Tag Archives: vegan thinking

Guest Blogger: Made of Stars – {A-Z:Veganism} H is for Hatching Project

11 Feb
Let’s kick off Monday with a post from our newest guest blogger, Ally, all the way from Australia with her blog Made of Stars. Here is Ally in her own words, “I share a crazy, beautiful, noisy life with my husband, Mat, and our four tiny vegans. Mat and I aim to maintain a sense of humour – and our sanity! – as we navigate parenthood and the Lego blocks on our living room floor. I am passionate about veganism, Australian politics, breastfeeding, homebirth (my 3 sons were born at home) and dark chocolate. :) I have a Bachelor of Social Work, and have spent most of my career working in the field of family violence.” Check out Ally on: Made of Stars, Twitter, and Pintrest. Welcome Ally!
H is for…Hatching project.This is Sarge:

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Sarge the rooster.
Photo used with kind permission of B. Carmody.

Here is Sarge as a chick, with his sister and brothers:

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Chicks dust-bathing.
Photo by author.

I first encountered Sarge when he lived in an egg. His egg, his world, was part of a school hatching program.

The fragile inhabitants of those 12 eggs emerged into an incubator, to a motherless existence. They did not experience the welcoming chirps or body warmth of a nurturing mother. A heat lamp set to 37 degrees Celsius was their only warmth and comfort.

What is a hatching project?

Hatching projects are promoted as ‘fun and easy do-it-yourself programs that enable children to see chicks actually hatching from their eggs’. School teachers are encouraged to use hatching projects  in their classrooms.

One company, Living Eggs , asserts that their program provides children with ‘the opportunity to experience the miracle of life first hand…’. Hatching projects are promoted as ‘hands-on’ enhancements  for life cycle studies.

When participating in the Living Eggs hatching program, schools are provided with an incubator, eggs, a brooder box for the chicks, educational resources and chick feed.

The company aims for the chicks to hatch on a Wednesday (‘please inform us Wednesday afternoon if there are no signs of hatching’), and instructs that all chicks should be moved to the brooder box by Friday afternoon. It is requested that a ‘responsible person’ take the chicks home over the weekend.

On Monday, the chicks are ‘ready’ to be handled by the students. On the twelfth day, at the completion of the program, the chicks are collected, along with the incubator and brooder box.

What do hatching projects teach children?

According to the companies that provide this ‘experience’ for pre-schools and schools, children are learning about ‘the life cycle’.

A testimonial on the Living Eggs home page states:

‘A wonderful stimulus for work across the curriculum. It gave the children an amazing experience of a real life-cycle’.

Perhaps the chicks were a ‘wonderful stimulus’, however, I do not agree that there is anything ‘real’ about this set-up. A hatching project is not indicative of a ‘real’ life cycle. It is totally artificial!

Another testimonial exclaims:

‘Brilliant!  One of the most unique bonding experiences ever.’

Huh!? Who bonded? The kids? The kids and teacher? Or the kids and chicks? Perhaps the teacher and the chicks bonded?

It is disappointing that there is no concern for hen-chick bonding –  the bond between mother and baby.  I am curious to know what the children are told about the ‘absent’ mother.

In fact, one of the criticisms directed at hatching projects is that the chicks may ‘imprint’ (bond) with the children who are caring for them, only to experience separation anxiety when they are removed from the school a few days later.

Opponents of hatching projects assert that children are being taught to regard the fragile chicks as mere ‘teaching aides’, not sentient beings. This is further enforced when the chicks are collected at the end of the project. The chicks are disposable.

A classroom environment can not emulate the role of a mother hen, who rotates her eggs up to 30 times a day to ensure proper embryonic development.  A mother hen communicates with her offspring while they are still inside the eggs, welcoming them and guiding them as they emerge from their eggs.

This particular ‘educational experience’ patronises children. We only give them part of the story. Yes, the avian egg is fascinating. However, the ‘life cycle’ that is demonstrated to school students is a false one.  A mother, a hen, is essential for the life cycle. She is the layer of eggs, the one who gave them life.

Not just Chicks

I was dismayed to discover that one company,  Hatch n Grow , provides duckling eggs as part of its hatching program.

