September 24, 2021
From Activist Journeys
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Here’s the full debate:

And here’s a condensed text version of the discussion below:

Table of Contents

  • Debate Proposition
  • My Opening Statement
  • My Main Arguments
  • My Opening Summary
  • Choice of terms
  • What Is the Effectiveness of Advocatng Animal Rights At Food Not Bombs Stalls
  • Treating animals as a commodity
  • Cannibalism comparison
  • Do animals worry about events past their death?
  • More ethical uses for the rescued animal material
  • Slippery Slope
  • Devaluing the homeless by offering them less valuable options
  • Grey areas and not coming off as dogmatic
  • Appendix – Formal Arguments
  • References

Debate Proposition

Stone: We have Ishkah and Trashcarcass here for this debate. Ishkah is going to be taking the view that “using rescued animal products at food not bomb stalls has been a positive form of advocacy towards the goal of attempting to end all unjustified captivity” and Trashcarcass is going to be taking the opposition.

My Opening Statement

Theo: So the main thing I’m gonna be arguing is that when discussing ethical grey areas to veganism I think it’s important not to look like dogmatists, so I’m going to try and ground the discussion around using rescued animal material in the real world of food not bomb stalls.

And, we might descend into an abolitionist vs. welfarist debate, where I defend harm reduction, but I’m also going to argue that abolition can coincide with welfare reform, such that food not bomb stalls should be viewed as the revolutionary vanguard of the abolitionist movement for creating radical grassroots communities that are principled, serve the needs of people worst off and so, can rival carnist culture.

Finally, it’s going to be a niche philosophy debate, but hopefully it will give people the tools to defend rescuing animal material and so, to stay open to lots of strategies for bringing about a vegan world.

My Main Arguments

Theo: Firstly it can be great animal rights advocacy in rare circumstances like so; by setting up a Food not Bombs stall in the town centre and putting up a vegan sign in front of a big pan of vegan stew and a freegan sign infront of rescued bread. The vegan sign can provoke lots of interesting conversations about the ethics of breeding and killing animals. While the freegan sign can get people talking about a further layer of if it is true that harming animals for their meat, milk and eggs was necessary to feed the population, how come so very much meat, milk and eggs ended up rotting in supermarket skips instead? Which can provoke further conversation about the evils of producing such an energy intensive product like meat to just become food waste, while people are starving around the world.

Secondly non-human animals we farm don’t experience a worse quality of life worrying about whether they’re going to be eaten by other humans after they’re dead, humans do as a species norm.

Thirdly there exists healthy human cultures in which humans being eaten by non-human animals after they’re dead is seen as a positive, for example in Tibet, having your energy transferred into that of a bird is seen as a beautiful thing or green burials where your body can more easily become nutrients for both animals and plants. So then, healthy human cultures in which non-human animals are eaten by humans is also likely possible.

And finally, even if it’ll be a better world when everyone is vegan and we’re all disgusted by animals products (in the same way as if no one ever felt pressured by sexist beauty standards to shave their legs again), that doesn’t mean that it’s not morally permissible to consume some of those animal products at the moment i.e. it’s not comparable to cannibalism where you’re causing worse quality of life in other humans by normalizing it or normalizing the standard that women should have their genitals mutilated as neither the choice to shave your legs or eat thrown out animal products necessitates violating anyone’s rights or causing harm to anyone.

My Opening Summary

Theo: So, to go back to the food not bombs stall example that we’re debating. Here’s a bunch of topics that come up on on a lot of food not bombs stalls which make it a positive form of animal rights advocacy:

We cooked vegan soup, so no profits needed to go to an industry which breeds and kills animals.

Here’s some freegan bread with milk powder in it which was rescued, so no harm to animals and it’s carbon negative.

Isn’t it amazing they kept those cows captive and milked them only for it to go in the trash. So that’s one sign farming animals isn’t necessary to feed the population, if so very much meat, milk and eggs end up rotting in supermarket skips instead.

