My heart is broken - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-10-2017, 09:13 PM
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Thumbs down My heart is broken

Facebook Post From My Niece.

As a failed vegan I would like to publicly announce that I love butter, that is all.
Sad

46 You and 45 others
Comments
Friend: You aren’t a vegan anymore? I’ve been thinking about trying it out but I’ve been on the fence about it.

Niece: I haven’t been vegan for a few years, it’s really difficult to do it right. Protein and fat are way too important and animal fats are honestly more bioavailable to the body. You’ve just got to get the right kind.

Friend: Niece yeah kinda wanted to do it as a way to get healthy but I have a feeling I won’t be able to do it the right way so I’d probably just end up malnourished or something. Another option I was gonna go with was to just cut out dairy so maybe I’ll just do that first and see how that goes.

Another Friend: Butter is good...
LikeShow more reactions · Reply · 2 · 8 hrs

Me No. Because of you, I became a vegan.

Niece

Niece: For what it’s worth Karen, it’s been a while since I was vegan and I feel a lot better now than I did when I was vegan I also eat fish and have been contemplating incorporating bone broth into my diet my job is really physical and beats up my body and veganism doesn’t quite cut it for me

Me: (crying fox pic)

Friend: ...I make some mean bone broth!! I will make some for you!!

Niece: that would be amazing!!!

Nephew (Who was vegan, as well)Grass fed butter is EVERYTHING

Niece: I’ve been cooking everything in butter lately and I feel incredible. My brain wants animal fat*♀️

Different Friend: NOOOOOOOOOO

Different Friend: But like, I get it. You saw me be vegan for a day and ate a cookie later that afternoon


Nephew: I still use Earth Balance, on my Artesano. I love butter on special items, nut only in moderation.

Another Friend:

Another Friend: As someone who usually eats Earth Balance, pitting kerrygold in stuff sometimes just makes it taste 10 times better

Because of them (both niece and nephew), I became a vegan.

Anytime I think I'm perfect, I remember that my cousin lives on an island, and I've never walked over to visit her.

Last edited by Purp; 12-11-2017 at 12:50 PM.
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#2 Old 12-11-2017, 08:56 AM
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Could you please edit your post to make it easier to read? The "Like", "Love", "Haha", "Wow", "Sad", "Angry", "Reply", "Manage", "Show more reactions", "Choose file", etc., lines make it very difficult to parse your post.
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#3 Old 12-11-2017, 09:15 AM
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I think the problem here is the all-or-nothing thinking. Obviously totally abstaining from animal products is the ideal, but every single time we eat or purchase we have the opportunity to choose the compassionate option. As in the other thread about this right now, if we give in to impulse or hunger or societal pressure or whatever else, we should avoid defining ourselves as "failed vegans." That is just giving up. The best thing for ourselves, the animals, and our self-esteem is to make choices that align with our ethics as much as possible, and forgive ourselves if we're not perfect and KEEP TRYING.

Maybe a heart to heart with your niece would help?
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#4 Old 12-11-2017, 12:52 PM
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Could you please edit your post to make it easier to read? The "Like", "Love", "Haha", "Wow", "Sad", "Angry", "Reply", "Manage", "Show more reactions", "Choose file", etc., lines make it very difficult to parse your post.
Did that. Thanks.

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Originally Posted by AspiringBuddha View Post
I think the problem here is the all-or-nothing thinking. Obviously totally abstaining from animal products is the ideal, but every single time we eat or purchase we have the opportunity to choose the compassionate option. As in the other thread about this right now, if we give in to impulse or hunger or societal pressure or whatever else, we should avoid defining ourselves as "failed vegans." That is just giving up. The best thing for ourselves, the animals, and our self-esteem is to make choices that align with our ethics as much as possible, and forgive ourselves if we're not perfect and KEEP TRYING.

Maybe a heart to heart with your niece would help?
Thanks. That might help.

