You aren't vegan because I said so! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-09-2013, 12:06 PM
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My acquaintance Marla Rose, co-founder of Chicago Veganmania and Vegan Street, has written an entry on her blog, Vegan Feminist Agitator, entitled "You aren't vegan because I said so, damn it! More adventures in self-absorption and losing our priorities..." I think it's a very interesting op-ed about the divisions in the vegan community and how some individuals force particular ideals on each other that may or may not be consistent with veganism.

 

Here is an excerpt: 

 

Quote:
In recent years, I’ve learned that I am not vegan. 

This took me by surprise the first time I was alerted to my wayward habits but I’ve since grown accustomed to it. First, I learned that I was no longer vegan when was expecting my son. In the years that have followed, I’ve been informed that I’m also not vegan because I shop at a certain grocery store chain, because I am not a fruitarian, and because I vote. I am not the only “not really vegan vegan.” There are apparently a lot of misguided people who unknowingly but flagrantly violate the vegan code of conduct all the time. Thank goodness there is a veritable army of people with far more consistent conduct ready and waiting to call us on every single perceived violation. This time it’s not the omnivores poised at the ready to yell “gotcha” at us, though. More and more these days, the angry crowd of critics may consist of our fellow vegans. 

 

Thoughts?

 

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#2 Old 10-09-2013, 02:31 PM
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That's funny!

The only thing I've been called out for is using sugar. Doesn't matter that I buy beet sugar, which is never put through bone char.

Oh, then there's the one about eating junk food. Vegans were only supposed to eat whole foods, preferrabley organic.

 

That sure goes on lot here. The recent thread where the OP was in culinary school and was so conflicted--people were terribly harsh! She wasn't even saying anything that would make her sway from being vegan.

 

I'll admit there have been posts comparing the consumption of freegan meat to someone regularly driving that caused me to question them. It's been recent that I've calmed down. Mostly because of my own stress that helped steer me off the narrow vegan road.

 

So easy when life is constant, you have stores and funds around you. Stir up some chaos and financial difficulty and you realize it's not all that simple. Lately I've been at the brink of temper tantrums.


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#3 Old 10-09-2013, 07:21 PM
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I get 'excommunicated' all the time, mainly because of my views on deontlogy and Utilitarianism. I reject both. Many folks then don't know where I fit in to the pretend dualism that lies at the foundation of their views on the nature of ethics, so they figure I can't possibly be a 'true' vegan.


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#4 Old 10-09-2013, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by silva View Post
 

That's funny!

The only thing I've been called out for is using sugar. Doesn't matter that I buy beet sugar, which is never put through bone char.

Oh, then there's the one about eating junk food. Vegans were only supposed to eat whole foods, preferrabley organic.

...

So easy when life is constant, you have stores and funds around you. Stir up some chaos and financial difficulty and you realize it's not all that simple. Lately I've been at the brink of temper tantrums.

 

I've heard statements like "true vegans" only eat organic foods, which would obviously be extremely prohibitive for someone on a budget, such as myself. Certainly I buy some organic products, but I can't afford to buy everything organically. There is so so much about what vegans should be and should do that it becomes really disenchanting, I think, for many people. 

 

I personally prefer to say that I eat a mostly plant-based diet. I might not be able to "meet" the lofty standards of others. While I personally don't care what people think of me, I'm also not interested in getting into debates with people about my version of a plant-based diet. I think this imposition of ideals makes people think, "Well, if I can't meet their standards, why should I bother? I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. Time to go get McDonald's." :-/

 

I've also heard statements like "true vegans" wouldn't dwell in a house full or leather or eat at the same table where meat is being served. I guess vegans should also live under rocks or in caves and scavenge for berries and shrubs. 

 

I really think that there's a growing minority of vegans that behave like this, but they are quite vocal. I believe that people on all ends of the spectrum are necessary (all actualize different goals related to the same cause), but when one group is more vociferously vocal, it tends to become the voice of the entire group.

