You don't have to go vegan in order to protest corporate farming or cruelty towards animals

veganI am not a vegetarian, let alone a vegan. It is strange that I feel the need to write this, but somehow there is a burning within me to articulate my opinions on abstaining meat from one’s diet. While I am supportive of those with the time and courage to live the clean and healthier lifestyle, I often find myself having to defend my personal morality in debates with some more hardcore vegans/vegetarians that I know. Let me explain why they are wrong.

Before I list my points, let me say that the vegans I am replying to in no way represent the entirety of those who live the lifestyle. I’ve known a few vegetarians and vegans (as a progressive) and I would say that 90% cared less about me eating meat. They were normal people, like myself, who simply chose what they felt were better lifestyles for their own selves. I have no issue with that, I respect it, actually.

The vegans I am replying to are people who, perhaps, are just unpleasant people in general. Yet, they made some rather ridiculous arguments against me and in favor of a strict form of veganism. I feel I have to address them.

The first argument made against my habit of eating meat was that I was propagating murder and suffering on animals because of the meat industry. Granted, yes, the Factory Farms and Meat Packing Industries are known for cruel treatment of animals. As someone who has two dogs, I feel strongly that something must be done to address it.

I often go farther than some progressives on the issue of animal cruelty, even far enough to say sport hunting should be banned entirely and the large Farm Monopolies should be broken down. My approach, however, to animal cruelty is different than the vegans I debated. Their solution was to abandon meat and all animal product all-together. According to them, this was the only way to end the cruelty and sickness of our corporate farm system. I disagree, of course.

The problem is, the vegans I debated, could not separate the issue between animal cruelty and biology. While it is true the Factory Farming system does have reputations for unnecessary cruelty, there are ways to fix that issue without abandoning an aspect of your biological character: Pass a Law.

If you want to end animal cruelty in the farming industry, spreading awareness to pass laws in favor of ending the cruelty would be more effective than trying to convince people to stop eating meat all-together. One reason, I believe, vegan awareness campaigns against Factory Farms are never completely successful is because it takes a logical issue and leads it to an illogical conclusion.

Let us address the biology of it, then. Humans (Homo-Sapien) are omnivores by biological diet. Yes, your diet is determined by biology, not necessarily by personal choice. While it is true that our earliest simian ancestors and cousins were primarily herbivores, around the time of our earliest up-right ancestor (Australopithecines) meat became a more active part of the diet.

Consumption of meat became more active during the dry seasons in Africa, as the lush and softer fruits and leaves were not available, and our teeth are too weak to grind the tough roots and vegetation that was available during those seasons.

Eating meat began as scavenging, and then developed into a more dominant aspect of the diet when the more human-like hominid species arose. In essence, meat has always been part of the human diet, and in fact has been a very active part. In fact, early human groups that ate more meat in their diet thrived while the more vegetarian groups died out.

I make this point mainly because I was told that humans, by nature, were meant to be strict herbivores. While Biology and Anthropology tend to dispute this, many hardcore vegan types are adamant in their position that abstaining from all meat and animal product is the only moral way to live.

While, on the one hand, I do not resent the lifestyle of the vegans that debate me, they seemed to resent mine greatly. To them, it was a moral imperative that I stopped eating meat and using animal product. Eating meat, as a general principle, is not something to lose sleep over. To do so is to force one to lose sleep over all the cruelties our existence brings.

Life and the universe are unfair, and there is no guiding hand of moral nature. Bad things happen all the time, good things happen all the time. Some we can control, most we cannot. Organisms consuming other organisms to survive is not a human creation, nor will it end with humans. Oh, and yes, humans are animals too. We are not a special race of taxa, we are animals related to all other animals in the family tree of life. Therefore, we tend to behave like it.

I feel no guilt for eating a steak or chicken. Nor should I. I feel guilty for the cruelty of man, not the cruelty of nature. Eating meat is not man’s cruelty-cross to bear. As idealistic as I can me, I also realize that not all life in nature will be treated equally. Civilization (whatever that is) can possibly mitigate this, but civilization is also artificial. It can disappear easily, in the grand-scheme of things.

I mention this, because one argument I heard was that “all life is precious and equal and must be respected.” While I appreciate the sentiment, it misses something fundamental: We are consumers. We have to eat to live. Fruits and veggies were once alive before we cut them down to eat. So, even for the hardcore vegan, is all life really equal?

While I appreciate the idealism of many vegans and vegetarians, I simply do not have the personality for that lifestyle. This is not a moral offense, even though I agree that there is cruelty that can be stopped. However, I recognize that ending such cruel practices in corporate farms are more important than pursuing a utopic goal that dilutes the main problem.

