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If you are on a plant based diet, stop calling yourself Vegan!

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There’s a movement hijacking the vegan one, and it’s called “plant-based”. This buzzword is getting the kind of attention Paleo misses, and is confusing just as many people. Read on, and understand why it’s important to make the distinction for the progression of animal activism.

So what is a plant-based diet?

First and foremost, it’s just that – a diet. It’s grounded in good health, with advocates opting for high volumes of fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, seeds, and grains. It most commonly does not include meat, dairy, or eggs. Often, it can be seen getting cozy with gluten free and organic labels. People take on plant-based diets for a number of unique reasons, from illness prevention and weight loss, to saving money and having one more thing in common with Miley Cyrus.

While a plant-based meal might also be vegan, a person who eats plant-based often is not. You can eat nothing but arugula for breakfast, lunch, and dinner but if you then throw on a pair of leather shoes and head to SeaWorld, you’re not a vegan. The majority of people who eat plant-based foods also won’t necessarily eat all vegan foods. You see, many vegan favourites aren’t plant based at all. I’m sure some of the vegans with a sweet tooth (hi!) will try to convince you that a second serving of Oreo crust chocolate tofu pie originates from plants, but it doesn’t.

Plant-based is quite commonly mistaken for a gentle and more marketable way of saying vegan, but the similarities end at broccoli.  

So what is a vegan?

Well for starters, it’s not a diet (we eat lots). Unlike eating plant-based, going vegan is something you become. A total rejection of using animals extends far past the plate or grocery store. In fact, you might make three or more animal-free meal choices a day, but your clothing, cosmetics, cars, employment, and relationships are all effected by a choice to follow veganism, too. It’s rooted in peace for all sentient beings. If that means eating white bread because the only other buffet options have eggs in them, so be it.  

Vegans are not “health nuts”. We don’t avoid eating meat because it’s high in calories, just as we don’t search for pleather pants because we heard leather ones are so last season. Of course you’ll find junk food eating plant-based people, and health-food eating vegans, but that’s beyond the point.

So why should we care about whether someone calls themselves plant-based or vegan?

Remember the fateful day that a kale t-shirt wearing Beyonce was declared vegan on the news? That day was simultaneously the best and worst for Queen B appreciating vegans like myself. No, Beyonce didn’t stop buying leather shoes, and she didn’t write a song called “Run The World (Vegans)”. She had simply switched to a plant-based diet for a while, and wanted the public to know how beneficial it was for her waistline. In advocating only for plant-based diets, the ethics of veganism is ignored.

The clear distinction here is that one is a diet. If you decided to try out a Jenny Craig plan, you’d never say “I’m a Jenny Craig.” You’re not a gluten free or a paleo, you eat gluten free or are on a paleo diet. When people on a plant based diet call themselves vegans while continuing to exploit animals, it makes it possible for people to assume that all vegans are like that. We are not. It puts blinders up to some of the more horrific sides to animal exploitation that are already harder to face than a jackfruit sandwich.

Can’t we all just get along?

Sure, we can rub elbows at a Whole Foods salad bar without scraping, but truth is, someone can be doing just as much damage to animals, to the planet, and to themselves on a plant-based diet as they are on an omnivore one. Rather than advocating that people make the switch to Meatless Mondays, it’s important that vegans focus on the big, moralistic picture; it’s not right to use animals for any purpose on any day. I won’t applaud Ricky Gervais for being against hunting while he continues to eat meat. It’s hypocritical to pat the backs of people who think refraining from eating animals makes it somehow okay that we don’t question if they wear, hunt, are entertained by, or in any way use animals.

Don’t get too upset – I know that if people are comfortable with trading steaks for green smoothies, they have the capacity to care and a ton of patience. All I ask is that the plant-based people consider the next steps, and that the omnivores in my life stop assuming I’m vegan for the v-shaped cuts in my abdominals. I go boxing for those bad boys.

Eating a plant-based diet has many benefits, but switching to veganism has the ability to make a difference in more than just your own life. Maybe just take it easy on the coconut ice cream.

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0 Comments
  • daniel

    If someone eats plant-based and calls it vegan, I’m not going to get upset. They’re doing far better than the other 98%.

  • Stop. Right now: Stop. If you have any interest at all in actually eliminating (or even reducing) animal suffering, sit down and stop talking. While you are being quiet, ask yourself whether arrogant articles like this might be why many vegans of color elect to use the term plant-based instead. Ask yourself whether being snarky to people who don’t talk or think exactly as you do is the way to build the diverse and inclusive plant-powered movement nonhuman animals need us to forge.

    I’m serious: THINK. What will it take to reshape the world agriculture system and economy as well as the cultural attitudes of people toward animals? Narrow-minded diatribes against people who, in your view, are misusing a made-up word — “You can’t be in my club unless you do everything I say right away”?

    Or, would it be better to make an open-hearted effort to seize on, work with, and build upon any empathy for animals, or repugnance for animal products — “I’m so glad you refuse to to wear fur because you feel empathy for foxes and minks. Me too! I feel the same way about calves. Did you hear what happens to them on dairy farms?”

    Remember, cognitive research has proved again and again that people who make a change for one reason are eager to hear other reasons why what they have decided to do is right. So, people who have quit meat, eggs, and dairy for health reasons are our BEST prospects for learning about the ethical and environmental problems with those products… and maybe becoming animal liberationists themselves. But not if they encounter attitudes like this.

    PS. “Vegan” really is a made-up word. You don’t get to decide what it means. The meaning will be decided collectively by all of the people who consider themselves vegan. I personally would prefer that we vegans see veganism as an aspiration that we are always reaching for rather than a settled state or identity. In other words, I see “going vegan” as a lifelong effort to divest oneself from any form of animal (nonhuman or human) exploitation or dispossession. I wish everybody saw it the same way, but I’m not the word police, and neither are you.

    • could not have said it better.

    • Alison Swann

      Totally spot on. So many minority’s groups go this way when they start to gain traction in the mainstream.

    • Angel Cleary

      I was under the impression that all words were made up? No? Gravity is also a made up word. Should we all collectively decide what it means?

    • veggiegrrrl

      veg·an
      ˈvēɡən/
      noun
      noun: vegan; plural noun: vegans
      a person who does not eat or use animal products.

    • toomanycrayons

      “I personally would prefer that we vegans see veganism as an aspiration that we are always reaching for rather than a settled state or identity. In other words, I see “going vegan” as a lifelong effort to divest oneself from any form of animal (nonhuman or human) exploitation or dispossession.”-pattricejones

      What you are actually aspiring towards is a state which negates your own mortality. Everything dies. If you don’t eat or kill it, perhaps you’ll avoid endorsing the prospect. Ironically, eating meat is central to many other such transcendental strategies in the form of sacrificial offerings intended to mollify the gods of our inevitable fates. What you have is competing ontological postures, both defined by woo speculation. Results appear not to vary. We are all to be dispossessed of life. Hamburgers, or ethical beans…there is no way out. Why do you aspire to pretend otherwise? Veganism is just another ontological Ponzi scheme, like all the others.

      As far as divesting/cleansing yourself of guilt for simply being alive, by eating only plants, consider the work of Michael Marder on plant intelligence/sentience/being:

      “…Approaching the vegetal as a who — the modality conventionally attributed to the soul and, in modern discourses, to subjectivity — is prior to the decision on what will follow this engagement: hostility or peace. Further, the plant is a who that grows, to the point of being defined by growing activity with its own degrees of freedom, decisions on blossoming, branching out, genetic transcription, memory, and so forth. A who that grows with its environment, reacting to the minute alterations that happen there, separated from the world by the minimal barrier, which is at the same time a mediation, of the with. Our peaceful being-with-plants is unthinkable unless we let them be with their surrounds, let them grow. Letting-grow, for nothing (at least, nothing that we can reap for ourselves), is showing respect for the vegetal who. More than desistence or inaction — though desist from the seemingly never-ending exploitation of plants we must — it is a combined ethical and aesthetic stance that promotes growing, regardless of externally imposed objectives, be they pragmatic or purely decorative.”

      [http:]//philosoplant.lareviewofbooks.o…

      I love this guy’s work because, amongst other things, he exposes the existential dilemma still facing ethical plant eaters in spite of their selective blindness to the basic facts of existence vs. transcendence. Vegan aspirational ideology, to use Marder’s phrase, is purely decorative. Not so pure as was originally intended. A cow will never be Jesus. A salad will always be murder. Let’s give ethical nihilism a chance?

    • toomanycrayons

      “I personally would prefer that we vegans see veganism as an
      aspiration that we are always reaching for rather than a settled state
      or identity. In other words, I see “going vegan” as a lifelong effort to
      divest oneself from any form of animal (nonhuman or human) exploitation
      or dispossession.”-pattricejones

      What you are actually aspiring
      towards is a state which negates your own mortality. Everything dies. If
      you don’t eat or kill it, perhaps you can avoid endorsing the prospect?
      Ironically, eating meat is central to many other such transcendental
      strategies in the form of sacrificial offerings intended to mollify the
      gods of our inevitable fate. What you have is competing ontological
      postures, both defined by woo speculation. Results appear not to vary.
      We are all to be inevitably dispossessed of life. Hamburgers, or ethical
      beans…there is no way out. Why do you aspire to pretend otherwise?
      Veganism is just another ontological Ponzi scheme, like all the others.

