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When do you consider someone vegan?


veganmonk
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When is someone a vegan?  

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Controversial perhaps question...

 

When do you consider someone vegan?

 

When they change just their diet, or when they follow it completely and don't wear leather, have or buy any animal products or products tested on animals, won't eat trace amounts or non-vegan ingredients (ie: people that still have a cookie with dairy in it or wear leather shoes, etc..).

 

I know most of the enviro or health vegans I've met don't take it seriously enough as they aren't doing it for animals, so they think only of doing the diet as much as possible for the planets sake, and forget about the true definition of being a vegan.

 

Thoughts?

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Damn you with your controversial questions! Who said it was ok for you to force us to think about things that may be challenging or uncomfortable?!?

 

Honestly, I dont worry too much about it. We can and should all do more/better. Personally, I avoid using animal source products but do occasionally wear leather stuff, esp. if I get it out of a free box, at a thrift shop, etc. I'm not convinced that most currently available synthetic products dont cause as much animal suffering and environmental degradation as leather, etc - esp. if it's small-scale, "humanely raised/killed", etc. I dont have a problem with people using road kill...

 

On a related note, I have a tough time with folks who are strong into animal rights/liberation and/or being vegan but dont give a crap about human rights/liberation issues.

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This friend of mine told me how she quit eating cheese and drinking milk, and asked me if that made her vegan. I said I supposed so, at least for the diet part. She then asked the implications of buying a leather purse and I said well thats not vegan (so neither is she), and some friend of hers who isnt even a mainstream vegetarian told her the same thing. So she's back to eating cheese and drinking milk. It's one less leather buying vegan if you ask me, but on the otherhand implications of dairy...

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I switched because of my health.

I knew that the animals I ate were slaughtered.

Everyday millions of animals are eaten by other animals.

So I never gave it much thought.

 

But at the time, I really didn't know about all of the animal cruelty.

Now I know what we are doing to our bodies, our earth and our animals.

I don't buy animal products anymore, for food or otherwise.

 

I think it's great if somebody switches for dietary reasons.

Maybe they aren't a true Vegan.

But, eventually they will figure out the rest.

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I would argue veganism is a diet, so it only applies to food...but that gets tricky...in momnets of wealness I eat Reeses PB cups. Some times I eat out and I suspect the food is not entirely vegan. I sometimes prefer honey over sugar because I feel more sympathy towards migrant workers in the sugar industry...but I might be putting them outta work, but should I even be eating sweets anyway? It gets so complex...more later, gotta go...

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Actually that is a common mistake, thinking that the term "vegan" refers to only a diet.

 

The reason it was invented was for animals (ethical reason):

 

In 1944 Donald Watson and friends invented the word 'vegan' to fill the gap, and founded the Vegan Society (in the UK) specifically for this group. They defined the word in terms of all animal products, not just a diet, as that was the reason for inventing it, and everyone was happy - until the Americans got involved...

 

http://www.ivu.org/history/renaissance/words.html

 

Also people must remember that the founding of vegetarianism comes from ethical reasons, not for health or the environment. Buddhism, hinduism, sikhism, etc, and all the founding vegetarian movements, are based on respect for animals.

 

The environmental and health realizations are something we base on modern practices.

 

However, that is not good enough reason to go vegan alone. If you consider how natives and indegenous people lived naturally in harmony without destroying the environment, or being really sick or ill, that negates the entire reason to go vegan based on those reasons alone. So, if one lived as a native or indigenous, what reason would you have based on the environment or health not to eat animals? It doesn't exist! Therefore being vegan must be, as originally defined, for animals and ethical reasons.

 

Also in regards to leather lib, it is either a direct product from the slaughter industry, or it is one from a dedicated industry such as the ones in India, and it is definately a very cruel industry and one that results in the death of animals, so it isn't vegan if you wear leather! Bad lib!

http://www.cowsarecool.com/theFacts.asp

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You can eat vegan, and you can be vegan. That's two different things.

