Debate On The Definition of Veganism

Debate Proposition: We should define veganism as “an animal products boycott” which is primarily against animal agriculture, and not “veganism is a way of life that seeks to place the value of animal life, health and liberty above the value of substitutable classes of goods, services and uses derived from animals.”

At the 32:30 mins mark in the video, I gave a rebuttal to Shadow’s definition, on why I think myself and other vegans don’t and shouldn’t have to fit under his definition, but either he didn’t understand it and/or I didn’t explain myself clearly enough.

He views anyone who would ‘substitute meat in their shopping trolley for vegetables’ as what qualifies them as a vegan (fitting under his definition), but I disagree that it has to be because you’re strictly valuing a hypothetical animal that got a chance to live, higher than the one that died to make the animal product which you’re substituting for vegetable products.

I desire to grant guardianship laws to animals to collectively be able to seek refuge in a specific area of wildlife habitat because I can recognize they desire to express their capabilities, having land they can call their territory helps them fulfil this need, and I can recognize if I was born into the world as an animal or severely disabled human I would want access to resources to fulfil my needs.

Another way of saying this could be I place the value of getting to see wildlife in dense wildlife habitat above the value of strip malls, business parks and open cast coal mines.

I don’t think I ought place the value of animal life, health and liberty above the value of substitutable classes of goods, services and uses derived from animals.

So two exceptions to the rule could be:

  1. I don’t think I’m viewing the value for the animal to live in the wild as being higher than the value a sheep would find on a semi-wild farm protected from predators and then turned into a substitutable class of meat towards the end of it’s life. (Even thought I think a fully wild habitat would offer more life for more animals and not slaughtering would offer a more virtuous life for the human).
  2. And I even think that I value the class of goods of carrots above the substitutable class of goods of apples which puts the value of animals life lower in some circumstances, like turning over soil to let seagulls feast on the worms.

My argument is simply that we ought engineer a set of circumstances in which a much higher number of animals are getting to express their capabilities in wildlife habitat. But I don’t think that necessarily has to be hashed out to ‘doing it for the animals’ or ‘because I’m viewing their life in the wild as universally of higher value to ways you could individually treat them as means to an end substitutable classes of goods or services.’ Because I wouldn’t necessarily.

Shadow Starshine’s response to the exceptions to the rule (after the debate had ended) was:

Right, let me respond to the second point first. It’s where I’ve admitted that my definition has the highest weakness is that what a “class” is, is vague. I obviously don’t mean specific fruits and meats and whatever to constitute legitimate classes, and I want “food” to be a class of product. or “medicine”, things of that level. I agree that one can sort of twist the wording of class to mean things like you’re implying which is beyond my intention.

The first point is interesting, I may or may not agree with it. I’ll think on it.

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