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Thanks for writing this Jess, I feel like it's an important topic for many "near vegans". I'd like to share my thoughts on it.

I'm for a loose vegan diet in which dairy and eggs are cut down by about 95% of today's average consumption.

I hold that as a pretty desirable goal -even for signalling- because if everyone consumed that little, farm animals could probably be ensured very good lives.

Secondly, being completly vegan may easily take a slight toll on one's health, and not everyone finds taking supplements attractive.

Some practical ways I use to mantain the 95% level are:

  • replacing all 'easy' things, such as milk with veg milks;

  • virtually cutting off stand-alone cheese and eggs (i.e. eating them only when they are found as ingredients), especially when eating with others, or when those products are much cheaper than 100% vegan alternatives...EAs will know how to spend that $ difference well;

  • substitute honey with sugar [although I'm not confident we should care so much about bees, which arguably can't suffer much at all and anyway only have their honey 'stolen'. If we really go down that road, then we ought not to eat plants harvested with tractors (that kill mice + insects) and see weekend car trips as a mass death sentence by windshield]

  • decent consumption of mussels and oysters: they're probably non-sentient and they contain a boatload of (heme) iron and vitam B12, the most problematic nutrients for vegans. ( )

While I really appreaciate their motives, I'm not convinced by the black-or-white views that many vegans hold, believing as they do that their rules are the holy grail of morality. A presumptuos Jain (if one exists) would look at them with greater abhorrence than they do on everyone else.

I've come across a development of this technique in a management decision making course. It's known as even-swaps and it's helpful to choose among hard-to-compare options. However, Jess' comment below correctly picks on one of the downsides of such approach: our pairing of choices may not have a neutral effect on the process.