If your arguments allow the possibility of attaining a solution by reducing harm, your argument is probably an animal welfare argument.
Using numbers means that there HAS to be a “good” number and a “bad” number. It implies that there is an amount of deaths that we will tolerate as long as the number of deaths is somewhat, or significantly lower than the “bad” number. It encourages better, and not best.
For example, if you tell a speciesist that x amount of animals are being exploited, they will probably agree with you that x amount is a high amount and is a “bad” number.
Vegans who use stats intend to express an equation like this:
x - x = 0 = the best outcome
Non-vegan logic can interpret that equation in many different ways such as:
x - 1 = better than x
x - 100 = better than x
x - 10000000 = better than x
Please please please remodel your advocacy to include anti-speciesism, as it is what causes animal oppression and exploitation.
This is important. If we agree that even harming one individual is wrong, then saying how many individuals are harmed isn’t important to the points we make. It’s not the numbers that make something wrong and exploitative, but the fact of the things.
shooting animals who are just wandering around minding their own business and then calling it a ‘sport’ is unjustifiable
Forcing animals to live in awful, cramped conditions their whole lives before being killed and then calling it ‘food’ is unjustifiable
Believing that your wants for an animal’s body is more important that an animal’s want for their own body is unjustifiable.
It is, yes, but It’s not like we live in an ideal society. As you well know, we live in one that normalises and encourages acts of exploitation, and people can get used to this and find change difficult. Furthermore, if someone needs to properly monitor their health through the process, or perhaps needs to eat out regularly due to their schedule, it can take a bit of time figuring things out, particularly if they start out as someone who eats a lot of animal products.
If someone agrees completely with a vegan philosophy they aren’t going to sit around comfortably in a “vegetarian zone” any longer than they must, because they would hate the fact of what they contribute to. If someone would do so, then obviously they couldn’t be “going vegan” in the first place, since they contradict the philosophy of veganism.
I think veganism itself is treated in a far too diet-centered way by many vegans, where “going vegan” means just adopting the resulting diet of veganism. Veganism is a philosophy, and anyone who determines to live by it is vegan, all actions are the result of that.
We have to understand that we are moving towards a point, through various methods, where animal exploitation and speciesism are gone. On the way to that end, the dietary aspects will lose some of their difficulties, and these things will become easier for those who would’ve otherwise struggled. Just because people might have difficulty now is no comment on the dietary aspect of veganism, because our goal includes these becoming non-issues.
I think for you to say “it’s easy, you can all do it overnight” is missing one of the biggest problems of such a speciesist and exploitative society - that it is made difficult to opt out of that.
I’ve just changed my blog theme. I realised that the other one wan’t the easiest to read due to the colour and so might cause difficulties for some. I hope this one is better.
I’m going to publish this because if people have comments, I like to just publish them without question. However, I don’t agree with this necessarily. I think people should take any steps that they can to ensure that they naturally and healthily transition to veganism in a way that is comfortable for them. I’m still grateful for your input though so thank you :)
I think if someone is intending to move to an entirely plant based diet and uses vegetarianism as a step, they aren’t going to be doing more harm than when they were consuming meat. It’s not like by eating meat, the eggs, dairy and honey you have too are harmless, you’re just contibuting to all of those things at once.
If someone agrees with the philosophy of veganism, but needs time to alter their diet in accordance with that, then I imagine their focus would be on continuously reducing the animal products they use/consume, and they will have right away stopped purchasing non-food items which involve animal products/testing.
Of course, I wouldn’t suggest someone just remain vegetarian with no interest in eliminating animal products other than meat from their lives, but I wouldn’t say a vegetarian period has no use, particularly for those who have complicating health/other problems. It seems counterproductive to tell such people not to do it at all if they must do it slowly.
Your argument could, however, make the point for eliminating eggs/dairy before then eliminating meat in instances where someone must do it slowly, if those industries do cause more harm (which I imagine they do).
I certainly agree. The breeding and selling of companion animals is exploitative anyway, so it would be odd for me to condone the continuation of the practice. Then, as you say, there would be the additional exploitation (and killing) of other non-human animals to sustain their lives.
