Bustin' Vegan Myths: Week 6!

Profile photo of Rachelle-O

Posted February 3, 2011 by Rachelle Owen

It’s what you’ve been waiting for all week … right?! :)

Wrong. But guess what? I definitely ate fish for at least a year while claiming to be vegetarian, just not knowing any better. I don’t know where this idea comes from … because fish are definitely not swimming vegetables. Fish are sensitive, intelligent, talkative (yep, they talk to each other!) and even avoid pain (sound familiar?). Anyone who claims to be vegetarian but eats sea kittens should take a look at this … or this.

My favorite story about fish comes from PETA VP Dan Mathews, who grew up going fishing with his dad. Being bullied in school a lot for being gay and overweight, Dan had a lot of experience basically cowering on the floor while staring up at people who were all laughing at him and looking on as he laid defenseless.  One day, while fishing, Dan looked down at a fish who was gasping for air and realized that in this instant, he had become the bully. He never ate fish again. (You can read the excerpt from Committed here.)

We get it. Bees are kind of scary. You can’t pet them, hang out with them, and in all honesty, they’re not that cute. So is it OK to exploit them?

Let’s break it down. Profiting from honey (aka exploiting bees) requires the manipulation and exploitation of the insects’ desire to live and protect their hive. Just like pigs, cows, and other factory farmed animals, honeybees are victims of unnatural living conditions, genetic manipulation, and stressful transportation. Often queen bees are killed, confined, and artificially inseminated (which also involves killing the male bees or “drones”) … sounds familiar, right?

When someone asks me why I don’t eat honey, I simply answer by saying I’m vegan, and I’m not a thief. What if you spent your whole life dedicated to making one thing … and someone just came along and snatched it? Effed up, right?

Oh, the zoo. How many a day I spent as a young’n <3’ing all of the animals at the zoo. I loved animals! Of course I would go to the zoo! I mean … they’re educating people, saving animals, helping save species … right? You can imagine my surprise when I found out that zoos are pretty much a big money makin’ sham.

Now that I think back, I remember seeing animals circling their cages, pacing back and forth, curled up in the fetal position rocking back and forth, and crying out in loneliness … but none of that mattered to me! I got to see a LION! HELLO!?! Unfortunately, that’s just how most people think.

Zoos claim to educate people and preserve species, but they usually fall short on both counts. Most zoo enclosures are very small, and rather than promoting respect for or understanding of animals, signs often provide little more information than an animal’s species, diet, and natural range. Birds’ wings may be clipped so that they cannot fly, aquatic animals often go without adequate water, and many animals who naturally live in large herds or family groups are kept alone or, at most, in pairs. Like this one.

Sure—saving animals from extinction sounds great, but zoos rarely fund efforts to do that. Most zoos focus on the latest and most popular animal, breed in order to have cute baby animals to lure people in with, and deny animals everything that is natural to them.

Comment below with a myth you hear and we’ll bust it next week! Make sure to check the other blogs in this series to find answers to myths galore!

Stay loud!
-Rachel


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  • Profile photo of sassyc

    960 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I was wondering if bee’s can actually feel pain? and can you tell me what to say when people are tell me its not going to make a difference if just one person goes vegetarian and there like how’s one person going to make a difference to an animals life? Help me explain to them!

    • Profile photo of

      948 days ago

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]

      0

      Hey @Sassy,

      Profiting from honey (aka exploiting bees) requires the manipulation and exploitation of the insects’ desire to live and protect their hive. Just like pigs, cows and other farmed animals, honeybees are victims of unnatural living conditions, genetic manipulation, and stressful transportation. Often queen bees are killed, confined, and artificially inseminated (which also involves killing the male bees or “drones”).

      There are lots of alternatives to honey, like agave nectar and brown rice syrup. :)

      The best thing you can tell people about going vegetarian and vegan, is that each person can save up to 100 animals’ lives every single year! You can also say that animals like cows, pigs and chickens feel pain and have the capacity to love and suffer just as we do and don’t deserve to be slaughtered for their flesh.

