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Why Veganism Matters: The Moral Value of Animals

Gary Francione: If animals matter morally, they must have the right not to be used as property. We cannot eat them, wear them, use them, or treat them as resources.

GARY FRANCIONE: ‘Most people care about animals, but only a tiny fraction are vegan. The rest often think of veganism as an extreme position. They certainly do not believe that they have a moral obligation to become vegan’. So says Gary L. Francione, the leading and most provocative scholar of animal rights theory and law, in his soon to be released book “Why Veganism Matters: The Moral Value of Animals”…

With this book, as the case with many of his previous ones, Francione re-iterates his abolitionist philosophy to animal rights. Francione’s abolitionist approach to animal rights, by extension, means veganism… The Abolitionist Approach regards veganism as a moral imperative. By this we mean that if animals matter morally, we are morally obligated to stop eating, wearing, and using them. That is, going vegan is not just an option for someone who agrees that animals matter morally; it is a fundamental moral obligation.

Abolitionists do not see veganism as a matter of “compassion,” “mercy,” or anything other than as what is necessary to discharge their moral obligations to animals. Similarly, although some people may adopt a vegan diet for health reasons, or out of concern for the environment, an abolitionist vegan sees veganism first and foremost as a matter of moral obligation. It is what they owe to animals. An abolitionist vegan may have health or environmental concerns as well, but the primary motivating force for the abolitionist vegan is morality.

The Abolitionist Approach is clear: if one is not a vegan, one is participating actively in animal exploitation. Since abolitionists reject all animal exploitation, even supposedly “humane” exploitation, abolitionists have no choice but to be principled and consistent vegans.

Abolitionists see veganism as a rejection of the status of nonhuman animals as commodities. Humans exploit animals because they are viewed as things. They are property without moral value. Abolitionists reject the property status of nonhuman animals and refuse to participate in their institutionalized commodification. Abolitionists recognize that every time humans eat, wear, or use an animal product, they are reaffirming the insidious system that treats nonhuman animals exclusively as resources for humans…

In Why Veganism Matters, Francione shows that there is a contradiction in thinking that animals matter morally if one is also not vegan, and he explains why this belief should logically lead all who hold it to veganism. Francione dismantles the conventional wisdom that it is acceptable to use and kill animals as long as we do so “humanely.” He argues that if animals matter morally, they must have the right not to be used as property. That means that we cannot eat them, wear them, use them, or otherwise treat them as resources or commodities.

Why Veganism Matters presents the case for the personhood of nonhuman animals and for veganism in a clear and accessible way that does not require any philosophical or legal background. This book offers a persuasive and powerful argument for all readers who care about animals but are not sure whether they have a moral obligation to be vegan. SOURCE… SOURCE…

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