The Hatch n Grow website provides the following cautionary announcement:

‘PLEASE NOTE: Ducklings can drown if you don’t provide a step for them to get out of the water by themselves. It’s always best to supervise the ducklings in the water and if at any time they look tired or cold put them back near their heat light for a rest.’

It is very unlikely that a duckling would drown under the guidance and supervision of her mother, but in a busy classroom a tired or struggling duckling  may go unnoticed.

The web site also states that their program is:

‘Great for keeping the kids in the neighbourhood occupied at home during the school holidays.’

Is that the value we truly wish to place on living beings? When we use living beings as ‘occupiers’ of our children’s time, we treat them as a novelty. The ducklings are reduced to the status of a play thing, a toy.

Ducklings are very cute, undeniably so. I am sure that  my kids would love to hold one. But, this is where our influence and guidance as parents is so important. It is essential that we instill in our children a belief that ducklings (and other beings) are not play things, that they have inherent value as living beings.

At all stages, we must ask: Is this action beneficial to the duckling (or chick)? Is it kind, is it right? This process requires empathy.

We must also ask: What are my children learning from this experience? Are these the types of beliefs that I want them to develop about animals?

I do not want my children to regard animals as toys. This belief, therefore, influences the type of activities  that I would seek for my children to be involved in.  Hatching projects in the home are definitely out.

Sarge’s Story

I rescued four of the chicks from the school hatching project that Sarge was a part of, and took them home to my suburban backyard.

My sister and I named the chicks according to their unique features: Sarge appeared to be ‘the boss’, the benevolent leader. Tails grew her white tail feathers first. Lionel’s tail feathers appeared as distinct ‘lines’. Baby was the smallest.

They were tiny, precious and fragile- and we fell in love with them.

As they grew, two things became apparent-

1. Three were roosters, Tails was the only hen;

2. They were ‘broilers’ (meat chickens), not ‘egg laying’ chickens. The company had stated that the remaining chicks, Sarge’s siblings, were going to a ‘free range’ egg facility.  I had not believed this assertion at the time and, as our chicks ‘grew’ into broilers, we confirmed the claims to be false.

Broiler Chickens

As the chicks grew, deformities began to emerge. And grow they did. Rapidly. Broiler chickens have been bred to gain weight fast. They are commonly slaughtered at approximately 30-35 days old (but no later than 55-60 days old). They are just babies.

I felt so relieved that I had brought the chicks to my home. What fate had awaited them otherwise?

Before long, the chickens could barely carry their own weight. Any amount of exertion would render them exhausted. At times it seemed conceivable that their fragile legs may snap under the weight of their unnaturally large bodies. Eventually, Lionel could only walk short distances at a time.

At the time that we shared our lives with Sarge, Lionel, Tails and Baby I had not eaten chicken for 4 years. I had read about broiler chickens and their crippling deformities. I had seen photos of them.

Now, I was sharing my life and home with broiler chickens. I observed their dust bathing and their exploration of the backyard. My heart ached as I watched them struggle to walk.

I wanted everyone to meet them. To know them. To know what these beings endure in order for humans to eat roast chicken and chicken nuggets. They were just babies. Do people realise that they are eating babies?

There was a happier ending for Sarge, Tails, Lionel and Baby.

A New Home

Once Sarge, Lionel and Baby began crowing each morning, it became apparent  that it was time to find them a more suitable, more rural home.

That is when Bede Carmody came in to our lives. Bede was living on a property that was home to ex-battery hens. He agreed to provide a home for our 4 friends. For this act of kindness and compassion, I will be grateful to Bede, forever.

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Tails, resting at her new home.
Photo used with kind permission of B. Carmody.

Bede updated us on the lives of our broiler friends with photos and letters, and it became apparent to me that he had welcomed them into his heart.

Sadly, all of  these precious chickens died before their first birthday.

Unlike millions of their kin, however, they died FREE. They were not slaves, they were not subjected to the stress of transportation or the horrors of a slaughterhouse – and they knew kindness. In a chicken production facility, they would have been slaughtered before they reached 2 months old.

