Wednesday, October 22, 2014


The Vegan Diet Won't Kill You, But It Has Its Problems

On October 1st, a video of Kelly Atlas and other activists storming into a restaurant was published on YouTube. In just about a week, that video received half a million hits. Kelly sobs and rants about how that restaurant and others like it are animal abusers. She also talks about her "little girl," a chicken named Snow, and what a sin it is to eat her or even just her eggs. As far as the Frog Blog can gather, the overall public response to this silly stunt is very negative (social media call Atlas the "Chicken Lady"); and people blame "those animal rights activists" as a whole for being too radical – but the mainstream animal rights movement does not condone this nonsense.

~ Idiot Chicken Lady hurts the ENTIRE animals rights movement. thinks meat consumption in the United States is far too high and unhealthy and we would like to see a dramatic drop in this regard, particularly in the consumption of red meat (see U.S.D.A. chart below). However, we believe the vegan movement is wrong-headed and the vegan diet, which excludes all animal meat and animal products, is unhealthy. According to many vegan groups (as illustrated by the video above), NO animal should be killed (including fish and oysters), nor should you even drink their milk, eat their eggs, eat their honey, or wear their wool. This is considered animal exploitation and "speciesism," a ludicrous and radical idea that totally disregards the food chain in the eco-system.

Humans belong to the Hominidae family (great apes); and like our cousins such as the chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas, early human were omnivores in the wild, click here. Human left Africa about 50,000 years ago to migrate to Europe, Asia, and the Americas, following the herd animals. But humans were probably eating meat before that, click here. Agriculture did not begin until the Neolithic period, about 10,000 year ago.

Frog Blog fully supports the mainstream animals rights groups and their position on "humane eating" as well as their plans to improve the horrendous conditions faced by livestock today. Such organizations include the ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

~ Eat whole grains & veggies, some fruits, a bit of meat & dairy.

It is likely that the vegan diet is less unhealthy than a diet that is very high in meat and saturated fat – especially in regard to heart disease and cancer. In other words, despite its shortcomings, the vegan diet shouldn't kill you! Still, just because too much of something is bad for you, it doesn't follow that eliminating ALL these things from your diet is a good thing. Moderation and variety are the key to good health. You want to consume as many different nutrients from as many different sources as possible. Picky eaters become sick, whether their diet is made up of all meat or all vegetable. H. Jay Dinshah, founder of the American Vegan Society, died at the age of 66 from a heart attack. And Dr. Robert Atkins, the father of the high-protein Atkins Diet, suffered from heart disease; he was only 72 when he died.

The best diet is likely one that resembles the great variety of foods that early hunters-gatherers ate – while still undergoing the evolutionary process through natural selection. They ate lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts and berries, seeds and grains, legumes and mushrooms, roots and tubers, eggs and insects. And when they could get it, meat was a good source of protein – mostly animals such as fish, crustaceans, rodents (like rabbits), amphibians and reptiles, birds (like fowl), plus a bit of red meat like wildebeests and wild boars (which would be more dangerous to hunt). Evolution likely made hunters-gatherers take maximum nutritional advantage out of these foods – and in these proportions. It should not be surprising that the diet of early humans has some similarities to the food pyramid above.

~ Hunters-gathers did not eat meat everyday.

Eliminating all animal products has its risks. The bottom line is, animal protein is built from a full range of amino acids that we need while vegetable protein is not, click here. And there is the issue of vitamin and nutritional deficiencies (especially in vitamin B12, iron, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids). And for some vegans, these deficiencies may actually play a role in having them develop cardiovascular diseases; however, more research is needed in this regard (here is another study that looks at the effects of B12 and omega-3 deficiencies in regard to blood clots and the hardening of the arteries, click here). In addition, in a study published by the University of Graz, in Austria, in February of 2014, there seems to be correlative evidence that vegetarians are less healthy and have a lower quality of life over the long run, click here. According to Psychology Today, the vast majority of vegetarians eventually quit; 35% of them say declining health is the reason for their decision. Also, learn the story about the Blonde Vegan as well as the stories of Angelina Jolie, President Bill Clinton, and the Dalai Lama.

