How to simply explain what veganism is and argue for it

Script for a two part video series, plus formal syllogisms.

Part One

Part 2

Coming soon!

Table of Contents

  • 1. The Vegan Definition – 1a. Intro
    • 1b. How to explain what veganism is
    • 1c. Why not other definitions?
    • 1d. What specifically is wrong with other definitions?
    • 1e. Good definitions
    • 1f. Outro
  • 2. Arguments for Veganism – 2a. Intro
    • 2b. General Purpose – Name The Trait
    • 2c. Consequentialist – Marginal cases
    • 2d. Virtue Ethics – Respect for Animal Capabilities
    • 2e. Deontology – The Golden Rule
    • 2f. Nihilist Ethics – Property Rights for Animals
    • 2g. Outro
  • 3. Formal Syllogisms – 3a. General Purpose – Name The Trait
    • 3b. Consequentialist – Marginal Cases
    • 3c. Virtue Ethics – Respect for Animal Capabilities
    • 3d. Deontology – The Golden Rule
    • 3e. Nihilist Ethics – Property Rights for Animals
  • 4. References

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1. The Vegan Definition

1a. Intro

Hello, okay this is going to be the first of two videos, where in this first video I introduce my preferred definition of veganism, explain why I think it’s the best one for advocacy, then in the second video run you through 5 a-mazing arguments for veganism and how best to argue for it. This is mainly for vegans to become better skilled at advocating, but any feedback is more than welcome.

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1b. How to explain what veganism is

I define veganism as simply “an animal products boycott.”

I make the point of saying it’s one campaign tactic among many, aimed primarily at achieving the end of animal agriculture.

And that personally I see the principle behind the action as being grounded in the animal rights movement, seeking collective legal rights for animals to have a refuge in dense wildlife habitat where they aren’t subject to human cruelty. In a similar way to how the act of boycotting South African products or the act of boycotting the Montgomery bus company was grounded in a larger civil rights movement.

Other boycotts didn’t have a specific name for the identity one took on when boycotting, the principle for why they boycotted was contained in what it meant to be part of a larger movement e.g. being a civil rights advocate. So I would just encourage people to think of themselves as animal rights advocates first, fighting for the legal protection of animals. Though you could also call yourself an animal liberation advocate fighting to free non-human animals to be able to express their capabilities in managed wildlife habitat or a sanctuary.

As for why someone would arrive at the ethical conclusion to boycott, it could be a million ways, but the three main ethical schools of thought you can draw from are consequentialism, virtue ethics and deontology. I would just be prepared to tailor your arguments to the person you’re standing in front of, as we’ll discuss in the second video. It’s not important for you to know the school you’re arguing from, but I’ll give you them anyway as an introduction to each ethical argument for an animal products boycott.

So, five ways to explain the principle that got you into veganism and what branch of philosophy it may be related to:

Hedonistic Utilitarianism: The principle of not breeding sentient life into the world where you know you will cause more suffering on a global calculus than happiness. Examples: climate change, stress and pain in slaughterhouse than longer happy life in wild with low rates of predation, stress to slaughterhouse workers who are more likely to abuse their family).

Preference Consequentialism: The principle of not breeding sentient life into the world to kill when you know they will have interests to go on living longer than would be profitable. Examples: They have habits for things they’d like to do each day and they show you by their desire not to be loaded onto scary trucks and to a slaughterhouse with screams and smells of death.

Virtue Ethics: The principle of not breeding a sentient life into captivity when you know you could leave room for other animals to enjoy happy flourishing being able to express all their capabilities in wild habitat. Not wanting to parasitically take away life with meaning for low-order pleasure in our hierarchy of needs which we can find elsewhere.

Deontology: The principle of everyone should only act in such a way that it would still be acceptable to them if it were to become universal law. So not breeding sentient life into existence, only to keep them confined, tear families apart and kill them later, as you wouldn’t want it to happen to you.