I am not a vegan, and I don’t feel ashamed. I applaud those who have the tenacity to live the non-meat lifestyle, and wish them all the best of success. Yet, as a meat-eater, I can’t help but feel strange having to defend the moral position of biology.


  1. You are so deluded. Lie to yourself. a fruit or vegetable has life, but the argument that you presented “all life is equal” is referring to sentient beings and you are misconstruing or misunderstanding the concept behind the heart of eating compassionately. Also there are many laws against animal cruelty and for farming regulation and are not enforced or so broad that much of the worst cruelty is considered standard farming practice.

  2. This article completely ignores the agricultural effects of industrialized farming. Being vegan is no longer just a moral dilemma, it’s about addressing a sustainability issue. Also, new research shows that our ancestors were likely cannibals. Does this effect your support of choosing our modern day diets based off their diets?

    • Do you believe all life is equal? You have to kill something to live. Your diet today is essentially the same. I don’t split hairs on what deserves to live and why.

        • Any food on a dying planet is unsustainable. I have already conceded that factory farming techniques be curtailed. Yet, the logical conclusion does not then lead one to say eating meat is morally bad, which is what hardcore vegans have told me. People have always eaten meat, as do hundreds of fauna. If you think the current practice of the meat industry is unsustainable, I agree 100 percent. However, I enjoy eating meat in my diet. The ability to eat meat should be cleaner, better regulated. People are omnivores, and require meat products as partial sustenance. Will you deny this? I did not ignore the argument.

          • Georgia has a valid point about cannibalism that suggests an obvious solution ,the double McTrump with ego cheese. Save all the cute animals by eating the animals no one wants.

  3. You make valid points about our biology, but I think we’ve developed to a point where we are extremely successful at growing our own plants (YES, plants have protein!) and we do not NEED to consume animals with the regularity we do now. We persist out of habit and tradition, but as our population grows, the demand goes up and the farming practices get more negligent and cruel to satisfy the demand cheaply. The catch is, it’s not cheap. The cost is not comparable to the return; it’s an utter waste of our resources. We grow more grains to feed cows than we do to feed people, and we wonder why people are still starving in our “developed” country. Producing meat is so expensive, not just for the consumer, but for the planet.

    Eating meat for every meal is a sad side effect of the entitled American lifestyle. For Pete’s sake, we’re in a massive drought here in California, over 55% of our water is being used for animal agriculture, but NO ONE is talking about it. All the blame and regulation lands on household usage and the freakin’ almonds, about 15% combined. Not to mention, regular consumption of meat and animal products has been linked to a wealth of health issues – heart disease, obesity, cancer, and so many more. Want to lose weight and improve your health? Go vegan. It’s so much easier these days with a wide array of meat and dairy alternatives.

    Why do we call some animals “pets” and others “dinner”? I don’t believe animals are property, not even your dogs (which I sincerely hope you adopted). You can give them food, water, shelter, love, and keep them safe from harm, but at the end of the day you do not own them.

    I wonder how the cows feel about being forcibly impregnated, milked, and slaughtered for the sake of your taste buds. You say you love them, but you really only love how they taste. You know they suffer, but your solution is to “pass a law” rather than vote with your dollar for less meat and more plant-based foods. How do you think the law is going to pass when everyone still actively supports the current system? The FIRST step to get a law passed is to get people behind you who practice what you preach.

    No one is perfect, and you don’t need to be ashamed of yourself, but don’t put down the people who care enough to TRY to improve life for other earthlings. We’re vocal about it because we care, and we believe it’s imperative that we as a species cut back on meat “production.” Ever hear of global warming?

    Bottom line: what we’re doing as a species to other animals is disgusting. If you want to continue to participate in the corrupt system rather than rebelling against it, fine, but I won’t use my money to support needless suffering. Your policy is hypocrisy in its most infantile, foot-stomping, head-burying form.

    • Do you believe all life is equal? Something must die for you to live. Why is killing a plant less harmful than killing an animal?

      Civilization is artificial. If an asteroid came and whiped out civilization, where would you get food? There’s no organic farms or whole foods in raw nature.

      You have the comfort to sit on your high horse now, but if your civilized life ends, my guess is you’ll become just as big a hypocrite as you say I am.

  4. I agree completely. I like the idea of no animal cruelty across the board.

    As comedian Bill Burr says in one of his stand up routines, “I tried being vegan. It worked until 5 p.m. Something must die every day for me to eat.”

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