links for 2008-07-23


4 Responses to “links for 2008-07-23”

  1. Mike

    I have seen this criticism posted on many web sites and, I have to say, I don’t see the reason for the furor. I am an ethical vegan as, I suspect, are most vegans. I’m not a “purity” vegan. Complaining that having KFC offer a substantial vegan option is not a victory because it shares oil with their other food products is just silly. That’s not ethical veganism, it’s “purity” veganism. Do you know how many of your vegan foods are prepared in factories that share processing equipment with non-vegan foods? Do you _never_ buy things that say “may contain traces of dairy products” or “manufactured on shared equipment”?

    Did anyone really think that, in testing out a new product for a tiny segment of the population, every KFC store in an entire country was going to be refit with an extra fryer? Of course not.

    I don’t care if, during the transition to my fantasy totally vegan society, I eat some food that may have a stray non-vegan molecule in it merely because it *touched* non-vegan food. I can’t believe that so many people do.

  2. ryan

    Mike — There’s a big difference between products that share equipment with dairy products and food that’s deep-fried in the same oil as chicken. You’re not just getting traces that may have been left on the processing equipment, you’re getting all the not-so-wonderful things that come with chicken. I’m not a so-called “purity vegan,” either, in that I do eat food that’s been made on shared equipment with dairy products, but I definitely wouldn’t knowingly eat something that was deep-fried in the same oil as chicken. It’s not a matter of purity, but a matter of being repulsed by it. I wouldn’t knowingly eat food that was deep fried in the same oil as a dog or a human, so why should it be any less repulsive because it’s a chicken?

    I think that by matter of definition, KFC should simply be microwaving the product or using some other heating method.

    But this is all missing the bigger issue: PETA claiming this as a “victory” when what it really amounts to is a marketing gimmick for KFC. In my view, having a vegetarian (perhaps not even vegan, I’m not sure) option at a place like KFC or Burger King actually does very little to promote veganism and is likely negatively offset by the added illusion of “caring about humane treatment” that KFC can claim.

  3. Mike

    Hi, Ryan.

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. I suppose I would ask you then, what could KFC do to become more ethical short of shutting down entirely? The transition to a totally vegan society, if it ever happens, seems to me unlikely to happen in a quantum leap. It will more likely be gradual. Even if we did somehow shut down KFC, until we change peoples’ attitudes about veganism, something else will just spring up to fulfill the demand for animal food.

    Although I share your reservations, I am happy to see KFC experiment with reaching out to the “compassionate” segment of the market, even if it is just a fairly cynical marketing ploy. I would hate for them to draw the conclusion that there was no market for vegan food. What would be the benefit of that?

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