      As far as divesting/cleansing oneself of existential guilt (original sin?) for simply being alive by
      eating only plants, consider the work of Michael Marder on plant
      intelligence/sentience/being:

      “…Approaching the vegetal as a who
      — the modality conventionally attributed to the soul and, in modern
      discourses, to subjectivity — is prior to the decision on what will
      follow this engagement: hostility or peace. Further, the plant is a who
      that grows, to the point of being defined by growing activity with its
      own degrees of freedom, decisions on blossoming, branching out, genetic
      transcription, memory, and so forth. A who that grows with its
      environment, reacting to the minute alterations that happen there,
      separated from the world by the minimal barrier, which is at the same
      time a mediation, of the with. Our peaceful being-with-plants is
      unthinkable unless we let them be with their surrounds, let them grow.
      Letting-grow, for nothing (at least, nothing that we can reap for
      ourselves), is showing respect for the vegetal who. More than desistence
      or inaction — though desist from the seemingly never-ending
      exploitation of plants we must — it is a combined ethical and aesthetic
      stance that promotes growing, regardless of externally imposed
      objectives, be they pragmatic or purely decorative.”

      I love this guy’s work because, amongst other things, he exposes the
      existential dilemma still facing ethical plant eaters in spite of their
      selective blindness to the basic facts of existence vs. transcendence.
      Vegan aspirational ideology, to use Marder’s phrase, is purely
      decorative. Not so pure as was originally intended. A cow will never be
      Jesus. A salad will always be murder. Let’s give ethical nihilism a
      chance?

      • Gina Pyon

        TF are you going on about

        • toomanycrayons

          “TF are you going on about”-Gina Pyon

          ‘Remember, cognitive research has proved again and again that people who
          make a change for one reason are eager to hear other reasons why what
          they have decided to do is right.

          …PS. “Vegan” really is a made-up word. You don’t get to decide what it
          means. The meaning will be decided collectively by all of the people who
          consider themselves vegan. I personally would prefer that we vegans see
          veganism as an aspiration that we are always reaching for rather than a
          settled state or identity.’-pattricejones

          Collective solipsism as an aspirationally normative existential narrative: see above.

          • ray

            You make no sense, stop it. No matter what you say will not change how disgusting we treat other beings on this planet and the planet itself. Period.

          • toomanycrayons

            “You make no sense, stop it. No matter what you say will not change how disgusting we treat other beings on this planet and the planet itself. Period.”-ray

            There seems to be a lot of “stop it” in vegan moralising. I suppose nutritional Caliphate ideologising demands it. I’m not saying anything about disgust, just about the origins of your ideology. There is no “Period.” Nothing stops. You’re simply suggesting that the only answer to your chosen dogma is silence. I don’t aspire to silence. If veganistic ideology “made sense” it wouldn’t be the fringe obsession it clearly is. Knowing why you are so invested in it might help with your marketing strategy, however. So far, being an aspirational/purist cult seems to be attracting only a crushing level of indifference. You have become your own period. Period.

            BTW, where is the data suggesting that suffering isn’t the point of existence? Most world religions seem to regard it as, at a minimum, instructive. The exception being, of course, the non-religion, Nihilism. Provide a viable plan for implementing Happy Pet Planet, and let’s start from there. I’ve asked elsewhere regarding replacing our slaughterhouse economies, but, the responses have largely been like Trump’s voodoo economics: Magic Actor, required. In his case, the wealth will be created by the wealth that is created. In the vegan-economics view, the replacement jobs will be created by the replacement jobs that are created. In tautologies that’s call vicious/rhetorical circularity, unless, of course, one presupposes a Magic Actor. For the religious, that Magic Actor is God. For vegans, it simply appears to be universal submission to their views.

            Thanks for reminding me of this topic, btw. Always a treat to deal with illusions of perfection, even in its aspirational form.

          • Angrytomato

            Turning a discussion of veganism toward Trump. Now I’ve freaking heard it all.
            (As if the likelihood of overlap between vegan types and Trump voting types would be significant, lol.)

          • toomanycrayons

            “Turning a discussion of veganism toward Trump. Now I’ve freaking heard it all.
            (As if the likelihood of overlap between vegan types and Trump voting types would be significant, lol.)”-Angrytomato

            Their neurologically-evolved tautology defaults overlap. Read this again:

            “…Provide a viable plan for implementing Happy Pet Planet, and let’s start from there. I’ve asked elsewhere regarding replacing our slaughterhouse economies, but, the responses have largely been like Trump’s voodoo economics: Magic Actor, required. In his case, the wealth will be created by the wealth that is created. In the vegan-economics view, the replacement jobs will be created by the replacement jobs that are created. In tautologies that’s call vicious/rhetorical circularity, unless, of course, one presupposes a Magic Actor. For the religious, that Magic Actor is God. For vegans, it simply appears to be universal submission to their views.”

            Perhaps, you simply don’t understand Trump and his Prosperity Gospel Ponzi, or the Vegan aspirational/ethical Ponzi. Underneath each is the presumption that existence has meaning. Well, it would, wouldn’t it? Otherwise we wouldn’t think so. I think that’s St. Augustine, simply replace Meaning with God, and [Jesus] is your uncle.

            “Augustine began by proving that human reason exists, something with which no one could argue. He then asked his listener to accept that if he can prove there is something greater than human reason, that it must be God. This was a weak point in his argument and, unless the listener agreed, Augustine could not continue.”

            Clearly, one cannot use reason to prove reason is reasonable: vicious circularity. I’ve simply asked vegans here to show they are not as logically compromised as omnivores. I haven’t said they aren’t entitled to their own ontological fantasies, just that they can’t call them something else.

          • toomanycrayons

            “You make no sense, stop it. No matter what you say will not change how disgusting we treat other beings on this planet and the planet itself. Period.”-ray

            [‘ray’ is no longer sky blue, so, perhaps he’s “pending” like this original response, absent the definitional link? There appears to be no debating the Francione/Peter Pan bots. Period. Where’s the fun in that? Clearly, ethical Narcissist grazers have fewer breaks between feeds than those eating nutritionally dense agony burgers. Enjoy your viciously/rhetorically circular cud, ‘ray.;’]

            Your notion that life on this planet can’t/shouldn’t be disgusting is absurd. This is a pointless, spinning abattoir. Your sense that life should be anything pleasant is just maudlin wishful thinking. The mercy you advocate for others merely blunts your own horror by seeking to impose a fatuous sense of group-huggy purpose.

            What you’re (all) engaged in is called a reification fallacy. Typing “period” basically suggests your moral dream world is actually something concrete. Pathetic.

            “Reification (also known as: abstraction, concretism, fallacy of misplaced concreteness, hypostatization, pathetic fallacy [form of])

            Definition: When an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event or physical entity — when an idea is treated as if had a real existence.”

    • Gina Pyon

      This is the perfect response.

  • stewart lands

    Patricejones makes a very good point in the final paragraph of her comment. That the author (Lampert) has her “snark” on indicates that she is exceedingly confident in her position that mainstream Veganism has identified the best manner of approaching the priorities of reduced animal death, suffering and exploitation and may therefore broach no challenges. In fact, many who use the term “plant-based” do so because they recognize that mainstream Veganism is flawed in at least two regards: 1) it fails to consider that many vegetable food items are as damaging to animal life (think “wild” animals of the sort displaced to perish of starvation wherever crop fields are established) as is meat, or at least much more damaging than friendlier vegetable options, and 2) it rejects all meat consumption on “moral” grounds, even though a significant portion of the human dietary need may be taken sustainably from wild fish and game sources with less damage to life and environmental healthy than any form of plant agriculture. In short, the closed-minded approach taken by “meanstream” veganism hinders rather than accelerates progress toward its stated objectives.

    • Josh

      To your comment: “even though a significant portion of the human dietary need may be taken
      sustainably from wild fish and game sources with less damage to life
      and environmental health than possible with any form of plant
      agriculture.”

      This is simply not true with the current global population. The oceans’ wild fisheries are already pushed to their limit and much of global fish demand is already met with farmed fish. Wild fish are certainly *not* in a position to sustainably replace any of what now comes from plant agriculture.

      And when it comes to land animals (“wild game”) this is even more true. Only a very small fraction of the world’s current meat demand is met with wild animals, and any significant increase in hunting above current levels would start pushing species towards extinction.

      • stewart lands

        Hello, Josh. I have not suggesting that wild fish and game can feed all, or even begin to replace plant agriculture. I am simply pointing out that wild fish and game is capable of feeding many, and with less animal death and less environmental impact than is possible with agriculture of any sort. Sound conservation measures need not apply to the entire human population. We do not criticize commuting by bicycle instead of motor vehicle simply because it is not practical for all.

        Hunters in the state of Tennessee alone consume over 500,000 squirrels each year. That is a fair number of meals. Add to this the millions of wild fish, turkey, geese, elk, deer, pronghorn, etc consumed in the US and it becomes apparent that wild fish and game can provide hundreds of millions of meals to rural Americans while at the same time minimizing environmental impact and animal death.

        It is true that such opportunity does not exist in every part of the world, and the reason for this is usually development. Where wildlife habitat is converted into homes, highways and broccoli fields, all such wildlife is destroyed. Those nations that have failed to protect their wild lands from development must now rely entirely on agriculture–exotic monocultures serving no species besides man. As development continues, wildlife will be exterminated and fewer opportunities will exist to take our meals from unaltered systems. Ironically, there will be those who applaud the demise of hunting and who will stand, hands on hips, gazing across barren bean fields wondering where all of the wildlife went. And they will probably blame hunters.

