Shouldn’t we focus on solving human rights first before solving animal rights concerns? Do vegans think animals are more important than humans? Let’s address these questions.
The animal rights problem
It’s worth putting the animal suffering problem into perspective. Worldwide, 56 billion land animals are killed every year for food. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and Amazon deforestation. Nowhere in the world are humans being exploited in the magnitude and severity as non-human animals are. If they were, there would be a global unrest and the issue would be addressed immediately.
Also, in many cases, animal abuse can cause human suffering. High meat and dairy diets are responsible for some of the United States’ leading killers, like heart disease and strokes. In areas where new slaughterhouses are set up, the rates of domestic violence and crime increase. Many human rights violations occur in factory farms because of the high production rate required to meet the demand for meat. For example, some US factory farm workers wear diapers to work due to a lack of bathroom breaks.
There is a clear overlap between what causes suffering to humans and what harms animals, so they’re both worthy of consideration. However, what if we want to focus on human rights and not animal rights? Well, we can still eat vegan while doing so.
We have to eat something
Veganism is a non-action. We don’t need to actively do anything time consuming to eat vegan. After spending some time initially figuring out what to buy at the grocery store and learning a few recipes, most people won’t spend any additional time thinking about food than before. As such, we can continue to fight for human rights or other “more important” causes while eating a veggie burger or bean burrito instead of a steak. We don’t need to promote animal oppression while we fight against human oppression.
At some point, a human rights campaigner has to eat. At that point, they can decide whether to eat meat, therefore contributing to animal exploitation and environmental degradation, or to simply choose a vegan option. In fact, eating meat would work against their efforts of reducing suffering worldwide by increasing that suffering elsewhere (in the animal world).
We have to eat something, so why not eat vegan? It’s worth it.