Should Vegans Buy From Sweatshops?

Does your logic apply to humans as well? For example, are all your objects you have like t-shirts, computers etc. that are produced by exploiting people and even entire countries necessary to have? I guess you would say no, but why do you use them then? I agree 100% on the health and environmental benefits of veganism. But the moral part is… hmmm

My reply

The vegan ideology is morally sound.

What you are referring to is that most vegans still live in a free market where we inevitably buy products that harm humans to some degree as well. The fact that I have a computer but am vegan is no different than you having one and being against human slavery or male supremacy. Having a laptop does not invalidate the ideologies of gender / race equality, in the same way it does not invalidate veganism. The fact that anybody funds sweat shops doesn’t mean you must also pay for animal abuse.

Also, in none of these industries are human beings getting mutilated, tortured and killed. We do not buy t-shirts and computers nearly as often as we consume dismembered and objectified animals. My purchase of a vegan product is coming from paid work (in some cases unfair). But animal products always come from non-consenting animal victims. Needless to say, humans that work in slaughterhouses have terrible working conditions and endure incredible amounts of stress, which is why they have the greatest employee turnover rate of all industries. If you want to minimise human suffering, stop buying animal products first. It seems foolish to think that because you cannot stop contributing with all forms of suffering in the world (because our mere existence negatively impacts the world) you shouldn’t be vegan.

But don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we should buy products mindlessly. We should always check labels and look for fair trade products that do not come from exploited humans. This is what I do, 90% of the time. Wearing clothes for as long as you can and donating clothing to charity shops are good practices too. You can find companies that do not use sweatshops for their clothing and buy from them. Electronic gadgets are a slightly trickier and I admit I own an iPhone and a Mac, which I plan to use thoroughly whilst fighting to end animal cruelty.

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