  • Tobias Leenaert

    I’m sorry, but i believe this is really a very unproductive attitude to take. How small do you want to make the vegan club? How many more people do you want to exclude? What if i tell YOU (author) you should stop calling yourself vegan if you don’t meet my even *more* stringent criteria?
    Do we want to be a group of ten people? If more people call themselves vegan, demand grows, supply grows, and it becomes easier for everyone to care about animals.
    Let’s stop excluding people from our club. Please!

    • toomanycrayons

      “I’m sorry, but i believe this is really a very unproductive attitude to take. How small do you want to make the vegan club? How many more people do you want to exclude? What if i tell YOU (author) you should stop calling yourself vegan if you don’t meet my even *more* stringent criteria?

      Do we want to be a group of ten people? If more people call themselves vegan, demand grows, supply grows, and it becomes easier for everyone to care about animals.

      Let’s stop excluding people from our club. Please!”-Tobias Leenaert

      Some guy named “ray” brought this thread back to life and then left. Period. I noticed your post, and was struck first by the parallels to the Christian normative myth. Christ and/or God had 12 guys, no women. Francione, Lampert, and Peter Pan, Tinkerbell all posit inner circle qualification fetishes, too. “If you truly believe, Wendy?” Their job is to audit the innies and outies. The Olympics, ISIS, GOP, Clinton Foundation? Same thing. It’s what “WE” do.

      By extending inedible sentience to animals, Francione, in particular, is simply attempting to side step the existential problem of special (spiritual) status for humans. The problem is death. If vegans can make the pixie dust of inviolate sentience stand, there would appear to be some sort of purpose in living until you die, naturally…of ethically-friendly diseases not caused your own actions: deserved.

      Sorry, they can’t make it work logically without The Outside/Magical Actor. Veganism is simply vicious/rhetorical circularity. It fails to become “virtuous” circularity by not positing infinite knowledge in an external being. Why should we care about animal suffering? Because we suffer and can imagine ourselves in their place is not an answer, just another circular argument. Because not eating meat would make the world a better place, or else, what?

      Can we really turn the world over to people who think eating honey is raping bees? Sure we can. I don’t see that it would make any difference at all. Will we, ever? Nope.

      • Carie McGregor

        The problem is unnecessary killing and the enslavement, torture and exploitation that go along with it. Some people – a very small group, like this – also cried out loudly for the end of human enslavement. I suppose you would have mocked them as well, because that’s all you’re doing here.

        • toomanycrayons

          “The problem is unnecessary killing and the enslavement, torture and exploitation that go along with it. Some people – a very small group, like this – also cried out loudly for the end of human enslavement. I suppose you would have mocked them as well, because that’s all you’re doing here.”-Carie McGregor

          All you’re doing is elevating animals to the fictional level of an empirically unsupportable valuation of human life. Do you have special insights? Simply by citing slavery you acknowledge that it is culturally negotiable. Pointing out logical inconsistencies is not mockery just because the people displeased have not addressed them. Prove that human life is sacred and move out from there.

          Many Anti-Choice advocates, for example, make exceptions for rapes, incest and danger to the mother. So much for sacred: get the vacuum. If you’d save your own child rather than a chicken, given that choice, what does that leave you with as a value advocate other than simple, cynical virtue-signalling?

          You’re doing nothing more that “calling out” to an imaginary extended pack projection, much like any other social animal does to a real one. Have you watched film of wolves hunting down late-born young moose in deep snow? That’s a lesson in “natural” kindness, I’m sure. You’re simply using what makes us different/unnatural in our own minds as a guilting pretext.

          I enjoy the notions of Michael Marder, that vegetation shows signs of nascent consciousness, for the simple reason that it exposes our anthropocentrism philosophically. I know, which plants are enough less sentient than us for an ethical vegan stir fry? Oh, but plants aren’t honorary people. Only chickens can be honorary people? Here’s where I’m getting what you’ve deemed mockery:

          “When we, humans, use ourselves as a measuring stick against which everything else in world is evaluated, then an anthropomorphic image of sentience and intelligence comes to govern our ethics. True: the life of plants resembles our living patterns to a lesser extent than the life of animals. But to use this as a cornerstone of ethics and a justification for rejecting the moral claim plants have on us is a case of extreme speciesism.”-Marder/Francione debate.

          (You’ll have to look it up. This site appears not want links.)

          It’s something to munch on. The problem is existential.

          • Carie McGregor

            Life doesn’t have to be sacred to warrant kindness. Why be harmful when it isn’t necessary? The wolf kills because if it doesn’t it will die. We don’t have to kill animals to survive.

            Regarding your “plants tho” argument: I do believe that plants have consciousness and that we should do the least amount of harm to them also. Most crops are grown to feed livestock, so by going vegan we are using less plants. And, until I learn to synthesize sunlight, I have to eat something, but again, doing the least harm possible. It’s my philosophy. I think it’s a good one, and if people want a more peaceful world, it’s a good place to start.

          • toomanycrayons

            “Life doesn’t have to be sacred to warrant kindness. Why be harmful when it isn’t necessary? The wolf kills because if it doesn’t it will die. We don’t have to kill animals to survive.”-Carie McGregor

            Sacredness is just a mechanism for assigning existential value. Kindness, like wealth for Prosperity Evangelicals, is awarded in direct proportion to Grace, another logically circular fiction.

            Growing enough vegetation to feed 7 billion people would require engineering the environment to that end at the expense of feral/wild animals. How would you decide between animals and humans if it came to a choice? Which would you warrant preferential “kindness?”

            I watched a show where a female known/related to a wolf pack was savagely killed by it. Zero-sum is not just for humans, anymore? Primates are regularly murderous towards others mostly just as a bonding/territorial exercise. What, you think we invented it? Corporate farming is simply an extension of that hyper-reductive thinking bred into us at the deepest levels. Being casually/causally “kind” is a Hallmark Card ideology.

            My point, as I recall from the old exchange, is that “morality” works if it pays the rent. No one, to my recollection, offered a viable means of transitioning our industrial slaughter economy to some sort of Walden Pond metric. The corn-deserts of America certainly don’t offer much hope that wishful thinking is an answer to the issues facing the current mono-cultural/slaughter economy.

            The cynical/psychotic bobble-head opportunist in WH45 is the best that America could do in 2016, likely going forward. If it could have done better it would have. The “exceptional” people of America are eating themselves alive. Kind has got nothing to do with anything, mere ontological bunting.

            Pence and Conway “know” what’s in #45’s heart. (See wolves, above.) Your premise, that we are capable of a higher state of being, is simply socio-Narcissistic hubris. It’s like the 600 lb person thinking aspiring to lose weight means that their 600 lbs is suddenly different. We are our own Russian troll farm. That’s what we are. It’s what we do.

            There’s people here who actually profess to thinking that eating honey is raping bees. They don’t want honey eaters allowed in their ontological hive, either. Sounds familiar. When do they start the zero-sum massacre/ethical-cleansing of the honey-infidels? They have a dream…

          • Carie McGregor

            Re: Kindness – I thought you were an Ayn Rand egoist so I was going to suggest you practice kindness if only because it makes you feel good. But maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you get your kicks out of hurting others. Many people do in this messed-up world.

            Re: Bees – I realize in America this is a huge insult but I am bringing it up here solely as a reference to a specific kind of economic system … Are you a Communist? Do you have a job? If so, after you’ve worked hard all day is it okay if I come and take everything you’ve earned? Why do you feel entitled to do this to other animals? Is your life sacred or something?

            Re: Wolves – There are always anomalies with any species where they kill their own kind. I think it’s a sign of illness (i.e. mother killing her child because she is schizophrenic and believes he is the devil) or survival (i.e. mother aborts her child because she knows that the community can’t sustain another person). Both have an element of kindness when you think about it. Whatever happened with the wolves, we are only guessing why they killed that female. Ascribing a reason is anthropomorphizing since we are not wolves and don’t truly know why they do what they do. The term “alpha male” has since been rescinded by the man who originally coined the term and concept. Scientists don’t know everything.

            Funny you mentioned Walden. Google “large scale vertical gardening, Walden labs”. If you open your mind you will see that there are always peaceful solutions.

          • toomanycrayons

            You haven’t addressed this:

            ‘Growing enough vegetation to feed 7 billion people would require engineering the environment to that end at the expense of feral/wild animals. How would you decide between animals and humans if it came to a choice? Which would you warrant preferential “kindness?”‘-tmc

            Are you simply an ethical sophist enjoying how it looks in the mirror? Neither Francione or Hedges ever got back to me regarding the same question. Perhaps they only do mirror neuron events. Substance is what it says it is. If the issue of nihilism is not addressed by a creed it is simply something to do, and lacks any claim to priority. Pragmatism is a good stress test. Dewey suggested, “If it works, it’s true.”

            I’ve asked what indications are there that the so-called ethics proposed by vegans represent anything other than the usual morally aspirational Ponzi humans have always employed? So far the responses haven’t been inspired. Vegans actually appear to be more consumed by deciding who really is a really, really Real Vegan. Status anxiety is a thing.

          • Carie McGregor

            I did address it. Large-scale vertical gardens are a viable solution. They’re using abandoned slaughterhouses. What solutions are you coming up with for ending global devastation? What are you doing to make the world a safer place? Please share.

