First and foremost, please remember that the vast majority of animal suffering and death is related to the food industry and not the pet trade or circuses or zoos or hunting or fur or experimentation
or any of that. Eating is also probably the most common way in which most people directly interact with animals. People make these life and death decisions about 3 times a day. Thus, the greatest impact each of us can make to reduce animal suffering and death is to eat plants instead of animal products.
As you can see, you make the greatest impact by choose a plant-based diet.
Now, let me get to your questions...
Originally Posted by Starlight Butterfly
Bees: I understand that harm can come to the bees collecting honey- but then if you are truly vegan should you not avoid cellphone use. As it has been proven that cellphones are killing the bee population.
Whether you want to use a mobile phone or not is up to you.
But consider that using mobile phones does not necessitate the exploitation of any animal.
The consequences to pollinators are indirect, unintentional,
and furthermore, debateable
. Therefor, it's not really an issue of veganism because veganism is about abstaining from causing unecessary intentional harm to animals.
Moreover, we can probably do more good for pollinators like bees by eliminating or reducing our use of pesticides and by creating environments that are friendly to pollinators by planting certain types of flowers and practicing certain types of landscaping maintenance. For more info, look here: http://www.nbii.gov/portal/server.pt...ollinators/986
over-population of animals causing diseases: I grew up in areas were over population of deer leads to disease that are passed to humans. Even to humans who do not eat them, how are we to keep this from happening.
-over population of coyotes are pushing them into the subs of Chicago and pets and children are being attacked.
How do we deal with that?
The most humane way to handle a real or perceived overpopulation problem is through birth control. Many animals can be given birth control through arranged feedings or through tranquilizer type darts. There's no need to kill animals in order to reduce their population size.
Other methods of humane pest control include using deterrants, barriers, capture and release, etc.
And when it comes to disease prevention, vaccines and sanitation go a long long way.
All that said, the concept of overpopulation is itself debateable, and certainly in regards to animal species who are often only considered overpopulated when humans want to do something with the land those animals live on.
I live in Nevada where the majority of the American wild mustangs live. Did you know our government thinks they're overpopulated? They've been rounding them up and killing these horses and burros! And do you know why? One of the main reasons is that ranchers would like to use the land and its water, but if they have to compete with horses there's not enough land and water. Ugh! So... you can see how our food choices play a role in many other animal issues
Zoos: People say that it's not right to visit zoo's or even have them, however now most of the animals that are in zoo's were born in captivity, or were found injured and were treated back to health. These animals can not safely be returned to their natural environment so what are we suppose to do with them.
There are places called zoos and then there are places called sanctuaries. Zoos are for-profit institutions that rely on exploiting animals for human amusement. Sanctuaries are non-profits that serve one purpose: to shelter animals who cannot survive without human help. Both places can offer tours and povide a rich learning experience for humans, but the zoos put the interest in profits above all else whereas the sanctuaries put the animals' interests first
And if it's not good to take animals out of their natural environments for our pleasure- then why do we keep pets in our homes. We domesticated them, my cats were rescues- if I put them out on the streets now, they wouldn't stand a chance. 2 don't have front claws, (i wasn't there for that) but my baby still has claws and he is not fixed. I will not do that, as I find it is cruel, but others say if we don't fix our pets we are going to have over-population. so it goes in this evil circle. I mean seriously we could do that to humans saying it's to prevent over-population right? yet that is not right.
You are providing sanctuary for your cats. So long as you respect them and you meet their needs, all is well.
To be vegan, the issue is really about where the "pet" (aka companion animal, animal companion, companion, furbaby, etc.) comes from and how he or she becomes your buddy. If the animal comes from a shelter or is a rescue "off the street," all is well.
If, however, you purchase the animal at a pet store or from a breeder, then that supports the pet trade which is exploitative and in many cases cruel (see here on that: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/puppy_mills/
I hope this helps answer some of your questions and feel free to ask more as you learn more about animal rights and veganism