What does the word vegan mean to you? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-13-2017, 05:39 PM
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What does the word vegan mean to you?

We seem to get off topic in other threads to argue the meaning of 'vegan', so I thought I'd import some posts here to contain the topic.

To me, I stick with the Vegan Societies definition:
Quote:
Veganism is a 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.
in 1944
In 1979 the society upgraded it to:
Quote:
"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."
https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vega...ition-veganism

We already have the term vegetarian which refers solely to diet, and while strict vegetarian refers to abstaining from all meat, dairy and eggs, it can also be known as either ovo and/or lacto to include eggs or dairy consumption. Now we have plant based diet to refer to a diet of whole plant foods for health.

It seems that whole health aspect, as the successful Forks over Knives and Eat to Live diets, as well as many physicians have promoted that seemed to skew the use of the word 'vegan'. With so few truly adhering to the vegan philosophy it appartently seemed free for the taking. "vegan diet" started being used by doctors when advocating as little as cutting back on cholestrol! I have been in that conversation, hearing that a coworkers mother was on a 'vegan' diet. After a bit of puzzlement I found she still ate the occasional lean meat and egg whites, but her son insisted it was a vegan diet since it was prescribed by a doctor!

There is no shame in the words vegetarian if that's what you follow. For all the grief vegans are given I wonder why it becomes such a coveted title?
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#2 Old 01-13-2017, 06:40 PM
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Saying you're vegetarian, to most people, means you don't eat meat. So if in my omnivore life someone said, "I'm a strict vegetarian," I would just assume they were really committed to not eating meat and I wouldn't think twice about serving them something with eggs or dairy in it. But if someone said "I'm vegan" I would have served them something containing only plants.

That's my understanding of why people use the term "vegan" to apply to diets.

That said, I also think there is a tendency to police vegans because one person's veganism isn't the same as another's, and I don't think that is all that productive.
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#3 Old 01-13-2017, 10:22 PM
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To me, vegan means the exclusion of all animals from any human proprietary endeavor, or the use of any animal as a commodity, whether for personal use or trade. It means simply, freedom for the animals. I accept that the word was 'invented' some 70 odd-years ago, but I think it applies to a concept that is older than human records.
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#4 Old 01-14-2017, 02:29 AM
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What a word "means," otherwise known as its "definition," is simply the common, ordinary connotation of the word by speakers of the language in question. For example, the word "gay" had the common, ordinary meaning "happy" in the English language in 1950. That's what the ordinary speaker meant when using the word back then. Today, the common, ordinary meaning of the word by English speakers is "homosexual."

With the word "vegan," it seems to me that what most people mean, at least the people that I know (virtually all of whom are omni), is "someone who does't eat meat, dairy, eggs, or any other animal products." So, I haven't taken a formal survey of English speakers, but I'm pretty sure that the majority of them, if they have any idea at all what the word "vegan" means, consider it to mean someone who has those dietary restrictions.

So, I think it's a pretty straightforward task to figure out what the word "vegan" means, based on some sort of survey, and doing so is really a data collection effort, plain and simple, to determine the common, ordinary usage of the word by English speakers in the year 2017.

However, there is a secondary issue, which goes beyond the traditional semantic definition of the word, and that's the moral weight that the word "vegan" carries among the less than one percent of the population who generally fall within the ethical vegan community. In particular, many (though probably not all) people who believe that ethical veganism is the proper way for human animals to live their lives want to reserve the word "vegan" for those individuals who try to avoid all use and exploitation of animals, not only in diet but in clothing, toiletries, etc. (Of course, even that is a matter of degree, but that's a separate issue.) In any event, this is a movement goal for what the word should mean, not a traditional, definitional, data-collection task designed to figure out what the most common use of the word is by English speakers.

Actually, in any area of human behavior, it's common to find people who are closely associated with the behavior seeking to preserve a more narrowly-tailored definition of the word describing the behavior than is common in ordinary usage by the public at large. College professors, for example, sometimes refer only to those who are tenured or on the tenure track as "professors" and exclude temporary or part-time faculty, whom they may call "instructors," "lecturers," or simply "faculty" but not "professors." Similarly, some evangelical Christians exclude Jehova's Witnesses from being "Christian" and, even more strictly, might exclude Roman Catholics. Medical doctors might exclude chiropractors from the definition of "doctor." These are goals for what the word should mean by, respectively, professors, evangelical Christians, and doctors.

