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The Contender
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Veganism is morally required.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/21/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 530 times Debate No: 56971
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (0)




I'm assuming a loose basis for morality that is founded roughly in the no-harm principle, but nothing too specific. I'm arguing that we, as moral beings, have an obligation to adopt a vegan diet. More specifically, I'm only arguing that those who can adopt a vegan diet should do so - that is, those who can access food in a way such that they are sustained and kept healthy. That being said, this is meant to be more theoretical, though sources and specifics are okay, just don't make it the entire basis of your argument. First round is acceptance and any clarification that may be needed, then I'll start and accept burden of proof.


i accept !
Debate Round No. 1


I assert that (and my opponent has accepted that), at the very least, we have some moral obligation to restrict those actions that cause direct harm to others. This principle was undoubtedly established with respect to human beings, and I accept that. What I will attempt to show through my argument is that there is no reason that this principle should not be extended to animals.

At this point, in the 21st century in developed countries, we have the luxury of choice. We are no longer bound by primitive needs and base desires. There was certainly a time when humans needed to kill animals to survive, and I do not consider this morally wrong - and this is important. At that time, it might be said that animals were outside the circumstances of justice owed to them. Now they are within that sphere and it is important to acknowledge that. Likewise, I would not consider it morally wrong to kill another human being in self-defense; when one's life is in danger, the aggressor is no longer in the circumstances of justice owed to them otherwise. Self-preservation is the basis of everything we do; and while it is important not to try to extend this too far (i.e. justifying slavery under the pretense of self-preservation), we must remember how influential it is. But, again, we are no longer forced to kill animals in order to survive. As a result, we should not kill animals because it is unnecessary, by extension of my previous argument.

Unnecessary suffering cannot be morally justified in this case. Animals can suffer (I'm not providing a source here because of how well-established this is, but I can do so if my opponent would like). They may not suffer on a level equal to human beings (though they may), but this is irrelevant. A lucid 20-year-old can most likely suffer more than an elderly dementia patient, but this does not provide sufficient grounds to kill the elderly person. Studies also suggest that animals suffer emotionally (, so animal suffering and human suffering are NOT incomparable as some suggest. Humans most likely suffer emotionally to a greater extent, but again, this is irrelevant. A person with well-functioning cognitive faculties can likely experience greater emotional suffering than a mentally disabled person, but this does not justify killing the mentally disabled person.

It should now be clear that killing animals cannot be justified because of a lack of animal suffering. Can we justify killing animals because of our superior intelligence? Well, it is unclear why such an arbitrary basis should be used to justify suffering in any context. But even if it could be, the extension of this would be that unintelligent humans could be killed for selfish purposes, which is inconsistent with the Harm Principle and morally unacceptable. So it is not intelligence that justifies animal suffering.

Perhaps it is simply because they are animals and we are humans. Justifying animal suffering on the basis of their species is called speciesism. This may sound absurd, but it is objectively no different than racism or sexism. It is simply another arbitrary criterion used to justify inflicting suffering on sentient beings. If it is wrong to enslave black people simply because they are black then it is wrong to kill animals simply because they are animals. There must be another reason, but so far it is not clear what that might be. If it is not intelligence, capacity to suffer, or simply being an animal that can justify killing animals for purely selfish reasons, then what it is? I'll leave that to my opponent.

And "selfish" is an important word. There is no reason not to adopt a vegan diet, barring health issues which I addressed before we started, besides selfishness. We like the taste of meat. It's convenient. But it is not morally acceptable and it is childish and wrong to justify real suffering because we like cheeseburgers. A vegan diet provides adequate nutrition (including protein []), rendering animal-based diets unnecessary and selfish. The fact that man ate animals 10,000 years ago simply does not matter anymore. We can survive without eating animals, therefore eating them is unnecessary. If eating them is unnecessary, then eating them results in unnecessary suffering. Unnecessary suffering is inconsistent with the Harm Principle and most basic notions of morality. As a result, veganism is morally required if possible.

In order to prove me wrong, my opponent must refute one or more of my premises. If he fails to do this, then the conclusion follows necessarily and my argument is correct. Thank you.


