Veganism is having a moment, and it’s proving to be a long one. For months now, we’ve seen supermarkets stocking more and more plant-based food: a pizza here and there, a flourishing free-from section, sometimes even an entire range of vegan lunch options. Eateries – chains and locals alike – are introducing vegan choices and advertising them pride of place. Clearly, businesses really care about being as welcoming to vegans as possible! (Or do they…we’ll get to this later).
If you’ve known me for a while, you’ll know that one of my greatest passions is how leading a vegan lifestyle can have a hugely positive impact on the planet, its people and the animals with whom we share it. Veganism is kinda my thing – alongside ethical fashion, less wasteful living and general sustainable shenanigans, I’m all about that plant-based life and dedicate my blog and social platform to promoting it in a positive, inclusive way.
This post has been brewing for a while. Even so, as I sit down to write it, I remain unsure of my argument or if I even have one at all. It’s certainly a topic with a less clean-cut answer than I’d originally considered, so much so that I can’t be sure that I’ll be able to offer you much in the way of an opinion. Instead, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it – so read on for mine, then let me know what you think in the comments.
When I first made the switch from veggie to vegan, I felt a strange mix of excited to try new things and enjoy food even more, but also deflated about how vital, yet widely ignored, the cause was. Eating meat and consuming at an unsustainable rate is still very much the status quo, and this is hard to wrap your head around when you’ve come to an eye-opening decision to hugely lessen your contribution to it. To quote Mr. Morgan (if you know, you know), it “must be tough.” I can concur – it is.
When we’re researching whether or not a brand is cruelty-free, we look for certain tell-tale signs: do they bear a cruelty-free certification? Do they sell in China? Is their FAQ on animal testing vague – either overly wordy or short – and does it feature the dreaded “where required by law” line? An area we might not consider, though, is the ethics of the company’s founder; if they, or their company, have been embroiled in any scandals: have they made racist remarks, for example, or Tweeted something sexist, violent or queer-phobic? It’s this second area of brand research that I’ve been mulling over recently, and thought I’d put my thoughts down in a post.
I think it’s safe for me to assume that most of you reading this post are striving to live as ethically as you can. Or, at the very least, you’re interested in learning more about how you can better live in harmony with the planet, your fellow humans and our non-human animal companions. I mean, if you’re into intentionally causing harm to the environment, animals and other human beings, I’d recommend closing your browser tab now, because the primary aim of this blog is to promote conscious living in all areas of your life.
If you’re as active as I am on Twitter, then you’ll likely be aware of the recent discussion around whether or not vegan people are inherently privileged. Set off by this Tweet, the conversation quickly got nasty with vegan Twitter (which we all know to be a categorically lovely group – hoping my sarcasm comes across on screen) bringing out the pitchforks. While it seems like the embers of that particular spat have faded, I wanted to expand on this topic a little, because it’s one that I feel is very valid and often overlooked.
With Veganuary coming to a close, organisers and long-time vegans alike are celebrating a historic year for the movement, which encourages participants to follow a plant-based diet throughout January. Around 50,000 people signed up to take the challenge this year – more than double the numbers from 2016 – which is absolutely fantastic, and really gives me hope that the predominantly plant-based future our planet needs to survive might actually become a reality.
As vegans, we know that no matter how hard we try to minimise our impact on the planet, animals and our health, we can never satisfy everyone. There will always be someone ready and waiting to scrutinise our efforts; to point out our apparent hypocrisy or shame us for some inconsistency or other. We will never be vegan enough for some folk, and while it’s most often meat eaters waiting to defensively tear us down, our fellow vegans can be just as enthusiastic in their criticisms.
Every so often, the question of whether or not it is ethically acceptable to buy from cruelty-free brands who are owned by parent companies who test on animals comes up in the community, causing a little chatter as we all try to define and articulate our views on the subject. It has come up most recently following beloved cruelty-free brand Too Faced’s acquisition by notorious baddies, Estée Lauder. I’ve really been intrigued reading everyone’s opinions on this complex issue and, while it’s far from being a hot take, I thought I’d add my own voice to the mix.