They NYT recently featured an op-ed by Gary Steiner that lays out the challenges of ethical veganism in contemporary society. I have my issues with the piece, which suffers from a rigidity that can be off-putting to people of all stripes. More interesting, though, are the letters it generated. Amid a few thoughtful exceptions (both pro and con), the same tired arguments against veganism get recycled over and over as if they were revelatory and/or had any intellectual rigor.
One writer believes that the fact that Professor Steiner lives with a cat is somehow a fatal contradiction within the vegan lifestyle. Another argues that if one believes it ethically wrong to consume meat, to be consistent one must also believe in stopping other animals from consuming meat as well. And the list goes on. It is perhaps unsurprising that these views are widely held — part of the problem we face as a society is that so little thought is given to these issues. I am just saddened by the way they routinely get a platform in the major media.
There are many ways to exist in the world and I do not believe that any constituency has cornered the market on moral behavior. However, I do think that all of us must consume thoughtfully and understand the implications of our choices. I can’t decide whether the Times colloquy advances this cause or not.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal rights, animal welfare, factory farms | Tagged: activism, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, animals, veganism, vegetarianism |