Veganism is not about human health or the environment. It’s a moral stance against human animals intentionally using nonhuman animals for human interests. The health and environmental benefits of a plants-only diet are merely 2 incidental issues among several that are tangential to the stance of living Vegan. Living Vegan necessitates understanding and following the moral stance, not just following a diet or some other restriction of limited personal action. In order to call ourselves Vegan we must first take that moral stance. Below I’ve outlined why we need to do so in the first place:
1. Nonhuman animals feel pain, pleasure, fear and other sensations. If they feel these sensations, then they have an interest in not being used merely as a resource for human pleasure, amusement, or convenience.
2. There is no necessity for human animals to intentionally use nonhuman animals and cause them to suffer or die except our own enjoyment of the taste of their flesh/secretions and the convenience that animal exploitation affords us. Humans have no dietary need for flesh, dairy, eggs or honey:
We have no need to use animals for clothing; we have no need to use them for entertainment; not only is it morally unjustifiable to use nonhumans in bio-medical research, but more humans suffer and/or die when we do so than if we didn’t use nonhumans at all:
3. When something is unnecessary except for our trivial pleasure or convenience and that thing causes some being (for example, a nonhuman or human animal) to experience pain, fear or other kinds of suffering, then the harm being done to that being’s interest in their continued survival, freedoms, or not suffering is more important than our interest in our own mere pleasure, amusement or convenience.
4. We claim to believe in “fairness/ethical/moral consistency” as a “moral good”, which means we believe in treating similar cases similarly when it comes to ethics/morality. In other words, if we believe it’s wrong to beat a human child for no good reason because they will suffer from a beating, then we should also believe that it’s wrong to beat a dog, cow, or chicken for no good reason because the nonhuman will also suffer.
So, if we value moral consistency at all, which means we treat similar cases similarly, the minimum and only criteria needed to include nonhuman animals in our moral sphere (meaning we believe we should not harm them at all for no good reason) is that they feel pain, fear, and other sensations, since that is the minimum criteria we use to include humans in our moral sphere.
5. Any characteristic that humans claim to have that we claim makes us morally superior to nonhuman animals cannot be factually proven to be a humans-only trait. Unless we can prove that we are morally superior to nonhuman animals, any argument that we claim justifies intentionally harming and exploiting nonhumans can also be used to justify humans intentionally exploiting other humans:
This means that if we personally are in favor of violating nonhumans’ right to be safe from being enslaved, raped, tortured or killed by humans then we have no claim that we ourselves should be safe from having those same things done to us by other humans. Any argument we try to use to justify harm to nonhumans can also be used successfully by other humans to justify harming us in those same ways.
6. If we accept premises 1 through 4, our ethical/moral obligation is to either a) cease any actions that intentionally cause unnecessary suffering and death to other beings such as nonhuman and human animals, in which case we can claim that our interests in avoiding the same harms should not be dismissed without due consideration, and we can point to the fact that this is because we are morally consistent, or b) admit that we are not morally consistent and that any human who wishes to dismiss our interests in avoiding the same harms without due consideration is also morally justified in doing so.
Conclusion: If we don’t stop intentionally exploiting nonhumans to the best of our ability, all the things we consider atrocities and major problems in the world will never end. We also will not be able to consider ourselves truly morally consistent people. To stop intentionally exploiting nonhumans completely means Abolitionist Veganism.
To learn more about Abolitionist Veganism, go here: