What To Say When Someone Says “What Would The Animals Choose?”

Battery Cages 01

The notion that a nonhuman, if granted the ability to understand human communication and then given the choice between a bigger cage for themselves or freedom at some unnamed future time for their descendants, would choose to not sacrifice their own life or endure suffering for their descendants, is speciesist, pure and simple.

It assumes that other species, if given a human-capable choice, would not be capable of choosing a noble sacrifice in the same way as a human would. Put simply, it’s a product of the mindset that humans are morally superior to nonhumans and that we are the only ones who are awesome enough to make correct decisions for everyone else based on what we deem necessary for them, based on our undeniably limited understanding and arbitrarily self-created hierarchy of different beings various interests, needs and preferences.

In reality, our decisions are based on what we in our arrogance believe to be the flaws in others that we don’t have in ourselves. So if we feel that humans would be incapable of sacrificing our own lives or enduring incredible suffering for our offspring or sacrificing the lives or suffering of our offspring to ensure freedom for billions of our descendants, we of course assume that no other beings would be capable of doing the same. After all, they’re not human, so they must be less than us, not greater, right?

I think that if we asked all the nonhumans whether they would rather see humans scattered in our advocacy, engaging in speciesist single-issue campaigns, promoting bigger cages, vegetarianism, “open rescues” and other such nonsense, with a good chance of random instances of slightly better immediate conditions for them (What I’m saying here is that this is the idea that humans would present to the nonhumans, not that that is the outcome in reality), or if they would rather see every single “activist” doing nothing except strong, clear Creative Non-Oppressive Vegan Advocacy which has a great chance of freeing all animals in the future (and even if this weren’t true, is still the only morally justifiable choice, as well as still being much more effective than SICs), I think the answer would be clear. Just like the majority of human slaves would choose to have slavery ended completely in the future rather than slightly better conditions in the present, if nonhumans could understand the question, they would choose Abolitionist Vegan Education, and nothing less.

If you want to actually learn rational arguments as to why SICs and other such actions are counter-productive to Animal Rights, check out these links:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/welfare-watch

If you are really interested in helping animals, stop the Single-Issue Campaigns and do this instead:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/create-new-vegans

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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/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.

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Dealing with the nightmare

Perfectly captures the reasons we need to stop using graphic imagery in advocacy… a must read.

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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/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.

There's an Elephant in the Room blog

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I was first introduced to images of animal suffering through mail drops by animal welfare organisations. They use such images as a tool to trigger a vague and unresolved sense of guilt in order to gather donations and the word vegan is never mentioned as a necessity. Why would it be? For any business that makes their income from the exploitation of nonhuman individuals, of course they don’t mention veganism. Why? Because veganism marks the end of their business venture.

The unspoken dialogue that the images suggest, and this is true not only of animal welfare groups, but of other charities too, goes along the lines of, ‘ Look at this. Isn’t it shocking? Give us money and then leave it with us to make it stop.’ Really, if we examine that concept a bit more closely, it begs far too many questions. But it’s very effective. I know it is because before I was…

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On The Intersection Of Oppressions And Alliance Politics

I’m making separate posts on individual issues related to Veganism, so that anyone who wants a handy reference guide to each issue won’t have to go through my entire link list to find it. The links included in each individual post may not be updated regularly, so the Master List will be the only place to find complete updates. These posts will be comprehensive enough to cover most or all questions related to each issue however.

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.