A Poultry Place

Bede Carmody now runs a no-kill sanctuary called A Poultry Place in Southern New South Wales. A Poultry Place (APP) is home to rescued and unwanted hens, roosters, ducks, turkeys and geese. No doubt, some of the roosters in residence are former hatching project chicks. APP celebrated its 12th birthday this week.

I have not seen Bede for many years, but I look forward to the day that I can hug him and thank him again for his kindness.

I eagerly anticipate  the day that Mat and I visit  A Poultry Place with our children.

For this is the appropriate place to gain a ‘hands on’ educational experience about chickens and ducks (and others).  I want my children to learn about the lives of the precious beings who reside there, to understand that the residents have been blessed with a  second chance. I want them to hear about the personalities, habits and ‘quirks’ of Bede’s feathered friends.

My kids can also gain some ‘education’ by helping Bede with some of the never-ending jobs that stack up at an animal sanctuary! I’m thinking cleaning, shoveling, feeding…..that is very ‘hands on’!

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Sarge and his pals at dinner time.
Photo used with kind permission of B. Carmody.

Have you visited an animal sanctuary? Please let me know in the comments.

An alternative to chicken hatching programs, a lesson plan called Beak, Wings and Feet is available here.

More information about A Poultry Place is available here.

References:

Edgar’s Mission

World of Animal Welfare (WOAW) 

In My A-Z of Veganism series, I discuss and explore a topic or issue related to veganism, and my experiences as a vegan – as I work my way through the alphabet!

Ally

Guest Blogger: Cadry’s Kitchen – What to do when the joke’s on you

21 Sep

Always great to meet new (to me) vegan bloggers. Please meet Cadry, she is the author of Cadry’s Kitchen, here she is in her own words:  “A longtime kale & chickpea enthusiast, you’ll find me cooking up delicious plant-based fare at my blog, Cadry’s Kitchen, which is also home to the only claymation cooking video on the web.  I was a recipe contributor for Vegan’s Daily Companion, the online version of 30 Day Vegan Challenge, and The Compassionate Cooks Club.  My other interests include making hand-built pottery, biking, hiking, and keeping my cats amply supplied with nutritional yeast flakes.” Follow Cadry on her blog, Facebook and Twitter. Welcome Cadry!

Someone recently found my blog by searching, “My friends tease me because I’m vegetarian. What can I do?” Hey, searcher, this post is for you!

I don’t know how often you re-watch movies of the 1980’s, but my husband and I were flipping channels a few weeks ago and came upon Roxanne. For those of you who don’t know it, it was a modern-day take on Cyrano de Bergerac, with Steve Martin playing a man named C.D. who rocked an unusually large nose. Thinking that no one could find him attractive, he wooed the woman of his dreams through his handsome friend. In one scene, a man at a gathering called Martin’s character “Big Nose.” Martin launched into what became a stand-up routine of all of the better styles of jokes at his expense that the guy could have used.

Fashionable: You know, you could de-emphasize your nose if you wore something larger. Like… Wyoming.

Sympathetic: Oh, what happened? Did your parents lose a bet with God?

Obscure: Oh, I’d hate to see the grindstone.

I’ve been writing a lot in these past few weeks about things you discover when you first go vegan, and one that definitely comes up is that you’ll hear a lot of jokes. I think there are many reasons for that, and one of the biggest is that jokes, as a tool, are used to diffuse an uncomfortable situation. When we, as people, are suddenly aware of ourselves or our habits in a way that makes us feel defensive or uncomfortable, jokes are an easy release valve. They’re a way of voicing that discomfort in a socially accepted way.

That’s understandable and something we all do in one way or another at times. However, when veganism is totally new to you, and you’re suddenly getting teased regularly at mealtimes, it can get… tiresome. Jokes also highlight beliefs that separate us and that unite us. Sometimes when you’re a new vegan and the only one in the group, jokes create an interesting us-versus-them power dynamic, which can feel very startling when you’re suddenly in the minority.

As a new vegan, what do you do? Become grumpy and have people think you’re a spoilsport? Or laugh even when the joke is at your expense? (I mean, to the bald guy, is the 10th bald joke funny? Probably not.) Plus, when a person is vegan for the animals, it can feel like the joker-in-question is not only laughing at you, but also making light of the victims of the meat, dairy, and egg industries, who you care about.

Something that worked for me when I was newly vegan and meeting up with people who were very vocal about their differing ideologies was to take it all in as if I were watching a documentary. The jabs and jokes didn’t really have anything to do with me, even though it could feel very personal. These statements said more about their views than they did about me. I tried, not always successfully, to observe with curiosity and without attachment. (This advice goes for misguided jokes. Obviously if someone is being cruel, that’s another story…)

This past summer, my husband and I went to a grill out at a public campground. It was with a group of people that we didn’t know well, most of whom I was meeting for the first time. We brought cookies to share and Field Roast sausages and vegetables to grill. We have a mini grill that we like to use on those occasions that we’ll be cooking out with people who are grilling animal flesh, especially when public grills are involved. I think it’s easier and more pleasant to have my own grill, spatula, and tongs, and then I can keep our food animal-free. Anyway, we set up our grill not far from where some guys in the group were also cooking. They noticed that we had our own grill and were inquisitive about why.

When I told them that we’re vegan one of the guys chimed in with, “Oh, so do you have room for a cow heart on your grill?” He said it as if it were a joke, but it’s kind of insensitive and aggressive when you look at the face of it. If I’d been like Martin’s character in Roxanne, perhaps this would have been the time I pulled out the many jokes I’ve heard over the years:

Classic: Oh, you’re vegan? I’m a member of PETA. People Eating Tasty Animals.

Culinary: Yeah, I love animals too. Next to the mashed potatoes.

Philosophical: If God didn’t want us to eat animals, why did he make them of meat?

Instead I smiled and said, “Nope. We don’t have any room for that.”

As has been common in these last few posts about veganism… It gets easier. First, the jokes slow way down. After a while, people run out of jokes or they’ve already said their best ones, and so it’s not an interesting topic anymore. It’s old news. Second, people get more comfortable with you being vegan. They don’t need to diffuse an uncomfortable situation, because they aren’t uncomfortable. Third, they realize you’re still the same person you always were and that you’re going to keep being vegan. There’s no reason to continue commenting on something that’s not going to change.

So now the times when I hear jokes it’s in one of two circumstances – when I’m just meeting people and it randomly comes up or when I’m with people I know very well and who are comfortable with me being vegan. In the first case, it’s easier now to give people slack. I get it. There was a time that veganism seemed very foreign to me too. The only way that I can communicate that vegans are warm, and open, and have a sense of humor is if I give the same compassion I want to receive and the same compassion I want the animals to receive. In the second, now when my close family and friends joke with me about veganism, it’s good-natured. They know I care very deeply about animals. They get it. And it feels entirely different when a joke is made that’s born out of long conversations and shared history. It’s the kind of joke that recognizes our commonality.

Oh, and one more little thing… Why did the vegan cross the road? Because he was protesting for the chicken, man!

Guest Blogger: Life of a Vegan

18 Jul

Most of us discovered veganism in our late 20’s and even 30’s, our newest blogger VeggieGirl29, is starting early. Here she is in her own words, “I’m a Vegan teenager that has been vegan for 7 months now and vegetarian for three years. I feel like I open the eyes of the younger generation that wants to make the switch but their parents are against it. I also face the struggles in high school and being a teenager and being vegan as well. I feel like I open eyes.” Follow her on Twitter and her blog; please welcome VeggieGirl29!

So the other day, I was talking about my veganism and such. WELL, someone asked me if I believed in God. Obviously I said yes. They’re response was, “God put meat on this earth for humans to eat.”

Here’s my response to that:

First, greed is a deadly sin. How greedy certain people get about meat, gets kind of sickening. People kind of over do it on the whole meat thing. I saw someone eat a beef rib, a hamburger, a hot dog, and I think one other thing I couldn’t tell you. That is being to greedy and taking too much from animals.

