excuse #12. “Plants have feelings, too!”
Answer: Plants do not possess a central nervous system, allowing them to feel pain or terror and if someone was inclined to be concerned about the “welfare” of plants, they might wish to research just how much vegetation is spent in favor of producing animal-based products. Aside from the insane grain taxation in general, caused by the production of all animal-based products (again 16 pounds[7.25 kg] of grain to produce just 1 pound[.45 kg] of beef, with nearly ridiculous grain taxation to produce other animal-based products), generating such inordinate amounts of grain also impacts rain forests, other forested areas, as well as wetlands. Since the industrial revolution began, half of the planet’s wetlands and over half of the world’s forests that once existed are now completely gone, wiped out in favor of growing grain to feed animals in “livestock” conditions. For every pound (.45 kg) of beef sold on store shelves, over 200 square feet (18.5 square meters) of rain forest was removed. This says nothing in regard to the countless plant species succumbing to extinction on a daily basis, due to said deforestation, again, mainly caused by animal-based agriculture. Furthermore, this is as far as I will go in regard to entertaining any argument which even remotely suggests that a plant’s life experience is comparable to that of an animal, human or nonhuman.
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Excuse #13. “All of the cows, chickens, pigs and other farm animals would go extinct if humans didn’t eat them. Sure, I eat cows, but I love them and don’t want them wiped off the planet!”
Answer: The simple fact of the matter is that all domesticated animals have no place in the natural order. Their very over-bred existence is, more to the point, an extreme detriment to the ecosystem and that natural order. Cows are no more naturally occurring in nature than a poodle is. They were engineered from oxen, just as the poodle (or any other domesticated canine) was force-bred from the wolf or another species of wild dog. The very same truth surrounds the breeding of domesticated chickens, pigs or any other animal on “farms” in agriculture.
Again, the cow is simply the human-altered descendant of oxen, which never populated in herds on this planet of more than perhaps a few 100,000 on any given continent in a natural ecologic balance, prior to the industrial revolution. With some 2 billion cows currently being exploited on an annual basis (whether in subsistence or industrial farming…it does not matter), along with the rest of the nearly 60 billion animals that we place in “livestock” conditions, there is no way for the planet to sustain them without irreparable ecologic damage. Factory-farmed or not, the whole of animal agriculture is leading humanity toward its own extinction.
We are quite uncertain as to why anyone would be in fear regarding domesticated animals in “livestock” conditions eventually going extinct. There is no logic behind such a concern, other than to generate another baseless argument in favor of a desire to continue exploiting and consuming other animals. In light of this fact, it would behoove those who make such arguments to please not pretend to actually care about the lives of nonhuman animals (or human posterity, for that matter) that you wish to make certain remain in existence for humanity to kill and consume by the tens of billions, annually.
The irrefutable truth is, the root-animals (oxen, wild pigs/boars, forest fowl, etc…) that domesticated “livestock” animals originate from would experience much more ideal natural conditions within their own ecosystems and they would flourish as they haven’t in centuries, if we did indeed, slowly allow domesticated “livestock” animals to go “extinct”.
Besides, considering that 135 plant and animals species fall to extinction on a daily basis mainly because of the excessive deforestation which is directly contributed to the current human employ of animal-based agriculture, we would label this excuse as one of the most “self-defeating” on the list, next to the “plants have feelings, too” argument, of course.
Subsequent argument: “This means that you want to kill all domesticated animals! You’re not an animal rights activist, you’re a hypocrite!”
Answer: At no point in time did we, or would we ever suggest that we kill any animal. We forced them into existence and they are therefore, our responsibility. We simply suggest that we stop breeding them.
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Excuse #14. “Animals would overpopulate, overrun us if we did not kill and eat them!”
