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The honey thread got me thinking about where the line is drawn as to what is 'really' vegan.

If the goal of veganism is merely to abstain from animal products, then wouldn't a person still be vegan if they bought their vegetables from a farmer who kicked his dog every night, and slaughtered pigs on the side? It might be that buying vegetables from that farmer contributes to animal cruelty, since if he ran out of business raising crops he might get a job in a factory and end his pig slaughtering.

This may sound a bit far-fetched, but I'm trying to picture this on a large scale, and trace the distant effects of our actions. Do you only buy organic, or try to? Do you raise your own vegetables...or would you if you could? I realise that not everyone is a vegan because of animal rights, but this is why I prefer the definition of veganism that defines as its goal 'the least harm to non-human sentient beings' or something along those lines.

I want to add a lot more, but I will take a break first and see what others think about this.
 

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I do the best that I can to buy cruelty free stuff. If someone who raised my corn abused his dog, that's something beyond my control, as I wouldn't know if he did. If I found out that though, I would buy from another place.

Chances are, in the making of your vegetables and mine, bugs died because I don't think people check each individual vegetable, nor do they when digging, watering, etc.

If the company that made my computer had a CEO that beat his wife, I wouldn't condone it, and my buying the computer would make him more money, but if I didn't know about it, then there's nothing I can do.

I think one is a vegan if they avoid products/companies that they know test on animals, or use animal products in their merchandise.

So to respond exactly to the point you were making, I think vegans avoid products they know have cruelty involved in some way, shape, or form, even though I know the technical definition is to avoid eating/wearing animals and animal by-products, not to avoid companies that test on animals.
 

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Let me state right at the beginning that I am not a vegan, and so view the doings of vegans with some degree of skepticism. However, this is my understanding based on what I've been able to observe.

The Vegan Society defines "veganism" as follows in their Articles of Association:

Quote:
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; 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.
(Emphasis added.)

http://www.vegansociety.com/html/abo...memorandum.php

What this means in practice--for the majority of vegans and for organized groups like the Vegan Society--is that vegans cannot consume (or endorse) a food product that they know has trace amounts of egg in it, period. Whether consuming or endorsing this product would ultimately produce far less animal suffering--that was deemed basically irrelevant. Of course, I am referring to the case of the BK VeggieBurger, or at least to the way it was regarded when the question first arose. Some people, like Eric Marcus and PeTA, took the opposite view, but their view seems to be a distinct minority within the vegan community.

Another argument that was made is that one must never trade a present, certain harm (however slight) for a future, speculative benefit (however great).

"Orthodox" veganism seems to be akin to "rule utilitarianism" rather than "act utilitarianism." It seems to be about rigidly following certain rules and exclusions, without trade-offs or compromises, and not about trying to reckon which behaviors will produce the most good over the long-run on a case-by-case basis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very interesting, thank-you for the erudite post, Joe.

I believe it was the PETA website on which I read a statement something to the effect that vegans shouldn't shun foodstuffs that are 'only' 99.9% vegan, because that will send the wrong message to food companies that there is no economic benefit in marketing food to vegans.

I have mixed feelings about this, since I am a vegan for both ethical and nutritional reasons. My point with the farmer who kicks his dog is that without a lot of personal involvement, it is very difficult to know whether we truly are being cruelty-free in our purchasing habits. Ignorance may be bliss for us, but not for the animals who may be suffering in the meantime.

Are items which are marked 'vegan' always guaranteed to be cruelty-free as well as dietarily vegan? And not only the product itself, but the company to which one's money is going when purchasing it.
 

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It's black and white to me, as far as not eating, using, or wearing animals, their parts, or their products., at minimum. That's vegan to me.

The rest of it is a blurry line, I guess, as far as animal testing, etc.
 

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I think the only thing one can do is to do the best him/her can to keep educating oneself about the companies one buys from. I don't believe there is any way we can be completely educated about every aspect our(the vegan community) food is prepared and distributed unless you grow and make it yourself. If one knows there is some sort of cruelty in the process then it should be avoided. But like I said, we all must leave a little room for ignorance. That's why we have message boards such as this so we can learn from one another to continue to forward our ethical as well as dietary beliefs as people who have chosen veganism.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Hillyer View Post

The honey thread got me thinking about where the line is drawn as to what is 'really' vegan.

If the goal of veganism is merely to abstain from animal products, then wouldn't a person still be vegan if they bought their vegetables from a farmer who kicked his dog every night, and slaughtered pigs on the side?
I just want to understand this. So if a guy that grows corn beats his dog then the corn becomes an animal product?

I understand that it would be promoting animal cruelty, in a way, by giving this guy money and I think that is the point you are wanting to make. I'm not trying to be difficult but I just wanted it to be clear for newbies who are reading this.
 

