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Korn
Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:52 PM
DV: "No thanks, I'll pass, I don't eat animal products or byproducts."

Omni: "Oh, so you are a vegan then, right?"

DV: "No, I attend the circus with my children and they have animal acts, for example. A true vegan wouldn't do that."

Omni: "Oh, I see, then why don't you call yourself a 'dietary vegan' ? That would unambiguously describe to all that your rejection of animal goods is solely related to your diet."

DV: "Because people on the internet say I'm not allowed to."

:p

Or:

Omni: "Oh, so you are a vegan then, right?"
Reply: I eat vegan food...


It doesn't have to be more complicated than that. They could also call themselves 'herbivores', 'total vegetarians', 'vegetarians, but not lacto-vegetarians', 'vegitans', 'plant eaters', 'vegan-fooders', or invent a word that cover what they do - instead of hijacking another. They could even be plain lazy, and reply yes, especially if they think that a 'dietary vegan' is some kind of vegan.


'Dietary' is an adjective, and is as such used to describe that word next to it.
A 'vegan', in this context, is a noun.

An adjective describes a noun or pronoun.

A French car is some kind of car, a ripe banana is some kind of banana, and a tired taylor is some kind of taylor; our use of adjectives suggests that a dietary vegan is some kind of vegan - which again would lead to the 'different kind of vegans' thing.

Mahk
Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:53 PM
Oh no! Our bible (http://www.vegansociety.com/people/lifestyle/celebrities.php) has dared to utter these sinister "evil words" :eek::

"To the best of our knowledge the following are at least dietary vegans:"

The green gods have spoken.

cobweb
Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:54 PM
Why should I look up "vegan"? This hypothetical person never claimed they were one:


no but the hypothetical eejit that spoke to the first hypothetical eejit who was on their way to see animals being abused at the circus or whatever should may be pointed to that definition of vegan, and then that hypothetical person might not make such pathetic and eejit-ish suggestions in future :rolleyes:.

cobweb
Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:57 PM
Oh no! Our bible (http://www.vegansociety.com/people/lifestyle/celebrities.php) has dared to utter these sinister "evil words" :eek::

"To the best of our knowledge the following are at least dietary vegans:"

The green gods have spoken.


yes i wonder what Donald Watson would think to that?
probably not much :(.

Mahk
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:01 PM
He and Shrigley must be rolling in their graves. I don't like the usage (in this example) either because it does imply these people are vegans.

Korn
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:03 PM
They have various definitions of vegan on their site, including one who says that the definition of vegan is one 'who will not eat any animal products', and of course the old "Founded in 1944, The Vegan Society promotes vegan lifestyles - which exclude, as far as is possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose", mentioned several places.

Unfortunately, they are currently the most active contributors to the mess.


Korn have you contacted TVS about your concerns?
Cobweb, I'm not a member there, I strongly disagree with their policy regarding a few important topics, so I don't see why they would be interested in my opinion. I guess they'll rather listen to their 'followers'...

starlight
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:05 PM
It strikes me that language is a living and changing thing. Language adapts to the times - new words arrive, old words die out, and existing words get new meanings over time. This is a perfectly normal and natural part of the way languages develop.

So just because a word like vegan was originally defined or used to represent a particular concept doesn't mean it's going to carry on with that meaning forever.

What changes words is usage. The simple fact is that the number of vegans in the world is a small percentage of the total population, so even if all vegans agreed on what the definition of the word and stuck to it, it would not necessarily make any difference if all the non-vegans used the word in a different way.

I say it would not make any difference for 2 reasons:

First off, we vegans have to live in a non vegan world and communicate with non-vegans. It's unrealistic to think we're going to have the opportunity (or interest even) to "educate" everyone we meet - we're just going to have to adopt their meaning of the word when talking with non-vegans most of the time.

Secondly, if we vegans try and maintain a certain usage of the word vegan when talking amongst ourselves that is different to the common usage of the word (i.e. when talking with non-vegans) then our usage is going to end up as either "cute but irrelevant" or "wierd and irrelevant" or just die out altogether over time.

So following this line of thinking the real question is not what we vegans think the word means, but what the vast majority of non-vegans out there think it means.

I'm not sure if there are any statistics on this, but I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of people out there think the word vegan referrs to diet only.

In my estimation the average non-vegan probably doesn't recognise any relationship at all between the word "vegan" and issues around silk, wool, leather, fur etc. They probabaly don't even recognise a link between the word "vegan" and a general attitude of compassion for animals or concern about ecological issues. They probably just think of it as a dietary choice. Period.

