• Graeme M
    77
    Modern ethical principles guide modern societies. For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out in 30 articles the fundamental human rights to be universally protected. Many nations have these rights protected in law.

    Interestingly, while many would agree with these principles and endorse legislating to protect these rights for human beings, they seem far less concerned with the rights of other species. While the UN can observe that "disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind", I would say the same in regard to the treatment of other species.

    While this lack of recognition from us to them may not change in the future, ethical veganism proposes that we should pay more attention to protecting their interests, at least insofar as their most basic rights are concerned. Put simply, I suggest that ethical veganism is the idea that the ethical principles contained in Articles 3-5 of the Declaration should apply, whenever possible, to other species.

    Given the sheer scale of our contempt for other sentient sepecies and given that we profess today to be deeply interested in just treatment of others, it seems to me that veganism is entirely consistent with our everyday ethics and as such open to being considered a standard ethical practice. It surprises me how vehemently people object to this idea.

    In light of the lack of protection of the rights of other species at law, the most ethical approach seems to be for people to act - as best they can - as though such protections and laws do exist. That is what I think ethical veganism is proposing. Shouldn't we be more open to that?
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k
    I'll take first bite!

    Good call OP! "Carnism & basic human rights just don't go together" ... said the girl to her exasperated boyfriend.
  • Isaac
    9.4k
    we should pay more attention to protecting their interestsGraeme M

    How do we work out what their interests are, since we can't ask, and we're not ourselves of those species?

    And, having found out, why ought we concern ourselves with those interests being met?
  • Graeme M
    77
    How do we work out what their interests are, since we can't ask, and we're not ourselves of those species?

    And, having found out, why ought we concern ourselves with those interests being met?
    Isaac

    I believe the argument is that sentient creatures would have the same basic interests as human beings, which I suppose could be summarised as the freedom to pursue their own lives as they see fit. So, Articles 3-5 of the Human Rights Declaration (HRD) seem to apply. That is, as with us they have a right to be free, in charge of their own lives, and not to be treated cruelly by us. But when I say "rights", we can take that to mean these are duties we have in relation to any interaction between us and them.

    Why should we be concerned? I guess that is the 64 million dollar question. I think for two reasons. First, we are 8 billion and as such our interaction with the natural world no longer is... well... natural. Personally I see nothing wrong with people hunting other animals for food and fibre, at least not in traditional hunter/gatherer societies. But what we do today by industrialising so much of our interactions with nature seems needing some kind of constraint. Secondly because we could pose the claim that we want things to be good for other people because they have feelings about being alive. If that works for other people, it probably should work for other species - at least those that can have those kinds of feelings. It just seems good to want others to feel good (be happy rather than unhappy).
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k
    Isn't there a quote that goes before I'm a Palestenian or an Israeli, I'm human? Run with that and let the magic happen! :cool:
  • Isaac
    9.4k
    I believe the argument is that sentient creatures would have the same basic interests as human beings, which I suppose could be summarised as the freedom to pursue their own lives as they see fit.Graeme M

    Right. But for a prey animal that life includes being hunted, being free to roam, migrating, having large herds... We prevent much of that. Which should we take as a their priority?

    Would your argument apply, for example, to pets? Keeping other humans on a lead would be degrading to a point where the victim might even choose death over such treatment. So is dog-owning up there with meat-eating for you?

    what we do today by industrialising so much of our interactions with nature seems needing some kind of constraint.Graeme M

    Right, so better farming and slaughter methods. I'd be in favour of such a move. I'm not seeing the need for full veganism from that argument.

    we could pose the claim that we want things to be good for other people because they have feelings about being alive.Graeme M

    Farm animals live longer than wild ones, so if it's being alive that's the objective, farming is better. If it's living some kind of 'fullest life' that matters, then being hunted is as much contender for part of a prey animal's natural life as any activity. I'm still not seeing in there the conclusion that we ought leave well alone.