All respect, before i get into why i oppose against this i just want to let you know that this is not a personal hate or im doing this because i love meat, and as my personal life i am a Vegetarian aka what you would call me as a Pescetarian ( i eat fish only).

There is so much i can opposed against veganism but i see the only conclusion you can come up with is " animal suffering" which is horrible that animals have to suffer but let me tell you why veganism isn't fully required from a moral point of view because of animal suffering.

1. its impossible to balanced it out to save animals and have our food sources
Say we all become vegan, all this is going to do is cause the farmers to expand land and slowly kill animals due to us taken their land and they will die a slow painful death
2. "what we will do with the animals that are now being taken cared of but due to not being able to afford to take care of them without profit ?"
what we going to do ? set them out free? put them in the wild so they can get eaten ? this will mean that we will be killing millions of animals anyway plus spend loads of money to get transportation
3. "Veganism doesn't always mean your saving animals", by buying someone else meat supports animal killing, by using pieces of paper support animal killing, we do not need paper to survive. eating grains fruit and vegetables together support animal killing, your conclusion basically saying because we do not need meat to survive its morally wrong to kill them for that, but then most vegan eat fruits but at the same time you do not need fruit to have a healthy diet or to survive do not matter if it kills less then people who eat meat its still morally wrong because you choose to eat it for your own selfish reasons,
4. "Human suffering" and limited food sources i say human suffering because even me as Pescetarian i find a lot of diets very extremely nasty now imagine someone who already isn't to fund of veggies and then no dairy products as well ???? Wow i dont know how much more the prices are just compare to vegan cheese and regular cheese lol i think to a lot people this would be a very very depression phase

Trying to save animals is never going to work out make everyone a vegan we need 50 times more land even if we replace them with plantation that had animals to eat them we are still going to kill animals just in another form !

You said animals do not suffer like humans do and plants do not either but you know its possible that plants can feel pain as well do you want to save them too ?????????
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks for your response, although it was pretty difficult to understand. I will dismantle it.

In regards to your first point (although this popped up a few times): the majority of land that we used to grow various plants foods on (i.e. grains) is not being used to feed people - it is being used to feed animals. Over half of the land in the United States alone (and 40% world-wide) that is being used to grow food goes directly to animals so that we may, in turn, eat them ( With the land we are using to feed animals, we could feed 800 million people directly in the United States alone. So any notion that a transition to veganism would cause a lack of space for food production is both absurd and ignorant. In fact, many researchers (see the above argument) are beginning to agree that animal-based diets are unsustainable for this reason. It simply does not make sense to spend such a tremendous amount of time, energy, and resources to raise animals just so that we can eat them when we could, instead, go directly to the source. Up to 90% of energy derived from food is lost between trophic levels, so it makes sense for us to eat plants directly (plus it's more energy- and cost-efficient).

"What are we going to do with all the animals?"
Stop breeding them. The only reason so many cows, pigs, and chickens exist is because we breed them like mad in order to eat them. Stop breeding them and the problem is (almost) solved. As for the remaining animals, we could simply put them on a nice pasture somewhere and let them die peacefully in their "natural" habitat. This is only one option. I'd also like to point out that I requested initially that this debate be more theoretical in regards to the morality of veganism and I feel that a lot of these points are more specific "what if" questions that aren't all that pertinent.

Not really sure what the third point is all about. Yes, it's true that it's nearly impossible to live 100% vegan in the technical sense (i.e. killing bugs while driving). Still, there's an obvious distinction between intentionally and systematically killing billions of mammalian and avionic animals every year for no other reason than pure selfishness and accidentally killing a mosquito.

"Human suffering"
I found this pretty ridiculous, and it was purely anecdotal. When I first transitioned to veganism I found it difficult because I was used to an animal-based diet. Now I love a lot of the foods it has to offer. If we lived in a vegan society and grew up eating those foods, we'd already enjoy them. But this point is extremely irrelevant in my opinion.