So it is with the word "vegan." As noted, many (probably most) people in the ethical vegan/animal rights community want to reserve the word "vegan" for someone who tries not to exploit animals at all, not only in diet. In this view, the word "vegan" takes on a meaning that is not simply descriptive but has a moral implication, i.e. that the individual is living the type of life that should be lived. I'm not opining one way or the other as to whether this is a good or useful goal for the ethical vegan/animal rights community to have for the word "vegan." I'm simply saying that it is in fact a goal (and perhaps one common definition within that community), but not a general definition for the word "vegan" derived by collecting data among English speakers at large to determine common usage.

I will note that, in practice, I think it's unlikely that the different possible uses of the word "vegan" would matter much in the real world. As for omnis, most barely understand or think about these issues, and for them, even going vegetarian is a huge step, much less skipping leather shoes or soap made with tallow. Moreover, among the vegetarian and vegan community, I think most people understand the various options for limiting or reducing animal exploitation, including O-L vegetarian (with varying frequency of dairy or egg use), dietary veganism a/k/a "plant-based" a/k/a/ "strict vegetarian," or lifestyle veganism a/k/a "ethical veganism" (of varying degrees of strictness). What term people use to describe these different behaviors seems unlikely to me to alter behavior, affect the number of animals harmed or killed, or as a practical matter cause much confusion. If and when it does cause confusion, I think the people who are communicating can clarify their respective definitions.

I will also note the Wikipedia definition, which seems to encompass both the dietary and lifestyle definitions:

"Veganism is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.[9] A follower of either the diet or the philosophy is known as a vegan (pronounced vee-gən)."
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#5 Old 01-14-2017, 02:47 AM
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Very simply, being vegan to me is living without needlessly harming any other living being, including humans.
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#6 Old 01-14-2017, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by silva View Post
There is no shame in the words vegetarian if that's what you follow. For all the grief vegans are given I wonder why it becomes such a coveted title?
I think you've nailed it with these 2 sentences silva.

Donald Watson (DW) who founded the Vegan Society (UK) in 1944 (and of course coined the word 'vegan') was a member of the Vegetarian Society (UK)for many years. But just to abstain from eating animals wasn't enough for him. He thought that ethically, it was 'the right thing to do' to avoid 'using' animals altogether, or at least as much as possible, whether for food, clothing, by-products (soap, cosmetics) etc. He was driven by compassion and so it made no sense to him to avoid eating animals killed to produce food, yet continue to use products (milk, eggs, leather etc) where animal exploitation, suffering and killing animals were still part of the process. So right from the very beginning, there was, and still is, this basic difference between veganism and vegetarianism.

A problem arises though when people like the idea of going vegetarian or vegan but they don't want to follow through with the necessary, practical actions to do this eg by giving up eating flesh, or stopping wearing leather. And so we have the character Penny in Big Bang Theory who 'is vegetarian but eats fish, chicken and steak' and Bill Clinton who 'is vegan, but eats salmon and wears leather, wool etc'.

Why do people do this? As silva has indicated with the expression "coveted title", it seems that a person may feel there is some kind of kudos attached to 'being vegan' more so than 'being vegetarian'. And so they call themself 'vegan', even though they're not, and they pass on this misinformation to others, who pass it on and so it goes.

Does this misinformation about what veganism is, really matter? I would say so in that if you believe in what veganism is truly about, you would want others to come round to your way of thinking.* You can only do that by presenting honest information. If I'm talking about veganism to an omni, s/he might not be too impressed by the coherence of my words if I'm drinking a latte coffee, eating a salmon sandwich ('It's for my health daaahling!') and wearing a leather jacket. It makes sense to present veganism as the holistic belief it is, rather than a set of mix 'n match, navel-gazing (love that phrase) ephemeral ideas.

Lv

*For the importance of words in a belief system, think of someone saying "I'm a Christian but I don't believe in God!" That's important. If the Pope said "I have proof that Jesus was born in Jerusalem, not Bethlehem". That's not important.

(I may not be able to see all (any?) responses.)

