Why Don’t Vegans Care About People?

They do. That’s one of the reasons they’re vegan.  There are 925 million starving people in the world. More than 75% of them are children. Every three seconds, a person starves to death yet we have enough food to feed everyone on the planet.

What’s the problem? There has been a massive increase in the consumption of animals in the past 25 years. The change in eating habits led farmers to abandon traditional farms and build factories where they store thousands of animals in cramped warehouses lacking ventilation, cleanliness, light, and space for animals to exercise their natural instincts. Factory farms breed and slaughter billions of land animals every year.

According to the World Health Organization, the current animal consumption trends are unsustainable due to limitations on land and natural resources.

It takes 16 lbs. of grain

to produce 1 lb. of animal flesh.

That’s analogous to throwing away 15 lbs. worth of food from your refrigerator or freezer every time you eat a pound of a chicken, pig, or cow. Grain fed to billions of animals could be fed to 925 million starving people, helping to eliminate global hunger. If people would stop eating animals, there would be more food for starving people.

Vegans don’t eat animals because they care about animals and people.  The question you should ask is not “Why don’t vegans care about people?” The question you should ask is “Why don’t people who eat animals stop eating them so the grain used to feed them could be used to save the lives of starving people?” Feeling compassionate doesn’t make you compassionate. Your actions determine your level of compassion.

This is compassion.

This is not compassion.

Factory farming causes environmental devastation to our land, water, and air from toxic pollution and millions of pounds of illegally disposed waste such as ammonia and feces that spills into our water, air, and soil causing millions of Americans respiratory problems, cancer, and other diseases. There are no toilets for animals.

Vegans inform people about the environmental devastation of factory farming and work to end it which positively impacts people’s lives and preserves the environment that sustains them.

The antibiotics and growth hormones factory workers inject into animals, the diseases they contract, and the chemicals they ingest also lead to stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer killing millions of people.

Vegans inform people who consume animals and animal byproducts about the benefits of becoming a vegan to help them live longer and more healthful lives. In the process, a shift to eating more plant-based foods could significantly reduce health care costs which also benefits people.

Asking vegans who help animals why they don’t care about people is analogous to asking people who help handicapped children why they don’t care about animals. It’s nonsensical and demeaning. The list of excuses to eat animals is long, mythical, and porous. Vegans don’t make excuses for their eating habits; they take pride in them because there is nothing to excuse. If you think before you eat, you will enjoy thinking about what you eat. Click here to begin. 

Andrew Kirschner, Ed.D., is the founder and CEO of Animal Rescue Bar, a delicious plant-based snack for health-conscious people that donates 50% of its proceeds to non-profit animal rescue and advocacy organizations. To subscribe to this blog and receive new articles via e-mail, enter your e-mail address in the “Follow Blog by E-Mail” link at the top right of the page.

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38 Responses to Why Don’t Vegans Care About People?

  1. Pingback: You Won’t Believe What Your Taxes Support | Kirschner's Korner

  2. Thank you for this post. I will be sending this to my friends.

  3. People need to learn from Animals …
    So many choices ! And plenty of GREEDY

  4. Rebekah says:

    Great post. I completely agree. And as Colleen Patrick-Goudreau says, that very question presumes that people are incapable of caring about more than one thing…which is absurd!

  5. Jodie York says:

    You really have a great way of getting across important info in a succinct way that a child could understand, and that is said in respect towards you and children. :)

  6. Fred says:

    I agree and like the article! I do think you might want to clarify you are only talking about the vegans who are living a vegan lifestyle, not people (who may very likely describe themselves as “vegan” as well) who eat a vegan diet. With the rise of books like the China Study and the Engine 2 Diet- there are a number of people who eat vegan solely for health reasons, and continue to use animal products in their lives. I think it’s helpful to reach out to this growing group of people (who should definitely be welcomed into the vegan community!) and let them know there are more benefits to a vegan diet than just health (environment and animal welfare), and they should consider adopting an all-around vegan lifestyle in addition to the diet.

  7. Well written…..and the pics made it even better. I have a friend posting this on my FB page ‘our health matters’. I am ‘treadin’ on high’ if you’d like to check out my blog. I just signed up to follow you.

  8. Jason Johnson says:

    But what about farmers who don’t factory farm? There’s a lot of pasture land that can’t sustain crop (unless you fertilize/water the shit out of it) yet is perfectly fine to feed cattle (grass-fed) and other livestock.

