• RANT: VegNews is putting the MEAT into vegan issues

    April 13th, 2011mr meanerrants

    UPDATE 4/18/11: VegNews has finally apologized and changed their policy!

    UPDATE 4/15/11: Someone left an unsubstantiated comment claiming the burger image we used earlier was vegetarian. I’ve replaced the photo with another real beef burger, as seen on VegNews.com.

    Do you like looking at pictures of meat? How about a juicy beef burger, covered in egg mayonnaise with cow fat dripping off? Perhaps some soft, meaty chunks of chicken breast in chicken stock and cream? What about a pork sausage, oozing in pig fat, fresh from the slaughterhouse? OK, let’s tone it down a little. Perhaps you like to look at egg mayonnaise potato salad, made with eggs from those poor battery hens that are dead basically from the moment they are born. How about creamy mac and cheese made with real cow’s milk, pulled painfully from their sore and tender udders, infused with antibiotics, pain and anguish?

    If so, you can find all this in the nation’s premier print and online vegan magazine, VegNews. Surprised? Shocked? Read on…

    real meat ribs have bones removed with photoshop to appear vegan

    We’ve always been fans of VegNews, since back in the mid-2000s when we’d wait with bated breath for the US Mail to deliver our copy. We’d eagerly flip through, reading all about the latest veg stuff, salivating over the amazing pictures, trying out a vegan recipe, and maybe even discovering a restaurant in our home town through one of their reviews.

    it’s sad, then, that the pictures we’ve been drooling over for years are actually of MEAT! Veg News has written tens (possibly hundreds) of articles extolling the virtues of a vegan lifestyle, while purchasing rock-bottom priced stock photos of MEAT, EGGS, DAIRY and other completely non-vegan things. You doubt this? See below:

    stock photo of real meat ribs. a doctored photo of this appears on veg news.

    We started searching for more examples of Veg News using meat photos next to “drool-worthy vegan recipes,” and the results were disturbing…

    The vegan burger?

    non vegan burger on veg news

    Not vegan at all!

    a real meat burger on a stock photo site, as seen on vegnews.com

    keywords for photos found on vegnews.com

    The soul satisfying seitan stew?

    Veg News "seitan stew"

    It’s actually a picture of “chicken breast soup”!

    Get your barf bags ready!

    Oh, and it’s not just the website! We spot checked some photos from the magazine, and every single one was made from real animal products…

    Real mac and cheese

    According to istock, this hotdog is real meat! Flipping the photo doesn't fool us!

    "Veganize it!" (very apt)

    So, we’ve established that there are many, many pictures of MEAT in both the VegNews print magazine, and online. Why does this matter? After all, a picture is just a picture, right? Unfortunately, this situation exposes a clear issue with the editorial integrity of Veg News. They are KNOWINGLY publishing misleading pictures of MEAT dishes, and passing them off as vegan. If they will stoop that low (and appear to have been doing so for years) what else can we not trust about this erstwhile publication?

    Let’s look at the events of today that we think implicate a much deeper editorial issue, and in our opinion discredit not only everything Veg News is doing, but everything they have done. Here’s how it went down:

    One of our readers emailed to say that he had noticed a photograph on the home page of VegNews.com that was from istockphoto.com, an inexpensive royalty-free photography vendor. He recognized the photo as being a real MEAT beef burger and immediately, emailed them and left a comment on the post saying that the burger was meat rather than vegan, expecting to be thanked for doing them a favor.

    Minutes later, his comment mysteriously disappeared. So he left another, which was also deleted. He emailed again, and got this response:

    “Thank you for your interest in VegNews. However, your inappropriate and mean-spirited commenting has violated the policy of VegNews, and we have and will continue to remove any future comments. Please know that we welcome constructive criticism from all viewpoints, and rarely unpublish comments from readers.

    Should you have any constructive feedback, feel free to email me directly. I’d love to hear from you.”

    We investigated the “policy” from a link on the home page, and were directed here. We didn’t see any reference to comments that called out meat pictures, so we left a very nice comment: “just want to let you know that this burger is not vegan. It’s a stock photo of a real beef burger” on the same post. Twenty minutes later, this comment was also deleted.

    Our conclusion, therefore, is that VegNews has serious editorial integrity issues, and cannot be trusted. Indeed, we’re mailing back our award tomorrow. This is a very sad day.

    Finally, how does this harm animals? Well, not directly – I mean, cows, pigs, chickens and who knows what else were clearly killed as part of the chain of events that led to the photo, but the laziness and outright lack of respect from Veg News toward animals and vegans undermines everything we stand for.

    Animal suffering is prolonged and made worse enough by hypocritical meat eaters who never want to see inside the slaughterhouse just as it is by people in our community who deceive and lie. The devil within is much worse than the devil outside.

    ** UPDATE: Many of you are asking us how you can cancel your Veg News subscription. If you’re sure you want to do this, the “policies” page above gives the following information. Feel free to cancel, as we did.

    ….if you are dissatisfied with VegNews for any reason, you are welcome to a subscription refund at any time. Simply call us at 760-291-1546, or send us an email at vegnews@pcspublink.com.

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745 responses to “RANT: VegNews is putting the MEAT into vegan issues” RSS icon

  • this just in from our reader source. sickening!

    More photos:

    (I have friends working on this too, now.)

    1) http://vegnews.com/web/articles/page.do?pageId=1772&catId=8

    2) http://vegnews.com/web/articles/page.do?pageId=2633&catId=8

    3) http://vegnews.com/web/articles/page.do?pageId=268&catId=2

    4) http://vegnews.com/web/articles/page.do?pageId=2037&catId=10

    5) http://vegnews.com/web/articles/page.do?pageId=2276&catId=7

    6) Old newsletter: http://www.vegnews.com/web/uploads/asset/2486/file/VegNewsletter.July.2010.html#recipe
    iStock: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-4056255-barbeque-ribs-dinner.php?st=28cc100

    7) Old cover: http://vegnews.myshopify.com/collections/back-issues/products/september-october-2010-75
    iStock: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-8728289-sliced-margerita-pizza.php?st=5ab9a18

    8) And the double whammy:
    Online: http://vegnews.com/web/articles/page.do?pageId=2956&catId=2
    Cover (!): http://vegnews.myshopify.com/collections/back-issues/products/september-october-2009-69
    Getty: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/82879153/The-Image-Bank

    They use so many iStock photos, and I checked iStock’s license agreement. As of January, all purchased photos used for editorial purposes are supposed to have a credit. I certainly didn’t see any photo credits. Maybe because that would tip readers off to the fact that they’re using meat-filled stock photography?

    From the license: “you may not: use the Content for editorial purposes without including the following credit adjacent to the Content or in audio/visual production credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Artist’s Member Name”

  • Ugh. Fucking vile, and lazy to boot.

  • yup! i can indeed confirm this. i was briefly the copy editor for vegnews (hi, guys!) and pointed out in my editing that the photographs were not vegan. i didn’t last very long there. wonder why?

  • stunned!! and fascinated! will rethink renewing my subscription.

  • I feel so sick inside. Put all my veg news magazines in the recycle pile. Such deception that I can’t think straight.

  • Well, this is the same magazine that licks the assholes of any celeb it can get a picture of. I swear Emily Deschanel or Ellen have a “feature” every-other month. Not too surprising.

    As a magazine, each month it goes straight from my mailbox to the pile of 5-minute-flips planted next to my toilet.

  • Even putting aside the meat vs. vegan issue (not that it’s unimportant!), I don’t want to be buying a food magazine that uses stock photography to illustrate completed recipes. Personally, I look at the photo as being a visual guide to what I can expect my own completed dish to look like if I follow the instructions.

    There’s a big difference between using a stock photo of a single ingredient (say, a tomato), and using a photograph of diced baby sheep to illustrate what my vegan shepherd’s pie should look like when I take it out of the oven.

  • That is some serious bullsh*t if you ask me. Thanks for the info, though it saddens me greatly…

  • I let my subscription lapse and I’ll not be renewing it after reading this. Thanks for the info. @VegNews = @DishonestNews

    Just think – they can’t delete these posts!!

  • wow that is some crazy stuff! horrible, and gross of them!

  • That’s fucking gross. I’m glad I didn’t renew my subscription.

  • this is really sad, it is not surprising that they would be cutting corners to save money, but it is disgusting that they are censoring comments when they are caught. Hopefully they will do the right thing, stop using pictures of dead animal food and apologize for censoring people who rightly called them out.

  • very disappointing.

  • very disappointing. 🙁

  • That’s really disappointing. What vegan doesn’t take pictures of their food?? Does this mean they don’t even try any of the recipes they print??

  • that’s so fucked up!

  • You should see their e-newsletters with recipes. The photos they use aren’t even close to the food they describe.

    Fortunately it’s not Playboy – I don’t buy it for the pictures. It’s a shame, though, considering how many awesome vegan photographers there are who would probably love to shoot for VN.

  • fucking vile.

  • Holy shit! I still hold out hope that this is an April Fool’s joke! Come to think of it, I have never have had any luck with their recipes (except Robin Robertson’s – I wonder what she has to say about this?). Seriously, after several fails at reproducing their published recipes in years past (and the magazine version rarely matches the online version,)I just stopped trying. I only continued my subscription because I thought I was supporting a vegan company!

  • they were pushing it with those hand drawn illustrations of ellen degeneres, biz stone, etc in the “best of 2011” issue. istockphoto? strictly from a design standpoint this is garbage…

  • Thanks so much QG! I love that you have the courage to hold EVERY vegan business accountable for its actions–I think it’s so important to remember that not everyone is into veganism for the animals, some just in it solely for profit (read: VegNews).

    I think the most disappointing thing here is that VegNews would not only use boring-ass iStock images on their flat-as-hell website, but would stoop so low as to use it on the COVER OF THE MAGAZINE.

    Coming from a journalistic background, I can say with full authority that magazine’s that deign to use STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY on their covers are the cheapest, least dynamic publications. It just shows a lack of respect and dedication for the final product and for the readers. Also, a well-shot cover photo wouldn’t run the magazine more than $1,000 per issue, and since this is a magazine that is only released six times per year, that makes it all the more embarrassing/offensive. Sigh. Time to cancel my subscription and forward this article to all my veg friends.

  • Saw a link to this on my twitter feed. I’m not vegan, but this is really upsetting to me. It goes against the whole reason that VegNews exists. It’s like some kind of sick irony. I feel so bad for everyone who subscribes to this magazine and who know has to deal with this. It’d be like someone feeding you meat for years and ‘forgetting’ to tell you or something. Gah!

    And like Anna said, when I look at pictures of food in magazines or websites, I figure that it’s a professional photo of what the dish is supposed to literally look like (in a perfect world where martha stewart cooked it and food stylists have agonized over every crumb and parsley flake and paid a photographer a zillion dollars to photograph it). It’s not only false advertising, but just really vile. And to not even credit the source on top of it! So unprofessional and deceitful.

  • Wow, pretty incredible that no one has spotted this before.. I am very upset. I enjoyed that magazine. I hope they re-think that lazy decision of using photos of meat.. till then, bye bye subscription.

  • I edited the 2009 Sept + Oct issue, “The Big Food Issue.” Tacos on the cover are NOT vegan, and my concerns went unheard. That was the second to last issue I ever edited for them. They never even bothered to fire me – I had to ask them via email several times if I still worked there or not before I finally got a response saying they wanted a “better fit” for the magazine.

  • I agree completely with Anna. I always figured they used stock photos for basic things (like tomatoes) and for hard to get shots (ariel shots of famous places), but I still wondered if photos you’d think they’d take themselves were also stock photos. It’s kind of like false advertising to be using a stock photo to represent a recipe your are highlighting. Very dishonest and upsetting. And is it that hard to ask a vegan restaurant to send you a picture of their food when you write about them instead of putting up a dead cow?

  • …Holy shit, seriously? A “better fit” as in…someone who would just sit there and let them do whatever the fuck with the magazine even if it was completely lying to their readers?

    Ugh, ugh!

  • So disappointing! I echo the other comments that it is really deceptive to show pictures to go with recipes that are not of the actual recipe.

    Wrong on so many different levels. I hope Veg News can see the back lash from this and clean their act up.

    PS – totally agree, I had no idea there were vegans that did not take pictures of their food! I can’t imagine cooking without a camera!

  • This is pretty freaking appalling. I just got received my digital copy of the magazine today and was SO excited about the Korean taco recipe and all the bowls of ramen but now I’m looking at them, thinking that they probably all have meat in them.

    Wtf, and here we’re trying to be honest, compassionate people by going vegan and then we can’t even have a publication that was MADE FOR US do the same. It’s very upsetting and smacks of horrible laziness. The magazine only comes out 6 times a year, why can’t they take some actual pictures? I echo the sentiments of previous comments – why couldn’t they take their own pictures? Did they not try out any of these recipes beforehand?

    A million wtfs could not be nearly enough for this situation.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Oh gosh, I didn’t know about any of this 🙁

  • Disgraceful.

  • i agree!

  • VegNews should take this opportunity to completely revamp their magazine. You don’t need professional photographers, look no further than this blog and what was done on To Live and Eat in LA. Always great pictures and they are REAL!

    I just think that a recipe featured in a magazine should have a real picture of the actual, completed meal being prepared. Though this does explain why some of the recipes i tried to make from the magazine looked nothing like what was pictured.

  • As we promote the vegan diet we should not be so quick to devour the flesh of these people. True, they should not have panicked and pulled the remarks, but don’t give up your long dedicated vegan lifestyle and start eating these people.

    It is amazing how quickly all of you so called lovers of health and animals have not given this company the benefit of the doubt.

    What if one person is in charge of photos and no one else knew?
    What if they are genuinely sorry? Have any of you ever done something stupid?

    Your right they should advertise correctly, but you should stop professing to be a vegan while eating human flesh.

  • Thank you for bringing this to our attention. So it might be cheaper for them to get images through an iStockphoto subscription, but for them to try and keep this quiet tells me that they have no integrity. Isn’t that what being vegan is also about? Shame on you VegNews.

  • Seeing that people have tried to point this out before and have been silenced makes this even more appalling. They had their chance to fix the mistake when it was pointed out.

    Even worse than lazy, it’s irresponsible and misleading.

    I am glad there are people out there making this sort of stuff public!

  • So disgusted by this. I left two diff messages on the FB page and they were instantly deleted….I mean instantly. Thanks quarry girl but so sorry they feel the need to lie!

  • I am a conscientious vegan and I am not interested in devouring ANY kind of flesh. Interesting that you are so quick to judge US. To that vein, I sent an e-mail to VegNews asking for clarification/explanation/whatever BEFORE I cancel my subscription and request a refund.

    It will be interesting to see if they reply. Doubtful.

  • Eating human flesh? You are nuts. There’s clear evidence of long-term and systematic deception here. Read the post. See the pictures.

  • Stephen,

    As a former VegNews intern I can tell you that this magazine doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. Everyone involved in its production is fully aware of the “meat and dairy photo policy” and they actively encourage their art director and interns to search for pictures of meat and dairy foods to masquerade as pictures of vegan food.

    It took me along time to accept that VegNews is not an ethical business, despite promoting an ethical lifestyle. It’s depressing and unfortunate, but sadly it’s all true.

  • ^seriously?! Look, this is how things work. I’m all for giving those the benefit of the doubt but in all honesty, don’t confuse suspending judgment with being a sucker. VegNews is a business and I have always held them high and with respect as being OUR publication, but this is pretty crappy and it’s NOT out of line to expect a vegetarian publication to publish vegetarian photos. Not to mention to use stock photos of MEAT and pass them off as soy and seitan!

    Get real, this is what happens when a business does wrong by their customers; those customers complain and leave! VegNews has several courses of action they can take, but I think it’s clear that the majority of vegetarians/vegans would prefer an honest and real approach and actual photos that did NOT contain meat.

  • I think the actions of Veg News is speaking loudly. It isn’t a panicked reaction if they continue to react the same way over and over again.

    Also – People are not eating the Veg News people’s flesh, they are just making it known (loudly) that these actions won’t be tolerated by the community they serve.

    Benefit of the doubt was given when people emailed and commented on the issue. Blatent disregard was shown when it was ignored.

    If everyone just stayed quiet and gave them the benefit of the doubt, they likely wouldn’t change their ways. Sometimes, you have to be loud to be heard!

  • Thanks for bringing this to our attention! I don’t like being misled in such a weird way. I’ll be discontinuing my subscription.

  • Talk about horrible deceit and lack of editorial integrity. Are the people running it even vegetarian?? Or was it some bright idea of a meat eater to exploit vegetarians and trick them. I hope they go DOWN!!!

  • SO glad someone is finally calling them on this!

  • QG,
    I love that your award was for investigative journalism. Guess they don’t respect the truth like you do.

  • I honestly can’t believe they are so stupid to have used istock and not think eventually people would find out. I’m posting your article and tweeting it and whatever else. So tired of people trying to get away by cheating!!! Especially when that takes more effort than just being honest and good dang it!

    Is there a plan for getting the word out or letting them know they’ve been found out??

  • They spelled “committed” wrong on their policy page which they directed you to … this might mean they do not know the meaning of the word.

  • Wow! That is LOW of them. Thank you so much for bringing this to light.

  • I thought my posts on their FB page were being deleted, but then I realized I needed to click on the “most recent” link. there’s lots of posts there from all of us.

  • Wow! What BS. I use photos like anyone else to determine whether or not I want to make the recipe! If it isn’t a picture of the actual food… that is utterly unfair!

  • Mike in Chicago

    It’s clearly disappointing that Vegnews would use stock photos that show images of non-vegan food while passing it off ad vegan.

    However I really can’t seem to get my patented “Vegan Outrage-O-Meter” to do more than a 2.3-3.1 reading. -shrug-

    Is it screwed up that they’ve done this? Yes.
    Are there 10-Million other things more worthy of our attention? Yes.

    I have hope that VegNews will change their policy.

    I have ZERO hope that PETA will change their much worse policies.


  • Yuck! I am so disheartened by this. 🙁

  • What assholes (and I’m not talking about the primary ingredient of hot dogs either) would do this? So gutted.

  • What. the. eff. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Disgusting and completely unnecessary. Compromising ethics to cut corners. Thank goodness for all the great vegan bloggers who post pics of REAL vegan food.

  • this shit ain’t good. money goes to the stick photography company, which pays it to the photographer who buys meat to take photos of. it’s contributing to animal death. plain an simple.

  • I’ve suspected as much for years. though the meat part didn’t occur to me. for example how did they get their quiche to look so eggy? or why does an ingredient listed in the recipe not appear in the picture? once they even had a stock photo on their magazine cover with a super piecrusty looking round thing w/ onions on it. but the actual recipe said to just use crusty bread, which would never in a million years look like pie crusty puff pastry. which annoyed be because I bought the issue for that reason. the meat part is just gross. what was worse was when it seemed like they were taking recipes that were invented by a blogger and then calling them their own. they only did this twice that I know of, but really, how lame is that? especially for a magazine that acts like they are sooooo cool.

  • I’m a creative director and just noticed something utterly appalling. If you compare the two pics from #6, you’ll see that they CLEARLY photoshopped out the bones in the ribs, in order to pass them off as “vegan.”

    I’m tossing all my old issues right now.

  • I just want to say that while I have been greatly saddened by their choice in stock images, not all of the photos are non-vegan. At the very least, I have shot a number of photos for VegNews, and my always for my column.

  • You ROCK Quarry Girl!!! Now the rest of the world know what people in our Vegan Group discovered several months ago.. VegNews has zero Vegan integrity! The truth shall set you free….

  • that is beyond fucked. hats off to you, QG.

  • I have to say in the past I have been a bit suspicious at things like the ice cream and such but even the recipe photos being fake? That is a real fraud, because it should be OF the recipe! The whole thing is just in bad taste. VegNews really needs to address this ASAP and vow to change.

  • I’ve always thought there was something weird with VegNews’ photos! There were times when the pictured item just didn’t seem to match the listed ingredients in a recipe. I always figured to cut them a little slack on the occasional cookie recipe… But a BURGER–shit. This is ridiculous and completely unethical! I hope they’re having a major freak-out in the VegNews offices right now. They’re going to have to do some major ass-kissing and make amends quick (like that’s even possible) if they expect to keep any readers at all. Good bye VegNews!

  • youareaveganretard

    You are all sick. stock photography is industry standard. Thanks for trying to ruin another vegan source. you should be so proud to “break” such a story. If an independently owned and family operated magazine could afford a photo shoot after every recipe they would. Its not laziness or deceit. You are all just a bunch of nimrods. Think of all the good this magazine does sitting on the shelves of safeways in nebraska. You think a nebraska mom is reading quarrygirl? you just did animals a disservice. I hope you are all proud. I am embarrassed and disgusted to be associated with you all.

  • That’s a bit of a stretch. I’m more upset over being deceived. It’s fraudulent, plain and simple.

  • Dude, no wonder people hate us. Look at us! How catty and ridiculous is this? Vegans turning on other vegans is actually what is disheartening here.

    I had this conversation earlier with someone else over the whole Natalie Portman thing. Even though my initial reaction over anyone consuming animal product is pure disgust, I pause and remember, everyone is doing the best they can. Natalie still doesn’t eat meat. VegNews, in content, if not in pictures, promotes the awesomeness of a vegan lifestyle.

    The other day I was so proud of my friend because she started to have a vegan meal a week. ONE VEGAN MEAL A WEEK. Yes, I’m excited, you know why? Because it’s better than nothing!

    So please, everyone keep acting the way they expect us to. We’re never gonna get anything done this way. Focus the energy into some action for animals not lame ass complaints over some magazine.

  • Just unacceptable.
    Thanks for the info QG and speaking out so forcefully about it.
    Unfortunately VegNews is a sponsor of Vida Vegan Con (August 26-28, 2011 in Portland, OR).
    Maybe someone in the area could organize a demonstration outside the event to alert attendees…?

  • Oh FFS! I am not going to repeat the username above me talking about Nebraska because I find the choice of username to be extremely disablist, but…

    Most people want to get what they pay for. If we step aside from the gross ethical and integrity violations of this situation, we can focus on the ridiculous amount of false representation occurring.

    I have purchased Veg News in the past under the assumption that everything purported to be vegan was vegan. I would never in a million years knowingly by a vegan recipe accompanied by a picture of a murdered animal. Call me fussy, but it just isn’t my thing.

    Veg News, like all publishers, should offer readers truth in journalism. I put in a lot of hours each week to hopefully produce a somewhat informative and entertaining blog. Everything I write about is accompanied by photos I took. I don’t charge people to look at it but I still attempt to maintain journalistic integrity.

    Veg News have screwed up big time. From many angles… but the biggest way is by misrepresenting the content of their magazine to their core market and then trying to cover it up. Frankly vulgar.

  • oh please give me a break. Who cares what photos they use? Its the message thats important, theyre spreading veg knowledge, who cares about a photo? Here you go again bashing another veg company that only has good intentions.
    yall need to get off your high horses and remember what really matters. please get over yourself

  • I suggested that those of you cancelling or not renewing your subscriptions consider giving that money to The Vegetarian Resource Group instead. Their magazine isn’t at all glossy or star-studded like VN, but the news is solid & interesting, and the recipes are plentiful.


  • Stock photography may be industry standard. Is lying industry standard? When you put a photo by a recipe, you are saying, hey, this is what it will look like after you make the recipe.

    If VegNews was not trying to deceive the vegan community, why would it delete the comments of people who pointed out it was stock photography? Unless it felt that it had something to hide, and didn’t want to admit that it was putting pictures of meat next to its vegan recipes.

  • The point isn’t that they’re doing the best they can (and I have extreme doubts that they really are — it’s that hard to test out the recipe and then snap a photo of it?). The point is deceiving / misleading their readers.

    It’s like the whole Green Leaves thing — you could argue, well, at least they’re vegetarian. Great. Better than nothing. But that’s not why I boycott them — it’s ’cause they LIED about being vegan.

  • Awesome work! Many vegans fear the truth and do little to show the wrongs of other vegans. We need to keep our beliefs and integrity wether it be through our diet, lifestyle, or who we pay to get a job done. Vegans need to keep their dollars in other vegan’s pockets as much as possible.

  • What. The. Hell. Beyond disappointed.

  • Don’t piss on my face and tell me it’s raining – ya know?

  • Ok all the people that are defending VegNews need to shut the fuck up. Seriously. Through the “good” that you say VegNews is doing, the bottom line is that they are deceiving people. Businesses shouldn’t be fucking businesses if they run on deception-and to save a dollar?! I could test the recipes and shoot a photo with my iPhone and send it to them, free of fucking charge.
    They could’ve made their own damn photos of the real dish too and responded appropriately to the past criticism shown above.
    Your claims of vegans being too extreme and whatnot are uncalled for as what ethical vegans do is EXPOSE THE TRUTH, just as QG has done here and by the way- this takes balls to do. So shut the fuck up, stop being whiney. This is something that has become painfully obvious and you’re the idiot if you’re defending deception like this.

  • QuarryGirl,

    I’m sorry that one of my first official comments here has to be over a big controversy!

    I just wanted to say that, while I’m also sharing your disappointment at this revelation and hope/expect VegNews to address it, I have to echo Hannah’s comment above that not all of the photos are stock. I’ve photographed the vast majority of my column. And stock photos are indeed a magazine industry standard. That doesn’t change the choice of non-vegan photos, which is naturally the real issue here, but I do feel that it’s a practice that would be acceptable if the choice of images were to change.

    VegNews does a tremendous amount of good within our vegan community, and so it’s my hope that a considered response from them will help to satisfy our concerns/disappointment, and allow them to continue doing the overwhelmingly positive work they do.


  • Oh — and the reason I’m sorry that this is one of my first comments is because I’m a longtime reader and fan, and wish I’d have chimed in sooner about tasty food 🙂 Thanks for what you do!

  • There are so many amazing vegan bloggers out there that take real pictures of their food. If they can do that, why not Veg News? It’s downright lazy and misleading. Sad.

  • anonasaurusrex

    Are you serious? This is an extremely low budget magazine. You’re fooling yourself if you think any low budget magazine doesn’t use majority stock photos, and since veganism is still kind of a fringe diet, it’s not likely they can find stock photos of vegan food. I assume you’re all for spreading this diet, but now you’re actively trying to get people to unsubscribe to put the only vegan magazine out there out of business (a magazine which many people credit for being what brought them to veganism), which if you know anything about magazines, subscriptions are their bread and butter and without them, they don’t exist.

    Whoever it is that claims to be a creative director, whether it’s the author of the article or someone in the comments (I saw it somewhere and don’t have time to skim back to find it), you should know how expensive photography is and how hard it is for a magazine of this size to afford to commission a photograph for every article.

  • I’m stunned. The news about VN will certainly piss off a lot of vegans (myself included) but will also give extra fodder (ammunition) for non-vegans.

    I can just hear it now, “Vegan food tastes like crap, even the leading vegan magazine has to use meat pictures to make it look good.”

    This hurts the vegan movement, people who aren’t associated with VN will lose credibility as a result of their actions.

    I seriously hope that they immediately reevaluate their policies and address this with their readers and (possibly former) supporters.

  • Wow, I feel like such a chump.

    And, like my wife points out: The opposition now has the ammunition to say that not only does our food taste like shit, but it looks like shit too – otherwise our leading magazine wouldn’t resort to faking vegan food photos.

  • Wow, you beat me by like 4 minutes. Get out of my head!

  • wowowowowow

    I wouldn’t fully believe it until I found one for MYSELF. And I did. Page 68 of the NEW VegNews shows a “vegan cream pie” ..it’s actually a non-vegan coconut cream pie found here: http://bitly.net/evRajE


    So horrible.

    Seriously, VN hire me or Quarry Girl to take ur photos. Because this STINKS.

  • anonasaurusrex,

    “which if you know anything about magazines, subscriptions are their bread and butter and without them, they don’t exist.”

    The “bread and butter” of magazines (and print journalism in general) is hardly subscriptions, but that’s a charming, bygone idea. The real money comes from the advertising—-that’s what most magazines live and die by. Not subscriptions.

    With that said, MANY “low-budget” magazines use custom photography; it’s not as ridiculously expensive as you seem to think, especially considering that VegNews is only released SIX TIMES PER YEAR, and that is is based in a city (San Francisco) with endless freelance photographer and vegetarian resources.

    I still maintain that the most disappointing part of all of this though is the meat photos. The photoshopping ribs out of an animal so that vegans would drool over it. It really makes me feel sick to my stomach and pisses me off. And all those people who are found veganism through VegNews.. what do you think THIS says to them about veganism?

    Also, the magazine’s competition, Vegetarian Times, is a MONTHLY and it has its photos custom shot, and really. I’m sure its budget isn’t so much greater than VegNews–considering that the latter could stop hosting four international trips a year, and instead, hire a fucking vegan photographer.

  • Ha, sorry! Great minds… 🙂

  • Stock photography might be an “industry standard” for LAZY magazines, but you’d be hard pressed to find a well-made magazine that uses it. Sure, the in-flight magazine you read on the plane, that’s folded between oxygen mask instructions and a barf bag, probably uses stock images. You can’t say the same for creditable magazines, with the one exception being GETTY IMAGES of CELEBRITIES. that is the only place that I can understand purchasing images for. Anything else is simply lazy and embarrassing, and no food magazine worth its, ahem, salt would do that.

    Also, if it’s a choice made out of budget constraints, than perhaps VegNews could stop hosting four international trips a year, or and instead, hire a fucking vegan photographer. Seriously, they are first a magazine, and priority one should always be to improve the magazine in every way they can. Maybe when they were younger stock was all that the could afford. I promise you that is no longer the case, and according to QG, the magazine used a stock photo of CHEESE PIZZA on its cover four issues ago, in September/October.

    Just so disappointing and unnecessary. I would like my money back. Now.

  • This is so disheartening and upsetting, to have a company promoting an ethical lifestyle with such unethical practices. I could understand if they were unaware, but they obviously know and continue to deceive readers.

    Did they really think this would never get out? I mean, I can’t fathom they would do this for the sheer fear of people finding out? It’s really not that much trouble to pay some freelance photographers to make a vegan meal and take photos of it. I don’t speak for all readers, but I’d rather much have a shitty photo of a vegan meal than a beautiful photo of meat products.

  • I am shocked by this! Mostly because when you see a recipe for something, the picture accompanying it I always assume is the finished product! I mean I’m trying to make what I make look like that photo! What BS.

  • Also, when VegNews pays for those particular stock photos of dead animals they’re paying money into animal abuse.

    It’s the law of supply and demand. Buying pictures of dead animals isn’t much different than buying the dead animals themselves.

  • Where is the compassion here?

    I’ve never worked for VegNews but have shared the excitement and enthusiasm for the magazine that you mentioned. I agree that their editor has made some poor choices when choosing photographs, but does that make the magazine worthy of this type of hatred? Consider the amount of good information provided by the magazine, and the amount of omnivores and vegetarians positively influenced. That equates to lives saved. Whether the photos are truly of vegan foods or not pales in comparison to animal lives saved and improved by the words accompanying those photos. Rather than spread all this hatred and urge people to cancel their subscriptions, why not start a campaign urging VegNews to use their own photos rather than stock ones? Call it vegan journalistic integrity, and help the one mainstream print magazine we all share continue to save lives more ethically.

    Share your compassion with all animals – including the human ones. Especially those human ones that may be trying to make vegan food look familiar and tasty to non-vegans so that they can take the leap into our world.

  • Wow, this is kind of shocking. And I wanted to contribute to this magazine. Do they use stock photos for the contributors recipes? That just seems messed up. Do any of the regular contributors want to speak up besides Gena? I’m pretty speechless. This must mean they don’t make any of the recipes they publish.

  • By paying for stock photos of dead animals they are creating a demand.

    They are, by this, paying for animal abuse and I hold them in the same regard as any other animal abuser.

  • The worst thing about this is not that they cheated and used stock photography (yes, it’s misleading but hardly the end of the world), but the way they accused the reader who pointed it out of being “inappropriate and mean-spirited” and continued to remove his comments. Disgraceful. If they had nothing to be ashamed of they should have come right out and explained why they use stock photography.

  • Wow. Wow. Wow.

    I love(d) VegNews. And now…


    Forget about compassion. Why should I have compassion for their magazine when they obviously don’t have compassion for their readers? Call me naive, but this is genuinely surprising.

  • Really disappointing. I will not be purchasing this magazine ever again. Someone should pass this info onto Whole Foods and other natural foods retailers that carry the magazine.

    Thanks QG!

  • I’ve been posting it to the facebook walls of their advertisers.

    You know, companies with actual vegan ethics like Daiya and Gardein – not to mention their big money animal protection group advertisers.

    Screw VegNews!

  • I have to agree… I honestly would rather see a lower quality photo with poor lighting and shadows – of an actual vegan meal – even if it didn’t look extremely appetizing, it would increase the integrity and believability of the article and recipe…

    By the same token I know what it’s like to work for a publication, they don’t actually have kitchens so there is a cost involved… It would be really easy and cheap though to assign an employee the task of cooking and taking the photos as they write the story.

  • How does VegNews’ use of meat-dairy-egg pictures actually hurt animals? Because they spent a few bucks on buying a picture?

