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leedsveg
Aug 8th, 2009, 10:16 PM
Just received the autumn 2009 edition of The Vegetarian magazine from the Vegetarian Society UK and I was interested to see that one of the nominees for the "Best Vegsoc Approved Drink" is "McDonalds Milkshakes".

As the Society says "Our categories focus mainly on the manufacturers who use our 'Approved' logo to show you that they meet our high standards'.

So that's alright then.:eek:

leedsveg

Sarabi
Aug 8th, 2009, 10:57 PM
No, thanks. It doesn't sound vegan, but McDonald's is absolutely disgusting regardless. Last time I ate something there was when I was studying abroad in Oxford, England, and for some reason all of my fellow students wanted to go there... I was like, "We're in Oxford. No." But one of my friends didn't have change for ice cream, so I offered her... she said she didn't like receiving donations and would only buy it if I promised to share with her. So I did, and I tried it, and it was the worst tasting crap ever... I couldn't eat any more of it and stopped eating it, so she threw it away angrily that I wasn't sharing it with her. Hahahahaha... Talk about sad.

Buddha Belly
Aug 9th, 2009, 09:24 AM
Just received the autumn 2009 edition of The Vegetarian magazine from the Vegetarian Society UK and I was interested to see that one of the nominees for the "Best Vegsoc Approved Drink" is "McDonalds Milkshakes".

As the Society says "Our categories focus mainly on the manufacturers who use our 'Approved' logo to show you that they meet our high standards'.

So that's alright then.:eek:

leedsveg

The veg soc is wrong on so many levels. Vegetarians are famed for their love of a maci d. Are good fayre game in response would be;
guess the number of memberships given in

fiamma
Aug 9th, 2009, 10:46 AM
I'm in two minds about this. I think I could understand it better if McDonalds had come up with something vegan and innovative, like a vegan burger with all the trimmings.

But to give the seal of approval to a milkshake? Those things are just full of rubbish.

And McDonalds are just wrong; think of all the better things the VegSoc could have done with such a seal of approval. Weird. :dizzy:

harpy
Aug 9th, 2009, 11:48 AM
It (ETA i.e VegSoc approval) is only a "seal of approval" in the sense that it validates the item as vegetarian, though - it doesn't imply any sort of moral (or nutritional) endorsement.

As far as I know both the Vegetarian and the Vegan Society operate their approval schemes on this basis and, regrettable as it may seem to us lot, I think things would get pretty complicated otherwise as people would never agree what should/shouldn't be included. At least this system seems fairly objective.

There is a bit of explanation along these lines on http://www.seedlingshowcase.com/corporate08/faq_detail.asp?faqid=7

ETA I agree that a product could qualify for VegSoc approval without deserving an award, but on the other hand we don't know who's going to win the awards yet.

fiamma
Aug 9th, 2009, 12:10 PM
I did mean "seal of approval" is a figurative sense, sorry, wasn't very clear there.

Although surely nominating a McDonalds milkshake as (one of the nominees for) "Best VegSoc Approved Drink" does imply a moral and nutritional endorsement?

I just think any vegetarian society worth its salt should be steering well clear of a massively destructive corporation like McDonalds with all its dubious practices (deforestation and so forth, contribution to greenhouse gases); IMO an endorsement like this is very harmful. Just think of all the good they could do by promoting the products of smaller, ethical companies.


"Our categories focus mainly on the manufacturers who use our 'Approved' logo to show you that they meet our high standards'.

High standards??? Ugh :mad:

harpy
Aug 9th, 2009, 12:21 PM
I'm not sure how the nominations work but I've got a feeling that they may have invited nominations from members. It might be a bit hard for them to reject a nomination for a product that they have already approved :(

I'm not trying to justify it though because I don't like the fact that the society appears to be endorsing a firm like that, even if they aren't really.

Yet another edit to say I'm glad to see new fave Tibits on the list

http://www.vegsoc.org/awards/2009/shortlist.html

Sarabi
Aug 9th, 2009, 03:48 PM
This is a sad sign that a lot of vegetarians eat at McDonald's, if members are the ones who voted it.

shockingfish
Aug 9th, 2009, 05:54 PM
I can't belive that Im going to do this but here I go - There where lots of disgrunted members of the Vegetarian Society when they first approved items in the McDonalds range (they lost loads of members because of it) but I have to side with the Vegetarian Society. McDonalds reformulated a lot of products including the milkshakes so they could gain approval. Remember that the Vegetarian Society is just that - a vegetarian group and not a vegan one. It does approve products that include free range eggs and dairy products from a number of compaines including Unilever, Premire foods, Burger King and others that are just as dubious as McDonalds. If it makes going veggie easier then that can only be a good thing (as it will mean that more people will consider going vegan in the long term!) - I have a feeling that Im am going to take a lot of flak for saying this :)

matt35mm
Aug 9th, 2009, 06:09 PM
I think a lot of us can understand that point of view, shockingfish, so I for one won't throw flak your way for sharing that opinion. But I think McDonalds is among the top companies to never support, regardless of their directly or indirectly vegetarian items (a milkshake is vegetarian anywhere, and of course McDonalds is gonna have a milkshake. Why congratulate them for having a milkshake?). Their business involves tremendous suffering, and every dollar they get is a dollar put back into the business of slaughtering animals.

