Vegan and vegetarian – why they are not similar

There's an Elephant in the Room blog

1013974_407459766056297_898097802_nI’ve written on this subject before but it definitely bears repeating. I used to eat a vegetarian diet and although I eventually became vegan, eating that vegetarian diet was not ‘part of my journey’, or ‘a step in the right direction’, or ‘raising my awareness’ because my awareness was utterly dead in the water, wallowing quietly in the misplaced confidence that the donations I sent in return for the horrific images in the mail were helping to ‘stop cruelty’.

No, being vegetarian did not lead me to veganism and I’d still have been vegetarian to this day were it not for Facebook. I became vegan because I stumbled across information that taught me that because I sincerely cared about animals, I logically had no choice but to be vegan. It’s as straightforward as that. Vegan education was what it took.

The light bulb moment

The decision to become vegan is a light bulb moment…

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5 thoughts on “Vegan and vegetarian – why they are not similar

  1. Just wanted to thank Jim AGAIN for his writings and his reference books. I am currently reading The Fallacy of Wildlife Conservation by John A. Livingston, due to a mention in one of Jim’s postings. Awesome book, so true…and sad. THANKS JIM for trying to awaken the slumbering humans before it is too late!

  2. I, too, find inspiration in John A. Livingston’s work, particularly his distinction between wildlife and domesticates (including humans), and his critique of liberal humanism.
    As to the veganist article which Jim reprints here, I would agree with the premise but not the conclusion. I follow a plant-based diet as one small step to oppose the livestock industry. I am not an adherent of veganism, with its obsession on farm animals and ignoring of critical issues such as species extinction and overpopulation.

    • I am a vegan(ethical) but absolutely agree with your observation that vegans seem to focus only on “domesticated” animals.
      The plight of “wild” animals, primarily because of human overpopulation and its consequences, never seems to enter their consciousness.

      • I too am an ethical vegan and have been for many years. “Vegan” is simply a label. It says something about a person’s lifestyle choices, but it can’t define the full measure of an individual’s motives or concerns. The ethical vegans I’ve known through the years are as concerned about wild species and their survival, ecosystems, human population issues and the state of Earth as they are about domesticated animals. They understand that the impact of animal agriculture on Earth’s systems and species populations, including exploding human populations, is huge. All will fare better when animal agriculture as we know it is a thing of the past.

  3. I think of vegetarianism as kind of a dietary half-way house. It may be done for the benefit of animals, but has a long way to go in really addressing the scope of the abuse and death of farmed animals. For me, veganism is a spiritual path and a moral guide. It is how I define myself in relation to all the other lives that share the earth with me. It makes me aware of how interrelated we all are and how harming one diminishes all. By abjuring all animal products and all violence to animals, the vegan diet benefits wild animals as well as domestic ones by. Veganism is also good for the environment since more vegans mean less ecological damage done by CAFOs and big factory farms.

    Although “vegan” was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson and his group, I believe it became more prevalent with the advent of the big animal rights organizations. PETA was founded ind 1980 and brought is message that “animals are not ours to eat, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.” That went far beyond the animal welfare mission of reducing animal suffering or stopping “unnecessary” pain. And PETA’s message included all animals, not just pets. Farm Sanctuary, founded in 1986, brought “food” animals. who suffer the greatest abuse in the greatest numbers, into the mainstream of animal advocacy. The Internet, along with later organizations, such as Mercy For Animals and Compassion Over Killing, brought videos by undercover investigators onto YouTube, where people could see, not just read about, the horrors of factory farming. Actually seeing dairy cows being kicked, punched, and dragged by tractors when they were downed and ill or injured sickened viewers and added motivation to become and remain vegan. Similar videos of pigs, chickens, and turkeys crammed into crates and abused by factory farm personnel allowed people to see the true extent of cruelty in Big Agriculture. Again, it provided motivation to begin a vegan diet and change human lives, as well as help animals.

    So veganism, along with other forms of activism such as donating, letter writing, and protesting allows us to do all we can to save lives.

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