Isn’t it sad that politicians subsidize such an energy intensive product like meat to just become food waste, while people are starving around the world.

Choice of terms

Stacy: So, firstly I have a problem with the term freegan and that would be because it so closely relates itself to the word vegan and I don’t think they have anything to do with each other. There’s other words for example like frugivore, why does it have to be freegan? Because if you say that to somebody it sounds like it’s similar to veganism in that if it’s free, it’s okay, and still vegan. And I would say in most situations it wouldn’t be. Veganism is a moral philosophy.

Theo: I actually think it’s really positive to promote freeganism as a term for helping explain veganism because if we go by the colloquial definition of veganism meaning ‘an animal products boycott’, it does include freeganism. And it gets back to the historically accurate reason for why the vegan society came about. It would also have broader appeal for other liberation causes like anti-racism and anti-sexism to see it as a strategy of action which is useful for their struggles also.

What Is the Effectiveness of Advocatng Animal Rights At Food Not Bombs Stalls

Stacy: I’ve worked next to food not bombs people, I’ve worked at feeding the homeless and I happen to know that the majority of people that come there are indeed homeless, but there are some people that just come there because it’s free food. And some of those people, if not most, don’t really care what it is, so having these moral discussions with them, I’m not really sure how far you’re going to get with that.

Theo: Well, I would just counter that if done well, it can be a real community building exercise. You can get people joining learning to cook and put time into rescuing all this amazing food. People have time to read political material you put out while they’re eating their food. And I just have had lots of great conversations and made positive connections.

By showing slaughterhouse footage, we’re making people sad, even though we wish we didn’t have to. So, by doing food not bombs stalls as well, it’s this really important counter balance of showing the positive side to what you can gain from this community.

Treating animals as a commodity

Stacy: You say ‘look at all this waste, why did they breed these animals for it to go to waste?’ I think you’re only going to reinforce the idea in their head of how they need to be feeding animals to humans. ‘It’s not going to waste’, as you said, ‘if you are feeding it to humans, it’s okay.’

Theo: Well, that’s an environmental point, but I think it does tie in positively to both human and animal rights, in that I’m talking about the evils of producing such an energy intensive product like meat to just become food waste, while people are starving around the world and while wildlife habitat like the rainforest is getting torn down to produce these products, when we could just eat plants for less land use, so, protect and rewild habitat for more animals to be able to express their capabilities in.

So, yeah I just disagree with the idea that trying to get people to believe ‘it’s always wrong to feed animals to humans’ will help us get to a vegan world faster.

You have to explain why you think it would be against ours or animals’ best interests.

Cannibalism comparison

Stacy: Vegan footsoldier made this analogy comparing freeganism to cannibalism about how these cannibals were killing these children and eating them. And some human rights activists caught up with them, but when they didn’t get to one of the children quickly enough and the child died from their injuries he went home with his leg and ate this child’s leg so they wouldn’t go to waste.

And then you came back with an analogy that had to do with human rights activists and female genital mutilation, I’m not really sure if I followed because they didn’t leave with a body part at the end, so I would think that would make more sense for a freegan analogy.

Theo: Yeah Footsoldier made the same point, about how he thought the story should end with the human rights activists performing genital mutilation on their own child to be a fair comparison.

But, if I had ended the story like that it would have just been the same story almost word for word with the same effect of implicitly shaming people for actions which could mistakenly be attributed to furthering a harmful culture. So, for his story analogy, carnism/speciesism & freeganism, but in mine sexism & girls pressured into shaving their legs.

With the video I made I wanted to make explicit that you can have all the same intense disgust reactions to an evil action done without people’s consent like killing children to eat them, and similarly with genital mutilation. But that the comparison to eating rescued human meat doesn’t follow for all rescued animal products because you can have healthy human cultures rescuing animal products in which no one is suffering a worse quality of life worrying about their interests being disrespected after their death. In the same way as you can have people choosing to shave their legs without harming anyone regardless of if there exists a harmful patriarchal culture which pressures some people to do it, like with forced genital mutilation.

