Pogo cafe – a vegan space

I just learned the True meaning of a Vegan Space, the hard way.It means the presence in that space of animal products will not only shock and upset the indigenous idealists, but furthermore you may be accused of plotting to undermine their utopia.Cows milk in their cups was considered such a contaminant that I was commanded to purchase the crockery.Under the slogan \Love Peace and Compassion” I was accused and collectively judged for cynically seeking to cause offense. I was denied an opportunity to answer my accusers I was lectured about the rape of cows and ordered to purchase the crockery. But even when the price was paid and I returned reconciliation was out of the question. I was accused of freeloading wifi from  volunteers and even my footwear recovered from a dustbin because I am poor were construed as flagrant disrespect which alone justified my ejection. These vegans are setting themselves up as a persecuted minority who alone cherish the absolute values which the World does not understand. Their absolute sentimental compassion for animals has obscured basic human values Despite the presence of intellectual books I detected neither love nor understanding. I recommend free wifi places with genuine warmth like Passing Clouds Curve Garden and Open the Gate! Perhaps sealing the door of Pogo cafe would ensure that it remains a pure sanctuary.”


  1. Did you not realise it was a vegan cafe?

  2. I thought vegan cafes were about offering a menu and a cultural experience pleasing to vegans. However it turns out that in Pogo, ‘anarchy’ means that means a whole extra set of laws apply, and normal grown-up behaviour doesn’t apply.

  3. You don’t really say what happened, I would be interested to know!

  4. I don’t wish to recount all the details, and if I did I would not be neutral. I’m just airing a grievance in public because private reconciliation was not granted me. I’m sure if you drop in they’ll be happy to fill you in on the details of the judgement.

  5. First thing:Increasing the amount of plants in our meals (hopefully organic and cultivated without slave labour like in most industrial agriculture )  all over the world will help to make it a friendlier place for more than one reason.True felt compassion with animals could increase compassion between humans…It helps to decrease carbon emmsions, especially if the plants grow locally and transported by foot or bycicle…Less people would have to work in slaughtering spaces…General improvement of health…For these reasons I appreciate that vegan spaces exist. I also appreciate that volunteers organise themselves and work towards positive change.When the \cow milk incident” happened I was next to Matthew one of my closest friends. So I might not be neutral on the cause. Actually I got really angry about the way he was verbally attacked.Knowing him to be one of the most peaceful persons  I ever met and fulltime activist working usually more than 70 hours a week usually without being payed only for food shelter and transport I think he deserves to be respected more than he was in pogo cafe. Well probably the fact of being a human should be enough to be respectfully spoken to in a everyday situation.What was upsetting me the most was the way of speaking not especially the vegan content.I wished vegan communities could serve their goal of improving animals situation by keeping respectful conversation with humans also.Being dogmatic in activists groups similar like in churches and religious groups could be replaced by a more generous attitude which would serve the noble goals that such groups usually have probably better.Another little episode: Recently I was suggesting to go to “pogo cafe” to a  Jamaican friend. He answered that he didn’t feel comfortable there. In his view this was also true for all the many people he knows from the local estate in the neighbourhood in Clarence Road. When I asked him why he said that he didn’t feel welcome and the athmosphere felt like a ghettolike idelogical and humanly not warm to him and that such a space would be more appreciated if it welcomed the young people from the neighborhood could find a place there.I didn’t agree with him in all points because I was experiencing warmth and welcoming times with some of the volunteers in pogo and I think it is unfair to jugde the place like this.If all sides are open for mutual understanding this could be a really nice space where vegan principles are respected but casual “misbehaviour” could be tolerated or communicated about in a friendly way.This could help the vegan idea a lot and the neighbourhood would possibly appreciate the positive effect of eating more plants more and more….”

  6. That sounds intense. I don’t believe that shame has a valid place in activism. Most activists (myself included) come to their positions of advocacy from a place of morality, but the righteousness of a self-assigned moral authority can be (and generally is) counter-productive. To be able to make choices about the types of food you consume, goods you purchase, and clothing you wear is a marker of privilege. To require such privilege as a bar for acceptance – and/or to publicly shame those who don’t have it – is a marker of unchecked privilege. Maslow’s Pyramid. Ethics and personal evolution are the stomping ground of only those not busied with the task of surviving. I have always found parts the more radical vegan/vegetarian activist movement, as well as parts of the environmental movement, to be firmly rooted in shame-based activism. Especially vile are the attacks on larger people.  Not true, of course, for all vegans/vegetarians/environmentalists, or for every v/v/e group. I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about moral authority and its less productive uses. This is a fine example.

  7. sounds like a storm in a teacup. A cows milk soiled tea cup…. Meanwhile, in the real world…

  8. Why would you ever think that bringing cow’s milk into a vegan cafe would be acceptable to the people working there? Would you bring pork into a Muslim restaurant, or eat non-kosher food in a Jewish restaurant? This is about having some respect for what the cafe means to the people who volunteer there, as well as the customers, many of whom are vegan themselves. They do not expect to see non-vegan products in the cafe. You may be described as \one of the most peaceful persons” Sarah had ever met but I’m sure the dairy cows exploited for the supermarket milk that was being drunk in the cafe would not agree. Pogo is proudly vegan proudly for complete abolition of animal slavery and will not condone the violence of the dairy industry within the walls of the cafe. I hope you have the message by now.”