I think the expectation that non-human animals should provide services for us, and the breeding of them to that end are really harmful (and speciesist) notions. I encourage anyone who lives with a cat or other non-human animal to have them spayed or neutered, and to respect that they don’t owe them anything, even companionship.
I really do hope there will be a time where our relationship with non-human animals is such that people don’t feel a need to possess, hold or touch them to appreciate them.
In other news, self-righteous vegans are fucking crazy. Unless you grow all your own food in your own backyard, you are contributing to someone’s suffering, whether it be native animals that are killed while your soy milk is being harvested or your fruit being picked by…
Its called the circle of life.
Firstly it might be useful for you to google “the circle of life”. I did so but all I could see is “The Lion King”, no actual theories of processes it’s based upon.
I will assume you’re refering to the way all life sustains eachother within ecosystems. But who’s lives are we sustaining? We shit into ceramic bowls and flush it away, we take water from the environment a clean if for our own use, we take minerals and metals from the earth, we live in houses where not even the wind can touch us, we pave over the Earth so nothing dropped will ever be a part of it, and we bury our dead where scavengers cannot get them, and bury them in boxes so we cannot even properly become part of the soil. We even fear scavengers, whose habitat we have stolen, and so poison them to keep them from taking our scraps. We use any excuse to kill species other than us, and lock various species in zoos under the guise of education and conservation. We have intoduced many damaging non-native species to different countries too, and have so bred animals for companionship that they must now depend on us for survival. How are we any part of this “Circle of Life” that The Lion King was on about. How?
Humans are omnivores. I don’t consider the ethical raising, caring, slaughter, and butchering of unself-aware animals “exploitive”.
What awareness of themselves must they have for it to be exploitative? Is the important thing really that they can recognise themselves in as mirror, or is it that they are sentient and can experience the world by their senses? Because they are sentient, and they can experience pain and stress and suffering. In what way does that justify exploiting them, that they may not recognise themselves in a mirror? (the mirror test being pretty anthropocentric anyway, as not all species have good sight, or rely on sight as their primary sense) (actually, the idea that being self aware is a requirement if we are to not exploit them is even more so)
Meat has been apart of the human diet for centuries and our bodies are designed to process it in conservative amounts. Supporting small farms and heritage breeds of livestock is port ant to me, considering most farm animals excluding pigs are too stupid and tamed to survive on their own. They continue to live because humans raise them to eat. On good farms, livestock live stress-free lives with water, food, and little risk of predatoration in exchange for a quick death. These animals were prey to begin with. And since they aren’t aware of their own individual existence, I don’t find raising livestock for animal products abusive unless they are being grown in battery farm operations.
But we do not have to live off the bodies of other sentient beings, we need not devalue their lives and disregard their wants in favour of our own wants for their bodies. Pigs are certainly not unintelligent, they are more intelligent than dogs, but even if they were. should we really kill and exploit others based on their percieved lack of intelligence? Is that an adequate justification for doing harm to another? I have no interest in seeing the continued survival of a species who humans have altered so much as they cannot live by themselves. But I don’t believe that is entirely the case, of course, I am certain that many domesticated species could live in a similar way to their ancestoral species.
But there is no reason for us to do it, and such species are obviously harmed by our use of them. We put them in habitats which are not their own, and let them live for under a year before putting them in a truck to go be slaughtered. We keep the mothers in stalls, because their behaviour is so influenced by the unnatural environment that they may, apparently, kill their young. We forcefully inseminate them and do not allow them then natural process of mating and child rearing. This is not fair.
My problem with the whole vegan argument is no one had the right to tell someone else what their diet should be based off of some self-righteous personal beliefs. Animals kill and eat other animals. Human beings are above the food chain thanks to our huge brains. Luckily for livestock, our modern slaughter practices for most large livestock is far more humane than how other predatory animals dispatch their prey.
But vegans are not telling you what to eat, we are stimply stating that it is wrong to use the bodies of others for it. I will always object to instances where injustice is done against others, and this is one of them. Just because other animals kill animals doesn’t mean we must, any more than rape, murder, cannibalism, infanticide, or evel lack of hygene amongst other species should justify us doing the same. You mention how we have big brains, well such brains have afforded us the ability to make decisions based on the impact they have on others, to make moral decisions. So don’t go jusifying the harm of others based on species who have no choice but to harm, and cannot make such decisions.
But at least with other situations there is a chance for survival, and those species will develop positively as a result of natural selection. I am certain it can’t be said of any wild population that all individuals will live only a year or less. How can you say that this is justifiable to do, these beings will no short lives that end with unavoidable suffering and death. The right to life is one we afford other humans, why is life not considered important for non-human animals?
Veganism will never become mainstream because the diet is too restrictive and unnatural and people have the right to decide for themselves what they need to nourish their bodies.
But to consume animal products is impacting on others, is is harming others, and it is normalising a disregard for them. It is perpetuating the idea that we can do whatever we want to others, provided their species is different. It treats them as objects, and removes their status as victims, as well as prioritising a desire for particular foods over their very lives. How is any of that okay? If someone absolutely needs animal products, then they can take what they must to live, but understand that it is a necessary evil. But you cannot justify the willful use of them based on another person’s need.
And unless you grow your own food and make your own clothes, you are exploiting someone down the food chain, intentionally or not.
As I said, I do everything I can to avoid that. But animal products are always a result of exploitation and harm, and therefore the easiest way of doing so. Just because someone may be harmed, does not mean you shouldn’t take steps to avoid harm where you can.
But here’s the thing, it’s about more than simply the act of refusing to do those things, it’s about the way of thinking that is behind it. It’s a total respect for all sentient beings and their wants or needs. If people were, as a whole, to embrace such a way of thinking, do you think things would get worse, or improve for everyone? Because I absolutely think the latter, in every sense. I think things can change if people can change. We must end the rampant speciesism which is so present everywhere, and we will come out of it better and more respectful.
The fact of the matter is your sense of morality is way different than most people and you can’t expect to shame people from eating a part of their diet because you can’t stomach it. If you can’t handle animal death, that’s your own personal problem. I have no problem killing and butchering for food. Livestock are raised to die and they would die out if we didn’t keep them for food.
I wonder sometimes if people like you have even worked around farm animals before. The moment of humanizing is ridiculous.
If you talk about morality as some personal thing which people can differ on, then that can lead to terrible decisions. Just because “most people” can justify something harmful, that does not mean it is not harmful, nor does it mean that all morals are equal in relation to that act. If we agree that causing harm, death or suffering is wrong, then it would be immoral and illogical not to extend that to all those who can experience it. We even afford such care and protection to certain non-human species, why not all?
If someone were to breed a select population of humans for such a purpose, would you consider such a thing to justify the continuation of it? Why does the continued existance of a species we created mean so much to you, and if it does, why does that continued existence necessitate exploitation and death in your eyes? You appear to be claiming breeding non-human animals to kill is done soley in the interest of preserving the species.
I have worked around animals before, and had my health allowed it I would be working around some currently. I have spent time caring for hens, ducks, dogs, rabbits and cats in the past. I have also spent time watching animals in the wild, and have no need to distinguish between such animals and ‘farm animals’ in how I think of them. I don’t make any arguments based on shared traits between humans and non-human animals either, except for sentience and capacity for suffering. I don’t believe someone ought to be like humans, or have human traits in order to deserve to have their needs and wants respected, and I absolutely hate anthropomorphising animals. I don’t see how you can claim that I ‘humanise’ non-human animals.
I’m not sure you’ve read though all of what I had responded, and honestly anything else I say will be repeating the same points. I encourage you to reread what I have said, and other posts of mine. Perhaps at some point you’ll realise what I’m saying, and consider that causing harm is actually a bad thing.
