Veganism, as defined by Google, is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. Obviously, there is nothing wrong or morally reprehensible about being vegan and you could even argue that all the vegans of the world have perhaps brought awareness to a very relevant issue. However, it is my goal to prove to you that there is nothing that necessitates being vegan and thus that veganism as a philosophy is unjustified. To be clear, I don't think there is anything wrong with being vegan -- I just don't think it's justified in the sense that people ought to become vegan.
The major reason that veganism is unjustified is because animals are unable to engage in the mutual respect that vegans grant to animals. Meaning, a vegan will not eat a lion but if that lion saw that vegan in the wild -- the lion would eat the vegan. Perhaps a simpler and more comprehensive way of wording this would be that animals are incapable of honoring social contracts. This is true in a vast amount of ways, including the way already aforementioned. Another example is the fact that we restrict certain animals' habitats from being harvested for resources. However, deer, squirrels, and other animals have no semblance of this and simply walk on our property every day -- eating our grass, etc..
My point in this is that it is not justified to treat something with the same respect it is incapable of treating you with and the basis for this is already rooted in our society today. For example, if someone kills another person -- society deems that person unfit to participate in society for breaking the established social contract and they're sent to prison. Thus, already, we see that we treat people who are incapable of participating in social contracts differently. This is precisely why eating meat is justified. Because an animal will never be capable of engaging in a social contract or respective relationship in the way that we can with it -- there is no justification for us to hold up our end of the respect knowing full well that the animal cannot.
Now, to be clear, this is not to say that we should just genocide all animals or something like that. Despite the fact that they are incapable of participating in a mutual respective relationship with us, we should still have enough common decency to let them be, in a sense. I understand this point might be hard to understand so let's use another example from our current society. For example, people with down syndrome or other mental diseases are in some cases incapable of understanding respect and thus engaging in a mutual social contract. Despite this, we do not kill them or put them in prison or anything like that. Why? Because as a society we have deemed it appropriate to look out for these people because despite their mental deficiencies they are still human people -- which is what truly matters. Thus although animals cannot honor mutual social contracts that doesn't mean we should completely genocide them. Because this would, in fact, be unjustified. Because we use animals for food and work in some situations we should allow them to exist as a species to, if nothing else, continue to provide us with food and work. Although this is the only thing justifiable, society has still granted animals many common decencies such as the right to their habitat and to not be hunted to extinction. Although under my thought process this might not be justified, I see nothing wrong with it. Thus, my point in saying this is to prevent a common spin on this argument that I really don't want to have to delve into on this debate because nothing will ever be accomplished.
To summarize this argument, I see nothing wrong with veganism but I don't think there's anything about the philosophy that necessitates me or others becoming vegan -- thus veganism is unjustified.
On another note, one of the main arguments for veganism is that something needs to be done about the, in many cases, cruel agricultural industry. I agree that the way certain animals are treated in the agricultural industry is often cruel, however, to be consistent with my thought process, I don't think it's necessarily unjustified because of the idea of the social contract. However, just because it might be justifiable doesn't mean we have to do it and I do think the industry should slow down a bit. Again though, this is an argument from common decency not from what is actually justifiable.
Thus, my main point is, although we grant animals a lot of certain respects, privelages, and emotions -- these animals will ultimately never be capable of participating in that mutually with us. Therefore, I see nothing that justifies me not eating meat and in that, that the philosophy behind veganism is unjustified.
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2019-01-12 20:26:37Hello everyone. First I want to thank my opponent for their participation in this debate, I've been trying to get this one going for a while now but I guess this topic isn't too interesting for a lot of people. Nevertheless, I'll just get right started.
Veganism: the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products,
particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the
commodity status of animals.
Unjustified: not shown to be right or reasonable.
Analysis of the Resolution
The debate asks whether or not Veganism can be justified. My opponent has already supported a few of my arguments. First I want to bring everyone's attention to a few important quotes:
"there is nothing wrong or morally reprehensible about being vegan and
you could even argue that all the vegans of the world have perhaps
brought awareness to a very relevant issue..."
"To summarize this argument, I see nothing wrong with veganism but I
don't think there's anything about the philosophy that necessitates me
or others becoming vegan -- thus veganism is unjustified."
With this I will be using these quotes to defend my case.
Contention 1: The moral status of animals
According to utilitarian philosophy, any being that has an interest in not suffering deserves to have that taken into an account.
“When you pity a suffering animal, it is because you are perceiving a reason, a reason to change its conditions. And you can no more hear the cries of an animal as a mere noise that you can the words of a person. Another animal can obligate you in exactly the same way another person can…So of course we have obligations to animals.”
So to put everything together in syllogism form, we get this (from Scott D. Wilson):
(1) If a being is sentient, then it has a direct moral status.
(2) (Most) animals are sentiment.
(3) Therefore, (most) animals have direct moral status.
“"Sentience" refers to the capacity to experience episodes of positively or negatively valenced awareness. Examples of positively valenced episodes of awareness are pleasure, joy, elation, and contentment. Examples of negatively valenced episodes of awareness are pain, suffering, depression, and anxiety.” [Ibid]
Because animals have a direct moral status, they therefore have certain rights and can be wronged. Since killing animals for meat and putting animals into horrendous condition is contrary to their interest, then it follows that it is the conditions that we put them through for meat is immoral.
**Note: This contention was taken from my debate on Debate.org on Dog Fighting**
In conclusion because animals are sentiment and can feel pain, we have a moral obligation towards them to reduce their suffering. Current factory farm conditions is horrendous for those animals and cause tremendous suffering. My opponent conceded already that there is nothing reprehensible about veganism and that it has brought a relevant issue to the front line.
Back to you!
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2019-01-15 17:55:43I want to thank my opponent for this debate. I negate the resolution that veganism is unjustified. First I would like to establish a few definitions: