What is Veganism?
A vegan diet is plant-based and includes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and other products from the earth. Vegan diets don’t include the flesh of any animals: mammals, birds, fish, or other sea creatures. In addition, a vegan diet does not include the bodily products of animals, including eggs, animal milks and dairy products, honey, and any food containing these products.
Ethical veganism is rooted in the principle of nonviolence and compassion towards all sentient (i.e. conscious and aware) beings. As Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society in 1940 and originator of the word vegan stated,
“To practice veganism is to become a conscientious objector to the violence and injustice done to billions of animals every day all over the world.”
In addition to following a vegan diet, ethical vegans also avoid animal products in clothing and other consumer goods (such as fur, leather, wool, down, and silk), and avoid products tested on animals. They also refrain from taking part in events where animals are exploited or forced to perform for human amusement, such as circuses, zoos, and rodeos.
As more and more people learn about the treatment of animals on “factory” farms1, consumers are looking for ethical alternatives. In recent years, animal flesh and animal products have been increasingly been packaged and sold with labels such as “free range”, “cage-free”, “grass-fed”, “humanely raised”, and “local”. Such designations may serve to ease the consciences of the well-meaning public, but they are ultimately deceptive, because there are no standards associated with these terms.2 For example: 2,000 to 20,000 or more “cage-free” hens can be confined in a shed with little or no access to the outdoors, - each hen having one square foot of living space the size of a sheet of paper.3 This is just one illustration of how “humane” labelling does not result in a significant improvement in the lives of animals, who nonetheless remain destined to be killed. If you are concerned about the welfare and safety of our animals, you can promote ethical treatment and show your compassion by going vegan today.
For more information on the treatment of animals raised for food:
Research shows that 60-70% of diseases in developed countries are caused by individual lifestyle and diet. the consumption of meat, dairy products, and eggs is associated with significantly higher rates of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and cervical cancer. A plant-based diet has been scientifically shown to prevent, slow progression, and even reverse many of our nation’s biggest killers: heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
For more information on the connection between plant-based diet and disease prevention:
Over half of the water in the U.S. is used to raise animals for food, and millions of acres of rainforest are burned down every year to create pasture for farmed animals. 13, 14, 15 Concentrated animal waste from animal agriculture and fish farms pollutes more water sources than all other industries combined, and animal agriculture is one of the chief causes of biodiversity depletion. 13, 16, 17 Perhaps even more shocking, analyses of data gathered from the widely-cited United Nations report “Livestock’s Long Shadow”18 shows that the entirety of the process of raising animals for food and supply chain supporting it account for at least half of all human-caused greenhouse gases.19 In 2010, the United Nations Environment Programme released a Environmental Impact on Consumption and Production Report , stating: “a global shift towards a vegan diet is necessary in order to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty, and the worst effects of climate change.”
For more information on the connection between plant-based diet and a sustainable planet:
As you can see, becoming vegan saves animals’ lives, protects your own life and health, and helps to protect the environment upon which all sentient beings depend.
If you are ready to go vegan, there are many online resources available to you! Besides our own Vegan Pittsburgh website and Facebook page, we recommend the starter kit at www.vegankit.com, the local website www.yummyplants.com ,the Pittsburgh Vegan Meetup and Pittsburgh Vegans Facebook page to help you plug-in with and get support from other local vegans.
- Mercy for Animals Investigations
- Animal Welfare Audits and Certification Programs (USDA)
- “Free-Range” Poultry and Eggs
- Resolving the coronary artery disease epidemic through plant-based nutrition.pdf
- Vegetarian_and_vegan_diets_in_ type_2_diabetes_management.pdf
- Hamburger connection fuels Amazon destruction.pdf
- Statement of Michael Cook, Director, Office of Wastewater Management, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Is Meat Sustainable.pdf
- Livestock and Climate Change