While yes, I do believe that the way we live our lives in order to be as cruelty-free as possible could be considered a lifestyle, using these words when arguing for veganism can actually be damaging.
I live a semi-active lifestyle. I love manipulating my body, I enjoy feeling my muscles burn and knowing that I’m changing it when I put my mind to it. I also enjoy reading and being quiet and spending time by myself. These are all things that I do for myself. The only being involved in these daily choices is me. If your lifestyle includes harming others for your enjoyment, this is not a lifestyle. It’s just arrogance and or ignorance and a very unhealthy superiority complex.
Veganism is not about you, it’s not about me. It’s not about what anyone prefers. It is about the fundamental right of every non-human animal to not be used in any way whatsoever for any reason.
The bodies of others do not belong to us. That has nothing to do with a lifestyle. You can like certain music, that would be your lifestyle, you can be a religious person, that would be your lifestyle. Giving non-humans the right to their own bodies and lives, however, is not a lifestyle. It’s just common fucking decency. Is pedophilia a lifestyle that we should just accept and let people do because they can’t imagine not leaving little kids alone? No. So why is it the case because the victims aren’t human? While this point is brought up, I’d like to highlight that just because someone is vegan, this does not equate ‘good’. Being a person who doesn’t partake in animal cruelty does not in any way shape or form make that person ‘good’. It shows that that person has understood that non-human animals do not exist for us and they live in a way that excludes harm to non-human animals as far as possible. If veganism is seen as a thing ‘good people’ do, everyone would easily use the excuse that they’re just ‘not good people’ to continue using animals, because hurting animals for our enjoyment is encouraged instead of fought against. If we keep saying that veganism is a lifestyle, people would use that again as an excuse to just brush it off and with this reasoning comes ‘we should just accept each person as they are’. No. No we should not be accepting anything less than veganism and respect for the most innocent of beings to not be used by humans. I can not stress enough that we need to move away from this ‘lifestyle’ word. It doesn’t help your argument for veganism and it most certainly does not help the animals. Humans are becoming more adamant as time goes on and as veganism grows to keep finding easy ways to continue doing bad things to animals in nice ways.
The right to their lives is not a gift we are giving the animals. It is a birth right we have taken away from animals that is owed to them. We don’t get to feel special for being decent human beings, being vegan should be the baseline, the natural thing to do, not the thing you need to explain to every person who wants to argue to be able to continue using innocent beings. This isn’t a lifestyle, it’s common decency.