After the whirlwind that was Vida Vegan Con, it’s interesting to pause and reflect on the state of veganism in our country (rather, North America) right now. There was a small international contingent at the conference, but with the multitude of animal rights actions happening, it’s hard enough to keep tabs on what is changing domestically. To me, what’s exciting is seeing the idea of veganism, or a cause fighting to end exploitation of animals, appear in an unlikely place. Here are just a few examples that have made the news recently:
The Randy Radish food truck is Washington D.C.’s “first 100% vegan food truck,” whose owners were inspired after watching the Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race. The truck features a small but pretty interesting vegan menu – lots of sandwiches and baked goods – and is barely two months old. Run by two women who were looking for a way to serve vegan food to all ages, the truck’s goal is to spread healthy, plant-based fare to the greater metro D.C. area. Awesome!
Here’s a pretty neat story of a dude who took his OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and turned it into something good: David Klasfeld took the troublesome diagnosis and created Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, best known for “a product called Lip Tar that has become a cult favorite among the kind of cutting-edge makeup enthusiasts who also tend to favor the brands Urban Decay and Illamasqua” (NYT). While a vegan make-up company may be the norm if that’s your scene, OCC’s policy on it is splendid:
In a time when many cosmetic companies make the claim that their products are “Cruelty Free” simply because Animal Testing has become unfashionable and less cost-effective, OCC felt it was necessary to raise the bar on this issue. We pledge never to use animal-derived ingredients (including Lanolin, Beeswax, Carmine and more) in our products and accessories. Beyond any personal convictions, we simply believe that it’s unnecessary, especially when there are alternatives that are just as readily available, and equally effective in the formulation of our products. Further, you need not necessarily be aligned with animal rights issues to reap the benefits of a vegan cosmetic line: animal ingredients can be amongst the most allergenic and skin reactive, and prevent makeup from being considered Kosher, Halal or otherwise compliant with various dietary (and sanitary!) regulations.
Lastly, we have this short but brilliant piece from Élise Desaulniers that appeared on HuffPo Canada-edition, about a recent gathering of French-Canadian scientists and one man’s admission of guilt about only recently switching to veganism. The short story discusses our endless quest to satisfy nothing short of a selfish desire to eat meat (not necessary, in our privileged world, for survival), and blames the deep ethic of carnism. Desaulniers closes with this hopeful message:
The majority of humanity is not psychopathic. Our carnivorous behaviour is best explained by ignorance and denial. It is thus possible to convince people to change their habits by showing them the hidden horrors that our food choices entail, and by reminding them that exploiting animals is by no means a necessity.
These three examples illustrate the power of change across the country, but one need not start a food truck or a cruelty-free cosmetic company to effect better choices. Simply living positively will echo out the changes we want to see, through small but profound steps, every single day.