Follow TV Tropes


Critical Research Failure / Vegan Artbook

Go To

Omnivore humans aren't villains, they just don't know any better. That's why education is so important: it helps people think about what they've been taught and question the absurdities they participate in. :)
— Priya "Yerdian" Cynthia Kishna

Because when you want to be an Anvilicious comic about The War on Straw on veganism, sometimes you just need to ignore simple facts.

  • First and foremost: despite what the vegans would have you believe, humans are indeed omnivores.
  • Advertisement:
  • In one page of the comic, Yerdian accuses hunters of shooting mother deer for fun or at least supporting such, when in fact most hunting organizations ban shooting does that have fawns with them. The only people, in fact, who tend to shoot does at all —at least, outside of very limited circumstances—are poachers...which doesn't really help when the narrative effectively defines all hunters as Evil Poachers. Additionally, the doe in the photo was actually roadkilled, not shot; Yerdian later admitted to having known as much when she used it, and employing Artistic License in order to prove her point.
  • Yerdian defines "frugivore" as "naturally vegan animal," and insists that gorillas are vegan. (A frugivore is any herbivore or omnivore that shows a preference for fruit; and while gorillas are primarily herbivorous, they eat insects and other small animals on a more-than-incidental basis. And veganism—which is less a diet than a matter of personal principle which happens to include dietary strictures—is unique to humans.)
  • Advertisement:
  • Just like with gorillas, the narrative claims that bonobos are vegans and that humans should learn to imitate their diet. Bonobos are actually omnivores who primarily eat fruit, but also consume honey, eggs, invertebrates, small vertebrates, and even other primates. In other words, eating omnivorous is more like eating like a bonobo than being vegan is.
  • According to the comic, animals slaughtered for meat are "stabbed to death" and bacon is made by "smash[ing] baby piglets to death." In reality, the usual killing method is via captive-bolt gun (which neither "stabs" nor "smashes," and was in fact designed to be as quick and painless as possible); you won't get much bacon off of a pig that isn't fully grown; and a piglet is a baby by definition.
  • Despite Yerdian's usage of it as such, "rape rack" is not actually dairy-farming jargon; its association with dairy farming (as opposed to with ethically-dubious-at-best monkey isolation experiments) is entirely the invention of PeTA and similar organizations.
  • Advertisement:
  • Yerdian often times claims that there is pus in milk, and has Diva still drinking it even after Dolly claims it. However, while a high somatic cell count in milk can be a symptom of mastitis, leukocytes are not synonymous with "pus;" they also increase if the cow is milked too soon after calving. Additionally, no reputable farmer would sell either milk with an elevated somatic cell count (it may not be pus, but it degrades the quality and can indicate that the cow is sick) or that wasn't up to sanitation standards (such as being from a sick cow at all, much less being contaminated with actual pus).
  • In one strip, Raziel spouts out the narrative's message, that global hunger and many environmental ills could be solved if people just went vegan. However, many of the solutions she suggests are an oversimplification of complex issues and misblames the meat industry for all those problems.
    • Global hunger often times is the result of distribution of resources or caused by environmental problems like drought and pest-induced crop failure. In many subsistence areas, meat and dairy are an important food source that can be relied on when plant agriculture fails.
    • While the meat industry does have its problems with the environment, industrial farming as a whole is culpable. Many of the problems she blames solely on the meat industry have also been seen in the plant agricultural business (especially corn and soy) as well. Others, such as fertilizer-induced algal blooms, pesticide pollution, and soil depletion are entirely the result of poor plant agriculture practices.
    • While food animals do consume a large amount of cultivated plant matter, it's important to distinguish this from food crops. Large industrial farms where cattle are fed entirely on things like corn or grain are the minority, because they quite simply aren't cost effective. Most large cattle are raised eating grass on land that is totally unsuited for agriculture, with supplementary feed typically consisting of things like corn husks and stalks, pulp left over from sugar beet and sugar cane processing, and "filler" crops like alfalfa grown alongside or in rotation with crops like cotton and corn on more suitable land.
      • For a specific example, the ecological devastation of the American dust bowl in the 1930's was caused by an ill-advised attempt to convert large swaths of prairie and light forest formerly used for open-range grazing into farmland. It turns out that wiping out a vast ecosystem perfectly suited to supporting large herds of cattle alongside native wildlife and replacing it with large fields of artificially sustained monocrops completely unsuited to the local climate is a bad idea.
