Why I disagree with censorship on Bleat, the vegan social network

The founders of Bleat are threatening to delete any posts encouraging vegetarianism or the use of animal products on the brand-new vegan social network. While I certainly don’t promote vegetarianism or animal exploitation, I strongly disagree with this proposed censorship.

A couple of U.K. vegans launched Bleat on May 1. On May 4, the website posted this bulletin:

We have had a couple of posts brought to our attention today that are clearly promoting vegetarianism. Bleat is NOT the place to be promoting vegetarianism and you can read more about our reasoning for this here.

We are going to be monitoring this situation very closely and reserve the right to remove any posts that we believe are promoting the consumption of animals or animal derived products.

Now, it’s great that Bleat is clear about being a place by and for vegans. But what’s the point of inviting vegetarians and omnivores to join this social network, if its admins are going to erase their posts? Why not just encourage users, if they feel so inclined, to down-vote vegetarian (and beegan) posts and—even better—comment on them?

Most vegans were vegetarians or omnivores at some point. It took education and dialogue, not dismissal, for many of us to make the change.

Look, I’m tired of “vegan” restaurants serving cow’s milk and bee pollen, bloggers posting “vegan” recipes containing honey, and books pushing a part-time “vegan” diet too. I get that there’s confusion out there.

But it’s difficult to see how Bleat is going to achieve its goal of promoting a “positive vegan lifestyle” if its founders are going to be policing users’ posts. Indeed, this move will probably just serve to reinforce some people’s misconceptions about vegans—and that’s surely negative.

If you disagree with censorship on Bleat, please consider rebleating and up-voting this post.

You can follow Stephen Hui on Bleat.

5 thoughts on “Why I disagree with censorship on Bleat, the vegan social network

  1. I don’t agree with you. At all. I think it is important for people to understand a watered down mindset of Veganism is not appropriate in certain venues. Bleat appears to one of them. There are tons of internet accessible options. local and worldwide organizations that offer a range of vegan, vegetarian, transitioning etc.

    It further saddens me that you attacked Bleat for standing by its values, ones you say you are in alignment with. I live in the same city you live in. I may frequent establishments you frequent. You know as well as I do that there is a wide range of accepting venues when it comes to folks transitioning, on the fence, curious etc

    Leave Bleat alone! celebrate that there is one less watered down version. We need them! After all, you became Vegan without being hand held didn’t you? I know I did. While I accept that everyone has their own journey on the road to a 100% plant based diet as well as how they practice that belief system; that would most certainly include “Bleats” website and their opinions. I would no more dream of writing to you on your blog and saying publicly that you promote a “unhealthy processed oil and fat laden vegan diet on your blog” and take you for task for that in a public forum, than you should have with them.

    A VERY disappointing commentary Stephen!

    • Hi Linden:

      If you think I promote an “unhealthy processed oil and fat laden vegan diet” or have any other criticisms of my blog, I have no problem with you saying so in the comment section here or on social media. After all, this site (which is in no way a health site) is meant to be read by the public and, therefore, can be discussed in public.

      If Bleat can’t be discussed on another vegan site, that’s sad.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion.

      • My point exactly!Your blog is not a Health Site, so why would I take you to task for promoting unhealthy albeit Vegan food? It isnt appropriate! ANYMORE than BLEAT should allow posts from vegetarians with animal based content that do not adhere to a vegan diet/lifestyle. It’s a Vegan site! Its not a Vegetarian /Vegan Site. Discuss and debate to your hearts content but frankly, I’m still left shaking my head

  2. Hey, Mike from Bleat here. Thanks for this post. We are by no means censoring vegetarian issues and fully intend to leave things open to debate as much as possible. I personally have seen many debates happening around the consumption of animal derived products, such as honey and I think it’s only a positive thing. However, we will not be allowing people to upload recipes that include any animal derived products, we will not be allowing posts promoting National Vegetarian Week and we would delete any post promoting a product that contained a non-vegan ingredient. Part of the reason we have developed the voting system is so that Matthew and I don’t have to do much moderation. We just felt it was necessary after deleting our first post, to let people know that what was going on.

  3. I think it’s good that Bleat doesn’t allow the promotion of the consumption of eggs or dairy, because those animal products cause just as much suffering to chickens and cows as meat does.

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