    It just seems good to want others to feel good (be happy rather than unhappy).Graeme M

    I agree, but I don't think you've made the case that a well cared for farm animal wouldn't feel good over its lifetime even if raised for slaughter. Even harder with an egg-laying chicken, or a fish.
  • Pantagruel
    2.3k
    Managing and balancing the consumption of meat based upon the awareness and understanding of the constraints of a healthy biosphere seems like a more reasonable place to start. Eating other creatures is one natural method of caloric intake. Hewing down forests to overpopulate the world with herds of cattle is another thing altogether. Clearly, globally, we do consume way too much meat.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.7k
    I agree, but I don't think you've made the case that a well cared for farm animal wouldn't feel good over its lifetime even if raised for slaughter. Even harder with an egg-laying chicken, or a fish.Isaac

    But it’s not the norm that animals are raised this way (nice pastures, good food, etc). Also, if you can survive without eating meat, why do it other than it tastes good? How do you not commit a naturalistic fallacy in justifying it? We can choose, and have reasons. Enough there to choose not killing large mammals and birds if we don't have to. Granted, we created these animals by domestication, so it would be up to us to figure out what to do with them, but that's a different issue of practicality rather than morality.
  • T Clark
    10.7k
    Interestingly, while many would agree with these principles and endorse legislating to protect these rights for human beings, they seem far less concerned with the rights of other species. While the UN can observe that "disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind", I would say the same in regard to the treatment of other species.Graeme M

    Your seeming disregard for the difference between humans and other animals from a moral point of view makes your argument hard to take seriously.
  • Isaac
    9.4k
    it’s not the norm that animals are raised this way (nice pastures, good food, etc).schopenhauer1

    No. It ought to be.

    if you can survive without eating meat, why do it other than it tastes good?schopenhauer1

    An odd question. As if we do other things for other sorts of reasons. Why do you go for a walk? Why do you seek relationships? Why do you listen to music? I'm struggling to see why eating meat has to have some existential urgency to it that other activities lack.

    How do you not commit a naturalistic fallacy in justifying it?schopenhauer1

    The naturalistic fallacy just expresses your belief that what is natural is not necessarily what is good. It might be. It's not like you've got some competing theory of what is good that is more coherent. I think that if we want to eat meat, but we also want to see animals happy, we have to find a way of achieving both, or balancing those desires. I'm not seeing any argument as to why one of those desires must be met but the other is to be discarded.
  • ThinkOfOne
    158
    Given the sheer scale of our contempt for other sentient sepecies and given that we profess today to be deeply interested in just treatment of others, it seems to me that veganism is entirely consistent with our everyday ethics and as such open to being considered a standard ethical practice. It surprises me how vehemently people object to this idea.Graeme M


    From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
    Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

    The above also "should be everyday practice for ethical societies". Unfortunately there are many in the US, for example, who are vehemently opposed to the above. There are a lot of self-centered people in this world. How is it that you are surprised "how vehemently people object to [ethical veganism]"?
  • schopenhauer1
    7.7k
    No. It ought to be.Isaac

    Ok agreed.

    An odd question. As if we do other things for other sorts of reasons. Why do you go for a walk? Why do you seek relationships? Why do you listen to music? I'm struggling to see why eating meat has to have some existential urgency to it that other activities lack.Isaac

    Because I don't see the equivalency of taking a walk in the park and killing certain highly sentient animals. I'm not sure why you are playing dumb here and equivocating. Seems to be stalling.

    The naturalistic fallacy just expresses your belief that what is natural is not necessarily what is good. It might be. It's not like you've got some competing theory of what is good that is more coherent. I think that if we want to eat meat, but we also want to see animals happy, we have to find a way of achieving both, or balancing those desires. I'm not seeing any argument as to why one of those desires must be met but the other is to be discarded.Isaac

    We can make choices. To assume that we it is fine to eat meat because our ancestors did or because other animals do, would be wrong.

    It is also wrong empirically that we can't survive (in a healthy way) without eating large mammals and birds.

    A competing theory? You never provided one. What I see of a moral theory here is, "If your taste buds like it, do it". But would you really say that in every situation?
  • Isaac
    9.4k
    I don't see the equivalency of taking a walk in the park and killing certain highly sentient animals. I'm not sure why you are playing dumb here and equivocating. Seems to be stalling.schopenhauer1

    So because you don't see it, I must be playing dumb? Seems a theme. One wonders what exactly you expect from a discussion forum whilst assuming everyone else simply must see the world the same way you do.

