On Harm in Veganism
Ah, a love affair has ended . . .
Many vegans, particularly the ones with a Buddhism, Hinduism or Jainism bent, talk about the principle of Ahimsa, which is a practice of non-injury, nonviolence and/or harmlessness of living beings. What I appreciate most about Deb’s post about Earth Balance (and also Roger’s comment on yesterday’s post that brings up a similar issue), is that the reality for vegans is that non-injury is impossible for all of us reading this right now and living in the developed world.
The questions are: What are your priorities? And where do you draw lines?
I had written Deb that given all of the problems with Earth Balance, the small farmer around the corner who has a cow or two and makes his own butter probably causes less harm than the manufacturers of Earth Balance. And though I certainly won’t be buying butter made from cow’s milk, it’s pretty clear to me that Earth Balance isn’t the answer, as convenient it is, and as perfect it is as a butter substitute.
Because I’m not a chef or baker, I can get around this issue. I can bake with vegetable or coconut oil, sautee with olive oil, and ditch desserts with frosting. Since when is dessert a dietary requirement, anyway?
This topic reminds us that there is a cost for the production of our delectable vegan products, and that cost often takes the form of the death, displacement and abuse of people and/or animals, as well as a level of injury of the earth that will take generations to heal.
And once we become aware of the costs of a product, regardless of the physical ingredients therein, can we really call it vegan (if it involves harm to sentient nonhumans)?