    What’s really hurting animals is the continued consumption of millions of Americans buying animal products every single day. Focus your time and energy on them, because it’s hurting an astronomically higher number of animals. These millions of people that are supporting animal slaughter *do not care* about VegNews’ pictures. Period.

  • Leave it to PETA to brush animal abuse under the rug.

  • Rob,

    I totally agree with you about extending compassion to humans just as we do to animals, which is why I’m more outraged by the way that VegNews responded to reader concerns by deleting comments and trying to censor readers from learning about their meat photos. It’s like, they can’t have it both ways, you know? They can’t use the “sorry guys, we’re just a low-budget magazine trying to save the world!” excuse when they choose not to pay vegan photographers to photograph vegan food, but then act like a big, evil media conglomerate and censor readers when they raise questions.

    I think VegNews should just have responded to the upset reader comments with a simple, compassionate explanation, instead of making their readers feel like their ethical dilemma with the magazine was annoying dissent that needed to be silenced.

    What this tells me is that while I might WANT to believe that VegNews is truly “doing its best,” it’s really doing what it has to do to draw in readers–even if that means making vegans salivate over animal flesh.

    Case in point: they use the same photos of meat on their website over and over again. For a story about veggie dogs, they’ll use a photo of a real hot dog. Then weeks later, if there’s a hot dog recall, they use the SAME picture. So are readers suppose to say “gimme!” to the “veggie dog” story and “eweh disgusting outrageous!” to the recall story? Just so unethical, and honestly, so unnecessary.

  • This is totally unacceptable and I feel completely deceived. You don’t have to have a photo to accompany a recipe, but a visual does help you know what your completed dish should look like. If you don’t have a photo of the actual recipe, don’t publish a photo. Simple as that!

    Also, a “photoshoot” is not necessary for a recipe photo. Many vegan bloggers take excellent photos at home in their kitchen. So I don’t think it would be too much for a staff member to try the recipe and take a photo.

  • I am totally sickened by this!! I feel duped and deceived. I’ve often wondered why the recipes I made from the mag didn’t look like the pics and have noticed on a few occasions that the ingredients didn’t match the pics. So disgusting! I remember staring at the cover of the Food Issue with the pizza on the cover wondering what vegan cheese melts like that, not being able to figure it out and this whole time it’s a fake!! Ugh!!

  • great example of TinEyE Power 😛

  • Matt – What about PETA? I do not work for PETA – maybe you’re confused with Dan Mathews. Sorry, not him. (Last name is Menden).

    Your response didn’t address the serious issue I brought up.

  • My apologies, then. Posting as “Dan M.” is a Dan-Matthews-Thing.

    Regardless, I’m disagreeing with you on this – *any* amount of animal abuse is too much, especially for a magazing touting itself as a leading authority on a compassionate and cruelty free lifestyle.

    And, the way I see it, paying people who take pictures of dead animals is just the same as buying the flesh and taking the pictures yourself. The money is creating a demand.

    Let’s also not forget that VegNews has been doing this for years and years. That’s a lot of photos – a lot money in the pockets of people who think “meat photos = income” now.

  • Hey all,

    It looks like VegWeb, VegNews’ sister site, is also now censoring fan comments and deleting reader posts:


    I guess it’s not surprising, but man. You think at this point VegNews would quit silencing its readers and respond.

  • Hopefully this isn’t veganasaurus…. That is insane that you are defending the magazine. True it is more expensive to have custom photography done but that is the name of the game when it comes to vegan cooking and food. We all go the extra mile, as vegans, to spend more money, often times, making sure that what we do has a positive impact on animals. How does the vegnews magazine’s use of meat stock photos have a positive impact in any way? Sure it may not be as deplorable as eating meat or wearing fur. It is misleading to those of us who are readers and it changes what light we view the magazine. If anyone should understand, it would be a vegan.

  • Hey!!! How are you? Hope you are well! ♥

    I am SO GLAD that the truth is coming out too!

  • You know what REALLY blows? I got the new issue in the mail 2 days ago and Will Potter’s got a VERY IMPORTANT article in there that a lot of people aren’t going to see now that VegNews has been exposed for their bullshit.

    That sucks – I’d wager a guess that a lot of the general vegan public doesn’t know about the US crucifying animal activists as “terrorists” in order to silence first amendment activity – and Potter’s article would have opened a lot of eyes.

    His blog is here: http://www.greenisthenewred.com

  • Agreed.

  • Very, very sad.
    With our little nascent non-profit, we realize that the mere appearance of impropriety can be worse than the impropriety itself. Thank you for posting this.

  • As a graphic designer, in the issue of low budget there are a couple (obvious) solutions:

    1. No Photos. How many awesome vegan books exist that have no photos? Almost all that I own! Stock photos are okay for non-food items or food items that are indeed vegan such as, a tomato.

    2. Amateur photos. I snap photos of our meals nightly for our blog. Are they awesome? Sometimes. Mostly not. Does the food still look amazing? Yep. I have many non-vegans using our recipes now! There is NO excuse here.

    It’s beyond unethical to have vegans drooling at images of meat. Additionally, it’s unethical to put meat in a vegan magazine. Also, it’s unethical to not credit a photographer and not to mention illegal. This is beyond idiotic.

  • the sad thing too is that there are so so many food bloggers who take ACTUAL pics of their ACTUAL dishes who would LOVE to be featured with their recipes, of REAL VEGAN FOOD! this is really cheap. unless it’s changed and addressed properly, why would I want to renew?

  • One question I haven’t seen raised…how do we know that the “meat dishes” in the stock photos is even actually meat, or even real food? I mean, that’s the assumption, obviously, but can this even be verified?

    Food stylists use all kinds of fakery to create their photos. Glue is used to stand in for milk. Motor oil for gravy. What if it came out that the “food” in these photos was actually synthetic plastic — the point is, we don’t know, but we’re responding as if we do.

    I was stunned when I heard about this, but my outrage just makes me question why I’m outraged. If I’m angry about being lied to, or VegNews misrepresenting their recipes in their photos, then if I want to avoid being a hypocrite I must also be angry at any use of professionally styled food photos in any context, even if the food is authentically vegan. It’s all lies, so what makes this lie more lie-y than the other lies?

  • I guess I’m confused that you’re calling for people to unsubscribe to one of the only successful veg magazines out there because they used stock photos of meat… yet you give rave reviews to restaurants that cook and sell meat, because they might have a handful of vegan options.

    It just seems a bit strange to try and boycott VegNews, but then turn around and direct readers to the awesome vegan delights that you can consume while sitting one table away from someone gnawing on a pork rib.

  • Well! “Fuck me running”

    It is quite obvious that VegNews is definitely industry standard. They are Liars, Frauds, and Cheaters…always profit before principle because thats all that matters. How hard is it to take a FUCKING picture! If they have to stoop that low to deceive someone over a picture is utterly sick. To the FULL BLOWN RETARDS who keep yelling ” industry standards” meat is industry standard and vegans are the exception to the rule and VegNews should be also.

  • Your defending of it makes no sense! It is a VEGAN magazine. It is a high standard that you have to carry when you have that title. We are toughest on our own kind because they should know better. Vegnews has to realize that is why we are all pissed.

  • I 100% agree. I generally use the photo to compare my meal prep with … this is so disturbing!@

  • actually i bet many more people will read the issue, looking for stock photos they hadn’t noticed before. they’ll just be cancelling their subscription afterward.

  • As always QG thank you.

    For all you defending the use of these photos, what if Time magazine just put a bunch of photos from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and called it the 2011 Japan earthquake? It’s just poor journalism and any magazine as reputable as VegNews should be held to a higher standard of reporting.

  • Dan,

    Vegans cannot divert energy to both. Vegnews is causing readers to drool over meat… for many of us we feel disgusted with ourselves as if we ate meat. It’s heinous.

    By supporting stock photos of meat we are supporting people taking photos of dead animals and publishing it as vegan. I believe that is an animal rights issue.

    Thanks for trying to smooth over a situation that cannot be smoothed over… you fail.

  • I’ve always known their photos were terrible and often not an accurate depiction of the recipe or PRODUCT they are speaking of, but stock photos of animal products? LOW.

  • They never said to cancel a subscription or to boycott the magazine. That’s your subconscious telling you what you should really do.

  • Ed,

    Good points. I still can’t help but be disgusted that VegNews PHOTOSHOPPED bones out of a picture of ribs and printed it in their magazine and on their website as a picture of VEGAN FOOD.

    Maybe it was plastic to begin with, maybe it wasn’t real animal flesh and bone. They still took the cheapest, most unethical route to get the photo they needed. I hope, for their sakes, whoever had to photoshop those ribs had a good vomit after doing so. Because that shit is just vile.

  • I completely agree! If I am following a recipe from your magazine/site/etc, I’d like to know what I should expect it to look like at the end. If there’s no photos of the actual completed recipe, how do I know that the recipe even will turn out well?! I’m sure they could even ask readers to test out recipes and take photos, there’s more than enough people willing to take a few photos of the completed recipes. Appalling!

  • I can’t believe there are people defending this! It’s sort of like defending PeTA for being sexist, racist, and ableist because the message is important. No message is so important that you should be unethical in making it.

    We can’t get a vegan world without first being ethical in what we do. There are gray lines out there (e.g. thrifted clothes when you’re poor), but this really isn’t one of them. I liked how one person likened it to “looking at a nudie magazine and then being told that the model was underage.” Lying to people that this is what the recipes should look like, and are actually pictures of dead animals… now that is clearly unethical and not vegan! Sure, use stock photography for vegetables or places or what not, but not of prepared food (Especially ones with recipes! No wonder they never came out right!).

    I understand, print magazines are hardly surviving. Photography is expensive. In my line of work (libraries) we have to use unpaid volunteers to get stuff done but should honestly be done by someone getting paid to do it. Seriously, there are so many photo obsessed vegans with food blogs who would be happy to test recipes and take pictures for you. For free w/ credit! Think how much buy-in you would get from the community?

    I definitely suggest firing a few people, hiring a few new people, rebrand, and get some community buy in to help out. You can use this or you will lose everything, Veg News.

  • Quarrygirl;

    Thanks for bringing this issue to our attention.

    I read VegNews when it came out. I enjoyed the material in their regular columns, but was bored out of my skull with the restaurant reviews in cities I probably wouldn’t visit and huge articles on the weddings of the vegan glitterati. In other words, it became the People Magazine of vegan insiders.

    Every once in a while when they did have an exceptionally good article I would be frustrated that I could not talk to be people about it because VegNews wouldn’t put it online.

    If they did, that might encourage more people to become subscribers.

    This latest issue just gives me another reason not to bother to check my newstand for their magazine.

  • I shot a number of photos for them as well. And I wasn’t paid for them. So they pay for stock photos of meat but won’t pay for actual vegan ones?

  • Just why? I really don’t get it. There are so many great photos of vegan food out there – just take a look at foodgawker or tastespotting on any given day and you’ll find a stack of amazing dishes photographed beautifully. I’m totally baffled but it leads me back to something said in Skinny Bitch – trust no-one!

  • They aren’t selling meat, or providing anyone who photographed actual meat with profit.

    If anything they are selling vegan food by making it look appealing with crisp, clear photos.

    This might all be the work of some lazy photo editor or intern who realistically others in the magazine may not even know did this.

    Seriously, don’t we have bigger (pardon the non vegan pun) fish to fry? This “expose” is incredibly dramatic for no reason and the knee jerk reactionary boycotter’s are comical at best.

  • i started a post on the vegweb forums as well, and it has also been deleted. so much for open discussions!

  • Tara,

    I disagree. I don’t think that holding a business that claims the highest ethical standards accountable for a professionally unethical practice dramatic. I call it smart and discerning.

    Also, while it’s obviously an unverified claim, several commenters on this thread have claimed to formally work for VegNews, and their comments reveal that these photo choices were not made by a lazy art director or misguided interns, but made and approved by the editors and publishers.

    I just don’t see how the ethics of this are justified, let alone the magazine’s blatant censoring of its fans and readers who merely want answers. They’re not helping themselves out here.

  • Oh and people? Slamming VegNews as “retarded”? You’re denigrating people who are retarded.

  • Vegans are not outcasts who shouldn’t be able to go out & eat with their friends any more than someone else with special dietary needs (like gluten intolerance) should avoid social situations. We don’t hide out with the curtains drawn & withdraw from life.

    What we review with mainstream restaurants is their ability to adapt & accommodate our needs, not how well they grill the bbq ribs at the next table. Can they adapt? Can they be flexible without insults or better yet, without hiding non-vegan ingredients in our food??

    I don’t want to see a picture of a finished recipe that isn’t the actual dish. So many of us take photos for our blogs (for free!) because we care about our work. Why not expect that minimum from them, as well?

  • The vegan community is kinda like show business in that everyone kinda knows each other. In other words, just about every vegan is gonna read about this injustice before long and be shocked by it. I can’t imagine that a magazine like VegNews can afford to lose a high percentage of its subscribers and survive, so this likely will mean the end of this magazine due to financial difficulties. Furthermore, they could very well be looking at a class action lawsuit here for defrauding their paying subscribers: there certainly was an implied contract that the photographs which subscribers were paying to receive in their magazine would be meat-free. What arrogant fools to think they could get away with this. Stick a fork in VegNews, they’re done.

  • Quarrygirl does not advertise the restaurant as being vegan if it is not. Vegnews does and that’s the clear distinction. It’s a good thing to support businesses who offer vegan options as supply and demand are extremely important to the vegan community. Is it gross to have someone eating meat next to you? Of course. But it’s also nice to be able to eat out from time to time. Also, Quarrygirl exposes supposed vegan restaurants that are not vegan. Don’t attack her, she’s just doing her job in being a great vegan advocate and journalist.

    Also to end on an ironic note, in the last Vegnews issue they apologized for including an advertisement with a full image that was not vegan. Check it out for yourself.

  • I am bummed that they did this, but let’s take a deep breath and look at the larger picture here. VegNews started out a little more than a decade ago as an 8-page newspaper run by two ardent vegans who wanted to make a positive difference in the world. Since then, it has grown to a rich, popular magazine that is, in my humble opinion, on par with any just about any food publication. Through its distribution into in the most popular bookstores and the checkout lanes of hundreds of high-end supermarkets, it has become a wonderful ambassador and voice for the vegan community and lifestyle. They’ve done this all on a shoestring budget, and have always managed to look a lot bigger than they really are.

    A photo from I-stock costs probably about $10-15 at the volume they use. To stage the same photo, even with a staff photographer and food stylist, would be several times more expensive (I’ve been an art director for decades, and I can tell you that high end food photography is much more difficult than you would think. You can’t just take a magazine quality photograph on your I-Phone using ambient light). I’m guessing it’s a corner they felt they could cut that would free up money that could be spent elsewhere to make the magazine better. I know they’re not getting rich from this.

    I do believe that VegNews should invest in a staff photographer, stylist and some great lighting, and after all the heat they take for this, I would expect that they will.

    Encourage them to make things right, but please don’t set out to destroy an such a noble and important member of our community. I can’t see what any of us have to gain if VegNews goes away.

  • I was just thinking…aren’t VegNews and VegWeb connected?? An entire website of recipes and PHOTOS of vegan food!
    Couldn’t they at least steal photos from there?!

  • If anything they are selling vegan food by making it look appealing with crisp, clear photos.

    Let me fix that for you:

    If anything they aren’t selling vegan food by making it look ridiculous with muddy, obvious Photoshop clone stamping.

  • Okay… let’s have some perspective here. Of course this was a stupid call, but instead of ruining their business, why don’t you just get everyone to call them out on it? Let’s have some grace here. Nobody is perfect. I will keep buying vegnews because I believe in their cause, and I don’t want their business to go under…. think of all the good they have done. I think we all should just write letters to the editor giving them a timeline to change the photos b4 they lose our business. If we believe in compassion for animals, why don’t we have some for people too?

  • Exactly. Now, I know VegNews probably has a lower budget than some of the bigger magazines, but the omni cooking magazines employ food artists/set dressers to make and plate the actual recipes featured in the magazine. Of course it takes more time, effort and money, but the result is that these magazines, such as Food and Wine, Bon Appetit and Gourmet, have great respect in the food and cooking industry as a whole. It’s an issue of integrity.

  • Gwen,

    I agree with you that we should treat each other with the same compassion we have for animals.

    I just don’t think that by deleting reader comments and silencing their fans that VegNews is giving its readers much of an option? I didn’t read anywhere in QG’s article where she encourages people to cancel subscriptions or not subscribe, simply that she will be doing so herself.

    I think that VegNews needs to respond to their readers and apologize for censoring their totally legitimate complaints. That’s just so unprofessional and unacceptable. Why should my hard-earned dollars and time support a company that doesn’t respect my right to opinions? Left unchecked, who knows how unscrupulous a company they could become.

  • it’s not unusual for a magazine to use stock photos, no. but more like in the case of a health article saying “eat more spinach” and showing a photo of spinach. that’s fine. but when a magazine says “here try this recipe” and shows a photo that is NOT the finished product of that recipe it is not a true representation of what that recipe will look like when you make it. it’s misleading and lazy.
    the issue isn’t as much that these photos aren’t of vegan food as it’s about a bunch of people feeling let down by a magazine they trusted.

    for what it’s worth food stock photos are just wasteful all around. they’re usually not photos of an actual meal someone enjoyed, it’s staged, and they use chemicals and artificial ingredients to make things look more vibrant and juicy than the real thing. oh the meat is real, but it’s probably covered in dyes and lacquers. so not only is it not vegan but it was also probably thrown out as soon as the shoot was finished, because it’s totally inedible.

  • To everyone who sent emails to VegNews about this, I think we should also contact their advertisers to let them know about this and ask them to pull their advertising. This type of pressure may result in VegNews changing their ways.

    I became suspicious of their photos in the March/April 2011 issue because the photo of borek didn’t match the recipe. Thanks to quarrygirl.com I just found it on istockphoto: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-14577407-b-rek-on-white-plate-home-made-pastry.php?st=d73d866

    Absolutely despicable.

  • People defending VegNews are defending lies. I don’t want to look at pics of dead animals in a veg magazine. Hello??!!

  • Also, I REALLY REALLY HOPE that VegNews’ ultimate response to this shitstorm isn’t, “We don’t relish having to use pictures of animal flesh to represent vegan food, but we’re just a poor, independent magazine trying to save the world!”

    Oh, I’m sorry, are you? http://www.vegnews.com/web/articles/page.do?pageId=2418&catId=6

    Or are you spending money left and right on non-essential brand-building and promotions instead of spending that money where you should: On printing an ethical, honest vegan magazine that could, if you fucking did it correctly, do so much more good in the world. I am incredulous at their total lack of ethics and greedy, unapologetic stance on censoring their fans and passing off animal flesh as “delicious, mouth-watering veg eats!”


  • I agree. My last intention is to put these guys out of business-I just want a change and an apology for deleting the comments and trying to be deceptive about the issue itself! Very unethical and unprofessional.

  • Here is another one, by the way. I’m not all that surprised because I had noticed that the pictures with the recipes are often not the right pictures. But I’m disgusted.

    Cheese biscuits:



  • I understand what you mean. It sounds like a lot of the comments left on their site have been emotional rather than logical. Their response was exactly the same.

    Although people here are feeling deceived, has anyone stopped to question what the magazine would stand to gain by deliberately using meat photos? VegNews is run by vegans, just like us, who are counting their dollars, just like us. They’re likely trying to save some money by using stock photos. The argument that we’re somehow offended by a picture of a veggie dog that wasn’t a veggie dog is the same as us complaining that the veggie dogs we eat aren’t actually hot dogs – something isn’t what it appears to be. To that I say SO WHAT?

    If anyone here has been to a great vegan restaurant you know that vegan food CAN look like their crappy meat counterparts. Most of the time it looks BETTER, because it IS better. Not all of our food looks like homemade hummus, and not all photographs of vegan food should look like that either. If we want more omnivores and vegetarians to be attracted to our food, we had better make it look attractive to them.

    Will a recipe look different if you use spelt flour or teff flour? Will it look different if you use olive oil or avocado oil? Will it look different if you use ground beef or TVP crumbles? No! So what possible difference does it make what is in the photo? The really truly important differences are in the recipes, not the photos.

  • actually they’re not the only veg magazine out there.. and even if they found vegan stock photos i’d be disappointed. when you look at a recipe in a magazine you expect the picture associated with it to be of that dish, when you make it and it looks nothing like the photo you feel like you messed up.
    i don’t disagree with using stock photos for certain things, but for recipes it’s not right.

    a while back a friend and i were looking into starting a small mag, and we planned on testing every recipe and using photos of the finished product in our own kitchens. our concept was to prove that vegan cooking isn’t as hard as people think, we’re not chefs and look, we can do it, and so can you.
    plus you can improvise much of the lighting and shading equipment from stuff you have in your home or can pick up at a garage sale. it’s not that difficult. they didn’t look like professional staged photos but that wasn’t what we wanted them to look like anyways, it’s too impersonal for the type of mag we were going for

  • Shocking! I have often studied the photos in the magazine and thought, wow, that vegan quiche looks so amazing! Or that mac n cheese looks incredibly creamy…and then made that recipe because of the way the photo looked. Can’t believe they’ve been deceiving readers like that. Hoping Veg News steps up to the plate with a statement & apology because this is going to spread across the vegan community like wildfire and their magazine is going to take a giant hit otherwise. However, I think most of us would be forgiving if they humble themselves and proceed in an ethical manner. Thank you for posting this!

  • EXACTLY. Doctoring the photo to obscure the bones is what cinched it for me. It’s one thing to be cheap – it’s another to actively deceive.

  • I think it’s a good point that some of us subscribed because we thought we were supporting a vegan company, and they can’t even support vegan photographers.

    I am not a professional photographer or a professional chef, but I love food and cooking, and I love to share what I’ve created (for free!).

    I agree with the folks who don’t like attempting recipes without a picture, so I don’t post anything without a picture. Yes, there are many recipes that end up tasting a lot better than my photos can express (and vice versa), but photos of completed recipes are just a given these days.

    And I agree that it’s deceptive to pass off an unrelated photo as a completed recipe.

  • I am very upset by this news as well. I was just reading my latest copy last night, too, and planning new recipes to try. I’ve shared the link with everyone of my Facebook friends, encouraging them to write to the editors.

    Furthermore, I think we should all start writing to the authors that regularly contribute a column to VegNews, whom themselves also are authors, bloggers, and journalists. Perhaps appealing to these authors will set something in motion. Since our own comments are censored and blown off by VegNews, perhaps the voices of their column writers won’t be ignored.

    Being a vegan brings me great peace when I know that what I eat never intentionally harmed another being. Some of that peace is taken away from me now that I know I’ve planned meals by oohing and ahhing over photos of foods that contained dead animals. It’s very hypocritical, and furthermore is not educational in that the recipes are not properly illustrated.

    I realize that it may be more expensive to hire photographers, but honestly, there is so much talent and goodness in the vegan population that I’m sure they would have no problem calling for volunteers to test recipes and provide high quality photos.

    I am wondering, does anyone know if Vegetarian Times is using stock photos as well? I still subscribe to their magazine because they have increased their vegan recipes and have many that are easily veganized.

  • Wow. I’m new veganism, and I have learned a lot- both from VN and from other vegan bloggers. The first issue I ever picked up was “99 things you must do”. My whole intention of switching to a vegan lifestyle was so I can feel confident that I am living an ethical and kind lifestyle. How is using stock photos of animal products which required the death and suffering of a living being in a vegan magazine ethical (not to mention not crediting the photographer)? How is censoring the very people that support them kind? I’m glad I did not subscribe yet. Instead, I will continue supporting the various vegan bloggers that I have come to enjoy.

  • Can’t they be sued as a magazine that publishes recipes or food reviews are misrepresenting something as vegan when it is not.

    I guarantee it takes longer to photoshop an image of ribs than find a picture of vegan product.

    What must be happening is the art director requires images above X by Y pixels, so they can’t find those publication quality images on the internets, so they use stock.

    They also can’t even make vegan pancakes.


    Getty image:
    (formerly here: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/90441821 )

  • I don’t understand why everyone’s so up in arms about this. I used to eat meat and yes, it does taste good, but I was willing to forgo that pleasure for the greater good. If sexing up vegan food a bit is a crime, then we’re all guilty – who hasn’t boasted to their meat eater friends that vegan food is varied and interesting when we all know the reality is we’re severely limiting our enjoyment of food. Let’s face it, our cause needs all the help it can get, and if that means photoshopping out a few bones, who cares? Get real folks!

  • I just called them and talked to Rachel. She said she was getting other phone calls about this but didn’t know much just yet and where she can look to see the comparisons. I told her about this blog and to read the comments on the VegNews Facebook page and she can see a lot there. She told me I can call the publisher Joe at 415-642-6397 ext 111 or Colleen at ext 102.

  • Great work. Must be a rough morning today at the VegNews office.

    I wonder if you will receive another investigative journalism award from VegNews for it!

  • Thanks for the enlightenment Quarry Girl!

    Ironically, I also believe they are exaggerated their advertising rates based on the number of impressions their online component gets. I’ve checked many reputable sources and the numbers just don’t add up to what they give you in the rate card (I was considering advertising with them).

    So, not only are the cheating readers with a fake vegetarian pictorial, I believe they are cheating these, vegan, ethical advertisers as well.

    I plan to take my online advertising needs to a new vegan ad network called Veganblognetwork.com.

    There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan food photos that are either 1. free or 2. low of charge.

    VegNews has been in business long enough to invest in what’s right to bring their readers an honest experience.

  • didn’t vegnews give you an award for your work op pancake? that makes this whole thing even worse and more hypocritical of them.

  • Dan’s right.

    These photos are meant to make vegan food more attractive, especially to the 99% of Americans who aren’t vegan yet. People look at these photos and think “maybe I’ll try that vegan recipe.” Who knows how many people have tried vegan food for the first time and are now enjoying it regularly as a result of this magazine.

    We all “drooled over these photos” assuming they were vegan. No one knew they weren’t until the illusion was ruined. It would have been far more constructive to put more effort into working with the magazine than trying to ruin it by portraying it as some kind of villain. VegNews are vegans, like us, trying to save a buck, and we all enjoyed them until now. Think of these as bad high school photos and move on. The photos aren’t harming anyone. Yes, it would have been nice to use different photos. These attractive, professional food photos are helping inspire people to try vegan cooking, and that’s a good thing.

  • If you want to see and share some HONEST non-profit veg info (unfortunately, no photos, but no dead animals either!),

    check out

    Eco-Eating at http://www.brook.com/veg

    The Vegetarian Mitzvah at http://www.brook.com/jveg

    Food for Thought—and Action at http://www.brook.com/food

  • Since VN was purchased earlier this month by Murdoch’s News Corp I’ve had internal turmoil over my desire to keep my VN subscription. Maybe there will be a cash infusion from the folks who own FOX News and The Wall Street Journal that makes the mag even better… or maybe the mag will become even less ethics-oriented in exchange for a more profitable strategy. Regardless of the outcome, I’m not naive; I know that the goal of most (all?) businesses is to make money… but how sad that a mag targeted to a readership of ethical vegans could behave so unethically in their deception and their blatant attempts to silence those who bring the deception to light.

  • I kind of agree with Mike from Chicago. This doesn’t seem to get my hair raised.

    I am not so offended by what they did, though I can see why most people can, I am more offended by their response.

    I think that the response is more inappropriate than the photos. Additionally, I am in agreement with the person who asked if the pictures were of real meat. Have you ever gone to a high end restaurant and they had a tray of their desserts, but they are fake (though need to look appealing or whats the point)? This can be similar.

    I do think that it is bad for them to deceive but it might not be real meat. Anyway, I wish they would just come clean and explain it. It would go a long way to put it behind them!

  • Passing off photos of meat as photos of vegetables and then deleting the comments of your paying subscribers who point out the discrepancy is the same as claiming that vegan food is interesting? You might be the stupidest person I’ve ever seen leave a comment on the Internet and that is saying something.

  • Are the editors of VegNews not even vegetarians? And if they ARE vegetarians, more’s the pity…. Sure glad I haven’t bought a copy of this publication in ages! I used to when it was new, but it quickly began to seem like basically just an expensive fluff magazine sold in an expensive market (Whole Foods….), so I stopped. Can’t imagine why anyone would subscribe to it now. Mega-applause for Mr. Meaner and Quarrygirl for this very informative rant! (I only wish I could say I was SURPRISED by what was revealed.)

  • Excellent point! Professional food photos have all the qualities that glossy print magazines look for, but there sure are some fantastic vegan food blogs with great photos. I’ll bet VegNews could work with some of those sites for both recipes and photos!

  • Excellent point Cortney.

  • Herbivore,

    I disagree with you that vegans are “severely limiting our enjoyment of food,” but I do think that kind of narrow-minded propaganda could get you a job at unethical VegNews magazine!

    Just kidding, sort of. No, seriously though, being vegan is I awesome and I think modding meals from animal flesh to meat-free is way more creative and fun than condoning the mass slaughter and suffering of animals. Also, I think VegNews does try very hard to further that same mission—-I do think the people at the mag honestly want to make veganism appear trendy and sexy, which is great.

    Until the means they use to achieve that end involves meat, and then, they’ve lost my support.

  • More false images.

    Gingerbread house, unlikely to be vegan.



    Chicken soup

    In their defense I wonder if there is a tie-in with Time magazine..

    I see some same images from this URL, which is MyRecipes http://www.myrecipes.com/vegetarian-recipes/
    Which I wonder how many of their photos are the same thing? It could be they are just using recipes and photos from here?!
    (the tangine is one example)

  • Even if VegNews is the only vegan magazine out there (really it’s the only big one- animal advocacy groups like Friends of Animals also have magazines, with recipes ) that is no reason to support it when they publish stock photos and lead people to believe they are pictures of vegan food. If they were not trying to be deceptive, why wouldn’t they print the white credits as specified in the contract with the stock photo company?

    I have other issues with Veg News because it rarely has people of color and, in my opinion, makes veganism look expensive. A little balance would be nice.

  • Oh, and using retarded as an insult? NOT COOL.

  • Thank you, quarrygirl, for this important work.

    I have not been a fan of VegNews since the early days. They went after me and VegSource in a tabloid, yellow rag, Rupert Murdoch-style attack, totally uncalled for. Especially since I had been very nice to them, helping and doing favors since starting up. I had to hire a lawyer to get them to print a retraction of libelous crap they published about me. Believe me, I would have taken them to court if they hadn’t.

    Two people had their quotes twisted — Bruce Friedrich and John Robbins, who are both good friends. They wrote to VegNews to correct the record, and as I recall Joe at VegNews wouldn’t publish their responses.

    Then there was that spurious attack on the Loving Hut chain, where they made up more lies about the group behind it in order to try to attack the largest chain of vegan restaurants in the world. Why? What is the purpose of that? We know personally the owners of several of these restaurants, this is no cult. But what is the point of attacking them with baloney?

    What does it say about veganism that the self-proclaimed “top vegan magazine” (they do lie, so even that is a questionable claim) has to dupe people with photos of animal products to try to make veganism look good?

    Actually, it doesn’t say anything bad about veganism. It says something bad about VegNews.

    I’ve known from multiple experiences that this is an outfit with little integrity. So I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised when I see more of the same.

    Jeff Nelson

  • Brandon Becker

    Thank you for exposing this, quarrygirl.

    I just cancelled my subscription to VegNews and plan to use the money saved to support Animals’ Voice magazine, instead: http://www.animalsvoice.com/

  • John B, excellent reply. We’ve also bought and subscribed for years. This use of stock photos is disappointing but definitely does not outweigh the good information found in the magazine. We will continue to subscribe and support the magazine in its efforts to make a vegan lifestyle the new “normal.”

  • Gwen and Megan, I agree with you both. Emotions have been running high on both sides. It would be great to see a press release or some kind of note on VegNews’ web site explaining what’s been going on, and their new policy moving forward. This experience shouldn’t be the end of something, it should be the beginning of something new.

  • There’s another issue here too. Those defenders go on and on about how now there’s crisis and their budgets are tightening but how about ours? We also don’t have a lot of money to waste on a deceiving magazine with mostly non-vegan photos,we have enough on our plates with trying to be consistent to our ethics(often that means paying more, not all of us live in vegan-friendly cities).I ‘d be willing to pay more if they used a photographer for the issues(really just how more expensive would it be?), not waste my money in meat photos!Gross.
    I ‘m sorry there’s no excuse, they could have at least be decent if the issue was just the money and say we cannot afford to hire photographers, is any of you willing to help for free? or we’ll have to print the issues with no photos.Have you any idea how many would be willing to help?How many bloggers are there who are taking photos without getting paid many of them everyday? Really good ones too?I ‘d ne willing to work for free if I my photos were decent (and even if they weren’t) And is this true about the trips they make? Cause if it is there’s absolutely no excuse that they didn’t cut these to pay a damn photographer!

    Waiting for their reply, we’ll see.

  • Herbivore are you joking? Vegan food IS varied & interesting.. I eat a far more varied diet as a vegan than I did as an omnivore or even as a vegetarian. How many omnivores do you know who are making their own cream from cashews, knocking up a batch of home made sausages & enjoying the awesomeness that is nutritional yeast….or tempeh…I could go on. I can only assume that you don’t have any decent cookbooks & would like to suggest that you check out Viva Vegan, Veganomicon, 500 Vegan Recipes or My Sweet Vegan.

