My Last Will & Testament as a Vegan Atheist


  • 0:30 My Last Will & Testament
  • 1:55 Big Tent Veganism
  • 2:45 The Freegan Debate
  • 3:20 The Free Rider Objection
  • 4:10 The Speciesism Accusation
  • 5:03 The Pet Rights Objection
  • :00 The Separate Eco-Systems Objection

Disclaimer: I know this is heavy subject for many people, so I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea and think that I’m making it because I’m depressed or anything like that, I do plan to try and live a long life, I just thought it would be a useful exercise to talk in detail about exactly what I’d like to have happen after I die, as I think it can help put into focus how I want to live my life, what kind of world I want to build and finally encourage others to think in this way also.


My Last Will & Testament

So I’ll start off by explaining my 4 main desires, then I’ll explain what got me thinking about this and there’ll be time codes in the description if you want to jump around.

Firstly if possible I want to be an organ donor and I want to offer my body for medical students to poke around in and get skilled up till their hearts content.

Secondly I want to share out some amount of money to any family and friends who are poverty stricken. And for what’s left to be donated to whatever political campaign organisation or charity that the person I’ve chosen and trusted to be the executive of my will knows that I value most, so today it would be the charity ‘Rewilding Britain’.

Thirdly, at my funeral I don’t want there to be any religious people there in an official capacity.

Finally, I would like to be buried at a green burial site on land acquired specifically for restoring dense wildlife habitat. To emphasise the importance of this desire, under an ideal legal situation I would desire that my body be carried to a beautiful location where large predators like wolves exist and that my body be left as a donation of energy to larger animals that could benefit from it most, as smaller animals like flies can get by on almost anything like rotting veg just fine.


Big Tent Veganism

So, what got me thinking about this is I know that in holding rare desires like this I dumbfound even some vegans, and that some vegans might desire that I keep quiet about stuff like this to not muddy the name of veganism with eccentric desires. But I do think we should make room for lots of different people with niche interests to be loud and attract attention to vegan politics in their own unique way. So long as the person isn’t saying you must hold this niche interest in order to call yourself vegan.

It’s simply the difference between an actually effective big tent vegan political alliance and a fractured group of purist vegans all defining veganism in their own way.


The Freegan Debate

Now my ideal desire to have my body be used as a resource for wild animals in this way extends to seeing it as an entirely positive practice for humans to use dead animals they find in the wild, and even dead animals that were unjustifiably killed by other people, so long as you don’t help perpetuate the cycle of killing.

Issues like this one and countless others like whether vegans should date non-vegans gets to the heart of a debate over what vegans’ philosophical foundation and central focus should be.


The Free Rider Objection

For instance, one objection some vegans raise is that people who use second hand leather are free riding on the bad actions of others, but this often stems from a misunderstanding about what philosophical foundation the other person is using. For instance I would never claim that the reason it’s a character vice for people to buy animal products is because all use of animals bodies is wrong, so I’m not free riding on a less bad use of an animal after someone has already made the greater sin of paying to keep the cycle going of animals being killed to be sold. I simply think sometimes using animal bodies after they’re dead can be an entirely positive character virtue, like finding a deer killed along the road and learning to turn its hide into clothing.


The Speciesism Accusation

Another objection is that we wouldn’t use a human body for leather after they’re dead, so we’re unreasonably devaluing non-human animal life by viewing them with less dignity. But non-human animals don’t experience a worse quality of life worrying about what’s going to happen to them after they’re dead, humans do as a species norm.

So even for babies and the mentally disabled it’s reasonable to project onto them this cultural norm of desiring to relate to them as people who if they had grown up or not had a mental disability, that they would likely have desires for what happened to them after they’re dead.

But with other animals I think we would likely be perpetuating an entirely toxic relationship to project onto them this cultural norm.


The Pet Rights Objection

Firstly because the most common way I see this intuition play out is among vegans who had a pet as a child and would like to consider every domesticated animal a kind of citizen of their own community who they would like to extend funerary rights to.

But, I think this intuition precisely comes from liking the way we’ve bred infantile traits into some dogs to relate to them more as infant humans. So, it’s buying into the delusion you desired be created. You imagine that they could have grown up to be people who could suffer a worse quality of life worrying about how other people might intend to treat their body after their death.

So I think it’s more respectful to think of domesticated animals like their wild ancestors, where it would be normal for other animals to eat them after they’re dead.


The Separate Eco-Systems Objection

The second way I see this intuition playing out is where the person would have liked to think of animals as existing in ecosystems that are almost entirely cut off from us, where they live, die and get broken down without interference from us. Whilst we pursue challenges entirely separate from them.

But, as well as joining campaign groups working towards restoring dense wildlife habitat, I simply think it’s a positive to maximize the use value of natural resources in ways that don’t have a long-term negative impact on the eco-system. Whether that be finding thatching for roofs, or skinning a dead deer on a hike and leaving the flesh for scavengers.

These are skills that positively teach us how to achieve a task like how to make a set of shoes using the minimum viable technology necessary to do it, so gaining a whole host of skillsets that can be rewarding for a child to grow up learning to do.

So again abstaining from pursuing tasks like this would in my view be relating to the animal with much less dignity than you could show by putting that animals body to use in the value of the happy flourishing you could achieve in your community.

So that’s everything, feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment down below, and like and subscribe, cheers.


Further reading

  1. Arguments For Re-Introducing Predators Into Damaged Eco-Systems
  2. Vegan purists are harming our ability to convince people to go vegan. So, we need a simple vegan definition.
  3. Is Freeganism a Positive Form of Advocacy for Legal Animal Rights?
  4. I believe in Minimum Viable Technology

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