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RfC: Should the definition at the start of the lead of Veganism contain the wording, 'and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals'?[edit]

Should the definition at the start of the lead of Veganism contain the wording, 'and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals'? 14:06, 17 January 2016 (UTC)


  • No As can be seen from the first reference, the lead is a synthesis of a number of sources that has been used to construct a definition based on the personal opinions of editors here rather than a definition from a reliable source such as a national vegan organisation.
The sentence does not conform to WP:LEAD, which says that, 'The lead serves as an introduction to the article and a summary of its most important contents'. This sentence fails to cover forms of animal cruelty that do not involve use of animal products or animal ownership (such as hunting) to which many vegans object but does include 'commodity status' that is relevant only to a limited section of vegans, 'Ethical vegans'. Many vegans do not object to animal ownership and may even own animals.
WP:Lead also says that '...the lead should be written in a clear, accessible style with a neutral point of view'. However, the term, 'commodity status' is vegan and animal rights rhetoric. The term is widely used in animal rights literature to promote a particular POV but there is no evidence that it commonly used elsewhere. WP:Rhetoric says, 'Rhetoric has little use anywhere in Wikipedia, and should always be used with extreme caution'.
The terminology is deliberately ambiguous in that it intentionally confuses two extreme meanings of the term 'commodity status' in order to persuade and motivate the reader to support animal rights. One meaning that 'humans can legally own animals', which those fighting to keep the term insist is the correct, is incontrovertibly true and non-controversial. This meaning is used to make the term sound reasonable and appropriate for inclusion in an encyclopedia. The other extreme meaning, that is actually better supported by animal rights sources, is the that 'We are allowed to impose any suffering required to use our animal property for a particular purpose even if that purpose is our mere amusement or pleasure'. These extremes cover almost the whole range of possible human treatment of animals. Our readers have no way of knowing what meaning is intended without wading through pages of animal rights literature.
WP:OWN says, 'No one, no matter how skilled, or how high standing in the community, has the right to act as though they are the owner of a particular page' but a number of the regular editors are exerting a significant degree of ownership of this page, insisting on having the exact words 'commodity status' in the lead and refusing to even consider alternative or compromise options like 'legal ownership' or moving 'commodity status' to the 'Ethical veganism' section where it is more relevant and can be explained more fully. The use of any of the definitions from national vegan organisations, dictionaries, or encyclopedias has be ruled out. There is even objection to gaining outside opinion by means of this RfC. Civil discussion is supressed by personal attacks, insults, and threats, see [1]. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:07, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes It gets to the heart of the issue; is neutral, being supported by heaps of reliable sources of many different POVs; and adequately describes how vegan philosophies differ from others.
  1. The boxed quotes I typed up from encyclopedias (from a a range of scholarly POVs) in the "academic sources" section above establish that the first sentence should be Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated [vegan philosophy].
  2. To decide how to describe [vegan philosophy], we should consult the consensus of vegan philosophers. Martin accepts these two points.[2]
  3. The boxed quotes I typed above show that most such high-profile philosophers reject animals' status as property (=legal nonpersons under the control of legal persons). The sources in the footnote [3] show that some vegan philosphers more specifically object to animals' status as commodities (=property which can be bought and sold), and one RS argues that some who say the former really mean the latter. In any case they all agree on the latter. Therefore [vegan philosophy] can be described as associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. This is sufficient to define it as well, because (except for blanket anticapitalists), only ethical vegans have a philosophical objection to the fact that animals can be commercially traded.
  4. Martin claims there is no evidence the term is used outside of vegan rhetoric. This is false, as he has been repeatedly shown. Non-animal-rights-affiliated scholars of law, sociology [4] [5], even cartilage pathology use the term, as does the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database, which one might be forgiven for considering authoritative.
Martin has been arguing this point for many months now. He has not yet shown any evidence of having read through RS (other than a few WP:Dictionaries as sources) to support his point, which is based instead on his subjective opinion. As my links show, he has been shown many, many high-quality sources which address his concerns. FourViolas (talk) 16:09, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes per the strong and clear consensus at both Talk:Veganism#Definition of veganism in the lead and the previous thread linked from there, which have exhaustively hashed out this issue. --Sammy1339 (talk) 16:24, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes. There appears to be consensus in the discussion above that this represents the content of the sources. --Michig (talk) 16:27, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No I think people make dietary choices for a variety of reasons, not just because of their opinions about animals as commodities. People will avoid animal products for health reasons, or simply because they think it is gross. It could also be out of environmental concerns. I would say that those who are vegans due to a philosophy about animals not being commodities is a subset of vegan-ism and that it is not part of the definition of the subject. We need to be careful not to create our own definitions. HighInBC 16:33, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @HighInBC: If you look halfway down the thread Talk:Veganism#Definition of veganism in the lead, you will see FourViolas' thorough account of what high-quality sources say about this. The issue is not that we are guessing why people are vegan, it is that veganism also refers to a specific philosophy which is characterized by this criterion. --Sammy1339 (talk) 16:40, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • See specifically my point 1 and Talk:Veganism#Academic sources and "Property status". The clear consensus of a wide range of scholarly encyclopedias is to define veganism as a diet or lifestyle choice plus the ethical philosophical justifications for it. FourViolas (talk) 16:46, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I am not suggesting that my personal experience override the sources. I do think that the term has been usurped though. I will concede my point of view may be contrary to the sources. HighInBC 16:58, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes. The "and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals" wording could be changed to "or an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.", but both sides should be presented. And it's a fact that one side of veganism consists of those who only follow the diet, and the other side consists of those who follow both the diet and the philosophy. I see no WP:OR violation in the lead. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 17:05, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I struck part of my post above because veganism is not simply defined as a philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. The diet has to be included. So the "or" wording would not be accurate. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 17:10, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes. Martin has been offered property-law specialists, philosophers, the commodity markets, and the United Nations to show (a) that animals are routinely referred to as commodities; (b) that the term "commodity status of animals" is used in academia; and (c) that ethical vegans reject this. It isn't hard to understand; it's used by many different types of sources; and it's a succinct way to summarize the key issue for ethical vegans.
One example of a law professor at Pace University School of Law using the phrase; he specializes in property law and has nothing to do with veganism that I can see:
David N. Cassuto, "Owning What You Eat: The Discourse of Food," in J. Ronald Engel, et al. (ed.), Democracy, Ecological Integrity and International Law, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009, p. 313 (emphasis added): "These relationships [between farmers and animals] did not necessarily maximize yield but were rather based on a set of normative guidelines even as the ultimate reality of the animals' commodity status inevitably imbued that bond with a sense of unreality."
And one example of a law professor and ethical vegan writing that ethical vegans reject this:
Gary Francione, "Animal Welfare, Happy Meat and Veganism as the Moral Baseline," in David M. Kaplan, The Philosophy of Food, University of California Press, 2012 (pp. 169–189) p. 182: "Ethical veganism is the personal rejection of the commodity status of nonhuman animals ..."
This is a separate issue from dietary veganism, which the lead makes clear. SarahSV (talk) 21:56, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No... Maybe with a change: The phrasing seems to reflect the sense of most reliable sources and the discussion that's been had here for the last week or two. I don't think "commodity status" is entirely a subculture term, and it's a good and useful and accurate one. It helps to define the philosophical underpinning of veganism as understood by most reliable sources. However, if "the commodity status of animals" is disputed by other valid viewpoints, then it may be worth using attributing: "and an associated philosophy that rejects what many view as the commodity status of animals". (Changed from previous vote as shown here. SageRad (talk) 07:36, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
I do think that i see the point that Martin Hogbin is making, about the difference between the term "legal ownership" and "commodity status". I think there is a distinction, but recognizing that, i think that "commodity status" is more accurate to express the entirety of the cultural attitude toward animals that is seen and expressed by the vegan viewpoint, and which is a real thing and therefore not reifying something by using a special term. I do see that there are many shades of interpretation, however, and would be open to understanding more about the objections to the term. SageRad (talk) 22:49, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
@SageRad: I just noticed you change your vote to include the "what many view as" idea. This is the heart of Hogbin's issue it seems, but the problem is that there are no other significant views. He keeps saying that this is disputed, but no source as far as anyone here is aware actually disputes it. --Sammy1339 (talk) 14:57, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
@Sammy1339: Thanks for noticing the change. Yes, i've been thinking a lot about POV and neutrality lately, and i think this could make sense, and could actually be more powerful for all concerned in a sense. Let me explain. Firstly, it's possible that a person can see some use of animal products as very much commodified relations, and yet other use of animal products as not commodified relations. As an example, i have personally kept chickens and had relationships with them (please don't laugh, i mean as beings i respected and cared for them, and they for me as well, as far as i can understand chickens). I definitely see commodification of chickens happending on a large scale with CAFOs, but i could also see symbiotic non-commodified relationships being possible. I could also see eating wild animals, or finding eggs in the wild, as being part of nature's food cycles, and not as commodification. That's one level. I can also see though i do not share, that some people really do believe that non-human animals are here for humans to use, and that it's not commodification. I don't believe this, nor do i think most people believe this, but it's a real viewpoint in the world. As for sources, i'll have to look for this. Nothing comes to mind immediately. It's my knowledge of some people's viewpoints on which i am drawing. I started a new section below about the lede paragraph. Perhaps we could develop this more in that section. SageRad (talk) 15:11, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
@SageRad: I think we had this issue before regarding the difference between "commodity status" and "commodification". The former doesn't presume that animals shouldn't be commodities, and literally refers to their legal status. The issues you are bringing up have nothing to do with the fact that animals are, legally and practically, commodities, and this is not a matter of opinion. As far as I'm aware , this has not even been disputed by anyone outside of Wikipedia. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:19, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
SageRad, would you mind striking your 18 January comment and adding a new one underneath? Your 25 January edit changed the comment significantly, but not the date. It's better to strike in such cases. SarahSV (talk) 01:56, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes: The "commodity status" phrasing is solidly supported by reliable sources, and its use in the mainstream is growing quickly. Edwardx (talk) 12:19, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes fully supported by the sources, and objections that livestock are not commodities fly in the face of common sense - there are markets where livestock are traded and have been traded for a very long time, and even futures are traded, for example on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (see the list at that section-link). Drive across Iowa and you will hear all day how the market for pork belly futures is doing. The USDA tracks these commodity markets and reports on them - see here where you will find Cattle, Chicken, Eggs, Goats, Meat, Sheep, Swine, and Turkey all listed specifically as commodities that they track. It doesn't get more commodity than that, and again it has been that way for a very very long time in the actual work of agriculture. Jytdog (talk) 15:26, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment The OIE - World Organisation for Animal Health (recognised as a reference organisation by the World Trade Organization (WTO)) certainly views animals as "commodities" - see the first sentence here.[6] DrChrissy (talk) 17:04, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I do not dispute that certain animals can be classified as commodities, it is the term 'commodity status' that concerns me. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:49, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
  • NO The Vegan Society defines veganism as "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." i think that is adequate. It covers commodification, but also points to explloitation which may not be associated with commodity status. So i believe, like others here , that rejecting the 'commodity status' is not enough to cover vegan principles, e;.g. avoiding abuse and neglect of pets. TonyClarke (talk) 22:51, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Tony, two points. First, all kinds of people reject cruelty to and exploitation of animals, not only ethical vegans. The issue for those who see veganism as a philosophy is the rejection of the commodity status and conseqences thereof; that goes to the very heart of ethical veganism. Second, it would be inappropriate to start the article with one society's definition. The definition of the British Vegan Society might belong in the lead of that article. We refer to it in this lead, in the third paragraph where we discuss the history in the 1940s and 50s. But in 2016 there are other vegan societies and competing views. Our job in the lead is to summarize them. SarahSV (talk) 01:32, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Sarah for this comment. I should have made clear that I didn't intend to actually have the Vegan Society definition used. Instead, it illustrates, for me, how avoidance of exploitation is wider than 'commodity status' as motivation. Individual animals can be exploited without being seen as a commodity. But just my thoughts! TonyClarke (talk) 04:58, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes Well supported by the sources. I'm having a hard time figuring out how this is even controversial. Capeo (talk) 03:03, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes The proposed definition is well supported by a sufficient number of sources. One concern is that we would use in the lead a society's definition. However, in view of the fact that other sources use the same wording I think this is a minor problem. Silvio1973 (talk) 09:13, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No: (Here from Maths, science and technology RfC service, and not at all vegan.) The proposed definition is undesirable for the article primarily because it occupies space that has a better use. It should be emphasized that "animal products" includes meat, dairy, eggs, edible products derived from animals such as gelatin, wearable products derived from animals, and indeed products of all kinds derived from animals. The definition should also discuss how vegans feel about animal research and companion animals, if applicable. I don't feel that "commodity status" adequately covers that.
The lead, IMO, should be written as if the reader will read only the lead and nothing else. That includes follow-up links. "Commodity status of animals" is a concept the meaning of which is not clear from the title of the article. Might it mean that vegans think animals should be free for all to use? (Commodification of nature uses that definition!) It is better to use the first sentence to tell, say, a reader of primary school level, what "veganism" means in terms of what things are done and not done. Roches (talk) 23:30, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
@Roches: The main problems I see with your proposal are that it is likely to involve synthesis, and is very long and complicated requiring lots of qualifications - different vegans regard different things as acceptable, disagreeing over honey for example, and this is discussed later in the article. You should also be aware this is a long-standing stable wording, and that the article commodity status of animals was written only recently, after one editor (the same one who posted this RfC) complained that it was "vegan propaganda". The issue, per the discussion above, is not to encapsulate all the things vegans do in a phrase; rather, it's accepted by the sources that there is a vegan philosophy which is characterized by this belief. If you still feel the term is unclear, what other wording would you suggest to convey that the vegan philosophy is based on opposition to the current state of affairs wherein animals can be legally owned and traded? --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:05, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No Apart from the reasons as already thrashed out, the whole lede as it stands is confused, ambiguous, long, and reads like advertising copy for a lobby group. It needs total rewriting. I have not checked on the rest of the article. (talk) 06:24, 26 January 2016 (UTC) (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
  • Yes Well since you insist on dragging this out Martin. I will past my comments here and someone else can close it later with the ineveitable result. Its unlikely to get a different response given the quality of the arguments above. Consensus already exists that the definition at the start of the lead should contain the wording regarding commodity status of animals. Strongest arguments for inclusion refer to the numerous reliable sources that are available. The strongest argument against comes from HighInBC who notes that this definition will not reflect all Vegans - no definition can encompasss everything, however he also states this may be contrary to the reliable sources. Other against arguments are less weighty, as SlimVirgin points out - relying on the Vegan Society definition assumes the Vegan Society speaks for all vegans. We go by what reliable sources say. See the numerous arguments on this page where this has been explained repeatedly and at length. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:04, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
As you will see above, I am far from alone in my objection to this wording.
  • No See above, but in summary, it should fall under section 6 as a philosophy. Having looked at a few sites, veganism is a dietary choice, it does not appear to be a belief about the commodity of animals specifically. The sentence should be placed in section 6, it is not appropriate in the introduction as it is too narrow and might dissuade some users. Jab843 (talk) 16:27, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Note to closer: Jab843 is one of 18 editors canvassed by Martin Hogbin, who opened the RfC. [7] SarahSV (talk) 22:31, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I've realized that several, probably most, are listed at Wikipedia:Feedback request service, so this is not canvassing. But it's also worth noting that, contrary to what Jab seems to be saying, veganism is not just a dietary choice. That is a mistake, as the lead makes clear. SarahSV (talk) 23:24, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
The first sentence of the lead, which gives a definition of veganism, should include all vegans. At present it excludes dietary vegans. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:29, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Martin, please don't pretend that's what this RfC is about. You keep changing your mind: first, it was rhetoric that animals are "commodities". Then it was established that they are, so it became rhetoric that they have "commodity status". Then you wanted to define veganism according to the Vegan Society definition. Now you want to define veganism as a diet, and say it's just some (dietary) vegans who don't want animals to be used commercially. --Sammy1339 (talk) 23:38, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Martin, you were the one who wanted to use the definition of the British Vegan Society; see your edit here. You removed "particularly in diet," and added a definition that excluded dietary vegans entirely. The current first sentence does not exclude them. This twisting and turning is very disruptive. SarahSV (talk) 01:29, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
  • @Jab843: This is not actually the subject of this RfC, which is about the specific usage of "commodity" or perhaps "commodity status". That the vegan philosophy is relevant has not been disputed. See this paper which shows that a majority of vegans have ethical motivations, and this paper which explains this. The latter opens with

    Vegans charge moral vegetarians with inconsistency: if eating animals is a participation in a wrong practice, consuming eggs and dairy products is likewise wrong because it is a cooperation with systematic exploitation. Vegans say that even the more humane parts of the contemporary dairy and egg industry rely on immoral practices, and that therefore moral vegetarianism is too small a step in the right direction. According to vegans, moral vegetarians have conceded that animals are not means; that human pleasure cannot override animal suffering and death; that some industries ought to be banned; and that all this carries practical implications as to their own actions. Yet they stop short of a full realization of what speciesist culture involves and what living a moral life in such an environment requires. Moral vegans distinguish themselves from moral vegetarians in accepting the practical prescriptions of altogether avoiding benefiting from animal exploitation, not just of avoiding benefiting from the killing. Vegans take the killing to be merely one aspect of the systematic exploitation of animals.

