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Speciesism and Veganism: Transcending Politics and Religion

Speciesism and Veganism: Transcending Politics and Religion
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Although this may come as a surprise to some, there are ethical vegans across the political spectrum and in every major religion. Veganism transcends politics and religion because it is based on the simple matter of rejecting a particular form of prejudice: speciesism.

Speciesism, racism, sexism, and other prejudices rely on a morally irrelevant criterion (in this case, species) as the basis on which to deny the interests of an individual belonging to a different ‘group’, even if those interests are more significant than one’s own. As such, speciesism is simply a different form of the same underlying wrong at the foundation of all prejudices. It really doesn’t matter which morally irrelevant criteria we base our prejudice on sex, race, skin color, age, sexual orientation, species it is ethically wrong to use such arbitrary criteria to deny the rights of others.

Despite the cultural evolution that has brought humanity a long way from the ‘kill or be killed’ mentality of prehistoric times, the world today remains profoundly speciesist. The extreme prejudice of our cultural speciesism reaches far beyond disregarding an individual’s right to avoid persecution. It extends as far as absolute indifference to the right to be free from unjust imprisonment, mental and emotional torment, extreme physical violence in the form of mutilations and the infliction of injury and death.Owned as chattel property, with no laws to protect their most fundamental rights, those who are not human are condemned to a life with no protection against the brutal and unremitting oppression from those who control their world: Us.

Animal exploitation is perfectly legal and socially acceptable everywhere in the world, despite the emergence of satisfactory alternatives to virtually all uses (not to mention those yet to be developed, once our society rejects our current speciesist practices). Although there is a growing movement drawing attention to the many brutal rights violations routinely carried out against nonhumans being used for human gain, we continue to confine, injure and kill animals of all kinds, maintaining unnecessary, antiquated exploitative practices for food production, research, fashion, and even entertainment.

The ubiquitous nature of this extreme cultural prejudice explains why speciesism (and the proper moral response to it: veganism) is unrelated to political leaning. Although social justice movements generally arise from the left, there are some political conservatives who are principled vegans, while some on the political left, sadly, continue to scoff at issues of animal rights. In fact, it is remarkable that the vast majority of those on the political left choose to remain uninformed and to deliberately ignore these glaring justice issues, including their own participation in practices that would be rightly abhorred by anyone in touch with their conscience.

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4:34PM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Interesting, Gerald L, when it comes to the sheltered life of the urban dweller and those in suburbia. Whenever the weather gets warmer and more dogs and cats are outside to soak up the sun and walk in the grass, they often will pick up fleas, ticks and other hitch hikers along the way.

Few people, except the the most militant (along with the very pacifist Jain vegans who won't garden root veggies for fear of hurting insects that live among the roots of potatoes, etc) will question the often lethal and forcible removal of said fleas, ticks, etc., to rid pets of these risks. Even mosquitoes, deer, horse and black flies are dealt with quickly.

4:33PM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Speaking of sheltered, there are even those who believe that all predators in the wild such as wolves, cougars, lions and the like should be eased into extinction because a few of these utilitarian philosophers (no doubt all urban dwellers feel that predators cause pain, fear and suffering among the prey animals.

Of course, they do not explain how the herbivores left in the wild (without the balance of Nature provided by the existence of the prey animals to control their population) will fail to do anything but to slowly starve to death once their ever expanding numbers explode because there were no predators left to balance things out. I guess such utilitarians may think that a long period of starvation is preferable and a far more humane way for a rabbit or zebra to expire than the far quicker act of a lion or wolf killing its prey.

4:33PM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Speaking of the odd positions of a handful of utilitarian philosophers when it comes to animals such as lions, tigers, wolves, bears, eagles, raptors in general, the desire to escape and use simplistic solutions to explain away what occurs in every day life is sometimes tempting to some holding dear an inflexible viewpoint.

In another thread, for example, there is a vegan who maintains that the complex issues of both war and abortion have one reason and one reason alone for their occurrence. It is not, as most suspect, geo-political conflicts, sometimes the doctrine of some of the more extreme religious fundamentalist efforts to displace other religions, the desire to conquer and add new territory to one's own, economics/corporate greed, ethnic conflicts and other reasons.

4:32PM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Also, nor for women obtaining an abortion - it is not the result of incest/rape, failure to use contraception, the times when condoms have a slight tear, poverty, age inappropriate 14 year old teens getting pregnant or even medical reasons that threaten the life of a mother should she give birth,...no, a certain vegan has everything nailed down to one cause and one cause alone for all wars and all abortions.

He actually believes that it is 'karma' coming back to claim the lives of all those who once ate meat in either their past or who eat meat in their present lives and somehow, Nature has come back to claim future lives because of someone had a big mac attack or ate organically raised Chicken Kiev. I had seen some bizarre theories in my time, but that one takes the proverbial chocolate cheese cake.

10:12PM PST on Feb 11, 2013

quote L and P. When resistant generations have died off, the new generations will usher in the kindest possible world for animals. We of this generation are paving a way for them against anticipated, but crumbling arguments of those in favour of killing animals. This element of opposition is valuable to the process because antagonists cause open-minded people to question the old habits.

You must live in a very sheltered urban city environment. Have you ever had a bear trying to break into your home. Tell me you would not pop it off, or are you going to become a "bear whisperer" I know someone who lost his son to a bear because they were not allowed to pack while working in the wilder-ness. Thats right' you were complaining about guns, no it was meat eating, turning people into mass murderers in another post. Are you sure it has not more to do with X-Box games? Maybe B12 deficiency?

10:09PM PST on Feb 11, 2013

A breath of fresh air! Food for thought! Air molecules...we can eat them as well. Lighter than rock pate and they even hold conversations as you eat them. Guilt free and easier to carry on long travels. No one need eat organics ever again.

9:55PM PST on Feb 11, 2013

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3:36AM PST on Feb 11, 2013

Okay, L and P, I have been offline for a week and read Dale O's reference to "rock pate". It was said "tongue-in-cheek" to your approach to life. You obvoiusly don't get it Nuff said.

3:26AM PST on Feb 11, 2013

"It's an argument used by some people to keep the status quo and it has been used on this thread by Dale O to justify her killing of innocent young animals.".........WHERE, L and P, did Dale O. say she condoned or supported killing innocent, young animals, let alone did it, herself? You are really graspiing at straws.

11:07PM PST on Feb 9, 2013

You can "repeat" until we're all old and gray, L and P, and the message won't be any more logical or make any more impression on the rest of us than it ever did. You say "Vegans are currently a minority of the world's population ".........yes, they are, and always will be a minority, but not for the reasons you state. You seem almost naive if you believe it's because old habits just die hard. I'm sure you cannot comprehend that maybe those who haven't "converted" haven't done so because they realize that your lifestyle is illogical in many ways, and from the last part of your post, obviously for many, approaches being a religious cult, not a better way of life.

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