Op-Ed: If you eat meat, you are a coward


A Search for Compassion

Cows in a factory farm.

Payton Lee

All views and opinions expressed in outside op-eds are those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Etched in Stone or its staff. If you would like to respond or continue the discussion, we invite you to submit your own op-ed here.


Now that I’ve baited your click, let me explain what I mean. If you believe in climate change (or should I say, don’t deny it), claim to care about the environment, claim to care about animals, or even love your dog, and are still an omnivore; you are a cowering, apathetic hypocrite. Strong words, I know, but I’m trying to elicit a certain emotion from you to get you in the right frame of mind: defensiveness.

Before I get into the subject of defense, let me give you some background. Recently, many mainstream media outlets all released similar articles detailing how human meat consumption must decrease “drastically” (90%) in the next fifteen-ish years to prevent climate fallout. Seeing these articles, combined with being at one point a vegetarian and certain political leanings caused me to make the choice to go vegan. So I’ve only been vegan for about three months upon my time of writing this and I’m already preaching about it. Anyway, upon revealing this choice to my friends, one told me that those who don’t eat meat aren’t “blue-blooded Americans”. Okay.

This reaction is important to highlight because every (single) time a vegan discusses their lifestyle choice with an omnivore, the same reaction occurs: the omnivore becomes defensive and insults the vegan, usually implying that they are a pretentious hippy. In this article, I will be highlighting omnivores’ most common responses as to why they choose to eat meat and debunking all of them. If you have another defense as to why you eat meat in the comments, I will debunk that too. Go ahead.

  1. “You just want to feel superior to me.”

Response: I am superior to you.

  1. “Bacon tastes so good though.”

Response: Lots of things taste good! An especially good taste is knowing that no animal abuse went into making your food.

  1. “Real men eat meat.”

Response: Sorry boys. Veganism is for girls only. Boys keep out. Cooties. Seriously though, if you’ve ever said or even thought this, grow up. Who knew you had to be a “real man” to die at fifty-five from a heart attack?

  1.  “I didn’t climb to the top of the food chain to eat plants.”

Response: You didn’t climb anything. We live in an age of technology and production that makes a vegan diet not only possible, but beneficial to everyone and the entire planet. If you feel emasculated by not eating meat from, say, a cow that you didn’t raise, on a farm that you don’t run, that you didn’t slaughter, and that you didn’t cook… there are other issues for you at hand.

  1. “Not everyone can afford veganism! Its expensive! Everyone knows that!”

Response: Of any omnivorous argument, this one is most set in reality. However, that doesn’t make it true. By weight, nuts and beans are both cheaper (pinto beans cost 1/16 the price of beef by pound) and richer in protein than meat is. So don’t pretend to only care about the lower class when you’re eating chicken wings.

  1. “But what about starving people in Africa? You care more about animals than people!”

Response: Another example of distracting from the issue at hand. Veganism is a very human issue. Not only are animals exploited in the process of meat production, humans are as well. And news flash: the majority of globally impoverished people do not sustain themselves through meat. Meat is a luxury of rich, developed nations. And if we all keep eating meat at the rate that we are, there will be no planet to grow it on within in our own lifetimes.

  1. “Death is a part of life.”

Response: True, but does that justify killing? Murder and death are not comparable ideas. The fact of the matter is, capitalists are constantly slaughtering animals to turn profit, and they would kill you too, in a second, if it meant profit for them.

  1. “Stop imposing your beliefs on people.”

Response: No.

  1. “Animals were put on earth for humans to eat.”

Response: …and cops were put on earth to shoot your dog, but that doesn’t mean that you or your dog are happy when it happens.

Serious response: No they weren’t.

  1. “I bet you still wear leather.”

Response: I do wear a leather belt that I bought before I turned vegan. I think it’s important for me to use that product until the end of its life, as to not be wasteful. But regardless, this is an example of a defense that simply tries to dull down the effects of the positive thing the vegan is doing by making it seem not-positive-enough. At least I’m trying, coward.

  1. “Vegans are weak little soyboys”.

Response: Vegans are 25% less likely to develop heart disease, 15% less likely to get cancer, and overall less likely to be obese or overweight than omnivores but okay. By the way, there is indisputable evidence linking certain meat consumption to cancer that omnivores love to deny, much like smokers in the 20th century.

  1. “I only eat organic meat! I have a meat-free day of the week! I tried veganism once but I could just never give up hamburgers!”

Response: Hooray! I’m doing nothing! Organic animals are still the unrightful property of a Whole Foods contractor! I only kill a puppy six days a week! I’m a good person! The fact that I literally, physically cannot stop eating a certain food product definitely doesn’t mean it’s a concerning addiction!”

  1. “You can’t save all the animals by yourself.”

Response: That exact mindset is what led to the situation we are in today. Justifying your own unethical behavior by pointing out that the people around you are just as unethical can justify anything from sexual harassment to slavery. It’s not a true argument. Making a small difference is better than no difference at all. If everyone had this same mindset in the other direction, all the animals would be saved. Get it?

  1. “There is no true vegan diet.”

Response: Again. Try your best. It’s better than nothing.

  1. “Our ancestors all ate meat.”

Response: Our ancestors also died in their mid-twenties, didn’t shower and slept on rocks.

  1. “Animals aren’t as important as humans.”

Response: You’re right. They’re not. Human life trumps animal life, in every and all cases. Treating an animal’s life as your own property is still evil, though.

  1. “For every burger you don’t eat, I’m going to eat two!” or “I hunt vegans.” or “I eat vegans.” or “Do my chicken nuggets trigger you, snowflake?”, etc.

Response: Aren’t you clever and mature. Doing a crooked thing just because you can is pretty psychopathic but to each their own I suppose.

And last but not least:

  1. “Eating meat is a personal choice”

Response: It is a personal choice for you. The defenseless animal you’re paying to have killed never would have made the choice to be tortured and killed if it was capable of voicing its consent.

To conclude, there is already enough circling evidence to definitively prove that eating meat is unethical, unhealthy, and fairly mean to Planet Earth. So instead of making excuses, just go vegan!

Seriously. Just do it. You won’t.


P.S. This includes you, vegetarians. Those cows don’t want to give you their milk and those chickens don’t want to give you their eggs. Leave them alone.