Just about everyone on the planet agrees that it’s wrong to hurt or kill animals ‘unnecessarily’. What does that mean?
It means that, because animals are sentient – because they are conscious and can feel pain – they care about their lives. If we make an animal suffer or die, we need a justification for doing that.
So what justification do we have for eating animal products (or using animals for other things, like clothing)? Nobody in 2011 needs to eat animal products to be healthy. The American Dietetic Association – the largest nutritional science organization in the world – says:
…appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.
The only justification we have for inflicting suffering and death on 56 million farm animals (not counting fish) worldwide is that they taste good, and that it’s convenient. There is no necessity involved.
There is no difference between meat and other animal products, such as milk or eggs. Animals used in the milk and egg industries are abused horribly – even on the less intensive farms – and they all end their lives in the same hideous slaughterhouses as the ‘meat’ animals.
Think about it this way: if you met a guy who tortured cats and dogs for fun (i.e., for the pleasure of it), would you think that he was doing something wrong? If so, how is torturing and killing animals for your taste buds (or gastronomic pleasure), sense of fashion, or convenience any more defensible?
Answer: it isn’t.
Living vegan is the only rational, coherent response to accepting that it’s wrong to harm and kill animals unnecessarily.
Veganism is also a moral and political commitment to non-violence and justice in general. All forms of violence and oppression are related and feed off of one another; tolerating any form of injustice necessarily means tolerating all forms of it. Veganism makes the statement that other beings are not here for us to exploit, and that preying on the vulnerable is wrong. Living vegan means rejecting violence and oppression at its root.
“Ethical veganism is a powerful way to say ‘no’ to injustice.” – Gary L. Francione
Got non-violence? Go vegan!