I’m sure we have all met the vegetarian that claims to support animal rights. Maybe you are that vegetarian and if so you might just be wondering where this is headed. If so, I ask that you merely wait to dismiss what I have to say until the end of this post.
(Vegetarians as I will speaking of it them here is meant to refer to people who do not eat animal bodies or slaughterhouse by-products, such as gelatin, but who do still consume eggs and dairy products and may wear wool.)
The vegetarian lifestyle as defined above is still participating in the exploitation of animals. By consuming dairy, you are still directly supporting the veal and leather industries. By consuming eggs, you are complicit in the killing of billions of “spent” hens yearly. The most important point to understand about the dairy and egg industries is that they rely on the eventual, untimely killing of the cows and chickens that are enslaved to them as much as meat producers do. it makes no difference whether the farm is organic or “free-range” or “humanely raised” with Whole Foods seal of approval, the process is the same. Therefore vegetarianism, wile still much better than eating animals, is inconsistent with basic animal rights theory as it violates the most basic right not to be treated as the property of others by requiring animals be enslaved and killed to bring said vegetarians milk and eggs.
For the rights of animals to mean anything even if just in theory at this point in time, the people who champion the cause cannot be living a lifestyle incompatible with rights theory. Would you take someone seriously who spoke of equality for men and women if you knew that person beat their wife? Why should anyone take a movement seriously that speaks of rights for animals, most importantly the right not to be treated as property, when some in the movement continue to exploit animals and are complicit in their use as property?
If you are already a vegetarian going vegan is a quite easy next step. Eliminating dairy and eggs is almost effortless if you take a week to research other food options to prepare to replace dishes you currently eat that contain eggs and dairy products.
If you take animal interests seriously, and I hope if you are reading this that you do, then I urge you to consider making the next step. Become Vegan.