I've been thinking a lot about this lately, especially as I'm learning more about the various ideological positions within the animal rights movement. So what DOES it mean to be vegan? It's a label obviously, a shorthand way of identifying certain objections and practices, a personal choice, a political statement, a group identity, a philosophy, and I suppose, a lifestyle. The last term I'm actually a bit uncomfortable with as it reminds me too much of its negative use as a way of defending homophobia, but in this case, it seems fitting.
But does being vegan mean that you're an animal rights activist? In a way, I think it does, even though there may be some vegans who are vegan more for health or environmental reasons. The result though, regardless of motivation, is that fewer animals are being consumed. But I want to explore this topic more fully over time by writing a series of posts on the angry vegan, the self-righteous vegan, the militant vegan, the reluctant or invisible vegan, the discouraged vegan, the hopeful vegan, the compassionate vegan, and the effective vegan. I also want to comment on the state of the animal rights movement as it is today (if the two major camps were a couple, they would be in major need of marital counselling indeed!), and what I think my own position is shaping up to be. So stay tuned.