I understand that sometimes aiming for the increase of convenience by trying to get more vegan options at omni restaurants is beneficial for getting people to go vegan in a long term way, and I will eat at omni restaurants with no problem, but I've got to draw the line at McDonalds.

Mahk
Aug 9th, 2009, 06:10 PM
From the Vegetarian Society FAQ:

Does the Vegetarian Society select which products or services it approves on the basis of nutritional value, ethics or morals?

No. Products are approved solely on the basis of whether they meet our criteria. The Seedling Symbol does not imply any guarantee of quality, nutritional value or the ethics of the company. It simply reassures consumers that products and services are entirely vegetarian.

"How dare they only concern themselves with whether or not the product is vegetarian in composition as opposed to adopting our vegan attitudes, morals, and perspective! We have the right to impose our beliefs and dictate the criteria of selection on any other group we chose!" :rolleyes: [not a real quote]
---


As far as I know both the Vegetarian and the Vegan Society operate their approval schemes on this basis and, regrettable as it may seem to us lot, I think things would get pretty complicated otherwise as people would never agree what should/shouldn't be included. At least this system seems fairly objective.

I don't regret this at all. Objective and neutral is exactly what it needs to be. I for example try to avoid artificial coloring in foods but I'd be furious if I saw the Vegan Society had decided to exclude certifying foods based on them containing artificial coloring from perfectly vegan sources. I don't want some arbitrary third party's nutritional assessment or political views forced down my throat, thank you very much, all I want to know is if the product is vegan. I'll be the one to assess if the product is nutritionally/morally sound.

fiamma
Aug 9th, 2009, 06:16 PM
I think a lot of us can understand that point of view, shockingfish, so I for one won't throw flak your way for sharing that opinion. But I think McDonalds is among the top companies to never support, regardless of their directly or indirectly vegetarian items (a milkshake is vegetarian anywhere, and of course McDonalds is gonna have a milkshake. Why congratulate them for having a milkshake?). Their business involves tremendous suffering, and every dollar they get is a dollar put back into the business of slaughtering animals.

I understand that sometimes aiming for the increase of convenience by trying to get more vegan options at omni restaurants is beneficial for getting people to go vegan in a long term way, and I will eat at omni restaurants with no problem, but I've got to draw the line at McDonalds.

Perfectly put, Matt :)

I do see your point, shockingfish, and yours too Mahk.

But giving any kind of support/seal of approval/endorsement to McDonalds, on any level, just strikes me as wrong. Especially when you call yourself a vegetarian society.

shockingfish
Aug 9th, 2009, 06:32 PM
Matt35mm - The original fomulation for McDonald's milkshake contained a number of non vegetarian items including E120 in the strawberry one and beef geletine in all of them. Never asume that a product is vegetarian unless you can see the ingredient list and know where the ingredients have come from. This is why the seedling symbol is important.

matt35mm
Aug 9th, 2009, 06:40 PM
Yeah, that's true, you can't assume things are veggie/vegan. But another lesson from that is that McDonalds is pretty dodgy. I'm pretty sure loads of vegetarians assumed that the milkshake was vegetarian and bought it under that original formula, so it's one of those places where things aren't as they appear, which is just disturbing.

Sarabi
Aug 9th, 2009, 07:28 PM
If eating more animal products makes it easier to be vegetarian, then that's somehow going to help people be vegan? Yes and No. The good and bad side here seem to cancel each other out, at best. I stopped eating meat before I became vegan. Only thing I knew about nutrition was "where do you get your protein?" so I replaced meat with eggs as it was the only thing I knew. I ate LOTS of eggs and therefore thought, "I could never be vegan!"

And although I don't have anything against artificial flavoring, I certainly wouldn't be furious if they decided to exclude something on the basis of that... if it were for health. I agree with H.E.A.L.T.H. (http://eco-health.blogspot.com) that separating veganism from other issues is not ideal and potentially harmful. So the more I see any vegan group incorporating other issues like ecology, human rights, and human health, the happier I will be. Otherwise, don't complain when Oxfam donates animals to the "developing world" for food because they're just going to say, "We're not concerned with animal rights. Our deal is human hunger."

