Why Are Animal Proteins Considered Better Than Plant Proteins?

It always surprises me how the protein debate continues to pervade the discussions around plant-based diets. It’s been drilled into our subconscious minds that plant proteins are inferior to animal proteins. But is this true? Why are animal proteins considered better than plant proteins?

Why Are Animal Proteins Considered Better Than Plant Proteins?

 Because the animal agriculture industries have latched on to the term ‘complete protein’ which places animal protein in a superior position to any single plant protein, failing to make clear that a varied plant based diet will provide you with an identical complete protein. 


Newly hatched chicks next to a broken egg shell.

It’s no secret that animal agriculture is big business. The demand is huge and even though veganism is rapidly growing in popularity every day, we are still a very small minority in the grand scheme of things.

In fact, meat consumption is growing at a faster rate than ever before, even with all the information we now have about the damaging effects of its production. As an example, Brazil’s beef trade alone was worth over $7.5 billion in 2019. [1]

With markets that big it’s no wonder the meat and dairy industries will go to extraordinary lengths to protect and promote their gruesome business. The protein debate slips nicely into their narrative.

Implanting Those Early Doubts In Our Minds

It happens early in our lives. The imagery and messages we’re exposed to when we’re growing up can have a profound effect on our understanding of the situation. This is how ‘big ag’ controls the portrayal of the industry responsible for over 77 billion slaughtered animals every year.

Friesian cow behind a barbed wire fence.

They really don’t want you to discover the truth behind their violent profession. They’d rather show us pretty little pictures on our milk bottles of calves gambolling in the fields with their mother. This could not be further from the horrific reality.

A reality which includes separation of the newborn calf from the mother, often within hours of birth. The lucky ones might get 24 hours with Mum. Many dairy farmers report both animals ‘crying’ for each other for days afterwards. Cows have a strong maternal instinct.

But it doesn’t make economic sense to have the calf drinking all that rich, lovely milk. There’d be none left for humans. So the female animals are inserted into the system where their fate is identical to their tired old Mum.

The males are not so lucky. Essentially worthless to the industry, most are shot on the farm. Some male calves end up in the veal industry where their movement is restricted for a couple of years to keep the meat tender at slaughter. A pitiful life.

Why am I bringing all this up in a discussion about animal vs plant protein?

Because protein has become a vehicle for ‘big ag’ to jump on in order to distract you from what really drives their business … ie: horrific cruelty.

The Complete Protein Myth – Debunked

Marketing executive reflected in glass with a 'growth' arrow pointing up.

Enter; stage left; the ‘complete protein’ myth. I can just see the marketing execs and focus groups now. Sitting around their long Indian Rosewood tables, trying to identify some angle they can use to counter the inexorable rise of the plant-based brigade!

Something they can use to sow seeds of doubt in the consumer’s mind. To subtly code messages into the brain which trigger when the right situation arises. These people are very clever at manipulating human behaviour. They have honed the art of persuasion and people are easy to manipulate, especially with the rise of social media.

So this is why you now see messaging everywhere online about how plant protein is inferior to animal protein because it is not ‘complete’.

… and it sounds credible too.

When I first became aware of the complete protein thing a few years ago, I also had a little wobble and I thought to myself, “blimey, what if they’re right? What if I do need meat and dairy to stay healthy?”.

Although, the meat not so much because I’d already been vegetarian for over 20 years before going vegan and I was a fit, healthy young man. So I knew I didn’t need meat to survive. But I consumed a lot of dairy. Pints of cow juice and pounds of cheese!

Anyway, as the YouTube conspiracy theory nuts like to say, I did my own research!

I scoured endless scientific papers and peer-reviewed studies on the subject (unlike the conspiracy nuts!) and surprise surprise, I discovered everything was not what it seemed.

Close up of the human eye.

So the term complete protein refers to a food source which provides us with all the essential amino acids we need to build all the different proteins found in the human body. And it’s true, many animal proteins do provide this nutrition.

What most of the propaganda fails to make clear though, is that it’s also very easy to get all the essential amino acids via a varied plant based diet.

When you think about it … where do animals get their protein from? Yep … you guessed it.

From plants!

The ‘complete protein’ myth is just that. A myth created by the meat and dairy barons in order to scare the general populace into believing their murderous products are the only sources of complete protein.

Do not believe all that you see and hear!

In Truth: Protein Is Protein Regardless Of The Source

Child playing with multi-coloured, wooden play blocks.

It makes absolutely no difference to our bodies where the amino acids come from. They are the basic building blocks from which we create the thousands of proteins we need daily and they perform a dazzling array of functions.

In reality, animal protein is no better than plant protein as long as you’re eating a good variety of plant based foods. Nuts, legumes, seeds and plenty of vegetables along with a variety of fruits will give you that complete protein.

No need to buy into the myths perpetrated by shady big ag marketing types.

No need to engage with the animal protein market whatsoever!

Veganism Challenges The Status Quo

The meat and dairy industries perceive veganism as a threat to their bottom line. These days they also have the whole plant based movement to contend with. This is a group who are not necessarily vegan but they have chosen to either eliminate or drastically reduce their animal protein intake.

A green mug imprinted with the words 'In case I haven'rt told you today, I'm vegan'.

… and ‘big ag’ is suffering!

Demand for dairy is plummeting in the western world especially with mainstream programmes like Panorama recently airing in the UK. Twitter was awash with people stating they’ll never drink milk again after seeing this broadcast.

The popular current affairs programme exposed some horrific cruelty on a dairy farm in Wales with some sickening footage of wanton animal abuse. Many viewers commented on how they had no idea the cows were treated so poorly.

Something vegans have known for a long time.

So the status quo is being challenged and the incumbent industries don’t like it. In response we have phrases like ‘complete protein’ adopted in an attempt to make us think we need these food sources for optimum nutrition.

But we don’t. The future is plant-powered!


I hope this article has helped cut through the noise in your world and bring you the truth. My goal is nothing more. With knowledge of the truth comes liberation. If you’d like to leave a comment please do so below and share this with someone you think may benefit.


Thanks for reading and have a compassionate day!


[1] Statista – Beef and veal export value from Brazil by destination 2019. https://www.statista.com/statistics/617492/beef-and-veal-export-value-brazil-by-country-of-destination/



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