Calvin is the incarnate ecclesiastical discipline. Opposite his strict religious doctrine is the Catholics' more Burgundian outlook on life.
The passionate doctrine of Calvin is reminiscent of the strict, disciplined diet pattern of the vegan. This prompts us to ask: "is it so attractive to be this strict with yourself?" The answer is a whole-hearted "yes".
Many people are unfamiliar with veganism. What's so special about a vegan? A vegan uses no products for which animals were used at all, so he doesn't eat meat, fish or dairy, he doesn't use wool, leather or honey. This limits his choice of foodstuffs, because after all animal products are almost everywhere. Even when you eat a simple biscuit you have to be careful. And I'm not even starting on the animal ingredients that aren't mentioned on wrappings.

Most cooks don't know what to do when a vegan comes to dinner. And vegans have to pick out their restaurants very carefully. Fortunately, it is much easier at home. Because, think about it, what choice is left in foodstuffs when meat, fish and dairy are not an option? For starters, an enormous variety in greens, many kinds of legumes, grains, delicious nuts and fruits, to name a few things. The possibilities are endlessly greater than you would think at first glance. And variation is the most important advice, something that is often hard to find in a standard meat-eating Dutchman's diet. The only real limitation for vegans is vitamin B-12, which they have to supplement chemically if they don't want to violate their principles.
For whom it concerns, the benefit of veganism is a very clear conscience. And vegans don't have to worry about contracting Creutzfeldt-Jacob. Many meat-eaters may well be carrying this disease already as a consequence of the BSE that today affects almost all farm animals, from cows to sheep to goats.
But let's go back to the parallel with Calvin. Calvin assumed the predestination of man and animal. He thought that animals were predestined. People may believe that, but that doesn't mean that animals are destined to lead their lives in factory farming. And people may feel they have a right to eat animals, but that doesn't mean that they may take away the animals' freedom to lead natural lives.
For a vegan, the freedom to live a natural life is both a means and an end. It is the paradoxical situation of people that they are born free but still have to make choices during their lives to keep this freedom.
Animals' lives have always attracted certain types of people, because freedom is the natural situation of an animal. Despite the superior intelligence of man, this has not guaranteed his freedom. It has given people a position of power with regard to animals, but also the duty to supply conditions for animals that do not unjustly limit their freedom.
Vegans who - with their lifestyles - increase their own freedom as well as that of animals, live passionate lives, in which passion should be taken as "driven" and not as "suffering from".

Bert Stoop