  • The emphasis on meat "decaying" as soon as the animal dies and this being a sign that meat is disgusting. It's true, but plant tissues start breaking up as soon as they're picked, too. It's actually easier to preserve meat than plants without losing nutritional value and quality.
  • A common argument against omnivory is that humans need tools and cooking in order to eat meat, which means that people are not natural predators. However, that notion is false due to the fact that many species of animals like otters, chimps, and ravens use tools to hunt. Another counterargument against the claim is the fact that human beings can, in fact, eat raw meat; in fact, it's an ingredient in certain delicacies. If anything, we're better suited to eating meat than plants: Only a handful of raw plants are actually suitable to go directly from plant to mouth, unless one likes eating unthreshed grains and orange peels. As we lack the complex digestive system found in herbivores, many food plants can also be indigestible or even toxic to humans until thoroughly cooked: potatoes, for example, are (mildly) both.
  • When Shawn mentions a vegan being hospitalized for iron deficiency (an actual concern among vegans; hence, the popularity of kale), Lilith counters with the perils of the standard western diet. Implicit in this is the claim that omnivory is synonymous with the standard western diet...despite the former being the default for humanity worldwide, and the latter being a specific variation thereof which is largely peculiar to heavily industrialized nations.
  • The strip and characters frequently refer to cow milk as being "boobie milk", in order to depict omnivores as being overgrown children who are still clinging to a habit they should have outgrown as babies. However, it's factually wrong to call udder milk the same thing as breast milk due to the fact that breasts are just one gland in comparison to how udders are much more complex in structure. Also breasts are only found on primate mammals like humans, while udders are found on four legged ungulate mammals.
  • The fact that soy products in general can also be dangerous is also glossed over: A soy allergy is one of the eight most common food allergies, and can range from mild intolerance to full blown anaphylaxis. As with other food allergies, the onset can be triggered suddenly and violently, especially in children.
  • Just like with the picture of the roadkilled doe and her fawn, Yerdian tries to pass off three misleading photos as standard practices found in slaughterhouses. The first one shows a malformed fetus as if it was slaughtered, the second one shows a halal killing which is only practiced in certain religious communities, and the third one is a possibly outdated photo from thirty years ago that doesn't reflect current standards.
  • In many of the strips, animals in cartoon form are seen crying before they are slaughtered or are shown in real-life pictures and described as weeping. The real fact is that humans and elephants are the only two species which cry for emotional reasons. Watery discharge in other animals is a sign of eye irritation rather than a show of sadness or physical pain.
  • Recent studies have confirmed that plants do, in fact, have some rudimentary forms of perception. Examples include audio recordings of caterpillars causing plants to produce additional natural pesticides (while control noise triggered no such response), and plants sending roots toward the sound of running water (even when said sound was a recording, and the opposite side of the container was kept moist.)
  • In a retort towards Shawn's statement that veganism is extreme, Dolly claims that you have to verify your age on YouTube in order to look at how meat is produced. However, many videos showing how meat is produce (both anti- and pro) have no age verification, with anyone being able to see it.
  • When it comes to the topic of B12, the comic perpetuates the common myth about soil having less B12 sustenance today due being sterilized (which results in meat and non-animal sources being supplemented) and that humans can get nutrients by consuming unsanitized food and water. The truth of the matter is that there is no proof that soil bacteria can give people any type of B12 to absorb and the soil hasn't been sterilized but that farming practices have changed to make food cleaner and safer.
    • Another related myth stated in the series is that the ancestors of humans sustained themselves on a herbivorous diet and got their B12 nutrients from the dirt and water they consumed. What is actually known about our ancestors is that they were opportunistic omnivores from the beginning that ate anything that was available, thus they would have gotten their B12 sustenance from eating meat.
  • The vegans solely place the blame of deadzones on the results of land based animal agriculture, while ignoring the fact that crop farming as well contributes to the pollution. The real culprits are pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals that are used in modern farming, which often times negatively affects the environment.
  • A common argument for veganism made by the comic is the idea that we would use less farmland if we didn't eat meat. While an all meat diet has shown to be the worst agricultural model, going all vegan would represent a lot of negative setbacks as well. One of them is requiring more land in order to supplement the nutrition they don't get from their diet. In addition, a based vegan diet would require more land in comparison with diets that incorporate some meat into it.