    As for a response to the original post, thanks for putting this out there guys. I hope that the people at Veg News hurry up & apoligise, they’re just looking worse with every hour that goes by!

  • Image has always been VegNews’ top priority, not factual representation of veganism. The istock photos are part of the mirage; if it looks “good” more people will buy the magazine, and if more people buy the magazine, more money is funneled into the owners’ pockets (they sure don’t pay their interns). I gave up on this magazine a long time ago because it didn’t speak to my values or ethics. Clearly not a lot has changed.

  • My hat is off to you QG, your diligence is commendable and your results, unfortunately, (sigh), are slap in the face spot on.

    Trust is such a big part of being a vegan. We don’t have the time or resources to verify everything we’re being told. I have to trust the waiter who says, “No chicken stock,” the clerk who says, “The belt is vegan,” and the magazine which writes, “Look! Beautiful and vegan too!”

    It’s enough that we have to play these 20 question games when we step out of our own kitchens and homes. Being vegan requires more effort than just coasting along in the mainstream, (see my “Poor Poor Natalie Portman blog entry), and this is just another big big letdown. I have often showed people pictures of vegan dishes in my Veg magazines as examples of how good vegan food looks and since we first eat with our eyes … now how does VegNews think that makes me feel? I’ve tried to convince people to stop cooking animals by showing them pictures of … cooked animals?

    I talk about veganism almost too much and have had friends block my daily comments on either twitter or facebook. I have slowly but surely drifted to being a rather active abolitionist and this boneheaded move, (even though these carnivores might never find out about this), becomes a credibility issue.

    I am so disappointed in VegNews. Betrayed is a good word too. An apology would be the least I’d expect but an answer to the question of, “What were you THINKING?” would satisfy my sense of total bewilderment.

    Marty’s Flying Vegan Review

  • What is most appalling is how up-in-arms all of you white, over-privileged silly geese are about this issue.

    Who fucking cares?

    Get over it.

  • This is so perfect, in all the wrong ways. This is the same magazine that said they wouldn’t mention my 2007 book, Sunfood Living, because my book “mentions honey.” My book tells why some people do and why some people don’t consume bee products, tells about bee life and the history of bees. The bee topic is just a few pages of a 500 page book that is all about veganism, animal rights, slaughterhouses, animal farming damaging the planet, raw veganism, etc. They had asked for two copies of my book, which were sent to the VegNews offices. I met the editor months later and asked why they didn’t review my book, as it seemed like my book was one of the thickest and most comprehensive books about veganism to be published in a while. That is when she told me, they won’t mention my book in their magazine because “your book mentions honey.” I asked her, how can you write a 500 page book about veganism without mentioning honey? And here, all along, they were publishing photos of dead animals, eggs, and milk from incarcerated animals all eventually slain for their flesh. Oh, and a lot of food that is made for photography ends up being tossed away. Kill the animals so their meat can be photographed to appear in VegNews. They’ve made some really bad choices.

  • Do they not have a camera? Leads me to believe they’re not actually making the dishes that they are then commenting on. Severe lack of integrity. I want to hear they’re response to this but it’s likely a canceled subscription for me.

  • @Robert, how did you manage to turn this into a buzzword bingo? Oh wait…I hear…crickets..

  • Perhaps Whole Foods should consider moving VegNews next to the repulsive deli meat section.

  • Whoa! I was recently thinking of subscribing. This totally unbelievable that journalistic integrity was completely thrown away. This may be a good time to start a REAL vegan magazine. Thanks for the info.

  • Oh, man, just looked at the photos in your comment. When I saw that pizza on the cover a few months ago, I couldn’t believe it was vegan! That did not look like melted vegan cheese and I was amazed. Can’t believe I was duped into thinking it was.

  • They weren’t bought by Murdoch, that was an April fools joke

  • I just sent this in to WholeFoods. I hope they quit carrying VegNews. I encourage you all to do the same with your favorite health stores.

  • Kudos to Quarrygirl for breaking this news. It’s simply appalling behavior, and I just sent VegNews an emailing cancelling my subscription. Shame on you, VegNews!

  • Wow, so glad you called them out on this! I have always looked forward to my VegNews issues and the pictures of vegan food have been my favorite part! I feel betrayed and lied to actually. Unbelievable.

  • Your comparison is a bit hyperbolic. I have friends who I was worried, for days, were dead in the most recent Japanese earthquake. You presumably made and liked several recipes from the magazine, and then you found out the pictures weren’t specifically for those recipes.

    To say that we should be equally outraged over pictures of food versus pictures of the devastation of an earthquake is ridiculous, given the results.

  • I understand the outrage to some extent but I think there is a little bit of an over-reaction going on here. How many of you don’t buy food from restaurants or markets that also sell animal products? I think that that is worse than buying a magazine that purchased stock photos and used them.

    I get it from a “being deceived” standpoint but not a “they’re not vegan!” standpoint.

  • Way to go. You’re doing a better job of destroying an essentially vegan mag WAY better than agribusiness ever could. Who needs enemies to the vegan cause when we have people like you?

    I’m keeping my subscription to VegNews. They are a net positive to the vegan cause.

    Your behavior in calling for others to cancel their support and subscription is counter productive to helping suffering animals.

  • Seriously… well they fooled me. I bought it… but apparently didn’t see the part where they said it was a joke. Many I feel as silly about this as when I found out that they use meat photos. Wish that were a joke too.

  • Actual vegan food is gorgeous, you don’t need to deceive people by using pictures of meat dishes. And as others have pointed out, doing so creates a “look, vegan food is so bad they can’t even show it” backlash. Which is so untrue! So unnecessary for them to do this.

  • Aww…how disappointing! I used to adore the pictures in this magazine and how lovingly they seemed to put all the time and effort in to take wonderful and beautifully dressed pictures of vegetarian food. I have shown my friends and family these pictures as examples of what fine veggie food looks like. Wow, now I know. I feel lied to as a fan of their magazine. I won’t be buying or even browsing another copy of this magazine until they issue an apology to their reads and change their ways.

  • I will definitely be unsubscribing to their newsletter that I receive, removing them from my Facebook, and won’t be picking up their free issue given out at the Boston Vegetarian Festival in the fall. Not only does this lack integrity, but their reaction to legitimate concern, and attempts to sweep it under the rug, is shocking.

  • Lisa,

    I don’t think QG would have posted this article is VegNews had not deleted her concerns about their meat photo policy on their website.

    So really, VegNews only has their own behavior and bad business practices to blame for this shitstorm.

    Someone needs to tell those jerks that the customer is always right, not the insecure editors who can’t muster the courage to respond to legitimate constructive criticism.

  • After thinking on this a bit more, I find it funny that vegan food makers work *so hard* to make their faux meat “look, taste, and feel” like the real thing, and yet, then people are pissed that real meat is used to illustrate a recipe. People usually say, as the highest compliment to vegan food “it tastes just like the real thing”! So, if that’s the ultimate goal, fetishizing fake meat until it can “pass” for real meat, it really doesn’t surprise me that VegNews thought it would be no big deal to use real meat pictures. Honestly, some faux meat is so gristly/chewy that it’s *too* real for me. I sometimes can’t tell the difference between fake sausages and real sausages.

    It’s shitty the way they’re responding to being called out, but at the same time I think the way they were called out is a kind of manufactured vegan controversy that just serves to reinforce the (largely accurate) stereotype that vegans are particularly hard to please when it comes to meeting their standards of purity, vegan ideals, etc. Magazines use stock photos all the time, even big, expensive magazines. Magazines also photoshop, crop, and alter their pictures to the point where the finished product of pretty much any recipe looks very different from what you see at home. You wouldn’t believe how many non-food materials are in a picture of “food”, by the time they get done styling it.

    Again, they’re being weird and evasive with the way they’re handling this, but I can imagine they’re thinking “why is using stock photo such a big deal in the first place”? We should also probably go back to the fact that it seems most vegans seems completely unwilling to think about just how very, very, small their market impact is, and just how difficult it is, in the first place, to cater exclusively to the vegan market as a result (and please don’t cite some frou frou cupcake boutiques, or random food trucks, as evidence of how “easy” it is to make it on the vegan market-how many times has Quarrygirl had to take to her blog, pleading L.A. vegans to go buy food from a failing restaurant). I’m not surprised there aren’t any vegan stock photos, and I’m also not surprised that they went with a very cheap, stock photo company, given how small their target audience is.

  • Wrong. Vegans don’t want to see suffering animals dead bodies in their magazines. THANK YOU Quarrygirl! The truth needed to be told!

  • This is THE most important point! What a frigging stupid mess.

  • They weren’t purchased. That was an April Fool’s joke.

  • Sadly I think that, given their response thus far, the only way they will understand that they need to fix this error and meet our expectations in the future is if we threaten to cancel subscriptions if they do not mend their ways.

  • I think people are missing the point. As a business owner, I know first hand how ridiculously expensive it is to hire a photographer to create new photos of your food. It’s more than twice the cost of using stock photos. Also, there aren’t many good vegan stock photos out there that are available to use.

    VegNews isn’t a huge company with a ton of money. VegNews encourages veganism regardless of where their pictures come from. They have the ability to reach a huge amount of people and make them consider going vegan. In order to do that, the photos have to be convincing.

    Haven’t you ever given someone something vegan and told them after the fact knowing they wouldn’t try it if you told them first?

    They’ve done so much for our business and other vegan businesses. They help us, spread the word about veganism by bringing people into our stores. They are a HUGE source of vegan influence. I think that people are missing the main point of the positive things they are trying to do. They are trying to convince others that veganism should be accepted as a normal, healthy lifestyle.

    Us vegans have it hard enough trying to convince others. By choosing to stop supporting vegan companies that reach an audience as large as VegNews does, we’re only making things more difficult for ourselves.

  • I am in no way defending them- I am appalled, BUT- It’s very hard to run a profitable magazine these days. Especially one with such a small target audience. Hiring food stylists, photographers, prop stylists, photo editors, etc. to take pictures of every recipe would probably be EXTREMELY expensive.
    Personally, I would rather have no pictures of a recipe than have to look at non-vegan recipes, but perhaps that is their reasoning.
    The whole situation makes me feel dirty. I hate being lied to. I hate that Veg News has proven, yet again, that you can’t trust anyone.
    Vegans have always been like a brotherhood, and we have been epically hurt by one of our own.
    I hope they issue a HUGE apology soon.

  • Because meat restaurants don’t pretend to be vegan. They say, we’re a meat restaurant, but we’ve got vegan options.

    VegNews said (or implied very hard) this is a picture of the end product of a vegan recipe. VegNews lied to us.

    THAT’s the difference.

  • Now it all makes sense. I recently made a soup featured in the Veganize This section. The recipe was written by a frequent contributor to the magazine. The color the soup came out did not match the color in the photo and so I thought I did something wrong. I contacted the writer and she assured me my soup was fine and that they used the wrong photo. She directed me to the actual recipe with a photo of the actual soup.

  • this is so disappointing and sad and the way they’re handling it is awful.

  • That is a definite lack of journalistic integrity and editorial ethics. At first I thought about how photo shoots, paying photographers, and photo production is expensive but in the end, passing a photo off as a completed dish is not cool. Plus, photographers deserve to work and vegan food deserves to stand on its own.

  • Big. Fucking. Yawn.

    I would’ve gone vegan a lot earlier if it weren’t for all the vegans. For people don’t consume flesh, the community sure knows how to eat itself.

  • I very much agree with Shannon and Courtney above. It’s unfortunate what’s happened, but VegNews is working very hard to provide a vegan voice at a time when niche magazines are dying every day. They do good work – some of the best vegan recipes I’ve found have come from this magazine – and do not deserve to be tarred and feathered like this. You’re missing the forest for the trees by focusing on these photos rather than the actual content and mission of the magazine.

    The comments here are frustrating. This kind of all-or-nothing fanaticism is why far too many people view vegans as joyless militants. We’re not, but this sort of manufactured controversy doesn’t help. If you can get this worked up over a minor-at-best issue, I envy how trouble free your life must be.

  • Nicely said! For everything we cannot make ourselves, we trust those who tell us what we’re consuming is, in fact, vegan. That’s true whether it’s soup, or a belt, or a magazine. If my pad thai has one drop of fish sauce in it, it ain’t vegan. If my magazine has dead animals in it, it ain’t vegan. If it ain’t vegan, I DON’T WANT IT! And, if it ain’t vegan, but I was told it was, and then I find out that it wasn’t, I AM GOING TO BE FURIOUS AND ACT ACCORDINGLY!

  • Thank you soo much for pointing this out! It is very infuriating & they are totally ignoring what their customer base is all about. My personal favorite magazine is the “Vegetarian Journal”. It has minimal photos, and great quality recipes that are really easy to make.
    What I find most unfortunate about this situation is their deletion of posts to their website and very inconsiderate letter back to the person who notified them that their picture wasn’t of a vegan meal. They treated that person like they were in the wrong!

  • “I would’ve gone vegan a lot earlier if it weren’t for all the vegans.

    For people who don’t consume flesh, the community sure knows how to eat itself.”

    So true, Tomatochild. Great line.

  • Can you not read? WE CARE! If you don’t, then you get over this post and GO AWAY. Hundreds of comments all over the internet about this one specific issue are THE PROOF that VEGANS CARE! And, fyi, I don’t have my right to care taken away by you because of the color of my skin—nice try, troll.

  • Hey Sam,

    See though, they’re not truly doing a service to the vegan community as our sole mainstream magazine if they don’t abide by a professional code of ethics. As a journalist, I’m outraged. As a vegan, I’m outraged. As as a longtime fan of the magazine, I’m just horribly disappointed.

    I think VegNews is better than this, and I certainly think veganism deserves a better class of magazine.

  • This controversy over photography has pulled the covers back on an operation that is wholly lacking in integrity. As more people come forward with stories like yours, the issue will expand and become more about their hypocrisy and overall lack of integrity. The comments above from the editor they didn’t bother to fire and your comment are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • They try to compete with those kind of magazines since they probably share shelf space with them and they need to have the same colorful, glossy look, but my guess is they have a much smaller budget since they aren’t Condé Nast. Gourmet magazine closed in 2009.

  • As someone who loves to cook, and I have cooked so many types of cuisine over the years…I expect to not be deceived…show me your real end result. I won’t judge you if it isn’t picture perfect. Be honest. Be ethical! How upsetting! >:*(

  • I didn’t read all of the comments here, but…

    Gotta say – preeeeetty lazy on their part, and clearly shows their commitment to things. Although I have to say, vegnews has been a pretty uninspired read for a long time – who is surprised that they cut corners with pictures, too?

  • This gives me a pit in my stomach… I love VegNews. I hope they change their photo taking ways…. or anything else that they do that isn’t within the ethical integrity for a vegan magazine.

  • What they did was wrong but it doesn’t erase all the good they have done. It is not a black and white issue. They are the only Vegan publication and our fight should be to fix it, not eliminate it. As my hero, the late Shirley Wilkes-Johnson wrote, “While individuals may not be in agreement with an organization’s tactics, to jump on the bash wagon against them is to side with the real enemy.”

    If we cancel our subscriptions, there will be NO vegan publications out there. Then who wins? Certainly not Veganism nor the animals.

  • I wrote an online feature for VegNews about throwing a vegan afternoon tea and my husband took all the photos – I wasn’t paid to write the article (including a recipe), and he wasn’t paid for the photos. All of it was vegan. So they’re seriously paying for stock photos that aren’t vegan, but aren’t paying for photos of actual vegan food?

  • I can’t believe everyone is making such a big issue of this. I’m a longtime vegan, I like VegNews, and I really don’t care what photos they use. It would be way more expensive to take pictures of every finished recipe, and there’s tons of additional pictures of food throughout the magazine. It’s not real food, people–just pictures! All I care about is that the recipes are vegan and that they present veganism is a positive light and show people how fun it can be, which I think they do well.

  • I agree… Get over it, it’s a solid magazine, hopefully they hire a staff photographer from now on.

  • I do not think I will ever support VegNews again, even if they come out with and apology or something. It’s been made clear that they do not give a fuck by their actions alone. Deleting comments? Insulting fans who thought they were catching a horrible error? If they cared, they would not have published those photos at all. This deception was either out of malice or laziness, but either way its unacceptable.

    If they actually come out and apologize, it’s only because they are sorry they got caught.

  • Wow, this is devastating and really sad. I love(d) VegNews mag, really LOVED, but you’re right, this is a serious breach of integrity, bad editing, and ethically just very wrong. I hope they come forward and offer an explanation and never use these non-vegan stock photos again!

  • Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I have had issue with VegNews before, but this clinched it. Here’s a snipped of what I wrote to them: “Your decision to buy pictures of meat and dairy is just as bad as the slaughter and exploitation that led to those pictured being taken (much as one who buys pornography is still responsible for exploiting women).”

  • I respectfully disagree, Megan. VegNews is doing what it unfortunately must to stay afloat. And as a vegan, I feel it is more important to keep them on newsstands, exposing people to veganism and giving a voice to the community, then to call for their end like many people here. I understand the disappointment, but can’t join in the outrage.

  • Devoted to Scotties

    Misrepresenting themselves is serious, if you have real proof, you should take this to Ellen herself. She may not be very happy having so much to do with them.

  • I think their letter of apology is left wanting, if not ridiculous. There are SO many options to choose from that do not involve misleading, misrepresenting or otherwise lying to their readers.

  • Former VegNews Employee

    I just posted this on VegNews’ official response to the photo scandal, but I’m thinking they’ll delete it, so I’m posting it here as well.


    As a former employee, I would just like to say that I’m so, so disappointed that this is your full response. This is filled with outright lies. Why can’t you just apologize for having an unapologetic pro-stock policy? I know employees raised concerns with you about this issue, and you defended your right to print photos of meat and dairy to cut costs, while spending a ridiculous amount of money on needless brand-building ventures (VegNews Vacations?). It’s just really offensive that when you’re asked by your loyal readership for an honest, thoughtful response, all you do is offer more lies. I’m sure you’ll delete my comment because apparently these days you can’t take the heat. But I’ll be reposting my response elsewhere, as I feel with this letter you’ve done a further disservice to your fans, and to veganism.

    Particularly, this entire graph from your response letter is a complete and total lie. I know, firsthand, that you never debate this issue, and when employees broach the subject, you dismiss them. I knew you were cheap, but oh my. Turns out you’re liars as well.

    “Yes, from time to time, after exhausting all options, we have resorted to using stock
    photography that may or may not be vegan. In an ideal world we would use custom-shot
    photography for every spread, but it is simply not financially feasible for VegNews at this
    time. In those rare times that we use an image that isn’t vegan, our entire (vegan) staff
    weighs in on whether or not it’s appropriate. It is industry standard to use stock
    photography in magazines—and, sadly, there are very few specifically vegan images offered
    by stock companies. In addition, it’s exceedingly challenging to find non-stock imagery that
    meets the standard necessary for publication. We would love nothing more than to use only
    vegan photography shot by vegan photographers, and we hope to be there soon.”

  • I thought this was a belated April Fools joke! Wow, thanks for the heads up! I will cancel my subscription and tell them the exact reason why I am doing so.

  • The response from VegNews (http://vegnews.com/web/uploads/asset/3169/file/FromVegNews.pdf) cites the cost of original photo shoots and lack of vegan stock photos as their reason for using these meat stock photos.

    I assumed that was the reason.
    I totally get that it is expensive to do photo shoots, however, I think it would be better if in the article they offered the lack of an available photograph as reason why there is none. Who knows? Could lead to the establishment of a vegan photo stock company or to photo stock companies being certain they are offering photos of vegan food. Part of being vegan is being vocal so we change our environments. I am part of a local vegan group that always calls up restaurants before showing up to make sure they will have enough options and food for all of us. A big group promising to spend money is a good incentive. I’m pretty sure that is why several local pizza places in my mid-western city offer vegan pizza now.

    VegNews is a small company that has done well and has promoted a compassionate diet in the process. I see no reason to leave them for this but I do think that they need to change their policies and not use stock photos of meat any longer.

  • I agree with Anna, I want the pictures to show me how it’s supposed to look. How do I know when I’m using completely different ingredients? Also that means they are promoting recipes they haven’t even tried, but telling me I’m getting something tried and recommended.

  • I completely understand the ethical dilemma of using meat photos in a vegan publication but also have to agree with Rhea’s comment: “What they did was wrong but it doesn’t erase all the good they have done. It is not a black and white issue. They are the only Vegan publication and our fight should be to fix it, not eliminate it.”

    I think the solution to this ethical dilemma is to create a stock photo website of vegan food, etc. (all vegan yesss!). This cannot be the only media source that has had to use meat, dairy, egg, suffering animal stock photos for their vegan publications because the reality is there is no similar alternative yet. The vegan community is growing in numbers by the day (just two more of my friends became vegan last week) so we now have the resources and vegan photographers (me being one of them) to put it together! Vegans unite! We can fix it now.

  • I say we all chill out. This was pretty stupid of them, because they should have known it would come out and people would be upset, but how batshit crazy do we look when omnis read a post like this? Let’s all eat some coconut cream ice cream and chill out.

  • I am shocked to hear this but I honestly cannot say I am going to quit supporting the publication. Bottom line for me is there are few enough vegan resources out there and I am not going to drive one out of business. Much as I shop at WFM even though I disagree with the CEO’s libertarian views. I am of the view that we don’t need to focus on whether someone or some org is vegan “enough” etc. We have common goals and I feel much more productive staying focused on that. I do appreciate the info though and will make them aware that I do not agree with using the photos.

  • You guys, magazines use stock photos all the time for this kind of thing, in fact you are deceived by stock photos all the time in advertising! As a passionate and long term vegan of over 11 years, I am a little disappointed in the findings, but I’m not going to freak out, cancel my subscription and lash out at people who are used to running magazine imagery the standard way. GET OVER IT! Unless you ate the food in the actual picture for dinner last night or VegNews shoved it down your throat, get off your high horse and quick being immature, unrealistic, impulsive, unforgiving and naive psychos.

  • I agree with this. I’m disappointed too, but they’re not trying to fool anyone, they’re genuinely a great source for vegan culture. Glad someone has their head on straight!

  • holy heck. not only am i angry that they posted meat photos, but also at their behavior! how appalling!

  • Ultimately, those photos cost money and the money is coming from the vegan/vegetarian subscribers. That is not right. Either use non-meat photos or use photos of the ingredients or use a friggin’ drawing.

  • are you kidding me?! You can’t possibly find a better reason for outrage than this?! Holy nuts! Why are you getting mad? I don’t see a problem with what they’re doing. really.

    1. how do you know that’s “real” meat and not a plastic stand in? Like the constarch concoctions they use to photograph “ice cream” under hot studio lights? You don’t. You have no idea. Pipe the fuck down.

    2. How much good has a veg*n website and magazine done over the years by covering these issues? How many recipes have filled your bellies? How many other magazines do?

    3. Consider how frantically we vegans try to ape non-vegan things. we try and try and try. Then, a production artist photoshops the bones out of a picture of what could possibly be ribs and you go nuts? You don’t suppose they’re “veganizing” a thing in their own way?


    4. CONTEXT, PEOPLE. If you’re making the soup or burger or mac and fucking cheez, you need a visual guide. We want it to look like what the non vegan one looks like. And if it does, you win. Stop crapping yourselves.

  • Then put a disclaimer on! Tell the readers it is not vegan. Don’t try to fool them. Shame.

  • That’s a great comparison.

  • If they are selling a magazine with pictures of dead animals in it (and making a fair amount of money doing so), isn’t that just straight up exploitation? Disgusting. The worst part is they didn’t even really apologize.

  • I was honestly shocked by the gross bones being removed from that one image. Totally sickening. I think creating a vegan stock photography group would be fantastic! Frankly, most of the photos on vegweb taken with Iphones make me want to barf… BUT there are amazing vegan food photographers on flickr, there just needs to be a big enough pool of high-end PROFESSIONAL usable images for magazines like VegNews to use. Need a photo of a veggie burger, try Celine’s on for size: NOM!


  • I’m sorry, but I cannot support a magazine that does something like this on a regular basis simply because they are the slickest looking vegan magazine on the rack and they have a budget to think about.

    To me, it’s like frequenting the only vegan restaurant in your town even though the food looks good, but tastes terrible, and the waiters are rude.

    Would you keep plunking down your money on principal just because the staff and owners are vegan?

    It’s really up to you in the end – Do you just eat the crappy food, pay the bill and look forward to the next crappy visit?

    I am not going to keep paying the check.

    Maybe the restaurant (VegNews) will go under without patrons… Maybe it will undergo a renovation… Either way, it will be difficult to get me to return.

  • Most of the vegans I know are amateur food stylists by default! There is no reason for these stock photos. I ALWAYS figured they used stock for everything. It’s cheesy and annoying.

  • This is sad to hear. I’ve read the VegNews pdf of their statement regarding this.

    As a solution – every vegetarian, vegan – the next time you intend to go out and eat, take your digital camera, or phone with you.

    Before you eat your order, take a few pictures of it, under good lighting (if possible) and varied shots – close ups of some items and the whole dish.

    Build a library of these photos and email VegNews and other veg*n publications.

    This way the creators of these types of magazines have a larger resource to pick from – and better they can photoshop and sharpen any images of genuine vegan / veggie foods than resort to stock items as their last resort.


  • Shit. Their response letter didn’t apologize for deceiving people nor did it even say that they would stop using meat photos. If it weren’t for those two things, I might be able to get over it.

  • The VegNews response is a big old f-u.

    First, one commenter claims to have been on their staff and confirms a lousy attitude about not using vegan pictures.

    Second, their current webpage betrays their moronic statement.

    They can’t find a stock photo of a veggie burger? Really? That is a lie.

    It appears they have violated the terms of iStockphoto, in addition to being rude and dismissive to comments on their websites. If they were rude and dismissive to their staff two years ago who pointed out the stupididty of using meat and milk photos.

    People, the excuse from VegNews is a lie. They LITERALLY took a photo of beef ribs and photoshopped the bones.

  • Wow – what a terrible use of energy to try and create a ruckus around use of stock photography and the images used. VegNews does so much good in our world and to try and discredit them for such a ridiculous reason is shameful.

  • Sort of reminds me of a certain raw diva who uses stock photos of beautiful young people who are supposed to be benefiting from the raw vegan diet. I’m not fooled.

  • I would also like to add my outrage to the furore to say how incensed I am by the fact that vegan food has been misrepresented in this way. When I converted to veganism several years back, I too was confused as to what was stricly ‘vegan’. It was only when I discovered a local source of organically raised vegan livestock that I was able to reconcile my previous carnivorous urges with my new beliefs. By choosing to eat the products of animals that themselves have not eaten any animal produce, I have truly found that organic veganism (as I believe it’s known) is the way forward. I’m sure the publication in question could win back a few of its readers by expounding these values (I’d be very happy to write an article on the topic). And who knows, they might even manage to win a few more converts to veganism at the same time.

  • They are not the only vegan publication. The Vegetarian Resource Group is actually vegan and puts out a magazine. It’s good. The recipes are great. Oh, and their photos are clearly the recipe given. The photos aren’t as professional looking as VN; it looks like they ::gasp:: actually made the recipe and snapped a photo!


    Go subscribe.

  • The ONLY reason I am even considering going Vegan is because of VegNews. Someone sent me a subscription and I love it.

    So what?…they used a stock photo of real meat but call it vegan? Who would know if you didn’t tell em?

    You want to close the magazine down for it??

    Being fanatical just turns people off. Please. Get a grip. VegNews probably got the message.

    Relax…get fanatical about people starving to death or something.

  • Hey all, I just started a PROFESSIONAL LOOKING VEGAN FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY group on flickr to help the cause. Maybe if there’s a ton of lovely vegan pro photos to choose from, VegNews will make better choices in the future. Please share and post!


  • Terrible editorial policy. There was no one on staff that could make and shoot these recipes?

    It’s easy to make a cheap lightbox at home. I don’t take brilliant photos, but taught myself enough about lighting and working with my point and shoot to make my blog pics look appetizing (most of the time. Still working on it 🙂 )

    I never would have guessed that they were so blatantly misrepresenting things. Very said, and also very uncreative.

  • Way to be pro-active! Love it.

  • I’m not sure which is more upsetting to me – that the photos are not of the recipes themselves or that VegNews, by using these photos, is creating a demand for photos of meat and other gross stuff. It is totally misleading for them to imply that a photograph next to a recipe is what that recipe actually would look like in the end. There are dozens of amazing vegan food photographers I can think of – perhaps VegNews should try to call out to the community that has been supporting it to be the guest photographer of the month or something. I’m sure many people would do it for free just for the exposure they would get. Blaming it on the expense is absurd, not to mention lazy. Is it cheaper to eat at McDonald’s than Whole Foods? Yes, of course, but that doesn’t mean that’s what I’m going to do. VegNews has been disrespectful to the vegan community, has abused trust we place in it, and isn’t too many steps from the kinds of liars that sell animal torture by printing cute photos of celebrities with milk moustaches.

  • As a reporter at a Memphis publishing company (which publishes Memphis’ altweekly paper and Memphis Magazine), I understand the use of stock photos to cut costs. Lord knows we don’t have the money in our company to pay for every single image.

    But our solution is generally shooting our own in-house images. We don’t have a staff photographer, but since most of us went to journalism school, we were trained in photojournalism as well. We can take beautiful pictures with one of a few Nikons (owned by a few employees) in the building. We do use stock photos sometimes, and that’s okay. But not when ethics are violated, which is what VegNews has done here.

  • Since were playing the “How long vegan?” game…13. here’s the deal, the “apology” wasn’t really an apology. They know that most people would be upset. They did it because it is EASY to do. Happy Herbivore takes all her own photos for her cookbooks. Her published cookbooks. It is easy to get a nice camera, snap a few shots, edit with whatever myriad photo software is out there and put it in the magazine. Half the magazine is ads people. They got a lot of money from the ads which should be put toward photography, or I’m sure someone in the Mission would be wiling to trade/barter. VegNews has a history of not responding to criticism, ask anyone in SF. The vegan network they have cultivated is vile, with Isa Chandra as the venomous head. By doing this, they are NOT promoting VEGANISM!

  • Organic vegan, if you’re consuming animal products, you are NOT vegan.

    To commenters saying the people who are upset are wasting time they could be spending doing other more useful things, then why are YOU reading this and commenting instead of going out and doing those things yourselves?

    Last- iStock even has a picture of a vegan burger, along with four pages of other vegan photos. http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-12562348-vegan-food-veggie-burger.php?st=aac8d91

  • Oh, and I won’t be canceling my subscription though. I’ll just hold out hope that VegNews takes this as lesson and changes their unethical art policy.

  • I’m so glad you shared this!!! I have long been suspect of VegNews after they started having HUGE ads for Soya Kass soy-cheese, which any vegan can tell you is NOT vegan.

    I wrote the company about it and go no response.

  • anonasaurusrex

    I didn’t specify this, but I meant to refer to their income which comes from readership, obviously advertising is what really pays for every commercial media outlet there is. As far as readership, they make more money off of subscriptions than newsstand.

    I work in the photo industry for several magazines and do know exactly how expensive custom photography is for a glossy mag because I’m getting paid for it. They probably could have found photographers to produce work on the cheap, but a photographer can’t pay their rent and bills from that and with the way photos need to be produced for a magazine, which can be time consuming and tedious, would probably not be able to afford to keep shooting for them or to keep consistent quality.

    That being said, I don’t believe them when they say that they’ve exhausted all their options when they turn to stock photos, especially given the frequency they’ve done so. And the quality of their photos they use, because it’s stock isn’t anything mindblowing, it looks like generic stock photos, because it is. This is very much a common thing for magazines to do and because I work in the industry I know first hand that it’s getting worse.

    I think from here on out they should pursue more affordable options for custom photography for their recipe photos. Perhaps they will, now that it’s come to public attention and that they came out with a fairly lame apology with no intent to rectify a situation which has upset so many readers.

  • Our family tests recipes for Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health magazines. Any respectable publisher of recipes must do due diligence to test and verify recipes before publishing — this is akin to fact checking, and provides all the opportunity necessary to photograph the actual food. Photographing food is difficult to do well, thus the profession of ‘food stylist.’ Still, I think vegans would prefer authentic photos of vegan food, even if slightly less polished than the available stock photos of meaty meat meat dishes. Eleven years is more than enough time to figure out how to photograph food with internal resources in a cost-effective way.

  • You’re an idiot and are missing key points. A) it is false advertising for all of us who depend on them to be the stalwarts (in a sense)since they are THE vegan magazine B) It undermines the culture that committed vegans have worked diligently to nuture, something like this reinforces perceived notions that we are flaky and secretly butcher animals at home C) It makes them look like assholes for trying to deflect rather than accept responsibility.

    Most vegans are extremely intelligent and it is insulting when there is no accountability and such a weak ass argument.

  • VegNews IS NOT the only vegan magazine out there. The Vegetarian Resource Group puts out a vegan magazine that is superior to VegNews in almost every way.

  • Coming from a non-vegan, who has to decide whether or not killing animals fits into their lifestyle, your comment means nothing.

