My New Year’s Wish

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There are a lot of great companies out there, large and small, that are making products with sustainability and ethics in mind. A lot of them started small and got acquired by larger companies, which causes some justified concern about the integrity, ongoing direction, and ultimate intentions of the company going forward, but we’ll leave that aside for now.

My New Year’s wish is directed at those companies, big and small, that are “nearly vegan”… companies that have always made products without meat, that market themselves to vegetarians, and make it very clear which of their products are vegan. There are a lot of these types of companies, but for no reason other than their visibility, I’ll single out two: Amy’s Kitchen and Endangered Species Chocolate. Both companies are well aware of vegans and make it clear which of their products are vegan-safe, which is great. But here’s the question: why not go all the way?

While Amy’s doesn’t come right out and mention ethics or animal rights in their mission statement, but they hint at it. Endangered Species, though, uses animals as their primary focus. They donate a percentage of their profits to animal-related charities and they use only “ethically traded” cocoa. Shoot, their mission statement even starts off: “Here, our core value is Reverence for Life…”

Why, then, do both companies use dairy-based ingredients in their products? It’s been well-argued by Erik Marcus and others* that dairy is an even worse ethical choice than beef, so it’s not ethically consistent for pro-animal companies to involve themselves in any sort of animal exploitation, let alone something as egregiously exploitative as dairy.

Amy’s: you already leave out eggs. Your recent deal with Follow Your Heart means you can ditch the dairy and non-vegan soy cheese. Your spinach and soy cheese pizza on rice crust is incredible. So, c’mon, just do it! And Endangered Species: everyone knows that milk chocolate is inferior to dark chocolate. Why not go all the way and offer strictly dark chocolate, sans dairy?

* Beware the second-to-last paragraph in that linked article–it’s garbage.

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