How do you define "Veganism"? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-27-2008, 10:28 PM
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I just go with the definition that the vast majority go with. To me, then, veganism doesn't necessarily describe a diet that is more or less ethical than another.



So honey isn't vegan -- that's just a fact. And wool isn't vegan -- that's just a fact. Why? -- because the vast majority of vegans have decided that that's part of what veganism entails.



But it seems to me that a vegan can own a cat (and feed the cat meat) even though nogardsram disagrees:



Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I'm not out to be a 'vegan police,' or something like that. I realize the utility in calling one a vegan (if they are, save for buying animal flesh for companion animals). However, if one claims that buying dead animals to feed to companion animals is vegan, then I think it leads to confusion and is problematic and inconsistent with the notion of vegan. Similar to the confusion with fish, chicken, other water creatures, etc with vegetarians.



https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...t=82035&page=5



I would also have to say that a vegan who has access to no-till produce wouldn't necessarily have to purchase that produce over regular produce -- because the vast majority of vegans don't include that in the definition.



It seems to me that some topics are still being discussed and others have come to a conclusion. The fact that a small minority of "vegans" eat honey is really irrelevant, imo.
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#2 Old 04-27-2008, 10:39 PM
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i'm hoping at some point to be certified in being a wildlife rehabilitator. i guess that's going to make me "not a vegan" since i'll be feeding animals meat.



that's one of the things i was thinking about when i was reading through that link you posted.
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#3 Old 04-27-2008, 10:53 PM
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i'm hoping at some point to be certified in being a wildlife rehabilitator. i guess that's going to make me "not a vegan" since i'll be feeding animals meat.



that's one of the things i was thinking about when i was reading through that link you posted.



But I don't think veganism has as part of its definition: you cannot kill some animals to feed other animals.



I have a friend who became very upset when she learned that her financial support of the burrowing owl rehab meant supporting the feeding of live chicks to the owls. But then can a vegan step back from that if it means the extinction of the burrowing owls?



I don't think veganism has sorted that all out yet.



But my point is that other issues have been sorted out: no honey, no wool, no silk, no meat, no fish....
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#4 Old 04-27-2008, 10:59 PM
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I'm starting to think that it is better not to think in terms of whether a person is a vegan, but rather applying the definition to actions and items instead. I would never say to a person "You are not a vegan because you eat honey" but rather that the consumption of honey is not a vegan behavior, because honey is not a plant product.



Its more important to me to keep the definition of what is vegan intact against the efforts of people who are fond of the label, but would rather warp its meaning to suit their lifestyle, rather than change their lifestyle to fit the definition. I prefer to stick to offering the definition to people who are confused, and leaving it up to them to "police" themselves.



Sometimes, the trouble with a "vegan" who eats honey, or a "vegetarian" who eats fish, is that when trying to purchase suitable foods at restaurants, a real vegan or vegetarian has to argue with the seller when the seller says "well so and so is vegetarian, and they had no problem with the anchovies in the caesar salad".

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#5 Old 04-27-2008, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

I'm starting to think that it is better not to think in terms of whether a person is a vegan, but rather applying the definition to actions and items instead. I would never say to a person "You are not a vegan because you eat honey" but rather that the consumption of honey is not a vegan behavior, because honey is not a plant product.



Interestingly I have been having a similar thought lately.



Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

Its more important to me to keep the definition of what is vegan intact against the efforts of people who are fond of the label, but would rather warp its meaning to suit their lifestyle, rather than change their lifestyle to fit the definition. I prefer to stick to offering the definition to people who are confused, and leaving it up to them to "police" themselves.



Sometimes, the trouble with a "vegan" who eats honey, or a "vegetarian" who eats fish, is that when trying to purchase suitable foods at restaurants, a real vegan or vegetarian has to argue with the seller when the seller says "well so and so is vegetarian, and they had no problem with the anchovies in the caesar salad".



I agree.

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#6 Old 04-27-2008, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

But I don't think veganism has as part of its definition: you cannot kill some animals to feed other animals.

No, but veganism can't cover everything, and I don't think it should. Where veganism leaves off, basic ethics take over.



I personally have a hard time accepting that it would be ethical to take on the responsibility for a carnivorous animal and not feed them what they need to be healthy. Removing it from the realm of vegan discussion may be a cop out, though. All I know is it will always be a dilemma with no easy solution.