So you can imagine that the parents getting FGM performed on their daughter is one trajegectory the parents could have gone down if you like, but my story diverges into a tale about how instead they simply had to deal with their daughter asking to be able to shave thier legs, and how it’s different in the same degree to genital mutilation as freeganism is to cannibalism.

Stacy: Well, I think the way a culture of cannibalism differs from freeganism is because eating animal products is still the norm, and I think in all these instances it is a decision by a human being whether it be upon another human being or another animal it’s still humans making these decisions, it’s never the other animal making this decision in any of those cases and therefore I think this is a human-centric view.

Theo: Right, but the sexist culture of women being emotionally pressured into shaving their legs is also the norm and yet women can still choose to do it for reasons that don’t have to do with being emotionally pressured into it. So, in that way being a freegan in a carnist culture is more similar to choosing to shave your legs in a sexist culture, than it is to cannibalism.

And again there is no mental capability for animals to make a choice about how they would desire other humans or other animals treat them after they’re dead, so there can be no issue of fairness or justice either way. Animals do make the decision to eat human flesh. And we even encourage it in Tibetan culture. So, that’s a sign that we’re not necessarily promoting a culture of devaluing animals by eating animal material when there exists cultures valorising animals eating us. We are when we kill them because there is a clear going against their interests, but there are no interests to go against in the case of what they would desire other people or animals do with them after they’re dead.

Do animals worry about events past their death?

Stacy: You made a point about how you think ‘animals aren’t worrying about events past their death, they aren’t suffering a worse quality of life imagining they’ll be eaten by humans after they’re dead’. Well, actually I think that non-human animals do worry about being killed all the time, they have an instinct to fear being preyed upon and far more so than humans do.

Also, we don’t worry about humans eating us after our death, I know I don’t sit around worrying about my death or what’s going to happen to my body after I die, so would that be reasonable grounds for somebody to kill me?

Theo: So, definitely animals worry about being killed, for instance, if you were cutting into a deer corpse and eating the raw meat in front of another deer, then I’m sure it would provoke a fear response in the deer.

I’m not talking about it being ok to unjustifiably kill or keep animals captive and I’m not arguing that every single situation involving eating rescued animal material is ethical, the same way you can be buying plant material and still be doing something unethical in specific situations.

The reason for me to never eat human meat is because someone in the world could experience anguish on a long-term basis worrying that would happen to them after they’re dead, even if it’s irrational. For instance, say a friend had to have their arm amputated and I asked for the severed arm to cook it up because I thought it was a funny thing. If I did that in a hypothetical vacuum I think that would be fine, but I wouldn’t do that because I understand that we live in social contracts and other humans could experience anguish that I would treat a human like that and then worry what might happen to them.

I don’t think animals are experiencing worry on that level, they worry that they’re going to be killed, they might experience fear if somebody was eating another animal right in front of them, but I don’t think they’re experiencing this worse quality of life worrying about what’s going to happen after the dead.

Even if it’s just one person in 7 billion. It would be against my interest to possibly cause that one person harm, but the fact that it just can’t happen in animals means that it’s not an ethical issue for me, as long as I’m it’s virtuous in that it’s carbon negative, like less land needs to be taken up for growing edible material, and if I’m accounting for all these externalities like being strong willed enough not to fall down a slippery slope of habits.

Stacy: Again, I just think probably animals are more concerned about what happens to their body than humans, just from the way that we treat our own bodies, you know we smoke cigarettes, do drugs, we do all these extreme sports that can cause bodily injury, we live like there’s no tomorrow, especially when we’re young.

