When someone decides to go Vegan, they’re often afraid to put a label on it. I know I was. This may be due to a fear of failure or even just the pressure put on Vegans to be ‘perfect’. But what is a ‘perfect Vegan’? Is there even such a thing?
When one goes Vegan, they are expected to go completely cruelty-free, to not slip up and well…to be the perfect Vegan. But why? Why are you required to be perfect from the moment you announce yourself as a Vegan?
According to The Vegan Society, Veganism is “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” Emphasis on ‘as far as possible and practicable’. So someone who decides to continue using products that are animal based or tested on animals (previously owned) isn’t any less of a Vegan than the ones who throw everything away and have a fresh start at the beginning of their journey.
There has been so much talk surrounding this topic within the community as of recently. Here’s my take on the whole thing. It’s impossible to be 100% Vegan. HOWEVER, there is a line and I believe that it’s crossed when a ‘Vegan’ decides to intentionally eat something that isn’t Vegan because they simply like the taste of it. I believe that once you identify yourself as Vegan, you should be making a conscious effort to avoid animal products. And of course we may accidentally eat non-Vegan items from time to time but we shouldn’t be knowingly eating said items.
I do understand that some persons who are transitioning may eat something animal based every now and then to satisfy a craving or out of convenience. We’ve all been there. But that is why we have terms such as ‘flexitarian’ and ‘plant-based’.
We are all human, we make mistakes. We may slip-up and that’s okay. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal. We all want what’s best for the animals and we have to work together in order to make a positive change. We should be friendly and welcome anyone willing to try with open arms whether they decide to be Pescatarian, Vegetarian, Vegan or Plant Based.
I myself am not a perfect Vegan.
The car that I drive has leather seats, I still eat products containing palm oil (although not technically animal based, it does lead to tremendous Orangutan habitat destruction), I still use household items that are tested on animals (and probably will until I no longer live with parents), I still own leather items kept from my non-Vegan days. And the list goes on. I am in no way a Perfect Vegan. One day I aspire to get as close to 100% Vegan as I can get, but that doesn’t make me any less of a Vegan today.
Living a Vegan lifestyle means that you’re constantly learning and expanding your knowledge. Until recently, I didn’t know that some white sugars aren’t Vegan. But now that I know, I’ll be doing more research and looking into it. It’s all about doing your research and avoiding animal exploitation as much as is possible for YOU.
Even if you just decide to try Meatless Mondays or you go Vegan overnight, you’re still making an impact. You still count.
So let’s stop belittling others within the Vegan community and holding them to certain expectations, shall we?
Veganism is about love and compassion. Not only should it be shown to the animals, but to human beings as well. I understand the passion and drive involved as much as the next guy. I get the urge to be a preachy Vegan and to educate any and every misinformed individual on the issue. But there is a time and place for everything. Trust me when I say that being a preachy and militant Vegan is NOT going to make anyone want to go Vegan. It may just do the opposite.
Until next time,