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March 20, 2005

Dear all

I don't usually comment on too many issues relating to products which are suitable for vegans. However, I feel compelled to respond to a number of e-mails which have been circulated recently, criticising some 'Linda McCartney' products, (which have now become vegan) due to the hydrogenated fats they contain, and also because they are produced by the Ross company.

There's no doubt that hydrogenated and trans fats, serve no purpose whatsoever and have the capacity to cause the same harm as saturated fats: increase in heart disease and some cancers. Therefore, it's always best to avoid them as much as possible. However, what I can't understand, is the furore these 'Linda McCartney' products are causing!

Firstly, several months ago, e-mails were being circulated, encouraging people to contact 'Linda McCartney' to ask that they make their products suitable for vegans (at the time, I understand that they contained sodium caseinate, a milk-based product). Now that they've changed the ingredients, we're being asked to boycott them! Does this really make any sense? This really does pander to those who may hold the view that some vegans are particularly obsessed with the minutiae of ingredients of products and other matters which may be considered rather trivial (the best way to peel a mango, was posted on a web-based vegan message-board some months ago: it got several responses suggesting how to achieve this - yes, seriously!!). Yes, it's important that we try to avoid companies that are generally unethical. Yes, it's vitally important that we avoid companies that promote and support animal-testing. Yes, it's also vitally important that vegans eschew all animal-based products (otherwise we wouldn't be vegan!). However, I only wish that those who constantly harp on about subjects, such as the ingredients of a now-vegan Linda McCartney sausage, would expend as much energy on perhaps attending demonstrations, etc. or other practical activities, like hunt-sabbing, etc. in support of animal rights, or being involved in animal rescue, or sanctuary support/running (if you do, this isn't aimed at you!!).

Best wishes

Garry Sheen

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