    A lot of these vegan articles focus on the factory farms (and I dislike the factory farms as well), but they forget about the small farmer who cares about his livestock. (my father-in-law, for instance, cried one night when he lost a calf that he spent hours trying to save… not for the loss of “property” (there’s insurance for that), but because he fought so hard for the little guy, and the little calf didn’t survive the harsh snow storm that he was born in))

    My wife hails from the farm, I come from a farming community (my dad owned a small butcher shop – which by the way is a ton different a meat packing plant) and both of us have lots of friends/family who are farmers who do nothing remotely close to anything in articles like this.

    What about hogs? Hogs will eat a lot of things that people will not, so what’s wrong with raising a few hogs to feed your family?

    I just wish the other side of the story would come out in articles like these.

    • Andrew Kirschner says:

      Hi Jason,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I will do my best to answer them satisfactorily.

      You asked “What about farmers who don’t factory farm?”
      Unfortunately, 99% of the 10+ billion land animals consumed every year originate from factory farms. People often tell me they get their animals from a family farm but it’s important to realize it isn’t the norm. I encourage you to read The Food Revolution by John Robbins for more insight on this topic.

      We have a philosophical difference that we may not be able to resolve. You stated that some farmers care about their animals. I understand what you mean, however, I would never say that someone cares about an animal if he kills and eats her. I know you mean some farmers provide reasonable care while she is alive, however, the killing and eating part prevents me from using the word “care” to describe the relationship. I hope you understand my point of view even if you disagree.

      You asked “What’s wrong with raising hogs to feed your family?”
      I used to eat chickens, pigs, cows, and many other animals. I am far from perfect. I made a decision in my life several years ago not to eat animals anymore because (1) I don’t believe animals are here for us to eat them any more than I believe people are here for animals to eat, and (2) I don’t need to eat them to survive so I would rather not be responsible for killing them.

      Thank you again for sharing your questions and concerns. I appreciate the opportunity to dialogue with you.

      Andrew Kirschner

    • Gary says:

      Hi Jason,

      In addition to what Andrew said…

      – Although some animal farms (mostly cattle farms), graze on land that is currently unsuitable for human crops, lots of grazing land is very well suited for human crops.

      – Since, on average, we can produce so many more calories per acre when we grow plants directly for humans, if we make a big shift to plant-based diets, much or all of the land used for grazing that is unsuitable for human crops can return to wilderness. This would be great news for the wildlife that is currently displaced by cattle ranches.

      Also, one can of course support family farms as a vegan.

      Gary

  9. veganacious says:

    “The list of excuses to eat animals is long, mythical, and porous.” Well said!

  10. Pingback: My Letter to New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman | Kirschner's Korner

  11. Simon Nicoll-Griffith says:

    Hi Andrew, I am vegan and will always be for the sake of the animals first and health secondly and on these I promote the vegan lifestyle. On this article ‘Why Don’t Vegans Care About People?’, I was wondering how effective would the extra grain be in getting to the starving people of the world, when not fed to livestock? What I mean is that in the past a lot of food produce ended up in warehouses unsold and unused due to market forces, i.e. the butter mountains and milk lakes I recall at one time, when it could have been sent to hungry parts of the world, if there was an incentive. Would there be the money and incentive to get the grain to the hungry? Or would it all end up in warehouses unused because of the market? It would be great to think that all the extra grain would go to the starving, but because of the cost of shipping it to them, would they get it if they didn’t have the money to purchase and ship it? Charities of course will help on this, but that is never a secure method of insuring they get all that is needed as it is dependent on the spendable income of those that support the charities.

  12. Helen CHADWICK says:

    Interesting article. I have never though Vegans don’t care for people, What I do dislike though is the often appalling behaviour metered out by vegans to those of us who do eat meat, bearing in mind this is 95% of the population. I’d say that getting people to think differently about not eating meat, & then becoming vegan would NOT change if the abuse continues.

    • Hi Helen,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m sorry you’ve had some bad experiences. I hope you’re able to get past those experiences and consider becoming a vegan for the benefit of animals, your health, and the environment. While it would be helpful if people approached you in a friendly manner and there is no excuse for people conducting themselves otherwise, others’ conduct should not dissuade your decision to lead a compassionate life. What do you think?

      Andrew

  13. Zweiz says:

    Reblogged this on THEZACORNER and commented:
    Interesting read and information

  14. zenalchemist says:

    As a Spiritual being, who consumes mostly a Evo/Lacto Vegetarian Diet, it has time and time again been something I have asked too…”Why do Vegan’s hate people?” This is a legitimate question, that no one seems to want to answer. People who practice Vegan lifestyles are oftentimes dismissive, exceptionally classist, defensive and snotty.

