Deep Dive: Animal Testing and Vegan Food

This is a topic that has been weighing heavily on me since I first became aware of it a few years ago (around 2018).

The Just Egg product had been hyped since as far back as 2014 or ’15 as a revolutionary new vegan egg product. It finally started appearing around 2018, but there’s a dark secret: it’s tested on animals.


Simply put: if cosmetics or cleaning products tested on animals aren’t vegan, then how can this be?

Animal experimentation and testing has long been a particularly offensive form of animal exploitation. Vegan and animal rights activists and organizations have been rallying against it for decades. It is cruel and unnecessary. Companies like Body Shop and LUSH started up in great part as a protest to this (although ironically neither are vegan.) Many countries are banning animal testing, with legislation recognizing that it’s cruel, unnecessary and actually hinders scientific progression.

So it’s a big disappointment, but Just Egg just isn’t vegan. I guess that’s the end of that. Thanks for stopping by!


In an odd and somewhat perverse twist, Just Egg wasn’t rejected by a large portion of the vegan community. In fact it has been widely welcomed and celebrated. Incredible amounts of rationalizing and Olympic levels of mental gymnastics have been attempted to justify the animal testing conducted by Just Foods.

Note: I’ll be referring to them as Just Foods for simplicity and clarity. It appears their current name is Eat Just, Inc. But their name has changed several times, beginning as Hampton Creek, Just or Just Inc. for a short period, it appeared they were Just Egg for a while, and currently their website says Eat Just, Inc. That’s not probably where the confusion will end.

Just Foods isn’t the only company doing this, Impossible Foods also conducted animal testing on the GMO soy they created, and Perfect Day, who’s engineered bacteria to product a whey protein, is also tested on animals and used in products by Brave Robot (UPDATE: our blog post specifically on Perfect Day here.) In my eyes (and by definition) none of these companies are vegan due to the animal testing.

Let’s hit reverse and get a little background on where all this gaslighting is coming from.

Why did they test on animals?

In order to sell foods with novel ingredients, GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) Certification from the US FDA is highly recommended. Apparently without it, rival companies can try to make selling these products a challenge, since the ingredient is ‘untested’. Competing companies will actively try to make it appear as though the product is ‘unsafe’, and lobby to have those products removed from shelves.

There are a number of steps to getting GRAS certification, but animal testing is not required. I have scoured the FDA site, and cannot find anywhere that definitively states that animal testing is required.

My best interpretation of what has occurred is that animal testing can result in faster approval than the other testing protocols.

In short animal testing is a shortcut, but not required.

To me, expediency and convenience are not a valid excuses or a ‘pass’ for animal testing. This does not let Just Foods, Impossible or Perfect Day (or any future companies) off the hook.

They chose to test on animals. These are animal testing companies. Companies that test on animals aren’t vegan.

PETA steps up, then steps aside

There are a lot of interesting twists to this story – for example, PETA initially sent out alerts, recommending action against Just Foods and Impossible.

Click here for a link, I mean click here…. Oh wait, you can’t.

UPDATE 3/30/2023: You can now! See the comment section for a link to an archived copy of their original alert.

PETA deleted their action and blog posts. Now why would they do that?

With a little digging, I have found references to these posts. The original link to the Impossible boycott post was here:

Go ahead and click, it doesn’t work. Search PETA’s site for it. Use any search engine – you’ll find references to it, but this article (and the similar one on Just Foods) has been removed.

Fortunately others wrote about the story – here’s a story from Food Science on Impossible’s animal testing and PETA. The quotes they take from the original blog post are rather potent, which surprises me as I am often at odds with PETA. Here’s a good quote from the article:

PETA reportedly approached Impossible Foods founder Patrick Brown about the issue, and Brown admitted that the test didn’t have to be conducted.

Two extremely important parts to this:

PETA had approached Impossible (and Just Foods) about the animal testing, and offered to help them with alternatives.

Patrick Brown, founder of Impossible Foods, admits the animal testing was unnecessary.

Just let that sink in. Not only did PETA offer to help Impossible with getting GRAS certification with non-animal testing, but Brown even admits they didn’t have to test on animals.

(Just to shore up the evidence of these missing pages, here’s another article on Impossible and PETA, [although a bit of an odd one], and another informative story here. Even more details in a NY Times article. Also, in case it disappears, here’s a backup PDF of the Food Science article. And of course Reddit has a link to the Impossible PETA blog post.)

A rare screenshot of the PETA action against Hampton Creek / Just Foods and Impossible Foods.

