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PETA still gives “Compassionate Business” awards to non-vegan companies

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Nothing says compassion like a marketing plan that capitalizes on the popularity of vegan dieting.

There’s been lots of buzz this week about PETA awarding Oceania Cruises with one of their “Compassionate Business” awards for introducing a vegan menu onboard. In their statement, they say they “recognize and commend” the company for “cruelty-free vegan menus” that are “making the world a kinder place for animals.”

So while I’ll never disagree that having more vegan waffles in the world is a good idea, I do disagree with PETA’s promotion of the “compassion” of businesses who frankly, don’t give a damn past their profit potential. This isn’t in lieu of all the animal products the company will continue to serve and promote, it’s in addition to in hopes of garnering some new business. It’s a brilliant marketing plan. This isn’t a baby step closer to being vegan because they’re being told this move is enough. It’s not far from the back-patting of Meatless Monday or reducetarianism, but it comes with a cyber plaque. 

To call animal exploiters “compassionate” for trying out a tofu dish is absurd, to celebrate them is even more so. Not treating living beings as commodities is not about being more compassionate, it’s about recognizing what’s fair. It’s not kind, or loving, or nice to afford someone the fundamental justice that’s owed to them. 

The sort of support these awards give allows companies to be comfortable continuing doing the wrong thing. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a vegan option should you find yourself on these cruises, but please don’t pretend that by offering them up, the cruise ship company “cares.” Demand drives the availability of vegan items, and that demand is created by vegans. We need to continue our work on educating ourselves and others on the necessity of veganism first.

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