Facts V. Fallacies: “Vegans Are Responsible for More Animals’ Deaths than Meat-Eaters.”

Think you’ve got a gotcha moment against vegans? Think again.

Marla Rose

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“Vegans kill more animals than meat-eaters.”

As someone who maintains a robust vegan page on several social media platforms, I can affirm that, man, this myth is making the rounds like whoa. It seems like the trolls and haters have a shiny new toy because it is currently their preferred rebuttal against vegans. (Well, that and a poorly done meme about the venus fly trap that they believe is both hilarious and single-handedly capable of dissolving every argument for veganism but that’s neither here nor there.)

I’ve learned that these things seem to come in waves and trends and right now, the fixation is on repeating the fallacy that vegans are responsible for more deaths per capita than those who consume animals. On the surface, this seems laughable — and if you spend even a few minutes researching, it is indeed laughable — but it’s designed to be just a quick gotcha moment to “own the vegans,” not be scrutinized or carefully defended.

I first heard this idea in the 1990s but with the nature of social media being what it is <insert dumpster fire GIF>, now this myth is blowing up in comment sections as it is, indeed, a shiny new toy for flesh-eaters, designed to put those annoying, sanctimonious vegans in their place with the ultimate truth bomb.

The problem is their “gotcha” is — spoiler alert? — easily disproved, specious and wholly untethered from fact-based reality.

The premise, and the premise alone, is based on a truth: In the production of crops, particularly grains and soybeans, small species such as mice, voles and rabbits are displaced, harmed and often killed. Therefore, the (il)logic follows, vegans technically kill more animals because these beings, much smaller than cows, pigs or even chickens, are living in the vast lands where such crops are grown and we (vegans) are the ones who consume these plants. It follows from this that vegans are actually responsible for many more deaths than meat-eaters because we (apparently alone???) are eating the crops that require the killing of countless small field animals.

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