This FAQ has been created with the help of various resources, most notably the Vegan Sidekick Guide and Your Vegan Fallacy Is websites. Both are worth checking out if either you or anyone you know have any questions regarding veganism at all, as I have only included the most common ones here. The truth is that any of these questions could have an essay length answer, but I prefer to get straight to the point so I have kept them as concise as possible.
1. What is veganism?
A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment.
2. Lions eat meat, so what’s wrong with me doing it?
What’s odd is that no one uses lions as an excuse to commit rape, infanticide or sniffing someone else’s arsehole. Lions generally don’t make good ethical role models. There are a lot of things other animals do that we would deem immoral if a human were to do them.
3. Our ancestors ate meat, so why shouldn’t I?
Our ancestors did many things for survival (or simply because they didn’t know any better) that we don’t necessarily have to do today.
4. Don’t we need meat and dairy to be healthy?
There is no magic ingredient in meat, dairy or eggs that cannot obtained from plants. When you ‘cut out the middle man’ and eat vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes first hand you don’t ingest all the unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol that always come along with animal products.
5. What about tribes who hunt to survive?
Veganism is about doing all you can to avoid any unnecessary exploitation. The fact remote tribes may have to kill to survive in other parts of the world is not a justification for you to support exploitation because you like the taste of flesh, the feel of fur and the appearance of leather.
6. What’s wrong with eating eggs?
Only female chickens lay eggs, so any males are considered a waste product by the egg industry and suffocated in bin bags or ground up alive at one day old. Once the females reach 18 months old and begin to lay fewer eggs they are also slaughtered so the next generation of layers can take their place.
7. What’s wrong with dairy?
To lactate, first a cow has to be pregnant. Typically she will be restrained whilst a farmer inseminates her with a metal rod and once she gives birth her calf is usually immediately removed. If the calf is male, he is either sold to be raised for meat, used for veal or killed with a shot to the head at one day old as a waste product of the dairy industry. Then his mother will be milked via machines up to four times a day until she is also killed at just one quarter of her natural life span at five years old because milk production begins to drop. Her daughters continue the cycle.
8. What’s wrong with buying wool?
Within weeks of birth, lambs’ ears are hole-punched, their tails are chopped off, and the males are castrated without anaesthetic. Shearers are usually paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast work without regard for the welfare of the sheep. One eyewitness said: “The shearing shed must be one of the worst places in the world for cruelty to animals … I have seen shearers punch sheep with their shears or their fists until the sheep’s nose bled. I have seen sheep with half their faces shorn off …”
9. What if an animal is killed humanely?
If it is unethical to harm these animals, then it is more unethical to kill them. The personal pleasure of taste is no justification for killing another sentient being.
10. What if the animal was grass-fed/organic/free range?
Regardless of the nature of their lives before slaughter, farmed animals get sent to slaughter at a fraction of their natural lifespan. All for the sake of money, taste and tradition.
11. Is veganism like a religion?
Veganism is based on facts. Religion is not. Most people already believe causing unnecessary suffering and death is wrong. Veganism is about aligning personal behaviour with those values.
12. The whole world will never be 100% vegan, so why bother trying?
The term ‘vegan’ is defined as “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practicable — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment”. Veganism is not about perfection. It’s about doing all we can to ensure that in the future, more and more alternatives to the exploitation of others are created so it will become easier to avoid it in all areas of life.
13. If everyone went vegan wouldn’t livestock overpopulate?
Veganism is effectively a boycott that will not change the world overnight. As demand for animal products decreases, so does the breeding of animals for profit.
14. If everyone went vegan wouldn’t livestock go extinct?
Broiler chickens have been selectively bred to grow so fast so that their legs can no longer support their bodies after only a few weeks of life. Laying hens have been altered to lay an egg every day and are prone to painful health issues with their worn out reproductive systems. Continuing to breed them, knowing that they shall continue to suffer would be unethical. Even if you don’t agree with this and believe they should be continually bred, there is no reason to continue to slit their throats purely as a means of conservation.
15. Surely you realise one person can’t make a difference?
Everybody is responsible for what they are personally doing. The way for numbers to rise is for individuals to take accountability one by one. If you want there to be multiple vegans to make a difference, then become one. In the UK, 12% of people are vegetarian or vegan. If you look at the age range of 16-24, that ratio rises to 20%. It is completely worthwhile to do this and we are having an effect on the industries. Imagine if everyone who is vegetarian/vegan started buying animal products again – that would be a giant increase in demand. As such, we are keeping demand down by continuing to avoid animal products. We are also increasing a demand for vegan products, making it easier for others to make more ethical choices.
16. What about protein?
Some of the strongest animals on Earth are herbivores and get all their protein from vegetation. Protein is found in almost every food and is it almost impossible to be protein deficient as long as you’re getting enough calories. Examples of plant-based sources of protein include:
• Pulses: peas, beans (aduki beans, blackeye beans, chickpeas, kidney beans), lentils, soya foods (tofu, tempeh, soya mince, soya milk)`
• Some nuts: cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios.
• Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, sesame
• Grains: wheat, oats, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth, pasta, bread, seitan (which contains 75g of protein per 100g).