Impossible Foods Responds to PETA

Patrick Brown tries to defend the animal testing in this response on Medium. (Preserved PDF here as well.)

I find it also contains a number of falsehoods and misleading statements, for example:

“When some of PETA’s own members questioned the logic of picking on a food tech startup that aims to end animal slaughter”

It’s rich to characterize activists as ‘picking’ on Impossible…pity the poor little multi-million dollar corporation.

And what planet must Brown be from where sacrificing one animal for another is ‘okay’ in the eyes of vegans and animal rights activists?

“After all, our ultimate success would end the slaughter of billions of animals”

This is a false start – sure, ‘if’. But what ‘if not’? What if Impossible burgers were disgusting and no one bought them? (I would imagine vegans would hold them accountable for animal testing then..)

There is no guarantee or assurance that billions of animals will be saved. It’s just a hope. And as vegans and animal rights activists we don’t ‘hope’ that when killing some animals we will save others.

“Test, or sacrifice our mission that could save billions of animal lives.”

Yes, one can make that decision, but that makes it a company who tests on animals, knowing full well how animal testing companies are regarded in the vegan and animal rights world. This was their bed to make. And it was optional, it was always a choice not to, and deal with those consequences instead. That’s what veganism does. We avoid animal exploitation, and deal with the consequences (like not eating Impossible burgers). We don’t exploit animals when it suits us.

And again, ‘could’. A reminder that any vegan eating an Impossible burger is not ‘saving’ anything, since they wouldn’t have been eating animal flesh in the first place. A vegan eating an Impossible burger is simply defying vegan values.

“It is astounding that PETA, which claims to champion animal welfare, would demonize us solely because of a rat test that we did not wish to perform, that US food safety regulators requested, and that we performed in consultation with PETA management itself.”

This is where things get really mucky.

Yes, Impossible was and is vilified because of animal testing, because vegans oppose animal testing. Why are you acting surprised?

Just because you did not wish to perform it doesn’t free you from the responsibility of your choices.

The consultancy with PETA (we’ll circle back to this momentarily) on the testing itself is a separate matter, presumably to reduce as much harm as possible to the rats. They were already opposed to what you were doing, and you knew that. This is similar to a doctor, who is sworn to ‘do no harm’, ensuring an execution victim is treated medically soundly, despite the fact they are medically (and hopefully morally) against it.

This gets particularly ugly because PETA has a strong history of taking the position of supporting particular ways to kill animals. In 2006 they awarded the maker of a mouse trap that gasses mice to death. In 2008 in Canada they called off their boycott of KFC since KFC agreed to kill chickens one way over another. They’ve had ‘victories’ with many fast food chains over this as well. PETA sees a ‘victory’ where they get to decide how animals are killed. So PETA aiding Impossible with the animal testing isn’t out of character for them.

(Just a reminder that we’re supposed to be vegans here: killing animals one way over another is not really a victory, nor reason to call off a boycott. And isn’t vegan.)

Of course, Plant Based News defended Impossible, and to add to the confusion PETA states here they were not consulted on the animal testing. So someone is lying. What a mess.

All that said, both sides (PETA and Impossible/Brown) appear to have taken extremely weak positions, and almost seem unified in their willingness to muddy the waters and sow confusion. (Where are those PETA pages again?)

As to PETA’s capitulation on this matter, I can only speculate why. The pieces of this puzzle likely involve former and very long-time PETA VP Bruce Friedrich, who now runs the Good Food Institute, a big player in the world of plant based capitalism. My suspicion is he had words with PETA president Ingrid Newkirk, and had the leverage to asked PETA to back off, especially knowing more animal testing will be coming down the line. Would welcome more details from any PETA insiders on why they gave up!

Update: ask and ye shall receive! Thanks to a user on Reddit, we now have a copy of an awkward response from PETA when asked if they changed their position on animal testing in February 2020, since those actions web pages were pulled. Besides the troubling appropriated language, they’re apparently trying to convince these companies to commit to not do testing again. That’s about two years after the original actions. And what are the chances, but a ‘grassroots coordinator’ a few hours after I launched the post wanted to ‘friend’ me on Facebook, and was offering me stickers. I asked about the animal testing and PETA, and got an updated response, and apparently now ‘omnivores were using this against vegan foods’, which I don’t fully understand…but you can read the entire conversation here (PDF). After pressing the issue, he blocked me. Hilarious!

How about Just Foods and animal testing?

