So often I hear people say, “I respect vegan’s choice not to eat meat, and they should respect my choice to eat meat.”
“Each to one’s own”
“You do your thing, I’ll do mine”
This argument is dangerously flawed in many ways. The first factor being that the individual saying this is clearly thinking about THEIR choice, but not the choice of the animal. The cow/pig/chicken that you are eating did not have a choice. They were taken and killed against their will. This argument will be irrelevant for people who do not care about farm animals, and solely believe that they are “just food”. But to anyone else who may have an inkling of compassion in their hearts for those poor farm animals; you are neglecting the choice that they did not get.
The second factor of this argument is that it really isn’t a ‘personal choice’, as it does more than just affect that individual. Animal agriculture and factory farming are the leading causes of environmental destruction due to the amount of resources (water, food, land, etc), and greenhouse gasses used to keep these animals alive to turn into food. So when you eat that burger, you aren’t just affecting your own life; you are affecting the entire planet. (See sources here.)
Not plucking one’s eyebrows is a personal choice. Going bald is one’s personal choice. Heck, not showering for a week is someone’s personal choice. These are choices that solely effect that one individual. But there are many things in this world that are more than just personal choices. For instance; wearing makeup. I was originally going to say in this post “wearing make-up is a personal choice!” But is it? Most of the brands out there test on animals. So if you wear the majority of the popular make-up brands, you are contributing to the testing and deaths of innocent animals. And people will say “but I love make-up; it makes me feel happy/confident/insert emotion here. That’s fine! You are allowed to wear make-up! But individuals should be aware about what they are putting their money into. So it is a choice to participate in that, or you can choose to wear cruelty free brands.
When people choose to continue to pay for animal by-products, they are giving into the demand. If we all suddenly stopped eating meat, that demand would go away, causing the need to kill animals to decrease.
You see, we all make a difference in this world, whether you know it or not. When you purchase animal by-products, you are shaping how this world will turn out. So it is up to you whether you make a positive or negative choice.
It bothers me that people also refer to veganism as a ‘belief’ or even a diet. They say, “Don’t shove your religion down other people’s throats”. But when did justice and compassion become equivalent to Christianity or Judaism? It didn’t. It is not a belief or a religion or a diet; it is way beyond that. Stopping the slaughter of sentient beings is not something that you choose to ‘believe’ in; it is choosing to do something that is morally and ethically right.
I guess it all stems from the argument, are we all equal? Many people do not think so. Humanity feels superior for many reasons. But once you take away those layers, and strip it down to the basic thinking, you realize we were all created on this earth for a purpose; we are all earthlings and we are all equal. When egotistical/ superior thinking comes into play, humans get cocky and become know-it-alls. “We need meat to survive” “We’ve been doing it for thousands of years” “Animals can’t feel pain; they don’t have souls; we’re supposed to eat them”
Yeah, only until we’re not.
If we can survive without meat, then why are we still eating it?
Habits. Culture. History. Taste.
Those are difficult barriers to break through. Difficult; but not impossible.
I did it. Many people did it. You just have to find your true reasons for wanting to go vegan; something that clicks in your brain and makes you say ‘hey, you’re right. Why are we still killing animals and destroying our planet?’
It’s not easy, but it is possible.
We can do this.
So no, I don’t think eating meat is a personal choice. I think it is a very public choice that affects the entire planet and it’s species. Oceans, rainforests, third world countries, North America, etc. It affects everything.
So today you have a choice; what kind of change will you make for this world?