Other Vegan Views articles
Vegans United letter by Chris Sutoris, Vegan Views 92 (Spring 2002)

Dear Harry,

It was great to read "The Vegan Economy" in VV91. It was so positive and anyone who shops in supermarkets can see that progress is happening in the advancement of veganism. The major supermarkets now all stock vegan margarine, soya milk, bread, biscuits, and many other vegan food and non-food products. But more importantly, they are stocking some of these products for the first time due to public demand. There are more vegans and vegetarians creating this demand. Vegan products that used to be only available in health food stores are now becoming mainstream.

But the vegan movement could do even better!! We could stop all the in-fighting and "I'm more vegan than thou-ism" that is getting in the way of advancing the vegan cause even faster. We could all decide to kick the vegan football in the same direction. We could decide to pass the ball to each other to confound the opponents instead of tackling each other all the time. We should be Vegans United. Sadly we are very divided, and too often content on arguing our little corner of veganism without looking at the big picture. I've seen too much unhealthy conflict in the Vegan Society (no I'm not confusing this with healthy debate), and at vegan events, whether they are lectures/talks/discussions or holidays etc. It has to stop now. A football team wins games by scoring and stopping the opposition from scoring. It will not achieve this by having 11 centre forwards or 11 goalkeepers. Just like a football team needs different types of player to win matches, so the vegan movement needs different (BUT CO-OPERATING) people to win more people over to a vegan lifestyle. At times in the vegan movement there seem to be one or two goalkeepers who insist that the whole team has got to be goalkeepers or else "you're not really on our side".

If we are diverse people with different tastes in food and lifestyle, we are harder to stereotype. Not only that, but we can be seen as being "like us" by non-vegans, which means we will find it easier to communicate our vegan message to non-vegans, and eventually our message will rub off on some of them, even when we are not trying too hard to get the message across to them. All of us, whoever we are, need to stop attacking each other, and decide that, whatever our lifestyle or preference or grudge, to stand together and co-operate in being a team, and to focus all our resentment and deeds to advancing veganism, instead of getting in each other's way.