This is what I get when I currently google ‘just egg animal testing’:

Thanks for nothing, Google! Here’s the full screenshot.

Despite the fact that it’s well established and many admissions from the company head Josh Tetrick that Just Foods tested on animals, it’s surprisingly challenging to find more information on this. Most results falsely affirm that Just Egg is vegan, and fail to highlight any concerns or controversy. There are a few blog posts that mention animals, but they’re almost universally supportive of Just Foods. (I say almost, because I haven’t actually found anything that really condemns them, but hoping maybe I’ll come across something.)

Just Foods originally had a page on their website explaining away their animal testing, unfortunately it’s now MIA as well, but one piece of history we still have is this interview with Hampton Creek / Just Foods founder Josh Tetrick. (PDF archive.)

It’s not unlike what we’ve read from Brown, with typical baseless rationalizations.

This Reddit thread also shares a copy of a letter from Hampton Creek on their animal testing, and at that brief point in time they were being more honest, and stating that it shouldn’t be considered vegan. There’s also a link to the MIA page they had on animal testing, and here is another screenshot of a similar letter.

(This I believe was the link to the PETA page on the Hampton Creek animal testing (also broken), and another interesting link is PETA’s page on egg alternatives, and Just Egg remains omitted at the time of writing.)

I can’t confirm that Just Foods has worked to scrub the internet of messaging they don’t like, but I recall a few years ago it wasn’t hard to locate ‘proof’ that Just Egg was tested on animals, and now those searches come up mostly short (and instead find assertions that it’s vegan, like that Google screenshot.)

Since then, Just Foods has reversed course, and has no issues being referred to as ‘vegan’, and partnering with established vegan companies gaslighting us all.

Field Roast makes things even messier

Screenshot from Instagram

Above is a screenshot from Instagram, where Field Roast has partnered with Just Foods to produce a new sandwich. I’ve posted a few comments on this, concerned with what’s happening.

Field Roast is happy to tag it #vegan, and even managed to get it certified vegan with The Vegan Society.

Yes, there is now a Certified Vegan Just Egg product. Reminder: Just Foods tested these on rats just a few years ago. Something doesn’t smell right there!

I looked up the Certification standards on Animal Testing from the Vegan Society which states:

“The development and/or manufacture of the product, and its ingredients, must not involve or have involved, testing of any sort on animals conducted at the initiative of the company or on its behalf, or by parties over whom the company has effective control.”

I used their Misuse Report form to report this, and at first the representative didn’t appear to be aware that Just Egg was tested on animals, so I sent several links (which were hard to track down!), and they responded that it aligns with their standards, because ‘Field Roast didn’t do the animal testing’.

It would seem whoever came up with this definition did not anticipate that ‘vegan’ companies would be compromised and the standard could be abused so easily.

Example time! Someone could create ‘Pat’s Animal Tested Tide Laundry Soap’ and get it certified vegan as this stands. Tide laundry soap is infamous for their company Proctor & Gamble and animal testing, and P&G would fail this vegan certification. BTW for more recent vegans, P&G products have been a primary boycott company for decades by vegans and animal right activists. But….if Pat repackages it under a different company, then it’s totally fine, even though Tide would be unable to receive certification and it’s exactly the same thing.

I wrote back highlighting this hypocrisy, and they replied with:

“We understand this is disappointing for you but we have to follow the standards set and agreed upon by our Council and members. If you feel these should change, we would encourage you to become a member and put forward a motion for a change so our council and members can discuss and vote on it.”

I’m quite disappointed with The Vegan Society and their unwillingness to deal with this directly, or even admit there’s a gaping hole in their program. There awareness was lacking, and there was no concerned expressed about animal tested items receiving Vegan Society certification. I get warmer responses from corporations.

I said that cruel sports were the bottom of the barrel. I think I’ve got to move even them one up, and put vivisection at the bottom. It is probably the cruellest of all Man’s attack on the rest of Creation.

Donald Watson when asked about animal experimentation in 2002. His wife Dorothy coined the term ‘vegan’ and they co-founded The Vegan Society in 1944. Full interview here.

Fortunately, the main vegan certification group in the US has a much more thorough statement:

“Products must involve no animal testing of ingredients or finished product by the supplier, producer, manufacturer or independent party with the use of any animal in the animal kingdom (live or deceased) for any type of research purposes whatsoever to include environmental safety, feed or nutrition trials, toxicity testing, or animal tests or trials “as required by law” including third-party testing or being tested by another company or independent contractor.”

I emailed them and they confirmed that Just Egg could not receive their vegan certification thankfully, and presumably the new Field Roast item.

It’s really been an eye-opener to see just how poorly the vegan movement is prepared for these changes.

It should not be the case where the Just Egg would be rejected certification for animal testing, but Field Roast adding Just Egg to an item can somehow receive approval.

I hope The Vegan Society takes note.

The Certified Vegan symbol matters.

People look for it, and people count on it.

Having a Certified Vegan label should mean that products have been held to a higher standard, and there should be no room for doubt.

The Vegan Society has weakened their brand, and compromised everything their vegan certification program stands for.

But wait – Field Roast actually had to face animal testing themselves!

In another surprising history lesson and twist, it needs to be highlighted that Field Roast themselves had been faced with demands for animal testing. In short, in 2014 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency banned Field Roast products in Canada because a simulated meat product apparently needed to be tested on animals (I don’t believe that has been expected of any other company).

Field Roast refused to do the testing, with founder David Lee vocally opposing animal testing on ethical grounds, and the hypocrisy of a vegan company doing this. They reformulated their products, and returned to Canada a year later bypassing the testing requirement. (here’s a clip of their blog post, which has unfortunately been mostly taken down.) Once again, animal testing can be avoided, with some effort.

David Lee has left Field Roast, and we’re all left with the hypocrisy of Field Roast being in full partnership with a company that tests on animals.

But these companies mean well!

There are numerous quotes from people at Just Foods and Impossible about ending meat-eating, but do their actions always align with their words?

The work environment at Hampton Creek sounded pretty bad, and is detailed in this investigation. Their Glass Door profile is anything but flattering for an ‘ethical’ company. Then there was the SEC investigation because Hampton Creek was caught buying back their own product. I recall seeing posts from people in forums at the time about how they were part of a program to visit grocery stores at the behest of Hampton Creek and buy numerous jars of Just Mayo in order to inflate sales records, and how they’d get reimbursed.

Hampton Creek executives were fired on suspicion of rebelling, and there was the time the entire board quit. There were questionable workplace romances (and promotions), untested shelf life claims, and other questionable practices outlined in this particularly damning report. More recently, there are numerous cases of them not paying bills, rent, and they received over $4 million in COVID benefits from the government which is now being questioned.

You know, normal ethical business stuff. (It’s beginning to make the Theranos scandal appear a snooze, I hope someone is securing the rights to this story!)

One minor but insightful item to pile on was that Hampton Creek wasn’t a vegan company, and some might recall that they had food service cookie dough products, and one contained white chocolate chips with dairy. Their justification was they couldn’t find another white chocolate chip that was vegan that they liked. Now they only sell Just Egg, all other products (including the mayo) have been discontinued.

The real kick in the pants is the Just Egg launch party, where they served pig flesh and fish flesh (and possibly dairy). This had the rare effect of having one blogger recall their support. There’s also a video from The Vegan Zombie of a rare interview with Josh Tetrick about the launch food choices. It’s hard to listen to, Tetrick is uttering nonsense most of the time. “Better is good” is used to justify serving animal products at their event. Appreciate how the interviewer, a vegan of 25yrs at the time, pointed out that as vegans we wouldn’t support ‘plant based’ foods that come from animal testing companies like Proctor & Gamble. How is this different?

Impossible are also not free from controversy. Again, The Vegan Zombie (apparently a magnet for non-vegan vegan food!) went to a large food trade show, visited the Impossible booth, was assured items were vegan, then found out they were served with dairy. It’s all on video. They break it down here, but are much more generous and forgiving than I would be.

Why aren’t Impossible serving these items with vegan cheese, etc? We’ve seen Pat Brown above quoted as wanting to save billions of animals lives. Wouldn’t this be one simple step – in their very own booth? (This wasn’t a mistake to blame on volunteers, this is a very big trade show with Impossible staff.)

Impossible has also partnered with Buitoni to produce a ravioli with Impossible in it. That ravioli also contains cow’s milk and eggs. (And not the Just ones.)

Let’s break that down:

Impossible has partnered with Buitoni. This isn’t Buitoni just adding Impossible as an ingredient, they’re partners. Impossible is a partner in these products, not just supplying Impossible Burger.

These contain cheese. Three cheese. And these cheeses come from cows, who had their babies ripped away, and hooked up to machines to steal their milk. Impossible is a partner in this.

And these contain eggs. And those eggs came from hens, living under deplorable conditions, likely never to even see the light of day in their short, agonizing lives.

