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Questions for Non-Vegans

Posted on February 27, 2012 by ari

“When We Met” by me

When I was a kid I could get very near deer but was told not to let them get unafraid of me, lest they walk up to a hunter later and be killed. Even today, deer seem like they’d like to interact with us, and I know I’d like to interact with them, but we have to maintain a distance – so they don’t get run over by cars, so they don’t become trusting of hunters. During hunting season I can hear rifles going off from my house; I see men in camouflage loading weapons on the sides of roads, and carrying dead bodies around.

Why is it that we who love deer have to push our compassion aside and maintain a distance from these gentle creatures? Why is it that we have to keep deer afraid of us? Why do we allow our kinder instincts to be curtailed by a few members of our own species who like to hunt down unarmed beings and kill them, and for industries that prefer cars and their endless highways over bicycles and trains? Why can’t we make a new world where we can learn to interact nonviolently with our brothers and sisters, instead of insisting on eating them and wearing their skins and so on?

What do you think? Is using and/or killing animals for fun or profit (of any sort, economic, spiritual, food or farm needs, etc.), if you have the awareness that the animals have interests of their own, i.e., that you are willingly harming them without their consent, morally acceptable?

We’re human beings, which are a kind of animal. Do you agree, or do you feel we’re set apart by our spiritual superiority? If we’re set apart, why does our species subjugate and harm animals, rather than helping them? Should we aim to change our behavior? If not, why not?

Other animals are just as evolved as I am, within their own specialties. We may not have the same kinds of strengths and capabilities, but we each possess our own kind of intelligence and communication (for instance, some species can change their shape and color, or detect infrared light, or navigate by sensing electromagnetic fields). What makes our species so superior to all other species that they all deserve to be treated like property by members of our species?

Within each species, individuals can be understood to have our own lives and motivations and families and emotions and interests and so on. I can surmise that it’s the same for individuals of other species. Why are the interests of all of these individuals of all of these other species any less important than the varied interests of all of the individuals of the human species?

To discriminate with a bias for all members of my own species above all members of all other species is arbitrary and prejudiced. If you disagree, how is speciesism different from or more acceptable than sexism or heterosexism or racism or classism or other isms?

You can read some of my thoughts at Vegan Ithaca if you want. But I’m much more interested in what you think. How would you answer these questions?

Related posts:

  1. Calling all vegans: Stand up and be counted!
  2. Calling all Ithaca-area vegans
  3. This one’s for you, animal family
  4. I Am a Hypocrite
  5. Vegans feeding people


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