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#7 Old 04-27-2008, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post


Sometimes, the trouble with a "vegan" who eats honey, or a "vegetarian" who eats fish, is that when trying to purchase suitable foods at restaurants, a real vegan or vegetarian has to argue with the seller when the seller says "well so and so is vegetarian, and they had no problem with the anchovies in the caesar salad".



Right. Which is why I like a set definition of "vegan" and "vegetarian" and "bicycle". We define words so that society can function We can discuss how to become less harmful to animals without rehashing the accepted definition of "vegan". I think the term "vegan" has changed over time and will continue to change. But for now we have a definition.
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#8 Old 04-27-2008, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

But I don't think veganism has as part of its definition: you cannot kill some animals to feed other animals.



I have a friend who became very upset when she learned that her financial support of the burrowing owl rehab meant supporting the feeding of live chicks to the owls. But then can a vegan step back from that if it means the extinction of the burrowing owls?



I don't think veganism has sorted that all out yet.



But my point is that other issues have been sorted out: no honey, no wool, no silk, no meat, no fish....



I suppose veganism doesn't have it sorted out, because people tend to interpret or decide how 'close' to being vegan is enough. Some say they're vegan except for honey or wool and say that is enough and "I'm vegan."



I am a little unclear about something though, it's not vegan to kill animals to feed oneself, yet unclear as to whether it's vegan or not to kill animals to feed other animals. Perhaps even your own family or friends?

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#9 Old 04-27-2008, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post


I personally have a hard time accepting that it would be ethical to take on the responsibility for a carnivorous animal and not feed them what they need to be healthy. Removing it from the realm of vegan discussion may be a cop out, though. All I know is it will always be a dilemma with no easy solution.



It may be at some time in the future that owning a cat will become "unvegan". I think it may become something where if you become vegan and you own a cat you would continue to feed him/her meat until s/he dies and and then not get another cat.



But that's still up for debate. Honey isn't. Imo.
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#10 Old 04-27-2008, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I suppose veganism doesn't have it sorted out, because people tend to interpret or decide how 'close' to being vegan is enough. Some say they're vegan except for honey or wool and say that is enough and "I'm vegan."



Sure. Just like some vegetarians eat fish. I'm not too concerned about what an individual or a small minority decides for themselves -- but the definition of vegan remains. The definition of vegetarian remains.



Quote:
I am a little unclear about something though, it's not vegan to kill animals to feed oneself, yet unclear as to whether it's vegan or not to kill animals to feed other animals. Perhaps even your own family or friends?



I think it's unclear because it hasn't been on the radar enough. There are lots of vegan issues that need sorting out. Like the no-till produce issue.



And I think that veganism should include fair-trade products wherever possible because humans are animals too and animals should not be exploited (according to vegans). But that is also not on the radar right now.
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#11 Old 04-27-2008, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

Sure. Just like some vegetarians eat fish. I'm not too concerned about what an individual or a small minority decides for themselves -- but the definition of vegan remains. The definition of vegetarian remains.



True enough.







Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

I think it's unclear because it hasn't been on the radar enough. There are lots of vegan issues that need sorting out. Like the no-till produce issue.



And I think that veganism should include fair-trade products wherever possible because humans are animals too and animals should not be exploited (according to vegans). But that is also not on the radar right now.



I suppose to me, it's not unclear, since let's just start with a definition:



Quote:
Originally Posted by The British Vegan Society View Post


[T]he 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; 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.



From that definition, and I'd like to use what SomebodyElse brought up, it's not vegan to kill and feed one animal to another.



ETA: Not that SomebodyElse said that about killing animals, just the idea of saying actions are vegan or not.

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#12 Old 04-27-2008, 11:26 PM
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Although, a lot of the differences seem to stem from interpretation.



Some may claim that it's not possible or practical to avoid honey, or to not feed animals other animals, etc.

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#13 Old 04-27-2008, 11:58 PM
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I would define veganism as applying to the lifestyle of the person who is called or not called vegan. Caring for a non-vegan other, like a cat, is outside that lifestyle since that cat is a different individual. While the cat-"owner" clearly does the buying of meat him/herself, it still involves an other being.



I think evaluating the caring for carnivores in terms of veganism needlessly turns a real ethical question into a semantical one. I've often said that I don't think the word 'vegan' should replace terms like "ethical" or "compatible with animal rights" so that we start to ask questions (like many do) like "is it vegan to go to the circus". The terminology associated mainly with diet, clothing etc. is not the best for discussing ethical questions generally.