[Updated Insert – December 2, 2014: Read a recent article from Psychology Today: "84% Of Vegetarians And Vegans Return To Meat. Why? – Animal Activists Should Emphasize Reduction, Not Elimination, Of Eating Meat.]

~ Vegan mother's vitamin-deficient breast milk made her baby sick.

The vegan diet has greater consequences for children than for adults. Science has shown that children need more saturated fat in their diet for brain and nerve development, click here. Also, milk is required for bone and height development and children who are deprived of milk tend to be shorter, click here. The Thai government is encouraging children to drink more cow's milk, with the goal of an increase in height of 8cm or about 3 1/4 inches, click here. And the Swiss government recently announced that the vegan diet "can cause serious harm" to children, click here. In our opinion, if you insist on feeding your kids a "vegetarian" diet, the pescetarian diet is better than a vegan diet, because the pescetarian diet allows for dairy, eggs, fish, and honey, click here.

Another solution for some vegans is to find meat substitutes, such as by absorbing vitamin D from sunlight, and by eating MORE of certain vegetarian foods rich in nutrients otherwise found in animal products. Such foods include soy (protein), broccoli (calcium), flaxseed oil (Omega 3), mushrooms grown under ultraviolet light (vitamin D), and spinach (iron). However, besides sunlight (which can be a problem at higher latitudes), vitamin D is hard to come by even from an omnivorous diet let alone a vegan one. And it doesn't come from many vegetarian sources – while vitamin B12 comes only from animal products. And a vitamin B12 and D-deficient diet has many problems; to learn more about the problems from vitamin B12 deficiency, click here; to learn more about the problems from vitamin D deficiency, click here; (for further information in regard to vitamin D and cardiovascular diseases and cancer, click here).

~ Do supplements work? A balanced diet works better.

The best sources of vitamin B12 are red meat, cheese, fish, shellfish, and eggs; for more information on vitamin B12 and its sources, click here. Fish, cow's milk (which is always fortified), and eggs are good sources of vitamin D; for more information on vitamin D and its sources, click here. For vegans, consuming lots of supplements and fortified foods such as vitamin-enriched soy milk and cereals is their only option. However, not all milk substitutes such as almond milk are automatically fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients; read labels carefully, click here. But one has to ask, if your diet needs a lot of supplements, how healthy and natural is it? And we're still not really sure if supplements are totally safe or that they actually work at all, click here. (Also, learn about the possible risks associated with calcium supplements, click here.)

Because of physiological constraints, it is hard to argue for animals' absolute right to life. Certain animals are designed by nature and man to be eaten. In nature, the food chain is a part of the ecological system. The sick and weak that are eaten by predators help the herd prevent overpopulation and disease – which can destroy the entire herd. However, what humans can do is to reduce cruelty and animal suffering within society. This inclination can only be categorized as subjective morality and has nothing to do with science – but there is nothing wrong with that. However, morality that ignores science and facts is no virtue and can only be considered as fanaticism.

~ Death is an important part of ecology.

There are political and social implications to the vegan agenda – from touching on women's reproductive rights (if you can't kill an animal or even eat its unfertilized eggs, then why is it okay to abort a human fetus, click here), to the hunting rights of indigenous peoples (such as the Inuit and the tribes of the Amazon, click here), to the ownership of dogs (omnivores) and cats (obligate carnivores), to the breeding programs of endangered beasts of prey in captivity (the survival of predators is vital to the survival of ecological balance, click here).

The best that we can do is to use scientific facts to encourage people who are already consuming too much meat to REDUCE their intake for better health. We shouldn't tell people to move from one unhealthy diet to another (and worse, from an already healthy diet low in meat and fat to one that may cause deficiencies). And it is important to not make frivolous health claims about the vegan diet and possibly harming the very people who are sympathetic to animals and want to help. That just isn't right. (See the PETA autism video below, also click here.)

~ PETA links autism to dairy – zealous rubbish.

