Friday, May 12, 2017

Rebuttal to Roaming Millennial's Video: “The Problem With Vegans”


Here is the original video:

As I mention before any rebuttal, I have no issues with Roaming Millennial as a person. I see her as a very intelligent girl and I usually agree with most video topics she posts about. This is just something I felt was way too generalizing and I wanted to offer some balance and perspective.

In Roaming Millennial's video introduction, she says she just has an issue with vegans, not veganism. On the surface, this doesn’t make much sense. You don’t have a problem with a movement, just those who follow the movement. Right… But I do understand what she was attempting to get across. She has no problem with the choice to abstain from animal products, but does have a problem with vegans that are pushy and disrespectful of other’s beliefs. In that case, though, it would have been helpful for her to express her point in those words specifically as opposed to just mentioning mere “vegans.”

She does mention that she thinks there are a lot of benefits to veganism as well as environmental/sustainability benefits and though she chooses not to take part in it, she doesn’t see veganism as a bad thing. She also mentions that most Americans eat way too much meat and too much processed food and that it’s way more cost efficient to eat greens than meat. Lastly, she mentions how so many animals are treated inhumanely by the animal agriculture industry. She says that those are not the main points of her video, though.

She then switches the main theme which is simply “a lot of vegans act like jerks.” And then we get on to the five main arguments she offers:

  1. They “don’t shut up about being vegan.” She says this is the least serious but most common problem that she’s noticed. She says most vegans feel like they have to tell everyone about veganism as much as they can, which is annoying to her, stating, “No one cares about your diet.”
So people aren’t allowed to talk about their lifestyle or express what they’re passionate about? I get that it can be annoying if someone talks about something you disagree with. I’ve had many talks with people of other religions who were passionate and encouraged me to join them at their church sometime, but I didn’t take it personally because when people do that, it’s not a personal attack. On the contrary, when someone shares a personal belief with you, it’s like when you see a beautiful rainbow and can’t wait to tell other people about it so they can experience its beauty and happy feelings too. You share your beliefs with others because you want them to feel how good you feel. Now in my own case, I rarely talk to people about my vegan lifestyle unless I am asked. But let me tell you, I am asked a LOT. People are fascinated by lifestyles that are not the norm, especially when it comes to different diets, so though I don’t go out of my way to tell people about what I believe, I still end up doing it because I’m ALWAYS being asked, “Why didn’t you take a hamburger? They’re delicious!” or “Why did you ask for no cheese on your salad? Are you trying to lose weight?” That kind of thing.

  1. Vegans are often “aggressive and hostile.” She says she’s been called a murderer and a rapist by vegans online. She mentions a lot of vegans on subreddits express how they wish they could stop viewing meat eaters as evil beings.
First off, Reddit is not only a creepy place, but also is in no way an example of how most vegans view meat eaters. Also, when vegans say things like that, it is because they have seen all the footage of what happens to animals in factory farms and they are disgusted that people still support something so terrible and horrific. I would agree that it is horrific and that more people need to take responsibility, wake up to what’s really going on, and make an effort to change toward a more ethical way of doing things. I don’t see this as meat eaters being evil, but instead, just clinging to a social norm. Yes, there are people out there who protest aggressively and use ad hominem attacks against meat eaters. But veganism aside, there are aggressive and hostile people in literally ANY group of people. Every religion, every diet group, every belief system, EVERY group has a portion of them that are jerks. Unfortunately, the mean ones with loud mouths are usually the ones who are noticed the most, so people assume that the majority of the group is like that, when in real life, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Literally NONE of my vegan friends are anything like that. Also, about the hate comments you receive from people online, for one, welcome to the internet. It’s full of haters no matter what you’re talking about. But also, if you want to avoid hate comments from a group of people, maybe refrain from making a video about how much you dislike that group of people. Like attracts like, after all. If you post something negative, people will respond in a negative way.