  • Organic Vegan, you are not vegan at all. I find it very difficult to believe that you keep up with publications like VegNews and blogs like Quarrygirl, and still think that you can be vegan while eating animal products. You are vastly misrepresenting the lifestyle, and contributing greatly to the cited “confusion” of what is/isn’t vegan.

  • Exactly. Even better than emailing the photos to publications directly, put your food photos on Flickr, tag them “vegan” and tag all of the ingredients in the photo (so they can find them). Then in your account settings, allow Creative Commons usage of your photos. Make them gorgeous, and ask for photo credit. There we go, instant vegan stock photography.

  • I don’t read the magazine, but I am pretty outraged by this — both because they’re passing off real meat as vegan and because it’s just so terribly lazy.

    By the way, the phrase “formerly erstwhile publication” in this post doesn’t make any sense.

  • anonasaurusrex

    well then clearly you’re very knowledgeable about commercial magazines having run one yourself.

    I’m not defending them or saying that using stock photos of meat has a positive impact in any way. I’m just not surprised and I don’t think it entirely overshadows everything else they do.

    I’m not even a supporter because I don’t buy or read their magazine anymore anyway since I don’t cook from recipes too often and I just didn’t feel like I was gaining anything from reading it personally. They are certainly the most visible, I hadn’t even heard of Vegetarian Times until someone else brought it up.

    I’m only saying it’s an industry standard to use stock photos and most anyone commenting here doesn’t know the circumstances with running a magazine, especially if anyone is suggesting that they use amateur photos shot in a garage. Maybe they will see the problem with what they are doing now that it has been brought to attention, but if they came from the magazine industry side first I can understand the mindset they would have been in to have, up to this point, ignored the fact that by buying stock photos like this they were indirectly supporting the meat/dairy industry. As a vegan I do hope they rectify it and just use custom photos that they can afford and can manage to make them look slick enough to publish and fit in with the design of the magazine. Either way, I can’t say I’m boycotting them because I don’t even read them currently, but I’m interested in them fixing the problem.

  • anonasaurusrex

    The who?

  • Well folks. It’s not uncommon for a lot of magazines. Sorry to say when you have a limited budget for photography then you kind of have to make due with what is available in stock houses. A food photographer can start at $300 an hour sometimes. I’m sure, after this, they will be forced to get a photographer or deal with die hard vegans turning their back on them. Everyone makes mistakes people. Forgive VegNews.

  • What’s the big deal? My vegan “mock meat” dishes DO look exactly like their meat-based cousins. If you worked in advertising (as I do) you’d realize how unaffordable it is to use custom food shots. If a shot of Tofurkey sausage was used in a “Meat Eaters Barbecue Monthly” would they go crazy once it was discovered? I think they would laugh it off. Have a sense of humour. As a vegan I’m embarrassed by all the self-righteous anger. VegNews does WAY more good than the treatment they’re receiving about these photos.

  • Creative Commons does not give permission to use a photo in a publication that is for fee. It gives permission to use the image in a way that doesn’t charge money. So, if you are using creative commons photos in anything that is being charged for, it is not legal.

    There are a lot of amazing food photographers out there who actually do this for a living. Not all are extremely expensive. In fact, when you take into consideration what the publication probably makes, hiring an actual photographer to do the shots would not be that expensive.

    Before you suggest that everyone just takes shots and posts them, please remember and respect that there are those of us that make our living this way. There is a huge difference in technique, equipment, knowledge, etc (not to mention legal use, etc) between what a good professional shoots and what 99% of most amateurs shoot.

  • anonasaurusrex

    I should probably clarify further pre-emptively, since I know vegans like to pick apart and over analyze every word on the internet ever:

    I’m not *trying* to defend them, it probably comes off as a defense, just trying to bring light to how magazines work. As a vegan I don’t think it’s a good thing, as someone who works in the industry I don’t think it’s a surprising thing. It’s just a little bit crazy and rash to call out an all out war and ignore everything else they do.

  • Doc,

    The big deal is that it’s an unethical and unprofessional journalistic practice, and the big deal is that they tried to censor the truth from readers, until QG had the balls to call them out on it.

    Get with the program.

  • I really don’t understand the people on here defending VegNews. Okay, maybe it would have been easy for some people to forgive them, but then they went and posted their ‘response’ which was full of bullshit as pointed out by former employees.

    Plus how they deleted comments in the first place before they simply couldn’t keep up with it basically shows what complete asshats they are.

  • While this incident is uber-despicable, don’t lose sight of the fact that magazines in general are just pages of advertising that we gladly pay for, and then desire the goods they are selling. Magazines are one of the ways we are taught to be good little consumers; we WANT companies like Daiya to make and sell us their cheese, right? We ENJOY seeing their ad for their new Nacho flavor! I’ll buy some the next time I go shopping! You can try to defend magazines that promote your particular lifestyle and interests, even one that requires so much effort (like ours), but in the end they are just paper-bound advertising delivery devices and better left unbought, or, better yet, read ’em at a chain bookstore that allows that sort of thing. As this incident proves, this magazine couldn’t give a fuck about veganism. It’s sole purpose is to make money and it found a niche. It could have been Field and Stream, or Bow Hunter…but those markets are taken. As far as information/recipes/pictures of celebrities/etc go, all that stuff is free online, where you get a certain level of advertising but not as much. Just say know.

  • Pretty batshit 🙂

  • Their policy:


    At VegNews, we strive to deliver the best editorial possible to help you live your best veg life ever. From lifestyle and food coverage, to humor and in-depth reporting, we believe VegNews is the best meat-free reading you’ll find anywhere.

    The VegNews team is 100 percent commited to delivering a quality magazine to newsstand buyers and subscribers alike, issue after information-packed issue. However, if you are dissatisfied with VegNews for any reason, you are welcome to a subscription refund at any time. Simply call us at 760-291-1546, or send us an email at vegnews@pcspublink.com.

    Thank you for reading VegNews Magazine. We value your readership!

    Please not this line:

    … we believe VegNews is the best meat-free reading you’ll find anywhere.


  • That depends on the individual Creative Commons license. You can use it for profit if it’s licensed for it.

  • The statement VegNews made in response says part of the reason for using non-vegan images was cost. BS! While iStock.com pics are inexpensive, this non-vegan shot http://veg.gy/q4tXw is from Getty Images and is Rights Managed. If used on the web and as a cover as stated in the comments – calculated based on mag circulation – cost is $1,455.00 USD for one time use. Hello?

  • Oh come on. Who cares! We aren’t eating the pictures. You would rather they waste the money preparing the food and taking pictures of it than spend it on something more useful. The recipes are vegan.

  • Couldn’t agree more. If you want to be disgusted, be disgusted by the fact that it’s been able to go unnoticed for so long. What’s wrong with you people that you want to eat something that looks like meat? You don’t want to eat ribs, but you’re fine with eating something that’s darn near an exact facsimile? Something’s not right there.

  • It’s always kind of weird to re-discover that vegans are real.

  • I don’t understand the defending of Veg News. The magazine editors knew full well their viewers would be shocked and appauled by showing pictures of meat and passing it off as vegan, yet they did it anyway. They showed a shocking disregard by habitually lying to their readers and then excused themselves saying it was ok that they did that because they were poor to produce the product that people paid them to produce.

    It would have been better to have published 4 times a year instead of 6 and shot their own pictures. I don’t understand how they can think it is ethical to call something seitan and show a picture of chicken. A journalist on a news program who said they were live from Bahrain and interviewing a prince when they were actually in Burbank interviewing an actor would rightfully loose all credibility. It is so sad for our entire community that this once-trusted magazine through every fault-of-their-own lost theirs.

  • I am a professional journalist. I cover food for a newspaper and have written/edited for several big-name newspapers. Yes, it’s true that stock photography is sometimes used for one reason or another. My current newspaper uses iStock Photos, as do many publications. HOWEVER, we have never, EVER, lied about what was in a photo. I am appalled that a professional publication would pass off stock photos as something other than they are. That is unethical and against every journalistic code in the book. This is just alarming on every level imaginable.

  • Agreed.

  • At first I was really upset about. But then, thinking about this some more, how is this any different than photoshopping 20lbs off the model on the cover of the magazine?

    I think that calling them out on integrity will do more harm than good in a long run. These types of publications are very often poorly funded.

    I think it would have been in better taste if attempt to contact editors in privately would have been made and opportunity for them to rectify the practice. If not, then call them out. In reality, that just gives ammunition to those who oppose the lifestyle and discourages others. Quarrygirl, great investigation, but I think you jumped the gun on this one. Too late to do anything now.

  • anonasaurusrex

    By the way, I work with magazines who use images of leather and fur goods (which yes, totally grosses me out) and non vegan cosmetics and I make my living off of it, so I guess I’m not vegan enough even though I’d totally prefer they not promote those products, but I have no say in it whatsoever, I just work on the photo side, not the editorial or content side.
    Although I do really wonder if here’s a vegan in one of the editorial departments for one of the magazines because I’ve been noticing a lot more vegan cosmetics going in.

  • Shari Black Velvet

    I’d also be willing to take vegan photos for them if they’re desperate for some (although being in England I probably don’t get all the US food that they do).

    I’ve got some vegan food photos up at http://www.facebook.com/ShariBlackVelvetPhotography

    I’m sure there are a bunch of vegan photographers that would love to take photos for them. Kind of sucks that they just use meat ones from a stock photo site. I’m sure if they advertised for a vegan/vegetarian photographer they’d have loads of offers.

  • Donald Reinhard

    I feel like you’re over-reacting just a tad bit.

  • Couldn’t agree more.

  • VegNews addressed this in the letters section. Soy Kaas has released a line of vegan block cheeses, but those weren’t the ones pictured in the ad.

  • Donald Reinhard

    Look, it’s shitty to find out that they feel it’s necessary to use stock photos of meat, but VegNews is a great magazine and I don’t think it’s worthwhile to completely stop reading them because of this problem. Hopefully they’ll figure out a way to fix it going forward.

  • Is this person just trying to get a rise out of us? Saying one is vegan because you eat vegan animals is ludacris. It must be a joke. Not funny, but meant to incite.

  • The article was edited to give information on how to cancel subscriptions, but I guess I just made that up, too?

  • Thanks for being a voice of reason Shannon.

  • So they’re clearly publishing recipes that they haven’t even made, even though they like us all to think they’re all super into cooking over there. If they had made them, it would be easy to take a pic.

  • The core problem is that they’re buying stock photos, and not making their own, citing cost issues.

    However, they don’t need an expensive setup because any cellphone with a decent camera can take suitable pictures.

    All they need to do is primp it up to make it presentable, which is learned in any high-school foods class.

    That leads me to believe that they don’t even try out the recipe before publishing it, which I think is the most disappointing aspect.

    Because they could be publishing recipes that have some sort of flaw or caveat that they aren’t even aware of, but can lead to frustration and failure for someone that tries it out.

    If they tried out the recipes they publish; they would know if they work or not, can make tweaks as required, and give a general rating for the recipe itself.

    That is all.

  • If I’m going to make one of their recipes, I’d like to see what it ACTUALLY looks like. Some random stock image of any kind is not OK.

  • Good for you. Give this money hungry corporation your free food photography that they were so worried about spending the extra money for to trick all of you vegans out there into thinking they actually care for what they’re writing about. They want the money from there advertisers so they can keep it in their pockets and go cheap thinking or not caring that all you nutjobs on here won’t know the difference. Don’t fool yourselves believing they were plastic props, the photogs used real meat and just added sauce or glycerin on them to make them look shiny and delicious, like real meat. So all of you who have quit eating meat in hopes of stopping what terrible things happen in slaughterhouses have just been helping a major magazine add to that with their purchases of these photos, giving them web hits and telling everyone about the magazine. I’m actually appalled by those of you who don’t care if it’s real meat or not but just want an honest apology. If they didn’t care enough about this issue to find actual nice photography of vegan dishes, they’re not going to care what you have to say until you all stand up against this.

  • Good for you. Give this money hungry corporation your free food photography that they were so worried about spending the extra money for to trick all of you vegans out there into thinking they actually care for what they’re writing about. They want the money from there advertisers so they can keep it in their pockets and go cheap thinking or not caring that all you nutjobs on here won’t know the difference. Don’t fool yourselves believing they were plastic props, the photogs used real meat and just added sauce or glycerin on them to make them look shiny and delicious, like real meat. So all of you who have quit eating meat in hopes of stopping what terrible things happen in slaughterhouses have just been helping a major magazine add to that with their purchases of these photos, giving them web hits and telling everyone about the magazine. I’m actually appalled by those of you who don’t care if it’s real meat or not but just want an honest apology. If they didn’t care enough about this issue to find actual nice photography of vegan dishes, they’re not going to care what you have to say until you all stand up against this.

  • The problem with this line of reasoning is that, when followed to its logical conclusion, you’re supporting exploitation anytime you shop at a grocery store that sells animals products, or eat at a restaurant that sells animal products, or buy clothing from a store that sells wool/silk.. I could go on and on.

    It gets very blurry when we start going down that rabbit hole.

  • I’m not vegan or even vegetarian, as I do not have a moral problem with eating animals or animal products. However, I respect the beliefs of those that choose not too, and I admire their integrity at sticking to those beliefs.
    What VegNews has done is completely lacking in that integrity. It also incredibly lazy, and has nothing to do with cutting costs. An alternative to stock photos, and one that is possibly even cheaper, would be to solicit photos from their readership. Or bring in an in-house photographer and pay them a retainer. I am sure they could even find an intern from a local art or photography school. There are so many options, and yet they have taken the lazy, unethical way out.
    I am a freelance illustrator for many magazines and yes the profit margins can be thin, but in choosing profits over ethics, they have exposed themselves for what they believe in: the bottom line.

  • QuarterPounder

    You’re right, it does give ammo to anti-vegan folks who would possibly agree with or support these causes if so many folks weren’t foaming at the mouth about it.

    Thanks for pulling the pin and handing me a grenade!

  • Wow, Matt. I think your comment is the perfect example of the shitty, self righteous vegan turning people off to the cause.

    Someone mentions they are now considering going vegan, and you tell them their comment means “nothing” since they’re not vegan? Way to represent, my friend! I’m sure people are just lining up to take part in whatever moral philosophy you’re following that has so fully turned you into such a pleasant fucking person to be around…

  • You can’t fight the world all by yourself and if you keep harshly excluding potential allies you will end up very lonely indeed.

  • OK calm down! This kind of stuff is what keeps vegans labeled fractious and crazy. It’s not that big of a deal and their response is spot on. I am not a huge fan of the mag for other reasons, but come on, chill out. There are other people in the entire world doing unspeakably horrible cruelty to animals, over and over and this is what we are focused on? This kind of divisiveness is what keeps our movement down and I don’t see anyway how your posting about it, QuarryGirl, is doing one iota of good for animals.

  • Calling someone venomous, out of the blue, in relation to something they have nothing to do with, is not supporting veganism.

  • Who said we don’t want to eat ribs? Most of us don’t want to kill animals. If you can make something that TASTES like ribs without killing an animal, I’ll gladly eat it.

  • “white people problems”

  • This is such a disturbing development and greatly undermines the reputation of Veg News. Shame on them!!!

  • Mothering Magazine, another alternative lifestyle type magazine, ceased publication recently.. they said it cost $100K an issue to publish. There is a huge loss to the world of natural parenting because of it.

    If VegNews wants to use and photoshop stock photos to save money, that’s fine by me – I want VegNews out there to get the word out about veganism! Those of you who are canceling subscriptions because of it may, in fact, put it out of business – and then where will our movement be????

  • OneLessMeatEater

    Sure it’s proactive, but why give away your photographs and work for free?

    Why do VegNew’s frigging JOB?

    They PAID istockphoto for access to the photographs of meat.

    I think it’s great people are trying to figure out a way to “help” this company (obviously run by people who don’t give a shit about their integrity or their customers), but for the love of all that is vegan and respectful to yourself, DON’T GIVE THEM ANYTHING FOR FREE.

    They’re running a business. A damn business that has profit above mission.


  • I am confused, how does publishing this help animals exactly? Oh wait, it doesn’t. All this does is simply add one more thing to the list of reasons people are scared off by the idea of puritanical veganism, “only vegan digital representations and symbols allowed!” They are not sneaking meat into veggie burgers and making us eat them. It’s ink on paper – call it a painting if it makes your feel better. Read: CONTEXT. If anything, this is a very clever and subversive use of images intended to promote meat that end up promoting veganism.

    Perhaps some of these critical commenters should supply Veg News with the budget to conduct their own, high-end food photoshoots every week, that’ll only cost about 15k a day… you can swing that, right?

    Having worked in the entertainment industry for years, I can tell you first hand that half the stuff they use in “food” photography and videography is plastic, paint, light, etc… it’s all “smoke & mirrors”. Secondly, this is not meat. It is digital images representing what you think might be real meat. Not the most solid case against it…

    We are not being asked to eat meat. Quite the contrary, VegNews provides wonderful vegan recipes that appropriate these images. If a stock image is the hook that gets someone to make a vegan recipe who might not otherwise pick up this magazine, I am all for it – and I’d go even further to say that those who are quick to write VegNews off are more interested in puritanism than helping animals.

    In no case is a stock image going to result in a vegean or vegetarian abandoning their lifestyle.

    What a royal waste of time, how counterproductive, and how unnecessary. I find it bitterly ironic that you choose to use the phrasing “The devil within is much worse than the devil outside.” Yes, exactly. Someone who is willing to sacrifice the existence of the most mainstream, popular vegan publication – a publication that does the best it can to reach Americans in a visual dialect they understand – is not someone who understands leverage, veganism as a social justice issue, or the visual language of PR and Marketing.

    If showing an image of a cow with it’s throat slit wide open is OK because it convinces people to look at an issue in a different way, there is no reason that an image of a random burger used to convince someone to eat a veggie burger is not OK. Flawed logic.

    To take time and energy attacking a magazine that has done more for making veganism appealing to the mainstream than any of us, is counterproductive, and only gives ammunition to those who want to see this community tear itself apart.

    This “outing” is naive and impractical in helping animals. I suggest you take down this entire post.

  • You are about as vegan as Glenn Beck is sane. Then again, I think you are just sputtering nonsense like Mr Beck as well.

  • Not trying to fool anyone? Photoshopping out bones? That is EXACTLY what they are doing.

  • Ugh – this made me think of PETA spraying pesticides around their building and keeping meat-catfood in the kitchen refrigerators…

    Where is the integrity in business anymore?

  • I don’t know what upsets me more.. The dead animals printed in VegNews or their response to it. I don’t understand how anyone can be OK with this.. I mean, I don’t care if its not the actual recipe, but the flesh of dead animals?! In a VEGAN PUBLICATION? NO ONE is crazy for being outraged by this, especially those like myself who loved this magazine.

    If VegNews acknowledged, APOLOGIZED, and CHANGED their practices from here on out I would forgive them and continue to read. But their response offers none of this, and only comes off as defensive. There is absolutely no apology, no acknowledgement of the fact that they are wrong. Only, “We are deeply saddened..” No, WE ARE the ones who are deeply saddened!

    Do NOT remind us of all of your success over 11 years and then blame “money issues” for your horrible decisions. They do not even offer to change their practices, but “hope to be there soon.”….

    So, essentially, if we continue to read VegNews from here on out, what we are looking at is a gamble? “Hmm.. That looks good. I hope it really is vegan.” HELL NO.

    Even after I have “exercized all options,” and found myself on the toughest of times.. Fuck, if I’m flat broke and homeless I will NOT eat, purchase, touch, or sell a $1 cheeseburger. Because I see it as the dead flesh of a kindhearted creature we will never get back. I would expect VegNews to see meat in the same way and not want to publish it.

  • Story just got picked up by the New York Times, with proper credit and a link back here! This is the food story of the day, for sure. Great work QG.

    Must be tough for vegans to find egg on their faces, forced to eat crow 😉
    Time for them to hire a food stylist/photographer/recipe tester!

  • Hey there. I’m not implying that this group should be a free stash for VegNews. I’m just trying to build a group of frigging gorgeous 100% vegan food images to prove that there’s great vegan food photography out there. THere’s a lot of out of focus snap shots that end up on vegan food groups… I was thinking this one would be “lick-your-computer-monitor” gorgeous images. If someone wants to start a stock vegan photog business, at least they’ll know where to find the tallent!

  • BaconBob Beekshank

    Hey that’s pretty hilarious Kim. I love the sweeping generalizations in here. But ya know, doesn’t your own beloved and equally hypocritical PETA pay for thousands of pictures of animal slaughter every year?

  • Well said!

  • Guys, hang on a second. Think about it: a vegan magazine having photos of real meet and real cheese ON ITS COVER? That really strikes you as a big yawn? There’s certainly a wide variety of opinions and viewpoints under the vegan umbrella, but I can’t believe you guys could be vegan and think that. Unless you worked for VegNews or something. (I’m not saying you do.)

  • I’m over it, and I hope everyone else can too because we are much stronger in our efforts united than divided. Channel your anger somewhere else – factory farms, monsanto taking your organics, congress killing the epa. Seriously, show me any entity who has been a more kick-ass ambassador, promoter, & advocate for the cause than VegNews Magazine. Viva Veg News!

  • As Jack mentioned, there are a variety of Creative Commons licenses, and some of them allow commercial re-use. And as the creator of the work and the owner of the copyright, you can still license the works to other people under other terms, if necessary.

    So, for example, you could publish a variety of web-resolution photographs under a CC-BY-NC license – http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ – giving people the right to share, remix, and redistribute non-commercially. And you could then sell usage rights to those exact same photographs, in higher resolution, to a magazine, cookbook, or even just as stock photography.

  • Cortney and Shannon, You are not voices of reason, you are voices of UNreason. It is unreasonable for a vegan magazine to put photos of real meat on their cover. Period. Add in the added problem of their illustrating recipes, ESPECIALLY FAUX MEAT RECIPES, with actual meat, and now you’re into deception.

    The New York Times, hardly a friend to vegans (see their utter bashing of Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals”) has now picked up this story. Why? Because the hypocrisy of it is shocking. You might be the only two people who don’t think this is a big deal.

    You two is wrong.

  • And you guys wonder why vegans have a reputation of having a stick up your collective asses.

  • They deleted the comments that showed VegNews was lying? I see this a lot in the online Vegan community. Anyone who challenges some Vegan ideal get’s their comment removed, even when it’s true.

  • I agree. Instead of hating on VegNews, let’s move forward and spread some positive vegan energy. What’s the sense in adding negativity to the Universe? There are a TON of fabulous raw and vegan food photographers out there. Now’s your chance to make a career out of it!

  • Tons of people have offered their photography services to VN. Most of them explicitly said FREE.


  • oscar silverman

    I just read the VegNews “apology” — what a crock! It only makes things worse. Where do I begin?!

    This reminds me of Phil Jackson’s statement yesterday about Kobe Bryant’s gay slur: “It’s unfortunate he got caught.”

    For starters, they begin their letter by saying they’re sorry about the dialogue that has ensued, NOT that they’re sorry for their duplicitous deception. Sorry about the resulting dialogue?! Really? That’s like saying, “We’re sorry that people have chosen to criticize us.”

    Next, stop crying about your costs. YOU ARE NOT A NON-PROFIT ENTERPRISE. This is America. If you can’t cover your expenses, then sorry, adios. You got into this first and foremost TO MAKE MONEY. You are using unethical stock photos SO YOU CAN KEEP MORE OF THAT MONEY FOR YOURSELVES.

    Your boasts that you now have over a million subscribers is all the more reason to shell out some bucks for some non-fraudulent photos!

    Then you say you only did this after exhausting “all” other options. Really? Because every other photographer in America was busy that day? What an astounding comment. You have been exposed via way too many examples to claim that this was a rare occurrence. Hell, you even have former editors who did this very thing commenting on this blog BY NAME that this was common practice at VegNews.

    Another pathetic excuse is that it’s “industry standard” to use stock photography. Yes, but it is most definitely NOT industry standard for reputable publications to use such stock photography TO DECEIVE. This would be like writing a story about African-Americans but using white people with blackface to illustrate it. In fact, that’s exactly what this is: THE FOODIE VERSION OF A MINSTREL SHOW. That is why it is so deplorable.

    And finally, it is signed with the cowardly “The VegNews Team.” Wow. The publishers/owners didn’t even have the guts to put their name on there? That says it all, folks.

    Hey VegNews, forget about firing your editors — you should fire the person who just wrote your press release!

  • Fact is, animals were killed or tortured to make these photos….stock or non stock.

    This magazine is taking part in the killing or torturing of these animals by using these particular stock photos. The makers of these photos will photo grapg more dead flesh if there is a market for it.

    So, I personally cannot take part in the torture and killing by spending my money on anything that contributes and helps keep alive any market, whether it be photography, restaurants, or any product that exploits animals. So, this magazine is off my list.

  • Btw, if anyone needed more proof about what douchebags the folks at VegNews are, check out this sanctimonious article they’re currently featuring on 99 things all vegans should do:


    #9. Meet your vegan superhero. Whether it’s Gene Baur, John Salley, Kathy Freston, Wayne Pacelle, or Tal Ronnen, go to one of your favorite star’s public events and thank them for their work.

    Okay, this one I can agree on – my vegan superheroes are Quarry Girl and Mr. Meaner for exposing this fraud!

  • Exactly. It’s not the fact they were doing it so much as they way they handled it when confronted. If they had just responded to the first comment and been honest, the reaction wouldn’t be so bad. Even better would be if they said that it was something that bothered them as well and that they were looking into alternatives.

    Instead, they tried to hide it. Then lied. Then offered a non-apology.

  • Aside from all the drama, I gotta give Big props to Quarry Girl for breaking this story! This type of truth finding reporting is what keeps people honest and fosters reform. I applaud that, and keep it coming! I’m sure it takes some guts and hard work. Enjoy a Sierra Nevada tonight – and take a photo!! 🙂

  • Great comment! I agree there is NO excuse to ever eat meat/dairy just because someone is strapped for cash. It does not cost more money for vegan over non-vegan photos. Im sure someone on the staff has a decent camera which would mean FREE photos

  • And you nailed it. I wouldn’t eat a FREE cheeseburger if I was starving.

    But let’s say I did… for some bizarre reason, eat a cheeseburger. I wouldn’t lie about it or try to cover it up to keep my “vegan cred.” I’d be upfront and honest when confronted about it. VN was neither until forced to do so and then didn’t bother to apologize for being deceitful.

  • Ahhh yes… this is why being vegan is a “first world problem”, i.e. when you have nothing left to worry about, you worry about photos of meat.

  • Are you all kidding me??? This is another reason why the movement is so fractured!
    I have been vegan for more then 25 years- and no one I mean no one is a purist. You walk out the door you crush or step on animals. You drive a car or bike-same thing. Almost anything you do unless you sit home naked and do nothing but breathe air is not totally vegan. But being vegan is about doing the best that you can. And that is what VegNews has given us for the past 10 plus years.
    I am outraged that a blogger would do this.
    Veg News has helped to make being vegan mainstream more then any other media.
    You do realize that mainstream carnivores see this and laugh. Not that you care but I do because it is those people that would maybe read VegNews or a magazine like it and maybe learn something. What are you trying to prove?

  • Not crazy. I am an “omni” and have never been to this website before (article was linked from somewhere else). What they did sounds like a betrayal to me and I don’t blame those who are upset by it.

  • wow this has nothing to do with Isa – she’s just as disgusted with VegNews as the rest of us

  • Donna, you think this is VegNews doing the best that they can? Really?

    Forget about the whole vegan thing for a moment. Think about this journalistically. A vegan food magazine that many people buy for the recipes, showing meals made of actual meat on their cover which they knowingly are passing off as non-meat. Truly remarkable. Add to this their audacity over it with their arrogant non-apology letter and you begin to see the kind of people who are running VegNews and it makes it less surprising that they did this type of thing for year after year.

    If the replies here are any indication, about twenty percent of vegans agree with you that this is overblown and the other 80 percent agree with QuarryGirl and Mr. Meaner. Do you think VegNews can survive with only 20 percent of their current readership? I guess we’re about to find out.

  • BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *bites into kfc fried chicken breast*

  • They don’t deserve to stay in business after this, plain and simple. They have betrayed the movement. Only a fool would want them as our standard bearer after this. They are crooks, taking our money and using it to buy photos of meat. And their justification letter smacks of EXACTLY the same type of denial and bullshit that so many of us have heard our carnivorous friends use to justify their continued support of animal torture. This is not as bad as eating meat, IT IS WORSE.

  • Matt said:
    “It is easy to get a nice camera, snap a few shots, edit with whatever myriad photo software is out there and put it in the magazine.”

    Sure, if you like second or third rate images from some wannabe snapper who thinks its easy. Food photography – good food photography – takes years to learn in lighting setups alone, let alone knowing how to present the food to make it look attractive.

    Matt is one of those sad people happy to denigrate real photogaphers just to promote their own inadequate attempts to emulate them with awful photographic results.

    Yes the magazine did the wrong thing: admitted that they did not apologise for using meat product images; pretended that this was the industry norm. As has already been said, get over it.

    Move on. Buy another magazine or publish your own. But if you do, make sure you use good photos from a professional photographer. Its the good photos on the cover that actually sell the magazine off the newsstands.

  • I agree. There are millions of children and adults suffering from institutionalization, marginalization and life times of savage pain and isolation and these people are concerned about photographs of dinner recipes. People, there are more passionate causes. Get our own house in order before we work on someone elses.

  • They need to apologize and swear they won’t use the meat photographs again. Then I can read the magazine without worry.

  • But by all means, spend your time reading a vegan blog, you unemployed tool.

  • Just months ago it was Taco Bell under the ax for lying that their “meat” was beef and not tvp — And now photos of pretend vegan food masking the real (ugly) deal. When it comes to who gets your money forget reality – but most importantly don’t even count on ethics! Big FAIL!

  • Excellent point! It in-directly supports the whole chain of exploitation – What a betrayal by a publication that’s trying to represent “wholesome” food and values. For Shame!

  • Richard-Yes I do think they did the best that they can. What I think is arrogant is people that think they are truly purists. No one is. Period
    There is an interesting but old article from Veg Times that talked just about that. Do you realize that your rubber soles on your shoes have gelatin?

    You just try to do the best that you can. And no I do not think that this site represents the majority of vegans or vegetarians. This is just fracturing the movement. There are pods of people that do this from time to time and it is a waste of our energy. I have known Joe and Colleen for many years and know that they are true and good vegans. They have done more for the movement then most.
    All they did was use photos.
    So much for educating the mainstream public.

  • But there’s an element of cognitive dissonance with that attitude, isn’t there? I believe when one commits to the cruelty-free lifestyle, one should lead by example. It’s not ok to eat meat? Set the example by giving up not only meat, but all meat simulacra. Go the “whole hog,” as they say. It seems there’s an element of hypocrisy to the “I’ve given up meat, but not the meat lifestyle” position.

  • How WONDERFUL that the New York Times is reporting on this!!!!!!!!!

  • If you all had agreed that it was ok for vegans to eat oysters, none of this would have happened.

  • I think that now, on the 4-5 visits a year that my partner and I make to Whole Foods, if we’re waiting in a long checkout line, I’ll glance through Oprah’s magazine or one of the others that make no pretense of being produced by vegans/vegetarians. Integrity is important!

  • I am confused as to why a website so invested in the integrity of what its viewers eat would so easily betray that for food porn. If we are to take the higher ground on what we choose to put into our bodies, let’s not focus on how it looks. Food, good or bad, does not always look photo-shoot ready. Why kill animals to photograph them so we can feel good about not killing animals to eat them? Seriously. The “it’s hard to find vegan photographs” rationalization is so weak, I am shocked that you are even invoking it.

  • Is this a big deal ???? To the animals it is.
    Quarrygirl, you need to focus on important issues concerning the vegan lifestyle. If you didn’t say anything, this would be a non-issue. Some of you vegan police, and I’m one, are a little nutty and drive some vegans away from you and your bullshit holier than thou attitude. I’ve been vegan 36 years. I veganized PETA and FARM in the early 80’s and I’ve seen a lot of negativity in the movement, but I never thought about airing it in public. You caused more harm to animals by doing this trashing of VegNews.

  • She killed herself to get away from you. Never forget that.

  • Last night was the first time I came to this site. The thing that caught my attention was the article about the usage of a real meat photo for a vegan dish.

    It is amazing that vegans often are the type of people who have high standards and good morals (at least the many that I have met). However, when I read through the comments on this blog and see so much unnecessary, vulgar language, I become disappointed.

    The English language is full of beautiful words that will illustrate the most perplexing thoughts.

    I know that some of you who have contributed to this vulgarity did not think it through, (with the exception of Quarrygirl who gives her unjustified reason on her FAQ page); but I would love to share this site with the many young children that I work with all around the world, so that children can be exposed to the great healthful, vegan lifestyle.

    Just a simple thought for consideration.

  • Donna, I am not claiming to be a purist. I completely agree with your comments about bug splat on the windshield. It bothers me but I still drive.

    Perhaps your friendship with Joe and Colleen is clouding your perspective on this. They are running a vegan magazine, for vegans. Your comments seem to be about the movement and the greater good and unity. But what kind of leaders in the community are they if they are knowingly running pictures of real meat on the cover of their vegan magazine. Not just once but many times.

