What’s going on?

We started RVGN a couple of years ago because we wanted to create the sort of blog that we wanted to read, and that we thought the vegan community needed. A place to explore topics relevant to veganism from a skeptical perspective; aspiring to be guided by reason and evidence, while remaining polite and open-minded. We’ve met a lot of interesting, helpful and reasonable vegans in the course of running this blog and have been pleased to publish a diverse collection of articles which you can browse in our archives.

As we’ve become more active in the vegan community we have realised that most vegans are nascent skeptics: they reached veganism after a process of questioning the way our culture views animals, researching the animal agriculture industry and weighing the evidence. That’s skepticism. The irrational ideas that proliferate in vegan spaces can be dispelled by empowering vegans to develop their critical thinking skills and giving them the encouragement and tools we all need to become more reasonable.

We also found that skeptics, rationalists and science-minded people are ready to hear the arguments for veganism if they are presented clearly and backed by solid evidence. Most vegan advocacy focuses on encouraging compassion but to reach everyone we will need to use kindness and logic, we will need to be reasonable.

Though we will still accept article submissions for the blog, we are now going to focus our attention on building a resource for vegans to hone their critical thinking skills and access reliable evidence relevant to veganism. The new RVGN will be a place that encourages vegans to be more reasonable and reasonable people to be vegan!

If you’re passionate about creating a more reasonable vegan community or creating more vegans please contact us. We will need people with organisational, researching, writing, programming and public speaking skills to make RVGN into everything we want it to be. If you want to stay updated with our progress check back here for updates and the occasional blog-post, follow us on twitter or join our mailing list.

Thanks for all your support so far. There’s still a long way to go.

Best of the blog


When Empathy Fails Us

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I became a vegetarian because of empathy. At ten years old I realised the connection between the food I ate and the animals that were that food. When I saw uncooked beef burger patties at the supermarket I realised they were red and disgusting because they were made of meat. They had been my favourite food, and now I was » Read on »

Skepticism’s Blind Spot

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The skeptic movement is broad and it would be wrong to imply that it has rigid doctrines that its followers think about and appeal to constantly, as in some religions. Skepticism is more about how we think than it is about what we think. This, in theory, puts skeptics (and people who identify with similar movements) in a unique position to be able to » Read on »

Organic Isn’t Vegan

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You can hardly swing a bunch of kale without hitting a vegan product that is certified organic* these days. Why is this, I wonder? I mean, we should all know by now that organic farming is just like regular agriculture except it uses what is “natural” as its measure. What is naturally derived, without humans, isn’t a guarantee of safeness » Read on »

The Hidden Cost of Donating to your Local Animal Sanctuary

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When making a donation to a charity or other non-profit, most people want to do good. It then likely follows that if we could just do some good, or do a lot of good, that we would prefer to do the most good possible given our limited resources.

Many vegans are aware of the inefficiency of donations towards pet-focused charities. » Read on »

Beware the Avalanche of Anecdata

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Most vegans have had the experience of a casual conversation veering off into a debate or argument. In fact I suspect most people have had this experience, but if you’re a vegan it happens all the time. You may be describing a pair of shoes you covet but can’t quite afford, or perhaps recounting an experience of a family dinner… and before you » Read on »

Eggs, period

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A conversational strategy used by many vegans is to attempt to disgust the person who is eating animal products by describing what it actually is. It is a fair point that one should be aware of what one eats. I honestly think it’s quite scary how oblivious people generally seem to be about their food. This ignorance is usually exposed when discussing » Read on »

How the Health Argument Fails Veganism

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When President Clinton went (almost) vegan some years ago, my reaction to the news wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as it might have been. Seeing high-profile people (or anyone for that matter) go vegan for health reasons makes me nervous. First, President Clinton referred to his diet as “strict,” which is not an especially enticing word when » Read on »

Anti-vax and Veganism

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Angry Scientist Finds Uneducated Internet Comment and Delivers Badass Response*. With a title like this how could I resist clicking on the link that a friend sent me recently? The aforementioned Internet comment was in fact a Tumblr post that implied that vaccinating children is ‘child endangerment and abuse’ and encouraged the reader to » Read on »

In Defence of Clear Speech and Clear Thinking

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I had an art teacher who told me, if you want to draw well, learn to draw with a sharpened HB pencil. Charcoal, watercolours and soft pencils make it easy to hide your mistakes in the fuzzy edges. When you draw with the exact, unforgiving line of HB you can see every mark and every glaring error. There’s no drawing tool more honest: each slip » Read on »

Vegan Flu Shots: A Guide

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Flu shots can be a difficult topic in the vegan community. The internet has a lot of misinformation about vaccines in general, and flu shots in particular, which can make the topic controversial in the best of situations.

