There really isn’t a right answer here.
It seemed to be a point of conflict a few days ago in the vegan community and while I understand both sides of the argument and for once I am completely conflicted on where I stand!
The question is: Is buying vegan alternatives from non-vegan companies or restaurant chains ethical?
Most vegans would give a definite yes. Of course it’s ethical, because you’re not buying animal products. But…is it? On one hand yes I agree supporting companies creating vegan options is important. We want to be able to say that vegan food is plentiful, varied, and available almost everywhere- right? That’s why we make masterposts of vegan fast-food options and tell all of our on the fence meat eating or vegetarian friends about accidentally vegan snacks. It’s just easier to convince people to go vegan if they know they’ll still have a lot of good stuff to eat. Then we have to support this new vegan food If we want to keep them on the shelves. If no one buys it- no one will sell it. Plenty of restaurants have started off with vegan options and dropped them due to low or no demand (I.e Starbucks) and then we lose that arguing point. Besides, most people would say their dollar is their vote. Giving money to these companies doesn’t result in more animal death, many may argue, it’s just promoting more vegan options. The money will go to the funding of the same menu item, and Influence companies to provide more plant based food; which we need. More vegan food = more vegan people.
That’s one side of the argument, anyway. There’s another, less convenient rebuttle that some of the vegan community isn’t very happy about.
These companies don’t care about animals. The rise in the vegan population is a result of animal rights and environmentalism, the rise in vegan options available is all capitalism.
If we give money to these companies, they will take our money as well as that of carnists and continue to make animal products while we fund it. Meanwhile, ethical vegan brands aren’t getting the money they deserve because we’re giving it to people who don’t care about animals. Just Mayo and Veganaise aren’t getting the funding they need because we’re paying for Hellman’s. SoDelicious isn’t getting the funding they need because we’re paying for Ben & Jerry’s. Should animal abusers get our money at all? Why go to chipotle when you can find a local Follow Your Heart? Are we funding animal abuse by buying these products? Tell me what you think!: