Help me understand a few things... - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-28-2010, 11:23 AM
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I'm still learning so please be kind.



I was reading somewhere that if you eat a vegan diet but only for health reasons (not for animal rights reasons) then you aren't really vegan, just a "strict vegetarian". Now I understand that veganism extends to other aspects of life, like not wearing leather and using cruelty-free products in your home. But it IS possible to be vegan without necessarily being concerned with animal rights right? I mean, if you eat an entirely vegan diet and simply prefer clothing from non-animal sources, and use all-natural products for hygiene and cleaning (baking soda, vinegar, coconut oil, ect for example) you aren't vegan because you don't actively protest animal cruelty?



I guess the comment caught me off-guard because I DID initially get into this for health reasons. I went meat-free, then dairy-free. Both primarily for health reasons. I've learned a lot about factory farming so now I find eggs very unappetizing. I'm finding myself more concerned about animals, but maybe not at the same level as some people are. I do pay attention to some of the products I use and if I see product that is similar but without animal by-products I grab that instead.



I don't call myself vegan. Heck, I'm just now getting to the point where I feel confident saying "vegetarian" even after 4 months. LOL But if I do become vegan by definition, is it somehow wrong to call myself that because of my reasons? I don't like getting caught up in labels but I know it's important to be accurate so as not to confuse people who may not understand the differences.



Thanks!
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#2 Old 02-28-2010, 11:35 AM
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You could be vegan because of environmental concerns.
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#3 Old 02-28-2010, 11:48 AM
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Donald Watson (who coined the term veganism) defines veganism as the following: "The 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".

So according to this definition and to me, veganism is about abstaining from exploitation of and cruelty to animals - things like health benefits and environment are positive aspects too but they are more a side benefit. To me if a person lived a vegan lifestyle but didn't have any concern for animal welfare or rights, they would not be a vegan. However, maybe there would be a lot of vegans who would disagree with me. In any case, I think it is great that you are leading this lifestyle as any avoidance of animal cruelty is a positive thing in my book :-)
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#4 Old 02-28-2010, 12:12 PM
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There was a recent thread that went on at length about this topic HERE. I just figured maybe you'd want to check it out.

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#5 Old 02-28-2010, 12:12 PM
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If you're excluding animal products from your diet and your lifestyle, I think you can call yourself a vegan. However, I think that people who go vegan for reasons besides animal rights typically have some contradictions in their thinking. For example, I have a friend who gave up meat, eggs, dairy, and almost all other animal products for environmental reasons, but kept eating honey. She eventually quit honey, not for ethical reasons, but simply because she wanted to describe herself as a vegan.



So basically, if you go out of your way to avoid animal exploitation you can call yourself a vegan, whether or not you care about animal rights. But it really wouldn't make much sense to me to do so. It's great if you do, though! The world needs more vegans.

don't take my life away, don't take my life away.
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#6 Old 02-28-2010, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New England Vegan View Post

There was a recent thread that went on at length about this topic HERE. I just figured maybe you'd want to check it out.



Thank you!
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#7 Old 02-28-2010, 12:37 PM
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I think there should be a principled desire to avoid all animal products (as far as possible and practical). What the reasons are for this principled desire doesn't matter to me, as regards the definition. But it does matter to me politically, in that to me veganism is largely about not just a consumer boycott but an embodiment of a new way to think about the moral status of animals.

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#8 Old 02-28-2010, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Dutchvegan View Post

Donald Watson (who coined the term veganism) defines veganism as the following: "The 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".

So according to this definition and to me, veganism is about abstaining from exploitation of and cruelty to animals - things like health benefits and environment are positive aspects too but they are more a side benefit. To me if a person lived a vegan lifestyle but didn't have any concern for animal welfare or rights, they would not be a vegan. However, maybe there would be a lot of vegans who would disagree with me. In any case, I think it is great that you are leading this lifestyle as any avoidance of animal cruelty is a positive thing in my book :-)





I agree with Dutchvegan. Avoiding animal products for reasons of environmental or health, with little or no concern with regards to the exploitation of other species goes against the definition of veganism, however, I think that switching over for health or environmental reasons is stepping stone and definitely a positive one.

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That is the essence of humanity.
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#9 Old 02-28-2010, 01:48 PM
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geez...



You can even work in slaughterhouse, and as long as you don't eat meat, milk and eggs, you are technically vegan.



I don't know why people try to stretch definition of veganism, it's slaughtering of English language (almost as bad as my posts).
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#10 Old 02-28-2010, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom666 View Post

geez...



You can even work in slaughterhouse, and as long as you don't eat meat, milk and eggs, you are technically vegan.



I don't know why people try to stretch definition of veganism, it's slaughtering of English language (almost as bad as my posts).



I think there's more to it than that. I think you have to make a commitment to avoid animal exploitation, it just doesn't have to be for the animals (if that makes sense at all). In my opinion, the only reason to go vegan which is free of contradictions is a commitment animal rights. But other reasons are valid too, as long as you commit to a lifestyle which minimizes your impact on other animals.

don't take my life away, don't take my life away.
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#11 Old 02-28-2010, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom666 View Post

geez...



You can even work in slaughterhouse, and as long as you don't eat meat, milk and eggs, you are technically vegan.



I don't know why people try to stretch definition of veganism, it's slaughtering of English language (almost as bad as my posts).





I don't know, I think that working for a slaughterhouse (or a dairy, or a livestock "farmer") would put you right smack dab in the middle of contributing to the continued exploitation and cruelty of other species, regardless of whether you eat them or things that come from them.

The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That is the essence of humanity.
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#12 Old 02-28-2010, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom666 View Post


You can even work in slaughterhouse, and as long as you don't eat meat, milk and eggs, you are technically vegan.

It seems you don't know the difference between vegan and strict vegetarian.

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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