When you think of vegans, what kind of people do you picture? Compassionate animal activists? Celebrities? Athletes? Business Week recently published an article on a growing segment of the vegan population deemed the “power vegans.”
In the article, Business Week‘s Joel Stein writes that Ford’s executive chair, Twitter’s co-founder, and a “growing number of America’s most powerful bosses” have gone vegan. And it’s not just well-recognized animal-friendly business powerhouses such as Russell Simmons and Whole Foods Market’s John Mackey or politicians such as Rep. Dennis Kucinich who have gone vegan-former President Bill Clinton and venture capitalist Joi Ito have also adopted a plant-based diet.
And before you assume that these powerful men (Stein only names Ingrid E. Newkirk as a powerful female vegan boss) went vegan for the well-documented health benefits or because of a relationship with a vegan woman, note Stein’s comment that for many, “veganism is a moral imperative.” Yes, for some of these folks it is all about refusing to support the cruelty of the meat and dairy industries.
Stein does get it wrong when he implies that one needs ample wealth and a private chef to go vegan. As MoneyWatch recently noted, one might save money by switching to a vegan diet.
But even if “moguls” go vegan only for self-preservation, they are still helping animals, so we should all celebrate. I love Tom Freston’s comment in the Business Week article-he states that adopting a vegan lifestyle is a smart move for CEOs because “[a]t least they won’t be toppling over like those McDonald’s CEOs.” Given the wide range of people who are vegan, the only attribute that we can definitely attach to a vegan lifestyle is kindness. So we should wish not only for McDonald’s to end its cruel slaughter practices in which chickens have their throats cut while they are still conscious but also for all those McDonald’s executives to go vegan. It is, after all, the new sign of power.
Which powerful vegan was the greatest surprise to you?