And these products have the common associations with animal cruelty and climate damage, which Impossible purports to oppose.

And Pat Brown and Impossible have partnered with them.

Executive summary of Impossible’s position:

They’re against using cattle for meat. But they’re okay with cattle being used for dairy, chickens used for eggs, and don’t forget rats can be tested on.

What kind of vegan does that?

One more little thing: Buitoni is owned by Nestle. Impossible has intentionally partnered with Nestle. Pardon my language, but f*ck Nestle.

What others are saying

Briefly mentioned above, there have been a few vegan blogs in support of Just Foods and Impossible, but there are some others that deserve specific attention.

For example the Vegan Rabbit site, that purports to be all for cruelty-free products (cruelty-free is a designation specifically against animal testing), yet calls Just Egg vegan, even after pointing out there was animal testing. At least they didn’t call Impossible vegan.

Long-time online vegan store Vegan Essentials held out for a long time, refusing to carry Just or Impossible due to the animal testing. Sadly they were sold to by Vejii in 2021, and started carrying Just Egg and Impossible Burgers. The Vegan Essentials FAQ also at this time indicates that everything they sell is cruelty free, which isn’t true. It’s a bit unusual that they’ll take a strong stand with an incidental ingredient like sugar, which may be filtered with bone char, but a company that intentionally directly exploited animals in one of the worst ways gets a pass.

I don’t expect much from Plant Based News, who are defenders of these companies, and VegNews also is playing their part gaslighting the vegan movement by falsely claiming these items are vegan, here’s a headline for example:

Example of VegNews promoting non-vegan food
Yay for the vegan food market, too bad neither of the foods pictured are vegan.

On a positive note, credit goes to Vegan Supply of Canada and Besties Vegan Paradise in the US for taking a stand and refusing to sell products tested on animals.

What about the rats?

Full disclosure: I have four rescue rodents: two guinea pigs and two hamsters. These animals are extremely common in animal testing, and it breaks my heart.

Rarely discussed are the animals who were directly harmed in this. I’m not 100% sure ‘how many’, frankly it’s irrelevant to me, 1 or 50 or 500, animal testing is wrong, and any other number is wrong. But the number that comes up most commonly is 188 rats used for both Impossible and Just Foods, and I’ll stick with that for simplicity. (Also unsure on Perfect Day, will update this space if I find out.)

Defenders of these companies and animal testing apologists minimize this topic, and try to brush it off, insisting that it was ‘quick’ and rats were simply fed the product, and droppings were examined. Very compact and neat, but it’s a lot uglier than that.

Where did the rats come from? They would have been supplied by the same breeding companies that breed rats for other labs. So Impossible and Just Foods are also complicit in purchasing animals, and supporting breeders. Lab animal breeders. Breeders who supply labs animals to be experimented on. Hard to imagine a worse class of breeders. I find that sickening.

Who knows what lives the rats had before going to Impossible and Just Foods, but once there they would have been isolated and kept in small cages. Remember: there are 188 rats. You would need very small cages, or a very large lab.

Rats are very, very social. Any rat rescue will tell you that a rat shouldn’t have to live alone. But it’s hard to imagine that’s what Impossible and Just Foods did.

Rats are very smart, inquisitive and active. Any rat rescue will tell you that rats need very large enclosures and a lot of enrichment to have a happy life. But they were denied that, thanks to what Impossible and Just Foods did.

Proper care takes a lot of time. A rat probably needs 30-60mins of daily attention as a minimum. How can that possibly be managed with 188 rats? You’d need a huge team of people to give proper care to that many rats. I can assure you that wouldn’t happen, and would barely be glanced at on a daily basis.

Their lives would have been pretty miserable, in tiny cages, and utterly bored and depressed with laughable ‘enrichment’. And then fed Impossible Burger or Just Egg.

Where did they go?

Who knows.

Most likely they would have been executed. Slaughtered after losing their usefulness, like the cows and chickens these companies purport to defend.

But let’s say they were sent to animal shelters, yay!

Not yay.

Imagine running a small animal rescue, probably already over-run with local unwanted, neglected and abused rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas and more, and being handed 188 rats. (Even if it’s a small portion of that, it’s a LOT to take on.)

These rats are completely unsocialized, traumatized, and abuse victims. Where is any rescue going to be able to take in and properly care for dozens of unwanted rats? Any guesses on the vet check-up bill totals?

I have an entire room dedicated to my four rescues. I spend at least an hour a day caring for them.

It would be an absolute nightmare scenario for any rescue or shelter to take on these rats, and they simply couldn’t take that on, even with dozens of volunteers.

This is absolutely deplorable behaviour from Impossible and Just Foods, if that’s what occurred.

Whether killed or sent to a shelter, this is unforgiveable to me. And should be to any vegan as well.

Flash point: that’s speciesism folks

Speciesism is essentially discriminating another based on species.

We’re supposed to oppose all discrimination, right?

Veganism is fundamentally opposed to speciesism, and argues that other animals deserve consideration.

To defend animal testing, one has to subscribe to a speciesist mentality.

If you’re opposed to speciesism, as all vegans ought to be, then keep in mind that Impossible and Just Foods are speciesist companies.

But everything is tested on animals!

One specious defense that comes up frequently is that ‘everything is tested on animals’. It’s true to some extent, the list of GRAS certified ingredients is long.

Even things like water and salt have been tested on animals numerous times. Does that mean we shouldn’t consume these?

In the world of vegan certification, there’s an allowance if an ingredient was tested 20 or more years ago. Some things do become so commonplace and in a sense is ‘far away enough’ from the original testing, that we ought to ‘let go’, and this seems reasonable. And in the case of most ingredients in vegan foods on the GRAS list that I’m aware of, this is the case.

But there’s one significant distinction: even if some ingredient, like salt, water, or guar gum, was tested, the precedent used to be that it wasn’t tested by purported ‘vegan’ companies.

This is the ultimate kind of betrayal.

That is no longer the case. We are now dealing with companies who have stated missions to ‘save animals’, who also willingly exploit and sacrifice them. Very much like the companies they’re supposed to be against.

But what’s done is done!

I really can’t believe people even try to use this argument.

If I believed this, I could walk into McDonald’s and buy a burger.

Why? Because ‘what’s done is done’. That cow is dead, and their cooked flesh is just sitting there, right?

The fact is I’m still supporting and endorsing a practice I’m opposed to. At the risk of uttering a thought-terminating cliche, this ‘moral’ argument is as flimsy as they come, and barely deserves this space to address it.

Killing a few animals to possibly save others is vegan!

[Section added 03/30/2023] This comes up a surprising amount.

Some conflate utilitarianism with veganism.

Veganism isn’t about ‘harm reduction’ or ‘reducing suffering’.

Again, it’s very explicit in the definition. It does not refer to suffering at all. And this is intentional, because veganism aligns with an animal rights model (which conflicts heavily with utilitarian philosophy.)

The main difference: each individual matters.

You cannot ‘sacrifice’ some animals in hopes of ‘saving’ others. Killing lab rats to make a flavouring for a burger that might ‘save’ cows is not vegan.

How does it play out if you can kill some animals to save others?

Do we start killing eagles to save rodents and fish? Are lion safaris now ‘vegan’, because each dead lion saves dozens of gazelle and other herbivores?

It’s an absurd argument from people who haven’t actually given any thought to the consequences of that kind of thinking. For a bit more on how the ‘reduction of suffering’ isn’t vegan, read our blog post here.

But they won’t test again!

This simply isn’t true.

Just Foods is committed to creating lab grown meat, which is I suspect is heavily dependent on animal-based serums and compounds during development (which should be of concern to vegans), and these products, if they ever come to market, will most definitely be tested on animals.

Impossible stated “[w]e hope we will never have to face such a choice again“, which leaves it completely open-ended. The FAQ from Perfect Day leaves this topic wide open.

But they’re saving millions of animals!

Maybe they are, maybe not.

As stated earlier, any time a vegan buys one of their products, they’re not saving any animals since they wouldn’t have bought meat in the first place. That’s just someone compromising their ethics and supporting a company that tests on animals.

Veganism is not utilitarianism, and we don’t trade one life for another. Using the same logic one could justify eating one steak, because they didn’t eat two, and so ‘saved’ an animal.

Make your own!

[Section updated 06/14/2023] Perhaps what’s most ridiculous is how easy it is to make your own ‘just egg’. Thanks to a friend, here’s a recipe (with video) showing how easy it is to make your own ‘just egg’. Vegan Richa has a recipe as well!

The only people defending this are the very ones who should be most opposed

The shocking thing to me in all this is that none of the non-vegan people I’ve discussed this with see any controversy. They all get it: vegan products cannot be tested on animals.

The only people defending these animal testing companies are ones who call themselves vegans.

