A topic that seems to come up a lot in the vegan world (especially within the sub-category of activism) is whether or not to support businesses that are not 100% vegan. In many parts of the world, or even the US, it's nearly impossible to shop at grocery stores that have no interaction with animal products. Then, we start looking at other industries; makeup, hair-care, sports/athletics, car manufacturers and even small businesses that provide us services such as house cleaning or gardening. Where does it end??
Most of us aren't in a position to travel the needed distance to shop at all vegan marts, and lets face it, even if we could and the prices were comparable, what if the tomato farmer isn't vegan? What if he eats animals? What if he uses rat traps? What if he uses soil that's infused with fish?
*Pulls hair out*
I think it's important to be conscious of every choice we make in life, and how we're impacting others (both two-legged and four-legged), however, getting down to these tiny details can be EXTREMELY nerve-wrecking and I think it's these kinds of things that may detour others from considering being vegan.
For me, to keep my own sanity, yet try to be the best human I can be, I try to make conscious decisions. Instead of just grabbing that bar of chocolate because it says it's vegan, maybe I buy the one next to it for fifty cents more because it's vegan but it's also made with fair-trade cocoa and is wrapped in paper instead of plastic. Instead of using the "free" (to me) plastic forks in the break-room, I bring a metal one with me that I can wash and reuse.
Little choices like this may not seem like much when only one person is participating, but when we get TONS of people with the same attitude, acting the same way, we make a HUGE difference!
If we were limited to only supporting businesses that claim to be fully vegan, it would prevent us from going to all major grocery stores, gas stations, department stores and even shopping on places like Amazon or eBay.
Here's another example:
Recently, there's been such a growth in veganism that major fast food chains have been experimenting with plant-based meat alternatives. Carl's came out with their "Beyond Famous Star", Del Taco released their "Beyond Tacos" and even some Burger King locations have started experimenting with the "Impossible Whopper". Does this mean that vegans should stay far away from these companies because their main income is animal products?
You may think so, but allow me to offer another perspective.
Although I don't have much of an interest in regularly eating these foods (I haven't had them yet, but I'd be open to trying them), it doesn't mean I don't support the overall idea.
Here's why. These fast food chains are offering a product to an audience that may otherwise never have heard of "vegan food", nor would they have any interest in trying it. By offering something that looks and tastes familiar, we're opening the doors to veganism to a whole new market. Regardless of how or why people eat a vegan meal, it still means an animal saved.
Another positive side to this is based on basic economics; supply and demand. If there's enough of a demand, the supply will have to match to maintain financial order, therefore less future animals murdered. In fact, if there's enough of a demand, some of these places will eventually have to offer more and more vegan options to meet those numbers, and some may even fully go vegan. (Can you imagine all McDonald's being vegan??? Sounds crazy, but we've overcome many horrific "trends" over the years; I don't think it's impossible.)
That being said, I feel it's important for every person to watch documentaries like Dominion or Earthlings to really get the full picture. Even if people enjoy the taste of these new vegan innovations doesn't mean their adopting any other principles which will ultimately result in them eating animals again (family gatherings, out with friends etc).
Moral of the story. Be a good human. Make conscious decisions. Think about how each purchase or decision will affect you or other living creatures, both human and non-human. Instead of buying for convenience, set aside a little bit more time at the grocery store to allow yourself a few seconds to read labels. Ask friends. Read blogs. Get familiar with fully vegan brands. You got this!