Coronation Street actress, Beverley Callard, attracted attention for being the first vegan contestant on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here but then came under fire when some viewers claimed she was seen eating bread with butter and a scotch egg.
Beverley Callard, known for playing the iconic barmaid Liz McDonald on Coronation Street for 30 years, has attracted criticism for her participation in the popular reality TV show. Many viewers (including vegans and non-vegans) have labelled Beverley a “hypocrite” and claimed she is not a “real vegan” for participating in a show that involves animal cruelty for entertainment.
Although we do not know if Beverley actually ate non-vegan foods and we cannot speak on her behalf, we feel that this incident is just one example of a wider issue it is important to address.
The main objective of Veganuary is to inspire people to try vegan in January and beyond. Since we launched the campaign in 2014, we have taken pride in our non-judgemental approach to veganism. We feel this is the best way to inspire long-term societal change.
We also understand that there is no such thing as a “perfect vegan” and that mistakes are easily made. How many vegans can honestly say they have never eaten anything non-vegan without realising? Does this make you a hypocrite or any less of a vegan? Of course not! Trying vegan should not feel daunting; it should feel positive and empowering.
It is great news for the vegan community that a well-known and beloved actress like Beverley Callard decided to go vegan and speak about it on national TV. Her presence on the show may inspire others to try vegan, or even encourage ITV to reduce some of the cruel practices on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.
Policing what people eat and questioning whether they are a “real vegan” (whatever that is) does nothing to help the vegan movement. Most vegans endure scrutiny and negative comments at some point in our journey, so criticising others is counterintuitive and perpetuates stereotypes that put people off going vegan in the first place. This is not going to help create the vegan world we want to see. As well-known psychologist and vegan advocate Dr Melanie Joy says, ‘when we harm other vegans, we harm animals.’
There is no such thing as a perfect vegan
The Vegan Society defines veganism as:
‘…a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.’
In short, being vegan is not about being perfect – this is impossible and we should not pressure ourselves or others in such a way. Here at Veganuary, we recognise the importance of people doing what they can. Mistakes do not make us hypocrites – they make us human. If we all do our bit to end animal suffering and protect the planet, the world would be a much better place.