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Discrimination Against Vegans

Abstract

There are many circumstances in which vegans are treated or considered worse than nonvegans, both in the private and the public sphere, either due to the presence of a bias against them (‘vegaphobia’) or for structural reasons. For instance, vegans sometimes suffer harassment, have issues at their workplace, or find little vegan food available. In many cases they are forced to contribute to, or to participate in, animal exploitation against their will when states render it illegitimate to oppose or refuse to support some uses of animals. For the most part this remains socially invisible. Vegans, however, often recognize this as a form of discrimination against them. But they seldom campaign against it, as they regard it as a consequence of another and more important discrimination, i.e. speciesist discrimination against nonhuman animals. If this is correct, discrimination against vegans can be characterized as a form of second-order discrimination, that is, discrimination against those who oppose another (first-order) form of discrimination. If speciesism really is unjustified and discriminatory, then discrimination against vegans will always be discriminatory and unjustified too. But even if our current attitudes towards animals were justified there would be strong reasons to claim that vegans do suffer several forms of private and public discrimination that are unjustified.

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Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Max Carpendale as well as to Catia Faria and the participants of the workshop ‘What’s Wrong with Discrimination?’ at Charles University.

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Correspondence to Oscar Horta.

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Horta, O. Discrimination Against Vegans. Res Publica 24, 359–373 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11158-017-9356-3

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Keywords

  • Discrimination
  • First- and second-order discrimination
  • Speciesism
  • Veganism