Have you been pestered by a vegan activist lately? Maybe you should read this. Excerpt:
Vegetarians come in several flavors. Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs, lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products but not eggs, ovo-lacto-vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products. Pescatarians eat fish but no other animals. (So, in other words, they aren’t vegetarians.) Vegans eat nothing derived from animals. Vegans have claimed that a plants-only diet offers a multitude of health benefits, is better for the environment, and is the only ethical choice. While some of them respect the dietary choices of others, some of them proselytize with religious-like fervor and are working to get their diet adopted by all of humanity. In her new book, Vegan Betrayal: Love, Lies, And Hunger In A Plants-Only World, Mara Kahn questions those beliefs, pointing out that no human population has ever endured on a plants-only diet; that while some studies have shown short-term health benefits, long-term follow-up is missing; that long-term vegans frequently experience “failure to thrive,” go off their diet, and feel better when they return to eating meat; and that veganism might actually harm the environment and might not even save animal lives overall.
The book is really three books interleaved into one:
- The story of her own experiences as a vegan.
- An evidence-supported analysis of veganism and vegetarianism
- Some rather woo-woo ideas about finding a unique diet for each individual
I can highly recommend the first two, but I deplore the third.
Here’s my favorite bit of vegan debunking:
You may have heard vegans, fruitarians, or other food faddists claim that humans were not designed to eat meat. They cite our lack of fangs and claws for bringing down prey. Admittedly, humans are not carnivores, although they can thrive on a diet of raw meat alone. Humans aren’t herbivores either: they lack the rumens and multiple stomachs of animals like cows. Cows are equipped to eat a 100% plant-based diet; humans are not. Raw food faddists argue that humans didn’t evolve to eat cooked food, ignoring the fact that cooking makes some nutrients more available and food more digestible. Demonizers of wheat argue that our ancestors were hunters/gatherers, not farmers.
Some argue that we can’t digest meat; that’s simply not true. We can and do digest it. Plant protein is actually less digestible than meat protein.
Arguments from evolution tend to miss the point: humans are not carnivores or herbivores, but omnivores. Evolution equipped us to thrive on a wide variety of diets. Our ability to eat whatever foods were available allowed us to survive in very diverse environments.
It’s common in debate for vegan activists to deny that this middle ground exists, but it’s very plain to a biologist: Humans have general-purpose, undifferentiated teeth; we have a very non-specialized digestive system capable of converting a wide variety of foods into energy. Of the many species of humans that have existed on the earth in the last 4-5 million years, our successful ancestors were the ones that were the most adaptable – the ones that successfully exploited the widest variety of foods.
But the main argument vegan activists makes falls into the fallacy of Denying the Antecedent, taking this form:
- Eating meat causes the death of animals.
- I don’t eat meat, therefore
- I don’t cause the death of animals.
Well, as the book being reviewed in the linked article points out: Even if you repudiate the eating of animals, you are killing animals by proxy at every meal. Consider the field mice, pheasants, snakes and tender young rabbits—all of the innocent wild beings diced and sliced by the tiller that prepares the soil for your favorite grains.
If we gradually moved to the larger foraging mammals only, … and raised them on their natural diet of 100% grass using a no-till, pasture-forage model, this might mean fewer total animals killed (domestic and wild) than in the all-vegan model. Let’s give this intriguing idea a closer look.”
Vegans, if they really wished to eliminate animal deaths from their lifestyle, could do so – all they would have to do is move off the grid and grow all their own food. They never do so. When challenged on it, the reply is generally some variation on “it’s too hard.”
Veganism isn’t about ethics. It’s nothing more than the cheapest form of virtue signalling; the claiming of a moral high ground with no real effort, a moral high ground that they cannot ethically defend. It’s not an ethical system; it is much more closely related to the stuff you find in cow pastures, and I don’t mean grass.