            You are just arguing now for the sake of arguing. I have to get back to my life. I have bigger, more pressing battles at the moment.

            If you truly can’t see the value in honouring all life and cleaning up the planet then another theory of mine may be true: that human beings are splitting off into two distinct species. We are not on the same team, my friend

          • toomanycrayons

            “If you truly can’t see the value in honouring all life and cleaning up the planet then another theory of mine may be true: that human beings are splitting off into two distinct species. We are not on the same team, my friend”-Carie McGregor

            You’re just suggesting that shunning is an answer. Hello, echo-chamber. I’m asking you to make a scale by which your propose to decide which life value trumps another. All life is not equally valuable because of our limitations. If you can’t make those hard choices, you’ve got nothing but empty virtue (smoke) signalling: vapour ware. You can’t be taken seriously.

            “What solutions are you coming up with for ending global devastation?”

            There are none:

            “Guess what, guys, it’s time to embrace the horror!”-Rockhound, “Armageddon”-1998.

            “Look busy, Jesus is coming?” Francione and Hedges are just a fridge magnet for those who would rather be busy than accountable to reason. Tell me how the private meetings go when you don’t have anything more important to do. I’m impressed. No, really…

            [PS] “We are not on the same team, my friend.”-Carie McGregor

            Not to put too fine of a point on it, but…what’s next, disenfranchisement, untouchable status, slavery…the dinner table? You seem utterly unaware of how logically circular ontologies work. Maybe you’re just too busy, or comforted, by your own…

          • Juan Pablo Sala

            and what do you think the animals that we kill eat? air? they eat more than us, and take billions of dollar (that we pay) in antibiotics, hormones, water pollution, air pollution, pleas man, take the time to investigate, there is so much information there (sorry, didn’t want to be rude)

          • toomanycrayons

            “and what do you think the animals that we kill eat? air? they eat more than us, and take billions of dollar (that we pay) in antibiotics, hormones, water pollution, air pollution, pleas man, take the time to investigate, there is so much information there (sorry, didn’t want to be rude)”-Juan Pablo Sala

            This was the question:

            “How would you decide between animals and humans if it came to a choice?”-tmc

            Your suggestion appears to be that winners are the ones who win, because they win/eat everything else. Nihilism? Trump would like that. Circular arguments are his ideological “red meat.” And, it costs us a fortune to kill all these lifeforms which would kill us if given the chance? We all die of something. Only (some) people think there’s a game show format where the best get to live forever and in the meantime benefit from promoting that delusion. Nice work if you can get it.

            If I remember correctly the vegan argument is that we’re “better” than that because that’s what morally superior/capable creatures like us are, superior, and accountable to higher standards, which are, oddly…our own socially necessary lies and inventions.

            I think you’re arguing with the wrong poster, btw. Like I said, “Pragmatism is a good stress test.” There is no reason to respect anything which doesn’t make life better for all of us #moral people, on average. For no apparent reason, we lack the inherent or learnable capacity to decide just what that better is in any practicable way. That should be obvious, by now.

          • Carie McGregor

            P.S. Great article about “virtue-signalling” by David Shariatmadari in The Guardian. I highly recommend it.

  • I’ve been vegetarian my whole life and vegan for the past 4 years, but I’ve stopped using the term vegan. I can’t stand being associated with the high-and-mighty, no-compromise activist vegans like the author of this article. Congratulations – you win.

    • veggiegrrrl

      i’ve been vegetarian since 1976 (not a typo), vegan since 1999. the word “vegan” implies compassion for animals (inc. fish, etc) outside of diet. we don’t wear leather, fur, use cosmetics with animal ingredients, etc… there is a distinction.

      • Ghost Face

        thank you. it’s actually that simple.

  • Naomi Murphy

    I am sorry but when an aisle in the supermarket is now dedicated to ‘gluten free’ but vegan cheese is hidden behind the dairy cheese ……….Calling it ‘plant based’ will get a following (and more realestate at the supermarket) alot quicker because frankly ‘vegan’ conjures up people just like the writer of the article. I don’t care what you call it as long as people do it. One choice leads to another and when you start reading about ‘plant based’ diets you will enviably come across articles in how we humans abuse animals in all forms. Voila you have created a ‘v’ word person

    • Christine

      Yes, Naomi…I agree where you wrote, “frankly ‘vegan’ conjures up people just like the writer of the article.”

      I wonder what Eva Lampert (the author of this post) would make of the fact that being condescending towards “plant based” eaters will have the exact opposite effect of what she claims to want, which is more “pure vegans” like herself.

      Being condescending does not make people want to be like you or join “your club”. Why not be inviting instead?

  • Regina Lemoine

    The word “diet” does not exclusively mean a weight loss regimen, as you seem to imply. “Diet” is defined as “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” So, yes, a person who is vegan eats a plant-based diet that excludes all animal-derived products. Any food(s) that a person habitually eats is his or her diet. You eat a vegan diet.

    Also, if you live in a first world country and you think that because you’re vegan you don’t infringe upon the rights of animals or cause them harm, you’re out of touch with reality. Millions of small animals like frogs, mice, voles, rabbits, etc., etc., are killed in the agricultural production of “vegan” foods. Insects are killed by the millions, even by organic farmers. Just because you won’t eat a chicken nugget that doesn’t mean you don’t also have animal blood on your hands. Is a chicken worth more than a bee or a mouse? You say, “it’s not right to use animals for any purpose on any day.” But it’s okay if they just happened to get in the way of the threshing machine, right? As long as I don’t actually EAT the mouse, I’m vegan, right?? I’m not saying go out and eat the chicken–and yes, I understand that animal agriculture not only harms the animals that are being raised for food, but other animals as well–just pointing out the logical fallacy inherent in this kind of argument.

    While being vegan is a worthy goal, it isn’t the be-all, end-all of morality. It’s not the standard by which all other things should be judged; there is no such thing as a “pure” diet. Distinctions between your way of eating and that of a person who eats a “plant-based” diet comes down to semantics and nothing more. I’d encourage you to stop patting yourself on the back long enough to do as @@pattricejones:disqus says. THINK. It would also be nice if vegans like you extended your kindness and compassion to human animals.

    • Bobbi

      Enlightening and beautiful response.

    • StrangerThingsHappen

      The point is intention. Veganism isn’t about perfection. It’s about doing as little harm as possible.

      “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

  • John Edmundson

    One nasty article!

    It would have been more honest if Eva had simply written, “I really want to be a cult leader!”

  • Vegan, plant based – it’s the end result that counts: living violent free.

  • non12stepworks

    This author typifies the people who give plant-based living a bad name. Childish, rigid, sanctimonious, and generally obnoxious.

    • Ghost Face

      This comment is rigid and obnoxious. Author has a point.

    • StrangerThingsHappen

      It’s “plant-based living” that confuses the meaning of ‘veganism’.

      “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

  • Tobias Leenaert

    I felt I needed to write a response…

    The title, and especially the exclamation mark, made me almost physically unwell (I’m only exaggerating a little bit here). As far as titles go, it kind of says it all. Probably the author has the best intentions (though they may be unpure, like with all of us), but this way of thinking and communicating is so unproductive and so damaging, I just don’t know where to start.

    The author believes that the health vegans – which obviously she doesn’t want to call vegans but rather plant-based people or something) are “hijacking” the vegan movement. She wants to kind of forbid health vegans to call themselves vegan. Apart from the fact that telling people not to use a word is kind of annoying and nasty, it is also very unproductive to ostracize health vegans from “our club”.

    I’ve written much more on this, but just very briefly: demand for vegan products, whatever the motivation behind that demand, will increase the choice in vegan products. Vegan eating thus becomes easier, our dependence on animal products decreases, and it becomes way easier to care about ethics when people feel they don’t have much to loose anymore. The health vegans are actually among the people who are the easiest to target with an ethical message. Indeed, many ethical vegans (I dislike the term) started out as health vegans.

    At the risk of overanalyzing, here’s an explanation for the kind of exclusive behavior and communication that we read in said article. This is from a psychology textbook. I’ll leave it to you to see if it can somehow apply. Keep in mind the “ethical vegans” vs. “health vegans” dichtotomy when you read it.

    “People like to be seen in terms of identities important to them. Being seen in terms of other identities, especially erroneous ones, can evoke “categorization threat“. We also do not like it when another group is so similar to ours, because it undermines the very essence of what our group is that makes us different and special. In other words we tend to be most sensitive when the other group actually is similar to our own (…). Groups that are too similar to our own can therefore threaten the unique identity of the group: “distinctiveness threat“. Some have even argued that having a distinctive group identity is even more fundamental than avoiding a negative one.”*

    Sound familiar?

    I had this thought: in the end, I might get so disappointed with vegans and veganism, that I (a vegan for the animals), would refrain from using it altogether (some people say I should, as I do some unvegan things!). But the problem is, then the only people using the word vegan will be the more fundamentalist ones, and we’d have to start all over again with a new word. So I guess I’m not ready to give up on the word yet, and rather be one more person who uses it in a rational, compassionate, positive and inclusive way. Want to join me?

    • David Cyrus MacDonald

      This is an absolutely spot-on comment.

      • Kirsten Scott

        Yes, its the people’s front of Judea all over again!

  • Christine

    “Eating a plant-based diet has many benefits, but switching to veganism has the ability to make a difference in more than just your own life”.

