The notion that an act of kindness toward an animal (such as not eating her) must necessarily occur at the expense of, say, the homeless or the world’s hungry is a logically untenable claim.

This feckless bit of casuistry combines the classic Non Sequitur with a textbook False Dichotomy. The Non Sequitur aspect of the argument is the baseless insinuation that anyone who chooses to spend his or her time doing anything for the benefit of non-human animals must therefore be indifferent to the needs and suffering of his or her fellow human beings. The False Dichotomy element of the argument is the equally baseless assumption that helping animals and helping humans are, in some unspecified way, two mutually exclusive activities.

Vegan-haters: Even if you don‘t get the anti-speciesist argument, we‘re doing more to ensure your grandchildren have a planet than you.
— @VeganZeitkritik

The notion that an act of kindness toward an animal (such as not eating her) must necessarily occur at the expense of, say, the homeless or the world's hungry is a logically untenable claim, but what makes this argument so completely laughable is not the rhetorical double-whammy of combining two logical fallacies into one irrelevant assertion, but the inescapable fact that going vegan does more for the environment and for the cause of social justice than any single action a person can take.

For instance, there appears to be no disagreement that world hunger is a grave and terrible problem. Every day on this planet, 100,000 people –16,000 of them children– die from starvation. An additional one billion people suffer from malnutrition. Who could fail to be outraged by such a horrible tragedy? This is relevant to veganism because according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the amount of grain fed to livestock in the U.S. every year could feed about 840 million people, roughly eleven times the number of people who annually die of starvation worldwide. By refusing to support the practice of industrial or any other kind of animal agriculture and the gratuitous misappropriation of resources involved with it, vegans do a great deal to combat world hunger.

And consider the following statistics about the global animal by-product industry and its effect on people and the environment:

  • According to scientists at the World Bank, animal agriculture is responsible for over 50 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (AGHG) produced world-wide, making animal agriculture responsible for more AGHG than all forms of transportation combined and tripled.
  • Animal agriculture is responsible for more deforestation that any other industry in the world.
  • Animal agriculture uses more fresh water than any other industry in the world, which contributes to water scarcity.
  • Animal agriculture is the world's largest polluter of fresh water.
  • In the United States, on-the-job injuries among slaughterhouse workers are three times higher than in other factory jobs.
  • And, according to a recent report by the United Nations, 70 percent of all diseases in humans are linked to animal agriculture.

So, if you want to be upset about the infuriating tendency of vegans to extend our compassion beyond our own species, that is of course your prerogative, but the simple and incontrovertible fact is that we are doing more to fight world hunger, water scarcity, deforestation, climate change, water pollution, and a host of other environmental calamities and social injustices than just about anyone else

Your argument is invalid.

 

Sources:

http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2004/02/02/000090341_20040202130625/Rendered/PDF/277150PAPER0wbwp0no1022.pdf

http://www.fao.org/docrep/019/i3440e/i3440e.pdf

See also: The Fallacy of Relative Privation