Top 10 Comebacks at a Protest

Published by .
5 min read

We’ve all been there—holding our signs, chanting our protest slogans, passing out our leaflets, and smiling and waving until we felt like the bloody Queen of England. And then some person who’s having a bad day decides to take it out on you because you’re an easy target.

He or she says something mean or stupid—or, ingeniously, both—and you need a comeback … fast. Here’s the catch: Your comeback has to be polite. And since you’re not going to change the person with one quick-witted quip, you need to try to engage him or her by making a quick point and then asking questions so that you can have a conversation about the issues. Seem like too tall of an order? Not at all! Check out our top 10 comebacks at a protest (to keep it simple, let’s say it’s a pro-vegetarian protest). Keep in mind, there’s no “right answer.” Basically, you want to open the person’s mind to the fact that animals suffer terribly and he or she can do something about it.

  1. Comment: “What do you think about abortion?”
    Response: “I believe in protecting innocent life. That’s why I’m vegetarian. If people did to dogs and cats the sorts of things that are done to animals on factory farms, they’d go to jail for cruelty to animals. Did you know that there’s no legal protection for these animals?”
  2. Comment: “I like chicken!”
    Response: “I didn’t give up meat because I didn’t like how it tastes. I gave it up because I saw how horribly animals suffered for my plate. Have you ever seen what happens on factory farms?”
  3. Comment: “If God didn’t want us to eat animals, why’d he make them so tasty?”
    Response: “That’s funny. [Sometimes you say something’s funny when really it’s the most unimaginative and stupid thing that a person could say.] But you know, there are a lot of things that are really delicious that don’t require animals to suffer and die. Have you ever seen how much animals are abused on factory farms?”
  4. Comment: “We’ve always eaten meat.”
    Response: “That’s true. [You don’t lose anything by affirming someone else’s beliefs and it may make the person more receptive to your perspective.] But there are many things that we’ve done historically that we no longer think are OK. We used to think that slavery was OK, that it was OK to treat women like second-class citizens, and that it was OK to beat children, but we don’t think any of those things are OK today. In the past, we didn’t really understand other animals, but the more we learn about other animals, the more we see that they’re very much like us, especially in their capacity to suffer. Do you see what I mean?”
  5. Comment: “Animals eat each other, so why shouldn’t we eat them?”
    Response: “I see your point, but we don’t really take our moral cues from other animals, do we? Some animals fight territorial battles to the death, some eat their young, and some kill their partners after having sex. We don’t follow animals in those behaviors, so why would we follow the behavior of some animals to eat other animals?”
  6. Comment: “It’s a free country, and people should be allowed to make choices. If you want to eat tofu, that’s fine. I want to eat steak.”
    Response: You’re right: It is a free country. We’re just saying that people should make informed choices. The meat industry isn’t bending over backward to let consumers know where their meat comes from, so we’re here to offer that information. The meat industry doesn’t want you to know that animals are packed together so tightly on filthy factory farms that they often can’t turn around or spread a single wing or take a single step. They don’t want you to know that these animals take their first breath of fresh air when they’re on the back of a truck headed to slaughter. Did you know there are no legal protections for animals on factory farms?”
  7. Comment: “The Bible gives us dominion over animals.”
    Response: “That’s true. [Even if you don’t believe in the Bible, there’s no reason to take on the person’s faith along with their dietary habits.] But The Queen of England has dominion over her subjects, and that doesn’t give her the right to torture and kill them. ‘Dominion’ doesn’t give us a right to do what we want to animals; it means that we should have reverence for them and protect them. Does this make sense?”
    Alternate Response: “That’s true, but God endowed animals with certain abilities that are totally frustrated on today’s factory farms. Animals are taken away from their mothers at birth. They’re crowded into sheds and cages so tightly that they can’t take one step or spread one wing. Surely, God didn’t want His animals abused so hideously. Do you see my point?”
  8. Comment: “What about the screaming broccoli, you plant-killing hypocrite?”
    Response: “I hear what you’re saying. But surely you’ll agree that there is a fundamental difference between tearing up a head of lettuce and bashing in a dog’s head with a baseball bat. The ability to feel pain requires a brain, a central nervous system, and pain receptors. All mammals, birds, and fish have these things; plants do not. Animals feel pain, just as we do. As far as we know, plants don’t. Would you agree?”
  9. Comment: “It must be really boring to eat only vegan foods.”
    Response: “I thought it might be boring, too, when I first went vegan, but I was surprised by the great variety of vegan foods. These days, with so much demand for healthy, delicious, cruelty-free foods, you don’t have to give up anything in the way of taste or texture to go vegan. Whether you’re looking for veggie burgers and dogs, faux-chicken patties, faux dairy products … even faux shrimp cocktail—it’s out there. And there’s a world of cuisines based around grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. If you like to cook, you should definitely check out for hundreds of great recipes!”
  10. Comment: “Where do you get your protein?”
    Response: “I worried about protein when I first went vegan, but then I learned that vegetarian Americans get 150 percent of their recommended daily allowance of protein. Protein is in so many foods—beans, grains, tofu, faux meats, soy milk, and also a lot of vegetables and fruits. Plus, do you really know anyone with a protein deficiency?”


Posted by Grace Friedan, Researcher

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.