A sleepy goat relaxes in the shaded barn on a hot summer day at Refuge RR in Alexandria, Ontario / Source
Because definitions matter.
Veganism isn't a diet
People are continually trying to redefine the word vegan.
Some would have you believe that it can mean many things like:
- A diet that you follow until 6pm
- A diet that you follow Monday - Friday
- A diet that includes "just a little bit of cheese" or products from animals you know personally
- A diet that includes fish or scallops because "they don't feel pain"
- A diet that includes honey because bees "aren't animals"
None of these are true.
What is veganism?
Veganism is a:
It's more than what we eat; it's who we are and how we care for others.
And it's about compassion and justice, kindness and peace, and treading lightly.
But more than anything else, it's about the animals.
You're going to read that they don't. You might even see articles saying only people who need them are those seeking perfection. These pieces usually claim that perfectionism is harming the vegan movement.
Some will even argue that it's possible to use small amounts of animal products and still be vegan.
Vegans, whenever possible and practicable, don't use products that come from animals, period.
Creating a better world for us all
Do you know who benefits from a clear, consistent definition of veganism?
You'll no longer have to question whether something labeled vegan is genuinely vegan. After all, if there are hundreds of different definitions, how will we know which one was used to determine if a product is vegan?
Know who else benefits from a clear definition of veganism?
Turning it into merely a diet erases the animals from the conversation altogether, which is antithetical to the core tenants of veganism.
Perfect is the enemy of good
Finally, one last thing, about perfection.
No one alive is perfect, vegans included.
Having a definition for a significant social justice movement has nothing to do with perfection. It has everything to do with advocating with a clear and consistent message.
Does this mean that you'll never fail, that you'll never make mistakes?
Absolutely not. You will; I will, we all will.
But to advocate on behalf of a position, one must first be able to define it.
And veganism already has a definition.