The ethical choice is vegan.

Via Gary Smith
on Sep 29, 2011
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All sentient beings feel pain.

Meat, dairy and eggs come from sentient beings. Meat, dairy and eggs always cause pain. Humans do not have a biological need to eat meat, dairy and eggs. So, if you choose to eat meat, dairy and eggs, you are choosing to cause pain and to participate in exploitation and murder. Participating in pain and murder is always unethical. The ethical choice is vegan.

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About Gary Smith

Gary Smith is co-founder of Evolotus, a PR agency working for a better world. Evolotus specializes in nonprofits, documentary films, animal advocacy campaigns, health/wellness, natural foods and socially beneficial companies. Gary blogs at The Thinking Vegan and writes for elephant journal, Jewish Journal, Mother Nature Network and other publications. Gary and his wife are ethical vegans and live in Sherman Oaks, CA with their cat Chloe and two beagles rescued from an animal testing laboratory, Frederick and Douglass.

Comments

212 Responses to “The ethical choice is vegan.”

  1. Louise Brooks says:

    Wow Lisa, I think you need to come up to my country (Canada) and travel up north to the arctic. The Inuit do do those things. No hunting or fishing = death for them. And no, there is no vegetation up there.

  2. sarasvati3 says:

    Gary, are you a scientist? Or a doctor? Who has told you that no human needs animal products? A scientist or doctor who is vegan? (who would then have a vegan bias) I was a vegan for about 3 or 4 years and I was not healthy. Period. I don't like eating meat but I need to. Making these generalizations is so hurtful to people. If you can't be compassionate to people as well as animals, your veganism is meaningless. There are a ton of reasons to not be vegan. There are inevitably going to be things missing from one's diet when one is vegan and sure you can get those vitamins, minerals, etc. from supplements but supplements are expensive. If you really want to convince people to try veganism, use compassionate actions, not your self-righteous propaganda, to gain followers.

  3. […] When one takes refuge in the Three Jewels—the Buddha as example, the Dharma as his teachings and meditation practice, and the sangha as the community of our fellow meditators – we also take the vow against killing. […]

  4. […] addition to some of the other Lululemon controversies, there was the Great Secession from Anusara, vegans vs. everyone who isn’t vegan, the marriage of John Friend and Manduka and a panoply of other happening events to keep things […]

  5. JoeC2K says:

    Jesus, the Buddha and the Dalai Lama all ate meat. The logical conclusion to your reasoning is they were also unethical…

  6. tesk nayrb says:

    just some points to consider.
    1) not all people do well being vegan. ( i tried for eight years for ethical reasons and never felt optimal. esp my digestive system and energy level. ) and even after eight years still craved meat.
    2) yes meat 3 meals a day seems overkill yet meat a few meals a week has no negative health benefits to people or this planet. the key is moderation.
    3)does gary drive? where loads of insects are killed. what about live in a house where loads of animals are killed and displaced when clearing land and creating factories for the production of household items. ect……
    4) for ethical reasons the jain yogis where a mask as to not inhale insects and walk with a broom sweeping in front of them as to not kill when stepping. to them if gary is not doing these things he is unethical. although they may not call him unethical because if they are truly yogi's they know judgement is most unethical.
    5) are all indigenous people unethical because most eat meat?
    6) i feel a lot of our farming practices are horrible and unnecessarily harmful. best for all that we make conscious choices about where our for comes from and how it is treated. plants and animals can be raised and slaughtered with gratitude and compassion.
    7) i know a vegan girl who always had stomach issues i tried to convince her to add fish to her diet but her desire to not harm animals was strong. she found no relief from any doctor. finally she consulted a chinese doctor who told her to add animal protein to her diet. she agreed to finally and her condition disappeared.
    8) maybe whats most ethical is to mind your own business, focus on yourself and be the best you can be and if you achieve something amazing others will be inspired by you.
    9) i believe the focus should be on promoting the ideas you love and believe in not in judging others. Vegans make a lot of wonderful points and everyone should consider their perspective, yet preaching their idea's as being " more ethical " will only serve to alienate those they wish to influence ( like born again christians tend to do ).