  • Rohit treats selective breeding as something unethical and unnatural associated with factory farming. However, if one studies history, selective breeding has always been a feature of animal agriculture since the ancient times. It is part of the reason how domesticated animals now look and possess certain aspects to this day.
    • In that same strip, there is a picture of a cow with an oversized udder which is treated as an example of genetic engineering. It's actually an example of a sickly cow, which would not be in use for milking at all.
  • The vegans commonly state that veganism doesn't "needlessly kill" animals or negatively impact people, in order represent their lifestyle as being more moral than a omnivorous one. A lot of practices that are needed to maintain a vegan lifestyle have threatened the lives of wild animals and caused great damage to indigenous people.
    • To elaborate further, more fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and other threats are used to keep pests away, along with native vegetation being cleared to make room for edible crops, which results in more animal and plant life getting killed. In other words, more animals would lose their lives more from the crop industry than the meat industry.
    • In addition, many vegan staples like quinoa, asparagus, and soy have been so high demand in the West, that it has caused many detrimental effects to the native populations. Many of these crops have gotten more expensive in their homelands to the point that they can't afford to buy it, require a lot of water to maintain which results in less resources for them to use, or have been the cause of deforestation.
    • None of this is to say that being an omnivore is objectively better than being a vegan, but rather that both lifestyles have clear issues that the comic doesn't touch on or intentionally ignores.
  • All the omnivore characters are treated wrong whenever they state veganism is unnatural for humans, while vegans claim that omnivory is just programmed into us. Humans are naturally built to be omnivores, and veganism is more of a discipline rather than a natural diet for people. In fact, it's really biologically natural for humans to react to animal products.
  • The comic continually treats meat as an addiction, and claims that all non-vegans are essentially addicts, who have been psychologically conditioned by society to eat meat. While it's true that processed meat has a lot of additives that cause health problems, as shown from the previous examples, it's a natural (and, in some cases, even essential) part of the human diet.
  • When Shawn claims that honey is a healthy alternative to sugar, Rohit counters him by saying that honey reabsorbs moisture from the stomach and stomach flora, destroys symbiotic bacterial population, forms acids, and decalcifies the body.
    • Even though honey can be acidic, this is only the case after it's swallowed, when combined with other substances, or if it comes from certain plants. In any case, its pH is not low enough to be dangerous to a human over one year old. (Meanwhile, many citrus fruits are actually acidic enough to corrode one's teeth if eaten in excess...but you'll never see a vegan denounce those as "poison.")
    • While he says that it kills symbiotic bacteria within the body, studies have shown the opposite is true: it helps boost gut bacteria and fights against the harmful type.
    • Contrary to his claim, there has been no proof from any official studies that honey depletes calcium in the body, but instead helps absorb it.
    • Finally, while honey is very absorbent, it has never been shown to be able to absorb moisture from the stomach and stomach flora as Rohit claims.
  • The Drop Box comics that campaign the above panel spread some common vegan stances against honey and beekeeping:
    • The narrative treats beekeepers feeding corn syrup and sugar as as a horrid practice, when it's used to help bees during the winter months when food would be scarce.
    • It claims that all bee keepers kill and replace the queen routinely, when it's a practice that is only done by some bee keepers. The reason why people replace their queens is not due to swarming, but because older queens produce less eggs and they want young and healthy ones to run the colony. In fact many of the common practices don't involve killing the queen at all, in order to prevent swarming.
    • It states that bees are transported through the post in cardboard boxes which causes many of them to die, but the actual method is moving the hives themselves in vehicles, strapping the entrances up, making sure there is ventilation for the bees, and securing them from harm. While moving can be stressful, good keepers take precautions to make sure that their bees are not disturbed during the trip.
    • One part mentions how bee queens are artificially inseminated (using the word rape to describe it). The reason why is that honey bees mate naturally away from the hive, and this could result in lesser quality offspring. This also prevents less inbreeding and more genetic diversity as well. It also doesn't mention how sometimes mites and starvation play a factor as well in burning down hives.
    • The reason given out for why bee keepers sometimes burn hives in the winter is only caring about money, when the actual reasons are more complex like trying to keep a hive alive during the cold season. While some keepers do do that practice, others have been noted to try to help their bees during the winter.
