Is being vegan the moral baseline?

So something that comes up quite often in the vegan community, on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook is that ‘Veganism is the moral baseline.’ This is a big statement and one that I feel gets thrown around far too lightly within the vegan community. People often don’t quite take into consideration all aspects.

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A selection of comments from Facebook group Vegan UK. (Is there some kind of correlation between believing this and not showing yourself in your profile picture?)

I want to start off by saying that if you zoom out and look at morality as a whole, this is totally arbitrary. Why is veganism the moral baseline? Why isn’t the moral baseline avoiding buying clothes from brands that use sweatshops? Both are moral actions. Some people would value humans more than animals and so may see avoiding sweatshops as the more moral action. My point is, morality is made up of so many different things. Veganism is just one of these things.

Say we had a ‘morality score’ I feel as though being vegan would increase your score. But so would not buying from sweatshops, or helping people get out of poverty, or volunteering to help the elderly.

I don’t think that all non-vegans are inherently immoral.

Let’s create a hypothetical:

There’s a woman named Anna who is not a vegan. But she actively protests against sweatshops and only buys second hand or ethical clothes. She donates a considerable amount of her income to helping various charities and is highly concerned with protecting the environment.

Is Anna immoral? Just because she’s not vegan? Does all the work she does to help others not count because she eats animal products?

You could have a vegan who abuses children, would they be more moral than Anna just because they are a vegan? I don’t think so.

If Anna was to go vegan, I think it would increase her ‘morality score’ but I don’t think its fair to say she’s immoral because of it.

By saying vegan is the moral baseline you are claiming that 99%+ of the population is immoral. I just don’t think that’s fair.

I also feel that this claim that ‘veganism is the moral baseline’ is alienating to people who are really trying their hardest to reduce animal products but haven’t quite got to being fully vegan yet. It makes people feel as though what they are doing is worth nothing. But this isn’t true, any change makes a difference, and we should be encouraging this.

So in conclusion: no, veganism is not the moral baseline. Morality constitutes far more than just veganism. Obviously, I am not doubting the importance of veganism. Animal Agriculture is one of the biggest issues in the world, and I am passionate about changing that. I just feel like we don’t need to make these claims, they hurt the movement more than helping it. Veganism is an important issue, but it’s not the only important issue.

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