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According to the Vegan Society, “veganism is a 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”

 

Consequently, in the zeal to prevent the further exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals, many vegan activists will do and say whatever they believe it will take to encourage others to take on a solely plant-based diet. Unfortunately, some vegan’s zeal is so intense that they are willing to embellish facts to urge people to convert their eating habits. Sadly, this can backfire. Instead of turning more to veganism, they instead become the butt of jokes and ridicule when clued in skeptics quickly debunk their claims.

 

The documentary What the Health aims to do just that. Vegan film-makers Keegan Kuhn and Kip Anderson, hot on the tail of their previous documentary Cowspiracy decided to film their investigations into the medical industry. Anderson and Kuhn confronted many American health nonprofits with their assumptions that these organizations are covering up the truth about the superior health benefits of a vegan diet.

 

YOUTUBE (What The Health):

 

Sadly, the documentary comes off as a desperate attempt to grasp at straws.

This is especially unfortunate as one only needs to tell the the truth to convince someone to become vegan. Those who cannot be convinced, likely have psychological issues or ingrained belief systems that they are too afraid to question. For those types of people, a vegan activist embellishing or bending the truth is the worst route to take.

What the Health makes some very wild claims that are simply not backed by reality or science. And while the meat and dairy industries may well have financial sway over many health authorities, if an activist does the research correctly, it cannot be argued with.

 

YOUTUBE (PLANT BASED NEWS):

 

Playing devil’s advocate, meat eaters may claim that a study run by a staunch vegan activist, such as Dr. Neal Barnard would be biased. Similarly, vegans are going to feel skeptical about studies financed by, for example, the dairy industry. So, regarding the scientific proofs, it appears we could be at a stalemate.

When one looks at studies from both sides of the fence, one can immediately see that there is nothing unhealthy about a vegan diet and nothing unhealthy about a diet that includes animal products – if the individual is leading a healthy lifestyle in conjunction with their chosen diet. Indeed, for comparison, there are many unhealthy meat eaters and many unhealthy vegans.

 

Nevertheless, the one thing that the documentary does prove is that a vegan diet is legitimate and extremely healthy.

Indeed, there is no excuse for anyone not to convert to a vegan diet. Especially if they truly care about being compassionate. And sadly, what the filmmakers failed to do, is praise organizations like the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) for actually admitting that reducing meat within the diet is essential to improving health outcomes. Anyone who looks at their websites will see they do not hide dietary options that eliminate animal products.

 

YOUTUBE (PLANT BASED NEWS):

 

YouTuber and vegan Swayze Foster bravely confronted many of What the Health’s wild claims, and inevitably faced a backlash from within the vegan community. However, it is vegans such as Foster that are having more success at converting people to veganism. This is simply down to an acknowledgment that people cannot deny the truth when confronted with it. Naturally, this creates cognitive dissonance in many. But in open-minded individuals, it is only the truth that will guide them, like a light.

 

Singer and vegan Morrissey has also received backlash for promoting a relaxed approach to those wishing to become vegan.

Zealot animal activists slammed Morrissey for his comments on Larry King. “Well, It’s just a gradual thing. Everybody begins as vegetarian. Because to dive straight forward into being completely purist is very hard for most people. Financially they can’t do it. And also, you have to find food.”

 

 

 

Immediately, militant vegans were up in arms, claiming he was damaging their cause. Unmistakably, this is entirely ironic. Morrissey’s widespread fame has likely converted more people to abandoning animal exploitation than any other form of activism!

 

 

While Morrissey sang with The Smiths, their album titled Meat is Murder, containing the song of the same name, went to number 1 in the charts. Obviously, this was unprecedented. Every animal rights activist owes Morrissey a debt of gratitude!

And every vegan should take a leaf out of Morrissey’s book when it comes to approaching people to change their dietary habits. Even the most globally well-known animal rights activists PETA admit that it is impossible to entirely avoid living a life devoid of animal exploitation, even in small ways. Therefore, the compassionate person aims to do whatever they can to prevent it, at the very least.

 

 

From the PETA website:

It is impossible to live your life without causing some harm; we’ve all accidentally stepped on ants or breathed in gnats, but that doesn’t mean we should intentionally cause unnecessary harm. Just because you might accidentally hit someone with your car is no reason to run someone over on purpose.”

 

It is most unfortunate that What the Health needed to cherry pick studies. There was no need for them to push the vegan narrative agenda so aggressively. The filmmakers had a fantastic opportunity to present the reality of the health benefits of veganism. Especially considering that many people live under the illusion that a vegan diet is lacking in nutrition. These types of people have naively not considered it viable.

Most people live with the misconception that meat and dairy are the only way to derive certain essential nutrients. However, what they don’t realize, is that those animals are vegetarian, and have obtained these nutrients from plants, themselves. The only real supplement that vegans need to take is B12. And ironically, the animals from which meat eaters derive their B12 also initially obtained this vitamin through a supplement given to them by farmers.

During history, humans originally acquired B12 from unfiltered water from streams, rivers, and lakes, or from the soil remnants left on their vegetables. However, the waterways and soils of our world, post-industrial revolution, are far too contaminated for either human or animal to receive B12 directly from them anymore.

 

 

Ultimately, what is crucial to anyone’s health, is being mindful of what one’s diet contains.

An individual can successfully fill their vegan diet with every nutrient required to live a healthy life from birth until old age. The core philosophy merely is compassion and humility. Compassion for the voiceless and vulnerable. Humility as a co-species on planet earth that has no right to play God.

There is a responsibility to confront meat eaters. Activists do need to bring to their awareness the harrowing and violent journey their steak, fillet or wing took to arrive on their plate. This is without a doubt. We live in a culture that carefully hides the violent reality of the meat and dairy industries from consumers, for the sole purpose of making an obscene profit.

If meat eaters could wake up and see that they these industries are financially exploiting them, maybe they will open their eyes wider and see how innocent animals are being tortured and exploited in the most horrific of ways. Therefore, the unalterable truth is there is no need for anyone to have blood on their hands.  Consider veganism* today!

* If you need to take gradual steps to a compassionate lifestyle, you could look into being Vegetarian. If Vegetarianism still feels complicated, please consider a Reducetarian lifestyle to begin with.

 

References: What the Health, PETA, Vegan Society, Carnism

Photo credit: Jovan Jimenez via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND