Why do you call me to account for eating decently?
— George Bernard Shaw, in response to a dining companion who asked him to justify his choice to forgo eating animals

Every vegan will at some point be forced to defend his or her choice to live cruelty-free. That such a defense should even be necessary is a testament to just how deeply entrenched the assumptions of carnism are in our society. As George Bernard Shaw once quipped in response to an entreaty from a meat-eater regarding Shaw's vegetarian diet, "Why do you call me to account for eating decently?"

Though on moral grounds, the vegan position is not the one that should require defending, the unfortunate reality is that vegans are very often called to account for eating decently and have a responsibility to be prepared for the inevitable (and invariably tedious) conversation.

We have compiled a list of the arguments most commonly used by non-vegans to invalidate or undermine the case for veganism and have drawn upon our many years of being vegan and the innumerable conversations we've had on the subject to formulate responses to those arguments. We hope you find them useful and that you will remember that we are the voices of the animals who are, at this moment, suffering in unimaginable pain and fear. As such, we have a solemn obligation to speak on their behalf and to do so with intelligence, cogency, and conviction.   

In no particular order, here are the fifteen most common objections to veganism and our responses to them:

But Lions Eat Meat!

Animals Were Put Here To Be Eaten!

Eating Meat Is A Personal Choice!

Humans Have Always Eaten Meat!

It's The Circle of Life!

The Bible Says We Should Eat Meat!

But What About These Canines?!

I Would Go Vegan, But I Need The Protein!

I Once Saw A Vegan Wearing Leather Shoes! 

Plants Have Feelings, Too!

Hitler Was A Vegetarian!

What About Human Rights?! Aren't People More Important Than Animals?!

Do You Want Animals To Have The Right To Get Married And Vote?!

My Grand-Mother Ate 40 Pounds of Bacon Every Day of Her Life And She Lived To Be 120!