If you were a vegan for ethical reasons, would it be ethical for you to force your children to become vegan as well? If you believe your children should make their own choices, is it ethical to educate your children on the graphic and violent manner in which animals are used for human consumption, such as is depicted in the movie Earthlings (2005), in order for your children to be able to make a realistic and informed choice?
Humans live in a society where they are often asked to both make and provide choices or decisions. For most people, the most common reason for choosing a vegan diet outside of health issues is that of moral or ethical standing, but this is perhaps the point here “choice”. This prompts the question, is it ethical to deprive anyone of their right to choose? Would this deprivation not constitute a selfish act devoid of all moral and ethical standing (the depriving people of choice – not the being vegan)? Some may argue that, as the parent they have an entitlement to make decisions, and endeavor to convince the child that this is simply the way of life, no fuss no questions no argument. Does this seem at least a little hypocritical? To make for yourself a choice, then to inflict that choice like it or not on another individual, regardless of age.
To take this a step further, would you enforce your choice of veganism on your dog? While this relatively simple and likely gets a short no, it is not so strange a question as it seems. Humans are animals. They are diurnal and omnivorous by design and nature. They are a predator, and sorry predators’ kills prey and most often eat it. Ethics and morals aside for a minute, since this is not talking about a right to life simply a right to eat, it is humanity evolutionary position, sitting at the highest point of the food chain to account for all those below them as prey. If this is wrong then why are humans biologically designed in this way? Why don’t other animals such as dogs and cats also become vegan? Mostly, because they can’t. Humans can adapt, they have choice. While it is not always the strongest who survives, it is almost always those that make the right choices and choose to adapt who lives the longest. To deprive anyone of that choice adult or child is depriving them the right to live, choose, change, and adapt to their surrounds. If, after being educated of the facts, they choose to become a vegan in their own time that’s their choice. Their Choice!
In regard to the second aspect, while we should portray the facts to children, movies such as Earthlings (2005) aim heavily not at simply portraying facts but rather using a select (while often truthful) version of the facts to shock viewers into agreement of the statement that they wish to provide. Think about some of the worst images there such as putting a live dog into the dumpster. How many times have you seen this? Other such instances in the film use a recurring image, usually the worst or most graphical, that like subliminal advertising it retains a heavy impression. I do believe that children when they reach an age to deal with such issues should be shown or informed of all the details to be able to make a conscious educated decision as to their choice. When is that time? Depends on the child. What is the media? Hopefully something more neutral that provides both sides of the argument.
EARTHLINGS is the single most powerful and informative documentary about society’s tragic and unforgivable use of nonhuman animals, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix with soundtrack by Moby. Directed by Shaun Monson, this multi-award winning film by Nation Earth is a must-see for anyone who cares about nonhuman animals or wishes to make the world a better place.