    I have seen this in everyday life and was again stuck with this in the Vegan subreddit while trying to understand what exactly constituted a Vegan diet.

    I have my own beliefs as to why they are so angry and defensive, but no one from the ‘camp’ of ‘cult-like’ mindsets have I come across someone that has been anything but defensive and stuck up like they are somehow ‘better’. Both the physical and mental health seem to be suffering greatly in the vegan community as far as I’ve seen. I chalk a bit of that up to all the artificial additives they tend to consume. And, as I was greeted with by more than one person, I was told explicitly that ‘veganism has NOTHING to do with personal health, and ONLY is concerned with animal welfare.”

    Upon, saying that I didn’t understand how they aren’t intrinsically linked, I was only met with defensiveness to everything that I may suggest. Questions of mine became swords and arrows assaulting them and attacking them by trying to ‘invade’ their belief systems. It is quite a dynamic that anyone who has tried to converse with the ‘vegan’ ‘cult member’ has been met with a great deal of arrogance which oozes dismissive and angry character traits.

    There seems to be no JOY in their motives and only the standard model of the ‘savior complex’ of the ‘martyrs’ that they are for all the animals – but somehow they leave themselves and other hue-man beings out of the equation and treat them with ill regard – like somehow they have to be ‘upset’ for the animals.

    Any insight into this would be glorious.

    Thanks in advance.

    Cheers
    -zen

    • Dear Zen,

      Thank you for expressing your thoughts. I commend you for eating a primarily vegetarian diet.

      Unfortunately, you rely on several unfair generalizations to frame your arguments. As I would not place all people who eat animals under the same umbrella, I would neither do the same to people who eat plant-based foods.

      The question I posed in the title is written “tongue-in-cheek.” The article clearly indicates that people who don’t eat animals care about other people. That’s one of the reasons they choose not to eat animals. It appears perhaps you only read the title of the article.

      People who eat animals shouldn’t believe they’re better than anyone. That is often one of the reasons they don’t eat animals — a belief that everyone deserves the right to live their lives without being senselessly confined, abused, and killed. There are exceptions to the norm in any movement. I encourage you to avoid extrapolating your limited exposure to the entire population that consists of millions of people in the animal protection community.

      I’ve never seen any evidence to suggest people who eat plant-based foods suffer from severe health problems. To the contrary, they tend to eat more foods in their original state (vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, etc.) which makes them considerably healthier. If someone stops eating animals and eats sugar, fat, and refined carbs, fast food, etc. instead of whole foods, they will, of course, suffer health problems. Attend an animal rights conference and you will find a lot of fit people, which is often but not always an indicator of health.

      I’m sorry you’ve encountered people who haven’t inspired and informed you about the benefits of eating plant-based foods. I encourage you to move past those experiences and research the benefits to your health, the environment, and animals. While I understand your frustration, I believe your assessment is harsh and inaccurate as presented as it seems to cast aspersions on the entire movement. While I concede some advocates allow their anger to interfere with their message, most people I know volunteer for the cause and have good intentions.

      I hope you find my insights helpful.

      Regards,

      Andrew Kirschner

      • zen says:

        Forgive me in advance for any typos or incongruent statements. It is late, I have just arrived after enjoying some libations and am always in the wave communing.

        Also, I eat a plant-based diet…trying to get to a air-based/ether based situation… I am all for everyone eating veg/fruit based diet..

        Hi Andrew, I thank you for your immediate and well-thought out response. I do, however, have a few disconcerting ideas about not only the way you perceive my writing, but to the ideas you put forth. First off, I must make it clear I am NOT judging, just putting forth the general feelings and situations that I, as well as many others, have encountered. I hope I can adequately address the sentiment that we all feel….

        First off, thank you for the commending me on my eating a primarily vegetarian diet, although it is of little concern as to your applauding me for doing so, I do it because I primarily care about my own person, animals and my fellow hue-man beings, not for some sort of prize or accolade. I promise that I don’t mean this in a demeaning manner, it just happens to express the larger concern that I illustrated at the end of my first post to you.

        I don’t rely on UNFAIR generalizations, I rely on PERSONAL experience paired with the general consensus that has been shared to me as to the actions of what seems to be a ‘cult-ish’ and angry mentality about how to commune with other hue-man beings and what ‘veganism’ really means. .

        I have not placed ALL vegans, as I explicitly explained in my other post, into some category… I again, just asked for some idea or value or psychological system that allows MOST of Vegan ‘members’ to be so upset with questioning their motives and system of logic….

