Many appeals and fallacies can be made discussing meat, dairy and egg consumption with flesh eaters and we’re here to talk about them and refute them. We also want to put it onto the table, why those appeals to certain justifications are not significantly valuable enough to rationally and unnecessarily take a life.
As a vegan, you hear all kinds of justifications and it may lead to jumping from appeal to appeal to randomly drawn lines of actions to justify wrongdoings. Here’s the list of appeals and fallacies we’ll cover in this blog post. Read through them step by step or jump to the one you’re most interested in:
- Appeal to Nature Fallacy
- Appeal to Survival Fallacy
- Appeal to Tradition Fallacy
- Appeal to Evolution Fallacy
- Appeal to Difficulty Fallacy
- Appeal to Taste Fallacy
- Appeal to Personal Choice Fallacy
- Appeal to Futility Fallacy
- Supplement Fallacy
- Appeal to Authority Fallacy
- A Logical Fallacy
- Appeal to Hypocrisy Fallacy
- Appeal to Animal Welfare Fallacy
- The Pet Fallacy
APPEAL TO NATURE
Or also called ‘Bio-determinism’, is the idea that biological characteristics entirely dictate or should entirely dictate human behavior.
‘WE HAVE CANINE TEETH. WE ARE MEANT TO EAT MEAT.’
The so stated human canines can’t rip any living animal apart. We have a grinding jaw instead of a ripping one among many other characteristics. Watch THIS interview from Plant Based News with Dr. Milton Mills to get to know more about human anatomy and why we’re not carnivores. A human doesn’t even have the interest in hunting for days and ripping an animal apart from head to toe. So why all of a sudden use canines as an argument to justify eating already dead animal flesh. Gary Yourofsky said in his speech that you can prove that the human is a carnivore or has carnivore thrives, with two scenarios:
First scenario: Go outside, chase a squirrel down in your garden with nothing but your body, rip it apart and eat all of it. Raw and uncooked. You don’t get to choose then what to eat if it. Eat the eyes, the face, the mouth, but also the butt, and all the intestines.
The second scenario: find a 2-year-old child, out it in a crib with a bunny and an apple. Call him up when the child plays with the apple but eats the rabbit. And if anyone would actually do one of those two things, he/she would probably be called dangerous and a psychopath and wouldn’t last long in society, right?
‘IT’S NATURAL, ANIMALS EAT OTHER ANIMALS TOO’
Animals do all kinds of unethical things: they rape, they steal, they kill out of instinct to survive. To truly survive. Why only pick the one thing, which is killing, and try to justify it in comparison with animalistic instincts and try to make it morally acceptable. Or would a meat eater be okay with somebody else raping someone (human or animal) just because they feel like it? Because the animals do it too? As a human species, we’ve evolved and we’ve social contracts and we feel moral values to some animals and our species. Animals don’t have that. They have instincts and a thrive. So as a human you can’t compare yourself to a lion or any other animal.
‘BUT THAT’S JUST THE CIRCLE OF LIFE’
Some appeal to ‘the circle of life’. The circle of life is part of nature and nature isn’t always good. It’s tough and it’s violent and it’s cruel like stated above. The graphic above displays the circle of life perfectly seen from the human ego and the actual eco side of nature. We’re all one.
‘VEGAN IS SO ARTIFICAL’
What is artificial about a vegan product like vegetables and fruits, but even processed food? What about the ‘meat’? What’s so natural about the dead animal body, held unnaturally against their will in small unnatural spaces, being unnaturally tortured and killed, being processed into some sort of shape, pumped up with hormones, vitamins, and medication to make it edible for the human species, so that we don’t get sick? What’s so natural about how we treat those poor beings? I hate to break it to you, but there is nothing natural concerning us humans anymore. What should be natural though – or humane, so to say – is to treat all living beings with kindness. People say that, because it seems artificial to them because they were born and raised differently and what they’ve been told is natural.
‘WE ARE ON TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN’
As a human, we’re clearly not on top of the food chain and somehow the food chain is considered a good thing. Firstly, we’d absolutely have no chance against a wild lion in nature and trying to justify the death and the unnecessary mass killing and enslavement of animals, by simply saying that we’re are on top of the food chain, doesn’t make it morally acceptable.
‘WE ARE AN APEX PREDATOR’
Take away technology and therefore weapons and simply have what nature gave us, we’re simply a meal to carnivores.
