If you’re looking at a list of animal ingredients, it’s a safe bet that you’re trying to root them all out of your diet. Good for you!
Adopting a vegan diet means saying no to cruelty to animals and environmental destruction and yes to compassion and good health. Going vegan is, without a doubt, the best thing that you can do for the animals, yourself, and the Earth.
If adopting a vegan diet is the best thing that you can do, influencing others must come in a close second.
So this is PETA’s plea for patience and tolerance: Please, don’t alienate would-be vegans by examining the food in their cupboards or refrigerators. Don’t make veganism seem oh-so-difficult, as though we spend all our time reading labels and demanding that restaurant servers go back and read the label on the bag of veggie burgers. After all, veganism is about joy and life, and it should not be painted as drudgery.
PETA wants to show people that veganism is easy and mainstream because that’s what is best for animals. Sadly, some people already perceive vegans as “extreme,” “radical,” and “difficult.” Instead of squabbling about some almost nonexistent ingredient, in public situations we should be positive and not pretend that even “pure” vegan food doesn’t come with its quota of rat hairs allowed by law, isn’t processed using electricity that destroys habitat, isn’t delivered in gas-fueled vehicles, and so on.
Everything that we eat involves some degree of animal suffering; our goal is to vigorously reduce that suffering. Frankly, some not-quite-vegan food is more vegan than the streets and tires we drive on, the houses we live in, the petroleum products we use, and many other animal-based products that we unwittingly consume on a daily basis.
Remember, if you give a server in a restaurant the third degree or spend all your time with your parents telling them that this, that, or the other is not vegan on the basis of some infinitesimal ingredient that they’ve never even heard of, you’ll inadvertently be transforming your noble desire to promote compassion into the message that being compassionate is an arduous chore.
In that event, your desire to withdraw support for, say, 1/10,000th of the suffering of an animal will have a direct result in the suffering of the thousands of animals that person will now consume as a result of your actions. The animals need you to take this issue seriously and make advocacy every bit as important as, or even more important than, personal purity.
We are not saying that you shouldn’t try to wipe all the nonvegan ingredients out of your life. What we are saying is that if you’re that worried about these issues, please find out which items are 100 percent vegan but don’t make a fuss over them; and when you eat out, call ahead to make sure that the restaurant you’re patronizing has vegan options. With a bit of advance planning, you can adhere to a lifestyle that is as vegan as you like, and others will be able to have a pleasant time in your company without feeling that your life is filled with nothing but worry over ingredients.
Thanks so much for taking the vegan journey. Bon voyage!
For a list of ingredients that may be derived from animal sources, please see our animal ingredients list.