It is often said that consuming animal products is a matter of personal choice. A vegan is expected to respect a non-vegan’s “choice” to consume animal products. I see the logic in this, but this argument is fatally flawed.
One’s freedom to live as they please certainly does deserve to be protected. That is, until it infringes upon someone else’s freedom and safety. We abide by this rule every day. We enjoy the freedom to decide what to wear, to attend school, to travel when we want to, and to practice religion freely. But once we choose to steal from, harm, or kill other members of society, we have crossed the line away from freedom of choice into harming the life and liberty of others. Our actions are then punishable by the law.
Why do the words “murder” and “stealing” stop applying when the victim is an animal instead of a human? When it comes to our ability to feel pain and suffering, animals and humans are equals. Being shackled by the feet and having one’s throat slashed open is terrifying and immensely painful, whether you are a chicken, pig, cow, or human. We cannot pick and choose whose suffering matters and whose does not.
If a dog, cat, or human was treated the way animals used for food are, it would be considered a crime. It makes no sense that the same action could be considered either a “personal choice” or a “crime” depending upon the species of the victim. A person’s choice to consume flesh should not take precedence over an innocent, feeling being’s choice to live.
We all desire the freedom to decide how we want to feed ourselves and our families. And with a vegan lifestyle, you can still have that. There are endless cruelty-free foods and recipes to enjoy. With the huge variety of faux meats sold at your local grocery store, there is no need to harm the lives of others to enjoy the taste of meat. If you focus on the delicious meals you can eat instead of dwelling on the products you are eliminating, you will realize that you are not missing out on anything at all. As I often say, when you go vegan, the only thing you must give up is cruelty!