 

The first is easy, the second depends on definition.

To me, trying not to use any animals or animal products or products tested on animals, is being vegan. Of course many things, like using computers or cars, might be considered not vegan, but i guess you have to draw a line somewhere, or living is unvegan

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I agree within reason and that which we have control over. Taking a few seconds to make sure your products are not tested on animals or dont' contain animal ingredients, or finding alternative clothing/shoes/accessories, is easily done.

 

When we walk, we should be aware of where we step, but of course, we will kill insects by walking, or breathing, or cleaning, etc..

 

And the things we buy of course, not only the ingredients matter, the packaging, transport, manufacturing process, all contribute to animal habitat destruction or may contain animal products in glues/dyes etc, car tires contain animal based pigments for colors, etc..etc.., so it is definately not fully possible to never cause any harm to animals, especially in our modern urban living societies.

 

As a temple/village monk, you still have the insect issue when walking or sleeping, but you are not consuming, driving, or eating anything that wasn't harvested from your own crops and eaten fresh, so it is greatly reduced compared to city life, but of course, is never 100%.

 

The long term ideal solution, is localized living with local community farms, and everything being livable within local villages. The urban sprawl and flight travel/car travel is greatly the major problem in this world.

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the more you know...I did not know that was where the term vegan came from...I give the short answer that I am vegan, the long answer is that I have moments of selfish weakness. But then, for me veganism is for selfish reasons...I hate the way killing animals makes ME feel...it really is all about me,me,me! I feel bad when I see something suffering, in order to nip those feelings of guilt in the bud I just try to stay away from death. In the end, its all selfishness.

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While imo a vegan is someone that doesn't eat, wear, or use animal products or derived from animal products and/or tested on animals, I don't really care why the person goes vegan - just as long as they go vegan - and I'm pretty sure the animals don't care either.

 

Go vegan (whatever your reason(s)) and I'm a happy camper.

Edited by Crash
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I have heard the argument from some "vegans" who wore leather that they got it from thrift stores or had it before they went vegan. They also said that since leather lasted so long it was healthier for the environment because they didn't have to purchase new clothes/shoes as often. Now before you condemn me, I'm just telling you what they said...it's an interesting concept but I don't buy it. I will confess, a friend of mine brought me a Soviet Navy belt from Russia, it has a leather strap, and I do wear it occasionally. I like how the big buckle with the hammer and sickle agitates Texans!

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Here is a touchy subject, especially for this site, and I think I made someone mad when I brought it up (innocently I assure you) a year or so ago when I first visited this site...

If we are vegan for solely ethical reasons, is it trully ethical to load up on 7000-8000 calories a day so we can bulk up? When some have barely enough to survive? The money I save on vegan protein bars and excess calories could probably feed several starving children. ( I know this because I help feed a child in Africa with money I use to spend on cheap beer!) I think there are absolutely valid arguements that say it is accetable to bulk up, you provide an example contrary to the stereo typical 90 pound vegan. But then you could say a vegan who wears leather provides an alternative to the "holier than thou" stereo type of vegans. Personally, I think we all try our best, some go further than others, but noone can claim having reached the ideal. Its good to inspire one another, but not to judge...but then maybe I just believe this to justify my Reeses peanut butter cups. And before anyone gets irrate...I am trying to bulk up, I'm only posing the ethical query.

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about the leather products last longer, I know myself that is definately not true. My shoes and belts and wallet are all vegan, and so far, I've never had to replace any of them, other than my trail runners. I've had them all for over 3 years. In fact, I had a co-worker who bought a pair of high-end leather dress shoes, and said the same kind of thing, that his will outlast mine, and they definately didn't. I'm still wearing mine today, and he's replaced them already. You just have to buy good quality vegan shoes. All I can say is www.vegetarian-shoes.co.uk !!!!. Also new balance trail runners last a long long time too. You are guaranteed 2 years at minimum of these things, I'm onto my 3rd and 4th. Leather products wrinkle, stink, and wear out faster. The only argument they once had was the "breathability", but synthetics have come a long way. I wish all the hikers/climbers etc would stop buying wool socks and leather sport shoes.

