This post is partly written in response to Jill Wooster’s article ‘Being a little bit vegan is completely oxymoronic.’
In a society where our awareness as consumers has been heightened by social trends, fads and diets, it is questionable whether we treat veganism as a societal convenience, as opposed to a reflection of morality.
‘Veganism’ is not a flexible concept, and the danger of presenting ‘Meat-free Mondays’, ‘Fishless Fridays’ and ‘Veganuary’ as forms of veganism may be damaging to the label. Wooster is not shaming non-vegans, but is clear about veganism’s steadfast definition. Vegans don’t eat, wear or use any animal products, at any time.
But we are creatures of habit, and are learning more about how to terminate our dependence on animal products, especially if we are transitioning from eating meat, to eating vegan. When I transitioned, I had stopped buying meat, dairy and eggs, but by occasionally eating a chocolate bar, I wasn’t embodying veganism, but instead, reducetarianism. Veganism is all or nothing, but getting there is an important part of the process. It’s part of the learning curve. Although this stage helped me transition fully, I used the term ‘vegan’ too loosely. And as Wooster explains, you can’t be ‘a little bit vegan.’
VEGAN FOR A REASON
Sean O’Callaghan AKA ‘Fat Gay Vegan,’ believes we need to practice what we preach. His view is to remain dedicated to being 100% vegan. Eating dairy once a week is better than eating it every day, however the aim should be to cut it out completely. Sean says ‘we can congratulate people on their milestones and the small victories… but we should never convey the sentiment that reducing is the end goal.’ Animal exploitation cannot be justified.
SOCIAL PROGRESSION IS SHARED KNOWLEDGE
The more we learn, the more we can do. By reading books, blogs, web pages and cook books, I have involved myself more in vegan and environmental activism. It’s clear to see how many areas of my life have been corrupted by convenience. Saying ‘no’ to a cake made with eggs, ‘no’ to a beer strained through fish swim bladders (if you didn’t know about that one, google it!) and ‘no’ to buying a plastic water bottle, you are taking an active stand against convenience.
Most people don’t want to think about the processes behind their daily commodities, or even want to change their habits, but in an age of social progression, I think it’s important to realise the disadvantages of what you may think think is a positive social trend. Don’t dilute the label. Do what you can, when you can, if you can.
VEGAN MEANS VEGAN.