Bad Excuses: Personal Choice

I’ve written before about how veganism is not simply an opinion, as some wish to paint it. Animal cruelty is not a matter with which we can “agree to disagree,” as we all recognize when we stop talking about diet and start talking about ethics — the main reason people go vegan.

Similarly, people also tend to have an “it’s fine if you’re vegan, just don’t force it on me” approach. With most things, this makes sense, but in this context it does not. One makes a personal choice to be paleo or keto or to go on a juice cleanse, and it’s correct that such individuals have no business attempting to force others to adopt their lifestyle.

But to equate veganism with these other diets is to fundamentally misunderstand veganism. Veganism is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle that seeks to refrain from supporting the exploitation of animals.

Furthermore, the whole “live and let live” ethos works when it works. With veganism versus non-veganism, it does not work. This is so painfully obvious that I’ve begun to realize that individuals who attempt to assert this line of thinking don’t know the first thing about veganism.

It’s painfully obvious, of course, that a discussion over whether to go vegan isn’t just a discussion between two parties. There’s a third party — the animals to be eaten or not eaten — and they have interests, too. They’re interested in not dying. You’re interested in asserting personal freedom so that people stop making you feel bad. The choice between who to empathize with is not a painful one here.

It’s clear that because “live and let life” works for all victimless crimes and non-crimes, people think it makes sense to adapt it to whatever behavior they wish to justify. The problem is that in the process of doing so, they reveal that they haven’t given a moment’s thought to the interests of animals.

And not considering the interests of animals — despite the scientific consensus that animals are interested in, at the very least, staying alive — is one of the poorest excuses of all.

 

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