Definition — Striving to Avoid Animal Exploitation
“Veganism” was coined by Donald Watson, co-founder of the UK Vegan Society, in 1944. He recently died at the age of 95.
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.
It is a peaceful philosophy, put into action, which takes into account our own limitations and the constraints imposed upon us by the society in which we live. A vegan lifestyle is one that tries to avoid harming others—human and animal—“as far as is possible and practical.”
Cruelty and Animal Agriculture
Most of us don’t want to be cruel. Yet there is cruelty throughout animal agriculture: depriving animals of mothers; forcing animals to grossly overproduce flesh, eggs, and milk; mutilating and amputating animals’ body parts without painkillers; transporting animals long distances in intense heat with no water; severe and sadistic violence in slaughterhouses—and much more.