APPEAL TO SURVIVAL
‘WE NEED MEAT TO SURVIVE’
What in meat does a human need, which he/she can’t get from plants? Exactly nothing. That’s why killing an innocent living being is unnecessary. We have so many other options, which are far better for our bodies concerning the processing of nutrients and digestion.
The only morally justifiable reason though eating meat would be a real survival situation. The most commonly named situation to explain a survival situation would be if you’re stranded on an island and if the only food you’d be able to get was the meat of a cow. Would you kill that cow? Everyone would (if they actually could physical-wise) because, in a survival situation, we all value our lives more than the life of any species. Like in a self-defense situation. As we – especially in the western world – have all options available to live a healthy lifestyle off a vegan diet, therefore killing is unnecessary and not morally justifiable. Btw: try to kill a cow with just your bare hands or on a stranded island with nothing but simple tools. Good luck, because even the cow known for being kind and calm will fight back if you’re trying to kill him/her.
APPEAL TO TRADITION
‘The Appeal to Tradition’ in other words is the ‘Appeal to Practices of the Past’, stating that certain practices in the past need to keep being practiced in the present.
‘IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY: WE’VE ALWAYS EATEN MEAT’
This is an appeal to tradition fallacy, but also a logical fallacy. Just because we’ve done something in the past, doesn’t mean it was ever good or still necessary. In the earlier years, women didn’t have any rights, or people owned other people, slaves. Does this make it ok and simply justifiable to enslaved other humans nowadays? And furthermore other species? Rape, stealing, captivity, and murder was normal out of differences (different skin color, sexuality, handicaps) among our species was also something the human species did in the past, but this doesn’t mean it was ever morally ok. It was accepted because it was what we did and it was the law. The law changes though.
The human species constantly adapts new laws, norms, and actions out of new information or new values, which are implemented in practice. This is what progress is all about.
APPEAL TO EVOLUTION
‘WE HAVE EVOLVED TO EAT MEAT’
This is true, we have evolved to eat meat over decades out of survival issues. It was a necessity. Nowadays though, it is no necessity anymore and our bodies were never made for eating and digesting meat. Only us as a species can get cancer and heart diseases, food poisoning and intolerances from meat, dairy, and eggs, because our bodies are not those of carnivores or omnivore, but a herbivore.
‘MEAT HELPED OUR BRAINS TO EVOLVE.’
This is just an arbitrary theory and an evolution fallacy. If this was true though, why aren’t the biggest carnivores on earth more evolved than us humans? If meat had anything to do with how our brains grew and evolved and how intelligent we got, why are we the only species with this level of intelligence? And the ability to have moral values. And why aren’t we using that intelligence and our morals to act kindly?
The consumption of animal flesh in connection with evolution is though not set in stone and there are other theories why we as the human species evolved the way we did. One is that the actual cooking part – the activity of cooking – and the systematical way of hunting made us who we are today. It makes sense because to do so, we use different parts of our brains.
And even if meat did play a role in our past, we should know better and are not in that certain evolving state anymore and we’re no longer cavemen and cavewomen. We don’t need to kill out of any necessity. ‘Killing in the past for survival’ has already been covered before. Just because our ancestors did it, doesn’t make it morally right. It makes absolutely no sense to consume meat, dairy, and eggs nowadays, as we have zero biological need from meat.
Also, it’s important to remember that our ancient ancestors had incredibly short lifespans compared to human beings today and didn’t get to experience the long-term chronic heart diseases and cancer, people are suffering from today.
Evolution shouldn’t just stop at what our ancestors did and didn’t do. We should evolve further and with the current state of cruelty towards animals, the planet in a critical environmental state and our health on risk, we should evolve to a vegan world. Everything points in that direction.
APPEAL TO DIFFICULTY FALLACY
‘IT IS SO DIFFICULT TO BE VEGAN. I CAN’T EAT ANYTHING ANYMORE.’
First of all, it’s not a question of what ‘you cannot eat as a vegan’, but ‘wouldn’t want to eat’. Furthermore, it is so easy to eat a vegan plant-based diet, once you get a hang of it, once you stop seeing what you can’t eat, but what you actually CAN and WANT to eat and put in your body. The plant-based vegan diet goes hand in hand with education about the dark side of the animal industry. When you know about it all, it might take a while to adapt and transition, but when you strongly know WHY you’re doing it and why you don’t want to support it, it is all so easy. There are so many different foods, and it’s proven that people adapting to a plant-based nutrition eat more varied foods. Nowadays, especially in cities, we have anything as a vegan option: burgers, wraps, ice cream, etc. This is, of course, vegan comfort food, and should also be an exception, not the norm. But anything – honestly, if you’re not harming animals with it.