 

that's good point about the bulking.....I'm a skinny guy so I'll get off the hook on that one =)

Edited by veganmonk
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You know, I didn't really buy their argument either, but I thought it was interesting...the lengths we can go to justify ourselves! I have to admit, I sometimes miss my leather jacket (being a reformed metalhead). I'd like to get a vegan substitute but I haven't found one that's quite right. I can do without tho.

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Personally I think when you give up consuming animal products you are a true VEGETARIAN(this is purely a diet term)...egg eating snakes aren't vegetarians are they???? So egg eating people aren't vegetarians either. Your vegan when you become a true vegetarian and stiop the use of animal tested products, and animal bye products for non dietary items. Vegetarian is the diet part...you can work at a slaughter house and be a vegetarian but not a vegan.

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That is an excellent point...I think it is the truest definition, but even that causes problems...technically if you use fruitarians as a model, true vegetarians would only eat vegetables. I finally just checked the dictionary and it agrees that veganism is a whole lifestyle, vegetarian is the diet.

As for the snakes, don't even egg eating snakes eat small rodents and insects? And just to be difficult, aren't all mammals technically incapable of being true vegetarians due to their dependence on mother's milk. And sometimes the get it from females that are not their own mother, in cases where some animals adopt or rear the young in groups (a friend of my wife has 2 cats that just gave birth to 2 litters at the same time, they just group feed with no distinction)

I'm just being difficult. When people ask why I don't drink milk I always say its cause milk is for babies.

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I think milk counts...so your not born vegan in that sense but your supposed to drink your mothers milk. Just like cows...other than insects not inteded to be eaten the naturally only eat vegetation but insects are eaten by accident...you can't do anything about a bug flying in your mouth and eating it or even a flying squirrel:) In terms of fruiterians I think they are eating vegetables too...the definition of vegetables is "the edible part of a plant" so really all fruits are vegetable but all vegetables aren't fruits...kinda the same old "all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares" So in all reality in diet alone a fruitarian is a vegetarian with specific boundaries. As for egg eating snakes many snakes eat eggs but there is a breed of snake called the egg eating snake(African Snake). It may eat insects accidently with its eggs but it never eats anything else on purpose. They have fairly weak jaws compared to most snakes so they aren't the toughest beast around...they just go around stealling eggs when mommy birds aren't around.

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Consuming your own species milk during infancy stage and also whatever goes on when two mammals engage in the reproductive process, means that the bodily fluids transferred within your species is exempt from this rule, as it is a requirement of life.

 

However, this is not supposed to be a cross-species thing - but some humans do drink cows milk for some strange reason - like little milk-stealing Ming over here:

 

http://www.milksucks.com/milksuckers/ethnicming.jpg

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Yeah, I was just giving you a hard time about mammals not being able to be vegan...that's very interesting about the Egg snakes, I knew about them, but I thought they supplemented their eggs with small rodents and insects...

As far as eating eggs goes, I don't really buy that it's a life, really just a menstral cycle. That's just gross! We've had friends that had chickens, raise them more like pets, and have offered us eggs. I can't bring myself to eat them tho, I've stayed away for too long. Some of those good habits are too hard to break...my wife does eat eggs and cheese, tho she was vegan for a while. Part of coming to this forum was to be inspired by others, I know no other vegans locally.

Did you (veganpotter) say at one time you raised reptiles?

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I switched because of my health.

I knew that the animals I ate were slaughtered.

Everyday millions of animals are eaten by other animals.

So I never gave it much thought.

 

But at the time, I really didn't know about all of the animal cruelty.