Nihlist Ethics: The principle that you should be wary of in-authentically acting in a way you don’t believe due to outside social pressures, like that acting un-caringly is necessary to what it means to be a man. So testing out values you were brought up with against new ones as you go and coming to the conclusion that you prefer a society where most have the value of seeing animals flourishing in nature and not in captivity/pain.

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1c. Why not use other definitions?

The reason I would encourage people to use the definition “an animal products boycott” and not other definitions is it gets at the root motivation people have for being vegan without being divisive about which ethical system is best.

In 1944 those members of the vegetarian society who were avoiding all use of animal products, created their own vegan society and came up with the word vegan. They did this after a series of debates in which they voiced their concern that we should also be advocating the boycott of the dairy and egg industries.

Now I acknowledge that one problem with defining veganism as an “animal products boycott” is people saying “well would you be okay with hunting wild animals yourself then?” But to that I would answer “implicit in the word boycott is an ethical judgement on the activity that creates the product.”

So, for 99% of people protesting animal farming, it’s going to be hypocritical to go hunting, because you’re desiring to prevent the incentives for the killing from ever happening so you couldn’t then go out and do it yourself. It’s a positive that we get to really easy conceptually tie this to other boycotts where someone boycotting South African products during apartheid wouldn’t feel comfortable with flying over their and joining the police force themselves, more so than in other definitions where you’re just saying you’re abstaining from using the end animal products.

But I am actually fine with my definition being softer on for example subsistence hunters. I’ve got a video on my channel of Penan tribes people in Indonesia explaining how it would be repulsive to them to keep animals in captivity to farm, and I think this is great animal rights advocacy, so again a positive distinction.

So the idea that some tiny 0.001% of people who might boycott animal products, may also feel fine with going out hunting themselves would just be one of a number of fringe groups you already have under many definitions, like neo-nazis desiring to boycott animal products and wanting to commit harms against humans. Which we simply have to denounce or distance ourselves from in our animal rights advocacy anyway.

Another concern people may have is that boycotting sounds like you’re primarily negatively opposed to a thing and trying to reduce your reliance on that thing. But I would argue you have that with every definition and that by creating a distance between the behaviour (veganism) and the principle (animal rights) you allow people to see the action as part of a big tent animal rights movement, where you’re hoping through boycotting, lobbying, starting vegan cafes, food not bombs stalls and foraging groups to create the breathing room necessary for legislation and rewilding where you can get to enjoy a more compassionate local community and see more animals flourishing in wildlife habitat.

To draw attention away from veganism as a political act is to make veganism look simply like an identity one takes on to look cool or be part of a subculture. Whereas people can relate boycott’s to other real world events as great positive coming together moments under a liberation politics. For example car-sharing during the Montgomery bus boycott, students leading the call to stop subsidising Israel and before that South Africa, the widespread boycotting of a reactionary tabloid newspaper in the UK that ran stories saying mass suffocation at a football stadium due to overcrowding and fences were the fans fault. So boycotting to show your real felt ties to the land you stand on. The first boycott was people simply withdrawing their labour from an imperialist landlord in Ireland in a desire to build something greater once he’d left, so I think it is very flexible to positive intention [1]

Now, does this definition leave room for any exceptions to the rule? Well yes in a way, but I would say a positive one, in that it allows for waste animal products to be used if no profit finds its way back to the person who caused the harm. If you can get a supermarket to redirect its 1000 loaves of bread containing whey from going in the dumpster to a food bank, that can only be a benefit to the world.

Also, it doesn’t attempt to include animal entertainment boycotts in what it means to be vegan, and simply leaves that to be included in what it means to be an animal rights advocate. Although it’s so similar one could raise an eyebrow about why someone would boycott animal agriculture and not animal cruelty as entertainment. People already view veganism as simply abstaining from the use of animal products, so we just do have to contend with why awful people like some eco-fascists desire to be vegans and denounce them. To try and pretend that someone boycotting animal products can’t also be an awful person in other ways is wilfully ignorant. In the same way, claiming that ex-vegans could never have been vegan for not having understood the ethical arguments is fallacious and off-putting.

