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.

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Veganism Is Anti-Speciesism

Veganism should be, above and beyond anything else, a categorical rejection of speciesism and the myth of human moral superiority.

Humans are sentient beings; we are beings who possess sentience as a trait. Sentience is “the ability to feel, perceive, or to experience subjective perceptual experiences.” Sentience is not “the ability to think similarly to a human” nor is it some trait dealing with “intelligence” at all. It’s simply the ability to feel anything. Pain, pleasure, fear, or any other sensation. If you can feel any of these things, you’re sentient; you don’t need to fulfill any other criteria.

The reason many people think that other humans should not unnecessarily be made to suffer or be killed is because almost all humans also possess the ability to feel empathy. When we feel empathy, it’s because we think that we understand the way another sentient being feels, as we imagine we would feel the same way if we were in their situation. Because of this, we think that we should observe the inherent rights of other humans. A “right” is merely a term we use to mean a rule we abide by in order to protect a commonly shared interest, which in this case deals with not being made to experience an undue amount of suffering. Some of these rights are affirmative rights – rights to perform some favorable actions – like the right to drive a car; the right to vote; the right to go to school, etc.

However, there is another kind of rights that humans have that we think we should observe: negative rights. These are the rights to not have some type of unfavorable action performed on us. Chief among these rights is the right to not be used by other humans exclusively as a resource for their pleasure, amusement, or convenience.

Now, assuming we believe in these basic rights for other humans, a combination of empathy and logic dictates that observing their rights is what we consider “moral justice.” This means that, all other things being equal, we believe in treating similar cases similarly when morality is concerned. If one human isn’t as cognitively aware as another human – for instance: an infant, or a severely mentally disabled adult – that doesn’t mean that it would be morally justifiable for us to then exploit or kill that human for our own interests; for example, to use them for forced organ donation or involuntary bio-medical experiments.

Our sense of empathy tells us that because they feel the same pain and other sensations we do, that it would be immoral to exploit them simply because they are vulnerable and we are powerful, and we possess some non-sentience trait that they don’t. We understand that if our roles were reversed, and we were in the position that they are and they possessed some physical or mental trait that we lacked, that we would not want them to exploit or kill us in the same way.

It follows logically again that if, morally speaking, we believe in treating similar cases similarly, that when we talk about nonhuman animals and the rights which they may have, the characteristic which is relevant in deciding which beings we’re morally justified or not justified in harming is sentience, and only sentience. If we believe in moral justice because we have empathy, and we believe that humans have the right to not be used exclusively as a resource for other humans pleasure, amusement or convenience, then because both human and nonhuman animals are sentient beings, at the very least – by our own code of moral justice – we should observe that very same right of any other sentient being, regardless of species membership.

The fact that we don’t observe the injustice and hypocrisy in our lack of matching our actions to our beliefs in this way is due to a phenomenon called speciesism. Speciesism is best defined as “An irrational, unjust double standard by humans that places higher moral value on some species or individual members of a species over other species or individual members of a species, based solely on the morally irrelevant criteria of species membership.”

Speciesism is based on the myth of human superiority. The idea that human animals are superior to other species of animals is based on arbitrary irrational criteria or biased personal opinion, and not objective fact. The Myth Of Human Moral Supremacy is the root of the tree from which all human and nonhuman rights issues sprang; speciesism is akin to the trunk of that tree, with each individual human and nonhuman rights issue acting as the branches of the tree.

The idea that we can treat individual members of another species with moral distinctions that are based solely on a trait that they have that we don’t (their being of a different species than ours) is exactly what has led to the idea that we can do the same thing to people of other ethnicities, people of other genders, people with different sexual orientations, etc., all of which are merely morally irrelevant traits that they possess that we may not. Being able to dismiss another sentient being as an “other” or a thing to be used or otherwise harmed rather than another sentient being who is similar to us in their sentience is what leads to 100% of crime, war and other problems associated with “race”, “class” etc.

Logically, it follows that if we don’t observe nonhuman animals’ rights in this respect, we have no basis to expect our own moral interests be taken seriously by other humans. No matter from which angle to view it, you can’t really justify intentionally exploiting nonhumans unless you’re ready to accede to not believing in the rights of human animals either, which means your own claim to any moral recourse if you are harmed by another human is effectively nullified.

There is only one way to align our actions with our moral values if we think it’s wrong to harm others for unnecessary reasons, and that is to live Vegan. If we think we have a moral responsibility to then do something for the billions of nonhuman animals who we enslave and otherwise cause to suffer unnecessarily every year then the only morally justifiable and effective way to do that is to educate others about Veganism.

Speciesism 01a

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.