Vegans for Health and Vegans for Ethics Are In It For the Long Haul

Health & Ethics

by Paul Pinfield

Vegans fall into several categories, though only two have the staying power to last beyond a matter of a year or two. The testimony of long term advocate friends tells me that long transitioners mostly revert to omnivores or vegetarians, and i think it’s safe to say a high proportion of “Wrong Reason Vegans” do also. By this term I’m referring to those who embrace veganism for financial gain, because it’s trendy, for personal status and kudos or as a result of peer pressure, and so on. The recidivism rate amongst these groups is in all probability also very high, and, if our wish is that the movement continues to  expand, and eventually achieve the critical mass that turns Planet Earth predominantly, or totally, vegan, then they needn’t concern us here, as the total is likely to remain pretty stable, with near equal numbers ebbing and flowing. 

Long term-ists commit for reasons weighted towards personal health (health vegans) or to reduce the suffering of Animals (ethical vegans). In most cases both elements are present, but with one being the primary motivator. 

Ethical vegans come in for a lot of flak from non vegans and from health vegans for being angry, aggressive, intolerant and judgemental. (Though, given the facts related to AnimAg, quite why one might not reasonably be expected to be all these things is beyond me!). However, the goal oriented position of the omnivore and the health vegan is quite achievable and under their own control. Nobody can screw with the primary motivation of these two groups. You want to stay healthy eating a vegan diet, nobody can stop you or thwart your intention. Likewise, if you’re determined to suffer from a diet of Animal products you can do so without more ado, (so long as you give good Denial or Dissonance, of course!) 

But for the Ethical vegan, whose motivation is altruistic, the situation is quite different. They, we, have no control over the realization of our intent. We are constantly facing the  direct, perverse and violent thwarting of what we would like. We are repeatedly threatened with retaliatory abuse in one form or another from meat eaters especially… “Yummy ribs for dinner!” and hunters “Gonna go shoot me a fat Deer!” etc, as a direct result of our assertively stating our view or criticising others for their actions. 

Is it any wonder we’re a little vociferous? 

At least fellow vegans of all persuasions, but particularly health vegans, could be a tad more tolerant,.. you control what you get, but beyond our small, personal commitment to not causing pain and suffering our desire is that everyone else does the same. And that  we have no control over. We can only inform, plead and persuade to achieve our end. 

Give us a break, huh?



4 thoughts on “Vegans for Health and Vegans for Ethics Are In It For the Long Haul

  1. Great summation of the divisions and trends of veganism and why the number of vegans has not grown because of recidivism and lack of moral commitment.

    Which leaves many of us wondering what’s next or if there is a next.

    We thought that veganism would be the main tactic in our strategy to stop the abuse and death in animal agriculture, as well as in other industries built on animal exploitation. We joined in with animal welfarists to table, click, protest, and support legislation. Along with having some minor victories, we’ve learned the meaning of frustration and failure.

    Although our numbers remain small and do not constitute what would not seem to be a sizable threat, we have seen the power of the corporate animal industry. We have seen Big Ag spend millions to bribe its flunkies in Washington, DC, and state legislatures to defeat humane laws or to pass the AETA (Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act) and ag gag laws to punish protesters and whistleblowers and set its henchmen at the FBI on activists.

    We have also seen the growth of the “humane farming” movement as a promise (illusion!) of reducing animal suffering. The movement provides a path of least resistance. It offers hamburgers and bacon wrapped in a clean conscience. The carnist culture remains unchanged and Big Ag gets richer.

    So now what? Trump provided an image of a would-be hacker as a 400-pound guy (loser) sitting in bed with a computer. I doubt if there are many 400-pound vegans. But I do have the image of activists hunched over their laptops sending message after message into a digital echo chamber to other believers who keep the loop going. And still hoping.

    In the meantime, the transport trucks head out every morning with a new load of victims.

    Veganism plus revolution seem like the only real strategy now. But that is another topic . . .

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The Vegan Society is very clear on what vegan means. Our diet is plant based, and in addition we don’t wear animals or make any use of them, including horseback riding. Even though palm oil is vegan, many of us make every effort to avoid the scorched-earth variety. Those with plant based diets who wear and make any use of animals are not vegan, but strict vegetarians. Under the Vegan Society’s definition, vegans are essentially ethical and make the initial switch either all at once or incrementally. To call someone a health vegan or a fad vegan or anything else that deviates from Donald Watson and company’s groundbreaking vision is to deviate from the entire scope and aim of veganism as an essential facet of animal liberation, and as Roland Vincent has pointed out – a crucial clarification – to be vegan under the Society’s definition must not be construed as animal liberation activism. It is merely the moral baseline. The bare minimum that a human with any claims to decency must adhere to.

    Liked by 4 people

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