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#7 Old 01-14-2017, 08:14 AM
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Donald Watson (DW) who founded the Vegan Society (UK) in 1944 (and of course coined the word 'vegan') was a member of the Vegetarian Society (UK)for many years. But just to abstain from eating animals wasn't enough for him. He thought that ethically, it was 'the right thing to do' to avoid 'using' animals altogether, or at least as much as possible, whether for food, clothing, by-products (soap, cosmetics) etc.

I just looked up Watson and the history of veganism, and it appears that you're correct, leedsveg. It seems that he coined the word "vegan" to refer to ethical vegans who try to avoid all use of animal products (not just food). This changes my mind a bit. Since he's the one who coined the term, I give that some weight and lean more toward "vegan" having the ethical vegan connotation. I still think, though, that in common usage, most people, at least around me, who use the word are referring to dietary vegans, so I wonder if the word is evolving.

I also just went to http://dictionary.com and see the following definitions for "vegan":

noun
1. a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet.
2. a person who does not use any animal products, as leather or wool.
adjective
3. of or relating to vegans or their practices: vegan shoes made of synthetic leather.

http://Merriam-Webster.com has a similar definition, with both the dietary and ethical/lifestyle meanings included.

On the other hand, the websites run by vegans, including the Vegan Society website at https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vega...ition-veganism, tend to contain the ethical vegan definition only (meaning someone who tries to eliminate all animal exploitation, not only dietary).

So, to summarize, it seems that, within the vegan community, including the person (Watson) who coined the term "vegan" and within the vegan community more generally (including among commenters on this forum), the consensus definition of "vegan" appears to be ethical or lifestyle vegan, meaning someone who tries to avoid all animal exploitation. On the other hand, within the broader omni world, the dietary definition of vegan is very common, possibly even more common than the ethical or lifestyle definition.

Extending this concept a bit, I suspect that, as veganism has become more widely known and has gone more mainstream, it's usage has been evolving to become more watered-down in common parlance and, specifically, to have more of a dietary focus. I don't know for sure if this has been accidental or intentional, but I suspect that it's been accidental. The vast majority of people are omnis, who don't think about veganism much or know much about it, and since the dietary side of veganism is the most visible side of it to omnis when they're dining with vegan friends or colleagues, that's probably what they focus on.

A separate question is whether those in the ethical vegan community should try to use public outreach to maintain the more strict ethical or lifestyle vegan definition. I think that probably, yes, this would be useful, because the ethical or lifestyle definition is the original meaning as coined by Watson.

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#8 Old 01-14-2017, 04:01 PM
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That said, I also think there is a tendency to police vegans because one person's veganism isn't the same as another's, and I don't think that is all that productive.
Everyboy's veganism is going to be slightly different to the next person's in some way. Fair enough.

But when people try to mutate the basics to turn it into something it wasn't and isn't, then I think that enough is enough and for those who are trying to communicate a vegan, more compassionate world, it's time to speak out.

Unless of course we really want to live in the world of Humpty Trumpty logic? ("A word means just what I say it means etc")

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#9 Old 01-14-2017, 04:21 PM
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My experience has been the rise of plant based eating for health is being called vegan in far too many instances. I've had people argue that their doctor knows better about vegan than me. They only rarely have eggs or lean poultry. Even the poplular vegan docs Dr Barnard and Dr. Furhman will use the term vegan diet. The book Vegan till Six also perpetuates this confusion
I've gone on amazon for cookbook reviews to find people saying even the Happy Herbivore isn't vegan because she uses sugar and oils--vegans don't eat unhealthy things. BUT, nothing on leather, wool, personal products. They don't eat hair conditioner.

This does need to get nipped in the bud. Vegetarian used to mean no foods from animals unless you specified dairy or egg. Call yourself strict vegetarian. Call yourself plant based

someone said they felt saying vegan would make things easier on vegetarians. I don't see it that way- you can say vegan as needed like in restaurants, or do what many vegans do and say you're allergic, which works wonders.

Using vegan to mean dietary truly takes the effort to include animal rights away. If you give a dam about being against exploiting animals you should give a dam about letting it be known
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#10 Old 01-14-2017, 04:26 PM
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I find nothing wrong in saying 'mostly vegan', if you're truly mostly

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#11 Old 01-14-2017, 04:35 PM
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A few years ago, you could buy cards from the Vegetarian Society UK which pointed out that fish don't grow on trees. These were to be given to those restaurants which included fish in the vegetarian section of their menus.