These animals live in constant fear for their safety, especially the animals that are preyed upon and it’s instinctual for them. I think we can’t possibly know what they are thinking, so to assume that it’s okay to use their bodies after they die, I don’t really think that’s an argument because like I said I don’t care what happens in my body after I die but I can make that decision I have that autonomy and I don’t think it’s fair for us to make that decision for them.

Theo: Ok, so there’s a scientific experiment called ‘the false belief test’ where they’ve discovered only recently that great apes can have theory of mind, in that they can anticipate complex thoughts another animal is having in rare circumstances.

They originally did this test on toddlers to see what age we start to individuate. It’s hard to explain in text, so I’ll just link a short 2 minute video on the experiment:

Anyway, this is only something that chimpanzees can do and a few other great apes, it’s called theory of mind. Where you understand what other people’s intentions will be other than your own & they’re only thinking about this in rare circumstances. And we aren’t relying on theory of mind for most of our physical interactions throughout the day, so it is this rare development. We do much more predicting what other people are going to do based on stereotypes of patterns we’ve observed or what we would do when presented with similar situations.

So, all this is to say that we plan for after our death, we have gravestones and we do all these things because we know how we want to be remembered, we’re planning for our legacy and how we want to be respected and how we want to plan for that to happen, but animals just aren’t doing this on that level.

They fear for how they might die, so we’re definitely right to be vegan and not unjustified kill animals and not unjustifiably keep them captive which hurts their well-being, but we just don’t need be concerned about their non-interests, unless we’re talking about our own interests, and whether it’s for our own dignity whether it’s self-harm for us.

We don’t need to be worried about something which animals are literally incapable of doing in terms of worrying about other people’s intentions after they’re dead.

So that’s what I think the science says.

More ethical uses for the rescued animal material

Stacy: Why not feed rescued animal material to wildlife or stray animals that have no moral agency? Or put it on the compost?

Theo: That is one option, but what about having moral agency should stop us from eating rescued animal material, why is it morally wrong?

Also for some items like bread which you might eat anyway, you’re getting more pleasure out of the material specifically designed for humans, than an animal would. And you’d be saving the environment more by putting that energy to good use in consuming it yourself and using a compost loo, than just putting it straight on the compost.

Slippery Slope

Stacy: I had a goddaughter who used to dumpster dive and eat roadkill with her boyfriend. They both considered themselves vegans and I said it was a slippery slope, it was going to lead them back to thinking it’s okay to eat flesh and sure enough the next thing you know they’re eating from fast food restaurants. So, I think it’s the same with food not bombs stalls.

Theo: So, yeah definitely in the psychology of habits that can happen, but it can also go the other way, for instance, if someone is really into cheese because cheese has monosodium glutamate crystals, which is like opium, so if someone wanted to become vegan, and they have no aversion to eating rescued cheese, then it could be a helping hand in encouraging them to stay strong in their decision to go vegan, by just slowly tapering it off. I know I was completely stripped of the value of baked goods, like croissants and doughnuts when they existed as this mountain in the kitchen of a squat I lived in. Knowing it was this sugar crash I could have whenever I wanted, I stopped seeing it as such a hot option. Like some people on diets have a set time where they can eat one treat a day that they can look forward to, whereas before they would eat sweets whenever they wanted.

Stacy: But, what if you go from thinking it’s okay to eat it from a food not bomb stall to eating some birthday cake at friends’ party because otherwise it might get thrown in the bin, I mean when does it stop? I wouldn’t because it’s a moral philosophy I’ve got to stick with.

Theo: But, what is the principle behind the reason never to eat animal products, just that it’s a slippery slope?

The principle argument for why I’m an animal rights advocate is if the wonder that we experience in viewing wild animals is not ‘how similar to us they are’, but their ‘real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value’ and one sufficient reason we grant this freedom at least to a basic extent to humans is they have a desire to achieve what they find valuable then; the fact non-human animals experience this desire too means we ought extend these freedoms to animals.

So, a holistic world-view of not wanting to reduce both the quality and quantity of positive experiences humans can have with animals, as well as animals with other animals for low-order pleasures such as taste/texture.

