The idea that veganism is more animal-friendly than a carnivore diet has been widely disputed. In fact, studies show that while veganism does reduce the number of animals killed for food, it also increases the amount of land used for agriculture and animal welfare as well as water and fossil fuel resources used for production. Furthermore, many of the products used to make vegan foods are produced in factory farms, where animal welfare is not always a priority. Therefore, veganism may not be the most ethical or environmentally friendly choice when it comes to animal welfare and conservation.
I remember back when I first became vegan. My brother said something like, “You know field mice are killed when the farmers cut down the crops right?” He wasn’t necessarily shaming me for being vegan, but just letting me know that I am still harming animals in some way. Thanks, Adam.
At the time, I was too busy figuring out what to eat and how to read food and clothing labels to think much about what he said. I’m now pretty established in spotting non-vegan ingredients. I know what supplements I need to take. I’m a pro at cooking vegan for my family. I’ve started my vegan blog. It’s time to dive deeper.
I had actually forgotten about the field mice statement until I recently came across an article called “Veganism Kills More Animals Than The Carnivore Diet” written by Carnivore Aurelius.
Let me just start with a little disclaimer here. I am going to try my best to be non-judgmental and open-minded with Mr. Carnivore, but it is going to be hard. He starts off talking about the carnivore diet by stating that “vegetables suck”. Also, Carnivore, as he calls himself, seems to be a bit of a mystery man with no picture on his website and a fake name…Carnivore. I mean I guess his parents could have named him Carnivore. Then I understand why he thinks he is destined to live this lifestyle.
Apparently, the carnivore diet is a low carb, high fat, high protein diet. The diet consists of mostly animal products. Yes, you heard that right…mostly animal products. Animal fats, steaks, butter, and beef liver are touted as being some of the most healthful foods on earth.
The carnivore diet claims to help you lose weight, clear your skin, give you energy, and help with your mood.
Reading about the carnivore diet really made me cringe. Even if I wasn’t vegan it would make me cringe. This is actually really scary that some people follow this diet and believe that humans are actually meant to be carnivores.
I am not claiming that humans are meant to be vegans either, but what I do know, is that humans can survive and most definitely thrive as vegans.
The point of this article is not to bash Carnivore or carnivores, (although Carnivore does a whole lot of vegan bashing on his website). It’s not even to dispute how scary and unhealthy eating mostly animal products is. The point is to dispute the claim that “veganism kills more animals than the carnivore diet”.
So here we go.
The soil tilling process destroys all life in its path.
Carnivore claims that soil tilling, before the planting of the crops, kills all animals residing there. He doesn’t say specifically what animals he is referring to, but in the next sentence he mentions spraying pesticides to “kill even more insects”.
Later on, in that same section, he mentions “mice dying to produce spinach” with no explanation of how this occurs.
If he is referring to the tilling of the soil killing mice, this point has been refuted many times. Studies conducted on field mice show that mice are very keen on sound and able to run away if they hear machines coming their way.
At the end of this section, he claims that “all in all, billions of animals die for the vegan lifestyle”. There is no great explanation of what animals Carnivore is specifically talking about here, but from what I gather, it is insects and mice.
I feel like I’m going to repeat myself a lot on this point, but the crops that the soil is being tilled for are also fed to the animals that human carnivores eat. Although they are not eating the crops directly, they are eating the animals that are eating the crops. Not to mention, people are starving because tons of these crops are being fed to livestock.
And saying billions of animals die for the vegan lifestyle with no actual statistics of that, is absurd. How many animals die for the carnivore lifestyle?
Many farmers shoot predators on scene.
Again, Carnivore does not mention what predators he is talking about. I’m assuming he is talking about animals who eat the crops such as dear, rabbits, and raccoons.
While this statement is valid, farmers also shoot predators to protect their farms full of animals. Hunters hunt for predators on livestock farms to help the farmers protect their “products”. And although farmers do kill animals to protect crops, a large percentage of these crops are being fed to livestock. In fact, nearly half of the world’s grain is being fed to livestock.
Although you Carnivore, as a straight-up carnivore, are not eating the grain yourself, you are eating the cow that ate the grain. And for the omnivores, you are eating the grain and the cow that ate the grain.
Drinking plant milk as opposed to “nutritious” cow’s milk is destroying billions of bees.
Carnivore claims that beekeepers are sending bees to pollinate almond flowers and that is in turn “wiping them out”. He says a recent survey of beekeepers said that “50 million bees were wiped out in a few months in the winter of 2018-19”. He does not, by the way, give a reference to this claim or explain why this might be.
