Vegan FAQ

I personally went vegan in April 2013 as I am against the exploitation of animals, and the notion that animals are on this earth for the use and benefit of humans.

Here are a list of questions I am often asked regarding veganism, and my responses to them:

These questions are regarding the morality of using/consuming animal products, click here for vegan nutrition, and here for my grocery list…

Why don’t vegans drink milk, it doesn’t hurt the cow?

Cow’s milk is designed to grow an 85 pound calf into a 600-1000 pound cow, not for human consumption.

In terms of the ethical aspect, I’ve answered numerous questions on this, so here’s a compilation of answers.

Cows needing to be milked is a common misconception.

Like humans, cows only produce milk following pregnancy. The only reason they ‘need to be milked’ is because they have their offspring taken from them at birth.

To make them continually produce milk, cows are artificially inseminated which is cruel and unnatural. Without this, cows would not produce more milk and thus be worthless to the dairy industry.

Also, once they stop producing milk, cows are transferred to the meat industry and slaughtered.

(links are for Australia, other countries have similar if not worse practices)

·   the true face of milk: http://www.aact.org.au/dairy.htm

·   animals australia: http://www.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/bobby-calf-cruelty/

·   milk sucks campaign (focuses more on the unnaturalness of milk): http://www.alv.org.au/storyarchive/0702milk/milk.php

·   here’s a company which actually performs artificial insemination on cows in australia: http://www.genaust.com.au/services/artificial-insemination

Why don’t vegans eat eggs, they don’t hurt the chicken?

‘Pet’ chickens

Chickens were not made to produce eggs for our consumption; no living being’s by-products are meant for another species. I think it’d be like another animal expecting a female human to give them her menstrual products. Chickens often consume their own eggs to regain nutrients; this is vital to them, and unnecessary for humans. Also, eggs were not designed for human consumption; they’re literally a hen’s period.

Sourcing of ‘pet’ chickens

  • much like puppy mills, there is a substantial amount of cruelty in chicken hatcheries: hatcheries producing chicks for backyard flocks are factory farms. they often keep breeding chickens crammed into small cages or sheds with no outdoor access.
  • millions of male chicks are killed immediately at hatcheries due to their low economic value (don’t produce eggs) and are killed within minutes of hatching, either by putting them into grinding machines (which grind them alive) or throwing them into dumpsters where they are smothered alive by each other and other waste. male chicks are essentially waste products.
  • shipping baby chicks is cruel: hatcheries ship newborn chicks to feed stores or directly to homes through the mail. these chicks can be exposed to extreme temperatures and may be confined in boxes without food for days.
  • unwanted chickens end up being killed: hens produce eggs for only about half their natural lives or sometimes less.  this causes hatcheries to be overcrowded with chickens ~ this is expensive leading them to be isposed of either by abandonment or being dumped at shelters where they are killed. many ‘hens’ purchased by hatcheries are actually roosters (as it can be difficult to differentiate), leading to them being disposed of as they hold no economic value

Free range or battery chicken eggs

(this is for Australia, however other countries have similar if not worse practices)

Hens in battery cages spend their lives in artificially lit surroundings designed to maximise laying activity. Each hen has between 3 and 20 cage mates and is allocated space equivalent to little more than an A4 sized piece of paper. This is insufficient room to act on natural instincts like preening, nesting, foraging and dust bathing.

These birds spend their time continually standing on sloping wire floors designed to facilitate egg collection, many experience chronic pain from the development of lesions and other foot problems.

These harmful practices ignore the research which demonstrates that like humans, chickens experience physical sensations and emotional responses such as pain, fear, anxiety, pleasure and enjoyment. Studies have shown that chickens are highly social animals with complex cognitive abilities.

But animals eat other animals…?

Carnivorous (or omnivorous) animals in the wild must hunt their prey to survive. As humans we are privileged enough to have grocery stores filled with ample amounts of fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, nuts etc. so we are not forced to turn to the consumption of animal flesh. A tiger or lion hunting his/her prey is not the same as you ordering a Big Mac at McDonalds.

If you are so set on eating meat, and wish to use this excuse, eat it like other animals really do: catch it with your bare hands and eat it raw with no cutlery, seasoning, additives etc.

What’s wrong with wool, it doesn’t hurt the sheep?

There is a lot of cruelty in the wool industry including:

·   Mulesing: cutting large strips of flesh off the backs of lambs and around their tails in order to prevent flies laying eggs in their skin folds. This is performed without anesthesia.

·   Shearing: sheep are sheared in the spring before they would naturally shed their winter coats. Due to economic reasons, most sheep are sheared whilst it is still too cold. It is estimated around 1,000,000 sheep die per year from exposure to the cold. Also, shearers are paid by volume not hours, and hence handle them roughly to shear many in a short amount of time.

·   Holding pens: sheep have to travel long distances before reaching very crowded feedlots, where they are held before being loaded onto ships. Many sheep die in the holding pens.

·   After the wool industry: when a sheep’s wool production declines, they are sold for slaughter.

·   Transportation: who survive the holding pens is packed tightly into ships. Lambs born during the trip are often trampled to death. A lot of sheep get injured or die.

Why shouldn’t I eat honey?

Honey is consumed by bees, particularly in the winter where flowers produce less pollen. Additionally, you are not entitled to it; honey was not made for human consumption.

But plants are alive…

Plants are living; however the difference lies in sentience. Unlike animals (including humans) plants do not have minds, preferences and desires.

I certainly acknowledge the fact that plants are alive, however due to this qualitative difference in the genetic makeup of plants, the pain they are claimed to ‘feel’ cannot be compared to that which animals suffer.

Despite the fact that plants respond to stimuli, their ‘pain’ is a response to this and not actual sentience.  If I run an electrical current through a wire attached to a bell, the bell rings. But that does not mean that the bell is sentient. Plants do not have nervous systems, benzodiazepine receptors, or any of the characteristics that we identify with sentience.

General…

Any use or consumption of animal products requires the removal of that animal’s liberty. Their by-products are not, and never were designed for our use and/or consumption. Leave them in their natural state.

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