    To assume that we it is fine to eat meat because our ancestors did or because other animals do, would be wrong.schopenhauer1

    Why?

    A competing theory? You never provided one.schopenhauer1

    Not my place to. I'm critiquing your post.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.7k
    So because you don't see it, I must be playing dumb? Seems a theme. One wonders what exactly you expect from a discussion forum whilst assuming everyone else simply must see the world the same way you do.Isaac

    No I don't see it. One doesn't involve killing, one does. Add in "highly sentient" adjective there as well. I see the distinction, and you apparently don't. Yet, that's odd, because something (highly sentient) getting killed and something not seems like a distinction that is pretty recognizable as an event, even if you don't see it as a moral event. Again, all dog and pony show stalling it seems. It's too obvious the distinction fro you to simply shrug it off as just another event like walking.

    Why?Isaac

    Our ancestors did a whole bunch of X things. Doesn't make our ancestors right. Or, perhaps more nuanced, doesn't make it right anymore.

    Not my place to. I'm critiquing your post.Isaac

    And I was critiquing yours.
  • Graeme M
    77
    Your seeming disregard for the difference between humans and other animals from a moral point of view makes your argument hard to take seriously.T Clark

    It is difficult to understand how you managed to draw that inference from my post. Presuming you aren't taking a religious position, the argument is not that humans and other species are equal, but rather as sentient creatures both humans and other species share certain basic interests.
  • Graeme M
    77
    From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
    Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

    The above also "should be everyday practice for ethical societies". Unfortunately there are many in the US, for example, who are vehemently opposed to the above. There are a lot of self-centered people in this world. How is it that you are surprised "how vehemently people object to [ethical veganism]"?
    ThinkOfOne

    I disagree. Those rights you quote are not at issue in this regard. We are only concerned with those rights described in Articles 3-5 of the Declaration.

    These are:

    Article 3
    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Article 4
    No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

    Article 5
    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    Now it is possible that some disagree with these as human rights (some disagree with the concept of rights, for example), however I think most modern nations do agree on those fundamental basic rights.

    Do you think that people generally vehemently object to those human rights?
  • Graeme M
    77
    Right. But for a prey animal that life includes being hunted, being free to roam, migrating, having large herds... We prevent much of that. Which should we take as a their priority?Isaac

    Let me clarify. This is not talking about relations between other species, but relations between humans and other species. Freedom is just that. How life unfolds for the free is a different matter; we cannot prevent a free human being from dying in a car accident or being seriously injured from getting into a fight. But that person is at least free.

    Would your argument apply, for example, to pets? Keeping other humans on a lead would be degrading to a point where the victim might even choose death over such treatment. So is dog-owning up there with meat-eating for you?Isaac

    Further clarification. We aren't talking about actually awarding rights, rather the wish to behave as though such rights have been awarded. As such, I am saying it is up to each of us to decide what that means. Genuine pet ownership, where the well-being of the pet is important, could be seen to be a form of guardianship. CAFO breeding of chickens for meat and eggs is not about their well-being in any shape or form. So, someone taking this ethical stance might still own a pet and behave responsibly while doing so but choose not to eat chickens and their eggs. I am not suggesting I judge the choices people make, but rather that as a society we take this aim seriously.

    Farm animals live longer than wild ones, so if it's being alive that's the objective, farming is better. If it's living some kind of 'fullest life' that matters, then being hunted is as much contender for part of a prey animal's natural life as any activity. I'm still not seeing in there the conclusion that we ought leave well alone.Isaac

    Other animals being alive is not the objective. Acting ethically is.

