Is Soylent Truly Vegan?


Before I can ask this question, I need to establish some terminology.

Vegetarian - You don’t eat meat, but you do use animal products and eat foods like milk, dairy, honey, and almonds

Semi-vegan - You mostly do not use animal products and you avoid milk and dairy, but you sometimes eat honey or eat foods pollinated by bees like almonds or blueberries or other foods that require animal labor

True Vegan - You do not use any animal products at all. This includes milk and dairy of course, but you also completely avoid foods like almonds and blueberries because they are almost always produced using industrial pollination techniques that are harmful to bees. You avoid coconuts that abuse monkeys by forcing them to climb trees to collect them. And you avoid farms that force goats to eat weeds.

Is soylent actually truly Vegan? Or are there some ingredients in soylent that exploit animals? I am wondering because I cannot eat soylent for ethical reasons if any animals are harmed in its production.


The current iteration is completely plant based. The closest thing to an animal it involves is algae, apart from normal casualties from agriculture (pests and such).


If you want to be strict enough and analyze every aspect closely enough then you probably can’t eat anything since there is probably nothing that doesn’t harm something somewhere if you look enough steps down the line.


Animal labor? even cereals,pulses are farmed by animal labor in many countries. I think this label doesnt make sense as animal labor directly or indirectly affects every food and drink.


I bet plenty of people are harmed in the production of vegan foods. But who cares about that, we need to make sure we aren’t exploiting the bees or cows.


Don’t forget the billions of insects that are killed by pesticides in the conventional cultivation of grains, fruits, veggies, and legumes, as well as the rodents and amphibians that are killed by grain harvesting machines (though that number is often overstated).

Honestly, your calorie/death ratio is likely to be higher eating pasture-raised, grass-finished organic beef and organic fruits and veggies rather than grains (though eating conventionally raised beef would be much worse). That does get expensive though.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of veganism. But as you point out, it’s more an ideal than an actuality.


Chocolate is made by slavers. It’s a little known fact. Many of the cocoa farmers never even heard of chocolate and have no idea what the cocoa beans are used for.

Life requires death. Even if all you did was harvest grown foods like wheat, the machines accidentally kill many animals every year.


Your terminology seems counterproductive, due to its condescending tone. Superior nomenclature would be something more like Dietary Vegan vs. Ethical Vegan.

With that said, as an ethical vegan, you should know that when a company labels a product “vegan,” you can safely assume it’s the dietary variety. And you should also know that if a company offers an ethically vegan product, you absolutely will not have to ask. They will make sure you know.


Morality is subjective. I don’t consider the modifications we’ve made to be immoral and most religions and humanist philosophies have no restrictions against it.

Also, I’m not vegan. Just was answering his question.


I think the poster wanted to know if Soylent was Vegan, not your opinions on Veganism itself, so if you don’t have anything relative to the topic posted please don’t respond.


The question “is it vegan?” is totally legitimate. Defining veganism as anything that has anything to do with animals either directly or indirectly (oxen ploughing fields), is a more difficult question to answer.



I think it would be great if Rosa Labs could get Soylent certified vegan to put all their vegan costumers at ease


Thing is, that getting the product certified vegan would do nothing to satisfy the original poster here.



Why not? Certified Vegan is widely accepted among the Vegan community.


Because certifying vegan does not include the fact that fields are harvested using animal labour.



I’m not referring to the vegan community has a whole. I’m strictly thinking about this one case.



Vegan is a term created in the mid 1900s when the Vegan Society was created. The Vegan Society defines a vegan such that “A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals - no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example.” Any restrictions beyond that that a person might want to impose on themselves they are more than welcome to, but those restrictions are not Vegan-based.


While it’s true that there’s too much slavery still in the world (because any slavery is too much slavery), there are lots of cash crops being raised by slavers. I’m sure that includes cocoa. While most cocoa is not grown by slavers, and awful lot of it is grown by extremely poor subsistence farmers who, as you say, have never had the means to actually buy and taste chocolate.

There’s a wonderful video of subsistence farmers tasting chocolate for the first time in their lives; I highly recommend it:


One certainly does not have to force goats to eat weeds! They will do this quite happily without any strong-arming whatsoever.

I think that the average brush goat is probably a lot happier than a human being payed to do the same job. Humans are animals too, don’t forget.


Right, the original meaning of Veganism - as described by the people who coined the word - was to avoid the exploitation of “sentient animals.” Teh O.P. set out specific rule for their personal meaning - which includes not harming insects.

To dieticians and scientists, the term is simply “vegetarian,” and there’s just lots of leeway.

At the intersection of veganism and science, there’s gray area. For example, the algal oil in Soylent? It doesn’t not actually come from plants. Proper algae are plants. Algal oil comes from what we commonly call “blue-green algae,” which are technically called cyanobacteria, and bacteria, and therefore animals, not plants.

The problem is that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are not produced by plants. Plants don’t need them, and don’t produce them. Humans can produce a little bit of EPA from ALA, the omega-3 fatty acid generally produced in plants. EPA and DHA are high in marine fish, but the fish don’t produce it, either - it’s all coming from the cyanobacteria that are at the base of the food chain for marine life.

Bacteria are a tough gray area, though - they’re not just non-sentient, they don’t even have a nervous system, since they’re single-celled animals. I prefer to leave them out of the “vegan” equation; I think that makes more sense.