But, the difference being that we'd need to classify veganism as a religion to gain the same rights, which I don't see happening any time. And, if veganism were considered religion, I honestly don't think I'd call myself a vegan any longer (still live it, just not go by that name). Not to mention, any certifying agency would need to be comprised of vegans who all shared the same concept of what were the certifying policies and conditions and could not be tainted by outside input or hands. That's where this gets far too complicated for considering that we'll ever have some sort of legal protection. Unfortunately, Kosher doesn't always mean much, either. Emes had a rabbi come in for kosher certification on their products, and when the crash came where it was revealed that Emes was using fish gelatin in their supposedly vegan gel substitutes, the rabbi revealed that he basically walked in, took a check, and walked out, never doing any checking to even see if the quality control and ingredients labeling were accurate and had zero concern for knowing what was really in the items. One more reason to have distrust in certifying agencies, even those who are claiming to be doing it for people based on a religious standpoint.
I don't see why veganism would have to be considered a religion to get protection under the law. Other countries have systems in place already without calling veganism a religion and if a company is found to be mislabeling their products, they are held accountable.
Also, inspectors not properly doing their job will alway happen but, it's better than what is allowed to happen now. I've seen kosher delis and bakeries get shut down over contamination issues and I've seen restaurants stay open after serving "vegetarian vegetable soup" made with chicken stock.
I'm also concerned with a lot more companies like garden of life popping up now that this ornish diet and other similar diets have been getting brought up on daytime talk shows. I'm not really sure how much time they are getting, but my mother has talked about it, so it's definitely getting some amount of tv time and that can be both a good and bad thing.
True, but the argument I have gotten from so many others who see things like bone char sugar as a grey area they don't worry about, their point often has been this - there are so many things we make concessions on daily that are non-essential but technically vegan (and sometimes, things we know are probably non-vegan we still use), they don't necessarily feel that some things that an end-product vegan item needs in order to be manufactured are their greatest concern.
One person I was discussing this with told me something to the effect of, "I wear vegan material shoes that probably have bone-based glues in them (New Balance). I know that when I shop at Whole Foods, part of the money I give them is going back to purchase meat/dairy/eggs, and that not everything in their store is vegan and they require non-vegan things to operate in order to provide me with what I need. I know my car I drive has animal-based ingredients in the components, and while I could take the bus, it's not my mission to be 100% pure to avoid EVERYTHING that I could just to feel better about myself." And I could understand where he was coming from - his world involved doing what he could to consciously make decisions that he attributed to directly reducing suffering, and his thought was that if he wanted to eat a pack of Sweet Tarts from time to time, it didn't make him any less vegan than the next person. I can neither prove him right or wrong, but when I heard this notion a long time ago, it did make me think about how many vegans out there do pick and choose what to be aware of for avoiding and where they will occasionally play on the grey area things to suit their wants at a given time. Since we can never be 100% pure, we each have to draw our own lines, and supporting a product that might use bone char in the filtration of their sugar, how is it so truly different from giving in to something else that's not a 100% necessity for living, but is something you really want to have/use/consume/etc. such as a vehicle that's not necessary, items that are non-essential that may have required stearic acid to make rubber/plastics, etc.?
Again, I'm not trying to justify that position by any means, but am simply trying to share for argument's sake the mindset that I'm coming across more and more as time goes on. I always enjoy hearing how people view this issue, since it's always got lots of room to debate on.
Bone char sugar is so easy to avoid that I don't see how it can even be considered a grey area. Most things are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup now and there are many other kinds of non-bone filtered sugars and sweeteners. I live in a small town in the south with ~3,800 people just outside of a city with only about ~60,000 people and there are actually 4 kinds of sugar at my local grocery store with a certified vegan symbol and one store brand that says "100% vegan and vegetarian friendly, not processed with animal ingredients" as well as a few other types of evaporated cane sugar.
Shoes with possible animal derived glue is one of the things that really is a grey area. It's definitely not right to be supporting those companies, but most people don't have a better option. People can buy shoes from places like your store or other online shops, but buying shoes you haven't seen or tried on is a crap shoot. It's just not practical to order shoes then try them on unless you get lucky and they fit properly and are comfortable and durable.
Shopping at stores that also sell animal products isn't an issue and has never even been considered to be a possible issue by anyone that isn't completely out of their mind. I was a sales manager for a music/movie/book distributor for a few years and if people were buying The Beatles and The Who I didn't order a bunch of Britney Spears records to replace them. All stores keep track of everything they sell and reorder based on those sales, especially grocery stores, because most of the things they carry are perishable.
All the other things like cars and plastics are things we have to deal with. They are not 100% necessary to stay alive, but they are necessary to live a modern life. With those, we should do the best we can with what is available till there is a better option. It's not right and it is not justifiable but it is understandable to use these products.
I completely understand why some people don't bother with certain things. For years I would eat some dairy and eggs in social situations so I didn't seem like a pain in the ass after I had cut out animal products from my diet at home. Nobody that knows what vegan means would consider me vegan during those years, but it really isn't any different than someone that ignores any other exploitative acts for the sake of convenience.
There's a big difference in being confused versus disagreeing. Crops are still pollinated by bees raised and sold for that purpose, manure and other byproducts are still used as fertilizer. Those aren't on the label. There's a practical line that has to be drawn in terms of how strict one can actually be relative to some ideal view of being vegan, and that's where there's disagreement.
There's nothing magical about the animal kingdom. I really don't see how a sea sponges are worthy of any ethical consideration since they completely lack a nervous system. Along the same lines I could entertain the argument that bees are simple enough that they don't either, though I don't really agree with that. If we're following this just to match some definition, rather than considering the whys of it all, then that's a problem.
I fully believe that it is a misunderstanding, not a disagreement. If it was a disagreement they would say "I don't think that matters because..." not "what about bees pollinating or manure used as fertilizer, or plastic, or cars, or electricity...." Vegan is meant to define a very specific group of people and the more leeway we allow the more watered down the message gets. The line has to be drawn at what is practical. If something is possible to exclude and you choose not to, then you are not vegan.
Some people are willing to completely give up all animal products except cheese, some people will eat a steak once a year on their birthday, some people will eat egg noodles occasionally, some people are on a diet that doesn't include animal products but will buy and cook animal flesh for their kids, some people take fish oil every day. None of those people are vegan.
Also, I see plants as worthy of ethical consideration, so I don't see why sea sponges shouldn't be
. But, sea sponges aren't really animals, they are just classified that way. They should be in a different category by themselves I think, like fungus. Most people don't even know that sponges are classified as animals though, so that isn't even an issue. I only knew that because I went to a marine biology oriented school.
However, I still refuse to use natural sponges because there are better synthetic alternatives and harvesting sponges kills lots of animals with central nervous systems and destroys natural habitats as well as leading to decreased water quality in surrounding areas that further impacts even more animals.
Insects are not under debate though. They obviously do not want to be exploited. They will try to get away if you try to catch them and bees have to be forced to breath smoke to be able to take their honey without all of them attacking. If something actively tries to protect itself and it's home it can't be debated. I have never met anyone that argued that it's okay for vegans to eat insects though. If it's not okay to eat them why is it okay to exploit them to get to the honey?