Vegan FAQ #4 – Aren’t Vegans Hypocrites?

Lindsey

Some people like to call out vegans for not being perfect, so that they can feel comfortable about continuing to use animal products and justified in not having to change their actions. This point is first of all a logical fallacy called tu quoque. Check out this video for an excellent explanation of this fallacy. Second, this claim shows a complete misunderstanding of what veganism is. In addition to explaining their fallacy, you may need to give them a mini education on veganism.

Animal products are the result of intentional torture and killing on a mass scale. Over 40 billion land animals (don’t know the numbers on the fish) are killed each year in the US alone. I don’t think that there is anything hypocritical about avoiding products of intentional torture, imprisonment, and slaughter and trying to persuade others to eliminate this from their lives in order to dismantle an utterly barbaric system, while not being able to eliminate all unintentional products of animal suffering, such as deaths of animals in farm fields or habitat destruction by the construction and operation of factories that pollute. I don’t know any vegans who feel they are perfect. In fact, most think that being vegan is the very least they can do for animals.

Being vegan is avoiding animal exploitation wherever it is unnecessary (key word being unnecessary). Unless you are truly starving and in a remote location with no alternatives, then it is always unnecessary to eat animal products. It is always unnecessary to use them for clothing. One person I encountered claimed that using any modern technology or anything plastic harms animals even more than eating animal products does. I’m not sure how using a computer harms animals, but it is something of a necessity in today’s world (I use it for my job in order to make money to feed myself, and food is kind of a necessity), and unfortunately there are no certified vegan computers…yet. Maybe there will be one day. Same can be said of a car if one is needed to drive to work. It is a necessary evil right now, but technology is moving toward developing cars and other forms of transportation that harm the environment less. Should human rights advocates stop using computers and iPhones for advocacy work because human slave labor may have been used to produce them, or should they stop advocating for human rights on the Internet entirely because otherwise they would be, in this fallacious view, hypocrites? Vegans avoid products where animal exploitation is direct and obvious and may then make it their life’s quest to continue eliminating products and practices of exploitation that are not as obvious. After becoming vegan, almost every vegan becomes very aware of his or her environmental impact, and many start making steps toward avoiding plastic or whatever other environmental disaster as much as possible, while also reducing their general consumption of unnecessary things (superfluous clothing, household items, random junk, etc.). Unfortunately in this very nonvegan world, it is impossible to avoid animal use in some way unless one goes and lives in the wild. But if more of the world does become vegan, one day it may be possible to use things that are nearly 100% free of any harms to animals, as the practices of most corporations or whatever entities provide us with resources to live will most likely be more conscientious than they are now, which is close to zero. Becoming vegan usually makes one more conscientious than ever. Veganism is a start to ridding the world of animal exploitation and not the end all, be all. It was never about intervening and ending the harm of every animal on the planet right now, so if one thinks that, then I can see why he/she would think vegans are hypocrites, but hopefully if you explain to him/her what veganism actually is, he/she will stop calling vegans hypocrites unless he/she sees a vegan engaging in obviously unnecessary animal use like eating dairy cheese (making that person not vegan anyway).

If you believe that animals have the right to not be used as commodities, then you must be vegan. Vegans never make the claim that being vegan will make you perfect and that you will avoid every single harm to animal, human or not. Being vegan is a start to eradicating violence in the world, and vegan activists are trying to get others to the starting line as well, and most are not in any way saying that this is the end of the world’s problems or problems for wild animals just because a small percentage of the population is vegan right now.

No one can know the implications of a world of people becoming more conscientious and at the same time vastly reducing resource use by worldwide adoption of veganism. Get rid of the wasteful, damaging abuses to the environment by the animal agriculture industries, and you’re going to have a world where it is much easier to always be kinder and gentler to all animals everywhere and reduce unintentional harm to them as well. To get there, we first all have to say no to all intentional, avoidable animal use.

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11 Responses to “Vegan FAQ #4 – Aren’t Vegans Hypocrites?”

  • tina Says:

    THIS IS AMAZING!! ONE OF THE MOST INFORMATIVE BLOGS I HAVE READ IN A LONG WHILE, THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS

    [Reply]

  • Eric Says:

    You see, the thing about using the example a logical fallacy against your proposition is that it implies you’re proposition must contain or be contained by a logical truth. Meaning that unless it can be proven to be sound and valid, and have no false premises which lead to true conclusions, it is by default, assumed to be false. Here is a comprehensive list of some logical fallacies found on wikipedia. A casual scroll yeilds an alarming number of scenarios in which your “logical” argument(s) are certainly stripped down and turned against you like a mighty blood thirsty hydra.