So, just because I might use rescued animal products as a form of advocacy for animal rights, doesn’t mean I can’t also get my friends to respect the principle reason I’m an animal rights advocate by not buying more cake on the pretense that I’ll not want to see it wasted. The same way just because I showed an interest in horses, I would still be capable of making sure to let my friends know not to book any horse riding holidays, and even if they did like with the birthday cake, it’s just a rare situation of friends getting confused and an opportunity to help them get a deeper understanding where they didn’t have one before.

Devaluing the homeless by offering them less valuable options

Stacy: You’re kind of treating homeless people as scavengers, like they’ll take what they can get and perhaps that is true, but is it really fair to put them in that situation? I’ve actually met some homeless people that did not like the fact that they couldn’t choose to be vegan, so I think that does hurt human dignity in that sense to not just give them the vegan food.

Theo: Well, I see the meaning behind veganism is that it’s an animal products boycott. I think people can go further in being animal rights advocates. But, so I wouldn’t be able to relate to why a homeless person desired not to even eat, for instance, rescued bread with whey in it. So, it would be like meeting a homeless Hare Krishna who didn’t want to eat garlic or onions. If it’s that rare, and I would feel comfortable eating it myself, I wouldn’t feel the need to cook food with those rare people in mind. Even if that trace amount of whey was unhealthy for me, it would be to the same extent I’d desire to eat dark chocolate.

Stacy: But, hospitals are not looking to get you better, because they want to keep you as a customer. People get stuck in these systems of being ill all the time, keep going to the hospital, then they owe everything that they earn to hospitals and pharmacies and it keeps them poor and that cycle gets pushed on to the next generation and over and over again. Now, if we’re pushing unhealthy animal products onto homeless people is that fair?

Theo: But, it’s just such a minute amount in that bread, it’s a binding agent.

Stacy: But, where’s the line we draw? It’s a minute amount in that bread, but what if you found a quiche, you’re gonna tell me it’s okay to throw away a quiche, but it’s not okay to throw away the bread?

Theo: The line is it would be against my interests to eat that quiche because it’s unhealthy, so I wouldn’t offer it to other people. The same way there’s one line with plant products, in that I encourage people to boycott animal products because it’s one easy way people can avoid profiting an evil industry, but there will be 1000s of other lines it would be good to draw also around plant foods like an Israeli boycott and just avoiding luxury foods, so that you can spend your money better elsewhere.

And it’s one way of helping the environment by being carbon negative and freeing up more land for wildlife habitat.

Grey areas and not coming off as dogmatic

Theo: I think it’s really important to be open about grey areas where we have exceptions to the rule. Like I know people who have gone out to Syria to fight ISIS and this is a really extreme gray area where they’re vegan and they tried not to eat any animal material out there and they wanted to go out there to help fight ISIS and free people and from that tyranny, to save people from being harmed in that way and they’ve had to resort to eating animal material because the militia hasn’t rationed enough plant products, so they’ve had to eat like spam out of a tin.

So, that was a way of achieving more well-being in the world by fighting other other liberation causes in this extreme situations, so I think it’s good to acknowledge these things.

Stacy: Well, I don’t blame the people in the andes that were in the plane crash for eating people that died.

But, when we take something that came from someone who was murdered, I think that that’s wrong, if we are able to make another choice, I think that it’s the wrong choice to take a product of murder.

Theo: What about roadkill then? Would it be ethically wrong to do that?

Stacy: If you don’t have to you shouldn’t. If you were stranded and there’s nothing around, I wouldn’t be mad at you for eating roadkill.

Theo: But, so whether the animal was killed unjustifiably isn’t relevant then.

I just think it’s important to admit grey areas, as it helps show what ideal situation we’re working towards.

I think people come off looking insane when they bite the bullet on some grey areas like for instance when some vegans say they would rather accept a 30-year lifespan if the vegan diet was really harmful to them.