 

[the others] :dizzy: :sick::cry:     :whip:  :notvegan:  :deal: [vegan police]

 

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I get 'excommunicated' all the time, mainly because of my views on deontlogy and Utilitarianism. I reject both. Many folks then don't know where I fit in to the pretend dualism that lies at the foundation of their views on the nature of ethics, so they figure I can't possibly be a 'true' vegan.

 

 

Oh, don't worry, Dave. Come and join this merry band of heretics! :beatnik:

 

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"Now listen, I know you've got to think about your image, 'cause image is important to you, because of course your friends are gonna dictate your actions through the rest of your lives, and I wouldn't want you to step away from them and become an individual, that would almost be too much!"...

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#5 Old 10-10-2013, 02:43 AM
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I suppose I'm not a real vegan because I keep insisting on going outside the house and when I do, I walk, run or drive which inevitably kills small insects. The only answer for me to be a truly compassionate vegan, is to stay indoors and slowly starve to death, don't you think?

 

 

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#6 Old 10-10-2013, 03:04 AM
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Only twice have I been accused of not being a "true vegan" in a non direct way.  Once was by someone who said eating raw vegan and only from "above ground fruits" was the only true way of eating vegan as you don't harm the plant either.  ????  The other was on another forum when I said that I live with an omnivore.  Apparently I don't care as much about or am not disturbed enough about animal slaughter if I share my life with someone who is not vegan.  Doesn't matter that we have been together for fifteen years and I have only been vegan for a quarter of that time, or that I refuse to buy or cook his non vegan items and we have separate cupboards and dishes, or that he has accommodated and goes along with what I buy or make for toiletries and cleaning and so on.  Am I supposed to just walk away from a relationship I have invested years into because I care about ethics and we aren't on the same page in this regard and he brings meat into the house?  Even if he is coming around very very slowly and eating less meat?  Of course it hurts me that he isn't vegan and I care deeply about the vegan cause and put a lot of dang effort into doing something about it but I would like to think there is more to our relationship than whether we are both vegan or not, and I have in no way failed because he isn't vegan.  Argh!

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#7 Old 10-10-2013, 05:08 AM
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I am critical of those who say they are vegan but aren't. I won't fuss necessarily over little things, but people need to be vegan for the animals, otherwise I only consider them strict vegetarian. Also, that vegan before 6 guy.....yeah, not even close to a vegan and he annoys me the most. My professor just gave me an newspaper article about that guy cuz she knew I was vegan.  I hate how THOSE people say "People go vegan for health and environmental reasons. "Some" are concerned about animal welfare." and that's it!! Some are concerned about animal welfare!??? UGH what is up with these people twisting veganism to suit themselves............

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#8 Old 10-10-2013, 08:06 AM
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Great article.
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#9 Old 10-10-2013, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 4everaspirit View Post
 

I am critical of those who say they are vegan but aren't. I won't fuss necessarily over little things, but people need to be vegan for the animals, otherwise I only consider them strict vegetarian. Also, that vegan before 6 guy.....yeah, not even close to a vegan and he annoys me the most. My professor just gave me an newspaper article about that guy cuz she knew I was vegan.  I hate how THOSE people say "People go vegan for health and environmental reasons. "Some" are concerned about animal welfare." and that's it!! Some are concerned about animal welfare!??? UGH what is up with these people twisting veganism to suit themselves............

 

But what if those health and environmental reasons benefit the animals? Isn't that incidentally vegan? Say for example someone started eating a plant-based diet for health reasons and later learned about the true plight of animals (and so eschewed all other animal products). Over time the person told people about the plight of animals and factory farming, but still maintained the health reason as the most important one. Is that person less vegan?

 

The Vegan Society states the following on its website:

 

Quote:
A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals - no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose.

