Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
From ‘junk food vegans’ to raw food vegans – and everything in between – there’s a version of veganism to suit everyone. Yet one thing we all have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and honey – as well as products like leather and any tested on animals.
The truth is that there is no distinction between the meat industry and the dairy industry. Dairy cows are repeatedly artificially inseminated from the age of around one and a half years old and each time they will have their babies taken away from them immediately, causing them immense heartache. This will continue until their bodies are too abused to be of any further use (usually around four years old). They will then be sent to slaughter for their meat and for by-products such as leather. The fate of their calves will depend upon their gender; if they are female they will have the same short, abused life that their mothers had, if they are male then they will either be killed at birth or sent to live in veal crates, where they will be unable to turn around or move at all for around 16 weeks until they are too slaughtered.
Not forgetting the pain and torment of baby chicks. Upon hatching male and female baby chicks are roughly sorted on conveyor belts; the males are ground up alive or thrown into bins to suffocate on top of each other. The females survive but have their beaks burnt off with a laser – with no anesthetic – to stop them pecking other hens in their cramped living conditions.
Of course there is more, much more suffering and this is covered elsewhere in this site, however the point is that all of this misery, torture and exploitation is unnecessary. Humans were in fact meant to be herbivores (link opens in a new window), we just developed a taste for meat. During World War II that taste developed into a perceived need, as troops were fed as much meat as possible. The huge demand for meat continued after the war and was met with factory farming and our abuse of animals escalated to new, depraved levels.
We do not need to eat animals, wear animals, or use animals for entertainment purposes, and our only defence of these uses is our pleasure, amusement, and convenience. Gary L. Francione