14 January 2021

Antinatalism and the Non-Vegan COVID-19 Vaccine

Many vegans (including myself) face a moral dilemma because the COVID-19 vaccine has both animal products and is tested on animals. Vegans are faced with a choice between using the non-vegan vaccine which causes harm on animals or not using the vaccine which would cause harm on humans e.g. it would cause the spread of COVID-19, which could cause an old lady in an aged care home to die.

In my opinion, this is a difficult situation, and it is hard to know how to reduce harm, but this is nothing unusual and, in my view, backs up the argument that antinatalists make that all humans cause harm.

Antinatalism is a philosophy that assigns a negative value to procreation. The reason why antinatalisms advocate against procreation is because life is suffering. When you have a child, that child is exposed to suffering. He or she may grow up and suffer from old age or from atrocities such as rape or even milder suffering such as depression. Furthermore, that child that is born will cause others to suffer. A great example of how many humans cause suffering is meat consumption. Human consumption of meat causes animals to suffer. However, even if someone is vegan, there are other ways that they cause harm. For example, if you buy a t-shirt, there is a good chance that there is slavery in the supply chain. As a result, more demand for the t-shirt causes more supply for slave labour, which increases suffering. 

Now we have another source of suffering, which is the vaccine. Life, in order to sustain itself, consumes and exploits other life. This is why, throughout evolution of life by natural selection, there has been a considerable amount of competition, aggression and suffering. Life is suffering, and so in order to reduce life we must reduce life. 

Testing medicine on animals works because many animals are similar to humans biologically. If medicine is tested on animals and if it doesn't work on animals and it is toxic for animals, there is a good chance it will be toxic for humans as well. However, even more effective than animal testing is human testing. If the COVID-19 vaccine were tested on a group of humans, many people who believe in the goodness of humanity would still take the vaccine even though it is tested on humans, but it doesn't necessarily mean they are racists. 

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