    There are multiple issues here. Try to step back and think about this. Vegans can buy anything or eat anything but they make choices they believe to be ethical. They choose to give their money to a vegan magazine, let’s say, instead of one that promotes meat eating. And Joe and Colleen violate that trust by sending to their mailbox every month pictures of meat. And by tricking people at the Whole Foods checkout line into thinking they are looking at a beautiful vegan meal, and rewarding Joe and Colleen for that beautiful cover by buying that magazine.

    Every time someone buys a copy, that’s money in Joe and Colleen’s pocket. But there’s another issue here, too, and that’s the recipe one. Someone tries to make the recipe and have it turn out like the photo, or they use the photo as a guideline, or they buy the magazine because the photo makes the meal look appetizing. And this wasn’t accidental – that would be a different story then – this was done knowingly. And they try to hide it by deleting comments. And such deletions are in effect an admission by Joe and Colleen that they are doing something unethical or otherwise why not leave the comments up as honest debate?

    And then, when caught red-handed, and when even the New York Times thinks this is a shocking enough scandal to run a story about the matter, Joe and Colleen issue a very arrogant rebuttal. Where is the word “sorry” in there? Where is any talk of refunds for unhappy customers?

    And I am not even getting into the issue that perhaps by buying those stock photos they incentivize the purchase of more meat for photo taking?

    Try to think of it as if Jet magazine ran photos of African-Americans on their cover and it turned out they were white people in blackface, and the magazine knew this but ran it anyway.

    I think the people commenting on this blog are VERY representative of the vegan community as a whole. I read this blog regularly and the commenters are usually very kind and supportive and reasonable people. I think you are in the minority on this one, a slim minority.

    Again, it is noble that you have admitted openly to being friends with Joe and Colleen. I appreciate your honestly. I suspect many of the people anonymously commenting here that this is no big deal are actually VegNews employees or friends of Joe and Colleen.

    I suspect Joe and Colleen, who are clearly VERY arrogant people, would not have deigned to publish that letter today unless they were stunned by the number of subscription cancellations and vendor complaints they received today.

    They are in crisis control mode now, but rather than bringing in an outside crisis consultant they decided to handle the matter themselves, which resulted in their awful and inflammatory letter that only served to make things worse for them.

    They are going to lose half their subscription base over this, and I’m probably being conservative. And they will probably fold because of that. And deservedly so. This is not a one-time mistake, this was intentional and took place many times over the course of years.

    And after they declare Chapter 11, someone else will start a vegan magazine and it will succeed because clearly the customers for it exist. And hopefully they will be an ethical concern and not the perpetrators of fraud and deceit that Joe and Colleen turned out to be.

  • Please, unpack that for me.

  • I happen to agree with The Discerning Brute. I think that the editors deleting the readers’ comments was indeed extremely rude and enough to make one angry, but the stock photography being an issue over which people are going to unsubscribe, doesn’t seem to be helpful to animals. Like was mentioned, a lot of time stock food is actually plastic so nobody can even say for sure that it was real meat.

    I do have an emotional reaction to thinking I am seeing real meat, I find it revolting and upsetting. Perhaps this is the real source of the emotion everybody is pouring forth?

    I’m going to put my voice towards speaking FOR animals, or speaking AGAINST animal exploitation and exploiters, but not this, really. That’s just the way *I* feel about it though, I do appreciate the fact that people demand integrity and honesty in the vegan community.

  • Chas,

    Do you realize you are accusing QG of being holier than thou when that is EXACTLY what you are doing? Otherwise why cite your 36 years? You are saying that it is holier than someone who has only been vegan for 36 months. Same with your PETA brag. You are holier than someone who simply goes through their day with no animal products.

    To think that the “community” can be unified and speak with one voice is naive. Debate is healthy. And when someone in the community, especially in a leadership role, behaves reprehensibly they should be exposed. Sunlight is the best antiseptic and all that.

    It is nonsense for you to say that QG caused more harm to animals by trashing VegNews. What propagandistic bullshit! People like you are harming animals, and promoting cruelty. You are just one person not eating meat, but VegNews is telling a million people today that it’s okay to purchase photos of meat, to get people to salivate over meat, to use meat to sell magazines, and to profit off meat. That is what they did here Chas and that cannot be denied. It is a fact, even if you choose to bury your head in the sand.

    Can you believe you put in 36 years as an active vegan only to come out for the torture of animals? Well, that is what you have done today, Chas. With one little comment on a blog, you have done more harm to animals than the good you did by being a vegan for three and a half decades!

    Shame on you.

  • That was my first thought as well-a professional photo shoot is not necessary, they’d only need to provide a photo of the test dish. Not rocket science, there.
    They could even have readers supply them with an archive of vegan stock photos- and that’s ignoring the fact that most vegan products on the market come with photos anyway.

    Their excuses are pretty transparent lies.
    In fact, they’re providing meat photos because they think photos of real meat dishes are more appealing and look more appetizing to the reader than photos of vegan imitations, and they hope to use that to sell their product.

    It’s a hypocritical and offensive marketing decision that shows no respect for their readers or the product they sell. Also, they’re wrong.

  • The idea that “We all gotta stick together, even if a major face of vegans is making us look bad!” is retarded.

    Not all of us think veganism is a “movement” or “community”.

  • Do you have any rational basis for your comment? At all?
    OV isn’t eating the animals, just the byproducts, which the animal will produce whether it’s consumed or not. In fact, the unmilked cow will end up dying in agony because she wasn’t milked. That’s why you’re not supposed to separate cows and calves.
    Now, OV is not vegan, even if the animals are, but there’s no basis for you to fret about dead animals here.
    Get a grip.

  • An open statement to VegNews advertisers:

    The VegNews photography policy is deceitful, fraudulent, and most likely violates iStockPhoto’s terms of service.

    If we can’t trust the editorial content of VegNew’s magazine and website, we can’t trust what we see in its advertisements.

    I encourage you to put pressure on VegNews to find a solution to this issue or withdraw your sponsorship.

  • Not at all. Think of it this way:

    I play video games in which I shoot people, even though I don’t believe in shooting people in real life.

    Others eat fat-free ice cream because they don’t want the extra calories.

    Some people wear faux-leather, or faux-fur, because they like the look, but don’t want to harm animals.

    To put it another way, what is the “meat lifestyle”? How does eating faux-meat violate the “cruelty-free lifestyle”? Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another. So for vegans who say “I don’t want to harm animals to feed myself”, it is not hypocritical to eat tofu that tastes like meat, because they are not harming animals to feed themselves. That’s consistent with their values. (Setting aside that all farming harms some animals.)

    In other words, many of us do not give up meat because of what it tastes or looks like. We gave up meat because of how it was produced. Find another way to produce the same taste that is unobjectionable to us, and why can’t we eat it?

  • Excellent idea- too many people refuse to even consider eating vegan OR vegetarian, because they’ve been convinced it’s not as appetizing as food with meat and meat products.
    The shenanigans with stock photos above just perpetuate that myth. This sounds like a great way to debunk it!

  • Hey Gregalor,

    I agree with you, but let’s not get too full of ourselves, k?

  • If my rubber soles have gelatin, should I tell people that they don’t?

    I crush bugs when I drive. Should I pretend that this doesn’t happen?

    I do the best I can. But I ADMIT that I kill other living creatures.

    VegNews did NOT admit they were passing off meat as non-meat until they were caught. Even then they didn’t say, sorry, we should have been honest. That’s the difference.

  • No Meat,

    You say “Shame on me”. For what?
    How does supporting VN mean I’m for the torture of animals? What harm to animals was done by my supporting VN.
    You sound like one of those holier than thou vegan police nut-jobs.
    Millions of people wouldn’t even know about this if QG just called VN and told them she had a problem with the issue and they should think about changing their policy.
    Debate is healthy, but at the right time and place. Like at the annual veg/AR conferences.
    I cite my 36 years being vegan, not to brag but to let you know I’ve had lots of experience with these issues over the years concerning most of the major players.
    It would be a different story if VN was actually doing hands-on harm to animals but it’s pictures we’re talking about here.
    Go have some vegan ice cream and chill out.

  • Maybe you could refrain from making derogatory remarks about intellectual disabilities while you speak about veganism?

  • Why try to tear down one of the so few successful vegan outlets for ourselves and others over this?

    My wife is involved in PR and knows this is an extremely common practice by several magazine companies. I can imagine there are few resources for magazine-quality pics of all their vegan recipes posted.

    I agree I’ll have my doubts now whenever looking at their photos for now on, and hopefully as a result of all this they will make an extra effort to change their practices. But to demonize VegNews or feel betrayed by them seems like a stretch considering all the good they have done for the vegan community. This is the only veg magazine I can recall seeing in any typical bookstore, imagine the damage that would be done to a budding vegan culture after we are done tearing VegNews apart.

    I wish people got this worked up over things that actually pertained to the suffering of animals, not the opposite!

  • There are tons of amateur bloggers posting great photos all the time. The logical conclusion to me is that they do not test most or all of the recipes they publish. They must be buying them or acquiring them from somewhere else (much like the stock photos). Good grief.

  • It’s not derogatory, merely accurate. I’m referring to an idea that someone with a mental deficiency, a stupid person, might think up.

  • The only way to make a business change their ways is to hit them in the wallet. No one knows about voting with their wallet better than a vegan.

  • WHO TESTED THE RECIPE? or did they forget to do that too?

    I find this completely unethical. i HIGHLY doubt these recipes were ever made. they ALWAYS need to test out recipes before publication to make it easy to follow for the home cook, so why not take a pic then!? you know, now i can’t even trust that these recipes have been tested, i mean really!? and who wants to trust a magazine that prints recipes with pictures of a different meal? who are they kidding that they don’t have money for photoshoots blah blah blah? we all know that an inexpensive digital camera or a DSLR is all they need. take pix. post/print pix. erase pix. it’s that simple! when do u have to keep spending money? you don’t! why is THAT so expensive? it’s not! i think this magazine is gonna go down in flames for this. sucks for all the good places we’ve all found out about thru them, but they should have known better..they can buy a stock photo for a picture of veggies, a plate of sliced fruit, a shot of san francisco restaurants, fine. i have no problem with that. but don’t show me a picture of real ribs. cos u know what happens? i make those ribs and am comparing mine to the photo in the magazine, thinking hmm, it doesn’t look like theirs..i followed all the steps right. hmm, i wonder why? now we know. lame.

  • Okay Chas,

    Now I’m starting to think that maybe you’re Joe or Colleen or one of their pals or PR flaks and that you had yourself a bacon cheeseburger for lunch. Because what you say is so dishonest as to be patently false.

    You say that QG should have simply called VegNews. Right. That would have taken care of the problem. Look how open they were to all the other constructive criticism about it. THEY DELETED ALL THE COMMENTS, “CHAS” – THEY DELETED THEM!

    They breached no dissent. They think they’re the fuhrers of the vegan “community.” And you are some kind of Utopian nut job for thinking such a community exists that can speak with one voice. You should chill out and read “Animal Farm” you ignoramus.

    And do you really not see how your comments harmed animals today? Are you really that stupid? You are supporting, very publicly and very loudly, the idea that it’s perfectly fine for a magazine that supposedly promotes veganism to run photos of meat on their cover! Not meat at a meat market or slaughterhouse floor to show the inhumanity of it, but rather meat prepared by a food stylist to look like it was prepared by a chef to look like a tempting meal.

    A vegan magazine, running photos of meat on their cover to tempt people, and covering it up that they’re doing it. GEE, WHAT COULD BE WRONG ABOUT THAT?!

    There’s no way you’re really a vegan Chas. The vegan commenters on here who disagree with QuarryGirl have all taken the position that it was wrong what VegNews did but that they are an overall force for good. You are the only one to take the extreme, and nutty, position that what they did was perfectly A-OK.

    I’ll go chill out now with my vegan ice cream while you’re busy digging into that big bowl of Haagen-Dazs to wash down your cheesesteak. And when you’re done, “Chas,” go to youtube.com and watch “Meet Your Meat” – I think it’d be eye-opening for you, you corporate troll.

  • Because they’re assholes? That seems like a good reason to me.

  • DUDE!

    Since when are corporate coverups, misrepresentation, lying to the public and suppressing the evidence of wrongdoing a silly issue that only overprivileged white geese worry about?

    It’s a pervasive problem, and every speck of outrage, every person fighting back is an asset.

  • This is appalling and disgusting. I don’t subscribe to them, but if I did I would cancel it. When they do things right they’ll get their readers back.

  • Exactly! A good camera (300 bucks-ish), good lighting and photoshop (which we know they already have) is cheaper than what they’re doing. This is pure disrespect and laziness.

    Make the food, take a picture and voila. Not hard to do or understand. lol

  • Okay Gregalor, that was the perfect response to Zach and I couldn’t agree with you more. They are total assholes. And like you said in your earlier post, this is not a “community” nor a “movement.” I don’t remember going to any meetings or having to renew my membership card. And nobody asks me for money. It is like-minded people doing what they decided is the ethical thing to do. But if we were a movement, or a community, like many movements and communities, I bet we would be led by assholes, just like Joe and Colleen at VegNews. It is usually assholes who wind up running things because they are power-hungry people who have no problem stepping over and exploiting others to get to the top and who are really only in it for the money, like they are at this FOR-PROFIT publication where less money spent on photographs meant more money directly in their pockets. If there actually IS any kind of “community” I hope it includes a vegan class action lawyer who sues on behalf of all deceived subscribers and a vegan prosecutor at the FTC who indicts them for fraud and misrepresentation.

  • Wow…this is so disappointing! People often ask me if the pictures on my blog are actually of the food I cook. I always thought they were crazy, but I guess it happens more than I thought. If you want some REAL kick-ass vegan recipes check out Dinner Peace!

  • And, what evidence do you suddenly have for assuming that they don’t test their recipes?

    I have used their recipes for years and have made some delicious dishes. No problems at all.

  • Dana, the difference is that VegNews fans are smart, and that because VegNews isn’t a mainstream magazine funded by a large media conglomerate, we expect a higher standard from them.

    Your example is essentially arguing the “if VegNews jumped off a bridge, would you?” First, VegNews is not goddamn Vogue, so the fact that you’d compare them to a mainstream mag is laughable. Second, because they are not of that influence, it’s all the more important that they cater to their loyal fan base and not reduce their product to a cheap, unethical rag.

    There’s no way you can argue that VegNews has shown any journalistic integrity here.

  • I’m really grossed out by the fact that a “vegan” magazine has been publishing photos of food that obviously isn’t even vegetarian and they knew it wasn’t. Their response to all of this was frankly insulting. I’m a skeptic by heart and not easily offended, but this offends me.

    I’ve been subscribing to VegNews for quite awhile and I’m absolutely repulsed. I’ve emailed them and told them that I won’t remain a subscriber unless they do something about it very soon.

    That’s just my pragmatic point of view. Your mileage may vary.

  • Oh, what a fucking surprise. The Discerning Brute has OPINIONS!

    Sorry, but this not-a-thing dude is seriously the worst. Reading over all of these comments makes me 1. Remember why people HATE VEGANS and 2. Why I’ll be so happy when all of you awful people are out of jobs.

    Save the animals, not these dumb assholes’ “careers.”

  • I disagree with what they have done, but…

    I teach my children to be vegan because I believe that we should show kindness and compassion to others in word and deed.

    That means to humans as well as to animals. Assuming that someone started a vegan magazine (ahem, hardly a “money-maker” 11 years ago) because they were power-hungry and a-holes just doesn’t ring true to me and is also very unkind. I think I’ll be taking a break from these blogs for a bit until the conversation becomes, well, more representative of the vegans that I know.

  • Way to go vegans. You just fulfilled every stereotype judgmental omnis have about us. At the end of the day all you angry kids did was bring about more negative energy to veganism.

    I get it, it was a bad move on their part BUT their actions pale in comparison to this riot you all have caused today. SO counterproductive. You knew how mainstream media was going to make this read! We’re supposed to be the evolved ones that have come to this more compassionate choice. And we can’t extend that compassion to each other??

    Congrats vegans. This is the last time I will ever come to this site and I’m going to go buy VegNews subscriptions for my family and friends.

  • Below is a copy of the comment I posted on the VegNews Facebook page shortly before “un-liking” said page. But first, just a couple of additional notes:

    1. VegNews is a for-profit magazine, not a charity. They accept commercial advertisements and subscriptions and use that revenue in turn to pay expenses, which include professional photography. Suggestions that we all take and send them free photos, of any quality, to “help them out”, are inappropriate and harmful to already-struggling professional photographers (myself included).

    2. The argument that we should all band together as vegans fighting for a common cause is a specious one. VegNews does not speak for all vegans and should be called out when they make non-trivial mistakes.

    3. The argument that there are more important things to worry about is also a specious one, as it can and has been used to diminish the importance of just about everything short of 9-11. This issue is not the worst thing that has ever happened on Earth, to vegans, or the publishing industry, but that does not excuse VegNews from being called out on a continuing policy decision (*not* a single isolated incident) that is highly questionable at best and fraudulent at worst.

    With that, my comment to VegNews follows:

    As a mostly-vegan vegetarian and a photographer, I am doubly insulted that your magazine would *knowingly* post photos of non-vegan food to illustrate vegan recipes. It is simply fraudulent and unethical behavior, and your letter does nothing to ameliorate the damage. If you aren’t willing to pay for stock photos of actual vegan food or hire a professional (and yes I know how much that costs, being a pro myself), you should not include photos at all rather than put a photo of *meat* next to a *vegan* recipe. It’s shameful and shocking. If I were a subscriber I’d be unsubscribing now, but all I can do is “un-like” your page which I will do as soon as I’ve posed this comment.

  • Wow, I read through all of the comments. Congrats QG, you really hit the big time on this one. Some other Veg magazine will surely reward you for uncovering this one about VN.

    Doing what they did was bad. Hiding the fact that they did it was worse. Worst of all is the fact that even at the end when the cat was already out of the bag they still tried their devious tricks and deleted valid comments from their website and then to top it all off they come out with a terribly worded retraction.

    It’s like Barry Bonds and steroids, the problem was not so much that he took them but that he lied to the investigators when they asked him about it. The lie is so big that they even believe it themselves.

    Certainly we would have expected to see better behaviour from one of the most trusted sources for the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. Can we trust anything they have in their publication now that we know all about their attempts to coverup the story?

    This is what every vegan needs to think about. If you are ok with it then keep reading their magazine, if you are not then cancel your sub and tell them why.

    If you ate vegan food at a vegan restuarant and their website displayed photos of slaughtered animals (meat dishes) promoting their food, wouldn’t you feel deceived? I surely would and probably would stop eating there after finding that out.

  • Surprise, Joshua Katcher coming to the defense of VegNews! Forget the fact that you and the magazine’s editors are totally up each other’s asses, holding regular circle-jerk sessions on how great you all are for veganism and at saving the world, dozens of pageviews at a time.

    But you’re right. Honesty, integrity, and basic acknowledgment and respect for one’s professional industry are completely ridiculous and unfounded. Damn these silly, emotional, compassionate assholes daring to disagree!

    I would like to think that someone who works in the industry understands its fundamental principles, but then again, you’re in ”entertainment,” not journalism. Seems like you and VegNews have a lot in common, after all.

    Oh, and don’t you dare compare iStock to paintings/art. That is a fucking joke if I’ve heard one all day. They’re cheap and lazy, not creative.

  • extremely disapointed. not only low and disgusting to fool your readers that way, but also disapointed because Vegnews should be ethical and give a vegan photographer.

    Fake photo’s, i only can imagine that they also buy the recipes the same way ; by the dozen from a non veg cooking company who “veganises” the recipes.

    i would work this summer with Vegnews for their new veg tour in Thailand, but today i canceled my coorperation with them.

    second time this year they hugely disappiont. First time was when they trashed Supreme Master (someone with a silly name but a great vegan heart and organiser of the worlds fastes vegan restaurant chain called the Loving Hut) very unfairly, almost like a smear campaign.

    Anyway, Thanks a million Quarrygirl for exposing the dirt and keeping our vegan planet clean !

  • Granted I don’t eat processed vegan faux meat dishes anyway and like real vegan food but that’s a whole other subject.. What’s interesting is much of the time these “burger and fries” or ice cream shots aren’t made out of food at ALL but have glue and all sorts of other ingredients and aren’t at all edible.

    I think I’ll do my research and find out if they were meat in the pictures to begin with. As we already know- just because they are labeled as such doesn’t mean they are. Wouldn’t it be funny ironic if it wasn’t meat or even edible food at all!?


  • Tired of hearing the “I thought we were supposed to be compassionate, that means to each other, too.” I didn’t go vegan to ascend to the next level of spirituality.

  • I suppose it is par for the course in magazine publishing, but doesn’t it seem very dishonest to post a recipe with a picture that is *not made from that recipe* ??? It’s misleading.

    Even if the pictures WERE of VEGAN food, if they aren’t pictures of food made from the recipe, I would say it still stinks.

    Like I said, I’m sure VN will say something like “everyone does this” or “we don’t own a stove or a camera” or “we’re too damned lazy” or whatever. But that doesn’t make it right.

  • Veg journalist

    First of all, it seems that the photos being passed off as “vegan” is an ethical question about VegNews’ journalistic standards: if they lie about this …

    Also, to point out that the staff there has a blog about their lunches AND THEY TAKE THEIR OWN PHOTOS FOR THAT!

    So they can take the photos of what they eat but not what they write about? Strange.

  • I’m ready to send in my $ for a quarrygirl subscription. I miss Satya http://www.satyamag.com/ that was a real veg magazine.

  • If that’s not irony, I don’t know what is.

  • Gosh, don’t you know? Only white people are vegans! Absolutely no vegans of color exist anywhere! It’s certainly not as if there are blogs, books, essays, websites, and more devoted to vegans of color, after all!

    OH WAIT.

  • “in fact you are deceived by stock photos all the time in advertising!”

    Oh, shit, well I guess that makes it okay!

  • Tired of “I have been vegan for x years”, as if that adds more weight to an opinion.

  • That’s why it’s derogatory, for Pete’s sake. It’s dis/ableist and it’s hate speech.

  • OMG!
    I totally just laughed so hard my big mac came spewing out my mouth! what is this world coming to!?
    I’m gonna walk it off, I’ll feel better. Has anyone given ANY thought to the POOR VEGANS! who had to photoshop the pictures?! Its down right cruel! I mean I could understand if you went to a copy shop to have them edited but its probably an in-house job which means that some poor sod is being tormented and traumatized daily by having to work with ACTUAL PHOTO’S OF MEAT! and then living with the guilt of the knowledge that their entire magazine is a lie, driven by greed and hypocrisy!
    I’m seriously gonna walk this off. Cos I don’t want to have this as the only important thought in my head and irritate my work colleagues… this sucks that you can’t even trust a Vegan any more.
    uuurgh… I have to get this burger off my keyboard, but then I’m going to walk it off.
    like seriously…

  • Thanks so much for this. I am so glad that there are people out there willing to tell the truth and expose the deception. What kind of world would we live in if there wasn’t?

  • They clearly just want to make money off the vegan community too. Greed is disgusting!

  • I’m a semi-pro photographer, who works for PETA UK – I do their demo photos.. I’m also a 10 year vegan (straight to vegan from carnivore if you must know)

    While I don’t condone VegNews actions, they are right in that stock photos are dirt cheap, we use them here sometimes (though we certainly don’t photoshop bones etc.. out, I actually thought that was against iStock t&c’s)

    It’s not as simple as that though is it.. to photograph vegan food it has to be made fresh, to make it fresh could mean in Scotland, Liverpool, Manchester, who would pay someone to travel to Edinburgh from London to photograph a kale stew?

    You’re right, there is a lack of great vegan food photographers out there, but I’m no chef, which would be the ideal situation – or to work in a vegan restaurant..

    On a related note: http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/217280_10150208878840166_613325165_8825083_5629173_n.jpg

  • Tired of hearing your “tired of hearing” replies 😉

  • @QuarryGirl

    Just out of curiosity, did you tell VegNews about what you found before you published? I guess if the answer was “yes” they weren’t willing to make amends.

  • Are we really starting this much drama over vegnews using stock photos?? something that most magazines DO? shame on all of you. this is not what being a vegan is about. Way to set the veganism back a good 10 years. You are all fools, kindly step down off your high horse.

  • How about VegNews putting a call out for well lit, attractive photos frpm vegans/veg news readers ?

    That way people can spend more time on stopping animal abuse and promoting veg cooking rather than spend time attacking mags who contribute to preventing animal abuse.

    Wouldn’t it be great if one of the National Animal Hero Kid winners, Catlin the 13 year old You Tube Veggie chef,http://humaneeducatorsreachingout.com/ got a little recognition in Veg News ?

  • Special Technique

    look, the ads are made out of PIXELS, not meat. vegnews only messed up when they avoided you about it. they should have said CHILL THE FUCK OUT, NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE PURCHASE OR MANIPULATION OF THESE PIXELS. you’re overreacting, and you owe vegnews an apology. personally i think it’s funny that they doctored photos of meat. they cheated the devil and made money doing it!

  • Well, the thing that gets me, more than them using photos of meat, is that I remember one particular issue recently that had a recipe for soup. The picture of the soup was green, but the soup I made came out cream colored, so I thought I did something terribly wrong. Turns out I didn’t. I contacted the recipe’s author and she even had a photo of the actual soup they could have used, but for whatever reason, went ahead with a different photo of basically a different recipe. So that pretty much sucks. It should have at least been stated in the notes, don’t worry if your soup turns out cream/white, that’s the way it should look. Duh.

  • John-do you really when you are at a rally and some idiot comes up and asks you if your shoes are leather (which people would ask me all the time)and you said no, would you then really tell them “oh but my souls are rubber and they are not vegan”. Tell me in all honesty you would tell people that. Because your rubber souls are not vegan in most shoes.
    And while you might not have known that until now-are you going to tell people that?

  • I have to say, I was hoping the apology would admit a fault, and then state that they would work to improve things. Although the vegan community can be quite the two-headed beast in terms of biting and applauding different things, I think VegNews would have found plenty of wiling contributors to help test recipes, shoot photos and anything else they needed if they had asked.

    I’m saying this because that’s how I’ve operated T.O.F.U. magazine (http://www.ilovetofu.ca) for several years now. We’re completely dependent on volunteer contributions in terms of articles, recipes, photos and so much more. To the best of my knowledge, we’ve never posted meat and called it otherwise. Sure, we’re not perfect vegans, and we’ve stumbled here and there, but I’d like to think we’ve maintained our integrity since issue one.

    I hope VegNews gets their act together and steps up to the plate more than they are now. I’d hate to see another vegan magazine crumble in an already tiny piece of the market.

  • So the people who are fine with VegNews…. you are okay with looking at murder and finding it salivating? Really?

  • Nice article. There are dozens of comment on their site right now talking about the photo. I guess we will see how long they stay there.

  • i feel sad for all of you angry people. i don’t base their love for animals on some superficial picture that could have just as easily been drawn. Its recycling and reusing instead of adding more resources to get a different picture. Have you ever done anything lazy in your life? EVER? i have retained important information from that magazine and I refuse to write them off for doing something stupid. i believe you taught them a lesson. I am vegan because i have compassion.

  • Brandon Becker

    Could you imagine if the “meat” industry or one of their corporate front-groups like the CCF broke the story of VegNews’ use of animal products? I can imagine the stories: “Vegan food sucks so much that they have to show meat to make it seem appetizing.” It’s better we clean our own house than have industry do it for us!

  • You really think VegNews is doing the best they can?

    Oh, you are precious!

  • Amen! AND the meat industry and animal carcass-eaters should get a real kick out of the comments by SUPPOSED vegans who are defending/poo-pooing what VegNews did!

  • You guys are absolutely ridiculous. It is not as easy as you think it is to photograph food. Do you honestly think a magazine would sell well if it used your “cell-phone-images?” I can understand why everyone is upset, but give VegNews a break. It’s better that they use their budget to produce quality articles, informing their readers, and potential new readers that they attract with better looking photograph, about the vegetarian lifestyle than spending all of their money on expensive customized photography. (Which is expensive! No matter what you all think!)

  • I agree. The use of that word is really awful and seriously painful to folks with disabilities and the people who love them.

    Grow up, man. Seriously, if you’re not smart enough to call someone “stupid” without reaching for that hateful word then maybe you shouldn’t be calling *anyone* stupid.

  • No Meat-you have no idea who Chas is do you? If it were not for people like him the vegan movement would not be where it is today.
    Quarry Girl is getting her/his/it’s 15 minutes of fame. Had Quarry Girl gone to Veg News first before posting it and discussed with them first about why they did it and they dissed she/him/it then that is one thing. They went ahead and posted it. Now who is the arrogant one?

  • clearly some of them know how to take a good picture of food: http://cafevegnews.blogspot.com/

    I’m not sure why they still feel the need to stimulate demand for animal flesh photos.

  • HA! So now it’s bad to even look at meat? You guys are really over the top. Hilarious. I’m sure they’re very sorry they abused your eyeballs like that.

    Well, you can hardly blame Vegnews for this. Apparently they’ve finally realized that vegan food is as bland looking as it is bland tasting. Have you ever actually tried vegan “ribs”? Blech!

  • It’s not that they did it, it’s the subterfuge. It’s like saying you don’t have a photo of an actual person so you use any picture of a person. The argument that it is economically unfeasible falls on deaf ears. I’m sorry but I didn’t pay for pics of ANYTHING, I paid for pictures of something specific. If you don’t have a picture of what you’re writing about and it’s too expensive to set up a photoshoot, and you don’t have a bunch of (volunteer) recipe testers who submit “good enough” pictures then just don’t put up a picture.

    The bottom line is it all goes back to credibility and remorse and VegNews has taken a big hit on both of these.

    I hope they change this policy and make assurances about the subject of any photos from here on in.

  • If you’re going to start the ableist calling-out, why not go attack the hundreds of posts on this that are throwing around the word “lame.” That seems to be a popular one.

  • Im thankful for quarrygirl’s investigative skills. If it werent for her we would still be eating non vegan crap from the “thai vegan” places. I hate liars. It seriously wouldnt take any time too actually make a recipe and take a picture. Why do I want to see something thats unattainable? My wheat gluten ribs are never going to look like that..and its setting up unrealistic expectations to sell a magazine. Im not about to support that. Im vegan because I want to do as much as I can to end animal suffering. If I wouldnt buy a fur coat with the tag ripped out telling me its real fur why would I buy a magazine showing photos of meat and calling them vegan. If you buy those stock photos then they will continue to be made..just like hamburgers.. So take your “we cant be purist” crap back to your home filled with semi vegan things you justify because your actually just too lazy to find vegan versions of them.

  • “Do you like looking at pictures of meat? How about a juicy beef burger, covered in egg mayonnaise with cow fat dripping off? Perhaps some soft, meaty chunks of chicken breast in chicken stock and cream? What about a pork sausage, oozing in pig fat, fresh from the slaughterhouse? OK, let’s tone it down a little. Perhaps you like to look at egg mayonnaise potato salad, made with eggs from those poor battery hens that are dead basically from the moment they are born. How about creamy mac and cheese made with real cow’s milk, pulled painfully from their sore and tender udders, infused with antibiotics, pain and anguish?”

    God, I’m hungry!!

  • I can understand that most of you find the photos that VN fed you to be unpalatable, but I’m a little disenchanted by the way that you describe how the animals that were used for the food were raised. ‘~’

    My family and I own a small farm in rural PA, and I was testing the waters, so to speak, about cutting back or cutting out meat from our diets. All of our animals are pets, from our sturdy halflinger mare Cider to the lowly pig we never name (for obvious reasons). We don’t inject any kind of antibodies or growth hormone into the chickens or the cows; they do just fine eating clover and enjoying the sun. And yes, we do raise birds for meat, and we do slaughter them, but we do it by hand and with as little trauma as we can manage.

    My point is this; while not every farm or dairy has such high handed methods for raising their animals, not every farm is a scion of depravity either. 🙂

  • “If they will stoop that low (and appear to have been doing so for years) what else can we not trust about this formerly erstwhile publication?”

    “Formerly erstwhile?” You should stop trying to use grown up words until you figure out how to use a dictionary.

  • Actually, getting our own house in order before going to fix someone else’s is exactly what we’re doing by responding to this. If we don’t drink our own champagne, how can we expect others to do so?

  • We order from ‘Thai Vegan’ places at least twice a week; they deliver and the food is good. Since my partner is a lacto-ovo vegetarian, he doesn’t mind if there is dairy or eggs in the fake meat selections. I eat a predominantly vegan diet, and have no reason to suspect that there is dairy or eggs in my tofu selections. (I sometimes wonder if there might be FISH SAUCE in SOME of the dishes, but ‘Operation Pancake’ didn’t test for this….)

    BUT I sure do agree with and applaud Mr. Meaner and Quarrygirl on this VegNews rant! Couldn’t agree with them more on THIS one!

  • Unfortunately, as Vegans, we have to look at your sorry asses eating our friends all the time. When I purchase something I don’t want to look at food that pieces of shit like you eat. The food that I eat is tastier, better for me, and takes real fucking balls to eat. While you get older and develop erectile dysfunction, obesity, and a vast array of heart problems, I’ll be eating better food that will keep happy, young, healthy, smart and (best of all) not a douche bag, like yourself.

