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 Post subject: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:17 am 
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This may turn out to be an epic thread, but I honestly want to know what people think. I'd never given it a thought but someone (maybe someone here?) left a comment on my blog that they aren't because of the way they use pigs to harvest them. It's thrown me a bit. Are they only harvested using pigs?

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:23 am 
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I think they also use dogs but that doesn't really answer it, does it.

I declare pigs-used-to-harvest-truffles above honey but below manure on the official vegan scale of piety.

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Last edited by dandirtyapes on Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:32 am 
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Below figs but above Bivalves?

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:37 am 
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Yes.
    Figs
    Truffles a la Pigs
    Manure
    Honey
    Bivalves

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:59 am 
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If it was truffle oil you used, I think it's almost always truffle-flavouring rather than the mushroom itself.

As far as real truffles go, I thought it was only wild truffles that were foraged/harvested using dogs, but that commercial truffle growing didn't rely on them. You can buy (if you are rich) saplings with roots "treated" with truffle spores, so you would know where the truffles are going to be - I assumed this is what commercial producers use?


ETA - here's the article (or a similar one, it's too long ago to be certain) that led me to that assumption:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/th ... 60481.html

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:29 am 
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I remember asking this on the old boards. It seemed most people, including myself would be happy to eat them if they had been truffle-snuffled by an animal which was treated well. Which sounds dangerously like the defensive omni response "oh but, you know, I get organic milk from x farm where the cows are treated well." But I imagine a vegan's idea of treated well is different to an omni's. That is, an understanding of the animal's needs, wants, desires and able to respect the notion that said animal is not there simply to be a truffle-snuffler. I'd be down with that, although I have never actually tried a truffle and it doesn't bother me.

I heard its mostly dogs these days as pigs tend to eat the truffles when they find them haha!

I suppose the difficulty lies in finding out how any truffle hunting animals live their lives and whether any info you can get is reliable. So its just as well I'm not bothered about truffles really.

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:32 am 
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Badgermog wrote:
I remember asking this on the old boards. It seemed most people, including myself would be happy to eat them if they had been truffle-snuffled by an animal which was treated well.

I hate mushrooms so I've never given any thought to this issue, but can I tell you how much I love phrase "truffle-snuffled?" So much. Probably because it reminds me of the Goonies but also because it is adorable.

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:42 am 
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I'm almost positive that any truffle people like us (like us? Well if you are super rich, not you.) will buy are not 'truffle-snuffled', and instead grown in careful conditions in [edit:fields]. Maybe if you buy truffles that say they are 'wild' and 'product of france', then yes, it is probably snuffled. However that really doesn't help you because some proof, like an article would really be in order.

Edit, quotes from the wikipedia page:
Quote:
In the last 30 years, new attempts for mass production of truffles have been started. Eighty percent of the truffles now produced in France come from specially planted truffle-fields.


So the question is now, how do you know which is that 80% and which is the 20?

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:45 pm 
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So what's your stance on using donkeys or horses to pull plows on a small farm rather than an oil guzzing tractor on a small or corporate farm, which one wreaks more havoc on the environment and overall suffering on humans/animals alike?


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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:46 pm 
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also, wild truffles are now usually harvested with dogs finding them and they have to be given a treat. Pigs can't be trained to not eat the truffle when they find it. Or well maybe they could theoretically, but I suppose they found it easier to train a dog to not eat it when they found it.


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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:56 pm 
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If my cat found a tub of Earth Balance* with his nose - I would eat it...

*he loves EB!

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:15 am 
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I can't afford truffles.

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:10 am 
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you know you're vegan if you snuffle your own truffles

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:42 am 
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dandirtyapes wrote:
Yes.
    Figs
    Truffles a la Pigs
    Manure
    Honey
    Bivalves


Wait.

Wait, wait, WAIT.

What's wrong with figs?


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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:06 am 
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I've always avoided them.

I've done some research in the past and couldn't find conclusive information. I don't believe that working animals should be used whatever the reason; however well they're treated.

