The Instigator
Pro (for)
2 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

Everyone who has the ability to adopt a vegan diet should do so.

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/3/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,161 times Debate No: 25433
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)




I am arguing that everyone who can adopt a vegan diet should do so. I have chosen this premise specifically because I realize there are some people whose bodies simply cannot sustain such a diet, and of course I do not believe they should risk their health over it. I believe that the choice not to adopt a vegan diet when one has the ability and means to is a fairly selfish one. I support veganism for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. My argument will be based loosely around those three premises.

First round is acceptance. Round two will be arguments. Round three will be rebuttals. Round four will be summaries and closing statements, and any other points/rebuttals that may have been left out or unclear in the previous arguments.

I am leaving this debate fairly open-ended, so I hope the opposing arguments will be creative and informative. I look forward to this challenge and thank anyone who accepts in advance.


I accept and thank my opponent for setting up this debate.

To get the formalities out of the way;


"Everyone who has the ability to adopt a vegan diet should do so."

As Con, I will be arguing against this resolution. As Pro pointed out, this resolution does not cover those whose bodies cannot sustain such a diet due to, what I assume Pro means, a sort of sickness or disease stopping them from being able to survive without meat specifically.


1. Vegan
- One who does not eat meat, dairy, eggs or use any animal products*

* This debate seems to be about diet specifically, so non-edible animal products will most likely not be discussed, but since it is part of veganism I've decided to include it in the definition anyway in case it does come up.

2. Ability
- The capacity to do something

3. Diet
- The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats

Burden of Proof

Pro will have the BOP as he is advocating a dietary shift from the current status quo.

Given that the scope of Pro's resolution includes "everyone", it falls unto Pro to argue for the sustainability of a vegan diet relative to both the individual and society, meaning Pro must show that a vegan diet can be just as healthy (if not moreso) than a non-vegan diet and show that such a diet could be economically adopted by society.

Pro has also opted to argue for the morality of veganism, but unless Pro also intends on arguing for objective morality, the "morality" of veganism becomes relative to the form of morality being discussed, which defeats the purpose of arguing for the morality of anything. Given this, I recommend that Pro does not predicate his case on moral grounds and instead focuses on health and environmental reasons, less this becomes a debate on morality rather than veganism.

I look forward to my opponent's opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting what should be a very interesting debate. I also thank him or her for getting the formalities out of the way and doing such a thorough job. Definitions are fine, burden of proof is accepted. So let's begin.

As stated in the resolution, I am affirming that anyone who has the ability to adopt a vegan diet should do so. Obviously, this means that I do not think less-developed countries struggling with disease and poverty should focus on adopting a vegan diet, even though most LDCs consume very few meat products. In this case, I'm talking about developed nations, because those are the nations that do have the ability to do so. As I stated initially, I advocate veganism for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. Con voiced an objection to taking a moral stance on this issue, but I maintain my ethical opposition to non-vegan diets. I do not believe in objective morality, and I agree with con in that this should not turn into a debate about morality. But I also did leave this debate fairly open-ended on purpose, because I think the moral stance on veganism should also be argued here. Therefore, I will still make the case for the moral consequences of veganism, and con may address it in any way he sees fit.

Ethical: My primary concern with this issue is one of ethics. The obvious objection here is the treatment of animals in factory farms. In these farms, which have been established in almost every developed nation, animals are systematically raped, tortured, mutilated, and violently and painfully executed for the sole purpose of satisfying our selfish desires. (After all, most people concede that the treatment of animals in these farms is awful, but they want to continue to enjoy cheeseburgers, bacon, etc.) Animals are packed into tight, crowded warehouses without sunlight or fresh air. The conditions are so bad that they often attack and kill each other. Many animals develop painful sores or contract diseases, none of which are treated. Cows are typically de-horned and de-tailed without anesthetics, and chicken are likewise de-beaked. Female cows are repeatedly raped until they are no longer fertile, at which point they are killed for fast-food meat. These atrocities are commonplace in factory farms. Why do we allow this to happen? Again, many people take the simple stance of enjoyment; it's their life, they like meat, why shouldn't they be able to enjoy it? Well, when the enjoyment of one infringes upon the enjoyment of others, it becomes a problem. This is, of course, why we condemn rape and other similar actions. One cannot use the argument that he enjoys sex and should therefore be allowed to have it when it infringes upon another's right to choose who and when she has sex with. The rebuttal here may be that animals do not have the cognitive faculties to "choose" things like that, or to "object" the way we do. Perhaps, but it is an empirically proven fact that animals (especially mammalian animals like cows and pigs) feel pain in essentially the same capacity as humans; additionally, cows and pigs have been shown to feel fear, anxiety, and other emotions that many people assume animals are not capable of. Why, then, is it seen as acceptable to torture and kill them? Why do animal abuse laws exist to protect our pets but not to protect cows from having their throats ripped out? All this being said, I am realistic. I understand that humans used to need to hunt and kill animals for survival (even though our ancestors were primarily fruit and vegetable eaters). I do not take issue with that, because we were doing what we had to do to sustain ourselves and our species. But the fact is that such actions are no longer necessary. This question might come off as loaded, but I will pose it anyway: if you would not be okay with someone torturing and violently killing your dog or cat, why are you okay with it being done to other animals? I'm not saying animals should have the same rights as human beings, but I do think that, as sentient beings who can feel pain and experience suffering, they should at least have the right not to be tortured, raped, and killed for prophet and enjoyment. In the U.S. alone, 90,000 cows and calves are slaughtered every day; 14,000 chickens are slaughtered every minute; and over 10 billion 'food animals' are slaughtered every year. This is not necessary. It is death on a genocidal level.

Environmental: Adopting a vegan diet has a direct, positive impact on the environment. Factory farming is an environmental nightmare. In addition to the carbon footprint left from the shipping of animals and supplies across the country, it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat. (Compare this to the 25 gallons needed to produce a pound of wheat.) Here are a few other environmental statistics, all taken from (I typically don't just copy and paste, but it would be pointless to try to paraphrase all of this): (1) The USDA reports that animals in the US meat industry produce 61 million tons of waste each year, which is 130 times the volume of human
waste - or five tons for every US citizen. (2) North Carolina's 7,000,000 factory-raised hogs create four times as
much waste - stored in reeking, open cesspools - as the state's 6.5 million people. The Delmarva Peninsula's 600 million chickens produce 400,000 tons of manure a year. (3) According to the Environmental Protection Agency, hog, chicken and
cattle waste has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. (4) Pfiesteria, a microscopic organism that feeds off the phosphorus and nitrogen found in manure, is a lethal toxin harmful to both humans and fish. In 1991 alone, 1,000,000,000,000 (one billion) fish were killed by pfiesteria in the Neuse River in North Carolina. (5) Since 1995, an additional one billion fish have been killed from manure runoff in estuaries and coastal areas in North Carolina, and the Maryland and Virginia tributaries leading into the Chesapeake Bay. These deaths can
be directly related to the 10 million hogs currently being raised in North Carolina and the 620 million chickens on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. (6) The pollution from animal waste causes respiratory problems, skin
infections, nausea, depression and even death for people who live near factory farms. Livestock waste has been linked to six miscarriages in women living near a hog factory in Indiana. (7) In Virginia, state guidelines indicate that a safe level of fecal coliform bacteria is 200 colonies per 100 milliliters of water. In 1997, some streams had levels as high as 424,000 per 100 milliliters. And keep in mind that most of those statistics were confined to only one state in one country. You can imagine the world-wide effect this is having.

Health: Adopting a vegan diet is healthy. All meat (beef, pork, poultry, and seafood) has been linked to cancer, high blood pressure, heart problems, strokes, and other health issues. Milk (and all its derivatives) has been linked to breast cancer in women and stomach and prostrate cancer in men. And this is only "healthy" meat; it is to say nothing of all the thousands of diseases that are reported annually from tainted meat. It is also to say nothing of the twenty-million pounds of antibiotics that are given to animals that are created antibiotic-resistant infections in humans as a result. In addition to antibiotics, many animals are fed Prozac and other prescription drugs, as well as hormones to sustain growth, none of which are healthy for human consumption. I'd like to say more on this issue, but I'm running out of space. I'll end with one last statistics: 5000 deaths and 76 million cases of food-borne illness occur annually.



I thank my opponent for his timely response.

For clarification, Pro has declared round 2 will be for arguments and round 3 will be for rebuttals. I'm assuming these guidelines are for his position specifically as the BOP is not shared, meaning my only burden is to counter his arguments, not to provide prima facie justification for eating meat. Given this, I will now proceed with countering Pro's arguments.

Counter Arguments

1. Ethical Issues

The bulk of Pro's argument revolves around the ethical issues of factory farming and animal cruelty. While these things may or may not be unethical, depending on your definition of morality, this isn't necessarily an argument for veganism. Being an omnivore doesn't mean you support factory farms or torturing livestock. One can both eat meat and oppose the current condition of the meat industry, which brings me to the main point of my rebuttal for this argument; these aren't arguments against omnivorism. These are arguments against the way the current meat industry is managed. As it turns out, people of all sorts, vegan or otherwise have stood up in opposition to the current way farming is being done. Consider the "Ethical Onmivorism" movement [9]. I personally disprove of factory farming and animal cruelty, but that doesn't mean I think that the actual act eating meat is unethical nor do the arguments presented here by Pro attempt to show that to be the case. It's not beyond the scope of the human imagination to think of humane ways to raise and kill livestock, so unless Pro contends that killing animals for food in all cases is unethical (which he would then be required to argue for) he has not actually argued for veganism.

Before continuing, there is one misunderstanding in particular that I feel needs to be cleared up right now. Pro has claimed that our ancestors were primarily fruit and vegetable eaters. This is simply not the case. The vast majority of Cro-mangon's diet was meat and it wasn't until after the agricultural revolution that man's diet shifted from mostly meat to mostly plants. Interestingly enough, man's brain also shrank roughly 300cc after this shift. [1]

2. Environmental

Much of the issues Pro brings up here is also relative to factory farming. Once again, omnivorism is not predicated on factory farming so I'm not actually required to argue against this as most of these issues have to do with poor management and not issues with cultivating livestock period. However, Pro does bring up an interesting point; it takes a lot of resources to feed and raise livestock. In fact, to grow a 1300lb cow requires roughly 2800lbs of corn -- A little more than double the animal's body weight [2]. While this may seem like a waste of resources, consider that the meat we get from animals are far more nutritious than the plants we used to grow them. A one pound steak will have around 750-900 calories and roughly 100g of protein, with some cuts reaching 1115 calories and 133g of protein [3]. Compare that to one pound of corn which has a mere 390 calories and 14.61g of protein [4]. Keep in mind that protein is incomplete protein, meaning you have to eat another source of protein for that 14.61g to count anyway. Granted, we don't eat the entirety of the cows we grow, but we do use every part and it goes without saying that we can do things with cow parts that we simply cannot do with corn, meaning that growing cattle is is economically advantageous in several sectors of the market.