  • As a Vegan, I am not allowed to be LAZY about things that I care about. I live in Hesperia, CA which means it would be awesome to have a place to out and have some dinner and a drink. But I prefer to not be LAZY and I cook every single night because I don’t want to take the easy way out and eat something that I don’t agree with just because it is easier. What the hell kind of vegan are you that asks if we’ve ever done anything lazy? It is work being vegan and I love every fucking god damn moment of it.

  • ZING.

    But yeah. Sometimes people use “the r-word” to describe frivolous things, and sometimes they really are comparing you to a mentally handicapped person.

  • You’re not the only one to wonder about straight-up fish sauce in items marked vegan. I’ve definitely gotten things in sauce that tasted fishy, but figured they couldn’t be THAT stupid, to use the same sauce as the meat items on the menu (I’m not referring to an all-veg restaurant here, obviously, but one with a section).

  • VegNews is the one who set veganism back 10 years (not to mention, how does one set veganism back 10 years? Are we all so much more angry than we were before. Those of us who are angry are angry about the same thing that we’ve been pissed about all along). Maybe you vote republican because you obviously are ok with being lied too.

  • Exactly, no one said it would be easy. Apparently VegNews didn’t get that memo.

  • Excellent point Jangalian. People who want to reduce animal cruelty would do better to support farms like yours than skip meat altogether. Money talks. If big factory farms find that people really support, and are willing to spend their money on, humanely treated, grass fed animals w/ no hormones and antibiotics (beyond what’s necessary to treat actual disease and reduce suffering) then they’ll follow suit because they want to follow the money. People who buy no meat have 0 influence on the industry. People who insist on grass fed, well treated animals for their meat guide the industry.

  • Given that many of the photographers that put stock photos up for purchase are using minimal equipment, i would think it would be fairly inexpensive and much more ethical to have a staff photographer, or even a shoot for hire photographer. Hell, i’ve sold stock photos taken with an $800 camera setup.

  • Way to go vegans. You just fulfilled every stereotype judgmental omnis have about us. At the end of the day all you angry kids did was bring about more negative energy to veganism.

    I get it, it was a bad move on their part BUT their actions pale in comparison to this riot you all have caused today. SO counterproductive. You knew how mainstream media was going to make this read! We’re supposed to be the evolved ones that have come to this more compassionate choice. And we can’t extend that compassion to each other??

    Congrats vegans. This is the last time I will ever come to this site and I’m going to go buy VegNews subscriptions for my family and friends.

    Another person blaming the victim. I’m sure we had it coming because we deserve it. Their actions pale in comparison to ours though? Now that is a good one. With that kind of thinking, it must all the cows fault that they are mindlessly slaughtered, milked, and fattened up. Vegnews did not offer us any compassion when they mindlessly made a stupid move. You need to find somewhere else to preach and obviously you resent your own vegan-ness.

  • Sorry, I posted the previous post in my reply on accident. Please to not think that I said the previous thing… Here is my reply:

    “Another person blaming the victim. I’m sure we had it coming because we deserve it. Their actions pale in comparison to ours though? Now that is a good one. With that kind of thinking, it must all the cows fault that they are mindlessly slaughtered, milked, and fattened up. Vegnews did not offer us any compassion when they mindlessly made a stupid move. You need to find somewhere else to preach and obviously you resent your own vegan-ness. “

  • Donna, I don’t care who Chas is. And No Meat, thanks for standing your ground. We all know that what we spend our money on is one of the most sacred things in our community. Many times we spend more for goods just to be sure that it comes from a good company with good people. Now, I think Vegnews is probably full of great people. But to let them off the hook is insane. But what is more insane is that Donna and Chas are calling for Quarry Girl to sit on her ass and say nothing about this. We only have ONE major vegan publication and we just ask that it be like US. That it cares about the product it produces enough to go the extra mile when it comes to issues like this one.

  • I don’t get the whole ‘go easy on them because it is common practice’ angle. The VegNews explanation of not having enough funds to use original photos is also BS. Fraud is fraud. You can’t talk your way out of it. Dishonest journalism isn’t excused away because of financial difficulties or the fact lots of publishers lie. I don’t support mainstream newspapers/programs because they are full of shit and they are dishonest. I no longer support VegNews because they lie about content that I find personally offensive. Not trying to convince anyone here, just using the good ol’ QG comment section to vent.

    Something being cheaper and common-practice doesn’t make it right. If it did, we would all eat meat. Do the right thing, VegNews.

  • Donna,

    I could care less that you have been vegan for 25 years and that Chas has been vegan for 35. And when you ask: “Do you know who Chas is?!” then I answer: Yes, an apologist and a douchebag, as are you.

    Who cares how long the two of you are vegan if you think it’s more important to defend your money-grubbing friends Joe and Colleen then to fight animal abuse.

    How dare you and Chas take the position that it’s okay for Joe and Colleen to defraud their subscribers and practice yellow journalism because the four of you used to sit around and get high and eat kale in some dirty apartment in Haight Ashbury thirty years ago.

    What a bunch of vermin and lowlifes you all are, closing ranks like this. You both need to open your eyes and get it through your fried brains that it’s wrong, both from a vegan standpoint and a journalistic standpoint, to sell people a vegan magazine which claims to be anti-meat and yet has savory meat meals adorning its cover.

    You think that’s okay? Seriously, I have to ask you that again. You see no problem with a magazine that is marketed and sold to people who have made a commitment to avoid meat to deceive these readers and supporters by showing photos of delectable meat on their cover?

    And again, not a one-time mistake. Someone posted dozens of examples of where they’ve done this. They did it over and over again. Think about the disdain that Joe and Colleen have for their readership. They know better. They think they are the lord and ruler of the vegan world.

    They are disgusting criminals is what they are, ripping people off and taking their money. And seriously, if that’s their level of ethics, I have to question what they’re eating when nobody’s looking. And if you and Chas are going to defend them to the end of the Earth then I also have to strongly question what you and Chas are eating when nobody’s looking because clearly your ethics are questionable.

  • Just so you know, “erstwhile” means “former,” so you’re asking something about a formerly former publication.

  • One of my nieces was a vegan for a while in high school. You know how girls are. Half of them are vegans for a year, and the other half are in love with horses.

    Anyway, after she had moved on and returned to burgers and smoked salmon, she told me that vegans were the meanest people she knew. In fact, she said, vegans are probably more likely than anyone else to engage in cannibalism.

    I’ve sent her a link to this article.

  • we all have every right to be pissed off about this! come on! to those of you who are siding with this publication, you are crazy. people have been making a great point on here…use your damn cell phone to take a picture of a particular vegan dish, don’t lie to us by showing pictures of meat and cheese and passing it off as vegan. that’s just shady. and furthermore, the person who said that this shows that they’re not even trying the recipes out before they publish them hit the nail right on the head. who can support a “vegan” website that is shoving pictures of decaying carcass down our throats??? just goes to show you how strongly they feel about the cause. gross.

  • First off, no one is asking Vegnews to spend 15k a day just to photograph their food. We are asking that 1) If they are going to use istockphotos, at least follow istock’s policies, and state clearly in the publications that is where they came from. 2) Purchase a camera, grab a designer/intern, and take care of it. It’s called problem solving. I am married to a Graphic Designer. My wife has published many things that involved her having to do the work of a photographer. Sure it would be better to have a photographer do it but any designer with artistic sense would easily suffice. So no more of this, it’s so expensive and “I know how it is because I am involved in media” BULLSHIT.

    I have always had an issue with Vegnews and their recipes. They never have looked appetizing and now I know why. If you are so “media savvy” then could you point me to another magazine that has an emphasis on food that uses stock photos as a way for us to view a finished recipe? Good Luck.

  • Why grass-fed? Is grain murder nowadays?

  • I am so embarrassed that you found out about our circle jerks! I thought we had covered the windows…

  • Won’t you come with me to Alabamy
    Let’s go see my dear old Mammy
    She’s fryin’ eggs and boiling hammy
    That’s what I like about the South

    Now there you can make no mistakey
    Where those nerves are never shaky
    Ought to taste her layer cakey
    That’s what I like about the South

    She’s got baked ribs and candied yams
    Those sugar-cured Virginia hams
    Basement full of those berry jams
    An’ that’s what I like about the South

    Hot corn bread, black-eyed peas
    You can eat as much as you please
    ‘Cause it’s never out of season
    That’s what I like about the South


  • Something tells me you’re angry because you like to be angry. Meat-eaters are much happier. Come on, have a burger. You know you want one. Mmmm! Good!

  • I don’t know any real life vegans who like PETA. We all know how fucked up they are. Thanks for playing, though!

  • I don’t know your niece but based on what you said, I really hate her. She is only probably good for being cannibalized.

  • Mmmmm. Fried brains. Tomato sauce?

  • Oh God, I love food porn. Oh God. Oh God. ohgodohgodohgodohhhhhhhhhh!

  • But seriously… Your niece was a vegan in high school and thought vegans were mean. With that kind of statement I can’t imagine how else to think about vegan based on what a high school girl said. I bet all boys are mean too! Although I am sure she got around to meet so many vegans in that “year” in high school. Are you a republican? That is the only kind of stupidity that could say this and think it is a serious comment.

  • Greg, I totally agree.

  • I am a vegan but I think the people on here who are criticizing VegNews need to chill out and find another target for their energy and anger.

    Why do I say this? For the simple reason that VegNews is undoubtedly going to go out of business as the result of this scandal and so why waste another second burying them?

    If you look at the comments on not just this blog but other vegan blogs the last couple of days, the commentary by vegans is running, by my count, about seven to one against VegNews. And even more important, about six of those seven seem to be outraged enough that they’re claiming they will be canceling their subscriptions.

    Can VegNews, which offers up the laughable excuse that they’re too cash-strapped to use non-meat photos in their vegan-only publication, really afford to lose half their readership? No way.

    This is a classic Shakespearean story where the greed and arrogance of Joe and Colleen, the VegNews bosses, sealed their own doom. They are no doubt in panic mode today. Their lives have been ruined, and rightly so. They took the trust of their readership, a committed and ethical group, and they took a big meaty crap on it.

    But like I said, let’s move on. These clowns are done. They will be financially bankrupt by the end of the year (they’re already morally bankrupt) and even worse, then the lawsuits will start. And believe me, this overt and SUSTAINED fraud is going to make some ravenous class action lawyer salivate even more than those photos of meat.

    And what they did is not only civilly actionable but they could very well be looking at criminal prosecution as well. So by 2013 they might not only be broke, but sitting in a jail cell eating prison food, which I’m guessing is hardly vegan, not that they care.

  • Crime of the century! Photo of a burger! Film at 11!

  • Guys I just ate half a pound of steak tips. What should I do?

  • Send me the leftovers!

  • QG,

    I hope you might update the post with extra photos. Also I find it funny that VegNews staff has a pretty beautful blog of making recipes and posting photos of attractive vegan food.

    I find it really insulting they can’t give their employees a $300 camera and use staff photos and save the $1500 stock photo fees.


    Any of those photos would make a better shot than using stock burger. I find it hard to believe you can’t find a stock photo of a veggie burger.

    You are “saddened” by this discussion is the best apology ever.

  • Bacon wins again!

  • Do you have any recipes for Fried Vegan?

  • megan:
    did you even read what I said before posting the reply?

    now because of the “righteous” backlash there is one great publication less out there. people that never heard of vegNews sure did now. Do you think that’s helping the cause? There were other ways to resolve this. But as I said before, too late now. Go jump off the bridge if you want to.

  • Speaking of erecticle dysfunction, did you check out the ta-tas on that soy-eatin’ vegan guy?

  • Discerning Brute:
    Excellent viewpoint. The one I support wholeheartedly.

  • Bacon burger! Bacon burger!

    Rah rah rah!

  • Gina Guillotine

    Cell phone images? Really? Aren’t we insulting? Do you have any idea of the vegan blogs out there that have magazine-quality photos? What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat, Anyway? is one such blog that comes to mind. The people who run that blog could have been hired by VegNews and had excellent photographs, and trust me, that’s not the only blog with great pictures.

    Cell phone images. Please. What a rude thing to say.

  • Your analogy is off. A more apt analogy is:

    If you’re at a rally and someone asks: do you have animal products in your shoes? And you answer, this is not real leather.

    Sure, you’ve answered the question, but you’ve mislead the person.

    I don’t think my shoes have gelatin in them. But I will investigate, and if they do, then yes, when someone asks whether there are animal products in my shoes, I will honestly answer that there is gelatin in the rubber soles. I might add that I did not know that when I bought them.

    What VegNews has done is the equivalent of me wearing a leather jacket and saying “hey, buy faux-leather jackets, don’t they look great?” And then, when someone says, “wait, that’s REAL leather,” my first response is “shut up! Leave me alone! You’re mean-spirited!” And then, when lots of other people chime in, only then do I say, “well, faux-leather is too expensive. It’s more important that I promote people buying faux-leather, even if I have to lie to do it.”

  • OneLessMeatEater

    I know you’re trolling the discussion Uncle Meat, however if you don’t understand why grass fed beef is more desirable to meat eaters than grain fed (and better for the animal), you clearly need to do more edumacatin’ before you decide to troll.

    The more you know…. *rainbow stars*

  • The problem is, if we want to convince omni eaters that there are delicious vegan (or even vegetarian) meals that they can incorporate into their diets, thereby limiting the amount of meat they eat and benefiting all concerned, we need to do it honestly, and that means our resources, like our magazines, need to show real pictures of vegan food, not doctored (or just flat out lied about) photos of meat.

    A restaurant I frequent has amazingly delicious vegan “boneless wings.” They are breaded and baked chunks of smoky seitan in barbeque sauce. When I say “chunks” I mean square chunks, not even oblong. They don’t look like “boneless wings” at all. Now maybe that’s intentional to keep people from mixing them up (yes, the restaurant serves meat too, there are separate workstations in the kitchen) but when omnis see this square thing, despite assurances that they’re delicious, they won’t try them. If the restaurant called them something else, like BBQ not-chicken nuggets, even, I don’t think the mental barrier would be so high.

    In short, representation matters as much as presentation.

  • If VegNews would have simply printed a disclaimer in each issue, claiming that they sometimes use stock imagery that may or may not be vegan, they could have seriously avoided this backlash. Hiding something is always worse that being transparent. And if they would have done a disclaimer, they would have learned organically from their readership what the response would have been, and been able to change course. I also agree that you don’t need a “professional photo shoot” to create publishable photographs. Almost all digital cameras these days produce images big enough to run at least half-page in a magazine at 300dpi. It is a concern however, that they are not actually making these recipes or testing them, but rather just writing them and using fake photos.

  • I know you have tons of comments to read through, but this post is really good. Frustrating but good. It is a big deal. Maybe not to some, but if you think about it, how much does it cost to take a picture??? Food bloggers do it ALL THE TIME. And they don’t have the budget that Veg News has. You mean to tell me no one at the magazine actually tests the dish and takes their own pictures? More than anything it is unethical and deceitful in tricking the readers into believing they are viewing a vegan dish when it clearly is not. What message are they sending out by doing this?? Oh wait, next time if they can’t find a picture online, they will just hop on over to McDonald’s and buy that fillet o’ fish for their next photo, which is probably something they have already done anyway. Thanks for this great article.

  • Have you ever been to the website “Tasty Kitchen?” Probably not. It’s a community food site/blog/social network, largely made up of food bloggers, run by the decidedly anti-vegan famous food blogger (and now cookbook author) known as The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond). Members there post recipes that they’ve created for their own blogs, frequently with incredible pictures. Ree, who’s a rancher’s wife, started a tradition of food blogs with incredible pictures, and frequently posts tutorials on how to take better food pictures. I think off of the top of my head of a half-dozen food bloggers who take amazing pictures of food they’ve made themselves in home kitchens, with nothing more than a good camera and good home lighting. Not a light rig or reflector or food stylist anywhere to be found.

    There is a learning curve (I know because I’ve tried) but someone with any photo background or a decent camera can eventually get there if they want to.

  • I’m not defending the magazine’s actions (which I strongly criticized per my previous comment), but I don’t believe using their staff’s photos would be a good option based on those posted on the staff blog cited (http://cafevegnews.blogspot.com/). The photos are fine but they are not magazine quality. It takes more than a good camera with a lot of megapixels to make a magazine-quality photo. This does not in any way excuse VegNews for using stock photos of meat dishes. They should either spend the money to retain a pro photog to take photos of the actual recipes, or source stock photos of actual vegan meals.

  • I’ve read VegNews since its newsprint beginnings. I’ve discovered many great products and events through it. So what if the photos aren’t Vegan. Nobody eats photos. These were free. I’ve never had a recipe come out like the picture in any publication. You whiners need to take a cleanse and lighten up. Vegans have too many real enemies in this cruel world and we don’t need militant zealots ripping us apart from the inside. I will continue to read VegNews.

  • Clearly you haven’t read all the comments then, my friend, because many people agree with our viewpoint on this “controversy”.

  • My issue is less with the fact that they’re using Photoshopped images of meat (which, yeah, that’s gross… we all agree on that), and more with the fact that the image they’re presenting is NOT the recipe that follows. I wonder how many people have either been hesitant to try a recipe they’ve made or flat out thrown it away because it didn’t look like the picture the VegNews claimed was the final product?

    While I understand that running a magazine is an expensive endeavor, we can’t possibly be expected to believe that they can’t afford to have a photographer on staff. Do you know how many quality photographers out there that would probably jump at the chance to work for them?

  • Shelly Valladolid

    I came here from Gawker, as I’m a fan of food porn. You probably didn’t mean to, but that first paragraph had me drooling. Damned lenten Fridays!

    Every cow I’ve ever milked didn’t show any signs of pain (and a cow doesn’t tend to hold things back, they can give a good kick when they don’t like something and can get quite loud, too.) In fact, being milked gave them relief from the pressure in their udders. I drink raw milk from a family farm and will do so with no feelings of guilt nor shame about it.

  • Uncle Meat Is A Troll

    Hi – My Name is Uncle Meat and I have prostate cancer.
    I think I’m funny. Look at all of the funny things I say.
    Laugh with me – I make meat jokes.
    I am five.

    Did I mention I am five?

    I am five.

  • Weird and unexpected, yes. But nothing I’d cancel a subscription over. (I’d be thrilled if a magazine like VegNews was at all available in my country!) Those suggesting that VegNews should work to contract photos from vegan food bloggers when needed are on to something. But keep in mind that there might be time and cost constraints the impede that. Still worth a shot!

  • Special Technique

    the photos vegnews staff take of their lunches are of terrible quality. hell YEAH they need to outsource for photos

  • this is the whiniest bullshit i’ve come across. the magazine doesn’t have tons of money to spend to have food prepared for photographs. you do realize that most stock shots of food is rarely even the “food” it’s set out to portray, right?

    i have a friend whose sole job it is to do photography for American’s Test Kitchen and let me tell you it’s a sweet gig. It pays well and is super time consuming. A magazine with limited resources doesn’t have the same money to spent as ATK does.

    But way to tear down a vegan magazine based on photos you don’t agree with. Veganism, as far as I knew, was an ethical and not an aesthetic choice.

  • I’m not mad that they use stock photos of meat (though I’d rather they didn’t). I’m mad that they lied about it. And that they tried to cover it up when someone pointed it out.

  • I feel sick to my stomach. It reminded me of that same feeling of the discovery that Emes Jel was not vegetarian/vegan. I consumed, used, and bought Emes Jel without knowing it that it was not even vegetarian. Now, I saw those pictures in VegNews and thought that they were vegan dishes. I would never put pictures of meat and fool people that they are seitan in my blog. I know that I didn’t consume those pictures as food but I consumed the photos and internalized them. I feel the same that I was lied to.

    Thanks for this revelation. I look at Vegnews with different eyes now. I am so very sad.

  • Why isn’t this labeled as it is, a lie. There’s nothing wrong with choosing for yourself what you eat but why manipulate the truth???

  • I’m getting kind of pissed at these people saying we are overreacting, and that we’re freaking out over “looking at meat.” That isn’t the main issue.. the issue is that we are looking at it PUBLISHED in a vegan magazine! I see meat in the grocery store, and yes, most of the time I hate to look at it, but its there and I can’t cry about it. This is a WHOLE nother level, how do even vegans themselves not see this?

  • Quarrygirl, your investigative skills are out of this world! I am so very sad and upset to hear what Veg News has done. I was hoping for some sort of explanation or apology from them but instead we got a pompous, self-pitying justification for the way the do business. I promptly canceled my subscription and stopped following them on Twitter. Thank you for calling them out, no matter how much the truth hurts, I always prefer to know it.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Sorry, my comment was meant to be its own, not a response to yours.

  • That, I think, is the important point. Not the silliness about stock food photos (which half the time aren’t even really food, let alone meat). But that they didn’t have anyone try these photos.

    I know that making good looking photos is important to marketing a healthy lifestyle, but c’mon, look at the photos at pandagon.net. Hardly professional, but tasty looking.

  • carniherbivore

    I was raised as a vegan by proud vegan parents, and I have spent many years campaigning for the vegan cause. However, I was so shocked by the truth behind how one of our major vegan voices chooses to misrepresent us that I have chosen *tonight* to protest against what I now believe to be a hollow, self-indulgent and hypocritical cause. Yes, I ate a sausage. No, not a Linda McCartney one, but a real pork one, made from the meat of a pig. And boy did it taste good. I made contact with my inner carnivore, and – guess what – for once I didn’t feel I was deceiving myself. You know what I’m having for breakfast? Yes, a bacon sandwich. I can’t wait.

  • Vegetables decay, too, you know. They hardly shoved the images down your throat.


    I’m more annoyed that they think they can publish images but not afford to take them. Either that means you’re a skinflint or they’re skimming from the top. Since they’re not rich, it’s probably not that latter, alas.

  • Good thing none of us can chew gum and walk at the same time, eh, Fauxtist?

  • Too much grain is bad for cows, it leads to runny poop and high counts of bacteria that cause disease.

  • There probably is, now that I think about it. It is possible to make a product without the fish sauce, but it doesn’t taste the same; there just isn’t a replacement product on the market.

    Then again, are you worried about the tiniest fraction of some schooling fish that lived for a few weeks in the wild and then turned into the tiniest fraction of a large stew… Or the treatment of resources and animals?

    It’s a tough balance to make. Personally, I choose not to worry about the sauces so much as long as they’re not majorly sourced from something unsustainable.

  • Do you even know how they make pictures of food?

    It includes inedible stuff at least half the time.

    So you might be drooling over paint, wood chips, dye, mineral oil, and glue.

  • “They breached no dissent. They think they’re the fuhrers of the vegan “community.” And you are some kind of Utopian nut job for thinking such a community exists that can speak with one voice. You should chill out and read “Animal Farm” you ignoramus.”

    Going Orwell on his ass. Love it.

  • AMEN. Here’s to my vegan compadres! Shame on VegNews. Laaaaaaame on their part.

  • Turns out at least SOME OF THE PHOTOS – like the HOMEMADE BURGER really ARE VEGAN and not meat as Quarrygirl claims. read my story here with notes from the photographer who TOOK THEM!


    from my fb “Note”

    As many of you already know, QuarryGirl.com did a story alleging that photos used by Vegnews.com magazine and labeled as vegan were actually made of meat. I contacted the photographer credited on one of the photos QuarryGirl used as an example. Ina Peters’s picture and profile was easily viewable right at the bottom of the photo QuarryGirl linked from iStockPhoto.com’s website. Ina was kind enough to write back and tell me that she is a vegetarian and that the item in her photograph is 100% VEGGIE burger with no meat. I don’t know about the other few photographs that were questioned yet but am working on contacting them too.

    Ina Peters, an experienced food photographer, also informed me that food used in stock photography is often not made of real food of any kind, veggie or otherwise.

    I modeled professionally for many years and was surprised that sometimes they’d take away inches from my thighs in the final product, airbrush out my freckles or on occasion add volumes of hair to my short do… Things aren’t always as they appear folks. Whether it be a model or a veggie burger.

    Before QuarryGirl canceled her Vegnews subscription and encouraged others to do the same, perhaps she should have done her homework. An established, hard-working magazine staff shouldn’t suffer as a result of an incorrect assumption.

    Personally I don’t eat fake meat – processed veg burgers or otherwise. I prefer real fresh raw organic vegan food but I’m not here to tell you what to consume. I AM here to encourage you to think for yourself and look at all the facts before you hit the delete button for an online subscription or go canceling your favorite magazine.

    My better half Dr. Mercola uses stock photography all the time with his website. Often these photos are airbrushed as are most of the photos you see every day! Things aren’t always what meets the eye. Let’s think before we lash out and realize that sadly it’s just the nature of the biz.


    Raw foodist, Erin

  • That was my initial thought, too.

  • Irrelevant. This just means VegNews happened to use a veggie burger on accident when they were being lazy and searching for stock photos. I’ve seen enough comments in this post citing REAL meat examples, as well as the photo shop rib bones, which are absolutely disgusting.

  • i just went to the photographer’s website, and it’s not in english. would you mind sharing this email?

  • As an omni following the whole thing, I feel that canceling subscriptions to VegNews is pretty extreme. I’ve toyed with veganism in the past, but was turned off by the “vegan policing” that i found so prevalent. People always seemed focused on what people were NOT doing (still wearing wool, using honey, etc), instead of celebrating the rise in people excluding animal products from their diets. While I understand the sense of deception and indignation, I think people should still view VegNews as an resource for promoting veganism as an approachable and realistic lifestyle choice, and support it as such.

  • I also agree that it’s irrelevant that this happened to be a veggie burger (if you are even telling the truth). Lucky accident! They admitted in their worthless apology letter that they use real meat photos.

  • Organic beef uses grain-fed animals, just so ya know. Besides, vegans don’t like meat, so why do you care?

  • Also, kinda cool to find a blog that uses my gravatar…

  • BEST comment i have read so far about all this mess. thank you times a million. i couldn’t agree more.

  • Dr Burke is their competition. Not exactly a pristine voice.

    I wasn’t able to find another voice against them on the quick search I did…

  • If ideas can’t be called derogatory words, then there’s no way to double-plus-ungood an idea.

  • Or entire cultures.

  • I would not KNOWINGLY order a dish that contained fish sauce from any restaurant. And, if I were to learn that one (or more) of the vegan/vegetarian restaurants that I patronize was, in fact, using fish sauce, I would stop ordering from them.

  • If you eat animal by products you are vegetarian, not vegan. Vegans, by definition, do not eat anything that comes from an animal.

    Cows don’t die if they’re not milked, anymore than human mothers die if they don’t breastfeed or pump their breasts. We milk cows for our greed, not for their well being. I would urge you to read The Kind Diet or any number of other books on the subject to better educate yourself. I’m sure quarrygirl’s readers could list some fabulous resources for you on the subject, if you are interested in finding out more information on veganism.

  • Hey QuarryGirl,

    VegNews is even lying about photos in their magazine that they claim is from a specific restaurant. On page 61 of their 10th anniversary issue, they have a photo of what they claim in the caption to be “Veggie Grill’s Sweetheart Fries” when it’s really another photo from istock. Sickening. I hope VeggieGrill tears them a new a******.


  • I couldn’t agree more!

  • I think it’s retarded when people are offended by the word retarded.

  • 99% of farms are the factory farms that Quarrygirl describes. Unless you eat meat once a month from a reputable farm, you would be unable to only purchase family farm meat. If you eat meat every day, you will be forced to support factory farms by shear supply and demand. Read “Eating Animals”.

  • Did you chug the raw milk to wash down the veal from the baby cow you tore away from it’s mother in order to make the cow lactate? Cow’s produce milk to feed their young. You wouldn’t need to milk the cow if you hadn’t stolen (and probably killed) it’s baby.

    Let me guess, the cow was in pain because you fed it tons of protein and shot it up with hormones so it would produce more milk than is natural, right? Right. I thought so.

  • Wow, I just saw this on the front page of CNN.com first before coming here! How crazy is that?

  • Stock photos are neither free nor cheap.

  • Wow, that’s completely ridiculous. So we can’t trust their restaurant coverage, either. I’m sure if they had simply asked Veggie Grill for a photo of their fries, they have a very nice one on hand.

  • Floored was only replying to grahamf who actually did suggest taking pictures of food with cell phones. Why don’t you check your own rudeness? Or at least understand the point someone’s trying to make before insulting them?

  • If the magazine had issued a mea culpa and posted a notice when it was first notified about this, none of this fuss would have happened. We’d be able to sympathize, maybe help out by donating pictures to them. Instead they deleted the comments and tried to suppress the feedback. That’s just indicative of a much greater lack of integrity than simply lying about the source of pictures.

  • Erin,

    Even if you’re right, that’s one photo out of dozens that have been shown, with links, to be fraudulent. Unless you can show me that the meat ribs with bones were really not meat even though the stock photo service says they were, then you really don’t have a (vegan) leg to stand on.

    And what about the restaurant review that VegNews did where they identified a photo as a specific restaurant’s food and it turned out to also be a stock news photo?

    Why are you so eager to be an apologist for them? ARE you them?

    They are scum. Just look at the number of former employees, many even using their real names, who have told tales of what awful people these are and the awful and unethical things they did.

    If one day someone is revealed to be a killer of humans who never ate animals are we supposed to support them because they’re “one of the community”?


  • Stan,

    If you’ve read VegNews since its newsprint beginnings, that only means you’ve been deceived and defrauded for eleven years.

    Do you think it’s okay that they ran a restaurant review for Veggie Grill and ran a photo they said was Veggie Grill’s sweet potato fries which actually also turned out to be a stock photo?

    What if they served vegan food to their employees that turned out to have meat and dairy in it, would that be okay too since what’s important is the greater cause and we must put up a united front?

    I guess that in your sick, stupid brain it would be.

  • I do not know where to begin. The lack of journalistic and personal integrity that has been displayed by VegNews approaches the disgusting, and is nothing short of heart-breaking.
    The flagrant hypocrisy of VegNews management is painfully apparent in the above “response” letter (aptly called; the word “apology” would surely warp and shatter under such enthusiastic evasions of responsibility). The management is not sorely regretful for how their actions have destroyed their credibility; they are “saddened by the dialog that has transpired.” There are “very few… vegan images,” it’s the “industry standard,” it’s “exceedingly difficult,” it’s “not financially feasible…” I haven’t heard so many excuses strung together at one time since I canvassed for Greenpeace.
    Not only did this letter carefully avoid any wording that could be misconstrued as an admission of wrongdoing, but in practically the same breath the management states that VegNews is an award-winning publication with over one million subscribers, after bemoaning their independent status “with no funding or investors.”
    VegNews, had you only come forward and been accountable, this disgrace could have been worked through. You chose, however, to deceive and betray your customers, your followers, and from that there is no path back. Perhaps the firing of the involved parties, but we all know now that won’t happen; after all, you did nothing wrong.
    Your shameless conduct as a journalistic entity would make Rupert Murdoch sit up and take notice. Through your self-sabotage, you have undermined the credibility of vegans everywhere. We are Germany, and you are our Nazi Party. I pray we, through our own personal integrity can one day live down the infamy you have brought on us.

  • Freedom for ALL!

    First of all… thank you No Meat. You are pro life and stand for it! 🙂

    Now… ChASS,

    Let me spell it out for you since you are unable to understand what a big deal this is…. AnimalS were enslaved, tourtured, and murdered, then sold to someone to cook… pics of these dead animals dishes were then taken to sell to a website (if the website didnt take them themselves), then the website sold the pics to….. VEGNEWS!!!! VEGNEWS is now a part of the animal killing process! These specific animals that made up these specific pictures that VEGNEWS bought, DIED for the sole purpose of advertising to vegans/vegetarians (people who hate the killing of animals!!!)… Do you understand now?

  • Freedom for ALL!

    AGAIN!!!!……Let me spell it out for you since you are unable to understand what a big deal this is…. AnimalS were enslaved, tourtured, and murdered, then sold to someone to cook… pics of these dead animals dishes were then taken to sell to a website (if the website didnt take them themselves), then the website sold the pics to….. VEGNEWS!!!! VEGNEWS is now a part of the animal killing process! These specific animals that made up these specific pictures that VEGNEWS bought, DIED for the sole purpose of advertising to vegans/vegetarians (people who hate the killing of animals!!!)… Do you understand now?

    The people who see this an NOT A BIG DEAL are hypocrites! And as AYN RAND said… the middle.. is EVIL!!! Run away from them!!!

  • Freedom for ALL!

    No one said that they wanted to eliminate them…. the first step of this process is admitting your mistake… ONLY THEN can you work on getting better!

    AGAIN!!!!……Let me spell it out for you since you are unable to understand what a big deal this is…. AnimalS were enslaved, tourtured, and murdered, then sold to someone to cook… pics of these dead animals dishes were then taken to sell to a website (if the website didnt take them themselves), then the website sold the pics to….. VEGNEWS!!!! VEGNEWS is now a part of the animal killing process! These specific animals that made up these specific pictures that VEGNEWS bought, DIED for the sole purpose of advertising to vegans/vegetarians (people who hate the killing of animals!!!)… Do you understand now?

    The people who see this an NOT A BIG DEAL are hypocrites! And as AYN RAND said… the middle.. is EVIL!!! Run away from them!!!