Plants do not feel pain:

I'd like to point out that my opponent largely ignored most of my requests laid out initially. He also failed to address the points I brought up and simply made up some of his own. I have refuted them, but the fact is that he did not challenge any of my premises so my conclusion follows necessarily. Please vote fairly. Thanks.


i apologize for the difficulty,
although it seems that you have high intelligence, i actually thought you would come up with something better, your are correct but what does that mean ? Even if we used the land the for us to eat that will still be considering pushing the animals that are currently living back and will die that's not saving animals at all, the fact that is almost 10 billion land animals will simply just die out would you really want that its still animal suffering,vegans still kill Trillions of insects die every year from pesticides. Countless other animals like moles, mice, rabbits, birds, snakes, turtles, and many others die every year from planting, harvesting, and shipping foods that vegans eat. you claim that its unwillingly and accidentally killing a mosquito, you know if your planting things your going to kill them there is not accident to this.

How do you find human suffering ridiculous ???? See i find this very close minded and not thinking outside the box, just because you have a successful story and love what vegan diets bring you doesn't mean that everyone is going to have the same opinion as you, you might find vegans diets great some people do not, its not even just because people are used to meat diet it just the fact they do not enjoy what is required to become a vegan. I dont think vegan diets should be required or force on anyone because i feel people should have the right to choose what they want to eat and not just cramming grains down there throats all the time its like slavery to some people, you have to think about the people not just on your personal experience, friends experience and success stories on the world. i do not feel like this is point-less because to be a vegan its a mental thing as well and that's most important thing when you becoming a vegan you have to mentally challenge your self not to eat whatever you want to eat to the challenge as a vegan is not even meat it self its about dairy products that people eat daily i think the world would just go crazy if we was all force to become vegan and i think it would be morally wrong for humans to suffer because we are forced to eat limited things.

Now i do agree on animal suffering is bad but not because we kill them, its the way the factories are killing them that makes it wrong, that's what people have a problem with even if you eat meat so i do agree with that. But you fail to realize im addressing your points but just not directly because your arguments are based on how you personal feel about it scientifically there is no wrong or right answer to your arguments im not here to say any rebuttals about your personal opinion, i am here to say mines and read what your write and sound more convincing.

But about the moral requirement i can do this in two ways without using bias based articles that you have giving me.I can easily read an article and put in my own words in post a link about why meat is good because there many cases on why it is some people would agree some people will not. It just articles that claims they have studied i can just simply give you plenty of articles about how vegans who support tofu is more worse like the quantities of land needed are greater, the treatment and harvesting of the soya involves more fossil fuels, and the end product often has to be shipped great distances if you live, but im not going to go back n fourth with articles and websites.

BTW the evidence you gave to me about the plants do not feel pain was not proof that they do not, but i never said they feel pain its just possible and it does have life so basically your killing a life for your needs as welll but that's besides the point.

The Religious point of views of morals to diets: Some religions support vegans diets but do not consider it morally wrong, and when its consider morally wrong its not due to being because of animal suffering its due to being that meat is unclean or unhealthy for you. I would say specific religions but i do not want this to become a religion debate and there are religions that allow you to eat meat. I dont know why would i god will tell you not to eat meat but then make it possible that a meat diet can be really healthy unless the meat is over eaten or give us another source of food that will not kill animals who give us the ability to digest it or have the intelligence to kill them that god would know that not a lot of people just want to eat grains and veggies all day long which would be pretty unpleasant to most.
so the moral point of views when it comes to religion about vegan diet is basically double standard. depending on what religion you are so this is not a fact that its morally required

Science&Nature and non religious points point of view : Through evolution we are not naturally vegans we were design to eat meat as well... we are design to be omnivores meaning that nature is giving us a choice to eat meat or plants,
unlike carnivore they have claws we have intelligence and tools,also plenty of omnivores perspire through their skin, humans are one of them shows that we just have the same similarities as other species of omnivores, our teeth are design to eat both meat and plants even our closest cousins (apes) eat meat and not all the time its because of a "NEED". Nature gave us the ability to find someway we can digest meat. Lets put it this way humans are omnivores we can eat animals because in some scientific theories we are animals, and animals eat animals. Science have discovered ways that we can eat meat without killing animals as well, we are learning and learning and eventually there will be a way that we can eat meat without killing animals but for now let people have the best source of protein i am a vegetarian but i think its far from being morally required

my conclusion is that nature gave us the free-will to have the ability to choose what we want to eat plants,fruits, and other species something that some species cannot do they do not have all choices that's why they are label differently.
Debate Round No. 3


Thanks for your response, IceClimbers.

