Hnn | HNN Articles

Why Vegan Priorities are Humanist Priorities

 

by Jason Torpy

In this short article, you—the enlightened and rational humanist—will suddenly realize the error of your carnivorous ways.  You carnivores, or “carnies,” are torturing animals for fun. Harsh?  True? Both yes.  

Just as we strive to reduce our "carbon footprint" to help the environment, we should strive to reduce the "cruelty footprint" to help non-human animals. Did we evolve to eat meat? Certainly. Since those days on the plains of Africa, we've evolved society, nutrition science, empathy, and sophisticated ethical concepts that allow us to recognize the way to be healthy without exploiting animals.

I'm not saying that there aren't good reasons to eat animals. For one, it's convenient. It's no crime to stuff a chicken in a cage or carve it into pieces. Animal parts are for sale at almost every restaurant and store. Animals taste good, too. It may be a rotting carcass, but it can be so tasty with just a bit of proper cooking and seasoning. Convenience and taste are good reasons to dine on a tasty flank steak or Vienna sausage.

The alternative is to consider the reasons not to eat animals. Eliminating meat and choosing a nutritious vegan diet will reduce cholesterol (which is only found in animal products), calorie intake, and many food-borne illnesses. Fast food is almost immediately eliminated, which is fantastically good for health. Vegan living is good for the environment as well. The meat industry wastes water and resources and creates nearly 20% of greenhouse gasses.

And of course, it's good for the animals. Would you kill and cook the family dog when you had other food? Would you go to a slaughterhouse and see the torture and slaughter involved in your chicken nuggets or cheese cubes? If not, at least watch the video "Earthlings". Your health, animal welfare, and the environment are good reasons to oppose animal production for food.

This is a question of priorities. Humanist values, as I understand them, put a premium on health, animals, and the environment. Humanists should be able to suffer some inconvenience to reduce their carbon footprint and their cruelty footprint. Doing the right thing can sometimes be difficult, but it shouldn't be in this case. When wondering how you will give up that turkey sandwich you love, remember that taste is not your top priority. But also remember that five or six different meats pale in comparison to a plethora of fruits, nuts, beans, vegetables, and spices that can make absolutely delicious and nutritious meals. Aside from an infrequent B12 requirement, no animal products are necessary for human diet.

If you cannot commit to a vegan lifestyle overnight, be an aspiring vegan; less is more when it comes to animal exploitation. Recognize what's right and what's wrong and look for opportunities at every meal to cut out meat and meat products. Start by making your home (dead) animal-free. If you're having trouble, Albert Schweitzer advises, “Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”

Eating meat is bad for you, the environment, and especially the animals. It's certainly worse than not eating meat. Don't subordinate important values for things like taste and convenience. Humanism should be about being the best humans we can be, not asserting our human dominance by breeding, exploiting, torturing, and slaughtering animals. Go veg.

For resources on becoming vegan, visit:

Jason Torpy is president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Humanist Association.

blog comments powered by Disqus

American Humanist Association

Thank you Humanists of Idaho for sharing this image with us!

2 hours ago

American Humanist Association

The Missing Scarf is a 2013 Oscar-commended animated short film narrated by Geor...

3 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Congrats to Daniel Ross, a new Humanist Celebrant! Interested in becoming a Huma...

5 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Did the FAA just open the door to murder-by-drone? Clay Farris Naff takes a look...

5 hours ago

American Humanist Association

We're sharing this video of Bill Maher's recent show, not because we endorse eve...

23 hours ago

American Humanist Association

There are now 37 members of Congress who self-identify as atheist or agnostic bu...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

SMART Recovery, a secular, science-based addiction recovery program, celebrated...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA In The News: This morning Fox News covered our legal complaint against a pub...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday Everyone! Here's a fun Agnostic gospel for you! Thanks UCB Comedy!

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Which religions care most about church-state separation? Matt Bulger reports fro...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today, the AHA stepped in on behalf of a South Carolina student who was threaten...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week on the Humanist Hour Podcast, AHA's very own Maggie Ardiente and Roy S...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Thanks to the AHA, this North Dakota student will now be allowed to remain in hi...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Tattoos. What is your opinion on body art and does it have anything to do with y...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out the early reviews for Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today the AHA's Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to school official...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

The AHA sent a letter to a local police department for their program that trains...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

The AHA has a new LGBTQ Humanist Council Coordinator! Everyone, please welcome K...

7 days ago