I did an internet search myself and found that same claim which seems to stem from an article from The Guardian. The article states that there may be several reasons that the bees died that year, including coming out of dormancy early, and pesticide use on the almond flowers.
Those things make sense and I agree that bees should not be put in that situation. However, not all almonds are grown this way. There are a few almond milk brands that are both bee-friendly and environmentally conscious like Orgain’s organic almond milk.
So while, yes, there are some brands of almond milk that are harmful to bee populations, there are also some that are not.
I would suspect that if vegans know about this, they would refuse to use a certain brand of almond milk if it exploited bees. That is the same reason many vegans don’t eat honey. There is a simple fix though, to either not drink almond milk, or find brands that don’t harm bees.
I won’t even get into the harmful, torturous effects of the dairy industry here, but just know that we can drink plant milk without causing suffering but we cannot drink dairy milk without causing suffering.
There is no explanation here of how the ducks are killed or why…other than “to protect rice production”. That is interesting to me because other articles state that ducks are actually beneficial to rice production.
Doing some research myself, I found that Matthew Evans also said that he was just trying to prove that animals are harmed or killed in order for vegans to eat too. He wasn’t saying more animals die, just that vegans also cause some harm. Yes, we know that Matthew, we are just trying to cause the least amount of harm as possible.
Nonetheless, it is a good idea to be cognizant of where your food is coming from and how it was grown. It is easy to say, “I’m already saving a lot of animals by not eating them”, but what can we do to actually cause the least amount of harm as possible?
As far as the mice being poisoned to protect the wheat, I think those statistics are awful, but again, there is no citation of this.
I would like to think that organic farmers are more cognizant of how they protect their crops. I believe in order for them to be organic they can not use any kind of poison near their crops, at least in the US.
Also, in the US, 95% of cows are fattened on grain, even if they are “grass-fed”. This means the last 25-30% of their lives are spent in feedlots eating grain. So a huge percentage of the grain grown in the US is actually for the cows that people eat. If mice are being poisoned to protect crops, even the strict carnivores are causing a massive amount of mouse deaths.
This is honestly one of the most ridiculous conclusions I think one can make. Factory farming is the epitome of animal cruelty. While I will give it to Carnivore that he says he is against factory farming, that is, unfortunately, the way most of the world gets its meat. In America, it is estimated that 99% of farmed animals live on factory farms.
And we’ve already learned that even “free-range” or “grass-fed” cattle are still fed grain in feedlots for the last 25-30% of their lives.
Carnivore also says dairy milk is “nutritious” and less cruel than drinking almond milk. The dairy industry is one of the cruelest industries in the world. How can raping cows, taking their babies, and forcing them to stand still and be milked most of their lives be considered less cruel than…well most things?
Just to be clear, I am strongly against using bees to pollinate crops if it means they will be harmed or killed. There are almond milk alternatives and almond milk brands that do not use this kind of cruelty. All dairy cows are forced to give their milk to humans when we all know it is meant for their babies.
Carnivore is an anti-vegan who wants to sell his diet and his beef liver. He wants to justify his way of life by pointing the finger at vegans.
Most vegans don’t live off of avocados and almonds which can be harmful to bees and the environment. Most vegans are environmentally aware and strive to protect the environment that is home to all sorts of animals.
Most people eat both plant and animal products which cause more pain and suffering and environmental damage than eating plant products alone.
And yes, carnivores cause extreme pain and suffering as well. Most “grass-fed” cows are fed grain at the end of their lives which would refute the argument that only “grain-eating humans” such as vegans are killing the animals that live in the grain fields.
There is also something to be said about eating the flesh of a once alive sentient being. I believe that the energy of our food becomes a part of our being. Imagine what kind of energy a tortured dead animal has.
Look, vegans are not perfect, and some animals are harmed in the production of plant products, but our goal is to produce the least amount of harm as possible. Compared to people who eat animal products, vegans are causing a lot less harm and a lot less environmental damage.
Let’s also not forget that “veganism” is not a diet. We are doing so much more to advocate for animals that is above and beyond not eating them. We don’t support zoos, circuses, or aquarium entertainment.
We don’t wear animal products. We don’t buy products that have been tested on animals. We don’t hunt or fish. We are doing so much more than just not eating them. To say the carnivore diet is better for animals than veganism is extremely naive and heartbreaking.
My desire for all vegans, including myself, is to not let claims like this get us down. Don’t get overwhelmed because you have to give up your favorite brand of almond milk because you know it is destroying bees. Be grateful that new things come to your attention and now you can knowingly do better. Let’s prove to Carnivore, and carnivores everywhere, that we can thrive as vegans and always strive to produce the least amount of harm as possible.