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i think there are two seperate uses of the word vegan:

those who eat a vegan diet.

those who follow a vegan lifestyle.

the latter is 'true' veganism (as was posted in joe's quote). to simply obstain from eating any animal derived product is not being a vegan - a vegan adapts their life.

however, i believe that the line is more of just 'doing everything you can to help'. what if you were horribly ill and the only medication that could help you was not vegan? would you not take it? i would, personally, see no problem if a vegan took the medication - and they would not be a hypocrite... because they are taking care of themselves. when they do that, they increase their own potential, thus adhering chain of doing well for others and still following a vegan lifestyle.

then again, i don't really think that extremely vocal campaigns are following a vegan lifestyle - because that is making a misery for others who may not agree - which is not vegan, as you are lessening the value of other's opinions.

it's like Christians who say, 'you're not Christian because you _______.' but then that person is judging you. so how Christian is THAT?

same goes with this. someone could say to me (because my family eats me, and i am the cook): "that is hypocritical of you to bake that chicken." but why? because i am doing all the cooking to help others in my house? and not pushing beliefs on them? they accept a vegan meal with open arms, why shouldn't i also provide them with their favourites?

and so on. and so forth.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Hillyer View Post

If the goal of veganism is merely to abstain from animal products,
I think the goal of veganism is to abstain from using animal products that cause suffering to non-humans.

For instance, if I found a beehive that was completely abandoned for some reason, and that it was full of honey that was going to waste, then I would eat the honey (although I don't like honey so actually I wouldn't take it, but this is hypothetical).

If a cow's calf died and the cow needed milking to ease its pain, then I would drink the milk instead of throwing it away (although I don't like milk very much, so this too is hypothetical).

If we could make sweaters out of the cat fur that lies all over the house when my cat is molting, I would use it too. That would be far better than it ending up in the vacuum cleaner.

Non-exploitation of animals is what I think veganism is all about more than just the avoidance of animal products.
 

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I'm a vegan because I don't believe in animal exploitation. I don't believe that as humans, we have the right to use animals for our own benefit. So I choose to abstain from any product or industry that exploits animals. I do my best to research the source of the products I buy and the services I use, however, it's impossible to know everything (like the corn farmer who beats his dog). I mainly try to find out where the money I spend is going and what it is financing since I have a number of causes that I fight for and don't want to contribute to the opposition (for example, I found out that the owner of Curves for woman puts a majority of his profits toward anti-abortion causes so I decided not to support his company). I'll admit, for a while I nearly drove myself crazy trying to know everything about everything until I finally realized that it's just not possible. Now I'm very happy with just doing the best I can. I still research companies and buy as much local & organic produce as I can, but I no longer put myself into periods of depression over it all.
 

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I see that the Honey thread is closed, so I'll add my two-cents here. I worked one season as a bee-keeper's assistant, and from what I saw, can vouch that bees are horribly exploited. The honey they make is for themselves, but is taken from them, and a mixture of water and sugar (in this case, corn syrup) is the substitute they're given. They die by the millions, no doubt many of them from starvation. I was surprised to learn, in the U.S., there are NO wild bees. They are all of them husbanded. There are a few very isolated escaped hives, living wild, but the herders make every effort to recapture them. I suppose, at higher altitudes, there may be a few other wild bees, but the vast majority of them are on commercial farms. I heard on the news the other day, there's evidence the bee population is dwindling. The report gave no reason for it.~ For me, veganism, like everything else, defies being settled into a set routine or formula. It took discipline for me to become vegan and I'm finding it takes more discipline to remain so. I took it on, because I know it's right, and I'll keep at it for the same reason, in spite of the occasional frustrations. Let's face it, as vegans, we're like a thimble of water in seven seas of carnivores. So what? I take pride in it.
 

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I define veganism as a technical notion of abstaining from animal products in your lifestyle (+ animal tested cosmetics).

I don't see the need to cram animal rights under veganism when we can talk about animal rights directly. To me, veganism is not all there is to ethics. Some vegan things may not be good for non-human interests.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capstan View Post

I was surprised to learn, in the U.S., there are NO wild bees. They are all of them husbanded. There are a few very isolated escaped hives, living wild, but the herders make every effort to recapture them.
What are you talking about? You've never come across a hive that isn't in an apiary?! We used to get honeybee hives in our roof somewhat frequently when I was a kid, my best friend's apt had honeybees in her roof when we were in college, and I've seen wasp hives in various places in the city. And a coworker was just telling me how he went hiking a few weeks ago and accidentally brushed up against a hive and got swarmed (yikes).

I think your information source is a pretty bad one.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by OregonAmy View Post

What are you talking about? You've never come across a hive that isn't in an apiary?! We used to get honeybee hives in our roof somewhat frequently when I was a kid, my best friend's apt had honeybees in her roof when we were in college, and I've seen wasp hives in various places in the city. And a coworker was just telling me how he went hiking a few weeks ago and accidentally brushed up against a hive and got swarmed (yikes).

I think your information source is a pretty bad one.
I think you're naive.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capstan View Post

I think you're naive.
Didn't you ever see "Fried Green Tomatoes?"

I collected honey in the wild when I was a kid. My dad would move swarms to his own hives. They're all over the place.

Just a hunch, but your source may be confused by this tidbit: there are practically no surviving indigenous honey bees left in the Western Hemisphere. They've been muscled out by European and African varieties (I'm not soliciting any swallow jokes here) that were brought over shortly after Contact.
 

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Lyke dare were sum beez in da rufe of mi old apartmant lolO!QL dah lanlord mus of been an apairy ownar or somfin lolO!Lol1o1l1l1l111
 
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