I sort of feel like the ‘what would a vegan world look like?‘ topic deserves a couple more posts, although this one continues to duck the central and thorny (and sticky – like a thornbush covered in treacle) questions, and instead deals with certain concerns that often come up in this sort of context.
One recurrent question goes as follows:
“If we all became vegatarian/vegan what would happen to all the existing domestic cows, sheep and pigs etc? Would a truly vegan society mean the extinction of domestic cattle and sheep and pigs? What happens while they all die off?”
The other question is:
“What about places where there are ‘indigionous’ people such as Inuit who do not have the weather to grow sufficient vegatables? How much will we have to ride roughshod over peoples’ culture to do this?”
Now, I think in both these cases, there is a reasonable and very difficult question of means, and relatively simple question of ends.
The question of ends in the first case is – do we aim at the extinction of the domesticated cattle, pig, etc. sub-species? And to this I think the question is fairly straightforwardly ‘yes’ – we don’t aim at that for its own sake but if, as is quite possible, it would be the consequence of veganism, we’re fine with that. Sub-species in themselves aren’t particularly important, and don’t have moral rights that way that individuals like you do.
And similarly, in the second case, there is the question – are we happy to cause an irrevocable and radical change in hunter-gatherers’ cultures, essentially amounting to the disappearance of the older cultures? Again, I would say ‘yes’, because cultures are not in themselves morally significant things.