Second, it has been proven that ANY organism shouldn’t be drinking other animals milk, humans shouldn’t after the age of two. We aren’t suppose to be having milk and cheese in our systems… So God didn’t give us that, we forced it upon ourselves.

Lastly, if God wanted me to eat meat so bad, wouldn’t I be in the hospital at this moment? I mean honestly, if eating meat was so good for me, wouldn’t I be getting sick? But isn’t it the other way around? Becoming vegan I have lowered my chances of getting heart disease incredibly and up my chances to fight diseases.

Sorry if I offended  anyone with this post, but I was offended with at response that man gave to me. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian out that, you are no less that anyone else just by what you eat.

With all my respect,

VeggieGirl

P.S. you can always ask me questions and follow me on Twitter @VeggieGirl29

 

Guest Blogger: Lindsay is Vegan – A Day in the Life

25 Jun

With a simple name and straightforward writing style, Lindsay is Vegan is written by – you guessed it – Lindsay! Lindsay is a vegan living in Vancouver who documents her obsession and utter lack of control with delicious vegan food on her blog Lindsay is Vegan. Find her on Twitter or find her as a regular contributer on Vegan Mainstream. Please welcome Lindsay!

I write a vegan food blog where I feature my experiments with other people’s recipes and my own concoctions but I find that people are most curious about what I eat during the day. I guess it’s easy to see what I eat when I go out and buy different ingredients for a specific dish but apparently what vegans eat on the go is a complete mystery. So I thought I would give Vegan Bloggers Unite! an exclusive look into my diet of an average day! So all of you carnivores: continue reading to discover all of my vegan secrets and for all you vegans: keep reading for a thrilling day in the life of ME!

June 18th, 2012- A Day in the Life of Lindsay is Vegan

I wake up at 7:00am for an early day at work and groggily head to the kitchen while my cat verbally abuses me about (what I imagine is) the quality of her dry food. This morning I make some toast with peanut butter sprinkled with some flax seeds. I need my protein and this will fill my stomach for the next couple of hours. Plus the crunchy, chewy peanut butter is extremely satisfying first thing in the morning.

Get up and feed me. Now.

On my way to work I tell myself that I don’t need a coffee. I’m weaning myself off caffeine and can’t afford one everyone morning because it’s an unnecessary indulgence… right before I stop by Blenz for one of their perfect soy lattes.

The best part of waking up is giving up on personal pacts (I will not drink coffee…)

I instantly feel caffeinated and ready to attack my job duties when I sit down and I remember that I packed watermelon for work. Sweet, perfect, seedless, watermelon. I begin to realize that although I am caffeinated and satisfied from my peanut butter toast, I haven’t really had anything hydrating yet. So at 8:45a I decide that I NEED to eat my watermelon. I can’t risk fainting at work due to lack of H20, it would be embarrassing and I’m wearing a skirt. So I go ahead and devour my watermelon while my 2001 laptop fires up.

Watermelon: it beckons to be eaten

Around 9:30a I start eyeing my chickpea salad. I love chickpeas. If I had to live on a desert island with only 10 foods, chickpeas would be one of them. They’re filling and light and when you mix them with nuts and avocado they become satisfying like listening to Adele while drinking wine by yourself.

Rolling in the Deep: Chickpeas with hazelnuts, avocado, and artichoke hearts

However I begin to worry that I will have eaten my entire lunch before 9:00am and I’m trying to lose weight for my bachelorette party in a couple of weeks. I want people to tell me I look great but that I might be a little too skinny and then I’ll laugh and just say that I’ve been stressed and working a lot. But really I’ve been sucking lemons for dinner the past three nights. (Do not try at home)

Ultimately I decide that I have tons of time to start eating at a regular pace so that I can be smug in a bikini and eat the chickpea salad.

It’s 1:30pm and I’ve eaten my banana, a handful of almonds, some candy from my co-worker’s desk, and my stomach is ready to go again. I have 30 minutes left before I can race home and make a delicious dinner (although it’s really still lunch). It’s around this time that I begin to daydream about what exactly I’m going to eat. If Tiger Woods envisions his winning putts then I envision my perfect dinners, it’s how the elite do it.

