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PETA Wants Anne Hathaway to Become Vegan Again: Are They Out of Line?
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PETA Wants Anne Hathaway to Become Vegan Again: Are They Out of Line?

Is it just me or does PETA sometimes seem to be the well-meaning friend who sometimes needs a boundary check or two?

Recently the organization was penning letters to a sheriff, encouraging him to make use of vegan meals for prisoners - specifically a man accused of eating and murdering his girlfriend, which PETA claimed would decrease his murderous feelings. (Seriously?) Now, they are trying to prod actress Anne Hathaway back to veganism.

The actress recently decided to quit her vegan lifestyle, citing that the vegan diet was not right for her as it was making her feel unhealthy and weak. Upon hearing the news, PETA started sending her an array of vegan gifts, such as cookbooks, in an attempt to make her jump back on the vegan diet. But that’s not all. Dietary guides, a vegan starter kit, as well as a gift basket were also going to be sent to the star. PETA claims that, since they know Anne is a woman who cares about animals, they don’t want her to give up on the vegan lifestyle due to having received bad advice regarding it, which could have pushed her onto the anti-vegan bandwagon. 

But Anne seems to have thought this major life decision through thoroughly before making her move. Apart from claiming not to feel strong and healthy, the actress also told Harper’s Bazaar that relinquishing the lifestyle helped to make her feel good again, so maybe she's not looking back. 

Although veganism should be encouraged in society, if one does not follow a vegan diet correctly, such as by ensuring one gets enough nutrients from it, then it can be harmful to one's health. This may or may not have been the issue for Anne. Although PETA has probably thought along the same lines, wanting to encourage Anne to give healthy veganism another try, should they be minding their own business?

Sure, PETA means well with this initiative, but it does seem like they might be crossing a line. Yes, encouraging people to be vegan is a good thing, but much like trying to get someone to eat healthy foods and skip the unhealthy fats, it shouldn’t be about trying too hard to coerce them to make the change. Veganism, at heart, is about not doing harm, so it's a lifestyle change that should originate from a person's deep-seated values in order to be authentic.

*Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

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  1. Anupam
    I agree with your views, and would like to address a bigger problem - the kind of people whom we choose to place on a pedestal. Before I proceed with sharing my views, let me clarify that I have nothing against Anne or anyone else. I do not know them personally (duh) and probably do not know enough to have an opinion that reflects the reality. That said, if Anne Hathaway is no longer vegan, why is it news? After all, what has she accomplished, aside from acting in movies? Does she work harder than a stage actor or musician or artist that most of us have never heard of? Does she contribute more to the betterment of the world than the average person? How exactly is she a role model? Another fair question is: why was it news when she went vegan? Why do so many of us get excited when some random celebrity ... Anne, Angelina, whoever ... becomes vegan? Veganism is for the animals, the environment, for disenfranchised human beings. Are our principles standing on so shaky a foundation, so flimsy a footing that we need to use celebrities as a crutch for sharing our ideas? We should not, and do not need to, appeal to every person. The sound scientific principles and innate compassion that is inherent to us is enough to make veganism appealing to the right kind of people - the people who can change our world. Average, mediocre, ordinary people get swayed by PR agencies to put other people on a pedestal for flimsy reasons and call them celebrities. I thought we are better than that. Not only is Anne Hathaway's move away from a plant-based diet (NOT veganism) irrelevant, even her adoption of a plant-based diet should have warranted no attention. Here's a woman I admire: Fiona Oakes. She runs an animal shelter and runs marathons to raise money for running it and for vegan causes. She ran in the icy, treacherous terrain of the Arctic with a broken leg. She's had a knee replacement and yet keeps running. Now these are the kind of women that girls (and women, and men) should be emulating. These are the kind of people we should be supporting and following. I'm sure there are other admirable people who I am not aware of - and that only shows that there is something seriously flawed with the people we as a community consider to be celebrities, and kind of news that we share and want to read. We need to take veganism seriously ourselves, before we expect an actress to be serious about the vegan cause.
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  2. apegal
    PETA is absolutely right to encourage her to go back. Vegans who go back have betrayed the animals. If you don't feel good on a vegan diet, then you aren't doing it right.
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  3. MarkC
    Well said! Body chemistry, energy needs, these can vary between people, and a diet that is right for one person may not be right for another person. Humans did not evolve to solely derive their nutrition from plants, so while some people can adapt to a vegan diet, many can't, and shouldn't continue to try to force a diet upon themselves that doesn't work for them. The right kinds of animal protein eaten in the right amounts can be just as healthy if not more so than a vegan diet, and speaking as an environmental scientist, there is quite a bit of data out there that a completely vegetable-based diet is NOT as environmentally friendly as a diet that combines vegetables with the right kinds of meat, raised the right way. As far as the moral argument about killing animals goes, interspecies predation is a natural part of our world, something ecosystems actually depend on. There is nothing inherently morally wrong about eating another animal, we just need to become better about treating the animals we eat as humanely as possible, something even large-scale consumers of animals like McDonald's are starting to embrace.
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