Vegan wages sticker war on supermarkets to guilt-trip shoppers!
A former meat-eater turned vegan activist is waging war on carnivores by slapping graphic stickers on food to guilt-trip shoppers out of buying meat – and wants supermarkets to install vegan-only aisles.
Marc Gurney, 31, began spamming his local supermarkets’ products with anti-meat stickers last Tuesday [JAN 3] in a guerilla campaign as part of ‘Veganuary’.
Meat products, including Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Cumberland sausages, were branded with stickers stating ‘By eating me you will cause another of my kind to be killed’.
Vegan items that Marc approved of were tagged with ‘This is vegan‘ stickers in a bid to draw attention to all the ‘accidentally vegan‘ options already available in stores.
However the food radicalist’s antics have been met with some criticism from other vegans who believe the stickers will just see the products binned – wasting animals’ lives.
But Marc believes his stickers could affect shoppers’ choices and hopes supermarkets will take note and provide aisles specifically dedicated to vegan-only products.
Marc, from Brighton, East Sussex, said: “This year I want to be more active. If it means I get into a bit of trouble every now and then I can cope with that.
“You only live once, you might as well fight for what you feel passionate about, so that’s what I’m doing with veganism.
“I really feel like this year there could be a big change. Already numbers are getting higher – the meat and dairy industries are becoming less consumed, and I really believe that it won’t be long before we’re all on a predominantly vegan diet.
“Some people were a bit angry. I understand that, and people are entitled to their own opinion.
“At the end of the day it’s good to have a bit of conflict because it starts new conversations, it challenges people.
“I’d rather them dispose a few packs of sausages if it means a few people go past and think ‘okay maybe this week I won’t eat sausages’ or ‘maybe I could actually cut out sausages’. It’s just planting the seed.”
Marc ate meat for the first 30 years of his life and only decided to quit after the untimely death of his pet cat Bunty, who had to be put down at just four years old.
The death of Bunty made Marc realise that ‘no animal should be harmed’ and after nine months being vegetarian, he became fully vegan a year ago.
Marc said: “I think it would be great if shops had aisles where they have ‘this is vegan‘. It would give it more prominence so people can actually see [the products].
“It’s a softer way of being active and more likely to entice people. I prefer that route personally because it’s not as aggressive.
“There’s a feeling that vegan is this expensive, fake meat or salad stuff, but it’s really not. Some things are accidentally vegan, such as Oreos.
“I’m quite a light activist. Usually I just like having conversations and making people nice meals, but sometimes I think it’s good to make a point. So I just seized the opportunity.
“I thought it’s January now, it’s Veganuary, and maybe this might entice some people.
“It might not – some people might look at it and think ‘ugh I hate this, it’s making me feel guilty, and I’m not ready to connect to it yet’, but I appreciate that.
“It might not – some people may look at it and think ‘ugh I hate this, it’s making me feel guilty, and I’m not ready to connect to it yet’, and I appreciate that.
“It’s about planting the seed and exposing what is really going on. I think we owe that to everyone.
“We have the power to do this in our country, in other countries for often political reasons it is more restricting. We need to take advantage of this.
“On a realistic scale, activism is not going to turn everyone vegan overnight and I think it will take a lot for even just 10% of the UK to stop buying animal products. But for change to happen we have to active and get the message out there
“Sometimes it’s trial and error. It doesn’t always work but it’s about trying different ways to tap into people.
“The benefits of being vegan are off the chart – it has a positive impact on the environment and so many health benefits, physically and mentally.
“I want people to think about how they communicate with their pets, for example, and compare them to the animals which typically get slaughtered for human consumption like cows and pigs for meat and sweets.
“Just think, would you actually eat your own animal? Why is it okay to kill one and not the other?”
However Marc’s actions have received mixed opinions from the rest of the vegan community, as some believe shoppers shouldn’t be ‘guilt-tripped’ out of eating meat.
Eili Craig, 20, who has a plant-based diet and lives in Brighton, said: “Initially I thought it was great that someone had taken the time to do something actively to fight for what they believe in but to me it seemed quite an ill-informed action to take.
“It’s just not the kind of thing I would have chosen and how I like to promote the cause of veganism.
“For me, it’s quite a difficult one in terms of sharing the message with strangers, and to be fair, I am not as active and vocal as the other person is, so fair play to them for taking that action.
“But for me it seems like quite a negative message and I don’t feel like much progress is ever really gained out of guilt tripping other people which is what I felt like the sticker was.”
Larna Pantrey-Mayer, a 32-year-old vegan college lecturer from London, said: “My first thought when I saw [the stickers] was irritation if I’m honest.
“As a vegan you spend so much of your time trying to fight against the stereotypical view that people have of this kale-waving hippy, throwing pints of red paint on fur coats, and lecturing people on what they should and shouldn’t be doing. And to be honest I think he completely and utterly fell into that stereotype.
“I think, long-term, for it to actually work you have to actually speak to people and have to practice what you preach rather than just preaching.
“I think that turning round and telling people that if they buy a dead animal then another animal is going to die is a little bit patronising for a start, and also infuriating.
“I think with the ‘this is vegan‘ sticker, it’s a positive message.”
Images of Marc’s stickers on sausages and supermarkets aisles circulated on social media, prompting numerous negative comments towards his campaign.
Vikki Ita said: “[The sausages with the sticker on] will probably end up in landfill now. For an animal to be slaughtered and then end up in landfill is pretty disgusting.”
Tegan Tallullah said: “I doubt this will change people’s minds to be honest. Activism works, but not this kind of activism.
“Meat eaters are always bitching to me about things like this and how it turns them off veganism. Much better to promote the most delicious vegan sausages rather than go the meat is murder route.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson pointed out that they generally find that customers prefer items to be grouped together by type of food rather than whether it vegan or not.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said “We always try to make our customers’ lives as easy as possible by grouping products together and clearly labelling our own-brand ranges.”
An Aldi spokesperson pointed out that they have a full list of products that are suitable for vegans available on its website.