It does not use "commodity" because it accepts the term "exploitation"; I think "commodity" is perhaps more neutral. --Sammy1339 (talk) 17:13, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes, but with a change To my mind, the problem here is that people are vegans for different reasons. There is no doubt that some people are vegans because they wish to dissociate themselves from the idea of supporting the notion that animals are commodities. Taking this one step further, some people will have an almost knee-jerk rejection of that idea with no self-analysis of why they feel that way, whereas others will carefully consider and perhaps even research the political, animal welfare, etc. issues. There are also people who are vegans without any consideration whatsoever of the commodity aspect. Some people might be vegans simply because they don't want to harm animals. Consider also the family that raises their children as vegans. The child in their early years is extremely unlikely to be aware of the commodity status of animals, but we would still define them as vegans. So, I agree with commodity status being retained in the definition, however, I suggest the following wording. Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet; some abstainers follow an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.DrChrissy (talk) 18:57, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
DrChrissy, 'Yes, but with a change' is 'No'. I think everyone, including me, could agree to the current wording with the change of their choice. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:49, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Hi DrChrissy, these are good points. The function of the word both in that sentence is to indicate that veganism is both the practice of not using animals, particularly as food, and that it is also an associated philosophy, etc. The word both does what you're suggesting: it makes clear that we're talking about two approaches. The second paragraph expands on that theme. SarahSV (talk) 19:50, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Sarah. But doesn't your edit of adding "both" exclude accounting for vegans that abstain but do not follow the associated philosophy. Some vegans may be vegans simply because they have a deep empathy for animals but have absolutely no idea about their status as commodities. (This is a really complex topic. I used to work with a Ph.D. student in animal welfare who identified himself as a vegetarian. I was amazed when one lunch-time, he started to eat the chicken someone had left-over when they had finished eating. He justified this by saying he was a vegetarian because he disagreed with the animal welfare and commodity issues of mass animal production. He then argued further that because he had not purchased the meal himself, he was not contributing to the production chain. Interesting thinking.)DrChrissy (talk) 20:07, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
This is very interesting because I happened to find myself in a similar situation last night. I've been a vegetarian that leans vegan for just under 30 years, for all the good reasons. I've never been a "religious" vegan, but I try to avoid supporting animal products whenever I can. Yesterday, I was in a supermarket checkout line behind strangers, in this case, a woman and her young son. She was trying to pay for her food with food stamps (very common in a welfare state like Hawaii where the cost of living is too high for the average person) but for some reason or another it didn't cover the ground beef she was trying to buy for her family and she was short on cash. I had a quick argument in my head (Homer Simpson style, between the angel and the devil) and my better nature won out and I bought the food for her. I do not wish to support the meat industry or the exploitation of animals but situational ethics demands flexibility. Your friend who ate the meat was probably doing a good thing by not wasting food, but I've personally chosen to fast or go without in similar situations. We must avoid moral absolutes in our definitions. Viriditas (talk) 20:55, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
DrChrissy, the sentence is "Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals."
This means that veganism is two things, broadly speaking:
  • (1) It is a practice (something that people do) that involves not using animal products for whatever reason; this practice centres around what they eat; and
  • (2) it can also be a philosophy (something that people believe), which centres around a rejection of animals as commodities – that animals are property and objects of trade.
The next paragraph expands on the different forms of veganism, so this first sentence is just the briefest of introductions. As for your point about someone who is a vegan because of a deep empathy for animals, but who had never considered and opposed that animals are bought and sold, I doubt that such a person exists. SarahSV (talk) 22:04, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for this Sarah. I think you have looked into the philosophy behind veganism waaaaay more than I have so I will defer to your argument.DrChrissy (talk) 22:12, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
You should indeed. My actions were as recommended here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:24, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
There's already an indication below that you may not have chosen randomly. In addition, it seems you chose editors from the "math, science and technology" list, which isn't really connected to veganism, and particularly not when discussing the philosophy of veganism, which is the subject of this RfC. The "religion and philosophy" list would have been appropriate. Together with all the other issues, this is not good behaviour.
I'm not sure what to do now – whether this RfC should be regarded as too undermined to continue, whether we should ask another 18 from the philosophy list, or whether we should just keep going. SarahSV (talk) 01:48, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No I've been a strict vegan for five years and a much less than strict vegan for 23 years since, I've been trustee of a charity which had veganism as one of its founding tenants and know quite a few of the prominent UK vegans. In that time I have never heard the wording "commodity status of animals". Yes there have been long and intense discussion on ethics of keeping and rearing animals and the whole issue of factory farms, but I can not recall anyone using the word commodity. The word carries a particular POV which may be used by some authors but I do not think it is representative of veganism as a whole. There may be space lower down in the article to discuss animals as a commodity but it becomes a too subtle point for the lead. There are better more neutral ways of phrasing it.
I was one of the people Martin Hogbin asked. I suspect it is because I have a Vegan userbox on my home page. --Salix alba (talk): 01:22, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Martin was supposed to ask people at random from that list, and said he had done so. Otherwise it's canvassing, and if he has selected 18 people that he believes will deliver the result he wants, we will have to close the RfC.
I am also on the Science & Maths RFC list so he might have found me that way. --Salix alba (talk): 03:25, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Salix, this isn't about any editor's opinion, or which words people have heard in conversations, but about what the sources say, and the sources support this. I'm not sure what "particular POV" it carries. Ethical vegans oppose that animals are owned and can be traded. That goes to the heart of ethical veganism. SarahSV (talk) 01:37, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I can see what Salix alba is saying (although I don't know what the POV is). The exact string of words is not really at issue, nor is it meant to convey anything polemical - "commodity status" is essentially a very neutral way of conveying what vegans may call "animal exploitation". If we included that wording, we would probably have to go to "what vegans consider to be animal exploitation" or something similar, and then this would give the misimpression that vegans simply want meat, milk, and eggs to be produced more humanely. The wording currently in the article is very well supported by the sources and gets at the right idea. I also have to reiterate that this RfC was started as a debate over whether "commodity status" applied to animals was a neutral and objective term, which it clearly is. --Sammy1339 (talk) 01:49, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
To expand on the problems with referring to Commodification and Commodity status of animals treating animals as a tradable good is a little different from veganism. You can have exploitation of animals without involving trade, trapping a wild rabbit and eating it would not be compatible with veganism, neither would milking a pet goat. Indeed our project has had endless discussions of the whether we should keep bees for honey - exploiting but not trading. On the other hand many vegan keep pets, whilst all those I know have been rescue dogs, I'm not sure how vegans would feel about trading pet dogs, gerbils, or draft horses (I think the Dongas road protest group were vegans who use draft animals). "animal exploitation" is much closer to the language used and you will find that term much more prevalent in the vegan literature (academic literature is a separate question). --Salix alba (talk): 03:25, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
@Salix alba: Well, so maybe this is the confusion: trapping or killing a rabbit makes it your property (see commodity status of animals and Pierson v. Post); likewise you are legally entitled to milk a pet goat because the goat is your property. The term encompasses the current status of animals as property. The reason that "commodity" is used is that some authors, like Favre, would allow animals to have an "improved" property status short of personhood. But the point is really that vegans want to end commercial use of animals; granting animals a legal status higher than (movable) property. I do think this is fairly universally agreed, even if vegans in conversation don't express it in exactly these terms. Anyway it's definitely what academic sources say. --Sammy1339 (talk) 03:44, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Or to put it another way, something you are not allowed to exploit is probably not your property. --Sammy1339 (talk) 03:48, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No Or Change It I went to the commodity article linked and after farmed animals it describes "companion animals, working animals and animals in sport". I seriously doubt the general and broad school of veganism rejects pets. I actually know a bunch of strict vegans who own pets. They object to the use of leather and similar items, but not pets. This differentiates them from vegetarians. I think Martin's absolutely right here and at the very least the wording should be changed. What the lead currently describes is the subsect of veganism known as strict ethical. There exist ethical and strict ethical. It's obviously a mistake to describe the general school as the subsect. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:05, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Mr. Magoo, you have things exactly the wrong way round. it was Martin who wanted to stress ethical veganism in the first sentence. We have been opposing that. The current first sentence describes both forms. The next paragraph elaborates. Someone suggested adding "and exploitation," which would be fine, but that's not the issue before us. SarahSV (talk) 04:53, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Doesn't seem like that to me. He wants it moved below to the body, doesn't he? And the article originally did stress ethical veganism next to the commodity bit in the lead but an edit warrer who's no longer with us removed the "ethical" part from next to the commodity and thus now it stands next to all of veganism. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 05:13, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
That is correct. I proposed that 'Commodity status' could be included in the artice in the 'Ethical vegans' section, where it deoas apply and that more detail on its meaning could also be given there. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:20, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Martin, you are making no sense. You have been arguing quite extensively for including the Vegan Society definition, "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals" in the lede. You can't simultaneously argue that ethical veganism does not belong in the lede. And I do not believe that you share Mr. Magoo's extreme confusion about the nature of the subject matter, which means you are being disingenuous in agreeing with him here. --Sammy1339 (talk) 22:39, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Calm down. It makes perfect sense. Remove the other definition, move in another. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:11, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • No It absolutely appears that catenating two items which are not specifically held in common by all vegans is likely to be misleading to readers. Especially as it is quite clear in this case that the proposed wording is nicely incomprehensible to normal Wikipedia users. This does not prevent having a section discussing "use of animals" as a topic within the broader topic, but that such a position should not be presented as a dominant and requisite basis for the topic. Collect (talk) 15:53, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No. Veganism is about avoiding certain types of food. It does not have to be accompanied by any philosophy, it could as well be a matter of culinary preference, food sensitivities, financial considerations, customs, etc. Some sources mention the philosophy so it should be discussed in the article, but it is not a part of the common definition of veganism. WarKosign 07:22, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your input. Did you get get a chance to look at this collection of encyclopedia definitions of veganism? Several define it as a philosophy, several define it as a practice supported by a philosophy, and only one (focused on health) doesn't mention the issue. You're quite right that people may be vegans for dietary or other reasons, but RS seem to disagree that veganism should be defined without referring to ethical vegans' philosophy. FourViolas (talk) 12:48, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • No - it's certainly a reason that many vegans are vegan, but it don't think it should be worded in such a way that it implies that one must agree with that philosophy in order to be considered a vegan. The definitions of veganism I've seen which include a philosophical component seem to be primarily from vegan-associated sources which are expanding upon the accepted definition and including what veganism means to them. Objectively all wonderful things, but I don't think that they can be considered integral to the common definition of the term. AdventurousSquirrel (talk) 07:27, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • No. (brought here by bot) The addition directly refers to ethical veganism, which is not the focus of the entire article. It's far too narrow to be in the lead definition of veganism. All the sources, while high quality and reliable, specifically refer to ethical veganism, not veganism in general. It may be better like this: "Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the consumption of animals." or "Veganism is both the practice and the associated philosophy of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet." --Iamozy (talk) 19:49, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
  • No -- As I non-vegan, I do not understand the concept of rejecting the "commodity status of animals". I would not generally associate it with veganism. Can the associated philosophy be described in a more accessible way? BTW, I've not been solicited by the editor Martin Hogbin :-) K.e.coffman (talk) 05:57, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Yes but change it - It appears that the consensus above supports the inclusion of this per reliable sources. However, I agree with an above user in that vegans are vegans for many different reasons. There is definitely a group of vegans in this world that reject the notion of animals as commodities. Just because one vegan doesn't agree with this statement doesn't necessarily mean it can't be included in the article. I would go with what reliable sources say, and possibly change the wording. Cheers, Comatmebro User talk:Comatmebro 23:05, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
  • No, rewrite - The current wording feels clunky. I don't have a suggestion for replacement wording, but it should focus on there being two distinct philosophies for veganism - ethical and environmental - without putting undue weight on what I assume is the former. This would also help tie the lead into the article's content, which I don't feel is provided by the current lead. For what it's worth, I was also brought here by an FRS bot, not that it matters, because apparently I've signed myself up in every list (whoops)--Topperfalkon (talk) 23:25, 9 February 2016 (UTC)


A question has arisen about the validity of the RfC. Martin has been discussing the RfC on other talk pages, trying to persuade people to comment here. He has placed an AfD notice on Commodity status of animals which, although unlikely to succeed, places a question mark over the page while this RfC is open.

He has also notified 18 individual editors. [26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43] These editors are from Wikipedia:Feedback request service. The instruction there is that editors should choose names randomly to avoid canvassing. But Martin seems to have chosen them from the "math, science and technology" list, even though the philosophy of veganism, which is what this RfC is about, has nothing to do with that. He didn't chose any from the "religion and philosophy" list that I can see (Martin, please correct me if I'm wrong about that). In addition, one person who has responded has a veganism box on their user page. That could be coincidence.

Options: (a) Ask an admin to declare the RfC invalid, and re-open it at a later date. (b) Ask 18 editors from the philosophy list to comment. (c) Carry on as though nothing has happened.