3. Vegans often conflate meat eaters with the meat industry. She says most meat eaters do not support animal cruelty and most, if they saw how the animals were being mistreated, would want that situation to be changed, even if they don’t stop eating animal products.
I actually cringe a bit whenever I hear vegans online saying “by eating meat, you are a murderer.” I used to be a meat eater and I get what roaming millennial is saying here, to a certain point. I always considered myself an animal lover even when I wasn’t vegan.  But a lot of people don’t understand the idea of voting with your dollar. By purchasing animal products, you are directly contributing to the torture and death of that animal. No, you are not committing the act of harm with your own hands, but you are paying someone else to. Yes, a lot of meat eaters do care when they see footage of what happens to animals in factory farms and they want to do something about it. But they don’t want to give up animal products, so they buy from things labeled “humanely raised.” We have to ask ourselves, though, is there such thing as humane killing? Even if the animal was given more space to walk around during their life, was given better food, etc. does that mean it’s okay to take their life for the sake of our tastebuds? No. In this time and in the Western world, we have nearly infinite choices when it comes to choosing what food to purchase. If we have that choice and can even be healthier, as Roaming Millennial herself even mentioned, why would we not make the more compassionate option?


4. Vegans don’t get sentience or intelligence hierarchies. She mentions how in the past Peta used the number of people killed in the holocaust compared to the number of animals killed every single day in factory farms, because they were approximately the same number (which is definitely horrifying). People took offense to Peta mentioning the holocaust in a vegan campaign. She says a lot of vegans see all animal lives, even that of a fly, as equal to lives of human beings (which is not true). She also mentions how some vegans bring up the pro life movement, “equating” human fetuses with pigs. She also says she doesn’t think animals are intelligent or sentient enough to be akin to murder for our food.
So first of all, I am both vegan AND pro-life because I don’t agree with any killing that is not purely for self defense situations. Also, veganism is not about equating human life with animal life. If I had to choose between saving a dog or a human child, I’d save the child. I still kill ants if they infest my house or any other pests that might come in. We have a right to defend ourselves. And yes, I’ve been known to kill flies if they’re becoming a problem, though I do catch them in a cup when I can and let them outside. The point of veganism is not purity, and it’s not putting yourself on the level of an animal. It’s simply to reduce cruelty as much as possible. That’s really it. As for the argument about sentience and intelligence, it doesn’t make sense to say animals aren’t “sentient enough” to be considered murdered if they are killed. There is no spectrum of sentience. You are either a sentient being (which has a brain and/or nervous system) or a non-sentient being, like a plant. The word “Sentient,” according to Google, is defined as “able to perceive or feel things.” It’s not a measure of intelligence. On that subject, though, Roaming Millennial claims that animals who are smarter should be able to live while less intelligent animals should be subject to killing for food. She mentions in one part that pigs are smarter than dogs, so pigs probably shouldn’t be killed either. Something tells me she’s never spent time with a cow. They are just like a big dog. They love to cuddle, have their head and belly rubbed, run around and play, and even push beach balls around with their nose.

Check out these smart cows!

Other animals show the same loving behavior as dogs too. Chickens love to be petted and hugged, and turkeys recognize and enjoy music. There is intelligence in every animal if we simply observe it. Sadly, not many farm animals get the chance to show this, though, because they are raised to be killed. Also, if we’re just going off of intelligence as a sign of worth, what does that say about people who are mentally handicapped? Should we not feel bad when they are treated cruelly because their lower intelligence makes them less important? No, not even close. Intelligence is irrelevant when it comes to the value of any life.