Mahk
Aug 9th, 2009, 08:14 PM
Otherwise, don't complain when Oxfam donates animals to the "developing world" for food..."

I personally don't. I also don't complain when the Red Cross gives out blankets to people who are freezing made of wool, latex condoms (processed with non-vegan compounds) to people in Africa to try to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, or measles vaccines to poor children in India grown in eggs. I'm of the mind we don't have the right to force our views on others just as they have no right to force their views on us.

"Nope, don't give any blankets to Mahk or his family, vegan or otherwise (now destitute because the hurricane destroyed his home); he refused to support us earlier because some of our blankets are wool and he personally has 'moral' objections to that unlike the other 99% of society."

-hypothetical Red Cross worker in the future

Moral of the story? "What goes around comes around."

Prawnil
Aug 9th, 2009, 09:10 PM
I'm of the mind we don't have the right to force our views on others just as they have no right to force their views on us.
You start trouble with that one, though, in the case of views that at basis force severe harm on individuals versus those that do to a lesser extent.
Anyway, congratulations to mcdonalds for earning the mark that their milk drinks don't contain slaughter derivatives. Whooopie!

fiamma
Aug 9th, 2009, 09:26 PM
Anyway, congratulations to mcdonalds for earning the mark that their milk drinks don't contain slaughter derivatives. Whooopie! :lol: :devil: :cool:

leedsveg
Aug 9th, 2009, 10:54 PM
From the Vegetarian Society FAQ:

Does the Vegetarian Society select which products or services it approves on the basis of nutritional value, ethics or morals?

No. Products are approved solely on the basis of whether they meet our criteria. The Seedling Symbol does not imply any guarantee of quality, nutritional value or the ethics of the company. It simply reassures consumers that products and services are entirely vegetarian.’


The latest VegSoc magazine has articles on 'farm animal welfare', 'eggs - a closer look' and 'circuses'. The egg article is quite comprehensive and clearly steers people who want to carry on eating eggs, away from battery eggs and towards free-range. (I remember many years ago that the magazine stopped advertising Quorn products because they were made, at that time, with battery eggs.) And yet in the listing of what vegetarians do not eat eg meat, fish etc, nowhere does it say 'battery eggs'.

If McDonalds brought out a new 'McOmlette' made with battery eggs and wanted it 'approved' by the Vegetarian Society, on what grounds would the Society turn down the request? Technically the McOmlette would seem to be veggie and of course the Society could not turn it down for ethical/moral reasons, could they!:dizzy:

I don't really think it's us imposing our (vegan) views on them. It's the VegSoc acting with consistency so that its members, of whom I am one, know where they stand on various issues.

leedsveg

harpy
Aug 10th, 2009, 12:07 AM
I don't regret this at all. Objective and neutral is exactly what it needs to be. I for example try to avoid artificial coloring in foods but I'd be furious if I saw the Vegan Society had decided to exclude certifying foods based on them containing artificial coloring from perfectly vegan sources. I don't want some arbitrary third party's nutritional assessment or political views forced down my throat, thank you very much, all I want to know is if the product is vegan. I'll be the one to assess if the product is nutritionally/morally sound.

I think the certification/approval scheme probably does need to be objective, but I don't see any need to give the blighters an award FFS :dizzy: But there again, they haven't so far, it's just a nomination.

ETA they already don't approve things with battery eggs, Leedsveg, so they wouldn't need to invent a special rule for McDonalds. It's item 2 on the right of this page:

http://www.seedlingshowcase.com/corporate08/product_accreditation.asp

Mahk
Aug 10th, 2009, 12:20 AM
The egg article is quite comprehensive and clearly steers people who want to carry on eating eggs, away from battery eggs and towards free-range. I've never seen any product in the US ever mention in the ingredients list as to whether the eggs were "free-range" or not. Is "free-range eggs" something you would see in ingredients listings in the UK?:confused:
---

I've just returned from cyberspace. Quorn UK uses the term on packaging [I]there, Quorn US does not. Interesting.

---


If McDonalds brought out a new 'McOmlette' made with battery eggs and wanted it 'approved' by the Vegetarian Society, on what grounds would the Society turn down the request?

This arbitrary rule they have: "The Seedling Symbol and the phrase Vegetarian Society Approved indicate the food product meets our strict criteria for vegetarian suitability. This means that as well as being free from all meat, poultry or fish and slaughter by products such as gelatine, approved products only use free range eggs and there must be no risk of cross contamination between approved products and non vegetarian ingredients. "


Technically the McOmlette would seem to be veggie and of course the Society could not turn it down for ethical/moral reasons, could they!

