Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Luis Chiesi (Pace) has conducted a useful poll of his readers about the moral views of his (mostly vegan) readers. It confirms, interestingly, that the target of my earlier critique was probably correct, namely, the view that it is wrong to kill non-human animals, even if it is done painlessly. (That prompted my question: how are animals harmed by death? I concluded that they are not.) Excluding the 12% of contrarians who clearly weren't vegans, Professor Chiesi found that nearly 75% believed that killing non-human animals was either "always wrong" (more than a third embraced that extraordinary proposition) or "wrong absent exigent circumstances," which didn't include, for example, food. Only a quarter grounded their veganism in the more plausible view that while killing animals is not per se wrong (since, as I argued, they're not harmed by death), the fact is that animals raised for food etc. generally suffer, and so one should not consume animals raised in such conditions.
If this is representative of the views of vegans generally (my guess is that it is roughly representative), then it seems that the majority of vegans hold views that are morally abhorrent (e.g., it would be wrong to kill animals even to save human lives) and/or morally baseless.