Here’s one interesting view on the intersectionality of oppressions:

https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/are-humans-superior

Sub-Section 1B6:
Intersectionality And Alliance Politics:

“Essentialism, Intersectionality, and Veganism as a Moral Baseline: Black Vegans Rock and the Humane Society of the United States”:
http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/essentialism-intersectionality-and-veganism-as-a-moral-baseline-black-vegans-rock-and-the-humane-society-of-the-united-states

“The Myth Of Vegan Progress In Israel”:
The Myth of Vegan Progress in Israel

“Vegan Killers: Israeli Vegan-Washing and the Manipulation of Morality”:
http://www.turkeyagenda.com/vegan-killers-israeli-vegan-washing-and-the-manipulation-of-morality-1656.html

“Intersectionality and Abolitionist Veganism: Part I”:
http://veganethos.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/intersectionality-and-abolitionist-veganism-part-i

“Abolitionist veganism is not a “white” practice”:
http://veganethos.wordpress.com/abolitionist-veganism-is-not-a-white-practice

“Workshop on Intersectionality and Alliance Politics”:
http://veganinformationproject.org/audio-workshop-on-intersectionality-and-alliance-politics

“Project Muse – Volume 65, Number 3, September 2013”:
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/american_quarterly/toc/aq.65.3.html

“Animal Rights, Multiculturalism, and the Left” by Will Kymlicka and Sue Donaldson:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/josp.12047/full

_

Sub-Section 1B3:
Main Vegan Blogs And Sites:

My own AR blog:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com

“My Face Is On Fire”:
http://my-face-is-on-fire.blogspot.co.uk

“Veganarchism Ain’t No Joke”:
http://veganarchismaintnojoke.tumblr.com

Sub-Section 1B2:
Facebook Pages And Groups:

Sub-Section 1B2a:
Facebook Pages:

“International Vegan Association”:
https://www.facebook.com/internationalvegan

“Let’s Make a Vegan World”:
https://www.facebook.com/letsmakeaveganworld

“Vegan Information Project – VIP”:
https://www.facebook.com/theveganinformationproject
_

Sub-Section 1B2b:
Facebook Groups:

“South Florida Vegan Support and Education Group”:
http://www.facebook.com/VeganSupportGroup

“Vegan Philosophy Forum”:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/219573241562192

“Vegan Influence & Persuasion”:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Vegan.Influence.and.Persuasion

“Vegan Scientific Facts”:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/vegan.scientificfacts

“The Human Vegan”:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/168804706659566

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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/master-list-of-vegan-info

On Morality: What Does “Veganism Is The Non-Negotiable Moral Baseline” Mean?

All moral codes held by individuals have a minimum standard that the individual must adhere to in order to claim that the specified code is morally coherent or consistent. This is what is known as a “baseline” in regards to a moral code.

Almost all humans claim that intentionally harming another sentient being unnecessarily is immoral. In other words, the basis of all moral codes is that if we don’t need to cause others to suffer, then it would be wrong to do so. This is what is known as “The Golden Rule” which is presented as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

Anyone who does not follow this code is either following an inconsistent moral code (this is easily proven by logic) or no moral code at all (the second would be a case of “Might Makes Right” which is what led to things like “The Old West” before law and governance was installed, all dictatorships, and such things as post-apocalyptic scenarios).

Just to refresh our memories, let’s re-visit the meaning of Veganism:

Veganism as coined by Donald Watson in England in 1944 ~ “A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practical – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

Veganism is essentially an attempt to eliminate speciesism.

Speciesism is defined as “The assignment of different values, rights, or special consideration to individuals solely on the basis of their species membership. Speciesism is a prejudice similar to racism or sexism, in that the treatment of individuals is predicated on group membership and morally irrelevant physical differences.”

The primary mandate of Veganism can be expressed this way – “Do the most you can to not harm any animal at all, while not unnecessarily allowing yourself to be harmed.”

Add to this the fact that according to all logic and objective fact, human animals are not morally superior to nonhuman animals, and we can see that we now have a 100% rational and coherent moral stance.

As we can see, Veganism is nothing but an attempt to (rightfully) include nonhuman animals in the circle of “others” for whom we have moral concern as presented by the adherence to The Golden Rule. Now let’s see how this relates to the idea of “A Moral Baseline.”