And that’s so very wrong and misguided and a betrayal to what vegan stands for.

Once again:

The only people defending this are the ones who should be most opposed.

This needs to stop.

Just call it ‘plant based’

One thing I really don’t understand is why vegans are trying so hard to make this ‘vegan’.

We have dozens and dozens of burger choices, and a growing range of similar egg replacers — with at least one liquid egg company feels compelled to highlight they don’t test on animals!

Imagine a world where vegan food companies have to explain they don’t test on animals.

Imagine a world where vegans are constantly justifying animal testing.

Well that’s where we’re headed.

Gaslighting the vegan movement with this has be stopped. We lose all credibility and ethical standing when we accept compromise like this, and tolerate non-vegan foods and companies.

And who are vegans defending in this?

People and companies who are willing to do animal testing. Who won’t commit to never testing again. Who have been found distributing animal products. Who partner with Nestle. Who have terrible staff records. Who are blatantly speciesist. It goes on and on. These are legitimately bad companies doing awful and inexcusable things under a false pretense that they’re trying to help animals.

How is it worth the hoops one has to jump through, and all the awful things that need to be willfully ignored or rationalized?

In my eyes this is the exact same mentality as people who consume animal products: they just want to have them, and ignore the costs. They like the taste, and will excuse anything to have it.

But that’s not what veganism is about. We’re about being better, and holding a higher standard.

I hope you’ll join me and reject these companies and products. I hope you will be brave, and speak up when they’re falsely called vegan. Call them out. Direct them to this blog. Share this article. Write your own posts and blogs. Tell them as vegans we’re not tolerating animal testing, and there’s no justification for it. Play a role in ensuring there is no precedent for this. They can be plant based, since there’s no real meaning behind it, but veganism has meaning and standards and accountability, and we want to see that maintained, and we’re not going to let this happen. This isn’t what veganism stands for.

Dave Shishkoff, Editor

Fiefer the hamster

This post is dedicated to Fiefer, a sweet tiny soul who opened my eyes and heart to her world.

A big thank you to LF and LR for all the relevant conversations over the last few years.

Edits & Updates
Here’s a log of significant edits and updates:

* March 30th, 2023 – a few minor text edits, plus added two sections which are noted.

* June 24th – added a couple links to the new post on Perfect Day

* March 15th – first updates! Added an ‘Update’ section under “Impossible Foods Responds to PETA” with PETA’s letter from a Reddit user, and my own surprise exchange with a PETA staffer.

* March 13th, post published!



Thanks for sharing!

Dave Shishkoff

Just check out the About page. =)

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10 Responses

  1. Harold Brown says:

    Great work. I have confronted these issues for years. What has occurred to me is that there is a fundamental conflict within the movement. Namely, the schism that utilitarianism philosophy/ideology creates.

    Going to conferences, up until Covid, I observed that the buzz has been all about social media influencers and venture capitalists. Attention has been given to these people and away from the grassroots activist. Perhaps I betray my age but I don’t see this as necessarily a good thing. As you point out in your piece these people are who are manipulating the messaging and perception of what is vegan.

    Another glitch in this is an inherent problem, in my opinion, of the definition of vegan. According to the definition put forth by Donald Watson the clause, “…as far as is possible and practical…” has been used by bloggers and influencers as the rationalization for not following the ethical and moral principles you put forth. It also is very useful to utilitarians to reason away the interests of animals.

    In any case, thanks for the work you are doing.

    • Hey Harold, really appreciate you stopping by for a read!

      For sure, it seems companies are now controlling much more of the vegan narrative, which is worrisome. Especially since the organizations are taking a back seat, and seem unwilling to speak up against the obvious. (‘Plant based capitalism’ is a pejorative I see for this!)

      Your second point is also intrinsic in this degradation, and becoming a crutch for many to justify anti-vegan practices. For example I see people explain Burger King visits because ‘it’s the only local restaurant with vegan food and so is practical’. I’m pretty sure Watson and company didn’t include that to allow for lazy behaviour, I would argue was for exceptional exceptions when there is no other course, like with life-saving medicine, of which there may be no other vegan option. (And I simply won’t visit fast food places, haven’t for the last 20+ years.)

      As far as utilitarianism, it’s been on my mind for a long time as well, and possibly the topic of another blog post…I’m starting to wonder if you can actually be a utilitarian and vegan at the same time. When we look at where deep adherents like Friedrich have been taking it, and the gaslighting and compromise they’re willing to accept, it’s hard to feel like we’re on the same page, eh?

