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Gary Steiner on animal rights and the vegan imperative

LEWISBURG, Pa. � Gary Steiner, John Howard Harris Professor of Philosophy, discusses animal rights and the vegan imperative.

Question: You have said that animals and humans are morally equivalent; can you explain what you mean?

Answer: There is a traditional prejudice in the Western philosophical tradition according to which cognitive differences between different types of living beings translate into differences in moral status. In comparisons between human beings and animals, the criterion that has traditionally been used, going back to the ancient Greeks, is this notion of logos, which means reason or language; rational ability or linguistic ability have traditionally been seized upon as the dividing line between human beings and animals.
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Q: Tell me about your newest book.

A: In my newest book, Animals and the Limits of Postmodernism, I argue for the notion of veganism as a candidate for a moral imperative that follows from liberal humanist principles regarding our recognition of the moral status of animals. I examine the question whether a principle such as veganism can be defended not merely as a lifestyle choice but as a strict moral imperative.

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