Veganism is an ethical diet. Yet, the world is never short of anti-veganism arguments. This article is my attempt to unpack some of the most common anti-veganism arguments to show how misguided they often are.

#1 "Animals eat other animals in the wild so why shouldn't we?"

The three diets of animals are: herbivore (eat plants exclusively, omnivore (eat both plants and meats) and carnivore (eat meats exclusively). Humans fall into the omnivore category & although we eat both plants and meat, we do not need meat to survive (but we do need plants). While we can survive solely as herbivores, we can't survive solely as carnivores. This leads us to confront the concept of necessity or need. Animals like tigers or lions need to eat other animals for survival but humans don't.

However, if we want to take the argument "if animals eat other animals, why can't we?" seriously, we must confront all the other things animals do that would not be acceptable in human society. For instance, they kill each other for food, their form of greeting is sniffing each other's butts. We wouldn't justify killing another human being on the basis that animals kill other animals, not even for food.

It is problematic to pick the only one thing that animals do to justify eating animals, when we wouldn't do it for the many other things that they do.

#2 "We evolved to eat meat"

This argument hangs onto the idea that if we evolved to do something, it must be right or good. We did evolve to eat meat and we did evolve to do many other despicable things such as building nuclear weapons. Therefore, just because we "evolved" to do anything at all does not mean it is morally just.

But maybe the argument actually means "we evolved because of meat", hence why we should still eat meat because it once helped us evolve and may continue to do so. The problem here is that nobody really knows for sure, everything is just a theory and each opposing theory has their own sound argument. For example, there are experts who credit our brain development to eating meat, and there are experts who credit our brain development to eating cooked foods, particularly starches (potatoes, yams etc) citing the evidence that we invented cooking 1.8 million years ago—around the same time that our brain started to grow in size.

However, shouldn't the fact that we can survive (& even thrive) today without meat be enough to stop eating meat—an action that we do know, causes unnecessary suffering?

#3 "It is natural to eat meat"

Similarly to the previous argument, this one hangs onto the idea that if something is "natural", it must be right or good. The problem is natural isn't always good, and unnatural isn't always bad. For example, poisonous mushrooms are naturally toxic organisms but they can really harm us. On the other hand, manmade inventions like technology are unnatural but has influenced our modern lives in many ways. Therefore, the appeal to nature is not a strong argument for or against anything. If we want a sound argument, we must dig deeper.

To me, "natural" is an animal's instinct to hunt another animal for food. It is obvious in their reaction upon seeing a prey. However, for us humans, we can't even bare to look at animal suffering. So this is up to you to decide for yourself whether it is natural to eat meat or not, and how much this “naturalness” matters.

#4 "Animals are not as intelligent as humans"

Animals are intelligent beings and there are many studies to support this. We assume pigs to be dumb, dirty and lazy but studies reveal their abilities to solve mazes, play video games using a joystick, and are even deemed as being smarter than dogs.

But for the sake of this argument, let’s pretend that animals are stupid, does that justify eating them? To unpack this question, let's apply the argument to people with learning disabilities, does their lack of intelligence mean that they don’t deserve our compassion?

Much like other system of oppression i.e. gender and race, species oppression (specieism) also relies on attributes like "intelligence" or "strength" to justify malicious discriminatory behaviors.

I will just conclude with this profound quote from philosopher Jeremy Bentham:

“The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"

#5 "Eating animal products is a personal choice"

I do believe in this argument. It is true that your diet is your choice, like many other choices in life. And nobody can make you eat one way or another if you don't want to. Immoral actions like theft, adultery, animal abuse etc take place everyday and stem from personal choices. And so, it's important not to mistake liberty (freedom to do as you please) with morality (whether it's right).

With liberty, comes responsibility. And responsibility only happens when we are informed. The word "choice" already implies that it's in some way "informed". To "choose" means that we have already weighed the pros and cons and have dedicated time to learn from all the options and their consequences. With our diet, can we even call it a "choice"?—if the reason is that we "enjoy" it or that's how we've "always eaten".

These reasons don't sound like they come from an informed making decision process. It sounds less like a choice and more like a lack of choice—that we just don't know anything else, that's how we were raised etc.


The best arguments against veganism are none of the above. The best argument against veganism is "I don't care" and I have to say I can't argue with that.

To quote Jonathan Safran Foer's best selling book "Eating Animals"

“We can't plead ignorance, only indifference. Those alive today are the generations that came to know better. We have the burden and the opportunity of living in the moment when the critique of factory farming broke into the popular consciousness. We are the ones of whom it will be fairly asked, what did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals?”