Vegan Venting 2021
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FROM lauren Ornelas,
March 2021

Vegans don’t see veganism as a preference, like the choice between ketchup and mustard, choosing to not participate in causing the suffering of another being does not mean we are being puritanical.

It’s been a while since I have been able to vent and share some of my frustrations about being a vegan in a non-vegan world. While I realize there are much bigger issues in the world, I feel I wanted to share some thoughts.

I recently read an article, being promoted by a veg-friendly but non-vegan organization, headlined, “Puritanical veganism is not for everyone—don’t let it put you off a plant-based diet.”

What exactly is puritanical veganism?

After reading the article, I realized the writer just meant vegans!

So, look, I get it. Not everyone is going to go vegan, and some groups aren’t going to promote veganism.

And I get that some people will call themselves vegan but still eat some animal products.

I get this.

What I don’t get is that these people can’t stop themselves from disrespecting vegans (no, we are not puritancial vegans—we are just vegans). Just because we don’t see veganism as a preference, like the choice between ketchup and mustard, choosing to not participate in causing the suffering of another being does not mean we are being puritanical.

Why is it “puritanical” to be consistent in our ethics? We should never, ever feel bad for caring about another being and not wanting to cause them harm.

My life has been dedicated to helping people think outside of themselves and see how their food choices can lead to positive changes in the world. And for many of us, we can make decisions not to purchase products sourced from animals or their suffering or to patronize businesses that exploit them.

So, you do what you need to for your work, but don’t discredit vegans because we care more about reducing suffering in the world more than what tastes or looks good.

And, well, if they don’t like us so much, why do some bother even saying they are mostly vegan but have cheese pizza sometimes. Why is it so important for them to use the word vegan? I’d say, “Just call yourself a vegetarian!” Besides, veganism goes beyond what you eat.

Having said all of that:

Why does the word flexitarian exist?

I mean, flexitarians are just omnivores. Unless some people really think that by eating “meat” they are carnivores, like lions and tigers?

If you are vegan, you probably have had people say to you, “I am a carnivore!” Back in my earlier vegan days in the 1980s and 1990s when someone would scream in my face, “I am a carnivore!” I would wish them well with their heart attack.

But now, I am more intrigued when I hear this, and I have to ask them if they understand that carnivores, by definition, only eat “meat.”


No need to bring up dairy because humans are the only species who drink the milk of another species.

And why are fishes different to our sense of compassion?

Why do people see them differently?

Why are there pescatarians or people who think that it makes sense to say they are vegetarian but they eat fishes?

Why is it somehow okay for grocery stores or restaurants to show the entire body of a dead fish in an advertisement?

They certainly wouldn’t do this with another animal with their fur or feathers still on, but somehow, again, fishes are different.

Don’t get me wrong. I know there are images of both human and non-human animals shown in disrespectful and insensitive ways throughout our society, but I will try to stay on message.

Then there’s the issue of the government counting animals individually who have been killed for human consumption—but not sea creatures. These animals are simply lumped together and weighed. Weighed! It is just appalling how all of these lives are so disregarded that there is no bother to determine how many lives are taken. It’s a good explanation of one way we are destroying the ocean. Not to mention the other animals who are killed.

I know many of you out there feel the same way, and I could continue to vent, but for now I feel just a little better sharing my frustrations and hope you feel better too. Just remember your compassion is something to be proud and the more kindness we spread, the more hearts we will open.

Thank you!

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