I joined this forum to understand why people have come to the choices they have in living their life in the way they have chosen.
Amongst other lifestyles veganism is one that appears to be increasingly popular and one which I have given some thought to.
The problem is though I find some of the reasoning behind it at best confusing and like other extreme lifestyles more emotionally driven then based on sound reason.
To start with I'll list what I believe are the main tenants of veganism and if I am any way incorrect with this information please let me know.
* To not use in any way a product of or produced by a living creature.
* Further more to not be involved in the mistreatment or exploitation of a living creature.
In regards to these two statements then I wish to know how a vegan would respond to these questions.
1. What differentiates one living organism from another to make one acceptable to consume and the other not?
2. If an animal derived product is made available to consume/use that results in zero exploitation or mistreatment would it be then acceptable?
3. What differentiates the acceptability of mistreatment/exploitation of one living organism from another?
Look forward to your replys,
Posted by shearwater at 12/06/09 16:49:34I'm always glad when people ask questions about how society treats animals. Like most of us I became vegetarian, then vegan, because I started asking questions.
Your question though about what differentiates one living organism from another is rather vague. Are you referring to the difference between companion animals like dogs and cats compared to animals farmed for food? All animals - dogs, pigs, birds, cows - feel pain and fear similar to human animals and are not, as some people believe, mere living machines.
Or are you implying there's no difference between plants and animals? Cutting a carrot is not the same as cutting a cat. Plants lack the brain and nervous system members of the animal kingdom have. Nor have plants evolved ways to deal with pain, such as fleeing. If your concern about plants is genuine, to reduce plant suffering it's better to be vegan. Meat eaters kill more plants than plant eaters because most crops are grown to feed livestock, not people.
A vegan tries to survive doing as little harm as possible. There is no way to commercially produce animal products, and few ways non-commercially, without exploitation. I could gather feathers molted by wild birds to make a pillow but by doing so I would help create a demand. To meet the needs of everyone who wanted a feather pillow would lead to exploitation. A cow can live 20 years, a chicken 10-15, but when forced to produce extra milk or eggs for humans are usually worn out and sent to slaughter after only a few years, if they survive that long.
Being vegan can be for emotional reasons as you suggest. But there's so much more. By doing a little research I'm sure you'll find all the health, environmental, and world hunger/poverty reasons why being vegan makes so much sense and is the moral choice for people who care not just for animals but for people as well.