Tom Regan – author in 1983 of The Case for Animal Rights – in a speech in 1989.
“[The aim of veganism] is to oppose the exploitation of sentient life, whether it is profitable to do so or not.”
Donald Watson – the best known of the co-founders of the vegan social movement – writing in 1945.
We are not to violate the rights of the few so that the many might benefit.
According to Jordi Casamitjana (VeganLife, 24-3-2021), Professor Regan might have added, “utilitarianism allows this; and the weak 1979-1988 definition of veganism by The Vegan Society allows this.” Therefore, Jordi argues, ethical vegans can be involved in the commission of animal rights violations and get vaccinated against Covid-19. Indeed, involvement in these animal rights violations might, incredibly, be the “vegan thing to do.”
Jordi Casamitjana is at pains to point out that he’s not an “anti-vaxxer.” Neither am I. I am an anti-vivisectionist.
In our delightful non-vegan human supremacist world, other animals don’t half get the shitty end of the stick. Covid-19 is a zoonotic disease, arising from humanity’s ruthless use and systematic oppression of other animals. If that wasn’t bad enough, humans then violate the rights of other animals by researching on some of them to discover the characteristics of the new virus. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, there is now vivisection on a global scale going on to get humanity out of the mess it got itself into by using other animals.
Humanity does this all the time – for example, we manipulate and exploit hens’ egg-laying capacity and, when we cram them together to such an extent that they struggle and fight, we “resolve” this human-made problem by drastically cutting back their sensitive beaks. We use and exploit pigs and, to stop them fighting due to our rights violations against them, we cut off their tails and remove their teeth. Non-vegan human supremacists are posturing self-centred cowards.
In his VeganLife article, Jordi lays out several ways that humans – including vegans – might benefit by being involved on some level in the commission of animal rights violations associated with the Covid-19 vaccine. He lays out an extreme hypothetical scenario in which only vegans reject being associated with the rights violations in the Covid-19 vaccine and, thereby, the numbers of vegans might fall as a consequence. Moreover, given that exploited-by-humans minks have caught the virus in “fur farms,” and given that there is evidence that domesecrated cats may get it, then refusing the Covid-19 vaccine might result in other animal populations being infected as humans continue to use and violate the rights of other animals, and because vegans might rub shoulders with someone who rubs shoulders with someone who rubs shoulders with such animal oppressors.
I am not a medical scientist, but in 2018 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a paper about ensuring the safety of vaccines. They note what every anti-vivisectionist knows, that “If laboratory tests show that a vaccine has potential, it is usually tested in animals. If a vaccine is safe in animals, and studies suggest that it will be safe in people, clinical trials with volunteers are next.”
CDC also state that vaccines are produced in “batches called lots.” Vaccine manufacturers, “must test all lots of a vaccine to make sure they are safe, pure, and potent.” As I pointed out in a recent Always for Animal Rights podcast, this seems to be one of the worst things about vaccines from a vegan anti-vivisection point of view – each batch of them have to be tested and, I assume, that means continuous vivisection.
Throughout this piece, I have been playing with the word “might,” and taking the lead from Regan’s words, “we are not to violate the rights of the few so that the many might benefit.” Jordi suggests that the many will benefit from this involvement in animal rights violations.
Doesn’t make it right, though.
Violating the rights of others is an awful thing to do. It’s not right! I see smiling vegans patting their arms in videos, declaring that they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19, or gleefully displaying their vaccination paperwork on social media. I would have thought that at least they might do is express how bloody awful they feel having decided that the greater good of humanity justifies them being associated with the bloody awful continuing animal rights violations involved in vaccine production.
As you might have guessed, as it stands at the moment, I am not inclined to get the Covid-19 vaccine, and Jordi Casamitjana’s utilitarian justification for humans’ involvement in the commission of systematic animal rights violations have not convinced me to be so involved.