In a vegan context, the conversation is » Read on »

Archive


Skepticism’s Blind Spot

·

The skeptic movement is broad and it would be wrong to imply that it has rigid doctrines that its followers think about and appeal to constantly, as in some religions. Skepticism is more about how we think than it is about what we think. This, in theory, puts skeptics (and people who identify with similar movements) in a unique position to be able to » Read on »

In Defence of Clear Speech and Clear Thinking

·

I had an art teacher who told me, if you want to draw well, learn to draw with a sharpened HB pencil. Charcoal, watercolours and soft pencils make it easy to hide your mistakes in the fuzzy edges. When you draw with the exact, unforgiving line of HB you can see every mark and every glaring error. There’s no drawing tool more honest: each slip » Read on »

On Mentoring New Vegans: An Interview with Jean Bettanny

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Jean is the Coordinator of Vegan Outreach’s Mentoring program, which connects vegan-curious people with longtime vegans to support and encourage them throughout the beginnings of their vegan journey*. I was interested to learn more about the program and get her perspective on the issues that face those of us involved in » Read on »

Yes, Fish Feel Pain - and Yes, We Should Care

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A recent article authored by Marc Bekoff Ph.D. published in Psychology Today has reaffirmed a truth I’ve known for a long time, but one which seems to be under constant contention in the scientific community: that fish feel pain*. Perhaps the foremost name in the field of fish sensory abilities is Victoria Braithwaite, author of Do Fish » Read on »

Better Never To Have Been: An Interview with David Benatar

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Disclaimer: some of the opinions expressed in this article are extremely controversial. There are significant, spirited, mostly reasonable debates on the r/philosophy and r/vegan subreddits (among other places) which explore some of the analytical philosophy surrounding Professor Benatar’s claims. This article does not constitute an endorsement of antinatalism; rather, it is intended to be a critical introduction to a position that is held by many vegans, and which some people consider intrinsically linked to veganism.

There’s a lot of talk in the vegan community about whether having children is a good idea or not. Obviously the default human position is that giving birth is encouraged, or at least accepted. Most of us exist as a result of the decision to create life, and government policies that attempt to restrict procreation are met with harsh criticism. » Read on »

An Appeal to Reason

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Arguments for veganism frequently get polluted with spirituality, pseudoscience and misinformation. If you’re already vegan, I hope this article gives you further insight into the logical support for veganism and helps you to bolster your reasoning. If you’re not vegan you’ll find the following is largely addressed to you. » Read on »

Eggs, period

·

A conversational strategy used by many vegans is to attempt to disgust the person who is eating animal products by describing what it actually is. It is a fair point that one should be aware of what one eats. I honestly think it’s quite scary how oblivious people generally seem to be about their food. This ignorance is usually exposed when discussing » Read on »

The Hidden Cost of Donating to your Local Animal Sanctuary

·

When making a donation to a charity or other non-profit, most people want to do good. It then likely follows that if we could just do some good, or do a lot of good, that we would prefer to do the most good possible given our limited resources.

Many vegans are aware of the inefficiency of donations towards pet-focused charities. » Read on »

They All Had Eyes: insight from former biomedical researcher Michael Slusher

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Medical testing is one of the first animal issues that I became aware of. In the early nineties there seemed to be posters leaflets and protesters everywhere showing gruesome images of experiments being conducted by scientists. These experiments were ‘cruel and unnecessary’, the literature informed me. How could I avoid the » Read on »

When Empathy Fails Us

·

I became a vegetarian because of empathy. At ten years old I realised the connection between the food I ate and the animals that were that food. When I saw uncooked beef burger patties at the supermarket I realised they were red and disgusting because they were made of meat. They had been my favourite food, and now I was » Read on »

Making Healthy, Happy Vegans with Ginny Messina

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I recently saw a tweet about Ginny Messina pop up on the RVGN feed from Meghan O’Day:

@TheVeganRD Animal rights made me vegan. Evidence-based RDs help me be a healthy, happy one. Thanks!

Many vegans could say the same. Ginny adopts a rigorous, evidence-based approach and delivers » Read on »

Celebrities, Weight Loss and Penn Jillette’s New Vegan Diet

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Ginny wrote this article when prominent skeptic Penn Jillette* announced his dramatic weight loss*. Now, as he prepares to release a book about his diet experiences, her points are worth revisiting.

The vegan internet was abuzz over Penn Jillette’s recent weight loss and his current plant-based diet. But when it comes to celebrities, weight » Read on »

Vegan Flu Shots: A Guide

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Flu shots can be a difficult topic in the vegan community. The internet has a lot of misinformation about vaccines in general, and flu shots in particular, which can make the topic controversial in the best of situations.

In a vegan context, the conversation is » Read on »

Until Every Animal is Free: a Conversation with Saryta Rodriguez (Part Two)

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I was excited to get to talk to author Saryta Rodriguez about her new book Until Every Animal is Free, recently published by Vegan Publishers. Our conversation ranged from revolutions in medical testing to de-extinction with a few detours into ‘welfarism’ and other interesting areas. Because we had so much to talk about, this interview is split into two sections. » Read on »

Voin: In Search of a Truly Ethical Currency

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If you’re alive and read things, you’ve probably heard of cryptocurrency, or at least bitcoin. Opinions vary on the efficacy, future and utility of cryptocurrency*, but few can deny it has the potential to change the financial world. Several prominent venture capitalists** and institutions* are calling cryptocurrency the ‘next internet’ » Read on »