If that's the case we may as well accept the word "vegan" means "someone who eats a non-meat non-dairy diet" and nothing more. So you could then describe yourself as either:
- "vegan", meaning diet only, or
- "vegan and animal rights sympathiser", or
- "vegan and ecoworrier"
etc

Mahk
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:09 PM
Korn, Cobweb, Harpy, starlight, etc., a show of hands, please. Who here thinks that a person who declares they are a "dietary Englishman" have made a declaration that they are English? This is not a rhetorical question, please respond.

There is no doubt in my mind that in American English usage the person has made absolutely no declaration that they are English. There is no ambiguity for me at all.

Korn
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:13 PM
Starlight, my experience is that most people who know what veganism is know that veganism is about more than diet, and IMO it's really absurd to adjust the meaning of the word based on assumptions coming from those who don't know what vegan means.

Korn
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:19 PM
Who here thinks that a person who declares they are a "dietary Englishman" have made a declaration that they are English?
The terms 'dietary Englishman' isn't used one single time in a normal sentence in the Internet - probably because it doesn't make sense at all. You construct a funny question to try to illustrate that adjectives doesn't describe nouns, but they do.

The only appearance of 'dietary Englishman' appears on a page titled "Intenionally Illogical and Inconsistent"...

Plus - what would a dietary Englishman be? Someone who ate English food only? Poor man...
There is no logical conflict between being English and eat English food, but being a vegan (one who avoids all kinds of animal products) and 'dietary' (which in this context suggests that the person IS using animal products) are two opposites.

'Dietary' in 'dietary Englishman' doesn't suggest that the person isn't English, but 'dietary' in 'dietary vegan' suggests that the person isn't a vegan. The two aren't comparable.

Mahk
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:25 PM
Plus - what would a dietary Englishman be? Someone who ate English food only?
Yes, that's exactly what it means. "Dietary" is an adjective in my question as well. "Englishman" is a noun in my question as well. Now answer the question, please.

Korn
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:26 PM
No.

cobweb
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:27 PM
Starlight - this is precisely what worries me, that many non-vegans don't see veganism as much more than 'diet', and this is why it's so important to stick to the 'real' meaning of veganism, which in my mind is the Donald Watson one :dizzy:.

Mahk, personally i would say to the 'dietary Englishman' that there is no such thing as a dietary Englishman, just as i would also say there is no such thing as a 'dietary vegan' :umm_ani:.

Actually i'm pretty disappointed with TVS over this point (the link you posted, Mahk). I'm so 'up and down' with them, it gets confusing.

Korn what are your other major issues with TVS?. I know in the past you've mentioned your unease but i'm afraid i cannot remember exactly why :confused:.

Mahk
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:54 PM
Mahk, personally i would say to the 'dietary Englishman' that there is no such thing as a dietary Englishman, just as i would also say there is no such thing as a 'dietary vegan' :umm_ani:..
There's (probably) no such thing as Sasquatch, but that doesn't mean you can't answer if "he" lives in the Himalayas now does it.


"Dietary Vegan: follows a vegan diet, but doesn't necessarily try and exclude non-food uses of animals."

:eek:

International Vegetarian Union (http://www.ivu.org/faq/definitions.html) [Note they correctly don't say that a "dietary vegan" is a vegan. Something some of you fail to comprehend can be verbalized through the use of this term.]

cobweb
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:56 PM
but 'dietary vegan' is a barstardisation of the term 'vegan' and is technically incorrect.

Mahk
Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:59 PM
A "dietary vegan" is not a vegan, so it in no way "bastardizes" the word. I dietary Englishman isn't an Englishman either.

Korn
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:00 PM
Korn what are your other major issues with TVS?

Here's a compact version of some of the stuff I disagree in: their active promotion of pro-ALF literature/events, their messed up use of various definitions of vegan, the way the inform about nutrition (take a deep breath):

They're giving the impression that vegans need more supplements that others, little info on deficiencies among non-vegans, claims about no plants containing no reliable amounts of B12 under any circumstances, being in bed with the Jack Norris kind of 'science' about B12 (the guy who is using his B12 pages to promote the idea that humans are 'natural' omnivores), their lack of focus on B12-inhibitors, their book about nutrition which doesn't contain proper B12-info but presents one side of the homocysteine/B12 discussion as it was the more or less only valid opinion, their lack of mentioning that MMA tests still are considered controversial by the people who perform them, their lack of warnings that B12 analogues may be found in fortified food and supplements (and in animal products), their lack of info to new vegans that they may already be B12 deficient before they go vegan, their slight anti-raw food bias, their lack of respect for thousands of people from the East when they claim that veganism isn't about being pure (because, for many people from other cultures, avoiding meat/animal products is part of a personal purification process/cleaning of the soul in addition to respect for animals), their lack of interest in setting up a proper vegan forum...