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there is a scale of how much intentional harmful or helpful actions you are doing to other sentient beings. On one end, at negative 100, we have the maximum amount of suffering you could possibly inflict on everyone else, regardless of (and including) what you are doing that is helpful, and at the other end, at positive 100, there is the most help you could give to everyone, regardless of (and including) any harm you are committing. Zero is when you are doing nothing harmful at all, and also nothing helpful. Zero is moral neutrality.

So, we draw a representation of this concept thusly:

Baseline 01

The idea that “Veganism is the non-negotiable moral baseline” means that if we are Vegan, we would be positioned at Zero. We are not intentionally doing anything morally positive by simply being Vegan… we are merely not intentionally doing anything negative, aka harmful. Veganism is a morally neutral position. Being Vegan is not a positive action on behalf of animals. It’s simply acting in a decent manner and refraining from immorally committing harm to them, just like not molesting or beating or starving or killing children is the LEAST you can do regarding your moral responsibilities to children.

There are many things we can do to help sentient nonhuman beings that ARE morally positive; things such as adopting nonhuman refugees of domestication, TNR, running sanctuaries, volunteering at shelters, and the biggest one – educating non-Vegans about why Veganism is the non-negotiable moral baseline. But those are all things that must be done in addition to living Vegan; if you’re not already Vegan, then whatever other measures you’re taking to help sentient beings are being undermined and negated by the intentional harm you’re doing.

This is why any form of “activism” that does not explicitly explain why Veganism is the non-negotiable moral baseline (such as single-issue campaigns and other Welfarist objectives) is counter-productive to Animal Rights (meaning that it will cause people to harm more animals than it can help). If we are advocating for anything less than a 100% coherent moral stance (as all single-issue campaigns do) we are both confusing the issue and implying to observers that they can discharge their absolute moral responsibility to do the least harm possible (which you may remember is the definition of Veganism) by doing something less than causing the least harm they can (i.e. Veganism).

“But if most people claim that it’s wrong to unnecessarily harm others, why aren’t they already Vegan?”

The answer to this is simple. Although most people claim that it’s wrong, they also have never been told that all nonhuman animals should be included in the category of “others,” meaning other sentient beings like themselves. Most humans, once they are properly educated about this issue, will either go Vegan immediately, or give serious consideration to going Vegan.

Why Vegan Education Is Not As Hard As They’re Trying To Make It:

“If they won’t go Vegan immediately, then what good does it do to even bother educating them?”

There is no imposition involved at all in educating people about Veganism as the non-negotiable moral baseline. Almost every single human on the planet agrees with the phrase “It’s wrong to make animals suffer unnecessarily.” They already agree with the moral baseline “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Educating someone properly is actually easy, once you know the secret. It has nothing to do with forcing them to agree to a notion of morality that is at odds with their own, it’s merely getting them to recognize that they already believe in the basic concepts behind Veganism, they just haven’t been informed about the fact that: a) we don’t have any real NECESSITY to exploit nonhumans, b) nonhumans have a right not to be exploited, and c) why.

We can’t force people to go Vegan; the only thing we can do is educate them and allow them to choose what they think are the morally correct actions to commit from then on. Because of this, logically it doesn’t make sense to actually do anything other than educate them about Veganism in the most clear, compassionate and non-speciesist way possible. This is, rationally speaking, the only thing that can eliminate speciesism, which is the one thing we have to do to end the atrocities that humans have been committing on nonhumans for all of these millennia.

Regardless of whether they’ll go Vegan immediately or not, what WE do is morally important to US as well as to others. If we are not doing something we think is important, according to our own moral code, then we have a moral obligation to ourselves and other sentient beings to do that thing. Likewise, if we are doing something that is inconsistent with our own moral code, such as attempting to use speciesism to eliminate speciesism, then we have a moral obligation to stop doing that thing.

