This is why we care so much about labelling
Again and again I’ve decried these labels that latch on to, hijack or distort veganism and confuse the masses. And today, National Hog Farmer exhibits what I feared to be true; denouncing veganism because we have “stylish” cheats for justifying meat eating anyway. On a site literally established to promote the exploitation of animals, they are talking about how vegans are no different, other than our desire to be “cool.”
First, the writer lumps being vegan in with some diets like paleo and gluten free. That’s the common mixup that calling a “plant-based” diet vegan has done, so it rolls off our shoulders pretty easily. But when they claim we label ourselves this way to fit in, and argue that meat eaters “will grunt and pound their chest to defend the right to eat meat but many do not feel it is necessary to work into daily conversation or use it as a tool to be among the “cool crowd,” they’ve totally lost me. I’m certain I’ve still seen more bacon paraphernalia than all vegan conversations combined. But that’s still not where they’ve boiled my blood.
It’s not even their sorry use of statistics from Vegetarian Times or PETA to try to show that a 5% market of vegetarians is smaller than our loud voices – mostly because hey, why are we talking about vegetarianism now? Again, we’re back to a diet devoid of ethics?
No, no, no. The real upsetting bit is towards the bottom, where Venus Williams and Jared Leto’s “cheagan” diets are mentioned. It’s where “flexitatarian” and “freegan” are defined in an attempt to highlight that all vegans are just looking for an excuse to sneak animal products back in to their lives here and there. They legitimately pose the idea that vegans eat the way we do simply when it’s convenient or popular, and that all people would prefer a little meat, especially at home. They have formed an opinion of all vegans without understanding the one label they meant to take down. These are not “vegans,” and this is not something we do. This is why encouraging others to *at least* be flexitarian isn’t working.
The only truth put out in this piece is when they say; “Cheagan, freegan or flexitarian are just individuals who eat meat.” If the National Hog Farmers can see it, why do other vegans so routinely fight us about it? Sure, they drivel on about meat being “timeless and trendy,” but even with their warped mentalities, they can see the inconsistencies in these confusing labels. And the problem with it is that now, they are comfortably claiming that all veganism is a waste of time. Unless we advocate for veganism clearly, and make sure to highlight the morality that makes it impossible to submit to these bogus labels, people will continue to disregard our message. If we’re simply the latest fad diet, veganism stands to be ignored.
A vegan would not use animals at any time, and shouldn’t support the decision of others to either. Clarity and consistency of the vegan message is continually lost and is leading to articles, opinions, and naysayers like this. Go vegan, and then do your best to make sure it’s effectively understood by those you educate on the subject.