      E-mail us at peta2@peta2.com if you have any further questions! :)

      ~Rachel S. with peta2

  • 1401 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    bees are dying out! supposedly because of mobile phones, really, mounting evidence! everyone is reccomended to keep a beehive now XD even in cities :) i dont want the bees to die :(

    i went to the zoo once in my whole life, i remember seeing monkeys, and two lions in a small concrete box with bars, it didnt look like a home for a majestic king of the jungle :/ it looked like a small prison for him and his lovely. he roared at my mom, and i realize now he was cross about being confined. he probably came from the vast african savanna…..

  • 1410 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    my old best friend says she loves animals but eats meat and works at a zoo in… someplace in ontario, i went there one year for camp (big mistake). The animals there seemed, well, for as happy as they could be in a zoo, they seemed happy. But now I get that their aren’t happy at all, and the girls kind of a big fat lier for saying she loves animals. oh and im on my way to being vegan, taking baby steps, but im getting there. :)

  • 1450 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    I ate fish when i was first a “vegetarian” too. After a month of it though I learned a lot more about fish farming and I really don’t know why I could have thought of it as any less of an animal in the first place. I love these myth busting posts! They give me something accurate and educated to say to the people who bother me about not eating meat. :)

  • 1562 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    OH another one is that soy contains a lot of estrogen so it’s unhealthy for men to eat too much of it? Is that true or false? That’s a favorite of some guys I know. I say that’s what ALMOND MILK and other substitutes are for but it would be great to disprove that one. lol

  • 1562 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Hey, Another good myth I’ve heard is that our ancestors had to eat meat to survive so we do too. I’m not sure how to cover all that, but many people like to cite cavemen and indigenous cultures. Are their any vegetarian/vegan indigenous cultures? Thanks!

  • 1564 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    Oh, thanks anyway!

  • 1564 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Hey Kelli, we’ve busted a lot of those–check out the whole series here: http://www.peta2.com/tag/myths :)

  • 1565 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    People say that “Hunting controls population”!

  • 1565 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

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    😮 😛 😐 :) :( :B

    Why do so many people say “Chimps like working”?

  • 1565 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I always hear “fish don’t feel pain” or “Fishing doesn’t hurt the fish!”. Please tell the world the truth! :) 😀

  • 1567 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I hear alot of people say that “silk worms don’t mind working”( which is a bunch of BS!!!!), “factory farms dont exist (which is also a bunch of BS!!!), and “fish cant feel pain (also a bunch of BS!!!!).If you could bust these myths that would be great!

  • 1568 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    What a coincidence. The reason that I turned vegetarian is that I was on a fishing trip with my uncles and saw the fish slowly die. Fish is the meat that I stopped eating first.

  • 1568 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I hear so many of the questions you talk about on here. I have probably had most of them asked a couple of times each. haha people have said to me,”Why are you vegetarian? The animal is already dead, you aren’t making a difference.” and “Your hair will fall out if you don’t eat meat.” Its crazy, i get so annoyed sometimes.

  • 1568 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    i’m a vegetarian (and loving it) ;] -my sister always tells me that if we all didn’t eat meat, cows,chickens and other animals raised for meat production would be exstinct, what should i say back?
    Thanks!!

  • 1568 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I’m vegan and don’t eat honey but I am not as opposed to non-commercial sources of some things taboo to vegans. I just am not into insect vomit. My friend is a beekeeper as a hobby so I’ve learned a bit about bees from her. She uses the excess honey and claims the bees make more than enough for themselves. I do not believe she hurts them in any way. Same with eggs due to my aunt and the few chickens on her small farm. I just am not into eating chicken period. These items would go to waste otherwise, unless my aunt opens up the penned area to her practically pet chickens and lets the local wildlife have their go at them, which they manage to do on their own from time to time.

  • 1569 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Can you please talk about how supposedly soy plantations destroy the rain forest? I don’t like to eat those frozen fake meat soy products, but I do like to buy soy milk and I love tofu, but I don’t want to hurt the environment. Is this true?

    Thank you!

  • 1569 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    A myth I commonly hear is “doesn’t fake meat have chemicals in it?”

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