What about lions?
Articles Reflecting a Vegan Lifestyle From All-Creatures.org

Vegan lifestyle articles that discuss ways of living in peace with humans, animals, and the environment.

FROM David Jack James
June 6, 2020 Facebook post

“Lions eat meat!” along with “Plants feel pain!” and “I have canine teeth!” are among the most absurd excuses that vegans hear from people who are obliviously opposed to the concept of not exploiting, harming, and killing animals for food.

David Jack James

"What about lions?"

It’s flabbergasting how often vegans hear this fallacy, a very common “argument” against veganism.

First of all, how else are you like a lion? What other behaviors of a lion do you imitate? Lions kill and eat their own children, have public sex with any female they choose, and sniff each other’s anuses. Why would you choose one behavior of a lion (eating animals) as a justification for one of your behaviors, while ignoring other typical behaviors of a lion, which you would never and could never do?

Unlike humans, lions are obligate carnivores, which means that they must consume meat because they do not possess the physiology to digest vegetable matter. Lions must meet their nutritional requirements by consuming other animals. Because there is no nutritional or biological requirement for humans to consume flesh, organs, or bodily secretions (dairy and eggs), humans can survive and thrive consuming only plants.

And, yes, lions kill and eat other animals FOR SURVIVAL. Humans eat animals and their bodily secretions for palate pleasure. Consuming the mammary secretions of another species as an adult is also something no lion or other animal does. They naturally consume the mammary secretions of their own mother (a member of their species) when they are infants.

Additionally, lions (and other animals) don’t forcibly inseminate other species in order to breed billions of animals into existence, or imprison animals in warehouses and cages. Lions do not confine female pigs in gestation crates. Lions do not cram chickens into tiny battery cages. Lions don’t force chickens to live in the toxic squalor of feces and urine. Lions don’t inject antibiotics, growth hormones, steroids, or drugs into animals. Lions don’t rip out the testicles of piglets, nor do they cut off their tails or pull out their teeth. Lions don’t cut off the beaks of birds or the horns of cows. These are all standard procedures in the animal agriculture industry, on farms of all sizes.

Furthermore, lions do not profit financially from killing animals, nor do they pay others to do their killing for them, nor do they kill and eat more animals than are necessary in order to survive. Lions don’t shop at grocery stores or dine in restaurants either. Lions devour live animals in the wild, using their razor-sharp teeth and claws, and they swallow raw flesh whole, along with the blood. Humans purchase neatly-wrapped packages of washed and trimmed flesh that has been processed with chemicals. They cut, slice, tenderize, pulverize, or purée the slabs of rotting flesh. Then they cook it, adding oil, salt, seasonings, sauces, and condiments to alter the putrid stench of terror and death. Humans then use utensils to eat the final product. That’s not what lions do.

Finally, lions and other animals are not moral agents. What they do is based on instinct and survival. Unlike lions and other wild animals, humans have the great fortune of being able to behave morally, to think rationally, and to live happy and healthy lives without consuming animals (or their bodily secretions). We can be perfectly healthy eating only plants, without breeding, exploiting, torturing and killing animals. Simply put, we can live vegan; lions cannot. Why would a rational human mimic the eating habits of a wild carnivorous animal, or of any other animal? Why would a human base his or her ethical behavior on what a lion or any animal does?

“Lions eat meat!” along with “Plants feel pain!” and “I have canine teeth!” are among the most absurd excuses that vegans hear from people who are obliviously opposed to the concept of not exploiting, harming, and killing animals for food. These are reactionary defense mechanisms with very little thought involved. People use these excuses because they don’t want to face their responsibility and complicity in causing immense pain and suffering, for nothing more than trivial taste pleasure.

Most vegans were once in the same position, and we had to accept that what we were doing was unnecessary, unjust, and violent, and not a reflection of who we really are. Instead of trying to rationalize or defend what we were doing by comparing our daily choices to what lions do, we chose to take responsibility, and to change our behavior. We choose to make ethical, rational, compassionate decisions based on who we really are.

Return to Articles Reflecting a Vegan Lifestyle