This post has been prompted by the false ‘outrage’ of vegetarians and vegans that the new fivers contain tallow, derived from suet. The quantities are vanishingly small, but they’ve been kicking up a stink about it, saying they feel ‘betrayed.’ I think this may be an over-reaction, but what do I know?

I have several friends who are vegetarian (I pretty much am myself). I also know a couple of vegans. This is fine, since they don’t proselytise or get all holier than thou about it. But they are occasionally inconsistent.

One claims to be vegan, but also says, ‘Though I do eat eggs. But they’re from happy hens that I keep myself.’ Errrmmm.

She also uses honey. And wears leather. Since vegans eschew the use of animal products of any description for any purpose whatsoever, that’s a bit odd, isn’t it? But humans are strange creatures, aren’t they? Oh yes, she also works in a pub, where she’s handling money, and hence the polluted fiver, all day. And pouring pints of beer, and wines that have all been fined using isinglass. You can get vegan wines, by the way, and I think Guinness are working on a vegan version of the black stuff.

Back to the zealots. I can sort of see their point. But here’s the thing. Two things.

Do vegans have their children vaccinated? I dunno, they may all be rabid antivaxxers, something I find misguided but it’s their choice. However, if they do have their children vaccinated against MMR, for example, the vaccines are made from viruses that have been cultured in eggs. Same if any of them have a flu shot. And they may want to bear in mind that one of mankind’s biggest scourges, smallpox, was eliminated using vaccines derived from virus grown in, you guessed it, eggs.

Then we get to something a bit more nebulous. I could make a case for them to avoid anything that involves oil out of the ground. It consists of transformed plankton from long ago, and hence must, in theory, be partly animal derived. Small animals, but animals none the less. No oil means no cars, no electricity generated in oil-fired stations, no airflights, not even any axle grease on the wind turbine in the back garden. And forget the hygge candles.

Trickier than it first appears, isn’t it?

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