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Bustin' Vegan Myths Part 3!

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Posted January 12, 2011 by Rachelle Owen

Welcome to week three of our myth-bustin’ series on veganism. Today we’ve got some goodies!

OK. I’ll admit. I was guilty of believing this one for years. I had excuse after excuse on why I didn’t need to go vegan—I mean, it didn’t hurt the cow, right? I couldn’t have been more wrong. Here’s the truth: female cows produce milk for the same reason women do—for their babies. Cows must be recently pregnant to produce milk, and on dairy factory farms, they’re forcibly impregnated on devices called “rape racks” … yep, sounds pleasant. Babies born into the dairy industry are ripped from their mothers soon after birth, and the mother cows are hooked up, several times a day, to milking machines. Using genetic manipulation, powerful hormones, and intensive milking, factory farmers force cows to produce about 10 times as much milk as they would naturally. If you’re against rape or violence, you shouldn’t drink milk. Period.

Yeah—OK. Lions, tigers, bears, and other animals are true carnivores, and they kill to survive. They don’t systematically farm humans, mutilate us, take their frustrations out on us, and kill us in the most awful, horrific ways possible simply because they like the way we taste. Humans don’t need meat to survive—in fact, humans are healthier when we don’t eat animals. We lack the teeth, intestines, and stomach acidity (in addition to other differences) that true carnivores have. We eat animals out of convenience, ignorance, and apathy—not necessity.

People who don’t want to give up their bad habit of eating dead flesh love to throw this one out. They desperately want to look past the statistic that 97-99% of all animal products come from factory farmed animals and think about this one, hypothetical, imaginary small farm somewhere where all of the animals are skipping happily through huge fields and dying “humanely.” The simple fact is that small farms are very few and far between, and factory farming standards (where male chicks are ground up alive, mother pigs are kept in crates so small they can never lie down, and where male piglets are castrated without any painkillers) are the cold reality for animals killed for food.

I don’t know where this comes from, but a lot of non-vegans seem to think that vegans were born that way. I know I wasn’t—and I don’t know anyone who was (aside from a few kids of PETA staffers!). I ate meat for 16 years and the whole time considered myself an “animal lover.” I loved the taste of meat, ate steak once a week, and downed chickens and turkeys like nobody’s business. But then I learned that there are things that are more important than my taste buds—especially now when going vegan doesn’t even mean giving up any of your fave foods, just eating vegan versions of them. It’s OK that we used to eat meat (we didn’t know any better), but once you know, you either become a part of the problem of part of the solution. Which are you?

Comment below with a myth you’ve heard and we’ll pick some to feature next week on the peta2 blog!

Stay loud!
-Rachel


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  • 1500 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Just to comment on the “A lion would eat you” one…. a Lion doessent have the knowledge that humans have or the means of eating anything other than other animals..

  • 1506 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Yesterday my mom was like: “If you don’t eat right (and by that she means that I have to eat meat to “eat right”) you’ll end up not getting any children because of some sick-dome!”
    I didn’t even respond to that – she’s a grown up woman, I thought she had a bit more brain than that..

  • 1516 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Myth i hear TOO MUCH : you can be a vegan, but if i was, i would die.

  • 1543 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    SO TRUE!! im going to start using there on all my friends!:)

  • 1565 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    If I had a nickel for everytime someone said the last myth I’d be rich. I’ve had so many people tell me that. And they’re dumb-founded when I tell them before I became vegetarian(and slowly transitioning to vegan) I HAD to eat at least one burger a week because I was literally addicted to meat(a 14 year old addicted to meat sad don’tcha think?) but I gave it up for animal rights. They almost NEVER believe me.

  • 1578 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    “Humans need Vitamin B12.
    Vitamin B12 is obtained by eating animals.
    Humans wouldn’t need Vitamin B12 if they weren’t meant to eat animals.”

    Answers I’ve heard:

    1. Humans have been eating animal products for so long now that they’ve developed a dependence on B12.

    2. We are primates, and primates in the wild usually eat some insects. Our B12 dependency comes from ancestors who ate B12 containing insects.

    3. The skin of root vegetables was once a source of B12 but modern agriculture processes have changed this.

    4. Humans are born with a B12 supply that can last 30 years. This is plenty of time to breed and rear children, therefore nature doesn’t care if we die at this point, therefore nature didn’t bother giving us a larger supply.

    • 1572 days ago

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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      @Little_Lottie

      I’m Vegan, I’m also half Egyptian quater Indian and quater English. No chance of me going pale anytime soon 😛

      Born and live in England by the way 😛

  • 1620 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Everyone’s always saying how it’s “unhealthy” to be a vegan because you need protein blahblahblah and how God put animals on this planet for us to eat them. someone bust this myth!