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#12 Old 01-14-2017, 04:42 PM
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I know many people who love their pets and would describe themselves as "animal lovers".

Not "animal loving" enough to go vegetarian/vegan though...

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#13 Old 01-14-2017, 04:42 PM
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As I said, the current meaning of the word "vegan" is a surveying and data collection matter. It's not a matter of what people on this forum want it to be, or of what people at the Vegan Society want it to be. If we could fund a survey of English speakers, we'd know the meaning or meanings of the word in common usage.

The links on non-vegan dictionary sources that I've seen, just googling this today, suggest that multiple definitions, only one of which is the ethical vegan definition advocated for on this forum, are in common usage. A fair representative is http://dictionary.com, which has the following definition of "vegan":

noun
1. a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet.
2. a person who does not use any animal products, as leather or wool.
adjective
3. of or relating to vegans or their practices: vegan shoes made of synthetic leather.

As I also noted, it seems that Watson, who coined the term in the 1940s, meant ethical veganism, and that's been the more traditional definition and the one that most vegan organizations advocate for. It also seems that the meaning of the term in common usage has been evolving and now seems to encompass dietary veganism, along with ethical veganism, in common usage. That's my best reading of the current definition of "vegan."

Moreover, as I stated, a separate question is whether those in the ethical vegan community should use public outreach to try to maintain the more strict ethical or lifestyle vegan definition. I think that probably, yes, this would be useful, because the ethical or lifestyle definition is the original meaning as coined by Watson.
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#14 Old 01-15-2017, 10:19 AM
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I find nothing wrong in saying 'mostly vegan', if you're truly mostly
Very few "100% pure" vegans around; we're (nearly) all choosing to make small accomodations to make our vegan lives liveable. Think, how many of us check whether the vegetables we purchase at the store/supermarket, were grown with the aid of animal sourced fertilisers?

So yes, we're "mostly vegan", although we don't usually say so.

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#15 Old 01-16-2017, 10:18 AM
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I once read a book written in the 1950s and the author bemoaned the use of the word "will" as an alternative to "shall". He railed that it was an incorrect, popular, uneducated usage. So, language changes by enough people getting it wrong until the people getting it wrong become the clear majority and a few educated elites have to throw in the towel and admit defeat.

But surveying the population and finding out that 55% believe one thing doesn't make that right, or the new definition. If 55% of the population were to think that its = it is and it's = possession that would not make it correct, and replace the old usage, because that would still be blatantly wrong. But if it got to 95% that are getting that wrong then the language has evolved and it needs to change.

In the case of the word veganism, this is not necessarily what's happening. The misunderstanding may result from veganism being quite in the minority and not yet fully understand. As vegans increase, the understanding may become clearer and the understanding of the meaning of the word may actually as a result head more firmly back to the original and correct definition. However, time will tell.
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#16 Old 01-16-2017, 01:11 PM
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In the case of the word veganism, this is not necessarily what's happening. The misunderstanding may result from veganism being quite in the minority and not yet fully understand. As vegans increase, the understanding may become clearer and the understanding of the meaning of the word may actually as a result head more firmly back to the original and correct definition. However, time will tell.
This is from a Vegsource article on the Internet, JiC which explains things better than I can:

3 – Total-vegetarian – a term becoming increasingly common in the USA which is also helpful elsewhere, meaning a diet entirely of plant-foods – a total-vegetation-eater.
In the later 19th century there were attempts to use ‘pure vegetarian’ or ‘strict vegetarian’ to separate these from the eggs/dairy users, but they ended up just being used to describe anyone who was pure or strict about not eating flesh. It is possible that ‘total vegetarian’ could end up suffering the same misuse, but maybe we can avoid that by promoting it.
In 2011 the International Vegetarian Union conducted a ballot of 120 member organisations worldwide, and they agreed, by a 95% majority, to a new definition, consistent with everything above:
IVU defines vegetarianism as a diet of foods derived from plants, with or without eggs, dairy products, and/or honey.
The placing of the first comma is an important division. This definition does not consider why anyone becomes vegetarian, merely what they eat. There are, of course, many smaller variations as well as the three above, including whether honey is used.
Many vegetarians hold a variety of ethical positions, but there is no overall consistency due to the different reasons for becoming vegetarian, as well as the different types of vegetarians.