Your first point has already been addressed. Yes, if we switch to a vegan society some animals may die out. But it is important to understand a few things: 1) Veganism is not a position against any and all forms of animal death and suffering. It is a decision made by an individual that THAT person will not consume or wear (or whatever) animal products because these practices harm animals (for ethical vegans, at least). When I see videos of lions ripping zebras apart, I do not feel like an ethical code has been violated. Nature is amoral insofar as animals interacting with each other goes. Lions kill zebras out of necessity, and even if they could somehow reflect on the ethicality of that decision, they would have no choice but to continue as they are obligate carnivores. We are not. We can make the decision not to cause unnecessary suffering for the sake of taste and convenience. If having a few million animals die a peaceful, natural death, on their own terms, in their environment stops the systematic exploitation and killing of ten billion animals a year, then I think the preferred choice there is obvious. Animals die all the time, and often we can, unfortunately, not do anything about it. But we can decide if we want to take a direct part in that or not.

I don't find human suffering ridiculous. I find your claim that people eating vegan food equals is human suffering. 1) It's a sacrifice, yes, but this debate is concerned with whether it's a sacrifice worth making; 2) The purpose of this debate is not the logistics of individual people adapting to a vegan diet. As a made clear initially, it is a theoretical debate about the abstract question of moral responsibilities owed to animals. Please take this into consideration. (That being said, in a vegan society there would be a plethora of alternatives that do not exist today, so don't treat our current society's limited options as though they are always going to be the only options.)

Factory farming is atrocious, as most people would agree. But, again, the point of this debate is whether or not killing and eating animals for our own selfish desires is right or not - in any circumstance. Given the argument I laid out in the first round, it follows from the parameters you agreed to that eating animals is morally wrong. Unless and until you successfully refute one or more of my premises, you have to accept the conclusion as it follows necessarily. You have yet to do that.

I'm not sure you brought up religion, but I'm not going to address it. Someone's religion commanding them to eat meat is as irrelevant to this discussion as the fact that some people love turkey on Thanksgiving. That might be a discussion worth having (and I would direct to Jonathan Foer's "Eating Animals," as he addresses both those points), but it is not the point of this debate.

We evolved initially eating plants. During ice ages we typically ate animals because many plants died out. So, yes, in some ways we have evolved to eat meat. Again, this is irrelevant. We have also evolved to want to mate with virtually any partner we find suitable, but we resist those urges now for a number of reasons. The list goes on and on. What we may have evolved to do because of a lack of food 10,000 years ago is not the question we are faced with.

I'd also like to add that I do not condone forcing people to eat vegan. The point of this debate is whether, theoretically, veganism is morally required. I have shown this to be the case given the parameters my opponent agreed to. He has failed to show me why my conclusion does not follow. Thank you.


No No No please do not try to down play this " some animals may die out" no a lot of animals are going to die out very slow and painful where there are proper ways of killing the animal without it suffering but please stop with the bias responses,ok there are many cases of animal killing other animals not for the need so what are you talking about ? starvation is not peacefully at all.

Now After this is where you start having the weakest arguments, i mean you were doing okay at the beginning and i do agree with the ending of your first paragraph, But is human suffering believe it or not you not the only one in the world you have to think about this worldwide, just because you okay with vegan food not everyone else will be i stated this before if we was to enforce the vegan diet right now it will cause a big corruption which will destroy people mentally face it we was put on this earth to eat both we have the intelligence and we have the tools and i think it would be suffering someone who choose not to eat grains all the damn time , because as Omnivores we have the choice to eat both meat and plants been going on since our ancestors but ill get to that later because your stated something really point-less.

Even if we all become vegan farmers are going to find some way to produce some meat like food which they are doing now like "tofu" that requires more crops then meat which has been studied

Source 1 :
believe it or not soy can take up alot of space !
Source 2:
Vegans love soy so much but there for it wasnt even meant for humans in the first place
yea be prepare if you want to transform people into vegans because the first thing they are going to be looking at is "soy or tofu" something that can replace meat, and some people will never get out of that habit.