    I agree, but I don't think you've made the case that a well cared for farm animal wouldn't feel good over its lifetime even if raised for slaughter. Even harder with an egg-laying chicken, or a fish.Isaac

    That could be true. However, if we pursue the ethics I describe to the fullest, we would not farm other animals. Again, I am not suggesting that we do that, instead I am talking about what each member of a modern society might choose to do. If animals must be farmed (because some people still choose to eat meat), it might be hoped that they still wish for Article 5 to apply. That is, we act in ways to prevent cruel or inhumane treatment. The argument is that members make choices that reflect these fuindamental ethical principles. So if animals are farmed in CAFO systems or skinned alive to produce fur, an ethical member would choose not to buy such products and would support legislation to prevent such systems.
  • Graeme M
    77
    Can I help to sharpen my proposition? Veganism is the idea that we act ethically towards other species. I am suggesting that the easiest way to think of this is for people to behave as though the three basic rights I have outlined - which are agreed to be worthwhile for people - should be worthwhile in relations between people and other species.

    Whether those rights should be awarded is a debate that could be had. Animal rights advocates say that they should be. But until such time as that happens, no-one is under an obligation to act accordingly (there are no laws proscribing behaviours that breach these rights in the case of other species).

    However, as moral agents we should be open to behaving ethically when we can. If these rights could reasonably be applied to other species in order to reduce the extent to which we cause them to suffer in some way (even if that is just to be deprived of freedom to live their lives on their terms), we should wish to behave sympathetically, whenever we can.

    The proposition is all about what each person can do to recognise the rights of other species and by extension that as a society we think this is a reasonable and preferable position to take.
  • ThinkOfOne
    158


    I was well aware of the fact that you only cited those three articles earlier. The point you missed is that there are many self-centered people in this world who are vehemently opposed to what SHOULD "be everyday practice for ethical societies" when they see it as infringing on what they enjoy or even when they don't see a direct benefit for themselves. As such it should come as no surprise "how vehemently people object to [ethical veganism]".

    Be that as it may, you're kidding yourself if you believe that there aren't people vehemently opposed to Article 5. That there aren't people opposed to Article 4. Also the article that I cited speaks to Article 3.
  • Graeme M
    77
    The point you missed is that there are many self-centered people in this world who are vehemently opposed to what SHOULD "be everyday practice for ethical societies" when they see it as infringing on what they enjoy or even when they don't see a direct benefit for themselves. As such it should come as no surprise "how vehemently people object to [ethical veganism]".ThinkOfOne

    I am comfortable that some people DO object to ideas about ethics and may even object to the UNDHR. But I do not think that is a commonly held view. As a broad generalisation, modern societies tend to agree that these human rights exist and should be protected.

    In my post, I am saying that given this is a general stance of society, it seems reasonable that a modern society would endorse these principles as being applicable to other species.Because we do not have laws that enforce these protections, someone who disagrees is free to do as they will.
  • Isaac
    9.4k
    something (highly sentient) getting killed and something not seems like a distinction that is pretty recognizable as an eventschopenhauer1

    Yes, but in my list was 'seeking relationships'. That's also massively different from 'going for a walk'. You've singled out killing a sentient prey animal and just declared it to be of some other scale. You're begging the question. I'm asking why it is of this other scale.

    Our ancestors did a whole bunch of X things. Doesn't make our ancestors right. Or, perhaps more nuanced, doesn't make it right anymore.schopenhauer1

    It might do. You've not given any account of what makes things right yet, so 'our ancestors did it' is currently as good a contender as any.

    Not my place to. I'm critiquing your post. — Isaac


    And I was critiquing yours.
    schopenhauer1

    Then I don't understand the critique. How does my not having presented a definition invalidate my criticism of your position?
  • Isaac
    9.4k
    we cannot prevent a free human being from dying in a car accident or being seriously injured from getting into a fight. But that person is at least free.Graeme M

    So now you're talking about freedom, not death. If the animals were free prior to us killing them for food, then it would be ethical? I can see that as an argument. It would still apply to pets, which, by and large, aren't free.

    Genuine pet ownership, where the well-being of the pet is important, could be seen to be a form of guardianship.Graeme M

    How? Dogs are perfectly capable of living free, they do so in large packs in many southern European cities. So how is restraining them on a lead and imprisoning them in a house 'guardianship'?

    CAFO breeding of chickens for meat and eggs is not about their well-being in any shape or form.Graeme M

    No. We've already agreed that improvements to farming are required.

