Consider the Oyster

Here.  A great little essay on the reasons to be vegan, but not to be a purist.


Taylor said...

I basically agree with the author, Christopher Cox. I have no interest in not eating something just because Donald Watson back in 1944 said I wouldn't be a vegan if I did. I'm not attached to the label "vegan". I'm not into joining the Church of Watson. But I do aspire to eat in a way that minimizes harm. So call me a "minimizer"! ("Minimalist" probably sounds as if I starve myself or only eat lettuce.) For a start, that rules out meat from obviously sentient creatures, human or otherwise, who have been deliberately and unnecessarily killed for food.

But is Cox not a purist? It depends how you define that. He is committed to a diet that is purely from non-sentient sources, is he not? And that's different from allowing oneself to deviate somewhat from a "minimizer" diet -- i.e., allowing oneself to consume a bit of food whose production entailed deliberate harm to sentient creatures. In other words, it could be that Cox is an unwavering purist in his refusal ever to eat (non-minimizer) meat, eggs, or dairy -- even if he sees no good reason not to eat oysters or honey or road kill or Data from Star Trek.

Jean Kazez said...

A "minimizer"--I like that! Good term. The word "purist" brings to mind for me a person who has a non-ethically based concern to avoid this or that. A Hindu or Jew who is horrified by the slightest drop of pork is a purist, because there's no good ethical reasons to have such a strong reaction to such a small quantity. Some vegans are like that--the ones who think a lot about minute traces. A person who avoids oysters isn't in quite that state of mind--an oyster is a lot more than a trace. So maybe "purism" isn't quite the right word.