Vegan and Vegetarian are not interchangeable

Some of the differences between veganism and vegetarianism:


Essentially, vegans do not use animals for food, clothing, entertainment or other reasons. Vegans recognize nonhumans as members of the moral community. Vegans reject their property status. Veganism is an ethical position. It’s not about health or environment, but health and environment are ancillary benefits of veganism. Veganism is a political nonviolent grassroots movement.


Vegetarians do not eat flesh, but some who call themselves “vegetarian” eat fish-flesh and other sea animals. Frequently, vegetarians also eat dairy, eggs; wear leather, silk, wool, go to zoos, go to animal circuses, buy animals, ride horses, go to the horse races, or greyhound racing. Vegetarians eat honey, use bees-wax and so on.

The differences so far are quite clear aren’t they? So let’s stop conflating vegetarianism with veganism. Vegan and vegetarian are not interchangeable. One is generally a diet, and one is an ethical position. Of course, some vegetarians may stop eating flesh for ethical reasons, but it’s a confused and speciesist position.

A few people joined my Facebook page for the sole purpose of complaining about my post “vegan and vegetarian are not interchangeable” and one person wrote the following:

“This is my issue with the vegan community, no one is ever good enough no matter how vegan you are. Vegetarians still do more than a vast, vast majority of the population. It is uncivil to bash them. No wonder they aren’t vegan!”

I explained that presenting clear information about veganism and demonstrating how vegetarianism and veganism are very different, is not “bashing” anyone. It’s simply presenting educational material.

This is part of my edited response to their comment:

A few reasons why some people remain vegetarian include that: 1) they refuse to acknowledge or are in denial that using animals and consuming animal products is wrong; 2) they have not been presented with a clear moral vegan position and/or have not been given all the information needed to take a clear moral position; or 3) large animal organisations are speciesist and have lead the public to believe that “every little bit helps“; that veganism and vegetarianism are diets and are interchangeable. Generally they do not mentioned veganism at all. Most large animal organisations are even anti-vegan and try to drive away anyone who tries to do vegan education on their social networking pages.  Why? There’s a few reasons for this, but the main one is large animal organisations do not have veganism as their moral foundation.

You claim nothing is ever “good enough” for the “vegan community”. As an unfortunate side-note, many in the so-called “vegan community” are promoting vegetarianism like it’s veganism (one is a diet, the other is a moral position); “Meat Free Mondays” “flexitarianism” “happy animal products”, single issue campaigns and “better” ways to exploit animals/ welfare “reform”, “carnism” and so forth. They are promoting anything other than veganism. So it would seem anything is good enough for the “vegan community”.  😉

So what is “good enough”?

Ask the millions of dairy calves (“by-products” of the dairy industry) dragged across the killing floor –some still sucking on the slaughterhouse person’s finger— if vegetarianism is “good enough”.

Ask male chicks (“free range” or “caged”) from the egg industry being ground up alive or thrown in bins or suffocated if vegetarianism is “good enough”.

Ask the cows thrashing around in shackles still conscious at the “hide-ripping” machine if vegetarianism is “good enough”.

Ask the millions of “free range” “cage-free” egg industry hens, featherless, suffocating from ammonia fumes in overcrowded windowless sheds if vegetarianism is “good enough”.

Ask the “spent” hens who are no longer any use to the egg industry hanging in shackles as they watch others being murdered if vegetarianism is “good enough”.

Ask the millions and millions of rats and mice and other animals who suffer unspeakable violence all on a whim if vegetarianism is “good enough”.

Ask the silk worms being boiled alive.

Ask the bees who have all their honey stolen and who are eating corn syrup instead and dying from our exploitation if vegetarianism “good enough”.

Ask the animals bored out of their minds, lonely and separated from their families, suffering psychological and physical illnesses from captivity, languishing in zoos and circuses if vegetarianism is “good enough”.

Ask the ex-racing horses with broken limbs at the slaughterhouse if vegetarianism is “good enough”.

Ask the trillions of sea animals each year suffocating on decks; caught and starving to death in long-line nets; or being boiled alive and tortured for our entertainment and palate pleasure if pescetarianism is “good enough”.

Ask lambs who suffer the common torture of mulesing or who are “hamstrung” during shearing; who cry out for their mothers, never to see them again and then they are murdered — all for fashion and palate pleasure — if vegetarianism is “good enough”.

I could go on and on about what is wrong with vegetarianism

How vegan is vegan? Vegans do their best not to use animals for food, clothing, entertainment or other reasons. We do our best not to participate in all forms of animal use. We recognize that other animals are sentient beings. They belong to the moral community and that they deserve at least one right — the right not to be used as property. That’s veganism. Is it good enough? If you were able to ask nonhumans, I would imagine they would be satisfied that it is the least we can do.

Here’s an excellent vegan resource
UVE Archives: Nonviolent Vegan Advocacy- a Beginners Guide
For more information on: What is wrong with vegetarianism

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Filed under eggs, ethical, humane murder, nonviolence, property paradigm, property status, speciesism, Vegans, vegetarianism, Worldwatch Institute

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