Giving away non-vegan food

September 16, 2010

This came from a Facebook comment about yesterday’s post on throwing out all the non-vegan stuff. Giving away things you’re no longer comfortable with is certainly less wasteful, but isn’t it a little weird? Like you’re saying hey, this is wrong for me to eat, but you already do wrong stuff, so here, take care of it for me?  Here’s how I think about it.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

James September 16, 2010 at 9:35 pm

“Festival of Wrongness” sounds like a horror sequel’s subtitle.


I totally get your hesitation at the “It’s okay if YOU eat this” implication. I think that there a few common ways that people perceive veganism, and one of them is that it’s a personal choice, very much like a religion in the “meaningless but tolerable” sense. This interpretation is heavily reinforced when you say you can’t eat the Chicken Fries but it’s okay if infidels do. That said – whatever, it’s better than throwing the stuff out, and if you’re uncomfortable with eating it yourself then go ahead.

Jason September 16, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Let’s chain sound bites: Ethical Thunderbolt II: Festival of Wrongness!

More seriously, the last time this happened I think it was a mock fish that has dairy in it or something, and we flipped it to some vegetarians, so from some viewpoints it was a chance to nudge them about dairy, and granted said nudging involved “forbidden food,” but somehow it was on a more equal playing field.

James September 16, 2010 at 10:47 pm

From that I get the mental image that the mock fish was physically shaped like a fish, and you physically flipped it over their way, like flipping a coin.

Don’t tell if that’s not what happened.

Jason September 16, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I’ll leave you to your fantasies, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that there’s a restaurant here that serves a (vegan) fried taro fish that’s shaped like a fish, like, pressed into fish shape with scale-like impressions and it has a pea where the eye goes. It’s too big to flip but I’ll think about that the next time we order it!

Karen September 17, 2010 at 7:04 am

I’m not sure if this would work in the US (where, thankfully, the streets are not teeming with starving cats and dogs), but if I were starting over as a vegan in Macedonia, where I now live, I would solve this problem by putting out the non-vegan food for the street animals in my neighborhood. I, sadly, cannot take them all in, and although groups here are working to get them into homes, there are still so many wasting away on the streets. At least the the suffering of one animal can help reduce that of another. Also: practice makes perfect on the faux-fish flipping…

Conrad September 17, 2010 at 10:03 am

I see the dilemma of giving away non-vegan foods to omnivores. Most recently for me, i was given dairy ladened chocolate, and i gave it away. I see it as wasteful to through something out, even if that something repulses me.
Glad i dont have to deal with this too often.

J September 17, 2010 at 11:39 am

I gave away every food in my house the day after I decided to return to being vegan. It is a choice and one that I don’t force upon others. If someone gave me a beautifully bound religious volume I wouldn’t throw it away, I would give it to someone who believed it. The same with the omni food – “I don’t eat this anymore but you do so you can have it if you want it.”
Waste is awful and throwing out something that someone else could readily and willingly use is wasteful. I also still own all my old leather bound books and photo albums because it would be wasteful to throw them away (and they are engraved with my name) but whenever I buy new ones I make sure they aren’t leather. The same goes for wallets, purses, shoes etc. Anyone who knows me know that if they see leather trim on my purse that it was purchased “pre-vegan”. Am i going to toss a $495 pair of Prada shoes? H*LL NO! Am i going to replace them with Steve Madden/Stella McCartney? YES!

Ultimately why this issue pisses me off is because it shouldn’t be an issue. I’m so sick of vegans judging other vegans for not being vegan enough. If someone wants to give away their old omni stuff, let them. If someone wants to throw it away, let them. It’s a lovely thing call PERSONAL CHOICE, you know – the same thing that lets us all be vegan in the first place.

Colleen September 17, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I’ve given away a lot of non-vegan stuff over the years and I’ve never gotten any flack at all – the response has generally been “AAAAH!!! Free food (or whatever)!! NOM NOM NOM” or something to that effect. I’m sure whether or not this is an issue comes down almost entirely to delivery. I tend to not call my friends heathens or fuckfaces when I offer them them the whatever it is I don’t feel comfortable with.

SillyString December 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm

This is an interesting topic to me, as a non-Vegan.
As a typical (I think) Californian, I can respect that you don’t like eating animals or using animal products for personal moral reasons. Myself, I’m trying to go more veg for health reasons.
But the Vegans (not all of you of course!) that berate the omnivores aren’t helping the cause. Whether you toss the stuff or give it away is neither here nor there, but when one takes the attitude that giving it away is akin to ‘enabling’, then you project the attitude that other-than-Vegan is ‘sinful’ and it takes on a religious aspect.
I know I might make some of you mad, but some of the things pro-Vegan activist groups like PETA does are just balls-out whacko and give the impression you care more about animals than people.

But you’re not all whackos. I know lots of Vegans and most of them are great people. You may be a fan of PETA and you might cheer when they pull of a controversial stunt, but do recognize that they do more harm than good with these stunts as it polarizes the meat-eaters against you. I rather like the anti-fur ads, but frankly they jump over the line with reckless abandon whenever the issue involves fake moral outrage. (The donkey-bombs in Palestine is a good example)
I may never espouse Veganism, but I understand where you’re coming from and your views are generally worthy. It definitely wouldn’t hurt to see mainstream America put down the chicken legs more often and pick up more zucchinis.

You want NO animal cruelty, and you want it NOW! Well, that’s just not practical.

Do you like it when the Christians/Muslims/Mormons/JW’s etc. try to push their morality on you? Of course you don’t. So why try the extremist tactics with animal activism? It doesn’t work on you, why should it work on them?

Have you ever tricked someone into eating something delicious AND vegan? They might not go Vegan immediately, but they’ll be more disposed to try more Vegan dishes in the future and maybe eventually… The more Vegan dishes they eat, the less animals they’ll eat. Just think of how much good you could do for the animal community if collectively you could change America’s eating habits into eating 10%…just 10% less meat.

I guess I’m trying to say, more honey, less vinegar.

Varsha Shankla May 11, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Oh wow! Thank you so much for giving me this healthy way of thinking about giving away my non-vegan stuff. I just converted to vegan from vegetarianism and I have been so conflicted with what to do with my existing non-vegan food. None of my friends understand my ethical dilemma between throwing away and giving away. But you’re right, I’m going to give it to my roommate and save at least more harm to animals. I also liked what J said about it being a choice. I absolutely agree with SillyString. I don’t force my morale to any of my friends and family. Just encourage and entice with delicious and creative vegan food. I have been doing exactly that for the past few days. Its so nice to have a community to talk about this to.

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