A definitive comparison of plant vs animal products
For those raising questions about the comparison between plant products and animal products (as you should! always important to make informed decisions), here is the criteria I used.
For those wanting to share this listing, this short and permanent link is available: http://balupton.com/v
This listing/comparison aims to be an argument proof factual listing of things going on, with the hopes remove all misinformation about plants vs animal products beyond and reasonable doubt. Constructive positive comments welcome. If you have something negative to say, try and think of an educational way of putting it, rather than an ego stroking "I'm right, you're wrong way" that just causes unnecessary defenses. Thanks!
If you'd prefer a more immersive initiation to a plant-based lifestyle, rather than the bombardment of facts that this page contains, the following documentaries, videos, and resources, in the following order, are a fantastic option:
- Making the Connection (free)
- Cowspiracy (paid)
- Forks Over Knives (paid)
- Fat Sick Nearly Dead (free)
- Dr. John McDougal: The Diet Wars (free)
- Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death (free)
- Why Vegan? Lessons From An Animal Scientist (free)
- Animals Australia: Stories from Indonesia - Live Export Investigation (free)
- Gary Yourofsky: The Greatest Talk You'll Ever Hear (free)
- Earthlings (free)
- Dr. Melanie Joy on Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat (free)
- Speciesism (paid)
- Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: From Excuse-itarian to Vegan (free)
Once initiated, other great documentaries are:
- An Inconvenient Truth
- At the Edge of the World
- Baraka & Samsara
- Chasing Ice
- Food Inc
- Food Matters
- Gas Land
- Hungry for Change
- More than Honey
- Super Size Me
- The Age of Stupid
- The Cove
- The Last Ocean
- Vanishing of the Bees
Animal production for our benefit is the major contributor to global warming, as well as the majority of plant food production goes towards feeding the animals instead of us (incredibly inefficient as it takes more plant products and energy emissions to eat animal products, than to just eat plant based ones). One cow takes 2 acres of land to raise and feed, that same land could grow enough plant food to feed a small village. Animal agriculture also produces a lot of feces and waste products, which then go into our air and water supply, creating new parasites and viruses that are wreaking havoc on our health, their health, and the environment. Most importantly, animal agriculture is simply not sustainable — to make the current demand for animal products sustainable, one must cut down their normal day's consumption to only being 1 day a week (with no new animal consumers being allowed to be born or coming about) — the alternative option is to continue as is, but cull 90% of animal consumers (with no new animal consumers being allowed to be born or coming about) — we'll let you weigh up which option is easier and less extreme.
- Watch the definitive documentary "Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret" to learn why the above is not more commonly known, and what you can do to fix it.
- Watch the definitive talk "Sustainability and Food Choice: Why Eating Local, Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work" to make the connection
- Read the definitive pamphlet "Eating Up The World: The Environmental Consequences of Human Food Choices" to realise the consequences
- Read the definitive summary "Veganism is the best way to help the environment" to get the science
- Watch the definitive talk "The Diet Wars" by Dr. John McDougal about the history of how the current situation came to be.
Non-Organics and Seafood
The world's oceans are collapsing. Not "they're on the verge of collapse" or "will collapse soon" but are actually collapsing NOW, all due to the desire for seafood and non-organic farming. There is nothing that can possibly compare to the destruction we are doing to the oceans and consequently the world by supporting the fishing industry and non-organic farming.
- Watch the definitive TED talk by marine ecologist Jeremy Jackson to see the collapse happening
- Watch the definitive talk "Sustainability and Food Choice: Why Eating Local, Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work" to make the connection
Genetically modified foods can actually be patented by big corporations, this means that farmers must pay licensing fees to use GMO crops, and if your organic crop accidentally gets contaminated by a neighbouring GMO farm, then you get sued. This is terrible for organic farmers that are trying to grow healthy, ethical, and ecological food.
