Tuesday, 12 April 2011

What is 'vegan' and why are we blogging about it?

The Vegan Society defines veganism as "a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose".

Veganism is many things to many people. It is often expressed as a 'personal choice' or 'lifestyle', but for many vegans these phrases completely fail to capture the significance of their decision. It is also described as a "living protest" against the use and abuse of non-human animals, but this seems to misplace the essence of veganism.

Veganism is as obvious to a vegan as not eating humans is to (most) humans. It isn't a choice, it isn't a lifestyle, it isn't a protest. It isn't about 'doing the right thing' or 'expressing an opinion' or even being 'consistent with our beliefs'. Vegans see their life as as much of a choice as regular folk see theft or murder. Most of us don't go through our day seriously considering the relative merits of killing someone and then conclude that it is probably not a good idea, or that it would hurt our career prospects or that it might make for awkwardness at dinner. We don't kill people because you just don't do that shit. Veganism is simply the way that people behave when they realise what animal exploitation actually means. It isn't a choice or a lifestyle, it just is.

So if it isn't a personal choice (at least no more than not murdering children is a personal choice), why do we need to blog about it? Surely, if it is so self evident, and not a political or cultural expression, we don't need to talk about it? Well, the fact is, most people just don't see it that way. It's not that they like torturing water fowl or think that tearing a few day old calf from it's mother is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. They just don't really think about it. Eating and using animals is not just very common. Its not just that some (most) people actually believe it is acceptable when all the facts are considered. It's just that a lot of people (intelligent, perceptive, compassionate people) don't think about it. Not really. They might say things like "I could never be vegan, I like bacon too much" or "I don't think animals are as important as humans" or "it's natural". They might even know about some of the horrors that occur when humans view animals as property, and they might even consider themselves as believing in animal rights (usually translated as "kicking puppies is bad"), but their knowledge and beliefs don't translate into action.

And honestly, when lives are on the line, we think this shit is pretty important. We want to talk about being vegan - be excited about it, tell other people about it, make others think about it. We also want to get some of our own thoughts down 'on paper' and figured that The Internet was just the bottomless cesspit of self-absorbed rambling that we needed. Plus, vegan baking is ALL KINDS OF WIN.

(This was only supposed to be 'a couple of paragraphs')


  1. Nice opening blog, guys! Have you visited the Abolitionist Approach site and forums, yet?
    I think you'd like it there. Ta.

  2. Hi Leah! We're regulars on the website - Francione is one of our heroes. Thanks for pointing out the forum though, we'd totally missed the massive red 'forum' button. Doh!

  3. Can't wait to read many more posts from you guys!!

  4. Thanks! I found your post to be very useful! I think it's a very hard thing to limit your diet this way and it is a commendable effort!

  5. Hi there! Thanks for reading =D

    We used to think going vegan would be really hard. We thought a lot about all the things we would not longer eat, and it seemed like a really big task. What we actually found is that being vegan is both easy and that it feels really good! There are so many wonderful things to eat and we both feel much happier and healthier. We've also discovered vegan treats such as chocolate, gummy bears, cakes and ice cream. Yum yum yum!