Human Rights Are Animal Rights
A conference on commonalities of oppression
October 26, 2013
mandy hiscocks got involved in animal rights activism through the punk scene in high school, because it’s an easy first thing for privileged white kids to take on. she identifies as an anarchist and has organized around poverty, tuition fees and the corporatization of campus, housing, militarism and police, environmental justice, globalisation, and Indigenous solidarity. she spent most of 2012 in jail serving time for having organized against the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto, so has some recent personal experience with cages and a renewed respect for human and animal liberation movements.
A fun thing to do when people accuse you of “thinking people should just have stuff HANDED TO THEM! ! !” Is to just cold be like yes. I absolutely do believe that. I think every single person should have their needs met unconditionally without ever having to prove that they “deserve” it based on arbitrary criteria of usefulness. You got me. Busted.
So yet again my new vegan life is bringing up 101 questions about my health. But one I hate answering is the B12 problem, as humans we need B12 to make red blood cells and keep the nervous system healthy, release energy form the foods we eat and process folic acid. Pretty important right?
Well normally we humans get B12 from meat, salmon, cod, dairy products and eggs. Oh snap, I’m vegan
I can’t eat any of that shit
As Vegans we can get it from fortified breakfast cereals, soya drinks and yeast extract(marmite) or from a supplement
So my mother gave me the nice question, ‘if our bodies need B12 that means we have evolved to have B12. From natural sources, like animal products. So Vegan isn’t natural..or healthy..’
Fuck was what I thought in my head
Because I had no other viable answer to give back to her, anyone else?
B12 is created by bacteria which would typically be present in soil, dirty water, feces and the guts of animals (including humans). Obviously with things as sanitized as they are, we are left without natural sources barring animal products, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only place they’re found.
B12 is also reduced by cooking, though, and 40% of the population is thought to be B12 deficient (that’s not just vegans), so I would’ve thought that everyone should make sure they’re getting enough fortified food or supplements anyway, even if they eat meat.
But even if all of that wasn’t the case, it’s still the fact now that we can get B12 from fortified foods or supplements. Veganism doesn’t hinge on a plant-based diet being natural, but on one being possible now.
How do you oppose objectification, but try to argue that objectifying another marginalized group is justifiable? That really just means that you’re against objectification of the groups that matter to you.
The fact that you don’t eat meat doesn’t automatically make you some kind of supreme being. The fact that you don’t eat meat doesn’t make you any better than anybody else. It’s simply a preference regarding your diet and it definitely does not give you the right to treat meat eaters like personal animal abusers.
There are people who only eat meat because if they didn’t they would have health issues, there are also people who eat meat, and still care about animals.
Seriously, y’all think you’re gifts from god because of your diet choice.
It would not be productive to a sense of superiority to want others, actually most people, to be vegan too. It’s not about you, or other non-vegans, or how we think of you. The whole thing is about challenging the widespread perception and treatment of non-human animals, and eliminating their use and harm for human wants. That’s it. If I wanted to be vegan just to “one up” everyone else, I’d hardly be sad, angry, and frustrated that not everyone is every day, would I? And same for other vegans. People seem so desparate to belive that veganism is the product of anything that isn’t a respect for non-human animals and intention to do everything we can to stop the harm against them.
Veganism isn’t a dietary preferance either, nor is it a lifestyle though many would say so. It’s a philosophy that we should challenge speciesism, and that non-human animals deserve equal respect for their needs and wants as humans. The actions (the things you see and talk about, including diet) are a product of that philosophy. Were someone to truly hold a vegan philosophy but be required, by health, to use some animal products, then it would be truly unfair to criticise them. But if someone chooses to use products of such harm, and not hold anything resembling a vegan philosophy, then their definition of care is not one familliar to me. Because isn’t care doing everything you can to help someone? Or, at the very least, doing what you can to not harm them. Doesn’t it involve respecting them?
It would be rather counter-productive to challenging the use of and harm done to non-human animals if we were to simply be quiet about it. Being vocal about it is crucial to making any kind of change. That isn’t because we’re “gifts from god” but because challenging things that are harmful and wrong is the right thing to do. The majority of people would agree with that statement in relation to harm against humans, so why should it not be accepted in relation to harm against non-human animals?
Thank you so much :) and I certainly don’t intend to leave this blog!