 

I understand the difference in philosophy between veganism and strict vegetarianism (it's not just a matter of semantics) and I don't advocate changing the definition. According to the Vegan Society, animals aren't a sole reason for going vegan, though many vegans consider them the most important reason. If humans realized that eliminating animal products from their diet would be beneficial for health, wouldn't the effect on animals be highly advantageous? Naturally I don't think someone who extols the virtues of a plant-based diet, but doesn't care about animals (at all) should consider themselves vegan. But for someone who follows all of the tenets of veganism but doesn't subscribe primarily to the animal reasons, that person is deemed not vegan? When people start determining degrees of veganism for other people, it could present a troubling development, though they may have good reasons.

 

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#10 Old 10-10-2013, 01:48 PM
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I am critical of those who say they are vegan but aren't. I won't fuss necessarily over little things, but people need to be vegan for the animals, otherwise I only consider them strict vegetarian. ..........

 

I took this to mean that 4everaspirit was saying that if you don't include being a vegan for animals, among your other reasons for being a vegan, then in her eyes, you're not a vegan at all. I don't think she was putting the reasons for being a vegan in any kind of order of merit, just saying that the animals reason is a sine qua non.

 

(Crikey, the old latin's coming back to me after all these years...)

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#11 Old 10-10-2013, 01:53 PM
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I took this to mean that 4everaspirit was saying that if you don't include being a vegan for animals, among your other reasons for being a vegan, then in her eyes, you're not a vegan at all. I don't think she was putting the reasons for being a vegan in any kind of order of merit, just saying that the animals reason is a sine qua non.

 

(Crikey, the old latin's coming back to me after all these years...)

 

Well, I agree that the animal reason is sine qua non, however she stated, " but people need to be vegan for the animals, otherwise I only consider them strict vegetarian. .........." which says to me that if you're aren't vegan for animal rights reasons, then you aren't vegan. Mind, I'm not trying to start a debate about what truly is vegan, just trying to understand a different viewpoint.

 

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"Now listen, I know you've got to think about your image, 'cause image is important to you, because of course your friends are gonna dictate your actions through the rest of your lives, and I wouldn't want you to step away from them and become an individual, that would almost be too much!"...

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#12 Old 10-10-2013, 03:18 PM
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I think 4everasprit needs to clarify what she meant Aristede.

 

As for myself, fac recte nil time as we used to say at my old school.

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#13 Old 10-10-2013, 10:01 PM
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Only twice have I been accused of not being a "true vegan" in a non direct way.  Once was by someone who said eating raw vegan and only from "above ground fruits" was the only true way of eating vegan as you don't harm the plant either.  ????  The other was on another forum when I said that I live with an omnivore.  Apparently I don't care as much about or am not disturbed enough about animal slaughter if I share my life with someone who is not vegan.  Doesn't matter that we have been together for fifteen years and I have only been vegan for a quarter of that time, or that I refuse to buy or cook his non vegan items and we have separate cupboards and dishes, or that he has accommodated and goes along with what I buy or make for toiletries and cleaning and so on.  Am I supposed to just walk away from a relationship I have invested years into because I care about ethics and we aren't on the same page in this regard and he brings meat into the house?  Even if he is coming around very very slowly and eating less meat?  Of course it hurts me that he isn't vegan and I care deeply about the vegan cause and put a lot of dang effort into doing something about it but I would like to think there is more to our relationship than whether we are both vegan or not, and I have in no way failed because he isn't vegan.  Argh!

 

I don't think you should be expected to uproot your entire life! Of course not. While on the quest to lead kinder lives, we can't forget the human element either. Coexist! :up:

 

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I think 4everasprit needs to clarify what she meant Aristede.

 

As for myself, fac recte nil time as we used to say at my old school.

 

I agree, leedsveg. As for the saying, it's a tried and true one for sure. :)

 

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#14 Old 10-12-2013, 07:39 PM
 
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I love that blog. I’d read this post, nodding my head at every line.

I've had some vegan police coming down hard on me, all right.

