Should we try to be 100% vegan? Is it possible?
This issue has been touched on a couple of times on this site -
particularly on the Processed Sugar page and on the Burger
King page. But I feel that it a very important subject, so here it is
Click on the following link from Vegan Outreach to read
the excellent article about being vegan and the issue of vegan purity:
"While PETA supports a strict
adherence to veganism, we put the task of vigorously reducing animal suffering
ahead of personal purity. Boycotting products that are 99.9 percent vegan sends
the message to manufacturers that there is no market for this food, which ends
up hurting more animals."
The following article from PETA's website further explains their
stand on vegan purity:
About Reading Labels, Asking Questions, and
Congratulations! If you’re looking at a list of animal ingredients,
it’s a safe bet that you’re trying to root them all out of your diet. Good
Adopting a vegan diet means saying no to cruelty to animals and environmental
destruction and yes to compassion and good health. Going vegan is, without a
doubt, the best thing that you can do for the animals, yourself, and the Earth.
If adopting a vegan diet is the best thing that you can do, influencing
others must come in a close second. Click
here for ideas for promoting veganism in your community.
So this is PETA’s plea for patience and tolerance: Please, don’t alienate
would-be vegans by examining the food in their cupboards or refrigerators.
Don’t make veganism seem oh-so-difficult, as though we spend all our time
reading labels and demanding that restaurant servers go back and read the label
on the bag of veggie burgers. After all, veganism is about joy and life, and it
should not be painted as drudgery.
PETA wants to show people that veganism is easy and mainstream because
that’s what is best for animals. Sadly, some people already perceive vegans as
“extreme,” “radical,” and “difficult.” Instead of squabbling about
some almost nonexistent ingredient, in public situations we should be positive
and not pretend that even “pure” vegan food doesn’t come with its quota of
rat hairs allowed by law, isn’t processed using electricity that destroys
habitat, isn’t delivered in gas-fueled vehicles, and so on.
Everything that we eat involves some degree of animal suffering; our goal is
to vigorously reduce that suffering. Frankly, some not-quite-vegan food is more
vegan than the streets and tires we drive on, the houses we live in, the
petroleum products we use, and many other animal-based products that we
unwittingly consume on a daily basis.
Remember, if you give a server in a restaurant the third degree or spend all
your time with your parents telling them that this, that, or the other is not
vegan on the basis of some infinitesimal ingredient that they’ve never even
heard of, you’ll inadvertently be transforming your noble desire to promote
compassion into the message that being compassionate is an arduous chore.
In that event, your desire to withdraw support for, say, 1/10,000th of the
suffering of an animal will have a direct result in the suffering of the
thousands of animals that person will now consume as a result of your actions.
The animals need you to take this issue seriously and make advocacy every bit as
important as, or even more important than, personal purity.
We are not saying that you shouldn’t try to wipe all the nonvegan
ingredients out of your life. What we are saying is that if you’re that
worried about these issues, please find out which items are 100 percent vegan
but don’t make a fuss over them; and when you eat out, call ahead to make sure
that the restaurant you’re patronizing has vegan options. With a bit of
advance planning, you can adhere to a lifestyle that is as vegan as you like,
and others will be able to have a pleasant time in your company without feeling
that your life is filled with nothing but worry over ingredients.
Thanks so much for taking the vegan journey. Bon voyage!