The word ‘vegan’ was invented in the UK in 1944 to provide a name for the first Vegan Society. That Society’s current definition:
Veganism denotes 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.
Comparing that with item 3 above, we can say that a vegan follows a total vegetarian diet, but total vegetarians are not necessarily vegan.
The relevance of all this to vegans is that there has, for many years, been an increasing tendency for people who only eat plant foods to call themselves vegan, whilst continuing to wear leather shoes or use other animal products. This has been a particular trend in North America, and is very frustrating for those trying to promote genuine, fully ethical, veganism.
If the term ‘total vegetarian’ becomes more widely accepted, it could just prevent the word ‘vegan’ from continuing to decline into the same sort of confusion that overtook ‘vegetarian’.


Vegetarianism is a very broad church and so there are vegetarians who have little if any interest in the suffering of animals and that's up to them. But veganism has always had concern for animals at its core which is why it's it's really not helping vegans get the vegan message across when the terms 'vegan' and 'vegetarian' are confused. So let's hope that people stop using the word 'vegan' wrongly, either wilfully, or in unawareness JiC.
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#17 Old 01-16-2017, 02:12 PM
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Yeah YouTube drives me nuts for this reason, I like some of the vegan channels there, but there are plant-based people on there who are not ethical vegans at all, and they still call themselves vegan, and whine about ethical vegans who are activists, then all of the omnis agree with them, so then they have this collection of followers who think veganism is a diet, who have confirmation bias from a fake vegan that ethical vegans are "crazy" or "pushy" and so, these people are harmful to veganism, far more than helpful, except for the fact that their diets do reduce the consumption of animal products. Which is indeed the end goal, so mostly plant based people don't bother me, until they start complaining about ethical vegans which is actually very bad because they're just perpetuating ignorance and kissing omni ass, which angers me.

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#18 Old 01-16-2017, 02:33 PM
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Saying you're vegetarian, to most people, means you don't eat meat. So if in my omnivore life someone said, "I'm a strict vegetarian," I would just assume they were really committed to not eating meat and I wouldn't think twice about serving them something with eggs or dairy in it. But if someone said "I'm vegan" I would have served them something containing only plants.

That's my understanding of why people use the term "vegan" to apply to diets.

That said, I also think there is a tendency to police vegans because one person's veganism isn't the same as another's, and I don't think that is all that productive.
I'm going to add to this though, that the plant based or non-ethical "vegans" or vegan apologists, who tell vegan activists to shut up, or be more passive, or call them monsters, or crazy people for being more assertive, by showing animal cruelty videos, rescuing animals from factory farms or labs, or for getting angry or being militant are ALSO "policing vegans" ...the irony that these personal purity types are just as self righteous or judgmental as real activists, never escapes me.

I'm not a secular humanist, I think humanism is destroying the earth, and while I'm not going to physically harm another human being or yell at a stranger in a restaurant, I'm not on board with humanism, and plenty of "vegans" are actually speciesists, who are ignorant of environmental science or can't see the big picture, and I'm not going to apologize for arguing with those people who obviously don't get it.

It goes both ways, and since we are the minority we MUST be louder, no social justice movement has ever succeeded without agitators.

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#19 Old 01-16-2017, 03:32 PM
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I think an awful lot depends on your region. In Cleveland we have a thriving plant based community, largely from the Cleveland Clinics influence. The Plant Based Eaters, and No Oil meetups out number the vegan and AR ones by a long shot. People get told to follow a vegan diet from their doctor and refuse to believe it's any different. Worse is when they don't even follow it, but still consider it to be vegan. No arguing, esp when it's someones parent!


I think a lot of confusion comes from the success of Forks over Knives, Eat to Live, Dr Barnard--I feel they've taken advantage of the interest in health and disease prevention, reversal and flip flop from plant based to vegan diet. When I heard Dr. Barnard during his 12 day weight loss he did touch on the ethics of being vegan, but it was more of an afterthought. I think he feared losing the crowd.