    However, eating a plant-based diet DOES make a difference in more than your own life. I agree that it’s less difference that what a “pure vegan” makes, but it still does make a difference.

    If you’re truly interested in persuading others to make the switch to veganism, rather than criticize people for what you see that you don’t like, if you’d instead offer support & encouragement for what they’re doing that you do like, you’ll most likely have much better results.

    And so will the animals.

    • Anthony Nales

      Thank you

  • Michelle

    I think all the comments below say a lot for what this author is doing for the reputation of vegans who share these elitist attitudes. Luckily I know many who not only have a true passion for all living creatures, but also compassion for humans. They share their incredibly important message in a much less pretentious way and I know that they would not appreciate being aligned with this viewpoint. Isn’t the whole point to reach out to others, like myself who are very new to this way of life, and encourage us, rather than alienate us with condescending articles? How does that help the animals, the climate, or your point of view? The last sentence was as unnecessary as was the entire article.

    • Christine

      It’s ironic that one of the basic tenets of veganism is showing compassion for all living beings, but for so many “elitist vegans” this seems to fly out the window when it comes to showing compassion towards humans.

      I was glad to read that you know others who can counteract the condescending and pretentious vegans, Michelle. 🙂

  • Christina Smith

    So. Annoying. As the mom of a seven year old who has a piece of candied salmon from our local fishermen a couple times a year, she struggles with what “category” of person she falls into as a result. Does my daughter have enough ahead of her with struggles of belonging, issues of eating disorders in young women, and living under labels for the rest of her life? How about you say “plant based diet” or “vegan diet”. You don’t need to add a descriptive to a person. Sounds like everyone finds this piece a step backwards for animals and the people who don’t like to eat them.

    • bcalvillo

      Your ‘local fisherman’ kills fish which you benefit from. Just stop being a contributor to murder.

    • veggiegrrrl

      your “word” is omnivore. like most humans on earth. vegans don’t eat fish or any other animal based ingredient.

    • Ghost Face

      Omnivore works well. Fish are animals too.

  • If this article excludes “plant-based” people from veganism, and as a result several decide to say “fuk it” and eat a burger, that cow’s horrific torture and slaughter is now directly linked to YOUR hands. And indirect killing of animals isn’t vegan.

    • Andreja Knego

      I decided to go vegan 12 years ago (and I still am), I didn’t know any vegan, I just read some books! I had SERIOUS intention to stop contributing to animal exploitation and killing! If I had seen some stupid vegan at the time and because of that person decided not to go vegan and continued to eat pork chops, well, that wouldn’t have classified me as a person with serious intentions, would it?
      Veganism is about animals, not other vegans, I don’t care about other vegans, like I hadn’t cared about how other meat eaters behaved when I was one!

      • Good for you. Now if only the other hundreds of millions of people who see veganism as a group of blabbering elitist extremists would see it that way.

      • veggiegrrrl

        indeed. veganism is about animals.

    • strat6911

      This had to be the dumbest comment posted. If you go eat a burger, that’s your contribution to murder. You paid, through several middlemen, to torture, abuse, and finally murder, an innocent creature. A vegan stops contributing to the exploitation of animals, for the animals. I didn’t stop eating meat for my health, for my waistline, or because I don’t like the taste. I miss fish and bacon. I gave it all up because of how we treat animals, and how we’re destroying the environment with animal agriculture. If you’re plant-based and feel excluded, then change your world, don’t expect the world to change for you.

      • I really don’t know how what you just said counteracts anything I wrote. Did you reply to the right comment?

        • strat6911

          You wrote, “If this article excludes “plant-based” people from veganism, and as a result several decide to say “fuk it” and eat a burger, that cow’s horrific torture and slaughter is now directly linked to YOUR hands.” Total bullshit. If you say “Fuk it” and go eat a burger, it’s because you are a selfish, pathetic, coldhearted, and unfeeling cunt. Own your own actions, don’t blame others because YOU aren’t standing up for those who can’t speak for themselves. That’s how I contradict (that’s the word you were looking for) what you wrote.

          • That’s like saying “the person who convinced this heroine addict to do drugs isn’t at fault, only the addict is!” no, if you turn people off of veganism with your behavior, blood is on YOUR hands.

            Yes, blood is ALSO on the hands of the non-vegan too, I never once said it wasn’t, so i don’t even know what your issue is.

            And no, I was looking for Counteract, not “contradict”

            You seem to just be getting offended for the mere fact of getting offended. That is just annoying. We are not even in disagreement here, you just NEED to find something to bitch about.

          • Ghost Face

            No one said to eat a hamburger. Author simply says what vegan means. Get over it.

    • StrangerThingsHappen

      Ridiculous. Anyone following a plant-based diet wouldn’t be doing it just because they want to be able to call themselves ‘vegan’. They would have their own motivation – health and/or environment and/or the beginnings of greater compassion. Reading an article like this wouldn’t somehow cause them to change back to meat-eating and, even if it somehow did, they would have done that anyway at some point, since they clearly have no real motivation.

  • Brooke

    I agree with this. Particularly when people say “I’m a vegan but..” all they mean is they follow a plantbased diet and have zero concern for AR but condemn those of us who are actually vegan for being “too strict”.

  • bcalvillo

    The rights of animals won’t be accomplished by eating more tofu. Plant eaters – take action to advance a vegan world beyond eating plants. Be vegan!

  • kate

    I hate when vegans have this sort of ignorant mentality. There are different types of vegans, just as there are different types of vegetarians, omnivores, etc. There are a myriad of legitimate reasons for going vegan.

  • Hari Iyer

    Plant based diet and vegan lifestyle are not the same.
    All points in the article are valid.
    But really, does it need to be said?
    Let’s get people to cut out meat/eggs/dairy. The rest can follow

    Animal byproducts are in everything. Literally everything. Even your bicycle tires. If you ride a bicycle by your own logic you aren’t vegan. They’re only so widespread because of the meat industry though. Just like leather, it’s left over after slaughter so it’s used in the place of synthetic materials which cost extra to produce. If they didn’t sell it they would burn it (CO2 emissions) and then produce your synthetic pleather in a factory to address the same market. What does more harm? On a vegan principle I still use leather for that reason. Can you argue with that logic?

    End meat and end the rest. It’s not complicated.

    • Ghost Face

      It would be better to not support the leather industry. The CO2 emissions is almost a different issue, but a valid one nonetheless.

    • Luke j

      not all bicycle tires 🙂

  • Joan Kennedy

    Please bear in mind that just as there is more to veganism than diet, there is also more to food ethics than animal rights. There is the reduction of your carbon footprint, there’s giving a break to whichever watershed would have been receiving the manure of the chickens and hogs and cattle that aren’t being raised for you. There’s the health of everyone you cook vegan food for, and everyone within your sphere of influence. There’s not overtaxing your health care system and disability payment system with all your preventable chronic conditions. There’s healing your own heart and getting off the transplant list, as a man in South Bend recently did, saving not only yourself but the patient who gets the heart you would’ve needed. There’s the ethic of eating simply and wasting less so there will be more food to go around, an ethical countermeasure to global food shortage. Applying ethical principles to your food choices impacts not just the animals in the food industry, but everyone and everything on Earth. The best animal rights vegans would not dream of bogarting the “ethical vegan” label all for themselves.

    • kd12

      awesome reply, joan kennedy…thank you:-)

    • veggiegrrrl

      sorry, vegans DON’T wear animals on their feet. vegetarians might.

      • Joan Kennedy

        I understand that lifestyle vegans don’t wear leather. And I’m pretty sure you understand that many dietary vegans do. I also understand that some lifestyle vegans don’t acknowledge dietary vegans as being vegan. Fine, nobody has the right to tell you whom you must acknowledge. The core problem with trying to engage in a dialog with someone who makes the assertions you make: The word “vegan” does not imply the same things to everyone, so the dispute has little hope of resolution.

        Please accept my very best wishes for your compassionate animal advocacy, environmentally sound food choices, and well deserved good health.

        • Ghost Face

          Vegans should, at the very least, have vegan intentions. That is, even if they wear leather shoes, it should be their intention to stop doing so.

          • Joan Kennedy

            The bar for calling yourself vegan is “at the very least, not eating animal products.” According to Gary Francione in his blog. Trying to be pickier than Francione is like trying to be holier than the Pope.

            Eva Lampert’s essay comes close to assuming that people on plant-based diets do allow themselves to eat some animal products occasionally. That’s a fair statement for some following certain plant-based diets, but not for others. If someone is following Fuhrman or Ornish, they might have occasional meat. But for someone following Caldwell Esselstyn, no exceptions and many other restrictions besides no animal products. I don’t follow a vegan lifestyle but I do follow a vegan diet. Making exceptions wouldn’t work for me with the diet. When I set clear boundaries instead of ambiguous ones, it’s easier for me to stay on the right side of those boundaries. That’s not true of everyone, but it is true of many people who are dietary vegans. Diet impacts far, far more animal lives than all other animal uses combined. Leather use is trivial in the big picture, from the perspective of animal suffering and death; hamburgers and chicken wings are not.

          • Ghost Face

            For sure, I just know if I support leather shoes money still supports the industry in some form I don’t see it as just trivial although I do see where you’re coming from.

