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ToK Presentation - Veganism

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Madeline Pearce

on 18 November 2015

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Transcript of ToK Presentation - Veganism

Should ethical considerations be extended over the lives of animals?
Development #1
Questions & Context
Knowledge Question
Should ethical considerations be extended over the lives of animals?
Should more people consider adopting veganism for ethical reasons?
Should ethical considerations be extended over the lives of animals?
Emotion & Reason
This real life situation is significant to me because, after discovering the cruelty of the animal agriculture system, I decided to adopt vegetarianism. Upon further research of the industry, I discovered that even the production of animal products (milk, eggs, etc.) is quite cruel as well. After several months of vegetarianism, I converted to veganism for both my own health and the welfare of animals.
Do animals experience the same emotions as humans? If so, to what extent? Is it ethical to deprive animals of their natural lives for the purpose of human consumption?
The goal of veganism is to abstain from the use of all animal products (edible, and non-edible) as a way of minimizing exploitation of and cruelty towards animals.
For the most part, the atrocities of animal agriculture are hidden from the public. Many people become vegan for ethical reasons (emotion), some just for health reasons (senses).
Limits of my RLS include bias (I am vegan) and lack of insight into the thoughts and minds of animals in the agricultural industry.
Ethics is critical in the examination of my KQ and RLS, as the central question revolves around the extent to which the realm of ethics can be applied over sentient beings.
Emotion & Reason
is also of importance; by nature humans are compassionate and care for other living beings whether human or otherwise. True veganism is largely based on the emotions and beliefs held by an individual regarding the lives and treatment of animals in the animal agriculture industry.

comes into play as well. It is through reason that we do (or do not) come to a consensus regarding the treatment of animals in the animal agriculture industry. Reasonably assuming, many would not choose to deprive thousands of animals of their livelihood and mechanically slaughtered for the purpose of a hamburger.
Ethical considerations and regulations should be applied to the lives of all sentient beings. Containment, deprivation, and slaughter of animals for the enjoyment of human beings should NOT be considered ethical. Not only does it hurt animals, but also seriously depletes many resources critical to human survival (more so than meat), simultaneously spreading the effects of this unethical behavior over the lives of humanity.
The animal agriculture industry is both fundamentally and economically important around the world. Humans are the top of the food chain, and thus hold power over the lives of animals.
Humans are not naturally the top of the food chain. It is through our superior intellect that we have artificially assumed this position. In ancient times, we were equally as likely to be prey to larger carnivorous animals as any other smaller animal. Therefore, in reality, we alone do not hold power over the lives of animals. We still make use of other means in order to overcome other animals such as guns, electric shock, and sedation (all of which are not part of our anatomical design.
Development #2
All sentient being experience similar emotions. Not only does veganism promote standing for one’s own beliefs and emotions, it stands for the emotions of animals. In the animal agricultural industry, animals are deprived (often from birth) of their livelihood, kept in cages and pens for their entire lives, and finally mechanically slaughtered for the purpose of edible and non-edible animal goods

Animals do not have the same complex mental processes as humans, and therefore know no difference between life in a cage and life out of a cage. If the slaughter method is fast enough, they will experience a quick and painless death without sadness or struggle.
Though animals do not experience the same set of emotions and complex mental processes as human beings, science has proven that they do experience sadness and suffering just as we do. This has led to an increase in “free-range” animal agriculture to better the livelihood of animals in the industry. This is a significant improvement, no doubt, however upon slaughter, the animals do experience the same pain as a human would under the same conditions; regardless of the speed of the kill.
Development #3
It is against basic human reason to kill other sentient beings. We are naturally repulsed by the smell and sight of open wounds, dead bodies, and rotten carcasses. We are so far removed from the animal agriculture industry now that we are no longer exposed to the realities of killing animals for consumption. We also do not possess a digestive tract similar to other meat-eaters, nor the natural mechanisms in order to kill our own prey (teeth, claws, poison, etc.). Dairy, which has only been consumed for approximately 10,000 years, has been linked to anemia, gastrointestinal distress, calcium leaching, and many allergies/intolerances due to the natural human inability to process dairy products apart from relying on our mother’s milk as infants.
Humans have, over the past 2 million years, eaten meat to survive. Our vegetarian ancestors died out, whiles the omnivorous ones persevered. Our stomachs contain HCl acid, not found in other vegetarian species. We also do not posses the multiple stomachs found in most herbivores to lessen the impact of a high-fiber vegetarian diet. Many plant based diets also lack essential nutrients like vitamin B12 and protein which can lead to fatigue and emaciation.
Though we may not be designed as exclusively vegetarian anatomically, that does not mean we are any more designed to consume animal products. Those animals consumed by our ancestors also varied drastically from those produced through animal agriculture today. Animals consumed by our ancestors were free range and wild, with access to nutrient rich food and a healthy life free of cages and torment. Our nomadic ancestors relied on them because, well, they were nomadic and much more physically active than the average person today. Animal meats and fats are calorically dense and therefore are optimal for active beings who have no access to large quantities of fruits, vegetables, and grains. The animals we consume today are fed a hodgepodge of scrap food waste, given a variety of shots and artificial enhancements, and often deprived of a life in which they are free to roam and graze as they should. All of these factors contribute to a lesser quality meat that provides almost no nutritional benefit to humans other than basic macronutrients (and often in excess).
In conclusion, I believe that ethical considerations SHOULD be extended over the lives of animals due to the overwhelming evidence of the cruelties in animal agriculture, the anatomical evidence of our own bodies, and the presence of conscious thought in those animals slaughtered in the name of meat consumption.
Other real-life
The common myth that vegans don’t get enough nutrition to sustain energy levels is one of almost no scientific basis. As vegan myself, I can attest to the fact that I do get the same (if not more) nutritional value in my daily caloric intake as an average 18 year old should.
The idea that going vegan doesn’t impact the world enough to make a difference is also false.
1 month of being vegan saves
33,000 gallons of water
1,200 lbs of grain
900 sq ft of forest
600 lbs of CO2
30 animal lives
1 year of being vegan saves
401,500 gallons of water
14,600 lbs of grain
10,950 sq ft of forest
7,300 lbs of CO2
365 animal lives
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