Non-Organics, Monocultures and Bees
Non-organic pesticides can be quite toxic to the farmers, which was why farmer Akinori Kimura spent 10 years perfecting organic apples in Japan as his wife became terribly sick with pesticides. Not only that, but they also kill bees, which we require for all nearly all plant life - no bees, no eco-systems, no life. Our monocultures (acre and acre of a single crop) also destroy the soil, and make it hard for natural ecologies to farm, killing bees, and altering climates is disastrous ways.
- If you speak Japanese, watch Fruits of Faith the movie to learn about Akinori Kimura and his Organic Apple journey, or watch his TEDxTalk
- Watch the "More than Honey" documentary to learn the issues facing bees as well as their importance
Meat, Diary, Eggs, Fur, Leather, Science, Strays, Entertainment
Fish, cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, just like all animals they all feel pain, fear, and terror just like us humans. If you kill them, it is murder, and at the scales it is conducted, it is the world's largest holocaust, every single day.
- Watch this talk by an Animal Scientist showing us that non-human animals are far more intelligent than we are lead to believe by the animal agriculture industry's interests
- Watch the video that started the live export ban "Stories from Indonesia - Live Export Investigation" for letting us realise that non-human animals are people fighting for their lives
- Watch Gary Yourofsky's "The Greatest Talk You'll Ever Hear" to make the connection
- Watch the "Earthlings" documentary to realise the full extent of the immense horror that our support of the animal industry causes
- Watch the "Lucent" documentary to discover the horror of Australia's pig industry
- Discover what Australian animal agriculture is actually like via AussieFarms.org.au
Dairy, Milk, Cheese, Whey
Dairy-cows on average live 4 years out of there 20 year lifecycle due to the extreme strain non stop milk producing has on their body. They are also forcibly impregnated to keep them producing milk and as such have their baby's taken from them at birth (who then are enslaved into the milk industry, or imprisoned to wind up slaughtered for their meat, sometimes chained up in a small box and starved for 6 months to produce veal, imagine that outcome for your human child! Not nice.) this is something the cow's literally scream about for days. Despite all of the cow's hormones you ingest when drinking milk, as well as the protein problems (discussed in health section), milk is also legally allowed to have a droplet of pus in it for each glass due the unavoidable strain that productive milking has on their teets, yummy. Not only that, but the demand for dairy means that dairy cows continue to be and have been selectively bread over many years to produce abnormal amounts of milk, interfering with their quality of life (for the men who don't have teets, imagine in the case of your human testicles, that all your ancestors were the most sperm producing ones and the others were murdered, to ensure that generations after that your testicals are so painfully swollen to the size of oranges that your quality of life suffers so much to the extent that your body must neglect its other duties to focus on an abnormal sperm production that leaves you in constant pain and leakage).
- Discover the reality behind Australia's dairy industry
- Watch Gary Yourofsky's "The Greatest Talk You'll Ever Hear" to make the connection
Unless otherwise stated, cheeses require taking an enzyme (rennet) from the stomachs of calves (often once they have been slaughtered for meat produce).
Female chickens lay eggs, but male chickens don't. So how do you keep a fresh supply of female chickens ready to lay eggs? You put the male chicks in a grinder at birth. Free range or not, this is the industry approved standard for disposing of worthless male chickens.
Honey, Beeswax, Pollon
Honey is the food for the bees during winter, where there is no pollon to collect as the flowers are not out due to temperature differences. So when bee keeps take the honey, the bees have no food for winter, so they either kill all the bees, or give them sugar syrup instead. A lot like the milk industry.
Not only that, but the treatment of bees is quite horrible, they're constantly killed, and the use of non-organic products and pesticides in the areas the bee keepers are contracted to pollinate will kill the bees without the keepers having too.
A lot of people believe that fishing is the kindest form of hunting, but this simply isn't true. Fish are actually found to have way more intense pain receptors than humans do. The reason for the easy exploitation is that once upon a time, they were abundant, but now that is not so, and it's much easier to teach children to kill an animal that can't scream in pain, versus one that can. Just because it can't scream, or verbally gasp for air, doesn't mean it isn't dying to do so, which it is.
It's also important to recognise the role wording plays with the disconnect we have with non-human animal products:
- Meat is now used as the disconnect term for the flesh of other people, their arteries, veins, muscles, tendons, cellulite, connective tissue, etc.
- Dairy is now used as the disconnect term for a non-human person's breast milk, imagine sucking their nippples!
- Eggs is now used as the disconnect term for a neatly packaged menstrual period
- Honey is now used as the disconnect term for bee vomit
- Beef, Poultry, Pork are now used as disconnect terms for particular types of people's flesh
- Chicken, Fish is now used as the disconnect term for using a species a food, rather than for the species of people itself
- Animals is now used as the disconnect term for referring to non-human animals, humans are animals! Animal: a living organism which feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli — that's us alright!
- "It" is now used as the disconnect term for referring to a non-human people! They're he's and she's and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and children too. Each one is their own person, with their own personality, and their own family. They're not objects, they're people, just like us!
Ever noticed how most insults of etiquette are non-human species name calling? Eating with your hands, you pig! Not smart, you monkey! Go eat outside like the dogs. It's very convenient to condemn non-human animals to that level, especially when your religion's beliefs depend on that superiority - you savages, just like animals, we must make a man out of you! For that is the only way to get God's approval, as there is no heaven for savages like you, only hell, disgusting, repulsing, filth.
I make a point these days of licking my plates, and watching people's eyes go wide in shock, to point out the learned speciesism in their reaction, and how etiquette's only purpose is to distance us from the reality non-human animals are great examples of life's virtues.
Animal Products (Meat, Dairy, Fish, etc)
The raising of animals involves a whole lot of feces, infections, and tumors. Heck, if an animal has cancer or an infection, they'll just cut out the tumorous part and feed you the rest — if they notice it that is. Not only that, but the poor conditions in slaughter houses leads to contamination of the meat with virus ridden feces. So much so, that the average hamburger meat, including that of McDonalds, is mostly ammonium filler used to kill bacteria, with the actual meat being less that 20%, in some cases only 8% or less. There's a reason why people refer to hamburger patties as cardboard... but cardboard is much more complimentary than the reality. Finally, a piece of processed animal product actually contains parts of typically thousands of other animals, and if one of those thousand are infected, then your mouthful is too. E. Coli, a virus that is now rampant in the USA, can kill you within 3 days.
But what about even the best of conditions? Well, much to people's dismay, it is now proven that animal products cause 15/16 of the leading causes of death, that animal protein is toxic to the body, that meats cause cancer, and that the only way you get non-trivial amounts of cholesterol is from animal products — this is regardless of where you get the meat, even if it's organic grass-fed etc, it is still toxic animal protein, bacteria and cholesterol, that doesn't change, no matter the source — it's the ingredients that's the problem, not the source!
Plus there is no need for anyone to process their plant nutrients through an animal, they can just eat the plants directly and get a dramatic advantage! Animal products, are processed foods! But where do I get my protein from? From the same place where the animals their protein from! The plants!
- Watch the definitive talk "Uprooting the leading causes of death" on how 15/16 of the leading causes of death are preventable on a plant-only diet
- Watch the "Forks over Knives" documentary to discover the connection between animal protein and cancer
- Read the "China Study", the most definitive health study ever conducted to remove all doubt about how animal protein is poison — doubtful? read the praise section
- Watch the "Food Inc." documentary to see the contamination
- Break the misconception about vegan athletes by seeing their results for yourself
- Like data, learn what the scientific literature says, Cancer, Dairy, Eggs, More Dairy
- Read the World Health Organisation's actual report on Red and Processed Meats
Seafood (including Fish and Krill Oils)
When you ask how do you get your DHA (Omega fatty acids) most people will say seafood. But it turns out that seafood will causes more brain damage than good. This is because seafood also has the detriment of our oceans being our toxic waste dumps, as such, the question isn't "do I get toxic chemicals in me like mercury, uranium, etc by eating fish" but rather "how much toxic chemicals do I get?" - this is also why you get Fish Oil in the pharmaceutical section, and Flax Seed Oil in the health food section, the pharmaceutical industry have an invested interest in your ill-health.