APPEAL TO TASTE
‘BUT IT TASTES GOOD’
Most vegans aren’t vegans because meat doesn’t taste good, but because their beliefs and goals of society are based on a simple moral belief: all life is worth the same. Every sentient, living being has the same basic right: the right to live. No unnecessary harm, torture, exploitation, and killing has to be done to animals.
Taste is no indicator if it comes to morals and ethics. It’s simply a taste, based on herbs used and texture. Everything can be made tasty by using herbs and seasonings and no animal has to die.
The question anyone should honestly answer themselves is: ‘Is my taste more important than the life of another living, sentient and feeling being?’
APPEAL TO PERSONAL CHOICE
The ‘Appeal to Might Makes Right’ fallacy, stating that because someone can eat animals it is their personal choice to do so. This doesn’t make it justifiable though.
‘WHAT I EAT IS MY PERSONAL CHOICE’
Too often I’ve already come across this statement and eating meat is NEVER a personal choice, and I’ll tell you why: Who’s asking the animal in the flesh eaters personal choice? Does the animal have a saying in this, what is happening to his/her body or whether it is allowed to live but stolen from, exploited and tortured? Does the animal approve of your doing by making their life useless and worthless and see him/her or their babies as a product?
‘I RESPECT YOUR CHOICE OF EATING WHAT YOU WANT AND YOUR WAY OF LIVING, SO I WANT YOU TO RESPECT MINE.’
What is done here is that flesh eaters often feel offended by a vegan ‘trying to shove their opinion down their throats’, by simply educating them by pointing out important ethical, nutritional and environmental problems of meat consumption – therefore flesh eaters try to sympathize with your lifestyle by respecting it in order to receive respect and approvement for their lifestyle as well. It’s not in a vegans interest and logic to sympathize and approve of a flesh eaters ‘choice of diet’ – because it involves the death of animals and the products of animal exploitation. This is exactly what any (active) vegans try to fight for by educating the public on the wrongdoings taught to the majority of humans: that it is ok to breed, rape, exploit, steal from and kill animals. So just because a flesh eater respects the vegan lifestyle (well THANK YOU for respecting acts of kindness and compassion), a vegan will never respect the flesh eaters actions. It’s absurd and totally against any moral vegan beliefs.
‘DON’T PUSH YOUR OPINION DOWN MY THROAT.’
A lot of meat eaters see the educating of the public as forcing their opinions on others. Why? Because they know it’s not anyhow justifiable how humans treat the animals and they feel offended by vegans holding up a mirror to them, so they can reflect their actions. It’s their own bad consciousness and understanding moral values, but not living by them clearly, but don’t put them together out of various reasons. If meat eaters would stop shoving down dead animal corpses and animal fluid down their throat, vegans wouldn’t have to ‘shove their opinions down anybody’s throat’.
‘I DON’T HAVE TO DEFEND MY DIET TO YOU.’
Well, yes – you do, if you’re responsible for second-hand harm, cruelty, and murder of innocent beings. You have the burden to state a justification why you’re doing it and why you’re participating in this animal holocaust by paying for it – or you’re simply psychopathic and cruel out of no reason.
APPEAL TO FUTILITY
The common ‘We’re all fucked because we’re all going to die and destroy this planet anyway’ fallacy. Yeahhh … no.
‘YOU CAN’T SAVE THEM ALL, THEREFORE IT’S SENSELESS AND USELESS TO CHANGE ANYTHING.’
This is the simplest picked statement of all, and the most convenient and lazy one, because this simply says ‘I don’t fucking care. I don’t care about anyone else but me. I don’t care about the animals and the environment. I actually don’t even care for myself, as far as this would actually mean to change something.’ and therefore don’t need to change anything. This statement is simply out of ignorance. And this often comes from people who are consciously aware of what is happening behind industry walls, but are just too convenient or too overwhelmed with the information given, to change a single thing as long as they feel good at the moment and are able to self-‘justify’ their hypocritical behavior.
