Someone that has no idea what a vegan is, and only uses the term to pick up members of the opposite/same sex.
Someone that is vegan for health reasons. They are not really that fussed on the use of animals for clothing/entertainment/science and won’t object if they occasionally consume animal products.
Follows the vegan way of life, though occasionally buys something made out of leather or wool. Though only if it looks good, and they can accessorise it with their current/future wardrobe.
Vegan that occasionally consumes dairy/eggs or honey item, as long as it is in something else. Such as a cake, biscuits, etc.
Vegan that will only eat their own free range eggs for chooks that they have rescued.
Vegan that follows the does not consume any animal products. Will not buy any ‘new’ wool or leather items, though 2nd hand are ok.
Someone that avoids all animal products. Does not wear or eat them, and all personal care products are animal free. Though they are not too worried about animal products in alcohol, as who can really be bothered reading a label when they have trouble stringing more than 3 words together in a coherent form.
Avoids all animal products in food, clothing, entertainment and alcohol. Yet they still live in modern society.
Avoids all animal products. They grow their own organic vegetables and live ‘off the grid’ removed from society.
This is the pinnacle of veganism. This is achieved by stripping naked and committing suicide in the ocean. As this will cause the least impact on other animals and your dead body should become food for the marine creatures, and could theoretically have a less than negative impact.
It is hard to be totally vegan. Many of us fall a little short of that goal. Therefore, I offer this guide for determining just how vegan we are.
Vegan Level One – Doesn’t ask if there is chicken stock in the rice, doesn’t ask if there is lard in the beans.
Vegan Level Two – Occasionally buys milk chocolate products. Doesn’t worry about how the wine they drink is clarified.
Vegan Level Three – Only eats milk chocolate if someone else bought it. Eats doughnuts at work if someone else brought them in. Eats their roommate’s ice cream. Also known as a Freegan.
Vegan Level Four – Still wears the old leather and wool products they had before they went vegan, but feels guilty about it.
Vegan Level Five – Stopped using their car because of the animal products in tires, the animal testing of vehicles, the animal products in the pavement.
Vegan Level Five point one – Stopped riding with friends to the movie theater because of the above and the fact that film is processed with animal gelatin.
Vegan Level Six – Has given up all products that involve animals in any way. Hires someone to sweep the path ahead of them as they walk so they don’t tread on insects.
Vegan Level Seven – Similar to a Jain. Wears a mask to keep from breathing in small critters. Uses a mild vegan soap that doesn’t kill microbes, it just floats them away. Washes their raw organic produce outside with bottled water so that any little beasts will return to the earth rather than going down the sink. Realizes that having someone sweep ahead of them hurts the insects and so doesn’t move around much anymore.
(Actually, the above list is just a fanciful fabrication. We shouldn’t feel guilty if we have a weakness for an occasional non-vegan chocolate or whatever. Animal ingredients are so pervasive in our society that it is nearly impossible to avoid them all. More important than being a “pure” vegan is to keep compassion for all animals as an important goal and to live our lives so as to be examples for others. )
Greg Lawson is an animal activist, author, radio host and President of The Vegetarian Society of El Paso.