- Discover the science behind seafood causing more brain damage than it prevents
- Discover the superiority of Plants over Seafood in regards to health
- Watch this definitive TED talk by marine ecologist Jeremy Jackson to see the collapse happening
Stress, tiredness and over-eating
40% of the average American's stress comes from poor nutrition, when stressed we don't get good quality sleep, and consume more stimulants (sugar, coffee, calories, etc) which is treating the symptoms. By improving nutrition (by eating nutrient-dense foods - not calorie dense foods) we reduce stress, sleep better, perform better, and live happier.
The first thing to go from eating animal products is your erections.
Honey, Polen, etc
The health claims of bee products are just that, claims, made by the industry to promote selling their product, in the same way the animal industry and fossil fuel industries do it as well.
- Learn the sale tactics behind bee products
- Wikipedia on honey's negligible health effects and it's significant dangers
Sport / Athleticism
Ethical; Murder is made up, we call things murder where it is convenient, no one has the right to life
If I tried to put you on my bbq, you'd fight for your life. Same for animals.
For plants, it requires our empathy to extend to the wellbeing of ecology, of the planet, of everything within it.
We can't stop our harm, but we can certainly minimise it.
Ethical; We still murder plants, why not animals?
It is not about maximising our murder, but minimising it. We do not require to enslave, torture and murder animals for their products and by-products (which kills more plants and animals), instead we can choose plant based alternatives (which saves more plants and animals).
General; I don't think plants are sentient, therefore I don't think they ethically matter
Update: I now answer this question like this.
By definition of sentience (able to feel or perceive things) we can easily see that plants are indeed sentient, they actively heal when they feel damage, and they actively optimise when they perceive light and water. This is why we can feel empathy to plants, when we see their life dying, and their desire to live wilting away. This is why ecology is an ethical duty.
For what it's worth, Gaia theory expands our empathy to all things. This is possible in the way we consider a cell in our body, we may not care about each individual cell, but we certainly care about ourselves and our peers. Gaia theory works the same way, while we may not care for an individual rock, we can also notice that the rock is part of the larger Earth, which it too heals when damaged and optimises for opportunities, much like ourselves. This notion can also be expanded to all supersets, from the Earth, to the Solar System, to the Universe, and beyond.
General; I like murdering people, I like the taste, it makes me feel important
Unfortunately conspicuous consumption is ending the world... Is that selfish and oppressive image really the image you want to risk people having of you? Perhaps it's time to reconsider what your actions (your purchases, your votes with your dollar) are saying about you?
General; I think the disadvantaged can only afford junk food / I think eating animal products is more efficient
Incorrect in ALL aspects. Plants provide more bang for the buck in nutrition, quantity, weight, everything except calories when compared to animal products, even despite the majority of animal subsidies in place. In fact, if you also weigh in how much the medicine it costs to not die from the health issues of animal products, plant based eating is way cheaper. And finally, when you consider animal products cause 15/16 of the leading causes of death, it's a no-brainer when you factor in the cost of your own life.
TLDR; If you spend the exact same amount on plants, you'll still get more & eat healthier, won't require meds, and live longer.
Ethical; Living a good life, then killed when we're ready (not it), is fine
False. Can I use that rationale on you? or your child? when I'm ready to have you on my plate or enslave you into a life of producing by-products for me - this is enslavement, in the same way we use to enslave other humans, it is treating others as merely existing to be servants for ourselves. In regards to humans better than animals, it is defined as speciesm. Watch the Earthlings movie to make the connection why this is not okay. The other issue here, while non-vegans can all hope this is the case, it unfortunately isn't. Farmed animals live horrible lives of pain and misery, to only die excrutiating deaths time and time again. If you abide by eating animals, you simply cannot guarantee this arguments truth, and is it worth risking causing any suffering, when it is so easy to switch?
