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Anti-natalism: What do Vegans Think of Anti-natalism

Anti-natalism is a philosophical and ethical stance against birth. Let's dig a little deeper to get the answer to what vegans think of anti-natalism.
Mahnoor Syed, Certified Dietitian and Nutritionist

Written by Mahnoor Syed, Certified Dietitian and Nutritionist. Updated on November 12, 2022.

Anti-natalism is a philosophical and ethical stance against birth. The belief is that childbirth has a negative moral significance and that people should refrain from reproducing because it is morally wrong.

Various ethical reasons are advanced for this, the most common of which is a loose agreement that humans cause or experience so much suffering that bringing them into the world to suffer or make others suffer is immoral.

Women face significant pressure to have children in a traditional society. Women are taught from a young age that having children is one of their primary functions.

In comparison, anti-natalism considers the creation of life to be meaningless, primarily a selfish choice.

The ultimate goal of this ideology, at least in many versions, is for humans to cease to exist.

It can be seen as an extension of another perspective on the meaning of life because it holds that simply existing is sufficient for a person to want to or be conceived of.

Let’s dig a little deeper to get the answer to what vegans think of anti-natalism.

What Do Ethical Vegans Think of Anti-natalism

Many antinatalists embrace veganism because the two lifestyle choices are ethically compatible. However, most ethical vegans are not against having children.

The particular work ethic determines whether one position implies the other.

Ethical Vegan Principle and Anti-natalism

The basic principle of anti-natalism is ahimsa. That means do not harm, or you shall not kill.

It means to avoid harming anything that can be harmed, either you, your family, your neighbor, other humans, other animals, and even the environment.

Many ethical vegans believe we have a moral obligation to control our individual and collective behaviors and stop harming ourselves and others.

Controlling our population rate to reverse current growth must be part of the solution.

Transitioning to a plant-based economy, adopting veganism as our default ethics, and embracing ahimsa politics are all things we should be advocating for.

Human extinction looks like not wanting to take responsibility for our mistakes and just trying to bail out without correcting them.

Humanity’s suicide, even if in the form of preventing human births other than ending humans’ lives, seems more an act born from individual desperation than collective responsibility.

Vegans’ Arguments on Anti-natalism

David Benatar defends anti-natalism in Better Never to Have Been, the belief that it is wrong to reproduce. By bringing a child into the world, we cause serious harm to it.

Benatar presents two independent arguments for anti-natalism. The first argues that it is always rationally harmful to be created. The asymmetry has no bearing on the second argument.

Instead, it argues for a general pessimism about the human condition. This is known as the argument from pessimism.

Content that neither statement is successful. Both views make the mistaken assumption that less good is evil.

Harm to Humans

Antinitalist believes that humans lie, steal, cheat, speak hurtfully, break confidences and promises, and violate privacy.

They also rape, assault, flog, maim, brand, kidnap, enslave, and torture other humans or even murder each other. Even when justice is pursued, it is rarely achieved.

By all means, significantly reducing our population and eliminating our harmful habits is the way to go. However, voluntary extinction appears to be a step too far.

Harm to the Environment

The other argument they make to support anti-natalism is that humans are also highly invasive to the environment.

The human population is increasing exponentially, and the negative environmental impacts per person are also increasing. This is partly due to industrialization and steady growth in per capita consumption.

CO2 emissions per person per year are enormous. While they are lower in developing countries, they are much higher in their wealthier counterparts. More humans will invariably ruin the environment as the population grows.

But it doesn’t mean to end in supporting anti-natalism. We can play our part and try our best to minimize the blood and carbon footprint to give a better life to future generations.

Harm to Animals

Antaintalists are against slaughtering sheep, pigs, cattle, horses, goats, camels, buffalo, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and other animals for human consumption. Thus, they believe these animals’ deaths are painful and stressful.

The vast majority of people are not vegetarians or vegans, and the majority of them are complicit in this suffering.

The average meat eater will consume at least 1690 animals in their lifetime, causing enormous harm.

Though slaughtering isn’t allowed in many religions still, it doesn’t support anti-natalism in either way.

Is It True That Most Vegans Tend to Be Child-Free

No, it doesn’t. But let’s have a closer look.

Believing vs. Following

It is essential to differentiate between being an antinatalist (personally believing in) and advocating or encouraging the position to others as part of activism.

Someone may be an antinatalist in the philosophical sense that they think procreation is always morally wrong and may live accordingly.

However, that does not necessarily mean promoting that position today is a good idea.


Altinatism and child freedom are linked to liberal ideologies, lower levels of religiosity, and conservationism.

There’s something to be said for how challenging one ideological structure you’ve been propagandized into can result in the collapse of others, not least because they’re interconnected and mutually reinforcing.


Some vegans believe that having children contradicts their vegan beliefs. The reason is that it adds to the burden of an already overcrowded planet.

Choosing to live child-free isn’t for everyone, but for those who make the conscious decision, one of the significant and growing motivations for declaring this status is morality.

This is primarily linked to climate change caused by overpopulation.

Still, some believe it is cruel to bring more humans into a world with such an uncertain future – a growing group of people who share this belief is recognized as Postnatalists.


Most vegan defines vegetarian as speciesists who discriminate against one species they have arbitrarily defined.

But not a pro-natalist because there are far too many humans, and reducing our population to a much lower level would benefit everyone.

Significantly lower, but not zero. Much lower, but not to a small group of privileged inbred elitists.

Enough for biodiversity to continue evolving on this planet alongside everyone else.

Is Having Children Vegan?

Nothing is more personal than one’s reproductive choices. I believe that no one should be shamed for their choices, no matter who they are.

It can be seen as an extension of another perspective on the meaning of life because it holds that simply existing is sufficient for a person to want to or be conceived of.

Unfortunately, many women and men in the vegan movement who identify as “antinatalists” shame women for their decision to have children. Creating an unsafe environment for many women in the movement.

Women with children are derided as “breeders” and worse in antinatalist spaces, and jokes are made about women who have miscarriages or babies with disabilities.

Furthermore, a child cannot be born for its own sake, and it sends the message that life is meaningless because of our unavoidable suffering.

It holds that no one should exist because there is no point in existing because we are merely puppets; we are self-conscious nothings who believe we are something.

Direct calls of violence against women and babies are exposed and made public. There is frequently a deafening silence among other “child-free” vegans who are otherwise staunch anti-violence activists.

I suppose it’s human nature to ignore violence and hatred perpetrated by those with whom we share other beliefs or characteristics.


In a nutshell, though, our planet is indisputably overpopulated, and as a result, it is suffering.

There are also a large number of children waiting to be adopted and placed in a loving home, many of whom will never have the opportunity.

So, even if having children is wrong in some philosophical sense.

It is possible that promoting that view will have negative consequences that outweigh any nominal benefit or result in an effect that refutes the goal.

In any case, the world-destroying scenario is not the same as the situation of not creating new people. The former involves people who already exist, whereas the latter involves people who do not exist.

To return to the asymmetry argument, we do not intuitively believe we are obligated to create people.

This would imply that not having children or having as few as possible without causing harm to others is immoral.

Perfection is an inappropriate standard for judging the standard of living. Standards must be based on what is nomologically possible, not what is logically possible, but what is nomologically impossible.

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