Any thoughts? SarahSV (talk) 02:02, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

I've found one user so far, Abhishikt, who is on the philosophy list as well as the math and science one. SarahSV (talk) 02:34, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
This RfC shouldn't even be on the math and science list, and yes, people there might be more likely than people at the two actually relevant lists to both be uninformed and to share Martin's anti-vegan perspective. Honestly, though, this question is so inane that I can't justify subjecting more people to it. There's no way we can be true to the sources without including a statement of the type under discussion, so the question boils down to which specific words we use. New editors coming in can't believe we are writing reams about something so picayune, and mostly comment on an issue that isn't on the table, and then we have to explain that no, we are really just debating how many angels fit on that pinhead. It's a waste of everyone's time. So I guess (c). --Sammy1339 (talk) 02:42, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree that it has become absurd. SarahSV (talk) 04:04, 30 January 2016 (UTC
By all means ask randomly selected editors from the philosophy list to comment here. I started with math and science because it was the first lits with some relevance to the topic that I came across. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:26, 2 February 2016 (UTC)


Picking up from some suggestions that we add "exploitation," the sentence part – "an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals – could be changed to:

  • an associated philosophy that rejects the exploitation and commodity status of animals
  • an associated philosophy that rejects the exploitation and commodification of animals
  • an associated philosophy that rejects the idea that animals are commodities to be exploited

SarahSV (talk) 22:14, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

I made my feelings on this language known in this edit and others. We do not need to use primary-source language ("exploitation") that presents genuine NPOV issues, and do not need to pretend that the fictitious NPOV issues in "commodity status of animals" are real. Note that the objections to the current language are from
(a) Vegans who want to use primary definitions such as that of the Vegan Society
(b) People who thought the issue had to do with whether the philosophy aspect should be incorporated in the definition at all
(c) Martin, who paradoxically agrees with both of them at the same time
(d) Magoo, who fundamentally does not understand what veganism is
(e) Possibly SageRad, who seems to be ambivalent about whether "commodity status" might have ideological connotations
Except for the last one, these are not concerns which we can address while representing the sources and without violating policy. We should not be considering abandoning the right answer just because the conversation has become confused. --Sammy1339 (talk) 22:33, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Sammy, you really must stop insulting eveyone who disagrees with you. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:48, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree that this is a manufactured dispute. Still, if some people would like to see "exploitation" added, I see no harm in it. It should be easy enough to find secondary sources, so there would be no need to rely on vegan societies. SarahSV (talk) 06:02, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I do see harm in it: (1) it's vague, potentially leading to confusion like that of Magoo over whether vegans approve of humanely produced animals products; (2) it can be understood as partisan language. I hate to sound stubborn but if we're admitting it ain't broke, let's not fix it. --Sammy1339 (talk) 06:35, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

What about my suggestion, which is perfectly clear and uses sourced language suggested by Sammy:

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet. Most vegans also reject the legal status of of most non-human animals as property, particularly farmed animals, working animals and animals in sport, and their use as objects of trade. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:46, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

As no one has responded, can I assume that there is no objection to this wording. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:57, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I can't imagine why you'd assume that, as multiple editors objected when you proposed this wording in [thread] three days ago. Please stop saying the exact same things in multiple places and then acting as if no one is answering you.
The basic problem is that veganism is defined as a philosophy by many RS. For just one example see Zamir and for others see the article's references and the accounting by FourViolas above.
There is arguably more support for the following wording:
Veganism is a philosophy and lifestyle based on rejection of the commodity status of animals. Vegans abstain from the use of animal products, especially in diet. Some follow a diet free of animal-based food without adhering to the philosophy, and are called dietary vegans.
I will suggest that, after this RfC, it may be best to go to formal mediation, where we can have a structured RS-based discussion, rather than a chaotic opinion-based argument sprawled over multiple threads. --Sammy1339 (talk) 16:58, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

I have no problem with including 'philosophy' only 'commodity status' so why not:

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet. Most vegans also hold the philosophy that rejects the legal status of of most non-human animals as property, particularly farmed animals, working animals and animals in sport, and their use as objects of trade. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:39, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Again, this is another sense (arguably the primary sense) of the word veganism. Your version makes dietary veganism the primary (indeed only) sense of the word. --Sammy1339 (talk) 18:45, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Are you saying that some ethical vegans use or eat animal products? Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:13, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I am trying[edit]

How about this then? Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet and in many cases includes a philosophy that rejects the legal status of of most non-human animals as property, particularly farmed animals, working animals and animals in sport, and their use as objects of trade Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:27, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

That's not bad, I suppose. Stylistically it's a bit clunky (lots of dependent clauses strung together); one advantage of "commodity status" is that it carries all those implications in one short phrase. Substantively, I feel it's not quite enough to say that veganism "in many cases includes" vegan philosophy; a lot of sources act like veganism is the philosophy, which incidentally implies the lifestyle. In my opinion "as well as an associated philosophy" captures the not-quite-equivalent relationship better, or perhaps "and often/usually an associated philosophy". FourViolas (talk) 21:34, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Praise indeed! You say, 'one advantage of "commodity status" is that it carries all those implications in one short phrase'. That is precisely my objection to using it. You may know, or at least believe, that "commodity status" carries all those implications in one short phrase' but how is a general reader supposed to know that? Following the link to a hastily-written and more complex description, actually makes it even more confusing. It took me, as a person with an interest in the subject, several weeks to find our exactly what 'commodity status' was intended to mean. WP:LEAD says [my bold], 'The first sentence should tell the nonspecialist reader what, or who, the subject is', or as one RfC respondent and WP:LEAD says the lead should, 'Provide an accessible overview'.
I think your argument that all vegans are really ethical vegans must be your own personal opinion, or at least that of a small group here. The sources that addressed that question, provided by you, did not support that assertion. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:58, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Another relevant quote from WP:LEAD says [my bold], 'The lead section should briefly summarize the most important points covered in an article in such a way that it can stand on its own as a concise version of the article'. Martin Hogbin (talk)
Is the plan to ignore me now. I have proposed a form or wording intenden to resolve this dispute. The words or not mine but those selected from a reliable source chosen by Sammy. Another opposing editor above has show some willingness to accept this wording.
The proposed wording is supported by a RS and conforms to the requirements of WP:LEAD in that it describes the subject in a clear an accessible way. There is a clear consensus in the RfC so far (17 to 11) not to have 'commodity status' in the lead. I therefore propose we have the wording at the top if this section in the lead of the article. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:22, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I think it's alright in regard to the concerns of some others, though i really think that the ethical reasons for veganism generally include more than just the "property status" of animals and into the conditions and exploitation of non-human animals. For instance, Some people avoid these items because of conditions associated with their production. from [44]. Why would the "legal status as property" be noted so prominently but not conditions of exploitation? SageRad (talk) 10:38, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Lede paragraph considerations[edit]

The lede paragraph currently reads:

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.[9] A follower of veganism is known as a vegan.

This writing may endorse the concept of the commodity status of animals in Wikivoice as a thing that is definitely real. While i personally believe it is real, and see copious evidence of commodity status of animals in places where some people's attitudes toward animals are revealed, i can also see that it may not be an accepted reality for some people. On the other hand, the sentence might be interpreted to say that the commodity status of animals is a concept within the associated philosophy -- but to me this is unclear. So i might suggest to resolve this longstanding dispute over this content and whether it's POV by adding an explicit attribution by adding "what many see as", as follows:

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects what many see as the commodity status of animals.[9] A follower of veganism is known as a vegan.

The reader then can understand that there is a point of view that includes a reality of the commodity status of animals that many people believe to be true, and then can ask herself whether they believe this to be true, as well. It avoids a possible neutrality issue by not actually endorsing in Wikivoice that the concept of the commodity status of animals reflects reality -- unless we here agree as editors that this does reflect reality. I personally do think that it reflects reality, but i can see that there may be other ways of seeing the world, and i'm open to discussion around this. SageRad (talk) 15:00, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

@SageRad: Not only does it reflect reality, there is no source anywhere that disputes it. Please don't fall for Martin Hogbin's nonsense. He habitually raises completely unsupported "issues", tries to draw attention to the page with RfC's, noticeboad discussions, etc., and hopes for someone to come along, take a casual look and join his side. Then subsequent editors look at multiple people acting like there is an issue and assume there is substance to it.
There isn't. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:10, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Sammy1339, i am going to respond below on a new line, but it's not ok to call an editor's contributions "nonsense". You may disagree, but it's not civil to denigrate genuine thoughts as nonsense or saying that there isn't substance to it. SageRad (talk) 15:15, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I've been thinking a lot about POV and neutrality lately, and i think this could make sense, and could actually be more powerful for all concerned in a sense. Let me explain. Firstly, it's possible that a person can see some use of animal products as very much commodified relations, and yet other use of animal products as not commodified relations. As an example, i have personally kept chickens and had relationships with them (please don't laugh, i mean as beings i respected and cared for them, and they for me as well, as far as i can understand chickens). I definitely see commodification of chickens happening on a large scale with CAFOs, but i could also see symbiotic non-commodified relationships being possible. I could also see eating wild animals, or finding eggs in the wild, as being part of nature's food cycles, and not as commodification. That's one level. I can also see though i do not share, that some people really do believe that non-human animals are here for humans to use, and that it's not commodification. I don't believe this, nor do i think most people believe this, but it's a real viewpoint in the world. As for sources, i'll have to look for this. Nothing comes to mind immediately. It's my knowledge of some people's viewpoints on which i am drawing. SageRad (talk) 15:15, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

As for a source that supports the claim that there are other points of view about whether animals are commodified, please see sections 1a and 2b at this link to the "Animals and Ethics" entry at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. SageRad (talk) 15:22, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── As to the effect of having "what many view as" in the lede paragraph, it could actually be more powerful toward readers coming to see that there are indeed people who see that animals are at a commodity status in the present world in many cases. It may be more powerful toward people figuring out for themselves what they believe. SageRad (talk) 15:15, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

I replied to the first comment above, where you also posted it. Regarding the second, we simply have no RS which shows that people who dispute this actually exist outside of this talk page. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:21, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
One person outside of this talk page who disputed this was Aristotle:

Some philosophers deny that animals warrant direct moral concern due to religious or philosophical theories of the nature of the world and the proper place of its inhabitants. One of the earliest and clearest expressions of this kind of view comes to us from Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.). According to Aristotle, there is a natural hierarchy of living beings. The different levels are determined by the abilities present in the beings due to their natures. While plants, animals, and human beings are all capable of taking in nutrition and growing, only animals and human beings are capable of conscious experience. This means that plants, being inferior to animals and human beings, have the function of serving the needs of animals and human beings. Likewise, human beings are superior to animals because human beings have the capacity for using reason to guide their conduct, while animals lack this ability and must instead rely on instinct. It follows, therefore, that the function of animals is to serve the needs of human beings. This, according to Aristotle, is "natural and expedient" (Regan and Singer, 1989: 4-5).

This is from the source i cited above. SageRad (talk) 15:40, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
@SageRad: I think there is some confusion about what the topic of discussion is. Commodity status of animals concerns animals' legal status as property. Your links to the encyclopedia have nothing to do with this. I think you are thinking of a different concept, commodification. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:25, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
@SageRad: Again, your quote above has literally nothing to do with the fact that the commodity status of animals is real and is not subjective. I respect that you're trying very hard to work out a compromise here. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:43, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
I think that the phrase "commodity status of animals" as well as most vegans' considerations as to ethical reasons for being vegan do have to do with commodification. I read the phrase to connote relations of commodification, and not solely the property status of owned animals in some humans' minds. I find it hard not to read it like that. No matter how you cut it, i am pretty sure that some vegans' issues with the use of animal products in the present day food industry is the ways in which animals suffer because of being treated as objects, which is a part of commodification and objectification, which i do think is implied strongly by "commodity status of animals". SageRad (talk) 15:53, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
@SageRad: Alright, that's also what Martin Hogbin said. However can you provide any sources to support it? Because no one has. Meanwhile there is a very thorough accounting by FourViolas in the section above, which details what is meant. In point of fact, ethical vegans do object to the plain fact that animals are property. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:57, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
@SageRad: See for example this book. --Sammy1339 (talk) 16:00, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps this source, the section "The Problem: Animals as Property and Commodities" shows the connections between the words "property status" and "commodities" and concerns over treatment of animals based on whether they're viewed as beings or as property (commodity). SageRad (talk) 16:02, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
@SageRad: That source (which I don't believe is an RS) illustrates this. It gives reasons why vegans oppose the property/commodity status of animals, while making it clear that the fact of ownership is itself objected to. To draw an analogy previously made by FourViolas, abolitionism is the view that humans should not be property. Abolitionists may have been be motivated by a belief that slavery causes suffering, but the defining feature of their philosophy was opposition to, as 4V said "the whole institution of people-owning." Furthermore, to say that they opposed this is not taking an anti-slavery POV. The existence of slavery was a fact; their opposition to its existence was also a fact. It's a neutral and accurate statement. --Sammy1339 (talk) 16:13, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
There is a far worse problem with 'commodity status' and this is that nobody knows what it means. Even editors on this page do not agree what it is intended to mean. In fact even the editors who have insisted on these exact words do not seem willing to commit to one single meaning. When I asked what it was intended to mean, I was told to go and read some books on the subject. If it simply means, 'legal ownership' the why do we not just use those words. If it is intended to mean something else how are our readers expected to decode this terminology? Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:58, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
As always, you are misrepresenting the facts, and using the talk page as a WP:SOAPBOX for your opinions, engaging in civil POV pushing. The meaning of the phrase was explained with extreme thoroughness here and in other places in this thread. A well-referenced article was created to explain it, in case anyone else shares your alleged confusion: commodity status of animals. --Sammy1339 (talk) 17:16, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Sammy please stop your personal attacks, my POV, as you call it, seems to be shared by several of the respondents to the RfC above. The fact that an article was hastily created just before the RfC actually shows that I was right. It was quite obvious that our readers would have no idea what the phrase was meant to mean and it was necessary to create a page explaining how the term is used in animal rights and vegan literature. the meaning given in that article is not the same as was originaly stated by editors here, just 'legal ownership'. The commodity status of animals article itself is very far from neutral showing only how the words are construed by animal rights activists. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:15, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Almost all the editors above disagreed with you, including two who were initially confused and then admitted this.
It is not a personal attack to bea clear about what you are doing. You make a lot of noise on talk pages, wait for someone to wander along and say something similar, and then come back and say "look, I was right." See WP:CPUSH and WP:AGF is not a suicide pact.
The commodity status of animals article has little to do with animal rights activism. --Sammy1339 (talk) 18:23, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
My original complaint was that the term 'commodity status of animals' was vegan rhetoric and not in general usage but specific to animal rights or sources and that its meaning would be ambiguous or unclear to our readers. I was told that the meaning was perfectly clear. If that is so, why was us suddenly necessary to write an article explaining what the words 'commodity status of animals' meant? Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:45, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
As I recall, SlimVirgin wrote the article when the large number of references provided to you piled up to article-size. Your original complaint that the term is "vegan rhetoric" was wrong, as those references show, and you have not provided any references to support this wrong idea. --Sammy1339 (talk) 18:49, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── A suggestion: If what people mean by "commodity status" is "property status" then why not say "property status" instead? SageRad (talk) 08:15, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

