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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Defining Vegan<br><br>
One Thing<br><br>
by Jack Norris, RD<br><br>
Director, Vegan Outreach<br><br><br><br>
Being vegan to me means one thing: an attempt to reduce the intense suffering of non-human animals. To me, saying "I'm vegan" is synonymous with saying, "I have decided to live a lifestyle that does not support animal exploitation."<br><br><br><br>
The great majority of animal suffering in the U.S. is a direct result of people buying animal products for food. I think it is important that vegans make the meaning of the word "vegan" to focus on avoiding the products that obviously/reasonably lead to animal suffering so that people will understand that it is not about personal purity but rather reducing suffering. If we could eliminate the animal agriculture industry, billions of beings would be spared miserable lives of suffering, pain, and slaughter.<br><br><br><br>
What Veganism Means to Me<br><br>
by Bruce Friedrich, Vegetarian Campaign Coordinator, Peta:<br><br>
Slaughterhouses are perhaps the most violent places on the planet. Animals are routinely sent kicking and screaming through the skinning and dismemberment process, every one bleeding and dying exactly like they would if they were human beings. Farms today treat animals like so many boxes in a warehouse, chopping off beaks and tails and genitals with no painkillers at all, inflicting third degree burns (branding), ripping out teeth, and hunks of flesh. Animals transported to slaughter routinely die from the heat or the cold, or freeze to the sides of the transport trucks or to the bottom in their own excrement. Dairy cows and egg laying hens endure the same living nightmare as their brethren who are raised for their flesh, except that their time on the "farm" is longer. They are still shipped to the slaughterhouse and killed, at a fraction of their natural life span.<br><br><br><br>
There is simply no excuse for anyone who considers herself or himself to be an ethical human being, let alone an "animal lover," to be supporting these kinds of practices, all of which are routine and universal throughout the industries which turn animals into meat products.<br><br><br><br>
If I can't watch it happening, I want no part of it. I enjoy watching fields tilled and love picking apples and tomatoes and carrots and other vegetarian products. If slaughterhouses had glass walls, as Paul McCartney is so fond of saying, we would all be vegetarians.<br><br><br><br>
Every time I sit down to eat, I make a decision about who I am in the world: Do I want to add to the level of violence, misery, and bloodshed in the world? Or, do I want to make a compassionate and merciful choice? There is so much violence in the world, from war torn regions of Africa and Europe, to our own inner cities. Most of this violence is difficult to understand, let alone influence. Veganism is one area where each and every one of us can make a difference, every time we sit down to eat. I find it empowering that I can make an option for peace and compassion every time I eat, simply by not encouraging violence and misery against animals.<br><br><br><br>
Fred Fishman<br><br>
When the term "Vegan" was coined, times were different, and animal products weren't in almost everything. You could eliminate all animal products and still live a relatively normal life. Nowadays you'd have to eliminate the use of phones, books, computers, cars, bicycles, planes etc (all of which contain some elements of animal products) to be "vegan" by the original definition. So, since I'm assuming you're not willing to do that, you'll have to define your own version of veganism, and live your life accordingly.<br><br><br><br>
Forget Vegan<br><br>
by Matt Ball<br><br>
As anyone perusing the topics on the Vegan Outreach bulletin boards will see, there are no shortages of opinions about the definition of "vegan." A common thread seems to be that each person's definition of vegan is: "What I am." If a person eats sugar (or drinks water) that was filtered with charred bone, then sugar is vegan. If they don't, it isn't. Honey, whey, film, old baseball gloves, beer, smoking, medicine, etc.<br><br><br><br>
A friend of mine (and long-time vegan) once wrote to a member of the vegan police: "I grow weary of the term 'vegan.' It seems to become just a label for moral superiority."<br><br><br><br>
This may sound odd coming from a co-founder of Vegan Outreach, but it doesn't matter what label anyone places on me, or what label anyone places on themselves. For example, if Peter Singer (author of Animal Liberation) were to eat a dish that contains hidden dairy when at a colleague's house, or if Carole Morton (who runs Green Acres Farm Sanctuary and is a humane agent in a rural PA county) were to eat the eggs laid by the hens she has rescued ... do I want to cut them off, shun them from our vegan club?<br><br><br><br>
Being vegan, for me, is about lessening suffering and working for animal liberation as efficiently as possible. It has nothing to do with personal purity or my ego. If, by some bizarre twist, eating a burger (or, better yet, a triple-cheese Uno's pizza :) ) were to advance animal liberation significantly, then I would do it.<br><br><br><br>
