Monday, August 31, 2009

What Did You Say About Vegans?

I read an article in the University of Missouri-St. Louis' The Current this morning that left me shaking my head. It's no medical journal, I know; it's a student paper. It still frustrates me to see veganism maligned and misrepresented in any publication, though, given people's too-often tendency to believe most of what they read without either assessing it critically or doing some background research of their own. I always figure that the best sign that a piece is pretty decent is when it leaves you with as many questions as answers; I always worry when I walk away from reading something thinking that presented me with all of the answers I needed.

The article that appeared in today's online version of
The Current is called "Be Careful Before You Jump on the Vegan Bandwagon" and it presents a lot of information that seems, at best, to have been lifted from vague recollections of blogged posts of news snippets that may or may not have been heard on the radio at some point by someone getting ready for school or work. What does this piece tell us?

1. Veganism will make you sick:

Many people that attempt to convert to a vegan lifestyle without the right help end up malnourished, fatigued, and hungry. I feel that this lifestyle is extreme and anyone wanting to indulge should seek professional medical help.
2. No, really--it'll make you sick:
I am not convinced at all that everyone can be healthy without any animal flesh or animal byproducts in their diet. There are simply not enough long term studies on the effects of veganism to convince me otherwise.
3. Veganism kills babies (and children):
I do see, however, the mounds of ethical debates on people being brought to suit for killing babies and children by limiting their diets to vegan foods only. This is even more inhumane than killing an animal for consumption in my opinion.
4. Since supplementation is abnormal, Vitamin B-12 deficiency "is a common deficiency in vegans".

I do appreciate the writer's emphasis on needing to research a vegan diet, but then again, I'm all for everyone reading up on nutrition regardless of whether or not they consume animal products. It bothers me, though, that the article seems to be a bit more about scaremongering than it is about dispensing soundly-based advice.


Luella said...

Does it ever seem like more is written in the popular media about vegans/veganism by non-vegans than by vegans?

Canberra vegan said...

I'm heartened to know that there is a perception of a vegan "bandwagon".

Philip Steir said...

Welcome to america. Where veganism is dangerous to your health and is responsible for killing babies. And where healthcare for the poor, is a nazi program.

Oh yeah...Jesus is coming down from out of the clouds soon (aprox in 37 yrs) to render his super powers against all the non believers.


unpopular vegan essays said...

More bigotry from the ignorant.

Lucas said...

As long as it stays at mere bigotry.. In France they'll just take your kid away and lock you up for being vegan.

Adam Kochanowicz said...

It will never end. People believe what they want to believe. They see what they're prepared to see.

Corey Wrenn said...

This breaks my heart

Patty H. said...

I just read the article and the comments that follow it...very interesting. Even more interesting: there is a disclainer preceeding it, clearly added after the comments, claiming that it is purely the opinion of the author. It adds that the writing is substandard and was not properly edited. The editors are removing it from their site by noon eastern time today.

M said...

Unless I'm missing something, I just took a look at the article again and saw no such disclaimer.

Patty H. said...

Try this link:

Patty H. said...

For those who don't get there before noon, here is the text of the disclaimer:

The following article represents the opinion of Afton Anderson, a staff writer for The Current. The opinions expressed therein are Ms. Anderson's and not necessarily those of The Current. While it is clear that Ms. Anderson's opinion is her own, the written quality of the article is substandard. We apologize for this oversight in our editorial vetting process. For this reason, the article below will be removed from the website by 12:00 p.m. Central on September 3, 2009. We appreciate your interest in The Current and the comments you have made. If you have continued comments about this article, please e-mail us at We hope you will enjoy some of the other articles on our website."

Vanilla Rose said...

Such a pity they couldn't be bothered to check what she wrote before they published it. It should be easy enough to find out that hardly anyone gets B12 deficiency through being vegan (pernicious anaemia, caused by the body's inability to obtain B12 from food, is equally likely to strike meat eaters).

Anonymous said...

Adam is right. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Many people KNOW that eating animal flesh is damaging to their health and/or they might even accept that it's ethically wrong to kill animals for pleasure, yet they keep doing it hiding behind false pretenses lying to themselves, just like many others drink alcohol, do illegal drugs or, in general, live dangerous lifestyles. Plus ça change, plus c'est pareil.

For Lucas: Séverine Gérard has serious psychiatric problems. I'm surprised they did not lock her up for much longer than they have so far, given that she tried to kill the surrogate parents. Her veganism is conincidental.