That was discussed some while back and rejected. Why not just say, 'can be bought and sold' if that is what is meant? Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:23, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
'can be bought and sold' is another mouth full. Why not: ... and the associated philosophy that rejects animal commodification? Jonpatterns (talk) 13:05, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Because "can be bought and sold" is easily understood by many more readers, whereas the ten-dollar word "commodification" is a mouthful and will require special reading by many readers to understand it. Secondly, there's also been discernment here between "commodity status" and "commodification" as having two different meanings in above discussion, although to me they connote the same basic meaning, without looking them up, and this is something we need to pay attention to as editors, as well (common understandings of terms). SageRad (talk) 13:59, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
@SageRad: @Jonpatterns: You both came late to this conversation, which Martin has been pushing for months despite the fact that consensus has been firmly against him the whole time. The issues you are raising have been dealt with before. Please ctrl-F to the point in this page where I wrote "Quod erat demonstrandum" - jokingly, thinking the extremely thorough discussion above had been unnecessary. FourViolas' comments above that provide the relevant references and explain what is wrong with other proposed wordings. Basically, 1. "commodification" is not what is meant - what vegans object to is (some form of) property status, and 2. while "property status" and "commodity status" are used interchangeably in some of the literature, and it's indeed an extremely minor distinction, some philosophers have argued that "commodity status" is in fact a more precise term for what vegans object to. This particularly concerns the views of Favre cited in FourViolas' comments. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:35, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
If it has already been debated it may be worth adding to the FAQ box at the top of the talk page.Jonpatterns (talk) 17:36, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Jon, the problem is that it is still not clear exactly what 'commodity status' is meant to mean. At one extreme it can mean just that animals can be bought and sold. At the other extreme it can mean that animals can be treated like any other commodity and humans can do whatever they like to them. These are two vastly different things. The first is undoubtedly true, humans can buy and sell animals. The other extreme, that we can treat animals in any way that we like, without regard for their feelings, health or welfare, is not something that only vegans object to; the vast majority of the population would prbably object to this.
If you think you know what 'commodity status' is meant to mean then please tell me. If you do not know, then try asking here, as I have done, and see what response you get. The specially created article commodity status of animals discusses the way that animal rights writers use that term but is still unclear about exactly where they draw the line between the acceptable and the unacceptable. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:20, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
It seems there are a number of different concepts being mixed together. One is the legal status of animals. A second is what practices are used with animals - being sold. A third being how animals are treated when they are sold.
Secondly, I am unclear whether all/most Vegans don't object to property status, but specifically being sold as commodities? Jonpatterns (talk) 14:58, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict)@Jonpatterns: Right, there is a confusing mix of ideas in this discussion. In answer to your question, the first issue is the major one, the second issue is a very minor and subtle point which leads us to use commodity rather than property, and this ultimately has to do with views expressed by Favre which you can find in FourViolas' comments above. The third issue is a red-herring of Martin's invention, and the sources don't refer to this.
The other thing going on here is that the issue is not characterizing what behaviors most vegans do or do not endorse, but rather what reliable sources say the ethical vegan philosophy is based on. They seem to more or less agree on this criterion - it's based on opposition to the use of animals as commercial instruments; i.e. their commodity status. Vegans are also likely to argue that the commercial use of animals causes them to suffer, and justify their position in this way - this is particularly true of protectionists. However, they generally agree on a desire to abolish animal industries, and this seems to be the defining feature of ethical veganism, according to reliable sources. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:10, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Just a note about the article I linked - I notice it is badly needing attention being entirely based on primary sources, and misstates the protectionist position. Generally speaking, protectionists seek both welfare reforms and animal liberation. The classic book on this position is Peter Singer's Animal Liberation. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:21, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
[]WP:LEAD]] says that the lead of an article should be, 'a summary of its most important contents'. The current leads only refers to one section of vegans; ethical vegans. Many dietary vegans do not object to mere animal ownership and may even have pets themselves. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:14, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
The current lede is pretty fairly balanced between dietary and ethical veganism. I don't see hat you're talking about - the first sentence even says "particularly in diet", and subsequent paragraphs go into some depth about vegan diets. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:18, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
The first sentence, which appears to define 'veganism' says, 'Veganism is the practice ... and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals'. That definition excludes dietary vegans. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:14, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I have restored this tweak of SlimVirgin's devising, which was agreed upon when you raised this issue six months ago. --Sammy1339 (talk) 21:40, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
@Martin Hogbin: Please explain this revert of the above-described edit. You did not object to this solution the last time around, in July. --Sammy1339 (talk) 16:25, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I am not sure what the intended differnce in meaning is between your new text and the old. Could you explain please. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:51, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
The usage of "both" indicates these are two (very) closely related meanings of the same word. Please look at my response to Jab843 above. Note that there is some evidence suggesting that most vegans are ethical vegans (by a slight majority perhaps), and notice how Zamir (the second source) uses the word "vegan". Also, if you are indifferent to this edit as your comment suggests, you may as well self-revert. --Sammy1339 (talk) 17:21, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
The wording is unclear. You wording is of the form 'Veganism is both X and Y'. Does that mean that to be a vegan you must do both X and Y, or that a vegan is defined as someone who does either X or Y, or something else? Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:35, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
The distinction is made extremely explicit directly following this. --Sammy1339 (talk) 17:53, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
The fact that the problem is solved later is not a sufficient reason for making the first line of the lead, which appears to define what veganism is, ambiguous. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:00, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
On the contrary, given that anyone who reads the next two sentences will not be confused at all, I don't think it's a very big problem. Simply put, veganism is both a dietary restriction and an associated philosophy. The sources support this and it would be inaccurate to mention one aspect without the other. You could argue that we should launch directly into the distinctions, opening "dietary veganism is this, while ethical veganism is that" but this would obscure the fact that the two are intimately connected. The dietary restriction was invented because of philosophical consideration regarding the ethics of commercial animal use (see refs to Watson and others in the body). Look at the two sources I mentioned in my most recent reply in the RfC above: the first one is a study which shows that many vegans don't even know which kind of vegan they are; the second one is a philosophy paper which identifies veganism as a belief system which has largely to do with the reasons for adopting a vegan diet. --Sammy1339 (talk) 18:17, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Please read WP:MOSBEGIN, which says 'The first sentence should tell the nonspecialist reader what, or who, the subject is', so the logical place to start would be with a sentence that defines what veganism is. That is WP policy. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:31, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
The first sentence does define what veganism is - a set of dietary and lifestyle restrictions based on eliminating the use of products of animal origin and the associated view that living or dead animals should not be objects of commerce. It then clarifies that some people only follow the dietary restrictions without necessarily holding the latter view, and these are called dietary vegans or strict vegetarians. Based on your previous comments I gather you want both to eliminate ethical veganism from the lede, and to copy the UK-based Vegan Society's definition into the lede; neither of these directly contradictory approaches is supported by the sources. --Sammy1339 (talk) 18:42, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I want (WP policy requires) the first sentence to include all major forms of veganism, dietary and ethical. At present it seems to me that the first sentence excludes many forms of veganism, for example dietary. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:43, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I see that SV has now restored 'both'. I do not think adding and edit warring a new word into the subject of an RfC during the RfC itself is particularly helpful. Marking the edit as minor is rude. It is contentious wording that is still being discussed. What happened to WP:BRD. Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:03, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
By my lights you didn't actually object - you just said it didn't address your concern - so I don't see how you can call it "contentious wording". Besides, when you raised this issue last time neither you nor anyone else objected to this fix, and nothing has changed since then, so SV's edit seems to be based on consensus. --Sammy1339 (talk) 20:16, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Both isn't a new word. It was there before, and someone removed it. Martin, you complained that the first sentence seemed to describe only one form of veganism, then when Sammy noticed that's because a word had been removed and he fixed it, you reverted and complained about that too. SarahSV (talk) 20:26, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

I cannot see where 'both' has been there before. It has not been there since the start of the RfC about the first sentence of the lead. Martin Hogbin (talk) 21:00, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
When I restored it I linked the diff where it was added. It stood for a long time subsequently. The discussion is in the talk page archives. This was July 1, 2015. --Sammy1339 (talk) 21:11, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Break 1[edit]

Veganism as I know is vegetarianism plus the rejection of leather and similar animal-derived products. Not the rejection of pets. I know a family of vegans who are strict in their beliefs but who own "pets". The article currently combines ethical and strict ethical veganism into one. Strict ethical pretty much rejects any sort of interaction with animals as I see it. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:18, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Even our first source states: "Going beyond dietary veganism, 'lifestyle' vegans also refrain from using leather, wool or any NHA-derived ingredient." It's not describing any sort of pet ownership. The first source also states that "Although veganism may represent a matter of diet or lifestyle for some, ethical veganism is a profound moral and political commitment to abolition on the individual level and extends not only to matters of food but also to the wearing or using of animal products." Same thing again. Nothing about pet ownership. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:22, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

@Mr. Magoo and McBarker: "Abolition" in that quote is the sense of the word in abolitionism (animal rights). It's defined as opposition to animals' commodity/property status. --Sammy1339 (talk) 04:28, 30 January 2016 (UTC)'
What? But at the end it's specified only to mean wearing and using animal products. I hate to have bad faith here but are you trying to hijack the vegan movement altogether to mean ending pet ownership instead of just cease of use of animal products? --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:32, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I know it's not immediately obvious, but as Sammy1339 says abolitionism (animal rights) actually does refer precisely to an objection to animals being property.
Again, at the end it's specified only to mean wearing and using animal products. That source seems now cherry-picked to have contained some sort of keyword the original writer probably didn't even realize meant the worlds to someone. That someone didn't mind the fact that it was clarified to only be about wearing and using animal products and not pet ownership, when he added this source. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:41, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
No disrespect intended, as you wouldn't be expected to know this if you hadn't studied this, but the author, Gary Francione, is very well aware of what he means by "abolition": he is a pioneer of the term and idea, and is the philosopher most closely associated with the position in the entire field of animal ethics. The sense in which he uses the term throughout his work is precisely that described in abolitionism (animal rights). FourViolas (talk) 05:19, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Regardless, in specifying veganism he specified it to be about wearing and using animal products. The other matter is of animal rights and not veganism. It's past veganism. He might have simply used the word out of habit. And all sources describing the person I can find pretty much disagree with him. Again, why is a fringe theorist the spokesperson for all veganism? Why aren't actual vegan organizations quoted? I looked at one's definition for veganism and it's firstly animal products and secondly harmful exploitation described as medical experiments and entertainment like horce races. Again, pet ownership nowhere. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 05:29, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Vegans' resolution of the apparent contradiction between following a philosophy that objects to animals as property on one hand, and owning pets on the other, usually goes something like this: "In principle I think this arrangement is wrong, but until society gives animals more rights I might as well take care of these ones as well as possible." See PETA and these philosophers. FourViolas (talk) 04:37, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
That PETA article is not about ownership but bad treatment. Even then it means that they do not currently object to pet ownership. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:39, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
The central thesis of the PETA article is that the issues are one and the same: As long as people treat animals as toys, possessions, or commodities rather than as individuals with feelings, families, and friendships, widespread neglect and abuse is inevitable.. FourViolas (talk) 04:52, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
You are picking a poetic statement about the bad treatment as possession to mean ending pet ownership altogether. That statement means not treating your pet like car keys, not ending all existence of actual pet ownership. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:57, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I disagree; give the source another look. It is important, also, to keep our companion animals from reproducing, which perpetuates a class of animals who are forced to rely on humans to survive. PETA opposes the principle of pet ownership so strongly that they actually seek to phase pet species out of existence rather than let them be property. The alternative view within the vegan community is that of the two philosophy papers I linked: pet ownership is indeed immoral, but we could replace it with something like guardianship (with more legal rights and protections) and then it would be okay. FourViolas (talk) 05:10, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I now remembered that PETA is the organization Anglos consider quite radical. How does a fringe group speak for all vegans? And those philosophy papers do not talk about veganism. Two philosophers pondering about pet ownership. What in the world does this prove? Now that I think about it, neither did the PETA one have anything to do with veganism. We have sources in the article talking about veganism and they state it's about animal products. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 05:17, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I'm sorry if the proposal on AN incensed you, but there was a reason for it. We're not trying to hijack anything. In fact the guy who wrote that quote has dogs, as you can see: Gary Francione. Vegans are not usually opposed to people having pets, but they are opposed to puppy mills and the like. This is part of the reason why some authors have argued that "property status" is not the right term, and we ought to use "commodity status" instead. Vegans may not oppose having pets but they do oppose using and profiting from them; veganism was founded in opposition to animal industries, on the basis of wanting to abolish the commercial use of animals; furthermore most vegans are ethical vegans, and there is no distinction between "ethical" and "strict ethical." We've been over these issues with Martin (except the last one) about a hundred times, for months. Editors have produced tons of sources supporting this and he has yet to cite a source. Although I can see why at first glance it looks like where bullies; he feeds off of that. --Sammy1339 (talk) 04:42, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
It seems like that to me. You make and force vast and general statements about vegans you have no sources for at all. All vegans now oppose all commercial dog breeding; even the good, free-range kind? Again, there already are sources that state veganism is the rejection of animal products. They do not mention pet ownership. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:47, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I perhaps spoke too strongly. There are all manner of vegans who probably believe all sorts of things. Veganism, however, is founded on the principle of abolishing the commercial use of animals, per almost all reliable sources. The pet issue actually is a little hairy - no pun intended - and I suspect there are differing opinions on that. However, it may interest you to note that Zamir centers a large part of his argument against veganism on an endorsement of the trade in pets. Francione (abolitionist) argues for phasing pets out of existence in this book and others, while Garner (protectionist) simply skirts the issue here, noting on page 119 that "...the two major issues in animal ethics are the treatment of animals on farms and treatment of animals in laboratories, where the greatest degree of suffering takes place. This is also why the keeping of pet or companion animals, as opposed to their treatment, is really on the periphery of the debate (despite the fact that it involves restrictions on liberty)." (Protectionists are the ones who talk about "suffering".) Tony Milligan here gives a fairly comprehensive treatment of various animal ethics positions; he writes "...pethood is still somewhat tainted through its association with property, with the idea that this is my pet, and not yours. Animal advocates tend, therefore, to refer instead to 'companion animals' who have 'animal guardians' rather than owners. In some parts of the US, legal standing for this classification has been secured. This draws on the more positive side of the concept of pethood while removing some of its unwelcome historical connotations." So, generally speaking, pets present complicated issues which are tangential to the main point, which is still that vegans believe animals' legal status should not be that of commodities. --Sammy1339 (talk) 05:35, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
That is just pure OR. Veganism is stated by our sources to be mainly the opposition of animal products and secondly products derived from animal exploitation like medical experiments. And the Zamir source you just provided focuses on the fact that vegetarians eat eggs. Pet ownership is on some back page as a tiny sidenote I assume? And Francione already stated that veganism is rejection of wearing and using animal products. Of him you again provide some back page sidenote where he specifically states that pet ownership is on the periphery of the debate. That just proves it again. Last quote you provide has nothing to do with veganism, and at this point you were probably scarce of anything close to worthwhile to use after those shabby attempts before. Last source also states on another page that most lifestyle veganism is moderate with little to do with Francione-style activism. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 05:46, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
The whole first section of Zamir's paper is devoted to pets. I can type up part of it if you like. Regarding Francione, he completely equates abolitionism with veganism and favors phasing pet species out of existence - I can provide numerous sources for that if you want. The third one was Garner, not Francione, in a book in which he debates Francione on the foundations of veganism. The last one, again, has everything to do with veganism if you look at the book. But there is some substance to what you're saying, which is that, as Garner notes, pets are not the central issue. Still, it doesn't change the fact that vegans don't believe animals (let's say for the moment animals other than pets) should be commodities; the last source explains how they may reconcile this view with keeping pets. Also, I never said most vegans agreed with Francione's views, but he is one of the best-respected scholars in the area and I wanted to represent a range of opinions. --Sammy1339 (talk) 05:58, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
No, no it's not. It's dedicated to vegetarians and their habit of eating eggs and drinking milk. I can type the entirety of it if you'd like. And regarding Francione, no he doesn't according to two sources. One which you just provided where he stated it's on the periphery. And the third one talked about Francione, I didn't state it was him. And the quote didn't have relation to veganism and the definition of it like I wrote. At best it could be stretched to be about radical ethical vegans. All of our sources define veganism to be mainly about not using animal products. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:02, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Much of this is not relevant, since it's actually an argument against veganism, but I'll reproduce the whole first section and the segue into it, since I suspect you'll not be satisfied with anything less.

...I will argue that vegetarianism is a better regulative ideal and a better form of pro-animal strategic protest compared to veganism. I begin by arguing against veganism. I shall then turn to tentative veganism.