  • 1625 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I told my gym teacher that I was vegetarian and he said, “Whatddya eat, LETTUCE?!?!”

    no.
    go veg, but be INFORMED.

  • 1626 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    To @shanz it’s even easier to get protein from a pill! all you have to do is swallow! no chewing needed!

  • 1661 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    The most stupid thing people tell me is this:
    They are breed te be eaten. And so they are born because of this. Otherwise they would’nt be born.

    What are they thinking when they say this??

  • 1677 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Another thing is that the dairy farm keep all cows in permanent stress, in order to produce more milk, so stressful cows produces more milk and that is a real torture. There was this time when I really laugh when my basket ball coach try to kick me out of the team because he said I don’t have enough protein and I’ll make them lose a team member in the middle of a game I definitly show him this.

  • 1678 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    @Ross, we busted this last week: http://www.peta2.com/2011/01/bustin-vegan-myths-part-4.html :)

  • 1692 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I commonly hear the argument that wool is perfectly fine to use because sheep need to be sheared. I already know the reasons that isn’t the entire story, but I thought that would make for a good myth to bust.

  • 1692 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    i had no idea thats how dairy cows are treated. its sickening and breaks my heart. im going to try to cut dairy out as much as I possibly can!!

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    i hear alot that its bad to be vegan because then you eat more soy and soy give you cancer

    • 1504 days ago

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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      soy is sooo good for you. it’s practically a miracle food if you ask me. the trouble comes in when people eat genetically modified soy, or refined and processed soy which is in junky snack foods and salad dressings, and other refined, processed “foods”. They’re the indecipherable words you find on the ingredient lists. These are the types of soy that cause cancer.

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    The comment I get from most people when I tell them that I’m a vegetarian is “But we’ll die if we don’t eat meat, so you’ll die too!” We won’t. There are ways around getting protein and other importances that we need rather then just going to meat. Animals are living, defenseless animals and have hopes and dreams just like us. I’m sure people wouldn’t like the idea of some other livings things taking us away from our families just to be killed in from of them.. it’s heartbreaking..

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    @Lumutz:
    I really liked your comment, it’s something that I’ve thought about a lot. Here’s where I’m at with it. Hope it helps.

    I don’t think it’s a myth that you put forth in your comment, so much a deep and cutting realization about how our bodies are located within this world. We teach parts of it to children as the food chain – we just tend to leave out the links that connect the chain into a circle, specifically us dying and feeding the worms. The band Tool even made the point with the lyrics “Life feeds on life”.

    If you want to eat meat because each bite strengthens and enunciates your place in nature, I’m fine with that. (Not that you need my permission.) If you want to eat meat because you think that somehow there’s a natural cycle of life that legitimates it, consider that over the past century we have significantly changed what the cycle looks like. In fact, there’s a good chance (given the statistical data and my guess that you’re younger than, say, 40) that you have never eaten a piece of meat that wasn’t born, raised, killed, and butchered with the sole intent of ending up on some person’s plate. (Maybe you hunt or know someone that does, so that could be an exception, also I’m assuming you live in the US or some other first world country.)

    Nature’s cycle no longer involves random antelope eating grass. The situation is made up of animals who may only see grass once in their life time (as they get trucked across the country), animals bred and killed according to the budgetary needs of billion dollar corporations, and animals who experience real suffering because it is a real inconvenience (at first:) to not eat animal by-products in today’s world. We continue shaping this cycle, while forgetting that nothing contained within it is an end. Life feeds on life implies that we are no more special nor beautiful than the grass beneath our feet. Each animal, human, and blade of grass (as far as the cycle is concerned) deserves no more respect than the other; each is an end to the cycle itself. The question to ask is given the cycle that currently prevails, is this cycle something beautiful, natural, and legitimate? Its existence doesn’t legitimate eating meat, you’re desire to uphold this cycle does.

    I don’t know if any of us are biologically programmed to eat meat. Most of us can. That certainly doesn’t mean we ought to, especially when we know that we can do just fine without it. And since when have human beings ever let the notion of a ‘naturally imposed constraint’ (aka, biological programming) hold us back from exploring and working with the world in new and progressive ways? Is digestion a beautiful and intricate process? It is indeed. But it’s just as beautiful while it works on a brussels sprout.

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Oh, poiting it out because it may not have been clear: I am joking about he carrots feeling pain!
    (Though another point: It was thought that neither did fish because they lacked the same kind of nervous system as most animals)… again, I’m just joking about!