I call myself a vegan, but sometimes I think I should use the term herbivore, or plant-based eater. But those terms only refer to diet, and wouldn’t be enough, because I also stopped buying products made of animal skin, tested on animals, etc. But I cannot erase my past life and I don’t have the budget to redo my whole wardrobe and rebuy all my furniture. I don’t live in a vegan house, I don’t always wear vegan clothing, but my purchases in the past 7 month have all been vegan (except maybe by mistake, but never voluntarily). I figure I’m as vegan as the next guy.

I am living with my imperfections. I do the best that I can.

I hate it that vegans crush down people who try hard, real hard, who try to spread the messag, who read on this stuff, who want so much to do good. I hate that it’s vegans who crush down other vegans. Don’t the omnivores go at it pretty good already?

I’m glad some people are starting to voice this kind of counterattack on the vegan police.

In French, I don’t have to worry. The word “vegan” does not exist per se. We use “végétalien” for someone who eschew animal products in their diet, but we haven’t found a single word to translate “vegan”. So far, it’s stuff like “végétalien intégral”, “végétalien strict”. I found “vegintégriste”, but that was so grotesque I know it won’t stick. So when I tell people about it, I use the word “végétalien”. But again, I haven’t met any French vegan police yet... It’ll probably gappen. I’ll let you know.

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#15 Old 10-12-2013, 08:20 PM
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I think the oft-quoted phrase that veganism is "a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical..." etc., is a reasonable expectation. Different people have different struggles, concerns, etc., so how far one person can actualize his or her veganism may differ from someone else. I prefer to think of veganism as a goal. I'm personally not there yet (I try to eat a mostly plant-based diet and am seeking to buy more ethical personal care products), but I'm making strides toward such a goal. Other people might fulfill this definition before I do, but it's not a race nor are my lifestyle changes any less worthy. I think that when the vegan police go after their "own" it sheds light on a very negative side of an otherwise compassionate movement; this might deter near vegan, vegetarian, or omni people from joining. If we remember who benefits from these changes, it helps put everything into the right perspective. 

 

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#16 Old 10-13-2013, 12:40 PM
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I believe 4everaspirit was referring to the book "Vegan Before 6:00" by Mark Bittman.

It's a good book, probably does a good bit to change peoples thinking, BUT-it's premise is to eat a healthy plant based diet before 6 in order to lose weight and be healthy. Nothing wrong with that approach, but theres nothing vegan there.

I got in a back and forth on amazon reviews of it explaining that.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/09/mark-bittman-vegan-before-6-vb6_n_3224415.html

 

It's almost like those people who argue that vegans don't eat sugar or fats but this has the ok for meat at dinner! Oh, and of course wearing leather and going to a circus is fine


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#17 Old 10-13-2013, 12:57 PM
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Vegan police need to get a life. Judgemental people do not help a cause.
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#18 Old 10-13-2013, 02:40 PM
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I am living with my imperfections. I do the best that I can.
 

 

I know the feeling LG. :up:

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#19 Old 10-13-2013, 02:41 PM
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I think the oft-quoted phrase that veganism is "a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical..." etc., is a reasonable expectation. Different people have different struggles, concerns, etc., so how far one person can actualize his or her veganism may differ from someone else. I prefer to think of veganism as a goal.
I find that the "its a way of living the seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical".....to be a cop-out clause that only seems to be invoked to deal with uncomfortable inconsistencies. The primary definition given is in terms of avoiding animal products:

http://www.vegansociety.com/become-a-vegan/

If "a way of living that seeks to exclude...." was the primarily doctrine there wouldn't be so many issues with marginal things like refined sugar cane, honey, trace dairy, etc. Also, one would have to clarify just when something becomes "impractical". For example, I think avoiding trace animal products, honey, etc to be impractical yet few people would consider me "vegan".
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#20 Old 10-13-2013, 04:06 PM
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I find that the "its a way of living the seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical".....to be a cop-out clause that only seems to be invoked to deal with uncomfortable inconsistencies. The primary definition given is in terms of avoiding animal products:

http://www.vegansociety.com/become-a-vegan/

If "a way of living that seeks to exclude...." was the primarily doctrine there wouldn't be so many issues with marginal things like refined sugar cane, honey, trace dairy, etc. Also, one would have to clarify just when something becomes "impractical". For example, I think avoiding trace animal products, honey, etc to be impractical yet few people would consider me "vegan".