        I didn’t know your question was “tongue in cheek” – that’s why I asked why no one will answer for the position that such a dominant majority takes …. “why don’t vegans care about people?” That is the question – and as a huge majority seems to not care about other people…, this has seemed to be the common denominator in the equation.

        Your assessment concludes that because human betterment is the RESULT implies that being ‘vegan’ intrinsically ‘means’ that’s what vegans ‘want’ to happen- which is tremendously faulty….It appears to just a ‘happenstance’ and not the objective, as if hue-mans (including themselves) somehow have to be less happy. I have yet to meet a ‘vegan’ who is more than smiley, generous and happy with adding something valuable to the human condition – they are only concerned with the 4 legged, animal condition. This is the point. The large population of ‘vegan’ prescribing individuals I have encountered are excessively defensive, rude, self-righteous and arrogant towards other hue-man beings.

        I don’t eat animals… yet I don’t find myself speaking down to people and being rude and inconsiderate to them about their dietary habits…or dismiss them for asking about mine. I actually find it as an opportunity to possibly ‘enlighten’ or ‘teach’ or address some concern that another has – not the animosity towards questions that are frequently, if not primarily presented to ‘outsiders.’

        ‘They’ don’t believe everyone deserves the right to live … they don’t even care about themselves or other hue-mans… that is my concern. ‘They’ and I really don’t like the word ‘they’ but for the purposes of explaining…it must be done. They, as I’ve said, don’t think their own health is of concern. That is a HUGE idea. If you can’t care about yourself, how can you ever care about another?

        I am not extrapolating my view based upon limited exposure. I am extrapolating it based upon a large cross section. I am not addressing the entire population, that is impossible, I am addressing what seems to be the vast majority. I am all for animal protection, yet I don’t act like an elitist about my beliefs like I am met with by most vegans.

        I never said people that eat a ‘plant-based diet’ suffer from severe health problems… On the contrary…. I am a vegetarian that hasn’t been to a Dr. in a dozen years, I’m in quite solid shape (mental/physical/spiritual/emotional….I hope : ) and has eaten a plant based diet for quite a few passings of the moon.

        I am saying that the ‘vegan’ diet which was told to me by multiple ‘vegans’ explained that veganism has NOTHING to do with diet and EVERYTHING to do with not harming animals. I am all for not harming animals. My point as I expressed was that I was thoroughly told that veganism eliminated the human element and was only concerned with not hurting animals, and that health of the human was of ZERO concern. As many Vegetarian cultures that don’t harm animals can contest to, you can be care for animals as well as other hue-mans an yourself – which has been accomplished for thousands if not millions of years.

        As far as the overweight comment… Weight has NOTHING to do with HEALTH. I made the comment based upon a number of people applauding DORITO”S for making a ‘vegan’ option. Whether or not you are small or large, fat, skinny …whatever the case may be… your body, mind and spirit may not be HEALTHY.

        There is nothing harsh or inaccurate, as you put it, about my position – it is simply my experience, as well as countless others who have encountered zombies of the ‘vegan’ ideal…which, from what I thought I understood to be ‘vegan’, was in absolute parallel with – But, am wholeheartedly unimpressed with by the people that explain it to me and am not in any way in coordination with the practitioners of vegan attitudes – other than the non-harm towards animals. As I see it, most vegans ‘harm’ hue-mans and hue-man relations at any point possible due to their disregard for people that don’t ‘understand’ what they think they know.

        Thank you again for your response. I have no hard feelings for anyone. I just find the ‘vegan’ movement to be more of a legion of inadequately, yet well-intentioned, followers that don’t question what they are being fed. I am all for non-cruelty for animals, but that includes people. It seems as though there is quite a bit of a mindset that eating anything that doesn’t include animal products is the ‘right’ way to go, yet there is an large quantity that think a bag of Doritios, filled with man made artificial reflections of nature that are considered ‘vegan’ is more important than the living food nature offers, and that communication with fellow human beings should be short, rude and unimportant.

        I only speak of my experience with no judgment…just assessment.

        Surely everyone has good intentions, but it has been said that good intentions pave the way to hell.

        I am religious in no-way, that last view just seems to sum up the efforts and agenda of what ‘most’ vegan idealists pro-form the larger idea that is consumed by the masses. It isn’t much different that seeing a southern baptist or pentecostal preacher stand on a soap box an preach the re-legion of Christianity.

        I totally believe in what I see as the ‘Vegan’ ideal to be the source of the next generation of what our lives on this planet should encompass,.. yet I can’t really consider the idea of calling myself ‘vegan’ because of the outstanding number of people involved in the ‘movement’ and what their ‘version’ of ‘veganism’ to be…

        I only wish to express the idea that – A giant majority of ‘vegan’ practitioners are rude, defensive, non-humanist, divisive ‘individuals’ that ‘re-present’ the idea of vegan’s to be of a very condescending character.

        My initial purpose was to try to access the ‘why’ to comprehend how to better communicate with such people to better serve the larger perspective of helping mother Gaia – thus helping hue-mans, thus helping animals.

        I hope no offense is taken in any way as to how I may put things…. I would usually be shorter and more poignant, but i thought a bit more wind might serve better… Take much care, share much joy and love.

        In Lak’ech
        -zen

  15. SusanVeg Valle says:

    Why do carnists hate vegans?

    • zen says:

      Who’s the carnist?

    • Sol says:

      It is quite east to see why a ‘carnist’ may ‘hate’ a ‘vegan’ – they don’t respect nature/animals or themselves – It is a bit more interesting, when a ‘vegan’ ‘hates’ because they ‘claim’ to have ‘love’ for animals, yet have disdain for their own personal well being.

  16. If I may interject after Zenalchemist’s post, I think perhaps the “better than us” complex that meat-eaters often project onto non-meat-eaters is actually just the experience of our sadness and frustration that meat-eaters don’t see that a beautiful animal didn’t have to die for pleasure on the tongue. It’s also sadness that people around the world are starving and we have the means to feed them. I don’t think I’m better, I’m just frustrated that pleasure on the tongue trumps the right to life of every sentient, harmless creature…as well as the preservation of our planet.

    • Well said Erica. I agree. Much of the anger is born out of sadness and frustration. Although I have been critical of people who exhibit these traits because I don’t believe they serve the best interests of animals when they alienate people, I understand the root of the anger.

    • zen says:

      ‘better than us’ – I just said ‘better’…than ‘who’ ?…I am not sure. I am not a meat-eater. I am all for the beauty of nature… I have read your comment a few times now and still am considering how this relates to the ‘general’ population of ‘vegan’ practicing individuals find it acceptable to be dismissive towards other hue-mans and themselves…

      I do, however, find all of your sentiments absolutely adorable, which I share fully with you. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the pleasures of 5 sense reality, I am just trying to find why as majority ‘vegan’ proclaimers tend to be such rude people.

      Namaste

  17. Joanne Anand says:

    Very well written in a way which explains it simply and allows those who aren’t aware of this largely hidden phenomenon to read, stop, ponder and weigh up this shocking and despicable reality which is our world today. Eating a plant based diet allows me to lay my head down at night knowing I’m not ingesting the misery of these factory farmed animals as well as the hunger of those who in this day and age, are still starving due to greed and profit. It doesn’t need to be so – and we can all work together to really do something about this situation, and it’s as easy as making kinder choices when we shop and in how we eat. Thanks you once again Andrew for such a great read.

    • zen says:

      Maybe…this is the thing. I eat a plant based diet – yet I am told by a multitude of ‘vegans’ that a plant based diet is “irrelevant’ to the ‘vegan’ ideal. I am fought relentlessly for questioning why a bag of doritos that supports Pepsico is considered ‘vegan’… and I become the incredulous, mocker of the ‘vegan’ habits.

      Namaste

  18. Well Zen, I think there are bad examples in each group. Meat eaters who put vegans down and vegans who act self rightous and put meat eaters down. They are out there on both sides of the fence. Unfortunate, that I agree on. People should be more willing to accept those who are not exactly like them. And in the case of vegans who act like that. Since it is such a small percentage of people it sure would be nice if they would consider embracing others who are trying to make the change into veganism but having a hard time getting there. After all, you grow up for x amount of years eating a certain diet (such as carnivore), it isnt that easy to change overnight for many who want to change but are doing it in steps. I say support those who are interested and making changes for the betterment of all living creatures !!

    • Agreed. I had an easy transition to vegetarianism, but a very difficult and drawn-out transition to veganism. It is NOT EASY to change, and we should honor everyone who tries and have compassion for those who cannot.

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  20. Jenny Blue says:

    Once the light goes on it is the easiest thing in the world to be vegan forever. Once one views an animal as existing in it’s own right as a being, it simply can never again be viewed as food. The very idea sounds ridiculous to me now as a long time vegan. This piece is a very nice succinct and easy to read explanation which I am bookmarking and sharing whenever I can, thanks.

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