Anytime I think I'm perfect, I remember that my cousin lives on an island, and I've never walked over to visit her.
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#5 Old 12-11-2017, 01:10 PM
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I gotta be blunt. Sometimes it seems people broadcast there indiscretions just to push them over them over the edge and assuage their guilt. If she didn't come out on facebook about liking butter and being a 'failed' vegan she would have to turn inwards and deal with herself. With all the people agreeing about reasons to not be vegan I think maybe it's like permission.

Honestly I wish vegans would just shut up about their transgressions and move on. Last thing I think you need if you're serious about the ethics of it is having people either judge you for cheating or coax you to quit
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#6 Old 12-11-2017, 05:26 PM
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I'm sorry, Purp. But you're the only one who can take credit for going vegan. Maybe your niece and nephew made you aware of this as a lifestyle, or even inspired you, but the credit for actually taking the leap is ultimately yours.

I was puzzled about the animal fat comments though... I admit they taste good, but they're really not healthy to eat- at least they're not for me, with the rampant cardiovascular disease on my Mom's side of the family. I will admit that I still have to be careful not to eat unhealthy foods too often, even so.

I also have to largely agree with @silva about people posting about the times they cave in and succumb to temptation. It's the human condition to do that sometimes. We just need to pick ourselves up and get back on the wagon- not make lame excuses to give up completely.
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Last edited by Tom; 12-11-2017 at 05:30 PM.
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#7 Old 12-11-2017, 06:12 PM
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This is sad. I don't know how often you see them but I suggest you focusing on helping them to stay at least vegetarian with nutrition advice and some reminders of the reasons to be vegetarian and some congrats for being at least vegetarian.

Some of their nutrition arguments look dodgy. I suggest you don't address that on facebook but over time try and improve their nutrition understanding. Have they tried vegan butters? Eventually if you could address their lack of nutritional knowledge that's apparent on the thread and psychological issues relating to animal products as a necessity they might eventually go back to being vegan, but I think that would need to be done steadily over time, and would be difficult if you don't see them regularly.

Although maybe I'm offering too many solutions when you just need some virtual hugs!
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#8 Old 12-11-2017, 06:33 PM
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That nutrition misinformation is really, really troubling. I'm going to sound like a bit of a fascist, but I don't think that people should be allowed to publish books that make poorly-substantiated nutrition claims. All this enthusiasm for bone broth and grass-fed butter originally stemmed from one book: "Nourishing Traditions" by Weston A. Price Foundation co-founders Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. This book is published as a non-fiction work, and this has generated the belief that this book is factually correct, when it's not. The WAPF claims that not only is dietary saturated fat harmless, but actually essential and beneficial.

The American Heart Association recommends that people minimize their intake of butter and other saturated fats: https://news.heart.org/advisory-repl...ascular-risks/ . The American Diabetes Association also recommends that people minimize their saturated fat intake: https://professional.diabetes.org/si...althy_Fats.pdf . So does the Alzheimer's Association: https://www.alz.org/brain-health/adopt_healthy_diet.asp

We need better outreach and support for vegans. Maybe the outreach should focus on helping new vegans to avoid the common pitfalls (not eating enough calories, trying to eat nothing but fruit and non-starchy vegetables, etc.).
.
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Last edited by David3; 12-12-2017 at 01:01 PM.
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#9 Old 12-12-2017, 12:04 AM
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I agree with everyone else. This is really disturbing. It's one thing to give up on being vegan; it's another to spread misinformation in an attempt to feel better about going back to eating animals. And of course, the non-vegans cheer her on because now they can all feel a little less guilty about eating animals.

That being said, it's very difficult for some people to be vegan. If they are not in comfortable circumstances, they have trouble maintaining their veganism (since "vegan" means "perfect vegan"). Feeling guilty, they then make up all kinds of reasons why veganism is impossible or misguided. I think it's important to be compassionate toward such people, since they are likely to go back to veganism when their circumstances improve.
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#10 Old 12-12-2017, 09:48 AM
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If they are not in comfortable circumstances, they have trouble maintaining their veganism (since "vegan" means "perfect vegan"). Feeling guilty, they then make up all kinds of reasons why veganism is impossible or misguided. I think it's important to be compassionate toward such people, since they are likely to go back to veganism when their circumstances improve.
As has been said before, being a perfect vegan in this life is probably impossible. The best we can do is to carry on our vegan journey knowing that we are going in the right direction, even though we'll never reach a destination of "perfection".

