There’s nothing wrong with avoiding meat, cheese, or eggs. Or not wearing leather shoes, or feeling extremely passionate about Quorn nuggets. Some would even argue that it’s maybe quite “good” or “worthy ” to cut out animal products; to help reduce your impact on the environment; and to relieve the suffering endured by many animals on a daily basis. Of all the ideologies to drag and belittle, veganism is really not this worst (maybe try Nazi’s? idk).
However, when charities like PETA spend their campaign budget trying to get tiny British villages to change their name from an animal product to something vegan, you understand why the movement gets a bad name. According to the Daily Telegraph, the animal rights campaigner has asked the people of “Wool”—a small village in South England—to change its name to “Vegan Wool.” Vegan Wool.
Indeed, Elisa Allen, the director of PETA, has written to the village parish to request the name change, arguing that it would “promote kindness to sheep.” Allen has also offered to supply the 2,000 households in the village with vegan woollen blankets if they agree to the name change.
PETA is making the request to bring attention to video footage showing British wool workers abusing sheep—including punching the animals in the face and hitting them with electric clippers.
“Many news outlets failed to cover the appalling footage,” Allen told MUNCHIES over email, “and this is a creative and fun way to reach the public with the facts.”
“Sheep's wool—just like foxes' fur—is not a ‘fabric,’ and it doesn't belong to human beings. It belongs to the sheep who were born in it and need it but were violently robbed of it,” she continued. “We hope that our suggestion that the town changes its name to ‘Vegan Wool’ will help people see that with so many warm, cruelty-free fabrics—including cotton, bamboo, hemp, and soya-bean fibre—readily available, it's easier than ever to ditch wool and other animal-derived materials.”
Because PETA's request was made to Wool’s parish council in writing, it must be debated at the next council meeting in December.
Despite the charity’s largely worthy motivation, the people of Wool are less than convinced. This may be in part because the 1,000-year-old village’s name actually derives from the word “welle,” as in a source of water. Which is about as vegan as you can get.
“It is a ridiculous request and it's caused quite a stir in the village,” local councillor Cherry Brooks told The Daily Mail. “A few people are quite offended but most people seem to find it amusing. The proposal will now need to be discussed at the next council meeting, which will be interesting.”
Many villagers have also wondered why more obviously anti-vegan villages such as “Cheddar” or “Ham” haven’t been targeted by PETA.
“And soon,” director Allen concluded in her statement, “we may talk to other towns about their names, too.”
You’ve been warned, people of Stilton.