A few weeks ago I have made a new blog, especially dedicated to veganism. I have been a vegan since I was 17. At that time I was already a vegetarian and feared I could never be vegan, because I enjoyed milk a lot. I then tried vegan substitutes for cows’ milk and found out that food could be just as good without any animal produce. Though being vegan can be good for your health, I am vegan because of moral reasons. I consider it most plausible that all nonhuman animals have some form of consciousness or sentience (“phenomenal consciousness” in the terminology of the British philosopher Ned Block), in the sense that they are able to experience states such as pleasure and pain. I then depart from a deontological egalitarian ethics, arguing that we should treat all animals with consciousness or sentience equally. Given the fact that humans can live perfectly healthy without animal produce, I believe that there are no sound arguments for consuming animals for their meat or dairy. For more information about my opinions on animal consciousness and animal ethics, I refer to my articles on my profile at Academia.edu.
The new blog is called Esteban’s Vegan Side and will contain a discussion of the moral arguments for veganism. Most of all, though, I will publish tasty and delicious vegan recipes. There is still a lot of prejudice out there, considering vegan cooking to be bland and tasteless. I want to show instead that vegan cooking can be surprisingly tasty and good to the palate. I have cooked vegan food for many people who were not vegan, and they always comment how wonderfully surprised they are when they eat my vegan meals. The posts on this blog will be both in English and in Dutch.
I have already posted three recipes on my vegan blog. One for a Moroccan risotto, one for a Spanish gazpacho soup drink, and one for an Indian eggplant curry (Baingan Bartha). I have many more recipes to post. If you’re curious, take a look at my blog!
In 1997 I edited a book about animal consciousness and animal ethics, together with my co-editors Marcel Dol, Kasanmoentalib, Susanne Lijmbach and Ruud van den Bos. We gave it the title Animal consciousness and animal ethics. Perspectives from the Netherlands, published by Van Gorcum in Assen, The Netherlands. In the book scientists and philosophers from The Netherlands wrote a chapter about the issues of animal consciousness and animal ethics. My own contribution was called Psychological complexity and animal ethics: Choosing between hierarchy and equality and discussed the positions in animal ethics of the famous philosophers Peter Singer, Tom Regan and Donald VanDeVeer. I ended up criticizing all of them actually, in that I argue for a view where only phenomal consciousness or sentience is the necessary condition for inherent value and therefore an egalitarianism for all sentient animals is called for. Equal treatment of all sentient animals in practical terms means we stop using nonhuman animals for food or for entertainment purposes such as circuses, stop experimenting on them and stop taking away their liberty such as in zoos.
Today I scanned the chapter from the book and uploaded it to my profile on Academia.edu, a great network site of academicians. You can read and download almost all my publications there. My dissertation, my articles in academic journals and several powerpoint presentations of lectures that I gave about my work with the signing chimpanzees. Click here to go directly to my chapter on animal ethics. Have fun reading and let me know what you think!
Addition from May 28, 2010: The whole book Animal Consciousness and Animal Ethics is now available as a Google Book. You can read it here, but not download it.
Last Friday I bought new nonleather walking shoes. They are made of a material called vegetan. As a vegan/vegetarian it is quite difficult to find good quality nonleather shoes in the stores. Luckily at the end of 2008 a shop was opened in Amsterdam which specializes exactly in providing nonleather shoes, jackets and other clothes for vegans and vegetarians. The shop is called Vega-Life and is located right in the center of Amsterdam. For more information, check out their website: vega-life.nl