Why you should be an extreme vegan.
I have seen way too many social media posts lately about ‘how do you feel about buying…Ben and Jerry’s / Coles / Woolworths / other ‘vegan’ products from ‘non-vegan’ businesses or businesses that also supply animal based products.
Time for business 101.
Businesses – all of them, including governments – survive by producing products and / or services and charging other people for them. For governments this is via tax or, more commonly these days, fees for service, e.g. visa fees, licence fees, etc.
No dollars, no business. It’s simply unsustainable. Even venture capital can’t or won’t keep a business going that is unsustainable by itself.
Principle number 1. When ‘vegans’ buy ‘plant based’ products from businesses that also supply animal based products, they are helping that business remain in business. Full stop.
Of note, most businesses that supply ‘plant based’ products of some description under the label of ‘vegan burger’ or similar don’t track to see if those purchasers are actually living a vegan lifestyle, or simply a regular customer who is trying a ‘vegan burger’ to see what it tastes like, or if they suddenly feel healthier or have a clearer conscience having partaken. When a company like MacDonalds misuses and misrepresents the term ‘vegan’ in this way, true vegans should be up in arms. For MacDonalds, or any business to claim their product is ‘vegan’ on one sign, but also have animal products on their adjacent menu items is not only hypocritical, it demonstrates a gross misunderstanding or misuse of the term vegan. Vegan describes a lifestyle, not a product. A ‘vegan diet’ is one based solely on plants, as a vegan lifestyle is one based solely on minimising cruelty to innocent beings. MacDonalds could describe themselves as a ‘vegan business’ – if they ceased killing and cruelty in their supply chain, but their products would still only be plant based. These businesses might also say ‘vegan friendly’, but really, what they mean is that those following a plant based diet are able to eat this. For something to be ‘vegan friendly’ it has to come from a cruelty free source – that means a business that does not contribute to cruelty or death of innocent beings. Any other representation is simply V-washing, trying to con vegans into buying their products thinking that their dollars are somehow not contributing to a business based on death.
The argument that by buying ‘vegan friendly’, vegans are helping to create demand for ‘vegan friendly’ products is used as a means to justify that purchase. This is taking the perspective of the consumer, not of the victim. Do you think the animals would be happy with your purchase, knowing that the business you put your money into is going to go on taking their next born, their brother, sister, mum and dad and chop them up for someone else?
The truth, however, can be best explained by looking at two extremes.
At one extreme we have so called vegans buying all their products from non-vegan businesses with the intention that they are creating ‘vegan demand’ and hoping that the businesses may change their business model to stop fostering the killing or cruelty of animals as a means to making a profit. Really? How long do you think it will take if all the 5% or so of the population that are vegan bought all their goods from non-vegan businesses for those businesses to stop killing animals? Probably not in your lifetime – so you probably won’t be around to see the end result. The only definite thing these people will be able to state is that they contributed to the sustainability of a business that is focussed on animal cruelty and exploitation. Those dollars spent on that business will have not been used very well at all.
At the other end of the extreme spectrum, we have the vegans who refuse, wherever absolutely possible to spend their dollars with animal cruelty based businesses. Instead, they minimise or eliminate their spend at businesses focussed on death and spend 99% or more of their consumable dollars on businesses owned and operated by like minded people – who also focus on supplying ONLY ‘cruelty free’, non-animal based products from like minded suppliers.
Then, these dollars contribute to the sustainability & growth of those truly vegan businesses. Those businesses are passionate about what they do and advocate for and seek out cruelty free solutions. They promote the vegan message to passers by, to suppliers, to police, to ambulance drivers and fire fighters, to dog owners, to coffee lovers and to other ‘animal lovers’ right before they sit down for their steak dinners or bacon & egg breakfast.
Those dollars have not been put into the consolidated revenue of the likes of MacDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Grill’d, Hero Sushi, Pizza Inn, Dominoes, Frank’s Pizza or any of the multitude of businesses who are not living and trading by the same values of compassion and kindness to innocent beings.
Those dollars have instead been spent on sustaining a source of advocacy, replacing cruelty with a ready source of great truly vegan products and services to grow the vegan message and community, to counter the mass marketing of the latest ‘Better on Beef’, ‘Pork on your Fork’, ‘Australian Lamb’, and the relentless corpses on TV and billboards from the likes of MacDonalds and the other big chains and industry associations and lobbyists.
If the second extreme is used in its entirety – 100% of the dollars going to vegan businesses – do you think the other businesses will notice the drop in their revenue and the sudden growth in investment capital in what are now sustainable businesses? They will surely notice the like of the whole foods plant based chains taking their business away from them. They will notice the messages coming from ALL their customers, not just the ‘vegan’ ones, that people would rather spend money on cruelty free rather than death, health rather than sickness, usable air and water rather than pollution and filth.
Guess what? Not only will those companies focussed on death notice the changes, but the government will also eventually take note and, hopefully, react to the societal change brought about by the shift in consumerism. They will notice the decline in dairy demand, the demise of meat growers, egg producers and cattle graziers. They will HAVE to put in place agricultural policies to assist farmers who are focussed on industries of death shift from animals to life and health sustaining crops.
The governments will also notice the sharp decline in medical care for the population due to far healthier diet practices. The decline in expensive therapies for cardiovascular disease and the multitude of other ailments that have shot through the roof since the industrialisation of animal based products.
The loggers will have no increasing demand for land clearing due to the decline in animal feed requirements. The thousands of acres cleared each day will cease and reforestation will take place to focus on stopping extinctions of native animals. At the very least, the excess agriculture currently needed to sustain the 150 billion large land animals grown for food can be redirected to those in need to assist in alleviating hunger and poverty. Cleared land can be used for sustainable energy production instead of sustaining the growth of industries based on cruelty and death and human sickness.
New industries will spring forth to cater for people now demanding ‘vegan leather’ products for their shoes, belts, jackets, car seats and furniture. The shift has already started in the wine and beer industries. This change has been brought about not by people making non-vegan businesses sustainable, but by the growth of ‘vegan’ businesses taking business away from the bigger players. The likes of Guinness and Tamburlaine are listening to the competition – to people saying to them ‘is this vegan?’, and ‘what is your policy regarding the use of animal products in your processes?’, then not buying the products or boycotting the business if they don’t like the answer. Those customers then choose to ‘invest’ their dollars in likeminded businesses that understated what ‘cruelty free’ means.
Somewhere in between those two extremes is where we are now. Where the needle points on this spectrum is up to you and where you spend your dollars. The long road to a vegan world, PERHAPS a vegan world, and probably not in your lifetime, is by not really caring about what your dollar helps to sustain so long as you are able to satisfy your shallow thinking approach and be satisfied with your plant based food right now.
The much faster and more definite path to a cleaner and more kind world is to buy only truly vegan products, from a truly vegan business that cares about its supply chain and customers.
Arguably the FASTEST way to a vegan world or a more vegan world is by buying vegan from vegan businesses focussed on compassion, kindness and global health, not ‘plant based’ products from businesses focussed on death, destruction and pollution who don’t want to lose market share to their wholly vegan competitors.