Often we don’t even realize we’re doing something that is inconsistent while we’re doing it… it may be brought to our attention by someone else, just like when we first learn about Veganism as the non-negotiable moral baseline. But, when we find that we are doing something wrong, we have a decision to make; either we continue to commit that wrong-action (often while vocally defending it), or we can admit that we were wrong, cease engaging in that behavior, and take whatever steps we need to take to get right with ourselves and those who may have been harmed by our actions.

That last part, incidentally, is how our moral commitment is measured. In other words, how committed we are to being “morally just” individuals.

The reason it’s called “non-negotiable” is because it’s irrational to think that we can try to hedge our moral bets. Claiming that we could do something to help animals while still inflicting unnecessary suffering on them by intentionally exploiting them and thereby form a coherent moral code is just not logical. If we care about humans, and we think it’s wrong to say, hurt children unnecessarily, then it would be wrong to beat some children while simultaneously giving money to a charity designed to help starving children. If we care about children morally, then the absolute minimum moral stance we must take is to not harm children intentionally in any instance that we could harm them, completely aside from any positive actions we might take to help children. This idea applies in an identical manner to the way we interact with nonhumans. The idea that this issue changes when we change the species membership of the victims is a biased, irrational double standard based on morally irrelevant criteria, which is known as speciesism. This is why all the non-Vegans (as well as those people who self-identify as Vegan) who claim they are doing good for animals by engaging in protests, signing petitions, and various other single-issue campaigns, which are invariably speciesist and always counter-productive, are obviously severely morally confused.

Which is why, unless our form of activism explicitly includes the idea that Veganism is the non-negotiable moral baseline, then that activism is based on an incoherent chain of logic. Unless we explicitly advocate Veganism as the moral baseline, we are still, knowing or unknowingly, implying that inflicting *some* amount of unnecessary suffering and death to nonhumans is morally justifiable, when it’s not. And doing that results in reinforcing the observer’s speciesism, which is why it’s actually counter-productive and harms more nonhumans instead of helping them, as Vegan Education does.

People who claim that persuading people to go Vegan is difficult just don’t understand all of this. That’s understandable when you’re new to a concept: both Veganism as the non-negotiable moral baseline; and that Vegan education can be easy; that it doesn’t have to be the same “drag-me-to-the-dentist-with-a-tractor” problem that people who haven’t discovered the secrets to doing it have always thought it would be.

“But what about those people who don’t see The Golden Rule as their moral baseline?”

Of course there are those who think that it’s perfectly fine to inflict unnecessary suffering and death. These people range from thinking that killing nonhumans so we can eat them is great, even if it causes massive suffering and we have no necessity, to the worst mass-murderers and participants in atrocities against humans in history. What of it? Those people make up the tiny minority of humans. If we think that those are the type of people we should be focusing on persuading to go Vegan, then there is something seriously wrong with our logic.

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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/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.

On Morality: The Argument For Abolitionist Veganism

Veganism 01

Here is the basic argument for Abolitionist Veganism. I’ve incorporated a couple different major Animal Rights theories into one:

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 exploit 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:

https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/do-doctors-think

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 animals in bio-medical research, but more humans suffer and/or die when we do so than if we didn’t use animals at all:

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/vivisection-part-one-the-necessity-of-vivisection

http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/vivisection-part-two-the-moral-justification-of-vivisection

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:

https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/are-humans-superior

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 systemic violations 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.

Abolitionist Veganism also means we do our best to eliminate speciesism (which is the intentional, harmful discrimination by humans against individuals and groups of other species based solely on the morally irrelevant criteria of species membership) within each of us. Speciesism is the tree from which springs all intentional, harmful discrimination against any individual (nonhuman or human) on the basis of any morally irrelevant criteria. Speciesism is rooted in the myth that human animals are morally superior to nonhuman animals.

Ergo, if everyone becomes an Abolitionist Vegan and exclusively advocates a 100% clear moral baseline of Abolitionist Veganism, all of the atrocities we abhor such as world hunger, poverty, ecological destruction by humans, systemic human rights violations, and discrimination against any individual beings based on any morally irrelevant criteria, will either be severely decreased or eliminated. Every living being on the planet, from nonhuman animals to human animals, will be much happier and healthier.

