I have this weird problem where I keep getting involved in debates on social media about various issues. Usually, it’s me trying to steelman one side of some argument where I think both sides are hugely oversimplifying, as I like to do. Unfortunately, this results in people engaging in all sorts of ad hominem attacks and saying some weird, irrational things.
This is something I’ve thought a lot about but have not really expressed much in writing. When it comes down to it, almost everyone cares about non-human animals in some way. No one really wants to see a pig, or a cow, or a dog or a whale suffer, just as no one really wants to see a human suffer. Even with this in mind, many people say that they just can’t go vegan because it would be too hard, too expensive, they enjoy the taste of animal products too much, or they are worried about their health.
All of these concerns can and have been addressed, but let’s suppose we grant that some people just don’t want to be vegan themselves, even if they care about non-human animals. Assuming this individual (possibly you, dear reader) is rational, they should be happy if there are more vegans in the world, even if they never become one themselves. After all, a lot of people care about the environment, but go to varying lengths of effort when it comes to recycling etc. However, they are still happy for the sake of the environment when someone else goes to more effort than them.
Unless you can find a flaw here, you must surely agree that people who care about non-human animals must at the very least be happy about there being more people in the world trying to reduce animal suffering. Having accepted this, know that there are many ways you can reduce animal suffering without being vegan yourself.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to donate money to a highly effective animal charity. I am a big fan of the work that Animal Charity Evaluators do, particularly their recommendations on effective animal charities. For as little as a $10 donation to one of these charities, it’s possible to spare dozens of animals from a life of suffering. Even for a non-vegan, this is a very small sacrifice to make to have a huge impact. Check out their top recommended charities here, or consider donating directly to ACE to maximise your impact.
I truly believe that, if you care about non-human animals but don’t support non-human animal charities, unless you are financially unable, or you think that there are more effective ways to reduce suffering with your money, there is surely some serious cognitive dissonance going on.