I'm neither going to agree nor disagree with your comments logic.

 

What I would say is that I wish you could have met Donald Watson in 1944 and put these points to him. It would be interesting to know what his response would have been.

 

I'm sure, but I can't know for certain, that he would still have founded the Vegan Society (UK) and still remained a pacifist. 

 

Leedsveg

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#21 Old 10-13-2013, 04:28 PM
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It's funny, but only vegans would ever accuse me of not being vegan. My family, friends, neighbors and associates think I'm ridiculously vegan, so vegan that I'm hard to live with!

My daughter-in-law made me pumpkin mini-muffins this past week. She substituted Earth Balance, Silk soy creamer and egg replacer for the dairy and eggs in the recipe, just so I could enjoy them. And I did! They were delicious - moist pumpkin muffins rolled in sugar and cinnamon - they tasted like pumpkin donut holes!!! smitten.gif I would never, ever have asked about the sugar, or refused to eat them because of the sugar, ever. If that sort of thing makes me not vegan, so be it undecided.gif
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#22 Old 10-13-2013, 09:42 PM
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It's funny, but only vegans would ever accuse me of not being vegan. My family, friends, neighbors and associates think I'm ridiculously vegan, so vegan that I'm hard to live with!

I find this true as well. My brother has described me as "militantly vegan" which is asinine as I am the least person one would identify with the vegan movement. For me, veganism is simply an extension of my spiritual practice. I never seek to confront, convert, educate, etc. Others may not consider me vegan enough but i don't care. Selfish as this sounds, I'm not part of a movement. I do this for my own reasons.
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#23 Old 10-13-2013, 10:01 PM
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I find this true as well. My brother has described me as "militantly vegan" which is asinine as I am the least person one would identify with the vegan movement. For me, veganism is simply an extension of my spiritual practice. I never seek to confront, convert, educate, etc. Others may not consider me vegan enough but i don't care. Selfish as this sounds, I'm not part of a movement. I do this for my own reasons.

 

I understand this sentiment. I am changing my lifestyle and habits because I believe it is what is beneficial and external approval isn't necessary.  I understand the need for a movement, however, because it unifies people behind a cause. Some people may not like to be called vegan, though it may accurately describe their diet and habits. Some vegans might argue that hurts the cause for veganism and, furthermore, the movement. I don't think everyone has to be vocal about their choices, but many people think otherwise.

 

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#24 Old 10-14-2013, 02:48 AM
 
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But don't health vegans wear leather and use cosmetics with animal products in and which are tested on animals thus meaning they are not vegan at all??

Why do they adopt the name vegan then complain that it is only a word and people should 'relax' and not be 'judgemental'? If that is is the case then why bother adopting a name in the first place? What's wrong with saying I follow a plant based diet which excludes animal products rather than diluting the word much like with the issues vegetarians now face with being served fish and in some cases chicken?
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#25 Old 10-14-2013, 05:17 AM
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But don't health vegans wear leather and use cosmetics with animal products in and which are tested on animals thus meaning they are not vegan at all??

 

My thoughts too ponyboy.

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#26 Old 10-14-2013, 10:53 AM
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A number of health vegans eschew animal products generally, not just in their diets.

 

Similarly, when I stopped eating meat, I also stopped wearing leather, and then wool and silk. It didn't make sense to me to refuse to eat meat because it involved the killing of animals, but to continue to wear parts of their bodies.

 

That's why labels like "vegetarian" and "vegan" tell only part of the story about people's choices and the reasons for them.

