'A Meat Eater's Case For Veganism,' Explained

'A Meat Eater's Case For Veganism' Proves That Carnivores Can't Even Justify Killing And Eating Animals

If you're up for a challenge, try to argue against these bulletproof philosophical arguments for why we should all stop kidding ourselves and go vegan.

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Alex O'Connor is a popular YouTuber who typically discusses philosophy and skepticism. This week, he released a video on a philosophical defense of veganism. What makes this interesting is that Alex is not vegan himself, but he clearly states that the reasons discussed in the video will eventually lead him to adopt a vegan lifestyle if no one can prove his arguments wrong.

The fact that he is openly promoting veganism while admitting that he himself has not yet made the leap delivers more impact to his reasoning. It demonstrates that the questions he poses in the video are so powerful that they are convincing a meat eater to stop eating meat right before our eyes. The best way to summarize O'Connor's incredible video (although you really should just watch it yourself) is to list a few of his arguments, so here they are.

The boundary that we have built between humans and other animals is irrational and unwarranted.

Why do we always forget that we are animals ourselves? O'Connor quotes Peter Singer's book "Animal Liberation," noting that we tend to box "animals" together into a distant category, such as oysters and chimpanzees, while in reality, we are much closer to chimpanzees than they are to oysters.

If humans can be distinguished from other animals because of our superior intelligence, does that mean we innately have a higher value?

Meat eaters may argue that humans have the right to murder and eat animals because we are smarter than them. Philosophically, one would counterargue with the question: does that mean we can murder and eat humans with lower intelligence? Clearly, the answer is no. This means intelligence is not the only thing we use to justify mistreating and killing animals.

No matter how we look at it, we couldn't morally justify killing and eating a "dumb" human simply because they are the same species as us.

And the fact that we're the same species as the living being in question has no real moral relevance in itself. It's the same as appealing to your own race, or gender — it's not a legitimate argument. The point here is that the meat eater's argument lacks consistency. One can't justify eating animals simply because they're less intelligent, while also agreeing that it still wouldn't be right to eat a human with the same level of intelligence as an animal.

The thought experiment from "A Theory of Justice" should apply to all living things.

Imagine being an innocent baby behind a curtain, about to enter the world. You don't know anything about yourself yet (ie. black, white, male, female, et cetera). In order to design a fair society, we should take the position of this baby, because we would design the most just system without biasing it towards our own group.

O'Connor takes this useful experiment a step further: as the baby behind the curtain, what if you didn't know what type of living thing you would be? Have we designed society to be fair to all living things? Obviously, our world is heavily biased towards humans. But when you place yourself as the baby, and you don't know what you'll end up being, wouldn't you want to make sure all beings have a fair chance at a good life? By the way, you'd be three times more likely to enter the world as a chicken than you would a human. O'Connor says here: "Nobody in their right mind, from this position, would design a society that permits the meat industry as it exists today."

"Stranded on a desert island and forced to choose between killing a pig and a human" is not the situation we're in.

This argument that many use to corner vegans is simply irrelevant. Just because someone would kill a pig over a human on a desert island, doesn't mean that an entire system of brutal factory farming is justified. The reality we're facing is more like this one: "Would you rather save a drowning sheep or give a child a piece of chocolate?" It's not about valuing an animal's life over a human's. It's about valuing an animal's life over a brief moment of pleasure for the human. Easy choice.

All animals are equal.

Some would say this is a ridiculous claim. But what if I said that black people and white people aren't equal because they have clear physical and cultural differences? The point is that differences like these are completely irrelevant in determining someone's rights and moral worth. And even if you didn't believe different humans had equal worth, you still couldn't justify one being able to murder and eat the other. As O'Connor says, "even if we do see animals as having less moral worth than humans, this doesn't justify us treating them as though they have no moral worth at all."

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5 Ways Impulsively Getting A Dog Saved My Mental Health

Those four paws are good for a lot more than just face kisses.

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Shortly before my husband and I officially moved out onto our own, he surprised me with a puppy in hand on the morning of our anniversary. Moving out, tackling college, and everything in between, I thought another huge responsibility was the last thing I needed. However, in reality, Oakley, the lab/Australian shepard/collie mix, was exactly what I needed to get back to "me."