At home I decide for fajitas (I eat them at least once a week) and dig up anything in my kitchen that I can fit inside my wraps. I decide to switch the tortillas for lettuce leaves because I’m starting to fear the image of myself in a bikini again.

Bikini-Friendly Fajitas

For the rest of the night I snack on nuts, mangos, and sparkling water. And Voila! The myth of the daily vegan has been debunked! For those of you who have always wondered, let me tell you it is a tasty and satisfying existence where every meal is treated as though it could be your last. (Unless you’re two days from your bachorlette party, then it’s basically lemon water and celery…)

Guest Blogger: Red Glitter X – Vegan Is

2 May

Please welcome back the multi-talented Red GlitterX! Follow her with links located at the end of the post.

Animal Liberation = Earth Liberation = Human Liberation

The word “vegan” (/ˈviːɡən/) was invented in 1944, by Elsie Shrigley and Donald Watson, who founded the UK Vegan Society. The British Vegan Society defines veganism this way:

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.

Anyone who is involved with Animal Liberation or Animal Rights Activism today can see how since 1944, the word has been twisted and pulled in all directions, and in some instances, ignored all together, an exception here, an exception there.

However, the UK Vegan Society founders invented the word, if this is their definition, then this is what VEGAN means. If someone chooses to live differently to this, perhaps they should invent their own word, and start their own movement.

This definition has 3 parts:
: the first part describes what it excludes, all forms of exploitation, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

ALL animals: it does not say mammals, it does not say except fish, nor except invertebrates … it says all animals. And, there are also no exceptions for Bees. Bees are animals, honey is not a matter for debate. Honey does not come from plants, any more than milk comes from grass or grains (or more likely what cattle actually eat, the rendered bodies of their fallen comrades, plastic, sludge, toxic and radioactive waste). It is not possible to use an animal for any purpose without exploiting it. Just as it is exploitation of people to use them without the consent or paying a wage (we call that slavery), since animals cannot give consent, even if we think they are happy, all animal use is exploitation.

for ANY purpose or reason: eating animals because someone thinks animal corpses taste good is not a reason for cruelty and exploitation; wearing animals as clothes or jewellery is not reason for cruelty and exploitation; torturing them in labs for profit is sadistic and gives inaccurate results and is not a reason; using animals for sport by forcing them to race or fight is not a reason; entertainment in TV shows, circuses and rodeos shows our lack of creativity and is not a reason; crush films are not a reason; hunting for sport is not a reason, and it is not a sport, unless both sides are armed; canned hunts are not a reason either, regardless of how much money someone spends, and not very sporting; skinning animals alive and turning their skins into fashion that will become landfill in six months while their bodies are turned into floor cleaner and mascara is not a reason; slicing a rhino or elephants face off and letting it die, for horn or ivory as a sex powder is not a reason, nor does it work; slicing fins off sharks for soup and throwing the shark back to drown is not a reason; anger management is not a reason, don’t take your frustrations out on an animal; sex is not a reason despite what the author of ANIMAL LIBERATION has to say.

There is absolutely no defensible reason for using any animal for any reason.

: the second part goes on to describe how vegan is more than just excluding or avoiding products from your own life, it involves by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. Does this mean that if a vegan isn’t actively out there promoting veganism, encouraging veganism, and seeking alternatives for animal products to replacing current products on the market they aren’t vegan? It would suggest so.

This also suggests that working to protect and save the environment is an integral part of the (original) definition of vegan.

If someone merely avoids bringing suffering into their own life by avoiding animal products they personally purchase, but do nothing to prevent the exploitation and cruelty of animals which they know is going on beyond their own little life, it would seem to more easily fit the criteria of ‘welfarist’, which isn’t vegan.

Vegan is active about ending exploitation, it is not merely passively avoiding it.

: the third part, reiterates the dietary ideals, in case people are still confused about the whole ‘not using any animal for any reason’ part, In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.
It does not mean a little bit of cheese now and again is okay, it does not mean it is alright to eat fish because they swim rather than walk, it does not mean it is fine to use honey because some people refuse to accept bees as animals, it does not mean home-collected free range eggs (which I once saw a fruitarian describe as “chicken fruit” and acceptable on a fruitarian diet).