          • Joan Kennedy

            No need to defend your reasons for following a vegan lifestyle! My disagreement is not with those who choose to eliminate as many animal products from their lives as they can. It’s with those who assume dietary vegans don’t give a crap about animals.

            When I say “trivial,” I’m talking about numbers, and which choices do and don’t have a meaningful impact on animal slaughter and mistreatment. Stop the beef and you stop the leather. Not the other way around. If diet is as far as a person takes it, that person’s impact on animal slaughter is 99 percent as big as if they took it all the way through lifestyle restrictions.

            It’s fine with me if you don’t consider me a vegan. So as not to enrage lifestyle vegans, I don’t really identify as vegan, except to dinner hosts who would otherwise expect me to eat their desserts. But for the reasons I’ve laid out, I think dietary vegans are entitled to so identify if they want to.

          • Ghost Face

            Understood but you can’t stop the beef without stopping leather. the farm industry actually makes a lot of money from byproducts such as skinds/hides.

          • Joan Kennedy

            The ratio is 90/5/5. 90% of the value of a slaughtered steer is in the flesh, a bit less than 5% in the leather, and a bit more than 5% in the rest (The parts that make glue, gelatin, etc.) If the market for leather disappeared, the beef industry would carry on, just like it carries on when they have to raise the price of beef by 5% because of increases in the cost of feed grain. The reverse isn’t true.

          • Ghost Face

            Source of info? One article says they make about half or more of their profits from skin.

          • Joan Kennedy

            I uploaded my source (from Bloomberg News, which cites USDA data) but it’s waiting for approval.

          • Joan Kennedy

            Sorry, my source-citing post isn’t showing up on the board. There might be an algorithm that holds up new posts that contain links, so maybe staff has to check it by hand before approving it. Anyway, it’s in the queue!

          • Joan Kennedy

            Since I can’t post links, I’ll quote the relevant passage from the Bloomberg News article I’ve used as a source, which Bloomberg sourced from USDA. The Bloomberg News article is no longer on the Web, but it’s been quoted by other articles that still are.

            “A typical steer weighs from between 1300 and 1400 pounds. Its carcass yields about 850 pounds of meat, which sells wholesale for an average of $2300, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The hide sells for about $100, making it a mere 4.3 percent of the value of the animal.”

  • I enjoyed this post very much. As a plant-based nutritionist (who is also very much vegan), I totally agree with all your points here. And I’m technically plant-based despite the fact I’m vegan, because as you said, I’m a health nut. I admit it 🙂 I’m also a nutritionist and title myself as a plant-based nutritionist, but I won’t coach anyone towards any diet but a vegan diet. Yet, my goal is to help them get there, and hopefully inspire some ethical change along the way. However, as I came to a vegan diet for ethics, I also enjoy eating healthy foods. And, like you said, so many people out there eat plant-based for the trend but don’t care a thing about the ethics side. It’s actually really sad, if you ask me. However, I try to look at it this way: If more people start eating plant-based, the need for the slaughter of animals will still decrease some, even if that’s just by a little. And while you won’t see me wearing leather, buying regular beauty products, or advocating anything but a vegan diet, choices and products to people I know, I also accept the fact that as a whole, people are more open now to eating plant-based than vegan (sad, but true) due to the health benefits widely known of a plant-based diet. So for me, in my book, that’s a start and an open door I think it well overdue. I love your site by the way. Power on 🙂

  • JR

    When vegans promote toxic perfectionism, they can create an excessive fear in other vegans of making mistakes. One slipup, one admittance of not being “pure” enough, can lead to being shamed. People who fear making mistakes are often people who end up doing nothing.
    .
    Very few people are impressed with sanctimonious behavior. Very few people are drawn to a cause, or have their minds and hearts opened, by rigid dogma, or by those who declare that their own definition of veganism is THE only defensible and logical definition. I would suggest that those like the author who have annointed themselves as the chosen interpreters of what veganism is and must be, are, ironically, the worst offenders of the most basic tenets of veganism. Their elitist attitudes accomplish virtually nothing in the way of drawing new people to veganism, and to the contrary, most likely drive many potential vegans away. This is in direct opposition to the vegan mantra of doing the least harm possible to animals. When you alienate potentially large numbers of people who might otherwise have chosen to make strides toward becoming vegan, then you are perpetuating the suffering and killing of untold numbers of animals that you might otherwise have influenced those people to not harm or consume.
    .
    When (or if) you make the effort to learn about the psychology of how and why people make major changes in their lives, perhaps you’ll realize all of the opportunities you’ve missed while you were stomping around online superfluously deciding who can and cannot use the term ‘vegan’, and under what circumstances. Your wasted opportunities are in direct opposition to doing the least harm to animals by alienating untold numbers of people who might have changed their lifestyle if not for your toxic black-and-white rigidity and your judgmental behavior and words. Your elitist attitude causes you to miss one opportunity after the next to positively influence someone, and thus miss countless opportunities to help reduce suffering. Isn’t that the bottom line? The reduction of suffering? The eventual liberation of animals from exploitation and harm? We’ll never get there if we all try to be ‘vegan perfectionists’. To the contrary, such behavior violates the very goal of veganism and the animal rights movement.

    • veggiegrrrl

      it makes no sense for “omnivores” to call themselves “vegan” because they only eat meat/fish once a month or so. it dilutes the ideal of veganism, which is not killing and eating animals. at all.

    • Ghost Face

      ‘vegan perfectionist’? vegan is vegan.

  • Debra Albert

    Dang, I didn’t take it like most of you did and I am a new vegan and just though it was a little humorous. You guys would really be upset with most of the people on my vegan groups. they scare me at times they are so militant
    .

  • The Poetry Lady

    Plant based often refers to the Forks Over Knives movement in its various versions. It does not, contrary to this article, endorse eating any product that is not animal free. Some plant based diets are choices made by people doing their own program which could be anything and I am not referring to them. The Forks Over Knives program does not include guidelines for garments or products, however; despite the original purpose of the diet being health, many folks go onto choose cruelty free products in their home and on their body. It is rather inspiring. Most of the FoK doctors are involved with Physicians For Responsible Medicine which is affiliated with PETA. They do not call this a vegan diet because it does not include large amounts of fat, even from plant sources and it does not include processed food of any kind. It is only starches, fruits, veggies, legumes, some nuts and seeds. The lack of manufacturing in what they eat, not to mention the fewer pharmaceutical products that are used as a long term benefit, leads to less animal testing and pollution that of course effects all living creatures.

    The idea is less cruelty, a greener planet, healthier humans and positive changes for human and animal alike. Whether vegan or plant based, each path is nothing but another going in the right direction. Namaste to them both.

  • Choon Kwee

    Some times it is hard to draw a line. E.g. Violin and Cello bows are haired by horse mane. So should any one who listen to Symphony stopped calling themselves vegan despite their other animal loving action? If so, vegan should not go to movies (or even watch youtube) as the music very often has violin as part of the instrument – not very animal loving. Perhaps we should be a little bit more relax. Otherwise, vegans should not even step on grass as it may results in ants and bugs (animals) being killed. Afterall, it is not what is being called that is important, it is whether the heart is in the right place.

    • Dmitry

      It may hard to be perfect. Don’t some vegans eat honey “robbed from the bees”? On the other hand, is it OK to eat eggs from a rescue hen that is treated as a pet or say honey from your own hive where you take just a tiny little bit (not sure if that happens)? Everyone is entitled to their OWN opinion and the author of the article is making a VALID point – she has the RIGHT to.

      What matters is when products are labelled VEGAN we should know exactly what they are. It is a short word, better that longer “animal free” or “plant based” or like in this country (New Zealand) mostly none when shopping in a supermarket – you’d have to read all the ingredients to figure that out. Let’s all be friends and sit down at a table with VEGAN food – when we are doing this we are all VEGANS and are all in agreement. It’s highly preferable that we wear vegan clothing too (though I still keep my old leather jacket in the closet even if I don’t wear it). It is best if we all agree that we need to reduce our impact on the planet as much as possible, and some are doing it better than others.

      I’d call myself a vegan, but say I am not strict and “flexible”, though as an exception only. I ate once an omlette from the above hens. I’d sometimes have a coffee and a bueberry muffin at a road stall, without asking if it is “vegan” – I am afraid it may contain a little bit of dairy or egg, in which case I’d have to go without food. If I don’t see the ingredients, I think it’s kind of OK. If it had plainly said “contains dairy” I wouldn’t have it, and if there had been a labeled “vegan” option, I’d go for the latter.

      VEGAN is a term meaning no animal/fish derived products, but people who call themselves vegan can be different, like people who call themselves adherents of a religion are different. But thankfully veganism is not a religion, and you don’t need to go through an initiation ceremony and have some kind of a certificate – it may mean different degrees of THE SAME THING to different people. Let’s respect each other opinion (including the VALID opinion of the author if this article) even if we sometimes differ in specifics.

      • veggiegrrrl

        people who eat muffins w/eggs and milk are vegetarians, not vegans. xoxox

        • Dmitry

          There is a difference between doing something as a rule and as an occasional minor exception. If one generally avoids animal products in food and clothing for same reasons that vegans do, calling them “vegetarian” seems less suitable. Cheers.

          • Ghost Face

            Eggs and milk are the same thing as eating meat, just no actual “death” involved, although some would argue eggs are living beings.

            There are vegan alternatives for almost anything you like, including muffins and even vegan eggs made from pea protein.

          • Dmitry

            So, if they sell one, I’d go for it. Sometime ago I used to buy a veggy pie at 2 local gas stations that wasn’t labelled vegan, but seemed OK (not clearly cheesy or eggy), but perhaps not 100% vegan. Then one gas station switched to a pie full of sourcream, so I stopped buying it (the other option being a cheesy roll, i.e. not OK either), and another often won’t have any (the rest being meat), so I’d go without pies. Eventially, the second gas station, instead of the original pie, started to stock a new one clearly labelled as vegan, so that is the only pie I currently get. Being the only option, once when they ran out, I waited till they cooked a new batch.

          • StrangerThingsHappen

            There is plenty of death for the animals involved in the dairy and egg industries.

    • StrangerThingsHappen

      “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

  • Sophia Morris

    Surely an Oreo crust chocolate pie-whatever is plant-based. It’s not animal or mineral, right?

    • Jeremy Harper

      I didn’t quite get that either, I read it twice and still don’t understand it. lol. Funny you caught that too.

  • Sarah

    I’m vegan, I own and wear several pairs of leather shoes. Some I bought before I was vegan, the others I bought second hand. I’m not sorry for wearing them, I think it would be more disrespectful to throw them away.

    This elitist bullshit is pushing people away from becoming vegan. Militant vegans have given a bad reputation to all of us, I’m almost ashamed of the label.

  • Sundown

    Well said. Could not agree more. Keep these great essays coming, Eva.

  • veggiegrrrl

    there is a distinction between vegetarian and vegan. if one eats dairy/eggs (even only occasionally), that person is vegetarian. if one eats fish/meat once a year, that person is not a vegan or vegetarian, that person is an omnivore. language matters because of packaging, marketing of manufactured food and beauty products, etc…. i want the word VEGAN to have a definite meaning so when i shop, if something is labeled VEGAN, i want to know for 100% sure that is, indeed, truly, free of animal ingredients/ cruelty.

  • danil

    “Vegan” is a word coined by Donald Watson in a movement to go beyond vegetarianism in order to cut down the exploitation of animals. This is his explanation recorded during that period he started the Vegan Society “We can see quite plainly that our present civilisation is built on the exploitation of animals, just as past civilisations were built on the exploitation of slaves, and we believe the spiritual destiny of man is such that in time he will view with abhorrence the idea that men once fed on the products of animals’ bodies”

    No matter how arrogant the above author may sound, the more people who try to call themselves vegan but still engage in non-vegan activities beyond their plates, should think about this- You are posing this as a majority who seeks convenience but still be called a vegan. You are spreading this message, as an impact from a majority among all plant based diet people, including vegans! One day, everyone is going to decide that plant based diet = vegan. It goes something like “Hey man, this leather wallet you have is exploiting the animal and is not so vegan, but you are still a vegan man, no worries man!”

  • toomanycrayons

    Clearly, what’s going on is a struggle amongst ontological diet fetishists to become the Earth’s apex moralising app. One breathlessly awaits The Universe’s decision. Hurry, the eco/bio/theological-Narcissist Extinction is at hand…

  • Glad I found this article. I’m sick and tired of people talking about veganism when they only have a plant based diet. Still, I’m all up for an animal cruelty free diet, of course.

  • J

    I knew there was a reason that even though I eat no animal products at all I didn’t want to call myself a vegan. I hate that word because you guys are soooo annoying. I was actually embarrassed to describe my diet to people until I realized I could call it a plant based diet because I didn’t want to be group with you preachy whiners.

  • Josh

    Wow! Generally, I have always been a terribly picky eater. In the past, I ate select meats; excluding most of them only due to taste (although I have never eaten veal or lamb because I found the thought disgusting). Earlier this year I started to discuss the dairy industry and eating meat with my friends. I found that the more I spoke about it, the more I realised that I had ignored my conscience for years. Throughout high school we were shown documentaries about animals that were on the wrong end of human consumption, but due to habit, convenience and taste it was always easier to ignore this. I made a decision a couple of months ago that I would make the transition to veganism. Since this decision, I have been very careful with the foods I have eaten and have been successful thus far, to my knowledge, of avoiding any foods with any animal by-products (and obviously meat). This has been extremely challenging for me. I am not close with any other person who lives a vegan lifestyle and the internet is my best resource for information. I have also transitioned to vegan friendly (not tested on animals) deodorant, toothpaste and other hygiene products.

    While I can recognise that I have many steps to go, I would have thought that someone who claims to give a flying f*ck about veganism would be happy with the steps that I have made (not to say without suggestion; that would be welcome). I feel like it is important that I give you some feedback, as I am someone who is trying my best to do the right thing and make a lot of personal changes all at once.

    “Eva will stop at nothing in the pursuit for vegan education, animal equality, and gelatine-free marshmallows” – (your profile on this website).

    Do you think this article is useful for someone like me? Do you think this article is useful for anyone who is not living a vegan lifestyle at all but is possibly considering it? I am sure that you are aware that generally in our society, unfortunately there is a stigma attached to veganism and vegans themselves. Perhaps you do not care what others think, but if you care about animal equality then I would suggest that you revise this. Points of view matter, your derogatory narrative is extremely alienating, which only feeds the naysayers. If I find this piece alienating, arrogant and elitist, then how on Earth do you think omnivores (for lack of a better word) would view it? What is your purpose here? If it is to be constructive then I would suggest you re-consider your writing style because I cannot help but feel attacked and deterred.

    Anyone considering veganism needs encouragement and education. I hope that you read this. If you are trying to make a small group even smaller, then keep writing like this. However, if you would like to be more constructive then I challenge you to compromise your ego and adopt a new tone.

  • G B

    Right on!

  • StrangerThingsHappen

    E X A C T L Y !!!!!!!
    This is exactly how I’ve been feeling for a long time now. Thanks for sharing this.

  • StrangerThingsHappen

    Thanks for reminding others of the difference – and the original point of the vegan lifestyle. I battle with this daily.
    Plant-based diets are great and all, but too many people then call themselves “vegan” while completely forgetting the suffering animals.

  • Anunnaki

    I am plant based and will remain so just not to turn into such a hangry person. Vegan comunity should be welcoming people who are plant based! We are still saving animals and the environment even though our main priority is our personal health. I personally find posts like this really dissapointing and upseting. Such radical oppinions are forcing me to distance myself from the vegan comunity and remain 100% Whole Food Plant Based!

  • TheGreatestManWhoEverLived

    I’ll call myself whatever the fuck I want to call myself. You have NO RIGHT to tell me what to call myself, you preachy CUNT

  • Gabriela

    I understand the point you are trying to make, however in a society that missuses animals for different purposes, trying to make a change by drastically reducing the abuse of animals used as food by adopting a plant-based diet is a very good change that should be congratulated and not discouraged. Yes, the leather shoes of Beyonce contradict the principle, but the animal abuse footprint for food is orders of magnitude bigger than for fashion, they are at completely different scales. Again, any change in the right direction is good, let’s not discourage it.

  • Amber Lawrence

    So who cares what people are really calling themselves when there are more lives being saved no matter which one you choose. This is the reason people get afraid at saying something because of this.

  • Natalie

    It’s articles like this which are why I will likely never call myself “vegan”. Not because I don’t care about animal cruelty or the environment or even my health but because I feel like I have to be 100% perfect to be in the vegan club. I know a vegans who are totally off animal products but they aren’t going around rubbing it in peoples faces. We need to be more encouraging and cheering people on when they attempt to eat less animal products. If we make it seem like an exclusive club that you have to be perfect to join people aren’t going to see the point. Even if someone is only just not eating meat they are still doing better than the majority of the world. The vegan movement needs more encouragement and less judgment. All making people feel like crap does is make them not like you or what you stand for.

  • Non vegan runner

    Ok. Fine. I’m not a Vegan then. And I don’t like you or your writing so I’m not going to join your group either. I hereby declare I will never ever be a vegan.

    Of course I don’t eat animals, dont watch animals be exploited for money etc etc. but no way am I a vegan if the above is what it means. I will not join a vegan group, or run a race to support vegans or march under a vegan banner when marching for animal rights.

    I am not a vegan. there. Happy now?

  • Rhonda Phelps

    Let me get this straight…People who eat a Plant Base Diet, eventually will help the “Vegans” because of the impact and demand off of eating animals, therefore, no harm to animals. So what’s the problem? And Plant Base Diet is not a “so called diet” because you’re not counting calories or carbs! The only difference between people who eat Plant Base or Vegan is that Vegans take it one step further and go beyond what they eat…to what type of clothes and makeup they wear and etc…! My opinion, it’s that simple.