Answer: What’s the matter? The extinction excuse isn’t panning-out all that well? In all seriousness, it is the pinnacle of foolishness to believe that the human animal possesses the ability to balance the ecosystem in any manner more conducive to the natural order than nature can. This is the same flawed “culling” anti-logic utilized in “wildlife management” (or, to be more accurate, “wildlife mismanagement”). It is most certainly the fault of human interference that any animal population problems exist. If any animal population has “over-run” a specific environment, it is because humans have put said species where it does not belong or destroyed the ecologic factors which keep that species “in check”. This is the “tell-tale” signature of human interference with the natural order. In most cases where animal population issues magically arise, hunters have eradicated their only competition, that being, indigenous predators like wolves, whose burrows and environmental impact are essential for the generation of bacterial-life, as well as the growth of flora in any ecosystem. That, in turn, helps sustain the balanced food supply for many animal species, including the predator’s prey. Predators obviously, also help control the population numbers of said prey. It is all part of an intricate web, specifically designed for sustainability and continuance, a system to which, we do not fit into. When humans interfere, that is the only time when problems arise. If we simply removed ourselves from the equation, nature would find a balance once again. In regard to animals in “livestock” conditions, we are the only factor which continually force-populates 60 billion land-based animals for food purposes. We obviously force-breed these animals in numbers necessary to sustain the demand of animal-based agriculture. They are not “prolific breeders” (a term that is rather over-used by hunters, anyway) and nature has its own design for keeping or returning to an ecosystemic balance. The multiple billions of animals that we enslave for food purposes are again, domesticated animals that can not simply be happily fitted into the natural order. If 70 billion domesticated land-based animals were basically set free all over the world to care for themselves in the wild, the vast majority would die off, due to a lack of sustainable resources and the ones that survived would not breed beyond the resource-means in any specific region that they settle in. In other words, if large herds of animals raised mainly on crowded feedlots in the middle of a western United States desert were simply set free, they would all die of starvation in a relatively short period of time. Bare in mind, vast, idyllic and robust pastureland is not as abundant as the animal agriculture industry would like for you to believe with their pretty images of cows grazing in green fields all day. That is not the reality for the majority of the 70 billion land-based nonhuman animals in animal agriculture all over the world. Most animals in “livestock” conditions are either crammed into a cage or consistently crowded against others of their kind (or both), standing on metal grates or dead soil for the entirety of their lives and they are mainly consuming grain shipped in to feed them, not grass from the ground.  
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Excuse #15. “Soy is bad for you and a lot of vegan food is genetically modified.”
Answer: There have been a great number of negative “spins” placed on soy-based products, many of which have been fabricated by the animal-based product industry because of its increasing popularity. “Studies” sponsored by animal agriculture conglomerates have even gone so far as to suggest that soy consumption generates a negative impact on male sexuality. In actuality, soy-based products have no adverse effects on men and may even help prevent certain cancers in both sexes. One issue pertaining to some soy that is not a fallacy, is the fact that much of it coming into certain countries happens to be genetically modified. The main reason why a good deal of soy is so extensively genetically modified is because along with corn, it is the most widely utilized grain in sustaining animal-based product consumption and the production of said vegetation must remain at an extremely high level to satiate that requirement. Leaving aside the fact that many vegans do not even consume a great deal of soy-based products, the truth of the matter is that the average animal-based product consumer eats far more concentrated “GMO” soy-based products filtered through the flesh and bodily fluids of animals that live mainly on genetically modified soy or corn. For more factual information in regard to soy, please see “Soy and your health” written by the good doctors at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. 
Fact: A good portion of ALL edible items regularly sold in supermarkets is genetically modified.
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Excuse #16. “Many wild animal species would go extinct if we didn’t keep them captive.” 