Stacy: I say that and I would stick by that, but that’s for me, I’m not saying that I would judge somebody else if they were in a survival situation.

Theo: But, if you want to be the change you want to see in the world, and people are looking to you to understand where is that intuition coming from, why is that a desirable thing for you to take that stance?

Stacy: It’s my own moral choice for myself, it would be a spiritual choice I guess.

Theo: Okay, well I mean the way I advocate that people become animal rights advocates, is that they can join this community and political movement which seeks to gain collective legal rights for animals to have a refuge in dense wildlife habitat where they aren’t subject to human cruelty. But, I’m fine with my definition being softer on for example subsistence hunters. I’ve got a video on my channel of Penan tribes people in Indonesia explaining how it would be repulsive to them to keep animals in captivity to farm, and I think this is great animal rights advocacy.

So, I just think we should be working towards this world where we’re able to preserve and rewild more habitat for wild animals to express their capabilities in and live full lives. And it’s good that we’re moving towards a situation where where we can design diets and live really healthy lives with less land use, but the reason hunting would be against my interests is it would be a form of self-harm for me to kill an animal when I know that I can eat plant foods, but if veganism only gave me a 30-year lifespan, that would be more self-harm to me to not hunt animals, so long as they’re living long life in the wild. So, I just don’t see how this intuition is compatible with the ideal vision that it’s useful to advocate other people invest in.

Stacy: Actually, I’m more of a misanthrope, so I would say just get rid of the humans.

Theo: Well, yeah that’s all I’d say, when you’re taking these stances against rescued animal products and being willing to die at 30 if the vegan diet was that harmful, I just don’t think that’s appealing to people in terms of advocating veganism and animal rights, so that’s why these grey areas are important I think.

Stacy: That’s because humans have human interests or self-interests.

Theo: But, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Stacy: My philosophy is more altruistic in that I’d rather the human race die out and let the animals live their lives.

Theo: But, we could ideally be good caretakers, like rescuing and releasing wildlife who were injured. So, we can play this really positive role in the world for our own self-interest and for other animals’ interests by staying alive and working towards this vision of looking after ourselves and also providing wildlife habitat for animals, which can include using rescued animal material in our animal rights advocacy. Anyway, I’ll end it there.

Appendix #1 – The Animal citizens Critique of Freeganism

I found this cool paper critiquing freeganism after the discussion called The freegan challenge to veganism.

My response would be I understand the basic intuition that you wouldn’t like to be gaining sustenance or pleasure from a domesticated animals remains where you would have liked to consider that animal a kind of citizen of your community who you would like to give funerary rights to. But, I think it’s more respectful to think of them like their wild ancestors, where it would be normal for other animals to eat them after they’re dead.

Any legal rights we fight to afford domesticated animals should be shaped by a long-term vision of letting them go extinct in habitat where they can best express their capabilities, choose their social relationships and are protected from predators because we were the cause of their hereditary deformities that make them more vulnerable to predators.

To this end, if a person desired to eat rescued non-human animal flesh and it was healthy for them to do so, then it would be a positive character virtue on their part to do so because if it had gotten eaten by less intelligent animals like maggots which can survive on any food like rotting vegetables or even just composted, then:

  1. It would be much less dignity than you could show the animal by putting that energy to use in the value of the happy flourishing you could achieve yourself and in how you would be setting an example for others. And…
  2. It would be treating the animals’ final remains more similar to the way the animals’ wild ancestors would have been treated after death. So, with more dignity than the way we bred infantile traits into them and with more dignity than the toxic relationship we would be perpetuating by anthropomorphically infantilising them as infant humans who could have grown up to be people who could suffer a worse quality of life worrying about how other people might intend to treat their body after their death.