We are just like any other animal on this planet just with intelligence every specie is on this earth for a reason I agree that animal killing is wrong by the way the factories are killing them as i explain this before now slamming a pig on the ground just for the fun is cruel and point-less so yes i partially agree with you.

There is a reason why i bought up religion and its pretty obvious religion has alot to do with morals animals, and diet so people can be looking at their diet in a religious point of view, i mean that's common sense, this is the point of the debate because we talking about a moral point of view and half of society look at morals at a religion point of view so i explained it just for the audience who looking at it from that point of view.

No No Sir please, stop it, our ancestors been eating meat way pass the ice ages, we already evolved to eating meat before ice age therefore our ancestors would have died of because evolving takes a lot of time and we wouldn't have evolve fast enough to survive the ice age do not believe me ?
Source 1 :
Source 2 :
do not believe these sources are valid what about one of the most respected websites
Source 3:

Even as caveman you would say when they saw a rabbit they looked at it as food to survive but this is still not a valid answer because we would naturally have the instricts like most animals to eat plants as well to survive as they were eating both caveman found it best that they got their energy from eating meat more then eating plants, we been eating meat for millions of years and not just only for survival
Your last sentence is incorrect by making this a moral practice many people will be force to become vegan.

My summary
We were design to eat meat we are design to kill some form of life it believe it or not. its not going against our nature as humans and our ancestors who been eating meat for millions of years, one day we will have the intelligence to find a way to kill animals without suffering or without killing them at all but for now i dont think its a moral requirement especially anything that has to do with diets that we been eating for the longest.
i honestly do not think i fail i honestly think your arguments were weak and didnt prove anything because you didnt update your research
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by gorant 2 years ago
Excellent explanation towards animals and eating of them by Mathaelthedestroyer. Great job done by you. keep it up the great work. You made me realise with your words.

basically I am a non-veg eater. but from now onwards I don't eat animals in my life. I didn't excited. this decession came from my heart. I swear. I am very proud to say that I am vegan from now on. I'll surely change my friends my relatives and family members towards veg. If I commit any thing I'll get it done 100% .

From now onwards I'll also try to make the people realise towards animals killing and eating. being as a human it's my responsibility as well. Thanks...

But the thing is I couldn't see your debate till now. otherwise I would have vote you. but my vote will be waiting for your next debate eagerly. What a great explanation/debate. go head .........
Posted by Mathaelthedestroyer 2 years ago
Hey, thanks. It was a fun debate.
Posted by IceClimbers 2 years ago
i apologize, you did a very good job ! i respect your opinion as me being a vegetarian my self.
Posted by Mathaelthedestroyer 2 years ago
I try not to extend my arguments into the comment section, but I don't think that's the case. The article about animal protein came from a website with an obvious agenda, yes; but the actual content of the article was the opinion of an expert, not some animal rights activist.

Anyway, no one ever seems to vote on my debates anymore but I hope someone will eventually.
Posted by IceClimbers 2 years ago
btw you pick out sources that only try to make meat eaters look bad
Posted by IceClimbers 2 years ago
@lifemeansgodisgood lol i find that funny because i said the same thing in my last round our body is fully equipped to eat meat.... i didnt even see you post that in your comment, but im glad we on the same page lol !
Posted by Sashil 2 years ago
I will become a vegetarian the day bacon starts growing on trees :P We didn't make it to the top of the food cycle just to be a vegetarian!!

Would have loved to have taken the debate myself but anyway Go CON!! bring annihilation to your adversary with your logical arguments...may the odds be ever in yo favor :p
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 2 years ago
I love animals, especially fish. I coudl eat fish every day.......catch em, clean em, cook em, eat em........yummy. Our bodies are fully equipped to be omnivorous and it's a good thing since fish tastes so good Night crawlers is my favorite bait.....a stong healthy night crawler that puts up a bit of a fight when you put it on the hook......Don't worry, one day the lion will lay down with the lamb and fish won't eat worms any more.......untill then, the lion might eat me so i better eat a lot of fish so I'll be strong enough to fight off the lion..........and I'll never eat my dog if I don't have to. I love my dog, hope I never have to see how she tastes.
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