None is perfect. There could not be a truer saying.
That kept in mind. Can you ever be truly Vegan in today’s society? I feel proud to call myself Vegan, I don’t eat meat, dairy, eggs or honey. I don’t wear leather, or wool unless I know its origins and I know the sheep aren’t destined for slaughter. I don’t take over the counter medication that contains any animal products.
That said, I use prescription medication that contains animal products in it if I need it and there is no viable alternative. And all of the ‘conventional’ medication that I ever use has been tested on animals. I am against animal testing, but in the past there has been no so called ‘safe’ alternative. But perhaps now we can move towards computer modelling for drug trials? Or even ‘growing’ some human flesh in a petri dish and seeing how it responds to medication (I know stem cell research is very controversial, but I am all for it (as long as they aren’t taken from aborted fetuses) if testing this way will help alleviate pain, it is a good idea.
Animal fat is used in making our roads, animal products are used to produce glues and inks. Bone char is used in making rubber for our tyres. Even fridges have animal products to make them work, in the freeon which keeps them cool.
Unless we withdraw ourselves entirely from society, it seems that noone is able to become 100% Vegan. So how do we class ourselves? I sure wouldn’t want to stop calling myself vegan because I sparingly wear wool. But on the flip side, it annoys me when *pescatarians* call themselves vegetarians. Fish have a much worse death than any other animal, and yet we seem not to care about their rights. How can we not even consider eating a dog, but we will happily tuck into a big bowl of fish whose last moments were of pain as they slowly suffocate.
Then maybe there are shades of Veganism, just as there are shades of Vegetarianism. But then how would we draw the line? Putting your health at risk to reduce suffering does not really seem logical to me, but perhaps you can get by ok without some medicines that are routinely taken. Perhaps all Veganism is about, is using as little animal products as is possible for you. There doesn’t seem much logic in the ‘all or nothing’ approach, and so perhaps I ought to look on those flexitarians with a little more rose in my tinted glasses. After all, they are trying to cut down on using animals, and a little is a lot more than nothing really. Veganism is arguably the best way to reduce your ‘carbon footprint’, but perhaps by everyone using that little bit less, fewer and fewer animals will be slaughtered for our benefit.
I found an article about How Animal products are part of our everyday lives, it suggests that 45% of each ‘food’ animal is used to make other products. Despite it’s slight propaganda nature (it is from the Ontario farm animal council’s website) it lists quite well some things that unfortunately we cannot avoid some steels which are made with the aid of animal products, but also things that we can avoid. Some of these things are ingredients that all but a trained vegan with a photographic memory could remember. For example, I remember Lanolin is an oil made from sheep and used in a lot of ‘beauty’ products. But I forget that glycerine is also an animal product and is used in lubricant. Way to go farming council, help us Vegans avoid these hidden animal products 🙂
The thing that gets my goat a little on the aforementioned website, is that (as only could be expected) it depicts life as being unlivable without factory farming the way it is currently done. The article goes on to suggest *more* uses for animal products in the future, from putting medicines in eggs, to using their fat to run cars. Now neither of these are particually new ideas, but both could just as (and more easily) be done using plant products. For a great example see ‘Golden Rice‘. Maybe not medicine, but it saves lives.
I apologise for the slightly rambly post, but I for one am exhausted! Does anyone have an opinion on what makes a true vegan, and weather one could truly live without the ‘use’ of other animals?