“Getting a tattoo can be about as vegan as having a rib-eye sewn to your arm.”
That’s from Tim Donelly’s Atlantic article, “No Charred Bones or Animal Fat: The Search for a Vegan Tattoo“.
Vegan alternatives sometimes contain plastic, and some clients balk at having plastic under their skin instead of something organic.
“I’ve never found anything that works as well,” said Karr, who dabbles in ink-making himself. “It sucks that you can’t live your life completely vegan. Where do you draw the line? It’s really difficult to remove all the elements from your life.” Another shop told me people inquire more about the trendy new black-light ink than vegan ink.
In times of ethical crisis like this I turn to my friend J.P. Piteo, a coworker and compendium of cruelty-free esoterica. In addition to being the longest tenured vegan in my quiver (13 years), she’s tattooed from ear to ankle. She didn’t learn about the ink issue until five years after her first tattoo and well into her vegan career.
“In the moment you are permanently decorating yourself with a tattoo, you can also choose how you make an impact on the environment,” she told me. “And we all know how pollution works and how it’s largely irreversible, just like your new tattoo. That’s supposed to be a part of what veganism is about, that big picture.”
Our guess is that the tattoo below isn’t at all vegan.