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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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