Alicia Silverstone eats cheese occasionally at parties, and Ellen DeGeneres eats eggs and was a spokesperson for cover girl. Both consider themselves to be vegan and have become a spokesperson for the cause. Do those flaws make them less vegan?
Personally, I would never cheat with food. Occasionally my husband does, but only with incorrect orders at restaurants. If the chef forgets to omit the cheese from his order he will remove what he can and eat it, to save the plate from being tossed. I have also seen him play the ignorance card with things like crackers or wine at parties.
My biggest vegan challenge is with TV and movies. Sure it’s easy to boycott shows like Animal Practice and Luck. But, what about the new Hobbit movie and its 27 deaths? For an avid fan this is a hard boycott to keep.
As for the shows that don’t have accusations of animal abuse, is it against the vegan code to catch Must Love Dogs on cable? Honestly, the thought never crossed my mind until recently. Now I feel a sense of guilt when watching shows containing animals. I have held up signs outside of the circus with the hopes that maybe one person in attendance would realize that animals deserve a life outside of being used for human entertainment. How is watching a movie that uses animals any different?
Of course there are huge variances for the use of animal as actors. Some sitcoms may have a family pet pop on for only an episode or two. There are even shelter dogs whose lives may have actually been saved because they were cast on Broadway. Those may be easy to overlook for some vegans. For me it is the equivalent of buying free range eggs from well treated chickens, sneaking some cheese at a party, or supporting the local zoo; it doesn't follow the fundamentals of being a vegan, and it is a really easy change to make.
Unfortunately, my current TV and movie habits do not support my moral beliefs. I may not be able to give up my entertainment entirely, but for now I can commit to reducing my media consumption by cutting out shows and movies with non-human animals in them.