    • Their argument against using honey bees is that they hurt the environment and they are not the best pollinators. While honey bees are not perfect, they certainly do play a great part in helping major crops grow. Many vegan staples like almonds, soy, and avocado depend on honey bees in order to pollinate. Also while honey bees often times search for nectar in contrast with wild bees, they are more mobile than them and as a result can be moved more easily from farm to farm. Also while the strip says that lowering the honey bee population would be good due to their habits of hording and robbing from other animals, the latter aforementioned behavior happens when food is scarce and there are many methods to prevent robbing frenzies from happening. The former practice as well is better than treated in the text, due to the fact that hoarding helps them fight off diseases which was a negative aspect mentioned.
  • In one strip, Yerdian denies the fact that a person can get an eating disorder from going on a vegan diet and treats eating meat to recover from it as going back to a drug addiction. Then also claims that one just has to find the right amount of vitamins from alternative sources, in order to avoid getting ill. Vegan diets have been shown to be very dangerous to people,who are susceptible to an eating disorder or had one. While she says that alternatives can be used as a good enough substitute, often times they are not as rich in nutrients as omnivorous diets. Not to mention, it ignores the idea that such a person may have a choice in the matter, or even be able to afford it.
  • A lot of (false) statements about cattle farming crop up in the series.
    • The before mentioned above "rape racks" are actually called "feed racks", and are used for a multitude of reasons not given which includes safety. If they used a bull, then it could potentially cause serious harm to the cows. As as the fact that artificial insemination allows for more genetic diversity, than if they used just a few bulls to impregnate their cows.
    • It is often claimed that bull calves are immediately killed after they are born, since they are not useful for making milk. The truth is that often times they are sold to other farmers, kept and raised, or even rear them. While some calves due die at birth, it's often due to diseases, defects, injuries and difficult births, which can result in sometimes having to euthanize them. Even when they are raised to be made into veal, they are often kept for 10-12 months.
    • One erroneous fact falsely stated is that after a cow is parted with her calf, she will cry out for days or even weeks due to forming strong bonds. What actually happens is that calves are not immediately taken away from their mothers until they are 2-3 weeks old, and they are switched to a powdered milk diet. Also cattle make certain vocalization which is mistaken for mourning, which happens even when their calf is parted from them.
  • In one panel, when arguing against the use of cow milk, it puts horse milk in with dog and giraffe milk in order to ridicule the idea of drinking animal products. This backfires due to the fact that people, especially in Central Asian steppes cultures, have been drinking horse milk for centuries. It's often made into the beverage kumis, which is a traditional drink. Even better is the fact that like cow's milk, mare milk has a lot of nutrients that are beneficial to the body (whey protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin C).
  • Mike in one strip spreads misleading information about allergies when it comes to vegan diets.
    • She incorrectly states that food allergies can be reversed/reduced by eating a plant based diet. However, the truth is there has been no real cure for food allergies. And the actual conditions she is talking about are food intolerances, some (but not all) cases of which are able to be reversed or reduced with certain diets.
    • Likewise, she states that you can cure environment allergies by doing a raw vegan diet, when there has been no compelling evidence that effectively improve or treat them.
    • She also brings up the concept of leaky gut syndrome, which she says to talk to a doctor about when it comes to addressing allergies. In the medical community, leaky gut syndrome is seen as an unrecognized, hypothetical medical condition with little support, including the claim it's behind food allergies.
  • A common claim that vegans bring up about switching to an all plant diet, is that there would be more grain to feed everyone in the world instead of spending it on raising cattle. This is purely false: Wealthy countries already produce enough grain to feed everyone in the world; the reason why that grain is inaccessible to poorer countries is not because it's fed to cattle, but because the wealthy nations hoard it for their own use.
    • In addition, the grain used to feed cattle is not the same grain used to feed humans. Grain used for cattle feed tends to be rough, coarse, and is generally unfit for human consumption in the first place.
  • During a confrontation between Brie/Plausibell and Zubin "Z Dogg" Damania, the so-called harmful affects of eating meat are brought up, which includes the claim that it causes cancer and emphasizes it's in the same carcinogenic class as cigarettes. The real truth is that eating meat itself isn't unhealthy, but an excess amount of processed meat is. Also while processed meat has been included in the same carcinogenic class as cigarettes, they don't have the same risk level.