  • GeneralDrake

    Actually vegans are literally wrong on all three major front of their religious belief which focuses on compassion for animals. Vegans are typically immoral people that turn to how they eat food to make them feel like they are a better person on the inside. They preach their religion and arrogantly and self-righteously look down their nose at the rest of the world as if vegans are somehow more moral because they don’t eat meat. They surround themselves with mounds of propaganda and flat-out lies to support their religious Doctrine of veganism and absolutely will not listen to any reason or scientific data that doesn’t support their preconceived religious beliefs. First off agriculture is the most detrimental enemy of animals. As many as two hundred species per day are literally becoming extinct like a mass genocide because of plant-based diets. The first thing you must do to grow a plant is to displace and or kill every animal large and small in that area. There’s nothing you put on your plate that an animal didn’t suffer and or die for including and especially all your soy products. Vegans are intellectually dishonest and dream up a bogus answer that if we didn’t feed so many cattle we wouldn’t need nearly as much plant farming. Well that is a flat out lie and that is literally the only lie they stick to to justify their behavior and their religion. Most of the cattle in the world eat grass for most of their lives and our grain fed only the last few months. The average cattle farm has 40 head of cattle. The image of large corporate Farms of cattle is completely bogus. Vegans are also huge hypocrites in that they use and consume animal products in everything they do from the clothes they wear the packaging on the vegan food that they eat computers cell phones automobiles virtually everything in your life is consuming animal products. Vegans are like the hypocritical environmentalist that fly all over the world in private jets telling people to use less carbon. There are nice vegans but all vegans are delusional to some degree. They cling to systematic lies to make themselves feel better one of the most common is about health. There are countless highly regarded studies that completely debunk the myth that the vegan lifestyle is healthy and they always have some religious zealot vegan nutritionist that they use that is completely biased that they use to try to justify their unhealthy eating lifestyle. For example Harvard Medical School you know the most prestigious in the world has an article that completely debunks the vegan myth that we only need 3% protein to live a healthy diet it’s as much as 30%!! Also soy is incredibly unhealthy for men to eat. Leaving out amino acids and complex proteins not just simple ones is not a healthy diet. The animal and environmental impact of plant-based agriculture is killing more species off in one day then eating animals has done in the history of the world combined. That’s a statistical fact that no vegan can even begin to debate… and that’s everyday. So who are the more compassionate ones? Nothing on your plate gets there without animal suffering and death… nothing!
    .

  • Carmen

    I choose to follow a plant based diet rather than identify as a vegan. Being a vegan is too politically charged and confrontational. They say they love animals but their actions prove that they hate people. Throwing a bucket of fake blood on some random stranger or talking down to someone about their food choices (not unlike the sanctimonious drivel above) isn’t something I want to involve myself with. Throwing away perfectly good leather shoes or handbags that I’ve had for years isn’t going to save any animals or the environment. Guess what, people are animals too and are deserving of love and RESPECT!! That’s what vegans don’t get, and until they do I could care less about whether or not I am worthy enough of their little exclusive club.

  • Lee

    After reading this HATE filled article, I am ashamed to call myself vegan. So, I will live the compassionate lifestyle, and call myself vegetarian. Compassion, to be truly compassionate, must embrace both humans and animals.

  • Rainer28

    Hi Everyone!
    I eat a plant based diet and yes! The primary drive for me to do so is in that i have Heart disease. Triple bypass and 4 stents later is when i opted for this big change in my life. My Brother suggested a plant based diet to me. Read lots about it and all looks promising. It also had some impact on me thinking in also contributing in a positive way to some degree torwards Animals even though i still prefer buying leather Shoes because my feet do not go off in them.
    I wondered if there was an identity for people like me who opted for a plant based diet? Do i need to use the words plant based diet because i am not supposed to eat Nuts, Olive oils e.t.c but Vegans do? Does a few things such as the ones i mentioned disqualify me in using the word Vegan? Since i am unable in finding a name, identity to describe a plant based diet and generally speaking would fit best in the Vagan category, should i then be shunned for saying i am Vegan? I think it silly to even make an issue of a Non issue.I would not be offended nor try to be bloody politically correct in excluding Vegans who may wish to call them self Plant based? But i suggest the die hard Vegans would not want to have their Vegan title used by a plant based diet person like me so as not to not tarnish the name label Vegan because we may be wearing leather shoes? Lol
    I agree. Anyone who contributes to the better of Animals even in the slightest should be welcomed in using the term Vegan also because it is the closes thing a person like me fits in who enjoys a plant based diet. But away from the title here. My main focus in the first place is on my health. So? Whats in a name here?

  • Lonnie

    Holy Shit! I can sort of say I am a little like minded with this so called Vegan thing. you really didn’t need the big Honxun V to make your point though. You need to get into that Scriptures, because you have a law here that has a likenesse to your own about eating flesh, with the same compassion. they be saued those, Creation, and kinde of growe together.

    High and mightie flesh eaters… two other things bringing you into such great, outstanding health are bleached floure, and sugar. keep eating those and you already know you are taking your self out. My subtil may taste more like a blunt, but hay, you don’t really care anyway untill that be you bent over in paine merely from what we lust to put in our mouth as so called food, or “recreational.” Lets see, what can we boost our consupiscence past our own abilitie to be able to keepe to ourselves, lets pisse off those first and see what happens.

    Sisters, I be more mindfull of those husbandmen, you know, the ones on their way out, newe ones will be there to. before you spell check you better mouth check because, according to that there Scriptures, thats what we haue to giue account for (men), and I thinke this counts.

    Oh, we need to be about the healing of whom we put in such great health. so called heavy-metals haue us so dull that we can hardly forme two consecutive thoughts, let alone take one captiue. Carbon monoxide, a fake so called calcium in our milke.

    I would choose the egges so I could keepe the damme. for more egges, and the company. that be the so called cholesterol you need to repair your own from eating the ones you were not suppose to, you know, like putting on somebody els to weare around, only on the inside, or something like that. so called Cannibals came to my thoughts, too.

    I have learned that purge and vomite sort of go together. and doing something toward your health may leave you bed ridden for about twenty minutes after heaving out what may look like old bits of yourself. I sure wished that I was dead, but I did not (almost needed vsed). And wake up almost completely oblivious to your past illnesse because you are learning that doing without something be not the only intent for a fast. but that fine upstanding health in the flesh seeme to be a motivator only when that be all you can set your thoughts to when you are ill, so lets do that (men). Laughter and madnesse are as close to so called synonomous as you can get, vnlesse thats the sisters doing that. not enough of that men, our that as a natural, actually caring for someone else, and a laugh in the sisters seeme to please him you sort of professe, but are not.

  • Anthony Nales

    This is why people hate vegans. You have made an elite club for yourself. I did GO VEGAN for health reasons initially – a healthy plant diet. I am transitioning out other animal products (I won’t buy anymore leather), and I am trying to convince my wife and kids to move to a more plant based diet, but that’s not good enough for some of you vegans. For that, I am going to call myself a vegan twhether you like it or not, nobody tells me what to do or what to say except when I’m at work.

  • Angela

    I know this is old(ish), but I wanted to say that you aren’t alone in these beliefs. I scanned through the comments and saw things like “How small do you want the club to be?” and “They are still doing SOME good.” I see and hear these comments all the time. Personally, I think it’s time that we just get a new word, just like how vegan was invented in 1944 to differentiate from the vegetarians who had strayed. Of all the “vegans” I know personally, which is probably between 20 and 30, I think 6 are actually vegan. I think it’s probably time to find ourselves a new word.

    • toomanycrayons

      ‘Of all the “vegans” I know personally, which is probably between 20 and 30, I think 6 are actually vegan. I think it’s probably time to find ourselves a new word.’-Angela

      Is “Psalm 51 Munchers” taken? How about #bloodguilters?

      “14) Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.”-KJV

      Ontological hubris is a full time job. Embrace the opportunity. You know you want to.

  • Saliaga

    Im on a plant based diet and refuse to call my self vegan or to fully transition because of people like you. Why are you so hurt that you feel justified to take their v card (and hard work) because they’re not some saint like you. just let them be the vegan that they want to be. It’s better than someone who uses Milk. Cause ew. Also why wouldn’t you want more people to be as close as possible to your ideal of veganism? The more people on any kind of plant based diet is not only great for the planet but the rest of us and animals as well. It’ll create more jobs, less waste, and over consumption. In the end, you my friend are actually not vegan because you are trying to scare people straight (Im assuming that is your ulterior motive here) but actually make people afraid to even try. Which in turn destroys the world. (epic climatic music)

  • TheAnts

    I avoid joining vegan groups, because every vegan group hates every other vegan group for not being pure enough, not being intersectional enough, they participated in a single-issue protest, blah, blah, blah. The term “plant-based” arose because the word “vegan” is mostly seen by the outside world in negative terms….due to the actions of vegans.

  • Jimmy D

    What a whiny article. This is why I identify as plant-based despite meeting all your criteria for veganism. I honestly wouldn’t want to be in your little club.

  • Juan Pablo Sala

    man, I tried to read this but only one word comes to me, IGNORANT, sorry, it’s not personal, it’s only that comments like this confuses people, not vegan, not whole plant based diet man, only a human bean

  • mark

    There is no such thing as a pure or 100% vegan, there are no vegans. Veganism is a label wrapped around a quite elegant description of a way of living. It is an aspiration and could never be anything more. If you have a bank account, then you are not a vegan. If you give your taxes to the government, then you are not a vegan, if you catch public transport, you are not a vegan. If you accept services from a government, then you are not a vegan. If you use hospitals, then you are not a vegan. Vegan is a not very useful short hand, that is all. The size of the vegan club is zero, there are no members, Tobias is correct, you are in a club with no members. It then must follow that if there are only degrees of veganism, then all that any self respecting vegan can do is too criticise the perceived failures of the vegans who are less vegan than his or herself. A self fulfilling spiral of negativity. There is no ground zero vegan invention day, the sex pistols did not invent punk rock and ground zero was not 1975-76, Watson did not invent veganism, he described a way of life as best he could, and he was right you can never be vegan, just as practically close to it as this modern world allows us to be. Ditch the labels, enjoy the music and be nice.

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