Just a week ago, I was in new York City, staring across the table at 3 beautiful, vegan, Impossible Burgers. I had waited years to try this meal, and it was finally in front of me. For me, a milestone, but for the two carnivores, I feel it was just something new to try.
However we all left stunned. I, with a renewed sense of excitement for the future of veganism, and my friends with an interest in vegan products they never thought they would have.
So I was a bit disheartened this week to see some media outlets raising ethical concerns with the Impossible Burger.
First, I was upset. Any time we hear about lab testing on animals, it brings to mind all the vivisection actions of the past and how we need to move beyond this type of testing.
But then, I was conflicted. A brand and product that can bring so many to veganism, and actually SAVE animal lives was at the same time responsible for sickening and possibly killing animals.
And finally, I processed it.
I remember my own personal mantra when it comes to being vegan – “Make the best decision you can at any given time.” It is why I own a coat made of recycled wool blankets. Veganism isn’t always as black and white as we may see it.
Vegans need to understand that for this movement to succeed, it boils down to math and logic, not emotions and yes/no arguments. There is a shade of gray that threads through the middle somewhere.
If this company synthesized a new protein through genetic modification of yeast (which it did) and sickened thousands of people, the brand and the products would be gone. And, with it would be the chance to bring more people to veganism through an amazing burger product.
Also, I don’t care how “vegan” you are, you are not 100% vegan. We kill insects on the roadway, our products we eat may contain milk, the acreage of forests cut for our homes and coconut oils. It goes on and on. So who are we to cast the first stone?
In the end, I wish this testing could have been done without animal research. But in the end, if it means more and more carnivores give up their meat for a vegan option, that will, undoubtedly end up saving animals.
And sometimes, we need to sicken some to save even more.