Appendix #2 – Formal Arguments

Here’s my formulation of an anti-freegan argument which is IMO unsound:

A1) Kant’s Indirect Principle Against Advocating For Freeganism

P1) If I accept Kant’s axioms then I accept the indirect principle established in the groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals

P2) If I accept the indirect principle established in the groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals then I would agree that treating non human animals without dignity would harm myself

P3) If I accept the indirect principle established in the groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals then I have a moral duty to not harm myself

P4) If I agree that treating non human animals without dignity would harm myself and that I have a moral duty to not harm myself then I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity

P5) If I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity then I should reject consuming animal products (as it is the antithesis of treating animals with dignity)

P6) If I should reject consuming animal products then I shouldn’t promote freeganism (as to do so would constitute promoting self-harm)

P7) I accept Kant’s axioms

C) Therefore I should be against freeganism

Through most virtue ethics & consquentialist frameworks it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the ethical issue with eating animal bodies is when you fund the industry which breeds and kills these animals, cutting short their interests to express their capabilities to their full in the wild. And that if non-human animals aren’t experiencing worse quality of life worrying about whether they’re going to be eaten by other humans after they’re dead, then there’s no ethical issue to freeganism.

Through some deontological frameworks however, you might think you should reject consuming all animal products on principle as you feel it is the antithesis of treating animals with dignity.

So the arguments I’d suggest you use on such a person is firstly you could use a simple comparison to argue the way the person is applying dignity is a category error, like I do in the story analogy by saying:

It probably will be a better world when everyone is vegan and we’re all disgusted by thrown out animal products. And it would be great if no one ever felt pressured by sexist beauty standards to shave their legs again!

But at the end of the day, it’s not like cannibalism, where you’d be causing worse quality of life in other humans by foretelling a gruesome ending. And the same goes for normalizing the standard that women should have their genitals mutilated. Both ideas are barbaric, and rightly rejected.

Neither the choice to shave your legs or eat thrown out animal products necessitates violating anyone’s rights, so I don’t really see why people ought not do it.

And in formal logic terms:

A2) Rejecting the utility of culturally specific disgust reactions

P1) Non-human animals don’t experience a worse quality of life worrying about whether they’re going to be eaten by other humans after they’re dead, humans do.

P2) IF there exists healthy human cultures in which humans being eaten by non-human animals after they’re dead is seen as a positive (for example in Tibet, having your energy transferred into that of a bird is seen as a beautiful thing or green burials where your body can more easily become nutrients for both animals and plants) THEN healthy human cultures in which non-human animals are eaten by humans is also likely possible

P3) There exists healthy human cultures in which humans being eaten by non-human animals after they’re dead is seen as a positive

P4) If non-human animals don’t experience a worse quality of life worrying about whether they’re going to be eaten by other humans after they’re dead, humans do AND healthy human cultures in which non-human animals are eaten by humans is likely possible THEN even if it’ll be a better world when everyone is vegan and we’re all disgusted by animals products (in the same way as if no one ever felt pressured by sexist beauty standards to shave their legs again), that doesn’t mean that it’s not morally permissible to consume some of those animal products at the moment (i.e. it’s not comparable to cannibalism where you’re causing worse quality of life in other humans by normalizing it or normalizing the standard that women should have their genitals mutilated as neither the choice to shave your legs or eat thrown out animal products necessitates violating anyone’s rights)

P5) IF (even if it’ll be a better world when everyone is vegan and we’re all disgusted by animals products, that doesn’t mean that it’s not morally permissible to consume some of those animal products at the moment) THEN (IF I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity THEN I should not reject consuming animal products [as it is not the antithesis of treating animals with dignity])

P6) I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity

C) I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity, and I should not reject consuming animal products (as it is not the antithesis of treating animals with dignity)

Or secondly without even challenging their gut disgust reaction to thinking it would be treating the animal without dignity you could try something close to a consequentialist argument:

