A vegan is a vegan is a vegan….right?  Well, not exactly.  See, there are people who eat vegan and then there are people who are vegan.  Don’t get your hackles up, I’m not about to start bashing people.  What I’m talking about is all the recent scuttlebutt regarding vegans fighting with each other over what a vegan is, or isn’t.

I, for one, am happy to see it addressed on so many vegan blogs.  I think it’s long past time to address certain issues in the community, and long past time to organize ourselves as a real movement that can affect change.  We are not organized, we are not unified, we are not consistent with our message- and it’s holding the vegan movement back.  While the vegans are fighting with each other over whether or not a bee is an animal, billions of non-humans are force bred, force fed, and then forced to be dead.  We cannot inspire change if we cannot change ourselves.

And we cannot affect change if we can’t even agree on what veganism is.

Being vegan means that you reject the use of animals, and that extends into every aspect of your life.  When you make excuses on why you can’t be vegan, yes- I said it, excuses- when you make excuses on why you can’t give up animal products, you prove to anyone who knows you that veganism is too hard.  And that is simply not true.

One of the biggest controversies in the vegan world is over honey.  Is it really that hard to avoid honey?  No.  It is inconvenient as hell to try and avoid, I’ll say that.  They put honey in everything from food to face creams.  That fact alone should stop any “I’m vegan but still eat honey” people in their tracks.  If an animal product is mass produced, it can’t be ethical.  Meaning, if you manipulate the breeding habits and environment for personal use (whether you are the beekeeper or not it would still be personal use) then it is exploitation.  Bees are insects, insects are animals, and vegans are not speciesist.

Honey is not vegan

Mass Produced “Natural” Honey can never be vegan

If you set aside your morals and ethics, other people will, too.  What is the vegan message you’re sending?

Don’t get me wrong, being vegan doesn’t mean that you are perfect.  But it does mean living compassionately and you shouldn’t apologize for it, just as you wouldn’t expect someone to apologize for refusing cake when they are dieting.  Even if it means that you refuse food that insert someone you know or love here made you.  My grandmother can’t fathom why I don’t eat her famous homemade strudel at Christmas time; I used to exclusively eat that for Christmas dinner when I was a child.  But my grandmother loves me, she doesn’t hinge our relationship on the food I eat, and I doubt that insert someone you know or love here would either.  If you are important to them, they will understand.

One more thing, it’s okay to ask someone to go vegan.  It doesn’t make you preachy, it doesn’t make you radical- sharing your veganism with someone is nothing more than a testimonial about something you feel strongly about.  Don’t feel afraid of your convictions, you have the power to change the world.  One email, one conversation, one tweet at a time.

What will you do with your vegan power?

Put down your forks, quit apologizing, and stay vegan.

A no uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a yes merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble. ~ Gandhi