5.Vegans often “misrepresent or misinterpret nutritional studies.” She says most vegans claim meat to be the worst thing you can put in your body. She also points to a video that claims why high cholesterol foods are “good for you.” She claims that the reason for most vegans and vegetarians being healthier than other people is because they don’t smoke as much, drink as much, or eat as much processed food as a lot of meat eaters.
I want to first address the “doctor” she alludes to. He mentions a study where vegetarian people were found to be not much healthier than meat eaters. Key word: VEGETARIAN. There were no vegans in the study, meaning people who participated still ate animal products.This same doctor has other videos talking about how having a high cholesterol number isn’t really dangerous and that doctors are just lying to you about it. Sound like a legit medical professional? Didn’t think so. That aside, there is a HUGE amount of studies done on this topic. Check out for actual scholarly articles and peer reviewed studies as explained by a nutritional doctor. Visit Doctor John McDougall’s website. He conducts a lot of his own peer reviewed studies. Or even read the book about one of the biggest studies ever done on this topic: The China Study. The information is out there if we’re willing to look. A lot of people these days like falling for fad diet books that give you nice sounding promises like being able to eat tons of butter, cheese and bacon all day to lose weight, but if you look up these authors, most are not even doctors or licensed nutritionists! It helps to seek out the source and follow the money. One other thing to note is that nutritional doctors like Michael Greger and John McDougall offer all of their info for free on their websites and on YouTube. People promoting low carb, paleo, and other diets typically have you buy their book before you can read the info. If money is being made, they are most likely just telling the reader what they want to hear. ;)
Also, I don’t believe meat is the “worst” thing you can put in your body. I mean, you could drink bleach and die in a matter of minutes or seconds. But that doesn’t mean animal products aren’t the leading cause of the most common diseases the Western world faces today, so yes, it is worth telling people about, even if some vegans choose to do it in a pushy way (sad as that is).


Overall, by making this video, Roaming Millennial is basically going against things she claims to be opposed to in her other videos as a whole:
  1. She believes people shouldn’t be condemned for free speech, yet she tells vegans to stop talking about veganism all the time because it’s annoying.
  2. She says a lot of vegans are hostile with their words, meaning her argument is based mainly on feelings instead of facts.
  3. She links no credible sources for her nutritional claims, just one YouTube video with a questionable doctor in it. No peer reviewed studies on vegan nutrition at all. So she was not prepared to provide solid facts in her argument.

Sure, I don’t like it when people are mean or pushy to me about their beliefs, but that doesn’t mean the movement is wrong and it doesn’t mean the majority of vegans act this way. Roaming Millennial claimed after making the video that she was only targeting the “mean” vegans and that she has no problem with vegans who don’t push their beliefs on others. Yet, if you look at the videos this girl makes, she pushes her beliefs on people all the time and could be considered quite “mean” and “insensitive” on some of the topics she speaks about. For example, in her video “Body Positivity: Please Tell Me I'm Pretty!” she talks about how the current fat acceptance movement has gone way too far in trying to normalize being overweight and call it healthy or beautiful. I agree with everything she says in the video, and yet, SO many people get personally offended by this viewpoint and say

“Stop judging overweight people! If you want to be skinny, that’s fine, but don’t force your lifestyle on me!”

Sound familiar? Because as a vegan, I often hear,

“Stop judging meat eaters! If you want to be vegan, that’s fine, but don’t force your lifestyle on me!”

The funny thing is, like I said, I only mention my diet to people who ask in the first place. I never push them to do it, though I do tell them how great it makes me feel, how it helps the animals, etc. Some people still take it personally, though, and choose to view my testimony as “mean.” That is the main reason why I had a problem with Roaming Millennial's video. Let’s stop trying to silence people from talking about their lifestyle just because it makes you feel guilty. If you feel guilty because someone is trying to do something good for the world, how about trying to find out why they do it instead of just labeling them as a “mean” person you can no longer associate with. In fact, if something a vegan says makes you feel guilty, perhaps ask yourself, “Why do I feel guilty about this? Do I feel what I’m doing is wrong? And if I feel this way, should I change my lifestyle?”


At the end of the day, we make a lot more progress in the world when we encourage what we do believe in instead of ranting about what we don’t believe in. So let’s look for the good in not only our differing beliefs, but ultimately, each other. :)

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