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1d. What specifically is wrong with other definitions?

Why not define veganism as reducing suffering which is the consequentialist reason for being vegan? Because ‘reducing suffering’ is too big, too abstract, too idealistic, beyond the capacity of one person to ever achieve, laudable but doomed to failure. Whereas ‘boycotting animal products’ is not. ‘Reducing suffering’ creates the impression of the martyr, the need to live a ridiculously puritan lifestyle, like Jain monks sweeping the floor everywhere they walk. And excludes all other ethical systems.

Why not define veganism as the rule that ‘man should not exploit animal’ which is the deontological reason for being vegan? Because it immediately brings to mind the plenty of ways we can pragmatically rescue animals and improve their circumstances while still less obviously exploitative-ly keeping them captive, e.g. rescuing dogs, chickens or horses. And excludes all other ethical systems.

The debates that lead up to the creation of the vegan society were about the dairy industry. They were raised equally from a concern about well-being and about rights:

Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford, a member of the Vegetarian Society in 1944 argued for a total boycott of animal products, saying “[the dairy industry] must involve some slaughter I think and some suffering to the cows and calves.”

Why not define veganism as a hodge-podge of the two main ethical systems, consequentialism and deontology, as the modern vegan society tries to do? Because it’s far too convoluted and open to misinterpretation. You get into debates about what does “as far as is possible and practicable” mean, when you could just say veganism is a boycott. If you aren’t capable of participating for being eating disordered for example, that’s ok, you can be ethically on par with or more ethical than a vegan in your own way, but you just aren’t able to participate in the boycott.

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1e. Good Definitions

So, In summary, I’ll go over what I think are the best definitions:

What is veganism?

  1. An animal products boycott.

(This is a minimal behavioural commitment, with very little confusion about what it entails. The idea that it’s a protest allows for other priorities to override the idea like the need to take vaccines with egg product, but either way it’s still a strong commitment to a commercial boycott. It’s both the reason the vegan society was created and simply the colloquial understanding of a vegan as ‘a person who does not eat or use animal products’, but leaves room for freeganism.)

And/or…

  1. A way of living which seeks to exclude all use of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

(This includes other boycott behaviours like avoiding animals in entertainment, but is vague about whether it entails a weaker or stronger commitment to the act of boycotting itself. Potentially we could move to solely this one definition when we can afford to give more or less equal focus to campaigning against other industries).

What is Animal Rights?

The philosophy which says animals should be granted collective legal rights to have a refuge in dense wildlife habitat where they aren’t subject to human cruelty. With the few exceptions where the law is overridden by right to self-defence or special dispensation from the government for example to practice some scientific testing to cure diseases, as well as breed and keep guide dogs for the blind.

(If a fox kills a rabbit because it’s the only way it can stay strong and pass on it’s genes, it’s part of a wonderfully delicate ecosystem. I have the choice to pick an apple off a tree and enjoy watching the rabbit. So, not wanting to parasitically take away life with instinctual desires to express their high order capabilities for low-order pleasure in our hierarchy of needs which we can find elsewhere.)

What is the Animal Rights Movement?

(Same again, just swapping philosophy for social movement, so…)

A social movement which seeks to gain collective legal rights for animals to have a refuge in dense wildlife habitat where they aren’t subject to human cruelty, etc. Etc.

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1f. Outro

Let me know what you think in a comment down below, all the best, peace.

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2. Arguments for Veganism

2a. Intro

Hello, okay this is going to be a long video, so time-codes in the description if you just want to flick around. This is the second video in a two part series, where in the first video I introduced my preferred definition of veganism, why I think it’s the best one. And now in this video I I will run you through 5 a-mazing arguments for veganism. This is mainly for vegans to become better skilled at advocating, but any feedback is more than welcome.

So, what are the best arguments for advocating veganism?

Well that really depends on your audience, but I’ll run through a few and give my thoughts on the pros and cons of each.

First off let’s start with an argument that is designed to work on any ethical system, called name the trait.