There's a reason why early man didn't starve en masse after he started cultivating livestock and that reason is, plainly put, that animal meat is a worth while investment. Yes the mismanagement of waste is a problem, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Veganism is not the only solution this problem. Society could vote with there dollars, so to speak, and chose to buy meat not from factory farms, thereby raising demand for meat from well cared for livestock. This way we solve the issues that stem from factory farms without losing out on the nutritional benefits of meat.

3. Health

Pro lists several health issues he claims are linked to a non-vegan diet. Most of these claims are unsourced and either way Pro provides no statistical figures on most of these claims to give us an idea of how significant these factors are. Without this, these claims don't mean much. I understand Pro was running out of space at this point, so I assume he's planning on developing this argument further next round. Now, let's consider the ramifications of a vegan diet.

Cancer [5]

In women over 50, increased meat consumption reduced the incidence of breast cancer by 30% whilst eating more fruit increased breast cancer incidences by 70%

Tuberculosis [6]

Vegans have a higher rate of tuberculosis. Even lacto-vegetarians have an 8.5 times greater chance of getting tuberculosis.

Salmonella [7]

Alfalfa sprouts are an efficient carrier of salmonella and in 1995, 20,000 people were infected with salmonella due to a single contaminated seed lot from a Dutch distributor.

Soy and Cancer [8]

The Gerson Clinic (a specialist cancer clinic) has long banned the use of soy products in the clinic as it is a suspected carcinogen.

Vitamin B-12 [9]

Vitamin B-12 is vital for human life. Vegans are notorious for B-12 deficiencies which causes mental disturbances ranging from abnormal mood swings, mental slowness and memory problems, through hallucinations and depression to severe psychosis. Physical symptoms include: rapid heartbeat, cardiac pain, facial swellings, jaundice, weakness and fatigue and loss of weight.

There's much more, but I think I've made my point. The fact of the matter is, one's personal health comes down to several factors. Yes, over indulging in meat has it's consequences, but not eating meat at all is literally a death sentence once your B-12 reserves are depleted. The key here is moderation.

Pro ends by mentioning that 5000 deaths and 76 million cases of food-borne illness occur annually. This statistic in meaningless as food borne illnesses are not unique to meat products as I've shown.


Pro has a pretty solid case here. Unfortunately that case is against factory farming and not meat-eating. He has yet to argue for the immorality and environmental damage caused by cultivating livestock in general and his health argument was lacking both in substance and in development. At this time his BOP is not fulfilled.

I look forward to your response.


Debate Round No. 2


I'd like to thank con for his very interesting and well-made response. I'd also like to apologize for something that I did - or failed to do. Con is absolutely right when he says that my health argument lacks sources. As I said, I began to run out of room very quickly towards the end of the argument, and I completely forgot to include those sources at all. I will gladly include them at the end of my argument and would, again, like to apologize for leaving them out initially.

Ethical: Con makes a very good point when he says that many of my arguments focus around factory farming and not an omnivore diet in general. This is true. However, I think it still makes the case for veganism for a few reasons:
1) Factory farming is the only sustainable way to produce meat on a national level. There are thousands of local farms and pastures in the United States and other developed nations, but the vast majority of our population still consumes factory farm meat and dairy products. The reason for this is simple: it's cheap. As it stands now, there is simply no way to provide enough meat, milk, and eggs for this nation (and other developed nations) without factory farming; local farms cannot meet the demand. As a result, I think that the consumption of animal products are very closely related, although neither is necessary for the other. That aside, I actually would argue that there is no "humane" way to consume animals. Breeding a sentient being for the sole purpose of being killed is not, in my view, humane. There may be less suffering involved in the process, which should be commended, but the end result is still the same: the death of the creature for our enjoyment. Here, again, I must go back to the pet example. If thousands of dogs and cats were being bred for the sole purpose of having their throats slit and their bodies used as food, many people would protest. I assume the "humane" aspect of it would not do much to sway them. (Anticipated argument: euthanasia of animals. I consider this to be unfortunate but often necessary, just as I do in the case of humans. In this case, it boils down to the principle of breeding the animals only to be killed.) I believe that animals are not ours to kill and exploit, simply because we have the ability to. It may be an unfortunate truth that humans used to need to kill animals to survive, but that has long since ceased to be necessary. Con has not given any justification for humans killing and exploiting animals. Is it because they're weaker than us? By that logic, can stronger humans not exploit and kill weaker ones on the basis that they are weak? I am interested to hear con's case here. This is an issue that is inherent in being an omnivore, not just in factory farms.