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#11 Old 12-12-2017, 12:08 PM
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As has been said before, being a perfect vegan in this life is probably impossible. The best we can do is to carry on our vegan journey knowing that we are going in the right direction, even though we'll never reach a destination of "perfection".

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Agreed. No matter how hard we try and how strict we are, in the end we are all "aspiring vegans".

Here is what I'm getting at, though. When a new vegan goes on a message board and asks vegans a question about some detail of veganism, they are likely to get a very strict answer. For example, if someone posted, "Is it OK to eat a little butter sometimes," the answer from almost all vegans would be, "You can do whatever you want, but you won't be vegan if you eat butter; you'll be vegetarian." But why do we make no distinction between someone who eats butter once a month and someone who eats not only butter but also eggs, milk, yogurt, and cheese every single day? Same thing with honey, the occasional egg from a friend's backyard, second-hand wool clothing, and leather shoes bought every 3-5 years. While I understand (and feel) the reluctance to compromise (and the fear that such exceptions are a slippery slope that might lead to the word "vegan" losing its meaning), this effectively creates the impression that the only way to be "vegan" is to be a "perfect vegan". Even the strictest religions are not that strict. (Many Catholics use birth control, for example, but no one tells them, "You're not a real Catholic".) I think we need to think more carefully about whether allowing the occasional exception would really hurt the cause of veganism. I suspect that the strict vegans would remain as strict as ever, but we might be able to prevent people like Purp's niece and nephew from giving up so bitterly and hurting the movement in the process.

ETA: Even what I wrote above is misguided. The focus should not be on making exceptions but rather on intent. A person who is doing all s/he can to minimize animal suffering should be called "vegan". A vegan who is able to reduce his/her negative impact on animals to 0.01% or less should be called "strict vegan". If we made this slight change in terminology, I believe veganism could grow very quickly, and we could bring an end to factory farming and animal suffering a lot faster.
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Last edited by poivron; 12-12-2017 at 12:22 PM.
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#12 Old 12-12-2017, 01:04 PM
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ETA: Even what I wrote above is misguided. The focus should not be on making exceptions but rather on intent. A person who is doing all s/he can to minimize animal suffering should be called "vegan". A vegan who is able to reduce his/her negative impact on animals to 0.01% or less should be called "strict vegan". If we made this slight change in terminology, I believe veganism could grow very quickly, and we could bring an end to factory farming and animal suffering a lot faster.



All very true. Veganism is a lifestyle that minimizes violence towards animals - it's not possible to eliminate violence 100%. Even certified organic produce is grown with pesticides (albeit non-synthetic pesticides): http://npic.orst.edu/ingred/organic.html .
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#13 Old 12-12-2017, 02:54 PM
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ETA: Even what I wrote above is misguided. The focus should not be on making exceptions but rather on intent. A person who is doing all s/he can to minimize animal suffering should be called "vegan". A vegan who is able to reduce his/her negative impact on animals to 0.01% or less should be called "strict vegan". If we made this slight change in terminology, I believe veganism could grow very quickly, and we could bring an end to factory farming and animal suffering a lot faster.
Might be a "slight change in terminology" but on the ground, the devil is in the detail, per the old cliche. Who is going to undertake the measurements? How do they distinguish between figures of 0.01% and 0.011%, the difference (of one thousandth of one percent) between a "strict vegan" and a "vegan"?

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#14 Old 12-12-2017, 03:00 PM
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I agree with poivron.

I think you should be able to call yourself vegan without fear of recrimination as long as you give up cheese, milk and eggs eaten directly (as well as obviously meat and fish) but perhaps, say, eat some products with small/trace amounts of animal products and occassionally something with an animal product in it (cake, chocolate).

