Veganism

Green Vegans promotes veganism because it is the lifestyle choice having the only chance for the possibility of sustainability and the only one that ends this source of violence against individuals from other species and ecosystems. We do not recognize mainstream claims that veganism is a type of vegetarianism. Vegetarianism accomplishes none of what veganism does. Vegetarianism kills cows, chickens, goats and wildlife. It does not allow for predators like wolves and cougar.  Who it kills depends on the “type” of vegetarianism being cited. Some vegetarians eat eggs, dairy, honey, fish and use animal skins like leather, . We advocate using the terms “vegan” and “veganism” only. Vegetarianism is not in our vocabulary except when explaining the historical context when “vegan” was first established as a term.

Go Vegan / Bypass Vegetarian

From an environmental and humane perspective, there is little difference between eating meat and choosing a vegetarian ovo/lacto, pescatarian or the multiple variations of this false diet. While Green Vegans applauds you for being vegetarian if you have been told it is an effective way to end suffering and environmental destruction. Many vegans started out that way. So, it’s not about judging or criticizing vegetarians, it’s supporting you to actually accomplish your goals that are so important to you and the Earth.

Green Vegans has links on this website for you to access the wonderfully abundant resources that will support you in your transition to the vegan lifestyle – your personal vegan human ecology. “Going vegan” is the most effective action you can take to make a profound difference for ecosystems, people, and individuals of other species. Go to our “links” page for the resources other organizations are providing.

Green Vegans links to blogs on veganism explaining why vegetarianism is a sham and accomplishes nothing of what its believers want.

Defining Veganism

There are varying takes on how “veganism” should be defined. Before we share some of that history, we should read The Vegan Society definition.   

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey – as well as products like leather and any tested on animals.”

Green Vegans is in-process of defining veganism to accommodate an expanded vision to reflect the new human ecology in general, and specifically the Green Vegans seven results. It will build on, not remove parts of the original 1943 and later versions from The Vegan Society.

Go here for additional history and perspective on why veganism, not vegetarianism, must be used and promoted.

Short History of “Vegan”

In December 1943, Donald Watson gave a talk to The Vegetarian Society on vegetarianism and the use of dairy products. In August 1944, he and others important to this historic event discussed forming a sub-group of non-dairy vegetarians within The Vegetarian Society. The Vegetarian Society eventually refused to give them space in its journal. There was sympathy from the Society, but they felt that “the full energies of the Society must continue to be applied to the task of abolishing flesh-eating”.   The creation of the word “vegan” and subsequent founding of The Vegan Society in November 1944 is often credited to Donald Watson or he and his wife Dorothy but Watson credits a number of his fellow vegans as well.

What was inspiring in the early vegetarian and vegan social movements was their connections to other progressive social movements like the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage and spiritual betterment, often under the leadership and influence of church congregations that practiced veganism. Vegetarianism was part of a larger way of living, influencing, and being in the world.

And so it is today, that in a profoundly changed world that needs guidance from social principles, the definition of veganism must be expanded without diminishing its original intent to accommodate all that we now know it can accomplish. 

We celebrate and rely on the pioneering work that created contemporary veganism. However, we must not forget that vegan history and its evolution is a continuing process. It is people building upon earlier foundations as our understanding of nutrition, environmental science, sentience, food technology (not to be taken as better than raw food veganism), and the sophistication of social media tools grow our movement. Today, we are tasked to create what comes next. The purpose of veganism has not changed; its core goal is to end the exploitation and lethal injustice humanity wages against sentient beings and from that create the benefits flowing visibly to and from humans, non-humans, and ecosystems.

 In 2002, Donald Watson said, “And, when I think that the world population, which was about 2 billion people in 1944, is now … this astronomical explosion of over 6 billion, along with… a corresponding explosion of animals to feed most of them. And those animals are there, fed on food that should be growing for the Third World, where people are having big families, because they have to, they’ve no social security, they have to have many children because many of them in every family are likely to die….” Read more here.

He goes on to include his concerns about extinctions, reforestation, food additives, and “man’s expectation of surviving for much longer on this planet.” Those are, of course, among the pivotal issues we face today,—issues we know can be addressed with veganism and not the many varieties of vegetarianism.

At the end of Watson’s interview, George Rodger asks, “Donald, do you have any message for the many thousands of people who are now vegan?”  Watson replied, “Yes. I would like them to take the broad view of what veganism stands for. Something beyond finding a new alternative to, shall we say scrambled eggs on toast, or a new recipe for a Christmas cake. I would like them to realise that they’re on to something really big, something that hadn’t been tried until sixty years ago, and something which is meeting every reasonable criticism that anyone can level against it.”[iii]

Only veganism can end the atrocities suffered by sentient species and ecosystems. We can, without judgment, state as a fact that vegetarianism fails to stop violence and injustice, the destruction of ecosystems, address global warming, and prioritize food for the poor over food for farmed animals mercilessly taken to slaughter. The sooner we acknowledge that veganism, without the confusing integration with vegetarianism, is the best strategy and hope for the world, the better. 

If Donald Watson and all the vegan advocates before us had not persisted in defending core values and practices, there wouldn’t be a vegan movement. Shouldn’t we be doing that today? It’s instructive to learn how the term “vegan” evolved, but let it continue to do so. Green Vegans has defined veganism to better serve the world.