Think Differently Go Vegetarian/Vegan

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This website advocates Veganism as the ultimate ideal for the sake of animals, the planet and personal health.

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.

Albert Einstein

Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread. But the time must come when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come.

Albert Schweitzer

For ease of reading all quotations appear in a Purple Font

Why should you go vegetarian or vegan?

Becoming vegetarian is a matter of thinking differently. Consider that the majority of people never question the need to eat meat or have indeed ever even consciously decided to eat meat, wear wool or leather. Rather, it is simply a habit, a result of cultural learning and upbringing handed down from generation to generation by people who have also never questioned the ethics of or indeed the need to eat meat or consume or use other animal products. At least not until more recent times when fortunately more and more people are questioning the morality of eating meat and exploiting animals.

Few people know the cruelty behind the vacuumed wrapped meat bought in the supermarket now unrecognisable as a once living creature. Few who visit the Yorkshire Dales and similar places who stop to admire the adorable lambs in spring and than go on to eat local lamb in the many pubs and tea rooms in the region consider the incongruity. Sitting in a pub overlooking a field of tiny lambs they devour lamb stew without a second thought.

Lets discuss vegetarianism and veganism, what are they and what is the difference and why is it important to make a choice and become one or the other, but preferably vegan.

I am vegan after being vegetarian for over 16 years, but more later about why my family and I went veggie. Personally I now consider becoming vegan as the ultimate goal that will have the most impact on how animals are treated. 

What is a vegetarian

Most people who have decided not to consume animal products become vegetarian rather than vegan, at least in the beginning but as soon as it is known that cows and poultry are abused in the process of producing milk and eggs respectively, many people become vegan. More about this later. So we will start with an explanation of vegetarianism. In short a  vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat. Simple enough right? Wrong, many people it seems have some confusion concerning the words meat and animal, and you will come across people who say they are vegetarian, but who than go on to tell you that they eat chicken or fish. Clearly there is some confusion as to what is an animal and what is a plant. It may seem obvious to many of us that fish and birds are not plants but rather they are animals as is also an insect; a silk worm is an insect, and if you are vegetarian for ethical reasons rather than health reasons you may not wish to wear silk( silk worms are boiled alive in their cocoons to extract the silk), I will discuss this again. So as you can see vegetarianism is more complex than many people realise and many people it seems are confused. If of course you have made a choice to continue eating fish and poultry this is of course your prerogative, but you are not strictly speaking a vegetarian and the term demi vegetarian is more applicable and is the term that is in common use concerning the type of diet which includes fish and poultry. However personally I think that such a diet has little to do with vegetarianism in any way shape or form and if you continue to eat fish and poultry you are still as much an omnivore ( an animal whose diet consists of both meat and vegetables) as a person who eats a cow, pig or sheep.

I think the main problem however lies in the confusion of the word animal rather than a conscious decision to not consider fish, birds and insects as animals. On the other hand some people do not consider fish, birds and insects as sentient, this misconception I hope to clarify, as in fact birds in particular are one of the most obviously sentient of creatures, some of whom have in the case of crows learned to use tools. Please refer to the section:
Sentience in farm animals

So before going on to explain vegetarianism lets look briefly at the difference between a plant and an animal.

For the last two hundred years In the science of biology all living things have been divided into two basic categories or kingdoms: plants and animals. In more recent times however some biologists distinguish some different types of organism which seem not to fit into either category and which need a classification separate from either plant or animal, such as Fungi and some single celled organisms and that these should be given their own separate Kingdom or category. But perhaps these categories need not really concern us as it is unlikely, although of course not impossible, that these organisms are sentient.  All we need to realise is that with a few ambiguous exceptions all livings things are either a plant or an animal.

The basic and obvious differences between plant and animals are as follows:

Plant cells have cell walls composed of a ridged material called cellulose, and other materials, these cells also have chlorophyll, this is a light absorbing pigment which makes plants appear green, it is the means by which plants obtain nutrition in a process called photosynthesis where sunlight is converted into energy. Animals cells do not contain cellulose or chlorophyll, rather animals obtain energy by consuming and digesting organic substances, food, into an internal chamber, Stomach, and converting this into energy.

