Vegans, sadly for us, often hear remarks like ‘Yes I love animals; I love how they taste’ or “you know plants are living things too’ or ‘what about plant suffering?’ or ‘under your new laws do we give rights to the mouse or chipmunk and prey animals?’ or ‘fish are not sentient’ and other irrational remarks, which inspired this blog post.
In the vegan ideal, all animals have the birth-right not to be harmed by humans, because humans do it unnecessarily. We don’t need to use animals for survival as evidenced by many long-time vegans. Because humans do not need animals for survival, it is ethically wrong to harm other animals just for some selfish and perverted pleasure like “(fill in the blank with some animal product) tastes good”. I’m pretty sure that humans would taste good to flesh eaters if barbequed and seasoned up. Because someone tastes good to people, does not justify their commodification, objectification, exploitation, enslavement, being sexually violated, kidnapped from and violently assaulted. I know this to be Truth even if the whole world disagreed with me. Because you like the way someone tastes is not justification for the oppression of our animal cousins. (Besides vegan food tastes delicious.)
A free-living animal does not have the choice to live vegan. They kill out of necessity, for survival, not for amusement or (distorted) pleasure. They are not fortunate like we are to be able to thrive without using animals for food, etc. We must rise out of what is customary guided by the light of what is right. Leaving off using animals for food, clothing, entertainment, breeding, buying and selling them, for their bodily secretions, experimentation, vivisection, animal testing, for sex (bestiality) is the next level that humanity will live on as we grow more civilized as a species. (Yes, I clumped bestiality in with the other human uses of animals. I’ve recently read articles about “animal brothels” and “animal prostitutes” and countries (Denmark) and states of the U.S. where it’s legal to have sex with other species of animals. Yes, this is abuse and wrong and one more perverted way that people exploit and harm animals. However, sending them to a slaughterhouse to be butchered or experimenting on them or anally electrocuting them for their fur coat or any other of all the many offensive ways that people use animals - is also repulsive.)
Trees and plants are living, react to stimuli, and should be treated with reverence. Even inanimate things should be treated with respect. But an animal is not a thing. An animal, unlike a plant, is a feeling, breathing being, a fully conscious creature, an individual with interests; those with whom we share being members of the animal kingdom. It’s their world, too. Oh, and yes, fish are sentient too, as are bees and butterflies. Animals, with a nervous system and pain receptors, who feel both pleasure and pain and who try to escape harm, are sentient beings that come in the form of insects, rodents, reptiles, primates (including humans), mammals, fish, and birds. So, if you want to care about plant “suffering”, I don’t have a problem with that, but you logically must care about animal suffering first. If you care so much about plants suffering, vegans consume far less plants. They don’t inefficiently funnel large amounts of plants through animals, but consume a small amount of them directly, (thereby leaving more that could potentially feed starving humans instead of bred and farmed animals, while protesting animal agriculture; the chief culprit in environmental degradation. Vegans are not responsible for the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest (large plants that are the lungs of the Earth) that are cleared for farming animals for food. And seriously for those who really do have a concern, you can become a vegan-fruitarian and eat only what is offered without killing plants or animals.
It is unfortunate that in nature predators kill their prey (sometimes horrifically, eating them, bite by bite - while the victim is still alive); an individual with a life and companions, who wants to live. This is an aspect of nature that I do not embrace. If I were in the natural environment and saw an animal being hunted from a human or nonhuman stalker, I would try to save them. It might be a step forward for humanity to just let the free-living animals be; no interference, and focus on human exploitation of animals, and eradicate that. But my personal stance would be to help free-living animals that needed help, as we would do for humans.
We can and should stop breeding; stop bringing animals into existence only to be seen as as an object that is owned by a human. Veganism is a very rational ideal. It’s not based on a triviality like “I like how someone tastes”, but on justice for all, what is reasonable, non-speciesist, what will heal the planet (that we all share). Veganism is for everybody! And the rewards are plentiful. But we don’t become vegan for the rewards…it’s purely because we don’t want to participate in harming other animals. And if humanity adopted vegan living…the planetary benefits to all of Earth’s inhabitants would be awesome beyond comprehension! From any angle you examine the vegan ethic, it qualifies as a solution to what ails our world. Veganism is reasonable – it is The Truth (with a capital T). All this world needs is more vegans…please join this social justice movement. Our aspiration is only to live civilized in our relation to other sentient animals. It makes sense. It’s rational.