Ethical and Ecological; All this focus on animals detracts from more important issues
False. Ignoring any issue, allows it to run rampant and opens the door for more exploitation. We must address all issues together, especially as they are all interrelated. Think of it as building a boat, any cracks in it will make it leak, we must fix all cracks together to ensure the boat does the best it can.
Ethical and Ecological; We kill animals while making way for farming, so less crops the better right
True, and that is the problem. The majority of our plant based food, as well as our land, does not go towards feeding ourselves, but feeding farmed animals instead - a highly inefficient process (see ecological section). If we all went vegan, we would not only be able to feed the entire world (ending poverty) with less land (consequently killing less animals, from farming, and eating) but also help to eliminate global warming and health problems significantly.
Ethical; Pesticides for plants kill animals, so we should just eat animals (which contradictorily eat a lot more plants)
False. Pesticides (which are needed in non-organic farming) inevitably kill animals. Pesticide use is promoted by the use of monoculture farming, which inevitably promotes more pests, and consequently, the need for pesticides. Both of these issues are easily solved by organic permaculture farming which uses biodynamic solutions for pest prevention and control. An issue and solution that are utterly irrelevant to whether it is animals or plants being raised.
Ecological; Cutting out meat eliminates most ecological downsides, so it is still okay to consume animal by-products (dairy, eggs, honey, etc)
False. It turns out that those who eliminate meat but continue to consume animal by-products will actually consume a lot more than usual, adding to the same (if not higher) ecological footprints. It also is a justification for knowing what is best, but utilizing moral jumps for not doing it. It also completely avoids the health and ethical sides of farming animals - which are incredibly important - while as explained falls short of explaining the ecological aspect. We know what will reduce ecological, ethical, and health footprints the most, and it is an easy switch, time to pull the trigger.
Ethical; Being vegetarian is enough
As great a step as being vegetarian is, it isn't the end goal to stopping animal cruelty. A non-strict vegetarian diet still inflicts (if not more) pain on farmed animals; What happens to the male chicks that are inevitably born to produce more egg laying hens? They get put into a grinder, free range, organic, it still applies. What happens to the cows to keep producing milk? They get forcibly impregnated with their children being stolen away from them at birth, enslaved to a life of milk producing or off'd to the meat industry, free range, organic, it still applies. Not only that, but vegetarianism's trivial scope of food doesn't cover the vast array of ways animals are tortured, enslaved and murdered on a daily basis. Animal cruelty doesn't stop with murder and meat; it stops with enslavement. Watch Gary's Talk and the Earthlings for the next step.
General; Meat is yummy, plants are bland
Animal-based meat without plants and spices to flavour it, is pretty bland... Think about it, when was the last time you had a 5 star steak without a sauce, seasoning, or condiments added by either yourself, the chef, or the manufacturer? What most people come to find is they actually enjoy the flavour of the plants and spices that are added, rather than the meat. However, if you do enjoy the texture and taste of animal-based meat, you can get plant-based meats that taste and feel the same, but are good for your health, the environment, and the animals. See the Weening Section for some great plant-based meats.
Meat also has a natural drug in it called hypoxanthine which functions much like MSG, that affects our brain to like it more and as an addiction. Meat also is incredibly acidic for the body to break down, making our body acidic, in response to this acidity, our body adjusts our digestion to be able to deal with such foods better, causing alkaline inducing foods such as plants to taste weird at first. Once the body alkalises, plants will taste amazing and animal products will taste foul. To speed this up, you can fast for 24 hours to reset your body. See The Pleasure Trap and Meat Addictive?
Health; Eating only healthy food (plants) is vitamin deficient, you need to eat unhealthy food like (animal products) to get all your vitamins
False. This has been debunked, they are just myths spread by the animal agriculture industry to create FUD against their perceived threat of veganism against their establishment.