Pro-animal action partly depends on how one envisages ideal relations between humans and nonhumans. “Stop all coercion and violence,” such is the most extreme pro-animal position imaginable. According to this position, usage and killing of whatever kind are to stop. Pets are also out, as having them involves limiting their movement and may affect other wild animals. Regulative beliefs of this kind will surely prescribe moral veganism. A less extreme position allows pets in the regulative ideal, but bans raising animals for meat, milk, and eggs regardless of the conditions in which this is done. This too implies moral veganism. A second notch down is the ideal that regulates moral vegetarianism: here animals are never killed for their flesh, but they are maintained as pets, or for eggs and milk. Moral vegetarianism is consistent with eating animals that die on their own (scavenging) or using their hides after they die. Euthanasia is also practiced, and is considered justified so long as it is done for the animal’s own welfare, rather than for the purpose of using its body later.3 I will now argue that moral veganism of both kindsis a bad ideal both for humans and for animals. To do so, I intend to consider pets first, since if our attitude to them can be morally vindicated, such can function as a regulative ideal for other human–animal relations. Well-kept pets are a source of joy to their owners, live a much better life than they would have lived in the wild, and, as far as I can tell, pay a small price for such conditions. A petless world is bad for cats and dogs, an overwhelming number of which would not survive out of human care. It is bad for humans, since they lose a large source of happiness, and it is bad for the animal welfare cause, as strong relations with pets start many people off on the track of thinking morally about animals. Acts against the will of pets can be condemned as coercive only if we anthropocize pets into autonomous individuals. But it seems to me that the more adequate organizing moral framework through which pets are to be understood is quasi-paternalistic: pets resemble children, though unlike children, who enter a temporary paternalistic relation with a guardian, pets remain in a permanent paternalistic relationship. The relationship is not fully paternalistic, since, unlike children, one is not merely a guardian acting with their interests in mind, but one is also acting with the interest of preserving the relationship as such. Many morally problematic invasive owner actions such as limiting movement, spaying or declawing are conceptualized (and sometimes justified) in this light. One is sometimes acting on behalf of the animal (a neutered cat lives much longer), but one is also acting on behalf of the relationship: one cannot, for example, keep a cat and its litter, or one cannot maintain one’s cat and one’s baby when the former is not declawed and the latter develops a habit of pulling hairy things. Justified owner actions with regard to pets are thus either an action directly on behalf of the pet, or an action in the interest of maintaining the relationship between owner and pet, a relationship which is itself an overall good for the pet. This obviously does not determine which action can legitimately be perceived as justified so as to maintain the relationship (e.g., cutting the vocal cords of a parrot or a dog because it disturbs its owner is immoral, even if it does benefit the relationship by enabling the animal to continue living with its owner). And this question—which invasive actions are justified for the sake of the owner–pet relationship—is the most important question within small animal veterinary ethics. The most reasonable pro-animal answer to this question is utilitarian: examining overall utility for animals.4 Some invasive actions merely benefit the pet (e.g., vaccination). Some benefit the owner and cause pain and possible complications to the pet without substantial benefits to the animal (e.g., tail-docking and ear-cropping). Some involve loss to the pet, which it need not necessarily experience as a loss (spaying, neutering). Given a paternalistic framework, the first kind is unproblematically moral. The second is unproblematically immoral. The moral status of the third kind is complex. Humans would not be spayed and neutered even if such gives them longer lives, and so longevity does not trump the loss of sexual and procreational capacities. On the other hand, conceiving of human–human action solely through paternalistic terms is already immoral. Moreover, unlike pets, the idea that some actions are justified morally since they enable the owner–pet relationship to exist is also foreign to human–human action. Unlike human children, who would grow up and could decide for themselves whether they wish to lose their sexual abilities so as to live longer, pets can never have such autonomy. We make the decision for them. Is it the right decision? I think that it is for four reasons that concern the particular pet’s welfare as well as the welfare of other pets. First, as said, such actions promote the pet’s own longevity. Second, no evidence suggests that the pet conceives of its postoperative state as a loss. Third, many people will not have pets if this meant taking responsibility for many potential offsprings. Fourth, without spaying and neutering, we will have many more abandoned pets that have miserable lives, and spread contagious diseases among their species and others. Invasive actions that benefit the pet are justified through a paternalistic framework or through assuming that the pet–owner relationship is valuable and beneficial for pets. Muting a parrot or a dog (unlike parrots, dogs are routinely muted in some countries), tail-docking or ear-trimming cannot obviously be excused through such means. Euthanazing pets is usually conceptualized as an action on their behalf, and when this is the case, the action is justified. Declawing is problematic: owners that ask for declawing many times will not keep their animals otherwise. Such declawing can then benefit the pet. But sometimes the request for the (painful) procedure stems from owner irresponsibility, not realizing the implication of having a pet of a specific kind. If the person asking for the procedure does so because Kitty destroys her beloved sofa, there is a sense in which she should have foreseen this when she took responsibility for a cat. Unlike spaying or neutering, here Kitty does not gain anything by the procedure. And so, there is reason for a veterinarian not to cooperate with this request. In an ideal world, no owner who cares that much for her sofa will take a cat. The veterinarian ought to urge the owner to withdraw her request. If, however, the owner insists and there is a strong possibility that the cat will be abandoned if the procedure will not be conducted if the veterinarian turns away the customer, it is overall better for the cat to be declawed and so, the veterinarian should perform the procedure. The overall utility of simply outlawing declawing for animals (as is the case in San Francisco, where such legislation seems very close) is thus unclear. For the same utilitarian considerations, maiming animals so as to have them as pets, or actions that violate what they are (wing-trimming in birds, caging birds) have nothing to do with the animal’s own welfare. As far as I can tell, such actions do seem to be a loss to the animal, and they do seem to be experienced as such. Unlike cats, dogs, and horses, birds in the wild lead better lives than caged ones. Caging a bird appears to me to be in the same category of socially isolating a dog or a chimpanzee: a violation of what that animal is. The greater safety that they gain does not justify the losses birds like parrots pay for sharing their lives with humans. The same argument applies to attempts to keep wild animals as pets: most are better off in the wild.

Pets can of course be maltreated, and veterinarians ought not be idealized, as financial incentives sometimes turn them into tools that satisfy any whim an owner may express. Nor do I mean to shortcut the problematic nature of disconnecting animals from members of their own species. Some pets are loners (cats); others learn to treat humans as their pack (dogs). Disconnection, in such cases, does not appear problematic. The situation with regard to simian helpers of handicapped humans is less clear. Pro-animal utopia will probably involve some reform of pet husbandry, training, and medicine. But such reform will not be radical. Pets benefit from leading lives with humans, and the price they pay is small in comparison. Small animal husbandry looks like a reasonable exchange: pets do lose through this relationship, but they get to lead safe and comfortable lives, and they die when they are old or sick. The alternative of a petless world, does not strike me as morally superior or overall better for animals. Here then, is a model of human–animal relationship which, although we call all the shots (saying what seems “reasonable,” “acceptable,” “plausible exchange,” etc.), is morally justified on utilitarian grounds; a model in which the overall good is determined in relation to all the entities concerned, even when it does prescribe invasive actions and curtailing the animal’s freedom.

--Sammy1339 (talk) 06:18, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

This is what I see:
Vegans charge moral vegetarians with inconsistency: if eating animals isa participation in a wrong practice, consuming eggs and dairy products islikewise wrong because it is a cooperation with systematic exploitation.Vegans say that even the more humane parts of the contemporary dairy andegg industry rely on immoral practices, and that therefore moral vegetarian-ism is too small a step in the right direction. According to vegans, moral veg-etarians have conceded that animals are not means; that human pleasurecannot override animal suffering and death; that some industries ought to bebanned; and that all this carries practical implications as to their own actions.Yet they stop short of a full realization of what speciesist culture involves andwhat living a moral life in such an environment requires. Moral vegans dis-tinguish themselves from moral vegetarians in accepting the practical pre-scriptions of altogether avoiding benefiting from animal exploitation, not justof avoiding benefiting from the killing. Vegans take the killing to be merelyone aspect of the systematic exploitation of animals.
--Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:24, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Right, what I produced above is the first section after the introduction. --Sammy1339 (talk) 06:27, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think it's "an introduction" but the actual "the first section". --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:29, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Okay, then I typed up the second section, which is located under the big, centered letter I. --Sammy1339 (talk) 06:32, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, I'm unable to see it from this view. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:33, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
If you think I'm trying to trick you, I would suggest you ask at WP:REFD for someone to get you access to the full paper. --Sammy1339 (talk) 06:41, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
No, that's now what I stated. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:43, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Break 2[edit]

  • Mr. Magoo and McBarker, the problem is that people are arriving with their own views, rather than having read the sources. Here is the issue in a nutshell:
When we oppose human slavery, we don't mean that human beings should be treated nicely. We mean that we should not be allowed to own, buy and sell other human beings. Indeed, when slaves were freed in the US, there were apparently hundreds of thousands of deaths from starvation and disease (see Jim Downs, Sick from Freedom, Oxford University Press). Still, no matter the consequences, the principle remains: we should not be allowed to own each other.
Ethical vegans hold similar views about animals, although with animals the issue is not so simple. Many do require some form of guardianship if they're to live with us, so the arguments (e.g. about pet ownership) are complex, and understanding them fully involves knowing something about theories of property.
But the one thing ethical vegans do agree about is that animals should not be used and traded as commodities. This is according to the sources, not according to whether any editor on this page knows someone who thinks otherwise. If you read the sources, you will see that theme over and over again, both explicit and implicit. It is therefore a good way to sum up the position of ethical vegans in just a few words, before proceeding to explain in more detail.
Dietary vegans do not necessarily hold those beliefs. They may hold them, or they may simply care about their health, or they may have other objections to eating animals. The first sentence makes clear that not all vegans adhere to the "associated philosophy," and the second paragraph unpacks that further. SarahSV (talk) 06:01, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
The problem is that people haven't bothered reading the sources. The sources state it's mainly about animal products. Pet ownership is mentioned nowhere. You are trying to ascribe radical veganism to be the definition for all veganism. Dietary vegans are not the same thing as the general majority of vegans described as ethicals who refuse to use any sort of animal products, but neither of these two are the same as radical vegans. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:04, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I have read the sources. I've never encountered the distinction you're making between ethical vegans and radical vegans. This article doesn't say anything about pet ownership, and not treating animals as commodities wouldn't necessarily exclude pet ownership, as I said above (please read my previous post). SarahSV (talk) 06:10, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
When you say radical vegans, do you mean something like Veganarchism? We don't touch on anything like that here. SarahSV (talk) 06:13, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
You have never? That's silly. There is a clear and broad difference in opposing pet ownership and not wearing leather. The only reason you haven't thought about is because people like Francione are also the ones who are trying to "hijack the movement" and obfuscate the difference. Maybe the problem lies more at the commodity page than here, but regardless the commodity link should be put below than at the very opening sentence as the very definition of veganism. Especially if there is nothing to be changed at the commodity page as is. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:18, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh and the commodity sentence is obviously nothing but absolute Veganarchism. The commodity article says "companion animals" are commodity and our lead sentence says the ending of commodity status thus the end of companion animalship. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:18, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Can you provide a source for what you're saying? Of course I know that there are ethical vegans with stronger views than others. But you are saying there is a third category, something different in kind: dietary vegans, ethical vegans and, as you wrote above, "but neither of these two are the same as radical vegans." So if you don't mean vegananarchism, what is it? Or is that what you mean? If so, we don't discuss vegananarchism in this article. SarahSV (talk) 06:24, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
You already did. Veganarchism. They're also called "radical vegans". They are a subsect of ethical vegans, a radical wing. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:25, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Okay, you said above that they weren't a subset, but a third category. As I said, we have nothing in this article about that philosophy. Referring to the commodity status of animals has nothing to do with that. SarahSV (talk) 06:27, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
No, I were being too Spock-like in my presentation. Or maybe it's a linguistic difference. When something's not the same it's not the exact. A subsect isn't the same as the family of the subsects. And stating that all veganism is about ending animal companions is veganarchism. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:31, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with veganarchism but I think it's clear the sources we are discussing don't refer to it. --Sammy1339 (talk) 06:29, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Re: "The commodity article says "companion animals" are commodity and our lead sentence says the ending of commodity status thus the end of companion animalship."

That doesn't follow at all. Treating pets as commodities is, for example, owning pedigree dogs, getting them to breed, stopping certain lines that don't have traits you want, and selling the puppies for high prices, even though the breeding might, and probably will, lead to health issues. In this case, the parents and the puppies are all commodities, priced according to actual and expected traits.

Another way of owning pets is to rescue them. Ethical vegans would oppose the commodity form of ownership, and would support the rescue form. Some ethical vegans might want to ban pet ownership outright one day, if there are ever no pets left to rescue. And some wouldn't want that. We don't discuss that issue here, because it's very complicated. It would make a good daughter article.

That's one reason we don't say ethical vegans oppose the property status of animals. We are more precise than that: it's the commodity status they reject. SarahSV (talk) 06:37, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Regarding the last sentence, commodity means the same thing as property, so I don't understand your point. Is the slight context the words are usually used in the difference? At the moment the commodity page simply lists propertyhood of companion animals as commodity. It uses the blue, hyperlinked word property. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:41, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
The distinction between "commodity" and "property" is not made by all authors, partly because pets are usually not the focus. Smulewicz-Zucker argues that "commodity status" is the correct phrase, focusing on pets as a main example. --Sammy1339 (talk) 06:54, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
So commodity article should be changed to decrease the primariness of companion animals or at least point out the reduced amount of importance and attention? --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:57, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, you could do that. The article is just a stub, so that aspect can be developed. SarahSV (talk) 06:58, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I've removed companion animals from the commodity page for now as it's causing confusion. When there's time I (or someone else) can develop a section about them and explain the different approaches. SarahSV (talk) 07:06, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

How about we add "exploitative type of" to the lead sentence, forming "an associated philosophy that rejects the exploitative type of commodity status of animals"? --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:49, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Regarding your suggestion "the exploitative type of commodity status", it seems to give the impression that vegans want free-range eggs or the like. --Sammy1339 (talk) 06:55, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
What? --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:57, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Explain why? --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 07:05, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
As things stand, if you own an animal, you can buy, sell, use and kill the animal, as you see fit. You're supposed to avoid cruelty, but the definition and enforcement of that varies enormously, and in some countries there is no enforcement (and perhaps no legislation).
Distinctions can nevertheless be drawn between property status and commodity status, as I explained above. If you rescue an old dog from a shelter, you own the dog, but it's unlikely you'll find a way to turn that dog into a commodity (something you could trade, or something that will produce something you could trade). So animal ownership without the animal being treated as a commodity is possible, though commodity status is always present, in some sense, given your right as the owner to transfer ownership (sell the dog).
In addition, there are philosophers who are developing theories of "living property," where a different concept of property might apply to animals, more like guardianship. In short, property status does not equal commodity status, although of course the two are closely linked. SarahSV (talk) 06:57, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Some people see that as companionship, living together, being together. Even if many in the outside world sees the relationship as "You own that dog," it can be seen by the person as "This dog is my companion and in this world where people see animals as ownable, i have rescued this one dog, and i see it differently." I do see a wide range of beliefs among vegans and others about what "veganism" means, and in the end it's a word that stands for many related by different things. It's a contested word, claimed by people with differing viewpoints. We need to represent this range in the article accurately. SageRad (talk) 07:33, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
@SageRad: You're right on one level and we actually have good sources for that - see Zamir's paper which I copied a large part of above, and also a couple of the books I cited in my replies to Mr. Magoo. As has been shown in this discussion its a nuanced issue, and I'd like to see a little more about pet ownership in the body of the article. However, all the sources are pretty clear about the basis of veganism as a philosophy, and the sources on pets say that vegans generally don't think they should be commodities - even though they support de facto pet ownership. We have to represent the sources accurately. --Sammy1339 (talk) 07:57, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Sammy, you were the one edit warring an obvious edit and without explaining why. You state your reason as "I don't know what veganarchism is exactly, but it's got nothing to do with this, and your edit is confusing and is not supported by the sources." If you don't know what veganarchism is, then maybe you shouldn't be editing this article just yet, at least at this level. As it stands, without exploitative it's about veganarchism and not general veganism -- like I wrote. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 07:11, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Mr. Magoo and McBarker, I have a sneaking suspicion that you're not reading a single word I write. :) SarahSV (talk) 07:13, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
You agreed with me so I had no reason to reply to that post. Basically you are saying that general veganism isn't about animal companions. The commodity article is. There thus is a need to differentiate on this end. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 07:16, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I didn't see your post above. I can create the differentiation section at the commodity article later if no one else does. I'll probably come back to it way later so don't count on me. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 07:18, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Mr. Magoo and McBarker, the problem that I have pointed out is that our readers will have no way of knowing what the first sentence in the lead means, for several reasons.
Firstly the 'commodity status' bit appears to form part of a definition of veganism as a whole. The excludes a whole section of vegans who do not object to 'commodity status'.
The second problem is that, to a typical reader, 'commodity status' could mean anything from just 'humans can have legal ownership of animals' to 'humans can do whatever they want to animals without regard for their feelings, health or welfare'; covering almost the whole range of human treatment of animals. There has been extensive discussion of that topic here, without any clear description of even what the term is intended by its writers to mean. That discussion, of course, is of no help to readers who come to this article to find out what veganism is.
As an attempt to solve that (unacknowledged) problem a new article, commodity status of animals, was started at just about the same time as this RfC. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:36, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Break 3[edit]

One should note that Gary L. Francione is very notable in the vegan community/movement, but that his variety of veganism is not the only kind nor even necessarily the dominant kind. I'm seeking sources on his position and standing and general influence. [45] [46] [47] are some non-primary sources that show some of the controversy around his approach. This is to further conversation about the diversity of veganism, in regard to beliefs and practices, for the purpose of making the article as accurate as possible. SageRad (talk) 15:51, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

@SageRad: There was discussion a while ago about rewriting the philosophy section and adding a new "veganism as a social movement" section, which I proposed, but I abandoned that idea due to this page being too much of a battleground. I still think it's a good idea. You're right that Francione is hardly the only voice, and that his opinion doesn't represent everyone, or even a majority. I don't particularly care for the "three great men" narrative of the Philosophy section, and think this could be fixed. This really doesn't affect the lede though, since, as the many sources I cited about show, even his ideological opposites broadly agree on ending commercial use of animals - that is a defining feature of ethical veganism. It's also not quite accurate to say that ethical veganism is just a particular sect of veganism - veganism was founded on these principles, and most vegans adhere to them in some form.
Maybe a good analogy is this: Judaism is both an ethnicity and a religion. Personally, I'm ethnically Jewish, and even observe some of the holidays, but I don't believe in God. So I'm analogous to the "dietary vegans" here. Other Jews have their own complex spiritual views which depart from mainstream Judaism. However, Judaism still needs to be defined as both an ethnicity and a monotheistic religion; saying it is this doesn't imply that all Jews believe the same thing. --Sammy1339 (talk) 16:09, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I do think it would be useful to address veganism as a social movement. That seems like it would be a useful angle with which to describe veganism. I find many sources upon initial searching, such as Veganism as a Cultural Movement: A Relational Approach in Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest. SageRad (talk) 16:24, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, that's one of the best papers. I started a sandbox with this in mind a long time ago; maybe I'll get back to it when the chaos subsides. --Sammy1339 (talk) 16:27, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Break 4[edit]