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2a. General Purpose – Name The Trait

Basically it asks what would be the ethical implications for humans if we used the same justifications that meat eaters use for how we treat animals.

  1. Would you prefer not to kill a human for food if you could easily access and eat plant food?
  2. Would you prefer not to kill a non-human animal for food if you could easily access and eat plant food?
  3. If you answered that you’re not ok with killing humans for food and you are ok with killing non-human animals for food, what trait is true of the animal that would let you feel justified in killing animals. And, if that became true of humans, would you then feel justified in killing humans if you could easily eat and had access to plant food in either scenario?

So lack of intelligence, no social contract, etc.

So one positive feature of this argument is it directly makes real for people the severity of their actions.

The negatives are it doesn’t directly deal with any of the pragmatics of day to day living. It’s this abstract hypothetical in which if the other persons position is shown to be absurd, nothing they said was of any value. You may win your point but still alienate the person. People like to have the feeling that they have imparted some knowledge about the world in a two way conversation, not that they are just being shown up for their mistakes.

One way to alleviate this problem could be to ask beforehand, how confident are you on a scale of 1 to 10 that eating animal products is ethically justifiable in your current situation in life? Engage them in the idea that we all have assumptions we were raised with which we have to work hard to see through sometimes, as a precursor to asking your questions. Having had the conversation, ask if their confidence was increased or decreased.

But even this tact again runs the issue of people just saying a high number and then feeling obligated to argue strongly to justify their conviction. Or even coming away with a lower number, but now believing it’s even more of a complex topic than they previously thought – so feeling vindicated in continuing to consume animal products because “there are no easy answers”, even though the agnostic position should be to ‘do no harm’.

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2b. Consequentialist – Marginal cases

Very similar to name the trait.

When meat eaters try to justify the killing of non-human animals they often reach for the idea that humans have some superior ability which entitles them to control the lives of those without that ability. How this intuition plays out in society has led to disabled people working below minimum wage or the putting off of using tax payers’ money towards accessible public amenities like bus stops with the right pavement height for wheelchair users.

Quoting from Wikipedia:

The argument from marginal cases takes the form of a proof by contradiction. It attempts to show that you cannot coherently believe both that all humans have moral status, and that all non-humans lack moral status.

Consider a cow. We ask why it is acceptable to kill this cow for food – we might claim, for example, that the cow has no concept of self and therefore it cannot be wrong to kill it. However, many young children may also lack this same concept of “self”. So if we accept the self-concept criterion, then we must also accept that killing children is acceptable in addition to killing cows, which is considered a reductio ad absurdum. So the concept of self cannot be our criterion.

Then we can say for any criterion or set of criteria (either capacities, e.g. language, consciousness, the ability to have moral responsibilities towards others; or relations, e.g. sympathy or power relations), there exists some “marginal” human who is mentally handicapped in some way that would also meet the criteria for having no moral status.

Positives are it works well on consequentialists.

Negatives are: because of its focus on how similar humans are to animals it could unintentionally leave you with a warped picture of only the cost and complexities of helping disabled people to engage in as many of the aspects of society that they are capable of and would like to. So coming to the end of a discussion solely focused on connecting two negative facts about some disabled people and non-human animals.

Therefore it’s important that there should be time spent acknowledging both the unique perspectives of neuro-divergent people who have improved our society dramatically like Albert Einstein. As well as the unique capabilities of non-human animals to pursue what they have reasons to value, that is a great source of wonder to us, which inspires the arts and which we can study through behavioural science.

Which leads us well onto…

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2c. Virtue Ethics – Respect for Animal Capabilities

If the wonder that we experience in viewing wild animals is not ‘how similar to us they are’, but their ‘real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value’ and one sufficient reason we grant this freedom at least to a basic extent to humans is they have a desire to achieve what they find valuable then; the fact non-human animals experience this desire too means we ought extend these freedoms to animals.

So, a holistic world-view of not wanting to reduce both the quality and quantity of positive experiences humans can have with animals, as well as animals with other animals for low-order pleasures such as taste/texture.

