There is a lot of confusion around the meaning of veganism and we hope the following will explain matters and why you should be vegan.
Veganism is based on two simple ideas:
- Animals are not things / commodities.
- Animals do not belong to humans.
If you understand that, you already understand veganism.
Veganism is nothing more than seeking basic fundamental rights for non-humans. Of course, we do understand humans and non-humans are different and have different interests, and those differences justify having different rights and protections. It would not make sense to claim animals should have a right to drive or a right to vote, just like it would be absurd to claim that men should have a right to abortion. All rights are granted according to the characteristics of the individuals in question.
Animals might not be humans, but they certainly share with humans some basic interests:
Animals, like us, have an interest in body integrity.
Animals, like us, have an interest in not being used as property / a resource.
When it comes to those particular interests: humans and non-humans are equal.
Denying them the right to have those interests protected because they are not members of the human species (known as speciesism), is no different from denying this right to humans based on their sex (sexism) or race (racism).
Some people might claim it is ok for humans to kill and use animals if it is done “humanely”. We disagree with that: as far as animal rights is concerned, suffering is irrelevant. This might be shocking to hear for the first time, so the following will explain what we mean:
It would still be wrong to use animals even if we did so without them suffering. It is wrong for humans to own animals. Animals are not property or things.
If we believe animals are not things and they do not belong to humans, then we must stop using and exploiting them as such. That means we stop participating in their commodification by going vegan; by not eating, wearing or using them.
Veganism is not about making exploitation more “humane” or about reducing suffering.
Veganism is about rejecting animal use. Veganism is about respecting animals.
If you believe that animals deserve justice, then you already understand why you must go vegan.