17. What about Iron?
Iron is certainly not exclusive to animal-based products and is easy to come by in a plant-based diet. For instance, 3oz. of dark chocolate contains more iron than an equal serving of beef liver, and 3oz. of lentils contains more iron than 3oz. of beef, duck or lamb. Good plant sources of iron include dried fruits, whole grains (including wholemeal bread), nuts, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, seeds and pulses. Other foods rich in iron but which are usually eaten in smaller amounts include soya, some flours, parsley, watercress, black molasses and edible seaweeds.
18. Don’t we need milk for Calcium?
Milk is for infants and in adult mammals do not require milk, especially not of another species. If we really needed milk, don’t you think we’d keep on drinking it from our mothers? If that sounds weird, then consider that you’re just drinking from someone else’s mother when you drink cow’s milk – and not even of your own species. Adequate amounts of calcium are not difficult to come by in vegan foods and can be found in the following foods, for example:
• Fortified foods such as plant milk and other fortified dairy alternatives, calcium-set tofu and fortified bread provide the largest sources
• Green leafy vegetables, including spring greens, cabbage, swede, rocket, watercress, kale, broccoli and parsley
• Kidney beans and black eyed-beans
• Mixed nuts and seeds
• Chickpeas and tahini
19. What about B12?
While it is true that B12 is not produced by plants, it is also not produced by animals. Rather, B12 is the byproduct of a specific bacterial fermentation that thrives in soil, some fermented plant matter, dead flesh and the guts of animals. Fortunately, this bacteria is easily mass-produced for human consumption now, and many foods are fortified with it, so there is no need to eat animals or unwashed vegetables in order to receive sufficient B12. So the choice is as such; either take a B12 supplement, or give an animal a B12 supplement then kill them. Why take the second option?
20. What about the animals that die in crop harvesting for vegan food?
The majority of crops grown are used to feed livestock (twelve times the amount grown directly for humans), so in order to minimise the amount of land used and wild animal casualties from harvesting can be reduced by adopting a vegan diet.
21. Don’t plants have feelings too?
Plants do not possess a brain or nervous system and do not have the capacity to think or feel pain. However, if you are seriously concerned for the welfare of plants, consider that each pound of animal flesh requires between four and thirteen pounds of plant matter to produce, depending upon species and conditions. The biggest cause of deforestation is to grow crops in order to feed livestock, so a belief in the sentience of plants actually makes a strong pro-vegan argument.
22. Morality is subjective, so what if I just don’t care?
I find that highly unlikely that you are a psychopath. But even if that is true, a plant-based diet has many health benefits, and animal products are linked with all kinds of health problems. In addition, animal farming is not sustainable and will have to come to an end as the human population expands, it’s simply illogical to feed billions of animals as well as ourselves. We don’t have the space to do it. The vast overpopulation of these animals is also harming the environment, poisoning water with manure, and releasing tonnes and tonnes of greenhouse gases. So this will affect you directly, as selfish as you claim to be, it makes sense to look after yourself doesn’t it?
23. What about sweatshops and slave labour?
The fact that anybody funds slavery or sweat shops does not mean you must also fund animal abuse. Nevertheless, if you are against slavery, it makes sense not to fund it. Buy second hand clothing whenever possible or seek out companies that pay their employees a fair wage, use recycled materials, organic cotton and quality clothing that will last years.
1. What does ‘Anticarnist’ mean?
Carnism is the invisible belief system, or ideology, that conditions people to eat certain animals. Carnism is essentially the opposite of veganism, as “carn” means “flesh” or “of the flesh” and “ism” refers to a belief system.Because carnism is invisible, people rarely realise that eating animals is a choice, rather than a given. In meat-eating cultures around the world, people typically don’t think about why they eat certain animals but not others, or why they eat any animals at all. But when eating animals is not a necessity, which is the case for many people in the world today, then it is a choice – and choices always stem from beliefs.As long as we remain unaware of how carnism impacts us, we will be unable to make our food choices freely – because without awareness, there is no free choice.
2. What’s up with the Satanic imagery?
There are actually a mixture of religious symbols within the Anticarnist logo, despite Anticarnist being a play on the word ‘Antichrist’. It’s also just metal as fuck.
3. Why the third eye?
In New Age spirituality, the third eye often symbolises a state of enlightenment.
4. What do the hand gestures in the logo mean?
Anticarnist’s body in the logo is borrowed from Buddhist symbolism. The raised hand with the index finger and thumb touching is the gesture of intellectual discussion (Vitarka Mudra). The left hand symbolises meditation, but is also a nod towards the ‘Earth witness’ gesture (Bhumisparsha Mudra).
5. What does the number ‘269’ mean on the ear tags?
Calf 269 is a male calf (still alive today) who was rescued by anonymous activists, days before his planned slaughter. He was born at an Israeli facility in the vicinity of Azor – a town on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. The slaughter was scheduled for June 2013. The calf is described as sweet-tempered and white-headed, and his ear carried a tag numbered 269, which indicated that the calf was destined for slaughter. The Israeli protests regarding the calf were followed by protests in England and other places across the world. The protests aimed at conveying that animal parts eaten as food by humans once belonged to a living individual, who lived a tortured life and faced a brutal death, after which his or her carcass was processed into human food. The significance of the event led to the creation of “269 life”, an animal liberation movement founded in October 2012.
5. Who are you?
If you’ve seen the Anticarnist stall at vegan festivals, you’ve most likely met me as I’m not technically anonymous. – Although my identity is not important as I feel it detracts from the Anticarnist message.