Now theres a new book --something like Reduceatarian. I got a twitter thing from Dr Greger about it, it's basically just cutting back on animal products. I guess flexitarian wasn't enough!
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#20 Old 01-16-2017, 05:45 PM
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As someone who has deep concerns about the earth and sees this as a life or death issue, I do have mixed feelings about plant based....because the cumulative effect is less animal products, and the benefits of plant based are real.

However, the bashing of ethical vegans or prim little social normative corrections from the plant based, or else wishy washy, apologetic ethical vegans creates more bias among meat eaters, then they actually have the nerve to ask why so many vegans become misanthropic or aggressive. Well.

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#21 Old 01-16-2017, 07:06 PM
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I disagree, Thalassa. I don't think there is any problem with people being plant-based, and don't much care if those individuals want to call themselves "vegan." As far as I'm concerned, the main issue is that humans should, as a species, began reducing animal agriculture, with a long term goal of getting as close as realistically possible to eliminating it. The main reason is that it's unnecessary and causes animal suffering, with a secondary reason being environmental. This is a goal that's a long, long way off, if it ever happens. Less than 1% of the population is vegan, however defined. And only 3% are vegetarian, with around 95-96% being omni. Why are these percentages relevant? Because the difference between what you call "vegan" and what you call "plant-based" is almost irrelevant when it comes to farmed animals. Someone who buys leather shoes once a year or uses soap made from tallow has so little effect on farmed animals as to be a rounding error in the grand scheme of things.

What would really help farmed animals is if omnis in large numbers reduced their meat and dairy intake. What hardly matters to farmed animals is whether someone is an ethical vegan or "plant-based," and it certainly doesn't confuse omnis about veganism, as you suggest, in any meaningful way. If anything, omnis believing that there are more "vegans" in the world (even if they're actually "plant-based") is likely to influence the omnis to try a more veg-based diet, and help farmed animals. To use a personal example, the first time I met a self-described vegan was about four years ago. He called himself a "vegan" and everyone in my social circle (all omnis) thought he was this "weird" vegan. He described animal suffering to me and started me down a path which has caused me to go from being a daily meat-eater to now, where I'm a vegetarian who eats vegan nearly all of the time (exception: occasional cheese in social situations). Anyway, this self-described vegan who started me down this path sometimes eats eggs on social occasions, as I later found out after I'd started down the veg path. So, he's not really a "vegan," but so what? How many omnis has he influenced?

This debate, about what "vegan" really means and who has the "right" to call themselves "vegan" reminds me of the medieval debate over how many angels can dance on the head of the pin. People are very passionate about who can say they're a vegan, but it hardly matters to farmed animals, who certainly don't have the cognitive capacity to distinguish between a "vegan" and a "plant-based" individual, who couldn't care less, and who would just be happy to get some relief.
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Last edited by Dilettante; 01-16-2017 at 07:29 PM.
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#22 Old 01-16-2017, 10:31 PM
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I don't really care if you disagree. You aren't vegan, I am, and I am working on an environmental science degree.

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#23 Old 01-16-2017, 10:48 PM
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I don't really care if you disagree. You aren't vegan, I am, and I am working on an environmental science degree.

With all due respect, I'd suggest that we focus on the validity of the points that we are each making, not on other issues. In fact, whether I'm "vegan" and whether you're "vegan" (under whatever definition) is irrelevant to the validity, or lack thereof, of the positions that you and I are advocating on this thread, and to our respective understandings of veganism, animal rights, or anything else. Our positions and comments stand on their own merit. Also, with all due respect, the fact that you brought up your veganism as a supposed validation of your position suggests that you view veganism in a quasi-religious or quasi-cultish way.

Also, unless I'm missing something, the fact that you're working on an environmental science degree is irrelevant to any of this.

Last edited by Dilettante; 01-16-2017 at 11:28 PM.
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#24 Old 01-16-2017, 11:26 PM
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My environmental science degree is totally relevant, because aside from being concerned about the rights of exploited farmed animals, I also live daily with the knowledge that animal agriculture hurts wildlife habitat and is the number one cause of deforestation and human starvation, as well as contributing to global warming.

A vegetarian who eats just 200 calories of eggs or milk per day of 2000 calories is putting 3800 calories of stress on the earth. Imagine if you eat more.

