Asearch for “vegetarian” on YouTube yields approximately 780,000 results. Nearly every video is in favor of vegetarianism, and they have been uploaded by a wide range of educators, religious leaders, athletes, children and animal-rights activists. Even most of the 4,500 videos we found by searching for an anti-vegetarian message turned out to be in favor of not eating meat.
In one adorable 2013 video—which has amassed over six million views so far (and which prompted this article)—a young Portuguese child refuses to eat a plate of meat put in front of him. The boy enters a thoughtful discussion with his mother about the animal’s death. He says he would rather the animal had lived than died for him to eat it. In the end, the mother is brought to tears by her son’s innocent compassion. See: bit.ly/veggieboy.
In a more extreme example of pro-vegetarian media, the YouTube channel “Alltime10’s” presents ten facts on meat processing in a short but powerful video showing horrific scenes of slaughterhouse practices. The video cautions meat-eaters of its ability to instantly make them vegetarians. The startling film was presented on Huffington Post and has collected over half a million views: bit.ly/tenfact.
With thousands of videos and millions of subscribers, TED Talks is another prominent forum for the subject. Here vegetarianism is presented in a casual but intimate way, offering unique ideas and personal testimony. In his presentation, vegan bodybuilder Joshua Knox proves that athletes can succeed without eating meat. He tells the story of his transformation from a voracious meat-eater to a powerful vegan athlete: bit.ly/veganbber. Graham Hill—founder of treehugger.com—talks about something he calls “weekday veg”—basically being a vegetarian Monday through Friday with a break on the weekend. This typifies the slow transition from meat eating that seems to be gaining popularity among people trying to improve their diet. His talk can be seen here: bit.ly/partveggie.
As might be expected, YouTube’s loudest veggie voices are health related. And supporting testimony from viewers is readily apparent in the comment sections, giving credence to the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Some viewers even make a pledge to stop eating meat on the spot.
The religious context for vegetarianism has a surprisingly small presence. However, the 45-minute film “All Religions Say: Be Vegetarian!” is extensive, citing scriptures of world religions. It presents the Hindu view with quotes from the Mahabharata and the Vaishnava scripture Adi Lila. You can see it here: bit.ly/veggiequote. Other videos present the opinions of individual religious leaders. Sri Ravi Shankar, for example, offers a compelling message about being vegetarian and includes testimony from his followers on how it has aided their spiritual life. See: bit.ly/beveggie.
Geobeats takes on the challenge to counter vegetarians with a pro-meat, ten-facts-based video. The somewhat archaic clip has just over 19,000 views. See how many of its “facts” you can prove wrong (or completely irrelevant) at bit.ly/promeat.
Have a look yourself and see what others are saying about a meat-free lifestyle.
Online veggies: A delectable Indian vegetarian meal
ALL PHOTOS YOUTUBE.COM
Veggie athlete Joshua Knox can credibly refute a meat-eaters argument
A young child refuses to eat an animal
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar speaks elegantly about this compassionate Hindu value