A Vegan and a Horse Walk into a Bar

Today I’m tackling the highly emotive topic of abortion. Some of you reading right now will argue that I have absolutely zero say in this whatsoever. You’re entitled to that opinion and you can stop reading right now if you feel the need to do so. Before leaping in, I should outline my position. As I’ve been known to make some on the nose jokes about this, in the interest of generating some debate.

I’m pro-choice insofar as I believe everyone should be allowed to make a decision as to whether they should have an abortion.

Personally, if someone I was involved with got pregnant I’d strongly be against an abortion as I believe human life is there from the get go. Finally, I believe that abortion for the sake of convenience (too young, start of a career erc) should not be a runner. It gets a little trickier when health issues get involved (as it should).

Anyway, that’s not the actual issue I want to discuss. I don’t want to discuss the legality of abortion because we already crossed that bridge with a referendum. It’s legal, for better or for worse. Now, I’ve purposely sent out some provocative tweets about a philosophical question that I’d genuinely like to discuss with a vegan, without getting absolutely slated, abused and called a ‘spastic’ (I believe that was the word choice, anyway). The question I want to answer is, “Can you be both a vegan and willing to get an abortion?” On the face of it they seem unrelated but I’ll explain my line of thinking.

Correct me if I’m wrong. Veganism is essentially a lifestyle that abstains from using any animal products, and its fundamental philosophy argues that animals aren’t a commodity to be utilized by humans as we see fit. Vegans don’t eat animals, they don’t eat animal by products, and they don’t wear, use, or own any materials made from animals (in the ideal form of a vegan). It’s quite an admirable vocation. It takes time, effort, dedication, and above all, a strong belief in abstaining from using animals.

Most vegans don’t eat eggs. Eggs are the unfertilised ovum of chickens usually (in other words a chicken’s period). Vegans don’t it caviar (Neither do most non-vegans). Caviar in layman’s terms is the sperm of male fish. These are animal products so they’re a no-go; fair enough. Now I have broached the issue with some vegan acquaintances. Many (if not most) vegans won’t eat dairy and eggs, not because of the animal content, but rather because of how dairy products and eggs are processed. A lot of vegans find this process to be quite inhumane and so prefer not to use these products in protest. In other words, if a vegan were to come across a naturally occurring egg in the wild, some of them would be totally fine with consuming that egg. However, some vegans also abstain from eating things such as eggs because of the moral belief that this is destructive towards animals themselves.

Statistically speaking, some vegans are pro-choice, and willing to get abortions. Humans belong to the animal kingdom, regardless of whether we’re super advanced or not. My confusion comes at this point. Although some morally motivated vegans will not consume the unfertilised eggs of some animals such as chickens, some vegans will argue that it is alright to destroy the fertilised egg of a human. It seems to me, to be a logical contradiction. Abortion is essentially counter to some strains vegan philosophy. It’s that, or else veganism (in some instances) places unfertilised animal by-products at a higher moral value than fertilised human eggs. To put it bluntly, in certain strands of veganism, you can destroy and manipulate human life, but it is forbidden to do the same to animal life?

This isn’t a statement of universal correctness. I don’t know the answer to this. This is just how I’ve mapped out the confusion in my head. I understand that the arguments and issues are far more complex than this, but at the same time there does appear to be some illogical conclusions.

If an animal, say a horse, needed an abortion or the mother would die, what is the vegan belief here? Can the in-utero horse foetus be terminated? If yes, then at least your consistent. If not, then how can we justify human abortion in vegan terms.

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