What it means to be Vegan, why be Vegan, and how to get there.
What is veganism? The definition of veganism was originally coined by Donald Watson in 1944, although many cultures have been practicing veganism and respecting animal lives far longer than the existence of this definition. But it’s one that is easy to point to for a clear understanding of what veganism is about and how it extends far beyond what we eat, still with the understanding that veganism has many historical ties beyond what is commonly thought of today in the Western world:
“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.” – Donald Watson, 1944
You’ll see many variations of “veganism” on social media, some of which unintentionally or deliberately water down the definition to fit our own desires. While vegans eat animal-free foods, it’s not a diet, there are no cheat days or exceptions because we may be slightly inconvenienced. It’s a moral stance to reject animal exploitation and use as far as possible and practical, every day of the year.
- Speach by Animal Rights Activist – Gary Yourofsky
- Vegan Starter Kit
- Vegan Essentials
- Humane Myth
- Bite Size Vegan
Veganism is often, and rightfully so, a launching point for becoming more aware and active in other social justice causes – once we see how easy it was to unknowingly participate in a system that devalues animal life and manipulates us into believing they are less than and exist merely for our use, hopefully we continue toward reducing harm and begin to see how this exploitation and oppression intersects with other problematic systems and injustices surrounding race, genders, and other abilities and just how we may unintentionally be perpetuating or complicit in them. Here are some links to learn more about the intersection of Animal Rights and Human Rights and why it’s important to consider who else may be harmed even when purchasing vegan or just how we can help.
- Food Empowerment Project (Make sure to check out their list of slave-labor free chocolate!There’s even an app to use while shopping)
- The Sistah Vegan Project by Dr. A. Breeze Harper
- Carol J. Adams on why veganism is a feminist issue
- Black Vegans Rock – check out their resources page!
- Aph Ko
- Christopher Sebastian on Facebook is as entertaining as he is educational