I understand that different people have different views of things. That is fine. I understand that the world is a pretty crappy place in many respects, and that is not OK, but allowing this to make me depressed, angry, or judgemental accomplishes nothing, or even less than nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
That came from Vegan Outreach.<br><br><br><br>
this came from the thread 'converting to veganism', and I'm starting this thread because I think defining it and advice on converting to it are different.<br><br><br><br>
.....what is a 'vegan'? Perhaps instead of defining a vegan as "someone who does not use animal products," we should define a vegan as "someone who reasonably avoids products that cause suffering to nonhumans."<br><br><br><br>
This might upset some people who feel that without a dogmatic approach (i.e., a governing body making rules for everyone else), veganism will become meaningless as people will be rationalizing all sorts of behavior. But as the situation stands now, veganism's dogmatic overtones not only drive people away, but make them not even consider giving up many animal products. If we allowed people to call themselves 'vegan' and let them decide what is reasonable, we could then try to convince them using reason, rather than dogma. How can we scare people away by telling them to do what they think is most reasonable? We think the animals would be much better off with this approach both in the short and long run.<br><br>
V.O<br><br><br><br>
I don't see why someone needs to say they are vegan if they are not. There is nothing wrong with being a vegetarian. To be vegan you have to give up animal products. If you are vegan you don't eat, wear or use animals to the very best of your ability. It takes work and dedication. Being a vegetarian is a good thing so until you can really be a vegan, You just call yourself a vegetarian. I was vegetarian for 24 years before I actually became vegan 4 years ago. I didn't wear leather or silk but I didn't check labels to see if there was any eggs or milk product. I called myself vegetarian until I really stopped using anything that had animal ingredient and/or animal testing. Getting a computer and getting online helped greatly. I thought that the bread I was eating did not contain animal products but someone posted on another message board about an unpronouncable ingredient in bread that came from animals, I checked my bread wrapper and sure enough there it was. I stopped buying that bread and started making my own. The internet is a great source of information and support.<br><br>
When people who are not vegan tell people that they are vegan instead of saying they are vegetarian it causes confusion and makes it hard for vegans because people do not understand. It is sort of like people who eat fish or chicken and call themselves vegetarians. It makes people think that vegetarians eat chicken and fish and they do not.<br><br>
Yarnblossom
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well said and I agree with you yarnblossom. Sometimes, I am not sure if I am truly a vegan, because I support my kid's cheese habbit and I still wear my old leather sandals...<br><br>
Mushroom<br><br><br><br>
I don't disagree with you Yarnblossom, but if I called myself vegetarian because I have a omni husband, or have a leather steering wheel on my car, I would be given milky coffee by my inlaws and things like that. It would confuse 'people' even more than they are. If they say ' oh- that's leather and you're supposed to be vegan' I can explain that i don't like it being leather but I can't bring the cow back to life and I shall replace it when it wears out with something vegan, and that it being leather creeps me out. Or whatever. A line has to be drawn on these definitions, and I take Vegan as being vegan in intent and action, rather than vegan to perfection. I have never met a perfect vegan yet. I'm not one. I have huge grey areas in the bottles under my kitchen sink. Yet as far as food and clothing is concerned I'm probably 99.5% vegan.<br><br><br><br>
I think there is room for people to say "I am trying to be as vegan as I can". But then to me 'vegan' means that.<br><br>
Much like being a Christian.<br><br>
Spud<br><br><br><br>
You are right there is no such thing as being perfectly vegan, but we need to try as hard as we can. And having an omni husband certainly would not mean that you were not vegan, what others do doesn't reflect on you. It does take some work to find products that don't contain animal ingredients and are not tested. It is easier for some than for others because of availablity in the areas where we live and it is shocking how many products turn out to be made by Proctor and Gamble. Things you would never suspect and things that were not animal tested a few years ago have been taken over by P&G, it is disappointing.<br><br><br><br>
I don't think that wearing out leather items that you had before you became vegan makes one not vegan either. It might give an omni who is trying to pick on you about being vegan amunition the "yeah but you wear leather shoes", but that sometimes happens to people who are wearing fake leather shoes and the person can't tell the difference.<br><br><br><br>
I think that way too many people think that veganism is a diet and they call themselves vegan when their lifestyle does not reflect being vegan. And I think it makes for confusion and makes it harder for people who are truely living a vegan life to get by and it is hard enough in this world.<br><br>
Yarnblossom
 