  9. Animal slavery? Cow rape? Slave labour in agriculture? And then you all wonder why people off the estates would be uncomfortable going there… Youre the sort of people that give newcomers to the area a bad name. Do us all a favour and move back to the Home Counties, and take your self righteous, frankly offensive attitudes with you.

  10. Someone invoke Hitler so we can close this thread.

  11. People clearly have strong opinions on this matter as they are perfectly entitled to, different people and freedom to choose how you want to live make Hackney the vibrant place it is. Lively debate is good, but insults and sweeping generalisations are not constructive. Please can everyone remember that this is the spirit of the website before making personal comments about individuals.

  12. I love Pogo. They make a good cake.

  13. @rolflolman you are saying that vegans like any religious group may be offended by objects or substances.I agree. These vegans are behaving like religious fundamentalists which is fine with me as long as they admit it!”

  14. So will this incident be known as ‘Cowgate’?

  15. It’s very interesting that, ‘GavinRedknap’, \Animal slavery? Cow rape? Slave labour in agriculture?” would actually put you off going to a vegan cafe as opposed to actually taking the time to investigate for yourself the industries which are being described in such terms. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr-EyIaXAD4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfYV7zCNTEc This is why we oppose the dairy industry.”

  16. There’s no denying that that sort of thing isnt distressing to watch. The fact is, though, that the vast majority of meat eaters (ie the vast majority of people on this earth) dont think twice about where the meat in the supermarket comes from, and if they do, theyre more than willing to put it out of their thoughts. If you want to get people on your side, may i suggest a somewhat less confrontational and aggressive way to go about it. Reading this thread, the average person on the street is going to think that the people that run the Pogo cafe (and perhaps vegans in general) are absolute nutters.

  17. I have to disagree. I believe that the vast majority of people in this country have absolutely no idea whatsoever the extent of the suffering that their food choices inflict on animals, and that a large proportion of people, when they find out, actually change their habits when they become better informed. The people who volunteer in Pogo are, unlike the majority, already accutely aware of the reality of farming animals, and hence our rejection of it is without compromise. Each and every year the number of vegans in this country and worldwide increases as more people become aware of this reality, and now major supermarkets, such as Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Coop label all of their vegan products now, something that has only started happening in recent years, as the vegan market expands.

  18. well that’s all well and good, Rolfolman – if people make a choice to go vegan that’s perfectly within their rights. However, would you not agree that some people are hardly doing your cause service by coming across as so extreme in what they say: telling an ordinary person that theyre complicit in ‘cow rape’ for putting milk in their tea isnt going to get them onside. Similarly, freaking out if someone uses some milk in a cafe or nibble on a bit of dairy milk seems a bit extreme too. May i suggest that if you havent done so, you make it absolutely clear that you wont allow consumption of non-vegan goods in your cafe.

  19. In a world full of lies, the truth can be seen to be an extreme thing. It doesn’t make the fact that milk purchasers are complicit in the rape and murder of cows any less true though, whichever way you look at it. It’s like saying if you’re buying Nike trainers you are complicit in child labour, a statement which would be less opposed. We delare Pogo Cafe a \100% vegan space” on our website but if that’s not clear enough then I think we will probably put some kind of sign up in the cafe itself.”

  20. I don’t believe in the conclusion of this image but lets put this in context.

  21. Yes, sadly cows’ body parts are used to make lots of human products. However for every single one of these examples there are vegan alternatives; everything from cosmetics to pasta to musical instruments. Check out The Vegan Society website for advice on minimising the damage your daily life does to animals.

  22. I hope the plastics used in the server for your website are vegan

  23. do the fossilzed insects count? If so we’re in a whole heap of trouble.

  24. We can only do what we can. If you care about animals at all you will do your best to minimise (as I said before) your negative impact on animals.

  25. I’m only putting this in context but you choose to use a website for pogo cafe – it’s not a necessity, you don’t need a website, it’s a luxury. Therefore by your own logic,  you are \complicit in the rape and murder of cows””

  26. I’m guessing this is coming from someone who eats cow flesh??

  27. … and since when were we talking about computer servers, the issue was with cow’s milk, which just for your information is in the EU allowed to have 400 million pus cells in for every litre.

  28.  See, Rolfoman, I told you that you were getting your PR wrong. You shouldnt say \???someone who eats cow flesh” – it makes anyone who eats meat (ie nearly everyone) sound like some sort of zombie. Accept the fact that  regardless of the morality of it most of us will continue to do so as long as we’re about. Once youve done that you can perhaps sound a little less judgemental about non-vegans and then perhaps direct efforts toward more humane ways of animal farming rather than the ‘them and us’ labelling that youre resorting to that leads nowhere other than mutual ridicule.”

