Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Defensive Ethics

There is no moral argument in favor of eating animals; at best, one can offer a defense of meat eating. There is no argument that eating meat is ethically superior to not eating meat; one can only attempt to offer a defense of eating meat as an ethically acceptable activity. Rarely does anybody argue that it is wrong not to eat meat; all that can be done is to defend eating meat (and such defenses are, in my view, weak). Both compassion and reason are on the side of not eating animals.

But the same logic applies to vegetarianism and veganism. At best, a vegetarian can offer a defense of dairy and/or eggs: it would be unreasonable to claim that consuming dairy and/or eggs is ethically preferable to not consuming it. That is not to say that meat-eating is to vegetarianism as vegetarianism is to veganism: I consider vegans and vegetarians to be on the same side (I know some see the firmer line between consuming any animal products and not; I see the firmer line between consuming animal flesh and not).* And not all acts calling for a defensive ethic are equal: obvious some acts of choice can be defended, some can't be (or can't be as easily). But the parallel is there.

*I'm still a mostly vegan vegetarian--I haven't shaken the "mostly" yet. The purpose of a little-read blog is for self-wrestling.

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