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Vegan Myths Exposed

Posted by at 5:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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I’m sure you’ve encountered some well-intentioned people who have tried to “educate” you through tired, been-there-done-that half-truths in order to justify their decision to eat animals. So let’s take a look at some of the most common misconceptions about veganism and set ‘em straight!

Myth: You need to eat meat to be healthy.
Fact:
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) states that vegetarians and vegans enjoy lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower rates of hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, lower body mass indexes, a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease, and lower overall cancer rates. The ADA concludes that vegetarian or vegan diets “are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

Myth: Plants feel pain too.
Fact:
Since they have no central nervous systems, nerve endings, or brains, there is no reason to believe that plants feel pain. If you want to be responsible for the least number of deaths possible, a vegetarian diet is still preferable to a meat-based one, since the vast majority of grains and legumes raised today are used as feed for cattle. By eating vegetables directly, you save many more plants’ lives than you would if you ate animals such as cows, who must consume 16 pounds of vegetation in order to produce 1 pound of flesh.

Myth: Vegan foods are expensive.
Fact:
Vegetarian staples, such as pasta, rice, tofu, and beans, are much cheaper than meat. The money that you save from not buying meat can go toward paying just a little extra for nondairy milk and other staples, such as fruits and vegetables. You can also save money by buying food in bulk at grocery stores, on the Internet, or through catalogs. Click here to browse hundreds of free vegan recipes.

Myth: They’re destroying the rain forests to make tofu.
Fact:
If you take a look at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s graph regarding agricultural use of Amazon rain forest land here, you will notice that the vast majority of land cleared in the Amazon region (86 percent) is used as pastureland for animals raised for food rather than for growing soybeans (4 percent). It is also important to note that 80 percent of the soybeans grown worldwide are used to feed animals raised for food. It takes 13 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of meat. About 20 percent of the world’s population, or 1.4 billion people, could be fed with the grain and soybeans that are fed to U.S. cattle alone.

Myth: Cows have to be milked.
Fact:
In order for a cow to produce milk, she must have a calf. Cows on dairy farms are impregnated every year so that they will produce a steady supply of milk. In nature, the cows’ calves would drink their milk (eliminating their need to be milked by humans). But on dairy farms, cows’ babies are taken away within a day or two of birth so that humans can have the milk that nature intended for the calves. Female calves may be slaughtered immediately or raised to be future milk producers. Male calves are confined for 16 weeks to tiny veal crates too small for them even to turn around in so that their flesh, sold as veal, will be atrophied and nonmuscular. Then these weak, 4-month-old youngsters are sent to the slaughterhouse.

Have you faced tough questions as a vegan? Share your stories in the comments below.

The article was written by Ashley Palmer and originally appeared on PETA.org.

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4 Comments

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    Ann says...

    February 21st, 2011, 8:13 pm

    I find “how do you get enough protein” to be the most common question. I answer that beans and nuts are better protein than meat, but if other people have good answers, I’d love to hear them.

    tarryn lamb says...

    April 7th, 2011, 10:17 am

    So my dads always talking to me about PETA and my love for the ethical treatment of animals. but he always brings up this point and I never know how to answer it. I’m a vegetarian and in the process of being vegan lol. but he says I’m a hypocrit because I kill animals all the time: by wearing cotton clothes. he says do you know how many critters were killed when that big tractor came by and picked all that cotton just so you could wear those clothes? he also says tons of animals were killed and kicked out of there homes when we paved the roads so I shouldn’t drive on them. I just don’t know how to answer this. can you please help me!

    Paul says...

    April 7th, 2011, 12:31 pm

    Tarryn,

    Don’t ever feel discouraged or embarrassed about your compassion. Arguments like those presented aren’t uncommon, but miss the overt point of your being concious of the rights of animals to be free of suffering and abuse. Unfortunately many everyday activities have the potential for some degree of harm to humans and animals, but that’s no argument against making simple, compassionate choices that directly save animal lives and prevent animal suffering right now–like a vegan diet or animal-free clothing. No one would ever deny the suffering caused by slavery, but what would be the more compassionate choice in light of that suffering … not traveling on roads potentially built by slaves or working to stop the root of that misery in the first place?

    tarryn lamb says...

    April 7th, 2011, 1:19 pm

    Thx Paul! That definitely helps.

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