The term ‘vegan’ was first coined in 1944 by Donald Watson, the founder of the Vegan Society, as a statement against dairy-eating vegetarians. He created the word using the first three and the last two letters of the word ‘vegetarian’ as he wanted to, in his own words; mark “the beginning and end of vegetarianism.”
By the time the Vegan Society became a registered charity in 1979, they had clarified the definition of the word ‘vegan’ as meaning:
“a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
In short, a person who follows a vegan lifestyle does not support or partake in any activity that exploits or harms another living animal; be they human or non-human. Such activities include:
- Consuming any animal product or by-product, including meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk, eggs or honey.
- Wearing any animal-derived clothing or footwear, including skins, leathers, silks, cashmere, wools or furs.
- Using any products, soaps or cosmetics that have been laboratory tested on animals or contains any ingredients derived from animals.
- Supporting zoos, circuses, water parks, horse riding, bull fighting, cock fighting or any other entertainment or sport that involves the captivity and exploitation of animals.
Why Go Vegan?
For the Animals
People choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle because, ethically, it is a better choice for the planet’s animals. The conditions within the factory plants and slaughterhouses of this planet are infamously guilty of inhumane conditions and routine cruelty to animals. They treat living, breathing animals like a commodity and billions of animals suffer and die every year at the hands of the livestock industry. Animals are forcibly impregnated, pumped full of drugs, force-fed, crammed into filthy cramped cages, mutilated, abused and torn away from their mothers to be killed, often while still fully conscious.
For the Planet
Following a meat-free, plant-based diet is a more sustainable solution for our environment and the planet. Quite simply, the ecological impact of producing and eating 230m tons of animal meat per year is devastating our environment. Raising livestock for food produces more greenhouse gas than all of the earth’s transportations combined. We are also currently using 70% of the earth’s water for the agriculture of animals reared for slaughter. 200 times more water is needed to produce a pound of beef than it does to grow the same amount of plant foods. Therefore, by skipping meat we will be saving more water than if we were all to take shorter showers.
For our Health
A diet filled with meat, eggs, milk and cheese is an official recipe for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Countless official studies, experiments and reports have proven that a plant-based lifestyle supports vitality, health and a longer life-span. Vegans are at significantly less risk of death from common western diseases and ailments including type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, cancers and blood cholesterol levels.
Any of the above reasons to go vegan is a great one, have you started your vegan journey yet?