19 September, 2007

Look at this list! It's all about products that are "accidentally vegan!"

Well, I'm sorry to rain on your parade, but pay attention to the little disclaimer near the bottom, in small print:

"*Items listed may contain trace amounts of animal-derived ingredients. While PETA supports a strict adherence to veganism, we put the task of vigorously reducing animal suffering ahead of personal purity. Boycotting products that are 99.9 percent vegan sends the message to manufacturers that there is no market for this food, which ends up hurting more animals."

Seems perfectly fine at first, right? But let's take another look at this. First, if something even has a teensy amount of an animal product in it, it's not vegan. So they are trying to make veganism "easier" by promoting... non-vegan products. Yep. That's right. PETA (regardless of their other sins/accomplishments) is trying to make vegans into non-vegans.

Second comes when you take a look at the next sentence. You know, the second one - specifically, the second part of that second sentence. "Personal purity." Ouch. So my wanting to eschew all animal products is about "personal purity"? Okay, I'll give you some of that - it can make and has made me feel extremely guilty to accidentally eat an animal product (because all vegans, even long-time ones, can fuck up!), and I don't like to do it at all. But accusations of not caring about animals and just being squeamish to actual vegans? With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Third, I think it's a big mistake to say that if we don't buy non-vegan products, it shows that there isn't a market for vegan products - after all, vegan =\= non-vegan and non-vegan =\= vegan. It pretty much just shows them that there's a market for animal products, so keep buying!

Y'see, the reason I'm vegan is not just because of "personal purity". It's not just because I don't want to be a part of the commodification and suffering - it's because I want the commodification and suffering to stop. It's because I know that, even though I'm just one person, many vegans would be a force to deal with. You know. "Together, we are strong." Call it following the herd, I don't care - I'm pushing the inevitable revolution rather than resisting it. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

So save your money, and go buy a can of chickpeas and make hummus rather than serve us (processed) non-vegan crap - which, if we're knowledgeable, we'll end up turning down, and make you feel bad. Veganism is easy! - it's just that there's a lot of people spreading misinformation about how not everything has to be vegan to, um, be vegan.


  1. I agree - this "accidentally vegan" thing is complete nonsense. As vegans, why would we want to do anything other than support companies who intentionally make vegan goods? And why in the world would we want to pay for something that is 99% vegan when we could have something that is 100% vegan?

    If a company manufactures a product that happens to be vegan accidentally, it's possible that the company is not aware that anyone is purchasing it for that reason.

    For example, a couple years ago I purchased a soy milk machine. I filled out the survey on the registration card. One question asked why I had chosen to purchase a soy milk maker. Among the listed option were, "lactose intolerant," "want to save money," and "want healthier alternatives to milk," but guess what? There was no "vegan" or "animal rights" option...even for a soy milk maker. Veganism, as a cause, is still way off the map of social awareness right now.

    Anyway...I just think we should purchase from companies that intentionally produce vegan goods as often as we can. We can't buy every bag of pasta or can of stewed tomatoes from a company with vegan values, but we should try to as much as possible.

  2. I disagree - this "accidentally vegan" thing is a great way to get the word out that veganism works. While I personally support companies that have declared themselves as cruelty-free, the more people we can pull into the mix, the fewer the animals that will be harmed. By posting this list, mainstreamers, those beginning to open their minds can see how doable it really is. By not doing this kind of PR work, we are making ourselves clickish and esoteric. Yeah, I may personally be great and wonderful, better than “those” people, but am I really making the world less cruel? If I opened this [easy-vegan] door to people to take as they can at this moment of their consciousness am I really slowing down support of CF companies?? Can I really pat myself on the back for closing that door? Isn’t support of cruelty-free companies perhaps the next step many of these people will take (or the next generation they are raising) if we just give them a hand up? I WELCOME ALL AVENUES OF PEACE ON EARTH