Vegans Having Impact

People have grandiose ideas about what will make a better world, but it's really about being responsible and treating all people nicely, both of which are rarer than you would expect. Our Senior Editor, Keryl Cryer, has certainly demonstrated these qualities. She always managed to keep Vegetarian Journal on schedule, even while helping her family in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. We are very sorry to report that, after 10 years of commitment and hard work, Keryl will be leaving us as Senior Editor, due to a recent promotion and increasing responsibilities at her 'day job.' Keryl's diligence made our proofreaders' job too easy. We will greatly miss her as Senior Editor, even though we look forward to seeing her at future VRG events.

As we were searching for someone to take over Keryl's job (since no one can replace her), it was interesting how many people said they were vegetarian but actually still ate one animal product or another. In many ways, it should make all of us feel good that so many people want to be called 'vegetarian.' These 'mostly vegetarians' mean fewer animals slaughtered, less environmental destruction, and hopefully countless numbers of people adopting a more healthful diet.

With so many people calling themselves 'vegetarian,' we wanted to know how many actually never eat meat, fish, poultry, dairy, and eggs. See results from our national Harris Poll. We did not ask about items such as leather or wool, so the poll results refer only to how many people are eating vegetarian and vegan meals rather than how many vegetarians and vegans there are in the country. Can a person be called 'vegan' if he eats vegetables grown with manure or treats people in an unethical fashion? We'll save those debates for web discussion groups.

Previously, we asked readers if they would continue to support The VRG if we stopped producing Vegetarian Journal in a print format. Though we had a small sample of responses, most subscribers were extremely passionate about keeping the print version. Currently, we average more than 200,000 people a month coming to our website for information, but we believe these visitors use and see the information differently than do those carefully and leisurely reading a print periodical. VRG faces the same challenges as other media in an Internet world, where consumers are coming to websites for 'free' information. In general, people are now spending their money to support the devices, services, and companies that spread the information rather than actually supporting the efforts it takes to do careful research. How all this evolves over the upcoming years will be interesting to see. As the number of vegans shows, each of us has an impact on how the world develops.

Debra Wasserman & Charles Stahler
Coordinators of The Vegetarian Resource Group