Thursday, 14 April 2011

The VegNews Scandal

Short version; VegNews is a vegan magazine, which has recently been found to have been using non-vegan stock photos for their recipes.  This was revealed on QuarryGirl and has caused a huge blowout on Twitter, which began with lots of people talking about how they were going to cancel their subscription and is now at the point where everyone is telling everyone else to calm down.

Pictured: Random selection of #VegNews comments.  Paraphrased:  "Calm the fuck down, y'all!"

I can kind of see why it makes people uneasy.  You could interpret it as, vegan food does not look as yummilicious as omnivore food.  Or, perhaps you could be suspicious, and believe that VegNews has been making non-vegan food, taking photos of it, and passing it off as omnivore food, or that the pictures were only created for this purpose.

The explanation, I gather, is simpler.  There are few stock photos of vegan food, and it's cheaper to use stock photos than make your own, if you're a large publication.  Or, at least, that's the explanation they offer in their apology.

(I believe it; that's a lot of time and effort to put out, just to play a practical joke on the vegan community).

Personally, while my reaction was 'ick', I guess this comes under my second-hand rule (I will buy fabrics that I'm unsure are vegan if they're second-hand), so I'm morally okay with it in that sense.

At least one person has pointed out that vegans often eat mock meats or cheeses, so it's hypocritical to be angry with VegNews over this.  I feel that this is a totally different issue, and I'm also very sick of hearing that point made by omnivores (never heard it from a vegan before - first time for everything!).  I did not give up meat and dairy products because I didn't like the taste, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.  Those first few days would have been so much easier if I had.

The only way that applies in this situation is if you think VegNews was trying to get people to salivate over pictures of meat.  Like porn.  Which they were not, because that would be silly.  Dead bodies are not sexy (to, y'know, most people).

That said, I don't VegNews had a very good excuse for what they did.  But, the issue isn't "omg, they killed a picture of meat!".  That's a vacuous, unintelligent argument.  It's more about honesty.  For a start, I'm concerned about the fact that they weren't actually making the recipes themselves, if they're going to be recommending them to other vegans.  Other people are concerned with the trust issues involved in showing pictures of meat next to vegan recipes.

Personally, I never read VegNews, so I don't feel personally betrayed or insulted, as many seem to.  I guess it's not really my place to say what other people's opinion should be.

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