Now I know what we are doing to our bodies, our earth and our animals.

I don't buy animal products anymore, for food or otherwise.

 

I think it's great if somebody switches for dietary reasons.

Maybe they aren't a true Vegan.

But, eventually they will figure out the rest.

 

Agreed.

 

Although I do buy leather stuff at thriftshops/secondhand.

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Does anyone remember the Simpson episode where a character called himself a 5th level vegan-doesn't eat anything that casts a shadow...pretty funny.

I think making an attempt to live without animal products is good enough...it is an impossible task...technically you couldn't be on this forum now because animal products were used somewhere in the manufacture of the computer, or transport. Sad to say we live in a world fueled by animal exploitation. Obviously there are some boundries, that I think all would agree on, like people who call themselves vegetarian because they don't eat red meat on Fridays, they're actually Catholics.

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To continue that thought...anybody remember the band Youth of Today? They had a song about such an issue...I think the song was called "I thought we were on the same side" The point is if we start doling out rank on veganism it divides rather than unifies...I appreciate helpful peer input, but not judgement on whether I'm "giving all to the cause"...I've noticed that the loudest, most judgemental and hard core zealots are usually the same that bail out the quickest. Not always, but 99% of the time. The same folks who condemned me when I was "only" lacto ovo years ago now enjoy steaks. Just recently I "inspired" a friend to go vegetarian and he last about 3 months. He got real preachy and then suddenly gave up, he used some lame excuse about muscle pains that he felt were a sign of too little protein. He then went on to tease me for eating portobella burgers at a BBQ. If the vegan police want to get me...they'll never take me alive!!!!

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I never acually raised them but it was my plan to breed them...for a time I had over 20 reptiles consisting of snakes and lizards. As for eggs being part of the menstrual cycle its still an animal using all this energy for a natural process for the aid of their species...not ours. Its very stressful for animals to lay eggs just as it is for humans to have children...it reduces lifespan(although some birds lay eggs without male contact anyway)...dogs lose on average a year of life per litter...who knows about chickens and people.

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I'm not sure about that losing a year per litter...I know that animals used for breeding have their bodies ravaged, but I don't think you can call -or imply- natural reproduction is "deadly"...I was very oppossed to my dog Barbell getting spade, I thought it was far worse to mutilate her body. Unfortunately she was a very promiscuous young lady and after the 3rd litter I decided I had too...she's 14 now, by that logic she, if she dies tommorrow she should have lived to be 17...she's a large dog and has already outlived her vets expectations...but I do know that taken to the extreme it can ravage an animal's body...as for chickens, they'll lay eggs regardless, just a regular menstrual cycle...NOW I DON'T EAT EGGS, I'm not trying to defend it, I'm just saying I can understand how some people can justify eating eggs that are raised "humanely"...again I don't eat them, but I can see their logic, not that I would do it, I'm just saying, for the sake of arguement, that if my dog laid eggs, and they were all around the house, and I ate eggs, and I was so inclined, I might eat it rather than throw it away...if I ate menstrual cycles...

Oh yeah, and plants spend their energy for the survival of their own species too, not for us... I'm just saying... I guess I'm being difficult..

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The year per litter it an average number I was told when I was working at the ASPCA in Philadelphia. I'm not saying its deadly but it decreases lifespan. Intense excersize isn't natural and studies have found the same...I'm not nocking it...its fun. For the most part the oldest people in the world tend to either live privilaged lives or active...low stress lives. Its definately not healthy to pound your body into the ground on a daily basis...thats what were all doing here for the most part but its all voluntary. As for eggs I'd do what one of my sisters friends do in Hawaii...she has some rescued farm animals and it a vegan...the chickens lay eggs no matter what and instead of eating them she gives them to people that would buy them as cheap as possible...milk is the same for the instances when she get a new cow that just gave birth recently...she only has female rescues for large mammals so she doesn't have to worry about the natural breeding tendancies.

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