In a nutshell, vegans don’t use animals for food, clothing, entertainment or other purposes because vegans believe animals matter morally. Veganism is a matter of social justice and it’s something we owe animals. It’s not a form of deprivation or an act of charity.
Going vegan is easy, especially when you focus on how much animals endure for our most trivial interests. A cow’s life is not worth a steak or a milk shake, is it? Of course not! Here’s what you have to do to get started going vegan!
Adopt a vegan diet.
Vegans do not consume products that are obtained from animals. That includes cows, pigs, chickens or other birds, fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, honey, or any foods that contain these ingredients. With a wide range of plant-only foods, food products and recipes available, from simple to extravagant, there’s no reason to use animals for food.
You might ask: what about protein, B12, zinc and other nutritional needs? Maintaining a balanced diet is important, but that’s true of anyone’s eating habits. Create a meal plan for yourself that ensures you’ll get the calcium, iron, vitamin B12, zinc and other nutrients and calories you’ll need. We’ll help you!
Vegans also avoid products that use animal products in the manufacturing process (such as animal bone charcoal filtered sugar or wine and beer processed with egg albumen or other animal ingredients). Further, vegans also avoid micro-ingredients—small amounts of animal derived ingredients—in processed foods and supplements (e.g., l-cysteine when it is produced using nonhuman animal hair) as well. Label reading can be a challenge, but you’ll get the hang of it!
Stop wearing and using products made from animals.
Vegans don’t wear clothing made from animals: alpaca, angora, camelhair, down, fur (including fur trim), leather, mohair, pashmina, pearls, silk, shearling, suede, and wool, as well as other animal skins, such as alligator, crocodile, and snakeskin. With a wide range of plant-only fashion choices available, such as cotton, linen, hemp, microfiber and others, there’s no reason to use animals for clothing.
You might ask: but isn’t leather a by-product? All animal clothing involves the use of nonhuman animals. Animals must be killed for their skins and pelts. Even animals who are not killed for clothing, such as sheep for their wool, are bred and raised to be used up by human beings for our trivial fashion choices. All of these animals will eventually be killed.
Many personal care products, such as toothpaste, shampoo, lotions, cosmetics, and many household cleaning products also contain animal ingredients. Vegans do not use these personal care products and cleaners. Vegans also avoid using products that contribute to animal testing, keeping in mind that almost every ingredient has at some point been tested on animals. With the wide range of personal care and household cleaning products available, there’s no reason to use animals for these purposes.
Stop using animals for entertainment and other purposes.
Vegans do not patronize circuses, aquariums, rodeos, bullfights or any other events that use animals for human entertainment. With a wide range of other forms of entertainment, there’s no reason to use animals for entertainment.
You might ask: what about zoos? Vegans also do not patronize zoos, in which animals are imprisoned for supposedly “educational” purposes. Vegans also oppose the use of animals in films and TV shows, and the continued production of domesticated animals to serve as “pets.”
A simple rule: if animal use is wrong, then it’s wrong whether it seems ‘mutual’, whether the animal is ‘well-cared for’, whether the animal provides some ‘educational’ benefit to human beings and so on. That includes a wide variety of uses in which animals are kept in captivity for human benefit.
If you believe that animals matter at all morally, then veganism is only the starting point.
Veganism isn’t a distant finish line achieved by only the most committed of animal advocates. It doesn’t require a long journey or baby steps. It only requires the decision that you no longer wish to participate in the exploitation of animals.
You can start right now!