Vegan ethics regarding animals can vary because people choose a vegan diet for diverse reasons. Minimally, eating vegan means not consuming meat, fish, dairy, or eggs. Some people, however, are motivated to avoid any use of animal products whatsoever. Not all vegans feel that way. Back when I was a rather new person to veganism, I feel rather puzzled that some vegans might look down on me for my wearing of leather shoes.
Over forty years ago, I became vegan. I’ve been struggling to try to understand my own reasons for becoming vegan. As I meet other people who eat this way and who prepare their meals from a wide range of vegan recipes, I’m learning that we don’t all see this endeavor in the same way. So what motivates different ethics in veganism?
There are people for whom eating this diet is a commitment in caring about animals. Such people may view veganism as including not using leather in clothing or shoes. They may conclude that those people who wear leather or use non-food animal products are not truly vegan. I suspect that is how they may look at me.
Vegans who are strongly motivated by environmental concerns may also choose to avoid any use of animal products in their diet or life styles. In their case, they believe that producing animals for food has a very negative ecological result. They have a moral concern for the planet. They may not, however, agree that it is wrong out of humane concern to use animals for food.
Other vegans may feel that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with using animals for food, but the concept of causing animals pain is bothersome to them. They may eat a vegan diet, but they may or may not avoid any other use of animal products.
Then there are people who choose to eat a vegan diet solely because of their health. It may be, for them, a plus that animals suffer less because of their dietary choices. This is not, however, their motivation. They might feel able to consume animal products if they lived in circumstances in which they could be sure that the food would not be contaminated with exogenous hormones and additives. Such persons probably horrify many other vegans who are bound more by conscious ethical concerns.
I keep trying to assess where I really fit into this schema of vegan motivations. I’m a definite lover of animals, but I had convinced myself years ago that my consuming eggs and milk products didn’t harm animals. More than forty years ago, however, I became persuaded otherwise.
I haven’t reached a point of avoiding the use of all animal products, but I wonder if I will get there. I suppose I’m part of that big group of people who simply want to be healthy. To me, it is a big bonus that my diet means animals won’t suffer.
Most of my ethics about animals is not to hurt them. There is in my mind a suspicion that if we all became vegan, some domestic species would be allowed to go extinct. Perhaps that is a rationale on my part for why I kept eating eggs and drinking milk for so long a time. I do feel good about my having changed to veganism.
In conversations about vegan ethics regarding animals, I’m sometimes confused about what I feel. I am distressed when I hear people like me called “not truly vegan” because we don’t adhere to someone else’s definition of veganism. I believe in respecting veganism as a healthy and ethical choice no matter what the precise reasons or motivations for that decision.
Vegan principles mandate protecting or living being from harm while also doing what it takes to ensure that our global environment is not destroyed. I cover these topics and many others in my latest Amazon.com ebook. Download it today and enjoy the reading. By the way, it is compatible with Amazon your Kindle, Apple iPad and PC.
Filed under: Vegan Aspects in Daily Life
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