Faulty Arguments Against Veganism, pt. 5
Category : Uncategorized
Check out parts 1-4 here.
Argument: “…stop worrying about animals, when there are tons of hungry PEOPLE out there!! PEOPLE!”
Response: Really? No, seriously. Is this real?
I’m kidding, of course; if you’ve been vegan or an activist for any period of time you’ve probably heard this comment or some variety of it (depending on what the tragedy du jour is on the news) more times than you can count. I’ve always found it a little confusing, as if compassion is something we only have a limited amount of. In reality, I’ve found that a vegan lifestyle dramatically changes the way one looks at the world. I know that I never cared about Fair Trade chocolate and coffee or avoiding sweatshop labour before I started to learn about the suffering of animals. It just sort of opened up a world of compassion for me.
True, we do only have a certain number of hours in the day, and some of us choose to spend those hours volunteering to help animals. Others–and I speak of people who I know personally–volunteer not only to help animals, but with the elderly, at soup kitchens, and against human rights abuses. In fact , over the last 5 or 6 years I’ve discovered that vegans tend to be more concerned about suffering of all types than the general population.
Check out this related quote from Peter Singer, in which he discusses far more eloquently than I ever could the “humans come first” phenomenon:
Among the factors that make it difficult to arouse public concern about animals, perhaps the hardest to overcome is the assumption that “human beings come first” and that any problem about animals cannot be comparable, as a serious moral or political issue, to the problems about humans. A number of things can be said about this assumption.
First, it is in itself an indication of speciesism. … One can claim to know this only if one assumes that animals really do not matter, and that however much they suffer, their suffering is less important than the suffering of humans. But pain is pain, and the importance of preventing unnecessary pain and suffering does not diminish because the being that suffers is not a member of our species. What would we think of someone who said that “whites come first” and that therefore poverty in Africa does not pose as serious a problem as poverty in Europe?
If you feel like it, read more about this issue at Vegan Outreach.
And check out these links which discuss the connection between the consumption of animal products and world hunger.