There is presently a well-circulated post on Tumblr making certain claims about veganism, its industry impact, its alleged elitism, and its impact on health. Many of these claims are false.
When I first saw it I laughed but it keeps coming back and people keep sending it to me. While I may not be the type to introduce myself headfirst with the vegan label, I become the ‘token vegan friend’ that gets sent a constant strain of memes from my chops-busting carnist friends.
I generally think people understand I’m a skeptical, thoughtful person who doesn’t take stances lightly and cares about truth, objectivity, and sometimes to the annoyance of others - hearing everyone out. I hope that reputation gives you all reason to withhold preconceived notions about “vegans” and hear me out with an open mind.
Respectfully, this post is at times untrue, and others misleading about the conclusions you should draw. (This is pardoning the valid point of outrage at child labor and the exploitation of immigrants in US agriculture. The entire post can be found screen-shot at the bottom of this post.)
The statistic right now is that the US could feed 800 million people with the grain that used to feed its livestock. The same grain that the above commentators say are feeding this tiny minority of vegans so unethically when it’s the cattle next door messing up our ability to feed our population.
Saying “growing plants kills animals” because of farmer practices (wild animals - not mass industrial slaughter with violence and rights violations beyond your ability to fathom without diving into the topic and evidence), presuming that point is meaningful for you despite subtext, is not a good argument to kill even more animals. It should be considered the lesser of two evils.
Anyone who told OP that they can only eat non-animal protein in nuts was certainly not a nutritionist. Protein in animal products comes from animal bodies, and animal bodies get that protein from plants – just as the human body can. The only thing humans can’t get protein without some animal protein without using supplements is B12, and the only reason why is we used to eat the soil in the water and on plants (just as animals do with grasses, and btw – now their vitamin enriched grains, no different than ‘unnatural’ vitamins and vitamin enriched grains vegans eat) but now utilize treated water and water-washed vegetables that makes it hard for us to naturally gain the vitamin the same way.
Also, the animal exploitation and human exploitation behind animal agriculture is horrific and just as bad as that happening in plant agriculture. I’m not trying to be salty but honestly, that’s a bunch of people arguing on Tumblr who do not have sources, and a lot of people sharing for its confirmation bias because we live in a society with media and congress as actively lobbied by Big Food as it is by Big Pharma and the NRA.
It is capitalism, systemic abuses and marginalization in our culture and industrial system that exploit and abuse those people, not veganism.
In fact, global veganism could end world hunger if supported by systemic overhauls of wealth inequality and hoarding and significantly delay climate change. As much, if not more, than the entire transportation sector. Hence the documentaries (Cowspiracy for one) funded/directed by Leonardo Dicaprio and James Cameron being added alongside What the Health and other noteworthy investigative looks into the abuses and exploitation (for people and human health as much as animal lives) of the food industry, esp. animal agriculture. And as a kid who grew up on food stamps and relying on food shelters just to get by, and a low income first gen college student very familiar with food insecurity and financial struggle – with self-education (and in a perfect world, public health efforts, not to mention the irrelevant but still ‘ideal world’ food industrial overhaul), it is cheaper to go vegan.
Iif you would like to test the validity of these points with research (and please do, because honest and educated research will bring you towards factual points that you can’t dispute – and I strongly encourage anyone still believing these Tumblr posts to do the same too), I invite you to read any variety of the Cornell studies on animal ag ecology (especially on the extreme surplus of food we waste and lose in energy transfer from plant to livestock to people – and make no mistake, you don’t make less of those crops if you eat meat instead, you make more to feed that meat).
I especially invite you to look into the research of R Campbell PhD at Cornell, and the medical advice, clinical research, and advocacy of Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. Michael Klaper. The sociological work on the intersections of human marginalization and speciesism from BU Professor Melanie Joy is also worth your time.
A final point on allergies: 40 million Americans are lactose intolerant for a reason, and that’s because we’re not "built" for drinking cow milk made for cow babies. Morally, the fact cows forcibly impregnated and unable to save their young from immediate seizing and violence makes it not only unhealthy, but ethically compromised.
If it disturbs audiences of Blackfish at Seaworld, or when it happens to abused dogs and cats on the street in everyday viral Instagram videos, why would it not disturb yus for cows? We’re socialized to think those are “edible” animals and we’re not meant to love them in the US. Which is exactly the same way our beloved pets are looked at in some cultures, which we think is soo barbaric comparatively.
Please do not take medical advice from Tumblr. It’s a great discussion starter and way to promote information. It is not a valid source. Further, making a fact and sourcing it, then telling you what conclusion to take from it without justifying a context to take said conclusion, does not make their entire argument true by extension.
Yes, we need a whole new system. Yes, there is a chronic injustice in human exploitation by these industries. Yes they matter. Yes, helpless animals do too.
Vegans are activists, seeking information and exploring injustice, protesting and practicing conscious consumerism. We are all on the same side.