Claim: Veganism requires child labor


The claim here is that human rights violations happen with specific foods that people associate with veganism, such as fruits and vegetables, and therefore veganism is morally reprehensible or at least hypocritical.

Problems With This Argument

1. Wait, so you don't eat any vegan food?

So if you think that vegan food has human rights issues - do you just not eat any of those foods at all? So you eat no vegetables? And if you don't - then why not just substitute the current amount of meat you eat for a plant-based substitute of similar value and now you've gone vegan without those issues? Then you've solved the problem. If you stop eating meat that doesn't mean you suddenly need to start eating some other specific problematic food.

2. Carnism consumes more food and resources

If you're concerned that all farms have human rights issues, this is an argument for more veganism, not less. Because 80% of the soy worldwide is fed to animals and, for instance, you lose a factor of 5-10 in turning vegetables into meat. In addition, because of all this additional strain on the local human resource pool to grow all these additional calories that we throw away by feeding them to animals first, it makes it more economically necessary to dip further and further down into the pool of child labor. If fewer laborers were required then only older, stronger people would be doing that work. So just out of basic principles, at first glance, this is an argument for why you should go vegan, because then you would be minimizing all those impacts.

3. At best, this is a tu quoque fallacy

At best this is an argument that "your existence also has negative repercussions, so don't be judgmental because you're not better". This is a fine argument, but this whole judgmental vegan is just a carnist stereotype that attempts to circle the wagons tighter but is fallacious because it's not a good argument to maximize your own negative impact just because someone hasn't completely gotten rid of their own.

4. One unethical thing doesn't absolve the next

Even if you steal ten cars, it doesn't make stealing the eleventh suddenly ethical. Even if you kill someone, it doesn't make stealing someone else's car ethical either. And even if you think that your food necessitates child labor, it doesn't make slaughtering an animal ethical as well. So again, this isn't a justification for eating meat and we understand this in any other context.

5. Don't like a particular food? Don't eat it.

If you don't like the environmental impact of a particular food, then you don't have to partake in it. If you only want to eat strawberries you grew yourself, then knock yourself out. No one is forcing you to eat some particular food X because you gave up unrelated food Y.

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[Claim: Veganism requires child labor](