Vegan is not hyphenated, unlike vegetarian. A person cannot be lacto-vegan (lacto=milk), ovo-vegan (ovo=eggs), pesco-vegan (pesco=fish), mel-vegan (mel=honey), pollo-vegan (pollo=chicken), porcine-vegan (porcine=pig), ovis-vegan (ovis=sheep), bovine-vegan (bovine=cows).

If you choose to consume any of these things, you are not a vegan-hyphen-something, you are a necrovore (‘death-eater’), you may be transitioning, in which case you are becoming vegan, but, when non-vegans label themselves as a ‘vegan’, it waters down, and eventually renders useless the meaning we already have.

Vegan means vegan, if you have to add a hyphen, you are no longer vegan.

If a person decides to eat cheese, fish, honey, and free range eggs, it is their choice to do so. However, they should stop calling themselves ‘vegan’ because it fails to meet even the most basic definition of vegan diet which excludes all products derived wholly or partly from animals.

Being vegan is also more than just changing a diet, if someone eats a vegan diet, but continues to ab/use animal products in the rest of their life, they are not a vegan, they are a strict vegetarian.

Similarly, there are no part-time vegans. There are no shades of gray. Either you are vegan or you are not. Once someone starts redefining Vegan to meet their personal lifestyle choices (But I love my leather jacket) they are not Vegan.

Nor are there exemptions for ‘cocktail parties’. Being Vegan is not a lifestyle choice, it is not like a uniform, you put on for work, and take off when you socialise. If someone is only vegan when it is convenient, it is more evidence for detractors who say that veganism is privilege of the white, wealthy, Westerners.

Vegan has been redefined and reinterpreted so much, that sometimes when someone explains what their Veganism means to them it bears no resemblance to what Vegan means.

Maybe I should form my own movement – VGN: vegan without all the crap.

No exceptions, no clauses, no loopholes, no hyphens. If it is an animal product, it is not vegan.

What vegan ISN’T… is isn’t feminism, anti-agist, anti-semitic, pro-semitic, christian, atheist, anti-homophobic, pro gay rights, anti-racist, anti-transphobic, anti-ableist, pro-multi culturalism or pro peace, it is not Left or Right. It is none of these things. And when people try to claim that a person is required to be feminist or anti-racist in order to be a vegan, it is missing the point completely. What they are trying to sell you is not veganism. But some bland blancmange of rights and justice dressed up in “animal rights” clothing.

Veganism is end the exploitation and cruelty of animals, and animals only. All these other liberations will flow from widening our circle of compassion (A Einstein). It does veganism a disservice to transform it into one-size-fits-all movement of liberation.

Although, the original 1944 definition of vegan says that alternatives to using animals says that must benefit humans and the environment, these are part of veganism. But veganism does not replace these other movements. Veganism does not usurp or invalidate other environmental, ecological, human rights movements. Other rights movements do not need to be vegan in order to continue to fight their fight.

Other liberation movements or civil rights activists are not required to free the world, why is this a necessary for animal liberation and vegans?

I have seen vegans say you need to read certain books in order to call yourself a vegan. Sorry, wrong! illiterates can be vegan too, as long as they exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals.

That is it. That is all there is to it. All we need to know is there. Each of us can read that, or have it read to us, and decide for ourselves the most effective way we can apply this to our own life, in our own circumstances.

Do we really need leaders and gurus and experts to tell us how to live as vegans? Do we need to debate and philosophise about veganism? Do we need to be told what do in the fight to end exploitation and cruelty? Do we need priests interpreting The Word on our behalf.

How much money is diverted from saving animals to propping up and lining the pockets of groups and leaders who use veganism and animal rights to push their own agenda.

We don’t need the authority or approval or leadership of anyone to be a vegan. As long as we stick to the definition, set out in 1944 and hardly been improved on since.

Vegan has a meaning, let’s use it. And not try to transform it into something that it never was and shouldn’t ever be.

One thing that is not including in Shrigley-Watson definition is the means or method of how the end of exploitation and cruelty will be achieved. It does not specify ‘non-violence’, nor does it advocate ‘pro-violence’. It simply encourages us to do it, not how.