  • Freedom for ALL!

    AGAIN!!!!……Let me spell it out for you since you are unable to understand what a big deal this is…. AnimalS were enslaved, tourtured, and murdered, then sold to someone to cook… pics of these dead animals dishes were then taken to sell to a website (if the website didnt take them themselves), then the website sold the pics to….. VEGNEWS!!!! VEGNEWS is now a part of the animal killing process! These specific animals that made up these specific pictures that VEGNEWS bought, DIED for the sole purpose of advertising to vegans/vegetarians (people who hate the killing of animals!!!)… Do you understand now?

    The people who see this as NOT A BIG DEAL are hypocrites! And as AYN RAND said… the middle.. is EVIL!!! Run away from them!!!

  • Ooohh, real-life vegans… so it is better to run them out of business, simply because they don`t meet your exacting standards? Thus losing the only high-circulation advocate for your passion… hmm, not the smartest of moves. Of course, reading the article and the subsequent comments reveals that holier-than-thou self-righteousness and moral outrage are standing in for thought and intelligence around here.

  • Vegan cook/author (Complete book of vegan cooking) and food photographer Tony Bishop-Weston has offered VEGNEWS to match istock images price for any image and re-shoot and recreate a hi res vegan version of any photo using only plantarian ingredients.

    see worldwide vegan news

  • Vegans really do have no sense of irony.. does it occur to you, that the reason you drooled over those photos before realizing the mag’s perfidy, is because you really aren’t offended by meat and products from animals, you want to eat them, you crave them in fact. It’s just that you love being sanctimonious, a bit more.

    You can toss out the term “battery raised” but you’d still make the same claims about a free range chicken, you’d use nasty expressions about non-hormone injected cattle. You don’t care about what does or doesn’t happen to the animals, you just love how shrill you sound when you are attempting to guilt someone into joining your sad, pathetic death cult.

    The truth is, you’re all angsty that someone else will enjoy what you’re pretending to despise, all because you got duped into joining your pathetic cult, you want a big pile of ribs, a big juicy burger with all the fixings, a great steak, chicken or what have you. You can smell it, remember how it tastes.

  • This won’t be adequate. Vegans are not just meat, milk, fish, and leather avoiders. They are Angry, probably from the brain atrophy caused by gorging on tofu. To the barricades!

  • I did a bit of digging about the commenter on your blog — using the name Erin and identifying herself as Dr. Mercola’s partner — who claimed that the burger was actually vegetarian.  Here’s what I found:

    – She’s not vegan: “I used to be 100% vegan until I met Dr. Mercola last year who is now my partner.”(1)

    – She is not even vegetarian: “I have other friends who eat animal products but NOT meat -pesco vegetarians or whatever you want to call them. I would fit in that category…”(1)

    – But she is currently running for PETA’s “Sexiest Vegetarian…” contest, where she describes herself as an “Outspoken raw vegan animal activist who runs raw retreats and works for a natural health site.”(2)

    In other words, she lies.

    – Then she says “veg or no I want to represent women 40 and over.”(3)

    So she’s well aware that she’s lying.

    This is really only notable (if it’s notable at all) due to her connection with Mercola, and to her claim that the burger was actually vegetarian.

  • Crissa, seeing as you’re not vegan, I’m sure it’s difficult to understand a vegan perspective on something like fish sauce.

    It’s not about “sustainable.” There are plenty of arguments that at least some “animal agriculture” can be done sustainably. It’s whether or not it’s ethical to kill animals … because they taste good. Obviously, you come down on the “yes, it’s OK” side. But as a vegan, just because fish sauce may taste good doesn’t give me the moral right to kill fish.

  • Jenny…. First, no one drooled over those photos. Your being sanctimonious lead to that conclusion (also, I have every reason to know that I am a better person than you. Plus I am smarter than you as well, see this article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6180753.stm). As a vegan my problem is that we had a vegan magazine show pictures of something that didn’t match what was in the magazine, not to mention my morals (do you know what those are? And not those fake christian morals, real ones).

    We do care what happens to the animals, I am still wondering how smart you are. Do you know what a vegan is? The reason we change how we eat is so we do not support torture to anyone or anything. Cage free is bullshit and doesn’t make me feel any better. The only thing that makes me feel better is people thinking about how food gets to their plate and not taking it for granted.

    You must realize one thing about people who use to eat meat and then became vegan. Most of us have had some kind of experience where meat was something we enjoyed. But we are life long learners and discovered that it wasn’t worth it anymore. Through that we also discovered how much better food tastes when you get rid of the meat. I am not angry when it comes my food or my choices. You are angry because our existence makes you reflect on your despicable choices. Otherwise, why are you commenting on this blog? To make yourself feel better? You are a murderer and blood is on your hands. You are only trying to blame that blood on us.

    I hope you truly think about how everything you do causes pain. Don’t anesthetize your feelings or thought. Go visit a dairy farm, a pig farm, or anywhere else that you get your food from. Then let me know if that doesn’t make you feel different about your choices. If it doesn’t then you are callous.

  • Wasn’t McDonald’s essentially outed using lard to fry their fries to the horror of some vegs? Well, I’m sorry, but because no meat was accidentally unwittingly consumed in this case I can’t help but find this HILARIOUS. That may also have something to do with the fact I work in the creative industry in which you could include publishing and, esp given the financial realities of today, of course they are using stock photos. To PS out the ribs though and then claim they eat them all the time there is pretty…yeah.

  • If a “vegan” magazine full of pics of dead animals is the best VN can do, perhaps they need to do something else.

  • Shocking, shocking, shocking! I’m so saddened by this utter lack of respect. Not only that, it adds to the misconception that “vegan food is boring and tasteless” – I mean, if the only way to make it look appealing is to photoshop meat? GROSS! And so, so sad. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  • Really? I mean really? Quarrygirl and the rest of the critics on this come off as a bunch of oversensitive hippie crack pots. It’s stock photography. Stop acting like arrogant holier-than-thous and get a clue.

  • I’m still wondering if the VegNews editors are really vegans.

  • Ed, the bones. That kind of gave it away. Veggies, plastic, corn starch, etc., they usually don’t have bones.

  • What’s rude or insulting at all about suggesting the use of cell phone cameras? Um, hello?! It’s a fact that cell phone images are used all the time in magazines, believe it or not! There are some stunning photos taken from cell phone cameras you dumb sh!ts. Sounds like some uppity photographer is feeling threatened by cell phone cameras because they can actually be that good (mine is amazing)… GINA, it’s VegNews who are the rude and insulting ones to use meat stock photos, try to cover it up by deleting the posts telling them so, and then blame costs for trying to fool their readers.

  • lol you people really need to get over your selves. So what they used a photo of a real burger. VegNews has probably done more to promote vegetarianism than you precious lot ever will.

    No doubt you perfect people care about animals so much you’re actively destroying their environment by driving round in your cars which you probably excuse by bleating on about how you couldn’t get the your latest sit-in if you didn’t have one.

    Yeah slate VN, stop buying it or whatever, is it free? (I don’t know I eat a lot of meat so don’t buy it), watch it go out of print and then see many people lose out on a healthier and more symbiotic existence because the mag couldn’t afford to be as perfect as you lot.

    Then of course you self-righteous lot can plug the gap with your own magazine, oh, and just take administrative costs and expenses lol

    Heres an idea, instead of being such a bunch of pratts, why don’t you get together build a library of photos of your own dishes and send them to them. Do something constructive rather try to bring them down? Stick a few herbs on the dishes and no one will ever know you bought the dish prepacked at Sainsbury’s lol.


  • Mmmmm…. meat. I think I’ll go grill up a couple of REAL burgers and REAL hot dogs right now. Of course all this self-righteous arrogance does make me want to vomit in my mouth.

  • Good to see that CNN.com is now reporting on this story! Again, WAY TO GO, QUARRYGIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Carlos is entirely missing the point. He isn’t talking about or admitting how real meat is produced, but instead asking the same lame questions: Why eat something that looks like it? If someone asks me that or how I get my protein one more time I swear I might actually snap and call them a cruel and uneducated idiot. Usually I am super nice, but I’m sick of people who are truly ignorant about the truth. Its getting old.

  • You understand that the vegetarian movement wouldn’t be as powerful without VegNews, yes?

    You also understand that angry vegetarians and vegans are the reason more people do not convert to veg, right?

    Well, you’re directly affecting the cause in a negative way. Why didn’t you just write VegNews an email and call them out on it? Why didn’t you allow them to rectify their errors in editorial integrity without causing a scene?

    It’s people like you who do not help the cause, you hinder it. Have fun with your 15 minutes of fame — psycho.

  • I still find it funny that vegan-haters even come to these blogs and like to call us self-righteous and arrogant when we are actually the total opposite just by being vegan alone. Knowingly eating animals raised in cruel factory farms is actually quite selfish and its these meat eaters who are “self-righteous” because they will do what they please without care or concern about what they are doing or supporting. Being against factory farming and not wanting to inflict pain to animals or anyone is anything BUT self righteous or arrogant. If you aren’t selfish and callous, PLEASE go visit a pig farm and then tell me, why am I arrogant or self-righteous? To quote someone on here, you are angry only because our existence makes you question your own despicable choices.

  • Thank you soooo much for being the voice of reason here… This is fucking ridiculous… We don’t even know if the food in these pictures is actually FOOD for fuck’s sake. Who’s to say these aren’t plastic or something?

    And the people offering their photography services or insisting that VegNews hire a vegan photographer or whatever have NO IDEA how making a magazine works. It is NOT that simple. VegNews most likely uses iStockphoto partially because its cheap, and also because its convenient and fast. Read: NOT because they’re trying to trick people into thinking vegan food looks just like the real deal or any other underhanded bullshit. Hiring a photographer or trying to find vegan stock photos would be expensive, time consuming, and god knows what else.

    I don’t even subscribe to VegNews, but this is ridiculous… It’s hard enough for vegan restaurants to stay in business, but tearing down the ONLY vegan publication out there for its use of stock photos of all thing is doing WAY more harm than good for the vegan community.

  • This is the dumbest article I have ever read. And the comments that follow are just as stupid for the most part. They are pictures people get over it.

  • Oh “Erin’s lies”,

    You cannot even bother to use your real name in the picture. And despite the fact that I simply pointed out the photo is so OBVIOUSLY not meat (and talked to the photographer Ina Peters in Germany to confirm this) You chose to attack me personally. That’s ok I’ll happily take the time to give a rebuttal on your personal attacks.. Please remember when I wrote about the VEGGIE burger I never attacked QG personally (not that I would even if I knew who she was but understand from what I read she will not reveal her identity- if I’m wrong please correct me on that one and tell me who she is 🙂

    1) I wrote that quote last summer that I was no longer 100% vegan.. Go look at the link that you provided in your post. That was August 2010. But even then I make it clear I was not eating meat. I’m not really into labels (vegan vegetarian etc) but was not eating meat then nor am I now..

    2) IF you followed all my posts instead of taking snippets from different ones you’d see that this year I discovered I’m more of carb type (yes we believe in metabolic typing at Mercola and if one is a carb type (you can argue it with me til the cows come home (or sadly don’t) but I have VIDEOS this year documenting my raw VEGAN diet…


    So for you to say I’m not vegan because I was eating animal products (but no meat) in a post made nearly a year ago is just about as bad as ASSuming that picture was meat when it was not…

    In the future I’d recommend you write the photographer (as I did) if you have a question about the food (write Ina Peters yourself… instead of attacking me as if I made it up what she said) She’ll write you back… Or write ME if you have a question before you personally (and incorrectly) attack me while pathetically hiding your own identity…

    Lots of people in the “veg” or “raw” community change their diets. My friend Paul Nison ate meat, didn’t like it, went back to vegan. Dr. Gabriel Cousens (while always vegan) has told Dr. Mercola and I he’s changed his diet (and recommends LESS processed vegan food and a b12 supplement for any vegans) David Wolfe, who we work with has admittedly changed his diet..

    PETA asked me to describe my diet. I said it’s raw vegan and yes, my retreat was always raw vegan. If I drank raw cow’s milk all day long and ate raw cheese I could still have entered and been vegetarian…

    And for the last comment which I have no idea where you got it- (I did write it in an email something like that) I want to represent ALL women over 40 whether THEY are vegetarian or not.. That would be pretty silly of me to say vegetarian or not about me when I am..

    So get your facts straight next time. And you might have the balls to give your real name instead hide behind “erin’s lies” which wasn’t even accurate and borders on libel.

    I also maintain that instead of attacking me you also might have the balls to actually contact the photographer Ina Peters to confirm that alas, the photo is indeed not meat at all just as I said….

    Most sincerely,

    Erin who never hid her identity

  • I’m a vegetarian, and no I don’t subscribe to VegNews. But you know what? This thread perfectly demonstrates why people look upon vegans as a bunch of loonies.

    Can’t you see that you’re a bunch of hypocrites yourselves? Being a vegan and making dishes look like meat is no different than a PEDOPHILE hiring an 18 year old prostitute that looks like she’s 12.

    For the first time in over 10 years I’m actually thinking, hey maybe being a part of this bunch is a bad idea. It’s not just a minority of lunatics amongst you, you’re all crazy.

  • 🙂 I don’t hate vegans, don’t take this persoannly I never really gave them too much thought really. Where I live, Brighton UK, we have a very pro vegan/vegatarian culture. We have lots of veggie shops, restaurants and pubs.

    It is a very relaxed place where people tend to live and let live, that’s why I live here. lol I even have a couple of vegan friends abd they are just as strident in their opinions as you guys are on here. But that’s cool, each to his/her own is my philosphy 🙂

    But you are mistaken in much of what you say. When I was a kid I worked on a farm so I’m well aware of the poor treatment many animal receive. I also worked as a butcher from the age of 14 – 17. That isn’t the point here.

    You can’t scream “animal cruelty” every time someone talks about an issue relating to lifestyle choices. Being so dogmatic is short sighted and whilst I understand becoming a non meat eater is often done for all the right reasons it undermines your stance being so fundamentalist about it.

    VegNews is a mag even I have heard of, I like my kids to eat healthily and so have used the site occasionally when looking to try something new. I eat meat but I don’t sit ripping off pieces of flesh from a dead cow, other animal do but that’s their nature.

    Yo probably feel deceived, you may have looked at pictures and though mmmm that looks really nice I will make that. Finding out it was in fact a picture of pork chops makes you feel all kind of guilt ridden emotions. But it doesn’t matter, the picture was an illustration, that is all.

    You didn’t eat any meat as a result of seeing it did you?

    So why be so hell bent on extracting revenge? I thought it was all us meat eaters who were aggressive 😉

    Forgive and forget is a better option don’t you think? Why not try to help the mag overcome it’s obvious financial difficulties as I suggested or in other ways. It would be a shame to see it go under because of an editorial faux pas.

    All the best

  • You got noticed by the normals. Soon enough, you’ll be back inside the bubble.

  • We have a winner!!!! For the worst analogy I have ever heard. That comparison doesn’t work. You’re a fucking idiot btw.

  • I was outside for awhile on my walk to Ralphs; did VegNews apologize yet? ; )

  • In the CNN story’s comments, you were directing people to your note if they want “the full story.” Now you’re claiming that the note is personal and that QG shouldn’t be posting certain comments on your personal page? You can’t have it both ways. Yes, you should be able to defend yourself just as QG or anyone should have a right to question your credibility if you are establishing your “credentials” through disclosing your modeling, boyfriend, diet and if you’re claiming to be some expert or the one busting QG as wrong. You put it out there.

    You’re also posting on the Ecorazzi Facebook page, which is a public page, that she could be sued for libel? Are you sure about that? You must have some strong personal feelings about QG to suggest that even after Veg News admitted what that the story was true.

    Anyway, this is nothing against you. I don’t know QG or you. I’m sure you’re both very nice people. I just think that as a “writer” you’d understand and accept the consequences of your words as QG is accepting the consequences of hers.

  • I am not a vegan but was married to a vegan, and despite she screwed me over, I still try to eat vegan food as much as I can. It seems to me that what you did just hurt the vegan cause. That was my experience in the vegan circles – they would screw each other and get all anarchist and boycott places that are at least trying.

    I do not understand why vegans fight with each other so much as to who is the most vegan, instead of using that energy to turn more restaurants in to vegan friendly establishments.

  • Actually, I think that what VegNews did makes us look way worse to “the outside” than us being mad at VegNews. VegNews has performed perhaps the largest discredit to vegan food that has ever occurred.

  • Movement? Power? Cause?

    I’m not a part of any of that, I’m my own person. My decision to be a vegan is a personal one.

    VegNews did something on an extremely large scale that makes me a laughing stock to my peers. Anyone who does that is damn well going to get as much shit as I can dish at them.

  • I don’t believe that anyone from VegNews has even been to Veggie Grill. Why should I believe it?

  • Pissed Off Vegan

    I’m sorry, would you rather the dogs who come to the PETA dog park get infested with fleas, ticks, and other parasites?

    And would you rather PETA keep the knocking-on-death’s-door-from-abuse cats suffering even longer in order to transition them to vegan diet?

    Are you fucking kidding me!? Take your purity and STFU–animals don’t need it.

  • @dana

    I think you may have hit the nail on the head. ALMOST. It is more akin to an average person looking at what he thinks is consenting adult pornography and then realising that he has been deceived into enjoying looking at young girls who have been photoshoped to look older. Personally I don’t see it as this drastic, but you’re the one who decided a paedophile analogy was appropriate.

    And with regards to your hypocrisy comment – at the end of the day food that looks or tastes like meat but isn’t meat, ISN”T MEAT and is not the result of a dead animal.

    Vegetarians/vegans views on this, them being individuals and all, are varied, though I’d imagine most of them think it in poor taste. Why on earth you feel the need to lump everybody together, compare them to paedophiles and call them loony is beyond me.

  • I am not a vegan but am a vegetarian. I don’t believe in all the same believes vegans have but fully respect them. Much like many try to buy American made or only shop at locally owned stores to support small businesses, being a vegetarian or vegan has similar tendencies. With that said, yes, a picture is just a picture but it supports something vegans are against. Its almost like getting a leather bound photo album from VegNews. By supporting those pictures on istock, they don’t just give one extra credit to a photo taken of meat, but they undercut another publisher who is trying to play by the rules. The rules of being a vegan. So although I may not agree with all aspects of being a Vegan, I respect your beliefs and think that VegNews did wrong. For those that can’t understand, imagine a news article talking about Heros of the Iraq war but instead of showing US soldiers, they actually show pictures of the terrorists dressed in our military colors. Once again, you may not agree with the lifestyle, but understand why they are upset.

  • QuarryGirl,

    You should be ashamed of yourself for posting this and turning this into a vegan bashing party for the flesh eaters. You did more to hurt the movement than VegNews did by ever showing the occasional non-vegan istock photo. Shame on you. You could have settled this yourself with the publishers since you know them. You are a disgrace to the vegan movement. Do you care about animals? Then, why, oh why, did you set our movement back and make a mockery of this.

  • An “omni” here, so you may or may not respect my opinion, but here goes:

    Despite differing views (to me, a human is clearly on a whole higher magnitude of ‘value’ compared to another animal), I nonetheless greatly respect the views/lifestyle of vegans. Their view, while it can be viewed as ‘excessive’, is one that eschews compassion towards their fellow animals, sacrifice on their part, and integrity. Veganism is not just about not eating hot-dogs because they are yucky, but it is also about, for example, not wearing a fur coat or using a product that directly contributed to animal suffering. So, ‘integrity’ is a key component here.

    That is why it blows my mind that many, both vegans and non-vegans, would defend the actions of VegNews. Isn’t it a clear BREACH OF INTEGRITY that a vegan magazine, run entirely by so-called vegans, purchased and used photos using real animals (and profiting the stock photo company in the process), and even photoshopped elements to hide the fact that it was real meat? How is this any better than the president of VegNews sitting down for a nice steak meal and then later using the excuse that he really needed to extra protein and iron? And that the cow was already dead anyway?

  • Ok steve. You say you have vegan friends… then WHY do you seem to take such anti-vegan view stances behind their backs? Why are you on here except to put vegans in their place? I actually thought I was replying to “Randy & uncle meat” who were the ones saying vegans are self righteous or whatever. They seem to like putting vegans down. But Steve – you live in the uk? Well did you even know there NO battery cages there and mcdonalds is all cage free in the uk since they have no other choice? Did you KNOW the the uk does not allow gestation crates and veal crates? Do you even know what those are? You’ve worked at a “farm”… well was it a FACTORY farm? Well wake the the heck up you dreamer! If all animals were treated the way they were at the farm you happened to work at, maybe this f$&@ing discussion wouldn’t be taking place at all. People are so damn desensitized about how their food is raised. I just want to shake them and say you ignorant fuck!!! you don’t even KNOW! Go to that factory farm Randy and stupid Uncle meat who is the biggest idiot to even be on such a caring site. I’d like to know if they even volunteer with kids or any human issues… I highly doubt it. The reason I have compassion for animals is because I care about people, but I do think more animals are more worthy and GOOD hearted than uncle dead meat who makes my skin crawl. My kids will never grow up to be so awful. This world would be such a better place without such ignorant and cruel people like them. This proves that animals aren’t the enemy.

  • Sorry Randy… I meant Don who is the one cooking up REAL burgers and hotdogs who thinks he is “normal” because he eats meat.

  • Vegan in Vegas

    No wonder why all the VN recipes I’ve tried didn’t look ANYTHING like the photos.

    And all along, I thought it was *my* cooking (non-)skills 🙂

  • Read Before You Write


    The individual to whom you responded was referring to an older post that implied VegNews could use “self-phone-images” in their magazine or website.

    The poster was NOT being derogatory, this individual was simply drawing from OTHER’S comments, but you obviously had not read enough to know that.


  • Lisa - Former VegNews Editorial Intern

    I’m a former VegNews Editorial Intern. While I don’t agree with indirectly supporting animal exploitation via stock photography, I want to say a couple things:
    Using stock photography–including for recipes–is an industry standard, even for large magazines who have more resources than VN.
    The founders and staff I worked with are well-meaning and kind people who believe their practices, including using stock photography, allows them to reach as many people as possible to promote veganism and help animals. Whether or not you agree with their practices, specifically using stock photography that contains animal products, I don’t think their use of these photographs without a disclaimer constitutes any kind of lie or cover-up. It really shouldn’t be surprising to people. Even before working in the field, it was always obvious to me which of their photos and photos from other magazines were stock.
    Again, I’m not really clear why people are taking this personally, are so shocked or so filled with hate. This is a glossy magazine that has made standard business decisions. Some of the constructive feedback I’ve read in response to their letter is good. This may be a time to explore a vegan stock photography collective of some kind. With love, Lisa

  • All I can say is that the most successful lifeforms are omnivores. Eat what YOU like, eat what keeps YOU healthy, eat what makes YOU feel good.

  • Go fuck yourself.

  • Hah! That’s exactly what I was thinking when I read this 🙂

  • Wow. I think anyone who did VeganMoFo in November knows that there are hundreds of vegan cooks out there who take brilliant photographs of their food.

    Has anyone at VegNews ever thought about using some of those food bloggers as their test kitchen, in exchange for photo credits, free subscriptions, the opportunity to be published, whatever? Surely that would be preferable to the storm they’ve created by using non-vegan stock photos…

  • You make a really good point. I think Operation Pancake was laudable, since vegans were being fed non-vegan food without their knowledge, but this entire thing feels like grasping at straws. It has done far more harm than good, and honestly so many of the people on here are so short sighted that they’ll probably be happy if VegNews shuts down. Can’t see the forest for the trees sometimes…

  • Healthy, Happy Carnivore

    Mmmmmm, meat. It’s what’s for dinner!

  • Healthy, Happy Carnivore

    Oh snap, those ribs look yummy. Even the “veggie” version does. That’s because both photos are of meat.

    Mmmmmmm, ribs.

  • In answer to your first 4 questions yes, yes, yes, no. What cab I say I don’t like pork, and I would leave the mayo off the burger. You know what you are really pissed about? The fact that you have been drooling over meat dishes for all these years. Makes you feel dirty doesn’t it, admit it, you liked the look of those pictures, they made your mouth water. Those moist delicious cuts of whatever vegan’s eat that looks EXACTLY like pork ribs and juicy hamburger. You sound like a closeted Republican after getting busted for watching gay porn, admit you liked it and move on.

  • bacon bacon mmm mmmm

  • they were probably thinking of the meat and touching themselves

  • thanks! well said.

  • Hi Lisa. I’m a former VegNews copy editor, and I think the big deal was deleting comments and censoring people when they were politely asking legitimate questions. VegNews tried to deny their practices for as long as possible until it wasn’t, and that’s why people feel so extremely shocked and are taking it so personally – because it is. If VN had come clean from the start they would’ve saved a lot of face.

  • Quarrygirl, I really like your site and have really respected you, especially Operation Pancake. But I have to say I think your post was a huge error. While I do agree that VegNews use of non-vegan photos passed off as vegan food was a mistake, and their initial reaction messed up and unhelpful, I think that the impact of you reaction has been FAR more detrimental to veganism than using “meaty” photos.

    You probably didn’t anticipate how far it would spread (CNN anyone?) but the way things go crazy on the internet with blogs, twitter, etc, its important to be very careful with postings nowadays. Did we really need all the “well maybe if vegan food looked better…” comments?

    We need to learn how to keep internal criticism and potential in-fighting in-house. We already have enough battles to fight with all the myths and stereotypes that already abound about veganism and vegans. Its hard enough trying to make people understand that veganism is about the animals, environment, health, etc and NOT about what you think about vegans.

    This kind of public posting just fuels the fire of vegans seeming irrational and veganism seeming “extreme” and unrealistic. I can’t count how many comments on various sites I’ve seen since your post saying things like “this is exactly why I’ll never be vegan, they’re crazy” and blah blah blah.

    We need to stay on point and message. While using meat photos is gross and disingenuous, it hasn’t actually hurt any animals. Calling VegNews out publicly has done more harm than good in my opinion.

    I know there are methods of communication within the vegan media realm. It would have been less harmful and more mature and productive for you to have just contacted them personally and told them what you thought.

    It is for this reason, for example, that while I fully LOATHE PETA, I never criticize them to omnis. That doesn’t mean I would ever miss an opportunity to tell them how wrong I think some of their tactics are.

    We just don’t have the privilege to air our dirty laundry out for public consumption. It just give the people who look for ANY reason to rationalize their support of animal torture and environmental degradation more ammunition.

  • It wasn’t QG who did the damage here, it was VeganNews. Their greediness and deception for a few measly bucks has undermined their creditability as well as others who work so hard in the field and in their personal lives to promote a vegan lifestyle. VeganNews has shown and continues to show a severe lapse in editorial judgement and ethics. The best thing to do at this point (given their callous and cold-blooded ‘response’) is to cancel your subscription and put their advertisers on notice of your displeasure by boycotting their products if they continue advertising with this charade or horrors.

    A huge kudos to QG. As damaging as it was, you did us all a favor. The Lie would have come out sooner or later anyway.

  • wow, Dana.

    You are…. brilliant….


  • i dont know. i think at this point in time when the earth is crumbling it’s more important to focus on larger issues – getting rid of factory farms and eliminating poverty. a subscription to veg news is a luxury and something we don’t really need.

  • “Formerly erstwhile”


  • Quarrygirl-question I have for you. Did you ever call Joe and Colleen or anyone at the staff to talk about this first? I realize you posted to their site and it was taken down.
    Just curious.
    PS I know that you are swamped but I did also send an email

  • Here’s another meat photo, used to depict Terry Hope Romero’s Chipotle Seitan & Roasted Potato Tacos: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-9764317-grilled-chicken-tacos.php?st=6329973 It’s used in the October 2009 issue. The photo on the cover of the magazine shows what looks like ground beef, cheese and tomato tacos — in other words, nothing like the photo, allegedly of the same tacos, inside the magazine. Which, in turn, looks nothing like the actual recipe (that photo is of chicken, not seitan strips, cabbage, jalapenos). There’s no excuse for the laziness of using stock photos. There’s no excuse for the lack of journalistic integrity. Or for using meat in a vegan magazine (I mean, DUH). Or lying to your readers. And the “apology”? LAME. And untrue. “After exhausting all other options”? Really? How about the option of picking up a camera and taking a picture of the actual food? And the option of keeping photos of meat out of your magazine? Making it sound like there were no other options, and you were forced against your will? Ridiculous. VegNews must think we’re a bunch of idiots. Thanks for blowing this wide open, QuarryGirl. I had wondered for YEARS why the photos looked so weird; why they didn’t match the recipes … now, I know.

  • I looked through a VegNews magazine once and I was turned off by the amount of ads. Just ads ads ads. With a little bit of PETA propaganda mixed in. What a joke of a magazine.

  • Here’s an idea, for VegNews…

    What if there were a select few vegans that the recipes for upcoming issues got ‘leaked’ to. Those 5 (or however many) specially selected vegans would have to make the recipe, take photo’s and submit them. Then the magazine could choose from those photos.

    Whats done is done. They need a cheep solution for taking vegan photos. Other ideas?

  • Get over it and eat some meat

  • Hmm. Can’t help wondering if that is the message that VegNews was trying to send….

  • The most successful? Really? And on what do you base this? Steve Wynn in Vegas is vegan and he is quite successful. Maybe you should read the rise of the power vegans article in business week. And even if you feel good, there is no excuse for cruel factory farms. It’s pathetic and sad and should not exist so you can feel good!

  • Why does everything have to be a movement? Why can’t you just eat undelicious food and be ok with it? Vegetarians are laughable but Vegans……why are you trying to reinvent the wheel?

    That’s why people think you’re nuts.

    The way it’s going though soon there will be the Freegans. The holiest of holy eaters and they will talk about how pure their diet is and shame those that kill and maim plant life for their own selfish consumption. HOW DARE YOU VEGANS! Don’t you realize the torture you bring to plant life when you make it all live so close together. The inhumane butchery of entire families by barbaric machinery. I can here the alfalfa crying from here.

    Does this sound silly to you…..something tells me it probably doesn’t. Is he suggesting there is a more pure diet than my pure diet? I’m going to have to look into this Freegan diet so I can sleep tonight.

    It’ll be simple though it’s an all water diet. Guaranteed not to harm any animals or plants. And like that you’ve been one uped and now I’m the most friendly person to the planet. Now I get to look down my nose at all those Vegans and their heartless barbaric ways.

  • Luke I am your father!


  • Vegan1 or should I say “Erin’s lies” since neither of you have the balls to post who you really are (one in the same no doubt)

    I was talking to “Erin’s lies” in the above post. I was not speaking to QG. I never said QG could not write on my personal facebook page. What I DID say was in response to someone who posted in my fb thread and said I should not defend myself on my personal page and should only defend myself here on QG where the anonymous post by “erin’s lies” (you!?) was made. MY point was since QG copy and pasted their post on my personal page and I have 5,000 friends – yes I am going to defend myself there as well.

    It was misinformation as there no are “lies” for changing my diet since I first went vegan over 20 yrs ago. I cleared that up in my post yesterday.

    I’m not surprised about the ad hominem attack. GQ writes a story about inaccurate pictures and labels but ironically has an inaccurate picture and label in her very own story.. Some called it hypocritical to make such an “obvious mistake” I simply wrote a note (without attacking her character personally) explaining the mistake. She was gracious enough to change it and as I’ve said elsewhere I have no “beef” (pardon the pun) with her at all. I don’t know her and since she writes anonymously (there’s a whole other sector of people who look down upon that as much as those who look down upon using photos of meat in vegan mags) but because she chooses that route I couldn’t attack her though I wouldn’t anyway. If someone wants to write a blog and not reveal who they are and hide behind a made up name that’s there choice.

    To say I have strong personal feelings about her is silly since she won’t reveal her name so I have no idea who she is. I cannot find where I said this on Ecorazzi as you say (but I’m sure if I did YOU will find it as you’ve obviously much time on your cowardly hands to research this) If someone posts a photo from a magazine and says this is meat and this magazine is a liar and it’s dead cow and that’s a meat burger and it turns out to be a veggie burger by a veg photog then would vegnews sue her? Probably not, but Ina Peters the photographer could. And would probably prevail in a court of law. If I said this it was also probably before QG wrote on my board and I discovered she’s not a magazine like Vegnews (her site says “We” so I thought it was a full staffed magazine not one person writing a blog.

    IF a full staff magazine posted your vegan photo and said it was meat – a real meat burger from dead cow and it wasn’t. You’d probably be entitled to compensation. I work with attorneys 5 days a week and that’s their opinion and what I wrote.

    If I really had it out for QuarryGirl I’d have written on a MUCH bigger platform than my facebook page or her blog. I don’t know her and only wish if someone is calling out a publication for using mislabeled photos that at least the whistle blower not do the same..

    Sadly VegNews is not the only veg/an magazine doing this. Many of the others do too (QG is very smart and can find these if she wants to take the time- I don’t have the time to do so and have wasted too much time on this already) Plus as I said from the start in my first post on my page- I have mixed feelings about it.. So do I think they should be outted and ultimately put out of BUSINESS because of using some old stock photos? Probably not… Many other vegans agree and many on here have said some pretty crude rude comments toward her on her very own blog.

