The following text is an essay written by Gary Yourofsky, taken from his website ADAPTT
When meat-eaters run out of excuses to eat dead animals, they usually spew one of two inanities. First, they promulgate respect for the vegan lifestyle, and ask for some respect in return. Of course flesh-eaters respect the vegan way. What's not to respect? Are we too compassionate, too merciful and too altruistic? Meat-eaters begging for vegan respect is akin to NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association) pedophiles asking people who don't rape little boys for respect. I don't respect people who choose cruelty. I don't respect a pedophile's choice to molest kids. I don't respect a rapist's desire to violate a woman's body. I don't respect a thief's desire to rob banks. I don't respect a Nazi's belief that Jews, blacks, gays, etc. are inferior and should be exterminated. I don't respect lifestyles based on hatred and discrimination.
The second inanity of meat-eaters is attempting to indict the vegan lifestyle by claiming that plants suffer and die to feed the vegans of the world. Yet, I am still searching for People for the Ethical Treatment of Carrots, Last Chance for Broccoli or Apples Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow. People for the Ethical Treatment of Carrots doesn't exist because everyone knows the difference between taking a carrot out of the ground and slicing a pig into pieces. Everyone also knows the difference between mowing a lawn and tossing a live baby male chick (egg industry) into a rendering machine. If one does not understand the difference, then that person is disingenuous, irrational and illogical. The fact that some people compare carrots to cows proves how muck-deep in oppressive thought meat-eaters truly are.
Allow me to explain further how absurd it is to think that plants are akin to animals in any way. My wife recently visited her parents and noticed the 20-year-old cactus in her childhood bedroom wasn't doing well. After perusing some gardening sites for tips, we CUT the cactus in half and set it out to dry in the sun for three days. We re-planted it with a Dracaena plant and now it is thriving. If you truly believe that plants and animals are one and the same, then cut a human baby in half and see what happens. Better yet, go to your local hospice center and heal them by cutting everyone in half. The truth is that if this website discussed the suffering of carrots and tomatoes, or I gave speeches about cashew cruelty, or I presented footage of people picking apples from a tree and raged about the apple-plucking, you would be laughing your ass off and texting your friends about my insanity.
Even from the meat-eater's perspective, it's just illogical to speak of giving rights of freedom and bodily integrity to insentient plants while causing sentient animals to suffer and die by the billion! Plants—unlike animals—are insentient beings void of central nervous systems, lungs, hearts, kidneys, intestines, blood, ears and eyes. They do not defecate or urinate either. Nobody screams in horror when their neighbors are mowing the lawn (grass is a plant, too). But if neighbors were slicing pigs into pieces on the front lawn, there would be tears, physical interventions and the proper authorities would be summoned to stop the bloodshed. Plus, if people honestly believe it's wrong to eat plants, they could always choose the ultra-vegan lifestyle of fruitarianism (eating the fruits and nuts that fall from trees). From a Judeo-Christian-Islamic perspective, the Garden of Eden was a fruitarian haven. From a physiological angle, humans are actually fruitarians/frugivores (see the HUMANS ARE HERBIVORES section on this page).
The epigrammatic philosopher Voltaire once said, "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." When it comes to pain and suffering, the screams, the blood, the writhing, and the fear that animals exhibit trump the so called "waves" of plants.
But just to show how thoroughly disingenuous this so-called "plant-killing argument" really is, let's suppose for the moment that the meat-eaters who invoke it really believe that their vegan counterparts cause plants to suffer and die. Even if that were the case, these meat-eaters would be logically committed to switching to veganism right away! If you've studied the two sections on animal-based agriculture above, you already know that carnivorous societies destroy many more plants than the vegan ones do. In America, 70 to 80 percent of our corn, wheat, oats and soy are fed to the 10 billion land animals killed annually. Globally, 35 to 65 percent of the world's plants are fed to 60 billion land animals killed annually. If humans stopped eating animals, fewer plants would be harvested; remember, a single vegan directly consumes about one-tenth of the plant material that is either directly or indirectly consumed by a single carnivorous human. Veganism is still the ONLY solution to this problem, because fewer beings—sentient and insentient—would die if humans, who are physiologically herbivorous anyway, ate plants directly. Even the Council for Science, Technology and Agriculture, a group of animal agriculture people, stated in the early '90s that all the crops in America could feed every human on this planet twice-over! However, there had to be one stipulation; everyone would have to be vegan!
Sadly, these facts make little or no impression on meat-eaters who seek refuge in the plant-killing argument because they really don't give a shit about plants any more than they give a shit about the suffering of animals. They're just groping desperately for yet another lame excuse to eat meat.
Some meat-eaters claim that vegans indirectly kill animals because tractors that harvest crops unintentionally kill some animals. The worldwide premeditated killings of 60 billion land animals in slaughterhouses and 90 billion marine animals in the waterways are diametrically opposed to the accidental tractor-killings in a field. Even our unjust legal system recognizes the difference between a premeditated murder and an accidental killing. Since farmers don't use their John Deeres to intentionally crush gophers and snakes, you never know when, where, or whether it's going to happen. Slaughterhouses INTENTIONALLY kill animals for meat-eaters. No one intentionally kills gophers for vegans. I've volunteered at SASHA Farm animal sanctuary for over 15 years. When we mowed the hay fields, there were times when a snake or a field mouse ended up in the bales of hay. This never made us intentional killers. It made us people in the 21st century who rely on machines. When we use machines, accidental killings of animals and people will occur. Isn't it conveniently hypocritical that the meat-eaters who bring up the animal-tractor issue still drive a car or truck, even though those machines kill millions of humans annually worldwide? These accidental killings are okay with meat-eaters because meat-eaters aren't human-killing addicts. They're animal-killing addicts. And addicts are the most insane, illogical, excuse-filled people to ever deface this earth. Addicts are ALWAYS irrational when it comes to their habits. Have you ever known an alcoholic, a cigarette smoker or a heroin user to be rational or ethical when it came to alcohol, cigarettes or heroin? Of course not. And there is NO such thing as a rational—or ethical—meat, dairy, and egg-eater when it comes to animal issues and whether humans should be enslaving, murdering and eating animals.
Vegans tread lightly and cause the absolute minimal amount of unintentional suffering to this planet and its inhabitants. Meat-eaters cause the MAXIMUM amount of intentional and unintentional suffering to this planet and its inhabitants because it is unreasonable to intentionally starve millions of humans to death by feeding around 50 percent of the world's grains to 60 billion land animals, to murder 60 billion land animals and 90 billion marine animals with premeditation, and then accidentally kill wild animals with tractors. With veganism, we could eliminate two problems instead of living with three!