One topic that I haven’t gone over is the benefits of eating a vegan diet, and in particular, avoiding meat products. I may choose to touch on this subject in a later blog, but I find that such doctors as Dr. Greger, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselsteyn do such a great job at informing people about the benefits of a vegan diet, I find that it might be somewhat redundant to write any more about the subject.
However, I do advocate for a raw vegan diet on my blog based on some criteria and I thought I would talk about my argument for doing so.
I came across this philosophical reasoning for veganism recently and I think that it reflects a very nice way to look at the subject. It is written by Mylan Engel, Jr. Here is the citation if you’re interested in reading the article –> Engel Jr, Mylan. “The immorality of eating meat.” Philosophy 53.204 (1978).
What I like about this reasoning is that it doesn’t put anyone in a category of being “wrong” necessarily for choosing a different path, rather it explains a philosophy that is more neutral in its stance. And it develops itself from some beliefs that I would say most people do have, so it’s not about convincing people of something and having them argue with you about it.
These beliefs are as follows:
- Other things being equal, a world with less pain and suffering is better than a world with more pain and suffering;
- A world with less unnecessary suffering is better than a world with more unnecessary suffering;
- Unnecessary cruelty is wrong and prima facie should not be supported or encouraged;
- We ought to take steps to make the world a better place/ We ought to do what we reasonably can to avoid making the world a worse place;
- A morally good person will take steps to make the world a better place and even stronger steps to avoid making the world a worse place;
- Even a “minimally decent” person would take steps to help reduce the amount of unnecessary pain and suffering in the world, if s/he could do so with very little effort on her/his part;
- I am a morally good person;
- I am at least a minimally decent person;
- I am the sort of person who certainly would take steps to help reduce the amount of pain and suffering in the world, if I could do so with very little effort on my part;
- Many nonhuman animals (certainly all vertebrates) are capable of feeling pain;
- It is morally wrong to cause an animal unnecessary pain or suffering;
- It is morally wrong and despicable to treat animals inhumanely for no good reason;
- We ought to euthanize untreatably injured, suffering animals to put them out of their misery whenever feasible;
- Other things being equal, it is worse to kill a conscious sentient animal than it is to kill a plant;
- We have a duty to help preserve the environment for future generations (at least for future human generations);
- One ought to minimize one’s contribution toward environmental degradation, especially in those ways requiring minimal effort on one’s part.
I would say that most people can relate to these beliefs, even if they have other beliefs that are keeping them from giving up eating meat. Some people will say they don’t believe some of these things, but if pressed, I believe most people do.
So if someone was to ask you why you don’t eat meat, your answer could simply be that you wish to reduce harm in the world and that eating vegan requires very little effort on your part to do so.
I like this approach because it takes the blame off the other person and almost gives them something to attain rather than something to feel guilty about. It comes across in a positive way instead of a critical or angry tone.
It also makes the point that for the very big service you are doing for the animal, the environment and towards a more peaceful world, the effort involved is very little. All you have to do is make different choices in the grocery store, which you were going to anyway and going to spend money on in the first place.
Of course there will be subsequent replies and rebuttals to this simple argument, and we’ve probably all heard them before: but we need to eat meat; but bacon tho; carnivores eat meat; plants feel pain…etc. Engel goes over each one of these wonderfully so I will let you read his responses to these in more detail than I could provide here.
In summary, the most compelling argument for being a vegan is perhaps the most simple argument: “why not?” If you can help out, why wouldn’t you? If you can make a difference with minimal effort on your part, what is really holding you back?