What is meant by "exploitation"

nobody

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Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.


Exploitation can mean to treat someone unfairly in order to gain some benefit, or it can simply mean to utilize, with no connotation of injustice. So when the Vegan Society says "exploitation" in the definition, what does it mean?

If it means to treat unfairly in order to gain a benefit, then I don't see how it is technicallly inconsistent with the definition to eat animal products that will be or have been thrown away, or eat the flesh of animals who have died of old age or from car accidents. Animals die of old age at farm animal sanctuaries for example. To utilize or exploit the carcasses for food would not be treating the animals unfairly in order to get a benefit.

But if exploitation means simply to use, then I don't see how it is technically consistent with the definition to use even rescued pets for companionship, or use the manure of worms, rescued farm animals or rescued rabbits as fertilizer, or use wool or leather items bought before going vegan, or buy and use second hand wool or leather items, etc.
 

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Exploitation can mean to treat someone unfairly in order to gain some benefit, or it can simply mean to utilize, with no connotation of injustice.
Has this secondary definition ever been applied to humans? Can I "exploit" someone with no connotation of injustice? The question seems to rely on conflating exploitation with utilization.
 

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Has this secondary definition ever been applied to humans? Can I "exploit" someone with no connotation of injustice? The question seems to rely on conflating exploitation with utilization.



exploitation
noun
1. use or utilization, especially for profit:the exploitation of newly discovered oil fields.

2. selfish utilization:He got ahead through the exploitation of his friends.

3. the combined, often varied, use of public-relations and advertising techniques to promote a person, movie, product, etc.


It can be applied to humans yes. If you are opening a business and there is a qualified applicant pool in the city where you are opening the business, you don't need to hire people from out of town. You can make use of, or exploit, that local talent pool. Once they are hired, you can either exploit their talents or you can waste your human resources by assigning your employees pointless tasks, for example.
 

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Another example of using humans justly would be your plane goes down in the Andes with no timely rescue and you either eat the bodies of the deceased crash victims or die.

Another one: If your child had long hair and wanted it cut short, you could sell the hair to a wig maker. I don't see why that would be unjust.

Blogging about your children or other people, and also journalism, is using other people, their images, words and the story of their actions for profit, if advertising and/or subscription fees are involved. This isn't normally unjust.

Also, you use other people in a sense to fulfill your need for companionship or sexual satisfaction, and these uses of people can be just.

It is not unjust for a director to use an actor in a movie, etc.
 
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Forest Nymph

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I think to use any living being without injustice implies no affect to them either way (as in already being dead) or some mutual benefit to them, like a rescued companion animal or actor taking a role in a film.

Of course it's not unheard of for someone to abuse a pet or for a director (especially in porn or the studio contract era of Hollywood) to have unfair advantage over an actor. So it's all relative.
 

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I think to use any living being without injustice implies no affect to them either way (as in already being dead) or some mutual benefit to them, like a rescued companion animal or actor taking a role in a film.
I disagree with this statement as written. An example would be a comedian or journalist writing about Trump, exploiting his buffoonery to make their living, and their work harms him/his reputation, but there is no injustice because what he is doing isn't right.

And in the case of animals, if the use of the animals serves a necessary greater good, that mitigates the injustice for me. I think it's unjust to breed dogs, but that injustice is mitigated in my eyes in the case of German shepherds bred for police work, because it's necessary for public safety at the present time, but the institutional life is bad for the dogs. Probably in the future there will be non-caninie alternatives for sniffing out bombs, drugs, murder suspects, lost children, etc.

And the injustice is also mitigated for me when it comes to egg use in vaccine production. This is another thing that is only necessary presently. It is only a matter of time before they replace the eggs with cultured animal cells for the vaccines to grow in.
 
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Here's a scenario revolting but illustrative I think: Let's say on January 1, 2020 you have a year's worth of meat in a freezer. On this day you watch some undercover footage of factory farm conditions, become appalled and vow to never buy another animal product of any kind, but you eat a little of the freezer meat every day for the entire year, until you finally eat the last of it December 31, 2020.

Have your actions during 2020 been consistent with the definition, since you excluded all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals in your purchases during that year (exploitation in the using unfairly sense), or is it only when you cease eating previously purchased freezer meat at the end of the year (exploitation in the utilization sense) that your actions become consistent with the definition?

If eating freezer meat is not consistent with the definition, then what if instead of a freezer full of meat, you had an old leather jacket that you wore every day for that year, but you followed a vegan diet - were your actions consistent with the definition in that case? If so, why? Relative to the definition, what is the difference between wearing a previously purchased leather jacket and eating freezer meat?
 

