I recently watched a video by Earthling Ed on YouTube, which inspired me to write this article. You can check it out here. Also note, that you can find all sources I used to write this article at the end of the article, so you can check them out by yourself.

Background info for this article

As a vegan you often hear the argument, that you can’t be 100% vegan, because animals are dying in the production of cops, too. In the meat and dairy industry animals are killed, so we can get their food or if a milk cow is forced to pregnancy to produce milk and the baby cow get’s killed afterwards so the company behind it get’s the most milk of the mother’s cow. [S1]
In the plant based food production however, animals like bugs, bees and other smaller animals can get killed accidentally, too. Many meat eater or people who are against veganism bring this argument up to proof, that you can’t be 100% vegan and to proof, that you don’t make a change as a vegan.

Why this argument is one of the worst arguments you hear as a vegan

It is absolutely correct, that you can’t be 100% vegan in this world if you think about smaller animals, that can be killed in the production of vegetables and crops. However, many people use this as an argument to justify not trying to be vegan at all, because they think it would not change anything. If it’s impossible to be 100% vegan if you keep this argument in mind there is no point of trying at all, they say. But you need to think further. If we all would think like that take this example for e.g.: A fireman is in a burning building, where several persons are in. He doesn’t have time to save them all, but he can save one. According to this argument he would not save one but he would let all people in this house burn to death, because if you can’t save all there is no point in saving everyone. Right? I think you can already see why this argument does not make sense to use it against veganism to make a point. It’s like saying “Well I can’t be a 100% perfect morally person, so there is no point in trying to be a good person, so I’ll just be rude to anyone. It wouldn’t change anything, anyway.”

Photo by Megan Thomas on Unsplash

The most important fact here is, that if we buy meat or dairy or other animal products we pay for an animal being killed or tortured to death. If we buy plant-based products we don’t. If an animal get’s killed in the production of plant-based products it is unintentional. If you see a child running over the street and you drive over it to kill it, because you want to kill it it’s not morally justifiable and it’s a crime and something you did to harm someone. However, if a child runs over the street and you try to break but it’s to late and you kill it, that’s an accident, which is a completely different situation. In this case it wasn’t your intention to run over and kill the child and you did the best to prevent it. It therefore was unintentional. Accidentally killing an animal without wanting to harm it is something else than killing an animal because you want to exploit it for it’s meat, it’s hide or else.

Which many people who bring this argument up also forget is, that the most area for our food production on the earth is used for animal based products. In the UK 85% of the land needed to produce the UK’s food supply is used for animal products. The majority of this land is used to grow crops, which the animals need as food. [S2] Therefore, if you bring this argument up, because you respect and love animals and don’t want them to die your own argument should be a proof for yourself, that while being vegan you produce the less possible harm to any animals on our planet. If you eat meat you need to produce more plants as food for the animals you want to eat, while accidentally killing smaller animals in the production of plants, than you’d need to produce if everyone would just eat the plants we produce anyway. In general meat is unproductive. You need about 56 million acres in the US alone to grow plants as feed for animals, while only 4 million acres is used to produce plant based food for humans. [S3]
Because of the fact, that a human needs lees plant based food to live you could feed more humans than we currently have on this planet, with the same land area we currently use if everyone would be vegan. While keeping this in your mind, we would kill less animals in the production of plant based food by accident than we do now, plus we wouldn’t kill 1.5 billion animals per year for meat, dairy, clothes and more. [S4] So, if you bring this argument up against veganism by logic you’d have to be vegan. The reason animals are accidentally killed in the production of plant based food is not because we want to kill them but because it automatically happens without being able to prevent it. We need plant based food to live, but we don’t need animal based food to live. Veganism isn’t about being a perfect human without doing anything bad to anyone, it’s about minimizing the harm to animals (including humans) as much as possible. Therefore, eating plants instead of animals safes animals life in the production of animal based food, because you don’t need animal based food as a vegan and it safes animals life in the production of plant based food, too, because you need to grow less plants for humans than you need for animals used as food for us. Anti-vegans always see veganism as a pursuit of perfection as it makes it seem to be completely unobtainable, idealistic and not grounded in reality, but this is not what veganism is about.

I hope this article gave you a in-depth look into why this argument does not make sense as an argument against veganism and why this argument is a reason for being vegan.

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[S1]: https://www.kinderworld.org/videos/dairy-industry/calf-slaughter/
[S2]: https://vegansci.com/2017/03/12/animals-account-for-85-of-uk-food-land-footprint/
[S3]: https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-environment/
[S4]: https://thevegancalculator.com/animal-slaughter/