This is a thread about veganism and you aren't vegan. Ethical veganism is an entire perspective shift, like leaving the Matrix, so you saying it doesn't matter IN THIS SPECIFIC THREAD is not interesting to me though your opinion might matter to me elsewhere, you don't even see what I see, because it's impossible, and primarily I expressed my personal experience and feelings, so I'm not sure how you disagree.

Your chosen name is Dillitante. If you didn't want to sketch vegans out you might want to consider that your handle means "dabbler." Doesn't exactly engender trust.

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#25 Old 01-17-2017, 12:20 AM
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This is a thread about veganism and you aren't vegan. Ethical veganism is an entire perspective shift, like leaving the Matrix, so you saying it doesn't matter IN THIS SPECIFIC THREAD is not interesting to me though your opinion might matter to me elsewhere, you don't even see what I see, because it's impossible, and primarily I expressed my personal experience and feelings, so I'm not sure how you disagree.

Exactly. As I suspected. To you, veganism is essentially a religion. You believe that you're on a different plane, or something like that. I respectfully disagree. You, as a human, are simply an animal with an ability to perform more complex cognitive tasks than other species of animals, and you have fooled yourself into believing that there is some spiritual significance to the fact that you're "vegan," meaning that you engage in minimal exploitation of farmed animals. It's as if I were talking to a Christian who believed that he/she has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

So, no, I don't buy it. You're treating veganism like a religion or cult. It's not. It's all in your mind. Just as the fact that, in your opinion, I'm less entitled or equipped to opine on the definition of veganism than you are is all in your own mind.

Also, your statement that my opinion of the definition of vegan doesn't "matter" to you is seemingly incorrect. It clearly does matter to you, because otherwise you wouldn't be engaging with me on this thread. I suspect that, when you say that my opinion doesn't "matter" to you, it's a rhetorical tactic to try delegitimize my position.

Let's be clear: this thread is focused on the definition of "vegan." That's a semantic question, and your status as a self-described vegan has zero relevance to whether you're equipped to provide the definition.
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#26 Old 01-17-2017, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dilettante View Post
This is a thread about veganism and you aren't vegan. Ethical veganism is an entire perspective shift, like leaving the Matrix, so you saying it doesn't matter IN THIS SPECIFIC THREAD is not interesting to me though your opinion might matter to me elsewhere, you don't even see what I see, because it's impossible, and primarily I expressed my personal experience and feelings, so I'm not sure how you disagree.

Exactly. As I suspected. To you, veganism is essentially a religion. You believe that you're on a different plane, or something like that. I respectfully disagree. You, as a human, are simply an animal with an ability to perform more complex cognitive tasks than other species of animals, and you have fooled yourself into believing that there is some spiritual significance to the fact that you're "vegan," meaning that you engage in minimal exploitation of farmed animals. It's as if I were talking to a Christian who believed that he/she has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

So, no, I don't buy it. You're treating veganism like a religion or cult. It's not. It's all in your mind. Just as the fact that, in your opinion, I'm less entitled or equipped to opine on the definition of veganism than you are is all in your own mind.

Also, your statement that my opinion of the definition of vegan doesn't "matter" to you is seemingly incorrect. It clearly does matter to you, because otherwise you wouldn't be engaging with me on this thread. I suspect that, when you say that my opinion doesn't "matter" to you, it's a rhetorical tactic to try delegitimize my position.

Let's be clear: this thread is focused on the definition of "vegan." That's a semantic question, and your status as a self-described vegan has zero relevance to whether you're equipped to provide the definition.
I honestly can't figure out if you're a narcissist or what. First you demand that someone add chickpeas to borscht, because you need a zillion grams of protein a day, now you're in a thread defining the word vegan when you actually are NOT a vegan, you admit you aren't a vegan, and accuse vegans of being in a cult when they tell you that you don't know what you are talking about, because you're not a vegan.

You don't get to tell vegans what vegan means or how they feel or what their perception is, when you are not a vegan, BY CHOICE, and yet their veganism threatens you although you choose not to be vegan, so you actually have not had a shift in perception.

That's pretty trash, honestly. Just don't talk to me. I won't dignify your histrionics with a response.

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#27 Old 01-17-2017, 01:38 AM
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I've said this before but I'll say it again. Veganism contains elements that are verifiable eg it's good for both human health and the environment. But it also contains an element which is pure 'belief' ie being compassionate to animals is the 'right thing to do'. Now I can't prove why it's right and if you came along and said you had zilch interest in the plight and suffering of animals, then I couldn't prove why your attitude is 'wrong'. It's just my belief and as unverifiable as any other pure belief, such as for a religious person, believing in the existence of God.

