Veganism Defined

Veganism is a social movement. It’s based on the principle that human beings should live without exploiting animals.

Vegans seek to end the use of other animals for food, commodities, work, hunting, vivisection—and all exploitation of animal life.

In the hope of achieving the ideal, vegans commit to living as closely to it as personal circumstances permit.

Karen Pearlman - bee on sunflowerWhile veganism is not a diet, vegans do apply the principle to their diets, committing to complete and consistent vegetarianism.

People become vegetarians for various reasons—humanitarian, ecological, health-based, etc. Veganism, though, is a principle—that we have no right to dominate and control other animals—so we follow a consistent, animal-free diet. Free of flesh, whether of mammals, birds, or sea animals, free of eggs, free of honey, free of animal milk and its derivatives, our culinary arts are plant-based, wholesome, and guided by fairness. We seek animal liberation—that is, reintegration of other animals within the balance and sanity of nature itself.

Our purpose is to redeem a great mistake, with the stupendous effect it has had upon the Karen Pearlman - windblown sunflowercourse of evolution. As veganism spreads, the conception of other animals as existing within Earth’s great bio-community for us to possess will begin to fade away.

The purpose of veganism transcends welfare; its goal is liberation—of other animals and of the human spirit.

It is not so much an effort to make the present relationship between ourselves and other animals bearable, as an uncompromising recognition that because it is basically one of master and slave, that relationship has to be abolished before something better and finer can be created.

EXPLANATORY note: this work is not mine; It’s part of a collective exercise. I’m a member of The Vegan Society, and I subscribe to THE DEFINITION OF VEGANISM OFFERED by its foundING MEMBERS. take a look at VEGANISM DEFINED FOR THEIR FULL DEFINITION, POSTED COURTESY OF THE INTERNATIONAL VEGETARIAN UNION. I DOUBT I COULD improve upon That striking piece, nor do I need to. But, prompted by conversations with Will Anderson of, Harold, James and Jenny of, and other thoughtful people at the 2015 North American Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest conference, I’ve given my 21st-century language a go in conveying the basics of the definition originally published in 1951. Appreciation to PHOTOGRAPHER and friend KAREN BETH PEARLMAN.

6 thoughts on “Veganism Defined

  1. Pingback: Veganismus | zoon | rights

  2. Hi Lee, This is a wonderfully clarifying post that I think could really be of great value to the Free from Harm audience. Would you consider republishing it on our website? You would appear as the author and the footer has an area for an author photo and bio. This is 284 words and posts on our site are a minimum of 300 words but I think we could easily create a bit of an intro for it or perhaps include your “explanatory note”?

    Robert Grillo Executive Director Free from Harm tel. 773-329-7977 web: PO BOX 607604 Chicago, IL 60660


  3. These are my thoughts: well articulated and presented in a wholist [biological, psychological, social, judgmental] framework. Highlights and echoing of my own trains of thought: ..’complete and consistent vegetarianism’; ..within the balance and sanity of nature itself.”; ..redeem a great mistake…evolution”; “liberation–..and of the human spirit; and reference to the master/slave relationship. As a side note on the latter, have often mused about what the individual [or collective of] master [s] is slave to and their master, and so on. A closed circle.

    With reference to the human spirit, am glad this was included. I see this as the unseen self/our deepest aspect of being and when we touch on or come to know this more fully and learn to listen to this, changes occur within and without [the external reality]. The ‘boundaries’ of the closed circle become fluid and also non-existent. How expanding & freeing it becomes depends on how the changes benefit other beings, not simply ourselves. And the greatest, most obvious, glaringly so, be it via sound, sight, feel, sense, intuition, and combination of, changes & benefits are in relation to other animals. Sentience speaks in many voices & gestures in multitudes of ways. Some days I equate sentience to intelligence. And on those days, I am astounded by the human animal’s boundless arrogance, pretensions, ignorance [not knowing/unquestioning so content to go with the various flows], stupidity [not wanting to know], hypocrisies, myopia – all to say, sentience importance and/or pinnacle resides in human animals only and that we only learn from our own sentient experiences, meaning our experiences are the standard by which all else are judged. Caveat: having previously displayed some of these conducts, this is not self-righteousness.

    Veganism is this era’s opening circle; conscious [collective & individual] vision quest; is workable, practical, calming, wise; the courageous heartbeat [filling, emptying, circulating, filling again] of a universal philosophy based upon a higher, all encompassing [multispecies] ethics is how I understand it. ps without a heartbeat, a philosophy dies. Hence the heartbeat and philosophy are entwined, they are one and the same.

    Thank you, Lee for all that you do, teach, put forward, and for listening to my thoughts.

    • The (individual and collective) master is a slave to fear. For how can usurped power ever be held in confidence, joy and ease?

      Thank you for your time, reflections, and support, Brenda.

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