by Captain Paul Watson
I have seen the steady evolution of veganism in my lifetime. In the Seventies we had vegetarians but practically no one had ever heard of a vegan.
As a vegetarian in 1979, I was hard pressed to find a decent meal and at dinners I would find myself ordering an omelette for lunch or dinner which actually was considered somewhat unusual. Finding a vegetarian meal was possible but almost always restricted. Finding a vegetarian restaurant was more of a challenge but there was always Indian and Japanese vegetable sushi.
But I have seen the movement grow and although it began slowly, in recent years it has accelerated rapidly to the point where traditional meat venues like MacDonald’s and others have seen the writing on the wall and now are offering vegan burgers and the dairy industry is totally freaking out over coconut, soy, almond, hemp, oat and pea milk.
Vegan scarcity has evolved into a cornucopia of vegan alternatives. The movement has exploded and due to many considerations like animal rights, health, the environment etc, the movement is becoming stronger with each passing day.
My prediction is that by 2030, western society will be predominantly vegetarian and veganism will be the norm and not the exception.
Being a vegan sometimes appears to be a complicated affair. People seem to be vegans for different reasons and there does seem to be a bit of bickering amongst vegans on just how vegan one should be.
The only negative aspect of veganism is intolerance. And it’s not just intolerance by vegans towards meat eaters and vegetarians but intolerance of other vegans.
Sea Shepherd ships have been vegan since 2000 and we have had thousands of crew participate in campaigns so we have had plenty of opportunity to see the various factions of veganism in relationship to each other.
People do not have to be vegan to be crewmembers but they must be vegan on the ship as crewmembers. Because of this over the years we have introduced hundreds of meat eaters to veganism and as a result many have made the decision to adopt veganism as a life style.
Given the opportunity to eat real vegan meals by excellent vegan cooks it is amazing how many people have discovered veganism as a real option – healthy, delicious and easy to do.
But we have also discovered a major obstacle to people embracing veganism and that obstacle is vegans with hostile, holier than thou, angry and judgemental proselytizing attitudes.
I tend to look at this from the point of view of both the animals and eco-systems which really means I do not give a damn why anyone is vegan. The motivations to me are irrelevant. Anyone who is vegan is good for animals and for the environment. Vegetarians are also good for animals and the environment and even people who refrain from eating meat once or twice a week or who cut down on their meat consumption are good for animals and the environment.
Abstaining 100% is wonderful. Abstaining 50% is good. Abstaining 25% is helpful.
Most vegans were once vegetarian and/or meat eaters. People can change but they change best by seeing examples from others. Those who lead by example are helping to recruit more people to a vegan life style than those who try to recruit though shaming, anger and ridicule.
Every vegan meal consumed is a bonus for animals and for the environment.
It’s easy to tell when someone is a vegan because they will damn well tell you but it is somewhat more difficult to determine what kind of vegan a person might be.
Just for fun, I thought I would prepare my 50 Shades of Veganism to illustrate the wide diversity within this thing we call veganism.
“A philosophy and 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; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.” Definition of veganism by the Vegan Society in 1979.
1. True vegan – Absolutely no animal products used in any manner without the need for any justification, explanation, defensiveness or offensiveness.
2. Level 5 Vegan. … A Level 5 Vegan was defined as someone who never eats anything that casts a shadow. While this definition is nonsensical the Level 5 term as it’s used today is a mostly tongue-in-cheek reference to someone who refuses to make any compromises at all in their vegan lifestyle.
3. Paleo-vegan – The Paleo diet without the meat – unprocessed foods.
4. Compassionate vegan – does not consume animal products out of a deep love for animals.
5. Compassionate Ethical vegan – does not consume animal products out of a deep love for animals and a deep concern for the lives and welfare of animals.
6. Compassionate Ethical Health vegan – does not consume animal products out of a deep love for animals and a deep concern for the lives and welfare of animals and sees veganism as a healthy life style.
7. Compassionate Ethical, Health, Environmentalist vegan – does not consume animal products out of a deep love for animals and a deep concern for the lives and welfare of animals, sees veganism as a healthy life styleand is concerned about the impact of the meat and fishing industry on the environment and climate change.
8. Activist vegan – a vegan who is an actual activist for animals. An on-the-ground-gets-things-done-in the-face-of-the-enemy-vegan.
9. Enemy Identification Confused vegan. A vegan who is unable to actually identify the real enemy i.e. the animal abusers, meat producers, hunters, and abusers and instead sends time and energy attacking vegetarians and other vegans.
10. Ethical Environmentalist vegan – does not consume animal products out of concern for the lives and welfare of animals and because they are concerned about climate change and the environment.
11. Ethical Environmentalist Health vegan – does not consume animal products out of concern for the lives and welfare of animals and because they are concerned about climate change and the environment and they also want to have a healthy lifestyle.
12. Raw vegan – A vegan who only consumes raw fruits, nuts and vegetables.
13. Raw till 4 vegan – Raw until 4 and cooked vegan after.
14. Raw Ethical vegan – A raw vegan who adopts a raw vegan diet out of concern for animals,
15. Fruitarian – Vegans who eat only fruits and nuts.
16. Raw Environmental vegan – a raw vegan who adopts a raw vegan diet out of concern for ecology and climate change.
17. Raw health vegan – a raw vegan who adopts a raw vegan diet for health reasons.
18. Organic vegans – only organic vegan foods
19. Organic Raw vegans – only raw organic fruits and vegetables.
20. Home Grown Vegans – Vegans who only eat food locally grown and preferably organic.
21. Competitive Purist Vegan – An ethical vegan who is constantly comparing themselves to other vegans and pointing out how they are better vegans than other vegans.
22. Veggie Jesuit – An ethical competitive purist vegan whose mission is to convert all of humanity to veganism through intimidation, shaming and bullying.
23. Proselytizing vegan – They just really have to preach – all the damn time.
24. Angry vegan – Constantly angry with anyone who is not a vegan.
25. Health Vegan – A vegan because it is healthier but could not give a damn about the environment or animal rights or welfare.
26. Annoying vegan – a person whose advocacy is just damn annoying.
27. Celebrity vegan – Promotes veganism in an attempt to be cool.
28. Compassionate celebrity vegan – Promotes veganism because they are actually cool.
29. Athletic vegan – A vegan who sees veganism as providing their body with more endurance, stamina and overall health.
30. Ethical Athletic vegan – An athlete who embraces veganism and promotes it because of concern for the lives and welfare of animals.
31. Environmental vegan – A vegan who is vegan because they are concerned about the impact of the meat industry and fishing on the environment and climate change.
32. Trendy vegan – A vegan who is a vegan because it’s like – well, trendy to be vegan.
33. Straight Edge vegan – A vegan who does not smoke or drinks alcohol but loves coffee.
34. Plant based vegans – These are vegans who do not like to be called vegans primarily because they are environment or health motivated vegans. Like it or not they are still vegans.
35. HCLF vegans – High Carb low fat vegans.
36. Honey eating vegan – A vegan who for different reasons justifies the consumption of honey. One reason put forward is that there is a need to support bee colonies for pollination.
37. Non-Face Eating vegans – People who view themselves as vegans but will eat animals without faces like oysters, clams and scallops for example and will insist it is still a vegan lifestyle.
38. Leather wearing vegans – People who refrain from eating animals but continue to wear leather clothing like belts and shoes.
39. Flexitarian – A person who is a vegan sometimes but not always depending upon circumstances.
40. A Freegan vegan – A person who views themselves as vegan but eats anything as long as it is free.
41. Fall off the Wagon vegan – a vegan who decides to no longer be a vegan but intends to become vegan again. ]
42. Revengeful ex-vegan – a vegan who now eats meat and passionately embraces carnism.
43. Goth vegans – Goths who practise veganism. It’s kind of their thing.
44. Nazi vegans – Yes there are indeed vegan Nazi cults because they claim Hitler was a vegan.
45. Hindu vegans – Not all Hindu’s are vegan but there is a movement to embrace veganism in Hinduism.
46. Krishna vegans – Hari Krishna, hare veganism.
47. Infiltrating vegan – someone who nefariously pretends to be a vegan for the purpose of infiltrating vegan activist groups.
48. Pervy vegans – Males who pretend to be vegan in order to pick up vegan females.
49. Norvegans – not real vegans just Nor vegans.
50. VEGANS – aliens from the star system Vega.