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#14 Old 04-28-2008, 12:03 AM
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I would define veganism as applying to the lifestyle of the person who is called or not called vegan. Caring for a non-vegan other, like a cat, is outside that lifestyle since that cat is a different individual. While the cat-"owner" clearly does the buying of meat him/herself, it still involves an other being.



I think evaluating the caring for carnivores in terms of veganism needlessly turns a real ethical question into a semantical one. I've often said that I don't think the word 'vegan' should replace terms like "ethical" or "compatible with animal rights" so that we start to ask questions (like many do) like "is it vegan to go to the circus". The terminology associated mainly with diet, clothing etc. is not the best for discussing ethical questions generally.



I'm unclear what you mean by lifestyle.



Since part of my lifestyle might be caring for other individuals (human or not and vegan or otherwise).

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#15 Old 04-28-2008, 12:06 AM
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i go with no animal products except when necessary. Necessary being defined as being a living (life is good), healthy (health is good) member of society (which really is mental health--being 100% unable to interact with humans is NOT healthy. So yes, I walk around and crush ants. I deal with it.).
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#16 Old 04-28-2008, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I'm unclear what you mean by lifestyle.



Since part of my lifestyle might be caring for other individuals (human or not and vegan or otherwise).

I mean what you eat, wear etc.

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#17 Old 04-28-2008, 12:09 AM
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Not what you might do?

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#18 Old 04-28-2008, 12:14 AM
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Not in the sense of making 'vegan' equivalent to 'ethical' or 'compatible with AR', I think such an equivalence would confuse issues, blur the line between ethics and semantics.

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#19 Old 04-28-2008, 12:21 AM
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I agree, in that I'm not interested in making 'vegan' equivalent to 'ethical' or 'compatible with AR.'



However, what you suggest confuses me as to what 'vegan' means.



For example, if we say feeding cats other animals is beyond veganism, then it seems reasonable to say that feeding your own child animals (or feeding other family members animals) is also beyond veganism. Extending this to say working in slaughter houses, etc, so long as a person doesn't physically eat or wear the clothing?

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#20 Old 04-28-2008, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Earthly Delight View Post

i go with no animal products except when necessary. Necessary being defined as being a living (life is good), healthy (health is good) member of society (which really is mental health--being 100% unable to interact with humans is NOT healthy. So yes, I walk around and crush ants. I deal with it.).



I kinda like you definition except that it falls apart eventually. For instance: I would say that someone with mental illness shouldn't necessarily become vegan because they may become unhealthy. But that person wouldn't be a vegan.



Again, I separate out "veganism" and "most ethical". That person may be eating the most ethical diet for him/her but still wouldn't be vegan.



I think vegan is just a word that is defined by the vast majority of vegans. So honey is out. But a vegan (ingredients) chocolate bar produced by a major chocolate company that hasn't ensured fair-trade labor would still be vegan.
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#21 Old 04-28-2008, 01:59 AM
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This (From The Vegan Society) works for me:

A vegan is someone who tries to avoid - as far as is possible and practical - all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. This is for the benefit of people, animals and the environment. Vegans eat a plant-based diet free from all animal products, such as meat, animal milks, eggs, honey and gelatine. They also avoid animal products like leather, wool and silk for clothing or other purposes.
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#22 Old 04-28-2008, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

I would define veganism as applying to the lifestyle of the person who is called or not called vegan. Caring for a non-vegan other, like a cat, is outside that lifestyle since that cat is a different individual. While the cat-"owner" clearly does the buying of meat him/herself, it still involves an other being.





Recently, I was visiting and doing shopping for a very elderly man in our building (who has since moved to a home) who was too fragile to leave his home. Occasionally, he would ask me to buy cheese or cold meat for him. I bought whatever was on his list. And I still consider myself a vegan. (I was not going to argue with a frail old man who is on the verge of dying about veganism vs. omnivorism).
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#23 Old 04-28-2008, 06:46 AM
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I would describe 'veganism" as someone who does not participate in the Bying or Selling/Consuming of ANY animal products or byproducts.

