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Types of Vegans?
Can you tell me all the kinds of vegans
Hmm, let's see.... There are big, small,
old, young, tall, short, gay, straight, thin, fat, single,
married, wealthy, poor, Asian, Black, Hispanic, White,
brown, "green," Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist,
Jain, Muslim, agnostic, atheist, democrat, republican,
socialist, capitalist, leftist, rightist, liberal, conservative....
Well, you get the picture. There is no one kind of vegan.
The term "vegan" was created in 1944
by a small group of people in England who broke away
from the Leicester Vegetarian Society to establish the
world's first Vegan Society. Donald Watson coined the
actual term by combining the first and last parts of
the word "vegetarian" because, as Watson stated, "veganism
begins with vegetarianism and carries it through to
its logical conclusion." The group championed a totally
plant-based diet excluding flesh, fish, fowl, eggs,
honey, animals' milk, butter, and cheese. In addition,
they opposed the use of animal-based commodities and
encouraged the manufacture and use of alternatives.
Their mission statement asserted that the elimination
of exploitation of any kind is necessary in order to
bring about a more reasonable and humane society and
emancipate both humans and animals. In 1960, the American
Vegan Society was founded in the United States by Jay
Dinshah. It fully supported (and continues to support)
the precepts of the British
Vegan Society, advocating a totally plant based
diet and lifestyle free of animal products.
The term "vegetarian" was created in
1847 by the people who eventually became the first members
of the Vegetarian Society of Great Britain. It refers
to individuals who do not eat meat, fowl, or fish. The
word "vegetarian" encompasses strictly what one eats
and does not allude to behavior outside of diet. As
a result, there are many different kinds of vegetarians
because there is a wide range of food choices within
these parameters. There are vegetarians who are ovo,
lacto, ovolacto, macrobiotic, raw foodist, natural hygiene,
oil-free, sugar-free, high-protein, low carbohydrate,
and so on. Within the boundaries of the basic definition,
the possibilities are limitless. This is because there
is no ideology behind the meaning of "vegetarian" that
consolidates each person's individual perspective or
motivation. Therefore, people may choose to be vegetarian
for any number of reasons and their diets may differ
vastly. Because vegetarianism deals exclusively with
food, the concept of a "vegetarian lifestyle" is an
oxymoron. The only thing a vegetarian has in common
with other vegetarians is what they don't eat.
Contrary to vegetarianism, veganism
was founded on deeply held ethical convictions that
espouse a dynamic respect for all life. This philosophy
unifies vegans everywhere, regardless of superficial
differences. Hence, a vegan from one part of the world
can relate to and empathize with a vegan from another
part of the world despite their disparate culture and
There are no such entities as "part-time
vegans," "partial vegans," or "dietary vegans." People
who merely consume no animal products, including no
eggs, animals' milk, or honey are not vegans; they are
"total vegetarians." Until one's commitment extends
beyond the scope of food, the word "vegan" does not
apply, regardless of how the media or certain individuals
wish to employ it. Unlike vegetarianism, being vegan
does not entail simply what a person does or doesn't
eat -- it comprises who a person is.
People who are vegan attempt to imbue
every aspect of their lives with an ethic of compassion.
This influences their choice of clothing, personal care
products, occupation, and hobbies, as well as food.
It also colors their political perspectives, social
attitudes, and personal relationships. This is not to
say that all vegans think alike, act the same, have
analogous opinions, or view the world and their place
in it identically. Nevertheless, vegans do subscribe
to a shared tenet that builds a collective awareness.
It is this coalescence of consciousness that creates
a bond among vegans and has the power to transcend cursory
distinctions. In the final analysis, despite our diversity,
there is only one type of vegan -- a person who is committed
to and practices a reverence and respect for all life.
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