Plants are generally fixed in one place; such as a tree which is rooted into the ground.  This is of course a fundamental and an obvious distinction if we consider the differences between a plant and an animal. Plants unlike animals do not have a nervous system or sensory organs. They respond to stimuli but only slowly. Plants grow continually throughout life and unlike animals have no maximum size or characteristic form in the adult.

The above information is only very basic and highlights the more obvious differences, differences that clearly tell us that fish, poultry and insects are animals.

Should anyone need further clarification, fish (cod, salmon, plaice caviar) , birds (chicken and turkey and duck ) and insects ( bees, silk worms) are animals. If you eat poultry or fish you are eating meat.  Incidentally beware of pink colouring in food which may be cochineal which obtained from the carminic acid produced by some scale insects.

To reiterate; a vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat, this includes the flesh of any animal such as cattle, sheep, pigs, fish, poultry and insects. Neither do vegetarians eat animal by products which involve the death of the animal such as gelatine.  Vegetarians will however consume dairy products - milk, yoghurt and vegetarian cheese, non vegetarian cheese is made using  rennet from a cow's stomach - and eggs, although most vegetarians tend to eat free range eggs only. However the ethics of dairy products and eggs needs to be questioned please refer to: Animal Rights. Even free range are not cruelty free; contrary to what many people believe free range chickens are, except perhaps in small holdings, often kept in small cramped living spaces, where disease runs rampant. Many do not have access to the outside as people imagine, and moreover these birds are still subjected to the cruel method of debeaking. They will eventually of course be subjected to the terror of transportation to the slaughter house to meet a bloody death, once the hen's egg laying rate decreases and they are no longer profitably viable. Also because male chicks can’t lay eggs they are for commercial reasons considered useless, and therefore just like their counterparts on factory farms they too are killed at one day old. Few people who buy free range eggs for ethical reasons are aware of this. This was the reason why finally after sixteen years as a vegetarian and a couple of years as a lactose free vegetarian I decided to become vegan.

Vegetarians do not wear leather, fur, or wool - most of which comes from slaughtered sheep - or silk. Also animal products such as stearic acid used in the making of candles, Cochineal a red pigment derived from insects and used as food colouring and other less obvious commodities are avoided by vegetarians.

There are vegetarian subcategories, namely: lacto-free vegetarian: A person who in addition to being a vegetarian does not consume dairy products but continues to eat eggs. And Ovo free-Vegetarian: A vegetarian who eats eggs but no dairy products.

What is a vegan?

The human body has no more need for cows' milk than it does for dogs' milk, horses' milk, or giraffes' milk. 

Michael Klaper

The word Vegan is simply the beginning and the end of the word vegetarian, it is symbolises the logical conclusion of the vegetarian ideal of good health and ethical living with causing the suffering of death of any animal.  The word Vegan was coined in 1944 the UK by by Donald Watson when The Vegan Society was founded.

A Vegan does not consume any animal products or their derivatives and therefore, like a vegetarian a vegan will not eat fish, poultry, cattle, sheep; no flesh of any kind. However in addition a vegan will not consume, milk, eggs or honey (if you do not know why honey is not vegan click here). Like vegetarians vegans do not wear leather or fur which are of course obviously derivatives of slaughtered animals. In addition a vegan will not wear wool or mohair because of the exploitation and usually death of the animal who provides them,  most wool in fact comes from slaughtered sheep.  Most vegetarians will also abstain from the use of similar commodities although some vegetarians may still consider the use of wool as acceptable. Now in my experience this results from not realising  that most wool is the product of slaughtered sheep, mostly lambs and unless it is clearly stated that the wool does not come from slaughtered sheep it is not possible to tell the difference so really wool should be avoided by both vegetarians and vegans alike.

