Mag admits to screw-up after beef with vegan blogger
April 19th, 2011
04:45 PM ET
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The nation’s leading vegetarian news and lifestyle magazine has admitted it “screwed up” by attempting to pass off meaty recipe photos as meatless in the pages of its magazine and online.

VegNews issued a mea culpa last week after a blogger outed the publication for using images of chicken and hamburgers from a royalty-free image service to illustrate recipes such as “veganized” Brunswick stew and “Magical Meatball Burgers.” The VegNews team defended its actions, attributing them to a lack of images of vegetarian dishes and the high costs associated with image-gathering, especially for an independent publication like VegNews.

This week, the magazine went a step further, vowing to never again let images of cooked animals carcasses grace its pages and promising to host a photo bank of vegan stock images.

“We screwed up,” a letter on its website to “the VegWeb community” begins. “With regard to our use of symbolic imagery in VegNews, our readers got it right. We wholeheartedly apologize. We assure you that we will never again use non-vegan photographs in VegNews.”

News of VegWeb’s transgression sparked heated debate as to whether their actions could ever been seen as justifiable. The post on compared images from iStockphoto and to illustrate the allegations; in perhaps the most egregious example, the post compared pictures of "Vegan Spare Ribs" and "Barbecue Ribs Dinner," pointing out where the bones were apparently edited out of the image.

Some came to VegNews’ defense while others, like the author of, said the VegNews’ “outright lack of respect… toward animals and vegans undermines everything we stand for.”

Others in the Twitterverse said the controversy exposed the need for a vegan stock image service – a need that VegNews has indicated a willingness to fill.

“VegNews will build and host a vegan photo bank to assure the availability of vegan stock images. Look for details in the coming days.”

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Filed under: Dietary Restrictions • Vegan • Vegetarian

soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. Clenbuterol

    obviously like however you need to test the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to tell the reality nevertheless I'll definitely come back again.

    December 1, 2011 at 7:01 am |
    • Punctuation Patrol@Clen

      Pot meet kettle. Your concern about other people's spelling has obliterated your ability to check your own punctuation. Get over yourself.

      December 1, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  2. Snorlax

    Every vegan I know is a complete and total retard. Every one of them.

    October 30, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  3. Veggiemike

    I'm a vegetarian and I don't give a **** if their picture has meat in it. I'm not eating the picture – although the picture is just composed of paper and ink which is likely vegetarian friendly.

    April 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  4. Observer

    Every vegan I know is a retard.
    Every one of them.
    Just sayin'

    April 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Rick

      Gosh, what an insightful comment. I am honored by your reasoning abilities. C word

      April 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  5. I hope vegans don't eat cereal

    In cereal or milk commercials, all milk (dairy, soy, coconut, etc) is actually PLAIN GLUE – it photographs better! And Beyonce wears a wig in all those Feria commercials. So the Eff what? This is why no one takes animal rights seriously – because PETA and other vegan activists get hype over the stupidest things. Pick your battles, people.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Rick

      What has this to do with cereal?

      April 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  6. #duh

    How have these comments moved to a English vs. Spanish discussion?

    April 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  7. some emo kid

    The veggie cake was a lie?

    April 20, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  8. #duh

    If they are running so low on pictures, why in god's name don't they cook the meal they have a recipe for and TAKE A PICTURE of it??
    ...and furthermore, WHO CARES?

    April 20, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  9. Frank Zappa

    Call any vegetable, and the chances are good . . .

    April 20, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  10. AleeD

    What's with people making harsh generalizations based on things not even said? There is too much crying over milk that hasn't been spilled. Live in the moment. Save your baggage for Delta.

    Not ALL vegans are militant & in-your-face preachers.
    Not ALL omnivores are insensitive, knuckle-dragging boors.

    April 20, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • some emo kid

      "Not ALL vegans are militant & in-your-face preachers." Name one.

      April 20, 2011 at 10:46 am |
      • Rick

        some emo kid: i am not a militant, nor an in your face preacher.

        April 20, 2011 at 11:06 am |
      • some emo kid

        Rick, I can actually name quite few myself; I was just cracking on him.

        April 20, 2011 at 11:55 am |
      • Rick

        I do find those who want to pigeonhole vegans as fanatics to be amusing. It is like they have never had a well made vegan meal. Oh well

        April 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
      • Rick

        I do find those who want to pigeonhole vegans as fanatics to be amusing.

        April 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  11. I support vegans

    It's weird that the very second a lot of meat eaters see the word "vegan," the immediately say, "Don't preach to me! Oh my God, God made animals for us to eat! Save the plants! Vegans are all pale anemics! Why do you vegans preach so much and act so high and mighty?" All because they saw the word "vegan."
    Why is it so threatening? The way most animals are slaughtered is truly disgusting, so if someone chooses to be a vegan, you could at least understand why and not get so "Oh my God, someone is trying to take my meat away from ME" about it. Most vegans don't preach and could care less what YOU eat, so why can't you just respect them back? Just show some respect for others' choices and stop posting all of your lame clichés about veganism, because it just makes you look defensive, like you know there is something good about veganism, and it is also disrespectful.