A3) Refutation of P5 of A1 using Tom Regan’s worse-off principle

P1) If I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity then I should promote freeganism on rare occasions where it’s an effective advocacy tool at encouraging people to stop buying animal products because the principle that I should avoid very minor self-harm in the disgust it brings to mind when advocating shouldn’t override the principle that it’s immoral to pass up easy opportunities to encourage people to stop buying animal products (which leads to the breeding and killing of animals) because I wouldn’t want to live in a world in which everyone passed up on those opportunities, so I should act according to that maxim by which I can at the same time will that it should become a universal law

P2) I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity

P3) P1 entails if I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity then I should not reject consuming animal products (as it is not the antithesis of treating animals with dignity)

C) I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity, and I should not reject consuming animal products (as it is not the antithesis of treating animals with dignity)

Or thirdly you could you could try challenging the necessity of the disgust reaction:

A4) Kant’s Indirect Principle For Advocating For Freeganism

P1) If I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity THEN I should promote freeganism on rare occasions where it’s an effective advocacy tool at encouraging people to stop buying animal products because although killing an animal isn’t treating the animal with dignity, eating an animal to prevent waste is, because you’re eating food that would otherwise have been thrown out, so less food needs to be produced, causing less harm to the environment AND if it had gone to the landfill it might have gotten eaten by maggots which can survive on any food like rotting vegetables, but it would be much less dignity than you could show the animal by putting that energy to use in achieving happy flourishing yourself and setting an example for others.

P2) I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity

P3) P1 entails if I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity then I should not reject consuming animal products (as it is not the antithesis of treating animals with dignity)

C) I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity, and I should not reject consuming animal products (as it is not the antithesis of treating animals with dignity)

Or finally you could try nudging them away from deontology with a kind of virtue ethics argument a la W.D. Ross:

A5) Refutation of P5 of A1 using W.D.Ross’s principle of prima facie duties

P1) If I accept W.D.Ross’s theory of prima facie duties THEN I accept any felt obligation is a prima facie duty, though it can be overridden depending on the circumstances by another one, that doesn’t mean that the original obligation disappears, it simply means that it’s defeasible and it usually continues to operate in the background.

P2) If I accept any felt obligation is a prima facie duty, though it can be overridden depending on the circumstances by another one, that doesn’t mean that the original obligation disappears, it simply means that it’s defeasible and it usually continues to operate in the background THEN I accept when I have a felt obligation that talking positively about the consumption of animal products is disgusting and would be an act of self-harm to myself AND I learn about people using freeganism as an effective advocacy tool in turning people vegan who wouldn’t otherwise have considered it, such that I now feel a stronger felt obligation to do the same that the duty to do the latter is overriding, but I’m going to work extra hard to advocate for veganism such that I can know I’ve contributed to a future world in which no one needs to talk about the positive effects of consuming animal products, because the initial obligation still operates in the background even though it was overridden.

P3) I accept W.D.Ross’s theory of prima facie duties

P4) P2 entails if I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity then I should not reject consuming animal products (as it is not the antithesis of treating animals with dignity)

P5) I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity

C) I should live in a way which treats animals with dignity, and I should not reject consuming animal products (as it is not the antithesis of treating animals with dignity)

References

Re; ‘Freeganism Is Evil’ – A Pro-Freegan Story Analogy

The idea for the analogy came from this great video called Thoughts On Freeganism by Catherine Klein:

“I understand that shaving my legs and my armpits and everything is a sexist double standard, why are women expected to be completely hairless in order to be seen as attractive? It doesn’t make sense and I think it’s totally badass when women break this norm and go all natural. It does make me question my choices like I probably should be like fuck the patriarchy and stop shaving, just like I probably should be horrified by my leather boots and throw them out because one could argue that shaving your legs is an example of internalized oppression, but at the end of the day, neither of my choices here are causing direct harm to anyone, so I don’t really see changing my ways as a moral necessity.”

Freeganism article

Freeganism video catalogue




Source: Activistjourneys.wordpress.com