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:13 am 
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I think most truffle oil is fakey fake fake? I still like and use it. Also: I saw an episode of Rick Steves where dogs were hunting for truffles and it was adorable (to be fair, I've seen episodes of Rick Steves where they show foie gras gooses being gavaged and try to pretend it's not gross and horrible)

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:23 am 
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i've never really thought about truffles not being vegan. granted, i could never afford them anyway. i kind of like the idea of doggies snuffling truffles for treats more than doggies snuffling drugs in an airport.

this makes me wonder a lot about working pups now. what about seeing eye dogs? they're technically 'working', aren't they? but they also help out the person and improve their quality of life exponentially. edited to add: they probably get to live just like any other companion animal too, so i wasn't saying that the quality of the person's life was any more important than the dogs'.

funny, semi-unrelated story: there is a blind man who lives in this building downtown who is always walking a german shepherd, but it's not a seeing eye dog. it's just...his dog. and it just leads him wherever the fork it feels like it, like to your crotch with its nose or away from the elevator when it opens or into the street when cars are coming. the man is always yelling at the dog, but won't accept any offers of help, like holding the elevator for him or saying 'hey, there's a car coming' or anything. it's wacky.

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Last edited by allularpunk on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:24 am 
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fresh_paint wrote:
dandirtyapes wrote:
Yes.
    Figs
    Truffles a la Pigs
    Manure
    Honey
    Bivalves


Wait.

Wait, wait, WAIT.

What's wrong with figs?


THEY ARE FULL OF WASPS!
http://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/fig-wasp.htm

Guys, according to that article, figs use an enzyme to break down wasp bodies and absorbs the proteins. Do you know what this means? Figs eat wasps!

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:12 am 
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If I had a dollar for every time I've had this dilemma, I would have my financial planner add them to my high-yield brokerage account.

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:12 am 
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A lot of dog breeds like to work. Labs, huskies, malamutes for example.


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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:16 am 
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I think it's ethical to have a mutually beneficial relationship with animals. It could be called vegan in some cases (having a seeing eye dog) and not vegan in other cases (eating the eggs of your rescued chickens). I don't lose sleep over it.

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:19 am 
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Fee wrote:
I think it's ethical to have a mutually beneficial relationship with animals. It could be called vegan in some cases (having a seeing eye dog) and not vegan in other cases (eating the eggs of your rescued chickens). I don't lose sleep over it.


i just wrote a long post that said basically this and then it inexplicably disappeared. so yes, i agree.

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:57 pm 
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Not vegan. I believe that special truffle-finding pigs are bred for this purpose (as are dogs, but only specific breeds of dogs). And if we think breeding animals is wrong (especially to serve us) then we should consider truffles not-vegan.

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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:44 pm 
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I'm seriously curious about what people's stance is here on using a very well treated horse/donkey rather than a tractor on a small family farm. I suppose it might be possible to convert a tractor to vegetable grease, but let's just pretend the only other option is using gasoline/diesel. I grew up on farms and having a natural resource/environmental science background I'd personally opt on not supporting the oil industry when you consider the whole scope of the havoc it wreaks on everyone involved and the environment, but would people consider that obscenely un-vegan? And also curious what people think about the fact that a lot of crops are pollinated by bees used in the honey industry.....does that make your lettuce non-vegan?


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 Post subject: Re: Are truffles vegan?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:51 pm 
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panda wrote:
I'm seriously curious about what people's stance is here on using a very well treated horse/donkey rather than a tractor on a small family farm. I suppose it might be possible to convert a tractor to vegetable grease, but let's just pretend the only other option is using gasoline/diesel. I grew up on farms and having a natural resource/environmental science background I'd personally opt on not supporting the oil industry when you consider the whole scope of the havoc it wreaks on everyone involved and the environment, but would people consider that obscenely un-vegan? And also curious what people think about the fact that a lot of crops are pollinated by bees used in the honey industry.....does that make your lettuce non-vegan?


I don't know what I think of the horse vs. tractor argument, because honestly I know next to nothing about agriculture, but I don't think honey-industry bee pollination makes anything non-vegan. It's not like the lettuce farmers make the bees pollinate their crops, right? It happens naturally, and it would happen whether the bees were used for honey or not.

As a matter of fact, I'm glad they're around to fertilize plants, regardless of their use by honey harvesters. Otherwise, what the fork would we eat?


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