Another excellent video from Humane Hancock about veganism and wild animal suffering:

It is amazing to see those questions discussed widely! We should really stop committing the appeal to nature fallacy when we are the first to (rightly!) criticize it when non-vegans use it to justify animal farming.

@Sandra Yes I know it shocked me too... I'm pretty sure he knows spiders are not insects and he meant arthropods instead.

It's a bit annoying because in this context "insect" is often used as a metonymy for a category meaning more or less arthropods, just for historical reasons (it's a bad habit), not from ignorance. But I agree it sounds cringy.

@guillaume I'm fine with people using "insects" as a synecdoche for all crawly bugs but he was so careful talking about vertebrates and arthopods that this stood out.

As for the rest of the video… I've got to admit that while I only eat plants, and for climate reasons I think everyone should go vegan, if this is where veganism is going, I'm not gonna follow. OK, yeah, humans have a responsibility to stewart the Earth to *some* extent, to fight climate change for example, but if the pitch is that we're gonna stop lions from eating gazelles and feed them tofu instead, I'm not gonna hop on board.

I don't want us to micromanage nature to that extent. I love nature as it is.

What Hancock says explicitly and concisely "Our focus needs to be on the individual animals, as opposed to the ecosystem or the planet", that's exactly what I **don't** agree with. My current POV, and why I went vegan in the first place, is the *exact opposite* perspective from that. 180° degree.

Now, both me and Hancock take our perspectives kind of as if they were axioms here and it'd be a difficult philosophical question to untangle which of those is the "right" way to think of things: his reductiotionism or my holism. Or just mu.
@guillaume I've seen a similar argument before and sometimes I wonder if it's a serious argument, or if it's made as a, uh, it kind of hits Poe's law for me is what I'm saying. But that's only because my own worldview is so opposite. I do care for all sentient beings but… sooner or later they are going to die.

@Sandra Oh no it's absolutely a serious argument (and I 100% agree with it). It's a natural consequence of being serious about antispeciesism and the idea that what morally matters is the well-being of individuals. If you dig, concerns for protecting nature as it is instead of improving the living conditions of animals are usually supported by speciesist or anthropocentric concepts. For example, I also like seeing nature around me and walking in the forest. But basing my ethics around this would be very selfish. For me ethics is not about protecting what I like, it's about reducing suffering.

Most people, even most vegans I talk to would completely agree with you, which is why I shared this video. But it's always really difficult to change people's minds.


But it's taking such a short-sighted step from anthropocentrism to what's still an individualistic POV. It's like mindbaffling to me that the system as a whole isn't the priority. We want the gazelles and people and spiders in the system to be happy, but, it's… uh… it feels like either we go more hands off and let nature be nature, or we take even MORE drastic steps and start mucking around with whole ecosystems and planets. Hancock's position feels like such an odd middle ground to me.

@Sandra What do you think is wrong with individualism (in this particular sense of placing terminal value in the well-being of individuals)? What do you think our terminal values should be?

We all agree that systems as a whole are extremely important, but not in the same way: I (and Humane Hancock) think they are *instrumentally* important, but not *terminally*. They matter because of the effect they have on individuals, not in themselves.

@guillaume The terminal/instrumental distinction is exactly it, except we have them reversed. I’m on a cosmic trip♥♥

The Universe ftw! I’m just instrumentally important to it. That’s not the same as being unimportant.

But it’s a question of what is cart and what is horse, and I’m sure you agree that that’s the question but not about what is the answer ☺

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