It seems that being vegan means different things to different people. There is a spectrum of opinion within the vegan community which I find interesting because the dictionary definition of ‘vegan’ is very precise. There is no spectrum of meaning of the word “vegan”. It means “a person who does not eat any food derived from animals and who typically does not use other animal products.”
That’s very specific: it’s about eating food which is not derived from animals and you don’t use any animal products. There’s nothing there about horse riding and how it goes against the principles of veganism. Although, I can see where they’re coming from, the extreme vegans. Horse riding can seem cruel and it is actually cruel sometimes. Horses don’t give their consent to being ridden and it can be uncomfortable for them. It can cause distress and in terms of horse racing, horses are sometimes euthanized on the track because they are injured while racing. So, yes, at one end of extreme veganism, horse riding is bad and against their principles.
This topic is in the news. It has surfaced with a young vegan called Freya who is on the television show Great British Bake Off (GBBO). She declared herself to the world on Facebook as the first vegan baker on GBBO. And she said that she was passionate about ethics – behaving ethically in relation to veganism, I guess.
She also loves horseriding and is a dressage champion. When you put that mix together you can attract trolls and the type of attention you don’t want to attract which is what happened. Visitors to Facebook criticised her by saying, for instance, that you can’t reconcile the idea of being ethically minded and vegan and be a keen horse rider.
Her Facebook page documented her achievements in riding and that the age of 19, this psychology student has done very well. She was keen to document her voyage through the GBBO until the trolls came on the scene. Another said that she was watering down veganism and that she shouldn’t be on television calling herself a vegan.
The end result? Freya has deleted her Facebook page. I believe that she might have an Instagram page which may still be in place but it is a shame that trolls forced her off Facebook. It would have been nicer if she had just steeled herself and argued her case. I think she would have won the argument because veganism is quite a flexible concept. She was within her rights to have her version of it, which fitted the dictionary definition.
Source: The Daily Mail online. Thanks.
Postscript: can you be an animal lover and eat meat? In other words, if you want to be an animal lover do you have to be a vegan? I don’t think you do. I think people have to give other people some leeway here. It is better to be an animal lover and a meat eater than not an animal lover at all and be vegan. That’s my opinion. It seems that you can be vegan and not like animals provided you would meet the definition of not eating them or using their products. That would seem to me to be a fake situation. Sometimes animal lovers are raised when there are young children on meat and it is difficult to give up these deep-seated indoctrinations. An allowance should be made for them.