Slaveholders, when pushed into a moral corner by abolitionists, create whatever arguments it takes to make consumers feel okay about purchasing the products of slaves. Back in the 1830s when American Abolitionists were hard at work educating the public about the evils of slavery and how slavery needed to be immediately abolished, slaveholders were also hard at work trying to prove the abolitionists wrong.
One proslavery argument used in the 1830s was that owners were like benevolent parents to their slaves. This was the “Happy Slave” argument and it was used to convince the public that Southern slaves were much better off then their Northern (non-slave) factory worker counterparts.
Another proslavery argument spoke to the supposed supremacy of the white race which suggested that the “intellectual capacity of Africans was abysmal“. This, of course, was racism and it too was used to keep the public’s growing concerns at bay.
The term vegetarian can be defined as:
a person who does not eat or does not believe in eating meat, fish, fowl, or, in some cases, any food derived from animals, as eggs or cheese, but subsists on vegetables, fruits, nuts, grain, etc.
Most people these days who call themselves vegetarians consume some kind of animal “product” such as milk, cheese, eggs, honey, leather, fur, silk, fish, and chickens.
When I meet a vegetarian my first question is “Why are you a vegetarian?” The answers most people give generally have something to do with their health, the planet’s health, and/or they are an “animal lover”. My next question is “Do you consume any kind of animal products?” This question usually generates a fairly long list.
Most folks know, when it comes to what other humans do, just because someone does something doesn’t automatically make it an okay thing to do. For example, just because there are people out there who discriminate, that doesn’t make the act of discrimination okay. Another example is rape. It doesn’t take too much of an imagination to see that rape has been around a very long time and yet, once again, most of us know that no matter how many acts of rape have been and will be perpetrated, the act of rape will always be morally bankrupt.
That being said, when it comes to other animals the above wisdom is generally tossed out the window. For example, when one is confronted with the idea that humans do not require the flesh nor bodily secretions of other animals in order to survive and thus consumption of any animal product is wrong, many of them inevitably will defend their actions by claiming something such as, “if lions can eat gazelles why can’t we eat cows”. Aside from the fact that lions are carnivores and thus eating another animal’s flesh is how they survive, there’s the wisdom that dictates just because lions eat gazelles doesn’t make the act, at least in our case where we clearly have a choice, morally acceptable.
Another defense commonly heard from the non-vegan crowd is, “we’ve been eating animals forever”. While this may be true, the same is true for rape and as previously discussed that doesn’t make the action okay.