Vegan Vocab


Without naming any names, the word “fake” has gotten a lot of air-time of late. According to Oxford Dictionaries, “fake” as a noun is defined as: “A thing that is not genuine; a forgery or sham.”

A very negative connotation it’s fair to say then.

As a vegan, what perplexes me though is how the word “fake” is assigned to meat or dairy substitutes.  For example, many is the time that I have heard vegans, myself included from time to time I have to confess, tell others that “we have fake burgers as well as real ones.”

In doing so, vegans unwittingly validate the perception that their meat / dairy substitutes are inferior through being “fake.”  It’s almost like there is a tacit, deep-down admission that the cruelty-free version is somehow not quite worthy or valid.


Meanwhile, omnivores have reinforcement of their highly suspect food choices through identifying their cruelty-laden animal body parts or secretions as being “real.” There is nothing sham-like about choosing a meat or dairy substitute that is a cruelty-free, non-exploitative option. It is not fake in any way for one to do their part in reducing pain and suffering while simultaneously helping the environment.

This take on things may at first seem to be low-priority.  Yet I would argue that the words and terminology that we use are powerful tools.  They impact upon others both directly and indirectly, consciously and subconsciously.

Need more proof?  We already have endless euphemisms for non-human animal body-parts used for consumption:  a pig becomes “bacon”, a cow becomes “steak”, a deer becomes “venison” and so on.

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