Answer: The answer to this argument applies to keeping any wild animal species in captivity, whether in zoos, circuses, sideshows or on farms (insects included). The argument citing that by enslaving and captive-breeding tigers for example, we somehow ensure that they do not become extinct, is an easily debunked fallacy. As a point of fact, a tiger placed in a cage, is no longer a tiger, nor is the ecosystem benefiting from the existence of having that tiger living in the surrounding environmental construct. Bacteria and flora is not benefiting from the impact garnered by their presence in the ecosystem, flora which provides sustenance to the tiger’s natural prey, which in turn provides sustenance for all predatory species in a naturally-balanced cycle. The same argument can be applied with any animal turned domesticated, including bees. When we “employ” bees for the sole purpose of generating honey. Those specific bees will never follow any natural pattern within the ecosystem. They will never travel expansive distances that pollinate vast areas of land which require pollination. No, they will be specifically geared to enslavement in a localized area for the sole purpose of creating honey. Like any machine, they will be utilized as tools by humans. These are not “bees” anymore, not in an actual sense, nor will the ecosystem benefit from their existence on the scale in which nature requires them to. Like cows (which again, we created from oxen) and the many dog breeds (which again, we created from wolves, as well as other wild dog species), they will become domesticated animals, animals that have no viable positive impact on the environment. As domesticated animals generally go, under the influence of billions of human beings who generate them, their impact to date is mostly negative. So the common-sense answer is still in favor of non-exploitation and the only actual “benefit” garnered in keeping a tiger captive when the rest have fallen to extinction, is the continued ability for humans to ogle or “study” that exploited tiger. 
Please note: Captive animals should not be confused with those in sanctuaries. “Sanctuaries” for animals should be exactly what their title suggests and if they are, the label “zoos”, “circuses”, “sideshows”, breeding facilities”, “laboratories” or “farms” does not apply. For example, Sea World is NOT a sanctuary. They may even do some work in a sanctuary capacity, however, they are clearly a zoo, circuses, sideshow and breeding facility with the main purpose of making money. A true sanctuary for animals will take in only animals that are injured (with every intention on returning them to the wild whenever possible), domesticated, or can not care for themselves in the wild and true animal sanctuaries will not involve in the breeding of animals unless it is to repopulate a species that humanity has already decimated in an effort to aid in the restoration of ecosystemic balance.
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Excuse #17. “What about fish? They’re not animals and they don’t feel pain. Isn’t fish on a vegetarian diet?”
Since when were fish classified as “vegetation”? No, fish are not on a vegetarian diet. Fish are animals and fish do indeed, have the capacity to feel pain. Countless fish species are also being sent to extinction, due to the stress placed on their numbers by animal-based agriculture. 40% of all fish caught or farmed by humanity are fed to nonhuman animals in “livestock” conditions. This is indeed, the main cause for the majority of the “over-fishing” problem.

Subsequent argument: “The fish that are ground-up and added to livestock feed for farm animals are not fish that people eat, anyway.”
Answer: The individual posing this argument is still basing the value of everything in existence in terms of how it will benefit humanity right now, not in terms of how it benefits other life forms or even humanity’s future. It really does not matter which species of fish is being sent to extinction in the grand ecosystemic scheme. Every species has its place and depleting the numbers of one species will inevitably impact countless others, including what humans define as “food-fish”.
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Excuse #18. “Wearing animal skins is better for the environment than using synthetics.”
We do not believe that any animal rights or environmental protection activist would state that certain synthetic textiles are necessarily “good” for the environment, however, the fur and animal-skin industry is just another extension of the animal agriculture industry. These exploited animals are still being sustained, enslaved and slaughtered in much the same manner as animals in “livestock” conditions. They are one in the same and in this article, we’ve already completely dismantled the notion that there is any possible “benefit” that animal-based agriculture can offer to the global ecosystem. The fur and animal skin industry is a brutal one (this includes items such as feathers for “goose-down” pillows, comforters, etc…).  Every year, over 50 million animals are killed on fur farms alone and in general, quite horrifically.
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Excuse #19. “Animal experimentation is necessary to advance the medical industry.”
Answer: Noted scientists throughout history, as well as all over the world today, agree that animals are not only poor test subjects in regard to human response in vivisection results, but that the moral implications against it far outweigh any results garnered. 94% of vivisection practices inflicted upon nonhuman are performed in order to discern whether or not household products and cosmetics are safe for human use. The majority of the remaining 6% of vivisection practices used in “medical” experimentation garner results that are considered to be “mixed” or “inconclusive”. In other words, the medical industry will not cure AIDS in humans by injecting an orangutan with the HIV virus, although, such practices are regularly enacted. The biologic reaction of another species is quite different to disease than human reaction. So in reality, humans are mainly torturing animals for the insurance companies, for our vanity, for collegiate grant purposes, for  a “clean home”, or to legally market obviously harmful items such as cigarettes and the medical industry is still “flipping a coin” before testing any drug on humans for the first time, no matter how many series of tests are run on a chimpanzee or a rat. Regardless of these facts, there never was a moral justification for animal experimentation, no matter what results can be garnered from such endeavors and we leave a black stain on the human soul by its practice. Most would rather die than be forced to endure one moment of the twisted horrors that these animals must face every day. Instead of torturing animals, let humans that are dying of incurable diseases have the drugs that could possibly save their lives, rather than holding out on them over patent/non-patent status, “big pharmaceutic” and insurance company capital gain. Whilst you are at it, send the “big wigs” of every major insurance company to prison for countless decades of extortion. These conglomerates have the audacity to label activists as “terrorists” when it is they who are the true agents of terror-infliction upon countless lives, human and non-human.
Fact: Many viable alternatives to vivisection experiments exist and are not only utilized, but preferred by ethical scientists around the world. Please research some of these alternatives. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has some excellent information made available regarding the issue; Moving Beyond Animal Research, Alternatives to Live Animal Laboratories and the Frequently Asked Questions About Animal Experimentation Issues. Also, faculties like the Johns Hopkins Center For Alternatives to Animal Testing is dedicated toward finding viable alternatives to vivisection practices.
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Excuse #20. “Animal rights activists are extremists disturbing the peace, criminals breaking laws and terrorists causing dissension.”
Answer: Animal rights activists who assemble in protest to provide a voice for the voiceless masses being trampled under the boots of oppression, are not disturbing the peace; they are disturbing the holocaust that most human beings knowingly support, pay into, feed off of and apathetically inflict upon countless nonhuman animals every single day. That same holocaust is again, also negatively-impacting the human animal. Some animal rights activists may on occasion, challenge a few unjust laws, liberate or rescue an animal, damage an inanimate piece of property in the process or generate a spectacle from time to time, however, there are situations when certain illegal yet nonviolent actions could be considered as necessary in a world run by corporate industry, greed and apathy. Animal rights activists, real animal rights activists, do what they do for the human species, as well. They are not terrorists. They are attempting to put an end to terror and exploitation.
 

In closing, 70 billion horrifically exploited land-based vegetarian animals in “livestock” conditions consume 40% of all fish farmed or caught by humanity and over 50% of all the vegetation that we reap. Coral reefs die off through temperature rise and ocean acidification, mainly caused by pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions originating from the direct impacts of the animal agriculture industry. 115,830 square miles (300,000 square kilometers) of rain forest has been shredded over the past decade in the nation of Brazil alone in order to satiate this unnecessary demand for flesh, eggs and milk. Life on Earth is siphoned-dry through inordinate resource production in favor of our animal flesh and bodily fluid addiction whilst nearly 20,000 children starve to death every day and people generate baseless excuses for consuming their own posterity’s future.

Isn’t a child’s life supposed to be priceless? Would you not make what you see as a “sacrifice” in order to save the life of a child? What about for the lives of 20,000 children each day? Would you do so for the future of every child on the planet, along with the future of your own children? If the answer is “no”, then we’ll not wonder why humans care so little for the countless nonhuman animals that suffer for our folly when the majority of our species does not even concern themselves with the future continuance of their own posterity.

Only through an evolution of understanding, by developing an extension of true respect to encompass all life on Earth (this includes respecting ourselves), will we have even a slight window of opportunity to collectively alter our current path. It is an unfortunate fact that developing any respect or compassion for all life will require something from those who see change as “sacrifice”, especially considering that many humans are apparently, extremely selfish. Without a monumental global “first step” toward an acceptance of reality, there is little hope for the human species. So, the question remains. Do we rise above the apathy, or do we die along with everything else that we have been adversely impacting on this planet? When do the excuses stop?

 

The AELLA Team