Vegans… Stop Re-Defining Veganism

It’s no wonder veganism is so misunderstood by the masses

Pathless Pilgrim
4 min readJan 10, 2024


Photo by Jose Aragones on Unsplash

A lot of people don’t understand what veganism is. Heck, a lot of vegans don’t even understand what veganism is. And that’s a big problem, especially when so many vegans keep re-defining veganism.

Veganism is the philosophy that we should live without exploiting or oppressing others. Of course, a fundamental base-line for this philosophy is that vegans don’t eat or wear animals… or any part of an animal.

It’s a simple and fairly basic, but fundamental concept.

So why are so many self-proclaimed vegans still misrepresenting what veganism actually means?

I don’t just mean those crazies who insist that veganism is just a diet, or that it’s about health, or the climate. These are the types who will happily label themselves vegan while munching on salt-and-vinegar-flavoured dried crickets or biscuits made from mealworms.

It might be good for ‘the planet’ (whatever that means) but it’s sure as hell not vegan.

But no, even people who proudly declare themselves to be “vegan for the animals” increasingly don’t seem to get it.

Every day I see vegans on social media saying that veganism is about reducing or minimising suffering, or “causing the least harm”.

No! No! No! No! No!

That’s a completely different concept or philosophy. That’s utilitarianism.

Veganism is a deontological philosophy, not a utilitarian one, which means that we refrain, as far as possible and practicable, from exploiting or oppressing other sentient beings because that is the right thing to do.

The concept of minimising or reducing suffering, however, is a utilitarian one and, whilst it springs from admirable intentions, it can lead to all sorts of absurdities, as animal rights philosopher Tom Regan has pointed out.



Pathless Pilgrim

Veteran Vegan. Bad Buddhist. Many things to many people... a complete enigma to myself