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To me a Vegan is someone who doesnt eat animal products.<br><br>
(products that are clearly made from or with animals)<br><br><br><br>
So when I read: Im Vegan, but I do eat cheese than your NOT a Vegan.<br><br><br><br>
Imho : A Vegan can wear leather shoes in the beginning, but I aspect them to change to Vegan shoes after a couple of years.<br><br>
I understand that animal parts are used in everything and one cannot know all, like with sugar, but personally a person that claims to be Vegan for ten years but wears leather or silk I dont see that person as Vegan.
 

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1vegan wrote: "A Vegan can wear leather shoes in the beginning, but I aspect them to change to Vegan shoes after a couple of years."<br><br>
This is something i've been thinking about a lot. I have a couple pair of 'dress shoes' -one pair suade and the other leather. I bought them a few years ago for special occasions and have only worn the suade pair twice. The leather ones i've never worn, I actually hate getting 'dressed-up.' I naturally wear plastic flip-flops during the summer and cotton sneakers for winter. Anyway, my question is, should i give my dress shoes away and buy dressy vegan shoes for weddings etc.? Or just keep and use the leather dress shoe since they are *already purchased* and i am *reusing and reducing* by not buying more 'vegan' dress shoes. Are you following me?<br><br>
Thanks for your thoughts on this :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Use them till they wear out, unless it makes you feel uneasy, if it does, give them away.<br><br>
When I first went vegetarian I had an old fur coat I'd bought in a jumble sale, and I went on wearing it as it was the only coat I had.<br><br>
One day a girl said to me "oh you look so nice in that fur coat I think I'll buy one". And I never realised I was promoting fur by wearing it until then. I gave the coat to her, and animal skins and leather gave me the creeps after that. But I know several veggies that use leather as being a lesser evil than wasting it, and some that just aren't that bothered either way about leather. It's a personal thing. It might be tedious explaining why you are wearing leather if you get into a conversation with someone boring at a wedding.
 

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At the moment I still have some leather shoes and they just don't seem to be wearing out as I avoid wearing them as much as I can and wear vegan shoes. I do feel pretty uneasy wearing them now so once I have replaced enough pairs with vegan shoes they will be given away. I ultimately don't want to own any animal products. I am concerned that I am advertising leather by wearing it.<br><br><br><br>
Being vegan is striving to be the best you can in my opinion & I'm trying my best to be animal free. Then again you can't, as 1vegan says, say that you are vegan but eat cheese as you aren't vegan. I think the diet has to come first but everything else should follow. It's difficult because people have to call themselves vegan when they have stopped eating all animal products as to avoid being given non-vegan food, even though they may still be doing other non-vegan things.
 

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I dont have leather shoes anymore.<br><br>
It didnt feel good, and I had the idea that people dont take your veganism seriously when you wear leather shoes. They seem to think that if you compromise on shoes, you will also do on food..
 

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I think that way too, but the biggest factor in me getting rid of my old leather shoes is that I'm wearing dead animal skins on my feet which I don't like the idea of.
 

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Currently I am not calling myself a vegan, but even as a lacto-ovo, I've been working on clearing out leather, silk, wool, etc. I have a pair of leather boots that were given to me in a bag of handmedowns. They were given to me after I went vegetarian (and didn't want to buy leather). Since I liked the way they looked, I hadn't supported the leather industry, and it would save me time and money to use those instead of searching for a nonleather pair, I kept them. I only wear them occasionally, so I expect them to last quite awhile.<br><br><br><br>
Most of the time, I'm not even attracted to leather, silk, and wool. Wool has always been to scratchy to put up against my skin, silk doesn't suit, and leather is totally not me. My winter coat, I believe, has an outer shell of a wool blend, and the inside lining may be silk. I'm not sure because the tags were cut out by the previous owner. (Another handmedown from someone I don't know) This coat has lasted four winters, and I'm replacing it now because it's getting holes and such. I used the same rationale on the coat as I did on the boots above.<br><br><br><br>
However, I will not knowingly buy leather, silk, or wool from retail. I don't normally shop retail, anyway, but I go to resale, consignment, and garage sales most of the time.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Do I refuse to get in cars that have leather seats? No, but I won't buy one myself. When I am in a "leather prison" like that, I'm disgusted to be there, but does it make sense for me to use more gas by driving seperately in my car? There's always a tradeoff.<br><br><br><br>
Hmm but what if, when car shopping, it's a used car with leather seats that is everything else I want? I haven't bought myself a car yet, so I don't know. I would expect that cars with leather seats would probably be fancier and more expensive than I'm looking for, but has anyone else thought about that? It's not a direct contribution to the leather industry, but it could be construed as advertising.
 

