There is no such thing as “ostroVeganism.” The term Veganism has a specific meaning, and human animals using nonhuman animals for human interests is contradictory to that meaning.
I follow The Precautionary Principle and so I don’t advocate for the exploitation of any animal, regardless of the complexity of their biology. I advocate Veganism, which is a moral stance against human animals intentionally using nonhuman animals as replaceable resources for human interests, based on the nonhumans’ pre-legal moral right to not be used, which in turn is based on the fact that they are capable of feeling pain and so have the exact same right as humans do in this regard. We have no need to use any animals, and if someday we find out that whomever animal is insentient, since we lived Vegan, then no harm done. If we someday find out they are sentient, then also, since we lived Vegan, no harm done.
Some people mistakenly try to claim that plants are also sentient as a way of silencing Vegan advocates. A Vegan ethic destroys the least numbers of plants compared to a non-Vegan ethic, so if someday we discover that plants were sentient all along, then we will have harmed the least number of plants; especially if we are able to eat a fruitarian diet due to our financial situation and/or where we live. And if we discover that we were right all along and plants are insentient, then also, no harm done.
Also, using nonhuman animals of any species for human interests fosters speciesism and does not shift animals away from the “property paradigm.” Since most non-Vegans don’t know nor care what the difference between a sentient nonhuman and an insentient nonhuman would even be (if that even existed), it manifests to the public as a lack of a coherent and consistent moral stance.
Some people have brought up the idea that since most or all consumers are currently only capable of buying Vegan b12 in plastic bottles that are manufactured somewhere that may -or may not- be far from the consumer, and that therefore there is a need to use a lot of resources to obtain them, which is harmful to sentient beings, that justifies consuming oysters who have b12 in them, since there are less resources needed to obtain them. This doesn’t morally justify using nonhumans for our interests though. Rationally, we need to start fabricating some other conveyance for b12 instead of discarding the idea that nonhumans have the right not to be used.
Maybe we could campaign for Vegan B12 to be put in glass bottles and manufactured locally in many places? Or a campaign to get a law passed that all packaged food must have Vegan B12 added? Engaging in single-issue campaigns for human issues isn’t morally wrong as doing so for nonhuman issues is, after all. Changing the current paradigm from a non-Vegan one to a Vegan one through the education of non-Vegans on these issues as well as the overall understanding of the need for Veganism is a great start, in any case.
There has also been a general cry that using oysters for our interests has various other environmental benefits as well. Veganism does have implications for environmentalism, since withdrawing our participation from the worst causes of environmental destruction is a wonderful incidental benefit of living our moral stance regarding nonhuman animals. Environmentalism is not the basis for Veganism though, so we can’t abandon our moral obligation to nonhumans in an effort to make environmentalist gains, especially since that would decrease the effectiveness of promoting the moral stance of Veganism to non-Vegans; and we should already understand that encouraging non-Veganism is the reason why our environment is as damaged as it is in the first place.
Some people also claim that since oysters don’t have a central nervous system, and plants also do not have a central nervous system, that oysters are more similar to plants than animals. My response is this: Number one, it’s incredibly disingenuous to claim that plants have a “nervous system” at all. It’s also disingenuous to claim that just because oysters don’t have a central nervous system that means that they are like plants. Either they have a nervous system (which they do), in which case they are animals (which they are), or they don’t, in which case they are like plants. You can’t have it both ways. Just because oysters don’t have a central nervous system does not make them plants.
Furthermore, even if we thought that it was justifiable from a moral standpoint to use individuals of some animal species we think are insentient for our interests, that argument would still never morally justify using every other species of animal, who can all be easily proven capable of feeling pain, for our interests. In other words, even if we’re confused about where to draw the line regarding who we use and don’t use, the line is still not rationally at “whoever we deem morally inferior, regardless of their ability to suffer.” So regardless of any other argument, Veganism is still the moral obligation of every single human reading this.
Instead of calling ourselves Vegans and then trying to figure out how much we can get away with exploiting anyone through a “loophole” of scientific proof, we should be starting off by drawing our moral line in order to eliminate even the possibility of the maximum amount of harm, and then intellectually examining whether we can make exceptions on the side of caution afterwards. Meaning that we don’t harm animals we think may or may not be sentient anyway, unless our very survival depends on it.
If you think animals matter morally, don’t try to find a nice way to do the wrong thing. Go Vegan and educate others about Veganism.
If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s easy and great for you, incredible for the animals, and wonderful for the planet. If you’re already Vegan, please educate non-Vegans about why they should go Vegan. Please rescue, volunteer, adopt, foster, spay, and neuter the nonhuman refugees of domestication whenever you can. Please feed your nonhuman family Vegan where you can. These things are the most important, morally responsible things to do and are desperately needed by everyone.
To learn more about Abolitionist Veganism and the issues I’ve outlined in this post, check out The Master List Of Vegan Info:
Disclaimer: My only goal with this list is to produce as comprehensive a resource for Vegan information as possible. I am 100% Abolitionist Vegan and 100% against exploitation of nonhuman or human animals, any type of violence against human or nonhuman persons or property, welfare regulation, any form of speciesism, ethnic bigotry, genderism, ableism, heterosexism, etc., any of the large governmental or non-governmental nonhuman animal organizations, “happy meat,” vegetarianism, veg*nism, Meat-Free Mondays, or other forms of reductionism and anything else that makes it seem like any form of violence or exploitation of animals is ok. If any of those positions are endorsed on any site in this list, or any language is used to imply that, it’s not that I included that link because I agree, but simply because I don’t control every bit of information on all of these sites.