It is often said that veganism is a personal choice- that someone ought to have the freedom of personal choice about their diet. However, the conversation goes beyond this statement.
Firstly, the discourse surrounding veganism regularly focuses on diet, when veganism extends beyond this. It is also about what (or who) we decide not to wear, animal tested ingredients, etc. It is with this perception that people may believe vegans are imposing on someone’s dietary choices, as if to be perhaps controlling or judgemental.
Vegans would however argue that the idea of it being a personal choice to include animals and their secretions neglects to consider the victims. In one interpretation of the term, for a ‘personal’ choice to be such, it wouldn’t negatively impact someone else, otherwise it isn’t just centred around one person. The effect felt on other animals if a given person isn’t vegan is so immense. Their autonomy is violated, they are mutilated, wrenched from their families and ultimately killed in a systemic, nonchalant fashion. It is with this outcome in mind that the concept of a ‘personal choice’ justifying the impact on other animals falls short. Was Jeffrey Dahmer engaging in a personal choice when he decided to consume the flesh of other humans?
It could be possible that somebody means it’s simply a choice that an individual has the freedom to do, which calls into question the fairness of the matter, as the choice of the animal to live out their lives in freedom is entirely stripped away. How can it be that the choice is there without consequence to a person to reap someone’s existence from them, when it costs little freedom to switch to a vegan lifestyle? A vegan can still eat delicious foods, wear beautiful clothes, enjoy cosmetics and household cleaning items without feeling as if their freedom is repressed in any form. When accounting for the other species of animals, there’s a call to weigh up the decency of choices- whether or not they consider each party fairly.
Investigate the abundance of vegan options to discover that the personal choice isn’t violated in making simple changes on behalf of the animals.