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Here's a scenario revolting but illustrative I think: Let's say on January 1, 2020 you have a year's worth of meat in a freezer. On this day you watch some undercover footage of factory farm conditions, become appalled and vow to never buy another animal product of any kind, but you eat a little of the freezer meat every day for the entire year, until you finally eat the last of it December 31, 2020.

Have your actions during 2020 been consistent with the definition, since you excluded all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals in your purchases during that year (exploitation in the using unfairly sense), or is it only when you cease eating previously purchased freezer meat at the end of the year (exploitation in the utilization sense) that your actions become consistent with the definition?

If eating freezer meat is not consistent with the definition, then what if instead of a freezer full of meat, you had an old leather jacket that you wore every day for that year, but you followed a vegan diet - were your actions consistent with the definition in that case? If so, why? Relative to the definition, what is the difference between wearing a previously purchased leather jacket and eating freezer meat?
I think that's really a stretch. I think if you wanted you could donate it to hungry people. It's different because you're engaging in the conscious act of eating flesh every day which I think deadens the conscience more than wearing an article of clothing. Even if you don't buy anymore meat, unless you live in poverty it should be donated to poor people or animals. Or forgotten about since it's in the freezer. Engaging in the act of eating flesh is like taking drugs or drinking alcohol after you said you would stop. Not for health but for reasons of morality or addiction. Continuing to do something normalizes it.

A hungry person might need to eat flesh for a week and so be it. A poor vegan might need to wear leather shoes for a year. But someone rich enough to have a cow in the deep freeze probably can afford to donate it to the cat and dog shelter and go grocery shopping.
 
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nobody

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I think that's really a stretch. I think if you wanted you could donate it to hungry people. It's different because you're engaging in the conscious act of eating flesh every day which I think deadens the conscience more than wearing an article of clothing. Even if you don't buy anymore meat, unless you live in poverty it should be donated to poor people or animals. Or forgotten about since it's in the freezer. Engaging in the act of eating flesh is like taking drugs or drinking alcohol after you said you would stop. Not for health but for reasons of morality or addiction. Continuing to do something normalizes it.

A hungry person might need to eat flesh for a week and so be it. A poor vegan might need to wear leather shoes for a year. But someone rich enough to have a cow in the deep freeze probably can afford to donate it to the cat and dog shelter and go grocery shopping.
That was a hypothetical meant for illustrative purposes so it should't matter if it's plausible. What a person would or should do is irrelevant to my question. The question is only about what sense the Vegan Society is using the word exploitation in, in their definition of veganism.

Vegan Society said:
Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose
If person A bought a whole meat sandwich and then they were unable to eat the second half, and were about to throw it away, is person B who takes the sandwich and eats it to save it from going to landfill exploiting animals per the Vegan Society's definition of veganism?

Similarly, if person C wears a leather jacket they purchased 10 years ago, is the current wearing of the jacket an example of animal exploitation per the Vegan Society's definition of veganism, or does a new purchase of animal products or a new animal killing, egg collection or milking session need to occur for "animal exploitation" to happen?
 

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That was a hypothetical meant for illustrative purposes so it should't matter if it's plausible. What a person would or should do is irrelevant to my question. The question is only about what sense the Vegan Society is using the word exploitation in, in their definition of veganism.



If person A bought a whole meat sandwich and then they were unable to eat the second half, and were about to throw it away, is person B who takes the sandwich and eats it to save it from going to landfill exploiting animals per the Vegan Society's definition of veganism?

Similarly, if person C wears a leather jacket they purchased 10 years ago, is the current wearing of the jacket an example of animal exploitation per the Vegan Society's definition of veganism, or does a new purchase of animal products or a new animal killing, egg collection or milking session need to occur for "animal exploitation" to happen?
It absolutely matters if it's plausible, possible or practicable. If you don't understand that you don't understand veganism. This isn't algebra class.

New purchases matter the most in terms of practical effects on animals, which is why people don't tend to judge new vegans for wearing old shoes, or homeless people for eating donated food when they're starving.

Person A to B is an example of Freeganism and encompasses a purely market view of animal products.

In theory, Freeganism is fine since the person didn't purchase it and the animal would have died in vain anyway, for that donated or trashed sandwich.

Freeganism gains moral footing among the poor, college students, and generally people who legitimately don't contribute to any level of exchange of money for animals.

But like eating a cow in the deep freeze for a year, the person doing it out of mere laziness, opportunism, or anything else is morally jaded, not a vegan, because their pattern of behavior suggests in the future they don't mind paying for tasty or convenient animal suffering.

I honestly tend not to approve of this especially when it involves flesh. A free granola bar with honey or milk as an ingredient I understand. An entire beef sandwich suggests strongly to me that you better be starving to death.
 

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This isn't algebra class.

