Tuesday, December 8, 2009

There is no ethical ice cream, or: Knock it off, Nat

Natalie, Natalie, Natalie.

I love you. I loved your vegan shoe range fo Te Casan - I bought two pairs in New York. I love that you went vegan after reading Jonathan Foer's book 'Eating Animals' (a copy of whoch sits pristinely on my bookshelf, awaiting my consumption) and I love that you wrote an accessible, sensible and intelligent piece for the Huff Post about how the book turned you into an activist. And you're pretty.

I thought it was great that in this (admittedly fairly insipid) interview by Australian Brad Blanks you directly credited what you learnt about factory farming from Eating Animals with turning you vegan. I like - a lot - that you said you were "horrified", because horrible and horrific it is.

It was also good that when you were asked "So no more ice cream?" you said there was rice cream, and soy ice cream, and having seen the incredible, knock-your-socks-off range available in Whole Foods, I know there is no shortage of vegan frozen desserty things available to you.

So why did you follow it up with this: "But if you can find dairy that's ethically produced, then that's ok and you can have some then".

It's not ok. It's not ok in my opinion at all, but it is especially not ok to say that you're vegan and then make exceptions for "ethical ice cream".

I doubt you would make an exception for "ethical meat'" (happy meat, schmappy meat), so I wonder if you have in fact grasped that it's not only huge factory farming operations that exploit, abuse and discard dairy cows and their offspring. An ethical cow in an ethical field eating ethical food milked with ethical hands producing ethical milk has still been kept in a state of perpetual and enforced pregnancy so that she will lactate; had her male calves taken away and killed as they are useless; her milk which is intended for her babies taken away for your ethical ice cream; and at the end of her milking life - which, like human women, is long before the end of her natural life - she will still be taken away to die. Not so sweet.

And in any case, on a purely pedantic level (because I know you are a bright person who is multilingual and went to university and is not a fool), you can't be vegan-except-for-when. You can be a vegan who makes mistakes. You can be a vegan who is learning. You can be an aspiring vegan. You can be a vegan who accidentally ate dairy and egg-filled cake at Vegie Bar when they got her order wrong and her poorly attuned palate didn't pick it up. But you can't be a vegan with permanent non-vegan exceptions.

Knock it off, Nat.


Mandee said...

I hope you mailed this to her! I've read some negative opinions of vegan celebrities lately and I think there are some good and bad ones and this is an example of when they get it wrong because so many people will read their comment and think it's ok.

Mandee said...
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