A Reddit user recently posted a theory that sci-fi franchise Star Trek contains vegan messaging after watching the series for the first time since ditching animal products.
MattJohn02 posted in the r/vegan thread, referencing Vulcans being a vegetarian race and specific episodes that deliver anti-animal abuse themes. He then opened up the discussion, encouraging fellow Redditors to add their own observations and episodes that appear very vegan-friendly.
Multiple comments mention that Star Trek, as a franchise, centers around ethics and the nuances that come with them. As such, many claim that pro-vegan messaging is not a huge surprise. Moreover, one user, tenninjakittens, claims that Star Trek inspired them to “make the switch [to veganism] over 20 years ago.”
A vegan future is predicted by Star Trek
According to the sci-fi franchise, when humanity reaches Stardate 41249.3 (April 1, 2364), animals will not be part of the food system anymore.
The revelation came in a Next Generation episode, when the Enterprise spaceship’s first officer, Commander Riker, discussed the lack of animal protein at a dinner party. “We no longer enslave animals for food purposes,” the character states bluntly.
When questioned about the fact that humans have been seen eating meat, Riker clarifies that only “replicated” meat is eaten. This is an inorganic food, created by futuristic technology that duplicates the look and taste of animal meat.
A continual distaste for hunting
Later series Voyager also appears to revisit the notion that eating animals is wrong. The Enterprise crew, led by Captain Janeway, are shown to be visibly horrified by another species, called the Hirogen. Still hunting sentient creatures for food and sport, they are viewed negatively. Wanting to be culturally sensitive but also ethical, Janeway offers a “holodeck” (a 3D simulation room) where the Hirogen can “hunt.”
More recently, the Enterprise series (which, confusingly, is the first – chronologically – of the entire Star Trek franchise) included an episode that gave animals an actual voice. Albeit telepathically.
In “Rogue Planet,” the crew meets a species that travels to another planet to hunt the animals living there. Captain Archer communicates telepathically with one of the hunted creatures. They emphatically tell him that they do not want to die for sport.
Don’t forget about Vulcans
Arguably the most enduring vegan messaging Star Trek transmits is through one of its most beloved species: Vulcans.
As a society, Vulcans live by a no-harm ethical code. In fact, non-violence is a key part of their code and as such, most are vegetarian. And while hunting continues, to keep their survival skills honed, no animals are ever killed.
Moreover, Vulcans are predicated on logic. They see food as a necessary source of energy, not something that needs to titilate the tastebuds. This is another reason why they stick to non-animal sources.
In an Enterprise episode called Broken Bow, Vulcan crew member T’Pol finds her choice to be a vegetarian the topic of a dinner conversation with Captain Archer. Frustrated, she delivers the withering blow: “You humans claim to be enlightened, yet you still consume the flesh of animals.”
Live long and prosper
Despite no crew members in Star Trek revealing themselves to be vegan, there is a persistent theme that focuses on humans evolving to remove non-human animals from the food system. This also ties in neatly with one of the show’s most famous quotes.
A growing bank of research is finding that to “live long and prosper” – a Vulcan blessing said by Spock on multiple occasions – we need to ditch meat. Those eating a vegan or vegetarian diet have been found to have a greater life expectancy than meat-eaters. In addition, plant-based meals are deemed cheaper, globally, than their animal-based counterparts.
Given the current global rise of plant-based diets, it is not illogical (sorry Star Trek fans, but we had to get this in) to assume that at least one character might be a staunch vegan in a future series.