We take issue with the article “Vegans rare, but tofu abounds” (Feb.22), because we find its evidence unfounded and feel it puts forth a faulty argument.
First, we do not believe that the article is representative of a majority of omnivores, who seem relatively satisfied with dining hall fare. However, the general sentiment of the article seems to be that having a vegan option in the dining hall harms those who eat meat.
The article’s evidence is shaky at best. Its only statistic — that vegans represent just 1.3 percent of Yale students — is misleading, because most of the Yalies who rely upon the vegan option are not actually vegans, as the vegan option is often also the vegetarian option. Thus, vegetarians, pescetarians, flexitarians, those who keep kosher or adhere to ahimsa or halal, even those who are lactose-intolerant, depend upon the vegan option. And a number of omnivores partake in the vegan option on occasion, whether they know it or not.
One proposal the article advances is to remove vegan options from all but one or two dining halls, since the vegan option “takes room away from food that tastes better.” This plan renders the vegan entree the scapegoat of a more complicated problem. If omnivores are discontented with their dining choices, their efforts should be directed at improving the meat options. If the four or five meat options are not satisfactory, then we doubt that adding a sixth would improve matters.
But more than anything, it disturbs us that there are omnivores so greedy for an additional meat option that they would readily banish many Yale students from their dining halls. At Yale, we emphasize tolerance and the importance of community. In one of its simplest forms, that entails omnivores ceding one of many entree options to their vegan option-dependent brethren.
Nico Casasanto, Michael Giuffrida and Yasha Magarik
The writers are sophomores in Calhoun College