(Con also accused me of being misleading on the point that ancient humans used to eat mostly fruits and vegetables. I hope I was not unclear or came across as meaning that they did not eat meat at all, because that is not the case. However, this link should clear it up:

Environmental: Here, again, many of my points related to factory farming. And I'd like to point out, again, that as it stands now, factory farming is the only sustainable way to produce meat and dairy. That aside, many of the statistics I provided do not necessarily relate to factory farming. The amount of water and grain needed to raise animals applies whether it is in the context of factory farming or not; obviously, factory farming will require more, but that really doesn't matter. Any remotely large farm will require these resources. They will also face the problem of animal waste. As I stated in my initial argument, animal waste can cause myriad health problems in humans, and can very easily pollute water sources. None of these are inherent in factory farming, but they are all inherent in raising animals for consumption. Veganism would almost completely eliminate this problem. (I say almost because animals, in their natural environment and reproducing at their natural rate, would still cause a trivial amount of pollution.) Con also states that meat is more nutritious than non-meat items, and the resources required to produce it are therefore necessary. This is not true, however. Con assumes that more protein is better and meat can feed more, stating that this is the reason early man didn't starve. A few things here: 1) I have conceded that early man may have needed meat for survival, but have shown that this is no longer necessary. It is very easy to get all the nutrients you ned on a vegan diet (I will say more about this when I get to health). 2) More protein isn't automatically better. In fact, many nutritionists maintain that most of us actually get "too much" protein every day (or more than enough). Soy, nuts, beans, and other vegan alternatives provide plenty of protein, and they do so without the fat, cholesterol, and without the risk of cancers. ( Once again, we are no longer hunter-gatherers. We have a multitude of non-meat protein sources, most of which are healthier than meat.

Health: Here I must take issue with many of con's arguments.

Cancer: This was based on a study done in 1994 that has since been refuted; data from 2012 indicates breast cancer rates are significantly lower in countries with plant-based diets.

Tuberculosis: This study actually states that individuals with low vitamin D intakes are at higher risk for tuberculosis, which is common in some areas in Asia with plant-based diets. This is not inherent in veganism and is easily treated.

Salmonella: This seemed to check out; however, meat-related cases are much more common. Once source states that "During 2008 alone, 1,034 foodborne disease outbreaks were reported. More than 23,000 people got sick during these outbreaks, and 22 people died. Almost half of the outbreaks had a single cause or food source. Norovirus was the most common cause, accounting for nearly half of the outbreaks and illnesses. The top foods that caused the outbreaks were poultry (15%), beef (14%), and fish (14%)." (

Soy and cancer: This showed no link at all between soy and cancer. It only stated that one cancer clinic in the world has "suspected" soy of causing cancer.

Vitamin B-12: This vitamin is found in bulk in almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, and many other vegan alternatives to meat and dairy. Vitamin B-12 also comes in pill form, so the idea of vegans not being able to get it is completely unfounded.

As for my health argument, here are all the sources I neglected to put in the first round (which, again, I apologize for).

Red meat and cancer:

Other meats and dairy and cancer:

This study shows that in addition to red meat causing cancer, all cooked meat (pork, seafood, chicken) contains carcinogenic compounds. It also states that "Harvard researchers recently conducted a prospective analysis of 90,655 premenopausal women... and determined that intake of animal fat, especially from red meat and high-fat dairy products, during premenopausal years is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Increased risk was not associated with vegetable fats."

Conclusion: The health and environmental benefits of veganism are clear. Meat-based diets greatly increase the risk of colon, stomach, and prostate cancer in men and women and put women at a higher risk for breast cancer. Vegan alternatives have no link to cancer and are lower in fat and cholesterol. I have also made my case for ethical reasons, which is not only in factory farming. All of these ethical, environmental, and health issues can be avoided with a vegan diet.


I thank my opponent for his timely response. Also, I must say I'm impressed to see that Pro is sticking to his guns by continuing to argue his Factory-farm angle rather than abandoning it, however this will prove to be his downfall.


1. Ethical Issues

Pro makes the claim that arguments against factory farms are arguments against meat eating because factory farming is the only reasonable way to get the required amount of meat/eggs/dairy out to the public. All of Pro's ethical arguments from round 2 are dependent on this fact and if it is shown that factory farms are not the only way to accomplish this task, then veganism will not be the only alternative thereby defeating pro's argument. As it happens, I can do just that.

Pro has asserted that most of the consumed meat and dairy comes from factory farms. This is incorrect. as of 2005, 40% of meat comes from factory farms and a mere 15 years earlier it was only 30% [1] (I can't find statistics for dairy, but it's likely very similar to meat). First of all, it is already clear that a 100% takeover from conventional farms is possible as conventional farms only have to accommodate a 2/3 expansion in a country where only 6% of the land is even developed in any way [3]. There's more than enough room for these farms even assuming that this 40% number isn't artificially inflated -- which it is. This brings me to my "second of all". The population in America didn't grow much from 1990 to 2005 (248,709,873 - 299,398,484, [2]) so it's clear that this jump from 30% to 40% did not occur from necessity, but from these factory farm owners' desire to own a greater share of the means of meat production. As it turns out, these companies lobby the government to enact barriers to entry against conventional farmers as well as push for special subsidies to increase the profitability of factory farming [4].