And this is notlimited to food and household items, its a lifestyle.
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#24 Old 04-28-2008, 07:06 AM
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I have a shirt that says Vegan that has a powerful poem on the back, but that's about as much as the label as I will apply to myself. I wear the shirt to bring exposure to this movement, otherwise I find labels limiting. I apply many vegan beliefs to my lifestyle and vary only on some issues. I consider myself an environmentalist first and foremost, that's probably why. I think definition is important for those who aren't a member of the community to understand, but that's about it. Rules are meant to be broken I really wish the vegan community as a whole would reinvent themselves to have a bigger eye on the environment, but I find many (not you guys) get lost in fitting in the definition of a vegan and lost sight of the bigger goal, and ultimately wind up doing as much damage to the world as they would have an omnivore between sythetic everything, artificial food fillers, and crazy imports.



Like a vegetarian that eats fish or a vegan that thinks honey is ok, does it matter they're technically not a vegetarian or a vegan? Really? I'd say its time to define those actions as not vegetarian or not vegan, but eh, that's it. There's really bigger issues to deal with. It would be cool IMHO if the definitions were dumbed down, broadened, and more welcoming in general. If calling yourself a vegan really makes you make a difference, then go for it. Define it yourself.
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#25 Old 04-28-2008, 07:27 AM
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I have a slight problem with this.



Veganism specifically refers to the exclusion of animal products in your diet.



I'm a vegan who has three dogs. I wasn't vegan when we got the dogs, and I believe it would be detrimental for them to have to switch to vegetarian dog food when they are used to what they are eating.



now does this make me not a vegan? No, I am still a vegan. I continue to abstain from using animal products in my food and in my lifestyle products.



Veganism and ethics while can be closely related and one can effect the other, but just because someone is unethical doesn't mean they can't be vegan. Just like someone who is an ethical person may or may not be vegan.



Veganism, imo, refers specificallyto your consumption. AR and other things, while good and a great cause to stand behind...they shouldn't be lumped into veganism - those are animal rights!



---I aslo think that there are way too many definitions about this stuff. I consider myself someone who cares about what the put in their body, and that's it
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#26 Old 04-28-2008, 07:31 AM
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So, if you're 5'3" and have no natural coordination whatsoever, but calling yourself an NBA superstar helps you make a difference go for it???

"Dumbing Down" labels does just that...takes things out of what they are and puts them more in the realm of ridiculous. Veganism encompasses a philosophy of living, if your lifestyle does not fit into that definition...it's fair to say that you are not vegan.

And there's nothing wrong with that, just leave the word alone then and define yourself by what you really are...make up a new word if need be (I don't believe pescatarian has been around forever, nor has vegan for that matter) it's perfectly fine to redefine our culture, it simply requires a new vocabulary to go along with it.

Just my humble and singular opinion though.
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#27 Old 04-28-2008, 07:34 AM
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make up a new word if need be (I don't believe pescatarian has been around forever, nor has vegan for that matter) it's perfectly fine to redefine our culture, it simply requires a new vocabulary to go along with it.



I think this is what bring about the confusion in definition, because people will make up their own words. It would be easier if there was a solid definition, but that's obviously not going to happen.
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#28 Old 04-28-2008, 07:40 AM
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I have a slight problem with this.



Veganism specifically refers to the exclusion of animal products in your diet.





I find this definition extremely confused. Veganism is not only about diet. That would be "dietary veganism". Veganism encompasses all animals products or tested on animals.



Leather, wool, silk are not things people eat, but you cannot be a vegan if you buy these products or wear them.
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#29 Old 04-28-2008, 07:44 AM
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I find this definition extremely confused. Veganism is not only about diet. That would be "dietary veganism". Veganism encompasses all animals products or tested on animals.



Leather, wool, silk are not things people eat, but you cannot be a vegan if you buy these products or wear them.



apologies...i meant to write life instead of diet!! - but I was on the phone



I personally believe vegetarian should describe the exclusion strictly in diet, and then vegan once you exclude from the rest of your life
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#30 Old 04-28-2008, 07:48 AM
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I have a friend who became very upset when she learned that her financial support of the burrowing owl rehab meant supporting the feeding of live chicks to the owls. But then can a vegan step back from that if it means the extinction of the burrowing owls?



I'd be upset too. There's no reason to feed LIVE chicks to owls. They aren't going to go extinct if the food is delivered already dead. I'd advise anyone to step back from a charity that feeds live vertebrates to other animals.
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