    I wouldn’t say that. Whoever she is she’s smart and talented.. If she were stupid I’d not have bothered calling her out on her picture. Next time she’ll contact the photographer and know better.

    Oh and do me a favor? if you respond again this time be wo/man enough to post under your real name or a name at all. I must admit this is the first time I’ve seen people attack others under fake names and blogs where the person won’t reveal who they are. Maybe I just read blogs where the people choose to show their faces..

    Have a nice day. And remember, the next time you salivate over those vegan pics in a magazine (and Quarry girl did help expose this no doubt) there’s a BIG chance they have glue and animal products in them 🙂 Bigger than you realize.


  • I’d like to see VegNews issue a new response, taking full accountability and apologizing sincerely for their old policies (assuming their photography policy going forward will change.) I made up one of my own, and if I were to read something like this, I would feel that their magazine is understanding our concerns and wants to do the right thing.


  • You’re misunderstanding me. Read what I said again please. I’m not the person who accused you of lying and completely agree that you should defend yourself and respect that you did, but I don’t think it’s problematic that someone may have questioned your credibility as you brought personal things up about yourself, like being a raw vegan, to somehow establish yourself as an expert. If someone questioned who you were dating, it would be the same because you put it out there and obviously must think it’s relevant to whatever point you were making.

    As to suggesting you have something personal against QG, I perhaps worded that wrongly and apologize for that but your libel comment and claim to have “the full story” made it sound like you thought the bigger problem was QG putting a wrong picture in. If you genuinely believed at first that all those pictures could have been of vegan items based on the one photographer who you perchance called, then fine except that your comment on CNN was made after Veg News admitted to using pictures of meat. In other words, you thought the “full”er or bigger story was QG’s mistake, one that she I guess acknowledged, for lack of a better word, at the beginning of the article for all to see.

    Again, it’s nothing personal and I’m genuinely sorry if you feel attacked but if you’re going to put information out there or create your own story, deal with it. If you don’t want your 5000 friends to hear about it, don’t direct the world to a note on your personal Facebook page. I don’t think calling you a liar is a nice thing to do and I’m not sure what “beef” that person has with you but I also don’t think throwing words like libel around is either. You are questioning QG’s credibility on a public forum, like FB and CNN, which I’m sure is read by people who are her friends too.

    I’m not sure why I’m defending her or why I care so you’re right in some ways. I guess I just saw your posts all over and couldn’t quite get what you were after.

  • So, do you really have the free time to investigate from 09? Really! Why don’t you do something constructive for the animals in all of your free time. Really, they need a lot of help and you obviously have so much time on your hands!

  • Laughing Conservative

    Boy-oh-boy, I just get a kick out of the irony–a pinko news outlet, VegNews, gets a response from several pinkos, which are deleted by other pinkos using the B.S. accusation they normally reserve for non-pinkos, as in ‘Mean-spirited comments’. That’s right folks, to be ‘mean-spirited’ is to disagree with a pinko. I love it when leftists eat their own, it’s a joy to behold.

  • Does this also then mean the recipes are not being kitchen tested before publication? If they are being tried several times in a kitchen for consistency then they would have product they could photograph. Hire an intern, get volunteers, train a staff member — then they’d have real pics of the actual recipe.

  • I think this was already posted but just to make sure — here is VegNews’ reply: http://vegnews.com/web/uploads/asset/3169/file/FromVegNews.pdf

  • I happen to save my issues. Problem with that? Really? And do you really think that the five minutes it took me to write this post is five minutes I should have spent saving animals somehow? I do plenty, I assure you — though I don’t need to prove myself to you. Pardon me for giving a sh*t about journalistic integrity. And the dead animals that VegNews pictures in its “vegan” publication, time and again. Really, don’t YOU have something better to do than to disparage my post?? Surely you could be doing something to save the animals … 🙂

  • I’m technically vegan but I use the term to identify/categorize/label/whatever myself because I honestly am embarrassed to be associated with a large percentage of the vegan population.

    I don’t like being associated with a group that is often so judgmental, so close minded, and just so freaking anal that in the end, someone who might actually be interested in veganism (the diet and/or “lifestyle”)is automatically turned off by all the guilt trips and pettiness. If you really wanted people to believe or support whatever your cause is, then you would try to be more approachable. Then again, variety is the spice of life and yadda yadda ya.

    Just be as kind to ALL people as you are to ALL animals. They’re stupid pictures, and really, the people at VegNews are just trying to do their job as best they can.


  • I’m sorry, I meant I **don’t like to identify myself as vegan. Some of us can sometimes be so mean to each other, and it’s just so hurtful on every level.

  • Vegan1,

    Even tho u won’t post under ur real name I’ll give u the benefit of the doubt you’re not the other anon poster (EL)

    You say I stated I was a raw vegan in my post. I merely mentioned I “prefer raw fresh vegan food” (EL was the one who brought up the PETA page (they write that up not me) where they mention my raw vegan retreats and diet. But by no means did I put it in my note or claim to be an expert because of it. C’mon let’s stay accurate here. I also went to see if I mentioned it in my original posts on here but can’t find it. Perhaps you can but don’t recall saying it in there. If you find it correct me if I’m wrong.

    Yes since the person I’m dating has a blog I submit articles to on a daily basis I might bring it up and fine, “EL” can hide behind a fake (accusatory, derogatory) name and bring that up if they please. I still think it ad hominem attack instead of saying of (oh I don’t know) writing the photographer and confirming it themselves.

    I appreciate your apologies for the possibly wording something wrongly. And yes I’ll admit perhaps I did that too by saying FULL story or mentioning the word libel which seems to really upset you.. So I apologize to GQ for that. I wrote so many posts and responses the last days but will also take your word for it the CNN post was after she apologized. I’ve responded to private emails, fb emails and posts on facebook notes on here and have always admitted I’m not the best with remembering which came which but I trust you do seem to remember.

    Oh and as far as you wondering why I was upset with this photo (I don’t have the time to verify the others but would guess the one with bones is meat and am sure some of the others are (or glue or something animal related but doubt they’re all meat) but my “beef” was that if someone is writing a story ABOUT inaccurately label food photos then they (QG) might wanna make REAL sure that her photos are accurate as it would be rather hypocritical if they were not methinks.

    I’ve just sensitive to that topic for several reasons. Just as people are sensitive to VN using accurate pics and I get that.

    However I many on here saying what’s the big deal!? who cares? (Even vegans) about this whole scandal.. Now originally I saw vegnew’s response they did it in a few last minute situations out of desperation. I saw the story break on Ecorazzi where the writer who I know (and yes who wrote for VN) said look, every journalist is under pressure and give them a break- what a shame to see them go under and people cancel over this… I felt perhaps QG had been too harsh.

    Well I wrote her personally today when Ecorazzi posted that alas, VEGnews has posted yet ANOTHER non vegan photo of food. That really blew my mind.

    THe very first post on my fb page that I made said I have mixed emotions on this.. I thought it good GQ called them out, but perhaps it was too much to encourage people to cancel. But now I see vegnews STILL blatantly using a non vegan pic I do admit my feelings have changed.

    And I never said I had a “problem with my 5000 friends hearing about it” what I said is if QG is going to post “erin’s lies” misinformation on my page i damn well am going to defend it there.(Someone said since EL wrote the accusations on here I should only respond on here. They had the audacity to say this on my own board. And since GQ pasted them on my board I said hey, I’m going to defend myself here in front of my friends. GQ even “liked” that post so I’m assuming she agreed.

    So no, not claiming to be an expert on this. Just doing my best to make sure reporters do their research – esp really smart SHARP ones like GQ so they get their facts right on pictures in an article ABOUT just that very subject.

    Yes, not sure why you took the time to write this when you don’t know either of us I find that very curious whomever you might be but am happy to clarify these things and appreciate you doing the same.

    I wish QG all the luck in the world. she did the RIGHT thing by changing that picture and I hope Veg news follows her lead. It would be refreshing to see that happen.

    Thanks vegan1, and to vegan2 3 5 and all the rest of the vegans (whether they agree with GQ piece, love it hate it etc.. you all have a beautiful full moon tonight 😉


  • Nicely said and I agree with what I think you were trying to say.
    Hint – eschew does not mean what you think it does.
    Take care and thanks!

  • Precisely. Censorship isn’t attractive.

  • Stock photography may be an industry standard, but when your photos are of THE VERY THING that your readers vehemently oppose, you have a problem and better think up a solution.

  • If I was only interested in what would make myself the most successful, I’d be stomping all over the world and anything that gets in my path. Unfortunately, a lot of people are actually like this.

  • Wow, listen to yourself. You’re talking like we’re all employees at the same company or something.

    I personally love how far this story has spread, and never hesitate to tell people what I think of the extremists over at PETA.

  • You want to talk about propagating sterotypes? Okay: People like YOU are why vegans get a reputation for being spineless, kumbaya-singing hippies.

  • I just want to put something out there to the “Mmmmm meat” commenters and save themselves any more of their time. I want to let you in on something:

    You’re not offending anyone. Sorry, but it just falls kinda flat.

    But you are embarrassing yourselves, saying something that you think is hilarious. But it’s not. If it was actually clever in any way, I’d give you more credit, but sadly it isn’t.

    We read comments like that every day. Hell, we even get it said to our faces, sometimes by people we know personally. Get some new material.

  • True.

    I love how the meat eaters are going on and on in praise of eating bacon and other flesh from living creatures.

    Why don’t you go and kill it yourselves? Go on, be surrounded by hundreds of screaming animals as they wait and know they are going to die at any minute..all for the sake of some company making millions of dollars due to the fact that you meat eaters support it.

    Shame on you more like it. You are part of the murder, you are part of the massacre, you are part of the torture.

    I respect any living creature as it has a right to live. I source products that contain NO animal dripping or extract at all. I am healthy, and I have more iron, protein etc etc in my blood than most meat eaters around.

    There are alternatives, and healthy ones at that. It’s a shame people can’t see past the ‘mmmm bacon’ rubbish to actually find them.

    Don’t foget, we are talking about living creatures here, humans and animals alike. Anything with a heartbeat and a face shouldn’t be eaten. Simple.

  • That’s pretty awesome. I have no idea what you are talking about but its rad that you think you know me from my comment. Tell Mr. Action a little about your activist history.

    NO we don’t work for the same company but it seems that a little common sense and knowledge or radical history would tell you that for a MOVEMENT to be successful there should be a consistency of message and goal and as little in-fighting as possible. How many movements have gone down because of being turned against each other?

    Since you’re such a brilliant strategist, tell me, what exactly did Quarrygirl’s rant actually accomplish? What is the use of calling out a VEGAN magazine run by vegans which makes veganism accessible and palatable to scared but interested omnis publicly? What did they actually do? I don’t mean the symbolic effect of using meaty photos. What actual impact does it have?

    Talk about a hippie…

  • I received a reply from Ina Peters, the photogapher of the veggie burger, as to whether the burger is vegan:

    Hi Doris,

    no I havent´t heard that one of my photos was involved.
    But I can confirm that it´s definetely a veggie Burger (I can´t remember if it was vegan).
    I´m a vegetarian myself.

    I can immagine that using meat photos might cause issues concerning the credibility –
    but well, when it comes to food photography things are rarely made of what they might look like.
    If you want a perfect picture of some cornflakes “swimming” in milk, you would use white glue for wood for example.

    I will try to be more focused in the discribtion in the future about the ingredients as I often use normal food.

    Have a nice day,


    P.S.: Thank you for the compliment about my pictures! 🙂

  • So true!

  • Successful as in able to live and breed on this planet over a long period of time, not successful as in making a shit-ton of money, halfwit!

  • You know what else is “industry standard” killing animals to EAT MEAT.

  • I don’t think CNN would have picked up this story had VN not deleted her posts. That ratcheted the issue up a few notches. Sorry, but this isn’t on Quarry Girl at all, this is all on VegNews’ shoulders.

  • Over on the blog “happy healthy life”, the author links back to your article, while having laughing cow cheese as one of the advertisers on her blog. I commented to her, knowing it would never make it to the comment section (which it hasn’t). I really like her blog, but I feel we as vegans/vegetarians should “clean our own house” before someone else’s. Personally, I am vegetarian, working towards vegan. Enjoy your work, thanks.

  • ..actually I DID reply to your comment. And if you know anything about google ads you know that you cannot block them before they pop up – you have to be constantly monitoring them. I diligently block all meat and dairy ads that pop up.

    I appreciate it when my readers kindly inform me of non-vegan ads and I quickly block them. If u were familiar with blogging practices u would know it is very hard find an ad program that is by nature vegan. Actually I signed up to try Vegan Mainstreams new “vegan ad program” but they had to cancel it due to the fact that not enough veg companies would sign on. I wish the vegan companies would step up for Vegan Mainstream so we could get this vegan ad program in place.

  • Taza – ..actually I DID reply to your comment. And if you know anything about google ads you know that you cannot block them before they pop up – you have to be constantly monitoring them. I diligently block all meat and dairy ads that pop up.

    I appreciate it when my readers kindly inform me of non-vegan ads and I quickly block them. If u were familiar with blogging practices u would know it is very hard find an ad program that is by nature vegan. Actually I signed up to try Vegan Mainstreams new “vegan ad program” but they had to cancel it due to the fact that not enough veg companies would sign on. I wish the vegan companies would step up for Vegan Mainstream so we could get this vegan ad program in place.

  • So sorry, I must have had some problems with refreshing as my comment just showed up this morning. I did not mean to come across so harshly, especially towards a blogger whom I admire very much. Please forgive the immature rant. I am not familiar with the practices of ads, and probably should have looked more into that before writing.

  • Wow, I just saw that vegsource.com has a great commentary by Jeff Nelson on all of this! Way to go, and glad he is so supportive of Quarrygirl!

  • This blog is just as awful as this over dramatic cesspool of an article.


    GD twigboy

  • Were the recipes next to the pictures vegan recipes? If the actual recipe didn’t call for any sort of meat then why are you bitching and moaning in the first place. A picture is just in fact a picture. VegNews had nothing to do with the killing of the animal in the picture, and no matter what the animal was going to be dead whether they used the picture or not, so I don’t see why it would matter.

  • This really disgusts me. I’m not a vegan, but seriously? If you run the most popular vegan magazine in the country, have some integrity! This has probably been asked before (comments section is tl;dr), but why didn’t they just make the recipes in a test kitchen and take pictures of the finished project? If I can do it in my shrinky-dink kitchen and with absolutely zero funding, I’m sure they could do it a whole hell of a lot easier than me (and the hundreds of other veg*n food bloggers who use nothing but digital cameras and our own stoves).

  • I think we’re on the same page. 🙂 I truly didn’t seek out your comments but just saw them in different places and thought they were a bit harsh so was confused. I understand you may not have meant to sound that way just as I didn’t mean to say what you thought I said. We all could probably use a lesson in how we say (and read) things, especially on public forums. There’s so much room for misinterpretation.

  • I’m a little late to the conversation so forgive me if this has already been said. VegNews was lazy and they didn’t respond well to being called out on being lazy. There was nothing sinister in their actions when they used the photos, just laziness and maybe some monetary constraints. In the words of one of my favorite bloggers, The Vegan Feminist Agitator, “One would think VegNews staff were shooting eagles, poisoning cows, kicking puppies and force-feeding Big Macs to bunnies while cackling with evil delight. Oh! And they’re raking in the big bucks while deluding us (in between little kick-the-puppy breaks.” I can understand a little resentment, irritation, even being offended, but come on people are you really going to cancel your subscriptions? Were the articles good to you over the years? Were the recipes good despite the use of meat in the picture? They should apologize and never, ever do it again and understand that trust will be lost for a while, but can none of you ever, ever, ever, EVER trust them EVER again? Ever? That’s it you’re done? They fucked up and you are through? I would say if you are unable to forgive this publication then you have too many last straws on your back and might want to unload some of them and not against your community. I don’t have a subscription, but I am going to be subscribing to support a publication that is a rarity.

    I would like to add for myself (and I don’t think I am alone) to anyone who thinks vegans are mad because they “drooled” over the photos of meat, I didn’t start out here because I didn’t like the way meat tasted, but because I was opposed to eating a sentient being, and the human rights that are violated in the process. I am on this journey for moral reasons, not because meat didn’t taste good to me.

  • I am SO glad I don’t have to go through the hassle of unsubscribing, since I never even seriously considered subscribing to VegNews in the first place!

  • You gotta love it when redneck jesus freaks post on vegetarian websites in order to make fun of people for no reason. With your gun-toting, redneck friends in your pickup truck with 12 flag decals. Now then, are we done stereotyping? Because I have no idea where you developed the brain-dead idea that if you don’t eat meat, you’re a Commie.

    This article is about false advertising. The subject doesn’t matter. If a company advertises something, and it turns out to be nothing of the sort, the public have a right to be upset.

    Now shut up and leave the site if you don’t give a shit.

  • What a well-written article and an informative blog! A link to this article was sent to me from a relative, so I can’t say I’ve read any of your other articles, but this one speaks volumes in itself.

    I do think you deserved that award, but it’s also the right thing to return it since Veg News has no integrity. Therefore, I agree 100% with your choice and with what you’ve said.

    As an animal reporter myself, I enjoyed your investigative skills and explanations. I hope another vegan magazine that is genuinely “kosher” surfaces, so that they can give you the award you rightly deserve.

    Peace, Love, & Vegetables,

    Kelly Lynn

  • After reading your comments, I can say with no hesitation you are the king of ASSHOLES.
    Crawl under your rock and go away. You’re just making a fool of yourself.

  • This is directed at Gregalor:

    After reading your comments, I can say with no hesitation you are the king of ASSHOLES.
    Crawl under your rock and go away. You’re just making a fool of yourself.

  • After reading your comments, I can say with no hesitation you are the king of ASSHOLES.
    Crawl under your rock and go away. You’re just making a fool of yourself.

    This is directed at Gregalor:

  • Are you really a happy carnivore? Do you really eat NO plants in any form? No salads, no baked potatoes, no pasta, no corn on the cob?

    Fewer humans are carnivores than are herbivores (vegans). Most are omnivores. Just saying. Get your terms right.

  • Good thing you’re replying to a thread about a publication you never considered subscribing to. How great you found what you’re NOT passionate about! Go you!

  • Annie Saviddge

    VegNews posted on their home page of their website:

    Dear VegNews Community,

    We screwed up.

    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.

    Here’s our commitment to you:

    • Recipes in VegNews will be represented only by custom vegan photography.
    Count on it.
    • All stock images used in the magazine and website will be vegan. We will make
    sure so that you can be sure.
    • VegNews will build and host a vegan photo bank to assure the availability of vegan
    stock images. Look for details in the coming days.

    We thank everyone for the invaluable feedback on this critical issue. We exist only to serve
    you and the vegan cause, and are grateful that you care so passionately about our work.

    The VegNews team is committed to restoring the trust we have earned for eleven years.
    Together, let’s build a compassionate future.

    With gratitude,
    Joseph Connelly, Publisher
    Colleen Holland, Associate Publisher
    Sutton Long, Art Director
    Elizabeth Castoria, Managing Editor
    P.S. Should you have any questions or ideas, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us
    at feedback@vegnews.com
    or 415-642-6397, x102.

    So, this is great news folks! I am happy with their apology and the new policy implemented.

    Now, can we all just stop our complaining and ban together to support VegNews as the future of our movement depends on it!

    Thanks VN. I accept your apology and will continue to support you!

  • I don’t eat meat everyday. I don’t think it’s healthy, heh. Besides that, on the cost side of things, cows are expensive to buy and eat like you have a bottomless pit for a stomach. On the more emotional side, this was once a pet that we bottle fed, petted, shooed out to pasture and gave chin scratches too. It’s a pet,and their life weighs heavily on your shoulders. I don’t think you can kill, and kill and kill, and still retain a base level of humanity and compassion.

    Not gonna lie, I love steak, but it means a lot more when it once had a name. I don’t like to rip the fruits off of my beloved (named) trees either, though. 🙁 I need to just learn to produce chrolophyll and eat sunshine.

  • Brandon Beckerr

    I’m glad to see VegNews has now issued an actual apology (rather than their earlier rationalization) and has a new vegan policy.

    I still have concerns over the lack of serious animal advocacy content compared to the amount of advertising and celebrity news in the magazine, but that’s a whole other issue.

  • HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Way to go, Quarrygirl (and all of us who thought this was an important issue)!!!!!!!!!

  • VegNews did it again.
    Look at this…

    From ecorazzi:




    And read what vegnews did.

    Or put “Open letters to VegNews” in GOOGLE to see tons more from people about things that Joe Connelly, Owner, Colleen Holland, Owner, Elizabeth Castortia, Editor, did.

    VegNews owners attacked members of the vegan community, published articles about various vegan people containing insinuating and false information about them. In the magazine.

    And never apologized for it. Still!

    Just go read the disappointed (yet polite) vegan community members in the comments on there.

    Or open this:


    This makes it still not acceptable to forget everything VegNews staff has done.

  • I can no longer hold my silence.
    There are a few things I’m confused about… 1. I don’t understand the premise of why QG hides behind an IP address and blogs anonymously. 2. I personally think that QG could potentially be doing more harm to vegans than Veg News based on the fact that the site is constantly posting the most unhealthy food I’ve seen. Deep fried, breaded, tons of gluten, soaked in sauce, stuff made with a crazy amounts of sugar etc… Eating this way is why a majority of vegans are overweight and unhealthy. Then as far as the Veg News “scandal” I can see both sides of the issue. I think it’s pretty embarrassing that Veg News used stock pictures of food made with animals. Ever since PETA has been in existence, and most vegans having ridiculous self-righteous attitudes, omnis haven’t really taken us seriously. This is why we’re considered a joke to them. I’m sure this Veg News “scandal” is only making things worse. I also think that VNs should stop making excuses. The profit they make from advertising and subscriptions, should financially be enough to set aside a budget to arrange photo shoots with actual vegan food. As far as my comments about QG doing more harm, was that I felt she’s basically encouraging you to go eat crap.. and at least with the VNs recipes, the end result is vegan food that is most likely healthy. There are people being crushed by buildings in Japan, can we all focus our energy into something more substantial? We should come together as a community and do something help Japan and Haiti… you know, REAL TURMOIL

  • Is this the vegan kathy who apologized to someone else on here (taza) for being so harsh? Why are you calling your fellow vegans on here names when our core belief is the opposite of this bob person? I skimmed the posts and missed the word lifeform but in general the term successful could also mean wealth you dumbshit. Yeah I’ll stoop to your level and defend my post. If you are a vegan who are you to agree with the statement that omnivores are the most successful to live and breed on this planet for long periods of time? have you done this research? is this a FACT? or your opinion you share with bob? if you are not vegan why are you on this site? I still don’t get why bored vegan-haters come on veg sites when they don’t give a shit about animals. does it make you feel better to put people down who actually care about the way animals are treated in factories? no matter to what extent you think the success your ‘lifeform’ is, there is NO excuse for factory farm conditions.

  • What is the point of this kind of pettiness? Honestly, it’s this kind of extreme-policing among people pushing for important social change that makes getting involved almost unbearable.

    Wouldn’t your energy have been much better spent attacking and exposing your enemies instead of people who are clearly on your same team, even if they were strapped to find photos and used so stock images. So what?!

    And now you’re getting main-stream media exposure, but not for doing anything valid to promote the vegan message. Instead you’re getting a lot of attention for humiliating a group that is 100% your ally among vegans. Happy?

    (P.S. I’m not a vegan, but I’m a liberal; I learned of this only from the NYTimes pointer. Yeah, they’re gloating over there.)

  • Well, the publishing company probably has dozens of magazines that cater to “fringe interests” such as veganism – even if the readers strongly believe (and rightly so) that their fringe interest is not a fringe interest at all but the salvation of humankind…(disclaimer: I strongly believe cycling to be the cure to most problems even though I realize most fellow humans will still take their car to the mall…)

    The underlying irony is that even if you were a meat eater you probably couldn’t tuck into that amazingly looking dish because, as everyone knows, most food photos are “doctored” to make them look more appealing, i.e. applying hairspray to make the food look shinier or replacing (dairy based) ice cream by something that won’t melt under hot studio lights…

  • However it still speaks volumes about any of the integrity and value of any articles a magazine devoted to vegan lifestyle writes if they simply use a stock photo depicting exactly what they claim it isn’t. So I am happy that the dirty secret is out and that magazine rightly receives lots of criticism.

    I believe that most stock photos do indeed look nice and even though they are a lot cheaper than custom made pictures they are usually band and meaningless, even if they aren’t misleading (or an outright lie as in this case).

  • I’m convinced that several gluten-free publications do the same with gluten-containing products. Gluten-free bread just does not look or act like bread made with wheat, yet the photos look identical. I’m very curious to snoop around stock photo sites to see if I can find egregious examples as you have done. Very misleading. What a disappointment. Good for you for calling them out!

  • Found it: http://bit.ly/h7PtCE

    Living Without using pictures of gluten-based bread to advertise gluten-free recipes. Industry-wide practice?

  • Somehow it’s not as sexy for a gluten-free recipe site to be using stock photos that have gluten. Not quite the same ethical issue as a vegan outfit saying “we love these vegan ribs and eat them every day!” and it’s a photoshopped photo of real ribs to take out the bones… Level of deceit is a lot higher in the Vegnews situation.

    Can you believe how low the standards are in the vegan world? Vegnews is put against the wall and forced to apologize for their lying and deceit, and their lying excuse to their paying subscribers (“we can’t afford to pay for a photographer”).

    So rather than lose their business, they finally apologize and say they won’t do it again. And then a lot of vegans are great with that. It’s like a bunch of desperate people who will accept anything as long as it’s vegan. You see the same thing in other religions…

  • I am vegan. I am also a photographer. I know how difficult good food photography is and I know the costs of custom photography.

    VegNews had two choices: buy relatively inexpensive stock photos of non-vegan foods and use them with vegan articles, or spend a truckload on their own custom photographs, either bankrupting themselves or pushing the cost of VegNews through the roof.

    I guess real vegans want to see publications like VegNews either become dry publications with no images or go completely out of business by pricing themselves out of the competition.

    In other words, real vegans know that the good is the enemy of the perfect.

  • Horace, I agree … from what I can tell, VegNews isn’t sorry; they’re just sorry they got caught. So they apologized when forced to do so, lest they lose subscribers and $$, and now a bunch of people are like, “Oh, VegNews is SOOOOOO GREAT for apologizing!” But that’s the very least they could do. And they HAD to apologize it after their first choices — censoring people, issuing nasty responses to those who politely contacted them about this, writing an inadequate first letter, and then ignoring the situation — didn’t work, and after people demanded an apology. And it doesn’t change the fact that they were perfectly okay with years of deceiving us, practicing lazy journalism and sacrificing ethics in an attempt to look “glossy” or whatever. I judge them on their long-term actions, not their backed-up-against-the-wall apology.

  • You’re setting up a false dichotomy. VegNews did not have only the two choices, “either become dry publications with no images or go completely out of business by pricing themselves out of the competition.”

    There are several other choices, including, but not limited to, taking their own photos of finished recipes, asking for submissions from a volunteer test panel or readers, paying a small royalty fee for photos submitted by the author of the recipe or others, etc.

    I’m not a professional photographer or a professional chef.

    Here is my Thanksgiving menu, complete with links to recipes and photos of each recipe:


    Obviously, I don’t feel as though my only choices for my blog were to go without photos or not publish.

  • Yeah, here is a vegan stock photo site, been around for years:


    It’s veg and vegan dishes. What was the problem with this place? It couldn’t be the price, it’s dirt cheap. Plus this photographer would probably happily shoot for VegNews for a reasonable price and then have the photos for his library.

    VegNews if you have seen their rate card for advertising. This place makes hundreds of thousands in ad money for EACH ISSUE. They have very little overhead, an office, they pay for printing, but they don’t pay much else. All their articles are contributed for free, most of their images are stock photos. What do they spend all that money on? “making the world a better place!” (for the owner)…

    What a crock.

  • There is an interesting discussion going on at vegsource.com on this, in the comments. Someone is saying that vegnews is no different from quarrygirl or vegsource, they all have done bad stuff and so we should just move on and support vegnews. The vegnews trolls are out on the prowl.

  • Horace-They all make tons of money on advertising. That is how they stay in business. VegSource charges a ton to just put a banner on their site-I checked it out years ago. I could not afford their site banners. But I could afford VegNews ad which was a lot less. They are for profit companies and there is nothing wrong with that. VegNews is a great magazine and I will continue to advertise with them.

  • Eating some pork just for you, this argument is so stupid… it’s not like they took the photos themselves.

  • Thanks for publicizing this issue. Passing off meat and dairy as vegan is wrong, but this also points to a wider issue: magazines that publish recipes are doing their readers a disservice when they use stock photos. Readers will wonder what went wrong when their dish doesn’t look like the one in the picture, but the picture is a different recipe! Any magazine or website using stock photos should think twice about it, not just vegan and vegetarian ones!

  • Well done!

    (And I don’t mean the beff burger.)

  • If you actually worked there as an EDITORIAL intern and see nothing wrong with abject dishonesty that violates the most rudimentary principles of journalistic integrity, that speaks more volumes about their lack of values than anything the original article or subsequent posts could say. They taught you nothing of journalistic ethics because they have none.

  • Can you tell me what you Quarry girl and the other “person” posted? How was it worded?
    Again I also asked you if you tried to call Joe and Colleen directly?
    I have yet to have a response to you.
    I have emailed you as well

  • Hi Donna: We don’t actually have a rate card, so I don’t know how someone could say we charge a ton to put a banner up. What we charge for ads is far less than the VegNews rate card, publicly available on their site. As an aside, I thought it was interesting that Joe in his NPR radio interview said that QuarryGirl “fancies herself” or “fashions herself” an investigative report. It was so insulting. He’s obviously furious to have been exposed in this…

  • Wow. This must be a very unhappy, lonely guy. Feel sorry for you, sir. Hope you find something in your life.

  • Um, erstwhile means formerly. Just thought you should know, since you’re getting traffic from the NYT.

  • This is totally blown out of proportion. Stock photos are the norm in the design industry and photoshopping happens all the time. Vegnews isn’t a massive company. Why don’t we focus on dealing with real issues and save the exposes for the restaurants that feed us animal products. I love this blog and believe in what you do but this is a waste of energy.

    17+ year vegan

  • who gives a fucking shit. the world is full of hypocrisy and if you can’t get over yourself then take a chill pill and bend over cause no one really cares.

  • no kidding. fuck off all of you, fucking fucks.

  • you shut up and fucking leave this fucking site.

  • Umm…it’s a picture. Get over it.

  • Wow Sara. Good job stooping down to what’s-his-faces level and defining success by wealth. Let’s brag about that one rich businessman/woman who is vegan. Then compare him/her to the thousands who eat meat as a part of their regular diet. I don’t think we need to do a census to realize that the majority of millionaires and billionaires on the planet eat meat.

    I don’t at all agree that money defines success, but if I did, I would say that you fail.

    I’m going to go cook up some delicious organic chicken breasts now. Then EAT them.

  • What a joke this magazine must be if they can’t take pictures of their own recipes. They probably don’t test them before publishing.

    I am sure this photo incident is not the only indication that this is a low quality publication. Who actually pays for this stuff?

  • Here are some high quality vegan recipes accompanied by quality, REAL photos of the food because the publishers actually make the recipes. And this site is 100% free, but it doesn’t come with a side of smug attitude–just good food.


  • ^^ ops!! good work.

    Regards from Madrid,

    go vegan!!

  • Even though I’m vegan, this is exactly why I can’t stand most vegans. Just as happy to attack each other as anyone else. Fanaticism, even if well-intentioned, is never a good thing and as people say, I think this hurt outsiders’ view of veganism more than helped.

    I never liked VegNews because they seemed too much with the “I’m better than you because I’m vegan” attitude.

    So this doesn’t affect me at all, and I really don’t think this affects much of anything in the long run, but still it is disappointing, both on the part of Quarry Girl and VegNews.

    The meat eaters will continue to eat meat, and the veg eaters will continue to eat plants.

  • Mmmm… meat

  • Erin ( who works with attorneys 5 days a week )

    I AM an attorney. That makes you a secretary.

    Go copy something. Stop posting from your work computer instead of doing what we pay you for. Especially since you are apparently over 40 and all your attorneys probably desparately want to fire you and hire someone hot.

    Seriously. All of you. Nuts.

  • Hey Kevin, notice my website. Mercola.com I do work for them too and rust me you pathetic little troll I do much better than you as a lowly attorney. I manage MANY lawyers and tell them what to do and do much better financially than you do. So take your stupid lowly ambulance chaser degree and stick it straight up your big fat… mouth. Got it? And at 40 I have no problem looking hot so go F yourself because thats the only way you can probably get it. And next time have the balls to post your real identity you stupid fat @#*#.



  • One thing I won’t take is misogyny. No that doesn’t make a secretary.. What a sexist thing to say. Trust me ahole We blow you and your measly company away you piece of #@*(.

    Dr. Mercola and I are going with a few of the vegan chefs right now (who don’t use fake pics) for a beautiful meal they want to fix for us. Must go now. Enjoy your grueling job five days a week as slimeball.. i mean an attorney. Wish I were your boss too.

  • I’m a doctor.

    And 1 out of 1 doctors agree that this post is awesome.

  • think this story is ridic