Basically, what this all means is that even with the government holding back conventional farmers and financially backing factory farmers, factory farms still don't produce the majority of meat, nor are they required to as the vast majority of land in America alone is undeveloped. Given this, the absolute abolition of meat eating is not the only option and therefore Pro's argument here is weightless.

Granted, this expansions of conventional farms can't last forever, but it doesn't have to. Science is developing ways of growing meat without having to raise livestock [5]. It will be several decades before this is an economical method of producing meat, but we easily have the resources to hold off until then.

Pro then contends that breeding livestock for the sake of consuming its meat is immoral in and of itself. This is merely his opinion. It's just as valid to say that livestock cultivation is moral because it increases the population of these animals and ensures their survival in a symbiotic manner with humans. It's all relative, and you can't root your argument in something so subject to opinion.

One final thing, grass fed cows from conventional farms produce more nutritious meat that grain fed cows from factory farms, meaning less meat will be needed [7].

1. Environment

Pro contends that many of the issues he brought up are not inherent to factory farming. This is true to an extent, but only an infinitesimal extent compared to the scale of these problems when it comes to factory farming, which as of now is not the only possible method of meat production. Pro talks about the amount of water needed to grow animals. While it's true that it takes 3 times as much water to make the meat for a hamburger than it does to make a pound of corn, what most vegans avoid mentioning is that it takes 2.5x as much water to make that corn than to make 1 lb of eggs and 5x as much water to make that corn that it does to make 1lb of chicken meat [6]. Keep in mind how much more nutrients are found in meat than in plants and it's clear that meat is a worth while investment.

Animal waste is also a non-issue for conventional farms due to a technique known as "rotational grazing". With this technique, the soil absorbs the nutrients from the animals manure thereby allowing the grass, among other crops, to grow without the aid of synthetic fertilizers [8]. This process assists both meat and plant production and there is no superior method.

Pro contends that we are eating too much protein. This may or may not be the case, but it's irrelevant. Eating meat in moderation solves this problem. Complete avoidance is not needed.

Pro contends that Soy, nuts, etc give plenty of protein. This is true (though not when compared to meat), but it is incomplete protein and is therefore inferior to animal protein.

3. Health

Pro takes issue with my arguments. I'm low on characters so this will be quick and sweet.

Cancer: Pro contends that more recent evidence trumps mine. It is therefore his burden to provide said evidence and not merely assert its existence.

Tuberculosis: Veganism is a plant based diet, so how is this issue not inherent to veganism? Pro also claims this problem is easily treated but doesn't mention how.

Salmonella: Pro's source states that in 2008 alone 1,200 people were hospitalized because of food borne outbreaks. Roughly 45% (540 people) of this would be from beef, fish and poultry. Alfalfa has already proven itself to be a top contender in food borne illness distribution time and time again like in Sakai city 1996 where over 5000 Japanese students suffered from an E.coli outbreak [9]. While poultry is the number one cause of these illnesses without a doubt, leafy greens are actually in second place, not beef and fish. In fact fish actually comes in behind fruits, nuts, and vines (tomatoes/cucumbers) [10].

Soy and Cancer: My point here was that if a top cancer research clinic suspects soy of being a carcinogen, there's reasonable doubt that soy is a healthy alternative to meat. It's not as though this idea of soy and cancer is only in the head of these select doctors. Even has a page giving information on how much soy a woman can safely consume without risking developing breast cancer [11]. The controversy around soy's potential cancer causing agents are mainstream knowledge at this point.

B-12: If pro cared to read my source, he would see that the b-12 that comes from plants is a non-active form of the vitamin, making it useless. The only other place to get the active form of vitamin b-12 is in animal stool, which can be extracted and put into pill form, but then this would be an animal product and is therefore against vegan ideals as it requires livestock cultivation, expect instead of for their meat we cultivate them for their stool. Even still, this is an expensive process as only about 5% of vitamin b-12 extracted from stool is the active kind [12].

I'm almost out of room, so I'll have to refute the last couple of pro's points next round.


Pro's argument hinged upon factory farming being the only way to produce meat on the scale needed. I've shown this to not be the case, so the bulk of pro's arguments are rendered moot. What's left is easily refuted with basic statistics on the convenience and necessity of meat.

5. [Video]
Debate Round No. 3


I thank my opponent for all of his arguments thus far. They have been interesting, informative, and in some cases, very hard to refute (the makings of a great argument). He has also been courteous, and I thank him for this too.

I'll spend a small amount of this argument refuting his latest argument, and then I'll attempt to summarize all of my arguments; due to lack of space, many of my arguments were a bit unorganized and probably hard to follow. I'll get to it.