From the philosophical vegan wiki:

Veganism is at its core about peace and compassion. By not buying animal products, you may even feel more at peace and start to get other ideas about how to become a more compassionate person in other areas of your life. Feeding your virtue in one way can help you become a happier person, while doing harm to animals can lead to cruelty or caprice in other ways e.g. the link between slaughterhouse workers and rates of domestic violence.

Of course be prepared to acknowledge that there are fringe cases of people going vegan as a method to feed a concept of superiority and use it as a tool to bash others over the head with.

Positives are it’s hard to argue against without making yourself look bad aha.

Negative are: we’re used to treating virtue as an extra something special we’re not required to do, but makes you an even better person if you do voluntarily. So the idea that we ought do something just because we find wonder in it doesn’t appear to hold a lot of weight on it’s own. Therefore probably best used in tandem with an argument like name the trait. Still the argument offers an avenue to talk about what goals and ambitions people have and how breaking with addictions to unhealthy foods could make them happier because of the compassion they would also be showing animals and the better world with more wildlife in it that they could help to bring about.

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2d. Deontology – The Golden Rule

The golden rule isn’t strictly deontological and can be used on anyone, but it is also very close to how deontologists you may encounter view philosophy, like Kant’s categorical imperative for example: The principle that everyone should only act in such a way that it would still be acceptable to them if it were to become universal law. So when applied to animals; not breeding sentient life into existence, only to keep them confined, tear families apart and kill them later, as you wouldn’t want it to happen to you.

From the philosohical vegan wiki:

  • Ask people if they accept the golden rule
  • Ask if they were in an animals’ hooves if they would like being born into this world as property, only to be killed at a young age for another’s taste pleasure.
  • The response should typically be “no”, but…

There are three common objections:

  1. The objection that we could eat nothing, because “If I were a plant I wouldn’t want to be eaten either”

This is easily answered, but may lead into more discussion: If you were a plant you would not care about being eaten, because plants are not sentient and have no brain or ability to think. The only likely response is plant-sentience, which is an argument rife with pseudoscience and misunderstanding of physiology and the nature of sentience and intelligence, as well as often supernatural claims.

  1. The arbitrary objection that the golden rule only applies to humans.

Which begs the question of “why?”, and “why not only to your own family and not to strangers?” Or “why not only to your own ‘race’?”

  1. The rejection of application of the golden rule to those who in theory would not or could not apply it back to you.

This is a misunderstanding of the golden rule, which operates independently of how others might treat you.

Positives are it’s simplicity.

Negatives are by comparing ‘how similar to us they are’ in their desire to avoid simple things like pain, it again, like the first two arguments, unintentionally draws people’s attention away from animals desire to ‘do and be what they have reason to value’. E.g. conjures up imaginings of having to share a busy high street with masses of sheep and cows because they want to enjoy the same right to free movement as you. However, you can easily argue that as humans there are some ways that we can intelligently gather that fences separating human habitat from animals would be a plus because it’s in cows own interest not to get lost inside a concrete jungle.

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2f. Nihilist Ethics – Property Rights for Animals

If you desire the ability to live a full life on your property because it satisfies a desire you have to meet your basic needs and you’re in favour of guardianship laws to protect this ability for severely mentally disabled people in court because they can’t defend themselves then; you should really desire non-human animals who also have these needs have a legal right to their wild habitat as property and should enjoy guardianship laws which protects their legal rights in court through appointment of a guardian to represent the case of one or a group of animals unless another reason is specified on pain of living in bad faith.

This centres the discussion on how you may be excluding other groups because it’s the social norm. If there’s one norm that unites nihilists in their rejection of universalist ethics, it’s that of the desire to live authentically, so not acting in a way you don’t believe due to outside social pressures, like that acting without compassion is necessary to what it means to be a man.

Everyone has some values they were brought up with that inform their meta-ethical system. It’s up to us to test out those values as we go along against new ones we discover and decide what kind of world we want to live in. We are meaning-seeking creatures innately, we can if we chose seek the happy flourishing of ourselves and others in the process, instead of living a life predicated on taking from others happy flourishing unnecessarily.

