Saturday, 9 August 2008


I can't claim to know much at all about the candidates for the leader of the Scottish Labour Party - and this isn't a picture of one of them. But according to the Guardian, one of them is 'self-declared vegan'. (That must be why Tom's backing someone else!)

So while I struggle to come to terms with no longer being the only vegan in the village, can I ask: why the 'self-declared'? Isn't that a bit like 'self-confessed axe murderer'? The answer is of course, because it's always been more than a little embarrassing to admit to being vegan. Despite evidence to the contrary - my sister, Jonny Boy, my intern Rebecca, in fact most of the vegans I know - part of me still thinks that vegans are self-righteous and humourless and wear one red shoe and one green (from Vegetarian shoes of course) and get more upset by chickens being squashed in cages than by children dying in Darfur.

I've blogged about this before, so let's get back to Cathy Jamieson. Looks like she outed herself in a debate on agriculture in the Scottish Parliament in June 2000 (and said some interesting things about intensive farming in the process). What is also interesting though, is that she seems to support the Scottish cashmere industry.

Of course hardline vegans (or should that be 'proper vegans'?) don't wear wool. I do, mostly cashmere because I find other sorts too itchy. Here's the vegan argument against wearing wool, which has some pretty gruesome details but nothing I can see that couldn't be addressed by better animal welfare laws. And nothing that particularly relates to cashmere, which is produced by combing the soft undercoats from goats, rather than by shearing. Doesn't seem to me to be inherently cruel...

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