    April 20, 2011 at 5:19 am |
    • Rick

      good post. i agree

      April 20, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  12. Davis

    What a novel case of denial, Pierce. I agree with all your points, but lets be realistic...the history is interesting and accurate, but it's history. America, while not technically accurate, in context was correct. Spanish was once spoken throughout the America's and still remains so, but English is the strongest contender for a national language in the US, and regardless of who settled where when, the current borders of the US are lawful through conquest, purchase and settlement.

    Get with reality, fella.

    April 20, 2011 at 3:54 am |
  13. Nate

    Yes, be very proud of your Spanish heritage. Just ignore the fact that the Spanish committed possibly more atrocities against Native Americans than any other European group.

    April 20, 2011 at 3:13 am |
    • Bubba

      "any other European group" Aw, don't forget the French and English; they certainly got in a few stabs. The French thought up the idea of 'scalping,' for example.

      April 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  14. Gimme A Burger

    These vegan types make me laugh. If you're a vegan because of ethical reasons, why do you insist on thrusting your beliefs on the rest of us? I like to eat meat...juicy beef broiled, BBQ, sauteed, whatever. I don't ask others to eat what I eat and actually could give rat's a$$ what other people eat. Yet, vegans think they have the authority to preach to others. Take a leap chowder heads.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:58 am |
    • Rick

      Yet you seem to think that all vegans give a damn about what you stuff your face with

      April 20, 2011 at 4:43 am |
    • I support vegans

      Nobody is preaching to anybody. Did you read the article?

      April 20, 2011 at 5:13 am |
  15. dave

    Yeah!, shame on them for displaying delicious looking stew with beef or chicken....things one needs for a balanced diet and "genuine" carb intake. I'm appaled at the sight of meat that could coat your arteries after 70 years!! the nerve!.

    One thing I made note of is to avoid Vegas... especially the women.... they look like prisoners from Auschwitz and appear to have a green tint like ET. Give me an all American chick with curves and substance!! yayyy for meat!.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • some emo kid

      "Give me an all American chick " Get one yourself. What, are you ordering from the menu?

      April 20, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Laura

      I have never even seen an unhealthy looking vegan. However, I have seen plenty of obese, gray-skinned, obese 30 year old animal-eaters sucking down lipitor because they eat meat, which is unnatural for humans (natural herbavores) to do.

      October 30, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  16. Billy Bob

    Wow, this is really worth raising your blood pressure. But seriously, if God didn't want people to eat animals, why did HE make them out of meat, anyway?

    April 20, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • Charlie Horse

      Vegetables is what food eats.
      Q: What did one Vegan Cannibal say to the other Vegan Cannibal?

      April 20, 2011 at 2:04 am |
      • Billy Bob

        How the he11 can you have a Vegan Cannibal?

        April 20, 2011 at 2:05 am |
      • Charlie Horse

        That's right. I guess you've heard that one before.

        April 20, 2011 at 2:06 am |
  17. Beach Mama

    I've been a VegNews subscriber for years. I've noticed a decline in 'weighty' commentary and interesting articles in the past couple of years. I used to look forward to receiving VN but lately I've considered canceling my subscription . . . this may be the straw . . .

    Not to defend what VegNews did by using meat photos, (do they not have 8 thousands people who would LOVE to give them vegan photos?) but it is difficult to find non-copyrighted, photographs of vegan food on the web.

    BRAVO QuarryGirl for being the catalyst to bring about positive change! In all aspects of life we need MORE integrity NOT less. I'm truly disappointed in the way in which VN handled this issue.

    VN would do well to revamp the magazine to the more mature publication it once was a couple of years ago. One way to 'grow up' and show maturity is to take full responsibility when you screw up. I don't see true apology reflected in the letter to the "VegNews Community".

    It is completely appropriate to address QuarryGirl directly for bringing this issue to light. Your letter is a partial apology at best. VegNews needs to step-up and do the right thing if they want the respect of a mature readership.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  18. pierce

    Pork chops are so filling. Mmmmm. I will sleep gud tonite, vegan dears.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • Laura

      why are you so so obsessed with attacking vegans. feeling guilty? or sickly?

      October 30, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  19. pierce

    And when you say America, remember that America covers everything from Canada down south to the tip of South America, plus much of the caribbean. So dont go appropriating that word for a little portion of North America and a tinier portion of both continents, that is to say, the Americas.

    Study your history. Study your geography. Study your shifting borders before you hold forth on what is "ours" and what is "theirs."
    The place is no longer for those who would wear powdered wigs and rode connestogas and talked like John Wayne. There is 30,000 years history of indigenous Americans here and there will be 30,000 more years of the indigenous in the Americas.
    Only we in the U.S. will be a tiny portion of the economic engine of the future.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  20. EMM

    I think they are just flat out lying due to lack of appeal. Apparently they can't just take a snapshot of whatever their vegan recipes produce, probably because they look disgusting.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Laura

      actually, i can guarantee every single thing VEGAN item I cook looks and tastes better than every single thing you cook.

      October 30, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
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