The ‘How’ we achieve that is up to each and every one of us who choose to take up the fight on behalf of animals. There is no right way or wrong way. As long as it doesn’t harm animals, humans or the environment, how can a tactic or method be not-vegan.

Some people may advocate for one method over another, and say those who use only the other method, (whether education, direct action, baking, or anything in-between), the definition of Vegan does not tell us How, it just tells us Do. Anyone who tries to convince followers their only path to veganism is through them and their books, should perhaps take another look at Shrigley and Watson’s definition of the word.

For social media vegans, some add the Ⓥ to their profiles or names. While this is simply a V in a circle, it has been adopted by some to represent vegan. This is made either by copy and paste or Ⓥ.

So, let us not complicate things, how does someone go vegan…

The only way is to be vegan, is to BE vegan.

@redglitterx for Vegan Animal Liberation Alliance

Guest Blogger: new vegan age – Vegan Creed

3 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had fantastic holidays and enjoyed a bounty of delicious food. We have a brand new guest blogger Tom, who writes new vegan age. His blog celebrates the vegan community with original interviews, insightful commentary, and passionate discussion. He welcomes the affirmation and criticism of experts, amateurs, and skeptics alike, asking only that the tone remain positive and engaging. Tom  has been writing, editing, and teaching for 20 years, and he aims to improve the world by enjoying and contributing to all that its people and animals have to offer through writing, music, and art. He holds a BA in English from Ursinus College and Master’s degrees in education and business from Hunter College and Baruch College of the City University of New York. Here are his links for twitter and Facebook. Please welcome Tom!

As a Christian, I try to quietly live like Christ. I never quote scripture, and I don’t attend church often, but when I do, the congregation’s recitation of the Apostles’ Creed can move me to tears.

A credo (Latin, “I believe”) is a simple yet powerful statement of belief. It’s everything in just a few words. Veganism is simple, too. Is our credo no meat? Is it do no harm? Or, does it go something like this?

I believe that all animals—wild animals, farm animals, and our beloved companion animals—feel pain, make decisions, and are inclined to protect themselves and their families from harm.

I believe that, as beings with a higher intelligence, it is humans’ moral, social, and political responsibility to protect the health and well-being of all wild, farm, and companion animals, and not to use or consume anything derived from them for the sake of beauty, flavor, or convenience.

I believe that proposed legislation, laws, policies, procedures, and actions should uniformly and unfailingly address our responsibility to protect animals, ensuring they are never unnecessarily or knowingly confined, tortured, or killed.

I believe that a safe, well-protected, well-cared-for animal population improves and strengthens communities and the lives of the people who live there.

I believe that an individual’s impact on the environment can be minimized by  consuming and using plant-based food and products, and that a vegan diet frees up land to grow food for people that would otherwise be used to house animals and grow the food that is required to feed them.

Someday soon, aspiring and elected politicians at every level of government will be compelled to address their beliefs about the relationship between humans and animals, in their campaign platforms, interviews, and leglislative records. (An inspiring, more comprehensive, and much-better codified universal declaration has already been adopted by World Society for the Protection of Animals.)

How would you strengthen and further simplify this proposed five-paragraph Vegan Credo? How can we get local, state, and national officials (as well as the organizations and parties to which they belong) to rate these statements of belief, and to openly post and discuss these positions as freely as they do for issues like gun ownership, abortion, and the privatization of Social Security?

July 10, 2011 UPDATE: Thanks to those of you who have directly (and in other forums) shared thought-provoking, inspiring, challenging questions and feedback. As you’ve very helpfully pointed out, we must and will consider certain fundamental questions (and tweak some of its words for accuracy). To some people, there is only one credo, and it is it the Christian statement of beliefs. (This was drafted only to propose a clear statement of vegans’ beliefs, and not to replace or update any other accepted credo.) Further, can any succinct statement fully and universally address the beliefs of all vegans? I agree with those of you who have pointed out that it can not. I’ll await any other comments and questions that may trickle in, then propose an updated version in a month. Thanks again.