I created a twitter (@StefaniaLaBarre) account when I started this business, and I try to follow raw foodies and vegans- I get a lot of inspiration, recipes, and ideas from these people. However, I have noticed a recurring theme among the vegans in particular. Some vegans appear to think you aren't a true vegan unless you are doing it for the right reason- that "right" reason being animal welfare. My immediate reaction to this line of thinking is, what does the reason matter if the outcome is the same? If you become a vegan for health reasons or to lose weight, and NOT necessarily because you care about the welfare of animals, does it affect whether or not you avoid eating animals?
Another purist argument I hear is that one is not a "real" vegan (said derogatorily) unless one ALWAYS avoids ANYTHING from animals as well as anything processed with animal byproducts and/or tested on animals. This would include beauty products, clothes, shoes, purses, etc. I understand the truest definition of a vegan would dictate this, but I don't believe excluding people from veganism if they "cheat" accomplishes anything. For example, if a vegan buys a box of pasta that is made with eggs without checking the box first, goes home and eats that pasta, is he no longer vegan? Have they committed a sin? Would the vegan (and the chicken laying the egg that went into the making of that pasta) be better off had he not bought the pasta? Maybe, but in my opinion he is still a vegan- his intentions are good. Slip-ups are only human, and allowing some forgiveness for them makes the journey easier.
It seems as though there are types of vegan. There is the animal advocate type, the health reasons type, and the environment type. The benefits to animal welfare go without saying- no one wants animals to suffer; even most omnivores would concede the animal suffering that occurs by way of our food system is awful. But many omnivores accept that suffering as a necessary evil, that if they want to keep eating the foods they love, animals have to be used and abused. Some omnivores make a compromise- they vow to eat less meat and dairy; or they vow to only eat free-range, pastured, sustainable, and/or organic meat and animal products.
I don't think there is anything wrong with these compromises. Small improvement is still improvement. Every little bit helps. And if that's as far as a person is willing to go, they should still be commended for making a change, whatever their reason.
This is not to say that all vegans are so easily categorized- some would say they are vegan for all those reasons listed above. For some vegans, the additional benefits to the environment and/or their health are what push them to make that final step.
I wonder- does the type of vegan you are affect how vigilant you are about being a vegan? And back to my first question, are you less of a vegan if animal advocacy is/was not your first and foremost reason?
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