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The Vegan Economy by Michael S. Sutcliffe, Vegan Views 91 (Winter 2001/02)


Whilst engaged, with so many others, in all the important current campaigns for the Reform of Agriculture, especially the vast problems of modern industrial "farming" involving food animal rearing, markets, transport, slaughter, and the inherent and systematic cruelties in such mass production, I am trying to promote the alternatives to the mass consumption of animal, bird, fish flesh and their many products, towards the attainment of a cruelty-free plant-based diet.

Working hard towards this "paradise" is the charity VEGA, founded by Alan Long, which is endeavouring to organise a wide survey of the food and drink retail market, concentrating on supermarkets and the multiplying coffee shops. The purpose is to encourage these sources of food and drink to order, carry in stock and display prominently a far greater number of vegan items, clearly marked as to production and ingredients, and to segregate such "cruelty-free" vegetarian and vegan foods into their own clearly-marked part of the store. In the case of coffee shops and cafes, to press upon these that they stock and readily display dairy-free products, plant based milk as well as vegan snacks.

It is only by constantly questioning these places, asking for what we want to be labelled, stocked and sold, in far greater quantities, that we, and a wider public, can get what we want. If the supermarket store manager or staff member, and whoever may be in charge of the coffee shop, is negative, or seemingly unable to satisfy, it is then helpful to name a rival supermarket or coffee shop, which is able and willing to supply the items we want. Verbal enquiries and/or letters can firmly make the point!


Supermarket Pressure

Campaigners can exert their influence just as powerfully by a few minutes phoning, writing, emailing, or talking to a manager, as by spending hours at demonstrations.

Whey, butter, egg-white, lactose and their derivatives are as much by-products of the live/deadstock industry as gelatin, rennet, and animal derived finings. Unobjectionable alternatives exist.

Assert yourself as a customer. Work on the cutting edge of competition. Tell Sainsbury that you don't go to their store for summer pudding, but shop instead at Tesco where this item is sold without gelatin in the ingredients.

Tell manufacturers that you might buy low-fat humus if whey were not added and you want biscuits made with vegetable oil not butter.

Increasing supermarket shelf space is being devoted to non-dairy milk, yoghurt and ice-cream, supermarket own brand tofu, beers which list ingredients and processing aids on the label... Exploit the competition for customer loyalty and demand products which do not rely on the exploitation of animals.

Coffee Time

Some major chains of coffee shops are now serving soya milk. You don't have to make do with black tea and coffee. ASK for an alternative to cow milk. And if one isn't available, be sure to mention that there are other chains that do cater for your needs.

Remember. The more freely available non-animal derived foods become, the easier it is for people to avoid participation in the live/deadstock industry.

Campaign Network. We would like to hear about your efforts. Keep VEGA informed about your successes (and failures).

Comments from experiences, enquiries and replies can be relayed to me, Michael S. Sutcliffe, 114 Fielding Road, Chiswick, London W4 1DB; or sent direct to VEGA (Vegetarian Economy and Green Agriculture), 14 Woodland Rise, Greenford, Middlesex UB66 ORD. Tel/Fax 0208 902 0073. Email: vegalan@btinternet.com. Web: www.vegaresearch.org.

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Cross-reference: Animal-Free Products