Sentience is all that matters
So often when I speak to nonvegans they smirk, and then they tell me, ‘stop all this talk of suffering and exploitation, I think you’re taking things to extremes, comparing humans with other animals’.
This is a classic speciesist defence that I’m sure vegans will recognise and nonvegans, if they’re being honest, will remember thinking or saying.
This is invariably the reaction when we refer to the beings we persecute with the same terminology we use for humans. We refer to abuse, to torture, to surgical mutilation, to sexual violation, to child abduction, to confinement and enslavement, and we refer to murder.
And why shouldn’t we, as vegans, refer to those whom we defend in proper language that honestly describes the enormous injustice and moral outrage that is being perpetrated upon them by humans?
Other beings are sentient individuals. That’s ALL we need to know. A sentient individual has his or her own preferences, desires, wants and needs. It doesn’t matter if they’re the same as mine or yours. It doesn’t matter if he or she is more or less intelligent than I am by whatever arbitrary scale we set. It doesn’t matter if we share a common spoken language.
His or her life matters to him or her. We share with them the fundamental quality that should automatically entitle them all to our respect and to our acknowledgement of their rights as individuals.
That quality is sentience.
We have a choice; we can choose to live without harming others. When we deliberately set out to cause suffering and anguish, knowing that it is unnecessary and knowing that the only possible justification is self indulgence, that is the point at which ignorance becomes something altogether more sinister.
Veganism is the very least we owe our fellow creatures. Be vegan and share the vegan message. Find out about it here: http://vegankit.com/