    Other animals being alive is not the objective. Acting ethically is.Graeme M

    Yet all you have given so far as unethical is lifespan (the foreshortening of it). The only thing about eating animals that is necessary is killing them first. Nothing else is necessary (factory farms, penning them in, industrial slaughterhouses, wing clipping etc). So if all you've got as non-ethical is the reduction of lifespans, then high-welfare farming is the most ethical way to treat animals.

    if animals are farmed in CAFO systems or skinned alive to produce fur, an ethical member would choose not to buy such products and would support legislation to prevent such systems.Graeme M

    Agreed. But that's not the argument you made. It's got nothing to do with Veganism.

    Veganism is the idea that we act ethically towards other species.Graeme M

    Then you're using a different definition to most. That might be part of the misunderstanding here...

    one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey - as well as avoiding animal-derived materials,https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism

    Veganism is not just a position that we ought act ethically toward animals, it is a declaration of what that ethical treatment should entail. It bypasses the debate about what constitutes ethical treatment and substitutes its pre-conceived notion of the solution.
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k
    The demand-available problem.

    Tom: Why do you kill animals?
    Dick (butcher): Because Harry eats meat (meat demand).

    John: Why do you eat meat?
    Harry (nonvegetarian): Because Dick kills animals (meat available).

    Tom (to Dick): You're killing animals because Harry eats meat?

    Dick: Yep!

    John (to Harry): You're eating meat because Dick kills animals?

    Harry: Bingo!

    Tom: So, Dick, you can't stop killing animals because Harry eats meat and Harry, you can't stop eating meat because Dick kills animals?

    Dick & Harry (in unison): Précisément!

    Tom: WTF? :chin:
  • schopenhauer1
    7.7k
    It might do. You've not given any account of what makes things right yet, so 'our ancestors did it' is currently as good a contender as any.Isaac

    We’ve been though this before. You are for ethics being anything that the community decides is right. So if the community is 56% pro slavery, it’s right! If ancestors had slaves for thousands of years, it’s right!
  • schopenhauer1
    7.7k

    :lol: :wink:
    You forgot to direct that to Isaac. He’s pro suffering all around as long as everyone’s up for it.
  • Isaac
    9.4k


    Partly, yes. Though my meta-ethics is not that simple. But I don't see what my personal meta-ethical stance has to do with your position.

    How does your caricature of my position further your argument or counter the points I raised against it?
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k
    You forgot to direct that to Isaac.schopenhauer1

    :grin:
  • schopenhauer1
    7.7k
    But I don't see what my personal meta-ethical stance has to do with your position.

    How does your caricature of my position further your argument or counter the points I raised against it?
    Isaac

    I’m arguing against your position, so it has quite a lot to do with this debate between me and you. This. One. Right. Here.
  • Isaac
    9.4k
    I’m arguing against your positionschopenhauer1

    Why? This thread isn't about my position. Its about veganism. If I wanted a critique of my position I'd have posted it in an OP. You posted...

    if you can survive without eating meat, why do it other than it tastes good? How do you not commit a naturalistic fallacy in justifying it? We can choose, and have reasons. Enough there to choose not killing large mammals and birds if we don't have to.schopenhauer1

    ...if you're not willing to defend that position, then why post it?
  • schopenhauer1
    7.7k
    ...if you're not willing to defend that position, then why post it?Isaac

    Stalling. I was critiquing your ancestors theory. I don’t wanna rehash the same type of arguments but in the form of vegetarian or what not instead of antinatalism because it’s all the same thing. You’re gonna say that if the community says it’s OK or ancestors said it was OK then it’s OK and of course I’m not OK with that. I’m going to say that it’s about suffering and preventing suffering and you were going to try to trivialize that it’s all going to rehash the same way blah blah.
  • Isaac
    9.4k
    I was critiquing your ancestors theory.schopenhauer1

    Why? This is @Graeme M's thread about veganism and you posted a claim on it. Why are we now discussing a caricature of a theory of mine that I haven't even mentioned?

    Just defend your claim or leave @Graeme M's thread to the discussion of Graeme's OP.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.