    Formal fallacies

    A formal fallacy is an error in logic that can be seen in the argument’s form.[1] All formal fallacies are specific types of non sequiturs.
    Appeal to probability – takes something for granted because it would probably be the case (or might be the case).[2][3]
    Argument from fallacy – assumes that if an argument for some conclusion is fallacious, then the conclusion itself is false.[4]
    Base rate fallacy – making a probability judgement based on conditional probabilities, without taking into account the effect of prior probabilities.[5]
    Conjunction fallacy – assumption that an outcome simultaneously satisfying multiple conditions is more probable than an outcome satisfying a single one of them.[6]
    Masked man fallacy (illicit substitution of identicals) – the substitution of identical designators in a true statement can lead to a false one.[7]
    [edit]Propositional fallacies
    A propositional fallacy is an error in logic that concerns compound propositions. For a compound proposition to be true, the truth values of its constituent parts must satisfy the relevant logical connectives which occur in it (most commonly: , , , , ). The following fallacies involve inferences whose correctness is not guaranteed by the behavior of those logical connectives, and hence, which are not logically guaranteed to yield true conclusions.
    Types of Propositional fallacies:
    Affirming a disjunct – concluded that one disjunct of a logical disjunction must be false because the other disjunct is true; A or B; A; therefore not B.[8]
    Affirming the consequent – the antecedent in an indicative conditional is claimed to be true because the consequent is true; if A, then B; B, therefore A.[8]
    Denying the antecedent – the consequent in an indicative conditional is claimed to be false because the antecedent is false; if A, then B; not A, therefore not B.[8]
    [edit]Quantification fallacies
    A quantification fallacy is an error in logic where the quantifiers of the premises are in contradiction to the quantifier of the conclusion.
    Types of Quantification fallacies:
    Existential fallacy – an argument has a universal premise and a particular conclusion.[9]
    [edit]Formal syllogistic fallacies
    Syllogistic fallacies – logical fallacies that occur in syllogisms.
    Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise (illicit negative) – when a categorical syllogism has a positive conclusion, but at least one negative premise.[9]
    Fallacy of exclusive premises – a categorical syllogism that is invalid because both of its premises are negative.[9]
    Fallacy of four terms (quaternio terminorum) – a categorical syllogism that has four terms.[10]
    Illicit major – a categorical syllogism that is invalid because its major term is not distributed in the major premise but distributed in the conclusion.[9]
    Illicit minor – a categorical syllogism that is invalid because its minor term is not distributed in the minor premise but distributed in the conclusion.[9]
    Negative conclusion from affirmative premises (illicit affirmative) – when a categorical syllogism has a negative conclusion but affirmative premises. [9]
    Fallacy of the undistributed middle – the middle term in a categorical syllogism is not distributed.[11]
    [edit]Informal fallacies

