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‘THINK LIKE A VEGAN’: The broad relevance of vegan ethics in everyday life

Animals aren’t objects. The differences between us and them, are not morally relevant when it comes to basic fairness. All animals have needs, wants, fears, abilities, intelligence, skills, social habits, and emotions.

MARC BEKOFF: A new book shows that veganism isn’t a radical view, but rather a practical one that informs the fair and just choices people constantly make… The book by Emilia Leese and Eva Charalambides titled Think Like a Vegan: What Everyone Can Learn From Vegan Ethics, clearly shows that veganism is not a “radical” view, but rather informs the choices we make in numerous situations including politics, law, meal plans (who we choose to eat), friendships, and love in which fairness and nonhuman animals (animals) are involved. Here’s what they had to say to Marc Bekoff:

MB: Why did you write Think Like a Vegan?

L&C: We wrote our book simply to show that Veganism is an extension of basic fairness: Accord the same moral treatment unless there’s a morally relevant difference. Animals aren’t objects to be owned, like a handbag or a phone… The differences among them, and between us and them, are not morally relevant when it comes to basic fairness. We all share a desire to live, expressed in our own ways, and that commonality should be the basis for our coexistence…

MB: What are some of the topics you weave into your book and what are some of your major messages?

L&C: Beginning with what it means to be vegan and the ethical concepts at its heart — basic fairness — we then get a bit more personal and talk about how veganism has affected us. We also think about whether there’s room in our lives to speak clearly about veganism. Talking about veganism might not always be easy but it’s always worthwhile…

One of the more eye-opening chapters to research and write was the one on money and politics. In it we take a deep dive into the economics of animal use, presenting the persistent growth of agribusiness over the decades. We then consider what the massive new market for vegan foods might mean for veganism, humans, and the animals.

We also look at a few examples of political and legal developments concerning animal laws, where some view these developments as wins for the animals, while we question how much of a victory these really are when we look at their real-world implications…

In our chapter on health, we deconstruct some of the myths around veganism being a cure-all or an expensive food trend… There should be little remaining doubt that eating plants is healthy and this chapter is a handy reminder…

Concerning the environment, we provide an overview of some of the most serious studies linking animal agriculture to climate change. We also look at arguments about land use and we question the disconnect between environmental concerns and being non-vegan…

Throughout the book we provide thought experiments, culminating in a final collection of scenarios. Each scenario puts into practice what we’ve discussed to see how we might respond to what are real-life anecdotes. Some may not have clear-cut answers and perhaps all will engender debate. SOURCE…

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