The crucial point here is that if you have moral concern at all for nonhuman animals or human animals and so you want these problems to be decreased or eliminated, it makes no sense for you to participate in actions that will increase or foster those problems. It is your moral responsibility to stop engaging in actions that increase those harms, which means going Vegan (and, if you want to help everyone further, educating others about Veganism).

Final thoughts: If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s incredible for the animals, great for you, 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/neuter the nonhuman refugees of domestication whenever you can. Please feed your nonhuman family Vegan where and when you can. These things are the most important, morally responsible things to do and are desperately needed by everyone.

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.

On Morality: Are Human Animals Superior To Nonhuman Animals?

snob-travella1

The most fundamental problem in AR debates right now is the fact that we are not continuously addressing the myth that humans are morally superior to nonhumans. This idea needs to be eradicated before any truly revolutionary thinking about Animal Rights can begin on the part of morally confused and inconsistent humans. This idea is so ingrained in our societal mindset that it’s completely invisible to almost everyone, and it’s the underlying structure for all irrational, harmful moral double-standards regarding human-nonhuman interaction. There is no speciesism without Human Supremacy.

The single most overlooked, and at the same time most foundational error in logic whenever anyone tries to justify human animals exploiting nonhuman animals is the irrational idea that human animals in general are morally superior to nonhuman animals. This idea can be easily disproved, and yet most people do not even question it. It is assumed to be indisputable when it’s not based on, as some would have us believe, objective fact.

Unless we can explain how human animals are morally superior to nonhuman animals, whenever we try to justify humans exploiting nonhumans in the ways that we do, we can’t rule out humans exploiting other humans in the exact same ways and for the exact same reasons (our mere pleasure, amusement or convenience).

All other forms of moral supremacy, from ethnic, to religious, to gender-based, etc. stem from this one basic idea; that it’s acceptable to refuse the same moral consideration to another being that we accord ourselves, merely because of morally irrelevant criteria like the color of their skin, which genitalia they have, or their species membership.

The belief that humans are morally superior to nonhumans is not based on instinct. If it was, then why would anyone even question it, and therefore, why would you even be reading this? And yet, it’s the reason why we believe it’s just fine to torture a nonhuman, who is fully capable of desiring to not suffer or die as much as a human, in ways that we wouldn’t torture the worst human criminals.

The myth of human moral supremacy is almost never even examined. But when it is, it’s obvious that, just like the arguments we use to try to justify racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, or any other irrational form of oppression, it’s based on nothing more than arbitrary personal opinion (and biased, self-serving opinion at that).

The idea that humans are superior to nonhumans is based on the misconception that all humans have some characteristic or set of characteristics that all nonhumans lack. These criteria are commonly believed to include: “intelligence;” “mind;” “consciousness;” abstract thought; the capability of understanding and following moral codes; creativity; the ability to invent tools, technology, or art; some sort of physical ability or physical adaptation; proliferation; a “soul” or some other form of divine endowment; the capability of surviving in conditions or environments that others can’t; or some other unspecified faculty.

All of these criteria are obviously as arbitrary as gender, ethnic membership, or religious belief when it comes to moral superiority, since we can’t prove that either they are possessed by all humans, nor that they are lacked by all nonhumans. Not only that, but whichever faculty is being proclaimed as superior is always one which is possessed by the person arguing on behalf of Human Supremacy.

Although human animals created a concept of morality, many humans commonly break the moral codes imposed by society. This is why we have human slavery, rape, torture, murder, and all the other atrocities that ethical humans abhor. Nonhuman animals, who cannot be proven to understand the concept of a human moral code, almost always follow our moral codes better than we do. They do not enslave us, create concentration camps, weapons of mass destruction, torture chambers, or pollute or otherwise destroy our habitats. Nor do they wage war on humans, or any of the other atrocities that humans are guilty of. They merely wish to be left alone to live and die on their own terms. To claim that they should have to follow our moral codes to benefit from them would be like claiming that we should punish a severely mentally handicapped human for failing to pass the S.A.T.s.