One of con's first points is that factory farms account for only 40% of consumed meat world-wide. This is true, but it is misleading. The reason for this is that factory farming really only exists in developed countries; this is because less-developed countries tend to consume little or no meat, and the meat they do consume is typically locally produced. ( Of course they don't have factory farming - they consume almost no meat. In any nation where the consumption of meat and dairy is common (as in almost all developed countries), factory farming is the only viable solution. One source indicated that "Factory farming now accounts for more than 99 percent of all farmed animals raised and slaughtered in the United States. (Virtually all seafood comes to us by way of industrial fishing or factory fish farms.)" ( You simply cannot have meat production on a large scale without factory farming. Even if all citizens boycotted factory farming and turned to locally-grown meat, these farms would soon turn into factory farms because it is the only way to keep up with demand. They simply have to grow more food in less time. There's no other solution. (After all, that's how all factory farms began - as local farms.) He argues that factory farming is not inherent in an omnivore diet, but that simply isn't true in a practical world. Unfortunately, factory farming is the only solution when any nation consumes any significant amount of meat. Therefore, the only way to truly stop factory farming is the adoption of a vegan diet.

Con than states that "Pro then contends that breeding livestock for the sake of consuming its meat is immoral in and of itself. This is merely his opinion." Well, of course it is. The very resolution of this debate is my opinion. Every argument you or I have made is a matter of opinion. These opinions may be supported by facts, but they are still opinions. My goal in this debate is to convince the readers to agree with my opinion. Further, it is my opinion that farming to breed animals as a means to ensure their survival is not moral. Animals have survived on their own in the wild since they evolved from other organisms. This argument is baseless and easily dismissed. Con has failed to refute my assertion that exploiting animals on the basis that they are weaker than us is immoral, nor did he attempt to explain how the same idea couldn't be applied to weaker humans.

Environment: "Animal waste is also a non-issue for conventional farms due to a technique known as "rotational grazing". With this technique, the soil absorbs the nutrients from the animals manure thereby allowing the grass, among other crops, to grow without the aid of synthetic fertilizers [8]." It is not true to say that this is a non-issue. Methane from cow manure is the third-leading cause of global warming ( This is obviously greatly increased from factory farming, but the increased production of animals on any scale (even local) will continue to contribute to this. Fewer animals = less manure = less methane = less environmental damage. Con also asserts that soy and nuts are 'incomplete protein,' which is not true. It is very easy to get different sources of protein in the same meal on a vegan diet, which in turn completes the proteins and allows them to work. Over-consumption of protein is not irrelevant as con brought up lack of protein on a vegan diet in his initial argument.

Cancer: I did provide a source that trumped con's source. However, I posted it at the end to save space and so it is understandable that con missed it. Here it is again:

Tuberculosis: Con clearly did not understand what I said the first time. The study he posted indicated that vitamin D deficiencies were the cause here, not plant-based diets. The two have nothing to do with each other. Vitamin D is easily attainable with a vegan diet.

Salmonella: Pro is right, although he admits that poultry is the leading cause of salmonella.

Soy and cancer: Con fails to provide any evidence that the link between soy and cancer is widely accepted. He cites one page that suggests that women avoid over-consumption of soy, but this applies to everything. Over-consumption of anything, even vitamins and water, can be unhealthy. This is not inherent in soy products.

B-12. I did read con's source, and he is still wrong. This source shows that fortified soy milk, nutritional yeast, and several other sources contain ACTIVE vitamin B-12: Therefore, con's claim that "The only other place to get the active form of vitamin b-12 is in animal stool" is a complete lie and distortion, and this entire argument falls apart.

Conclusion: Veganism should be adopted by every able person as it benefits animals, the environment, and our health. I have shown this through statistical evidence and well-sourced empirical data. I have thoroughly refuted almost all of con's arguments and and shown many of them to be misleading or false. While some of my argument does rely primarily on factory farming, I have shown that such a method is the only viable way to produce meat and dairy in any country that consumes any significant amount of the aforementioned products. Even with moderate meat and dairy consumption, risks of cancer are high; the breeding of animals causes environmental problems, even on a small scale; the nutrients found in these products are easily found in vegan alternatives, all of which are healthier and do not require the slaughter of sentient beings that have just as much of a capacity to feel pain as you and me. There is simply no reason whatever to continue to consume animal products, besides our own selfish desires. It is no longer necessary and its only effects are negative. I have shown these effects to be negative, and (while he did not have the burden of proof here and thus did not need to make this argument, but still failed to do so) con failed to show any evidence that animal-based diets had any positive effect at all on animals, the environment, or health. Con's only rebuttals to my arguments were easily refuted. As a result, I feel that I have sufficiently supported the resolution: everyone who has the ability to adopt a vegan diet should do so. It benefits animals, it benefits us, and it benefits our planet.

(Once again, I would like to thank con for his opposition. Personally, I found this argument informative, fun, and extremely interesting. Con made a good case and made good arguments, and conducted himself very well. For this, I do thank him. I also thank any readers for their time, no matter how they vote.)


Final Rebuttals

1. Ethical Issues

Pro contends that my 40% number is misleading. He doesn't actually explain why it's misleading and instead goes on to argue that factory farms (FF) exist, therefore FFs are the only way to produce enough meat. I already debunked this argument last round by pointing out that the jump in FFs was not representative of the increase in population suggesting that the 40% number has been artificially inflated and indeed that turned out to be the case as I showed FF owners lobby the state for barriers to entry against the conventional farmers (CF) and also push for subsidies for their own farms. I also pointed out that only 6% of land in the U.S. is developed in any way -- a point which my opponent has ignored here. It's clear that there's more than enough room for these farms and given that the majority of meat comes from CFs anyway - despite the inflated FF numbers - it's obvious that CFing can bear the load the demand.