  7. tsek nayrb says:

    just some points to consider.
    1) not all people do well being vegan. ( i tried for eight years for ethical reasons and never felt optimal. esp my digestive system and energy level. ) and even after eight years still craved meat.
    2) yes meat 3 meals a day seems overkill yet meat a few meals a week has no negative health benefits to people or this planet. the key is moderation.
    3)does gary drive? where loads of insects are killed. what about live in a house where loads of animals are killed and displaced when clearing land and creating factories for the production of household items. ect……
    4) for ethical reasons the jain yogis where a mask as to not inhale insects and walk with a broom sweeping in front of them as to not kill when stepping. to them if gary is not doing these things he is unethical. although they may not call him unethical because if they are truly yogi's they know judgement is most unethical.
    5) are all indigenous people unethical because most eat meat?
    6) i feel a lot of our farming practices are horrible and unnecessarily harmful. best for all that we make conscious choices about where our for comes from and how it is treated. plants and animals can be raised and slaughtered with gratitude and compassion.
    7) i know a vegan girl who always had stomach issues i tried to convince her to add fish to her diet but her desire to not harm animals was strong. she found no relief from any doctor. finally she consulted a chinese doctor who told her to add animal protein to her diet. she agreed to finally and her condition disappeared.
    8) maybe whats most ethical is to mind your own business, focus on yourself and be the best you can be and if you achieve something amazing others will be inspired by you.
    9) i believe the focus should be on promoting the ideas you love and believe in not in judging others. Vegans make a lot of wonderful points and everyone should consider their perspective, yet preaching their idea's as being " more ethical " will only serve to alienate those they wish to influence ( like born again christians tend to do ).

  8. […] the fact that it makes me feel horrible, so even if I felt there were an ethical way to do it (which is a huge subject for debate) I just won’t do […]

  9. grass fed says:

    The saddest thing about all this is that these people seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that in organic agriculture large quantities (millons of tons) of animal-based fertilizers are used. For example, feathermeal is the major fertilizer used in the production of organic rice. Bone meal and blood meal also are widely used. All come from abbatoirs, and good thing too, otherwise it is just good carbon going to waste.

    When we farm, we need to restore the soil with animal manure, etc. Because tillage is very damaging to the soil, soy is the least sustainable crop there is. If we want to save the world, we need to end dependency on grain! Eating Grass fed beef and local organic vegetables, especially if you grow them yourself is the best thing you can do for the world. Read Joel Salatan. Widely vilified by the Vegan Right, but just plain old common sense both dietarily and ecologically.

    Vegans are the best friends of Monsanto, Tyson, Cargil, etc.

  10. ilan ben-yehuda says:

    plants also have a kind of sentience.
    their consciousness is equally as mystifying to us as that of animals.
    trees communicate with one another to warn of invading termites. they can sense the invaders, synthesize a response, communicate this to their surrounding colleagues, receive the message, and react to it in a way that protects them from further forest damage.
    fungi have shown some level of awareness of their surroundings in test studies (documented in Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets).
    that trees do not walk around shopping for an answer to 'what does it mean to be a tree?' does not make them suddenly not sentient.

    "i don't eat sentient beings" is not an ethical argument. all beings have sentience of some kind (why on earth do we think that we or animals have the market on awareness?) and to claim that an egg or chicken feels pain, but a plant doesn't is absurd. A tree knows when it has lost a limb, and an apple is an egg of a tree.

    That is, of course, unless you clarify what you mean by sentience. It comes from the word sense – which plants and fungi certainly do – ask anyone who has spent a goodly amount of time with growing plants. Sentience (feeling) was, in the 18th century philosophies, used against the concept of "reason" (thought). Again, that palm tree and mushroom qualify as sentient. From Wikipedia: "For Eastern philosophy, sentience is a metaphysical quality of all things that requires respect and care." Again, all things (which includes mountains, clouds, fire, oceans, water, as well as trees, forests, wildabeasts, and popcorn) are sentient.

    The simple, spurious, esoteric, and empirical view of ethics in this blurb of an article is an insult to those who choose to not eat meats, those who choose to eat meats, and to those with no choice whatsoever. By Mr. Smith's logic, we may also assume that cats (as animals they must be sentient) are completely unethical, as they play with their food while eating it while it still hangs on to an inarguably painful existence.

    Also – we are biologically equipped to process meats. all strict herbivores have a much longer GI system so that they can break down plant matter and reap enough nutrients to survive. We on the other hand, have short colons, one stomach, canine and incisor teeth, and the need for certain minerals and protein chains which are difficult (but in recent times not impossible) to come by in plants and fungi alone.

    the real question should be – why aren't we all eating insects? no one really likes them. they're not cute. they have the biggest biomass on the planet, and they are choc a broc full of protein.

  11. […] did not eat animals, drink their milk, or wear their leather. He eschewed all animal products for any reason. He considered eating honey to be exploitative and avoided […]

  12. nowaytommy says:

    I have a problem with the absolutist term "Always causes pain" If someone keeps a few chickens in their yard (Which they never kill even when they stop laying and they live out their lives untroubled and in peace) If they take unfertilized eggs how is this causing pain?