I just added definitions from 4 mainstream vegan websites, none of which mention commodity status. These were the first results in google by the way, so there probably are plenty I missed. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 01:20, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

The lead should obviously only say "rejects exploitation of animals" instead of "commodity of animals". --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 01:24, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

It could have "opposes" instead of "rejects" as well. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:26, 31 January 2016 (UTC)


This edit added vegan societies and other websites. These are not reliable sources for anything other than their own activities (e.g. their history), or for issues where no other source is available and the matter is not contentious, medical, etc. For the issue at hand ("associated philosophy"), we need academic or similarly high-quality sources. SarahSV (talk) 01:25, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

You refuse mainstream sources and only push extremely fringe sources that were published by either a fringe academian or not by an academian at all? I shall thus then remove any such I see and add numerous dubious source tags to the article. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 01:32, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
You wrote above that you had added four vegan websites, the "first results in google." What is, for example? And we've already said multiple times that we can't start the article with a Vegan Society definition.
This isn't the way to do research, especially not when discussing philosophy. We need academic sources for that point. SarahSV (talk) 01:39, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
You are you using brief mentions of some academic stating that they are an ethical vegan and then later 2 paragraphs later than they don't think of their pet as a commodity as a source for the definition of veganism altogether. This is as cherry-picked and badly sourced as it can get. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 01:44, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Also, you state that Vegan Society can't be used but it's currently used as a source multiple times in the article? What? And I searched this page for any discussion about it and apparently in sammy's view Vegan Society is trying to push some view? What? It's a view all the dictionaries agree with? Instead again we are using brief diary-like mentions as sources to push the claim that vegans reject the propertyhood of animals. It seems I'll need to use a journal finder for some academic to not include commodity in the definition. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 02:08, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Here is a paper that says half the vegans from a study followed Vegan Society's definition for vegan. The rest? They were even LOOSER in their veganism: "Half of the vegans in Cherry's study followed the Vegan Society's strict definition of veganism while the other half created a personal definition that allowed for more transgressions such as eating honey or dairy". Again, Vegan Society doesn't include "commodity status" or propertyship. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 02:11, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Here is another paper which mentions Vegan Society and talks about the definition for veganism. Again, Vegan Society is presented as the more hardcore. And again, even they don't include commodity status or propertyship. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 02:17, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Here is a third paper which uses Vegan Society's as its basis. Fourth one here which defines veganism as mainly about animal products and points out a Vegan Society quote. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 02:26, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Mr. Magoo and McBarker The first source you cite is referring to the second one, by Cherry. That's an ethnographic study of a non-random sample of 24 vegans, which uses the phrase "the Vegan Society definition" to mean the list of products vegans should not use according to the Vegan Society. Notice how some of the respondents said they used some animal product but still considered themselves vegan due to their philosophical disposition. The fourth paper is about vegetarianism broadly, and is not a great source here. The third pretty clearly explains the main sticking point of this discussion:

Empirical sociological studies of vegans are rare (McDonald 2000; Cole 2008). When vegans are present as research participants, they are usually treated as a subset of vegetarians and their veganism tends to be viewed as a form of dietary asceticism involving exceptional efforts of self-transformation (see for example Beardsworth and Keil 2004). However, research also reveals the prominence of animal rights2 as a motivation for many vegetarians (Amato and Partridge 1989; Beardsworth and Keil 1992, 1993, 1997). Given the subsumption of vegans among a larger group of vegetarians in much of the research literature, the importance of animal rights as a particular motivation for vegans is underexplored. When vegans are researched specifically, animal rights clearly emerges as the primary motivation (McDonald et al. 1999; McDonald 2000; Larsson et al. 2003). It is therefore plausible to assert that on the basis of existing evidence, veganism is understood by most vegans (though not necessarily in these terms) as an aspect of anti-speciesist practice. However, the focus on diet, and specifically on dietary ‘restriction’, in much of the extant literature, tends to perpetuate a veganism-as-deviance model that fosters academic misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the meaning of veganism for vegans (Cole 2008).

In other words, most vegans are ethical vegans, and the presentation of veganism as a philosophy in addition to a diet is correct. --Sammy1339 (talk) 05:49, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • The first one does refer to the second one but has its own study as well, which you probably didn't notice. And yes, many vegans still use animal products that are gathered without harming the animals, like milk.
  • Third one's ethical veganism differs from Francione's kind. In reality ethical veganism is the general veganism, but to veganarchists all ethical veganism has to be veganarchism, because to them there is no ethical veganism without veganarchism. And the third one doesn't mention commodity status and property anywhere, just like all of these. Commodity status is not a part of mainstream ethical veganism.
  • Fourth's about vegetarianism but it talks about veganism as well. Your sources are laughably worse than this.
  • No, you just came up with that from the top of your head.
  • And lastly, these were only sources about Vegan Society. Wait a while, I'll hand you the normal defining ones. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:01, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't really understand everything you're saying. What do you mean "my sources" - I just referred to yours. I also don't know why we keep coming back to Francione, since I didn't bring him up. --Sammy1339 (talk) 06:10, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Francione is the singular source used to define ethical veganism to be about commodity status. No other source clarifies it. I tried removing most of them because they're not even about veganism but animal rights. The other two notable ones has academics define them as ethical vegans AND then state that they oppose commodity status. Those two could simply be veganarchists who don't know the term. And even Francione above in other context wrote that it's about opposition to animal products rather, and also wrote that commodity status is on the periphery of the debate. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:17, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

My suggestion is replace "and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals" with "and an associated philosophy that rejects the exploitation of animals". The commodity article can be linked to below in the body where it talks about it. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 01:57, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

In fact there might be an article for animal exploitation so that could be linked to instead in the lead. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 02:01, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

I would have no problem saying "an associated philosophy that rejects the exploitation and commodity status of animals." But (a) we can't use websites as sources for something like this. Vegan societies argue a lot about this issue and fall out with each other. We need academics to provide an overview. And (b) the commodity status is important, because exploitation is not the only issue. Lots of people reject exploitation. But the issue for ethical vegans is not simply one of how animals are treated, as I explained to you above with the slavery analogy. It is about animals as property and objects of trade. SarahSV (talk) 02:32, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm finding numerous academic papers which define it but which don't mention commodity status or propertyhood or anything alike anywhere. Your only actual source "defining" it so is a brief quip from a radical veganarchist, Francione, who is defined by most sources as radical. And even him in another context defined it as only rejecting animal products. And even in another source said that commodity status is in the periphery of the debate. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 02:43, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Laughable hypocrisy. Now you restored your sources which don't even have anything to do with the text they're supposed to cite after just removing 4 of my sources from general vegan societies because "not reliable". --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 03:16, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

In addition I'm finding sources which talk only about abolitionist veganism in relation to the commodity status. Abolition is they odd keyword you used before, right? It's so plainly a fringe sect. Why is it being attributed to the general concept of rejecting animal products known as veganism? There is no other term for rejecting animal products.

Here are dictionary definitions for veganism and vegan:

a person who does not eat any food that comes from animals and who often also does not use animal products (such as leather)

A vegetarian who eats plant products only, especially one who uses no products derived from animals, as fur or leather.

1. a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet. 2. a person who does not use any animal products, as leather or wool.

A person who does not eat or use animal products:

a ​person who does not ​eat or use any ​animal ​products, such as ​meat, ​fish, ​eggs, ​cheese, or ​leather

a person who refrains from using any animal product whatever for food, clothing, or any other purpose

a person who does not eat any animal products such as meat, milk or eggs. Some vegans do not use animal products such as silk or leather.

If you’re a vegan, you’re a strict vegetarian, and you don’t eat anything that comes from an animal — not even eggs or dairy. Most vegans also avoid using animal products like wool and leather.e

--Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 02:37, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

That's even how our infobox defines it as:


Elimination of the use of animal products, particularly in diet"

I also looked at the history of this article and the commodity status wasn't originally next to general vegans but only next to ethical vegans: diff 1 and diff 2. The person who did these lead edits has been blocked a massive 4 times for edit warring on this very article and possibly has a permanent ban from editing this article ever again. And in addition he used Vegan Society as a source for this edit but there was nothing about commodity in the quotes he provided, he was just ORing it. This is originally a complete OR addition from a hardcore edit warrer. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 03:04, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

"Exploitation" versus "commodity status"[edit]

What are people's views on what "exploitation" means in this context? It's a term that's been coming up a lot. A dictionary definition is use or utilization, especially for profit. When vegans say they oppose "exploitation of animals", is this substantively different from saying that they oppose commercial use of animals? Or equivalently, that they oppose the state of affairs in which animals are commodities? I've been operating under the impression that we use the wording "commodity status" for two reasons: (1) it lacks the polemical connotations of "exploitation", and therefore might be perceived as more neutral, and (2) it is a little less vague, as "exploitation" applied to a living being can also suggest abuse - using "exploitation" might give readers the false impression that veganism was based in a desire for free range eggs and so on, where the animals are treated "fairly" in some sense. Is this assessment wrong? --Sammy1339 (talk) 06:04, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

I appreciate this question, Sammy1339. I think "exploitation" is a very fitting word that carries a similar connotation to "commodification" -- for both imply that the suffering and the rights or will of the object is undermined for the profit of a dominating party. I think this is a large part of the definition of "veganism" in most people's minds and as it's socially understood by vegans and non-vegans. As for what you call "polemical connotations", i think this is sort of what Martin Hogbin's been trying to say for a long time now, as well. I think that stating the phrase in Wikivoice may endorse it as a real thing, which we may want to do, but if not then it could be phrased as "what many see as... (exploitation (or) commodification)" to put it into a frame and not directly as Wikivoice. SageRad (talk) 14:54, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Suggestion for lead:

Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that opposes the exploitation and harming of animals. A follower of veganism is known as a vegan.

--Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:28, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

If people like this then the above RfC can be solved and at least I'll rescind my vote around. This version seems to fit most people's demands. If this is agreed then I'll request closure for the RfC on the admin's noticeboard myself. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:33, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
It seems vague and I don't think most readers will understand what "exploitation" means in this context. --Sammy1339 (talk) 06:38, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
But do you think they understand even a little bit of what "commodity status" means? That's the point. No, that's just one of the points. Not even people here understand what it exactly means, let alone a casual reader. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 06:40, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
I think the above proposal is an improvement, and we should implement it. Although 'exploitation' is better than 'commodity status', I think it still is polemical. But maybe that is unavoidable?? TonyClarke (talk) 09:36, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
How about ...either oppose exploitation or commodification of animals., that would include both moderate and radical viewpoints. Additionally, it doesn't imply some sort of legal status which I'm not sure is the correct terminology? Jonpatterns (talk) 12:29, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
I think the advantage of "commodity status" to describe the philosophy is that it is directly, logically connected to the practice of abstaining from purchasing animal products. Necessarily, somebody who buys leather is okay with buying and selling pigs and cows (a commodity is an object of trade), and someone who doesn't, isn't.
However, "opposes exploitation" is almost as good a criterion, and may be more familiar to readers who have heard about Sexual exploitation of children or Exploitation of women in mass media. Such readers would understand "exploitation" to mean something like "being used for a purpose to which they would not consent", which meshes at least with Kantian animal-rights philosophies. That said, Kantians are a minority of pro-vegan philosophers, and there was consensus above (including from Martin) that the consensus of vegan philosophers was the right place to look for a definition of vegan philosophy. FourViolas (talk) 14:18, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The above wording is absolutely unacceptable, for reasons which might not be obvious to vegans. Vegans often erroneously equate their particular practices with non-harm to animals, which is disputed by other groups; for example Jains do not eat potatoes, onions, or garlic because animals might be harmed when these are harvested, but vegans have no such restrictions. There is a notable argument by Davis to the effect that a diet based on grains kills more animals than one based on grass-fed beef - the argument is wrong in multiple respects and has been refuted, but became something of a popular myth. Nevertheless it didn't convince vegans to eat grass-fed beef. Just like (as SlimVirgin notes above) abolitionists who oppose slavery even if it means slaves will starve, vegans, by their words and actions, oppose commercial use of animals.

The problem with this wording, with the vague "exploitation" and non-harm language, is illustrated by the severe misunderstanding its proposer has: he thinks vegans may drink milk, as he states in his first reply to me in this section. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:56, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Like I wrote, some vegans do drink milk which is produced in safe and hospitable, "organic" dairy farms. The reason most vegans don't is because most dairy farms don't treat the cows well. That is why our lead clarifies "especially ones gained from harming the animal".
And also, you seem to oppose any change whatsoever. I think it would be safe to say that you are on the extreme end here and the coming compromise will obviously not satisfy you but will satisfy a hefty amount of people other than you. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 01:20, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
This is simply not true according to any reliable, scholarly definition of veganism. You don't have to take my word for it: look at the article, and these encyclopedia definitions. People who don't eat meat but drink milk they consider to have been ethically produced are called "ethical lacto-vegetarians". FourViolas (talk) 02:00, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Because there didn't use to exist any sort of a concept of a certified safe, organic dairy farm. And "ethical lacto-vegetarian" is to "ethical vegan" as "dietary vegan" is to "vegetarian". I don't think there's a difference. Your definitions also specify that it's about ending harm and exploitation. That's precisely it.
This is the first definition you gave above:
Veganism is a practical philosophy oriented toward living without directly or indirectly harming or exploiting animals, and actively seeking to end that harm and exploitation where it exists. Veganism is most commonly associated with eschewing foods of animal origin.
--Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 02:21, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

And now it's quiet here. Neither cares to explain how their tag team edit warring is sourced when FourViolas even provided and pointed a source to the contrary. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 02:39, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Is there some discussion on some other forum that I'm supposed to know about? --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 02:45, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

(edit conflict)See the note on the ref for that statement. One of the quotes includes entertainment animals. It should be "use of animals" not "use of animal products". --Sammy1339 (talk) 02:46, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict)But that is entertainment, not all use. If you want to specify entertainment, then do so. There is no source for "all use". We've even been through this and agreed that veganism is not opposed to pet ownership. SlimVirgin agreed on that... --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 02:53, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

I would support this wording because it is closer to what is used by various vegan organisations. The UK Vegan Society, where veganism originated uses:

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.[49]

this wording dates back to when the society became a charity in 1979.

The American Vegan Society has

American Vegan Society is a nonprofit organization that promotes, supports, and explores a compassionate, healthful, and sustainable lifestyle. The diet is entirely plant-sourced, varied and abundant. For ethical, health, environmental, and other reasons we reject all animal products in food, clothing, and commodities. We refuse to exploit animals for sport, entertainment, and experimentation. ...[50]

The Movement for Compassionate Living has

A way of life that is free of the exploitation and slaughter of sentient beings, that is possible for all the world's people and that is sustainable within the resources of the planet.[51]

Other vegan groups also use the word exploitation somewhere in their aims. Vegfam[52] Vegan Organic Network [53].

If you want the definitive definition of veganism you have to look to the groups which define it. Especially the Vegan Society, not some parts of the academic literature who take this definition and intellectualize it.--Salix alba (talk): 02:52, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

(edit conflict)I'm sorry, Mr. Magoo and McBarker, I don't know what your analogy is supposed to mean: an ethical lacto-vegetarian is somebody who eats no meat but drinks milk for ethical reasons, an ethical vegan is someone who uses no animal products for ethical reasons, a dietary vegan is someone who eats no animal products for health reasons, and a vegetarian is someone who eats no meat.
As for your attempts to add that vegans "especially [oppose animal products] gained from harming the animal"; you might argue that that is a consequence of the above definition, but the other encyclopedias specify
"avoid all animal products including dairy",
"avoiding all meat products as well as foods from animal sources",
"refuse to use all animal products", and
"also means excluding fish, dairy produce, or eggs."
Then there are all the quotes from the sources in the article supporting that sentence, which do not mention any distinction between more or less "unethical" animal products. It seems to me that WP:WEIGHT is clear unless you have a dozen encyclopedias up your sleeve. I'm sorry you feel we're tag-teaming you. FourViolas (talk) 02:53, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict)I didn't state that ONLY those from harming the animals. I stated especially. I mean in addition to milk you have wool. The same reasons of unethical treatment apply there. But sheep need to be sheared or they will die. There are numerous examples of sheep that have escaped and have had their woolly fur grown to a behemoth size, not suitable for living obviously if you'll look at some pictures of these. If you shear a sheep you get the wool. In that case it would be ethical to wear it, would it not? --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 03:00, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
@Mr. Magoo and McBarker: Why are you changing the ref styles now? Your changes introduced a visible typo if you mouse over one of the references in the infobox. --Sammy1339 (talk) 02:56, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Fixed. It pains my eyes to see an untemplated reference when it takes literally a minute to change it when everything needed is already there. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 03:03, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(edit conflict)@Salix alba: Regarding the issue of substance here, there is absolutely no way we can use the "exploitation" wording, even though vegans might prefer this. It's both vague, as illustrated by Mr. Magoo's confusion concerning milk, and non-neutral, because of the connotations alluded to by 4V. It does not clearly express what vegans oppose, except to vegan ears. This is why we use secondary source definitions.

What vegans oppose, per RS, is the commercial use of animals, plus their deliberate killing for human purposes such as entertainment or food. Both of these are encapsulated by commodity status of animals, which is a neutral and well-defined term, unlike "animal exploitation", which is neither.

Also, not that it matters much, the American Vegan Society's "we reject all animal products in food, clothing, and commodities. We refuse to exploit animals for sport, entertainment, and experimentation" pretty much encapsulates rejection of animals' commodity status. We just can't use this kind of expansive rhetoric. --Sammy1339 (talk) 03:08, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

"even though vegans might prefer this" That says everything about your argument. After that you argue it's vague. Again, it's much less vague than "commodity status", which is even more connotated than exploitation. Again, commodity status is worse on both counts. Vegans are not sourced to oppose commercial use of animals. The only source stating so at the moment is Francione who at other instance defined veganism as rejection of animal products and said commodity status is on the periphery of the debate. And Vegan Society's definition would be much better fit with the exploitation term because they do not refer to commodity status but being chopped and turned into clothing and similar commodities. You came up with any sort of a link there from the top of your head. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 03:13, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Sammy, per the essays WP:Academic bias and WP:MAINSTREAM. Using vegan groups' language is an attractively simple option, but could easily be accused of being partisan or WP:Soapboxy. FourViolas (talk) 03:16, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
But all the academics you site are radical vegans. And commodity status is more partisan than exploitation. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 03:19, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Can you provide sources for either of those statements? FourViolas (talk) 03:24, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
I'll make a new section for that. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 03:30, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Currently all sources for "commodity status" are radical vegans[edit]

There are only three viable sources to begin with and only one of them, Francione, actually defines ethical veganism to be about commodity status, but in an other instance above he wrote that ethical veganism is about not wearing or using animal products. And in another instance he wrote that the commodity status is on the periphery of the debate. The other two merely define themselves as ethical vegans and also state that they oppose commodity status. In addition all three sources seem to be radical vegans even if they are academics. Completely biased and untrustworthy sources.

In addition, like Sammy wrote: "Regarding Francione, he completely equates abolitionism with veganism and favors phasing pet species out of existence - I can provide numerous sources for that if you want."

Currently commodity status is completely unsourced in relation general veganism and has more to do with Abolitionism, Animal rights and Veganarchism.

My suggestion for the lead was:

"Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that opposes the exploitation and harming of animals. A follower of veganism is known as a vegan."

--Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 03:33, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Mr. Magoo, I'm trying to be as respectful as possible, but you've written a great deal on this talk page (over 100 edits in the past two days) and it's apparent you have a basic misunderstanding of the subject matter. You also seem to be suggesting that we Wikipedia editors are all veganarchists or otherwise radical vegans who are trying to hijack veganism from regular milk-drinking vegans. This makes the conversation very difficult. --Sammy1339 (talk) 03:45, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
That's just a bunch of untruths and a personal attack. You have nothing in your sleeve against the claims in this section so the only trick you can pull anymore is attack me personally. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 03:48, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
I'll refer to 4V's opinion from Talk:Veganism/Archive_12#Academic_sources_and_.22Property_status.22: That's a wide range of different perspectives on different aspects of veganism, and I think it shows the current definition (and lede in general) is just fine. You're right that the "commodity" language only comes up in animal ethics literature, but almost all sources try to describe the associated philosophy in the definition, and it makes sense to use philosophers' words to describe the philosophy part. --Sammy1339 (talk) 03:55, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
In your link provided only one of the 6 provided definitions mentioned commodity. Guess who wrote that definition: Gary Francione. In fact it is THE source I'm talking about. You are basing commodity on a single source.
Two of the ones in the link mention exploitation:
Veganism is a practical philosophy oriented toward living without directly or indirectly harming or exploiting animals, and actively seeking to end that harm and exploitation where it exists. Veganism is most commonly associated with eschewing foods of animal origin.
Vegans eat no animal products at all. While not eating meat, this also means excluding [etc etc]. Most also choose to avoid animal products in other areas of their lives….There are ethical, compassionate, environmental, and health reasons for veganism. Some people believe that all animal exploitation is wrong, no matter how well the animals are treated.
--Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 03:58, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Smulewicz-Zucker. --Sammy1339 (talk) 04:01, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Nothing to do with veganism let alone definition of it. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:03, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
This one identifies vegan philosophy as being opposed to the "existing property status of animals" and argues against this position. --Sammy1339 (talk) 04:15, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
No, it doesn't really. It identifies people having "personal vegan philosophies". Even added is "It must be realized by all that there is a key difference between personal philosophy and political reality." It doesn't identify all of veganism. And the person who wrote that bit is David Favre. Even though he disagrees and owns a farm with "sheep, chickens and the usual assortment of dogs and cats" he's still an animal rights activist... --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:37, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
In addition I found an interview featuring him with a clearer description of his view of veganism:
Veganism can create a lot of debate. When this topic comes out in the class how do you control this debate in a way that anybody will feel like is being judged, while at the same time respecting the different point of views of your students?
If somebody brings it up I try to not let it become personal, and make it a public policy question and say that veganism is sometimes a very appropriate outcome and sometimes not. That really it’s not whether or not you’re a vegan, it’s what do you think about the killing of animals for food and the conditions under which the animals lived and died? That’s where there’s a great big schism, because some people believe that there should not be any killing of animals ever, regardless of their life. Other people believe that if animals have a good life, then the death might be justifiable or acceptable for purposes of eating. I asked the students when we do the chicken stuff, the question I always ask is well “do you know where that came from?” and if you don’t, aren’t you worried that bad things were imposed upon these animals to get them to the food store? And maybe you should be more selective in what you can do, and if you’re not maybe you shouldn’t eat that meat.
To him veganism seems to be about not harming animals. --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 04:50, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm sorry, Mr Magoo and McBarker, I asked you to provide evidence to support your claim that the academics Helena Pedersen, Vasile Staescu, Gary Steiner, Gary Francione (who is explicitly contrasted with veganarchism in the only RS discussing both, your assertions notwithstanding), Kathryn Gillespie, Rosemary-Claire Collard, Gregory R. Smulewicz-Zucker, Rhoda Wilkie, and David N. Cassuto are "all radical vegans"; and to support your claim that "commodity status of animals" is "more partisan" than "animal exploitation". Could you please do that? FourViolas (talk) 20:02, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
I wrote Francione is an abolitionist. Veganism =/= abolitionism. And Pedersen & Vasile also state that they are vegan because they oppose capitalism. Pedersen&Vasile are absolutely, 100% confusing veganism with veganarchism. Kathryn Gillespie, Rosemary-Claire Collard, Gregory R. Smulewicz-Zucker, Rhoda Wilkie, and David N. Cassuto are about animal rights in general and not about veganism, like the mention above them says. I tried cutting them out because they are completely unusable as sources in this article. Steiner defines ethical veganism to be about products so that's about it for him. And lastly, you yourself provided definitions which were about exploitation. Did you have anything else? --Mr. Magoo and McBarker (talk) 23:32, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Civil discussion - Let us do it![edit]

As of Sun, 14 Feb 2016 02:48:12 +0000

30 days elapsed
17 threads created

Winston Churchill famously said 'To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war'. How about we try to discuss (yes again!) the issues that we disagree on?

Aparently, he really said, 'Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war'. Same idea though. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:12, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Please, would one of those who insist on having the phrase 'commodity status of animals' in the lead tell me, in a sentence or two, what they intend that phrase to mean. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:55, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Viriditas, rather than adding a quote box would it not be easier to just anwer the question. It is a very simple question, obviously relevant to improving the article, to which I have never got a straight answer. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:15, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

(edit conflict)As I wrote earlier:
The boxed quotes I typed above show that most high-profile pro-vegan philosophers reject animals' status as property (=legal nonpersons under the control of legal persons). The sources in the footnote [54] show that some vegan philosphers more specifically object to animals' status as commodities (=property which can be bought and sold), and one RS argues that some who say the former really mean the latter. In any case they all agree on the latter. Therefore [vegan philosophy] can be described as associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. This is sufficient to define it as well, because (except for blanket anticapitalists), only ethical vegans have a philosophical objection to the fact that animals can be commercially traded.
The basic idea is this: commodity status of animals, as explained in the article you wanted to delete, refers to the fact that animals are objects of trade, things which can be bought and sold as property. People who try never to buy animal products on principle obviously have some kind of problem with animals as objects of trade; that's tautologically true.
As has been discussed, we could get at very similar ideas by referring to an objection to "animal exploitation" instead. This would be easier to understand, but in my opinion has minor problems. It has less WEIGHT in the academic literature, being instead the preferred terminology of animal-rights advocacy groups; and, while the fact that animals are commodities is indisputably factual, per the UN and all kinds of people, the idea that they are "exploited" is more subjective, and the last thing we need here is an opportunity for more subjective disputes.
Speaking of which, I must respectfully decline to continue conversation unless you begin, finally, to propose alternative wordings supported by adequately weighty RS. FourViolas (talk) 13:23, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
FourViolas, thank you for your response but it is not quite what I asked for, which I think is quite reasonable. I asked, 'in a sentence or two, what they intend that phrase to mean'.
Are you saying that 'commodity status of animals' means simply that animals are 'objects of trade, things which can be bought and sold as property', or is there more to it than that?
I see no reason for me to provide sources just to ask what the phrase is intended to mean. Once that is clear we can discuss possible alternatives, with sources. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:31, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── That quote box seems like it's uncivil to me. Sometimes things do indeed take a lot of discussion. This does not feel like Martin is being onerous or is filibustering, or drowning us in a sea of words for the sake of drowning us. It seems like it's a subject with many fine points and it's worth discussing. I do understand what Martin is getting at here. It seems like a good question for the purpose of collectively editing the article. SageRad (talk) 14:32, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

I think the problems with this conversation are amply illustrated by this edit of TonyClarke's, which inserted an inline external link to the Vegan Society website. Some vegans would prefer this article described their favorite brand of veganism, in the manner in which activist groups like to describe it. "Animal exploitation" is a common phrase. But if a group declares that it is for "the liberation of the Abkhazian people" (I made this phrase up) Wikipedia might describe it as an Abkhazian separatist group.
The irony of this is that Martin has been promoting the completely unsupported and frankly silly idea that commodity status of animals is somehow vegan rhetoric. Actually it's the most neutral way to describe what vegans are opposed to. It describes exactly what's written in the stub linked, and no one was confused about its meaning before Martin told them they were.
The necessity of using this phrase, and not the charged "exploitation" language, is further illustrated by Mr. Magoo's confusion. Vegans may know which practices are "exploitative," but non-vegans may not.
I think this is clearly illustrated in the case of insects. Many vegans do not use honey, because they oppose the exploitation of honeybees. Yet I recall seeing Bruce Friedrich ask a packed room full of vegans how many ate only organic food. I believe one hand went up. How can all the no-honey vegans present justify consuming food made with insecticides, which kill mind-boggling numbers of insects every year? It makes no sense until you consider what vegans are actually about: the bees are used, deliberately, for human purposes; this is permitted because of their commodity status. For the same reason, vegans do not typically refrain from throwing things in the garbage because rodents are crushed in landfills. Commercial use of animals might be close to the mark, but vegans also oppose hunting, which is also covered by commodity status of animals (see Pierson v. Post.)
That, and it's well supported by the sources, as has been explained at length. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:38, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Sammy, in order to make progress, all I and doing at this stage is to ask a question. What exactly is 'commodity status of animals' intended to mean. FourViolas has given me the answer, 'animals are objects of trade, things which can be bought and sold as property'. Is that what you take the phrase to mean? Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:50, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
@Martin Hogbin: I think it means exactly what it says in commodity status of animals, a stub which I'm sure you have already read. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:52, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Are you saying that the meaning of the phrase is complex and that it cannot be described in one sentence? Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:44, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Alright, I'll copy it for you: The commodity status of animals refers to the legal status as property of most non-human animals, particularly farmed animals, working animals and animals in sport, and their use as objects of trade. --Sammy1339 (talk) 18:09, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I am really happy to see good dialog here. I see this as a complex and useful question. Because the phrase is linked to an article, that does provide a definition of the term. However, the term may have other connotations as plain language. Links are read as both text and as the content of the link, by various readers. Another example would be the use of the phrase fad diet (which was a real question at Paleolithic diet) -- wherein the words "fad diet" may differ to the common reader from what is defined in the article itself. I do hear in "commodity status of animals" mainly the property status and the selling and buying of animals, but i also do hear the objectification, you might say commodification, of animals as objects that can be used without ethical qualms (or with less than if they're viewed as beings). So... i hear both meanings in there, and i think both actually apply. I don't hear it as "vegan rhetoric" though i do hear it as sort of academic language in the philosophy of oppression field. Anyway, i like the term but i don't want to deny that there is more to the term than simply that animals are seen as property that can be bought and sold. There are implications about objectification in that, to me. SageRad (talk) 18:39, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

I recall that this was why prefer "commodity status" to "commodification". But to the extent that you feel it still carries connotations of objectification (which I don't hear in this phrase, personally) I wonder if this is POV or just fact. Aren't commodity animals literally objectified - "treated as an object or thing as though they were a possession of another"? The POV issues don't really concern whether we present this fact - animals are indeed "objectified", pretty unequivocally, I think - it has to do with perceptions of whether animals should be objectified. Nothing in the phrase "commodity status of animals" indicates anything for or against that proposition. (By the way, in case anyone accuses me of sneakiness, I did just now add animals to the definition of objectification, which is well-supported in the literature on human-animal relations.) --Sammy1339 (talk) 19:08, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
SageRad, yes, it carries within it the idea of objectification. If you buy a human being as a slave, you're objectifying that person; you're denying the personhood of that being. Sammy and Sage, I'm not sure how that could be seen as a separate idea from commodification.
The phrase "commodity status of animals" is neutral. Most people agree with this status, and we've shown that academics who have nothing to do with veganism discuss animals as commodities. The United Nations discusses animals as commodities. The markets discuss animals as commodities. The fuss that has been generated here is fake. SarahSV (talk) 23:42, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
The phrase "commodity status of animals" is not the least bit neutral, neither is is clear in meaning. As Mr. Magoo and McBarker has pointed out above it is used almost exclusively in extreme animal rights literature. The UN does not ever use the term 'commodity status' it merely classifies animals as a type of commodity for shipping and similar purposes. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:51, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Sammy, so why do we not say 'Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and rejection of the legal status of of most non-human animals as property, particularly farmed animals, working animals and animals in sport, and their use as objects of trade'? Then our readers would know what we mean. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:09, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Better still would be: 'Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet. Some vegans also reject the legal status of of most non-human animals as property, particularly farmed animals, working animals and animals in sport, and their use as objects of trade'? Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:17, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
I find it amazing how you can take so many different positions simultaneously. As we have been through many times, veganism is identified by many, many RS as a "philosophy" - a missing word in your solution, and your attempt to separate ethical veganism as though it were just a fringe group within regular veganism is, again, not supported. I'll return to an analogy I made before: how about we define Judaism by saying "Jews are an ethnic group. Some Jews also believe in God." It obfuscates the origin and the main point of the topic. I reiterate that most vegans are ethical vegans, veganism is often used synonymously with ethical veganism, and veganism had its origins in this "philosophy". --Sammy1339 (talk) 19:25, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Can we stick to discussing the article content please. How about 'Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet. Some vegans also have a philosophy that rejects legal status of of most non-human animals as property, particularly farmed animals, working animals and animals in sport, and their use as objects of trade'?
We would, of course, need a good quality source that clearly indicates that vegans do have the stated philosophy.
You also need a source to support your claim that, 'most vegans are ethical vegans' and that 'veganism is often used synonymously with ethical veganism'. If that is indeed true I find it somewhat puzzling that no major vegan orgaisation describes veganism that way. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:46, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
As for the first claim, this study found 82% of people following a vegan diet did so for ethical reasons, and this one found 81%. As for the second, here are a few papers discussing "veganism" which really only apply to ethical veganism: [55] [56] [57] [58] [59]. FourViolas (talk) 13:23, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I will have a look at your sources but even 82% is not enough to write the article as if all vegans are ethical vegans. We could certainly say 'Most vegans also...' though. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:50, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Hoffman et al[edit]

I have had a quick look at the Hoffman paper. I agree that it is a good quality RS but I do not think it can be used to say that 82% of vegans object to the commodity status (as defined above) of animals. The problem is that, although the reasons for becoming vegan are given as 'ethical' it is not clear exactly what 'ethical' means. One example question that they asked was whether, ‘‘I eat this way for the animals’’. That is certainly an ethical reason but it is a far cry from a 'philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals' (as defined above). It could just be that the respondents objected to some intensive farming practices.

General discussion[edit]

Even with your interpretation, the one thing that the sources do make clear is that not all vegans are ethical vegans and not all vegans reject the so called 'commodity status of animals'. I am perfectly happy that vegans discuss amongst themselves exactly what proportion of vegans are what I will call 'full on ethical' and whether we should say 'Some vegans also...', 'A few vegans also...', or 'Most vegans also...'. What is clear though is that we cannot say, or imply, that all vegans have a philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals, as defined by Sammy above. Your own sources clearly show that that assertion is false. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:11, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Don't misrepresent my opinion. I never said we should imply that "all" are ethical vegans. See my comparison to Judaism above.
Please also read WP:REHASH and stop creating new sections and subsections to discuss the same issues. --Sammy1339 (talk) 15:22, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I create subheadings to make editing easier and to separate topics.
I agree that this seems to be a rehash. Remember my six encyclopedia definitions demonstrating that veganism should be defined as a practice and an associated philosophy? You accepted that conclusion above.[60] FourViolas (talk) 18:04, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
FourViolas, your own sources just above clearly show that all vegans are not ethical vegans. I have never accted that all vegans are ethical vegans. Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:19, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Sammy, I am not representing anything. The first sentence of this article implies that all vegans are ethical vegans, that is why I and many other want to change it. Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:19, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

So, what is wrong with, ' 'Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet. Most vegans also reject the legal status of of most non-human animals as property, particularly farmed animals, working animals and animals in sport, and their use as objects of trade'? It is your suggested wording from your chosen reliable sources but it also makes quite clear to the general reader exctly what is meant and does not suggest that all vegans are ethical vegans, which your own sources show to be the case. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:52, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Martin, the first sentence says that veganism is (emphasis added) "both [both denotes two things] the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals."
That is, veganism is not just one kind of thing. It is at least two kinds of thing. The next paragraph goes into more detail. The first and second paragraphs should be read together.
The puzzling thing is that when Sammy noticed that someone had inadvertently removed the word both, and he restored it, you removed it again, which suggests that you wanted the lead to imply that veganism was only one kind of thing.
Ditto when an SPA removed "particularly in diet" and inserted the British Vegan Society definition, and Flyer reverted the SPA, you restored the SPA's version. The British Vegan Society are ethical vegans, and arguably represent a particularly purist version of it.
Yet now you argue that you do not want the lead to represent only ethical veganism.
If you want the first sentence to say that there are (broadly) two approaches to veganism – those who focus on avoiding animal products, particularly when it comes to food, and others who adhere to a broader philosophy about the status of animals – that is what it currently says. SarahSV (talk) 17:16, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
SV, as you will see from the response to the RfC the sentence, 'Vegamism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals', is clearly ambiguous. You know what you mean to say but many readers understand it differently.
What exactly do you object to in my wording? Not only is it perfectly and unabiguously clear that not all vegans are concerned about, 'the commodity status of animals' but it also explains, in clear and agreed language from sources what that phrase means. What possible objection could there be to that? Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:30, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Mass deletion/mass revert -apologies[edit]

I would like to explain a mass revert of mine yesterday.[61] I re-instated a mass deletion made by @TonyClarke:. I made 2 mistakes in my revert. First, I said Tony made deletions on the Talk Page; He had not - I apologise for making an incorrect statement. Perhaps we/I can get an admin to change that edit summary. Second, when I made the mass revert, I did this because I believed the mass deletion was all visible content related to a statement which is currently under (heated) discussion. I did not at the time understand much of this was invisible content/code deleted by Tony. I still don't know whether this deletion should be allowed to stand or not, but my own reasons for making the deletion were incorrect and I apologise for that. Tony, I am in no way trying to shift the blame to you here, but perhaps in the future, it might be easier for others if you made deletions of visible content and invisible content in two separate edits with 2 edit summaries. Just an idea. It might help editors like me who carry on working way past their bed-time! Sorry to all for any inconvenience.DrChrissy (talk) 13:44, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Hi DrChrissy, no need to apologize. Tony removed the sentence part that is the subject of the RfC, plus its academic sources, swapped it for a phrase used by the British Vegan Society, and added an embedded link to their website. He also removed the second paragraph of the lead, which explains that there are different kinds of veganism. None of what he removed was invisible. SarahSV (talk) 00:49, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Good source for "Becoming mainstream" section[edit]

I came across this NY Times article. I think it could be a good source for a little more development in the "Becoming mainstream" section. Wonder if others agree and if so, what's the main point to be gleaned from it for content? In general it supports the claim that veganism has become more attractive and has a better image of late. i also note that some in the article prefer to say "plant-oriented" to avoid "the V word". Many elements about veganism as a social phenom. SageRad (talk) 11:17, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

I cannot see how an article on a new cookbook supports the assertion that veganism is becoming mainstream. I am not sure what thate term means anyway. When does a minority activity become mainstream? Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:03, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
If the source is RS, it does not matter whether the subject matter is a cookbook or an article on the diet of astronauts. Is the author reliable? Is the publisher reliable? Those are the questions we should be asking. As for "When does a minority activity become mainstream?" - it become "mainstream" when we have an RS which says that. We might disagree, but to state that in a WP article we must provide an RS. It is not up to us as editors to decide these things.DrChrissy (talk) 16:14, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
There is much, much more in that article than a new cookbook. There is relevant cultural commentary. SageRad (talk) 16:31, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree that there's encyclopedic information in the article. Leaving aside all the sparkly anecdotes, I'd suggest the main point is something like: In recent years, proponents of veganism in America have promoted a welcoming and "glamorous" image to counter common impressions that veganism involves puritanical self-deprivation. I don't think the source supports the stronger claim that these efforts have necessarily succeeded: "veganism has been edging into the mainstream for years now" and "nonvegans seem less likely to be dismissive" are the closest I can find to that, and that's not much to go on. FourViolas (talk) 21:48, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
That sounds good to me. SageRad (talk) 15:00, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
' In recent years, proponents of veganism in America have promoted a welcoming and "glamorous" image to counter common impressions that veganism involves puritanical self-deprivation', is strictly factual and would be fine with me. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:32, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done then. FourViolas (talk) 01:31, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
FV, I hope you can see why I was happy to agree with that wording but strongly object to other things. That sentence was roughly of the form, 'Proponents of veganism say X, opponents of veganism say Y'. It does not try to state the vegan view in WP's voice. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:10, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Criticism of veganism?[edit]

A lot of pages and articles have a section dedicated to criticism of the topic. It is rather conspicuous by its absence from this article. Is there truly no criticism of veganism? (talk) 23:18, 5 February 2016 (UTC)Frank. O

I have suggested this before but been shot down in flames. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:55, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
See Talk:Veganism/Archive_10#.27Criticism.27_section Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:49, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I suggested it also, but I think the other editors were right to shoot it down, because separate criticism sections are no longer regarded as best practice per WP:CRITICISM. --Sammy1339 (talk) 16:31, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
WP:Criticism is not policy but just an essay by a handful of editors. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:16, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
True, but the policy WP:NPOV#Article structure all but says the same thing:
The policy also refers editors to WP:CRITICISM several times in footnotes, implying the essay is generally uncontroversial. Some reliable criticism is already incorporated into the article: e.g., "faux-leather is bad for the environment", "vegetarianism in nursing mothers has been tied to future B12-deficiency-mediated neurological problems", and "veganism wrongly fails to recognize everything's 'ecological embeddedness'". FourViolas (talk) 15:11, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
That policy does not in any way advise against a criticism section. These are found in mant WP articles. It does though say, 'Pay attention to headers, footnotes, or other formatting elements that might unduly favor one point of view, and watch out for structural or stylistic aspects that make it difficult for a reader to fairly and equally assess the credibility of all relevant and related viewpoints'. This article completely fails to present a NPOV in that respect. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:04, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
It just seems to me that while there may be criticism in the piece, it's buried. It isn't 'encyclopaedic' to do that, indeed it's about as unencyclopaedic as one can get. I've seen the occasional piece where this has happened and it's almost as if someone, somewhere, wants to keep any inconvenient facts or statements out of the casual eye. The whole point of an encyclopaedia is to stimulate thought, no? If this is the case, then it makes sense to have a concise centralised section with an overview of criticism. To fail to do this just strikes me as dishonest, against the spirit of wiki and frankly, downright wrong. (talk) 02:05, 9 February 2016 (UTC)Frank O.
Lots of people have lots of ideas about what encyclopedias are for and what Wikipedia should be. WP:POLICIES are those principles which we have decided, as a community, to prioritize when disagreement exists, in order to prevent endless bickering. Policy in this case is clearly recommends folding debates into the narrative of the article as a better way to achieve fairness and contextualize information appropriately. FourViolas (talk) 02:48, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

WP:Criticism States that while separate criticism sections should be avoided, sometimes they are necessary. I think this is an instance in which a separate criticism section is necessary. As it is, the article presents veganism as if it is an uncontrovesial topic. The word "criticism" is never used once in a challenge to veganism, and the word "controversy" never appears in the entire article. Criticism is underrepresented in this article, either as a separate section or as integrated content throughout the article. This is a violation of WP:NPOV --Iamozy (talk) 21:10, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Your claim that "criticism is underrepresented" and assertion that a fair treatment of veganism needs to have a separate criticism section (despite clear policy recommendations) require significant WP:RS to back them up—that's how WP:NPOV works. Can you show us reliable secondary coverage of criticism of veganism, and explain why it is not possible to integrate it into the text as policy recommends? FourViolas (talk) 22:47, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
I have always maintained that this article is overly promotional of veganism and lacks criticism of it. I do not much care whether it is in a separate section or spread throughout the article but we certainly need to present an opposing view. Veganism is very much a minority view but it is presented as if it is almost universal. Clearly more people do not accept veganism than do but this is not reflected in the article. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:57, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Here is a good example of bias in this article, ' Well-planned vegan diets can reduce the risk of some types of chronic disease, including heart disease'. That is true but fails to mention that some disease is made worse by veganism and also conveniently assumes that what the source call 'vegetarianism' is veganism.
Although well planned vegan diets may be OK they are much easier than omniverous diets to plan badly, see for example, [62]. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:13, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

Criticism section in the talk pages[edit]

Perhaps we could collate and discuss criticim of veganism here on the talk page and then decide whether to add it in a separate section or in with the text. Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:08, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

I am not a regular contributor to this article, but I can be if no one else wants to add the topic criticism of veganism to the article. Here are some resources that can be used to begin. I have no issue with whether or not it is in a separate section or interspersed throughout the article. My problem with this article is that criticism seems to be barely mentioned at all.
--Iamozy (talk) 20:18, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
1. No-impact journal, one citation. I think this has to be excluded per UNDUE.
2. Not a criticism of veganism at all; actually it is a criticism of Davis' criticism of veganism. Davis' argument is full of holes, and most of the citations it got are articles refuting it in one way or other. It currently is discussed in ethics of eating meat.
3. This is a very interesteng source which could be useful for this article, but there appears to be no criticism of veganism in it. Thanks anyway, I will read it!
4. Again, I may be misreading, but I don't see any criticism of veganism in this paper.
5. B12 is a perennial issue on this article. I actually think it bears mentioning that veganism is one of the leading causes of B12 deficiency in the developed world (which is very rare however). This is not a MEDRS source, but I'm sure that statement can be sourced elsewhere.
6. is very far from an RS, let alone MEDRS. Per WP:NEWSORG we really can't use this op-ed on nutrition.
7. WSJ is not a MEDRS.
8. Not a MEDRS.
9. Not a MEDRS.
10. Veganism:Why Not - this is from and offers an "anarchist perspective." I doubt this is an RS, but if it is I don't object to it.
11. Not a MEDRS.
12. This one might actually work, although note that this appeared in 1976, when animal ethics was brand new in academia, and was later published in a journal with impact factor 0.00.
13. Pollan. This could be good, if people want to lower the standards a little to allow notable journalists instead of just academcs. In that case, this should be included together with Jonathan Safran Foer's notable response to it.
14. This is by Ingrid Newkirk and I think you must not have read it.
15. Davis' flawed argument doesn't belong here because the overwhelming criticism of it would drown out the argument itself.
One criticism that does belong is Zamir's paper that I keep citing. The philosophy section could use a rewrite anyway. I'm not trying to be contrarian but it's harder than it sounds to find reliably sourced criticisms of veganism. The academic ethics literature is basically against meat eating, as lamented here and evidenced here. The pro-meat arguments are aptly summarized in this series of articles:[63][64][65][66] and this belongs in ethics of eating meat anyway. The problem with health criticisms is that they are never MEDRS and what actual MEDRS sources say varies from neutral to positive. There are probably social criticisms we're missing; I'm not completely sure about that. Pollan seems to fall in this category, arguing that people have an interest in preserving meat-related traditions; Josh Ozersky also put it even more bluntly in this op-ed:

First of all, I get the point made by animal-rights activists. Their primary arguments (that eating other animals is unnecessary, that their lives are as valuable as ours, that eating meat has catastrophic effects on our environment) are, to be honest, unanswerable. I admit that. I just don't want to stop eating meat. In fact, I want to eat even more of it than I do, if that's possible. But you won't hear me making bumper-sticker arguments like: "If God wanted us to eat lettuce, he wouldn't have given us teeth." Like my hero Tony Soprano, I understand there are certain moral realities in my life that I just have to make my peace with. And my peace rests on this side of pork chops.

But I think that especially in an article on a controversial subject we ought to try to keep the quality of the sourcing higher than op-eds. There are an abundance of pro-vegan ones which are not represented here. --Sammy1339 (talk) 00:21, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Davis is given two paragraphs, and his rebutters one, in Veganism#Environmental veganism, which is his DUE or more. I agree that the whole philosophy section needs attention—ideally rewriting to secondary sources, because otherwise there are a bunch of rabbit holes of such primary disputes, e.g. Hsiao vs Bruers, Erdos vs Hsiao, which are not worth including and need a systematic filter. Also, I agree that medical criticisms need MEDRS instead of sensationalism, but op-ed-quality sources which could be read as advocating veganism should be trimmed from the article as well. FourViolas (talk) 01:02, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I thought we had nixed Davis. We should - his argument is bunk. --Sammy1339 (talk) 01:36, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
I think burger veganism probably worth a sentence, with refutation; his main paper has been cited 41 times, which is a lot for a philosophy paper, and I bet there's a secondary source which would indicate due weight. I'm wary of Pollan's opinion piece, because you're right that Foer's response would seem to be warranted, and it's a slippery slope to every talking head's op-ed. I think, though, that the kind of lifestyle-section story SageRad brought up above could help to fill the need for social criticisms. As in that case, WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV is the way to go: "critics of mainstream vegan movements have argued that the lack of diversity among their leadership, and their frequent comparison of animal exploitation to slavery, betray racist attitudes" and so forth. FourViolas (talk) 02:56, 13 February 2016 (UTC)