Author, journalist, poverty campaigner and vegan Jack Monroe says that being vegan is a privilege – adding that this is an ‘uncomfortable’ statement.
Monroe has become increasingly prolific in recent years thanks to their diverse body of work, particularly their ‘austerity’ cookbooks – including Cooking On A Bootstrap – written after a period of extreme poverty. They have also campaigned widely on poverty and ‘hunger relief’, and written for outlets including The Guardian and Huffington Post.
The writer made the statement in a blog post titled The Only Way Is Ethics.
“Having choices around the food you eat is a privilege. Not having to shop exclusively from the white labels of the value ranges, or raiding the battered old veg at the end of the day at the market, is a privilege,” they wrote.
“Not mentally calculating the pennies difference in every item that goes into your shopping basket is a privilege, and one that millions of people in the UK (and across the world) increasingly do not have.
“Access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and the means with which to buy them, is a privilege.”
Monroe added that while they are vegan in their personal life, some of the recipes in their latest book – written and tested some time ago before they were vegan – contain animal products, including a non-vegan paella dish.
As a result of this, the writer was the target of online abuse, which they referred to as a ‘minor backlash’, writing: “I received messages wishing that I would be boiled alive, graphics mocked up of my own face with a fish hook piercing through it, grotesque and threatening.
“I stood my ground, explaining that my recipes were aimed primarily at people living in or on the margins of poverty, most of whom are omnivores despite my best efforts.”
The post has been largely positively received by Monroe’s readers, with one commentator noting the increasing dependence a growing number of people in the UK have on foodbanks, saying: “Choice is a privilege and bless you for saying it.”
Monroe’s post on poverty – and its impact on food choices – is backed up by stats published earlier this year by the Trussell Trust, which showed that between April 1 2016 and 31 March 2017, it provided,182,954 three-day emergency food packages – an increase of 73,645 from year before.
The post also echoed comments made yesterday by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who said: “[Foodbanks]are a necessity but they are a necessity we do not want to have.”
Jack Monroe is currently working on a new book Vegan On A Bootstrap.