The Ethics of a Vegan Diet

James Hamblin sat down with Def Jam founder Russell Simmons to swap strategies to defend vegan diets from common counter-arguments (e.g. “I can’t give up meat, because meat is delicious.”):

Among the counter-arguments they didn’t discuss: That a vegan diet may not be entirely bloodless. One reader summarizes this somewhat-disturbing take below. (Warning: You might not want to read this while eating.)

There is no such thing as a vegan. Every piece of food you eat is crawling with little animals. Your stomach is currently slaughtering millions of worms and other critters. Furthermore, to get your soy, they killed thousands of mice and other ground dwelling animals. Not to mention the insects.

Mmmm, dead mice in your soy—delicious. So how accurate is the argument? Scientific American’s Kyle Hill covered the bugs we accidentally digest each year:

Try as we might with insecticides and other engineered poisons, bugs crawl all over our food to feed (and procreate) on it. When we harvest and package our crops, a lot of bugs come along for the ride. Be aware, all the hitchhikers aren’t removed. At least there are limits on how many bugs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lets you unknowingly eat.

The FDA’s Defect Levels Handbook lays it all out.