He provides emotional support

One of the most obvious reasons is how much emotional support dogs, (and other respective animals) can provide. His paws have been accidentally stepped on, and he certainly isn't a fan of the forced flea/tick medication doses, but less than 30 seconds later, he is without fail immediately by my side again, tail wagging and ready for more kisses. Although he is not trained or certified as an ESA, it's without a doubt he has effectively (and unconsciously) combated random anxiety attacks or feelings of being alone.

He requires being cared for

You'll heavily judge every crazy fur mama, as did, I until you become one. Getting Oakley immediately got me consistently back on my feet and forced me to ask myself, "What does he need today?"Even simple, easy tasks like taking him out to run/go to the bathroom had me excited and forced me to find a motive in the day to day activities. I loved no longer having even the mere choice to be unproductive. Don't want to start your day? Well, Oakley needs his day started, so let's get moving.

He serves as protection

It's no surprise how far a dog's loyalty will go to protect their owner. For decades, specially trained dogs have had life-saving responsibilities assigned to them. Even being married, my husband and I's schedules vary significantly to where it is not uncommon for me to be alone. The slightest sound or shadow from outside our door immediately initiates barking. In the bathroom taking a shower? He's there. Knowing that Oakley is looking out, even when I get carried away with tasks like cooking dinner, always calms my nerves.

He's become something to look forward to

The nice thing about having Oakley is regardless of how my day goes, I know exactly how it is going to end. Whether I passed an exam with flying colors or got the lowest grade in the class, I know what waits for me when I open the door at home. After a long day, nothing resets my mood like walking into a face that is just as happy and excited to see me!

He encourages bonds with others

If you want your social interaction to sky rocket: get a puppy. No, I'm serious. You'll have people wanting to come over and visit "you" (let's be real… your puppy), like it's your last day on Earth. For me, this was exactly what I needed. Getting Oakley had family members constantly checking in to see how he was growing, learning, etc. Not only did this encourage more interactions with family and friends, but it also "livened" my husband and I's home life. Instead of the "normal" weekend nights consisting of Netflix and MarioKart, (which are enjoyable in their own respective ways), spending our nights playing Monkey in the Middle with our new four-legged friend has proven much more entertaining.

So ideally was it the right time to get a dog? Probably not. However, adding Oakley to my small little family combated anxiety and depression in ways I wouldn't have ever thought possible.

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I Went Meat-Free For One Whole Week, And I Changed In Ways I Never Imagined

I didn't expect there would be these many benefits.

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It all started with a simple challenge.

I urged myself to give the vegetarian diet a try, even just for seven days.

I got excited, but also really worried. Excited because this is another adventure in itself. New things are always fun, right? Because my family is not vegetarian, I had to either do my own meal preparations or buy outside food. I got the chance to experiment with ingredients that I didn't normally use. I didn't know that cooking your own food would be such a fulfilling, yet liberating experience. But also, I was nervous — simply because I was not sure if I could do this for a week. Moreso, I got worried about potential nutritional deficiencies. I didn't want to be missing the needed nutrients from my usual meat diet that could negatively affect my daily activities.

Little did I know, the opposite happened.

I expected that my lack of iron from meat would make me more restless and anxious. Rather, I felt way lighter and even had a better mood. Research suggests that the low amount of arachidonic acid from avoiding meat is the reason behind this. To make sure that my lack of iron from meat is being met, I ate right amounts of tofu, nuts, and mushrooms.

Before this challenge, I wasn't really conscious of what I put in my body. My regular diet usually consists of rice, protein (pork, beef, chicken, seafood), and maybe leafy vegetables. Note that "maybe" over there. As long as it's tasty, it will get in my belly. Through this challenge, I started to think about the nutrients that I do need and the junk that I should start to avoid.

Being my competitive-self, I knew I'd have to live up to the challenge no matter what. I also knew it would be hard, though; especially since I've never done it before. What initially started as a mission quickly became an enjoyable experience.

Why the sudden need to try a new diet, you may ask?

One day, I realized how I claimed to love the Earth so much but never considered how much processing went into my daily consumptions. This challenge forced me to dismiss packaged food such as bacon and SPAM for breakfast. It made me choose the actual whole food instead. These involved fruits like bananas, grapes, and kiwis. As a result, my plastic consumption also went downhill.

Even after this challenge, I might continue with my new habits of choosing healthier alternatives. It's always a good idea to be kind to our bodies — even better if that idea helps in taking care of our planet.

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