I continually hear from people that “choices” must be respected. “You eat what you want and I’ll eat what I want.” And don’t judge other’s for what they choose to eat.” This comes from both vegan and meat eaters alike. If eating animals is a choice, then we must believe in at least the following six absurdities:
1. that we as humans have some sort of unspoken and inherited “right” to kill and eat animals no matter how trivial our reasons and just because we can;
2. that humans are “superior” to all other species and that somehow that superiority translates into a justification for doing whatever we want to animals. In this way, human interests always “trump” animal interests, even when the human interest is trivial and the animal interest is a matter of life and death;
3. that all animals conveniently exist only to serve one species — our own (even though most have existed in some form for millions of years before homo sapiens);
4. that just being a member of another species somehow justifies exploiting someone;
5. that we can turn animals into objects without making them victims;
6. that the victim does not exist or does not care what happens to him or her.
On the other hand, If you take the interests of animals at all seriously, then you recognize that eating animal products violates their most fundamental interest in living as free agents, staying alive and avoiding pain and suffering. A choice necessitates ownership over the options. While we may legally treat animals as property, no one has a moral “right” over the sovereignty of others who were designed by nature to be free agents as we are.
“If we believe in absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.” Voltaire’s famous words could not be more fitting here.