“E.D. by Ellen”

By Kerry Graff, MD — Chief Medical Officer of 4Leaf Global

ellen_20110322192422Ellen Degeneres is up to her ears in cow dung over her new men’s fashion line that includes leather. Called E.D. by Ellen, this line partners her with Kanye West, who notoriously promotes the wearing of leather and fur.

A self-proclaimed vegan who has spoken extensively on her show about how she stopped eating meat, fish and dairy because she loves animals, Ellen is taking considerable heat in the vegan world for involvement in a business that seems to go against everything she espouses.

Getting the word out that a whole food, plant-based diet is crucial to both human and environmental health is our goal here at 4Leaf Global. We are working on a 4Leaf Pledge campaign, where people would pledge to do their best to get 80% or more of their daily calories from whole plants–for their personal health as well as for the health of other animals and the environment.

We had hoped to have Ellen, who has spoken extensively on her show about her conversion to veganism for animal rights reasons, take our 4Leaf Pledge and then tweet it out to her 44 million Twitter followers. Reaching all those people nearly instantaneously with our message in a way that could easily be passed on to their friends and followers via electronic media would have been a huge boost in spreading our message.

EllenDegeneresDesignerMain-600x400Profoundly disappointed at the news that Ellen was now promoting leather, I puzzled over why she would have done such a thing when it clearly goes against what she professes to believe in. Had she just been pretending to value animal rights to gain audience? Unlikely. Did she get lured by the money? Well, she wouldn’t be the first or the last if she sacrificed her values for money. The saying is that everyone has a price and, let’s be honest, very few of us have ever been offered millions of dollars to go against a cause we hold dear.

Perhaps she is trying to change the fashion industry from the inside. Once firmly entrenched in that world, she might be planning to lobby hard to end the use of leather and fur. Then I had another thought. Her line is called E.D. by Ellen. In the medical world in which I reside, E.D. stands for erectile dysfunction. It could be that she has found a way to cause leather-wearers to develop erectile dysfunction! Now that would be brilliant! But wait, people who wear leather usually also eat meat and that already causes erectile dysfunction…

Kerry Graff, MDThe bottom line is that I don’t know why Ellen Degeneres is now going to be selling leather shoes as part of her fashion line. And unless you are very, very, very good friends with Ellen, you probably don’t know, either. But I do know this. Veganism is fundamentally about compassion for all animals. That includes having compassion for our fellow humans, even when we can’t understand why they are doing something we profoundly disagree with.

Ellen has been a friend of the vegan community for many years. Instead of condemning her, let’s wait to see what she is up to. Don’t buy her leather shoes, however. After all, you don’t want to get E.D., do you? 🙂

Kerry Graff, MD, Chief Medical Officer of 4Leaf Global, LLC

Email me at kerry@4leafglobal.com Visit our website at 4leafprogram.com

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