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#27 Old 10-14-2013, 01:35 PM
 
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Why would a 'health vegan' or 'unethical vegan' not wear leather or use cosmetics containing animal products or tested on animals? It doesn't make sense.

Unless deep down they know it is also about the animals and they don't want to openly admit it for some strange reason.

Otherwise as others have previously stated, if they do wear or use animal products they simply are not vegan and shouldn't say they are.
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#28 Old 10-14-2013, 02:43 PM
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I think that a lot of things that vegetarians, vegans, and people in general do doesn't make sense, at least to others.

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#29 Old 10-14-2013, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ponyboy85 View Post

Why would a 'health vegan' or 'unethical vegan' not wear leather or use cosmetics containing animal products or tested on animals? It doesn't make sense.

Unless deep down they know it is also about the animals and they don't want to openly admit it for some strange reason.

Otherwise as others have previously stated, if they do wear or use animal products they simply are not vegan and shouldn't say they are.

 

I agree that the definition of vegan shouldn't be diluted or changed; it is a set standard that can be used as a goal. If people are using animal products, they shouldn't call themselves vegans. At the same time, I know people who eschew the title vegan because it's becoming synonymous with animal rights. Veganism and animal rights aren't synonymous, but rather, they are germane to one another. For example, I know people who are eschewing animal products in their diet and lifestyle but are also well aware of the strife that animals face. Their primary reason for eating this way may be for religious reasons or because they believe it meshes with their own personal philosophical outlook (whatever that is). Strictly by the definition, these people are vegan. But they would be considered "not vegan" by the hardcore vegan activists because animal welfare/rights aren't the guiding principles for their lifestyles. Are their lifestyles necessarily any less "vegan" than the next vegan's? Do I have to be a "PETA-advocating-picket-line marching- soapbox preaching-meat is murder-vegan" in order to be viewed as a vegan? Nothing is wrong with any of these activities, but to say that its an expectation of a vegan's mentality and actions shows a very active bias. 

 

The definition set forth by the Vegan Society states the following:

 

Quote:

What is a vegan?

A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals - no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose.

 

 

This definition does include eschewing animal exploitation, but that isn't interchangeable with being an animal rights activist. A person may eat a plant-based diet and not use any animal products, but some people might not consider them vegan if their primary reason isn't animal rights. Perhaps a person believes that everything they eat and wear should come from the earth. This could be a spiritual view. I do think a person can fulfill the definition of veganism for reasons other than defined by the mainstream. Additionally, vegan is becoming a more widely understood term, so why would a person who lives true to the values not use the term in common parlance (such as at restaurants, stores, etc)? I think if a person if fulfilling the definition, then vegan is a fine term. The definition is met by a person's actions not necessarily their intent.

 

 Aristede:book: 

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"Now listen, I know you've got to think about your image, 'cause image is important to you, because of course your friends are gonna dictate your actions through the rest of your lives, and I wouldn't want you to step away from them and become an individual, that would almost be too much!"...

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#30 Old 10-14-2013, 05:37 PM
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"Unethical Vegan"

:lol:

That made me envision a satanic punk rocker vegan with a mohawk shaped like broccoli. (No offense to particularly innovative satanic punk rocker vegans)

 

The traditional term for the 'health vegans' is strict vegetarian but that confuses omnis and annoys ovo-lacto veggies who think it implies they are sloppy vegetarians (I'll keep that mental image to myself). Personally, I like the term herbivore, but I understand why people would say 'health vegan'. More people understand it.

 

As to why someone would care about animals but not call themselves a vegan. Veganism is a very specific doctrine, a person doesnt have to subscribe to it even if they mostly agree. A strict vegetarian that doesnt wear leather isnt a contradiction, its just not necessarily a vegan.

 

And as for vegan police going into apoplectic fits on someone because they didnt ask what kind of sugar was used... humans are animals too, being cruel to people isnt good either.

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