Anyone who is vegan is against all forms of cruelty and exploitation of animals, although there may be differences in opinion of what constitutes cruelty and or exploitation between each individual vegan. For example some may consider the keeping of a pet as exploitative for reasons I will discuss later.  As already stated cruelly and exploitation  includes not only the most obvious cruelty of rearing  animals for their meat but also for clothing and other items : wool, leather, silk, ( silk worms are boiled alive in their cocoons to extract the silk) candles (tallow, fat from sheep or cattle although nowadays stearic acid is used but mostly this is of animal origin) to name just a few of the more obvious. The slaughtering of animals for food and experimentation on animals for cosmetic and medical research being perhaps the ultimate cruelty. Exploitation of animals includes the use of animals for labour or sport: such as in sport, horse racing or riding and grey hound racing and hunting, setting one animal against another for sport such as fox hunting; for labour, for example rats used in Africa to detect unexploded mines:BBC: sniffer rats in Africa to detect mines, sheep dogs referred to in farming circles, and incidentally by the RSPCA, as working dogs are but two examples of animals used for labour. Some may also consider the keeping of pets and the abuses that arise from this such as puppy mills as being unethical and may consider that no animal should be subjected to any interference by man. However there are no hard and fast rules and it is all a matter of ones conscience, world view, religious or personal considerations and these tend to change over time as you can see from my own personal account

Some of the considerations above may apply also to vegetarians.

However concerning diet as we have already seen there are clear differences. To reiterate a vegan endeavours to exclude from his diet any item of food derived from an animal. Which similar to vegetarians includes meat of course but in addition a vegan does not eat any dairy products, - milk, cheese, butter yoghurt, eggs or honey.

Watch this very poignant video: The Philosophy of Vegan Values: The Practice of Non-Violence

https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=122238663979

Why go veggi or vegan?

People become vegetarian or vegan for a number of reasons: most importantly it is ethical; it is good for animals, the planet, and ultimately for humans. Other reasons may include less serious considerations: It is healthier, you loose weight, its fashionable, although the last consideration rarely results in a long term commitment to vegetarianism or veganism.

Whatever your personal motivation, vegetarianism and preferably veganism is most certainly much better for you and most certainly better for the animals and the planet. It is the last two concerns that for me personally are the reasons why I gave up eating meat or using any animal product in any form.

I am vegan for ethical reasons, See Our Story Eighteen years ago after becoming increasingly aware that the eating of meat was in simple terms wrong and an inhumane act against others sentient creatures I became vegetarian; and than about three years ago I became a lactose free vegetarian once I understood the truth about the dairy industry and the cruel treatment of dairy cows;  and just a year or so ago finally I became vegan after becoming aware of the cruel treatment of so called free range poultry. The progression from vegetarian to vegan was slow simply due to my ignorance concerning the treatment of cattle and poultry to produce milk and eggs, I hope for you the progression is more rapid. One of the reasons for the creation of this website is to inform others of the dreadful cruelty of factory farming not only in the production of meat but also milk and eggs.

Reasons to go vegetarian or vegan

It is ethical, compassionate, caring, just and humane.

Animals like us feel pain, there is no denying this and that is why there are laws to protect animals against obvious acts of cruelty; even if these laws are inadequate the laws that do exist, exist because  we know without a doubt that an animal feels pain.  It simply cannot be denied that animals feel pain and have the same capacity to suffer as do we. Animals are sentient creatures, and therefore require the same consideration as human beings.  Please refer to : sentience in farm animals      Animal Rights.

Going veggie or vegan is good for animals.

But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.

Plutarch

Here in the UK over 800 million farm animals die each year,  48 billion world wide, eight times the earth's population and countless millions of fish. Fish is the most traded animal commodity in the world, with about 100 million tons of wild and farmed fish sold each year. I find it abhorrent that living creatures are measured in weight as though they are a commodity, as a ton of flour, rather than individuals.  

Farm animals prior to meeting an untimely death in the slaughter house live wretched lives on factory farms, ridden with disease, confined in cramped conditions ( battery hens kept five to a cage no bigger than a microwave) never seeing the light of day nor ever feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs. Moreover farm animals are often subjected to cruel treatments: such as tail docking in pigs and sheep. In addition many are fed growth hormones. Most are prematurely killed, male ram lambs and calves are killed a day or two after birth unless required for breeding purposes. The above is just a few of the horrors to which farm animals are subjected. For more information about cruelty to farm animals please click Animal rights

Furthermore in recent years I have seen kangaroo and ostrich burgers for sale! In one cafe wild boar! And In Glastonbury nonetheless! Can you believe it, is there no animal to escape the insatiable  appetites of meat eaters. While one can appreciate that many people eat cattle, sheep, poultry and pigs habitually surely any sensitive thinking person must at least question the inclusion of such animals as kangaroo and Ostrich on the menu and as a result begin to consider the ethics of eating the flesh of any creature.