Getting to a stage in human civilization where we are able to derive meaning from compassionately caring for the basic needs of every person could be a great thing, just like we could find meaning in getting to see more land freed up for wildlife, where animals are able to express all their capabilities.

Positives are it gets you to appreciate what core basic necessities you take for granted as a means of encouraging the other person to show compassion for animals.

Negatives are it is primarily made to work on nihilists highly concerned with authenticity. Again could be used in tandem with name the trait, to first show a basic commonality for how we all come into this world with certain needs and then ask what trait justifies excluding one group from moral consideration over another.

Secondly people may question the logistics of granting rights to animals today which leads to a procedural tangent about how to incrementally introduce the law in parts. Complications like, the time to grant habitat rights in planning disputes. Then when to introduce rights for some of the few farm animals left to live a full life seeking refuge in semi-wild habitat, pigs being al. Or where and when pigs are allowed to go feral, with the proviso that we can re-introduce predator species to keep the population in check. But misunderstandings like these are crucial intuitive blocks as to why the general population may find it difficult to accept an argument without a clear understanding of the pragmatics of how vegans envision progressing to this more ideal society. So, even if tiresome for the vegan who’s gone over it a million times, it’s always useful to being open to going over it again.

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2g. Outro

But yeah, that’s the end of the video, remember to tailor the argument you use to the person you’re talking to. I’ll put a link to the full script in the description, so you can read back the arguments, plus formal syllogisms if you’re curious. Let me know what you think in a comment down below, all the best, peace.

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3. Formal Syllogisms

3a. General Purpose – Name The Trait

P1) Humans have moral value.

P2) If your view affirms a given human is trait-equalizable to a given nonhuman animal while retaining moral value, then your view can only deny the given nonhuman animal has moral value on pain of P∧~P.

P3) Your view affirms a given human is trait-equalizable to a given nonhuman animal while retaining moral value.

C1) Therefore, your view can only deny the given nonhuman animal has moral value on pain of P∧~P

P4) Animals have moral value.

P5) If a being has moral value, we ought not support the use of that being for animal products.

C2) Therefore we ought not support the use of animal products

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3b. Consequentialist – Marginal cases

P1) Some humans (infants, young children, profoundly intellectually disabled) are intellectually comparable to non-human animals.

P2) If the well-being of non-human animals (e.g. their avoiding a given amount of suffering, their benefiting from a given quality of life) is morally less important than ours (in virtue of these lesser intellectual abilities), then the well-being of these humans is equally less important (in virtue of their lesser intellectual abilities).

P3) But the well-being of these humans isn’t morally less important than ours.

C1) Therefore, The well-being of non-human animals is not morally less important than ours.

This entails (if you like in conjunction with P4. Our well-being is morally important) the Principle of Equal Consideration: human and non-human animal well-being is of equal intrinsic moral importance (i..e moral importance in itself and apart from its further effects) – e.g. all else held equal, the fact that an act would inflict a given amount of harm (e.g. a given amount of suffering) on a human or a non-human animal is an equally strong moral reason against it.

Defense of P3: It is deeply implausible that intellectual ability affects the intrinsic importance of one’s well-being once we distinguish (i) its role in making one a moral agent who owes duties vs. a moral patient who is owed duties, (ii) its role in affecting the instrumental importance of one’s well-being for others, and (iii) its role in determining how beneficial or harmful certain things are for you (including how much typical human adults benefit from living vs. how much non-human animals and profoundly intellectually disabled humans benefit from living).

Defense of P2: The only relevant thing that distinguishes non-human animals from intellectually comparable humans is bare biological species membership, but it’s deeply implausible that bare biological species membership is relevant to the intrinsic moral importance of someone’s well-being once one we focus on what it really is: something like potential to interbreed to produce fertile offspring, psychology-independent morphology, phenotype-independent genotype, history of phylogenetic descent. It’s no more plausible that these matter to the intrinsic moral importance of someone’s well-being than someone’s ethnicity / continent of ancestry and consequent facial features, hair texture, and skin colour (race), or her chromosomes and relative gamete size (sex).

