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Vegan grownups

Satya Sept 05: Why Honey Is Vegan by Michael Greger:

Our position on honey therefore just doesn’t make any sense, and I think the general population knows this on an intuitive level. Veganism for them, then, becomes more about some quasi-religious personal purity, rather than about stopping animal abuse. No wonder veganism can seem nonsensical to the average person. We have this kind of magical thinking; we feel good about ourselves as if we’re actually helping the animals obsessing about where some trace ingredient comes from, when in fact it may have the opposite effect. We may be hurting animals by making veganism seem more like petty dogmatic self-flagellation.

I can tend to see things in very stark terms, most of which I attribute to my solidly bourgeois New England Catholic upbringing. Catholicism, if you take it seriously (and I took it very seriously) instills a fervent desire for purity, a yearning for a world where ambiguity is banished. So a lot of times I can be pretty dogmatic (hey, dogma!) about veganism. I spent a lot of time wondering whether or not I could really call myself a vegan when I was not entirely leather or wool-free (which state of affairs continues to the present day.) Yet "dietary vegan" or "total vegetarian" sound stupid. Not to mention that using "total vegetarian" in restaurants generally means they'll put cheese on everything. A lot of vegans put too much emphasis on the right reasons for being vegan. The health benefits are not enough. So it's a relief to read an article like this, reminding me that you don't have to be a wild-eyed self-righteous academic radical to do some part towards reducing, if not ending, animal suffering. If this means that I am not willing to go the final mile and eschew Guinness entirely because of the isinglass, well, so be it. I already annoy any number of my friends and family already by my refusal to eat dairy.

But I still draw the line at "humane killing" and "pesco-vegetarians."

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Hi John, I'm glad you posted this. I had a debate about just this sort of thing recently. For someone who is a vegetarian only for /ethical/ reasons, presuming they are in a situation where the meat absolutely will be discarded if not eaten, I say they should eat it. I've seen vegetarians put meat in the trash and feel good about it, but can they still be "ethical vegetarians" if they eat it instead?