I have had the displeasure of seeing vegan campaigns with slogans like “Fight Climate Change – Go Vegan” or “Reduce Global Hunger – Go Vegan”. This is misleading.
First let's define veganism more clearly. Vegans do not contribute to animal exploitation by using or supporting any of the following products or practices:
* Animal flesh (including fish) and animal products: dairy, eggs, cheese, honey, animal-derived byproducts (examples: casein, whey, gelatin, milk solids, egg albumin)
* leather, wool, silk, down, fur, animal skins
* vivisection, dissection in school, cosmetics/toiletries/household cleaners that contain animal ingredients and/or are tested on animals
* Pet shops, puppy mills, breeding, buying or selling living beings, confining birds in cages or fishes in bowls (that could otherwise live freely in their environment).
* Fishing, hunting, rodeos, cockfights
* circuses, zoos, marine parks; sea and land animal prisons
* dog/horse racing, dog shows, horse-drawn carriages
All of the above are aspects of the vegan way of life. How could not going to a dog race or rodeo, or not keeping a fish imprisoned in a bowl, have anything to do with global warming? How could not supporting puppy mills and pet shops have anything to do with human health? How could not purchasing products of vivisection have anything to do with global hunger issues?
Therefore, they are not the REASON one chooses to be vegan. No one is a vegan to combat global warming. One can abstain from animal agriculture and factory farming as a stand to halt global warming. This is Truth. However, veganism extends beyond diet to clothing and products and not funding practices of animal exploitation.
Eating a plant-based diet to the exclusion of all animal products IS healthier and would greatly benefit any human being that converts to this way of eating. It’s like no longer putting kerosene in your gas tank and finally putting the correct fuel in to run your system. However, eating plants does NOT make someone a vegan, but a strict vegetarian or an herbivore or plant-powered. Yes, if humanity adopted a plant-based diet and ceased breeding animals for human consumption that would free up a lot of grains to feed starving children and our ever-too-fastly growing human population. It's our best hope of halting climate change and slowing environmental devastation. It would benefit people – however eating the diet that vegan's eat is not the same as living the vegan ideal. It would be an excellent step forward in creating a ‘vegan humanity’ indeed, and probably everyone would then become vegans, if they became dietary vegans first. But the REASON one would go vegan, not pseudo vegan, is solely because they want no part in the social injustice of speciesism and our horrific disrespect of other animals. That is THE REASON.
We can mention the many benefits that come with vegan living in your advocacy, but we can’t truthfully have slogans that read FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING – GO VEGAN, which I have seen, or ask people to 'Go Vegan' because it is healthier for them. Slogans like these are misleading people from really understanding the vegan ethic and a disservice to animals and the advancement of the vegan movement. Alternatively, you can say:
Vegans, by not participating in animal agriculture, contribute the least to environmental degradation and the very serious threat of global warming. The vegan diet, which is one component of the vegan way of life, is nutritionally complete for all stages of the life cycle including pregnancy and athleticism, and even has medical benefits in reversing some diseases, and helps to protect us from many life-threatening ailments. There are many benefits that ensue from vegan living, but they are not the reason one becomes vegan.
This is from The Vegan Society’s site (the originators of the word and first vegan society):
“Today, the Society remains as determined as ever to promote vegan lifestyles - that is, ways of living that seek to exclude, as far as is possible and practical, all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. With your help, veganism will soon be accepted and understood across the globe. Ultimately, the use of animal products (such as meat, dairy, eggs, leather and wool) will be viewed as an inhumane and unsustainable practice from a much less enlightened age.”