This is my first and only heartfelt article, featuring my own opinion and personal beliefs.
I am sure you can understand why from reading this article.
What does this really means for the masses?
First and foremost, I am glad that 1) more and more people are waking up to animal cruelty and are ready to make a stand for it by banning animal products from their life, 2) ethical veganism is now protected by law.
But is it this simple...
A judge has ruled that "Ethical Veganism" is a thing and that it must be protected.
This is an amazing decision.
If you are an "Ethical Vegan", would you need to add this to your CV and presentation letter so that your pension fund is invested in ethical-vegan-only companies, that your values are respected and that you are protected in your work environment against discrimination, bullying or subjected to ridicule?
The implications are now endless.
My biggest concern today is that this has created more problems that it it was supposed to solve: sectarian divide.
Even the lawyer representing our "Ethical Vegan"hero made it clear that not all vegans are alike, at best most are plant-based eaters.
This is absolutely unacceptable.
Such comment should have been retracted and reprimanded.
Because vegans will now fight against each others to prove why they deserve to hold the title of "Ethical Vegan". If you have decided to not eat animal products, this is not enough to be an "Ethical Vegan".
Ethical Veganism bans:
- The consumption of any animal products, including eggs, cheese and honey.
- The use of non-vegan cosmetics and other personal care products, and to buy from ethical companies only.
- Clothes and garment made of wool, silk, cashmere, lambswool or sheep skin.
- Leather products including shoes, handbags, and car seats
- Waxing furnitures with beeswax and the use of beeswax candles.
- All products from companies that are involved in animal testing.
- All products from countries that glorifies animal cruelty and allow for the destruction of forests for more cattle to graze.
- Animal attraction parks (e.g. SeaWorld).
Instead 'ethical veganism' calls for a greater use of petrochemical-derived plastic for everything (plastic shoes and soles, plastic handbags, synthetic fibres (e.g. polyester, vinyl, etc.), synthetic furs, etc.)
Stricter vegans tend to use organic cotton or other natural plant fibres, such as jute, flax/linseeds (linen), hemp (for everything, from shopping bags to garments, from car seat covers to socks.
Although these tends to be people who can afford it.
Many agree though that most vegans observe a vegan diet rather than a vegan lifestyle and perhaps this is where the difference lies. An ethical vegan lives and breathe veganism. A vegan dieter may use leather products and may not be too concerned with non-organic cotton, perhaps preferring to prioritise their health as well as animal cruelty.
Another great concern of mine includes the darker side of the story.
This ruling may fuel more disruption from "extremists", ready to make their voices heard no matter what. Butcher shops vandalised, farmers intimidated by hundreds of vegan protestors.
This is where, personally, I draw the line.
I respect all life on the planet.
I am against animal cruelty.
I am all for protecting the planet, preserving the environment and prevent animals from extinction by:
- Not buying more than I need, considerably reducing my carbon footprint as well, reducing pollution from exaggerated deliveries, buying in bulk, and the manufacture of unneeded items, including plastics. Except from a large roll of cling film (about 7 years old), I have zero plastic in my kitchen.
- Not using toxic chemicals (cleaning products, detergents, personal care products, bug sprays and other pesticides, herbicides and weed-killers, etc)
- Not owning a car
- Not buying meat from a supermarket but from trusted biodynamic farms, which are ethically in tune with nature and I also eat meat less often.
- Cooking delicious vegan food at work and make my vegan clients happy.
- Respect everyone including vegan and meat-eaters alike.
Because my choice is mine and mine only.
I have no right to dictate my believe onto others.
I have no right to feel superior, discriminate or criticise others because I do not participate in animal cruelty but they might — directly or indirectly.
I have no right to judge.
And I expect the same from others.
I should be able to live the life I want, according to my beliefs, and without fear.
This is my decision, my life.
I prefer to boycott supermarkets and larger stores for having created a major problem rather than solving any, blackmailing farmers to sell animal products at very low prices, forcing farmers to cut corners at every step to protect their livelihood, and having created a false offer-and-demand attitude. This is at the heart of conventional farming methods, animal cruelty, too many animals send for slaughter, and tons of animal products going to waste because it has passed its 'best before' deadline.
I believe that a person is completely disconnected from nature and food, if he/she buys any food wrapped in plastic.
What is now likely to happen?
Companies will rush to create "Ethical Vegan" certified range of products, from clothes to household products, from cosmetics to supplements, and more. They will cash in no matter what. But the good thing is everyone gets what they want, right?
What are your thoughts?
Comment from Josie via Facebook:
I am sick of these sorts of newspaper articles which to me pit one against the other when previously they would have been oblivious to the difference. A vegan does as little harm as possible to any living creature and articles like this one make some feel as if what they are doing is not enough which is unfair. Everyone does the best they can but the good old British attitude is to knock everyone until they are down.
I have neither eaten nor worn animals for almost 46 yrs, I raised two vegans now aged 22 & 21 who choose to remain vegan. We do not buy any products that are knowingly tested and if there is any doubt we avoid them. I grow our own fruit and veg, not organically but naturally because years gone by there was none of this grow organically nonsense it was just grow your food, there were no pesticides etc, just home made compost, leaf mould, nettle feed etc, which is how I choose to grow. I do not use animal manure because that is a by product of animals bred for slaughter.
We lived in Wales when my children were raised and had 'Free Range Children' signs on our drive. They had their own raised beds and grew their own veg and often ate it straight from the garden (peas, fruit etc).
Neither of them have had so much as a filling and have perfect teeth because they were not raised on the junk food sweets and cakes like their cousins and friends.
But, despite all that and all we do, we are not in any way perfect and not better than anyone else.
We are us first and happen to be vegan. It does not define us, it is not a competition, it is not something we consciously think about every day unless someone else brings it up. For instance, our builder commented that the stalk of sprouts I gave him had a few nibbles in them and offered suggestions to stop slugs etc (he also said they tasted like sprouts he had as a child and nothing like the offerings you get today) . I thanked him and ignored his words. The insects that nibble on some of the veg need to eat too, we do not kill them, if we have to cut around a few nibbles so be it, those scraps end up in one of our compost heaps.
It is virtually impossible for everything surrounding you and everything you do to be 100% vegan, ethically or otherwise; after all.
far too many people try to push veganism to the extreme.
Another comment from Katrina via Facebook:
Veganism isn't a diet by definition and people who wear leather are not vegan. People choose to stop eating animal products but it doesn't make them vegan does it? It makes them vegetarian or plant based at best.
Veganism is a choice to limit harm and exploitation of animals as much as is possible. I agree that we should all be doing our bit to do the least harm we can in whichever way we believe to be the best but that is not necessarily connected to veganism.
Veganism has already been defined, ethical or otherwise.
Josie, I completely agree!
The only reason I started referring to myself as a vegan was to make my lifestyle changes easier for other people to understand, without having to explain detail by detail.
I dont feel I need a label and neither did I get a 'how to be a vegan' guide. I read as much as I could so I could begin to make more conscious choices. I learned of the plight of animals , and once you research this it is hard to ignore. Then I wanted to raise my children as healthy as possible, so I did more research into the nutritional side of what we eat. I am far from perfect and always learning.
These days I am trying to learn as much as possible of the environmental impact of our lifestyle, as are many of us. The growth in popularity of veganism is a double edged sword and is manipulated by some for their own gain. That's a shame, but that's life I guess. Thankfully there are many people doing the best they can and not judging others for doing the best they can! I try and focus on that 😊
Registered Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Iridologist, Lecturer, NLP practitioner and Personal Performance Coach.