  29. @rolflolman I’m just pointing out that you like picking and choosing views to suit your argument. Of course milk has pus cells in!! that’s what it is – white blood cells!!

  30. I don’t see why human animals should get better treatment than non-human animals, for exactly the same reason as I reject racism and sexism. One species, race or gender – as far as I am concerned – has no right oppressing another for the benefit of the oppressors. That is why I will not campaign for better treatment for animals as opposed to complete liberation. If there were human farms you would not be saying: give them better food, kill them in a more painless way, make their cages bigger. You would (hopefully) be saying that the whole concept of human farms is an outrage that must be done away with.

  31. Coming from a harm-reductionist standpoint, one is often better served by celebrating the fact that folks are making even minor changes vs. shaming them for not being as radical as preferred.  We are most of us culturally indoctrinated into a carnivorous society and much of what you are railing against is taken for granted by the dominant culture. Shock tactics and self-righteous shaming will win some folks over, but will largely alienate your cause from the majority. If one wants to be heard and respected, it’s always best to speak from a place of respect.

  32. Veganism is a simple step towards a greener, less polluted, and more humane planet. Not all vegans are diplomatic, However that does not undermine the basic argument about the inhumanity of the meat and dairy industry.

  33. @rolflolman, i appreciate your passion for animal wellbeing. i think a sign making your ethical/ activist stance clear at the point of entry would be wise. i have friends who are vegans simply for reasons of health or food intolerance, so even people who don’t consume animal products may like to be aware of the cafe’s outlook before deciding to enter. it’s equivalent to understanding the difference between, as you said, a kosher cafe or a cafe that’s just run by personally observant jews: not necessarily the same thing, but a critical difference to people on both sides of the counter. @matslats, i appreciate your clarifying the situation at pogo cafe for us and i’m sorry you were poorly treated there. i hope it helps to know that you’ve helped others make an informed decision about whether or not it’s the right place for them.

  34. On a slight tangent – if, as has been advocated here, we were to move away from industrial farming to something that was more akin to the Good Life, the deterioration in productivity would be so severe that it would cause mass starvation and death. Where’s the humanity in that, exactly?

  35. Sorry for not being adequately ‘right on’ about this issue, but I’m simply asking a question out of interest rather than trolling. My question, which you seemed to miss entirely, was one about arguments for de-industrialisation of agriculture rather than one of meat versus plant  industrialised farming. If, as many people blithely assert, we were to move back to serf-like agriculture, we might be more environmentally friendly, but would we also would be able to support a population of 7 billion people on this planet. My point, essentially, is one of pragmatism rather than one of idealism – you can shout all you like about the injustices of the world, but change will only work if you offer workable solutions.

  36. @goodlegs I fail to see how @gavinredknap is trolling.Personally, I’m ambivalent about veganism, but I do find the inaccurate usage of terms such as \rape” “murder” and “slavery” to be bloody offensive.”

  37. @GavinRedknap posted a question which contained the phrase \if as has been advocated here we were to move away from industrial farming”. The only context in which industrial farming has been mentioned in this thread is specifically in the meat and dairy industry so I took the question to be:”if we were to move away from (meat and dairy) industrial farming…”As the question also suggested that industrial farming (in the meat and dairy industry – “as had been advocated here” remember) was necessary to avoid “mass starvation and death” my reply was intended to show that meat-based diets are inherently unsustainable – the very problem of food shortage that was mentioned in the question can be solved by moving away from the industrial farming (in the meat and dairy industry) that the question contained.This is a website about hackney yet this thread has become a stream of attacks on veganism in general that appear designed to antagonise:”Youre the sort of people that give newcomers to the area a bad name. Do us all a favour and move back to the Home Counties and take your self righteous frankly offensive attitudes with you. “”These vegans are behaving like religious fundamentalists”” the average person on the street is going to think that the people that run the Pogo cafe (and perhaps vegans in general) are absolute nutters.””I hope the plastics used in the server for your website are vegan “”do the fossilzed insects count? If so we’re in a whole heap of trouble. “”

  38. I’m not surprised pogo struggles. Even as a vegan I often feel intimidated by staff/the general environment. Nice food though.

  39. As a pound of meat takes as many as 20 pounds of grain to produce, not to mention an incredible amount of water we would be able to sustain many more people than 7 billion if we switched from animal farming to arable farming. 90% of the world’s soya is fed to animals in farms, some of which comes from areas that recently used to be tropical rainforect. Additionally, the animal farming industries are responsible for huge amounts of water and soil pollution and increasing the spread of diseases.

  40. Well it looks as though Pogo has now permanently closed;http://hackneycitizen.co.uk/2013/09/03/pogo-cafe-closes/

  41. …and shortly to re-open as a \100% vegan not-for-profit cooperatively run café” called Black Cat (with nice new shop front);http://blackcatcafe.co.uk/https://twitter.com/BlackCatHackneyhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Cat/717653221593942Opening “around the end of September”.”

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