Becoming veggie or vegan will help to bring an end to these cruel and barbarous treatments of our fellow creatures.

“Slaughterhouses should be in restaurants and grocery stores. They should have a glass wall so people must see the animals and choose. Look into the animal’s eyes and say, “OK, slit his throat.”

Ingrid Newkirk

Going veggie or vegan is good for the planet.

Rain forests are still being felled to graze hamburger cattle. Going vegan saves one acre of forest every year.
Cornell University

Whole tracts of forest are cleared for grazing, one of the reasons that one and one-half acres of rainforest are lost every second. That is over 200,000 acres each and everyday!

"Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation." Rainforest Facts

Methane from live stock causes global warming. The erosion of soil by cattle and the contamination of water by slurry are further detriments along with the general processing techniques of the meat industry. Over grazing of live stock is causing deforestation. I personally find this concept confusing and we need to be careful here how we react to such as these environmental problems should not imply that cattle as a whole are a detriment and should not exist.  No it is simply the exploitation and over breeding of cattle to provide meat and milk that is the problem; a source of food which we do not need in order to thieve, in fact meat and other animal products are a detriment to health. Furthermore every animal on the planet ceases to consume milk after weaning except humans, it is neither healthy nor natural.  In their natural state cattle are like any other animal simply part of the environment and have as much right to exist as any other creature. All creatures impact in some way on the environment and have always done so. Imagine the problems dinosaurs generated, the huge and veracious herbivores must have laid waste to whole swathes of land. However of course they probably did not exist in such proliferation as to become a serious detriment which threatened the survival of the whole eco systems. It is man's interference with nature and enforced breeding of live stock that has resulted in the potential destructive consequences mentioned above. Nonetheless these problems should not imply that it would be in order to cull these animals but rather in the future to allow animals to exist in their own indigenous habitats, to breed, graze and have a natural impact on the environment. I am of the opinion that the earth is self-regulating to some degree and it is only man's interference that has resulted in nature's inability to bring about such self regulation. 

Not only upon land of course has man's interference with nature and his insatiable need to consume meat impacted unfavourably, man has also caused devastation to our oceans and water ways. From lakes and rivers to the vast oceans of the entire world the disastrous effects of over fishing and other activities such as pollution has resulted in the extinction or significant decrease in populations of many species. This not only threatens the survival of many species of fish but also threatens to wreak havoc with entire ecosystems. For example fishing is threatening the world’s populations of whales, dolphins and porpoises, tuna, plaice, monkfish and cod. Other creatures adversely effected as a result of fishing include, birds, seals, turtles, mink and otters. Coral reefs and  aquatic plants are similarly effected. For more information refer to information included in the following link to the Vegetarian society's website: https://www.vegsoc.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=531

I consider that the greatest problem concerning the planet is man's inference with the natural evolution of all creatures and none more so of course than in factory farming or the depletion of sea creatures for food. Such activities create an imbalance, a chain reaction that disturbs the whole ecosystem. Perhaps if nature where left to her own devices and her animals left unmolested, unexploited and not interfered with, such as selective breeding, the outcome of the aforementioned natural activities of grazing and the prolific production of methane, which is of course produced by all living creatures, would be less dramatic and would in time balance out.

Way back in the time of ancient Greece many Greeks, including Plato, recommended a vegetarian diet for ethical or practical reasons. Plato believed that a vegetarian diet made good economic sense because it required less land than animal husbandry to produce food.

If anyone wants to save the planet , all they have to do is to stop eating meat. That's the most important single thing you can do.  It's staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty.
Paul MaCartney

Going veggie /vegan could relieve World hunger.

The fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world's food and land resources are tied-up in producing beef and livestock-food for the well-off, while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation. -

Dr. Walden Bello, executive director of Food First, Institute for Food and Development Policy.

There is enough plant food available on this planet to feed everyone yet 750,000 people go hungry everyday, every five seconds one child dies from hunger. The annual UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report says, present levels of hunger cause the death of more than five million children a year.

One third of the world's grain goes to feed animals, the food from which goes to feed only about a third of the people on the planet of six billion. Consider : The amount of vegetable protein fed to the US beef herd would feed almost the entire populations of India and China. If animals where allowed to live out their natural lives, in their own environments, left to breed and graze in the way that nature intended, land used to feed animals breed to an unnatural proliferation could be utilised to directly feed people, with the result that there would be enough food to feed everyone. Without the interference of man, particularly concerning factory, farming animal's would not in nature breed to the huge numbers that there are today.

...the world produces more than enough plant food to meet the needs of all its six billion people. If people used land to grow crops to feed themselves, rather than feeding crops to animals, then there would be enough to provide everyone with the average of 2360 Kcal (calories) needed for good health.

For more information concerning this issue please read the article Feed the world from which the above quotation came;

viva.org.uk/guides/feedtheworld.htm

Going veggie or vegan is an healthier option.

The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined.  If beef is your idea of "real food for real people" you'd better live real close to a real good hospital. 

Neal Barnard

When we kill the animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings.

William C. Roberts, M.D., editor of The American Journal of Cardiology

Although for me personally this is the least important of considerations, but if it persuades people to stop consuming meat and other animal products than this is as a good as reason as any to go veggie or vegan. And health is an important issue is it not. Most certainly when you are ill, health seems of vital importance. A meat free diet is the healthier option and prevents the occurrence of many diseases which are prevalent in the population, particularly here in the west, such as heart disease, hypertension, obesity,  (growth hormones in meat which make the animal produce more fat are also likely to have the same effect when the animal's meat is eaten and is quite likely one of the main reasons for an escalation in obesity in recent years)  certain cancers, it is a fact that 25 to 30 per cent less vegetarians suffer with cancer, and diabetes to name just a few. Vegetarians/vegans  are less likely to suffer strokes. Ninety five percent of food poisoning results from the consumption of meat.

Read the thought provoking article: Meat = Death The insanity of the 'traditional' diet essay-meat=death: http://rantingsfromavirtualsoapbox.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/meat-death/

Finally consider: Your lamb chop, steak or beef burger, pork chop, sausages, roast or chicken curry once looked like the following:

Recognize meat for what it really is:  the antibiotic- and pesticide-laden corpse of a tortured animal. 

Ingrid Newkirk

Still not convinced ? Watch this very disturbing video from PETA (people for the ethical treatment of animals) Meet your Meat: "The video that all meat-eaters should watch and every vegetarian should own, "Meet Your Meat", narrated by Alec Baldwin, covers each stage of life of animals raised for food. No PETA videos are copyrighted, so copy them for everyone you know."

 

So now hopefully you have made the decision to become vegetarian or vegan what should you do, what can you eat, what food should you avoid. For ideas and information about becoming vegetarian or vegan please click:

So you want to become veggie /vegan?

If you love animals called pets, why do you eat animals called dinner?
 
As seen on a shirt at:
Vegan Store.com - Pangea Vegan Products. The Best in Vegan Shopping.
 

Please note: There is no paid advertising on this website, any advertising is for your information to assist you in making your life as a veggie or vegan easier.

References and Links :

For information about how to become Vegi or vegan click :
So you Want to become Vegi/Vegan  Internal webpage

or visit Viva or PETA's websites :

PETA UK: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

"PETA US formed in 1980 in the United States and has more than 2 million members and supporters, making it the largest animal rights organisation in the world.

PETA US and PETA Europe are dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals."

In the UK, USA and Poland

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Viva! USA

Viva! Walczymy o konie i inne zwierzeta

Also the above have many campaigns in which you can participate.

A comprehensive list of useful websites advocating veganism and vegetarianism, including both the vegetarian and Vegan societies and information about similar societies around the world, may be found here on this website: 
So you want to go Vegan/Vegi

 

Important please note:

I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.

Copyright, accreditations and other matters, please read