Vegan Life: The Vegan Police

The latest Vegan Life magazine has a great article entitled 'Naughty but Nice' about a vegan baker being lectured by the Vegan Police. Using sugar, eating vegan convenience food, or baking indulgent vegan cakes isn't 'vegan' enough for them. We've come across this before in the comments we get here at Veganoo. When we review vegan sweet treats we'll often get comments such as 'why are you reviewing this junk food??"

It's fine for people to want to eat healthily, but there's no reason to be puritanical about things. Vegans should be free to enjoy the occasional sugar high, carb blowout, or deep-fried doughnutty goodness, without feeling any less ethical about their diets. As long as it's animal free, it's vegan and it's on the menu.

Part of the Facebook page from London Vegans

We've talked about the Vegan Police previously. This post from a couple of years ago was aimed to help clarify our review policy for products with vegan ingredients, but which may have some trace contact with animal products in their production. The story was about Fox's saying their biscuits aren't vegan, because someone had pointed out that the rollers on their conveyor belts had wool in them.

We like to reiterate our stance against the vegan police, because dogma isn't helpful. Sara Pascoe (who's also interviewed in Vegan Life, coincidentally) has a great line on this:
"And while some people can have pre-conceptions about what vegans are like (preachy, judgemental, angry, paper thin with no energy) it is the thing I like most about myself"

That preachy and judgemental thing is what makes people hate vegans. It's usually relatively new vegans too that are the most preachy. There's an old saying about religion that 'the newly converted are the most fervent' and it applies very well to the religious vegan police - the young mutaween who only see black and white.

Once again, we'll leave you with an extract of our review policy here at, because it's a reminder that there is no black and white to ethics, particularly to being vegan.

"Remember that nothing is 100% vegan. Flour and other plant foods contain insect fragments. Small animals die at harvest time. Don't worry that your plain chocolate is made on a line that also produces milk chocolate. The bigger picture is that we're trying to end animal suffering by promoting plant-based foods."

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  1. Hi - I hear everything you say, cannot fault you on your policy and the wool in the production line anecdote seems absurd. BUT I just feel that there is something wrong in food manufacturers creating vegan products that simply try to replicate meat based ones. Examples being the Parmesan "cheese" recently reviewed or vegan sausages. I think it is beholden on an individual who converts (?) to veganism to accept that certain tastes and flavours are associated with animal pain and so should not be copied. I don't eat vegan bacon or sausages for this reason. I don't search for soya or oat milk that tastes the same as cow milk either. I do like to eat the occasional biscuit and was most pleased when I discovered (through you guys) that choc chip hobnobs are acceptable. I turned vegan because I am distressed by animal cruelty but I also did it for health reasons. My nightmare would be a mainstream vegan society with meat eradicated but with still the same issues surrounding the production of food. (OK not such a nightmare given that the goal of animal cruelty would have been achieved.) The junk food culture, the flitting from one fad to another, the highly processed nature of the food... Vegan Police, as they are apparently called, clearly conflate the issues of personal health and an end to animal cruelty and I have to admit to being in that camp. But I would hope I am not "preachy" or inclined to judge others on what they eat. I just believe there is a real opportunity to educate people in eating more wholesome and nutritious food. Those who have turned to veganism are clearly types who think about what they eat - just the sort of person who might be inclined to choose the healthy option. So many of the products you review are sweets and processed foods that it does make me pause to think. Once in a while - of course it's fine, but because of the prevalence of all the junk food on the market (vegan or otherwise) I think it is right to take a stand and say that this is not the direction of travel we need. Thanks, I enjoy your blog - Jason

  2. Sorry I disagree ( I wrote that article by the way thank you Veganoo for reviewing it on your page!) Not sure why any vegan would be offended by a vegan sausage. I don't associate pain or suffering with it, and the ingredients that go in it would normally be used in other vegan recipes, for example a bean burger, the beans in a casserole probably wouldn't offend you, so why just because they are shaped in round shapes or oblong does it cause mortal offense! Meat eaters don't own the monopoly on the English language, why should I worry about renaming a chilli con carne as a Chilli non carne or a shephards pie as a shephards pie without the shephard. An overreaction to what is simply a collection of letters to make a word "fish" "beef" "sausage" none of these bother me I just stick a vegan in front of the word and eat! Spend more time getting your mates to go vegan by sharing pics of your lovely vegan cakes (like me) I think if my friends thought vegans got offended by words this would further perpetuate the idea that we are uptight and fussy!

  3. On another note am enjoying the irony of vegan policing over a vegan policing article!

  4. I'm with Bexy on this (as you might guess). No problem with mock duck, wheat meat, uncheese or vegan egg yolks. If anything, it highlights the fact that we're vegan NOT because we don't like those things, but that we choose cruelty free versions.

    Thanks for the alternative view though Jason.


  5. If the term Vegan Police offends you, ask yourself this: is it intolerant to not tolerate intolerance?

  6. Another point is I really hate the term "fake cheese" or "fake meat" when people say "oh I don't eat fake meat" no vegan food is "fake" in my book. Or some people refer to dairy cheese as "Normal" it is definately not normal! It is such a discredit to the time and effort involved when companies and everyday people make lovely and nutritious lentil burgers, veggie sausages, etc to call it fake I think it's lovely!


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