The first rule of flight club is you don’t talk about flight club. While a private jet might once have been the ultimate status symbol, travelling lavishly has turned into a liability for celebrities who want to be taken seriously. “What about yer private jet, then?” has, understandably, become the knee-jerk response whenever the privileged pipe up about the climate crisis. If you’re going to lecture the hoi polloi on how we need to make sacrifices to save the world, it’s a good idea not to flaunt your own excesses.
Alas, it seems Lewis Hamilton didn’t get the memo. The racing driver is a vocal vegan who has urged his fans to avoid meat for environmental reasons. Hamilton announced last year that his dog, Roscoe, is also following a vegan diet. While Hamilton got a bit of stick for his dog’s dinners at the time, a recent Instagram post featuring Roscoe posing by a fruit platter on what looks suspiciously like a private jet has sparked a fresh round of criticism. “I loves beings a vegans,” the photo’s caption (written in Doglish) reads. A section of the internet immediately decided that boasting about your dog’s veganism while on a private jet was the height of hypocrisy
Roscoe may be one of the few pups flying private, but he isn’t the only dog chowing down on fruit and veggies. The plant-based pet food market is growing globally, with brands such as Wild Earth, which has received funding from the billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, attempting to push it into the mainstream. While there is some debate about how healthy it is to feed your dogs a purely vegan diet, it is hardly surprising that the trend is taking off.
Veganism has become all the rage; celebrities are now avoiding meat with the same fervour with which they usually avoid taxes. It makes sense that non-carnivorous canines would become the next must-have status symbol. Joaquin Phoenix and Alicia Silverstone both have plant-based pups, while Katy Perry has already mentioned her dog might join her in her vegan “journey”. Give it a few years and I’m sure Roscoe will have plenty of doggy vegan friends.
Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist