As you may have surmised ... this section contains arguments that support the vegan position, lifestyle, and ethics. If it comes to me, I may address some of the common (bad) arguments as well; however, for now I intend to provide a simple layout of valid and (hopefully) sound arguments for veganism.
The Common Moral Argument for Veganism
Let's just get this (the moral argument for veganism) out there, so it's explicit and 'out in the open'. It's really quite simple, and it will give me the chance to explain a few aspects of logic! SWEEEETT! Come on, tell me that you're not excited ...
There are tons of things I could explain at this point, but we'll just start with the structure of this argument!
Oh excuse my manners. I haven't even introduced you two yet! Shucks.
Here is the basic ethical argument for veganism:
Premise A: It is wrong (or bad) to cause unecessary suffering to others (other sentient beings).
Premise B: The ways that we use (or exploit) animals for food, clothes, etc. is unecessary.
Conclusion: Therefore using animals for these purposes is wrong (or bad).
Now allow me to explain a few components of the logic here.
This is an ethical argument because it makes a statement about what is right or wrong (good or bad). Ethical arguments do this. This is of course a statement about what we shouldn't be doing, exploiting animals.
Also it is a syllogistic argument (a type of deductive logic). A syllogism is an argument where the conclusion is inferred by the premises, meaning it must follow.
The premises are axiomatic, meaning they are self-evident. That does not mean that they may NOT be contested. If someone wants to work against this argument they would need to attack the premises afterall.
That's probably about enough fun for now ... Settle down children. I'll write again soon. Then we can have loads more fun with logic. Soon I'll explain possible contentions with this argument and in so doing explain further the details behind the axioms.
It is not only the suffering of other beings that should be considered here but their enjoyment and fulfillment of life. Some might argue that a good life and a quick death justify slaughter, but clearly this is a logical error. You see, it fails to address the fundamental issue of whether or not we should be slaughtering animals in the first place; in other words, it begs the question, by assuming the rightness of the conclusion without actual justification. Put any other animal in the slaughter line from dog to human to dolphin to any other analogous cases and the whole equation cannot make such lucid sense. This leads ultimately to considering the harm of death. The issue of the harm of death is somewhat of a digression at the moment however.
In many ways a being's well being is connected to its suffering, as some might rightly interpret suffering as the lack of fulfillment of natural urges; therefore taking care of animals is inextricably linked to avoiding causing them to unnecessarily suffer. Although, a case may be made for this particular use of language, there is another important distinction that we should make between avoiding hurting other beings and supplying them with adequate circumstances to fulfill their drives and even to fulfill their lives. I feel that we can all easily understand that suffering is not always married to well being. If I have done a favour for someone else and that has made me feel good, that exists in the absence of suffering, but it also exists in the absence of sexual fulfillment (well sometimes at least), or the absence of pleasant sensory experience like a delicious piece of fair trade chocolate. The absence of something could never be our practical focus here. That is why I want to address creating an environment for fulfillment (or creating pleasure) for the animals we share our space with. To some that is even more important than a focus on suffering; however, this focus tells us little about whether or not we can take that animal's life, its chance at existence, away, except perhaps that caring means not killing them, cutting up their bodies, and eating them because we like it (perhaps not too contentious when you see it for what it is).
What Does It Mean to Take Animal Sentience Seriously?
The truth of the matter is that if we ascribe any value to animals at all we should not be harming them at all. Whether or not you consider death to be a harm is not the issue here. I deal with that elsewhere.
It is belief in the sentience of other animals, all other beings for that matter, including humans, that makes cruelty and morality (and immorality) possible in the first place. In this sense if someone can be a decent person and smack an animal (in that action I mean), then someone else can torture it for weeks and be a decent person (in that action). The point is not that these crimes, sins, or wrongs, or whatever we wish to call them are equal, but that if one is wrong then they both are. Harm requires sentience to exist, as a matter of necessity. Morally speaking, any frivilous harm is bad, given that there are agents that experience it.
Most of us do not question human sentience, and the fact of the matter is that are brains are soft wired, if not partially hard wired, to recognize sentience in not only humans but also nonhuman animals on this planet. I imagine we could intuitively recognize sentience in an alien species, but who knows. Either way, separation from this intuition occurs basically as a result of inconsistent and laughable abstracted arm chair philosophy, if we can call it that (philosophy). The bottom line is that no one actually lives based on these precepts except when they are being inconsistent and/or psychopathic.
It is a pretty simple idea, but it separates what a vegan is trying to achieve from just about everyone else.