Sometimes, when I hear or read some vegans, it sounds as if they want the club of vegans to be the smallest and most exclusive club in the world. I imagine the following could be a possible history of veganism.
Some time ago, two men had an idea:
– “I want to found a very, very exclusive club of morally good people. Something so exclusive that only the very best people can participate. I’m thinking about the rules for membership. Any ideas?”
– “Hmmm. Oh! What about this? What if we made a group for all the people who eat no animal products. Nothing from animals whatsoever.”
– “Wow, that’s brilliant! That will exclude like 99.99% of the population!”
After a while, the club got a little bigger. The founders had a problem.
– “We’re getting too numerous,” the one said to the other. How will we make sure our club stays small enough?”
– “Mmm, we make it really difficult to stick to the rules. You can only call yourself one of us if you follow ALL the rules. If you never ever eat anything wrong. And not only can you not eat animal products, you can’t wear them either. Let’s make it about lifestyle, not just about diet. That will cut out a lot of people!”
– “Great! What else?”
– “We can include like the smallest of ingredients in the definition. Additives, emulgators, aromas…”
– “Sounds good! More?”
– “Let’s see… The people joining us have to do it for the right reasons! For our reasons. If they do it for any other reason, they’re not part of our group! As our group is for morally excellent people, everyone has to have ethical motivations.”
– “Good! Anything else?”
– “Maybe we could include completely different criteria too. Like, people who are sexist, racist, classist, ableist, ageist… they can’t be part either. And obviously they need to agree with us on GMOs and abortion.
– “Great ideas! Maybe we should include some of those concerns in the definition.”
– “Oh wait, and food products from companies that also make meat products: we can’t consider them vegan. So club members can’t eat those.”
– “What if the people working in the factories that make the products wear leather shoes?”
– “Hmm, interesting idea… Maybe…”
And so it went on.
I hope my point is clear. Let’s not make veganism even more difficult than it is (because yes, for most people it is). When people want to take the leap, let’s welcome them instead of turning them away with too many rules and criteria.