‘ME ADAPTING WON’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE’
It makes a huge difference! Each and every one of us making a pro-life, pro-earth and pro-health change, changes the whole view on moral and ethical beliefs. It is what makes this movement so successful and wide-spreading. It’s on every single one of us to work towards a kinder world for everyone. Veganism is an Animal Liberation and Rights issue, it is a Feminist issue, as well as it is a Human Rights issue and we all are a part of this, we just have to learn to see WHY it is so important to switch and WHY it is so powerful that we as an individual can make a huge difference. Veganism is the only movement, where you can directly generate an instant change. Every other movement needs time to grow with time until ones participation is valid, but choosing not to support the exploitation and killing of the innocent animals, the animal industry, one is instantly not paying for this to happen and therefore an individual is not part of the demand anymore.
‘AS A VEGAN YOU HAVE TO TAKE SO MANY SUPPLEMENTS’
This is a very common fallacy. As a vegan, you only have to take two vitamins: Vitamin B12 (amino acids found in soil) and D3 (sunshine). Attention! They might not always be vegan – make sure they are!
These vitamins are also not naturally included in flesh and get supplemented. If you follow a whole foods plant-based vegan diet though, you run absolutely no risk to have any deficiencies at all, as all vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are available in plants. As most vegans care about their varied daily intake of nutrients, they’re often not close to any deficiencies. The majority of nutrient deficient people are flesh eaters though, because of poor to total lack of knowledge on nutrient intake and no interest in nutrition.
There’s also nothing bad about supplements. Why is it, that naturally sourced supplements which provide sickness are downgraded by society, but strong synthetic medications are totally fine when already sick? It makes absolutely no sense.
APPEAL TO AUTHORITY
‘YOU ARE NOT A DIETITIAN, SO YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S BEST FOR THE HUMAN BODY.’
Only because someone is not an expert in dietary or a certified environmentalist, or a scientist and or doctor with a master’s degree, doesn’t mean someone can’t show interest, gain knowledge, and know and argue for veganism. Anyone nowadays has access to, especially health studies. This doesn’t automatically mean, that each study has specific high values, but it means that anyone has the opportunity to read and understand what is said. There are so many manipulated sponsored studies funded by the meat, egg and dairy industry out there, but when someone knows where to look, he/she will be able to blow the industries covers.
Even in dietary classes at universities they strictly teach the classic food pyramid we all know, which is absolutely absurd and ethically unacceptable in so many ways, because teachers got the same things taught by our school and social system to remain the covers of the animal industry because that’s where the money is.
A LOGICAL FALLACY
‘Argument from Popularity’ logical fallacy, is also known as ‘Appeal to the Majority’. It is a type of incorrect reasoning, which invalidates the presented argument.
‘ANIMALS A NOT SENTIENT.’
Definition of ‘sentience’: the quality of being able to experience feelings.
Bad tongues are stating, that animals aren’t sentient. Well, there are numerous signs and studies that animals are indeed sentient, if that’s even out for debate. Especially strong and obvious to the humans’ eye, is the sign of the will of survival of any animal, trying to escape a death threatening situation. They can feel the stress and pain, they can smell the blood and fear. It is also shown among species and cross-species relationships. If someone isn’t sentient, he/she can’t form a deeper caring relationship with another being. With sentience also comes the ability to be aware of ones being. Most animals know that they’re alive and recognize their family members immediately when born. Therefore also experience immense pain when someone is taken from them or their own life is taken from them.
‘PLANTS FEEL PAIN.’
Plants don’t have a central nervous system and a brain, therefore they’re not able to feel and experience pain. This doesn’t mean they aren’t alive. Plants react through stimulants, which also allows them to grow. They don’t have the ability to feel. If flesh eaters are so concerned about the well-being of plants, they should be especially aware of the fact how many plants (and water – sentient too then?) are fed to a cow in that short lifespan and how much flesh is taken from him/her.
APPEAL TO HYPOCRISY
The ‘You Too’ logical fallacy, stating that also vegans have their flaws in their logical thinking and doings. An attempt to shift the focus away from the topic being discussed, whereby the attention is directed towards the person presenting the argument rather than the argument itself.
‘YOU’RE NOT VEGAN, BECAUSE X ANIMALS DIED FOR THE PRODUCTION OF YOUR PHONE, COMPUTER, CROPS YOU EAT.’
This is a logical fallacy concerning the difference between murder and unintentional harm. One is evil and unnecessary, the other is accidental harm and unintentional deaths during production and distribution. So what is happening here is that vegans say ‘Don’t murder sentient beings’ and flesh eaters respond and try to justify their wrongdoings with ‘but you cause harm to, by owning X, because so many animals died in production’. Flesh eaters accuse vegans of hypocrites because they compare intentional, unnecessary killing with unintentional deaths. Of course, there is a huge difference between those two actions.