    Informal fallacies – arguments that are fallacious for reasons other than structural (formal) flaws and which usually require examination of the argument’s content.[12]
    Argument from ignorance (appeal to ignorance, argumentum ad ignorantiam) – assuming that a claim is true (or false) because it has not been proven false (true) or cannot be proven false (true).[13]
    Argument from repetition (argumentum ad nauseam) – signifies that it has been discussed extensively until nobody cares to discuss it anymore.
    Argument from silence (argumentum e silentio) – where the conclusion is based on the absence of evidence, rather than the existence of evidence.
    Argumentum verbosium – See Proof by verbosity, below.
    Begging the question (petitio principii) – the failure to provide what is essentially the conclusion of an argument as a premise, if so required.
    (shifting the) Burden of proof (see – onus probandi) – I need not prove my claim, you must prove it is false.
    Circular reasoning – when the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with.
    Circular cause and consequence – where the consequence of the phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause.
    Continuum fallacy (fallacy of the beard, line-drawing fallacy, sorites fallacy, fallacy of the heap, bald man fallacy) – improperly rejecting a claim for being imprecise.[14]
    Correlation proves causation (cum hoc ergo propter hoc) – a faulty assumption that correlation between two variables implies that one causes the other.[15]
    Correlative-based fallacies
    Suppressed correlative – where a correlative is redefined so that one alternative is made impossible.[16]
    Equivocation – the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time).[17]
    Ambiguous middle term – a common ambiguity in syllogisms in which the middle term is equivocated.[18]
    Ecological fallacy – inferences about the nature of specific individuals are based solely upon aggregate statistics collected for the group to which those individuals belong.[19]
    Etymological fallacy – which reasons that the original or historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day meaning.[20]
    Fallacy of composition – assuming that something true of part of a whole must also be true of the whole.[21]
    Fallacy of division – assuming that something true of a thing must also be true of all or some of its parts.[22]
    False dilemma (false dichotomy, fallacy of bifurcation, black-or-white fallacy) – two alternative statements are held to be the only possible options, when in reality there are more.[23]
    If-by-whiskey – an argument that supports both sides of an issue by using terms that are selectively emotionally sensitive.
    Fallacy of many questions (complex question, fallacy of presupposition, loaded question, plurium interrogationum) – someone asks a question that presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved. This fallacy is often used rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to those that serve the questioner’s agenda.
    Ludic fallacy – the belief that the outcomes of a non-regulated random occurrences can be encapsulated by a statistic; a failure to take into account unknown unknowns in determining the probability of an event’s taking place.[24]
    Fallacy of the single cause (causal oversimplification[25]) – it is assumed that there is one, simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.
    False attribution – an advocate appeals to an irrelevant, unqualified, unidentified, biased or fabricated source in support of an argument.
    Fallacy of quoting out of context (contextomy) – refers to the selective excerpting of words from their original context in a way that distorts the source’s intended meaning.[26]
    Argument to moderation (false compromise, middle ground, fallacy of the mean) – assuming that the compromise between two positions is always correct.[27]
    Gambler’s fallacy – the incorrect belief that separate, independent events can affect the likelihood of another random event. If a coin flip lands on heads 10 times in a row, the belief that it is “due to land on tails” is incorrect.[28]
    Historian’s fallacy – occurs when one assumes that decision makers of the past viewed events from the same perspective and having the same information as those subsequently analyzing the decision.[29] (Not to be confused with presentism, which is a mode of historical analysis in which present-day ideas, such as moral standards, are projected into the past.)
    Homunculus fallacy – where a “middle-man” is used for explanation, this sometimes leads to regressive middle-man. Explanations without actually explaining the real nature of a function or a process. Instead, it explains the concept in terms of the concept itself, without first defining or explaining the original concept.[clarification needed][30]
    Inflation Of Conflict – The experts of a field of knowledge disagree on a certain point, so the scholars must know nothing, and therefore the legitimacy of their entire field is put to question. [31]
    Incomplete comparison – where not enough information is provided to make a complete comparison.
    Inconsistent comparison – where different methods of comparison are used, leaving one with a false impression of the whole comparison.
    Ignoratio elenchi (irrelevant conclusion, missing the point) – an argument that may in itself be valid, but does not address the issue in question.[32]
    Kettle logic – using multiple inconsistent arguments to defend a position.
    Mind projection fallacy – when one considers the way he sees the world as the way the world really is.
    Moving the goalposts (raising the bar) – argument in which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded.
    Nirvana fallacy (perfect solution fallacy) – when solutions to problems are rejected because they are not perfect.
    Onus probandi – from Latin “onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat” the burden of proof is on the person who makes the claim, not on the person who denies (or questions the claim). It is a particular case of the “argumentum ad ignorantiam” fallacy, here the burden is shifted on the person defending against the assertion.
    Petitio principii – see begging the question.
    Post hoc ergo propter hoc Latin for “after this, therefore because of this” (false cause, coincidental correlation, correlation without causation) – X happened then Y happened; therefore X caused Y.[33]
    Proof by verbosity (argumentum verbosium, proof by intimidation) – submission of others to an argument too complex and verbose to reasonably deal with in all its intimate details. (See also Gish Gallop and argument from authority.)
    Prosecutor’s fallacy – a low probability of false matches does not mean a low probability of some false match being found.
    Psychologist’s fallacy – an observer presupposes the objectivity of his own perspective when analyzing a behavioral event.
    Red herring – a speaker attempts to distract an audience by deviating from the topic at hand by introducing a separate argument which the speaker believes will be easier to speak to.[34]
    Regression fallacy – ascribes cause where none exists. The flaw is failing to account for natural fluctuations. It is frequently a special kind of the post hoc fallacy.
    Reification (hypostatization) – a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating as a “real thing” something which is not a real thing, but merely an idea.
    Retrospective determinism – the argument that because some event has occurred, its occurrence must have been inevitable beforehand.
    Shotgun argumentation – the arguer offers such a large number of arguments for their position that the opponent can’t possibly respond to all of them.[35] (See “Argument by verbosity” and “Gish Gallop”, above.)
    Special pleading – where a proponent of a position attempts to cite something as an exemption to a generally accepted rule or principle without justifying the exemption.
    Wrong direction – cause and effect are reversed. The cause is said to be the effect and vice versa.[36]

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Go ahead, nail me on my typos. Anything to keep the spot light off of yourselves. :)

    [Reply]

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