There are purists, and there are pragmatists.

John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods Market, follows a vegan diet. His stores (now owned by Amazon) sell meat, eggs and dairy products. Mackey is a pragmatist, and some vegans hate him for it.

In an interview with Ryan Moran, the founder and CEO of, Mackey explains why he is vegan but sells meat.

Watch the video above. Full transcript below.

“Entrepreneurs by nature are pragmatists. We’ve got satisfy the market. If I just wanted to force my eating views on everybody else I’d go out of business. So you have to sell ultimately what other people want to buy. You can’t have your own belief system interfere with that too much or you’re not going to succeed in business.

So you have to serve your customers. You just can’t foist your own belief system on other people. That’s just crazy.

But the thing about it is, purists judge you for heresy. In any kind of movement, people that don’t tow the orthodox line are seen are heretics. So in a lot of ways I’m very hated in the vegan community because I’m seen as a heretic: “You know! You know, John Mackey and yet you still sell animals!”

That’s intolerable for them. Intolerable. And it’s like, “I don’t want to sell animals. Stop buying them. It’s not my fault you people are eating meat. I’m not eating them!”

However, the market wants to eat animal foods. We’re going to sell animal foods. We’re just going to do it as humanely and consciously as we can do it.”

We're sure there's at least one other entrepreneur who's vegan but sells meat in the world. There are probably also entrepreneurs who eat meat but sell vegan food or products.

Are you an entrepreneur who's vegan but sells meat? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.


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