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Last edited by leedsveg; 01-17-2017 at 01:42 AM.
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#28 Old 01-17-2017, 06:14 AM
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You don't get to tell vegans what vegan means or how they feel or what their perception is, when you are not a vegan, BY CHOICE, and yet their veganism threatens you although you choose not to be vegan, so you actually have not had a shift in perception.

Wow, Thalassa, I'm amazed by your apparent anger and irrationality. I had forgotten about the borchst discussion. Now I remember! You're the commenter who got incredibly upset that I asked someone how to bolster the protein in borscht. Like it somehow offended you.

Now, in this thread, we're simply discussing the definition of "vegan," and you accuse me of not being vegan, as if that has any relevance to the semantic question. It's totally irrelevant to the ability to parse the definition, yet it seems hugely important to you. Moreover, I don't even believe that Silva, who started this thread, describes herself as "vegan," nor do some of the other commenters here. And so what? This is a thread about a definition, which is a semantic question, not about who among us is vegan and who is not. Your seeming obsession with that issue is somewhat odd.

Also, Thalassa, you're not the arbiter, except in your own mind, of what I "get" to tell vegans about their perception. I'm not a Christian but can and will tell Christians that their beliefs are in their own mind. I don't believe in Santa Claus but can and will tell a child that his/her belief in Santa Claus is in his/her own mind. Likewise, I can and will tell vegans such as yourself, who believe that veganism is some mystical or spiritual concept or whatever you're implying and entitles and empowers vegans to speak with more authority than others on the definition of "vegan," that that belief is also in their own mind.

Bottom line, Thalassa: Despite what you think, you're no more entitled to opine on the definition of "vegan" than I or anyone else is. I stand by my comments in this thread.

Last edited by Dilettante; 01-17-2017 at 09:59 AM.
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#29 Old 01-17-2017, 09:01 AM
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Veganism contains elements that are verifiable eg it's good for both human health and the environment. But it also contains an element which is pure 'belief' ie being compassionate to animals is the 'right thing to do'. Now I can't prove why it's right and if you came along and said you had zilch interest in the plight and suffering of animals, then I couldn't prove why your attitude is 'wrong'. It's just my belief and as unverifiable as any other pure belief, such as for a religious person, believing in the existence of God.

I agree with all of that, Leedsveg. Analogizing, I believe that every person in the United States should be entitled to publicly-provided health care, as in all other developed nations. I believe that it's the morally correct thing for the U.S. as a nation to do. I can't prove that it's morally correct, but I believe that it's the proper thing for our nation to do.

Same thing with animal rights, of which ethical veganism is one strain. I believe that, as humans, we should begin the process of transitioning away from using animals for food and other consumer goods. Reason: it's unnecessary and causes suffering. I believe that it's the morally correct thing to do. As with health care, I can't prove that it's morally correct. I just believe that it is. So yes, veganism and animal rights more generally, just like other things including health care as a right, includes as a component a moral belief that's simply that, a belief or an opinion, and is not objectively provable.
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#30 Old 01-17-2017, 09:53 AM
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Vegans avoid participation in the exploitation of animals in as much as possible, and practical. "Dietary vegan" is akin to saying "dietary Muslim" if you avoid pork.

There are many differences in how strict vegans are, but the basic premise is that animals are not for our use.

What puzzles me @Dilettante , is that you're aware enough of this definition to avoid calling yourself vegan, even with as small as your infractions, but will argue that other should be patronized. Is thrashing an entire philosophy, that has no other descriptors necessary? Do you feel using the term as a fad or fashion statement really helps?

When I have used the term 'vegetarian' I've been --
asked if I eat eggs or dairy
If I eat fish or chicken

When I've said vegan I've been --
asked if I eat eggs or dairy
If I eat fish
If I eat wheat
If I eat rice
If I eat sugar
If I eat any processed foods

So, where is the benefit in allowing the one word that means having a philosophy of abstaining from bothering others when there are such better words to describe people who are strict, or total vegetarians, plant based eaters, or even flexitarians?
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