There are numerous other things that should be done other than advocating veganism, such as improving the conditions of factory farms for livestock. One example is the ASPCA's grant of $151,000 to a humane chicken farm in 2012, click here. Some of the conditions at the farm that warranted praise included free-range chickens and turkeys living in clean and spacious facilities, quality feed, and the elimination of unnecessary antibiotics.

However, vegan groups were quick to publicly attack the ASPCA's move, calling it speciesist, click here. Any public relations damage that these extremists inflict on the ASPCA and other groups like it may very well deprive them of much needed public donations, thereby delaying the relief of suffering for countless other animals trapped in inhumane farming operations.

~ ASPCA video on factory-farm chickens (no unpleasant scenes).

Another example of a prudent strategy to reduce animal suffering is the Humane Society of the United States' "humane eating" campaign, click here. It recommends Meatless Mondays and explores the joy of eating more vegetarian dishes. This, and buying meat products produced ethically, can go a long way in reducing animal consumption for better health. One of their best campaigns is the Rural Development and Outreach program, working with farmers and ranchers to improve conditions for livestock, click here. However, vegans attack the concept of "humane eating," click here.

~ Antibiotics in factory farming may be a problem.

Basically, the vegan's theory is flawed. Even if more people became vegan, that doesn't necessarily mean less animals would be killed. What might happen is that the drop in demand for meat due to an increase in the number of vegans in society might cause the price of meat to drop, and the non-vegans would simply eat more of it at a cheaper price. So, you would end up with more people on unhealthy diets on opposite sides of the diet spectrum. Also, producers are not going to cut back on labor and capital (and the number of animals to be slaughtered) due to a drop in local demand; they will export instead. Therefore, the best policy is to encourage EVERYONE to reduce their meat consumption for better health as well as to eat more ethically.

In India, where 31% of the population is vegetarian, its production and export of beef are breaking new highs, along with the rest of the world. To see a chart of India's total meat production, click here. (Over 80% of Indians are vitamin D deficient – and India gets a lot of sunlight for being near the equator.) In the United States, 0.5% of the adult population is vegan and about 3% of the adult population is vegetarian, click here. The chance of the U.S. vegetarian population even coming close to that of India's is remote at best, and all the vegans would accomplish even if they reached India's level is utter failure in regard to ending the slaughter of animals. Veganism is a dead end.

USDA: World Beef Exports ~ India's and the world's trade in beef – breaking new highs.

The Frog Blog believes people have the right to eat whatever they want. And if people want to be vegans for ethical reasons, that's fine. But making health claims to the public about the vegan diet or feeding it to your children is another matter. We are glad that many vegans are in fact reasonable – read this article from "Don't Go Vegetarian Or Vegan For Health Benefits."

But it's a damned shame that the sound work in animal welfare undertaken by many mainstream animal rights organizations is being undermined by some radical vegans. For these extremists (sometimes called abolitionists), it's all or nothing – and what they usually accomplish is nothing, like that laughable stunt by Kelly Atlas in the video at the top of his page. Instead, we at the Frog Blog believe that we should pragmatically reduce suffering and cruelty wherever we can. There is so much to do with causes that are urgent and achievable – why waste time and money on a pipe dream? The animals can't wait for some ridiculous and futile revolution to happen a thousand years from now that would fulfil the 6th Commandment for animals and deliver a world where tigers lie with lambs as in the Garden of Eden.

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UPDATE: A Funeral For A Frozen Chicken

(November 7, 2014) Another ridiculous antic that antagonizes people and businesses rather than gaining their support for animal rights.

~ Morons. This generates ridicule, not sympathy and respect.

For related articles in the Frog Blog:
- Anti-Vaxxers And Homeopaths Are Idiots! Click here.
- Shark Fin Sales Drop Up To 70% In China Click here.
- Unvaccinated Kids Banned In NYC Schools Click here.
- Asian Carps: Barbarians At The Gate! Click here.
- Bluefin Tuna Sold For $1.7 Million! Click here.
- Bluefin Tuna Sold For A Record $736,000 Click here.