“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
Unfortunately, there’s a fair bit of information about veganism in mainstream media that is either incorrect or misleading. Stereotypes, misconceptions and scaremongering abound. Here’s a definition…
Veganism may be defined as a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. (Becoming Vegan: Davis & Melina)
It’s not a diet …
As you can see by definition, a vegan lifestyle involves more than just following a plant-based diet (i.e. that of a strict vegetarian). It extends to the clothes you wear and the products use and buy too.
My reasons for being vegan are first and foremost ethical. The many positive health and environmental impacts are an added bonus!
For me, veganism is essentially a commitment to non-violence. It’s a logical way of applying my values of justice, respect and compassion through all aspects of my life.
Basically I believe that non-human animals have a right not to be used by us – they exist for their own purposes. I don’t view other animal species as products, property or ‘things’ (any more than a human could be property), and I also don’t regard humans as being morally superior.
I realise I live in a world where unfortunately animal use is prevalent and considered the norm. As a result of the current structure of society, animal products end up in many things which I cannot avoid (e.g. tyres, carpet). Sometimes there aren’t viable animal-free alternatives in existence yet. My lifestyle does not seek to represent personal purity or perfection. As a practical matter, I could never achieve this and it’s not my point.
My point is, I have many choices and can exercise control over what I purchase, consume and wear everyday – like many of us do. I seek to minimise harm and I focus on what I CAN do right now. I choose not to participate in the exploitation of animals and I can vote with my money.
It’s not difficult. Once you start looking, you’ll find many animal-free alternatives and these options are only increasing.
I can honestly say that I have found being vegan to be far easier than I ever imagined. It has also had positive impacts beyond my expectations. It may sound over-the-top, but veganism has brought me a profound sense of peace and has helped me understand my place in the world a little more.
I am forever grateful to those who helped educate me on my journey and continue to do so. I can only hope to pay it forward sometime.
If you are not vegan, you should give it a go! It’s easier than it’s ever been. It’s living respect for other animals and what’s more, it’s good for your health and the planet.
Recommended animal rights & vegan advocacy sites…
Find out more about veganism and animal rights by checking out the sites below or my links page.
- Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach
- Vegan Starter Kit
- My Face Is On Fire
- Compassionate Cooks on YouTube
- Earthlings movie
- Tim Gier
- On Human-Nonhuman Relations
- Vegan Pamphlet - free download
- NZ Vegan Podcast
- Unpopular Vegan Essays
- Vegan Freak
- Abolitionist Animal Rights
- Vegans for Peace
- Animal Emancipation
- Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary
- The World is Vegan
- Vegan Easy
- Animal Rights & AntiOppression
- Quotes on Slavery