The weakening: Even if somehow intellectual ability or biological species memebership per se mattered to the moral importance of someone’s well-being they couldn’t matter very much. Since they seem utterly devoid of moral importance; surely it is safe to at least conclude:

C2) Principle of Minimal Consideration: We should / are morally required to avoid inflicting enormous harm on non-human animals for what is at most relatively trivial benefits for ourselves.

Empirical considerations about factory farming, human health, environmental effects, and, if you like, further philosophical considerations about what makes death a harm, the potential relevance of the fact that future farmed animals won’t exist unless we buy animal products, and the probabilities that one’s purchasing decisions will make a difference of various kinds and to what extent this matters, we get:

P5) To avoid inflicting enormous harm on non-human animals for what is at most relatively trivial benefits for ourselves, we must be vegan.

Finally, C2 and P5 entail:

C3) We should / are morally required to be vegan.

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3c. Virtue Ethics – Respect for Animal Capabilities

P1) If the wonder that we experience in viewing wild animals is not ‘how similar to us they are’, but their ‘real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value’ and one sufficient reason we grant this freedom at least to a basic extent to humans is they have a desire to achieve what they find valuable THEN the fact non-human animals experience this desire too means we ought extend these freedoms to animals.

P2) The wonder that we experience in viewing wild animals is not ‘how similar to us they are’, but their ‘real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value’ and one sufficient reason we grant this freedom at least to a basic extent to humans is they have a desire to achieve what they find valuable.

C) Therefore the wonder that we experience in viewing wild animals is not ‘how similar to us they are’, but their ‘real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value’ and one sufficient reason we grant this freedom at least to a basic extent to humans is they have a desire to achieve what they find valuable AND the fact non-human animals experience this desire too means we ought extend these freedoms to animals.

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3d. Deontology – The Golden Rule

P1) If I would like to be treated well then I should treat others well

P2) I would like to be treated well

C1) Therefore I should treat others well

P3) I would not like to be treated badly then I should not treat others badly

P4) I would not like to be treated badly

C2) Therefore I should not treat others badly

C3) Therefore I should treat others well and not treat others badly

P5) Non human animals count as “others”

P6) Veganism is entailed by treating others well and not treating others badly

C3) Therefore I should be veganism

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3e. Nihilist Ethics – Property Rights for Animals

P1) If I desire the ability to live a full life on my property because it satisfies a desire I have to meet my basic needs and I’m in favour of guardianship laws to protect this ability for severely mentally disabled people in court because they can’t defend themselves THEN I should desire non-human animals who also have these needs have a legal right to their wild habitat as property and should enjoy guardianship laws which protects their legal rights in court through appointment of a guardian to represent the case of one or a group of animals unless another reason is specified on pain of living in bad faith.

P2) I desire the ability to live a full life on my property because it satisfies a desire I have to meet my basic needs and I’m in favour of guardianship laws to protect this ability for severely mentally disabled people in court because they can’t defend themselves.

C) Therefore I desire the ability to live a full life on my property because it satisfies a desire I have to meet my basic needs and I’m in favour of guardianship laws to protect this ability for severely mentally disabled people in court because they can’t defend themselves AND I should desire non-human animals who also have these needs have a legal right to their wild habitat as property and should enjoy guardianship laws which protects their legal rights in court through appointment of a guardian to represent the case of one or a group of animals unless another reason is specified on pain of living in bad faith.

Defence of P1: The different identity relations between humans and animals would be the other specified reason, if you desire to do something simply because of reason x, and reason x applies to this other group, then unless another reason is specified you’re likely simply excluding the other group because it’s the social norm. So you haven’t thought it through, hence living in bad faith. You can still easily get out of it by saying you don’t care about speciesism, but that would be adding another reason.

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References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Boycott

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