Human animals created individual moral codes for ourselves because most of us believe that enslaving, raping, torturing and murdering other humans is wrong. “Normal” adult human animals are moral agents, while nonhuman animals, infant humans, and severely mentally disabled humans (among others) are moral patients.

In order to be a moral agent, one must be capable of abstract thought in order to have a specific minimum understanding of the meaning of morality. That is to say, moral agents can understand the concept of morality and can therefore make moral decisions, meaning that they can make decisions that affect the interests of both moral agents and moral patients. Furthermore, moral agents have moral responsibilities to both other moral agents and moral patients. This means that they are capable of being assigned blame if they make a moral choice that causes a being who is capable of feeling pain and other sensations to suffer unnecessarily.

A moral agent must be capable of giving informed consent, which means that an explicit meeting of the minds takes place (via spoken or written human language, and no less) where both parties are capable of abstract thought, understand what the nature of the social contract is and what the general future ramifications of the agreement are.

Moral patients, on the other hand, cannot understand the human concept of morality and are thus incapable of giving informed consent. Moral patients cannot make moral decisions that affect either moral agents nor moral patients. They do not have moral responsibilities; however, in order for there to be moral consistency, moral patients must benefit from our individual moral codes without being able to have moral responsibilities themselves.

This is why, for instance, it’s morally wrong for an adult human to murder a severely mentally disabled human, and also why it’s wrong for an adult human to have sex with a human child. This is also why ethical people believe that humans having sex with nonhuman animals is also wrong. We don’t hold nonhuman animals morally culpable to this code simply because we understand that, like severely mentally disabled adult humans and human babies, nonhumans are incapable of understanding and abiding by human moral codes (or at least, any truly rational human understands that they are not capable of this) plus the fact that, regarding their interactions with us, they almost always, by default, follow our moral codes better than we do regarding our interactions with other humans (and even moreso, with nonhumans).

On the other side of the coin, humans enslave, rape, torture or murder nonhumans by the hundreds of billions each year, merely because we enjoy the taste of their dead bodies and secretions and the conveniences that it affords us. And we also are intentionally destroying every wild habitat that we can. We regularly treat nonhumans worse than we would treat the worst human criminals. So who is morally superior to whom again?

The idea that we should be able to do these things because say, a lion eats a zebra is ridiculous in the extreme. A male lion often will kill a rival male and their offspring before copulating, in public no less, with the mother. If a mother lioness gives birth to a severely ill or deformed baby, she will usually cannibalize them. When applied to human contexts, do we think these are morally justifiable ways to behave?

This is where the Human Supremacist says “Either we are morally superior to animals, in which case exploiting them is fine, or we aren’t morally superior to them, in which case we can kill them merely because we want to consume them, just like any other animal does.”

However, this completely fails to recognize that claiming one is “morally superior” means that one adheres to a code of fairness and justice more than the other does, not that one can merely understand human concepts of morality. If a human can understand the concept of the injustice of slavery, rape, torture or murder, but does not refuse to engage in such behaviors, where is the moral superiority in that?

As I mentioned, we very rarely hold completely to our optimal code of conduct. We claim, as a society, to believe in The Golden Rule, but we routinely inflict massive unnecessary suffering and death on innocent beings merely for our pleasure, amusement, or convenience. We enslave, rape, torture and murder upwards of a trillion nonhuman animals each year merely so we can unnecessarily eat their flesh and secretions and use their body parts for clothing (among other things), which not only causes massive suffering for them, but massive amounts of chronic disease for us and massive ecological devastation as well.

