We've all met one of those annoying, self-righteous vegans who clearly considers herself morally superior to everyone else on the planet. Well, the recently established Herbivore Assessment & Rating Program (HARP) is working to take those self-important vegans down a notch, by assessing precisely how "vegan" they really are.
In calculating a person's true vegan-ness, HARP takes into account a number of factors ranging from the common-sensical (the number of years since the person last consumed any animal product) to the less apparently relevant (whether an individual has valid health insurance).
Are you a (self-styled) vegan interested in finding out how your (supposed) vegan-ness stacks up according to HARP's scale? You can calculate your vegan-ness (if any) using HARP's special quiz. A total score of ten points means that you're a Perfect Vegan, or "PerV."
Be warned, though: you could wind up unpleasantly surprised by your own less-than-stellar vegan rating.
For instance, Chad Barker, "vegan" for almost three years, wound up with a HARP rating of only 2. He remarked, "I used to feel pretty good about myself for refusing to participate in system of greed, exploitation, and abuse. Now I feel like shit."
Plant-based eater Frankie Johnson of Portland, Oregon, who admitted to having health insurance and to going vegan in order to impress a woman (now his wife), ended up with an overall score of -4.
Frankie, however, took his negative rating in stride. "At last I came out ahead of my partner," he noted. "She's gluten-free."
And the especially unfortunate Melanie DuBois, who ended up with a rating of -11, learned that she's actually not vegan at all. "That was tough to hear," she confessed. "But it doesn't even compare to the suffering that non-human animals are compelled to endure on an ongoing, systematic basis."
(Good answer, Melanie; there may be be vegan hope for you yet!)
To find out how vegan you really are, take the HARP quiz. If you dare...
HARP Vegan Self-Assessment Quiz
(1) How long have you been vegan?
5 years or more: 1 point.
Less than five years: 0 points. Sorry, you're still a vegan wannabe. You're likely to be eating factory-farmed chicken or farm-raised salmon before the year is out. You suck (or soon will).
(2) Were you dating a vegan when you originally went vegan?
No: 1 point.
No, but I wanted to: -2 points. Pathetic!
Yes: -5 points. You're not a real vegan if you did it for sex or even for love (of a non-non-human animal, that is). You suck.
(3) Did you originally go vegan for health reasons?
No: 1 point.
Yes: -1 point. You're not a real vegan, you're "plant-based" (and probably gluten-free). You're not a real vegan unless you do it for the (non-human) ANIMALS. You suck.
(4) Do you eat a gluten-free diet?
No: 1 point.
Yes: -1 point. Omnivores are increasingly confusing "vegan" with "gluten-free" and, by eating a gluten-free diet, you're only adding to the confusion. You suck.
(5) Are you overweight?
Not sure: 1 point.
Yes: -1 point. You're giving vegans a bad reputation by failing to glow with health. You suck.
No: -1 point. Your deviation from the American norm strongly indicates that regardless of your answer to question #3, above, you're probably vegan at least partially for health reasons and, hence, not a real vegan. You suck.
(6) Do you have health insurance?
No: 1 point.
Yes: -1 point. If you maintain a health insurance policy, that means one of two things: either you care about your health (not a real vegan; see #3, above), or you don't completely trust in the healing power of a plant-based diet - vegan blasphemy! Either way, you suck.
(7) How many times in the past year have you used the word "pet"?
Zero: 1 point.
One or more: -1 point. How many times must we real vegans remind you? Companion animal, companion animal, companion animal. Of course, the ideal term is "companion non-human animal," but in everyday parlance, "companion animal" will do. You suck.
(8) Do you subscribe to the abolitionist or welfarist approach to animal rights?
Abolitionist: 1 point (extra BONUS 1 point if you have a Gary Francione screen saver).
Welfarist: -1 point. You're not a real vegan, and you're a traitor to the most morally compelling cause of our time. You suck.
No idea what that question means: -5 points. You're not a real vegan, and you're stupid. You suck.
(9) Do you eat mock meat?
No: 1 point.
Yes: -5 points. You are so not a real vegan. Why the hell are you even taking this quiz? You suck.
And last but not least - careful, this one's tricky…
(10) Have you ever had a lapse in your veganism?
Yes, due to the fault of a careless restaurant server: -1 point. How dare you care so little about the (non-human) ANIMALS that you didn't efficaciously grill (pun intended) your waiter about the ingredients in the Tofu Hot Pot, which comes with butternut squash sauce which obviously could (and does!) contain cow-derived cream? You suck.
Yes, in a moment of weakness, while alone with a tray of holiday desserts: -1 point. How dare you put your own sentimentalist sweet tooth before the (non-human) ANIMALS? Forsaking your entire system of moral values for Mom's homemade Christmas cookies means you're not only not a real vegan, you're probably also a sociopath. You beyond suck.
No, NEVER: -5 points. Liar!!! You suck.
No, not that you're aware of, but given the pervasiveness and insdiousness of mankind's exploitation of non-human animals, it's almost inevitable that you have on occasion been duped by society (or Monsanto) into purchasing or consuming a product or item, the development or testing or which in some way involved the subjugation, commodification, use, abuse, or exploitation of non-human animals: 1 point. Society sucks; you don't.
11: You're a PerV-plus! Nice work on the Francione screen saver. You don't suck in the slightest (except maybe for Francione's, well, you know).
10-11: You're a PerV with a lot to purr about (like your companion non-human animal, perhaps?)! You don't even remotely suck.
6-9: You're not perfect, but you are vegan. You only moderately suck.
3-5: You're vegan, and you suck.
1-2: You're barely vegan, and you really suck.
-1 to -5: You're not a real vegan. You super suck.
-6 to -10: You're a non-vegan loser and you're probably fat. You suck.
Below -10: You're a non-vegan sociopath.
For information on comparable ratings programs for omnivores, carnivores, and sociopaths, visit the amoral eating webite: www.monsanto.web