Pro points out that 99% of fish we consume comes from FF. While this is true it's also true that it takes 4.5 kg of ocean-caught fish to produce 1 kg of fishmeal that is fed to a fish on a fish farm [1]. We're already catching enough fish to not need factory farms. Once again the prominence of FFing is clearly due to corporations working in collusion with the government to maximize profits, not due to necessity. FFs are unnecessary and so Pro's argument falls apart.

Pro contends that my pointing out that "the immorality of killing animals is just his opinion" is part of his resolution and therefore justified. This is not the case. His resolution is that we should adopt a vegan diet. It says nothing of his justifications. What this means is that he is backing his opinion (we should be vegan) with another opinion (killing animals for meat is bad). This is not a solid basis for an argument as I have shown in round 3 by establishing that subjective morality is relative and a utilitarian perspective deems livestock cultivation as moral.

Pro points out that everything said thus far is opinion. This is not true. My only opinion is that we should not be vegans. Everything else has been factual justification. I have not claimed that eating meat is moral (my utilitarian argument was just to prove that it could be done and therefore arguments that it is immoral are just opinion). I have not backed my opinions with more opinions.

Pro contends that these animals could survive on there own and this dismisses the utilitarian argument. They wouldn't have the population that they have now due to lack of protection as they would be hunted by predators. This argument alone validates the utilitarian perspective, but consider also that these animals never really exited in the wild. All of them have been domesticated from wild animals in fairly recent times and would therefore have a pretty good chance of winding up extinct due to the weakness and placidity bread into them [2].

Pro contends that I failed to refute his assertion that exploiting weaker animals is immoral. I didn't fail to do so, I chose not to because I don't need to debunk mere assertions and opinions, nor do I have the character space to waste fighting opinion with opinion.

2. Environment

Pro argues that cow methane is the third leading cause of global warming. Global warming is an enormous area of contention by itself. There's no solid proof that man's actions are actually the cause of the Earth warming and since there are no more rounds for Pro to make the case for global warming these arguments are moot. Even if we ignore this, all this argument justified is decreasing cattle cultivation in favour of poultry or other animals with a lighter environmental footprint. It's simply not enough to argue for veganism.

Pro claims that my assertion that plant protein is incomplete is not true. THIS statement is the untrue one. Just because you can mix incomplete protein to make a pseudo-complete protein does not make the original protein complete. Animal proteins are better than plant proteins [3]. This is incontestable.

Pro contends that over consumption of protein is relevant because I brought up how a vegan diet lacks protein. This doesn't follow. The choice isn't between over consumption and under consumption. Moderate consumption is possible, so you don't have to go over-board nor do you have to refrain from eating meat all together.

3. Health


Pro did provide this source last round. I apologize, however Pro didn't source it as per the DDO norm so you can understand why I missed it. Now, consider the following:

"Today's findings were based on a study of 61,566 people who scientists followed over 12 years. During this time, it was found that 6.8% of meat eaters (2,204 of 32,403), 4.0% of vegetarians (829 of 20,601) and 3.7% of people who ate fish but no meat (317 of 8,562) were diagnosed with cancer." [4]

Notice how fish eater actually have a lower rate of cancer than vegans. One more;

"They found that 180 meat eaters developed blood cancers, while 49 vegetarians developed the diseases and 28 fish eaters." [4]

Clearly this doesn't justify veganism as fish-eaters actually have lower rates of cancer than vegans.


Vitamin D deficiencies are common in vegans, it is absolutely relevant [5]. Once again Pro doesn't say what this "easy" solution is. The reason why he doesn't say it is this; the only place to get vitamin D from is from Fish, liver, and egg yolk [6]. Other than that it can only be taken by drinking a fortified beverage like milk (which they can't drink anyway), but that vitamin D used to fortify the milk comes from one of these three sources, so Pro's assertion falls flat on its face here 2 fold over.

Soy and Cancer

I'm not sure what Pro is looking for here. I can't link him every source on the Internet that suggests soy may be carcinogenic so I use samples such as one esteemed cancer clinic rejecting soy products and once website whose entire purpose is about sharing information on cancer preventing tips. If the voters wish to see just how mainstream this is, all they need to do is Google "soy and cancer" and see for themselves what the world is saying about it. Once again soy is a commonly suspected carcinogen. Even the Dr. Oz show has discussed this and advocates avoiding several soy products and limiting consumption [8].


These beverages are only fortified with active b-12 because said b-12 is extracted from animal products, be it meat or stool. Granted, it's not the animal that produces the vitamin, its the bacteria inside the animal, but then if the only place to get this bacteria is from animals you haven't actually solved the problem at all now have you?

Pro asserts that stool being the only other source of B-12 is a lie. He doesn't develop this idea further nor does he cite a source so... I guess we're supposed to take his word on it. Well, we don't have to. Even recognizes this and offers little (read nothing) in the way of alternatives [7].


Every single point of contention favours a balanced diet rather than a vegan diet. Even the strongest of Pro's arguments, meat and cancer, fails when you look at the whole picture and include fish-eaters. FF have been shown to be unnecessary, but even if we were to grant this to Pro it's still not a strong enough argument a so many vital nutrients come either exclusively from meat or is extracted from animal products and put into non-meat products (at a high cost mind you) which defeats the point all together. I'm out of characters so I'll pose the following question to the voters; Has Pro's arguments convinced you to be a vegan? If not, this is an easy vote for you.

Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Mathaelthedestroyer 5 years ago
Hm. Well I'm not going to try to refute your first argument. The research I did showed something very different, and I've seen other research that would trump both our claims.

However, you missed my point on the other issue. I'm saying it's not our right to try to decide what's "best" for other animals. From where do we get this authority? And, again, how is it any different than European explorers deciding that Native Americans lived inferior lives and should be "saved" by more modern advances? Further, I'd like to see you back up the assertion that animals live longer or better lives with our help. (Excluding domesticated animals that we aren't raising to be slaughtered.)
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
Check out the sources from my debate :

A metastudy compiles the data from many studies into one. "The metastudy reported mortality ratios, where lower numbers indicated fewer deaths, for fish eaters to be 0.82, vegetarians to be 0.84, occasional meat eaters to be 0.84. Regular meat eaters and vegans shared the highest mortality ratio of 1.00. The study reported the numbers of deaths in each category, and expected error ranges for each ratio, and adjustments made to the data. However, the "lower mortality was due largely to the relatively low prevalence of smoking in these [vegetarian] cohorts."

Other studies of certain selected vegetarian populations show some marginal advantage in life expectancy, but it seems that non-diet factors are responsible, Other factors are not-smoking, higher income and lower stress levels. A National Geographic Study gives a sense of the factors. Those long-lived Okinawans have low stress and avoid smoking along with a fish-centric diet."

>>Again: Regular meat eaters and vegans shared the highest mortality ratio of 1.00. << The cases where non-strict vegetarians live longer were found to be the result of not smoking and low-stress rather than the diet.

I agree that deficiencies are not a problem if care is taken to avoid them. Apparently the average vegan does not take the care required. But possibly something else, now unknown, causes the vegan mortality to match burger-chompers.

If animal rights demands that animals be allowed to live the short brutal lives of the natural world, then shouldn't humans also be required to live the short brutal lives that nature affords? Without all sorts of intervention, the natural human life span, experienced by primitive man, is about 25. Death in childbirth, for example, is completely natural. No, I don't buy the argument that "natural' equates to "moral." Less suffering and longer life is better.
Posted by Mathaelthedestroyer 5 years ago
I did a research paper on veganism last year in high school and found that not to be true. Vegans, for the most part, have much better health than "burger-chompers." Differences in health between vegans and people who eat meat and dairy moderately are trivial, with the exception of the latter being more prone to cancer and heart disease, on average. Obviously this is not always the case; I know several vegans who are overweight and don't care about their health, while some of the most health-conscious people I know eat meat. But in general, veganism is more healthy. Deficiencies really aren't a problem if you know how to eat: spinach and broccoli for iron, soy, nuts, and beans for protein, fortified almond, soy, and coconut milk for B-12.

And I don't know where you got that conclusion from the ethics point of view. Animals may indeed have it rough in the wild, but it's not our job or our right to domesticate or exploit them as we see fit. This mentality is reminiscent of imperialism: they don't know how to live, so it's our job to help them. That aside, while animals do face annihilation by predators in the wild, they do not face systematic rape, torture, and death. They are free to live in their natural habitat and in their own way. I hope this clears things up a bit.

(Note: this was intended purely as a response to Roylatham's comment; nothing in this comment should in any way be used for the debate.)
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
I did a debate on the health effects of vegan diets. It turns out that vegans have no better health than burger-chompers. I was surprised; I wrongly assumed that vegans would be health-obsessed. Not so. It isn't clear exactly why vegans have no better health, but it's probably the various deficiencies that result if vegans are not careful about getting enough iron, protein, B-12, etc. The best health is enjoyed by people on low-meat diets. Interestingly, studies of Eskimos showed that the traditional seal-blubber diet is healthy. It has to do with getting itamins from organ meat and eating raw meat.

The ethics seems to me to depend upon arguing that is better for an animal to have never lived at all rather than having lived to end up as food, assuming reasonably humane treatment. Animals in the wild have a very rough existence. It seems even lab rats are better off than wild animals.
Posted by Mathaelthedestroyer 5 years ago
Absolutely. I feel like neither of us were really able to extend our arguments as far as we'd have liked to. That's probably my fault because I left this debate very open-ended, but I didn't want to get stuck on one point. Perhaps another debate on the morality of veganism?

As I said, my opponent brought many good arguments to the table, and all of them were well-cited. If he wins this debate, it will certainly be because he earned the victory.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 5 years ago
I didn't have room to do this in the debate so I'm going to do it now here.

I'd like to thank my opponent for his consistently timely and well thought out arguments. If this debate has taught us anything, it's that this topic is bigger than 8000 characters. I would love to debate Mathaelthedestroyer again in the future (though perhaps on a more specific topic) and I look forward to having the opportunity in the future.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Very well argued by Con, with point-by-point refutations. Basically, Pro supposed that a vegan diet was the only alternative to a diet with a lot of meat, and Con exposed the errors in that supposition.
Vote Placed by igaryoak 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Con was right in saying pro argued for the banning of factory farms as opposed to a vegan diet. However good job to both!