Similarly you ought to be able to call yourself vegan without being criticized if you have no vegan toiletries in your house, but just use the shampoo at a hotel without checking it's vegan, and the toothpaste at your friend's house when you stay over.

I do think the dividing line is a bit strict.

Perhaps it is better to be a strict vegan, but it's quite a leap to get there.
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#15 Old 12-12-2017, 04:10 PM
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Might be a "slight change in terminology" but on the ground, the devil is in the detail, per the old cliche. Who is going to undertake the measurements? How do they distinguish between figures of 0.01% and 0.011%, the difference (of one thousandth of one percent) between a "strict vegan" and a "vegan"?
What's wrong with simply taking someone's word that they're "vegan" or "strict vegan"? Are you concerned that people will go around claiming to be vegan but eating animal products? If so, how is this a problem with changing the terminology? With the terminology the way it is today, what prevents someone from lying about avoiding all animal products?

It is not, in fact, very difficult to arrive at a number like 0.01%. If you eat one non-vegan meal a year, then your diet is only 0.09% non-vegan that year. That's clearly not good enough for the vegan community. I remember how harshly Peter Singer was attacked for suggesting that if eating steak once a year kept someone vegan the rest of the year, it might not be such a bad compromise in the grand scheme of things. When people pick at the occasional bit of honey or milk or a small amount of leather in a person's watchband, they are literally attacking them for being only 99.99% vegan.

There is something really disrespectful about telling someone, "You're not a real vegan." It's as disrespectful as, "You're not a real Muslim," or "You're not a real liberal" or "You're not a real woman." We have arrived at a point where we can respect a man's decision to call himself a woman, but we cannot bring ourselves to respect a person who calls herself vegan. I believe this is one of the reasons veganism is not yet the dominant ideology. Every other group has figured out that inclusiveness is the way to take over the world and spread a set of values, except vegans.
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Last edited by poivron; 12-12-2017 at 04:19 PM.
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#16 Old 12-12-2017, 04:40 PM
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I'm more comfortable with 'mostly vegan'. I do feel there's good reason to have a term for those who abstain from animal products and exploitation, and that is vegan

I definitely understand peoples short comings, but if you're going to be ok with allowances, like ingredients, or eating out, you're 'mostly vegan'.

It irks me no end when people want all sorts of allowances (and that has included eating meat on some facebook page!) and still call themselves vegan. They say we shouldn't be so concerned with labels? They're the ones concerned with labels! Don't call yourself vegan if you eat animals, period!

But anyway, I've been using "mostly vegan" for a while now
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#17 Old 12-13-2017, 03:52 AM
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It irks me no end when people want all sorts of allowances (and that has included eating meat on some facebook page!) and still call themselves vegan. They say we shouldn't be so concerned with labels? They're the ones concerned with labels! Don't call yourself vegan if you eat animals, period!
I agree!

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#18 Old 12-13-2017, 12:27 PM
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I don't do Facebook, so I don't know who those meat-eating "vegans" are. I am the one criticizing the vegan movement's focus on labels. And I criticize it because I believe it hurts animals.

It seems to me that most vegans who are against relaxing the definition of "vegan" either are non-mathematical or have neglected to do some simple calculations. Consider this. Would you rather have ten "vegans" who avoid 99.999% of animal products, or one hundred "non-vegans" who avoid 99%? The latter would save ten times more animals than the former. I call the latter group "non-vegan" because 99% vegan is not "vegan" according to even the most open-minded vegans here. Being 99% vegan means eating eleven non-vegan meals a year. I don't mean eleven non-vegan snacks; I mean eleven animal-based meals: breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Now consider this. Would you rather have ten vegans who avoid 99.999% of animal products, or a thousand people who avoid 95% of animal products? The latter would save 95 times as many animals as the former. That's ninety-five animals saved rather than one! But avoiding 95% of animal products means eating animal products one meal a week! It's not the people who eat meat once a week or month or year who are the problem; it's those who eat animal products at every meal.

Consider also that if vegans, who are only 2% of the population, grew to include 85% of the population, even if those vegans were only 99% vegan, there would be no more factory farms, and the world would be much more amenable to reducing animal suffering further. The way to get to a vegan world is not by focusing on making sure that all vegans are 99.999% vegan; it's by spreading the ideals of veganism.

If a single-mother working multiple jobs to make ends meet, or a truck driver, or a flight attendant, or a student struggling to finish her degree, is doing her best to minimize animal suffering, but she occasionally has to eat a cheese sandwich to avoid fainting from exhaustion, in my book she is vegan. In a 70% vegan world, she would be 100% vegan. Veganism should not be about wealth or comfortable circumstances; it should be about the compassion and empathy in a person's heart. And no one should have to prove to anyone that what she says is in her heart is really there.

Here is one more thing to consider. When we judge a vegan for making "exceptions", we are assuming that he is making those exceptions for the sake of pleasure. We are inadvertently suggesting that it is pleasurable to eat meat or cheese. In fact, we all know as vegans that there is nothing pleasurable about contributing to animal suffering. A vegan who makes an exception to eat a cheese sandwich to avoid losing his job because of hunger-induced distraction does not enjoy the taste of that cheese; he hates it.

Before people accuse me of eating animals, let me point out that I am not the person I am defending here. I am lucky enough to live in circumstances that make it relatively easy to be vegan. The people I am defending are those who want very much to end animal suffering but can't currently be "vegan" because of their circumstances. When they can't call themselves "vegan", they go back to being omnivorous and sink into denial about animal suffering. That's what happened to me over 15 years ago when I first tried to go vegan, and it's what may have happened to Purp's niece and nephew. If veganism were more accepting, Purp's niece might have been a 99% "vegan" who occasionally ate a small amount of dairy, rather than a "failed vegan" who now eats fish and bone broth. Not only would she be saving animals, her friends would also be more likely to go 99% "vegan".
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Last edited by poivron; 12-13-2017 at 12:31 PM.
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#19 Old 12-13-2017, 04:16 PM
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I call the latter group "non-vegan" because 99% vegan is not "vegan" according to even the most open-minded vegans here.
Sorry poivron but with the best will in the world, your figures lack credibility with me. I have difficulty in judging someone's percentage veganicity especially when wearing non-sfv clothing and eating food grown with animal based fertiliser need to be taken into account

And as you have previously said:
Quote:
There is something really disrespectful about telling someone, "You're not a real vegan."
I like to think of myself as an "open minded vegan" but I've not been polled on this "99% vegan" figure and as far as I'm aware, neither has anybody else on this forum.

You can have the last word on this topic because it's too confused for me to want to spend any further time on it.

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#20 Old 12-13-2017, 06:26 PM
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My figures? It's math any fifth grader can confirm.

There are 365 days in a year. A typical human eats three meals a day. That's
365 x 3 = 1095
meals a year. If you eat one animal-based meal a year, that's
1 / 1095 = 0.09%
of the meals you've eaten that year. If you eat eleven animal-based meals a year, that's
11 / 1095 = 1.00%
of the meals you've eaten that year. There are 52 weeks in a year, so if you eat one animal-based meal a week, that's
52 / 1095 = 4.75%
of the meals you've eaten that year -- less than 5%. If you don't believe these calculations, plug them into your calculator.

Most people don't buy animal-based clothing every week or even once a year. When you consider that a normal person eats three times a day, anything they do once or twice a year will change the numbers only negligibly. Animal-based fertilizer is an even smaller effect. If you don't understand this, I suggest you take a first-year college-level physics course, which will teach you about approximations.

As for your comment about being polled, I don't know a single vegan who would consider someone who eats eleven animal-based meals in one year a "vegan."

