Thousands of years of ethical vegetarianism

“It is not how we breed, keep and kill animals for human consumption that has been the impetus for vegetarianism for thousands of years. It is that we breed, keep and kill animals for human consumption. Throughout the centuries the common thread in the arguments against eating animals is the fact that since we have no nutritional requirement for the flesh or fluids of animals, killing them to simply satisfy our taste-buds or habits or customs amounts to senseless slaughter, and senseless slaughter is no small thing.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

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Veganism is not a diet

Many people believe that veganism is merely a diet, something you do because it’s good for your health, or because you want to lose weight. But it is far from just a diet, it is about so much more than what you choose to put on your plate every day.

Today I stumbled upon the blog Rakkaudesta eläimiin ja luontoon (In Finnish) through a Facebook-page that I follow. Netta, who is behind the blog, phrased what veganism is about in a very nice way, which I want to share with you. Since the original text is in Finnish, this is my own translation:

“Ethical veganism is not a diet. It is not a religion, which you can believe to be the one and only truth. It is not only a sign of love for the animals. It is not a pursuit for health. It is not oppression of agriculture. So what is it then? Ethical veganism is a whole set of values. It is a lifestyle. It is an indication of that you don’t want to be a part of the speciesism of today. It is thinking of the future. It is respecting nature. And above all, it is empathy, love an equality.”

Do we need veganism when there are ecologically raised animals?

A few days ago I ended up reading the comments of a random blog, through checking the reviews of a book. The comments (and the post) discussed the trustworthiness of the China Study, and some comments were made about vegans and veganism.

One person commented that there is no longer a need for the term “ethical veganism” because there are ecologically raised animals today. Other comments also mentioned “humane” meat and stated that if vegans really cared about ethics they would eat this and “stop complaining”.

These people have certainly not understood what ethical veganism is about (and possibly not either what the actual difference between ecologically and non-ecologically raised animals – mainly their feed, not so much the way they are treated), because the problem with animals raised for consumption does not go away because you change their feed or “treat them well”. They are still our slaves and they still suffer, because the situation and environment we put them in is not their natural one. Even if animals are raised ecologically, they are still kept in the same kind of places, their bodies are still abused, their children are still taken away from them and they are still not seen as the living beings they are but as ways to make money.

So yes, the term “ethical veganism” is very much needed. Possibly even more because of statements like the ones these people made, because a lot of people have a very wrong idea of how an animal is “treated well”. If you treat someone well it should be on this beings terms, not on yours. If it is on yours, the being is a slave. And being a slave is not to be treated well. It doesn’t matter if you are walking on two legs or four, if you have wings, fins or arms, it’s still wrong.