They seem to try to embrace both illegal or semi-illegal AR activists (by promoting the ALF stuff) and embrace those so called 'dietary vegans' - but I have a feeling that by trying to please everybody, the push too many people away from their organization. The ALF people probably don't like their use of 'vegan' as a definition of a diet only, and the 'dietary' people don't like that they sell pro ALF-literature. IMO they should stick to veganism, and only veganism - in the original and common meaning if the word, otherwise they may remain a 4000-members organization until the end of time.

starlight
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:14 PM
Starlight - this is precisely what worries me, that many non-vegans don't see veganism as much more than 'diet', and this is why it's so important to stick to the 'real' meaning of veganism, which in my mind is the Donald Watson one :dizzy:.


Why does it worry you?

Personally I'm not attached to the label "vegan" in any way - I feel it's what I do that counts, not what I call myself.

In fact I think attachement to ideas and labels can become problematic - labels can start to define you, and can stop you from engaging your critical faculties.

So I'd be quite happy to say I'm vegan and an animal rights sympathiser, for example, if that's what got the right message accross. I'm quite happy with the word "and".

Of course you should know I'm quite a new vegan, so maybe there's something about vegan culture I don't get yet (please explain). However I have this attitude to labels and ideas generally - for example I've been a committed buddhist for many years, but don't normally tell people unless they ask (or it's relevant to the conversation).

cobweb
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:16 PM
hmm, well some points i would agree on, some i just don't know enough about (but maybe i need to! :eek:)

i don't agree with their public pro-ALF stance (:o that is coming from someone who, at the age of 13 announced to her parents she was going to 'work for the ALF' when she left school - but i have grown up since then, and anyway, even if members of TVS do support ALF actions it might be wise to keep that a personal matter)

i certainly strongly disagree with them using and promoting the term 'dietary vegan' :mad:

and although, as i said, i don't totally understand as much as you do about the B12 issue, i am uneasy with TVS giving the illusion that vegans are likely to become difficient because that makes it seem like veganism equates necessarily to a deficiency of nutrients! :undecided:.

the 'pure' thing i understand more because one of the aims of TVS is to make veganism seem accessible and possible.

cobweb
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:20 PM
Starlight i've been vegan for a long time and often felt that i have had to 'fight' for my right to be vegan, maybe that is why it bothers me? :confused:. I have come up against opposition from my family/friends/employers/employees, and my son's previous school, too :mad:.

I also feel that people need to understand why vegans are vegans, as i think this is where a lot of personal problems can begin (with lack of understanding). For instance to some non-vegans it's just an 'extreme diet' whereas to most vegans it's about living a compassionate lifestyle.

cobweb
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:22 PM
.............also, i am a firm believer in speaking up for things you believe in; i want to be a proud vegan and i want other people who aren't vegans to stop what they're doing for a few minutes and think about the real truth behind what they are eating/wearing/using/doing.

starlight
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:25 PM
Starlight, my experience is that most people who know what veganism is know that veganism is about more than diet, and IMO it's really absurd to adjust the meaning of the word based on assumptions coming from those who don't know what vegan means.


Hi Korn.

I accept what you say, but I think our experiences are different - in my experience I would guess most people don't know it's more than diet.

I'm not sure who's experience is more representative. It could perhaps be, for example, that it's a matter of geography i.e. in the UK (where i l live) the "average person" think it just means diet, whereas where you live (Norway?) the "average person" thinks it means more.

I have no idea about what people in other parts of the world think it means.

This is why statistics are important. Unfortunately I don't know of any - do you?

starlight
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:30 PM
Plus - what would a dietary Englishman be? Someone who ate English food only? Poor man...


Of course, the definition of English food has changed over the years greatly. Nowadays the most popular dish is apparantly an Indian curry. Which of course does not mean the type of food server in India, as that meaning has changed over the years too.

A perfect example of the idea that language changes, perhaps? :)

starlight
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:34 PM
Korn, Cobweb, Harpy, starlight, etc., a show of hands, please. Who here thinks that a person who declares they are a "dietary Englishman" have made a declaration that they are English? This is not a rhetorical question, please respond.


I certainly wouldn't interpret this phrase as meaning the person claims to be English.

Mahk
Sep 3rd, 2008, 11:35 PM
Exactly.