Friday, April 15, 2011

VegNews - Cheap and Deceitful.

It's been just about a month since my last post, I fail at blogging lately. I wish I was coming to you with some yummy noms but sadly I am here writing about "MeatGate 2011"

If you are a vegan and spend any time on the interwebs here in our little veganverse I am sure you have heard about how the always fantastic Quarry Girl brought to light the fact the VegNews has been using stock photos in their magazine. Stock photos, no big deal right? Well when they are photoshopping rib bones out of a hunk of meat to make you think you are looking at vegan spare ribs, that's a little fucked up...

VegNews supposedly prides themselves on being an ethical magazine and has only used these photos due to expenses. Bull shit. There has been talk that people who worked for VN voiced their concerns over using these non-vegan images and were promptly let go. Coincidence? There are tons and tons of vegan blogs and a lot of them have A-MA-ZING food photog skills and I am willing to bet that the majority of them would have been more than happy to test out a recipe and provide magazine worthy photos in exchange for a little cash or even just some credit or advertising. On iStockphoto a search for 'vegan' brings up 235 pages of images. Another site, canstockphoto, has over 9,000 images labeled 'vegan'. Sure, they aren't all great but there are vegan images out there. And soon thanks to the badass couple who run Food For Lovers we will have vegan stock photo where users upload their 100% vegan photos for the rest of the veganverse to use so long as they give the photographer credit. How friggen awesome is that?!

Not only was VegNews making us all think these were their own photos taken in-house but when they were called out on it they were deleting people's comments and brushing off the entire situation. Until they posted this laughable response. No apology, no remorse and no mention of if/how they are going to take steps to change how they use their photos. I have read HUNDREDS of responses all over the web on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, PPK and on VegNews and it seems like the majority of vegans are pissed and don't want anything to do with VN anymore. There are some though who sympathize with VN and are not upset, shocked, pissed or any other adjective I can use to describe how the vegan community is feeling and are choosing to stay loyal to the publication. To each their own but I am with the majority on this one.

How do you feel about MeatGate?


  1. I don't want to go around defending VegNews, but the "vegan" photos on iStockphotos are almost all pictures of fruits and vegetables, not faux meats and that sort of thing, and I imagine they also don't want to give the image to non-vegans that the only foods out there for vegans are fruits and vegetables. Maybe it says something else about veganism that pictures of (what we think) are mock meats and the like are so appealing to us...

    VegNews owes us a much, much better apology, though. And to agree to stop doing it.

  2. I totally agree that a lot of the photos are of fruits and veggies and stuff but there are other photos as well. has some pretty gorgeous pictures too and I am sure anyone who is submitting their photos to that site would be more than happy to let VN use them too.

    And yup, they definitely owe us more than that awful original response which wasn't an apology at all.

    Hopefully now with the huge uproar this has caused in the veg community they will realize they do have far better options than istock and other non-vegan shit.


  3. The pictures on are awesome, but it's a not a site you can just buy pictures from (you'd have to contact he individual photographer) and you wouldn't have any idea how high the resolution of the pictures are from that site (or even by clicking on the picture). You have to have a seriously high-resolution picture (not something you can get from even a really good point-and-shoot type digital camera) in order for it to translate well to print. Given the kind of deadlines they have in the magazine world, that's not entirely realistic.

    I think there are ways that all that could change- maybe a professional vegan photographer out there can set up a true vegan stock photo site (one that wouldn't require the purchaser to contact the individual photographer to ask about the actual resolution and other photo specs, ask for permission, negotiate a rate and fill out legal paperwork (which could take days), which is the only way it could presently be done using When VegNews started out, I'm betting that someone setting such a thing up wouldn't have even been an option, given the relative expense of digital photography equipment 10+ years ago. But times have changed, and maybe someone out there could take that on.

  4. We can dream!

    And I totally just realized you are from NE! <3

  5. I'm disappointed to learn of this. I just subscribed to VegNews a few weeks ago - haven't even received my first issue yet. I wouldn't have subscribed, had this come to light sooner. It says a lot about the true motives of the company. Pretty pictures that sell magazines are more important than the ethics behind a vegan lifestyle. Sad.

  6. Although, much out the outrage has been a bit hysterical, it is more than reasonable that vegans want to open their vegan lifestyle magazine and not see pictures of corpses. It is not hysterical for me to upset by the fact that I drooled over what I thought were vegan riblets but were actually pictures of a mutilated and abused pig served as food.

    Veg News has been very dismissive of these concerns and has failed to take responsibility of the intentional cover up of using non vegan photos, failed to apologize for using these photos, and failed to say the would STOP using those photos. Veg News use of non vegan stock photography has spread to the NYTimes and other publications and has now become an international embarrassment for vegans by reinforcing the false notion that vegan food is not good.

    When I found out this upsetting news, I did not grab my pitchfork but instead presumed that Veg News would be respectful of their readers and apologize and change their policy. That was all I needed to move on and continue to read the otherwise fabulous publication. Unfortunately, this has not happened. I am waiting for Veg New to issue an apology and to agree not to use pictures of dead animals in their magazine.

  7. VegNews had a table at the Worcester Veg Fest today. I didn't stop at it but I am wondering how many people brought the pictures up...