In reality, eating only healthy food (plants) if of course good for you and all you need, see ADAPTT's Essays on Veganism.
It is also worth reminding us, that animal products are processed foods. Instead of processed through a machine, they are processed through an animal instead.
Ethical; I could never kill my own animal, that's why I let someone else do it
If you can't even work up the courage to kill an animal for your own use, it may help put into perspective how insanely difficult it is from their point of view to have their own life taken away at your order... something which remains petrifying for them, regardless of who it is that is murdering them.
Health; I can offset animal products with a workout!
Great stuff offsetting the calories!
For offsetting the rest of the reasons for feeling bad about eating animal products, such as the ethical, ecological and other health aspects, what's your plan?
Maybe planting a tree and resurrecting an animal could work?
In the end, it's far easier and more effective to simply optimise with only good activities, rather than merely offsetting (cancelling out) bad activities with good activities...
Health; You need animal products to get B-12!
False. This is the same as the above argument, but specifically targeting vitamin B-12 due to it's prolific nature. Vitamin B-12 is an issue for anybody whom don't supplement, vegans and non-vegans alike. A lot of vegans get their blood tests done, and never need to supplement in their life. Personally, I prefer to supplement to guarantee I get enough B-12. Better safe than sorry in my opinion.
You can get B-12 from most daily foods (soy/oat/rice/almond milks), mock meats, etc that are fortified with B-12 and other vitamins. If you're particular area does not provide fortified foods, you can get B-12 from a under the tongue or tablet weekly or daily supplement.
If you are concerned about B-12 and your journey to veganism, keep in mind that supplementation is still a much better alternative of obtaining adequate B-12 amounts than murdering and devouring our fellow people and their products to get an un-guaranteed amount of B-12 (and other vitamins) with a guaranteed amount of harmful fats, proteins, chemicals, etc — with this comparison in mind, it's clear to see vegan, even with supplementation, is better for your health, the environment, and the people within it.
Too long didn't read;
Living a plant-based lifestyle is the only sustainable lifestyle there is (of vital importance and urgency for all of us to follow), while also being better for your health, and depending your value system, can be ethically sound without any permanent cognitive dissonance.
- Wikipedia on Veganism
- Wikipedia on Vegan Health Benefits
- Wikipedia on Vegan Ecology Benefits
- Wikipedia on Notable Vegans
- Nutrition Facts: An amazing wealth of short concise videos of health facts
- Veganism: A truth whose time has come: The most comprehensive listing of questions and answers I've ever found about a vegan lifestyle
- Thrive Forward: Personalised training and diet regime based on your needs and desires
- 30 Day Vegan Challenge: challenge with daily videos, recipe ideas, and information
- Vegan Easy: Great comprehensive resource and challenge on everything to do with, and for going vegan
- Vegan Kit: Comprehensive resource on veganism that refers you to other sources, largely ethical based
- Vegan Society: Comprehensive resource and challenge on everything to do with, and for going vegan
- Fully Raw: Resources, videos, and challenge for going raw vegan (I'm not, but you certainly can)
- One Green Planet: Online magazine about vegan living
- Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: From Excuse-itarian to Vegan: Great talk focused on practical and simple methodologies for making the switch
- Mouth Watering Vegan: Lots of amazing vegan food recipes
- Raw Vegan Recipes on Pinterest: Crowd-sourced vegan recipes (note, as it is crowd-sourced and not curated, some may not be vegan, check the ingrediants and remember to be ecological, ethical, and healthy!)
- Frys Vegetarian: South African company offering mock meats internationally
- Beyond Meat: American company producing life-like meat and egg alternatives (backed by the vegans at Twitter)
- Gary Yourofsky's Shopping Guide
- iHerb: Great for supplements, not all vegan, but usually says what is vegan or not
- HappyCow: Great listing of vegetarian restaurants around the world, with vegan filters
- Yelp: Very detailed listing of restaurants around the world, with vegan filters