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    oof, yeah, the whole ‘organic means it’s nice’ thing really gets on my nerves. Organic just means that no chemicals were used, which in the case of certain medications being counted as chemicals, could actually be detrimental to animals.

    Hah, the carrots feel pain you know! (And to be fair, just because they lack a recognisable nervous system as far as we’ve been able to prove so far, doesn’t mean they wont be proven to have one eventually. I mean, they follow the light, they feel when someone touches them, they know the seasons…) 😛
    I think if they ever proved that there would be mass hysteria, I’d probably starve without my veg!

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    i HATE the excuse for drinking milk when I tell people taht there’s pus in milk and they say “But milk is pasteurized!”
    and also my idiot friends who think they’re funny “Vegetables are living things too!” my response to them that vegetables don’t have a nervous system or a pulse and therefore don’t feel pain has been rebuttled with “How do you know?” idiot kids. 😉
    one other is “Organic farms don’t treat animals badly!”

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I didn’t like milk to begin with so giving that up to go Vegan was not a bad thing…..but after hearing “rape racks”…..OMG….that’s all I can say…OMG how sad that humans are so insensitive.

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    shanz, no it’s not. there’s protein in literally every food. it’s easier to get it from plants because MUCH less processing/water/resources goes into harvesting plants than goes into animal farming.

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Hey Brittni–we busted that one too :). Check it out: http://www.peta2.com/2011/01/bustin-vegan-myths-part-2.html

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    “Vegans have to balance their meals more because they need a lot more protein. If i keep eating animals, i dont have to pay attention to what i eat as much.” ~Immature high school kids 😛

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Another one I get all the time is: If we don’t eat all the animals, they’ll overpopulate us. I try to explain to them that the meat people eat aren’t just animals roaming around. They were specifically born and raised for the purpose of slaughter. And, also, “Plants are living things, too!” That one’s the worst!

  • Tom

    1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    To answer Melanie Tala, if someone in your street is “already racist” does that make it okay for you to be? Yes they are dead and tbh i dont think that is ever going to change but you dont have to be part of it because everyone else is. You dont have to eat it because its there. Cigarettes are already in the shop, oh there’s an idea, lets smoke them! it’s really alot deeper than you think.

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    We need protein, and it’s easiest to get protein from animals.

    • 1504 days ago

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

      0

      hmmm, someone hasn’t checked out bustin’ vegan myths part 1…

    • 1493 days ago

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

      0

      just because its easy for you doesn’t mean an animal should die…selfish, much?

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    @Melanie, we busted that last week! http://www.peta2.com/2011/01/bustin-vegan-myths-part-2.html

    @Lumutz, eating meat is not natural. And humans are not carnivores. We busted this one already: http://www.peta2.com/2010/12/everyone-meet-the-truth.html

    Thanks!

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Ewww, I hate the taste of meat! I will never touch that “fake meat” stuff either, it’s just disgusting. And how can you eat that even if it’s not real meat, without just envisioning all the things they do to cows??

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    You still haven’t busted the one that so many people were commenting last time– “They’re already dead.” I don’t listen to that because that’s just ridiculous, if there was no demand for meat they would stop being dead. But I hear that one SO often, I think you should include it.

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    One myth I often hear: All vegans are skinny and pale-looking.

  • 1693 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Can you bust this myth, first posited by the great philosopher Mufasa?: “When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.” Why is the philosophy that life and death are beautiful aspects of nature’s cycle not legitimate? I can respect the philosophy that animals should be respected to the extent that they should not be eaten. Why can’t a lot of vegans respect my philosophy that I am biologically programmed to be able to digest meat and doing so is a part of a beautifully intricate, natural process?

    • 1504 days ago

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

      0

      First, I want to say thank you because you’re one of the few people that factors in respect when discussing other people’s lifestyles. Secondly, to answer your question: I can’t speak for all vegans everywhere, but I know in my experience that vegans and even vegetarians come across a lot of scrutiny in making the decision to eschew meat and/or animal products. Another aspect is the idea of this radical, left-wing group of people that either want to be cool and different or include veganism as another bulletpoint on their list of political activism. So perhaps their fight has less to do with you personally and more to do with the fight going in inside them. Me, personally, I’m vegetarian (working my way up to vegan) because I believe it’s helpful and healthful for myself, for the animals, and for the earth. I am the only vegetarian I know personally but I don’t judge anyone or push my agenda on anyone else. Everyone comes to their decisions on their own time, in their own way….I hope I answered your question in some way! XD

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