~The Vegan Philosophy~
By definition, a vegetarian is one whose diet consists of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and sometimes animal products such as eggs, milk, or cheese. A vegan is someone who lives solely on the products of the plant kingdom without the addition of eggs, dairy or animal products.
The term "vegetarian" refers only to what one eats and does not pertain to any other aspect of one's life. The impetus for becoming a vegetarian however, may be based on ethical, religious, health, environmental, or economic concerns, or any combination of these.
The motivation for becoming vegan however, is fundamentally rooted in a compelling set of ethical beliefs. Both total vegetarians and vegans abstain from eating all meat, fish, or fowl, as well as any other foods of animal origin such as butter, milk, yogurt, honey, eggs, gelatin, or lard, and any prepared foods containing these ingredients. But veganism encompasses far more than just diet.
The Vegan Society in England defines veganism as follows: "Veganism is a way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals."
Therefore, in addition to adopting a total vegetarian diet, vegans make a conscious effort to avoid all forms of exploitation, harm, and cruelty to animals regardless of any "beneficial" end result or any perceived "value" to society. Thus, vegans do not hunt or fish and abhor the unnatural confinement, cruel training, and degrading use of animals in circuses, zoos, rodeos, races, and other forms of "........entertainment....."
Vegans oppose the unnecessary and barbarous testing of cosmetics, drugs, and household products on animals. They also denounce experiments performed on animals for the alleged potential benefit to human health. Vegans make every effort to abstain from medical procedures or drugs that have involved animal suffering. The use of animal products for adornment such as pearls, ivory, or tortoise shell; or clothing including items made from silk, wool, leather, or fur is also shunned. Furthermore, vegans do not use soaps, cosmetics, or household products which contain animal fats or oils, perfumes which are made from animal products, brushes made of animal hair, or pillows, comforters, or parkas stuffed with feathers.
Although this may appear to be a lengthy list of "dont's," it illustrates the extent to which human beings have come to rely on animal-based products and will advocate animal exploitation when it involves making a profit. Nevertheless, vegans do not bemoan what they cannot have and instead view their philosophy and lifestyle as surprisingly liberating.
Love & Light,