melbourne vegan

Jaclyn McCosker

Blogger, social entrepreneur & freelance copywriter

Australia

Morality, Not-So-Subjective

Morality, Not-So-Subjective

You can argue that morality varies between cultural groups, but the criteria by which you judge morality should still follow the path of basic common sense. If you rule needless graphic violence towards animals as “moral”, perhaps it’s time for some very deep personal reflection. Taste is not a valid moral argument.

I wasn’t born a feminist vegan.

I was born in the most conservative corner of Australia, in a town extremely hostile to independent thought with very little tolerance for those who vary from the white macho hetero norm. I used to eat meat, be mildly homophobic, and just didn’t understand things the way I do now. This is why I understand we’re all different, and I respect all people along various stages on their path. I’ve come from all of these views and understand the rationale deeply and personally.

But respecting a person’s unique set of life circumstances that have led them to be who they are today is a world away from tolerating ongoing acts of cruelty and violence.

Of course we all have the freedom to make personal choices about our lives. I fight for your right to lead your life how you choose. But the pillar on which freedom is upheld depends on that freedom not violating the freedom of another.

Freedom is the exemption from external control, so if your “freedom to choose” infringes upon another’s basic rights (such as the right to life), the concept of freedom has been violated. This is why we have laws and why we imprison criminals. Your freedom has its limits, and that limit is causing harm.

A victim would never accept their attacker saying, “Sorry policemen, morality is subjective and I think what I did is fine.” We cannot rape, torture and murder whenever we please. We just can’t.

When it comes to eating flesh, there’s no more false a claim than it being a “personal choice”. Taking someone’s life is as impersonal as it gets. Your “personal choice” ends a sentient beings life and it contributes to the destruction of our environment which ultimately leads to innumerable animal and human deaths. The outcomes of this decision are completely impersonal.

The only reason people get away with the ludicrous “personal choice” argument is because animal rights are one of the final frontiers to be fought, because unfortunately for the animals, they can’t explain to you in English why they don’t like being de-horned, de-beaked or de-tailed. We needed humans to gain a certain amount of self-actualising freedom and security for themselves before they were able to focus on the plight of the more vulnerable.

We overruled the “personal choice” to have human slaves, didn’t we? If you captured and chained a man nobody would argue with you about whether that was your choice. Because you can make any choice you want, but ultimately your personal preference is overruled by ethics.

We’ve now reached the point that blind tolerance of oppression and violence is coming to an end. Even animal consumers are up in arms about animal welfare and are buying into marketing slogans such as “humane” and “free range”, designed to keep those who question the system inside of it.

No longer do we justify violence by inability to resist.

This applies to women, animals, the elderly, the disabled, the oppressed minorities.

You cannot take a life and call it a personal choice. You cannot infringe upon another’s freedoms and accuse them of overbearing morality.

We all make decisions based on our own interests, but we’re also all capable of changing our minds and improving our value set to match new information.

Such is the case of aligning our actions with our values and acting in a moral way in our daily dietary choices. It is not a personal choice whether something is moral, the ethics around killing for taste are not subjective. There is such a thing between right and wrong. There just is.

"Vegetarians kill more animals during harvest”

"Vegetarians kill more animals during harvest”

The personhood of non-humans

The personhood of non-humans