I don’t like that I’m contributing to those harms, but if we need to eat animal products in order to be healthy, then doesn’t that make it necessary to use them?

In order for it to be the case that a particular use of animals is more than trivial, there must be some need for it. Certainly pleasure, convenience, and tradition do not constitute necessity. Circuses, rodeos, marine parks, and other forms of animal-exploiting entertainment are transparently trivial uses of nonhuman animals. And there are plenty of clothing options that do not involve animal use, from shoes and sweaters to coats and accessories, all made from synthetic or natural textiles such as cotton, canvas, hemp, plant-based leathers, and more, so we can’t say that it is necessary to use nonhumans for fashion.

Using animals for food may seem important in a way that these other uses are not, but even in terms of health it is unnecessary to use and consume nonhuman animals or their products. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that an appropriately planned vegan diet is healthful for all stages of life. They further advise that plant-based diets may provide a variety of preventative health benefits. Of course, as with any diet, a poorly planned vegan diet could be dangerous or unhealthful. For more nutrition information, read the IVA’s guide, Demystifying Vegan Nutrition.

Simply put, animal use is unnecessary and it causes them harm. Because causing unnecessary harm to animals is wrong, using animals is wrong. Not using animals means becoming vegan.