  • One panel has a disabled person state that she can't go vegan because her carer decides what she eats, so she has no choice in whether or not to go vegan. Dolly retorts that she should be able to tell the carer that she wants Vegan foods and, if her carer refuses, then they should be sued. This is all but an admission on Yerdian's part that she doesn't actually know what a carer's job entails—namely, making sure their patient is healthy, which means giving them the food that they need as opposed to what they necessarily want. The summary goes on to claim that many allergies and disabilities are caused by the consumption of animal products, and that a whole-foods, plant-based diet can cure them, even going as far as to boast that a WFPBD can cure autism, when autism is something that affects how a brain is wired and has nothing to do with diet.
  • The series has repeatedly stated that Hitler being a vegetarian is a myth, and cites its sources from Rynn Berry, a late vegetarian author and activist, Dione Lucas, a chef that once served Hitler at a Hamburg hotel frequented by him, Albert Speer, and Robert Payne. It even goes to claim that his image of a vegetarian was just something invented by Goebbels. However, this is inaccurate due to the fact that there were many personal accounts that refute the claim that he wasn't, which includes his dietitian, secretary, and food taster. While he did make an exception for liver dumplings, he generally was very dedicated to being vegetarian for ethical reasons. He was very vocal about his anti-meat and animal welfare views, and in addition passed many anti-animal abuse laws and was a strong conservationist.
  • When one of the talking chickens chews out Shawn for saying that saying there is nothing wrong with eating meat. One of the points it brings up against omnivory is that slaughterhouses causes rises in rape and violent crime. The comic cites the source of that claim from a joint study in Michigan and Windsor by Fitzgerald, a "green" criminologist who mixes animal studies with gender studies. The most glaring flaw with the study is that it links correlation with causation, which falsely comes to the conclusion that slaughterhouses causes crimes rates to rise.
  • Yerdian actually supports feeding pets, like cats and dogs, vegan pet food, due to believing they don't need to eat meat and that it causes less suffering to provide animal products for them. Which is why in the case of Sonia Sae, she actually defends her decision to only feed her pet fennec fox, Jumanji, vegan food. The problem is that felines and canines are mostly carnivorous, with the former being more adaptable. Many people who try to convert cats and dogs to a vegan diet often end up with their pets having numerous malnutrition problems. This especially true of fennec foxes, whose diet is made of animal protein.
  • In the comment section of Pupa Vegan 556, Yerdian claims that India used to be a vegetarian country until the British came and spread the practice of animal slaughter to the populace. This is false, since animal slaughter including the consumption of beef, has had a long history in the country since ancient times. Also despite claiming that Rohit practices the original form of Hinduism, some of the oldest text mentions multiple cases of followers being allowed to eat meat. Further, the Vedas make frequent mention of ghee (clarified butter).
  • In the summary of Pupa Vegan 566, Yerdian proclaims that the animal agriculture industry gives false nutritional value to animal products, in order to spread propaganda. Her claims include:
    • Drinking milk is unhealthy and unnatural for human adults, even though even non-animal agriculture industries have found that humans are one of the unique species to be able to consume milk into adulthood and the added nutrition that comes with it.
    • That the animal industry falsely associated iron with beef; omega-3 with fish; and protein with meat in general; as a marking trick from the 1900's. And even claims that we can get them from the earth and plants naturally. The actual fact is that even though plants can naturally have those nutrients, they do not have it in large doses, which is why it's easier to obtain through eating those mentioned animal sources and why many studies (including ones outside of the animal agricultural industry) have proven that they are nutritious.
    • Fish causes the brain to shrink, instead of grow, due to mercury. Even though many sound studies have shown that there is a valid connection between brain growth and fish consumption, with the only problem being which types of food to eat less in order to avoid mercury poisoning.
    • Doctors who subscribe to eat animal products to get nutrition are funded by Big Pharma, who profit off illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease- which she says the number one cause is from overtly eating dairy, fish, and eggs. The actual number one cause of cancer and heart disease does come from diet and physical health, but it cannot be solely blamed for animal products as she claims.
  • In the strip about the bulls escaping in Germany, the comic erroneously labels them as calves, enough they are full grown.
  • For the comment section of Vegventure 77,Yerdian claims that you can get 15 times the amount of protein from plant sources. This isn't true due to the fact that plants tend to lack the full proteins that meat have, which not even soybeans-the only plant bases source that provides full proteins, can match up to.

Example of: