Veganism is the practice of eliminating the use of animal product
Animal product
Animal product, or animal by-product, is a term used to describe material taken from the body of a non-human animal. Examples are fat, flesh, blood, milk, eggs, and lesser known products such as isinglass and rennet....

s. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only. Another form, environmental veganism, rejects the use of animal products on the premise that the industrial practice is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.

The term "vegan" was coined in England in 1944 by Donald Watson
Donald Watson
Donald Watson was founder of the Vegan Society and inventor of the word vegan.Watson was born in Mexborough, Yorkshire, into a non-vegetarian family. His journey to veganism began when he was very young, at the farm of his Uncle George...

, co-founder of the British Vegan Society
Vegan Society
The Vegan Society is a registered charity and the oldest vegan society in the world, founded on November 1, 1944, in England by Donald Watson, Elsie "Sally" Shrigley, and 23 others....

, to mean "non-dairy vegetarian"; the society also opposed the use of eggs as food.
Veganism is the practice of eliminating the use of animal product
Animal product
Animal product, or animal by-product, is a term used to describe material taken from the body of a non-human animal. Examples are fat, flesh, blood, milk, eggs, and lesser known products such as isinglass and rennet....

s. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only. Another form, environmental veganism, rejects the use of animal products on the premise that the industrial practice is environmentally damaging and unsustainable.

The term "vegan" was coined in England in 1944 by Donald Watson
Donald Watson
Donald Watson was founder of the Vegan Society and inventor of the word vegan.Watson was born in Mexborough, Yorkshire, into a non-vegetarian family. His journey to veganism began when he was very young, at the farm of his Uncle George...

, co-founder of the British Vegan Society
Vegan Society
The Vegan Society is a registered charity and the oldest vegan society in the world, founded on November 1, 1944, in England by Donald Watson, Elsie "Sally" Shrigley, and 23 others....

, to mean "non-dairy vegetarian"; the society also opposed the use of eggs as food. It extended its definition in 1951 to mean "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals," and in 1960 H. Jay Dinshah
H. Jay Dinshah
Hom Jay Dinshah was founder and president of the American Vegan Society and editor of its publication, Ahimsa magazine .-Life:Dinshah was born in New Jersey, United States...

 started the American Vegan Society
American Vegan Society
The American Vegan Society is a nonprofit organization that promotes veganism in the United States.AVS was founded by 1960 by Jay Dinshah. The date of the earlier The Vegan Society 's founding, November 1st, is now celebrated annually as World Vegan Day.- Activities :* Information--e.g...

, linking veganism to the Jainist
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 concept of ahimsa
Ahimsa is a term meaning to do no harm . The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hims – to strike; himsa is injury or harm, a-himsa is the opposite of this, i.e. non harming or nonviolence. It is an important tenet of the Indian religions...

, the avoidance of violence against living things.

It is a growing movement. In 1997, three percent in the United States claimed that they had not used animals for any purpose in the previous two years, and in 2007 two percent in the United Kingdom described themselves as vegans. The number of vegan restaurants is increasing according to the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink (2007) People not on a vegan diet have been shown to be more likely to have degenerative diseases, including heart disease. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada regard a vegetarian diet as appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle, though they caution that poorly planned vegan diets can be deficient in vitamin B12
Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, vitamin B12 or vitamin B-12, also called cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. It is one of the eight B vitamins...

, iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

, vitamin D
Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids. In humans, vitamin D is unique both because it functions as a prohormone and because the body can synthesize it when sun exposure is adequate ....

, calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

, iodine
Iodine is a chemical element with the symbol I and atomic number 53. The name is pronounced , , or . The name is from the , meaning violet or purple, due to the color of elemental iodine vapor....

, and omega-3 fatty acid
Omega-3 fatty acid
N−3 fatty acids are essential unsaturated fatty acids with a double bond starting after the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain....


Early history

Kerry S. Walters
Kerry S. Walters
Kerry S. Walters is a Professor of Philosophy at Gettysburg College and award-winning author of numerous books on philosophy and religion.-Career:...

 and Lisa Portmess write that the first ethical argument against eating animals can be traced to the Greek philosopher Pythagoras
Pythagoras of Samos was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so very little reliable information is known about him...

 (c. 570–490 BCE). A believer in the transmigration of souls, Pythagoras warned that eating an animal might involve eating a human soul; therefore, he argued, human beings ought to regard all living beings as kindred souls.

The word "vegetarian" seems to have come into use in England in the early 19th century; The Oxford English Dictionary attributes one early reference to the actress Fanny Kemble
Fanny Kemble
Frances Anne Kemble , was a famous British actress and author in the early and mid nineteenth century.-Youth and acting career:...

 (1809–1893) writing in 1839. The British Vegetarian Society
Vegetarian Society
The Vegetarian Society is a British registered charity established on 30 September 1847 to "support, represent and increase the number of vegetarians in the UK."-History:...

, led by Joseph Brotherton
Joseph Brotherton
Joseph Brotherton was a reforming British politician, non-conformist minister and pioneering vegetarian.He was born in Whittington, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, and was the son of John Brotherton, an excise collector, and his wife Mary...

 (1783–1857), held its first meeting on September 30, 1847 at Northwood Villa in Ramsgate, Kent, and in 1886 the society published the influential A Plea for Vegetarianism by the English campaigner Henry Salt
Henry Stephens Salt
Henry Stephens Salt was an English writer and campaigner for social reform in the fields of prisons, schools, economic institutions, and the treatment of animals. He was a noted ethical vegetarian, anti-vivisectionist, socialist, and pacifist, and was well known as a literary critic, biographer,...

 (1851–1939)—widely known as the first writer to make the paradigm shift from animal welfare
Animal welfare
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

 to animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

. In it, Salt acknowledged that he was a vegetarian, writing that this was a "formidable admission" to make, because "a Vegetarian is still regarded, in ordinary society, as little better than a madman."

Vegetarians that avoided eggs and dairy products, as well as meat, were known simply as strict or total vegetarians. In 1851, an article appeared in the Vegetarian Society's magazine about alternatives to using leather for shoes, which the International Vegetarian Union
International Vegetarian Union
The International Vegetarian Union is an international non profit organization whose purpose is to promote vegetarianism. IVU was founded in 1908 in Dresden, Germany....

 cites as evidence of the existence in England of another group who wanted to avoid using animal products entirely.

Early 20th century

The first known vegan cookbook, No Animal Food by Rupert H. Wheldon, was published in England by C.W. Daniel in 1910. In it, Wheldon argued that, "it is obvious that, since we should live as to give the greatest possible happiness to all beings capable of appreciating it and as it is an indisputable fact that animals can suffer pain, and that men who slaughter animals needlessly suffer from atrophy of all finer feelings, we should therefore cause no unnecessary suffering in the animal world."

Leah Leneman writes that in 1912 the editor of TVMHR, the journal of the Vegetarian Society's Manchester branch, started a debate among readers as to whether vegetarians ought to avoid eggs and dairy. He summarized the views of the 24 vegetarians who responded, writing: "The defence of the use of eggs and milk by vegetarians, so far as it has been offered here, is not satisfactory. The only true way is to live on cereals, pulse, fruit, nuts and vegetables." The journal wrote in 1923 that the "ideal position for vegetarians is abstinence from animal products," and that most of the society's members were in a transitional stage. In 1935 it wrote that the issue was becoming more pressing with every year.

In 1888, Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi , pronounced . 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement...

 (1869–1948) arrived in London to study law. Before he left India, his mother asked him to swear an oath that he would eat no meat or eggs. He wrote that after reading Henry Salt's A Plea for Vegetarianism he was glad he had taken the oath, and that the spread of vegetarianism became his mission. He became friends with other leading vegetarian campaigners, including Anna Kingsford
Anna Kingsford
Anna Kingsford, née Bonus , was an English anti-vivisection, vegetarian and women's rights campaigner.She was of the first English women to obtain a degree in medicine, after Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, and the only medical student at the time to graduate without having experimented on a single...

 (1846–1888), author of The Perfect Way in Diet (1881), and in 1931 he addressed a meeting of the Vegetarian Society — attended by Salt — arguing that it ought to promote a meat-free diet as a moral issue, not as an issue of human health. Norman Phelps writes that this was a rebuke to those members of the society that focused on the health benefits. Gandhi argued that "vegetarians had a habit of talking of nothing but food and nothing but disease. I feel that this is the worst way of going about the business. ... I discovered that for remaining staunch to vegetarianism a man requires a moral basis."

Although Gandhi himself continued to drink cow's milk — calling it the tragedy of his life that he could not give it up — Phelps argues that his speech was a call for the society to align itself with Salt's views on animal rights, and a precursor to the ideas of Donald Watson and the first Vegan Society in 1944.

1944: Coining the term "vegan"

In July 1943 Leslie Cross, a member of the Leicester Vegetarian Society, expressed concern in its newsletter, The Vegetarian Messenger, that vegetarians were still eating dairy products. A year later, in August 1944, two of the society's members, Donald Watson
Donald Watson
Donald Watson was founder of the Vegan Society and inventor of the word vegan.Watson was born in Mexborough, Yorkshire, into a non-vegetarian family. His journey to veganism began when he was very young, at the farm of his Uncle George...

 (1910–2005) and Elsie "Sally" Shrigley (died 1978), suggested forming a subgroup of non-dairy vegetarians. When the executive committee rejected the idea, they and five others met at the Attic Club in Holborn, London, on November 1 to discuss setting up a separate organization. Suggestions for a concise term to replace "non-dairy vegetarian" included dairyban, vitan, benevore, sanivore, and beaumangeur, but Watson decided on "vegan"—pronounced "veegun" (/ˈviːɡən/), with the stress on the first syllable—the first three and last two letters of vegetarian and, as Watson put it in 2004, "the beginning and end of vegetarian." The meeting saw the foundation of the British Vegan Society
Vegan Society
The Vegan Society is a registered charity and the oldest vegan society in the world, founded on November 1, 1944, in England by Donald Watson, Elsie "Sally" Shrigley, and 23 others....

 with 25 members. Fay K. Henderson published Vegan Recipes, the first recipe book with "vegan" in the title, in 1946. The word was first independently published in the Oxford Illustrated Dictionary in 1962, defined as "a vegetarian who eats no butter, eggs, cheese or milk."

The first vegan society in the United States was founded in 1948 by Dr. Catherine Nimmo of Oceano, California, and Rubin Abramowitz of Los Angeles. Nimmo had been a vegan since 1931, and began distributing the British Vegan Society's Vegan newsletter to her mailing list within the United States. In 1951 the Vegan Society in the UK broadened its definition of veganism to "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals." Leslie Cross, the society's vice-president wrote that veganism is a principle, that it is "not so much about welfare [of animals] as liberation." The society pledged to "seek to end the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work, hunting, vivisection and all other uses involving exploitation of animal life by man." Members were expected to declare themselves in agreement with this, and live as closely to the ideal as they could, but without making specific promises about their own behavior.

In 1957, H. Jay Dinshah
H. Jay Dinshah
Hom Jay Dinshah was founder and president of the American Vegan Society and editor of its publication, Ahimsa magazine .-Life:Dinshah was born in New Jersey, United States...

 (1933–2000), the son of a Parsi
Parsi or Parsee refers to a member of the larger of the two Zoroastrian communities in South Asia, the other being the Irani community....

 from Mumbai, visited a slaughterhouse and read some of Watson's literature. He decided to give up all animal products, and, on February 8, 1960, he founded the American Vegan Society
American Vegan Society
The American Vegan Society is a nonprofit organization that promotes veganism in the United States.AVS was founded by 1960 by Jay Dinshah. The date of the earlier The Vegan Society 's founding, November 1st, is now celebrated annually as World Vegan Day.- Activities :* Information--e.g...

 (AVS) in Malaga, New Jersey, incorporating Nimmo's society, and explicitly linking veganism to the concept of ahimsa, a Sanskrit word meaning "non-harming." The AVS called it "dynamic harmlessness," and to stress the connection with veganism named its magazine Ahimsa. Two key books explained the philosophy: Dinshah's Out of the Jungle: The Way of Dynamic Harmlessness (1965), and Victoria Moran
Victoria Moran
Victoria Moran is an American writer and speaker, specializing in books on spirituality and nutrition. She lives in New York City with her husband and stepdaughter. Her articles have appeared in publications including Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, Body & Soul, Weight Watchers Magazine, Natural...

's Compassion, the Ultimate Ethic: An Exploration of Veganism (1985), the latter first published as a series of essays in Ahimsa. Today the word "veganism" is still used to refer either to the plant-based diet or to a lifestyle that seeks to eliminate animal use entirely. Since 1994 World Vegan Day
World Vegan Day
World Vegan Day is an annual event celebrated on 1 November, by vegans around the world. The Day was established in 1944 by Louise Wallis, then President & Chair of The Vegan Society UK....

 has been held every November 1, the founding date of the British Vegan Society in 1944.

2000s: Demographics

A 2009 survey for the Vegetarian Resource Group reported that one percent of Americans identified as vegan, and in 2007 a British government survey found the figure in the UK self-identifying as vegan was two percent. In 2005 The Times estimated there were 250,000 vegans in the UK, and in 2006 The Independent estimated 600,000. The Netherlands Association for Veganism estimated there were 16,000 vegans in the Netherlands as of 2007, around 0.1 percent of the population.

Avoidance of animal products

Ethical vegans entirely reject the commodification of animals. The Vegan Society in the UK will only certify a product as vegan if it is free of animal involvement as far as possible and practical.

An animal product is any material derived from animals, including meat, poultry, seafood, egg
Egg (food)
Eggs are laid by females of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and have probably been eaten by mankind for millennia. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen , and vitellus , contained within various thin membranes...

s, dairy products, honey, fur, leather, wool, and silk. Other commonly used animal products are beeswax
Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis. It is mainly esters of fatty acids and various long chain alcohols...

, bone char
Bone char
Bone char, also known as bone black, ivory black, animal charcoal, or abaiser, is a granular material produced by charring animal bones. To prevent the spread of mad-cow disease, the skull and spine are never used...

, bone china
Bone china
Bone china is a type of soft-paste porcelain that is composed of bone ash, feldspathic material and kaolin. It has been defined as ware with a translucent body containing a minimum of 30% of phosphate derived from animal bone and calculated calcium phosphate...

, carmine
Carmine , also called Crimson Lake, Cochineal, Natural Red #4, C.I. 75470, or E120, is a pigment of a bright-red color obtained from the aluminum salt of carminic acid, which is produced by some scale insects, such as the cochineal beetle and the Polish cochineal, and is used as a general term for...

, casein
Casein is the name for a family of related phosphoprotein proteins . These proteins are commonly found in mammalian milk, making up 80% of the proteins in cow milk and between 60% and 65% of the proteins in human milk....

, cochineal
The cochineal is a scale insect in the suborder Sternorrhyncha, from which the crimson-colour dye carmine is derived. A primarily sessile parasite native to tropical and subtropical South America and Mexico, this insect lives on cacti from the genus Opuntia, feeding on plant moisture and...

, gelatin
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle , flavorless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Substances containing gelatin or functioning in a similar...

, isinglass
Isinglass is a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish. It is a form of collagen used mainly for the clarification of wine and beer. It can also be cooked into a paste for specialized gluing purposes....

, lanolin
Lanolin , also called Adeps Lanae, wool wax or wool grease, is a yellow waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals. Most lanolin used by humans comes from domestic sheep...

, lard
Lard is pig fat in both its rendered and unrendered forms. Lard was commonly used in many cuisines as a cooking fat or shortening, or as a spread similar to butter. Its use in contemporary cuisine has diminished because of health concerns posed by its saturated-fat content and its often negative...

, rennet
Rennet is a complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes, including a proteolytic enzyme that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids and liquid...

, shellac
Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes , which are dissolved in ethyl alcohol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish...

, tallow
Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet. It is solid at room temperature. Unlike suet, tallow can be stored for extended periods without the need for refrigeration to prevent decomposition, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation.In industry,...

, whey
Whey or Milk Serum is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. It is a by-product of the manufacture of cheese or casein and has several commercial uses. Sweet whey is manufactured during the making of rennet types of hard cheese like cheddar or Swiss cheese...

, and yellow grease
Yellow grease
Yellow grease is derived from used cooking oil from the fast-food industry. It is used to feed livestock, and to make soap, make-up, clothes, rubber, detergents, and bio-diesel fuel....

. Many of these may not be identified in the list of ingredients in the finished product. There is disagreement among groups about the extent to which all animal products, particularly products from insects, must be avoided. Neither the Vegan Society nor the American Vegan Society considers the use of honey, silk, or other insect products to be suitable for vegans, while Vegan Action and Vegan Outreach regard that as a matter of personal choice.

Ethical vegans will not use animal products for clothing, toiletries, or any other reason, and will try to avoid ingredients that have been tested on animals
Animal testing
Animal testing, also known as animal experimentation, animal research, and in vivo testing, is the use of non-human animals in experiments. Worldwide it is estimated that the number of vertebrate animals—from zebrafish to non-human primates—ranges from the tens of millions to more than 100 million...

. They will not buy fur coats, leather shoes, belts, bags, wallets, woollen jumpers, or silk scarves. Depending on their economic circumstances, they may donate such items to charity when they become vegan, or use them until they wear out. Clothing made without animal products is widely available in stores and online. Alternatives to wool include cotton, hemp, rayon, and polyester. Some vegan clothes, in particular shoes, are made of petroleum-based products, which has triggered criticism because of the environmental damage associated with production. In warmer climates, vegans tend to wear shoes made of hemp, linen or canvas.


Further information: Wikibooks Cookbook list of vegan recipes 

Any plant-based dish may be vegan. Common vegan dishes prepared without animal ingredients include ratatouille
Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. The full name of the dish is ratatouille niçoise.- Origin :...

, falafel
Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans. Falafel is usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces...

, hummus
Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the...

, veggie burritos
A burrito , or taco de harina, is a type of Mexican food. It consists of a wheat flour tortilla wrapped or folded around a filling. The flour tortilla is usually lightly grilled or steamed, to soften it and make it more pliable. In Mexico, refried beans or meat are sometimes the only fillings...

, rice and beans
Rice and beans
Rice and beans is a very popular dish in Latin America, the Caribbean, and in communities of Latino, Caribbean or Sephardic...

, veggie stir-fry, and pasta primavera
Pasta primavera
Pasta primavera is an Italian-American dish that consists of pasta and fresh vegetables. A meat such as chicken, sausage or shrimp is sometimes added, but the focus of primavera is the vegetables themselves. The dish may contain almost any kind of vegetable, but cooks tend to stick to firm, crisp...

. Ingredients such as tofu
is a food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is part of East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and others. There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu...

, tempeh
Tempeh , or tempe , is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty...

, and seitan are widely used in vegan cuisine. Plant cream
Plant cream
Plant cream is a general term for any non-dairy cream analogue that is derived from a plant source. No formal or legal definition for plant cream exists in most countries...

 and plant milk
Plant milk
thumb|right|250px|A cup of [[amazake]] .Plant milk is a general term for any milk-like product that is derived from a plant source. There is no formal or legal definition for plant milk...

 — such as almond milk
Almond milk
Almond milk is a milky drink made from ground almonds. Unlike animal milk, almond milk contains no cholesterol or lactose. Regular, unsweetened almond milk can be used as a substitute for animal milk in many recipes, and as it does not contain any animal products, is suitable for vegetarians and...

, grain milk
Grain milk
thumb|right|250px|Rice milk as sold in Germany .Grain milk is a milk substitute made from fermented grain or from flour. Grain milk can be made from oats, spelt, rice, rye, einkorn wheat or quinoa.Grain milk looks very similar to cow's milk...

, or soy milk
Soy milk
Soy milk and sometimes referred to as soy drink/beverage is a beverage made from soybeans. A stable emulsion of oil, water, and protein, it is produced by soaking dry soybeans and grinding them with water...

 — are used instead of cows' or goats' milk. Vegan recipes will use apple sauce, ground flax seeds, mashed potatoes, soft or silken tofu, or commercial starch-based egg-substitute products, instead of chickens' eggs.

Meat analogue
Meat analogue
A meat analogue, also called a meat substitute, mock meat, faux meat, or imitation meat, approximates the aesthetic qualities and/or chemical characteristics of specific types of meat...

s, or "mock meats," made of soy or gluten
Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye...

 — including vegetarian sausage, vegetarian mince, and veggie burger
Veggie burger
A veggie burger is a hamburger-style patty that does not contain meat. The patty of a veggie burger may be made, for example, from vegetables, textured vegetable protein , legumes, nuts, dairy products, mushrooms, wheat, or eggs....

s — are widely available. Cheese analogues made from soy, nuts, and tapioca are commonly used. Vegan cheeses like Teese, Sheese, and Daiya
Daiya Foods Inc. is a Canadian-based vegan cheese food company located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company was established in 2008 by Andre Kroecher and Greg Blake. Daiya is made from cassava and arrowroot and is known for its cheese-like consistency and melting properties...

 can replace the taste and meltability of dairy cheese in various dishes. Joanne Stepaniak writes that cheese substitutes can be made at home, using recipes from Vegan Vittles, The Nutritional Yeast Cookbook, and The Uncheese Cookbook.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., which promotes a vegan diet, preventive medicine, alternatives to animal research, and encourages what it describes as "higher standards of ethics and effectiveness in research." Its primary...

 recommends what they call the "Four New Food Groups." They suggest that vegans and vegetarians eat at least three servings of vegetables a day, including dark-green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, and dark-yellow and orange such as carrots; five servings of whole grains (bread, rice, pasta); three of fruit; and two of legumes (beans, peas, lentils).

Health arguments

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a vegetarian diet is associated with lower levels of obesity and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the EPIC-Oxford
European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition
The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study is a Europe-wide prospective cohort study of the relationships between diet and cancer, as well as other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease...

 study, vegetarian diets provide large amounts of cereals, pulses, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, which makes them rich in carbohydrates, omega-6 fatty acids, dietary fiber
Dietary fiber
Dietary fiber, dietary fibre, or sometimes roughage is the indigestible portion of plant foods having two main components:* soluble fiber that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts, and* insoluble fiber that is metabolically inert, absorbing water as it...

, carotenoids, folic acid
Folic acid
Folic acid and folate , as well as pteroyl-L-glutamic acid, pteroyl-L-glutamate, and pteroylmonoglutamic acid are forms of the water-soluble vitamin B9...

, vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

, vitamin E
Vitamin E
Vitamin E is used to refer to a group of fat-soluble compounds that include both tocopherols and tocotrienols. There are many different forms of vitamin E, of which γ-tocopherol is the most common in the North American diet. γ-Tocopherol can be found in corn oil, soybean oil, margarine and dressings...

, and magnesium
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

. The vegan diet is more restricted, and recommendations differ. Poorly planned vegan diets may be low in vitamin B12, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, iron, zinc, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and iodine. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada said in 2003 that properly planned vegan diets were nutritionally adequate for all stages of life, including pregnancy and lactation, and provided health benefits in the treatment and prevention of certain diseases. The Swiss Federal Nutrition Commission and the German Society for Nutrition do not recommend a vegan diet, and caution against it for children, the pregnant, and the elderly.
Physicians John A. McDougall
John A. McDougall
John A. McDougall, M.D., is an American physician and author whose philosophy is that degenerative disease can be prevented and treated with a plant-based diet of whole, unprocessed, low-fat foods, especially starches such as potatoes, rice, and beans, and which excludes all animal foods and added...

, Caldwell Esselstyn
Caldwell Esselstyn
Caldwell Blakeman Esselstyn Jr., M.D., is an American physician, author, and former Olympic rowing champion.-Biography:...

, Neal D. Barnard
Neal D. Barnard
Neal D. Barnard is an American physician, author, clinical researcher, and founding president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine , an international network of physicians, scientists, and laypeople who promote preventive medicine, conduct clinical research, and promote higher...

, Dean Ornish
Dean Ornish
Dean Michael Ornish, M.D., is president and founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, as well as Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco....

, Michael Greger
Michael Greger
Michael Greger, is an American physician, author, vegan and professional speaker. Dr. Greger is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Agriculture and the Tufts University School of Medicine. He became vegan in 1990. He is currently the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at...

, and nutritional biochemist T. Colin Campbell
T. Colin Campbell
T. Colin Campbell is an American biochemist who specializes in the effects of nutrition on long-term health. He is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and the author of over 300 research papers...

, argue that high animal fat and protein diets, such as the standard American diet, are detrimental to health, and that a low-fat vegan diet can both prevent and reverse degenerative diseases such as coronary artery disease and diabetes. A 2006 study by Barnard found that in people with type 2 diabetes
Diabetes mellitus type 2
Diabetes mellitus type 2formerly non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetesis a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. Diabetes is often initially managed by increasing exercise and...

, a low-fat vegan diet reduced weight, total cholesterol
Cholesterol is a complex isoprenoid. Specifically, it is a waxy steroid of fat that is produced in the liver or intestines. It is used to produce hormones and cell membranes and is transported in the blood plasma of all mammals. It is an essential structural component of mammalian cell membranes...

, and LDL cholesterol, and did so to a greater extent than the diet prescribed by the American Diabetes Association.

The 12-year Oxford Vegetarian Study of 11,000 subjects recruited between 1980 and 1984 indicated that vegans had lower total- and LDL-cholesterol concentrations than did meat-eaters. Death rates were lower in non-meat eaters than in meat eaters; mortality from ischemic heart disease was positively associated with eating animal fat and with dietary cholesterol levels. The study also suggested that vegans in the UK may be at risk of iodine deficiency because of deficiencies in the soil.

According to the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada, diets that avoid meat tend to have lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, and higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, and phytochemical
Phytochemicals are biologically active chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants . Phytochemicals are the molecules responsible for the color and organoleptic properties . For example, the deep purple color of blueberries and the smell of garlic...

s. People avoiding meat are reported to have lower body mass index
Body mass index
The body mass index , or Quetelet index, is a heuristic proxy for human body fat based on an individual's weight and height. BMI does not actually measure the percentage of body fat. It was invented between 1830 and 1850 by the Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet during the course of developing...

 than those following the average Canadian or American diet. From this follows lower death rates from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancers.

A 1999 meta-analysis of five studies comparing vegetarian and non-vegetarian mortality rates in Western countries found the mortality rate due to ischemic heart disease 26 percent lower among vegans compared to regular meat eaters, but 34 percent lower among lacto-ovo vegetarians
Lacto-ovo vegetarianism
A Lacto-ovo-vegetarian is a vegetarian who does not eat animal flesh of any kind, but is willing to consume dairy and egg products...

 (vegetarians that eat dairy products and eggs) and pescetarians (those that eat fish but no other meat). The lower rate of protection for vegans compared to pescetarians or lacto-ovo vegetarians is believed to be linked to higher levels of homocysteine
Homocysteine is a non-protein amino acid with the formula HSCH2CH2CHCO2H. It is a homologue of the amino acid cysteine, differing by an additional methylene group. It is biosynthesized from methionine by the removal of its terminal Cε methyl group...

, which is caused by insufficient vitamin B12, and it is believed that vegans that get sufficient B12 should show even lower risk of ischemic heart disease than lacto-ovo vegetarians. No significant difference in mortality was found from other causes.

A large 15-year survey that investigated in the United Kingdom the association between diet and age-related cataract risk found a progressive decrease in risk of cataract in high meat eaters to low meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. Vegans were found to have a 40 percent lower risk of developing cataract compared with the biggest meat eaters.

Vitamin B12, iodine, choline

The Vegan Society and Vegan Outreach recommend that vegans eat foods fortified with B12 or take a supplement. B12 is a bacterial product that cannot be found reliably in plant foods, and is needed for the formation and maturation of red blood cells and the synthesis of DNA, and for normal nerve function; a deficiency can lead to a number of health problems, including megaloblastic anemia
Megaloblastic anemia
Megaloblastic anemia is an anemia that results from inhibition of DNA synthesis in red blood cell production. When DNA synthesis is impaired, the cell cycle cannot progress from the G2 growth stage to the mitosis stage...

. Iodine supplementation may be necessary for vegans in countries where salt is not typically iodized, where it is iodized at low levels, or where, as in Britain or Ireland, dairy products are relied upon for iodine delivery because of low levels in the soil. Iodine can be obtained from most vegan multivitamins or from regular consumption of seaweeds, such as kelp
Kelps are large seaweeds belonging to the brown algae in the order Laminariales. There are about 30 different genera....

. Vegans may also be at risk of choline
Choline is a water-soluble essential nutrient. It is usually grouped within the B-complex vitamins. Choline generally refers to the various quaternary ammonium salts containing the N,N,N-trimethylethanolammonium cation....

 deficiency and may benefit from choline supplements.

Iron, calcium, vitamin D

Iron deficiency may lead to anemia
Iron deficiency anemia
Iron-deficiency anemia is a common anemia that occurs when iron loss occurs, and/or the dietary intake or absorption of iron is insufficient...

. Iron is less well-absorbed from vegetarian diets (10 percent absorption from vegetarian diets, versus 18 percent from an omnivorous diet); vegetarians that exclude all animal products may need almost twice as much dietary iron each day as non-vegetarians. On the other hand, the iron status of omnivores and vegans appears to be similar, and body absorption processes may adjust to low intakes over time by enhancing absorption efficiency. Molasses
Molasses is a viscous by-product of the processing of sugar cane, grapes or sugar beets into sugar. The word molasses comes from the Portuguese word melaço, which ultimately comes from mel, the Latin word for "honey". The quality of molasses depends on the maturity of the sugar cane or sugar beet,...

 is a high-iron food source and many vegans take it in spoonfuls as an iron supplement.

Vegans are advised to eat three servings per day of a high-calcium food, such as fortified soy milk, almonds, and hazelnuts, and take a calcium supplement as necessary. The EPIC-Oxford
European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition
The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study is a Europe-wide prospective cohort study of the relationships between diet and cancer, as well as other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease...

 study suggested that vegans have an increased risk of bone fractures over meat eaters and vegetarians, likely because of lower dietary calcium intake, but that vegans consuming more than 525 mg/day have a risk of fractures similar to that of other groups. A 2009 study of bone density found the bone density of vegans was 94 percent that of omnivores, but deemed the difference clinically insignificant.

Another study in 2009 by the same researchers examined over 100 vegan post-menopausal women, and found their diet had no adverse effect on bone mineral density (BMD) and no alteration in body composition. Biochemist T. Colin Campbell
T. Colin Campbell
T. Colin Campbell is an American biochemist who specializes in the effects of nutrition on long-term health. He is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and the author of over 300 research papers...

 suggested in The China Study
The China Study
The China Study is a 2005 book by T. Colin Campbell and his son, Thomas M. Campbell II. It examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products and illnesses such as cancers of the breast, prostate, and large bowel, diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, autoimmune disease,...

(2005) that osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease of bones that leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis the bone mineral density is reduced, bone microarchitecture is deteriorating, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone is altered...

 is linked to the consumption of animal protein because, unlike plant protein, animal protein increases the acidity of blood and tissues, which is then neutralized by calcium pulled from the bones. Cornell wrote that his China-Cornell-Oxford study of nutrition in the 1970s and 1980s found that, in rural China, "where the animal to plant ratio [for protein] was about 10 percent, the fracture rate is only one-fifth that of the U.S."

Regarding vitamin D, Vegan Outreach writes that the only significant natural sources in foods are from fatty fish, such as cod liver oil, mackerel, salmon, and sardines; eggs, if the chickens have been fed vitamin D; and mushrooms if treated with UVB rays. Vegans are therefore advised to use supplements, though light-skinned people can obtain adequate amounts by spending 15–30 minutes in sunlight every few days. Dark-skinned people need significantly more sunlight to obtain the same amount of vitamin D, and sunlight exposure may be difficult in some parts of the world during winter, in which case supplements are recommended.

Pregnancy, babies and children

The American Dietetic Association considers well-planned vegan diets "appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy and lactation," but recommends that vegan mothers supplement for iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. The Vegan Society recommend that vegan mothers breastfeed
Breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with breast milk directly from female human breasts rather than from a baby bottle or other container. Babies have a sucking reflex that enables them to suck and swallow milk. It is recommended that mothers breastfeed for six months or...

 to enhance their child's immune system and reduce the risk of allergies. Vitamin B12 deficiency in lactating vegetarian mothers has been linked to deficiencies and neurological
Neurology is a medical specialty dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Specifically, it deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of disease involving the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue,...

 disorders in their children. Some research suggests that the essential omega-3 fatty acid
Omega-3 fatty acid
N−3 fatty acids are essential unsaturated fatty acids with a double bond starting after the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain....

 α-linolenic acid
Alpha-linolenic acid
α-Linolenic acid is an organic compound found in many common vegetable oils. In terms of its structure, it is named all-cis-9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid. In physiological literature, it is given the name 18:3 ....

 and its derivatives should also be supplemented in pregnant and lactating vegan mothers, since they are very low in most vegan diets, and the metabolically related docosahexaenoic acid
Docosahexaenoic acid
Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain and retina. In chemical structure, DHA is a carboxylic acid with a 22-carbon chain and six cis double bonds; the first double bond is located at the third carbon from the omega end...

 (DHA) is essential to the developing visual
Visual system
The visual system is the part of the central nervous system which enables organisms to process visual detail, as well as enabling several non-image forming photoresponse functions. It interprets information from visible light to build a representation of the surrounding world...

 and central nervous system
Central nervous system
The central nervous system is the part of the nervous system that integrates the information that it receives from, and coordinates the activity of, all parts of the bodies of bilaterian animals—that is, all multicellular animals except sponges and radially symmetric animals such as jellyfish...

. Pregnant vegans may need to supplement choline.

A maternal vegan diet has been associated with low birth weight, and a five times lower likelihood of having twins than those that eat animal products, though the article cited concludes that it is the consumption of dairy products by non-vegans that increases the likelihood of conceiving twins, especially in areas where growth hormone is fed to dairy cattle.
Several cases of severe infant or child malnutrition
Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

, and some infant fatalities, have been associated with poorly planned, restrictive vegan diets, often insufficient in calories. Dr. Amy Lanou, nutrition director of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and an expert witness for the prosecution in one case, wrote that vegan diets are "not only safe for babies; they're healthier than ones based on animal products." She wrote that "the real problem was that [the child] was not given enough food of any sort."

Eating disorders

The American Dietetic Association indicates that vegetarian diets may be more common among adolescents with eating disorders, but that the evidence suggests that the adoption of a vegetarian diet does not lead to eating disorders, rather that "vegetarian diets may be selected to camouflage an existing eating disorder." Other studies and statements by dietitians and counselors support this conclusion.

Dietary veganism

Dietary vegans eat an entirely plant-based diet — either for health reasons or out of concern for animal welfare — but may continue to use animal products for other purposes. Joanne Stepaniak
Joanne Stepaniak
Jo Stepaniak is the author of books on veganism, including The Vegan Sourcebook and several cookbooks. In her work, she emphasizes compassion toward everyone, including meat-eaters....

, author of Being Vegan (2000), argues that to place the qualifier "dietary" before "vegan" dilutes its meaning—like using the term "secular Catholic" for people who want to practise only some aspects of Catholicism. She writes that people should not call themselves vegan simply because they have embraced the diet: "Practising a vegan diet no more qualifies someone as vegan than eating kosher food qualifies someone as Jewish."

The Associated Press reported in January 2011 that the vegan diet is moving from marginal to mainstream in the United States, with vegan books such as Skinny Bitch
Skinny Bitch
Skinny Bitch is a diet book written by Rory Freedman, a former modelling agent and Kim Barnouin, a former model.According to a New York Times article, the book sold better than expected despite not having high initial sales...

(2005) becoming best sellers, and several celebrities exploring vegan diets. According to the AP, over half the 1,500 chefs polled in 2011 by the National Restaurant Association included vegan entrees, and chain restaurants are starting to mark vegan items on their menus.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011...

 went on a vegan diet for 21 days in 2008, and in 2011 asked her 378 production staff to do the same for one week. Former U.S. president Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 adopted a vegan diet in 2010 after cardiac surgery; his daughter Chelsea was already a vegan. His diet followed the advice of Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, and T. Colin Campbell: mostly beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruit, and a daily drink of almond milk, fruit, and protein powder. In November 2010 Bloomberg Businessweek reported that a growing number of American CEOs were becoming vegan, such as Steve Wynn, Mortimer Zuckerman
Mortimer Zuckerman
Mortimer Benjamin "Mort" Zuckerman is a Canadian-born American business magnate with interests primarily in magazines, publishing, and real estate. He is now a naturalized citizen of the United States....

, and Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons
-External links:** * * * * * * from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum* *...


Ethical veganism

Ethical vegans see veganism as a philosophy, lifestyle, and set of principles, not simply a diet. Bob Torres
Bob Torres
Robert "Bob" Torres was an assistant professor of sociology at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. He is the co-author, with his wife Jenna Torres, of Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World , and Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights .Making a Killing examines...

, author of Vegan Freak (2005), writes that ethical veganism consists of "living life consciously as an anti-speciesist
Speciesism is the assigning of different values or rights to beings on the basis of their species membership. The term was created by British psychologist Richard D...

The philosophical debate about the moral basis of veganism reflects a division of viewpoints within animal rights theory between a rights-based or deontological approach
Deontological ethics
Deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" or "rule" -based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty"...

 and a utilitarian/consequentialist one. Tom Regan
Tom Regan
Tom Regan is an American philosopher who specializes in animal rights theory. He is professor emeritus of philosophy at North Carolina State University, where he taught from 1967 until his retirement in 2001....

, professor emeritus of philosophy at North Carolina State University, is a rights-theorist who argues that animals possess inherent value as "subjects-of-a-life" — because they have beliefs and desires, an emotional life, memory, and the ability to initiate action in pursuit of goals — and therefore must be viewed as ends in themselves, not a means to an end. He argues that the right of subjects-of-a-life not to be harmed can be overridden only when outweighed by other valid moral principles, but that the reasons cited for eating animal products—pleasure, convenience, and the economic interests of farmers—are not weighty enough to override the animals' moral rights.

Peter Singer
Peter Singer
Peter Albert David Singer is an Australian philosopher who is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne...

, professor of bioethics at Princeton University, approaches the issue from a utilitarian perspective. He argues that there is no moral or logical justification for refusing to count animal suffering as a consequence when making ethical decisions, and that the limit of sentience
Sentience is the ability to feel, perceive or be conscious, or to have subjective experiences. Eighteenth century philosophers used the concept to distinguish the ability to think from the ability to feel . In modern western philosophy, sentience is the ability to have sensations or experiences...

 is "the only defensible boundary of concern for the interests of others." He does not contend that killing animals is wrong in principle, but that from a consequentialist standpoint it should be rejected unless necessary for survival. He, therefore, advocates both veganism and improved conditions for farm animals to reduce animal suffering. Singer is not concerned about what he calls trivial infractions of vegan principles, arguing that personal purity is not the issue. He supports what is known as the "Paris exemption": if you find yourself in a fine restaurant, allow yourself to eat what you want, and if you're in a strange place without access to vegan food, going vegetarian instead is acceptable.
Gary L. Francione
Gary L. Francione
Gary Lawrence Francione is an American legal scholar. He is the Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law & Philosophy at Rutgers School of Law-Newark....

, professor of law at Rutgers School of Law-Newark, is a rights-theorist. He argues that "all sentient beings should have at least one right—the right not to be treated as property," and that adopting veganism must be the unequivocal baseline for anyone who sees nonhuman animals as having intrinsic moral value; to fail to do so is like arguing for human rights while continuing to own human slaves. He writes that there is no coherent difference between eating meat and eating dairy or eggs; animals used in the dairy and egg industries live longer, are treated worse, and end up in the same slaughterhouses. Francione is critical of consequentialist positions that admit of occasional exceptions to vegan principles; see below.

Carol J. Adams, the vegan-feminist writer, has used the concept of the absent referent
Absent referent
Absent referent is a concept that originated in linguistics, and is the condition of a sign that has an empty, absent, non-existent, paradoxical, hypothetical, supernatural, or undefined referent...

 to describe what she calls a psycho-social detachment between the consumer and the consumed. She wrote in The Sexual Politics of Meat (1990), described by The New York Times as a bible of the vegan community: "Behind every meal of meat is an absence: the death of the animal whose place the meat takes. The 'absent referent' is that which separates the meat eater from the animal and the animal from the end product. The function of the absent referent is to keep our 'meat' separated from any idea that she or he was once an animal, to keep the 'moo' or 'cluck' or 'baa' away from the meat, to keep something from being seen as having been someone."

Debate about the "Paris exemption"

Singer's support for the "Paris exemption"—the acceptance of flexibility on special occasions, or when vegan food is hard to find—is part of a debate within the animal rights movement about the extent to which it ought to promote strict veganism without exception. The positions are reflected by the divide between the animal protectionist
Animal protectionism
Animal protectionism is a position within the animal rights movement that favors incremental change in pursuit of non-human animal interests. It is contrasted with abolitionism, the position that human beings have no moral right to use animals, and ought to have no legal right, no matter how the...

 side — represented by Singer and PETA
Peta can refer to:* peta-, an SI prefix denoting a factor of 1015* Peta, Greece, a town in Greece* Peta, the Pāli word for a Preta, or hungry ghost in Buddhism* Peta Wilson, an Australian actress and model* Peta Todd, English glamour model...

's consequentialist approach — which argues that incremental change can achieve real reform, and the abolitionist
Abolitionism (animal rights)
Abolitionism within the animal rights movement is the idea that focusing on animal welfare reform not only fails to challenge animal suffering, but may prolong it by making the exercise of property rights over animals appear acceptable. The abolitionists' objective is to secure a moral and legal...

 — represented by Francione's emphasis on rights — which argues that apparent welfare reform serves only to persuade the public that animal use is morally unproblematic. Singer said in 2006 that the movement should be more tolerant of people who choose to use animal products if they are careful about making sure the animals had a decent life. Bruce Friedrich
Bruce Friedrich
Bruce Friedrich is Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives at Farm Sanctuary.Friedrich serves on the governing board of the Catholic Vegetarian Society, the advisory board of the Christian Vegetarian Association, and is a founding member of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians...

 of PETA argued in the same year that a strict adherence to veganism can become an obsession. Veganism should not be dogma, he wrote:

[W]e all know people whose reason for not going vegan is that they "can't" give up cheese or ice cream. ... Instead of encouraging them to stop eating all other animal products besides cheese or ice cream, we preach to them about the oppression of dairy cows. Then we go on about how we don’t eat sugar or a veggie burger because of the bun, even though a tiny bit of butter flavor in a bun contributes to significantly less suffering than any non-organic fruit or vegetable does or a plastic bottle or about 100 other things that most of us use. Our fanatical obsession with ingredients not only obscures the animals’ suffering — which was virtually non-existent for that tiny modicum of ingredient — but also nearly guarantees that those around us are not going to make any change at all. So, we’ve preserved our personal purity, but we’ve hurt animals — and that’s anti-vegan.

Francione writes that this position is similar to arguing that, because human rights abuses can never be eliminated entirely, we should not safeguard human rights in situations we control. By failing to ask a server whether something contains animal products, in the interest of avoiding a fuss, he argues that we reinforce the idea that the moral rights of animals are a matter of convenience. He concludes from this that the PETA/Singer position fails even on its own consequentialist terms, although this does not apply to all vegans.

Resources and the environment

People who adopt veganism for environmental reasons often do so because it consumes fewer resources and causes less environmental damage. Organizations such as PETA point out that animal agriculture is linked to climate change, water pollution, land degradation, a decline in biodiversity, and that a commercially available animal-based diet uses more land, water, and energy than a strictly vegetarian one.

The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Food and Agriculture Organization
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

 released a report in November 2006 linking animal agriculture to environmental damage. The report, Livestock's Long Shadow
Livestock's Long Shadow
Livestock's Long Shadow - Environmental Issues and Options is a United Nations report, released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on 29 November 2006, that "aims to assess the full impact of the livestock sector on environmental problems, along with potential technical...

, concluded that the livestock sector (primarily cows, chickens, and pigs) was one of the two or three most significant contributors to the planet's most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. According to the report, it is responsible for at least 18 percent of the world's greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

 emissions, as measured in CO2 equivalents, with Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang of World Watch magazine placing the figure in 2009 as at least 51 percent. A 2006 study by Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin, assistant professors of geophysics at the University of Chicago, found that one person switching from the average American diet to a vegan diet would reduce CO2 emissions by 1,485 kg per year.

Greenhouse gas emissions are not limited to animal husbandry. Plant-based sources such as rice cultivation cause similar problems. A 2007 study that simulated the land use for various diets for the geography of New York State concluded that, although vegetarian diets used the smallest amount of land per capita, a low-fat diet that included some meat and dairy — less than 2 oz (56.7 g) of meat/eggs per day, significantly less than that consumed by the average American — could support slightly more people on the same available land than could be fed on some high-fat vegetarian diets, since animal food crops are grown on lower-quality land than are crops for human consumption.

Debate over animals killed in crop harvesting

Steven Davis, a professor of animal science
Animal science
Animal Science is described as "studying the biology of animals that are under the control of mankind". Historically, the animals studied were farm animals, including livestock and horses, but courses available now look at a far broader area to include companion animals, for example dogs, cats and...

 at Oregon State University, argued in 2001 that the least-harm principle does not require giving up all meat, because a plant-based diet would not kill fewer animals than one containing beef from grass-fed ruminants. Davis wrote that cultivating crops also kills animals, because when a tractor traverses a field, animals are accidentally destroyed. Based on a study finding that wood mouse populations dropped from 25 per hectare to five per hectare after harvest (attributed to migration and mortality), Davis estimated that 10 animals per hectare are killed from crop farming every year. If all 120000000 acres (485,623.2 km²) of cropland in the continental United States were used for a vegan diet, then approximately 500 million animals would die each year. But, if half the cropland were converted to ruminant pastureland, he estimated that only 900,000 animals would die each year — assuming people switched from the eight billion poultry killed each year to beef, lamb, and dairy products.

Davis's analysis was criticized in 2003 by Gaverick Matheny and Andy Lamey in the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. Matheny argued that Davis had miscalculated the number of animal deaths based on land area rather than per consumer, and incorrectly equated "the harm done to animals ... to the number of animals killed." Matheny argued that per-consumer, a vegan diet would kill fewer wild animals than a diet adhering to Davis's model, and that vegetarianism "likely allows a greater number of animals with lives worth living to exist." Lamey argued that Davis's calculation of harvesting-related deaths was flawed because based on two studies; one included deaths from predation
In ecology, predation describes a biological interaction where a predator feeds on its prey . Predators may or may not kill their prey prior to feeding on them, but the act of predation always results in the death of its prey and the eventual absorption of the prey's tissue through consumption...

, which is "morally unobjectionable" for Regan, and the other examined production of a nonstandard crop, which Lamey argued has little relevance to deaths associated with typical crop production. Lamey also argued, like Matheny, that accidental deaths are ethically distinct from intentional ones, and that if Davis includes accidental animal deaths in the moral cost of veganism, he must also evaluate [claimed] increased human deaths associated with his proposed diet, which Lamey argued leaves "Davis, rather than Regan, with the less plausible argument."

See also

  • Artificial leather
    Artificial leather
    Artificial leather is a fabric or finish intended to substitute for leather in fields such as upholstery, clothing and fabrics, and other uses where a leather-like finish is required but the actual material is cost-prohibitive or unsuitable....

  • Edenic diet
    Edenic diet
    The Edenic diet is the diet believed by practitioners to have been followed by Adam and Eve in the biblical Book of Genesis. The Reverend Sylvester Graham was a proponent, advocating a diet without meat—especially pork—shellfish, fatty sauces, spices, salt, sugar, coffee, tea, condiments, and...

  • Fruitarianism
    Fruitarianism involves the practice of following a diet that includes fruits, nuts and seeds, without animal products, vegetables and grains. Fruitarianism is a subset of dietary veganism....

  • Health food restaurant
    Health food restaurant
    Health food restaurants have been around for decades serving nutritional food to the public. Health food is defined by as any natural food popularly believed to promote or sustain good health, as by containing vital nutrients, being grown without the use of pesticides, or having a...

  • Lacto / Ovo / Ovo-lacto vegetarianism
  • Low carbon diet
    Low carbon diet
    A low carbon diet refers to making lifestyle choices to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from energy use. It is estimated that the U.S. food system is responsible for at least 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases. This estimate may be low, as it counts only direct sources of GHGe....

  • Macrobiotic diet
    Macrobiotic diet
    A macrobiotic diet , from "macro" and "bios" , a dietary regimen which involves eating grains as a staple food supplemented with other foodstuffs such as local vegetables avoiding the use of highly processed or refined foods and most animal products...

  • Pescetarianism
    Pescetarianism is the practice of a diet that includes seafood but not the flesh of other animals.In addition to fish and/or shellfish, a pescetarian diet typically includes all of vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, beans, eggs and dairy...

  • Roger Crab
    Roger Crab
    Roger Crab was an English soldier, haberdasher, herbal doctor and writer who is best known for his ascetic lifestyle which included Christian vegetarianism. Crab fought in the Parliamentary Army in the English Civil War before becoming a haberdasher in Chesham. He later became a hermit and worked...

  • Semi-vegetarianism
    Semi-vegetarianism is a term used to describe diets that are vegetarian-based with the inclusion of occasional meat products. The term has no precise or widely accepted definition, but it usually denotes the following of a mainly vegetarian diet whilst eating meat occasionally...

  • Veganarchism
    Veganarchism or vegan anarchism, is the political philosophy of veganism and anarchism, creating a combined praxis that is designed to be a means for social revolution. This encompasses viewing the state as unnecessary and harmful to animals, both human and non-human, whilst practising a vegan...

  • Veg*n
  • Vegan organic gardening
    Vegan organic gardening
    Vegan organic gardening and farming is the organic cultivation and production of food crops and other crops with a minimal amount of exploitation or harm to any animal...

  • Vegan Prisoners Support Group
    Vegan Prisoners Support Group
    The Vegan Prisoners Support Group is an organization based in the United Kingdom that provides support for vegans in prison, primarily vegans who are imprisoned for animal rights activity...

  • Vegetarianism and religion
    Vegetarianism and religion
    Vegetarianism and religion are strongly linked in a number of religions that originated in ancient India . In Jainism, vegetarianism is mandatory for everyone; in Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism, it is advocated by some influential scriptures and religious authorities...

  • Vegetarianism and wine

Further reading

Vegan societies




Articles and books

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.