Under their warped, arbitrary, rules yes they could. I'm not defending them mind you and think they are being completely hypocritical to concern themselves with battery caged chickens yet admit that they completely ignore zero-range cows which are exactly the same thing just a different species.

edit to add: I see harpy beat me to the punch. Quoting their odd rules.... Interesting their stance on GMOs is the opposite that of the Vegan Society. I support the Vegan Society's view. I'll decide if GMOs, non free trade salt, spice/vegetable irradiation, microwaving, artificial coloring, pasteurizing, whether the company donates to local charities or uses X% renewable energy, etc., make a product improper or not. Just tell me if it is vegan, or not, and keep your politics and nutritional biases to yourselves.

leedsveg
Aug 10th, 2009, 10:14 AM
ETA they already don't approve things with battery eggs, Leedsveg, so they wouldn't need to invent a special rule for McDonalds. It's item 2 on the right of this page:

http://www.seedlingshowcase.com/corporate08/product_accreditation.asp

If they say that they don't support the use of battery eggs, at least partly on moral grounds, then that is a moral judgment, something that they say they don't make. In my example, McDonalds could come along and say to VegSoc 'Stop making a moral judgement and approve our McOmlette because it is veggie'.


I've never seen any product in the US ever mention in the ingredients list as to whether the eggs were "free-range" or not. [I put "free-range" in quotes because from my perspective there's no such thing; it's a euphemism for "maybe ever so slightly better living conditions where after cutting a small hole in the side of the over crowded farming sheds a few chickens venture out and see the sun on rare occasion"] Is "free-range eggs" something you would see in ingredients listings in the UK?
Under their warped, arbitrary, rules yes they could. I'm not defending them mind you and think they are being completely hypocritical to concern themselves with battery caged chickens yet admit that they completely ignore zero-range cows which are exactly the same thing just a different species.


Totally agree Mahk with what you say about the "free range eggs" definition". In this country, I think that "free range eggs" are usually listed as such somewhere in the packaging because:

i) they tend to be more expensive than battery eggs and so it gives a rationale for the higher price of the product (compared to a rival's product?);

ii) they are seen as an animal welfare benefit.


To be fair, the article about eggs in the latest Vegsoc magazine is quite comprehensive and does mention de-beaking, overcrowded conditions, the more or less automatic slaughter of male chicks, and so on. They say "The killing of unwanted male chicks and 'spent' layers are among the reasons which influence many individuals to avoid the consumption of eggs, regardless of how well the laying hens may have been kept" (my italics). Just unfortunate that they conclude the article by saying "For confidence that you are buying a product you can be sure contains only free range eggs, look for those which are VegSoc approved, or visit www.vegsocapproved.com (http://www.vegsocapproved.com)

It's not my intention to denigrate the Vegetarian Society because 'out of its loins' sprang the Vegan Society in 1944. I just hope that VegSoc's members are not put off by its endorsement of "free range eggs" and of McDonalds, but carry on in a vegan direction, rather than give up on VegSoc and vegetarianism altogether.

leedsveg:smile:

shockingfish
Aug 10th, 2009, 06:45 PM
McDonalsds stopped using battery eggs in all of their products a few years back - all across Europe; they even won a CIWF 'good egg award' http://www.ciwf.org.uk/good_egg_awards/english/award_winners/food_service/mcdonalds.aspx
so the vegeatrian society could well approve an McOmlette as the eggs would be free range and as long is it doesn't contain any slaughter products or made on the same equipment as meat derived products then it would be fine.

leedsveg
Aug 10th, 2009, 10:07 PM
McDonalsds stopped using battery eggs in all of their products a few years back - all across Europe; they even won a CIWF 'good egg award' http://www.ciwf.org.uk/good_egg_awards/english/award_winners/food_service/mcdonalds.aspx
so the vegeatrian society could well approve an McOmlette as the eggs would be free range and as long is it doesn't contain any slaughter products or made on the same equipment as meat derived products then it would be fine.

Oops! My example was not as good as I thought and I should not have made the assumption that I did re McDonalds and battery eggs.:o

Perhaps McDonalds may make more significant changes in the future, but way to go before I'll be visiting them.:eek:

leedsveg

fiamma
Aug 10th, 2009, 10:22 PM
I do understand the VegSoc's reasoning; they want to give people a product guide based purely on ingredients rather than ethics. It just seems crazy to me that a vegetarian society would "approve" a company which causes so much suffering on so many levels. :pissed: