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Do Vegans Care More About Animals Than People?

Do Vegans Care More About Animals Than People?

If you’re vegan, chances are you’ve heard someone say “you care more about animals than people”, but that’s simply not true.

As a way to ignore the issue at hand, some people like to spin things around and accuse animal advocates of being the uncaring ones.

The reality is that you care deeply about humans too, and that’s probably one of the main draws that led you to this compassionate lifestyle in the first place. Perhaps you stopped eating animals for health, maybe you were shocked when you learned about the environmental damage that the agricultural industries cause, or it could be because you discovered the injustice of feeding 40% of the world’s grain to livestock when millions of people are starving to death. Whatever your reasons, being vegan comes hand in hand with caring about people.

Most animal advocates are also extremely passionate about humanitarian and social justice causes. In fact, brain scans show that vegans and vegetarians have more of an empathetic response to both human and animal suffering than omnivores.

FMRI brain scans revealed that the areas of the brain associated with empathy were much more active in vegans and vegetarians in comparison to omnivores when all three groups of people were shown pictures of human and animal suffering. Written questionnaires on the subject also demonstrated higher empathy levels in vegans and vegetarians.

Where the confusion comes into play is when we get angry about all the wrong doings and harms caused against animals, this anger sometimes gets directed at others and while it’s frustrating when someone appears completely apathetic about animal abuse, attacking them doesn’t help the animals our ourselves. What it does do is create a greater divide of between us and those we are trying to persuade.

Another reason people have the impression that vegans only care about animals and not people is that they cannot understand why, when there are so many serious issues in need of attention, we choose to focus our energies and attention on helping animals. They think that because we are always talking about factory farming or animal experimentation as opposed to environmental destruction or poverty, we obviously don’t care about those causes. The best way to remedy this is next time you are talking with friends, family or the general public, is to mention your concern for these issues too. Bonus points for slipping in some important facts and figures about how eating vegan also helps make a difference to these causes.

The important thing to emphasize to those that question our beliefs and love for animals in this way is that veganism is about connection. Connection between people, animals and the environment, and how we can nurture these connections to create a better, kinder and more sustainable world for all beings. People included!

Of course there will always be some people that love animals but claim to hate humans, but they’re not the majority, and while we may not be able to change their attitude, we can strive to ensure our own empathy and compassion extends to all living creatures.

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7:55PM PDT on Sep 5, 2014

Jessica R. My family is vegan (myself, husband, 2 kids and our dog) there is nothing WRONG with having a pet that is vegan as long as it done correctly and the right supplements given. Visit to educate yourself if you wish.

12:50PM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

Having disabilities and being sick are very different.

I have disabilities and still have lots of energy and interest in things... but when on the veg diet, I got SICK!... and being sick zaps energy and doesn't promote much activity of any kind, whereas being disabled doesn't make you feel like you do on the 2nd day of the flu when you're too sick to function!

btw...I had a nutritionist, holistic physician and naturopath helping when I was on the veg diet, and they ALL agreed and urged me to resume eating a more nutritionally balanced diet including some meat.

Now, in my mid 60s... I just had blood work done 2 weeks ago and since I cannot take supplements, I was told to eat a little more meat for more Bs and try to get more D, but everything else is good.
My mother died of complications of pernicious anemia from a veg diet and supplements don't help if they don't get absorbed...and many of us older folks (and most people in general) do NOT assimilate from supplements nearly as well as we can absorb nutrients from whole foods.

In most cases, people who take supplements simply have very expensive urine.
It can also put your body out of balance when you take supplements instead of eating a nutritionally balanced diet of whole foods from all food groups....and that can happen at any age.

12:42PM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

Joanne comment about humans needing to be healthy was in reference to those with diseases that preclude any ability to do what they can in their community / country or the world......If we do our best to maintain a healthy mind and body (Vegan or Omnivore) perhaps we will have the physical / mental strength to make a difference...every little bit of help counts...Humans are the ones with the "thinking power" (so they say :-)

12:30PM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

Mary B:

yes i said both things. but why are you taking offense? The health awareness sentence was just a statement, not an opinion. it's just pure statistics. i was actually afraid that people could misunderstood other parts of my comment; not the one you mentioned, but thank you for bringing that to my attention so that I have the opportunity to make myself clearer.
Another note on the suppulementation thing: in an Ideal, pure, non- toxic World, vegan diets wouldn't be deficient in ANYTHING AT ALL. Vitamin b12 is actually produced by bacteria and people could get it from water in older times. our urban environments are just too clean for bacteria to survive in drinking water. We make sure we clean, process, fortify (with fluoride among other things- which could actually be harmful to humans too, despite its benefits on dental care) and moreover filter our water nowadays.
I quite disagree with you about Human health being vital for humans to do great tyhings about Society, animals and other people. Many great historical figures had disabilities and they did just fine in all sectors of thought and art. It's just a matter of values and beliefs. We can build absolute hell in a perfect heaven, or we can build heaven in the midst of an earthly's what we choose to do and putting common welfare over our own.

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12:20PM PDT on Sep 2, 2014


yes it's true that there are Health aware omnis too but my case actually was that you're more likely to meet a healthaware person among vegans than omnivores. not all omnis are health aware and by that i don't mean people who "know" that they have to eat their veggies to be heatlhy, I mean people who study nutrition and fitness in great depth and dedication.
and yeah, rdas change as we age and that's why all people over 50 MUST supplement, both omnis and vegheads. We just can'tr absorb nutrients as well as we age; but caloric needs actually decline, so intaking more vitamins and minerals while reducing your calorie budget sounds kinda impossible without supplementation.

8:33AM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

joanne your post @7:54 Sept.2/ 14, you stated you didn't mean your words to be "negative or offensive to certain groups of people".......then in your post not 15 minutes later you say that vegans are often more health aware.....My opinion is that omnivores (and any other specific group) are VERY health aware now....That is why some who NEED to return to an omnivore diet from a vegan diet know their bodies are needing to be "well" and they couldn't achieve that ON a Vegan diet.
As Humans ARE animals, they care for themselves in order to help all other causes to do with animal welfare.....A sick human is not much good to any cause.

8:31AM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

There are a lot of very nutritionally 'aware' omnivores too, and we prefer getting our nutrients from whole foods in a balanced diet than from taking supplements.
As we age, our nutritional requirements change.

8:06AM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

that's always a possibility Marilyn. But I think it makes sense to assume that researchers excluded pathologic causes of depression upon designing the study.
Plus, all, another study showed that vegans are less likely to suffer with B12 deficiency as omnivores (because we're often more Health-aware and because we have to supplement).

7:57AM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

Joanne, it could be a lack of B12 causing the depression.

7:54AM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

interesting. i also read somewhere today that vegans/vegetarians are twice as likely to develop depression as omnivores. i guess we're just more sensitive, more in touch with the World and its sorrowful realities than your average joe. it wouldn't come as a surprise if they also found out that vegans are more likely to have higher EQs than the average person.
Please don't take my words as negative or offensive to certain groups of people. in writing these, i'm just expressing my honest and unselfish opinion, not meaning to upset anybody.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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