Is the green movement ready to embrace animal rights and veganism? Recently some campaigners have been saying yes, chief among them Ronnie Lee who used to advocate direct action and people taking control of their own lives, but who now believes we should all be joining the Green Party instead.
But if the experience I had this week is anything to go by, the greens still have a long way to go. While on holiday in Wales with my partner and son, we went to the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth. I hadn’t been for about 20 years but remembered it as being informative and fun, with lots for kids.
And it still is but I’d also heard that the café now has more vegan options. Good, I thought, especially as CAT’s own literature now emphasizes the damage caused by the meat and dairy industries to the environment and especially the massive amounts of greenhouse gases they produce.
Imagine my disbelief then on discovering that the café, while veggie, had dairy with practically everything. The day we were there all the main courses contained cheese. Only the soup was vegan and after enquiring we were told that we could have stuffed courgettes without the cheese topping. Nearly all the cakes were not suitable for vegans either.
Dairy ice cream was prominently on display too and all the while information leaflets on the dining tables urged us to reduce our consumption of milk products. What’s more in CAT’s “Eco shop” there’s even a dairy cookbook – see photo. Don’t they realise they are guilty of hypocrisy when they tell us to do one thing while doing the very opposite themselves?!
My reasoning is they are scared of ditching dairy because they think their customers won’t like the alternative. But more and more people are eschewing animal products for a plant based diet, for reasons of animal cruelty, health and saving the planet.
Proof of this – if any were needed – lay in another place we visited while in Wales. Vegonia Wholefoods in Porthmadog opened way back in 1997, is 100% vegan and still going strong. It even opened a branch in Nantwich, Cheshire, a few years ago. Hats off to Vegonia in showing it’s possible to stick to your principles and still make a living.
I’d also like to point out that the radical wing of the green movement has always seen animal rights and veganism as being important. For instance Earth First! gatherings have had vegan kitchens for as long as I can remember.
And to CAT I’d like to say stop undermining the good work you do by encouraging people to consume products which harm their health, the environment and animals. Get rid of dairy!