This page is created in honor of all Vegan Holidays!
Veganism is a diet and lifestyle:
"Veganism is a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans endeavor not to use or consume animal products of any kind. The most common reasons for becoming a vegan are ethical commitment or moral conviction concerning animal rights, the environment, human health, and spiritual or religious concerns. Of particular concern to many vegans are the practices involved in factory farming and animal testing, and the intensive use of land and other resources for animal farming."
"Various polls have reported vegans to be between 0.2% and 1.3% of the U.S. population, and between 0.25% and 0.4% of the UK population."
"Vegan diets (sometimes called strict or pure vegetarian diets) are a subset of vegetarian diets. Properly planned vegan diets are healthful and have been found to satisfy nutritional needs. However, poorly planned vegan diets can be low in levels of calcium, iodine, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Vegans are therefore encouraged to plan their diet and take dietary supplements as appropriate."
"The word vegan was originally derived from "vegetarian" in 1944 when Elsie Shrigley and Donald Watson, frustrated that the term "vegetarianism" had come to include the eating of dairy products, founded the Vegan Society. They combined the first three and last two letters of vegetarian to form "vegan," which they saw as "the beginning and end of vegetarian." Vegan is pronounced /ˈviːɡən/ or /ˈvɛdʒən/, although Watson considered the latter pronunciation to be incorrect. The Vegan Society defines veganism in this way:
- [T]he word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — 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."
Other vegan societies use similar definitions.
"The term "animal product" in a vegan context refers to any material derived from animals for human use. Notable animal products include meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, honey, fur, leather, wool, and silk. Common animal by-products include gelatin, lanolin, rennet, whey, casein, beeswax, isinglass, and shellac."
"Animal products are ingredients in countless products and are used in the production of—though not always present in the final form of—many more. Many of these ingredients are obscure, also have non-animal sources, and may not even be identified. Although some vegans attempt to avoid all these ingredients, Vegan Outreach argues that "it can be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to shun every minor or hidden animal-derived ingredient," and therefore that doing what is "best for preventing suffering" is more important than identifying and excluding every animal ingredient."
"Although honey and silk are by definition animal products, some vegans consider their use and the use of other insect products to be acceptable."
"The central ethical question related to veganism is whether it is right for humans to use and kill animals. This question is essentially the same as the fundamental question of animal rights, so it has been animal rights ethicists who have articulated the philosophical foundations for veganism. The philosophical discussion also therefore reflects the division viewpoints within animal rights theory between a rights-based approach, taken by both Tom Regan and Gary Francione, and a utilitarian one, promoted by Peter Singer. Vegan advocacy organizations generally adhere to some form animal rights viewpoint, and oppose practices which violate these rights."
"Tom Regan, professor emeritus of philosophy at North Carolina State University, argues that animals are entities which possess "inherent value" and therefore have "basic moral rights," and that the principal moral right they possess is "the right to respectful treatment." Regan additionally argues that animals have a "basic moral right not to be harmed," which can be overridden only when the individual's right not to be harmed is "morally outweighed" by "other valid moral principles." From this "rights view," Regan argues that "animal agriculture, as we know it, is unjust" even when animals are raised "humanely." Regan argues against various justifications for eating meat including that "animal flesh is tasty," that it is "habit" for "individuals and as a culture", that it is "convenient," that "meat is nutritious," that there is an obligation the economic interests of farmers or to the economic interests of a country, or that "farm animals are legal property," and finds that all fail to treat animals with the respect due to them by their basic rights. Regan therefore argues that "those who support current animal agriculture by purchasing meat have a moral obligation to stop doing so" and that "the individual has a duty to lead a vegetarian way of life."
"Gary L. Francione, professor of Law at Rutgers School of Law-Newark, argues that animals are sentient, and that this is sufficient to grant them moral consideration. Francione argues that "all sentient beings should have at least one right—the right not to be treated as property" and that there is "no moral justification for using nonhumans for our purposes." Francione further argues that adopting veganism should be regarded as the "baseline" action taken by people concerned with animal rights."
"Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton, argues that there is "no moral justification" for refusing to take sentient animal suffering into consideration in ethical decisions. Singer argues that an animal's interests warrant equal consideration with the interests of humans, and that not doing so is "speciesist." Based upon his evaluation of these interests, Singer argues that "our use of animals for food becomes questionable—especially when animal flesh is a luxury rather than a necessity." Singer does not contend that killing animals is always wrong, but that from a practical standpoint it is "better to reject altogether the killing of animals for food, unless one must do so to survive." Singer therefore advocates both veganism and improved conditions for farm animals as practical means to reduce animal suffering."
"Vegan advocacy organizations generally regard animals to have some form of rights, and therefore consider it unethical to use animals in ways that infringe those rights. The Vegan Society, for example, maintains that "animals have the right not to be farmed," Vegan Action asserts that "animals are not ours to use,"PETA states that "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment," and Mercy for Animals writes that "non-human animals are irreplaceable individuals with morally significant interests and hence rights."
"Advocacy organizations regard practices such as factory farming, animal testing, and displaying animals for entertainment in circuses, rodeos, and zoos as cruel to animals."
"The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends what they call the "Four New Food Groups." They suggest that vegans and vegetarians eat at least three servings of vegetables a day, including dark green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, and dark yellow and orange such as carrots; five servings of whole grains (bread, rice, pasta); three of fruit; and two of legumes (beans, peas, lentils)."
"Scientists such as Roger Segelken and T. Colin Campbell believe that some diets (such as the standard American diet) are detrimental to health, and they believe that a vegan diet represents an improvement, in part because vegan diets are often high enough in fruit and vegetables to meet or exceed the recommended fruit and vegetable intakes."
"Benefits of vegetarian diets might be valid also for strict vegan diets: according to the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada, diets that avoid meat tend to have lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, and higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, and phytochemicals.People who avoid meat are reported to have lower body mass index than those following the average Canadian diet; from this follows lower death rates from ischemic heart disease; lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer."
"A 1999 meta-study of five studies comparing vegetarian and non-vegetarian mortality rates in western countries found the mortality rate to be highest among vegans and those who eat meat regularly followed by vegetarians and those who eat meat infrequently. The lowest mortality rate was demonstrated by those who eat fish but no other meat. A 2003 study of British vegetarians, including vegans, found similar mortality rates between vegetarians and other groups."
"A 2006 study found that in people with type 2 diabetes a low-fat vegan diet reduced weight, BMI, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol and did so to a greater extent than the diet prescribed by the American Diabetes Association."