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Piglet in garden

What is veganism?

Veganism is a moral position that opposes exploiting and otherwise harming nonhuman animals. This includes what we do directly, such as hunting or fishing. It also includes what we support as consumers, which affects many more animals. Nonhuman animals are routinely killed and made to suffer in farms and slaughterhouses. This happens because there is a demand for animal products, especially food products. Veganism means not consuming these products so animals are not harmed to produce them.

At the heart of veganism is respect for all sentient beings. Vegans see all sentient animals as beings we should respect, not as objects for us to use.

 

Making the connection

Veganism is becoming increasingly common as more people learn that they can help prevent animal suffering and deaths by replacing foods and other products of animal origin with options that don’t involve the exploitation of nonhuman animals. In addition, as veganism becomes more widespread, it is leading to a reduction in speciesism, the discrimination against animals based on their species membership.

In our busy lives, it can be easy to miss the connection between how we live and how others are affected. But when we think about it, would we really consider it acceptable if we were in the place of nonhuman animals? If we knew we might be born as pigs or chickens, probably none of us would accept a world where animals are confined and killed for food.

We should also consider how our societies treat some nonhuman animals differently than others. Is it fair to protect some animals, like dogs and cats, and disregard others who suffer just as dogs and cats would in the same situation? Most of us wouldn’t accept the abuse of dogs. Then, can it be fair to accept what happens to other animals on farms and in slaughterhouses?

 

Alternatives are widely available

More and more people are choosing to substitute animal foods with healthy and tasty alternatives. With all the options available to us, replacing animal products with plant-based items is easier than it has ever been before.

In grocery stores and supermarkets, we can choose from a wide variety of plant-based foods at affordable prices, including chickpeas, beans, lentils, pasta, rice, cereals, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts. Tofu, soy, and vegetable burgers and nuggets are becoming increasingly available. Also common are vegan milks made from a variety of grains, beans, and seeds such as soy, rice, oats, and hemp. Vegan yogurts, cheeses, and ice creams are becoming more popular as well.

Not sure what to order when you eat out with friends and family? Rice, pasta, salad, mushroom, and potato dishes are available at almost any restaurant and can often be easily modified if they aren’t already vegan. Additionally, Chinese, Thai, Middle Eastern, Indian, Ethiopian, and Italian restaurants, among others, offer delicious dishes naturally free from animal products.

Outside of supermarkets and restaurants, there are other, even simpler steps we can take to avoid contributing to animal exploitation. When buying clothing, for example, we can choose alternatives to fur, leather, wool, and feathers. There are many other materials at our disposal, including cotton, hemp, polyester, and microfibers fabrics made from various materials. The range of leisure activities we can enjoy that don’t involve the exploitation of animals is enormous. Rather than hunting, fishing, or going to animal shows, for example, we can go hiking, to the movies, and to circuses that do not use animals.

 

We can all do it

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the largest association of nutritionists and dietitians from around the world) has acknowledged that a vegan diet is healthy at all stages of life. This is also shown by the fact that millions of people have already chosen to live their lives without animal products. We can all do it – you can, too. In doing so, you’ll become part of the solution to achieve a fairer world for all animals.

We can all live in an ethical way by deciding to live vegan. Join the millions of people who support and defend animals.

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