New purchases matter the most in terms of practical effects on animals,
I wish it were algebra class. In algebra there are questions and there are direct answers to those.questions. I am going to surmise from your second sentence I'm quoting that you are saying the Vegan Society is using the word exploitation in BOTH senses, correct? It sounds like you're saying mere use of waste or old animal products is exploitation, but a lesser form of exploitation than buying new animal products or killing animals for meat. If that's your answer I find it satisfactory by the way. I have never understood exactly what they meant by that.

Implicit in the answer is that people who are trying to follow/live by the definition are obligated, however minor the obligation may be, to not wear an old wool scarf they have had from years before going vegan, if they can afford to replace it and if they're not lifestyle freegans, for example. That's interesting and a lot of people may not know it, so this discussion would seem to be proving to be useful.
 
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Forest Nymph

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I wish it were algebra class. In algebra there are questions and there are direct answers to those.questions. I am going to surmise from your second sentence I'm quoting that you are saying the Vegan Society is using the word exploitation in BOTH senses, correct? It sounds like you're saying mere use of waste or old animal products is exploitation, but a lesser form of exploitation than buying new animal products or killing animals for meat. If that's your answer I find it satisfactory by the way. I have never understood exactly what they meant by that.

Implicit in the answer is that people who are trying to follow/live by the definition are obligated, however minor the obligation may be, to not wear an old wool scarf they have had from years before going vegan, if they can afford to replace it and if they're not lifestyle freegans, for example. That's interesting and a lot of people may not know it, so this discussion would seem to be proving to be useful.
Right. Part of the definition is as far as practical or practicable. So it's much more practical and practicable to replace old clothes due to socioeconomic status or family resources. Even geography - in Los Angeles it's easier for a student or single parent to get vegan options from a food bank than it might be in Boise. I'm not promoting food waste, but food waste can be composted, fed to companion dogs or pigs, or offered to the truly poor and desperate.

I think people who bash people over the head over eating a free snack with whey in it actually hurt veganism more than help it. Personal purity doesn't save more animals or keep struggling individuals vegan. On the other hand, people in the other extreme making excuses when a tofu option is right in front of them isn't ok either. The answer is somewhere in the middle and scaffolded to circumstance. But I don't think any particular group of people (students, Blacks, rural people etc) have a unique exemption from being vegan, except in cases of extreme poverty, food deserts, or homelessness. And even homeless people can often be vegetarian on charity, if not fully vegan.
 
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Personal purity doesn't save more animals or keep struggling individuals vegan.

This would depend on the makeup of the individual. Some people can have a drink or two every evening, but other people can have a single sip of alcohol and it will trigger them to go on a long alcohol binge during which they lose their job and the ability to take care of themselves. I know someone like this, who completely loses it and is laying in a bed soaked with 3 different types of bodily fluids within a week or so of having a drink.

I must remain totally pure in diet and as far as staying away from cigarettes. If I don't I will start buying those things again so my purity does save more animals in my case. But everyone is different so I'm sure what you're saying is true for a lot of people.
 

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Mmmm. I guess? I can see this with dairy because of the addictive properties. But on the other hand, the person would still be vegetarian. The "ex vegans" who eat meat cannot have ever been animal rights vegans. You don't accidentally start eating meat from a donated loaf of bread or snack bar.

In fact you also probably don't start eating cheese or eggs from trace amounts of whey in processed foods, either.

The slippery slope might start with cheese at a friend's party. I agree with that. Someone like Peter Singer could do that, but another person would end up on a cheese binge. I agree there.

For people who are psychologically all or nothing, this suggests law or religion. It's the mentality behind Muslims never drinking any alcohol ever, or the creation of laws banning strong drugs like cocaine.

I've read about what works with most people, and it's things like something tasting good, being easy to acquire, and being socially normative. This means far from a society of animal rights advocates (who might be seen as clergy or council members) the majority actually would be plant based on the basis of wide availability of plant based options in schools, hospitals, jails, stores and restaurants. As well as a traditional dose of social shaming and policy making to keep most people in line. Shock also works on a certain kind of person, but those tend to be people who have epiphanies or full conversions. I've long said the most we can hope for is a vegetarian world with a minority of meat eaters on the fringe. The idea of everyone being vegan is currently about as ludicrous as everyone being a non smoker. AND YET....most people don't smoke anymore, so laws and shame are extremely powerful.
 

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There is also the other explanation, that vegans simply do not consider animal corpse parts or body fluids to be food.

As the old joke goes, „when my grandmother died, nobody suggested to eat her, as she was already dead and would only go to waste“...

Not necessarily a thing to be denigrated as „personal purity“ by non-vegans...
 

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Oh, and, just for the record, my guess would be that „exploitation“ in that respect simply means use without consent, as animals - contrary to humans - are not able to consent to being used.
 
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