Jan 26, 2022
4 mins read
For Veganuary, I thought to explain a bit more Why Vegan. Because it's important to understand the philosophy behind veganism, otherwise you will completely miss the point of what being vegan even means. I see a lot of people judge vegans or anything vegan.. even some who call themselves vegan do not get this - veganism is a moral philosophy.
If you search the meaning of vegan on Google it just tells you what a vegan person is - someone who doesn't consume animal products... But why?
We extend our ethical values and compassion to (all) animals. If we think harming a dog/dolphin/horse is wrong, harming a cow/chicken/pig is wrong, too. We can't pick and choose which animals are ok to kill and which deserve to live. It's about animal rights. Their right to live and be free from harm. Veganism is not just about avoiding animal exploitation for food but also in all other ways animals are killed – for clothing, experimentation and entertainment.
“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”
― Leo Tolstoy
Vegan is not a diet.
While the food vegans eat is without animal products, to reflect our ethical values, it's not exactly a diet. People may follow plant-based diets for the health benefits too. I've never really followed any 'diet' in my life, never restricted how much I eat or counted calories. I don't eat animal products as I don't consider it as a food. Meat has never really been a food to me although I used to eat chicken or fish occasionally before I went plant-based, but that was just out of habit - I knew I could do without it. Luckily I wasn't brought up in a society where a lot of meat is eaten, and a lot of food in India was vegetarian. Vegetarianism however, still allows exploitation of cows - for milk and leather, and birds for eggs, so going vegan is the only logical step if you care about animals.
It's not something special or for any particular group.
Who can be vegan? Anyone who can and does eat plants. Anyone with a moral sense. So all human beings qualify! Sadly, our society is based around animal products and so vegans are often served in the 'special diet' section ._. Nothing special about not wanting to exploit animals.
It's not something religious. Different religions have different principles, and for some veganism or vegetarianism is a part of following a non-violent lifestyle (Ahimsa). But you don't have to be religious to be non-violent. Why is this something considered extreme by many people? Leaving animals alone? Live and let live?
It's not something you do on some days of the week. I 'went vegan' the minute I decided to stop supporting animal exploitation. And that's not something you can decide to do only sometimes, when it's convenient for you. E.g. if you used to buy products that use child labour and you are now aware of it, would you continue to do so? No, as it's simply wrong and you can find other products that are ethical.
''Veganism has had a longer history than you might imagine. It could be said that there have always been vegans – people who have chosen to live as far as possible without the use of animal products. Often this was for religious or spiritual reasons. In more recent times, the original use of the word ‘vegetarian’ (in the 1830s) indicated a person who did not eat any animal products at all and who lived on a vegan and predominantly raw food diet. This early ‘vegetarianism’ extended to clothing and other aspects of life and was comparable to the idea of veganism that was established in 1944 when The Vegan Society was born.'' - The Vegan Society
We reject the consumption of animal origin products (meat, cheese, milk, eggs, fur, leather etc.) as it causes direct harm to animals and gives them a commodity status. It also means avoiding unethical practices like animal rides and visiting zoos. When we start seeing other animals as individuals, our perspective changes to see the reality, beyond what we’ve been taught to accept from an early age. As humans, we have a moral sense and know it’s wrong to exploit and kill other beings. Why exclude ‘farmed’ animals from consideration? It's just a result of conditioning in a society that believes eating animals is necessary and normal. To the animals, it makes no difference if they are farmed or wild, everyone suffers the same. Farmed animals suffer their entire short life, in captivity in miserable conditions before they are trucked off to a slaughterhouse.
''A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority.'' ― Booker T. Washington
It may be surprising to realize how less some people care. Why change when the majority are consuming this stuff and most restaurants and shops sell these products? Just because this is how 'things have always been' doesn't mean we can't change now. Take time to ask yourself – what’s the right thing to do? We owe it to other earthlings and the least we can do is not consume animal products.
We highly recommend watching the following:
The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear by Gary Yourofsky.
Dairy is Scary - the milk industry explained in 5 minutes.
Dominion(2018) - to see the hidden practices of animal agriculture.
More Resources: freefromharm.com