Vegan Machine: Types of Vegans You Will Meet

What do you think it would take to let Earth speak?

Chances are if you’re reading this that you know a vegan or are one. Me myself I’m one, so there you go. You know at least one already. Point made. Chances are you’ve also seen lots memes and heard a bunch of jokes about uptight, holier-than-thou vegan scolds. As far as steretypes go there’s some truth to this. Buzzfeed and The Onion are hilarious! But the world of veganism is far livlier and more varied than many non-vegans might think.

Buzzfeed Meme Vegan Police
Vegan Police

In my younger days I intensively studied a wide range of topics, from comparative literature to classical mythology and anthropology. Even picked up a master’s degree in creative writing with which I administer papercuts to the unwary. For my ill-fated second master’s degree however — sadly never-to-be completed — I studied Chandler’s noir detective fiction, comparing it to Malory’s Arthurian saga to discover the femine subtext and gender roles… Yeah, you of course see how that course of study quickly got away from me. All this probably gives you an idea of how I became this person I am. And that’s the point I guess.

“Underneath all reason lies delirium and drift.”

Gilles Deleuze

I love studying cultures, social structures, organizational patterns, migrations, and people in general. The mechanics of how people identify themselves and interact with other groups gets me freakishly excited. In this regard, I find Deleuze and Guattari’s postmodern theories concerning existence, consciousness, social organization, humanity, and civilization as a series of abstract machines made up of and part of a flow that engines individualized and internalized machinations from which each of us recognizes a self illuminating. Go figure. Check out Stephen West’s podcast Phisophize This!, episodes 125 thru 127 cover Deleuze and Guattari. You’ll thank me.

This said, here are my crude initial observations regarding the vegans as a subculture or, as Deleuze might have put it, abstract machine:

Basic vegan:

  • Food/Diet
    • These vegans do not eat dairy products, eggs, or any other products which are derived from animals. Yet even within this basic classification there are variations. Kathryn Wheeler at Happiful Magazine lists three dietary variants.
      • Plant-based: “While it is still very possible to be an unhealthy vegan (Pringles, Oreos, and even Pot Noodles are vegan!), a plant-based diet is only about eating things that have been grown in the ground, and cooked in a way that preserves as much of the natural nutrients in the food as possible.”
      • High Carb Low Fat: “HCLF has various options depending on what the individual is looking for in the diet. Some want carbohydrates from fruit and veg, similar to raw vegans; others have a lot of potatoes, rice and pasta. Healthy fats (avocado, seeds and nuts) are still essential in the diet, but are eaten in smaller quantities.”
      • Raw: “Raw vegans chose not to eat anything cooked or heated up, so this diet mainly consists of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains… Another option is ‘Raw Till 4’, popularised by vegan bloggers, by eating raw food until 4pm, then a cooked meal for dinner.”

Woke vegan

  • Clothing: These vegans according to AnimalEquality.net: “do not wear or use clothes, shoes or furnishings made with the skins, hair or feathers of other animals, including fur, leather, wool, feathers and silk…They can wear and use plant fabrics such as cotton, linen or hemp, and manmade materials such as polyester, acrylic or nylon… In addition to being free of animal exploitation, vegan clothes can be green too. Hemp and linen have seen a resurgence as strong, durable and versatile fabrics, vintage and secondhand clothes are on the rise, and synthetic materials are increasingly being recycled.”
  • Entertainment: These vegans: “do not visit circuses with animals, zoos, safari parks, aquariums, horseraces, or any other places where animals are kept for the benefit of humans. Vegans generally support animal sanctuaries however, where the animals have been rescued from places of exploitation, as well as wildlife rescue centres and wildlife reserves, and it is also possible to respectfully observe animals in their own habitats.”
    • Pets: These vegans: “do not believe in the breeding of domesticated animals.” They add: “Vegans do rescue and adopt abandoned animals however, seeing them as refugees deserving of care while they are in this world, but they do not perpetuate the institution of ‘pet’ ownership.”
  • Experimentation: These vegans “do not buy cosmetics or household products that have been tested on animals, instead choosing cruelty-free and vegan products. They also try to minimise their use of medicines which may have been tested on animals wherever possible.”

“Under Earth Law, courts assess monetary awards by looking at the cost of restoring ecosystems to their undamaged natural state. This allows for the defense of Nature in the courts—not only for the benefit of people, but also for the sake of Nature itself.”

Earth law Center

A Fuller Vision of Compassionate Sustainability

This Machine Kills Fascists
Woody Guthrie – This Machine Kills Fascists

As you delve deeper into the philosophy and ethics of veganism you face a crossroads. You can reject it entirely, indulge in it to whatever degree you’re comfortable with, or ask yourself what more can be done. This last question is the one I’m facing. I’m not talking about 100% purity of lifestyle, which is nigh on impossible (though if that’s you, good on you!), but rather a broadening awareness of what it’s going to take put our precious ecosystem back in balance. Earth will always be here. Well, for a few more million years at least. Regardless of whether our present climate change crisis is part of a natural cycle or caused by human pollution, or some combination of both, Earth’s biosphere will move on and establish less hospitable ecosystems. Hospitable to humans that is.

So what more can we do? What more do we need to consider? Is there a fuller vision possible for the inherent sanctity and sovereignty of human and non-human lives on this pale blue stone we share?

I have some thoughts on the matter. Clearly. What are yours?

Activist vegan:

  • Legislation
    • Earth Law
  • Transportation
    • Renewable energy/fuel
    • Public transport
    • Wildlife crossings
  • Housing
    • Eco-conscious designs
    • Availability/accessibility
    • Renewable energy grid
    • Wildlife reserves
    • Farm Sanctuaries
  • Waste Disposal/Recycling
  • Direct Action
    • Protests/Demonstrations
    • General Strike
  • Community Engagement
    • Organizing
    • Involvement
    • Outreach
Let Earth speak!

“In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.”

― Mahavira

Visit the Non-Human Rights Project today.

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