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While I was still vegetarian I did not wear leather, my daughter had a leather couch and I would not sit on it when I went to her house. It make me feel sick inside just seeing it. She still laughs about me not sitting on it. I am glad she doesn't have it anymore.
 

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I think I would avoid buying a car with leather seats (or steering wheel), but that's easy for me to say because I will (most likely) not buy one.<br><br><br><br>
I seems to be that some "expensive" car brands use leather that's specially breeded for them.<br><br>
I know that (some) mercedes cars have horse hair in the seats, covered with cotton.
 

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I don't feel like calling myself vegan anymore. I think veganism is stupid because of the way people define it by strict exclusive terms. It's a dying definition and it's turned veganism into nothing more than a fad. So, for now I'll just call myself a strict vegetarian. All these can do's and can't do's are dumb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by kpickell</i><br><br><b>I don't feel like calling myself vegan anymore. I think veganism is stupid because of the way people define it by strict exclusive terms. It's a dying definition and it's turned veganism into nothing more than a fad. So, for now I'll just call myself a strict vegetarian. All these can do's and can't do's are dumb.</b></div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
I was getting to think like that, and then I discovered Vegan Outreach.<br><br><br><br>
Reclaim the word vegan and let the police call themselves Level four vegans, or 'strict and particular vegans' or whatever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I wouldn't buy a car with leather seats, yuk. My car I bought because it did the most miles per gallon and was very inexpensive<br><br>
- it doesn't even have door handles, let alone air conditioning, electric windows or air bags. My leather steering wheel has probably redeemed itself by assisting on active service <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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"Reclaim the word vegan and let the police call themselves Level four vegans"<br><br><br><br>
{{{{{LMAO}}}}}<br><br>
Hello, i am a level 4 vegan. I don't mow my lawn.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Beansprout</i><br><br><b>Hello, i am a level 4 vegan. I don't mow my lawn.</b></div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
*busts a rib laughing so hard* Now if that don't beat all...
 

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I know people have different ideas of what being vegan is and they might not correspond with mine. I may not eat honey or drink beers, wine or spirits that aren't vegan but I know not everyone else who is vegan goes that far. I have not replaced the leather seats I have on the car I inherited from my parents. The car is 11 years old and has 94,00 miles on it. I don't know if I will actually replace them or just wait till I get another car and then make sure it has cloth seats. I also have a few wool and leather items from my pre-vegan days. 1 is a wool baseball hat my grandfather got me. One of the other is his (my grandfather's) baseball glove. Baseball is one things that makes me think of my grandpa and he gave me my love of the game. I can't bear to give it away. I also have my other grandpa's leather Bomber jacket from when he was in the airforce during WWII. I don't wear it but can't bear to give it away. Sentimental? yes.
 

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Spud, your definition of "vegan" makes sense to me, especially in light of the fact that one cannot live completely free of animal products in today's society.
 

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RedStarJedi, I know what you mean about the sentimental-ness of these items. I found out the other day that my grandfather, who died two years ago, had his house, well, now, it's my mother's, robbed, everything thrown everywhere. When my mother went throuh it to see what was missing, she discovered my grandmother/her mother's mink coat and stole were taken. True, seeing these things may make me wince, but it has true senitmental value. I never knew my grandmother--she deied when my mom was eight years old. I know her only in pictutures and a few items. This really hurt me. Maybe it hurt me because people would break inot houses and take things, without even thiking of the hurt it would cause the person it wa taken from. But anyways. My point was that, fur or not, I would not have wanted these things to go, especially not just yet.<br><br><br><br>
Cassie
 
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