This is second of the two-part blog post I wrote after the Vision: Vegan World Learning Call: Veganism 101 that I did on January 4, 2019, via Zoom.
Veganism is not a matter of opinion.
Veganism is based on facts. The fact that not recognizing animals’ right to their lives is speciesism and should be dismantled; the fact that climate change and many other environmental problems such as loss of habitats are due to industrial farms. The fact that human health suffers because of eating animals and their secretions. It is not a matter of opinion that animals lose their lives because people want to eat, wear, or enslave them. It is not a matter of opinion that animals suffer when hurt, isolated, and not given the freedom to be free as they are supposed to be. Veganism is not some blind belief with no basis in science and ethics. This is the reason why no argument has won against veganism because it is solidly based on the recognition of animal sentience which is proven extensively by science, thus giving animals the right to be alive and free.
Veganism is not about animal welfare
While some people fight for better farm conditions for commodified animals, vegans are for animal liberation. Instead of animal welfare, veganism is about animal rights. It is about the right of animals to live from exploitation and to be free. Animal welfare proposes more “humane” ways to treat commodified animals. It focuses on improving living conditions and ways of slaughter. But there is no such thing as humane slaughter. Not even attractive buzzwords as free-range, organic, and satvic, halal, or kosher make life better for animals because they all lead to animal suffering and death. Animal welfare is simply euphemized animal slavery, suffering, and death. Veganism is essentially about the abolition of animal exploitation. That is very clear and simple.
Veganism is not about what is acceptable
Not all acceptable behaviors are right and not all acceptable behaviors should even be acceptable. Breeding chickens and raising them for 45 days to be killed and eaten is normal and acceptable to the majority of people today. This kind of exploitation has been grossly normalized that people don’t even see it as exploitation anymore. And just because it is normalized, it doesn’t make it right. Let’s take, for example, your unruly dog was kicked by an irate neighbor. Although you might feel anger and disgust, you are not likely to take the neighbor to the police. It might be unacceptable to you but everybody else will advise you to let it go, anyway, it was just a kick and the dog did not die. But this is not acceptable in veganism in the same way that breeding chicken to be killed and eaten after 45 days is not acceptable. Veganism assigns the same moral value to a dog as it does to a chicken. Thus veganism has a very clear stance on what is acceptable in the way we treat animals. Non-exploitation of animals, in other words, veganism, is the only universally moral way to treat all animals. Veganism is the moral baseline, a moral imperative. It is the least we can do for animals, not to participate in their exploitation and be vegan.
Veganism is not about what is legal
It is perfectly legal to abuse, enslave, torture, and kill animals in the name of food, fashion, clothing, entertainment, sports, and science. But legal doesn’t make it right. It was perfectly legal to make slaves out of black people almost 200 years ago. It was legal to torture and kill Jews during the Holocaust. It was, and not surprisingly it still is, legal to treat women as second class citizens by not providing them opportunities or by giving them lower wages. Veganism is not about what is legal but about what is ethical. Animal sentience makes it unethical to treat their lives any less. That their cognitive and physical capacities are less than those of humans do not diminish their capacity to suffer in pain, but in fact, magnifies it. Their heightened senses make up for their simpler intellectual and physical attributes. Thus their capacity to suffer physical pain is more intensified. Veganism is about justice. It is about being fair, and although this justice is not just yet appointed by law, it is slowly being recognized on a smaller scale in the way that animal sentience is starting to be recognized such as in banning of fur, wild animals in circuses, or recognizing their personhood.
Veganism is not a panacea to the ills of the world
Veganism is not a magic pill or cure-all to the problems of the world. Yet by being vegan, you are being part of the solution and minimizing your contribution to the problem. Many problems in the world are interrelated and influence each other. For example, climate change and water decline are both aggravated by the animal industry. Many health problems are directly related to eating animals. Mental wellbeing is affected by people participating in the actual slaughter of animals. Growing organic crops protect insects and other animals from annihilation, as many chemical pesticides are killing bees. Veganism should also be seen as an important aspect of sustainability. With the growing population and demand for food, animal agriculture will continue to wreak havoc to the environment, and it is imperative that crops are raised as food for people and not feed for animals. Animal agriculture is an efficient system that converts plant crops to animal feed that results in even less meat and milk. This is system is unsustainable and unacceptable where hunger is still so widespread.
Is there anything you think veganism is not? Share in the comments. I would love to hear from you. #src