I’m sorry for all flesh eaters, because with that logic flesh eaters are equally immoral and even stronger hypocrites, because of causing even more suffering: Cows eat more crops than a human, animals in crops are getting killed, cow’s getting killed. But this is truly false because death is not a necessary and primary ingredient of any electronic devices. It can be looked at from an environmental and psychological point of view in relation to mass consumption and that a highly material lifestyle is not desirable.
‘BUT YOUR SHOES ARE MADE OUT OF LEATHER, SO YOU AREN’T VEGAN.’
First of all: let’s get rid of the euphemism ‘leather’ and call it animal skin. Animal skin is of course not vegan, but there might be two reasons why vegans still owe it. First: it could by synthetic, therefore it is not sourced from an animal. Second: The leather it’s from their non-vegan times. Instead of throwing it out they kept it as the damage by purchasing has already been done. It is in the vegans choice of what to do with old non-vegan materials. Throwing them out, passing them on or wearing them until they fall apart. You may not be judged by any of these three choices you make.
A non-vegan act would be purchasing animal skin with the full awareness of what it is.
‘YOU USED TO EAT MEAT.’
Well, as the awareness of veganism hasn’t always been there, most vegans have adopted veganism and weren’t born raised vegan. Because someone used to do something, doesn’t justify a current behavior. The difference though is, that vegans acknowledged the wrongdoings of our society and changed for good, for the animals, the environment and their health.
APPEAL TO ANIMAL WELFARE
‘IT IS IMPORTANT TO ME THAT THE ANIMAL HAD A GOOD AND HAPPY LONG LIFE.’
This appeal is very common as many flesh eaters and vegetarians try to justify their consumption of exploitation through it and see it as the moral baseline. First of all, only because someone had a good life – which should btw be a common basic right as well and is part of having the right to live, and not a privilege – doesn’t mean we have the right to take his/her life whenever we feel like taking it. It doesn’t justify anything at all. The problem is still that an animal is seen as a product and a machine instead of an individual being. It’s not held for their well-being, but for the cause of taking from them. Farm animals are still part of the circle of the industrial demand and in the end, their life is taken, because they’re useless and would cost extra money.
Animal welfare is hypocritical because it is something the human species would find immoral when done to a human, but not to an animal.
‘I ONLY EAT MY NEIGHBOR’S HENS’ EGGS’
Firstly, it’s still a demand for eggs and therefore supporting the overall demand and industry. 99 % of eggs come out of mass production. Secondly, like above, only because someone was treated right doesn’t give the human species the right to needlessly take from them.
THE PET FALLACY
‘YOU OWN A PET. THAT’S ANTI-PRODUCTIVE AND ANTI-VEGAN.’
Having a pet as a companion – not a property – is vegan. As pets are domesticated animals, we as humans have to take care of them as most of them wouldn’t be able to survive in nature, because their natural instincts were gradually reduced over time. It also strongly depends if you have a companion animal, which needs to be fed meat in order to survive. There’s lots of vegan dogs and cat food nowadays.
All these appeals and fallacies coming out of flesh eaters mouths, who have never even tried to understand what the animal industry is causing to animals, the environment and our health, is ridiculous. It stands in no connection to the pain and suffering these living sentient beings have to go through. It’s simply trying to justify and defend their own wrongdoings and to make a vegan believe, that they’re not ‘the good ones’. Actions don’t need to be labeled good or bad. It’s simple: Look at the action. The action itself is saying it all.
Make the right decisions: #beveganforlife
Please note: All definitions of words and/or stated facts are based on the correct terminology and are carefully research and the sources taken are linked here or directly in the blog post. This blog post is also stating a personal opinion and views on certain topics.
All shown illustrations and graphics are our own and are highly restricted to be copied and used freely, without any permission.
Illustrations / Kerstin Brueller, Tin.Eller Design
Secondary, detailed definition of appeals and fallacies / The Vegan Database: ‘10 Anti-vegan Logical Fallacies’
Food for Thought / Ask Yourself: ‘Re-upload: Anti-vegan arguments are weak’
Meat made us who we are today fallacy / Skool of Vegan: ‘We’ve Always Eaten Meat’
Inspiration Variety of Fallacies / International Encyclopedia of Philosophy: ‘Fallacies’