My initial argument was that according to the vegan community, "vegan" means "perfect vegan". By repeatedly pushing me to prove this comment, and then rejecting my proof by attacking my "credibility", you have demonstrated exactly the kind of hostility that turns people off veganism. Congratulations.
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Last edited by poivron; 12-13-2017 at 06:28 PM.
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#21 Old 12-13-2017, 06:57 PM
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The question here is whether eating meat is completely morally wrong. If it is, it is reasonable to ask for 100% abstaining. Imagine (hypothetically!) I was one of these serial sexual predators that was constantly assaulting women and then I said well I have cut it down 99%, I still grope a woman from time to time but I call myself a feminist. Or, if I was a thief that broke into people's houses constantly but I cut it down 99% but still broke into someone's house and steal their stuff once or twice a year and called myself a reformed and law abiding citizen. Would I deserve the labels of feminist or law abiding citizen? Probably not. Admittedly absurd examples, but most people would still want to condemn me for what I still did, or at the very least find it a bit odd.

I think it's reasonable to call for 100% abstention of meat, fish, factory farmed eggs, and perhaps direct consumption of cheese and milk (i.e. "indirect" would mean a product that contains milk, such as a chocolate chip cookie) and not reasonable to eat these products a few times a year and still call yourself vegan, for the reasons above. However, partially agreeing with Poivron's argument, it may be better not to actually criticise people in this situation, even if what they did is not ideal.

However for people that eat the occassional milk chocolate once a month and bought one pair of shoes in the year with a small amount of leather on a small part of the shoe, I think they should be able to call themselves vegan. Of course, at the moment they are not so I respect that this is not the consensus.
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#22 Old 12-13-2017, 07:08 PM
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Poivron I get that the credibility of your figures was questioned and I think you are right about the credibility of the figures (or it doesn't matter to the core of your argument) but, if I may say so, I don't think you need to say things like maths a fifth grader can confirm or suggest someone take a course. Perhaps we can bring the debate back to a more civil tone? This is not helping Purp's broken heart. This probably wasn't the thread Purp was looking for.
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#23 Old 12-13-2017, 07:32 PM
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There is something really disrespectful about telling someone, "You're not a real vegan." It's as disrespectful as, "You're not a real Muslim," or "You're not a real liberal" or "You're not a real woman." We have arrived at a point where we can respect a man's decision to call himself a woman, but we cannot bring ourselves to respect a person who calls herself vegan. I believe this is one of the reasons veganism is not yet the dominant ideology. Every other group has figured out that inclusiveness is the way to take over the world and spread a set of values, except vegans.
A very interesting point, and eloquently put. Worthy of consideration and worth thinking about. But is it true that every other group except vegans is so inclusive?

But again, if I supported women's rights 99% of the time but occassionally decided to employ a man over a woman because I connected with the man about football in the interview and was worried the woman might get pregnant, even though I admit she was very slightly better in the interview, could it call myself a feminist if I was in every other way? And only did this once? It's a debatable point, isn't it? I would argue that most feminists would not accept this, and some would slap me down for far, far less. If I met a group of feminists and sat down with them, I would feel on my guard in a discussion about feminism in the same way people might around vegans. I mean, I would be slightly worried about putting my foot in it somehow.

Similar for race issues and trying to get people to be more politically correct. I think all the abuse Roy Moore's wife got for saying we can't be anti-semitic because we know a couple of Jews was a bit over the top. Yes, some of the criticism is accurate, but criticising them for saying "a jew" instead of "jewish". Is that really necessary? Is saying "a jew" now racist or something? Maybe it is? I didn't even know. I just worry that right wing conservatives will read these kind of things and therefore think this is PC-bull**** and therefore this will create a backlash and cause them to be less sensitive and continue to use even more racist language. Publically calling out a right wing conservative and telling them not to say "a jew" and isntead to use "jewish", while it is in actual fact helpful advice, could be counter productive in the same way it might be counter productive to call out someone who is just starting out as a vegan and criticising them for eating a cake that got handed to them at a party.

So, it's not just vegan movement that has a question mark about inclusiveness vs. pursuit of near perfection. Liberals (in the US especially where there is such a divide) have the same issue to consider.
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Last edited by Jamie in Chile; 12-13-2017 at 07:37 PM.
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