Vegan Myth: "Animals Wouldn't Exist if We Didn't Eat Them"

We take some of the biggest lies and misconceptions around veganism and tackle them head on


“Animals wouldn’t exist if we didn’t eat them.”


This is always a popular argument on the ‘defensive omnivore’ bingo board-the idea these animals are lucky to be alive, because if we didn’t rear and slaughter them, they would simply never have been born at all, which would be much crueller than eating them For Gary Francione, American scholar and distinguished theorist on animal rights, the question is one of basic ethics. He says: The fact that we are in some sense responsible for the existence of a being does not give us the right to treat that being as our resource. Were that so, then we could treat our children as resources.


So many of these animals who are bred for food suffer terribly along the way and are slaughtered violently: does that really make the life they are given a gift?


“After all, they would not exist were it not for our actions–from decisions to conceive to decisions not to abort. And although we are granted a certain amount of discretion as to how we treat our children, there are limits: we cannot treat them as we do animals. We cannot enslave them, sell them into prostitution, or sell their organs. We cannot kill them. Indeed, it is a cultural norm that bringing a child into existence creates moral obligations on the part of the parents to care for the child and not exploit her.”


To continue living is the most basic right of all: even when animals are reared in ways considered more ‘humane’ than others, they are always killed, and denied this right. In addition, when we look at modern agriculture and factory farming it’s clear a number of other rights are being violated. The right to behave naturally, for example. Many farmed animals are denied access to natural sunlight, movement and even care of their own young.


So many of these animals who are bred for food suffer terribly along the way and are slaughtered violently: does that really make the life they are given a gift?


What would happen to these animals in a vegan world?


Clea Grady, marketing manager for Veganuary, which encourages people to try veganism for January, says: “In today’s world, animals are effectively mass-produced; forcibly impregnated, force fed, and then killed in their billions after living only a few short months.


“This intensive and invasive breeding would be forced to slow if more and more people stopped eating animals. The lack of demand would make it less profitable and, if we could take animals off the menu for good, the industry would eventually cease.


“During this time, the number of animals would have dramatically reduced, and those still kept for meat, dairy and eggs could be rehomed or allowed to live out their lives in sanctuaries. The very
nature of farming would change, and animals currently eaten or used by humans would be allowed to live naturally, or as companions.”



The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.