Removing the Politics from Business

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on how vegan bakeries that hide their status see their business increase.

Some vegan bakeries don’t flaunt their identity for fear of scaring off customers. That stirs up proud vegans who believe every delicious pastry should help promote a world in which no animal is used for the sake of a snickerdoodle. …

Covertly vegan bakeries are “counterproductive,” Ms. Konya says. “If you’re not making people aware of food choices, you’re not going to change the world around you.”

Sarah Kramer, co-author of a cookbook called “How it All Vegan,” says bakeries that play down their veganism are a “bummer.” She, like some other passionate vegans, was frustrated last year when former president Bill Clinton gave interviews about eschewing meat, milk and eggs as part of his recovery from heart disease, but calling his “a plant-based diet.”

I think it’s interesting that members of the vegan community are so hostile to those who don’t shove it in people’s faces. That’s a big reason why many average Americans who do enjoy a well-rounded diet won’t venture into declared vegan territory. (Also worth noting in regards to the woman pissed about Bill Clinton – he’s not a vegan. His spokesman explained that he doesn’t make sure his meals he eats out are vegan and he does eat fish. So, even if he did use the term vegan, they would crucify him for not being strict enough.)

I find this interesting enough to share because it makes me think of gun shops and how we expect at least some level of political-related material around. Of course, while there might be some level of pressure to join NRA, the intent behind it is so that we’ll be left alone – not to force people into a way of life that makes them uncomfortable and possibly miserable. I think that key difference is why gun shops get away with the entry into the political sphere.

Unlike the vegan community illustrated here, we can still celebrate someone who takes a newbie shooting without getting all up in their face about the politics of the issue. While we would like that person to become an advocate for our cause, we don’t berate an instructor for simply teaching someone how to shoot safely and enjoy the shooting sports. We recognize that even that subtle exposure can lead to more favorable actions or even outright political support among those new shooters. With the critics in the article, nothing good is coming of a meat eater who manages to enjoy a vegan cupcake if it doesn’t come with a side of lectures on how much they suck for eating meat. They cannot even concede that even if it’s just one snack that’s “cruelty-free,” it’s one tiny victory for the animals.

4 Responses to “Removing the Politics from Business”

  1. It’s about where lines are drawn–in this case about intrinsic rights. We omnivoires draw a line between human beings and other living things. Vegans and other humaniacs (a wonderfully descriptive term I learned from a vet with a large-animal practice) push the line to include all mammals, or mammals and birds, or all vertebrates, or all animals. But not fungi or plants.

    Why not? In terms of thermodynamic processes a corn plant is just as alive as a cow. Of course, if vegans allowed plants to move as far up the food chain as they place the cow, they would stave.

  2. How do you bake anything decent (cookies or cakes) without using eggs or an egg substitute?

  3. mike says:

    Just as there are raving nutjobs in the gun community (usually OCing btw), there are raving nutjobs in the vegan community. Most vegans arent’t raving nutjobs. FWIW, I’m not a vegan or a nutjob of any kind.

    PS – Jeff – you can use bananas in place of eggs, or cornstarch. Comes in handy when you want to bake something and you don’t have eggs handy.

    • Bitter says:

      And, if you have one egg handy and some bananas, I would suggest this cake. Delicious! :)

      On the nutjob point, yes, that is true. Although, I don’t know if I haven’t met any vegans who are not near militant about it. Plenty of vegetarians who aren’t, but not usually when the line is crossed into veganism. Granted, most of my interactions were when I was living in Massachusetts.

      But, the moderates in the community (at least as expressed by the bakery owners who don’t push the vegan label) are right about why I wouldn’t step foot into a joint that advertises as vegan. I’m sure some of their products could be delicious, but the militant types have completely turned me off. If I see a picture on Tastespotting for a recipe that looks good and then find out it’s vegan, I’ll close the window. I know that’s not terribly rational, but it’s just how I react.