The current Vegan Society slogan is ‘One world. Many lives. Our choice’, and whilst it can be said there is one world experienced through many lives, there appears to be a certain issue with the claim that veganism is ‘our choice’.
The word ‘choice’ is used by many people when advocating veganism, and this includes the abolitionists that use it to mitigate the claim they are just ‘telling people what to do’. However, they also add the prefix ‘moral obligation’ to circumvent the troubling notion they could be offering people the choice to participate in the exploitation of non-human animals.
When we talk about choice, we automatically overlook non-human animals that are necessarily forced into a system that brings inevitable suffering. Even when the ‘choice’ we are advocating is underpinned by veganism, it still originates from a position of domination. So for example, ‘these are the sound arguments in favour of veganism, but at the end of the day, it is your choice.’
It is certainly true from an anthropocentric perspective that it is a ‘choice’ that humans can make, and it is also true that people are not compelled to become vegan, yet this position overlooks the argument that non-human animals possess intrinsic rights. To resolve this issue, it seems the least we can do is to avoid appearing to offer the ‘choice’ to exploit non-human animals, instead we could offer an opportunity for people to be consistent with their fundamental beliefs. That is those beliefs almost everyone shares, where non-human animals should not have to suffer unnecessarily, and where we can put that belief into practise through veganism.
*I also have an issue with the term ‘many lives’, where veganism is concerned with exploitation, the phrase ‘many lives’ overlooks the exploitative nature of capitalism, and the presence and impacts of social division. Though it is essentially just a slogan, it seems there could be a different one that would better reflect the vegan philosophy.