We should realize that if we don’t follow a 100% egalitarian system of justice regarding every innocent animal, human or nonhuman, then the same arguments we use to attempt to justify inflicting unnecessary suffering and death on them (“that animal isn’t as smart as I am,” “they don’t have souls,” “it’s how I make a living,” “meat/fish/dairy/eggs/honey tastes good,” etc.) can also be used by other humans to justify inflicting unnecessary suffering and death on us (“that person isn’t as smart as I am,” “I’m one of the chosen people and that person isn’t,” “I wanted their stuff,” “rape feels good,” etc.).

There is no way to morally justify the intentional, unnecessary exploitation of nonhumans by humans without also morally justifying the intentional, unnecessary exploitation of humans by other humans. This means that if we are personally in favor of violating nonhumans’ right to be completely safe from being forced into existence against their will, enslaved, slaughtered, or in any way used merely as replaceable resources for unnecessary human interests, then we have no rationally consistent 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 harming nonhumans can also be used successfully by other humans to justify harming us in those same ways. This also means that until we as a species evolve past our irrational belief that intentionally exploiting nonhumans merely for our trivial interests is morally justifiable, we will continue to endure racism, genderism, homophobia, ableism, tyranny, mass murder, and all the other human systemic rights atrocities we commonly abhor.

Furthermore, claiming that, because we can’t be perfect and not cause harm to any living being whatsoever is a valid reason to intentionally cause easily avoidable harms is like saying that just because we know that some people will die in traffic accidents its a good reason never to post any warning signs. The fact that we can’t prevent all homicides does not justify us intentionally committing mass-murder, just as the fact that we can’t survive without unintentionally killing a lesser number of animals or plants does not justify intentionally breeding nonhuman animals and feeding them a much larger number of plants, merely to slaughter and eat them or their secretions, when we can thrive perfectly well on a plants-only diet. Nor does it justify exploiting nonhumans for clothing, research, or entertainment. The only reasonable, morally justifiable thing would be to work to decrease the number of all living beings we harm in all cases, not to try to justify harming them in some cases while claiming to decrease harm in others.

If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. Its 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:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/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.

How The Morally Bankrupt Triumvirate Perpetuates Our Enslavement

The pharmaceutical companies make a lot of money off of the public being ill.

They make huge donations to politicians with the understanding that when the politicians get into office, they’ll keep the subsidies to animal agriculture flowing. These subsidies are in the billions of dollars every year. They are paid for primarily with your tax money.

Most of the people involved don’t want to talk about this in public, for obvious reasons.

The U.S. government gives huge subsidies to animal agriculture because without them, exploiting nonhuman animals for their flesh, secretions or any other reasons would not be profitable. It takes more money to produce 1 pound of animal flesh, eggs or milk than the maximum the average person will pay for those substances. Without government subsidies, a hamburger, for instance, would cost between $12 and $30.

The politicians keep the subsidies flowing, and the companies that sell animal products make sure to create outrageous lies in the form of advertising that ensures that the public buys the substances they market as food, ensuring that the public never stops being ill. Thus ensuring the pharmaceutical companies keep making those billions of dollars every year.

The pharmaceutical companies and the institutional exploiters of animals spend a bunch of money on advertising their respective products, while the government passes laws that ensure that those 2 industries can keep profiting off the misery of all sentient beings, and the cycle of death, despair and destruction is complete.

Fortunately, there is a way to completely circumvent this system of enslavement of all sentient beings. This way is Abolitionist Veganism. If we eat a 100% whole foods, plants-only diet and also eliminate all other animal substances and animal exploitative behaviors from our lives however, wherever and whenever possible and practical, we can thwart this system. This is the only rational and morally justifiable decision we can make, for the nonhuman victims, for ourselves, and for all the other human victims of this ongoing atrocity.

To learn more about Abolitionist Veganism and the issues I’ve outlined in this post, check out The Master List Of Vegan Info:
https://legacyofpythagoras.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/master-list-of-vegan-info

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.

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.