Monday, January 10, 2011

Vegan vs. Vegetarian

What the word "Vegan" means?
This term was coined in 1944 by a group that included Donald Watson, and was adopted later that same year by The Vegan Society, which was co-founded by Watson. According to a Memorandum of the Association of the Vegan Society, the group defined veganism as:

“A way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.”

Donald Watson had a good reason for deciding to present a new word. For the past century, people who avoided animal products, particularly flesh, had called themselves vegetarians. The founders of the Vegetarian Society of Great Britain applied this word in 1847 to describe a certain kind of diet people adopted, but the word did not always mean a commitment to avoid all forms of violence against other conscious beings. In the 1900s, vegetarianism commonly described a person who does not eat the flesh of mammals, fish, or birds, but whether to avoid eggs, dairy products, honey, wool, leather and so forth was not always clear. Watson wanted to make it clear.

The word “vegan” took “vegetarian” to its logical conclusion: the conscientious avoidance of all exploitation of animals. Thus, while vegetarianism describes a diet, veganism signifies the avoidance, as far as possible, of harm to animals in the cultivation of crops, using them in research, wearing their skins or fur -- that is vegans simply commit to withdraw from the traditions that rely on dominating other animals.

No matter if you are a vegetarian or a vegan, we welcome you into our family.
With love and light always,
Alexander Light. 


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