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Avocados! The star of guacamoles and the butt of hipster toast jokes. For something that’s so buttery and high in fats, it’s a wonder that it’s technically a large berry, and didn’t come from an animal that could be turned into bacon.

But a debate has emerged over whether avocados can be labeled as vegan. This comes from a story posted on The Conversation, which posed the question of whether a fruit that required migratory beekeeping could be vegan-friendly (the post asked the same for almonds). Strict vegans don’t consume honey—The Vegan Society states veganism “seeks to exclude not just cruelty, but exploitation.” In The Conversation piece, the author claimed that “transporting bees to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan.”

I am not vegan, so I’m glad to not face such a moral dilemma. But it’s a rabbit hole that could seemingly go deeper than I care to. Such as: If oxen pulled the cart that plowed and spread manure on the carrots you consumed, is that considered non-vegan? We know that much of commercial farming requires the employment of undocumented migrants who are often paid below federal minimum wage—that’s exploitative, and is that also vegan-unfriendly?

I certainly don’t want to poke the bear (because that’s considered animal cruelty); I just want to know from our vegan readers more about where the line is drawn. Is veganism binary, or is it a sliding scale—can you, say, be a level five vegan and not eat anything that casts a shadow?

Read more about this avocado-veganism debate over at The Conversation.

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