I don't believe vegans (or vegetarians) who still get their (packaged, preservative/chemical-ridden) food from industrial food system have any righteous ground to stand on, nor do I think a deep look at the sentient life of plants or the true environmental impact of agriculture permits them any comfortable distance from cruelty. Everything in this world eats something else to survive, and that something else, whether running on blood or chlorophyll, would always rather continue to live rather than become sustenance for another. No animal wants to be penned up and milked, or caged and harvested, and you've never seen plants growing in regimented lines of their own accord.
Without pushing an agenda (okay, maybe I've pushed a bit), I've spread a little veganism wherever I've gone. I've become friends with chefs at the meatiest restaurants you can imagine, and shown them a few things that opened their minds (and their menus) to vegan options. It's easy to be convincing when the food is delicious. It doesn't feel like a sacrifice--it feels like a step up.
Elsewhere the paper notes that vegetarians and vegans (including athletes) 'meet and exceed requirements' for protein. And, to render the whole we-should-worry-about-getting-enough-protein-and-therefore-eat-meat idea even more useless, other data suggests that excess animal protein intake is linked with osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium stones in the urinary tract, and some cancers. Despite some persistent confusion, it is clear that vegetarians and vegans tend to have more optimal protein consumption than omnivores.
Our economic order is tightly woven around the exploitation of animals, and while it may seem easy to dismiss concern about animals as the soft-headed mental masturbation of people who really don't understand oppression and the depths of actual human misery, I hope to get you to think differently about suffering and pain, to convince you that animals matter, and to argue that anyone serious about ending domination and hierarchy needs to think critically about bringing animals into consideration.
To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime.
This for many people is what is most offensive about hunting to some, disgusting: that it encourages, or allows, us not only to kill but to take a certain pleasure in killing. It's not as though the rest of us don't countenance the killing of tens of millions of animals every year. Yet for some reason we feel more comfortable with the mechanical killing practiced, out of view and without emotion by industrial agriculture.