There are numerous types of vegetarians, such as lacto-vegetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarians, and pollo-vegetarians. Many people have heard of these different types of vegetarians, but most people know only of a single term for vegans. That gives the impression that all vegans follow the exact same philosophy but that is not actually the case. Vegans may have as much diversity as vegetarians, though not as many terms exist to differentiate them.
There appear to be two main types of vegans: dietary vegans and the lifestyle (or ethical) vegans. Dietary vegans generally refrain from eating any type of animal product, though there is still some ambiguity over whether certain foods, such as honey, are acceptable or not. Lifestyle vegans are more hardcore, not only refraining from eating any animal products but also avoiding the use of any animal products at all. But even then, there is some ambiguity as to what is acceptable.
Do vegans and manure mix? The question arose to me whether vegans accepted the use of animal manure in the growth of the produce they eat. Even many organic farmers still use manure as fertilizer. Besides manure, other animal products may also be used in agriculture. It seems that dietary vegans would not care as much about this issue but lifestyle vegans would likely object to the use of animal manure as fertilizer, as well as the use of other animal products in agriculture.
Vegan-organic methods of agriculture do exist, such as the Vegan-Organic Network, but they are few and most restaurants find it difficult to source from such farms. While I was pondering these issues, I did find The Vegan Vine, which produces vegan wines, and they do not use animal manure, instead using mushroom compost as fertilizer.
I emailed several local "vegan" restaurants to see whether their produce suppliers used animal manure or not. Peace o' Pie and Red Lentil failed to respond to my inquiry. True Bistro stated they were unsure, as their produce comes from large commercial organic vendors. In the future though, they hope to connect with local farms, and gain a better understanding of their agricultural practices. The Pulse Cafe responded that some of their food is probably grown using animal products. They have sought to use a vegan farm, but have been unsuccessful in finding one that can meet their needs.
So where does a lifestyle vegan go out to eat? Local vegan restaurants do not appear to specify that they will most likely appeal only to dietary vegans. I would have to say that some of the best advice comes from the Boston Vegan Association, where they present a fascinating article on just this dilemma. It becomes more of an individual approach, where each vegan must decide what level of animal product use is appropriate for them.
If you are a lifestyle vegan, where do you eat out in the Boston area? (As my site is probably not a fav with local vegans, I don't expect much response, but I am curious anyways.)