      Appreciate your thoughts and all you’ve done, come by for a chat any time! =)

      • V says:

        I’m not quite sure what to make of this, as I consider myself to be a utilitarian fundamentally, but I am vegan because it matches up with these utilitarian beliefs. I consider veganism to be built on top of a moral framework; which in my case is utilitarianism. This also means that I believe that if animal testing would speed up the release of a product so much that it would save more animal suffering then I would agree with doing that. Of course, it’s not that simple, as it’s always guessing and normalizing animal testing (or not denormalizing it) can lead to more damage in the long run.

        I’m just not really sure what to make of having veganism and utilitiarianism side by side, as opposed to veganism being used as a “tool” on top of a moral framework. Especially since I believe utilitiarianism is basically “all encompassing” (as far as I know, anyways), while veganism does not have a lot to say about topics not regarding animals.

        I would be glad to hear your thoughts about this.

        Regardless, thanks for your article. It definitely made me reconsider my stance on this topic, although I’m still left a little bit confused about what to think.

        • Hey there V, thanks for stopping by, happy to hear this is getting people thinking!

          You’re correct that veganism is built on a moral framework, but I feel there’s a strong case that framework is abolitionist influenced, and this is really clear in the early writings of the founders of the Vegan Society, here’s a great example from 1951:

          There isn’t talk of reducing exploitation, it’s to end it. To quote Cross: “that man has no right to exploit the creatures for his own ends” – their goal is in line with animal rights, and rights and utilitarianism don’t really play well together. I’d encourage you to review interviews with Donald Watson, they’re quite enlightening. The whole reason veganism came about was because vegetarianism was losing all integrity, even though that was supposed to be a way to live a life in harmony with other animals at the time.

          I’d also say that veganism is one portion of a social justice picture, one that brings non-human animals into consideration, which is often overlooked in other areas of social justice. Feminism doesn’t address other species, but there are extremely strong reasons for feminists to be vegan, given that dairy is wholly about exploiting female reproduction, and stealing children away from mothers. Veganism isn’t intended to be your ‘only’ philosophy.

          There’s a lot more that can be said of utilitarianism, but I don’t believe it’s really in parallel with veganism on a fundamental level. Singer himself isn’t vegan, which doesn’t speak well of it given he’s the world’s preeminent utilitarian ‘animal advocate’. Utilitarianism also makes allowances for animal exploitation – for example animal testing on 100 rats to save 1000 humans. I doubt there are many utilitarians who would argue against that, but as someone who’s vegan, and believes in rights for those rats as well, it’s a much more challenging argument. (And as a rat, I would much prefer that argument presented in my defense!)

          But again, if utilitarianism tolerates cases of animal exploitation, and veganism fundamentally and explicitly opposes animal exploitation, I don’t see how the two can be compatible.

          Hopefully that helps clear things up a bit! =)

  2. enki says:

    Very interesting read. Just FYI, the original PETA article is still available on

    • Oooh fantastic! I kind of hate that page because as a critic of PETA there’s almost nothing I would disagree with..! So of course PETA takes it down.

      I tried the link for Just Egg I had above, but it doesn’t come up…would be interesting to dig that one up too…thanks for sharing!!

  3. Matt says:

    An inevitable part of the overreaching capitalism these days is that companies will do whatever they want to make more money. Veganism is “mainstream” enough that it can be used as an advertising point for a market that’s more enthusiastic than the usual grocery shopper, thus they do what you’re warning us about and stretching or hiding the truth as much as possible.

    It’s really an unfortunate scenario that we can’t trust things that say “certified vegan” because companies want to use it as a marketing technique instead of actually helping people find something they can trust. It also makes it even more annoying talking to friends/family who aren’t vegan but want to be supportive. Just makes things worse if they buy something to cook for me and I say it’s not actually vegan.

    Thanks for your post.

  4. Someone says:

    I’m glad there is this personally i wish the labelling was at-least much stricter but really it shouldn’t be required in the first place.

    It’s really an unfortunate scenario that we can’t trust things that say “certified vegan” because companies want to use it as a marketing technique instead of actually helping people find something they can trust.” their trying to co-opt it as much as possible; they’re really anti vegan so it’s just not much of a surprise.

  5. Megan says:

    I would have never known …
    Well there goes buying from them

    • Yup.. They aren’t very forthcoming, and pretty disappointing from companies that claim they’re trying to help other animals. Let’s support the ones who are more consistent!

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