Depending on who you speak to, the scandal over vegan magazine VegNews passing photos of meat off as vegan recipes is either a total outrage, or a distraction from the bigger picture. Given that the editors have now issued a full and frank apology, and are even laying out plans for the first vegan stock photography library, it would be fair to assume that the controversy will fade away. That is, at least, what Bruce Friedrich—VP of PETA—will be hoping, as he explains in his spirited defense of VegNews over at Huffington Post:
Most critically: Veganism is supposed to be about reducing suffering. How does attacking VegNews accomplish anything good? I can see how it harms animals (clearly), but what other than self-righteous self-satisfaction comes from attacking them?
VegNews has thrived as an independent magazine during a down economy and while masses of people migrate toward electronic media. The magazine has won numerous industry awards, and has given veganism both mainstream exposure and legitimacy like no other magazine in history. It operates in an industry that spends tens of thousands of dollars on photo shoots, where the use of stock photography is a common practice...
And, In a rather bizarre twist, it turns out that the photo of a "real" burger that prompted part of the outrage was actually a vegan patty, illustrating the publisher's point that food stylists often use non-representative ingredients to achieve their desired ends.
"Hell hath no fury like a vegan scorned", says Friedrich.
Whichever side of the debate you fall on, it seems fair to say that vegans and non-vegans alike should reserve the majority of their outrage for shocking footage of dairy calves being bludgeoned in the head, and legislative attempts to silece the activists who film them.