Sep 9 2009

Why vegan? In 30 seconds or less

by gunnard

So, I recently started a new job at a church and through the normal ‘getting to know  you’ type stuff, the topic of “why are you a vegan?” obviously comes up a lot.  Usually during meals.  This made me really focus on my “vegan elevator speech” or whatever you want to call it. Basically, a one or two sentence statement that qualifies or explains the reasons why you do what you do.  Mine goes something like this:

God gave man dominion over the animals.  Animals are one of God’s creatures that we are to love and respect.  I do not want to support an industry that tortures and mistreats animals.

There, that’s pretty much a light summary of what I believe.  Of course this is usually followed up by one or two notorious questions:

“So if you don’t eat meat, how do you get protein?”


“So I can understand not wanting to kill an animal, but what about cheese and eggs? Nothing dies for those.”

This is good reinforcement for you as to why you believe in being vegan and also can be used as a chance to spark conversation with people who would never think to consider where their food comes from. Also, for new vegans, this might serve as something to hold on to so that when confronted, you have something to say that will, hopefully, knock their socks off.

So here is my question for you guys:

What is /your/ vegan elevator speech? and what are the most common follow up questions?

Aug 3 2009

Vegan FAQ #2 – What are animals here for?

by Lindsey

Last month, I came across this comment on a Philadelphia Vegan Examiner post.

sooo… i don’t understand the “exploited animal” thing.

is a dog that serves as a seeing eye animal, a dog that is well feed/cared for/loved, and then put to sleep at the end of his/her life exploited?

what is the role of an animal? are pets okay? are they not supposed to play a role in our society at all? we domesticated animals to serve a purpose in our society, was that wrong?

i guess what i don’t understand about vegans is what they think animals are for. i mean, i think everyone earns its keep. like on a farm. horses work, chickens give eggs, dogs herd and protect.

Here is my response. I may want to elaborate more on this in the future, but I think I already hit one of the most important points that I would have wanted to make in that post.

Vegans are concerned because animals are exploited for unnecessary commercial products. The fact is that we can live healthfully and abundantly without consuming any animal products.

You can’t compare seeing-eye dogs and dogs as pets to animals exploited for food or clothing products. Dogs in these cases are usually seen as more than property – a beloved member of a family, like a child. Do you consider it “exploiting” your children because you force them to live under your care until they’re adults? Vegans are divided on the issue of seeing-eye dogs, but at least the dog is performing a very noble service that GREATLY helps a person and GREATLY enriches his or her quality of life for many years. Farm animals are usually treated terribly, kept in awful conditions, and killed in pain and dread just so someone can have a momentary gustatory pleasure that’s not even healthy – like a burger or a sausage.

As to your question – “why are animals here?” Let me ask you why are you here? Why am I here? Why is anyone here? There is no objective answer to this question. Wouldn’t it be best if we all let each other (including our fellow earthlings) decide the peaceful course of his or her own life?

Also, chickens don’t “give” eggs as much as you don’t “give” eggs to anyone when you ovulate. They are your eggs, not anyone else’s. Eggs are just part of a chicken’s menstrual cycle, and the nutrients found in eggs are there for the baby chick to eat as he or she grows. Not all dogs herd and protect. What about chihuahuas? Should we find them another purpose – kill them for meat perhaps? Most horses only work because we’ve forced them to and “broken” their spirits into being terrified to do anything but what we tell them. It’s almost as if you’re saying if something doesn’t have a clear purpose for human benefit, then we need to give them one no matter how much it infringes on their right to live life as they want. What would you say about a severely mentally handicapped human who can’t do much of anything and has no living family? What is that person here for? They can’t work a job and contribute to society. They don’t have a family to make happy. In fact, they’re probably a drain on society because tax dollars have to support them. But why do we allow them to live in society and still support them? Because life is valued by many as sacred. And vegans extend that reverence for life that most humans have for other human life to include animals as well. Believe it or not, some people used to say, what good are black people for anything other than to pick cotton as slaves? It’s the view that we can define another sentient, emotional being’s life that gets us into trouble.