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Veganism: Cruelty-Free Reaches the Masses

Veganism sees a rise in popularity, but the trend might be beneficial compared to other fads.  

Jason Monterrosa, Staff Writer

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She walked down the hallway with her Doctor Martens, but they didn’t shine like the boots most people wore on their feet. A teacher, intrigued by their muted color, asked “Are those vegan Docs?” The girl was happy with her response, proclaiming “Yes, I’ve been vegan for a year now.”  

Vegan food, and veganism as a lifestyle, has seen a rise in popularity over the past year. Compared to three or four years ago, it’s evident that there has been an increase in the amount of vegan options in restaurants and supermarkets. Consider Three Brothers – the Long Island based, vegan-only restaurant, – or the freezer section of any local grocery store, where you can find many plant protein meat replacements. With the vegan population increasing by three million from 2012 to 2018, it’s no wonder corporations are meeting demands of more sustainable options (Mulvany and Shanker).

 

Jason Monterrosa
These crispy mozzarella sticks from Three Brothers Vegan Cafe are made from cashews!

When senior and fellow vegan Noor Fatima of Sonderling was asked how she felt about the new vegan options, she replied, “I feel like we are progressing as a society to be more inclusive.” Evelyn Pineda, another vegan Sonderling senior, had this to say:  “I’m really happy, I think that some of them are very good. Some products do need improvement, however. I was telling my friend about the vegan cheese options that are available, and he made a funny face.”  Noor and Evelyn were also asked if they saw veganism ever going mainstream and how they felt now that veganism is trending. Noor stated, “I do see more people going vegan, but I don’t want people just thinking it’s a trend. People should realize that veganism is a lifestyle and shouldn’t do it just because a celebrity is.”  Evelyn responded, “I think that it has already gone mainstream, many video creators on YouTube are describing why they have decided to go vegan. But many are also professing why they ditched veganism, and it’s because they saw it as the latest trend. But veganism will continue to move forward because more people disagree with animal cruelty.” 

Taylor, a senior from Ross, and a former vegan (two years ago), was asked to comment on the amount of options available now compared to when she once practiced the lifestyle, “I think it’s great, because when I was vegan it was very hard. There are more people appreciating the lifestyle that was once hated on.” She was also queried if she believed vegan options should be more readily available in school cafeterias and shopping malls. She responded, “Vegan options should be added to menus because they’re easy to implement and inexpensive. Many food items are already vegan, and people don’t really realize it.” 

People are taking interest in vegan alternatives, with many vegan companies getting funding from private corporations such as Tyson and wealthy investors such as Bill Gates. Investors mainly take interest in these companies because they comprise a $3.7 billion market in the U.S. (Mulvany and Shanker).  Eric, a senior from Ross, showed interest in vegan food alternatives, stating “I would try it as long as it’s good. If I saw it on a menu, I would be happy to try it.” 

Jason Monterrosa
Manicotti from Three Brothers Vegan Cafe is created uses vegan cheese and cashew Parmesan.

In addition to the millions of people going vegan, many people are reducing their meat intake.We can look at the United Kingdom, where one third of the population has reduced their meat intake (Mulvany and Shanker).

A popular movement in dietary standards, “meatless Mondays”, is popular amongst people who don’t want to go completely vegan but want to reduce their environmental impact. While not everyone is going to go vegan, many people have taken notice of the lifestyle. Meatless Mondays arose from people who want to reduce their impact on the environment, but don’t want to commit to a full vegan lifestyle. This fad involves refraining from consuming meat on Mondays. Several “carnists” (a term used by vegan activists to label meat-eaters) were interviewed, and they had a rather positive view on the diet.  

Jason Monterrosa
Penne alla vodka, using vegan cheese and cashew Parmesan, is another popular dish at Three Brothers Vegan Cafe.

We asked how several non-vegan students felt about the trend, and these were some of the responses: Edwin, a senior from Ross, said “I support the idea of helping the environment and opposing the slaughter of animals for food. I support the philosophy.” Eric, whom we interviewed previously, showed their support for the trend, stating, “I feel like it’s a good lifestyle because it falls in line with those who oppose animal agriculture.”  

Whether people are looking to better their health or the environment, we are taking note that veganism has sparked a movement that is both popular and socially/environmentally conscious.  

 Works Cited:

Mulvany, Lydia and Deena Shanker. “We’ll Always Eat Meat. But More of it Will be ‘Meat.'”

 

 

 

 

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Veganism: Cruelty-Free Reaches the Masses