Mary Martin reminds us:
“the more we define and use vegan to mean X–in print–the greater the odds of vegan showing up as meaning X in the OED [Oxford English Dictionary] some day.”
Right now, many dictionaries define “vegan” as a dietary choice. But we know better. We know it’s more than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle and a philosophy. This is one reason that the the header here at Vegan Soapbox defines vegan:
“vegan: person who seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.”
That definition is a modified version of the one found at the Vegan Society (the people who invented the term ‘vegan’):
“A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals – no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose.”
So, let’s patrol the borders just a little. Let’s play vegan border patrol:
- Fish is neither vegetarian nor vegan. Do not serve fish to vegetarians or vegans. Do not call yourself a vegetarian or a vegan if you eat fish.
- No, honey is NOT vegan. And I don’t want to argue about that. Bees are animals. PERIOD.
- Food cannot be vegan if it contains animal products; however people can be vegan if they consume food with trace animal ingredients. Food labels =/= personal identity.
All of that said, the border is not fenced. There’s no big wall, there aren’t police dogs pacing the fence, there aren’t helicopters flying overhead… If you want to call yourself vegan, I’m not going to stop you.