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What is a Vegan?

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Texts:  Veganism
Used Books:  Veganism 
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Being Vegan : Living With Conscience, Conviction, and Compassion
coverVegan : The New Ethics of Eating by Erik Marcus.  

A fresh look at issues addressed a decade ago by Frances Moore Lappe (Diet for a Small Planet), Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating shines a strong light on the unhealthful, inhumane, and destructive aspects of the typical American diet. Vegan is packed with documented research, nutritional information, and telling photos. Features leading heart specialist Dean Ornish, M.D. Forward by Howard Lyman, Humane Society of the U.S.

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What is a Vegan?
From the Vegan Outreach Website:

Excerpt:

People are interested in veganism for the same reasons as vegetarianism -- not participating in practices that cause suffering, supporting more environmentally-friendly and sustainable agricultural practices, and improving their health.     

With such a diversity of reasons, it is not surprising that there are many definitions of veganism. Like other philosophies, the specific meaning of vegan varies from person to person. A plurality of people who call themselves vegetarian state that their motivation is health, but the majority of vegans state ethics as the primary reason for their chosen lifestyle. An ethical vegan realizes that not only can animals suffer, but they also value their lives in many of the same ways as humans. Thus, animals are neither tools nor objects for our use, but rather individuals with inherent worth. From this understanding follows a set of specific actions; namely, choosing products that do not require using animals. Or, by the more common definition, not eating meat, dairy, or eggs; not buying leather or wool; trying to avoid products made by companies that test on animals. Beyond this basic definition, each individual has different opinions about and experiences with being vegan; there is no set list of rules to follow.     

By not consuming the products that come from animal exploitation, each individual is making a statement against inhumane practices, undertaking an economic boycott, and supporting the production of vegan products with their subsequent choices. These decisions, and the message they send to others, help to move society away from industries that use animals as a means to human ends.    

 Although the end goal is generally the same, the path an individual takes towards veganism is a unique one. Some people follow a methodical process of cutting out foods in the order that they consider to be the most cruel, or the foods they find the most easiest to avoid. Others initially concerned with health eventually cut out "healthy" products (chicken and fish, low-fat dairy products) as they become more aware of the suffering involved in the production of these goods. Others go "cold-tofu," giving up all animal foods, donating their leather goods to charity, returning their Procter & Gamble products to the company, etc.

 

Green Market Place GreenMarketplace.com

This eco-friendly superstore has vegan and vegetarian foods you can purchase online. 

For example:

  
Farm Sanctuary
Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has established America's premier farm animal shelters and waged effective campaigns to stop farm animal cruelty. In addition to it's 'No Downers', Boycott Veal, and Farm Animal Defense campaigns, Farm Sanctuary promotes a vegan lifestyle.

Every year, thousands of people visit Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York and northern California. Here, people have the opportunity to be touched by rescued farm animals. Farm Sanctuary also hosts various conferences and events, and operates Bed & Breakfast cabins at its New York farm.

Farm Sanctuary has videos, photos, and other resources to help educate people about farm animal abuse, and it has reached millions through the media. The organization also publishes a quarterly newsletter to keep its members informed.

 

Farm Animals Reform Movement
Promoting plant-based eating and humane treatment of farm animals since 1976. FARM conducts seven national campaigns, including Great American Meatout, World Farm Animals Day, National Veal Ban Action, Letters from FARM, CHOICE (Consumers for Healthy Options in Children's Education), and Industry Watch.

 

Vegan Bikers
This page represents vegan bikers around the world. 

 

Vegan Family House

A Scottish vegan family offer help and advice on veganism and related subjects - recipes, ethics, parenting, books, chocolate and a message board too.

  

Todd's Vegan Resources
There are many good reasons for going vegan. Whether you are motivated by health reasons, humanitarian concerns, or environmentalism, I am certain that you will find the arguments for going vegan to be convincing.   

 

Vegan Action
What is a Vegan?  A vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is someone who does not consume animal products. While vegetarians avoid flesh foods, vegans also reject the exploitation and abuse inherent in the making of dairy and egg products, as well as in clothing from animal sources. While leading a purely vegan life may be difficult for many, those who strive towards this goal can consider themselves to be practicing vegans.

Here are some of the items vegans avoid: meat, milk, cheese, eggs, fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics and chemical products tested on animals. 

Site Includes:

Why Vegan?

Veganism, the natural extension of vegetarianism, is an integral component of a cruelty-free lifestyle. Living vegan provides numerous benefits: to animals and the quality of their lives, to the ecological integrity of our environment, and to ourselves, by protecting our bodies from the dietary problems associated with consumption of animal products.

Animals

The meat and dairy industry causes billions of chickens, cows, and other animals untold suffering in producing milk and egg products each year. The animals suffer unspeakable cruelties in order to maximize their output of milk and eggs. Most live their short lives caged, drugged, mutilated, and deprived. Today's farms are not like the ones most of us learned about in school; they are mechanized factories where animal welfare is of less concern than profit. Veganism emerges as the lifestyle most consistent with the philosophy that animals are not ours to use.

Environment

Animal agriculture takes a devastating toll on the earth. It is an inefficient way of producing food, which squanders the vast majority of all grain grown in the U.S., as well as much of our water. This increased dependence on high yields exacerbates the problem of topsoil erosion on our farmlands, rendering land less and less productive for crop cultivation, and forcing the conversion of wilderness lands to grazing and farm lands. Animal waste is a disposal problem on today's massive feedlots and factory farms, poisoning groundwater and rivers; and the disastrous effects of cattle ranching have degraded thousands of acres in every western state.

Health

Consumption of animal fats and proteins has been linked to heart disease, colon and breast cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, and a whole host of other debilitating conditions. Vegan foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans, are low in fat, especially saturated fat, contain no cholesterol, and are rich in fiber and nutrients. Plus, vegans get the perfect amount of protein. Cows' milk contains ideal amounts of fat and protein for young calves, but far too much for humans! Eating eggs may be the surest way to get a heart attack, as they are higher in cholesterol than any other food.

Cincinnati's Animal Rights-Vegan Web Source
This is a web source that, of course, extends beyond Cincinnati.  Site Includes:

 

Robert's Organic Vegan Resource
'As a mature student of Software Engineering at the University of Westminster in London, England.  I have decided to make good use of my UNIX account,  by publishing some eco-friendly shopping information on the www.  I hope that you can find it very helpful.' 

 

Vegan Organics
Fact Sheet for Vegan Organic Living.

Excerpt:

Vegan organic horticulture is a method of growing plants without the use of chemical fertilizers, sprays etc and without using any animal products (except those obtained from humans). It is a system of caring for the soil in a sustainable way to ensure it retains its fertility for future generations. It is a method of growing plants that works in harmony with nature, encouraging a wide diversity of plant and animal life to share the land with us. 

This leaflet is a brief guide to the basic principles of vegan organics. A list of suggested reading is given at the end should you want to find more specific information...  

 

Vegan Outreach
Very well organized site with lots of changing information.   Site includes:

 

Animal Rights Links

Resources on Animal Rights, Animal Welfare, Animal Experimentation, Endangered Animals and more.

 

Vegan News Journal

 

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